The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
AS TERRORIST SUSPECT...
His only crime is fastidious attention to his airplane but an
AVweb reader says the long arm of the law reached out and touched
him because of his passion. Mike, who asked that his last name and
hometown not be used (AVweb has verified his identity) says a
dark tan, a black beard and the regular shipment of aviation-related
merchandise to his home is all it took to have him branded (briefly) as
a suspected terrorist. "What we have here is a textbook example of how
things are not supposed to work," Mike told AVweb a week after he
was interviewed by the FBI on suspicion of being a terrorist. We suspect
there are those who might feel the exact opposite is true.
QAEDA OPERATIVE, OR JEWISH IMMIGRANT...
Since the aviation merchandise (and "hazardous materials") arrived while
he was at work, they were received by the building manager and held for
Mike to pick up. Mike says he believes someone working in the building
manager's office looked at him, looked at the kind of stuff he was
getting in the mail, and then looked up the local FBI office in the
phone book. About 10 days ago, he arrived home to find the business card
of a local FBI agent slipped under his door with a note on the back
asking him to call. After a couple of trips through the FBI's voice mail
system, the agent and his suspect made telephone contact. "At first he
didn't want to tell me what it was about, being vague about having to
investigate a complaint, but when I pressed him he broke down and told
me I was under suspicion as a terrorist!" Mike said. "I nearly cracked
WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED
Perhaps the episode confirms such terrorism tips are actually followed
up but Mike said he thinks his experience shows something else. "It's
like all the other measures they've taken in the name of [GA] security,"
he said. "They're all window dressing." He noted that if he'd actually
been a terrorist, finding the FBI card under the door likely would have
sent him bolting for the border, or changing his appearance, or doing
something to evade the authorities ... as opposed to picking up the
phone and giving a special agent a call. Even if his apartment was under
surveillance, Mike estimates an international terrorist worth his salt
would be able to escape. "But because I'm not a terrorist, I met him for
lunch," Mike said. An FBI spokesman said investigation strategies differ
in each case. More...
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PILOT'S DONATION SAVES AIRPORT...
Hardly a week goes by that angry airport supporters don't fill a council
chamber somewhere trying to save their local strip, but it's not often
one of them puts his money where his mouth is. Enter Robert Kimball, who
set an example (or an uncomfortable precedent) a week ago by putting up
$6,630 to ensure his local airport, owned by the borough of North
Cambria, in Pennsylvania, received a $132,000 state grant to complete
the airport's master plan. Local governments in Pennsylvania must ante
up 5 percent of state airport grants and the local council was
considering dropping the grant until Kimball's offer came along -- they
then voted unanimously in favor of taking his money and then the
LEGISLATORS OPEN THE BANK...
While the Pennsylvania politicians couldn't (wouldn't) come up with
$6,630, their counterparts in Florida's Martin County are getting set to
part with millions to protect Witham Field. The FAA has approved the county's plan
to buy homes near the end of the main runway and to soundproof others,
all at taxpayers' expense, to ease the effect of noise on residents.
Airport director Mike Moon said the county now has to find ways (like
borrowing) to pay for the houses and soundproofing and that might take
some time. Meanwhile, the FAA has also rejected a couple of
noise-prevention measures in the plan and that has some local residents
making a racket. More...
ABOUT A SUPERMARKET OFF THE RUNWAY?
The politicians of Farmingdale, Long Island, extol the economic benefits
of a massive new supermarket, while the proposal has driven some
opponents to such headline-grabbing stunts as attending council meetings
made up as bloodied airplane crash victims. The new Stew Leonard's
superstore will be 1,032 feet from the end of busy Republic
Airport's main runway. "It's a disappointment that they don't
understand ... that it's unsafe to build these types of facilities in
these locations," said William McShane, chairman of the Long Island
Business Aviation Association. The store will be well within the
airport's runway protection zone and, in addition to local aviation
officials, the state department of transportation also objected to the
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CRASH: TRUTH IN IMAGES
AVweb has confirmed that the image last Thursday posted to our
Picture Of The Week section of Capt. Christopher Stricklin's Sept. 14,
2003, ejection from Thunderbirds jet number 6 -- roughly eight-tenths of
a second before aircraft impact -- is in fact authentic. It was shot by
Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, Still Photographer, U.S. Air Force, from
the catwalk atop the tower at Mountain Home AFB, and was not officially
released by the Air Force until last Friday afternoon. See
AVweb's NewsWire for yet another video (including audio), more
images, and more details. More...
Al Qaeda has apparently discovered a new instrument of terror. It's
called the threat and it was used to ground at least six return flights
headed to the U.S. Sunday and today. Based on intelligence reports
issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the travel plans of
hundreds of people were upended when British Airways, Air France and
Continental cancelled flights to and from Washington and Miami. The
Department of Homeland Security said they had word al Qaeda was planning
to release biological agents or a radiological device aboard an
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. Reserve your ticket by calling (248) 348-6942 and
mentioning this AVflash, or by visiting http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.
