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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FACES SAFETY ALLEGATION
A Michigan pilot claims he's being persecuted by his employer for
rejecting an airplane he considered unfit to fly. Chris Gottwald told
AVweb he's been kept off the flight schedule and assigned
menial office tasks since May when he told his superiors he wouldn't
fly a King Air that had propeller-control problems. But while such
pilot-management tussles may be all too common in the cash-strapped
world of commercial aviation, Gottwald doesn't fly for some tin-shack
terminal commuter line. The operator he claims is trying to pressure
its pilots to fly unsafe airplanes is the FAA. More...
Gottwald said that when he landed the King Air at Hulman Field in
Terre Haute, Ind., last May 13, the props wouldn't go into reverse.
With up to 9,000 feet of runway in front of him, the lack of reverse
thrust wasn't much of a concern, but it wasn't the first time the
props had acted up. Gottwald said he'd experienced at least two
uncommanded pitch changes on King Air props previously, one while
taxiing and another in which one propeller went to a virtually
flat-pitch setting while he was on short final. "It caused a
tremendous amount of yaw," he said. When the props wouldn't obey his
inputs at Terre Haute, he'd had enough. "I didn't know what the props
were going to do," he said. More...
OFF FLIGHT SCHEDULE, PILOT SPECULATES WHY
The FAA launched an investigation and immediately took Gottwald off
the flight schedule. He's been "working" at a desk job ever since. "I
don't have any office duties. I look at reports, file miscellaneous
forms and I study flight manuals. I'm just supposed to keep myself
busy," he said. He still gets paid his full salary of just under
$100,000 a year. Gottwald said the FAA wrapped up its investigation in
June but still won't tell him when to expect a decision. FAA
spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said no date has been set for the decision
and, in the meantime, she can't comment in any detail. She did say
that FAA maintenance standards, um, meet FAA maintenance standards and
that FAA flight operations have an outstanding safety record.
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DELAYS TWINSTAR DELIVERIES
Sometimes when you're on the leading edge you have to put up with a
little turbulence. Diamond Aircraft says it has delayed (to
individuals) the first deliveries of its innovative diesel-powered
DA-42 TwinStar because an adequate support network won't be in place
for the Thielert diesels in time. "We have to be able to provide
service for those customers," Diamond's North American CEO Peter
Maurer told AVweb. While the company had hoped that first
deliveries would be made by the end of this year, they've been put off
for at least a year. "It's quite realistic that in 2005 there will be
Thielert deliveries," he said. Fleet customers (who presumably will
have trained service personnel) will get the Thielert aircraft as
scheduled. Diamond designed and built the diesel twin in 2002 and it
was certified in Europe earlier this year. It made its North American
debut at EAA AirVenture last July and the company claims it's
redefining fuel-efficiency standards for light twins.
But while many potential customers are drawn to the technically
advanced TwinStar, the launch hiccups have shown Diamond that there's
also a market for something a little more conventional. Earlier this
year, the company flew a Lycoming 0-360-powered version of the
TwinStar and is accelerating its development. In fact, said Maurer, he
expects the avgas version to be ready about the same time as the
diesel and at the same price. "We'll introduce both aircraft and let
the customer decide," he said. The gas-powered TwinStar uses more fuel
but also has noticeably better performance than the diesel.
Maurer said early-position diesel customers are naturally disappointed
that they won't be getting their airplanes when they expected but most
have been understanding. "Anybody that's acquiring leading-edge
technology expects and is very tolerant of teething problems as long
as they're dealt with effectively," Maurer said. He said Diamond is
committed to the diesel program because the company believes the time
is coming when 100LL will be phased out. "The future in fuel is jet
fuel or mogas," he said. "We're looking to that future but we're not
going to go into it blindly." More...
IN A BOWL FLIES SIMULATOR
Someone once said he could teach a monkey to fly but researchers at
the University of Florida have taken it a quantum leap further. The
biomedical team says it has a dish full of about 25,000 rat neurons
that can keep a PC flight simulator on the straight and level. "It's
as if the neurons control the stick in the aircraft, they can move it
back and forth and left and right," Professor Thomas DeMarse told
Wired News. Now, the researchers aren't explicitly looking to replace
pilots with rat neurons ... at least not yet. More...
