AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 37a

September 10, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Fossett Search Update back to top 

Another Day, Another False Alarm for Fossett Searchers

Searchers rushed to the scene of another promising lead in the hunt for Steve Fossett today only to find the latest in a series of previous wrecks. Over the past week, at least six old wrecks have been spotted by searchers, proof that the crews are doing a thorough job of combing the area, according search coordinator, Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan. She told reporters Sunday that the search is now being redirected to the immediate area surrounding the Hilton Ranch where Fossett took off a week ago in a Super Decathlon belonging to the ranch. Reports today said he carried only one canteen of water. Meanwhile, thousands of people all over the world have joined the satellite search for Fossett, many of them AVweb readers.

On Saturday, DigitalGlobe supplied Google Earth with fresh images of the search area and that allowed Amazon.com to activate the Mechanical Turk, which allows individuals to scan small areas depicted in satellite imagery. There have been numerous discoveries, which are being analyzed by imagery specialists. Ryan told reporters Sunday that while the help is appreciated, it's hard to imagine that Google Earth will find something that military and intelligence satellites also tasked to the area won't spot.

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA Clarifies Cessna's Life Limit For The 441 Conquest II

AVweb has received a response through FAA spokesman Les Dorr regarding Cessna's announcement last month that recommended operators of Cessna 441 Conquest II twin tuboprops comply with a life limit of 22,500 hours flown. Cessna based its action on "data from test articles and from field reports," according to Cessna spokeswoman Pia Bergqvist. The FAA's Dorr said that the FAA does not usually review or approve Supplemental Inspection Documents (SID), like the one Cessna used to recommend the life limit. He added that the FAA is currently evaluating the 441 and unless the FAA issues an Airworthiness Directive that mandates compliance, operators can do as they wish with regard to a life limit on the Conquest II. Dorr noted that some situations, such as a part 135 specification that requires the operator to comply with SID's would require that operator to adhere to the new limit to maintain its operating certificate "regardless of whether an AD were issued."

Eastern Airspace Redesign Faces Opposition

The FAA decided to go with a controversial redesign of the airspace serving New York, Newark and Philadelphia airports on Wednesday but it has a fight on its hands to implement the changes. At least one town, Elizabeth, N.J., has filed a court challenge and several well-organized and well-heeled groups are opposing the so-called Integrated Airspace Alternative. In a nutshell, the plan provides for more direct inbound routing and more and steeper takeoff trajectories. The agency says the redesign will save fuel and result in 20 percent fewer delays by 2011 than if no changes were made. “This new concept in airspace design will help us handle the rapidly growing number of flights in the Northeast in a much more efficient way,” said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in a news release. “This airspace was first designed in the 1960s and has become much more complex. We now need to look at creative new ways to avoid delays.” But the changes will also put air traffic over areas that have so far been spared the noise.

Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage told the New York Times that people who live in areas of the city that are under the existing flight paths are used to the noise. The redesign will spread that burden "throughout the city" he said. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NY) said the redesign will upset the tranquility of the suburbs. “When New Jerseyans come home from work each night, we want peace and quiet, not the booming sound of 747s overhead,” he said in a statement.

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA Issues Five-Year 'Flight Plan'

The FAA's quintennial navel-gazing document, its "2008-2012 Flight Plan" was released Thursday and, while a first glance it doesn't reveal anything we haven't reported before, it does flesh out some initiatives that have been in the trial stage for years. The 60-page document concentrates on safety, modernization and management and sets goals to increase both safety and capacity in coming years. Among the initiatives we haven't heard much about before, however, is a new plan to make more use of so-called reliever airports. The agency intends to direct more Airport Improvement Fund resources to secondary commercial and general aviation airports in congested areas. Those airports can expect more concrete, more lighting and more navaids to handle increased traffic as metro airport traffic counts continue to grow.

There is more detail on ADS-B, air traffic control efficiencies like continuous descent, and ground control safety enhancements. The agency also takes the time to pat itself on the back for dramatic flight safety improvements in recent years. In 1997, Congress challenged the agency to reduce commercial aviation fatalities by 80 percent. It managed a 57 percent reduction, still good enough to claim this as safest time period in aviation history. "Our skies are safe. They are so safe that we now monitor incidents and accidents that didn’t happen," the report exults.

Gobosh Aviation Delivers "Luxury" LSA

Gobosh Aviation, which introduced its LSA to the American market at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this past July, Thursday announced deliveries of its first two G700S light sport aircraft in North America. The low-wing all metal aircraft is promoted as a "luxury" aircraft for the light sport market and, of course, falls within the 1320 pound gross weight limit with a maximum speed of not more than 120 knots. Gobosh offers three trims that range from $107,000 to $124,000 with standard equipment. Aside from that, Gobosh provides a two-year/400 hour warranty, and financing for the G-700S Elite for "under $760 per month." The company's web site didn't make entirely clear what made the aircraft "luxury" oriented, but Gobosh does claim "the highest level of quality fit and finish available, backed by the longest warranty" in its class. More to the point, Gobosh says, "If you can find a better Light Sport Aircraft -- buy it."

