The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
DIEGO FIRES WREAK HAVOC
Sunday, Southern California wildfires merged into a miles-long
conflagration in the suburbs of San Diego. By early evening yesterday,
11 people were dead, 650 homes were lost, the FAA's Southern California
Terminal Radar Approach Control center at MCAS Miramar had been
evacuated, and San Bernardino International Airport had become a shelter
for more than a thousand area residents. One small plane attempting to
land at Montgomery Field "missed the runway due to the smoke,
cartwheeling across Highway 163 south of Balboa Avenue shortly after 2
p.m.," officer Phil Konstantin of the California Highway Patrol told The
San Diego Union-Tribune. More...
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FOR GA RELIEF
As the FAA's latest funding bill wends its way through the torturous
twists and turns of Congress, amid much noisy debate over privatization
issues, another item affecting GA is embedded in the legislation: cash
relief to businesses affected by 9/11 and its aftermath. In its latest
incarnation, the bill includes $100 million to help FBOs, flight
schools, charter operators, manufacturers, and other GA businesses. A
group of sympathetic senators last Thursday sent a letter to the
Senate's appropriations committee, lobbying for that funding. "[It] will
provide the critical support needed ... to revitalize this critical
segment of the aviation industry," they wrote. More...
PISTON SALES BARELY HOLD ON
Meanwhile, on Friday, the General
Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported that in the first
nine months of this year, deliveries of general aviation airplanes
totaled 1,602 units, a 9.3 percent drop from the same period last year,
with industry billings dropping 24.4 percent to $6.43 billion. However,
one bright spot could be found: Shipments of piston-engine airplanes
were up 0.2 percent over the same period last year, from 1,099 units to
1,101 units. It's not much of an upside, but at least it's not a
downside, and it could even be seen as a trend. GAMA President Ed Bolen
said, "This is the third straight quarter in which piston deliveries
have been in positive territory, and we hope that is a harbinger of
better days for the entire industry." More...
A DEFENSE FUNCTION?
With the House and Senate (not to mention Republicans and Democrats)
still wrangling over language about privatization in that FAA funding
bill, a bit more fuel was added to the fire last week. Rep. John Mica
(R-Fla.), chair of the House Aviation Subcommittee, proposed shifting
command of the air traffic control workforce to the military. Mica plans
to hold a hearing Nov. 6 to discuss the possibility. National Air
Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr said Mica's
idea "recognizes the inherently governmental function of air traffic
control, although we believe the military's priority should be military
air traffic control, not civilian," Congress
Daily reported last Wednesday. However, such a move would prevent
air traffic controllers from joining a union, according to Congress
news release on Wednesday, Carr elaborated: "We are pleased that
Chairman Mica has recognized how important this issue is to aviation
safety and we support his premise that air traffic control is an
inherently governmental function. You will recall it was the House
Aviation Subcommittee, under the leadership of Chairman Mica, that
inserted the language prohibiting air traffic control privatization into
the FAA reauthorization bill and we again thank the chairman for that
work, which the House passed by a vote of 418-8 in June. We are looking
forward to participating in Chairman Mica's Nov. 6 hearing."
PASS SEES A DIVERSION
The same reports also brought a swift, and negative, response from the
Professional Airways Systems
Specialists (PASS), the union that represents FAA systems
specialists. "America's armed services are there to respond to threats
to our national security," said PASS President Tom Brantley, in a news
release on Wednesday. "And they seem to be pretty occupied these days
fulfilling their mission. To suggest injecting these dedicated men and
women into the middle of a political food fight is just an attempt to
divert attention from the real issue at hand -- selling certification of
the air traffic control system to private interests." More...
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BE READY FOR "LESS IS MORE" RVSM BY 2005
Last week, the FAA issued its long-anticipated Final Rule on Domestic Reduced Vertical
Separation Minimums (DRVSM), decreeing that on January 20, 2005, the
required vertical separation between aircraft above the U.S. at
altitudes from 29,000 to 41,000 feet will be reduced from 2,000 feet to
1,000. That means more available routes, which the FAA says will result
in greater separation between aircraft. It also means that aircraft who
fly at those altitudes must have more-accurate altimeters and enhanced
autopilot systems. Those upgrades are costly, and the National Air Transportation
Association (NATA) was quick to announce it was "disappointed" in
the rule. More...
350S FLYING OFF THE SHELVES
Lancair's bottleneck in its Columbia 350 line
broke last week when the FAA OK'd the new model for delivery to owners.
