AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 12, Number 42a

October 16, 2006

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Live, From Orlando back to top 

NBAA Convention 2006

The 59th National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention starts tomorrow, some version of the PiperJet is there (under wraps), a SATSair (Cirrus' recently acquired air taxi company) SR20 is on static display, HondaJet is on site, and AVweb will be there with daily coverage delivered to your inbox on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Exhibit floor and static display space at the convention is sold out in advance for the first time ever, with some 1,150 exhibitors and more than 115 aircraft on the grounds at the Orlando Executive Airport. On tap are new bizjets from Cessna, Raytheon, Gulfstream and Spectrum Aeronautical, as well as details on the personal jets from Cirrus Designs and Piper. News is already flowing from the soon-to-start show: Bombardier today announced Canadian certification for its Challenger 605, Pilatus said it chose the Honeywell Apex avionics for the next-gen PC-12 and Honeywell released its bizjet forecast calling for delivery of 12,000 new jets worth $195 billion over the next 10 years. Additionally, the alphabet groups will gather at the show to rally efforts to beat back the airlines' calls for new user fees to be placed on general and business aviation. If you can’t make it to Orlando for NBAA, then AVweb’s coverage is the next best thing.

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Could Have Been Worse, Says AOPA back to top 

New York TFR "Reasonable"

After about 36 hours of defending general aviation in the wake of the Cory Lidle crash on Wednesday, AOPA President Phil Boyer found something good to say about the FAA's imposition of flight restrictions in the narrow East River VFR corridor from which Lidle and his instructor Tyler Stanger strayed when Lidle's Cirrus SR20 hit an apartment building. "Considering all of the possible overreactions to the Lidle accident being demanded by some, the FAA's safety response is reasonable," AOPA President Phil Boyer said in a statement. "This provides some breathing room while the NTSB gathers the facts and arrives at an accident cause determination."

The TFR doesn't ban light aircraft from the Hudson River corridor or the East River. It requires those flying fixed-wing land aircraft to contact La Guardia tower (126.05) for authorization to enter the corridor and to remain under active control while in that area. (The corridor previously had its own self-announce frequency.) Seaplanes landing and taking off from the Skyports Inc. New York base are exempt, as are helicopters. And while Boyer seems hopeful the restrictions may be relaxed after the investigation reveals more details about the cause of the crash, the TFR itself offers no such optimism.

Mayor Bloomberg Tempers GA Criticism

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has distinguished himself amid a chorus of panic-button-pushing politicians by, in diplomatic terms, urging them to get a grip. Bloomberg, a pilot who's been in a couple of emergencies himself, was among the first on the scene of the crash (he lives in the neighborhood) and identified parts of the aircraft to rule out involvement of a helicopter. When the smoke had cleared, he told reporters he considered [pre-TFR] New York airspace safe. "We have very few accidents for an awful lot of traffic," he said. "Every time you have an automobile accident, you're not going to go and close the streets or prohibit people from driving." Bloomberg was effectively drowned out (and pushed to the end of most news stories) by the I-told-you-so invective of state and federal politicians. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who's tried various ways of ridding New York airspace of helicopters and small aircraft, set the tone. "A smart terrorist could load up a small, little plane with biological, chemical or even nuclear material and fly up the Hudson or East rivers, no questions asked," said Schumer, D-N.Y. "I hope this will be a wake-up call to the FAA to re-examine flight patterns, which, amazingly enough, they haven't done since 9/11." New York Gov. George Pataki also jumped in, saying the federal government needs "to take a much tougher line" with GA flights over the city, but he didn't say just what that line should be. Even former Mayor Rudy Giuliani got into the act, telling Republicans in New Hampshire (where he was putting out feelers for a potential presidential bid) that he agreed with Pataki.

Daley Urges Chicago GA Ban

The tragedy played perfectly into Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's long-standing belief that GA traffic should be banned over his city's downtown area and he wasted little time exploiting it. "Remember: a single- or two-engine plane can kill as many people as possible if they want to," he told reporters in a news conference filled with similar comments directed at small aircraft and the supposed dangers they pose. It was all more than AOPA President Phil Boyer could take. In a rare signed editorial on the AOPA site, he accused Daley and other naysaying politicians of "pandering to uninformed public fears, posturing from the soapbox of demagoguery, screaming security for your own political ends." ABC News may be adding planks to that soapbox through an online poll that asks for viewers' opinions on the VFR corridor. New York-area pilots, fearing the results of the poll will be "naturally skewed" according to one e-mail we received on the topic are, well, attempting to skew the results. "Please help change the poll if you feel strongly about it," the correspondent urges. "Get out and vote."

