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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
UNDERWAY INTO BIZJET CRASH
The NTSB is looking at the choice of runway and the lack of de-icing
prior to the crash of a Bombardier Challenger CL-600 in Montrose, Colo., on Sunday morning that killed
three of the six people on board. The jet carried NBC sports executive
Dick Ebersol and members of his family, and had landed at Montrose in
snowy conditions to drop off Ebersol's wife, actress Susan St. James.
It stayed on the ground for about 45 minutes to an hour and was not
de-iced, the NTSB said. The pilot chose not to wait for the
10,000-foot runway, 17/35, to be plowed, and instead chose 13/31,
which is 7,500 feet long. The accident (so far) appears no more
unusual than Sunday's -- or any day's -- other fatal accidents, but
for the familiarity of those involved and the fact that it involved a
business jet. More...
CONCERNS ABOUT SAFETY...
The accident prompted a rash of stories in the mainstream press questioning
the safety of GA flights, citing the death of two pilots in a
Gulfstream G-1159A at Houston Hobby Airport on Nov. 22 and the Oct. 24
Hendrick Motorsports accident that killed 10 in a Beech 200 King Air.
The Challenger line has accumulated over 2.5 million hours of flight
time in 24 years, Bombardier spokesman Leo Knappen told MSNBC, and
Sunday's accident was the third fatal crash. Bombardier's stock took a
hit this week, dropping 4 percent on Monday to its lowest level this
year, and by yesterday had been downgraded to "junk" status as the
company released its third-quarter numbers and announced 2,200
additional aerospace job cuts. More...
BIZAV DEFENDS ITS RECORD
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) quickly responded to
the scrutiny, sending President Ed Bolen out for interviews
with the media and publishing a document on its Web site with details
of "Business Aviation's Excellent Safety Record,"
debunking mainstream analyses, and noting that 2003 was the safest
year ever for business aviation. An ABC News story on Monday reported that the fatal
accident rate of "corporate aviation is 2.5 times greater than the
major airlines ... [and] the fatal accident rate for charters ... is
more than 50 times higher than that of the commercial airlines." The
NBAA says those numbers are based on statistics that lump together
many different kinds of aircraft. For aircraft flown by a professional
crew, the fatal accident rate is very low, nearly the same as for the
airlines, the NBAA said. More...
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RECORDS AND TECHNOLOGY
Atlantic's GlobalFlyer, the latest brainchild of the brainiacs at
Composites, is just about ready for its round-the-world nonstop
flight, with record-setter Steve Fossett in the pilot's seat. The
aircraft is powered by a Williams International FJ44 engine and the
23,000-mile flight (give or take) is expected to last 70 hours (-ish)
at about 52,000 feet (the math says an average of 285 knots). It will
feed from 13 fuel tanks and use 18,000 pounds (give or take) of fuel.
Takeoff (when the aircraft will weigh about 22,006 pounds -- including
pilot) is set for Jan. 4 or soon thereafter, weather permitting. The
craft will launch from a 12,300-foot runway at Salina, Kan.,
with Mission Control based at Kansas State University's College of
Aviation, adjacent to the airport. More...
JUST UP AND DOWN, UP AND DOWN, UP AND DOWN...
Just when you think there's nothing new left in the world of flight,
another inventor turns up out of nowhere with a plan to go where few
have ventured before. This time it's manned flight via flapping wings,
an idea that's been around since at least 500 years ago, when Leonardo
da Vinci experimented with the concept. A team at the University of
Toronto's Institute for Aerospace Studies says its prototype
manned, powered ornithopter will be ready for its first flight within a few weeks. Prof. James
DeLaurier, leader of the project, was inspired by da Vinci as a child,
and hopes to fly the next version of his aircraft at the Olympic Games in Italy, in February 2006, in his
A BOOST FOR A FLYING WING
OK, there is nothing new about the flying-wing concept, but a project
working on what is now called a "blended-wing-body" aircraft just got
a major boost, in the form of a 2.5 million-Euro grant from the U.K.
government. The project is also gaining momentum by forming a
consortium of Britain's Cranfield and Cambridge Universities with the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. Investment is driven
by a search for a quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft for the
future. Cranfield also is investigating using hydrogen instead of
kerosene as a fuel source. The aircraft have the potential to fly
nearly silently and carry up to 800 people, though regulations that
govern evacuation procedures could limit that number.