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA Reminds Us 121.5 ELTs Will Fade From Satellites

The day after the NTSB issued a recommendation that the FAA require that all aircraft be equipped with 406 Mhz ELTs, the FAA issued a safety bulletin reminding pilots that as of Feb. 1, 2009, search and rescue satellites will no longer scan 121.5. However, the agency doesn't seem to be in a hurry to require that the much more accurate and less nuisance-prone 406 models be made mandatory. While this debate has been going on for some time, the pending loss of satellite detection has raised some interesting questions among those who use the signals to find people. The Civil Air Patrol's public forum has no shortage of opinions, including the fear that search and rescue officials will grow complacent about 121.5 signals because so many are false. The 121.5 ELTs that most of us have are notoriously inaccurate and prone to false alarms, according to the FAA. The safety bulletin says 98 percent of alarms are bogus. The 406 ELTs include information about the aircraft in which they are installed in their broadcast, making it much easier for rescuers to determine whether an alarm is genuine. The consensus on the CAP forum is that 121.5 calls will still be answered but there will be fewer of them because of the lack of satellite coverage on that frequency. The military 243 frequency will also drop off the satellites.

Balloons Ordered To Land At APEC Summit

Anyone who thought airspace security for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Sydney, Australia this week was a lot of hot air found out differently if they breached it. And that included a couple of hot air balloon pilots who were ordered to make emergency landings as they approached the 45 nm exclusion zone. "We were waiting for them to send in the F/A-18s," John Allen, one of the balloonists, told the Sydney Morning Herald. However, the pilot of a Cessna 337 didn't have to wait long for some turbine-powered company as he was intercepted by a couple of Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18s when he busted the zone. The fighters fired flares to catch the attention of pilot David Brown, who'd apparently filed a flight plan for the route he took but left at a different time than specified on the flight plan. When authorities weren't able to reach him by radio, they scrambled the Hornets. He was inside the exclusion zone but well away from the APEC venues. Brown wouldn't talk about the incident but people on the ground watching it unfold were impressed. "These two fighter jets come out in the middle of nowhere and were flying flares at it," a witness told Macquarie Radio. "Right over the top of Penrith, it was amazing. I've never seen anything like it."

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Turbulence Injures Nine WestJet Passengers

Nine passengers were injured and three of them were hospitalized when a WestJet Boeing 737 hit severe turbulence over Northern Ontario late Thursday. The flight was on its way from Calgary to Halifax when passengers said it suddenly dropped. Some reports have said the plane may have plunged as much as 1,000 feet but there's been no confirmation. Passengers told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald that the flight crew had announced the possibility of turbulence and turned on the seatbelt sign just seconds before the plane dropped. Most of those injured were on their way back to their seats and were thrown into the ceiling and overhead luggage compartments. A WestJet spokesman said the airline is looking into the incident.

The mishap occurred when the aircraft was about 90 minutes from its destination and the flight crew kept going to Halifax rather than diverting. Two nurses on board the flight treated the injured passengers, many of whom suffered lacerations and bruises. "There was one gentleman who had a really bad laceration to his head and his leg," nurse Kathi Nelson said. Several complained of sore necks and backs. Ambulances met the aircraft at Halifax Airport. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board are looking into the incident but TSB spokesman Mike Cunningham said it's unlikely his organization will launch a formal probe.“It looks like a fairly typical turbulence encounter,” Mr. Cunningham said. “I doubt very much that we will be doing a formal investigation.”

FAA Plans 'Long Talk' With Pilot After Three Emergency Landings

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says the agency will have a "long talk" with pilot William Supan after the 52-year-old Pleasanton, Calif. resident made three emergency landings in the same aircraft on the same day last Saturday. On the third landing his passenger Jinhua Lin had apparently had enough and jumped from the aircraft, breaking a leg and suffering abrasions. The plane was destroyed by fire on that landing and Supan suffered smoke inhalation, according to the Modesto Bee. Gregor said there are some questions about the pilot's judgment that will top the agenda when investigators sit down with him.

Supan was taking Lin on her first plane ride when the cabin filled with smoke and he landed. He diagnosed the problem as a loose exhaust hose and told workers from a local FBO he was going to Wal-Mart to buy replacement parts. After taking off a second time the smoke problem reoccurred and he made another emergency landing. Instead of calling it a day, the Bee said he reportedly told witnesses that an exhaust hose had been cut. He replaced the hose (origin of the replacement hose is unknown) and took off again. The cabin filled with smoke again and this time, on landing, the aircraft went off the runway and burned. Investigators told the Bee the hose and clamp were in place but the hose was cut. Gregor told the Bee he questioned the wisdom of Supan flying the aircraft without it being checked by an aircraft mechanic.

