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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
You'll need to sign your name a few more times and be more vigilant
about locking up behind you, but if the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) adopts GA security measures proposed by an industry
panel, they shouldn't cost you much, if anything. A working group formed
by the TSA's Aviation Security Advisory Committee submitted its final
report Wednesday and, since most of the members represent GA groups,
it's not surprising the recommendations are light on the wallet and
heavy on commonsense precautions. National Air Transportation
Association (NATA) President James Coyne said all federal money for
aviation security is going to protect scheduled service and that's as it
should be. "Recognizing this, the working group went to great lengths to
avoid placing any unfunded mandates on the aviation industry," he said
in a statement. More...
If the recommendations are adopted, student pilots warrant a little more
scrutiny and will be monitored fairly intensely, especially early in
their training. Low-time students won't be given the ignition keys until
the instructor is belted in beside them and it's recommended there be a
formal sign-off procedure for dispensing keys to soloing students. The
report says those renting aircraft, particularly for the first time,
should be checked for ID and given a briefing on local operations and
security procedures. Renters should be on the lookout for suspicious
activity and know how to report it. More...
AND OTHER DEVICES
Of course, most of us have a considerable proportion of our net worth
tied up in our airplanes and the stuff that goes with them so we most
likely have a security program of our own, even if we don't call it
that. The report goes over all the things we can do to ensure the
airplane and its accoutrements remain where they belong, including the
obvious, like locking everything up and, perhaps, investing in
anti-theft devices, such as propeller locks and locking tie-downs. Crop
dusters should get special security attention. Limiting vehicle access
to the field is also recommended, where practical, and lighting,
signage, fencing and gates should all be reviewed and upgraded where
possible. Of course, it's always best to have a plan for the worst and
the report lays out a blueprint. More...
FOR THE X-PRIZE
The X-PRIZE race began like many
others, with a slew of competitors jumping from the starting position
with all of the motivation and excitement of a world-class runner. The
mission is daunting, as the contest rules call for launching a manned
craft to 62 miles, returning it safely to Earth and then doing it again
within 14 days. Now, the race is realistically moving into a tight
contest between two companies with an eye on the $10 million prize. Burt
Rutans Scaled Composites and Dallas-based Armadillo Aerospace are
leading the suborbital race with their own respective spaceship designs.
Scaled Composites project consists of two stages: a carrier
aircraft, the White Knight, and a second-stage rocket, SpaceShipOne
(SS1) . Armadillo's
current design is a single-stage vehicle with "non-traditional operating
LAUNCH DATES APPROACH...
Both of the leading teams will soon have a chance to show off their
spacecraft in action as the X-PRIZE launch date nears. While there is no
"set-in-stone" deadline, the X-PRIZE is fully funded through January 1,
2005, and some participants may launch sooner. Peter H. Diamandis,
chairman and CEO of the X-PRIZE Foundation, told the Associated Press he
expects one of the two teams will launch within the next few months. "We
expect to have a winner within the next nine to 12 months," Diamandis
proclaimed in a presentation Friday to FAA officials. The FAA is also
planning ahead, as it has already approved the launch applications of
the aforementioned companies. The agency also approved a Mojave airport
location for use as a launch pad. More...
AT WHAT COST?
While venturing into suborbital flight is exciting and pioneering for
the private sector, many have questioned the safety aspect of performing
privately funded space exploration. Others critics claim the financial
risks of private funding are just as high. Burt Rutan claims the risks
are prevalent in government and private ventures, but the calculated
risk is necessary. "Safety, of course is paramount, but minimum cost is
critical. I strongly feel that, if we are successful, our program will
mark the beginning of a renaissance for manned space flight," he said.
Armadillo Aerospaces John Carmack supports Rutans assertion.
AIRCRAFT RESUMES PRODUCTION IN GERMANY
The folks at Extra Aircraft
sent us a note announcing that their German factory is back in
operation. The facilitys reopening follows the company's new life
under new ownership, which was announced at this years AirVenture.
The companys new EA-500, which was also debuted at the show and
will appear at the upcoming NBAA Convention, will be built at the German
facility. In addition, the EA-400 and Extra 300 aerobatic model will
also be built there. Ken Keith announced at Oshkosh that his team
assumed managerial control of the company on Aug. 1 after Extra was
nearly bankrupt thanks to a slow economy, slow sales and the Lycoming
540-series crankshaft shortage that saw an end earlier this year.
FLOATING AIRPORT IS SUNK
Airport planners in Miramar, Calif., are keeping busy seeking a suitable
location for the areas next regional airline-populated airfield.
