AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 19, Number 24a

June 10, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Inside the Black Box back to top 
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Crashed Cirrus Data Recorder Tells Aerobatic Tale

The NTSB has determined that two cousins age 23 and 34 were killed in the crash of a rented Cirrus SR-22T on Nov. 13, 2011, near Boynton Beach, Fla., while attempting aerobatics. There were no other occupants aboard the aircraft, which impacted in a marsh. A pilot who witnessed the crash told the NTSB that the aircraft pitched from level flight to a 30-degree nose-up attitude before rolling inverted, reversing the roll and ultimately impacting the ground in an (estimated) 80-degree nose-down condition. Information contained in the aircraft's data recorder largely coincided with that account. It also showed that roll wasn't the aircraft's first.

Data contained by the crash-hardened flight data recording device covered the period from Nov. 11, when the accident aircraft's 34-year-old right-seat pilot signed a rental agreement for the aircraft. It showed that on that day the aircraft was flown for more than 10 minutes below 1,000 feet and for nearly 90 seconds it was flown between 195 and 38 feet. Low-altitude banks of up to 70 degrees were also recorded -- along with a successfully completed 360-degree roll to the left.

The investigation found that the right-seat pilot (who signed the rental agreement for the aircraft) held a commercial certificate with ratings for single- and multi-engine land, rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter, all acquired after 2008. His recovered logbooks listed at least 4,384 flight hours with at least 183 in the accident airplane make and model. The investigation also found the pilot had been awarded at least some of his certificates twice. "On Feb. 17, 2006, the pilot had submitted a letter of surrender to the FAA, which constituted an 'unequivocal abandonment' of his commercial pilot certificate," according to the NTSB. The reason for that action was "voluntary surrender in anticipation of FAA certificate action." The NTSB has determined the accident's probable cause to be "the right seat pilot's decision to attempt a low-altitude aerobatic maneuver in a non-aerobatic airplane."

Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) created the following animation they say was produced from "flight data recorded from the accident airplane."

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AirVenture Traffic Controversy back to top 

EAA Will Pay For Controllers If It Must

Faced with an ultimatum from the FAA, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton says his organization will pay the $500,000 fee requested by the FAA if that's the only way to guarantee that EAA's AirVenture 2013 is fully staffed regarding air traffic controllers. According to Pelton, the FAA's negotiations amounted to a demand for the funds and a signed contract to provide the controllers or the annual convention that creates the "world's busiest control tower" would be left without air traffic control. The agency must make $384 million in cuts by Sept. 30 as arranged by governmental wrangling known as the sequester. If EAA does foot the bill, it won't be the first major airshow this year to pay to have air traffic controllers on hand. Many pilots and some senators are upset by the move, which they're calling a new user fee.

Funding for controllers at the six-day Sun 'n Fun airshow held this past April at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Fla., was met in part by $125,000 donated by Visit Florida, the state's tourism marketing corporation. Sun 'n Fun estimated the total bill at $285,000. AirVenture is a larger show and Pelton has reached out to Wisconsin senators for help. The senators have worked to organize support in opposition to the FAA's actions and have co-signed with at least 27 other senators a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. The letter notes that pilots and airshows pay fuel taxes in support of the services they receive and those taxes have not diminished. "This shift in policy by the FAA to charge fees for air traffic services is tantamount to an imposition of a new user fee on general aviation," the letter states. Smaller airshows may be asked to pay for additional staffing, too. While those bills would be smaller, they may still be prohibitive for organizations working with fewer resources than EAA and Wisconsin.

