The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
SHUTDOWN" POSSIBLE (IF COUNTRY ATTACKED)...
When the Bush administration announced changes in GPS policy last week, the possibility that GPS
could be shut down to deny its use to enemy forces or terrorist groups
drew the most headlines, and generated much GA concern. But there is
really nothing to worry about, says AOPA. "GPS is absolutely critical to safety of
flight," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This new policy recognizes
that, and adds even greater protections for civilian use of GPS." Such
a shutdown would occur only under "remarkable circumstances," an
administration official told reporters. AOPA notes that in the wake of
the 9/11 terrorist attacks, GPS remained online. More...
OVERSIGHT SHIFTS AWAY FROM MILITARY
While the Bush plan expresses concern about GPS security, it also
shifts responsibility away from the military, creating an executive
committee to manage the global satellite system that will be
co-chaired by the Defense Department and the Transportation
Department. The policy explicitly recognizes the extent to which
civilian and commercial infrastructure has come to depend on GPS, and
states the importance of maintaining and upgrading the system. It also
reflects concerns that GPS's pre-eminence is threatened by the Galileo
system, under development in Europe. More...
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NTSB CHAIRMAN: TAWS NOT COMING FAST ENOUGH...
The FAA needs to beef up its oversight and ensure that all airplanes
that are required to have Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) on board are in compliance, Jim Hall, former
chairman of the NTSB, wrote in The Charlotte Observer last week. "In the United
States during the past 12 months, there have been 12 instances where
aircraft flew into an obstacle," Hall wrote. "Forty-five people died
as a result of these crashes. Of the aircraft involved, two-thirds
were required to have modern, updated terrain avoidance systems on
board, but didn't." By March 29, 2005, all turbine-powered
U.S.-registered airplanes with six or more passenger seats are
required to have TAWS on board. More...
GOING FAR ENOUGH...
Hall added that the FAA should extend the TAWS requirement to
helicopters, which are currently exempt. "[Helicopters] fly lower and
are therefore even more at risk from terrain and obstacles," Hall
wrote. "Ten crashes involving helicopters flying into terrain have
occurred in 2004, killing 35 people. Tragically, many of these
accidents involve medical evacuation helicopters that collide with the
ground or with buildings or power lines as they speed to or from a
hospital, trying to save a patient's life. This combination of speed
and the hazardous environment they operate in has too often been
deadly for flight crews, patients and bystanders." More...
COST CAN BE A FACTOR
While the cost may not seem like a big obstacle for many corporate
operators, for others it can be a hardship. Mission Aviation
which operates a fleet of 70 aircraft worldwide in support of
missionaries and relief efforts, said last week it needs to raise
$230,000 by the end of this month to make eight of its Cessna Caravans
and King Airs compliant. Without the funding, the airplanes will have
to be grounded in March. The aircraft are U.S.-registered but operate
in Indonesia and Africa. The MAF says it has lost two airplanes in
accidents due to flight into terrain, one in the 1950s and one in the
1970s, and hopes to eventually have TAWS in all of its aircraft.
WHAT DO APPLYING FOR LIFE INSURANCE & A RAMP CHECK HAVE
The answer is simple. Both are no fun, but
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TRAINING CALLED FOR TO AVOID ACCIDENTS...
The NTSB last week asked the FAA to require that all pilots and
operators of Cessna 208 Caravan series airplanes carefully check for
ice and/or snow on the wings and tail before any flight when
temperatures are conducive to frost or ground icing. Also, pilots of
Caravans equipped for flight into known icing conditions should be
required to undergo annual training on ice safety, the NTSB said. The
NTSB based its recommendations on a study of 26 icing-related
accidents and incidents involving Caravans between 1987 and 2003,
which resulted in at least 36 fatalities. The FAA has 90 days to
respond to the recommendation. More...
PILOTS NEED SIMULATOR TIME, COMPANY SAYS
After four fatal crashes of Mitsubishi MU-2 twin turboprops this year,
the manufacturer is recommending that pilots of its planes get
specialized training in flight simulators, Ralph Sorrells, deputy
general manager of Mitsubishi's aircraft product support division,
said in The Denver Post on Saturday. Sorrells said his
company is "deeply concerned, and we're in the process of trying to
get the word out" about the best training practices for MU-2 aviators,
the Post said. "I think it's a great airplane, but it has some unique
characteristics," John Paul Jones of Colorado, who has logged about
4,800 hours in MU-2 aircraft, told the Post. "If you do not thoroughly
understand those characteristics, you're in a precarious flying
AEROSPACE GROUP REORGANIZES
Mooney Aerospace Group (MASG) Ltd.'s reorganization plan was approved
in federal bankruptcy court last week, the company said in a news release. As part of the plan, the company
will reacquire the stock of Mooney Airplane Company (MAC) from its current
owner, Allen Financial Holdings. Existing shareholders will be issued
new shares of MASG common stock based on a reverse split of 3,223 old
MASG shares for one share of new common stock. CEO J. Nelson Happy
said: "We are very pleased to have the bankruptcy proceeding behind
us. We now have a fresh start without old financial problems diverting
management's attention from our core business, which is making and
selling airplanes and thereby enhancing shareholder value."
