AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 34b

August 23, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News back to top 
 

Aerosonic Purchases Op Technologies

Clearwater, Fla.-based Aerosonic Corporation, a supplier of precision flight products for commercial, business and military aircraft, on Wednesday announced that it acquired avionics maker Op Technologies. Oregon-based Op Technologies currently makes cockpit avionics for experimental aircraft, including the Pegasus Integrated Avionics System. In June, Op said it is developing an avionics system for certified aircraft. "The addition of Op Technologies' expertise and products to our company will allow us to compete on a larger scale across a wider number of aircraft models, and this transaction creates a path for meaningful revenue growth and reduces our cost and time to market for a family of products that addresses a significant component of our strategic plan," said Aerosonic Chairman, President and CEO David Baldini. "We believe that this transaction will establish a new platform for future growth and will allow us to better serve our present and future customers."

Garmin Resolves G1000 Issue, Manufacturers Relieved

A problem that stalled shipments of Garmin G1000 avionics last week, affecting deliveries of some piston aircraft, has been resolved, Garmin said on Monday. Garmin has resumed shipments of the GRS 77 AHRS (Attitude Heading Reference System) units, which were the cause of the snafu, used in G1000 installations. "All affected aircraft manufacturers will begin receiving GRS 77 units immediately so that they can resume aircraft deliveries," Garmin said. Production of the GRS 77 will increase incrementally as Garmin ramps up the production line. The AHRS problem was caused by a production process change by a component supplier, Garmin said. The company said it has "identified and isolated the suspect problematic components and is now validating components with additional testing." Garmin said it will issue a Service Bulletin in the near future about those GRS 77 units in the serial number range listed on the 070816-00 Service Advisory. The Service Bulletin will provide instructions on how to have the affected units updated under warranty.

Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver told AVweb the company has resumed deliveries of single-engine piston aircraft. "We will be gradually ramping up deliveries based on Garmin's delivery schedule of new units. We don't anticipate any impact to our delivery goals for the year," Oliver said. Columbia Aircraft stopped production last week and laid off hundreds of workers. Production has resumed there, spokesman Randy Bolinger told AVweb on Wednesday. "We are recalling workers as we need them, but the pace of getting 'back to normal' will depend on the rate of deliveries from Garmin," he said. Deliveries of the Garmin units are behind schedule and will likely take at least a week or two to catch up. "We're headed in the right direction," Bolinger said.

WANTED: AVIATION WRITER, EDITOR AND WEB PERSON

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News Briefs back to top 
 

Blakey To Head Aerospace Association

A new job is literally waiting in the wings for Marion Blakey when her term as FAA Administrator ends next month. It was announced on Tuesday that Blakey will be the next president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, the trade association representing the nation's manufacturers of aerospace equipment. The appointment officially takes effect on Nov. 12. Blakey succeeds John Douglass, who has been president and CEO of AIA since September 1998 and will remain with AIA through Dec. 31 to provide counsel and ensure a smooth transition.

AIA Board of Governors Chairman William Swanson praised Douglass for his 10 years of service at AIA, adding, "We are very pleased to name Marion Blakey to the role … Her exceptional experience in the executive branch of government, as well her deep expertise in public affairs and government relations, will greatly benefit all the members of AIA as she represents the industry in the years ahead."

Alphabets Ask For Quick Follow To Blakey Exit

With FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's term about to expire in just over two weeks, aviation leaders are urging President Bush to quickly appoint a new leader for the agency. "General aviation and the airlines don’t agree on the FAA funding issue, but when it comes to choosing an FAA administrator, all of aviation is flying in formation," AOPA said on Wednesday. "Aviation leaders across the board have joined in a letter to President Bush, urging him to quickly appoint a new individual to run the FAA for five years when Marion Blakey’s term expires on September 13." The letter is signed by the leaders of some 18 organizations, including AOPA, the Air Transport Association, EAA, NBAA, and many more. The letter says there is a "vital need to nominate a strong individual" as the next administrator as soon as possible. "Our nation cannot afford a recess appointee as we face the time-critical challenge of modernizing our nation’s aviation infrastructure." AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "We need an FAA administrator who understands aviation from the grassroots to flight levels, who is a strong executive and a visionary leader. At this critical point, we cannot afford to drift off course with an interim hand on the controls. The president cannot allow this appointment to slide or be consumed by partisan politics."

