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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
GOES AFTER "HERO"...
No good deed goes unpunished, it seems, although we'd be surprised to
see the FAA throw the book at Jeremy Johnson. Johnson, battling high
winds and rain, used his private helicopter to help rescue a southern
Utah family from a massive flood that washed away their home and most
of their possessions last week. Then, he offered rides in his Robinson
chopper over the flood-ravaged area for a $100 donation to the family,
raising for them $5,000 in the first four hours and $20,000 total over
two days. That was after ferrying supplies, taking an explosives
expert to a blockage in the river to blow it up and basically flying
his tail off for a week to help his neighbors. But while his community
is hailing him as a hero, the FAA is alleging he broke a couple of
rules in the process. "I'm afraid they're going to suspend my
license," Johnson told The Associated Press. More...
CONVICTED FELON WANTS MONEY BACK
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania pilot who used his aircraft to cause a
series of potential disasters claims the punishment meted out is too
harsh. John Salamone was jailed for up to 23 months (he's appealing)
and also forfeited his Piper Cherokee for an allegedly drunken spree
over Pennsylvania and New Jersey a year ago that forced evasive action
by six airliners and some close encounters for a police helicopter.
Now Salamone wants the $34,000 selling price of the plane that a judge
ordered him to forfeit to the Montgomery County district attorney's
A CROWDED PLACE
The all but empty reaches of near space could get noticeably more
crowded in coming years if all who plan to exploit its potential get
their projects off the ground. Although Burt Rutan and Paul Allen's
Mojave Space Ventures claimed the $10 million Ansari X
Prize as the first privately funded effort to reach 100 kilometers
in altitude (twice in two weeks) last October, that didn't end the
race for near space. Since then other groups involved in the X Prize
competition have continued to work toward repeating the feat. The
Canadian da Vinci Project was trying to give the Mojave
team a run for the big prize but equipment delays prevented their
planned October launch of a giant balloon as a first stage and a
rocket for the final push. More...
Two companies not involved in the X Prize competition have recently
ramped up their efforts to get into space. Amazon.com founder Jeff
Bezos has started building a testing facility in Texas for his Blue Origin
company. Blue Origin has been doing design work in Seattle for several
years on its relaunchable liquid-fueled spacecraft, which it hopes to
launch in seven years. The Texas facility will include an engine test
stand, fuel and water tanks and offices, according to Geek.com. The
company is also hiring, according to its own Web site. Another dot-com
mogul, John Carmack, of id Software, has created Armadillo Aerospace. More...
THE AIR FORCE, TOO
Any of these private companies that actually get hardware into
sub-space may have to dodge military devices. The Air Force is
planning to launch unmanned aircraft that will exploit the altitudes
above 65,000 feet for simple tasks like communications relay within
the next year. Helium-filled balloons (sound familiar?) would likely
get that job. But over the next decade, more sophisticated aircraft
could do reconnaissance and other battle-support work. "This is not a
passing fad or fancy," Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf told Reuters. Leaf also
stressed there are no plans to put weapons on the aircraft.
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AIRCRAFT GOES RADIO-SILENT?
The silence from Adam Aircraft is deafening. Last October the company
predicted the first customer delivery of an A500 before the end of
December. AVweb has contacted Adam officials at least five
times in the past three weeks for a routine follow-up on progress for
the company's innovative A500 inline piston twin and first-to-fly (to
AirVenture Oshkosh) A700 very light twinjet. In every conversation
with an Adam official this year, AVweb writers were asked to
call back, and did ... each time. Now, a published report (which an
Adam official also refused to discuss) that certification of its
push/pull A500 piston twin is off the rails and that that's slowing
progress on the A700 jet's development has apparently leaked.
