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Jeppesen Fixing Database Problem

Some Airspace Boundary Depictions Flawed...

Well, so much for the paperless cockpit. The FAA has issued a NOTAM warning pilots using Jeppesen NavData flight-planning information to use paper charts until the company sorts out a glitch in its database that might misrepresent the boundaries of several types of special-use and controlled airspace. "This affects a small number of NavData users," said Jeppesen spokesman Mike Pound. Pound said the company has traced 350 boundary "irregularities" in the database out of more than 20,000 listed. Pound said the false boundaries can show up on data supplied directly to owners of moving-map GPS units. The aberrations can also affect flight-planning information offered by third-party vendors that use the Jeppesen database. He said the irregularities involve the precise position of the airspace boundaries. The glitch does not affect other Jeppesen data such as navaids, intersections and waypoints. The errors do not show up on Jeppesen charts, either.

...Solution At Least A Month Away

Pound said the company is working flat-out to get all the errors fixed but they won't be ready for the March publication of the monthly updates Jeppesen sends its database customers. He said the earliest the problem can be fixed is by the April 17 release of the database. "It is very important that our customers and our partners know we are aggressively working to resolve the situation," Pound said in a company news release. In the meantime, the company has prepared a comprehensive list of the mistakes and posted it as a PDF file on its Web site. Several large U.S. and Canadian airports are mentioned, including the Class B boundary at O'Hare. The errors show up in a cross section of airspace designations from all over the world. Of particular note are the problems with the boundary depictions of restricted, prohibited and dangerous special use airspace in the U.S., New Zealand, Brazil, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Most of the mistakes occur in controlled airspace boundaries and clearly not all of them are out of the way or obscure.


Show Them The Money, Students Demand

Large Training School Folds...

Students at a well-known flying school in Florida are plotting their next move after the establishment suddenly ceased operations last month. According to students, Airline Training Academy staff were assembled the evening of Feb. 27 and told the school was closing. Feb. 28 found some portion of 150 active students and about the same number of inactive students asking grim-faced instructors why they were packing their desks -- and where their money is. Student Steve McCabe told AVweb he's owed at least $15,000 worth of prepaid training. The students have launched legal action and a creatively named Web site to keep each other apprised of developments. AVweb tried to contact ATA but its Web site is not active and we were unable to find working phone numbers for the company or its principals. McCabe said he and his fellow students aren't having much luck tracking them down, either. "Students have never been officially notified of the school's closure," he said. McCabe said. He said students showed up for training the next day and found and office staff cleaning out their desks and offices. All the school's aircraft had prop locks on them, McCabe said. He said calls to ATA's lawyer of record, Robert White, have also gone unanswered.

...Students Left Hanging

In addition to his $15,000 still held by the school, McCabe said he's looking at some $5,000 more to complete the multi-IFR rating he was working on. Still, McCabe says his isn't the worst tale and that he met three young people from California who arrived at the school Friday -- each had arranged bank loans of more than $50,000 to attend. A civil suit, representing 100 students, alleges, among other things, that ATA kept taking new students until it closed and the owners bought expensive cars "and otherwise engaged in a lifestyle that would belie any financial distress or difficulty." The early efforts may already be paying off. According to the Web site, officials of one Cleveland bank are trying to retrieve unexpended loan funds from ATA so they can be used at other schools. According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, however, the Key Bank isn't having any more luck reaching company officials. "There's nobody around. There's nobody to talk to," a bank official told the Sentinel. The students are also looking into criminal proceedings against ATA. According to the student's Web site, ATA has not filed for bankruptcy.


Briefs...

Airport Watch Gets Splashy Send-off

Announced last December, AOPA's Airport Watch program and video was formally launched and presented to the general media last week amid accolades from high-ranking politicians and Transportation Security Administration head Adm. James Loy. "Airport Watch makes a significant contribution on the security awareness front," Loy told the news conference held by AOPA. The program reminds us to keep our collective 1,400,000 eyes (700,000 pilots and airport workers) alert to suspicious activity, which then can be reported to the TSA's toll-free security hotline: 1-866-GA-SECURE. The program takes its lead from the ubiquitous Neighborhood Watch program. While the principles are the same, there are some specific things pilots and other airport personnel should be watching. Among them are pilots under the control of others, taking aircraft by force, people trying to rent aircraft who don't seem to know aviation procedures and aircraft with strange or obviously illegal modifications. AOPA has sent an Airport Watch brochure to all its 393,000 members and the TSA is mailing one to all other pilots. A video has also been produced and is free for the asking or it can be viewed on the Web. It will be distributed to pilot and airport groups everywhere. AOPA President Phil Boyer said pilots should use their gut instincts and common sense in monitoring airport activity. "The goal here is to raise awareness," said Boyer. "It's not to spread paranoia."

