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The first civil version of the latest Lockheed Hercules transport, the LM-100J, closely modeled on the military C-130J, rolled off the assembly line in Marietta, Georgia Thursday morning. Lockheed Martin told reporters they expect customers will use aircraft for oversized cargo transport, aerial spraying and firefighting, austere field operations, and search and rescue applications.

Although demilitarized, Lockheed Martin says the LM-100J will retain much of the specialized equipment installed on its combat-oriented cousin for military applications including the heads-up displays, computer-aided release point software for precision airdrops, and ground-mapping radar. The key visual difference between the aircraft is the removal of the C-130J’s lower cockpit windows. Air crews will be pleased to know that the LM-100J comes with a microwave oven, but the C-130J’s flush toilet has been removed, and the coffee maker is now a customer option, according to Lockheed Martin’s internal magazine, Code One.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Stinn told Avweb that Lockheed Martin has 25 orders for the aircraft, among them 10 from ASL Aviation Group, who announced their intent to purchase the aircraft at the Farnborough Air Show in 2014 to replace their aging L-100 fleet. (Starting in 1964, Lockheed manufactured and sold 115 copies of the L-100, a civilian adaptation of the then-current C-130E, of which Lockheed Martin says 55 are still in service. The LM-100J is Lockheed’s first civilian, fixed-wing product since production ceased on the L-100 in 1992.) Hugh Flynn, CEO of ASL Aviation, announced at the time of the deal that “the LM-100J will be deployed in the most difficult and distressing circumstances, bringing humanitarian aid and relief to those suffering most around the world.” In a press release, Lockheed Martin said the aircraft completed Thursday would begin flight testing in spring 2017 to support Lockheed’s application for a type design update, permitting operation by non-military users.

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About 20 passengers aboard a United Airlines flight decided they really didn’t need to go to San Francisco after all on Saturday after their casually dressed captain delivered a bizarre rant over the PA system. The unidentified pilot boarded the aircraft in Austin wearing a ball cap and a t-shirt and opened by asking the passengers if they were OL with that. Her generous audience joined in what they initially perceived as some levity in the rule-bound world of commercial air travel. They soon came to appreciate those rules as the monologue descended into a profane rant about politics and her divorce. “I just left my @united flight 455 'cos the captain demonstrated that she was not mentally in a safe space,” passenger Randy Reiss tweeted after making his escape.

The pilot was jovial and addressing people individually during her impromptu announcement. She invited passengers to leave if they didn’t “feel safe” after assuring them that she would not have her hands on the controls during the flight. “Don’t worry. I’m going to let my copilot fly it. He’s a man,” she said to audible gasps recorded on cellphone video. She eventually walked to the back of the aircraft as flight attendants opened the door to let passengers off. Police were standing by as the pilot followed the passengers into the terminal and United issued a statement saying they were investigating. “We removed her from the flight,” an airline spokesman told local media. “We’re going to discuss this matter with her.” A new flight crew was found and the flight left about two hours late.

 

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When you add high winds to a STOL competition, the results can be pretty amazing. Every February the Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships at Omaka Aerodrome near Blenheim, New Zealand, attracts the country’s top precision pilots in an event similar to those popular in Alaska. This year, a howling wind blew down the grass runway and the pilots took full advantage of the gusty conditions until the competition had to be called for safety concerns, but not before turning in some astonishing results.

The overall winner was Deane Philip in his souped-up (130-HP) Zenith CH701 who took off in 8.3 meters (27.2 feet) and landed in 9.9 meters (32.5 feet). Another CH701 flown by Chris Anderson was second with an 8.1-meter takeoff and 11.7-meter landing. In the precision landing competition, Scott Madsen plopped his Cessna 180 down within 28 inches of the mark. The winning flight is below and the video was shot by  Nick Hobart.

