World's Leading Independent Aviation News Service
Volume 26, Number 22a
May 27, 2019
Forward This Email
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A
MAX Training Issues Expand To NGs
Russ Niles

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) is reporting the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX is being pushed back because something in the investigation has prompted a review of training in the previous model. There are more than 5,000 Boeing 737NG models in use all over the world and the safety record of the type is considered good. The news clearly annoyed Boeing. “While we are working with the FAA to review all procedures, the safety of the 737 NG is not in question,” a Boeing spokesman told the Journal’s Andy Pasztor. The spokesman also noted “its 20-plus years of service and 200 million flight hours.” Earlier this week, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said the FAA was going to take its time with the MAX investigation and he wasn’t concerned if it took another year.

The revisiting of procedures for a 20-year-old design was prompted by the fact that emergency training for the MAX was largely based on that from the NG. The NGs don’t have the MCAS system that is at the root of the investigation but the Journal says some of the MAX procedures are based on an assumption that pilots would know what to do (stabilizer trim cutoff switches) within seconds of the nose going down for no apparent reason. The Journal says the FAA is looking at whether the software fix for the MAX will give pilots more time, about 20 seconds, to react.

Meanwhile, pilots unions have told Boeing to stop blaming the pilots for the two fatal crashes that prompted this ever-expanding investigation. The crews of Lion Air 610 and Ethiopian Airlines 302 fought a losing battle to try and overcome the persistent nose-down actions of the MCAS resulting in 346 deaths and top Boeing officials have said some of that’s on the pilots. "Shame on you ... we're going to call you out on it," Dennis Tajer, head of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, told CNN. "That's a poisoned, diseased philosophy."

Bye Aerospace's eFlyer Electric Trainer
Paul Bertorelli

Bye Aerospace's new Eflyer electric trainer is just embarking on early test flights. AVweb recently visited the company's Denver-based factory and had a look at the new airplane. The company says it will be certified in about two years.

Some Myths Just Don't Fly
Paul Berge

We’ve all been there: Stabilized on final, gear and flaps down, passengers in their upright and locked positions, when out of the hemp rows pops a damn unicorn! And it doesn’t just run across the runway the way, say, a sensible dog might cross a freeway after computing the odds. Instead, it stops, turns and stares with its unic-horn pointing defiantly while it gives you that De Niro, You lookin’ at me? It’s the ADM moment you’ve trained for or at least mumbled a passable answer on your checkride.

Two types of pilots emerge from this scenario. If you said, “No such thing as unicorns,” then you’ll land and never tell another soul about what you think you saw. But, if you add power to go-around—delaying the pitch up just long enough to chase the unicorn off the runway—then you understand the importance of aviation mythology. Doesn’t mean you’re not crazy, just shows good ADM.

Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) involves more than making the go/no-go call after listening to AFSS Alexa say, “Thank you for calling Lockheed-Amazon VFR Not Recommended Service. Where would you like to not go today?”

“Ah, Walleye, Minnesota …?”

“Excellent choice. Let’s see how we can discourage you ...”

AFSS does not make the go/no-go call for you, so here’s a flight planning tip: If you cancel a flight due to poor weather, it will improve. If, however, you launch despite portents of doom, the weather will deteriorate. That fact is from FAA-H-8699 Handbook of Aeronautical Mythology, which states, “The flipside of reality, mythology, is what makes the irrational plausible and aviation possible.” Beginning with lift itself.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a Bernoulli or Newtonian negative v. positive pressure proponent, lift isn’t real. Colorless, odorless and gluten-free, it happens solely because we believe in it. Like the Iowa Caucus. Lift Belief (LB) found me watching 1930s Hollywood films, wherein cool guys impressed sass-talking dames in unairworthy togs, with their abilities to lift above the earth. No need for science, aeronautical charm was based principally on pencil-thin mustaches and goggles. (Click here to express 21st Century outrage of 1930s gender type-casting.) Yeah, I had trouble dating in my teens. Nevertheless, I wanted to fly. Only problem was mythology’s dark side blocked the runway.

