The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
THE SCARY SEASON...
New York Sen. Charles Schumer is no stranger to pushing the panic
button (he's tried, among other things, to restrict helicopter flights
in the Big Apple) and now he's written FAA Administrator Marion Blakey
asking that tighter restrictions be placed on small sight-seeing
operations after four people died very publicly in the crash of a
Cessna 172 on a busy Coney Island beach, May 21. The aircraft was
operating under rules that allow small air tour operators to avoid the
expense and paperwork required of larger companies as long as they
take off and land from the same airport and don't fly more than 25
miles from home. The FAA doesn't appear to have the appetite to take
up the cause. More...
"ATTACK" BY CESSNA...
On the other side of the country (and perhaps not coincidentally)
folks in Santa Cruz, Calif., are still buzzing about a single-engine
Cessna which, according to the Mercury News, "attacked Main Beach in
the manner of a World War II fighter and buzzed Seacliff Beach so low
that a driver on a beachside road could see the top of the plane."
Witnesses told the paper that the alleged stunt caused panic on the
beaches and Kim Blow said the plane almost hit her nine-year-old
nephew. "People were eating the sand and screaming," she said, Someone
reported the tail number of the plane but the FAA is cautioning people
not jump to conclusions. "We don't even know if any kind of crime has
been committed or regulations violated," FAA spokesman Donn Walker
told the Mercury News. More...
THE GOOD GUYS PROMPT PANIC
Of course, terror from the sky comes in all shapes, sizes and colors,
even red, white and blue. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds rattled more
than the windows during a photo shoot over New York City last
Thursday. The team was in the area for a Memorial Day air show and
couldn't resist having their pictures taken in formation over the
Statue of Liberty. With a C-130 carrying photographers accompanying
them, the seven-ship formation made three passes over Miss Liberty.
Concern on the ground was both inevitable and duly considered,
according to the Air Force. Regardless, the spectacle still surprised
some still-affected Manhattan residents. More...
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UNDER DISCUSSION -- AGAIN
It seems like everyone wants to talk about what to do about the future
of the National Airspace System and the next in a parade of forums is
a meeting sponsored by the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) --
not to be confused with the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association (NATCA), the controllers' union. The forum will be held at
the Hilton Crystal City at Ronald ReaganWashington National Airport
June 21. The ATCA is calling its forum "Rightsizing the NAS" and it
will focus on the structural and operational changes that will be
needed to overhaul the system and make it more efficient (and
potentially less expensive) against a backdrop of concerns about
flight safety and air traffic controller shortages. Judging by the
list of speakers,the ATCA seems to be attempting to ensure that all
views are heard. More...
SPOTS PROBLEMS, OFFERS NO SOLUTIONS...
As the major stakeholders in the future of the National Airspace
System get ready for their teeth-gnashing session in Washington in a
few weeks, the Government Accountability Office has chimed in with its
assessment of the state of the system, particularly the effort to
reduce flight delays. Unfortunately, there is no beacon of light in
the GAO's report. Simply put, it says more money, probably a lot more,
will have to be spent to implement the structural, facility and
organizational changes that need to take place to make a real
difference. In fact, there's a note of practical desperation in some
of the FAA's plans to address the problem. The report says the agency
is considering auctioning off landing and takeoff rights at LaGuardia.
COUNTRIES LOOK TO U.S....
The potential for air traffic controller shortages is a seemingly
world-wide problem. The Czech Republic is grappling with manpower
issues and even India, with just 1,000 controllers in a country of
more than one billion people, is predicting dire consequences if
hiring isn't speeded up, according to the Times of India. The Airports
Authority of India (AAI). "We're filling up all vacant posts and
things will be sorted out," AAI spokesman Praful Patel told the Times.
Meanwhile, the paper alleges that two controllers are in charge of up
to 15 major air routes at a time, far more than those in other
countries must contend with. More...
COURTS LOOK AT CONSEQUENCES OF FAILURE
The potentially deadly consequences of lightly staffed control centers
will undoubtedly get plenty of attention as the Swiss court system
begins its civil and criminal assessments of the fallout from a midair
collision of a Russian airliner and a DHL cargo jet on July 2, 2002.
