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Volume 18, Number 15a
April 9, 2012
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AVflash! The New Face of European Aviationback to top 

New rules for foreign pilots and foreign registered aircraft in Europe came into effect on Saturday and, depending on how member states of the European Union are implementing them, could mean that your FAA, Transport Canada or other pilot certificate or ratings are no longer recognized by the European Aviation Safety Agency. EASA Part FCL homogenizes crew licensing requirements in all EU states and essentially means that those who want to fly in the EU have to prove competence and compliance with EU rules, rather than just use the credentials of their home country. Depending on the kind of flying involved, it can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor to earn those flight privileges, particularly for IFR. More...

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Aviation Safety Reportsback to top 

click for photos
Authorities are now sure there were no deaths or serious injuries resulting from the crash of a Navy F/A-18 in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday. All residents of the apartment complex struck by the flaming jet have been accounted for and only seven minor injuries, many of them to rescue workers and bystanders after the crash, occurred. Among those injured were the two crew members who ejected at low altitude as the aircraft crashed, igniting a two-alarm fire. Five buildings of eight apartments each were damaged by the post-crash fire. Neighbors at the complex told news crews the jet came down in a nose-up attitude. The flight carried an experienced instructor pilot in the rear cockpit and a student up front. The pilots came down under canopy near the wreckage and were taken to a nearby hospital. More...

Tuesday April 3, the crew of United Express Flight 5912, an Embraer 145 carrying 21 passengers, called controllers at Denver International Airport with an emergency, and the response has come under investigation. The crew initially called at about 8:30 a.m. with smoke in the cockpit. But controllers at the airport have reportedly become leery of false transmissions initiated by people on the ground. The controller apparently misheard the aircraft's flight number and initially dismissed the call's urgency. It was only after the aircraft landed and the controller was called again by the crew of the aircraft that he alerted rescue crews. By that time, five minutes had elapsed since the initial emergency call. Once on scene, firefighters extinguished a fire behind the instrument panel. The NTSB has turned over the investigation to the FAA. AVweb has obtained audio excerpts from the pilot/controller exchange. Click through to listen. More...

Well-known air race and airshow pilot Howard Pardue was killed Wednesday when his F8F Bearcat went down on takeoff from Stephens County Airport in Texas. Witnesses said the aircraft became briefly airborne before crashing and catching fire. Pardue, 77, died at the scene. More...

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I iPad, You iPad, We All iPadback to top 

The FAA currently has about 1,100 employees -- from pilots to mechanics to lawyers -- using computer tablets, has future plans for an app store, and now plans to broadly expand the use of iPads within the agency, according to its tech group. The FAA currently allows employees to use iPads to read and send e-mail or documents, and does not allow the devices to be used to access FAA networks. But that is scheduled to change. The FAA's manager of Architecture and Applied Technology said that by 2014, the FAA plans to allow workers the choice to replace laptops with iPads. It plans to consider Android-based tablets as well. The FAA's own internal research has found the devices useful in particular applications, improving efficiency and costs, but also found it limited in other ways. More...

The futurists all said one day soon, we would all have a single device that did everything from phone calls to medical record retrieval. Is that why, asks Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, he carries around a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad on his business trips? At the AEA show last week, he got the impression that airplanes have become merely 3-D conveyances to fly around iPads. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Paging Sam Jackson ...back to top 

Branden Blennerhassett, a 26-year-old pilot for Air Frontier, Australia, thought he was flying alone in a company Beechcraft Baron G58 out of Darwin Tuesday when he saw a head pop out from behind the instrument panel. According to a local ABC news affiliate that contacted Blennerhassett, the pilot quickly contacted a controller to explain his concerns. "I'm going to have to return to Darwin. I've got a snake on board the plane." Blennerhassett couldn't identify the snake and didn't want to risk too much movement. He imagined that could elicit a venomous bite. Unfortunately for him, during the approach, things got a bit more intimate. More...

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"If You Want Something, You Can Get It"back to top 

Could the future of Afghanistan general aviation be the crumpled remains of a homebuilt trike? The first aircraft ever built in the country made four test hops before being damaged beyond repair in a crash landing. Sabir Shah, who had never been in an airplane before, designed and built the aircraft using knowledge gleaned from the Internet and materials obtained at the local market. The result was a credible-looking weight-shift device powered by a Toyota car engine attached to a handmade fiberglass body and supported by a metal tube and fabric wing. Shah said he built the aircraft, which took three years, because it was the only way he could ever see himself being able to fly in his home country. There are no private flight schools and few private aircraft in the perennially war-torn country. "I believe that if you want something, you can get it," he told The Christian Science Monitor. More...

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Go North, Young Ladyback to top 

The remote northern community of Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories, has been proclaimed home to the "Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide" after an aviation community effort to introduce girls and women to flying on March 10. Led by Trinity Helicopters pilot Kirsten Brazier, volunteers got more than 400 girls and women up in the air for Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, which is held annually the week of March 8 to coincide with the licensing of the first female pilot, Baroness Raymonde de Laroche. Defending champion Frederick, Md., placed second with 244 flights and had to put others on a waiting list. Organizer Mireille Goyer told AVweb in a podcast interview a total of 1,104 girls and women got a taste of aviation during events held in North America and Europe that day. More important, she said, most of those who flew also got a taste for aviation. "In fact, 92% of our feedback survey respondents said that they would consider becoming involved in aviation as a result of the experience," Goyer said. More...

