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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
LOOKS AT CUTBACK TARGETS...
The political games should begin soon on how the FAA will redeploy
resources to meet a looming controller crisis. AVweb has
list of 48 airports that could see reduced service or even
off-peak tower closures as the agency tries to put staff where it says
it needs it and save money on airports that now have 24-hour
controller services but see little or no traffic during certain time
periods. "Having too many controllers on duty during off-peak times
makes little sense," says the FAA's executive summary of its new ATC
staffing plan. "We're also reducing our hours of operation at our
facilities where there is low or no activity, especially during the
midnight-to-5 a.m. shift." In the past, when there's been talk of
service cuts, politics sometimes appeared to be at least part of the
equation in the final decision on where the axe would fall.
STAFF EYED FOR TOWER, EN ROUTE JOBS...
Meanwhile, it's possible the FAA will have a surplus of a different
kind of air traffic professional in 10 months and that might help it
fill some of the current openings. The agency will soon decide whether
to privatize flight service stations and it's generally believed that
regardless of who ends up running the FSS system, there will be
numerous closures and curtailments. Kate Breen, president of the
National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, said in a news
release that up to 2,000 FSS positions could be eliminated in the
move. The FAA says some of those employees might be invited to bid on
tower or en route control jobs. More...
GERMANY STARTS ATC PRIVATIZATION
And in Germany, the government is considering turning almost
three-quarters of its air traffic control system over to the private
sector in a bid to raise money and make the system more flexible and
competitive. Faz.net reported Friday that the government has approved
a bill that would see 74.9 percent of the Deutsche Flugsiche-rung
(DFS) privatized by 2006. Retaining 25.1 percent would give the
government what it calls a "blocking minority," allowing it to retain
enough clout to ensure national interests are protected.
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GETS TOUGH ON EXCHANGES...
If Santa left a factory-rebuilt Lycoming under the tree (hey, it could
happen) don't assume it's free. Company brass have decided there is no
Santa clause and what used to be free, isn't anymore. In fact, it's
been about a year since Lycoming began strictly enforcing its exchange core policy, which can result in
chargebacks for damaged or worn-out crankcases and crankshafts. If the
timed-out engine you send back for exchange has any of a number of
faults that Lycoming considers unacceptable, you could be facing a
bill for thousands of dollars -- and you likely won't see the bill
until weeks or even months after your new engine is flying. What's
more, some of the conditions that cause Lycoming to reject a crank or
case are perfectly acceptable to the FAA. More...
POLICY, NEW ATTITUDE...
The policy itself is nothing new. Lycoming has always reserved the
right to charge back for exchange parts it considered unserviceable.
What's new is the company's suddenly vigorous enforcement of the
policy. In the past it was common for the company to look the other
way when even an obviously flawed case or crank was sent back for
exchange. Lycoming spokeswoman Karla Sexton told AVweb's sister
publication Aviation Consumer the company just couldn't go on
absorbing the revenue "leakage" from bad exchange parts. "It's
important for us to get the best possible value for our shareholders,"
said Sexton. "The world has gotten to be more competitive." (Something
some fear Lycoming may become even more familiar with as customers
react to the policy shift.) More...
Depending on the engine and the defect, the chargeback can add 25
percent or more to the cost of the engine replacement. On
four-cylinder engines, a rejected crankshaft will result in a $3,500
chargeback and an unserviceable crankcase will set you back $3,000. On
the sixes, a bad crank is worth $4,500 and a faulty case $4,000.
Eight-cylinder cranks and cases each cost $12,500. Not surprisingly,
perhaps, enforcement of the policy is predicted to change the dynamics
of the engine business. More...
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The Colorado crash of a Challenger bizjet that killed two pilots and
the son of NBC executive Dick Ebersol a month ago has reignited the
debate on when and if aircraft should be de-iced. The Rocky Mountain
News polled a range of experts on the topic and got a range of
opinions. And while the decision to de-ice is always the pilot's, some
have some pretty direct guidance on how that decision should go. The
newspaper's research found that major airlines serving the area de-ice
as a matter of course if it's snowing, something endorsed by the
Flight Safety Foundation. But both the National Business Aviation
Association and the FAA give much more leeway to the pilot.
STRANDED ON CHRISTMAS
Well, maybe they'll have a happier New Year. Tens of thousands of
Comair and US Airways passengers spent a miserable Christmas thanks to
foul-ups that may take until Tuesday to clear up. Comair cancelled all
1,100 of its flights on Christmas Day after the computer that manages
flight assignments simply threw in the towel after fighting two days
of weather delays and cancellations. "There was a cumulative effect
with the cancelled flights and trying to get crew assigned that caused
the system to be overwhelmed," said Comair spokesman Nick Miller. "It
just stopped operating." About 30,000 passengers in 118 cities were
affected. Many US Airways passengers encountered another problem
altogether: They got where they were going -- but without their
WILDERNESS FROM THE AIR
Scientists are using cutting-edge technology to help preserve the last
true wildernesses in Africa, and aviation is playing a leading role.
