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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
X-43A SUPERSONIC SCRAMJET BREAKS ALL-TIME SPEED RECORD...
At 110,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday afternoon, NASA's
scramjet-powered X-43A unmanned research vehicle flew at close to
Mach 9.8, nearly 7,000 miles per hour, breaking its own previous
record of Mach 7, set in March, for air-breathing engines. The flight
is a "key milestone," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, that will
help to advance commercial aviation technology. Supersonic combustion
ramjets (scramjets) promise to make ultra-high-speed flights within
the atmosphere cheaper and safer, NASA said Tuesday in a news release,
and provide an alternative to rockets. More...
A FLAWLESS TEST...
The 12-foot long, 5-foot-wide lifting-body scramjet vehicle, mated to
a modified Pegasus booster rocket, was launched from NASA's B-52B at
about 47,000 feet, in restricted airspace northwest of Los Angeles.
The booster carried it up to 110,000 feet, where the X-43A separated
and ignited its scramjet engine for about 10 seconds. After burnout,
the vehicle descended and splashed into the ocean, as planned, and
will not be recovered (fishing trip, anyone?). The flight is the third
and last of three unpiloted tests in NASA's Hyper-X Program. The
eight-year, $230-million program got off to a rough start in June 2001
when the first X-43A and its booster rocket had to be destroyed in
mid-air. The second attempt, in March of this year,
successfully reached a speed of Mach 7. More...
A SIMPLE, SOPHISTICATED SYSTEM
The scramjet engine design has no moving parts. The forward speed of
the aircraft itself, enhanced by the shape of the nose, compresses a
stream of air that is channeled into the engine, where it mixes with
gaseous hydrogen fuel -- there are no fan blades that compress the
air, as in a normal jet engine. In a scramjet engine, the airflow
through the whole engine remains supersonic. NASA says such a design
may be capable of flying at Mach 15 or more. Scramjets have an
advantage over rockets in that they use oxygen from the atmosphere, so
no heavy liquid-oxygen tanks are required. Also, scramjets can be
throttled back and flown more like an airplane, unlike rockets, which
tend to produce nearly or full thrust all the time. More...
THERE'S GOOD NEWS FOR GA...
When pilots worry about losing access to airspace, too often they
worry alone. But in southern Indiana, where the Air Force is proposing
to create two large Military Operations Areas that would impact
traffic between Louisville, Ky., and Indianapolis, some city officials
are concerned about the economic impact. Mayor Jim Bullard, of
Seymour, said his city has invested millions of dollars into
navigational equipment to update Freeman Municipal Airport, and is
concerned about anything that might impact its use, the Associated Press reported on Monday. Columbus
Municipal Airport Director Rod Blasdell also raised concerns, saying
that commercial tenants that wanted to locate at his airport might
take into consideration the restricted access caused by the new MOAs,
and go someplace else. AOPA is, of course, also engaged in the fight.
"LIFESTYLE AIRPORT" THRIVES, REGIONAL AIRPORT SEEKS GA FLYERS...
Meanwhile, in Poplar Grove, Ill., a small privately-owned airport is
growing steadily, by working to create a neighborhood of people who
love airplanes. Since 1996, more than 100 homes have been built and
400 residents, many of them pilots or airline workers, have moved to
the airpark community, the Rockford Register Star reported on Sunday.
Hangar space has quadrupled from 10 years ago, and the airport is home
to 366 airplanes. "We made a conscious decision to develop a lifestyle
airport, rather than a commercially intensive airport," owner Steve
Thomas told the Register Star. It's also open for public use. And
in New York, Albany International Airport is working (as its
"mission") to become more user-friendly to small airplanes.
