March 2, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... LightSPEED Aviation
LIGHTSPEED AVIATION INTRODUCES NEW LINE OF HEADSETS
While Steve Fossett might be able to stay awake for 80 hours (concerns over a "missing" 2,600 gallons of fuel might help), we at AVweb make no such claim. So we leave you at 1 a.m. EST with the adventurer northeast of Hawaii, consistently running at better than 270 kts at 46,000-plus feet and determined to land at Salina, Kan. sometime today -- at a more civilized hour. "I hit the jetstream very well, which has put us in a better fuel position. I have every hope of making it to Salina tomorrow," Fossett told his mission control team back in Kansas via satellite phone. This, despite a day-long drama Wednesday over his fuel state and the very real possibility that he might land in Hawaii (who could blame him at this time of year) instead of Salina. Late Tuesday, as GlobalFlyer settled into its solo, round-the-world flight questions arose over the fate of about 2,600 lbs. of fuel, which appeared to have gone AWOL. As Fossett approached Japan early Wednesday, he said tail winds would determine if he could become the first to fly solo, non-stop around the world. The forecast wasn't good and Hawaii was looking like an alternate for part of the day. Then he got the kick he needed and decided to press on, making the decision to take off from the center of the continent in the first place look better with each passing moment.
So, what happened to all that fuel? The concentration seems focussed (sensibly) on making the most of the JP-4 that didn't disappear but there has been some speculation centering around where it all went ... if in fact it went anywhere at all. A venting problem or simply a miscalculation of the initial consumption on climb out are among the theories -- though human or instrument error can't be discounted. Whatever happened, concern of an abnormal burn or leak stopped after about three and one-half hours and Fossett kept flying. Along the way he set at least one new record. Until Wednesday, the record for "distance without landing" belonged to a B-52 and it was set in 1962 (Rutan's Voyager notwithstanding ... classes, categories, engines ...). When it looked like Fossett might not complete the flight, Conference and Record Board reps got together via conference call and voted to give him the record. His first available airport after reaching the point of no return beyond Hawaii is Catalina Island.
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Look for the "accident" rate to increase in coming years -- and you can blame it on the NTSB. The body charged with trying to keep us out of trouble has come up with some new definitions for the term "accident," and it could cause a spike in the stats. Last December, the NTSB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) designed to ensure the agency was included in any information exchange regarding potentially dangerous circumstances that have safe and happy outcomes. In essence, if the NPRM is adopted as a final rule (the comment period is open until March 11) certain events must now be reported as "accidents" and other events are newly reportable as "incidents." In the NPRM, the NTSB says it needs to be in the loop when these events occur so it can investigate and provide safety recommendations. "This amendment is intended to enhance aviation safety by providing the NTSB direct notification of these events so that we can investigate and take corrective actions in a timely manner," the agency states.
Possibly the biggest impact will be on helicopter stats. The NPRM removes an exclusion for ground damage to rotors and tail rotors, and now requires that all such incidents be reported as "accidents." Helicopter Association International (HAI) President Roy Resavage is urging members to forward comments to both HAI and the NTSB by March 7. The NTSB apparently doesn't accept comments electronically, so they must be mailed to: Mr. Deepak Joshi, Lead Aerospace Engineer (Structures), National Transportation Safety Board, 490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, D.C., 20594. The NPRM will also affect fixed-wing operators through the inclusion, as reportable "incidents," of in-flight propeller failures, turbine failures that result in debris escaping from anywhere besides the exhaust path, the loss of information from a majority of an aircraft's electronic primary displays, and any airborne-collision-and-avoidance system (ACAS) alarms that occur during IFR operations. The NTSB says both propeller and turbine failures can cause serious problems and that it needs to know about them to help prevent accidents. As for the PFD/MFD (primary flight display/multifunction display) section, it's mostly a case of the regs catching up to the technology. Finally, the NPRM says that ACAS alerts are being added so the NTSB is quickly notified and can assemble the necessary radar and anecdotal data to determine where the air traffic control system broke down.
