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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
People who haven't been there ask what the Reno Air Races are like.
The truth is, they're not "like" anything else -- but to compare, say,
Oshkosh to Reno, you might think of the relationship between the
Detroit Auto Show and the Indianapolis 500. The drama this year was
heightened by the first public appearance of the Nemesis NXT,
perennial Formula One winner Jon Sharp's brainchild, a kitplane
designed to race in the Sport Class. The Nemesis NXT, with its
twin-turbo Lycoming 540, puts out a reported (and believable) 600 hp
and posted a third-best (in class) 324 mph without really trying. But
last week's gear failure on landing means we'll have to wait to see
how fast it can go. The aircraft should be repaired and on its way
home in about two weeks. More...
CLASS (AIRPLANES YOU, TOO, COULD FLY ... SORT OF) ...
The fastest Sport Class plane to date came out of forced retirement on
Wednesday and broke the 350-mph barrier. John Parker's V-12 powered
Thunder Mustang, Blue Thunder, qualified at 349.507, and ran a
reported 354 in the heat race Thursday. Making things interesting were
the friendliest of deadly rivals, Lee Behel and Mike Jones. Behel
flies a Lancair Legacy with a Continental 550. Jones got stuck in
traffic in qualifying, and posted a disappointing 291 mph, to Lee's
312, but as Behel said, "You won't find two more closely matched
planes out here." "Most innovative" award in the class has to go to
the quick White Lightning of Will Mathews. In the back-seat area,
Mathews has installed a 60-hp two-stroke engine, just to run the
supercharger. It's unusual ("and it's really noisy in there," Mathews
told us) but effective. More...
RENO FIRSTS: RED BULL RACE, BIPLANES BEAT T-6S
Something that has never been seen in the U.S. happened at Reno: the
Red Bull Air Races. This is a concept developed by Hungarian aerobatic
ace Peter Besenyei, infamous for (among other things) flying inverted
under Budapest's famed Chain Bridge. The course consists of three laps
around a tight course, close to the crowds. Aerobatic pilots perform
different maneuvers on each lap, maneuvers that include vertical
rolls, passes through 60-foot-tall inflated gates (some are
knife-edge! ... and some get hit, by mistake), and a touch-and-go on a
7-foot chalk stripe, all against the clock. Fastest wins. Plus,
biplanes are historically the slowest class at Reno, but that changed
this year. Tom Aberle ran his Phantom and qualified fastest in 2004,
running over 241 mph, noting that the fastest T-6 (Alfred Goss in
Warlock) went just over 238. More...
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EXPANDED RENO COVERAGE
AVweb this year includes an image gallery
from the pits (look for more, Thursday) along with expanded
coverage of the air races at Reno. Today's coverage includes the surprise
Unlimited Class upset and much more, sorted by Class.
FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL MOUNT JA AIR CENTER IS THE
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TO TRIM BUDGET...
The FAA is defending a proposed 12.6-percent cut in its equipment
budget days after a radio failure caused numerous flight delays and
(depending who you talk to) up to five instances of loss of separation
in California last Tuesday. Under the proposed budget, the money spent
by the FAA on equipment and facilities would drop from $2.62 billion
to $2.5 billion (maybe the Bush administration just likes round
numbers). So far, the Senate and House have apparently agreed with
Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, who told
The Miami Herald that the FAA spends too much money trying to invent
technology. "By the time they change it, the private sector comes up
with off-the-shelf technology or new technology that does a better
job," he said. Those who work with the equipment have a different
(NOT EQUIPMENT) BLAMED FOR RADIO FAILURE...
Meanwhile, there was apparently nothing wrong with the equipment
involved in the radio failure at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic
Control Center last Tuesday. The FAA said a technician neglected to
reset an internal clock in the system's computer and it automatically
shut down. The emergency backup system then failed, also due to an
unspecified human error, and the radios were silent for three hours.
During that time, pilots and controllers claim there were at least
five "near misses" but the FAA's Martin said "the union's claims were
wildly overstated." In two of the cases the FAA is willing to talk
about (the other three are under investigation) NATCA and the agency
disagree on just how close the aircraft involved came to each other.
GET NEW BACKUP, THOUGH
And while the agency works on fixes to prevent a repeat of the radio
failure, a new backup for the radar systems at the country's 20 air
traffic control centers is on the way. The Enhanced Backup
Surveillance (EBUS) system will get its first run in Denver. It's
supposed to be more reliable than the current system and "averts total
system loss if there are hardware or software problems." And EBUS has
already achieved something a lot of the FAA's technology programs
don't always do well in. "This milestone was achieved under target
cost and five weeks early," J.C. Johns, the FAA's EBUS program
manager, told Government Computer News. More...
