NewsWire Complete Issue
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Repeat After Me, "121.5"
AVweb met U.S. Customs Service pilot Mark Cox on the grounds of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Cox was among several customs pilots on the show grounds this year displaying a Citation 550. Cox has
flown three intercepts over Washington, including one that had authorities on the ground more than a little concerned. "It was a Lockheed Lodestar and it went right over the Capitol at 11,000 feet,"
he said. The Citation crew was finally able to get the pilot's attention and order him to land, something all pilots who enter restricted airspace can expect. "It would be irresponsible for us not to
talk to them," he said. Cox stated plainly that pilots need to know exactly what to do if, despite their training, they blunder deep into restricted airspace and he needs to intercept them.
"Immediately turn away and talk to us [on 121.5]." As simple as those actions might seem (to those of us who think it could never happen to us) Cox said it's surprising how many pilots don't know what
to do [or otherwise lose their senses] when they see either his Citation or a Black Hawk helicopter on their wing.
Customs pilots normally fly drug interdiction missions off the coast but they also rotate through Washington on temporary duty. They work 12 hours on, 12 hours off waiting for the call to scramble.
And while the time away from home and the long days are hard, Cox said there's nothing like the flying. The Citation, with the same radar used in F-16s added inside its bulbous nose, races at full
speed to the intercept at which point, in most cases, Cox has to throttle back and hang everything out to match the speed of the (generally single-engine piston) target. "It can be challenging
flying," he said. "I once got the tail number of an Ercoupe that was only doing 80 knots." Cox said the wide speed range of the Citation makes it a suitable platform for this kind of work and the
pilots are well-accustomed to the go-fast, go-slow mission profile from their experience stemming the flow of illegal drugs headed into the country by air. "Smuggling by air has pretty much stopped,"
Cox said it's important for pilots to understand customs pilots' role in the protection of the Capitol. "We're here to protect GA," he said. As long as an ADIZ-busting pilot is successfully
intercepted by unarmed customs aircraft, there's no need to call out the armed-to-the-teeth military, whose attitude toward errant aviators is markedly different. "The military doesn't know how to
deal with this," Cox said. Customs pilots have gone to great lengths to try to keep the F-16s from becoming involved, to the point of crafting handmade signs with the emergency frequency on them and
waving them at pilots of target aircraft through the Citation's cockpit windows. Cox said that in the end, they just painted the frequency on the noses of the Washington-based aircraft so the customs
pilots could better maintain visual contact (it was hard to see through the signs). Cox, a former corporate pilot, was attracted to the customs job for the job security and challenge of the work. But
he said he doesn't think his enforcement role has changed his basic love of flying. "I'm just like everyone else. I'm a member of AOPA and EAA and I just love what I do."
AOPA says the FAA's plan to create a permanent ADIZ of 2,000 square miles -- nearly twice the size of
Rhode Island -- is "operationally unworkable" and not clearly justified by the FAA. The FAA is currently seeking comments on its proposal. Meanwhile, for those who must navigate the region's nerve-wracking airspace (and are still waiting on proposed
"mandatory training" from the FAA to see the light of day), AOPA has posted a helpful online briefing that explains how to do so without getting into trouble. It took us about 15 minutes to view the program, which covers all
the fine points of ADIZ operations in lucid, easy-to-grasp detail. We think this program is must-see for anyone flying in the Washington area. AOPA hopes that by making an effort to eliminate
incursions, GA can bolster its argument for eliminating the ADIZ entirely.
Discussions are now underway that could shift the agency responsible for ADIZ security from the U.S. Customs Service to the U.S. Coast Guard, USCG spokesman Lt. Gene Maestas told AVweb
yesterday. The Coast Guard would be suited for the job because it has a dual role as a law-enforcement authority as well as a military branch. "The military can't patrol within U.S borders," Maestas
said, but the USCG can. The change could simplify the chain of command in case of a crisis, and perhaps make it easier for hostile action to be taken against an intruder, according to a recent MSNBC story. Sources in the Department of Homeland Security told MSNBC that the Coast Guard would relocate drug-interdiction helicopters out
of the Bahamas to replace the Black Hawk helicopters and Citation jets currently used by customs to patrol the Washington area. Maestas said yesterday that nothing has been decided yet and the
discussions will likely last another two to four weeks.
