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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FACES LITTLE FINES FOR MEIGS
The city of Chicago could face almost $100,000 in fines for its sudden
closure of Meigs Field last March 30 but an incipient FAA investigation
won't bring the beloved airport back to life. As AVweb told you
last Thursday, the FAA has agreed (almost a year later) to an
investigation into the late-night destruction of Meigs' lone runway
while aircraft were parked on the ramp. The closure allegedly violated
notice provisions, which require an airport owner to provide at least 30
and up to 90 days of warning to the FAA that it intends to close an
airport. Mayor Richard Daley at midnight sent a battalion of heavy
equipment, under police guard, into the sealed-off airport and ordered
workmen to carve large X's out of the runway. More...
NOTICE NOT SUPPLIED...
Soon after the excavators had done their work, the FAA acknowledged that
Daley had the legal right to close the airport. However, federal law
requires that an airport owner give at least 90 days of notice. In an
emergency, or for national security concerns, only 30 days of notice is
required if the airport has a published instrument approach, which Meigs
had. Chicago notified the FAA of Meigs' closure the day after the runway
was wrecked. If the FAA finds Chicago guilty, it can fine the city
$1,100 per day for anywhere from two to 90 days of absent notice.
LOOK FOR BRIGHT SIDE
Chicago officials have vigorously defended Meigs' closure and the
relatively small fine isn't going to change their minds on the future of
the airport. However, Meigs supporters did their best to draw what
encouragement they could from the announcement of the investigation.
"It's good there will be an investigation and the public will hear about
it," said Rachel Goodstein, president of Friends of Meigs (FOM). The
group also hopes the investigation will raise the profile of an
alternative plan they've devised for Meigs that would include a park and
an airport. More...
TOUR REGULATORY BATTLE GAINS MOMENTUM
Two more congressmen and the state of Tennessee have joined the fight
against a controversial set of proposed rules governing air tour
operators and sightseeing flights by businesses and charity groups. The
National Air Tour Safety Standards were introduced as a Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last October amid howls of protest from many
aviation sectors. Now Rep.
Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Sen.
Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) have written FAA Administrator Marion Blakey
with their concerns, as has the Aeronautics
Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The proposed
rule would force all air tour businesses to conform to Part 121 or Part
135 standards and it would stiffen restrictions on volunteer and charity
PUBLIC MEETING THIS WEEK?
The NPRM resulted in so many public
comments (1535 to date) that the FAA extended the comment period to
April 19. AOPA demanded public meetings, but the FAA said it couldn't
afford the traveling road show required to hear from all affected
operators. So, it proposed something called the "virtual public meeting"
in which comments and questions could be submitted over the Internet. As
of Sunday, there was no evidence of it, but there were reports the
controversial Web forum would be on the FAA
site from today until March 5. More...
SALES UP, BUT THE BIG PICTURE'S STILL GRIM
reported Thursday, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association
(GAMA) delivered a bushel of bad news (along with some bright spots in
piston single sales) in its annual report, and the phones started
ringing in corporate communications offices. "Cessna's 2003 production
numbers and market share are lower than 2002's due to our revised
Citation delivery schedule," Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Meyers said in a
statement. The company sold a third fewer Citations in 2003 (196) than
it did in 2002. Cessna's order books are fat (493 planes worth $3.28
billion) for its CJ3, Mustang, XLS and Sovereign models, aircraft that
are still under development. Another big name, New Piper, bucked the
overall recovery trend in piston aircraft and saw a 20-percent drop in
sales. Raytheon actually sold four more airplanes (263) in 2003 than in
AVIATION GETS BIGGER, SAFER
Decreasing numbers aren't always bad news. EAA says the number of
experimental aircraft accidents dropped 25 percent in the one-year
period ending September 2003 over the previous 12 months and fatalities
were down by 36 percent. The better safety record came as new
experimental registrations hit record levels and the number of
homebuilts on the registry topped 25,000. EAA says its various safety
programs and the overall attitude of its members and chapters were a big
factor but we'll wager that better designs, better kits, better
materials and simpler processes also played a part. More...
CLEARED IN CHARLOTTE CRASH
A mechanic and his supervisors have been cleared of any wrongdoing over
maladjusted elevator cables suspected of playing a role in the crash of
a US Airways Express Beech 1900 on Jan. 8, 2003. All 21 people aboard
the commuter flight, operated for the airline by Air Midwest, died when
it climbed sharply after takeoff, stalled and crashed into a hangar at
Charlotte Airport. According to The Charlotte Observer, the FAA has sent
letters to mechanic Brian Zias; George States, a mechanic who inspected
Zias' work; and Richard Tucker, foreman of the Huntington, W.Va., shop
where the work was done, telling them they "may consider the matter
closed." But the paper also quotes unnamed sources as saying the letters
don't necessarily indicate the maintenance was done correctly
BUT FOR THE GRACE: RUNWAY MISHAPS
What happens when an Apache
tangles with two Trojans (pages 4,5)? Broken airplanes and, we
suspect, broken hearts. The T-28s were resting peacefully outside their
hangars at Hicks Airfield (T67) near Fort Worth on the afternoon of Jan.
