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Volume 9, Issue 48b November 27, 2003

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

The EAA-supported, Ken-Hyde-inspired 1903 Wright Flyer replica may have proven itself a bit too authentic Tuesday morning at the Wright Brothers National Memorial, when just after liftoff it pitched over and crashed. (Yes, this is the same one they're going to fly during the Centennial of Flight celebration at Kitty Hawk on Dec. 17.) Pilot Terry Queijo, who captains Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft for American Airlines, fared a bit better than the Wright Experience's aircraft, escaping physically unharmed by the impact of the crash, but clearly emotionally concerned for the impact her flight may have had on the airframe. Fortunately, her plunge from about four feet at roughly eight miles per hour (groundspeed) did little damage, in Hyde's estimation, and by Tuesday evening the prognosis was optimistic, with perhaps little more than a day's worth of repairs. More...

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The long-awaited Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) gets its first practical trial sometime in 2005 at the Danville Regional Airport in Virginia. The system is designed to empower GA by giving small aircraft and small airports the technology (like WAAS) to provide safe, reliable point-to-point air travel, free from the more typical "New York to Chicago to reach Dayton" routing imposed by airline hubs. And free from the two-hour drive necessary to arrive at that major airport on time. "These technologies could help planes safely fly into underutilized rural and suburban airports, including many airfields that don't have radar or air traffic control towers," said a NASA news release. About 93 percent of Americans live within 30 minutes of such an airport. More...

The timeline works with the development and practical implementation of new-generation mini-jets, most of which will be ready for delivery not long after the test begins. Eclipse's 500, especially, is aimed squarely at this kind of air-taxi type of service and much of its order book is predicated on it. But even with little jets crisscrossing the country to neighborhood airports, there's a much loftier goal for SATS that takes out the middleman and returns flying to the owner/operator. Ohio University is among various institutions tapping academic brainpower to come up with the Popular Science dream of door-to-door flight, with a compromise that eliminates some of the practical impracticalities of such operations, like destroying the neighbor's geraniums. More...

If the folks at Ohio University make the breakthrough they're predicting, let's hope they let Paul Moller in on the secret. After 30 years, Moller's Skycar is likely the most long-lived of the fly/drive dream and about 75 of the faithful turned up at a recent shareholders' meeting to hear the latest news. Moller told the group he's hoping to be at the controls himself when the M400 Skycar makes its first untethered flight over a man-made lake in California sometime next spring. The M400, with its four rotating nacelled engines, has broken the surly bonds, but always with a tether. Moller said the advent of the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and other technologies necessary to permit widespread use of "personal aircraft travelers" will help make the dream more accessible. Hoping that the Skycar's past performance is the best predictor of its future behavior, another California company, AMV Aircraft, is also closing in on a test flight and Popular Science is already on the story. More...

AEROSANCE PowerLink™ FADEC APPLICATIONS GROW With STCs for a number of Beech Bonanza and Baron models now in hand, Aerosance, another Teledyne Technologies company, is highlighting the latest developments with their revolutionary PowerLink™ FADEC digital engine control system. For more information on how to bring your aircraft into the FADEC generation go online at

As a British Airways Concorde was barged to its new home alongside the Intrepid Museum in New York, the corporate descendents of its creator were musing about an even more spectacular sequel to the now-retired supersonic airliner. European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is considering building a hypersonic airliner capable of flying 7,000 miles at almost Mach 4 (twice the speed of Concorde). It's considering a partnership with Japan in the development of the plane, which would carry 300 passengers (almost three times that of Concorde) and make the trip from Paris to Tokyo in two hours. Just how it would hit those numbers is another matter. More...

Pratt & Whitney had luck with their own during ground tests, and now NASA, after blowing up its first scramjet prototype (for safety reasons) on a test flight in 2001, says it might be ready to test another unmanned X-43A X-43C in mid-December. "We have a tentative, and put a line under that word, test-flight date of mid-December," NASA spokesman Chris Rink told Rink said the practical application of the technology for airliners is "decades away" but the pioneering folks at the University of Queensland aren't so sure. "NASA's going to fly their X-43A in the next couple of months and, given a chance, it's going to work, so the technology exists right now," said spokesman Allan Paull. More...

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Today might not be the best for traveling in Australia. The nation's airline pilots were threatening to throttle back near airports, ostensibly to prevent colliding with light aircraft they claim have been thrown into their airspace by new airspace designations and regulations, which, incidentally, are modeled after the U.S. system. "People who are probably the least experienced operators of aircraft are being allowed unfettered access to commercial airspace," Ted Lang, president of the air controllers union, said in a statement. The slowdown was expected to throw airline schedules into chaos, and further indignities awaited passengers unlucky enough to be on board the pokey airliners. Increased cabin checks were planned and passengers were to be buckled up below 10,000 feet in case the crew had to take "evasive action." More...

If you're in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 4, this might be worth a look. Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) will unveil its 70-foot Falcon rocket at a splashy ceremony with a reception to follow at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. The rocket will be hauled in on its mobile launcher. However, the launcher won't be put to use until early next year when the reusable booster is expected to take a Department of Defense communications satellite into orbit from SpaceX's complex at Vandenburg AFB in California. More...

