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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
MISSILE DEFENSES STUDIED
Airliners could soon be packing heat, the missile-confusing type, that
is. The Bush administration is pressing ahead with studies to see if
commercial airliners can be economically and effectively fitted with
anti-missile defenses. The White House announced Tuesday that two
airplane companies and an airline will be paid $2 million each over six
months to assess the viability of such a plan. BAE Systems, Northrop
Grumman and United Air Lines were selected from a total of 24
submissions. They will focus their work on adapting existing military
systems to airliners, said Charles McQueary, the Homeland Security
Department's undersecretary for science and technology.
Northrop Grumman and BAE both supply military aircraft with laser
systems that blind the heat-seeking sensor in the small shoulder-fired
missiles that worry security officials the most. The United Air Lines
bid would employ a missile-detection system and expendable decoys to
divert the missiles. There are about 10 companies collaborating on the
United bid. The initial $6 million in contracts is described as seed
money by one military analyst but if the government decides to go ahead
with the systems, the value could be staggering. More...
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THE WORLD IN DIFFERENT WAYS
A Canadian pilot will be spending a lot of time in the cockpit this
coming year if his plans (and dreams) come true. Hans Hofmaier, of
Qualicum Beach, on British Columbia's Vancouver Island, left Nov. 6 on
his Spirit On A Shoestring round-the-world flight in a
1946 Taylorcraft with a 65-horsepower engine. He's not exactly taking
the most direct route, either. After a few months in
South America, Hofmaier will head north through Canada to Alaska and
then work his way south through the Orient to Australia before heading
west through Asia, Europe and finally the North Atlantic hopscotch to
Canada again. He expects to finish about 18 months from now, but the
journey was almost over before it really started. More...
HOURS BY CENTURION...
A Houston pilot has the same sort of goal in mind as Hofmaier but his
trip will only take a couple of months and will, we wager, be
substantially more comfortable. John Coale left Houston Southwest Airport last
Sunday in his modified Cessna 210 Centurion. Coale has spent three years
planning the trip but he too is doing it for the experience and nothing
else. "No sponsors, no records ... he's just doing it because he wants
to," said Coale's friend Greg Moredock. To make the trip, Coale took out
all five passenger seats to make room for fuel and other gear.
POLAR PILOT TURNS BACK
And while Hofmaier and Coale confront the various challenges that await
them, a Maryland pilot has decided discretion is the better part of
valor in his attempt to circumnavigate via the poles. Gus McLeod turned
back because the new engine in his South Korean-built Firefly, a new
homebuilt design that was created in partnership with the creators of
the Velocity, is burning too much oil. "If the oil consumption is not
right, I'm going to run out of oil before I run out of gas," McLeod told
the Associated Press. If any of the three complete their trip, they'll
join a relatively elite group. If you're interested in joining the
ranks, the Web site Earthrounders exists to help pilots plan the trip
and list their achievement. More...
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INTERNET GOES AIRBORNE
Forget the six-month-old movies and TV reruns, you'll soon be able to
surf the Internet on some airlines and we have to wonder if GA
applications (especially the experimental kind) can be far behind.
Connexion by Boeing announced this week that at least five airlines
(none of them American) have confirmed plans to install high-speed
wireless internet service on planes used for long-haul flights. The
systems allow laptop users to access Internet, intranet and e-mail in
the air. They'll even allow e-mail exchanges between computers on
different aircraft. "History will record 2004 as the year when air
travelers for the first time could choose to be connected while in
flight to family, colleagues and friends," said Connexion President
Scott Carson. More...
TV GOES AIRBORNE
Southwest Airlines is taking a leap of promotional faith. For those who
need reassurance that other people miss flights, get seated next to
people who apparently don't bathe and suffer various other indignities
during air travel, A&E presents Airline, its foray into reality
television. The often high-brow network now offers Southwest Airlines,
its employees and passengers as subjects for your enjoyment. The show
follows day-in-the-life encounters with weather delays, drunks,
blackouts, and one scene highlighting the airline's well-publicized
policy of making very fat passengers pay for two seats
be much worse than watching people eat mealworms or cheat on each other
... or can it? More...