SAYS PROP NOT TO BLAME FOR CRASH
Hartzell Propeller Inc. says it disagrees with Denmark's Air Accident
Investigation Board over the role of one of its propellers (model
HC-C3YK-1BF) in an Aug. 6 crash just off the coast of Denmark. As AVweb
told you Aug. 26, four people died in the crash. Danish
authorities concluded a pitch change knob on one of the blades broke,
resulting in the crash. In a news release, Mike Disbrow, Hartzell's
senior vice president of marketing and customer services, says all the
evidence Hartzell has seen to date indicates the knob broke when the
Socata TB10 impacted water -- not before. "As a result, we believe
that the TB10 accident in Denmark does not have any flight safety
implications for pilots who operate aircraft with similar type
propellers," Disbrow said. More...
STUDENT PILOT RULE PUBLISHED
The Transportation Security Administration has released its alien
flight training interim final rule (how an interim rule can be final
only red tape can explain). At any rate, the General Aviation
Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is applauding the publication of the
rule, which is mandated by the Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act
passed by Congress last year. Although the rule raised hackles when it
was first proposed, its final (cough) form seems to suit GAMA. The
rule transfers responsibility for background checks of aliens seeking
flight training from the Department of Justice to the TSA. It also
doesn't require the checks (there's an as-yet-undetermined fee for
them) until the student actually climbs in the left seat.
DOES YOUR AIRCRAFT HAVE A SENSITIVE DIGITAL CO
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Questions abound about the future of Renaissance Aircraft LLC and
probably no one is more concerned than the city council of Cape
Girardeau, Mo. On Oct. 1, Renaissance is supposed to start paying
$21,000 a month in rent on a $2.1 million building the city built for
the company so it could manufacture an updated version of the
venerable Luscombe 8. Cape Girardeau sold bonds to put up the
60,000-square-foot building but now the facility is locked up tight
and the phones have been disconnected, according to the Southeast
Missourian newspaper. Company owner John Dearden's Cape Girardeau
residential phone number has also been cut off, according to the
THE SKY FALLS
Sometimes what goes up doesn't necessarily follow the rest when it
comes down. Nancy Morgan, of Hartselle, Ala., went outside her home to
investigate the "whoomp" she'd heard and found what looked like the
door of an airplane. Stoney Powell, the owner of the FBO at nearby
Rountree Airport, confirmed her suspicions and has begun knocking on
hangar doors. "I'm checking around to see if anyone knows of a pilot
who's missing part of his airplane," Powell told The Decatur Daily.
Near Chicago, kids are collecting bits of an MD 80's engine after a
mishap last Thursday. American Airlines Flight 1374 had just taken off
from O'Hare when it ran into a flock of geese, at least one of which
met its end in the left engine. More...
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The odds-on favorite to win the private race for space has gone
weightless. Burt Rutan took a spin (and probably a whole lot of other
maneuvers) aboard Zero Gravity Corp.'s modified Boeing 727, which
recently received FAA approval to provide NASA-style parabolic flights
that give passengers up to 30 seconds of weightlessness. "It was
really amazing. Unbelievably cool," Rutan -- who may hope to pioneer
space tourism -- is quoted as saying in press release issued by Zero
RED BARON, A NEW THEORY ON HOW AND WHY
A team of researchers has determined that Baron Manfred von Richthofen
wasn't himself when he followed a British plane behind enemy lines and
was shot down in 1917. Researchers Daniel Orme and Thomas Hyatt claim
von Richthofen was exhibiting the classic symptoms of the aftermath of
a head wound he suffered nine months earlier. In their paper, the
researchers claim that the Red Baron's behavior changed after his
injury, saying he was moody, disinhibited and exhibited "target
fixation" when he chased the British plane into a virtual shooting
gallery in enemy territory. More...
Frances knocked heritage Huey from its pedestal...
Pilot of plane
used for kids' flights was injured in crash...
The last active-duty
C-141 Starlifters headed to the boneyard Thursday...
airliner made it through O'Hare. More...
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.
Belvoir's aviation division is looking for an editor to oversee one of
its publications. The successful candidate will be an experienced
pilot, preferably a CFII, with writing and page layout experience.
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
As the Beacon Turns #81: Of Mice
How could something with a brain so small wreak such
havoc in a hangar? How can something so large squeeze into a
quarter-inch gap between fairing and fuselage, or scale the slickest
tailgear of an airplane? AVweb's Michael Maya Charles wonders these
things and more in this month's "As the Beacon Turns."
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about Rep. Weiner's GA screening bill and
AVweb's Reno coverage, and more comments about the letter from
controller "Jane Doe" and NATCA President John Carr's rebuttal.
HIGHLIGHTS IN THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF AVIATION
SAFETY MAY SURPRISE YOU!
"Dry Tanking," running your
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TFRs are not part of your Garmin 430/530 database, but they can be;
"Touch and Go's," all you need to know; "Handheld IFR?" here's what
can happen; plus a continuing series on what makes a good IFR platform
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I was eagerly awaiting t/o clearance while holding short of the runway
in FLL. There were several aircraft on approach, including a Shorts
360. After several requests for t/o, I intervened one more time. The
response was a bit of a surprise...
Tower: Sir, just give me a moment while I get my Shorts down.
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the
Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service.
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