Number 33b — August 18, 2005|
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This issue of AVweb's
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
CRASH MYSTERY: THE EVIDENCE, SO FAR...
On the day of its final flight last week, the pilots of a Helios
Boeing 737-300 that crashed near Athens, killing all 121 aboard,
reportedly contacted air traffic control to say that a problem with
the aircraft's air conditioning system would keep them at 16,000 feet.
The aircraft later climbed to 32,000 after the crew radioed its last
transmission -- that the problem was solved, according to the New York
Times. Last December, three aboard the same aircraft suffered injury
when a pressurization problem at altitude (due to an improperly sealed
door) led to an emergency descent to 11,000. Last week, passengers on
the flight's previous leg reportedly complained of an air conditioning
problem -- the cabin was unusually cold. Speculation that the aircraft
again suffered depressurization on its final flight have been followed
by coroner's reports that some passengers and crew (co-pilot and one
other crew member) were still breathing (though perhaps unconscious)
upon impact. However, the supposed text message sent from the aircraft
indicating "The pilots have turned blue. Farewell cousin, we're
frozen" has been revealed an admitted hoax. More...
PASSENGERS ALIVE; FLIGHT ATTENDANT AT CONTROLS?
Among the most important pieces of evidence missing is the body of the
aircraft's captain -- his is one of three bodies missing. Meanwhile, a
Macedonian news service is reporting that at least two flight
attendants remained conscious and one, who had some private pilot
training, tried to land the plane. Greek air force pilots sent to
intercept the flight reportedly noted movement in the cockpit, while
the co-pilot was slumped over the controls and the captain wasn't
visible. And the coroner reports thus far that at least 20 of the 121
people aboard were alive when the plane went down. Hampering the
investigation is severe damage to the already-retrieved cockpit voice
recorder (the flight data recorder is apparently in better shape) sent
to France for evaluation. More...
CAN AFFECT ANY PILOT
So, what's all this mean to GA pilots? If nothing else it serves as a
good excuse to remind ourselves about the potential dangers of hypoxia
and realize that it doesn't just happen at the flight levels. AOPA has
a comprehensive list of references on the insidious
condition and its prevention, along with the reminder that it's
something we have to plan around if we fly above 10,000 feet during
the day or above 5,000 feet at night. But it's not just altitude that
can induce hypoxia, as a quiz on AOPA's safety site reveals.
SWEARINGEN PREDICTS TC BY END OF 2005...
With the bizjet focus squarely on the emerging very light jet VLJ (or
entry-level, as Cessna prefers) market, a San Antonio company has been
working in its shadow for about five years. But Sino Swearingen burst
into the spotlight earlier this week with the announcement that its SJ30-2
light jet (13,500 pounds) is essentially one step away from FAA
certification. In a news release, company President Gene Comfort said
the plane was issued final Type Inspection Authorizations (TIA) and
that means type certification is virtually guaranteed by the end of
the year. More...
IN 35 YEARS?
Comfort said the accomplishment is particularly noteworthy because
Sino Swearingen is a new company and, as such, is the first to bring a
clean-slate design through the certification process in 35 years. The
company claims the six-passenger (single-pilot) aircraft has a range
of 2,500 nm at 447 KTAS (514 mph). It has a high-speed cruise of 486
KTAS (560 mph.) It also has a 12-psi cabin pressurization system that
will maintain sea-level air pressure up to 41,000 feet. Comfort said
the company's certification efforts accelerated dramatically with the
involvement, 30 months ago, of new CEO Dr. Carl Chen and Alfred
Baumbusch, senior VP of operations. More...
CRASH IN EIGHT MONTHS AT CENTENNIAL
The fourth fatal plane crash in eight months at Denver's Centennial
Airport is prompting calls for an investigation into the safety of the
field and has spurred politicians to address the safety of the MU-2
(involved in two of the four accidents). But while politicians and
aviation officials concede that the facility has had a run of bad
luck, they insist there is nothing inherently unsafe. "Nothing we have
indicates it is a dangerous airfield," said NTSB investigator Aaron
Sauer. "It is a busy airfield with a lot of aircraft coming in and
out." Sauer was at Centennial to investigate the crash of a Cessna 425
that was on an instrument approach when it went down last Saturday,
killing all four aboard. More...
