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Volume 18, Number 18a
April 30, 2012
Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
Be certain you have the right life insurance coverage. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
AVflash! New Airplanesback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
AVweb Survey for Owner Pilots - Past, 
Present, or Future

The director of Airbus's A380 program has told an Australian television station that the company intends to build a stretched version of the world's largest airliner, adding about 100 seats. Richard Carcaillet told Ten News the super jumbo is an "environmentally more responsible" answer to airport congestion because it will enable fewer aircraft to serve the burgeoning demand for airline seats worldwide. "It is a way to grow without adding to congestion," he told the TV station. Airbus is planning first deliveries in 2020, according to the report. More...

The first Boeing airliner ever built outside the Seattle area (if you don't count the 717, a renamed MD-95 built in Long Beach) rolled off the company's satellite 787 assembly line in Charleston, S.C., on Friday. The aircraft is destined for Air India and marks the beginning of high-rate production at the plant aimed at helping Boeing catch up with deliveries for the popular Dreamliner, which was three years late getting to customers. Establishment of the plant was controversial among Boeing's highly unionized Washington State operations, with some predicting that it would be impossible to properly train local workers to put the sophisticated airplanes together. However, Jack Jones, Boeing's Charleston plant manager, said there was never any question in the company's mind that it could be done and done well. "I can certainly understand why they might question it," Jones told KIRO TV. "But it was done the right way and the results speak for themselves." More...

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Find of the Century Becomes Fight of the Year?back to top 

British farmer and aviation history buff David Cundall now says there are 124 new Spitfires buried in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and he knows where 60 of them are. As we reported two weeks ago, Cundall stunned the aviation world with news that he had found at least 20 crated, brand-new Spitfires wrapped in protective paper and tar to preserve them. Whether he'll be able to capitalize on his stunning discovery is in question, however, as treasure hunters from all over the world race against each other and the impending monsoon season to dig the pickled aircraft up. In an email exchange a week ago, Cundall told AVweb he was having problems with financial backers who now may be rivals for the treasure trove. Cundall has not returned subsequent email and phone messages from AVweb. He did, however, claim in an interview with the Independent that a British businessman is trying to hijack the project with the help of the country's prime minister. More...

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iTunes & Hulu
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The award-winning hit television series airing across the US weekly on PBS (contact your local station), in Canada on Travel+Escape, and overseas on Discovery. The Aviators covers all-things aviation, as our pilot/hosts take you flying with the Blue Angels, on $100 hamburger runs, or exploring aircraft from warbirds to airliners. Seasons 1 and 2 now on iTunes and Hulu. Season 3 coming this fall ... and premiering at AirVenture 2012!

Click here to learn more.
Celebrating the B-52back to top 

The B-52 first flew 60 years ago in April, it was last produced 50 years ago, it dropped 15,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam 40 years ago, and now, it is being honored for its (continuing) decades of service with a "Year of The B-52" campaign. The  Commanders Action Group of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) began promoting the campaign in earnest this April in commemoration of the first flight of the YB-52 on April 15, 1952. Since then, AFGSC says the jet has served in every combat operation since Vietnam and is still an active element of the U.S. military arsenal. By some estimations, the jet will serve for another 30 years, fulfilling nearly a century of service. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Major David Donatelli for a look inside the campaign and inside the eight-engine, five-person aircraft that AFGSC calls an "icon of American Airpower." Click through for a link to that podcast and to read more B-52 milestones. More...

Sixty years since first flight, every combat operation since Vietnam and still going strong, the Boeing B-52 is an active-duty eight-engine legend. AVweb's Glenn Pew speaks with Major David Donatelli of the Commanders Action Group of the Air Force Global Strike Command about the campaign "Year of the B-52." More...

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More on Hartzell Engine Technologies' aircraft starters ...
Aviation Safetyback to top 

General aviation accidents are up but the accident rate and the number of fatal accidents has decreased in the past year, according to statistics released by the NTSB on Friday. The number of GA accidents increased from 1,439 in 2010 to 1,466 in 2011 but the number of fatal accidents dropped from 268 to 263. The total number of fatalities also dropped from 454 to 444. The NTSB says that because the number of flight hours for GA increased in 2011, the accident rate actually dropped. "While the number of general aviation flight hours increased in 2011, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours decreased from 6.63 in 2010 to 6.51 in 2011," the report says. While GA fared relatively well, on-demand charter operations raised a red flag for the board. More...