The new, all-electric airplane (no vacuums ... it does run on 100LL) has
been ready to go since mid-summer, but deliveries were delayed until the
FAA certified the S-TEC autopilot and the Avidyne FlightMax Entegra
primary and multifunction glass cockpit displays. "The factory is
literally bursting at the seams with aircraft that are ready to go to
our customers," Lancair V.P. of sales Mark Cahill said last week, in a
news release. Now, "The paperwork is done and we're set to hand over the
first several customer Columbia 350s." More...
AIRPORT SURVEILLANCE RADAR GOES ALL-DIGITAL
The FAA announced last week the nationwide deployment of the first all-digital
airport radar system. The Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR-11) will
replace older-generation analog radars that are nearing the end of their
service life, the FAA said. "Digital radar is a critical component of a
modernized airspace system," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in a
news release. "The ASR-11 feeds more data more reliably to air traffic
control for greater safety and efficiency." The ASR-11 performs better
than the old surveillance radars and provides improved digital aircraft
and weather input needed by the FAA's new air traffic control automation
systems, such as STARS (Standard Terminal Automation Replacement
LOY NOMINATED TO NO. 2 DHS JOB
Just a week after telling a Congressional panel that maybe GA is not
such a big security threat after all -- remarks that elicited much glee
from AOPA, as AVweb
reported last Monday -- TSA chief James Loy was nominated by
President Bush to fill the No. 2 slot in the Department of Homeland
Security. If approved by the Senate, Loy will take over as Tom Ridge's
deputy, filling a vacancy created when Gordon England became Secretary
of the Navy this month. EAA applauded the nomination. "Admiral Loy has
come to adopt a view of general aviation that is generally balanced,
fair, and grounded in the need to preserve the American citizen's right
to freedom of movement," EAA said in a news release on Thursday.
BRANSON PLAN NONSTOP RTW SOLO FLIGHT
OK, it was done already, 17 years ago in Voyager, with Dick Rutan and
Jeana Yeager in the cockpit. But Steve Fossett wants to be the first to
fly *solo* around the world nonstop and without refueling in an
airplane. Richard Branson is serving as backup pilot, and Burt Rutan is
designing the jet-powered, pressurized GlobalFlyer. The
airplane will carry a single Williams FJ44-3 ATW engine, tweaked for
this special application. The all-composite aircraft will travel at
about 45,000 feet and reach speeds close to 300 mph. The trip is
expected to launch from somewhere in the central U.S. sometime next
year, and take about three days. In announcing the record attempt,
Branson took the opportunity to blast British Airways (BA) for retiring
the Concorde -- and turning down his offer to buy the fleet.
FOLDS ITS WINGS
We can argue about its usefulness. We can gag at the overstuffed egos of
celebrities who reveled in the supersonic cachet. We can shake our heads
over the Ohio man who bought the last two tickets for $60,300 in a
charity auction. We can even sympathize with the folks in Queens who are
relieved to be rid of the cacophonous takeoffs. But we have to take to
heart what news-anchor-emeritus Walter
Cronkite wrote last week: "The grounding of the Concorde is as if,
after a dozen locations had been interconnected, Alexander Graham Bell
and his associates had decided to go no further in their development of
the telephone." Concorde,
after 27 years in service, still fully functional and unique, flew its
last scheduled flight on Friday. More...
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IFR," new free online course from AOPA Air Safety
Cessna Twins Spar
Corporation hosting an Open Meeting at AOPA Expo...
Aircraft sales increased over last year, with 80 deliveries...
on sightseeing flights could hurt small operators, AOPA says...
10 members inducted into Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor.
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Bob Vila, 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.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
Reader mail this week about unusual attitude training, the end of
Concorde and more. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
CEO of the Cockpit #25: Centennial
It's a cliche to say the
world of 1903 was very different than 2003. But it is instructive to
look back at that year and see what kind of world powered flight
entered; to see what it meant to the Wright Brothers and to the rest of
humanity at the time. AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit takes us back to those
days of innocence when the world was much bigger. More...
An SLC Center Controler I know has his personal aircraft hangered at the
local Muni airport. Facing his hangar is another that houses a Green
Cessna 210. One day that Cessna came into his sector. My controler
friend recognized the N number. The exchange follows...
N123, is that airplane painted green?
Pilot: Uh, yes.
Controller: Just checking our new color radar.
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THERE'S MORE TO
SHUTTING DOWN AN ELECTRICAL FIRE THAN YOU'VE BEEN TAUGHT You may
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