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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
To balance the all-too-common overload of gloom and doom in the news,
today we have a roundup of positive new things happening in the
aviation world. For starters, Shiloh Airport, a pretty little field in
Rockingham County, N.C. (which describes itself as "a pilots' airport
run by pilots") is about to become the home of Opus Aircraft, a
brand-new factory for building Light Sport Aircraft. Partners Frank
Auman Jr. and Tony Dawson, local businessmen with aviation interests,
plan to build the ARV Super 2, a British design first developed in the
1980s, the Triad Area Business Journal reported over the weekend.
They'll hire 10 to 20 workers and build up to 50 airplanes a year to
start, the Business Journal said. More...
WX, BETTER THAN SHOCK JOCKS...
While Howard Stern's jump to a satellite station (provided by Sirius
Radio) got all the media hype last week, over in Duluth, Minn., the
aviation world got its own boost into the satellite age via XM Radio.
Design announced on Thursday that its satellite datalink weather
option is now a reality. Dr. Robert Segal of Las Cruces, N.M., became
the first customer to take delivery of fully integrated satellite
datalink weather in a Cirrus SR22-G2. The recently certified XM
weather datalink is a $7,490 factory-installed option, and users can
subscribe to receive real-time information services such as NEXRAD,
METARs, SIGMETs, AIRMETs, TFRs and lightning updates. The data feeds
into the Avidyne multifunction display. More...
AIRCRAFT ASSURES INSURANCE TO ADAMJET PILOTS -- WITH A
Meanwhile, at Adam Aircraft, in Englewood, Colo., good news has
been on a roll. First there was the recent word that the Williams
engine for their AdamJet was FAA-certified and good to go. Then the
company received Type Inspection Authorization from the FAA for its
A500 Centerline Twin, a major milestone on the road to getting the
all-important Type Certificate. And last Friday, the company made two
announcements: Adam Aircraft will guarantee insurance to fly the A700
jet for pilots who first buy and fly the A500 twin (that's the catch),
and the FAA has accepted Adam's A700 Transition Training Syllabus
under its FAA-Industry Training Standard (FITS)
THE PILOT INSURANCE CHALLENGE
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NEXT CHALLENGES FOR THE NEXT STEP TOWARD SPACE...
Last week on Capitol Hill, the nascent "alternative space industry"
barely deflected a potential meltdown -- a bill that was written to help boost space tourism
came within hours of being passed with a new provision that some say
would have killed the whole idea. In its original form, the
legislation would have allowed paying passengers to fly into space as
long as they were fully informed about the risks and signed a consent
form. But during House-Senate negotiations, the bill was amended to
charge the FAA with responsibility for the "safety of crew and
spaceflight participants." More...
WILL THE MONEY COME FROM?...
While lots of companies are eager to develop new space technologies,
they won't get far without financial backing. One source of that
money, paradoxically, may be NASA. "NASA has just received close to
4,000 proposals for advanced technologies for space exploration from
private companies, and they will be giving away something like $600
million over the next year or so for new concepts, new ideas and new
technologies," Jerry Grey, director for aerospace policy at the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics, told NPR on Friday. Meanwhile, Walt
Anderson, CEO of Orbital Recovery Corp., warned the annual conference
of the Space Frontier Foundation on Saturday that fledgling U.S.
companies may lose out to entrepreneurs around the globe if the U.S.
doesn't get the regulatory climate right. More...
STUDY SHOWS THE MARKET EXISTS
Futron Corp., whose space-tourism market study has been frequently
cited by the alternative-space entrepreneurs, recently released the
entire 79-page study to the public domain. The study, originally
published in 2002, is based on a poll of affluent Americans. The poll
gauged the level of interest in, and willingness to pay for, space
tourism experiences among those people with the means to afford such
flights. Futron used the poll results to generate a 20-year forecast
for consumer demand for orbital and suborbital space tourism. Among
Futron's findings: The overall space tourism market could generate
revenues in excess of $1 billion per year by 2021; suborbital space
tourism has the potential for 15,000 passengers and $700 million in
revenues per year by 2021; and orbital space tourism could attract 60
passengers and $300 million in revenues per year by 2021.
YANKEE AIR MUSEUM DESTROYED IN FIRE
Air Museum's 50,000-square-foot hangar, at Willow Run Airport near
Ypsilanti, Mich., burned to the ground Saturday evening, destroying at
least four airplanes and countless aviation artifacts. The crew of a
B-25D who had just returned from a flight were able to save the
airplane and the museum's two other flying classics -- a C-47 and a
B-17G. The hangar, which is owned by the Wayne County Airport
Authority, has been cited in the past for fire and structural safety
concerns, according to the Detroit News. A 2001 report, commissioned
by the museum, said the 63-year-old building lacked a fire-suppression
system and proper fire exits. No one was hurt in the fire and the
cause has not yet been determined. More...
