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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
NORAD'S GOT A "GOOD" ONE ...
First, recall that shining a laser at an airplane is a
felony under the Patriot Act (as New Jersey resident David Banach
is finding out the hard way). Now, enter NORAD's "Visual Warning
System" (VWS). As pilots all over the country report being temporarily
blinded, as the TSA issues warnings that terrorists might be using
lasers to blind pilots to bring down airliners and as the FAA and FBI
begin a concerted effort to find and prosecute lasing suspects, NORAD
is planning to shine lasers into your cockpit if you bust the ADIZ
around Washington, D.C. And in what must be the media-relations
challenge of the year, Mike Kucharek, chief of media relations for
NORAD, is trying to help us tell the difference between good lasers
(NORAD's) and bad lasers (everyone else's?). More...
WHY IT WOULD BE IN YOUR COCKPIT ...
Kucharek stressed that the lasers being used in the VWS will not
damage the eyes or anything else. He told AVweb the lasers (the
good ones) are less powerful than the laser pointers (the bad ones)
suspected of causing widely reported mischief over the past few weeks.
But he also said the "visually conspicuous lights" are designed to get
a pilot's attention. They are "... distinct from other light signals
currently used by FAA Air Traffic Control, [and] are designed to
provide a clear warning to pilots who enter the ADIZ without
authorization and cannot be contacted on VHF voice radio by Air
Traffic Control," he said. "Only aircraft that are unauthorized or
unidentified and unresponsive would be visually warned."
AND THE FAA'S NEW RULES ABOUT LASERS
Starting Jan. 19, pilots must immediately report any laser
sightings to air traffic controllers, who then would advise all
pilots in the area and contact law-enforcement officials, according to
a new FAA Advisory Circular released yesterday. A
warning will also be broadcast on the ATIS if the event happens in the
airport vicinity. Pilots who encounter a laser should avoid direct eye
contact and shield their eyes to the extent possible, the AC (wisely)
advises. Pilots are also asked to file a written report of the
encounter after landing. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta announced the new measures at a press conference
in Oklahoma City yesterday. "We will do everything we can to make sure
each case is aggressively prosecuted." More...
TO INITIATE SPORT PILOTS ...
A national tour to promote light-sport aviation is in the works, with
EAA and the sport flying community, marketing consultant Dan Johnson
told AVweb on Tuesday. "We're going forward with four
locations, then we'll evaluate and regroup, then plan four more, all
in 2005," Johnson said. The events, tentatively referred to as
"Chapter Tours," will feature forums and seminars by senior EAA
staffers, as well as a promotional aspect organized by Johnson. "This
would be a weekend event at a local airport, hoping to draw about 350
to 500 people, mainly pilots," Johnson said. Ten to 15 different sport
aircraft will be available for introductory flights, at fees from
about $29 to $49 each. Admission to the events will be free.
BRINGING PLANES TO THE PEOPLE ...
"We want to bring the airplanes right to the people, so they can look
and see and touch and feel," Johnson said. "We're missing a lot of the
pilot community, not to mention the general public, when we ask the
people to come to us." The schedule and locations for the events are
in the works now, and should be available soon. Vendors will have
displays and kiosks on site, and vendor fees will help pay for the
tour. Johnson also is working to involve the National Association of
Flight Instructors in the project, so they could offer symposia to
help familiarize flight instructors with the new aircraft and flight
AND CONVERTING THE ULTRALIGHT MASSES
Another ambitious effort underway to swell the ranks of Sport Pilots
is the SP/LSA Blitz, a project of Aero Sports Connection
(ASC). ASC is planning weeklong, one-stop camp-out events, where
ultralight pilots and instructors can fly in, earn their FAA
certificates, and get their aircraft transformed into N-numbered FAA
aircraft, all in one stop. The first ASC SP/LSA Blitz is scheduled for
South Lakeland Airport, April 5-12, the week before Sun 'n Fun. The
ASC says daily classes and group study sessions will be held, and
Designated Airworthiness Representatives and Designated Pilot
Examiners will be on site. More...
