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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
AROUND THE WORLD...
Some say that in a homebuilt, every flight is a test flight, and a
California pilot is putting his RV-8 through the ringer. While
thousands of fellow EAA members and other aviation enthusiasts are
getting ready for the annual trip to Sun 'n Fun in
Florida starting April 12 (of course, AVweb will be there with
special coverage next Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the following
Monday), Bill Randolph, of EAA Chapter 119 in Watsonville, Calif., should
have arrived at or be close to Bali, where he'll visit his son on the
final leg of his round-the-world trip. More...
SLOWS HIM DOWN...
Now, anyone in the surprisingly small club of those who've flown
around the world will tell you that the flying is the easy part. It's
getting permission to fly in countries that rarely see small private
aircraft (let alone homebuilts) that can be the most time-consuming
and stressful part of the journey. So far he's dealt with a put-out
tribal chief in Senegal, had the Greek air force looking for him (they
didn't find him), been surrounded by police and military in Cypress
and waded through a quagmire of bureaucracy in India. Ironically,
however, one of his most unpleasant experiences was just before
leaving the good old U.S. of A., Shirley Randolph told AVweb.
Assuming he makes it, Randolph will be among a handful of people on
the list kept by Earthrounders who've flown a homebuilt around the
world. So far, Australian adventurer Jon Johanson is the only RV owner
(on that list) to make the trip and he's done it twice, including a
loop over the North Pole, in his RV-4. Randolph's successful jaunt
would be another feather in the cap for Van's Aircraft, which makes
the RV series of kit planes. (Experimentals -- originating from all
manufacturers -- now make up about 10 percent of the GA fleet.)
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Maybe there's something to all this safety stuff after all. According
to stats released by the NTSB, general aviation
accidents and the accident rate were at their lowest level since 1938
in 2004 and there's even better news than that. "It's also the lowest
number of fatal accidents [and] the second-lowest fatal accident rate
-- ever," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of AOPA's Air
Safety Foundation. Last year there were 1,614 GA accidents, 127 fewer
than in 2003, and fatal accidents dropped from 352 to 312. Only 1999
had a lower fatal accident rate. According to the foundation, that
makes 2004 "general aviation's safest year yet." More...
STATS DOWN, TOO...
The broader picture seems to be following the same pattern, although
one airliner accident is enough to skew the stats in the commercial
category. Fortunately, there have been no crashes of large passenger
airliners in the U.S. since 2001. In 2004, there was a single Part 121
accident involving an American Connection Jetstream 32 turboprop that
crashed while on an instrument approach to Kirksville, Mo. There were
13 fatalities. There were a total of 101 non-GA crashes in 2003
compared to 123 the year before. Air taxis were safer, too.
OTHER AREAS CATCH UP
While U.S. officials celebrated an improving safety record, a couple
of Aero Kenya pilots were actively contributing to improving their
country's stats. Capt. Kai Tinga and First Officer Mary Mukulu
performed two emergency landings (one as a reaction to an onboard
fire) in less than two weeks, but we won't likely get to hear about
their second adventure unless they quit the airline. "You just want to
blow this issue out of proportion," the Nairobi Standard quoted an
unnamed airline official as saying, after the pilots were told not to
comment. The pilots were flying Czech-built Let L-410 turboprops when
they ran into problems. More...
BOEINGS NEED NEW INSULATION
Operators of 1,600 older Boeing airliners may have to fork out a total
of up to $660 million (an average of about $400,000 per plane) to
replace insulation in the cabin walls if they want to keep them flying
beyond 2011. The FAA Friday issued
a release proposing an Airworthiness Directive that identifies the
transparent film on the insulation, called AN-26, as a potential fire
hazard. The film was manufactured by Orcon Corp. between 1981 and
1988. The film apparently no longer meets fire spread standards, which
Boeing attributes to age and contamination. Operators of Boeing 737s,
the smallest of the affected aircraft (727, 747, 757 and 767 models
are also affected) will spend 4,200 hours removing and replacing the
insulation. It'll take almost four times that long on a jumbo. Boeing
is working on another, less expensive solution. More...
NAATS REACH SEVERANCE DEAL RE FSS
While the future of the flight service station contract is anything
but settled, employees who will lose their jobs in the eventual
transformation of the system now know how they will be dealt with. The
FAA and the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists have
reached a reduction in force (RIF) agreement that the FAA calls a
"generous compensation package" and the union calls "the least any
terminated employee could ask." The deal gives displaced workers a
week's pay for each of the first ten years of service and two weeks
for every year beyond the tenth. It also gives them first crack at any
FAA jobs that come open for which they are qualified for two years. As
always, the devil is in the details and both sides got some
significant concessions, according NAATS spokesman Mike Sheldon.
JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN SOURCE, IS PLEASED TO
ANNOUNCE A NEW LOWER PRICE ON THE GARMIN GPSMAP 296 WITH TERRAIN
All the new aviation GPS units are
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GPSMap 96. Also, JA Air Center stocks non-aviation Garmin GPS
like the StreetPilot 2620, Quest, GPS V Deluxe, eTrex Legend C, GPSMap
60CS, GPSMap 76C, and the GPS 10 Deluxe GPS (Bluetooth
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LOOKS AT REVAMPING ANCIENT REGS
India's civil aviation rules were written in 1937, two years before
Igor Sikorsky first flew a helicopter, and they apparently haven't
been substantially amended to include rotorcraft. The day after two
senior Indian politicians were killed in a helicopter crash
(apparently not an uncommon occurrence in India) Indian officials
agreed they should revamp their regs -- and this time include rules
for helicopters. "There is a need for more stringent control in civil
aviation rules," air Marshal P.S. Ahluwalia, of the Indian air force,
told reporters. He added the rules need to "spell out" operating
restrictions for helicopters. More...