An American law firm has filed suit on behalf of 30 families of the
more than 70 people killed in the crash. Swiss authorities, after a
year of psychiatric assessment, have also charged Vitaly Kaloev with
manslaughter for allegedly stabbing to death the controller who was
working the two planes at the time. More...
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PERMITS AVAILABLE FOR SPACECRAFT
Commercial spacecraft developers will get the same sort of opportunity
to build and fly experimental versions of their vehicles as aircraft
manufacturers do under a new set of guidelines issued by the FAA. The
agency recently unveiled, for public comment, a special "experimental
class" permit for those tinkering with suborbital spacecraft. The new
permit promises to clear away much of the red tape on the way to
100,000 meters. "We're hoping that this allows the reusable launch
vehicle developers to build their vehicles and start flying without
too much regulatory burden," FAA spokesman Randy Repcheck told
Space.com. "We're protecting public health and safety, but we're
trying to do so in a reduced manner so that reusable launch vehicle
developers can go out and fly." There are, of course, conditions.
MEMBERS SAVE SURFER
There's nothing like saving a life in your spare time. A volunteer
pilot and his observer with the Coast Guard Auxiliary are credited with initiating
the successful rescue of a kite surfer off the coast of central
California on Thursday. Pilot Dan Lavi and Air Observer Sue Fry, both
auxiliary members, were on routine patrol when they spotted a sail in
the water off Sherman Island State Wild Area. After descending for a
closer look, they found the surfer unable to control the sail in the
high winds. They radioed for help and, thanks to some Good Samaratins
in the area, the rescue was a success. More...
Midair collisions between aircraft are rare enough but for the second
time in a little more than a month a parachutist has collided with an
airplane in flight. In this case, near Racine, Wis., the outcome was a
lot better than the tragic circumstances of the previous incident, in which the jumper died. Last
Thursday, seven skydivers left a single-engine aircraft at 2,000 feet
-- one collided with it close to the ground. The plane ended up in a
tree after clipping power lines and the jumper landed relatively
safely on the ground. Amazingly, neither jumper nor pilot was
seriously hurt. More...
NASA COLLABORATE ON SPACE PLANE TEST
They say politics makes for strange bedfellows but it appears the tiny
fraternity of space explorers also has some unexpected liaisons. While
Scaled Composites' Burt Rutan was telling (yet another) conference on
space development how generally inept and ill-suited NASA is for the
job at hand, his mothership White
Knight was running up and down the runways at Mojave mated to the
X-37, a pilotless Mach 27-capable space plane in
sporadic development by NASA, Boeing and the military. At the
International Space Development Conference, Rutan said NASA is wasting
money on the space shuttle and imaginary spacecraft that will never be
built and should get out of the human spaceflight business altogether.
"NASA is destined to be sidestepped by commercial outfits, because it
is not doing anything fun or inspiring, and it kills too many people,"
he said. Meanwhile, back in Mojave, Rutan's people are working side by
side with NASA engineers trying to make one of those
sometimes-illusory spacecraft fly. 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
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
ACCIDENTS UP, TREND STILL DOWN
The downward slide in GA accidents and fatalities hit an updraft in
2003 but a spokesman for the AOPA Air Safety foundation says it's not
much to worry about. The total number of GA accidents rose 2.5 percent
in 2003 over the previous year while flight hours increased .8
percent, according to the annual Nall Report prepared by the foundation. However,
in the past 10 years, the accident rate per 100,000 flight hours has
declined 25.3 percent. "The general direction is good," said
foundation spokesman Bruce Landsberg. "I think we'll continue to make
progress as pilots get smarter. But it doesn't come without constant
effort and vigilance." More...
Despite what you thought of the advice your mother may have given you,
it actually might make you go blind if Viagra, Cialis or Levitra are
part of the mix. And while we normally don't deal with these sorts of
subjects, word out of the Food and Drug Administration that the use of
these drugs to combat erectile dysfunction has caused "sudden,
irreversible blindness" in 43 men has some significance for pilots.
