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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FLEET GETS A BOOST...
With the fire season already under way in the Western states (and 33
heavy water bombers grounded), the U.S. Forest Service last Wednesday
said it is "reconfiguring" its firefighting fleet. The agency will
contract with private companies for 139 additional aircraft, in an
effort to make up for the 33 aging air tankers whose contracts were canceled last month after the NTSB raised safety concerns. The $66 million in new
contracts will pay for up to 46 single-engine airtankers, 26 heavy
helicopters, 45 medium helicopters and two Canadair CL 215 water
bombers. In addition, eight U.S. military C-130 aircraft equipped with
the Modular Airborne Firefighting System are available.
FAA OFFERS GUIDELINES FOR GETTING AIR TANKERS BACK IN THE
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting to get those 33 tankers back in the air.
"While the safe operations of these aircraft is of paramount importance,
we cannot lose sight of the fact that lives on the ground are also at
risk," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at a Senate hearing on the matter last Wednesday. The FAA
responded with a set of guidelines that it says will help the Forest
Service establish an effective maintenance and inspection program.
Operators can start today to submit documentation to the FAA on each
aircraft's flight history and maintenance for a safety review. Officials
said the reviews might take 30 days or longer, and even then some of the
tankers might not be allowed back into the air. (Much)
FOR SOUTHWEST STATES, TOO LITTLE TOO LATE
For the Southwest, the fire season is already peaking and will likely be
over before any of the big tankers fly again. "The replacement planes
and helicopters won't be enough," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last
week. "We must get these air tankers back in service." The Southwest
fire season usually ends when rains arrive in early July. The tankers
are fast and can haul big loads of retardant, which can make a critical
difference in the early stages of fighting a fire. The helicopters and
single-engine craft "won't do the same job as the air tankers," said
Jerry Williams, the Forest Service's national director of fire and
aviation management. But helicopters have more flexibility and can make
more frequent reloading trips to nearby water sources than can tankers,
he said. More...
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SEEKS DATA TO FIGHT FAA ON DRUG-TESTING RULE...
Dismayed by the FAA's newest plan to
expand drug-testing programs for aviation maintenance workers, the
Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) launched an industry survey last week to try
to gather more information about the impact of the FAA proposal. ARSA
said the FAA is "grossly understating both the number of companies
[affected] and the economic impact the new rule would have." The FAA
says its changes would impact about 300 companies, costing each one
about $1,200 a year to test an average of 19 workers. ARSA says the
proposal would affect many more companies and the costs would mount.
Fears exist that ultimately that cost would trickle down throughout
general aviation. More...
SAYS HIGH DRUG-POSITIVE RATE FOR MAINTENANCE WORKERS...
The survey, which is posted at ARSA's Web site, has a form for
certificated repair stations and another form for non-certificated
maintenance subcontractors. ARSA says participation is critical to its
efforts to prevent the extension of drug and alcohol testing
requirements. The deadline to participate is June 18. The FAA says the
proposed changes are necessary because airlines are outsourcing more and
more maintenance, and there is a high drug-positive rate for maintenance
workers. About half of all positive drug- and alcohol-test results
reported by aviation employers are for maintenance workers, the FAA
PENNSYLVANIA PILOT FLIES THROUGH LOOPHOLE
While the FAA has rules about flying and drinking, those rules don't
apply in criminal court. So when an allegedly drunk pilot raised havoc
in the skies above Philadelphia early this year, the case frustrated prosecutors who
found that Pennsylvania is one of three states (knock-em-back while the
knockin's good) with no law against flying drunk. They tried to convince
the judge that the runway was a public highway, so the drunk-driving
laws would apply, but the judge noted that the runway was on private
property. The airspace above the county is also not a highway, the judge
ruled. "It was a little frustrating," Montgomery County Asst. D.A. John
Gradel told the Associated Press last week. More...
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PILOT RULE RETURNS TO OMB
After what seems like more lobs back and forth than a Ping-Pong ball (or
a hot potato), the ever-imminent sport pilot/light sport aircraft rule is out of the
FAA and back in the hands of the federal Office of Management and Budget
(OMB). The FAA withdrew its proposal back in March after the OMB raised
concerns about the cost/benefits analysis. The withdrawal was meant to
be a strategic means to forestall rejection and keep the package on
track. The OMB's approval is the last step needed before FAA can publish
the rule as a done deal, according to EAA. More...
"OUTREACH" BEGINS, TFRS FOR G8 SUMMIT
This week's International G8 Summit near Savannah, Ga., is bringing not
only world leaders and restricted airspace to the region, but a new TSA
presence at general aviation airports. Prior to the summit, the TSA will
assign teams of Aviation Security Inspectors to about 28 GA airports
located within the TFRs, Steven Calabro of the TSA's GA Directorate told
EAA last week. The inspectors won't be there just to
enforce regulations, but to provide information and enhance awareness
during the summit. "We're hoping to become familiar with [each] airport,
its operations and its surroundings," Calabro said, "More importantly,
to be liaisons on issues that arise with aircraft operations and NOTAMs
where they have the ability to get that information back to us at a
command center, 24 hours a day during this event." Those "issues" may
seem limited to TFR violations, not complaints. More...
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HANG-GLIDER PILOT PLEADS GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER
Eleni Zeri, a 23-year-old tourist from Greece, died in March 2003 during
a tandem hang-glider ride in the mountains of New Zealand after the
pilot took off without properly securing her to the glider. Pilot Steve
Parson, 53, of Canada, admitted that he had made a mistake, and last
Friday apologized in court to the victim's mother. "Eleni was very
brave. I'm so very, very sorry," Parson said. He was sentenced to serve
350 hours' community service and pay NZ$10,000 in reparation. After
launch, when Parson realized Zeri was not secured, he wrapped his legs
around her to try to keep her with him. She told him she couldn't hold
on, and fell 500 feet to her death. More...