Medical A Must For Recreational Pilots

FAA medicals will continue to be a requirement for recreational pilot certificate holders for the time being. The FAA has turned down requests by both EAA and AOPA to scrap the requirement long enough to see if it's really needed. Both groups proposed gathering detailed data on pilot performance and accidents over a five-year period to see whether the medical requirement enhances safety in recreational aviation. In a letter to EAA, Louis Cusimano of the FAA said the agency is going to use data from the pending Sport Pilot classification, which will use a valid driver's license as proof of medical acceptance, as its database. "FAA is not seeking to obtain information, data or experience beyond what we will get from operations under the sport pilot rule," Cusimano wrote. EAA's Earl Lawrence said the recreational certificate data would have given the FAA a broader base of research for future decisions on medical requirements. "We feel the two studies should have been run concurrently," he said.

Washington Flight Rules Eased

As AVweb reported last week, the reduction in security alert status from orange to yellow is making life a little easier for GA in the Washington, D.C., area. The air defense identification zone (ADIZ) remains in effect within a 30-mile radius of the capital. But a week of negotiations between the FAA and various security agencies has resulted in a new amended NOTAM containing some practical relaxations of the rules within the ADIZ. Also the FAA has restored post-9/11-normal operations to the so-called DC-3 airports. The orange-status requirement to file a flight plan from any airport within the ADIZ has been lifted but all traffic must maintain radio contact with air traffic control and squawk a discrete transponder code. Departing aircraft must establish contact, either by phone or radio, with the Potomac TRACON and get the code before taking off. The DC-3 -- College Park, Washington Executive/Hyde Field and Potomac Airfield -- revert to the restrictions in place before the orange alert. The based pilots who are allowed to use those fields no longer have to submit to a TSA inspection before takeoff, nor do they have to land at a gateway airport on the way back to be inspected.

European Champ Buys American

While Wall Street frets about the Europeans taking the lead in some aerospace ventures, there's proof positive that some Europeans still respect Yankee know-how. One of Europe's best aerobatic pilots, 2001 European champion Zoltan Veres, of Hungary, will use a custom-built round-engined Culp's Special biplane for the 2003 competition and air show schedule. "It's definitely a crowd pleaser," said Steve Culp, the plane's designer. "There's kind of a nostalgia about it. A lot of people would like to see the older, more graceful aerobatics." Culp said Veres's Special will be no slouch in the air since it will sport a 400-horsepower M-14P radial spinning a three-bladed prop. Besides competitions and shows, Veres will use the Special for a 70th anniversary commemoration of a biplane flight by two Hungarian pilots, who circumvented the Mediterranean in a bid to boost aviation in their country. Veres is helping Culp and a team of technicians build the airplane at Gesoco Industries in Swanton, Vt. The seven-week construction process will be finished in a couple of weeks and test flights will begin immediately afterward. Then, the plane will be disassembled and shipped to Hungary for final painting and the start of the season.

Military Lights Up For GA

You can't avoid what you can't see and the military has seen the light when it comes to training in total darkness. The FAA has approved a scaled-back and more GA-friendly approach to "lights out" training by military pilots in military operating areas (MOA). The boys in blue (or brown or green) will still be able to play their night games but only if they're under constant radar surveillance. Also, when a non-participating aircraft enters the MOA, the night-goggles get put away and the lights go back on. Airports neighboring MOAs will get an education program that includes a section on lights-out operations, and an online version may soon be in the works. The fighter jocks need to train without beacons and other lights to get used to using night-vision gear over hostile territory. But the rest of us don't have see-in-the-dark capability and AOPA pointed out the obvious hazard to the feds. "We appreciate the response by the military to our safety concerns," said AOPA spokesman Andy Cebula.

AD Watch

Design flaws don't come much more basic than this. The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could require inspection and/or replacement of the seat belts in more than a dozen Socata aircraft. Seems the buckles come apart when they're jerked.

As AVweb reported last week, IFR approaches have been cancelled at three Texas airports and it seems the FAA has found a few more that don't meet its standards or have to be amended for any number of reasons. In fact, there were so many, they split it up into two lists. Check to see if your airport might be affected (before a dark and stormy night) by going to list one and list two.

Civilian Tiltrotor Rotates ... Its Nacelles

The world's first civilian tiltrotor aircraft rose vertically for the first time from Bell Textron's Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday. The maiden flight of the Bell Agusta 609 lasted 36 minutes and included hovering, turns, forward and backwards flight as well as four takeoffs and landings. Test pilot Roy Hopkins reported the aircraft performed as expected but Bell CEO John Murphey could barely contain himself. "This achievement is as remarkable as when the Bell X-1 first broke the sound barrier 50 years ago," he enthused. AVweb was unable to reach Chuck Yeager for comment, but did find news on the military's troubled V-22 Osprey. While the champagne corks popped in Arlington, engineers trying to make the 609's military cousin fly were dealing with hydraulic pressure issues of their own. Flight testing of the V-22 Osprey has been suspended for at least a couple of weeks while high- and low-pressure hydraulic lines that control the aircraft's swashplate actuators are replaced. A quality control team found some production lots of the quarter-inch lines didn't meet specs, so all 20 lines in each aircraft are being replaced. Now they're wondering if there are other areas of the aircraft with suspect hydraulic lines. New suppliers are being sought for the lines. The V-22 Joint Program Office expects "normal" flight operations to resume by March 20 as they continue to groom the aircraft for crucial funding decisions that are expected later this year.


