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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FAA PUSHES THE FUTURE BACK...
The FAA's efforts to modernize the National Airspace System, including
the installation of new radar and approach systems, datalink technology,
and digital radios, "face fundamental problems with respect to
misjudging technological maturity, unexpected cost growth, or concerns
about how to move forward in a cost-effective way," Department of
Transportation Inspector General Ken Mead told a Senate panel last Thursday. Mead, testifying
before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the FAA's budget
request for fiscal year 2005, said plans for several programs will be
put on hold, or face reduced budgets and delayed implementation
STARS, AND MUCH MORE SCALED BACK OR DEFERRED.....
Among the projects facing cuts or delays is the Wide Area Augmentation
System (WAAS), which became available on a limited basis last July. Mead
says the FAA has revised its expectations for the program and now says
WAAS will not be capable of providing Category I performance at most of
the nation's airports. The reduced expectations mean a cut in funding.
Also facing a reduction in planned deployment is STARS, the new radar system that has been plagued by
cost overruns and implementation delays. Mead said the FAA will complete
the first 50 installations of STARS, but plans for a second phase of 23
more sites have been suspended. So far, 19 of the systems are in
CONTROLLER RETIREMENTS LOOM
Mead also raised concerns about the safety of the nation's air traffic
control system. Although runway incursions decreased by 4 percent in
fiscal year 2003, operational errors -- when controllers allow planes to
come too close together in the air -- increased 12 percent, to 1,186,
with an average of three operational errors each day and one high-risk
error every week. In addition, about 7,000 air traffic controllers are
expected to become eligible for retirement in the next nine years. FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey, testifying before the same Senate panel last week,
said a new rule is in the works that would allow controllers to apply
for a waiver to continue working beyond the current mandatory retirement
age of 56. More...
PUSHES FOR ACTION AGAINST SHOULDER-FIRED MISSILES...
With the announcement last week that the Israeli government is equipping
its commercial aircraft with countermeasure systems to defend against
shoulder-fired missiles, pressure is mounting here in the U.S. for the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to quickly mandate similar
protection for U.S. airliners. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote
to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge on Friday, "In light of Israel's actions and
the obvious availability of appropriate technology, I ask that you
accelerate the current DHS timetable so that our most vulnerable
aircraft are protected by the end of this year." Under the current plan,
Boxer said, the DHS would not even make a decision about the matter
until 2006. More...
HOUSE PRESSURES FAA...
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman
of the Aviation Subcommittee, introduced a bill last month that would require the FAA to
expedite the airworthiness certification of missile-defense systems for
commercial aircraft. "The proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles is so
widespread, so deep and so urgent that we have to go on defense and
offence at the same time to protect ourselves," said Rep. Steve Israel
(D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the bill. "That means accelerating our efforts
to equip our planes with anti-missile countermeasures, while
aggressively pursuing and implementing an international SAM-Ban treaty
to control the proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles."
FAA REVIEWS ISRAELI SYSTEM
The FAA is reportedly dubious of allowing El Al aircraft equipped with the
system, called Flight Guard, to land at U.S. airports due to safety
concerns about the flare-based technology. Israeli Transportation
Minister Avigdor Lieberman is slated to discuss the issue with U.S.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta today, according to Reuters. El
Al's first Flight Guard-protected aircraft are expected to launch in
June. The Flight Guard system automatically releases diversionary flares
if a heat-seeking missile is detected by an on-board sensor. It
reportedly costs about $1 million per airplane to install.
COMPANY SUES DEAD PILOT'S FAMILY
The family of a Quebec man who died when his single-engine plane crashed
into a 1,000-foot-high telecommunications tower in dense fog in 2001 is
being sued for $2.5 million by the tower's owner, CTV News reported Saturday. The wreck remained
tangled in the tower for several days, and the tower was destroyed with
dynamite to retrieve the airplane and the pilot's body. The tower is
owned by a U.S. company, SpectraSite, which wants more than $2.5 million from
the family to cover the costs of the tower's destruction, the cost to
rebuild, and lost revenue. The company says the pilot was at fault for
flying in fog, CTV News said. The pilot's widow and children say they
don't have that much money. More...