PILOT SAYS MILITARY TURNED HIM AWAY
Regulations aside, a California pilot claims the military put him in
harm's way when it refused to let him land his powerless Cessna 140 at
Travis Air Force Base Jan. 11. But an Air Force spokesman said he was
welcome to set down on that big, wide runway. "We were more than ready
to accept that aircraft," Capt. Michele Tasista, public affairs chief at
Travis, told the Vallejo, Calif., Times-Herald. "As I understand it, we
were willing to let him land here." But 68-year-old pilot Ted Weddell
said that Travis controllers first peppered him with questions and
finally sent him to nearby Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville. He never made
it. The fuel-less 140 hit a tree on a vacant lot, sending Weddell and
his passenger, 34-year-old Scott Terra, to the hospital. The NTSB preliminary report may support Weddell's
version of the events. More...
PILOT FACES MORE CHARGES
We told you Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 about the case of the allegedly drunk pilot
who raised havoc over Philadelphia and southern New Jersey a couple of
weeks back, but the story keeps getting better (worse). Authorities now
say John Salamone was also taking Valium when he took his Cherokee on a
four-hour tear and they've also added the charge of "risking a
catastrophe" by allegedly coming within 900 feet of a Boeing 747 loaded
with passengers. Meanwhile a local television station has obtained a
tape of tower conversations recorded during the ordeal. (See NewsWire
for a link to the exchange.) More...
LUSCOMBE BATTLES LEGAL HEADWINDS
After years of bitter legal battles, a company's plans to build a
souped-up modern version of the venerable Luscombe 8F taildragger
revolve, predictably, around finding new investment. Renaissance
Aircraft LLC has the facilities, the jigs and the equipment and
should soon have the legal right to start building new Luscombes, but
the court battles have drained its coffers. Renaissance was embroiled in
suits and countersuits with the Arizona-based Don
Luscombe Aviation History Foundation, which sued over Renaissance's
plan to manufacture the 8F. Renaissance ultimately won a $2.2 million
judgment against the foundation, which promptly declared bankruptcy.
Now, an April 1 deadline looms in which the company has to start paying
$21,000 a month in lease payments for 48,000-square-foot hangar built by
the taxpayers of Cape Girardeau, Mo. Still, Renaissance owner John
Dearden remains upbeat. "I feel very optimistic at this point," he said.
NAVIGATIONAL BLUNDER FOR AIR CANADA
Could Air Canada flight crews be in for some refreshers on VFR
procedures? For the second time in less than six months an Air Canada
crew has committed an embarrassing navigational blunder while looking
out the windows instead of scanning the panel. According to the NTSB incident report, on Jan. 19, a rare clear
winter day in Seattle, the crew of an Air Canada Jazz Dash-8 lined up
visually for an approach and landing on Taxiway Tango at Seattle-Tacoma
International Airport. They were supposed to be aiming for Runway 16R.
As AVweb reported in September, an Air Canada
A319, with gear down and flaps partially extended, was apparently intent
on setting down at tiny Vernon Regional Airport (runway 75' x 3360') in
British Columbia before the crew thought better of it and went looking
for their real destination of Kelowna International, about 30 miles
away. That incident also happened while the crew was flying VFR. Last
month in Pennsylvania, a Shuttle America flight actually landed at the wrong
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The federal government has upheld a ban on large aircraft at Teterboro
Documentary finds FAA slow in resolving safety recommendations resulting
from Swissair 111...
NATCA wants the courts to resolve contract disputes in 11 of its
non-controller bargaining units. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Pelican's Perch #77: Startups & Runups
Even the apparently simple tasks of starting and running up a piston
aircraft engine before takeoff should be done with the same concerns for
engine life, reliability and safety as any other part of flight. AVweb's
John Deakin steps us through the process, dispelling myths as he goes.
WINGX FROM HILTON SOFTWARE IS A PILOT'S DREAM COME
WingX is a Microsoft Pocket PC application designed by
pilots for pilots using the latest Microsoft .NET technology. WingX
enables pilots to perform complex calculations while down at the airport
and away from their home PCs. Graphical weight and balance; route
information with wind calculations; an E6B page; sunrise and sunset
times; medical and pilot expiration date tracking; and FARs 1, 43, 61,
91, 119, 141, and 830; as well as the Pilot/Controller Glossary
all at your fingertips. This is amazing! See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/hiltonsoftware.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
Reader mail this week about getting your license in 40 hours, changes in
the D.C. ADIZ, airport closures and more. More...
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DOES THAT YELLOW TAG REALLY TELL YOU? FIND OUT IN LIGHT PLANE
A yellow tag is the conventional way
of signifying that a part or appliance is serviceable and okay to use.
But what does yellow tagging really mean? Not as much as you might think
and this is a topic that's thoroughly addressed in the February
issue of Light Plane Maintenance magazine, the first and best
source of money-saving how-to information for aircraft owners. To
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THE PILOT WHO HAS EVERYTHING TAKE ANY VEHICLE FOR A
Carprop is a free-spinning propeller mounted on the
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BANG, BLOW, MAKE IT GO WITH POWER FLOW TUNED EXHAUST
Your Cessna, Mooney, Piper or Grumman airplane
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FIRST-TIME PILOTS ARE USUALLY SPEECHLESS THEN THEY
CAN'T STOP TALKING
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