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July 10, 2005

NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... JA Air Center


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Aviation Consumer

Younkin, Franklin Die At Canadian Air Show

Fiery Collision Claims Two Of The Best...

Bobby Younkin and Jimmy Franklin, two of the most respected and best-loved pilots on the air show circuit died as a result of a fiery mid air collision at an air show in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan on Sunday. The air show was immediately cancelled. The two were performing in the Masters of Disaster show when their aircraft made contact in front of 20,000 people attending the Saskatchewan Centennial Air Show at Moose Jaw, the southern Saskatchewan community that is home to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds. The other airborne member of the team, Jim LeRoy, landed safely. Franklin's son Kyle, who earlier in the day performed a wing-walking show with his dad aboard their jet-assisted Waco biplane, was at the time of the accident reportedly describing the performance from the announcer's booth. Details, of course, are sketchy and some facts are unclear. We'll have more information as it becomes available. According to the Canadian Press: "Two of the planes had crossed past each other when the third came up from underneath and smashed into one of the planes." The video we've seen matches that description. There were some inconsistencies in reports available at the time AVweb went to press.

...No Other Casualties...

The aircraft crashed well away from the crowd and emergency crews were on the scene within five minutes but there was nothing they could do for the pilots, according to a Canadian Press story. There were no other injuries or damage. Col. Alain Boyer, the base commander, told reporters, "Everything was done professionally." ... "These guys were professional pilots ... all the safety measures were there." Officials moved quickly to gather up friends and relatives of the pilots present at the show and took them to the air force base headquarters where the base chaplain met them. "I think you can consider most of the people [who] perform for a living in the air show industry as family," Clive Tolley, the air show's executive director, told a news conference late Sunday. "That's why it's so important for us to take care of them." The Canadian Transportation Safety Board will investigate the tragedy. Investigators will arrive today.

...As The Tribute Begins

The Masters of Disaster have become one of the most sought after acts in the air show business and thrilled crowds at EAA AirVenture last year. They thrilled us. The team, including Jimmy Franklin (known best for his wing-walking acts and jet-biplane); Bobby Younkin (who flew the biplane Samson, a Decathalon, Beech and a Lear Jet each in separate air show performances); Jim LeRoy ("the Bulldog" in his yellow Pitts); Les Shockley (of jet-truck fame) and more had been scheduled for Oshkosh again this year. In a very late night interview from his Oshkosh area home on Sunday EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb the industry has lost two of its very best ambassadors. "Both as pilots and as people, they were the best," Knapinski said. "They were incredible pilots and incredible people." The tragedy hit hard in Moose Jaw, which had not that long ago mourned the death of a Snowbird pilot in a mid air collision about 50 miles from the small prairie city, which is also home to the Canadian Forces/NATO military flight training school. On Dec. 10, 2004, Capt. Miles Selby died after his CT-114 Tutor jet collided with another during practice of an opposing spiral maneuver with Capt. Chuck Mallet. Mallet was thrown free of his plane and parachuted to safety.

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The Spaceships Are Coming...

Rockets And More Set For 1st X Prize Show

The X Prize Cup event to be held Oct. 4 - 9 in Las Cruces, N.M., will feature rocket demonstrations, hovercraft and rocket planes, the organizers announced at a press conference last week. Many X Prize competitors will be there, demonstrating their technology or showing mockups and plans, and several groups plan to launch small homebuilt rockets up to 20,000 feet or more. This year's event is billed as the Countdown to the X Prize Cup, which will become a yearly competitive event to spotlight the personal spaceflight business, said Peter Diamandis, chairman of the X Prize Foundation. Diamandis said his vision is for the public to come to an X Prize Cup in the next few years and witness for themselves over the course of four or five days as many as 50 flights to space. "That's the vision ... that's the goal," he said. He expects the event to draw tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of visitors.

...But Will Seatbelts Be Close Behind?

