November 23, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... LightSPEED Aviation
The owner of Potomac Airfield says he hopes the airport will be reopened within two weeks after being closed for a month by the Transportation Security Administration. Owner David Wartofsky said the closure resulted from allegations that the required ground security wasn't in place. That prompted a visit from TSA inspectors who decided Potomac's paperwork wasn't in order and closed the field. Wartofsky said he's been in discussions with the TSA ever since and he's hopeful the airport will be reinspected and found in compliance by early December. Although many of the aircraft based at Potomac took advantage of TSA-approved access days to fly their airplanes out of the closed airport, Wartofsky said there are still aircraft there. The closure prompted protests from many aviation groups.
Wartofsky, who has been a vocal and passionate spokesman on the security measures that have been imposed on his facility and the Washington area in general, said the closure of his airport cleared the way for a broader discussion of the security issues in the capital area. Although he said he couldn't discuss specifics, Wartofsky said the closure has illuminated some more rational approaches to making the system work for all interested parties. "Issues have been brought before a broader spectrum of people who should have known about them before," he said. He also said it sometimes takes an incident like the airport closure to get people thinking about alternatives to the status quo. "These kinds of insights only come from stirring the pot," he said. Wartofsky said the TSA's security requirements are based on the hurriedly assembled security provisions that were "slapped together" in the days following 9/11. Since then, he said, experience has shown operators within the Washington security net better ways to achieve seemingly mutually exclusive objectives. "There are elements of it that are essential to maintaining capital airspace security and freedom that were not in that original document," he said. Wartofsky said he's hopeful the various agencies can eventually agree to a revised set of regulations that make it easier for everyone, including pilots and the businesses that serve them.
Meanwhile, the president is expected to sign a bill that includes $5 million in compensation for Potomac Airfield, College Park and Washington Executive-Hyde Field and businesses operating at them to help cover losses incurred immediately after 9/11. The airports, which are within the 15-mile Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) around Washington, were closed for about six months after the attacks and were subject to tight security requirements after the ban was lifted. Wartofksy called it a "good-hearted attempt" by the government to help the airports and businesses out. He said the main credit goes to three Maryland politicians who refused to let the compensation issue die. He said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Democratic Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barb Mikulski and their staffs deserve credit for "riding this horse home." Apportioning the money will be the next step and Wartofsky agreed there isn't enough there to cover everyone's losses. "I would make a guess the TSA has spent more money studying it," he said.
THIS HOLIDAY, GIVE THE PILOT IN YOUR LIFE
As if proving that tax money deployed in one sector must be clawed away from another, provisions of a Senate version of a funding bill that could soon be passed could have a major impact on business aviation operations, according to the National Business Aviation Association. In a "call to action" to its members that includes a "fill-in-the-blanks" online form letter, NBAA President Ed Bolen says the bill includes provisions to expand the limitations on entertainment use of company aircraft to all employees instead of just senior executives and it also increases taxes on some uses of company planes. Bolen claims the added tax burden "will reduce business aviation activity, impacting tens of thousands of individual employees." He said it's now up to members to ensure their own federal representatives are aware of the impact of the bill. "NBAA's Members are critical to communicating the industry's views with Congress," Bolen said. "I urge all of our Members to voice their concerns about these proposals with their members of Congress."
While the White House was trying to cut FAA spending (perhaps the source of much of this year's funding angst at the agency), the House of Representatives is apparently not thinking that way. Last week, the House approved $14.3 billion for the FAA's 2006 budget, $235 million more than last year and a full $1 billion more than the administration has asked for. According to NBAA's assessment of the bill, which will be considered by the Senate next month, about 30 percent of the $8.19 billion set aside for operations will come from general revenue while the balance will be generated through taxes collected under the Airport and Airways Trust Fund. The FAA budget also includes $3.55 billion for airport improvements and $2.5 billion for equipment and facilities as part of the agency's modernization. A total of 595 new air traffic controllers will be hired and trained at a cost of $25 million and there's $12 million going to hire more certification and safety inspectors.
