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PLANNING STRETCHED A380
The director of Airbus's A380 program
has told an Australian television station that the company intends to
build a stretched version of the world's largest airliner, adding about
100 seats. Richard Carcaillet told Ten News the super jumbo is an "environmentally
more responsible" answer to airport congestion because it will enable
fewer aircraft to serve the burgeoning demand for airline seats
worldwide. "It is a way to grow without adding to congestion," he told
the TV station. Airbus is planning first deliveries in 2020, according
to the report. More...
CHARLESTON 787 ROLLS OUT
The first Boeing airliner ever built
outside the Seattle area (if you don't count the 717, a renamed MD-95
built in Long Beach) rolled off the company's satellite 787 assembly
line in Charleston, S.C., on Friday. The aircraft is destined for Air
India and marks the beginning of high-rate production at the plant aimed
at helping Boeing catch up with deliveries for the popular Dreamliner,
which was three years late getting to customers. Establishment of the
plant was controversial among Boeing's highly unionized Washington State
operations, with some predicting that it would be impossible to properly
train local workers to put the sophisticated airplanes together.
However, Jack Jones, Boeing's Charleston plant manager, said there was
never any question in the company's mind that it could be done and done
well. "I can certainly understand why they might question it," Jones
told KIRO TV. "But it was done the right way and the results speak for
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|Find of the Century Becomes Fight of the Year?||back to
BREWING OVER BURMESE SPITFIRES
British farmer and aviation
history buff David Cundall now says there are 124 new Spitfires buried
in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and he knows where 60 of them are. As we reported
two weeks ago, Cundall stunned the aviation world with news that he had
found at least 20 crated, brand-new Spitfires wrapped in protective
paper and tar to preserve them. Whether he'll be able to capitalize on
his stunning discovery is in question, however, as treasure hunters from
all over the world race against each other and the impending monsoon
season to dig the pickled aircraft up. In an email exchange a week ago,
Cundall told AVweb he was having problems with financial backers
who now may be rivals for the treasure trove. Cundall has not returned
subsequent email and phone messages from AVweb. He did, however,
claim in an interview with the Independent that a
British businessman is trying to hijack the project with the help of the
country's prime minister. More...
The Aviators: Watch Us
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The award-winning hit television series airing across the US weekly on
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aviation, as our pilot/hosts take you flying with the Blue Angels, on
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IS THE YEAR OF THE B-52
The B-52 first flew 60 years ago in
April, it was last produced 50 years ago, it dropped 15,000 tons of
bombs on North Vietnam 40 years ago, and now, it is being honored for
its (continuing) decades of service with a "Year of The B-52" campaign. The Commanders
Action Group of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) began
promoting the campaign in earnest this April in commemoration of the
first flight of the YB-52 on April 15, 1952. Since then, AFGSC says the
jet has served in every combat operation since Vietnam and is still an
active element of the U.S. military arsenal. By some estimations, the
jet will serve for another 30 years, fulfilling nearly a century of
service. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Major David Donatelli for a
look inside the campaign and inside the eight-engine, five-person
aircraft that AFGSC calls an "icon of American Airpower." Click through
for a link to that podcast and to read more B-52 milestones.
THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE B-52
Sixty years since first
flight, every combat operation since Vietnam and still going strong, the
Boeing B-52 is an active-duty eight-engine legend. AVweb's
Glenn Pew speaks with Major David Donatelli of the
Commanders Action Group of the Air Force Global Strike Command about the
campaign "Year of the B-52." More...
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SAFETY RECORD HOLDS, CHARTER MISHAPS JUMP
accidents are up but the accident rate and the number of fatal accidents
has decreased in the past year, according to statistics released by the NTSB on Friday. The
number of GA accidents increased from 1,439 in 2010 to 1,466 in 2011 but
the number of fatal accidents dropped from 268 to 263. The total number
of fatalities also dropped from 454 to 444. The NTSB says that because
the number of flight hours for GA increased in 2011, the accident rate
actually dropped. "While the number of general aviation flight hours
increased in 2011, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours decreased
from 6.63 in 2010 to 6.51 in 2011," the report says. While GA fared
relatively well, on-demand charter operations raised a red flag for the
JAIL TERMS RAISE CONCERN
A Greek court has sent ripples
through the aviation industry after handing out decade-long jail terms
to four individuals associated with the 2005 fatal crash of a Helios
Airways Boeing 737-300 that killed all aboard. Three executives of the
former airline and a British mechanic will now appeal the court's
decision. The crash flight was operating out of Cyprus for Prague and
crashed into a mountain near Athens. A report by the relevant
investigative authority (the AAIASB) found that the crew was
incapacitated due to hypoxia. The report states that the aircraft flew
via the flight management computer and autopilot up to FL340, until fuel
exhaustion led to the crash. The report's list of direct causes does not
include the executives or the mechanic. It includes the position of a
cockpit-accessible selector switch. A court in Cyprus had previously
acquitted all five defendants charged there in connection with the
crash. At least one aviation group is now publicly criticizing the Greek
court's decision. More...
