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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
CRASHES SPARK SAFETY FOCUS
What was a recommendation is now a rule. The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring operators (as a
revision to the aircraft's flight manual) to give an extra touch of
care when flying in cold weather. Effective this week, operators of
Bombardier Challenger 600-series aircraft (including regional jets and
the newer 601 models) must run a hand over the leading edges and front
top surfaces of wings during freezing temperatures (we don't know if
you're allowed to wear a glove). The AD requires that the aircraft
flight manuals be amended to include, as a takeoff limitation, the
visual and tactile inspection for ice during cold-weather operations.
Ice may have been a factor in the crash of a Challenger in November in
Colorado and Transport Canada has discovered that even a small amount
of ice on the wings can seriously affect performance.
DATA STUDIED IN PUEBLO CRASH...
And while ice is widely speculated to have had something to do with
the crash of a Cessna Citation 560 in Pueblo, Colo., last Wednesday
(freezing drizzle was reported at the time), NTSB Chairwoman Ellen
Engleman Connors was more cryptic Thursday. "There were some, shall we
say, interesting characteristics" revealed by radar data, she said,
but refused to elaborate. Frank Hilldrup, the chief NTSB investigator
for the crash, said radar showed the Cessna dropping more than 1,000
feet in the 45 seconds before the crash. Two witnesses reported
hearing a series of loud pops just before the crash, leading some to
speculate that the aircraft may have suffered an engine compressor
stall (which can be caused by ice, among other things).
ALPHABETS AND FAA TALK SAFETY
As crews continued the cleanup in Colorado, the FAA and members of
various alphabet groups were meeting to, as NBAA President Ed Bolen
put it, "discuss industry involvement in promoting safety." The
meeting was called before the Pueblo crash but was in response to a
spate of business aircraft crashes in the last few months. But Bolen
maintains that the FAA's categorization for business aviation is too
broad to provide the clear data needed to get at the root causes of
business aviation accidents. Bolen told AVweb that true
business aviation stats are skewed by the fact that mishaps involving
commercial carriers on positioning flights (like the Pinnacle Airlines CRJ crash late last year) are
flown under Part 91 and hence become part of the business aviation
accident data. As is normal with such meetings, it has led to more
REPORTS (AND DRAMA) UP AT NEW YORK TRACON...
Union leaders and politicians say a cut in overtime at the New York
Terminal Radar Approach Control center has mushroomed the rate of
operational errors (19 in the last month compared to 24 in the
previous year) and they're urging the FAA to relax the restrictions.
But it's also worth noting that the errors have, according to The New
York Times, been reported through an anonymous tips line that roared
to life after the apparently unpopular manager of the TRACON put a
tighter lid on overtime on Jan. 12 and, as AVweb told you Jan.
13, 15 controllers were fired for alleged discrepancies in their
medical records. In fact, the 226 controllers at the TRACON signed a
Feb. 3 letter saying the manager had embarked "on a reckless mission"
by reducing controller strength when traffic is increasing, according
to the Times. More...
JOIN THE FRAY...
Now, Senators Hilary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer have jumped
into the fray, writing a letter to the FAA pointing out that the
agency has pledged to cut flights if it can't properly staff its
control facilities. "It is imperative that our air traffic control
facilities are adequately staffed," Clinton said in a statement
released Wednesday. They claim the new overtime policy has not only
increased errors, but "congested frequencies," and suspended training.
TOWER-CLOSURE PLAN PROCEEDS
At the opposite end of the capacity debate, the FAA is pushing ahead
with plans to close up to 48 towers for five to eight hours late at
night and early in the morning when it says controllers have little or
nothing to control. As AVweb told you in December, the agency
wants to reallocate the resources to busier times (or busier towers).
FAA spokesman William Shumann told The Washington Times the agency
won't reveal the final list until the House Appropriations Committee's
Subcommittee on Transportation, the Treasury and independent agencies
hold a hearing on its budget. More...
MUM ON LYCOMING, AS LYC SEEKS APPEAL
The FAA is declining comment (for now, at least) on a court case in
Texas that determined the agency was misled on the cause of Lycoming
engine crankshaft failures that caused 24 crashes and killed 12 people
between 2000 and 2002. As AVweb told you last Thursday, a
Grimes County jury found that Lycoming had fraudulently claimed that
improper heat treatment of the crankshaft forgings by subcontractor
Interstate Southwest was the cause of the failures. It awarded damages
to Interstate totaling $96 million. Lycoming has confirmed it will
appeal. FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said the agency is aware of
the decision and constantly monitors the safety of aircraft engines
but is not taking any direct action because of the verdict. "Court
cases have their own dynamics [based on] who is more persuasive to the
jurors," Martin told AVweb. More...
