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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FLY-IN DRAWS 10,000...
"We've seen more people today in the first two hours than we did all
of last year," Lancair salesman Doug Walker exulted Saturday at AOPA's
Fly-in and Open House at the Frederick (Md.)
Airport. "We've had constant long lines of people to check out our
'mockpit'" -- the Lancair mock-up that welcomes the curious to climb
right in, while the true ship can rest unmolested on the ramp. Last
year it rained buckets all day long, but this year the weather
cooperated. The cloud cover lifted enough to let about 250 pilots fly
in, but lingered enough to keep the ramp comfortable and shady through
the humid afternoon. AOPA President Phil Boyer was thrilled with the
turnout, estimated at about 10,000. "If we'd had another [rainy] year
like the last three, this might have been our last open house," he
told AVweb. "It's a lot of work for us. But after today -- we
will do it again." Tour the grounds in AVweb's online
CURRENT AND FUTURE PILOTS...
While many of those checking out the static displays, attending
seminars or browsing 100 exhibits under the big white tent were AOPA
members and pilots, a lot were prospects the members had been
encouraged to bring along. Three sessions on "How To Start Learning To
Fly" drew overflow crowds. By midday, AOPA staffers had run out of
their supply of learn-to-fly kits -- with a video and DVDs and a Be A Pilot
certificate for a $49 intro flight -- and were taking names to send
them in the mail. "The response has been phenomenal," said AOPA
Communications Director Sue Walitsky. Boyer said the kickoff of a
rejuvenated Project Pilot was the day's most important event. "We're
all getting grayer," he said. "We need to invest in this so we can
continue to grow. If we have more AOPA members, we have more lobbying
power, and if GA has more participants, it lowers costs for all of us.
So everyone benefits." More...
CONCERNS, GETTING THINGS DONE, AND HAVING FUN
At Boyer's packed hour-long Q&A session, there was just one topic on
everyone's mind -- the Washington, D.C., ADIZ. "It's a regional issue,
but with national implications," Boyer said. "It's a symbol of taking
away our freedom to fly." He said AOPA is lobbying to reduce the size
of the ADIZ and to simplify procedures for GA aircraft operating
within it. But overall, Boyer said, the number-one issue that worries
AOPA members is user fees. Second to that is airport closures. More
than 200 pilots on Saturday made use of AOPA's one-stop security process to help gain
access to the DC-3 airports -- the three D.C.-area GA airfields that
were shut down after 9/11. More...
SCATHING REPORT ON NY TRACON...
The FAA last Thursday issued a scathing report on New York's Terminal Radar Approach
Control on Long Island, saying the union has too much control over
scheduling and costs are out of control. The facility is not
understaffed or unsafe, the report said. "We have a scam; we don't
have a safety issue," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told reporters. At
over $4 million, overtime costs at the New York facility are more than
double those at any other large TRACON. According to the FAA's news
release, "Generous amounts of overtime allowed 21 controllers to earn
more than $200,000 last year, not including benefits; this year, that
number is projected to increase to 51." The report said there is "a
culture of insubordination and intimidation" at the facility, and
blamed both FAA management and the local union for the situation,
which has developed over the last 15 years. More...
SUPPORTERS CRITICIZE FAA'S UNDERSTANDING...
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) quickly
responded to the FAA's report, as President John Carr held a
conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon. "I don't believe
the scapegoating that is contained in that report will add a single
controller to the New York TRACON," Carr said. "I don't believe it's
going to help the working environment. ...There are too many airplanes
and there are too few people and that's going to lead to a safety
problem." The union found friends in Washington, where New York
Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton both expressed
support for the controllers. "To say that little overtime and no new
employees are needed at one of the busiest towers in the nation defies
credibility," Schumer said in a statement. "We don't need more
reports, we need amicable solutions," Clinton said. See AVweb's
NewsWire for NATCA's full response. More...
WORKERS CRITICIZE PRIVATIZATION PROCESS
Meanwhile, the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS)
union said Thursday it is seeking an order from a federal
arbitrator that would rescind a service contract awarded in February
to Lockheed Martin to operate the FAA's Flight Service Stations. At a
hearing last week, the union argued that the FAA violated a
contractual promise that it would involve the union in the process to
transfer work performed by federal employees to outside contractors.
"This is a blatant violation of our agreement with the agency," said
PASS National President Tom Brantley. "We believe that the safety of
the National Airspace System (NAS) should not be contracted out to the
lowest bidder." More...
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WAAS UPGRADES DELAYED AGAIN
Pilots who have been waiting -- some since 2003 -- for upgrades that
would make their Garmin units WAAS-capable will have to wait longer
still. "Regrettably, Garmin has delayed the WAAS upgrade for our GNS
430/530, GPS 400/500, and GNC 420 units until the third quarter of
2006," Garmin spokesman Ted Gartner told AVweb on Friday. "The
complexity of this important project has increased, as well as the R&D
to design, build, and certify our WAAS-enabled hardware -- including a
new GPS antenna and receiver -- in addition to a major software
rewrite." Garmin says it will hold to its promise to deliver the
upgrade to existing owners for $1,500. Current owners can still lock
in that price if they order the upgrade by Nov. 15, and they pay
nothing until the upgrade is completed, Gartner said.