AOPA has filed comments on the NPRM, but only on two of the sections. Spokesman Chris Dancy said it's AOPA's view that helicopter rotor and tail-rotor damage must still fit the definition of "substantial damage" before it's reportable as an accident, so it wasn't concerned about that section. AOPA did object to the section on electronic flight displays as being "too vague." AOPA also noted the FAA already collects data on ACAS warnings so it would be redundant for the NTSB to require them. The NPRM was originally issued on Dec. 16 and the comment period was set to expire on Feb. 25. However, HAI requested an extension and the comment period now expires on March 11. Part of the information available to HAI members is a summary of the impact of the proposed rule on helicopter operators by Roy Fox, chief of flight safety for Bell Helicopter Textron. Fox insists the new regulations will do little to advance safety but will seriously harm both operators and helicopter manufacturers because of an "inflated" accident rate.
JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN SOURCE, IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE A NEW LOWER PRICE ON THE GARMIN GPSMAP 296 WITH TERRAIN ONLY
Will that be paper or glass? The answer is likely both, at least in the near future, when it comes to approach plates. In December, Avidyne certified a software package for the EX 5000C glass panel in Cirrus aircraft that allows the uploading of electronic depictions of Jeppesen approach plates for display in the cockpit. Although the electronic plates, called CMax, are exactly the same as those that can be printed using Jeppview, the company's net-based system, the FAA apparently still doesn't trust this newfangled way of doing things. Both the Cirrus and Avidyne manuals include, at FAA insistence, disclaimers saying the screens aren't to be used as the primary source of approach information. Cirrus spokesman Ian Bentley said the company is currently negotiating with the FAA to allow that reference to be deleted from the Cirrus Pilot Operation Handbook. Change, however, comes slowly. "They [the FAA] have a tendency to look at this stuff fairly conservatively," Bentley told AVweb. And, although there is perhaps some symbolic importance attached to FAA recognition of the electronic approach plates, Bentley said having a paper backup is a good idea. "Regardless of the regulatory environment ... it seems like a reasonably prudent thing to do," he said. Meanwhile, only Cirrus customers have access to the system but Avidyne spokesman Tom Harper said the company is almost ready to offer it as an upgrade to other Avidyne systems. He said they're just awaiting final FAA approvals for the systems, which also include a cockpit weather service.
If you've ever wanted to fly to Glendive, Mont., the city of Bismarck, N.D., might have just the ticket. Bismarck, you see, got a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Transportation three years ago to develop a regional air service plan. The result could be the first next-generation air taxi service designed to relieve pressure on the existing hub system and provide air service to communities (like Glendive) that are off the airlines' radar. What's more, according to Bismarck officials, "Point2Point Airways" would make money after a couple of years, something that seems to be a challenge for most airlines. City Administrator Bill Wocken told The Associated Press that the service would run like a regional taxi, with customers picking their destinations and the airline arranging the flights, either in its own fleet of five Cirruses or through existing charter companies. The Bismarck City Commission approved giving the service a trial run by the end of the year. A private company would operate the business but the trial would be partly funded by what remains of the original grant. Point2Point spokesman John Bailey said very light jets currently under development could also be used in the service and one (we don't know which) is scheduled for a visit to Bismarck on April 26.
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Two months after it predicted the first delivery of one of its A500 push/pull twins, Adam Aircraft continues to have certification "challenges" on the design, according to the FAA. Agency spokesman Allen Kenitzer also made it clear that bureaucratic foot-dragging is not causing the slipped schedule. "We are responding to the company's schedule," Kenitzer told AVweb. "But it's not uncommon for challenges to evolve during the late phase of any [certification] program." Kenitzer declined to comment on the nature of those challenges for privacy and proprietary reasons and said more details would have to come from Adam. Adam spokesman John Hamilton declined comment. "I really can't comment on the certification process," he said. He said the company hoped to have more news on certification in time for Sun n' Fun, which starts April 12 in Lakeland, Fla. Last October, the company rolled out its first production A500 and predicted certification was only weeks away. The company also hoped to build 40 airplanes in 2005. According to the Adam Web site, serial number 004 first flew on Jan. 13 and is now getting its interior. The major airframe components of serial number 005 were being assembled when the site was last updated on Feb. 10. Meanwhile, Adam announced that Gen. Wesley Clark has been added to the company's board of directors.
