AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 49

December 21, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! New Jersey Freeway Crash back to top 
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Icing Cited In TBM-700 Freeway Crash

All five people on board a Socata TBM-700 were killed Tuesday morning after the single-engine turboprop apparently lost a wing in flight, then spiraled to a crash in the median of busy Interstate 287 in New Jersey and burned. Nobody on the ground was hurt. The airplane had taken off from Teterboro just 14 minutes earlier, about 9:50 a.m., headed for Atlanta, the NTSB said on Tuesday afternoon. The pilot and ATC discussed reports of icing in the area. A chunk of the missing wing was found about a quarter-mile from the wreckage, lodged in a tree. The airplane belonged to Jeffrey Buckalew, 45, a New York investment banker, who was the pilot. Also on board were Buckalew's wife and two children, a co-worker, and a dog.

Tuesday afternoon, NTSB investigators said Buckalew had requested clearance to a higher altitude shortly before the airplane dropped off radar. Earlier, Buckalew had a seven-second conversation with a controller, but the NTSB said it wasn't clear if he was reporting that he had encountered icing or was asking about the location of possible icing conditions. On ATC recordings, a controller is heard telling Buckalew about "moderate rime" up to 17,000 feet, according to The Associated Press. "We'll let you know what happens when we get in there," the pilot says. "If we can go straight through it, that's no problem for us." One witness told the AP the airplane seemed to be out of control. "It was like the plane was doing tricks or something, twirling and flipping," said Chris Covello, of Rockaway Township, N.J. "It started going straight down. I thought any second they were going to pull up. But then the wing came off and they went straight down." Covello said he saw the descent from the car dealership where he works.

Audio clips courtesy LiveATC.net.

crash audio:

Click here for the MP3 file.

crash response:

Click here for the MP3 file.

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Crunching the Numbers on Cirrus Safety back to top 

Aviation Consumer: Cirrus Safety Record Just Average

When the Cirrus SR20 and 22 first appeared a dozen years ago, the models' full airframe parachute system and stall/spin resistant wing were expected to set new standards for light aircraft safety. But according to Aviation Consumer's January edition, the Cirrus line has achieved, at best, a middle of the road safety and accident record that makes its fatal accident rate a bit better than Mooney and Piper high-performance models, but a bit worse than the Columbia/Corvalis series and Cessna's venerable 172 and 182. The magazine studied accident records dating back as far as 30 years on 11 popular GA light aircraft. Among its findings are that the Cirrus overall accident rate is 3.25/100,000, placing it closer to the top of the list of airplanes Aviation Consumer considered and about half of the GA average overall accident rate of 6.3/100,000. Only Diamond's DA40 and DA42 had better overall accident rates—dramatically so in the case of the DA40, whose fatal rate is 1.19, a little more than a sixth of the GA average.

Cirrus aircraft finished lower when fatal rate is considered. The Cirrus combined rate (SR20 and SR22) is 1.6, compared to the GA average of 1.2/100,000. Diamond's DA40 has the lowest fatal rate at .35, followed by the Cessna 172 at .45, the Diamond DA42 at .54 and the Cessna 182 at .69. Cessna's Corvalis line, which began life as the Columbia, has a fatal rate of 1.0, a bit less than the GA average of 1.2. The Columbia/Corvalis models are essentially similar in construction and performance to the Cirrus SR22, but without the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS).

The magazine also examined how effective CAPS has been and concludes that when deployed under optimal conditions of speed and altitude, the system has proven effective in saving lives in preventing serious injury. But it's far from perfect. Of 31 CAPS deployments, both intentional and possibly unintentional, 39 of 57 occupants emerged without injury, while seven occupants have been seriously injured by touchdown under CAPS. There have been six fatalities associated with CAPS deployment, several of which occurred either at very low altitude or speeds beyond the system's demonstrated performance envelope. One surprise from the magazine's study is that at least 12 of the aircraft that landed under CAPS were repaired and returned to service.

The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association has studied Cirrus accidents extensively and concludes that the models would have a much better safety record if some 83 pilots who got into trouble in circumstances where CAPS was well within its envelope had simply used it. COPA is developing new training methods to teach pilots how to include CAPS more effectively in their response to abnormal flight situations.

