NewsWire Complete Issue
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Fans Enjoy The Spectacle...
The Paris Air Show opened over the weekend at Le Bourget, delighting crowds of spectators with fighter planes zooming overhead, and bringing a bout of nostalgia as an Air France Concorde made its last landing, destined for the airport's aviation museum. Unmanned aerial vehicles, many of them freshly tested in warfare in Iraq, are getting lots of exposure and interest. An assortment of vintage aircraft are assembled for static and aerial displays, including a replica of the Blériot XI, the first aircraft to cross the English Channel; a Piper Cub; a DC-3; and a B-17. But the World War II-era Flying Fortress is the only U.S. aircraft that spectators will get to see take to the air. The current crop of the U.S. arsenal stayed on the ground. For the first time at this event, a dedicated static display area has been set aside specifically for UAVs, accompanied by five days of industry-based presentations. Show organizers were upbeat, if restrained, in their first-day news release: "At the end of the day, the number of visitors was similar to 2001. The Paris Air Show organisers are pleased with this result, which confirms the public interest in vintage planes and current aircraft. Many people admired the Patrouille de France flight demonstration (the French acrobatic team) which celebrates its 50th anniversary. This level of attendance is quite good, considering this was a hot day and transport was difficult."
...While Industry Frets About Slump
The dearth of U.S. military presence, plus the impact of a slow economy, reflect the continuing stress on the industry. Overall, exhibit space is down by 5 percent over the last show, in 2001, and aircraft on static display are down from 226 to 206. American exhibitors number 200, down from 350 last time. The U.S. military presence is cut severely -- only six military aircraft are on the field, and none of them will fly. High-ranking military officials are not attending for their own reasons, and many U.S. corporations have cut back for economic reasons, for a reduction of about 20 percent since the last show. Raytheon is there with its T-6B trainer, but Cessna stayed away altogether. "This is the worst economic crisis this sector has ever known," Boeing spokesman Jean-Marc Fron told United Press International. "We're in the middle of this crisis. We hope that in the next two or three years, the airlines will recover, and start ordering new aircraft -- and that we've positioned ourselves to supply what they need." Russia is showing only a Yak-130 trainer. MiG and Sukhoi fighter jet designers kept their aircraft away, saying they feared they would be impounded in a legal dispute with a Swiss company, Noga. Noga says the Russian government owes it more than $60 million from business deals in the early 1990s, and tried to seize Russian planes at the last air show.
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Airbus Bests Boeing...
Despite all the handwringing and bickering and grandstanding, dealmaking is the Paris show's raison d'être, and it goes on apace this week. Airbus Industrie announced at the show on Monday that it had scored a record-setting $12.5 billion order for 41 jets from Emirates Airline, the fastest-growing airline in the Middle East. Airbus also said that in 2003, for the first time, its larger order roster would translate into more deliveries than Boeing -- 300 vs. 280 aircraft. The A380, the world's largest commercial aircraft, will in 2005 debut at the next Paris Air Show and start deliveries the following year, Airbus says. Emirates' order includes 21 of the double-decker, 555-seat A380s. "This leaves Boeing looking rather foolish," Sandy Morris, an analyst at ABN Amro in London, told Bloomberg Business News. "Boeing has been saying that there's not a market for a large plane such as the A380." It will be interesting to see how the logistics of security, loading, and moving a 555-seat aircraft interacts with travelers' schedules, airport facilities and their physical layouts.
...But Boeing Keeps On Going
Boeing may be behind for the moment in the neck-and-neck race with Airbus, but it's busily in the running. And that run appears to be well worth the effort -- in Paris on Monday, Boeing released its 2003 Market Outlook, forecasting a market of $5.2 trillion for new commercial airplanes and aviation services over the next 20 years. Boeing estimates the world fleet will more than double to 34,000 jets by 2022. Also at Paris, Boeing officials touted their newly christened 7E7 Dreamliner. The company expressed confidence that the fuel-efficient 200-seat jet constructed of composites combining titanium and graphite is just what the market really wants. Boeing expects to sell 3,000 of the aircraft, which should be ready for delivery in 2008. Low-speed wind-tunnel tests have started for the design, and work is nearly complete on the model that will be used in a first round of high-speed wind-tunnel tests for the new airplane. During the first round of high-speed tests, Boeing will test four distinctly different wing designs at the Boeing Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle. Wind-tunnel tests for noise, icing, flutter and propulsion are scheduled through early 2006. The jet's name was chosen in an online poll, which Boeing said collected 500,000 votes.
