The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
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Aviation's first Eclipse 500 certification aircraft flew twice on
Friday, just making the company's own deadline. "As we promised on
January 31, 2003, we have resumed flight testing by December 31, 2004,
with the PW610F engines," CEO Vern Raburn said in a news release on
Friday. Aircraft N503EA, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F
turbofan engines, took off from the Albuquerque International Sunport
Airport for its maiden flight, which lasted one hour and 29 minutes.
After a thorough inspection by flight-test engineers, N503EA was
cleared and departed again at 3:59 p.m. The second flight lasted 54
minutes. The aircraft successfully completed all maneuvers in the test
area during the flights, Eclipse said. More...
15 MONTHS OF TESTING
Friday's flights mark a milestone for the company, which delayed
flight testing for almost two years after its first choice of Williams
International engines didn't pan out. On Friday, the prototype jet
climbed to 16,800 feet and reached 200 knots during the first tests,
and completed all scheduled tasks. (See it for yourself: Eclipse has
posted several short videos on its Web site.) Basic maneuverability and
various aircraft systems were checked, Eclipse said. N503EA is fully
equipped with pressurization and climate-control and ice-protection
systems. The flights are the first in a 15-month testing program that
will involve seven test airframes, more than 3,000 flight hours and
several hundred hours of ground testing, culminating in FAA
certification in March 2006, Eclipse said. More...
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SUGGESTS TACTILE ICE TESTING...
In an unusual move last week, the NTSB issued an Alert Letter directly to pilots, advising them to
conduct visual and tactile inspections of airplane wing upper surfaces
to check for ice and frost. The safety board said that the Nov. 28
accident at Montrose, Colo., involving a Bombardier Challenger 604
that crashed on takeoff, killing three people, has generated much
discussion about the effects of wing upper-surface ice accumulations.
The safety board said that many pilots do not recognize that minute
amounts of ice adhering to a wing can cause severe aerodynamic and
control penalties. The board also said that many pilots have
misconceptions about coping with icing, such as that they can "power
through" any degradation in performance from ice on the wings.
LITTLE CAN DO A LOT OF DAMAGE
Just because you've flown with some ice before doesn't mean your
aircraft will take off with what's on the wing, now. Fine particles of
frost or ice the size of a grain of table salt and distributed as
sparsely as one per square centimeter over an airplane wing's upper
surface can destroy enough lift to prevent that airplane from taking
off, the NTSB said. This kind of ice may not be seen in a visual check
from the cabin, and it is difficult to see from the front or back of
the wing. "The Safety Board believes strongly that the only way to
ensure that the wing is free from critical contamination is to touch
it," the letter says. "The bottom line is that pilots should be aware
that no amount of snow, ice or frost accumulation on the wing upper
surface can be considered safe for takeoff." More...
PILOTS CRITICAL TO TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORT...
In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean
coastline last week, military and civilian aircraft from around the
world are providing critical relief. Desperately needed helicopters
arrived over the weekend in Indonesia, finally bringing help into
remote areas where airplanes could do no more than drop supplies. The
U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln arrived off the island of
Sumatra over the weekend, and helicopters based on the ship are
ferrying supplies in and flying casualties out to hospitals. Villagers
mobbed the helicopters as they touched down, desperate for food and
water, sometimes preventing them from landing. "They came from all
directions, crawling under the craft, knocking on the pilot's door,
pushing to get into the cabin," Petty Officer First Class Brennan
Zwack told the BBC News. "But when they saw we had no more food
inside, they backed away, saying 'Thank you, thank you.'"
FLYING IN UNIMAGINABLE CONDITIONS...
The status of airfields and navaids is uncertain in much of the
region, and assessment teams are working to determine the status of
facilities. Meanwhile, many aircraft are limited to flying VFR and
only in daylight, though many have flown despite pounding rains. At
the Port Blair airport in India, half of the 12,000-foot runway was
usable. "All the landmarks that normally help us identify the airfield
had vanished. We could see no traces of villages or houses. ... I had
never seen anything like this before," pilot Ashish Dhawan told The
Times of India. Even the coastlines and terrain have changed
dramatically. Helicopter pilot Rahul Verma told the Hindustan Times
that sandbars pilots once saw from the sky have vanished, and new
formations have popped up from the sea. "It's a very strange
experience," he said. More...
FOR PILOTS SEEKING TO VOLUNTEER
"We have a critical need for airplanes and helicopters given the wide
geographic expanse and difficult terrain," James Morris, head of the
U.N. World Food Program, said Friday. "We would be very grateful if
countries were able to urgently help us meet our air transport needs."
Yet some pilots who have volunteered to help have been turned away.
Mike Smith, an official with the American Red Cross of Alaska, told
the Anchorage Daily News he's gotten hundreds of calls and e-mails
from pilots who want to help. "But we don't have the mechanism to
support them," he said. Relief agencies generally cannot cope with
bringing inexperienced volunteers to a disaster site and taking
responsibility for their well-being, according to the Center for
International Disaster Information (CIDI). However, pilots who want to register their
skills for disaster relief can do so online.
