August 3, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ...
They shoot them in stunning high-definition video, and you can see the results this Sunday at 2:30pm (Eastern) on Wings to Adventure television, the hottest television show ever created about general aviation. Just tune to the Outdoor Channel this Sunday, when series host Tom Gresham profiles the Cirrus SR-22 the plane against which others are now measured and a de Havilland Chipmunk, an affordable warbird with style. You'll also visit Wallaby Ranch, a hang-gliding park in Central Florida, and you'll catch a tip for organizing your cockpit. On Monday, August 8, at 4:30pm Eastern, WTA features a Great Lakes biplane, a new Mooney, and a tour of the Liberty aircraft factory. Satellite subscribers can add the Outdoor Channel "a la carte" for $1.99 a month. For more on this new series about aviation, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/outdoor/avflash.
The FAA is proposing to fold all the various types of temporarily restricted airspace around Washington, D.C. under a permanent designation called National Defense Airspace. According to AOPA, the zone will cover 2,000 square miles up to 18,000 feet and will be announced today. It had not been posted on the FAA Web site by 2 a.m. EDT. AOPA President Phil Boyer said the 15-mile no-fly zone centered on the Washington Monument, with laser warning lights and anti-aircraft missile batteries is adequate to protect the city. "But we take strong exception with the FAA's proposal to make the temporary outer ring of Washington's defensive airspace -- the Air Defense Identification Zone -- permanent. Boyer said the ADIZ has hampered GA, hurt business and inconvenienced a lot of people since it was imposed at a time of heightened security when the U.S. was about to send troops to Iraq. Since then, the security posture that justified the ADIZ has reduced substantially but the ADIZ around Washington lives on.
Boyer says the government hasn't even made the case for the temporary restrictions, let alone creating permanent ones. "No general aviation aircraft has ever been used in a terrorist attack," Boyer said. "And the government has determined that not a single ADIZ violation was terrorist-related." He said the ADIZ is "operationally unworkable" and the FAA has neither justified the permanent zone, nor addressed the operational problems. He said GA-friendly alternatives have been presented, but those have apparently been ignored with this proposal. AOPA has proposed that small, slow aircraft be allowed to operate without the flightplan and transponder requirements now in place because they lack the mass or cargo capacity to cause serious damage. However, federal security officials have repeatedly stated that their intelligence suggests that small aircraft have been considered for use in terror attacks.
IN PRINT AND ONLINE, TRADE-A-PLANE GIVES YOU THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is continuing to call for restructuring of the agency's funding base, a call that sent a chill through many of those attending her Meet the Administrator session at EAA AirVenture last week. In Oshkosh, she used the phrase "User pays also means user says." In a discussion with reporters in Washington, she again raised the specter of user fees. "I think it is very realistic and very important to look at a different set of structures of taxes and fees that ties the cost of the system more closely to the revenue that is coming in," she said, according to The Dallas Morning News. It will be up to Congress to decide what, if any, changes are made but the FAA is acting to help members in their deliberations. Blakey told the reporters that a study is underway to determine how airports and FAA services are used and by whom. The results will be available as the legislators get ready to ponder the bill to reauthorize the agency. Blakey maintains that the Aviation Trust Fund, which is derived from airline ticket revenue, is being depleted because of fare reductions, and that there's a fundamental disconnect between those who finance the fund (passengers) and the FAA. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) did its own study of the fund and determined that it's healthy, but that policy makers had shifted more of the burden for funding the FAA from general revenue to the fund.
As if on cue, the Government Accountability Office released its own study of FAA finances and it's predicting a train wreck. According to the GAO, the agency will have a $4 billion deficit by 2010 if something isn't done. The GAO does not look at changing the revenue structure, as Blakey has been doing, and simply warns the FAA to cut costs, particularly in its Air Traffic Organization, which sucks up 80 percent of the budget. The paradox presented, however, is that somehow the FAA must find the money to invest billions in more efficient equipment while keeping the existing antiquated (and increasingly expensive) infrastructure operating as traffic volumes grow. The GAO also mentions consolidation of facilities as an option, something that always faces political opposition as individual senators and representatives fight to keep towers open and those high-paying jobs in their districts.
