NewsWire Complete Issue
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Chute First, Ask Questions Later
Ilan Reich last Thursday turned a Cirrus SR22 into a powered parachute and in doing so possibly saved his own life and perhaps those of people on the ground. He broke his back and found out he'll
probably never fly again, but, given the host of much more serious potential results, he's not really complaining. In a detailed account of the short flight that ended with a parachute descent into a
creek near Haverstraw, N.Y., Reich describes using power from the still-running engine to avoid dropping onto the fuel tanks that supply a conventional power plant there. "I applied right aileron and
rudder, and rocked the power lever to make sure that the engine still had power. These actions caused the plane to gently veer away from the tank farm and over the water," Reich wrote. Reich was
returning the plane to his home base at Westchester County Airport from maintenance at nearby Lincoln Park, N.J., when he blacked out at the controls. Rather than risk continuing the flight, he pulled
the chute and hoped for the best. Despite a more dramatic (and less comfortable) outcome than some other Cirrus chute deployments, Reich remains sold on the concept. "Don't fly a single engine plane
that isn't equipped with a parachute," he advises in his account of the incident.
Click through for Reich's account of the event, in his own words.
Under the parachute, a Cirrus hits the ground as if it had been dropped from 10 feet so the landing jolt is considerable. That's why the landing gear is designed to absorb most of that shock. But
Reich's descent ended on the placid waters of Bowline Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River. "It was like a massive belly flop," he wrote. "Because I landed in water rather than solid ground, the
gear did not absorb much of the impact. Instead, the wings and seat did all the work. It was at this point that the fourth lumbar vertebrae in my back cracked and compressed from the impact of the
crash." It was the culmination of a wild ride that also left him with a bump on his head. Reich was level at just under 3,000 feet when he blacked out for what he estimates was five to 10 seconds.
When he became alert again, the plane was nose down, going through 1,900 at 204 knots, just above Vne. He gently leveled the plane but had no interest in continuing the flight into IMC, with weakness
in one of his legs and an airframe he feared might have been compromised during the descent and recovery. The chute isn't supposed to be deployed at speeds greater than 130 knots but Reich is pretty
sure he was going faster than that when he pulled the handle. A few seconds later there was a "tremendous jolt" that knocked off his headset and glasses and caused him to hit his head on the cabin's
Reich's problems were far from over when he hit the water. As the plane started to slowly sink, he realized he couldn't open the doors. Using the emergency hammer supplied for just those
circumstances, Reich was able to bash his way through a window and found time to sit on the wing (while donning a life jacket that he always kept in the plane), "survey the situation and collect my
thoughts." He swam about 150 feet before a fire department boat picked him up and took him to a waiting ambulance. After undergoing various tests, X-rays and CT scans, an emergency-room doctor told
him the source of his sore back was a cracked vertebrae. "He then left the room, but came back a moment later and casually said: 'By the way, did you know that you have a brain tumor?'" Reich walked
out of the hospital the next day and will have to wear a brace for four weeks to support his injured back. He also has to meet with a neurologist to decide what, if anything, to do about the benign
brain tumor, which was the likely cause of his brief in-flight seizure. He was told the tumor has been there for years. Regardless of the outcome of those discussions, Reich has resigned himself to
never flying again.
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Connecticut Wants Every Airport's Security Scrutinized
The theft last month of a Cessna 172 based at Danbury, Conn., that was taken on a joyride by a non-pilot who landed with a blood alcohol level of .15 has prompted a call for a nationwide security
review of GA airports. Connecticut politicians have written Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking for a study of security at more than 19,000 GA airports across the country. "My sense is
this is an issue we have at airports all over the country," Rep. Chris Shays told the Danbury News-Times. "We should get a better handle on general aviation." However, Andrew Thomas, an Ohio professor
who wrote a book on the topic ("Airport Insecurity") says the government faces a tricky balancing act on the issue. "It's not enough to simply say you're going to regulate [the industry] totally," he
told The Associated Press. "You can't because you'd end up destroying it." But Thomas said the government can't just do nothing because al Qaeda has plotted to use small aircraft for terrorism in the
past. "We still haven't found the balance," he said.
And while the security debate promises to rage again, authorities in Harrison, N.Y., have the practical issues of what to do with the young man in the spotlight at center stage. Philippe Patricio has
been held without bail since he allegedly stole the 172 and flew a couple of teenaged friends around the area for a couple of hours before landing on a taxiway at Westchester County Airport about 4
a.m. on June 22. Security guards at the airport reported that beer cans tumbled out of the airplane as Patricio and his friends got out of the plane. Patricio faces felony charges of possession of
stolen property, reckless endangerment and the misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was denied bail in court last Friday. Patricio's lawyer, Edwin
Camacho, said the charges don't fit the crime. "This really is a misdemeanor situation that's been made into a felony situation because of 9/11," he told Greenwich Time. "We have a joyriding
situation, not a theft situation." The lawyers cast Patricio as a harmless and hardworking immigrant with an alcohol problem. Judge Marc Lust has agreed to reconsider his bail decision if Patricio
returns from a substance-abuse program with a good report in a few weeks.
