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The FAA’s rebate program for ADS-B compliance, launched a month ago, had more than 2,000 takers in its first week. The numbers are growing and inevitably, a few questions have emerged from pilots about claiming the $500 rebate, which requires procedures to test fly the aircraft with the newly installed equipment. AOPA has been answering questions from members while clarifying the requirements and pointing aircraft owners to FAA guidelines. Among the resources is an Advisory Circular (PDF) explaining how to verify that the equipment works properly after installation. AOPA’s Rune Duke told AVweb in an interview that the organization has been talking to members about clarifications such as the proper airspaces for testing. The flights must be conducted for at least 30 minutes and include various normal maneuvers in “rule airspace,” where ADS-B will be required in 2020 – classes A, B, C, and E above 10,000 feet MSL and 2500 feet AGL, Duke said.

The rebates, which will cover up to 20,000 installations in the program’s 12-month time frame, allow a 90-day window for owners to register online for the rebate and complete their installation. Then, there’s a 60-day deadline after installation to conduct the test and verify it’s good in order to claim the rebate. AOPA, which worked with other GA organizations and the FAA to create a realistic schedule, expects the program will allow for ample time for owners to schedule installations and follow the correct steps, Duke said. In addressing questions about shops scheduling further in advance, he said it’s acceptable for owners to register for the rebate even if their installation dates are more than 90 days out and the FAA is working with owners to make the process, including the tests flights, as smooth as possible. “The main goal of this rebate program is to get aircraft rule-compliant for 2020,” he said. “So as part of that, we want all the aircraft to be fully compliant and make sure their installations are correct.”

Listen to AVweb's podcast interview with AOPA here.

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Rockwell Collins has significantly broadened its customer base with the $6.3 billion acquisition of B/E Aerospace. The iconic avionics and electronics maker is now in the cabin completion business but the two worlds are not that far apart. B/E is a Florida-based supplier of business jet cabin fittings from galleys to lavs. All those things need to be connected these days and that’s where the two seemingly disparate companies make an interesting fit. Most of B/E’s business is with airlines while much of Rockwell Collins’s sales are to the bizjet market.

“B/E is very strong in relationships with airlines,” Rockwell Chief Executive Officer Kelly Ortberg told Reuters. “We're stronger with aircraft makers as well as business aviation operators and the military. We’ll be able to sell our respective products into a much broader market base than either of us could do independently.” There’s little product overlap between the two companies and the rationalization is expected to make both more efficient. B/E Chairman Amin Khoury said the merger allows his company to tap the lucrative luxury business jet market because of Rockwell Collins’ heavy penetration there. “Having that information and time to market directly to the owners of the aircraft is a tremendous opportunity that we're looking to take advantage of,” he said. “It's not something we can do on our own.”

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Sheriff’s officials in New Mexico have a man in custody on suspicion of drunk driving after he allegedly drove his car into a helicopter and a firetruck parked at an accident scene. The helicopter landed on HW 566 near Gallup as part of the accident response. The crew shut it down and left the aircraft to help other first responders with the rescue. The road had been closed off with barricades but they didn’t stop at least one motorist.

The McKinley County Sheriff’s Office said about a half hour after the helicopter landed, a motorist drove through the barricades and hit both the helicopter and the firetruck. There were no injuries but the helicopter was knocked on its side and seriously damaged. Sheriffs have charged 26-year-old Glenn Livingston with DUI.

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A helicopter crash in northern Russia has killed 19 of 22 people aboard. The Mi-8 was carrying oil workers when it crashed 28 miles northeast of Staryi Urengoi in the Yamalo-Nenets region on Friday afternoon. Photos from the crash scene show the aircraft largely intact with no indication of a post-crash fire but 16 passengers and all three crew died. It appears the emergency response time might have been a factor as it took seven hours for rescuers to reach the scene and the occupants were trapped the whole time. Col. Dmitry Alexandrov, a local government official, told Russian media the helicopter “fell on its right side and the victims could not get out.”

The Mi-8 is one of the most ubiquitous helicopters in the world. More than 12,000 civilian and military versions have been built and are operating in more than 100 countries. They carry up to 32 passengers. There have been several high-casualty accidents involving the Mi-8 in recent years, the most recent in Igarka, Siberia, last November when 15 of 25 aboard were killed.