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It's not often that an aviation issue is front and center in a political tug of war between the White House and Congress but that's what's shaping up in September with the FAA Reauthorization Bill. The administration has threatened to veto the bill if the final version contains language that would outlaw the privatization of air traffic controllers and possibly flight services and technical personal in the system. But Wally Pike, the president of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, which represents FSS employees, said he believes the White House will fold under political and public pressure and withdraw the veto threat. "We know we have bipartisan support and we don't think [the privatization section of the bill] is likely to be changed," said Pike. "We just don't feel like a veto is likely." Last week, the House and Senate passed their versions of the bill. Under pressure from the White House veto threat, the House eliminated protection for FSS and technical staff while the Senate bill, thanks to an amendment by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), maintained government staffing for ATC, FSS and technical staff. Pike said it's important to note that the Lautenberg amendment passed (56-41) in defiance of the veto threat despite the Republican majority in the Senate. "Eleven Republican senators voted for the bill," he said. Pike said amendment supporters told him they believe they hold the two-thirds majority support in both houses necessary to override any veto attempt. There are other discrepancies between the two bills and a committee of members from both houses will meet, likely in September, according to Pike, to find common ground on them. Pike noted that the current FAA authorization runs out at the end of September and if the president mounts a successful veto, the whole process of drafts, subcommittee and committee hearings would have to begin again.
Foiled and frustrated at every turn, the Friends of Meigs (FOM) soldier on, and this week the organization sent out a plea for supporters to contribute to the next round of legal efforts. The group is drafting an appeal to the Illinois state Supreme Court. "I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this appeal to efforts to preserve Meigs Field," FOM President Rachel Goodstein wrote in a letter to supporters, posted online Monday. "As things currently stand, there is nothing preventing the City of Chicago ... from further demolition of the airport. ... We need to move quickly, and we need to raise funds in order to do so." The legal effort is expected to cost about $100,000. Meanwhile, the results of an opinion poll in the Chicago Tribune on Monday showed 65 percent of those surveyed disapproved of Daley's destruction of Meigs' runway. Seven out of 10 also said they didn't believe Daley's claim that the tiny lakefront airport presented a terrorist threat to the downtown. "If we let Meigs Field close, no airport in America is really safe," Goodstein wrote. "Anti-airport groups are watching what happens. Please help us in this fight for aviation so we can all say that in this year of the Centennial of Flight together we won and Saved Meigs Field!"
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The flying cars we all know and love share many attributes: They climb jauntily above traffic jams, park easily in a garage, and they're (so far) imaginary. UrbanAero's X-Hawk concept of the flying car is more like a flying truck -- a utilitarian VTOL powered-lift ducted-fan vehicle designed for ambulance chores, powerline maintenance, bridge inspection, and other such mundane but useful tasks. It's also imaginary, so far, but in recent weeks, the project has been busy, adding the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to its design team for its medevac version of the X-Hawk, and presenting an overview of the project at the meeting of the American Helicopter Society. A prototype design has been built and is being used for ground and hover tests. The proposed vehicle gets its lift from ducted fans rather than a rotor, which the company says will enable it to operate in complex urban or natural environments that are inaccessible to helicopters. For example, the X-Hawk could evacuate people from a tall building by hovering next to the windows. The company hopes to expedite the certification process by using engines and rotors that are already FAA-approved.
Money is tight all over, and the Civil Air Patrol is feeling its share of the pinch. Case in point, Alaska's wing went into a tizzy recently, expecting a total shutdown, before the state government came through in the breach with a half-million dollars late last week. On Monday, the national CAP organization announced a new strategy to supplement its operating expenses -- corporate sponsorship. CAP Corporate Partners will be able to use the Civil Air Patrol name and corporate partner mark in advertising, marketing and promotions as well as in merchandising and licensing rights. "In the 1940s and 50s, corporations supported CAP and other civil defense organizations," CAP Executive Director Al Allenback said in a news release. "We need help again to continue the expansion in CAP homeland security, youth, and education programs." Among other programs, Corporate Partner funds may be used for regional homeland security command vehicles, the latest imaging and communications equipment for air and ground crews, drug reduction programs for schools, educational conferences, flight training and other support for the program's 27,000 cadets, such as new uniforms. CAP, a nonprofit volunteer organization, provides emergency services (including search and rescue and disaster relief) as well as youth development and aerospace education programs.
Dean Borgman, president of Sikorsky, told Reuters on Monday that he thinks the U.S. has too many helicopter makers, and he's interested in consolidation with other companies. In an interview at the Paris Air Show, Borgman said there probably would have been consolidation already, if not for the fact that the main players are part of larger corporations. For example, Bell Helicopter is a subsidiary of Textron, and Sikorsky is owned by United Technologies. Sikorsky unveiled its newest military helicopter, the H-92 Superhawk, at Le Bourget on Tuesday, and a Superhawk variant is contending for a contract with the U.S. Marine Corps' elite helicopter squadron, which provides service to the president.
