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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
OVER NEW FAA BUDGET...
The Bush administration on Monday released its $13.8 billion FAA budget proposal for the next fiscal year, down
1.27 percent from last year. Cuts affecting general aviation include
$600 million lost by the Airport Improvement Program. "The small GA
airports that can afford it the least would be hurt the most," said AOPA's Andy Cebula. The FAA's research and
development budget would be cut 13 percent, which could affect ongoing
work to find a replacement for leaded aviation gasoline and develop
associated engine technology. The facilities budget would be cut 3
percent, giving the FAA less to work with to maintain and modernize
its equipment. "This isn't the final word on the budget, but a start,"
said Cebula. More...
OVER ATC HIRING NUMBERS...
The budget plan drew a swift response from the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association (NATCA), which was looking for proof that the
FAA will deliver on its promises. The FAA said in December it will hire 1,249 air traffic
controllers in fiscal year 2006 -- but the budget proposal showed a
request to fund only 595 new hires. "Woefully inadequate doesn't even
begin to describe this latest bait and switch," said NATCA President
John Carr. FAA spokesman William Shumann told AVweb the FAA is
not backing off from its commitment. The 595 new hires in the budget
are in addition to the current workforce. More...
FUTURE GETS FUNDED
While funding to maintain the current aviation system is scarce, the
system of the future is getting strong support. The proposed budget
triples funding for the Joint Planning and Development Office, whose
mandate is to transform the nation's air transportation system to meet
the needs of the year 2025. The Transportation Department says the next-generation
air transportation system will allow travelers to choose how, where
and when they want to travel while making their experience as safe,
secure and hassle-free as possible. The budget also requests $2.4
billion to improve and modernize the National Airspace System.
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CALLED ON BIZAV SAFETY...
FAA officials have asked leaders from the bizav community to attend a
meeting on Feb. 18 in Washington, D.C., to address safety issues. A
recent rash of GA accidents involving charter flights and bizjets has
raised questions in the mainstream media about the safety of the
sector, but the FAA has said this meeting is not in response to that
but is part of a continuing review of the industry as a whole. The
purpose of the meeting is to exchange ideas, FAA spokeswoman Laura
Brown told USA Today. "If there are safety programs or best
practices that some of the operators are using that they can share
with the rest of the community, then we'd like to make that available
to everybody," she said. Expected at the meeting are representatives
from NBAA, the National Air Transportation Association, the General
Aviation Manufacturers Association, the NTSB, and others.
A MEETING OVER TETERBORO ACCESS
Another meeting is also in the works -- NBAA says it has requested a
meeting with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to discuss
the concerns of state officials who have called for reductions in
flights at Teterboro Airport (TEB). Last Tuesday morning, a Challenger CL-600 aborted
its takeoff roll on Runway 6 at TEB, crossed a road and hit a
warehouse, injuring 20. Another CL-600 ran off the opposite end of the
same runway after an aborted takeoff in December 2003. NBAA said it wants to work with the
Port Authority to define options that enhance safety without
diminishing capacity at TEB. More...
THE X PRIZE...
How will space tourists be assured of safety, without strict federal
rules that could stifle the industry's growth? Consensus industry
standards are the answer, according to Michael S. Kelly, chairman of
the FAA's Reusable Launch Vehicles Working Group. Kelly
testified yesterday afternoon before the U.S. House
Aviation Subcommittee. The hearing addressed the status and future
of the U.S. commercial space transportation industry and the role of
the FAA in providing safety oversight. The standards, which Kelly
compared to voluntary Underwriters Laboratory approval for electronic
devices, will assure the public that their spaceflight provider is
ACCEPTANCE OF RISK...
Although voluntary standards are likely to prove safer than government
regulation, Kelly said, it's inevitable that there will be accidents
and fatalities. "I do not share the view of many in industry that the
first fatal accident will spell the end of personal spaceflight. Such
a thing has never happened in all of history ... It is contrary to
human nature." However, when it comes to regulation, even the smallest
of stumbles could add years of delay in the development of the
emerging industry, Kelly warned. At last count, Virgin Galactic had
14,000 reservations, he said. The FAA has already licensed four
commercial launch facilities, in California, Florida, Virginia and
Alaska, and several more are in the works. More...
NEW ORGANIZATION FORMS TO PROMOTE SPACE BIZ
Meanwhile, a group of space entrepreneurs announced on Tuesday they are organizing a new
Personal Spaceflight Federation to promote growth and safety in their
new industry. The federation will work with the FAA as it develops
industry standards for passenger safety and crew training. "In 2004,
there were only 15 worldwide commercial space launches," said Gregg
Maryniak of the X
Prize Foundation, one of the organizers. "Personal spaceflight
promises a much larger market and will provide the demand that the
industry needs to grow and economize." Initial members of the group
include Burt Rutan, Scaled Composites; John Carmack, Armadillo
Aerospace; Elon Musk, SpaceX; and Alex Tai, Virgin
FORCE FACES CONTROLLER COMPETITION
With the FAA set to start hiring hundreds of air traffic controllers
this year, the question arises, where will all those new hires come
from? Part of the answer is, from the ranks of the U.S. military --
which has some Air Force officials already starting to fret. "We're
certainly looking at it," Sgt. Donald Ball of the Air Force Flight
Standards Agency at Andrews Air Force Base (Md.) told Stars & Stripes. "We're concerned, but it's kind
of hard to speculate." The FAA lures the military controllers with
higher salaries, generally from about $70,000 to $120,000. Ball said
the service retains 53 percent of its first-term airmen as
controllers, but by the 10-year mark, 75 percent are gone.
