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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
PICKS ITS DIRECTION AT AOPA EXPO
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey opened AOPA Expo 2003 with good
intentions but pilots paying attention to the fine print may have left a
little confused. Blakey announced in her
speech that the FAA Wednesday granted a new type certificate for
Thielert's 135-hp diesel Centurion 1.7 -- two are worn by Diamond's
180-knots-on-10-gph TwinStar flying in Europe. The fine print says the
engines, which incorporate auto parts, will have a $19,000, 1000-hour
TBR (time before replacement) in the U.S. Beyond the fine print is the
fact that the cost is similar to an overhaul of engines with similar
torque and by the time aircraft turning the engine are available in the
U.S. the TBR will likely be higher. Blakey also claimed "we're your
voice at the table" when it comes to TFRs but announced that "the FAA
doesn't call the shots on this at all," leaving the attending sample of
some 1,200 pilots silently helpless. More...
POSITIONS ON AIRPORTS, PRIVATIZATION, FLIGHT SERVICE
The administrator addressed Meigs directly: "What happened to Chicago's
Merrill C. Meigs Field on March 30 ... was a travesty. The national air
system is national. No one should carve out a piece at will." Blakey
then noted the reauthorization bill's "Meigs Provision," which, for
those paying attention, does not claim airports for the FAA, but fines
those who might close one without at least a requisite 30-day notice.
Asked after her speech if privatization might extend beyond the proposed
69 towers and on to Flight Service, Blakey said, "this is an area where
the FAA is actively looking at the private sector option." The
administrator said of the current system, "It's costing $500 million per
year. That's $27 for every single communication Flight Service has. We
don't think that's efficient." More...
JETS, NEW PISTON ENGINES
As of this moment, some seven manufacturers promising a new generation
of light jets sit on a collective order roster tallying well more than
2,000 aircraft. The light jets promise certification for single-pilot
operations from nearly all GA airports. Some offer acquisition costs
below that of a brand-new light twin, operating costs similar to light
twins and performance well beyond that, but speakers at AOPA Expo 2003
made clear you won't find any light-twin pilots flying them, not without
a lot of work, anyway. The problems include placating insurance brokers,
finding time for recurrent training, and magically convincing airline
pilot groups that squalls of "non-professionals" sharing airspace
traditionally occupied by their own well-defined (and well-regulated)
group is a good thing. More...
ABOUT FADEC, INSTEAD
If you can't fly the jets at least you can have single-lever power. The
major players from at least five engine manufacturers all seem to agree
on one thing -- FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) is the way
of the future and if you plan on flying far into the future it will
likely be with FADEC on board. For many manufacturers it will solve the
problem of fuel availability -- if 100LL ever does go away, FADEC will
deal with whatever you put in the tanks, mixed grades and all, and
figure it all out from inside your engine. Honda/Continental (diesel),
Superior Air Parts (100LL), Bombardier (gasoline) and SMA (diesel) all
intend to introduce engines in the 200-hp ballpark over the next few
years (the final decision on the Honda engine should be made near the
end of this year). More...
BACKS ANTI-PRIVATIZATION FORCES
As enormous political pressure bears down on a handful of senators
holding the key to the future of the FAA reauthorization bill, forces
opposing the bill's handling of air traffic control privatization
welcomed a powerful ally. AOPA President Phil Boyer said in a
statement Friday that while the 400,000-strong organization supports
many of the provisions in the $60 billion bill, he's afraid that the
current language (or lack of it) opens the door to a Canadian- and
British-style user-pay system. "... Future administrators or
administrations have all the authority they need to turn the keys over
to a NavCanada or NATS-type company," Boyer said. His comments came
after the House of Representatives, in a 211-207
vote , endorsed the revised reauthorization bill, which was stripped
of all language pertaining to air traffic control privatization. The
previous incarnation of the bill permitted privatization of up to 69
mostly VFR towers, while guaranteeing the balance of the system stayed
in government hands. AOPA stood alone among the mainstream alphabet
groups in opposing the bill. More...
