December 28, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... LightSPEED Aviation
NEW MACH 1 HEADSET BY LIGHTSPEED: SMALLER CAN BE BETTER
The Congressional Research Service has released a new report, "Securing General Aviation," which AOPA says will aid lobbying efforts in support of fair and rational treatment for GA in any new security legislation. The 43-page report aims to provide members of Congress with nonpartisan research results and analysis. It explains what GA is, the risk factors, and possible options to mitigate those risks. "This report from Congress's highly respected research agency provides an unbiased, realistic view of both the minimal threat that light GA aircraft represent and the significant social and economic impacts of ill-considered security regulations," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. "While we might take issue with some points, the report must be carefully reviewed by policy makers before considering any new security restrictions on general aviation." The report concurs with AOPA's contention that GA security should be risk-based and tailored to the unique characteristics and vulnerabilities of specific airports, AOPA said. The Congressional Research Service is a government agency within the Library of Congress, where members of Congress turn for the nonpartisan research, analysis and information they need to make informed decisions. The CRS has been carrying out this mission since 1914.
The report carefully analyzes the limited capability of the typical GA aircraft to carry conventional explosives. "At least with regard to being used as a platform for conventional explosives, the threat posed by light GA aircraft is relatively small compared to trucks which have significantly larger payload capacities," the report states. However, the report also explains that GA aircraft are not all alike. "The threat posed by general aviation aircraft is largely a function of aircraft weight, payload capacity (including fuel capacity), and speed," the report says. Further, dangers from aerial dispersion of chemical and biological agents "may not be as ominous as some fear," the report says. Many chemical or biological agents are only effective if released in an enclosed area. Others, such as mustard gas or nerve agents, would only affect a limited portion of the population because of the limited load-carrying capability of a light GA aircraft.
Airspace restrictions, in their various forms, are analyzed by the report. Objections from pilots and the impact on flight operations are noted. "The resource requirements and associated costs for monitoring restricted airspace and providing airspace protection around critical sites raise policy questions regarding the appropriate balancing of these measures with efforts to address other homeland security threats, and the effect of these measures on air commerce and the freedom of movement by air," the report says. AOPA says the report will provide support to efforts to prevent the Washington, D.C., ADIZ from becoming a permanent fixture. Also noted in the report were criticism from AOPA and other GA groups about the impact of restrictions on the aviation industry. "In response to this criticism," the report concludes, "attempting to tailor homeland security policy to fit the risk posed by widely varied GA operations, allocating budgets and resources to address security priorities, and addressing concerns about potentially impeding air commerce or compromising aviation safety are likely to remain ongoing challenges for the Congress."
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
A new GPS approach is now available to all aircraft at Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA). The Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approach had been working since September, but only for Alaska Airlines, which pioneered the use of such approaches to improve access into remote and challenging airports. At Reagan National, RNP-guided approaches will increase efficiency, improve safety and reduce the effect of aircraft noise and emissions on homes and businesses under the flight path, the FAA said. The Reagan National RNP approach to Runway 19, which follows the Potomac River, allows planes to land with considerably lower cloud ceilings and visibility than currently required, increasing airport access during marginal weather. The procedure at Reagan National may be used by any operator who can meet specific FAA requirements for aircraft navigation performance and pilot training.
"We're tapping the high-performance computing capability of today's aircraft to move more planes more safely and efficiently," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "The environmental benefits are terrific too, because flying straight down the middle of the flight path means that people on the ground perceive less jet noise and experience fewer engine emissions." More RNP approaches are slated to become available in 2006, including the Wenatchee Airport in Washington; George Bush Intercontinental in Houston; Chicago Midway; Newark, N.J., Liberty; Honolulu International; Gary, Ind.; Tampa, Fla.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Guam; Tucson, Ariz.; Long Beach, Calif.; and John F. Kennedy International in New York. When performance-based navigation is fully implemented at airports across the nation, it will establish precise approach, arrival and departure procedures. It also will improve situational awareness for pilots and air traffic controllers, and provide smoother traffic flows, saving fuel and benefiting the environment, the FAA said. Want to know more about RNP? Watch the FAA's 13-minute online video (provided you have a speedy internet connection), "Highway in the Sky."
GIVE THE GIFT THAT KEEPS THEM FLYING
Modifications to the Los Angeles Class B airspace went into effect last week, lowering the base altitudes for several VFR flyways. The new altitudes should have been printed on the back of the new Terminal Area Chart that was published Dec. 22, but due to an internal FAA glitch, the changes weren't made. "The Class B airspace boundaries on the chart are depicted correctly, it is only the flyway (planning) altitudes on the back side of the chart that [are incorrect]," Eric Secretan, of the National Aeronautical Charting Office, told AVweb. He said the chart is being reprinted and corrected copies should be distributed by the first week of January. Meanwhile, the changes are in effect nonetheless. The corrected chart will be sent to all FAA chart sales agents and anyone that purchased the chart directly from the FAA, Secretan said. Anyone who bought the new chart can return it for a free replacement at their point of purchase, as soon as the new charts are available. Meanwhile, an FAA Special Notice describing the issue has been placed on the FAA/NACO Web site, and sent to all FAA chart sales agents and customers. In addition, a NOTAM has been issued describing the corrections to the fly-way altitudes.
