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Money Makes The World...

Congress To Decide On Next Four Years Of FAA Funding...

Tuesday, the Bush administration's four-year funding plan for the FAA, known as the Centennial of Flight Aviation Authorization Act (Flight-100), went off to Congress. "Flight-100 will help increase capacity and efficiency throughout our aviation system," DOT Secretary Norman Mineta said in a news release. The proposal would support modernization of the air traffic control system, provide a substantial investment in safety research (perhaps without one major NASA research center) and airport infrastructure improvements, and would restructure the Airport Improvement Plan to spend more at small airports. The proposal includes $2.9 billion in FY 2004 for FAA facilities and equipment, rising to $3.1 billion by 2007. The FAA would receive $7.5 billion in FY 2004 for operations and maintenance -- a 7-percent increase over the FY 2003 budget request. The funding would support implementation of the FAA's Operational Evolution Plan, the acceleration of airspace redesign and future air traffic controller staffing needs. Flight-100 calls for an Airport Improvement Program investment of $3.4 billion each year. "The Bush Administration looks forward to working closely with the Congress on timely passage of this bill as we continue to improve the safest aviation system in the world," Mineta said.

...As Industry Struggles With Lagging Production...

Following a recent cutback in its expected bizjet orders, Cessna will axe about 1,200 jobs, most of them in Wichita, Kan., and 6,000 workers will be furloughed for seven weeks, The Wichita Eagle reported last week. Cessna's parent company, Textron Inc., based in Providence, R.I., cited global concerns in its decision. "The current economic and geopolitical situation has worsened and is affecting business jet demand much more severely than expected," Textron CEO Lewis Campbell said in a news release. Textron had planned to deliver about 220 jets this year, but now has cut that number to 180-195. Cessna delivered 305 bizjets in 2002. Contributing to the latest job reduction was a decision by Cessna's biggest customer, NetJets, to cancel orders for some of the business jets it planned to buy from Cessna this year, The Wichita Eagle reported. Campbell said the downturn in the bizjet market will not affect new product development, and Cessna will roll out its new Sovereign, CJ3 and Mustang jets according to plan. "In spite of the temporary softening in the business jet market, we believe that long-term demand for business jets is still excellent," he said. The CJ3 is scheduled for a first flight sometime in May.

...And Worries Of War Feed Uncertainty

As the war in Iraq continues, it could cost the airlines $10 billion worldwide, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Saturday, about $4 billion of that in the U.S. But when the White House on Monday asked Congress for $75 billion in emergency funding to pay for the war, no airline relief could be found there. International passenger traffic could drop up to 20 percent, the IATA said, and already about 150 flights over Middle Eastern airspace have been suspended or rerouted. Delta said Monday it will cut its schedule by 12 percent, joining the other four top airlines, which cut back from 6 to 12 percent last week. Boeing laid off another 960 workers last Friday, bringing its job-loss total to 5,000 in the last year and a half. More airline bankruptcies loom, as well as tens of thousands of job cuts. IATA Director General Giovanni Bisignani called on governments worldwide to allow more airline mergers. "We need the economies of scales that mergers or acquisitions can provide," he said. "The air transport industry is going through its worst crisis since the Wright Brothers flew one hundred years ago." IATA has activated a 24-hour task force to help 270 member airlines rejigger routes in wartime.


Appropriated Airspace

Chicago Gets A TFR Of Its Own...

It seems that EAA and NATA were premature in congratulating the FAA late last week for keeping the skies open in Chicago. As AVweb reported Monday, the alphabets were full of praise for the agency's refusal of the city's request for a no-fly zone. The FAA and TSA said there was no credible threat. Apparently something changed over the weekend, and the FAA declared that until further notice, VFR flight is banned below 3,000 feet over a chunk of downtown Chicago. Meigs Field remains open, but some approach and departure routes will be affected. The alphabets were not amused. Politicians should be careful what they wish for, said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Tourist and business travelers will interpret the restrictions to mean that there is an imminent threat of a terrorist act and will cancel plans to visit your city," he said in a news release.

NOTE: Read the full text of the flight restriction in Adobe's PDF format.

...Alphabets Are Angry, But Daley Is Delighted

EAA Executive Vice President Bob Warner said, "Department of Homeland Security [DHS] officials had stated that they would not introduce more widespread restrictions unless intelligence points to a specific target or credible threat. We call on the FAA and DHS to stick to their word; either produce the specific, credible intelligence of a terrorist threat, or cancel this TFR." AOPA says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley apparently went over the head of the FAA, straight to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge. †Meanwhile, Mayor Daley was pleased, saying: "[The TFR] will deter hostile acts and contribute immeasurably to the safety and peace-of-mind of the millions of people who live, work, visit and attend public gatherings in the greater downtown area of Chicago." EAA's Warner believes the DHS has seemingly "caved in to Mayor Daley, who has a history of spurious requests to severely restrict airspace above his city."


