Forward This E-mail | Edit Email Preferences | Advertise | Contact | Privacy | Help

  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Textron Aviation is moving production of the Cessna Caravan from Wichita to Independence, Kansas, to make room for new products, including its new flagship jet and high-performance turboprop. The company announced the move on Friday. “This move will utilize capacity at our Independence, Kansas, facility, while making our Wichita work force available for new products such as the Citation Longitude and Cessna Denali,” Textron said in a statement. The company has already picked the former Beechcraft facility across the airport for Longitude and the Denali will be built in the space now occupied by the Caravan line.

The Independence facility is home to Cessna pistons and the Mustang light jet and sales of those lines have struggled in recent years. The Caravan remains popular and the end result should be that jobs will be maintained at both facilities. Textron hasn’t issued a timeline for the move but the Denali is supposed to fly by 2018.

Sponsor Announcement
Win an Avidyne Dream Panel! || Over $40,000 Value! - Click to Enter

Jeremy Martin via Airlive and WSJ

A Southwest Airlines 737 made an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, Saturday after an uncontained failure of the number one engine. Passengers snapped photos of the engine, which was missing everything forward of the pylon after what those on board described as an explosion, followed by some smoke in the cabin and a rapid descent from 31,000 feet with the oxygen masks deployed. There were no reports of injuries among the 99 passengers and five crew.

The aircraft was on a flight from New Orleans to Orlando when the incident occurred at about 9:40 a.m. local time. Southwest issued a statement a short time later saying the diversion was due to a “mechanical issue” and that it was waiting for the NTSB before inspecting the damage, which may also include some fuselage ruptures. “The aircraft is out of service and we will work to accommodate the passengers to Orlando or their final destination as soon as possible,” the airline said.

Sponsor Announcement
Genuine Lycoming Parts || Choose Innovation, Not Imitation

Marcus Paine, a longtime flight instructor and airshow performer, died Saturday at an Oregon airshow. Paine was reportedly pulling out of a loop just after takeoff in his Stearman when he crashed on the runway at the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras. He was 61. The aircraft caught fire on impact but airport firefighters were on the scene quickly. 

In a photo taken by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office, a broken gear leg is seen about 100 feet from the rest of the airplane. The accident happened about 2:45 p.m. Paine divided his time between Alaska and Arizona and ran Unusual Attitudes LLC specializing in upset training and stall/spin prevention. He was also the pilot for Canadian wingwalker Carol Pilon. Paine specialized in low-level demos including stall/spin performances in a Super Cub from less than 500 feet. He also flew a Super Decathlon in performances.

Sponsor Announcement

Tragedy marked the opening of a new general aviation airport in north central China. Michel Leusch, of South Africa, failed to recover from a dive during a performance at the first Silk Road International General Aviation Convention held at Danxia Airport on Saturday. The airport opened Friday and the convention was held to celebrate the opening. Other performances went ahead as scheduled. Leusch was flying an XA42 show plane and video showed him climb steeply before diving vertically into the Gobi Desert.

Leusch was a new member of the Firestars Aerobatic Team, which is sponsored by Red Bull China (not affiliated with Red Bull International). It’s not clear if he was doing a solo performance or whether it was part of the team routine but the video shows only one aircraft. The Firestars are based in China and performed at various shows in China this summer. Leusch was the World Intermediate Aerobatics champion in 2014.

Sponsor Announcement
Starr Companies
Your Flight School Is Covered, But Are You?
Starr Aviation offers a comprehensive non-owned aircraft liability policy for student pilots flying single- and multi-engine or even rotorcraft airplanes. Coverages include bodily injury, damage to non-owned aircraft, property damage, air medical expenses, and loss of use — all engineered by an underwriting team with the experience and service you need. Through our national network of aircraft insurance brokers, Starr's financial strength and fast-pay claims service is hard to beat. For details, click here to visit StarrCompanies.com.

A stolen airline truck driven by a man wearing only boxer shorts crashed into a parked Southwest Airlines jet Thursday night at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. The incident required multiple police officers to subdue the man plus a replacement B737 for the 113 passengers catching their flight to Las Vegas, the Omaha World-Herald reported. An airline spokesman told the newspaper the truck flattened the jet’s nosegear tires. Also, two crew members had minor bumps to a leg and elbow, possibly from disembarking after the incident, according to the report.

