AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 34a

August 20, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 

Chart Glitch Could Cause ADIZ Busts

The FAA is telling pilots operating in some of the nation’s busiest airspace to ignore a newly released chart until Aug. 30. AOPA says the Cincinnati sectional chart includes a sliver of the current Air Defense Identification Zone around Washington, D.C., but that section of the ADIZ will be eliminated when the boundaries of the restricted airspace change on Aug. 30. The FAA revised the chart and then released it prematurely, meaning pilots following the information on the sectional could end up busting the restricted airspace. The offending chart is recognizable by a blue dot on the front panel. The error was spotted by AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Robert Clark, who told AOPA about the problem. AOPA told the FAA and the FAA issued a NOTAM warning pilots to use the old Cincinnati sectional until Aug. 30.

Eclipse 500 Completes First Revenue Flight

North American Jet Charter became the first air taxi operator to put the Eclipse 500 very light jet to its much-anticipated use as a point-to-point charter aircraft. According to CharterX, a charter industry Web site, North American Jet CEO Ken Ross flew as pilot in command on the round trip from Chicago to Baltimore with two passengers on board on Friday. As we reported Thursday, North American was also the first to receive Part 135 approval to use the Eclipse in commercial service, a distinction that many in the industry assumed would go to DayJet, a Florida-based air taxi company that is also Eclipse's biggest customer. Eclipse was uncharacteristically quiet about North American's achievement, which, after all, was the culmination of eight years of work by the start-up manufacturer and its founder Vern Raburn. Eclipse usually chronicles its achievements with a wide distribution of press releases and photos but, to the best of our knowledge, there was no such effort on this milestone. An e-mail request for comment from Eclipse was not answered by press time.

Pilot Killed, Seawind Prototype Lost

Seawind President Dick Silva says the company is temporarily suspending operations after the loss of a test pilot in the crash of the Seawind 300C prototype. In a posting on the Seawind Web site, Silva says the "business interruption" will last until "we can determine the cause of this event and develop a plan to complete the project." Veteran Canadian bush pilot Glenn Ralph Holmes, 67, died Thursday when the plane crashed near Stead, Manitoba, about 60 miles northeast of Winnipeg. News reports described the aircraft spiraling into a wooded area but Silva says on the Web site that early reports have been inaccurate. The aircraft was equipped with both an engine monitor and a flight data recorder. Although the recorder was damaged in the crash, Silva said it is hoped the data can be retrieved and an accurate picture of the events leading to the crash can be put together. Holmes was described as a safety-conscious pilot who didn’t take chances. "We all know he was the best at what he did. 'Safety first,' he always told me," his widow, Liz Holmes, told the Winnipeg Sun.

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News Briefs back to top 

Mother Plucks Daughter From Submerged Plane

A relieved mother is crediting the thorough passenger briefing delivered by an experienced floatplane pilot with saving the lives of her family, including a five-year-old girl who was briefly trapped in the flipped aircraft. Beth Lamberson says the safety briefing by Joe Soleri, 67, who died in the Aug. 4 crash, not only enabled her and her husband to get out of the Cessna with their three-year-old, it gave her the knowledge she needed to dive to the aircraft and release the seatbelt latch that rescue workers couldn't unhook when they found the trapped child. "Joe took the time to review emergency evacuation procedures with us prior to takeoff, as every pilot should, and that is what saved the lives of the three of us in the rear seats," the Lamberson family said in a statement published by The Boston Channel. The family was on a sightseeing trip with Soleri when the Cessna floatplane they were in flipped on landing. Lamberson's husband Kyle, who was in the right seat in the cockpit, kicked the windshield out. Beth Lamberson used the emergency window exit. Lauren was taken to hospital but has recovered and will start kindergarten this week.