“It’s so expensive!” That whining phrase has smothered too many aviation dreams. I took my first flying lesson in California, a state of mind conceived in fantasy. It was 1973, and the airplane was an uninspiring Cessna 150, but when the instructor rode onto the ramp astride a Triumph 650, I knew we were in the presence of mythological greatness. He even wore goggles. I glanced around for a Jean Harlow but only saw a mechanic, who resembled Wallace Beery, struggling to pull a Cessna 172 with one of those cheesy tow bars that always slips off.

Admittedly, the naysayers, back then, had a point. Car gas was 35 cents per gallon, while 80 octane avgas was running almost twice that, meaning the flying club had to charge 70 cents for every 1/10thclick of the Hobbs meter, plus a few bucks to feed the CFI. The math just didn’t work. Neither did the tow bar, as the old mechanic—who was way younger than I am now—yanked it free, fell on his butt and swore Celtic oaths at the aviation gods, who, of course, are deaf to human complaints ... and ride unicorns.

“You know what a new Cessna 150 costs these days?” someone long forgotten asked me. I didn’t but soon learned. “A lot!” The blocker-of-all-things-fun answered and bolstered his assertion with irrelevant facts. “You could buy three new Ford Mavericks for what you’d pay for a single One-Fifty.”

Cessna 150s were ridiculously common back then, like Curtiss Jennies (JN-4s) in the 1920s, or Cessna 162 Skycatchers nowadays … Oh, wait, that fantasy never panned out. Anyhow, I recently walked up to a 150, admiring its deflated nose strut, and informed the owner, “I learned to fly in one of these.” She politely offered to take me back to the Old CFIs Home. Still, I’ve never gazed at a 1973 Maverick at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and said, “Yup, learned to parallel park in one of these babies.” Point is, flying is expensive and always was so don’t let anyone pop your dreams with that blunt stick of reality.

Likewise, eschew the fear mongers who chant, “It’s so dangerous!” Granted, it is. Everything’s dangerous. Obsessive adherence to safety can be dangerous, if it bores you to death. (Click here to earn WINGS credit by denouncing that assertion). We can quote stats, showing that aviation is safer than hand-feeding piranhas, but to what end? If you’re going to venture more than 10 feet above the earth, you’re at risk. Embrace and mitigate it or take up online canasta.

What about our mythical Big Brother? “The FAA’s not happy until you’re not happy,” or so the ramp saw goes. Except for its Aeromedical branch, that’s just nonsense. No one in the FAA is ever truly happy. I know. I worked for them and seldom felt the bliss, although I enjoyed being an air traffic controller. If the FAA hadn’t been involved, it would’ve been the perfect career. Still, no one in the FAA is out to ground you … well, again, see the Aeromedical exception.

Whatever your flight status, there’s always going to be a know-nothing eager to challenge your decisions. From learning in an old 150 to flying jump planes simply to build vertical flight time, someone—who probably doesn’t fly—will toss cold oatmeal on your imagination. Lift might exist, but no one knows why. We do know there’s always a unicorn waiting to challenge our beliefs, because People for the Ethical Treatment of Imaginary Beasts (PETIB) outlawed shooting the pests, and now they’re everywhere. But, hey, make up your own mind whether to land or go around what might or might not be real.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Citation Crashes Off Florida Following Fighter Intercept
Paul Bertorelli

A Cessna Citation V crashed 300 miles off the coast of Florida Friday evening after Air National Guard jets were scrambled to intercept it. The FAA said Friday that the single pilot aboard was not responsive to ATC communications.

The Cessna was inbound to Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and the pilot was believed to be the only one aboard. The Citation departed St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, Illinois, about 3:30 p.m. Friday, the FAA said. At 4:50 p.m., the Florida Air National Guard dispatched two F-15s from the Homestead Air Reserve base to investigate the Citation‘s lack of communication. The fighters reported the Cessna began a rapid descent and crashed into the Atlantic around 6 p.m.