Errors Cause Concern
The FAA on Aug. 1 issued a General Notice to all control towers, noting that recently there has been "increased concern" about operational errors involving taxi-into-position-and-hold (tiph)
procedures. "It is essential that [air traffic] managers give priority to the management of tiph," says the notice. It mandates that by Sept. 30, each facility manager must determine if an operational
need exists to justify the use of the procedure. "Such factors as capacity, efficiency, user input, etc., should be considered in making this determination," the notice says. The manager must then
prepare a directive that prescribes local procedures for handling tiph. "Such procedures may include, but are not limited to, reading back the pilot's stated position, annotating flight-progress
strips, posting or arranging flight-progress strips according to aircraft's intended takeoff position, or marking the location of aircraft with color-coded chips on a magnetic diagram of the airport,"
the notice says. Taxi into position and hold, according to AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, can save 20 or 30 seconds by
putting a departing aircraft into an immediate launch position. "At busy places it can mean the difference between getting on your way and waiting another three minutes or longer while another
aircraft lands," says the foundation.
The new directive is "bizarre," the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said on Tuesday, and "will greatly exacerbate flight delays." It's "inefficient and wasteful," forcing tower
personnel to "scramble" to come up with a justification to continue doing things they are already doing, NATCA said. "The likely outcome is that busy airports will eventually get waivers, leaving the
real safety concerns unaddressed, while other airports will operate under unnecessary restrictions," said NATCA President John Carr. "Pilots will have no effective way of knowing where this rule is in
effect and where it has been waived," he said. "The FAA will have expended untold resources to create the appearance of safety management without doing anything that actually enhances the safety of
the system ... These towers now have to jump through hoops to do on Oct. 1 what they've done quite successfully for the last 50-plus years."
FAA spokesman Greg Martin defended the action. "The primary intent of this notice is to be a wake-up call to the facilities, to take a close look at taxi into position and hold, and see if they need
it," he told AVweb on Tuesday. "And if they don't need it, don't use it. ...This is due to a recent spate of operational errors and subsequent loss of separation." He added that pilots will not
be affected. They will know whether the procedure is available or not because they will be talking to the controllers. "Dallas has already reviewed their procedures and verified that they need [tiph],
so they will continue to use it," he said. "As will most facilities that have shown a significant increase in volume." Martin added that there is no strict structure in place for the operational
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Two men died in North Carolina on Sunday when the light-sport aircraft they were flying crashed in a 25-acre cow pasture. Robert G. Swanson, 62, an active pilot with 40 years of experience, had bought
the Allegro 2000 in June and had flown it for about 90 hours, according to the Raleigh News & Observer. Also on board was John Nesbit, 51, the former anchor of a TV morning show in
Greensboro. The Allegro, a high-wing two-seater with a T-tail, has a composite fuselage and metal wings. It is manufactured in the Czech Republic and was certified in the U.S. as an LSA in May. This
will be among the first LSA crashes to be investigated by the NTSB.
Pilots who operate at high altitudes have triple the risk of developing cataracts compared to other men their age, researchers at the University of Iceland reported in the August issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. The researchers said that of 445 men aged 50 or older in the study, 79 were airline
pilots and 71 of them had cataracts. The likely cause is the exposure of the pilots to cosmic radiation, the study concludes. According to AVweb aviation medical columnist Dr. Brent Blue, the
risk for GA pilots is significantly lower than for airline pilots. GA pilots fly at much lower altitudes and don't frequent the polar routes where radiation is more intense. However, "Exposure to
sunlight is a more significant problem for the GA population and good UV protective eye wear is a must," Dr. Blue said. The only risk reduction available for radiation effects is to reduce the time
spent at high altitude and along polar routes and to avoid flying during solar storms, he said. Cataracts cloud the eye's lens and can cause blindness unless they are removed surgically. Smokers and
astronauts have also been shown to be at higher risk, the Iceland study said.