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The FAA says it has no objections to the controversial Yellville Turkey Drop but that seems to have inflamed controversy over the event even more. The long-standing tradition of dropping live turkeys from a Cessna 172 flying at 500 feet AGL has drawn the ire of animal rights activists in the past and this year the FAA sent an inspector to witness the event. The verdict was that dropping the turkeys didn’t violate any FARs, which allow the dropping of objects from aircraft as long as they can’t damage anything or anyone on the ground. In an interview with The Associated Press, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsdford said it has no jurisdiction over the welfare of the birds, two of which died in the drop. Furthermore, Lunsford told AVweb that the FAA isn't in a position to approve or disapprove the event, only monitor whether it complies with FARs.

A total of 11 turkeys were dropped in flights that occurred Oct. 7 and 8. On each day one of the birds dropped straight to their deaths. The others were able to glide to the ground, although at least two were caught by people on the ground and will end up on their Thanksgiving tables. The announcement of the continuation of the event prompted a viral backlash aimed at sponsors but defenders of the festival maintain that because wild turkeys can fly, helping them do so from the window of a 172 can’t be cruel. Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, a poultry science professor, told Arkansas Online that, like anything else, turkeys like to make up their own minds about when to go flying. “Placing turkeys in an environment that is new to them is stressful,” she said. “In the case of an airplane, the noise would also be a stress-producing fear reaction. Dropping one from 500 feet is a horrific act of abuse.”

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I was flying IFR from KHIO in Oregon to KMAN in Idaho and trying to avoid IMC. I saw that my ARTCC route showed a GPS altitude 2,000 feet lower than my current altitude, which would keep us below the IMC looming ahead.

Me: "Seattle Center, 28M, can I get lower?

Seattle Center: 28M, negative, I need to keep you here for terrain."

Me: Roger that, I am WAAS-enabled.

I threw that last line out just in case he wasn't aware that I could accept a lower altitude with my GPS.

Seattle Center: 28M, the equipment on your aircraft does not change the height of the mountains.


Dustin Woodhouse

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

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 4, 2016, Brookings, Oregon

The airplane impacted the Pacific Ocean at about 2300 Pacific time, shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and two passengers were presumed to have been fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed for the local flight.

The pilot’s family contacted authorities when he failed to arrive at his planned destination. An Alert Notification was issued, but it was cancelled on July 7 when airplane wreckage washed up on shore nearby. Radar data depicted the airplane turning left shortly after takeoff, then climbing westward to about 700 feet agl. The last recorded radar target was about a mile west of the departure airport and less than two miles from where the airplane wreckage was found.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 5, 2016, Wonder Lake, Illinois

At about 1530 Central time, the airplane collided with terrain, sustaining substantial damage. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the flight instructor, he was instructing the student pilot on touch-and-go landings. While on final for a landing to Runway 18, another airplane announced intentions to take off on Runway 27. The approach path was low, and the instructor prompted the student to add power. As the instructor coordinated with the other airplane to deconflict flight paths, he did not monitor the student’s approach. When the instructor returned his attention to the approach path, there was insufficient time for the instructor to intervene before the airplane landed short. The left main landing gear separated from the airplane, and the left wing was substantially damaged.

Champion 7EC
July 6, 2016, Placedo, Texas

The airplane was landed in a corn field at 1000 Central time following a loss of engine power. The airline transport pilot was not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the airplane had not been flown for some time while the wings were removed and reskinned, and an annual inspection was completed. The engine had been run on the ground, but the accident occurred on the first flight after the maintenance. The pilot stated 20 gallons of fuel were added to the airplane about 1 weeks prior to the accident. The airplane had been run on the ground about an hour since the fuel was added. The pilot reported he ran the engine for about 10 minutes prior to takeoff and it operated normally. He also checked the magneto and carburetor heat operation during the engine run-up. About 10 to 15 minutes into the flight, the engine sputtered. The pilot applied carburetor heat and checked the position of the fuel selector, and the magnetos. The engine operation smoothed out but a short time later, all engine power was lost.

Gulfstream American AA-5A Cheetah
July 7, 2016, Cheyenne, Wyoming

At about 1200 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight instructor reported the airplane encountered very windy conditions shortly after takeoff and he was unable to control it. The airplane was unable to climb out, and the flight instructor performed a forced landing to a road, during which the pilot had to maneuver the airplane to avoid a collision with a construction crew. The airplane’s right wing was substantially damaged when it impacted a construction sign.

