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TRAINING CHIEF: CONTROLLER STAFFING IS UNDER CONTROL More...
National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) continues to
declare staffing emergencies at the nations busiest
air traffic facilities, the FAAs man in charge of training and
hiring controllers told AVweb in an exclusive interview last week
that the skies are not as dark as NATCA would have the public
ZEALAND HIJACKING RAISES SECURITY CONCERNS
A New Zealand
newspaper reporter claims he was able to board both legs of a return
trip from Christchurch to Napier with a six-inch knife and a toy gun in
his carry-on baggage a day after a bizarre hijacking attempt in which
two pilots and a passenger were allegedly injured by a knife-wielding
Somali woman. Jonathan Marshall, of the Sunday News, said no one paid
any attention to him or his bag on either flight, mostly because New
Zealand does not require security checks of passengers on domestic
flights on aircraft with less than 90 seats. By ironic coincidence, he
was seated next to a police Armed Offenders Squad member (New Zealand
for SWAT team) on the return leg and the officer studied a radio manual
while I sat drinking tea and concealing my gun and knife," he
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UK'S HYPERSONIC AIRPLANE DESIGN
Reaction Engines of Oxford,
United Kingdom, says its A2 design could carry 300 passengers at close
to 4,000 miles per hour, flying from Belgium to Australia in about five
hours ... 25 years from now. "Our work shows it is possible,
technically. Now it's up to the world to decide if it wants it,"
Reaction's head, Alan Bond, told CanadianContent.net. The 470-foot long
Mach 5 aircraft would stretch more than twice the length of the Airbus
A380 and have a range of more than 12,400 miles cruising within the
earth's atmosphere. Passengers could expect to pay less than $7,000 for
the honor of riding the windowless beast, according to Reaction. And
that cost is not tied to the cost of fossil fuels, as the A2's engines
will burn liquid hydrogen, the cost of which Reaction hopes will decline
in coming years. Reaction says the aircraft would escape earshot at .9
Mach before lighting it up over the North Pole and heading over the
Pacific at Mach More...
KIT: 180 KNOTS ON 180 HP
New Zealand company Falcompositehas flown a prototype of a two-place
aerobatic kit plane that its projecting will fly 180 knots on 180
hp and stall at 50 knots. The Furio will come with retractable or fixed
tricycle gear and the sleek-looking prototype, which first flew on
Sunday, will be unveiled at Aucklands Ardmore Aerodrome on
Wednesday. Although there are several kits that match the performance
specs of the Furio, the company claims that the aircraft is easier to
build than others on the market. More...
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CRASH-PLANE'S PILOT JAILED
He flew his aircraft into power
lines before it crashed into the Wisconsin River, killing his passenger
as her family watched in August of 2004 -- now he's going to jail. Mark
Strub was sentenced to six months in jail for his role as pilot, but
much of that time may be spent in community service and work release.
Kimberly Reed, 39, was killed during the crash at a Children's Miracle
Network Balloon Rally. Strub was faulted for flying too low and
operating his aircraft in a careless manner. Beyond jail and public
service, Strub has been ordered by the court to pay for and participate
in mediation counseling that would bring the surviving family members
together with him, if they agree to it. Strub has also been ordered to
write a letter of apology More...
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BLOCK PRESIDENT'S FAA NOMINEE
Senators Robert Menendez and
Frank Lautenberg, both Democrats representing New Jersey, announced
Thursday they would block President Bush's nomination of Robert Sturgell
from reaching the Senate floor for a vote, according to The Associated
Press. The two Senators based their stand on flight delays originating
in East Coast airspace and Sturgell's actions as acting administrator to
alleviate those delays. The government has announced limits for arrivals
and departures at New York-area airports and is working on airspace
redesigns that often prove unpopular with communities worried their
neighborhoods will be negatively impacted by increased noise from
rerouted aircraft. "It's time for President Bush to nominate an
administrator who solves transportation problems, rather than creating
more of them," Lautenberg told the AP. More...
MODERNIZATION AT WHAT COST?
The total cost of a NextGen
system empowering pilots with satellite-based air traffic control
information is expected by the FAA to cost up to $22 billion, but that
figure may be very conservative. At least one analyst, Transportation
Department Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III, forecasts that
software development alone will push costs over $50 billion. Scovel
aired his opinions during a House hearing on the FAA's 2009 proposed
budget, and qualified them by saying that costs "remain uncertain."
