AVflash Vol. 9, Issue 01a Thursday, Dec. 30, 2002

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by Pan Am Int'l Flight Academy's Airline Career Development for personalized training and solid value: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/panam .

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The Top Headlines From Our Full, Illustrated AVweb NewsWire Coverage .

A VERY BAD DAY
Two aircraft disasters yesterday brought a one-day death toll of near 100 to commercial aviation. US Airways Express Flight 5481, a Beech 1900 with 19 passengers and two crew aboard operated by Air Midwest, out of Charlotte-Douglas for Greenville-Spartanburg, crashed yesterday morning on departure, killing all aboard. Moments before the aircraft impacted a US Airways hangar and burned, pilot Katie Leslie contacted the tower, said FAA spokesman Greg Martin. The exact nature of the emergency was not conveyed before contact was lost. In Turkey yesterday near the city of Diyarbakir a Turkish Airlines British Aerospace RJ-100 crashed in heavy fog, killing at least 72 of 77 people aboard. More...

NAVION LIVES ON...
The future of a high-performance single that traces its pedigree to the P-51 is now in the hands of a small Minnesota company. Sierra Hotel Aero, of St. Paul, bought the type certificate, engineering data and production jigs for Navion aircraft at an auction held Dec. 18. Sierra Hotel Aero spokesman Chris Gardner said his goal in obtaining the type certificate was to update the historic aircraft and keep them flying. "We're going to bring Navion into the future," said Gardner.More...

...PARTS, MODS PRIMARY FOCUS...
Sierra Hotel Aero has two primary focuses with the type certificate: providing support for the current fleet and offering modifications to improve the basic aircraft. Gardner said that of 2,800 Navions built there are about 800 flying and up to 200 that people are trying to get back into flying condition. With the type certificate, Sierra Hotel Aero can manufacture certified replacement parts using the original engineering data. It can also obtain supplementary type certificates (STCs) for modifications.More...

...NEW AIRCRAFT UNLIKELY
Theoretically, with the type certificate, the company could build new Navions, but Gardner said that's not part of the plan. "That may be possible one day but I don't really have plans to build the airplane again," he said. In fact, Gardner picked up the type certificate from an Ohio company whose plans to resume production didn't work out.More...

FAA MOVES AHEAD ON ATC ISSUES...
The FAA announced Monday its next step in modernizing the nation's air traffic control system through a contract awarded to General Dynamics Decision Systems (GDDS) for the purchase of up to 20,000 CM-300 series air traffic control radios over the next 10 years. The FAA will use the new radios to communicate from en route air traffic control centers to aircraft flying at cruising altitude as part of a modernized communications system for the National Airspace System. John Cole, a vice president and general manager with GDDS, said the FAA can "...install the CM-300 and leave it running continuously for well beyond 10 years before failure ..."More...

...AND SETTLES WITH CONTROLLERS UNION
Having updated equipment is great, but without happy controllers, things could still get behind the power curve. Toward that end, the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have reached a tentative deal on a two-year extension of NATCA's collective bargaining agreement. The new deal would extend NATCA's current agreement with the agency -- signed in 1998 and set to expire in September -- through September of 2005.More...

SENATOR LOTT AND GA
Former Senate Majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) -- not Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) -- may be the new self-appointed front-runner for chairman of the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, according to a Jan. 8 report in Aviation Daily. Lott, credited by some for passing the airport security bill, is expected to focus on reforming small-community air service and the economic viability of small airports. He was apparently able to use his seniority to make the move.More...

CHINESE GA MARKET GOES AIRBORNE
Rumored changes in Chinese airspace laws may soon open a general aviation market there. While many GA manufacturers struggle in the U.S. with layoffs and production slowdowns to boot, Shenyang Aircraft Industry Group of China (a major manufacturer of fighter planes for the Chinese military) recently announced it will roll out a light plane this year. The price tag is will likely fall between 500,000 and 600,000 yuan (U.S. $60,241 and U.S. $72,289). The country itself, by some estimates, currently contains about ten privately owned aircraft. Nanjing Light Aircraft Co. Ltd. began to design a five-seat AC-500 plane five years ago and plans to put it on the market early next year. So far, they have received about 30 orders.More...

