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Volume 9, Number 34aAugust 17, 2003

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

What do you do when the power goes out at one of the country's busiest GA airports? You make a paper fan, grab a flashlight and keep on landing, servicing and taking off airplanes. At least that was the story at Teterboro (TEB), near New York City, on Thursday. While Gotham (and its three major area airports) was paralyzed, TEB's generators kept air traffic controllers on the job and everyone else made do. "We stayed open, which was incredible when you consider all the major airports had to close," an FBO employee, who asked not to be identified, told AVweb. "They had no air conditioning and they worked with flashlights. They weren't happy, but they were working." Not all GA airports were able to keep functioning but pilots seemed to be able to find those that were. More...

Of course, the blackout virtually stopped airline traffic, and not just in the areas without electricity. Aircraft (and pax) that were supposed to head to the Northeast from all over the country were stuck at their departure airports. FAA officials told The New York Times that more than 700 flights were cancelled across the U.S. Air Canada's whole fleet was virtually paralyzed because its central command center near Toronto was shut down. Foreign carriers, too, turned back flights already over the Atlantic, inbound to the U.S. By Saturday, however, it appeared that most airlines and airports were getting back to normal. Right up until a 30-45 second power outage Sunday at a radar control facility on Long Island translated into a 30 minute ground-stop at Newark, LaGuardia and JFK, and much longer delays. More...

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The FAA has taken on the daunting tasks of "reinvigorating global air travel and reigniting the power and the potential of aviation for the 21st Century." And it's giving itself five years to lay the groundwork. The agency recently released its draft strategic plan (PDF file) for the years 2004 to 2008, which it coyly calls its Flight Plan. It frankly admits that the status quo just won't do anymore. "Today, the challenges facing aviation demand nothing less than a transformation of the system itself," the plan's introduction says. "This will require a willingness to embrace change on both the part of the industry and the FAA." The plan outlines four major goals including increased safety, greater capacity, international leadership and organizational excellence. More...

Seemingly at odds with increased safety is the FAA's determination (and the industry's need) to put more airplanes in the same airspace. Again, technological development gets the nod to decrease separation and streamline the system not only for passenger convenience but to ensure airlines are squeezing the most value possible out of each mile they fly. But the FAA doesn't want to pursue these initiatives in isolation and is hoping the rest of the world will come along for the ride. More...

Perhaps the FAA's biggest challenge through the life of the plan, however, is reinventing itself enough to achieve the lofty goals. Based on the amount of ink the plan devotes to the FAA's own internal challenges, this might be where the rubber hits the road. The agency wants to control costs (many project costs have spiraled out of control in recent years) while at the same time giving employees "the appropriate tools and resources in order to accomplish our mission." The answer, according to the plan, is an agency-wide cost-control program that will ideally find and eliminate wasteful and redundant programs and redirect their funding to those that work. And there's a not-so-subtle hint to the FAA workforce (and unions) that times are changing. "In turn, employee compensation and salary increases should be performance-based, allowing the agency to control costs and reward success." More...

The FAA is still accepting comments from the public for the Web version of the draft plan (the published form has already been printed) and the agency promises that input will be considered. AOPA is among the groups that has gone over the draft and discovered at least one glaring omission. "... The FAA's draft plan does not deal with the effects of aviation security requirements on GA traffic ..." thundered President Phil Boyer in news release. Boyer said a strategy to soften the impact of security-related restrictions on GA is needed. AOPA is also worried that a new training program called the FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) program (PDF file) might become a tap on pilots' wallets and a boon to manufacturers and insurance companies. More...

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Private-sector air traffic controllers are as highly trained as their federal counterparts, have a better safety record, and many are more experienced, says the president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. In a letter sent to AVweb, Ron Taylor dismisses the "doomsday" predictions of those opposing the expansion of the Federal Contract Tower (FCT) program -- a program initiated at smaller airports in 1982. Under the current version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill that will go to Congress in September, the FAA has the ability to expand the FCT program to 69 more towers currently under FAA control. Taylor claims safety concerns raised by some are a red herring in the debate. More...

