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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
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...
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.
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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
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 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...
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.
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NATA looking for best FAA field offices...
Airline stocks sunk under
TFR posted for Chicago waterfront...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Traps: Business Flying And The "Compensation Or Hire" Rule
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
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
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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
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 Wrights 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.
check out the complete results or respond to this week's question, go to
week, we would like to know your thoughts on the overall Countdown to
Kitty Hawk/Centennial 0f Flight celebration. More...
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