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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
IMPACT AFTER COMPLIANCE WITH ATC INSTRUCTION...
The FAA appears to be challenging an NTSB report that points the finger at air traffic
control for a fatal accident in California two weeks ago. The NTSB
findings on the crash of a Piper PA-44-180 near Julian, Calif., read:
"The airplane descended to 5,200 feet in response to an ATC instruction.
The airplane impacted trees on a 5,500-foot ridgeline ..." The two
private pilots, who were at the time flying a training exercise for a
flight school, died. FAA spokesman Greg Martin declined detailed comment
on the report but noted the investigation is still underway and the FAA
is helping. "I wouldn't reach any conclusions until the report is
complete," he said. That could take about two months. More...
BEGINS TO LEVEL THE FIELD IN ALASKA...
Meanwhile, the life expectancy of some Alaska bush pilots is increasing
thanks to a technological battle against the high accident rate there
(2.5 times higher than the lower 48). The Capstone Project -- which has
fitted aircraft operating in the mountainous, weather-ravaged and
isolated area of southeast Alaska known as the YK Delta with GPS, the
latest in weather-radar technologies and Automatic Dependent
Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) systems -- is credited with a whopping
40-percent reduction in plane crashes over the past three years,
according to a report released last week. More...
While safety was the prime motivation of Capstone, it has had some
operational benefits as well. For instance, the use of GPS instrument
approaches at remote airfields has greatly improved the reliability of
air service to those communities. "At villages where Capstone has
created instrument approaches, the fraction of time weather makes air
travel unavailable has been reduced by 50 percent," the report says.
Company managers can also keep track of their aircraft in real time over
the Internet by using a flight-monitoring function added in 2002. Likely
one of the reasons Capstone has been such a success is that pilots seem
to like using it. More...
So, what would you do if the turbo-intercooled Rotax 914 engine powering
your Pegasus Quantum trike, flying under a Pegasus XL wing, was so hard
to start that it flattened two batteries before finally catching?
Perhaps they were mildly hypoxic, but Angelo D'Arrigo and Richard
Meredith-Hardy chose to fly that engine (typically capable of 115 hp)
over the world's highest mountain -- towing a hang glider (a rigid-wing
ATOS 2 from ICARO 2000) for good measure. In Tibet on Sunday, microlight
pilot Meredith-Hardy hauled hang glider pilot D'Arrigo to the rarified
air of Mount Everest and put on what must have appeared to be the
world's highest air show for a group of climbers tackling the peak
through the more conventional method -- on foot. But it's a show that
almost didn't get off the ground, according to Meredith-Hardy's account
of the adventure. More...
LOW TEMPERATURES AND HIGH DRAMA
Once the Rotax was running, it pulled the two aircraft up at a rate of
about 450 fpm from the 12,000-foot-high base camp. There was a lot of
circling involved in getting up to the height of Everest and enjoy the
minus 40-degrees Centigrade temperatures. At times, Meredith-Hardy
noticed that D'Arrigo was being "bounced around" by turbulence. As they
approached the peak, the tow line broke and D'Arrigo was on his own.
Without the hang glider in tow, Meredith Hardy said the aircraft "shot
up" and he did three fly-bys of the peak, before an audience of about
six climbers standing on the peak and four or five others inching up the
final few feet. More...
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"SELLS" 75 JETS
Is it Adam Aircraft's foothold in the potentially lucrative mini-jet
market or just another one of those on-again, off-again deals that have
seemingly marked the (so far) speculative and seemingly illusory
air-taxi industry? Whatever it is, the Colorado-based plane-maker is
crowing about a $150 million order for 75 of its A700 jets, which it
claims it can start delivering in less than a year. The buyer is iFly, a
Connecticut company put together by Donald Burr and Robert Crandall. But
as AVweb's business publication BizAv notes, (subscribe here, free)there
could be some significant details to overcome before the deal, the
air-taxi company and the industry can launch with Adam jets.