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RELIEF PILOT: WHAT IT'S LIKE ...
"It's a fever-pitch, adrenaline-rush kind of effort," for pilots
working in the tsunami relief zone, Dennis Fulton, vice-president of
operations for the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), told AVweb
yesterday. The MAF and its sister organization, MAF-Europe, have three
aircraft working in Indonesia -- a Caravan, a Cessna 206, and a
turbine Beaver amphibian. These small aircraft are vital to breaking
the "aid bottleneck" and getting supplies out to the people. "There's
a terrible, terrible need. But it's not just an anything-goes
operation. We are strict about staying within our safety standards and
operating procedures," Fulton said. More...
CROSSING GREAT DISTANCES ...
It took some time to get the aircraft into position. "Indonesia is a
big country. We flew the Caravan from its base, where there was no
tsunami damage, to Medan, in Sumatra, which was about 3,000 miles. So
it's like flying from New York to L.A," Fulton said. The 206 also had
to fly about 1,500 miles. The Caravan now is based at Medan, which was
undamaged by the earthquake and tsunami. "It's a big city, and it has
an international airport," Fulton said. Those pilots are able to get
fuel at the airport and sleep in a hotel. The 206 is based at
Meulaboh, on the coast south of Banda Aceh, near the epicenter of the
disaster. The small airport there was damaged in the quake. "But we
were able to land both the Caravan and the 206 on the undamaged
portions of the runway," Fulton said. The 206 pilots are living "out
in the elements." More...
MEETING DESPERATE NEEDS
Once the airplanes reached Meulaboh, a helicopter there scouted out
the area and found portions of roadway where the airplanes could land.
"There's a road along the coast, but probably 90 percent of the
bridges are out. So, since the roads aren't usable, that means we can
use the road for runways," Fulton said. There are no lights, so they
can fly only in daylight. The pilots set to work, flying supplies and
medical workers up and down the coast and evacuating the injured. "We
found people who'd had nothing to eat or drink for five days," Fulton
said. The Beaver is just now getting established at Meulaboh. They
have to be careful about where they can use it because the coastal
waters are full of debris. More...
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ROBLES SAYS NO TO SPORT PILOTS?
The Paso Robles (Calif.) Municipal Airport has banned
ultralight operations, and has proposed new operating rules that would
single out ultralight flyers for scrutiny, Denis Porter, president of
the Paso Robles Ultralight Association, told AVweb on Tuesday.
The airport said last month that ultralight operations were in
violation of its operating permits and safety standards, and complex
regulations and compliance issues would have to be sorted out before a
suitable operating area could be designated. Porter said his group
filed a formal complaint with the FAA last month, alleging that
ultralight pilots are being unfairly discriminated against. The impact
of that philosophy on Sport Pilots (many are expected to be crossover
ultralight pilots still flying the same equipment) is yet unknown --
as is the philosophy's popularity. More...
SLAMS FLAGRANT FEES AT SANTA MONICA
Meanwhile, the Santa Monica (Calif.) Airport has been unfairly
discriminating against business aircraft, the FAA said last week. (The
FAA didn't feel that way when, just to the south, about 100 smaller
aircraft were kicked
out of their hangars altogether at Palomar to make space for
business aircraft facilities ... apples and oranges, perhaps.) An FAA
report blasted the landing-fee structure at the airport, after bizav
advocates complained that it was unfair and unreasonable. The National
Business Aviation Association (NBAA) said the fees, which were implemented in 2003,
were discriminatory and unlawful. The landing fee of $340 for a
Gulfstream IV is the highest anywhere in the nation, the FAA said.
Further, the fees are earmarked for pavement upkeep (the pavement
is pretty nice), but the fees generate nearly twice as much
income as the airport actually spends to maintain the pavement.