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA to EAA -- Pay Up

Right on cue, the choir sang this week: "No," we said, "the FAA shouldn't expect EAA to pay for controllers at AirVenture." While the FAA's decision smacks of politics and poor stewardship, it also shows that, long-term, we'll need to make some hard choices on excess services. We haven't made any yet.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Cargo Pilot Faces Charges Of Flying Drunk 

A cargo pilot whose behavior last December while flying a Cessna 210 out of Greensboro for Tampa International Airport prompted authorities to scramble fighters and (later) a blood alcohol test has entered treatment, his lawyer said Wednesday. The blood of pilot Phillip Yves Lavoie, 28, showed an alcohol content of 0.27 percent in a test administered after he'd landed and spoken with investigators for 2.5 hours, according to court documents. The FAA sets a limit for flying an aircraft at 0.04 blood alcohol content (BAC) -- a limit that can drop to 0.02 BAC under certain conditions. The trouble began when controllers noticed Lavoie had become unresponsive while flying the return leg to Tampa International Airport and the Cessna he was flying began to descend. Lavoie has been charged with operating a common carrier while under the influence of alcohol and he has submitted a plea agreement that includes details of his flight.

According to an account of the event signed by Lavoie as part of his plea agreement, he descended without approval out of 5,000 feet and deviated slightly from his intended route of flight. He was unresponsive to controllers' attempts to contact him during a handoff and the FAA alerted Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, which launched two fighters. But Lavoie contacted controllers at Jacksonville before he was intercepted by the fighters. Failing to explain his radio silence, authorities arranged to have the plane met by an FAA flight inspector upon landing. The inspector smelled alcohol on Lavoie's breath. Airport police became involved and their incident report stated the pilot "was crying and had the distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his person," Tampabay.com reported. Lavoie's lawyer said the pilot, who completed two takeoffs and landings that night, "truly has an alcohol problem ... had one ... and he's taking the steps to correct that."  Lavoie's next court date is June 13, with sentencing to follow. The charges could result in a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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In May, BlueStage is all about the sonic experience on wings. Download, swipe, and enjoy! Learn more.
Warbirds, Legends, and More back to top 

Warbird Gathering Offers Free Flights For WWII Vets

About 90 vintage military aircraft have registered to take part in the Gathering of Warbirds and Legends in Topeka, Kan. from Aug. 2-4 and in keeping with the cooperative and community service nature of the event, Second World War vets are being offered free rides on rare aircraft from the era. "We have owners lined up who are donating their airplanes and their gas to fly these vets," said organizer Dan Gryder in an interview with AVweb. He said vets and the family members of vets can go to the event Web site to register for a flight in aircraft that helped win the war. They don't have to be former pilots or aircrew. Anyone who served can get aboard. Some of the rarest aircraft still flying will be there and there will be a re-enactment of the D-Day airborne assault with aircraft that were used that day dispensing skydivers using vintage-style round parachutes. "The event itself is a departure from the usual air show format in that only warbirds are involved and all net revenue will be distributed among the aircraft owners and operators.

The cost of fuel, parts and other related expenses have stretched many warbird owners and Gryder said many are rethinking their participation in public events. Gryder said participants in the Gathering of Warbirds and Legends, who registered in advance for "slots" to take part will get free refreshments and avgas at $2 a gallon. The event coincides with the closing weekend of AirVenture Oshkosh and Gryder said many of those attending will use Topeka as a convenient and inexpensive stop on their way back to their bases. He said the non-profit format of the event could become a template for warbird displays as the huge costs of maintaining the aircraft keep increasing.

Podcast: WWII Veterans Fly Free

File Size 8.4 MB / Running Time 9:10

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

From August 2-4 in Topeka, Kansas, more than 90 vintage military aircraft will take part in a cooperative event that will honor veterans of the Second World War with free rides in aircraft of the era. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with organizer Dan Gryder about The Gathering of Warbirds and Legends and how veterans and family members of veterans can get aboard.

Click here to listen. (8.4 MB, 9:10)

'The Aviators' Season 3 || The Biggest Aviation Show on the Planet - Now on PBS, 
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The award-winning hit TV series The Aviators is back for an all-new third season showcasing everything from the F-22 and DC-3 to LSA and balloons. We take you dogfighting in the Nevada desert, flying with the USAF Thunderbirds, and look on as Mötley Crue frontman Vince Neil learns to fly. Join our 10 million weekly US viewers and countless more worldwide.

