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|Top News: FAA Optimistic for the Future of GA||back to
FORECASTS GROWTH FOR GENERAL AVIATION
By 2030, the general
aviation fleet will grow by about 50,000 airplanes and 52,000 active
pilots, the FAA forecast this week. The forecast calls for robust growth in the long term
and predicts business use of GA aircraft will expand at a faster pace
than personal and recreational use. With growth forecast across all
sectors -- traffic at the nation's 35 busiest airports is expected to
increase by 60 percent -- infrastructure upgrades will need to keep up.
"A safe, efficient and vibrant aviation system is vital to our nation's
economic health," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "We must
find long-term solutions that will keep the U.S. aviation industry
competitive and moving forward into the future." Light sport aircraft
are expected to increase by about 825 aircraft per year through 2013,
then taper off to about 335 per year. Sport pilots, who numbered 3,248
at the end of 2009, will increase to 14,100 by 2030, the FAA
The forecast, which comes after a short-term period of
slow growth in aviation activity, underscores the need for the Next
Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), as well as continued investment in airport
infrastructure projects, the FAA said. "This forecast makes a very
strong business case for NextGen," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
"Without NextGen, we won't be able to handle the increased demand for
service that this forecast anticipates." Meanwhile, the FAA
reauthorization bill, which will provide funding for the agency,
continues to be stalled in Congress. Legislators from Tennessee have
come under fire this week for trying to de-rail the bill
due to a provision that would make it possible for some FedEx workers to
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EXAMINES HOMEBUILT SAFETY DATA
Statistics that show a high
accident rate for homebuilt aircraft may not reveal the complete
picture, EAA said this week. The Nall Report, compiled annually by AOPA's Air Safety
Foundation, reported last
week that in 2008, amateur-built aircraft had an accident rate
almost five times the rate of type-certificated aircraft and a fatal
accident rate more than seven times higher. "On the surface, the
statistics may give one impression of amateur-built accident and
fatal-accident rates," said EAA on its Web site. "It takes some digging to get actual
totals and comparisons." For example, EAA said, the FAA and NTSB often
use different parameters to report the homebuilt aircraft fleet size and
the accidents that occur each year. "Our analysis is in part, in
response to the Nall Report," EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told
AVweb on Wednesday. "We felt the numbers that were out there
could benefit from additional analysis and clarification." EAA posted an
analysis by Ron Wanttaja that offers an alternate view of the data.
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AND DELTA PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM NEW DELAY FINES
Department of Transportation's new rule limiting the time passengers can
be held on closed aircraft away from the gate goes into effect April 29,
but Delta and JetBlue think construction at JFK may give them good
reason to be excused from potential fines. The airlines, which operate a
majority of flights at the airport, have petitioned for temporary
exemptions from the rule because a four-month-long project at JFK will
close the airport's longest of four runways (14,572-foot 13R/31L) as it
is widened and repaved in concrete through July. Under normal conditions
during peak hours, the FAA estimates the runway's closure may cause
delays of about 50 minutes, and those delays will then ripple out to
other airports and through affected carriers' schedules. Both Delta and
JetBlue have made adjustments to their schedules but fear that may not
be enough. Under the new DOT's new rule, an airline could be fined for
every passenger held on a closed non-traveling airliner for more than
three hours. Translated into dollars, it means that an airline that left
passengers on a full Boeing 737 could be subjected to nearly $3.5
million in fines. More...
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GLASS COCKPITS DO NOT IMPROVE SAFETY
An NTSB study
shows glass cockpit technology has not significantly improved the safety
of small light planes, the NTSB said Tuesday, and the board recommended
changes, from training to maintenance reporting, to improve the
statistics. While data collected between 2002 and 2008 showed fewer
total accidents for those aircraft equipped with glass panels, that
total came with a higher fatal accident rate and higher total fatal
accidents. For the period from 2002-2008, conventionally equipped
aircraft suffered 141 total accidents with 23 having a fatal outcome.
Glass-equipped aircraft suffered 125 total accidents with 39 having a
fatal outcome. But the board's study also found the mission profile for
each type of equipment package and the characteristics of the pilot were
different between the two platforms. Generally speaking, higher-time
pilots were flying longer flights with glass. That said, the NTSB was
able to use the data to offer six recommendations voiced at the meeting.