By far the most costly item in the FAA budget is wages, and the determination to bring labor costs down is the FAA's clear stance as contract negotiations continue with controllers. Last week, Blakey revealed details of those negotiations, including controller demands for 5.6-percent wage increases and seven-hour work days. She added the agency's proposal for a two-tiered wage system, in which existing workers would not see any cuts but new controllers would be paid less. National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr said, "We're not interested in discussing the specifics of negotiations in the press ... We're engaged in good faith negotiations and we're disappointed the FAA doesn't share that sentiment." NATCA spokesman Doug Church said the FAA is attempting to pit worker against worker by concentrating on the pay disparity between controllers and some other civil servants. Harold Shaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, said he found the tactic offensive and simplistic. "It's clear to us that her efforts to use rhetoric to divide us are a remedial level union busting tactic," Shaitberger said in a statement. "And all that her comments to the media did was expose her weaknesses in an even basic understanding of public safety protocol." Transportation Workers Union President Michael O'Brien added that the use of "scarce federal resources to carry out an explicit anti-worker campaign, it is an affront to all working Americans and a grave threat to aviation safety."
LIGHTSPEED'S NEW MACH 1 HEADSET AVAILABLE NOW
Doug Rozendaal arrived at Oshkosh flying a DC-3 and left in an F6F Hellcat. He doesn't own either of them, nor does he own any of the Corsairs, B-25s or Mustangs he transports to air shows for owners. With a small nod and smile he offered, "I've been very lucky in my flying career." Rozendaal's education with warbirds began with flying freight in DC-3s and Beech 18s. These airplanes were not the well-kept examples seen around Oshkosh. But they provided a good, if hazardous, classroom. One Beech 18 had Rozendaal in IMC handling an emergency with his right hand and holding a cup of urine in his left.
The flight was an out-and-back to get a replacement part for an automotive assembly line. Rozendaal didn't get a chance to "use the facilities" before launch but figured he could do that while they loaded up the plane. On landing, he found the forklift waiting. By the time he got out of the Beech, the pallet was being loaded and he was told to climb right back in. No problem, he figured he'd just use the relief tube after takeoff. He launched back into the clouds and peed into the tube, only to find it clogged. Then a tank ran dry and an engine quit. Welcome to the world of the freight dog.
Even normal operations in a warbird require procedures and systems knowledge you don't see on a Cessna or Columbia. "Every power change in a fighter requires rudder trim. You use rudder trim more than elevator trim on these airplanes," Rozendaal advises. We learned that climbing into the Corsair is complex enough; put your left foot on a slot in the flap, left hand to a slot in the fuselage, right foot to a hidden step in the wing, left foot up to that same step, and then swing your legs over and into the cockpit. For everyone's sake, don't slip while you do this. (The cockpit is ten feet off the ground.) Otherwise, Rozendaal says of the Corsair: "It's a straightforward airplane to fly."
What was it like to fly a Corsair for the first time? "Once I finally got up the nerve to move the stick on the Corsair, I realized it was just like a big RV-4." Rozendaal owns an RV-4 so he felt right at home. "The Hellcat flies like a Cub -- just look at that big, fat wing ... it's an honest, forgiving airplane. But it isn't fast ... Navy airplanes didn't have to be fast. They just had to get above the ships and wait for the enemy to come to them." On better days, they'd later have to get stopped on a ship. Super Corsairs were Navy planes designed to climb fast, though. The "Super" part refers to the 3000-plus-horsepower 28-cylinder R-4360 up front. The engine has seven magnetos on a rotary switch to help diagnose a problem. It idles with the prop at almost zero pitch since any more pitch sends the Super Corsair taxiing. Only 10 of them were built as Kamikaze killers. "It could still win a time-to-climb [contest] in its class," Rozendaal opines.
