October 19, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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A chartered Hawker 1000 jet landed at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on Tuesday morning, the first GA aircraft to land there since September 2001. The jet, operated by New World Jet of Teterboro, N.J., landed at about 7 a.m., taxied beneath welcoming arches of water sprayed from two fire trucks, and parked at the Signature Flight Support hangar at the south end of the field. The passengers, including James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), were greeted by airport officials and representatives from Congress and the federal government. "This day has been a long time coming," said Coyne. "For more than four years, NATA and its industry partners have worked feverishly to demonstrate to our nation's security officials that reopening DCA to charter and general aviation operations is secure and will provide a needed economic boost to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area." According to a study by the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), the ban on general aviation at DCA cost over $200 million as a result of lost jobs and wages, business lost by local aviation firms and their suppliers, and lost tax revenue to the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Under the new GA access rules, the operator of any private aircraft must submit passenger and crew manifests to the TSA 24 hours in advance of landing, and the TSA will conduct background checks on everyone. Only corporate aircraft with professional crews need apply. In addition, the airplane first must land at one of 12 "gateway airports" where the TSA will inspect the plane, passengers and baggage, charging a fee of over $500. And an armed law enforcement officer must be on every flight. "We definitely would like to see the rules made a little more workable," said Dan Hubbard of NBAA. "The whole advantage to business aircraft is time. It's an efficiency aircraft. Once you've made the stop [at a gateway airport], now you're not getting the trip done any faster than if you just flew into Dulles." GA flights at DCA also are limited to a maximum of 48 operations per day. The rules remain prohibitive, and even unworkable for many businesses, NBAA said. "Our industry will continue to work with federal security officials to strike a balance between freedom of mobility and America's homeland security needs," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "But NBAA views this day as cause for celebration. The nation's business aviation community is grateful for the end of the prolonged closure of DCA to general aviation."
COMPARE HEADSETS, RADIOS, AND GPSs
The number of FAA-certified pilots age 80 and up has increased by 73 percent in the last five years, to about 3,800, even as the number of pilots overall declines. So how does that affect safety? A study by AOPA, due out next month, aims to find out. Insurance companies have routinely hiked their premiums for older pilots, presuming that their skills deteriorate with age. "AOPA members tell us that the cost and safety of flying is very important to them," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This study is directly related to both of those issues." The study is overseen by James Deimler, who was the program manager for the FAA's Age-60 Rule study. The United Flying Octogenarians, a group with over 500 members, is participating in AOPA's study. Member Herbert Sloane, 91, of Alabama, told a Knight Ridder-Tribune reporter that he thinks the number of pilots over 80 is increasing because older people are "taking better care of themselves and insisting on doing things that, a few years ago, were denied them. People our age were supposed to sit in rocking chairs." The AOPA study is examining insurance claims, probing the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's accident database for the causes of accidents involving older pilots, and using an independent research organization to evaluate the cognitive and neuro-muscular skills of pilots as they age.
At the other end of the spectrum, private pilots can be certified at age 16, which occasionally raises questions about judgment and maturity. Such a case occurred last week, when police in Marshfield, Wis., filed charges against two 16-year-old boys who allegedly buzzed a packed stadium during an after-dark high-school football game. Witnesses said the small aircraft flew as low as 150 feet above the ground, and passed over the stadium three times, moving very slowly and rocking the wings. The student pilot at the controls reportedly had never flown at night before. "Given the minimal experience this pilot had, I am convinced this community dodged a catastrophic event," Marshfield Police Chief Joe Stroik told the Wausau Daily Herald.
Recent studies have shown that the brains of those 16 to 25 years old are still developing in the regions that control judgment and risky behavior. "We found that the frontal lobes were the last to develop," UCLA brain researcher Paul Thompson told the Rocky Mountain News. Those brain regions control inhibition, rash actions, rage and anger, as well as decision-making, risk perception and impulse control. "While a 14- or 17-year-old knows the difference between right and wrong, they don't have the same abilities to control their behaviors and assess risks the way adults do," said Steven Drizin, a Northwestern University law professor. Other recent incidents involving young pilots include a 22-year-old accused of stealing a Citation jet in Florida, a 20-year-old student pilot who allegedly took a stolen 172 on a drunken joyride in June, and a 14-year-old boy who stole a 152 from an airport ramp late one night and flew it around.