House Aviation Subcommittee members requested the FAA to review its
figures and respond to Scovel's estimate. The FAA's current funding will
expire Feb. 29, and the Bush administration's budget proposal for 2009
would offer a $688 million investment in NextGen technology.
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USERS: CHECK YOUR DATABASE
AVweb learned over the
weekend that the navigation database in some Bendix/King KLN94 GPS units
might be incomplete. A flight instructor from California told us that
his home airport, Palo Alto (PAO), did not appear on several KLN94 units
installed in various aircraft on the field. The instructor said he
called Bendix/King customer support and was told that there was an error
in formatting the data for the cycle that expires on Feb. 13. The
problem is supposed to correct itself on Wednesday, when the next data
cycle takes effect. But pilots flying with these units early this week
should check their database prior to launch to ensure that their
destination and any alternates are available. Bendix/King customer
support for the KLN94 was unavailable to confirm the report on Sunday.
BIODIESEL WORLD FLIGHT PLANNED
A Florida pilot is hoping to
fly a Learjet around the world on biodiesel in the next year. Douglas
Rodante and his group Green Flight flew a Czech-built L-29 to about
16,000 feet in Nevada last October on biodiesel and is hoping the FAA
will let him take the same aircraft on an eight-stop trip across the
U.S. later this year. Hell need the frequent fuel stops because
the L-29 was purposely built with short range to discourage defections.
It was also designed to run on a variety of fuels, including home
heating oil, which made it a preferred choice for the first flights. By
the end of the year or early next he hopes to attempt the Learjet
circumnavigation and there are some technical challenges awaiting.
THE FLY ...
Regional Express (Rex) is predicting pilot
shortage crises in Australia ...
Four Corners Regional Airport
threatened by renovation expenses ...
60 million passengers may
come through new Qatari airport in 2010. More...
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US ABOUT YOUR INTERIOR SHOP
Our sister publication,
Aviation Consumer, is preparing a report on interior shops. If
you recently had an interior redone, the editors would like to hear from
you, whether the experience was good or bad. To take part in the online
survey, click here.
The results will appear in a
future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information,
click here. More...
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AMAZING FEATS OF AVIATION DHL BAGHDAD
Recounting one of the most impressive feats in
recent aviation history, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew
recalls the circumstances of the DHL A300 shot by a surface-to-air
missile over Baghdad. The crew successfully landed the aircraft without
the ability to manipulate any control surfaces. (Note: The aircraft
shown in simulation is a Boeing 777, not an Airbus A300.) (Click
through to watch.) More...
NOLAN MAY HAVE JUST THE PRESCRIPTION FOR ATC ...
could wave a magic wand and instantly add a few thousand new
controllers, a fully operational national ADS-B system, and plenty of
extra user fees. The air traffic control system will still be seriously
broken. At least, that's the opinion of Michael Nolan, a professor of
aviation technology and director of Purdue's air traffic control program
and author of the book Fundamentals of Air Traffic
Control. Michael tells AVweb's Mike Blakeney that ATC is
never going to catch up with the ever-increasing demand for capacity
until one more thing happens. Michael's secret ingredient to complete
his next generation ATC recipe is revealed in this AVweb audio
feature ... . More...
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OF THE WEEK: NORTH LAS VEGAS AIRPORT (VGT, LAS VEGAS,
"FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT) in Las Vegas,
AVweb's own Mike Busch has nominated these folks
before, pointing out that "the same customer service people have been
working there for as long as I can remember (zero turnover), so they
really know what they're doing." In addition, Mike tells us, "The
facility is very nice, and the avgas prices are always extremely
competitive (particularly at the self-serve island close to the GA
terminal). There's a regular shuttle service that runs between the GA
terminal and the hotels on the Strip."
So why is Mike so eager to
have us make VGT's FBO our "FBO of the Week"? Well, there's
About my only complaint is that there's a
restaurant up on the second floor of the terminal building with a lovely
view of the airport, but they seem to have a hard time keeping it open.
It has changed hands a number of times and keeps going out of business,
which is a bummer. Maybe if VGT [is] the "FBO of the Week," it'll get so
much new business that they can keep the restaurant
One can only hope! Congrats to the folks at VGT
for running such a tight operation. (Mike, bring us back a
those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
AVwebFlash is a weekly
summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events
featured on AVweb, the
internet's aviation magazine and news service.
AVwebFlash team is:
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