SAD MILESTONES FOR SPORT PILOT/LIGHT SPORT
The implementation of the Light Sport Aircraft category passed a
significant milestone last week, but you still can't buy one. The FAA
signed off on the industry-developed consensus standards for S-LSA
aircraft (which are factory-built and ready to fly) and E-LSA aircraft
(which require at least a token amount of construction by the owner).
A Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register
this week. "Manufacturers can begin finalizing their designs and
production plans," said FAA official Scott Sedgwick. However, there
are still other standards, including maintenance and assembly
instructions, that have to be passed before the aircraft
classification is fully implemented (and you can actually buy one).
Meanwhile, as these latest "firsts" were being celebrated, a Muskogee,
Okla., family is grieving what may be a sad but inevitable first for
the new flight category. More...
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AIR FORCE ONE GETS $31 MILLION HANGAR
While we don't know how much a used 707 goes for these days, the $31
million hangar taxpayers are funding to keep the rain off one to be
based in California might be a bid worth considering. Of course, this
is no ordinary 707. It's the old turbojet that carried Ronald Reagan
to the far corners of the world for his Cold War-ending private chats
with the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev (here ends
our knowledge of world politics). The Boeing, dubbed the Spirit of 76,
is now mounted on a pedestal, in takeoff attitude, as workers create
the Air Force One Pavilion at the Reagan Presidential
Library in Simi Valley, Calif. "I know Ronald Reagan is looking down
on us and saying, 'This is wonderful,'" said Duke Blackwood, executive
director of the library. More...
(REAL) PARTS NOW EASIER
Thanks to the Internet, it's now not only easier to find parts for
your plane, it's also simpler to make sure you're not getting
something the FAA hasn't approved. Inventory Locator Service has cross-referenced its
database of more than five billion (yes, that's a B) parts with the
FAA's Part Manufacturer Approval (PMA) system, which lists all the
approvals for parts made for certified airplanes. The result, says ILS
President Bruce Langen, is better exposure for parts makers and better
selection for parts buyers. But what happens if one of those parts
falls from grace with FAA? Enter the agency's Unapproved Parts Notices (UPN) online service.
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EDGES CIRRUS IN NUMBERS GAME
Alan Klapmeier called it correctly. The engaging and unflappable
president of Cirrus Design told AVweb at AirVenture 2004 he didn't
expect to sell more airplanes than Cessna last year, even though he
was winning the numbers game at the end of the first two quarters. He
was almost wrong. Cessna edged Cirrus by only 12 sales of four-place
piston aircraft in 2004, edging the Duluth company by a margin of 565
to 553. "I'm pleased but I'm never satisfied," Klapmeier told the
Duluth News Tribune. Cirrus increased sales by 18 percent and Cessna's
output of four-place singles (172s and 182s) was up 10 percent.
BAG SHIPPED, THEN BLOWN UP
It was not the TSA's finest hour but at least they followed their own
rules -- according to the TSA. A woman was barred from a Mesa Airlines
flight from Phoenix to San Diego on Thursday after she allegedly told
a screener that the TSA "couldn't find a bomb [in her bag] if there
was one." While the woman was detained, the bag was put on the flight,
where it traveled uneventfully to San Diego -- uneventfully, that is,
until arrival. At Lindbergh field, the plane was evacuated, the
passengers and crew were delayed for debriefing and the (previously
cleared) luggage was extricated from the aircraft and blown up (not of
its own accord). It was all by the book, according to the TSA's Nico
Emergency AD issued for Cessna 402 and 414 models -- spar
Fuel theft may have led to crash...
Today Show host for a spin...
Former Boeing exec got four months
for role in conflict scandal. 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.
MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about the FSS contract,
armed and disgruntled airline pilots, the Lycoming lawsuit and much
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Pilot's Lounge #84:
Arrogance, Etiquette And Big Fat Traffic Patterns
going to land here or keep going on downwind into the next county?"
It's painful to be in the pattern behind a pilot who thinks a
stabilized final approach in a Cessna means a two-mile final. But just
what are the rules and safe practices regarding the size of a traffic
pattern? AVweb's Rick Durden looks into it this month in The Pilot's
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ATC: Saratoga 12345, traffic at 3,000 feet (same
altitude), 1 O'Clock, 3 miles opposite direction.
Saratoga 12345: Roger, looking for traffic.
Saratoga 12345: Approach, Saratoga 12345, no joy on that
traffic, can you give us a better location on it?
ATC: I can give you a much better location ... he's 2
miles behind you. Traffic no longer a factor. In spite of your best
efforts, the Big Sky theory wins again. More...
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