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DENIES LIABILITY IN COMAIR CRASH
Comair Flight 5191 crashed
solely because of the negligence and wrongful conduct of Comair
and its flight crew according to a response by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County
Airport Board and the airport corporation to a suit launched by Comair
against the airport and the federal government. Comair said the suit is
an attempt to spread the liability burden that will result from the Aug.
27 crash, which killed 49 of the 50 people on board. But the airport
board says everything was by the book the morning the Comair flight took
off from a general aviation runway that was too short for the Bombardier
regional jet. More...
SIGNAGE PROPER AT LEX, AIRPORT SAYS
The airport board admits
that construction work was underway but it claims that NOTAMs were
properly created and distributed and that signs leading to Runway 26,
the main 7,000-foot runway that the flight had been cleared to, met all
standards and that configuration of the taxiways and runways at
the Airport were safe, open and obvious to any pilots exercising
ordinary care. The airport board further alleges that the Comair
crew should have noticed they were on the wrong runway in time to abort
the takeoff. The statement also points out that hundreds of flights,
including two airliners that immediately preceded Flight 5191, had no
trouble getting to the right runway in the week prior to the accident.
The defense also claims the crew didnt have its full attention on
the tasks at hand while taxiing, an allegation that could become clearer
when some crucial evidence is released by the FAA and NTSB.
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CONSENSUS IN AGE 60 DEBATE
A panel formed by the FAA to
advise on whether the agency should increase the mandatory retirement
age of airline pilots to 65 has essentially thrown the issue back on the
FAAs lap. About the only thing the panel, made up of airline,
union and pilot organization representatives, could agree on was that
the issue was contentious. The panel, which was struck Sept.
27 by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, handed its report to the FAA on
Friday but the agency hasnt released it. Panel members are also
not saying much but a report by Bloomberg News says six of the 10 panelists voted
against changing the age limit but four of those panelists were from the
Air Line Pilots Association, which has long supported the so-called Age
60 rule. "It's basically a tie," Clay Foushee, a Washington consultant
who was vice president of operations at Northwest Airlines, told
Bloomberg "It doesn't really help clarify the matter at all. It's a very
politically difficult situation for the administrator."
NOT SAFETY, AT ROOT OF AGE 60 SCUTTLE?
It's long been alleged
by critics of Age 60 that it was imposed in 1960 at the behest of
airlines who wanted to lower their labor and training costs by getting
rid of their highest-paid captains (all of whom earned their stripes on
piston-powered airliners) to make way for younger pilots who'd already
been trained on jets in the military. Pilots unions remain generally
opposed to increasing the age (there are exceptions, like Southwest's
pilots' association) because it allows younger pilots to move up the
seniority ladder quicker. However, as the so-called legacy carriers
slash salaries and gut their lucrative pension plans, there are signs
that sentiment is changing. More...
70 TOO OLD TO FLY AIRLINERS?
On Nov. 23, the International
Civil Aviation Organization adopted a rule that will allow pilots to
continue flying until age 65 as long as there's someone younger than 60
in the cockpit with them. Just before that rule came into effect, the
medical committee of the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA)
revealed it had come to the conclusion that there was no medical reason
to prevent airline pilots from working past age 60. The committee's
opinion was discussed at Flight International's Crew Management
Conference in Brussels on Nov. 20. More...
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AIRCRAFT TECHNICIAN RATINGS PROPOSED
The FAA is proposing changes to the ratings of aircraft
technicians under Part 145 by all but eliminating the so-called "class"
structure of ratings and replacing it with more comprehensive and
encompassing general ratings. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which
has been under construction for about five years, was published last
week and appears to fundamentally restructure the qualifications
standards for technicians to reflect modern aircraft construction. For
example, the airframe rating has four subclasses (small composite
construction, large composite, small all-metal and large all-metal) but
in those ratings, which were drafted in 1962, the term composite refers
to aircraft that have a mix of metal, wood and fabric in their
construction and not to the modern definition of carbon fiber and resin.
