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FACES "FORMIDABLE CHALLENGE" ON USER FEES
The FAA has an
uphill battle to convince its masters that a user-fee-based system is
the best way to tackle the funding challenges of the next decade,
according to a report from the Department of
Transportations Office of Inspector General (OIG). And even if the
agency can make the case for user fees (which, because they arent
taxes, dont require Congressional oversight) the OIG says that
shouldnt mean unfettered access to that big pot of cash. We
believe that any proposal to give FAA more flexibility and additional
funds needs to be accompanied by strong oversight mechanisms to ensure
funds are spent efficiently, says the report, which is entitled
"DOTs Top Management Challenges" (FAA reauthorization ranks
second). Notwithstanding its cautious stance, however, the OIG seems to
think that user fees offer the best hope of creating the sort of funding
base that offers adequate investment for new technology while creating
incentives for users to make more efficient use of the system.
STAFFING ISSUES A CONCERN
Although no one seems to dispute
the FAAs need to hire 11,000 new air traffic controllers over the
next 10 years to cover the retirement bulge that has already begun, the
OIG would like the FAA to figure out exactly where the new recruits
should be deployed and just how much this hiring push is costing. The
report notes that the original hiring plan, released in 2004,
didnt define those issues and, while the agency is working on a
location-by-location assessment of staffing requirements, its
still ignoring the cost issues. In fairness, the agency was missing some
key financial information on the cost projections because, until earlier
this year when it imposed a contract on air traffic controllers, it
didnt know what salary and benefit costs for new hires would be.
Now that those costs have been established, the OIG wants to see real
numbers. While much of the limelight has been on controller issues, the
OIG is also reminding the FAA that a shortage of safety inspectors is
IG WONDERS HOW THE FAA WILL COPE
Air travel is growing, more
aircraft are projected to be flying to more places and the OIG wonders
how the agency is going to cope with the surge in demand for its
services. Making better use of its existing resources will help, but the
report says major investments will be needed to accommodate the demand.
For now, it says, nothing increases capacity like concrete and asphalt.
There are about a dozen major runway projects underway at the moment and
the report says the agency has to ensure they get done. Meanwhile, the
search for technological answers to growing traffic continues and the
OIG seems apprehensive about what it terms the high risk
proposals currently being discussed for the Next Generation Air Traffic
System (NGATS). More...
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PROBLEMS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG?
The FAA needs to spend up to
$100 million, and fast, to make sure the lights, computers and consoles
stay on at its most important air traffic control facilities, according
to a report by the Department of Transportations
Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG was responding to a request
from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to investigate a power failure at Los
Angeles Center, as well as repeated failures of the ILS and the
intentional disabling of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS)
at LAX. In his letter to Boxer, DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovell
III says the power problems at Los Angeles Center could be repeated at
other major ATC facilities and the FAA needs to fix the problems sooner
rather than later. More...
PROJECT PLAYS A ROLE IN AMASS OUTAGE
DOT Inspector General
Scovell is also recommending that the potential impact of construction
work on airport systems be considered when new projects are planned. At
least part of the problem with LAXs ILS and AMASS system was
traced to the construction activity on one of the airports four
runways. The ILS suffered five failures in July and August. It was
apparently a run of bad luck, compounded by the age of some of the
components and corrosion damage from LAs salty (not to mention
polluted) air. Even when the gear was working, however, interference by
the construction equipment caused some approaching aircraft to lose the
ILS signal. Meanwhile, sometime before July 26, the AMASS gear was shut
off because of all the false alerts triggered by the construction
machinery. On July 26, there was a near collision on a runway that the
AMASS system should have detected had it been turned on.