China's main flying school has ordered 42 Cessna 172s as part of a
major expansion. The Civil Aviation Flying University of China (CAFUC)
wants to increase the number of students trained from 600 to 1,000 a
year. The CAFUC is the primary training facility for airline pilots in
China and the country's burgeoning civil aviation industry has
resulted in a shortage of pilots. The private sector is also becoming
involved, with PanAm Flight Academy setting up a school in Beijing. As
we reported two weeks ago, Diamond Aircraft will soon start building
DA40 light singles in China to service a predicted boom in general
AIRPLANE FOR MARTIANS
A Virginia company is pinning its future on an out-of-this-world
airplane. Aurora Flight Systems recently started building a plant at
Manassas Regional Airport to build aircraft designed to fly over Mars. The hang-glider-like aircraft is
the first intended to fly in the atmosphere of another planet and its
mission is to take photos that have been hitherto unavailable to
scientists studying the red planet. All of the photos of Mars to date
have either been low-resolution images taken from an orbiter or
high-resolution images from a vehicle on the surface.
RESCUES DITCHING VICTIMS
A 55-foot pleasure yacht became a rescue ship off Ft. Lauderdale,
Fla., last Saturday when a Piper Navajo was successfully ditched in
the Atlantic about six miles from shore. The Spindrift was able to
rescue all six people aboard, including an eight-month-old baby. The
plane was on a flight from the Bahamas to Ft. Lauderdale when the
pilot radioed a distress call, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told
The Associated Press. Walter Long, a captain on the yacht, said the
unidentified pilot did "a great job" on the ditching. "He made a
perfect water landing," said Long. "If it wasn't for him, they'd all
be dead." More...
|ANNOUNCING TRAFFIC ALERT WITH DIRECTION FOR ONLY
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Aircraft owners at a Pittsburgh-area airport say they're being forced
out of their hangars by a tripling of rents. The rent for hangar space
for small planes at Allegheny County Airport is going from about $550
a month to almost $1,600 a month in a move that pilots claim is an
attempt to force them off the field. "I think, in summary, they're
trying to push us out," Mooney owner Harry Neel told the Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review. "It's a massive increase." But county officials say
FAA policy is behind the rent hikes, which take effect Oct. 8.
NEW APPROACH FOR CHEW
Russ Chew went from the left seat of an airliner to the hot seat as
the FAA's new chief operating officer but AOPA hopes a little time in
a Cessna 172 last week will help him make the massive decisions that
will shape the future of airspace management in the U.S. over the next
couple of decades. Chew flew a GPS-WAAS approach in AOPA President
Phil Boyer's 172 during a visit to AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md.
"I think he was amazed at how much more stable the WAAS needle is
compared to an ILS," Boyer said. "A WAAS approach is even easier to
fly than an ILS." More...
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Opponents of O'Hare expansion want 45 days...
U.S.P.S. has issued
10 stamps featuring significant aircraft...
Nepal determined to
strike Eurocopter's claim of Everest flight...
Medevac pilot won
praise for landing stricken aircraft without causing injury.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
to know about? If it caught your eye, 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 part. More...
|TOP STUNTWOMAN/WINGWALKER THANKS OREGON
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #53: Radio
Radio communication was invented over 100 years ago.
You'd think we'd be able to do it better by now, but people tend to
get sloppy. And sometimes the "professional" pilots are the worst.
Until we get more controllers or fewer aircraft, AVweb's Don Brown
says we have to start talking better.
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know how much attention to pay to hypoxia in
the cockpit. Sure, it depends a lot on the performance of the aircraft
but it depends just as much on the performance of the pilot.
And some of the contributing factors are well out of your control. How
much concern do you grant hypoxia when you fly? PLUS: Results of last
week's question on mid-air collisions. More...
ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS
Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) provides parts locating, tech support,
a monthly member magazine, online forums, national and regional
events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. For less than a tank
of fuel ($39 for a one-year membership), you can access the needed
information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from
owning and flying your Cessna aircraft. Join the Cessna Flyer
Association (CFA) today as they build the ultimate Cessna
association. The CFA is now located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport
(PCZ) in Waupaca, WI just 35 miles NW of Oshkosh. Join at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cfa/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
AirVenture 2005 is behind us, and the photos are starting to roll in.
Whether you attended Oshkosh or not, we've got thrilling air show
photos, beautiful paint jobs, a couple of serene moments, and even an
exciting crash that you can walk away from. This week's winner (among
stiff competition, we might add) is Dick Lemons of Kansas City. Dick
submitted several great photos, but we're sending him an Official
AVweb Baseball cap for his shot of the Kansas City Dawn Patrol.
(Remember: Everyone who submits a photo gets a shot at one of these
nifty hats!) More...
|Sponsor News and
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|LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE
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|FLYING MAGAZINE FLYS THE CESSNA 206 AND SHOWS OFF
A NEW DE-ICING SYSTEM|
The August issue of Flying
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