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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the latest to say Michigan's pilot background check law is illegal. The agency recently told AOPA, which is fighting the Michigan law in court, that individual states have no authority to require pilot background security checks and that power lies solely with the federal government. In a letter to AOPA, Assistant Administrator for Transportation Security Policy Thomas Blank wrote, "State-imposed measures to require criminal background checks on flight school applicants would create a patchwork of requirements in this area ... It is TSA's view that while such efforts by states are motivated by legitimate concerns for the security of the nation, they are nevertheless not permissible." MORE...

AOPA has also worked with another agency on a different restrictive issue. The organization asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to not support a DOD request to expand the TFRs around the president to 30 nautical miles. Unfortunately, it was a little too late for the upcoming holiday, as the FAA announced the area surrounding P-49 -- the President's home in Crawford, Texas -- will expand to a 30-nm radius over the Easter weekend. The temporary flight restriction (TFR) will push out to a 30-nm radius below 18,000 feet beginning at 1400 local on Wednesday, April 16, and continuing through 1215 local on Monday, April 21. MORE...

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Ever since the attempted downing of an Israeli airliner in Africa, airports in the United States have secured their perimeters, sometimes using extreme measures. Still convinced that the possibility of a shoulder-fired missile attack is real, officials are adding extra security around their property lines. USA Today reported on an unreleased FAA study listing the use of airborne patrols, ground checkpoints, observation posts and high-intensity lights in areas adjacent to airports. MORE...

So, how effective are these weapons? Once fired, a Man Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) -- which weighs about 35 pounds -- will home in on the heat emitted from an aircraft engine, while traveling at more than 600 mph. According to USA Today, MANPADS have been used in 35 attacks against civilian airplanes in Africa, Asia, Afghanistan and Central America. Of those, 24 were shot down, killing more than 500 people. All but one of the planes shot down were prop-driven. A Congo Airlines Boeing 727, shot down in 1998, was the only jet. MORE...

But the practical application of that technology in the typical urban environment of most U.S. airports raises another set of questions about how to address this potential threat. The problem lies with the flexibility and range of shoulder-fired missiles. According to the paper, most security experts agree many shoulder-launched missiles can hit an aircraft four miles away at altitudes above 10,000 feet, which definitely puts would-be shooters at an advantage. MORE...

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Meigs Field supporters went on the offensive last Sunday. About 150 attendees were on hand for a fundraising dinner sponsored by the Friends of Meigs Field (FOM). The goal of the Chicago event was to rally support for the fight against the closure of Meigs and gather donations to benefit the FOM's legal defense fund. An anonymous $50,000 donation will be used to provide a dollar-for-dollar match to defense-fund contributions through May 16. A couple of organizations were on hand to offer their support and resources for the upcoming battle against Mayor Richard Daley. MORE...

Supporters are trying to save the Chambersburg Municipal Airport in Pennsylvania. Borough council members seem intent on selling the 93-acre airport this year to land developers. Airport supporters are considering several options to keep the airport open for the forseeable future. One option is to educate the local government on the field's economic value and its ability to run profitably, like Chambersburg's electric and gas utilities. Other ideas include the possibility of creating a municipal authority to buy the airport or finding a group of investors who might be willing to purchase the facility from the borough. MORE...

While the investigation of the Columbia crash continues, researchers are already working on the shuttle fleet's replacement. The University of Florida is the lead institution in the Institute for Future Space Transport, which also includes researchers from six other universities in a $16 million initiative. The Associated Press reports researchers there are looking into new engine technologies (including the supersonic combustion ramjet), stronger and more reliable spacecraft (including ways to rid the shuttle of the troublesome fragile tiles), improved systems to monitor the health of the spacecraft and its life-support systems, and better ways to integrate all of the spacecraft's complicated systems. To avoid the high cost of rocket launches, NASA and the university researchers are designing a spacecraft that departs from a runway, much like a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. MORE...

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A little help may be on the way for thousands of laid-off GA workers. As companies continue to lay off staff in the post-9/11 slowdown that has pummeled the industry, congress is working on passing legislation that would offer up to 26 extra weeks of benefits as part of a supplemental spending bill. While the help will be welcome everywhere, nowhere will it be more valuable than in Wichita, which is coping with the economic and social impact of 12,000 layoffs from the concentration of manufacturing plants there. MORE...

Workers went on strike at Lockheed Martin Corp.'s aircraft manufacturing plant in Texas on Monday. About 4,000 workers began picketing outside of the company's facility at 12:01 a.m., just as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' contract with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics expired. Lockheed Martin spokesman Joe Stout told the Associated Press the plant, which operates around the clock making fighter aircraft, remained open Monday. He added the company would try to maintain aircraft production with nonunion salaried employees. MORE...

