|Volume 9, Number 21a (Amended)||May 19, 2003|
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.
PROPOSED BILL EASES GA RESTRICTIONS...
The alphabets are cheering (and taking some credit for) a legislative package that would, among other things, restore charter operations to downtown Washington, get banner towers back in business over outdoor gatherings, smooth foreign flight student regulations and allow third-party appeals of security-related airman certificate suspensions. The Aviation Security Technical Corrections and Improvement Act was approved by the House Subcommittee on Aviation last Wednesday and still must be approved by Congress before any of this relief actually takes place. "Much of what the subcommittee characterizes as 'corrections' are actually vindications for EAA and many other general aviation organizations that have advocated reasonable, prudent security measures that are commensurate with security risks," said EAA's VP of industry and regulatory affairs Earl Lawrence. More...
...BUT PRESIDENT GETS GA-FREE ZONE
While Congress is looking at relieving some of the burden on GA, the TSA and Secret Service have decided that a protective bubble of commercial-only airspace be put around President Bush as he hopscotches around the country supporting his tax-relief bill and beginning his re-election campaign. Friday, EAA said a proliferation of "pop-up presidential TFRs" littered the nation's airspace and the same day filed a formal complaint with the TSA, claiming the TFRs place "a growing hardship" on GA. "General aviation was repeatedly shut out of large blocks of airspace all over the country this week," said EAA VP of government affairs Doug Macnair." More...
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LIGHT-SPORT MAKING HEADWAY...
The enormously complicated task of creating the paperwork for a whole new class of aircraft took a major step forward last week. The quality-control language for the new light-sport category was completed during a consensus standard session hosted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM is facilitating the standards process for light sport in advance of the final rule expected from the FAA in July. Under the process, industry representatives provide input to the standards document and then get a vote in approving the final document. Further tweaking can be done later to ensure letter-perfect compliance with the new rule. The quality-control standards just passed can be used as a blueprint by manufacturers to set up their own programs. More...
...NEW PLANES IN THE WINGS
One of the light-sport standards that is causing compliance problems is the relatively low top speed of 115 knots that is allowed. Plenty of kitplanes out there can do that without breathing hard and the challenge of many designers seeking Light Sport category compliance is to rein them in. Take, for example, the VM-1 Esqual, a new breed of super-fast-build from Spain that will be introduced by North American dealer Jabiru USA Flight Center at EAA AirVenture starting July 29. The Esqual's biggest engine option is a 120-horsepower Jabiru that will pull it to 200 mph -- even with the smallest engine offered, an 80-horsepower Jabiru 2200, it's still a shade fast for the light-sport rule. More...
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ILLINOIS CONSIDERS LAW TO SAVE MEIGS...
Chicago would be forced to reopen Meigs Field and never close it again under legislation now before the Illinois legislature. With help from AOPA, Rep. David Leitch (R-73rd District) has introduced an amendment to state Senate Bill 802 that would give Chicago additional powers to expand O'Hare International Airport. The amendment would require the city to "restore and reopen Meigs Field as an airport for public use." "The closure of Meigs Field adversely affects air traffic and airports throughout the Chicago region," the amendment reads. "Meigs Field, if reopened, would immediately serve a vital role for air transportation in this state ..." More...
...WATERFRONT BATTLES IN CANADA, TOO
Waterfront airports everywhere seem to be the targets of land- and tax-lusting politicians and even relatively uncrowded Canada has its battles. In the metropolis of Toronto, the aviation community fights a constant battle to remind the city and senior governments of the importance of Toronto City Centre Airport, which is on an island a few hundred yards from the downtown core. This coming Saturday and Sunday, the airport and several businesses there are taking part in Doors Open Toronto, an opportunity to show off the airport and explain its role in the Toronto transportation system. There has been a vigorous campaign by some airport opponents to close the airport and turn it into a park (sound familiar?) but so far the aviation community has been able to counter it. Far away from the bustle of the big city in Nelson, British Columbia, a similar if smaller-scale fight is brewing. More...
OSPREY GETS $817M VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
The V-22 Osprey tiltrotor program appears to have passed a major hurdle. The Pentagon has ordered 11 more Ospreys, at a cost of $817 million, giving life to a project almost killed after a series of high-profile incidents and fatal crashes in 2000. Since the crashes, which in 2000 killed 23 Marines, aircraft systems have been reworked and a new round of flight tests completed. The 11-plane order is a signal those tests were satisfactory. But while the Pentagon has renewed confidence in one "-22" program, the General Accounting Office is concerned the often-delayed program is moving toward the manufacturing stage too quickly and another, the F-22 Raptor program, is seeing cutbacks. More...
