Number 49a — December 5, 2005|
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|This issue of AVweb's AVflash is
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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
PILOT REPORTS "SMOKE TRAIL"...
An American Airlines pilot departing from Los Angeles International
Airport told air traffic controllers that a missile had been fired at
his aircraft and missed, a local ABC News affiliate reported last
week. The pilot said he saw a smoke trail pass by the cockpit as the
airplane climbed out over the ocean. FBI agents and Homeland Security
officials investigated last weekend and said it was probably a flare
or a [very impressive] bottle rocket, but they may never know for
sure, according to KYW Newsradio 1060. The flight was en route to
Chicago and proceeded without further incident. More...
SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM STALLS...
Although both BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman say they will be ready
to produce workable missile-defense systems for airliners by January,
so far there is no funding available and no mandate that would require
airlines to utilize such defenses, The Associated Press reported last week. Several
bills pending in Congress would require the systems be carried -- at
least on some flights -- but the airlines have balked at cost and
maintenance issues, and complain that the systems are too unreliable.
Both systems under development use lasers to jam the guidance systems
of incoming missiles. More...
CABIN CREWS BALK AT TSA'S LATEST CHANGES
When the Transportation Security Administration announced new passenger-screening procedures and a
revised prohibited-items list last week, the Air Line Pilots
Association thought it was a good idea. "We feel it's a move in the
right direction," Bob Hesselbein, chairman of ALPA's security
committee, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We have to keep the
focus on the facts of the terrorists and the techniques they use, not
on our fears of what they could do." The new list will allow small
scissors and screwdrivers on board. However, the Association of Flight
Attendants whose members work in the passenger cabin, while
pilots operate behind locked doors -- opposes the change.
TAKES ON GA WEATHER HAZARDS...
Typically, the NTSB reports on flight risks after reviewing a set of
relevant accidents, but for its latest report, released last week, the board has
implemented a new methodology. The new "case-control"
statistical-analysis approach was used in a study of GA
weather-related accidents, comparing a group of accident flights to a
matching group of non-accident flights in an effort to identify
patterns of variables that distinguish the two groups from each other.
The advantage, the NTSB says, is that instead of focusing on factors
that accidents have in common -- and possibly being misled by
characteristics common to most pilots and flights -- it identifies
characteristics that set accidents apart and contribute to their
For this study, NTSB investigators collected data from 72 GA accidents
that occurred between August 2003 and April 2004. An additional 135
safe flights that were conducted in the same area and time as the
accident flights were also studied. The analysis showed that risk
factors associated with flying in instrument weather conditions or low
visibility include: 1) pilot age and training-related differences; 2)
pilot testing, accident, and incident history; and 3) pilot weather
briefing sources and methods. The board recommended that the FAA
should beef up weather-related portions of the Airman Knowledge Tests
and flight reviews, develop a means to identify at-risk pilots and
target them for intervention, and improve the delivery of weather
information to pilots. More...
FAA STANDS FIRM ON CARAVAN ICING AD
The FAA has no plans to revise recent Airworthiness Directives that
require a tactile check by pilots to prevent icing problems on the
Cessna Model 208 Caravan, the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association
(RACCA) said on Friday. RACCA representatives met with the FAA in
mid-November and told the agency that the requirement that pilots must
physically inspect the airframe for ice contamination within five
minutes of takeoff was impractical at most airports. Since such
inspections would likely have to take place in run-up areas, where
lighting is often poor and other aircraft are operating, "the cure is
seemingly more dangerous to pilots than the disease," RACCA said.
AIRBUS' GLASS COCKPIT GOES DARK
Picture this ... you're the captain of an Airbus A319-131, and you've
just taken off from London into a clear night sky, bound for Budapest
with 76 passengers on board. Approaching FL200, you hear a "CLUNK" and
the cockpit goes dark. No autopilot, no multi-function displays, no
radios, just a bit of backup lighting. An airline pilot must now
actually fly the airplane. As your co-pilot starts down the checklist,
you take manual control of the airplane, and fly by the night horizon
outside and what backup instruments you can see. Two minutes into the
checklist, the co-pilot pushes a button, and all whirrs back into
bright life. That's what happened during a very long two minutes on
Oct. 5. More...
With 800 jets sold already this year and some big orders pending,
Boeing is closing in on surpassing its peak of 877 sales, set back in
1988. But in the manufacturing world, big orders can be a mixed
blessing. Back in the late 1990s, high demand cost Boeing billions of
dollars when the company ran up against a shortage of materials and an
abundance of production problems. The company leadership remembers
those days all too well, spokesman Craig Martin told MarketWatch. "They are -- to a person --
determined it will never happen again, and particularly not on their
watch." Much of the sales boom is being driven by growth abroad.
ZULUWORKS IS NEW AND
Zuluworks has not only treated themselves
to a little digital makeover, but have re-tooled their product line as
well. The new Gazelle is the ultimate flight bag with 3,200 cubic
inches of versatility and style. Zuluworks has also added the
super-popular Mimi-Z kneeboard at 50% smaller than the original
Zuluboard, but still packing the same punch. And the original
Zuluboard has never looked so good, with new styling and sixteen new
color choices. Click on the web site and take a look at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/zulu/avflash.