Briefs...

And Sometimes, Dreams Come True

A young aviator at Delta State University in Jackson, Miss., started up a conversation with his passenger on a short charter flight -- the conversation changed his life. Lamar Buchanan, a 24-year-old senior, told Nelson Wilson how tough it is to cover the costs of flight training. When student loans fell short, Buchanan took to fundraising, holding spaghetti dinners and fish fries. The effort was delaying his graduation. "That was Monday when I took him flying," Buchanan told the Greenwood Commonwealth. "That next Wednesday, he came up to Delta State and paid $25,000 into my flight account. Paid for it. Not only that, but he offered me a job flying for him. His company is going to buy a plane." Wilson is CEO of BMW's Prosthetics & Orthotics in Jackson. He says he was touched by Buchananís drive and spirit. "I was impressed by how aggressive and knowledgeable he is, so I asked him how much he needed to finish his flight training," Wilson said. "I've had to struggle to get where I am today. When I met Lamar, I just couldn't say no to his need." Buchanan says he's wanted to fly since he was small and saw U.S. Air Force recruiting ads on TV. "I was inspired by my love for speed and an enormous fascination with how something as big and as heavy as a plane could fly. At that time, I had never seen a black pilot and I was determined to be one," he said. "I'll never be able to explain how it feels to know that my future is secure and that I don't have to worry about paying for my education," Buchanan said. "My dream of becoming a pilot will come true in only a few months thanks to Mr. Wilson and his family."

Comments On Airman Security Rule

Tuesday was the last day to comment on the FAA's recent final rule that allows the TSA to deem any pilot a security threat, making that person ineligible to hold any FAA airman certificate. There is no appeal except to the TSA, which may not reveal its evidence, at its own discretion. About 640 comments were filed, many expressing concern over the lack of due process and the efficacy of the rule. "How many of the 9/11 hijackers had FAA documents?" asks one. "All of my rights as an American [are going] right down the drain," says another. Advocacy groups also had negative reactions. The Aircraft Electronics Association wants the rule rescinded, saying: "Removing the airman certificate from a key employee in a repair station could cripple the business. Performing such a removal without sufficient cause represents a severe harm on a business that is not correlative to any safety concern." The National Business Aviation Association doesn't like it either: "Giving an airman 15 days to respond in writing to a revocation that already has become effective and without any information as to why the action was taken barely is any process, let alone the process due under the Fifth Amendment." The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association asks that the rule be amended to allow for appeal to the NTSB. The EAA says the rule is "unconstitutional and leaves open a huge gap that could snare law-abiding U.S. citizens." The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations says: "The new TSA and FAA rules in their present form are unconstitutional and improper, in our view." Maybe there were some positive comments among those 640, but we didn't find any.

Texas Honors Aviation Pioneer For Lifetime Achievement

Emma Carter Browning began her flying career in 1929 with a $1 plane ride in Abilene, and last week, at age 92, the Texas Department of Transportation gave her its lifetime achievement award. Browning, a pioneer in Austin aviation, worked with her late husband, barnstormer Robert Browning Jr., to start an FBO at University Airport in 1939, which stayed in business for 48 years. Thousands of pilots learned to fly at Browning Aerial Services, including many World War II fliers. The FBO moved to Austin's Robert Mueller Airport in 1946, and provided service for commercial airliners, sold fuel and aircraft, and ran charter flights. The family business was sold to Signature in 1987. "I sort of have to pinch myself just to be sure that indeed it is me receiving this award," Browning said, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Browning lobbied against the closing of Robert Mueller Airport --"The greatest-known aviation massacre event occurred right here in Texas," she recalled in her acceptance speech -- and now works as an advocate for creating an aviation museum for Central Texas.

Virtual Javelin Jet Flies In Digital Skies

If you've been waiting and waiting for the chance to fly your very own personal light jet, that day has arrived -- at least, a simulated version of that day has arrived. "The Javelin's performance is awesome. The flying experience is everything we hoped for and more," said George Bye, president of Aviation Technology Group (ATG), based in Englewood, Colo. That is, we remind you, the simulated flying experience. ATG test pilot Robert Fuschino has been flying the simulator and says the handling qualities are good. ATG plans to develop the simulation as a flight training device and a marketing tool. Fuschino flew it in the landing configuration, in aerobatics, and in formation flight. The company says the simulator accurately represents the Javelin performance and handling qualities, and is helping to fine-tune the micro-jet's design. Because of results from the simulations, the company said, the cant angle of the vertical fins will be reduced from 25 degrees to 15 degrees or so, and they will be made slightly smaller. This kind of preflight tweaking will save time and expense in the real-life test phase, the company said. Future Javelin owners will be offered a chance to fly the simulator in the near future, said Bye. The two-passenger all-metal jet is projected to sell at $2.2 million and fly to a certified ceiling of 49,000 feet with a range of 1,440 sm at 600 mph, with deliveries to begin in 2006.