Online training is now available to help general aviation pilots understand the complexities of today's stricter airspace rules and reduce violations of restricted airspace, the FAA said on Tuesday. The training is meant for any pilots who fly in or near restricted areas, especially around Washington, D.C. The course provides detailed information on the requirements and procedures required to operate in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and other restricted airspace. Pilots who complete the Web-based course and pass a 25-question multiple-choice test will receive a certificate of completion. "Very few pilots actually intend to fly into restricted airspace, but even an inadvertent violation could have serious consequences," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "Pilots are strongly encouraged to take the training to help them understand how to avoid getting into a difficult situation." The training is part of a broad effort by the FAA to reduce the number of violations of Washington airspace.
AIRCRAFT SPRUCE OFFERS NEW ROBOTOW
The European Space Agency yesterday launched their first test satellite for the Galileo project, which will comprise a constellation of 30 satellites to rival the U.S. GPS system. Galileo is expected to be complete by 2010, with some services starting as soon as 2008. Its global positioning capabilities will be more accurate than the current GPS system, which is controlled by the U.S. military, and will even work indoors. Its signals should be compatible with current GPS hardware. It will have a basic signal that will be available free to everyone, and a more precise signal which will be encrypted. The system is meant for commercial, not military use, but concerns have been raised about its future applications. Yesterday, the first signals were reported to have been successfully received from the new satellite.
Richard Branson's new spaceport in New Mexico could have competition from a similar site in Texas, according to an Associated Press report. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, had bought 165,000 acres near El Paso that will be used as a test site and an eventual spaceport. The AP said Bezos has also bought 25 acres south of Seattle that will be used as a site to design and build spacecraft and engines. The site includes a 243,000-square-foot office and warehouse building that is being revamped to accommodate research and assembly areas, plus a 90,000-square-foot rocket-engine test stand surrounded by a 12-foot earthen berm. Staff from Bezos' space company, Blue Origin, will move to the site early in 2006, the AP said. The company work force is now about 40, but is expected to grow to 100 over the next few years. The company is designing a spacecraft that will take off and land vertically and carry three passengers into suborbital space. Test flights in Texas could begin late in 2006. The AP cited various sources and records, adding that Blue Origin has released little information about its plans.
ADAM, CIRRUS, COLUMBIA, DIAMOND, LIBERTY ...
The FAA currently maintains nine Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Service Area offices, located in each of the FAA regional offices, but plans to consolidate them into just three regional sites in 2006. "The decision to restructure the Service Area offices was made to reduce overhead positions and operating costs, and eliminate redundancies," the FAA said in its location study report, which it recently posted online. "Additionally, the decision to restructure focused on improving the efficiency of operations and effectiveness of service." The report finds that Atlanta, Seattle, and Fort Worth, Texas, would be the best sites for the three consolidated offices, and the changes would save the FAA about $40 million over 10 years. One FAA worker told AVweb that the changes would not serve customers well. A high percentage of the more experienced personnel will not be willing to relocate, he said, resulting in a "brain drain" that will make it harder for the aviation community to get the help they need. The ATO Service Area offices provide management support for En Route, Terminal, Technical Operations, System Operations, and Flight Services facilities within their designated service area.
The family of a Canadian pilot who died in a crash last week have created a scholarship in his honor, Canada.com reported on Monday. Trevor Hardy, 31, was the co-pilot of a Mitsubishi Mu-2, flying for Nav Air Charter. The airplane crashed and exploded at Northwest Regional Airport on Dec. 20, killing Hardy and Simon Piper, 33. Hardy had worked hard to put himself through flight school and build up the thousands of hours of flight experience he needed to qualify for the airline career he wanted. To help other young pilots, the family and Mike Herr, one of Hardy's lifelong friends, have created the Trevor Hardy Scholarship Fund for young pilots in training. Two other pilots died in a Nav Air crash in April. The company has voluntarily given up its operating certificate, grounding its aircraft indefinitely.
|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.
Police in Oregon arrested two Canadian men when they stopped to refuel at Burns Municipal Airport last month, seizing almost a half-ton of marijuana, The Associated Press reported on Monday. The arrest followed an effort by police to more closely monitor remote rural airports in the region, checking self-service fuel records to search for clues to illicit operations. Information from those records is now going into the Oregon Department of Justice's computerized intelligence network, where it will be available to federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies. But it's expected that the impact of that effort will last only until the smugglers figure it out, then they will simply circumvent it. All a smuggler would have to do is land in a hayfield or on a remote road and refuel from tanks mounted onto farm pickups, Umatilla County Sheriff John Trumbo told the AP.
