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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
$100 MILLION BILL UP IN SMOKE...
A $100 million provision for relief to GA companies hurt by the airspace
restrictions following 9/11, in keeping with the fate of all other such
efforts so far in Washington, has failed to make the final cut in the
2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. As late as last week, the provision
was still intact, but it had vanished by last Thursday, when the Senate
passed the bill, putting an abrupt end to efforts by Democrats to keep
it in play. President Bush signed the bill into law on Friday. Pete
West, of the National
Business Aviation Association (NBAA), told AVweb this week,
"The classic line in this town is this: Now we have to work on the '05
appropriations process." In other words, there's always next year.
IN LARGER PROBLEMS
Although the FAA's $60 billion reauthorization bill stretches over four
years, GA advocates don't have to wait four years to take their next
shot, West said. The spending bills still need to be voted on every
year. "Appropriations is an annual process, and we can work for GA
relief in fiscal year 2005," he told AVweb. Talks should begin
soon in Washington about spending in 2005, he said, but it's a long,
slow road. "The reality is, these GA companies have been hurting since
September 2001, and we need to stop the bleeding now," he said. But with
a war and a deficit and domestic demands on the budget, not to mention
an election, that is easier said than done. More...
LIGHTSPEED ON THE MOVE
continued success and growth, they are moving to a larger facility in
Portland, Oregon. The move should have minimal impact on their pilot
customers. LightSPEED apologizes for any inconvenience during this move
and appreciates their customers' patience. Should your travels bring you
to the Portland area, please stop by for a visit! For LightSPEED models
and ordering information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed.
PLANS TO TRIPLE AIRSPACE CAPACITY...
The U.S. airspace system is bursting at the seams, Transportation
Secretary Norman Mineta said this week, and if thousands of "micro-jet"
air taxis and unmanned aircraft start sharing the skies too, demand for
services will intensify. In a speech at the Aero Club in Washington, D.C., on
Tuesday, Mineta announced plans aimed at tripling airspace capacity in
the next 15 to 20 years, modernizing GPS navigation, and enhancing
on-board technologies to maximize safety. "If America wants to retain
its global air transportation leadership, we need to modernize and
transform our air transportation system -- starting right now," Mineta
MORE TOWERS, MORE RADAR, MORE RUNWAYS...
Mineta said the FAA already has set in motion plans to build seven new
air traffic control towers, five new terminal air traffic control
facilities, and new advanced radar systems at 12 airports, and to
install the STARS air traffic control system at 14 airports. He added
that seven airports are building new runways and four major hub airports
-- Boston, Charlotte, Denver and Minneapolis -- will be getting advanced
weather satellite/radar systems to minimize weather-related delays for
commercial travelers. "We must develop a system based on 21st century
technology that will help reduce future air traffic delays, improve
airport management and maximize the safety and efficiency of our
nation's aviation system," he said. More...
FUNDING IS UNDER THREAT
But while the Department of Transportation is busily planning for the
future, the folks at the White House are worrying about today's bottom
line. In a proposal due next Monday, the Bush administration will
propose a 16-percent cut in spending on air-traffic-control equipment
and facilities, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The $471
million cut would affect the FAA's $2.9 billion facilities and equipment
budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins October 1 of this year. The
cuts would mean postponing or scaling back projects aimed at making air
travel more efficient. The FAA is under pressure to rein in spending,
which has expanded 70 percent since 1996 to $14 billion this year.
NEW AIRPORT? WATCH THE YEARS PASS
After the 1999 closures of Robert Mueller Municipal Airport and Austin
Executive Airpark in Austin, Texas, legislation was enacted in 2001 (HB 2522) to "establish a state airport in Central
Texas that is open to the general public" -- with the caveat that the
existing Mueller property is not in the running.. The Texas Department
of Transportation (TxDOT) held two public meetings in the Austin area
this week to discuss the site-selection process for the airport. After site
selection is complete, another year will be required to complete the
master plan ... and another five to build the airport.
MANEUVERS AND MIDAIRS BIGGEST THREATS TO STUDENT PILOTS
A new report by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation (ASF) about flight-training
safety shows that instructional flight is safer than most other types of
GA flying, AOPA said on Monday. But the study also revealed the
two types of instructional accidents with the highest fatality rates:
low-level maneuvering flight and midair collisions. "In the one case,
instructors are inadvertently allowing a simulated emergency to
degenerate into a real one," said ASF Executive Director Bruce
Landsberg. "In the other, what should be an asset -- a second set of
eyes in the cockpit -- isn't paying dividends." The study analyzed data
from 2,295 instructional accidents from 1992 to 2001, both dual and
solo. Of those, 201 accidents (9 percent) were fatal. More...
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WOES: IS BOEING LEAVING, IS RAYTHEON SELLING?
