June 29, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ...
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EAA and the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) have forged an agreement to help each other expand the new sport-flying community. The collaboration grew from the two groups' work together in the EAA Sport Pilot Tour, which started earlier this month to bring sport aircraft and information to various locations throughout the country. Under the new plan, enthusiasts who purchase an aircraft or a minimum order of products from any LAMA member company will get a free one-year membership or renewal in EAA, LAMA said. "Joining with EAA is an excellent match for our organization, since EAA has been at the forefront of the sport pilot/light-sport movement for more than a decade," said Larry Burke, LAMA president. LAMA recently brought its traveling show to AOPA Headquarters in Maryland, where AOPA staffers got a chance to learn about the aircraft and take them flying. LAMA also will have a booth at AOPA Expo, Nov. 3-5 in Tampa, Fla., where there will be a special area set aside for manufacturers' displays of LSAs. LAMA represents manufacturers of ready-to-fly and kitbuilt light-sport aircraft as well as aviation suppliers.
Under the new agreement, EAA will showcase LAMA members through its events, programs and publications, promoting the wide array of aircraft available through those manufacturers. A number of LAMA companies will stage their aircraft in a special "light-sport-aircraft mall" at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005, July 25-31. Further EAA/LAMA joint initiatives will be introduced later this year, EAA said. "EAA and LAMA share a common goal of opening the world of flight to everyone who wants to participate," said Rick Larsen, EAA vice president of marketing. "Together our two organizations will provide support and unparalleled resources so people can thoroughly experience and enjoy this facet of flying." EAA also this week posted a complete list of special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) that have received at least one S-LSA airworthiness certificate. "So many manufacturers have indicated an interest in producing an S-LSA that it has created confusion for people wanting to purchase an S-LSA now," said Charlie Becker, director of EAA Aviation Services. "They don't know who can legitimately state that they meet the ASTM standards, and that is why we put together this list." EAA will continue to update this list as more S-LSAs are certificated. EAA will also create and post a list of certificated experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) as they become available.
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A pilot who made an emergency landing on a California freeway in April 2004 won some consideration in an appeal before an NTSB judge in Denver last week. In October, the FAA had ordered a six-month suspension for "reckless" behavior, but the NTSB reduced it to five months. The pilot and his passenger were unharmed in the landing, but the rented Piper Cherokee's wing sliced through a van, nearly severing the leg of an 11-year-old girl. The mechanic who worked on the airplane before the flight also lost his certificate, for 250 days, reduced from the FAA's 330-day penalty. Investigators found that the mechanic didn't fix the rented aircraft properly, and the pilot knew it was having engine trouble but chose to fly anyway, according to The Monterey Herald. The airplane was destroyed in a post-impact fire. Both men have the option to appeal further to an NTSB court in Washington, D.C. A civil suit filed by the girl's family, alleging negligence in the maintenance and operation of the airplane, is pending in Contra Costa Superior Court, the Herald reported.
A 24-year-old woman who had hoped for a modeling career but was crippled in a plane crash in 2002 has sued the pilot for 100 million pounds in a British court, The Times of India reported Monday. The woman, who is originally from Italy but was going to school in London, accepted a ride in a private aircraft with a friend of a friend for a holiday to St. Tropez, in the south of France. The pilot landed too far down the runway, braked hard and skidded off the runway. He was unhurt but the young woman's back was broken. He was convicted of negligence in a French court and fined, but has appealed the verdict. The young woman is confined to a wheelchair for life. If she wins the case, it would be the highest compensation ever awarded by a British court.
When a low-level maneuver went awry during an air show near Lviv, Ukraine, in 2002, the two pilots safely ejected from their Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet, but the uncontrolled jet crashed into the crowd, killing 77 people in the world's worst-ever air show disaster. Last week, a military court sentenced the jet's pilot to 14 years in prison, with eight years for the co-pilot, CNN reported. An investigation found the pilots had tried to complete a maneuver at too low an altitude. Three other military personnel involved with the show also got prison terms. More than two dozen children were among the victims of the crash.