|BIG NEWS FROM AIRVENTURE 2005|
Sure, the appearances of SpaceShipOne and Global
Flyer captured all of our attention at AirVenture this year, but just as significant to aviators was the announcement that the Lancair Company has re-branded itself as Columbia Aircraft
Manufacturing Corporation. The manufacturers of the Columbia 350 and Columbia 400 the world's fastest certified piston aircraft made the change as part of an ongoing campaign to
develop a unique identity for the premium aircraft. If you missed them at AirVenture, consider looking them up at the Reno Air Races, where all of the world's fastest planes gather, or at one of the
other stops on their Fly Columbia Tour. The tour is an interactive Columbia experience, and theyre holding them at airports around the country through this fall. For a complete schedule, go to
Boeing won an advantage this week in its perennial battle with Airbus, with an announcement that four Chinese airlines have ordered 42 of its new 787 Dreamliner jets, with a list price of about $5
billion. Airbus is trying to capture the airliner market with its superjumbo A380, which is already plagued with development delays, as Boeing maneuvers to compete with its midsize, fuel-efficient
787. The fast-growing Asian market is a central battleground for the two companies. Currently the World Trade Organization is arbitrating a dispute between the United States and the European Union
over state aid, which the U.S. says gives Airbus an unfair advantage in the marketplace. The EU has countered that that local and state governments give plenty of subsidies and other assistance to
Boeing companies. Meanwhile, Airbus has already told its customers that it will be late on delivering its first A380s. First delivery has been pushed back from March 2006 to November 2006.
High insurance premiums are forcing Alaska's small charter operators out of business, a half-dozen pilots said during a recent forum in Wasilla. The pilots met with the state insurance director, Linda
Hall, and state Sen. Charlie Huggins, the Anchorage Daily News reported last week. "Air taxis provide an
essential air service and you're losing them," said operator Dave Glenn. He said liability coverage on his four-seat M-7 Maule costs $11,400 per year. The pilots asked that the state create an
insurance pool to offer lower premiums, or rescind its requirement of at least $150,000 per seat in liability for commercial operators. Insurance providers told the Daily News that rates are going up
everywhere and there is nothing unfair or excessive about the rates in Alaska. Despite improvements over the last 10 years, the accident rate is still higher there than in other states. And when an
aircraft is damaged, the costs of recovery and repair in remote areas can be high.
Have an idea for making the flying car of the future work? NASA wants to hear about it, and the space agency is offering $250,000 in prizes as encouragement. The Personal Air Vehicle Challenge, announced at AirVenture last month, will pay $25,000 each
for advances in noise control and handling qualities. The biggest reward, $150,000, would recognize a vehicle with two to six seats that can fly at least 130 mph for a 300-mile range while being
fuel-efficient and making good time door-to-door. The idea, NASA engineer Mark Moore told AVweb, is to encourage "chaotic" research. "We think we understand the problem at NASA, but we could be
wrong," he says. "Some of the greatest technological innovations have come from somebody playing around in their garage." During a forum at Oshkosh, X Prize winner Burt Rutan was critical of prize
strategies that offer inadequate cash incentives, saying the challenge must be less incremental and the reward must be big enough to stimulate interest and investment.
Right here in the U.S. Last Wednesday, an instructor and student were flying in a gyrocopter at about 800 feet over Springville, Utah, when they felt a "pop" and couldn't tell what was wrong. During
the 10-minute flight back to the airport, they heard a strange whistling sound, and on landing they found a bullet hole in the rotor. Then on Saturday night, a sheriff's helicopter flying above an
Albuquerque neighborhood to investigate a burglary was hit by a bullet that shattered the windshield. The pilot said he heard a pop and the helicopter lost power. He was able to land the aircraft in a
backyard, but tore down trees and a fence along the way. Both men on board were hit by shrapnel and suffered minor impact injuries. "Let me be very clear, we intend to use every resource available to
track down the coward who is responsible for committing this sick and twisted act," Sheriff Darren White told The Associated Press.
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is examining the topic of back-up gyro strategies for light aircraft, specifically using PDAs or Garmin 296-type flight instrument displays as gyro back-ups.
The editors would like to hear pros and cons from readers who have used such devices to back up vacuum or electric gyros. Did they work for that purpose? Knowing what you know now, would you do it
again? Contact the magazine at email@example.com with your comments.
A FedEx cargo plane crossed an active runway without a
clearance at Boston's Logan Airport where a JetBlue Airways passenger jet was cleared for takeoff on Monday. Air traffic controllers warned the JetBlue crew in time to avert a collision. The
airport yesterday unveiled new procedures to enhance safety.
