...Working Toward The Advertised Product...

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The icing test program, however, is slated for next winter. And the July and September dates for TC amendments depend on getting all the necessary interaction with the FAA completed. "The FAA budget cutbacks are putting stress on manufacturers," President Joe Walker said in a follow-up call with AVweb yesterday. Inspectors are not always available to do the required work. For example, "Last week, we had to fly the airplane to Boston, because the FAA staff we needed to work with didn't have the budget to come to Denver," he said. The initial TC also limits the airframe to 250 hours total. Walker said the company will start further fatigue testing in August that would push the limit up. The tests essentially will involve shaking an airframe for 24 hours a day, which would allow the fatigue limits to be increased by hundreds of hours for each week of trouble-free testing. "The key is to stay ahead of your fleet," Walker said. Since early deliveries of the A500 are going to owner-operators, not commercial operators, estimated use is only about 200 hours a year.