When it rains, it pours, and the Asian airline industry has experienced a monsoon of late. First was the worldwide economic downturn, then the Iraq war. Now, SARS is taking its toll on the Asian market. The deadly flu-like virus has infected more than 1000 people in Hong Kong and killed 35 in the area, making China the hardest-hit of all countries affected by the mysterious bug. As a result, Asian airlines are feeling the crunch, as passenger loads plummet in response to fear of exposure to the disease. The World Health Organization's recent call to avoid the region didn't help much either. Cathay Pacific could consider grounding its entire fleet if passenger numbers continue to plummet, while Singapore Airlines is pondering cuts to staff and capacity in response to the outbreak. MORE...

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Here's a chance to own a swatch of history and help keep it in the air. On April 5, a hailstorm hit the Dallas-Fort Worth area, damaging two of the Collings Foundation's prized possessions: its B-17 and B-24. The historic bombers were parked outside at the Addison Airport during the unforeseen storm and were significantly damaged by the hail. The foundation reports the fabric-covered ailerons and elevators on both planes were destroyed by the hail and wings were dented. The paint was also damaged on both aircraft. Now, the organization is launching a unique fundraiser to get the aircraft back in top-notch shape. MORE...

No change to TFRs yet due to reduced terror threat level...
The Kansas Aviation Museum is passing up its annual festival for another...
North Carolina's Aviation Hall of Fame may have a new home in Asheboro...
The FAA is pondering moving its AFSS from Cleveland Hopkins to Lorain County airport.

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We received over 80 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Paul Damian Baca, of Haslet, TX. His photo, titled "Trojan Phlyers", was taken at a fly-in for the North American T-28 Trojan aircraft in Breckinridge, TX. Paul's group, the "Trojan Phlyers," are based at Hicks Airfield in Ft. Worth, TX with three of these aircraft performing aerobatics at events all over the United States. Great picture Paul! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to



We received over 400 responses to our question last week on Sun 'n Fun. A large group (41 percent) of those responding indicated they have attended Sun 'n Fun on several occasions. Following that group, 27 percent have never attended but plan to go sometime soon. It is interesting to note that 19 percent of our respondents don't ever plan on attending the event.

To check out the complete results, please go to


This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the Concorde's upcoming retirement. Please go to to respond.

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to Note, this address is ONLY for suggestedQOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.

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AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Ryan Keough, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to Rules and information are at

New Articles and Features on AVweb

BizAv: April 17, 2003
AVweb's expanded coverage of business/corporate aviation continues with Cessna trimming fat, Bombardier adjusting corporate strategy, an update on EBACE 2003, the BizAv AD watch and more.

Charlie Summers
Charlie Summers jokes that it takes two medical examiners for his exam -- each looks into one of his ears and if they can see one another he passes. Charlie flies a one-of-a-kind armor-plated T-28 into thunderstorms -- on purpose, for a living -- for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Institute of Atmospheric Sciences. In this month's Profile AVweb's Joe Godfrey talks with Charlie about the program, the airplane and what we can learn from the inside of a level-six cell.

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:

Reader mail this week about flying with babies and the cost of liability insurance for flight schools.

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ATTENTION IFR STUDENTS & CERTIFIED IFR PILOTS! DON'T MISS THE MAY ISSUE OF IFR REFRESHER MAGAZINE May issue highlights: Logbook Proficiency-does your proficiency reflect your experience?; Getting back into the clouds after a winter layoff; GPS Tricks: The En Route Hold; Flying PRM Procedures; Forecasting Your Ride; and Quiz your understanding of basic pilot/controller communications. Don't delay, order your personal subscription at

DREAMFLYER PUBLICATIONS ANNOUNCES NEW BOOK, "Music's Broken Wings: Fifty Years Of Aviation Accidents In The Music Industry" covering years 1935 to 1985. This book analyzes 34 aviation accidents which affected many types of music. The author intertwines each event to keep readers interested in the history while providing factual documentation to unravel the devastation that sometimes resulted. Complete with illustrations, photographs, statistics and actual government accident reports. Details and to order go to

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DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR AVIATION SAFETY Aviation Safety Magazine is aptly named, it brings each pilot, every month, information to use in flying safely. The May Aviation Safety issue contains: Breathe the Thin Air; an overview of using auto fuel; Transition Training; Ferry Flights-The Long Way Home; The Stall/Mush Trap; plus, accident reports, service difficulties and real-life experiences in the air, all in the May issue of Aviation Safety. Order your subscription at

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HUMAN FACTORS IN AVIATION ACCIDENTS AUDIOTAPES DISCUSSES THE HUMAN SIDE of why accidents happen and what can be done to prevent them. The tape discusses in-flight decision making, error chains, personal limits, personality traits, and other elements than can lead to disaster. Brian Jacobson, author of Flying On The Gages, will give you something to think about. Order online at

HOWARD FRIED TELLS FAY GILLIS WELLS STORY WITH HISTORICAL HEART Fay Gillis Wells started her remarkable career as the first woman to evacuate a damaged airplane with a parachute. Her career as a reporter led to Russia, Africa, and to the White House as a broadcast company correspondent. At age ninety-four Fay Gillis Wells was more active than anyone half her age. Fay Gillis Wells will be remembered in this fascinating story. For more information and to order go to

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AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service.

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Today's issue written by News Writer Arturo Weiss:
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Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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