AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 38b

September 20, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Introducing Zulu ... From Lightspeed
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Innovation and Safety back to top 

Pilots Propose Anti-Collision Device for Formation Flying

Two pilots have filed a patent for a device that they say could help to prevent mid-air collisions like the one that killed two helicopter pilots and two videographers in Phoenix, Ariz., in July. The crews were covering a police pursuit for television news. Inventors Chris Morrison and Ralph Gannarelli knew two of the men who died and said the crash convinced them to move forward with their efforts. “We both were deeply affected by the crash, and thought there could be a better way for news pilots to see where each helicopter is located in relation to one another while so many are in the air at one time,” Morrison told the East Valley Tribune. The two have developed a wireless GPS device that could issue voice announcements to keep pilots apprised of the location of other aircraft within a one-mile radius. The system would also sound a warning if another helicopter comes within 300 feet.

Patent paperwork was filed last week, but it could be up to two years before the device can be marketed.

Aircraft Spruce West Holds Their Annual Super Sale on October 13th
Aircraft Spruce will be holding their Annual Super Sale in Corona, CA on Saturday, October 13th from 7:00am-3:00pm. Raffle prizes will be given away hourly. Seminars will include Light Sport Airplanes West, Garmin, and the FAA. Numerous discounts, hot dogs, and lots of fun! Complimentary shuttle service available throughout the day from the Corona Airport (AJO). For more information, please call 1-877-SPRUCE, or visit Aircraft Spruce online.
U.S. House Says "No" to User Fees back to top 

House Committee Rejects User Fees

The House Ways and Means Committee passed an FAA reauthorization bill on Tuesday that has no user fees for general aviation. The legislation still must pass through the Rules Committee before heading to the House floor, but that could happen within a week. If the bill passes as is, fuel taxes would increase -- from 19.3 cents per gallon for avgas to 24.1 cents, and from 21.8 cents per gallon to 35.9 cents for Jet-A -- but all of that increase would go to pay for airspace modernization. AOPA and NBAA both were pleased with Tuesday's vote, and hopeful that it's the beginning of the end for user fees. But the end is still some distance away, since the Senate version of the FAA bill remains in play. The Senate bill contains a $25 per flight fee that GA groups say would open a Pandora's box of future user fees. Once passed, the two bills must be reconciled before a final version is sent to the White House for approval. AOPA President Phil Boyer said he was pleased with the House committee's vote. "This bill ensures that there will be more than enough money to pay for air traffic control modernization," he said. "General aviation is willing to pay more to improve the air traffic control system, unlike the airlines who wanted to change the entire FAA funding system to obtain a huge tax cut for themselves." NBAA President Ed Bolen also was congratulatory. "We applaud the Committee for rejecting user fees and instead building upon a proven, stable, reliable and ultra-efficient system of fuel taxes that clearly reflect aviation system use," he said.

PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.
The Search for Steve Fossett back to top 

Fossett Search Scaled Back

After two weeks of searching and no sign of Steve Fossett or his airplane, the rescue effort will be scaled back, officials said on Monday. Fossett took off on Sept. 3 from a private airfield in Nevada for what was supposed to be a three-hour flight, but he never returned. The Civil Air Patrol has searched 98 percent of the 20,000 square mile region where Fossett was last seen, according to spokeswoman Maj. Cynthia Ryan. She said two CAP aircraft will remain on standby at Minden-Tahoe Airport in support of ground searchers. Any new tips that are received will be followed up with ground and aerial searches, officials said. The Nevada National Guard will continue to deploy helicopters as needed, and a fleet of privately funded aircraft based at the Flying M Ranch will continue to methodically cover a search grid, flying as low as possible. Eight helicopters and five fixed-wing aircraft are flying 24 hours a day, some of them equipped with infrared and other spectrum-analysis assets. Tips based on Google Earth searches have been checked and continue to arrive, but many are repeats of earlier sightings, according to the Nevada Appeal.