Automated weather systems have greatly enhanced our weather data
collection but a new system is proving to outdo humans and other
forecast models as well. Last week, Harris Corporation unveiled a fuzzy
logic-based system for automated, short-term ceiling and visibility
forecasts. The announcement was part of the product demonstrations
during the Air Traffic Control Association's (ATCA's) 48th Annual
International Technical Program and Exhibits, held Oct. 26-30, in
Washington, D.C. More...
EXTRA-LUCKY PILOT -- WALTER EXTRA'S MIDAIR
Well, any midair collision you walk away from is a good one, right? The
folks at Extra
Aircraft are counting their lucky stars after the prototype of the
company's entry to the high-performance touring/business market very
nearly became a tragic NTSB statistic, taking the celebrated founder of
the company, Walter Extra, with it. Extra, whose German company is
synonymous with high-performance aerobatic aircraft, was at the controls
of the EA-500 when a wingtip passed through the propeller arc of a
Cessna 182 accompanying his and another Extra aircraft to the National
Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) convention earlier this month in
Orlando. Extra's U.S. President Ken Weaver said Extra "heard a noise"
and advised the other aircraft he was turning back to St. Augustine,
where the trio had left a few minutes earlier. More...
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FUTURE ON THE BALLOT
EAA and AOPA have both launched campaigns to save a Florida airport from
the condo crowd. A powerful lobby of local developers has forced a vote
on the future of St. Petersburg's Albert Whitted Airport (SPG)
and as the plebiscite looms on Tuesday, both sides are firing salvos of
advertising and direct mail at the people who will decide. "Never before
have we seen a local developer agenda try to circumvent federal
regulations by taking an airport closure proposal to voters," said AOPA
President Phil Boyer. The anti-airport forces are proposing that half
the waterfront airport be dedicated as a park (sound familiar?) while
the rest faces an unspecified future. More...
THE PILOT OUT OF FLYING
While many of us are somewhat familiar with TCAS (Traffic Alert and
Collision Avoidance System) and GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System)
some new high-tech in-cockpit technology promises to go a step beyond
the current level of safety-conscious warnings. Honeywell Aerospace is
studying whether to produce a product that would take over the
aircraft's flight controls from a pilot who did not respond to alert and
audio warnings from an impending in-flight collision. Honeywell
spokesman Ron Crotty told The Wichita Eagle the device would return
control authority to the pilot once the danger threat was eliminated.
STANDARDS URGED FOR NORTHERN PILOTS
A Canadian coroner's jury is recommending tougher standards for northern
pilots (particularly inexperienced ones) and better emergency equipment
in its assessment of a crash that resulted in four deaths in the
Northwest Territories Dec. 31, 2001. The jurors found that 23-year-old
pilot Dana Wentzell took off in bad weather despite warnings from more
experienced pilots, according to the Canadian Press. The Cessna 172
crashed into a mountain near Fort Good Hope, NWT, about 500 miles
northwest of the capital city of Yellowknife. Passenger Kole Crook, 27,
died on impact but Wentzell and sisters Ashley, 18, and Lindsay Andrew,
11, survived the crash only to die of exposure before rescuers found
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Box-cutters were found on US Airways planes in Boston, Philly...
squad almost blew Ghostbuster's Halloween surprise...
Concordes go to New York and Seattle museums...
Peanut packs stuffed
with cocaine on Colombian airliner...
John Travolta will emcee Kitty
ADs issued for Aerostar and Hartzell, NPRM for
two Pacific Aerospace models. More...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Jerry Lund, this week's
AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com.
Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Lounge #67: A Museum Rescues Its Aviation Collection
of he 100th Anniversary of flight have some interesting side effects --
many aviation museums are sprucing up their old collections and making
things more attractive, interactive, and interesting. AVweb's Rick
Durden went back to visit the Henry Ford Museum and found a new gem of a
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES...
mail this week about poor GA piston sales, ATC privatization and
Overheard October 19, near Las Vegas:
United XXX: LA Center, say again
the frequency for United XXX. No answer on 133.4.
XXX, 133.4 is correct. Try again. If there's still no answer, come back
up this frequency ... and I'll send somebody over there to smack the
dirt out of their ears. More...
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