And there's a sense of the blasé surrounding the coverage of the latest incursion into restricted airspace near Washington last week -- even though the aircraft involved has managed two other
breeches, apparently flown by different pilots, according to The Washington Post. In fact, even the FAA and security authorities seem to be tiring of explaining just why pilots regularly (almost
habitually) bust the restrictions -- Airworthy Aviation Inc., which the Post says owns the errant rental aircraft, did not answer the paper's calls. In the latest case (although several days have
passed and there could have been more) the pilot violated a temporary expansion of a permanent airspace restriction around Camp David, in Maryland. Most days, the restriction is 5,000 feet and three
miles but, on the request of the Secret Service, the FAA can expand the zone to 10 miles and 18,000 feet. On Saturday night, the pilot in question was at 1,300 feet and 7.5 miles from Camp David when
he somehow got the message he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He landed at Frederick Municipal Airport where he was questioned and released without charge. Neither the FAA nor the Secret
Service would release the pilot's name, and the White House did not respond to questions about whether the president was even at Camp David, or if he was evacuated or even aware of the incident.
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It won't be long before aircraft are not only affected by weather forecasts, they'll be helping to gather the information to make them more accurate. SpectraSensors, a high-tech spinoff company of the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has developed a sensor and air sampling system that can be installed on aircraft and
monitor the water vapor content of the outside air. Water vapor is a fundamental part of weather prognostication but currently forecasters rely on readings taken every 12 hours by weather balloons.
"Thousands of aircraft in the near future will be able to provide comprehensive domestic and international coverage," said SpectraSensors CEO George Balogh. The sensors, which use tunable diode-laser
spectroscopy, have been tested on 25 UPS Boeing 757 aircraft for the last six months and the results from the onboard sensors are consistent with those gathered by the weather balloons. Balogh said
the potential impact on aviation of all kinds is staggering. "The FAA estimates that bad weather costs the aviation industry more than $1 billion annually," he said. That's not to mention the
inconvenience and safety concerns associated with bad weather.
The highly regarded Commander line of four-place luxury touring aircraft got a new lease on life last week with the acquisition of the type certificates, tooling and inventory of the bankrupt
Commander Aircraft Corporation by an owner-based company called the Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation. Financial details of the acquisition were not released but a news release issued by company
President Joel Hartstone suggests he thinks it was a bargain. "As a business, we begin life where most companies seeking to produce new aircraft find themselves after investing three to five years,
and up to $100 million, in risky development and testing," he said. Hartstone said plans are to get the parts and service operations running as soon as possible with a return to aircraft production in
2006. One of the snags is that the company has to move out of the existing manufacturing plant in Bethany, Okla. But Hartstone said the new company has everything it needs to start over plus some
intangibles that may help solidify the company. "Our Company was born because of the passion Commander owners have for their aircraft," Hartstone said. About 50 Commander owners have invested in the
new company. The future location of its headquarters has not been released.
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Well, we've heard those who fly motorized paragliders called a few names but "huge and noisy predators" was new to us. Unless, of course, you're a California least tern intent on ensuring there are
future generations of your species. The airspace over California's Ormond Beach, near Oxnard, has become a battleground between environmentalists determined to preserve one of the terns' last nesting
places and paraglider pilots who have recently discovered that it's a great place to fly. In an Op-Ed piece in the Ventura County Star, environmentalist Janet Bridgers said that in a single summer,
the paragliders destroyed 16 years of work that had enabled the local tern population to grow to about 200 nesting pairs. A little natural history lesson gives some insight into why the two types of
flying creatures are incompatible. Terns nest in the sand and their eggs and chicks are constantly under the scrutiny of various aerial predators. The adult terns' response to a threat from the air is
to launch a mass assault to try to harass the intruder into leaving. While a gull or kestrel might succumb to such tactics, paragliders are apparently more persistent. By mid-summer last year, most of
the adult terns had abandoned their nests in frustration. In her article, Bridgers rhetorically asks wildlife authorities to kick the paragliders off the beach and leave it to the terns and other
To be fair, Taxiway Tango at Seattle/Tacoma International Airport must look awfully good to a pilot on final. It's 9,500 feet long, 100 feet wide and runs parallel with SeaTac's two actual runways.