COULD FACE MORE FINES FOR BULLDOZING MEIGS
The FAA could levy fines of as much as $8.7 million against the city
of Chicago for its destruction of Meigs Field last year, The Associated Press reported last week. The city
used $2.9 million in airport development funds to remove the runway
and replace the asphalt with topsoil. The FAA is investigating whether
federal funds intended for repairs at O'Hare and Midway were
improperly diverted to pay for the destruction, FAA spokesman Tony
Molinaro told the AP. If the FAA finds the funds were misused, the
city could be fined three times the amount, or $8.7 million.
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PAINT + JET ENGINES = $50 MILLION
Boeing last week had to replace 10 brand-new jet engines on 737s ready
for customer delivery, after tiny glass beads were found inside the
engines. The beads, the size of sugar granules, were mixed into paint
for reflective runway stripes that were repainted early this month,
and somehow were ingested into the engines during test runs. Mechanics
could see the beads in the engine intakes when they shone a flashlight
in, The Seattle Times reported on Saturday. The county
is removing the paint and will replace it with glass-free striping,
the Times said. The damaged engines, worth $5 million each, have been
replaced with new ones, and are being evaluated to see if they will be
repaired or scrapped. More...
THRUST SETTING CITED IN FIERY CRASH
The takeoff thrust was incorrectly set on a 747 that crashed on takeoff in October, investigators said
last week. The cargo aircraft, operated by MK Airlines of
Ghana, was trying to take off at Halifax International Airport in Nova
Scotia when its tail struck the runway. The airplane broke apart and
exploded, killing all seven crewmembers on board. Newer jets have
warning systems to alert the crew to incorrect power settings, but
this 747 was not so equipped, investigators said. The investigation is
ongoing, and crew fatigue is being scrutinized. The flight crew had
been on duty for at least 12 hours. More...
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CONSIDERS LIFTING AIRBORNE CELLPHONE BAN
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked the public
last week for comment regarding the use of cellphones on airplanes, it
got an earful. By the weekend, nearly 2,000 air travelers had sent in
e-mails, the vast majority pleading that the phones -- too many of
which come with loud yakkers attached -- continue to be banned. But
the FCC says issues of annoyance are not within its purview. In any
case, changes will not take place until the FAA is done with studies
now underway, which is not expected to be before 2006. If the ban is
lifted, airlines may choose to erect cell-free zones on board. Some
Amtrak commuter trains have designated "quiet cars," which have proved
popular. For GA pilots who fly in smaller cockpits, that may not be an
DESIGN, PILOT ERROR CITED IN ACCIDENTAL SCHOOL STRAFING
Pilot error, a poorly designed pilot-vehicle interface, and the lack
of a published safety procedure were found as causes for 27 ammunition
rounds being accidentally expended by an F-16 during a training
mission at the Warren Grove Range, N.J., on Nov. 3, according to an accident report released Friday by the Air
National Guard. Some of the rounds struck a New Jersey school four
miles south of the range, but it was about 11 p.m. and no
schoolchildren were in the building. No one was injured in the
incident. Air National Guard officials said that as a result of the
investigation, changes in procedures and aircraft software will be
made to avoid any further incidents. More...
NARCO'S HOLIDAY SALE
Transponder, a digital plug-and-play replacement for a variety of
older mechanical units, is now available from Narco. The AT165
replaces the Narco AT50 through AT155. The AT165/K replaces the King
KT76A. Buy an AT165 from your Narco dealer before December 31, 2004
and receive either a $99 rebate or an Altitude
Encoder for $99 (reg. $238) directly from Narco. For complete
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Diamond TwinStar IFR-certified in Europe...
Photo IDs for pilots
included in intelligence reform bill...
GlobalFlyer launch date
pushed back from January to February...
NASA retired venerable
B-52B mothership after nearly 50 years...
Air Care Alliance annual
conference set for April in North Carolina...
AOPA ads promoting GA
to run on Wx Channel during holiday season. More...
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
CEO of the Cockpit #40: Dear
Finding himself a swimming-pool-bound prisoner of a
three-day re-route, the CEO takes a little time off from his enforced
Fort Lauderdale layover to jot down a few ideas for the bearded fat
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about Cessna's generosity, cone of no safety,
the ATC death ray and more. More...
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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
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As I approached untowered Booneville (AR) Municipal Airport, I
announced on CTAF. This was the exchange:
Me: Skylane 123 entering left downwind, runway 27 Booneville.
Unicom: Roger, Skylane 123, Wind is calm.
your rotating beacon is not working. Wait ... yes it is. No it's not.
Yes it is....
Me: Roger, thanks. More...
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|TRACK ALL IN-FLIGHT IFR AIRCRAFT IN REAL
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|HIGHLIGHTS IN THE JANUARY 2005 ISSUE OF AVIATION
"WAAS Flight Trail ... Finally"; "When Gyros
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|PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED
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