AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 22a

May 28, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News back to top 
 

NTSB Wants East River TFR Made Permanent

The NTSB has written the FAA asking it to permanently close the East River Exclusion Area to uncontrolled, non-amphibious VFR traffic in light of its findings in the Cory Lidle crash. Earlier this month, the NTSB determined that whoever was flying the Cirrus SR20 -- Lidle, a New York Yankees pitcher, or his instructor, Tyler Stanger -- misjudged a 180-degree turn at the north end of the airspace while trying to avoid busting the Class B that borders it. They both died when the plane hit an apartment building, bounced off and caught fire on the street below. A bystander was seriously injured. The FAA imposed a temporary flight restriction (TFR) banning VFR flights by non-amphibious aircraft (there's a seaplane base on the river) unless they're under direct control by ATC. The NTSB says the FAA promised to make the ban permanent but hasn't done so and that means that charts can't be changed. The NTSB says the only way to get out of the narrow strip of VFR airspace is to make a 180 "or other abrupt maneuver" or to ask for clearance in the Class B south of LaGuardia. Although it doesn't come out and say so, the tone of the letter implies that sightseeing flights like Lidle's and Stanger's shouldn't be allowed in that very busy airspace. The crash has spawned a rash of lawsuits. Several owners of apartments damaged by the crash are suing Lidle's estate and Lidle's family is suing Cirrus claiming, despite the NTSB findings, that a control failure caused the crash.

FAA Policy Change Voids Many IFR GPS Units

Numerous previously IFR-certified GPS receivers might now be unapproved for flying many instrument procedures due to recent FAA policy changes, according to AOPA. On Thursday, the association said the FAA's Advisory Circular 90-100A, issued in March, indicates that only three GPS models -- the Garmin 400, 500 and G1000 series -- are now legal. Other models made by Garmin, including the new GNS 480 WAAS receiver, as well as receivers manufactured by Chelton, Honeywell, Northstar, and Trimble are listed as "noncompliant," AOPA said. (Click here for a more comprehensive compliance list.) AOPA said the the FAA has committed to work to resolve the pilot group's concerns over these policy changes. The action, as it now stands, means up to 26,000 GPS users no longer comply with a 1996 FAA policy that allows GPS to be used in lieu of ADF or DME. "This doesn't make any sense. In most cases, this is not a safety of flight issue," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA senior director of strategic planning. "Pilots affected will lose access to approaches and published routes unnecessarily." AOPA has brought the matter to the FAA's attention, telling the FAA that all IFR-certified systems should still be approved for use in lieu of ADF and DME and for flying T routes and certain departure procedures where pilots manually enter the waypoints. Association staff met with the FAA and spoke with key officials late last week, and AOPA says it will continue to press for a quick resolution.

Brazilian Prosecutor Wants Pilots Charged

It’s now up to a judge to decide whether American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino will face criminal charges in the collision of their Embraer Legacy 600 bizjet with a GOL Airlines Boeing 737 last September. The Associated Press says a Brazilian prosecutor has recommended charges of placing a vessel or aircraft in jeopardy against the pair, who were held in Brazil for two months after the crash and released on the promise they would return to face any charges that were laid. The prosecutor’s recommendations will be sent to a judge who will decide if charges are warranted. The charges related to the allegation that Lepore and Paladino should have noticed that the aircraft’s transponder was not working. The pilots deny any wrongdoing in the collision, which led to the crash of the airliner and the loss of all 154 on board. They say, and recordings seem to support, that they were at their assigned altitude and course at the time of the collision. Their lawyer Joel Weiss told The Associated Press that charges are at the very least premature since the accident investigation isn’t finished. "The prosecutor has prematurely reached a conclusion before the true experts, the civil aeronautics investigators, have fully investigated this matter," Weiss said.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Aviation User Fees The Hot Topic This Summer

EAA is predicting that the final form of the FAA’s reauthorization bill will be hammered out in contentious conference committee meetings this summer because the House is contemplating a package that differs fundamentally from the direction the Senate appears to be leaning on the user-fee issue. Last week, the Senate Commerce Committee defeated, by a single vote (thanks to tie-breaker Ted Stevens, R-Alaska) an amendment that would have scratched the $25-per-flight “modernization surcharge” that is proposed for turbine-powered aircraft. A floor vote is still pending on the full package. But EAA says the House appears much more sympathetic to anti-user-fee sentiments and now is the time for members to be contacting their elected officials, in both arms of the government, to reinforce that opposition. EAA’s Doug Macnair says it’s not the $25 fee that’s important, it’s the establishment of a billing and collection system to administer the fee that is critical to the debate. “It is clear to us that the implementation of any user fee system, regardless of who it targets, would set a dangerous precedent,” said Macnair. “The temptation by FAA and Congress to increase the breadth of these fees in future budget cycles, casting an ever wider net to raise additional revenue, would be overwhelming. We cannot stand for that.”

