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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
AIR TANKERS GROUNDED BRIEFLY
While various federal agencies ponder the relative safety of 33
currently grounded large air tankers, the NTSB has pointed out that the
single-engine air tankers (SEATs) that are to replace them have some
safety issues of their own. In fact, the big tankers were essentially
pulled from service because of two crashes in 2002 (albeit both of them
from airframe failures) while there have already been three fatal
crashes this year in PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromaders, all of them operated by
Montana-based New Frontier Aviation. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
grounded all 26 Dromaders under contract for a two-day "safety stand
down" that ended last Monday. More...
"RE-FAMILIARIZED" WITH DROMADER OPERATIONS...
During its investigations of the accidents, NTSB staff found that some
Dromader pilots were "flying the drop run at an airspeed that was slower
than the recommended airspeed for a fire retardant drop." The BLM's
two-day stand down was intended to allow pilots to "re-familiarize
themselves with the operational specifications of the airplane." The
stand down ended Monday morning and all the planes are now available to
fight fires. The Dromaders started life as Polish crop-dusters and have
been modified to drop up to 400 gallons of retardant on fires.
CONFUSION REIGNS OVER FATE OF BIG TANKERS
Meanwhile, at least two federal agencies appear to be at odds over
whether the big tankers will be back in time for any part of this year's
fire season. Last Sunday, Forest Service officials told a meeting of
western governors what they wanted to hear, namely that the agency will
consider putting at least some of the aircraft back in service. But at
the same time U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton was telling Arizona
residents the big tankers won't be back and the state was making other
plans, including the addition of SEAT aircraft. The Forest Service is,
however, going ahead with safety assessments of the large tankers.
|ADD CELL/SATELLITE PHONE INTERFACE TO YOUR LIGHTSPEED
Factory conversions are now available for all active
and passive models of the XL and QFR series. Passive Upgrade: $50,
Active Upgrade: $75. Model upgrades come with a 2.5mm patch cord that
connects to most phones. Check LightSPEED's online chart for phones
they've tested. Adapters are available. The Active model upgrades
include an additional patch cord for personal audio device input. Call
LightSPEED at (800) 332-2421 and mention this AVflash, or print
out the online order/instruction form to send in your headset for a
speedy turn-around at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/cell/avflash.
LAUNCH SUCCESSFUL, FAR FROM PERFECT
Sixty-three-year-old Mike Melville's flight Monday in Burt Rutan's
design, funded privately to the tune of roughly $20 million by Paul G.
Allen, and built mainly by a group of no more than 30 individuals
(though all of Scaled Composites' 120 or so employees had a hand in it)
was a success rocketing at "about" 2.9 Mach to "about" 328,491
feet. That mark (reported by "inertial nav data") is just 491 feet above
the target altitude required for "space" flight, but 31,509 feet shy of
the planned 360,000-foot apogee. It was enough to earn Melville
astronaut wings from the government, and a handshake plus a "You've
joined the club" from Buzz Aldrin (Melville said later of the encounter,
"That was serious stuff, man."). However, the altitude deficit was
similarly attributable to some serious stuff including a
control-system failure. The system that failed was described by Rutan in
this way: "I can't think of anything more important on the vehicle
itself." See AVweb's pre-launch
day image galleries. More...
WAS A LITTLE AFRAID ON THE WAY DOWN"...
Not operating on a discreet frequency spurred some tense pre-launch
moments, too, as organizers asked the crowd (some listening on
handhelds) just 10 minutes before the expected drop time to check for a
stuck mic. After the drop from White Knight and rocket ignition, the
crowd was informed at 7:53 that they "just got the call, he's OK.
Everything's OK." At 7:55 we heard, "270,000 and still climbing" ...
seconds later ... "316,000." On the ground, two booms were heard at 7:58
local. Initially thought by the crowd to be sonic booms (we had been
told we might expect them) the failed carbon-fiber fairing covering the
larger rocket nozzle (neither of which had flown before) later fell
suspect. Melville, who endured about 4.5 G's maximum on the way up, said
it's more than a little unsettling, the noises the craft makes while
plummeting down at 2.9 Mach during re-entry at about 5.5 G's.
REVELING IN THE AFTERGLOW
Success in spite of failures is arguably a more significant success. And
for those who can simply read the numbers and quotes, for those who were
not there, we must convey that this event was truly epic. To be there,
it seemed the emotion behind every eye that had strained into the sky
was shared in Rutan and Melville's post-flight embrace. And the tears
Rutan wiped away as Melville took the microphone to speak could not be
misunderstood. It was more than statistics and records; it was a feeling
so positive, and it was grandeur. It was, after all, just Monday that a
group of private individuals extraordinary for their dreams,
talent and conviction came together under a common goal, and
reminded the world that "the impossible" ... isn't. Had the flight gone
off without a hitch, subsequent flights to fill the requirements and win
the X-PRIZE would have soon followed (within weeks). More...
