Number 33a — August 15, 2005|
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
BOEING 737 CRASH IN GREECE KILLS 121
A Boeing 737 flown by Helios Airways, a Cyprus airline, crashed into a
mountainside north of Athens yesterday after the pilot reported
problems with cabin air systems. There were no survivors. According to
early reports, the jet departed from Cyprus at 9 a.m. and lost contact
with controllers at 10:30 a.m. Two Greek F-16 fighter jets were
scrambled to intercept the aircraft, and one of the F-16 pilots
reported abeam the airliner at 34,000 feet that he could not see the
captain in the cockpit and the co-pilot appeared to be slumped in his
seat, according to Reuters. The Associated Press reported that Greek
government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said on a subsequent
flyby, the F-16 pilots, "saw two people apparently trying to take
control of the Boeing 737. It was unclear whether they were passengers
or pilots." More...
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DECRIES MALFUNCTIONING EQUIPMENT...
Two recent near-collisions on runways, one at Boston's Logan Airport
and one at New York's John F. Kennedy, show that the FAA's automated
warning system is flawed, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association
(NATCA) said last week. The system, known as Airport Movement Area
Safety System (AMASS), is unreliable during heavy precipitation, NATCA
said. "This results in controllers not having this safety alerting
system to help them when they need it the most -- during bad weather
and periods of low visibility," said Doug Fralick, NATCA's safety and
technology director. During the JFK incident, the system had been
suppressed because the rain caused it to give off multiple false
CRITICS QUESTION, FAA DEFENDS...
The NTSB has also raised questions about whether the
AMASS system is an effective tool for preventing runway incursions.
Alerts may occur as little as 8 to 11 seconds before a potential
collision, the NTSB said. In at least one incident, at Los Angeles
International in August 2004, there are "strong indications" that
AMASS didn't alert the controller until it was too late to take
corrective action, the NTSB said. The NTSB also says a system is
needed that would warn pilots directly of potential conflicts, rather
than alerting controllers. FAA spokesman Jim Peters told The Boston Globe the AMASS system was never
designed to work in all conditions and its creators warned about
''false targets" in rain. More...
FAA COUNTS CONTROLLERS' SHORTCOMINGS
Meanwhile, the stress between controllers and the FAA is evident at
the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) on Long Island,
where the FAA recently counted errors occurring at six times the
average rate, The New York Times reported on Saturday. NATCA
says that's because the FAA has cut back on staffing, but the FAA says
it's because it has increased supervision at the center and now errors
are being caught that were previously unreported. With new oversight
at the TRACON, controllers are now spending four and a half hours per
shift at their screens, up from 3 hours and 39 minutes, and overtime
expenses are down by $50,000 a week, the Times said.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL BAD FOR GA, AOPA SAYS...
A recent report (PDF
file) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) previously reported by AVweb said safety
remains intact when governments shift their air traffic control duties
to the private sector. But that may not be telling the whole story, AOPA said last week. The report evaluated the
"commercialized" ATC systems in Australia, Canada, Germany, New
Zealand and the United Kingdom, but limited its safety study to data
on direct measures such as loss of separation, AOPA said. "GAO did not
consider indirect safety impacts, such as pilots declining to use
services because of the extraordinary costs charged by some of these
systems," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government
and technical affairs. More...
FEES NO PANACEA
The GAO report also found that despite implementation of user fees,
air traffic systems still face budget problems if the industry suffers
an economic downturn. The commercialized systems need to have fallback
strategies such as a reserve fund, a cost-cutting plan, or some
alternative to user fees, the GAO said. Also, some systems have
increased or plan to increase the costs of service to small or remote
locations. And while all of the air traffic systems claimed greater
efficiency over their government-operated predecessors, the GAO
couldn't document the claims, AOPA said. More...
JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN GPSMAP 396 SOURCE, IS
TO PURCHASE USED GPS UNITS, AVIONICS, AND
Current inventory levels allow JA to offer top
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your current value with no purchase required. JA Air Center,
one of Garmin's largest dealers, is accepting orders for the new color
GPSMap 396 with terrain, XM Weather, and music on a first-come,
first-served basis. Demand is extremely high on the new Garmin
GPSMap 396, so get your order in today! JA Air Center [Dupage
Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics
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service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Also, they offer FBO services
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Please call (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online
ANGEL NO. 1, "BUTCH" VORIS, DIES
Retired Navy Capt. Roy "Butch" Voris, the founder and original flight
leader of the Blue Angels precision flying team, died last Tuesday at his home in Monterey, Calif.
He was 86. Voris was a flying ace in World War II and shot down eight
Japanese fighters. After the war, he was asked to organize a flight
team to showcase naval aviation, and on June 15, 1946, he led the Blue
Angels and their Grumman F-6F Hellcats in their first public
performance, at Jacksonville, Fla. Voris survived a midair collision
during a Blue Angels show at Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1952, in which
one pilot was killed. Voris brought his plane in despite lack of
control and a severed tail. More...
HELIS CONFLICT WITH AIRLINER
An American Airlines MD-80 had to make a go-around at Chicago's O'Hare
Airport last Wednesday afternoon after two helicopters departing with
President Bush's party -- but not carrying the president -- strayed
into its approach path, the local CBS-2 news reported on Thursday. The two
helicopters, carrying press and staffers, were heading north near the
runway centerline as the airliner was landing to the south, CBS-2
said. The airline pilot aborted the landing and climbed out to the
left. The two helicopters also made left turns. Marine One, the
helicopter carrying Mr. Bush, was not involved in the incident.
