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"People just don't realize the magnitude of this," Angel Flight America (AFA) spokesman Steve Patterson told AVweb on Tuesday.
"This is not just about New Orleans -- this involves the whole south-central Gulf Coast." AFA is working to coordinate the efforts of hundreds of volunteer pilots across the country who are helping
transport relief workers and reunite families separated by the storm. "So far we've been operating in and out of the larger airports, but the next step, starting this week, is to start sending
volunteer pilots into the smaller fields, near the more remote towns and villages," Patterson said. Working around the clock, AFA has been flying as many as 100 missions per day, working with hundreds
of pilots and aircraft. More pilots are always needed, and can register online or call 877-858-7788. "We're putting together a rotation schedule, so pilots can work for four or five days and then go
home, so they don't burn out," Patterson said. The need is expected to last at least another two or three months. Besides volunteer pilots and aircraft, AFA also welcomes donations. So far, fuel has
been attainable, Patterson said, but "The cost is just killing us." Also, the Department of Homeland Security has asked anyone with resources that can aid the recovery effort to register online at the
National Emergency Resource Registry. The DHS is especially looking for commercial (heavy) aircraft but is open to all offers.
"The impetus for this was, we were watching the storm coverage on TV, and we saw the need, and we knew we could help." The ad hoc group "Operation Brother's Keeper," based in Atlanta, grew from an effort to provide empty vacation rentals as free temporary shelter to evacuees along with free air transportation. Now
they are coordinating the work of volunteer pilots and medical personnel to get into the devastated regions and transport victims out. "We organized on Tuesday and began operations on Thursday [last
week]," spokesman Milo Pinckney told AVweb yesterday. They're staging out of Baton Rouge, where they are taking people from shelters and flying them to Atlanta, then on to safe housing donated
by vacation-home owners. "So far we've flown 184 sorties in two and a half days, and transported at least a couple hundred people out of a deplorable situation, and reunited families who'd been
separated," Pinckney said. "We have 164 aircraft, 240 physicians, and 190 vacation homes." His wife, Gail, operates a vacation-rental company, and he is CFO of a physicians' group and the owner of a
Navajo. At first their offers were stonewalled by officials who told them to submit proposals and documents. "All of these medical personnel and pilots already are licensed, and there are leases and
contracts for the houses," he said. "We needed to get those people out of there." After more calls to politicians and contacts in Washington, he finally got through to the governor of Louisiana, who
gave him authorization to operate. This Tuesday, they extended operations into the city of New Orleans itself, and Milo says they'll keep flying as long as they can, and as long as there's a need.
"It's the citizen's responsibility to pitch in, when you have the means, and you have an aircraft and all that training. Time to put it to use," he said. At their Web site, Brother's Keeper is
compiling a database of pilots, physicians, and anyone with food, clothing or housing to donate. The phone number is 404-783-1836 or 404-783-1846.
The Texas Aviation Association also organized its own relief effort, sending several Cessnas and a Beechcraft Sierra
filled with supplies from the Great Hills Baptist church and Sam's Wholesale into the region, where they were "just as appreciated as the National Guard, arriving on the same day," according to the
group's Web site. Pilot Jim Howard joined the effort, carrying 477 pounds of food into Baton Rouge in his 177-RG. "There was a crew from a local Baptist Church to receive the supplies when I arrived,"
he told AVweb yesterday. "I then checked in with the Angel Flight temporary office that has been set up. They had a stack of evacuee baggage that earlier Angel Flights had been unable to lift.
I was assigned an Angel Flight mission to carry these bags to the Angel Flight office at Addison. I wound up with 8.0 hours on the Hobbs." He offered this advice for pilots flying into BTR -- 100LL is
available there, but lines are long, so tanker in what you need. Phone service is spotty. And be sure to tie down your airplane. "There are hundreds of helicopters operating from KBTR, some very large
ones. They can kick up a lot of wind," he said. As a final note, he added: "This flight really made me count my blessings."
The TXAA is planning more flights to Tylertown (T36), 401 nm away, and to Lafayette (LFT), 311 nm, and perhaps to other destinations as well. Many reports have warned that volunteer pilots should stay
away from the region, or they could find they are just in the way, or that there is no means to store or distribute the supplies they deliver. But many seem willing to take that chance, or are
organizing their own aid networks, seeing that the need is so great and their desire to help is so strong.