So, we have to wonder what the Japan Airlines pilot told his passengers after he slammed on the Boeing 777's thrust reversers and swerved onto a taxiway about 3,000 feet into his takeoff roll at New Chitose Airport on the Japanese island of Hokkaido last Jan. 22. The Mainichi daily news reported the takeoff was aborted (at the screaming insistence of an air traffic controller) because no clearance was issued and an All Nippon Airways A320 had just landed at the opposite end of the 10,000-foot runway. "I was preoccupied with preparations for takeoff and failed to confirm whether my plane was cleared. I thought no other aircraft was ahead of us," the unidentified captain told Japanese authorities, who only released their report a week ago. New Chitose has parallel runways and one is normally used for takeoffs and the other for landings. However, it was snowing that night and one runway was closed for snow removal. The JAL flight, with 201 people aboard, had been ordered to hold short. Luckily, the tower controller was on the ball when the 777 started to move. "Stop, you're not cleared for takeoff, yet!" he yelled. The two jets missed each other by about 3,000 feet and the JAL flight took off for Tokyo about 10 minutes later.
IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER
When your head is above the clouds, it's hard to remember your roots. The first A in NASA, which stands for Aeronautics, is rapidly becoming archaic as the organization throws more and more resources behind ambitious space projects. And while space stations, a trip to Mars and a replacement for the space shuttle are certainly headline grabbers, the more mundane work of ensuring the vast majority of us atmosphere-bound aviators have a crack at the new technologies borne of those billions of tax dollars is falling by the wayside. According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel, less than 6 percent of NASA's $16.2 billion budget is going to aeronautics in 2005. (Perhaps they're thinking there's always Allen, Fossett, Branson, and Rutan.) The focus of NASA's ground-bound work has also shifted. Rather than new airfoils, exotic materials and futuristic designs, the organization now seems preoccupied with air traffic control, airport noise and efficiency projects. Two NASA facilities, the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., have borne the brunt of the cuts, which have totaled more than 2,500 jobs. NASA spokesman Victor Lebacqz told the Sentinel that less money means doing things differently. "And what comes out of that is what comes out of that," he said.
It's not often that a community is willing to sacrifice a golf course for an airport development but Reno, perhaps better than most cities, appreciates the value of air travel. The airport authority announced last week that the popular Brookside Golf Course will make way for a new $25 million control tower sometime in the next year or so. More than 60,000 people played the city-operated Brookside course last year. It's particularly popular with seniors because of its short length and $55 a month unlimited green fees. Although Reno's current tower is adequate, the airport recorded an 11-percent increase in traffic last year. It is expected the new tower would eventually be needed to accommodate the steadily increasing traffic. Ironically, the announcement of the tower project came weeks after the FAA put Reno's tower on a list of 48 that might be closed during the early morning hours to save costs. Civic and state politicians are calling the plan ridiculous and lobbying to have Reno taken off the list.
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The importance of building strategic alliances is the focus of the 16th Women in Aviation Conference at Dallas, Texas, starting March 10. Speakers for the three-day event include NTSB chairwoman Ellen Engleman Connors, U.S. Air Force Capt. (and B-1B pilot) Kim Black and Gretchen Jahn, president of Mooney Aircraft...
The first lawsuit has been launched in the Teterboro runway accident last month. Rohan Foster is suing the airport, the plane's operator, the pilots and the manufacturer after the bizjet clipped the car he was driving as it shot off the end of the runway on Feb. 2. Rohan suffered a broken nose and a cut to his scalp but his passenger James Dinnall was grievously hurt...
