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Volume 26, Number 7a
February 11, 2019
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Bill Would Keep FAA Funded In Shutdown
Russ Niles

Aviation groups are lining up to support a bill that would keep the FAA funded during a government shutdown by temporarily shifting its source of money. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larsen, D-Wash., introduced the bill on Friday. If passed, the bill would allow money for operations to be taken out of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is normally used for construction, infrastructure and technology projects. While there was no money for wages and other operational expenses during the shutdown, the trust fund remained fully funded. The National Business Aviation Association and National Air Traffic Controllers Association were the first to applaud the proposed legislation.

“Aviation is among the nation’s most regulated industries, requiring oversight and a host of services from the FAA,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “This bill would help ensure that aviation—a key component in the nation’s economy and transportation system—will avoid a potentially harmful disruption in the event of a government shutdown.” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said that unusual circumstances demand creative solutions and after careful review the organization got behind the move. “There is no doubt that the status quo is broken and has been for some time. The 35-day shutdown was just the latest of many instances in which FAA, its workforce and the aviation industry were held hostage by a political fight that had nothing to do with aviation,” Rinaldi said. He said “stop-and-go funding” affects people and projects long after the money starts flowing again and stable funding is a cornerstone of maintaining and operating the system properly.

Road Landings: Bring Beer
Paul Berge

Periodically, a story falls into your lap. This one fell 37 years ago, and I just discovered the relevance to today’s flying. Well, maybe.

Nov. 3, 1982, was a slow news day in Watsonville, California, when the local radio led with, “Local Man Lands Airplane on Freeway.” I was on my way to work as an air traffic controller at Monterey Peninsula Airport (MRY) but detoured to Watsonville Muni (WVI) to verify my suspicions that it was my friend, Jake, (not his real name) who’d made the freeway landing. It was. And to no one’s surprise.

Flash forward to a few days ago when I saw Paul Bertorelli’s video “How To Land On a Freeway.” While thoroughly enjoyable and informative, complete with high-end graphics, award-winning music score and live-action dashcam video, it missed—I felt—the human element. Or in this case, Jake.

Bertorelli made several excellent observations, with two that I caught while simultaneously watching another video about a cat chasing a Dorito tied to a string. Killer stuff. Anyhow, Paul convincingly argued that landing with traffic on a highway is generally preferable to smashing head-on into a Freightliner with the truck driver listening to Waylon Jennings and wouldn’t even notice your Cub splattered on the grill until she reached Amarillo by morning. Paul’s second point was that once the engine quits, the insurance company owns the airplane so be cool. Jake employed both philosophies when over the Santa Monica Mountains after dark, and his 150’s engine quit for a really non-unanticipated reason. He’d run out of gas.

NTSB records for the two-year period bracketing the crash date show that Cessna 150s crash a lot, many from running out of gas. So, we can’t really fault Jake for that, now can we? You decide: Jake left Watsonville bound for Santa Monica (SMO), 239 miles southeast. The 150 burns roughly 6.5 GPH; more in climb, less in descent, way less in Jake’s descent after he’d run the tanks dry.

Now, as Bertorelli noted, an emergency landing “sans” fuel usually mitigates any large-scale threat of a fireball evening-news arrival. Again, we can applaud Jake for planning to run the tanks dry before arrival. That 239-mile trip would take roughly 2:50, mas o menos, at 85 knots with a light headwind. (Yes, Cessna 150 owners all fly more efficiently, but these are rough estimates.) So, 2:50 at 6.5 GPH requires 19 gallons of fuel.

The C150 holds 26 gallons, of which 22.5 gallons are usable if you rock the wings and pinch the seat cushion into your butt. Jake only needed 19 plus three-ish gallons reserve (total 22), but the NTSB report states that the “aircraft … departed (WVI) with partially filled fuel tanks.” Aircraft will do that, often leaving an unsuspecting PIC confused when the engine quits, as it did for Jake at 6:50 p.m.

No problem. Jake didn’t have to sweat a post-accident fire, and insurance wasn’t an issue, because he probably didn’t have any. Likely, he didn’t own the airplane. It’s a tad vague who did or what the “loan” arrangement was. Not an issue here, because Jake glided with commendable skill toward the traffic along the well-lit (from zillions of cars) San Diego freeway (I-405, about the busiest stretch of freeway this side of the Jersey Turnpike).

