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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
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...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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
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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.
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
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
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...
BIZAV AIRPORT RFP|
Chicago Palwaukee Municipal
Airport, the region's premier business-aviation facility, is
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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.,
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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...
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
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:
Stevens, HR Dept.
Precision Aerospace Services,
Click here to send an e-mail
(E-mails only; no
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."
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...
Adam Aircraft announced new manufacturing plant in Ogden,
Indonesian airline employees interviewed in in-flight
poisoning of pax...
Bush's travel schedule means lots of
Examiner to retire at age of 95...
residents acquitted of bombing Air India 747...
Airbus will ask
airlines to inspect A300-600 and A310 rudders.
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
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.
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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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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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We Welcome Your
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