September 21, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
|This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Trade-A-Plane
PRINT AND ONLINE, TRADE-A-PLANE GIVES YOU THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Shortly after Dale Mooneyham put away his G-model Mooney (no, we didn't ask) on the afternoon of Sept. 2 at his home base of Chandler (CHD) in Arizona, an aircraft apparently strayed near Stevensville, Md into Washington D.C.'s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). That aircraft apparently wasn't squawking a discrete transponder code and had not established contact with air traffic control. The trouble (for Mooneyham) is, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) thinks it was Mooneyham's plane that busted the ADIZ. Now, Mooneyham is waiting to see if federal officials will accept the mountain of evidence he's provided to prove that this is a case of mistaken identity. "This isn't just my pilot's certificate at stake, I'm an A&P mechanic for Southwest [Airlines] and it could affect my job," Mooneyham told AVweb. Mooneyham received the letter from DHS on Sept. 10 saying "information furnished to this office indicates that N6791N operated inside the Washington DC Air Defense Identification Zone without a discrete transponder code or communicating with ATC." Mooneyham, taking note that the aircraft in question made no contact with ATC and did not transmit a transponder code, wonders who furnished the identifying information and how much legwork DHS did to establish the aircraft in question was his plane. He speculates that a radar contact was followed to an airport and the airport was called to ask for the N numbers of aircraft that had landed at that time. "I'm assuming they called around and someone guessed at the N-number," Mooneyham said. With the N-number, it's easy to track down the aircraft owner through the FAA database (which is exactly what we did) and send out a fact-filled letter ... even if (as Mooneyham maintains) the facts are wrong.
Mooneyham said he left in the morning from CHD (near Phoenix) for Tucson, where his ailing parents live. He stopped for fuel along the way and, after visiting his mom and dad, flew back to CHD where he says he landed in the mid-afternoon. Fortunately, he kept his time-stamped fuel receipt, which also has his N-number on it, as well as his ATIS scratch sheets. He's also called both towers and confirmed that the tower tapes have been saved. (Standard policy is to keep them for 45 days but Mooneyham has filed a Freedom of Information request to have the tapes taken out of the normal recording rotation so they will be preserved indefinitely -- just in case.) He said he doesn't think he can be too careful in this case and it's imperative that his file be cleaned up. Just to be sure, he also consulted his flight planning software, which told him a trip from Arizona to Maryland would take him more than 13 hours and require three fuel stops. Mooneyham calculates there is no way he could have made it from where he says he was to where they said he was in time to bust the ADIZ at the time alleged. Mooneyham put all the facts in a double registered letter to DHS and has received the delivery receipt. Now it's a matter of awaiting the response. He's promised to let AVweb know when he gets that letter and we'll pass it along.
PUT YOUR AIRPLANE ON TELEVISION!
As the Sport Pilot era enters its second year, the number of certified S-LSAs (Special Light Sport Aircraft) is up to 15, with the FAA's acceptance of the AveoUSA SportRider last week. The Italian design is built in the Czech Republic and sold in the U.S. by Texas-based AveoUSA. The second Sport Aviation Expo is coming up soon, Oct. 27-30 at Sebring Regional Airport, Fla. The first Expo was friendly and well-organized, and this year's version will see an expanded exhibit area, nonstop demo flights and four busy forum tents. There will also be a groundbreaking for the brand-new CubAir Flight Academy, where students can learn to fly tailwheel Sport Cubs built by CubCrafters. Plans for the Academy include a flight training center, a lodge with dining facilities where students and their families can stay, plus a sales and service center. Chuck Larsen, EAA's director of museum education since 1985, was last week named CEO of the operation. Also in the works for CubAir are a flying club for aircraft rental and tailwheel training for licensed pilots. The Sport Cub will have a lot of company... Legend Cub and the Savage Cub already have SLSA approval, while the Sport Cub's FAA OK is still in the works.