An Alaska Airlines MD-80 landed safely Monday afternoon at Seattle-Tacoma Airport after a foot-long gash opened up in the fuselage at 26,000 feet. A ramp vehicle had dented the airplane just before takeoff...
New Jersey has seen 44 aviation accidents so far this year, double the number in 2004. Thirteen people died, the Star-Ledger reported Sunday...
An emergency-services helicopter pilot in New Zealand was just getting to work when a call came in about a fatal car crash on Christmas Eve -- and one of the victims was his elderly father. Other pilots intervened to keep him away from the crash site and covered for him over the weekend...
China is building its first customer support center for the ARJ21 jet, the first commercial jet to be designed and built in China...
Profits in the civil aviation sector in China fell by half over the last year due to jumps in fuel prices, but the industry's growth is expected to continue...
Skywatchers in the Western U.S. could glimpse the re-entry of a space-probe capsule carrying comet-dust particles, on Jan. 15.
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT
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Quiz #102: Smooth Maneuvers
No, the title doesn't reflect our moves on the dance floor. Instead, it refers to your pilot skills in something other than straight-and-level flight. Being cool, you'll coordinate your mind and feet to answer the following questions.
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BENNETT AVIONICS WILL MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb got into the holiday spirit (the commercial side of it, at least) and asked what gadgets and gizmos topped your airplane wish list.
It was no big surprise that most of you (36%) would like a new GPS unit for your plane.
The next most popular gift would be a hangar for your plane one of our favorite "hint, hint" items, too with 26% of you choosing hangar from our short list.
Nearly tied at 16% and 15% of responses were an Electronic Flight Information System or a new ANR headset.
And pulling up the rear, with only 7% of your votes, was a new transceiver.
Just to offer our own statistic, AVweb wishes 100% of our readers could have gotten everything on their holiday wish lists.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know what health issue is most important to you (in relation to your medical certificate).
Click here to answer
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Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Submissions to our "Picture of the Week" contest continue to trickle in at a reduced rate. For the second week in a row, we received only a few dozen entries not uncommon for this time of year. Fortunately, we ran a selection of holiday-themed photos last week and rolled over those pictures into this week's competition allowing us plenty of photos to choose from, including a handful of oh-so-nifty bonus pics.
Interestingly, many of the past couple of weeks' photos were black-and-whites and more than a few of those were "vintage" photos readers found in their scrapbooks. So to kick us off this week, here are three of our favorite black-and-whites ... .
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Allan Berg
"Long Beach Glider"
Allan Berg of Atlantic Beach, New York tells us that's
"Jerry Ginsberg in the pilot's seat." Writes Allan: "My dad
was about 17 years old at this time in the late 1920s.
He designed and built with a number of friends
while he was in Long Beach (NY) High School."
In case you're wondering, the glider rose to a
height of three feet when "towed by a cab."
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.
"Bell 430 at the Dominican Republic
Presidential Palace 2005"
Ernest Manzano of Miami, Florida
reminds us why we like black-and-white
photos so much not to mention helicopters.
Used with permission of James W. McCoy
"Off-Field Repair, 1933"
Like Allan Berg above,
James W. McCoy of Houston, Texas
also owes his "POTW" success to his dad.
The elder Mr. McCoy was on the crew that
recovered the wreckage from this crash
near Cherokee, Wyoming in 1933.
A few last-minute pictures
to wave goodbye to 2005.
Used with permission of George Mock
George Mock of Windsor, Ontario (Canada) kept
us up-to-date on the move of the Lancaster FM212
that used to adorn Dieppe Park in Windsor.
Now he treats us to a shot of the replacement,
a replica Spitfire that keeps watch over the Detroit River.
Used with permission of Brian Bixler
"Another Great Day at SXM"
We've gotten lots of low-approach photos
since Natalia Anemodoura's shot of LGKR
on Corfu Island, Greece a few weeks ago.
Brian Bixler of Redmond, Washington joins the club
with this so-close-you-can-feel-the-breeze photo from
SXM on St. Maarten Island. "You can drink your beer,
hang out on the beach, and get a free airshow every day!"
writes Brian. Sounds like our kind of place!
Robbie Culver of Waukegan, Illinois
shot this photo at Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport
recently and "thought it was appropriate for the season."
Though it gives us an unpleasant chill, we've gotta agree.
Used with permission of Kevin Korterud
"Santa's Warbird Sleigh"
In response to last week's many flying Santa photos,
Kevin Korterud of Norcross, Georgia shows us a, um,
different kind of holiday spirit. He tells us that Santa's warbird
is actually on loan from members of the Dixie Wing of the
Commemorative Air Force. If you haven't followed our links.
to the CAF in the past, be sure to check out Dixie Wing.
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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Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
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