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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At
THE GOOD AND THE SAD
As AVweb reported all last week, the scene in Oshkosh this summer
was bright and bustling, with cooperative weather, big crowds, and a
feeling that the worst is behind us. Wednesday, EAA released
estimated numbers, backing President Tom Poberezny's words offered
in a Monday news release that the show was "one of the most successful
conventions we've ever had." The figures confirmed a record 2,960
registered show planes (beating the former number by nearly 7 percent),
an estimated 770,000 attendees wandering the grounds and more than 800
RACER AND PILOT DON'T MAKE IT HOME...
The sleek and beautiful Hughes H-IB Racer, a one-of-a-kind homebuilt
that attracted thousands of admirers last week at EAA AirVenture, crashed about 6:30 p.m.
Monday night in Yellowstone National Park, killing its devoted and
inspirational pilot, James
Wright, 53, of Cottage Grove, Ore. The plane was on its way home
from Oshkosh. It approached from the west about treetop level, the
Associated Press reported Tuesday, and struck the bank of the Firehole
River near the main park road, about five miles north of Old Faithful
geyser. The crash started a fire that was quickly snuffed by park
workers. Nobody on the ground was hurt. More...
AIRVENTURE COVERAGE INDEX
This marked AVweb's first year of streaming video coverage direct
from the AirVenture show grounds, all of which remains available (for a
brief period) along with our written coverage, plus our six-page image
gallery. For your reference...
- For access to hour-long video segments produced daily
with AVweb's AirVenture partner AirsideTV, click through here. Readers pay $10
for the complete hours-long footage.
- The latest installment of free video programming, which
focuses on the homebuilts of AirVenture '03, is
online now as are previous installments that
include flight performances . See also previous installments #1,
which brings insight into the new GA engine line from Bombardier, #2
(the Kitty Hawk pilots), #3,
which includes a tour of AeroShell Square, and #4
(Stratoliner, Orbis, and 12 P-51s).
- Written coverage includes an
interview with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, progress of the
Sport Pilot initiative and synthetic vision, and new
engine developments. Note: you may have to scroll through.
Various powers-that-be in D.C. insist there is nothing to fear in the
new FAA reauthorization bill -- including FAA Administrator Marion
Blakey, who last week at AirVenture told
AVweb, "There are absolutely no plans to privatize air
traffic control as we know it." Others through their actions apparently
think Blakey is either lying, fickle, or irrelevant in the long term.
With no resolution in sight to disputes over privatization language in
the bill, the legislation now has been put on hold until after Labor
Day, while Congress takes a recess. Among the loudest dissenters, the
National Air Traffic Controllers Association says
the bill would allow for the removal of FAA controllers from 69
towers, replacing them with contract workers. Blakey said the FAA
already has that option, and has not exercised it. The Professional Airways Systems
Specialists (PASS) also decried the "disastrous" bill, calling it a
threat to aviation safety. More...
IS OK WITH HALF A LOAF...
AOPA says that although it is "disappointed" in the reauthorization
bill's stand on privatization, the legislation does include many
features favorable to general aviation, and it would be better to get it
passed than to risk further delay and debate. "While we don't like
everything about the bill," AOPA President Phil Boyer said
in a news release last Friday, "we are asking senators to support it
by voting 'yes.'" AOPA noted that the bill includes a four-year
moratorium prohibiting the FAA from transferring aircraft separation and
control functions to any public or private entity other than the U.S.
government. However, that is far from a promise not to privatize.
NBAA SEES HOPE FOR DCA ACCESS
The National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA), meanwhile, is also urging the
business aviation community to ask Congress to support the bill in
its current form and get it passed. Of primary concern to the NBAA is a
mandate for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop a plan
that would allow security-qualified GA operators to regain access to
Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The NBAA said it has worked
hard to get this provision into the current version of the bill and
hopes to work closely with the DHS on the development of the security
plan. The provision would allow the president to suspend GA operations
at any time, citing national security concerns, but the reasons for the
suspension would have to be explained to Congress within 30 days.
ANOTHER LITTLE JET
On Monday, Avocet Aircraft,
headquartered in Westport, Conn., announced that it will work with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI),
manufacturer of Gulfstream bizjets, to develop and market the Avocet
Professional Jet, a six-seat, twin-turbofan, all-metal-fuselage jet
designed for the air-taxi and fractional markets. Projected sales price
is about $2 million, with deliveries projected to start in late 2006.
The ProJet enters a crowded field, already occupied by Adam, soon to be
contested by Diamond, Eclipse, Cessna, etc., all with jets at various
stages of design/completion coming to market, and projected prices
varying from "well under a million" to about $3 million. IAI designed,
certified and manufactures business jets for Gulfstream Aerospace,
including the G100 and G200, and is currently developing the G150 with
SAGA -- THE FINAL CHAPTER?
crews advanced upon Meigs Field early Tuesday morning, despite pleas
from the aviation community for a moratorium on destruction. "The day we
had all feared has arrived," lamented
AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Meigs is no more." But the undaunted Friends of Meigs does not so
easily give up. "The city seems to be running scared," said FOM
President Rachel Goodstein, still fighting for a plan that would create
a combination park/airport at the site. So far, the city has not
responded to the FOM's proposals. More...
