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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
UNION RETHINKS RETIREMENT AGE
Probably the longest-running debate in aviation circles (besides how
to properly lean an engine) took a twist this week. After decades of
defending mandatory retirement at age 60 for airline pilots, the
largest pilots' union has agreed that it might be time for a change.
"We have to be convinced (a change) would not affect safety," John
Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), told the St.
Petersburg Times. "But there's enough there to warrant a
re-examination. Everybody understands that age 60 is an arbitrary
number." The union plans to poll its 64,000 members in the spring.
The union's stance isn't the only thing that's changed in the debate.
The strong dose of emotionalism that has always characterized the
issue is giving way to more practical arguments. As struggling
airlines work with worker unions to slash salaries (up to 35 percent
at some carriers) and dump once-lavish pension plans, some senior
pilots are facing a retirement cash crunch. "Sixty-three would have
been nice," Jim Hamilton, a US Airways pilot who will turn 60 this
week, told the Times. "No one knows how long you'll live or if you'll
outlive your money." More than 40 other countries have raised their
pilot retirement age to 63 or 65. More...
FIRM, BUT WHAT ABOUT CONGRESS?
Last we heard, the FAA remains adamant in upholding the rule. It's a
topic that always comes up at the annual Meet The Boss session at EAA
AirVenture and current FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has
consistently refused to consider a change. Could it be taken out of
the FAA's hands? Congress in 2001 considered (and eventually voted
against) a bill to raise the age to 63. ALPA lobbied against
that bill but a change in the union's position might be enough to sway
Congress, said Kit Darby, a United pilot who runs a pilot
career-consulting business called AIR Inc. More...
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FOR THE FAA -- SOME GOOD, SOME NOT
Theoretically, you should be able to get your next weather briefing in
person if you want to. With some prompting from AOPA, the FAA has
determined that there's no good reason to keep pilots out of flight
service stations and towers as long as the security threat remains at
yellow or below. According to AOPA, that means that FSSs should be
open for walk-in briefings and that pilots should be allowed into air
traffic control facilities for "operational purposes" that include
tours and Operation Raincheck programs. But you might want to check
RAPS FEES FOR VOLUNTEER INSPECTORS
New fees recommended by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
could decimate the ranks of FAA designees who "volunteer their service
for the betterment of recreational aviation," according to EAA. A
couple of weeks ago, the GAO suggested the FAA improve oversight of
safety and certification programs and pay for it by charging
application and registration fees to the non-FAA people who do most of
that work. But EAA's Earl Lawrence claims many of those who inspect
recreational aircraft and conduct flight exams do so voluntarily and
they're already saving the FAA millions of dollars in the process.
WHAT DO APPLYING FOR LIFE INSURANCE & A RAMP CHECK HAVE
The answer is simple. Both are no fun, but
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SET TO PASS DRUNK-FLYING LAW
It could soon be illegal to fly an airplane drunk in Pennsylvania (but
don't do it anywhere else, either). Last January, when John Salamone
took his plane on an allegedly drunken spree of busted regs and
near-collisions through some of the country's most crowded airspace,
prosecutors discovered that there actually isn't a law against
drinking and flying in Pennsylvania. A judge decided the state's
impaired-driving laws didn't apply, and Salamone was eventually
convicted of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe. He faces
up to nine years in prison when he's sentenced later this year. On
Friday, the state House and Senate both passed the Flying While
Impaired Bill. More...
SAY "NON" TO AIR CANADA LANGUAGE PLEA
Air Canada contends the country's language laws are hurting its
ability to compete with budget-priced rivals. Representatives of the
struggling airline, which recently emerged from court-ordered
bankruptcy restructuring, appeared before a House of Commons committee
pleading for relaxation of rules that force it to comply with the
Official Languages Act, a law that ensures service in French
and English. Air Canada claims the rule, which doesn't apply to
competitors like WestJet and Jetsgo, costs it $140 million (Canadian)
a year in language training. But instead of a sympathetic ear, the
airline got a tongue-lashing ... in both official languages.
