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Volume 9, Number 52b -- Christmas, 2003

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

LIGHT-SPORT/SPORT PILOT PASSES DOT
The Light-Sport/Sport Pilot classifications could be a reality early in the coming year after Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta signed off on the rulemaking package Tuesday and forwarded it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for a final review. The new classifications will allow reduced training and medical standards for people who want to fly relatively low-performance light aircraft purely for recreation. "There's a whole industry out there waiting for this," said EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski. "We hope they use all due speed to move this along to make it a reality," he said. "The sport pilot proposal offers a dramatic opportunity for people who've always wanted to fly but found the process too expensive, too time-consuming or too complicated," said Knapinski. More...

...TWO YEARS IN THE MAKING
It's been almost two years since the FAA published the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that began the process of creating the new aircraft and certificate class. It was originally thought that it would take a year to get to the final rule but ironing out all the new standards and compliance methods took time. Last August, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey signed off on the package and it was thought the DOT would be finished with it by the end of October, but there were some questions Mineta and his staff wanted answered before putting pen to paper. More...

AEROPLANNER ISN'T ALL FLIGHT PLANNING...IT'S CONVENIENCE AeroPlanner is the best flight planning program around giving you all the information needed for any particular flight. Team your knowledge and skill with AeroPlanner flight planning and it's a winning combination. For a no-obligation demonstration go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeroplan

ORANGE ALERT RUMORS AND NOTAMS
Despite some ominous rumors, GA remained (at least through Christmas Eve) relatively unaffected by the increase in the terrorist alert status to Orange, or High -- exceptions include a smattering of TFRs chasing the President, a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) for the Chicago lakefront and rules resurrected for Potomac, College Park and Hyde airports located within the 15-nm Washington flight restriction zone -- the airports are often referred to as the DC-3 (click to download NOTAMs 3/2030, 3/2031, 3/2033, and 3/2035 in Microsoft Word format). The information is available from DUAT, but not all of it was available as late as yesterday from the FAA's TFR Web site. While TFRs generally affect defined areas, there are some with broad reach. More...

...PILOT BACKGROUND CHECKS FIND TOEHOLD...
Is the terrorist threat lower here … or does the TSA believe these checks are worthless ... or is someone actually standing up for our "freedoms" ... or maybe our pilot lobbying groups are just better than theirs? Whatever the case, it's Australia -- not the U.S. -- that will have all pilots submit to a background check by their Security Intelligence Organization prior to the issuance of photo licenses. Australia's new security measures for GA were announced a few weeks ago, but the Aussie government didn't immediately publicize that a pilot's privilege of being fingerprinted and having his or her closets searched for skeletons would cost those pilots $200 each, and recur every two years. Here in the U.S., an estimated $1 billion a week to support elevated security has not so directly been passed on to GA. We're not complaining. More...

...AND GETTING SCHOOLED IN SECURITY
While the rest of us are learning this stuff as we go along (sometimes the hard way), at least one aviation school has included a security component in its curriculum. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University now offers a BSc. in Global Security and Intelligence Studies. The course is run in conjunction with aviation-related studies and includes foreign languages, comparative religion and study of the effects of world events on security. It's taught by former CIA analyst Philip E. Jones. More...

ONLY SEVEN DAYS LEFT TO RECEIVE YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT FROM WEATHERTAP.COM Enjoy full, complimentary access to WeatherTAP.com now through December 31, 2003. Real-time radar, hi-res satellite imagery, storm tracks and custom locations in WeatherTAP's RadarLab, complete aviation weather and much more. Check it out at no-obligation today by entering User Name: AVWEB2003 and Password: HOLIDAY. Then order a gift subscription for your favorite pilot and yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/weathertap

BUSH PILOT WANNABES PUSH CRASH STATS?
Idaho officials are wondering what to do about an alarming increasing in air crashes, especially fatal ones. In 2003, there have been 50 crashes, eleven of them fatal, and 21 people have died. Compared to the averages over the previous 11 years, that works out to 38 percent more accidents, 57 percent more fatal crashes and 61 percent more fatalities. Government agencies like the NTSB and FAA could offer no explanation for the sharp increase (nor did they seem particularly concerned about it) but a veteran Idaho pilot thinks adventuresome pilots, long on finances but lean on experience, are pushing the numbers up. More...

YOUNG AVIATION ARTISTS WANTED
If there's a budding aviation artist in the family, here's something to occupy them for the holiday school break. The FAA and several national aviation organizations are sponsoring a national art contest as part of an international competition sponsored by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. This year's theme is "Flying Saves Lives!" and is open to kids in age groups six to nine, 10 to 13 and 14 to 17. More...