TORRANCE NEIGHBORS UNFAZED BY ACCIDENTS
Maybe it's a unique Southern California perspective, born of living in
an area prone to earthquakes, wildfires, and mudslides, but neighbors
near Torrance Airport -- who are not otherwise affiliated with
aviation -- nonetheless seem unfazed by two recent airplane crashes
that hit homes and yards. "Even the 89-year-old woman, [Margie
Somers], whose house was torn in half by a crashing plane this month
says she doesn't give much thought to living in the flight path," the
local Daily Breeze reported on Tuesday. "It's safer
living under this landing pattern than on Pacific Coast Highway," said
Somers' son Mark. "It's more likely that you're going to get hit by a
car than by an airplane." Others interviewed by the newspaper reported
similarly lofty views. More...
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CRITICIZES FAA DESIGNEE PROGRAM
The FAA should do a better job monitoring designated flight-test
examiners, inspectors, and doctors who give FAA medical exams to
pilots, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) released Tuesday. The GAO, displaying a remarkable grasp of the
obvious, said the FAA is inconsistent in the way it oversees the
13,400 individuals and 180 organizations who perform crucial safety
functions, but found no systematic safety problems. Incomplete
databases, heavy workloads and inadequate training for FAA staff who
monitor the designees were blamed for the inadequacies. One way for
the FAA to improve would be for the agency to charge application and
renewal fees to designees to help offset the cost of administering
these programs, the GAO said, however, FAA is prohibited from imposing
new user fees unless they are specifically authorized by law.
COALITION MEETS WITH SECURITY CZARS
Representatives from GA's alphabet groups met with Department of Homeland
Security honchos this week to discuss various security regulations and
their impact on GA flyers. Adm. James Loy, deputy secretary of the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Rear Adm. David Stone, head
of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), attended the
meeting. AOPA sent President Phil Boyer, who told the security team,
"We need to work together to be sure that regulations make sense. It's
pointless to have regulators making rules that can't reasonably be
implemented in the real world." Loy pledged to create "engagement
opportunities" for GA and DHS to work in concert, AOPA said. More...
|RECONDITIONED 25XLs AVAILABLE FROM LIGHTSPEED
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POSTS SPORT PILOT TEST QUESTIONS, EXAMINER GUIDE
You have to wait until Dec. 1 to take an actual FAA Sport Pilot
"knowledge test" (what used to be known as the "written" in the
pre-computer age), but you can start studying now, because the FAA has
posted its test-question bank online. Questions are posted for sport pilots and for sport-pilot flight instructors/examiners. The FAA has also
added questions to the private-pilot test for weight-shift-control aircraft and powered
parachutes. On Tuesday, the FAA also released its Sport Pilot Examiner's Handbook, a 78-page PDF
document. It delineates privileges and procedures, responsibilities,
and limitations of examiner designations and authorizations.
FLYIN' TIGER REACHES HIGHER
Bruce Bohannon broke two of his own world records on the way up -- he
hit 12,000 meters in 20 minutes, 36 seconds, to establish new
time-to-climb standards in the Unlimited and C-1.b classes (the old
record was 22:29), but the one he really wanted Saturday proved
elusive once again, EAA reported on Monday. Bohannon has made several attempts to reach 50,000 feet in his
modified RV-4, Exxon Flyin' Tiger. On Saturday, flying out of his home
airport in Angleton, Texas, he flew the Tiger to its highest altitude
yet -- 47,530 feet, about 1,800 feet shy of what's required to gain
the all-time piston altitude record. More...
UPGRADE YOUR HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING WITH AN OREGON AERO
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SURVIVES 3,500-FOOT FALL
A corrugated iron roof hardly seems like a soft place to fall, but it
helped slow down Lt. Charlie Williams enough that he survived with
minor injuries after his parachute failed to open during a training
exercise in Kenya. Williams, 25, of the British Army, was on his third
jump two weeks ago when he clipped the side of the door while exiting
the aircraft and began to spin as he fell and became entangled in the
parachute rigging. "I was completely helpless," he told reporters as
he recovered at his parents' home. "There was nothing I could do. I
said to myself 'this is it' and I prepared to die." He crashed through
the roof and was surprised to find himself alive on the floor of
someone's home with "a crowd of puzzled Kenyans" looking at him.
