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While last week's first-quarter production numbers showed that GA
manufacturing is creeping out of its recent doldrums (though still far
from its peak), the data also revealed some subtle shifts taking place
in the industry. "This is a historic day for Cirrus," company spokesman
John Bingham told the Duluth News Tribune on Saturday -- for the first
Design produced more single-engine four-seaters than any other
manufacturer. With 105 shipments, Cirrus outpaced, by 16, the venerable
Cessna Aircraft Co.
"There's a huge sense of determination to build on this," Bingham said.
"We know we've still got three more quarters to go." More...
FRACTIONAL FLEET GROWS...
One of those customers for Cirrus aircraft is OurPlane Inc. , of
London, Ontario, a fractional-ownership company that is about to launch
its 13th and 14th locations, at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and at the Flying Cloud Airport near St. Paul, Minn. "We just
ordered 10 new Cirrus SR22s in March," OurPlane CEO Graham Casson told
AVweb yesterday. "We're seeing tremendous demand for these
airplanes. They're easy to fly, and they're very comfortable to fly. The
SR22 is a fantastic airplane, and we plan to order more next year."
Casson added that his Cirrus aircraft have an "impeccable" safety
record, which he attributed to the high safety standards and currency
protocols the company requires of share owners. More...
TRAINING RACES TO KEEP UP
With some recent accidents and a less-than-spotless safety record for
Cirrus, training has become a front-burner issue, with all those new
airplanes coming into the market with advanced avionics and systems. The
FAA's answer to these changes is called FITS, for FAA/Industry
Training Standards, and a curriculum based on the SR22 was its first
project. Some in the industry have raised concerns about the FITS
concept, saying it will cost pilots more, it could allow insurance
concerns to drive training requirements, or could even lead to the FAA's
mandating type ratings or recurrent training for pilots of single-engine
aircraft. The FAA says FITS will cost less and make training more
efficient by focusing on real-world needs. More...
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STUDY: NEW LASIK PROCEDURE WORKS BETTER
A Navy researcher who has been studying the effects of eye surgery on
vision for 10 years reported this week that new wavefront-guided
procedures used with Lasik eye surgery are producing improved results.
"While conventional Lasik is good, we're finding that wavefront-guided
Lasik yields sharper and higher-quality vision, and higher patient
satisfaction compared to conventional Lasik," said U.S. Navy Capt. Steve
Schallhorn, M.D., the director of Cornea and Refractive Surgery at the
Navy Medical Center in San Diego. "By reducing dependence on glasses and
contact lenses in active duty personnel, [Lasik] enhances combat
readiness and improves performance," Schallhorn said. More...
20/20 RESULTS RISE TO 97 PERCENT
Most significant with the new procedure, Schallhorn said, is the
improved quality of vision, fewer problems with halos and glare, better
night vision and higher patient satisfaction. With conventional Lasik,
88 percent of 908 patients tested at 20/20 vision or better six months
after the procedure. By comparison, 97 percent of 34 patients using the
wavefront-guided Lasik achieved 20/20 vision or better. Schallhorn
reported his findings at this week's annual meeting of the American Society of
Cataract and Refractive Surgery, in San Diego. Schallhorn is part of
a Navy program that provides Lasik services to Navy and Marine Corps
personnel. The Federal Trade Commission has published an online guide,
"Basik Lasik," offering tips to those who might be
considering the surgery. More...
SAYS NO TO BIGGER N-NUMBERS FOR NOISE WATCHERS
The FAA has turned down a petition from the Massachusetts group "Stop The Noise"
asking for two-foot-high N numbers under airplane wings, AOPA said yesterday. The
FAA said the current 12-inch-high numbers on the
fuselage were mandated after much deliberation and discussion, and there
is no compelling reason to change that decision. "Stop The Noise has
shown that it's willing to sue pilots even if the pilots are operating
in full accordance with regulations," said AOPA Director of Regulatory
and Certification Policy Luis Gutierrez. "This petition was just a
thinly veiled attempt to make it easier for the group to go after other
COMPANY DROPS SUIT NAMING PILOT'S WIDOW
As AVweb told you recently, the widow of a pilot
who crashed into a telecommunications tower in Quebec was sued by
SpectraSite, a U.S. company that operated the tower. Now, SpectraSite
has withdrawn that suit and issued a statement to clarify its position. "SpectraSite's
suit was filed due to a misunderstanding that led us to believe the suit
was the only means of preserving our ability to protect the interests of
our shareholders," CEO Stephen Clark said in a news release last week.