CIRRUS CRASH IN WEEK KILLS THREE
The second crash of a Cirrus SR22 last week has killed three people
near Hood River, Ore. In both accidents, it is unclear whether the
aircraft's full-plane parachute system had been deployed. Pilot Paul
Linck, 41, of White Salmon, Wash., and passengers Brook Campbell, 26,
of Stevenson, Wash., and 34-year-old Chris Jones of Hood River, died
when their plane crashed on a ridge about five miles from Hood River.
As AVweb told you Thursday, a Georgia man died when his SR22
crashed into a house in Coconut Creek, Fla. More...
PROBLEMS WITH TSA INSTRUCTORS' COURSE
Some of the CFIs who managed to successfully complete the TSA's online security-awareness course (we heard from
many readers, especially those on dialup, that the course was
frustrating to take because the questions took so long to load) were
faced with another complication. They couldn't print the completion
certificate that was supposed to be the proof that they took the
course. So AOPA convinced the agency to accept a tried-and-true (if
decidedly low-tech) method of proving compliance. "Much like an
endorsement, instructors can now make an entry in a logbook or other
permanent record to show they've completed the required training,"
AOPA spokesman Rob Hackman said. More...
PLASTIC FOR YOUR WALLET
In the next two years, the FAA wants all pilots to trade in their
paper certificates for the (allegedly) more terrorist-proof plastic
model unveiled in 2003. Initially, the agency was going to let the
paper editions be replaced by the natural attrition of wear and tear
and when pilots got new ratings or certificates. But AOPA says the
agency is now working on a rule requiring replacement of the paper
pilot certificates within two years (five years for other types of
airman certificates). But even that may be an interim measure. The
agency is still working on getting photos on the certificates but it's
hung up on the mechanism for actually getting the pictures taken. (We
understand cameras work well for that ...) More...
LANDING SYSTEM LOWERS MINIMUMS
Juneau and Palm Springs might seem worlds apart but they're both a lot
easier to get to thanks to a GPS-based instrument landing system
developed by Alaska Airlines and approved by the FAA. The Required
Navigation Performance (RNP) system uses on-board transmitters and GPS
signals to allow pilots much lower minimums when landing at airports
with narrow approaches surrounded by mountains. The system was first
put into use at several Alaska airports with their notoriously poor
weather. But clear, dry, CAVU Palm Springs? Apparently not always.
STARTED YOUNG -- ON A STACK OF CUSHIONS
Some people wait until the time is just right before taking flying
lessons. For Michael Barry, of St. Augustine, Fla., it was just after
he turned 11. The fifth grader needs about a half dozen cushions to
help him see over the panel and reach the pedals of the Florida
Aviation Career Training Cessna 152 but his stature hasn't kept him
from taking off and practicing basic flight and navigation skills.
He's not quite landing on his own yet but instructor Donna Tostevin
told the St. Augustine record Barry could join a special club of
pilots at the airport. More...
HAVE A CONCERN ABOUT YOUR
AOPA's Pilot Information Center has
a dedicated staff of medical specialists who can answer your basic
medical questions or guide you through the appeal process following a
denial of medical certification. AOPA's web site allows you to
research medical questions, has detailed guidance about many medical
conditions, and includes AOPA's TurboMedical interactive medical
application planner as well as a comprehensive listing of medications
allowed by the FAA. For the best information available about your
medical questions, call the Pilot Information Center at (800)
USA-AOPA, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/med/avflash.
Airliner water getting worse...
AOPA members rally for tsunami
Illegal dumps causing bird hazard at Austin...
lost a record $5.2 billion in 2004
Australian air force demo
pilots escape midair. 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
The Pilot's Lounge #83: Which
Emergencies Should We Practice?
The general-aviation accident
record shows that we've been crashing (and sometimes dying) for the
same reasons for many years now. But our training and checkrides don't
seem to reflect those issues. AVweb's Rick Durden suggests ways to
make sure we practice the most common emergencies, in this month's
Pilot's Lounge column.
ASA GETS "FIT" THE FAA HAS RECOGNIZED
IP Trainer and Instrument Refresher: An IPC
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