TOURS -- GET 'EM WHILE YOU CAN
During this weekend's Festival of Roses in Orangeburg, S.C., some pilots
at the local airport decided to get into the spirit of the event
and host an open house. Anyone who wanted to see the festival from the
air was invited to visit the field, and for a donation of $10 or so,
they could take a ride in an airplane with the New Hawthorne Aviators,
aka EAA Chapter
1367. Such non-commercial air tours would likely become defunct
under new rules proposed by the FAA. Meanwhile, the FAA
and the National Park Service will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to
restrict commercial air tours over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, in Nevada.
WANTS ENHANCED OVERSIGHT OF FIREFIGHTING AIRCRAFT
Advanced age plus severe stress put firefighting aircraft at risk of
structural failure, and the maintenance and inspection programs
currently in effect are inadequate, the NTSB said in safety recommendations issued on Friday. The board
determined that fatigue cracking was the probable cause in three
air-tanker accidents involving in-flight wing separations during
firefighting operations. Inadequate fatigue-detection procedures were
cited as a factor in all three crashes -- a June 2002 crash of a C-130
in Walker, Calif.; the July 2002 crash of a P4Y-2 in Estes Park, Colo.;
and the August 1994 crash of a C-130 in Pearblossom, Calif.
PLAN TO EXPLORE LEWIS & CLARK ROUTE
The Flight of
Discovery, a team of general aviation pilots and scientists, plans
to fly above the river corridors and overland routes followed by the
Lewis and Clark expedition 200 years ago. The expedition, comprising
eight fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters, will depart from
Clarksville, Ind., on June 1 and arrive two weeks later in Astoria, Ore.
"The challenge of our expedition," said biologist and Caravan pilot Mike
Mann, "is to establish the amount of change from 'baseline' conditions
that has occurred since the original Corps of Discovery expedition from
18031806." The group plans to document the current cultural and
natural features along the route and compare them to the historical
record of the Lewis and Clark expedition. More...
E-OX: A HIGH-QUALITY PORTABLE OXYGEN NEED NOT COST AN ARM
AND A LEG
Join hundreds of pilots who have discovered you
don't need to spend $600+ to get a high-quality portable oxygen system.
With prices starting under $200, E-Ox is the ideal choice for pilots who
don't do enough high-altitude flying to justify the expense and hassle
of a bulky portable oxygen system, or who want a solid back-up for their
aircraft's built-in system. E-Ox uses 100% medical-grade components and
is light, compact, and slips easily into a flight bag or briefcase.
Aeromedix offers one- and two-place systems with cylinder sizes from 36
to 680 liters. Custom-design your E-Ox system by calling Aeromedix's
O2 system experts at (888) 362-7123 and mentioning this
AVflash or by going online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.
AIR SCOUT GROUP STARTS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Air Scouts, a program of the Boy Scouts of America that was popular in the 1940s
and '50s, is slowly reappearing as three Air Scouting groups are now
underway, one each in Texas and Illinois, and now the newest one at
Moore County Airport in North Carolina. The co-ed program for youth
ages 14 to 20 provides a chance to learn about careers in aviation and
participate in activities such as building model rockets, flying
radio-controlled planes and visiting aviation museums. At Moore County
Airport, about 28 youngsters have signed up so far for the program, The Pilot newspaper reported last week.
AEROSPACE RECEIVES LAUNCH LICENSE
On Friday, XCOR
Aerospace became the second company to receive a Reusable Launch
Vehicle (RLV) mission license from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space
Transportation. The company, based in Mojave, Calif., said it will
use the license to test RLV technologies prior to suborbital space
travel. XCOR said it will be the first to use the license for an RLV
that is launched and recovered from the ground. The FAA's first license,
which went to Mojave's Scaled Composites, is being used to test
SpaceShipOne, which is carried aloft on the White Knight aircraft and
launched at altitude. XCOR's license is for test flights only, and does
not cover passenger operations. More...
