The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
AIRPORT PROVES AN EASY TARGET...
A Cessna 172 was stolen from its hangar about 6:30 a.m. Sunday at Brazoria County
Airport, near Houston, Texas. More than a dozen hangars were broken
into and at least one other airplane was taxied onto the field and
abandoned. The thief finally settled into a 172 with the key in it,
loaded it with ... a few six-packs of cold beer (you were more
concerned?) ... opened up the pilot's operating handbook, and took off
into the fog. He hit power lines less than two miles from the runway.
The thief left the airplane a broken heap of metal on the ground, and
disappeared. Tuesday, police arrested Louis Paul Kadlecek and charged
him with the theft. Police said he had been drinking for four days to
celebrate his 21st birthday and had never flown an airplane before.
"This guy used up all the luck he is ever going to have," Louis Jones,
county aviation director, said Monday. More...
EFFORTS TO BOOST SECURITY
Brazoria County Judge John Willy said Sunday's incident will trigger a
reassessment of security measures at the airport. "We're going to review
that and decide whether we do need more," he said. The county already is
adding new gates and perimeter fencing, but while the construction work
is in progress the gates were left unsecured. Surveillance cameras were
operating, but were not monitored. A report last October by the GA Airport Security Working Group said: "Locking
hangar doors and aircraft doors to prevent unauthorized access or
tampering with the aircraft is important. ... Pilots should make it as
difficult as possible for an unauthorized person to gain access to their
airplane." Apparently that message has not yet overcome old habits.
RECONDITIONED 25XLs AVAILABLE FROM LIGHTSPEED
When new, these headsets had a list price of $599.
Now, for a limited time, you can buy reconditioned 25XLs for $350. Most
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AGING AND ACCIDENTS LINKED?...
By 2030 one in five Americans will be age 60 or older ... a statistic
likely to be reflected in the pool of general aviation pilots. A study
released last month by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found a link
between aging and safety, concluding that drivers over age 65 are more
likely to die in car crashes. Despite years of effort by pilot-advocacy
groups, the FAA has remained steadfast in its rule that airline pilots
must pack it in at age 60, citing study after study that it says show an
age-related decline in skills. Yet no such age limit exists for GA
pilots -- as long as they can pass an FAA medical exam, they can fly.
A MEDICAL MATTERS OR NOT...
The FAA in the past has dismissed studies of automobile statistics as
irrelevant to aviation safety. "Automobile drivers are allowed to drive
with a variety of mental and physical conditions that would be
disqualifying for pilots," the FAA said in a June 2003 report from the Civil Aeromedical
Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City. "Pilots are required to pass periodic
physical examinations to obtain their medical certificates." Flying
without a medical so far has been restricted to balloons, gliders, and
ultralights -- aircraft with low speeds and simple systems that are
considered inherently safe. Soon, pilots may also be able to fly
Light-Sport Aircraft without an FAA medical, as long as they can qualify
for a driver's license. More...
EXPERIENCE (MAYBE) DOES COUNT
Most of the research into aging and accident rates has focused on
professional pilots, driven by the debate over the Age-60 Rule, which
requires retirement at that age for airline pilots, regardless of
physical condition or mental ability. The scant research that has been
done on private pilots (or holders of third-class medicals) has been
inconclusive and sometimes contradictory. For example, a 1991 study of
NTSB records from 1985 and '86 showed that private pilots age 60 and
older had accident rates about twice that of pilots age 16 to 59. One
problem is that many studies depend on analysis of crash statistics.
"The trouble with accident data is that it's relatively rare, and it's
difficult to control for all the factors that vary from case to case,"
Morrow, of the University of Illinois, told AVweb. Morrow has
studied pilots in lab situations, and has found evidence that they can
draw on their experience and expertise to cancel out the effects of
CAN BE A WINNER WITH SCHEYDEN, AVIATION'S FINEST EYEWEAR
surprised that I won and even more surprised at the quality of these
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TUESDAY PLUS ONE, NATCA BACKS KERRY
Tuesday's primaries put Sen. John Kerry on track to be this year's
Democratic nominee for president, and that is fine with the folks at the
National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). The union
yesterday gave its enthusiastic support to Kerry, after he courted them
with a promise that there would be no ATC privatization on his watch. "I
have been disappointed with the Bush administration's systematic plans
to diminish our air traffic control system," Kerry wrote to the
controllers union. NATCA called Kerry "the candidate who will ensure
that the safety of the flying public never takes a back seat to
political ideology or special interests." Actually, both Kerry and NATCA
had a lot to say. More...