U.S. ADS-B Won't Work In Canada
Russ Niles

Most U.S. general aviation operators will not be able to fly in Canadian controlled airspace and vice versa when Canada mandates ADS-B, according to Nav Canada. The not-for-profit corporation is also majority owner of Aireon, a recently activated space-based ADS-B tracking system that requires ADS-B 1090ES transmitters with antennae on the top of the aircraft to properly track them. The U.S. uses a ground-based system that requires belly-mounted antennae. Aireon has tested belly-mounted antenna with its system and they don’t work. Nav Canada is telling Canadian pilots that its system will be exclusively based on the satellite system and they should be making their equipage decisions accordingly. In most cases, it’s not as simple as adding a second antenna to be able to fly in controlled airspace in both countries. Only a few GA systems offer the so-called “antenna diversity” ability.

Nav Canada doesn’t make the rules in Canada. Transport Canada will have to issue the regulations requiring ADS-B compliance and so far hasn’t indicated those rules are imminent. But in a letter to a Canadian pilot who inquired about his ADS-B options, the Nav Canada spokesman who responded told him the Canadian mandate could be in effect as soon as 2023. He also said implementation for airspace outside the busiest major airports in Canada will involve more stakeholder consultation. The Aireon system uses transponders on a constellation of more than 60 low-orbit Iridium satellites and can track any properly equipped aircraft anywhere in the world every second. The company intends to use the system to make air traffic management more efficient and accurate and is already using it in remote areas, like the North Atlantic, to reduce spacing between aircraft.

Discover the Exciting World of Today's Homebuilt Aircraft! Take to the Air with a Subscription to 'Kitplanes' Magazine and Receive the Annual Homebuilt Buyers Guide as a Gift
Canada Unveils New Passenger Rights Laws
Russ Niles

Canada has unveiled tough new airline passenger rights laws that will entitle some passengers whose trips are interrupted up to $2,400 CAD in compensation. Transport Minister Marc Garneau unveiled the sweeping legislation that will be implemented in two stages on July 15 and Dec. 15. In the first round of rules, those who get bumped from overbooked flights will be entitled to $900 in cash or vouchers at the passenger’s option if the denied boarding delays them by six hours. It doubles to $1,800 for up to nine hours and $2,400 for longer than that. Also as of July 15, ramp delays are limited to three hours and passengers must have access to food, drinks, toilets and adequate ventilation during the wait. Airlines will have to pay up to $2,100 for lost or damaged luggage.

Effective Dec. 15, non-weather delays lasting three to six hours will cost the airlines $400 per passenger and up to $1,000 each if it drags longer than nine hours. That compensation isn’t automatic. Passengers have to claim the money from the airline and the airline has a month to explain why it shouldn’t have to pay. At three hours, delayed passengers have to be offered another flight. New rules will also require that children be seated either with their parents or near them depending on their age. Smaller airlines (less than two million passengers a year) will pay much lower compensation but the rules will apply to them, too.

Top Letters And Comments, May 24, 2019

Electric Aircraft

Replies to last week’s letter regarding electric aircraft:

1. In flight aircraft fires are one of the most deadly potential scenarios a pilot has to deal with. Smoke is also a worry. REPLY: We have designed our battery pack in a ventilated compartment with a smoke detector and a special instant fire stop. A battery fire can only begin with over charging or over discharging. A BMS is supposed to prevent this, but without a balance system, cells can wander off and die. When they do, solid oxygen in the cell escapes and can fuel a fire. Lithium does not burn nor does the saline electrolyte. Fire prevention starts with: the correct chemistry to start with, a good BMS with a balancer, a fire suppression system and using an onboard charging system to maintain a nominal charge for long flights.

2. Tesla has been having problems with vehicles on the GROUND experiencing fires. How can we have confidence in electric powered aircraft, knowing these realities will create a catastrophic situation should a fire happen during flight? REPLY: Aviation has cool vented air for motors and batteries. Airplane batteries are far less subject to abuse than in ground applications. No battery cell has ever been made that likes charging and discharging. That is why we have alternators. An onboard charging system solves that problem. The idea of total electric must go if you want safety.