FACES FEDERAL CHARGES OF LYING ON MEDICAL
A commercial pilot from Centerville, Mass., has been charged in federal court with four counts of
making false statements on FAA medical forms, U.S. Attorney Michael J.
Sullivan said on Friday. The 53-year-old pilot lied on four
first-class medical FAA forms, Sullivan alleged. If convicted, the
pilot faces up to five years in prison followed by three years of
supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by
the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector
General, Investigations Division. It is being prosecuted by Sullivan's
Major Crimes Unit in Boston. More...
TO FAA -- HANDS OFF GA
When it's not airspace grabs, it's user-fee threats -- that's AOPA's
take on the FAA these days. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey spoke to
the Aero Club in Washington, D.C., last Monday, and expressed what is
by now a familiar theme -- the Aviation Trust Fund faces imminent doom
and a new funding system is essential. "You do the math," she said.
"The equation doesn't work." AOPA was quick to respond. "Others have done the math,
including the White House's Office of Management and Budget," AOPA
said at its Web site. The OMB predicts continued trust fund growth.
The FAA's authority to collect aviation ticket and fuel taxes will
expire in 2007, and Blakey wants to replace the current funding
LANDINGS IN THE WORKS (FOR MILITARY FLYERS)
The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,
in Ohio, is working to develop technology that will enable the Air
Mobility Command to land in a range of environmental conditions,
anytime and anywhere, the Air Force said last week. An onboard system
will process data picked up by imaging radar to generate a near
real-time three-dimensional video image on a heads-up display. The
image will be enhanced to appear as if the pilot were landing in
daytime conditions on a typical visual approach, the Air Force said.
The system would allow for landing in low visibility at remote runways
that lack navigation aids. More...
WORKING ON AGRICULTURAL UAVS
Unmanned aerial vehicles have been attracting more and more attention
in recent years, mainly for applications in military reconnaissance
and border patrol. But down under in Australia, a new research center
is aiming in a new direction. "People are talking about using them for
so-called armchair farming," says Rod Walker, director of the
brand-new Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation that
opened at Brisbane Airport last Thursday. Farmers with large
properties could send out cheap UAVs to find where the stock is, or to
collect data on crops to improve management and productivity, Walker
told ABC Newsonline. And protecting the country's
borders is on the agenda too More...
A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR
Version 6 of WxServer just hit the 'Net,
and it's chock full of new features. A simpler, more powerful
menu structure makes WxServer easier to use than ever before.
NexRad radar maps and satellite pictures are now zoomable. And the new
WxServer takes maximum advantage of whatever screen size your phone
has available. Put NexRad maps centered on every US airport,
satellite pictures centered on more than 95% of airports worldwide,
METARs, TAFs, and even Winds Aloft maps in your pocket. Aviation
weather that's ready when you need it on the tarmac, in the
run-up area, or at unattended grass strips. SPECIAL: AVweb readers receive $10
off the regular annual subscription rate at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.
AD targets 40 faulty propeller hubs from McCauley Propeller
Around-the-world helicopter flight to raise funds for
Raytheon last week won its biggest-ever order, $1
billion in jets...
Flight Aware Web site offers free live online
A 1981 Piper Seneca stolen in Bahamas last
LAX to scrap 11 years of planning and start
Pilot Journey to take over marketing and sales for Liberty
First G1000 Diamond Star delivered in Australia.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
to know about? If it caught your eye, it will interest someone else.
Submit news tips via email to email@example.com. You're a part
of our team ... often, the best part. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #10: Baffling
We squeeze engines into tight, streamlined cowls
and allow the least amount of (drag-producing) cooling air through
there because what we really want is speed. But even tiny leaks in
baffles can have huge effects on engine cooling and, therefore, engine
longevity as Marc Cook discusses in this month's Motor Head column.
This opinion piece
from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is in
response to a letter from an AVweb reader about recent negotiations
between the FAA and NATCA.
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
December 5, 2005
Reader mail this week about flight
service, Airbus ADs, controller pay negotiations and more.
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ATTENTION, BARON AND CESSNA 310 OWNERS NEWS FROM
A new STC has been approved to McCauley
Propeller Systems for installation of a new three-bladed
propeller. Replace your old threaded propellers with the new
Blackmac propeller. The Blackmac provides operators with
an average weight savings of 10 pounds, longer TBOs, and fewer ADs
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ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME YOU CHOOSE SOMETHING
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Submitted by a heavy iron driver.
After landing on RWY 30 the other day I began to taxi to the gate when
I noticed a beautiful red fox strolling across the taxiway.
Me: Hey, Ground. Did you know you have foxes here on the
Ground: Oh, sure, plenty of them. I'm surprised you knew
it was a fox -- most pilots think they are wild dogs.
Me: Well, I've been to a bar or two. I know a fox when I
Female Voice: Then I guess you'd know a wild dog, too.
GIFT-GIVING MADE EASY
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SHORT STACK HAS ARRIVED FOR PIPERS & GRUMMANS AT POWER
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