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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
PRIZE -- THE END OF THE BEGINNING?
With the X Prize
in the bag, the question is, what happens next? Still to come is the
official handing-over of that $10 million check, scheduled for Nov. 6
at the St. Louis Science Center. Burt Rutan told the media that he
plans to use some of that cash to pay bonuses to every Scaled Composites employee. The X Prize Foundation
hopes to keep the two-dozen-plus runner-up teams motivated to stay in
the race by hosting an annual X Prize Cup in New Mexico, offering
multimillion-dollar prizes for fast turnarounds, passenger counts,
maximum altitude and fastest flight time. On Monday, organizers announced they have secured the first
major sponsor for the event, International
Fuel Technologies. More...
THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE FEARLESS
That's not to say the success of space tourism is assured. From the
start, the FAA has
emphasized that its primary responsibility when it comes to
regulating private spaceflight is to protect "the uninvolved public"
on the ground and in the air. Although Rutan's system seems simple and
stable enough to assure safety, the scary "rolling" moment in last
week's flight reminded everyone that the endeavor remains a risky one.
Fears exist that a live-on-camera accident could have a
Hindenburg-like effect on the future of private spaceflight. Case in
point: Of the almost 190,000 Web users who responded to a CNN online
poll this week, 82 percent said space travel is not yet safe enough
for the general public. See also AVweb's
coverage of Monday's flight, the X Prize Cup and at least one free
ticket to space (our report was published Monday afternoon).
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HITS FAA OVER CHICAGO STAFFING
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) says the FAA
is "stretching the margins of safety" at Chicago-area airports by
implementing a controversial report on operations at the Chicago
Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON). Last January, the agency
sent in an investigative team in response to a major spike in
operational errors at the facility (from seven to 24 in a year). The
so-called Tiger Team spent a month reviewing operations and concluded
that the TRACON is operating safely and is adequately staffed. What it
needs, the report says, is more supervisors, which is "preposterous,"
according to union officials. "The (people that work there) are just
looking at this thing on the bulletin board and shaking their heads,"
NATCA spokesman Ray Gibbons said in a teleconference attended by
AVweb on Monday. More...
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said additional supervisors are needed to
help rejigger shift schedules and staff deployment at the TRACON. He
said the investigators found instances where there were relatively few
controllers on position during very busy times and more on position
during relatively slow periods (recall the
recent letter sent to AVweb regarding the disposition of
controllers ... and
NATCA). He said it's not just a matter of drawing up a new
schedule because shift starting times are part of the collective
agreement with the union. "I wish we could say that we could fix these
things overnight, but we can't," said Molinaro. Molinaro also said the
facility has evolved its own set of operating standards over the years
and the agency wants to re-establish standard procedures there. NATCA
President John Carr told the teleconference the solution is to hire
more controllers. More...
|THE SCHEYDEN GIVEAWAY CONTINUES! LOG ON TO SEE THE
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AIRCRAFT UNVEILS NEW BUSH PLANE
Aircraft, of Sandpoint, Idaho, is unveiling its new single-engine,
turboprop, 10-place utility aircraft this week. The new airplane,
called the Kodiak, will feature Pratt & Whitney's PT6 turbine engine,
landing gear designed for unimproved airstrips, 19-inch propeller
ground clearance, 29-inch main tires, and short-take-off-and-landing
(STOL) performance that beats any aircraft currently in its class,
spokeswoman Julie Stone told AVweb yesterday. The company
operates with a staff of 40 in a 27,000-square-foot facility built in
October 2002. Stone said the first flight of the Kodiak will occur
later this month. Tom Hamilton, formerly of Stoddard-Hamilton
Aircraft, is Quest's CEO, and Bruce Kennedy, former CEO of Alaska
Airlines, is chairman of the board. More...
According to a story posted by the University
Presbyterian Church of Seattle, Wash., the Kodiak was originally
designed as a missionary aircraft, and more than $7 million has been
raised to help produce it. Stone said that the aircraft is "of
interest to the mission field," but has also attracted interest from
many backcountry operators in Alaska. Quest is structured as a
for-profit company, Stone said. The Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)
of Redlands, Calif., has raised about $5.5 million for Quest -- which
is to be repaid by the delivery of aircraft. In a September 2003
financial statement, the MAF's auditor says an additional $20 million
would be needed to produce the aircraft, but the MAF has not committed
to provide those funds. More...
ATG SHOWS OFF JAVELIN JET
In Olympia, Wash., on Tuesday, Aviation Technology Group (ATG) for the first time
opened the hangar doors to show the press the prototype-in-progress of
its two-seat Javelin Jet. "The wings are on, and the engines are in,"
ATG spokeswoman Sara Newton told AVweb yesterday. "The landing
gear is just about ready. First flight is expected by the end of the
year." The company held the unveiling in an effort to stave off
building skepticism, sending the message that, "yes, since we are a
new company, here's something we can show you just to give you what it
looks like in its raw state," Newton told The Albuquerque Tribune. The company, based at
Colorado's Centennial Airport, is planning to manufacture the jet in
FINDS AIRPORT FIRE DEPARTMENTS INADEQUATE
A working group that has been studying FAA standards
for airport fire departments has found they are inadequate to save
lives and to deal with the searing flames that occur in plane crashes,
USA Today reported yesterday. The FAA working group, formed three
years ago, says many airports need more fire trucks and more
flame-retardant foam. The fire departments also should improve their
response times in reaching downed aircraft and train firefighters to
go into burning jets to get passengers out, the group says, according
to USA Today. More...
