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Volume 25, Number 32a
August 6, 2018
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Maduro Survives Drone Assassination Attempt
Paul Bertorelli

Venezuelan authorities said late Sunday that they thwarted an attempted assassination of President Nicolas Maduro by two explosive-laden drones. The authorities said they had detained six people in connection with the attack in which assailants flew two drones, each packed with about 2.2 pounds of C-4 explosive. The military said it defeated one of the drones electronically and the second crashed into an apartment building two blocks away from where Maduro was speaking to hundreds of troops. 

CNN and other outlets broadcast footage of a startled Maduro looking up and of his wife, standing nearby, noticeably flinching as the explosives detonated. Dozens of soldiers standing in formation were seen to scatter shortly after the explosions occurred. Security guards quickly moved in with ballistic blankets to protect Maduro. According to reports, one of the drones was supposed to detonate above Maduro, the other in front of him.

CNN reported that seven military personnel were hurt, but Maduro apparently emerged unscathed. Venezuela's Minister of Communication, Jorge Rodriguez, said an initial investigation showed that the explosions came from several “drone-type flying devices,” but NBC news reported they were thought to be off-the-shelf commercial drones.

Propping? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Paul Berge

It’s amazing how quickly a sunny day can turn to biblical mush with the flick of a wrist. Extreme weather events tease this watery planet’s skin as it heats up a few degrees, and we ants just walk faster in search of shade or higher ground. Firestorms, tornadoes, the New York Mets—all proof that our puny endeavors are at the mercy of stronger forces, such as student pilots.

I’ve been instructing for more than 25 years and have mostly enjoyed it. Being paid to ride around in old airplanes of dubious pedigree while chiding, “right rudder, right rudder,” is a scam I thought would’ve been exposed long ago, but still the phone rings. And, yes, I have a telephone that rings, literally off-the-wall, given the crappy job I did mounting it.  Duct tape does not solve all problems.

Lately, I’ve been getting more calls from student pilots looking for a new CFI, not because their old one was too ancient to climb into the Skyhawk, but because the airline mother ship has been luring instructors from airport ramps with rapturous promises of flight everlasting and nifty shoulder epaulettes. If I were a bunch of years younger I’d heed the air carrier siren song and leave the right seat of wheezy Cherokees for the friend-filled skies. Actually, in the time it took to finish the previous sentence and begin this one, I’ve changed my mind. I’d make a terrible airline pilot. I’ll stick with instructing it old school.

Where else could I find myself in the right seat of a Piper Arrow, completing a flight review with an experienced private pilot/owner in the left who’d shown flawless command of his airplane only to have his brain implode on short final? I’d been downright bored after the fifth lap around the traffic pattern, so I did what I often do when bored. I sang. Mostly show tunes, some Motown, that—for whatever reason—distract the student from the business at hand, namely flying the airplane.

The pilot had the approach nailed, gliding nicely on short final into a 2200-foot grass strip. Gear and flaps down, he retarded power and gently rolled aileron into the crosswind while simultaneously adding the perfect measure of opposite rudder to slip to what would’ve been a better-than-textbook touchdown, when I hit upon a particularly catchy bit from Hamilton.1 And with the flick of his wrist, the pilot, who was about to ace his BFR, seriously missed his shot

Distractions are a real part of flight, so examiners and instructors are expected to evaluate the candidate’s ability to handle the weasel that slips up the pant leg in stressful moments. Apparently, my singing was a distraction, but the pilot—being a Midwesterner—was too polite to tell me to shut the heck up. With seconds to go, he scanned the panel in a final gear-down-and-locked check—green—but reacted with an almost imperceptible jerk when he caught what he thought was an error—it wasn’t—and corrected it. Now it was. He raised the gear, over-riding the perceptible jerk in the right seat.

Blah…..! The gear horn sounded, interrupting my aria, and I asked, “Whatevuh could that awful racket be, suh?” My Blanche DuBois accent being yet another distraction. The Arrow continued its descent, as the pilot desperately reviewed the panel for divine intervention, until I called, “Go around.” And, catching his brain malfunction in disbelief, he added power, and around we went.

