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A remarkable set of circumstances and some plain good luck led to only one person being injured in the fiery crash of a Cessna 182 that took off with five people on board and ended up in the living room of a house in Gilbert, Arizona, Saturday evening. The aircraft was a jump plane and the four skydivers aboard hit the silk when fire erupted on one of the wings, according to various reports. The pilot was also wearing a parachute and he bailed after his passengers were gone. He is reported to have been the only one injured and suffered burns. The empty airplane flew on for about a mile and crashed into a house and that’s where the luck came in.

There were two people in the house. They were in the front of the house and the plane hit the back of the house. The two occupants got out without a scratch as the house caught fire and was mostly destroyed by impact damage and the fire. The timing of the crash hours after bombings in New York City and New Jersey caused some concern but the incidents were clearly not related. The skydivers were taking part in a Constitution Week celebration at the Gilbert Civic Center.

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The grounding of the Air Force’s “operational” fleet of about 15 F-35s is being characterized as routine but as has become routine with glitches in the aircraft's development it’s also likely to be expensive. It appears faulty materials in the avionics cooling system will have to be replaced and while that sounds simple, the likely solution will almost certainly be pricey. The aircraft uses fuel to cool the avionics and the insulated lines that circulate that fuel are breaking down. The airframes must be substantially disassembled to get at the cooling lines. DefenseNews says the problem is isolated to 13 USAF F-35s and two owned by Norway. All the aircraft are in the U.S. The issue is that as the lines crumble they can block the transfer lines and that can cause some really serious issues beyond overheating avionics.

"This could result in excessive negative pressures in the fuel tanks during flying operations or excessive positive pressures during air or ground refueling,” said Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. “In either case, the under- or over-pressure could cause structural damage to the fuel tanks." The Air Force didn't say who made the fuel transfer lines and it doesn't seem like the unnamed company will be fired. "There has been no discussion about changing doing business with them," said Lockheed Martin spokesman Mike Rein. Apparently the company used materials for the fuel lines that were "not compatible" with the fuel. "The non-conforming material that was used is not compatible with fuel, causing degradation of the insulation and resulting in it falling off the tubing," Lockheed Martin said in its statement.

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The city of Santa Monica issued eviction notices to two FBOs on the field, just days after one of them, Atlantic Aviation, filed a federal complaint in its fight to remain at the airport. Atlantic, which operates FBOs across the country, charges that the city’s efforts to limit fuel sales and other aviation-related activities at KSMO runs against the airport’s long-term obligation to the FAA to keep the airport operating. American Flyers, which operates flight schools in multiple states, also received a 30-day notice from the city, which is trying to close the airport for development. Atlantic’s lawyers have asked the FAA in the complaint to take “corrective action” against the city for obstructing its operations, according to a report in the Santa Monica Lookout. “The City’s objectives are now crystal clear: fight the FAA for ‘local control’ of SMO in the courts and, in the interim, undertake any measure at its disposal to severely curtail or discourage air traffic at SMO,” the complaint says. 

The FAA has said in the ongoing legal disputes that federal funding obligations require KMSO to stay open until at least 2023. In a recent letter to the city reacting to the City Council's decision to shut down the airport by 2018, the agency said it would take legal action to prevent the restriction of airport operations. But the city has pressed on with plans to close the field in the next couple of years and redevelop the land as a park and business district, vacating airport business spaces and aircraft tiedowns while raising landing fees. As far as the city is concerned, Atlantic no longer fits the needs there. "Atlantic Aviation caters to people who can afford to travel by luxurious private jet," Nelson Hernandez, a senior advisor to the city, told the Lookout. Anti-airport activists have long argued that aircraft cause noise, pollution and safety problems for city residents. The Los Angeles Daily News noted in a pro-airport editorial this week that those complaints have been ongoing since the post-war era, when Douglas Aircraft was unable to expand there and moved to Long Beach after building military aircraft at KSMO during World War II. Meanwhile, business jets increased their activity there over the decades, fueling calls to close the airport.

