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Volume 19, Number 19a
May 6, 2013
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AVflash! Classifying the Iconback to top 

The FAA says it needs more information before it can decide whether to exempt the Icon A5 from the upper weight limit restriction for amphibious light sport aircraft and allow it to weigh 1680 pounds. As AOPA reported last week, the agency wrote a letter (PDF) to Icon President Kirk Hawkins that due to "the complexity, extent and precedent-setting aspects" of Icon's request it needs time and more documentation to process the petition. In the letter, Earl Lawrence, manager of the FAA's Small Plane Directorate, said the agency normally tries to process requests in 120 days. Icon filed the request in July of 2012, saying the 250-pound weight increase is warranted because it's required to make the aircraft spin-resistant. More...

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Out with a Boomback to top 

An unmanned X-51A WaveRider aircraft reached 5.1 Mach, Monday, pushed to more than 3,000 miles per hour over the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu, Calif., by a scramjet engine. The Air Force said Wednesday that the WaveRider was carried aloft from Edwards Air Force Base by a B-52. It was released over the ocean at about 50,000 feet and accelerated to 4.8 Mach in 26 seconds by way of solid rocket booster. The aircraft, which is designed to ride its own shockwave, then lit its air-breathing scramjet engine and accelerated to 5.1 Mach at 60,000 feet, covering 264 miles in just over six minutes. The effort follows an early program success followed by two less fruitful attempts. More...

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Following the Sunback to top 

The Solar Impulse team sent their solar aircraft out from Moffett Airfield near San Jose, Calif., Friday at 6:12 a.m. Pacific time, for Phoenix, Ariz., on the first leg of a transcontinental U.S. flight. The aircraft is powered by four 10-horsepower electric motors that draw energy from 12,000 photovoltaic cells on its wings and lithium-polymer battery packs that store excess solar energy for use in darkness. Six hours into the roughly 550-nm flight, flying at roughly 40 knots in climb, the aircraft had collected more energy to power its motors than it had stored at takeoff. Even before that, pilot Bertrand Piccard was chatting with family and taking calls from reporters, espousing the benefits of solar power -- but not for practical manned flight. More...

Sennheiser BlueStage || Download Now and 
Discover Aviation and the World of Sound on Your iPad
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Sennheiser BlueStage

Download Sennheiser's new magazine app for the iPad at no cost and dive right into a new and interactive way to experience the world of sound. In the aviation issue, the high art of aerobatics features alongside the high art of plane building from scrap heaps. Watch Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe take his first flying lessons and learn how veteran pilots pass the torch in schools. Also listen to our new "Live Your Dream" theme song by Joe.e.

In May, BlueStage is all about the sonic experience on wings. Download, swipe, and enjoy! Learn more.
Aviation Safetyback to top 

It appears the three crew members lost in the overseas loss of a KC-135 tanker were from Spokane, Wash., but the aircraft was based in Kansas. Two of the three bodies have been recovered after the loaded tanker apparently exploded in flight and crashed in Kyrgyzstan. The aircraft was on its way to support the mission in Afghanistan but that's about all military authorities are saying. The aircraft, which was based at McConnell AFB in Wichita, was deployed to Manas, a U.S. military base leased in Kyrgyzstan. More...

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From the leader in hospital pulse oximetry comes the world's first pulse oximeter for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch that measures during movement and low blood flow to the finger. The iSpO2 allows you to noninvasively track and trend blood oxygenation (SpO2), pulse rate, and perfusion index – for sports and aviation use.* Click here for more information.

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News Briefsback to top 

Harvard University researchers have demonstrated a fly-sized UAV that actually mimics insect flight. The researchers spent 12 years developing the robo-fly, which uses piezoelectric devices that contract and release when power is switched on and off, allowing it to beat its tiny wings. "We get it to contract and relax, like biological muscle," Dr. Kevin Ma, one of the scientists, said in a news release. The researchers released a video of the device in a controlled hover and envision it being used for search and rescue, where it could fly through the tiny spaces of a debris pile to locate survivors. It might even take on jobs normally done by insects, like pollination of crops. More...

Jetman Yves Rossy, the man who flies strapped to a small wing powered by four small turbines, has been scheduled for flight displays at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013. Rossy previously flew in the U.S. back in 2011 when he made a successful flight over a section of the Grand Canyon (video), but the flight was not made available to public viewing. For that flight and his AirVenture appearance EAA worked with Rossy to acquire an experimental exhibition special airworthiness certificate. "I am excited to share my project with fellow enthusiasts," he said, "and be a part of aviation's biggest gathering in the world." AirVenture isn't Rossy's only planned U.S. public appearance in 2013. More...

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

AVMAIL: MAY 6, 2013

Letter of the Week: Dangers of Rearward C of G

Regarding the speculation that shifting cargo caused the crash of Boeing 747 in Afghanistan, I have some experience with flying an aircraft with rearward center of gravity.

Years ago, I was flying a C-47, and the urinal in the head froze up. The co-pilot and several other people were trying to thaw it out with cigarette lighters. The head on the C-47 is in the tail end of the aircraft.

In all of my years of flying, this really scared me. I asked them all to slowly back out of the area one at a time, and to leave only one person in the head. We would always load the aircraft with as far aft CG as we could. In doing so, we could get another 10 to 15 knots of cruise speed out of the C-47.

The controls on a DC-3 are rather heavy. In this case, with all of them stacked in the tail end of the aircraft, all I had to do was touch the yoke, and the aircraft went into wild gyrations, nose up and down. The aircraft was no longer statically stable.

I knew if we should hit turbulent air we would be toast and the accident investigation board would want to know why so many people were in the toilet. I can just imagine the different theories on that one.

Vern Childers

Click here 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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New on AVweb.comback to top 

BrainteasersIf a control tower closes in the wilderness, does it make a sound? Politicians may diddle FAA budgets until the skies are porcine black, but we'll fly ... provided we keep our priorities upright by sequestering this quiz.

Take the quiz. More...

The aerodiesel market appears to exist in a parallel universe to LSAs: making progress but not setting sales records. At Aero Friedrichshafen, Paul Bertorelli encountered a couple of new entries to the market, but he also noted some that have shown up in the past were MIA. He shares his observations on the AVweb Insider blog. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Honaker Aviation at Clark Regional Airport (KJVY) in Sellersburg, Indiana.

AVweb reader Charles Black recommended the FBO:

Kevin Happel and crew proactively removed a bird nest from the engine compartment. It could have led to an in-flight engine fire. I never suspected it was there. Profuse thanks for noticing the bird activity.

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!


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.
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


I had a buyer from Argentina for my unfinished home built aircraft. For tax purposes, the Argentine government required the aircraft not be registered by the FAA. I sent a letter to the FAA requesting a letter stating that the aircraft had not been registered.

The FAA's reply:

"Your request for the FAA to notify Argentina cannot be accomplished as the aircraft has never been registered."

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

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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.

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