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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
A Dallas/Fort Worth air traffic controller says she's been slapped,
verbally abused and almost run off the road by some of her colleagues
-- all in the name of safety. Anne Whiteman became a federal
whistle-blower when she claimed fellow controllers and managers at the
DFW terminal radar approach control (TRACON) conspired to cover up
dozens of serious separation errors. On Thursday, the Department of
Transportation's Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Office of
Special Counsel issued a report backing Whiteman's claims, and the
Special Counsel issued a statement saying the coverups "represent
safety deficiencies and undermine the public's confidence in the air
traffic control system." More...
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the problems at DFW have been
addressed. "We take the charges seriously and as soon as we became
aware of them we took immediate corrective action," he told USA Today.
Whiteman isn't so sure. She said the OIG/Special Counsel report heaped
too much blame on a retired manager and relatively little on managers
still working in the TRACON. "Nobody has been severely reprimanded,"
she said. John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association, said the FAA's reporting procedures are to blame. "The
agency has created a culture of underreporting of errors," he said.
Indeed, both controllers and managers get bonuses if safety stats
improve. Things for Whiteman have not ... More...
SPIKE IN NEAR-COLLISIONS
Pilots and passengers are often blissfully oblivious of a
near-collision. But at LAX June 19 a United Express jet was forced to
abort its takeoff because a Continental Express jet had, according to
controllers, moved beyond the taxiway hold bars to within about 40
feet of the runway. Controllers ordered the abort and the United
pilots slammed on the brakes, skidding past the Continental plane with
about 100 feet to spare. It was one of three separation incidents in a
week and the fourth in a month. Before that, there hadn't been an
error reported since November. Meanwhile, the state of safety at the
New York TRACON (where controllers' overtime pay topped the charts
exponentially) is frequently lost in a bickering match between the
controllers' union and the FAA. And counterparts at Boston's Logan
International are probing a near-collision at a runway intersection.
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Inspired by government resolve to reopen the airport to GA, and in
spite of the National Business Aviation Association's planned June 23
welcome-back-to-DCA reception, it doesn't look like GA flights will be
landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) anytime
soon. Some may find irony in the fact that the security requirement
that created the most contention among GA operators is the one that's
holding up the process with security gurus. Homeland Security
officials are now apparently pondering the wisdom of actually
inserting gun-carrying people onto airplanes that would not normally
have such firepower. We speak, of course, of the requirement for
DCA-bound GA flights to carry an armed law enforcement officer.
FRUSTRATED, SOME PATIENT...
Some of the groups representing those who want back into DCA are
furious at the delay. "We are just incredibly frustrated," said James
Coyne, executive director of the National Air Transportation
Association. "We have people who want to be able to travel to the
airport for business and they're being told to wait and wait and
wait." And wait they will until TSA gets this right, TSA spokeswoman
Amy Von Walter told the Times. She told the paper there is no
timetable to end the GA ban, despite indications from the agency last
month that it was imminent. Ed Bolen, president of the National
Business Aviation Association, said he believes flights will resume,
if not sooner, then later, and he's apparently willing to wait.
CONN. AIRPORTS EXAMINE GA SECURITY
While those in Washington debate the what-ifs of letting GA penetrate
arguably the most secure airspace in the country, the good folks of
Danbury, Conn., would be happy to come up with an effective and
affordable way to prevent drunks from going for joyrides at the local
airport. As AVweb told you Thursday, the pilot of
beer-can-laden Cessna 172 is facing various charges after he landed
the plane, reported stolen from Danbury, at Westchester County Airport
in New York last Wednesday. Security guards reported that empties
tumbled out as he and his teenaged passengers got out of the plane at
about 4:15 a.m. Now, of course, Danbury officials must review security
at their airport. More...
|PAYING TOO MUCH FOR LIFE INSURANCE?|
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THEORY REVIVED IN FATAL CRASH
Running the local airport can sometimes be a stressful, even unpopular
position, but life-threatening? That's the underlying theme of an
investigative report by a New Jersey newspaper that has federal, state
and local officials re-opening their files on the suddenly mysterious
crash of a light twin in Hillsborough in 1998. According to the report
in the Ashbury Park Sunday Press, the pilot, 34-year-old Lino Fasio,
was trying to buy Marlboro Airport -- to operate as an airport
(developers who bribed the mayor had other plans) -- when the crash
occurred. He had filed two previous complaints that his Piper Apache
had been tampered with. The NTSB determined a "soft body impact," most
likely a bird strike, had caused the tail of the Piper to separate in
flight, even though no blood or remains were found. But five crash
experts interviewed by the newspaper said that since there was no
evidence of bird remains or blood on the tail, which ended up hundreds
of feet from the rest of the wreckage, a bird strike was a very
unlikely cause. Fasio and a passenger were killed. More...
