The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
MAY RAISE ATC RETIREMENT AGE...
On Tuesday, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told a Congressional panel
that the maximum retirement age of 56 for air traffic controllers might
need to be raised, to help deal with an unprecedented avalanche of
retirements. More than 7,000 controllers, almost half the workforce, are
expected to leave in the next nine years, as the cohort of workers hired
in the early 1980s -- after President Ronald Reagan fired more than
12,000 striking controllers -- reaches retirement age. "At Congress's
request," Blakey told the House Aviation Subcommittee, "we are preparing
regulations that would permit a controller, under certain conditions, to
remain in the workforce beyond the mandatory separation age of 56."
NATCA CALLS FOR ACTION NOW...
Ruth Marlin, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association, told the panel that raising the retirement
age will not solve the problem -- it's time now to start hiring at least
1,000 new controllers. The FAA's plan to collect more data before taking
action will only make things worse, she said. "We can do yet another
round of studies and reports but the answer is plainly in front of all
of us," Marlin said. "The FAA must immediately begin hiring and training
the next generation of air traffic controllers to prepare for the
inevitable shortage. And Congress must provide the FAA with resources to
do so." More...
TRAINING ISSUES ARISE
George Ebbs Jr., president of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
(ERAU), testified on Tuesday that the government's training program for
new hires in Oklahoma City is redundant and unnecessary, and also asked
that training rules be relaxed to allow candidates who already have a
college degree to advance more quickly. If ERAU could send its graduates
directly to on-the-job training, Ebbs said, "the FAA could realize
significant savings in both time and expense. " Ebbs also said that an
accelerated program for college graduates could enable ERAU to train an
additional 600 controllers per year. More...
HERE, AND AIRVENTURE IS NOT FAR BEHIND...
With the onset of summer, the big show at Oshkosh is just six weeks away, and this
year promises to be an interesting one in the wide-open spaces of
Wisconsin. Though the buzz over new jets has eased off a bit as the trek
to certification proves long and slow, and insurance requirements for
the owner/pilot loom high, interest seems to be picking up as some of
the players start inching closer to that finish line. Still, the only
example of a light jet flying with its (destined for) production engines
is the Adam
A700. Eclipse says it is working on three copies of its
first certification flight-test aircraft, all of which will feature
Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F engines. First flight of its prototype is
expected by the end of the year, Eclipse says. More...
KIT JETS, TOO...
It seems already like ancient history, but among the first in this crop
of light jets to ever bolt into the sky was the Maverick Jet, a
twin-engine kitbuilt that was flying at Oshkosh three years ago, back
when some of the current contenders weren't even mock-ups yet. The
Florida-based company has been selling copies that are assembled at its
Build Assist Center, and may try to certify the airplane for production.
Meanwhile, the folks at Aerocomp Inc. told AVweb yesterday they'll
be flying their new eight-place, single-engine kitjet within a month
(going over our notes, you might not want to hold them to that time
frame ... but it likely will get done), and plan to have it on exhibit
at the show. More...
MORE, MORE, MORE
While Diamond won't have its single-engine D-Jet ready, it will be
showing off its DA42 Twin Star, making its North American debut at
Oshkosh with a fresh European certification. EAA says it expects a
record number of exhibitors to show up this summer with new technology,
both in the cockpit and in aircraft design. Of course, fingers are
crossed that the federal bureaucracy will loosen its grip on the Sport
Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft final rule and let it fly at Oshkosh, but
after so many trip-ups and delays, nobody is making any predictions on
that. Finally, if you're flying in, it's not too soon to start planning
-- the NOTAM is available online. More...
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ON ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATIONS GAIN AME SUPPORT
Aeromedical certifying authorities -- such as the FAA's Office of
Aviation Medicine -- should begin to study and license pilots on
anti-depressant medication, the Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA)
said in a position paper published last month. The proposal is
"stunning," says Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) Dr. Brent Blue, who
said he has tried for years to get medicated pilots licensed. "The
appearance of this paper was an unexpected triumph of rational thought
in pilot certification," he told AVweb yesterday. The paper
proposes that aeromedical certifying authorities remove the current
absolute prohibitions that bar pilots from flying while taking
anti-depressants. The 10-page proposal, Blue said, would allow a test
group of pilots to fly under the watchful eye of psychological
specialists, AMEs and perhaps aeromedically trained psychiatrists.
AIR RACE TO START (AND END) IN WICHITA
In a first for the annual Air Race Classic, this year's route will start and
finish in the same place. The race will launch from Colonel James Jabara
Airport, Wichita, Kan., on June 23, and cover 2,200 nautical miles above
Colorado, Wyoming, Minnesota, and Missouri, returning to Wichita by June
26. Each aircraft is flown by a team of two female pilots. Each plane is
handicapped based primarily on horsepower and design. The winners are
determined by how well the planes exceeded their handicaps in ground
speed. Altitude, wind, pilot skill, weather and aircraft condition are
among the factors that influence the final score. More...
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AEROSPACE GROUP FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Mooney Aerospace Group Ltd. (MASG), the former parent company of Mooney
Airplane Co. (MAC), filed last Thursday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in federal court in Maryland. MASG sold its interest in MAC
to an investor earlier this month, so the filing has no impact on the
aircraft manufacturer, based in Kerrville, Texas. In court papers, MASG
listed liabilities of $65.5 million and no assets. "The bankruptcy
doesn't affect the airplane company," said J. Nelson Happy, president of
MASG. "What we were able to do was lift these major financial issues
away from the manufacturing operation." Unfortunately, that may not be
the notion conjured in an aircraft buyer's mind when he or she hears
Mooney and bankruptcy. More...