LAX Collision Narrowly Avoided

There are high-tech systems run by highly trained people designed to prevent runway incursions, but it appears a lesson learned by most of us before we hit kindergarten prevented disaster at LAX on Thursday. According to the Calgary Herald, a series of miscommunications between controllers and the crew of a WestJet Boeing 737 resulted in the Canadian airliner getting ready to taxi across a runway and into the path of a Northwest Airlines A320 that was taking off. About 50 feet from the runway, the unidentified pilot of the 737 apparently looked both ways before crossing and saw the Airbus in time to query the ground controller about whether he really was cleared to cross the runway. The ground controller saw what was happening, the pilot hit the brakes and the runway incursion alarm went off in the tower just as the WestJet plane stopped. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the Herald that the miscommunication began just after the WestJet landed on a scheduled flight from Calgary. He said a crewmember switched from tower to ground frequency before receiving preliminary taxi instructions from the tower. The pilot said something that led the ground controller to believe that he'd been cleared to cross the runway and the ground controller cleared him to the gate. The FAA and WestJet are investigating the incident. It's the eighth incursion at LAX this year.

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News Briefs back to top 

Epic Books $40 Million In Oshkosh Orders

Epic Aircraft says it took nonrefundable deposits on orders worth $40 million for its kit and certified aircraft during EAA AirVenture last month. Epic President Rick Schrameck said much of the interest came from its two very light jets introduced at the show, the single-engine Victory and twin-engine Elite. He also noted that the company took secure orders worth $23 million at Sun 'n Fun in Florida in April. He said having the jets on display at AirVenture allowed side-by-side comparisons with competitors and he believes his company's products stand up well to other offerings in the same market. Currently, the jets and the six-place turboprop Dynasty are available as kits but there are plans to certify all three models. Schrameck says the first kit-built Victories will be delivered to customers by the end of the year. Victory kits come with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615 engine while the factory models will have the more powerful PW617.

NATCA: Strain Showing At SoCal TRACON

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) says there have been five operational errors in less than two weeks at the nation's busiest terminal radar control (TRACON) center in San Diego, and it blames a punishing work schedule and gross understaffing. Spokesman Steve Merlin said in a news release that there are sometimes fewer than half what the union considers the minimum number of fully qualified controllers on position at any one time and virtually all of them are training a new controller at the same time. "We are running shifts that used to be staffed with 11 or 12 fully certified controllers (CPCs) with six or seven CPCs," Merlin said. "On August 4, the Empire Area was forced to work the day shift with four CPCs when 11 was the norm. Plus, we're forced to train new hires on top of that." He said management instituted a three-day training ban last week to try and get a grip on the situation. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the spate of errors was an anomaly in an exceptionally safe year at the TRACON. To that point, he said, there had only been nine errors in the previous nine months so the sudden spike in errors warranted a stand down of training. "It was only prudent to do that," he said. Merlin said TRACON controllers have been on a mandatory six-day workweek for several months that's compounded by a shuffling of shifts that has destroyed the regular routine. Complicating the situation was the absorption of the airspace previously covered by the Palm Springs TRACON, which was closed in a cost-saving move a couple of months ago. Several veteran controllers are undergoing training to cover that sector, further depleting the number of available certified staff. Merlin says the FAA is compounding the staff shortage by hiring veteran controllers as supervisors. He claims they are 80 certified controllers short of full staffing. Gregor said the union is using outdated numbers. The recently revised staffing level for the TRACON calls for between 186 and 225 controllers and there are 194 there.

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News Briefs back to top 

Micco Hopes For December Delivery

Micco Aircraft says it hopes to deliver its first SP26A two-seat aerobatic and touring aircraft sometime in December. The company, which has had numerous incarnations, including being a project of the Seminole Tribe in Florida, is settled into its headquarters in Bartlesville, Okla., and has firm orders for five of the sporty $329,000 taildraggers, co-owner F. DeWitt Beckett told the Tulsa World. He said he believes there's a niche for the aircraft, which he likens to a Corvette. "We're not trying to be Cessna or Piper. This is a high-performance, complex, tailwheel, instrument-rated aerobatic airplane. It's the only one on the market that fits the bill." Beckett and his partner, Chief Jim Billie, moved the operation to Bartlesville last year after years of wrangling with investors and the Seminole tribe, which tried to auction off the assets of the Fort Pierce operation in 2001. Three hurricanes finished off what was left of the production facility and Beckett and Billie were able to bring what was left to Oklahoma. Beckett said they're now gathering and making parts for the first five airplanes and if interest in the aircraft continues to build, he hopes to make two aircraft a month in coming years.