The 35-year-old man parked his pickup truck at the airport at 9:30 p.m. and then stood fully dressed in front of the terminal, screaming that people were trying to kill him, airport police officials said. An officer tried to get the man to calm down but he would have none of it, and ran off. More officers were called to pursue him. The World-Herald, which reported the man was found to have mental health and drug addiction issues, described a wild foot chase in the dark around the terminal area. The man climbed over a barbed wire fence and at some point removed his pants and shirt. He found an idling Southwest Airlines vehicle and drove off in it with police vehicles attempting to stop him before he drove into the jet parked at a boarding gate. Police took the man to a local medical facility and brought in federal agencies including the NTSB to investigate.

Sponsor Announcement
What Fuels You? || Cessna Turbo Skyhawk JT-A

A stolen airline truck driven by a man wearing only boxer shorts crashed into a parked Southwest Airlines jet Thursday night at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield. The incident required multiple police officers to subdue the man plus a replacement B737 for the 113 passengers catching their flight to Las Vegas, the Omaha World-Herald reported. An airline spokesman told the newspaper the truck flattened the jet’s nosegear tires. Also, two crew members had minor bumps to a leg and elbow, possibly from disembarking after the incident, according to the report.

The 35-year-old man parked his pickup truck at the airport at 9:30 p.m. and then stood fully dressed in front of the terminal, screaming that people were trying to kill him, airport police officials said. An officer tried to get the man to calm down but he would have none of it, and ran off. More officers were called to pursue him. The World-Herald, which reported the man was found to have mental health and drug addiction issues, described a wild foot chase in the dark around the terminal area. The man climbed over a barbed wire fence and at some point removed his pants and shirt. He found an idling Southwest Airlines vehicle and drove off in it with police vehicles attempting to stop him before he drove into the jet parked at a boarding gate. Police took the man to a local medical facility and brought in federal agencies including the NTSB to investigate.

For at least the last 40 years, the precautionary, off-airport landing has rarely been taught. It’s certainly not required on a checkride and pilots who have a mechanical or weather problem are taught to go to the nearest airport and only attempt to land "out" (as glider pilots say) when the engine actually quits. Pilots who have found themselves very low on fuel have pressed on, hoping to make it to an airport, then listened the big silence up front due to fuel exhaustion and been injured or died when they had to make an off-airport landing in a place they hadn't selected, without power.

How many pilots have died because no one taught them that when things are bad, landing in a decent farm field can make the difference between being dead and merely inconvenienced?

Changing Times

Landing airplanes in fields was a way of life well into the 1950s. Barnstormers did it on purpose to make their living hopping rides. Pilots faced with deteriorating weather would select a suitable field, land and wait it out. The stories of some of the folks they met rival the traveling salesmen anecdotes.

Nevertheless, the practice faded out. It may be the advent of the nosewheel and the risk of it bogging down and flipping the airplane should the field be rough or soft. However, when you look at that risk—a fairly low-speed upset in which folks are seldom hurt—versus the risk of loss of control due to spatial disorientation or a forced landing over terrain selected by the aircraft when the engine is running on air, it just seems to me that the odds are a heck of a lot better putting the airplane down in a place the pilot selects, while the engine is running or before the weather removes all options.

In conversations with pilots and instructors about precautionary landings, the overwhelming comments I get are either "I'll get in trouble with the FAA/police/landowner/FBO/insurance company" or "I'll get sued by the landowner/passengers/FBO/insurance company."

Let's address the reality of the situation—a painfully high proportion of VFR general aviation accidents involve continued flight into instrument meteorological conditions; you know, low ceilings and/or visibilities. Unless the pilot is in the mountains, every single one of those probably had 10 or 15 minutes where the pilot knew full well he or she was in a jam and was over several fields where a safe precautionary landing could have been made.

Why not use a tool that is available to us? Why throw away something that will allow us to live to fly another day just because we are afraid we will get in trouble?