The EAA Sport Pilot Tour will be holding events around the country again this winter, bringing new LSAs to airports, where pilots can get to know them. The New Orleans stop scheduled for November has been postponed until next year. The tour has added a stop at McKinney Field in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 12. Next stop after that is Camarillo Airport in Ventura, Calif., on Dec. 3. A January site will be announced soon. This weekend, Sept. 24-25, Calhoun Airport, north of Atlanta, will hold its own sport-aviation fly-in, featuring a dozen or so LSAs. Ultralights and warbirds are expected, along with a couple hundred visiting aircraft. Admission is free, and "under the wing" camping is available on the site for $5 a night. For more info, call 678-699-2787. For further info on the EAA Sport Pilot Tour, call 1-877-FLY-1232.
The RANS S-7 Courier is now nearing approval as an S-LSA, Dan Johnson reported last week in his Sport Pilot Blog. For $75,000, RANS will offer a factory-built S-7S with a Garmin GPS/COM and a transponder. Also, more flight schools around the country are offering sport pilot training. St. Charles Flying Service, in St. Louis, Mo., told AVweb last week they have just finished up their first two students. Both came from California and completed the training in less than two weeks, Dennis Bampton said. More students are scheduled and the school has ordered a second Evecktor Sport Star LSA to meet the demand. Meanwhile, FAA and EAA are working together to make it easier for aircraft owners to find designated airworthiness representatives to conduct inspections of Experimental and Special LSAs. To find an E-LSA or S-LSA DAR near you, visit www.sportpilot.org and click on the E-LSA DAR and S-LSA DAR links under the "Inspecting LSA" drop-down menu. The lists will be continuously updated. As soon as a DAR graduates from the FAA's initial LSA standardization course and is appointed, the DAR's name and location will be added to the list, EAA says. EAA is also building an online database of sport pilot instructors.
NOW AVAILABLE LIGHTSPEED PANEL POWER ANR HEADSETS
As tough as things got in the two weeks following Katrina's assault on the Gulf Coast, as hard as the work was, however long the hours and thick the traffic and the stress of constantly revamping procedures trying to make it all work, "It felt good to do it," air traffic controller Nic Bordelon told AVweb yesterday. "It was our contribution to the relief effort," he says, but besides that, it was a "pride thing." For a couple of weeks little podunk Baton Rouge was handling almost as many operations per day as JFK ... up to 1,400 or 1,600 and more, up from the usual 300 or so on a typical day, Bordelon said. "That's a lot of traffic." A lot of helicopters flew in -- 40 or 50 UH-50s, and a lot of civilian helicopters, too, "JetRangers and things we'd never seen here before," Bordelon said. "They were all over the place." Taxiways became parking areas. President Bush flew in once or twice, Bordelon said, but even that didn't slow things down. John Travolta flew in his 707 full of relief supplies. From all over, 737s, DC9s, MD80s, C130s, full of supplies, lined up to land.
At the height of the storm, the tower lost electricity overnight, Bordelon said, but it was back by the next morning. The homes of controllers who work at the facility all are intact, he said, though some lost power for up to four days. In the first couple of days after the storm, he and two other BTR staffers went to New Orleans to help out, but were quickly recalled when traffic began to mount at Baton Rouge.
The Baton Rouge tower now is staffed with four positions, up from two, and the radar room has five, up from three. The new staffers came from New Orleans Lakefront Airport, where the ATC facilities remain closed, and two volunteers from Dallas-Fort Worth. Even with the extra staff -- who spent a couple of weeks in RVs parked outside, until hotel rooms could be found for them -- controllers have been working mandatory overtime to keep everything running. Traffic has slowed down, but it's still at least double what it was pre-Katrina, and it may stay elevated for quite a while. Or even forever -- the population of Baton Rouge has just about doubled with evacuees from New Orleans. Nobody knows how many of them will stay, or how they will affect traffic at the airport over the longer term. "There's just a lot of things are in a gray area right now, looking into the future," Bordelon said. The airport could become a major commuter hub for the Gulf Coast region in the years to come as the entire area recovers and rebuilds.