And when the sun glares off the pavement wet from Seattle's not infrequent showers, it's tough to see the big yellow Xs that attempt to warn pilots that it's not really a runway. In fact, eight
airline crews have been fooled in four years and three have actually landed on the taxiway, including the Air Canada Jazz flight we told you about a year and a half ago. After that incident, the airport painted the Xs, put daytime flashing lights at the end of the runways and issued notices to pilots. Then,
on Jan. 30 of this year, a Southwest crew lined up for the taxiway and didn't realize the error until they were a few seconds from landing and had to go around. Now, various levels of authority are
trying to put an end to the embarrassing and potentially dangerous faux pas. A task force has been formed to study the issue. They've flown the approach after having the fire department wet down the
end of the taxiway to simulate the conditions when rain showers are followed by sunshine. The NTSB has recommended that a serpentine line be painted the length of the taxiway to deter landings and the
task force is evaluating that idea. In the meantime, the sure way to make sure the wheels hit the right patch of pavement may be to fly an ILS approach to SeaTac from the north, regardless of the
weather. All the mistakes have occurred during visual approaches.
GA RETURNS TO TV IN HD "WINGS TO ADVENTURE" HITS THE AIRWAYS
After a year in production, Wings to
Adventure, a new TV series about general aviation, is airing on the Outdoor Channel. Shot in stunning high definition, WTA packs several fast-paced segments into each show,
including airplane profiles, fly-in destinations, gear reviews, instruction tips, and features on aviation activities. This Sunday (July 10, 2:30pm Eastern) WTA features a tour of the
Cirrus factory, a profile on the Tiger Moth, and a look at Cedar Mills, a Texas lakeside getaway where you taxi to your cabin. For more, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/outdoor/avflash.
Connecticut continues to be a tax haven for general aviation and there's a lobbying effort underway to do the same in New York. Connecticut legislators were considering repealing its aircraft tax
exemption program but the National Business Aviation Association and the Connecticut Business Aviation Group convinced the politicians that the economic value of business aviation was worth
preserving. The legislators abandoned an effort to repeal the exemptions and they remain in full force. Now, the lobbying effort switches to New York. New York's Senate passed a bill that would exempt
sales and use tax on the sale of GA aircraft but the House turned it down. According to NBAA, the New York Aviation Management Association is lobbying directly and a letter-writing campaign has been
initiated (perhaps mentioning the greener fields next door in Connecticut) to push the bill through.
The FAA is disputing the spin on a National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) press release that claims that the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) system at the
Syracuse Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) center was out for 17 hours due to FAA understaffing. In the news release, headlined "STARS Fails At Syracuse And Help From FAA Is Nowhere To Be
Found," NATCA says there was a 17-hour shutdown of the STARS system. However, the FAA's Greg Martin said that's false. "STARS did not fail and the union knows that STARS did not fail," Martin said.
Martin said what failed was a communications link between control facilities called the Interfacility Connection. The STARS system kept working but its data couldn't be shared among the facilities. He
agreed that it took almost a day to fix the problem because there were no technicians on duty. "They're not staffed around the clock by virtue of their volume," he said. The failure meant that
controllers had to manually hand off traffic to other facilities but Martin said there was never any safety concern and the union agreed, with qualifications. "Anytime there is an unnecessary increase
in a controller's workload, it creates distractions and detracts from their ability to fully concentrate on their traffic," Bob D'Addario was quoted as saying in the release. "While the loss of the
interface is not, in and of itself, a safety issue, any time you create unnecessary workloads on the controller, you do reduce the margin of safety available." Last week, NATCA said there serious
problems with the STARS system in Boston.
LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 NOW CERTIFIED TO FL250
The Columbia 400's twin turbochargers can now be put to full
effect with the aircraft's recent certification to 25,000 feet. With the added altitude to play with, the Columbia 400 gives pilots even more flexibility than before. Set the
throttle to 80% power and cruise at 235 knots that's faster than any other piston-powered aircraft in production today. Or ease the power back and increase range to standard-setting
levels. A company official recently flew an unmodified Columbia 400 non-stop from Bend, Oregon to Fort Worth, Texas (a distance of more than 1,300 nm) while averaging 200
kts. Find out what a Columbia 400 can do for you. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lancair/avflash
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A long-time technical and safety advisor for his Texas EAA chapter will be honored by his peers at the Homebuilders Dinner at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Mel Asberry, of Farmersville,
Texas, will get the Tony Bingelis Award for his work with homebuilders
An Air Force helicopter pilot from Montana has received two national awards for bravery after he managed to land his MH-53M Pave Low chopper even though a rocket-propelled grenade had blown
away most of the instrument panel on a mission in Iraq in 2004. Capt. Steven Edwards got the Karen Kolligian Jr. Trophy from the Air Force and the American Legions Aviator Valor Award
With a fuselage he found here, a wing he found there and parts from all over an English businessman is building his own Spitfire. Martin Phillips estimates it will cost more than $1 million
make the WWII fighter airworthy
At least nine vintage tri-motor aircraft will be at EAA AirVenture this year. The gathering of tri-motors is believed to be the largest ever held and will include Fords, a Bushmaster and a
one-of-a-kind Kreutzer Air Coach.