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Project America back to top 

Curtiss Flying Boat Reproduction Set To Fly

After two years of painstaking work, the reproduction shop of the Glenn Curtis Museum is ready to let another of its creations take flight. On Sept. 14, during the annual Seaplane Homecoming at the museum, retired American Airlines pilot Jim Pohl will fly a recreation of the 1914 Rodman Wannamaker America, a twin-engine flying boat that Wannamaker envisioned as transatlantic aircraft. The aircraft will launch off Keuka Lake, at Hammondsport, N.Y., which was where Curtis developed his early aircraft. Those building the replica are using, as much as possible, the same materials, such as Sitka spruce, that were used to build the original. They've even rebuilt two original Curtiss 100 hp V-8 engines to power the aircraft.

America is 35-feet long and its upper wing span is 72 feet but it weighs only about 3,000 lbs. Curtiss is acknowledged as the father of naval aviation and there's a design feature on the America that has been included on virtually every flying boat and float since. Curtiss incorporated the "step" in the hull that allows it to break free from the surface tension of the water. Every floatplane pilot must master "getting on the step" to make the plane fly.

Click here for a video of the Project America team.

Video of the Week: Recreating the Glenn Curtiss America

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

The folks at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum are hard at work putting the finishing touches on a replica of the America, a Glenn Curtiss twin-engine OX-6 "flying boat" that was originally conceived (in 1914, mind you) as a trans-Atlantic transport. 30,000-hour retired American Airlines Captain Jim Poel is scheduled to fly America at the Lake Keuka (NY) Seaplane Fly-In this weekend, which means the project staff and volunteers will be pretty busy as you read this.

YouTube user angelica4709 has posted several videos about the project (which we're still working our way through), but here's a quick look at the fuselage and a preview of the weekend fun with pilots Poel and Lee Sackett and head builder Art Wilder:

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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Short News Items back to top 

On the Fly ...

An 89-year-old Florida pilot walked away from the crash of Piper PA-28 Saturday in Myrtle Beach. Martin Geraghty took up flying at 77. A wind gust got the better of him as he was trying to go around after misjudging his approach ... .

No one was injured when a hot air balloon crashed into electric wires in Calgary, Alberta, on Saturday. The balloon, carrying a pilot and eight passengers, was just about to land when a wind gust carried it about 1,000 feet into the wires ... .

The widow of Jan Wildberghs, the Geico Skytyper pilot who died in a crash at Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday, told Newsday that a "heartissue" had been ruled out as the cause of his death. A sudden medical condition had been suspected since, without warning, the SNJ he was flying broke formation and flew into the ground ... .

The National Aeronautic Association, in association with the Air Care Alliance, will preent its annual Public Benefit Flying Awards Sept. 17. Winners are: Peter VandenBosch, Founder and President of Wings of Mercy;Terrence Trapnell, a volunteer pilot with the Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps; Chuck Schroll, a volunteer pilot with LightHawk and the Flying Samaritans; Second Lt. Guy Loughridge of the Civil Air Patrol and Wings of Hope with Fundacion AeroAmazonica.

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.

The Columbias Are Coming
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Atlantic Aviation (PWA, Oklahoma City, OK)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Wiley Post (PWA) in Oklahoma City, Ok.

AVweb reader Bill Johnson gives the FBO a stellar recommendation:

If your travels take you to Oklahoma City, the best airport is Wiley Post and Atlantic Aviation. Their facities are excellent, open 24/7 -- and more friendly, considerate people you will not find. On a recent trip to visit my ailing mother, Allison and her team not only got me where I needed to go, they made arrangements to pick me up and even checked to make certain everything was O.K. If Im in Oak City, Im at Atlantic Aviation at PWA.

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!

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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New Today on AVweb back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #117: Playing "Let's Pretend" For Keeps

Emergencies don't have to only be practiced in the airplane.

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

AVmail: Sep. 10, 2007

Reader mail this week about where you flew this summer, privatized FAA, ADS-B and much more.

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

AVweb's Monday Podcast: Mid-Air Survivor Joe Sharkey Wrestles with the Aftermath of the Embraer Legacy Collision

File Size 8.7 MB / Running Time 9:32

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

About a year ago, New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey had the life-changing experience of surviving a mid-air collision with an airliner over the Amazon jungle. Most of us are familiar with the story about the Embraer Legacy's brush with death and the tragedy that befell the 154 people on the Boeing 737 that crashed after the collision. But Sharkey, as a private journalist and not representing the Times, has naturally continued to chronicle the fallout from the crash. He brought AVweb's Russ Niles up to date on the legal quagmire that could result in the Legacy pilots, Joe Lepore, and Jan Paladino (both of Long Island) ending up international fugitives.

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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 near Greensboro, N.C.:

Greensboro Approach:
"Cessna One Two Three, fly heading one four zero, left base runway five, keep your speed up, turn it tight and I'll get you in front of the RJ."

Cessna 123 (hesitating):
"Um, turn ... base ... five ... keep the speed up."

"Pretend you're an F-15."

Cessna 123:
"Uh, OK."

"You're not buying it."

Aviation Consumer — The Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell You the Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

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

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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

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

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