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AFTERSHOCKS OF 9/11 STILL HURTING GA...
The terrorist attacks of two years ago have seriously damaged flying's
image, according to some of those on the front lines. In the last two
years, 500 flight schools nationwide have closed their doors, the South
Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Tuesday. While economic factors are
the major reason, some operators cite a "stigma" that has turned people
off from the whole idea of flying. "If you tell people that you run a
flight school, the first thing that comes out of their mouth is: 'How
many terrorists have you trained?'" Mariano Garcia, of Palm Beach
Aviation, told the Sun-Sentinel. More...
WICHITA STRUGGLES TO RECOVER...
Among the economies particularly hard hit, Wichita, Kan., central to the
aviation industry, lost billions of dollars and about 14,000 jobs. The
loss of each of those highly paid manufacturing jobs has a ripple
effect, causing the loss of two other jobs as the flow of money slows
down, the Topeka
Capital-Journal reported on Monday. In Wichita, it's all added up to
a lot of unemployment. "The impact is overwhelming," John Moore, a
former Cessna VP who is now the lieutenant governor of Kansas, told the
Capital-Journal. "Aviation has always been cyclical, but I don't think
in history that you can find a time where it went from such a remarkable
high to such a dramatic low." More...
SMALL AIRPORTS HOPE FOR BLUER SKIES
While the big manufacturers hunker down and wait for better times, the
small businesses scattered among the nation's local airports can't
always surmount the obstacles of restricted flight areas, slow rentals
and training, and stalled fuel sales. One example is the Tacoma Narrows
Airport in Washington state. In 2001 the Narrows airport recorded 95,791
tower operations, which fell to 81,449 last year, the News
Tribune reported Tuesday. More...
Besides the continuing economic impact, 9/11 changed the entire world of
aviation in myriad ways. Airline pilots now carry weapons in the
cockpit. Sky marshals surreptitiously fill passenger seats. Cockpit
doors have been reinforced, and passengers are kept away from the front
of the cabin. But that's not enough for some. The pace of pilot weapons
training is too slow, according to the Airline Pilots' Security
Alliance -- an active lobbying group that didn't exist two years
ago. Last week, APSA also criticized Homeland
Security Director Tom Ridge's plan to cross-train 5,000 immigration
agents as Federal Air Marshals. More...
AT GA AIRPORTS...
At small GA fields, fences have gone up, airplanes are locked and
tethered, and strangers are eyed with a critical air. AOPA, working with
the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), developed an Airport Watch
program, encouraging pilots to report any "unusual" activity. On Monday,
the TSA issued an advisory
encouraging the aviation community to remain vigilant. Pilots are
expected to show photo identification on request, and charter passengers
are subject to scrutiny. The FAA's new airman certificates come with enhanced "security
features." For now, the TSA seems content with the situation.
Continuing airspace restrictions have proven to be one of the changes
most difficult to cope with for many pilots. The restrictions sometimes
crop up with little or no advance notice, and often affect operations
across large areas. This week, AOPA
is lobbying in Washington, D.C., for relief from the "temporary"
flight restrictions that have become disturbingly permanent in the
Seattle area. In addition, TFRs follow President Bush wherever he goes,
and are proliferating as campaign season heats up. Flight restriction
notices can be found at the FAA Web
site and are also posted by the federal Bureau of Land
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PIPER CERTIFIES PIPER 6XT
The Piper 6XT has received its Type Certificate from the FAA, New Piper CEO Chuck Suma announced in
Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday. The Piper 6XT is a turbocharged fixed-gear
version of the six-place Saratoga II aircraft. The Piper
6X, which was certified in July of this year, is its normally
aspirated equivalent. The announcement was made at Piper's Worldwide
Dealer Meeting. "These two new aircraft ... are another example of how
New Piper -- even in the face of a very tough economy -- continues to
pursue new technology, innovation and new product advancements," Suma
told the dealers. More...
PARTICIPATES IN ANTI-TERRORISM DRILL IN NEVADA
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) took part
in a homeland-security practice drill in Nevada late last month, working
with the U.S. military's Northern Command. The exercise, dubbed
"Determined Promise '03," called for a simulated terrorist release of
pneumonic plague on the Las Vegas strip. CAP aircrews patrolled highways
where pharmaceuticals and medical equipment were moving to a dispensing
site, and flew aerial reconnaissance above Clark County's quarantine
borders. The mission of the CAP has changed profoundly since 9/11. While
the organization still is focused on its traditional search-and-rescue
efforts, the CAP is also taking on more of a homeland-security mission.
CONCERNS DOWN UNDER, TOO
The U.S. is not the only country worried about aviation security. In
Australia, airport owners are asking the government to create new rules
that would require that all aircraft at GA airports be locked and
secured, and that pilots have a photo ID. "You've got to lock your car
if you leave it in the street so people can't go for a joyride -- you
should have to lock your plane as well," airport security consultant Kim
Ellis told The
Australian newspaper. More...
