AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 45a

November 5, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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TOP NEWS: Homeland Security Announcements Today back to top 
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GA Security Plans to Be Unveiled

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is expected to unveil his department's plans to address general aviation security Monday at a meeting in Washington. Chertoff is the guest speaker at the National Air Transportation Association's Aviation Business Roundtable at the Mayflower Hotel. The meeting will be open to the media. In addition to Chertoff, Transportation Security Administration head Kip Hawley and representatives of other government agencies will be there to outline new regulations for GA security. The government has been working on a package of GA security measures for the past year, and GA groups have been in contact with the various agencies to try and ensure the measures make sense in terms of security and the operational needs of the industry.

Last July 9, the National Business Aviation Association issued a statement on the ongoing process, saying it had advised the government that a "one-size-fits-all" approach to aviation security will not work. The statement stressed that GA is not a major security threat and noted that the industry has already undertaken voluntary steps to beef up security. There will likely be a comment period prior to enactment of the new rules.

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Parts and Rather Large Sums (Of Money, That Is) back to top 

Precision Airmotive: No Ready Solution to Carb Shipments

In Monday's news and podcast, we reported that Precision Airmotive, supplier of MSA carburetors and parts for Lycoming, Continental and Franklin engines might be on the verge of a solution to resume shipping those products in a few weeks. Not so, says Scott Grafenauer, Precision's president. Grafenauer told us Monday evening that Precision stopped shipping MSA carbs and parts on November 1 not because it can't afford liability insurance but because it can't find coverage at any cost. Grafenauer said a Precision spokesman who alluded to a short-term solution in our Monday podcast misspoke. "We're looking at all options. We're open to anything at this point," Grafenauer said, but thus far, the company has nothing firm to report. The impact of Precision's withdrawal from the market—temporary or not—could be dramatic, since some 100,000 aircraft use MSA carbs.

Appeal Court Rules on Lycoming Crankshaft Case

Lycoming has lost elements of its appeal against a 2005 jury verdict that blamed design faults for a series of crankshaft failures in its engines. The 14th Court of Appeals in Houston agreed with the earlier verdict that Lycoming's design was to blame for the failures, but it set aside a $96 million judgment awarded in the earlier trial to Navasota, Texas-based Interstate Southwest, which forged the crankshafts. As AVweb reported in 2005, Interstate sued Lycoming after the engine manufacturer blamed the failures on problems with Interstate's forging processes. According to Interstate's lawyer, Marty Rose, the appeals court decision also nullifies Lycoming's $173 million counterclaim against Interstate. However, Lycoming apparently doesn't see it the same way. "Lycoming is very pleased that the Court of Appeals has reversed and rejected all of [Interstate Southwest's] claims for damages in this action and has made clear that Lycoming is free to pursue its claims for damages against [Interstate Southwest] and [Interstate Forging Industries]," the company said in a statement to AVweb Saturday. Whether that means more legal wranglings are on the horizon is unclear.

When crankshafts in higher-horsepower Lycoming engines failed from 2000 to 2002, Lycoming blamed Interstate for improperly heat-treating the blanks it forged. However, the 2005 verdict determined that Lycoming had changed the recipe for the alloy used to make the crankshafts by adding vanadium. The vanadium made the steel easier to work with, but it also weakened the end product. According to Rose, the appeals court verdict upholds those elements of Interstate's case and also confirms the earlier finding that Lycoming fraudulently told the FAA that the failures were due to improper heat treatment. Rose said the $96 million judgment in Interstate's favor was set aside because the appeal court said the damages ($10 million actual and $86 million exemplary) were not recoverable under Texas law.

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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright ...
In the Factories of Georgia
back to top 

Tiger Lands In Valdosta, Ga.

True Flight Aerospace has confirmed it will build a modern version of the Grumman Tiger in Valdosta, Ga., and hopes to have its first aircraft flying by next summer. CEO Kevin Lancaster said in a podcast interview with AVweb that the company intends to build a 60,000-square-foot plant at the Valdosta Airport. "We're very excited," Lancaster, who purchased the type certificate and most of the assets from the former Tiger Aircraft company earlier this year, said Friday. The Taiwanese government was the majority shareholder of the former owner, and Lancaster said closure of the company, based in Martinsburg, Va., was a political decision. There were firm orders on the books for aircraft but no money to build them. Lancaster said the new incarnation will be run much differently.

Lancaster has been involved in franchising, and he said there are parallels to franchising in resurrecting the Tiger brand. He said franchising involves replicating successful business models, and much of the hard work in starting to build Tigers has already been done. Many of the staff from the Martinsburg plant will be joining the new company, the aircraft is already certified and Lancaster says he's convinced there's demand for the aircraft, which he claims is one of the most efficient piston singles available. Lancaster said he comes by his enthusiasm for the design honestly, having owned two Tigers in the past.