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FOUR ATC SITES NEED IMMEDIATE UPGRADE
The FAA needs to "move forward expeditiously" to replace aging air
traffic control systems, especially at major sites where aging
displays are "experiencing significant reliability problems," a report by the Department of Transportation's
Office of Inspector General said this week. The report reviews the
FAA's Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) program.
The condition of aging displays at Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and
St. Louis "has become critical," the report says. The aging displays
limit any further software enhancements to controller workstations,
including safety improvements recommended by the NTSB during its
investigation of a midair collision in October 2000, the report said.
DEFY AVIATION DOLDRUMS...
While many segments of general aviation are just creeping back into
positive territory from the recent slump, and the airlines are
drowning in red ink, the sunny side of aviation these days could be
the vertical folks. Helicopter companies are "thriving," The New York Times reported Monday, and that goes
for small operators right on up to manufacturers. New models that are
quiet and comfortable are attracting corporate customers, the Times
said, and flight schools report a surge of new recruits hoping to take
the place of Vietnam-era pilots who are reaching retirement age.
Medevac business is up more than 8 percent this year.
LOCUST CHASE DEFIES HELICOPTERS
Australia's aviation agency has grounded helicopters for use in
locust-control work after a fatal accident last week, The Australian reported. Pilot Ross Mill, 36, and
passenger Ben McDonnell, 33, were killed when their helicopter hit
power lines while surveying for locusts. A second passenger, Lucinda
Mordue, was seriously injured in the crash, which was the third in a
month involving helicopters on locust patrol running into power lines.
After the first two crashes, pilots had called for better marking of the lines. Locusts
are now hatching across the New South Wales region, with reports of
swarming and crop damage. More...
RENO AIRPORT WANTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS -- AN ILS
Nobody likes it when an airport's Instrument Landing System (ILS) goes
down, but it's happened twice recently at Reno, Nev., and airport
officials are fuming. Last weekend, 2,000 travelers were stranded
during a snowstorm when the ILS was offline for seven hours, canceling
41 departures and 21 arrivals, the Associated Press reported. Many had to wait two
days to find a flight out, on the busy post-Thanksgiving weekend. "Why
wasn't this piece of equipment fixed?" airport spokesman Brian Kulpin
wants to know, since it had recently failed, on Nov. 3. "That is a
question we'll be seeking an answer to all the way through to
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PILOTS FEEL FUEL SQUEEZE
If you've been flinching lately at fuel bills from your FBO or for
your SUV, imagine how the airlines must feel, with that big fleet of
thirsty gas-guzzlers and a big empty wallet. United Air Lines, which
is struggling to emerge from bankruptcy, has started fuel-efficiency
classes for its flight crew. Pilots -- all 7,200 of them -- and 300
dispatchers are required to attend a one-day class that shows how to
cut back on refueling to lower the weight of the airplane, thereby
burning less fuel. United spokesman Joseph Burns told the Billings Gazette that safety is the "No. 1 issue,"
so presumably they are not planning to coast in for landings.
Lion Air MD-82 crashed in Indonesia Tuesday, killing at least
Seven soldiers died in the crash of a Black Hawk helicopter
A Pennsylvania pilot will get six months in jail for
A federal report critiqued FAA's
Harris poll: 77 percent of U.S.
public thinks FAA is doing a good job. 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.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #88 -- Can You Get
There From Here?
Flying from point A to point B can involve a
seemingly pointless exercise in dissecting regulatory minutiae. Since
the Brainteaser writer leads a pointless existence, let's get to the
point and see what you know. More...
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know what you think of the FAA possibly
outsourcing FSS. PLUS: Results of last week's question on your
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Welcome to another edition of "Picture of the Week," where we rifle
through dozens of reader-submitted photos, spend hours making "ooh"
and "ahh" sounds, and share the top three pictures with our entire
readership. There are plenty of oohs and ahhs to go around, with
beautiful landscapes and giant explosions (!) dominating this week's
"POTW" entries. When all is said and done, Dan Linebarger of Texas
walks away with this week's winning baseball cap. Congratulations,
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|SAFE GOODS OFFERS GREAT GIFTS FOR YOUR SHOPPING AND A
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|HUNDREDS REQUEST COPIES OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 MUSIC
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|THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T
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We Welcome Your
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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