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"CRIMINALIZATION" PROMPTS ACTION
organizations have issued statements condemning the so-called
criminalization of aircraft accidents and are calling on the
worlds aviation authorities to pull the focus of accident
investigations back to cause rather than blame. The protracted
confinement and threat of criminal charges against two American pilots
over the collision between their Legacy 600 business jet and a Gol
Airlines Boeing 737 (the 737 crashed, killing all 154 aboard) in Brazil
has prompted the International Federation of Air Line Pilots'
Associations and a multinational group of aviation industry
organizations from the U.S. and Europe to call on governments to
leave criminal proceedings out of accident investigations unless there
is evidence of extremely egregious behavior (like flying
drunk or sabotage). They agree that the threat of prosecution stifles
the free flow of information that not only helps establish cause, but
also could help prevent future accidents. More...
URGES RELEASE OF PILOTS
The lawyer for American pilots Joe
Lepore and Jan Paladino says a preliminary report into the collision of
their Embraer Legacy business jet and a GOL Boeing 737 fails to
establish a cause for the accident and it could be 10 months or more
before one is established. In news release, Robert Torricella also noted
the report clearly shows the pilots held their assigned altitude and did
not perform the stunts that some Brazilian officials alleged
occurred before the collision, which caused the 737 to crash, killing
all 154 on board. Torricella also notes that Brazilian Air Force Col.
Rufino Antonio Da Silva Ferreira noted that flight plans are not
necessarily the final word on determining an aircrafts flight
profile, but he stopped short of explaining that air traffic control
guidance supersedes them. The Legacy was assigned 37,000 feet by ATC
even though its northwesterly track should have put it at 36,000 feet,
which was what the crew had flight planned. Its still not clear
why they were assigned the unusual altitude. More...
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PROCESS STREAMLINED ON FOREIGN NOTIFICATIONS
The FAA says
its streamlining the process of turning around airworthiness
directives from other countries on aircraft that are flying in the U.S.
Last week, the agency issued two ADs on TBM 700 aircraft that relate to
problems found in France one and two years ago, respectively. France issued an AD in
2005 regarding loose rivets in the tail assembly and, a year earlier,
French authorities ordered inspections of a tail attachment fitting
after corrosion was found on an aircraft in service. Chances are that
the work on U.S.-registered aircraft has already been done because
manufacturer EADS Socata issued mandatory service bulletins for both
problems, but the catch-up AD from the FAA formalizes the actions
prescribed by those MSBs. More...
FBO FOR TALLAHASSEE?
A Tallahassee firm hopes to become the
city airports second FBO but, as there always seems to be, there
are a few wrinkles to iron out. Eagle Aircraft Group has applied to open
fueling and maintenance facilities to compete with Flightline Group,
which has operated Tallahassee Regional Airports only FBO for
decades. However, it appears that before Eagle Aircraft can open its
doors, it will need concessions from the company it intends to compete
with. Both companies have their eyes on an old FedEx hangar and it will
be up to council to decide how the property is used. More...
Mark Your Calendars! LoPresti's
After-Thanksgiving Sale One Day Only
is clearing out extras, customer returns, and items
dinged in shipping (repaired as good as new but can't be sold as
new). Sale is on limited quantities and ONLY
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24th. When the items are gone, they are gone
to view what's available and order by e-mail, 12am to 11:59pm (EST) on
Friday, November 24th only
CHIMES IN ON ETHANOL IN FUEL
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB)
explaining the hazards posed to aircraft operation with automotive fuels
that contain alcohol. EAA and other aviation groups have been warning
about the increased use of ethanol in fuels. The alcohol is a substitute
for chemical oxygenates MTBE and ETBE that have been linked to
environmental concerns. But while ethanol may be safer for the
environment, its toxic to airplane engines and the FAA says that
if you cant find alcohol-free mogas for your STCd aircraft
engine, youll have to switch back to 100LL. More...
OFFERS ONLINE ICE TRAINING
Cessna Caravan operators and
pilots who want to beat the rush can register now for an online training package that will likely be mandated
by the FAA for those who operate in known icing. The curriculum was
developed by Cessna with help from the Regional Air Cargo Carriers
Association in response to a series of Caravan accidents where icing may
have been a factor. Hundreds of Caravans are in use by cargo companies
and are exposed to icing conditions almost every day during the icing
Doc Blue's Emergency Medical Kit Don't
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Do you carry a first-aid kit in your airplane or car? AVweb's Dr. Brent
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Dr. Blue has assembled a traveling medical kit for dealing with all
sorts of medical problems, based on his long experience as an emergency
room doctor, frequent traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad. It would
cost more than $500 to duplicate this kit, but it's available on sale
for $333. Order by calling (888) 362-7123
Video of Pentagon 9/11 crash may be
Piper offers jet incentives
offers timely terminal forecasts
737, 747 missed by 35
Video footage of Red Bull Air Race winners is now online.
