AVwebBiz - Volume 8, Number 13

March 31, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Close Call for Airliner and Aeronca back to top 

777, 182 Close Encounter Over San Francisco (corrected, updated)

The NTSB is sending an investigator to San Francisco to figure out how a United Boeing 777 and an Cessna 182 came within 300 feet vertically and 1,500 feet laterally of one another over the city on Saturday. An earlier NTSB news release said the light aircraft was an Aeronca Chief and that it came "within 300 feet" of the 777. The NTSB has since issued a corrected release. The FAA is also involved and appear to be blaming the SFO tower controller for the loss of separation. In a comment to the Associated Press, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told AP the controller should have noticed the potential conflict earlier and is taking "strong measures to make sure something similar does not occur in the future." According to the NTSB, the crew of the 777, operating as Flight 889 to Beijing, took evasive action at about 1,100 feet just after retracting the gear. "The airliner's TCAS was triggered and the controller was in contact with both aircraft. The incident happened about 11:15 a.m. local time.

According to the NTSB, the crew spotted the 182 in a hard left turn traveling from their one o'clock to three o'clock position and the first officer pushed the yoke forward to level the aircraft. The flight continued to Beijing. There were 251 passengers and 17 crew on the 777. The number of occupants on the 182 wasn't immediately known.

Listen to the ATC Tapes: Tower, "We Need to Talk"

File Size 1.4 MB / Running Time 1:32

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

On Saturday, the crew of United Flight 889, a Boeing 777 with 251 passengers and 17 crew, reported they came within 300 feet of an Aeronca Chief while on initial climbout from San Francisco International. As the airliner took off, the tower controller warned the pilot of the Chief, who reported having the 777 in sight, to get behind the airliner. The encounter set off the TCAS in the 777, and the crew was clearly not amused. The exchange is in the same order, but we've edited out extraneous transmissions and gaps.

Click here to listen. (1.4 MB, 1:32)

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Back from the Brink: The EA500's Second Life back to top 

"Total Eclipse" VLJs Now For Sale

Less than a year after they took over the type design for the Eclipse very light jet, the owners of Eclipse Aerospace say they are ready to offer a limited number of fully functional copies to new owners. "The EA500 is a sophisticated, high-performance, economic twin jet with low operating costs, low environmental impact and uncompromised safety," said Mason Holland, president of Eclipse Aerospace. "In their rush to deliver the aircraft, the former manufacturer of the EA500 [Eclipse Aviation Corporation] delivered to owners an aircraft that was only about 85 percent complete. These aircraft were great performers, but still lacked several important features. We now have completed the design and engineering of the EA500." The "Total Eclipse" jet now includes FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) and a GPS-coupled autopilot. The company had acquired unfinished jets during the bankruptcy, and bought some back from owners. It is offering the jets ready-to-fly, with a factory warranty, at $2.15 million. Owners who took delivery of the original Eclipse jets can trade theirs in for a credit of up to $1.7 million.

The company plans to eventually restart the production line and produce brand-new jets. With that in mind, a limited number of the Total Eclipse jets will be sold with a "buy-back" provision. Eclipse Aerospace will agree to repurchase the aircraft for a guaranteed amount that can be applied toward a first-year production slot when EA500 manufacturing resumes. "The Total Eclipse program is the most comprehensive and important action we have taken to date as we expand our support for EA500 owners," said Holland. "We are proud that with this announcement, Eclipse Aerospace is delivering on the full promise of the Eclipse 500."

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Patience Still a Virtue Among Dreamliner Customers back to top 

Boeing Pushing 787 Delivery Deadline

Boeing insists the first 787 Dreamliner will be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways by the end of this year even though it hasn't started certification flight testing yet. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing's commercial airplane unit, said snags in pre-certification flight testing, one of which resulted in the shutdown of an engine, have caused delays but he said there was some cushion in the schedule. Four of the six test aircraft are flying and have accumulated about 400 hours, but Albaugh agreed there is much to do before Dec. 31. "Some people said that when the first plane actually flew we could breathe a sigh of relief because we had retired the technical risk," Albaugh told the Journal. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Dreamliner is about two-and-a-half years behind schedule and the delays have cost billions in penalties. More delays would not only cost more in penalties but could damage the credibility of the program in a tight airliner market. Boeing said it's optimistic the 787 passed a crucial milestone Sunday when it underwent the ultimate load test. The wings were flexed upward 25 feet and the airframe hit with 150 percent of its design stress limit and it appears to have passed, although the data hasn't been fully analyzed. Dreamliners are also starting to get out a bit more. One was in Montana and another spent time in California as the company tests it in extreme conditions.