AUCTION ALARMS AUTHORITIES
Regional Airport in Afton, Okla., could go to the highest bidder
(and an unknown fate) in August even though the FAA has invested more
than $1.3 million in improvements there. When airports accept federal
money, they make a deal to keep the facility open to the public. But
the public body that owns the airport, the Monkey Island Development
Authority, couldn't pay $99,000 in legal fees it was ordered to pay
from previous litigation and the U.S. Marshal's office was ordered to
put the whole thing on the block. AOPA is at once amazed and alarmed
by the situation. "AOPA has never seen the case where a grant
obligated, publicly owned airport is ordered to be sold to fulfill an
award of legal fees without any legal recognition that there are
financial and contractual obligations owed by the airport," AOPA
spokesman Bill Dunn said. More...
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MANUFACTURER HAS NEW (OLD) OWNER
French company trying to convince the aviation world that diesel
engines are the future, is now under the control of SAFRAN, the parent company of Snecma, a French jet
engine maker. The piston-engine company was formerly a partnership of
Snecma, Renault and EADS but SAFRAN bought out the other two. The
diesel company is now a full subsidiary of SAFRAN and will retain the
SMA name. More...
COUNSEL WANTS 2,000 MECHANICS RETESTED
The Office of Special Counsel, which handles issues raised by federal
government whistle-blowers, says it's concerned that 1,228 A&P mechanics who
may not have been properly certified have not yet been re-examined.
Two whistle-blowers in the Orlando FSDO complained that a
re-examination program for mechanics who had earned their papers
through St. George Aviation was abruptly stopped after just 130 of
about 2,000 graduates had been retested. The owner and an employee of
St. George were convicted of issuing fraudulent A&P certificates. In
some cases, students were not even tested. But after retesting 130
graduates, the FAA apparently thought it saw a trend developing.
According to the OSC report, the FSDO was advised that because 79
percent of those retested passed the exam and since two years had
elapsed since St. George's closure that "there was no conclusive
measurable impact on aviation safety and the flying public." Gabriel
Bruno, the FSDO manager, and Dorvin Hagen, his Supervisory Safety
Inspector, disagreed and filed the whistle-blower complaint.
DON'T HAVE A LOW-LEVEL MONOXIDE MONITOR YET?
Low levels of carbon monoxide can be
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Aeromedix.com is by far the most sensitive carbon monoxide
detector you can buy. Now includes a 5-year battery! Order today by
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UPDATES ATC TRAINING PROGRAM
The next crop of air traffic controllers might be well-advised to
brush up on their PlayStation or Xbox skills before applying. The FAA
unveiled its new air traffic controller training school last week in
Oklahoma City, prompting one newspaper to report that the training
simulator "looks like a video game on steroids." Indeed, it looks like
a lot of fun. The realistic console is surrounded by screens that
present varying weather, traffic and other exterior conditions. "Any
situation they will encounter in the field we can duplicate it here,"
FAA Course Manager David Colburn told The Associated Press. But, as
entertaining as it might be, the new training system has the singular
purpose of pumping out more controllers, better trained and in a
shorter time than the old regimen. More...
IN HIRING BOOM
On the financial brink just two years ago, Lancair Certified -- now
producing what they call the fastest piston-single in the world -- is
on a roll. The company has increased its workforce by 40 percent in
the last six months and it's looking for about 70 more people to help
meet demand for its fast and stylish piston singles, the Columbia 350
and the turbocharged Columbia 400. There are now 550 people on the
floor at the Bend, Ore., plant and Ron Wright, the VP of
manufacturing, said most have been trained on the job. "We recognize
that not a lot of people will come to us with experience working with
composites and assembling complex aircraft, so we've developed an
excellent training program to help new employees get up to speed,"
Wright told Bend.com. More...
FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased
over 150% all requiring legal counsel. That's why pilots are
enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan for affordable,
dependable legal protection when they unwittingly violate FAA rules.
The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a variety of
situations where you might need legal support. Plus, the plan gives
you unlimited consultation on most aviation matters covered by the
plan, an annual review of key aviation documents, and one no-cost
half-hour consultation with an AOPA Legal Services Plan panel attorney
regarding aviation-related matters not otherwise covered. Affordable
protection every time you fly, for as low as $26 annually. Enroll in
AOPA's Legal Services Plan before you need it! Call (800)
USA-AOPA (800-872-8672), or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopalegal/avflash.