145 REQUIREMENTS MORE STRICT
The NPRM also looks at the
general operation of repair stations and recommends some changes to
ensure best practices and compliance with regulations. For instance, the
new rule proposes to set in stone the requirement that a repair station
have "permanent" quarters from which to operate. It won't preclude
mobile repair capability but is designed to ensure that fixed facilities
exist where technicians can operate comfortably and safely. The new regs
would require a repair station to designate a "chief inspector,"
something many already do. The regs also propose to tighten up the
application procedure to weed out bad actors in the industry.
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NOW HAS DAILY GA NEWS COVERAGE
You can now get the latest
general aviation news from AVweb -- the world's premier independent
aviation news source -- as it happens at AVweb.com. Or sign up for our news feed and
have the most recent headlines pushed directly to your RSS-based news
reader. Either way, you'll be able to read the same concise, but
comprehensive, news stories that you've come to expect from AVweb. And
for major breaking general aviation news, AVweb will send out news
alerts via e-mail to keep subscribers informed. Dont worry --
you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday
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CLASS B: LEGISLATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?
B airspace changed in October through direct final rule action, and EAA
Wednesday publicized its discontent with the FAA's choice to exclude
general aviation from that rulemaking process. According to EAA,
exclusion of affected parties disregards the FAA's own guidelines for
"input by those who will be affected by rule changes." The FAA contends
that actions were taken to "enhance safety and to prevent significant
air traffic delays in the National Airspace System," but EAA made clear
its position that such reasoning in this case is not supported by "valid
and legal reasoning" and it fears that such action could be used to set
a precedent. More...
TEB TOWN HALL MEETING AN "OUTSTANDING EXCHANGE"
A town hall
meeting held in Teterboro this week to discuss traffic patterns at
Teterboro Airport in New Jersey (the ILS approach takes aircraft
directly over Hackensack Hospital) and safety and security concerns was
"an outstanding exchange between the members of the community
surrounding Teterboro Airport and the airport operators and tenants,"
according to National Air Transportation Association (NATA) President
James K. Coyne. Residents not attuned to aircraft noise, emissions and
traffic were introduced to new technologies including Required
Navigation Performance and the elimination of circle-to-land approaches
aimed at improving safety while also addressing quality-of-life issues
for groundlings. Other steps have already been taken to improve
airport/community relations. More...
AIRPORT WELCOMES AUDIT
The manager of Barnstable Airport in
Hyannis, Mass., says he's looking forward to the results of an audit by
FAA officials last week. "I think it will help us," said Airport Manager
Quincy "Doc" Mosby. "I'm positive that we'll do fine." For whatever
reason Barnstable, which is served by a handful of regional airlines
flying to Cape Cod and nearby islands, is one of just two airports in
the U.S. chosen by the FAA for audit this year, according
to the Yarmouthport Register. A lawsuit launched by one of the
airport's tenants, Rectrix Aerodrome Centers, over the alleged improper
use of airport funds might have something to do with it, but the FAA
isn't saying. According to the Register, Rectrix claims it was prevented
from selling jet fuel at the airport when regulations that would have
permitted the sales were concealed by the airport. More...
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RECOMMENDS NTSB TIGHTEN UP
The Government Accountability
Office wants the NTSB to tighten up its operation on several fronts
while doing more in-depth analysis on transportation safety issues. The
GAO recently completed a report on the internal practices of the
NTSB and found, essentially, that it was very busy investigating
accidents and had not fully implemented so-called "leading management
practices" in seven identified functions. The best definition for that
process we could find is that functions are codified and written down so
that all staff (theoretically) follow the same game plan. At any rate,
the NTSB says it agrees it needs to pull up its socks in that area and
also that it should do more safety studies when it sees trends
developing in accidents. It's done four such studies in the last six
years. On the financial side, the GAO says the NTSB's money-losing
training center should either be made more effective or closed.
Aerobatic performer and competitor Patty
Wagstaff was named the first winner of the Greater Miami Aviation
Association's Amelia Earhart Award recognizing outstanding achievement
in aviation by women. Another new award, the Neil Armstrong Award for
aerospace leaders, went to Peter Diamandis, the CEO of the X Prize
Foundation, which sponsored the competition for privately funded space
exploration won by SpaceShipOne in 2005. The awards were handed out as
part of the association's Wright Brothers Memorial Awards Gala Evening
on Nov. 17. "We are the oldest aviation association in the U.S., and we
are honoring women in aviation for their contribution through the years
for the first time," Association President Oscar Garcia told the
Miami Herald. More...