PILOT MAKES "MIRACLE" LANDING IN IRELAND
A Cirrus SR22 being ferried across the Atlantic ran out of fuel and
sputtered to a stop just seconds after landing at Shannon Airport in
Ireland late on Friday, The Canadian Press reported Saturday. The safe
landing was "a great miracle story at the end of 2004," as well as a
feat of airmanship, Royal Air Force rescue squad member Michael
Mulford told the CP. "[The pilot] must have judged it right down to
the last turn of the propeller," Mulford said. (There were perhaps
other considerations.) The pilot had taken off from Newfoundland, and
reported that the right fuel tank had started to leak about 400 miles
from the Irish coast. The rescue squad had been preparing for a
possible ditching in the wintry North Atlantic. Strong tailwinds were
cited for helping the airplane make shore. More...
TESTED AS FIRE SPOTTERS
In a demonstration flight last month in the Idaho desert, a small
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carrying a video camera showed that it
could help firefighters track the movement of forest fires. "I thought
this was possible for a long time," said Everett Hinkley, of the U.S.
Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center. "This technology
could be used to show you what the fire is doing right now, over the
hill." The tests were conducted by the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental
Laboratory. The Forest Service plans to test the UAVs with heat-sensing cameras on a fire this
spring or summer somewhere in Montana, Hinkley told The Associated Press. More...
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TO EXPAND BIZAV SECURITY PROGRAM
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed last week
that it will expand its Transportation Security Administration
Access Certificate (TSAAC) program, which grants increased access to
airspace and airports for Part 91 business aviation operators who meet
TSA security standards. The concept was tested with 24 operators at
Teterboro, N.J.; White Plains, N.Y.; and Morristown, N.J.
"Participants at those airports support the TSAAC procedures," said Ed
Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The TSAAC provides standardized security
procedures for personnel, facilities, aircraft and in-flight
OF LASER REPORTS CAUSES SECURITY CONCERNS
The FBI is investigating several incidents of lasers shining into the
cockpits of airplanes on approach to U.S. airports in the last week.
Pilots of six commercial airliners, a police helicopter and a Cessna
Citation described seeing beams of green light in the cockpit that
originated on the ground. On Saturday, authorities questioned a New
Jersey man in connection with several of the incidents, but no arrests
were made. No damages or injuries have occurred. The lasers were
directed at two airliners in Colorado Springs; a Continental 737 at
8,500 feet on approach to Cleveland; airliners at Houston, Medford,
Ore., and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington,
D.C.; and the Citation and helicopter near Teterboro, N.J.
7E7 STRUGGLING TO TAKE OFF
2004 was a rough year for most of the major U.S. airlines, and that
meant it was a rough year for Boeing as well. The airlines have not been buying,
and China announced last week that it won't be needing any new
airplanes in 2005. But the plane-maker got a bit of a boost last
Wednesday when Continental Airlines became the first major U.S.
carrier to place an order for the new 7E7. The $1.3 billion order is
for 10 aircraft, with the first to be delivered in 2009. "The 7E7 is
simply a game changer," said Gordon Bethune, Continental CEO. "It will
position Continental for significant international growth from our New
York and Houston hubs over the next decade." More...
TO START TRAINING SPORT PILOT EXAMINERS
The FAA's implementation of the Sport
Pilot rule will make some advances this month. The very first Sport Pilot Designated Pilot Examiner qualification
course will be held Jan. 17-22 in Sebring, Fla. Four more courses
will be held from February to May in Sebring, and seven more are
scheduled from June to October in Oklahoma City. The FAA also is
scheduled to release its new FAA Form 8710-11 this week, which is the
official application form for Sport Pilot Airman Certificates. On Jan.
15, the FAA says it will be ready to issue the first certificates for
Sport Pilots, Sport Pilot instructors, Special and Experimental Light
Sport Aircraft, and Light Sport Aircraft repairmen. More...
"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW AIRPLANE"
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SERVICE!" These are what GAMI customers have to say about
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Florida airport operators want help with Super Bowl week
FAQs about TAWS available online for AOPA
Boeing has sold off 46 acres in Renton, Wash.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
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someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com.
RESOLVE TO BECOME MAINTENANCE-SAVVY IN
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about engine exchange policies, how low is a
buzz, and ongoing controversy about controller and pilot retirement
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #4: Bad
In the tight-knit world of aviation, reputations
can be made or broken with just a few comments about reliability or
difficulty. Certain planes -- and engines -- have developed
reputations that AVweb's Marc Cook says are undeserved.
2004 Year In
Aviation's second hundred years began in 2004, and it
was an interesting start, launching at least two vastly different new
ventures that could change GA's future. The boosters of the Sport
Pilot rule hope that it will open up sport flying to new generations,
with a return to aviation's roots -- easy-to-fly and inexpensive --
while making the most of new materials and technology. On the far side
of the flight spectrum, SpaceShipOne opened a new frontier of
privately funded space travel for the (relatively well-heeled) masses.
Plenty of other people and events affected the GA life in 2004; AVweb
presents our year-end look at some of the highlights.
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Too much of a good thing? Flight instructors, flight club members (and
controllers?) may be able to relate.
Pilot: Tower, Cherokee eight ... no, Cessna seven five
... wait, no ... Cessna one two three four ready for takeoff at one
Tower: Ahhh, so many planes, so little time....
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