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With spring of the year 2003 finally upon us, all the events in the works to commemorate the Wright brothers' achievement are gearing up to full power. In Virginia, Ken Hyde and his staff at The Wright Experience are learning how to handle their reproduction of the notoriously unstable 1903 Flyer, so they can fly it at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in December. Soon, though, they will be hitting the road to take the Flyer on tour, as the star player in EAA's Countdown To Kitty Hawk event. The road tour started this month at Sun 'n Fun, in Lakeland, Fla., and continues with appearances at July's Inventing Flight Celebration in Dayton, Ohio; EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 19-August 4. The list goes on. MORE...

But the Countdown to Kitty Hawk is only one event among many. Coming up May 16-26, in Fayetteville, N.C., the Festival of Flight features a weekend arts festival, air shows with military and aerobatic aircraft, and a seven-day exposition with aviation displays and interactive exhibits, all of which will culminate with a Memorial Day celebration. Dayton, Ohio, home of the Wright brothers, is hosting a long list of events under the banner "Inventing Flight," starting this month and continuing throughout the year. Dayton's Gala Opening Ceremony, billed as "a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of Olympic proportions," kicks off July 3, at Celebration Central on Deeds Point. MORE...

It all culminates in December, starting with the grand opening of the spectacular new annex of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, at Dulles Airport, on December 15. The main aviation hall at the new Udvar-Hazy Center is 10 stories high and the length of three football fields, big enough to hold 200 aircraft. The main construction is already completed, and the first artifact -- a Piper J-3 Cub -- moved into the space last month. Then on to North Carolina, where the Wright Brothers National Memorial, at Kill Devil Hills, will host the culmination of Countdown to Kitty Hawk on December 17, when the Wright Flyer reproduction will be launched. The day will also include a fly-by of historically significant aircraft. MORE...

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It may be hard to believe that folks out there still haven't figured out that private planes, small, slow and light as they are, aren't likely to do much damage in terrorist hands. Nonetheless, in Sunday's New York Times, reporter Marek Fuchs examined "The Case For A No-fly Zone" above the Indian Point nuclear plant, about 35 miles up the Hudson River from the city. Ed Bolen, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, wrote to the Times that he was "extremely disappointed" by the article, calling it "irresponsible and potentially very harmful to the general aviation industry." MORE...

Is there any reason New Yorkers shouldn't be worried about a terrorist crashing a GA airplane into Indian Point, thereby igniting a nuclear cataclysm? Well, the experts say it can't be done. A December 2002 study by the Nuclear Energy Institute concluded that even a direct hit by a 767 would not ignite a power plant's nuclear fuel. According to the American Nuclear Society: "Nuclear power plants are enclosed in containment buildings made of steel and reinforced concrete up to four feet thick. They are some of the strongest buildings built by man, and analysis has shown they can withstand a range of severe threats, including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes ... and small aircraft crashes. MORE...

LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHEN YOU'LL BE HOME Sign up for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters your aircraft's N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and obtain updated ETAs. AVweb Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month. A small price for big peace of mind. Order online at

Adam Aircraft Industries, of Englewood, Colo., announced on Tuesday the successful closing of a "significant investment" by GS Capital Partners 2000, a private fund managed by Goldman, Sachs & Co. Adam Aircraft did not announce the amount of the investment, but said it will be utilized to fund the FAA certification of its A500 twin and A700 light-jet models and to begin aircraft production. CEO Rick Adam, founder of the company and a former Goldman banker, said in a news release, "Having Goldman Sachs invest in our company is a tremendous benefit. In addition to access to capital, we will benefit from Goldman's knowledge of the aviation industry and their overall business expertise." MORE...

Sales and earnings were down by almost one-third for Gulfstream Aerospace in the first quarter of this year, totaling just $634 million compared to $907 million over the same period last year, according to a report last week from General Dynamics, the jet-maker's parent company. "The Aerospace group continued to feel the effects of the global economy," Nicholas D. Chabraja, General Dynamics chairman and CEO, said in a news release. "Gulfstream's sales and earnings declined on fewer deliveries compared with the 2002 first quarter, as well as pricing weakness and continued difficulties in the pre-owned market," he said. Only 15 bizjets were delivered in the first quarter, compared to 27 last year. MORE...

While other U.S. airlines bemoan falling revenues, empty seats, crotchety unions, bad management, etc., etc., Southwest Airlines this week posted its 48th consecutive quarterly profit, and said it's ready to buy 25 more Boeing 737s. The first-quarter earnings of $24 million represent a 14-percent gain over the same period last year. CEO James Parker said Monday in a news release, "Although our revenue outlook remains uncertain, our costs remain under control. As a consequence, and barring any unforeseen event, we expect to be profitable in the second quarter. ... In the course of cautiously growing our fleet, we recently exercised options to acquire four more 737-700s in 2004. This change brings our total firm orders to 25 and options to nine for 2004." MORE...

