The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
URGED TO SEND VOLUNTEERS TO TSUNAMI AREAS
The FAA is being urged to send volunteers to the relief effort in
South Asia to help iron out the transportation infrastructure problems
that are hampering the
tsunami disaster relief efforts. National Air Traffic Controllers
Association (NATCA) President John Carr says the 20,000 members of his
union could provide invaluable on-site assistance to get aid flowing
smoothly in the region. He wrote FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on
Tuesday offering the union's help. In addition to controllers, the
union represents professionals in disciplines ranging from
architecture to finance, and many are frustrated at being able to do
no more than sign a donation check. Reports Tuesday indicated that the
increasingly crowded skies over some areas combined with few
accommodating airstrips are straining the local air traffic control
COW" HAMPERS RELIEF
A stray cow wandered on to the runway at Banda Aceh, in Sumatra, and
was hit by a landing cargo plane. The landing gear collapsed and the
airport, the only one of any size in the area, was closed for seven
hours before the plane could be moved. And in India, aftershocks from
the earthquake that triggered the waves caused cracks in the runway at
Carnic Airport, shutting it down for use by large airplanes. It's not
just the big iron that's been having a problem getting through,
however. In Meulaboh, in Sumatra's Aceh Province, workers finally
hacked out a rough airstrip enabling Twin Otters to bring in
desperately needed supplies. More...
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HUNT FOR AMELIA EARHART...
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, human nature can't abide a mystery.
David Jourdan, a Maine marine explorer, hopes to launch an effort
this year to put our collective mind at rest as to the fate of Amelia
Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. It's been almost 70 years since
the media-driven around-the-world attempt by Earhart ended somewhere
between Papua New Guinea and Howland Island, and theories still
abound. Jourdan is betting $1.7 million dollars and a few months of
his time that the truth lies about 18,000 feet below the surface of
the Pacific. More...
GROUND SEARCHERS TAKE A BREAK...
While Jourdan and his crew (paid and paying) troll the seas, it's
possible a terrestrial search for Earhart will resume on the island of
Tinian, although no firm plans are in the works. As AVweb reported earlier, an archeological
team spent several days last November digging at the site where a
former American soldier says he was told Earhart's body was buried.
The dig team found some ancient artifacts and some not-so-ancient beer
bottles but nothing to indicate the aviatrix was buried there.
According to the Pacific Daily News, the team is regrouping and
tentatively planning another hunt after analyzing the information
they've gathered. More...
THE NEXT GREAT FLIGHT -- GLOBALFLYER
And as we try to quench our curiosity about a fallen adventurer, a
modern aviation pioneer is getting set to accomplish something Earhart
and her contemporaries could barely have dreamed of. Despite a
three-week delay in the preparations, Steve Fossett and his Virgin
Atlantic GlobalFlyer team are confident they'll soon claim a
clutch of records in an 80-hour nonstop dash around the world. Fossett
will be the only occupant of the jet-powered flying fuel tank that is
expected to take off from Salina (Kansas) Municipal Airport in early
February. That's right, Salina, Kansas. More...
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LASER CULPRIT CAUGHT
A New Jersey man has admitted to pointing a laser pen at a bizjet on
approach to Teterboro Airport last week, but not before trying to pin
the rap on his seven-year-old daughter, according to a Reuters news
report. David Banach, 38, of Parsippany, N.J., was arrested last
Friday after a laser beam hit a helicopter being used by investigators
to pinpoint the source of the laser in a Dec. 29 incident. Pilots of a
Citation with six people aboard reported being temporarily blinded by
the light as they were on final for Teterboro. One of the pilots was
on board the helicopter trying to pinpoint the source when it, too,
was illuminated by the green light. New Jersey was not the only site
of the incidents. More...
NOT READY FOR DVRSM
Well, the goal was to open up more room on the busiest high-altitude
airways, but this wasn't exactly the effect envisioned by Domestic
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (DVRSM). As of Jan. 20, aircraft
flying between FL 290 and FL 410 will be separated vertically by 1,000
feet instead of the current 2,000 feet. That effectively doubles the
number of airways (nice, but we always thought airports were the real
chokepoints in the airspace system). The catch is that to use the
tighter confines, aircraft must be equipped with up-to-date
electronics. The FAA says only about 50 to 75 percent of private jets
and turboprops that use the high-level airways are compliant and more
than 10 percent of airliners don't have the upgrades.
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL
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UNAFFECTED BY TSUNAMI (EARTHQUAKE)
It's sort of neat to be in on the ground floor of an urban legend but
the truth, the whole truth, must be told about effects (or lack
thereof) of the Asian tsunami on flight navigation. Simply put, there
are none. Not long after the devastating undersea earthquake (widely
reported at 8.9 on the Richter scale, it was the largest in decades,
worldwide) and resulting waves, scientists began speculating on the
effect of the event on the Earth's cosmic behavior. According to Dr.
