On The Fly...

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Air show performer Chris Smisson was killed Saturday in a strange accident at the Gulf Salute 2003 air show at Tyndall AFB, near Panama City, Fla. Witnesses told the Panama City News Herald that Smisson, 55, a Delta international captain and U.S. Air Force veteran, was to race a rocket-propelled truck on the runway. When the truck failed to start immediately, Smisson apparently tried to loop his SP-95 and set up for a second run but the aircraft hit the grass next to the runway...

The federal government may pay $6.8 billion for missile defenses on airliners. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) told a news conference on Thursday that the government has the responsibility to "make sure the traveling public is secure." Mica, the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, made the comments after a closed-door briefing with the CIA, TSA, Israeli government officials, the Defense Intelligence Agency and defense industry reps...

John Hammerschmidt, acting chairman of the NTSB, retired Friday as Ellen Engleman started picking out colors for his old office. Engleman, along with Mark Rosenker and Richard Healing, were confirmed by the Senate as board members Wednesday. Hammerschmidt, who sat on the board for 12 years, said the NTSB made great strides at eliminating midair collisions and wind-shear accidents during his tenure...

Think you've got the fastest socket wrench in the West (or East)? Then PAMA wants you to join their Maintenance Olympics as part of the annual symposium and trade show May 11-13. Teams of three will compete for pride, glory and the coveted Golden Wrench Award. Bombardier won last year...

With echoes of ham-fisted diplomacy echoing through its structure, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan's Air Force One is being dismantled at San Bernardino Airport. The Boeing 707, tail number 27000, will be reassembled on the roof of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif....

Flight testing of the V-22 resumed ahead of schedule after a 10-day break to replace potentially faulty hydraulic tubes in the tilt rotors' engine nacelles. After a 20-minute flight in one aircraft, the rest were cleared to resume their test schedule following precautionary maintenance...

John and Martha King, founders of King Schools, became the latest Life Associates in AOPA's Air Safety Foundation. The honor is bestowed upon anyone who donates more than $2,500 toward ASF programs. More than 100,000 pilots took ASF programs last year.