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They've tried NOTAMs and ground-based laser warning systems to warn airplanes off, and they've scared pilots who stray with fighter-jet escorts and license suspensions, but nonetheless, another small aircraft wandered into the ADIZ over Washington, D.C., early last night, causing yet another evacuation of the U.S. Capitol. The scare lasted only a few minutes, then was called off, according to news reports last night, and evacuation at the White House was just getting underway when the all-clear was sounded. The airplane was detected 33 miles southeast of Reagan Washington National Airport, according to MSNBC. U.S. fighter planes and Border Patrol helicopters were launched at 6:18 p.m. and escorted the airplane to the Winchester Regional Airport in Virginia.
John Walton, 58, a multi-billionaire and heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, died Monday afternoon when the small aircraft he was flying crashed in a field of sagebrush in Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, shortly after takeoff from Jackson Hole Airport. He was alone in the aircraft. A witness told park rangers that the aircraft circled, then dived steeply to the ground. The location was in line with an approach for landing. Investigator Aaron Sauer from the NTSB regional office in Denver was dispatched to the scene on Tuesday, and he determined that the aircraft was a CGS Hawk Arrow, an experimental, kitbuilt airplane. "Consequently, the NTSB will conduct a typical field investigation of this accident," the NTSB said. Early reports had identified the aircraft as an ultralight, and said only the National Park Service would investigate. Yesterday, The Jackson Hole News reported that Walton had recently bought the aircraft in Virginia, and set out to fly it cross-country to Wyoming. Along the way, the landing gear was damaged in a hard landing, and Walton hauled the Hawk home on a trailer. The flight on Monday was said to be the first following repairs to the aircraft.
Dr. Brent Blue, an aviation medical examiner in Jackson Hole, told AVweb yesterday that Walton was "a very experienced and a very careful pilot. He was current in his Citation and flew it regularly. He was a crop-duster earlier in his life in California ... Truly a great guy. He will be missed by his friends in this community." Forbes Magazine listed Walton in March as the 11th richest man in the world, with a net worth of $18.2 billion. He sat on the board of directors of the Wal-Mart corporation, and was an active board member of the Walton Family Foundation. Walton served in the U.S. Army Green Berets as a medic during the Vietnam War, and was awarded the Silver Star. He leaves a wife and son.
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT
The FAA has published a "Notice to All Concerned" about the U.S. Navy's proposal to expand Military Operations Area and Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace in central California. The FAA notice aims to determine the effects the proposed changes would have upon the safe and efficient use of the airspace by all users. The proposal has been carefully monitored by GA advocacy groups for over a year, and it has raised serious concerns. The Navy's proposed design includes a GA transition corridor, but in spite of that, AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVwebyesterday, most IFR traffic in the area would have to be rerouted around the lower portions of the MOA. "IFR aircraft navigating by way of RNAV will be impacted the most, since the MOAs will prohibit those aircraft from flying 'IFR Direct' in much of the area between Fresno and points west along the coast," Dancy said. "AOPA will be analyzing the proposal thoroughly as presented and will be submitting formal comments on the proposal," Dancy added. NBAA also expressed concerns about the plan. "While NBAA is sympathetic to the training needs of the U.S. Navy, we remain concerned that the proposed airspace plan will have significant negative effects on the flow of civil air traffic in the central California area," Bob Lamond Jr., NBAA's director of air traffic services, told AVwebyesterday. Both groups said they will be studying the plan and will submit comments and objections to the FAA. NBAA is also soliciting all of its members who transit central California airspace to carefully examine the proposal and submit comments.
Can you take a classic light-airplane design, update it with a new glass cockpit and other high-tech tweaks, and find a market for it? Some observers thought it a risky venture, but it's proving to pay off for Mooney Airplane Co. In response to high demand for its new Ovation2 GX and Bravo GX airplanes, Mooney has added a second shift at its manufacturing plant in Kerrville, Texas, for the first time in 20 years, and hired 50 new workers. "The demand for the airplanes has been caused by the new Garmin G-1000 glass-panel avionics suite, the new three-bladed propeller, Mooney's obvious recovery from its financial problems, and a general improvement in the economy and the general aviation industry," J. Nelson Happy, president of parent company Mooney Aerospace Group, told The San Antonio Business Journal. Mooney also said last week that owners can qualify for insurance rates up to 70 percent lower than for comparable aircraft, due to the airplane's long operating record and safety features such as a steel roll cage and AmSafe three-point restraint systems.