60 Years Later, Missing Pilots Identified

Most stories about the remains of U.S. military pilots being found decades after they went missing involve far-away places, but for 60 years Delbert C. Goodspeed and Robert Henry Paulsen have lain beneath a field near the Pajaro River in Monterey County, Calif. Now, the local water authority is trying to find the living relatives of the young pilot trainees after a work crew unearthed bone fragments, personal items and aircraft parts while digging a waterline trench in July. The discovery of riveted metal and landing gear sparked an investigation by local historians and that eventually led to answers from the U.S. Navy. Jack Green, a historian with the U.S. Naval Historical Center in Washington, tracked down the accident. He told the San Jose Mercury News that Goodspeed, then 21, and Paulsen, 22, were on a night training mission in a Douglass Dauntless when the aircraft banked left and dove to the ground, indicating the pilot may have been unconscious. At the time, he said, it would have been treated as a common, if tragic, fact of life for a country scrambling to build airplanes and train pilots. "There were more airplane accidents from training, in fact, than there were in the war itself. Accidents were a fact of life back then," Green said. But local authorities say they'll try to do what couldn't be done then. "We'd like to find the families and return the belongings," Mary Bannister, a water agency spokeswoman said. "But it's going to be tough."

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News Briefs back to top 

Pilot Shortage Delays Commercial Service

Big Sky Airlines says a lack of pilots is forcing it to delay re-introduction of scheduled service to Jackson, Tenn., until November. Big Sky President Fred deLeeuw told The Associated Press that an increase in hiring by larger carriers has left regional airlines short of pilots. Big Sky was to take over service to Jackson in May, two months after the FAA shut down RegionsAir for alleged training deficiencies. DeLeeuw said the airline hopes to begin with a partial schedule to Cincinnati in mid-November and move to a full schedule by December. The new airline will have an uphill battle to lure local travelers, however, according to local chamber of commerce president Paul Latture. "I think the service has been so bad for so long people have adapted," Latture said. "Until we're able to provide our citizens and give a consumer a choice, a viable choice, people will go elsewhere."

Youth Movement In Indian Aviation

If you thought the right-seater on your last regional jet flight could use some acne medication, consider the veritable baby boom going on in the cockpits of some Indian airliners. According to the Times of India, there are 19-year-olds flying as first officers in single-aisle airliners like Boeing 737s and A320s and the four-striper beside them might be as young as 25. "Going by a conservative estimate, currently in India about 5 percent of commanders on single-aisle jet aircraft … are under 30 years of age. This trend will only grow," said Capt R. Otaal, general secretary of the Indian Commercial Pilot's Association. The rapid expansion of commercial aviation in India, coupled with the virtual absence of general aviation, have combined for the phenomenon. Otaal said Indian pilots train almost exclusively for airline positions and the training has become very focused. A young pilot can be commercially rated at 18 and, for some airlines, needs just 1,500 hours of right-seat time in an airliner to get control of the wheel. Not everyone is happy about the youth movement, especially given the sometimes-demanding flying conditions in India. "If one becomes a commander after flying as a copilot for only two monsoons, there is a level of risk involved due to lack of experience," an unnamed "aviation observer" told the Times. "One must remember that a 19-year-old copilot may be sharing the cockpit with a 25-year-old commander -- there are hardly any years of experience between them."

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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

Police arrested 10 people trying to block access to a London-area airport to protest the increasing use of private aircraft and the effects on the environment. Biggin Hill Airport is used mostly by private aircraft. There were also protests at Farnborough and Heathrow…

The FAA is upgrading the avionics on its fleet of King Air 300 navaid-checking aircraft to reflect the technology that will go into the modernized airspace system. The upgrades are part of an overall refurbishment of the 18 aircraft to extend their useful lives…

Local officials in Brunswick, Maine, have voted to keep the runways at Brunswick Naval Air Station when the base shuts down in 2011. The resulting airport will be used for general aviation. Some residents wanted the airport to be decommissioned when the Navy moves out because of noise concerns.

