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LIGHTSPEED QFR SELECTED AS "GEAR OF THE YEAR 2004"
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
DRUGS, BETTER BRAINS, BETTER PILOTS
Against a backdrop of moral, ethical and even job-security
considerations, scientists continue to probe ways to make our brains
work better. And, according to one researcher, the day is not long off
when a pilot popping a pill before flight will be "as ordinary as a
cup of coffee" added to the preflight routine. As AVweb told you last year, researchers
found that pilots taking donepezil, normally used to slow the onset of
Alzheimer symptoms, performed significantly better during simulated
flight emergencies than their non-drugged counterparts. Another study
has found that modafinil, used to treat sleep narcolepsy, is a
virtual cure for sleepiness and can allow people to function for days
at a time without sleep (unions beware). Other researchers have found
modafinil improves concentration, learning speed and mental agility.
So, why aren't we all taking it? Wait for it, says neurologist Dr.
Anjan Chatterjee at the University of Pennsylvania. More...
LOOKS AT HEART-EXAM STANDARDS...
But while science looks at making our synapses snappier, Australia's
Civil Air Safety Authority (CASA) is examining the more basic
imperative of trying to prevent pilots from dropping dead or
becoming otherwise incapacitated at the controls. CASA has
determined that the pilot of a Piper Aztec probably had a heart attack
before the plane crashed on takeoff from Mareeba in northern
Queensland in October of 2003. Gerald Mall, his wife and three
children died in the crash. Now, CASA is reviewing its medical
standards. Crash investigators couldn't find any mechanical causes for
the crash although they couldn't rule out a bird strike or a cabin
door coming open. More...
STUDIES AEROTOXIC SYNDROME
And there could be a new in-flight malady to challenge deep vein
thrombosis as a reason not to fly. A former Australian airline pilot
claims she was made chronically ill (and not fit for the cockpit) by
aerotoxic syndrome. Former British Aerospace 146 first officer Susan
Michaels told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she would
often notice a "dirty sock/vomit-type smell" (even when not
transporting a rugby team) after turning on the pressurization system.
Four years ago, a government inquiry found that toxic oil fumes from
leaky engine seals were getting into the cabin air via the
pressurization system. The inquiry dealt only with BAE 146 aircraft, a
popular four-engine regional jet in Australia and Europe (there are
some in North America) but now a new medical study is widening the
probe to other types of jets. More...
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Well, it's here, it's big and it's beautiful, in a plus-size kind of
way. The question remains, will the Airbus A380, which was rolled out
in a splashy ceremony on Tuesday, take off? The practical answer to
that question will come in March with the first test flight. But as
airlines all over the world retrench in a pitched battle with cut-rate
upstarts, pundits wonder if the Clipper-like service possible on the
double-decker behemoth is a thing of the past, and some planners
wonder if the ability of airports to accommodate the aircraft (and its
passengers) is yet a thing of the future. But Tuesday was a day for a
remarkable first, and skepticism was brushed aside in the giddiness
that accompanies such an occasion. More...
TOUTED, ECONOMY PREDICTED
Of course, the biggest cheerleader for the super jumbo is Sir Richard
Branson, whose Virgin Atlantic has ordered six. Branson is keeping the
hype alive by announcing that the Virgin planes will have on-board
casinos and even suites with double beds. "Maybe now there will be two
ways of getting lucky on a Virgin plane," Branson quipped to
reporters. Although Virgin and some others will undoubtedly include
some bells and whistles for their well-heeled passengers, the more
cynical among aviation consultants liken the A380 to the modern
incarnation of a troop train. Henry Harteveldt, vice president of
Forrester Research, told Wired News that the world has been promised
staterooms and theaters in the sky once before -- with the launch of
the Boeing 747 in 1969. More...
The vast majority of midair collisions are in or near the pattern so
investigators have their work cut out for them in the tragic meeting
of an Air Tractor crop-duster and an Air Force T-37 5,000 feet above
the wide-open spaces of Oklahoma on Tuesday morning. The Air Force
pilots, instructor Capt. Christopher S. Otis and student 2nd Lt.
Roderick V. James, bailed out safely but the Air Tractor pilot, Derek
Nach, died. Hunting guide Jerry Mayfield reached the Tweet pilots
first and said one of them told him he didn't see the collision
coming. There have been similar events, before. Nach was ferrying the
brand-new Air Tractor from the plant in Olney, Texas, to its new owner
in South Dakota. More...
AIRCRAFT TO BE LIQUIDATED
Commander Aircraft is apparently the latest casualty of 9/11 and the
generally weak aviation market. The Bethany, Okla., plane-maker has
asked a bankruptcy judge to convert its bankruptcy case from a Chapter
11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. The company built about
200 of the speedy and luxurious four-place singles between 1992 and
2002. It was hit hard by recent downturn and attempts at attracting
new capital apparently failed. Precipitating the most recent turn of
events, an investor who had planned to sink $2.8 million into the
company for an 80-percent share a couple of weeks ago defaulted and
forfeited his $200,000 deposit. More...
