The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
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REPORT CRITICIZES SLOW PROGRESS...
Airplanes may be engineering marvels and things of beauty to those who
fly them -- but to some folks, they're noisy, they pollute the air, and
even fewer want an airport in their backyard. Those are the harsh facts
that the aviation industry had better face in the next few decades if it
wants to survive, according to a report by the
National Research Council (NRC) that was released last Tuesday. The
report, sponsored by NASA and the FAA, said the demand for air travel is
still expected to grow; in fact, the report projects it will double over
the next 10 to 35 years. At the same time, the rate of technological
change in aeronautics lags as it becomes increasingly difficult to
achieve substantial technical advances to reduce noise and emissions.
A PUSH TOWARD RADICAL NEW IDEAS...
The NRC report concludes that radical change is needed to meet the
demands ahead. "Business as usual, in the form of continued,
evolutionary improvements to existing technologies, aircraft, air
traffic control systems and operational concepts, is unlikely to meet
the needs for air transportation that will emerge over the next 25 to 50
years," said the report. The pace of technical progress needs to be
boosted to keep up with consumer demands, or the industry will fail to
achieve its potential. Among the technological needs cited by the report
are a more advanced air traffic management system, sensors to detect
wake vortices, synthetic vision and cockpit-warning enhancements, and
better systems for enhancing the interaction of humans and machines. Not
a bad Christmas list, really. More...
MIT JOINS FAA IN SEARCH FOR SOLUTIONS
Taking one step toward the future, the FAA announced last week it has
established (and will help finance) a "Center of Excellence" program based
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to research ways to address
noise and emissions issues. The FAA said those problems "may represent
the single greatest challenge to the continued growth and prosperity of
civil aerospace." The center will conduct basic research and engineering
development and will develop prototype solutions, focusing first on
noise. Other partners in the program include Penn State, Purdue,
Stanford, and several other universities, plus a host of industry
players, including Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Bell Helicopter, and
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CESSNAS CAUSE CONCERN...
The FAA last week issued a notice of concern about cracks that have been
found in the vertical fin attachment brackets of some Cessna 150/152
series airplanes. The Airworthiness
Concern Sheet (ACS) is distributed to type clubs and pilot groups
for input as the FAA mulls whether the issue needs to be addressed by a
proposed Airworthiness Directive. The ACS proposes to mandate
inspections of these parts initially within 100 hours of time in service
and every 1,000 hours of time in service thereafter, or as specified in
the Cessna Service Bulletin that is now being written. The FAA says it
has become aware that maintenance technicians are finding cracks in the
vertical fin attachment bracket in Cessna 150/152 series airplanes.
REPORTS SHARPLY ON THE RISE
The number of reports has risen from four in the 1970s to six in the
1980s to 12 in the 1990s, the FAA said. The number is already 12, so
far, in the first few years of this decade. In addition, cracks in both
the stabilizer spar and its reinforcement are being reported, the FAA
said. If these cracks are allowed to go undetected, the vertical and/or
horizontal tail assembly could possibly separate from the airplane, the
FAA said. The Airworthiness Concern Process is a cooperative
information-sharing initiative between the industry and the FAA intended
to increase industry participation in the development of airworthiness
issues before (or in lieu of) a proposed or final Airworthiness
Directive for an aircraft. See AOPA's
Web site to learn more about this program. More...
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FOR GA PROGRESS CONTINUES ... OVERSEAS
The French engine-builder SMA received
Supplementary Type Certificates this month from the French aviation
agency, DGAC, that OK its Jet A-burning diesel SR305-230 piston engine
for installation on the C-182 and the F182 (produced by French aircraft
Aviation Industries). FAA validation is expected to follow shortly,
according to SMA. A flight demonstration tour will begin by the end of
October, with stops in the United Kingdom and across Europe, using a 182
owned by Aviation sans Frontieres, the first to be fitted with the
engine. SMA says its engine will go 3,000 hours before overhaul, and is
easy to maintain, reliable, user-friendly, and good for the environment.