Columbia 350 Landing Crash Kills Three

Three people died Saturday morning when their Columbia 350 (N2537A) crashed while landing at the Mountain Air Country Club, an airport and golfing community in Burnsville, N.C., about 35 miles northeast of Asheville. Killed in the accident was Dr. Freddy Camuzzi and Dr. Charles "Chas" Freeble III and his wife Kathleen. Witnesses said the four-seat airplane bounced hard on landing and subsequently hit six other aircraft. The Columbia and two other airplanes it struck were destroyed in a post-crash fire while two others were damaged by heat and debris, according to reports. Ron Wright, vice president of administration for Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corp, told KTZV.COM, "Witnesses basically said it slammed down really hard, bounced up about 10 feet...[and the pilot] ended up stalling it." Both doctors reportedly worked at the St. Petersburg (Fla.) General Hospital. Colleagues and friends told the St. Petersburg Times that both men were experienced pilots -- Freeble was a flight instructor and Camuzzi had been flying for some 20 years.

ALPA Joins Age-65 Discussions

The Air Line Pilots Association, which has consistently supported the current mandatory retirement age of 60, has changed its tune in light of the federal government's clear intention to boost the limit (with some conditions) to age 65. Members voted 80 percent to drop their opposition to the age limit change so they can have a seat at the table when the fine points of implementing it are discussed. "ALPA pilots will be fully engaged in shaping any rule change," ALPA President Capt. John Prater said in a news release. ALPA's position is pretty much in synch with the proposal put forth by the FAA except in one fundamental way. ALPA wants the FAA to reject the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) rule that only one pilot over the age of 60 be allowed on the flight deck until and unless there is evidence to suggest it's not safe to have all that grey hair up front. ALPA also wants to ensure the rule can't be made retroactive so pilots who have already retired can slip back into the left seat (and their old places on the seniority list). The seniority issue is unlikely to be a concern because the FAA has already said it won't make the rule retroactive, but Congress is also in the mix with a bill pending on the issue so anything could happen. Other ALPA concerns include limiting liability that might result from the rule change, opposing any move toward stricter medical exams for older pilots and making sure the change won't affect anyone's pension.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

GE Honda Production Engine Tested

GE Honda Aero, the joint venture created to build and sell the HF120 light jet engine, finished its first core test in late April and the second core test is planned for next month. Assuming all goes according to plan, the first test of the full production model of the engine will happen in July. The company says the production model has various enhancements over the prototype, which is installed in the HondaJet and has been flying for three years. Details of the enhancements were not released. In addition to the HondaJet, Spectrum Aeronautical is also planning to install the engine on its Freedom light jet. The engine is rated at 2,050 pounds of takeoff thrust and weighs less than 400 pounds. GE Honda says one of the main selling points is the engine’s 5,000-hour TBO, which does not require any interim hot section inspections. Honda developed the engine over a 20-year period and partnered for its production with GE in 2004. There are about 200 orders for the engine.

Tallahassee Offers Piper Aircraft $90M Package

According to The Associated Press, the bidding war for Piper and its future PiperJet factory took an incremental leap on Thursday when the people who hold the purse strings in Tallahassee, Fla., offered about $90 million in incentives to draw the company there. Last week, Vero Beach, Piper's current home, put $50 million on the table. Columbia, S.C., and Albuquerque, N.M., are also in the running but haven't disclosed their offers yet. Tallahassee figures Piper, with its 1,500 employees making an average of $50,000 a year, would be worth about $500 million to the local economy. And at least part of its offer looks more like a loan than a gift. For instance, the company would make lease payments on facilities built at taxpayers' expense to reduce the debt incurred by the city. Piper would also pay property taxes, which would also be used to pay off the debt. Tallahassee's bid, along with the others, will be reviewed by a consultant before going back to Piper for a decision.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Bill Would Stop ATC Consolidations

A bill tabled by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., would put a moratorium on the consolidation of air traffic control facilities pending a review of the process by which the consolidations are undertaken. The bill comes following a high-profile spat over folding the Palm Springs radar facility into the Southern California terminal radar approach control (TRACON) near San Diego. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) says it’s not opposed to facility consolidations "where they make sense," but the union claims the FAA is consolidating facilities based on economic considerations alone and not consulting with other stakeholders. Meanwhile, the fracas over Palm Springs radar took a slight twist on Friday. Technical problems at the SoCal TRACON caused minor traffic disruptions throughout Southern California but all was normal in Palm Springs, where the radar facility will keep operating until June 7, when the consolidation is to occur. The glitch at San Diego did nothing to sway the FAA in its consolidation plans, however, and moving day is still planned as scheduled.

