AVflash Vol. 9, Issue 04b Thursday, January 23, 2003

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you GARMIN International. From takeoff to touchdown, GARMIN is changing the course of aviation: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/garmin.

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At http://www.avweb.com/newswire/9_04b/complete/182468-1.html.

BIG COMPANIES, BIG "RUMORS"...
With all of the obstacles Boeing has faced over the last year or so, it seems interesting to note some reports that indicate that the company may join forces with a rival manufacturer. The Sunday Times of London broke the story when it reported that senior bankers held talks on behalf of Boeing and BAE Systems, the British company that owns 20 percent of Airbus. The talks were held last autumn, before BAE issued a profit warning in December. The paper reports that these and additional discussions centered on a possible merger that would create a commercial aviation and defense conglomerate valued at $32 billion. More...

...WHILE BOEING SHUFFLES EMPLOYEES...
While Boeing has not officially confirmed merger talks, the company's Wichita facility offered unpleasant news to 45 employees in the form of 60-day layoff notices. In Seattle, about 620 workers also received layoff notices last week. At almost the same time, 100 workers -- mostly mechanics -- were temporarily rehired for work at Boeing's military modification division. Boeing plans to eliminate about 5,000 positions this year after it cut about 30,000 jobs nationally in 2002. More...

...AND AIRBUS REMAINS CAUTIOUS FOR 2003
Across the pond, things appear somewhat better for Boeing's main rival, Airbus. Nevertheless, the European powerhouse is treading carefully and is not terribly optimistic for 2003, as the prospect of a war with Iraq continues to loom. "Frankly, I think 2003 will be an extremely difficult year," Airbus president Noel Forgeard said at an annual news conference in Paris. More...

CHARLOTTE INVESTIGATION UPDATE...
As the NTSB continues its investigation of the January 8 crash in Charlotte, N.C., of a US Airways Express Raytheon 1900D operated by Air Midwest that killed all 22 aboard, investigators are analyzing documents and data related to the aircraft's weight and balance. Officials are focusing on the possibility that a heavy takeoff weight and improper, potentially tail-heavy weight distribution contributed to the crash. Beyond baggage distribution, investigators are also looking at the weight of passengers. More...

...WITH STANDARD PAX WEIGHT...
Experts have raised questions about whether standard industry methods used to measure passenger weight are realistic, considering that the average weights used for passengers don't seem to correlate well with national weight trends. Though an issue of slighter proportions for the average wide-body (airliner), smaller commuter aircraft have a slimmer margin of error when it comes to matters of mass. The accident aircraft in Charlotte departed without an empty seat. More...

...AND FAULTY ELEVATOR STILL CONSIDERED
Weight issues aside, accident investigators are still examining the possibility that a malfunctioning elevator was a major factor in the crash. Initial inspections of other 1900Ds at Air Midwest revealed no fleet-wide flaws in these systems. However, because the flight data recorder indicated erratic elevator movements aboard the accident aircraft, the possibility a flaw specific to the accident aircraft is still being examined. More...

CIVILIAN TILT-ROTOR NEARS FIRST FLIGHT
The Bell Agusta 609 -- a civilian tilt-rotor aircraft -- is one step closer to its first flight, perhaps this spring. Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., which shares the experimental aircraft with Italy's Agusta, is in the final weeks of system tests and is preparing for flight. "The basics are cooking together properly," Jack Gallagher, director of the BA609 program, told The Dallas Morning News. "We're looking at six to eight weeks, or about 50 hours of ground run testing where we do the final tweaks," he added. More...

GREAT FLYING, HAWAIIAN STYLE
Get ready for a good lei, because the Great Hawaiian Race 2003 is drawing near. The theme for this year's event is "The Wright Stuff," honoring ... what else ... the 100th anniversary of powered flight. Pilots are partnered up for this island-hopping flying adventure and those sticking around for the festivities will also be treated to a party whose theme is "Famous Aviators." In addition, there will be an air show over Hana with two aerobatic acts and a Coast Gurd helicopter demonstration. For more information, or to order a race packet, call 808-373-1889, fax 808-373-1870, e-mail RacePilot.Greg@verizon.net or visit the Web site.

THE WRIGHT BROTHERS GO VIRTUAL
While preparations continue for the historic reenactment of the Wright Brothers first flight at Kitty Hawk this December, the replica aircraft has already made its first flight ... sort of. The folks at Microsoft and EAA have teamed up to launch a virtual version of this famed aircraft, creating a new-generation replica -- in the form of a flight simulator -- of the 1903 Wright Flyer. This unique simulation will be an integral part of EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk 24,000-square-foot touring pavilion and visitors will be welcome to try their hand at the controls. More...

CIVIL AVIATION GIVES THE PENTAGON A HELPING HAND
While the U.S. postures for a war with Iraq, it has become clear that the Pentagon is stretching its troop-transport capabilities too thin. The Washington Times reports the Pentagon is drafting plans to contract dozens of civilian airliners to ferry troops and equipment to the Persian Gulf. The paper states this would be just the second time the military has exercised powers to utilize the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) since gaining the authority for this action during the Korean War. More...