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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best
The Savvy Aviator #20: The Most Dangerous Thing In Aviation?
Aircraft owners are increasingly involved in the maintenance of their aircraft these days, and many participate hands-on. Is such owner-performed maintenance safe, or should maintenance be left
strictly to the pros?
AOPA HAS FOUND A WAY TO LOWER THE COST OF FLYING!
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A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR CELL PHONES
Version 6 of WxServer just hit the
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked whether an instrument rating
automatically makes a pilot safer.
The largest segment of our respondents (34%) thought
this was a no-brainer: "Any extra training
makes a pilot better" (and safer), they told us.
A second segment (four fewer respondents than the
previous group) agreed with our statement that judgement
is more important to safety than weather conditions or
instrument ratings but being instrument-rated can
a pilot's judgement and make his flying safer.
22% of you agreed that an instrument-rated pilot is
better prepared to address unsafe conditions and so,
in a sense, is a "safer pilot."
A mere 7% of you reminded us that weather is a
notorious killer of pilots and an instrument rating is
a license to fly in bad weather. And the remaining
3% thought an instrument rating can foster a false sense
of confidence, which can actually make pilots less
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know how you feel about
pulling the 'chute or at least having the option.
Given the choice, would you rather fly an aircraft that
has a full-aircraft parachute system?
Click here to answer.
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to
This address is
only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or
this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
Submit a Photo |
Current POTW Winner |
Past POTW Winners
This week saw a slight dip in submission numbers to our
"Picture of the Week" contest only forty-odd photos
arrived but, thankfully, there were some real keepers in
the mix. Take this week's winning photo, for example:
Jay Weise of Denver, Colorado uses composition, lighting,
editing, and context to masterful effect in his
contribution. The result is a nostalgic and
eye-catching image no small feat when you consider his
subject is the EAA's B-17 Fuddy Duddy, which has
shown up in our submission box at least two or three times a
week for the past ten weeks.
Kudos, Jay your official AVweb baseball cap will probably
be on the way by the time you read this!
If you'd like to win one of these nifty AVweb hats,
own photos today!
Yes, it's O.K. if they're Fuddy Duddy
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of
readers who submit photos.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
copyright © Jay Weise
Used with permission
"B-17 Fuddy Duddy Flies at Centennial Airport"
Jay Weise of Denver,
Colorado sends us this
latest photo of the EAA's Fuddy Duddy B-17.
Followers of "POTW" have seen Fuddy on a couple
of her stops across the U.S., as she makes her way
to AirVenture. Watching Fuddy depart is
Matt Burchette, standing alongside a vintage 1940s
bicycle. (No word on whether Matt plans to take
the bike on a cross-country tour for the EAA.)
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
copyright © Michael DiAntonio
"Flying at Van Sandt"
Speaking of AirVenture,
Michael DiAntonio of Wildwood Crest,
New Jersey definitely has the fly-in spirit.
Michael tells us this is the second time
he's submitted this picture, and we're
glad he took the time to re-submit.
copyright © David Dubin
Used with permission
"Fire No More! Sikorsky CH-54A to the Rescue"
David Dubin of Redwood
reminds us of another staple of summer flying:
aerial firefighting. Fortunately this Sikorsky
helicopter was on hand to dump its fire
retardants and avert disaster.
Despite a slight dip in submission levels
this week, we'll still shell out some bonus
pictures because, y'know, they're fun ... .
copyright © Richard Proctor
"Keep That Concrete Pouring"
Here's another helicopter on the job,
courtesy of Richard
Proctor of Havelock North,
Hawke's Bay (New Zealand). And this chopper
is making good time, by Richard's estimate:
"1 ton of concrete 1500' up to wind tower
and back in three minutes!"
with permission of Larry Krengel
"The Tradition Continues"
of Marengo, Illinois
captures the momentous occasion as
"Marvin Padget welcomes John Baker
to the world
of aviation following his first solo flight made in a
Blanik L-23 at the Sky Soaring Glider Club."
with permission of Brenda Rahmann
It looks like young Chelsea may be joining
John Baker in the flying club in a few years.
For now, she's geared up to travel as a passenger in this
photo from Brenda Rahmann
of Columbia, New Jersey.
To enter next week's contest,
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,
send us an e-mail.
|Sponsor News and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
|NON-OWNER (RENTER) PILOTS EXPOSED: HOW PILOTS ARE HELD FINANCIALLY LIABLE FOR LOSSES
INVOLVING RENTED OR BORROWED AIRCRAFT|
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Narco Avionics proudly announces the availability of their
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|WHAT DO THE BEECHCRAFT PREMIER I & MERCEDES-BENZ SLR McLAREN SHARE?|
Carbon fiber composites for primary
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