AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 23a

June 3, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Probable Cause in Flying Car Crash back to top 

Flying Car Crash Cause Determined

Some tangled parachute lines, a seriously aft C of G and some kind of air turbulence ganged up on a Maverick flying car to send it spiraling into a schoolyard in western Canada in early May. Canada's Transportation Safety Board turned over the investigation to the manufacturer of the aircraft, ITEC, to come up with the cause and the company's COO Troy Townsend traveled to Kelowna, British Columbia, a week later to conduct the probe. By analyzing video from two GoPro cameras onboard the aircraft, plus video shot from the ground by AVweb and airport surveillance camera video, Townsend and pilot Ray Siebring determined at least three independent factors contributed to the stall/spin that ended with the Maverick spinning from an altitude of about 500 feet into the playground fence of a school in Vernon, B.C., on May 10. "Any one of those factors wasn't enough to bring the aircraft down but they all added up together," said Townsend, who has hundreds of hours on the vehicle, which is really just a large powered parachute with a street-legal car as its payload.

Townsend and Siebring determined that when Siebring was setting up the Maverick for flight, he used an incorrect table to set the position of the steel arms that suspend the vehicle from the canopy and the center of gravity ended up well aft. Also, at some point during taxi, some of the lines on the left side of the wing tangled, creating a "pressure knot" that distorted the wing and made it want to turn left. Siebring countered with right trim and that essentially put the wing in the landing configuration. The final straw may have been wake turbulence from a Cessna 182 that landed just before the Maverick took off or it could have been air settling from a nearby ridge. Whatever it was, it caused the left side of the wing to stall and sent the aircraft into the spin. Neither Siebring nor his passenger, his uncle Ed Haasdyk, was seriously injured. The chassis of the car was totaled but most of the parts can be reused.

Video: Maverick Flying Car Crash

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

When a Maverick Flying Car crashed in Vernon, British Columbia in May of 2013, on-board cameras helped determine the causes of the accident. AVweb's Russ Niles assembled this report from the various media used in the investigation.

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Lead and Liability back to top 

Gas Stations Sued By State For Selling 100LL

New Jersey's Attorney General (AG) and Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) have filed a lawsuit regarding the distribution and sale of 100LL at six gas stations in the state, last December. The suit charges that the avgas was advertised as unleaded auto fuel and sold to customers between Dec. 6 and 8, 2012. According to the state AG, the gas stations "clearly knew, or should have known" that they were selling leaded avgas to motorists. A distributor and transporter were also named in the suit. Zephyr Oil is accused of purchasing more than 70,000 gallons of avgas on Dec. 4, 2012, from a California-based company (not named by the suit) and selling it at a deep-discount price to Pamsel Property Inc., which owned all six affected stations. For pilots, the lawsuit may pose more questions than it seeks to resolve.

Motivation for the discounted sale to Pamsel is not yet clear and whether Pamsel could have profited from selling the discounted avgas at auto-fuel prices (which it did) is not detailed by the suit. The lawsuit itself focuses on alleged unlawful deception of motorists and potential harm done through damage to auto components and lead exposure. According to the suit, all the entities involved should have known that they were dealing in avgas because bills associated with the product were labeled "AVGAS -- Aviation." An attorney for Pamsel said the company was not aware that the fuel being delivered was aviation fuel; Pamsel shut down the gas stations as soon as it became aware of the switch; and Pamsel paid to clean all associated systems. "Pamsel lost an awful lot of money," their attorney told Manasquan.patch.com. Pamsel has filed suit against Zyphyr (the company from which it acquired the fuel). Zephyr has responded, saying that Pamsel knew what it was getting. The state AG and DCA may seek civil penalties of up to $10,000 for a first violation, and a ruling against Pamsel could also result in a 30-day suspension of Pamsel's dealer license.

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Aviation Safety Reports back to top 

Flight School Planes Collide: Four Dead

Two single-engine aircraft, both reportedly from local flying schools, collided near Phoenix Friday, killing both occupants of both planes. One aircraft, identified by Phoenix police as a Cessna from Westwind School of Aeronautics, burned almost completely after crashing and the two occupants were not immediately identifiable. The other, a Piper Arrow III, had two flight instructors aboard and was largely intact on the ground. "I thought possibly we might have survivors," Battalion Chief Gary Bernard of the Peoria Fire Department told the Arizona Republic.

They came together about 10 a.m. about 15 miles north of Phoenix in a remote desert area. Weather was clear at the time of the accident. The TransPac CEO confirmed the victims in the Archer were TransPac employees. "I was terribly saddened to learn of the loss of two of our members of the TransPac Aviation Academy family," Goddard's statement read. "The individuals involved were deeply connected here at TransPac and their loss is felt by all of us." He did not identify them.

Report: A319 Fire Due To Unlatched Cowls

The British Airways Airbus A319 that suffered an engine fire and lost cowlings off both engines on departure from Heathrow took off with its engine cowls unlatched, according to an early report. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report discussed by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the right engine's cowl door departed the aircraft, but not before striking the engine and fuselage, leading to the engine fire. The cowl on the left wing ripped away without significant additional damage. The emergency, which saw the 80-person flight return to Heathrow for a successful emergency landing and aircraft evacuation, temporarily closed both of the airport's runways and caused the cancellation of more than 190 flights. The pilots union has already weighed in regarding some of the report's findings.

