On The Fly...

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A major snowstorm on Monday closed airports and affected aircraft operations from the Ohio Valley to the mid-Atlantic region. Several major airports were affected, with New York's JFK International reporting 25 inches of snow and hundreds of flight cancellations. Ronald Reagan Washington National was also closed on Monday and nearby Dulles operated with a single runway throughout the day. At nearby Baltimore-Washington, more than 400 flights had been canceled, forcing about 150 travelers to spend the night at the airport. In all, about 1,100 cancellations were reported between the major New York and Washington, D.C., airports...

Creditors are reportedly waiting in line, as United Air Lines draws closer to shutting down operations.  Recent reports indicate the struggling carrier may not emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and that has the financial buzzards getting ready to get whatever scraps they can. While the carrier's loan covenants require it to meet a schedule of reductions in operating losses and break even by October, creditors are preparing to dissect the airline, piece by piece, if necessary. Stay tuned to AVweb for developments on this story...

A Russian-made airliner carrying as many as 302 passengers crashed in southern Iran on Wednesday. The Antonov -- which was carrying mostly military personnel -- was on a domestic flight from Zahedan, on the Pakistan border, to Kerman, about 500 miles southeast of Tehran. Unfortunately, the jet never arrived, as it crashed about 50 miles from its destination. Some reports indicate the passengers were members of the elite Revolutionary Guard, part of Iran's Islamic regime...

A new $7.5 million Learning Center at the National Aviation Hall of Fame is offering a unique "human" look into the history of aviation. Officials of the new facility -- which is adjacent to the Air Force Museum in Riverside, Ohio -- say the purpose of the new museum is to teach the history of aviation through the stories of the men and women who made it happen. Topics of interest include: the first pilot who can claim the first romantic adventure in midair, and why astronaut Gus Grissom wore a panty girdle on his first flight into space...

Cirrus has expanded its horizons to the opposite end of the earth. The company announced this week that it delivered its first aircraft to a New Zealand customer. The SR22 was among the 15 percent of the company's production that goes outside the U.S. There are now Cirruses flying in Canada, South America, Australia, Mexico, South Africa and Europe...

Adam Aircraft recently celebrated the first flight of its A500 aircraft, production-002. The initial flight of the A500-002 took place at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo., on Thursday morning, Feb. 13.  The flight lasted approximately 35 minutes and reached an altitude of 13,000 feet. The A500-001 made its first flight July 11, 2002, and has flown 122 hours over 62 flights. The A500 is a twin-engine, inline-thrust, pressurized, six-seat aircraft...

On Monday about 10 percent of Air France flights were cancelled as a result of a four-day pilot strike. The carrier's main pilot union -- which demands higher wages -- is threatening to eventually halt 50 percent of flights in the airline's second strike in two weeks. Air France called the action an "absurdity of the strike in the current air transport context, which is certainly the worst in its history, especially with war looming in the Middle East."...

The first U-2 reconnaissance flight over Iraq on behalf of the United Nations inspections program took place on Monday. The flight -- which had been a source of contention between the Middle Eastern country and the U.N. for a few weeks -- was completed without incident.  Iraqi officials had originally objected to the U-2 flights, contending they couldn't guarantee the safety of the plane if it was flying over Iraq at the same time as U.S.-British air patrols were operating in the "no-fly zones" of northern and southern Iraq.