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Beginning this week, AVweb is introducing a new feature for readers called General Aviation Accident Bulletin. These reports, which will appear twice monthly, comprise the latest preliminary reports on general aviation accidents taken from the NTSB's initial reporting. They offer enough detail to gain a general idea on what happened in the accident, but do not offer causal summaries.

These reports are compiled by our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine. Each month, the magazine also offers an accident analysis based on NTSB final findings. You can find out more about Aviation Safety here.

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Rimowa’s newly assembled replica of the historic Junkers F13 completed its maiden flight Thursday in Switzerland, more than 60 years after the original model last flew. The all-metal airplane, which hailed the age of commercial passenger transport in 1919, was designed by German engineer Hugo Junkers. Rimowa, known for its grooved metal luggage constructed from the same material, announced at EAA AirVenture 2015 its plans to build and certify the Junkers from the original blueprints. Rimowa President and CEO, longtime pilot Dieter Morszeck, was on board the new Junkers along with flight test engineer Oliver Bachmann as it took off from Dubendorf Airport.

Junkers’ grandson, Bernd Junkers, was among those who watched the first of what will be a series of test flights along with Hans-Walter Bender, who flew in an F13 in 1929 at age six.  “I have dreamed about seeing the F13 up in the air for a long time,” Bernd Junkers said in a video of the event. “It’s great, a fantastic day.” The flight took place after a two-year construction period at Dubendorf, which took place following several years of research to find the specifications and perform a 3-D scan of a museum original, as complete plans for the aircraft no longer exist. More than 330 of the airplanes were built and sold around the world by 1933, and only a handful of non-flying originals remain.

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AVweb's General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages or our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine and is published twice a month. All the reports listed here are preliminaries and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause in the NTSB's website at Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

Aeronca 7AC Champion
June 1, 2016, Toughkenamon, PA

At about 0900 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged upon impacting an aircraft hangar following a total loss of engine power during a go-around. The flight instructor (CFI) and a student pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The two had been practicing takeoffs and landings for about an hour when, on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the CFI directed the student to demonstrate a simulated engine failure. The airplane was about ¼ of the way down the runway when he initiated go-around. At this point, the engine sputtered and lost power. The CFI took over the flight controls and made a left turn at about 100 feet agl with the intent of flying over a hangar to a clear area beyond but realized they would not clear it. He placed the airplane in a 45-degree nose-up attitude so the engine penetrated the hangar’s metal door first.

Robinson Helicopter R44 Raven
June 2, 2016, Las Vegas, NV

The flight instructor reported that during a helicopter “discovery flight,” he was providing instruction to an airplane-rated private pilot. The flight instructor further reported that prior to takeoff, he told the pilot receiving instruction, “I am going to do the takeoff, and you can feel the controls.” As soon as the helicopter entered a hover after takeoff, the pilot receiving instruction “put in strong left input” with the cyclic and would not stop after repeated instruction to let go of the flight controls. Subsequently, the helicopter’s left main skid touched down and the helicopter rolled over and came to rest on its left side.

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage
June 2, 2016, Seattle, WA

At about 0230 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a gear-up landing. The private pilot and single passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was active.

While being vectored for an ILS approach, the pilot suffered a partial electrical failure, which disabled the landing gear position indicator lights and the warning horn. The pilot proceeded with the approach to get the airplane on the ground as soon as possible. The pilot subsequently made a gear-up landing, slid down the runway and came to a stop upright.

Later, when the airplane was being recovered in daylight, the pilot noticed one of the two tie buss main circuit breakers had tripped, which he had been unable to see in the darkness while making the approach. When he reset the breaker, the panel lights came back up, the gear warning horn came on, the landing gear cycled normally and the three green landing gear lights illuminated.

