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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
SECURITY UNDER SCRUTINY...
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not conducted a thorough assessment of
the vulnerabilities of general aviation to determine how to better
prepare against terrorist threats, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on a yearlong study,
found the TSA has made some progress in developing and implementing
security guidelines, but just about every effort in training,
communications and assessment seems to have fallen short. The FAA also
took some flak in the report for failing to evaluate whether its
continuing flight restrictions are worthwhile. More...
BRIGHT SPOT OF INDUSTRY PARTICIPATION...
One thing that the TSA seems to be doing right is building productive
partnerships with the industry. AOPA's Airport Watch program, launched jointly
with the TSA, was cited in the report, as well as programs of the National Business
Aviation Association and the National Agricultural Aircraft Association. "This
new GAO report confirms and adds validity to what AOPA and the GA
industry have been saying ever since the Sept. 11 attacks," said AOPA
President Phil Boyer, in a statement issued Tuesday. "General aviation
airports are so many and so varied that a 'one-size-fits-all' security
plan is just not feasible." More...
STILL FAR TO GO
During its study, the GAO visited 31 GA airports chosen for their
variety of physical characteristics and types of operations. The
report found that most of the airport managers interviewed had already
established a number of security enhancements, using either airport
revenue, or state or federal grant money. However, security advisories
distributed by the TSA were too vague and were not consistently
received, the study found. The GAO report concludes with five specific
recommendations: The TSA should develop a risk-management plan that
helps airports assess vulnerabilities, do a better job of
communicating specific threat information, and more carefully monitor
foreign nationals learning to fly in the United States. Also, the FAA
should develop a plan to review and revalidate flight restrictions,
and the TSA and FAA together need to review the process for issuing
waivers to enter restricted airspace. More...
The FAA is seeking input from pilots as it continues its investigation
into a fatal accident of a Beech T-34A airplane on Dec. 7 in Texas.
Two men died after a wing separated, and the entire fleet of Beech A45
and T-34 aircraft was grounded last week. The FAA now has issued an
Airworthiness Concern Sheet asking for assistance from industry
type-club organizations, owners/operators, and manufacturers, as well
as T-34 AMOC (alternate means of compliance) holders, "to help in the
long-term airworthiness solution for the safety and continued
airworthiness of these airplanes." The EAA Government Relations office
is collecting the comments. More...
Canada's Snowbirds aerobatics team also was grounded last week, after
a fatal midair in Saskatchewan, but they are already back in the air,
after a preliminary investigation apparently found no evidence of
mechanical failure. Some critics, however, are saying the Snowbirds
should be grounded for good and their $10 million (Canadian) budget
directed elsewhere, CBC News reported Tuesday. The aging CT-114 Tutor
jets, which are older than the pilots who fly them, should be retired,
they say. "It's a luxury," said former colonel Michel Drapeau, "and I
think the time has come to question [it] and possibly do without."
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EXPECTED SOON ON NIGHT-LANDING RULE...
The FAA is close to a decision on whether it will change the
definition of "night" to reflect that local conditions can differ from
the times published in the American Air Almanac. The change could
limit operations at some airports where terrain causes darkness
significantly earlier than the Almanac indicates. When the FAA
published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) about the change in
2002, in response to a recommendation from the NTSB following a fatal crash in Aspen, Colo., the industry was
almost entirely against it. FAA spokesman William Shumann told
AVweb last week that the FAA will issue a final rule early next
year. "We can't say what the rule will say about the definition of
night," he said. More...
CHANGE WOULD TAKE TIME
Even if the FAA does adopt a change in the rules regarding night
flying, the agency would still have to survey all applicable airports
-- over 18,000 of them -- and then determine revised sunset/sunrise
times for each, Shumann said. "That won't be soon." A rule-making
committee that reviewed all the comments on the NPRM last year
recommended withdrawal of the proposed change. "The team understands
the NTSB's recommendation to create rulemaking that might preclude
situations similar to the Aspen accident," the committee said.
However, "the team does not consider the proposed change to be an
appropriate solution to a very complex and often site-specific
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LOSSES, BOMBARDIER CEO LEAVES
Bombardier CEO Paul Tellier resigned on Monday, as
the company struggles to cope with lagging sales, job cuts,
three recent jet crashes, and a falling stock price -- which hit a new
low on the latest news. Tellier had been with the company less than
two years and had another year to go on his contract. Apparently he
had let it be known that he planned to leave when the contract was up,
and the company decided not to wait. In a press release, he said, "I
understand the board's concern that I would not be there for the long
term to develop and execute strategies, and the need to reshape the
management structure at this time." Business analysts said sharp
differences on strategy with board chairman Laurent Beaudoin prompted
the departure. Beaudoin will act as interim CEO. More...
