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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
MANDARINS PONDER DC PANIC...
Pilot error has been ruled out and now the people who try to keep
Washington, D.C., safe from terrorism will figure out among themselves
what led them to scramble fighters and evacuate the Capitol last
Wednesday for an airplane that never strayed an inch from its approved
(and very well-documented) flight path. The King Air 200 carrying
Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (a former fighter pilot) had a waiver to
take Fletcher into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport so the
governor could attend a memorial for the airport's late namesake. But
before it landed, its arrival caused panic (see AVweb's
prior coverage") ... perhaps an appropriate reaction to police
officers at the Capitol building shouting, "one minute to impact." The
pseudo drama began with a balky transponder that quit working shortly
after the King Air left Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International
Airport early Wednesday afternoon. More...
"BY THE BOOK"...
GA flights have been banned into Reagan National since 9/11 but
Fletcher's flight managed to attain a waiver. Doug Hogan, Fletcher's
communication's director, speculated that despite the special
circumstances of the flight and despite the failed transponder, ATC
staff simply didn't tell anyone on the ground in Washington that the
governor was on his way. "It would appear the air traffic controllers
did not notify any of the other agencies about the situation," Hogan
told the Associated Press. FAA spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb
the FAA, along with other agencies involved in the security of
Washington, D.C., will meet to discuss where the system broke down.
Martin stressed the pilots were in no way to blame. "The pilots on the
flight were by the book," he said. "The pilots did everything they were
supposed to do; they had all the proper waivers and clearances."
AIRPLANE FOR THE GOVERNOR?
The positive side of all of this (depending, of course, on your
viewpoint) is that Fletcher might end up with a new airplane. His King
Air is a 1973 model, military surplus and the oldest of its type still
flying, according to state officials who've been angling to replace it
with something newer. This is the third time the transponder has failed
(techs couldn't find anything wrong with it when it was previously
snagged). The steering mechanism in the nose gear also failed earlier
this year, causing the plane to veer off a runway. Now the Kentucky
media has begun comparing their governor's ride with those of his
neighboring counterparts. Apparently most nearby governors use King Airs
but the oldest is Ohio's, which was built in 1980. More...
Remember when a kitplane was a piece of irrigation pipe and some Dacron?
Well, now you can clear out the garage and put together a race-bred
airplane from the folks who brought you the Nemesis F-1 racer (47
victories in 50 starts, 16 world speed records). The crew has translated
their racing design into the NXT, a two-place speedster that will have its
official unveiling at EAA AirVenture in late July. Designers and
builders Jon and Patricia Sharp say the first of the kit-derived
aircraft is ready for flight-testing and they hope to have it flying at
Oshkosh. Others hope (some with good reason) that the aircraft will
eventually run better than 350 mph at 20,000 feet. More...
CERTIFIED'S 400 NO SLOUCH
For those who want speed but would prefer others to sniff the resin
fumes, Lancair Certified gained certification for its turbocharged
Columbia 400 at Sun 'n Fun and customer deliveries began a short time
later. The first to fly away was Paul Duckett, a Missouri resident who
put his deposit down in 1998. "Paul has been an incredibly patient man
waiting for his airplane," said Lancair President Bing Lantis. Now, the
400 won't likely challenge the NXT in any race but it's no slouch,
either. A Lancair 400 "pilot report" has been posted to the Lancair
Owners and Pilots Association Web site, here. For Duckett's part, he decided (at 202 KTAS)
not to push his new baby too hard on the trip home. More...
STAY AHEAD OF THE "PLAIN" FOR FATHER'S
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PIPERS CLEARED FOR FLIGHT
It took New Piper about two weeks to find and repair a total of 49
aircraft that contained parts made from a faulty lot of heat-treated
steel. Spokesman Mark Miller told AVweb on Thursday that the last
of the bad parts had been replaced earlier that day and the entire fleet
was again fit to fly. Meanwhile, there's no evidence the steel, which
came from Certified Steel Treating in Los Angeles, made it into any
other aircraft. Raytheon spokesman Tim Travis told AVweb it
doesn't use the LA company and Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Myers said her
company didn't use any of the steel, either. More...
GPS NAVIGATION ALLOWED
The FAA took a step in the direction of satellite-based navigation last
week when it allowed some airliners to use their GPSs to find their way
across the country instead of flying routes defined by ground-based
radio aids. Seven air route traffic control centers began accepting
point-to-point air navigation flight plans for airliners using the
high-level airways. By getting the high-level traffic off the
increasingly crowded airways, the new system will allow pilots a lot
more flexibility in avoiding weather and resolving potential conflicts
and will also open up more potential routes. More...
A CELLPHONE CALL AWAY
If, like many pilots, you use a cellphone for FSS briefings when you do
any cross-country flying, you should download this list and put it in your flight bag. As
handy as they are, cellphones have some unique limitations that make
them a pain to use with telephone features that were originally designed
for the landline system. The universal FSS 800 number (1-800-WX-BRIEF)
is one of those anomalies and may land you in the hands of a briefer in
New York when you're calling from San Diego. (Not that we'd know
anything about that.) More...