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
Under changes recently enacted in Congress, the Internal Revenue Service can collect an additional 24.4 cents per gallon in taxes on Jet A aviation fuel, apparently due to concerns that highway operators are avoiding taxes on diesel fuel by buying Jet A to burn in their trucks. Thus, aviation users, unless they are buying the fuel under certain circumstances that are not yet clearly defined, must also pay the extra 24.4 cents and then apply for a refund. If it seems a bit like guilty till proven innocent, well, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) don't like it either. They've asked the IRS to delay implementing the tax changes until the whole process is clearly explained. Meanwhile, NBAA and NATA have formed a working group along with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, tax experts, FBOs, air-charter operators and private aircraft owner-operators to work on strategies to mitigate the effects of the change. According to NATA, the authors of this provision believed that a significant amount of aviation fuel is being fraudulently diverted to highway truck use, but there is little evidence of such diversion. The new rules are due to take effect Oct. 1.
Marta Bohn-Meyer, 48, chief engineer at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., died Sunday morning when the Giles G-300 she was flying crashed as she was beginning an aerobatic practice routine near the C.E. Page Airport in Oklahoma. Bohn-Meyer was the first female crewmember from NASA or the Air Force -- and the second woman -- to fly in the supersonic SR-71, and was active throughout her career as a mentor to women in aviation. She was married to fellow pilot and aeronautical engineer Bob Meyer, who also works at Dryden. She was practicing for the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship, to be held next week in Texas. An early report said a witness saw something fall from the aircraft shortly after takeoff.
"Marta Bohn-Meyer was an extraordinarily talented individual and a most trusted technical expert and manager at NASA Dryden," said Kevin Petersen, director of the research center. "She committed her life and career to aviation and the advancement of aeronautics and space in the United States. We at Dryden will miss her tremendously." Among other honors, in 1996 she received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal "for exceptional service in flight operations and project management in support of several national flight research programs." She was also awarded the Aerospace Educator Award in 1998 from Women in Aerospace and in 1992 received the Arthur C. Fleming Award in the Scientific Category. She was an active member of Women in Aviation, International, and attended the group's International Conference nearly every year. "Marta was never shy about mentoring other women engineers, or women interested in building their own aircraft, or women interested in aerobatics. She was there for all of them," WAI spokeswoman Amy Laboda told AVweb on Tuesday. The crash is being investigated by the FAA.
|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 schedule for the Fly Columbia Tour, an interactive Columbia experience, is posted online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/columbia/avflash.
Instructor Jason Messenger and his student were landing at New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) Airport last Friday morning, when they ran into a problem -- the gear was down on their Cessna 172RG, but not locked. After an hour or so spent trying various fixes, they made a plan with the help of three airport workers to try hooking the errant gear into place from a speeding Jeep. "I had heard of it being done one time before and it seemed like a logical step to do at the time," said Jeep driver Danny Perna. Perna sped down the runway as the Cessna flew above at about a dozen feet off the ground. On the fourth try, the two men in the back of the Jeep were able to hook the gear with a fireman's pole. Messenger said, "I was in the right seat so I could look out the window and see them working on it, and we heard it click when they got it down." The airplane landed safely. Nonetheless, "It's not something, from a safety standpoint, we would promote under normal circumstances," New Smyrna Beach spokesperson Shannon Lewis told WFTV.
Summer and fall are prime flying time, so the FAA has made available a 12-page safety briefing to remind pilots about the causes of accidents and how to prevent them. "General Aviation Common Safety Challenges 2005" identifies stalls and loss of horizon as key areas of concern and provides some tips for avoiding the most common mistakes. To prevent stalls, the booklet says, know your aircraft's performance and maintain your airspeed when operating close to the ground. "Don't get 'low and slow' during takeoff and landing. Do not exceed 30 degrees of bank in the traffic pattern," the FAA says. (The FAA, there to help.) To prevent a loss of horizon, non-instrument-rated pilots should avoid flying in clouds, and be wary of hazy conditions, especially over water or over sparsely inhabited terrain, flight at night, and blowing snow or dust. The pamphlet's information was provided by the FAA's Small Aircraft Directorate.