STUDENT PILOT LANDS AT ANDREWS AFB
The home of Air Force One found itself as an unexpected refuge for a student helicopter pilot over the weekend. A statement from the 89th Airlift Wing -- the Air Force's unit that manages the presidential fleet -- said the unauthorized landing occurred at about 5 p.m. and was met immediately by security personnel. Military officials believe the pilot -- who carried a Swiss passport and other identification -- had intended to arrive at Indian Head Airport, seven to 10 miles away. More...

ARNOLD PALMER AIRPORT'S GROWING PAINS
Making for the last (hopefully) hurdle to a proposed runway extension, an environmental issue is slowing Arnold Palmer Regional Airport's plan for expansion. A recently finished yearlong environmental assessment cited "two areas that had a potential for impact" -- a small wetland and potential archaeological site now confront the Westmoreland County Airport Authority's plan. The authority proposes shifting the landing zone for the 7,000-foot-long primary runway 1,525 feet south and extending the strip by the same distance on its southern end. Meanwhile, 300 feet of runway on the northern end will be closed, bringing the total runway length to 8,225 feet. More...

THREE JUMP AS PLANE CRASHES INTO HILL
An Antonov-24 crashed and burned Saturday in Gabon's heavily forested region of Ndjole, about 250 kilometers southeast of Libreville, killing five Congolese and two Russians. Witnesses claim the aircraft flew one missed approach and then maneuvered in the darkness for another pass. Three of the seven bodies were found shy of the wreckage and are thought to be those of individuals who jumped from the aircraft before it impacted rising terrain. More...

AIRLINE ACCIDENT DEATH TOLL RISES
While U.S. airlines celebrated a fatality-free 2002, the same could not be said for the rest of the world. In fact, new figures released by Flight International magazine reveal the number of people dying in airline accidents rose last year for the first time since 1996. There were 1,022 fatalities in 2002, compared with 778 in 2001. The number of airline accidents involving deaths also increased -- from 33 in 2001 to 40. Until last year, accident numbers had been reducing steadily each year since 1996. More...

ON THE FLY...
The U.S. DOT has approved an alliance between three of the major U.S. airlines...
A Northwest A319 struck one of the passenger jetways at New York's LaGuardia airport...
PBS Feb. 4 will air a documentary on the strike fighter competition.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS *** We received over 90 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Brian Thorpe, of St. Augustine, Fla. His winning picture takes us for a rather interesting ride above the skies of St. Augustine. Brian tells us this photo was taken on the back side of a formation roll. The lead plane was Harry Shepard's Marchetti SF-260 with Carl Pascarell flying the Sindlinger Hurricane, which was actually built by Brian. Great picture, Brian! Your AVweb hat is on the way. To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to .

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
We received over 1000 responses to our question last week on airport curfews. The majority (54) percent of our respondents feel that curfews do nothing but disrupt vital air traffic and if residents don't like living near an airport, they should move. Following that group, 32 percent of those responding felt that while effective in some instances, curfews can be abused and actually negatively affect an airport's valuable operations. Only 2 percent haven't made up on their minds on whether curfews are beneficial or not. This week, we would like to know your thoughts on personal jet aircraft.

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AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Jeff Tinsley, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

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BIZAV
BizAv: January 23, 2003
AVweb's expanded coverage of business/corporate aviation continues with Cessna's Mustang engine choice, Diamond's jet announcement, bizjet noise complaints in Tampa, the BizAv AD watch and more.

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PROFILES
Rick Adam
Air Force Captain Rick Adam was colorblind, so instead of flying fighter jets he ran the Real Time Computer Center at Cape Kennedy. He wasthere for Apollo missions 8 through 14, then left the Air Force for a career in computer technology. When he learned to fly in the early '90s he was so disappointed at the state of the trainer fleet that he decided to design and build a certificated centerline-thrust carbon fiber twin. In this month's Profile Rick talks with AVweb's Joe Godfrey about computers, Wall Street, and the path that led to Adam Aircraft's A-500 Carbon Aero.

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Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
http://www.avweb.com/avmail/

Reader mail this week about ADS-B separation and Avidyne's EX500.

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Sponsor News and Special Offers

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ORDER YOUR POWER FLOW TUNED EXHAUST SYSTEM NOW AND SAVE $250!
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SPONSOR NEWS

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ATTENTION CESSNA PILOTS AND OWNERS! CESSNA PILOTS ASSOCIATION (CPA) announces 2003 System and Procedure Seminar schedule. Learn from CPA's professionals, who are experts in Cessna systems. If you want to keep your Cessna aircraft running at its best and safest, sign up for one of these seminars today. They fill up fast! Member or non-members go online for the complete schedule.

DIAMOND AIRCRAFT INTRODUCES THE NEW TWINSTAR
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AVEMCO INSURANCE COMPANY OFFERS CONVENIENCE AND FLEXIBILITY
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RYAN OFFERS THE LATEST IN COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEMS!
Ryan International's 9900BX Traffic Advisory System (TAS) features a range over 20 miles and audible position alerting. "Traffic! 6:00 o'clock! Low! One Mile!" The 9900BX TAS will be on display at Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas, February 9-11, at Booth # 2321. Come by at Heli-Expo to learn more about flying with the Ryan 9900BX, or visit them online.

CONTINUE TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE AVFLASH AND ACCESS TO AVWEB BY SUPPORTING AVweb's advertisers.

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Arturo Weiss:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#aweiss
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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