AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 8, Number 10

March 10, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Glass Panels and Safety — NTSB Study back to top 
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NTSB: Glass Cockpits Do Not Improve Safety

An NTSB study shows glass cockpit technology has not significantly improved the safety of small light planes, the NTSB said Tuesday, and the board recommended changes, from training to maintenance reporting, to improve the statistics. While data collected between 2002 and 2008 showed fewer total accidents for those aircraft equipped with glass panels, that total came with a higher fatal accident rate and higher total fatal accidents. For the period from 2002-2008, conventionally equipped aircraft suffered 141 total accidents with 23 having a fatal outcome. Glass-equipped aircraft suffered 125 total accidents with 39 having a fatal outcome. But the board's study also found the mission profile for each type of equipment package and the characteristics of the pilot were different between the two platforms. Generally speaking, higher-time pilots were flying longer flights with glass. That said, the NTSB was able to use the data to offer six recommendations voiced at the meeting. Five of those were related to equipment-specific training and one applied directly to testing requirements.

The NTSB's study found that glass-equipped cockpit accidents were more likely to involve single-pilot operations, with an older pilot who was more likely to be instrument rated and flying with a higher number of total flight hours. That also corresponded with a higher number of terrain- and weather-related accidents attributed to glass panel aircraft. Weather-related accidents made up 4 percent of conventionally equipped aircraft accidents in the study but 9 percent for glass-panel-equipped aircraft. Conventionally equipped aircraft seemed more dominant in the training segment as accidents of those aircraft involved younger pilots, more students and pilots with fewer total hours. The NTSB recommends that airman knowledge tests be revised to include general knowledge regarding glass panels, that information in aircraft manuals include abnormal and failure modes of the panels, that training elements be introduced to improve pilot knowledge of glass-panel system functionality, that specific training elements be introduced to address variations in equipment design and operation of such displays, that alternate training methods (such as PC versus flight simulator) be approved to support proficiency, and that a system be created to better report and track problems with the units. The study's findings had not yet been posted online when AVweb published this item.

Related Content — NTSB Reports:

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What Does Save Lives? Training, As It Turns Out back to top 
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USA Today: Better Simulator Training Could Save Lives

More training for pilots on advanced simulators could help prevent crashes and save hundreds of lives, according to an analysis by USA Today. Many pilots today are trained on older simulators that can't effectively re-create the real behavior of aircraft during stalls, severe icing, upsets due to wind shear or wake encounters, and other extreme conditions, says a recent NTSB report. Loss of control was a factor in 73 percent of the 433 airline fatalities in the U.S. since 2000. (Note that the fatalities that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, are not counted in accident statistics, since they resulted from a crime, not an accident.) Newer simulators created with research by the military and NASA are more effective, but there are no federal requirements for pilots to be trained on them.

At a conference in London last June, representatives from Boeing reported that they had conducted tests with new simulators using data from recent NASA research to improve aerodynamic fidelity, and the results were positive. They tested several pilots after upset training with their enhanced simulator. "The conclusion was that upset recovery training typically enables the pilot to complete the maneuver without exceeding the validated flight envelope," according to the NTSB report, issued in December. A representative from Boeing summarized the consensus of the conference, according to the report, when he said, "There are certainly ways to effect realistic representative stall characteristics ... The reason those aren't there today is because there has not been a requirement." The report cites several loss-of-control accidents in which the crew's lack of practice in handling upsets contributed to the crash.

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Big Planes, Big Competition for Contracts back to top 

Northrop Grumman Drops Tanker Bid

The next-generation military tanker will almost certainly be a Boeing. Northrop Grumman announced Monday it would not be submitting a bid in the $35 billion sweepstakes to introduce a replacement for the KC-135 and KC-10 fleet. Boeing's bid is riding on a modified 767 platform while Northrop Grumman would use an A330 modified in the U.S. Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush effectively threw in the towel on the protracted battle. He said the company "will not protest" the outcome of the competition, which now appears to be down to one. Bush did suggest the odds were stacked in favor of Boeing, however. "We reached this conclusion based on the structure of the source selection methodology defined in the RFP, which clearly favors Boeing's smaller refueling tanker and does not provide adequate value recognition of the added capability of a larger tanker, precluding us from any competitive opportunity," Bush said.