DC-8 CRASH CAUSED BY FAULTY MAINTENANCE
said on Tuesday that the probable cause of the crash of an Emery
Worldwide Airlines DC-8 aircraft near Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 16,
2000, was "a loss of pitch control resulting from the disconnection of
the right elevator control tab." The three crew members aboard the
flight were killed, and the aircraft was destroyed. The board judged
that improper maintenance work caused the control problem that doomed
the airplane, but investigators were not able to determine exactly when
the improper work was done. NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman said the
finding illustrates the interdependence of each member of the aviation
safety chain. More...
MIDDLE-SCHOOLERS NOW HAVE AIR & SPACE OPTION
A new program starting next month in Stockton, Calif., offers a chance
for 24 students in grades 7 through 9 to integrate aeronautics and space
into their middle-school curriculum. The Venture Space and
Aeronautics Academy will meet at the Stockton National Guard Air
Center. "There's so much science and math in aviation," academy educator
Marcie Lane told the Lodi News-Sentinel. "It's exciting and motivating
for the kids." Local EAA members will cooperate with the program as
pilot mentors and as part of the Young Eagles program. Materials
developed by NASA and the FAA will be extensively used in the classroom.
SYNTHETIC VISION -- FLY BLIND BY FEEL
A system intended to enable pilots to fly accurately even when
being tested this month at Canada's Institute for Aerospace Research
(IAR) in Toronto. The system, developed by U.S. Navy Capt. Angus Rupert,
uses stimulators embedded in a pilot's vest to produce tiny vibrations
that move around the torso in the same direction that the aircraft is
moving. The inputs are said to be easy to interpret and help pilots
sense their position in the absence of visual cues. Initial tests
suggest the tactile system reduces both pilot workload and spatial
disorientation when flying in degraded visual conditions.
PIPER: PURSUING THE PAST TO FIND THE FUTURE
New Piper said last week
that it has achieved shorter product-development cycles and greater
efficiency in its "Factory of the Future" by implementing the production
techniques developed by automobile manufacturers in the 1980s. "That
task was nothing less than changing the way Piper does business," New
Piper CEO Chuck Suma said in a news release. New Piper also noted that
it took only six months to achieve FAA certification of its newest model
-- the 6X, a normally aspirated, fixed-gear version of its more complex
six-seat Saratoga II aircraft that dates from the 1980s. "People said it
couldn't be done in that short a time," Suma said. The 6X should be
ready for delivery next month, Suma said last week at EAA AirVenture.
JOINS "SOON TO BE CERTIFIED" SET
A sleek amphibian (not a description usually used for flying boats) that
captured the imagination -- if not the marketplace -- in the kit crowd
will be launched as a certified design, according to Advanced Aero
Corporation spokesman Paul Marshall. A prototype of the production
Seawind, with its distinctive tail-mounted engine and massive bubble
canopy, could be started as soon as this fall in Quebec. First
deliveries are anticipated in 2005, said Marshall. The company says the
aircraft offers performance similar to many complex singles at a
competitive price and adds water operations as a bonus.
Boeing S-307 Stratoliner arrived
August 6 at Washington Dulles...
A Learjet 35A crashed Monday in Groton, Conn., killing both
Ibis Aerospace 10-seat propjet to be
Czech-certified by 2004...
FAA wants pilots for an online survey
about Flight Service Stations...
727 designer Jack Steiner died last week at age 85, in Medina,
Scottsdale (Ariz.) pilots face
rising noise complaints...
Michigan pilot-background-check law is repealed. More...
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Kimberly Lansdon, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
Rules and information are at
OF THE WEEK
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
This week, we're doing things just a bit differently. Because our team
of AVweb reporters captured a slew of high-quality photos at
AirVenture, the POTW team decided to pick the top three. We hope you
enjoy them! We welcome you to browse our AirVenture Image
Galleries and disagree.
To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to
QUESTION OF THE
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 100 responses to our question last week on
AVweb's AirVenture coverage. About a quarter (26 percent) of our
respondents enjoyed the new product release coverage, while 8 percent
picked our new streaming video as a their favorite feature. Many (26
percent) couldn't single out a best feature, so they chose the "I can't
pick a favorite because it's all great!" category.
To check out the complete results, go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the overall AirVenture
experience. Please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw to
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note, this address is
ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.
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New Articles and Features on AVweb
Roll Your Own Electronic Flight Bag
Overwhelmed by paper? Tired of buying and carrying pounds of approach
charts for a cross-country trip when you'll be landing at only a few
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when you're ready to bring your charts into the digital age.
Quiz #71 -- Special Use Airspace
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) have become permanent, roving
annoyances to pilots. Other Special Use Airspace (SUA) restrictions
have vexed aviators for decades. Test your knowledge of off-limits
airspace. This quiz first published August 7, 2003.
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