A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR
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and it's chock full of new features. A simpler, more powerful
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PUSH FAA TO EVALUATE MU-2
The FAA has agreed to evaluate the safety of the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60
twin turboprop, after several members of Congress from Colorado asked
for the airplane to be grounded. Two MU-2s have crashed in Colorado in
the last year, killing three people. The FAA will not ground the
aircraft, but will examine its record and check operational procedures
and pilot training, The Washington Times reported on Thursday.
Further, the FAA "won't hesitate to do that [ground the fleet] if we
have the data to support it," FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette told the
Times. Mitsubishi disputes claims that the aircraft is unsafe, the
Times said. More...
PUBLIC GOOD, AND EMINENT DOMAIN
Building a new general-aviation airport doesn't fall into the same
category as building a freeway or other public project, according to a
recent editorial in The Roanoke (Va.) Times. A proposed airport in Franklin County would require
taking land from 18 private owners by eminent domain. "Who, exactly,
would use an airport limited to private planes and corporate jets?"
the newspaper asks. "A handful of rich and powerful people and air
enthusiasts." Claims that the community and local economy would
benefit are "vague ... uncertain ... dubious," the editorial says. The
landowners have formed a coalition to fight the project, which would
require 330 acres. More...
RECOVERED FROM LAKE AFTER 47 YEARS
A Cessna L-19 Bird Dog was recovered on Saturday from the bottom of a
Minnesota lake, where it had rested beneath 40 feet of water since
1958. The recovery team used a large winch mounted on a pontoon boat
to hoist the airplane, then towed it to shore. Divers also found a
flight log, parachutes and headphones. The wreck was discovered by
accident in July 2004, when fishermen in search of walleye scanned the
area with an underwater camera. The Army airplane crashed after the
pilot, Capt. Richard P. Carey, reported he was low on fuel and then
apparently hit some seagulls and crashed into the lake. Carey was
killed and his body was recovered two weeks later, but the aircraft
was never found. More...
FLYING CARS, TO PERSONAL AIR TRANSPORTATION
The folks at NASA would like to clarify that their $250,000 Personal
Air Vehicle (PAV) Centennial Challenge is seeking out practical ideas
for improving personal, on-demand air transportation, and the common
concept of a vehicle that transforms from airplane to car is not
necessarily the answer to that challenge. "The goal of the PAV
Centennial Challenge is to develop affordable, efficient and safe PAVs
that are able to quietly land at very small airports that are close-in
to small communities, saving time spent on ground transportation and
making flying more accessible to people across America," the
Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation says at its
which has many more details about the challenge. More...
VIDEO: BIRD STRIKE
An AVweb reader recently passed along in-cockpit video of a
Canada Air Force CT-155 Hawk before, as, and after its in-flight
ingestion of a bird. The aircraft's heads up display is visible, the
bird is visible, as is the last image caught on camera -- a farmer's
field. Synopsis of the May 14, 2004 accident is available, here. The accident aircraft carried a crew of two.
One student and one instructor pilot. One pilot survived the
experience with minor injuries, the other was seriously injured. View
the video, from AVweb's NewsWire. More...
2001 Cessna 182T, N999KS, stolen in Ariz., reward offered...
maintenance crew was moving FedEx jet that crossed Logan
TSA named Joseph Terrell security director at Pittsburgh
Bullet that struck a sheriff's helicopter hit a control
Thousands still stranded at Heathrow after a labor
Comments to FAA on changes to D.C. airspace available
Aircraft grounded at Culver Academies, Indiana, after two
die in crash. 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 email@example.com. You're a part
of our team ... often, the best part. More...
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #8: Return from
Oshkosh -- Engines in the Headlines
Oshkosh was a good
destination for the engine lover last month. New airframes sometimes
inspire new powerplants, and even the big boys had some R&D news, as
AVweb's Marc Cook explains in this month's Motor Head column.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about security and ATC
privatization around the world, the miracle in Toronto and much more.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly Business
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DA40 DIAMOND STAR A FLEET FAVORITE
Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical
University CAPT, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University,
and Utah Valley State College all have selected the
G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and
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All things considered, this might not be so far off...
After a long flight, I was draining the sumps in an FBO's men's room
where the urinals were crowded closely together.
A wide bodied pilot pulled up behind me, surveyed the scene, and
"What is this, taxi into position and hold?"
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|DON'T HAVE A LOW-LEVEL MONOXIDE MONITOR YET?|
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|AVIATION CONSUMER'S SEPTEMBER ISSUE REPORTS ON
GARMIN'S GPSMAP 396|
Garmin has managed to stuff both XM
Weather Datalink and entertainment channels into a full-color portable
GPS. At $2,495 (discounted), the GPSMap 396 is hardly cheap, but the
capabilities are impressive. Also covered in this Aviation
Consumer issue: "Thielert Diesels" Germany's
sophisticated and economical GA engine; "Chelton AP-3C Autopilot"
a real competitor; "Trick CylinderSL: Is Porting & Polishing
For You?" worth considering; "Oshkosh Report: The Jets Actually
Fly" they were all there and flying; and the "Used Aircraft
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