WANTS COLOR-BLINDNESS TESTS STUDIED
The NTSB is suggesting the FAA review its standards for color blindness
in light of its investigation into the crash of a FedEx Boeing 727 in
Florida in 2002. The NTSB found that the flying pilot, the first
officer, had a color-vision deficiency that made it hard for him to tell
the difference between the red and white lights on the Precision
Approach Pathway Indicator (PAPI) system at Tallahassee Airport. The
plane ended up clipping trees on approach. The first officer had an FAA
waiver for his color blindness and now the NTSB wants the agency to
revisit its policy on such waivers. More...
CPA MEMBERSHIP IS THE BEST $45 YOU CAN SPEND ON YOUR
With more than 12,000 active members, the Cessna
Pilots Association (CPA) is the world's biggest and best aviation
"type club" for Cessna pilots and owners. Members receive a monthly
magazine, a weekly e-mail newsletter, technical support by a full-time
staff of A&Ps with tremendous expertise in all Cessna models,
model-specific buyer's guides and systems courses, a group aircraft
insurance program, and access to CPA's giant online knowledge bank and
popular online member forums. Join by calling (805) 922-2580 and
mentioning this AVflash, or by clicking here http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cpa/avflash.
TYPE ARRIVALS SET FOR OSHKOSH
Flying to EAA AirVenture is always an interesting experience but it's
more fun with friends. The "mass arrival" pioneered by Bonanza owners in
1990 has now spread to (at least) three other type clubs. About 80 Bonanzas
are expected to arrive about 3 p.m. on July 25, while 42 Mooneys will
land at 4:40 p.m. Up to 30 Piper Comanches are scheduled for 11 a.m. on
the 25th and a similar contingent of Stinsons will
come in on Monday the 26th at 11 a.m. More...
JUMPS FROM CHOPPER
In the third instance of its type so far this year (just off the top of
our heads), a man has committed suicide by jumping out of an aircraft.
Last Thursday, an unidentified man leapt out of a sightseeing helicopter
in the Grand Canyon. The pilot tried to stop him but the determined man
got out of the chopper and fell to his death in rugged terrain near
White's Butte, about 90 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Ariz. There were
four other passengers on board the Papillon Airways helicopter. No names
were released. More...
The NTSB says it's analyzing the composition of red smears found on the
fuselage of a Cessna Caravan that crashed mysteriously in Alabama in
2002. The red marks have become the focus of urban legend-type
speculation on the cause of the crash. Some think the Mid Atlantic Freight plane
hit a drug runner, others say a military drone was to blame and the
theories escalate to meteor strikes, aliens and beyond. The NTSB is,
however, conducting a more down-to-earth examination of about 20 items
in the wreckage that might have caused the mysterious red marks.
If this keeps up, the float planes will be front and center at this
year's Air Venture. A spell of heavy rain at Wittman Regional Airport
has flooded runways and inundated the show grounds that will teem with
people and airplanes in about six weeks. AVweb reader Eric Whyte
reports that flooding closed the runways late last week. Come have a
look at the nice photos he took of "Whitewater Road"
Pioneer." Should be nice and green for the big show...
PILOT GETAWAYS & KCAL 9 SHARE THE THRILL OF
Pilot Getaways magazine teamed up with
avid flyer and television producer Joshua Chaiton to feature a segment
on the adventure, accessibility, and affordability of personal aviation.
"One of Pilot Getaways magazine's goals is to share the adventure
of general aviation with people who may have thought flying was out of
their reach," says "Pilot Getaways" publisher George Kounis. "This
television segment captures a side of personal aviation not often
portrayed in the media that flying a small plane is
fun and gives both single travelers and families the freedom to visit
thousands of great places that are both off and on the beaten track."
For more on Pilot Getaways, and to view this TV segment, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/tv/avflash.
Fun read: Pilot of both compared an F-14 and a paraglider...
Robb Report named TwinStar "best of best" personal aircraft...
Cirrus "private jet" purchased by Chinese man...
Airline cuts throttle to save fuel...
Bush pilot saved passenger from flipped floatplane, two others died.
Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know? If it caught
your eye, it will probably interest someone else, too. Drop us a
line. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com.
JOIN PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE FOR A WEEKEND OF FLYING
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weekend and a social event on Saturday evening at the Million Air FBO,
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call (310) 820-1500 ext. 118 and mention this AVflash, or go online to
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Lounge #75: Preflight? Who Cares?
Recent AVweb columns have brought the question to the fore: Should a
pilot perform a detailed preflight inspection, or is there such a thing
as too much information? AVweb's Rick Durden has a thorough conversation
about it this month in The Pilot's Lounge.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about shooting down drug smugglers, scrambling
fighters for a governor, fire-fighting tankers, a pilot's dog and much
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Pilatus: Tower, we think we just hit Rocky the Squirrel half way
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Tower: I thought I saw a pink mist down there. Is your plane OK?
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Airport 1: Taxi 31 for squirrel removal.
Unknown voice: Do you have an approved squirrel cage for that
Airport 1: Uh... I'm afraid this is more of a shovel operation.
Tower: Cherokee ###, extend downwind. We're scraping up the
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