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TO BE BUSTED
Managers of two of three Washington-area airports closed to transient
traffic since 9/11 say flight service staff and even air traffic
controllers continue to steer unauthorized flights in their direction,
causing security alerts and landing pilots in hot water. The DC-3
airports -- College
Park, Hyde Field
and Potomac Airfield--
are within the 15-nm Flight Restriction Zone around Washington and are
closed to all aircraft except those based at any of the three and flown
by a specially screened pilot. Yet, incredibly, FAA staff continue to
approve flight plans to two facilities have even vector unauthorized
flights to one of them, according to airport managers. FAA spokesman
William Shumann said he'd heard nothing about those types of incidents
but will check into it. College Park manager Lee Schiek said he'd love
to get a call from Shumann or anyone else at the FAA. More...
ATC BOTH INVOLVED...
At Hyde Field, manager Stan Fetter said no unauthorized flights have
actually made it into his airport but it's not for lack of trying.
Fetter said he gets at least a dozen calls a week from people asking for
information about fuel availability and the like and he has to politely
remind them that his facility is off limits to them. "At least one or
two a week will say something like, 'Gee, I just got off the phone with
flight service, had a 20-minute briefing and filed a flight plan in
there, and they didn't say a thing about that,'" Fetter told AVweb.
Fetter stressed that it's always the pilot's responsibility to ensure he
or she follows the rules, but the FAA also has a role to play in
preventing airspace violations. It can't help that charts do not plot
the ADIZ because of its "temporary" nature. More...
REIGNS, BUT THERE'S HOPE
At Potomac Airfield, manager David Wartofsky shared with AVweb a
security incident that raised an entirely new set of questions. A
Connecticut doctor was intercepted in restricted airspace and escorted
by a Blackhawk helicopter to Potomac. Once on the ground, it was clear
the good doctor was no threat and, as far as the authorities were
concerned, he was free to continue his trip. Trouble was, the surgeon
wasn't among the DC-3-based group of pilots allowed clearances to fly
out of those three airports. Wartofsky came to the rescue by finding a
cleared pilot to take the errant pilot out of the sanitized zone.
Wartofsky said it's an example of the bizarre circumstances that surface
daily but he's also confident things will get better. More...
WANTS AIR TOUR NPRM REWRITE
EAA is demanding a full rewrite of proposed rules that would govern air
tour operators. AVweb originally told you about the rules in our premiere
Business AVflash issue and now Earl Lawrence, the vice president of
government affairs, told AVweb the more he and his staff look at the Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking for the National Air Tour Safety Standards,
the more he believes the FAA should just start with a clean sheet of
paper. He said other industry groups are rapidly reaching the same
conclusion. "There seems to be agreement across the board that this
wasn't well done and needs to go back for a rewrite," he said. He said
EAA hopes to work with other groups in trying to force major amendments
and AOPA wants
all pilots to have a crack at commenting. More...
OF PAPER, LITTLE SAFETY IMPROVEMENT...
Lawrence said, "They're going to get stacks and stacks of paper that
they're not going to have time to go through, anyway." For the average
pilot, the only impact will come if they offer their services and
airplane for a charity fundraiser. The rule boosts the required
experience from 200 to 500 hours; Lawrence said he can't figure out why.
He said it could be argued that a 200-hour new pilot, with recent
training and experience, is safer than an older pilot who flies
sporadically but has amassed the time over decades. "There doesn't seem
to be any justification for [the minimum hours increase]," he said, but
fatal accidents from 1983 to 2000 peaked for student and private pilots
with 50 to 350 hours, according to the research of Gold Seal Instructor,
author, teacher, and pilot Dr. Paul A.
Craig in his book, The Killing Zone. That aside, EAA is also looking
into how the rules might affect its own Ford Trimotor and B-17 flight
operations at AirVenture. More...
Most of the proposed regulations will affect businesses actively engaged
in "air tour" activity. As Business AVflash reported last week, Part 91
operators will have to upgrade to either Part 121 or Part 135 status to
continue offering air tours and it's estimated by the FAA that 700 Part
91 operators will simply stop doing it rather than put up at least
$11,200 it's estimated the new certification will cost them. "Grounding
airplanes is not an increase in safety," said Lawrence. He also noted
that of the 11 accidents cited by the FAA as justification for the rule
change, nine involved Part 135 carriers. "They have not demonstrated the
safety need or the improvement that will result from this change," he
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TO THROTTLE -- AS ONE PILOT IS PUT TO THE TEST
A London newspaper put a retired RAF transport pilot in a simulator
after a night on the town (click "More" below) following an incident
involving three British Airways crew members whose alleged partying left
their passengers with the hangover. The 55 passengers were transferred
to other flights after the pilot, first officer and a female flight
attendant were suspected to have been drinking before showing up late to
take the flight from Oslo to London. Someone reported the trio to Oslo
police and the flight was cancelled. The actions are supported by the
results of the London paper's experiment: one part drunken retired RAF
transport pilot, one part simulator ... shaken, not stirred.
