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Volume 25, Number 17b
April 25, 2018
 
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Advocates Say Last-Minute Bill Change Threatens ATC
 
Mary Grady
 
 

After GA advocates had breathed a sigh of relief, believing that the ATC privatization battle was won for this year, House Transportation Committee chairman Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa, introduced a last-minute amendment to the FAA funding bill on Tuesday that raised alarm. Section 5 of the amendment calls for moving the FAA Air Traffic Organization, the entity inside the FAA tasked with managing air traffic control, to instead report to the Department of Transportation, AOPA reported. The amendment also would appoint a 13-member board to “advise” the DOT on how to run the system. That board, which would not be subject to any public input, resembles the same airline-influenced board Shuster had in the bill he withdrew in February, AOPA says. “This potentially creates a real safety issue for all of aviation and the general public,” said Jim Coon, AOPA’s senior vice president of government affairs. “There is no entity other than the FAA with the expertise, knowledge and experience to run the largest, most complex air traffic system in the world." The House is expected to vote on the bill as soon as Wednesday.

EAA Chairman Jack Pelton also responded quickly to the amendment, calling on EAA members Tuesday afternoon to contact their congressional representatives immediately, to oppose the plan. “This is a devious, backroom maneuver after public and congressional opinion showed to be solidly against ATC privatization and caused the withdrawal of the original bill,” said Pelton. “This is reckless, punitive policymaking that circumvents any public input. We believe that was exactly the intent of this amendment at this time.” The provision would “set the stage for airline domination of the ATC system,” EAA said. Aviation advocacy groups sent a letter on Tuesday to House leadership and members, urging them to drop Section 5 of Shuster’s amendment to H.R. 4. The groups urged their members to contact their representatives immediately. Click here for the full text of the proposed amendment, with the “FAA Organizational Reform” section starting on Page 30.

Cargo Pilots Oppose Single-Pilot Proposal
 
Mary Grady
 
 

The FAA funding bill now under consideration in Congress includes allocations for research into single-piloted commercial aircraft, and several pilot advocacy groups are lobbying hard against it, citing safety and security concerns. “The desire by some in the industry to pursue single-piloted or autonomously piloted cargo aircraft seriously places the American public and the flight crews of these aircraft in a tenuous position,” says a joint statement issued by the cargo pilots of the Air Line Pilots Association, the Independent Pilots Association and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division. “By endorsing language that promotes single-operator commercial cargo aircraft, Congress will undermine years of safety and security measures currently in place and put lives at risk,” the pilot groups said.

The bill specifies that the research and development program would be conducted by the FAA, in consultation with NASA and other relevant agencies. The program would study the technology needed for a single pilot to fly a cargo aircraft, assisted by remote piloting and computers. “With the increasing frequency and severity of reports regarding computer hacking, accidents in current military and civilian drone operations, and mounting reports of autonomous vehicle accidents, we think any serious consideration of this technology is premature at best,” the pilot groups said.

Flight Design Gets New Dynon Suite
 
Larry Anglisano
 
 

Introduced at Sun 'n Fun 2018, Dynon's three-screen HDX avionics suite makes the 2018 Flight Design CTLSi perhaps the most equipped LSA to data. In this video, Larry Anglisano took a close look at the big-screen avionics suite in the CTLSi during a visit to Flight Design USA's headquarters in Connecticut in advance of the show.

EAA AirVenture Set For July 23-29
 
Mary Grady
 
 

With Sun ’n Fun and Aero now done for this year, it’s time for aviators to start planning for EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, the summer’s biggest aviation event. The FAA Notam is now available for pilots planning to fly in to Wittman Regional Airport. The EAA website also features links to weather and fuel services, plus details about ground operations and special instructions for seaplanes, ultralights and international arrivals. This year, EAA will celebrate the military tanker fleet, exhibiting Air Force Reserve refueling aircraft, including the KC-46, KC-10, KC-135 and HC-130P/N. EAA also said it will impose new rules about access to the grounds July 19 to 22, when vendors and exhibitors are busy setting up.

