Number 42a — October 17, 2005|
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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
EMERGE ON STOLEN CITATION...
After allegedly taking an unlocked $7 million Citation VII from St.
Augustine, Fla., where he'd landed earlier as the co-pilot on a
charter flight, police say 22-year-old Daniel Andrew Wolcott, a
commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings, flew to
Briscoe Field, near Gwinnett, Ga.. There he got on the phone to his
friends and five of them arrived for the next part of the journey.
Wolcott flew them to Winder, about 15 miles away, did a touch and go
and returned to Briscoe, landing with about 500 pounds of fuel on
board, according to a report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The
next morning, Wolcott took a commercial flight to Jacksonville, hopped
a cab to the St. Augustine Airport and assumed the right seat for the
return trip of the charter. More...
AND MORE CHARGES...
Wolcott was originally charged in Georgia with felony theft by
receiving and the endangerment of the five passengers but authorities
aren't yet done with him. Next in line was the state of Florida, which
chipped in with grand theft charges. Federal charges are also likely
and we'd wager he might soon expect a letter from the FAA. "I imagine
the FAA will be looking hard at his pilot's license [sic]," FBI
Special Agent Stephen Emmett told the Journal-Constitution. Wolcott
has come to authorities' attention at least twice before.
No one in officialdom seems to be too worried about the security
implications of the alleged theft ... even as (some) general aviation
readies to return to Washington National airport, Sept. 18 (many, many aircraft will still be excluded under
extensive regulations). "I would just encourage
increased vigilance at the various airports and the companies that
have these aircraft to ensure better security," Emmett told the
Journal-Constitution. "I don't think it requires any systems changes."
The various alphabet groups are offering similar advice. "This is a
good reminder for all pilots to follow the Airport Watch precepts, especially securing
unattended aircraft, and report any suspicious activity," said Andy
Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical
affairs. "If as a community we can prevent thefts like this, we'll
reduce the chance of more security regulation." More...
AND ATC NEGOTIATING SAFETY
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) has launched
an impressive PR campaign on air traffic safety in correlation with
its contract negotiations with the FAA. In the midst, the rest of us
are getting an unprecedented look (both in terms of volume and detail)
at the complex interplay between the agency, the employees and the
traveling public. Equipment failures are nothing new in the U.S. or
any other air traffic system and unless they tie up flights or cause
accidents, the public rarely hears (or cares) about them. But in the
context of FAA cutbacks and ATC/FAA contract negotiations the
controllers union appears to be making a case that all the problems
are rooted in an inflexible bureaucracy that refuses to listen to (the
union's) reason. More...
SAYS IT'S DOING ITS BEST...
The FAA says it's now fixed a problem with an antenna at Boston's
Logan International that forced controllers to use a backup system
requiring increased spacing between airliners, thus reducing capacity
by about half for a couple of days. Furious local officials demanded
an investigation into what they said was a slow federal response to
the problems but the FAA's Laura Brown said everything that could be
done, was done. "Our technicians were out working on this in bad
weather 'round the clock," she told The Boston Globe. An antenna that
had earlier tested fine was replaced with one scavenged from Bangor,
Maine, and all the ghost returns that were cluttering screens
CONCERNS SPREAD WEST
Meanwhile, in Washington, the problem has been returns dropping off
the screens and it's proving a little harder to pin down. Since the
middle of September, controllers have occasionally had radar returns
briefly disappear, while the information tag remains. Brown told The
Washington Post that it's believed that overlapping radars are the
cause and upgrades are being done. And while Washington, Boston, New
York, Chicago and other massive facilities are often cited as problem
areas, rapidly growing airports like Denver are also getting their
share of attention. More...
EAGLES KILLED IN SEATTLE CRASH
A pilot and two teenage girls died in the crash of a Young Eagles
flight on Saturday near Seattle. EAA officials said it was the first
fatal crash in more than 500,000 Young Eagles flights, carrying a
total of more than 1.2 million kids. "We are deeply saddened by the
news of this tragic accident. Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out
to the families and friends of the three individuals whose lives were
lost," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president. The plane had just taken off
from Paine Field, in Everett, when it failed to gain altitude and
crashed on a vacant lot in a residential area. "He flew just over the
trees and started to turn to his left and lost altitude, then
disappeared behind the trees," witness Keirstin Smith told The Seattle
SUE THEIR UNION AND EMPLOYER
About 230 MidAtlantic Airways pilots are suing three airlines and
their union for $400 million claiming they were duped into believing
that MidAtlantic was its own (lower-paying) entity when it was, in
fact, part of (higher-paying) US Airways. In fact, MidAtlantic hired
some of the 1,800 pilots that had been laid off by US Airways. "As it
turns out, there was no MidAtlantic," Michael Haber, the New York
lawyer representing the pilots, told the Allegheny Times. "It was
never anything except a name. These people were tricked into believing
they worked for an entity that never existed." The suit claims
MidAtlantic was operated under the same government certificate as US
Airways. It also claims the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) was
complicit in the scam. More...