RULES AGAINST PILOTS AT TEXAS AIRPORT
Investigators with the FAA's Southwest Region this week found that
officials at Addison Airport, in Texas, didn't violate any federal
rules when they spent airport-improvement funds to build a concrete
plant and give a half-million-dollar incentive to a corporate tenant
to build a new hangar, The Dallas Morning News reported on Tuesday.
Pilots at the airport have complained that their hangar-rental fees
have increased while grants intended for airport improvements were
misspent. In May, AOPA joined their side and pressed for the FAA
audit. But the FAA this week said the airport was within its rights to
spend the money as it did. "We don't agree," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice
LONG FLIGHTS FEEL SHORTER WITH A COMFORTABLE
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FLYOVERS RAISE NOISE CONCERNS
Complaints about noisy overflights above Muir Woods National Monument,
just north of San Francisco, are on the rise, the Marin Independent Journal reported on Monday.
Visitors and workers at the park say seaplanes and helicopters flown
on aerial tours are increasingly disrupting the serenity of the
redwood forest. "It seems like people are getting wealthy with these
tours, but it's ruining the experience for those who come to Muir
Woods for solace," Thomas Martell told the Independent Journal. Local
operators said there have no been no recent changes in routes or the
number of flights, so they couldn't explain the uptick in complaints.
"We try to be a good neighbor," said tour owner John McLelland.
Another operator speculated that maybe a change in air currents is
affecting the perception of noise. More...
GORDON COOPER DIES
On Monday, astronaut Gordon Cooper Jr., 77, died at his home in
Ventura, Calif. He was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts.
"He truly portrayed the right stuff, and he helped gain the backing
and enthusiasm of the American public, so critical for the spirit of
exploration," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "Gordo was
one of the most straightforward people I have ever known," recalled
fellow astronaut John Glenn. "What you saw was what you got." Another
of the "Original Seven," Wally Schirra, added, "We seven were bonded
like brothers, maybe even closer if that's possible." The youngest of
the original seven astronauts, Cooper's Mercury flight set a U.S.
endurance record at the time, and he became the first astronaut to
sleep in space during his 34-hour, 22-orbit mission.
AIRMEN RAFFLE OFF A SCOUT
For $50, you can take a chance on winning your very own brand-new
American Champion Scout, and at the same time support the Alaska Airmen's
Association. The group will sell only 5,500 tickets, so you can
calculate the odds you get for your investment. The 180-hp 2005 Scout
comes complete with a 70-gallon long-range fuel system, a metal belly,
GPS, a cabin heater, deep pile carpet, and even a Velcro map pocket.
Not to mention 31-inch tundra tires, for those gravel-bar landings.
Tickets went on sale Oct. 1, and will be sold until they run out. The
drawing is set for May 15, 2005. Tickets can be ordered online at the
Alaska Airmen's Web site, or call 1-800-464-7030. The Alaska Airmen is
a nonprofit group established in 1951, and started the annual aircraft
raffles five years ago. More...
We apparently misunderstood the intent of a gathering of female
helicopter pilots in Washington, D.C., next April 28-30. The pilots
are there to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Whirly-Girls. We
called it a convention but that takes place in conjunction with
HeliExpo each February. More...
THE NEW ASA AIRCRAFT FLIGHT LOG IS EASY AND
The 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.
Pilots warned to beware of Mt. St. Helens ash and
Black Sky: Reaching for the X Prize, tonight at 9,
Astronaut Mike Melvill will speak at AOPA
Expo, October 21. 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.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #86 -- Restrictions and Procedures
There are three
reasons for getting the instrument rating: safer flying, lower
insurance rates, and swaggering rights in the pilot's lounge. To
retain the right to preen, you need to review a few IFR procedures.
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
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ATTENTION CESSNA OWNERS & PILOTS
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Controllers. If you've been reading AVweb recently, then you've seen
that there are some differences of opinion regarding what controllers
do all day and whether or not a shortage is imminent. Were you
appalled by Jane Doe's letter to AVweb? Were you appalled by NATCA
President John Carr's public response? Register your opinions in our
"Question of the Week." PLUS: Results of last week's question about
the X Prize. More...
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
What does it take to beat seven gorgeous sunsets, six Red Knights,
four adorable kids, three beautiful girls, two P-38s, and one natural
wonder? This week, it took a stunning in-cockpit photo from John
Rippinger and Scott Sayre of the Lima Lima Flight Team. Despite some
stiff competition (see above), John scored an official AVweb baseball
cap for his winning contribution. The next time you see Lima Lima in
action, break out those ultra-zoom lenses and tell us if he's wearing
it in the cockpit! More...
|Sponsor News and
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|PHOTON 3 MICRO-LIGHT ON SALE DURING
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|FLYING CARPET: THE SOUL OF AN
You've enjoyed Greg Brown's stories in
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|INNOVATION IT'S THE KEY BEHIND NARCO'S NEW
DIGITAL TRANSPONDER AT165|
Narco Avionics, building
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|LOOKING TO FALL ASLEEP? READ THE AIM, NOT ROD
MACHADO'S PLANE TALK|
Since over 75% of all aviation
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We Welcome Your
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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