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL
AWARENESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL|
Charts, which can be displayed on Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 or
Entegra/EX5000 MFDs, provide geo-referenced approach charts and
airport diagrams. CMax reduces the amount of paper in your
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easily. CMax overlays your flight plan and aircraft position for
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PDA HITS MARKET
Here's a Palm Pilot worthy of its name. Garmin has married a
moving-map GPS with a Palm PDA to come up with the iQue 3600A. The new
device is based on a terrestrial version of the same concept (the iQue
3600) which combined all the organizational and entertainment
capabilities of the Palm Pilot with maps, turn-by-turn directions and
a geographical database to make it easier for business people,
professionals or those hopelessly addicted to gadgets to find their
way in the world. The aviation version adds a third dimension to the
PDA's utility. The portable PDA snaps into a yoke-mounted cradle
during flight. The cradle has the aviation-related buttons that
identify it as a GPS. More...
PILOTS AIM FOR RECORD
A pair of British physically challenged aviation buffs are out to
prove that their disabilities don't diminish their need for speed.
Sometime in the coming year, John de Frayssinet and Jenny Ayers, both
members of the British Disabled Flying Association, hope to claim a
world record in their class for a flight from the southern tip of
Great Britain at Land's End to the northern extreme of John O'Groats
in Scotland. The current record was set last year in a Diamond DA40
with a Thielert diesel engine. De Frayssinet and Ayers will try to
beat it in de Frayssinet's homebuilt Glasair. On the surface, it
should be no contest. The Glasair cruises about 60 knots faster than
the diesel Diamond but the 632-mile distance will force de Frayssinet
to balance speed and fuel economy if he hopes to finish.
ASA GETS "FIT" THE FAA HAS RECOGNIZED
IP Trainer and Instrument Refresher: An IPC
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products, finding them more convenient and accessible, less
expensive, and more relevant to today's pilots. These are the
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IP Trainer is for the not-yet-instrument-rated pilot,
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ground training program. Instrument Refresher: An IPC
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skills before taking an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC). Order
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PLEDGES $25,000 TO TSUNAMI RELIEF
AOPA is organizing a tangible way for pilots to help pilots bring help
to the victims of the South Asia tsunami. AOPA is pledging to match,
dollar for dollar, to a maximum of $25,000, contributions made by
individuals (you don't have to be a member) to AirServ
International, a humanitarian organization that is using a fleet
of GA aircraft in the devastated area. "AirServ International is in
the midst of assisting in this disaster," said AOPA President Phil
Boyer. "Theirs and other aviation efforts are a remarkable example of
how GA airplanes and airports serve as a vital emergency link for
people throughout the world." More...
HEAVY METAL TO BIG IRON
For many airline pilots, flying for a living was a lifelong dream that
began with noses pressed against an airport fence. Bruce Dickinson's
moment of truth came later in life as he crawled, retching drunk, down
a Japanese hotel corridor scavenging for leftover food from
room-service trays. But, then, Dickinson's path to the left seat was a
little different than most. In fact, the lead singer for the British
heavy metal band Iron Maiden (with such notable titles as "Bring
Your Daughter To The Slaughter") still tours and records with the band
(the new album's name is Flying Heavy Metal) when he's not flying
planeloads of vacationers for Astraeus Airlines. More...
Cirrus chute found outside wreck...
Pranksters shone a spotlight
into Qantas cockpit...
Ultralight instructor ground school course
offered by EAA...
Comair president resigned, was immediately
Beech Starship studied for composite research project.
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.
LIKE BOTOX OR FLU SHOTS, A LITTLE BIT OF A BAD THING CAN
DO SOME GOOD
This is the case with Vortex Generators that
create controlled turbulence to help your wing fly better. The
"Backcountry Report" in the current issue of Pilot Getaways
talks about different vortex generators, their value, and if they're
good for you. Maybe you'll start taxiing off at Taxiway Alpha soon.
Only Pilot Getaways magazine combines the best in-depth
travel info with technical content on the aircraft and systems that
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Savvy Aviator #14: Engine
Cooling -- Less Is More
If your CHTs are running warmer than
you'd like, odds are that you've got leaky cooling baffles under your
cowling. Fixing those leaks is usually simple -- and the less air
leaks, the more is available to cool the cylinders.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to get an honest assessment of the level of
caution you exercise when flying through MOAs (Military Operation
Areas). PLUS: Results of last week's poll on "doctored" (digitally
altered) images in our "POTW" contest. More...
RESOLVE TO BECOME MAINTENANCE-SAVVY IN
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
It's been another terrific week for "POTW" submissions so good,
in fact, that we snagged 47 images for our personal desktop wallpaper.
(At one a day, we've already got enough unique wallpapers to last us
until late spring!) Here are the top six, capped off by the best photo
of New Jersey we've ever published.* Congratulations to Geoffrey
Hickey, who'll be receiving an official AVweb baseball cap for his
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the
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|THINKING ABOUT BUYING A FABRIC-COVERED
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|PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED
"The GPS chapter alone is worth getting the
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