Florida Rep. John Mica landed $9 million in federal grants for two Orlando airports. Orlando Sanford International Airport gets $3.5 million for runway repairs and a new apron while Orlando International Airport gets a $5.4 million reimbursement for a new runway already built...
A surge of interest in recreational flying sparked by the incipient Sport Pilot/Light Sport category drew hundreds to the 25th annual Illinois Ultralight and Sport Plane Safety Seminar last week in Springfield. Much of the buzz was around the new category and its implications for the industry.
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com.
WHEN THE WEATHER REPORTS CALL FOR MORE SNOW, GO SKIING!
Say Again? #47: On Course of Course
When you file direct GPS, when are you on course? Seems an easy question, but not when ATC doesn't know where you're really going. And to make it worse, more and more pilots and controllers aren't using standard phraseology, meaning someone sometime soon is going to get really lost. Air traffic controller Don Brown is trying to help.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked how many of you have seen unidentified flying objects in our skies.
Yes, we asked about UFOs. And to our surprise, nearly half of AVweb readers reported having some sort of UFO encounter 44% of those who participated in the survey.
Of that 44%, one in four respondents insisted that the craft they saw was definitely not of terrestrial origin. The other respondents were a little more hesitant, admitting only that they had seen an object in the sky they couldn't identify.
Overall, one in ten AVweb readers claims to have seen a UFO of extraterrestrial origin at some point!
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
As the U.S. military demand for airspace increases, GA airspace becomes increasingly taxed (with military aircraft operations). One AVweb reader asks, "Should the military be allowed to take over any more airspace without giving up an equivalent amount?
"I suggest this because today the military has far fewer operation aircraft and flying squadrons than they did during the Cold War," he writes. "In addition, many of the units are deployed overseas supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc."
What do you think?
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RESOLVE TO BECOME MAINTENANCE-SAVVY IN 2005!
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Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Another week, another great batch of photos from AVweb readers man, this is the life!
Suzy Kryzanowicz of Michigan takes home top honors this week. (She'll also be taking home an official AVweb baseball cap for her efforts.) Once you've marvelled at Suzy's prize-winning photo, scroll down for thrills! excitement! a Mustang! and a few chuckles.
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Suzy Kryzanowicz
"Out to Sea"
Suzy Kryzanowicz of Bay City, Michigan writes
"The cabin heat in my 1946 BC-12D Taylorcraft may not be
adequate for Michigan winters, but the flying and sunsets are superb."
Well said, Suzy! Hopefully your brand-new AVweb baseball cap will
at least warm the top of your head while you're flying around up there!
here to view a large version of this image
Click here for a medium-sized version
AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view larger versions.
Ryan Pemberton of Spokane, Washington
tells us he "got this picture during one of our local
formation sorties. With five Stearmans,
you can have way too much fun!"
copyright © Don Parsons
Under a caption that says it all,
Don Parsons of St. Peters, Missouri
got our blood racing with this mid-air shot
of Les Heikkila making a low pass in his P-51.
Thanks for another big week of
"POTW" submissions! As your
reward, here are a couple of photos
sure to tickle your funny bone:
Used with permission of Gary Enochs
Gary Enochs of O'Fallon, Illinois
reminds us that yes, babies in the cockpit
are still funny! (But not likely to be featured
here two weeks in a row, proud parents!
We always love to see your little ones, but
they have the best shot at winning at hat
if you catch us on a week where we're not
inundated with flying toddlers.)
Used with permission
Mark Wiencek of Oak Forest, Illinois asks,
"Who needs WAAS when we've got signs?"
According to Mark, this sign is only about 450
feet shy of the approach end of Ry 18 at MCX.
copyright © Adam Bell/AZHangar.com
Adam Bell of Desert Hills, Arizona
snapped this pic at KDVT and "thought
it was kind of funny that someone threw
away an airplane. Maybe it was one of
those 100-hour disposable types."
And we thought LSA opened up a whole
new market in general aviation ... !
To enter next week's contest, click here.
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
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Fly it till every part stops.
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