EYES IN THE SKY ABOVE U.S.-CANADA BORDER
More aircraft will be patrolling the border between the Northeastern
U.S. and Canada, now that a new Air and Marine Operations (AMO)
Center has opened in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on the site of a former Air
Force base. (All of North America can now sleep a little easier.) The
center is the second of five new branches planned for the northern
border. The first, located in Bellingham, Wash., opened in August. The
other three are tentatively planned for Michigan, North Dakota and
Montana. Charles Stallworth, director of Air and Marine operations,
told the Associated Press the five bases will enable agents to respond
anywhere along the 4,000-mile border within an hour. Two prop planes,
two helicopters and 40 people will be based at the new facility, the
Associated Press said. More...
BEEFS UP MAINTENANCE OVERSIGHT
The FAA is increasing efforts to study airline maintenance mistakes
and find ways to prevent them, The Charlotte Observer reported on
Thursday. Such errors have been blamed for contributing to the crashes
of commuter planes in Charlotte, N.C., and Cape Cod, Mass., last year. Two new inspectors who
specialize in maintenance "human factors" have been hired by the FAA,
the Observer said. Bill Johnson and Jay Hines will study how human
factors such as fatigue and poor communication among mechanics can
cause maintenance mistakes. Former NTSB member John Goglia told the Observer he is encouraged by
the FAA's effort, but there is a long way to go to achieve results.
NEW ZEALAND, CHARGING FOR AIRSPACE
The Maori, New Zealand's native people, triggered an uproar last week
when they said they may start charging fees for the use of airspace
above Lake Taupo, a popular tourist destination on the North Island.
The fees would apply not only to floatplane landings, but overflights
... bungee jumping ... and bridges across the rivers that flow into
the lake. In 1992, the Maori and the government signed a "deed of
settlement" giving ownership of Lake Taupo and its waters to the
tribe. That deed gives the tribe half of all fishing license money and
revenue from ramp, marina and mooring charges, which generates about
$1 million (NZ) for the Maori. More...
PILOTS: THE ROMANCE IS GONE
As the legacy airlines struggle to avoid bankruptcy, several are
duking it out with their workers, slashing pay and benefits. In the
process, some airline pilots are speaking out about the frustrations
of their jobs -- it seems it's just not as much fun as it used to be.
To squeeze out more productivity, airlines are scheduling quick
turnarounds and bunking the crews in cheap, boring hotels close to the
airports. Security rules restrict their contact with passengers, they
have to go through tedious security checks like everyone else. "It is
pretty demeaning to stand there with four stripes on your uniform and
take off your shoes," US Airways Capt. Jeffrey Duisik told The Charlotte Observer. (There are minds that
wonder why a pilot would need a weapon to take an airplane down.)
WRAP UP ANNUAL FIESTA
The world's biggest lighter-than-air flying event, the Albuquerque International
Balloon Fiesta, wrapped up its 33rd annual edition yesterday in
Albuquerque, N.M. For nine days, 750 balloons from all over the world
participated in activities ranging from mass ascensions with all the
balloons taking off together, to special-shape rodeos, to balloon
glows with acres of tethered balloons lighting up the immense park
after dusk. Wind and rain caused some delays and cancelled a few
events. Yesterday morning, a balloon (the head of Smokey The Bear) got
tangled in a radio tower, but the occupants were able to climb down
(about 700 feet) safely. In the America's Challenge gas-balloon race,
several teams landed early due to thunderstorms, but the first-place
team, Richard Abruzzo and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson,
flew about 600 miles. More...
U.S. House bill extends bonus-depreciation tax break for GA
Bombardier to lay off 2,000 workers in Montreal and
Kirby Chambliss took fourth win at U.S. Aerobatic
Boeing's 7E7 consolidates systems to slim down by
thousands of pounds...
Wires cut in cockpit of Malaysian Airlines
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 email@example.com.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Wide, Wild Skies Of Alaska
The vastness of Alaska
presents both an enticement and a threat to the pilots who fly there.
AVweb Newswriter Mary Grady visited Anchorage this summer and filed
this report on how Alaska's aviation community is working to get the
job done without getting killed in the process.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about civilian astronauts, ATC staffing, presidential
TFRs and more. More...
SNEAK A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT PILOT GETAWAYS
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Local Traffic Watch (LTW): Approach, N1234, we can turn
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