SUSPECT HAD DRUNK-DRIVING RECORD
The Pennsylvania man who in January was arrested and charged with flying
while drunk (for four hours, low over populated areas, through
controlled airspace without contacting ATC, forcing diversion of a
half-dozen airliners, and within 900 feet of a loaded Boeing 747) had
twice been convicted of drunken driving -- in 1989 and 1990, The
Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday. He had also been charged with
public intoxication just months before the flight that got him in
trouble. Since 1990, more than 3,000 pilots have lost their medical and
airman certificates due to drug or alcohol problems, the FAA says. That's nearly one-third of all revocations
issued by the agency, but the Pennsylvania pilot was not among them. The
FAA's rule that
requires pilots to report DUI suspensions didn't go into effect until
November 1990. More...
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR
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SETTLES IN FOR ANOTHER 30 YEARS IN KERRVILLE
Mooney Airplane Co.
said Monday it has negotiated a new 30-year lease for its site at the
Kerrville (Texas) Airport. The lease adds stability to Mooney's
operation, said company President J. Nelson Happy. "Our old leases were
fragmented, covered too much land and only had nine years left to go. We
were reluctant to make investments in the physical plant without a
long-term lease." The terms of the new agreement reduce Mooney's leased
acreage from 51 acres to the 17 acres the company actually uses. "This
will drastically cut our tax burden and eliminate the need for Mooney to
maintain several old deteriorated buildings," Happy said.
ERRORS DECLINE, BUT MAINTENANCE MISTAKES STEADY, REPORT
An analysis of NTSB crash data by USA Today this week showed that pilots are blamed
less often than they used to be, while the incidence of maintenance
errors has stayed the same. Improved training and better cockpit warning
systems have helped pilots to deal with problems that might have proved
fatal in the past, the report said. Pilot error is still the number-one
cause (50 percent) of accidents, but maintenance comes in second. More
than 30 percent of accidents from 1997 through 2001 were caused at least
in part by maintenance mistakes, USA Today said. But some may feel the
"analysis" fell short. More...
CLICK, QUOTE, FLY
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ARTIST DIES IN CRASH
A Canadian artist for whom an airplane was as fundamental to his art as
palette and brush died in a crash in British Columbia Sunday. Toni Onley was
practicing touch and goes on the Fraser River just east of Vancouver
when his Lake Buccaneer amphibian crashed into about 30 feet of water.
There have been reports that the plane might have hit unmarked
telecommunications wires spanning the river before the crash. Onley, 75,
used the Buccaneer to get into wilderness areas and coastal locations
that are accessible only by air and the resulting watercolor images hang
in some of the most prestigious galleries in the world. But the airplane
was more than a tool; it was part of his passion and he occasionally
lent his name to lobbying efforts by aviation groups. More...
HAS SECOND THOUGHTS ON T-34 FLEET (AGAIN)
On Monday, the FAA published a final rule affecting the T-34 fleet, declaring that
the Alternative Methods of Compliance (AMOCs) it had approved for an
earlier Airworthiness Directive on wing spars are no longer valid. The
rule follows the November crash of a T-34 in Texas, in which two pilots
were killed when a wing separated from the airplane while they were
performing air-combat maneuvers. The impact of the new rule on the fleet
is not quite clear, Tim Roehl, president of the T-34 Spar Corp.,
which provides modifications for the airplanes, told AVweb
yesterday. "We expect that the AMOCs will be revised and resubmitted to
the FAA," he said. More...
INVENTORS JOIN HALL OF FAME
The two men who brought GPS online are among this year's inductees to
the National Inventors
Hall of Fame, along with the inventors of SuperGlue and the sewing
machine. Ivan Getting, who died last year, conceived the idea of a
Global Positioning System while working at Raytheon during the 1950s.
Bradford Parkinson, now a professor emeritus at Stanford University,
served as the first director of the government's NAVSTAR GPS Joint
Program Office from 1972-78, overseeing the conception, development and
implementation of GPS. "GPS has revolutionized the concept of finding
out where something is," Parkinson said. More...
Two Turkish F-4 jets collided in midair Tuesday during training...
A Fokker-50's engines went into reverse before it crashed last
A man set fire to his SUV in the lobby of Kahului Airport, Hawaii...