Anticipating Paul Bertorelli’s 2019 advice to land with the traffic, Jake got with the flow, clipped a highway sign and settled ever so gently atop a Toyota (might’ve been a Datsun), driven by a woman who told reporters something like, “Suddenly, there was a thump, and a wheel (nose) was in my windshield.” Good so far, as Jake hoped the Toyota driver would gradually slow, so they could pull onto the shoulder like the finale in a Flying Clown Act with applause all ‘round.

But Jake’s luck expired. The driver, doing what most untrained drivers would do, hit the brakes, and the C150 did what unsecured roof cargo does when the vehicle stops—it slid onto the freeway, causing “substantial damage.”  No one hurt. Jake climbed from the airplane, introduced himself to the woman with tire tread marks on her Toyota’s hood and, being a gentleman, offered her a beer. No, really, he did. This was the 1980s. Things were different then.

For the air cadets in the audience, this was long ago, back before cellphones when some laws were advisory-only, and you often had to wait for things to happen and, maybe, even talk to strangers face-to-face. Scary, I realize.

Jake and the Toyota driver sat along the meridian enjoying an evening beer, until the police arrived and detained Jake for drunk flying with the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence. Subsequent investigation proved that he wasn’t drunk, hadn’t been drinking while flying or before but routinely traveled with a six-pack in case of emergencies. This qualified.

The NTSB found probable cause to be threefold:

1)   Fuel exhaustion. No argument there.

2)   Fuel consumption calculations—disregarded (by the) Pilot In Command.

3)   Preflight planning/preparation (was) inadequate (again, by the) Pilot In Command.

I think causes two and three are arguably the same thing, and it feels a bit like piling on. The guy ran out of gas, because he didn’t plan … anything, except he did remember to bring the beer. But was the accident his fault?

Had the Toyota driver not panicked—just saying—and kept pace with the decelerating airplane piggy-backed on her roof, this story could’ve had a happier ending. I really think they need to teach aircraft emergencies in Drivers Ed.  

The Unbearable Brightness Of Aviation LEDs
Paul Bertorelli

LED technology has become standard on new airplanes, yet it's anything but on the legacy general aviation fleet. The aftermarket is flush with LED landing and taxi light choices and in this AVweb video, Paul Bertorelli reveals that these lamps are brighter and more capable than ever. 

JP International 'Pilot's Best Friend - Technology that works
Collier Nominees Released
Russ Niles

A large field of contenders from the full range of aviation and aerospace endeavors have been nominated for the 2018 Collier Trophy, arguably the most prestigious award in the industry. A total of 11 nominees have been approved for consideration and include: Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (AGCAS), Bell V-280 Valor, Boeing T-X, Draken International Contracted Close Air Support & Adversary Air Services in Support of Combat Readiness Training, Embraer E190-E2, F-35 Integrated Test Force, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. Integration of Large UAS into Civil and International Airspace, NASA/JPL Mars Cube One (MarCO) Project Team, Perlan Project, Responsive Environmental Assessment Commercially Hosted (REACH) Project and the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two Program.

Last year’s winner was the Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jet. Every year the National Aeronautic Association awards the prize for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.” Previous winners have included the crew of Apollo 11, Orville Wright, the International Space Station and the Gulfstream G650.

Goulian Third In Opening Red Bull Race
Russ Niles

U.S. Red Bull Air Race pilot Mike Goulian took third place in the opening race of the series in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya was first and Czech Matin Sonka came second. The same three racers were on the podium for the Abu Dhabi race in 2018. Goulian won that race with Muroya second and Sonka in third. Goulian said he used tricky shifting wind conditions to his advantage to earn a podium finish. Many racers picked up penalties or hit pylons because of the winds.

The race series has only one stop in the U.S. this year, a return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oct. 19-20. The next race is to be announced in Europe in the next few months followed by Kazan, Russia, June 15-16; Budapest July 13-14; Chiba, Japan, Sept. 7-8; and a to-be-announced date in Asia in the fall. For the first time, the series will go to Saudi Arabia for the final race of the year Nov. 8-9.

One Rescued After Florida Ditching
Russ Niles

One crew member has been rescued and another is missing after a cargo plane ditched about 14 miles off the coast of Florida on Friday.The rescued first officer has been identified as Rolland Silva and he is recovering in a hospital in Florida. The missing captain is Robert Hopkins. The search was suspended on Saturday. The Conquest Air Cargo Convair C-131B Samaritan, a 1950s piston twin military transport based on a Convair CV-240 airliner, was on a flight from Nassau, in the Bahamas, to Opa Locka, Florida, when it began losing altitude about 50 miles off the coast. 

