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#96-102 and Booths
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
PILOTS CHARGED WITH HIDING MEDICAL CONDITIONS...
A total of 46 California pilots, 14 of them active, have been charged
with lying to federal authorities to obtain certificates. In most
cases, authorities allege, the pilots, seven of whom held commercial
licenses, hid medical conditions that would have disqualified them.
"The fraud and falsification allegedly committed by these individuals
is extremely serious and adversely affects the public interest in air
safety," the FAA's Nicholas Sabatini, an associate administrator in
charge of flight safety programs, told The New York Times. The charges
were laid after a two-year investigation in which Social Security
numbers of pilots were cross-referenced with other databases.
BRITISH PILOT SUES TSA OVER TRAINING BAN...
A British pilot, who works for an American regional airline, is suing
the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) to find out why they deem him a "threat to
aviation or national security." Robert Gray says the agencies have
refused (on security grounds, of course) to tell him why he shouldn't
be allowed to fly larger and more complex aircraft than those he's
been flying for Cape Air, a regional airline that flies mostly to
Massachusetts destinations (it also has operations in Florida, the
Caribbean and Micronesia). He insists it's all a mistake but says
security officials won't tell him what triggered his "threat" status
so he can sort it out. They did, however, give him a copy of his U.S.
Customs profile, which describes the Belfast-born Gray as "Hispanic."
PILOTS DON'T GET INDEPENDENT APPEAL
Gray's case is further complicated by his British citizenship. When
the TSA first adopted its pilot security review standards, it
appointed itself the sole arbiter of who presented a security risk.
The lack of checks and balances outraged aviation groups (and plenty
of congressional leaders, too) and the rules were modified to give
U.S. citizens the right to a third-part review of any TSA decision.
"The third party review is only available to U.S. citizens," explained
AOPA's Chris Dancy. "Mr. Gray does not have the same protection as a
U.S. citizen." More...
Visit Trade-A-Plane at
The next stage of contract negotiations between the FAA and the
National Air Traffic Controllers Association unfolded Tuesday as the
two sides traded proposals in Washington. But the actual negotiations
took a back seat to the massive public-relations and political
campaign being waged between them. The FAA held news conferences in 20
cities on Tuesday to explain its general stance on the negotiations
(that the existing deal is too expensive and gives too much control to
the, uh, controllers) and to point out just how well-paid controllers
are. As part of the organization of the conferences, FAA Deputy
Administrator for Communications Greg Martin issued 12 pages of
instructions to those conducting the regional news conferences. NATCA
got hold of the instructions and distributed them to various media
outlets. Martin said the speaking notes and suggested answers for
anticipated questions are standard in his business. "I absolutely make
no apologies for any of the material," he told AVweb.
COORDINATED MEDIA ASSAULT," SAYS UNION
The union said the FAA's PR effort is an indication of the agency's
misplaced priorities. "This highly coordinated media assault is a
disappointing indication of how much time and energy the FAA is
prepared to expend in attacking air traffic controllers ..." NATCA
President John Carr said in a release. "America's 14,500 air traffic
controllers aren't interested in political fights and we don't like
conducting negotiations in the press." However, last Wednesday, NATCA
called a news teleconference with major U.S. mainstream and aviation
media to criticize the FAA's bargaining stance. Martin said NATCA's
media machine is well-oiled and the agency must do some PR of its own.
CALLS IN REINFORCEMENTS
The AFL-CIO got into the scrap late Wednesday with a call for FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey to stop what it termed the FAA's "national
media assault on workers." Edward Wytkind, president of the
transportation trades department, also called on the Department of
Transportation's Office of Inspector General to investigate the costs
of the "taxpayer-funded misinformation campaign. At a time when the
FAA is pleading poverty, it is absolutely outrageous ..." he said in a
press release. The FAA's Martin said the costs were minimal.
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NEW RACING SERIES...