On The Fly...

Lycoming has smoothed out a minor production glitch in its IO-540 recall effort. Spokeswoman Sue Bishop said the line had to be slowed down after problems were found in an unidentified part and replacements were temporarily lost by the airline shipping them. Everything's back up to speed now and the schedule is being maintained...

There's been a change at the top at Cessna. The company announced Sunday that President and Chief Operating Officer Charles B. Johnson is taking over full responsibility for Cessna from current CEO and Chairman Russ Meyer. Meyer will remain as chairman and "be involved in strategic business matters." Johnson has been with the company since 1979 and has been president since 1997...

Bombardier Aerospace is cutting another 3,000 jobs at its plants in Toronto, Montreal and Belfast in the seemingly endless effort by the industry to rationalize some of the worst market conditions in decades. And although Bombardier's Wichita plant was spared, the announcement came as the U.S. Department of Labor released statistics showing aerospace employment is at its lowest level since 1953, with 689,000 jobs...

The Doolittle Raiders will mark the 61st anniversary of their historic bombing raid over Tokyo April 18 at Travis Air Force Base. Surviving members of the 16 B-25 crews that took off from the carrier USS Hornet only to run out of fuel over China will attend a gala featuring actor Cliff Robertson as keynote speaker...

Amelia Earhart's feminine side is featured in an exhibit at Purdue University's Stewart Center Gallery. The exhibit includes medals, love letters, fan mail and photos of the aviatrix with Purdue coeds. Gallery director Craig Martin said the exhibit shows her role and impact on Purdue and "some indications of her importance as a feminist"...

Boeing will build two versions of its 7E7 super-efficient airliner. The company is planning a Model 300 that will seat up to 220 passengers and a 400 that will accommodate 250. Boeing continues to claim that engine advances, lighter materials and aerodynamic advances will create an airliner that flies faster but uses less fuel than current designs, including the best Airbus has to offer...

Now's the time to start planning your trip to EAA AirVenture 2003. EAA has published the latest version of its Oshkosh Planning Guide. It's on the EAA Web site and offers tips on how to get there, where to stay and how to make sure you don't miss anything at flying's biggest love-in.


Short Final...

More from our "It's all relative file" ...

Approach Control: Cessna 123N, say flight conditions.

Cessna 123N: I'm not sure ... it's so hazy up here it's hard to tell.

Contributions to Short Final are welcomed at sf@avweb.com.

v1


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LIGHTSPEED OFFERS RECONDITIONED HEADSETS!
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GET THE MOST FROM YOUR GPS! AVIONICS WEST HAS TRAINING GUIDES
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AEROSHELL IS PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS FOR SUN 'N FUN!
Put AeroShell's activities on your Sun 'n Fun "to do" list. Patty Wagstaff, Jamail Larkins and the AeroShell Aerobatic Team will be signing autographs at AeroShell's Booth 85-89 in Hangar C on Friday, 9:45-10:45 for Patty; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, noon to 1 p.m. for the Aerobatic Team; and Jamail's schedule will be announced soon. Except Tuesday, Ben Visser will give the AeroShell Forums presentations every day, at 10 a.m. in Tent 9. Alternating topics will be "Care & Lubrication of Piston Engines" and "AvFuel." These are important safety forums that no pilot should miss. Visit Aeroshell online.

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SPONSOR NEWS

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ATTENTION CESSNA PILOTS AND OWNERS! CESSNA PILOTS ASSOCIATION (CPA) announces its 2003 System and Procedure Seminar schedule. Learn from CPA's experts in Cessna systems. If you want to keep your Cessna aircraft running at its best -- and safest -- sign up for one of these seminars today. They fill up fast! Member or non-member, go online today for the complete schedule, or e-mail Christine Fagundes and mention this AVflash.

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ATTENTION! IFR PILOTS! IFR MAGAZINE IS FOR YOU!
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"THE SAFEST WAY TO CATCH A KILLER" ISN'T JUST CO GUARDIAN'S MOTTO.
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RUNWAY INCURSIONS UP 50 PERCENT IN JANUARY DESPITE FAA EFFORTS ... the causes of two midair collisions ... the airplane that had a ground speed of zero knots ... Coast Guard rescues from Gulf of Mexico ... the restored airliner that ran out of gas ... just a few of the stories you'll be missing if you're not on the mailing list to receive the March issue of NTSB REPORTER. Sign up for your subscription online today.

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