AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 51

December 30, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Pilots Out of Loop on Terrorist Attempt? back to top 

Pilots Want To Know About Attacks: APA

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, says most airborne flight crews weren't notified of the Christmas Day terrorist attack on a Northwest Airlines A330. The group is calling for changes after what it describes as "communications failures" left the majority of airborne flight crews in the dark about the attempted bombing. In a message to members, the APA's security committee said the Transportation Security Administration specifically told airlines to notify only the crews of airborne westbound trans-Atlantic flights of the attack on the Northwest flight on approach to Detroit. "The TSA should have mandated that information about this security event be passed on to all airborne flights," says the message, which was passed to AVweb by a reader. The note says American complied with the directive but the APA says the airline should have told all of its in-flight crews of the incident "so that all of our captains would have been aware of the threat and could have made the proper adjustments to their in-flight security procedures." The APA says it noted other communications failures in the chain of events.

The APA claims the initial notification of the incident came from the FAA and that the first direct contact between the airline and the TSA was about 12 hours after Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab allegedly injected an ignition substance into a package of PETN explosive sewn into his underwear. "Clearly, we have seen a large-scale communications breakdown concerning this terrorist event," the note says. The APA says it has contacted the House Committee on Homeland Security with an eye toward making it policy that all airborne flight crews be notified immediately when there are serious security threats (Level 3 or Level 4). "It is essential in times like these that we act swiftly to ensure our crews are prepared to thwart any terrorist attack," the association said.

Related Content:
Read the text of the APA's letter to pilots (PDF)

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BizAv Operating as Normal After Bombing Attempt back to top 

Little Impact On BizAv From Increased Security

It's doubtful that increased security for airline travel will prompt a run on business aircraft but the Christmas Day attack on a Northwest Airlines flight may highlight the benefits of private air travel, according to a story in The Wichita Eagle. The Eagle quotes airline consultant Richard Mann as predicting that increased inconvenience in airline travel will push business people to private aircraft. "I think if we see much more of the sort of response that we saw in this Detroit incidence, we're going to see a resurgence in business aviation," he said. But those in the business aviation industry said history doesn't support that view.

National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen told the Eagle that in the wake of significant changes to airline security after 9/11, "we did not see any empirical data to show a significant shift (to business aviation)...." Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver said those who already have business aircraft might use them more but new security rules aren't likely to be the deciding factor in buying an aircraft. "Certainly people might use their business aircraft more, but sales are based on economics (and) on the global economy," Oliver said.

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Security Under Scrutiny back to top 

Cub Stolen At Frederick Airport, Home Of Airport Watch

AOPA says it's following with interest the case of Super Cub allegedly stolen by a homeless man from a neighboring hangar at the organization's home airport at Frederick, Md. "The Frederick airport, headquarters of AOPA, is a big proponent of Airport Watch," Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs, said in a report on AOPA Online. "AOPA will be following the developments of this investigation and will work to ensure future security practices prevent this type of act." AOPA co-sponsors Airport Watch with the Transportation Security Administration and often points to the widespread participation in the program when the TSA starts talking about beefing up GA security. In fact, it appears someone was watching at FDK at 2:30 a.m. Dec. 28 when it's alleged that Calvin Craig Cox started the Cub, a tow plane owned by the Mid Atlantic Soaring Association, and taxied it out of their hangar, which a member told AOPA was always kept locked and showed no signs of forced entry.

It's not clear whether the aircraft ever got airborne before it nosed over near Runway 30. News reports say a witness saw a man running from the aircraft. Police followed tracks in the snow and found Cox near a barn about an hour later. He's been charged with theft, second- and fourth-degree burglary, and trespassing. The FAA registry does not list anyone by that name as holding any type of pilot certificate. AOPA says aircraft theft is rare in the U.S. and the tow plane was only the seventh reported in 2009.

