AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 44b

November 1, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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.
 
Top News: AMI Jet Certificate Revoked back to top 
 

FAA Revokes AMI Jet Charter's Certificate

The FAA said on Wednesday it has revoked the air carrier certificate held by AMI Jet Charter of Burlingame, Calif., which was suspended earlier this month. The company had tried to work with the FAA to resolve the issues, but apparently to no avail. The FAA says AMI allowed "entities that do not hold air carrier certificates" to exercise control over flights and failed to keep records needed to ensure safety. The agency's earlier actions against AMI provoked strong reactions from the industry -- James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association, said he was "extremely angered" by the FAA's "shocking" action, and National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen said the FAA action should be viewed as a wake-up call to all charter providers. "This case sends a clear message that the FAA will act when it finds evidence that any air carrier is engaged in the franchising or rental of its air carrier certificate," Nicholas Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, said on Wednesday. "Federal Aviation Regulations clearly require that an air carrier maintain operational control of the aircraft and crews on its certificate."

The FAA said AMI permitted TAG Aviation -- an entity not holding a U.S. air carrier certificate -- and various "charter ally" companies to schedule flight crews and operate flights in violation of federal regulations. The FAA alleges that AMI also failed to keep required records on maintenance, crew members, ground and flight training, and flight and duty time for the aircraft and crews operated by those companies.

 
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This concentrated alkaline cleaner/degreaser is not only an excellent cleaner, but also leaves behind VpCI (Vapor Phase Corrosion Inhibitors) designed to protect aluminum from corrosion. This product is currently used by the Coast Guard for cleaning aircraft stationed in salt spray environments. Use at 10-25% in wash water solution. For more information, call Aircraft Spruce at 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit online.
 
Top News: NASA to Release Survey back to top 
 

NASA Will Release "Secret" Pilot Safety Survey

After being inundated with criticism from all sides after a NASA official refused to release safety data to an Associated Press reporter who requested it, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin told a congressional panel on Wednesday that the information will be made public after all (PDF). "I regret any impression that NASA was or would in any way try to put commercial interests ahead of public safety," NASA's administrator, Michael Griffin, told the House Science Committee. "That was not and never will be the case." The official who denied the reporter's request had said the information might scare people away from flying and hurt the industry. Griffin said that under federal law, "NASA is required to protect confidential commercial information that is voluntarily provided to the agency and would not customarily be released to the public." But, he said, all of the data from the safety survey that does not contain confidential commercial information, or information that could compromise the anonymity of individual pilots, will be released as soon as possible.

"The release of this data will be accompanied with the proviso that neither the methodology nor the results have received the level of peer review required of a NASA research project," Griffin said. Captain Terry McVenes, executive air safety chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association, told the committee the raw data should not be released (PDF). "Raw data, distributed without appropriate analysis and scrutiny to ensure its validity, can lead to unintended consequences," he said. "Incomplete or inaccurate conclusions can be reached." A final report from a contractor analyzing the data is expected by Dec. 31, Griffin said, and NASA will make that report available to any interested party.

 
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Crash Updates back to top 
 

Toddler Lone Survivor Of Mountain Crash

Three-year-old Kate Williams, described by rescuers as “an incredibly tough little girl,” was the lone survivor of the crash of a Cessna 172 that killed her grandfather and one of his business associates in the rugged mountains of British Columbia on Sunday. The girl was found hanging from the child car seat she’d been securely strapped into before the aircraft left Golden, B.C., on a trip to Edmonton, Alta. She was released from a Calgary hospital Tuesday after spending five hours in 30-degree weather in the wreckage. Her grandfather Allen Williams and his business associate Steve Sutton were killed in the crash, which occurred in bad weather shortly after takeoff from the Rocky Mountain town about 300 miles northeast of Vancouver. "When you think of what that poor little girl went through, watching the plane tumble through the woods and hanging upside down," rescue helicopter pilot Don McTighe, 51, told CanWest News Services Monday. "What an incredible, horrible scene."