Announcing the Online MBA for Aviation Professionals
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News Briefs back to top 

FAA Names UAL Captain As Chief Operating Officer For ATO

Henry (Hank) Krakowski, vice president of flight operations for United Air Lines, has been named chief operating officer (COO) of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization. He will lead the 35,000 controllers, technicians, engineers and support personnel who run the National Airspace System. As COO, he will oversee operations and finances as well as research and acquisition programs. “Hank is the right person to help implement the next generation of aviation technology,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters. “His commitment to safety, outstanding operational experience, and leadership abilities will advance our efforts to modernize our nation’s air transportation system.” Krakowski worked at UAL for almost 30 years, and his background includes all aspects of aviation, including flying, labor relations, air traffic and scheduling. He's a Boeing 737 captain and has flown the Boeing 747, 737 and 727 as well as the Douglas DC-10 and DC-8. Krakowski starts his new job Oct. 1. He replaces Russell Chew, who left in February.

Pogo To Launch With Eclipse 500 Fleet

As the first air-charter companies flying very light jets line up along the starting gate, Pogo, led by former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall, has been closely watched. At first the company said it would fly Adam 700 jets, then revised that, saying none of the new VLJs nearing certification quite fit its needs. Back in May, Pogo President Cameron Burr confirmed to AVweb that Eclipse 500 jets would make up its fleet. Recently, the company filed papers for an Initial Public Offering that said operations will begin in early 2009 with a fleet of 25 Eclipse jets, which will grow to 100 by 2011. The company Web site says it will offer charter services at about $2,000 per hour block time, along with jet-card and lease-back options. All trips will be flown with a two-pilot crew. The jets initially will be based in Western Massachusetts and offer service within a 600-mile radius of New York City, a region that includes over 700 GA airports. Linear Air, based at Bedford Field just outside of Boston, has already taken delivery of its first Eclipse jet, though service hasn't yet started. Linear Air says a 300-mile day trip for four passengers in the jet, flying 345 mph, will cost $3,590. DayJet, in Florida, also has taken delivery of three Eclipse jets, and has said operations should start soon.

In-Flight Emergency Maneuvers: Are You Prepared?
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News Briefs back to top 

Curtiss Seaplane Replica Stays on the Water

Original and (under construction) 2007 models
Two years of painstaking work was not enough to get a replica of a 1914 Glenn Curtiss Rodman Wannamaker America flying boat airborne in time for the annual Seaplane Homecoming in upstate New York last weekend -- a result that shows how amazing it was that the original aircraft was successful. The flight crew was able to start both of the vintage 90-hp OX-5 engines and taxied the replica across Keuka Lake, to the cheers of hundreds of spectators on shore. But the trick seems to be to get both engines to run at top RPM at the same time. The volunteers working on the project have changed the elevator dihedral and added weight in the front of the hull, and plan to continue testing and achieve first flight soon. A video of the America taxiing at the Homecoming is posted online.

The replica is being built at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, N.Y. The team will continue to work on the airplane and attempt to fly it again at next year's seaplane event.

Help Wanted: Astronauts

Think you have the right stuff? Here's your chance to give it a try. NASA is recruiting its next class of astronauts, for 2009. The agency says it is looking for "a few men and women who want to fulfill their dreams and be a part of the next generation of explorers." Candidates must be willing to travel extensively on Earth and in space, NASA says: "Possible destinations may include, but are not limited to, Texas, Florida, California, Russia, Kazakhstan, the International Space Station and the moon." But it's not all fun and adventure. When not exploring the final frontier, astronauts are assigned duties such as scientific research, mission control communication with on-orbit crews, robotic training, spacewalk training, aircraft operations, technical design and engineering, and wilderness training. If you want to give it a go, NASA says you must meet physical standards and educational requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree in engineering, math or science and at least three years of experience in one of these fields. Teaching experience, including experience at the K-12 level, is also considered to be qualifying experience; therefore, educators are encouraged to apply. Candidates will undergo two years of training and evaluation at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, before NASA decides if they make the cut as astronauts.