TWINS SPAR ADS WITHDRAWN ... FOR FURTHER REVIEW
The fix identified in two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking would have
required the $70,000-plus addition of a spar strap to all affected
Cessna 400-series twin aircraft. Now, the potential ADs that might have
resulted in the grounding of a lot of aircraft have been withdrawn -- but that doesn't mean they've been
cancelled. Bob Vila, president of the Cessna Twins Spar Corporation (no,
the company name is not a coincidence) told AVweb the FAA,
perhaps under the pressure of public outcry, is simply looking at other
(hopefully less-expensive) options to fix the pesky problem affecting
the main spars on the twins. The NPRMs put a lot of owners in the
uncomfortable position of having to decide whether their planes were
worth that kind of investment. More...
TO BECOME (ALREADY IS?) FIRST CIVILIAN SPACEPORT
It's (almost) being used as one anyway, but the Mojave Airport in
California is close to getting government approval to become the first
private spaceport. SPACE.com reports that the Mojave Airport Civilian
Flight Test Center will be certified as a non-federal spaceport to
handle horizontal launches of reusable spacecraft -- specifically, like
Scaled Composites' hen-and-chick creation that reached an altitude of 40
miles after taking off from Mojave about 10 days ago. SpaceShipOne (the
aforementioned "chick"), which launches from the mother ship White
Knight (the hen), is the odds-on favorite to win the $10 million X-PRIZE
for development of a reusable spacecraft without government funding, but
Scaled's team isn't Mojave's only tenant harboring celestial ambitions.
FACING BIG PROBLEMS, SAYS GAO
There's big trouble ahead for the FAA if it doesn't get a handle on its
out-of-control budgets and terrible record on technology acquisition,
and time is running out, according to a
report by the General Accounting Office (GAO). But even the GAO is
apparently out of ideas on how the agency should reinvent itself,
because it made no recommendations in the scathing indictment of the
FAA's looming crisis. Rather, it urges the FAA to become a "high
performing organization" to address the increased demands on its
services and the funding crunch that affects all arms of government. The
GAO does, however, list four fundamental qualities of such
AND AVOID? A SKYFULL OF UAVS
Not yet, but it may not be long... While one arm of the government
worries about how the FAA will cope with the existing air traffic load,
another is spending $360 million to figure out how to squeeze scores of
unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) into the mix. NASA, along with five
companies that make remotely piloted and robotic aircraft, are
undertaking a five-year study aimed at putting unmanned aircraft on the
same airways and at the same altitudes as conventional planes so they
can take on jobs like forest-fire surveillance, relaying communications
and keeping watch on hurricanes. "The fundamental tenet is to preserve
the safety of the airspace," said NASA project manager Jeff Bauer.
VICTOR ROMEO BACK IN PRODUCTION
For those who missed its first run, Charlie Victor
Romeo is returning to off-Broadway. The controversial and compelling
play, which uses the final few minutes of cockpit voice recorder (CVR)
conversations from crashing airplanes as its dialogue, has been revived
and it may be even more poignant now. The show's initial run in New York
ended before 9/11; it toured thereafter and served up some stark reality
for the audiences, including AVweb's Pete Yost , who saw it in
the tiny Collective Unconscious theater on New York's Lower East Side.
OREGON AERO PRODUCTS PERFECT FOR FATHER'S
Does the pilot dad in your family fumble around in the
cockpit at night? Oregon Aero has a gift idea that will throw
some light on the subject. Our FlashPoint Flashlight Holder mounts
on a headset or helmet, providing a hands-free light source. Other gift
ideas: Hand-sewn flight bags and painless portable cushion systems from
Oregon Aero. Get more great Fathers Day gift ideas online at
Oregon Aero's web site, http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.
Paris airport terminal may have to be torn down after roof
Eurofighter Typhoon plagued with systems problems...
Global warming blamed for flooded runway...
Sea-Tac's new tower may be too high, too close to runway...
Air New Zealand, Qantas flights almost collided over Indonesia.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
#37: VFR In A Vacuum
Have you been turned down lately when you asked ATC for VFR advisories?
Expect it to happen more and more often, especially when you and other
pilots don't file a correct flight plan or use the proper phraseology.
AVweb's Don Brown points out how the impending controller shortage will
reduce the additional services ATC can provide.
