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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
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...
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
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...
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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
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
(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.
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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...
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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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...
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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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...
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...
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MT composite propellers were STC'd for Aviat Husky...
approved for Korean Air flights to and from the U.S....
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...
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
Say Again? #43: All Points
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
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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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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.)
|Sponsor News and
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THE CONTROLLER SAYS YOU CAN'T GO HIGHER, HE MAY NOT HAVE
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|SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 HELD IN MEMORIES FOR GENERATIONS WITH
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We Welcome Your
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