 

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Sometimes it takes a village to fix an airplane and a remote Canadian town is sharing some of the credit for getting a Swiss International Airlines Boeing 777 back into revenue service. On Feb. 1 Swiss Flight LX 40 from Zurich to Los Angeles diverted to Iqaluit (formerly called Frobisher Bay), population 8,000, on Baffin Island, about 2,000 miles north of New York. One of its engines detected a fault and automatically shut down. The plane landed safely on the former U.S. Army Air Force base’s 8,600-foot runway and a plane was dispatched from New York to pick up the 233 passengers and crew. On that flight were maintenance technicians who inspected the airliner and determined the engine had to be changed.

A couple of days later, a chartered An-124 delivered a replacement engine but the 777 was too big for any of the hangars at Iqaluit, which is served by two airlines whose largest equipment is 737s. An insulated tent was pitched around the engine and heaters fired up inside against the -30 weather. With help from the airlines and a local maintenance shop, the Swiss mechanics swapped the engine and the aircraft was able to fly back to Zurich Feb. 8.

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The Czech Republic’s Martin Sonka won his first-ever Red Bull Air Race event Saturday in the 2017 season opener in Abu Dhabi. Sonka, who struggled to ninth place in the overall standings in 2016, blew away his competition on Saturday with a time of 53.139, beating second-place finisher Juan Velarde of Spain by 1.27 seconds. Canada’s Pete McLeod came third at 54.632 seconds. “I’ve finally won my first race, I feel good in my raceplane, and this of course gives me confidence for the future,” said Sonka. “This was a totally different start compared to last season, and hopefully it will continue this way.” 

Mike Goulian of the U.S. came sixth and fellow American Kirby Chambliss was 11th. The race series will take a two-month break before returning to San Diego Apr. 15-16 before heading to Japan and Europe over the summer. The season wraps up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oct. 14-15.

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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.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at www.aviationsafetymagazine.com.

Aviat Aircraft A-1B Husky

November 2, 2016, Geneva, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1100 Eastern time when it impacted a fence during a precautionary landing. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, about 10 minutes into an otherwise-normal the flight, the engine began to “run rough.” The pilot adjusted the power controls, but the engine started to backfire and continued to lose power. He made a spiraling descent from about 1000 feet agl and maneuvered the airplane to land on a paved area of a driving track. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a fence. The pilot stated the engine continued to operate throughout the landing and landing roll until the airplane struck the fence.

Van’s RV-10 Experimental

November 5, 2016, Dubois, Wyoming

At about 0756 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed during a post-impact fire following a loss of control shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A pilot-witness reported seeing the accident airplane’s right-side gull-wing door open immediately after liftoff. After the door opened, he saw the pilot reach for the fully open door with his right hand and heard a momentary reduction of engine power. The airplane descended momentarily before increasing in engine power and leveling off over the runway, with the pilot continuing to reach for the open cabin door at about 35 feet agl. The airplane’s left wing and nose dropped suddenly and it descended below his line of sight before he observed a large explosion.

Beech Model 76 Duchess

November 5, 2016, Davis, California

During the takeoff roll for a flight review, the instructor pulled the left engine mixture control to simulate an engine failure, but the pilot “froze” at the controls and the airplane veered left. The flight instructor attempted to fail the right engine via the right mixture control in order to regain directional control, but his hand came off the mixture control and the airplane exited the runway. During the runway excursion, the flight instructor “finally got [his] hand back on the right mixture and pulled it to idle cut-off.” Subsequently, the nose landing gear collapsed.

Stinson L-5 Sentinel

November 6, 2016, San Marcos, Texas

At about 1222 Central time, the airplane nosed over during a forced landing. The private pilot and passenger received minor injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot performed a go-around while attempting to landing, and the engine lost power during the initial climb. The pilot attempted to land on another runway, but the airplane rolled onto soft terrain between the runways. The left main gear collapsed and the airplane nosed over.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

November 6, 2016, Englewood, Colorado

While en route at about 2500 feet agl in dark night visual conditions, multiple birds struck both wings and the cowling. The airplane had a “harsh rolling tendency to the right and reduced engine power.” The pilot declared an emergency with ATC and landed without further incident at an airport about three nautical miles away. The right wing sustained substantial damage.