DEAL-MAKING FOR FAA BILL
The battle over the FAA Reauthorization Bill's privatization language
has reached a sort of desperate deal-making stage but there's no
guarantee the latest gambit will work. A week after the White House
refused to endorse a one-year moratorium on air traffic control
privatization, a bipartisan group of senators has asked FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey to put a similar guarantee in writing.
Senate Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
joined Commerce Committee Chair John
McCain (R-Ariz.) and Democrats Jay Rockefeller, of
West Virginia, Byron Dorgon,
of North Dakota, and Fritz Hollings, of
South Carolina, in signing the request letter. Conspicuously absent was
Lautenberg (D-N.J.), whose anti-privatization amendment on the
original bill helped create the current stalemate. More...
FLIGHT SCHOOL RISES AGAIN
Aviation business people who think they've had it rough since 9/11 might
pause to consider the plight of the North American Institute of Aviation
in Conway, S.C. They might also note the never-say-die attitude of the
flight school, which has certainly had more than the usual share of
post-9/11 misery. "Hopefully we see the light at the end of the tunnel
with this facility," owner Benjamin Creel told The Sun News as he
presided over the groundbreaking for a new $1.2 million school. You see,
the former building burned down 18 months ago. But the academy captured
worldwide media attention a year ago when a former student tried to take
a handgun aboard a plane in Sweden. More...
GIVE AEROSHELL SHINE
AND PROTECTION TO THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE'S AIRCRAFT AeroShell, a
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and polishes, along with the application pad and cleaning cloths.
AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be ordered for holiday giving at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell
MAY NOT BE SAFE
Squeezing more planes into less space (and using technology to keep them
apart) may not be as safe as proponents of Reduced Vertical Separation
Minima (RVSM) claim. Peter Ladkin, a computer scientist specializing in
"dependable systems" at Germany's University of Bielfeld told
NewScientist.com that reducing vertical separation from 2,000 feet
to 1,000 feet doesn't leave much wiggle room for pilots who have to take
evasive action when their collision avoidance systems go off. In fact,
he claims Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control
organization, ignored several incidents and accidents involving sudden
altitude changes when it compiled its safety research. Eurocontrol
officials deny Ladkin's claim, saying the ability of modern aircraft to
maintain their height precisely keeps them safely separated.
LOSS BOOSTS MIDWAY NUMBERS
The GA traffic diverted from Meigs helped push the comings and goings at
Midway to record heights, even though there is supposed to be an airline
slump going on. Almost 31,000 flights were recorded at Midway in
October, the most in 13 years and up more than 10 percent from last
year. According to controllers at the suddenly busier airport in
Chicago, Midway has picked up
part of the traffic that used Meigs before it was turned
aircraft exclusive by the city last March. The loss of Meigs isn't the
whole story, however, and is not even the biggest cause of the increase,
according to the FAA. More...
MAINTENANCE SOON TO GET EASIER?
Some manuals that support Cessna aircraft stretch 10,000 pages long, and
some aircraft models are attached to as many as ten of them. For Cessna,
updating one of those manuals is no small task, but a software company
is hoping their efforts will make sense of the mess all those pages can
make for pilots and mechanics, too. Cessna, working
with Arbortext software, plans to offer customized manuals and
catalogs so that pilots, field service personnel, and mechanics can
quickly locate relevant information among pages or megabytes of the
Christie's Concorde auction helped raise $3.8 million for
Four survived Learjet crash near St. Louis...
Canada bailed out by son of Hong Kong billionaire...
FAA said Alaska
accident rates are down, fatalities increase...
Avid Aircraft closed
Montana plant, might move to Midwest...
Three senior NASA officials
to command safety center...
Andrew Grant the millionth Young Eagle,
gets to fly with Yeager. More...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Michael Davies, 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.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about the Washington ADIZ, the most-overpaid workers, and
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
As the Beacon
Turns #70: We Aim to Please
Pilots take pride in completing a
flight -- especially if there is a bit of a challenge to make it
something other than routine. But as AVweb's Michael Maya Charles tells
us, when we try to please everyone -- especially those who don't know
how dangerous it really can be -- we're not really doing right by them
nor by ourselves.
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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We Welcome Your Feedback!
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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