Related Content:
Click here for a podcast interview with Kevin Lancaster.

AVweb's Monday Podcast: Enter the Tiger (Again)

File Size 9.2 MB / Running Time 9:59

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

We don't know how many lives a Tiger can have, but Grumman's venerable four-place single is getting another shot at success thanks to a Valdosta, Georgia company. True Flight Aerospace is planning a 60,000 sq. ft. plant at the airport there and hopes to have its first aircraft off the line by next summer. AVweb's Russ Niles talked to CEO Kevin Lancaster about his plans to succeed with Tiger where others have failed.

Click here to listen. (9.2 MB, 9:59)

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News Briefs back to top 

Enola Gay Pilot Paul Tibbets Dies

Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945, died at his home in Columbus, Ohio, early Thursday. He was 92. Tibbets was a 30-year-old Lt. Col. when he was called on to plan and execute the world-changing mission, a mission he told Studs Terkel in a 2002 interview that could have been even more dramatic.

In that interview, Tibbets told Terkel that the original plan called for simultaneous drops on Europe and Japan to ensure surprise in both theaters. However, the war in Europe ended three months before the weapon was ready so efforts were concentrated on the still-resisting Japanese. Tibbets had been in ill health for a couple of months. At his request, there will be no funeral or grave marker, which he believed would become a rallying point for protesters. Tibbets never expressed regret over dropping the bomb, saying it was his duty. He asked that his ashes be spread over the English Channel, where he flew for part of his war service.

Related Content:
Studs Terkel's 2002 interview with Tibbets.

Canadian Pilot Guilty In Crash

A Canadian court has found an Alberta pilot guilty of criminal negligence and unsafe operation of an aircraft for a 2002 accident that led to the death of a Kansas man. Mark Tayfel admitted he misjudged the amount of fuel required for the round trip from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Gunisao Lake Lodge to pick up six American tourists on a fishing trip. He initially made it to Winnipeg International Airport, but for reasons that aren’t clear had to abort the landing. Both engines on the Piper Chieftain quit on the go-around, and the aircraft crash-landed in a Winnipeg intersection. Kansas resident Chester Jones, 79, died three months later from injuries suffered in the crash, and four others were injured. In his defense, Tayfel said running out of gas was an honest mistake and not a criminal act.

The judge disagreed, saying his "hasty" check of the fuel gauges to determine the fuel load wasn't enough. "His various explanations sound more like after-the-fact justifications for his very hasty estimate as to the amount of fuel on board rather than any attempt to make the considered calculation expected of a reasonable and prudent person," the unidentified judge was quoted as writing in his judgment by the Winnipeg Sun. Tayfel was found guilty of one count of criminal negligence causing death, four counts of criminal negligence causing injury and one count of operating an aircraft in a manner dangerous to the public. All the charges can result in jail time. A sentencing date has not been set.

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Craig Field Expansion: Safety or Politics? back to top 

Jacksonville Runway Expansion Opposed

Residents opposed to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority's (JAA) bid to lengthen a runway at Craig Field, a reliever airport close to downtown Jacksonville, say the authority is breaking a six-year-old promise to leave the facility as is. In 2001, the airport authority agreed to scrap any expansion plans in exchange for autonomy from the Jacksonville Port Authority, and that deal is apparently coming back to haunt JAA as it starts jumping the political hoops to extend one of Craig Field's runways from 4,000 to 6,000 feet. According to the Jacksonville Times-Union, JAA and its supporters cite the numerous safety benefits of the extension. The campaign in favor of the extension is called Safer Craig, and proponents say the longer the runway, the safer it is. But some nearby residents and some members of city council aren't buying the safety angle. "The airport authority has framed the issue," City Council President Daniel Davis said at a recent meeting where the issue was discussed. "That's a legitimate discussion, if it's a safety initiative or not."

Others believe there is a hidden agenda to allow more and larger aircraft to use Craig, which is closer to upscale neighbourhoods and some city attractions than other local airports that have the runway capacity for larger aircraft. There's also the suggestion that the runway extension is aimed at accommodating an air taxi service, which needs a longer runway for insurance requirements. For neighbor Beverly Garvin, the issue is clear. "I don't know how many times I have to stand up in front of these gentlemen and say, 'No,'" she told the Times-Union. "The City Council has said that to them, but it's like they don't hear. They don't know what the word 'no' means."

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Investigating Pilots back to top 

Airline Pilot on No-Fly List

A recently-retired airline pilot told Colorado television station 9News on Friday that while he has all the clearances he needs to fly an airliner, his appearance on the "no-fly" list makes being a passenger a major ordeal. Robert Campbell says that even though the Transportation Security Administration assured him in 2006 that he was off the list, he still gets the third degree when he checks in for a flight as a passenger. "The fact is, I'm authorized by the TSA to fly the airplane and ride the jump seat on air carriers," he said. "But if I want to ride in the back, I'm on the no-fly list."

