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AIRLINES ARE NOT CUSTOMERS Passenger-rights advocates are
hailing the announcement made last week by FAA Administrator Randy
Babbitt that "when we say customer, we're talking about the flying
public," but they're not entirely satisfied. Business Travel Coalition
and FlyersRights.org applauded the decision, but stated their shared
belief that the FAA "should completely remove the term 'customer' from
its lexicon" lest it remain "a trigger for confused behavior." The
groups called the airline-as-customer notion "misguided" and a source of
dysfunction in the industry. It is the groups' view that "the FAA needs
to be a strong regulator with a mission to protect the flying public,
period." Toward that end, the groups hope to see more progress this
coming Tuesday when a passengers' rights stakeholders hearing will take
place in Washington. The groups hope that will meeting will be followed
with the attachment of proposals to the FAA reauthorization bill that
will effectively set a passengers' bill of rights. But at this time, the
language of the proposals may not be specific enough to be enforceable.
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TODAY SPOTLIGHT ON GA FUNDING IGNITES GA REACTION An article published Thursday by USA Today notes that
Congress has directed billions to general aviation airports, "which
typically are tucked on country roads and industrial byways," usually
operate flights on the order of "just a few each hour" and which "the
lawmakers also regularly use in their travels," ... "sometimes in planes
with lobbyists." It goes on to state that "lawmakers have expanded
annual funding by 10 times since 1982," rewriting federal law to
re-route funds to the airports, of which "nearly 90% operate at less
than one-third of their capacity." And all that is funded by taxes paid
"mostly by the nation's airline passengers," who are flying out of
larger airports working much closer to their full capacity that are in
need of expensive upgrades to their infrastructure. AOPA shot of a
response calling the article "a slanted, one-sided front-page story,"
slanted to favor airlines by brewing "negative sentiment" that
"perpetuate public misconceptions about GA." NBAA also chimed in, calling the article "biased" and
"distorted" and followed up with a letter to the editor that called the
airports "vital" and "lifelines" for towns with little or no airline
service. Of course, there were more comments ... from EAA (which pointed out the contributions of
aviation fuel taxes), from GAMA (which noted the economic engines driven
by airport services and traffic) and NATA (which pointed out the $150 billion
contributed annually to the U.S. economy by the general aviation
industry). AOPA even added a little fact-checking ... .
Business Aviation Will Help
Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis
To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep
flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even
stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that
surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for
Steve Hinton Jr. put the highly modified P-51 Strega
through its paces at the 2008 Pylon Racing Seminar at Reno Stead Airport
in November 2008. The 22-year-old pilot went on to win the Gold
Unlimited race at the National Championship Air Races, which wrapped up
Steve Hinton Jr., 22, became the
youngest pilot to win the top prize at the National Championship Air
Races in Reno Sunday. Hinton flew the highly-modified P-51 Strega to
victory in the Breitling Gold Unlimited Race at an average speed of
491.822 mph in a time of 8:10.357, almost 13 seconds ahead of John
Penney in Rare Bear, an F8F Bearcat. Third place went to Sherman Smoot
in the Yak 11 Czech Mate. It was only Hinton's second appearance in the
Unlimited class but he's been around the sport since he attended his
first Reno races when he was two weeks old. His father Steve Sr. is a
two-time Unlimited champion and Strega is no stranger to the winner's
circle, having won the event seven time. Full results are available here. More...
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HUDSON MIDAIR ANIMATION LACKING KEY DETAILS? NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman
last week spoke before the Subcommittee on Aviation in the U.S. House of
Representatives and stated that the pilot of the Piper involved in the
fatal midair with a Eurocopter over the Hudson this August may have
transferred to the wrong frequency. Hersman told the Subcommittee that
the pilot acknowledged the Teterboro controller's last instruction to
pick up Newark, but that "the pilot read back to the controller an
incorrect frequency." There is no indication, according to Hersman,
"that the incorrect read-back was heard or corrected by any air traffic
controller." Matched with the NTSB animation released the same day, the
read-back occurred while the lone working Teterboro controller was also
engaged with what the NTSB identifies as a "personal phone call" and
other audible radio communications from a controller at Newark. However,
from the NTSB's animation alone, it is not at all clear that the
read-back was incorrect or even complete. (See minute 2:25 of the
video.) The animation does, however, include transcription of some
communications that are not audible in the presentation.
SOFTWARE ADDRESSES SITUATIONAL AWARENESS,
INCURSIONS Honeywell's SmartRunway and SmartLanding products
are upgrades to its Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, they talk,
they're recently FAA-approved and they're designed to directly address
major factors identified by the FAA that lead to runway incursions.
SmartLanding is designed to identify things like which runway the pilot
is approaching and whether the aircraft's airspeed is too high, or if
the aircraft is flying too high or going to incur a long landing, and
then conveys that information to the pilots through audio and visual
signals. SmartRunway conveys advisories about a runway's length and its
location, calling out and identifying each runway whenever the aircraft
is approaching one either on the ground or in the air. For landing
aircraft, it will call out distance remaining before and after landing.
The products together address three key FAA-identified factors that lead
to runway incursions: "communication, airport familiarization and
cockpit procedures for maintaining orientation," according to Honeywell.
The company says SmartRunway will be compatible with ADS-B functionality
as that technology becomes available and should be available on certain
new Boeing aircraft as they come off the line. More...