It flew for another 12 minutes before hitting the water at about 12:15 p.m.  The aircraft was destroyed. The company told local media the pilot declared an emergency and reported he was ditching. Conquest operates several Samaritans on daily runs between Nassau and Florida.

Qantas Cancels A380 Order
Kate O'Connor

Qantas Airlines has cancelled an order for eight Airbus A380 jets. The eight aircraft were part of a larger order for 20 A380s placed in 2006. According to Qantas, the airline is instead planning to upgrade the twelve A380s it is currently operating. Airbus said in early January that it will need to end production of the A380 without more orders, a statement the company first made in 2014.

On Jan. 18, Emirates Airlines, which operates a fleet of more than 100 A380s, announced a $16 billion deal with Airbus for 36 additional A380 aircraft including 20 firm orders and 16 options. However, Airbus confirmed on Jan. 31 that it was back in discussions with Emirates regarding the A380 contract. Airbus said that details of the discussions would be kept confidential, but it has been reported that Emirates is considering switching to the smaller A350.

List price for the A380 is $445.6 million. The four-engine jet can carry 544 passengers and, according to Airbus, has flown more than 500,000 revenue flights and carried over 190 million passengers since its introduction in 2007.

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Wind Shear Save
Russ Niles

Low level wind shear has been the cause of many accidents, some of them catastrophic, but a British Airways 787 crew muscled out of a pretty nasty example during a storm in the U.K. on Friday.  The wind on the nose goes away briefly when the big Boeing is in the flare. Note the full  deflection of the elevator as the bottom drops out about 20 feet above the runway. Everyone aboard would have noticed the abrupt encounter with the concrete but the firewalled engines finished the successful save. Winds were reportedly gusting up to 60 knots at the time.

Industry Round-up, February 8, 2019
AVweb Staff

AVweb’s weekly news roundup found reports on a newly approved training program for Eclipse pilots, a name change for Simhawk and a new vice president at Cadence Aerospace. AEROCOR has announced that it has received FAA approval for its Eclipse 500/550 initial and recurrent training programs. The firm is also packaging the training programs with pre-owned aircraft purchases.

Simhawk will be changing its name to, which the company says will better represent the services offered via its aviation marketplace. In addition to matching buyers and sellers of simulator time and training, will be adding the ability to connect buyers and sellers of other aviation services such as paint and interiors, avionics upgrades, aircraft maintenance and crew services.

Finally, aerospace and defense industry supplier Cadence Aerospace has appointed Edward Torres as vice president and general manager of the company's Tell Tool Operations in Westfield, Massachusetts. Torres will be responsible for all day-to-day operations at that location including manufacturing operations, profit and loss, business planning, quality, staffing and customer engagement.

Top Letters And Comments, February 8, 2019

Drone Hysteria V2.0

I thought the article was well written and informative, thank you.

One sector of aviation that seems to be mostly overlooked when Discussing drones is the Helicopter Air Ambulance industry.

As a Helicopter Air Ambulance pilot drones have become a big concern. Consider my daily scenario. We land/take off and fly between 300' and 1000' or more AGL over cities, most of the time at high speed. I invite you to use your imagination to consider all of the possible dangers that we have to manage risk for... then add drones.

Thank you for your great publication.

Tony Renner

Personally, I think the risk/concern about drone strikes might be somewhere between the hysteria that you write about, and your dismissal of it. The George Mason Univ. study that concluded there was essentially zero risk of a collision is ridiculous - birds likely try to avoid aircraft when they get close, and drones probably aren't as good/interested in evading them. Also, and this is the big one I think - drone pilots are drawn to airports and flying things like moths to flame.

At any rate, since we have already had two known collisions, the GMU study is statistically totally blown out of the water. My final point relates to the Univ. of Dayton video of the Mooney/drone splat. That video would have been a LOT more interesting if they had shown a collision with an aircraft with a wet wing at the leading edge. A bird might have breached the fuel tank, but a drone would certainly ignite a massive fireball with its electronics, motors and Li-ion batteries going inside. In summary, I think dismissing the risk out of hand is a similarly misplaced approach.

Robert Connelly

Enjoyed your piece on drone risk at airports.

The county fairgrounds I manage falls within the drone sphere of influence of the local Class D airport. We are now explaining the requirements to fly a drone over a wedding reception or other event just about monthly. The airspace restriction comes in handy because our insurance agency wants them banned entirely due to fear of injury to someone on the ground, but frankly, that kind of ban just isn't realistic. The latest proposal to allow commercial drone flight over crowds is going the other direction.

