AVflashVol. 9, Issue 15bApril 9, 2003
MEIGS: DALEY DROPS SECURITY STORY...
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Wednesday told The Chicago Sun-Times that Daley "dropped all pretenses" and admitted it was not security concerns that drove him destroy Meigs field but his intent to turn the airport into a waterfront park. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge confirmed Daley had not consulted his department. At the same time, National Air Transportation Association President James K. Coyne told the House Subcommittee on Aviation strongly and directly that "Congress must act by condemning the action" taken by Daley at Meigs. Coyne warned directly that Meigs "could well be the first in a long line of state and local government actions designed only to meet personal agendas while ignoring the aviation infrastructure needs of the nation as a whole." MORE...
SENIOR POLITICIANS TURN UP HEAT
And how has the mayor been holding up under this political storm? Daley appears to relish the adversity, at least according to one observer. Chicago columnist Greg Hinz noted that Daley "has been in full strut" since the bulldozers went in. Hinz notes that Daley is no stranger to controversy and suggests the threats of boycotts and the enmity of the aviation community will bounce off. But even Daley must answer to someone and it's suggested the reaction by some powerful federal and state politicians might take some spring out of his step. MORE...
INSPECTOR GENERAL ON AIRLINES, FAA...
The Department of Transportation's Inspector General says federal aid for the airlines shouldn't allow them to keep digging their own graves. Ken Mead testified before appropriations hearings last week just before Congress agreed to $3 billion in bailouts to the airlines to help cover war-related losses. Travel bookings have plummeted since the war in Iraq began, concerns about SARS have not helped, and both add to an already desperate situation for many airlines. But Mead told Congress that any relief should not "provide a cash subsidy that allows a way for airlines to avoid making the hard calls necessary to become sustainable..." MORE...
...FAA FINANCES, MANAGEMENT A MESS...
Now, if the FAA were an airline, how would it fare under Mead's scrutiny? Apparently, not very well. In fact, according to Mead's testimony to the committee, the agency suffers many of the same problems as the airlines it oversees -- to wit, bloated labor costs, horrible cost control and management disarray. "Just as the airlines have had to rethink the basics of their business, FAA also must re-examine how it does business and redouble its efforts to become performance-based in deed and not just in word," he said. And, like the airlines, if it doesn't get its fiscal act together, it will be tapping the taxpayer for more ... and more. MORE...
...CONTROLLER SHORTAGE AHEAD
And it's against that gloomy backdrop that air traffic controllers are calling for the agency to triple its hiring projections for their sector. Over the next four years, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), more than 5,000 air traffic controllers will be eligible to retire. But the spending plan before the appropriations committee includes funding to hire just 302 new controllers next year. Considering it takes about five years of training and on-the-job experience to create a fully-qualified controller, well, you do the math. MORE...
CANDY BOMBER TARGETS BAGHDAD
The children of Baghdad probably don't expect anything good to drop out of the sky on them these days but a retired Air Force colonel wants to change that. Col. Gail Halvorsen wants to reprise the 1948 flight over Berlin that earned him the nickname the Candy Bomber. Halvorsen gave the German kids something to look up to when he dropped gum and chocolate, suspended from handkerchief parachutes, from his Berlin Airlift transport. He's visited other war-torn regions after that and last made a drop of chocolate bars over Bosnia in 1994. He wants Baghdad to be next. "I'd give my right arm to do it," he told the Associated Press. MORE...
TEEN SURVIVES CRASH THAT KILLS SIX
Authorities are still puzzling over the cause of a plane crash that killed six adults but left a 13-year-old girl apparently just slightly injured. Tora Fisher's parents, Anthony and his wife, died along with pilot Robert Monaco, co-pilot Eric Jacobsen and passengers Michael Campanelli and Thomas Fox when the King Air 200 they were in crashed into a sheet metal plant in Leominster, Mass. All of the plant workers escaped but one suffered burns. The cause of the crash was not immediately apparent, but a cockpit voice recorder has been recovered from the wreckage. MORE...
CASH-STRAPPED AIRLINES "SAFER"
Forget about visions of baling wire and binder twine maintenance, today's cash-strapped airlines are actually safer to fly, according to the FAA. Nicholas Sabatini, who heads up the regulation and certification section of the agency, said money problems tend to cause airlines to mothball their older aircraft in favor of new (and theoretically more trouble-free) planes. Layoffs have also resulted in the move of some captains to the right seat so "what you have on the flight deck is a very highly experienced combination of crew members -- in essence two captains," Sabatini told The New York Times. It's not just what's up front that counts. MORE...
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QUEBEC TRIES TO BAN SOME PRIVATE STRIPS
While alphabet groups in the U.S. are fighting federal policies they say give control of the skies to sports interests, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association's battle is a horse of a different color. A Quebec government department that normally deals with agriculture issues is trying to clip the wings of rural residents. The Commission de Protection du Territoire Agricole du Quebec, an agricultural land management agency, is trying to stop Bernard Laferriere from using his rural property as a grass airstrip. In doing so, it has launched a debate over aviation jurisdiction, Canadian-style. MORE...
A HISTORICAL DECISION FOR THE TSA
The Wright brothers overcame some pretty incredible obstacles to get their planes in the air but they never came up against anything like the TSA. Ken Hyde, of The Wright Experience, discovered this week that the Virginia airstrip where he plans to test-fly his replica of the first airplane capable of sustained and controlled flight is within the Washington air defense identification zone. And since the Wrights didn't invent two-way radio communication or transponders -- much less file a flight plan for 106 feet -- Hyde will be deemed a national security threat if he proceeds with his testing without those modern accoutrements. While the Wrights grappled with the forces of nature, it will likely be political pressure that will help Hyde's dream come true. MORE...
ON THE FLY...
An Oregon pilot made sure American troops knew the Sun 'n Fun crowd was thinking about them...
Pattern work in the Washington and New York ADIZ areas just got a bit easier...
A small plane's airspace incursion helped scrub a missile launch Sunday...
A 12-year-old boy was hit by an airplane wing Saturday at Sun 'n Fun...
Australian pilots can now find most of the everyday information they need on the Internet...
Edgar E. McElroy, one of Doolittle's Raiders, died Friday in Lubbock, Texas.
AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK...
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Colin Grounsell, of Paeroa, New Zealand. His photo, titled "Surfers Scenic" gives us a bird's eye view of the famous beach down under. This picture was taken from the front seat of a DH 82 while on a scenic flight over Surfers Paradise, Australia. Great picture Colin! Your AVweb hat is on the way.
To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to http://www.avweb.com/potw/.
AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK...
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 900 responses to our question last week on the Meigs airport closure. Almost half (47 percent) of those responding weren't sure if Mayor Daley's destruction of Meigs' runway would permanently close the airport, but they did feel his actions would surely be heavily contested. A slightly smaller group (37 percent) felt Daley has found legal loopholes to shut Meigs down forever. Only six percent of our respondents wanted this closure to remain permanent.
To check out the complete results, please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw/.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on Sun 'n Fun. Please go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw/ to respond.
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AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Justin Meyers, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
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SUN 'N FUN 2003
Sun 'n Fun 2003: Wrap-Up
Sun 'n Fun 2003 ends on mixed reviews -- to no one's surprise. Strong sales, many proclaim; too long, others contend; yet still a must-do. AVweb's Dave Higdon provides this recap from Lakeland.
Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
Reader mail this week about a Continental crankshaft failure, a proposal for a VFR corridor in Chicago and more.
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