The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
BILL COMES DOWN TO THE WIRE
Politics and airplanes may both be about the art of compromise but
opponents to expansion of the contract tower program say a White House
olive branch is covered in thorns. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. James
Oberstar have written their colleagues urging them to turn down the
administration's proposal to drop a clause in the FAA Reauthorization
Bill that allows the privatization of 69 FAA-run towers. The problem is,
that section also guarantees that the other 94 percent of the air
traffic control system will stay in government hands through the
four-year term of the bill. "This change would not solve the problems
that have been raised," the letter reads. More...
CONSIDERS SAFETY REPORT...
The compromise was offered on the eve of a formal hearing on the safety
of the contract tower program. On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on
Aviation examined a recent report by the Department of Transportation's
Inspector General Ken Mead, which stated that contract towers are much
less expensive to run than government-staffed towers and report fewer
errors. During testimony, the validity of the safety statistics in both
FAA and contract towers was challenged by National Air Traffic
Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr. He said the
Inspector General's report itself recognized weaknesses in the data
because error reporting in both types of towers is voluntary and there
are no standards and methods established to verify the reports. The
value of the safety comparisons is also challenged by the General
Accounting Office (GAO), which reviewed the report at the request of
STAFFING PREFERRED BY POLITICIAN
What has always made the privatization legislation unusual is that it
exempted two VFR towers in Alaska. Fingers immediately pointed at Rep.
Don Young, who, as a representative of that state, is also the chairman
of the powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which
incorporates the Aviation Subcommittee. Young did little to dispel
accusations that he'd cut a side deal to maintain FAA service in Alaska
when he appeared on a television show last week. In an interview on a
show hosted by the American Association of Airport Executives, Young
appeared to cite his own personal safety as justification for exempting
Merrill Field, in Anchorage, from the privatization clause. Young failed
to return AVweb's request for comment prior to publication.
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FADEC' LIBERTY CLOSE TO TYPE CERTIFICATION
Aircraft certifications are rare enough in this day and age, not to
mention those that incorporate a major technological shift. Liberty
Aerospace entered the history books earlier this week as the first
manufacturer in the world to gain a Type
Inspection Authorization (TIA) for their Liberty
XL2 two-place piston single with Full Authority Digital Engine
Control (FADEC). The aircraft flies Continental's IOF 240, a 125-hp
FADEC-equipped engine. "There's a degree of relief," said Liberty
President Anthony Tiarks. "It's nice to be the first." Full
certification is expected soon. All that's left is for FAA pilots to put
the trim two-place touring plane through its paces and match the results
of 132 knots on 5.5 gph reported by Liberty pilots. "We've been told it
takes four to five weeks," said Tiarks. More...
There's nothing new about FADEC itself. Tiarks said that about the only
jet aircraft still in the air today without it is the notoriously
demanding Concorde and it will be out of service in a month. With
respect to power adjustment, the Liberty will be something like a jet.
The Teledyne Continental (TCM) PowerLink system replaces all the dials
and knobs with a single lever. Power is expressed on a jet-like scale.
While the pilot worries about the percentage of power he or she would
like to tap, computers create the optimum combination of fuel and air to
carry out his or her wishes. Quite the pitchman, TCM President Bryan
Lewis said FADEC moves the care and feeding of a piston engine "beyond
folklore to precise digital control" and said it was long overdue.
TO LEARN FROM A FOUR-YEAR-OLD
The rest of us could learn a lesson in air-crash survival from a couple
of Minnesota tots. Three-year-old Lily Pearson and her big sister Grace,
4, defied monumental odds in surviving a plane crash that killed their
mother Kathryn Pearson and uncle Charlie Erickson last Aug. 28. The
Beechcraft twin piloted by Erickson went down in fog near Grand Marais,
Minn. The girls were thrown from the plane. "They have no explanation as
to how the girls survived," their father, Toby Pearson, told reporters
in a news conference. But while sheer luck seems to have been a major
factor, the girls themselves can claim some credit because they applied
many of the same survival procedures drummed into student pilots.
MOST EFFICIENT SKYHAWKS EVER
The ad suggests something nothing less than revolutionary but, alas,
Cessna's gussied-up 172, the SP model, doesn't really fly "fuel free."
What it does, however, is fly on free fuel, the first $3,500 worth,
anyway. The company's latest incentive supplies new owners with a fuel
card that works at any FBO accepting Multiservice Fuel cards. The cards
stop working after two years or at $3,500, whichever comes first.
Assuming you can use the full $3,500 within the two years, it amounts to
a 1.8 to 2.1 percent discount on the purchase price of the airplane,
which ranges from $165,000 for a base model (with standard leather and a
few other goodies missing on the plain-Jane Skyhawk) to $195,000 with
air and all the electronics. The
offer applies to all SPs currently in stock and those scheduled for
delivery in 2003. More...
