Number 49b — December 8, 2005|
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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At
AIR MARSHAL(S?) KILL AIRLINE PASSENGER
Shortly after 2 p.m., yesterday, (Pearl Harbor day) Rigoberto Alpizar,
44, was seated near the rear of the plane among more than 110 other
passengers aboard American Airlines flight 924, a Boeing 757, as it
prepared to push back from the gate at Miami international. Jim Bauer,
special agent in charge of the Miami office of the Federal Air
Marshals yesterday told reporters agents aboard the aircraft then
overheard Alpizar in his seat "uttering threatening words that
included a sentence to the effect that he had a bomb." (As of midnight
last night, neither Alpizar's exact words, nor any specific witnesses
who heard them had been confirmed or identified.) Alpizar then became
agitated, rose from his seat and fled the aircraft. Federal officials
say Alpizar was pursued by the onboard Federal Air Marshals and was in
the still-attached jetway when he failed to comply with verbal
commands issued by the Air Marshals. The agents then opened fire and
Alpizar was killed. In the subsequent search, no explosives were found
anywhere aboard the flight and authorities do not believe Alpizar was
affiliated with any terrorist group. There were more than 110
passengers and crew within a stone's throw of the event. We have
presented the very few accordant details supported by multiple sources
at the time of this writing.
AND PLANES FRAUD
A Bradenton, Fla., man has been charged with organized fraud for a
series of aircraft and aircraft parts transactions that allegedly went
sour. Phillip D. Casciola is alleged to have been paid for parts and
taken deposits on aircraft without delivering the goods. According to
the Bradenton Herald, federal and local authorities estimate the value
of the alleged fraud to be at least $4.5 million. Casciola operates an
Internet-based brokerage and consulting company called JetBroker.org,
which was still online when we checked on Wednesday.
NO STRANGER TO COURT
The Supreme Court of Alaska recently upheld a $330,000 judgment against
Casciola, which he'd appealed. The Supreme Court said the $30,000
award for real damages and the $300,000 award for punitive damages
were justified to "vindicate Alaska's legitimate interest in
preventing particularly malignant conduct." In the earlier judgment,
an Alaska court upheld F.S. Air's allegation that Casciola had
misrepresented the availability of two engines for one of its Learjet
medevac aircraft and refused to refund the $25,000 deposit the company
had given the broker. In that deal, Casciola had agreed to provide two
"freshly overhauled" engines for just $100,000, plus the cores from
the old engines.
CERTIFICATIONS LEAD TO JAIL TERM
In an unrelated case in California, Amanullah Khan, 56, of Brea,
Calif., was sentenced to 188 months in prison for falsely certifying
aircraft parts, including flight-critical components, according to a
release posted by The Law News Network attributed by the site to
Assistant US Attorney, Douglas F. McCormick. U.S. District Judge David
O. Carter also ordered Khan to pay $5.4 million in restitution to his
victims. According to the release, Khan simply drew up his own FAA
certifications for the parts he sold, including helicopter grip
assemblies that he said were made of steel when they were actually
made of aluminum. The parts are available in both metals but steel
assemblies have a 2,500-hour life while the aluminum assemblies are
only good for 300 hours, according to the release. The US Attorney's
release, Khan switched data plates on the parts. And in an ironic
twist, Khan was also found guilty of illegally supplying parts to
foreign military powers.
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Seems a little hard to believe that in a country that has spawned the
likes of Patty Wagstaff, Julie Clark Betty Skelton and dozens of other
top female aerobatic pilots since 1915 that the first female member of
the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds is now in training at Nellis Air Force
Base near Las Vegas. And Punta Gorda, Fla., is claiming a "coup" by
hosting the first performance of the group, with Capt. Nicole
Malachowski at No. 3 right wing, during the Florida International Air
Show April 1 and 2. Malachowski's appointment was announced last June
but that didn't stop show manager Bucky McQueen from breathlessly
announcing that it will be "the first time a female pilot has
performed with any military jet team, anywhere." The Canadian Armed
Forces would disagree.