OFFERS GUIDELINES FOR VLJ PILOT TRAINING
The manufacturers of very light jets (VLJs) are taking a hard look at
the unique risks that exist for their (future) products ... and it's a
very long list. The National Business Aviation
Association has compiled the list as part of its recommended training guidelines for VLJ pilots.
Many of the anticipated risks occur because the jets will be operating
on high-altitude airways and at high-traffic airports, where they will
be mixing it up with much bigger jets. The VLJs will face jet-blast
encounters on the ground, wake turbulence in the pattern and en route,
weather hazards and aerodynamic challenges unique to high altitudes,
and the stresses of single-pilot operation in a complex environment.
The training aims to minimize those risks, and NBAA urges VLJ pilots
to fly with an ATP-rated "mentor pilot" until they are proficient in
all flight regimes. More...
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CIRRUS CRASH, CHUTE DEPLOYMENT QUESTIONED
On Sunday night, the pilot of a Cirrus SR-22 en route from Reno, Nev.,
to Oakland, Calif., at about 16,000 feet, told controllers at Oakland
Center his wings were icing up and he was going down. The wreckage,
the parachute and the pilot's body were found early Monday in a remote
area of the Sugar Bowl Ski Resort. Local officials said the chute had
been deployed with the airplane in a 350-mph dive and tore the
airplane in half, a notion rejected by Cirrus. Bill King, a Cirrus
spokesman, told the Duluth News Tribune that it would be impossible for the
parachute to do that. More...
There's no end of innovation in the world, and here are a few
interesting gadgets for aviators that we've run across lately. The Flightcell unit,
made in New Zealand, allows pilots to use a cellphone or satphone
through their headset, while remaining connected to the radios --
perfectly legal down under, but in the U.S., cellphones aloft are
still (technically, at least) a no-no. The TeleType
WorldNavigator brings GPS and Victor airway navigation to a Pocket
PC. And for desktop flyers, Horizon Simulation adds photographic scenery to
your Microsoft Flight Simulator, so you can practice that VFR
cross-country flight across a "picture perfect" landscape. The
photographic add-ons are available for San Francisco and Sacramento,
as well as England, Wales, and Paris. FYI: AVweb offers a "What's New"
feature, once each month showcasing some of the items we run across.
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MEDICAL, NO CERTIFICATE -- STILL SUPPORTED
Survivors of a crash of a Cessna 180 skydiving plane in Pennsylvania
last October say they don't fault the pilot ... even though he was
flying with a revoked medical for a heart condition, clipped trees on
takeoff from his own 1,515-foot grass strip (its condition is listed
as poor in the NTSB's report), and was at the controls for
the subsequent fatal crash. Emil Kindelberger, 81, was denied a
medical on May 27, 2003, after being diagnosed with coronary artery
disease requiring a bypass. He apparently continued to fly skydiving
customers and they remain supportive of him. More...
CONSUMER WANTS YOUR OPINION
There's still time to participate in the engine-shop survey being
conducted by Aviation Consumer, AVweb's sister
publication. If you haven't already responded, they'd like to hear
from you about your recent experiences with engine overhauls or
factory remans. You don't have to be a subscriber; simply log on to AviationConsumer.com and tell them what you think.
In the last issue of AVweb we got our Challenger accidents
mixed up. A previous incident in which the pilot reported he couldn't
rotate the airplane on takeoff happened at Teterboro in December 2003,
not in Colorado last November as we stated. More...
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NAA's 2004 Collier Trophy goes to SpaceshipOne...
Peter Bunce is
new president of GAMA...
747 pilot arrested in England after he
failed an alcohol breath test...
British politicos want compulsory
random breath tests for pilots...
Vandals smashed 15 runway lights
at Arlington (Wash.) Airport. 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.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
What's New -- Products and
Services for January
This month AVweb's survey of the latest
products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings
you a handheld nav/com, a pilot's PDA with GPS, an oil filter wrench
and much more.
The Cessna, The Sky ... and the
Cartoonist: Chapters Thirteen, Fourteen and Fifteen
crosswind takeoffs and landings -- new students learn to dread them,
while old-timers seem to seek them out. But they weren't the most
challenging aspect of the day for our cartoonist/pilot: What do you
think you get when you mix a stiff breeze with a light plane and a
SEE CLEARLY METHOD IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS VISION
The See Clearly Method does this without
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to hear your predictions for the future of FSS
once Lockheed Martin takes over the flight service stations. PLUS:
Results of last week's question on alcohol, flying, and the eight-hour
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
AVweb hopes you all enjoyed the Super Bowl or whatever it was
you were doing this week instead of submitting photos to our weekly
"Picture of the Week" contest! Sigh. We guess it was inevitable we'd
eventually have a "normal" week again one with only a couple
dozen submissions to choose from. But guess what? Even though the
quantity of submissions lagged a bit this week, the quality was at an
all-time high. We had 11 top-notch contenders for this week's
first-prize baseball cap, but when all was said and done, we had to
give the cap to the pic that made us say, "What the?"
|Sponsor News and
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|MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
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|FLYING MAGAZINE REVIEWS THE "BEST BUYS IN USED
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OUT WHY SPEED ATC RESTRICTIONS EXIST & HOW THEY CAN WORK FOR
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|ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR
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We Welcome Your
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