3. The standard, horizontally opposed piston or radial aircraft engine is tested, refined, efficient and reliable? Why would the industry move away from that? REPLY: Radial is good but the weight per HP is too high. When micro technology is used - the power to weight goes up exponentially. It cannot be used to turn a prop, but it is great for keeping those battery cells charged up. See our demo at Air Venture.

Don Lineback

Certificated Vs. Certified

I now see that AVweb, one of the last bastions to adopt the use of the word CERTIFICATED has now fallen to the politically correct version of CERTIFIED.

Whatever was wrong with the tried and proven word CERTIFIED? Was it no longer comprehensible to the aviation community? As a 77-year-old still active pilot - I mourn the loss of a word that has always been meaningful during my 50 plus year aviation career.

James Conn

Do What's Right

With regard to Russ Niles' blog, it always frustrates me how a few inconsiderate ninnies make the world hard for the rest of GA. What possible motive could Clive Holmes have to create such a disturbance that gives every GA pilot and aircraft a bad name? Too bad the residents can't simply vote him off the island.

I fly out of a mixed-use airport on the edge of the Houston Class B. We have about half corporate jets and turboprops and half piston planes. The residents in the subdivision off the normal active runway are on the warpath because of the noise, 95% of which is caused by the jets. But, the piston planes get lumped into the discussion because no one in the subdivision understands (or cares) who is actually making the noise. The airport, owned by the city, has tried community outreach and some airport visits, but it is not really making much difference. Any ideas would be greatly accepted.

I once thought that if the city owned the airport, it was pretty well guaranteed to survive. But, after Santa Monica, I'm not so sure. All of the "little guys" I know try hard to be good neighbors, but there is not much we can do over the roar of jets on takeoff. As urban sprawl begins to surround the airport, I fear this will only get worse.

John McNamee

I found out long ago about noise complaints; some people just can't stand the sound of other people having fun!

The cure? Try inviting them to the occasion and make them a part of the FUN.

Jerry King

Industry Round-up, May 24, 2019
AVweb Staff

AVweb’s weekly news roundup found reports on an aviation upgrades shop expanding its autopilot offerings, a convention appearance for Click Aviation Network and a new training management system for Pobeda Airlines. Air Plains Services has announced that it is adding Genesys Aerosystems autopilots to its list of available products. The Kansas-based company offers general aviation aircraft upgrades.

Aviation service provider Click Aviation Network returned to the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland, this week. The company planned to showcase the latest additions to its existing international locations. Finally, Pobeda Airlines has adopted the Fox Training Management System by Britannica Knowledge Systems as its new training management platform. The system provides pilot qualification training and compliance management, courseware delivery, online testing and performance evaluation.

Short Final: Slow Down

Battling 25‑knot headwinds, northbound into Atlanta’s DeKalb‑Peachtree, ATC gave clearance to both my Mooney Ovation and a nearby Bonanza: “Direct WRGNZ, WRGNZ ONE arrival.”

ATC kept me at 6000 feet and descended the Bonanza to 4000 for spacing. I could see the Bonanza’s groundspeed on ADS‑B, and even with his descent I was gaining on him.

“Ha!” I thought, “I’ll beat him there.”

Then ATC said, “Mooney 34S, slow 10 knots for spacing behind the Bonanza.” Dang!

A few minutes later the Bonanza said: “Approach, do I get a gold star for battling these 25‑knot headwinds?”

ATC said, “No, but you do get a prize for a Bonanza beating a Mooney to WRGNZ .”

I couldn’t let that stand and keyed the mic: “But you made me slow down.”

We all got a good chuckle.

Jeff Schlueter
Fernandina Beach, FL
Brainteasers Quiz #255: The Wind Is Your Friend

Even when tilting at windmilling propellers, pilots must understand the many ways seemingly innocuous air moves and scoffs at the best laid flight plans of those who wish to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

Home Contact Advertise Help
Unsubscribe Manage Subscriptions Privacy Policy