Combine elements of the Reno Air Races, the World Aerobatic
Championships and the military's William Tell competition into one
action-packed afternoon and you have some idea of what Jeff Zaltman
had in mind for Aero
GP, which is being described as the aviation equivalent of Formula
One auto racing. "They (competitors) do have to be nuts, but they are
calculated nuts," Aero GP creator Zaltman told Reuters. "Aero GP is
very dangerous, but it is also safe. These guys are very experienced.
We want it to be safe while not looking safe." Perhaps what can safely
be said is that it's possibly one of the most extreme forms of aerial
competition devised so far. More...
RED BULL SERIES COMES TO SAN FRAN
Meanwhile, Aero GP's predecessor, the Red Bull
racing series, will hold events throughout Europe this year before
ending the season in its only North American stop Oct. 8 in San
Francisco. The precise location of the race hasn't been listed on the
Web site but it should be available, along with a course map, in the
near future. The Red Bull series is working its way through six
European dates before the final race in San Francisco and, if ticket
sales are any indication of popularity, then the public seems to have
an appetite for this kind of thing. Tickets are sold out for the July
24 race at the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. More...
WINGS TO ADVENTURE TV FEATURES
MUSEUMS, AND AVIATION REBELS
The hottest (and only) new
television series about general aviation, Wings to
Adventure goes off-road this week, featuring bush planes. The
Maule and the famous de Havilland Beaver strut their aerial stuff in
Texas and in the Pacific Northwest. There's also a tour of aviation
museums in the Dallas area and a visit to the hangar of aviation
raconteur Reb Stimson. Shot in incredible high definition video,
WTA airs Sunday at 2:30pm Eastern on the Outdoor
Channel. Dish and DirecTV subscribers can add the Outdoor Channel
for $1.99 a month. Ask for it "a la carte." For more information, go
CONSORTIUM FORMED TO CUT COSTS
A group called the National Aviation Fuel Consortium (NAFC) says GA
pilots deserve the same kind of deals on jet fuel that some relatively
high-volume users get. The NAFC is urging individual pilots to join
the consortium and sign a petition to lobby for a break on rapidly
escalating fuel costs. "The [NAFC] is forming an alliance of general
aviation fuel buyers," says the NAFC Web site. "NAFC's initiative is
to implement cost effective, unbundled general aviation fuel price
PROMISES ACTION ON AIR AMBULANCE SAFETY
One of the most dangerous flights you'll ever take could be one aimed
at saving your life. The FAA is promising action to curb an
extraordinarily high crash rate in air ambulances. More than 10
percent of the U.S. air ambulance helicopter fleet crashed in the past
five years. A total of 60 people died in 84 accidents. About
two-thirds of the crashes occurred in poor visibility conditions,
according to USA Today. "We take this very seriously," said FAA
spokesman Jim Ballough. "The public will see change." But industry
groups say the issues are complex and not that easy to address.
ONLY AT AUCTION! LAKE AIRCRAFT WILL BE SOLD AT
The owners of the Lake Aircraft line of
amphibious airplanes have chosen the auction method of marketing to
select a new owner for their Lake Amphibian production line.
This comprehensive sale will include the FAA Type Certificate and
associated STCs, engineering data, all documentation, historical
information, fleet support inventory, and manufacturing capacity. The
inventory (in its entirety) will be sold as a comprehensive package to
one able buyer for the purpose of resuming full production capacity.
The auction will be held at 4:30pm July 27 at the EAA Aviation
Center's Vette Theater in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For additional
information and a complete list of assets to be conveyed, call
Higgenbotham Auctioneers at (800) 257-4161, or visit their web
site (Higgenbotham.com) at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/hig/avflash.
