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Volume 25, Number 20c
May 18, 2018
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FAA Allows ASTM Standards for Part 23 Compliance
Kate O'Connor

The FAA has announced its acceptance of 30 published ASTM International consensus standards for certification of normal category Part 23 airplanes. The new Means of Compliance (MOC) are, according to the FAA, “an acceptable means, but not the only means, of showing compliance to the applicable regulations in Part 23 [and] provide at least the same level of safety as the corresponding requirements.”

Of the 63 newly available MOCs based on those 30 standards, 46 of them were allowed as published. The other 17 were accepted with changes from the FAA. The accepted standards were established by ASTM Committee F44 on General Aviation Aircraft and developed with input from industry regulators such as the FAA and EASA along with aircraft manufacturers and aviation consumers. ASTM standards have previously been used as means of compliance for certification of LSAs.

Aviation organizations such as AOPA have voiced their support for the additional standards. “These pivotal changes will bring new and safer technologies into the cockpit and reduce costs for pilots and operators,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. The new rule is open for comments until July 10, 2018.

New Study Forecasts Rotorcraft Pilot And Mechanic Shortage
Kate O'Connor

A new study from Helicopter Association International (HAI) and the University of North Dakota (UND) is projecting a significant shortage of rotorcraft pilots and mechanics between now and 2036. According to the UND-HAI Rotorcraft Pilot and Mechanic Supply Forecast, “more helicopter pilots are projected to retire or leave than are incoming over the next 12 years,” leading to a shortage of more than 7,600 pilots during that time period.

On the helicopter mechanic side of the equation, the numbers get much worse. The study projects a shortage of 40,613 certificated aviation mechanics in the U.S. between 2018 and 2036. A full 67 percent of the operators surveyed for the forecast said they’re already having more difficulty hiring mechanics, with over 60 percent reporting that they’re having to hire mechanics with less experience. The study notes similar trends internationally.

The UND-HAI study’s findings mirror numbers shown in similar industry forecasts such as Boeing’s 2017 Pilot and Technician Outlook. Projections like these have caught the attention of Congress and bills aimed at supporting aviation maintenance workforce development have been introduced in both the House and the Senate over the last several months.

Personal Flight Simulators: one-G Simulation
Rick Durden

In this installation of AVweb’s series on flight simulators we’re going to take a look at a company that uses an innovative program to bring access to sophisticated—and expensive—flight simulators to users who otherwise could not afford them. Started in 2010 by Xylon Saltzman, a flight instructor and charter pilot who was unhappy with the level of access to high-fidelity simulators in general aviation, one-G Simulation ( makes a series of Advanced Aviation Training Devices (AATD). These are simulators that can be used for experience that can be credited toward ratings and recency of experience for instrument pilots. In keeping with the American spirit of innovation, Saltzman built the first one in his garage.

Eight years later one-G’s FAA-approved AATD series of four simulators emulate the four Cessna singles, the Beech Bonanza and Baron, the Socata TBM 700 and the Pilatus PC-12. A Robinson R44 sim, making extensive use of virtual reality technology, has recently been put on the market, although it is not approved as an Aviation Training Device. Focusing on Saltzman’s philosophy of integrating flight simulation into flight training from day one, one-G opened sister company Modern Pilot, a flight school in the Puget Sound area that makes extensive use of one-G simulators in a focused training program. It also established its Youth Access program to expand aviation career paths for youth interested in flight.

In the course of our flight simulator series, we’ve focused on simulators suitable for home use. Accordingly, we’re going to focus on one-G’s Foundation simulator here because, while it is designed for flight schools, we consider it suitable for home use.

Foundation Simulator

The Foundation, the first simulator created by one-G, is designed to replicate the Cessna 172, 172RG, 182 and 182RG. It offers wireless connectivity to ForeFlight, WingX Pro and FlyQ apps and one-G’s 1G-650 GPS emulator (Garmin GTN 650) is standard equipment. Priced at $30,000, the Foundation is not a desktop simulator but a one-piece unit including seat, instrument panel and 27-inch retractable LED monitor mounted on a castor-equipped platform that will fit through a standard doorway. It comes assembled and installation involves wheeling it into place and plugging it in to a power outlet and Ethernet connection. Options include three to five screens for a field of view up to 220 degrees—something we feel is of significant value for initial flight training. 80 percent of a human’s perception of motion comes from the eyes, which, we were told, makes a wide “out of the window” (OTW) view more important for initial training than the ability of a simulator to replicate motion.

The Foundation is aircraft model specific, which Saltzman told us he considers important for positive transfer of learning from the simulator to the airplane.

As an AATD, there is a sophisticated level of ability to simulate weather conditions, including cloud bases, wind layers, payload and center of gravity, ice buildup and wind shear.