Sensenich Expands Its
Revolutionary Line of Propellers for Light Sport and Experimental
Lighter in weight, easier to navigate and less expensive to fly,
Sensenich's composite props are also stronger than similar
props. Their carbon construction allows the propeller's weight to
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FORECAST: $3.1 TRILLION IN AIRLINERS OVER 20 YEARS Airbus,
presently the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, sees
airlines picking up some 25,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, to the
tune of $3.1 trillion. That's up 3 percent from the company's February
2008 forecast. The company expects Asia to firm up demand for
single-aisle and other aircraft, accounting for as much as 31 percent of
new aircraft. That, as the airline industry comes out of an
industry-wide loss year that could amount to as much as $11 billion for
airlines if forecasts by the International Air Transport Association
hold true. Airbus nonetheless hopes to carry about 300 orders for 2009
and predicts passenger growth in 2010, up 4.6 percent from a 2-percent
decline in 2009 and continuing with 4.7 percent increases on average.
That means, in the Airbus forecast, that traffic would double within 15
years. Carriers are considered likely to demand more fuel-efficient
aircraft, replacing older models while increasing access to cities
worldwide. Boeing's latest predictions don't altogether carry the same
tune, and offer a less optimistic look at the near term but carry on to
a similar end. More...
CESSNA SKYCATCHER FLIES (IN CHINA) The first production line
assembled-in-China Cessna 162 Skycatcher to be flown took flight
Thursday at Cessna's Shenyang production facility in northeast China,
performing "a number of handling quality tests during the flight,"
Cessna said in a news release. The "first" here means that the
particular aircraft was "fabricated and assembled on production
tooling." Cessna in July earned ASTM compliance (international standards
for Light Sport aircraft) for the two-place, piston powered
single-engine high wing, and Cessna chairman, president and CEO, Jack
Pelton, is excited to see the Skycatcher "take its place in the industry
as the light sport aircraft of choice." When Cessna first announced the
Skycatcher would be assembled in China, it fielded some boisterously
opposed opinions from some percentage of the flying public, but Cessna
has stayed the course. The Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) is the
fabricator of the aircraft's fuselage, which it then integrates with
other components including a Continental 0-200D 100-hp engine and Garmin
G300 split screen primary flight and multi-function displays. Aircraft
will be shipped from China to the U.S. where they will be reassembled,
according to Cessna. More...
The New Meridian G1000
The new Meridian G1000 with Garmin G1000 avionics and GFC 700
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INDUCTS SIX TO HALL OF FAME, YOU'RE INVITED Oct. 16 will see
six inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame: Lance Neibauer, the late Stephen
Pitcairn, George Baker, Roy Pinner, Paul Sanderson, and, perhaps the
most recognized, Bob Hoover. EAA says the group spans the range of
aviation within the EAA membership, each achieving a level of notoriety
"within their particular realm of flight." Neibauer made real the sleek
Lancair kit-built designs, one of which one hung in the Museum of Modern
Art in New York City and others that evolved from the Lancair IV to
become the Columbia and later Cessna Corvalis. Stephen Pitcairn passed
away March 29, 2008, at the age of 83. He built on the legacy of his
father Harold Pitcairn, who founded Pitcairn Aircraft, and served as a
director of the EAA Aviation Foundation. Baker is noted for his
contribution to EAA warbirds, Pinner to ultralights, and Sanderson to
flight instruction. Hoover is recognized for his accomplishments in the
military, as a test pilot and legendary airshow performer. The public is
invited to attend the ceremony at the EAA Hall of Fame induction dinner,
at which Bob Hoover will speak. You'll need a ticket. More...
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ASK TALLEY What was it like training pilots to fly on
instruments in the Link trainer during wartime? Here's an inside view,
complete with the cheap tequila. More...
INSIDER BLOG: USA TODAY BLOWS IT ON AIRPORT
FUNDING USA Today writer Thomas Frank apparently
thinks airport funding should go to the 139 "well-known" airports that
handle commercial traffic. In the latest installment of our AVweb
Insider blog, Russ Niles points out the danger in that thinking:
"Let's hope he doesn't have a heart attack somewhere else."
VIDEO: AVWEB'S DA42 NG FLIGHT TRIAL With its new Austro engines, the
new DA42 NG is a strong performer and a bit more economical than the
previous version of this aircraft. AVweb editorial director Paul
Bertorelli took a spin in one last month, and here's his report.
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As much as we
love stories where a pilot discovers a great new FBO because of an
unplanned (and often maintenance-related detour), we've featured quite a
few of those as "FBOs of the Week" lately. This week, turn our attention
instead to an FBO that was nominated by one of its regular patrons.
AVweb reader Peter Lehnen laid out the benfits of Monadnock
Aviation at Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN) in Keene, New
Hampshire on their first anniversary:
Beth and Rick Bendel, who started their business one year ago
today, have single-handedly revitalized the Keene airport. I just
returned from one of their bi-weekly free cookouts, where many people
fly in and many local pilots get together. They sponsor safety seminars,
lectures, comunity outreach, and comfortable and functional facilities
for transient pilots. The improvements they have brought are too
numerous to list, but the city of Keene and the pilots in the area are
far better off than at any time in the previous ten years that I have
used this airport.
I'm a controller at Terre Haute,
Indiana, and I was working data while my female supervisor got her
currency on arrival radar. She was wondering about the on-course heading
of an overflight. The conversation went something like
Approach: "Seven Six One Zulu Bravo, say your
heading to 22G."
AVwebFlash is a weekly
summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events
featured on AVweb, the
internet's aviation magazine and news service.
AVwebFlash team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Aviation Publications Paul
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn
Features Editor Kevin
van West Mariano
here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
intended for publication.)
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