EAA has posted a database listing 72 instructors ready to train sport pilots...
The Russian Sigma sport plane will be sold in the U.S. by Sportsplanes.com, the company announced Monday,
saying interest was high when the airplane debuted at Oshkosh. LSA certification is pending, but is expected soon...
Space tourists now can buy a flight around the moon with a Russian pilot aboard a Soyuz rocket, for $100
million, Space Adventures said yesterday.
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
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Quiz #97 -- Unscramble Your Head
When your brain is unfairly teased in flight, how well you score on this quiz may determine your ability to handle unusual aeromedical factors, attitudes, and illusions.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
This time last week, the FAA had just issued its
proposal to bring Washington, D.C. under the protection
of its new National Defense Airspace. AVweb polled
readers as to their feelings and impressions about the
ADIZ surrounding DC becoming a permanent fixture.
The overwhelming majority of you (over 70%) were
skeptical and cautious, choosing our tongue-in-cheek
answer This is America, previously the land of the
The rest of you were almost evenly split on whether a
permanent ADIZ is a good security measure (17%) or
merely a necessary compromise in trying times (12%).
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know how concerned you are
about having a mid-air collision. Terrified it
will happen to you? Willing to bet that it won't?
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.
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Submit a Photo |
Current POTW Winner |
Past POTW Winners
Christian Hauser of Vienna (Austria) takes the top spot
in our latest installment of "Picture of the Week." It
was a fierce battle for the Number One position, but
Christian barely edged out Greg Poole of Australia and Kevin
Orr of Kansas to win this week's Official AVweb Baseball
Remember: You could win a cap of your very own by
submitting your best aviation photos. We'll run
the best of them right here on AVweb (in front of a couple
million astonished eyeballs) and award one baseball cap to
the best of the best.
On with the pictures !
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of
readers who submit photos.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
copyright © Christian Hauser
Used with permission
"Join Us for a Ride If You Dare"
Christian Hauser of Vienna,
Austria earns top honors
this week with a photo taken at the Airpower '05 air show
in Zeltweg. "I have to admit," writes Christian, "I
like my new
Canon EOS 20D." Here's hoping you get more shots with
that camera, Chris and that you share 'em with the rest of
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
with permission of
Greg Poole & Steve De Wit
"First Turbine Helicycle Flying in Australia"
Greg Poole of Castle
Hill, New South Wales (Australia)
sends us this photo taken by fellow association member
Steve de Wit.
Both Greg and Steve belong to Chapter 11 of the Sport
Association of Australia (SAAA), which hosted this meeting
welcome the first Helicycle to fly in Australia.
According to Greg,
this Helicycle (built by Hermann Roesch) has been followed
others, with ten total Helicycles currently in Australia.
copyright © Kevin Orr
Used with permission
"Electrical Fury on the Tarmac"
Last week's Oshkosh photos sparked
a landslide of great electrical storm photos
that arrived in this week's submissions.
Our favorite comes from
of Olathe, Kansas, who took this photo
at the Johnson County Executive Airport.
More favorites from this week's
generous selection of "POTW" entries!
with permission of Keith Robb
"Memories of the Early Years"
Likewise, we found a lot of classic WWII-era
planes (warbirds and others) in our inbox this
Keith Robb of Toronto, Ontario (Canada) sent us
pic of him piloting an SE5a from Ontario's Great War
Flying Museum at the Geneseo (NY) Air Show.
Eric Dumigan snapped the photo.
with permission of Bill Whitney
of Soldotna, Alaska
took off his heavy woollen gloves long
enough to capture the sunrise over
Endicott Island in early May. This one went
straight to our desktop wallpaper file ... .
with permission of Jim Gordon
"Patrolling the Front"
of Fayetteville, Georgia
submitted our other favorite classic paint job
of the week: Pilot Ron Glover "flying tight
formation in his Aerodrome Eindecker EIII
experimental homebuilt." Tight formation, indeed!
copyright © Jud Phillips
"High, Low, Fast, Slow"
From experimentals to a tried-and-true
(but still not certificated) design, we thought
it appropriate to close this week's installment
with two gulls and a jet from Jud
of Nashville, Tennessee. The gulls were
designed and built in Edisto Island, South
Carolina, where they held their own air show.
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.
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