That's easy: We've been getting in trouble for one thing or another as long as we've been alive, so we can very easily imagine getting in trouble. However, unless we've been in a situation where we have been hurt badly, you know, screaming in pain, it is extraordinarily difficult for us to imagine getting dead. So we press on, subconsciously remembering the mantra that "It's better to be dead than embarrassed" because we just can't conceive that we, who are too cool to die, can bite the big one and that we're in a situation where the risk is near unity that we're about to do so.

Practice

With that out of the way, the next thing to consider is that one of the dumber things pilots do when faced with an emergency is to attempt a maneuver that they have never practiced. Every year pilots die because they try to turn back for the airport when the engine expires shortly after takeoff, try to shut down the engine and stop the prop before landing when the gear won't extend, or try to scud-run in marginal weather. So, recognizing that trying something entirely new when things are not going well is truly stupid, how do we practice an off-airport precautionary landing?

First of all, a precautionary landing is just that: a landing before things get out of hand. It's a soft-field landing. We can do that. So we'll practice landing with full flaps, with some power, as slowly as we can without stalling the airplane, to minimize the energy on touchdown. Once the wheels roll, we'll chop power and hold the wheel full aft to keep the nosewheel off until we are going slowly or, if it's a tailwheel airplane, to pin the tailwheel.

Next we'll go practice on a grass runway. I know, I know, lots and lots of FBOs and flight schools do not allow grass runway operations, so lots of pilots have never landed on grass. Make some landings on a dry grass runway. (You'll find you like it—maybe even more than on pavement). It's certainly not magic; you just keep the wheel aft to keep the nosewheel light when moving slowly.

Next, recognize that you will be flying the "pattern" for your selected field low and close because the ceiling and visibility may well preclude you flying high and wide. That means that on a day the pattern isn't busy, you may want to buy a little dual to practice flying the pattern at 400 feet and close-in. Get a feel for when to start to descend, what the world looks like from that low (it's different) so that if you have to do it for real, you can.

Find an instructor who knows the crops in the area and fly around at about 1000 feet AGL and learn to differentiate corn from soybeans from wheat and so forth. Find out how tall the crops are and when they’re planted and harvested.

Always be aware of the wind direction. That should be second nature. Normally a precautionary landing is made into the wind. If you must land in a field that has a row crop or is plowed, land parallel to the rows, as much into the wind as possible. In general, do not land across the rows; that can result in flipping over immediately after touchdown or worse, coming to an immediate stop against a furrow.

Courage To Stop

When it comes down to the real thing, the pilot has to have the courage to make the decision that continued flight involves too much risk given the fact that there are decent places to land safely. Once we've gotten low, in bad visibility, we are down where there are a heck of a lot of towers, many without working lights. We know that scud-running has become so dangerous as to be a last-ditch ploy a pilot tries when out of options, often just before dying. So, we get smart. We spot a field that may be acceptable. It looks to be a gently rolling pasture oriented into the wind. Obstructions allowing, we'll set up a normal, left-hand pattern (because that's what we're used to) at whatever altitude we can given ceiling and visibility. We'll fly a downwind, base and then a pass over the field to look it over. We'll stay about 100 feet up, just right of center so we can see the area where we want to land. We'll carry a third to half flaps; at Vy plus about 10-20 knots and the airplane trimmed for level flight so we can divert our attention to the outside world without losing control. We're looking for the right place to touch down, the best area for rollout and for any obstructions.

Then we'll go to full power, retract the flaps if we need to, climb to our pattern altitude and turn downwind. On downwind, double-check to make sure that the cabin is secure, that there are no loose items to become projectiles and that everyone is well strapped-in with something to put in front of their face on touchdown. We'll pop the doors open so there won't be a delay in getting out, unless we're in an airplane that flies poorly with the cabin door open slightly (and we should know that already, right?).

Turning base and final we watch for obstructions. We know that we probably will not be able to see power lines, so we look for the poles. To assure we will clear the wires, we assume they run straight between the tops of the poles. If we find ourselves in the position where we have to go under wires, the technique is to look at the ground (and there may be a fence), not at the wires. We'll stay as low as we can, over the ground or fence and that way we're most likely to miss the wires. If we look up at the wires, we are likely to snag the fence at flying speed (which is extremely bad news), bounce off the ground (which can have a number of bad side effects), or catch the wire with the vertical stabilizer, another sub-optimal event.

