The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
"REAL" STORY ON THE CONTROLLER SHORTAGE?
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is
emphatically declining comment on an anonymous letter sent to
AVweb from an air traffic controller, challenging the union's
contention that air safety is being jeopardized by a staff shortage
throughout the system. AVweb sent a copy of the detailed
missive to NATCA but the union refused to comment ... sort of. We
can't tell you why it chose not to comment because the normally
forthcoming union officials we contacted insisted that all
communications regarding the letter be considered "off the record."
So, with the objections raised by the union and the defensible
rationale it used in choosing not to comment observed, in all
fairness, so too shall be the original letter. More...
LITANY OF WASTE AND DECEPTION...
In her letter, Jane alleges that ample staff members are available to
handle the workload at her tower considering the number who are on
breaks at any given time. She alleges that in an eight-hour shift most
controllers will put in no more than four hours "on position." She
also claims that management has virtually no authority over the
unionized staff, some of whom ridicule and berate supervisors in front
of co-workers. "FAA managers have bargained away a lot of their
management rights and the union isn't about to give them back," Jane
OFFERS GENERAL COMMENTS
FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said the letter contained "troubling
charges" but declined to comment on specific allegations. He did say
many of the more general observations are well-known to the agency. He
noted that in House testimony in June, the agency reported that air
traffic controllers used more than 100 percent of their sick leave and
the FAA has set a goal of reducing sick time by 8 percent (air
purifiers, maybe). Martin said that's all part of the emphasis on
productivity and performance that is in effect at the agency. "Our
intent is to keep our system the safest in the world but also to
invest taxpayers' money in the best ways possible," he said. Martin
hinted there could be some fireworks ahead as the agency demands more
productivity from employees. More...
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FOR SPORT PILOTS IS HERE...
Since Sept. 1, it's been legal to fly as a Sport Pilot, but if you do,
are you insured? "Don't assume that because you have coverage to fly
as a Private Pilot, you'll be insured if you fly as a Sport Pilot,"
Bob Mackey, a vice president with Falcon Insurance
Agency, in Oshkosh, Wis., told AVweb on Tuesday. "Check
with your agent first." For example, if you let your medical expire,
that might be OK with the FAA (with regard to Sport Pilots) but some
insurers won't like it -- nor will they like the lack of Sport Pilot
history. "There are going to be some adjustments to be made," Mackey
said. "It's all still evolving." Mackey, whose company provides
insurance for EAA members and others, said Falcon already has policies
available for Sport Pilots, for fixed-wing Light Sport Aircraft (LSA),
and for Sport Pilots who rent airplanes. Also, Avemco Insurance
Company announced yesterday that it is ready to insure Sport
Pilots in "Standard Certificated" and "Experimental Amateur-Built"
aircraft that meet the definition of Light Sport Aircraft.
CAN YOU AFFORD IT?...
Gregory Sterling, general manager at AOPA Insurance Agency, told
AVweb yesterday that most Sport Pilots will be able to obtain
coverage on Light Sport Aircraft through his agency, as well. "Most
underwriters have indicated that they will offer limits up to $1
million, limited to $100,000 per passenger on liability, and hull
values commensurate with the current market value of the aircraft," he
wrote in an e-mail. "As the underwriters have not yet seen many of
these come through yet, we don't have much specific information on
rates." Mackey, at Falcon, said he would hazard a guess that to insure
a $50,000 Light Sport Aircraft would cost $2800 to $3400 a year, for
hull coverage and liability, but there are many factors that could
affect that bottom line -- such as the pilot's experience, the type of
aircraft and the airport where it is based. More...
CAN MANUFACTURERS AFFORD IT?
"Product liability is going to be a huge issue for Light Sport
Aircraft manufacturers," Mathieu Heintz, president of Aircraft Manufacturing and
Development (AMD), in Georgia, told AVweb yesterday. "We've
been looking at it for a long time." Heintz said his company has
worked out a deal to obtain product liability coverage by agreeing to
assemble LSA aircraft to the same standards as FAA-certified aircraft
(which seems somehow to miss the points). AMD plans to build Zenith
Air's CH601 and CH701 models in the manufacturing plant where he now
builds Alarus certified airplanes. "We will be selling only
factory-finished Special-Light Sport Aircraft," he said. AMD has
decided against selling owner-finished Experimental-LSA kits because
of the potential liability issues, he said. More...
SUPPORT WORKERS WIN ONE
The Federal Labor Relations Authority has ruled that the FAA must
immediately bring systems specialist staffing to a minimum of 6,100
nationwide, upholding an arbitrator's decision in a labor grievance
filed by Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS). PASS
President Tom Brantley said the FAA agreed in 2000 that 6,100 workers
were the minimum required to safely certify and maintain the air
traffic control system, but numbers have not met that level for two
years. There are "serious safety issues" in operating without enough
systems staff, said Brantley. The FAA disagreed that staffing was
inadequate. Don't worry, we're waiting on the anonymous letter...
PILOTS REBEL (REALLY) AGAINST AIRSPACE RULES
GA pilots in Australia are fed up with the way their airspace system
is being run, and some of them are planning to demonstrate their
viewpoint in a "National Day of Action" on Nov. 27 -- the day new
airspace rules take effect. "A handful of union pilots in the
airlines, flying less than 200 Australian aircraft, are intent on
closing the skies to over 12,000 Australian aircraft owners -- this is
unacceptable," said Ron Bertram, president of the Aircraft Owners and
Pilots Association of Australia. A Web site, bindook.com, is
credited with spreading the plan for the Day of Action, in which GA
pilots would refuse to turn on their transponders or communicate with
air traffic control while flying in airspace in which positive control
is required. Yeeha. More...
