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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
LINKED TO CRASH MURDERED...
On Tuesday, an air traffic controller who worked for Skyguide, the Swiss
airspace agency, was stabbed to death in his home in Kloten, near
Zurich. The victim had been the sole controller on duty in July 2002
when two airplanes collided in Swiss airspace over Lake Constance,
killing 71 people, many of them Russian schoolchildren. He was a
36-year-old Danish citizen, a father of three, and was never publicly
identified in connection with the crash. Police said a dark-haired man
in his 50s rang the doorbell at the controller's home. When the
controller answered the door, a fierce and brief argument ensued. The
controller was stabbed and the attacker escaped on foot. Yesterday, some
news reports said the police think the suspect is the father of one of
the schoolchildren who died. More...
MIDAIR INVESTIGATION CONTINUES
Yesterday, Skyguide scaled back flights by 40 percent in Zurich
airspace, to help ensure security and out of consideration for its
workers. A quarter of Skyguide's Zurich staff did not report for work.
Skyguide had been heavily criticized in the wake of the midair
collision. Investigators found that only one controller was on duty
while his colleague took a break, a collision-alert system was down for
maintenance, and a phone warning from German controllers never get
through. The Russian pilot of a Bashkirian Airlines Tu-154 was told by
the controller to descend, although his onboard anti-collision system
was telling him to climb. The pilot obeyed the controller and descended,
colliding with the DHL cargo plane, a Boeing 757. More...
ADDITIONAL FEATURES ON THE LIGHTSPEED QFR SOLO
Earlier this year, LightSPEED launched several new
products based on earlier models, with some additional features and
improvements. One of these products is LightSPEED's QFR Solo SS headset.
LightSPEED has had great success at the large fly-ins where pilots can
hear and compare the QFR Solo SS to other headsets with similar (or
higher) retail prices. Improvements made to the Solo SS from the basic
Solo product are: Same speaker system as used in the higher-priced 3G
product; Gentex Noise-Cancelling microphone element;
temperature-sensitive Comfort-Foam ear seals; and a padded headband. For
all LightSPEED models, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/avflash.
FOR FREEDOM, OR PERSONAL POLITICS...
It was eight years ago Tuesday that two unarmed civilian Cessna 337
Skymasters were shot down by Cuban MiGs, killing four Miami-based pilots
as they searched for rafters fleeing from the island. To commemorate
that anniversary, Jose Basulto, founder of Brothers to the
Rescue, is planning to fly into international airspace near Havana
and drop one million leaflets that he hopes will drift over Cuba. Flying
conditions this week have not been favorable, Basulto told AVweb
yesterday, but he is ready to go when the winds are right. He doesn't
know exactly when that will be, and if he did know, he wouldn't tell in
advance of the flight, he said. More...
VIETNAMESE "FREEDOM" PILOT WAITS IN JAIL...
Another pilot who supported the efforts of Cuban exiles is now serving a
seven-year sentence in a Thai prison, convicted of hijacking an airplane
to drop anti-communist leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City in November 2000.
Ly Tong says he didn't use force against the pilot but bribed him with
$10,000 to relinquish control. Ly has a long history of anti-communist
aerial pamphleteering, and his supporters around the world say he is a
freedom fighter and a hero. In January 2000, he rented an airplane in
Miami and flew over Havana, scattering leaflets calling for Castro's
ouster. In 1992, he took control of a Vietnam Airlines jetliner that
launched in Bangkok and scattered 50,000 leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City,
which then was known as Saigon. He escaped by jumping from the cockpit
with a parachute, but was captured and imprisoned. More...
AFRICANS FLY TO CELEBRATE FREEDOM
A pair of microlight pilots from South Africa have found another way to
give wings to their ideas. They launched two trikes from Cape Town on
December 17, 2003, to embark on a 50,000-mile flight around the world.
