AVmail: Dec. 11, 2006

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No New Technician Ratings

Your headline in today's edition, "New Aircraft Technician Ratings Proposed" is incorrect (AVwebFlash, Dec. 4). The NPRM is proposing a revision to repair station ratings under FAR Part 145, not to technician ratings under FAR Part 65. Robert Holdridge

James Bond's Airstrip

Regarding the air strip in Courchevel, France (Video of the Week, Dec. 4): Could this be the same air strip that was used in the opening of the James Bond movie, "Tomorrow Never Dies"? R. Baker

AVweb Replies:

It took me a few minutes to confirm it, but a couple of Web sites do list that runway as the one featured in the film. Nifty bit of trivia -- thanks for clueing us in!

Scott Simmons
Webmaster and Video of the Week Editor

Legacy Pilots in Brazil

Wow, so the Brazilian authorities are finally giving up on blaming the accident on the pilots of the Legacy jet (AVwebFlash, Dec. 7)! These same pilots they blamed for two months and kept under house arrest. The same two pilots who were never given the respect any international accident investigating system demands. I find it hard to call the Brazilian efforts towards this aircraft accident an investigation, as that would imply they were pursuing a factual cause. The Brazilian authorities, from the start, were looking to blame the Legacy pilots instead of keeping an open mind as to the accidents cause. If I were Brazilian, I'd mark the date of the accident on my calendar as the date their aerospace business began its decline. No sane person will want to fly/deliver or operate an aircraft in Brazil when their air traffic control system and accident investigating personnel are not allowed to act in a neutral manner. Jim Alexander

Progress

Has everyone forgotten that the Learjet was one (if not the only one) business jet that not only met but exceeded its performance guarantee without having to go back to the drawing board to make it meet those specs or delay deliveries? Do you realize that in 1963 the entire Learjet program, which was entirely financed by family money, had cost a mere $12 million from concept to certification? That the airplane was fully certified in just 10 months? That in 1964 production was running at 10 per month? That 43 years ago our Learjet was cruising at 430 kts at 92% at 41,000 feet burning 1200 lbs/hr? What has the industry accomplished in 43 years? William P. Lear, Jr.

AVweb Replies:

Comparing the development of the Lear Jet 23 to the new very light jets is like comparing apples to oranges. For perspective, the $12 million spent in 1963/64 to develop the Lear Jet 23 is $80 million in 2006 dollars. Also, the current FAR Part 23 rules (small aircraft certification standards) are far more complex than certification regulations in 1963/64 ever were. At present, even established manufacturers are hard pressed to design, develop and certify a derivative jet in 10 months because of these widely restrictive certification rules, so it would be near impossible for William Lear Sr. to repeat this feat today.

Early Lear Jets have unenviable safety records, and the twinjets were known for getting into the coffin corner at high altitudes. By 1967 (three years after certification), 23 of the 104 Lear Jet 23s produced had crashed, four of them with fatal results. At present, more than half of the Lear 23 fleet has suffered accidents, 13 of them fatal. This means that one out of every eight Lear Jet 23s built has ended up killing someone.

The industry has accomplished a lot in 43 years: aircraft are safer thanks to better engineering design tools and construction methods; pilots have much more situational awareness thanks to modern avionics (especially TCAS, TAWS, GPS, etc.); and engines are way more efficient and reliable. Now if only the FAA would upgrade the ATC computers from 1960s technology -- that, sadly, is where aviation progress has lagged the most.

Chad Trautvetter
Editor-in-Chief

UND Student Crash

It is unfortunate that, by indirect association, UND will have to get tarred with this one (AVwebFlash, Dec. 7). It is not their issue. One of the causal issues, though it will never be found as such, is the drive for money. If the weather was as bad as noted in your article, why did the FBO even rent the aircraft at all? And why did it take so long to either notice or find an airplane that was supposed to be in "closed pattern" work? Hopefully, some day, the use of discretion in lieu of $$ will become the norm. This was preventable! Alan C. Davis

TFR Violations

AVwebFlash for Dec. 7 tells us that there have been 6,658 Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) violations since 9/11/01. How many of those TFR violations were by terrorists, or with criminal intent? What do these statistics tell us about the value of the TFRs? John Stanning

AVwebFlash Daily Updates

I still like getting the twice a week "paper" but make this daily thing a separate item so that I can opt out on it and not have to unsubscribe from the whole affair. Kevin McCue

AVweb Replies:

Breaking News Alerts are a new feature we've been trying on AVweb -- an attempt to get breaking news out to our readers as soon as possible, instead of making them wait for the next regular edition of AVwebFlash. But, as you pointed out, it raises some questions as to how we do that without overflowing your mailbox.

I think you'll be pleased to hear that we'll be taking your suggestion to heart and making the Breaking News Alerts a separate e-mail list entirely. This way, you'll be able to opt out of those mailings without affecting your regular AVwebFlash (or AVwebBiz) subscription. The same will be true of our Friday Audio News Update e-mails.

Right now, we've got a few home page changes on our plate and some behind-the-scenes tweaks to make the Web site a little more user-friendly -- but we should have working opt-outs for the Breaking News Alerts and Audio News Updates pretty soon. In the meantime, I hope you'll give them a quick glance and set them aside until your regular issue arrives.

If there's anything else you'd like to see on AVweb, never hesitate to contact us!

Scott Simmons
Webmaster

What I Like About AVweb

I have been reading AVweb for a very long time, almost since its inception. While there are a great many things about AVweb I like, rather than attempt to list them all here, let me specifically mention two personal favorites: The quizzes (I have taken every single one and I keep retaking until I get 100%!) and Don Brown's columns. I hope Mr. Brown will continue to write from his retired viewpoint and I hope AVweb will continue to publish his column as long as he is willing to write it. Many thanks to all of AVweb for a job well done. Craig Bondy
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