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General aviation shipments are coming off a
high half-year, but that surge apparently isn't being fueled by new
pilots. The Washington Post was at EAA AirVenture this year and, while
it may not be a revelation to readers of this publication, informed its audience of the next crisis facing
aviation: most pilots are old white guys. The Post reporter solicited
opinions from an assortment of 50-something pilots on why the place
wasn't teeming with eager, fresh faces and, not surprisingly perhaps,
got answers that sound suspiciously like something their parents and
grandparents might have said about them 30 or 40 years ago. "The younger
ones want instant gratification. Learning to fly is work. You have to
work at it," Jack Gilbert, a 57-year-old pilot, told the Post. Gilbert
blamed video games and others chimed in that flying lacks the adventure
(read: danger?) and intrigue that drew many to it. But what do young
people have to say? More...
PILOT NUMBERS HALVED
Opinions aside, fewer than half the
number of student pilots are today bumping their way through touch and
goes and spinning whiz wheels when compared to recent boom times, and
the old guard is mobilizing to increase those ranks. One of these
initiatives is among the most ambitious recycling projects we've come
across. Build A
Plane takes donations of unfinished kit airplanes and non-airworthy
certified aircraft and distributes them to high schools and youth
organizations that want to take them on as projects. Local experts are
enlisted to help the kids do the work necessary to make the project fly.
There are dozens of projects underway, ranging from a BD-5 to
a Twin Comanche. Another group, Wings of Charity, allows dedicated participants to
get their private pilot certificate for a vastly reduced price.
NEEDED -- EVERYWHERE
Although the tragic events of 9/11 put a
damper on the whole aviation industry, it has rebounded and the hiring
of pilots in all sectors (quite opposite of new pilot starts) is coming
back to the historical highs of the turn of the century, according to Be A
Pilot. The current boom is fueled in part by the rapid expansion of
airline service in China, India and the Middle East and the worldwide
growth of cargo operations. New airlines are luring experienced pilots
from North America (where airline pilot pension and job insecurity make
headlines) and that means more opportunities for younger, less
experienced pilots to get a crack at the jobs left behind. The jury is
still out on the impact very light jets (VLJs) will have on the air
travel business but if even half of the projected growth materializes it
will create thousands of pilot jobs. More...
Don't Overpay for Life Insurance Just Because
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TREATMENT FOR AIRLINE PILOTS
Texas politicians say a pension
reform bill passed by the Senate and House last week puts two
Texas-based airlines at a competitive disadvantage. The bill, in
general, allows companies with under-funded pension plans seven years to
get caught up with their payments. However, companies that have frozen
their pension plans get an additional 10 years to bring them up-to-date
and they can do so at preferential interest rates. Bankrupt Northwest
and Delta Air Lines qualify for the extension. Texas-based American and
Continental do not and that's got the Texas delegation in both houses
reaching for their legislative guns as disparity spreads.
Delta Air Lines says the pension package is what
it needs to keep its fund alive. "Delta will be in a position to
preserve its pension plan covering 91,000 active and retired ground and
flight-attendant employees, thereby preserving their hard-earned
benefits and preventing the U.S. pension system from being burdened with
additional plan liabilities," Gerald Grinstein, Delta's chief executive,
said in a statement. Both Delta and Northwest froze their plans as part
of their bankruptcy rescue operation but neither American nor
Continental is in that position. More...
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B-29 FIFI NEEDS $3 MILLION ENGINE JOB
A "national treasure"
has been grounded indefinitely and it'll take $3 million to get it back
in the air. Fifi, the Commemorative Air Force's B-29 bomber, has had
chronic engine problems for years and the CAF has decided that they must
be resolved for safety's sake. Fifi is the only airworthy B-29 in the
world. As the CAF's Kay Crites told AVweb in our Aug. 4 audio news, the original equipment engines
were maintenance hogs when they were new and they haven't gotten any
better in 60 years of service. The CAF has decided to replace the
engines with custom-built variants of the Wright Cyclone 18-cylinder
radials and it's launched a fundraising effort to do the work.
LOOKS TO HOMEBUILTS FOR LSA IDEAS
Cessna may adopt a
construction method used by some kit airplane companies to simplify
assembly of the aircraft. Computerized match-hole drilling involves
pre-drilling sheet metal pieces so that the holes line up perfectly when
it comes time to fit them together. Companies like Van's aircraft
(which estimates its homebuilt flying fleet at more than 4,500) have had
good success with the system, which saves the builder time and improves
the fit of the components. "It's very accurate," Neal Wilford, who's
heading up Cessna's LSA project, told The Wichita Eagle. Wilford is
building a Thorp Sky Scooter using the same technique. "So I knew it
worked." The process might offer Cessna more than just a precise fit and
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LOOKS AT NATCA BILL
Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor
has introduced a bill that would force the FAA to resume negotiations
with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association toward a new
contract. The FAA imposed a contract on the union in June under the
terms of legislation that would have required congressional intervention
to resolve the dispute. Under that law, Congress has 60 days to act
after the agency declares talks "at impasse." The impasse was declared
April 5 and a last-ditch attempt by House members to halt the process
failed. However, the union thinks Pryor's bill has a good chance. "We
believe we have overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle," NATCA
representative James Keith told the Springdale Morning News.