Flight is a joint celebration of the first decade of a democratic
South Africa and South Africa's contribution to the commemoration of the
[Centennial]," according to the group's Web site. Ricky de Agrela and
Alan Honeyborne plan to circle the world on their own with no ground
support, taking 18 months to cross 50 countries and six continents.
Monday, the two were in Thailand, and headed north along the coast of
China and Russia. More...
ENGLISH SKILLS DEADLY, ICAO SAYS
Poor proficiency in English, the international language of aviation,
contributed to major accidents that cost the lives of over 1,100
passengers and crew between 1976 and 2000, according to the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO). Misunderstandings are also a factor in many
close calls and runway incursions. To address the problem, ICAO has
written new requirements for controllers and pilots involved in
international operations, mandating for the first time that pilots must
pass a test to demonstrate a minimum level of English language
proficiency. The new rules take effect in 2008. Native speakers of
English also must try harder to be understood, ICAO says.
FLIGHT OF SPARROWHAWK GYROPLANE
Aviation (GBA), of Salt Lake City, Utah, announced yesterday that
its SparrowHawk Gyroplane has made its first flight. GBA said the
enclosed, centerline-thrust, two-place kit-built gyroplane is
dynamically and statically stable, making it safe and easy to fly. Jim
Mayfield, GBA's chief test pilot and principal designer, said, "During
the first flight, basic handling qualities were quantified and found to
be within predicted limits. ... The centerline-thrust design,
incorporating a generous horizontal stabilizer, ensures stability and
increases safety. I believe that most pilots will find the SparrowHawk
fun and easy to fly." Depending on the final rule definitions, the FAA's
upcoming Light-Sport Aircraft category may allow the SparrowHawk, as a
completed aircraft and/or a kit-built with minimum assembly
requirements, to qualify as a Light-Sport Aircraft. More...
COMMUTER CRASH UPDATE
Air Midwest will resume doing its own routine maintenance, instead of
outsourcing to contractors, it was reported this week. Maintenance has
been a major focus of the NTSB investigation into the crash of an Air
Midwest Beech 1900 in January 2003 in Charlotte, N.C. The investigation
has focused on work that was done to the elevator cables by a contractor
shortly before the crash, and on weight and balance. All 21 aboard were
killed when the airplane stalled shortly after takeoff. The NTSB's final report on the crash is expected today.
OF AKRON REMEMBERED
More than 4,000 Corsairs were built at the Goodyear plant in Akron,
Ohio, during World War II, and the folks at the MAPS Air Museum
want to hear from all the people who were there. All former pilots,
mechanics, designers and builders are asked to contact the museum, and
they will be recognized at a special ceremony at this summer's Aero Expo
air show, June 19-20, at Akron Fulton Airport. They will also receive
free tickets to the air show. Two Corsairs that were built in Akron will
be on display and will fly during the weekend. Other fly-bys will
include the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the F-117 Stealth Fighter, a C-130
formation, and a B-52 Stratofortress. More...
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TWEAKS ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES
Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced a new set of procedures last week that it
says will improve its rules-enforcement system and enhance safety. The
new procedures create a "fairer and more transparent system," CASA said,
and will open up enforcement decisions to greater scrutiny by the courts
and tribunals. CASA's new chief executive officer, Bruce Byron, says the
changes will ensure the punishment fits the crime, and will enable CASA
to focus on incidents that have significant safety implications. The
reforms also establish a self-reporting scheme that allows pilots to
admit mistakes without fear of reprisal. More...
Pilots sued for noise complaints got legal, financial help from
FAA online meeting on proposed air-tour rules underway this week...
Asian Aerospace 2004 in Singapore this week, UAVs heavily
The U.S. Army canceled its Comanche helicopter program this week.