"During our investigation of the problem, we determined that the configuration and quality controls over the production of these parts were so deficient that we do not have confidence that the airplane can be operated safely for any period of time," a new Airworthiness Directive states. The FAA, last week, grounded 222 Learjet Model 45 business jets until their horizontal stabilizer actuator assemblies are replaced. The new AD issued last Wednesday supercedes an earlier one that called for inspection of the assembly. At the heart of the problem is a screw and nut assembly that can get brittle and fail. More...

AVIONICS WEST IS HAVING A BIG BLOW OUT SALE! On all AirMap GPS's including the AirMap 100 and 500 series. If you want to save some serious dollars on the Lowrance AirMap GPS and accessories, now is the time. For a limited time, Avionics West has dropped the price on both the panel-mount and portable BOSE X ANR series headsets. For more too-low-to-advertise prices, call 805 934-9777, or send an email to or go online at

While Cirrus is reporting record sales, Diamond fills flight schools and Lancair Certified ramps up production to clear a backlog of orders, the world's biggest GA company is still writing pink slips. Another 300 Cessna employees were let go last Tuesday as the company finished its review of workforce requirements. The layoffs are included in a total of 1,200 originally announced last March and the first 900 workers were let go in May. As late as three weeks ago, Cessna was saying it might be able to keep the remaining 300 on staff. "It's taken awhile to review everything we need to know to make the right adjustment," Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Myers told The Wichita Eagle. More...

It's too big for some runways and terminals but is Airbus's A380 also too big for some airlines? According to the CEOs of two major U.S. airlines, the 550-seat behemoth will be shunned in the U.S. as too costly and too crowded. "I don't think the A380 is going to sell other than to cargo carriers in the U.S.," Northwest Airlines CEO Richard Anderson told Bloomberg News. Northwest operates about a dozen B747 models to haul cargo. Continental CEO Gordon Bethune said he doesn't think passengers will want to be lost in the A380 crowd. "What's in it for me to sit on an airplane with 500 other people, wait for my bags with 500 other people, check in with 500 other people," he wondered. He did fail to mention the A380 has room for such amenities as full-service restaurants and lounges. Continental operates an all-Boeing fleet. 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 cumulative. By the time a chemical spot or hardware store CO detectors 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 sale for $99.95. Be safe and order your CO detector today by calling 888 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or go online at

As in just about everything else, timing is everything in financial forecasting. Just two days before a blackout paralyzed a good part of the North American airline industry, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was giving a rosy outlook for the coming two years. It's too early to tell what effect the millions in losses from Thursday's blackout will have on the incipient recovery but if ICAO is right it might be just a minor blip in an otherwise upward trend, worldwide. More...

Southwest carried the most passengers of all U.S. carriers in May...
Diamond gave $20,000 in scholarship funds to customer Embry-Riddle...
Entegra panel displays were picked for Javelin personal jet...
British flight fans enjoy helicopter rides at museum. More...

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Kate Jennigns, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to Rules and information are at

SINGER RAY CHARLES & THE BEACH BOYS TO APPEAR AT CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION This six-day Celebration, December 12-17, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is designed to commemorate the last century of flight; celebrate the achievements of aviators throughout history; and inspire the next generation of aviators. Secure VIP events seating, purchase commemorative collectibles and apparel, and enter to win the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes at

As I was heading across the Desert a few monthes back, at the height of the Iraqi war, and wanting to cut through R2515 around Edwards Air Force Base, I had the following exchange with Joshua Approach...

Joshua Approach, Musketeer 123 requesting transition through R2515.
Joshua: Restricted area currently off limits, but let me talk to them at Edwards.
(About 20 seconds of dead air and then Joshua came back to me.)
Joshua: Musketeer 123, Proceed through the restricted area as requested, they need some practice on slow targets. More...

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:

Reader mail this week about commercialism at Oshkosh, spins and stalls, boycotting Chicago and more.

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: or Janice R. Valdez, email:, phone 314 721-7011; or Michael Yeager, email:, phone 314 447-3200.

New Articles and Features on AVweb

Use Your Head
We study the rules, we memorize procedures, and we execute standardized practices in the hope of making our flights as safe as possible. Yet sometimes following checklists and procedures blindly to the letter can hinder that achievement, and a good pilot's job is to sort out the difference.

Pelican's Perch #72: The Legendary Zero (Part 2)
In this continuation of his checkout in a Japanese Zero, John Deakin does his preflight in the cockpit, fires it up and takes to the air in one of the very few flying examples of this famous WWII fighter.

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