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Volume 10, Number 46b -- November 11, 2004

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

FAA FUDGING REPORTS?
The NTSB is accusing the FAA of fudging the numbers when it comes to runway incursions, but FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb the charge is "really unfounded." In its annual "Most Wanted List" of safety improvements, the NTSB suggests the number of incursions are dropping because FAA staff members simply don't report them. "The fact that such incidents are not being reported casts doubt on the FAA's claims that the runway incursion rate is declining," NTSB Chairman Engleman Conners said. The doubts were raised when the NTSB discovered FAA staff at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) didn't report a near-collision between a Boeing 747 and a Boeing 737 in August (shown with dramatic computer-generated re-enactment and cockpit voice recording voice-over on some TV news stations Tuesday). However, FAA spokesman Laura Brown told CNN said the incident hadn't been reported because the agency hasn't finished investigating it yet. More...

...OTHER SAFETY ISSUES RAISED...
The topics for the rest of the list are familiar but it's clear the NTSB is growing impatient with the FAA's implementation of new safety initiatives. For instance, the NTSB has been asking the agency for eight years to tighten up standards to help prevent aircraft icing, but the lack of progress has resulted in another "unacceptable" rating. Ditto for short-term measures to combat (explosive) vapor hazards in aircraft fuel tanks, although the NTSB did note that long-term solutions, by way of mandatory flammability-reduction systems in new aircraft, appear to be on the way. The well-known TWA Flight 800 incident is just one of several exploding Boeing incidents that brought the fuel-tank issue into the spotlight. More...

...FAA PATS SELF ON BACK
The NTSB criticism comes a couple of days after FAA officials patted themselves on the back for some improvements made in the last year. In launching its annual "Flight Plan," the five-year road map for the agency, officials noted that crashes had declined and the FAA was handling more air traffic more efficiently. But the agency also told reporters there's trouble ahead as declining revenue from airline tickets and increased traffic resulting from the switch to smaller airliners combine to create a classic conundrum. "I think things are coming together in a bad way," said Ken Mead, the Department of Transportation's Inspector General. More...

LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU’RE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
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MORE AIRLINE TROUBLES -- GA IS THE CAUSE?
When Forbes Magazine this week came up with a David Letterman-style Top Ten list on why U.S. airlines are in trouble, it saved some of the blame for GA. What's more, the sector it singles out doesn't even exist yet. The venerable business journal claims that "a new generation of microjets ... will forever change air travel. Small jet air travel is quickly becoming more affordable, allowing travelers to bypass congested big-city airports." And while such sentiments might be music to the ears of the folks at Eclipse, Adam, Diamond and Cessna, for the majority of us still working on our first million, the harsh realities of the business are perhaps more relevant. More...

...BUT NOT THE BIGGEST ONE...
Before the mini-jets take a serious swipe out of any airline's bottom line, the carriers have some rather more pressing problems to deal with. How about a collective debt of $100 billion (Canada's national debt is around $500 billion), losses of more than $25 billion since 9/11 and fuel prices going through the roof? Add to that a traveling public addicted to cheap air fares and, according to Forbes, there are bound to be a few more airlines auguring in. But some will also prosper. More...

...EMPLOYEES (PILOTS) MAKE CONCESSIONS
Of course, the majors didn't get to be the majors without some things going for them and, although their employees can sometimes be their harshest critics, enlightened self-interest appears to be a factor in some recent concessions. Northwest pilots recently took a 15-percent pay cut for the next two years and relaxed clauses on adding regional jets. Delta pilots will finish voting on a similar package today but it won't prevent more job losses, at least among other staff. More...

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AVIATION JOBS IN DEMAND
There's just something about flying. Ignoring all the doom and gloom surrounding the airline industry, young people continue to flock toward careers in aviation, according to the Daytona Beach News Herald's coverage of a recent aviation career fair. The News Herald sent a reporter to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's annual career fair and found optimism at every turn. "The demand will be there in five years," said future airline pilot Brian McCasey. "The objective is to get in now." Although some airlines are having a tough time, many GA businesses are flourishing, according to Michelle Ross, the human resources coordinator for World Airways, a Georgia-based charter operator. More...

R-22 DRIVE-BELT PROBLEM FOCUS OF PROBE
The Canadian Transportation Safety Board is trying to figure out why the drive belt came off a Robinson R-22 helicopter, resulting in a crash that killed its pilot in August. The chopper suffered the "sudden loss of power" over a lake on Vancouver Island. Spokesman Bill Yearwood said that although the pilot initiated autorotation, he apparently flared too high and the aircraft plunged vertically into McGyver Lake, near Campbell River. Yearwood said safety board technicians have spent the last couple of months going through the helicopter's drive system to see if the problem is a design fault or a maintenance error. More...

