AVflash Vol. 9, Issue 09b Thursday, Feb. 27, 2003

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by The Aviation Consumer -- we take the guesswork out of your most important aviation buying decisions at: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/avcons.

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At http://www.avweb.com/newswire/9_09b/complete/183000-1.html.

SOMETHING ANXIOUS IN THE AIR...
The clouds just refuse to lift for the struggling U.S. airline industry. Skyrocketing jet-fuel prices, piled-up security costs, escalating insurance premiums, self-help efforts that focus on lower prices, possible war, and no sunshine in sight. On Monday, the Air Transport Association (ATA) said if war against Iraq begins, the airlines will need more federal help, including tax relief, security aid, and a release of oil reserves. ATA President James May told Bloomberg News this week, "We've got to see some kind of short-term relief ... We anticipate it's got to come shortly after the war begins. If it comes with a significant delay it may not be of any help." More...

...AS CREWS CLING TO HARD-WON GAINS...
Flight crews and ground-support workers at the airlines are feeling the stress as management looks for all possible ways to cut labor costs. Pilots at US Airways are laying the groundwork for a potential strike, union leaders said Monday. "We have no choice but to consider it," one official from the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) told Reuters. Under the airline's plan, some pilots would lose up to 75 percent of the retirement benefits they are owed. At United Air Lines, union officials reiterated this week their strong opposition to the company's effort to start a discount carrier. More...

...AND WOES RIPPLE THROUGH THE INDUSTRY
As the airlines struggle, the economic crunch trickles down to suppliers. Boeing has loaned billions of dollars to its airline customers, The Seattle Times reported Monday, and now faces exposure to huge losses as those borrowers face possible bankruptcy. The fears of a Middle East war are not only a problem for domestic air travel, but also will affect the business of European and Asian airlines, many of which fly Boeing airplanes. "A war in Iraq would send passenger levels [worldwide] plummeting by 15 percent to 20 percent," Giovanni Bisgnani, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, predicted earlier this month, the Times reported. More...

USA TODAY REPORT: FAA "BOTCHED" AIRLINE SAFETY
The FAA was the subject of a scathing editorial in yesterday's USA Today, following up on an investigative report last week into the 1998 Swissair crash that killed 229 people. "The FAA botched its most important mission," the editorial said, "to make sure that those inspecting, maintaining, and modifying commercial airliners do their jobs properly." One target of the report was the FAA's system of naming designees in the private sector to carry out these tasks. Yesterday, Ed Bolen, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, defended the designee program in a USA Today opinion piece. The system is "a valuable safety tool," he wrote, and aviation's record as the safest form of transportation reflects that. More...

NATCA CALLS MEAD REMARKS "ILL-INFORMED"
Air traffic controllers gathered for their annual legislative conference on Capitol Hill this week and let members of Congress know that they are not happy with Department of Transportation Inspector General Kenneth Mead. Mead, at a Senate hearing about the FAA budget on Feb. 11, noted that the FAA's operations budget has increased by 65 percent since 1996, and focused on controller salary hikes and labor agreements as a major cause. National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr's return volley: "I find it hard to believe that the inspector general is complaining to Congress about an FAA budget that increased at the same rate as his own." More...

EAA ANNOUNCES AIRVENTURE 2003 AIR SHOW LINEUP
The EAA this week announced its air show lineup for AirVenture Oshkosh, coming up July 29-August 4. The daily two-hour afternoon show is always a popular event at the world's biggest aviation gathering, and draws the top aerobatic fliers. "Air show performers enjoy flying at AirVenture," said EAA President Tom Poberezny, "because they know the audiences are the most knowledgeable and appreciative anywhere ... This year, the EAA AirVenture air show lineup is more diverse than ever." Returning favorites include Sean D. Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, Gene Soucy and Julie Clark. Aerobatic competition champions who will fly are Kirby Chambliss, Mike Goulian and Mike Mancuso. More...

NAA'S COLLIER TROPHY GOES TO SIKORSKY HELICOPTER
The Sikorsky S-92 helicopter has been selected by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) to receive the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 2002. The S-92 is the only helicopter to be certified under the FAA's latest standards for transport-category rotorcraft (FAR Part 29). It was singled out for the Collier award because it incorporates multiple improvements in safety, operating cost, and traveling comfort, the NAA said. The S-92 has six feet of headroom in the cabin, and 50 percent less noise and 30 percent less vibration than other helicopters. The S-92 is a 19-passenger, twin-engine transport with a range of approximately 575 miles and speeds up to 190 mph. More...

GIRLS JUST WANT TO ... FLY IN SPACE
Today's youngsters may have to live with the TV images of two space shuttle disasters, but astronaut Sally Ride found last week that they are undaunted in their fascination with orbital flight. "Space touches something very deep in a lot of people, including the kids we saw here today," Ride said, while visiting the San Diego Aerospace Museum last Saturday. "It's new experiences. It's fascination. Maybe with Mars. Maybe with weightlessness. It's exploration." Her visit attracted 350 fifth-through eighth-grade girls, the Union-Tribune reported. Ride, 51, was NASA's first female shuttle astronaut, and flew twice aboard the Challenger, in 1983 and 1984. More...

BRITISH MONUMENT WILL HONOR WWII PILOTS
We've all heard Winston Churchill's memorable tribute to the airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Now, 63 years after that fateful assault, when the Royal Air Force warded off a German invasion of Britain, plans are laid for a monument to be erected on the Victoria Embankment above the Thames River. A model for a sculpture that will be part of the monument was unveiled Tuesday, showing pilots scrambling to their planes. In the summer of 1940, Germany's forces had more than 2,000 aircraft. To stop them, Britain had only 531 Hurricane and Spitfire fighters. More...