“Can’t believe I did that!” he repeated six times before being told that four was enough, and he should “Fuggetaboutit and fly the airplane.” Self-flagellation could wait. The flight review took on new dimensions, but the chances of him landing gear-up are now gone … since he traded the Arrow for a Cirrus. If things break bad in that plastic bubble: Pop the chute, problem solved.

Hey, mistakes happen.

But never to me. My specialty is teaching tailwheel, wherein the instructor does not have to gin up ways to distract a student who’s used to nosewheels keeping the longitudinal axis pointed down the centerline and wingtips off the runway. All those left-turning forces memorized when training in a tricycle-gear airplane really come home to bite when transitioning to an airplane with the third wheel in the back where it belongs. Yes, we’re snobs about this, like drivers who insist a stick-shift is better than an automatic.

On the day the sun blinked for me I’d endorsed a student for tailwheel life and offered a free turn in my 1946 Aeronca 7AC Champ. It’s a modest airplane from a simpler time when men wore fedoras, women nylons and everyone smoked Luckies. The Champ has no electrical system so no starter on its 65-hHP Continental “Powerful as the Nation” engine. Starting is a snap—literally.

As instructors routinely did 70 years ago, I told the pilot to give three shots of prime, and, then after commanding, “Throttle closed, brakes on,” I did as I’ve done thousands of times in the 36 years I’ve owned this airplane, I flicked my smoldering Lucky Strike into the weeds, removed my fedora and pulled the propeller though six blades. Always six, no more, no fewer. Then, from my hand-propping starter’s position safely behind the propeller on the cowling’s right side with feet straddling the gear leg, left hand holding the door frame, I called, “Switch on left (magneto with the impulse coupler)1, throttle cracked, brakes on, stick back,” and the pilot repeated all with the clarity and devotion of … someone about to chop off my hand. 

Never trust a propeller. The only time they’re safe is when off the airplane … and, even then, you’re likely to trip over the damn thing inside a dark hangar. I’ve preached this for years and handled propellers as one might a sleepy rattlesnake; yeah, it’s safe now, but that could change. I knew from the countless previous attempts, that my engine would now start with one easy flick of the ….

Son of a …!

It’d been a sunny day. The Hello Dolly overture played in my head, so it took a microsecond for my distracted brain to recognize the pain from the thin metal propeller blade as it swung not down and away, as it had always done for three-and-a-half decades I’d known and propped it but, instead, kicked back with the viciousness of an adorable puppy instantly transformed into an unneutered Rottweiler who resents having its feed bowl removed before he’s done.

I was stunned. I was in pain but mostly stunned. I counted my fingers—all there, albeit tingling as I stared at the now inert puppy of a propeller blade attached to this benign 65-horse engine … that can kill. The student, who learned new aviation terms that day, stared before asking, “Are you OK?” I, of course, wasn’t. I was chastened and humbled—rare emotions in a CFI. No blood, no mangled digits, simply the stinging tingle of a lesson slammed into my ego. “Fine,” I answered, and asked that the mag switch be returned to OFF, while I walked in head-down circles, awaiting the pain to wash my sins away.

What happened? It’s likely the pilot-at-the-controls had set the magneto switch to either RIGHT—where there’s no impulse coupler, so it fires roughly 30 degrees before TDC3—or to BOTH. With the switch now OFF any evidence was anecdotal, but it didn’t matter. As the CFI, the snake-handler who fears no propeller blades, I was the reaper of any pilot error in this situation.

This should be the “You see, Timmy,” moment in the story, where I light my pipe—in lieu of Luckies—and explain how safety is always first. Except it’s not. Flight, by its nature, is inherently dangerous. Safety is a goal, not a given. Parachutes, shoulder harnesses and insurance mitigate the errors. I’m still flying 70-year-old airplanes and will spin props by hand until they’re pried from my cold, detached fingers. Admittedly, I may be an experienced instructor, but I’m a slow learner. So, to younger, smarter instructors everywhere, I say, enjoy your flights across the sunlit uplands before the airlines take you home … but watch out for the wrist flick reminders that we’re all human and, therefore, capable of instant and creative stupidity.