Campbell found out he was on the list in 2005 and tried everything he could think of to get off it. "I've talked to everybody under the sun — my Congressmen, my union, union legal people, the airlines, my chief pilot — and nobody seems to be able to get me off the no-fly list," he told 9News. "This is absurd. Even the TSA knows it's absurd."

Indian Airlines Hiring Medically-Suspect Pilots, Says Newspaper

The Times of India says a budget airline, which it did not identify, has rehired a pilot who lost his medical because he's suspected of being epileptic. The newspaper says the condition was spotted during an electroencephalogram (EEG) and it was reported to the pilot and the airline. The newspaper says its sources claim the pilot went to the U.S. to recertify because an EEG is not required unless there is a history of brain injury or disease. The Times says its sources assume the pilot did not mention the failed EEG during the U.S. examination and was given his medical. On his return to India, the same airline that had to let him go for the failed medical rehired him. India's director-general of civil aviation Kanu Gohain has promised to investigate. "We will look into the matter. How can he fly in India if he failed medicals here?" Gohain said.

The newspaper also claims that there is a pilot flying in India on a single transplanted kidney. Whether that's a violation of medical regulations isn't clear, but the Times said it's indicative of the desperate shortage of "qualified" pilots as a new "retirement bubble" looms. "After the retirement age was increased from 60 to 65 in 2004, retirements froze for a while as 60-plus commanders continued to fly. But there will be a spate of retirements in 2009. It's also the time when the country will need every single experienced commander it has," Capt Yashraj Tongia of Yash Air, a flying school in Ujjain, told the Times.

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Cessna 172 Retirement Party back to top 

Highest-Time 172 Retired

A 1982 Cessna 172P flown daily in scheduled airline service in Belize has been retired with more than 30,000 hours on it. John Greif, CEO of Tropic Air, told AVweb in last Friday's podcast interview that little remains of the original aircraft, which he says is still in good flying condition. He said he believes it's the highest-time 172. Greif said he made the decision to retire the aircraft out of an "abundance of caution." He said it's being replaced with a new diesel-powered 172.

Greif said the retired aircraft will be sold as a flying aircraft but he believes it will ultimately be parted out. He said it's a nice 172 to fly because it's had a lot of weight taken out over the years, particularly the heating system, which, of course, is not needed in tropical Belize. The lack of heater might make its market potential limited. Greif said the aircraft regularly flew three to four flights a day involving 12 cycles and was a dependable member of his fleet.

Related Content:
Click here for a podcast interview with John Greif.

AVweb's Friday Podcast: A Well-Deserved Retirement for Tropic Air's Cessna 172

File Size 6.2 MB / Running Time 6:44

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

For those of you struggling to put 50 hours a year on your Cessna 172, consider the long and productive life of a 1982 P-model that was retired last week with 30,000 hours on it, likely making it the highest-time 172 in the world. The 172, with tail number V3-HDN, has been making as many as three or four flights a day in scheduled airline service for Tropic Air, which is based on San Pedro, an island off the coast of Belize. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Tropic Air President John Greif about the aircraft's history and his experience with a diesel-powered replacement.

Click here to listen. (6.2 MB, 6:44)

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVmail: Nov. 5, 2007

Reader mail this week about Bobby Sturgell, NASA's secret safety survey, airline security hassles for air crews, and an FSS blind spot in the Northeastern U.S. (among other topics).

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

The Pilot's Lounge #119: Sunshine, Round Engines, Tailwheels ... Life Is Good

AVweb's Rick Durden spent a glorious weekend among a gathering of radial-engined beauties.

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

Your IFR Moments

IFR magazine asked its readers to contribute defining moments of IFR flying. Here are a few where the moment was made by the company as much as the flight.

Click here for the full story.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Panorama Flight Service (Westchester County Airport, White Plains, NY)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Panorama Flight Service at Westchester County Airport (KHPN) in White Plains, N.Y.

"Panorama Flight Service goes out of their way to serve pilots and passengers," according to AVweb reader George Samara, who also raved about the princely treatment he received there:

They are the only FBO I know of that provides free: a flavored coffee service, a large container of Gorp Mix, a large container of Jelly Beans, a large container of small chocolates, and (for all pilots) a selection of seven different kinds of cheesecake (which were awesome). Oh, and they also provide several kinds of free granola bars, and a great Crew Lounge with two computer terminals and two phones. Did I mention that there are three phones in the lobby, too?

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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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

When I was learning to fly in 1967 in Merced, Calif., we had no control tower. We were taught that after engine start-up, we should pretend to call the tower for taxi clearance.

Another pilot trainee started his engine, then immediately started to taxi. The instructor stopped him and advised that he had forgotten to call for clearance.

The trainee thought for a second, opened the pilot air vent, and, over the roar of the engine, yelled, "Clear!"

Help Us Make the News back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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

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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