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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
MARTIN WINS FSS CONTRACT...
All of the existing FSS positions in the FAA will be eliminated and
Lockheed Martin will hire its own staff. The FAA
announced Tuesday the company won the government's largest-ever
competitive outsourcing competition with a bid that will cut the
number of FSS offices by two-thirds (from 58 to 20) by 2007, intends
to save taxpayers $2.2 billion over 10 years, and at the same time
pledges to offer virtually on-demand availability of flight
information for pilots. Lockheed Martin beat four other applicants,
including a partnership between the existing FSS organization (members
of the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, NAATS) and the
Harris Corp. More...
WHEN PILOTS NEED THEM, SAYS AOPA...
According to AOPA, pilots win because of performance standards written
into the deal. In a statement, AOPA President Phil Boyer said
pilots can soon look forward to phone calls being answered by a live
briefer within 20 seconds, radio calls answered within five seconds
and the requested information supplied within 15 seconds. Urgent
PIREPs would be entered into the system within 15 seconds and routine
reports updated within 30 seconds. Flight plans will take no more than
three minutes to file. There's no provision for user fees in the
USER FEES AND DIRE WARNINGS
NAATS President Kate Breen told AVweb she believes aircraft
groups have been sold a bill of goods, particularly on the issue of
user fees. She said that once Lockheed Martin takes over, she believes
it will be constantly looking for extra money to cover costs not
foreseen in the contract and the FAA won't have the funds. "They're
going to need fees to compensate for that," she said. Breen also
doubts the hoped-for service improvements can be achieved with such
drastic cuts to the operation. But she also has more dire predictions
for the system if Lockheed Martin's effort fails. More...
CHALLENGER CRASHES ON TAKEOFF IN COLD WEATHER
While it's far too early to draw any conclusions, there are some stark
similarities between the crash of a Bombardier Challenger CL-600
bizjet at Teterboro Airport on Wednesday and an aircraft from the same
family in Colorado in November. Witnesses say the plane in New Jersey
failed to lift off before skidding off the end of the runway, crossing
an expressway and running into a warehouse. Amazingly, no one was
(immediately) killed, but up to 14 people, including an occupant of a
car (in critical condition at the time of this writing) hit by the
plane and an employee in the warehouse, were hurt. Initial reports
said there were 12 people on the plane, which was on its way to
Chicago. Three people died in the Colorado crash, and airframe icing
is being investigated as the reason that that Challenger didn't get
off the ground. That event prompted safety recommendations.
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A319 AND A 3,300-FOOT STRIP...
It's a time-honored homily that aircraft accidents are usually the
result of a series of small errors compounding toward catastrophe.
Fortunately, in this case, an experienced Air Canada crew was able to
figure out that it was landing at the wrong airport before the A319
was set down on a runway not much wider than its landing gear and
about 300 feet shorter than its minimum stopping distance. As AVweb reported in 2003, the Airbus in
question was on its way to Kelowna International Airport in British
Columbia in August of 2003 when the pilot lined up on the
3,300-by-75-foot runway at Vernon Regional Airport instead. According
to the just-released Canadian Transportation Safety Board (TSB) report
on the incident, the plane, with 100 people aboard, was configured for
landing and about 30 to 40 seconds from touchdown when the pilot
called a go-around. More...
PICKS WRONG AIRPORT...
According to the TSB, the string of errors began before Flight 183
left Toronto on its daily nonstop flight to Kelowna, a city of about
100,000 people 200 miles east of Vancouver. An Air Canada dispatcher,
aware of a major forest fire burning near Kelowna, called Kelowna
Tower to ask if the airport was even open. He was told it was, but
that the ILS/DME approach wasn't authorized and that VFR conditions
prevailed. As the plane neared its destination, the crew was told by
air traffic control that the NDB approach was also unavailable.
However, neither the dispatcher nor the crew was told the reason the
navaids were unauthorized. They were working perfectly, but the
published missed approach for both infringed on the restricted
airspace around the fire. More...
As the plane descended from the north, its navigation gear picked up
the signals from the ILS systems and gave the first officer, the
non-flying pilot, a constant readout of the distance from Kelowna. So,
when the pilot mistook the Vernon strip for Kelowna, he turned the
plane 90 degrees to the right of the Kelowna runway heading and
started an 1800-feet-per-minute descent to the wrong airport. The
plane's navigation equipment was clearly showing the flight to be 30
miles from the right airport. However, the first officer had been
distracted by a radio call from terminal staff in Kelowna concerning
the flight's gate assignment and it wasn't until the plane was
well-settled on final for Runway 23 in Vernon that the first officer
noticed the discrepancies on the panel and suggested a go-around. Just
as they were tucking the gear up, the TCAS blared a warning about
conflicting traffic in the pattern at Vernon. More...