1Failed Broadway play about George Hamilton

2 Retards spark for easier starting, while taking us back to the 20th century

3 Top Dead Center


Appareo's New Stratus 3 ADS-B
Larry Anglisano

The popular Stratus portable ADS-B receiver—now the Stratus 3—has turned the page and finally has an architecture that works with more apps, has a smart battery feature and new price point. Larry Anglisano caught up with Appareo Systems' Kris Garberg at AirVenture 2018 for an overview of the device.


Evolution Flight Display System Angle of Attack Indicator (AOA) || Aspen Avionics - Technology That Matters
Rescuers Unable To Reach Crash Survivors
Russ Niles

Military rescue aircraft were orbiting the site of a plane crash on a remote Alaska mountain ridge Sunday, unable to reach the downed sightseeing aircraft and its five occupants because of bad weather. The pilot of a de Havilland Beaver operated by K2 Aviation reported the crash Saturday about 6 p.m. on his satellite phone and the ELT also triggered. Before the phone signal was lost, the pilot reported there were injuries among those aboard but the call failed before he could report the details. An Air National Guard HC-130 responded and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter and rescue crew are on standby but the site is solidly socked in.

The Beaver left Talkeetna just after 5 p.m. for the sightseeing flight and went down on the “knife edge” of Thunder Mountain, a mile-long ridge in Denali National Park at almost 11,000 feet. "The plane is reportedly equipped with an emergency survival kit including sleeping bags, a stove and pot to boil water, food supplies, first aid kit and other items," National Park Service spokeswoman Katherine Belcher told local media.

Five Dead in California 414 Crash
Paul Bertorelli

Five people were killed Sunday afternoon after a Cessna 414 arriving into Santa Ana, California's Orange County Airport crashed into the parking lot of a nearby mall. Although a car in the lot was damaged, authorities said Sunday evening there appeared to be no injuries on the ground and no fire was reported.

According to FlightAware, the aircraft departed from Buchanan Field north of San Francisco at 10:23 a.m. Sunday and crashed into the parking lot of a Staples Supercenter at about 12:30 p.m. According to the FAA, the pilot of the aircraft, which is registered to a San Francisco real estate corporation, declared an emergency shortly before the crash. A dashcam video obtained by an NBC affiliate shows the aircraft descending in what appears to be a vertical dive. All of the wreckage appeared to be contained within the parking lot. AVweb will have more information when it becomes available.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Air Force Tries VR Training
Russ Niles

The Air Force is hoping to ease its pilot shortage by speeding up the training of new pilots using virtual reality simulators. The first class of 20 Pilot Training Next (PTN) candidates, 15 officers and five enlisted personnel, finished their course on Friday and 13 of the officers passed. Two officers washed out and were sent back to the regular pilot training stream from which all the officers were drawn. The enlisted personnel made it through but were returned to their old jobs. The course is an experimental one aimed at gauging the impact of V.R. training on the pace and scope of basic flight training. Those running the program were encouraged by the successes and will learn from the failures. "The failures are just as valuable as the successes,"  Maj. Scott Van De Water, Pilot Training Next deputy director, told "There are a lot of ways that we're finding that the things that we're doing here are inadequate to the ends, and the legacy system is exceptional at doing.”

The V.R. simulators offered a more realistic experience for the participants and they were given unlimited access to them, allowing them to practice whenever they wanted to. The result was that they learned faster and mastered complex flight profiles earlier. The participants were loaded with sensors that recorded biometric data so the researchers could measure the physiological effects of training. The enlisted candidates were never going to actually be pilots. They were put in the group to see how important a college background is. The enlisted participants apparently did just fine. “They were flying very complicated profiles during their first check ride," Van De Water added, "and in just a fraction of the time on average the traditional check ride provides." A second PTN course starts soon and will be adjusted based on the lessons learned in the first one.