NEW ANGEL FOR COMMANDER?
After Tiger Aircraft pulled out of a deal to acquire Commander Aircraft Co. in July, things were
looking pretty bleak for the bankrupt Bethany, Okla., company. But
last week, Pilot General Aviation LLC offered to pay $2.8 million for
an 80 percent share of the company, the Oklahoman reported on
Saturday. The bankruptcy court has given Commander's parent company,
Aviation General, until the end of the month to complete the deal. If
the deal falls through, the court will order liquidation of the
company on Oct. 1. The company said in a statement on Tuesday that it
plans to restart production of the Commander 115 and turbocharged
Commander 115TC, with deliveries scheduled for the first quarter of
2005, according to the Oklahoman. More...
STUDENTS TO BUILD AN AIRPLANE
For some high-school seniors starting school in Madison, Wis., this
month, learning about aviation will involve something more memorable
than reading a book. Teacher Ben Senson has secured a $20,000 grant to
start building a Challenger Iultralight and a Sonex. "The
motivational part is working already," Senson told the Wisconsin State
Journal. "Students are begging to find out what they should be taking
so they can take this when they are seniors." Senson, 38, has never
built an airplane before, but he did win an aviation-education award from the Wisconsin
Department of Transportation this summer. More...
OREGON AERO ASKS "ARE YOU PREPARED TO
Oregon Aero has designed a Survival
Tool Kit that should be on the checklist of every pilot. Oregon
Aero's Survival Tool Kit weighs a mere 3 lbs. but packs in
several tools with dozens of capabilities from cutting to
sawing, chiseling, fire-starting, signaling, and much, much more. The
versatile carrier also can be worn as a tourniquet or a splint.
Designed by Oregon Aero with pilots in mind, the Survival
Tool Kit is also perfect for camping, boating, and hiking. Makes a
great gift for the new pilot or aircraft owner. For details and
ordering, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/kit/avflash.
SOUTH AFRICAN FREEDOM FLYER LOST
A South African microlight flyer, Martin Walker, 50, was killed in
Belize on Aug. 27 while taking part in the round-the-world Freedom
Flight tour. He had joined the trip this summer in San Francisco
after one of the original flyers, Alan Honeyborne, died in a crash in
China. Walker continued the flight with Ricky de Agrela, touring the
Western states and stopping at Oshkosh during AirVenture before
heading to Central America. Walker was reportedly one of the most
experienced microlight pilots in South Africa. He was giving a ride to
a passenger on the resort island of Ambergris Caye, off the coast of
Belize, when the aircraft crashed on the runway. More...
AFTERMATH: WORSE THAN IT SEEMED
As Florida begins to wring itself out from the sopping wet Hurricane
Frances -- while keeping an anxious eye on Ivan, spinning away to the
south -- aviators across the state are sorting through drenched
hangars to see what remains. Despite the downgrading of the storm as
it crept across the state, damage has been widespread. "I expected a
lot less damage than we had," St. Lucie County Airport Director Paul
Phillips told the Palm Beach Post. "I'm very shocked at the amount of
damage we sustained." Katherine and Jack Russell of Palm Bay lost the
three-quarter-scale Dornier Wal flying boat they were building. The
airplane was 80 percent complete, and uninsured, Jack Russell told
AVweb yesterday. More...
British air ambulance crew stripped for a fundraiser...
couple circled the world in 90 days in a Beechcraft Baron...
and Martha King flew around the world in a Falcon 10 in 13
A suitcase fell 12,000 feet when a baggage door opened in
Fighter Pilots Museum in Ariz. abandoned due to lack of
Book argues that Sen. Wellstone King Air crash was foul
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
to know about? If it caught your eye, it will probably interest
someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMPLIMENTARY WEEK OF ADVERTISING ON
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Belvoir's aviation division is looking for an editor to oversee one of
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Send a resume with cover letter by fax (941-929-1726) or via e-mail to
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #85 --Got Speed? Got
Airspeed control is essential to safe flight. Without
it, a good parachute might be advisable. Let's see what you know about
good airspeed and good parachute management. Cirrus pilots may wonder
what the difference is.
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb asks the easiest (or most difficult?) question of
all: Why do you fly? PLUS: Results of last week's hotly-debated
VFR-on-top question, including an official word from the FAA!
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Normally, we like to vary up the "Picture of the Week." If the winning
photo features an amphib, we'll look for something completely
different next week maybe a helicopter or jet, or an amazing
landscape shot. This week, however, we're forced to throw tradition to
the wind and run a "lightning picture" back-to-back with last week's
winning photo. In light of the back-to-back assault of Hurricanes
Charley and Frances, it just seemed appropriate. Don't blame us
blame this week's winning photographer, Tom Albers. You'll be able to
spot him in his new AVweb baseball cap, which is winging its way to
him right now ... . More...
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|ATTENTION, RENTER PILOTS! DON'T BE MISLEAD BY
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|FLYING MAGAZINE RECAPS AIRVENTURE, TAKES A LOOK
AT THE CIRRUS SR22-G2,|
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issue of IFR magazine's article "Let's Be Perfectly
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