Reader Poll:
What should it take to be an astronaut?

If Brokers Say They Cover the Whole Market, Why Can't They Get a Quote from Us?
Actually, brokers can't get a quote from Avemco, the only direct provider of aviation insurance. Only Avemco lets you talk directly to the aviation underwriter for fast, accurate answers. So if a broker tells you they cover the whole market, they're only telling you half the story. Call (888) 241-7891, or visit online for the rest of the story.
News Briefs back to top 

EAA Hopes Nonpilots Will "Reach For The Sky"

With the U.S. pilot population aging, and new starts in decline over the last 30 years, EAA has launched a new effort to recruit more students. The "Reach For The Sky" monthly e-newsletter, available free to all who sign up via EAA's Web site, aims to inspire people to learn to fly and answer their questions about how to do it. "The newsletter focuses on giving those interested in learning to fly the confidence to take that first step," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. The idea for the newsletter evolved from EAA's interaction with potential pilots at the Learn-to-Fly pavilion at this summer's EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh. The event gave EAA insight into the questions and doubts people have about aviation, which will guide the newsletter content. The 5,000 members of EAA's affiliate, the National Association of Flight Instructors, will also contribute to the newsletter. You don't have to be an EAA member to sign up. Look for the "Reach For The Sky" link on the home page in the upper left corner.

Pilot On Crash Plane "Very Experienced"

The chairman of One-Two-Go Airline, Kajit Hapananont, told reporters on Monday the pilot of the MD-82 that crashed at Phuket on Sunday was one of his airline’s best. Wind shear has been speculated as the cause of the accident, which killed 89 people, including the captain, 56-year-old Arief Mulyadi. Forty-one people survived. The aircraft went off a runway and caught fire. “The pilot who flew the doomed aircraft was one of our best. He was very experienced, patient and very decisive,” Hapananont said. He was apparently countering media reports that referred to a pilot shortage in Asia in the midst of rapid expansion of air travel. Hapanonont said suggestions of pilot error are premature since the flight data and cockpit voice recorders have not been examined. Other reports said Mulyadi was warned about wind shear by the crews of two previous aircraft, as he set up to land in the middle of a monsoon storm.

AFSS Is Up to Speed. And Gaining Altitude.
The new automated flight services system is here. Revolutionizing flight service operations. Reducing legacy sites. Bringing 15 upgraded sites and three hubs online. Retaining 1,200 specialists. Marrying local needs with national information sources. The result: ever-improving levels of performance. And a future of efficient, effective service that give general aviation pilots more flexibility than they've ever thought possible. To see for yourself, visit AFSS.com.
New on AVweb back to top 

Pelican's Perch #88: Pressurization Problems at FL430

There's nothing like a relatively ''safe'' emergency to get you out of your complacent, know-it-all attitude.

Click here for the full story.

This column is temporarily unavailable.


Probable Cause #41: Scud Run

Did a pilot break off an approach with the hopes of finding another airport? If he did, all he found was trouble.

Click here for the full story.

Most ILS approaches take from three to five minutes to complete after crossing the final approach fix (FAF). What you're about to read is the story of a pilot who was cleared for an ILS approach just before his aircraft disappeared from radar, only to pop back up on the screen approximately 27 minutes later. For another seven minutes, controllers, while watching the aircraft, attempted to make contact with the pilot without success. Then, the aircraft disappeared from the radar screens for a final time.

Unfavorable Conditions

The pilot's day began just before 5:50 a.m., when he departed Arkadelphia, Ark., in his Piper Lance for the 60-mile flight to the Downtown Airport (F43) in El Dorado, Ark. This being an early January 1999 morning, it was still dark and IFR weather conditions existed along the route of flight.