Visit the AOPA at AirVenture
AND THE HOME ROOF MAKEOVER
Most pilots know the dangers of wake turbulence from heavy jets but
residents near Sydney Airport in Australia have also become educated
on its effect. Unfortunately for them, they can't steer their
vortex-ravaged homes away from the peril. Since 2000, there have been
at least 21 reports of damage caused by wingtip vortices from
low-flying aircraft on approach to Sydney. Airservices Australia has
paid almost $25,000 AUD to repair the homes. Most of the homes are
roofed with heavy clay tiles, which weigh up to five pounds each.
Flight attendant sentenced to five years for bomb scare
House voted to bar United pension bailout...
automated oceanic control system in operation...
Wings to Adventure
to debut on Outdoor Channel July 3. 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. You're a part
of our team ... often, the best part. More...
LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT
Narco Avionics proudly announces the
availability of their all-new Value Series plug-and-play line of
Digital Transponders. The Value Series is designed for the
cost-conscious owner. Narco's Value Series line of plug-and-play
transponders includes the AT165/VS (a replacement for the AT50 through
AT155), the AT165/KA/VS (a replacement for the KT76A/78A), and the
AT165/K/VS (a replacement for the KT76/78). Coming Soon: Narco's AT165/C and
AT165/C/VS, plug-and-play replacements for the ARC (Cessna)
RT359A/RT459A. SPECIAL: Purchase an AT165 and get an AR850 for
$99. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/narco/avflash.
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FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about the Pinnacle and Payne
Stewart crashes, why we fly and more. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
As the Beacon Turns #91: A Great
Storyteller Goes West
A long-time fixture in aviation and
aviation writing passed away recently. Gordon "Bax" Baxter was, for
many, the voice of old-time aviation, whether on the radio or in his
prolific columns and books. AVweb's MIchael Maya Charles was a fellow
FLYING magazine staffer and an admirer. More...
MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR IS COMING TO A CITY NEAR
Sixteen additional dates and locations have just been
added to Mike Busch's Savvy Owner Seminar
calendar. During the next 12 months, Mike will be offering his
acclaimed weekend seminar in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston,
Frederick, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Orlando, Houston,
Memphis, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Salt Lake City. Learn how to
have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands of dollars
on maintenance costs. For seminar details and to reserve your
spot, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on
the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make
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/
|SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT AT AIRVENTURE 2005|
your plane at AirVenture? Tell buyers how to find you with
EAA's Aircraft-for-Sale Locator Service, sponsored by ASO. Buyers at
AirVenture can use the Locator to view your ad and then head out to
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Welcome to EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh.
As many know when you fly into EAA Airventure at Oshkosh you are asked
not to reply to ATC radio communication -- just wiggle your wings and
comply. While flying into EAA I heard the following conversation
between a landing amphibian and the tower.
Tower: Amphibian say
Tower: Amphibian say
Tower: Amphibian say parking!
Amphibian: (In unsure voice) ... Parking.
Tower: Super. Now -- where -- are you parking?
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your
NAA AND CELEBRATE AVIATION'S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE|
a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA),
the nation's oldest aviation organization marking their 100th
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aviation enthusiast. You will receive two magazine subscriptions
Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero
and access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call
NAA at (703) 527-0226 to become a member of the NAA family, or sign up
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|ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS|
Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) provides parts locating, tech
support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national & regional
events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. For less than
a tank of fuel ($39.00 for a one-year membership), you can access the
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|TRACK ALL IN-FLIGHT IFR AIRCRAFT IN REAL
Is your friend's Beech airborne? Need a list of all
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|WHICH SIX-PLACE RETRACTABLE HAS THE BEST SAFETY
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|THE SHORT STACK HAS ARRIVED AT POWER
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of tuned
exhaust systems, has introduced a new "short stack" exhaust pipe for
Skyhawks and Cardinals. The new STC'd short stack reduces the profile,
weight, and drag of the original exhaust duct and is identical in
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|CFIs DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN GREG
BROWN'S CLASSIC BOOK|
The Savvy Flight
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MACHADO BOOKS, TAPES, AND CDs AVAILABLE ON AVWEB!|
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|PHOTON'S WHITE FREEDOM MICRO NOW 2X
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|LIGHT PLANE MAINTENANCE KEEPS WORKING FOR
A sampling of what's coming in the July issue of
Light Plane Maintenance: "Checking a Constant-Speed
Prop" some simple DIY steps to help owners and pre-inspection
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|ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR
John Schwaner's The Mechanic's Toolbox
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|THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T
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|PUT AVWEB'S HALF-MILLION DAILY HITS TO WORK FOR
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We Welcome Your
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