The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
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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.
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TO GIVE THANKS
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
TAXIS AND DOOR-TO-DOOR FLYING...
The timeline works with the development and practical implementation of
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...
GETS SKYCAR COMPETITION
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.
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...
SCRAMJET ALMOST READY ... AGAIN
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
theage.com. 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.
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SYSTEM BRINGS AIRSPACE ANGST TO OZ
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...
ROCKET UNVEILED IN WASHINGTON
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
AIRLINES VS. THE AIRPORTS
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
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THE WAY OF THE FUTURE
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."
2 RIVALRY RECALLED
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.
PILOT CHARGED WITH BUZZING BIRDS
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.
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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...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Soon -- A New Air and Space Museum: Birds In A Gilded Cage
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
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
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
To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's
contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw
QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
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
To check out the complete results or respond to this
week's question, go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on passage of the FAA
Reauthorization Bill. More...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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