Instructor Present

Also, as an AATD, the Foundation includes an instructor operating system (IOS), so that a flight instructor can work directly with the pilot/student to create flight scenarios and inflight emergencies, fail systems and record and review the flight path and options available to the pilot during an operating session. Further, the FARs require that for the time spent in an operating session be credited toward a rating or for recency of experience of an instrument rating, an instructor must be present and sign off the pilot’s logbook.

From the point of view of an instrument pilot who needs to do the required tasks to stay current, we have previously editorialized about the oddness of the fact that an instrument pilot may meet those requirements by flying under the hood with just a safety pilot who is not instrument rated but that if the same pilot uses an FAA-approved simulator to do the same tasks, he or she has to do so with an instructor present to supervise and make a logbook entry. In talking with Saltzman about the Foundation, we learned that one-G has received approval for the instructor to supervise a training session remotely—he or she doesn’t have to be sitting in the same room as the simulator. It is a part of the one-G Portal program that also provides automatic logging of instructor and student hours and tracking of training programs. There is an installed equipment requirement; however, we think that having approval for instructor supervision from a separate location—in real time—is of tremendous value to individuals and flight schools looking at maximizing the use and value of a simulator.

Access Program

Frankly, at a price point of $30,000, we initially did not think the Foundation simulator was a consideration for a home-use simulator or one that an individual might acquire—and therefore not appropriate as a subject for our series on simulators. What changed our mind was one-G’s Access program. It can be compared to “power by the hour” programs for turbine-powered aircraft operators. The user doesn’t buy the simulator; he or she gets one on site and pays an hourly fee for using it.

Saltzman told us that individuals who wanted a flight simulator with the capability and sophistication of the Foundation have teamed with nearby flight schools to acquire one through the Access program. The pilot gets access to a simulator and the flight school gets to have one for its flight training program—without the capital cost of a major purchase. While there are minimum use requirements, we think the option offered by one-G’s Access program opens up high-level flight simulation to individuals and flight schools who would not have it.


As a closing note, we’re interested in the use of virtual reality in flight simulation. It’s already being used in medical training. One-G is applying it in its Torrence 44 (Robinson R44) simulator and we think it holds a great deal of promise in cutting down the cost while increasing the capabilities of home flight simulators. We think one-G’s early foray into virtual reality flight simulation is in keeping with its creative approach to bringing high-end sims to more users through its Access program.

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

Vietnam Exhibit To Open At Museum Of Flight
Mary Grady

A new exhibit about the air war in Southeast Asia, "Vietnam Divided,” will open at Seattle’s Museum of Flight on Memorial Day weekend. The exhibit will be a permanent addition to the main gallery, with displays that focus on the years 1955 to 1975. “The exhibit is not meant to be a comprehensive history of the war,” the museum said in a news release. Instead, it will offer “new perspectives to the gallery's Vietnam War aircraft, and highlight the tactics and technology behind their use in combat.” The exhibit centers on four aircraft: a stealthy Lockheed YO-3A, a Bell UH-1 "Huey" helicopter and two jet fighters—the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. Also included in the exhibit are the Vought F-8 Crusader fighter and Lockheed M/D-21 Blackbird spyplane.

The exhibit also includes aircraft found in other galleries—a Grumman A-6 Intruder, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and MiG-17. New text will add context for aircraft throughout the museum that are not commonly considered as players in the Vietnam War, such as the DC-3 that hangs in the Great Gallery. The military version, the C-47, was used for transport and as a gunship. The Super Constellation airliner, located outside the main entrance, was used in early warning communications. In November, the exhibit will extend to an entirely new outdoor space, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, opening west of the museum's Aviation Pavilion. The centerpiece of the park will be the largest plane flown in the war, a Boeing B-52 bomber.

SpaceX Launches Upgraded Falcon 9
Kate O'Connor

SpaceX successfully completed the first flight of its upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, carrying the Bangladesh telecommunications satellite Bangabandhu-1 into orbit last Friday. According to SpaceX, the Block 5 is “the final substantial upgrade” to the Falcon 9 rocket, which the company hopes to use to transport people into space in the not-too-distant future. SpaceX has also said it is actively working with NASA to achieve that goal.

Improvements to the two-stage Block 5 rocket include an increase in thrust, greater reusability, avionics and landing leg upgrades, and a redesign of the pressure vessel implicated in the 2016 Falcon 9 pre-launch explosion. SpaceX says the rocket is designed to be used for 10 or more launches with little or no refurbishment in between, and should, according to CEO Elon Musk, have a lifespan of up to 100 launches. For the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 mission, the rocket returned as planned and landed on a droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday’s flight took off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Bangabandhu-1, which is Bangladesh’s first geostationary communications satellite, was deployed approximately 33 minutes after launch. The satellite was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and is expected to stay in orbit for at least 15 years.

