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Volume 26, Number 5c
February 1, 2019
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Bonanza Crashes After Unintentional Engine Start
Kate O'Connor

An unoccupied Beechcraft V35B Bonanza crashed at California’s Modesto City-County Airport (MOD) after an unplanned engine start on Wednesday afternoon. It has been reported that two people had been working on the aircraft’s electrical system and manipulating the propeller. The engine accidently engaged, sending the Bonanza into a parked car and through the airport fence at approximately 40 MPH. A building was also damaged in the incident. No injuries were reported.

“When we arrived on scene, we found that a private plane that was being prepared for a trip had some sort of incident within the plane that caused the plane to take off with no one inside,” said Modesto Fire Department Division Chief Mike Lillie while at the scene. “At that time the plane rolled on the airport grounds until it came to its resting place here by this building and the fence.”

The exact cause of the unintentional engine start has not yet been determined. The aircraft, which sustained substantial damage, was removed by crane on Wednesday evening. Officials are investigating.

Whoever Said Winter Flying Is Fun Was Daft
Paul Berge

The profoundly concerned TV meteorologist warned of dangerously cold temperatures sweeping across the Midwest, conjuring Dr. Zhivago images of Cossacks on horseback and Lara Guishar in her Ice Palace with Omar Sharif to keep her warm and free from reality. A nice try to glam up winter, but it failed. I despise the season. Hate the snow, ice and reporters feigning shock that it gets cold in Iowa in January. Except for Bing Crosby music a few days in December when single-malt flows freely at any temperature, winter holds no appeal for me. Bah!

Pilots further north pretend to enjoy the cold, strutting about as they do in their EAA lederhosen when it’s 15 below, before climbing into Cubs, Champs and T-crates to skitter across concrete-hard lakes, dodging ice-fishing houses and reporters taping breathless exclusives about winter wonderland whadda-whadda-whadda, back to you, Kimberly.

“Do you put your Aeronca Champ on skis?” I’ve been asked every year for more than 35 since that fateful day I left California, and where I used to reply, “Not yet,” I now answer, “Right after I install the Polar Vortex Generators.” I’ve flown on skis. It’s fun in a FAA-approved way that requires no additional certification or training (kinda) but explores new dimensions to Loss of directional control (LODC), mainly because taxiing on boards without brakes across packed snow instead of wheels on dry pavement means you need to plan turns—and stops—way ahead. Much like seaplane ops. Although usually colder, and it’s that cold factor that fosters defiance and creativity.

Preheating air-cooled engines on stupidly cold days is mandatory, and homespun methods abound for nearly achieving success. Most involve electric heaters that suck more energy for one flight than your house uses in a year1… but you can’t fly your house so don’t feel guilty. Propane heaters are popular alternatives and have torched more than a few airplanes when left unattended, as the pilot steps away for a cup of hot Postum, only to return and find the smoldering outline of the club’s Skyhawk. Acceptable losses if we’re to remain free to fly.

I take advantage of preheating to embrace the winter-aviation experience by chiseling the frozen earth beneath my north-facing hangar door where it’s heaved up, sealing the frame to the ground with an epoxy-like bead meant to keep sane pilots indoors and binge-watching Ice Pilots. But for decades, I’ve shoveled and scraped while muttering oaths with no literal English translations that adequately express my contempt for anything frozen. Including that stupid Disney movie by the same name. I mean, c’mon! Frozen? Why not a movie called, Miserable? The tale of a Midwest flight instructor determined to ignore reality and fly in winter while his smarter neighbors head south until Sun ‘n Fun announces the official opening of Pancake Breakfast Season.

Hand-propping an engine on frozen ground could be a whole article unto itself, but eventually it starts, and once inside the airplane I always fall for the gag of pulling the decorative cabin heat knob. The Champ’s 65-HP engine doesn’t produce enough heat to warm its own oil, let alone transmit excess through serpentine SCAT tubing to the uninsulated cabin. Anyone who’s driven a 1966 VW bus in winter knows the futility of gleaning heat from an underpowered air-cooled engine.

Still, if you fly in the unreasonably cold latitudes, you learn to adapt, rationalize and long for the return of mud and bugs. Yeah, I know the air is super dense at 10 below. Oh, yah, Lena, the Luscombe sure gets offa da ice in a hurry, you betchya. Also, when it’s silly cold, thunderstorms are a low risk, but frankly, this time of year I kinda miss them, even though a microburst once ripped my hangar door to ribbons and shivved the Champ’s skin with fiberglass shrapnel. But at least it wasn’t snowing.

Despite my seasonable gripes, I continue to fly in winter and—this is weird—not because I need to, unless you consider a lifelong compulsion to fly for fun a need and not merely a disorder. On some days, though, I just have to rethink the way of things. It’s 19 below zero (Fahrenheit ... possibly Kelvin) here this morning2 with a wind chill factor that makes it feel like living north of Key West was a huge mistake. Dawn has reluctantly cleared the tree line with accompanying sun dogs shivering in the airborne ice crystals. The snow is smooth and bright, while somewhere my love hibernates amidst the gauzy strands of Lara’s Theme inside her ice hangar, patiently awaiting winter’s slow but inevitable, and welcomed, demise. Indeed, now is the winter of my discontent, made glorious summer by this noble sun … that needs to get on with melting the damn snow ….

Someone toss another elf on the fire.

1Actual unverified scientific fact

229 Jan 2019

Naval Aviator Rosemary Mariner Passes Away
Kate O'Connor

Retired U.S. Navy Captain Rosemary Mariner has died at the age of 65. Among her many achievements, Mariner was known for being the first woman to fly a tactical fighter jet and the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron. She served in the Navy from 1973 until her retirement in 1997.