According to a television news report out of Washington, D.C., it's
because of those potential vision problems that the FAA bars pilots
from taking the drugs within 24 hours of flying (We couldn't find that
specific reg on the FAA Web site). More...
A THREE-BLADE PROP?
If so, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, would like to hear
abou your experiences with the conversion from a two-blade model. Did
you notice any hit on cruise speed? Is it quieter and less vibey? If
you had it all to do over again, would you stick with two-blade or
opet for three? Write AvCon's prop team at email@example.com
Lancair Columbia 350 and 400 certified in Australia...
RV-8 pilot completes round-the-world flight...
user-editable Places To Fly Web site...
Cessna crashed nose first,
occupants uninjured. More...
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
ASA BRINGS YOU A LIFETIME OF HANDS-FREE
ASA's new portable push-to-talk
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It features a low-profile ergonomic button, superior contact switch,
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about students learning with
glass cockpits, autoland on aircraft carriers, and lots more on the
D.C. ADIZ incursion. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Yes, Sport Pilot Training Is
Insurable for Commercial Flight Schools! (But ...)
AVweb published an opinion piece by the owner of a flight school who
couldn't get insurance for training in a Light Sport Aircraft. This
week an independent insurance agency clarifies some of the information
about getting Sport Pilot insurance.
Adventure in Flight: The
Outdoor Channel Steps In After Discovery Breaks A Wing
and other lovers of all things GA have been living in bleak TV times
since Discovery Wings became the Military Channel. But aviation
programming is coming back bigger and better-looking than ever.
AVweb's Liz Swaine reports on "Wings to Adventure." More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on
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headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must
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IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
PILOT GETAWAYS YOUR FLIGHT PLAN FOR
Pilot Getaways starts their May/June
adventure in Ashland, Wisconsin (Lake Superior's hometown); stops for
horses and history in Saratoga Springs, New York; lands in peaceful
Priest Lake, Idaho; spends some time on the beach in Marathon, Florida
(Heart of the Keys); enjoys fly-in dining at the Outrigger Restaurant
in Palacios, Texas; and makes a final touchdown in Oroville,
California for some lakeside activities. Plus, this issue reviews
"Choosing a Propeller." With your subscription to Pilot
Getaways, you too can plan your flying adventure. Order online
When Freud Slips Into The Cockpit.
Miami Center near the Keys on a
summer afternoon with large storms...
Center: Cessna 1234, how's the ride at 5000? I can give
you 7000 if it helps.
Cessna 1234: Moderate turbulence and looks bad ahead ...
but its not gonna be better at seven, I think we will just pray ...
(pause) ... I mean stay at 5000,
Cessna 1234 (Different Voice): Center, I think we're
gonna do a bit of both. More...
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Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
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NAA AND CELEBRATE AVIATION'S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE|
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|ASO A BETTER WAY TO SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT
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|LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT
Narco Avionics proudly announces the
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Digital Transponders. The Value Series is designed for the
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|SUBSCRIBE TO AVIATION SAFETY AND
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|CFIs DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN GREG
BROWN'S CLASSIC BOOK|
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MACHADO BOOKS, TAPES, AND CDs AVAILABLE ON AVWEB!|
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|AIRSPORT AVIONICS OFFERS A $100 DISCOUNT & COMPLIMENTARY
AirSport Avionics is the only manufacturer
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|PHOTON'S WHITE FREEDOM MICRO NOW 2X
Photon, the first name in LED micro-lights, has a
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|KITPLANES CONTINUES THEIR "HOMEBUILT VS.
with Europa homebuilt vs. the
certified Liberty, showing each has its own personality in the
July issue. Also highlighted in this issue: "Creativity Under the
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|THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T
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EXPANDING ITS READER SURVEY PANEL|
If you're willing to
answer (very) brief questionnaires about aviation products and
services once or twice a month, please consider joining our exclusive
panel of reader advisors. We're currently seeking pilots at all
levels of experience in many different FAA regions. To apply,
We Welcome Your
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