As part of an overall funding bill covering Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Senate/House conference committee that put together the final document urged the FAA to get cracking on replacing outdated air traffic control displays at Chicago, Denver, St. Louis and Minneapolis. According to Government Computer News, the bill contains $20 million for the new gear and the FAA had planned to award the contract in early 2007. The conference committee wants the money spent sooner rather than later. "The conferees are concerned that the competition for the replacement of these four aging systems, which is only being offered to a limited number of vendors, is expected to take up to 15 months," the conference report said. "The conferees encourage FAA to expedite consideration of proposals and make an award or awards, as the case may be, as soon as possible."
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Survivors of a couple of high-profile Cirrus parachute deployments resumed flying shortly after their mishaps and say they'll keep flying Cirruses. Albert Kolk, the Canadian rancher whose SR20 parachuted to safety April 8, 2004, in the rugged Monashee Mountains of south central British Columbia, told AVweb his plane is undergoing repairs and he hopes to have it back by Christmas. According to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board report on the incident, the plane went into a spiral dive while flying on autopilot at about 9,500 feet. Kolk pulled the chute and he and three other occupants stepped out of the aircraft on a rockslide near Edgewood, B.C. Ilan Reich, who blacked out at the controls of his SR22 and decided to pull the chute over Haverstraw, N.Y., has purchased a fractional share in another SR22 and is flying regularly with an instructor while he waits to get his medical back. After rescue workers plucked Reich out of the creek where his plane landed last July, an emergency-room doctor told him he had a massive brain tumor. The tumor was removed in August and, after undergoing rehabilitation to fix the paralysis of his right side that ensued, Reich has recently been able to resume flying. The FAA won't look at reissuing his medical until 2007 but Reich, along with his instructor, are still punching holes in the sky. "I hope to fly my first Angel Flight mission since the crash in early December," he told AVweb.
The numbers game that seems to take over the big commercial air shows again dominated Dubai's extravaganza this week. Assuming those numbers are solid, you couldn't really call anyone a loser as Boeing and Airbus total up the billions in orders they claim to have sealed at the show. Airbus says it took 82 orders in Dubai and Boeing is saying it sold 68, but that's in addition to the 70 orders it took out of China during the same week. The totals? $17 billion for Boeing and about $10 billion for Airbus. Not a bad business week. According to a tally by Bloomberg News, Boeing has taken 659 orders so far this year and Airbus 494. Airbus has led the orders race in recent years. Now, fuel prices are driving a new airliner boom. Airlines are anxious to retire their kerosene guzzlers for more efficient new aircraft and that plays right into Boeing's strategy behind its first new design in 15 years, the 787 Dreamliner. "I'm confident the 787 is a game-changing airplane," said John Plueger, CEO of International Lease, which ordered 20 Dreamliners. Airbus is launching the A350 series in direct competition with the 787 but it will be two years behind the Boeing's 2008 entry to service. Boeing is the U.S.'s largest exporter and when production was curtailed in September because of a machinists' strike, much of the drop in U.S. exports for the month was attributed to the strike.
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
An Alaska jury has determined that Cessna Caravans do not have a design flaw that led to the deaths of 10 people in a crash near Dillingham, Alaska, in 2001. The verdict came within hours of the crash of a similar aircraft near Moscow, attributed by Russian media to icing that killed eight people. In early October, a Caravan went down in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and ice was also cited as a possible contributing factor. The pilot of that aircraft was also killed. In the Alaska case, the crash victims' families tried to convince the jury that the plane has design flaws that make it more susceptible to ice accretion. Last spring, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive making a tactile examination of the plane's lifting surfaces mandatory in icing conditions. According to KTUU TV in Anchorage, there are at least eight more icing-related suits involving Caravans underway in the U.S. The station said that as of December 2004, the NTSB had counted 26 icing-related Caravan accidents, resulting in 36 fatalities.