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Latest Legal Blow in the Battle of the Bandwidths back to top 

LightSquared Files FCC Petition

LightSquared has thrown down a potentially tricky legal gauntlet and challenged the Federal Communications Commission to clarify its right to use the sliver of radio spectrum it owns for a ground-based broadband network. In a petition for declaratory ruling (PDF) filed Tuesday, the upstart broadband service wholesaler repeats its claim that the manufacturers of GPS devices that are affected by the broadband signals are to blame for the interference. "It recently has become apparent that the commercial GPS industry has manufactured, and sold to unsuspecting consumers, unlicensed and poorly designed GPS receivers that 'listen' for radio signals both in the 'RNSS' frequency band in which the U.S. GPS system is intended to operate, as well as across the adjacent 'MSS' frequency band that is not intended for GPS use, and in which LightSquared is licensed," the petition says. "The commercial GPS industry claims, without justification, that these GPS receivers somehow are entitled to 'protection' from the LightSquared authorized operations ...." LightSquared is also asking that the manufacturers of GPS equipment be kept out of any deliberations on the future of LightSquared's applications because, according to LightSquared, the GPS makers lack the legal standing to have their comments heard. The GPS industry says the filing is a rerun of previous LightSquared rhetoric that selectively cites previous FCC rulings and ignores its own positions on the interference issues.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Coalition to Save Our GPS said LightSquared has agreed to not to interfere with GPS. "In its January 2011 order, the Commission made clear that LightSquared would not be permitted to commence operations until it had demonstrated that it would not interfere with GPS," said coalition spokesman Jim Kirkland. "LightSquared did not challenge this condition at the time, and has to live up to it. There is overwhelming technical evidence—the most recent of which was released by the Government just last week--that this condition has not been satisfied." The petition is the latest in a series of aggressive moves by LightSquared, which says it has spent billions to get its high-speed wireless broadband system off the ground. If approved as written, the LightSquared petition would put the entire legal onus for coexistence on the GPS industry. However, LightSquared insists it's still willing to help solve the interference problems. "While we ask the FCC today to confirm our legal rights, LightSquared remains fully committed to cooperate with all parties -– the GPS industry, GPS users, and the federal government -– to ensure that LightSquared's network is deployed in a way that is compatible with GPS users," said LightSquared spokesman Jeff Carlisle. "LightSquared has always recognized the critical importance of the GPS system, and we firmly believe that GPS devices can peacefully coexist adjacent to our network."

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Slow and Steady May Win the Race for Honda back to top 

Honda Adds Third Test Aircraft

The past few years have been tough on the light jet sector, with several programs being put on hold or abandoned, but the slow but sure development of the HondaJet has been seemingly unaffected by the economic turbulence of late. In its typically slow and determined fashion, Honda Aircraft waited a month to announce the first flight of the third conforming test aircraft. The plane first flew (video here) on Nov. 18 but Honda didn't announce it until Monday.

Two of the three aircraft are being used for flight tests while the other, which was the second conforming aircraft built, is ground-bound structural test article. The company said two more flight test aircraft and an unspecified number of structural test copies will be built in the coming year. It's been eight years since the first flight of the proof-of-concept HondaJet.

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Podcast: Bonus Depreciation Back?

File Size 5.1 MB / Running Time 5:35

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The political map in Washington is changing daily, but tucked under all the bombast and rhetoric is a section of the legislation now in play that will be welcome news to the aviation industry. If all goes well in the next few days (and there are no guarantees of that), 100 percent depreciation of equipment purchases will be back in force for another year. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Daniel Cheung of Aviation Tax Consultants.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (5.1 MB, 5:35)

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

Video: F-106 Corn Field Bomber, Convair Delta Dart

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

This is an unusual story. The jet you're looking at is an F-106 Delta Dart. A storied interceptor in its day, it was built to exceed an Air Force requirement for 1.9 mach and continuous flight at 57,000 feet. It did both. And in December 1959, it set a speed record, of 1,525 mph, or about 2.3 mach, while flying at 40,000 feet. Its pilot at the time, Major Joseph Rogers, claimed the record might not be accurate. He was still accelerating, he said, at the time.

But this particular jet is famous for a different reason.

As the story goes, the aircraft you see here on February 2, 1970 flew itself into the ground -- a snowy field in Montana, where its engine continued to run for another hour and 45 minutes. Grounded, pilotless and still under power, with its radar still sweeping, the jet sometimes crept forward foot by foot through the snow as a small collection of onlookers watched. Its pilot, 1st Lieutenant Gary Foust, had ejected roughly two hours before that show was over. Foust's trip was just as interesting. He'd lost control of the jet while flying a mock engagement that led his and two other jets into harsh maneuvers in the thin, unforgiving air at 38,000 feet. Attempting to match a high-g reversal by another pilot, Foust's jet bucked. He entered a flat spin, and the jet fell, spinning slowly like a model on a turntable. The flight's two other pilots came to his aid, calling out recovery procedures. But by 15,000 feet the result seemed certain, and an instructor in one of the other jets ordered Foust to eject. Foust obeyed.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and it could be it's that law that saved the jet. As Foust shot up, the jet's condition changed -- just enough for it to recover on its own and head off for the horizon. Legend has it that one of the observing pilots said on frequency, "Gary, you better get back in."

In the end, the jet was recovered, rebuilt and put back to work as tail number 80787. But it was forever known as the Corn Field bomber. Delta Darts were phased out in the 1980s.

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Who's Where back to top 

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 255,000 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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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 world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Advertising Director, Associate Publisher
Tom Bliss

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