Delta Awards Aviation Maintenance Training Grants
Kate O'Connor

The Delta Air Lines Foundation has awarded $350,000 in grant money to nine aviation maintenance training programs across the U.S., joining a growing list of major aviation companies that have recently taken steps to address predicted shortages of qualified pilots, crew and aviation maintenance personnel. According to Delta, the grant money will help with curriculum development, provide support for projects and materials and help the programs to increase students’ skills in areas including avionics and composite structures.

"Delta and The Delta Air Lines Foundation are committed to investing in the future of aviation professionals in the local communities where we live, work and serve," said Senior Vice President of The Delta Air Lines Foundation Tad Hutcheson. "Knowledge of avionics, electrical systems and composite construction is critical in the aviation industry, and this grant will help better prepare students for their future careers."

Five $50,000 grants went to colleges in Georgia, where Delta has its headquarters. Four grants of $25,000 each were given to schools in Pennsylvania, New York, California and Washington. In addition to the grants, Delta and The Delta Air Lines Foundation—a nonprofit corporation “formed to enhance Delta's charitable giving”—maintain partnerships with several colleges and more than 47 maintenance training programs around the country.

Tech Company Sees Autonomous GA Aircraft
Russ Niles

Forget that shiny new octocopter, a Bay-area startup wants to make your Cessna 172 autonomous. XWing says it has created "plug and play" software that can make most light aircraft fly autonomously. Details on how it works have not been released but the technology will revolve around "sensing, reasoning and control," according to aviation tech website TransportUP. It will also work on helicopters and multicopters but its designer sees its main benefit as making GA accessible to the masses. According to XWing founder Marc Piette the key is getting rid of pilots. “Getting a license and maintaining proficiency even on a single [-engine] aircraft type is time consuming and challenging,” he said in a post on his website. “Removing the need for a pilot will have a significant impact in opening up the aviation market.”

Piette says that by eliminating pilots more people will be attracted to aircraft ownership and that will increase demand for small planes. The higher volumes will reduce production costs and make GA aircraft more affordable, Piette theorizes. “We see a bright future where people and places are ever more connected, where small aircraft can finally take their rightful place in the transportation landscape, and where autonomous flight will have a profound impact on society as we know it,” he wrote. Apparently some investors are seeing that bright future as TransportUP is reporting XWing has attracted $4 million in initial investment, including some from Microsoft.

20 Dead In Swiss JU-52 Crash (Updated)
Russ Niles

Twenty people died Saturday when one of the seven remaining airworthy Ju-52 airliners crashed while on a sightseeing trip in the Swiss Alps. The aircraft is reported to be HB-HOT, the same aircraft that visited AirVenture in 2012. There were 17 passengers and three crew onboard when the aircraft went down on a flight from Locarno to Dubendorf. The aircraft is one of three Ju-52s owned by JU-Air, a Swiss company that uses them on sightseeing and charters. The crash occurred near Martinsloch/Piz Segnaz at the 8330-foot level.

Flights through the Alps on the old corrugated metal airliners are popular and almost always fly full, according to local reports. This is the first major accident involving JU-AIR. Authorities have ruled out an in-flight collision and said the aircraft hit the ground in a near-vertical attitude. The captain of the aircaft was a 62-year-old airline pilot with 30 years of experience and he'd been flying the Junkers since 2004.

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Top Letters And Comments, August 3, 2018

At AirVenture

I accidentally came across the Aerovonics booth in the EAA Innovation Center and was blown away by their AV-20-S AoA multi-function instrument which will imminently be STC-AML'ed for certified aircraft. Most notable is that it uses ONLY existing pitot and static pressures to determine AoA via a Sperry algorithm developed in the 60's. I think I'll have one. Jeff Bethel was a great guy to talk to.

Larry Stencel

One of my main impressions of the show was that I saw an impressive number of young girls in the crowd, mostly in the 11-14 age group. To a casual observer, most appeared to be genuinely interested in the show and were not immersed in their cell phones as their parents dragged them from booth to booth. I don't know if this is a good sign or not, but we can always hope. I think we all agree that the female gender is severely underrepresented in the aviation world.

