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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
BOGS ALIEN RULE
If one of the most recognizable flight-training institutions in the
U.S. has trouble complying with the new alien training rule, what must
that mean for the thousands of independent instructors and small
flight schools across the country? So wonders Eric Radtke, CEO of
Sporty's Academy Inc. and the recipient of the necessary credentials
to teach foreign students several days after the rule went into
effect. "We finally got ours last week," Radtke told AVweb. He
said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) left vetting the
qualifications of flying schools to local Flight Standards District
Offices (FSDOs) -- without telling the FSDOs. "Everyone is having the
exact same problem," he said. In Sporty's case, it meant a three-week
wait for the right paperwork (cyber paperwork, at that) and maybe some
missed customers. More...
FLIGHT-SCHOOL OWNER WELCOMES ALIEN TRAINING RULES...
Meanwhile, a Las Vegas flight school owner says concerns about the new
rule are overblown and not worth the time and energy they're
absorbing. Jane Pinto, of First Flight Aviation, told AVweb she
believes that anyone engaged in training future pilots who can't meet
the minimal identification and record-keeping requirements under the
new law shouldn't be in the business. "All it does is add a little
paperwork to your life," Pinto said. "Any legitimate flight school
should be able to keep files on their students." The latest
incarnation of the rule requires the flight instructor to determine
the citizenship of his or her students and to refer non-U.S. citizens
to the TSA for background checks. More...
ALPHABETS KEEP UP THE FIGHT
Still, aviation groups, most notably AOPA, continue to criticize the
rule, even though the TSA has delayed or softened some of the more
controversial requirements. For instance, rather than keeping a
photocopy of a student's proof of citizenship on file, an instructor
can now simply endorse his or her own logbook and that of the
student's with a declaration that the documents have been produced and
inspected. Also, foreign students who already have an airman's
certificate can pursue new ratings or other training until Dec. 19
without having to submit to the TSA background check and its attendant
$130 fee. It's progress, but it's not enough for AOPA President Phil
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Under a new modification to the FAA's Wide Area Augmentation System
(WAAS) project, approach and landing guidance
availability will increase to more than 99 percent across much of the
North American continent, Raytheon Co. said on Monday. The plan to deploy
"Full Lateral Precision with Vertical Guidance (LPV) Performance" will
enhance the WAAS signals for increased approach availability during
weather disturbances and solar flares as well as during normal
conditions, Raytheon said. WAAS is a nationwide network of reference,
master and uplink stations that augment Global Positioning System
satellites to provide improved accuracy, integrity and availability.
PILOTS LEFT BEHIND?...
But while the technology moves forward in leaps and bounds, can pilots
-- and their avionics providers -- keep up? In some cases, the rapid
pace of change leaves pilots with functional but outdated equipment --
and none too happy about it. "We who have installed [Garmin] GNS
430s and 530s are still waiting on WAAS capability
upgrades," pilot Tom Adams told AVweb last week. Garmin said last year that the upgrades would be
available by the end of 2004, but now the date has been pushed back.
"The GNS 430/530 upgrades for WAAS have moved out to mid-2005," Garmin
spokesman Pete Brumbaugh told AVweb on Tuesday. "The $1,500
upgrade price still stands." More...
SOFTWARE STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP
Other popular units are running into problems when the hardware
continues to work just fine, but software or repair support is
discontinued. One example is the Lowrance Airmap 300, a circa-1998-vintage handheld GPS that has been "orphaned" by its
manufacturer. A rebate program offers a cash incentive to owners
to turn in their units and upgrade to the next generation, but not all
owners are happy with that solution. However, technology might prove
to be the cure to help prevent such troubles in the future. The Airmap
300 updates were achieved by ordering a new memory card from Lowrance,
but newer hardware can be updated via downloads over the Internet.
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(GA) ELECTION WRAP
You've all heard the election results by now, but here is the GA spin
on Tuesday's votes. AOPA says 95 percent of the 105 congressional
candidates it endorsed won their seats. But the election determines
more than who's in and who's out. In the Senate, Alaska Sen. Ted
Stevens takes over chairmanship of the powerful Commerce, Science and
Transportation Committee -- which sets policy for the FAA -- from
Arizona's John McCain. AOPA's glad to hear it, since they never could
get McCain to sign on to their view regarding user fees. Stevens is "a
strong and forceful friend to general aviation," AOPA said.