AIRPORT LANDS RE-ENGINING FACILITY
Inspiration for all those
little airports out there looking for industry to help justify the
business case for their existence comes from Three Rivers, Mich. The
small community (8,000) has been chosen by the Clifford Development
Group and Hov-Aire as the site for facility to install FADEC-controlled
Williams FJ44 engines in Citation II aircraft. The mod, which is
expected to be STC'd in 2007, boosts performance and range in the
older-model Cessnas. The program was announced at the National Business
Aviation Association's convention in October. More...
RECOVERED FROM WWII BOMBER WRECK
Human remains have been
recovered from the wreck of a Halifax bomber that was shot down in
Poland in 1944. Ground penetrating radar was used to pinpoint the hulk
of the four-engine bomber that was on a secret mission to supply Polish
resistance forces. It was brought down by anti-aircraft fire, killing
five Canadian and two British crewmembers. "It turned out that there is
only a few tons of scrap, but we also found personal belongings, badges,
maps, containers with ammo and cardigan pullovers," Piotr Sliwowski,
chief historian of the Warsaw Rising Museum told CanWest News. "The most important were, of
course, human remnants which gave it another, deeper dimension."
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Spectrum Aeronautical has received Organizational
Designated Airworthiness Representative...
Galvin Flight Services
will host the Pacific Northwest debut of the Diamond D-Jet...
Customs has set up an inspection center at Santa Maria Airport...
Atlanta man died when the Cirrus SR22 he was flying crashed...
Jon Jordan, the FAA's Air Surgeon, is being recognized by his alma
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AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new
in-depth interview each Friday. In Friday's
podcast, you'll find an interview with Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern
Raburn. Honda v-p Jeffrey Smith, who talked everything HondaJet with
AVweb at Honda Aircraft's open house last Monday. And AVweb's podcast index
includes interviews with Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; Cirrus Design
cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier; Cessna chairman, president and CEO
Jack Pelton; Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue; and Adam
Aircraft chairman Rick Adam. In today's news
summary, hear about how Lexington Airport denies any liability for
the Comair crash, the age-60 commission deadlocked on extending the
retirement age for airline pilots, rules for maintenance facilities and
technicians could get more strict, a bomber that crashed some 62 years
ago was unearthed and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear
things you won't find anywhere else.
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Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the
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Business AVflash is a must read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular
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OF THE WEEK: TAC AIR KTYS
AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to TAC Air at KTYS in Knoxville,
AVweb reader David Stone said he literally got a
warm reception from the facility's staff upon his departure.
showed up Wednesday before Thanksgiving with my wife and two sons. TAC
Air had crew waiting with a luggage cart and even unloaded the plane.
What wins my nomination, though, is TAC Air employees pulling the plane
into a heated hanger Saturday morning after I called to have the plane
pulled out front. The plane was covered in frost, and they saved me an
hour and did not charge me a dime."
Keep 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!
It's a Small Gift That Gives Big All Year
Give a membership gift to the National Aeronautic Association
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OF THE WEEK: MOUNTAIN AIR STRIP LANDING
Following up on last
week's theme of challenging landings, we've got an air strip in
Courchevel, France that you'll have to see to believe. Not only does the
PC-12 pilot in this clip have contend with mountainous slopes, but he
only has 550 m (1,800') to do it.
Click through to view the
video, originally posted on YouTube by user Intagen. More...
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Overheard while flying practice approaches at Sioux
Tower: "Skylane Eight Seven Charlie, cleared for
the approach; caution, waterfall in the area."
presumably while the Skylane pilot questioned passengers on the
Skylane: "Eight Seven Charlie, say again?"
Tower: "Skylane Eight Seven Charlie, cleared for the approach;
caution, waterfall in the area."
Again, short silence.
Skylane: "Ah, cleared for the approach, but what do you mean
by the waterfall caution?"
Tower: "Waterfall, you know: Ducks
and geese...Waterfoul." More...
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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,
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 Editors Russ Niles (bio)
and Glenn Pew (bio).
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