As the space-tourism industry struggles to invent itself, Jane Reifert, president of Incredible Adventures, of Sarasota, Fla., told MSNBC last week that tour operators must be careful about "overpromising" what their flights can deliver. "I can imagine people placing deposits on $200,000-plus flights, thinking they'll be able to float around," when in fact, she said, passengers may be required to stay strapped in their seats. "It just may be a huge disappointment if it's not what they've been properly prepared to expect," Reifert said. The FAA has yet to issue passenger-safety rules for spacecraft, but Virgin Galactic and Burt Rutan have said they plan to allow customers to float in the cabin for four to six minutes of weightlessness, though perhaps with a tether to their seat. Taber MacCallum and Grant Anderson of Paragon Space Development Corp. in Tucson, Ariz., gave MSNBC some pointers that they think will help space operators produce happy customers: Train the passengers about what to expect and how to move in low gravity, be sure windows are clean and big enough to offer a great view, and have a plan in place to quickly deal with vomit, odors and passengers' need for a bathroom break.

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NTSB's Push For Safer Airline Fuel Tanks (Still)...

FAA Is Behind Schedule

The NTSB is growing frustrated with the FAA's failure to require airliners to install devices that would prevent fuel-tank explosions like the one that brought down TWA 800 in 1996, The Washington Post reported last week. Airlines have asked the FAA to delay, the Post said, arguing that they have already addressed the flammability issues and that the expensive devices, which cost up to $220,000 per aircraft, are unnecessary. The FAA had announced in February 2004 that it would have a new rule in place by fall of that year to require the new systems for Boeing and Airbus airliners, but the rule has yet to be published. FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette told the Post a proposed rule "has been drafted and is getting final clearance." FAA spokesman Greg Martin told The Associated Press that the agency already has taken action to eliminate the factors that can cause jet-fuel vapors to explode: sparks or flames, and a deadly combination of concentrated oxygen and fuel. "Although a rigid formal rulemaking process takes time, we've moved aggressively to remove both ignition sources and flammability levels," Martin said.

...When Commercial Aircraft Explode

Besides the TWA accident, which resulted in 346 deaths, two fuel-tank explosions occurred in Boeing 737s in Asia while the aircraft were on the ground. In March 2001, a Thai Airways 737-400 exploded while sitting on a hot ramp at Bangkok's domestic airport, and in May 1990, a center-wing fuel tank of a Philippine Airlines 737-300 exploded. The FAA's explosion-prevention device dumps oxygen into the atmosphere and pumps nitrogen into the fuel tanks. The extra nitrogen cuts oxygen content by almost half, making combustion of fuel vapors virtually impossible. The systems need about $14,000 worth of maintenance every year. They weigh less than 200 pounds.


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FAA Was "Duped," Says Citizens Group

A group opposed to expansion at Witham Field in Stuart, Fla., says that when airport officials submitted plans to the FAA for a runway extension, they didn't note that there was already a residential development nearby. A report by Witham Airport Action Majority (WAAM) said that when Runway 12/30 was extended by 460 feet in 1998, the map sent to the FAA by airport managers didn't show the five streets that would have been in the runway protection zone. "The FAA was duped, as was the county commission and the rest of the public," WAAM President David Shore told The Palm Beach Post. FAA spokeswoman Katherine Bergen told the Post that the WAAM report will be looked at and the FAA will ask county and airport officials to respond. Houses are not banned from such zones, Bergen said, but the FAA must grant an exemption to allow them. Meanwhile, in Texas, a homeless airport may be finding a place to put itself on the map. Since two airports near Austin were shut down in 1999, efforts to find a site for a new airport in the region have met with local resistance. Last week, the Texas Aviation Association said that officials in Leander have proposed a site that has local support. Months of work lie ahead to develop the proposal, the association said.

Conflict Over Navy Practice Area

"As the record makes clear: Landing a high-performance aircraft on a moving aircraft carrier at sea poses enormous challenges for even [the Navy's] most experienced pilots," the U.S. Navy said in a brief filed late Wednesday with a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., according to an Associated Press report. The Navy hopes to convince the court that it should be allowed to build a new training area for those pilots on a 33,000-acre site in North Carolina. The project so far has been thwarted by opponents who say it would be harmful to the nearby Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and would shut down 75 local farms. The case is expected to be heard later this month. In February, a federal court ruled against building the landing field, saying the Navy poorly analyzed the harm the project could pose to the wildlife refuge and minimized the risk of bird-aircraft collisions.