OREGON AERO FROM AERONCA CHAMP TO ZENITH ZODIAK
If you're in the market for a new light-sport aircraft (LSA), the choices are proliferating practically by the day. Last week, Spectrum Aircraft of Florida announced it will bring to the market two new single-engine LSAs from designs that were previously sold as kits. The Aeroprakt A-20 "Vista Cruiser" and A-22 "Varlet" subassemblies will be built in Ukraine, with final assembly taking place in the U.S. Also, Sportsplanes.com said this week it is marketing a new LSA, the Nexaer LS1, built in Colorado Springs. The two-seat composite aircraft cruises at 120 knots and has a useful load of 600 pounds. The first prototype is scheduled to make its debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 25-31. "The LS1 is a new generation in aircraft design that is beautiful, comfortable and affordable," said Sportsplanes President Josh Foss. "This is an aircraft that will have a major impact on sport pilot licensing and the future of flight as we know it in this country. We're excited about the prospects that emerge with this vibrant design." The Nexaer LS1 features an option for a glass cockpit and could easily be configured as an IFR platform, Foss said. Spectrum Aircraft also is introducing a new light-twin design, Aeroprakt's A-36 Vulcan, which will be sold as an Experimental kitplane starting this fall. The 980-pound twin has a composite fuselage with metal wings and tail, and is powered by two 100-hp Rotax engines. The prototype has been flying since last September, and has demonstrated a stall speed of 38 mph and a top speed of 170 mph.
A documentary film about Van Nuys Airport, in California, "One Six Right," held its world premiere last Saturday night in Hollywood. "We had about 900 people in the theater, and the response was overwhelmingly positive," filmmaker Brian Terwilliger told AVweb yesterday. The high-definition film aims to inspire people, he said. "I want it to give people a whole new appreciation for these little planes and little airports," he told The Los Angeles Daily News. Terwilliger learned to fly at Van Nuys 10 years ago. He raised $2 million to complete the 73-minute film and worked on it for five years. Terwilliger is seeking a distributor for the film and will screen it at local L.A. theaters this summer. DVDs will be available by the end of the year, and can be ordered online now, he said. "I think one of the problems in aviation and airports everywhere is the pilots talk to other pilots about how great aviation is. Unfortunately, that message doesn't get out to everybody else," he told The Daily News. Van Nuys, which has been in operation since 1928, is said to be one of the world's busiest GA airports.
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When the staff at Discovery Channel's "Monster House" set out to remodel a home for an aviation-oriented family, they didn't attach wings to it ... but they did the next-best thing, planting half a 727 in the backyard. The "Airplane House," in Simi Valley, Calif., also incorporates 100 airplane parts in the interior décor, including the fan from a turbine engine, an engine cowling, and a bar set on top of landing gear. Homeowners Mark and Debbie Penikas (he's been flying since age 5) were sequestered in a trailer off-site while the work was done, and they and their two sons were satisfied with the changes, The Los Angeles Daily News reported. The program is scheduled to air on September 9. The remodeling effort cost about $20,000, not counting the old 727, which was donated. A flight simulator has been installed inside the cockpit. "If we're going to do an airplane-theme house, let's put an airplane in the back yard. That's the greatest thing we've ever done," producer Ali McCallister told the Daily News.
AOPA Expo 2005 is set for Tampa, Fla., Nov. 3-5, online registration is now open...
Vickers Vimy had successful test flight after repairs, could depart across the Atlantic this week...
A New Zealand court has been told to reconsider its decision to give a pilot his medical back despite three incidents when he fainted...
The number of ultra-long airline flights of 15 hours and more is growing fast, spurred by new jets, a strong economy, and booming traffic in Asia, says USA Today...
