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Volume 9, Number 50a December 8, 2003

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

Toronto's new anti-airport mayor is starting a long process to get rid of the city's unique downtown island airport, claims Canada's biggest pilots' organization. Kevin Psutka, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), says the current controversy over a bridge linking the Toronto City Centre Airport (TCCA) with downtown Toronto is the first step in a calculated campaign to eventually close the airport. "It'll probably take five or ten years to all come about," said Psutka. "But before I die [which we assume will be more than 10 years from now; Psutka is a young man] I guarantee you we will have no airport and we will have a bridge." And it is the future of a $22 million bridge project linking the island airport and the city that has set Toronto's aviation community and its political establishment on edge. More...

Although parallels to Chicago's Meigs Field spring to mind, Psutka said it's unlikely Miller will send in a fleet of excavators (by "sea") to seal TCCA's fate. Rather, Psutka said he believes Miller and his anti-airport backers will administer a political death. After killing the bridge, he believes the next target will be the smoke-belching, rusting ferry that is the airport's only surface access. The airport will have to close without the ferry and, predicts Psutka, the land will then be developed into a park and residential development requiring access to the mainland, "... and the bridge will be built," said Psutka. The shenanigans have prompted lawsuit threats totaling billions of dollars, including a $400 million threat from businessman Robert Deluce, who claims his well-advanced plans to start a commuter airline based at TCCA depend on the construction of the bridge. But that's not all. More...

Miller isn't the only civic politician with an anti-airport platform. In Naples, Fla., city council candidate William Willkomm III says he'd like to see the city's airport, a popular bizjet destination, converted into a high-tech industrial park with on-site schools to turn out skilled workers for the businesses that set up there. In Concord, Calif., pilots are worried a secret deal to carve up their airport could be rubber-stamped at a Board of Supervisors' meeting Dec. 9. Meanwhile, commissioners in Collier County, Fla., appear to have backed off on a plan to close Everglades Airpark. The arguments go something like this: "I'm just coming up with a better use for the half-billion dollars of real estate that is paid for, owned by us," Willkomm told the Naples Daily News regarding his plans for the Florida airport. More...

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Tried every $100 hamburger within flying distance? Tired of Unicom operators recognizing your voice? Maybe it's time to spread your wings a little (or a lot) and do what your airplane and your certificate were meant for. Be A Pilot has devoted part of its Web site to Places Pilots Know, a directory of places that are easier, faster or just more fun to get to by flying. Spokesman Drew Steketee said it's the Be A Pilot's latest effort to show how being a licensed pilot offers "wider horizons and a fuller life." Places Pilot Know went online Dec. 4 with 150 destinations clickable on a map of North America. More...

For instance, not many outside the local area know that you can land right on Copalis State Beach in Washington State or get into ghost towns and landlocked settlements in the western mountains. Who would have thought the Western-themed fly-in resort called the Flying W Ranch would be a short hop from Teterboro in New Jersey? For a wild adventure, it's hard to beat (not to mention find) a place like Tsuniah Lake Lodge in British Columbia. For the closest thing left to a Meigs Field experience, threatened Toronto City Centre Airport puts Canada's largest city a 150-yard ferry ride away. Steketee said Be A Pilot staffers plus the "research and spectacular photography" of Pilot Getaways magazine conspired to create the list. More...

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Try as you might, it's hard to keep the first flight of a new airplane secret, but give Honda full marks for trying. The automotive giant's foray into the bizjet market flew for about an hour from its not-so-secret development facility at Aero Atlantic's FBO at Greensboro-Peidmont Triad International Airport (GSO) last Wednesday. And although the flight has been widely reported, Honda and the various entities involved have clearly been sworn to secrecy about the milestone. "Tell them I referred you to Honda," said a slightly bemused Don Godwin, CEO of Atlantic Aero. Honda's official spokesman Jeffrey Smith didn't return a phone message left by AVweb. Word (anonymously, of course) is that Wednesday's hop was a shakedown in advance of the official rollout that could happen later this week or next More...

Creators of the Wright Flyer replica that will (hopefully) fly on Dec. 17 say modern influences are making conditions for their attempt at history trickier than those the Wrights faced. Wright Experience owner Ken Hyde said progress has increased turbulence at the hallowed patch of sand near Kill Devil Hills. "In 1903, this area was a desolate piece of sand with nothing to interrupt the flow of air all the way to the ocean," Hyde said. "Today, houses and buildings abound and trees have been planted to stabilize the dunes. This creates more turbulence but we're learning to live with that," he said. Part of the learning experience was a Nov. 25 mishap that damaged the aircraft, but flight tests have resumed. More...