LIGHTSPEED'S THIRTY 3G HEADSET COMBINES
"With 500,000 flights and 1.2 million kids safely flown as Young Eagles, we think our safety procedures are pretty sound," EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb on Tuesday. "But we are working with the NTSB on their investigation and if they turn up anything they think we could do to enhance safety even further, we will certainly do whatever we can." The deaths of two young girls near Seattle last Saturday were the first since the program began in 1992. The instrument-rated pilot was well-qualified, Knapinski said, and had flown Young Eagles in the past. "As far as we know now, there was nothing unusual about the flight, or the pilot, or any of the procedures on that flight," he said. "A few pilots have called to check if scheduled events are going on as planned, and we say yes, go ahead. We know of nothing to give us any cause not to proceed." The pilot community is "a very responsible community," he added. "Especially when flying kids." The Piper PA-28 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 Times. According to some news reports, the girls were scheduled for a different flight, but when it was late in arriving were switched to the Piper.
The pilot was David Eugene Hokanson, 67, of Mercer Island. The two girls, Brittany Boatright, 15, and Kandyce Cowart, 14, were close friends. Both attended Aviation High School in Seattle and aspired to careers in aviation. Others among the school's 200 students told The Seattle Times they will continue to pursue their dreams. "I thought my mom would never let me fly again, [but] she told me she wants me to go up very soon," sophomore Keiko Hiranaka said -- like getting "back on the horse after you fall down." In a letter written to Kandyce on Monday, classmate Irina Verevkina wrote that she will go flying again when she gets the chance, "because it's what you would have wanted if you were still here." The EAA Young Eagles program gives young people ages 8 to 17 an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane. The flights are offered free of charge and are made possible through the generosity of EAA member volunteers. Young Eagles have been registered in more than 90 different countries and have been flown by nearly 40,000 volunteer pilots.
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
Kitfox aircraft kit manufacturer Skystar Aircraft Corp. has filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, EAA reported on Tuesday. According to documents obtained by EAA, the filing took place on Friday, Oct. 14, in Idaho. Those documents show the company's claimed assets totaled about $1.1 million, with liabilities of nearly $1.7 million. Skystar President Frank Miller could not be reached, but the company's bankruptcy attorney, David Kras, told EAA that plans are to liquidate company assets and pay off the creditors. Individuals who paid Skystar for kits or parts that were never delivered may be entitled to file a priority claim, which could give them a better chance to recover at least some portion of their payment, EAA said. "Customers and other non-secured lien holders will receive official notice of the proceedings from the bankruptcy court," Kras said. "That's really the only statement we're prepared to make at this time." More than 4,000 Kitfox kits have been delivered worldwide since the design first appeared in 1984. Since then, the company has been sold twice. The filing came just in time to avoid a new, more stringent law that took effect on Oct. 17, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. For more information about filing a claim, go to EAA's Web site.
Tests have been extended for another six months of an experimental acoustic technology system that could detect and track wake vortices. The sensor, called Socrates, is being developed by Flight Safety Technologies together with Lockheed Martin, with funding from NASA. The system employs an acoustic technique borrowed from underwater sonar that uses lasers as microphones to pick up sound generated by the vortices. Listening posts are set two miles north of Runway 16 Left at Denver International Airport, and aim to detect changes in the air within 1,200 feet of the surface. If the system proves reliable, it could help busy runways to handle up to 25 percent more traffic by eliminating unnecessary wake turbulence spacing. "O'Hare has a real need for this tool," William Cotton, president of Flight Safety Technologies, told the Chicago Tribune. "It would be the equivalent of building a new runway for a whole lot less than the $2 billion or more it costs to build a runway." The additional six months of testing will enable the company to incorporate and evaluate improvements to the system. It will also try out various configurations, first looking straight up into the arrival path, and then surveying a broader area along the flight path. If results are positive, further tests will be implemented next year.
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT
Diamond Aircraft Industries announced on Monday that the European Aviation Safety Agency has certified its single-engine diesel-powered DA40 TDI Diamond Star with the G1000 glass cockpit. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Diamond Aircraft Pilots and Owners Organization (DAPO) will host its First Annual Southwest Fly-In on Oct. 29 at Double Eagle II Airport in Albuquerque, N.M. Seminars will be held on Diamond aircraft maintenance, Southwest mountain flying, and G1000 cockpit tips, tricks, and shortcuts. Diamond aircraft will be on display, and on Saturday. The event is free. For more information, contact Lance Dietz, head of DAPO, at (727) 858-0798. For aircraft parking and fueling needs, contact West Mesa Aviation at (505) 831-2359. LMT Aviation will serve "free $100 hamburgers" for lunch.
