The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
ONE WEEK IN...
Domestic RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums) took effect
in the airspace above the U.S. one week ago, today, and (so far) the
transition seems to have gone without glitches and even (which is
harder to believe) with hardly any griping. "Everything went pretty
smoothly. It was basically a non-event," National Business
Aviation Association (NBAA) spokesman Dan Hubbard told
AVweb on Tuesday. "We're satisfied with how RVSM has gone into
effect." At 0401 EST last Thursday, aircraft that had not complied
with FAA requirements for equipment and authorization were
transitioned out of the airspace between Flight Levels 290 and 410.
Aircraft in compliance were transitioned to make use of the six new
high-altitude routes. The changes took effect at the same time above
Canada, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
PILOTS, MANUFACTURERS ADAPTING...
FAA spokesman William Shumann had a similar report: "Our overall
impression is that center controllers throughout our system are
pleased with the change and like the flexibility of having more
altitudes to offer. Anecdotally, we're hearing that pilots are pleased
as well," he told AVweb in an e-mail on Tuesday. "So far there
have been no operational errors attributed to RVSM." Walter Desrosier,
VP of engineering for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association,
agreed that it's been a successful transition. "There have been no
major bugs or snafus that we've heard of," he told AVweb
yesterday. Manufacturers conducting flight testing in the RVSM
airspace have had some concerns, but they are being worked out.
"Nobody is grounded. Nobody has had any kind of interruption or delay
in their flight-testing programs," Desrosier said. "They knew this was
STILL NOT IN COMPLIANCE
As many as 1,600 to 2,000 bizjets were estimated to be not in
compliance as of the deadline, according to Paul Clouse, director of
RVSM Operations at ARINC, and many are still in the works. ARINC has
been working as a consultant to operators, helping to lead them
through the complex authorization process. "We are quite busy with
height monitoring [a 30-minute in-flight test to verify that
instrument error is within limits], Letter of Authorization packages,
and RVSM modifications, at our facilities in Colorado Springs and
Scottsdale, Ariz.," Clouse told AVweb on Tuesday. Some
operators have been waiting for the rush to subside in hopes of
bargaining for a lower price; others had delayed on a gamble that the
FAA wouldn't make its deadline. More...
RULE BACK IN PLAY...
With Congress back in session, a bill to raise the mandatory
retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65 has reappeared as
well. The bill foundered last year, but senior Republicans Sen. James
Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada have revived it, and
pressure for change seems to be building. With the major airlines in
trouble, and pilots losing wages and benefits and pensions, their plea
to not be booted out at 60 may gain a bit of sympathy. And better
healthcare means pilots at 60 still retain their flight skills, said
Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. Mica
said he plans to hold hearings on the rule. "When it comes to flying,
older and more experienced is better," he told the St. Petersburg Times. More...
ALPA CONSIDERS CHANGE
Under International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations,
airline pilots from more than 180 countries can fly into the United
States up to age 65. More than 40 other countries have raised their
pilot retirement age to 63 or 65. For years, the Air Line Pilots
Association (ALPA) has stood by the age-60 rule, despite
grass-roots lobbying by pilots seeking to change it. Now, the union is
reconsidering its stance. Last September, ALPA's executive board voted
unanimously to begin a thorough review of its position on the rule.
The union plans a communications effort to educate its members about
the rule and will take a poll this year to gauge their feelings about
it. "This reexamination will help determine ALPA's future position on
mandatory retirement -- whether it be to maintain or change the
Association's policy," ALPA said in a statement on its Web site. It
will be ALPA's first major re-examination of the rule since 1980.
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EXAMINERS NOW SPORT PILOT READY
Eight brand-new Sport Pilot Examiners were certified by the FAA
last Saturday in Sebring, Fla., at the conclusion of the first-ever
Sport Pilot Examiner/Sport Pilot Flight Instructor Examiner course.
The examiners spent a busy week, studying the new regulations and
practical test standards, taking flight tests and perusing the new
examiner handbook. "They are a credit to the light sport aviation
community," said Marty Weaver, manager of the FAA's Light Sport
Aviation Branch. He said he also got lots of valuable feedback to help
improve future courses. The first five experimental light-sport
aircraft (ELSA) also were certified during the week.
CLOSER FOR SPACE ENTREPRENEURS
The success of the X Prize competition has spawned a new wave of
efforts to launch private spaceships and build spaceports -- so many
that the field is starting to sort out into various subgroups. Most
active are the companies we told you about on Monday, who are trying
to launch manned ships into space and back, mainly for tourism. But
gaining fast are the next tier of contenders, who have their eyes on
the prize of getting into orbit, and staying as long as they like.