AEROBATIC CHAMPION KIRBY CHAMBLISS DEPENDS ON OREGON AERO
TO ELIMINATE PAIN
U.S. National Champion Kirby Chambliss is
one of many aerobatic winners performing at this year's Sun 'n Fun
Fly-In who depends on Oregon Aero for comfort in the cockpit. "I use the
Oregon Aero SoftSeat in my Edge 540," says Kirby. "When
pulling up to 10Gs, the seat cushion takes on about 2,000 pounds. It
helps to make my performance more bearable and also reduces back pain
when I'm done performing." Visit Oregon Aero at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In
(Building A, 40-42) to see what Kirby means, or check out all of Oregon
Aero's products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #78 --
Your accountant figured out how to deduct your flying lessons from your
federal return. So, you buy a Cessna 172, and want to get in at least
one flight before the IRS audits your dream. First, however, you need to
see if the airplane will pass an FAA audit.
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/
AVweb's Business AVflash this week sneaks a peek at the draft that may
become a formal outline for regulated general aviation security. Some
new jets are rolling off the line at Cessna while business aviation
celebrates its "safest" year and a close look at GAMA's annual numbers
may show reason for economic optimism. Read the latest...
TRAINING STARTS HERE!
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order), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Last week, AVweb and TSA polled aircraft owners/operators about the
safety of their personal planes. Half of those who responded (220 AVweb
readers) were very confident about GA safety, telling us their planes
were kept locked in secure hangar when not in use. 34% of respondents
had some concerns about the safety of their aircraft, but felt
reasonably comfortable with the level of protection in place at their
airport. And only 33 AVweb readers told us their airplanes were kept in
a low-security environment with no auxiliary locking at all.
This week, we'd like your thoughts on the forever-rising pricing of
aging used aircraft. More...
MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO MEMPHIS, VAN NUYS,
HARRISBURG, & OSHKOSH!
Ever had "sticker shock" when you got
the bill after an annual? Frustrated when problems still aren't fixed
after several tries? Flabbergasted by the stratospheric cost of parts?
Intimidated by mechanical problems far from home base? Ever felt a shop
had you "over a barrel"? Spend an illuminating weekend with Mike Busch
AVweb founder, writer, teacher, pilot, aircraft owner, and A&P
mechanic at one of his Savvy Owner Seminars. He'll share his 40
years of aviation experience, help you become more maintenance-savvy and
empowered, and teach you how to get better maintenance while saving
thousands of dollars. For complete seminar details plus dozens of Mike's
maintenance articles, visit Savvy Aviator Seminars at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash,
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Raymond J. Hill Jr. of Iowa takes home the coveted AVweb ball cap this
week. His homebuilt biplane photo is AVweb's "Picture of the Week." As
usual, we had dozens of great aviation photos to choose from but
it's never enough! We really enjoy your photos, so please keep sending
them. Your photo may be the next "Picture of the Week"!
Sponsor News and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the
support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
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THE PILOT WHO HAS EVERYTHING TAKE ANY VEHICLE FOR A
Carprop is a free-spinning propeller mounted on the
front of a vehicle to indicate the driver's enthusiasm for flying. As
the vehicle moves, the propeller spins. Carprop's design allows the
propeller to park in a horizontal position when the vehicle stops
so that it doesn't interfere with the license plate numbers. For the
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DRIVE" A B-737/300 AT CONTINENTAL'S IAH PILOT TRAINING
The "Airline Training Orientation Program" (ATOP) is
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pilot, especially those interested in airline careers. Presented
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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 March 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/avflash.
GROUNDHOG DAY'S SPECIAL TO ALL PILOTS FROM SAFE GOODS ENDS
Yep, 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 Paris, a look into
the design of the Spirit of St. Louis, or 2012: Airborne
Prophesy, a novel that includes all the elements of a good read. For
more information and to order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/safegoods/avflash.
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YOU EVER WONDERED WHY SOME PILOTS ALWAYS SEEM TO HAVE IT
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it tells you how to root out bad habits and techniques. You will never
understand the depth of this book until you read it. To order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/mountain/avflash.
We Welcome Your Feedback!
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.
Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be
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Let's all be careful out there, okay?
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