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Union Hopes To Represent Lockheed Flight Service Specialists

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has announced a campaign to organize the 1,200 Flight Service Specialists employed by Lockheed Martin Corporation. The specialists, who work at 18 sites in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, were employed by the FAA until last year when the work was contracted to Lockheed Martin. "With our 119 years of union history and our 720,000 members in the private, federal and transportation sectors, we see the important work of Flight Service Specialists in air traffic control as a natural fit," said union spokesman Rich Michalski. "After all, the IAM is already the largest union in air transport and aerospace manufacturing." The union currently has 35 contracts with Lockheed Martin covering more than 15,000 workers. The FSS transition hit a rough patch this summer, when the busy general aviation flying season kicked in as Lockheed was transitioning to a new computer system. Pilots have complained of long hold times and lost flight plans.

Eclipse Speaks On First Charter E500 Flight

Eclipse Aviation on Monday told AVweb that "we are excited to see the aircraft being used in the way we have always envisioned," referring to the first Part 135 charter flight of an Eclipse 500 last Friday. North American Jet Charter flew two passengers round trip from Chicago to Baltimore on one of the very light jets. Eclipse, which in 2005 won the Collier Trophy for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America" for the small jet, congratulated North American Jet "for their historic first commercial flight using the Eclipse 500," adding that the charter operator "is the first of a large group of customers who will benefit from this great aircraft." The flight is the culmination of eight years of work by start-up Eclipse. North American Jet was the first to receive Part 135 approval for commercial use of the Eclipse 500, but Florida-based DayJet might not be that far behind since it plans to start on-demand, per-seat service with the VLJs later this week.

 
Fly Single-Pilot IFR with Confidence!
2004 CFI of the Year Doug Stewart shares over two hours of tips, tactics and strategies for IFR pilots in a new Pilot Workshops CD-ROM-based program. Doug's hands-on approach and entertaining style make this an enjoyable, memorable way to learn and refresh these vital IFR skills. Click here for more details.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

EAA: Clock Is Ticking On "Fat" Ultralights

Next January is the absolute deadline for converting overweight and two-seat ultralights to experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA) status, and EAA is reminding owners that they better get started now if they want to be ready by that date. Aug. 15 was the first of a series of three dates set by the FAA to help owners complete the transition process, but it is not a "firm" deadline -- there is still time to catch up, EAA says, but no time to waste. Owners need to apply for an N-number, get their aircraft inspected and allow time in case fixes must be made and a second inspection is required. The FAA has made clear that there will be no extensions to the absolute deadline of Jan. 31, 2008. EAA is offering an E-LSA conversion kit that will walk you through the transition process. It's available online at $12.99 for EAA members and $19.99 for nonmembers. The FAA Light Sport Aviation Branch in Oklahoma City is also available to help by calling 405-954-6400. The FAA suggests that owners schedule an airworthiness inspection by Oct. 1 and submit their airworthiness certificate packet to the FAA by Nov. 30.

Massachusetts Flight School Closes

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Report: Fatal Snowbird Crash Caused By Seatbelt

A Snowbird pilot who was killed during a practice in Montana last May fell from his seat when his lap belt became unfastened during a roll, according to a preliminary report from the Canadian Air Force Directorate of Flight Safety. The Tutor CT-114 jet was rolling inverted for an inverted photo pass in a four-ship formation when the aircraft was seen to dip low, waver and depart the formation. Still inverted, the aircraft climbed and then rolled upright. Upon reaching a nearly wings-level attitude, at about 750 feet above ground level, the aircraft nosed over. The aircraft hit the ground at approximately 45 degrees nose down. The pilot, Capt. Shawn McCaughey, 31, a two-year veteran of the team, did not eject and was killed on impact. The investigation is continuing, focusing on how the lap belt became unfastened. Preventive measures taken to date include modifications to the pilot-restraint system, as well as enhanced training for aircrew and passengers. New procedures, as well as changes to the aircraft operating instructions, have been implemented to reduce the likelihood of a recurrence, according to the Flight Safety Directorate report.