Lidle, Stanger, Situational And Local Awareness

Lidle and Stanger were evidently trying to follow the rules of the corridor when they crashed (who was flying still hasn't been determined). The corridor ends at the point where the aircraft went into a left turn and pilots are required to make a relatively tight (2,000-foot) U-turn to avoid going into airspace controlled by the La Guardia Airport tower, or breaching the sides of the corridor by wandering over Manhattan or Queens. Media reports on Friday suggested pilot inexperience may have been a factor. The plane was relatively new to Lidle (and his 88-hour total time) and Stanger -- Cirrus told The Washington Post that Stanger had not taken the company's five-day instructor course " that the company requires for those who teach students how to fly its airplanes." Some analysts suggested gusty winds blowing between the Manhattan skyscrapers contributed to the accident, but winds were out of the east and Manhattan's skyscrapers were to the aircraft's west. It will likely be a year before any official causes are determined.

Lidle, whose baseball season ended when his New York Yankees were eliminated from further play a week ago, was planning to fly the Cirrus back to his home in California. He invited Stanger, his flight instructor from California, to join him. A memorial service for Lidle will be held in Covina, Calif., on Tuesday. Lidle's family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Stanger's family.

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News Briefs back to top 

AVwebFlash Reader Pledges $2 Million For B-29 Engine Job

A news item in AVwebFlash has resulted in a major boost to a fundraising campaign that may put what was once the world's only flying B-29 back in the air. Texas inventor and industrialist Joe Jamieson has pledged $2 million toward a $3 million project to install more reliable engines in Fifi, owned and operated by the Commemorative Air Force. The plane has suffered engine problems since she rolled off the Boeing assembly line. The aircraft has Wright R-3350-57AM engines and last June, after discovering metal shavings in the oil, the CAF decided, for safety reasons, to ground the big bomber until more reliable engines could be installed. Jamieson, a former military and transport pilot, develops safety-related equipment for the transportation industry, so the donation is a good fit for him.

"New engines for the B-29 make its operation safer, so it is therefore reasonable for Mr. Jamieson to pledge some money to help make it happen," said Raeleen Behr, public relations specialist for Jamieson's company, American Automation Technologies Inc. The CAF already has the engines but getting them ready for installation is a major project. Technicians will combine R-3350-95W and R-3350-26WD engines, resulting in custom-built engines for the aircraft. While Jamieson's pledge has provided a major kick-start to the campaign, CAF spokesman Rusty McInturff noted that $1 million is still needed. "We still have a long way to go, and every donation is important, regardless of the amount," he said.

Cessna LSA Flies

Cessna's proof-of-concept entry into the light sport aircraft category flew for the first time last Friday (the 13th). The 33-minute flight originated at McConnell Air Force Base and ended at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita. The plane was put through various flight maneuvers and got up to a speed of more than 110 knots, according to a company news release. The aircraft, which is mostly aluminum, was unveiled at EAA AirVenture last July. It was announced in January. And, although comparisons to the discontinued 152 are inevitable, Cessna appears to be making an effort to draw distinctions. Perhaps the greatest departure from standard Cessna design is the incorporation of dual control sticks, rather than yokes. The LSA also sports a Rotax 912 engine, which is about 150 pounds lighter than the closest comparable mill from Cessna's sister company, Lycoming. The LSA also has a free-castering nosewheel and, although it's about 200 pounds lighter than a 152, its cockpit is about six inches wider. Cessna CEO Jack Pelton says the LSA market is the fastest-growing sector in aviation and could be a crucial factor in reigniting interest in personal aviation. "An important part of our thought process in looking at LSA is the value in terms of new pilot starts," Pelton said in the release. The company's thought is that today's LSA pilot will be tomorrow's Skyhawk -- or Citation -- owner.

