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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
REOPENING EFFORTS CONTINUE, IN SPITE OF...
Contrary to the initially pessimistic mood of those lobbying for a
return of GA to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Wednesday's
airspace incursion over Washington, D.C., may not seriously damage
their efforts. After taking a deep breath (or perhaps just catching it
after fleeing one of the evacuated buildings) key congressional
supporters of a qualified reopening for DCA told The Washington Post
they see no reason to put the brakes on the initiative. "It's time to
get with it," said Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House
Appropriations Subcommittee On Homeland Security, the latest of three
House committees to draft bills calling for the resumption of GA
flights to DCA. Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee, which has also prepared a bill, said he
doubts the incident will get in the way of passage. More...
FLIGHT IS DISSECTED...
There has been speculation in the mainstream media as to how the 150
got so close to the White House (less, some say much less, than three
miles). The answer is that it was allowed to. Apparently those who
could have blown it out of the sky much earlier decided to give the
pilots every opportunity to return to earth in the conventional way.
The plane crossed into the Air Defense
Identification Zone at 11:28 a.m., 46 minutes before it reached the
closest point to the White House. The first intercepting aircraft, a
Customs Service Blackhawk helicopter (presumably armed) and a Cessna
Citation, were scrambled at 11:47. Two National Guard F-16s, which
joined the hunt at 11:57 a.m., each made a flare pass in front of the
150. Some time was also spent trying to establish communication. It
wasn't until 12:14 p.m. that the Cessna changed course. "Perhaps it
dawned on them, finally, this is no good, I've got to change
something," said Lt. Col Tim Lehmann, who was flying one of the F-16s.
ACTION THE PILOTS MAY FACE
The next round of speculation centers on the penalty the pilot(s) will
face. Although some media outlets are reporting that the pilot's
certificate will be revoked, FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said that
decision hasn't been made. "The seriousness of the incident merits the
most thorough and careful examination possible of all pertinent
information related to this incident. Once that has been completed, we
will take all appropriate steps with respect to enforcement action,"
he told AOPA. AOPA says the consensus of members e-mailing their
reaction is that he should face the highest penalty, which would be
emergency revocation. He would then have to go at least a year without
flying and then pass the written and flight exams again. It's been
reported that his passenger, a student pilot, actually took over the
controls after the intercept and got the plane to Frederick, and that
may bode well for his future treatment by the FAA. More...
Like peonies and petunias, endurance flights blossom in spring and
there's always someone (or some group) with a fresh idea. How about
launching a cross-country flight from the deck of the retired aircraft
carrier Midway? The catapult can stay in mothballs, however, since
Brendan Tayler won't need more than a few dozen feet to get airborne
on the first leg of his eight-to-twelve week transcontinental flight in a powered parachute.
There's a promotional angle to the flight. It's being coordinated
through the PowerChute Education Foundation (PCEF) and is, in part,
aimed at exposing "the sport of powerchuting to tens of millions of
people through the mass media." But, like many such endeavors, there's
also a public-service angle. More...
THE WORD ABOUT YOUNG EAGLES...
Spreading the joy of flight to young people in the U.S. and around the
world is the goal of The Eagle Flight, which launches May 28. Over the
summer, Jared Aicher will fly to almost 60 cities in all Lower 48
states and the Caribbean to give kids Young Eagles flights in a Cessna
172 provided by West Mesa Aviation, of Albuquerque. "Many children's
dreams of flight are never realized," said Aicher. "The goal of the
Eagle Flight is to help children around the world realize their dreams
of flight, get them into the cockpit and register each one as a Young
Eagles member." After the U.S. and Caribbean tour, Aicher plans to set
out next year on a round-the-world junket with the same goals in mind.
IT BEATS A BUS TOUR TO VEGAS
And then there's just for the heck of it. Two mature California pilots
came close to crossing paths in the South Seas as they headed around
the world in opposite directions. As AVweb told you last month, Bill Randolph, 76,
of Watsonville, headed east on his adventure of a lifetime. Late last
month, Dean Stahr, of Napa, set out for Hawaii on his
first leg in his Cessna 182. When we last left Randolph, he had just
finished battling Indian authorities for the necessary documentation
to fly through the country. Trouble awaited in Phuket, Thailand, where
he blew a tire on landing and damaged his RV-8. After receiving a
parts shipment from Vans and some patchwork repairs (that included
substituting cooking oil for brake fluid) Randolph was able get back on his flight
after almost three weeks in Phuket. More...
CHICAGO WANTS F-16S, TOO
While the Cessna 150 was "threatening" Washington, D.C., Chicago Mayor
Richard Daley wasn't taking any chances. According to the Chicago CBS
affiliate, emergency officials in Chicago were "put on notice" about
the Washington alert. Chicago officials took an "immediate defensive
stance" (whatever that means). While his staff was manning the
ramparts, the enigmatic mayor was gearing up his public-relations
machine. "We need the same protection as Washington, D.C.," Daley
said, and he means F-16s. "We do not have any jets here. This city
does not have a military force," he said. "I mean, this is in this day
and age after 9/11," he said. "That this can take place is very sad
comment." Daley didn't forget to take credit for making the city safer
by destroying Meigs Field. More...