Gulfstreams For Science

Two Gulfstream GV business jets will undertake an unusual mission in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, when the two jets, privately owned by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, will carry scientists aloft to view an extremely rare Aurigid meteor shower. A brief shower of tens of meteors will radiate from the constellation of Auriga, many as bright as the brighter stars in the sky, according to NASA. The shower will be visible from the western U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Astronomers believe the whole event will last no longer than one-and-a-half hours and will not be seen again in our lifetimes. The Gulfstreams will launch from Moffett Field in California and carry scientists from NASA, the SETI Institute, Utah State University and other organizations to a location high above the Pacific Ocean. The jets will provide a total of 21 windows to view the meteors from altitudes up to 45,000 feet. The primary goal of the mission is to count the meteors over the large area visible from the airplanes and measure the exact duration and peak time of the shower. Scientists will observe how the meteors break up and examine their colors to learn about the materials that formed the solar system.

 
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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.

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.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

 
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New Columns and Features back to top 
 

Probable Cause #39: Almost Home

This article originally appeared in IFR Refresher, Sep. 2006.

[IMGCAP(1)]

An inherent problem that comes with familiarity is that it tempts us to take risks we would otherwise never consider. Think of the road you take home from work every day. Because you're familiar with its every bounce and undulation, you probably take a turn or an exit at a higher speed than if you were traveling down it for the very first time.

This same problem also creeps into our flying. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we are more apt to push the envelope at airports with which we are familiar. Unfortunately, this can and has led to accidents.


Almost There

[IMGCAP(2)]

The Beech B55 Baron, with a pilot and two passengers, departed Worthington, Minn., at approximately 3:40 p.m. (all times EST) on a January afternoon originally bound for Milwaukee, Wisc. But when a weather check revealed that Milwaukee was fogged in, it was decided to continue on to Elkhart Municipal Airport (KEKM) in Elkhart, Ind., where the aircraft was based. Prior to leaving Worthington, the pilot had received a standard weather briefing from the Princeton, Minn., Automated Flight Service Station where he also filed an instrument flight plan.

At 6:18 p.m., the pilot made contact with South Bend Approach Control, which has jurisdiction over approaches into KEKM. The controller advised the pilot that the weather at Elkhart was reported as 1/2-mile visibility, light rain and mist with an indefinite ceiling at 200 feet overcast. The winds were from 120 degrees at 7 kts, the temperature was 9 C and the altimeter setting was 29.97. Dew point information at KEKM was not available but the temperature/dew-point spread in nearby South Bend around that time was reported as zero.

Although there are several approaches to the airport, only Runway 27 has an ILS. When asked by the controller which approach the pilot would like, he chose this one, knowing that he would be landing with a slight tailwind. Considering that Runway 27 is 6,500 feet long, this seemed like a reasonable risk given the weather conditions.

The controller began issuing vectors to the aircraft to align it with the final approach course. The flight path took the aircraft approximately eight miles south of the airport on an easterly heading before the controller turned it to the north and instructed the pilot to descend and maintain 2,500 feet. The pilot acknowledged the instruction and a subsequent radar plot verified the descent.

At 6:34 p.m. the controller told the Baron pilot that he was six miles from SOUSA, the outer marker, and to turn left to a heading of 300 degrees. The pilot was to maintain 2,500 feet until established on the localizer and was cleared for the ILS 27 approach. The pilot read back the instructions. Radar recorded the aircraft's altitude at that point at 3,300 feet and showed the aircraft turning inbound on the localizer.

At 6:37 p.m., the Approach controller instructed the pilot to contact the Elkhart Tower. At that point, radar showed the aircraft at 2,500 feet, with a ground speed of approximately 120 kts. Upon contacting the Tower, the pilot was told to report over the marker and was given a wind and altimeter check. The pilot responded, "I got everything (unintelligible)." That was the last transmission from the aircraft.

