NewsWire Complete Issue
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
After many months of meetings, the Transportation Security Administration has released a set of general aviation airport "security enhancements." This document had the potential of being extremely onerous for GA and all who dwell therein
but almost surprisingly, it isnt. "This is not
one-size-fits-all," General Aviation Manufacturers Association VP of Government Affairs Brian Riley tells AVweb. "No one set of rules would fit all 5,000 public-use airports, nothing would be
broad enough. [The] TSA is allowing airport operators to determine what would be best at their particular facility." What the "Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports" does is give airport
managers information about what other airports similar in size and proximity to population centers are doing, and how they can do it, too. The TSA stops short of insisting that these so-called "best
practices" be implemented, which is good news for airport managers wondering where money for video surveillance and alarm systems might be found. "We feel the average airport is already doing about
90% of what it should be [doing according to the report]," says Riley.
How exactly do you know what your local GA airport should be doing? Obviously, those busy paved aerodromes near larger cities and potential targets are expected to do more than grass strips surrounded
by pastures and farmland. The 48-page document includes a type of scoring system to determine what sort of security your facility should have and offers a number of suggestions. The suggestions range
from keeping an eye on aircraft renters to establishing an on-airport "community watch" program. An amazingly reasonable sentence warns airports that "Expending resources on an unnecessary security
enhancement (e.g. complete perimeter fencing, and access controls) instead of a more facility specific, reasonable, and more effective method (e.g. tiedown chains with locks) may actually be
detrimental to an airport's overall security posture." The TSA says the security guidelines are a living document that will change 'over time and with input. Version 1.0 will eventually give way to
version 2.0, after additional hoped-for give-and-take between the Office of Homeland Security, airport managers and aviation's alphabets. Airport managers are encouraged to read the document and send
in their thoughts and concerns to GAInfo@dhs.gov with "GA Airport Security" in the subject line. The TSA is also using the opportunity to remind pilots and others
at GA airports to call GA-SECURE (1-866-427-3287) if they ever see anything at their local field that seems out of place or otherwise troubling.
Based on what we're seeing on the local evening news during this May ratings sweep, general aviation aircraft and airports are an increasing danger to life, liberty and the pursuit of terrorists.
Thankfully, compelling promos and artfully edited sound bites haven't convinced the TSA that a total GA lockdown is needed. Look at page 10 in the just-released TSA security guidelines and you will see this: "[The] TSA has not taken a position that GA airports and
aircraft are a threat, in and of themselves." One aviation official who asked to remain unnamed told AVweb, "GA is probably five or six on the list now. After the railway bombing in Madrid, the
TSA is starting to look a lot more closely at rail lines." Confirmation comes from TSA Deputy Administrator Stephen McHale, who told Inside FAA, "General aviation is not much of a threat. We don't
want to spend a lot of money or time on an area that the threat is not that great or current."
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GA pilots and airplane owners may have gotten a break from the TSA, but there is still danger afoot, warns Steve Cunningham of the General Aviation Legal Defense Fund (GALDF). The GALDF was formed in
response to the Massachusetts group Stop the Noise, which has been busy suing pilots who have the audacity to
fly over their homes. "I have never seen this in America, never," Cunningham tells AVweb. "We [the GALDF] want to go on the offensive ... we intend to try these people [Stop the Noise] in the
court of public opinion." The fund hopes to raise $100,000 to help pay legal expenses for those pilots entangled in the Stop the Noise lawsuit, and spread the word that airplane liberties are just the
first rights that may be lost if the lawsuit succeeds. The landowner-filed court action claims that legal GA flights over homes, towns and property are a "nuisance." Landowners are also demanding to
be compensated for their alleged inability to use their property. In addition, the plaintiffs want the pilots to purchase tracts of property and limit their flying to those "air corridor" areas only.
The suit doesn't allege any violation of Federal Aviation Regulations, and in fact, the FAA has found none. But anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason, and regardless of who's right or wrong,
attorneys' fees still add up.
Cunningham and crew have set up a Web site and are encouraging that donations be made, because any pilot could be targeted next, and he or
she will need your help. Though the case could be tossed out of the courtroom in Massachusetts, this type of thing will probably not end there. Cunningham tells AVweb that people from
Wisconsin, California and other states have come to meet with the Stop the Noise group. He is urging even those who have never flown in a small airplane or considered flying lessons to take notice.
"ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, they're all at risk if this lawsuit sets a precedent," he says. Cunningham, the former president and CEO of the U.S. Aerobatic Foundation, took the volunteer GALDF
position about a week ago, and is fully committed to fighting back. "My desire," he says, "is to get as many folks behind this as I can. If they [Stop the Noise] prevail, I think it is a death knell
for general aviation."