CARB HEAT," SAYS SAFETY GROUP
A British aviation safety group has determined that, as a group, pilots
can't be trusted with a carburetor heat control. In fact, the General
Aviation Safety Council (GASCo) has released a paper suggesting
that the familiar knob be dispensed with entirely in favor of "more
reliable" solutions to the problem of carb ice. Among them are fuel
injection, permanently warm induction air, heated carburetors and the
use of diesel engines. Now, understand it's not carb heat itself that
GASCo has a problem with. It describes carb heat as "an adequate
solution" to the problem. The problem is with who's pulling that knob.
PHOTO SHOOT PANICS BOSTONIANS
In another time, Boston residents might have thrilled to the sight of
Sean D. Tucker leading a formation of four aerobatic aircraft on a photo
shoot overhead. But in the post-9/11 world, office workers stream
outside not for a better view but because they think they might be under
attack. Such was the case last Friday when the flight, all properly
approved by the FAA, was launched to provide publicity photos for a
local air show. At least 50 people fled the Prudential building's 23rd
floor and about 100 gathered on the ground after the planes flew by.
"Give me the name of the person who sanctioned this so I can become a
crazy person and call them four times a day and demand an explanation,"
said one worker who asked that The Boston Globe not identify him.
"We're all still on edge. We don't need this. More...
MARV GOLDEN SHOWCASES NEW PRODUCTS WITH SPECIAL JUNE
Fly the skies with: The new line of Seiko flight
chronographs; MG Golden Eagle line of headsets featuring cell phone
interface super-lightweight with ANR technology and fantastic
pricing; Vertex's Navigation Transceiver with super-high capacity Nimh
battery at a special price; and Lowrance's color GPS Airmap 2000c can be
pre-ordered for July delivery. You'll find all this at your one-stop
pilot shop, Marv Golden! Online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold/avflash.
Aviation and cellphones don't always mix well but there are some hopeful
signs that's changing. As AVweb reported earlier, the FAA is doing its best (which
isn't enough in some circumstances) to ensure pilots have the correct
numbers for filing flight plans and getting information. Headset
manufacturers are also incorporating cellphone jacks into their
less-expensive models so that pilots can make use of their time on the
ramp getting weather, making appointments or whatever. And the last
bastion of cellphone silence, the cabin of an airliner, may soon echo to
the rings, chirps and melodies of cellphone ringers. More...
DRUGS FOUND IN PILOT
A pilot who died in a crash that also killed five others had taken a
cocktail of powerful prescription drugs, according to an NTSB report released last week. The pilot,
identified by the Sentinel & Enterprise as Robert A. Monaco, had the
antidepressants imipramine and desipramine, the anti-seizure drug
carbamazepine and the narcotic pain reliever morphine in his system when
the Beech B200 went down in a sheet-metal shop near the Leominster,
Mass. airport. The Sentinel & Enterprise, of Fitchburg, Mass., said that
combination of drugs could cause drowsiness and a lack of coordination
in a pilot. 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.
Pilots planning a trip up the California coast might have been alarmed
by a NOTAM
issued by the FAA for the Point Mugu area, just north of Los
Angeles, earlier this week. The NOTAM advised of a "radiation hazard"
for a 1.5-mile radius up to 8,000 feet around Point Mugu Naval Air
Station and said the area is "continuously hot." Since Point Mugu NAS is
the Navy's missile and weapons test center, it might be assumed (not by
anyone we know, of course) that the NOTAM referred to some kind of
nuclear mishap. Fortunately that wasn't the case. More...
FULFILLS A FANTASY
It might not be everyone's idea of a dream flight, but for Broderick
Nixon, an Ercoupe was his ticket to fulfilling a lifelong fantasy. FantasyKids.com
arranged a day for 17-year-old Broderick, who uses a wheelchair because
of cerebral palsy, in the right seat of the Ercoupe piloted by John
Trowbridge. With Broderick on the yoke and Trowbridge working the rudder
pedals (this Ercoupe had the conversion) the pair flew between the Texas
cities of Willis, Conroe, Brenham and Tomball last May 28. The civic
governments of each of the cities also pitched in to make the flight
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR
TimeSync's ScheduleMaster online aircraft
scheduling service offers advanced features such as standby scheduling
and notification of cancellations. ScheduleMaster helps your club
improve aircraft utilization and will make your members happy. You
can also add AccountMaster, an integrated billing system that works with
Peachtree and QuickBooks. For a no-obligation online
demonstration, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/timesy/avflash.
THE FLY ...
Mercenary to admit to planning air strike against Pablo
First parachute jump attempt ended in airplane
Eclipse Aviation got a $45 million bond package from
An Austrian cyclist was killed in collision with a
German bomber pilot will apologize for almost wrecking a
British church in 1942...
Parking lots filled at Washington National,
cars turned away...
The Organization of Black Airline Pilots will
hold its convention in August at Disney World... More...