Richard Gross, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the quake did cause
the earth's rotation to speed up by about three microseconds and
caused a slight wobble. But he said the changes are too minuscule to
worry about. That didn't stop some from speculating on the effect such
changes might have on GPS accuracy. More...
STAFF GETS CRACK AT CONTROLLER JOBS
It now seems clear that there are wholesale changes in store for the
automated flight services system (AFSS) as a result of study into its
privatization. The results of the review, called an A-76 study, won't
be released until later this month, but FAA Administrator Marion
Blakey has already announced measures designed to soften the blow for
some of the thousands of employees who will be affected. She traveled
to the AFSS at Altoona, Pa., on Wednesday to say that qualified FSS
personnel will get first crack at job vacancies for tower and en route
controllers. Blakey's announcement comes a couple of weeks after the
agency released a report saying it will hire 12,500 "new" controllers
to replace the 11,700 eligible to retire in the next 10 years.
PENSION PIN TO BE PULLED
The government agency that oversees pension plans (and picks up the
pieces when they fail) wants to immediately pull the pin on the plan
covering retired United Air Lines pilots. UAL and the pilots had
recognized the inevitable and agreed to wind up the pension plan in
May. But the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) says that will cost
it an extra $140 million, an "unreasonable loss" that gives it the
ability to involuntarily terminate the plan. Some retired pilots will
see their pension incomes drop
by two-thirds when the PBGC takes over. The Air Line Pilots
Association is furious at the news, calling the move "deplorable" and
SAFETY RECORD IMPROVES
It's been another good year for U.S. airline safety and it's not all
just good luck, say government officials. While some in the industry
say the statistical bubble could burst with a single accident, both
the NTSB and FAA are inching out on a limb to take credit for the
relative absence of accidents in the last three years. For the record,
34 people have died in airline accidents since 2001 (in 2002, none
died). An accident in Charlotte, N.C., in 2003 killed 21 people and 13
died in Kirksville, Mo., in 2004. Considering that more than 40,000
people died in cars, NTSB Chairman Ellen Engelmann Connors is pretty
happy with the stats. "I hope all modes of transportation could
replicate aviation's safety record," she told The Associated Press.
|COAST-TO-COAST IN COMFORT WITH OREGON
Skip Aldous, member of the world-renowned Lima Lima
Flight Team, put Oregon Aero aviation upgrades to the test when he
had to make a 14-hour, six-leg flight from Florida to Spokane,
Washington. "I flew my T-34 from one corner of the country to the
other and arrived pain-free and ready to perform because of my Oregon
Aero Complete Aviation Helmet Upgrade and portable seat cushion," said
Skip. "At no time did my helmet start to hurt my head or did my rear
go numb. I know I couldn't have done it without Oregon Aero."
You can enjoy painless flying, too. View Oregon Aero's large selection
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Aviation Electronics Association asked for comment period extension on
Raytheon CEO James Shuster picked to lead
Queensland medical helicopters had worst safety
Icing advice offered by AOPA. 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.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #45: Lies in the
AVweb's Don Brown had the opportunity to fly the airlines
recently and had to deal with what someone probably would describe as
an 'air traffic control delay.' Don thinks the FAA's newfound interest
in a 10-year plan for ATC isn't going to help future delays and may
even make them worse.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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DA40 DIAMOND STAR A FLEET FAVORITE
Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University CAPT, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University,
and Utah Valley State College all have selected the
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
The tsunami -- this week, AVweb wants to know if you've done anything
to help. PLUS: Results of last week's question on WAAS approaches.
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
something to say about the places he's visited, from the Southwest to
the Northeast, small grass strips in Canada, remote Mexican beaches,
and places in between. If you love dogs or just need a smile, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/woody/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
"Picture of the Week" contributions were up during the first week of
2005. Doug Francoeur of Alberta, Canada takes home the first coveted
baseball cap of the year, paving the way for 51 more "POTW" winners.
If you'd like to see your amateur aviation photo here next week, it's
time to submit it! More...
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|EXPERIENCE IS NO GUARANTEE|
Getting behind the
yoke of an unfamiliar airplane is asking for trouble, no matter how
many hours you have in the logbook. A former Air Force pilot turned
freight dog learns this lesson the hard way and shares his experiences
with IFR Refresher readers in the February issue. Also
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|COMPLETELEARNING AUTOPILOT SOFTWARE ADDRESSES VOID IN
The FAA is now requiring students be examined on
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instrument rating. Pilots can now gain access to ElectronicFlight
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|PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED
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