Runway Incursion Prevention A Full-Time Job

The FAA needs to constantly review its programs to prevent runway incursions, rather than react to periodic spikes in their frequency, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General says in a report. The OIG reviewed the frequency and severity of incursions at major hubs over the last eight years and discovered that when the numbers go up, the FAA takes action. However, in the absence of any upward trend, the agency seems content with the status quo, even though potentially disastrous incursions continue to occur. “Compared to five years ago, FAA has made significant progress in reducing runway incursion incidents,” the report says. “However, the serious risks associated with runway incursions underscore the need for maintaining vigilant oversight and a proactive approach for preventing severe incidents.” The OIG says investigators of incursion incidents in which pilot error is to blame need to get into the pilots’ heads and find out how they made the wrong turn or missed the controller’s directions. The report says that information needs to be shared to help prevent those kinds of errors. Likewise with controllers, the report says, the FAA needs to be on top of human-factors training issues that contribute to incursions. The report also says the FAA leadership has cut back on the resources it puts into runway safety programs now that it has met its targets for reducing the number of incidents and recommends that all “lines of business” in the FAA include measures for reducing incursions as part of their annual plan.

Union Warns Of More ATC Communications Breakdowns

The Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) union says a telephone line glitch that shut down the data link between O’Hare’s radar and the control center on Thursday is a symptom of a flawed contract with a private contractor that isn’t qualified to do the work. In a news release, PASS said the problem was traced to the incorrect configuration of telephone lines by Harris Corp. as part of its contract to install the FAA’s Federal Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) system. "At this point, FAA technicians are the only thing holding the FTI program together. Something needs to be done soon because this issue is not going away and, as we've seen in Chicago, it is only getting worse," PASS spokesman Luke Drake said in the release. When the main radar signal was lost, controllers switched to a backup, off-site radar. It took 90 minutes to fix the phone problem and about 100 flights were delayed. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory stressed that the radar itself continued to work, but the data couldn’t be transmitted. A backup radar for O’Hare has been approved but is now going through the budget process.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Mystery Of Washington Crash Deepens

Authorities in Washington State appear to be at least testing the theory that the disappearance of a Cessna 177B in the mountains of Washington was no accident. Although an aerial and ground search of the area where George Trupp’s plane dropped off radar near Yakima is continuing, the Yakima Herald Republic says the Civil Air Patrol also asked officials at area airports to look for the plane after some details of Trupp’s flight and his past came to light. According to the Yakima Herald Republic, Trupp is a convicted sex offender who’s awaiting trial on a charge of groping a woman and it’s also been reported that he had his dog in the plane—with a two-year supply of dog food. There’s been no ELT signal from the plane, which was rented from a business in Renton. There has also been at least one reported sighting of an aircraft similar to Trupp’s about half way between where it was last seen on radar and Yakima. Some comments made by his son Jim Trupp to KOMO News may also be fuelling speculation on his fate. "Honestly, I hope he just got tired and found a clearing and put down and maybe just decided not to come back," he said. "He should be fine and he's had a lot of survival training. He was in the Air Force."

Helo Pilots Finish Polar Circumnavigation Flight

British pilot adventurers Jennifer Murray and Colin Bodill completed a 36,000-mile polar circumnavigation flight on Thursday at the Bell Helicopter facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The pair started Polar Firstfrom Fort Worth Dec. 5, heading south to catch Antarctica at its best before heading up the other side of the earth toward the North Pole and a late spring arrival there. They flew a Bell 407 helicopter. It was their second attempt at the record after the first try ended in a crash in whiteout conditions in Antarctica in 2003. Both pilots were seriously injured in that crash but said they were determined to try again. Murray and Bodill have both done east-west circumnavigations, Murray in a Robinson R44 helicopter in 2000 and Bodill in a weight-shift ultralight also in 2000. Murray, who’s 65, didn’t start flying until she was 54.

