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Volume 11, Number 11b March 17, 2005

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

FSS CONTRACT CHALLENGED…
The FAA's decision to contract out the Flight Service Station system is being challenged -- from within the FAA. James H. Washington, the Agency Tender Official for the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, claims the FAA's own proposal to modernize and economize the FSS system wasn't given a fair shake in deliberations that ultimately led to Lockheed Martin's winning what is said to be the largest ($1.9 billion) outsourcing contract ever awarded. Washington's lawyer, Cyrus E. Phillips IV, told AVweb that to the best of his knowledge it's the first time the government bidder in an outsourcing proposal has challenged the outcome. More...

...WANTS TRANSITION PROCESS STOPPED...
In the protest, Washington, through his lawyer, asks ODRA to stop Lockheed Martin from proceeding with the transition to its own system and the resulting equipment and staffing decisions. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin officially takes over the FSS on Oct. 1 and is now getting ready for the transition, including recruiting personnel from existing FSSs. Washington also asks ODRA to start the whole bidding process over again. In the protest, Washington claims there are "compelling reasons" to cancel the deal, not the least of which is that Lockheed Martin's plan involves a complete replacement of existing facilities and equipment. Washington notes that much of the hardware the successful bidder intends to use in its system isn't certified and that staff will require extensive training to bring the system up to speed. By comparison, the in-house bid envisions expanding the already-proven and FAA-certified Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS), which was developed by the FAA at great taxpayer expense and which Washington claims is working well. More...

...OTHER BIDDERS ALSO INTERVENE
Phillips said at least two other unsuccessful bidders, Raytheon and Computer Sciences, have filed interventions, as has the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists, the union representing FSS employees. The FAA administrator was to have filed her response to the protest from within her ranks by Wednesday and Washington has until Friday to comment on that response. Then it's up to ODRA to decide whether to act on Washington's protest. Phillips said ODRA's decision will be final and he expects it early next week. More...

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GA SECURITY AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION…
Officialdom's goals for GA security have been kicked up a notch, according to a leaked FBI/Department of Homeland Security report quoted in a front-page story in Monday's New York Times, and that's brought a predictable flurry of backlash from the alphabet groups. In fact, AOPA President Phil Boyer did four television interviews in time to refute, on the evening news, what he termed the "highly misleading" Times story. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) also noted that several enhancements to GA security have already been implemented. The Times story emphasized the attraction of GA airports to terrorists now that security has been beefed up at most major airports. The story also quoted the report as saying that GA airports should have security procedures (screeners, explosives detectors, etc.) similar to those at major airports. Boyer said that's both impractical and unnecessary and criticized the Times for reopening this can of worms. More...

...GA EMPHASIS "MISLEADING"...
Boyer said the Times story's emphasis on GA was far out of proportion to its significance in the report. In 24 pages of text, Boyer said, only two paragraphs were devoted to GA, yet that formed the basis for the story. AOPA's Web site calls the premise for the story "highly overstated and misleading." It also noted that the report was intended as a briefing document for law-enforcement personnel and was never intended for general release. AOPA says the report contains no new information and is based on data gathered during a three-year period after the 9/11 attacks. "This is old news," Boyer said. "We've been hearing this since November of 2001." Other groups chimed in as well. More...

...AS GA SECURITY INCIDENTS CONTINUE
But, as if on cue, a couple of security-related stories involving small aircraft surfaced over the same time period. WABC News reported that a couple of New Jersey State Police helicopters were nearly fired upon after they flew over a nuclear power plant in Lower Alloways Creek Township. The police were conducting a drill, but they didn't tell the people at the nuke plant. Now, the security personnel at the plant are under scrutiny for not bringing the police helicopter down. And on Sunday, NORAD scrambled a couple of F-16s after at least three pilots reported radio transmissions indicating a hijacking was taking place. More...

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AOPA: BUDGET PROPOSAL THREATENS AIRPORTS
Following The New York Times' message of a yet-unaddressed threat posed to national security by GA's unfenced airports and unscreened baggage (see above), AOPA says the Bush administration's 2006 federal budget proposal will cut a wide swath through GA airports, costing them more than large commercial facilities because of the way the funding formula works. The budget would trim $600 million from the congressionally authorized Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and may eradicate an annual "entitlement" (the only federal money some small airports receive) amid an overall cut of 1.27 percent planned for the FAA's 2006 budget. "The smallest airports that can afford it the least will be hurt the most," said AOPA president Phil Boyer. More...

GENERAL AVIATION AN ECONOMIC BRIGHT SPOT?
The United States trade deficit soared in January to its second-highest level ever, according to the International Herald Tribume. But after almost four years of massive layoffs, seas of red ink and numerous bankruptcies and consolidations, GA may now be considered a bright spot in the U.S. economy. In fact, it was one of comparatively few sectors to report an increase in exports in the past year with a healthy $600 million increase in foreign sales. GA's rebound helped the aerospace industry, as a whole, to post a $31 billion foreign trade surplus in 2004, up $4 billion over the previous year. "Aerospace has proven once again it is a huge boon to the U.S. economy," said John Douglass, CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. More...

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SPORT PILOT ROAD TOUR PLANNED
EAA is taking Sport Pilot on the road. As AVweb told you in January, EAA wants to spread the message about the new pilot and aircraft classifications to as many people as possible and the process will begin with a three-stop tour in June. The Sport Pilot Tour will visit Marysville, Calif., June 3-4; St. Louis, Mo., June 10-11; and Franklin, Pa., June 17-18. Of course, the traveling show will also be featured at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh starting July 25. Spokesman Ron Wagner said the aim of the tour is to show EAA members and the public that "this is an exciting time for recreational aviation, which is rapidly moving to the fore as an affordable outdoor adventure pastime." More...