RARE CHALLENGE AT THE GLIDING GRAND PRIX
And although 19 percent of the Air Force's pilots are women, there are
probably lots of female military "firsts" left. But it's sometimes a
little surprising, in this day and age, for the powder-room door to
open for the first time in civilian flying. However, Mette Pedersen,
of Denmark, will be the first woman to compete against men in the New
Zealand Gliding Gran Prix Jan. 21 to Jan. 27. Now, even Pedersen, the
current world women's champion, seems to wonder why there's been a
gender gap at this level. "Physically, there is nothing limiting me to
performing as well as the men," she noted. But there was also some
giddiness there. "Being a girl in a man's world is always special,"
GETS NAA AWARD
And while some might still consider aspects of aviation a "man's
world" they certainly recognize its King of flight training, first
name Martha. The co-founder of King Schools was recently presented the
Cliff Henderson Award for Achievement by the
National Aeronautic Association. It's presented annually to "a living
individual or group whose vision, leadership, or skill, has made a
significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement
of aviation or space activity." King gets her message across in
training videos seen by about half of all flight students in the U.S.
but she got there by recording a major "first."
LOBBY GOES FULL THROTTLE
Four big airlines and all of their unions got together in an
unheard-of show of unanimity last week, but don't credit the Christmas
spirit. Enlightened self-interest is behind their show of force on
Capitol Hill to try and press the House into taking up pension
legislation passed by the Senate last month. The legislation would
give the struggling airlines 20 years to make up shortfalls in pension
funding, something they say they need to maintain the pension plans.
However, the White House has said it will veto the provisions and it
looks like the House doesn't want the confrontation because its
version of the bill doesn't have any of that language.
SKYLANE STOLEN FROM LOCKED HANGAR
Maybe Harry Houdini has come back as an airplane thief. Vincent
MacLeod III was planning to get himself current again on his $300,000
2002 Cessna 182T on Nov. 20 but when he unlocked the double padlocked
door to his hangar at El Monte Airport in California, it was empty.
Police told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune that there was no sign of
forced entry. Airport Manager Rafael Herrera told the newspaper that
rumors circulating at the airport that former airport employees still
had keys to the hangars were not true. Whoever took the plane was also
careful to take all its logs.
COOLEST PLANES YOU'LL NEVER FLY
Dream all you want, the most sophisticated hardware coming off the
line these days doesn't need you, unless you're good with a remote.
Bell Helicopter announced earlier this week that its tiltrotor Eagle Eye TR918unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has
received FAA certification. It's the first such aircraft to get the
FAA nod and we have to agree with Bell that the mind boggles at the
possibilities for commercial and military uses. The Eagle Eye will be
tested at Bell's new XworX facility in "West Texas." And while the
technology and capabilities of unmanned aircraft have grown
exponentially in recent years, the regulatory environment remains
conservative, something not even the wishes of a president can budge.
FLIGHT CLAIMS RECORD
For the man who set the record for the longest endurance flight ever,
the latest notch on Dick Rutan's yoke was over in the blink of an eye
-- and it probably won't stand as a record for much longer. Last
Saturday, Rutan, who with Jeana Yeager flew around the world nonstop
in 1986, took a 10-minute hop in XCOR's EZ-Rocket from Mojave to
California City. It was the "first time" a rocket-powered plane had
ever made a point-to-point flight with the pilot in control for most
phases of flight. It was also the EZ-Rocket's last flight. XCOR
spokeswoman Aleta Jackson told Space.com that after 25 flights they've
learned what they needed to from the modified Long EZ.
FAA SPAR OVER MAINTENANCE
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association says the FAA is
planning to let equipment fail before it gets any service attention
but the FAA says the union is trotting out an old issue that it's
already dealt with. NATCA issued a press release on Tuesday suggesting
the FAA was abandoning the established practice of preventive
maintenance on its equipment in favor of a "fail and fix" regimen. "By
waiting until a potentially dangerous failure occurs, this new agency
policy directly threatens passenger safety and is the latest example
of the agency's mismanagement, which is reducing the reliability and
integrity of the system by cutting corners," the press release reads.