Cessna 182 Skylane
July 7, 2016, Searcy, Arkansas

The pilot later described flying the approach to a 2000-foot-long private grass airstrip as “a little high and fast.” The pilot further reported the airplane touched down about midfield and he applied brakes, but the airplane overran the runway and impacted trees. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

Piper PA-32R-300 Lance
July 8, 2016, Houston, Texas

At about 1615 Central time, the airplane was destroyed during a post-impact fire following a loss of control shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Numerous witnesses observed an open forward baggage compartment door shortly before the airplane rotated for liftoff. The airplane continued with the takeoff and climbed on runway heading to 100-150 feet agl before turning a left crosswind at a bank angle estimated to be 30-45 degrees. The airplane was observed to briefly roll into a wings-level attitude on the downwind leg before entering an aerodynamic stall/spin to the left and descending nose-first into terrain. The witnesses did not report hearing any engine anomalies during the accident flight.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
July 8, 2016, Windermere, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged when it was ditched following a total loss of engine power. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The accident flight was the airplane’s third flight of the day. After the first one, the airplane was fully fueled. The second flight, according to the pilot, consumed approximately 15 gallons of fuel from the right wing tip tank. The pilot stated he switched to the left wing tip tank before departing on the accident flight. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot heard a “popping” sound from the engine. The pilot later stated the engine initially sustained a partial power loss, and he performed the “engine power loss in flight” checklist, but was unable to diagnose the problem. The engine lost complete power shortly thereafter and the pilot ditched into a nearby lake.

Cessna 140
July 8, 2016, Salinas, California

At about 1604 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its left main landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. The pilot/owner and his passenger were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated he made a normal three-point landing and the left wing dipped during the rollout. He applied opposite aileron, but the airplane continued to roll to the left, and then the cabin floor beneath his legs deformed upward. The left wing and propeller struck the runway surface, and the airplane came to a stop on the runway. Post-accident examination revealed the landing gear leg support structure formed by two transverse bulkheads had failed.

Cessna 310Q
July 11, 2016, Bartow, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1100 Eastern time during a forced landing. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the FAA, the airplane lost right engine power on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern to Runway 9L, then lost left engine power and subsequently impacted swampy terrain near the base leg. An FAA inspector noted the airplane came to rest in knee-deep water about a mile northwest of the airport and that neither propeller appeared to be feathered. The right engine’s propeller blades appeared to be bent aft while the left engine’s blades were straight.

Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III
July 16, 2016, Esperance, New York

At about 1845 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed by collision with terrain and a post-crash fire shortly after takeoff. The private pilot was seriously injured; the three passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witness observed the airplane’s nosewheel lift off and then settle back to the runway during the takeoff roll. The witnesses stated that the airplane then lifted off with approximately 500 feet of the 2000-foot-long paved runway remaining. The airplane overflew a hangar at the departure end of the runway “at a very low altitude” as it began a left turn. Radar data depicted a target correlated to the accident airplane in a left turn after takeoff. The target climbed to about 100 feet agl before the radar track ended about 1000 feet laterally from the departure runway.

The airplane came to rest on flat, swampy, wooded terrain and was consumed by a post-crash fire. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The flap handle indicated a flap position of 10 degrees. The landing gear was retracted.

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

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Just before I hurt my foot, I was at the dropzone sitting across the lunch table from a friend who was filling in his logbook, complete with little stickman icons showing the jumps we’d done for the day. I couldn’t resist. “Dude, seriously?” He looked startled, not realizing that my comment was really a defensive measure construed entirely to hide my own inadequacies in logging anything.

This has become such a phobia with me that I think it’s actually causing acid reflux. On Friday, I got one of those emails from the FAA Safety Team announcing a seminar on logging and how important it is. Geez, I really ought to be doing this, I thought, but geez, I’m really not going to. The root of my aversion to logging has less to do with the principle of the act itself than it does filling in forms. I loathe filling in forms with an intense, white-hot hatred I can only describe as pathological.

The reasons for this are several. I have sloppy handwriting that’s only getting worse and I just make a mess of the little blocks and lines most forms have. Forms tend to require bits of information that the purveyor of the form obviously has no need or right to know. Increasingly, this data is used to morph the form-filler-outer into an email target and likely sales prospect. And forms always require some item of information that I don’t have, can’t remember, never knew or will have to look up on another form that I can’t find, never had or is out of date, requiring filling out another form to refresh.