The accident report does not mention what type of weather briefing the pilot received, nor does it go very deeply into the weather conditions. Downtown Airport is a small, general-aviation field with a single, 3000-foot-long, north-south runway and is surrounded mostly by woods, with a neighborhood to the north and a highway south of the runway. Because of its small size, the airport has neither an instrument approach nor any official weather reporting capabilities. The nearest airport with weather is El Dorado's South Arkansas Regional Airport (KELD), located about eight miles to the west. At 6:23 a.m., it reported a broken ceiling at 400 feet, an overcast ceiling at 1,000 feet, seven miles visibility in light rain and winds from 300 degrees at 12 kts. gusting to 19. A weather report at 6:50 a.m. showed similar conditions, this time with an overcast ceiling of 400 feet and a remark that the rain had ended 20 minutes prior. The temperature and dew point were both 9 degrees C.

The route south to El Dorado took the flight through Forth Worth Center's airspace and, at 6:07 a.m., the pilot asked the Center controller for a lower altitude. The controller cleared the pilot to descend to 2,000 feet and read him an earlier weather report -- although he did not identify when it was issued -- that stated that the El Dorado weather was seven miles visibility in light rain showers, the winds were from 320 degrees at 12 kts. and that the ceiling was 2,500 feet broken and 3,500 feet overcast. He then told the pilot to report the Downtown Airport in sight.

Based on the 6:23 and 6:50 a.m. weather reports from KELD, the weather that the controller had given the pilot would appear to have been outdated, as conditions around El Dorado were deteriorating. So it was no surprise that the pilot called the controller at 6:11 a.m. and told him that he could not see the airport. Faced with limited options, the pilot asked for an instrument approach into KELD. The controller instructed the pilot to fly a 270-degree heading and join the ILS approach for Runway 22.

A minute later, the controller advised the pilot that radar contact with the aircraft was lost and asked if he was able to navigate directly to the outer marker. The pilot responded that he could and the controller cleared the aircraft for the ILS approach to Runway 22. He asked for a report when the aircraft was established on the approach, which the pilot made a minute later.

The controller cleared the pilot from the frequency with instructions that he was to cancel on the present frequency, or with flight service. The pilot acknowledged the instructions in what would be his last transmission controllers would ever hear from him.

27 Minutes

Nothing was heard or seen from the pilot until 6:39 a.m., when the Lance popped back up on Fort Worth Center's radar screens. This time, however, the airplane was south of Downtown Airport, nowhere near KELD or the ILS 22 approach. The controller began a series of radio calls to the aircraft but never received a response. The controller then asked the pilot of a commuter airplane if he could communicate with the Lance pilot. The commuter pilot called twice but never got a response.

According to radar returns, the airplane made a climbing right turn to the north at the time the controller was trying to make contact with the pilot. The airplane then made a gradual left turn to the west over the town of El Dorado. At that point it was at 3,200 feet. The airplane then made a slow turn to the north. The last radar plot was at 6:48 a.m. and indicated that the aircraft was at 3,000 feet and still in a right turn.

Nine minutes after the aircraft disappeared from the radar for second and final time, the controller called the Jonesboro Automated Flight Service Station and asked if the Lance pilot had cancelled his IFR clearance. He had not. The controller then contacted other controllers in adjacent sectors and advised them that he had no idea where the aircraft was or where it was going.

At 7:14 a.m., the controller asked the pilot of an airliner flying in the vicinity to attempt to contact the Lance. Again, there was no response. Eventually, search and rescue was notified and the aircraft was located two days later in a heavily wooded area in Smackover, Ark., about six miles northeast of the South Arkansas Regional Airport, and about 10 miles northwest of the Downtown Airport. The pilot, the only person aboard the aircraft, was killed in the crash.