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The FAA last week issued an amendment to an existing Airworthiness Directive for McCauley Propeller Systems 1A103/TCM series propellers, which calls for inspections of the propeller hub with a dye-penetrant procedure to check for cracks. The amendment clarifies some details of the inspection procedure and relaxes the replacement requirements. The original AD was intended to prevent propeller separation due to hub fatigue cracking, which can result in loss of control of the airplane. The new AD is effective July 17. The FAA estimates that approximately 3,000 propellers installed on airplanes of U.S. registry will be affected by this AD.
How to make money in the airplane biz has challenged generations, but one young entrepreneur in Boston has come up with a new take. The Boston Globe reports that an 18-year-old business student at Babson College started his own airline, complete with a Web site, called Mainline Airways, offering leather seats with personal TVs, affordable first class, and round trips from LA to Honolulu for under $200. The only trouble was, no such airline ever existed. Last week, the Massachusetts attorney general suggested to freshman Luke Thompson that he would be wise to cease and desist -- and he should also refrain from withdrawing any money from his bank accounts. ''In effect, [Thompson] has been grounded,'' Mass. Atty. Gen. Thomas Reilly told reporters last week. "Our investigation indicates that this was not a legitimate business, a legitimate airline. ... It had no planes and no pilots.''
A Cessna 182 and a 172 collided off Deerfield Beach, Fla., Tuesday night and crashed into the ocean; at least three dead, two missing...
EAA Ultralight Council named Carla Larsh of Indiana its new chairwoman at its meeting last week...
Four people died when a skydiving plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Jeannette, Pa., on Sunday. A fifth person was ejected from the plane and survived...
The last commercial flight out of Naples (Fla.) Municipal Airport departed on Saturday, hurting businesses that depended on passenger traffic...
A "safety summit," a four-day series of free seminars, will be held in two Australia locations next month for pilots, engineers and aviation managers. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is hosting the events in Karratha and Geraldton...
The tower frequency has changed for the Rocky Mountain EAA Fly-In on June 28 & 29. The frequency published in the 2003 brochures and flyers is incorrect; the correct frequency will be: 120.525...
A California man won a suit against American Airlines in small-claims court, for damages to his boat when it was hit by chunks of "blue ice" -- toilet waste -- that fell from an airliner.
RYAN ANNOUNCES NEW MULTI-HAZARD DISPLAY (MHD)! This high-resolution full-color 3ATI Multi-Hazard Display is designed to give pilots what they need most: easy-to-read, easy-to-interpret real time information on the most immediate flight hazard. By isolating hazard information onto a dedicated display, pilots don't have to wade through the clutter of information on an MFD to find the information they need immediately. To learn more visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ryan
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Drew Coats, of Woodlands, Texas. His photo, titled "Gorgeous WACO" perfectly describes this great looking airplane. Sort of fitting for the year-long celebration of powered flight, don't you think? Great picture Drew! Your AVweb hat is on the way.
To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw.
**Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 500 responses to our question last week on factory-built versus kit aircraft. The largest group (31 percent) of those responding said a factory aircraft was best, as they don't have time to construct. Nearly a third (28 percent) of those responding cited several reasons for constructing a kit aircraft, including the fun of building and flying one's own machine and the educational aspect of learning the inner workings of an airplane.
To check out the complete results, go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the Paris Air Show. Please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw to respond.
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note, this address is ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.
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New Articles and Features on AVweb
GPS and Beyond: The SatNav Transition
Delays in implementing various aspects of the GPS system have left many in a quandary about why and perhaps when to move to the next generation of WAAS-capable avionics, and where LAAS fits in the big picture. This article offers some guidance for both VFR and IFR operators who may be considering the purchase of new SatNav avionics.
Quiz #69 -- Talk The Talk
Whether you're talking on a busy air traffic control (ATC) frequency or some sleepy uncontrolled airport's CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency), how you sound determines how others will treat you. When the phraseology is flying fast do you sing like a 747 captain or squawk like Donald Duck? See how you'd treat these snatches of aviation verbiage.
Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
Reader mail this week about kit vs. production aircraft, the "real" birthplace of flight, insurance and more.
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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IFR REFRESHER ISN'T FLUFF! IF YOU LISTEN IT COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE! IFR Refresher's July issue highlights are typical of year-long articles: "Headed for Trouble", learn from an accident where the aircraft barely squeaked by an annual, the pilot, apparently navigating with a non-aviation handheld GPS, abandoned the clearance and crashed; "The Arc and the 60:1 Rule"; "Rules of the Load", an electrical system guided tour; "Texas Tech Day Trip", a few quiz questions along the way; and "Are You Really Ready To Go?", tips to help organize your thinking. IFR Refresher subscriptions available at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrref
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