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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
The FAA has grounded the entire fleet (about 320 in the U.S.) of Beech
A45 and T-34 aircraft after it was discovered that cracks in a
location on the wing spar not covered by a previous Airworthiness
Directive (AD) led to the crash of a Texas Air Aces T-34 last Tuesday.
An emergency AD was issued Friday that covers all
variants of the military trainer, which is used by several companies
for mock combat, aerobatics and upset-recovery instruction. The
aircraft can only be flown on ferry permits to their home bases or
repair centers and only in VFR conditions with no forecast moderate or
severe turbulence. Last Tuesday's accident killed pilot Richard
Gillenwaters and customer Pietro Migliori, of Venezuela.
AIRPLANE MET AD...
The aircraft in the most recent crash was an early T-34, serial number
G-13, and had seen extensive use in mock air combat operations,
including a stint with Georgia-based Sky Warriors, before it was
acquired by Texas Air Aces. Like virtually the entire fleet of T-34s,
it had met one of the alternate means of compliance (AMOC) to the AD
requiring extensive spar inspection and/or a prohibition on
aerobatics. George Braly, whose company, General Aviation
Modifications Inc., developed its own AMOC in concert with the T-34 Association, told
AVweb that the crash aircraft had been fitted with a used Baron
spar sometime in 1995. More...
DIDN'T COVER LATEST FAILURE SITE
One question investigators are trying to answer is this: If G-13 had
the required AMOC, why did the wing fail? This much is known,
according to Braly: The wing on the most recent crash failed in an
entirely different area of the aircraft structure than in both the
Rydell, Ga., crash in 1999 and the 2003 crash near Houston. In both of
the earlier crashes, the wing spar failed at a point about a foot
outboard of the so-called "bathtub" fitting, an opening under the wing
that allows access to the wing through bolts. In the most recent Texas
crash, the failure point was in the center fuselage section, well
inboard of the bathtub fitting. The recent crash highlights a certain
tension between the mock air combat trade and those generally more ...
subdued ... fliers of the T-34 Association. More...
THE PILOT INSURANCE CHALLENGE
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BOLDLY WHERE NO CONGRESS HAS GONE
A stroke of the president's pen will launch the era of commercial
passenger space flight. The Senate, with only minutes remaining in the
legislative session that adjourned Wednesday, passed the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act. Assuming
President Bush signs it, the controversial legislation will not only
allow paying passengers in space, it will make it easier for companies
to experiment with and test vehicles to get through what space policy
consultant James Muncy calls "the 21st-century equivalent of the
barnstorming era." Although the bill, on the surface, enjoyed wide
public and political support, there was intense back-room politicking
leading up to its final passage. More...
BUTTS OUT, FOR NOW...
The bill essentially sets the regulatory parameters on commercial
space ventures for the FAA for the next eight years. Under the
legislation, the FAA would primarily be interested in protecting the
"uninvolved public" and the public interest. During the eight years,
the FAA can only implement regulations designed to protect crew and
passengers if there are serious accidents or close calls. After the
eight years are up, the "barnstorming" will presumably be over and the
FAA will be able to draw up regs that reflect the lessons learned
(hopefully without a big body count) during the experimentation.
During House debate last month, some Democrat members opposed what
they termed a "tombstone mentality" and wanted more safety regs built
into the legislation. More...
ACCEPT THE RISK
Now, what's all this mean to you, the well-heeled adventurer type?
Essentially, if you decide to invest $200,000 or more in the ultimate
adventure ride, you accept the possibility that it might be your last
thrill and there will be no legal recourse for those you left on the
ground (theoretically). Even multi-billionaire Richard Branson, who is
hoping to inaugurate commercial space flight using Burt Rutan-designed
equipment in 2007, doesn't have the money to defend lawsuits that
would arise from the first ... private ... space crash. Eliminating
liability for passenger safety was considered an essential element of
the legislation. Less obvious, but just as important, is a section on
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TO BECOME PHOTO ID
Starting with your next rating or certificate, your pilot's
certificate will sport a new feature. You. In living color. Buried
deep in a contentious bill that revamps the U.S.'s intelligence and
anti-terrorism posture is a provision requiring pilot certificates to
carry the photo of the license holder. The new certificates will also
be tamper- and counterfeit-resistant and may have the ability to store
biometric information. The FAA has a year to start issuing the new
documents but you likely won't have to say "cheese" right away. The
bill doesn't require pilots to get the new license unless they get a
new rating or certificate. More...
