On The Fly...

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Next time you flip on your GPS, pause for moment to consider what's running it. The U.S. Air Force Space Command launched its 50th GPS satellite on Saturday to replace one that's nearing the end of its life. The tab? $45 million for the satellite, plus whatever it costs for the ride from Cape Canaveral to geosynchronous orbit via a Delta 2 rocket...

The Indian air force is free to put weapons on 66 "trainers" it bought from Britain, according to the Times of London. The British government won't normally sell such hardware if it thinks it might be used as a weapon (India and Pakistan are in an uneasy truce) but Indian newspapers said the $2 billion deal was contingent on the air force doing what they wanted with the nimble little jets. For the record, India says the planes will be used as advanced trainers to prepare pilots for its crash-prone Mig-21s...

Montreal-based Bombardier will keep its military pilot training division after winning a $270 million contract to train Canadian CF-18 pilots. U.S.-based L-3 Communications, which makes F-18 simulators, is a partner in the bid. Training will take place at Canadian Forces Bases in Cold Lake, Alberta, and Bagotville, Quebec...

Two Marine pilots successfully landed at 102 Virginia airports in a single day to raise money for Angel Flight East. Lt. Col Lindy Kirkland and Maj. Rob Krieg flew a Cirrus more than 1,600 miles last Wednesday, completing the mission in a little over 16 hours...

Four winners of the National General Aviation Awards have been named. They are Doug Stewart, of North Egremont, Mass., the CFI of the Year; Gary Goodpaster, of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Maintenance Technician of the Year; Keith Lewis, of Spartanburg, S.C., the Avionics Technician of the Year; and Walt Schamel, of Winter Haven, Fla., the Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey will present the awards at EAA AirVenture 2004

A cockpit voice recorder found at the UN didn't come from a missile attack that killed two African leaders. Authorities say the black box contains 30 minutes of normal cockpit conversation in French. When the box was found in a file cabinet at the U.N., initial speculation was that it was from a Falcon business jet carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda that was hit by two missiles while landing at Kigali 10 years ago.