Tom Wolfe Bookended
Paul Bertorelli

I got an odd email from a reader and then Tom Wolfe died. There’s no cause and effect, but the two have a connection.

All of us in aviation will remember Tom Wolfe for his iconic book about test pilots and the early space program, The Right Stuff. Except it really wasn’t about either of those, but about the normal human fear of both. Right in his forward for the book, Wolfe said as much. He was curious to understand how men could put themselves atop a potentially explosive rocket and urge someone to light the fuse.

Wolfe was uniquely positioned in both time and predilection to write such a thing. It was the mid-1970s and having come from a newspaper background, Wolfe understood the value of eyes-on reporting and was an early practitioner of what we knew then as “new journalism.” Heavily laced with interpretation and with vivid descriptions cast in long strings of colorful adjectives, it combined the novelist’s art with the nonfiction writer’s eye for essential detail. In a single chapter, Wolfe used more exclamation points than I have in an entire career of writing. He is single-handedly responsible for placing the phrase “pushing the outside of the envelope” into the common vernacular.

He also made Chuck Yeager both a household name and a rich man. In 1979, Esquire published an excerpt from the book that was essentially a Yeager profile. As an aviation-obsessed kid, I knew about Yeager, because I had read Across the High Frontier, but the profile—and the book—refreshed my knowledge and textured the myth with significant human detail.

This reinforced a belief that the public already had, that being that pilots in general, and especially test pilots, were steely eyed single-combat warriors who never knew fear and, if they did, would certainly never talk about it. And thus, we have the calm voice on the radio and an inescapable need bordering on psychosis for the working press to write a headline such as “Hero Pilot Lands Disabled Plane.” Tom Wolfe didn’t invent this; he merely popularized it for a new audience at a time when people still read books instead of browsing a website for 10-second diversions from people who write blogs. (This a two-minute blog; try to endure.)

And now to the email, which came following the weekend’s interview with the crew of Southwest 1380, after a fractured fan blade tanked an engine and caused debris to pierce the cabin. “If I understood him correctly,” the reader said, “the FO said ‘it was very disorienting and he couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on.’ Can you believe he said that on national TV? What do you think the airline will have to say about that? If I were the airline, I certainly would not want the public to know we had a pilot who reacted that way in an emergency.”

I found this reaction to FO Darren Ellisor’s honest assessment of the accident to be curious. In a sense, Ellisor had violated the very code Wolfe spent an entire book explaining, that being if you had fear or doubt, never admit it. Never reveal that you weren’t entirely in control at all times and knew exactly what to do next.

Personally, I found his candor refreshing because it chips away at the myth Wolfe erected in The Right Stuff, that pilots are somehow superhumans incapable of being confused or, admit it, scared. I realize that people who are afraid of flying—and given the safety record these days, no one should be—wish to soothe themselves with the belief that the pilots upfront are cool customers capable of handling any and all that’s thrown at them. I think the same, but I don’t care if they’re scared and admit it, as long as they feather the correct engine, so to speak. When confronted with an explosive decompression, disorientation is to be expected. But it doesn’t last. You get over it and do what needs to be done.

Yeah, I know, I’m a contrarian on this. But I’ve always felt that a sophisticated aviation reader—such as those who populate AVweb’s audience—can appreciate the mythical heroism Wolfe created The Right Stuff simply for its masterful entertainment value without actually buying into it. Pilots are better served by understanding reality as it exists, not as it’s described in a beloved best-seller. I know the public needs heroes and even in aviation, we like to put the people in the pointy end on pedestals. Fair enough, but not all of us have to pander to that. I’m just doing my bit not to.  

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FAA Issues New Doors-Off Flight Rules
Kate O'Connor

The FAA is once again allowing doors-off operations on commercial flights carrying passengers as long as passenger restraint systems comply with its newly published rules. The administration issued an order prohibiting doors-off flights last March after a helicopter conducting a sightseeing flight crashed into New York City’s East River, killing all five passengers onboard. First responders said they struggled to release the passengers from the harnesses, which, according to the FAA, “may have prevented the passengers’ quick egress from the aircraft after the accident.”

Under the new rules, any supplemental passenger restraint systems (SPRS) must have quick-release capabilities. Passengers also have to be properly secured using FAA-authorized restraints at all times. In addition, operators now need an FAA Letter of Authorization (LOA) to use an SPRS. Requesting a LOA includes filling out an online form and submitting a YouTube video demonstrating the restraint’s release method. Qualifying systems “must not require the use of a knife to cut the restraint, the use of any other additional tool, or the assistance of any other person … [and] must not require passenger training beyond what would be provided in a preflight briefing.”

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Picture of the Week, May 17, 2018
A Skywagon ride on Mother's Day weaving through the Washington Cascades on the way to Friday Harbor for a fun-filled day. Photo by Brian Brantner.

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