CONTROLLERS, PILOTS TALK SAFETY
Pilots talk to air traffic controllers all the time but a unique conference in Milwaukee May 3-4 gives those on both ends of the microphones a chance to really communicate. Controllers and pilots meet face-to-face in the National Air Traffic Controllers Association's annual Communicating For Safety conference at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. The conference covers a host of safety-related issues and gives pilots a valuable perspective of what it takes to get them where they're going. More...

CHICAGO BIZAV AIRPORT RFP
Chicago Palwaukee Municipal Airport, the region's premier business-aviation facility, is seeking industry proposals that require hangars (36,000 sq. ft. approx.) and adjacent offices and shops (14,000 sq. ft. approx.). The airport will consider a variety of business possibilities to complement the airport's predicted growth, including aircraft charter, maintenance, flight training, aircraft sales, or aviation manufacturing. Contact Airport Manager Dennis G. Rouleau, C.M., at (847) 537-2580 ext. 114 for complete proposal materials. An Executive Summary is available at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/rfp/avflash.

AVIATION GENERATION GAP SPARKS SAFETY CONCERN
There are going to be a lot fewer gray heads in cockpits and towers in coming years and that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, has raised safety concerns. The paper claims that 25,000 seasoned pilots will hang up their hats in the next 10 years, to be replaced by 50,000 rookies, some fresh out of flight school. At the same time, about three-quarters of the U.S.'s air traffic controllers will be eligible to retire. This confluence of fresh faces on each side of the aviation safety equation is raising eyebrows, if not fears. "I wouldn't go so far as to say it's going to be dangerous," aviation consultant Stuart Klaskin told the newspaper. "But it's one of those situations that needs to be understood now and acted upon now." More...

DELTA PILOT'S EYE INJURED BY LASER
A Delta Air Lines pilot says he was grounded for three weeks because of an eye injury resulting from a laser's being pointed at his aircraft in December. Parry Winder told a House panel the "intensely bright green light" also affected his depth perception and resulted in a bumpier landing than normal. Winder said the incident occurred on Dec. 22 as he was on final for Salt Lake City International Airport. He told the congressional panel that the beam struck the cockpit for about six seconds and he and his first officer didn't know what to do. "We did not respond, having no previous experience or knowledge or understanding," he said. They reported the incident but Winder said he brushed it off until he woke up the next morning. More...

TWIN COMMANDER AIRCRAFT, LLC SEEKS COMPANY PRESIDENT
Twin Commander Aircraft, LLC is seeking a new, dynamic company leader to succeed the retiring president.  This CEO position reports to a corporate Executive Vice President and has full P&L responsibility for the company. In addition to leading a dedicated in-house engineering, parts, customer service, and support staff in Arlington, Washington, the President manages contractual relationships with a key group of 22 independent factory-authorized service centers worldwide.  The ideal candidate must have a senior-level management background in general aviation, experience with the Twin Commander Aircraft product line, and the ability and enthusiasm to take this legendary aircraft product line to new levels of performance and growth.  Contact:
   J. Stevens, HR Dept.
   Precision Aerospace Services, LLC

   Click here to send an e-mail
(E-mails only; no phone calls.)

CHINESE AIRLINES SEEK FOREIGN PILOTS
You've heard all about the so-called pilot shortage but so far all your various ratings and endorsements have you flying the grill at your local McDonalds. How about trading your plastic fork for chopsticks -- and maybe a shot at right seat in an airliner. The first private airlines are taking flight in China and they'll need at least 8,000 pilots over the next 10 years. Since there is virtually no GA system to produce those pilots, the airlines must look abroad. "China is short of captains and co-pilots," said Liu Jieyin, chairman of Okay Airways, China's first privately held airline. "We offer young foreign pilots an opportunity to grow." More...

CORRECTION: WAI
The date given in Monday's AVflash for next year's Women in Aviation Conference in Nashville was incorrect. The correct date is March 23-25, 2006. More...

ON THE FLY...
Adam Aircraft announced new manufacturing plant in Ogden, Utah...
Indonesian airline employees interviewed in in-flight poisoning of pax...
Bush's travel schedule means lots of TFRs...
Examiner to retire at age of 95...
Indian-born Canadian residents acquitted of bombing Air India 747...
Airbus will ask airlines to inspect A300-600 and A310 rudders.
More...

AVWEB'S 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 newstips@avweb.com. More...

DA40 DIAMOND STAR A FLEET FAVORITE
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NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
The Savvy Aviator #16: Who Is Responsible For What?
Who is responsible for the various aspects of maintaining an aircraft in airworthy condition? The aircraft owner, the authorized inspector (IA), and the certificated mechanic (A&P) all have well-defined roles and responsibilities. AVweb's Mike Busch lays them out in this months Savvy Aviator column. More...

AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVFLASH
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/ More...

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AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Let's get political: General politics aside, this week we want to know if the Bush administration been good or bad for General Aviation. PLUS: Results of last week's question on near-mid-air collisions (and reporting them). More...

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AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
We received nearly 100 entries for this week's "POTW" contest — putting us back in the high numbers we've grown to love! Thanks for sending us your aviation photos and keeping our eyes soothed while we put together the news reports. Kim Rosenlof of Arizona takes home the prize-winning AVweb baseball cap this week. Want a shot at next week's cap? Submit your photo today. More...

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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

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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
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