NATION PARTNERS WITH UTILICRAFT AEROSPACE
The Navajo Nation
will partner with Utilicraft Aerospace Industries to produce the
FF-1080-300 twin-engine freight aircraft, Navajo Nation President Joe
Shirley Jr. announced on Sunday. The arrangement will
establish three aircraft sub-assembly plants on Navajo Nation lands
that will create hundreds of jobs. The Navajo Nation has agreed to
invest $34 million in the project to become a 25-percent equity
partner in Utilicraft. "I feel very good, very confident about this,"
Shirley said. "This is an awesome opportunity and industry to bring to
the Navajo Nation." The FF-1080, which has been in development for 13
years, is an all-aluminum, twin-engine, high-wing, fixed-landing-gear,
non-pressurized, single-pilot-capable turboprop aircraft with short
takeoff and landing capability, specifically designed as a utility air
freight transport system. More...
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The official accident report on the fatal Concorde crash in July 2000
that doomed the big birds was finished two years ago -- but wait, now
there is another official report. On Tuesday, the findings of an
ongoing judicial investigation were made public, and the parties found
responsible in this probe could face manslaughter charges. Both
reports place the blame for the accident on a piece of metal that fell
from a Continental DC-10. Continental CEO Gordon Bethune has been
summoned to testify in London early next year. "We're confident that
there's no basis for criminal action and we will defend any charges in
the appropriate courts," said Continental spokesman Nick Britton. "We
strongly disagree that anything Continental did was the cause of the
Concorde accident." More...
ONLINE, WITH GRAPHICS
Real-time information from the AWOS (Automated
Weather Observation System) at your local GA airport may be online
soon, if a project from Stanwyck Avionics gains traction. The company has
developed graphic display software linked to AWOS that updates
automatically every 60 seconds over the Internet. The display is for
informational purposes only, but Bill Stanwyck told AVweb on
Tuesday that he is working with the FAA to see if it can be certified.
The graphic shows the airport runways with the wind on a compass rose,
displaying direction and speed as well as headwind and crosswind
components. The page also lists wind and temperature data, as well as
the current METAR and trend information. More...
AT AVWEB'S HOLIDAY SHOPPING PAGE
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WITH "ENGINE PROBLEMS" GOES DOWN DOWNTOWN
Approximately 7,000 feet and seven miles out of South Bend (Indiana)
Regional Airport a PC-12/45 reportedly lost power from its generally
uber-reliable PT-6 powerplant and landed safely (excepting
wing-to-power-line contact) on a busy store-lined road. The wing lost
its battle (leaving an outboard section plus what the local fire
marshal estimated at "400 gallons" of fuel on the road), but the
occupants, aircraft and passersby escaped victorious ... provided
victorious means physically unharmed. The quarter-mile stretch of
road-turned-runway was actually Route 933 north of Douglas Road.
Again, none among the two-man crew, three passengers, pedestrians or
drivers was injured, leaving many enthusiastic witnesses.
ECLIPSE EXPECTS MARCH 2006 CERTIFICATION
Eclipse Aviation says it expects FAA certification of its Eclipse 500
jet in March 2006. AVweb's report on Monday misstated the
BUYING OR SELLING AN
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13 whooping cranes followed an ultralight to winter home in
New methods for predicting clouds under development at
Ex-Cessna Pres. Charlie Johnson joined ATG, Javelin
Pilots can share rides and expenses at new Web
First flight for restored B-17 "Liberty Bell" in Florida
last week. 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.
"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW AIRPLANE"
airplane uses less fuel on a trip than some SUVs." "General
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SERVICE!" These are what GAMI customers have to say about
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time by buying injectors that pay for themselves at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products
and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you EFIS
for helicopters, Web site creation software for aircraft builders, an
air traffic controller simulator and much more.
The Cessna, The Sky ... and the
Cartoonist: Chapters Eight and Nine
Some people say it's hard
to spin a Cessna. Harder than some other planes, maybe, but our
student pilot and illustrator John Ewing figures out a way to do it in
his little C152. AVweb presents two more chapters from John's book in
our series about learning to fly "down under." 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/
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know what you think about the use of
biometrics in the fight against terror. A bill intended to fight
terrorism is making its way through the halls of legislation and may
soon introduce biometric parameters to pilot certificates. What about
mechanics? PLUS: Final tallies for last week's question about the
hours you logged in 2004. More...
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
It's all sunsets and horizons in the latest installment of "Picture of
the Week." Even with an unprecedented three bonus pictures this time
around, we had to leave some truly beautiful shots behind on the
cutting-room floor. Once you see this week's winners, we think you'll
forgive us. As always, our winner (Michael Montgomery of Kentucky)
will be receiving an official AVweb baseball cap to show off at his
local airport. Congratulations, Michael! More...
|Sponsor News and
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PERFECT GIFT FOR ALL PILOTS ON YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING
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CAN CHANGE ON ANY GOVERNMENT WORKING DAY|
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|POWER FLOW'S 200HP MOONEY SYSTEM IS FAA-APPROVED & READY
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GIFT OF SAFETY IS A CO GUARDIAN CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR|
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FOR THEM FOR CHRISTMAS IF YOU CAN WAIT!|
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|COMPLETELEARNING AUTOPILOT SOFTWARE ADDRESSES VOID IN
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in the January 2005 issue. Also
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|HUNDREDS REQUEST COPIES OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 MUSIC
911/The Album was played for the USS Nimitz crew.
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We Welcome Your
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the
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