Cessna T210 Turbo Centurion

November 06, 2016, Twentynine Palms, California

At about 0900 Pacific time, the airplane departed the runway after its right main landing gear collapsed during a precautionary landing. The solo private pilot was not injured but the airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing and firewall. Visual conditions prevailed.

After takeoff, the pilot retracted the landing gear, but indicators failed to show the gear being stowed and the landing gear doors remained open. He extended the gear and operated the emergency gear extension handle, but did not receive an indication the gear was down and locked. During the landing roll, the right main landing gear collapsed. The airplane departed the runway and struck a ditch, collapsing the nose landing gear and damaging the right wing.

Cessna 177B Cardinal

November 8, 2016, Hopkinton, Rhode Island

The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1415 Eastern time. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

During cruise flight at about 1800 feet msl, the engine suddenly lost all power. The pilot attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful and executed a forced landing. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted two small trees before coming to rest, resulting in substantial damage. The pilot stated the purpose of the flight was to get fuel. Examination did not reveal any fuel in the compromised fuel tanks, nor was there any blighting of the grass or any other evidence of a fuel spill.

Beech Model 36 Bonanza

November 9, 2016, Ormond Beach, Florida

At about 1330 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions existed at the time of the accident.

According to law enforcement personnel, the pilot “thought a flight control cable had failed, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent into wooded terrain.” Weather about five miles southeast of the accident site included wind from 030 degrees at five knots, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3200 feet and an overcast at 7000 feet.

North American Navion

November 10, 2016, Blairstown, New Jersey

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0915 Eastern time following a loss of control during engine startup. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to a mechanic who witnessed the accident, the airplane was supposed to be ferried for an annual inspection after major repairs. The ferry pilot was not available, however, and the owner/pilot elected to fly the airplane himself. After fueling the airplane and completing a preflight inspection, the pilot/owner started the engine, which immediately went to full power. The engine remained at full power and the airplane taxied at high speed into a tree. Examination revealed the throttle, propeller and mixture controls were all in the full-forward position.

Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP

November 11, 2016, Bethel, Alaska

At about 1650 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the public aircraft operation.

The pilot later reported he was climbing out through about 800 feet agl when he heard and felt a momentary vibration and noted engine oil pressure read at zero psi. He made an immediate left turn back to the airport and declared an emergency with ATC. Shortly thereafter, the engine seized and the propeller stopped rotating. The pilot maneuvered to land in the tundra-covered terrain southwest of the airport. During the rollout, he felt multiple impacts, followed by the airplane skidding to the left. The nose and left main landing gear collapsed during the skid.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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AVweb Insider

After a month on simmer, what do AVweb readers think about the FAA’s new BasicMed Third-Class medical exemption rule? Our recently completed survey provides a glimpse and if I could characterize the overall mood, I’d call it disappointed resignation.

Why the disappointment? If there’s any common theme in the responses we received on the survey it’s that readers expected and wanted a driver’s license medical standard similar to the sport pilot rule. The fact that BasicMed falls short of this this drew a steady stream of ire. “Third-Class medical exemption using a driver’s license was very important. This BasicMed turkey is irrelevant," wrote reader David Dean in one of dozens of unvarnished, blunt comments we received.

To summarize, we published the survey on AVweb in early January and received 1966 responses, a fairly large number for this sort of thing. The vast majority of respondents had active Third-Class medicals and some 20 percent were flying on special issuances. An unknown number were flying under the sport rule on driver’s license certs. That pilots were interested in medical reform is shown in the graphic at left. More than 90 percent of respondents followed the Third-Class exemption closely or very closely.