CIRRUS, DIAMOND, LANCAIR, LIBERTY ...|
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An American aerospace engineer who made headlines last year when he
blew the whistle on alleged deficiencies in the electronics
controlling the pressurization valves on the Airbus A380 could wind up
in jail just as the European Aviation Safety Agency has begun
admitting there might be something to his claims. Joseph Mangan, who
worked for the Austrian firm TTTech, told EASA in 2004 that flaws in
the valve controls could cause a rapid decompression in the 800-seat
airliner. His claims found little support and an Austrian court
ordered him to stop talking about the issue. Mangan defied the court
order and was fined $150,000, which he can't pay. Meanwhile, an
unnamed EASA source was "able to confirm certain statements by Mr.
Mangan," according to the London Daily Telegraph. For his part, Mangan
could end up in jail for a year if he doesn't soon come up with money
to pay his fine. More...
RV-4 PILOT WINS HONORS
An Australian pilot who was criticized for recklessness two years ago
has won one of aviation's highest honors. Jon Johanson, 49, was
awarded the Federation Aeronautique Internationale gold medal for
attaining 48 FAI world records, flying an RV-4 he built himself.
"Jon's hard work, meticulous planning, initiative and commitment when
building his own small aircraft were supremely demonstrated when he
flew it over distances and terrains that would have challenged the
most intrepid and skilful aviators in much larger, industrially
produced aircraft," FAI secretary general Max Bishop said. However,
officials at the joint U.S.-New Zealand McMurdo Base in Antarctica
were less than enthusiastic when Johanson made an unscheduled visit there in 2003.
LIVES UP TO CLAIMS, SAYS COMPANY
Sino Swearingen says its SJ30-2 light bizjet will meet or exceed all
advertised performance claims when the FAA grants its type
certificate, scheduled for sometime in the next couple of months. The
company claims that at 486 knots it's the fastest "light" bizjet and
says that with a range of more than 2,500 nm, it's got the longest
legs. Sino Swearingen is also hyping the pressurization system, which
can maintain sea-level conditions to 41,000 feet. "It is good to know
that our extensive flight test program has resulted in validation of
our design goals," said John Siemens, the senior engineering test
pilot on the project. More...
WORKING ON 3-D SYNTHETIC VISION
The world's largest supplier of navigational information is getting
ready to step into the market of synthetic vision. Jeppesen has
announced it will begin selling a worldwide terrain database with a
90-meter resolution that meets aviation requirements by the end of the
year. But the future promises even better systems, including 3-D
displays using more detailed databases, and Jeppesen Chief Operating
Officer Mark Van Tine said the company will be there. "High precision
terrain data will soon find its way to the flight deck, and one day,
[synthetic vision system] displays will be commonplace. Jeppesen is
committed to developing and providing the databases that make these
systems possible," Van Tine said in a company press release.
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A C172L and a Lancair 235 collided Friday over Ohio, killing
Boeing Field will be spared Southwest and Alaska
Langley accepts the first operational deployment of
Twenty whooping cranes, led by ultralights, are on
their way to Florida. 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...
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Father's Day TFR
avoid those ubiquitous Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs), it should
be sufficient to get a briefing from Flight Service and ask for all
the pertinent TFRs for your route. How wrong you would be ...
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(Be careful what you say, someone might be listening.)
Several months ago, whilst assigned to the Tracon, an incident
occurred which still causes great laughter throughout our community.
It was a busy arrival session, the controller was working four VHF
frequencies -- including approaches into a satellite airport and two
After sending numerous transmissions of, Blocked! (by some
unknown aircraft chiming in at the wrong time) the controller finally
screamed, "Darn it! Every time I key up, some idiot starts
The entire room busted out laughing and, surprisingly, the controller
did not get the humor (which only made it that much more funny for the
rest of us)! More...
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