The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
PRIZE WINNERS GET THE CHECK
On Saturday, the Ansari X
Prize was handed over to the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team, in a field
adjacent to the St. Louis Science Center, as a chase plane flew
overhead. SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan accepted the $10 million
check, along with a five-foot-tall, 200-pound trophy. Also present for
the event were financial backer Paul Allen and astronauts Mike Melvill
and Brian Binnie, and hundreds of people hoping for autographs. "How
can a day like today be anything but wonderful when you get a $10
million check?" Rutan said, MSNBC reported. "I feel particularly proud
that what we did in winning this prize was not just to build an
airplane to fly high enough, but to address the safety issues and the
affordability issues for space tourism." After SpaceShipOne's last
flight, Rutan said he'd share his portion of the check with Scaled
Composites' employees. More...
COMPETING TEAMS CONTINUE THEIR EFFORTS...
Although Rutan's team held a clear lead over the competition, more
than two dozen teams tried for the X Prize, and many are still
pursuing their ideas. Some are branching out in new directions or
seeking new prizes. Interorbital Systems, a Mojave company that plans
to launch from ocean spaceports, is working on two new rockets -- the
Nano, for sending tiny satellites into orbit, and the Neptune, a
rocket it hopes will ferry up to eight people into orbit, in pursuit
of the $50 million America's Space Prize. The Space Transport
Corp., in Washington state, says it plans to launch its Rubicon 2
rocket "probably" in mid-November, but won't announce the launch till
after it's done. More...
NASA JOINS THE PRIZE PARADE
NASA on Friday issued the first official details about its new Centennial Challenges program, a prize competition
that NASA says "seeks novel solutions to NASA's mission challenges
from nontraditional sources of innovation in academia, industry and
the public." Listed among the missions the program hopes to advance is
general aviation technology, along with a soft robotic lunar landing,
a micro re-entry vehicle and a station-keeping solar sail. Two Requests for Information solicit input from
potential support contractors, and one Announcement of Partnership Opportunity seeks
organizations wishing to contribute cash or services to Centennial
Challenges activities. More...
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NUMBERS SHOW GROWTH TREND
The numbers are showing that the long-hoped-for GA recovery is
underway, with industry billings up almost 16 percent in the first
nine months of this year, the General Aviation Manufacturers
Association (GAMA) reported recently. "Recovery of the U.S. economy
and accelerated depreciation enacted by Congress for operators of
new airplanes stimulated every segment of our industry," said Ron
Swanda, interim president of GAMA. "But the growing, worldwide
attraction of using general aviation airplanes for safe and efficient
air travel is a fundamental growth factor that should not be
ACCIDENTS ALSO ARE UP
Thirty-nine people died in general aviation aircraft in October, EAA reported last week. That's the
second-deadliest October in over six years, and should be a "wake-up
call" for aviators, EAA said. With winter ahead, and the extra
challenges of icing, darkness and marginal weather, pilots need to be
extra-vigilant to bring the accident rate down. All pilots should take
advantage of the available safety initiatives such as EAA's Technical
Counselor and Flight Advisor programs for homebuilders, and safety
programs offered by the FAA, AOPA and other organizations. "Fly in
good weather, and practice superior airmanship," EAA says, and that's
a good start for advice on how to avoid becoming a statistic.
WHAT DO APPLYING FOR LIFE INSURANCE & A RAMP CHECK HAVE
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HEARS MORE FROM AOPA
TSA chief David Stone, freshly back in D.C. after a big dose
of GA reality from the crowds at AOPA Expo last month, got a bit more of it last
Wednesday in the form of a personal visit from AOPA prez Phil Boyer.
Boyer and senior AOPA staffers sat down with Stone, and together they
hashed out plans to address three priority issues regarding the TSA's
alien flight-training rules: defining flight
training, streamlining the TSA's citizenship-validation process and
simplifying the requirements for flight instructors. "Let me caution
those immediately affected by the Oct. 20 rule," Boyer said. "This is
not going to happen overnight." More...
THEY WORK TO SORT OUT FLIGHT-TRAINING RULES
For the nation's 88,728 flight instructors, AOPA said it is
nevertheless seeking immediate relief from the confusion and
burdensome requirements of the existing rule. "There are more than
3,400 flight schools in the United States," Boyer said in a news release. "Concern and confusion currently
reign. Our recent survey indicated only one in 10 schools was aware of
the rule. We cannot expect these people to abandon their businesses to
become agents of the government by certifying applications and
photographing alien students." Stone summed up the TSA's mandate as
making sure "we never have a repeat of 9/11." His main concern: "How
can we stop people from using flight training they receive in the U.S.
as a weapon against us? We need to make sure it doesn't happen again."