Similarly, a large number of pilots told us that having this medical exemption is important to their personal flying. Forty-five percent called it very important and another 32 percent said it was somewhat important. But having read over the proposed rule—it doesn’t go into effect until May 1, 2017—pilots seem less thrilled with the results. “I see no difference between a Third Class and the BasicMed, other than four years and somewhat less FAA involvement, and ultimately more costs,” commented one reader. (Not all readers agreed to our request to use their names for this report.)

Related to this was our question about how readers think BasicMed will stimulate aviation activity. Here, the opinions may be a little more encouraging as shown in the graph summary at right. It suggests a majority think BasicMed will help and 15 percent think it will be very effective. But those who left comments on this question weren’t expecting much. “It won’t slow the decline any. This legislation is useless,” wrote James Koper. We would say his comment was in the majority. But at least some readers think BasicMed can’t help but stimulate some activity, by either keeping owners in airplanes they might have otherwise sold or by breaking loose some sales. “The used airplane market will explode upward,” commented another reader.

When readers were asked if BasicMed would make them consider keeping an airplane they might otherwise not, a third said yes and nearly a third said no. However, many of our readers and respondents to the survey already own airplanes so it’s biased toward owners. That may explain why only 17 percent of respondents said BasicMed would make them consider buying an airplane, new or used. More than half said BasicMed will have no bearing on that decision, but again, it may be because they’re already owners.

One thing we hadn’t figured on is that BasicMed may have an effect on owner decisions to equip with ADS-B. “It removes the financial risk from an avionics (WAAS GPS, ADS-B Out GPSS, navcomm et al.) upgrade, so instead of postponing, now I'm scheduling to begin soon,” one commenter told us. We also asked if any light sport owners would consider moving into a certified airplane now that medical certification worries are off the table. Surprisingly, there weren’t enough LSA owners in the sample to make any sense of the question. I think this suggests that light sport pilots have crossed the divide on medical worry and just don’t even think about it enough to answer a survey.

Clearly, the chief worry among pilots is finding a doctor who will sign the BasicMed checklist, a draft of which appears in AC 68-1. (We don’t know if it will change in the final form, but it’s not likely to, since the draft reflects the legislative direction from Congress.) I noticed a dichotomy in the responses. As the graph shows, not quite a third of respondents thought it will be easy to find a doc while more than a third thought it would be a little difficult. Fourteen percent said impossible.

But in the comment fields, the remarks were more strongly negative; not universally so, but the majority of commenters said liability concerns will keep doctors from participating in BasicMed. “I can't believe that the FAA wants everyone to believe that it took six months to make a copy of the 8500-8 form. I personally don't see much benefit in the whole dog-and-pony show program. If you presently have a valid state driver’s license, there is no reason that you cannot pilot a aircraft. The medical profession is not going to want intrusion by another government agency,” wrote one commenter.

“My doctor already said no, and all the other doctors at my medical plaza said the same. The reason is obvious: Liability. FAA knew this, that's why it passed so easily,” commented Michael Livote. To be fair, a number of readers said their doctors had already agreed to sign off on BasicMed and others said their docs would.

On a personal note, I saw my own doctor—non-AME—this week and brought along the AC 68-1 checklist. The news isn’t good. He said the medical group doesn’t sign such declarations when they are asked for driving permits and I doubt if they’re going to make an exception for aviation. He promised to hand it off to the group’s legal counsel. I’m sure mine won’t be the only such request.

AOPA and EAA say they’re both aware of this potential problem and are developing educational programs for non-AME doctors. For now, as the survey indicated, the entire success of the program remains unknown if doctors won’t participate. On the other hand, AMEs may step into the breach and scoop up some new business. Or at least reduce the erosion of pilots abandoning traditional medicals.

Last speaking of AOPA, readers recognize that the alphabets were instrumental in lobbying the BasicMed enabling legislation. But that’s not the same as saying they think the advocates did a good job. The survey was full of complaints like this one: “The compromise they reached was a huge failure. It is bad policy. AOPA was more concerned with getting a win than with getting it right,” wrote one reader. “AOPA was started by a doc. Do I need to say more?” added Melvin Freedman. Still, despite these negatives, less than 5 percent of readers said AOPA and/or EAA made no difference. “They helped get it passed, but could not prevent poison pill inclusion,” added reader Mark Foringer.

