The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
CONTRACT: THE (LEGAL) BATTLE BEGINS
They've tried just about everything else and now the National
Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS) is taking a new tack to
try and prevent the contracting out of flight service stations. NAATS
claims the process constitutes age discrimination and filed suit
today. The union is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the
contracting process (the winning bidder, Lockheed Martin, is already
well into its pre-transition program) followed by a permanent
injunction. NAATS director Mike Sheldon said the process could
potentially leave almost 1,000 displaced workers without pensions,
even though they are close to retirement age. "They will be without an
annuity. They will be left with virtually nothing," he said.
EFFICIENCY AND LOST PENSIONS...
Sheldon said that if the contract proceeds on schedule, the FAA will
save tens of millions of dollars by avoiding paying pensions to the
displaced workers. He said that of 963 workers who will be left
without a pension, roughly two-thirds are within five years of
qualifying. According to the press release, the NAATS suit alleges the
contracting process "is timed to deny substantial federal retirement
benefits" to FSS workers who are more than 40 years old. Sheldon said
the timing of the contract with the major retirement bubble of FSS
workers only a few years away "is quite a coincidence."
LOCKHEED'S FSS TRANSITION CONTINUES
Meanwhile, the effort from within the FAA to derail the Lockheed bid
remains in the hands of the FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for
Acquisition (ODRA). The FAA's Air Traffic Organization (ATO), which
now runs the FSS system, submitted a bid in conjunction with Harris
Corp. In what may be an unprecedented move, the ATO filed a protest
over the award of the contract to Lockheed Martin, citing
irregularities and incomplete work in the assessment process. The
ATO's attorney, Cyrus Phillips, told AVweb he expected a
decision on the challenge before now and he's unsure when it will be
issued. In the meantime, Lockheed continues to carry out its
transition program and Phillips is concerned staffing problems are on
the horizon. More...
LAST DAY FOR MARCH OFFER COMPLIMENTARY UPS
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When new, these headsets
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COCKPIT AND YOUR CELLPHONE...
There's a whole world of information available to pilots via their
cellphones and AOPA says it's time it became legal to place that call.
Everything from weather to airport information is available by cell
but the Federal Communications Commission still outlaws the use of the
phones in light aircraft. The FCC is now considering changing the
rules and AOPA says the sooner the better. "Cellphones and other
wireless technologies are invaluable tools for obtaining updated
weather and other information in flight," said AOPA spokesman Randy
Kenagy. "And the risk of interference with aircraft avionics for the
typical general aviation flight is very slight." More...
CABINS, A DIFFERENT ANIMAL
It's a little different on airliners where interference could come
from any of dozens of phones, BlackBerries or laptops in the back. But
the technological hurdles are being overcome and it won't be long
before wireless communication can be safely carried out on airliners.
Well, at least the avionics will be safe. What about the safety of the
cell yellers and their obnoxious ring tones as they discover they can
pursue their favorite pastime in the air? It could be that the social
implications of allowing cellphone use on airliners might be a tougher
nut to crack than the technical ones, according to Beverly Wyse, a
spokeswoman for Connexions, a Boeing company that has created a
cellphone system for airliners. More...
TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU'RE BUYING or
SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT|
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UPHOLDS LYCOMING VERDICT
A Texas judge has signed a $96 million jury award against Lycoming
stemming from the failure of about two dozen crankshafts in
higher-powered six-cylinder engines. Judge Jerry Sandel awarded the
full amount of the jury's recommended award to Navasota-based
Interstate Southwest, which made the crankshaft castings for those
engines. The seven-week trial ended in mid-February. As AVweb told you in February, the jury
found Lycoming had fraudulently blamed Interstate for incorrectly
heat-treating the crankshaft blanks. The failures resulted in the
recall and repair of more than 1,800 engines. But the jury found that
the crankshafts were under-designed and that a decision by Lycoming to
add Vanadium to the alloy mix weakened the crankshafts. Lycoming is,
of course, not accepting the ruling. More...
BOOZE GOES WITH NIGHT FLYING AND BAD WEATHER
Night flying and bad weather seem to go with drinking and flying, a
Johns Hopkins study has determined. Yes, badly. Researchers found that
most crashes (52 percent) involving imbibing pilots (that's about one
in 200 pilots, according to testing done by the airlines) occurred at
night and that in 64 percent of the alcohol-related crashes, worsening
weather was also a factor. "Pilots should never mix alcohol
consumption with flying because it can impair their ability to think
about key functions in operating a plane," said researcher Guohua Li,
a medical epidemiologist. More...
PILOT FIGHTING FOR WINGS ... AND WINNING
(... So far.) An Air New Zealand pilot who is prone to fainting
appears to be winning a legal battle to regain his flying privileges.
A 52-year-old Boeing 767 captain has fainted three times since 1990,
although it's not clear whether he was flying at the time. After the
first two faints, his medical was renewed on the condition that he
always fly with another qualified pilot. After a swoon in 2002, the
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) pulled his ticket. But a judge in
Wellington last week reversed the decision. The pilot isn't polishing
up his brass quite yet, however, since the CAA is likely to appeal.