Flying the airplanes isn't what keeps people like Rozendaal in them. They are messy, expensive, cantankerous machines. "If you're flying these airplanes because flying them gets your rocks off, then you won't be in this business for long." It sounds cliché, but dedicated warbird pilots say the motivation burns from another source. It's the kid that come up and says he wants to be a warbird pilot, or the older gentleman with a misty look in his eyes. That's what matters. "You get these guys in the cockpit and all these stories come out. I ask them 'Have you told these stories to your family?' ... more often than not they haven't," says Rozendaal. "These stories need to be told -- and remembered." See you next year at the show.
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The FAA has fired nine air traffic controllers at the volatile New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) for allegedly failing to admit that they'd sought treatment for stress. It's the latest chapter in a simmering (sometimes boiling) dispute over the function of the facility, which the FAA claims was effectively taken over by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association membership in recent years. The nine controllers were accused of falsifying government documents by failing to acknowledge their stress treatment on a form that is part of their routine physical examination. The union claims the allegations are bogus because the FAA already knows who's taken time off for stress or any other reason. Sick days with pay became one of the contentious points between the agency and the controllers in New York after a review showed they used far more sick days than any other facility. Under workers' compensation laws, a controller is allowed up to 45 days of paid leave each year. Union officials told Newsday they believed the firings were intended to discourage controllers from taking sick leave. The fired controllers have 30 days to appeal.
Although it's not a common arrangement, Honda was apparently a little hasty in suggesting its wing-pylon-mounted engines are groundbreaking. Michimasa Fujino, the chief engineer on the project, told the crowd at the aircraft's first public appearance at EAA AirVenture that conventional aerodynamic wisdom dictates engines should be mounted under the wings or on the fuselage. "It was believed you never put anything above the wing, but I was skeptical of that," he said. As always, when a tidbit of aviation lore goes astray, AVweb readers are quick to point it out, and we received several e-mails noting that pylon-mounted jets actually made it into production on a German design called the VFW614. A total of 19 of the small passenger jets were built in the early 1970s but most were bought back by the manufacturer, Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke (VFW)-Fokker, in the late 1970s so it wouldn't have to continue supporting them. The Luftwaffe operated three until the early 1990s (the West German government funded most of the development costs of the airplane). But while Honda put the engines on the wings to make more room in the cabin, VFW-Fokker put them up there to allow for a short, sturdy undercarriage capable of using unimproved runways. Another reader also told us that NASA had looked at the setup in the 1970s but nothing got off the drawing board.
A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR CELL PHONES
It looks like the FAA is going to approve Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's controversial plan to expand O'Hare International Airport (and pave over a couple of small towns and a pioneer cemetery). The FAA formally endorsed the $15 billion to $20 billion project as the most viable way to relieve the chokepoint in Chicago, which often wreaks havoc on airline schedules throughout the country. Final approval is expected in September and Daley says work will begin immediately after that. When complete, in 2013, O'Hare will have six parallel and two intersecting runways, a new terminal, parking for "oversize" aircraft (like the A380?) and more jet bridges. Most important, however, is the expected impact on O'Hare's terrible on-time record, the worst in the country. All this is cold comfort to the 2,600 people who will lose their homes, the 200 businesses that will have to relocate and the families of 1,300 of the dearly departed who will also be shifting digs (sorry). Local community governments and activists vow to fight the expansion to the end, saying there are alternatives to the mass destruction.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who was there that EAA AirVenture was bigger and busier this year than it has been in recent years. After a few years of modest (but nonetheless unsettling) declines, this year's big show boasted a 7-percent increase in attendance to about 700,000, according to figures supplied by EAA media boss Dick Knapinski. A healthy portion of those folks arrived by air, as evidenced by the jammed aircraft parking and camping areas. (Possibly an indication of pilots' attraction to this year's particularly historic collection of aircraft.) More than 10,000 planes arrived over the seven days. There were almost 3,000 show planes, including a record number of homebuilts (1,267), 924 vintage planes, 386 warbirds, 196 ultralights, 130 seaplanes and 24 rotorcraft. The media contingent, undoubtedly bolstered by such newsworthy presentations as SpaceShipOne and Global Flyer plus first appearances of the Cessna Mustang, Eclipse 500 and HondaJet, swelled to 904 from the previous year's 711. On the business side, a total of 789 aviation-related companies set up booths on the grounds and in the hangars. Although the blue-chip list of attractions was likely largely responsible for the show's resurgence (makes you wonder what they'll do for an encore) EAA President Tom Poberezny said there were other factors at play. "There were three factors we could see that contributed to the attendance increase this year: the switch to a Monday-Sunday format, which better suited people's travel patterns, ideal weather and the incredible depth and the variety of the programs in 2005," he said.