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New Columns and Features back to top 

Leading Edge #8: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Proposed Snippet: Where do you look first when practicing unusual-attitude recovery? Even before attitude indicators were invented, instrument pilots had a better technique, and it still works.

Click here to read.

the clouds, he would quickly lose control. Wisely, he conducted his experiments at altitude, with plenty of clear air between the bases of clouds and the surface in which to recover from the steep spirals he'd invariably find himself in. Then Stark had an epiphany -- "blind" flying requires a pilot to ignore his/her veiled sensations of movement that quickly lead to vertigo, and instead trust the instruments to reflect true motion. Using instrument cues, Stark devised a means of recovering from unusual flight attitudes:

  1. Stop the turn (with rudder pressure based on the turn needle indication);
  2. Level the wings (by centering the slip/skid ball with the turn stopped); and
  3. Control the airspeed (with careful application of elevator based on the airspeed indicator's trend)

If what he called the "Stark 1, 2, 3 System" worked to recover from a loss of control, Stark concluded, it could be used to anticipate control loss and therefore permit prolonged instrument flight without losing control in the first place. He soon found his theory worked.

Stark and his wife penned a pamphlet describing the Stark 1, 2, 3 System and sold it by mail. He instructed other Colonial Airways pilots in the technique. Word spread quickly and soon airlines across the U.S. and in Europe were using Stark's technique, several hiring Stark to personally teach it to their pilots. Charles Lindbergh credited Stark in making his trans-Atlantic flight possible.

It was only a few years before Sperry developed gyroscopic attitude and heading indicators, making modern instrument flight possible -- but it was Howard Stark who taught the world to fly in IMC. Stark died on a transcontinental flight, but not from loss of control. He was forced down in the mountains in a heavy snowstorm, and froze to death trying to walk out.

(With information from John M. Miller, Flying Stories, ©2002 American Bonanza Society Air Safety Foundation)

Those Cagey Attitude Indicators

My first real flight instruction was in mid-1960s Cessna 172s, with large, vacuum-driven attitude indicators (AIs). A required step in preparation for steep turns and stalls was to "cage" the AI -- you pulled a knob that stopped the gyro and kept the AI from "tumbling" at high pitch and bank angles. A tumbling AI does exactly what the term implies: The AI's horizon line wobbles up and down, unusable as a pitch reference. Certainly a tumbling AI would be completely unusable in an unusual attitude recovery by reference to instruments.

More modern AIs are much less likely to tumble, but they are not immune from the hazard. In a rapid rate of pitch, bank and/or yaw change it's possible even a brand-new AI may become unusable in an unusual attitude recovery. Following the AI in an extreme nose-up or -down attitude, especially with a steep bank, might make matters even worse if the AI begins to tumble in the maneuver. The errant horizon line will provide no inkling it's failed.

That's one reason why most instructors teach unusual attitude recoveries by reference to instruments other than the attitude indicator. (The main reason is that a failed AI is probably the most likely reason an instrument-rated pilot would find him/herself in an unusual attitude in the first place). In anything other than the mildest of attitude excursions, it's best to regain control using the "partial panel" references of rate of turn, airspeed and altimeter, then cross-check the AI once under control to confirm whether it's still providing truthful information.

Turn and Bank vs. Turn Coordinator


Sperry's original gyroscopic Turn Indicator eventually developed into two types of instruments: the turn & bank (T&B, or "turn needle") and the later turn coordinator (TC). Both incorporate a gravity "ball" slip/skid indicator, or inclinometer, to indicate the "quality" of the turn. Many pilots feel the T&B provides a more obvious indication of rate of turn, while rate-based autopilot systems require a TC in order to function.

TCs look something like an attitude indicator and sometimes there's confusion about what they really show, so much so that many TCs have the words "No Pitch Information" written right on the face of the instrument. "Glass cockpit" airplanes that include a rate-based autopilot like the KAP140 or the S-TEC line still require the TC, but may hide it behind the instrument panel, out of view.