GLIDERS AND POWER LINES, WORKING TOGETHER
Those who use a tiny airport in Florida have found that the little guy
sometimes wins and that not all mega-corporations are single-mindedly
profit-driven. Operators of Quest Air Soaring Center in Groveland,
Fla., were both surprised and appalled earlier this year when Progress
Energy put up a 90-foot power pole less than 100 feet from one of
Groveland Airport's runways. According to Quest Air's Lisa Kain,
apparently a local politician told the company it needn't bother with
public input regarding its new power line construction project. Kain
said the new power line was technically legal because it followed FAA
regulations but it didn't take into consideration the type of
operations at Groveland, which is heavily used by hang gliders. "The
landing area is anywhere that doesn't have an obstacle," Kain said.
"Centerlines don't mean anything." Kain was ready to do battle but
found Progress Energy surprisingly understanding and accommodating.
FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased
over 150% all requiring legal counsel. That's why pilots are
enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan for affordable,
dependable legal protection when they unwittingly violate FAA rules.
The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a variety of
situations where you might need legal support. Plus, the plan gives
you unlimited consultation on most aviation matters covered by the
plan, an annual review of key aviation documents, and one no-cost
half-hour consultation with an AOPA Legal Services Plan panel attorney
regarding aviation-related matters not otherwise covered. Affordable
protection every time you fly, for as low as $26 annually. Enroll in
AOPA's Legal Services Plan before you need it! Call (800) USA-AOPA
(800-872-8672), or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopalegal/avflash.
COMPANY BEATS BOMBARDIER FOR HUGE CONTRACT
A consortium led by an obscure British Columbia company has beaten
Bombardier for one of the juiciest contracts ever tendered by the
Canadian government. And Bombardier isn't taking it very well. Allied Wings,
led by Kelowna Flightcraft, of Kelowna, B.C. (about 200 miles east of
Vancouver) was awarded a 22-year, $1.77 billion (CAD) contract to
provide flight training for the Canadian Armed Forces. Bombardier
previously held the contract. The actual training will take place at
new facilities to be built in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. News
leaked about the decision more than a week ago and Bombardier, which
is based in Quebec, openly accused the federal government of rigging
the bidding process to favor the Kelowna bid as a way of shoring up
Western Canadian political support for the ruling Liberal Party. Not
so, two senior federal cabinet ministers told AVweb Wednesday
at a news conference in Kelowna. More...
TO LAND, JUST IN TIME
There are times when being forced to land by the U.S. Customs and
Border Patrol (CBP) can be a good thing. In fact, it might even save a
life. A 22-year-old California pilot got lost and strayed into Mexico
last Tuesday after taking off from Glendale in a Cessna 152. By the
time he got his bearings and crossed back into the U.S. near Nogales,
the CBP was waiting for him -- and just in time. Local reports say
there was less than half a gallon of gas in the 152's tanks. After
some time spent getting to know the border officials, the unidentified
pilot was released and flew back to Glendale. Because he was not
arrested, the CBP was not allowed to release his name.
YOU CAN EAT SOUP THAT'S BEEN TO THE MOON
you fly to Chalet Suzanne. This place is quite probably the finest
"airport restaurant" around, and their signature Romaine soup has been
aboard Apollo missions. After landing on their grass airstrip, you can
not only enjoy high-end cuisine at the restaurant, but you can also
stay in their nostalgic Swiss-chalet-style inn. Read about this and
other great destinations around the country in Pilot
Getaways magazine, the only magazine devoted to the best
in-depth travel information. Subscribe at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/avflash.
Most airlines are cutting seats...
Flight training materials aimed
at younger teens...
Maine pilots invited to security
Ugandan pilot arrested after crash kills two bystanders.
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.
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.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #48: Vectoring for
IFR pilots who spend time in non-radar areas are glad to
get back in "radar contact" so they don't have to spend all that time
on the full approach procedures. But then come the dreaded words, "...
vectors for spacing ..." AVweb's Don Brown explains why ATC likes
giving vectors and why it is better and safer for pilots, too.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
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
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know when and where Pilots in Command use
their cell phones. PLUS: Results of last week's question on the ATC
shortage and its effects on flying. More...
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL
AWARENESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL|
Charts, which can be displayed on Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 or
Entegra/EX5000 MFDs, provide geo-referenced approach charts and
airport diagrams. CMax reduces the amount of paper in your
cockpit, and allows you to access critical chart data more quickly and
easily. CMax overlays your flight plan and aircraft position for
optimum orientation. CMax even shows runway incursion hotspots
and improves taxiway awareness, reducing the need for "progressives"
at unfamiliar airports. With CMax, youll know exactly
where you are on the approach or on the field. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Quick! Grab a cold beverage and your best reading glasses, because
this week our "POTW" submitters are battling it out in a game of
chance! There were so many outstanding selections this week that we've
chosen two photos for each of the top three slots. All are outstanding
photos, worthy of "POTW" honors so we're going to decide who
appears in each slot with an old-fashioned coin toss. (We know it
sounds crazy, but hey it does mean more pictures than usual!)
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your
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|ATTENTION, ALL PILOTS & WONDERFUL WORLD OF FLYING
Many of you have accumulated the entire
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|SPECIAL OFFER ON MUSIC CDs PAYING TRIBUTE TO 9/11 &
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|FEELING GUILTY? YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING & REVIEWING
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Visit Rod Machado at Sun 'n
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