Last week, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX took a leap forward when it successfully
tested its Merlin rocket engine, which produces 73,000 pounds of
thrust, Wired News reported. The engine burned for 162
seconds -- long enough to boost a 1,500-pound payload into orbit.
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BURGLARIES SPIKE IN SOUTHEAST
If you live in Florida, keep an eye on your airplane ... according to
the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute (ACPI), that state leads the nation by far in
numbers of burglaries from aircraft in 2004. "All late-model
Bendix/King and Garmin units are the preferred choice of thieves,"
says Robert Collins, president of ACPI. "GPS units have become very
popular." 2004 is the first year since 1990 that aircraft burglaries
have been higher than the previous year, Collins said. Theft activity
in Florida and Georgia has spiked this year's statistics. "That spike
kind of surprised us," Collins told AVweb yesterday, but he
said it was not related to last year's hurricanes in that area.
AIRLINER ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS TOO COSTLY, UNRELIABLE
It would cost $11 billion to equip the 6,800 airliners in the U.S.
fleet with systems to guard against attacks from shoulder-fired
missiles, according to a Rand Corporation study issued Tuesday. Operating
the system would cost an additional $2.1 billion per year. And the
laser systems now in use on military aircraft are too unreliable, the
report said. False alarms are frequent, and terrorists might be able
to find ways to circumvent the safeguards anyway. "Resources available
for homeland security are limited, so we must strive to get the most
benefit from our investments," said Michael Wermuth, director of
Rand's homeland security program. "There may well be other strategy
alternatives that could prove to be less expensive and considerably
more effective." 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
optimum orientation. CMax even shows runway incursion hotspots
and improves taxiway awareness, reducing the need for "progressives"
at unfamiliar airports. With CMax, youll know exactly
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ETHANOL IN THOSE PUMPS
A change to the way gasoline is sold in Montana could have
ramifications for pilots everywhere who use auto fuel, EAA said yesterday. Legislation pending in the
Montana legislature mandates that all gasoline sold to consumers for
use in motor vehicles must contain 10 percent denatured ethanol. Many
aircraft cannot operate safely on fuel blended with ethanol products,
EAA said, including all future special light-sport airplanes (S-LSAs).
The ASTM/FAA standards for the S-LSAs require them to operate on
unleaded gasoline. More...
FLYING CARS -- TAKE A JET TAXI
If you're tired of waiting for a flying car, a London company is
already at work on the next big thing -- a jet taxi that can zip
passengers in and out of city centers faster and quieter than a
helicopter. Avcen, based in London, is developing what it
calls a "Very Quiet Short Takeoff and Landing Jetpod Aircab." "We know
that cities like Moscow, Tokyo and New York are crying out for
something like this and there's nothing remotely like it around,"
Avcen managing director Mike Dacre told CNN. The six-seat twinjet can
take off in less than 400 feet and fly at 300 knots, make half the
noise of a regular jet, and sell for under a million U.S. dollars --
at least, on paper. The company says it's 16 months away from getting
a proof-of-concept aircraft into the air. More...
EXTENDED HOURS AND ONLINE SERVICES KEEP AVEMCO
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AOPA members have donated $44,000 so far for tsunami relief...
has published traffic procedures for Super Bowl...
Global Flyer to
launch Feb. 6 in Kan., if wx allows...
Detroit Metro controllers
driven out of the tower by fumes...
Corporate Angel Network flew
20,000th flight for a cancer patient...
UND and ALPA to offer
courses in aviation accident investigation...
helicopter in the works could fly rescues above 25,000 ft.
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.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #90 -- Decode VIP, AP,
From the edge of outer space to the low-life missed
approach environment, all pilots should be able to spit out obscure
aviation terminology and know how to apply the info for safer flight.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's 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,
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, an AVweb reader wonders which cockpit flight control
configuration private and light sport pilots would prefer if given a
choice. "I've never figured out why light aircraft designers
configured single-pilot flight controls for the right hand while
two-pilot cockpits usually require the pilot in command to fly
left-handed," he writes. PLUS: Results of last week's question on
flying through MOAs (Military Operation Areas). More...
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
"Weather" is the theme of this installment of "Picture of the Week."
Our latest crop of photos took us around the world from snowy
Ontario to the sweltering Iraqi landscape to a rainy day in Tucson,
Arizona. Thanks to his winning contribution, Tucson resident Jim
McGill will get a brand-new AVweb baseball cap to keep the rain out of
his eyes. More...
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|ASA GETS "FIT" THE FAA HAS RECOGNIZED
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|ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR
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