The Baron struck some trees and crashed 190 feet from the middle marker. The pilot and one passenger were killed while the other passenger received serious injuries.

Foggy Bottom

[IMGCAP(3)]

The surviving passenger, who was sitting in the right rear seat (his unfortunate partner was sitting to his left) told investigators that as the aircraft was approaching Elkhart from the east he noticed "very bad fog conditions." He said that he and the other passenger were nervous because of the weather conditions. Probably not helping the situation was that they could not communicate with the pilot, as he was the only one wearing a headset.

In the interview with investigators, the passenger said that he heard the airplane's landing gear being extended and saw the three landing-gear indicator lights illuminate. He estimated that the gear came down approximately two to five minutes before the crash. He and the other passenger were trying to determine their position over the ground and he reported that they looked out the left side of the aircraft and saw lights on the ground, which he believed to be the glow of the parking lot lights from a nearby Wal-Mart that was under construction.

The passenger said he saw the pilot looking about 90 degrees out the left side of the window and then turn his head back inside. Soon after that the crash occurred.

Personnel employed at a fixed base operator at the Elkhart Airport reported that they heard the transmissions between the aircraft and the control tower. They went out to a hangar and opened the doors in preparation for the aircraft's arrival. They told investigators that when the aircraft hadn't arrived 10 minutes later, they assumed it had diverted to another airport.

A witness who was driving by the airport's east boundary in a northerly direction told investigators that, "the weather was extremely foggy in low lying areas." He told his fiancé that he thought the airport was closed because he estimated the visibility was only "about 300 feet to 1,000 feet."

Another witness, a Boeing 737 captain, reported that he was at a store parking lot about 1.1 miles east of the approach end of Runway 27 when he heard the aircraft on final approach. "I thought it was surprising that an aircraft would be making an approach in such low visibility," which he estimated to be between 1/2 and 1/4 miles. "I probably listened for 15 seconds or so before getting into my car and then heard no more. I never saw the lights of the aircraft either because of the low ceiling (and) poor visibility. The engine noise sounded steady. It also seems it was a normal RPM and loudness level for an aircraft on short final approach."

According to control tower reports, a Piper Aztec had landed at the airport a half hour earlier. The FBO's customer service representative told investigators that when the Aztec landed she could still see the airport beacon. "The fog got bad real fast," she said. By the time the Baron was on the approach, she could no longer see the airport beacon. One of the line service personnel said the fog was the same as when the Aztec landed, but that "it was just darker."

The reported weather at 6:45 p.m., about five minutes after the accident, was very similar to what was given to the Baron pilot earlier. The winds were from 120 degrees at 7 kts, the visibility was 1/2 mile in light rain and fog, the ceiling was indefinite at 200 feet, the temperature was 9 C and the altimeter setting was 29.77.

At South Bend, approximately 14 miles west of Elkhart, the weather at 6:34 p.m. was reported as winds from 080 degrees at 5 kts, a visibility of 1/4 mile with light rain and fog and a 400-foot overcast ceiling. The temperature and dew point were both 8 C, the altimeter setting was 29.73, and the tower visibility was 1/4 mile.

The airplane crashed in a creek bed 0.4 miles from the approach end of Runway 27. The southeast corner of the middle marker was located approximately 190 feet from the wreckage on a bearing of 300 degrees.

Investigators had the aircraft's ILS equipment inspected and found no discrepancies that could not be considered impact damage. The glideslope receiver flag operated normally, and the glideslope deviation indicator was normal except the glideslope center was 20 millivolts high, which would have placed the aircraft a few feet higher than normal on the glide slope.

The pilot's altimeter was tested and it read 760 feet when the test equipment was set for 777 feet. The altimeter tested 20 feet low at test altitudes of 500, 1000, 1,500, and 2,000 feet.

The aircraft's engines were inspected and no problems were found with them, either. It was estimated that there were 76 gallons of fuel on board at the time of the accident.