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT
With fleets of very light jets ready to come on the market in the next few years, many operators are planning to use them in the development of point-to-point air-taxi systems. Aerobatic pilot Mike Goulian and partner Bill Herp have the same idea, but they've decided to jump the gun and start building their business now, using the VLJ-air-taxi model but flying four Cessna Grand Caravan turboprops. And it seems to be working. In their first year of operation, Linear Air has grown from two employees to 25. Based at Hanscom Field, just outside of Boston, Mass., the company flies weekenders to Nantucket in summer and the New Hampshire ski resorts in winter, and zips business commuters to White Plains and Teterboro, near New York City. Passengers can charter the airplane to fly anywhere in the Northeast for about $750 per hour, or they can buy a single seat. The company has 25 Eclipse 500 jets on order, but will continue to operate the Caravans to accommodate larger loads or shorter runways.
It's been known for 15 years exactly where a B-25C bomber rested on the bottom of Lake Murray, 150 feet deep, and finally, about 9 o'clock Monday night, a crane lifted it to the surface, as hundreds watched from shore. The operation had taken 10 years of planning and about a week of work at the South Carolina site by a team of several dozen people. The bomber ditched during a training mission on April 4, 1943, but the crew escaped safely. Monday night, the workers drained water and about 800 gallons of fuel from the wreck and then lowered it into a cradle. Over the rest of this week, the airplane will be taken apart, and then it will be shipped to the Southern Museum of Flight, in Birmingham, Ala., for restoration. Eventually it will become the centerpiece of a new wing at the museum. It's said to be one of the oldest B-25 bombers in existence. On Tuesday, crews found five machine guns and a World War II bomber jacket at the site. Bob Siegler, leader of the recovery expedition, said more dives will continue to search for a propeller and other artifacts. The right engine was separated from the airframe and its location is unknown.
|ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS AND PILOTS!|
The Piper Flyer Association (PFA) 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 Piper aircraft. Join the Piper Flyer Association (PFA) today as they build the ultimate Piper Association. The PFA is now located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ in Waupaca, WI, just 35 NW of Oshkosh). Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pfa/avflash.
A JetBlue Airbus A320 circled near LAX for about three hours burning fuel before landing with a nose-gear that had wheels turned perpendicular to the aircraft's body. Of 146 aboard none suffered serious injury as a result of the uneventful (if spark-filled and tire-burning) landing, and millions got to see it on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC...
AOPA Air Safety Foundation's free Mountain Flying course went online in June, and already 4,000 pilots have taken the course, the ASF said last week...
EAA says ongoing FAA scrutiny of the 51-percent homebuilders rule won't result in any drastic changes regarding the construction or certification of amateur-built aircraft...
NASA on Monday released its plans for the next generation of spacecraft that will take humans to the Moon and beyond...
Boeing on Tuesday forecast that China will buy 2,600 new airplanes worth $213 billion over the next 20 years...
The FAA proposed yesterday to require airlines to have cameras or other ways for the flight crew to monitor the cabin, and ways for flight attendants to discreetly alert the pilots to any security threats...
The New Hampshire Aviation Society dedicated a site last week for its new Museum, in Londonderry...
Actor Brad Pitt, apparently impressed by girlfriend Angelina Jolie's ability to pilot her own Cirrus, has signed up for flying lessons, the Sunday Mirror reported.
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.
|LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT TRANSPONDERS!|
Narco Avionics proudly announces the availability of their all-new Value Series plug-and-play line of Digital Transponders. The Value Series is designed for the cost-conscious owner. Narco's Value Series line of plug-and-play transponders includes the AT165/VS (a replacement for the AT50 through AT155), the AT165/KA/VS (a replacement for the KT76A/78A), and the AT165/K/VS (a replacement for the KT76/78). Coming Soon: Narco's AT165/C and AT165/C/VS, plug-and-play replacements for the ARC (Cessna) RT359A/RT459A. SPECIAL: Purchase an AT165 and get an AR850 for $99. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/narco/avflash.
