AVmail: January 2, 2003

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New AVweb Format

Just wanted to take a moment to compliment AVweb on an outstanding Internet service. I've been a subscriber since the beginning and have enjoyed every edition of AVflash and the great web page. The new improvements make the service more invaluable than ever. Keep up the great work!

Brian Buckstiegel

New AVweb Format

After being a regular visitor to Avweb (5 yrs?) I feel I must comment on the recent change to the AVweb new format on-line. I prefer the old format that allowed you to scroll down the page to read the articles presented for the news report. Now it lists the individual articles and you have to click on them to read them, and back out to continue. I feel this is more inconvenient and prefer the previous format. Please bring it back!


Bob Wampler

(keep up the good work otherwise)

AVweb responds ...

We're with you. Actually, we didn't intend that the News Wire stories would appear in discrete windows but that the entirely column would be scrollable.

It was an oversight. As of this week's AVflash, we've returned to a scrollable news column.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director

New AVweb Format

Ugh! What happened to the readable default font size that has so long been in use on the site? Furthermore, what happened to the ability for the user to dynamically change the font size? Your choice of font is nice, but please do those of us with middle-aged eyesight a favor and make it a bit bigger by default and more importantly return our ability to browser-control the size.


Brian Cerveny

AVweb responds ...

We didn't intend to prevent browsers from dynamically scaling the font size, but apparently some browsers aren't able to do it. We're working on finding a solution for all browsers.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director

What Your Signature Could Cost

By warning Lycoming customers about "potential" risks in signing a subrogation waiver, you may unwittingly cause the demise of a key General Aviation engine manufacturer. Lycoming for decades has been a leader in quality aircraft engines. If we allow the lawyers to take advantage of Lycoming, especially now during these tough econmonic times, aircraft owners may ultimately find themselves unable to keep their planes in the air. Lycoming is making an honest effort to appease aircraft owners and at the same time keep the company afloat. Launching a salvo of legal torpedos may make some people happy, but in the long run we are only hurting ourselves. If Lycoming does not survive, we will all pay a much greater price in many respects.

Bob Sutherlin

AVweb responds ...

So lets see if we've got this straight: You would rather assure that Lycoming survives rather than have some poor blighter out there total his airplane and then discover he has no insurance to cover the loss? If that's the price of "supporting" general aviation, we would just as soon take up bowling, thanks. The point of the story wasn't a "salvo of legal torpedos" but merely a heads up for owners to check their policies closely. We think it's the prudent thing to do.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director

Nukes "Safe" From Airliner Attack

Don't get too comfortable about the reported results of crashing a 767 into the containment structure of a nuclear power plant. While I have no doubt the concrete containment structure of most plants could withstand the forces, there are other vulnerable areas that could be easily damaged by even a light twin and do as much or more harm than breaching the reactor containment structure.

For example, each plant has a water-cooled spent fuel pool that is shrouded mostly by a sheetmetal auxiliary building. The spent fuel bundles are stored in this pool under borated water (a neutron absorber) at all times after removal from the reactor during refueling. The spent fuel is very dangerous, as its radioactivity actually increases during service. Remove the coolant from this pool, and the fuel bundles (typically uranium pellets encased in tubes of zirconium assembled in a grid pattern around a neutron-abosrbing control rod) will catch fire, which could result in a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl, as this fire would be difficult to extinguish and none of the combustion products would be contained.

There have been several operational incidents during refueling (where the spent fuel pool is connected and open to to the reactor vessel via the refueling canal) where serious loss of coolant has occurred due to failure of seals in the refueling canal. Although none of these events exposed the fuel bundles in the spent fuel pool, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded that this represents a credible risk hazard for operators of certain plants.

This risk is increased as most U.S. plants have increased the storage density of existing spent fuel pools by installation of high-density racks due to the lack of a permanent storage facility for spent fuel.

I would keep a very wary eye on the airspace around nuclear power plants with respect to all aircraft, not just heavy aircraft.

Tim O'Neill

(I was once a construction inspector employed by the major piping subcontractor at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo, Calif.)

Nukes "Safe" From Airliner Attack

I like the new format very much! However, do you really think it's wise to tell all the potential terrorists that they need to hi-jack an aircraft larger than a B-767-400 and fly it faster than 350 KIAS in order to compromise the 4-foot concrete barrier around the critical parts of a nuke powerplant? This is a prime example of the news media innocently aiding and abetting the wrong people by exercising their Constitutional rights! Discretion is the better part of valor!

Skip Henricks

One for the Good Guys

I just finished reading several of your newest articles. Why not let all your writers know that they do some of the very best aviation writing being done anywhere right now?

I usually start reading these stories that, inititally, sound like fiction. Then, the details get just a bit too complex and I realize these are probably true life events being retold.

After that it's wonderment at how someone can find time to work, fly, husband, have fun, and still turn out such good writing.

Best wishes to AVweb and your entire crew for a healthy and successful New Year. Thanks for the reading.

F. Start

Collision on Approach

The article presented in today's Safety section regarding a Cessna Caravan that struck a power pole while on an ILS approach is just another sickening reminder that these types of unnecessary accidents continue to occur because an old, well-known and simple instrument approach techniques is not being taught by most instrument instructors. Specifically, I am talking about the SAVI approach technique.

The SAVI procedure is not a radically changed method -- in fact it is just a more effective way to use the instrument flying skills all instrument pilots have been taught. If you have not heard of it or are not using it, then you make my point why we continue to have CFIT accidents. From my experience (over 20,000 hours -- a large percentage of it involving instrument flying) I am sure that controlled flight into objects (other then the runway) can be completely avoided if the simple SAVI approach procedures spelled out on the web site are taught and used for all approaches.

Check it out yourself. I have taught this technique to many and never had one (even if they had doubts to begin) who did not agree (once they became proficient in its application) that it was everything I said, and was a tremendous boon to safety when flying instrument approaches.

Dan Jessup

AVweb responds ...

It is an interesting procedure. As an instrument instructor, I'm always looking for better and safer ways to fly IFR. It's certainly true that we now know a lot about how procedures, training, and cockpit resource management can increase safety. That said, before I change my flying and teaching habits, I would want to know there is a statistically significant safety increase for pilots who use the SAVI procedure.

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Features and AVmail Editor

Hooters Air Bounces Back

I just read your piece about Hooters Air getting the support they need. Does that mean that all their aircraft will fly by underwire?

Jim Krause

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