OPERATOR WARNS AGAINST AEROBATICS
Warbird Adventures is urging all owners of T-6s,
Harvards and SNJs to stop performing aerobatics in the aircraft until
the results of an investigation into the loss of one of its SNJs last
week are released. In a statement on its Web site, the company says it
will cease operations until the results are known. The SNJ, with pilot
Jonathon Hedgecock, of Kissimmee, Fla., and passenger Jim Kern, of
Springer, Okla., crashed a week ago in dense woods near Lake Pierce,
and an in-flight airframe failure is the suspected cause. The company
says it has been told by the FAA that there will be no Emergency
Airworthiness Directive issued until after the laboratory review is
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FINALLY GIVES UP ON CORSAIR
In some respects it's probably a good thing that the U.S. Navy doesn't
give up easily but, in the end, even it couldn't stand up to an
indomitable Minnesota mechanic and his dream ... of course, having a
congressional order on his side didn't hurt. Lex Cralley pulled the
wreck of a Brewster-built Corsair from the swamp and had dreams of
rebuilding it until the Navy said it wanted its airplane back. Lex
Cralley seems to have won his bid to keep the Navy from repossessing
the wreck of an aircraft it considered "demolished" after it crashed
in a North Carolina swamp in 1944. Last week a U.S. District Judge
approved a settlement that ends a lawsuit filed a year ago by the U.S.
Justice Department, the climax of a six-year tug of war between
Cralley and the government over possession of the extremely rare
Brewster-built Corsair. More...
WINGS, NO PROBLEM -- FLYING SNAKES
While most of us enjoy any kind of aeronautical spectacle, there's one
occurring daily in the rainforests of South and Southeast Asia that
many of us could happily avoid. Researchers from the University of
Chicago are studying just how "flying snakes" manage to turn
themselves into reasonably credible gliders. Their work is featured
this month in the Journal of Experimental Biology. "Despite their
lack of wing-like appendages, flying snakes are skilled aerial
locomoters," said Dr. Jake Socha, who has authored a paper on the
strange creatures. During eight years of research, Socha found that
the paradise tree snake, one of five flying varieties, actually
flattens itself from head to tail to make it more aerodynamic. Some
manage to alter their flight path 90 degrees in flight and manage a
best glide of about 13 degrees below horizontal. More...
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
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Find out what a Columbia 400 can do for you. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lancair/avflash
TABS IMPROVE STABILITY
Engineers at Lehigh University have come up with a relatively simple
device that allows pilots to custom-tailor the lateral stability of
their aircraft in flight. According to PhysOrg.com, Prof. Joachim Grenestedt designed
"canted tabs" that attach to ailerons. The tabs rotate around an
aluminum tube inserted in the aileron. The pilot can adjust them as
much as 30 degrees in flight and the effect on lateral stability is
significant. The tabs were installed on an Aermacchi AM-3 Bosbok and
rendered it laterally stable. "We took an unstable aircraft, fitted it
with the canted tabs and made it stable. When the plane started to
side slip, the tabs applied force to the ailerons, causing the plane
to bank, or roll, and regain lateral stability," Grenestedt said. The
innovation could help aircraft designers solve an important
aerodynamic problem in creating marketable aircraft.
PILOTS' CURRENCY CLARIFICATION
A story in Monday's NewsWire unintentionally threw a scare into
thousands of homebuilt pilots who quite legally fly their aircraft and
will continue to do so without the prying eyes of the FAA determining
whether they are capable. As the story noted, the FAA wants to make
sure that those flying passengers in their homebuilts are properly
rated for the aircraft they are flying. What we didn't say is that
since most homebuilts are single-engine land planes and that's the
certificate most pilots have, there's no action required for the vast
majority of pilots. However, some folks who have built water-capable
or multi-engine planes don't carry those endorsements. The rule is
intended to ensure those pilots are proficient and current in the
particular aircraft they fly before they can take passengers.
AN AIR/OIL SEPARATOR ON YOUR AIRCRAFT ENGINE?
If so, our sister publications, Aviation Consumer and Light Plane
Maintenance, would like to hear from you. Regardless of the brand or
type of air/oil separator, we would like to know how the device as
performed. And would you buy one again? Drop an e-mail to email@example.com
for more. More...
One of Britain's top aviation safety awards went to a glider
A dying Alaskan's last wish came true recently through flight.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 news-savvy pilots
might want to know about? If it caught your eye, it would likely
interest someone else. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. ... With our
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about ATC privatization and
clarified rules about homebuilts, and a lot of controversy about the
plane that caused the evacuation of the Capitol. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #94 -- Call Me A
You may think you understood ATC's instructions, but what
you thought you heard might not be what the air traffic controller
meant to say. Confused? Then verify your clearance in this quiz before
you taxi. More...
MODERNIZING YOUR KT76 DOESN'T GET ANY
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Overheard and unfortunately timely...
Pilot: Unknown airport with Cessna 150 circling overhead
... Identify yourself! More...
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