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News Briefs back to top 

NTSB Issues Alert On Thunderstorm Avoidance

The NTSB says pilots and air traffic controllers need to cooperate better to keep airplanes from flying into extreme weather. In a safety alert issued last week, the NTSB says avoiding thunderstorms is mainly the pilot's responsibility but air traffic controller training and briefings "have not been sufficient to ensure that pilots receive the weather advisories needed to support good in-flight weather avoidance decisions." The alert cited four fatal accidents in which the aircraft involved were flying IFR and under ATC control when they hit the weather. Among the accidents cited was the one that killed former test pilot Scott Crossfield in Georgia last April.h

The NTSB safety alert acknowledges that the primary responsibility of ATC is to maintain separation, but that it has the secondary role of monitoring and warning pilots about hazardous flight conditions. The alert notes that the quality of information is bound to be inconsistent because of the wide variations in equipment available to controllers. Some see the world in black and white via decades-old analog stations while others can see remarkable detail in a storm's behavior as reflected by radar returns from water droplets. Pilots are urged to never assume that controllers are watching the weather ahead for them and controllers are reminded that pilots can't necessarily see what they're up against.

Petition Calls For Lead-Free Avgas

The Bluewater Network (a division of Friends of the Earth) has filed a petition with the EPA calling for the reduction or elimination of lead from aviation's gasoline. The group says leaded fuel threatens the health of airport workers, pilots, passengers and communities next to airports. It also claims that 70 percent of aircraft can use unleaded automotive fuel and the remaining 30 percent can use ethanol-based fuels. It didn't say where this information came from but the authors of the petition, David Zizmor and Damir Kouliev, seem pretty convinced of their data. "Safe unleaded alternatives to aviation gasoline already exist," said Zizmor.

While it's true that aircraft engines will run on unleaded car gas, they are more prone to problems like vapor lock. Ethanol-based fuels are specifically banned for use in aircraft because the alcohol can damage rubber seals and other engine parts. EAA is currently fighting to ensure that ethanol-free fuels remain available in states that are considering (or have passed) laws requiring a percentage (usually 10) of ethanol in automotive fuels for oil conservation and environmental reasons. The Bluewater Network says there's no excuse for the EPA not to banish lead from avgas, noting the effects of lead on health and the environment are serious and well-documented.

Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
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News Briefs back to top 

Earth To EarthJet (Another Air Taxi)

Things are moving fast in the very light jet and air taxi business but a company called Earthjet seems to have arrived on the scene in a split second. In a news release issued last Friday, the company says it's guiding the development of a "purpose-designed" air taxi aircraft with a stand-up cabin and a fully loaded range of 1,000 miles. It says the plane will be certified and built by an unnamed established aerospace company and provide an unheard-of level of service and convenience for customers -- at "airline prices." Although the aircraft hasn't been built, the company is set up to take reservations on the point-to-point service. It's also offering franchises for sale. The office was closed Sunday when we tried to reach someone for comment. According to Earthjet's Web site, passengers will pay from $375 to $975 for flights that take off and land at airports of their choice. The reservations site (online and toll-free number) is already set up but not functional yet. A disclaimer says the company is still waiting for FAA and international approval for its "proposed" service.

Comair Sues FAA Over LEX Crash

Comair is claiming that the FAA was at least partly responsible for the crash of one of its regional jets in Lexington, Ky., that killed 49 people, according to The Associated Press. In a suit filed on Friday, the airline claims that signs and lighting that would have led the pilots of the aircraft to the correct runway were missing because of a construction project. It claims that other aircraft had made the same mistake recently and had been redirected by air traffic controllers. And it also notes in its suit that the Lexington tower was manned by a single controller when it should have been staffed by a minimum of two. The controller on duty had his back turned to the runway, doing paperwork, when Flight 5191 lined up on a 3,500-foot general aviation runway instead of the 7,000-foot runway it should have been on.

The airliner smashed through a fence and was briefly airborne before hitting trees and burning in a field about a mile from the end of the short runway. Comair President Don Borhorst said the suit is aimed at spreading financial responsibility for the crash among all the parties it feels are responsible for it. He said the airline is committed to reaching a fair compensation package for the families of the victims. In addition to the FAA, the airline is suing the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport.

Mike's Mechanic Must Be a MENSA Member
Mike says that multi-grade Exxon Elite is mandatory for a Mooney's motor. But can one brand of oil really work more effectively than another to combat rust? The answer is "absolutely" — and by a large margin. But to arrive at that conclusion, you need to disregard intuitive myths to examine some hard evidence that has come out of "humidity cabinet" testing protocols. To learn more, click here.
News in Brief back to top 

On The Fly...