The girl was conscious and asking for her teddy bear shortly after rescuers rappelled to the crash site on a riverbank in steep terrain just north of Golden. The aircraft took off about 1 p.m. and a passing aircraft reported an ELT signal about 20 minutes later. The girl was pulled from the wreck about 5:35 p.m., less than an hour before darkness fell. A Golden police spokesman said she was unharmed except for a slight mark on her face. Rescuers said it’s doubtful she would have survived the night in below-freezing temperatures, however. The crash was one of three in the past week in British Columbia and the fifth in less than a month.

Judge Declines To Charge Pilot in Fatal Crash

Prosecutors don't have a case to charge pilot Brent Caldwell with first-degree manslaughter for the three deaths in a crash last December, a judge in Delaware ruled on Tuesday. Caldwell was flying a high-performance 300-hp Bellanca 17-30A, which he had bought about nine months earlier, according to the NTSB's final report, when the engine died "for undetermined reasons." The NTSB said Caldwell made an "improper decision" to extend the landing gear before ditching into a lake. The airplane came to rest inverted and Caldwell escaped, but his three passengers drowned. Police said they smelled alcohol on Caldwell's breath and found open containers of alcohol in the airplane, but a blood sample tested negative for alcohol. The NTSB also said the pilot did not hold any FAA pilot or medical certificates. District Court judge Robert Haney dismissed charges against Caldwell in May, saying prosecutors did not show he had done anything illegal to cause the plane to stall and crash. This week, after prosecutors again tried to press the case, Haney said he was not convinced there were any grounds to re-file.

"We have to be realistic and acknowledge the fact that this judge does not believe that what Mr. Caldwell is accused of doing is a crime and that regardless of how we procedurally attack this case we will not be able to get it to trial," assistant DA Bryce Lair told KOTV News. Mariano Carlos, 15, Everado Robles, 20, and Eulalio Gonzalez Campos, 33, died in the crash.

 
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More Safety News back to top 
 

U.S. Regionals Stick With Q400

Despite a decision by European air carrier SAS to stop flying its fleet of 27 Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 turboprops, airlines in the U.S. have said they intend to keep theirs in the air. Frontier Airlines, based in Denver, is working to launch a new turboprop service, Lynx, which will fly the Q400s. Five new aircraft have been delivered and orders for five more are in the works. "Safety, of course, is a top priority, and we're going to work closely with Bombardier to understand what the issues are and whether they are relevant to our fleet," Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas told the Rocky Mountain News. "At this point there's no change in our plans," he said, but added that since Lynx isn't expected to launch till the end of the year, there is time to make changes if needed. Bombardier said on Sunday it "stands behind the Q400 aircraft." Bombardier and the landing gear manufacturer, Goodrich, have completed a full review of the landing gear system and "results have confirmed its safe design and operational integrity," the company said in a news release.

More than 150 Q400 aircraft are in operation among 22 operators around the world. To date, the fleet has logged over one million flying hours and 1.2 million takeoff and landing cycles. SAS is the only airline that has grounded the airplanes.

Residents Evicted By Plane Crash Sue Piper, Pilot's Estate

Some of the 130 residents who have been forced to move out of their apartment building in British Columbia after a Piper Seneca crashed into the ninth floor earlier this month have launched a class-action lawsuit, CTV Canada reported on Tuesday. The 82-year-old pilot was killed in the crash, and no cause has yet been determined. There was no substantial post-crash fire but extensive damage to the building was caused by water as firefighters hosed down the smoking wreckage. The pilot, his estate and Piper Aircraft are all named in the lawsuit as defendants, CTV said. The residents expect it will take two to six months to repair the building before they can return home. "This has been a very stressful experience for them," the lawyer behind the lawsuit, David Varty, told The Canadian Press. "The cost to get new furniture or to make those improvements is up to the owner and some of them are complaining about lower property values," he said.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.

