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mentioning this AVwebFlash
LEGACY PILOTS CHARGED IN BRAZIL, BUT ALLOWED TO LEAVE
U.S. pilots face a maximum of four years in jail after they were charged
by a Brazilian prosecutor with "endangering air safety" in the collision
between their Embraer Legacy 600 business jet and a Gol Airlines Boeing
737 in late September. However, the pilots -- Joe Lepore and Jan
Paladino of New York -- were still allowed to leave Brazil on the
promise that they return to face the charges. The charges were filed
Friday when they appeared at a Rio de Janeiro police station to give
statements. The pilots, who are now back in the U.S., have consistently
denied any wrongdoing in the collision, in which a winglet on their
aircraft is believed to have contacted the 737's wing, causing it to
fail. All 154 people aboard the 737 died after the airliner plummeted
into the Amazon jungle. More...
NEXT FOR LEGACY PILOTS?
As Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino made
their way back to the U.S. late Friday -- by private jet to avert
Brazilian journalists who booked commercial flights to New York trying
to corner the pair -- their supporters were trying to figure out just
what legal consequences they might face. Joe Sharkey, the New York
Times columnist who was on the Legacy during the midair collision,
wrote on his blog last week that the foundation for the nebulous charges
is that the pilots didn't ensure their transponder was working.
According to a news release issued by the Brazilian federal police, the
charges are based on "elements of proof existing in the police inquiry,
which point to the lack of the caution that is necessary, expected, and
can be demanded of pilots during the realization of a flight."
GROUPS APPLAUD RELEASE
European and North American aviation
organizations are applauding the release of pilots Joe Lepore and Jan
Paladino from Brazil and renewing their call for criminal proceedings to
be left out of the investigation of the accident. Lepore and Paladino
were flying a Legacy 600 business jet that collided with a Gol Airlines
Boeing 737 Sept. 29. And, while it might be too late in this case, the
Flight Safety Foundation, the National Business Aviation Association,
the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers
Associations, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation and the
International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations say the
threat of criminal prosecution will hamper investigations because those
involved will be less forthcoming with information surrounding a crash
if they think it might be used against them in court. "We recognize the
right of judicial authorities to commence a criminal investigation, but
it must be independent of the safety investigation, and the evidence
obtained by the safety investigation may not be used by the criminal
letter reads. More...
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HUNT FOR RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT'S BUYER
Onex Corp. together with
Goldman Sachs might have entered into exclusive negotiations for the
acquisition of Raytheon Aircraft Company (RAC), according to a report
published Thursday in The Wichita Eagle. The arrangement would
allow the potential buyer access to company records providing
information necessary to determine the exact position of Raytheon
Aircraft as final details of the potential deal are reached. Though RAC
recently added employees and announced plans to add more, a new owner
would likely seek to cut operating costs (possibly by outsourcing) or
launch a new product (such as a very light jet). Both options would
reallocate human resources. More...
OF RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT ENCOURAGED BEHIND THE SCENES?
On Aug. 1,
Raytheon Company entered into a retention agreement with James E.
Schuster, Executive Vice President of the company and CEO of Raytheon
Aircraft Company (RAC). The agreement attempts to secure retention of and
secures compensation for Schuster in the case that he stays on through
the company's then stated goals of seeking "strategic alternatives" for
RAC (which includes a potential sale of that business). In short, if
Schuster remains with RAC until it is sold and does not leak
"confidential" information leading up to that sale, he will receive "a
lump sum payment of one times his annual base salary plus annual target
bonus." But there's more. More...
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SKIES "SAFER," REPORT SAYS
Air traffic safety has improved
dramatically since ATC-related accidents in Milan and Uberlingen,
a report issued by the European Organization for the Safety of Air
Navigation (Eurocontrol). The group says the average "level of air
traffic safety mechanisms" among the 42 countries whose airspace
management systems it represents is now 70 percent, up from 55 percent
in 2002, while regulators have lagged behind at 65 percent. It seems
like an average of extremes, however, since more than 25 percent of
European countries achieved scores above 90 percent. It would then
follow that the bottom quarter is somewhere below the 50-percent mark.
The Eurocontrol release did not give a country-by-country breakdown of
the safety levels. More...
CHARLES FLIES "GREEN"
Well, we don't expect to sit beside him
while we're putting our shoes back on after security at the airport, but
Britain's Prince Charles says he's going to skip the convenience of
private transport as his sacrifice to help save the planet. Starting in
February (no point in rushing these things), Charles reportedly intends
to make more use of commercial airlines, trains and biodiesel-powered
cars to commute between his various castles and his princely
appointments, rather than hop on a private helicopter or bizjet. A
spokesman for the prince says he's determined to "reduce our carbon
footprint" and will be taking a variety of measures to lighten his
considerable environmental load. More...
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WANTS ITS OWN GPS
China is expected to launch two satellites
next year that will start its GPS constellation. The Beidou (Compass)
satellites will provide coverage for most of China and some neighboring
countries before the country launches the remaining 33 satellites to
yield worldwide coverage. The plan was confirmed by state-controlled
news services last week. The open frequency from the system will give
navigational accuracy to 10 meters, with speed accuracy to within 0.2
meters per second and timing accuracy to within 50 nanoseconds. The
"authorized" service will be better on all three counts.
TOP GUN MOVES TO PRIVATE SECTOR
Former FAA Director of
Oceanic and Offshore Services David Ford, who led a series of successful
initiatives to make airspace more efficient, has joined Rannoch
Corporation. Ford recently retired from the FAA after a 31-year career.