Whether it's a T&B or a TC, however, the different mounting of the rate-of-turn's drive gyroscope (compared to an attitude indicator's required orientation) make the rate-of-turn immune to tumbling in unusual attitudes. Nose high or nose low, wings level or steeply banked, you can trust your rate-of-turn to help get you back under control. Proper recovery from unusual attitudes is less a question of which type of rate-of-turn indicator the airplane has than it is the pilot's training and currency using the rate instrument in unusual attitude recoveries.

Back-Up AIs

FAA Advisory Circular 91-75 authorizes replacing a T&B or TC with a back-up attitude indicator, subject to some rules about redundant power supplies and retaining a requirement for a slip/skid indicator (inclinometer) in the primary instrument scan. The backup AI is generally considered an improvement over the original rate-of-turn indicators, and it's easier to fly precisely using a backup attitude indicator than "traditional" partial-panel techniques should the primary AI or its drive system fail.

Given the tendency of AIs to tumble in unusual attitudes, though, and for pilots who don't own the airplanes they fly (and have no say in how they are equipped), it might be a good investment to train to proficiency on unusual attitude recoveries using the T&B or TC and the Stark 1, 2, 3 method. In fact, installing a small turn and bank instrument near the primary flight display (PFD) of a glass cockpit airplane, or moving a hidden turn coordinator from behind the panel to a spot in full view in airplanes with rate-based autopilots, might look like a step backward in panel design but would add a much-needed level of redundancy in the event of a PFD failure.

No matter what indicators you use, remember the key to recovering from unusual flight attitudes:

  1. Stop the turn;
  2. Level the wings;
  3. Control the airspeed

It's as easy as Stark's 1, 2, 3.

Fly safe, and have fun!

Thomas P. Turner's Leading Edge columns are collected here.

AVmail: Aug. 20, 2007

Reader mail this week about user fees, the 300-knot club, the PAV challenge and more.

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

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AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening 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 Spectrum Aeronautical's Linden Blue talk about changes in the company's aircraft programs. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with EADS Socata's Jean-Michel Léonard; ConocoPhillips' Gabe Giordano; Lycoming's Ian Walsh; Avidyne's Paul Hathaway; Aerion Corp's Brian Barents; BusinessJetSEATS Alfred Rapetti; EAA's Dick Knapinski; AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier; NBAA's Harry Houkes; Reason Foundation's Robert Poole; SATSair's Sheldon Early; Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; AOPA's Randy Kenagy; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Xwind's Brad Whitsitt; BoGo Light's Mark Bent; DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; and Pogo Jet's Cameron Burr. In today's podcast, hear FAA Administrator on the highs and lows of her term. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You!
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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: Medford Air Service

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Medford Air Service at KMFR in Medford, Ore.

AVweb reader Jim Boeckl said the FBO staff took great care of him after his airplane limped into their facility.

"Our engine broke flying near MFR, and we landed and taxied to Medford Air Service trailing oil. We stepped out onto red carpet, and soon found out that the engine needed overhauled. They put Champ in their hangar for two months at no charge -- line manager Bobby Croll said the FBO didn't want to benefit from our misfortune. The entire staff was friendly and helpful, and the facility is immaculate. It is clear Medford Air Service recognizes and promotes the miracle of flight, even in its simplest form. This is not something I would have expected from an executive flight center."

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!

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Video Of The Week back to top 

Video of the Week: Big Foot Aviaiton in the Backcountry

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Ride alongside this Piper Cub fitted with oversized tires as it flies in the scenic backcountry and skims the lakes before making super-short landings on drier land. We can't think of a better way to start a Monday morning!

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Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for immediate delivery — as books, videos, or CDs. 100+ titles available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Click here to visit online.
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"

Flying home to Portland Troutdale (KTTD) from Medford, Ore. (KMFR) Friday night, I heard the following:

Portland Approach: November One Two Charlie, traffic ten o’clock, southbound at 9,000, a Navajo.

12C: We’re looking.

Approach: Correction, it’s a Malibu.

12C: Still looking.

Approach: Sorry, it’s really a Navajo. Oh well, what the heck, it’s dark.

You Pay More for the Unbiased Truth — To Ultimately Save More
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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) .

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.

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