American Airlines laid off 236 pilots this week...
Patent granted for an unusual parachute system for airliners...
Conference on Volcanic Ash and Aviation Safety, June 21-24 in Virginia.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
#34: It's No Joke
It'd be easy to assume some pilots are just stupid, given the behavior
AVweb's Don Brown sometimes sees in his radar screen. But since they've
managed to work their way through the FAA certification process, it's
more productive to look at the system problems to see why pilots seem to
do stupid things.
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. Sign up and read the latest...
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Last week, AVweb polled readers about recent innovations in general
aircraft design. Will GA improvements make used aircraft prices drop, or
will rising prices continue to be the trend? According to our
respondents, the demand for used aircraft will remain steady, and prices
will continue to rise just as they always have. 60% of you (227
voters) said the market forces will continue to drive those prices up. A
few of you (4%) even felt that the increasing rarity of traditional
metal planes will continue to drive the prices of used aircraft into the
sky. A very small percentage of our readers suggested that plane prices
are inflated and alternatives such as fractional ownership are a better
investment. This week, AVweb would like to know your thoughts on older
pilots and the Age-60 Rule. How old is too old to fly?
"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW AIRPLANE"
uses less fuel on a trip than some SUVs." "General Aviation
Modifications' (GAMI) injectors pay for themselves with the fuel
savings. A big bonus is how much smoother the engine runs." "Customer
service is just that. SERVICE!" This is what GAMI customers have to say
about GAMIjectors. Go online to find out how to save fuel, time, and buy
injectors that pay for themselves at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Thanks to all our readers who submitted photos for the "Picture of the
Week" contest. This week's winner is John Ross, with honorable mentions
going to H. J. van Gasteren of the Netherlands and Ronald Murphy of San
Jose, California. We'll be sending John an embroidered AVweb baseball
cap as soon as we get his full address. (Remember to include your
address when submitting pictures, folks you may be our next
"POTW" winner!) More...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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TODAY'S MOST INNOVATIVE AIRCRAFT
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SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN
During the month of March, Pilotmall.com is offering a
complimentary soft leather ID holder with a stamped airplane on the
cover (a $19.99 value), with any order of Pilotmall's quality leather
flight bags, backpacks, or Scheyden sunglasses. Show your style and save
now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotmall/avflash.
FIRST WORLD FLIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF BILLY MITCHELL
IS A MUST-READ!
Three years before Lindbergh's flight to
Paris, the U.S. Army joined the race to be the first to fly around the
world. Many countries had tried. All had failed. Most pilots had died.
Could the United States capture aviation's greatest prize? This
hardcover book by Spencer Lane tells it all in great detail. Special
autographed copies are available for AVweb subscribers only at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/firstworldflight/avflash.
FOR THE PILOT WHO HAS EVERYTHING, HAVE THEM TAKE ANY
VEHICLE FOR A SPIN!
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 pilot who has everything, this is perfect! MARCH SPECIAL: 10%
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SKYGUY OFFERS HEADSETS AND FLIGHT BAGS THAT WON'T BREAK
YOUR PIGGY BANK!
Feather Lite stereo headsets for $89, and a
genuine leather flight bag for $29. With these prices you can order as
gifts and for yourself! Go online now and order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/skyguy/avflash.
"SEE THE LIGHT AND KILL THE RABBIT" IN THE APRIL ISSUE OF
This article is an in-depth analysis of
approach light systems, so you'll know your MALSRs from your RAILs for
REIL and how to shed light into your IFR toolkit. Also included in this
issue are the following topics: "When ATC Calls a New Play"; "Make the
Perfect Go/No-Go Call"; "Circle Like You Mean It"; "When It All Goes
South"; plus, editor Paul Berge takes a firm stand on both sides of all
hot-button aviation issues; the "Briefing Page"; and "On the Air." Order
your subscription to IFR Magazine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrmag/avflash.
CARBON MONOXIDE KILLS! SAFETY IS CO GUARDIAN'S CARBON
CO Guardian has models from portable units
to panel-mount units. Each unit's solid-state sensors and temperature
sensors (EMI-shielded to prevent radio interference) are built in the
USA and FAA-certified. Go online to find the CO Guardian model right for
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FIRST-TIME PILOTS ARE USUALLY SPEECHLESS. THEN THEY
CAN'T STOP TALKING
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