NASA "GHOST SHIP" SAILS TO THE STARS
After more than 30 years and 7.6 billion miles of traveling, it appears the venerable Pioneer 10 spacecraft has sent its last signal to Earth. Pioneer's last, very weak signal was received on Jan. 22, NASA reported Tuesday. "Pioneer 10 was a pioneer in the true sense of the word," said Dr. Colleen Hartman, director of NASA's Solar System Exploration Division. "After it passed Mars on its long journey into deep space, it was venturing into places where nothing built by humanity had ever gone before. It ranks among the most historic as well as the most scientifically rich exploration missions ever undertaken." More...

ON THE FLY...
Cessna promoted Michael Hoveskeland to top customer-service position...
Tuskegee Airmen documents now available to researchers at NASM...
Investigators said the shuttle Columbia's left wing was breached...
British Airways is considering retiring its Concorde fleet...
A tribute to female aviation pioneers, March 13-16 at Kitty Hawk...
SR-71 Online brings you the declassified Blackbird Flight Manual.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK...

*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Elliott Meisel, of New York, New York. His photo, titled "Tuskegee Airmen at Oshkosh", captures the camaraderie between warbird pilots who care for these historic flying machines. This picture -- which shows two Tuskegee Airmen relaxing on a P-51 -- was taken at EAA's AirVenture 2002 in Oshkosh, Wisc. Great picture Elliott! Your AVweb hat is on the way. To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to http://www.awveb.com/potw.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK...

*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

We received over 1000 responses to our question last week on arming GA pilots. The vast majority of our respondents (76 percent) indicated that GA pilots should arm themselves, as they have the same right to protect themselves as anyone else. Only 15 percent of those responding felt that firearms have no place in the general aviation cockpit and thought they would be hazardous to any phase of flight. Our current AVmail discusses some comments we received via e-mail on this subject.

To check out the complete results, please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw/.

*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION***

This week, we would like to know your thoughts on non-towered airport traffic-pattern entries. Thanks to Jack Kenton for suggesting this week's topic. Please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw/ to respond.

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to qotw@avweb.com. Note, this address is ONLY for suggestedQOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.

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AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Sandy Timms, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

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BRAINTEASERS
Quiz #65 -- A Touch of Class Airspace Review
Your flying is truly a class act, so you should have no trouble dissecting and labeling the various classes of airspace. What can get sticky are all the nit-picking regulations that apply inside this alphabet jungle. Note: When international differences apply, the answers in this test presume the flight is within U.S. airspace.

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COLUMNS
Aircraft Dispatchers -- Working Behind the Scenes
Although they don't have the visibility or prestige of an airline captain, aircraft dispatchers are, legally, just as responsible for planning a successful airline flight as the captain. And dispatcher's get some of the airline perks, too.

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Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
http://www.avweb.com/avmail/

Reader mail this week about weekend destinations and banner towing restrictions, and still more debate about arming GA pilots.

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Sponsor News and Special Offers

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FOR THE SMALL FLYER IN ANY FAMILY: A DREAMFLYER SPECIAL OFFER
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PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE ANNOUNCES ITS "APRIL WIN THESE SWEEPSTAKES."
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GARMIN'S 196 GPS -- THE MOST UTILITY AMONG AVIATION HANDHELDS!
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AEROSHELL "FLIGHT JACKET" POLISH PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE. AeroShell's FlightJacket product line consists of exterior and interior polishes, protectors and cleaners. Shine your aircraft with AeroShell outside and run the inside right with AeroShell oil and lubricants.

LIGHT PLANE MAINTENANCE'S MARCH ISSUE FEATURES A DETAILED REPORT on how to fuel autogas safely without spending a bundle on specialized pumping and grounding equipment. With autogas fueling there are hazards; avoid them with Light Plane Maintenance's information. Order your subscription online.

IT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE A PLEASANT AFTERNOON SIGHTSEEING FLIGHT, BUT ... when the airplane didn't return, people started to worry. The wreckage of the PA-28-140 was found the next day. There were no witnesses to help investigators piece together what happened, but you'll be a witness to the investigation when you receive the February issue of NTSB Reporter. Order your subscription online.

HUMAN FACTORS IN AVIATION ACCIDENTS AUDIOTAPES DISCUSSES THE HUMAN SIDE of why accidents happen and what can be done to prevent them. The tape discusses in-flight decision making, error chains, personal limits, personality traits, and other elements than can lead to disaster. Brian Jacobson, author of Flying On The Gages, will give you something to think about. Order online.

APRIL/MAY ISSUE OF AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE FEATURES SOME FASCINATING ITEMS.
The Hughes Racer Flies Again; How the 747 Got Its Hump and other stories; The U.S. Army's Flying Saucer; A Faith-based Search for Planets; Our Germans Were Better Than Their Germans; The Doomsday Mission; and other articles and features are in the upcoming Air & Space April/May issue. Don't miss these keeper magazines. Order a subscription.

THE "BE A PILOT" PROGRAM COULD BE THE ANSWER FOR YOUR FLIGHT SCHOOL
Finding new student pilots is not happenstance. Success is marketing your flight school and that's where the Be A Pilot program helps. For more information go online. If you know someone who would like to fly send them to the Web site for an introductory flight lesson certificate!

RECOMMEND AVWEB & AVFLASH TO FELLOW PILOTS AND/OR BEGINNING STUDENTS!
Send them over for their FREE subscription.

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

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

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#name
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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