When it's your own 79-year-old grandmother who's in need, then neither floods nor bureaucrats nor even a TFR can stop you from trying to help. So it was for Derek Lott, a CFI living in Crestview,
Fla., when he heard that his grandmother in Picayune, Miss., was weakening every day without her heart medication. He rented a 172 and loaded it up with $1,000 worth of food, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. "I told my dad I'd trade him some food for Grandma,"
said Lott. When he heard President Bush was flying into the area, bringing a 30-nm no-fly zone, he knew he had to get in and out fast. "I decided to give it a shot because I knew my family needed me,"
he said. On Monday morning he made his delivery to Wilda Myles. "I was so happy to see him," Myles told the AP. "He's the greatest grandson in the world."
A Boeing 737-200 flown by Mandala Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff Monday on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, killing at least 150 people, including 47 on the ground. Fifteen people seated in
the rear of the airplane escaped through a hole in the fuselage and survived. "The plane had actually taken off, but it started to shake heavily and swerved to the left, and then -- wham, a ball of
fire came from the front of the plane toward the back," survivor Rohadi Sitepu told local TV reporters from his hospital bed. A preliminary report found a problem with one of the engine's fan blades,
the BBC reported yesterday. The aircraft crashed into a crowded neighborhood on the outskirts of the airport in the provincial capital of Medan. Skies at the time of the crash were overcast, and
authorities said there was no reason to suspect terrorism.
With six crashes in the last six weeks killing close to 500 people, the loss of life in airliners worldwide this year already is greater than it was for all of 2004 (which was the safest in recent record). But of those six accidents, only one -- the Air France Airbus A340 that skidded off a runway in
Toronto on August 2 -- involved a major carrier, and everyone on that flight survived. "The chances of crashing when you fly with airlines coming from outside of western Europe, North America and
Australasia are an order of magnitude greater," says David Learmount, an editor at Flight International. "All modern airplanes are safe, but they may not be if they don't get maintained properly and
the crews don't get trained properly," he told The Independent. The airplane that crashed in Venezuela on
August 6, killing 160, had been flying nonstop for 20 hours while the rest of the airline's fleet was grounded to undergo urgent maintenance work. After the recent crash of a Helios 737 in Greece,
relatives of the co-pilot said he had told them the airplane had safety problems that were being ignored by the company.
But over the weekend, a former airline pilot in Europe expressed concern about threats to that first-world safety record. "The commercial pressures on the shoulders of pilots have increased
enormously," Filip van Rossum wrote in the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. New rules passed in the European Union this year require airlines to compensate passengers for late or cancelled flights,
and with profit margins already thin and competition intense, the airlines are fighting to keep airplanes flying. "In a never-ending quest to save money, maintenance is being squeezed to the limit,"
Robert Alway, a spokesman for the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers in the U.K., told ITP. In
the U.S., safety practices at Northwest Airlines are under scrutiny after questions were raised by an FAA safety inspector. The inspector says reports of defects have gone up dramatically since
replacement workers took over for striking mechanics on Aug. 20. FAA spokesman Greg Martin told Reuters that FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has ordered a full inquiry into the allegations, and will
also look into counterclaims that the inspector was intimidating replacement workers and was openly critical of management at the airline. "Based on our oversight, [Northwest is] operating to their
standards and our regulations, and the aircraft that are flying are airworthy," he said.
The NTSB yesterday asked the FAA to help improve the GA safety record for weather-related accidents by requiring that all pilots who don't receive weather-related recurrent training address weather
issues during the biennial flight review. The BFR should check that pilots can recognize critical weather situations, procure and use aeronautical weather reports and forecasts, determine fuel
requirements, and plan for alternatives, the NTSB said. Non-instrument-rated pilots also should demonstrate that they can control the airplane solely by reference to instruments. The safety board also
asked the FAA to identify and provide additional support for pilots whose performance indicates increased risk, and to improve its pre-flight weather services. [more] The request follows on the
results of an NTSB study that suggests a pilot's performance history, including previous aviation accidents or incidents and FAA knowledge or practical test failures, are associated with an increased
risk of being involved in weather-related GA accidents. Factors that reduce risk are obtaining one's first pilot certificates earlier in life or earning higher levels of certifications or instrument
The safety study examined the risk factors associated with GA flights into conditions of bad weather and poor visibility. "Weather-related accidents are a leading cause of aviation fatalities and the
Safety Board has long been concerned with the disproportionate number of fatal accidents associated with weather," said Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. Even though weather-related accidents are not
frequent, they account for a large number of aviation fatalities -- only 6 percent of GA accidents are weather-related but they account for more than one in four fatalities that occur in GA annually.