 
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Running the Numbers back to top 
 

FAA's Fuzzy GA Math

"The number of fatal general aviation accidents declined by 5 percent this year," the FAA announced in a news release on Monday. But a closer look at the FAA data showed that 5 percent was the difference between the number of accidents they had projected for the fiscal year -- 331 -- and the number that occurred, which was 314 -- that is not quite the same thing as an actual decline. AVweb asked the FAA if they could provide the number of fatal accidents for the previous fiscal year, to see if there really was a decline or not, but so far they haven't gotten back to us. However, the same news release also reported that the number of people killed in GA accidents did decline significantly, from 676 in fiscal 2006 (the 12 months ending Sept. 30) to 564 in fiscal 2007. That's about 20 percent fewer fatalities. For these calculations, "general aviation" includes not only privately flown planes but also non-scheduled air taxi flights, the FAA said.

"This record is due to a dedicated commitment to safety by everyone in general aviation," said Nicholas Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety. "In particular, manufacturers are providing sophisticated technology like GPS and glass cockpits -- and the training to go with them -- and the FAA is vigorously encouraging adoption of these safety enhancements."

The Sky Is Growing Greener

Pressure for general aviation to clean up its emissions or face restrictions is growing, especially in Europe, and aircraft manufacturers are responding. On Wednesday, Embraer said it will create a new division, the Environmental Strategies and Technologies Office, with the goal "to achieve new levels of sustainable development." There is a growing concern within the company regarding environmental issues, said president and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. "This is reflected in the products developed by the company, as well as in the environmental policies that are established," he said. Meanwhile, a company in Reno, Nev., called GreenFlight International, earlier this month flew a Czech-built L-39 jet on 100 percent biofuel. The group gradually increased the percentage of biofuel, made from renewable sources, mixed with diesel. Test pilot Carol Sugars said, "The aircraft continued to perform well, giving me the confidence to transition to 100 percent." Flight tests up to 17,000 feet showed no significant difference in performance compared to conventional jet fuel, the company said.

The group plans to fly the jet cross-country to Florida this fall, and to fly a Learjet around the world next year on 100 percent biofuel.

 
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!
 
Safety, Technology ... and Eclipse, Too back to top 
 

Eclipse Will Monitor Performance Database on Jets

Eclipse has received FAA approval of its Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) program, the company said on Wednesday. The system is similar to those used by airlines, in which onboard software records the aircraft performance data, and it is then downloaded into a central database for analysis. "FOQA is a perfect addition to our progressive safety management system, which gives us the tools to proactively ensure the highest level of safety across all Eclipse 500 operations," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. The information gathered by the system is used to identify, assess and correct high-risk operating conditions before they cause an accident, according to Eclipse's news release.

Instead of waiting for hazards to be identified through accidents, Eclipse says its system will identify risks so they can be managed in advance of an incident or accident. FOQA is central to this process, allowing Eclipse to understand what is actually happening with the Eclipse 500 fleet in the field. More about FOQA can be found at the FAA's web site.

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/.

 
Diamond DA40 A Fleet Favorite
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News from Around the Web back to top 
 

On the Fly ...

Able Flight's two newest winners of flight training scholarships for people with disabilities are Jessica Scharle of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Tyler Ryan of Walden, N.Y. ...

The FAA says it exceeded its goal for reducing the most serious runway incursions by 25 percent in fiscal year 2007 ...

EAA has worked with the FAA to clarify a glitch that was hampering some ultralight owners trying to convert to E-LSAs.

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.

 
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New on AVweb back to top 
 

Brainteasers Quiz #126: Control Input

Brainteasers Ercoupe pilots, cover your ears. The rest of you, please get your feet off the floorboards and help us get a grip on a few questions about control surfaces. Proper input coordination is required.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Question of the Week: Homeland Air Charters, Foreign Hands — Safety or Paranoia?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

NASA has made the decision to release the results of the aviation safety survey the agency had previously decided to withhold — but should that have been their call alone?  Last week, we asked AVweb readers who should make such decisions when it comes to releasing safety-related studies to the public.

A full 58% of our respondents said that all such information should be freely accessible — as long as its availability doesn't compromise security or defense, that is.  On top of that, another 35% said safety information should always be freely available to the general public.