GROUNDED AFTER MIDAIR KILLS PILOT
The Canadian Armed Forces has temporarily grounded the
Snowbirds air demonstration team after a midair collision killed a
pilot and slightly injured another. Capt. Miles Selby died when his
CT-114 Tutor jet crashed in a field near Mossbank, Saskatchewan. The
other pilot, Capt. Chuck Mallet, was able to eject and is being
treated for minor injuries. The two were on a routine training
mission. They were the solo pilots and may have been practicing
opposing maneuvers when the accident occurred. Mossbank is about 40
miles from the Snowbirds' home base and winter-training headquarters
at Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw. More...
DEBATE GROUNDS DRUNK-FLYING LAW
Pennsylvania still doesn't have a law against flying while drunk
because Gov. Ed Rendell doesn't want to spend $6 million on rural
transit. Huh? you ask. Well, that's politics as usual in Harrisburg,
where getting things done is apparently an exercise in trickery and
one-upmanship. As AVweb told you last month, both state houses
had approved the Flying While Impaired bill in an attempt to plug an
embarrassing loophole. After John Salamone's allegedly drunken aerial
tour of Pennsylvania and New Jersey last January, in which he buzzed
Philadelphia Airport and got in the way of airliners on his way to a
close encounter with a nuclear power plant, prosecutors discovered
there was no law against flying drunk. There is still no law against
it because opportunistic legislators tried to piggyback a
controversial measure on the bill. More...
PWC-POWERED ECLIPSE ROLLS OUT
The first Eclipse 500 certification test airplane -- complete with new
Pratt & Whitney Canada engines -- rolled out of the company's Albuquerque assembly
plant on Saturday. The airplane is the first of five flying test beds
that will go through the certification process. Other airframes will
be used for static and fatigue testing. First flight of the test
aircraft will occur sometime in the next couple of weeks, according to
an Eclipse statement. "Roll out of (the test plane) is an important
symbol of the real progress made in the Eclipse 500 program," said CEO
Vern Raburn. More...
GIFT-GIVING MADE EASY
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SAFE GLIDING FEATURE PATENTED
Any GPS can tell you where you are but Control Vision's Anywhere Map system tells you
where you should be in case your engine quits. Anywhere Map's "cones
of safety" feature has now been patented and it falls under the
category of "why didn't I think of that?" As part of the moving map's
"personal digital co-pilot" system, the display shows an inverted cone
around all airports in the vicinity within which the aircraft can
glide safely to a landing. "Being within gliding range of an airport
is one of the best pieces of information available to the pilot of an
aircraft in distress," said Control Vision CEO Jay Humbard.
(BRIEFLY) GO BLANK AT CALIFORNIA TRACON
Another major technical foul-up briefly snarled California airspace on
Thursday. After suffering a power failure last April and the failure of a radio system (in which the backups
failed, too) earlier this year, controllers' screens went blank at the
major Terminal Radar Approach Control center watching over the comings
and goings at dozens of airports in Southern California and as far
east as Las Vegas. This time the backup system worked and the screens
were back on within five minutes. But even that little blip affected
dozens of flights, causing delays (albeit short ones) in the air and
on the ground. More...
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LANDS ON TRUCK
While we can't believe it was his intended target, the pilot of a
Mooney M20F can add the dubious distinction of using a moving highway
truck's trailer as a landing strip -- and living to tell the tale.
Mark Taylor Davis was trying to get to the airport at Fabens, Texas
(near El Paso) after the Mooney's engine quit but he didn't quite make
it. The plane left a couple of skid marks on top of the trailer before
falling onto the highway upside down. Neither Taylor nor his wife
Mercedes were hurt. Truck driver Raymond Bennett White Jr. said he
didn't hear a thing when the plane touched down. More...
FCC might review airliner cell phone ban...
Sex offender faces jail
for lying to FAA on certificate forms...
Bruce Willis offered land
for an airport...next to his proposed ski resort...
$20 million into single-engine plant...
Fossett was co-pilot on
glider record flight, according to FAI Web site. 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
As the Beacon Turns #84: Let's
What better way to spend a long weekend in the
Northwest than to get reaquainted with planes on floats. AVweb's
Michael Maya Charles shows that skill with seaplane techniques can
help when you're on dry land, in this month's As The Beacon Turns.
GIVE THE GIFT THAT WILL LAST FOR A
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature
Reader mail this week about outsourcing Flight Service Stations,
flying with polished ice, cell phone interference and much more.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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Tower: How was the ride down the ILS?
Airliner 123: Pretty good actually.....
Tower: When did you break out?
Airliner 123: (pause) 1996
Airliner 123: (even longer pause) OH!! You mean out of the clouds??
Airliner 123: ...About 1000 feet. More...
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|IFR MAGAZINE ASKS, "WHEN CAN YOU
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