|Volume 9, Number 23b||June 5,
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb.com.
FLIGHT SCHOOL SHUTS DOWN...
In San Antonio, Texas, Stinson Air Center abruptly shut down last week
and left employees and students high and dry, the Express-News reported
on Friday. The flight school, one of the largest in the area, filed for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation, according to the news report.
Employees told the Express-News they had shown up ready for work last
Thursday and found the doors locked and the offices apparently empty.
Stinson Air's chief pilot told the News-Express he was getting calls
from students asking about their $20,000 deposits. The news echoes the
recent story of an abrupt shutdown
at Airline Training Academy in Florida, where several hundred
students say they lost thousands of dollars they had put on deposit for
flight time. More...
GA STRUGGLES TO RECOVER
The shutdown at Stinson Air is yet another beat on the drum reminding us
that we are a long way from back to normal in the GA business world.
Despite efforts to boost morale and accentuate
the positive, the tough times are a reality for all too many
unemployed workers, besieged small-business owners, and students trying
hard to believe they have a future in aviation. In Wichita, planemakers
are hanging some hope on the recent tax-cut bill, which includes an
incentive that could encourage businesses to invest in new equipment,
such as bizjets. "With aircraft sales the way they are, any boost is
appreciated," Raytheon Aircraft spokesman Tim Travis told The Wichita
HELP FOR THE LOST; HOPE FOR DCA...
If you could use a little help navigating through today's
security-conscious and ever-changing airspace, AOPA's Air Safety
Foundation (ASF) now offers some assistance. The ASF on Monday unveiled
a free online training program called "Know Before You Go" that
helps pilots deal with the realities of shifting TFRs, prohibited
airspace, NOTAMs, the off-and-on ADIZ, and intercept procedures. Pilots
who complete the 30-minute program are eligible for credit in the Wings
program. Meanwhile, at our nation's capital, GA operators are still
banned from Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), but the National
Business Aviation Association (NBAA) says there may be some light at the
end of that tunnel. More...
RUNWAYS ALSO BRING AIRSPACE CHANGES
It may seem strange to some that in these times of diminished air
travel, airports are building new runways and terminals. But planners
haven't forgotten the congestion that was strangling the system a couple
of years ago, and expect an upturn before too long and a positive trend
over the long run. The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that
airports across the country launched $1.7 billion in new expansion
projects last year. Among those projects is a proposed new parallel
runway at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, and along with the
new runway comes changes in traffic flows. The FAA's Central Region
plans to hold four public meetings this month to seek input on the ATC
modifications. The changes would affect not only STL but four nearby
fields as well. More...
METAL AND THE BLAME GAME
The NTSB has released its final
report on a January 2002 incident when a China Airlines A340 took
off from a taxiway in Anchorage, Alaska. The airliner, with 252 souls on
board, left tire tracks in a snow berm, but climbed out safely and
completed its flight to Taipei. The NTSB found as probable cause: "The
captain's selection of a taxiway instead of a runway for takeoff and the
flightcrew's inadequate coordination of the departure ... A factor in
the incident was inadequate airline operator's procedures that did not
require the crew to verbalize and verify the runway in use prior to
takeoff." In a separate, and more deadly, incident, Alaska Airlines on
Monday said it will accept legal responsibility for the January 31,
2000, crash of flight 261, an Alaska Airlines MD-83, off the
California coast that killed all 88 aboard. More...
PROTOTYPE READY FOR NEW RECORDS
an unmanned solar-powered flying wing created by AeroVironment, is now
being prepared for another NASA-sponsored major milestone -- the world's
fuel-cell-powered flight in the stratosphere. The aircraft in 2001
shattered the world altitude record for non-rocket-powered aircraft by
flying to 96,863 feet, powered solely by silicon solar cells mounted on
its wing. A 12-hour test flight that will take place this month sets the
stage for the multi-day flight test, planned for Hawaii in July. "The
Helios prototype has proven its capabilities to conquer the day on solar
power," said John Del Frate, Helios project manager at NASA's Dryden
Flight Research Center. "Now to fulfill the long-term vision for it to
fly routinely for extreme duration, the next challenge is to conquer the
night. The key to that is development of the fuel-cell system. It's the
necessary next step to extreme endurance." More...