Complex things come in small packages these days and Aspen Avionics has earned an FAA Type Standard Order (TSO) for a moving-map terrain-and-obstacle-awareness display that fits where your steam-driven vertical speed indicator now resides in your panel. Oh, the new instrument has an electronic VSI, too. The AT300 Hazard Awareness Display has many of the features of big flat-panel Electronic Flight Information Systems (EFIS) and Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicators (EHSI) but it fits in a three-inch instrument hole. That means the whole panel doesn't have to be reworked to get the additional situation awareness, said Aspen President Peter Lyons. The device shows the pilot current and next navigation legs overlaid on a color-coded terrain and obstacle map. It also provides a constant display of altitude above ground level. The AT300 must be connected to an approved panel-mounted GPS.
JOIN AOPA: THE REAL-TIME FLIGHT PLANNER IS WORTH THE DUES ALONE!
Our story in Monday's edition of AVweb about the planned flight of XCOR's rocket-powered Long-EZ reminded one of our readers of an obscure historical event -- the first American manned flight of an aircraft propelled by rocket thrust alone -- which was flown in California on Aug. 23, 1941, in a humble Ercoupe. The propeller of the Ercoupe was removed and 12 rockets installed. The Ercoupe was pulled by a truck to a speed of about 25 mph. Capt. Homer Boushey released the tether, fired the rockets, and climbed to about 10 or 20 feet, then landed straight ahead on the runway. An Ercoupe was also used prior to that in a successful test of rocket-assisted takeoff, with three rockets strapped beneath each wing. The airplane took off in only 300 feet and 7.5 seconds instead of its usual 581 feet and 13.1 seconds.
The National Aeronautic Association will hold an awards extravaganza, "A Spectrum of Achievement," on Dec. 5, in Arlington, Va. -- and you're invited. The NAA promises hundreds of aviation luminaries and dozens of award-winners and record-setters for this event, the final celebration of the group's 100th anniversary. Awards recognize accomplishments such as Steve Fossett's record-breaking flight around the world and Scaled Composites' achievement of private space flight. Others to be recognized for their achievements include aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff, flight instructor Martha King, balloonists Carol Rymer Davis and Richard Abruzzo, and helicopter crews who served in Iraq. To RSVP or for more information, please visit the NAA Web site or call 703-527-0226. Also, the Helicopter Association International will hold a "Salute to Excellence" banquet and awards ceremony on Feb. 27, 2006, in Dallas, Texas. The organization this week announced its award winners, honoring achievements by individuals or companies in the civil helicopter industry. The Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service this year goes to all those who took part in the Hurricane Katrina rescue and relief effort.
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A French tourist has been given a stern warning by an Australian judge to "behave yourself" on airplanes after she apparently tried to open a door in flight to have a cigarette. Sadrine Helene Sellies, 34, was also ordered to post a $1,000 AUD bond that she'll get back as long as she doesn't try something like that again in the next year. Through an interpreter, Sellies told the court she's terrified of flying and consumed alcohol and sleeping pills before walking to the exit, cigarette in hand, and trying to move the handle. She was spotted by a flight attendant and put back in her seat. Sellies said she doesn't remember anything about the flight.
A Boeing 777 with wheel pants? NASA recently fitted an All Nippon Airways 777 with a "toboggan-shaped fairing" aimed at reducing wind noise when the plane is landing. Along with devices added to engine nacelles and nozzles, the researchers were able to measurably reduce the interior and "community" noise of the stock airliner
A pilot was killed after two helicopters collided near a helipad at Miami-Homestead Speedway in Florida. One chopper was taking off and the other landing when the accident occurred. The aircraft were being used to shuttle drivers from the track after a race
Two occupants of a homebuilt tried to parachute from the stricken aircraft last week but they were too low for the chutes to deploy. Media reports suggest the engine on the Legend failed after takeoff and it crashed off the end of the runway at La Cholla Airpark, near Tucson. Both men died
The oldest avionics company in the world turned 60 this month. Narco, which started out in the back of a store as the National Aeronautical Radio Corporation in Collingswood, N.J., in 1945, has counted numerous product firsts in six decades John Travolta has offered to fly the Australian soccer team to Germany to compete in the 2006 World Cup. Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston watched the team qualify in Sydney and made the offer "to play my part for Australia."
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DON'T BUY AN AIRCRAFT WITHOUT CHECKING WITH CS&A'S INSURANCE PROS!