Additional Comments:

"I can't believe that the FAA wants everyone to believe that it took six months to make a copy of the 8500-8 form. I personally don't see much benefit in the whole dog-and-pony show program. If you presently have a valid state driver's license there is no reason that you cannot pilot an aircraft. The medical profession is not going to want intrusion by another government agency."

“Can't see where BasicMed did much except going from two to four years to get a medical. With most of the same requirements it looks like FAA got a little vindictive after we/congress went around them. I was expecting/hoping it would be fairly easy for your family doc to do the medical but the way it looks, I doubt if many non-AMEs will want to go to the trouble or take the risk.”—Dennis R.

“I think it will get increasingly difficult to find a doctor who will sign the checklist. As non-AME doctors become more aware of the liability concerns, fewer will be willing to sign. At the same time, fewer doctors will become AMEs due to the reduced demand for services. It will become more of an issue to find an AME within a reasonable travel distance.” —John McNerney

“I am excited that it will be implemented! May 1, 2017.” —Wylie M. Smith

“I feel let down. I see this as an attempt by the FAA to keep the regulations in their favor as opposed to what was laid out in the Pilot's Bill of Rights.”

“This new rule did nothing more than appease ALPA and the FAA. It will be more difficult to get a medical because the general physician will be reluctant to accept the liability. Additionally, there is no physical exam requirement to drive a car, which is what was originally sold to the flying public. The checklist of the BasicMed medical exam is quite detailed. It will be simpler and cheaper to go to an AME. Furthermore, even though the FAA says that the medical findings by your private physician will be confidential, all bets will be off if there is an accident or incident that requires an FAA or NTSB investigation.”

“It' about time this happened. Now we just need the training and test to be published and available to everyone ... quickly and not at the last minute.” —Frederick Williamson

“A reasonable solution to the problem. Took about 20 years too long.”

“Having a special issuance cert, I am relieved to have the BasicMed opportunity. I don't mind the weight/pax restrictions because I don't do that kind of flying. I will be getting with the AOPA medical experts because I have questions relating to my special issuance cert.”

“I will be recommending some of my students pursue the BasicMed program. The biggest frustration to me is the FL180 limitation. I'm not sure what makes FL180 a big deal when pilots can fly under IFR with the BasicMed program. I could understand FL280 to stay below airline traffic in RVSM airspace. For pilots with a turbocharged piston airplane, it can be a fairly significant limitation to be required to stay below FL180.” —David Richardson

“BasicMed is a good first step, but it should not be considered a complete solution. AOPA and EAA should continue to push for refinements to streamline the process and work towards a true driver’s-license medical for Third Class, as per the original goal.” Dean DeRosia

“No doctor is going to sign this ... AME is the only option. I know my doctor that I get a yearly physical--and I am in great condition--will not be allowed to sign by his group and he would not sign this if he was on his own. They will get strong recommendations by their insurers and their organizations to not sign. This is a waste of time and effort since this inability to get a signed form will kill the program. Also, why do you think this makes it more likely that people will buy aircraft ... no relationship. What you should have done is get the Third Class medical to be every four to five years after 40 with an AME.” Manthou Tsiouris

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Picture of the Week
Picture of the Week

A pretty airplane with a pretty backdrop makes for a pretty nice Picture of the Week. Air to air is always the result of teamwork and the chase plane team of pilot Tom Mitchell, photographer Jay Beckman and Bonanza pilot Tom Rippinger combined for a winner

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I was listening to Unicom at my local airport in Northwest Ohio when I heard the following exchange between two jets on the ramp.

Citation 1234: Taxiing to runway 18 for departure.

Lear 5678: You going to Columbus?

Citation: Yeah

Lear: Wanna Race?

Citation: That's not fair, you're in a Lear!


 

Ben Stevens 

 

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