MANCHESTER AIRPORT SAYS NO TO CURFEWS
The folks around Manchester, England's airport are demanding that airport officials enact a curfew to prevent air traffic operations from midnight to 5 a.m. But Manchester Airport Director Kevin Dillon said he won't ask airlines or cargo carriers to abide by curfews. He claims that successful airports don't start "throwing curfews in the way of" cargo carriers or airlines. One local resident, Mike Kiertscher, told the Union Leader, "Just from 12 (midnight) to 5 (a.m.), shut the airport down ... So FedEx (delivery) arrives at noon instead of 10 a.m., whoopdeedo."More...

FIREFIGHTING C-130 FLEW FOR CIA
The NTSB and FAA have discovered that last year's crash of a firefighting C-130, which claimed the lives of all on board, may be complicated by a void in the aging aircraft's maintenance history. According to the Associated Press, the tanker was a former Air Force transport aircraft also used to fly missions for the CIA. For this reason, portions of the aircraft's maintenance records remain unavailable to NTSB investigators. The ambiguity leaves investigators unsure of just how long the C-130A had flown -- and are charting that statistic somewhere between 3,000 to more than 20,000 hours in service.More...

POLICE QUESTION GERMAN PLANE THIEF
After scaring Frankfurt residents, the thief who stole a plane and threatened to crash into a German skyscraper over the weekend was held and questioned by local authorities. Police said the 31-year-old German man -- who circled the city's skyscrapers Sunday for about two hours before landing safely at Frankfurt's international airport -- is apparently mentally disturbed. Because of the man's specific request to speak with Charles Resnik -- brother of the doomed Spaced Shuttle Challenger Astronaut Judith Resnik -- prosecutors have weighed his mental state in deciding what charges he will face.More...

BOEING 737S GET FUEL TANK AD
The aftereffects of the NTSB's conclusions about TWA Flight 800 live on, as Boeing continues to address the board's suspicion of an exploding fuel tank. This week, the FAA issued a final rule for Boeing Model 737-600, -700, -700C, -800, and -900 series airplanes. The FAA claims that the actions specified by this Airworthiness Directive are intended to prevent fluid contamination inside the fueling float switch or chafing of the wiring to the in-tank conduit, which could generate an ignition source and consequent fire and explosion in the fuel tank.More...

CORRECTION -- SUN 'N FUN DATES
AVweb Monday published incorrect dates for this year's Sun 'n Fun fly-in. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes ... this time ours was trusting EAA's own press release. So, please re-mark your calendars. This year's trade show / aviation celebration / air show will open its doors April 2 and run through April 8. See the Sun 'n Fun Web site for details -- at least that way, you can't blame us.

ON THE FLY...
Lycoming Tuesday received FAA go-ahead for production of new cranks...
The Air Transport Association of America Inc. has a new boss...
EAA is seeking Scholarship applicants...
EAA is also celebrating its 50th birthday January 26.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK
We received over 80 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, John R. Williams, of Trophy Club, TX. His picture titled "Try To Wipe the Smile Off My Face" captures the sheer pleasure of recreational flying. As the picture's caption implies, the pilot's face illustrates how much fun he is having flying the Aviat Husky. Great picture, John! Your AVweb prize is on the way.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK
We received over 400 responses to our question last week on the biggest aviation story of 2002. So far, 33 percent of our respondents feel that the crippling of the airline industry, including United’s bankruptcy, was the biggest aviation story of 2002. The economic downturn and its effect on general aviation was cited by 28 percent of our readers as being the main story. Following that, 20 percent said threats to airports and airspace was the big story of 2002.

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AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Ralph Simms, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

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COLUMNS
Say Again #19: ATC 302: The Hub
AVweb's Don Brown continues his 300-level series of classes by discussing the interaction of DPs and STARs and how they affect traffic flow into multiple, nearby airports. When you know some of what ATC has to consider when working heavy traffic, you can use them as an asset in your cockpit rather than an inconvenience.

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SKYWRITINGS
Y is for Yak
Slipping away from her duties to check out a P-40 Warhawk at a Commemorative Air Force gathering, Sherry Ditmer happens upon a Russian plane she's seen doing aerobatics before. After spending quality time with this unusual beast, she has a newfound love for the penultimate letter of the alphabet.

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Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
http://www.avweb.com/avmail/

Reader mail this week about Sun'n Fun dates, air traffic control, Time Magazine's controversial ads and more.

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Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SPONSOR NEWS

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TERRORISM INSURANCE: DO YOU NEED IT?
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GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT YOUR AIRCRAFT'S FUEL BILL BY 20 PERCENT!
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We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Arturo Weiss:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#aweiss
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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