The Savvy Aviator #25: Buying The Right Airplane
You're in the market to buy a used airplane. You look in Trade-A-Plane and find a lot from which to choose. AVweb's Mike Busch has some thoughts about which to consider, and which to pass by.
A HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA FOR AVIATION ENTHUSIASTS
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FLYING THE LEGENDARY DC-3, A NEW DVD, PUTS YOU IN THE COCKPIT
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb wondered just how many pilots are actually conversant with lightgun signals.
Just over half of those who answered have more than a passing familiarity with lightguns. 41% of the total number of respondents told us they had actually used lightgun signals in a real-world situation. Another 11% were familiar with lightguns and their use from training.
On the other end of the spectrum, 15% of respondents told us they could identify and explain the signals, even though they've never used lightguns. Another 22% confessed to not knowing the signals but keeping an aid in the cockpit when they're flying.
A mere 5% of those polled said they don't know the meaning of the signals and don't have a reference for them in their cockpit.
And 7% told us only that they have never used lightguns.
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As most of our readership knows, today is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. a national holiday of appreciation and thankfulness. In that spirit, we'd like to take a quick moment to say "thank you" to all our readers for participating in the "Picture of the Week" contest. If we could budget for enough hats, we'd send one to everyone who's ever submitted a photo or commented on this feature or just took a moment to let us know how much they enjoy it every week. It's a bit of work at times, but it remains one of our favorite features, due to the amazing submissions of readers like you. So before we get started: Thanks for giving us so many cool photos to look at this year.
Now, on to the weekly photo fun! Jay Honeck of Iowa City takes the top spot this week and will be receiving an official AVweb baseball cap sometime next week for his efforts. Remember: To qualify for a shot at the cap (or a feature spot right here on our "POTW" page), all you have to do is submit your aviation photos.
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Jay Honeck
"Blue Angels at Milwaukee Air Show '05"
Jay Honeck of Iowa City, Iowa wants to write this
photo off as "just a lucky shot, with perfect clouds and lighting!"
We'll agree that the clouds and lighting are perfect and we'll
even go so far as to say there was some luck in getting
the shot but we object the use of the word just.
There's nothing "just" about his amazing photo, Jay
and to prove it, we're making your Blue Angels shot
our Thanksgiving Day "Picture of the Week."
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.
Used with permission of Wayne C. Norris
"Love the Red, White, and Blue"
Wayne C. Norris of Liberty, Indiana
has a few things to be thankful for today
particularly, that DR109 in his front yard.
Robert L. Burns
"Blue on Blue"
Robert Burns of Mauckport, Indiana
sends us this mages of Christine St. Onge
"in her beautiful Beech C17B Staggerwing at
Beech Party 2004" in Tullahoma, Tennessee.
We have to agree with Robert that's a
sharp paint job Ms. St. Onge is sporting.
A little something extra
to be thankful for today:
Used with permission of George Mock
"As High as GM"
George Mock of Windsor, Ontario (Canada)
has been flying up and down the Detroit River
with his buddies again. Thankfully, George has been
kind enough to share several of the photos his trips
up and down the river have produced including
this one of Bill Ludwig passing by the Detroit RenCen
in his Pitts S-1T. George muses, "[I] wonder if any of
the office workers look out and see us going by
figuring they are as high up as we are."
"Bath Time at NRT for this 747-400"
Anthony Garcia of Minneapolis, Minnesota
was taking some shots of this 747 from the observation
deck when he noticed the hand and water bottle
then the co-worker in the cockpit running the wipers.
with permission of
Christopher Salazar of Billings, Montana
works as an America West express ramper,
which (we'd imagine) gives him plenty of
opportunities for great airplane shots.
This one (one of UPS's A300s) was too
good an opportunity to pass up and we're
glad Christopher was there with his camera.
"Fly with a Friend"
We're guilty of enjoying "cute" airplane
pictures a little too much sometimes, but this one
from Chuck Charles of Inverness, Florida
had us rolling in the aisles. His only comment on
this picture was "Shadow and Tailwheel out for a little fun."
Maybe it should be obvious like Starsky and Hutch but
which one's Shadow, and which one's Tailwheel?
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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