WANT IG REPORT CORRECTED
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has asked the
DOT's inspector general to rescind a recent analysis of contract control
towers because of what it terms "critical misstatements" in the
description of the facilities. As AVweb reported Monday, Inspector
General Ken Mead issued a report saying the 189 FAA-funded towers that
are run by private contractors cost substantially less to operate and
report fewer errors than 71 so-called "VFR towers" staffed by FAA (and
NATCA) controllers. But in a letter to Mead, NATCA President John Carr
said the IG goofed when he said the facilities being examined don't have
radar to help controllers monitor traffic. In fact, said Carr, at least
58 of the 260 towers examined are classed as "towers with radar" by the
TOWER OUTSIDE DENVER WORRIES PILOTS
"People's lives shouldn't be in danger just so more listeners can hear
the top 40, news, weather and sports," reads an editorial in Tuesday's
Post. At issue is a new communications tower that has worried some
pilots in the area. The 1,996-foot tower rises to 7,000 feet above sea
level, and is not far from Front Range Airport, a busy GA field.
ZEALAND MISHAP SPURS NIGHT-VFR EDUCATION
New Zealand's accident investigation board has praised a helicopter
pilot's skill in saving her craft and crew after a collision with trees
at night in rough terrain, despite her own injuries -- but criticized
her actions in getting into the accident in the first place. According
to the report,
Life Flight Trust BK-117 helicopter ZK-III was on a night VFR flight to
pick up an injured patient, on January 14, with two crew and two
passengers on board. The pilot chose a route and altitude that offered
too little margin for safety at night under uncertain weather
conditions, the board found. As a result, the board recommended that all
pilots should be better educated about night VFR flying.
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AIRCRAFT PASSES TEST
Just who's in charge of the next generation of aircraft could be open to
debate. NASA has recently completed a crucial part of testing an F-15
that learns as it flies and can think for itself in emergencies. The
Intelligent Flight Control System research is developing "self-learning"
neural-network software for aircraft flight-control computers. During
recent tests, the system was able to identify stability and control
characteristics and tuck that information away in its memory banks. The
theory goes that if it suffers some kind of malfunction in the future,
it will be able to go back to that flight data gleaned from "normal"
flight and take whatever steps are necessary to restore stable flight.
"This work marks a significant step toward learning, thinking aircraft
that will be safer, more autonomous and more reliable than ever before,"
said project manager John Carter. More...
A LITTLE GOOD NEWS
While GA airports are too often the target of cranky neighbors and
developers in search of space to develop, now and then a local community
discovers that aviation can enhance its quality of life. Such a story
is unfolding in Tinicum, Pa., amid the suburbs between Philadelphia and
New York City, where a little grass airstrip, Van Sant field, was bought
for $2.9 million by Buck County's park and recreation association to
save it from development. The field now will remain open for enjoyment
by antique, classic and glider aircraft, the pilots who fly them, the
neighbors who are welcome to visit, and the bobolinks that nest among
the trees surrounding the turf. More...
The National Air Tour
launched on Monday from Willow Run Airport...
Virginia State EAA Fly-In ready for
takeoff on September 20-21...
Eclipse Aviation has developed new performance
estimates for its personal jet...
Lancair has resumed flight
testing its turbocharged Columbia 400...
Time to apply for 25 scholarships offered
by the Aircraft Electronics Association...
A Wright brothers photo exhibit has
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #72 -- Grab
Those VFR Sectional Charts And Fly
FAR 91.103 says that you need
"all available information" before launching on any flight. Yeah, right.
Where's a PIC supposed to glean all that stuff? Surprisingly, much of
what you need -- IFR or VFR -- is on the lowly VFR sectional chart. But
you need to decode a few things ...
For AVweb editor Glenn Pew, five years of building and many
more years of scheming to complete his one-of-a-kind, (almost) 200-mph,
3000-fpm, fully aerobatic kitplane would prove its worth in one day --
first flight. Unfortunately, some things don't work out the way you
PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's
winner, Al Schleif, of Poway, Calif. His winning photo, titled "A Pack
of Lifesavers" salutes those airborne heroes that risk life and limb to
help others in need. This photo is of the San Diego Regional Fire and
Rescue helicopter launching to save another life. Great picture, Al!
Your AVweb hat is on the way.
To check out the winning picture, or to
enter next week's contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
received over 100 responses to our question last week on Flying during
the Labor Day holiday weekend. Nearly half (47 percent) of those
responding did not fly during the holiday weekend, as money, time and
other personal issues were to blame. ABout a quarter (25 percent) did
fly out of town for the weekend while only three percent claimed the
ongoing TFR's made it impossible to do so.
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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VANTAGE AND SPIRIT AIRCRAFT PROPERTIES BEING SOLD
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OCTOBER ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS FUN FLYING ON FLOATS & WHEELS And: "The
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