Look, I realize this is all quite irrational and the aviation world is more or less populated by people who just don’t have my bizarre little neurosis. And bully for them. I just happen to be a guy who knows and confronts his own character weaknesses. And also an aviation journalist who can rarely mine a logbook for those colorful stories that can be spun into entertaining columns. And what entries I do have tend to have the eloquence and detail of a ninth-grade dropout with a room-temperature IQ. One entry I found for the winter of 1993 has the word “ice” in the comment field. That’s it. I can’t be sure, but that might be the flight where I nearly soiled my shorts descending into an ice-laden stratus layer inbound to Poughkeepsie. It either failed to make an impression or terrified me to the point of wordlessness.

And why log anyway? Well, it is required, some of it, at least. FAR 61.51 spells it out and essentially says you have to log training used to meet requirements for a rating and for required recency of flight experience. Not wishing to be a scofflaw, thanks, I do all that. So I’ve dutifully logged the required flight time for ratings, the flight review and just in case I want to carry passengers in the Cub, I log three full stops every 90 days. And of course, instruction given. At one time, I logged in great detail but thinking back on it, I think I stopped that after I got an ATP, figuring I was done with ratings. (Plus the aforementioned form psychosis.)

If you accept that some kind of agreed-upon framework is necessary to license pilots, logging makes sense and I suspect it started with the Wright’s technical notes rather eloquently written with fountain pens in a sand-blown shed at Kill Devil Hills. But as regulation accreted upon regulation, logging has drifted into ludicrousness and become an exercise unto itself, not a minor addendum to the actual act of flying an airplane.

The example that set this off for me was an article in one of our sister publications that turned out to be a long, hand-wringing screed analyzing the legality of logging instrument approaches for 61.57 currency. The advice was you could log an approach if you were in actual IMC to the final approach fix, but not if you broke out before that. I suppose there are people who would obsess over what “break out” means exactly, but you can guess I’m not one of them. The framework of what constitutes legal IFR currency, revised in 2011, is itself an anachronism, requiring as it does practice in holds you’ll never get and intercepting navigation signals you don’t use much anymore. (OK, so it says electronic systems.) It’s understandable that whatever logic is buried in this rule—and that’s pitifully little—would cause some pilots to consider themselves out of currency for having sighted the ground 100 feet before FAF passage on their sixth approach. This is just another example of FAA staffers sitting around a table devising a rule to satisfy people who need rigid oversight and who aren’t comfortable with, shall we say, fluidity.

Obviously, currency isn’t the same as proficiency and legality isn’t necessarily in the same universe as either. Currency isn’t really between you and your logbook, it’s what’s between the headset earcups. Either you’re realistically confident in your competency to fly an airplane or you aren’t, irrespective of what’s in the logbook. I’ll admit to a gray area here, which I think any honest person would recognize. We’ve all launched on flights where there might have been nagging doubts that somehow evaporated after landing, proving that hey, you could actually do it after all. Congratulations: survived another one. Maybe we need to update IMSAFE to reflect 21st century concerns. Am I really up for this or is that just the Xanax talking?

I will admit to another quirk, too. I am fairly obsessive about the airplane logbooks. That logging matters and besides, I’m paying someone else to fill in the little blanks. What a marvel when it’s done with neat handwriting or one of those nifty printed stickers. Still, I’ve noted that spelling skills aren’t that common among IAs.

These days, for the good or the bad but probably the good, you can’t always even escape logging. Like bugs ensnared in spider webs, a matrix of unseen technology records our every move, whether we like it or not. In skydiving, we have fancy audible altimeters that work like an ear-mounted FDR, noting the date and altitude of jumps and even the average speed. Some tablet apps do flight logging automatically, which even I will admit is impressive. Increasingly, I’m hearing of pilots making video recordings of their flights, adding a visual dimension that mere scrawlings in a logbook can’t convey. That's kinda neat if you're willing to bother with it. For years now, GPS chips have been recovered from crashes to inform the investigation.

So, whatever you do, don’t be like me. Don’t just fly the airplane, stuff it back into the hangar and more or less forget about it until the next time. That’s a failure of imagination and your penmanship will erode to the point of uselessness.

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Garmin is taking a serious run at GoPro with its new VIRB Ultra 30. In this new AVweb video, Paul Bertorelli explains why the Ultra is an excellent choice for an aviation action camera.

AOPA has been answering questions from aircraft owners about the FAA's new ADS-B rebate program, which offers $500 to those who register online, install the equipment and follow verification procedures to claim the rebate. Rune Duke says AOPA has been clarifying some common issues coming from owners, including how to conduct the required flight test and what to do if there's a problem.

Picture of the Week
Picture of the Week

Rick Tallini's friend shot this lovely photo of Rick's Luscombe touching down at a tailwheel fly-in at Fort Parker. Nice landing and nice photo.

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