Women In Aviation Conference Winds Up, Women's History Month Winds Down

Women In Aviation International wrapped up its conference last weekend with its annual distribution of scholarship awards to dozens of women -- this year's total exceeded $300,000. The awards pay for aviation training and type ratings. About 2,400 people attended the event, held in Cincinnati, Ohio. "Even in these tough times," said WAI President Peggy Chabrian, "there are several companies looking for new employees ... including airlines." Sales of booth space set a record, she said. Meanwhile, events around the country have commemorated women's contributions to aviation as part of Women's History Month. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Daytona Beach, Fla., about 500 local schoolgirls were invited to a Women In Aviation program this week. The featured speaker was rocket scientist Natasha Kraus, a 1998 graduate of ERAU's aerospace studies program. Also, former astronaut Kathryn Sullivan, veteran of three space shuttle missions and the first American woman to walk in space, will give a public talk tonight on campus. The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, in Washington, D.C., tonight hosts a talk by Marta Bohn-Meyer, a NASA engineer and aerobatic pilot, and the first female flight engineer to fly aboard an SR-71 Blackbird.

UPSAT Announces Color Navigator

Although everyone in the industry knew it was just a matter of time, UPSAT let the cat out of the bag this week by giving avionics dealers a sneak peek at its new color mapcomm, the CNX80 Integrated Avionics System. The new navigator's color display looks remarkably similar to Garmin's line of color products but its screen size is a bit larger than the Garmin GNS430. The CNX80 has some intriguing interoperability, too. Included is the ability to automatically call up approach plates when connected to UPSAT's large screen MX-20 MFD and the option of a remote transponder controlled entirely from the navigator. UPSAT told AVweb Wednesday that the CNX80 will be certified to TSO C146, the WAAS guidelines and will be available for sale sometime in May. Suggested price for the CNX80 is $11,995. For more, visit their web site.

Correction

That time-honored maxim to always read the fine print never found a better journalistic application than Monday's edition of AVweb. We originally carried a story, based on an AOPA news release, that the FAA had issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring "hijack" transponders in all GA aircraft. Turns out the AOPA release was wrong and the NPRM applies only to Part 121 aircraft. Although we routinely verify these types of stories to ensure their accuracy, we didn't check closely enough on this one (and neither did AOPA). Buried near the end of the NPRM is a single sentence that stipulates the NPRM is for the big iron only -- at least for now. It does open the door a crack to spreading the requirement to other classes of airplanes and invites comments to say why that shouldn't be so. Those comments can be made online, referencing docket number FAA-2002-14081.


On The Fly...

NOTAMs, wherefore art thou? It's getting easier to find NOTAMs online, though calling FSS before every flight is still the only way to be sure. But you can get a head start, at these links: the FAA NOTAM site, which is updated every 28 days, and the NBAA site, which posts major TFRs and frequently requested NOTAMs...

Ellen G. Engleman was sworn in Monday as chairman of the NTSB. She previously was head of the DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration. Engleman has a master's in public administration from Harvard University, holds a law degree, and serves as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve...

More than 2,800 people attended the First Annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition, held last week in Sao Paulo, Brazil...

British Airways cancelled eight Concorde flights over the next few weeks, citing delays in installing new cockpit doors required by U.S. regulations, and fueling speculation that the supersonic jets are going to be discontinued...

But will it fly? Over the last year, more than 3,000 sets of blueprints for the 1903 Wright Flyer were sold by the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum, at $50 apiece.


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MOUNTAINSCOPE FROM PCAVIONICS IS A SAFETY ESSENTIAL
With 17% of general aviation fatalities caused by controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), MountainScope is essential to display situational awareness of your surroundings in plain and 3-D views with pictorial warnings of dangerous obstacles or terrain. Terrain elevation points at 90-meter intervals provide the basis of the topo and 3-D map displays. Overlaid onto the terrain are familiar aviation charting symbols to provide guidance to the closest airports, and navaids in case of emergency or disorientation. Flight Planning and Track Logging are additional features. Go online for a demonstration and more details.

AIRSPORT ALTITUDE ALERTERS SUN 'N FUN SPECIAL
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REMINDERS

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SPONSOR NEWS

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