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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/
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
In July of 2001, the words of a controller may have directed a Russian
passenger jet into the path of a DHL 757. The results were fatal. Two
weeks ago, a PA-44-180 impacted ridge after complying with an ATC
instruction to descend to an altitude below the ridgeline, according to
an NTSB report. This week, AVweb asks: How often do you invoke your
discretion to defer the suggestion of a controller in the interest of
your own safety? PLUS: Results of last week's question on the dwindling
supply of 100LL. More...
NEW BACKCOUNTRY REPORT ON AVIAT'S NEW PUP & WHERE IT CAN
Only Pilot Getaways magazine combines
the best in in-depth travel information with technical content on the
aircraft that can get you there. This spring, Pilot Getaways
features destinations around the country from Martha's Vineyard
to San Francisco, Texas, and North Carolina. Catch the thrill of the
Kentucky Derby even after the event is over, or take a picnic lunch to a
remote backcountry strip. Order your travel adventure subscription
or a gift subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotgetaways/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
All right, we confess: We were beginning to worry about the slowdown in
reader-submitted "Picture of the Week" entries. But, thankfully, our
worries were unfounded AVweb readers turned out in force this
week, with dozens of great new "POTW" contenders. The Golden Age of
Reader-Submitted Photos is back! Don Laffranchi Jr. leads the pack this
week, with a WWII-era winning photo that's sure to bring a tear to your
eye. We won't be sending Don a recommissioned P-38 but we do have
the next best thing, an official AVweb logo baseball cap. To add one of
these spiffy hats to your wardrobe, make with the clicky and send us
your "POTW" contenders! More...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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Terrific Ideas for Father's Day at
WINGX FOR THE POCKET PC NOW HAS OVER 270 AIRCRAFT
WingX Version 1.4 for the Pocket PC now has
over 270 predefined aircraft models; graphical ramp, taxi/runup, and
flight fuel weight-and-balance calculations; route planning with the
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For a limited time, WingX is on special for $39.99 30% below
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CALCULATE OPERATING COSTS WITH THE INTERACTIVE AIRCRAFT
AirPower Software offers multiple
software editions that create instant budgets by manipulating your
preloaded information to address particular usage amounts and/or costs.
In addition to preloaded aircraft databases, the Budget Analyzer lets
you create individualized budgets via the "My Aircraft" selection,
allowing you to input operating numbers for any type of aircraft. There
are six editions: Lite (no databases); Piston; Turbo Prop; Helicopter;
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LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHEN YOU'LL BE
Sign up for the AVweb Edition of Flight
Explorer, the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of
all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters the aircraft
N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated
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INTO THE ELECTRONIC AGE & UNCOMPLICATE YOUR LIFE WITH FLIGHT
FlightLevel is the premier electronic logbook
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FlightLevel is essentially the same as other computer logbooks
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entries. For a complimentary, no-obligation online demonstration go to
SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN
Pilotmall.com is offering a complimentary soft
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MONOXIDE KILLS! GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFETY FROM CO
CO Guardian has carbon monoxide detector
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 your aircraft and order in time
for Father's Day (June 20) at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cog/avflash.
FLYING CARPET: THE SOUL OF AN AIRPLANE BY NOTED
AUTHOR GREG BROWN
Join Greg Brown in the cockpit of
his Flying Carpet and share the struggles, triumphs, and crazy
adventures of a pilot as he matures from fledgling to seasoned aviator.
Some stories are harrowing, some are downright hilarious, and all of
them will make you wish you'd been along for the ride. AVweb
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FLYING MAGAZINE'S JUNE ISSUE IS TYPICAL
Starting with the new Cessna Citation XLS on the
cover, Flying magazine's June issue covers articles on:
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Specials Ending May 31
GLEIM'S MAY SPECIAL IS FLIGHT-BAG-SIZED
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AIRSPORT ALTITUDE ALERTERS OFFER 10% DISCOUNT &
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DAD SOMETHING TO TICKLE HIS FUNNY BONE & SHOW HIS LOVE OF
For Father'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. For
the pilot or enthusiast who has everything, the Carprop is perfect!
MAY SPECIAL: Complimentary sunglasses with any order placed
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MICRO-LIGHT 3s AT NEW LOW PRICES + COMPLIMENTARY
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HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FOR THE AVIATION
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