New VFLITE Computer-Based Training for
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OF THE WEEK: NORTH ALABAMA AVIATION
AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to North Alabama Aviation at KDCU in Decatur,
AVweb reader Stan Poelstra was literally floored by
the FBOs low fuel price and high level of service.
stopped here twice. The first time, on the way to Florida, the FBO owner
lowered the price of fuel of the self serve while I was fueling to
$3.25. He said he just got the new quote so he would give it to me. On
the way back two weeks later, the price was the same but it was so windy
one could hardly stand up, so my wife and I stayed over night. They gave
us the use of the courtesy car that afternoon and overnight. No charge,
just lots of smiles and thank yous for stopping.
those nominations coming.For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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Pilot Journey Isn't Just for Students &
Instructors; There's Something for Everyone
You know Pilot Journey
's Discovery Flight
converting leads to students. However, all pilots can find something at
: Pilot e-mail accounts, pilot eCards; a pilot
cruise with seminars; AvCareers, where position wanted and positions
available are listed; and much more.
Pilot Journey is the pilot's
AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new
in-depth interview each Friday. In Friday's
podcast, you'll find an interview with Cirrus Design cofounder and
CEO Alan Klapmeier, who addresses the rash of fatal accidents in October
involving Cirrus pistons. And AVweb's podcast index
includes interviews with Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton,
Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue, Adam Aircraft chairman Rick
Adam and New Piper CEO Jim Bass. In today's news
summary, hear about how the DOT Inspector General supports aviation
user fees, the looming air traffic controller shortage, a call
condemning "criminalization" of aviation accidents, Eagle Aircraft bids
to open a second FBO at Tallahassee Airport and more. Remember: In
AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
If You Have a Calendar Event, AVweb Wants to
Hear from You!
AVweb's no-cost Calendar of Events
is available to everyone who
has an event to post! Remember, over 160,000 subscribers turn to AVweb
for their news. Make sure they know about your upcoming event:
Post it online!
OF THE WEEK: CV-22 OSPREY
AVweb's Russ Niles was on hand at
Aviation Nation last week and brought back a
terrific clip of the Osprey CV-22 making its public debut. We thought
everyone would like to see it, so we're sharing it here as AVweb's
"Video of the Week." (Click through to watch.)
The Used Aircraft Guide Can Save You
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Returning to Princeton, N.J., in a Seminole, I was
proudly clipping along at 140 knots and can only assume that my deep
voice and professional-sounding tone led to us appearing to be more than
Seminole: "New York approach, Seminole Two Two Eight,
Approach: "Seminole Two Two Eight, Morristown altimeter
30.08. Proceed direct Solberg, maintain 5,000. Were you given any speed
restrictions? If so, you can resume normal speed.
"Direct Solberg, 5,000, Two Two Eight. And we're a Seminole. This is
normal speed." More...
AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF
WHO BRING YOU TODAY'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT NO COST TO YOU
No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers. IFR
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IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your
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Power Flow Is Now FAA-Approved for the Diamond
The Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System is now standard equipment on
all 2007 Diamond DA40 aircraft. Benefits include: Speed increases of up
to 8 knots; 15% more climb; or, go the same speeds and save up to 1.2
gallons per hour. Starting in October, existing DA40 owners can retrofit
their aircraft. For complete details,
Retention Can Be Increased by 70% with Auditory
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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 Contributing Editor Russ Niles (bio).
here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
intended for publication.)
Comments or questions about the news should be sent
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its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for
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Remember: aviate, navigate, then communicate.