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Volume 19, Number 26c
June 28, 2013
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Today's Exclusive AVweb Featureback to top 


The NTSB's recent release of a final report regarding the fatal November 13, 2011, crash of a Cirrus SR-22T shed light on a flight noteworthy for its aerobatics; it also invites speculation regarding the potentially untapped value of recorded flight data in general aviation.

Both Avidyne and Garmin produce avionics (the Entegra and G1000, for example) capable of recording tens of different flight parameters that the entire aviation community -- let alone individual pilots -- may not be using to full advantage. In the case of the Cirrus crash, data stored in a remote (tail mounted) data storage unit supplied sufficient information to not only reconstruct the aircraft's activities immediately prior to the crash, but also for several days before. One man in particular, outside of the NTSB, made unique use of that data. And hopes to play a part in the charge for the release of more data in other crashes. His name is Rick Beach and what he hopes for would help us all.

Particular to the November 13, crash, the aircraft, a rental, recorded information from its Avidyne and other systems to a recoverable data module (RDM). Beach told us the folks who make the RDM for Cirrus are a company called Heads Up Technologies. The company makes a "single chip processor capable of addressing large flash memory arrays" that is contained in an "armored housing" and mounted somewhere in the aircraft that isn't likely to hit the ground first or be consumed by a post-crash fire. Usually, that means the vertical tail. On a normal day, the data can be downloaded via a standard USB cable. In the case of a crash, the NTSB can of course access data in several other ways that don't involve the standard USB plug. In this case, they recovered very telling information.

Recovered data led the NTSB to determine that the crash was the result of a roll attempted at low altitude. The NTSB used the information to describe the moments leading up to the crash and also its recent flight history, which involved aerobatic maneuvers while the aircraft was in the care of the same pilot. The agency made some of the accident aircraft's recorded data publicly available, and that's where Beach comes in. Beach mined it. He took the data points and created a virtual presentation (a video created in a flight simulation program) of the event -- something he's done for roughly 15 other accidents. He then took that video and posted it to Youtube as well as Cirrus-related forums. But it's the "why" that makes all the difference.

Click here to read the full article.


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AVweb Classic Analysisback to top 


Instrument currency is more than simply controlling the aircraft in the clouds. Currency also means making the right decisions when weather goes sour.

Click here to read the full article.


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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

Pilot Jonathan Trappe, who has crossed the English Channel flying his unusual cluster of small helium balloons, now is in Maine waiting for the right weather to launch across the sea. Trappe spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady about how he is preparing for the flight, what challenges he expects, and how you can track his progress after launch. More...

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You Refurbish It, We Show It Offback to top 

Mid-1970s Decathlons are good buys on the used market. They're fun to fly and affordable to own. And if you fancy some gentleman's aerobatics, so much the better. Chis Cook has been working on restoring a 1977 8KCAB and here's his report. 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].

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