OFFERS REPORT ON JET
Adam Aircraft says it's making progress in development of its A700
AdamJet. A company news release says they're getting down to the
nitty-gritty of testing the various components of the airframe and
they've also completed construction of a "wing-mounted belly pod" for
extra fuel storage. The pressurization and environmental control test
system has also been set up. The Williams FJ33-4A-15 engines that
power the proof-of-concept model that's been flying around the country
for 18 months have been performing well and are now certified. The jet
is based largely on the design of Adam's push/pull piston twin, the
A500. According to the company, certification of the jet is somewhat
reliant on certification of the piston twin -- which was predicted for
last December. More...
DRIVERS MORE LIKELY TO CRASH AIRPLANES
Surprise, surprise. Pilots who have drunk-driving convictions are more
prone to aircraft accidents, but a new study has quantified the link.
If you have a DWI, you are 43 percent more likely to be involved in an
air crash, according to a study of 300,000 pilot records by Johns
Hopkins researchers. "If the crash risk for pilots with a DWI history
could be reduced to the same level as their counterparts without a DWI
history, then approximately 25 fewer aviation crashes would happen
each year," Dr. Guohua Li told News-Medical.net. That would seem to
validate the FAA requirement, instituted in 1990, that pilots report
all DWIs within 60 days of conviction. Or does it? More...
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
get you there. Subscribe to Pilot Getaways today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/avflash.
ON TV, FILM
The Discovery Wings network may have morphed into The Military Channel
but there are still plenty of aviation-related programs to watch, even
if it does mean a little more wear and tear on the remote. The Outdoor Channel is taking up some of the slack
with a new series, set to debut in July, called "Wings to Adventure."
Described in a network release as "an action-packed, in-depth look at
airplanes, destinations and the fascinating people behind the world of
aviation," the series will be sponsored by Cirrus Design. The series
will be shown in high definition. For those who like their airplanes
on the big screen (and happen to be in Miami on Feb. 12) a film
devoted to women aviators will be screened at the New York
International Independent Film and Video Festival. More...
SIMULATOR FOR THE LOCALS
Simulators aren't just for those who fly airplanes; they're also for
those who have to listen to them. The city of Egan, adjacent to
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, is preparing its citizens
for the October 2005 opening of a new runway at MSP by holding a
series of open houses in which the simulated sounds of aircraft taking
off from the new runway are played for the audience. The soundtrack
includes newer, less-noisy Stage 3 aircraft and their much-louder
ancestors. "It's designed to provide a new level of understanding and
put it concretely in their minds what may happen in October," said
Melissa Scovronski, the noise-program relations specialist for the
Metropolitan Airports Commission. More...
COLLECTED PILOTS ACCUSED OF BEING DRUNK
Well, so much for the image of the unflappable, cool-under-fire,
steely-nerved pilot. Chances are, others will just think you're drunk.
That's what happened to the crew of a British Airways flight from
Lyon, France, to Manchester, England, on Jan. 16. The pilots got a
warning light when they lowered the gear on the RJ100, so the plane
went around. It made another pass to allow tower controllers to check
that the gear was down. The plane subsequently landed safely and the
light was discovered to be faulty. But one of the passengers thought
the pilots' demeanor didn't match the gravity of the situation and
suggested they must have been drinking. Authorities took that threat
FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive on Gippsland GA8
FAA will allow candidates in local elections to hire
A flying B-29 and LB-30 (B-24) will be at
AirVenture, 2005. 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
Say Again? #46: When Things Go
To get your IFR clearance at a non-towered field, you
could call Flight Service or the local Center RCO, but you know you're
gonna get a delay waiting for some arrival to cancel IFR. Just launch
VFR and pick up your IFR clearance in the air, right? AVweb's Don
Brown knows it isn't always that easy -- or safe -- for pilots and for
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Anonymously honest? This week, AVweb wants to know if you've ever
partaken of alcohol before taking a flight. PLUS: Results of last
week's question on sticks and yokes, lefties and righties, tigers and
bears ... More...
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Welcome to another installment of "Picture of the Week," where we run
the most eye-catching aviation photos sent in by our readers. If there
was a theme to be found in this week's contest entries, it was
"spinning props" several submitters wanted to show us they'd
mastered the F-stop on their cameras and sent some nifty in-flight and
take-off shots. We chose one of those as our winner Dan Megna's
photo of Steve Dari in his Pitts. More...
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