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Volume 13, Number 35a
August 27, 2007
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AVweb Exclusiveback to top 

A West Virginia company says it wants its "day in court" to fight a seemingly perplexing decision by the FAA to ground dozens of French-built helicopters, some of which have been operating in the U.S. for years. As AVweb reported last month, the agency sent owners of some Alouette helicopters telling them they must have a "certificate of airworthiness for export" to fly legally in the U.S., even though FAA inspectors had authorized the importation of some Alouettes and issued valid U.S. C of A documents without that document. The issue mainly affects aircraft built for use by the French and German military, which have gone on the surplus market. Marpat spokesman Joe Altizer told AVweb the latest wrinkle is that while the documentation the FAA says it requires exists in French archives, French authorities are claiming the FAA has asked them not to release those documents to the owners. FAA spokesman Roland Herwig says he's looking into the allegations that the FAA is trying to block access to the French documents. Altizer said the FAA's inability or unwillingness to resolve the issue at the administrative level led him to openly defy the agency 10 days ago and that brought an immediate response in the form of an emergency revocation of the aircraft's certificate of airworthiness. More...

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More Top Newsback to top 

Canadian authorities have known for at least five years that the seatbelts in the CT-114 Tutor jets used by the Snowbirds could come open in flight because there was an incident in 2002 similar to the one that led to the most recent fatal crash. As AVweb reported on Thursday, Capt. Shawn McCaughey died in late May after his restraint came undone while he rolled inverted and he lost control of the aircraft during a rehearsal for a show in Great Falls, Mont. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, in 2002, Snowbird Capt. Robert Reichert also fell out of his seat when the belt unfastened while he was inverted. He was able to recover. However, nothing was done to modify the restraints in the meantime and it wasn't until after McCaughey's death that a parachute arming key that is part of the seatbelt latch mechanism was modified to prevent it from interfering with the proper closing of the latch. The team's executive officer Maj. Cory Blakely told the Globe and Mail all Snowbird pilots were award of the belt problem. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey urged Los Angeles officials to get on with the job of putting more distance between two heavily-used parallel runways a week after two airliners came within 40 feet of colliding at a runway/taxiway intersection. "I'll put it plainly," Associated Press quoted her as telling a lunch meeting of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "However you decide to fix the airfield, get it done. The problem here is that the parallel runways on the north side are too close together," she said. "A landing aircraft that leaves the outward runway on a high-speed taxiway literally has only a few feet to stop before crossing the inner runway hold line." On Aug. 16 a WestJet Boeing 737 stopped just short of a runway being used by a Northwest A320 for takeoff and the wingtip of the Airbus passed 37 feet from the nose of the 737. And it now appears the ground controller handling the WestJet plane will take the full rap for the incident even though the FAA insists the Canadian pilot was partly to blame. More...

CNN say a judge in Brazil has turned down a request from Long Island bizjet pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino to use a U.S. court to testify about their role in a collision between their Embraer 600 and a GOL Boeing 737 that resulted in the deaths of all 154 aboard the airliner last year. The pilots have a date in front of Judge Murilo Mendes on Monday but their lawyer Joel Weiss says they don't mind telling their story under oath but they'd rather do it within sight of the Statue of Liberty. Weiss says the U.S. and Brazil have a treaty that allows this type of long-distance testimony. Ironically, it's the Brazilians who fear they won't get a fair shake from the process. A court spokesman said Mendes is afraid a U.S. judge will filter his questions. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Two people died and 11 were injured after a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in the Vancouver, B.C. suburb of Surrey on Friday evening. Bill Yearwood, of Canada's Transportation Safety Board said a fire started in the balloon's basket shortly after it lifted off on a tethered flight with 12 passengers and a pilot on board. "The crew loaded 12 passengers and was preparing to launch when a fire erupted. The pilot asked the passengers to get out of the basket," Yearwood told Associated Press. "The balloon was tethered at the time, but then broke and came loose. They were all trying to get out." All but two of the passengers escaped and horrified family members watched from the ground as the balloon pulled the flaming basket about 400 feet high before the basket broke loose and dropped into an RV park, trailing smoke and flame. More...