We'll touch down as slowly as we can, with a tiny bit of power, as needed to really get the nose up and the airplane slow, with all of the flaps. Once on the ground the power goes to idle, the mixture is pulled to idle cutoff and the master is turned off while the wheel is held full aft. When the nosewheel touches down, we'll get on the brakes firmly, but avoid sliding the tires. If the airplane flips now, it will be a slow-motion sort of affair. Should it happen, put your hand on the ceiling to help keep from bumping your head and be careful releasing the seatbelt after everything stops. You are wearing the shoulder harnesses, right?

Once the airplane stops make sure everything is turned off and take inventory of people and the situation. Shut off the mags and check that the master is off, then open the doors and let yourselves out.

I won't go into the procedures to follow for those times you are way out in the boonies; that's Doug Ritter's province in his aviation-survival Web site.

Aftermath

After landing you will probably get to meet the landowner. Be polite and respectful. Glider pilots and balloonists charm landowners with some frequency (balloonists use champagne). If you've done any damage to the crop, plan on paying for it.

You may be able to fly the airplane out once you've gotten fuel or the weather improves. That's a decision that you have to make based on available information and the conditions you are facing. I strongly suggest that you make it in conjunction with someone who has experience with such things. Otherwise, plan on trucking the airplane out.

Assuming you do not do enough damage to the airplane or your passengers to cause the landing to fall under the definition of "accident" in the NTSB regulations, there is no requirement to report your landing to the FAA or NTSB. There may be those who are quiveringly anxious to do that for you, but unless there is an accident, there is no federal reporting requirement.

A word about roads and streets: They are not great precautionary landing sites; they are a distant second to a wide-open field unless fields don't exist in the area. Because they are paved, they seem attractive. The problem is that they are usually narrower than the wing span, have power poles and lines along the side and generally have things such as mail boxes and signs that are just waiting to grab a wingtip and jerk the airplane into a very resistant-to-impact ditch while going fast just before or after touching down. They can be poor places to depart from, as well. If you have landed in a field and the local authorities allow you to takeoff from a road or street, be patient. Walk the entire area to look for things that you might hit. Make sure all cars and trucks are out of the area.

Yes, there is a chance you'll get to talk to the FAA and you may get in trouble. The very good thing is that you'll have some time to consider what to do. Keep thinking about that phrase—you'll have some time—because just before you made that successful precautionary landing, you were looking at an extremely short life expectancy. You didn't have much future. Now, because you were smart, you do have time, a future, a new life so to speak. So you can deal with those who desire to be negative about the whole thing in a calm, considered manner. Calm and considered was pretty foreign to you when things were going badly.

Yes, I'll express my contempt for bureaucrats, the chair-warmers who are so quick to be critical of you from the comfort of an office -- and I'll challenge them to do better. So can you. Because now you have the time to do it and those same small individuals who are so quick to criticize you for surviving a very risky experience are the same ones who would have said nasty things about you had you died in a crash a few miles down the pike. Now you are alive to take them on, and you can take a great deal of pleasure in that experience.

You've got to be alive to get in trouble. Isn't that a good feeling? .

Rick Durden is a CFII and ATP with type ratings in the Douglas DC-3 and Cessna Citation. He is the author of The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It, Vols. 1 & 2.

AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Elaine Kauh

Contributors
Rick Durden
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Paul Berge
Larry Anglisano

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

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.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb web site 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:

Forward this email to a friend
Tailor your alerts!
Click here to update alerts preferences.
AVweb Insider

Last month’s AirVenture broke the decade mark for me. It was my eleventh show. Perhaps my perspective is unusual because I’ve done all those shows as a journalist. 

This year was different because I brought my 13-year-old son with me. He’s a poster child for next-generation aviators: He’s a fanatic about all craft that fly, has aspirations of flying for the military, spends hours flying uber-realistic combat simulators and GA simulators, and is slowly accumulating real-world stick time as schedule and budget allows. 

As we cruised around the show together, sometimes with him assisting my journalistic tasks and other times just taking in the scene, I captured bits and pieces on my phone camera. The resulting video is available here. The non-surprising summary is that the experiences that mattered most were the ones he felt most connected to: learning more about the aircraft he flies on the sim and engaging with people in the context of airplanes—particularly vets. 