The AAIB report states that the event shows failure to latch the Airbus' cowls "can present a greater risk to flight safety than previously experienced." Head of safety for the British Airline Pilots Association, David Reynolds, blamed engineers. Reynolds was quoted by Telegraph.co.uk saying, "It is something [for] the engineers to check. It's their job to make sure they are closed." Reynolds said that while pilots make a check for obvious anomalies, they could only have noticed a failure to latch the cowl doors "by lying on their back underneath the engines, which is not practical." Another pilot, who spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity, said, "The deeper story is in maintenance procedures, management and manning levels." The pilot said that normal procedures require one engineer to perform and complete the work and another to check it. "Both should have checked whether the cowl was shut," the pilot said. British Airways is not commenting on the event while the AAIB investigation is ongoing but says it is cooperating with investigators and working with passengers injured during the evacuation.

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Money Matters back to top 

Aviation Groups Seek Contract Tower Funding

Eleven aviation advocacy groups Wednesday cosigned a letter to the House Appropriations Committee seeking financial support for the FAA contract tower program through 2014. Signatories included AOPA's Craig Fuller, NBAA's Ed Bolen, and leading members of the National Air Transport Association, Air Carrier Association of America, Regional Airline Association and others. Currently 251 airports participate in the contract tower program, accounting for an estimated 28 percent of all air traffic control tower aircraft operations in the U.S., according to the letter. But, the letter argues, costs associated with the program account for a significantly lower percentage of relevant budgets.

According to the letter, the federal contract tower program handles more than one quarter of operations while costing 14 percent of the FAA's budget allotted for air traffic control tower operations, without compromising safety. The letter promotes the program as a safety enhancement for smaller airports, a cost savings for the FAA, a business expansion and economic development tool, and a service that pilots appreciate. It concludes by stating that "absent this highly successful federal program, many local communities and smaller airports would not receive the significant safety benefits of ATC services." A copy of the letter is available here.

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New Options for Ownership back to top 

AOPA Expands Financing Options

AOPA is expanding its presence in the aircraft finance market with a new service for its members. The AOPA Finance Company is a brokerage that brings together borrowers and lenders to make getting money for airplanes and upgrades easier. Adam Meredith, who is heading up the new company, said in an interview with AVweb that AOPA has been helping members with financing for about 20 years but always through a single lender. The new company will deal with a multitude of lenders that have stuck with aircraft financing through the recession and are looking for new business.

By dealing with different lenders, the company can help match the aircraft owner's needs with the services and specialties of the financial institutions. That should make it easier for owners to get the financing they need, whether to buy a new airplane or upgrade their existing rides. On upgrades where there is no loan against the aircraft, it will be straightforward deal with a financing company that does those sorts of loans. Where there is money owing on the aircraft, refinancing packages that include the cost of the upgrades will be done. "We try to make it as easy as possible," said Meredith. "That's why we're here. We're here to help."

Podcast: New Financing Options from AOPA

File Size 3.9 MB / Running Time 4:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

AOPA has revamped its aircraft financing division to include a broader range of prospective lenders. Adam Meredith, head of the AOPA Aircraft Finance Company spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

Click here to listen. (3.9 MB, 4:15)

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iPads to the Rescue? back to top 

Air Force On Track For iPad-Induced Savings

The Air Force Air Mobility Command last year awarded a contract for up to 18,000 iPads and believes it is on track to see a $50 million cost savings from their intended use once implemented. The contract, a $9.36 million investment, is one step in replacing what amounts to hundreds of pounds of paper documentation on larger aircraft. In the case of a C-5 Galaxy transport, the weight savings has been estimated at nearly 500 pounds, including paper documentation carried by each crew member and paper documents stored on the aircraft. That weight savings translates to an accountable fuel savings, but doesn't account for the $50 million.

The $50 million estimated savings covers a period of 10 years, during which time the Air Force expects to save $5.7 million annually on printing and distribution costs. Fuel savings are expected to be less than $1 million, annually. iPads are currently being used by some 16,000 Air Mobility Command aircrew. Another 2,000 iPads are deployed in other areas of the Air Force. The program began as a six-month trial period that commenced last July and during which 721 iPads were used by C-130 crews. Aside from cost savings, the move is expected to improve operational efficiency and safety. Certain companies produce security features for the iPad, allowing them to be "locked," making them more secure and easier for the Air Force to track.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA Customer Service -- Jekyll, Meet Hyde

As far as delightful customer experiences go, the FAA doesn't bubble to the top of the list. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli reports that he had one good experience with the FAA and one not so good one.

Read more and join the conversation.

Brainteasers Quiz #184: What's in a Name?


A Cub by any other name would fly as sweet (although not as sweet as a Champ). But does calling a cloud a "ceiling" make it any less alluring? Tease out your aviation terminology by acing this quiz. (Includes a new reader survey.)