FALLS FROM HANG GLIDER
Canadian authorities are investigating
the death of a Vancouver woman who somehow fell from a hang glider on
Saturday. The woman, a Mexican who had lived in Canada for nine years,
was on her first flight and was with an experienced instructor. Jason
Warner, safety officer for the Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
of Canada, said it's the first time this kind of accident has occurred
in Canada. He told the Vancouver Sun that right after launching
from a mountain top about 80 miles east of Vancouver, the instructor
realized his passenger had come loose from her harness and he tried to
hang on to her. She slipped from his grasp and tried to hang on to his
feet before one of his shoes came off and she fell about 1,000 feet to a
logged-out area below. Her boyfriend was shooting a video of the flight
from below. More...
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NEW TAKE ON RENTING PLANES
Startup company OpenAirplane is
hoping to launch later this year with a program that would allow
participating pilots to rent aircraft from a network of widespread
operators based on one annual checkout performed at one location. The
company says it has partnered with the insurance company Starr Aviation
to create a "standardization and evaluation program." In practice, that
program would serve as a keystone for the business, eliminating the
barriers of cost and time that "local checkouts" would otherwise impose
on a traveling pilot. In theory, OpenAirplane co-founder Rod Rakic
expects that the system will also bring other benefits. "We know that
pilots who participate in a checkout program like the one we have in
mind fly more safely," says Rakic. He is betting that participating
operators will also see gains. More...
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
APRIL 30, 2012
Letter of the Week: How Much
My answer to the "Question
of the Week" on the crew rest issue is that personal sleep needs do
vary, according to scientists. This is why they give a range rather than
an absolute value.
The challenge with the FAA (the regulator) and
the industry (the certificate holder) is that both are looking for the
absolute minimum versus the safest solution. Safety does cost. It is
like the old motor oil commercial: "You can pay me now or pay me later."
The FAA is afraid to institute the requirements that will ensure all
pilots get proper rest, stating it is the responsibility of the pilot to
report fit for duty. They bend to pressure from the airline and cargo
industry who cry it will put them out of business. If the rules are the
same for all, the cost is the same for all, so that argument is
Pilots will report for duty fit as long as reporting they
are not fit doesn't cost them their jobs. Pilots don't make the
schedules; the companies do, which is why the regulator is responsible
for making sensible rules to guide these schedules. Put on your common
sense hat: Do you really want to put you and your family on a plane
flying over the Amazon in the middle of the night knowing that the
pilots were not properly rested?
The arguing point is whether four
or 12 hours is enough rest to ensure that. Wouldn't you rather bet on
the safe side versus the minimum value?
Former National Safety Committee Chairman, Allied
Click through to read the rest of this
week's letters. More...
WILLIAM RANKIN, THE MAN WHO RODE THE THUNDER
The story of William
Rankin's ejection at 47,000 feet and 500 knots is legendary, not only
because the fall took him 40 minutes, but also because he lived to talk
about it. There are other and more recent cases of people who have been
drawn into thunderstorms under canopy and not every one ends in
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OF THE WEEK: MEISNER AIRCRAFT (KBUU, BURLINGTON,
AVweb reader Gordon Kirsh reminds us that
a little trust goes a long way in his recommendation of our latest "FBO
of the Week" -- Meisner Aircraft at Burlington Municipal
Airport (KBUU) in Burlington, Wisconsin:
I had business in the area but had not
visited the FBO previously. I was flying in on a Saturday. I called for
the availability of a courtesy car and was told that the FBO was not
manned on weekends. They gave me the code to the door and the location
where they hid the key to the car. They never met me or asked me to sign
or do anything. Fuel was $5.15 a gallon for self-serve 100LL. To have
that level of trust in people was terrific.
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
Overheard flying into Chicago
"British Airways, can you be
down to 4,000 feet by XXXXX?"
British Airways 1234:
suppose so, but I don't think I can bring the aircraft with me."
John Finley More...
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
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