Watch The Aviators on PBS, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu.
Modern Warbirds back to top 

Personal Fighter Design Gets Press

A new two-seat personal aircraft program announced by a former Air Force pilot and inspired by military fighter jets is winning attention on the internet, which, so far, is the only place the aircraft, the Saker S-1, exists. In announcing the aircraft, program leader Sean Gillette said the jet will have: a 0.95 Mach cruise, a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet, a best range of 1,600 nm, operating costs estimated at $2.00 per nm, and will cost civilian owners less than $6 million to acquire. The program aims to succeed where at least three other manufacturers that produced thematically similar designs failed to see significant commercial success. Gillette has offered a timeline, and says he may soon have funding to reach his goals.

Funding to build prototypes and see the Saker S-1 program through prototyping and certification is nearly secured, according to Gillette. The jet program is reminiscent of those forged by the BD-10 (video), the Viperjet, and the ATG Javelin, all of which saw public interest but little commercial success. Pilots were killed testing the BD-10 and aircraft that evolved from its design. Gillette's jet design is bigger than any of those aircraft. It aims to employ two Williams FJ44 turbofans and weigh in at 11,500 MTOW. Gillette is using AirBoss Aerospace, a veteran of the Javelin jet program, as his design team and says they are finished with preliminary design work. According to his best-case planning, Gillette says we could see the Saker S-1 certified and delivered prior to 2020.

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Light Sport Heavy on Conveniences back to top 

Tecnam's New LSA Adds Optional Tech Perks

Tecnam has formally announced the first flight of its Astore, a low-wing metal LSA that comes standard with an iPad mini and an optional Levil AHRS G-mini, which the company plans to showcase together at AirVenture, this year. Levil's product works with the iPad by delivering information from dedicated AHRS to the iPad's display via WiFi. It uses the Apple tablet as a PFD to display digital information and EFIS-like functionality. Tecnam says the Astore's technological integration goes beyond that to include some unconventional perks, like the ability to lock the aircraft by remote control. But some of those perks arrive above the aircraft's $135,000 base price.

According to the company, the Astore's first flight went well and demonstrated smooth handling with performance that will be further detailed through future testing. For its part, Levil says that having the G-mini listed on the avionics callout of the Astore marks the first time the unit has won such treatment from an LSA aircraft manufacturer. The Levil is part of a relatively new class of microeletromechanical systems (MEMS) that have been proving their uncertified functionality to pilots of experimental aircraft. Levil says that aside from its core functionality, the G-mini also integrates with many popular apps. For example, when working with WingX Pro7 and AirNav Pro, the company says its G-mini can provide 3D synthetic vision and terrain awareness. That may be more than many LSA pilots expect, and the market will soon show whether that added functionality (and its associated costs) is something the segment will embrace.

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

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Survey: 'Aviation Consumer' Wants to Hear About Your Piper Warrior

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is doing a Used Aircraft Guide on the Piper Warrior and is looking for input from Warrior owners and pilots. They want to know what it's like to fly and/or own a Warrior. How does it handle? How much does it cost to operate, maintain, and insure? What suggestions would you give to a person considering buying one? If you'd like your airplane to appear in the magazine, send along any photographs you'd care to share -- as high-res as possible. Comments on mods, support organizations, and anything you feel is pertinent to the Warrior are welcomed.

Send your email to consumereditor@hotmail.com by June 15.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Signature Flight Support (KRST, Rochester, MN)

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

"FBO of the Week" readers know the smallest things can make a big difference. AVweb reader Terry L. Martin provides the case study as he tells us about a recent visit to Signature Flight Support at Rochester International Airport (KRST) in Rochester, Minnesota:

Very friendly faces and a desire to help. Prompt service and courtesy. In the little gift shop, they displayed a t-shirt that caught my eye. I asked if they had one in smaller children's sizes (grandchildren sizes). They did not. However, the gentleman behind the counter aksed if he could have my contact information and he would check with the supplier for avilability and let me know. I know it's not much, but sometimes it's the little things that cause someone to notice. I've been to this FBO numerous times over the last few years, and I receive top-notch treatment every time.

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: 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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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

In the early '70s in Orlando, an Aztec, N910JQ, would always ask for a straight in to Herndon. So we could say:

"Nine ten Jack Queen has a possible straight."

Jim Woolf
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.

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.