Boeing is considering selling off its 75-year-old manufacturing facility
in Wichita, which employs more than 12,000 workers, according to a
report in Sunday's Seattle Times. The Times said its report
was based on internal documents it obtained from a "company insider,"
and Boeing would neither confirm nor deny its plans. Yesterday, The
Wichita Eagle reported that Kansas officials talked with Boeing CEO
Harry Stonecipher about the Times report, and were reassured that no
sale is imminent -- but the company is "always reviewing its plans."
Meanwhile, the Times also reported this week that Raytheon
Aircraft is close to making a deal to sell its Wichita fabrication
division to a British company, GKN Aerospace, but Raytheon officials would not
comment on the story. More...
ISSUES ADVANCE NOTICE OF RVSM CHANGES
The FAA has issued advance notice of its plans to implement Domestic
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM) at 0901 UTC on Jan. 20,
2005. The RVSM program allows vertical separation to be reduced from
2,000 feet to 1,000 feet between Flight Levels 290 to 410 (inclusive),
which the FAA says will allow aircraft to safely fly more optimum
profiles, gain fuel savings, and increase airspace capacity. Aircraft
must be equipped with altimeters, altitude control systems (autopilots),
and altitude alerters that meet RVSM performance tolerances, and
operator maintenance and operations programs must incorporate RVSM
policies and practices. More...
TWIN WING SPARS, SAFETY AND COST
The FAA on Tuesday posted its official notice that it is reopening the comment
period on its proposed Cessna wing-spar Airworthiness Directives, and
also announced that it will hold a public meeting on the matter in
March. The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) said
in its January newsletter the AD would virtually destroy the economic
viability of older C-402 aircraft. "The cost of the wing-structure
modification represents a large percentage of the aircraft's total
market value," RACCA said. An ad hoc owners' group called the Cessna Twin
Spars Corp. argues that the rules will cost $43,100 per airplane to
implement, and they want time to develop safe and economical alternative
means of compliance. The FAA will hold the public meeting on March 3 and
4, starting at 9 a.m. both days, at the Hilton at Washington Dulles
Airport, in Herndon, Va. More...
LANDING, BUT AN AIRPORT WOULD BE BETTER
A Cessna 210 with four people on board landed on Interstate 40 in
Memphis on Sunday morning, after the engine quit. The airplane's gear
nicked the top of a GMC Jimmy in the westbound lane, but then touched
down on the pavement, with no injuries and little damage. The pilot, who
wasn't identified, did a good job except for running out of fuel,
Memphis Police Maj. Harvey Sullivan told local reporters. The pilot was
on his way from Albany, Ga., to Fayetteville, Ark., the Memphis
Commercial Appeal reported, and planned to refuel in Memphis. "Next
time, he should use an airport," Sullivan said. More...
NOT TOO LATE TO ORDER YOUR GREAT LAKES CONFERENCE
Pilots and maintenance technicians from around the
world will be attending the Great Lakes International Aviation
Conference February 6-8 in Lansing, Michigan. This conference will host
a top-flight line-up of nationally known speakers with breakout
seminars, hands-on displays, discussions, and an extensive maintenance
program. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and
technologies. IA renewal and the FAA Wings program are available for
those who qualify. Your reservation card will be sent in time if you
call (248) 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or if you visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.
Searchers on Monday found the wreck of a Caravan in Lake
California buyers will replace PAC 750XL lost on a ferry
California's Contra Costa County asks FAA to keep Buchanan
Groen Brothers Aviation is opening a gyroplane
dealership in Russia...
In 2003, 28 percent of fatal airliner
accidents happened in Africa...
Air Care Alliance annual conference
set for April 30-May 1, in Calif. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS The Savvy Aviator #1: From Appliance Operator to
There's a lot more to aircraft ownership than knowing how to fly. In the
inaugural edition of his new column, AVweb co-founder Mike Busch
recounts his gradual transformation from a classic "appliance operator"
to maintenance-involved owner, and finally to A&P mechanic.
BRAINTEASERS Quiz #77 -- We Want Information.
What do you know and when should you know it? Information changes on
any flight. Ceilings drop, winds shift, and -- sadly -- special use
airspace (SUA) pops up on short notice. Let's take off and see what
information is available. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs 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/
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Nearly three quarters of more than 350 AVweb readers responding to last
week's question would prefer no privatization of Flight Service -- 33
percent felt the move could impact a pilot's safety. While the FAA
considers taking the leap, only a quarter of our poll's respondents
indicated that they were open to any change at all ... and three percent
think the tasks performed by Flight Service could just as easily be
performed by monkeys.
This week, we'd like your thoughts on airport
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
As usual, we received dozens of great photos from AVweb and AVflash
readers this week. It was a tough call, but this week's winner is a
departure from the norm. The photo is a doctored image of the September,
2003, Air Force Thunderbirds accident. The author is welcome to contact
us. Otherwise, we hope you'll enjoy the product of an active
imagination, a decent skill set ... and a bit too much spare time.
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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FLIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF BILLY MITCHELL IS A
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