BENNETT, HANG-GLIDING PIONEER, DIED IN CRASH
Bill Bennett, an Australian hang-gliding pioneer who helped popularize
the sport in the U.S., died on Oct. 7 in Arizona at age 73, it was
reported this week. Bennett was taking off with an instructor in a
trike -- a powered ultralight with a hang-glider-like wing and
weight-shift control -- at Lake Havasu Airport when the power failed
and the aircraft crashed. The instructor, Drew Reeves, was also hurt.
Bennet's company, Delta Wing Kites and Gliders, was among the first
hang glider manufacturers in the U.S. The company helped develop the
basic design of modern hang-gliders, added features such as emergency
chutes and Mylar-coated sail cloth, and improved handling and
Five died Sunday in Piper Navajo crash in Texas...
Cessna to open
giant new Wichita Service Center soon...
Gliders in U.K. in 10
near-midairs in the second half of last year... 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.
ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS & PILOTS
Piper Flyer Association (PFA) provides parts locating, tech
support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national & regional
events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. For less than a tank
of fuel ($39.00 for a one-year membership), you can access the needed
information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from
owning and flying your Piper aircraft. Join the Piper Flyer
Association (PFA) today as they build the ultimate Piper association.
Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pfa/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Cessna, The Sky ... and the
Cartoonist: Chapters Six and Seven
Stalls -- a word (and
sound) that strikes fear in the hearts of student pilots. And
professionals, for that matter. But our bold aviator and cartoonist
knows it is a required part of pilot training, and he's ready to take
his partner, C152 Charlie, into the air again.
What's New -- Products and
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and
services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a dual
fuel tank indicator, Citation single-pilot training, fine-wire spark
plugs, Power Flow for Mooneys and much more. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs 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/
ATTENTION, PROSPECTIVE OR CURRENT STUDENT
Supplement your training with a no-risk,
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, we want to know if you (or anyone you know) will be taking
advantage of the new Sport Pilot rules. PLUS: Results of last week's
poll on how much trust our readers put in the FAA. More...
SORT THROUGH THE THICKET OF HIGH-DOLLAR AVIONICS
In the December issue of Aviation Consumer,
avionics expert Larry Anglisano gives you "More Budget Savvy
Upgrades," along with reports on: "Alarus Instrument Trainer"; "TKS
Upgrade"; "Duracell or Radio Shack?"; "Second Story Hangar"; the "Door
Steward"; with the Taylor Sport highlighted in the Used Aircraft Guide
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Truly, the golden age of "Picture of the Week" has returned! Of almost
five dozen submissions, nearly a third made it into our "personal
desktop wallpaper" file. But one photo called out to us to be
proclaimed the undisputed "Picture of the Week" Bud Granley's.
We think you'll agree when you see it. (Interesting note: This week's
top three photos were all taken in Canada!) More...
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
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|GIVE OR GET A NEW LEATHER FLIGHT BAG FROM PILOTMALL &
SHOW YOUR STYLE!|
PilotMall.com's real leather flight
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HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Complimentary U.S. Domestic shipping thru
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|"THE LOOK FROM FOLKS AS I DRIVE BY WAS WORTH THE PRICE!"
says one happy CarProp owner. You too can order this
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to having fun. Order as holiday gifts and for yourself, online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.
|THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ALL PILOTS ON YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING
Comm1 training lets pilots experience real flight
situations through high-quality audio and graphics, practicing from
the safety and privacy of their desktops. Comm1 is offering a
complimentary multimedia headset with every order received by December
31, 2004 at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/comm1/avflash.
|HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FROM CREWCAR & CONSUMER
Next to your home and airplane, a vehicle is the
most important item you will purchase. Don't go blindly into a
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|KNOWLEDGE ENHANCER, TEACHING TOOL, & TRAINING AID
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VTS Inc.'s software is loaded with
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|LOOKING TO FALL ASLEEP? READ THE AIM, NOT ROD
MACHADO'S PLANE TALK|
Since over 75% of all aviation
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|THE TURBINE PILOT'S FLIGHT MANUAL HAS ALL JET &
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