For the study, NTSB investigators collected data from 72 GA accidents that occurred between August 2003 and April 2004. Information about these accidents was compared to a matching group of 135
non-accident flights operating under the same conditions. The texts of all the recommendations and a synopsis of the report can
be found on the NTSB Web site. The complete report will be released at a later date.
Eclipse Aviation said on Tuesday its fourth FAA-conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, landed gear-up on Runway 3 at the Albuquerque
International Sunport last Saturday. The two pilots on board the six-seater jet were not hurt. The aircraft was towed back to the hangar, and after a thorough investigation, Eclipse said no mechanical
or electrical problems were found, and attributed the cause to pilot error. "We are evaluating the damage to the aircraft, but are confident that we will demonstrate how easily a friction-stir-welded
structure can be fixed," said CEO Vern Raburn. "We are very thankful that no one was hurt and pleased that the aircraft will fly again. Due to a sturdy and well-built design, the Eclipse 500 can
withstand events like this without injuries or catastrophic damage." The company currently has four other flying aircraft in flight testing.
PUT YOUR AIRPLANE ON TELEVISION! Wings to Adventure, the exciting new weekly television
series on the Outdoor Channel presenting the planes, places, and people of general aviation, is looking for ideas. Maybe it's a great fly-in destination you know about, an interesting aviation
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While satellite images are easily available online these says -- Google Earth is one easy way to access them -- low-level aerial photos are still
in demand. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been shooting pictures of the Katrina aftermath from a Citation
jet, and thanks to the Internet, those images are already available to anyone who needs them -- including displaced homeowners who want to check how things look on their street. The NOAA images are
also being used by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damage assessment.
The airport at Teterboro, N.J., has had a run of trouble lately, and Friday night a Cessna 177 crashed into the Hackensack Post Office, about a half-mile from the field. The pilot, Karen Hunter, 53,
of Brooklyn, died, and passenger Sharon Osborne, 42, of Denver, was critically hurt. Hunter was headed for a landing at nearby Essex County Airport when she reported engine trouble about 9:30 p.m. and
diverted to Teterboro. The accident was the fourth since February, when a Challenger bizjet ran off the runway. Another jet ran off a snowy runway in March and in May a twin-engine turbroprop
crashed on final. Twenty-two people were hurt in those accidents, but there were no other fatalities. Teterboro is one of the nation's busiest small airports, handling more than 200,000 arrivals and
departures last year. Close to Manhattan, it's operated as a reliever airport by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and is popular with corporate and GA aircraft. The FAA in March warned pilots to be careful about operating in the airport's congested airspace, and local authorities have called for
a reduction in traffic at the airport.
If you've visited those exhibits for Australian air safaris at Oshkosh or Sun 'n Fun in recent years and thought that would sure be fun to try some day, your chances of ever having that opportunity
are about to grow slimmer. Tour operator GOANA announced last week that they will be shutting down at the end of this year, after 12 years of
operation, thanks to new security rules that have made it impossible for them to continue. "It comes as a bitter pill to be forced out of business by legislation," said business owner Mal Shipton. The
"Enhanced Aviation Security Package" that was adopted by the Australian government in March will have a negative impact on the very people it is supposed to be protecting, he said. The new rules would
require so many more fees and approvals, for which there are often months-long backlogs, that "the new arrangements cannot be managed in a manner consistent with the ability to do business," Shipton
said. He's making an effort, though, to turn the tide. "If you would like to express your disappointment, angst, or comment on just what a dumb idea these security measures are," Shipton suggests,
send e-mail to the Hon Warren Truss, minister for Transport and Regional Affairs, at the Australian Parliament House W.Truss.MP@aph.gov.au, and cc to GOANA
firstname.lastname@example.org. "If we had a big response, I feel it may cause the whole security question to be revisited," says Shipton, with true Aussie
optimism. For our U.S. readers ... a glimpse into the ground-bound future, perhaps, if we allow "security" to trump freedom.
When Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin died in a crash during their Masters of
Disaster air show on July 10, it was clear that the two not only had enjoyed working together, but their families also had been involved in the show and were close. That closeness was cemented last
month when Kyle Franklin, Jimmy's only son and his wingwalker, flew his Cub to the airstrip at the Younkin house in Fayetteville, Ark., got down on one knee, and asked Amanda Younkin to marry him. The
wedding is set for October in New Mexico. Next year, Kyle plans to return to the air show circuit flying the original Waco Mysteryship. "No plans of Amanda wingwalking for Kyle, yet," the family said
at their Web site. Also at the site, the families of both men have asked anyone with pictures or video of past shows or of the accident, to please send copies.
THE COLUMBIA 350 & COLUMBIA 400 HAVE A NEW CORPORATE NAME 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 these premium aircraft. The Fly Columbia Tour, an interactive Columbia experence, will be at the Reno Air Races. If you miss them in
Reno, check the web site for a complete schedule at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/columbia/avflash.
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
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BRAINTEASERS Quiz #98: Foggy Nights and Pretty Approach Lights
Nighttime on an airport is a wondrous time splashed with sparkling lights, beckoning stars, and more than a few regulations and silly ways to embarrass yourself, unless you know the answers to the
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If you love amateur aviation photography and cities with
fun-to-pronounce names, our latest installment of "Picture of the Week"
is your cup of tea! Kick back and enjoy great photos from exotic
locales like Kootenai, Idaho; Cooloola Cove, Australia; and Mississauga,
Ontario, where this week's winner hails from. Congratulations to
Jerry Milek and Ed Binko, who captured the winning photo in Eastern
Europe, brought it across the Atlantic to Canada, and deposited it on
our servers in the U.S. to win two nifty AVweb baseball caps. Your
new job, fellas, is to wear those hats out into the four corners of the
globe and spread the joy and excitement of AVweb's "Picture of the
(Let us know if you make it to Cooloola Cove.)
Every week, we award an official AVweb baseball cap to the top photo
winner. To be eligible for consideration, all you have to do is
submit your own aviation photo(s). So get cracking!
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of
readers who submit photos.
Jerry Milek of Mississauga, Ontario
this photo of a Czech Bumblebee flying under the Tatra
mountains in Slovakia. The photo was taken by Ed Binko
on a summer trip to Europe, so we're sending you two
AVweb hats, Jerry can you get one to Ed for us?
Kenny Mathis of Wichita, Kansas
took this amazing photo during the Wichita
Flight Festival Air Show and offers his
"thanks to Mr. Gene Soucy for providing ...
the perfect backlighting."
with permission of Barry Munden
"Diamond Dropout Landing at ORD" John Rippinger of Schaumburg,
took advantage of his back-seat position
with the Lima Lima Flight Team to catch this
landing at Chicago's O'Hare airport, where
Lima Lima was delivering the flight crew of a
B1 bomber for the 2005 Gary (Indiana) Air Show.
As John writes, this was "the most efficient way
to get four aircraft on the ground (especially at
4:30pm on a Friday afternoon at O'Hare)."
You keep 'em coming, and we'll keep
running 'em! Let's see what goodies
the bonus bag holds for us this week,
"No Fish Caught" Ronald Fahlbusch
of Cooloola Cove, Queensland
(Australia) didn't suggest a caption for this action-packed
amphibian photo taken at Cape Dommett in northwestern
Australia but he did include the note "no fish caught"
in his comments. Maybe we just have lower standards
for a weekend getaway, but it still looks like fun to us! Large
"Searchin' for Cheap Gas" Joa Harrison
of Kootenai, Idaho
made it a point to look for cheap gas on
the trip from Oshkosh for this year's AirVenture.
The best result? $2.20/gallon in Albert Lea,
Minnesota (AEL). "Just a short hike past a
bean field off the end of the field gave me
some needed stretching," writes Joa.
"[A]lthough I can't believe this is considered cheap."
"$2.20 a Gallon?! Where Was That Again?"
Joa isn't the only one shocked by rising petrol prices.
According to Dale Gardner of
his dog Lexy's flight training was going pretty well
until she discovered the price of avgas.
(Actually, Lexy's just keeping the pilot's
seat warm while Dale makes a fuel stop
after a weekend of backcountry flying.)
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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