It’s worth pointing out that these sims aren’t simple first-person shooters in the air. They’re replications where getting the start sequence wrong will flood the engine (or overheat it or who knows what) and your mission won’t even get off the ground. Once you do get off the ground, you must know the combat technique for each aircraft. I don’t mean Zeros turn better that P-38s, or even that a MiG-15 can’t chase you supersonic. I mean picking out in a flash that the enemy has an Me-109G rather than a D, so keep your energy state up because of the G’s higher horsepower and high-altitude performance. 

That depth means the information he wants can only come from geek-to-geek interaction with experts. (I use “geek” with the utmost respect here.) He also wants the connection with people who’ve had the experience he’s emulating at home. That’s why it’s pilots and vets. He has admiration and respect for both. Finally, he’s itching to put these new bits of information into practice. The most frustrating thing for him at the show was how few chances there were to fly something, even simulated or remote.

All this brings me around to the blog title: AirVenture 2026. I’ve come to believe bringing future aviators into our aviation universe is a doomed effort because it has so little connection to their aviation universe. It’s also not a matter of just providing a bunch of sims for kids brought through the gates primarily to see the airshow. 

The deepest pool of future real-world aviators is in the sprawling archipelago of combat gaming pilots, sim pilots, drone pilots and RC pilots, as well as the readers of aviation media who feel the draw but have no place to connect that feeling to their personal activities. If we want their attention and dollars in this industry, we need to give them a place front and center. We need to invite them in as fellow aviators, rather than relegated to a drone cage on the side or with no place to try combat techniques evolved after talking to a real-world P-51 pilot. 

I see two competing visions for AirVenture 2026. In one, at the crossroads of Knapp Ave and Celebration Way, the Pilot Proficiency Center still stands, but across the street is the Virtual Proficiency Center where the “kids” whose YouTube channels have millions of subscribers give their talks on Korean-War-era aerial combat and virtual pilots fly serious multiplayer all in one real room. On another corner, drone pilots give their talks and RC flyers get face time with real-world Predator pilots. Or whatever a Predator is called 10 years from now.

On the fourth corner is the “hangar,” where all these groups can cross paths, swap stories and hear informal talks by aviators of all origins. The lifeblood of any community is connection. If we want to connect with the greater community of aviators — and we want them spending time and money in our world of pilots physically on board aircraft that actually leave the ground — we need to meet them at least halfway. 

I have a competing vision for 2026. I won’t share that here, because it’s not a pretty picture. It’s not a place a 13-year-old enthusiast could spend a week and still not see it all. It’s not a place rich with potential stories for journalists like myself. It’s not a place I’d look forward to in 2027. 

But my son is game for AirVenture 2017, so it seems there’s still time.  

TKM Avionics || MX170C & MX300 || Direct Slide-In Replacement Nav/Comms You Can Install Yourself in Minutes

AirVenture is about airplanes, but it's also about people and in this video commentary, AVweb's Jeff Van West reveals that to attract young people to aviation, we need to show them what they're interested in.

Picture of the Week
Picture of the Week

Chris Haile of Marysville, CA flies off into the dawn, kicking off our latest installment of reader-submitted photos. Click through to see more images from AVweb readers.

Your Passengers Are Going to Love You for This || In-Flight Internet from $40 per Hour

Mike Busch, the Savvy Aviator and one of the U.S.'s best known aircraft technicians, has been fighting the FAA on what he terms an unnecessary and seriously flawed airworthiness directive regarding barrel-head separations on ECi cylinders for big-bore Continental engines. We've given you two options to learn more from Busch about this controversial move by the FAA. We edited a short-form podcast of the basics of the history and impact of the AD. We've also included an essentially unedited version of the interview where Busch gives the history and context of what he says is a terrible example of rulemaking.

A20 Aviation Headset || Now with Enhanced Features

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at AVweb.com.)

Take the Guesswork Out of Your Aviation-Related Purchases with 'Aviation Consumer' Magazine

Tri City Departure: Cessna 12345, squawk 4305

Cessna 12345: Tri City, um, we just noticed we are missing the knob for the last dial on the transponder.

Tri City Departure: What number is it on?

Cessna 12345: Zero

Tri City Departure: Standby, let me see if I can get you a code that ends in zero.