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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FINDS FAA BUREAUCRACY STALLS TECHNICAL PROGRESS
The FAA's own poor management has made it difficult for the agency to
meet cost, schedule and performance goals for new air traffic control
systems, according to a report released by the Government Accountability
Office (GAO) last week. The FAA fails to involve stakeholders, such as
controllers and technical experts, in the planning process, and
coordination among various offices within the agency is ineffective,
the GAO said. The report recommended that the FAA develop specific
plans early in the process of approving new technology that specify
how and when stakeholders will meet, to ensure coordination.
WAAS AND STARS...
Development of the GPS-enhancing Wide
Area Augmentation System took six years longer and cost $1.5
billion more than it should have, the GAO said, largely due to
ineffective coordination among various offices of the FAA that were
working on the program. Also, when the FAA accelerated its schedule
for implementing the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System
for air traffic control, it didn't leave time to consult with end
users and ended up with a badly designed interface. That added a
half-billion dollars and three years to the project, and 122 fewer
systems now will be deployed than in the original plan.
FAA AMENDS "FLIGHT PLAN"
The FAA has reviewed comments from the industry and amended its
"Flight Plan 2005-2009" strategy document to include three key
"waypoints" that AOPA was advocating, AOPA said last week -- but AOPA was hoping for
more. "The 'Flight Plan' now recognizes that the Notice to Airmen
system has got to be streamlined," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The
FAA also said it will earmark Airport Improvement Program funds for
upgrading reliever and secondary airports near major cities, and will
work with the industry to improve GA safety, AOPA said. However, Boyer
said, "We are disappointed that the agency did not include a strategy
for mitigating the effects of security-related airspace restrictions
on general aviation, as we had asked." More...
THE PILOT INSURANCE CHALLENGE
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PASSES SPACE TOURISM BILL
The latest version of a bill that strives to create a regulatory framework
for space tourism passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on
Saturday, after a contentious debate over its safety provisions. The
bill would give the FAA jurisdiction over the flights, but the
agency's safety mandate would extend only to protecting the
"uninvolved public," not to passengers and crew. Rep. Dana
Rohrabacher, R-Calif., sponsor of the bill, said, "After being
informed of the risks, people can and should be able to decide to buy
a ticket and achieve their lifelong dream of flying into space even
though they know that it is a risky proposition." More...
INDUSTRY STRUGGLES FOR CHANCE TO GROW...
Opponents of the bill wanted more scrutiny for the new industry. "I
don't want to see people dead from a space experiment, and then the
federal government comes in to regulate," said Minnesota Rep. James
Oberstar, senior Democrat on the House Transportation Committee.
Rohrabacher said too much regulation would "strangle this industry and
drive these entrepreneurs offshore." The version passed Saturday
includes a compromise on the issue -- eight years after the bill is
enacted, the FAA can start to issue rules for passenger and crew
safety. If anyone is killed or seriously hurt before then, or if an
"unplanned event" occurs during a flight that poses a risk of serious
or fatal injury, the FAA can issue rules without waiting for the eight
years to pass. More...
THE SPACESHIPS GO OFFSHORE?
The first commercial spaceport for paying passengers could be in
Malaysia, if a proposal now in the works comes to fruition. Bristol Spaceplanes has approached the Malaysian
government with plans to build a launch site for the Ascender
sub-orbital space plane, The Star reported on Nov. 12. The Ascender would
take up to two crew members and two passengers to 100 kilometers and
back in 90 minutes, the company says. Local authorities have already
agreed to the plan, pending federal approval, The Star said. The
Ascender was designed as an X Prize contender and uses off-the-shelf
technology, according to Bristol Spaceplanes. More...
NOW (SORT OF) READY FOR SPORT PILOT STUDENTS
The FAA is not really quite ready to start certifying student sport
pilots, but until it is ready, it has an ad hoc procedure in place, EAA reported last week. For now, aspiring airmen
can use the standard application form and just write in "Sport
Pilot" under "Other." Inspectors and examiners will get complete
instructions for dealing with the new pilots in January, but for now,
the FAA says, they are required to brief the applicant about the limitations of a sport pilot student. In addition,
inspectors and examiners should discuss the limitations of the
certificate with flight instructors who are providing training to
sport pilot students. More...
SCHOOLS GO FOR GLASS
Private pilots may be wowed by glass-cockpit technology, but they've
been slow to adopt it. One market that is warming up quickly is flight
schools. "It makes sense when you're talking about training tomorrow's
pilots," said New Piper CEO Chuck Suma, as his company delivered two
new Warrior IIIs to Downing College, in Shirley, N.Y., earlier this
month. Both aircraft are equipped with the Avidyne FlightMax Entegra
System. Martin Holley, dean of Dowling College's School of Aviation,
said training on advanced glass avionics will become a requirement for
flight-school graduates looking for careers in aviation.