For a complete breakdown of 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 the FAA's revocation of AMI's jet air charter certificate, we're hearing a lot of talk that reminds us of last year's Dubai port controversy. Safety and security definitely seem to be at play in the FAA's decision, but were they overreacting? We'd like to hear what AVweb readers think: Should foreign companies be allowed to manage the flight operations of U.S.-based charters?

Click here to answer.


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

NOTE:
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.

FBO of the Week: Minute Man (Minute Man Airfield at 6B6 in Stow, MA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Minute Man Airfield at 6B6 in Stow, Massachusetts.

AVweb reader Dick Shafner recommended the FBO after spending some time there and discovering that (for piston pilot at least) "Minute Man Airfield has it all":

[Onwer Don and wife Nancy] still treat each incoming aircraft like it is their first customer. The motto on the Minute Man web site is "Where Piston Pilots Rule", and it certainly is. Fuel is cheap (pay cash and it is even cheaper) and there is always a friendly "hello" on the frequency when arriving or departing. ... And then there is Nancy's Airport Cafe. What a find. Locals consider it "the place to go" for breakfast and lunch during the week, and on Friday and Saturday nights Chef Nancy prepares gourmet meals in a very relaxed cafe setting.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

 
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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.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

We hope you have a little cheese handy this morning, because we're about to break out the whine.

Ready?

Picking this week's top photos was tough!

Seriously.  Although we had only 58 new submissions to choose from this week, our "top contender" pile was ridiculous.  There couldn't have been more waffling about which photos should make it into the AVwebFlash if we'd done this edition over breakfast.

medium | large

copyright © Patty Wagstaff
Used with permission

Gathering of Mustangs

If your first thought on seeing the name of this week's winner is "Oh, that's not fair," then buddy, you ain't alone.  We were just as shocked as you to learn that Patty Wagstaff (of St. Augustine, Florida) is as handy behind the lens as she is behind the stick — but hey, them's the breaks.  The lady can fly, she can snap pics of warbirds like nobody's business (apparently!), and she'll soon have an AVweb cap to keep the sun off her brow this winter.

(Wonder if she can write or code web pages? Hmmm ... .)

And lest we forget:  Thanks to everyone who's sent us their Mustangs and Legends photos!  Our own Mike Blakeney had a ball at the show, and the rest of us wish we could've gotten away — but at least we've got the photos!

 

medium | large

Used with permission of
Jacqueline Monterrosa

Blue Angels in a Hot L.Z.

Yes, we admit it:  Even though we've seen it a thousand times, we still get a charge from the Wall of Fire, even in photos — and maybe especially in photos set against the blue skies of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii!  Jacqueline Monterrosa of Kapolei, Hawaii serves up this pulse-pounding entry.

 

 

medium | large

copyright © Eriams Photography
Used with permission of Eric Williams

The Long Wing of the Future

Eric Williams of Oakland, California snapped a couple of photos of the Airbus A380 for us at San Francisco International Airport.  We have yet to see the aircraft in all its fully-functioning glory, but Eric's pics do a nice job of communicating the scale, don't you think?

 

medium | large

Used with permission of MIah Roggio

Touch Down

Miah Roggio of Birchrunville, Pennsylvania provides a serene backdrop for your weekend flying — or your computer's desktop, if you're so inclined.

 

medium | large

Photo by Sean Morrissey
Used with permission of Herb Kushner

Short Final at 47N

Sean Morrissey sees us out this week, with a photo of submitter Herb Kushner cruising into Central Jersey Regional in his RV-4.


Want more?  Cruise on over to AVweb's home page and check out our "POTW" slideshow, where you'll find all these photos plus another from Kaieteur Falls, some snaps from Anchorage and Antarctica (if you prefer cooler locales), and a sampling of the deluge of rainbow pics we received in the wake of last week's winning photo.

Look all you want, but don't forget to send us your photos, too!  (Where do you think we get all these cool pictures?)

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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.