SYSTEM TARGETS GA
A system that's helped fighter and attack aircraft pilots see better
for decades could soon be coming to a GA panel you recognize. Forward.Vision, a division of Aercomp Inc., has
developed a relatively low-cost (under $20,000) forward looking
infrared system (FLIR) for general aviation. It's been selling them to
homebuilt owners for the last couple of months but company spokesman
Pat Farrell says several major manufacturers are interested in a
certified version. "They are some of the biggest OEMs you would
recognize," Farrell told AVweb after a successful showing at
AOPA Expo last week. We might hope that one would endeavor to take on
the certification hurdles. The Forward Vision system uses an infrared
camera to peer through smoke, haze and precipitation, with varying
degrees of clarity. More...
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INPUTS BLAMED FOR 587 CRASH
The NTSB has blamed the first officer's "unnecessary and excessive
rudder pedal inputs" for the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in
Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001. In its final report, released Tuesday, the NTSB said the
vertical stabilizer separated from the Airbus A300-605R after the
first officer "inappropriately manipulated the rudder back and forth
several times" after hitting the wake turbulence of a Boeing 747. The
extreme movements exceeded the design loads of the vertical fin, which
separated -- 265 people died, including five on the ground. The NTSB
also cited peculiarities with the aircraft's rudder-system design and
elements of American Airline's pilot-training program as contributing
BILL QUASHES BIZJET PERK?
Possibly one of the nicest perks of corporate air travel has been
quashed in a provision in a corporate tax bill signed into legislation
by President Bush last week, and it could put a damper on the bizjet
and fractional-ownership industry. While alphabets and manufacturers
lauded a provision in the bill that extended the delivery dates on
airplanes qualifying for deferred depreciation to the end of 2005 (a
perk worth about $250 million) another measure was slipped in at the
last minute. That measure drastically decreases the tax deduction
corporations can claim when their aircraft are used by officers and
employees of the corporation for personal business. According to
Forbes Online, the provision, tucked in during the final Senate-House
conference on the bill, will save the government $2.2 billion.
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WHY NOT US?
announced its intention to produce a (very light) jet (download the
press release, here) with an
expected cruise 35 knots faster than it's "older" turboprop sibling on
which it is based, for a higher fuel burn and an extra $150,000 in
base price -- perhaps simply proving the practicality of the turbine.
Recall the Epic LT. Announced one year before its debut, the $1.2
million Epic LT -- a six-place, all-carbon-fiber experimental turbine
-- is currently going through its flight-test paces and expects to
offer full-tanks, full-load flying at 350 knots. The jet will use most
of the same major airframe components. If history is any indicator,
expect it (springtime) soon. More...
NEW HEADSETS AT AOPA EXPO: FORGET ANR
At least two companies, LightSpeed Aviation and Aloft Technologies,
have set aside over-the-ear headset ANR technology with in-ear
technology products, driving sound with hearing-aid speakers and
dampening it with ... replaceable ear plugs. A third, the Panther CATS
system (which is similar, but not as new) takes a mold of the user's
ear, making the sets individual-fit perfect -- but multiple-user
exclusive. All three units look very much like fancy earplugs at the
end of some wire (excluding the tiny boom mics). So there's a
marketing challenge for the arguably superior products: It's not
likely to come in comfort (we've tried them all) or noise dampening,
and it might take some talent to convince pilots that what appear much
like earplugs on a string should cost more than $400.
FLYING RENTED OR BORROWED AIRCRAFT?
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Pilot landed safely after 172 cut three major power
Dudley Hill, founder of Hill Aviation, died at
Finn Air pilot pleaded guilty to preparing to fly while
Airport might make way for new bus lane
G1000 flight training devices were ordered. More...
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
to know about? If it caught your eye, it will probably interest
someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Savvy Aviator #11: Ignition
Mags and spark plugs don't need a lot of maintenance, but
they do require some and it's often neglected. You may get away with
such neglect for a while, but eventually it'll bite you.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know which very light jet is your pick to be
a major force in the marketplace. PLUS: Results of last week's
pilots-vs.-controllers question. More...
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Californian Kendall Mauldin takes home top honors in this week's
"POTW" contest with a SpaceShipOne photo we kinda wish we'd
taken! Great job, Kendall we're sending you a nifty AVweb
baseball cap as a token of our appreciation. If you want an AVweb cap
of your own, send us your best amateur aviation photos. Funny,
exciting, serene, or as downright strange as this week's bonus
picture, your photo is sure to bring some joy and mirth to our
workday. So what are you waiting for? Submit!
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|MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
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THE MAGAZINE THAT SAVES AIRCRAFT OWNERS BIG MONEY!|
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YOU ARE LOOKING TO FALL ASLEEP, READ THE AIM, NOT|
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EVERY PILOT WHO WANTS TO FLY WITH AGGRESSIVE CONFIDENCE
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We Welcome Your
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