The 50-year-old pilot held an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with single-engine land, multiengine land and sea ratings. His logbook showed that he had approximately 7,400 hours of flight time. The pilot first flew the accident aircraft on Aug. 16, 1997, and had approximately 135 flight hours in it. In the 90 days preceding the accident he flew 102 hours with about 20 hours in the accident aircraft. The pilot owned an aircraft similar to the Baron that was also based at Elkhart.

Siren Call

[IMGCAP(4)]

The NTSB blamed the accident on all too-common and obvious reasons: The pilot's failure to maintain a proper glide path and terrain clearance. But that alone does not answer why the accident happened. For that, we have to consider other potential contributing factors.

We can safely surmise that the pilot was familiar with the airport, the approach to Runway 27 and the surrounding area. Once one becomes intimately familiar with an approach, the concept of having the "runway environment" in sight takes on a whole new meaning. It's only natural to look for familiar landmarks in order to monitor an approach's progress, especially when the ceilings and visibility are bad. This, in turn, has tempted many pilots to bust minimums, justifying themselves by the fact that "I know where I am."

Could it be that the pilot was caught in this trap?

The Wal-Mart that the passengers -- and, apparently, the pilot -- saw is located just 0.8 miles from the approach end of Runway 27. While still under construction, the building was far enough along to have a roof with skylights and electrical power. While the surviving passenger only mentioned seeing the lights of the parking lot, on that night the store's interior lights also illuminated the skylights. Remember that the passenger was sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft and therefore did not have a full view out the left side of the airplane.

Could it be that the pilot saw the lights from the Wal-Mart, whether they were the parking lot lights or skylights, thought he knew exactly where he was and decided to descend below the glide slope in the hopes of seeing the runway environment? Or could it be that the Wal-Mart lights distracted the pilot from his instruments? Perhaps while he was looking out at them, the airplane descended below the glide slope and the pilot never recognized the fact. Another possibility is that the pilot mistook the Wal-Mart lights for part of the approach lighting system and he thought he could continue to descend to 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation, as per the FARs.

All this does not adequately explain one disturbing aspect of this accident, however, which is that the airplane was below the glide slope towards the final stages of the approach.

Recorded radar data indicates that at 6:37 p.m., as the aircraft passed 0.2 miles east of the outer marker, it was at 2,200 feet. This is acceptable, since an airplane on the glide slope would theoretically cross SOUSA at 2,178 feet. There were an additional eight radar hits on the Baron between SOUSA and the point at which radar contact was lost due to altitude and terrain. The radar hits were recorded at 10-second intervals.

The last six radar hits indicate that the aircraft's glide path was approximately 100 feet below the glide slope. When the last radar hit was recorded at 6:39 p.m., the Baron was about 2 nm from the approach end of Runway 27 at an altitude of 1,300 feet, which put it approximately 130 feet below the glide path.

Again, did the pilot get distracted trying to look for familiar landmarks or did he deliberately go below the glide slope? We'll never know for sure.

Prevention

Regardless whether the pilot's actions were deliberate or not, there are steps we can take to prevent similar situations.

The most obvious one is that if you are ever tempted to bust minimums to get on the ground when weather conditions are not good, don't do it. If you have a known set of personal limitations and you respect those limitations, such an accident will never happen.

By busting minimums you are compromising the safety features that are built into approaches. Standard ILS approaches are designed to put you in position to make a safe landing in conditions of low visibility and/or cloud cover. They are not designed to be all-weather solutions unless the airplane, crew and approach are certified to much higher levels. This is typically the purview of commercial and military operations, and not the average general-aviation pilot.

If it is not possible to make a safe landing, the missed approach procedure is calculated from the missed approach point at the decision height. If you are below decision height at the missed approach point, you may compromise your ability to fly the procedure safely due to terrain or other issues.

One must also consider the implications of flying an approach to minimums with a tailwind. Higher groundspeeds will require faster descent rates. If you've never flown an approach with a tailwind, or are uncomfortable flying one, experimenting on a foggy night is not the right time.

The accident report did not describe the general weather conditions for the region, but it appears that on the evening of the accident, at least the airports near the Lake Michigan shoreline were at or near minimums due to fog. Still, the aircraft had plenty of fuel on board and should have been able to continue on to a reasonable alternate.