“To improve safety, security, and mobility in these final hectic days,” EAA said, it has mapped out a new Restricted Area on the grounds. Access within that area will be limited to credentialed vehicles, vendors and exhibitors. Personal golf carts, scooters, bicycles and other such vehicles are also prohibited. More details about the access restrictions are posted at EAA’s website. It’s not too late to register to compete for EAA’s Innovation Prize, which is seeking a solution to loss of control in flight, the leading cause of fatal accidents in general aviation. Individuals and teams can enter through June 1. Five finalists will be chosen to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of expert judges during the show.

 

 



General Aviation Accident Bulletin
 
 

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 website 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.

January 17, 2018, Reno, Nev.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six

At about 1520 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After a normal preflight inspection and run-up, the pilot leaned the fuel/air mixture to about 50 degrees F rich of peak EGT to accommodate a departure from a high field elevation. The takeoff and initial climb were normal; however, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power at an altitude of approximately 300 feet agl. The pilot started a turn to the right but quickly determined the airplane would not be able to land on the remaining runway. The airplane’s stall warning horn annunciated during the descent, and the pilot responded by decreasing the airplane’s pitch attitude. During touchdown, the airplane impacted gravel, slid and came to rest between two taxiways.

January 19, 2018, Houston, Texas

Swearingen SA227-TT Merlin IIIC

The airplane was in cruise flight at about 1600 Central time and maneuvering around thunderstorm activity when it experienced an electrical malfunction. The crew executed a forced landing. The two pilots and two passengers were not injured, but the airplane sustained substantial damage to both engines during landing. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

While maneuvering around thunderstorm activity, the airplane lost electrical power. The pilots attempted to troubleshoot the problem but could not regain electrical power. The pilots declared an emergency and diverted. The pilots manually extended the landing gear but could not verify down and locked conditions. During the forced landing, the nose landing gear was retracted, and the airplane skidded on the forward fuselage after touchdown. Due to the nose gear being retracted during landing, both propeller assemblies and engines sustained substantial damage.

January 21, 2018, Martinsburg, W.V.

Cessna 172RG Cutlass RG

At 1804 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage while landing. The flight instructor and the private pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight instructor stated they had completed about six short- and soft-field takeoffs and landings without incident. On the seventh landing, after the private pilot extended the landing gear, the gear down-and-locked light did not illuminate. A visual check revealed that the nose gear was extended, but the main gear was trailing and not fully extended. They used the emergency gear handle to try and pump the main gear down, but there was no pressure in the system. The flight instructor then landed the airplane with the nose wheel still extended and was able to keep the airplane straight for about 600 feet. However, its left wing dropped, resulting in substantial damage to the wing and elevator. After exiting the airplane, hydraulic fluid was observed pooling under the airplane and along the side of the empennage.

January 22, 2018, Bonita Springs, Fla.

Van’s Aircraft RV-12 Experimental

The airplane was destroyed at about 1214 Eastern time when it collided with terrain. The solo sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was receiving flight-following services from ATC. While on a southeasterly heading at 2500 feet msl, the pilot was advised of traffic in his vicinity. The pilot acknowledged. Shortly afterward, he stated, “Mayday, mayday.” No additional calls were received from the pilot, and radar and radio contact were lost. The airplane crashed in a forested area about 18 nm from its departure airport. The wreckage path was about 750 long. All components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was confirmed.

January 23, 2018, Sauk Centre, Minn.

Whitman Tailwind Experimental

At about 1530 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged after impacting terrain. The solo pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

After the airplane was declared overdue, it was located at about 0820 on January 24, 2018. Examination revealed the airplane impacted the ground in an approximately 45-degree nose-down attitude; the cockpit and front cabin were mostly destroyed by impact forces. One propeller blade was visible and was relatively undamaged. The second propeller blade was found shattered underneath the engine. The right elevator was found disconnected to the elevator control system and moved freely. The left elevator was locked in the full-down position and was not able to be moved. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to all control surfaces, except the connection to the right elevator control horn. The control horn was found fractured adjacent to a weld joint. The right elevator also showed damage at the upper and lower hinge points.