ZEALAND REGULATORS ON HOT SEAT
New Zealand aviation officials failed to take action against a pilot
involved in a fatal crash despite numerous warnings about his
competence and attitude, a coroner's inquest was told on Thursday. The
inquest is reviewing a June 6, 2003, crash near Christchurch that
killed pilot Michael Bannerman and seven passengers aboard the Air
Adventures Piper Chieftain. As AVweb told you last week, the
inquest raised questions about the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA's)
medical standards. Records presented at the inquest showed that
another pilot complained in writing to the CAA that Bannerman had
repeatedly breached CAA rules and that another pilot had warned of
Bannerman's "get-home-itis." More...
PUSH BACK DA VINCI TESTS
Well, when you're running a space program with mostly volunteers, you
have to expect some hiccups. The da Vinci
Project, a Canadian effort to launch a civilian space flight, has
pushed back test flights because of the looming holiday season. "Over
the holidays, some people become extremely available and other people
become totally unavailable," said project leader Brian Feeney. Feeney
is now targeting January to begin test flights from Kindersley,
Saskatchewan, which isn't at its best in January. A helium balloon
will first hoist the capsule before rocket engines ignite to boost it
to an altitude of 100 kilometers. Feeney plans to fly the manned
flights himself. More...
NEW ASF INTERACTIVE COURSE OFFERS WINGS
The FAA has certified the AOPA Air Safety
Foundation's (ASF) newest online course, Runway
Safety, as satisfying the ground instruction requirement for the
WINGS safety program. In addition, the FAA has agreed to consider
leniency for pilots who have completed the program in the event of any
subsequent runway incursion violation. Like all ASF online interactive
programs, Runway Safety is free and offers a suitable-for-framing
graduation certificate. For complete information and to sign up, go to
An Alaska pilot clearly made the best of his bad luck this week. In
fact, his forced landing and/or crash in a remote area of Alaska
sounds, from initial reports, like a week at the beach (a very cold
one). On Saturday, the crew aboard a Coast Guard C-130 found Michael
Holman, 46, of Wasilla, beside a bonfire at Dogfish Bay, about 100
miles southwest of Anchorage. The Hercules was on a training mission
unrelated to the search for Holman. He was spotted outside the
3,600-square-mile search area. He told the Coast Guard crew, via
handheld radio, that he had plenty of food and water and was staying
in a cabin. More...
FLY-PAST ENDS BADLY
Add the urge to show off and an unfortunately placed power line and
you get a Thanksgiving tragedy a Mississippi family will never forget.
As friends and relatives watched, Tim Mitchell, 38, flew a very low
pass in his Cessna 195 over his home in Montgomery County. The plane's
landing gear hit the power line and the plane crashed, killing
Mitchell and his nine-year-old son, Adam. "He was going to fly over
the house so that all the other kids could see the plane," Chastity
Sawyer, one of the witnesses, told the Clarion-Ledger.
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DME at Reno-Tahoe International failed in snow, stranding
HAZMAT enforcement should be improved, said the DOT's
Airbus asked to help restore Concorde's certificate of
R-22 "exploded" in midair ... according to
DVD chronicles UH-1 Huey's journey through Vietnam
There will be a mid-winter Lakeland fly-in for
vintage aircraft, Dec. 4. 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
The Pilot's Lounge #81:
Emergencies -- What You Don't Practice Can Kill
Seems like all
we do in our training (and flight reviews) is practice for
emergencies. Then why do pilots keep screwing up when a real emergency
pops up? AVweb's Rick Durden wonders if we're really practicing the
right kind of emergencies -- and whether we need to try some more
realistic simulations -- this month in The Pilot's Lounge.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about the FAA Designee Report, pilot glasses, pumpkin
bombing and much more. More...
NARCO'S HOLIDAY SALE
Transponder, a digital plug-and-play replacement for a variety of
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HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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(Translated from French)
Heard on 126.7...
Pilot No. 1: Cheerokee 140, C-1234, 2 miles south of
Rougemont at 2000 feet in direction of Quebec. For any conflict
contact GBBM on 126.7.
Pilot No. 2: Thank you...
... Can we talk about Palestine? More...
We Welcome Your Feedback!
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