Sometimes the fear of failure to get passengers where they want to go results in pilots doing things they may not do otherwise, such as busting minimums at the home airport. Even pilots flying by themselves have done the same thing in the past, simply because they wanted to get home.

When you travel by air, you must realize that there are times when getting to the original destination is not an option. That means you will be late getting where you need to go. Sure, you can try ducking under the glide slope or descending below the MDA on a non-precision approach, but that might make things much worse than just being late for a meeting.


More accident analyses are available in AVweb's Probable Cause Index. And for monthly articles about IFR flying including accident reports like this one, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, IFR Refresher.

 
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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 Monday'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.

 
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Question Of The Week back to top 
 

Question of the Week: What Will Spark Interest Among Tomorrow's Pilots-to-Be?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked AVweb readers what they thought of the quarter-million-dollar prize NASA put up in its recent Personal Air Vehicle Challenge.

41% of the readers who took time to answer our poll thought the amount was a bit excessive, given that none of the contestants really pushed the limits of innovation, but another 33% thought the prize may spur bigger (and better) entries next year.

For a full breakdown of options and reader responses, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already participated in this poll.)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

With more and more pilots hanging up their aviator goggles, there are plenty of efforts underway to attract a new generation of people to flying. These days, it seems like everyone's pet initiative doubles as a recruitment tool for young pilots — but which holds the most promise for getting more young people into aviation?

Click here to answer.


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This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
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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!

 
DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
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Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings.  The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week."  Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?  Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

Last week's server burp behind us, we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a good hundred "POTW" submissions this week.  Good thing we started ogling early!

Of course, we're never satisfied with the dozens of incredible airplane pictures you submit each and every week.  Like the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, we demand more (more!) photos each and every week.  We won't rest until we've seen each and every one of you — plus your aunts, uncles, and that shifty-looking guy who cleans up around the hangar — having fun in or around your favorite airplane.  Please:  Send us your pics!

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Used with permission of John English

Whoo's Gonna Mess with My Helicopter?

John English of Lawrence, Kansas has doesn't want anyone besmirching his whirlybird, so he fights off the predators and stainmakers with another bird — a plastic owl!

(Actually, John tells us the artificial owl is deployed by the Ely, Nevada Helitack unit — but it still makes for a great pic.)

 

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copyright © Steve Maciejewski
Used with permission

Thunderbirds

Everybody's favorite F-16s make a pass over the Atlantic City Air Show, and AVweb reader Steve Maciejewski is there to snap the shot for the rest of us.  That's exactly the kind of big-hearted "POTW" generosity that gets us out of our seats and makes us cheer.

 

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copyright © Chris Davis
Used with permission

Squam Lake, New Hampshire

Oh, Donald H. Stoppe of Plymouth, New Hampshire — why did you have to spoil a perfectly lovely (if hot) summer afternoon by reminding us that frozen lakes and ground icing are just around the corner?

We forgive you — but only because we liked the pics so much.

 

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Used with permission of Ray Damijonaitis

Sneaky Stealth

Not enough expensive, high-concept airplanes to suit your taste in this week's "POTW"?  Fret not, dear reader, for the inimitable Jeff Randall of Clyde, Texas is back, with plenty of U.S. military jet power in tow.  In between dreaming of free rides, we managed to pick our favorite (this F-117 stealth fighter doing a fly-over at the 2007 Abilene Airfest), but we'll be keeping a few others as desktop wallpaper, too!

 

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Used with permission of Alex McMahon

So Helicopters Can't Do Loops, Eh?

Brian Emch of Lancaster, California puts the lie to that rumor.  (Not that we had a betting pool on it or anything.)

For the record, that's the Red Bull demonstration 'copter in action at last weekend's Camarillo Air Show.


More pics!  You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow gallery on AVweb's home page!  (What are you still doing here? Go!)

To enter next week's contest, click here.

A quick note for submitters:  If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week!  That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too.  ;)

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 or send us an e-mail.

 
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