January 25, 2018, Marathon, Fla.

Piper PA-32R-300 Lance

The airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a post-crash fire at about 1425 Eastern time when it collided with terrain following a loss of directional control during takeoff. The private pilot and three passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Airport surveillance video revealed the airplane rolled about 800 feet before the nose wheel lifted from Runway 07. At liftoff, the nose pitched up steeply and the airplane rolled left and entered trees. Several seconds later, a fireball appeared above the trees about the point where the airplane entered them. The pilot subsequently reported the airplane “was performing well and didn’t have any issues.” He said the airplane reached approximately 60 KIAS on the takeoff roll when the nose wheel lifted from the runway and the airplane began an immediate left turn. He attempted to arrest the turn with rudder and aileron, but the turn continued until the airplane entered the trees. Observed weather included winds from 050 degrees at 18 knots.

January 26, 2018, Longmont, Colo.

Beech A36/Robinson R44

At about 1140 Mountain time, a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter and a Beech A36 airplane collided while on approach. The pilot in the helicopter sustained minor injuries; the pilot of the airplane was not injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged; the airplane also sustained damage. Visual conditions prevailed. According to preliminary information, the aircraft collided near the approach end of the airport’s active runway.

January 27, 2018, Williamsport, Ind.

Cessna 172F Skyhawk

The airplane collided with trees and terrain at 0121 Eastern time while maneuvering. The commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions existed.

The pilot was receiving flight following services from ATC. Radar data indicates the airplane took off and flew northwest, climbing to around 4500 feet msl. It continued northwest, then turned to a west-southwesterly heading. It remained on that heading until it began a slow descent. Soon, it made a slight turn to the left, then back to the right, then back to the left again until track data was lost at about 0121. The last recorded altitude was 1475 feet msl. The airplane’s average groundspeed was about 60-65 knots during the first half of the flight. It then dropped to 40-50 knots throughout the remainder of the flight.

January 29, 2018, Concord, Calif.

Cessna 152

At about 0945 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight originated about 0937.

All major components were contained within the main wreckage; The debris trail was about 200 feet long, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The 0953 recorded weather observation about five miles west of the accident site showed calm winds, visibility of five miles in mist, clear skies, temperature of 11 degrees C and a dew point of nine degrees C.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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JP Instruments 'Primary JPI EDM 930'
Electric-Powered Pylon Racing Planned
 
Mary Grady
 
 

The first pylon race to feature all-electric aircraft is in the works for 2020, the organizers recently announced. Air Race E, an event-planning team based in Dubai, has “secured all the key components to make this vision a reality,” said CEO Jeff Zaltman. He said the pilots and venues are ready to go and aircraft are in development. “We are now just looking for the best powerplant and electrical systems for the job,” he said. The races will feature multiple airplanes on a closed circuit around pylons, close to the ground, and will be faster than any land-based sport, according to the Air Race E website.

Each airplane, driven by a propeller and powered only by an electric motor, is light and sleek and built solely for racing, according to the website. Air Race E says it has a dedicated test center where the race planes are being engineered, qualified test pilots and certified race pilots are ready to fly, and they are working with the official formula air-racing associations that sanction new races. Zaltman said he hopes the races will "drive the development and promotion of cleaner and faster electric aircraft." Another race already is in the works for electric aircraft — a challenge to fly from Great Britain to Australia in an electric-powered airplane, set for next year.

Uber Hosts Second Elevate Conference
 
Mary Grady
 
 

Uber plans to host a second Elevate conference, May 8-9, in Los Angeles, bringing together more than 700 leaders from around the world to discuss the future of aeronautical technology for urban transit. Last year’s summit roster included leaders from industry, government and academia, including Embraer, Bell Helicopter, Pipistrel, Aurora Flight Sciences, Mooney, NASA, Airbus A3 and more. Many of the participants are taking part in developing the Uber Elevate vision, working to develop technologies that will enable VTOL electric-powered air taxis to provide practical transport in densely populated city centers.