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Cracking the Chinese Market back to top 

Bombardier Makes $3.9 Billion Deal With Chinese Bank

Bombardier has reached a $3.9 billion deal with China Development Bank Corporation's (CDBC) leasing department that could give it an important edge in selling aircraft in China. The bank has agreed to make the money available to airlines interested in buying aircraft from Bombardier. Although the financing will be available to overseas carriers, the funding will make it easier for domestic carriers to finance purchases from Bombardier, which is developing the 100-to-130-seat CSeries airliners. The fuselage for the aircraft will be built by Shenyang Aircraft Corp., which broke ground on the new factory last week.

The CDBC deal will be available for pre-delivery payment financing, delivery financing and leasing solutions to customers of Bombardier's CSeries, Q400 and CRJ aircraft. China is expected to be among the biggest customers for new airliners in coming years. It is developing its own regional jet.

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Resources, Lists and Downloads back to top 

NTSB Issues Glass-Cockpit Safety Recommendations

Pilots need more training in the use of glass cockpit technology, the NTSB said this week. The safety board issued six recommendations (PDF) to the FAA as a follow-up to a recent report that found advanced cockpits are not helping to prevent accidents in the general aviation fleet. "Advanced avionics and electronic displays can increase the safety potential of general aviation aircraft operations," the NTSB says, "...but more effort is needed to ensure that pilots are prepared to realize that potential." The safety board said the FAA can take several steps to help improve the impact of the technology.

The FAA should revise airman knowledge tests to include questions about using electronic flight and navigation displays, the board said. Also, manufacturers should provide more information about how to deal with system problems. All FAA training materials for pilots should include information about electronic primary flight displays, and their operation should be part of pilot proficiency requirements. The use of simulators and trainers for meeting training requirements needs to be clarified, the board said. Also, the FAA should inform maintenance technicians who work on the displays that it's important for them to file service difficulty reports about any malfunctions or defects they find in electronic primary, flight, navigation and control systems. The FAA now can consider the recommendations and respond to the NTSB when it's ready.

Related Content:

Now Online: Final Colgan Air Report, Caribbean Update, Sun 'n Fun Notam

Several new items of interest to pilots are now available on the Internet. The NTSB has posted its complete probable-cause report (pdf) on last year's fatal Colgan Air crash. The 285-page document details the board's findings and analysis, as well as the conclusions and recommendations that were announced at a hearing a few weeks ago. A transcript of the cockpit voice recorder is included in the appendix. For pilots who fly into the Caribbean, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted an update of its policy regarding screening of passengers (PDF). And the FAA has issued a Notam (PDF) detailing a number of special procedures in place April 11 to 18 in the central Florida region during the Sun 'n Fun fly-in.

Also, a letter to airmen (PDF) from the Tampa control tower notes several special procedures that pilots can expect to be in use at the Lakeland airport during the show. Pilots who fly across the U.S. border also should note that Customs told AOPA this week that it will soon be sending warning notices to pilots whose paperwork isn't fully compliant with the latest rules. The agency has been easygoing so far about enforcing its rules, but AOPA said that appears to be changing. Failure to properly file passenger manifests can incur penalties of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Roberts Joins Bell Helicopter

Larry D. Roberts

Larry D. Roberts has been appointed Bell Helicopter's senior vice president of commercial business. He was previously at American Eurocopter as VP of sales, marketing and customer support.

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Setting the Standard in Washington

There's a certain amount of discomfort that comes from discovering the top two picks, the cream of the crop, the best-of-the-best candidates for the leader of the Transportation Security Administration are a couple of guys you wouldn't want dating your sister. At least it's given AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles a moment's pause. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ explains why President Obama needs to go back to the drawing board in seeking a new chief for the TSA.

Click here to read more and share your own thoughts.

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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.

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

Exclusive Video: Garmin 430 Tricks and Secrets Revealed

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

If you have a Garmin GNS430, you probably know the basics — but in this video, IFR magazine's Jeff Van West reveals some ninja-level operating tricks that are practical and easy to master.

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

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Exclusive Video: Finessing the Rudder (An Exercise from Aviation Safety Magazine)

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

Aviation Safety is continuing its series on basic flying technique. We've looked at the aerodynamics of coordinated turns. In this video, Paul Bertorelli follows up with a simple rudder exercise that he can't seem to master — but you'll have no trouble with it.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather Receiver

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win an XM WX Satellite Weather receiver from WxWorx as we continue the celebration of AVweb's 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 April 9, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Colleen Keller of San Diego, California, who won a Garmin 510 aera handheld GPS in our last drawing! (click here to get your own Garmin aera)

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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