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EAA's Search for a New Leader Continues back to top 

EAA Expands Search For Next President

EAA is moving forward with its effort to find a new president, and international executive search firm Korn/Ferry has been selected to help find and screen potential candidates, the organization announced last week. EAA also invited members and anyone else with an interest in the search to suggest names. Tom Poberezny announced in March that a new president would be chosen for the group, which has had only two presidents -- Tom and his father, Paul -- in its 50-year-plus history. The next president was expected to be named at EAA AirVenture, but that deal fell apart, and Poberezny told AVweb in October the failed attempt generated debate among board members. (Click here to listen to the full podcast interview with AVweb's Russ Niles.) Poberezny also said the board is more concerned with getting the right person than with meeting a deadline. Korn/Ferry's job posting features a long list of responsibilities, including providing leadership and direction to the staff, developing annual and long-range plans, and eventually taking over the planning for AirVenture.

Candidates also must meet a long list of qualifications, including an aeronautical background -- "preferably an EAA member, an active general aviation pilot, and a person who has attended AirVenture." Maintaining EAA's unique culture and taking the organization forward are among the prime qualities needed in the next president, Poberezny said. The successful candidate also must be ready and willing to move to Oshkosh. Tom Poberezny has assumed the EAA chairman's role and is acting as president until a successor fills that position.

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UAs May Be Coming to Your Airspace back to top 

Test Flight Moves UAS A Step Closer To NAS Ops

If you're not yet comfortable with the idea of unmanned aircraft operating in the U.S. national airspace system, well, that day gets closer all the time, and a recent test flight conducted by GE Aviation brought it even closer. Earlier this month, GE Aviation and AAI Corporation successfully flew the first "proof of concept" flight demonstrations of an AAI Shadow unmanned aircraft system controlled with a GE four-dimensional trajectory (4DT) flight management system certified for use in commercial manned aircraft. The flights were conducted at the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal airfield in Alabama, as part of an FAA research project to demonstrate ways to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Craig Hoover, director of advanced marketing and technology at GE Aviation, told flightglobal.com the FMS technology could have far-reaching implications. The tests showed the system could navigate more precisely than pilots in the cockpit, he said, and as the technology develops, "you could think about having a single pilot in cargo aircraft."

The first flight took off at 2:50 p.m. local time on Dec. 3. It lasted 45 minutes and demonstrated both lateral and vertical control of the Shadow 200 UAS coupled with the GE FMS. On Dec. 4, a three-hour demonstration allowed for more rigorous testing. "This is a momentous event for the unmanned aircraft community," said Steven Reid, AAI's vice president of unmanned aircraft systems. "We have seen America's military embrace the valuable situational awareness and protection that unmanned aircraft can provide, and their mission profiles are expanding continuously as a result. Our Shadow aircraft demonstration with GE Aviation's FMS is a first step toward exploring how unmanned aircraft can deliver those same benefits for homeland security, law enforcement and other missions right here at home."

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Who's Where back to top 

Jet Aviation Gets Part 135

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Jet Aviation received a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate and will operate under Jet Aviation Flight Services, Inc. Priester Aviation, which had formed a strategic alliance with Jet while it was foreign-owned, is aiding the transition now that the company is owned by General Dynamics, parent company of Gulfstream.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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.

Aviation Consumer Survey: Portable GPS Performance

Do you own a portable GPS? Aviation Consumer magazine wants to know how it has held up for you. Does it do everything you need? Was it a good value for the money? Have there been issues with service and support?

Follow this link to our brief online survey and let your voice be heard. It will only take a few minutes, and your comments can be anonymous if you want.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: CFI vs. Pilot

It's not that AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli likes stirring up trouble — well, O.K., maybe it's a little of that — but he can't seem to get enough of the ongoing discussion raised by our video for Avation Safety dissecting a Cirrus stall. Paul responds to comments (and invites new ones) on our blog, the AVweb Insider.

Click here to join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Sometimes You Just Have to Do Something

Almost 300 people aboard Northwest Flight 253 may owe their lives to a young Dutch filmmaker who simply did the right thing at the right time when a would-be terrorist made his move. In the latest installment of our blog, the AVweb Insider, Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles reflects on how easy it can be to let the moment pass when it's time to step up and take action.

Read more and add your comments here.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

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Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

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

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

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