Pilots of a Legacy business jet that collided with a Boeing 737 over Brazil two weeks ago say the aircraft's transponder was working at the time of the crash. Brazilian authorities are claiming the transponder signal disappeared just before the crash...

One of the Groen Brothers, Jay, has died of cancer. Groen, who with his brother David founded their autorotation aircraft company in 1986, died Oct. 9. The company is currently working on a military transport version of its autogyro design...

PHI Inc., a Louisiana helicopter company, is continuing operations despite a strike by about half of its more than 500 pilots. The company serves Gulf oil platforms as well as medevac operations...

Members of several aviation organizations met with new Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters in Washington last Friday. EAA's Doug Macnair said Peters appears eager to work with general aviation groups on issues like FAA funding.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Find all of today's stories in AVweb's: NewsWire

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles


AVmail: Oct. 16, 2006
Reader mail this week about dangerous Oskhosh arrivals, the New York crash and much more.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Hill Aircraft

For local prices, enter your U.S. ZIP Code or Airport Identifier:
Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav,
based on prices from the past 2 weeks.
Changes are relative to last week.

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Hill Aircraft at KFTY in Atlanta, Ga.

AVweb reader Brett Justus offered comments and a few reasons to stop by.

"I visit 20-30 FBOs a week. Hill has the best service I've experienced, ever. Came in late at night in chilly rain after a long day of flying. They had the fuel truck and my rental car at the plane in minutes. Rental car GPS was programmed with instructions to my Hotel. I was on my way to a warm room and comfy bed within a few minutes of landing!"

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
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Features back to top 

New Articles and Features on AVweb


Probable Cause #17: Commander's Last Call
We all know the axiom: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. But when we reverse this order in high-stress situations, trouble awaits.

This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you an aircraft engine calendar, a weight & balance visualizer, a cargo/pilot bag and more.

Audio News

Audio news, plus a new in-depth interview are posted online each Monday and Friday. Check AVweb's audio news index to hear news directly from the newsmakers.

Find exclusive interviews featuring Cessna's Jack Pelton on his company's LSA, TCM president Bryan Lewis, NATCA president John Carr, New Piper CEO Jim Bass, Hal Shevers for Sporty's Pilot Shop, Light Sport guru Dan Johnson, Excel Jet's Bob Bornhofen, Adam Aircraft's Joe Walker, FAA administrator Marion Blakey, Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier and more. AVweb's Podcast index, is online, now. You'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

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VOTW back to top 

Video of the Week: Helicopter Take-Off Accident

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Amazing, frightening, funny, and cool videos continue to trickle in throughout the week since we've set up a special address for you to send us video recommendations! Thanks for keeping us entertained throughout the week — and please keep the videos coming.

This week's clip is a take-off close call guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your neck, courtesy of YouTube's scottuh1:

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. (Plus, we'd kinda like to see 'em all.)

Visit AVweb's Sponsor Companies at the 2006 NBAA Convention
AVweb is in Orlando, Florida for the annual NBAA Convention and Conference this week. If you're attending the show with us, please take a moment to stop by our sponsors' booths. Their patronage of AVweb makes it possible for us to deliver the high quality of news, reviews, and information you've come to expect in your inbox twice a week — at no charge to readers. We encourage you to visit with them at the show and thank them for their support of AVweb. Click for a complete list of AVweb sponsors and where to find them at the show.
AVwebBiz back to top 

AVweb's Business AVflash

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/ .



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The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

Short Final

"On a clear, crisp day, after a particular strong Southern California winter storm dropped the Jet Stream well south and at a low altitude, I flew my Mooney 231 from Santa Monica, California, to Scottsdale, Arizona. After Landing, I was sitting in the FBO talking about the 100-plus knot tailwind at 19,000 feet when another pilot told me he too had just flown from California in his Mooney 252. He said that he was going so fast that the DME kept going above VNE ... so he had to keep the landing gear down most of the way to keep below the "Never Exceed" speed limitation of his plane."

"I couldn't close my mouth long enough to ask if he was kidding."

Names Behind the News back to top 

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

Today's issue was written by news writer Russ Niles (bio).

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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