|Volume 9, Number 20a||May 12, 2003|
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.
SPORT PILOT: FAA ROLLS OUT THE RED ... TAPE...
Further proof that Light Sport/Sport Pilot, which will create a new category of lower-performance aircraft and a new certificate for pilots with lower training and medical requirements, may not be but a dream: The FAA has begun creating the bureaucracy to administer it. The agency announced recently that it is establishing the Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) Operations Program Office. It will be a branch within the Regulatory Support Division, based in Oklahoma City, Okla. "We have ... approval to start setting up this operation and we are looking at the best ways of doing that," Joseph Tintara, manager of the Regulatory Support Division Aeronautical Center, told EAA. "We intend to meet with the industry people and their FAA counterparts to make sure it's successful." Presumably that's going to be done soon and the FAA has a plan for that, too. More...
...NO SHORTAGE OF THINGS TO DO...
The FAA estimates there will be 10,000 aircraft (currently "illegal" ultralights) and their pilots waiting to be certificated when the rule becomes effective. There are also about 1,300 instructors waiting for their tickets. It's not clear what, if any, grace period will be allowed, nor is there any indication of the resources that will be available to the new LSA office. But even after the initial backlog is cleared, it's going to be a busy place by the FAA's own forecast. The agency predicts another 12,000 people and planes will be certificated under the new rules in the following decade. It's also expecting 9,000 people to get repairman's certificates that will be issued under the new rule. Somehow, this is supposed to be done without creating extra work for FAA inspectors. More...
...EAA EMBRACES LSA IN NEW MAGAZINE
With the FAA doing a makeover, EAA is keeping up with the times with a new magazine, to replace its current publication called The Experimenter. The new magazine will include coverage aimed at the Sport Pilot/Light Sport category. The prototype of the new magazine, called EAA Sport Pilot and Light-Sport Aircraft, was shown to aviation industry officials May 8. EAA president Tom Poberezny said the new category fits EAA's grass-roots mandate. "For 50 years, EAA's focus has been on keeping aviation affordable," he said. More...
CESSNA, ECLIPSE FIGHT FOR EUROPE...
The dogfight between Eclipse and Cessna's Mustang for the light jet market continued last week, but this time with a European backdrop. Both companies were trying to spin some news for themselves out of the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. In a nutshell, Eclipse announced its planes will be equipped for European Joint Aviation Authority certification, and Cessna announced it, too, has customers in Europe. More...
...CESSNA REINS IN MUSTANG CUSTOMERS...
Of course, Europe is a big market for bizjets of all sizes but it might be even more suited to the so-called personal jet than North America. With the relatively short distance between major centers and the clogged airspace around them, the market just might be ripe for fast little airplanes that can zip in and out of reliever airports. That's what Cessna's European customers are telling it, anyway. While Eclipse was making equipment announcements, Cessna was crowing about adding to its European customer base for the $2.3 million Mustang, due out in 2006. More...
...717 BIZJET UNVEILED
And at the opposite end of that spectrum, Boeing, which already offers its 737 as a bizjet platform, unveiled its Boeing 717 Business Express at the show. The 717, which is thrice removed from the DC-9 Hugh Hefner used as his, um, corporate jet, is struggling as Boeing's answer to the regional jet. The company is obviously hoping the corporate set can see some advantage to flying its employees in this version, rather than the RJ configuration. "A company with significant and regular employee movement between two or more key business facilities would be a candidate for a 717 ..." said spokesman Thad Dworkin. More...
DEADHEADING PILOTS WANT TO KEEP GUNS
Federal Flight Deck Officers (pilots certified to carry guns) want those privileges extended beyond the cockpit. Pilots' groups are asking Congress to amend the current legislation and let them pack even when they aren't working. "For the sake of safety, we urge Congress to correct this handling issue," Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said in written testimony. Current rules for the 44 pilots certified so far requires them to put their guns in a lockbox and have a baggage handler stow it in the hold when they fly as passengers. The pilots claim that increases the chance of the gun going off accidentally or ending up in the wrong hands. More...