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NON-OWNER (RENTER) PILOTS EXPOSED: PILOTS ARE HELD
for losses involving rented or borrowed
aircraft. You rent an aircraft on a beautiful day to fly around the
patch for a couple of hours. It's time to land, and you get caught in a
crosswind. The aircraft is damaged. Fortunately you are okay, but the
airplane is in bad shape. Who is responsible for the plane's repair
expenses and the FBO's lost revenue? Far too often, it's YOU
uninsured renter pilot. Get the comprehensive coverage you
need by calling AVEMCO today. For as little as $215 annually you
can have liability and aircraft damage (hull) coverage. Call
(888) 241-7891 and mention this AVflash, or go online now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
#38: ATC 104 VFR High Time
Student and low-time pilots are
expected to stumble a bit on the radio. But if you're a high-time pilot
flying VFR, your bad habits (perhaps learned by imitating a
smooth-talking jet jock) might be causing trouble for controllers and
other pilots. AVweb's Don Brown reminds you that there's the book way,
and then there's the way that could get a book thrown at you.
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/
COMPLIMENTARY WEEK OF ADVERTISING ON
Selling your aircraft? Advertise it on Aircraft
Shopper Online (ASO) for four weeks and get an additional week
compliments of ASO. Your ad includes six photos, full specs, and a
selling paragraph highlighting your bird's best features. Take
advantage of this limited-time offer today: Call ASO at (888)
992-9276 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aso/avflash.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb would like to hear your thoughts on Monday's successful
launch of SpaceShipOne. Tauted as "historic" by the engineers at Scaled
Aircraft (and by much of the media), the launch is being called "no big
deal" by detractors. In your opinion, did we witness history being made,
or just masterful hype? PLUS: Results of last week's question on
aviation lawsuits. More...
"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW 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.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Yes, Team POTW is very good at making predictions: Following last week's
winning photo of cars 'n' airplanes, we've been deluged with photos of
classic cars and classic planes! Many of them are quite good, but so
were this week's many, many non-car-themed entries. (Did we mention this
was a huge week for POTW entries?) So, in the interest of fairness,
we're shifting gears away from plane and car photos this week. But you
won't be disappointed. We certainly weren't in fact, we were
impressed enough to send Brian Matz of Ohio a complimentary AVweb
baseball cap for this week's winning photo! More...
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the
support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
|LONGER DAYS AND WARMER WEATHER MEAN IT'S TIME TO GO
If you do the bulk of your flying in the summer
months, this is an excellent time to upgrade your aircraft's
panel. Take advantage of Bennett Avionics' quality used avionics
and professional service. You CAN have the equipment you
need in time for all your summer trips, with Bennett
Avionics. See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.
NEW ASA AIRCRAFT FLIGHT LOG IS EASY AND COMPLETE|
NEW ASA Aircraft Flight Log provides the operators of
individual aircraft an easy-to-use method of keeping track 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 from ASA at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.
|SUBSCRIBE TO IFR MAGAZINE NOW AND
IFR is the magazine for the accomplished pilot.
Each issue is loaded with insightful articles to help you get the most
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|SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN
Pilotmall.com is offering a complimentary soft
leather ID holder with a stamped airplane on the cover (a $19.99 value)
with any order of Pilotmall's quality leather flight bags, backpacks, or
Scheyden sunglasses. Show your style and save at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotmall/avflash.
|FIRST WORLD FLIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF BILLY MITCHELL
IS A MUST-READ!|
Three years before Lindbergh's flight to
Paris, the U.S. Army joined the race to be the first to fly around the
world. Countries that tried had failed, and pilots had died.
Could the United States capture aviation's greatest prize? This
award-winning hardcover book by Spencer Lane tells it all in
great detail. Special autographed copies are available for AVweb
subscribers only at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/firstworldflight/avflash.
|THE BEST RESOURCE FOR PILOTS GLEIM PUBLICATIONS
Gleim Publishing, the most trusted name
in training, is offering a 10% discount on Test Prep software and a $6
discount on the Pilot Handbook. Offer ends June 30, so order today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gleim/avflash.
|LEARN ALONGSIDE A PRO WITH FLYING CARPET: THE SOUL OF
Icing! Thunderstorms! Mountain Flying! Learn
alongside 2000 CFI of the year Greg Brown as he masters these and
other tough cockpit challenges in his new classic book, Flying
Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Best of all, Flying Carpet
is no musty textbook but a rollicking aerial road trip that will keep
you riveted to your seat. AVweb Exclusive: Order online for an
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|MONEY-SAVING TIPS FROM LIGHT PLANE
Every aircraft owner dreads one time of the
year: when the airplane goes into the hangar for its annual inspection.
But this process doesn't have to be defined by expensive surprises. Even
if you don't swing wrenches yourself, there are steps you can take to
save a few bucks on your annual. Find out how in the July issue of
Light Plane Maintenance. Order your subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/lpm/avflash.
|FOR PILOT'S WHO DON'T GET TO FLY AS OFTEN AS THEY WOULD
Introducing Pilot's Audio Update, the monthly CD
program that turns "lost" time into an advanced aviation seminar. Order
now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/avcons/paucd/avflash.
|JOHN ECKALBAR'S BOOK ATTRACT RAVE
"Eckalbar's Flying High Performance Singles and
Twins is 400 pages that continue his tradition of clear, tightly
executed explanations on the intricacies of flying complex aircraft,"
says John Geitz. Flight Training magazine calls it "a worthwhile
read for any pilot." Learn more and read sample pages at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/skyroad/avflash.
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