FRONT AND BACK END COST$
Boeing plans to spend $5.8 billion to develop its 7E7 Dreamliner, The Seattle Times reported on Friday, plus about
$3 billion more that will come from partners in the project. Last
week, Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher was in Moscow to cement an
agreement to invest $2.5 billion in the Russian aerospace industry, in
return for help in launching the 7E7, AFP reported. Sales of the
airplane, expected to cost about $120 million, have been soft in the
U.S., where airlines are struggling, but Boeing has about 200 or more
orders from around the world, the Times said. Pilots at Northwest
Airlines, if they ever get to fly one, would be paid $213 an hour,
under a new contract that stipulates pay rates ... even for aircraft
that don't yet exist. First deliveries are expected in 2008.
ZEALAND REMINDS PILOTS FLYING INVOLVES RISK
General aviation safety in New Zealand isn't as good as it should be,
according to the Civil Aviation Authority, and as part of a five-year
effort to reduce the accident rate by 25 percent, the agency has
created a DVD on risk assessment and is distributing it to 15,000
pilots. "Basically what we're trying to do is make them aware of the
risks that they're taking," said John Jones of the Civil Aviation
Authority. The DVD reminds pilots to get proper weather briefings,
file flight plans and check fuel requirements. "It's all about
double-checking everything we do, like a suit tailor who measures
twice and cuts once," said John Funnell, president of the Aviation Industry Association. The effort is
timely, he said, because the Christmas season is often a dangerous
time for Kiwi aviators. More...
IN CHINA KILLS 54
A China Eastern Airlines Bombardier CRJ-200 with 53 people on board
crashed into a shallow ice-covered lake seconds after takeoff
yesterday morning in the inner Mongolian region of China, killing all
on board. The airplane hit a ticket office at Nanhai Park as it went
down, killing at least one person. Witnesses said they heard an
explosion and saw the airplane shake violently, black smoke billowing
from its tail, before it crashed in flames. The weather was reportedly
clear and cold at the time. China Eastern grounded all of its CRJ200s
until further notice, according to the news agency Xinhua.
THE DOOR IS LEAVING
It's one of those little problems that can quickly escalate for a
pilot in a small airplane -- a door that comes open in flight. Michael
Keenan was flying a Piper Aerostar twin out of Philadelphia on
Wednesday morning when the passenger door became unlatched. Keenan
struggled to hold the door shut, worried that it would damage the
prop, but had to let go when he dislocated his shoulder, and the door
ripped off its hinges and departed the aircraft. He called a nearby
airport, asked for an ambulance to meet him, and landed safely
(congratulations). A motorist found the door in the middle of a
Pennsylvania road about 40 minutes after it fell, and except for the
damaged hinges and latch it was mainly intact. More...
Air National Guard will avoid populated areas near N.J. firing
Airports now can use private contractors instead of TSA
FAA wants $13 million for Md. airport land used as
Whooping cranes trained to migrate by pilots now
flying on their own. 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 email@example.com.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
CEO of the Cockpit #39: What Does
the Future Hold?
Aviation is only 100 years old. AVweb's CEO of
the Cockpit feels like he is pretty close to that age, too, as he
ponders the future of airline flying and bores your kids with his
Pelican's Perch #80: Gear-Up
Landing In A 747?
You know the cliche: There are two kinds of
retractable-gear pilots in the world -- those who have landed gear-up,
and those who will. AVweb's John Deakin is back with his Pelican's
Perch column, and relates his own heavy-jet gear-up story., as he
ponders the future of airline flying and bores your kids with his
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about digital ELTs, renaming very light jets, fish
finders 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
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IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
LOOK, UP IN THE AIR! IT'S A PLANE! IT'S A FLYING
It's Woody, staff member of Pilot
Getaways magazine who has traveled from coast to coast helping
the publisher and editor bring subscribers the best fly-in
destinations. Woody has logged over 1,600 hours and has something to
say about the places he's visited, from the Southwest to the
Northeast, small grass strips in Canada, remote Mexican beaches, and
places in between. If you love dogs or just need a smile, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/woody/avflash.
On an a typical IFR day on the East coast of Florida, I heard a Piper
Cherokee check in with Miami Center...
Cherokee N123: Miami Center, Cherokee N123 at 4000, ATIS for
Miami Center: Cherokee N123, maintian
Cherokee: Center, I'll need to get lower to land at
Center: Cherokee N123, let me see what I can do.
Center: Cherokee N123, I've got good news.
Apparently you'll be landing at 4000 feet today. More...
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|AVIATION SAFETY FINDS ICE, RISK, FATIGUE, AND
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