TUESDAY IS YOUR TSA DEADLINE
All certified flight instructors and flight school staff must complete
TSA security-awareness training by Tuesday, Jan. 18. The deadline
applies to all CFIs, whether or not they intend to train foreign
students, Robert Albracht, director of GA ops for the TSA, told
AVweb yesterday. Luckily, compliance is fairly simple. The TSA
program is available online, and takes about a half-hour
to complete. At the end, the instructor can print out a certificate
and retain it as a record of completion. AOPA's Air Safety Foundation
is also offering the training as part of its Flight
Instructor Refresher Courses. For more information on the TSA's "alien
rule," click through here. See also AVweb's previous
|COAST-TO-COAST IN COMFORT WITH OREGON
Skip Aldous, member of the world-renowned Lima Lima
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FIRES CONTROLLERS AT NEW YORK TRACON
The FAA might be looking to hire thousands of new air traffic
controllers, but that's not stopping the agency from firing 15 air
traffic controllers at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control
(TRACON) because of discrepancies in their medical records. One
controller already has been told he will be fired, and the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said the FAA told them 14
others will be notified soon, Newsday reported Monday. "The allegations are that
some controllers who have made a worker's compensation claim for leave
with pay after a stressful event are not reporting the claim on their
... medical forms," the FAA said in a statement to Newsday. NATCA said
the disability claims are well-documented, and the discrepancies the
FAA found in medical forms are just a technicality. More...
SPAWNS TFRS, "GOOD" LASERS, AND ADS-B
The presidential inauguration on Jan. 20 is the first since 9/11, and
the level of security for that day is unprecedented -- but there may
be more lasting changes, too. The general rule for general aviation
is, stay away from D.C. -- far, far away -- from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m.
on the 20th. Next Thursday, GA aircraft are banned for roughly 23 miles around the city. This
too shall pass, but other proposed security measures in the works
aren't intended to be temporary. Aside from NORAD's "Visual Warning
System," ADS-B may be coming to D.C. According to the FAA's own
briefing on the inauguration (made publicly available online this
week, then removed ... but we kept a
copy) "the TSA has requested $20.8 million to outfit approximately
2800 registered general aviation aircraft permanently based within the
DCA Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)" with new transponder-based
identification systems. More...
C-130 CRASH IMAGES
A number of readers were unable to view the images associated with
of a C-130 that touched down at night on a runway that was
(unbeknownst to the crew) undergoing a facelift. So we've stripped out
the images and made them available online, for the benefit of those
readers who can't view them in their native format. More...
AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL
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THE FLY ...
LifeLine Pilots seeking new volunteers in the Midwest...
signed on as major sponsor for EAA youth and history
Cirrus Design opened a new sales center in
America West pilots must face Fla. charges for
Two men in a C-182 died Monday in a CAP training
exercise in Louisiana. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
-- Products and Services for January
This month, AVweb's
survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and
aircraft owners brings you flying DVDs, oil filter magnets, alternate
air systems and much more.
Cessna, the Sky ... and the Cartoonist: Chapters Ten, Eleven and
'Round and 'round we go -- doing "circuits" (as they say Down Under)
-- and where it stops is hopefully on the runway. Sometimes. Unless
you go-around. How's a new (old) pilot supposed to know what to do?
Our student pilot and cartoonist from New Zealand continues his tale
of learning to fly.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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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
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants your input on our "Picture of the Week"
contest. PLUS: Results of last week's question on tsunami aid.
MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Welcome to another edition of AVweb's "Picture of the Week," where we
print the best of your amateur aviation photos. Ken Hemmerling of
British Columbia takes us on a journey into the past this week, with a
photo of WWI German ace Werner Voss and his Fokker. For digging this
one out of the archives, we've declared Ken our weekly winner and are
sending him an official AVweb baseball cap. More...
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|AVIATION CONSUMER'S FEBRUARY ISSUE
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We Welcome Your
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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