$ECURITY VERSUS AIRPORT IMPROVEMENT$
A Senate committee has approved an FAA Reauthorization Bill that could prevent airport improvement money from being diverted for security projects. The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has sent the bill to the full Senate for consideration, the first step in a long process of ratification. It contains language that would require the FAA to set up a separate fund for security initiatives and leave airport infrastructure budgets alone. The bill budgets $3.5 billion for airport improvements in the coming year and $100 million more in each of the following years. AOPA says the security fund was its idea. More...
X-31A CAPS SHORT LANDING TESTS
Forget about X-Men, just look what the X-plane can do -- and this is no comic book tale. Boeing's X-31A VECTOR recently completed three years of testing in which it used vectored thrust to shorten (and soften) landings. On April 29, test pilots (with lavish assistance from a complicated flight-control system) successfully put the VECTOR on the runway at Patuxent River Naval Air Station at a 24-degree angle of attack and 121 knots. Thats twice the nose-up attitude as normal and 30 percent slower than the 175 knots at which some airplanes like this tend to stop flying. A GPS navigation system coupled to an autothrottle and autopilot control the X-Plane throughout the descent, using vectored exhaust to keep the aircraft flying. More...
AOPA ON GA SECURITY PANEL
GA has a seat at the table as the TSA begins the inevitable discussions on security at smaller airports. AOPA, at the TSA's invitation, will become part of the agency's working group to develop security guidelines for GA facilities. Note the use of the word "guidelines." As a condition of its involvement, AOPA insisted on guarantees that no mandatory regulations would result from the group's work. "We do not want to see the general aviation community and our members further harmed by any of these security recommendations," said VP Andy Cebula. The TSA agreed. The TSA is trying to keep individual states from dreaming up their own security measures (like New Jersey's infamous two-lock rule), resulting in a patchwork of regulations across the country. More...
TWO POLES, ONE PILOT, ONE ENGINE
Lots of pilots, including Polly Vacher, have followed the sun on around-the-world jaunts. But the 58-year-old British pilot is doing it the hard way this time around. The practical test of Vacher's bid began May 6 when she took off from Birmingham trying to become the first person to circumnavigate the globe solo over both poles in a single-engine aircraft. You can read her diary online. She and her Piper Dakota will cover 35,000 miles and touch down in 30 countries over the next eight months as she tries to raise money for the Flying Scholarship for the Disabled. More...
WILLIAMS HONORED AS INVENTOR
A small-town Michigan engineer, who can legitimately take part of the credit for ending the Cold War, was honored for his many contributions to aviation and aerospace technology on May 7. Dr. Sam Williams, founder of Williams International, was inducted into the National Inventors' Hall of Fame, along with 16 others in the aerospace field. Williams is best-known for development of the small fan-jet the Air Force used to power cruise missiles, which helped tip the balance of power in the Cold War. More recently, however, Williams has been trying to develop small engines for business jets. More...
ON THE FLY...
Atlas launch planned for the Cape this afternoon -- steer clear...
Maverick Jets Inc. laid off staff, plans to outsource work...
AOPA Fly-In will be held June 7...
EADS lost money in 1Q but plans a year-end profit...
FAA named Bruce Johnson director of air traffic, Linda Schuessler, deputy...
Congo death toll unknown in Il-76 door-opening incident...
Replica of Hughes Racer will be at AirVenture. More...
We often have strong winds in Texas. But they usually pick a direction and stay put. This particular night while returning to home base at ADS, the ATIS said the winds were 150 at 15 (right down the runway). Since I was getting a real workout on the controls, I called for a wind check.
Tower: "Variable, 120 to 180, 22 gusting to 32."
Me: (With sarcasm) "Oh, that sounds like fun."
Tower: "We've got the cameras rolling."
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AVweb's AVscoop Award...
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New Articles and Features on AVweb
CEO of the Cockpit #19: What Makes A Great Captain?
CEO of the Cockpit #19: What Makes A Great Captain?
The road to captainhood is long and tortured, but the primary qualification isn't your skills or your attitude -- it's your seniority. But AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit still thinks it is worth the effort to be a great captain.
Ten Things Your Flight Instructor Wishes You Knew
Sure, your flight instructor is trying to teach you all the ins and outs of flying, but there are some things -- not officially in the curriculum -- that would make the training go faster, easier, and more enjoyably. And these apply to recurrent training, upgrading, and new certificates too.
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A SITUATION TO PONDER
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