NTSB investigators conducted telephone interviews with witnesses in an area about two miles west of the Downtown Airport and about six miles southeast of the Regional Airport who reported hearing an airplane fly over their houses "numerous times at a very low altitude" around 6:30 a.m. Many of the witnesses said that the airplane woke them from their sleep. A pilot-rated witness stated that he thought the plane was going to "fly through his house" so he woke his wife. They heard the airplane pass several times while "climbing and descending" and thought "the pilot was in trouble."

According to FAA medical records, the 69-year-old pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on Jan. 24, 1997. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was dated April 19, 1998. The most recent biennial flight review was dated April 16, 1988. There was no record of an instrument proficiency check or any record of instrument currency. According to an application for aircraft insurance, the pilot had accumulated 3,800 hours of flight time, but it could not be determined how much of that time was in the accident aircraft make and model. No other pilot records were located during the investigation.

Examination of the aircraft at the accident site and after its removal provided no indication of onboard mechanical or instrument failures.

The NTSB cited the pilot's spatial disorientation that resulted in a loss of control and an ensuing stall/spin as the cause of the accident. Other factors were the low ceilings and the nighttime conditions.

Sneaking In?

What really happened aboard the Lance, we'll never know. It's possible that the pilot simply got lost or disoriented on the approach, wandered around for 27 minutes before climbing high enough to be seen by radar, then lost control. But that doesn't seem likely.

A more plausible scenario is that the pilot shot the approach to KELD and when he broke out, turned back towards Downtown Airport, probably with the hopes that he could easily find the airport and land. But things didn't turn out that way.

The reported weather at KELD varied between a 400-foot broken ceiling and a 400-foot overcast ceiling, with the weather trend deteriorating as the morning went on. The visibility below the cloud base was good at seven miles, although there had been reports of rain in the area. Given that the Lance pilot was not able to locate the Downtown Airport in the existing weather conditions, it's possible that the weather at the Downtown Airport or between the two airports was worse than that at KELD.

It should be remembered that the weather report the pilot received from the controller suggested much more favorable conditions. It's impossible to determine if the pilot ever listened to the ASOS at KELD. At the very least, though, the pilot should have suspected that the weather report he received from the controller was not accurate, or that the weather had deteriorated, when he initially flew over the Downtown Airport at 2,000 feet and was unable to locate it.

The rules are clear regarding descent on an IFR clearance into an airport that does not have an instrument approach. ATC can only authorize a descent to the minimum vectoring altitude in the vicinity of the airport. If the pilot is unable to make visual contact with the airport, he must then proceed to an airport where the weather is VFR or there is a valid instrument approach.

It should be noted that there's nothing wrong with the basic intent of what the pilot was probably trying to do, which is to fly an instrument approach into one airport, break it off when entering VMC and proceed on to a VFR-only airport.

To do that, however, one must cancel the IFR clearance first before breaking off the approach, which the pilot never did. One must also be able to maintain the legal VFR cloud clearance and visibility requirements at all times. With a 400-foot ceiling and a route that would have taken him over a congested area, this would have been impossible to do.

The temptation to scud-run may explain how the airplane ended up back on radar south of Downtown Airport. But it doesn't explain what transpired in those 27 minutes between radar hits, because the two airports are only about eight miles apart.

The Piper Lance was equipped with an IFR-approved GPS, so it is likely that the pilot was using the GPS to position the aircraft over the Downtown Airport. The terrain between the two airports is relatively level, and there is a highway that runs between the south end of KELD and the south end of Downtown Airport. FARs aside, if the visibility had been as advertised, once the pilot broke out of the clouds and using the GPS, he should have been able to fly directly to the Downtown Airport. Is it possible that the pilot never broke out of the clouds or that the visibility between the two airports was not very good?

If the aircraft didn't break out of the clouds, it may be that the cloud deck was even lower in some areas than what was reported at KELD. Or perhaps the pilot did not fly a good ILS approach. It was still dark and it may be that he did break out of the clouds but was unable to locate anything recognizable on the surface.