TO AIRLINES: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN
Leaders from the nation's largest airlines went to Congress last
Thursday with hats in hand, looking for help to stem their
billion-dollar losses and rising fuel costs, and came away with zip.
"Congress is not going to underwrite losing airline operations," said
Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House
aviation subcommittee. (Not this time, anyway.) "Some of our
airlines must either reduce their costs dramatically or they will not
survive." Apparently the committee thought $20 billion in aid after 9/11
should have been enough, and if the airlines are still losing money,
they need to find ways to cut costs and restructure on their own -- or
quietly fly off into the sunset. (Eleven passenger airlines are rated
"junk bonds" by Standard & Poor's.) But Gordon Bethune, CEO of
Continental Airlines, said what the airlines need is not a handout but
tax relief. More...
NONIN FLIGHTSTAT MARKED DOWN TO $367.35 AT
The Nonin FlightStat is the world's smallest and
lowest-cost precision instrument for measuring oxygen saturation in the
bloodstream. Think of it as a "hypoxia meter" that warns you when you're
becoming hypoxic, and measures precisely how much supplemental oxygen
you need to avoid impairment to your pilot skills. Aeromedix also
carries Nonin's full line of prescription-only pulse oximeters for
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nobody beats their pulse-ox prices. Order by calling (888) 362-7123 and
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SOON, BROADBAND ALOFT FOR GA
Last month, Boeing introduced real-time, WiFi-based, high-speed Internet
connections for commercial travelers, and now a project is in the
works to offer the service to bizjets by next year. A strategic agreement with
Connexion by Boeing enables Rockwell Collins to offer connectivity
services on business aircraft worldwide. The new service, called Collins
eXchange, is projected to be available next year. It will combine
broadband Internet access with direct broadcast satellite to create
real-time, global two-way Ku-band data coverage, according to Rockwell.
THE JOBS ARE
With jobs in many sectors of aviation evaporating over the last few
years, it's encouraging to hear that graduates from one school last week
all left their ceremony with job offers in hand. All 12 graduates from
Arizona's Pima Community College in aviation structural repair
are already hired, and the college says the program has a 97-percent
placement rate in the 12 years it's been running. Graduates of the
intensive 10-month-long course had hundreds of jobs to choose from
across the country, instructor Mark Heywood told the Tucson Citizen. "Gulfstream [in Savannah, Ga.] has
85 openings," he said. "They would have taken every one of our graduates
if they had applied." More...
A trailer for "The Aviator," a film about Howard Hughes, now
A T-28 crashed in Tampa on Thursday, the pilot died...
The Flight of Discovery is following Lewis and Clark's route by
TSA now will allow armed pilots flying as pax to keep their
British airline pilots protest proposed changes in flight-time
Seattle's Museum of Flight opened new Personal Courage Wing...
Cessna's Citation Sovereign got its FAA type certificate.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
CEO of the
Cockpit #33: Dog Is My Co-Pilot
Even a hard-nosed old captain like AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit has a soft
spot for some people and even some animals. Especially ones that are
willing to go flying on those dark and stormy nights. This is a dog
story, but it's a pilot's dog story.
FLIGHTMAX EX500 WITH INTEGRATED DATALINK-TRAINING SOFTWARE
Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 provides the
best value MFD/Datalink solution available for G.A. And it's the easiest
to use. To prove it, Avidyne has put together a new FlightMax EX500
trainer which allows you to "fly" user-defined flight plans and retrieve
"datalinked" graphical weather and TFRs all along the route and
randomly access virtually all pages and functions of the EX500, just as
you would on the real product. Download your no-cost EX500 Training
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about GA usage fees, drug smugglers, circling approaches
in the PTS and much more. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE
"SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE
and now much more! WxServer
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quick-dial links to FBOs, rental cars, and taxis. SPECIAL OFFER:
This month, AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual
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On proper communication...
(Overheard May 15, 2004.)
Tower: Landing traffic, be advised that there's still a
turkey on the runway.
Pilot (speaking immediately): Tower, Cessna ### clear of
Tower: Thank you ... (laughter) ... but I meant the real
JOIN PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE FOR A WEEKEND OF FLYING
FUN & EDUCATION!
Come to the Technology for Pilots
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25-26, 2004. The program will include more than 25 seminars over the
weekend and a social event on Saturday evening at the Million Air FBO,
with many new aircraft on display. For more information and to register,
call (310) 820-1500 ext. 118 and mention this AVflash, or go online to
News and Special Offers |
AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We
appreciate your patronage.
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|THUNDERSTORM SEASON IS HERE; IT'S TIME TO
Bennett Avionics can provide you with a used
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|NEW BACKCOUNTRY REPORT ON AVIAT'S NEW PUP & WHERE IT CAN
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|CARBON MONOXIDE KILLS! GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFETY FROM CO
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DAD FUNCTION & BEAUTY IN A CHASE-DURER TIMEPIECE + A SPECIAL
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INTO THE ELECTRONIC AGE & UNCOMPLICATE YOUR LIFE WITH FLIGHT
FlightLevel is the premier electronic logbook
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MICROLIGHTS ANNOUNCES PRICE REDUCTION ON BEST SELLERS!|
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|GIVE DAD SOMETHING TO TICKLE HIS FUNNY BONE & SHOW HIS
LOVE OF FLYING|
For Father's Day, the Carprop is
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|TURN "LOST" TIME INTO PRODUCTIVE TIME WITH PILOT'S AUDIO
For pilots who don't get to fly as often as they
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