ATTENTION CESSNA PILOTS AND OWNERS! CESSNA PILOTS ASSOCIATION (CPA) announces 2003 System and Procedure Seminar schedule. Learn from CPA's experts in Cessna systems. If you want to keep your Cessna aircraft running at its best and safest sign up for one of these seminars today. They fill up fast! Member or non-members go online for the complete schedule at

It's not often you'll see a bunch of FAA guys all misty-eyed, but agency spokesman Greg Martin assured AVweb there was barely a dry eye when this aircraft lifted off from Oklahoma City Airport Monday. "It was kind of an emotional moment for our people down in Oklahoma City to see this DC-3 take off nine years after its last flight," Martin said. N34, the oldest aircraft in the FAA's fleet, left for a maintenance inspection in Wisconsin before potentially returning to service in an unaccustomed role. Assuming the agency can come up with some gas money, the old bird is being dusted off to visit places like EAA AirVenture, Kitty Hawk and Dayton this year. It's all part of a PR campaign (gasp!) proposed by the agency to mark the centennial of its raison d'etre. MORE...

Besides (theoretically) crashing into nuclear plants, or ferrying corporate honchos and busloads of cranky passengers from A to B, we like to think that now and then somebody finds a real useful mission for an airplane. And we'd like to think that NASA's airborne laboratory, a highly modified DC-8, has some useful goal in its latest mission -- studying coastal eddies in the ocean off southern California. "We expect this research will contribute to an improved understanding of pollution hazards in southern California coastal waters, and provide valuable information for coastal management," the scientists say. OK, so maybe it's not just an excuse to cruise around the Pacific beaches for fun. MORE...

BENNETT AVIONICS: UPGRADE YOUR AIRCRAFT WITH CONFIDENCE AND SAVINGS! Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Find the avionics equipment to meet your needs while leaving enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft, for much less money than new. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics-your one-stop used avionics specialist at

With most airlines losing money, last month seemed like an odd time to launch a new carrier, but Hooters Air nonetheless jumped into the breach ... and so far, seems to be surviving. Although its bright orange-and-white planes, bearing the Hooters logo and carrying Hooters waitresses clad in hot pants, flew at only about one-quarter-full capacity, company officials said they turned a profit. It seems the advertising dollars paid to the airline from the chain of 330 Hooters restaurants more than covered what was spent on operating costs. MORE...

BA may soon resume service to Baghdad, Virgin Atlantic may land first...
NASA's space shuttle project manager will resign...
Maryland airport to install 12,000 ft. of chain-link and barbed wire...
Eighty women will compete in 2003 Air Race Classic this June. MORE...

AOPA FLIGHT TRAINING MAGAZINE-DEDICATED TO STUDENT & NEW PRIVATE PILOTS- is full of articles intended to help develop and perfect pilot flying skills, and prepare students for the checkride that will allow them to become certificated pilots. Included in each issue is information for instructors to help them become more knowledgeable and effective teachers. A FREE TRIAL SUBSCRIPTION for six months includes benefits as an AOPA member. Sign up online at



We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Jim Rowland, of Anchorage, AK. His photo, titled "Springtime in Alaska", was taken at the Lake Hood seaplane base during that period when the ice is too thin for skis and too thick for floats. We're told the nearby dirt strip is coming to life again. Great picture Jim! 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 the Concorde's pending retirement. A large group (35 percent) of those responding felt it was time to retire the supersonic airliner, as it is not economically feasible to operate. On the other hand, 27 percent of our respondents felt the airplane is an aeronautical marvel.

To check out the complete results, please go to


This week, we would like to know your thoughts on arming airline pilots. Please go to to respond.

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

GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT YOUR AIRCRAFT'S FUEL BILL BY 20 PERCENT! If you're tired of being grounded by sky-high gas prices, install GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Order a kit today for your Continental or Lycoming engine at

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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

New Articles and Features on AVweb

Quiz #67 -- Is Your Aircraft Airworthy Of You?
Whether you own or rent, before going aloft it's important for the pilot in command to calculate just how many pounds of paperwork it takes to make the aircraft airworthy. From annual inspection dates to transponder certification rules there's a boatload of regs to apply. See how many you can recall.

The Perils Of GPS
GPS navigation systems are intended to increase the safety of instrument flight and greatly enhance our capabilities. It doesn't always work that way. (This article originally appeared in the October 2002 issue of <"">IFR Refresher and is reprinted here by permission.)

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

Reader mail this week about pilots packin' heat, belt-tightening at American Airlines and more.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Remember, we are able to provide FREE access to AVweb+AVflash thanks to our fine sponsors so please try to patronize them whenever you can.


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REMINDERS...All specials end April 30

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

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.

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to Have a comment or question? Send it to

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

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