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More Brainteasers

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVmail: June 3, 2013

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Regulators Gone Wild

Well done with your report on what is a frightening exposé of Australian aviation regulators. We in the industry have been raising these concerns for over 15 years. Despite these efforts, the politicians have not listened, and we now have a runaway regulator that attempts to dominate rather than work with the industry.

There are a number of people who have attempted to correct these and the large number of submissions to this inquiry and the final result which calls for the regulator to be removed and appropriate regulations be put in place is a major step forward.

There are a number of people who have attempted to correct these, and the large number of submissions to this inquiry and the final result, which calls for the regulator to be removed and appropriate regulations be put in place, is a major step forward.

There are a couple of web sites here and here which are working to collect information and writing about individual issues to bring to the community's attention — issues facing pilots that are of serious concern to individuals and the aviation community. Maybe it's time for another ICAO/ FAA investigation into CASA and ATSB.

Name Withheld

AVweb Replies:

We have contacted the letter writer and accepted his rationale for withholding his name.

Russ Niles

Paying for OSH Controllers

Regarding the FAA's request that EAA help pay for controllers: Although I am certainly not in favor of paying more fees and taxes like most people, I think as pilots we have to think long and hard about which fight to pick with the FAA.

AirVenture does represent a substantial cost increase in the operations of the FAA (overtime, travel, etc.), and making a contribution may be the kind of good will gesture that would be sensible and hopefully appreciated.

That said, an open checkbook is not the right way to proceed, and a cap should be agreed to before the event.

There is no doubt that the U.S. economy (and various government levels) benefit greatly from this world-class event that draws visitors from all over the world and is a net gain for the U.S. economy, but to expect parochial government organizations to look at the big picture is probably asking too much.

The U.S. has the most vibrant general aviation sector of the entire world. The economic impact is worth billions to the U.S. economy, and many of these billions come from foreigners like myself who spent serious money buying products and services from the U.S. aviation sector.

Please do not allow the government and bureaucrats to kill this important sector like they did in Europe and never understood in Asia.

Michel Lahaie

Everyone flying into OSH that week is already funding the FAA by way of federal excise taxes paid on the fuel purchased to get there and home again. Making EAA pay again sure seems like double taxation to me.

Dan Barber

Ask for controllers interested in volunteering to work the air show and let EAA provide perks for the week like free admission to the show, VIP seating for air shows, free food, etc.

Russ Mazda

If the EAA is going to pay for ATC services, they should put out bids to the contract ATC companies. They would probably get a better deal. After all, contract towers cost less to operate than FAA towers.

Chris Shehi

In response to the FAA request that the EAA cover the controllers costs for the fly-in: It's the EAA's party, and they make money from it, so let the EAA pay for the controllers. On the other hand, since the FAA wants to abrogate their responsibility to do the job, the EAA should get all the federal share of fuel taxes for fuel sales at OSH.

Richard Montague

AVweb Replies:

Thanks to the dozens of readers who offered their thoughts on the issue. We just don't have the room to run all the responses.

Russ Niles

Letters About Letters

When someone finds an engine that was overhauled in an incorrect manner that infringes on the performance of the engine, it should be reported to the FAA. Not only could you protect someone else's life, but I suspect that reporting this type of incident is mandatory under the FARs.

Mike Schumann

When the President or Vice President are aboard a civil aircraft, the call sign is Executive One or Executive Two.

When the President or Vice President are aboard a military aircraft, the call sign is (Military Branch) One or (Military Branch) Two.

Reference is Order JO 7110.65 (air traffic).

Dan Burdette

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Base Operations (Page Field Airport, Ft. Myers, FL)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Base Operations at Page Field Airport (KFMY) in Fort Myers.

AVweb reader Frank Ladd recommended the FBO:

I have been to this FBO many times in the past on our yearly jaunts to Sanibel Island. I have always had excellent service with Scott and Debra at the Page Airport. This year, they excelled themselves. Their line personnel are very accommodating and most helpful. We were delayed due to weather on May 1, but they still accommodated us and our four-hour late arrival. Fuel prices are very competitive, too. The line guys had my car waiting and were helpful in loading our luggage. This FBO will get my business again.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Diamond's New DA52

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Diamond jumped into the aerodiesel market early, and it still leads the industry in the number of diesels flying. This spring, it's deep into certification work on a new diesel twin, the DA52. Based on the DA42 twin, the DA52 is larger, faster, and carries up to seven people. Diamond views it as a high-class, luxury minivan. On a recent visit to Diamond's factory in Austria, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a demo flight in the new airplane and shot this exclusive video report.

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

While flying a Beech 18 in the late 1960s, my instructor requested take-off clearance in an unusual way:

XXX Tower:
"Twin Beech N1234 ready to accelerate on runway heading to generate sufficient lift to overcome the effects of gravity."

Without skipping a beat, the tower retorted:
"Twin Beech N1234, you are cleared to accelerate on runway heading to generate sufficient lift to overcome the effects of gravity."

Patrick Tallon
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

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Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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