Themes for this year will include the impact of eVTOL operations on cities, technological progress in aviation and battery systems, and how to manage airspace and operations if the industry grows as advocates anticipate. Like last year, the talks will be streamed live online, at Uber’s website. The agenda, which will continue to be udpdated until the summit, is posted online. The website also promises “world reveals and special announcements about the future of aviation.”

Starr - 'Click to read about Basic Med'
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Guest Blog: Europe Leads In Simplifying Regulation
 
Jason Baker
 

The Aero Expo in Friedrichshafen promotes itself as the pulse-meter of the European GA market and that often doesn't come across in a factually balanced news release. By American standards, Aero is not a huge show, but it’s a busy one and a target-rich environment for new stuff.

Yes, there was a clear dominance of electronics, electric propulsion systems and upgraded technology. I suppose it’s fair to say knowledge of all the gewgaws is required in order to remain eye to eye with a fellow aviator. That's all fine and dandy, but there’s a lot more going on here in Europe than is apparent from just wandering the stands.

The big surprise was attending the news conference EASA put on and paying close attention to just how significantly this agency has changed itself over the last five to six years. I left the conference with a somewhat spooked feeling, because so much collaboration and exchange and such open words from an aviation regulatory body feel almost unreal. In fact, after listening for the first 15 minutes of the two-hour conference, I started secretly looking around for some sort of hidden camera. Clearly, at any moment, we would be coughing and trying to wipe the dust off our shirts when the show would end and yet another 1900-page rule book would crash to the table.

Instead, I learned that a whole team at EASA spent a lot of time condensing the previous 1900-page rulebook down to a lot less, focusing on significance and intended purpose. The question they asked was: "How many pages of rules and regulations does one have to read or thumb through to arrive at something relevant that is easy to understand and doesn't require an attorney’s interpretation to comply with?" 

With some of us munching away on the catered items and refreshments provided, I wondered if we would have a chance in the U.S. to see similar sentiments from our own FAA. EASA tells me it’s working hand in hand with the FAA on relaxing the system from its at-times incredibly constipated bureaucracy. Yet no one at EASA said a negative word about the FAA being behind the airplane on the "Roadmap For General Aviation."

EASA's presence and effort appeared personable and authentic and it was definitely clear that the agency is listening to manufacturers, associations, pilot groups and proposals from outside and within the European aviation universe. While one has to wonder just how much of this behavior will rub off on our friends in Washington, let the following perceptions sink in:

EASA has recognized that it has lacked the insight into the field to sensibly regulate general aviation while at the same time effectively evaluating and mitigating risk and promoting a safety culture among all players. Recognizing fault is the first step to getting better, right? This monumental task requires stakeholders and regulators alike to sit around the table and discuss things and to actually listen actively.

One catalyst here is the unmanned aircraft industry, the rapid implementation of which has shaken regulators on both sides of the Atlantic. Integrating a rapidly growing drone industry is a challenge, together with the constantly expanding possibilities of electronics, VTOL technology, octa-copters, airspace restrictions, environmental concerns and a generally easily entertained but hard-to-reach and rapidly aging audience. All of it requires collaboration and open minds.

EASA has gotten the memo that raising the regulatory finger and throwing the dusty old rulebook at its industry isn't a path to success. Once the market has been regulated or taxed to death, their jobs become obsolete, too.

I’m not saying that all wishes are fulfilled or that none of our wants are pink or floating around on fluffy clouds over here. Far from it. Instead, I would encourage conversations about how the FAA can be convinced that things must be simplified and pronto.

To be fair, the FAA is moving in the right direction, as evidenced by its cooperative attitude toward installation of non-certified avionics in certified airplanes. That’s a start. But even though the U.S. remains the world aviation mecca, it’s the Europeans who are showing us how a regulatory agency can transform itself and actually be a catalyst to market growth instead of a hindrance. Who would have ever thought this would happen?  

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