John McNamee

Not counting Rockford starting in 1967, I have attended Oshkosh 30+ times...this year as an exhibitor...a first. Business was brisk. I was amazed at the number of pilots who own multiple airplanes. The company I represent is painting One Week Wonder. This allowed me to be on the inside of this beehive of activity. The technical knowledge, organization of tools and parts, and the execution of assembly from 3,000 people is nothing short of extraordinary. What really impressed me was the courtesy, professionalism, camaraderie, and devotion the core group of EAA volunteers and Van's employees displayed. They were friendly, entertaining, providing all with a very educational program resulting in a water cooled, glass panel with auto-pilot equipped airplane in a week. A genuine nice bunch of folks. Very encouraging and inspiring. From an exhibitors vantage point, I would suggest that the EAA separate the non-aviation businesses from the aviation related companies. In the hangar/pavilion that contained only aviation related companies, their floor traffic was considerably more that in other hangar/pavilions that had a mixture. I wish the EAA would display non-aviation businesses selling metal roofs, essential oils, retirement plans/investment portfolios, and a plethora of mechanical massage machines, massage, furniture, etc in a separate building. Then, if I wanted a massage, i would know where to go. Another observation as both an RC pilot and Bonanza owner/pilot is the full size airplanes are trying to replicate the RC models. At one time, the RC airplanes were trying to mimic full size airplanes. Full size airplanes are trying to imitate RC 3D routines with aerobatics showcasing violent tumbling, gyroscopic twisting, high alpha low speed passes, and hovering with their 400HP engines bolted to 1100lb air-frames. In both cases, its a routine of violent maneuvers looking like aerial mayhem. These acts began to all look alike with a hyped up announcer trying to convince us their respective pilot's maneuver was unique. It is truly phenomenal that an RC pilot outside the airplane or the pilot inside these aerial carbon fiber bullets can keep orientation within this 420 degree per second maneuvering mayhem. However, bring back Delmar Benjamin in his GeeBee demonstrating smooth precision flying. I am glad Matt Younkin cannot lomchevok his Beech 18. I am happy the Aeroshell T-6's did not do a high alpha, low speed formation pass or hover their airplanes in dipping their tails in a pool of water. But as said before, there is something for everyone at Oshkosh. As usual, well done EAA!

Jim Holdeman

Diesel Dance

(Almost) nobody that's paying for their airplane out of their own pocket, rather than using it for business, is going to fork over the five-digit price premium for a diesel engine conversion. Even in the homebuilt market it's an uneconomic proposition. Last I checked that DeltaHawk would run me about $70k for my RV-7... I could build the entire airplane for that, and have money left over. I'd love to have a diesel. But I'm not paying 2-3 times as much, or more, for the privilege of having one.

Robert Gatlin-Martin

Perhaps the focus for the US at least should be on improving our spark ignition gasoline engines and getting the lead out of the fuel. A quick look at the automotive industry shows that modern electronics and technology can garner gobs of horse power out of small engines that do not have much sensitivity to the quality of fuel being burnt. Granted air cooled engines will never reach the efficiency levels of water cooled designs, but any improvement in fuel flexibility and power output will be a big plus. Removing the lead will increase engine life. I am old enough to remember the maintenance problems of automotive engines and exhaust systems during the days of leaded automotive fuel. During the move away from leaded fuel, there were all sorts of predictions of doom and gloom about burnt valves, lost power, poor performance, starting troubles etc. etc. The reality is that today automotive engines are extremely reliable, tolerant of varying fuel quality and very efficient. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient but due to the higher stresses, tend to be heavy. A 3000 + pound, 9 liter, 425 HP engine in a Keworth is not an issue, however, for an airplane every ounce counts. The diesel engines that we are seeing in aviation are either clean sheet designs or reworked automotive engines. From a developmental stand point, I believe that improved spark ignition engines are much further along the development curve than are compression ignition engines. Granted aircraft engines live in a different environment than automotive engines, but many of the design features can be incorporated. I have flown behind the IOF-240 FADEC engine and was very impressed with its performance and economy. Unfortunately, Continental has chosen not to promote or improve upon this certified engine ignition/ fuel system improvement. Will we see more diesel engines swinging props? I don't think that there will be a diesel on every airport in the foreseeable future. Would be nice to say "top it off with Jet-A with Prist" when giving a fuel order but I am not holding my breath.