The PR campaign to gain support for the FAA’s airspace modernization program, known as NextGen, took to the air on Friday as members of the mainstream mediagot a demonstration of ADS-B on the agency’s test bed aircraft. The agency has found a natural conduit to mainstream exposure on the topic by linking the existing technology to the increasingly frustrating number of airline flight delays. "The entire infrastructure in this country has reached the end of its useful life," Manny Weiss, the FAA’s eastern region administrator, told the reporters, likening the radar-based ATC system to the bridges and highways across the country that also need replacing. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Some people in Florida’s Martin County (not many of them pilots, we’d wager) say county commissioners should ignore the FAA and close 460 feet of runway at Witham Field without the agency’s approval. "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead," local resident Jon Chicky is quoted by the Palm Beach Post as saying during a meeting of Martin County's airport noise advisory committee. "Let's get a striper out there and stripe that thing off and see what happens. I think they are a paper tiger." The county asked the FAA last year if it could eliminate the 460 feet of runway to ease noise and pollution concerns but the FAA rejected the plan, citing potential problems for pilots and airport businesses. The county appears to be fully aware of the FAA’s power and jurisdiction in this issue but at least one commissioner appears ready to test the agency’s mettle. More...

Some adherents of the Sikh religion are upset with a new Transportation Security Administration policy that will allow random searches of turbans at airport security checkpoints. According to India Daily, until recently, TSA staff would pat down or ask for removal of the turban, a religious icon in the Sikh faith, only if the metal detector kept going off. The newspaper says TSA staff now have “greater discretion” to inspect turbans, including searching for non-metallic weapons. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The new boundaries of the Air Defense Identification Zone come into effect at 1 a.m. EDT Thursday and those who fly in that airspace should have a look at the new NOTAM to make sure they’re familiar with how it affects their flying. In addition to the almost circular shape of the ADIZ, which is 30 nm in radius from the Washington VOR, there are procedural changes for operating inside that space. There’s also a 60-nm outer ring in which a speed limit of 230 KIAS has been imposed. The limit is 180 KIAS within the ADIZ. More...

A new company is offering general aviation operators a way to atone for the environmental sins they commit every time they start their engines. In today's podcast interview with AVweb's Russ Niles, Jeff Witward, of Carbon Neutral Planes, says his company's programs will add less than a dollar an hour to the operating cost of most light planes while they help develop clean energy or contribute to projects that reduce carbon emissions. "I'm concerned about the public image of aviation," Witward said. He said there are already enough knocks against aviation and he wanted to provide a way to mitigate criticism about its environmental impact. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The Royal Flying Doctor Service, which dispatches medical help to Australia’s far-flung regions by air, has now relaxed restrictions on night flights after the communities it serves took steps to keep kangaroos off their airport runways. Last April, a medical flight hit kangaroos while landing at Coonamble in New South Wales. The Doctor Service then told the communities that it would only dispatch aircraft in the most urgent cases at night until something was done to improve safety. Last week, spokesman Roger Pethram said normal night flights resumed to 14 communities after they took action, usually at the expense of the kangaroos. More...

The Columbias Are Coming
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New on AVwebback to top 

Columns | Features | What's New | Calendar | Brainteasers

When a conga-line of airliners are on a taxiway waiting out weather, who should they blame? The Cessnas, of course. More...

Juggling aircraft in low visibility requires that everyone play by the same rules. More...

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Reader Commentsback to top 

AVMAIL: AUG. 27, 2007
Reader mail this week about turns and turn coordinators, FSS, facility fees and more. More...

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. What have you heard? More...

Attention, Cessna Owners and Pilots!
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Video of the Weekback to top 

Hmmm — seems as though we haven't showcased a floatplane here in a while, so how about this clip (from YouTube contributor gsmac1969) that we've been saving for a while? Enjoy! (Click through to watch.) More...

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/. More...

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The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

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

Piper 123: “They keep extending my route. If they keep extending my route I’m going to be low on fuel. Why can’t I go direct?”

Potomac Approach:: “Piper One Two Three, unable direct. Direc twill take you over P-40. Proceed direct Hagerstown, Victor 501, Martinsburg, then as previously cleared.”

Piper 123: “But if they didn’t keep extending me I wouldn’t get low on fuel.”

Approach:: “Piper One Two Three, if you feel you are low on fuel I advise you to stop somewhere and get fuel.”

After two more exchanges:

Approach:: “Piper One Two Three, I’m not doing this to you. You cannot fly over P-40. Are you familiar with P-40? It’s Camp David.”

Piper 123: “I know about Camp David, but I didn’t see any TFRs. This is making me get low on fuel.”

Approach:: “Piper One Two Three, if you fly over P-40 you’re not going to be worried about fuel.”


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If you have an event you want folks to know about, post it at no cost on AVweb's Calendar of Events.
Names Behind the Newsback 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 Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles (bio).

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