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Weather may be the single biggest factor in the runway overrun of an Air France A340 at Toronto's Pearson International Airport on Tuesday. "It was definitely an extreme storm, something we haven't seen in a long time," Brian Lackey, vice president of operations for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, told reporters Wednesday. "As we were looking out the window, we were commenting that storm was extremely severe and we hadn't seen one like that." The plane skidded 200 yards off the end of the runway into a ravine and caught fire but none of the 309 people aboard was seriously hurt. Canadian Transportation Safety Board officials were to recover data and voice recorders on Wednesday but speculation is the plane encountered either a microburst or wind shear in the final seconds of its approach and then hydroplaned on the drenched runway. It may also have been struck by lightning The airport was under a red alert, meaning the likelihood of thunderstorms, at the time, but was not closed.
You probably don't know who Bob Chambers is, but if you're one of the thousands of pilots who have watched Rod Machado's Defensive Flying video then you've heard Chamber's voice. Defensive Flying includes a recording of two MU-2 pilots and ATC as they suffer a double engine failure in IMC over the mountains of British Columbia. Bob Chambers was the copilot on that flight. He had no idea Machado had made his story famous. He met an AVweb reporter at this year's AirVenture, got to talking about MU-2s and found out he was a celebrity of sorts. Chambers began to retell the events of 20 years ago and had to sit down as the memories came back.
Chambers and his pilot iced up at 22,000 feet and began to lose altitude Then the left engine quit and soon after, the right. At one point they were dropping over 5000 feet per minute (the VSI was pegged). The pilots recovered at 3600 feet over a lake surrounded by mountains. "We had both engines in start sequence and I remember wondering if the battery was going to overheat and fall out the back of the airplane." said Chambers "We looked at each other and realized there was nothing more we could do." Both engines did relight and the pilots climbed out of the valley and landed at Kelonna, British Columbia. "It was way below minimums, but we didn't care." Machado makes a big deal about how Chambers and his captain never stopped flying the airplane. "I'm just glad others are gaining from my experience," said Chambers. Machado and Chambers exchanged signatures and handshakes. You never know who you'll run into at Oshkosh.
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Mooney Airplane Company CEO Gretchen Jahn has also assumed leadership of the parent company, Mooney Aerospace Group. Jahn joined Mooney a year ago and the company has since doubled production and sales and claims to be climbing out of the financial crises that have dogged it in recent years...
An icon of the Cold War that still gets plenty of use, the U-2 turned 50 today. Hundreds of workers and guests marked the anniversary at Palmdale, Calif., last week where the fleet of 28 spyplanes is being modernized...
Four skydiving friends died in the crash of a Cessna 172 off the Florida Keys. Pilot Krystal Koch and passengers Egon Sussmann, Piers Littleford and Bruno Asmann were well-known in skydiving circles. They were traveling to South Florida, possibly to go sailing.
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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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Before we left for AirVenture Oshkosh, AVweb asked readers where they stand on the recent (and continuing) brouhaha between NATCA and the FAA. We were a bit facetious in the choices we offered who, us? and here were your responses:
"NATCA!" dominated the survey, with a full 88% of respondents pumping their fists in the air to cheer for overworked and underappreciated controllers.
A much smaller percentage of our readers (only 5%) were willing to chant "FAA!" on behalf of the federal government.