ECLIPSE FLIES WITH DRONES, LIBERTY WITH FADEC
With a couple of drone engines supplying the power, the Eclipse 500 resumed flight testing Thursday, flying a 26-minute shakedown that Eclipse said went well. The Teledyne 382-10E engines are substituting for the yet-to-be-built Pratt and Whitney Canada PW610F engines that will go on production models. The drone engines will be used to complete aerodynamics and systems testing while the company waits for the Pratts. The last time the 500 flew it had Williams EJ22 engines on the back but the two companies parted company not long after Eclipse sent the test engines back. When new engines become available (expected in late 2004), Eclipse can move toward full certification, expected in 2006. Meanwhile, a bit closer to more wallets, the $128,000 Liberty Aerospace XL2 is on the brink of type certification for its two-place, high performance, FADEC-controlled piston-powered cruiser. More...
GOVERNMENT ORDERS MISSILE DEFENSE PROTOTYPES
After they're trained to carry guns in the cockpit, airline pilots' next course could be on taking out a missile headed for their aircraft. The Homeland Security Department is calling for proposals from high-tech companies on how to protect airliners from shoulder-launched missiles and they're asking for at least two prototypes to be built. "This is a real breakthrough," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Associated Press. Schumer is cosponsoring a bill that would retrofit 6,800 airliners with anti-missile systems at a cost of $10 billion. But while airlines would get a free ride on their existing fleet, they'd have to pay the extra $1 million for the systems on all the new aircraft they buy and that's lit a fuse under some airline groups. More...
The FAA is rewriting the definition of "public aircraft" as opposed to civil aircraft but don't hope (or worry) that it's opening any loopholes. The rewrite is just to clean up the language and bring it in line with the Wendell H. Ford Aviation and Investment Reform Act (AIR-21), which was enacted in 2000.Owners of V-tailed Bonanzas must repetitively inspect fuselage bulkheads for signs of failure. Also, repetitive inspections of the empennage, aft fuselage and ruddervator control system become a one-time action with any subsequent repair and the setting of the elevator controls, rudder and tab system controls, cable tensions and rigging.Cessna 414A and 402C owners must inspect the wing spar caps for fatigue cracks, apply any necessary repair or replacement and incorporate a spar strap modification on each wing spar. More...
OREGON AERO HELPS SEAN TUCKER BE HIS BEST The success that world-class aerobatics performer Sean Tucker enjoys as a champion is due in part to the comfort he experiences with his Oregon Aero custom seat cushion system and helmet upgrade. They help Sean perform his best by eliminating pain, which helps maximize his concentration. "The Oregon Aero products are incredibly comfortable and easy to install," says Sean. "I highly recommend them for anyone. They will make flying more enjoyable." Check out all of Oregon Aeros products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon
NAVCANADA RAISES RATES
NavCanada, the private, non-profit company that supplies air traffic control and other aviation services in Canada, is raising its rates an average of 6.9 percent in August. The company announced Thursday that the ongoing airline slump, coupled with the war in Iraq and SARS, and an unpaid $43 million debt owed by Air Canada, now in bankruptcy protection, has combined to create a shortfall of about $176 million. "We've exhausted our ability to help ease the burden of the downturn on our customers," CEO John Crichton told a news conference. The company took over the services from the government in 1997 and, as it chopped overhead, rates were reduced. But after 9/11, rates were hiked and the latest increase will push them to their highest level. It's still a bargain, according to Crichton ... and some basic math. More...
ON THE FLY...
Russian jet maker going public...
Young Eagles hit 900,000 flights...
New Phoenix tower is 335 feet...
AEA awarded $100,000 in scholarships to 23 students...
Lloyd Welch Pogue, aviation regulatory pioneer, died at 103.
Having just rolled out and made my way to the taxiway, I contacted ground control. The taxiways were very lengthy and one way. This would have added nearly a mile to my travel to the gas pumps which were only several hundred yards away. "Ground control, Cessna ***** at Alpha 6, can I "fudge" a bit and turn left to the pumps?" After a short pause, "Cessna *****, fudging approved." More...
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Jim Weaver, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
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