The county's new airport agency, called the Public Working Group, tasked
with finding such a venue, recently recommended adding a fifth military
location, East Miramar, to the list of finalists for a possible regional
airport site. At the same time, the agency elected to drop a "floating
airport" concept, amid concerns of engineering complexities (and,
perhaps, budgetary concerns). The agency recommended that the
nine-member San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board of
directors focus on four San Diego County military sites. The Airport
Authority hopes to draw an FAA grant to cover 80 to 90 percent of the
cost, and has budgeted up to $1.8 million of its own money to use
through June 30, 2004. More...
MAKES THE BALLOONING RECORD BOOKS
Hot air balloons are designed to fly in good-weather conditions, but
that was not the case for the British pilot who broke a ballooning
record this week. On Monday, David Hempleman-Adams became the first
person to fly solo across the Atlantic in an open wicker-basket balloon.
The flight -- which followed a route from Sussex, New Brunswick, in
Canada to Hambleton, Lancs, in the United Kingdom -- took 83 hours, 14
minutes and 35 seconds to complete. The 46-year-old adventurer faced the
most perilous portion of his flight as he approached the U.K. for
landing. While Hempleman-Adams original plan was to land next to
the Blackpool Tower, he found himself drifting farther inland and
dodging houses and power lines as the aircraft descended below 100 feet.
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PILOTS ON COLOMBIAS FRONTLINES
The United States has been fighting a drug war in Colombia for many
years and American contract pilots have helped to wage the battle by
spraying drug crops with insecticide. Of course, flying over lands
controlled by drug lords has never been as safe as walking the dog, but
a new danger from leftist rebels is increasing the danger quotient
substantially. The Associated Press cites a United Nations study, which
claims an ongoing U.S.-backed fumigation campaign has cut coca
cultivation in the country by one-third in seven months. However, the
weapons of choice -- contract American ag pilots -- are now caught in
the crossfire between leftist rebels and government forces who try to
clear the flight paths for the aerial bombardment. More...
AISLE SEAT AND A BOX CUTTER
Two years after box cutters were cited as weapons used to hijack the
airliners that changed the worlds view toward terrorism, the
management of airport security has been overhauled ... and two things
remain very similar. You can still get an aisle seat, and you can still
get a box cutter onto an airliner. On Friday, James Loy, the head of the
Transportation Security Administration, admitted this problem is very
much a reality thanks to a series of budgetary concerns his agency is
struggling with. When it was first created, the TSA hired 55,000
screeners. On Tuesday, the agency was forced to cut another 6,000
screeners from its dwindling workforce. The cuts, cited as a necessary
step to deal with budget shortfalls, will bring the total number of
screeners down to 45,000 by the end of 2004. More...
FUEL RETURNING TO NORMAL
Kingsford Smith International Airport in Sydney, Australia, has been
experiencing an unusual problem for the last week: a fuel shortage.
Production problems at Sydney refineries and delays in shipments have
caused fuel supplies at the airport to drop below 35 percent lower than
normal. Now, the fuel distribution company says that the situation is
easing and normal supplies could be restored by the weekend. Regardless,
the damage is done. Because this shortage has come at one of the
airports peak seasons, the delays have been massive and several
airlines plan to take action in search of compensation.
SCHOOL: FLYING FOR CREDIT
While nothing could ever make high school classes as fun as some would
like, we'll hope that flying is a step in the right direction. A unique
program at Dominion Christian High School in Cobb County, Ga., is
granting credit to students who engage in flight training. About twelve
students will spend the first semester of the yearlong program in
classroom instruction, during which they will prepare to take the FAA
Private Pilot Knowledge Test. The second semester is spent at McCollum
Airfield in Kennesaw, where actual flight instruction is performed.
Eager students, age 16 or older, must pay (or convince others to pay)
$3,000 over the school's standard tuition to cover costs.
Bahrain is missing an F-16 and pilot...
The homebuilt community is
mourning the loss of David Stits...
Newarks Liberty and LAX are
celebrating their 75th anniversaries. More...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Jay Cioffi, 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...
BIZAV: October 2,
AVweb's expanded coverage of business/corporate aviation
continues with news about the final rules on fractional ownership,
NBAA's annual show, Raytheon weathering the summer's heat and more.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's
winner, Michael Crook, of Lumberton, NJ. This week, we decided to go
with a military theme and the winning photo, titled "Cleared for
contact" is a great way to highlight the concept. The photo captures a
C-141B coming in for some gas behind a KC-10 somewhere over Illinois.
Great picture, Michael! 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 200 responses to our question last week on federal
aviation funding. Over half (54 percent) of those responding felt small
reliever airports are an area where urgent federal funding is needed.
Almost a quarter (22 percent) indicated air traffic control as the
necessary recipient of federal money, while only 1 percent cited
certification as the primary area of needed funding.
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the publics
perception of general aviation. More...
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