SENDS $20.5 MILLION TO HURRICANE-DAMAGED AIRPORTS
The federal government will spend $20.5 million to fund repairs at 71
airports that were damaged by hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan
and Jeanne, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced on Friday. The money will be distributed
to airports in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North
Carolina, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. A range of
projects will be funded, including repair or replacement of terminal
buildings, hangars and security lighting. "The damage done by this
year's hurricanes reminds us how much we rely on our airports and how
important they are to the nation's economy and quality of life," said
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ON GA FLIGHT START AT MEIGS, EXPAND TO O'HARE
As new capacity limits on GA flights at Chicago's O'Hare International
Airport went into effect this week, the FAA released a new study that says O'Hare must set
its limits even lower in order to avoid gridlock. GA operations as of
this week are limited to four per hour between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The
new study says O'Hare can handle just 190 to 200 arrivals and
departures per hour, fewer than a 2001 study that recommended a
maximum of 200 to 202 flights per hour. When visibility is poor, the
maximum should go down to 136 to 144 per hour, the FAA said. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)
has blamed the O'Hare problems on the closure of Meigs Field, which
used to accommodate more than 20,000 operations per year. Corporate
charter operators now must wait until 72 hours before their flight to
schedule a takeoff or landing at O'Hare. More...
DEADLY THREAT, A SIMPLE SOLUTION
A group representing crop-dusting pilots in Australia is calling for a
national effort to mark power lines so pilots can safely avoid them,
ABC-Australia reported on Tuesday. The appeal from the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia
follows two helicopter crashes within three days. Both helicopters
were spraying for locusts and hit power lines. Peter Mackay, president
of the pilots' group, told ABC that aerial spraying is risky, and
precautions are necessary. "We'd like to see these power wires marked
more openly," he said. "They are very hard to pick up from the air and
in low conditions perhaps when you've got sun in your eyes, or trees
in the background." More...
BALLOONS EXEMPTED FROM TSA ALIEN RULES
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has demonstrated
hindsight and possibly the ability to listen -- this exact issue was
brought to the attention of TSA Rear Adm. David "The Head Honcho"
Stone at AOPA Expo last month. The TSA has determined (granted, after
publishing the rule) that gliders and lighter-than-air aircraft "do
not present a material threat," the Soaring Society of America (SSA) said on Monday, and therefore, they will be
exempt from the TSA's recent rules that require flight schools to notify the
TSA when aliens want to learn to fly. Last Friday, the TSA issued its
decision, saying that since gliders, balloons, and
airships are slow-moving, small, and carry little or no fuel, they
"would not be capable of inflicting significant damage if they were
used in suicide attacks." Dennis Wright, the SSA's executive director,
welcomed the exemption from the "onerous" rules. No comments on water
ballast, please. More...
AUSSIE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS GESTATE NORMALLY
You can't say AVweb doesn't know how to get readers' attention.
Our story on Monday about the risks of cosmic radiation
included a remark that Australian flight attendants more than 16
months pregnant are not allowed to work aloft. Oops. Apparently, that
was supposed to be 16 *weeks* -- as our story now says. (Who knew?)
The error begot dozens of e-mails: "I'm not surprised ... they
couldn't get down the aisle." ... "If they are taking 16 months to
carry a baby I think the cosmic rays have affected a lot more than the
baby." ... "Where did the British find the 16-month-pregnant crew
members for their study?" ... "Could you perhaps provide a photo of
one or more of those flight attendants?" (There's no accounting for
taste.) ... More...
NBAA Vice President Joe Ponte to retire...
NBAA hired aviation
lobbyist Lisa Piccione...
Volcanic ash in Iceland disrupted air
N.Y. eliminated sales tax on GA maintenance and
FAA awarded $5.7 million for integrated weather for ATC
Randy Gordon, Mark Puls won $1,000 aviation scholarships
EAA to add eight members to Hall of Fame tomorrow
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #87 -- Who Ya Gonna
If anything can go wrong it will, and if not in flight at
least on this quiz. See how you'd handle this string of stressful
equipment failures without blowing your cool. More...
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know how you voted in the election and
whether your candidate's stand on GA was a factor in your decision.
PLUS: The results of last week's question on very light jets.
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
The lazy days of summer may be behind us, but Eric Hutchins brings
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Congratulations, Eric we're sending you a brand-new AVweb
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