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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
LOOKS AT PRIVATIZATION...
The House Aviation Subcommittee last Wednesday held a hearing on the commercialization of air traffic
services, saying the FAA is now in crisis and at a "crossroads." The
FAA has failed to meet schedules and deploy new technology despite
billions of dollars in spending, the committee said. At least 30 other
countries have switched from government services to private providers.
The committee heard testimony from representatives of Nav Canada and a
German air-traffic agency, but noted that in terms of operational
scale and airspace complexity it is difficult to compare the U.S.
National Airspace System and foreign systems. More...
U.S. air traffic controllers handle more than 64 million takeoffs and
landings each year, and Cleveland controllers alone handle more
operations annually than Canada's entire privatized system ...
according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).
NATCA President John Carr last week spoke out against privatization. "We have the
world's safest, largest and most complex system. Why in the world
would we ever dream of changing it?" Carr said. "Risking the public's
safety by putting air traffic control up for sale should never be an
option." The fiscal crunch at the FAA is also raising more fears of
user fees. More...
WX UNDER THREAT...
The National Weather
Service (NWS) would be restricted from offering any products to
the public that are or could be provided by the commercial weather
industry, under legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate recently by
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). The "National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005"
would "modernize the description of the National Weather Service's
roles within the national weather enterprise," Santorum said, and
essentially it would yank the popular NWS Web site off the Internet.
The bill already has attracted opposition among those who value NWS
PROVIDERS SEEK PAYMENT FOR SERVICE
The effort seems to be driven by the NWS's recently revamped Web site,
which makes weather data more easily available. AccuWeather, a private
weather provider based in Pennsylvania, has been critical of the NWS
and supportive of the bill to change it. AccuWeather spokesman Barry
Myers told the Post the bill would improve public safety by making the
weather service devote its efforts to hurricanes, tsunamis and other
dangers, rather than duplicating products already available from the
private sector. But NWS spokesman Ed Johnson said it doesn't work that
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SEASON'S FATAL START...
Three crew members died last Wednesday when a Lockheed P-3B
firefighting air tanker crashed immediately following a fire-retardant
training drop in Lassen National Forest near Chico, Calif. Killed were
Brian Bruns, 45, of Minden, Nev.; Paul Cockrell, 52, of Fresno; and
chief pilot Thomas Joseph Lynch, 41, of Redding. "They were extremely
good pilots," said Terry Unsworth, CEO of Aero Union
Corporation of Chico, which owned and operated the aircraft. "This
is a very tragic incident." The accident flight was the seventh flight
of the day for that aircraft. The purpose of the flights was to
conduct qualification checks for pilots who were scheduled to conduct
firefighting operations during the upcoming fire season.
The air tanker that crashed was one of 10 aircraft the National Interagency Fire
Center approved last Monday to return to the firefighting fleet,
saying it would monitor them closely for signs of fatigue. The 10
included seven of Aero Union's P-3 Orions. Two fatal crashes in 2002
led to the grounding of large air tankers that year. The NTSB noted in
a press release on Thursday that it had issued five recommendations last year to the
Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and the FAA
as a result of several accidents involving structural failure of
firefighting aircraft, while noting that it is unknown at this time if
the Chico accident is related to structural failure.
GERMAN GA SHOW, DIAMOND REVEALS MOVE TO CHINA
Over the weekend, Germany hosted its 15th Aero Friedrichshafen International General Aviation
Trade Fair, a biennial show that is Europe's premier GA event,
with 543 exhibitors from 28 countries in nine exhibit halls. AOPA's
Thomas A. Horne was there, and reported that Diamond Aircraft CEO
Christian Dries revealed that the Austrian company already is building
a new facility in China where it expects to eventually do all of its
manufacturing. The factory will be big enough to employ 1,700 workers
and build 600 aircraft a year. Dries also said Diamond is building a
special-edition Twin Star for law-enforcement and sports-coverage
EUROPE SHOWS INTEREST IN LSA
The new Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) category in the U.S. has attracted
a lot of attention in Germany, where many aviators would like to see
similar rules adopted. "The chances aren't so bad," said Reiner Hls,
of the German Aero Club, with what sounds to us like at least a hint
of optimism. To promote the idea, EAA sent Mary Jones, editor of EAA Sport Pilot,
Johnson, LSA marketing consultant, over to Aero Friedrichshafen to
talk about the rules and also to look at potential new European LSA
candidates. "There's much interest in LSA here in Europe and in the
sport pilot rules," Jones said. "People are very interested in all
aspects of the rule and how it might affect European flying."
NEW MOONEY MARKETING MATH
For those of you who fell asleep in math class, Mooney is offering a
refresher course, and under their calculations, Mooney (surprise)
comes out consistently on top. In a recent press release, Mooney introduced The Value Factor,
an "industry standard," which is determined by multiplying the
airplane's best-power true airspeed by its best-power range (in
nautical miles) and dividing that total by its suggested list price.
Under this formula, Mooney's Bravo and Ovation2 GX models outscored
selected Lancair, Cirrus, New Piper and Cessna types. "There are, of
course, a lot of factors which contribute to an airplane's overall
value," said David Copeland, Mooney's vice president of sales and
MONEY FOR MORE STARS
While many air traffic controllers are still working with 1970s-era
screens that are inferior to what you get today on a giveaway
cellphone, the government has come up with another $57 million to
continue deployment of the delay-plagued color-display Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System,
or STARS. That's enough for 14 FAA systems, plus nine more for the
Department of Defense. The FAA originally budgeted $940 million to
upgrade 172 sites, and last year cut that down to 47 sites at a cost
of $1.46 billion. Thirty-one FAA and 21 DoD sites are currently
controlling air traffic with STARS. More...
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AIR TAXI TO FLY WITH CIRRUS
While the coming very light jets have been widely touted as the tool
for a new point-to-point on-demand transportation system, Bismarck,
N.D., is making plans to move forward on that model with airplanes
that are available now -- the Cirrus SR22-GTS. City and state
officials have been studying the plan for three years, and now are
ready to award a contract to a private company that will run the local
airline, called Point2Point Airways. The business plan calls for the
company to start with five planes or fewer, and grow to 15 within two
years, according to The Associated Press. The airline already has
received more than $2 million in federal and state money.
A Fla. skydiver died after colliding with the airplane he jumped
Man who shot at a powered chute will be jailed during
A new AMOC allows T-34's 60 hours...
Jeppesen will remake charts to clarify departure procedures for
LAX workers are losing their handy RV lot, after problems
U.S. Aerobatic Team needs money to get to Spain to
Citation owners are invited to Wichita, May 2-4, hosted
by Cessna. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about privatizing FSS,
firefighting planes, Meigs Field and much more. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #6: Who Will Make Your
The "big two" engine manufacturers are no longer
the only game in town for small piston engines. Aftermarket "clones"
are here, and the new LSA market will further stir the pot. AVweb's
Marc Cook reports from Sun 'n Fun.
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|LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 NOW CERTIFIED TO
The Columbia 400's twin turbochargers can now be put
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|MODERNIZING YOUR KT76 DOESN'T GET ANY
Narco Avionics proudly announces that their
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UP IN THE MAY ISSUE OF LIGHT PLANE
Porting and polishing is an old hot
rodder's trick to coax a little more power out of an engine. A handful
of shops apply this technique to aircraft engines, and it has become
somewhat controversial. Does it really work? Yes but there are
downsides, too. Read about both sides of the argument in the May issue
of Light Plane Maintenance. Order your subscription at
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