Today it's Massachusetts but tomorrow it could be property owners bugged by your flying threatening to sue you out of the air. Pilots under the legal gun on the east coast have started the General Aviation Legal Defense fund. Several pilots who legally practice aerobatics near Hanscom Field are being sued by the landowners below who don't like the noise. One of the pilot-defendants, Steve Pennypacker, said that if the plaintiffs are successful in Massachusetts, similar lawsuits could spread to other areas. More...

DON'T HAVE A LOW-LEVEL CARBON MONOXIDE MONITOR? GET ONE BEFORE WINTER! Low levels of carbon monoxide can be extremely hazardous in aircraft because the effects of CO and hypoxia are cumulative. A small CO leak may be an early warning sign of an impending life-threatening problem, such as cracks or holes in the exhaust system. Don't take chances with yourself and your passengers! With its digital readout that displays CO concentrations as low as 5 parts per million, the CO Experts Model 2002 from is by far the most sensitive under-$100 carbon monoxide detector you can buy. Don't procrastinate ... call 1 888 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, go online at

The race for the X Prize, the $10 million award for the first practical private space launch, is getting tighter as two more teams have joined the race and the well-established groups are getting nearer to flight. Space Transport Corp., of Washington State, announced its entry and says it will have an unmanned three-stage rocket launch within 60 days. Also joining the fray was the High Altitude Research Corp. Inc., which revealed its 40-foot rocket Nov. 22 at its Huntsville, Ala., headquarters. The two new entries bring the total to 26. More...

All pilots and students in Australia will undergo background checks under a new security program launched by the government. The Australian Security Intelligence Organization and other Aussie agencies will probe the history of everyone who flies before issuing new "tamper-proof photographic licenses." The measures are part of a $93 million (AUD) aviation security package announced by the federal government last week. "Today's announcement of measures ... greatly strengthens the already-robust framework we put in place after the events of Sept. 11," said Transport Minister John Anderson. In addition to pilot background checks, the measures include security IDs for all workers servicing aircraft and a requirement for all airports to upgrade security. More...

PATTY WAGSTAFF WILL PERFORM AT CENTENNIAL OF FLIGHT CELEBRATION If you haven't made your reservations for this once-in-a-lifetime celebration do so immediately! There are only FIVE days till the First Flight Centennial Celebration starts on December 12. Along with Patty Wagstaff will be the four-man AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Ian Groom, Michael Mancuso and Bobby Younkin, plus entertainment from The Beach Boys, Temptations, Aaron Tippin and Lee Greenwood. Make your reservations, and show your elite status by ordering Centennial gifts for everyone on your holiday shopping list, at

Hunters could soon be back in the air, gunning down wolves from airplanes near the remote Alaska village of McGrath. Animal rights forces promise they won't be far behind in urging a tourism boycott of the state. An Alaska judge last week rejected an attempt by Friends of Animals to stop a state-sponsored aerial hunt aimed at culling 35 to 45 wolves to keep them from eating moose. The state, you see, wants the moose available for the people of McGrath to kill and eat. McGrath, population 470, is about 300 air miles from the nearest grocery store and the people have been complaining for a decade that wolves and bears have literally been taking the food out of their mouths by eating the local moose population. More...

The White House has offered clarification for the reported Thanksgiving sighting of Air Force One ...
An Airworthiness Directive (AD) will become effective Jan. 20 for certain Cessna 172s, 182s and 206s ...
TSA Deputy Chief of Staff David Stone is the new TSA Acting Administrator ...
Boeing's latest unmanned aerial vehicle, the X-50A Dragonfly, had its first flight Dec. 4. More...

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Pelican's Perch #76: Those Dreadful POHs (Part 2)
Last month, AVweb's John Deakin described some strange events from his airline days that were caused by too-strict reliance on "The Book." This month, the pelican gets on his perch to tackle a few GA POHs and finds (gasp!) inconsistencies, errors, and just plain dangerous recommendations. More...

December 8, 2003: Reader mail this week about Air Force One's secret flight, noise at British airports and more. More...

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&lid=bizav">HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read! Sign up today at More...

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NTSB REPORTER GIVES YOU ALL THE DETAILS ON THE WELLSTONE CRASH You may have heard from the mainstream news media that the NTSB blamed "pilot error" for the accident in which Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed. But, there's a whole lot more, which you didn’t see, reported, including that fact that the NTSB reached a lot of conclusions, which definitely do not fit into the category of "pilot error." Learn the facts for yourself in December's issue of NTSB Reporter at

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