The capitulation by Northrup Grumman bodes well for Boeing's base in Washington State. A successful bid will mean a long-term extension of the assembly line for a commercial airliner that is nearing its commercial life expectancy. The tankers will be built over the next 20 to 30 years.

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Court to SR22 Joyrider: Get Help back to top 

Airplane Thief Sentenced To Treatment Program

A 23-year-old man who stole a Cirrus SR22 in San Diego last month has pleaded guilty to a felony. Skye Turner was charged with using an airplane without the owner's permission. The court referred him to a new treatment program for mentally ill offenders that provides supervision and custody, the San Diego News Network reported this week. However, if he is not accepted into the program he could be sentenced to 120 days in jail instead. Turner, who is not a pilot but has had some training, stole the keys to the airplane on Feb. 18, just a few hours after a pilot in Austin, Texas, flew his Piper Dakota into a government building. Turner reportedly had been in a dispute with his girlfriend and threatened to crash the SR22 into the ocean, according to SDNN.

Turner had been issued a student pilot certificate in 2004 but it was not renewed and expired two years later. After stealing the airplane, he flew to Palm Springs and stopped for fuel, then contacted controllers at LAX at about 2:25 a.m. after he apparently became lost in the clouds. Controllers talked him down to a safe landing. A spokesman for the controllers union told the Los Angeles Times the young man seemed "confused and disoriented, but could follow instruction."

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News Briefs back to top 

Sabreliner Set For Record Attempt

A European team is using an ancient business jet to try and beat a world record set in a high-tech effort by the late Steve Fossett. In 2005 Fossett flew nonstop around the world in a well-financed effort that set the circumnavigation record at 67 hours and two minutes. Riccardo Mortara, owner of a Swiss-based charter company called Sonnig, thinks he and his three fellow crew members can beat that time in a 1980 Sabreliner 65 and will launch from Geneva March 19. "We've had a great response to the announcement of our mission," Mortara said on his Facebook wall.

Other than the fact that he happened to have one, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason Mortara picked the Sabreliner, a design that originated in the late 1950s, as a platform. The Sabreliner 65 is among the most modern variants and is powered by the Garrett AiResearch TFE731-3R-1D, a geared turbofan that was state-of-the-art in its day. Mortara says the trip will require 10 "carefully-planned stops" for fuel. They hope to spend no more than 40 minutes on the ground at each stop. The Sabreliner will fly over 31 countries and will stop in Abu Dhabi, Colombo, Macau, Osaka, Petropavlovsk, Anchorage, Las Vegas, Montreal, Keflavik and Casablanca.

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Who's Where back to top 

Gulfstream Names Sales VPs

Scott Neal
Brian Miller
Jim Dobbins

Gulfstream Aerospace has named Scott Neal vice president of sales for the Central division, Brian Miller the VP for the Western division, and Jim Dobbins VP for the Eastern division. All are long-time Gulfstream executives.

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.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Cub Love Explained

We're sorry to report that Paul Bertorelli is being treated for ADHS — advanced delusional hallucination syndrome. We're not sure if he's making progress, but you can be the judge of it by reading his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

It has something to do with a Piper J-3C.

AVweb Insider Blog: TSA Takes Military Turn

Does military intelligence translate to transportations security? AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles isn't sure, but he speculates on some of the challenges Robert Harding will face as TSA chairman in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Read his thoughts and share your own here.

Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a Garmin Aera 510 Handheld GPS

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time March 12, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Rod Anson of Camperdown, Victoria (Australia), who won 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points! (click here to get your own Rewards Points from Air BP)

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

Exclusive Video: Using a Portable GPS for Valley Flying — TAA Thinking

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

IFR magazine's Jeff Van West shows how a portable GPS can be used to evaluate what altitudes will be safe for flying up valleys (without actually changing altitudes) and how to use the GPS while in those valleys to enhance safety and situational awareness.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out our sister publication, IFR magazine.

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Exclusive Video: Rudy Heeman's "Flying" Hovercraft

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

New Zealander Rudy Heeman has, over 11 years, transformed his hovercraft into a wing-in ground effect vehicle, and now it's for sale.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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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