And every time we explain the process to get airport and tower approval, and that proof of insurance is required, there literally are eye rolls. The fact is, even the general public (sometimes not the wisest gathering of people), can figure out without any advanced calculations that the actual risk is pretty small.

While personally annoyed by drones over my head taking my picture, I recognize that the reality is that they are here to stay and of little physical risk. Risk from living in a constant surveillance state is another matter entirely. The reality is that the military is flying drones the size of a dragonfly, and if they aren't already, other people soon will be as well. My guess is the hottest trend in drones will be towards that miniaturization (and secrecy too) which further reduces the physical risk.

So my answer to your hypothetical is always going to be "let's go."

Richard Persons

Sad Year for Airshows

Your article about the air show losses was nicely written and from the heart.

I was prompted to write because I casually knew Dan Buchannan. In fact, I have video footage of him circa 1985-86 performing with his hang glider in "The Silent Airshow" for hang gliders and gliders at Ed Levin Park, in Milpitas, (a suburb of San Jose), CA. I produced and sold 30 minute video programs of the Airshows for a couple years to pilots on 5 continents.

I also shared the same airspace with him at Fort Funston and IIRC Mount Tamalpais, with a landing on Stinson Beach.

Dan had a very positive attitude, great attention to detail and encouraged another paraplegic pilot, Bob Vogel. I had known Bob when we both learned to fly hanggliders while he was a professional stunt skier for Volvo. A skiing accident while performing rendered him a paraplegic, but like Dan, he didn't give up flying and became a aerobatic pilot, too.

Last comment, I looked at one of my old video shows and saw another great aerobatic performer pilot, Dan Racanelli. For many years he held the record for 50 continuous loops in a hangglider. He was electrocuted when trying to rescue another hangglider caught in power lines. They were competing in a cross-country contest. The first pilot lost lift and landed, but didn't see the wires. He was trapped above the ground. Dan, who knew high voltage procedures, saw the situation from above, flew down and landed safely. While trying to get the first pilot to the ground, a gust of wind blew the first glider into Dan, completing the circuit.

I appreciate that you care.

Kirk H. Knight

Passing of Rosemary Mariner

Please pass to Kate O'Connor that her sidewise swipe at revisionist history isn't appreciated. Rosemary was the first female to become a Naval Aviator. The comment that she was in command of a Navy Squadron during Desert Storm is misleading at best. It insinuates that she was involved in combat operations. I believe her squadron remained in North America and did not operate an aircraft (EA-7L) that could drop or shoot any weapons in anger.

I knew Rosemary only in passing during my time in the Navy. All Naval Aviators are judged by this criteria:

How good are they behind the boat?

Can they fly the mission reliably, safely?

Can they take care of their wingman or crew?

In her case I have no first-hand knowledge of those facts.

I did one deployment in the same airwing with her husband Tut. To him I extend my sympathies and condolences. I always cherish the time we have with friends and family. Please be more careful of how you portray people and avoid insinuation of their accomplishments.

Tim Sparks

Deadly Efficient Planning

Thank you for this article. I agree with Armand's reflection that the pilot should have obtained his clearance by phone, something we all used to do without thinking about it. It's something that should be done at least once with present day instrument training.

Warren Webb Jr.

Winter Flying

Gave me a laugh!! When I was working on my commercial and needed the solo time, I joined the local chapter CAP. The L-16's open T-hanger was located at Russell Field in Ft. Worth. We don't get the low temps here, but 25 degrees is cold to this Texan. Lost count of how many times I pulled that prop thru; without even a hint of firing. Finally gave up and called it a day. That was 56 years ago.

Terrance Grimes

Short Final: Mistaken Identity

I was flying south over a water route just off the East Coast nearing Washington, D.C., when a Baron called ATC and this was the exchange.

Baron: “Washington Center, what were those aircraft that just went by me? It was a group of some kind of fighters.”

Center: “Oh, those. Yes, that was a flight of four F‑15s.”

New Voice: “Approach, I hate to correct you but that flight was four U.S. Navy Super Hornets, not those F‑15s.”

Center: “Sorry, Navy. I quickly read the aircraft type and thought it was F‑15.”

Navy: “No, we are a heck of a lot better than those guys!”

Marc Delude
Bluffton, SC
Brainteasers Quiz #252: Let's Play Risk™

In aviation, the game of Risk™ is often perceived as the antithesis of Life™, even though the two metaphors must coexist in order to fly safely and to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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