AWARDS $2 MILLION TO PILOT'S WIDOW
Jurors in a federal court said last Thursday the Little Rock (Ark.)
National Airport must pay over $2 million to the widow of an airline
captain who died in the 1999 crash of an American Airlines MD-82, The Associated Press reported. The lawsuit alleged
that the airport was negligent because the approach-light system (at
the opposite end of the runway) that the jet ran into was too close to
the runway and too rigid, and the overrun was less than half of the
1,000 feet it should have been. The airport's defense noted that the
NTSB found the probable cause of the accident to be errors by the
flight crew, including a decision to continue the approach when the
"maximum crosswind component was exceeded" and "when severe
thunderstorms ... had moved into the airport area," and that the crew
failed to ensure that the spoilers had extended after touchdown.
Eleven people, including the captain, died in the crash.
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PERSPECTIVE ON USER FEES -- OZ'S COULD QUADRUPLE
With the debate over user fees for GA gathering steam here in the U.S., the issue is
playing out in a more extreme form down under, where Australian GA
pilots face a fourfold increase in the fees they pay for government
services. "This is getting very, very scary and more to the point,
it's proving that CASA [Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority]
is not capable of regulating aviation any more," said Ron Bertram,
president of the Australian unit of AOPA. CASA executive Bruce
Gemmell said last week that his agency needs to boost annual revenues
from the industry from $5 million to $20 million by 2008-2009, The Australian reported on Friday.
FIRST CIVILIAN TILTROTOR FLYING AGAIN
The Bell/Agusta BA609, a civilian version of the
Osprey V-22 tiltrotor aircraft, flew in Arlington, Texas, last week
for the first time since 2003. During the 1.3-hour flight, the crew
tested hover mode forward, sideways and backwards, and navigated the
pattern at 86 knots with 75-degree forward tilt on the outboard
nacelles. During the next month, the aircraft will be tested in
airplane mode, where it can achieve a top speed of over 275 knots,
according to Bell. The BA609 will cruise at up to 25,000 feet and seat
up to nine passengers plus two pilots. Bell says it has 60 orders for
the aircraft. Dual certification (European and FAA) is planned in
2008, with deliveries following soon after. More...
ANGELS PILOTS FAULTED IN NAVY REPORT
A report by the Navy Judge Advocate General blamed two Blue Angels
pilots and an outdated flight manual for a crash that destroyed an
F/A-18 Hornet jet, The Associated Press reported on Thursday. The
crash occurred when a new team member on a training flight off the
Florida coast was completing a split-S maneuver on his own for the
first time. His jet hit the water. The aircraft was damaged, but the
pilot was able to keep flying and headed back toward Pensacola Naval
Air Station to make an emergency landing. When the jet began sinking
too fast, the pilot ejected over the ocean. The Navy report found the
trainee made mistakes, but the pilot who briefed him on the maneuver
should have been more clear and should have spoken up sooner when he
noticed deviations. More...
"NIGHT WITCHES" TO INVADE AMERICA
On Saturday, June 18, San Diego's Aerospace Museum will play host to
some truly remarkable women, and you can be there. Though little-known
in the West, the Russian "Night Witches" of World War II were as
highly regarded by the Russians as they were despised by the German
troops they harassed. Female pilot Marina Raskova convinced Joseph
Stalin that women could help him win the war, and three all-female
regiments were formed. Some of the pilots were only 17 years old, some
flew more than 800 sorties, and many were shot down, some more than
once. Five of those women will be telling their stories at the museum
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EAA's Sport Pilot Tour launched in California over the
Two disabled pilots broke speed record for flight across
ATG ran first taxi tests of Javelin Jet prototype last
Flying to EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh? Get your NOTAM
U.S. Southwest Soaring Museum in Moriarty, N.M., opens June
FAA Aviation News focuses on risk management for flight
Nominations sought for 2005 public-benefit flying
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 news-savvy pilots
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interest someone else. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. ... With our
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about Sport Pilot insurance,
Viagra in the cockpit, the Santa Cruz buzz and more.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Savvy Aviator #18: Avoid an
There are many things that can go wrong during
an annual inspection, but the most critical start with an uninformed
and uninvolved owner. AVweb's Mike Busch takes us through the things
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LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT
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Prejudice on the runway.
ARFF truck: ARFF 1 to ground control.
Tower: Go ahead ARFF 1.
ARFF truck: Would like to cross the main runway to
access the fuel center.
Tower: OK, use perimeter road. That's what it's for.
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|ATTENTION, BARON AND CESSNA 310 OWNERS NEWS FROM
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