The second Women of Aviation Worldwide Week competition to see which airport community can give the most women and girls their first flight in a small aircraft was held a month ago, and the results are in. Organizer Mireille Goyer explains to AVweb's Russ Niles how Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories, unseated Frederick, Maryland for the title — and what it all means for aviation. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Medical Exemption Restrictions Questioned

I am a commercial, multi-engine, instrument-rated pilot who now flies totally for recreational purposes. I am a strong supporter of EAA and FAA's proposed exemption [to Class 3 medical requirements]; however, I feel that the aircraft limitations in it should be eliminated.

The focus of this exemption should be totally on the pilot's medical fitness to fly recreationally, not the type of aircraft he flies. Recreational flying is recreational flying, regardless of the type of aircraft involved! Many of us, including me, fly two-place aircraft whose power far exceeds 180 hp. My current one is a Yak 52, which also has retractable gear and a constant-speed propeller. As the exemption currently reads, you would be eliminating almost all of the IAC aircraft and warbird operators, many of the thousands of Vans RV owners who employ the 200hp IO-360, and countless numbers of other experimental aircraft. Virtually all of these are recreational pilots. You would also be eliminating owners of aircraft like the Cessna 182.

With respect to medical certification, I consider myself as safe in my aircraft as would be a pilot with lesser experience in, for example, a Cessna 172. If, under the current third-class medical certification process, I am fit to fly my aircraft, then under this exemption, I would certainly be as fit to fly the same aircraft. Nothing about my piloting qualifications would change, but I would be more fully aware of my medical condition and those factors affecting it. Eliminate the aircraft restrictions from the exemption, even if it means a tougher political fight with the FAA.

George Lazik

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 What have you heard? More...

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Show Coverage Recapsback to top 

Did you catch our podcast and video interviews from the 55th Annual Aircraft Electronics Association Convention in Washington, DC April 3-6, 2012? If not, click here for Friday's AVwebAudio recapping our media coverage of the show. More...

AVweb attended the 38th annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida from March 27 to April 1, 2012 — and brought back an assortment of news and interviews. Click here for a handy index to all our coverage from the show, including podcasts, videos, and blogs. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Some of our favorite "FBO of the Week" nominations begin with an unexpected problem on a long trip. AVweb reader Jerry Quint was on his way home from Sun 'n Fun when he discovered our latest top-notch FBO — Arrow Aviation/Executive Air Service at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR) in Danbury, Connecticut. Jerry provided the play-by-play of his exceptional visit:

I stopped for fuel and to spend the night. I was immediately impressed with the professional demeanor of the refueler, Mr. David Clark. When he discovered that I was remaining overnight, he directed me to a convienent tie-down and offered me the use of the pilot's lounge to spend the night. After a lengthy search, he found a key to the shower room. Joanie, who handles the office chores, answered all of my questions and made me feel welcomed. Cliff Brown, a CFI, made sure I had the codes to the doors, in case I wanted to leave the FBO after it closed for the day. Additionally, Cliff introduced me to a Master A&E/IA by the name of Karl Wiemer, who not only restores fabric-covered aircraft but is an expert in chasing down oil leaks.

My SkyCatcher had developed a leak on the way up from Sun 'n Fun, so he met me the next day, after I had a delicious doughnut that Cliff had delivered that morning before his early departure for a trip to Maine. With cylinder pressure testers in hand, Karl checked for the possibility of blow-by. After he determined there was no blow-by causing oil leakage, we started the engine and found the oil was leaking out of the oil filter where the filter and the rounded flange met. Several calls to oil filter suppliers proved to be fruitless, and it was discovered that the oil filters for SkyCatchers are only available at Cessna Dealers. They are very expensive, and there is no authorized subsitute. The nearest Cessna dealer was 40 miles distant, so Karl drove to retrieve it. After his 80-mile trip, he installed the filter, and I was finally on my way.

Of all the ten airports that I have visited in the last two weeks, the folks at Danbury are head and shoulders above them all. I am proud to recommend them for "FBO of the Week."

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


And now for a slight departure from our usual "Short Final" hijinks:

Many years ago, I heard a radio exchange that, for me, illustrated the great resources and the responsibilities we have as pilots. Climbing into the VFR corridor of the New York TCA, I heard this on the frequency:

American 123:
"Boston Center, American 123."

Boston Center:
"American 123, Boston."

American 123:
"Company has informed us they have a report of a possible bomb on board."

Boston Center:
"Roger, American 123. What are your intentions?"

American 123:
"We'd like to return to Boston."

Boston Center:
"Roger, cleared to Boston."

And that was it! No routing, no questions, no altitudes. Later, they were given the winds and asked which runway they would prefer. I can only assume there was a great deal of activity on other frequencies to clear the sky for the jet.

My point is we don't often dwell on the responsibilities of command when we take off with our families and friends — or of the great resources of the ATC which are available if we need them. All it takes is a few words, and, for some period of time, the world will revolve entirely around us. Being ready and able to play our part if the time comes is as important as any other flying skill, and for many of us, why we feel so good to call ourselves pilots.

Roger Rowell
via e-mail


Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke. Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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