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Sudden Storm Cited In Airship Crash

The NTSB last week released its factual report on the June 16 crash of a Goodyear blimp in Coral Springs, Fla. The airship was returning to its base in Pompano Beach at 5:25 in the afternoon after about two hours of flying in the Miami Beach area in good weather. The pilot told the NTSB that on approaching the landing area, he saw several lightning bolts hit the ground. Since the landing procedure requires a ground crew, the pilot chose to fly on to the west and wait for the storm to pass rather than endanger the crew. The pilot said the weather deteriorated rapidly, and he encountered heavy rain, lightning and severe downdrafts, and the airship was unable to climb, make headway or maintain directional control even with full power. The ship was pushed down, striking trees and powerlines, and came to rest on the ground in an industrial complex. The envelope was torn, the right propeller was damaged and the lower fin was damaged. The two pilots on board were unhurt. The NTSB's probable-cause report will not be out for several more months.

Here's The Beef, So Be Careful Taxiing

An Air France A330 carrying 196 passengers ran into a herd of cattle at Nigeria's Port Harcourt International Airport about 4 a.m. last Wednesday. None of those on board were hurt. Seven cows were killed. The A330 was checked and found to be undamaged. Local reports were not clear as to whether the cattle were on a runway or a taxiway, but they did say -- and we quote -- that security has been "beefed up" to prevent further incidents. Aviation Minister Isa Yuguda told AllAfrica.com that the presence of the cows was a "strange and unusual occurrence." Any cows found on airport property now will be "shot on sight," Yuguda added. Two cows already have been shot since the incident. Port Harcourt is at the center of Nigeria's oil-producing region. The airport was closed for about eight hours during the cleanup.


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A Flight Of Passage

Two teenagers have a plan for their summer that soars beyond mowing lawns or playing baseball ... they planned to launch over the weekend from New Jersey in their grandfather's 1946 Aeronca Champ, bound for California. Cousins Ben Dunckerley and Nick Reed, both 17, said they were inspired by reading Rinker Buck's memoir, "Flight of Passage," which tells of a similar summer adventure by two young brothers over 30 years ago. They expect to fly for about six days, camping out along the way, and spend a couple weeks with an uncle in California before flying home in time for school. "Once we read the book we thought it would be a good idea," Dunckerley told The Portsmouth Herald.

AOPA: FAA's Treatment of Cracks Unclear

The FAA has released a new draft Advisory Circular (AC) that sets guidelines to allow aging aircraft to continue flying with known cracks if the crack is not in a primary structure and the airframe can still withstand the ultimate design load. AOPA says the AC needs to clarify that it can be applied to all older general aviation aircraft. "The FAA left out the majority of older GA aircraft from this guidance document," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "As drafted, it only applies to Part 23-certificated aircraft. But most aircraft flying today were certificated under the old CAR 3 standards." The AC would publicize a long-existing FAA policy that says an aircraft is still airworthy if the crack is not in the primary structure and the airframe can still withstand the ultimate design load, AOPA said. "It's important that the policy be applied uniformly and predictably to all aircraft in order to keep them flying safely and affordably," Gutierrez said. AOPA also expressed concern that the proposed AC excludes some previously acceptable methods used to substantiate an airplane's ability to fly safely despite cracks. "The removal of those options from the AC would eliminate viable alternative testing methods with demonstrated success in determining the continued safety of the airframe," said Gutierrez. Most older aircraft have developed cracks in some structures because of the natural aging process. Although certification authorities in some other countries ground aircraft with any cracks, the FAA has taken the position of determining if the crack poses any threat to safety.