KIWIS LAUNCH UTILITY TURBOPROP
New Zealand has entered the increasingly crowded utility aircraft sector with a low-wing turboprop aimed initially at the skydiving market. Pacific Aerospace Corporation expects to have FAA certification early next year for the PAC 750 XL. It's the first passenger aircraft ever designed and built in New Zealand and the company claims to have 18 orders and 260 options lined up in Europe, Australia, Africa and North America for the rugged plane, which can carry up to 17 jumpers to 12,000 feet in 12 minutes. More...

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RAZOR-BLADE SHOES MEET AIRPORT SECURITY
And with security so much on people's minds this week, it's hard to believe some of the things that have been going on at airport screening stations. How about Minnesota State Rep. Dick Borell, who was arrested while trying to board a flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul with a loaded handgun in his carry-on baggage? Borell, who was handcuffed and charged, told authorities he's been packing the little derringer for 15 years for self-protection. He said he didn't empty the bag from his last road trip and forgot the gun was there. He'll be in court Feb. 12 facing misdemeanor charges. In another case of remarkable forgetfulness, a Pennsylvania church missionary is facing similar charges after screeners found a hacksaw blade and razor blade in his shoe. More...

CHINA'S REGIONAL JET
China is entering the burgeoning regional jet market with a 78- to 85-passenger plane and a 98- to 105-seat version that will be 10 percent cheaper than other regional jets, more comfortable and "designed to fly under terrible geographic conditions like high temperatures or plateaus in China's western regions," said Chen Jin, vice general manager of AVIC Commercial Aircraft Co. Ltd. Work started simultaneously at four different locations on the first ARJ21 aircraft last week and the test aircraft should be ready by 2006. First deliveries are expected in 2008. GE is supplying the engines and Rockwell Collins the avionics. The Chinese government put up half the $5 billion yuan in development costs and the company is looking for more investment, something changes in the Chinese attitude toward such things might help out. More...

AIRLINES' NEAR-COLLAPSE BRINGS CHANGES TO FAA
The massive realignment of the airline industry has the FAA pondering its future deployment of resources. With the near-collapse of some major airlines and the surge in popularity of discount carriers, some traditional hubs are seeing markedly reduced traffic volumes while what used to be secondary airports are starting to burst at the seams. "We are watching that [low-cost industry] carefully," Steven Brown, the FAA's air traffic chief, told Reuters. While overall numbers are returning to pre-9/11 levels, traffic at Boston's Logan Airport and at San Francisco is down 22 percent, while Dulles is off 31 percent. More...

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ON THE FLY...
NATA looking for best FAA field offices...
Airline stocks sunk under Oranage Alert...
TFR posted for Chicago waterfront...
Merry Christmas. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Traps: Business Flying And The "Compensation Or Hire" Rule
In this age of fractional ownership, limited liability companies andshell companies to protect a private aircraft, pilots and aircraftowners and operators need to be extra careful about what kind of flyingthey do when passengers pay for some or all of the flight.

Northbound!
There is a place -- a cold, mountainous, low-VFR place -- wherestick-and-rudder skills and an innate ability for pilotage is not justhelpful ... it's required for survival. But if you want to do more thanbe a flying bus driver, Alaska has challenges and rewards for theaviation professional. More...

THE BUZZARD HAS LANDED Original Lazy Buzzard T-Shirts are now available. Join in his ongoing adventures in future designs as he dedicates himself to finding life, liberty, and definitely, the pursuit of happiness. Share the journey and live the life he inspires. Order for yourself and gifts at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lazy

BUSINESS AVFLASH
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 http://www.avweb.com/profile/

More...

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AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Daniel Duclos, of Gatineau, Quebec. His photo was taken during the Ottawa Air Show held last August. Pictured is Michael Potter newly repainted Spitfire during one of it's first showing. Great picture, Daniel! Your AVweb hat is on its way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw More...

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
We received over 200 responses to our question last week in review of the Countdown to Kitty Hawk/Centennial Of Flight celebration. A bit over one third (38 percent) of responding readers felt the series of events were a great way to celebrate the Wright’s accomplishments, while 15 percent were disappointed by the December 17, 2003, failed flight attempt. Not surprisingly, about one-quarter (24 percent) felt the Countdown To Kitty was more of a marketing ploy than anything else.

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 the overall Countdown to Kitty Hawk/Centennial 0f Flight celebration. 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. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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