Five of those were related to equipment-specific training and one
applied directly to testing requirements.
NTSB Reports: More...
TODAY: BETTER SIMULATOR TRAINING COULD SAVE LIVES
training for pilots on advanced simulators could help prevent crashes
and save hundreds of lives, according to an analysis by USA Today. Many pilots today are trained on older
simulators that can't effectively re-create the real behavior of
aircraft during stalls, severe icing, upsets due to wind shear or wake
encounters, and other extreme conditions, says a recent NTSB report.
Loss of control was a factor in 73 percent of the 433 airline fatalities
in the U.S. since 2000. (Note that the fatalities that occurred on Sept.
11, 2001, are not counted in accident statistics, since they resulted
from a crime, not an accident.) Newer simulators created with research
by the military and NASA are more effective, but there are no federal
requirements for pilots to be trained on them. More...
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly
business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the
products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business
aviation industry, making it a must-read.
Add AVwebBiz to
your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing
"Update E-mail Subscriptions." More...
RECEIVE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
Wednesday, March 10, 2010,
roughly 300 former Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) attended a
ceremony on Capitol Hill to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for
service to their country during World War II. The first minted medal was
printed in gold and awarded ceremoniously. It will find its home at the
Smithsonian. Surviving members received individual replicas of the
medal, made of bronze. More than 60 years since they served their
country as the first women trained to fly United States military
aircraft, some 800 medals had to be awarded posthumously to surviving
family members. The total number of medals awarded was 1,114,
representing 1,102 WASP, plus 11 who died in training. One more medal
was awarded to Jacqueline Cochran, founder of the WASP, and now
deceased. The medal is awarded by Congress and is the highest honor a
civilian may receive, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A Canadian man says an extraordinarily generous
charter airline not only saved the holidays of 900 stranded tourists, it
also delivered his prized Takamine D Series guitar home after it went
astray in the confusion. In late February, Ottawa-based charter operator
Go Travel South went out of business leaving 900 customers, including
Vince Thompson, scattered around the Caribbean. Kelowna, B.C.-based
Flair Airlines, which had flown the Snowbirds south under contract to
the charter company, went to pick them up at a cost to the airline of
more than $300,000. Flair spokesman Chris Lapointe said rescuing the
stranded vacationers was "the right thing to do" but Thompson said
saving the guitar was above and beyond that. More...
|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
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OF THE WEEK: ABOVE VIEW (ST. GEORGE, UTAH)
AVweb readers continued to travel the length and
breadth of North America this week, sending us notes about the best FBOs
they discovered along the way. Our latest "FBO of the Week" award goes
View at St. George Municipal Airport (SGU) in St. George,
AVweb reader Jaime Votaw tells us how Above
View stepped up to the plate when her husband made an unscheduled
My husband flew in
tonight after needing to land aftet battling weather all day. This was
an unexpected stop in a trip to Salt Lake City. I called in at about 8pm
and someone answered the phone. It was obviously after hours, and the
person who answered offered to run up the airport and get my husband a
crew car so he could get to a local hotel. Up until Justin answered the
phone, I had no idea what to tell my husnad to do. They are always
friendly there, but this was way above and beyond for them to do. Thank
you, Above View you guys are great!
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
YEARS AND NOW 15 GRAND GIVEAWAYS ... IT'S YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A GARMIN
AERA 510 HANDHELD GPS
Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS as we
celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address.
(You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize
drawings for the entire year so if you've already entered, you're
And no, we're not
going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and
invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15
Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either
but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)
entries is 11:59pm Zulu time March 12, 2010.
Click here to read the contest rules and
Congratulations to Rod Anson of Camperdown,
Victoria (Australia), who won 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards
here to get your own Rewards Points from Air BP)
We were a bit swamped at press time this week, but we'll have a fresh
batch of pictures up on the site tomorrow and in the Monday
edition of AVwebFlash.
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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:
here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
intended for publication.)
Comments or questions
about the news should be sent
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
If you're having
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Navigate. Communicate. More...