Aviator Gus McLeod launched on Sunday for a second try to circumnavigate the world crossing both poles -- a flight he attempted once already -- but a gear malfunction has delayed his plan for at least a week. McLeod took off from Gaithersburg Airpark in Maryland, and heard a rattling noise from his experimental Firefly aircraft. He made a precautionary landing in Frederick, about 30 miles away, and upon touching down, the nose gear collapsed on the runway. "The bolt supporting the nosegear suffered metal fatigue and broke," McLeod said. The gear will be rebuilt with stronger support, and the trip should continue next week. "This expedition is off to a rough start," said Edward Park, McLeod's publicist, "but the damage is minimal." McLeod's solo flight to the North Pole in an open-cockpit biplane was chronicled in a National Geographic "Explorer" television special and in a book by McLeod, "Solo to the Top of the World." Last year, he attempted to cross both poles in the Firefly, but had to turn back over Antarctica due to icing problems.
|THE COLUMBIA 350 & COLUMBIA 400 HAVE A NEW CORPORATE NAME|
The Lancair Company has re-branded itself as Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The manufacturers of the Columbia 350 and Columbia 400, the world's fastest certified piston aircraft, made the change as part of an ongoing campaign to develop a unique identity for these premium aircraft. The schedule for the Fly Columbia Tour, an interactive Columbia experience, is posted online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/columbia/avflash.
Flight instructor Syd Utting was 45 minutes into a training flight in Scotland with former Navy pilot Keith Thomson on board last Friday afternoon, when air traffic controllers asked for his help. Two Royal Air Force pilots based nearby had ejected from an F3 Tornado at about 10,000 feet, about 10 miles offshore, before the jet fell into the cold North Sea. Utting headed for the area and spotted an oil slick and a dinghy, then saw a red flare shoot up from the waves. Utting circled above the stranded pilots for over an hour in the dark, according to The Sunday Mail. "It was reassuring for them to know their rescuers wouldn't have to waste even more time searching for them," Utting said. Rescuers reached the pilots, who were taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries. Ejection seats on the Tornado turn into inflatable dinghies when the seat hits the water. The Tornado is a two-seat supersonic fighter jet with swing wings, in use by the RAF since 1986. The pilots had just taken off on a training flight on Friday when the accident occurred.
It's no secret that the major legacy airlines have been struggling for years, but now the high cost of fuel is putting even some of the better non-legacy performers -- like Southwest Airlines and some of the regional operators -- closer to the edge. "It's getting harder and harder to find any winners among the nation's airlines," James May, president of the Air Transport Association of America, said at an aviation forecast conference in Savannah, Ga., on Monday. "All of them are hurting." Analysts for the Boyd Group, which organized the conference, say the operating advantage may soon revert to the legacy carriers, as they emerge from Chapter 11 with their labor costs under control and revenue streams intact. Southwest has been staying profitable because it had a supply of "hedged" fuel keeping its costs down, the analysts said. But that advantage will likely be gone by January, and without it, the airline will find it tougher to remain profitable, according to the Boyd Web site.
|WHAT COULD YOU DO WITH $200? IF YOU FLY REGULARLY, TAKE A MOMENT|
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A Columbia 400 impacted a mountain ridge Monday around noon, 50 miles east of its departure airport, San Diego's Gillespie field. The aircraft was bound for Scottsdale. The event may mark the first fatal crash of a Columbia aircraft. Three people plus one dog aboard the aircraft were killed. The aircraft's emergency beacon was not active when the aircraft was found Wednesday. Columbia aircraft sent an official release Wednesday afternoon...
Two survivors of an Arkansas plane crash on Sunday called for aid via text messaging, and were rescued...
The second Airbus A380 successfully completed its first flight on Tuesday morning over Toulouse, France...
Passengers refused to board a Helios jet in Cyprus after it experienced mechanical problems; the airline said the airplane was fixed, but the pax were unconvinced...
A second satellite to support WAAS for the GPS system was launched on Sunday.
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, 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.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked if anyone was being driven out of flying by the rising costs of fuel, user fees, maintenance, and other "incidental expenses."
To our delight (but hardly to our surprise), the most popular answer was this one: Flying is part of who I am, exorbitant prices or not. 56% of those who responded took that devil-may-care attitude to pricing and opted to stay in the skies, even if it does become a drain on the bank account.
