|Volume 9, Number 23a||June 2, 2003|
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.
MEIGS' FATE LOOKS GRIM...
Airport supporters fighting to save the historic Meigs Field's in Chicago lost what might be their last battle Saturday as the Illinois legislature passed a state budget bill that included $6.6 billion to modernize O'Hare Airport and no relief for Meigs. Friends of Meigs (FOM) had been lobbying for weeks to include in the bill wording that would repair Meigs and reopen it, but the bill passed without that amendment. A disheartened FOM President Steve Whitney told AVweb the group plans to investigate congressional lobbying, but Whitney admits it's a longshot. "We're getting toward the bottom of the barrel," he said. "We're just going to regroup a little and see what our options are." It also appears that AOPA has thrown in the towel. More...
...DEMOLITION COULD TAKE MONTHS
So what happens now? In the immediate future ... probably not much. With the courts and the legislature on his side, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has all the time in the world to finish the job at Meigs. "We have no plans to do anything anytime soon," said Daley spokesman Roderick Drew. City officials said they would be going out to tender on the project, which would involve removal of all the paved surfaces, demolition of the buildings and control tower and other airport infrastructure. After the rubble is cleared and environmental issues cleared up, the Chicago Park District can begin construction of the park that Daley has always wanted there. More...
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SINO SWEARINGEN REGROUPS AFTER CRASH...
Others will be present, but two of the most talked-about new aircraft now under development will be skipping EAA AirVenture this year. Sino Swearingen and Diamond Aircraft have both decided to keep their hottest new prototypes, the SJ30-2 bizjet and the DA-42 Twinstar, respectively, in their test programs rather than put them on display at Oshkosh. In Sino Swearingen's case, the decision to pull out of Oshkosh followed a test-flight crash that killed chief test pilot Carroll Beeler last month. The NTSB's preliminary report is now available online and includes comments from the chase-plane pilot who witnessed the event and communicated with Beeler during the accident. The crash may have sparked rumors of the San Antonio company's imminent demise. "That is not true," said Sino Swearingen VP Gene Comfort. "I totally flatly deny it." More...
...DIAMOND'S TWINSTAR SKIPS AIRVENTURE
Nobody's currently speculating on Diamond Aircraft's longevity but there's sure to be disappointment that the innovative and efficient TwinStar will be staying home in Germany. Diamond's North American CEO Peter Maurer told AVweb the company considered bringing the only flying example of the diesel-powered twin to Oshkosh, but that would have put a two-month dent in the test program. "We just couldn't justify it," said Maurer. Diamond will, of course, have a display at AirVenture and there will be plenty of information on all its products (which are sold out through November), including the D-JET, now under development. More...
GOOD BAD NEWS, 300 CESSNA JOBS SPARED...
Good news in the aviation industry, these days, is when the bad news isn't as bad as everyone thought. The bad news Friday for 900 Cessna workers is that they were laid off. At the same time, it was good news for 300 workers who were told in March they'd also be laid off but found themselves spared. "The original purpose of our reductions was to match our work force with out production rate," Cessna's Jessica Myers told The Wichita Eagle. "With the 900, we were able to do that." The layoffs brought the number of jobs lost at Cessna to 3,025, leaving 8,300 ... until today. More...
...BOMBARDIER KEEPING WICHITA PLANT...
Bombardier's good news for Wichita is that it will keep building the Learjet 60, 45 and 40 there. However, it also currently builds two other bizjets, the Lear 45XR and Challenger 300, in Wichita, and CEO Paul Tellier did not mention those models in his conversation with the Eagle. He did, however, say he was pleased with the red-carpet treatment Bombardier has been getting from local and state governments. "They are doing everything they can to provide an environment conducive to us being competitive," Tellier said. More...
...AND BOEING SAYS WORST IS OVER
Chicago-headquartered Boeing joined the better-news flurry with CEO Phil Condit's prediction that the worst is over for his company. Condit told the Chicago Tribune that most of the 35,000 people Boeing had planned to cut are already gone. "There will be some more [layoffs] ahead but not many," he said. "We are virtually on those low production rates now." He said 9/11, the war in Iraq and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) combined to knock the stuffing out of the big airplane business. "It is the worst downturn since airplanes existed," he said. More...