Capella FW2R Experimental
June 3, 2016, Alamo, TX

The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1030 Central time. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the flight’s purpose was to use most of the fuel in the airplane, as he was going to park it over the summer. In the past, the automotive gasoline had “gummed up” his system sitting in the heat over the summer. The pilot flew to an airport 17 miles away and was returning at 2500 feet agl when the engine lost power. During the forced landing to a small field, the airplane hit a tree, resulting in substantial damage to its wings and fuselage. The pilot stated he was confident that he just ran out of fuel, resulting in the loss of engine power.

Beechcraft Model F33A Bonanza
June 5, 2016, Caldwell, NJ

According to the pilot, he departed on a cross-country flight but did not visually check the fuel in the main tanks before departure. The flight was uneventful until the pilot made an instrument approach into his destination airport; he had to execute a missed approach. During the missed approach procedure, he entered visual conditions and circled to land. As he was turning crosswind, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot did not have time to switch the fuel selector and ended up striking trees and landing short of the runway threshold. About 20 oz. of fuel were drained from the right main tank; about 21 gallons of fuel were drained from the left one.

Cessna Model 172 Skyhawk
June 5, 2016, Henderson, AR

During a takeoff from a wet grass runway, the pilot believed the airplane would not clear trees at the end of the runway. He aborted the takeoff by pushing the nose of the airplane down and reducing power to idle. Subsequently, the airplane touched down hard in a nose-low attitude, which resulted in a nose gear collapse and propeller strike on the runway. The firewall and both wings sustained substantial damage. All four aboard the airplane were uninjured.

According to information the pilot provided the NTSB, the estimated airplane weight and balance should have been within limitations. The NTSB noted the airplane’s takeoff performance charts did not provide information for departing from wet grass surfaces.

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer
June 5, 2016, Lone Pine, CA

While landing on a back-country dirt airstrip, the left wing lifted due to a gust of wind. The pilot further reported that he established a faster-than-normal ground roll by maintaining some power to taxi up the incline of the airstrip. As the end of the runway approached, the pilot was unable to stop the airplane, which overran the runway and hit a dirt berm, collapsing the nosegear and causing substantial damage to the fuselage.

Duo Deuce Experimental
June 6, 2016, Stafford, VA

At 1759 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a collision with terrain after takeoff. The commercial pilot/owner/builder was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Video revealed a shallow takeoff and initial climb. The climb stopped at what appeared to be treetop height, the wings rocked and the airplane continued to pitch up as it descended until ground contact. Both propellers appeared to be turning at the same speed during the takeoff roll and the entire flight until ground contact.

The two-seat, twin-engine, low-wing airplane was constructed from a Van’s RV-8 single-engine airplane kit. Instead of the nose-mounted, single-engine configuration for which the kit was designed, the airplane was equipped with two wing-mounted engines. Both wings and the tail section were substantially damaged in the accident.

Kitfox IV Experimental
June 7, 2016, De Smet, SD

The aircraft impacted a lake at 1000 Central time, following loss of control while maneuvering at low altitude. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries; the single passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the passenger, the flight’s purposes was to assist in a search for a boat that sank in the lake. The pilot and passenger spotted the boat and then flew a right-turn “racetrack” pattern at about 150 feet agl. While maneuvering, the airplane was banked about 45 to 60 degrees at an airspeed of about 50 miles per hour. During a turn, the airplane “snapped over” and the pilot stated the airplane stalled. The airplane spun about 1.5 to two rotations, impacted the lake, and sank. The passenger stated the engine operated normally until impact with the water.

According to local authorities, the passenger was rescued by persons assisting in the boat recovery. Efforts to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.

This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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The pre-private, 16-year-old, 12-hour total time solo glider student called the TFR-fire base temporary tower staff.

Glider Student: "Santa Ynez Tower, Glider 28 Tango,  45 entry to right traffic, Runway 26, Santa Ynez."

This was followed by a deep baritone, "Santa Ynez, Skycrane 2C, inbound three miles from the southeast.”

Tower: "Glider 28 Tango , please hold for the inbound helicopter traffic."  

Huh? Even though we love the fire suppressors, this defies all logic. Rotary at distance gets right-of-way? What will my student do?