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Seawind Continues Work Toward Certification

The four-seat Seawind amphibian kitplane is well on its way to reaching the market in a certified version, the company said last week. ''We had always hoped that we would, some day, certify the Seawind," said company President Dick Silva. "Now the day is almost here." The most significant modifications to the kit design include an enlarged canopy space with more headroom for both front and rear seats and trailing-link landing gear to allow for landings on sod or gravel strips. Seawind will be showing its proof-of-concept certified version of the airplane at Oshkosh, and expects to have production model demonstrators available for demo flights by October for AOPA Expo, in Tampa, Fla. The company shipped 150 Seawind kits between 1991 and 2001, when Silva began planning to certify the aircraft via FAR Part 23. The production line is in the works at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, in Canada, at the north end of Lake Champlain. Marketing and sales efforts are being handled in the U.S. The company said last year it had about 36 orders for the certified version, and sold seven more at Sun 'n Fun this year.

On The Fly...

ATG expects first flight of the Javelin jet within two weeks...

Salina (Kan.) Airport is offering a GlobalFlyer photo memento to any pilots who stop for fuel on the way to or from Oshkosh. GlobalFlyer launched from Salina on its nonstop solo round-the-world flight in March...

A skydiver was killed in Ohio last week when he collided with another skydiver in midair...

Events to honor the end of WWII went on as planned over the weekend in London, including a fly-by of seven aircraft flown by female pilots as the queen unveiled a memorial to women's efforts in the war...

The FAA issued its first airline animal incident report last week, finding 10 incidents in May -- five injuries, four deaths, and one lost pet...

A story about Pilot Getaways magazine that aired on the KCAL 9 program "9 on the Town" has been nominated for an Emmy award, and you can watch it online.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

The Pilot's Lounge #89: How We Scare Our Passengers Without Realizing It
Sometimes it's obvious why our friends and relations enjoy -- or don't enjoy -- flying with us. But sometimes the reason they quit going is more subtle, and we may need to remember those things we felt back when we first learned how to fly. AVweb's Rick Durden reminds us to put ourselves in our passengers seats.

Unusual Attitude Recovery: Reacting Quickly In An Over-Banked Situation
There are those who think flight is best experienced at zero or negative G. And then there are the rest of us, who just want to keep the dirty side down. But even though all pilots get basic training in how to recover from unusual attitudes, sometimes we need reminders.

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:

AVmail: July 11, 2005
Reader mail this week about more D.C. incursions, Cirrus 'chute save, restrictions on GA and more.

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AVweb's Business AVflash

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Short Final...

Sometimes perspective is everything.

Several years ago I was flying into OSH in the late afternoon, second in line for runway 27 behind a warbird on straight in. As everyone who flies into OSH during convention knows, there are three colored dots on the runway that help separate aircraft so the controller can land three on the same runway at the same time. The conversation went something like this:

Tower: Warbird, cleared to land, runway 27 on the "Green" dot.

Warbird: Ahhh ... which one's the "Green" dot.

Tower: Well, it's not the "Red" one and it's not the "Orange" one.

Warbird: With the glare, they all look the same.

Tower: Oops, sorry, it's the first one. Cleared to land, runway 27, on the first dot.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.

Do you have something you've been dying to say to our editors, contributors, or staff?  Many of them will be on hand at AirVenture 2005 — plus a few expert consultants from our sister publications like Aviation Consumer and Aviation Safety.  To make our staffers easy to find, we're locking them down to one-hour booth shifts.  So if there's someone you've been dying to talk to, just print out this schedule and bring it with you to the show:  http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/osh2005/meet
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"Why Use a Stormscope"; "Mixing with the Heavies" — you too can fly there; "SATS Leaves the Nest" — finding a market willing to pay; "When to Cancel IFR"; "No Room to Breathe" — shooting an approach one-handed, half-blind, and sucking oxygen for survival, when a missed approach is not an option; "When TRACONs Go Local" — getting along. Plus: How the modest folks at IFR gave birth to a NOTAM; test your ability to explain what you're seeing on those NEXRAD images; and much more. Order a money-saving subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ifrmag/avflash.
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We Welcome Your Feedback!

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

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
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