Another 13% were a little more cautious in their attitude to the rising cost of flying. These pilots told us they would consider cost-cutting options like flying clubs or aircraft partnerships, but they weren't (yet) ready to rule out ownership.
19% of you admitted that costs had gotten too high between rising gas prices, hangar costs, and the sting of acquisition, it's just too expensive to be an aircraft owner these days.
9% of our respondents were new pilots discouraged by the costs of aviation. I finally got my license, they told us, and I can't afford to use it.
And the final 3% of those polled told us that their families came first and the planes just had to go.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know if you've taken the time to comment on Docket #17005 the proposed rule to make the D.C.-area ADIZ a permanent feature of Washington's airspace. (For more on the Docket and the proposed rule, see the links in "Stress Points" at AVweb's home page.)
Click here to answer this week's question.
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This address is only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or comments.
Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR IS COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU!
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
It's a good time be the de facto "Picture of the Week" editor. Submissions are coming through in healthy (but not overwhelming) numbers, and the quality of pictures really is at an all-time high. It can put a bit of a dent in your workday when you have to ogle 75 or 100 great aviation photos and try to narrow the field down to a few worthy contenders but it sure makes for a fun distraction.
Don't believe us? Try it for yourself look at your watch and see how much time you can while away looking at this week's top photos. Don't bother feeling guilty about those passing minutes, either you deserve a break. Tell your boss AVweb said it was O.K.*
* Not really. Now get back to work!
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Jeff Dinius
Hmm two balloon lift-off pictures in a row?
Well, sure if the pictures are as majestic as this
week's winner, from Jeff Dinius of Loveland, Colorado.
Hopefully an official AVweb baseball cap will give Jeff
as big a thrill as his ride at Balloon Fiesta 2005.
here to view a large version of this image
Click here for a medium-sized version
AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view larger versions.
Used with permission of Phil Groshong
Phil Groshong of Eugene, Oregon
touches down with Congressman Peter DeFazio
(D-Oregon) for the dedication of a new runway.
Phil built the Lancair Legacy shown here himself
and is the GA Services Manager for the airport.
And still he had time to submit an entry for
"Picture of the Week" that's our kinda guy.
"Is It Time to Hit the Deck??"
Robert Burns of Mauckport, Indiana
titled the caption himself, although we had
fun coming up with our own alternatives.
On further consideration, maybe Robert's
caption is a bit snappier than
"For Pete's Sake, Fella, Duck!"
Are we into the bonus pictures already?
Time does fly when you're having fun.
Used with permission of Daniel Valovich
Apparently, lots of you saw the fabulous
Thunderbirds in action this past week, including
Daniel Valovich of Hot Springs, Arkansas,
who caught the Thunderbirds' amazing
display at Little Rock Air Force Base.
It's not uncommon for us to get a couple
of Thunderbirds pics in the same week,
but this week's batch of submissions
included 14 different pics of the 'Birds
from 7 different contributors!
Used with permission of Peter McCombe
Peter McCombe of Gisborne, New Zealand
snapped this photo while flying in formation
on the way back from Auckland. We're still
not sure if it was an actual patrol or one of those
Sunday afternoon patrols you take when the
sky's blue and there's nowhere to be until 9pm.
Used with permission of Chuck Forsberg
Chuck Forsberg of Portland, Oregon
submitted this photo a couple of weeks ago
and got cut from the final round of selections.
(Hey, the competition is tough these days!)
We were glad he re-submitted, if only because
the little red sign by the nose of the plane.
(Click through to the large version to read it.)
Chuck explains that the horses here had escaped
from the stable at the Flying M Ranch in Yamhill,
Oregon and made a bee-line for the nearest runway.
Got one of those new laptops
with the wide screen for watching DVDs?
Here's two great wallpapers for your screen,
courtesy of "POTW" submitters with wide-angle lenses:
Used with permission of Patrick J. Maloney
"Landing on Lake Union"
Patrick Maloney of Columbus, Ohio
was kayaking on Seattle's Lake Union
when he snapped this terrific photo.
Used with permission of Stoney Truett
"Going Fishin' in Alaska"
Stoney Truett of Cayce, South Carolina
takes us home this week. Stoney writes,
"There's more to see when fishing in Alaska
than nature. These working airplanes and their
pilots are every bit as beautiful as the scenery."
To enter next week's contest, click here.
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
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