As the Beacon Turns #93: A Night With Katrina
A hurricane is never to be trifled with -- on the ground or in the air. But AVweb's Michael Maya Charles traversed the remnants of a hurricane and reports that it can be done. Until he saw lightning ...
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PILOT GETAWAYS' SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ISSUE TAKES YOU TO:
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked how much you'd be willing to pay in proposed user fees.
The answer, we discovered, is Not much. 57% of those who responded to our last poll felt they already paid for "extra" services through fuel taxes, and another 22% of you said you flat-out refused to pay the government to continue operating inefficiently. That covered a full 79% of those of who participated in last week's poll!
What about the other 21% of readers? 5% were willing to pay a maximum of $50 per year, 6% were willing to go up to $100, and a mere 3% were willing to go to $200 per year
7% of you said I'll stop flying before I pay for services I don't use.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
Last week, AVweb asked what your personal threshold is with regard to user fees. This week, we want to know how high avgas would have to rise before you considered giving up flying.
All other things being equal, how high could (sustained) fuel prices go before you gave up flying?
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
This address is only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or comments.
Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Hot-cha! In recent weeks, we've moaned and complained about the dropping number of "POTW" submissions though, oddly, the quality of submissions has been soaring. Well, folks, our complaining is over. This week, we received nearly 100 entries that's more like it! and all of them held to the high standard we've come to expect. (Oh, we are spoiled!)
So settle in and get ready for some amazing aviation photos, brought to us by talented AVweb readers from across the world. We'll start you out with a rousing (and official AVweb baseball cap-winning) take-off from Bob Tripp of Friday Harbor, Washington.
Wondering why we've gone back to the simple image-only pop-up windows this week? Read our "Technical Notes" sidebar for the full story!
Used with permission of Bob Tripp
Bob Tripp of Friday Harbor, Washington
caught this dramatic moment at a small private strip
(i.e. a farm) just a few days ago. Bob's quick shutter
finger paid off with a top-spot win in this week's "POTW" contest.
Watch your mailbox, Bob an official AVweb baseball cap is on its way!
Click here to view a large version of this image
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.
Used with permission of Michael Montgomery
Fred Johnson of Oldsmar, Florida
took this photo at a hangar in Bessemer, Alabama.
He and a co-pilot had just dropped off a family from
Baton Rouge when they spotted this grand lady in
the corner having some modern avionics installed.
copyright © Bill Langton
"Rare Bear Wins Gold!"
Bill Langton of Truckee, California
was at this year's Reno Air Races,
where he captured this fantastic image
of Lyle Shelton's Rare Bear.
Great photo, Bill!
Because you were good to us this week,
we're returning the favor with extra pictures.
with permission of
"Sun Shines on Ron Spriggs"
Robert P. Strickland of Elgin, Illinois
had Tuskegee Airman Ron Spriggs pose
for a photo at the new Tuskegee exhibit at
Fantasy of Flight in Orlando, Florida.
Used with permission of John Endter
"Rush Hour in Reno"
John Endter of Minden, Nevada
aslo made it out to Reno for the Air Races
this year. He tells us this photo was taken
during the T-6 Silver Series, as the racers
were rounding Pylon Number 7.
Used with permission of Scott Johnson
"All Champs Go to Heaven"
Two sunny reflections in one week?
Afraid so, gentle reader but when the second
image is as breath-taking as this one from
Scott Johnson of Milan, Michigan,
can anyone really complain?
The photo was taken at Honey Acres, Michigan,
as Scott and his traveling companions were
waiting for the morning fog to burn off.
Used with permission of Frank Ramos
Frank Ramos of Mississauga, Ontario (Canada)
(our new "POTW" capital) sees us off this week
with an inspirational image of a father and daughter
riding the winds above the Argentinian Andes.
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
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.
Reader mail this week about Sport Pilot, shooting at crop dusters, provocative Questions of the Week and more.
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
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