Then there's the question of the pilot's instrument proficiency level. Just because the NTSB couldn't find any records attesting to his currency, that doesn't automatically mean his proficiency was lacking. It's interesting to note that witnesses reported hearing what sounded like an aircraft in trouble at 6:30 a.m. but the airplane didn't crash until around 6:48 a.m. It doesn't make sense that the pilot became spatially disoriented at 6:30 or before and continued to fly the airplane for a considerable time after that until it crashed. NTSB accident reports seem to indicate that most pilots who become spatially disoriented tend to lose control of their aircraft within about five minutes.

Avoiding The Trap

While we will never know what happened in this particular accident, especially in those 27 minutes when the airplane was off the radarscopes, it is entirely possible for you to prevent this type of accident from happening in the future.

First, if you file an IFR flight plan to an airport that does not have an instrument approach, you are required to file a legal alternate. Pick one where the weather is expected to be above your personal limitations. If weather reports in the vicinity of your destination indicate that you will not be able to make visual contact with the airport, consider going directly to your alternate.

Second, you should never plan on breaking off an approach at one airport and fly to another unless you know the weather conditions are at least VFR along the entire route. In some areas where terrain is a factor, you will need more than basic VFR minimums.

Under no circumstance should you ever break off an approach to fly to another airport without canceling your instrument clearance. If the weather conditions are marginal and you don't want to cancel your instrument clearance, then you must land at the airport where you are making the instrument approach. As you can see, floundering around in the clouds while trying to locate an airport that does not have an instrument approach invites all kinds of problems.

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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News in Brief back to top 

On the Fly ...

A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday marked the official opening of the new control tower at Dulles Airport ... .

A change in FAA rules will allow warbird pilots to expand their radius of operations, EAA reports ... .

The environmental impact of flying is a prime focus of this week's meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal.

FBO of the Week: Lancaster Aviation (KLKR, McWhirter Field, Lancaster, SC)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Lancaster Aviation at McWhirter Field (KLKR) in Lancaster, South Carolina.

AVweb reader Alex McDowell recommended Lancaster for the usual reasons — "down-home hospitality, excellent service, and very reasonable rates" — but like many pilots, Alex discovered the true value of good service during an unscheduled stop for emergency maintenance. Alex writes:

Suffering complete electrical failure upon takeoff from a military base, I diverted 95 miles out of my way because I knew I could count on them really taking care of me. I wasn't disappointed. Gary's team jumped right in, troubleshooting my problem while I enjoyed reading all the heartfelt notes to parts manager Carrie from deployed service men and women in appreciation for the many care packages she has sent to these overseas troops. Sandy loaned me the crew car overnight, and the gang had a fix in the works by the time I arrived back at the airport. Fred the pooch was even keeping my parking spot on the ramp warm! Neil, Mark and Justin had me repaired, refueled, and ready to go before lunch, but I couldn't pass up the invitation to stay for the barbecue chicken and fixin's Mike had been grilling up all morning. I had been anxious to get back home for meetings the next day, and the gang made sure I made it on time, but I sure hated to leave the wonderful family atmosphere.

Alex will definitely return to Lancaster Aviation and recommends any other pilots in the area check them out.

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!

Attention, LSA Builders & ROTAX 912 Engine Operators
ASA, the industry's leader in aviation supplies, software, and publications, offers the ROTAX Engine Introduction DVD with tips and techniques for trouble-free operation of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with the ROTAX engine. This DVD also provides an introduction to the specific concepts important to maintaining the ROTAX 912. Go online for complete details and bonus features!
Join the AVweb Team in Making Aviation News back to top 

AVwebBiz (AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter) Reports from NBAA

AVweb's award-winning editors will be at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention and Trade Show September 25-27 to cover all the business and commercial aviation news. Enjoy daily show news, podcasts and videos delivered to your inbox in the AVwebBiz newsletter. If you don't already get our AVwebBiz newsletter, click here to subscribe at no cost.