9, but it was the wrong place at the wrong time. The NTSB
report says the pilot thought the right engine failed on a Piper
Apache just after takeoff, causing the twin to veer off its takeoff path
and slam into the old warbirds. The Apache was a write-off, but it's not
known if the Trojans can be fixed. There were injuries but no fatalities
in the crash. Likewise in another off-runway excursion that cost Uncle
Sam tens of millions of dollars earlier this month in England, when an
F-15 veered off the runway at 150 knots. More...
Well, we can't wait for this one to show up on Warbird Alley at Oshkosh.
A Washington broker is selling what he claims is the only privately
owned F/A-18A in the world on eBay. What's more, the seller claims
the aircraft was used by the Blue Angels in the early 1990s. The high
bid (last we checked) was a bargain-basement $1.05 million for the
somewhat disassembled aircraft (that cost somewhere near $18 million
new). The aircraft is in pretty good shape according to seller Landa and
Associates. The engines have been zero-timed and there's a parts spare.
It has less than 4,000 hours total time and, for a guaranteed price of
$9 million, could be made airworthy. Since the posting went up last
Monday, more than 50,000 people have viewed the posting but when we
looked, only one had bid. More...
Sometimes stuff happens and when it happens on airplanes it can have
hilarious results. For some reason, a collection of funny flying stories
came our way this week and they're too good not to pass on. What happens
when dry ice goes down a DC-8's
toilet? How about discovering new ways to
vomit in the back of an F-14 or developing a battle strategy when a
attacks in the middle of the night? Then, of course, there's flying a
helicopter, which would be a lot more fun if all those instruments
didn't block the view. Enjoy. More...
DOC BLUE'S EMERGENCY MEDICAL KIT DON'T LEAVE HOME
Do you carry a first aid kit in your airplane or
car? AVweb's Dr. Brent Blue says drugstore first aid kits are packed
with mostly useless stuff. Dr. Blue has assembled his own traveling
medical kit for dealing with all sorts of medical problems, based on his
long experience as an emergency room doctor, frequent traveler, pilot,
outdoorsman, and dad. It would cost you more than $500 to duplicate this
kit, but it's available on sale from Aeromedix for $333. Call (888)
362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.
Our Thursday report noting that Mooney will offer buyers the new Garmin
G1000 PFD in new production aircraft gave the impression that Cirrus,
too, is offering the G1000. In fact, Cirrus aircraft are equipped with
the Avidyne Entegra system while the Mooneys will have the G1000 system.
Diamond DA40 buyers will have their choice of the Entegra or the G1000.
Maryland's own Gus McLeod landed in Antarctica in his bid to fly both
The Canadian province of Alberta has eliminated its aviation fuel tax on
Frontier Airlines' won its fifth-straight FAA Diamond Star Award for
Phillip Woodruff, 59, is the NAA's pick for top aerospace educator in
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
How can you give a talk to pilots who know a lot more about flying than
you do? One way is not to talk. But when confronted with a receptive
audience, AVweb's CEO talked about what he knows: flying airliners and
being a good airline captain. More...
DIAMOND ENGINEERS REDESIGN DA40 PANEL TO OPTIMIZE FORM
AND FUNCTION Diamond's DA40 is the platform for the first
certified installation of Garmin's new integrated glass panel. The G1000
offers better situational awareness by rolling the functions of
conventional panel-mounted instruments into two 10-inch
sunlight-readable displays, including digital audio, a WAAS-capable IFR
GPS, VHF navigation with ILS and VHF communication, 8.33-kHz-channel
spacing, Mode S, solid-state attitude and heading, a digital air data
computer and optional weather and terrain data all hooked up to a
Bendix/King KAP two-axis autopilot. The jet-style, laser-etched
polycarbonate overlay adds the final high-tech touch. For more
information on the DA40, and Diamond Aircraft's other innovative
aircraft designs, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond/avflash.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
Reader mail this week about pilots breaking airplanes, acquiring deadly
weapons, buying lots of planes and more. More...
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Overheard at Bankstown Airport in suburban Sydney...
cleared for takeoff. Caution for a rabbit at the far end of the
ABC: Roger rabbit... More...
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PILOT'S AUDIO UPDATE
Cassette tapes to help you
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GROUNDHOG DAY'S SPECIAL TO ALL PILOTS FROM SAFE GOODS!
no matter what his shadow says, the groundhog at Safe Goods is offering
a complimentary copy of Eliminating Pilot Error when you purchase
Spirit and Creator: The Mysterious Man Behind Lindbergh's Flight to
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of a good read. For more information and to order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/safegoods/avflash.
WINGX FROM HILTON SOFTWARE IS A PILOT'S DREAM COME
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AVIATION SAFETY DELIVERS! MARCH ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS
- "Has Cirrus Delivered?" the SR20 and revamped training
- "Improper Flight Rules" usually means duck unders and other
- "Finely Tuned Flying" tune up your trimming technique
- "Yikes! That's Short" sharpen your minimal pavement technique
- "Friend or Foe" what to do when the radio is dead and you're
not sure why that F-16 is off your wing
- "Night Over Water" poorly-flown instrument approach can end
- Plus: accident reports, maintenance issues, and lessons
learned your way
For your personal subscription to Aviation Safety, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/avsafe/avflash
BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO MEMPHIS, VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG &
Ever had "sticker shock" when you got the bill after
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