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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
ON THE UPSWING...
Cessna Aircraft Co. shipped 654 single-engine piston aircraft and 64
Caravans in 2004, the company said on Thursday. Cessna also delivered
179 Citation jets and took orders for 330 more. "This has been a solid
year for Cessna," said CEO Jack Pelton. In 2004, the company
introduced the G1000 glass cockpit in its Skyhawk, Skylane and
Stationair lines; flew the PW615F engine destined for the Citation
Mustang on a CitationJet test bed; and expanded its Cessna Pilot
Center network to a total of 286 sites. Cessna also delivered the
150,000th Cessna single-engine piston aircraft since it started
production in 1927. Cessna plans to hire 600 new workers in 2005.
LANCAIR, ATG, READY TO GROW
Cessna is not the only airplane manufacturer with plans to grow in
said last week it will hire 130 new workers at its Bend (Ore.)
Municipal Airport facility between now and mid-summer. The company
already has over 400 employees, and has been ramping up its production
rate over the past year. Backlog of its Columbia 350 and 400 certified
aircraft has continued to grow, the company said, and it plans to
deliver 190 aircraft this year. Building expansion is also underway.
Technology Group also announced last week it will add about a
dozen jobs as it expands at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo.,
where it is working on the Javelin Executive Jet. More...
AIRPLANES NEED MORE AIRSPACE...
With all those airplanes in the works, plus thousands of light jets
destined for the airways, and an apparent economic upswing driving
ever more traffic into the skies, long-term predictions say air
traffic will triple over the next 20 years. Since the amount of
airspace will remain the same and new runways are slow and scarce,
NASA and the FAA are working on advanced technologies that will
squeeze more efficiency out of the existing system. Last week, NASA successfully tested new software that it says
will help prevent bottlenecks and alleviate the need for holding
patterns by tweaking departure times of aircraft by just a few
minutes. The Multi-center Traffic Management Advisor (McTMA) analyzes radar data, flight plans, weather
information and input from controllers to forecast air traffic
TOTAL TRANSFORMATION IS IN THE WORKS
Tinkering with the current system is fine, but in the end, nothing
less than a complete transformation will do the job -- so says the
Joint Planning & Development Office, a federal agency that has taken
on the task of designing the Next Generation Airspace System (NGATS) for the year 2025. The plan, released to
Congress last month, outlines an ambitious vision for "transforming"
airport infrastructure, security systems, air traffic operations, data
distribution, safety, noise and pollution mitigation, and weather
forecasts. NGATS also takes on the integration of emerging
technologies such as remotely operated vehicles, spacecraft and air
taxis into the airspace system of the future. More...
REPORTS ON FATAL MILITARY/CIVILIAN MIDAIR...
The pilots of an Air Force training jet saw the crop-duster seconds
before the two airplanes collided 5,000 feet above rural
Oklahoma about 11 a.m. on Jan. 18, the NTSB said in its preliminary report, posted Thursday. The two
pilots in the Cessna T-37B jet ejected safely. The pilot of the Air
Tractor AT-502B, Dierk Nash, 39, of Arkansas, was killed. FAA
spokesman John Clabes told the local KFDX News that Nash had a clean flight record and
was not in violation of any rule as far as investigators can tell.
DETAILS FROM SURVIVING PILOTS
The T-37 pilots had completed a training session and were on their way
back to Sheppard Air Force Base, in Texas. They contacted USAF Radar
Approach Control and were told they had radar contact. They descended
to 5,000 feet and leveled off at 200 knots, the NTSB said. After
leveling off from the descent, the T-37 instructor took control and
briefly scanned the student's altimeter on the left side of the panel,
according to standard practice. As he was turning back to the right,
he told the NTSB he saw a "high visibility yellow airplane." The
student pilot said that as the instructor took control, he scanned
outside the airplane to the left, and started to look back to the
right when he saw the yellow Air Tractor heading toward the right side
of the T-37. More...
OUTSOURCING CHOICE DUE THIS WEEK
Workers at 58 Flight Service Stations in the continental U.S. should
find out this week who will run their operation in the future. The FAA
will choose from five contenders who bid on the outsourcing contract.
"No matter who wins, there will be changes," AOPA said last week, in a news release. "Many
automated flight service stations may be consolidated, for example.
And walk-in briefings will likely become a thing of the past." AOPA
has been supportive of the change, however, saying the current system
is too costly, and the new system will increase efficiency without
imposing user fees. The FAA wants the winner to cut costs by at least
22 percent from the current $502 million (depending on how you count
it) annual tab. The National Association of Air Traffic Specialists
(NAATS), the union representing FSS workers, has opposed the process,
saying figures are misrepresented and the move amounts to selling off
the system to the lowest bidder, with inadequate provisions to ensure
safety and security. More...
WANTS STRICTER OVERSIGHT OF PILOT FAILURES
The FAA should find a new way to deal with pilots of air carrier and
charter operations who consistently fail flight proficiency checks,
and ensure that records of those failures are taken into account
during hiring decisions, the NTSB said Friday in a Safety Recommendation Letter. The recommendation
was prompted by the safety board's investigation of a ditching of a Cessna 402C in
the Atlantic in July 2003, in which two people died. The pilot failed
to adequately manage the aircraft after the right engine failed, the
NTSB said, and didn't provide a safety briefing to the passengers
before ditching. FAA records showed that between 1993 and 1998, the
pilot had failed nine flight checks. More...