EXPANSION WILL HURT OTHER AIRPORTS, SAY OPPONENTS
If needed upgrades to your local airport go into a holding pattern in
coming years you can probably blame Chicago, according to some of
those opposed to the current plans to expand O'Hare International
Airport. A group, made up mostly of representatives of neighboring
communities that would be affected by the $15 billion proposal, claims
that Chicago is looking for 20 percent of the discretionary portion of
the Airport Improvement Program's funds for the next 10 years. That,
they say, means 20 percent less for every other airport in the country
looking for new runways, lights or infrastructure improvements.
PASSES GA SECURITY REVIEW AMENDMENT
GA dodged another legislative bullet last week when Congress passed a
Homeland Security appropriations bill without an amendment that would
have imposed severe penalties for those violating the Washington
flight restricted zone. Under the amendment, pilots violating the zone
could have faced big fines, long suspensions and even confiscation of
their aircraft. The amendment was pulled, but the sentiments that got
it that far continue to echo through the government buildings, which
have been evacuated several times in the past couple of years due to
errant pilots. AOPA lobbied hard to kill the amendment but another
one, by Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to study GA security and the
threat posed by GA aircraft, passed unanimously. More...
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CONDITION TO BE MONITORED
In the future, pilots may wear wristbands that will be able to detect
signs of fatigue, stress or other dangerous conditions and send a
signal to a monitoring center. That's the goal of an Australian project aimed at reducing the number of
fatigue- and stress-related accidents in airplanes and heavy transport
trucks. Over the next three years, the Forge Groupe and the University
of Technology will develop and test sensors that will enable real-time
monitoring of the alertness, stress level and decision-making ability
of pilots and drivers. "This information will allow feedback on a
dangerous situation and alert either the operator or the system
controller to make it safer," said project spokesman Sara Lal.
SPORT-JET READY FOR ROLL-OUT
The first Excel Sport-Jet has had its final coat of paint
and will be ready for taxi and flight testing by the end of this week,
the company said yesterday. "We expect to start these [tests]
shortly," designer Bob Bornhofen said. That would put the four-seat
Sport Jet at the front of the pack of new single-engine very light
jets. The prototype is fitted with a T-58 engine, though the
production model will fly with a Williams FJ33-4A. The Williams engine
is on order but not expected to be available until this fall. So far,
the engine on the prototype has been test-run, and avionics and
control systems are installed and have been checked.
|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
Visit Lancair at AirVenture
Missing F/A-18 pilot found dead...
Flight Explorer introduces Pilot
Lancair Certified becomes Columbia Aircraft
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...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #52: Changing
Good pilots know better than to make a special request
of ATC when flying in busy airspace; if the controller doesn't
actually tell you off, then you'll hear the annoyance in his voice.
But do you really know which areas are busiest? Things have changed
and it's only going to get worse, as AVweb's Don Brown tells us in
this month's column.
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
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know what you think of the latest FAA/NATCA
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PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
This week's group is a reminder that there are Picture Of The Week archives
(we're also gearing up for AirVenture). Keep sending those
photos, as we're determined to get them all in!
Every once in a
while, a theme emerges from your photo submissions without any stretch
of the imagination on our part. This week's clear theme was "skylines"
more specifically, skylines and stormfronts. Would you believe
that one out of every four "POTW" entries was a skyline photo? C'mon,
'fess up you guys got together and planned this, didn't you?
... Fine, just sit there and stare we're on to you, and we'll
catch you before this is all over. In the meantime, take a look at
three of the best horizon photos plus one extra pic, just for
good measure. More...
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|MEET THE AVWEB
EDITORS AT AIRVENTURE|
Do you have something you've been
dying to say to our editors, contributors, or staff? Many of
them will be on hand at AirVenture 2005 plus a few expert
consultants from our sister publications like Aviation Consumer
and Aviation Safety. To make our staffers easy to find,
we're locking them down to one-hour booth shifts. So if there's
someone you've been dying to talk to, just print out this schedule and
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|STOP WONDERING OR WORRYING WHERE YOUR
FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE!|
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|WHICH SIX-PLACE RETRACTABLE HAS THE BEST SAFETY
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We Welcome Your
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news,
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