JUMPS INTO EXTREME SPORTS
Something that will almost surely land you in jail almost anywhere else
can win you prizes and glory in Malaysia. The country has created a
travel niche for itself by permitting tourists to leap from tall
buildings in competition. Kuala Lumpur hosted the Malaysia International
Championship Extreme Skydive and World Base Cup last week. A total of 54
competitors from all over the world leapt from the Petronas Twin Towers
and Menara Kuala Lumpur. The results of Monday's finals still haven't
been posted. More...
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CARRIER SOLD ON EBAY
For someone who has everything, how about an aircraft carrier? The
bidding was hot for a decommissioned carrier offered on eBay last week.
It went to at least $90 million for the "demilitarized" vessel, which
may have been a former British carrier also used by Australia. The ship
was valued at $2 million in scrap value when ship broker Renming Cheng
decided to see what the market would bear. He suggested to potential
buyers that it might make a good tourist attraction, hotel, amusement
park or museum. More than 350,000 people checked out the offer. It was
not immediately known who bought the ship, which is now moored in Ski,
WANT SECURITY SUSPICIONS ANALYZED
Pilots and flight attendants want a central repository for reports about
people who ask too many questions, follow them in airports and take
pictures on their airplanes just in case those involved aren't merely
curious, going the same way or have a few extra frames of film to use.
Some suspicious employees tell their union, others their employer and
some of the reports do reach the Transportation Security
Administration's Terrorist Threat Integration Center. But a recent
report by an independent group claims the center doesn't have the staff
or resources to make use of the data. "We'd like all reports of unusual
events to be going directly to the government for analysis," Chris
Witkowski, a spokesman for the Association of Flight Attendants, told
the Associated Press. More...
A longtime volunteer at a New York flight museum has been charged after
trying to sell what the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome claims is one of its
artifacts on eBay. But Christopher Rogine, 48, of Red Hook, told the
Poughkeepsie Journal that the huge parachute that helped lower an Apollo
spacecraft to Earth was his to sell. He was asking $9,500. Rogine was
arrested after an employee at the Smithsonian National Air and Space
Museum in Washington spotted the eBay posting. The Smithsonian had
originally given the chute to Old Rhinebeck after astronauts Charles
Conrad, Joseph Kerwin and Paul Weitz were finished using it on a return
trip from the Skylab space station in 1973. More...
"TEST DRIVE" A
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Charges dropped against medevac chopper pilot in Connecticut...
for Flight 232 pilot's daughter at $11,000...
Nominations for EAA's
Homebuilders Hall of Fame close Feb. 1...
Water too deep to recover
lost Egyptian jet's data recorder...
Scientists thrilled with color
photo from Mars....
Jet stream carried football game balloons 900
miles in less than a day...
AOPA said top priority for 2004 is
protecting airports. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #32: Another Year
While other pundits are making
New Years' resolutions, AVweb's Don Brown is looking back -- back to
when he first became a safety representative for NATCA - the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association. Sadly, the safety problems he
noticed then still haven't gotten better. More...
AVEMCO-KING PRACTICAL RISK MANAGEMENT COURSE FOR WINGS PROGRAM
Plus, most pilots will be eligible to receive the full 10%
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been an increasing awareness of the importance of risk management
training for all pilots. Avemco is a leading pleasure and business
general aviation insurer in the U.S. For more information on this
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mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco
PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's
winner, Eric Hutchins, of Grand Rapids, Minn. While you might initially
think there's something wrong with it, Erics photo shows the
classic lines of an Aeronca Champ visible through the frozen window of a
fish house. Ice fishing is popular in the Upper Midwest and frozen lakes
offer new freedoms to these stick and rudder aircraft. Great picture,
Eric! Your AVweb hat is on its way.
To check out the winning picture,
or to enter next week's contest, click here. More...
QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
Due to technical difficulties, last weeks question could not be
viewed by our readers. We apologize for any inconvenience.
to this week's question, click here.
This week, we would like
to know your thoughts on security-based airline cancellations.
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OPS, ICE, STABLIZING AN APPROACH AND TALKING WITH GEORGE Are
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DEHYDRATION CONTRIBUTES TO DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT) The
Journal of the American Medical Association reports Japan Airlines
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