Slightly more than that (6% of respondents) seemed to be fed up with the controversy and voted that we "fire 'em all and sort it out later" a choice that drew some criticism of AVweb in the July 25 edition of AVmail.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know what you think about the changes to the Washington, DC ADIZ. Unfortunately, we can't offer a wide range of analysis in our answers we'll have to rely on your letters and commentary to fill in the gaps but, for the purposes of "QOTW," we'd like to know which blanket statement comes closest to matching your attitude.
Click here to chime in.
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Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
"Picture of the Week" returns today, marking the end of our annual AirVenture hiatus and boy, did we get some great photos while we were away at the show this year!
For those of you who are just discovering AVweb, "POTW" is a weekly feature where we publish our favorite reader-submitted photos. Each week, we go through all the submissions and choose the top three photos, plus a few bonus pics if our submission box is particularly full. After much debate and a few heated words, we pick one of the photos as our "POTW" winner and send the photographer an official, cannot-be-purchase-in-any-store AVweb baseball cap.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Trust us: It is.
And you can get in on the action by submitting your own pictures here. (The more pics you send us, the more we'll run each week.)
As mentioned above, we've been on hiatus for a couple of weeks because of Oshkosh, but we're anxious to get back into the groove. Rather than combine the past few weeks' entries into one contest, as we have in previous years, we're going to break it up by week this time and award three hats for the three weeks that have passed since our last original "POTW" contest! Our first hat goes to Shawn Van Horn of Washington, Indiana, whose eye-popping sunset photo is this week's top winner. Hats also go to Tom McLaughlin of Battle Creek, Michigan (our July 21 winner) and Pete Thielen of Green Bay, Wisconsin (our July 28 winner). Look for their photos and lots of bonus pictures! in our July 21 and July 28 galleries!
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Shawn Van Horn
"Ready 'n' Waitin'"
Shawn Van Horn of Washington, Indiana tells us,
"This is what hurricanes look like to Hoosiers, once the rain stops."
(It's a far better sight than the hurricane aftermaths we get in the Southeast!)
As Shawn points out, "Hurricanes nearly always are good for ... dramatic sunsets."
The whirlybird here is an Air Evac Bell 206L-1, captured by Shawn
at the end of what was surely a hard day's work ... .
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 © Mark E. Stufflebeam
Mark E. Stufflebeam of Orem, Utah
made his first trip to AirVenture this year,
where he was greeted by this ominous beginning
to the show. Taken Monday evening as the sun was
setting, Mark's photo reminds us that Mother Nature
is always a VIP at AirVenture Oshkosh.
One more note in our "POTW Primer for Newbies":
Nothing sparks conversation around here like the
topic of digitally manipulated photos and whether
(or not) they should be allowed into the running for
our "Picture of the Week" contest. Keep that in mind.
Used with permission of Jim Solensky
Jim Solensky of Port Charlotte, Florida
goes where only a few have dared to go and
submits a (gasp!) digitally-altered composite to
this week's "POTW" contest. Every time we run
such a composite, we get letters from readers
who point out how lighting and resolution give
away the "trick" too easily but this one
has us wowed, and we thought we'd
include it for your consideration.
Because you demanded 'em
but, more importantly, because you sent 'em in ...
Used with permission of Ward Burhanna
"Mother & Child"
Ward Burhanna of Trenton, Illinois
had us humming that Paul Simon tune all
afternoon with his clever caption for this photo
of SpaceShipOne and the White Knight.
"Shot Saturday, July 30," Ward tells us,
"at (where else?) Oshkosh."
Used with permission of Keith Sremaniak
"Lined Up to Haul the Fish Home"
Keith Sremaniak of Alta Loma, California
reminds us why seaplanes make for such great photos.
Used with permission of Greg Marshall
And Greg Marshall of Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)
sees us off this week with "a beautifully cared-for Beech
Staggerwing visiting the Rockcliffe Flying Club. Canada's
National Aviation Museum is in the background" and in
the foreground, a reminder that, with AirVenture now behind us,
the sunny, carefree days of summer are numbered.
Time to go flying, eh?
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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