CANYON PILOTS GET QUIET INCENTIVES
Air-tour operators who use quieter airplanes in the Grand Canyon could
be rewarded with more flights and routes under a long-awaited set of
noise guidelines published last week in the
Federal Register by the FAA. The rules set maximum noise levels for
various types of aircraft and allow aircraft with greater seating
capacity to make more racket than smaller planes. The goal is to have
half of the national park free of noise 75 to 100 percent of the time.
"We've been asking the FAA for years to do this," Steve Bassett, head
of the U.S. Air
Tours Association (USATA), told The Associated Press.
LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 NOW CERTIFIED TO
The Columbia 400's twin turbochargers can now be put
to full effect with the aircraft's recent certification to 25,000
feet. With the added altitude to play with, the Columbia
400 gives pilots even more flexibility than before. Set the
throttle to 80% power and cruise at 235 knots that's faster
than any other piston-powered aircraft in production today. Or ease
the power back and increase range to standard-setting
levels. A company official recently flew an unmodified
Columbia 400 non-stop from Bend, Oregon to Fort Worth, Texas (a
distance of more than 1,300 nm) while averaging 200 kts.
Find out what a Columbia 400 can do for you. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lancair/avflash
Visit Lancair at Sun 'n Fun
LICENSE MEDICAL URGED FOR REC PILOTS
The door was opened with the sport pilot regulations and now AOPA is
asking that recreational certificate holders also be allowed to forego
flight medicals. AOPA has formally applied to the Department of
Transportation to make the medical standard for rec pilots the same as
for sport pilots, namely a valid state driver's license. AOPA
maintains that medical causes account for less than 2 percent of
accidents and most of those wouldn't have been detected on a flight
medical. The FAA, perhaps unwittingly, is helping AOPA's cause.
WARS AT OSHKOSH AIRPORT
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has waded into a simmering
dispute between tenants and the management of Wittman Regional Airport
in Oshkosh. Basler Flight Services complained to the department's
Bureau of Aeronautics claiming a competitor, Orion Flight Services, is
getting preferential treatment from the airport by getting time to pay
back rent and because it hasn't lived up to a clause in its contract
to build a 10,000-square-foot building to house all its business
activities. But the bureau said other tenants -- including Basler --
have been cut slack by the airport in the past and the dealings with
Orion aren't any different. Basler President Rod McNeil called the
report "a farce." More...
Bombardier withheld dividend payments...
Report sheds little light
on Neil Groom crash...
CAP practiced tsunami drill in
Winnipeg Flying Club closed after 78 years...
caused $2.1 million damage to Navy aircraft...
pilot shortage. 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 email@example.com.
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
As the Beacon Turns #88: Putting
on the Wings
Some milestones in an aviation career have
traditional recognition -- how many of you had your shirttail cut off
after soloing? -- but far too often such events slide past because
there is so much farther yet to go. AVweb's Michael Maya Charles has
watched one young pilot work his way up through the aviation food
chain, and Michael was proud to stand with him as he joined Michael's
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about the ATC shortage, aging
pilots, the new Marine One and more. More...
MODERNIZING YOUR KT76 DOESN'T GET ANY
Narco Avionics proudly announces that their
plug & play line of digital dransponders now includes the new
AT165/K Transponder, a competitively priced replacement for the
mechanical KT76/78. Narco's line of plug & play transponders also
includes the AT165, a replacement for the AT50 through AT155 and the
AT165/KA, a replacement for the KT76A/78A. Coming Soon: Narco's
AT165 Value Series, a cost-effective way to put a no-frills digital
transponder in your panel. SPECIAL: Purchase an AT165 and get
an AR850 for $99. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/narco/avflash.
Visit Narco Avionics at Sun 'n
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/
Overheard while flying through Chattanooga, this exchange with
approach control and an aerial photo operation...
Skylane 12345: Chattanooga we would like to take
pictures of the Chockamauga Dam, one rolling to right and one to
Control: Approved. Maintain VFR.
Skylane 12345: Chattanooga, we need to climb to 10,000
to take a couple more.
Control: Approved, maintain VFR.
Skylane 12345: Chattanooga, we would like to shoot one
more from the south.
Control: DAM photo approved.
Unknown: Bet he wont ask again. More...
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is
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WORKED HARD FOR THAT IFR TICKET; NOW PROTECT IT!|
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|BECOMING A PILOT IS HUMANKIND'S WILDEST DREAM
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|FLYING MAGAZINE RECOGNIZES THE 6,000th KING
The 6,000th King Air is a model 200 of which nearly
2,000 have been built for business and personal flying. The current
B200 is the best-selling model in the King Air lineup.
Flying reports in their April issue on this aviation
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FLOW STC INCREASES CESSNA 172N GROSS WEIGHT
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of the
Power Flow Tuned Exhaust, has received an FAA STC that increases the
gross weight of C172Ns equipped with 0-320 engines. The only
requirement is installing a cowl cooling lip and limiting flap travel
to 30. With the additional 100 pounds, owners can take on 15 more
gallons of fuel, an extra passenger, or additional baggage. For full
details, stop by Power Flow's booth at Sun 'n Fun or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/power/avflash.
Visit Power Flow at Sun 'n Fun
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