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787 BATTERY WASN'T OVERCHARGED
The NTSB has cast doubt on
Japan's Transport Safety Board's speculation that a charging overload
was behind battery fires that led to the grounding of Boeing 787 fleet.
In an update Sunday, the NTSB said the flight data recorder aboard the
Japan Airlines aircraft whose APU battery burned on the ground at
Boston's Logan Airport Jan. 7 showed the battery never exceeded its
design limit of 32 volts. On Friday, Japanese officials said they
believed overcharging caused that fire and the one in an ANA 787 that
was involved in an emergency landing and evacuation last Wednesday.
Japan released photos of the battery that burned virtually under the
feet of the pilots as they dove for the ground while on a domestic
flight to Kaneda. The photo shows a mass of charred wires and cells
within a thin case that shows signs of distortion but apparently wasn't
breached. For comparison the agency put a good battery beside it.
787 -- TOO BIG TO FAIL?
No, says turbine aircraft analyst
Richard Aboulafia. Even so, he says he expects Boeing and the FAA
to get over the battery issue that is grounding the Dreamliner at the
moment. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Aboulafia.
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The Pentagon has grounded the most
sophisticated version of the F-35 after a pilot had to abort a takeoff
at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on Wednesday. An exhaust nozzle
actuator line in the F-35B's exhaust system failed. The B model, which
will be used by the Marine Corps, uses downward jet exhaust to assist
takeoff and allow vertical landings. The Air Force (A model) and Navy (C
model) aircraft are not affected. There are 25 airplanes grounded.
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MAKES CHANGES TO FULL BODY SCANNING
The TSA announced Friday
that it will remove Rapiscan full body scanners from airport security
stations, but leave others, as it works toward a congressionally
mandated deadline to assure the devices produce less personally
revealing imagery. The mandate, effective in June 2013, affects both
types of body scanners currently used in the U.S. -- X-ray (or
backscatter) devices produced by Rapiscan, and millimeter-wave devices
produced by L-3 Communications. The TSA concluded that only L-3 will
meet the deadline to create software that presents a more generic
imagery of a human form, while still fulfilling its security function.
The Biggest Aviation
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The award-winning hit TV series The Aviators
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LSA and balloons. We take you dogfighting in the Nevada desert, flying
with the USAF Thunderbirds, and look on as Mötley Crue frontman
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CABANAS KILLED IN CRASH, A LEGACY OF EXPERIENCE
West-based airshow, ferry, and well-certificated pilot Fred Cabanas, 60,
was killed Tuesday along with his passenger Jorge Lopez Vives, host of
an extreme sports show, while flying near a private airfield in Cozumel,
Mexico. According to the FAA, Cabanas held an ATP, multiengine
rating, commercial land and seaplane privileges, plus an A&P license and
advanced ground instructor certificate. He was also an Aerobatic
Competency Evaluator for ICAS as well as an EAA Warbird
Evaluator. According to his website, Canabas had flown for TV and
movies and had accumulated 24,000 hours total flight time.
CRASH PLANE'S CONTROL CABLES BROKEN
The NTSB says several of
the flight control cables were broken on a Piper Cherokee that crashed,
killing four people, including two high-profile college basketball
coaches, in 2011. Oklahoma State University Women's Coach Kurt Budke and
Assistant Coach Miranda Serna died along with pilot Olin Branstetter,
82, and his wife Paula, 79, when the Cherokee
crashed in good weather near Perryville, Ark., Nov. 17, 2011. In the
factual report on the accident issued last week, the NTSB said
everything else on the aircraft appeared in normal operating condition
but the cables were "fractured in multiple places" and that "each
fracture was consistent with overload." The impact site suggested the
aircraft hit with a 50- to 60-degree nose-down attitude and most of the
wreckage was in a hole ten feet wide and three-and-a-half feet deep.
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G5 UPS GROSS FOR 2013
Cirrus Thursday announced an increase
in certified gross weight from 3400 to 3600 pounds for its 2013
"Generation 5" SR-series of aircraft, and claimed its now five-seat SR22
and SR22T offer "the highest in-class useful load" available. With all
five seats filled, the aircraft offers a range of 700 nautical miles,
according to the company. And it is capable of full fuel with four seats
filled. Cirrus is also offering a "Generation 5 Vision Inspired Special
Edition SR22T" that the company says is "inspired by the upcoming Cirrus
Vision SF50 Personal Jet and modern automotive styling." Cirrus says the
models have seen some changes from nose to tail. More...
SPITFIRES FOUND AT FIRST DIG SITE IN BURMA
supported expedition to Burma to dig up Spitfires thought to be buried
there after the close of WWII is quickly drawing skepticism as it has so
far found none after one week digging at a primary site, Mingaladon
airport. The project's mastermind, British farmer David Cundall,
believes there's still hope. Cundall had found eyewitness support of his
theory that the British military packed more than 120 Spitfires in
crates and buried them in the ground before vacating Burma more than 60
years ago. Counterclaims and alternate theories of explanation are
beginning to surface, including one from another witness. Cundall, who
had earned the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the
Burmese government, expects to continue. More...
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
JANUARY 21, 2013
Letter of the Week: Safety in Plain
I am writing with some thoughts about the Agusta
109 helicopter crash in London last week. One has to fly this
particular heliroute (H4) below 1,000 feet due to Heathrow approach
traffic and "above the high/low waterline."
I've flown it several
times, though not for a few years. The actual location of this crane
(nearly 800 feet high) is right on the edge of the river and presents
little margin for safety for a pilot constrained to fly below 1,000 feet
and over the same edge of the river. The location is featured in a
NOTAM, though it is possible that the pilot never read it, as this was
an in-flight diversion, not a planned excursion into the London
The weather was foggy that day with low cloud and
seems unlikely to have complied with the mandatory SVFR conditions for
the routes. Looking at the NOTAM got me thinking: It specifies the
obstacle using the usual Lat/Long:
HIGH RISE JIB CRANE
(LIT AT NIGHT) OPR WI 1NM 5129N 00007W, HGT 770FT AMSL
don't know any human who can interpret such a location unaided. As this
obstacle is bang in the line of a published route, with little vertical
margin of safety, wouldn't such a notice be much more effective if
instead it read something like:
On the south bank of the
River Thames at Vauxhall Bridge on Heliroute H4
pilots could immediately visualise the threat.
One has to wonder
why it isn't marked on a map it is nearly 800 feet high!
and pilots told to fly to the north of the river to avoid
here to read the rest of this week's letters. More...
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On some air bases, the military uses one side of the
field and civilian aircraft use the other side, with the tower in the
middle serving both. One day, at one of these fields, a call from an
aircraft called in asking, "Hey, Tower, what time is it?"
tower answered, "Who is calling?"
The aircraft answered, "What
difference does it make?"
The tower responded with, "It makes a
lot of difference. If you are a civilian aircraft, it's three o'clock;
if you're an Army aircraft, it's 1500 hours; if you're a Navy aircraft,
it's 3 bells; if you're an Air Force aircraft, the big hand is on 12 and
the little hand is on 3; and if you're a Marine aircraft, it's Thursday
afternoon and 120 minutes 'til Happy Hour."
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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