UPDATE IN NEXT ISSUE OF BIZAVFLASH
If you're curious about what may appear to be outwardly erratic behavior
among the highest ranks at the National Business Aviation Association
(NBAA) -- whose new president departed April 1 after nine months on the
job -- read your Business AVflash. For subscribers (sign up is
independent of the AVflash you're currently reading) AVweb's
Business AVflash arrives twice each month. The next edition will hit
your e-mail inbox this coming Wednesday. It will have the latest news on
the developments at NBAA since mid-April, including details on dueling
public statements by a departed senior staffer and the association, plus
our regular coverage of the business aviation community and Business
AVflash's regular, twice-monthly feature, TSA Watch. Not subscribed to
Business AVflash? It's quick, it's easy and -- best of all -- it's
here to sign up! More...
Another light jet, a five-seat single-engine Sport-Jet, in the
FAA to test ADS-B weather datalink with 100 aircraft on East
NATA has launched a new Web site: www.nata.aero...
airline Aero Continente blocked from U.S. airspace...
$307 million to combat airport noise pollution. More...
IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN
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WxServer works with virtually any internet-enabled
phone, and any nationwide wireless carrier. WxServer gives you
up-to-the-minute aviation weather information such as the NEXRAD, METAR,
TAF, and satellite images. Now WxServer includes airport frequency
listings, fuel availability, and quick-dial links to FBOs, rental cars,
and taxis. SPECIAL OFFER: This month, AVweb readers
receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rates, and CFIs can sign
up for the WxServer Referral Program at no charge! 10-day Free Trial.
See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The aviation economy is finally starting to rebound, and that means more
pilots getting ready to buy a plane or to step up to more-sophisticated
aircraft. But beyond any FAA requirements, insurance requirements loom
as a major factor that can financially make or break the transition to a
new type of plane.
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. Watch for
a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE
"SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
|LAZY BUZZARD GOES RACING!!!|
Lazy Buzzard has
decided to send his pilot racing. Come late summer, the Lazy Buzzard
Pitts Special will be tearing around the pylons at the Reno Air Races.
Check out the site to see the Lazy Buzzard airplane and other great
stuff!! Watch for Lazy Buzzard at air shows throughout the year. Be a
part of it all and support Lazy Buzzard in his quest for Life, Liberty,
and the pursuit of Happiness and Speed. Online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lazybuzzard/avflash.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
mail this week about keeping ATC current on emergencies, fans of
Ercoupes, and more. More...
BENNETT AVIONICS: UPGRADE YOUR AIRCRAFT WITH CONFIDENCE &
Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only
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enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics
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than new ones. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will
work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics, your
one-stop used avionics specialist online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.
Overheard enroute from RMG to 45J...
Pilot: Approach, Skylane N###, Could I have a right turn direct
Approach: Standby. I'll check to see if that Dash 8 doing 200
knots up your five-o'clock feels like wearing you on his lapel...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
YOU TOO CAN BE A WINNER WITH SCHEYDEN, AVIATION'S FINEST
"I was surprised that I won, and even more surprised
at the quality of these glasses!" said recent AVweb winner Ted Weiner of
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HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FOR THE AVIATION
CrewCar and Consumer Guides have teamed up to offer
hassle-free auto buying to the aviation industry! Next to your home and
airplane, a vehicle is the most important item you will purchase. Don't
go blindly into a dealership; look to CrewCar. CrewCar is a car-buying
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FLIGHTMAX EX500 WITH INTEGRATED DATALINK-TRAINING SOFTWARE
Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 provides the best
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use. To prove it, Avidyne has put together a new FlightMax EX500 trainer
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BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG, &
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thousands of dollars. For seminar details, Mike's no-cost monthly
e-newsletter, and dozens of maintenance articles, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.
Specials Ending This Week
AIRSPORT AVIONICS CELEBRATES THE SUN-N-FUN FLY-IN WITH A
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MOM SOMETHING TO TICKLE HER FUNNY BONE & SHOW HER LOVE OF
For Mother's Day, the Carprop is perfect! The 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 but when parked, the propeller goes horizontal so
it doesn't interfere with the license plate numbers. SPECIAL:
Complimentary sunglasses with any order placed online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.
OFFERING "AVWEB ONLY" SPECIALS
Gleim Publishers is offering a
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COMM 1 ANNOUNCES INTERACTIVE NAV & VOR/NDB SIMULATOR
Comm 1 Radio Simulator programs contain
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We Welcome Your Feedback!
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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