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the Professional Airways Systems
Specialists had already brought up the issue last March. He said the
new maintenance system is simply a much-needed update to bring
maintenance work in line with modern technology.
RESCUED FROM DOWNED GLIDER
The pilot and passenger of a Grob G103 were found uninjured on the
side of a mountain in Southern California early Sunday. The two were
airlifted from their impromptu landing site at the 4,200-foot level in
the San Gabriel Mountains at first light. They'd taken a tow to 9,300
feet in the Mt. Baden-Powell area on Saturday and didn't return to the
point of origin, Crystal Airport. It's not known why the pilot opted
to put the glider down. Civil Air Patrol spokesman Capt. Bob Kielholtz
said the sailplane was not equipped with an ELT and that prevented a
night search for the landing site.
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A C-130 crashed into a Tehran apartment building, killing more than
AirVenture Web site is up...
Australian military planes
to patrol Games...
Chicago eyes banning seaplanes...
whiz may help wing designers.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
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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.
FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased
over 150% all requiring legal counsel. That's why pilots
enroll in the AOPA Legal Services Plan for affordable,
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rules. The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a
variety of situations, plus gives you unlimited consultation on most
aviation matters covered by the Plan, annual review of key aviation
documents, and one no-cost half-hour consultation all for less
than $30 per year. Enroll in AOPA's Legal Services Plan BEFORE
you need it! Call (800) USA-AOPA (800-872-8672), or go
online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopalegal/avflash.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #57:
A quiet night with few airplanes in the sky and tired controllers
working with them. Sounds like the typical midnight shift in any air
traffic control room in the world. Until the radar goes out for
maintenance and the phones don't work. AVweb's Don Brown wonders
whether there will be enough controllers to prevent another midair
collision like the one over Überlingen, Germany.
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
headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must
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IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
|AVIDYNE'S NEW TAS600 SYSTEMS DELIVER
TRAFFIC AWARENESS PROTECTION UNDER
With pricing starting at $9,990, Avidyne's new
TAS600 systems set a new price-performance standard for
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systems affordable for owners of light GA aircraft. TAS600
systems show standard TAS symbology on display systems from 15
different manufacturers, including Avidyne's Entegra and EX500/5000
MFDs; Garmin's G1000, MX20, and 400/500-series; as well as displays
from Honeywell, Collins, Chelton, Sandel, and others. For
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to hear your opinion on yesterday's shooting
death of an airline passenger by Federal Air Marshalls. Is this an
example of a system that works, or one that failed? PLUS: Results of
last week's question on readers' longest cross-country flights.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Submissions are picking up again after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday
that time of the year when a major portion of our North
American readership dozes into a four-day turkey-digesting slumber. As
the numbers rise, quality holds steady giving us plenty of
great images to pick from this week. Our top spot (and an official
AVweb baseball hat) goes to Mark Stephenson of Fitzroy Harbor,
GIFT-GIVING MADE EASY
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|GAMI CUSTOMERS RAVE ABOUT A SMOOTHER RIDE AND SAVING
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|FLYING THE LEGENDARY DC-3,|
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|NOVEMBER'S FLYING MAGAZINE REPORTS ON
SECOND-GENERATION PIPER MERIDIAN|
The first single with a
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America's legendary Cub is reborn as Legend Aircraft's
all-new-construction light sport aircraft; IFR emergencies from Tom
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|HIGH-ADVENTURE FLYING IN UTAH'S RED ROCK
Utah's Red Rock Country, Volume 1 is
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|COMM1 OFFERS COMPLIMENTARY|
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The Best of Rod Machado Live
on 14 audio CDs just released! Using his trademark "Laugh & Learn"
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|SOME PILOTS SEEM TO HAVE IT TOGETHER, WHILE YOU LACK
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THE GIFT YOU HOPE WILL NEVER BE USED!|
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the
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|WORRIED ABOUT BUSTING A REG? YOU SHOULD
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