Adam Aircraft Industries, currently based in Pueblo and Centennial,
Colo, is looking to head south with its A700 Adam Jet, according to the Dallas (Texas) Business Journal. Centennial Airport manager Robert Olislagers confirms to AVweb that Adam is looking,
and has been for some number of months. Olislagers says Colorado has precious few economic development dollars to dole out and that has hamstrung his efforts to secure the A700 final assembly facility
at Centennial Airport. Olislagers is high on the company and the A700 personal jet. "I think whoever comes out of the gate first with a microjet will make a significant impact. It is something we
desperately wanted to keep here, but we had nothing to offer." According to the Dallas Business Journal, the Big "D" does have enticing incentives in the form of rent support, training grants and
low-cost loans. Adam officials are reportedly close to signing for a 120,000-square-foot facility at Love Field. It doesn't hurt that the
company already has a Dallas connection. According to the Journal, Dallas oilman Ray Hunt purchased $7.5 million in company stock in April, making him the second-largest outside investor. Adam founder
Rick Adam tells the Journal he is optimistic that the A700 shop could employ 300 to 400 people by 2008, and he hopes to have it up and running by December of this year. For the time being, at least,
the A500 production facility that employs about 290, and other offices, will remain in Colorado. Olislagers is worried that won't last. "Rick Adam is one of the most astute business people I know," he
tells AVweb. "If he sees a competitive advantage by being somewhere else, he will move."
As Olislagers bemoans his lack of economic incentives in Arapaho County, there is debate in Denver as to whether the state is competitive in developing an aviation industry. However, the concern seems
centered on Denver International Airport (DEN) and airline expansion. The study finds that new commercial aircraft and airplane parts that go on commercial aircraft should be exempt from Denver's 3.5%
sales and use tax. The study also finds that more study is needed. Airlines that purchase planes for delivery to Denver regularly get socked, as do those paying for maintenance and repairs.
Denver-based Frontier Airlines has begun accepting delivery of its new planes in Arizona instead of Denver, which saves them $1.3 million per plane. Though the study states, "Aviation is critical to
the economic success of Colorado and the metro Denver region," no mention is made of general aviation. As the study continues, hopefully that omission will be discovered and rectified.
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It took no less than the U.S. Congress to get the FAA, NTSB and Forest Service in a room together to come up with a plan that might get at least a portion of the country's grounded fire-tanker fleet
back in the air. Last week, the Forest Service grounded 33 tankers after the NTSB raised serious
concerns about their airworthiness. But once they were grounded, there they sat. The NTSB can't inspect and certify planes, and the FAA doesn't have jurisdiction over the firefighting birds. A request
from concerned congresspersons compelled the FAA this week to agree to help the Forest Service come up with an inspection system of its own. FAA spokesman Les Dorr wouldn't speculate on whether the
effort would put any airplanes back in the air in time for the wildfire season. Dorr said the Forest Service has "some pretty formidable challenges" in coming up with a credible inspection system
because it lacks so much service history on many of the planes. Without knowing how (or how much) the ex-military tankers were used, Dorr said it's difficult to determine their fitness for the extreme
maneuvers encountered in firefighting. However, any hope at all that the tankers might be back in service cheered politicians from fire-prone states. Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) likely spoke for
all in saying, "Any air tankers returned to service before this summer's wildfire season will really help firefighting efforts on the ground." Others are calling on the White House to force the FAA to
take over inspection of the firefighting fleet to get the planes back in the air.
In the race to make all things technology-accessible, your Friendly Aviation Administration has launched a program called Fly FAA Wireless. All you need to have the information at your fingertip is a
personal digital assistant (PDA) and a, well, fingertip. FAA Fly Wireless contains all the downloadable latest on weather at the nation's largest airports, plus information on flight arrivals and
delays. This version is mainly for the flying public, not pilots, but will tell anyone who queries whether they are going to miss their next connection. FAA chief Marion Blakey says the service will
prevent some traveler inconvenience. "Air travel is expected to come roaring back this summer," meeting or exceeding the level before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Blakey told the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aviation subcommittee. Complaints of delays and cancelled flights will likely come roaring back, too.