He led the team that developed the Advanced Technologies and Oceanic
Procedures (ATOP) system that allowed a reduction in lateral separation
of transoceanic flights from 300 miles to 100 miles. Ford also helped
develop a daily tracking system for transoceanic flights and helped
develop airport surface movement monitoring systems using ADS-B and
multilateration. At Rannoch, Ford will be the vice president of
strategic operations, where he'll manage development and implementation
of ADS-B and multilateration gear "to improve air traffic safety,
capacity and efficiency for the next generation of air traffic
to Rannoch. More...
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AUTHORITIES CONSIDER AIRPORT
Cecil County commissioners have
voted to keep studying the possible construction of a relatively large
county airport on land near I-95. The county has been given an FAA grant
to study the feasibility of an airport and gauge public opinion. The
commissioners are looking for an airport that can handle corporate jets.
Raintree Airport, the existing private facility now serving the county,
doesn't cater to bizjets but it is undergoing expansion. The
commissioners insist their airport won't compete directly with the
private airport. More...
SITE LANDOWNER WANTS MORE MONEY
The owner of a farm where
Comair Flight 5191 crashed has sued the Lexington-Fayette Urban County
Airport Board over its valuation of the property, which it would need to
lengthen the runway that the regional jet mistakenly took off from. According
to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Elkhorn Bend, a limited liability
company that owns the 115-acre property off the end of 3,500-foot Runway
26, paid $748,000 for the land in 2005. Now it says it's worth $3.4
million. A certified appraisal commissioned by the airport board pegged
the value at $1.75 million last May. Elkhorn Bend filed the suit Nov.
28, saying the county intends to acquire the property through
condemnation and the suit is intended to prevent it from paying too
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TAKES ON NEW YORK'S PILOT BACKGROUND CHECKS
argument with the negative effect on small business and significant
logistical obstacles that prevent the law from fully achieving its
goals, AOPA has filed a federal lawsuit against New York state's pilot
criminal background check requirement. More to the point: "This law is
unnecessary, discriminatory, anti-business and ineffective," said AOPA
president Phil Boyer, "and it violates the U.S. Constitution." AOPA
further argues that because Congress has enacted legislation to create a
single system of aviation security regulation to be maintained by the
federal government, any state attempt to do so is therefore preempted.
COUNTY PILOTS FIGHTING RENT INCREASES
A hangar tenant at
Washington state's Pierce County Airport (Thun Field) is trying to rally
local pilots against hangar and tie-down rent increases that he claims
are at least immoral and may be unconstitutional. John Prukop,
"organizer" of the Thun Field Pilots' Association, says the proposed
increase (to $197 a month) was approved at the Nov. 21 meeting of the
local county board, only three days after most tenants at the airport
received notice. He claims the increase is unjustified because there
have been no improvements to the already-substandard hangars (no doors,
leaking roofs) and there's no economic justification because the airport
is debt free and covering its costs. But what he says particularly
rankles him is that the county ordinance wording appears to apply
retroactive rate increases for 2004, 2005 and 2006 in a section that
says "Pierce County Public Works and Utilities is proposing an increase
to the fees representing a 5-percent increase per year for the years
2004, 2005 and 2006." More...
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Thunderbirds to perform at the Gathering of Mustangs
The closure of a short runway has prompted
expansion at AGC
Maybe Santa's sleigh was in for an annual at
Los Angeles Mayor opposes LAX project
DOT Secretary Mineta to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for
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AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new
in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's
podcast, you'll find an interview with NATA President Jim Coyne. And
AVweb's podcast index
includes interviews with Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda
Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; Cirrus Design cofounder and CEO Alan
Klapmeier; Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; and Spectrum
Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue. In today's news
summary, hear about what's next for the Legacy midair pilots now
that they're back home, the possible acquisition if Raytheon Aircraft by
Onex, safer ATC in Europe, China's proposed GPS system and more.
Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find
Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...
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OF THE WEEK: HUTCHINSON COUNTY AIRPORT
AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to Hutchinson County Airport at KBGD in Borger,
AVweb reader Mack Secord said he received real
Southwestern hospitality at the county-run facility.
than nine hours of flying in our Skylane, we were ready to call it a day
when we selected Borger, Texas, as our overnight stop. Almost before the
prop stopped turning, Ronnie Wood and his crew had chocked and tied down
the airplane, unloaded our baggage and positioned the fuel truck for a
load of 100LL at $3.05 per gallon. When we asked about a place to stay,
they promptly made us reservations at a new nearby motel, suggested
three local restaurants and gave us the keys to a Crown Victoria sedan
(at no charge). On departure the next morning, they arranged for a
simply stunning sunrise as they wished us farewell. (I'll be submitting
the photo of that sunrise for 'Picture of the Week!') This was
Southwestern hospitality at its finest."
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!
Just in Time for Holiday Gift-Giving
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We were in our Seneca performing the pre-takeoff run-up
at Orlando Executive Airport when we heard this exchange on ground
Cessna: Orlando ground, Cessna Two Three
Four, clear of the active.
Ground: Cessna Two Three Four, taxi
to the ramp.
Cessna (still on ground frequency but thinking he'd
switched to unicom 122.95): Executive Air...ah, this is Cessna Two
Three Four...we're going to need some gas.
Ground: I've got
plenty of gas, but I don't think it'll work very well in your airplane.
Try Executive Air on 122.95. More...
AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF
WHO BRING YOU TODAY'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT NO COST TO YOU
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Pilots Comment After Reading IFR: A
"The GPS chapter alone is worth getting the book. It's the best
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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 Editors Russ Niles (bio)
and Glenn Pew (bio).
here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
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