NEW CERTIFICATIONS RULES HELP MANUFACTURERS
U.S. aircraft manufacturers will more effectively compete with their European counterparts when the FAA allows them to sign off on large parts of their own new designs. Walter Desrosier, manager of maintenance and engineering for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said a new regulation creating "certified design organizations" (CDOs) will bring U.S. regulations in line with similar type-certification processes in Europe. "It gives manufacturers a greater level of control over the certification process," Derosier said. "It allows them to plan the certification process better." New legislation is pending before the Senate and the House to create the new rules. If passed, it will take up to seven years to put the new system in place. More...
FOUR-PLACE RV-10 FLIES
All that performance and room for four? Van's new RV-10 reportedly showed the same spirit as its two-place predecessors (albeit with a larger engine) as it leapt off the runway in 450 feet on its maiden flight Friday. The family-sized version of the world's most popular kitplane -- 3,261 of Van's Aircraft have been completed and flown, so far -- took off with "Van" himself at the controls and spent about half an hour doing basic control input checks and monitoring engine temperatures. The successful first flight was completed on schedule and that means kits may be available by the end of the year. Quick-build versions will be available and partial quick builds are being considered. More...
PATTY WAGSTAFF: A SATISFIED OREGON AERO CUSTOMER SINCE 1990. Aerobatic performer Patty Wagstaff can't be distracted by pain and noise when executing complex routines. Her portable seat cushions and upgraded headset from Oregon Aero keep her pain-free and comfortable so she can concentrate. "When I, or my ferry pilot, fly our wonderful Extra cross country, we're stuck in there for hours at a time unable to move!" Patty says. "The only thing that keeps us comfortable and free of pain is the Pilot SoftSeat (TM)." Check out all of Oregon Aero's products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon
ELECTRIC COLUMBIA CERTIFIED
It looks like your standard Columbia but Lancair Certified's latest certificated model has some important innovations under the cowl and behind the panel. The Lancair 350 is an all-electric version of the Columbia and is the second to gain FAA type approval. Instead of notoriously troublesome vacuum systems, the 350's instruments and avionics are all electric. For redundancy, it has two batteries, two alternators and two electrical buses. The redundant electrics allow installation of the latest electronic avionics, including an optional dual flat panel, Avidyne FlightMax Entegra. More...
RUTAN BEGINS SPACECRAFT TEST FLIGHTS
Burt Rutan and his Scaled Composites crew appear to be making a good run in the race for the first civilian spacecraft and the much-hyped X PRIZE. According to the X PRIZE Web site, Rutan has conducted captured carry flights of his SpaceShipOne suborbiter on the launch aircraft, called White Knight One. Next up on the schedule are drop and glide tests followed by powered tests. On June 7, Rutan is expected to roll out the X PRIZE entry for a gathering of canard aircraft owners at his birthday bash in Mojave, Calif. (bring sunscreen). Rutan may be the one to beat, but he has plenty of competition. More...
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FOR THE RECORD...
Two of our stories Thursday left some readers with the wrong idea. First, the NTSB has not issued an official probable cause regarding the January 8 crash of the Midwest Express plane in Charlotte. A final report and determination of probable cause is not expected until late this year. Next, Robbie Gordon did drive in two races on the same day, but was not able to exit the Indianopolis 500 via helicopter due to FAA restrictions. He was driven by golf cart, then car to the airport. And the Indianapolis 500 is raced by Indy cars. We apologize for the errors and any confusion. More...
ON THE FLY...
Orange-level flight restrictions were removed Saturday...
Air France ended Concorde service Saturday...
Former UAL VP Shelley Longmuir taking over NBAA helm...
Air Race Classic for women flight crews will end at Kitty Hawk...
Charley Celli was appointed Gulfstream's Dallas manager...
Boeing set a record for heaviest twin takeoff weight at 774,600 lbs....
AOPA Fly-In procedures are different this year. More...
While flying in Saturday morning around 10:30 am to the EAA southwest show at New Braunfel's (BAZ), the very busy tower and an experimental aircraft on final had this exchange.
Experimental ABX: "Tower, experimental ABX, I'm dodging a bunch of airplanes.
Tower: "Good, keep dodging. You're number 4 on final." More...
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Jason Tiggs, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
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