Mariner graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautics when she was 19 years old. After joining the Navy, she earned her wings in 1974 and began flying the A-4E/L Skyhawk and the A-7E Corsair II. In 1982, she became one of the first women to serve aboard a U.S. Navy warship, qualifying as a Surface Warfare Officer. Mariner assumed command of the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron (VAQ-34) based in Point Mugu, California, in 1990 during the run-up to Operation Desert Storm. Over the course of her career, she logged 17 carrier arrested landings and more than 3,500 flight hours in fifteen different aircraft.

The Navy will be conducting its first all-female flyover as part of Mariner’s funeral, which will be held on Saturday. According to the Navy, the aviators participating in the flyover are from squadrons based at Naval Air Station Oceana and will be flying F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

ForeFlight Adds Custom Content Packs
Kate O'Connor

ForeFlight now lets pilots import, use and share custom content bundles through its Custom Content Packs feature. Introduced last month, Content Packs can include customized airport diagrams; procedure plates; georeferenced charts; map layers containing shapes, points and labels; and navigation data that links custom waypoints to PDF files. As shown in the video below, users can either build—and share—their own packs or import already-made content.

According to ForeFlight, Content Packs will allow critical information for activities like fighting wildfires, smoke-jumping, backcountry flying, flight training and sightseeing tours to be easily added and displayed in the app. The company says customized airport diagrams and procedure plates imported through the Content Pack “Bring Your Own Plates” feature will behave the same way as those downloaded through ForeFlight. Also, PDF and HTML documents can now be attached to specific waypoints and accessed directly from ForeFlight’s map.

ForeFlight has free Content Pack samples available for download including packs for Maine lighthouses, abandoned airfields in the U.S. and UAS facilities and restrictions. Content Packs are supported for ForeFlight's individual "Plus," Business Performance and MFB Performance subscription plans.

Universal Helicopters Orders Tecnam Fleet
Kate O'Connor

Universal Helicopters (UHI) announced a purchase agreement with Tecnam for ten new aircraft on Monday. The order includes four P2008 LSAs, four P2010s and two P2006T twins. The aircraft will be headed to two fixed-wing training locations operated by UHI sister company Universal Fixed-Wing (UFW). According to the company, the P2008 LSAs will be used for initial training and IFR introduction. UFW students will then move to the G1000 Nxi-equipped P2010 to complete their IFR, commercial and CFI certificates. The P2006Ts will be used for multi-commercial and multi-instructor training.

“The Tecnam line of aircraft ... offered the perfect progression of high wing ab-initio trainers (P2008 & P2010), culminating with their light multi-engine P2006 model,” said UHI CEO Gordon Jiroux. “We know from our extensive helicopters training experience that the uniformity and consistency that will exist by operating one brand of state-of-the-art airplanes that Tecnam offers will help us deliver quality training with that extra element of safety we are always looking for.”

UHI is part of Universal Flight Concepts, a group of flight training companies that also includes Universal Fixed-Wing and Night Flight Concepts. The group operates out of six locations with a seventh due to open in August 2019.

Picture of the Week, January 31, 2019
Out for lunch on Island Lake in Duluth, MN. Picture taken with an SGS8+. Photo by Mike Hongisto.

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Airline To Pay FAA For Recalling Inspector
Kate O'Connor

Southwest Airlines made an agreement with the FAA to reimburse the agency for recalling one of its furloughed examiners during the partial government shutdown, according to The Wall Street Journal. The arrangement allowed the examiner to perform the final safety inspection signoffs needed for three new Southwest Boeing 737 MAX jets to enter service. The agreement, which amounted to $3,150 and three hours of the examiner’s time, was worked out between the airline and the FAA prior to the shutdown.

“The FAA and Southwest entered into a reimbursable agreement to provide minimal time to complete aircraft certification services,” an FAA spokesman told the Journal. “These services were completed only after meeting immediate operational safety needs.” The spokesman also said that the majority of the work had been completed before the shutdown.

Although the agreement appears to be legal, concerns were raised that it might have allowed Southwest an unfair advantage over competitors. That concern is shared the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, which the inspector assigned the job contacted for guidance. Other airlines reportedly tried to set up similar agreements and were refused, although the extent of the work that would have been required in those cases is unknown.

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Frasca Integrates Garmin Software Into New RTD
Kate O'Connor

Simulator manufacturer Frasca International has announced a partnership with Garmin to incorporate G1000 NXi software into its new Reconfigurable Training Device (RTD). The company says integrating the NXi software with the Frasca’s simulation software “required extensive collaboration” with Garmin and is “a first in the simulation industry.” The Frasca RTD, which is an FAA-approved Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD), was designed to convert between different aircraft models.

“Working with Garmin to integrate the G1000 NXi software in to our RTD has enabled us to provide an AATD with excellent transfer of training to our customers,” said Frasca International President John Frasca. “We have been integrating Garmin avionics into our FTDs and FFSs for years and being able to offer that in our lower-cost products is truly groundbreaking.”

According to Frasca, the Garmin software will help RTD users learn correct procedures and habits since it allows the G1000 NXi to operate the same as it would in an aircraft. The software integration also adds Garmin features including synthetic vision technology, terrain awareness and warning system, WAAS (LPV, LNAV/VNAV and glidepaths) and updatable navigation databases. Pricing for the Frasca RTD starts at $58,000 and varies depending on aircraft configurations and options chosen.

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