 
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News In Brief back to top 
 

On The Fly

A South Hadley, Mass., man was slightly injured after the plane he’d just prop started dragged him about 100 feet. Donald Bradley told authorities he was trying to stop it from hitting nearby houses. The plane stopped shortly after shaking the pilot off…

Venezuelan authorities found more than 1,100 pounds of cocaine aboard a Cessna (model unknown) aircraft that crashed there last week. The pilots died in the crash…

The FAA’s latest edition of the Instrument Procedures Handbook is now available as a free download…

Warbirds in Review has been expanded at EAA AirVenture for the coming year. There will be a total of 19 presentations of the popular feature…

A Palmair Boeing 737 was grounded Thursday after it flew through a swarm of bees. The plane continued for an hour on the flight from Bournemouth, England, to Faro, Portugal, before it experienced engine trouble and the pilot returned to Bournemouth.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business newsletter, AVwebBiz? 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. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

 
Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.
 
New On AVweb back to top 
 

Leading Edge #5: The Perfect Proficiency Maneuver

Can proficiency at one maneuver indicate a pilot's skill in avoiding stalls, spins, partial panel, circle-to-land crashes, and engine-failure loss of control? AVweb Thomas Turner knows one, and it may surprise you.

Click here to read.

AVmail: May 28, 2007

Reader mail this week about helicopter tree-trimming, AFSS, lasers and more.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

What's New

NEW PRODUCTS: MAY 2007
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a VFR flight bag, Camloc measuring tool, video downloads and much more.

 
Dual Antenna Traffic Systems Simply Perform Better
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AVweb-Exclusive Audio And Video News back to top 
 

AVweb Audio News

AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's podcast, you'll hear how pilot Mark Bent is helping to change the world. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; Pogo Jet's Cameron Burr; Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia; Air Journey's Thierry Pouille; Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; Cessna's Jack Pelton; Embraer's Ernest Edwards; LAMA's Dan Johnson; Piper's Jim Bass; DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Hawker Beechcraft's Jim Schuster; and Avfuel's Craig Sincock. In today's podcast, hear about Brad Whitsitt's crosswind training simulator. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Exclusive Video: Our Sun 'n Fun Ride-Along in the Incredible Adventures DC-3

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

At the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In a few weeks ago, AVweb's Russ Niles got to left-seat in a DC-3, courtesy of Incredible Adventures. Join us for what some would call the experience of a lifetime, as Dan Greider guides us (carefully) through the flight.


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

 
Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You!
If you live near or in one of these states — California, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, and Oklahoma — Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed Savvy Owner Seminar. In one information-packed weekend, you will learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands of dollars on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details (and to reserve your space), click here.
 
FBO Of The Week back to top 
 

FBO Of The Week: Rowan County Airport

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Rowan County Airport at KRUQ in Salisbury, N.C.

AVweb reader A. Paul Giannobile said the facility always delivers.

"Every time we stop here on or way to Florida, the service is friendly, the free courtesy car is always available and the fuel price is the lowest. Easy in and out -- my favorite."

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!

 
Merge the Real and Virtual Worlds, and Have Fun Learning
Using ASA's Microsoft® Flight Simulator as a Training Aid book, student pilots can enhance book-learning, review concepts and skills, and prepare for lessons. Certificated pilots can use the book to complement real-world flying with hours in virtual skies. Flight Instructors will discover new ways to use Flight Simulator as a ground-teaching tool and in pre- and post-flight briefings. Go online for complete details.
 
Video Of The Week back to top 
 

Video of the Week: 25 Hours of FedEx Flights

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Move over, Jack Bauer! If you think you accomplish a lot in one day, check out this week's time-lapse map showing all of FedEx's flights inside the continental U.S. over a 25-hour period. Suddenly Memphis is starting to look a lot like the center of the universe ... .


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. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

 
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The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Overheard on Little Rock Airport's (KLIT) clearance delivery frequency.

King Air N1234: Little Rock clearance this is King Air N1234 with a request.

Clearance delivery: Go ahead.

King Air N1234: I have been trying to file a flight plan with Lockheed for more than 30 minutes. Could you take the info and file for me?

Clearance delivery: Sure, give me the info.

King Air N1234: [after the info was given] I never thought I would see the day when I would say the federal government was more efficient than the private sector. Thanks!

 
Names Behind The News back to top 
 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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 Contributing Editor Russ Niles (bio) and Editor In Chief Chad Trautvetter.

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.

Aviate, navigate, communicate.