Dr. Mike Fay, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, has spent the last
six months crisscrossing Africa by Cessna in a project called
Megaflyover Africa. His mission is to examine places relatively
untouched by humans (no roads, lights, or railways). In his
semi-regular dispatches to a Web site set up by National Geographic, Fay finds
hope for the wilderness by spotting wildlife he didn't expect to see.
He also sees trouble coming as some countries begin to exploit their
oil wealth. The practical side of intentionally operating an aircraft
where there are no services for it is a common theme through the
ATTENDANT ACCUSED OF DISABLING AIRPLANE EQUIPMENT
Everybody feels like skipping work once in a while but a Pinnacle
Airlines flight attendant is being charged with trying to do something
about it. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that 23-year-old
Stephen R. Hirtzinger was charged Thursday with causing a plane to
become inoperable. The airline became suspicious after two dozen
flights, 13 of which Hirtzinger was the sole flight attendant on, were
cancelled or delayed because of tampering with fire extinguishers,
oxygen equipment and other safety-related equipment. According to
court papers quoted by the newspaper, the airline set up a sting
operation with the help of a local maintenance shop.
DOC BLUE'S EMERGENCY MEDICAL KIT DON'T LEAVE HOME
Do you carry a first-aid kit in your airplane or
car? AVweb's Dr. Brent Blue says drugstore first-aid
kits are packed with mostly useless stuff. Dr. Blue has assembled a
traveling medical kit for dealing with all sorts of medical problems,
based on his long experience as an emergency room doctor, frequent
traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad. It would cost more than $500 to
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WANT AIRCRAFT COSTS KEPT SECRET
What do airliners really cost? That's nobody else's business, say U.S.
airlines fighting to keep that information secret. The financial
details of commercial aircraft transactions are recorded by the
Department of Transportation but for the past 10 years, at the request
of the airlines, they've been kept confidential. Now, the government
(spurred by the financial industry) is considering releasing all that
information and the airlines are trying to block it. "We do not want
our competitors to have this information, nor do they want us to have
theirs," United Parcel Service spokesman David Bolger told Bloomberg
News. But financial experts claim the secrecy is hurting the industry
more than disclosure would. More...
PROBLEMS HIT DIAMOND DIESELS
Diamond Aircraft's Austrian division will soon issue a Service
Bulletin concerning possible cylinder-head corrosion problems on its
Thielert diesel-powered DA40 aircraft. In a news release issued by
Thielert, the company says the problem has affected "only a few" DA40s
and none of the Cessna 172s or Piper PA-28s retrofitted with the
diesels. The corrosion problem in the DA40s is electrochemical and
traced to the cooling system, according to Thielert's release. Earlier
this year, Diamond announced it was delaying introduction of its
Thielert-powered DA42 TwinStar and speeding up development of a
Lycoming-powered version. Among the reasons for the delay was the lack
of a Thielert service network in North America, something the engine
maker is now addressing. More...
ATTENTION, AIRCRAFT RENTERS:
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IT'S NOT TOO LATE to
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UNITED PILOTS MAY TASTE A YOUNGER REALITY
For some of United's longest-serving now-retired pilots, the new math
imposed as United tries to claw its way out of bankruptcy could
translate next year to a loss of nearly one-quarter of their expected
retirement income -- in some cases, more than $100,000 per year.
United Air Lines' four pension plans are under-funded by $8.3 billion,
according to The Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. (PBGC), an insurer
that expects to cover only $6.4 billion of that deficit and would
leave the rest to be absorbed by 123,000 current and former United
employees through benefits not received. If United's plans move
forward, some retired pilots previously receiving pension payments on
the order of $12,000 per month may see future checks arrive with one
fewer zero (but closer to $3,300 per month). More...
U-turn gone wrong closed Richmond runways...
Hawker Horizon got
provisional type certification...
IMAX movie features F-15 combat
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 #82:
Integrity, Responsibility And The Lack Thereof
In a time of
increasing challenges to general aviation, it is more vital than ever
that pilots and lovers of flight stick together when threatened with
yet one more airport closure or restriction. AVweb's Rick Durden
recently dealt with pilots who didn't even support saving the very
airport where they live. More...
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
mail this week about airport security and photo ID; and lots of
controversy about the controller retirement age. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
An oldie, but a goodie...
A fighter pilot called for a priority landing because his
single-engine jet fighter was running, "a bit peaked." A controller
responded and the lore follows...
ATC: Roger. You're number two behind a B-52. They've had
to shut down an engine.
Fighter Pilot: Ah, yes...
...the dreaded seven-engine approach. More...
|Sponsor News and
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|PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED
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