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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At
CONFUSION MEETS GA...
"Chaos in California" was a common headline over the weekend, as dozens
signed up to run against Gov. Gray Davis in the state's recall election.
That chaos is affecting GA, too. In the midst of a budget crisis, the
state, through signed budget legislation, could divert $4.8 million
(capable of leveraging near $28 million in federal funds) from the
Division of Aeronautics into the general fund. That money is derived
from taxes on users of the aviation system, says AOPA, and should be
used for aviation support. While AOPA last week urged approval of a bill
now in the state Senate that would safeguard the funds, a story titled
"State budget includes vital airport funds" that last week ran in
California's Desert News credits others and seemed more assured of the
outcome. ...Maybe Arnold could figure it all out? More...
BUSY VAN NUYS MAKES "PRIVATIZABLE" LIST...
Amidst all that California chaos, air traffic controllers from Van Nuys
Airport held a press conference to publicize the fact that their tower
-- which handles more than 500,000 takeoffs and landings each year --
could be contracted out to private workers under the current version of
the FAA reauthorization bill. "Privatizing air traffic control will put
companies focused on cutting corners in charge of landing planes," said
John Goodin, local chapter president of the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association (NATCA) at the Van Nuys control tower. Of the 69 air
traffic control towers slated for privatization, 11 are among the
nation's 50 busiest towers, NATCA says. Van Nuys is
the eighth-busiest in the country, says NATCA. (Preliminary
information from the Airports
Council International this year lists VNY at number 12 among U.S.
airports for total aircraft movements.) More...
VANDENBERG AFB SWITCHES TO CONTRACT ATC
Meanwhile, as tensions intensify over the issue of ATC privatization,
the tower at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base has
quietly become the first active-duty Air Force tower to be manned by
contract civilian air traffic controllers. The switch took place August
1. "Air traffic control is on the critical-skills list for the Air
Force," Capt. Michael Horowitz told the
Air Force News Service. To help free up some controllers for other
Air Force slots, Horowitz said, it was decided that some of the slower
towers could be outsourced to civilian contract workers. The switch will
save the Air Force $520,000 over a three-year period, he added.
GLASS AIRPLANES SELLING LIKE HOTCAKES...
When Cirrus Design announced
last week that sales of its SR20 and SR22 aircraft set a new sales
record in July, at 51 airplanes, the natural reaction was a warm and
fuzzy feeling. Granted that 51 airplanes in a month is a drop in the
bucket compared to GA's overall peak production -- back in 1979, GA
manufacturers in the U.S. cranked out more than 1,400 units each month
on average. (For 2003, total deliveries for the entire first six months
amounted to 1,031 aircraft, averaging 171 per month.) GA shipments
overall are still in decline, down 13.8 percent compared with the first
half of last year, but perhaps other manufacturers should look into the
Cirrus surge. More...
LANCAIR LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Lancair also is offering good
news of its own. Lancair announced at Oshkosh that the turbocharged
Lancair Columbia 400 is ready to start flight-testing and said it's
building one Columbia every four days, and continues to ramp up
production. This follows last year's cash
crunch that shut down the factory. Early this year, investors
supplied the cash needed to restart production. "We've been making
significant capital investments in the organization that will enable us
to continue to produce aircraft rapidly, cost-efficiently and to a very
high level of quality," said Lancair President Bing Lantis. "Our
production ramp-up is on or a little ahead of schedule in all areas.
We're right where we want to be." More...
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FINDS MINETA'S STAND FISHY
Congress may be taking a recess -- putting the FAA reauthorization bill
on hold till after Labor Day -- but the debate over privatization goes
on without a break. In the latest round, the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association (NATCA) is getting snippy with DOT Secretary Norm Mineta
over the Bush administration's decision to declare seafood inspection an
"inherently governmental" function -- the very designation NATCA has
been insisting for years that ATC deserves. John Carr, president of
NATCA, asked Mineta last Thursday to "extend the same level of safety to
our skies as you do to our seafood." More...
FOR SMALL REPAIR SHOPS
Owners and operators of repair stations face a sea of paperwork from the
FAA, but a new publication from the Aeronautical Repair Station Association
(ARSA) aims to relieve some of that workload. ARSA, based in Alexandria,
Va., announced last week that it has published a Model Domestic Repair
Station Manual to help small repair stations develop their own manual
and comply with the latest FAA rules. The model manual is designed for
small domestic repair stations, and addresses every section of the new
FAR Part 145 (see AVweb's earlier coverage, "
...Repair Stations Face New Rules") to facilitate verification of
compliance. The document is not likely to make any best-seller lists:
cost is $1,000, but members of ARSA can get a copy for only $250.