Glider Student: "Santa Ynez Tower, 28 Tango, I'll do the best that I can."  

 He made normal traffic landing an easy two minutes before the inbound  helo,  doing nothing out of the norm. Judgment and savvy, no promises he can't keep. He passed his check ride three days later.

 Cindy Brickner



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You have to hand it to the FAA. This is a government agency that’s gifted in its ability to tweak the rules in a way that makes we, the regulated, twist, dance, squirm and shimmy in the most creative ways. The latest example came last week when the FAA revised its standards for teaching that most mundane of tasks: slow flight.

As the story reveals, the agency now wants students to demonstrate slow flight by reducing airspeed to a point 5 to 10 knots above stall speed or just above the stall-warning threshold; in other words, the horn or light, if there is one. In days of yore, private pilots had to demonstrate, as described in the FAA’s own dry-as-dust Airplane Flying Handbook, slow flight to a point 3 to 5 knots above stall indications. Usually, that meant the horn was blaring away, but the horn was screeching about an impending stall, not an actual stall. Real stall indications are the onset of buffet or loss of control effectiveness or a full-on stall. (There’s no mistaking that.)

The agency is amending the new AFH to reflect this and new Airman Certification Standards issued in June already has been amended. So what’s wrong with this change? Plenty. First of all, it will sow confusion among the instructional community, which is accustomed to training students to fly slow with the horn sounding and to maintain sufficient focus to do that successfully.

Well, that’s easy enough to sort out. But the larger issue, in my view, is that we’re likely to be training new pilots in a way that makes them numb to flying an airplane in all speed regimes. Stalls and spins are still a leading cause of GA fatalities and although such maneuvering accidents are trending downward, they still happen with depressing frequency. Why is this? Blame the airplanes if you want, but the overarching reason is still the pilot. Training may be at fault, but pilots continue to lack the ability to understand, identify and either avoid or correct a stall condition.  

Does dumbing it down to now avoid even nibbling at the minimum controllable airspeed make it worse? You tell me. My view is that slow flight of itself has a value because a well-flown short-field landing will require these skills and if you want the best performance, you’ll learn that such approaches can often be flown slower than the POH recommendation. You don’t develop that skill by refusing to explore the slow-speed regime. Pretend it’s not there and it won’t be when you need it.

There’s a balance here. I’m sure every instructor I know has students—sometimes quite a few—who are terrified of slow flight and hate stalls. I get that. So we jolly them along, forcing them to swallow enough of the cod liver oil to wobble through the checkride. Then they go out into the world and because they’re terrified of stalls, they fixate on airspeed to the point that they fly approaches 15 knots too fast and lose control on the runway. Or they’re so anesthetized to what a stall feels like that they occupy the bottom of a smoking crater without realizing what happened. But if we force this skill upon reluctant students, do we drive them away?

For a reality check, I passed this notion by Rich Stowell, a many-times master instructor with an expertise in stall and spin training. He told me he had pointed out to the FAA that a stall awareness study done in 1975 revealed that “the most effective additional training was slow flight with realistic distractions … and that extra stall and slow flight training was effective in preventing unintentional spins.” The distraction? No, not Captain Ross lighting matches under the student’s nose, but the damn stall horn.  

If this new doctrine sticks, it puts an instructor in a conundrum, because now, to avoid instructional malpractice, they have to teach it both ways. The Law of Primacy suggests teaching the FAA way first, so the student can parrot the company line on the ride. The Law of Survival argues to teach the student in intimate detail about minimum controllable airspeed, with turns, descents and climbs, with the horn blaring away. They’ll thus be better equipped to navigate the real world of general aviation flying.

And no, AoA indicators won’t fix this. But they could play a helpful role.

The foregoing is opinion and commentary based on disclosed facts. AVweb welcomes other points of view, including guest blogs.


Diamond Aircraft has been working on sophisticated fly-by-wire systems for light aircraft for several years and much of that work goes on at the University of Stuttgart. AVweb recently visited and shot this video on the research being done.

DC One-X from David Clark

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