Leo LeBoeuf

New Report on MH370 Inconclusive

This report ignores what seems to me to be the most obvious possible scenario to explain the behavior of MH 370; an onboard fire involving the 200Kg pallet of L-ion batteries being shipped as airfreight in the forward baggage compartment. The existence of this shipment has been acknowledged by airline and Transport authorities. Such shipments on passenger flights have long been banned by the FAA and were banned by ICAO after this event. If these batteries had cooked off, the crew would first have perceived an electrical-like burning smell and perhaps interpreted it as an electrical fire. The procedure for responding to an electrical fire involves first donning the 02 masks and then turning toward an alternate airport. Then, they would have begun following the Quick Reference Handbook procedure for electrical fires (which assumes that the fire involves the aircraft's electrical system). MH 370 did, in fact, turn toward and fly by their ETOPS alternate, Langkawi Intnl. (WEMKL). They likely would have been planning a right hand downwind leg to approach runway 03 at WMKL (to avoid an emergency descent over the rising terrain under the approach to R21) and this would have taken them out over the Andaman Sea. Then, they would have tripped the main AC bus tie breakers which would have made the airplane dark and quiet. The QRH procedure would then have had them pull circuit breakers and then reset the main bus tie breakers and then reset the individual CBs for essential systems one by one, retripping any which caused a resumption of the fire indications. Meanwhile, the passengers and cabin crew would have been overcome by the toxic fumes and have eventually died therefrom. The pilot crew might also have received a forward cargo fire warning alarm before tripping the main BTBs and tried to extinguish this with the cargo compartment fire extinguishers. These would have been inadequate to the task of extinguishing 200 Kg of L-ion batteries. These are lengthy procedures and the captain would likely have delegated pilot-flying duties to the FO and performed the QRH procedures himself. At some point, he would have had to remove his mask to reach the upper CBs on the overhead panel and may have fallen victim to the toxic fumes produced by L-ion battery fires. The FO may have, at some point noticed, that the Captain was incapacitated and removed HIS mask to communicate with or attempt to help him and thus become a victim of the fumes himself. The autopilot would have defaulted to heading hold and altitude hold and flown the B777 out across the Indian Ocean until the 6 (or so) hours of remaining fuel was exhausted and then glided down into the water. My only question is why they did not make a mayday call on VHF/HF/SATCOM before tripping the main bus tie breakers. I find this scenario to be far less unlikely than positing a suicidal act by one of the crew as has been suggested in some articles about this event.

Neil Robinson

Industry Round-up, August 3, 2018
AVweb Staff

AVweb’s weekly news roundup found reports on the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals’ Annual Convention and Career Expo, new scholarships for female helicopter pilots, a warranty extension on Superior Air Parts Millennium Cylinders and a service center network expansion for RAJAY Turbo Products. The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) will be holding its 42nd Annual Convention and Career Expo Aug. 15-17 in Houston, Texas. Some convention highlights include a free Aerospace Youth Day on Aug. 16 for students between the ages of 12 and 18, professional development workshops designed for college students, a breakfast to honor new inductees into the OBAP Hall of Fame and a career fair with 52 participating companies.

In rotorcraft news, Southern Utah University (SUU) has allocated three scholarships to Whirly-Girls International for female helicopter pilot students. The scholarships are worth $20,000 each and will be offered for the commercial/instrument rotorcraft flight lab at SUU Aviation. Scholarship recipients will also receive airfare, hotels, and tickets to the 2019 HAI Heli Expo.

On the aviation business front, Superior Air Parts has announced that it will be extending factory warranties on new Millennium Cylinders to 37 months or TBO. It is also extending the warranty on all factory-new piece parts to 24 months or to TBO. Also, RAJAY Turbo Products has approved two new service centers— Clifton Aero of Clifton, Texas, and Brant Aero located in Brantford, Ontario. The service centers are now authorized to provide RAJAY maintenance, installations, repairs, inspections and routine service for all models.