EXHIBIT HITS THE ROAD
The final frontier may be coming to a museum or science center near you
in the next five years. General Motors, Space Day Foundation, and
Lockheed Martin have joined forces to sponsor a 12,000-square-foot
traveling exhibition on the whos, the hows and, perhaps most important,
the whys of space exploration. "SPACE: A Journey to Our Future"
lifts off at Seattle's Pacific Science Center Nov. 22. It will be in
Seattle until May 9 before heading off for a tour of up to 15 U.S.
cities. "We hope this exhibit will help inspire the next generation of
dreamers and explorers," said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, of NASA, which
created the exhibit in conjunction with Clear Channel Exhibitions and
the National Science Teachers Association. More...
HEADSETS ARE FIRST TO: Give you over 30 hours of battery life on
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customers a trade-UP program so they can always keep current with the
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Well, the Windy City failed to live up to its name and so did the Wright
Flyer. The Wright Redux
Association's replica of the first real airplane couldn't break the
surly bonds of a Chicago lawn last Saturday, despite three attempts.
"The Wrights flew into a 25-mph wind. I think we could have flown if we
had that," said Mike Gillian, pilot of the replica. Wind speeds on the
lawn of the Museum of Science and Industry were estimated at just 5 mph and
the faithful replica of the primitive engine just didn't have the power
to compensate. More...
An airspace dispute of a different sort is brewing off the windy coast
of Maui as the FAA prepares to clamp down on what it claims is a hazard
to operations at Kahului Airport on the Hawaiian island. The agency is
planning to cancel a waiver that allows kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, within five miles of
the airport. Local officials are afraid the ban will chase away tourists
and eliminate up to 100 jobs now dependent on the dramatic sport. By
tacking into the stiff marine breeze on what looks like a small
surfboard, a rider can jump off a wave and then pivot the sail so it
becomes a wing. Some of the best kitesurfers can turn that initial jump
into a soaring flight more than 100 feet above the waves and, according
to the FAA, it's somewhere they shouldn't be without a landing
TAKES MIDWEEK ADIZ IN STRIDE
The TFR that early Tuesday set an ADIZ for the Class B airspace
surrounding New York City from the surface up to but not including
18,000 feet also closed down all operations (except commercial carrier
traffic flying into LaGuardia) within seven nm of the U.N. through 4:30
p.m. yesterday. The wording was passed on to weather briefers with the
usual moment's notice and appears to have never made it to the FAA's Web
site, but area pilots -- for the most part -- took it in stride. A call
to the manager's office at non-towered Lincoln Park airfield tucked
under the ADIZ in New Jersey was fielded by an individual who preferred
not to be named (go figure), who offered, "The bottom line with the TFR
is that it sucks, but it shouldn't stop you from flying. People are
moving in and out today." More...
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Aussie carriers are urged to provide
input on changes to a revamped Part 121b...
Two men arrested in
theft of computers from Sydney Airport appear only interested in
International announced the sale of its 700th Exec. 162F kit
Backward illustration in maintenance manual studied as
factor in Beech 1900D crashes...
for the final scheduled flights of the Concorde are selling
Canadian crew flying a Twin Otter rescued a sick man from the
South Pole last Sunday. More...
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Pete Connors this week's
AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB...
National Air Tour: A Travelog (Part 1)
As previously reported in
AVweb, the National Air Tour is being re-created, 75 years after the
first time. Dozens of antique airplanes are barnstorming the country,
and getting warm welcomes everywhere they go. AVweb's Brent Blue is
helping out and sends this first report.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's
winner, Wynn O. Jones II, of Schofield, Wisc. The winning photo, titled
"Red Radial" takes us back to yesteryear, when bi-planes sporting big
radial engines ruled the day. While jets and turboprops are exciting to
watch, few things match the unique sound of a big radial. Great picture,
Wynn! 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...
We received over 100 responses to our question last week on the pending
FAA Reauthorization Bill. The vast majority (75 percent) of those
responding felt the ongoing delays of this legislation are a result of
the usual play of politics on Capitol Hill. Less than one-tenth (8
percent) mentioned the need to understand how the legislative process
works, while only 3 percent expressed any interest with this bill.
check out the complete results, please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.
*** This Week's Question ***
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on federal funding for
aviation. Please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw to
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BOOK AND DREAMFLYER WILL PAY THE POSTAGE! "Flying and Learning
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BEACH BOYS, TEMPTATIONS & AARON TIPPIN This six-day Celebration,
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MAINTENANCE IS YOUR TICKET TO UNDERSTANDING MAINTENANCE If your
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