ON CESSNAS, ADS-R-US
The FAA has extended its comment period by one month for two proposed
Airworthiness Directives that would require a wing-spar modification for
several models of Cessna twin-engine aircraft. Comments can now be
submitted on or before September 8, 2003. Click here
to download the proposed AD affecting Models 402C and 414A, and click here
for the proposed AD affecting Models 401, 401A, 401B, 402, 402A, 402B,
411, and 411A. Plus, Notices of Proposed Rulemaking have been issued for
Cessnas including certain 172, 182, and 206 models to address
inadvertent and undetected engagement of the Honeywell KAP 140 autopilot
system (click here
for details). Inboard forward flap bellcranks on Cessna Models 208 and
208B airplanes have also achieved new
regulatory attention. More...
ABOUT MISSILES PERSIST
Onboard systems help military aircraft to anticipate and avoid attacks
from missiles, and in this post-9/11 era, efforts are mounting to
quickly transfer that technology to the civilian realm. The FAA
reauthorization act now in the works would create (in Sec. 427) a
task force to hasten that process. Underscoring the urgency, The New
York Times reported last Wednesday that the U.S. government several
weeks ago secretly dispatched teams overseas to investigate the dangers
of shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles at civilian airports. Teams have
been sent to Greece, the Philippines, Iraq, and elsewhere in Europe and
Asia, the Times said. More...
HOW SENSITIVE IS
"YOUR" CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR? Low levels of carbon monoxide
can be hazardous in aircraft since the effects of CO and hypoxia are
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alerts, you could have a life-threatening exhaust leak. The CO Experts
2002 from Aeromedix warns of CO levels as low as 5 parts per million! On
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362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi
ADVOCATES DENOUNCE AERIAL GUNNING
Flying at 40 feet or so AGL while firing at wild animals on the ground
might not seem like the safest way to fly an airplane. But it's standard
practice in the American West, where the federal government operates a
fleet of aircraft and contracts with pilots to fly their own small
airplanes and helicopters for "predator control." This summer, the
practice is under fire from environmentalists, following several crashes
they say boost their argument that the practice is unsafe ... for
humans, that is. This summer, a small airplane and a
helicopter involved in hunting crashed in Montana, injuring four
people, two of them seriously, and a federal aircraft in Nevada crashed
in July. More...
INPUT SOUGHT ABOUT AVIATION DIGITAL DATA SERVICE
As long as pilots are up in the sky, they'll be looking for ways to
anticipate what to expect next from the weather. New tools are
constantly in development, and one popular way to access text, digital
and graphical forecasts, analyses, and observations of aviation-related
weather is via the Aviation Digital Data
Service (ADDS) and its experimental Flight Path Tool. The National
Weather Service (NWS) is proposing to provide technical support to the
project, and needs
comments from pilots about the usefulness of ADDS. AOPA says it
strongly supports ADDS and urges pilots who appreciate it to let the NWS
know. For more information, go to the project's Web site.
An RC airplane is headed to
Ireland from Newfoundland...
EADS Socata and P&W will
increase the TBO for TBM 700 by 500 hours...
A hydraulics system failed on an Osprey V-22 last Monday at
APSA blames TSA for the slow
pace of guns-in-the-cockpit training...
See AVweb's homepage for online video
coverage of Oshkosh AirVenture 2003.
Overheard while flying east from Dayton...
Approach: Cirrus 123, whats your speed?
Cirrus 123: Now showing 200kts over the ground on the GPS.
Unknown pilot on frequency: Thats one fast-moving cloud!
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Steve Craig, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
Rules and information are at
VANTAGE AND SPIRIT AIRCRAFT PROPERTIES BEING SOLD The
trademarks, drawings, flight test and performance data, marketing and
customer contact list, and tooling and molds from more than 12 years of
research and development will be sold for both aircraft. The Vantage, is
a six-seat, single engine, business class jet, and the Spirit, is an
experimental two-seat aircraft. The sale will be by sealed bid,
according to bidding procedures approved by the United States Bankruptcy
Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Case No. 02-47804-293).
Deadline for submitting a bid is September 18, 2003 at 01:00 p.m. (US
Central Daylight Time). To receive a copy of the bidding procedures as
well as information on how to obtain a bid package contact: Howard S.
Smotkin, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Janice R. Valdez, email:
email@example.com, phone 314 721-7011; or Michael Yeager, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 314 447-3200.
Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature
Reader mail this week about AVweb's Oshkosh coverage, pictures and
questions of the week, cargo plane crashes and more.
Failure is Not an Option -- Part I
Failure of a key component of your plane like a vacuum pump or the
electrical system is not optional -- it's a certainty if you fly enough
hours. But failure to complete a flight safely after an electrical
failure shouldn't be left to chance. A successful outcome is likely if
you plan in advance.
The Pilot's Lounge #64: It's OK
New pilots (and old hands, for that matter) sometimes need permission to
do what their gut tells them, rather than trusting old wives' tales told
during hangar flying sessions. Other times, the gut instinct needs to be
honed with a few well-placed stories. AVweb's Rick Durden has some of
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