They've cancelled the meals and the movies and dollar-crunching airlines are now targeting airport costs in the struggle to stay in business. Trouble is, the same things that have hurt the carriers are also putting the bite on airports, who pass along their increased costs to the airlines. "The trends are horrible," Laura Einspanier, who's in charge of airport facilities for American Airlines, told The Dallas Morning News. She said American has been hit with rent increases of 10 percent and landing-fee hikes of 18 percent as it teeters on the brink financially. US Airways recently threatened to pull its hub out of Pittsburgh over airport costs and United went toe-to-toe with Denver Airport officials. The airports say they're doing their best to cuts costs but they don't have as much flexibility as airlines in that regard. More...

AT BENNETT AVIONICS THEY DISCOUNT THE PRICE--NOT THEIR SERVICE! Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Find the avionics equipment to meet your aircraft's needs while leaving enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft at a price that makes sense. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics-your one-stop used avionics specialist at

As the 100th anniversary of manned flight looms, some navel-gazers are now suggesting the future of flight is with drones. "It's no longer 'yes or no.' The technology and the systems are accepted," Daryl Davidson, head of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), told CNN. "These things are here to stay and they are proliferating. We'll see them on every runway of every airport doing patrols and day-to-day routine tasks." Some are even predicting that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be the last manned fighter. But battlefield conditions, and their attendant attrition rates, don't apply over a crowded freeway; others suggest it will be a while before we accept drones for traffic reports or other urban uses. "The local TV station isn't going to be happy to have a million dollar plane crash into traffic or someone's house," said aerospace analyst Steve Zaloga. "It's going to be a hazard and it's going to be a cost issue." More...

You'd never guess from meeting the unfailingly polite, soft-spoken and friendly older gentleman that Scott Crossfield was once the hottest stick on the planet. It was 50 years ago last Sunday that "Scotty" took the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket to 1,290 mph and became the first to hit Mach 2. But Crossfield admits there was more to it than that. "We thought it would be kind of cute if we beat (Chuck) Yeager and the Air Force to Mach 2 in the Navy airplane," Crossfield recalled. " It was a very friendly competition. This base (Edwards AFB) was made up from the top on down, at the time, of fighter pilots, and they're competitive. The aircraft had flown as fast as Mach 1.96 and to push it over the magic number they crammed extra fuel aboard and even waxed the exterior. More...

California helicopter pilot Jim Cheatham helped keep 10,000 marathon runners safe but it's the allegedly ruffled feathers of 43 seabirds that could land him a fine. Cheatham stands accused of three misdemeanor counts of "airborne harassment of birds" after federal officials somehow determined he flushed 43 common murres from the Castle Rock Murre Colony in Monterey County. The 61-year-old Cheatham was carrying a television cameraman and reporter covering the Big Sur International Marathon last April 27. Part of his job was keeping an eye out for injured runners and relaying the information to officials, because cellphone coverage is spotty in the area. Cheatham claims he's innocent on the bird charges and he's ready to let the feathers fly in federal court Jan. 5. More...

GIVE AEROSHELL SHINE AND PROTECTION TO THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE'S AIRCRAFT AeroShell, a trusted name for oil and lubricants, introduces a line of appearance products designed specifically for general aviation aircraft. The AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be purchased in a convenient leak-proof bag designed for easy carrying and storage. AeroShell's Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all six AeroShell Flight Jacket cleaners and polishes, along with the application pad and cleaning cloths. AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be ordered for holiday giving at

The Kitty Hawk Air Show is set for Dec. 17...
Civil Air Patrol returned to roots after 62 years in the air...
Indian ultralight air racer earned airline pass bonus...
AOPA helped out Hanscom aerobatic pilots in lawsuit...
Cirrus CEO was appointed to GAMA board...
Kiwi PM got full security treatment at Australian airport.
Happy Thanksgiving. More...

Coming Soon -- A New Air and Space Museum: Birds In A Gilded Cage
On December 15, the Smithsonian will open its new Udvar-Hazy Center, an enormous annex to its flagship National Air & Space Museum. AVweb newswriter Mary Grady visited in October and provides this sneak preview. More...

GIVE THE GREAT LAKES INTERNATIONAL AVIATION CONFERENCE! Order the perfect gift for friends, relatives, and yourself! The Great Lakes International Aviation Conference, February 6-8, in Lansing, Michigan will host a top-flight lineup of nationally known speakers with breakout seminars, hands-on displays, discussions, and an extensive maintenance program. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and technologies. IA renewal and the FAA Wings program are available for those who qualify. Your reservation card will be sent in the mail in time for holiday giving. Call 248 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or visit

We received over 200 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Robert Luther, of Huntsville, Ala. His picture titled "Freedom B-24 Liberator Style" takes us to another time, when bombers flew relatively slow, low and much more susceptible to enemy fire. This particular aircraft was made from the only remaining military configuration B-24 in the world, "Dragon And It's Tail" just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. Great picture, Robert! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to More...

We received over 200 responses to our question last week on joining in aviation organizations. About 38 percent of those responding were members of AOPA, while only 6 percent belonged to the EAA. A larger group (38 percent) indicated they belonged to more than one of the organizations listed in our QOTW, while 6 percent did not belong to any such group.

To check out the complete results or respond to this week's question, go to

This week, we would like to know your thoughts on passage of the FAA Reauthorization Bill. More...

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AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service.

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