AIRCRAFT LIGHT TWIN GETS FAA PRODUCTION CERTIFICATE
The Angel Aircraft Corp., a
little company based in Orange City, Iowa, last week received a
Production Certificate from the FAA for its twin-engine, pusher-prop,
STOL, eight-seat Model 44. "We have six aircraft in the production line
now, and we have a demonstrator model flying," sales rep Jerry Waddell
told AVweb on Saturday. The special introductory price, with a basic IFR
package, he said, is set at $690,000. "The main use of this aircraft is
to carry heavy loads, operating from short, unimproved strips," he
added. The Angel twin will be on display in Orlando at the NBAA conference coming up October 7-9,
Waddell said, and he hopes to find some buyers there for those airplanes
now in production. More...
CRUNCH DISRUPTS AUSTRALIAN FLIGHTS
Pilots of long-haul flights into Sydney, Australia, last week were met
with the news that not enough jet fuel was available to fill their
aircraft. Fuel at the major port was rationed for several days, and at
least 18 flights were diverted to other airports for fuel, adding hours
to already-long intercontinental routes. The shortage was blamed on
delayed shipments coinciding with lower-than-normal production from
local refineries. Supplies were expected to return to normal over the
weekend. "It is certainly a bit embarrassing," industry consultant Peter
Harbison told Dow Jones Newswire. "You don't really expect to have this
happening in a sophisticated commercial environment." More...
REACHES MILESTONE IN ENGINE DEVELOPMENT
It's a long way from strapping a couple of nifty little rocket engines
onto a Long-EZ and wowing the crowds at Oshkosh to developing new space
technology for the U.S. military, but that's what the upstarts at XCOR are working on these days and what
they have always intended to do (along with space-tourism development).
The Mojave, Calif., company announced on Friday that it is making swift
progress on a $750,000 project funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA) to develop a flight-configured prototype rocket
engine propellant pump. It reached a milestone in the program, XCOR
said, when it successfully operated the motor section that drives the
pump to contract specifications. More...
AIR TOUR LANDS SAFELY HOME
It seemed a dubious dream from the start -- to assemble a fleet of
vintage aircraft and fly them along a 4,000-mile route to re-create a
chapter from the Golden Age of Aviation. But last Wednesday, the spunky
airplanes of the National Air
Tour buzzed out of the sky right on schedule, to land in Ypsilanti,
Mich., where they had launched more than two weeks earlier. Along the
way, dozens of pilots and crew shared their love of flying with
thousands of curious onlookers, and together experienced an adventure to
remember. "We have told the story behind the original National Air Tours
to millions of people at the stops, over the Internet, and through the
media," said Greg Herrick, president of the Aviation Foundation of
America, the nonprofit group that organized the tour. More...
PILOTS OKAYED FOR ALBUQUERQUE FIESTA
Every October, Albuquerque, N.M., hosts its biggest event of the year --
the International Balloon Fiesta, which
this year almost lost its "international" element, thanks to a recent
ruling by the FAA that would have grounded many foreign pilots. On
Thursday, Fiesta officials said they had secured a waiver from the FAA
from a regulation, issued earlier this month, that says foreign pilots
must pass a flight review before being allowed to fly in U.S. airspace.
It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to certify all of the
40-some foreign pilots expected to participate in time for this year's
Fiesta, which will be held October 4 - 12. More...
Swallows delayed more than 100 flights at Beijing last
Results for the 2003 US National Aerobatic Championships are
Challenger fly-in celebrated the 20th year of Quad City
fast for First Flight Centennial in N.C. Dec. 12-17...
Turner died last week in California at age 81. More...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Daniel Blythe, 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.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
CEO of the
Cockpit #24: Air TV
Picture it: An airliner dodging thunderheads,
with the pilots jamming to rock music in their headphones. It's the
opening sequence of a new TV sitcom about airline pilots. Think it can't
happen -- that real pilots doing real flying isn't funny to the public?
Neither does AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit.
National Air Tour: A Travelog (Part 2)
The National Air Tour
ended in Dearborn, Mich., last Wednesday, after an amazingly successful
trip. AVweb's Brent Blue finishes his travelog (begun in Part 1) with
more photos and more stories.
Approach : Heavy 123 : Hold straight and level!
Heavy 123: Holding
straight and level.
At least, that's assuming my First
Officer can hold straight & Level... More...
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WAS ICING THE
CULPRIT IN THIS ACCIDENT SCENARIO? What caused a Cessna to "tip"
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