China can't train pilots fast enough to meet demand, so some jobs going to foreign pilots.
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Everybody makes mistakes. But not every pilot makes a mistake that gets noticed by the FAA. If you do, does that mean your resume drops to the bottom of the stack at your dream airline? That all depends ...
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DON'T WISH YOUR AIRPLANE HAD ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb stepped back from the issues of the day and asked a more general (and possibly more profound) question: Why do you fly?
While we couldn't account for every possible reason, we gave a smattering of what we feel are the most common thrills and rewards of flying and asked our readers to pick their favorite. A full half of you (50% of respondents) attributed their passion to the "spirit of flight" that intellectual escape provided by exercising your mind and skills in ways you can't on the ground.
Other popular answers were the challenge of flying (chosen by 24% of respondents) and the spectacular view (17%).
Our other options garnered smaller numbers: 24 readers liked being in control of their own destiny as captains-in-command, and another 24 found the precision required to fly an aircraft was its own reward. 18 readers even told us that it was all about getting there as quickly and efficiently as possible. (So much for that "joy being in the journey" stuff.)
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know how you feel about the relationship between an instrument rating and a pilot's safety. Does an instrument rating make for a safer pilot?
Click here to answer.
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Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Welcome back to "Picture of the Week" the section of the site we spend way too much time putting together because, well, we like looking at airplanes.
And we got to look at some pretty sharp aircraft this week most of 'em warbirds and bi-planes, for some reason. (Hey, we're not complaining!) This week's top honors go to George Mock of Ontario, Canada, who'll be receiving an official AVweb baseball cap in the mail.
Submit your photos to our next contest, and you could win one of these hats for yourself. At the very least, you'll know the AVweb staff spent an evening ogling your plane instead of going home to our wives and children.
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of George Mock
"Spitfire in Downtown Windsor"
We seriously considered renaming this photo
"Valet Parking" but decided to go with the suggestion of
George Mock of Windsor, Ontario (Canada) instead.
In reality, Bud Irwin of the RCAF isn't picking up his keys
but is being interviewed about his experiences as
Windor's last surviving WWII Spitfire pilot.
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.
copyright © John English
"Tora! Tora! Tora!"
John English of Abilene, Texas
traveled back in time to the bombing
of Pearl Harbor through a CAF
air show re-enactment.
Used with permission of Alex Bahlsen
"Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow"
Alex Bahlsen of Cayley, Alberta (Canada)
treats us to the rustic beauty of Sakatchewan.
We're usually resistant to rainbow pics because
we receive so many of them, but this image
was just too good to pass up.
Used with permission of John Ousterhout
John Ousterhout of Windsor Heights, Iowa
brought this photo back from his trip to the June 18
Gathering of Eagles in Gardner, Kansas.
Used with permission of John S. Allen
And we thought it was tough packing all our
computer equipment into the AVweb jet!
John Allen of Roswell, Georgia shows us
how air show performer Eric Beard
travels in style to an Alaskan
air show with a lift from the USAF.
Used with permission of Billy Walker
"Young Eagles Take to the Skies"
"Ten youngsters went aloft in a 1950
Bellanca 'Cardboard Connie' recently,"
writes Billy Walker of Phoenix, Arizona.
"For most, it was their first flight. For all,
it was their first flight in a light airplane."
copyright © Mujahid Abdulrahim
Used with permission
"Fantasy Tahoe Flight"
Here's one picked especially for the readers who object
to our inclusion of digitally altered images in the "POTW" contest:
Mujahid Abdulrahim of Gainesville, Florida used a Pitts bi-plane
created by Chris O'Riley in 3D Studio Max and a Lake Tahoe
background snapped on a flight in a Cessna 172 to "upgrade"
his flying experience. Regardless of how you feel about digital
alterations in this contest, we thought it was worth sharing.
Plus, we haven't stirred up any heated POTW debates lately,
and this one's one of our favorites. (Send your letters here.)
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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The wing keeps it flying. The engine disposes of the fuel.
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