"In accordance with applicable Canadian law, SpectraSite has taken
action to dismiss the estate of Mr. Gilbert Paquette [the pilot who
died] from its suit" but to seek its share from the pilot's liability
FLEET FACES ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
With summer fast approaching, so is wildfire season, which (along with
record-breaking heat) is already blooming in southern California. The pilots who fly
firefighting aircraft are well-aware of the accidents noted recently by the NTSB in which aging aircraft
failed under the stress, and the industry has come up with its own
"White Paper" to address the problems of how to fly safely. Called the
SAFE initiative, for "Strategic Aerial Firefighting Excellence," the plan calls for replacing the current heavy
air-tanker fleet, but says that could take 10 years. Meanwhile, the
initiative calls for better monitoring of aircraft structures and
suggests that contractors will need a two- to three-fold increase in
hourly rates to cover investments in new aircraft. According to the
report, the current heavy air-tanker rate is approximately $4,000 per
flying hour. More...
AIRPORT EXPANSION UP AGAINST OPPOSITION
It's a classic, if sad, tale of airports in America: Livermore Municipal Airport in northern California,
about an hour east of San Francisco, was built in the wide-open spaces
of the valley back in 1965. Popular with pilots, the airport today is
bursting at the seams, with 180 names on a waiting list for hangar
space. But the once-open spaces now are packed full with housing
developments, and the neighbors not only oppose expansion, they want the
airport and its noise gone altogether. The debate has reached the status
of a "feud," according to the Oakland Tribune, which reported Tuesday that the two
camps respond with distrust and derision to each other's comments at
public hearings. More...
FOR QUICK-SPROUTING CAMPAIGN TFRS
Just when you thought TFRs couldn't get any messier, the presidential
campaign season heats up along with the summer weather. This week,
President Bush and friends are on a bus trip through the Midwest, so
watch for complex and quick-changing TFRs as the motorcade swings into
Iowa and Wisconsin tomorrow. To help avoid those unsettling stares from
F-16 pilots off your wingtip, EAA, AOPA and
online flight planning for their members, and the FAA has bundled all
its TFR notices onto one handy page. Check early and late and often, is
the universal advice. More...
PILOT TRICKS, PART ... (WE'VE LOST COUNT)
It must be something in the air, but this week brought in a slew of
reports about pilots giving in to temptation -- doing things that are
enticing, but forbidden. In Australia on Saturday, a sightseeing pilot
flew her two-seat Skyfox Gazelle underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a
no-no, and now faces up to two years in jail. In Saginaw, Mich., a
school principal was mortified on Friday when two helicopters landed in
his schoolyard without warning -- apparently carrying real-estate
developers checking out some nearby property. And in Gilbert, Ariz., a
homeowner is indignant that a neighbor is flying his helicopter
regularly from his backyard -- but nobody else seems to care.
B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" damaged in gear malfunction at Van Nuys...
All three aboard survive Brooklyn, N.Y., rooftop heli crash, video
Delta Air Lines to recall 1,000 pilots from furlough...
Qantas passenger found a tree frog stowed away in salad greens...
A pilot for Singapore Airlines fired, exiled after union protest...
Pratt & Whitney completed first run of Eclipse 500's PW610F
"Hoot" Gibson broke 100k-closed-circuit speed record at 238.14
Turbo Commander 840 crashed in Mexico, seven died...
NORAD will conduct training flights in Washington, D.C., today...
EAA's Southwest Fly-In May 14-15 at New Braunfels Airport in Texas.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Wanna start an argument among other aircraft owners where passion will
ring louder than logic? Either bring up lean-of-peak mixture settings or
ask whether you should use autogas in your engine. John Ruley dissects
the issues of autogas and introduces research (and problems) that didn't
exist only a few decades ago.
What's New --
Products and Services
Each month, AVweb will bring you a quick survey of the latest products
and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners. This month we
have a voice checklist, camera fittings, aviation humor books and more.
In some cases, AVweb has actually examined the product; in other cases,
we are just letting you know it exists. If you know of a new product or
service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send
us a note.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Focus your peepers on AVweb's "Question of the Week" we want to
hear your opinions on LASIK eye surgery. Is it really a miracle, or do
you have doubts? PLUS: Results from last week's poll on the "Boeing
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
More amazing photos continue to roll in from AVweb readers! (Quite a few
of you had your cameras at Sun 'n Fun, didn't you?) This week's "POTW"
selections range from triumph (the SnF 2004 balloon race) to tragedy (a
tornado) but when all was said and done, David Collier of
Indianapolis walked away with this week's winning baseball cap. Or flew
away with it, as the case may be. In an RV-8. Enjoy this week's photos,
and don't forget to send us more! More...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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