TO PUT FOREIGN PARTS IN NEW "MARINE ONE"
A international consortium of companies led by Lockheed Martin beat out Sikorsky Aircraft
in a competition to build a fleet of 23 "Marine One" presidential
helicopters, the Department of Defense announced on Friday. The
contract is worth $6 billion. The new helicopter, called the US101,
is a variant of a medium-lift three-engine helicopter designed in
Italy. It will carry more weight and fly faster than the current
fleet, and has a significantly improved range. Lockheed says it will
expand its site in Oswego, N.Y., and build new helicopter assembly
facilities for Bell Helicopter in Texas. Staff recruiting is
underway. Sikorsky, based in Connecticut, had built the presidential
helicopters for 50 years. More...
RESEARCH BALLOON MAKES RECORD-BREAKING FLIGHT
A huge, unmanned NASA balloon carrying two tons of scientific gear
floated near the edge of space for nearly 42 days and made three orbits around the South Pole, breaking
flight records for duration and distance, NASA said on Friday. The balloon landed Thursday,
410 miles from its launch site at the McMurdo research station in
Antarctica. The huge helium-filled balloon, constructed of a thin
polyethylene envelope 0.0008 inches thick and 450 feet in diameter,
had ascended to 125,000 feet. NASA hopes to eventually extend flights
up to 100 days using the Ultra-Long Duration Balloon system, which uses a
"superpressure pumpkin balloon" that was developed at the National Scientific
Balloon Facility in Texas. More...
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LIKE A BIRD, WITH A BIRD'S HELP
If you think you've tried everything there is to try in aviation,
think again. Sunrise Paragliding in Nepal has teamed with the
Conservancy to present what it calls "Parahawking" -- flying a
paraglider in tandem with a trained hawk who will scout out the
thermals for you. The flights launch from Pokhara, in a broad valley
surrounded by Himalayan mountains, about 100 miles west of Kathmandu.
The two Phariah Kite chicks, Shadoko and Sappana, were rescued from a
local farmer. Adam Hill and Rajesh Bomjam, owners of Sunrise
Paragliding, learned the traditional methods of the ancient sport of
falconry to train the birds. Newbies can try the intro experience for
$160; that includes getting to know the birds and taking a flight with
an instructor and a hawk. More...
UNIV. SEEKS PILOTS FOR AGING STUDY
age-60 rule back in play, how would you like to contribute to
scientific research, while getting free simulator time, earning a few
extra bucks and attaining that goal of attending Stanford U. (sort
of)? The Palo Alto, Calif., school is studying age-related changes in
aviator performance. Volunteers must be 50 to 67 years old, have a
current and active pilot certificate and a current FAA medical
certificate, and must have logged between 300 and 15,000 hours.
Volunteers will fly a Frasca 141 simulator. After an initial training
period, they are asked to come back for four annual visits, so their
performance over time can be evaluated. For more details and contact
info, go to the study's Web site. More...
A FEW GOOD ENGINE SHOPS
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting an exhaustive
survey of aircraft-owner experience with engine overhaul shops and
sources. If you'd like to participate, just click here. You don't have to be a subscriber to
participate. Replies will be kept confidential. More...
D.C. airspace shuts down during State of the Union
GlobalFlyer launch postponed -- again -- maybe Feb. 8
at the soonest...
BRS parachute systems now available for Velocity
Boeing's 7E7 Dreamliner is designated the 787. 60
sold to China...
X-ray movies reveal how flies fly...
fallen from an airliner wrecked a car in England. 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.
RESOLVE TO BECOME MAINTENANCE-SAVVY IN
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saving thousands of dollars on maintenance costs. Space is still
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CA (February 12-13); Las Vegas, NV (March 6-7); Indianapolis, IN (May
14-15); Dallas, TX (May 21-22); Frederick, MD (October 22-23); and
Long Beach, CA (December 10-11). For seminar details and to reserve
your spot, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about security awareness training and young
pilots, and lots of fighting about where to put those cockpit
controls. Plus a few travelogues from North Dakota. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
From the CFI #5: How to Pass Any
Checkride ... The First Time!
Pilots are usually successful in
the rest of their non-aviation life, so it can come as a shock to hear
that not everyone passes a checkride on the first try. It's especially
a shock when you don't pass! AVweb's Linda Pendleton, who served as an
FAA designated examiner, has suggestions for getting your certificate
in one go. More...
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MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
Narco Avionics is proud to announce the
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The new math.
Airline ABC: Miami center, Airline ABC, any ride reports
up ahead? We're getting continuous light to moderate here at
Center: Airline ABC, Miami center, no ride reports for
that area, but I've got three-zero-zero available. That's a brand new
flight level ... so there shouldn't be any potholes in the road yet.
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FLOW STC INCREASES CESSNA 172N GROSS WEIGHT
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of the
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