SHOOT-DOWN ORDERS, THE FAA, AND 20/20 HINDSIGHT
Today, the 12th and final public hearing of the National Commission on
Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (known as the 9-11
Commission) will examine the immediate response to the attacks by
the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). One
focus of the hearing is expected to be how the decision was made to
scramble fighter jets and whether to empower those jets to shoot down
the hijacked airliners. An early version of a report to be made public
today, according to The New York Times, says a better response from
NORAD might have enabled the fighter jets to reach one airliner and
shoot it down before it hit the Pentagon. The FAA's response on 9/11
also is harshly criticized, the Times said. More...
FORCE ACADEMY FLEET BACK IN THE AIR
Officials at the U.S.
Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Tuesday cleared 45
aircraft to return to service; the aircraft had been grounded in January and again in April for safety concerns. The
Academy says it has resolved all issues about the safety of the fleet.
Affected aircraft include: TG-10B\C\D unpowered gliders and TG-14
motor-gliders, T-41 and Cessna 150 single-engine aircraft, and UV-18
Twin Otter jump-platform aircraft. Changes made to address the
maintenance issues included a detailed nose-to-tail audit of all
aircraft components, improved documentation procedures, and modified
maintenance contracts to allow for stronger contractor oversight.
COMPANIES NAMED IN LAWSUIT FOLLOWING WING SEPARATION
The June 2002 crash of a modified Piper Malibu that lost a portion of
wing and crashed outside Orlando, Fla., killing all three aboard has
resulted in a wrongful-death lawsuit naming six separate companies. The
suit claims the aircraft design and manufacturer were deficient, as was
the autopilot, the turbine (conversion), and work performed on the
aircraft prior to the fatal flight. As a result, New Piper Aircraft
Inc., Rocket Engineering Corp., Honeywell International Inc., Pratt &
Whitney Canada, Jetprop LLC., and Naples Air Center Inc. have all been
named. The NTSB's report states the aircraft was cruising at
26,000 feet and averaging 230 knots -- convective SIGMETS for nearby
areas listed tops above FL450. More...
World Ballooning Championships underway in Australia this week...
Scuba divers in Australia want to sink a MiG jet as a reef...
Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome opens for the season Saturday...
Two Qantas pilots charged with reckless operation of an aircraft...
24 Hamilton Sundstrand props affected by Airworthiness Directive...
Zeppelin-NT of Germany delivered its first airship on Saturday...
Boeing won U.S. Navy contract for up to 100 submarine-hunting aircraft.
Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about? If it
caught your eye, it will probably interest someone else, too. Drop us
a line. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALCULATE OPERATING COSTS WITH THE INTERACTIVE AIRCRAFT
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Instant downloads are available on all software products. For complete
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HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #82 --
Navigate Through Turbulent Times
Smooth skies are the stuff flying dreams are made of, but bouncing past
a thunderstorm or trailing in the wake of a low-flying whale can shake
you awake. Cinch your seatbelts and see how you'd rate these turbulence
THE NEW ASA AIRCRAFT FLIGHT LOG IS EASY AND
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of detailed items pertaining to the care and use of their airplanes.
Inspections, VOR/ELT checks, oil changes, and simple squawks are all
easy to find without digging through a stack of maintenance logs.
Instantly know the disposition of the aircraft you are about to fly,
simply by checking your ASA Aircraft Flight Log. Available now for $9.95
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Aviation lawsuits keeping us safe, or making aviation unpalatable
and (even more) expensive? This week, AVweb wants to hear your opinion
on aviation litigation. PLUS: Results of last week's question on the
usefulness of TFRs. More...
OREGON AERO'S NEW CATALOG FEATURES 500+ PAINLESS, SAFER,
Oregon Aero's latest four-color
catalog is the biggest ever produced, containing more than 500 products
and information about the company, its people, and customers. The
catalog has color-coded product segments for easy reference. Product
sections include: Seat Cushion Systems, including portable cushions; OEM
Seats (the High-G (tm) Safety Seat); Specialty Products; and Equipment
Bags. Complimentary copies are available by calling (800) 888-6910 and
mentioning this AVflash; or by ordering online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
We predicted it, and it came true! No, not the results of NBA Finals
the flood of "aircraft at sunset" pictures that arrived at AVweb
headquarters following last week's themed edition of "POTW." While the
photos are spectacular, we can't run sunset photos all the time
so this week we've opted to supply three completely unrelated images for
your ogling pleasure. For his walk down memory lane with two airplanes,
a classic Corvette, and a camera, Dr. Edward E. Boas Jr. takes home
"POTW" honors. This means Dr. Boas will be receiving a coveted AVweb
baseball cap just in time for baseball season! (Hmm, we'd better
get back to making predictions ... .) More...
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|SUBSCRIBE TO IFR REFRESHER NOW AND
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|TRACK ALL IN-FLIGHT IFR AIRCRAFT IN REAL
Is your buddy's Beech airborne? Need a list of all
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|PHOTON MICRO-LIGHTS ANNOUNCES PRICE REDUCTION ON
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FIND THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN THE SAVVY FLIGHT
You passed that challenging CFI checkride, but
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|RENTERS! CARRY AN ALTITUDE ALERTER WITH YOU ON YOUR NEXT
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BEST RESOURCE FOR PILOTS GLEIM PUBLICATIONS &
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|SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN
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INTO THE ELECTRONIC AGE & UNCOMPLICATE YOUR LIFE WITH FLIGHT
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|FIRST-TIME PILOTS ARE USUALLY SPEECHLESS; THEN THEY CAN'T
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|NON-OWNER (RENTER) PILOTS EXPOSED: PILOTS ARE HELD
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|AVIATION CONSUMER IS EXACTLY WHAT THE NAME
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WOMEN ONLY? I DONT THINK SO!|
Women ask if Rod
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|PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED
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