A Greek court has sent ripples through the aviation industry after handing out decade-long jail terms to four individuals associated with the 2005 fatal crash of a Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 that killed all aboard. Three executives of the former airline and a British mechanic will now appeal the court's decision. The crash flight was operating out of Cyprus for Prague and crashed into a mountain near Athens. A report by the relevant investigative authority (the AAIASB) found that the crew was incapacitated due to hypoxia. The report states that the aircraft flew via the flight management computer and autopilot up to FL340, until fuel exhaustion led to the crash. The report's list of direct causes does not include the executives or the mechanic. It includes the position of a cockpit-accessible selector switch. A court in Cyprus had previously acquitted all five defendants charged there in connection with the crash. At least one aviation group is now publicly criticizing the Greek court's decision. More...

Canadian authorities are investigating the death of a Vancouver woman who somehow fell from a hang glider on Saturday. The woman, a Mexican who had lived in Canada for nine years, was on her first flight and was with an experienced instructor. Jason Warner, safety officer for the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association of Canada, said it's the first time this kind of accident has occurred in Canada. He told the Vancouver Sun that right after launching from a mountain top about 80 miles east of Vancouver, the instructor realized his passenger had come loose from her harness and he tried to hang on to her. She slipped from his grasp and tried to hang on to his feet before one of his shoes came off and she fell about 1,000 feet to a logged-out area below. Her boyfriend was shooting a video of the flight from below. More...

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New Business Modelsback to top 

Startup company OpenAirplane is hoping to launch later this year with a program that would allow participating pilots to rent aircraft from a network of widespread operators based on one annual checkout performed at one location. The company says it has partnered with the insurance company Starr Aviation to create a "standardization and evaluation program." In practice, that program would serve as a keystone for the business, eliminating the barriers of cost and time that "local checkouts" would otherwise impose on a traveling pilot. In theory, OpenAirplane co-founder Rod Rakic expects that the system will also bring other benefits. "We know that pilots who participate in a checkout program like the one we have in mind fly more safely," says Rakic. He is betting that participating operators will also see gains. More...

New Roller Lifter System Repairs from 
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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

There's a ton of U.S. capital on the sidelines looking for growth opportunities. In Europe, some of it goes into aircraft manufacturing. In special video post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli asks, "Why not in the U.S.?" Read more and join the conversation. More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals 
in Aviation
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

AVMAIL: APRIL 30, 2012

Letter of the Week: How Much Rest?

My answer to the "Question of the Week" on the crew rest issue is that personal sleep needs do vary, according to scientists. This is why they give a range rather than an absolute value.

The challenge with the FAA (the regulator) and the industry (the certificate holder) is that both are looking for the absolute minimum versus the safest solution. Safety does cost. It is like the old motor oil commercial: "You can pay me now or pay me later." The FAA is afraid to institute the requirements that will ensure all pilots get proper rest, stating it is the responsibility of the pilot to report fit for duty. They bend to pressure from the airline and cargo industry who cry it will put them out of business. If the rules are the same for all, the cost is the same for all, so that argument is lame.

Pilots will report for duty fit as long as reporting they are not fit doesn't cost them their jobs. Pilots don't make the schedules; the companies do, which is why the regulator is responsible for making sensible rules to guide these schedules. Put on your common sense hat: Do you really want to put you and your family on a plane flying over the Amazon in the middle of the night knowing that the pilots were not properly rested?

The arguing point is whether four or 12 hours is enough rest to ensure that. Wouldn't you rather bet on the safe side versus the minimum value?

Mike Michaelis
Former National Safety Committee Chairman, Allied Pilots Association

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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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

The story of William Rankin's ejection at 47,000 feet and 500 knots is legendary, not only because the fall took him 40 minutes, but also because he lived to talk about it. There are other and more recent cases of people who have been drawn into thunderstorms under canopy and not every one ends in survival. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb reader Gordon Kirsh reminds us that a little trust goes a long way in his recommendation of our latest "FBO of the Week" -- Meisner Aircraft at Burlington Municipal Airport (KBUU) in Burlington, Wisconsin:

I had business in the area but had not visited the FBO previously. I was flying in on a Saturday. I called for the availability of a courtesy car and was told that the FBO was not manned on weekends. They gave me the code to the door and the location where they hid the key to the car. They never met me or asked me to sign or do anything. Fuel was $5.15 a gallon for self-serve 100LL. To have that level of trust in people was terrific.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Overheard flying into Chicago (ORD):

ORD Approach:
"British Airways, can you be down to 4,000 feet by XXXXX?"

British Airways 1234:
"I suppose so, but I don't think I can bring the aircraft with me."

John Finley
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.