STRAFES N.J. SCHOOL
What happened to just handing out a couple detentions? Luckily, school
was not in session Wednesday night when a National Guard F-16 fired on
Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School, near Newark, N.J., with 25
rounds from a wing-mounted cannon. The F-16, flying at 7,000 feet, was
headed for a target on a practice range 3 1/2 miles away. A custodian
in the building was unhurt, but at least eight of the three-inch-long
bullets penetrated classrooms. Operations at the firing range have
been halted while the incident is investigated. Previously, wayward
bombs have ignited forest fires near the range, but this is the first
time a building was hit. More...
RAISES ALERT OVER STOLEN CROP-DUSTER
The Transportation Security Administration issued an advisory on Friday that a Piper PA 25 Pawnee
crop-dusting aircraft was stolen from Ejido Queretaro, near Mexicali,
Mexico, on Nov. 1. "Although there is currently no indication that
this has any connection to terrorist activity," the TSA said, "the
theft is cause for concern. Past information indicates that members of
al-Qa'ida may have planned -- or may still be planning -- to disperse
biological or chemical agents from cropdusting aircraft." The stolen
aircraft is registered in Mexico and bears the tail number XBCYP. If
you see the aircraft, the TSA says you should immediately contact the
TSA General Aviation Hotline at (866) 427-3287. More...
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FILL FLU GAP
Every crisis is an opportunity, the old saying goes, and some
businesses in the border states are finding that the flu-vaccine
shortage means more cash flow for them. Kenmore
Air, a seaplane outfit near Seattle, Wash., is promoting "Flu
Flights" to Canada, where flu shots are available. Kenmore says it
will be "the most memorable, enjoyable flu shot" ever, including the
45-minute seaplane ride across the border to Victoria, a quick
inoculation, then time for sightseeing and a free lunch before the
afternoon flight home, all for $205. Last flu flight is Wednesday, so
it's a short window. More...
LOOKING BAD IN FRONT-PAGE ACCIDENTS
A Cessna 210 piloted by a CFI who reported a low fuel condition while
on approach to the Torrance Airport, near Los Angeles, crashed into a
house on Thursday. A 90-year-old woman who lived in the house was
"stunned," but unhurt. Local residents pulled the burning pilot from
the wreck, reports said. An entire country away, three skydivers were
in a Cessna 180 when it clipped a tree and crashed shortly after
takeoff from a grass strip in Pennsylvania last week -- one of the
skydivers died and the others were hurt. It turns out that the
81-year-old pilot had been denied an FAA medical, but won't face any
criminal charges, authorities said last week. (It seems that in this
case illegally piloting an aircraft, without a medical, does not
constitute reckless endangerment). More...
MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
Narco Avionics is proud to announce the
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ARE HERE, THEY'RE WEIRD, GET USED TO IT
With the end of the U.S. election campaign, the ubiquitous VIP TFRs
are expected to slow down for a while, but TFRs in
their various forms certainly seem to be here to stay. What isn't
here, at least not yet, is any systematic or standardized format to
help pilots navigate these restricted areas. While many of the
restrictions share a two-ring structure, the rules for flying within
each ring are not always the same, and the widths of the rings vary. A
"typical" structure that is followed in most cases seems to be
evolving, but so far the only way to really know how to deal with each
TFR is to study the appropriate NOTAM for that particular site. And
don't think that just because you are on a flight plan and talking to
ATC that it's OK to follow an ATC vector into the TFR -- sometimes it
is, but sometimes it isn't. More...
TEAM TEACHING ENGLISH TO AIRPLANES
Imagine if you could talk to your airplane, issuing commands like
"find the airport" or "fly the approach," and it would obey?
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on teaching an unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV) to respond to English commands. "The system allows the
pilot [who flies nearby in an F-15] to interface with the UAV at a
high level -- not just 'turn right, turn left,' but 'fly to this
region and perform this task,'" said Mario Valenti, a Boeing engineer
who is on leave at MIT. "The pilot essentially treats the UAV as a
wingman," said Valenti, comparing the UAV to a companion pilot in a
fighter-plane squadron. More...
LOOK, UP IN THE AIR! IT'S A PLANE! IT'S A FLYING
It's Woody, staff member of Pilot
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FAA OK'd Power Flow's tuned-exhaust system for 200-hp
Midway Atoll airport to close Nov. 20, angering
Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport dedicated in Calif.
Some pax took Air Transat offer of $12,500 for
NTSB says King Air that killed 10 descended
when procedure was climb...
Sixty hang-glider pilots at Cape Cod
last week for annual flights....
GA pilots can register to fly by
Wright Brothers Memorial on Dec. 17. 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
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #3: Hanging Out At the
AVweb's engine fanatic Marc Cook has been flying
a lot lately and depending, even more than usual, on engine monitors
for peace of mind.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about VFR on top, golf course prices, new
airport beacons and more. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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Another Airbus story...
There is a certain airline that flies Airbus A319s out of Lindberg.
The following was overheard there recently...
Controller: Roger [A319], turn left heading 140.
A319: (No answer)
Controller: [A319], Left turn, please. Now make the heading
120. Good rate, please.
A319: Ah, Departure, the airplane won't let us do that.
Controller: Would you mind putting the airplane on the radio,
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