BALLOON MANUFACTURER TO STOP PRODUCTION
Many piston pilots
have likely never heard Aerostar
mentioned in relation to anything but an airplane, but to the ballooning
community, the Sioux Falls, S.D., company is kind of like Cessna, Piper
and Beechcraft all rolled into one -- and the company just announced
last week that after Jan. 31, 2007, it won't be in the hot-air balloon
business anymore. Aerostar, which started as Raven Industries back in
the 1960s, virtually invented the system that gave birth to the modern
sport of hot-air ballooning. Company President Mark West said the
decision was an economic one. "The entire general aviation industry took
a marked decline after 9/11 and the hot-air balloon industry has never
recovered," he said in a news release on Tuesday. More...
Reason #1 Pilots First
Leading the aviation industry isn't about bragging rights. Being No. 1
is about providing pilots with all of the things that make owning a
such an irresistible value. Things like safety.
Affordability. Reliability. Insurability. Flyability. And the world's
largest service organization. All of which have helped make Cessna the
No. 1 selling line of new single-engine aircraft. Explore more reasons
A young man who according to his sentencing judge
loaded two young friends aboard a Cessna 172 in Danbury, Conn., and flew
it for three hours before landing almost out of fuel and "drunk" at
Westchester, N.Y., will have another year in jail to think about that
night. He'll also have six months of enforced rehab to sort out the
alcohol problem that he's now admitted to having. A Connecticut judge
imposed the sentence last week after Philippe Patricio, now 21, pleaded
guilty to a string of charges relating to the incident on June 22, 2005.
He had already been in jail for nine months on charges laid by New York
EAA AIRVENTURE PROCEDURES
Our story in Thursday's news about
the fatal taxiway accident in Oshkosh on July 30th inadvertently gave
the impression that EAA hasn't reviewed its safety procedures following
the accident. EAA is awaiting the results of the NTSB's investigation of
the accident before considering any changes in safety procedures. EAA
President Tom Poberezny told AVweb on Thursday that it constantly
revisits safety, whether there are accidents or not. "Safety is our
number-one priority," he said. "We address it year after year." Meetings
are held year-round to establish safety procedures, and every suggestion
and comment is looked at and taken very seriously, he said.
If Exxon Elite Protects Peter's Piper
Perfectly, How Many Other Private Pilots Prefer Our Product's Proven
Picky about in-flight performance? Exxon Aviation Oil Elite
may be the piston engine oil for you. It incorporates 21st
Century technology and can reduce wear by controlling rust and
corrosion. Flying a poorly maintained aircraft can be unforgiving.
can help. Make it part of your preflight routine. Learn more
FAA building may have been shot...
airplanes, two helicopters damaged by Utah storm...
glider aerobatic title...
Man arrested after NYPD helicopter
Lost airfield Web site...
Flight medical wait list seven
months in India. More...
Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All
Selling an aircraft can be a challenging odyssey. Aircraft owners need
to: locate a broker with national resources to sell for top dollar;
select and utilize the most effective advertising; access no-cost,
no-obligation finance pre-qualification; consult aviation tax experts;
and obtain insurance quotes with higher liability limits. Columbia
has created a tool to assist pilots and aircraft owners of
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Online Now: Listen to, or take AVweb's
no-iPod-required audio news with you.
Find exclusive interviews
featuring Cessna's Jack Pelton on his company's LSA, TCM president Bryan
Lewis, NATCA president John Carr, New Piper CEO Jim Bass, Hal Shevers
for Sporty's Pilot Shop, Light Sport guru Dan Johnson, Excel Jet's Bob
Bornhofen, Adam Aircraft's Joe Walker, FAA administrator Marion Blakey,
Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier and more. AVweb's Podcast index, is online, now. You'll hear
things you won't find anywhere else. More...
A Pilot Wearing a Headset Walks into a Bar
Sound like a joke? Not really. Pilots with Oregon Aero®
Aviation Headset Upgrades say their headsets are so comfortable they
forget they're wearing one. The five components of the Oregon
Upgrade eliminate pain, reduce overall sound pressure,
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headset models. Visit Oregon Aero online
and see why Forgettable
OF THE WEEK: LAKELAND AVIATION INC., ARDMORE, OK
Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions|
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon
goes to Lakeland Aviation
Inc., at KADM, Ardmore, OK.
Offering up Lakeland, Dean
Roberts told us, "New facility with excellent food, clean environment,
constantly growing airport."
those nominations coming.
here to nominate your favorite FBO and here for complete contest rules
is actively seeking out the best FBO's in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Award-Winning VFLITE Computer-Based GPS
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standard and advanced GNS 530/430 eLearning programs are
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Attention, Cessna Owners
Do you need to modernize your old, tired RT359A or RT459A transponder?
proudly announces the availability of their
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The AT165/C and AT165/C Value Series are designed as direct slide-in
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entry. The AT165/C also features pressure altitude display with hold
alert, along with three independent timers with audible alert. For more
information, visit Narco Avionics online
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's
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Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of
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Slow day at ABQ...
DEP: ... Airliner123
cleared to FL33, as filed to Atlanta.
readback) Wish you worked Atlanta, we always get a stairstep out of
DEP: That's why they call us
123: I already have a wife.
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AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles,
products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's
aviation magazine and news service.
Today's issue was written by news writer Russ Niles (bio).
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