One big thing has changed in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Terrorists intent on taking over commercial airliners had better be prepared for a hair-pulling, screaming, kicking,
multi-passenger set-to. We've all reassured ourselves that we would fight in that type of situation, but exactly what should we do if we're sitting wedged between two other pax and someone pulls out a
weapon? Authors Mark H. Bogosian, Michael K. Regan and Tommy L. Hamilton tell you in a new book entitled, "Never Again: A
Self-Defense Guide for the Flying Public." The book was assembled in 2002 for consideration as a federal cockpit- and cabin-defense manual, and goes through a number of easy-to-follow self-defense
tactics and techniques. Though the book is drawing kudos from airline pilots and members of law enforcement, one blog
critic says the book that claims it "just may save your life one day" instead manages to just "scare the s**t out of anyone who reads it." We'll let you be the judge, but it's hard to imagine
anything scarier than what happened on 9/11.
Despite a week that began cool, wet and windy, Sun 'n Fun officials in Lakeland, Fla., confirm things ended well. By the last of the seven-day
run at Lakeland's Linder Regional Airport, some 160,000 visitors had walked through the gates, 5,000 airplanes had come to visit, and 501 commercial exhibitors -- a record number -- had set up shop.
Sun 'n Fun President and convention chairman John Burton says there is no way an event the size of Sun 'n Fun could happen each year without the 2,500 dedicated volunteers. With the 30th SnF behind
them, organizers are already planning for number 31, and you should be, too. The dates to write on your 2005 calendar are April 12-18.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has unveiled a plan to reduce aviation ground-related accidents by 50% over the next
five years. The first step is to help FBOs, airports and airlines worldwide with software to benchmark accidents and incidents. NATA says a still-to-be-formed Stakeholder Advisory Board will ensure
that every aspect of improving ground operations is addressed...
Boeing Co. says a 100-page contract that offers a 3-percent general wage increase in year one with a $3,000 signing bonus, a $2,000 payment in the second year and another 3-percent increase in
year three is its final offer to machinists in St. Louis. The two sides met in marathon negotiations after Boeing's original offer, which the union called "a slap in the face." No word whether the
final offer has gotten final approval...
A snockered stripper got past security in Scotland and climbed aboard a private jet to doze. The 22-year-old clambered over a barbed-wire fence and wandered along the runway in Aberdeen until
finding the cozy cockpit and passing out for eight hours. The just-barely-clad missy told police upon her arrest that if they couldn't prevent her from boarding, they're not going to have much luck
A bus and a plane collided at Russia's Sheremetyevo-1 airport, injuring nine. The Russian Tu-154 aircraft with 69 passengers on board hit a platform bus carrying 43 passengers on a runway. Both
the plane and the bus will be out of service for a while. No word on why a bus was on the runway...
Women in Aviation International chose the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas, March 10-12, 2005, for their next convention. The international
conference, which will feature the theme "Alliances," is expected to draw more than 2500.
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Quiz #81: Know Your Limits
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked our readers to tell us how the FAA is doing
(particularly in light of the Air Tour NPRM). You responded with a clear
voice, 450 of you saying that groups like NATA, EAA, AOPA, and the SBA are
important groups for mitigating the FAA's influence and making sure the pilot's
interests aren't lost in the shuffle. That accounted for 79% of our
respondents, with 15% of you taking an even more disapproving stance on the FAA.
Only 6% of respondents (33 people!) said we should give the FAA a chance on NPRM.*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know what you see in the future for 100LL fuel.
Click here to share your opinion.
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to
Note: This address is
only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers.
"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW AIRPLANE"
"My 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!" These are what
GAMI customers have to say about GAMIjectors. Go online to find out how to save fuel and time by buying injectors that pay for themselves at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami/avflash.
Submit a Photo |
Current POTW Winner |
Past POTW Winners
It's been over a month since Sun 'n Fun, but photos from the Florida fly-in
continue to dominate our "Picture of the Week" feature. This week's
winning photo was taken at the show by Robert Blais of Granby, Quebec.
Congratulations, Robert your AVweb baseball cap is on its way!
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of
readers who submit photos.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
"Sunrise Behind a DC-3 at Sun 'n Fun 2004"
Robert Blais of Granby, Quebec captured
this week's winning image at Sun 'n Fun
here to view a large version of this image
Click here for a
AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our
POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view
Lorraine Morris of Poplar Grove, Illinois
took this shot from
a C-195. This is what happens when photographers fly in pairs.
"Air Force One Short Final"
Colby Morgan of Greenwood, Arkansas captured
Presidential jet coming into Fort Smith on May 11, 2004
To enter next week's contest,
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the
source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest.
If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed
authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain,
send us an e-mail.
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FLYING MAGAZINE'S JUNE ISSUE IS TYPICAL
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