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ANALOG IN-FLIGHT CELL SERVICE FADES
As technology marches on, some are bound to get stepped upon, but a Colorado company says it's doing its best to ease the pain some of its aircraft telephone customers are feeling. AirCell built its earlier systems around the analog cellphone networks that used to be the norm for ground-based cellphones. But now, most cellphones are digital and some cellular providers are phasing out analog systems. According to California pilot Chris Schwartz, that will soon make the $11,000 phone system he bought from AirCell three years ago nothing more than a "paperweight." He said he's also upset that Aircell's solution is to ask him to pay another $10,000 for a satellite phone. AirCell spokesman Bill Peltola told AVweb that's half the regular price for a satellite phone and most customers are happy with the arrangement. More...

VIDEO GAMES HELP FIGHTER PILOTS
Feeling blue that with November here, winter is not far behind? Grounded pilots have a good excuse to spend their time playing video games when they can't get a real flight fix. A study of cadets in the Israeli Air Force flight school showed that a game-playing group performed better in real-life flying tests than non-gaming cadets. Standard commercial combat-game software was used. The study found the games required skills in tracking, monitoring, situation assessment and memory, and honed workload-coping and attention-management skills. The video training was subsequently incorporated into the flight-school curriculum. More...

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DIGITAL ELTS REQUIRED BY 2009
Well, don't get the hankies out yet. 121.5 megahertz -- the longtime distress frequency for emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) -- is on its way out, but the funeral is not till 2009. The new frequency is 406 MHz, and it's more precise, more reliable, and less prone to interference from false signals, such as from malfunctioning TV sets or pizza ovens (yes, it's happened). So why is it taking so long to switch over? It's also more expensive. The new digital ELTs cost about $1,500, compared to about $500 for the venerable old style. But if you need somebody to come find you, how much would it be worth to know they have your GPS coordinates? "Sarsat takes the 'search' out of search and rescue!" says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the program. More...

HIGH-TECH HELP FOR DAMAGED P-51
There aren't many places you can have this much leading-edge, high-tech fun and help restore a priceless piece of aviation history too. The Commemorative Air Force is unveiling its P-51 Mustang "Tuskegee Airmen" flight simulator at the Mall of America in St. Paul, Minn., today. The simulator will be set up at ACES Flight Simulation in the mall and part of the proceeds from taking a spin in it will help the Red Tail Project fix a rare P-51C damaged in an emergency landing earlier this year. More...

FLYING RENTED OR BORROWED AIRCRAFT?
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ON THE FLY...
MT composite propellers were STC'd for Aviat Husky...
Tasers were approved for Korean Air flights to and from the U.S....
FAA backed off on seat-placard loophole...
Onex Corp. might buy Boeing's commercial operations in Kansas and Oklahoma...
Chicago got 30-day extension to fight Meigs charges. More...

AVWEB'S 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 newstips@avweb.com. More...

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NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
_______
COLUMNS
Say Again? #43: All Points Bulletin
Air Traffic Bulletins written for controllers may not seem important to a pilot, until you see one that starts, "A fatal aircraft crash ..." AVweb's Don Brown spends some time this month with a few points made for the benefit of controllers and, he hopes, pilots too. More...

AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVFLASH
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s 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 read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/ More...

SEE CLEARLY METHOD IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS VISION NATURALLY
The See Clearly Method does this without the risk or expense of laser surgery.  Developed by award-winning optometrists and research scientists, the See Clearly Method is based on the same principles and techniques used by thousands of pilots in WWII.  As one pilot states, "I never thought it was possible to actually improve your vision, but it worked.  I tell other pilots that this is an effective way to improve your vision, naturally."  Call (800) 881-7934 for a no-cost informational video, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/seeclear/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know how much you trust the FAA in its role as protector and police for the commercial aviation industry. PLUS: Results of last week's Presidential election poll. More...

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AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Thanks to all our contributors for a great batch of "POTW" entries! This is the most submissions we've had since August, and almost every one was a "final ten" contender. With all the great images, it took a little longer to select this week's winners — but when the dust had settled (and the pizza and soda had been finished off), Jim Haseltine walked away with top honors. An official AVweb baseball cap is on its way, Jim! (Just, uh, ignore that marinara sauce.) More...

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SPONSOR NEWS
WHEN THE CONTROLLER SAYS YOU CAN'T GO HIGHER, HE MAY NOT HAVE AIRSPACE
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SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 HELD IN MEMORIES FOR GENERATIONS WITH MUSIC CD
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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. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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