AVweb has an opening for an able and experienced aviation writer and editor with proven experience in both print and web publishing, although we're willing to train the right person in the finer points of massaging content for the web. This position requires relocation to our Sarasota, Florida office. If this description fits you, contact aviationeditorial@comcast.net.

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.

Diamond DA40 A Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, European-American Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Sabena Airline Training Academy, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all selected the G1000-equipped Diamond DA40. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. Go online for information on all Diamond Aircraft.
AVweb Wants to Hear Your Opinions back to top 

Question of the Week: Should 'The Right Stuff' Necessarily Include a Pilot's License?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Two weeks into the search for Steve Fossett, the aviation community is still doing all it can to find the missing adventurer, despite increasing difficulties in navigating the terrain and gathering new leads.

Last week, we asked what AVweb readers thought of the massive search that's been conducted on Fossett's behalf.  We received quite a bit of e-mail on the subject, and 38% of those who responded to our poll thought that Fossett shouldn't have gotten any more attention than any other pilot who was lost or missing.

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


With NASA aggressively recruiting astronauts for their 2009 graduating class, we thought it might be a good time to ask AVweb readers what constitutes "the right stuff" these days — and whether it should always include a pilot's license.

Click here to answer.

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

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.


Things have quieted down on the "Picture of the Week" front over the last couple of weeks, but the competition heats up this week, with nearly 100 top-notch submissions vying for the coveted title — and the nifty baseball cap that goes along with it!

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Used with permission of Suyapa V. Villalobos

'Yankee Lady' Over New York City

This week's top spot could've gone to any one of the five photos we'll be featuring today, but when all was said and done, this incredible aerial view of NYC — from Suyapa Villalobos of Teaneck, New Jersey — barely edged out the competition.  "Flying south over the Hudson River in New York City at 2,000 feet, we spotted EAA's Aluminum Overcast flying northbound 500 feet below us," writes Suyapa.

Update:  Eagle-eyed AVweb reader Kevin Kearney points out that the "Aluminum Overcast" Suyapa photographed was actually the Yankee Air Museum's B-17 Yankee Lady "participating in an event at TEB on 9/15 and 9/16"!



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copyright © Harry Leicher
Used with permission

Sunrise Over Lake Winnebago

Harry Leicher of Whittier, California had his camera on hand at Oshkosh's Sea Plane Base this summer — which is good for us, because we never get to spend as much time there as we'd like during AirVenture.


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Used with permission of Ryan D. Johannes

JetRanger on Mount St. Helens Crater Rim

Ryan Johannes of Hillsboro, Oregon uses a tried-and-true technique to get his photo noticed — including some amazing scenery!  Thankfully, Hillsboro Aviation pilot Morgan Kozloski was available to make the trek and pose (with his 206B JetRanger).


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copyright © Vahid Jahed
Used with permission

Planes, Planes Everywhere

Got one of those nifty widescreen monitors?  Tired of complaining that you don't get as many cool wallpapers as the squares with their standard-size monitors?  Here's one just for you guys, courtesy of Vahid Jahed from Minden, Nevada.

(With a little tweaking, it looks sharp on a dual monitor setup, too!)


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Used with permission of Timothy O'Connor

Rusty Sunset

Timothy O'Connor of Batavia, Ohio flies us out with the obligatory (but nonetheless stunning) sunset pic of the week.  (That's Popular Rotorcraft Association President Rusty Nance in the pilot's seat, lending his name to the pun.)

Thanks to everyone who submitted this week.  Remember:  We'll be at NBAA next week, along with lots of you.  Look for us roaming the show in Atlanta, and if you're staying home, please feel free to pick up the slack and submit a photo or two, as our submission numbers are liable to dip during the show.  (P.S.  That means a little better shot at picking up an AVweb hat, folks!)

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.

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.

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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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