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The instructor pilot in the cockpit of the Asiana 777 that crashed in San Francisco on Saturday was acting as an instructor in a 777 for the first time, the NTSB said in a news conference on Tuesday. The captain at the controls, it was previously reported, was flying his first approach in the 777 into SFO. A third pilot was also in the cockpit, said NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman, and the fourth was in the cabin, at the time of the accident. All four pilots have been interviewed by NTSB investigators, and all were "very cooperative and very forthright with our team," said Hersman. As of Tuesday, 26 passengers remained in the hospital, including six listed in critical condition. 

Hersman also said on Tuesday that initial crew interviews and reviews of flight data don't appear to show any problems with the 777 before the crash. She also responded, on CNN, to complaints from the Air Line Pilots Association about the release of information from the investigation. "We believe that it is always better to put out the correct information and factual information so that bad information is not able to propagate," she said. ALPA released another statement on Tuesday calling the NTSB's release of data "ill-advised." ALPA added that questions need to be raised about why the ILS was out of service at SFO, and what other navigation aids the crew may have had access to or may have been using. The NTSB has posted video of its news conferences as well as video from the accident scene at its YouTube page. ALPA's statements are posted at their website.

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On Monday, the Air Line Pilots Association released a statement critical of the NTSB's handling of the Asiana crash investigation. "ALPA is stunned by the amount of detailed operational data from on-board recorders released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this soon into the investigation," ALPA said. "The amount of data released publicly during the field portion of the accident investigation is unprecedented. It is imperative that safety investigators refrain from prematurely releasing the information from on-board recording devices. We have seen in the past that publicizing this data before all of it can be collected and analyzed leads to erroneous conclusions that can actually interfere with the investigative process." 

ALPA's statement says the release of data points from the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder "encourages wild speculation … about causes of the accident before all the facts are known … and in this case before the flight crew had even been interviewed." ALPA said the partial data can be taken out of context and may be "sensationalized by the media." The full text of ALPA's statement is posted online.

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AVweb's newly redesigned website is now live. Although it may look unfamiliar at first glance, the basic organization follows the old site, but we've expanded many of our topics and features to provide more granularity in how we present news coverage. The new site's graphic design is cleaner and less cluttered and will allow us to better present news, video and graphics.

Just to make things easier, the far left pulldown menu on the homepage--the Aviation News Finder--is organized exactly like the old site and will have labels and tabs that will be familiar to readers. If you're entering the site for the first time, you'll see a prominent box at the top of the page asking you to register. But the new site will recognize your old password, so just click the log-in link located just above the main navigation bar. Can't remember your password? No worries; there's a lost password utility to help you retrieve it. Once you're in, the registration box won't appear again.

We're continuing to index existing editorial material from the old site into new subcategories in the new site, so some of the tabs won't be populated yet. However, all the archives are there and our improved search engine will find anything  on the site, regardless of when it was posted. In the coming days, watch for our multi-media section and menu categories to fill up as we catch up on indexing and sorting. Let us know what you think of the new site and any suggestions you might have to improve it.

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Piper and start-up fuel distributor Airworthy Autogas jointly tested the fuel company's 93 octane unleaded fuel on an Archer as part of the lead-up to Airworthy Autogas's launch later this year. Piper conducted a structured flight test regime using the fuel at its Vero Beach headquarters. Next comes a series of cross-country tests to determine the viability of the fuel. Piper CEO Simon Caldecott said the testing is part of Piper's effort to find alternative fuels that work in its aircraft. The tests were done on an Archer equipped with a Lycoming O-360 and Lycoming was part of the program. Piper did not discuss the test results so far. 

Mark Ellery, director of business development for Airworthy Autogas, said the fuel is "high-purity, low-vapor-pressure, ethanol-free, 93 octane, premium unleaded automotive gasoline" and distribution will begin in the fall. "Bringing Airworthy Autogas to the marketplace provides an alternative for the majority of general aviation aircraft without compromising airworthiness," Ellery said. "Our goal is to get pilots flying more for less." Ellery did not say how much the 93UL will cost or where it will be initially sold. He said it meets ASTM D4814 (automotive fuel) specifications but also meets Lycoming's Service Instruction 1070S for use of fuels other than 100LL in its engines. "Airworthy Autogas, unlike traditional automotive gasoline, is designed for use in powering spark-ignition internal combustion engines used in aircraft applications," the company says in its description of the fuel.

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Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at

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AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
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Glenn Pew

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

Kevin Lane-Cummings

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Karen Lund

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