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Volume 10, Number 02b -- January 8, 2004

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

AIRLINER 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. More...

...DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES COMPARED
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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AROUND 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...

...172 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. More...

...AND 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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THE 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...

REALITY 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 … and can't be much worse than watching people eat mealworms or cheat on each other ... or can it? More...

MALAYSIA 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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AIRCRAFT 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, Norway. More...

CREWS 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...

MUSEUM VOLUNTEER CHARGED
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 B-737/300 AT CONTINENTAL'S IAH PILOT TRAINING CENTER! The "Airline Training Orientation Program" (ATOP) is a two-day 737/300 familiarization course designed for *any* U.S. pilot, especially those interested in airline careers. Presented exclusively by ATOP Inc., the course features 12 hours' ground school, one hour in the 737/300 FTD, and two hours in the 737/300 full-motion simulator. Earn the optional "High Altitude Endorsement," too! Register for any class by February 1 and get a $40 discount off the $435.00 course fee by mentioning AVweb! For details go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/atop

ON THE FLY...
Charges dropped against medevac chopper pilot in Connecticut...
Fund 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...

NEW 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...

FAA APPROVES AVEMCO-KING PRACTICAL RISK MANAGEMENT COURSE FOR WINGS PROGRAM Plus, most pilots will be eligible to receive the full 10% Avemco Safety Rewards premium credit through participation in the Wings program. Since the start of the Avemco Safety Rewards Program there has 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 program and the advantages of buying direct by call 888-241-7891 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco

AVWEB'S 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, Eric’s 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...

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
Due to technical difficulties, last week’s question could not be viewed by our readers. We apologize for any inconvenience.

To respond to this week's question, click here.
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on security-based airline cancellations. More...

GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT AIRCRAFT FUEL BILLS BY 20 PERCENT! Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices, install GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami

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/

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NIGHT IFR OPS, ICE, STABLIZING AN APPROACH AND TALKING WITH GEORGE Are including in the February issue of IFR Magazine. Plus, editor Paul Berge battles FAA windmills in his "Remarks" column. And, the "Briefing" page discusses who's making airplanes and who's making excuses. And, the "Killer Quiz" could make you feel good about your IFR-self. Subscribe to IFR Magazine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrmag

FIFTY YEARS OF FLYING EXPERIENCE WRAPPED UP IN ONE BOOK! Gordon Henrie puts his flying experiences and lessons learned into a fantastic book to benefit any pilot. If you are a student passing the portals of the flying experience, a private pilot striving to be just a little better every time you fly, or a flight instructor trying to be the best for each student, this book is a must-read. For more information and to order go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/mountain

STUDY SHOWS DEHYDRATION CONTRIBUTES TO DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS (DVT) The Journal of the American Medical Association reports Japan Airlines Medical Services advise taking electrolytes, instead of water alone, during flights to reduce dehydration and the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the legs hindering blood flow. Researchers reported those who drank the electroyte solution had a greater net fluid balance after the flight and were less likely to show increased thickness of blood, concluding that electrolytes re-hydrate the body better. Safe Goods offers electroBlast designed as an electrolyte rehydration aid. electroBlast is a convenient, tasty way to guard against dehydration and DVT. For more information and to order go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/safegoods

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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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