Short Final: Best In Class

In Valdez, Alaska, for the annual fly‑in and STOL competition, a Lake amphibian (not known for its STOL capability), in town for the fly‑in, departed early to beat the weather just before the last round of the competition. Heard on the temporary tower frequency as the competition continued and the Lake departed:

Lake: “Tower, Lake 123 is clear to the west, thanks for the help.”

Tower: “Lake 123, roger, be advised, the last combined distance was 30 feet 8 inches.”

Lake: “Amazing! I’ll practice up for next year, but not sure I can beat that...”

Tower: “Well whatever you do, I’m sure you’ll win your class!”

Jim Freeman
Mobile, AL
Brainteasers Quiz #246: Let There Be No Confusion

Before beginning a flight, FAR 91.103 says that a pilot must become familiar with all available information concerning that flight, plus anticipate the weird unavailables that could pop up, making it possible to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

Picture of the Week, August 2, 2018
Flyby admiring Pine Valley golf course in my Cessna 140. Copyrighted photo by Rene Covelli.

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

April 16, 2018, Warsaw, Ohio

Beech G33 Bonanza

The airplane impacted terrain at about 0630 Eastern time. The commercial pilot and passenger were both fatally injured; the air-plane was substantially damaged. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan. While in cruise flight, the pilot requested a descent after encountering icing conditions. The airplane’s descent continued and then it dropped off radar. The airplane impacted a lightly wooded area and came to rest upright. A post-crash fire ensued.

April 17, 2018, Philadelphia, Penn.

Boeing 737-7H4

At 1103 Eastern time, the airplane experienced a catastrophic failure of its left engine, a CFM International CFM-56-7B. The engine inlet and cowling were damaged and fragments struck the wing and fuselage, resulting in a rapid depressurization after a window failed. The flight crew conducted an emergency descent and divert-ed. Of the 144 passengers and five crewmembers aboard, one passenger was fatally injured and eight passengers received minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was operated by Southwest Airlines as a Part 121 scheduled passenger flight.

April 19, 2018, Williamsburg, Penn.

Cirrus Design SR22

The airplane impacted terrain at 0843 Eastern time. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed, and a post-impact fire consumed most of the wreckage. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

At 0828, while en route at 6,000 feet MSL, the pilot requested to divert to a nearby airport due to ice accumulation on the airplane. The controller cleared the flight to 4,500 feet, the lowest altitude available in the area. At 0842, ATC advised the flight had passed through the localizer for the ILS approach; the pilot requested radar vectors to reintercept the localizer. At 0843, radar contact was lost. The airplane impacted a field 9.5 miles from the divert airport. The pilot’s weather briefing included active Airmets for moderate icing, IFR/mountain obscuration and low-level turbulence.

April 20, 2018, Clewiston, Fla.

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca III/IV/V

At about 1700 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted a taxi-way following a loss of directional control during takeoff. The airline transport pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After landing on Runway 31, the pilot set the flaps and advanced both throttles to takeoff power for a touch-and-go. Shortly after, he felt the airplane yaw to the right, observed an over-boost indicator light for the right engine and lost control of the rudder/steering as the airplane exited the runway. The pilot regained control, reduced both engines to idle and attempted to stop the airplane. It struck the edge of a taxiway perpendicular to the airplane’s direction of travel and became airborne before landing on the opposite side of the taxiway. All three landing gear collapsed; the airplane came to rest upright.

April 23, 2018, Andover, N.J.

Bellanca 7GCBC

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1550 Eastern time after it lost engine power. The solo airline transport pilot lost control and the airplane impacted water. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to a witness who observed the entire accident sequence, after making the first takeoff and experiencing a loss of engine power on initial climb, the pilot made a 180-degree turn, returned to the airport and landed. After troubleshooting and maintenance, the engine was run at various power settings with no anomalies noted. During initial climb after takeoff, the airplane appeared to stall after experiencing a loss of engine power, followed by the left wing dropping. The pilot recovered the airplane to a wings-level attitude, but it impacted water in a flat, “belly-flop” attitude.

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

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