BANS RUSSIAN AICRAFT
When a Russian-made Yakolev-42 crashed in Turkey last week, 62 Spanish
troops returning from Afghanistan were killed, along with 13 crew
members. The accident raised questions in Spain about aviation safety,
and on Sunday the Spanish government banned the use of aircraft from
former Soviet-bloc countries, CNN reported Monday. Spanish officials at
first defended the safety record of the airplane, but they later told
CNN the ban will remain in place pending an investigation into the
crash. The Yak had been chartered from a Ukrainian company. The safety
of Russian aviation has been a recurring concern in the years since the
breakup of the Soviet Union and a string of recent fatal accidents.
DAD OUT OF THE HOUSE (AND INTO THE AIR)
We'll bet you didn't know that June is not only National Dairy Month but
also National Learn To Fly Month. With Father's Day falling smack dab in
the middle, on June 15, perhaps the question is whether your Dad would
prefer his first flying lesson to a block of Brie. The folks at Be A Pilot are trying to make the
choice a bit easier by offering a certificate good for a $49 intro
lesson at any one of 1,900 participating flight schools nationwide. "An
introductory flying lesson is a gift Dad won't soon forget," says Drew
Steketee, president of the nonprofit Be A Pilot campaign. "Chances are,
it's something he's always thought of doing. So, don't give another
run-of-the-mill gift when you can help him fulfill a lifetime dream."
SETS LIFE LIMIT FOR MORAVAN/ZLIN AIRFRAME
An FAA Airworthiness Directive issued on Monday affirms a fact that
pilots have long suspected: having a wing (or two) separate from the
airplane in flight would be a bad thing. This
AD affects (Moravan) Model Z-242L aircraft, which are built in the
Czech Republic. It beefs up a prior AD that restricted Acrobatic and
Utility category operations and required replacement of the wings after
a certain operational time. This week's AD maintains those restrictions,
but also will incorporate the aerobatic frequency and life limit the
airplane, instead of just the wings, in order to prevent fatigue
GANG'S ALL HERE -- HARD AT WORK IN THE HANGAR
There's an old saying that the outside of a horse is good for the inside
of a boy, and that may just hold true for airplanes as well. Some folks
at Flabob Airport in Riverside, Calif., are trying out that theory on
five young high-school-age gang members, by inviting them into a hangar
to help restore a DC-3. The boys spend three hours a day, four days a
week working on the aircraft, which is owned by the Commemorative Air Force of
Riverside. "We didn't look them in the eye and tell them 'Gangs are
bad' and 'You are all bad people,'" said Jon Goldenbaum, a retired Air
Force colonel who is involved in the project. "We just said 'C'mon in,
we'll take you as gang members, we just want to show you something.'
They work well as a team because we left the gang intact."
8, 2003, crash of a Beech 1900D shortly after takeoff from
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport that killed two crewmembers and
19 passengers was flown by Air Midwest (d.b.a. US Airways Express). We
thank the good (and communicative) folks at Midwest Express for their
enthusiastic patronage. Scaled
Composites has informed AVweb that there will be no
Scaled-organized June 7 gathering or display of new air vehicles at
Mojave. Don't polish up those canards just yet ... More...
YOUR COMPANY LET YOU FLY ON BUSINESS?
Does your company let you fly your personal airplane on business trips?
Or do the suits in the corner office look the other way when you hand in
your expense reports? Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is
preparing a report on corporate policies for light aircraft use and we
would like to hear owner experiences pro and con on this subject.
High winds on Monday damaged about 25 airplanes in San Marcos,
2,000-foot tower will not be built in Bayonne, N.J., but at WTC
Spirit of St. Louis replica crashed at England airshow, pilot
AOPA prez Phil Boyer will host hangar talk at Saturday's Fly-In...
Camp David, Md., prohibited airspace reduced to a 3-nm radius.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 90 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's
winner, James H. Cramer, of Henderson, Nev. His photo titled "Piper
Arrow over Lake Mead, NV" provides us with an excellent view of northern
Lake Mead. The aircraft pictured is James 1968 Piper Arrow." Great
picture James! Your AVweb hat is on the way.
To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to
**Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of
readers who submit photos.
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
We received over 300 responses to our question last week on flying
during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. About 30 percent of those
responding flew during the period, but only within their local area.
However, 22 percent did fly out of town, while 27 percent did not fly at
all due to money, time or other personal reasons.
To check out the complete results, including comments, go to http://www.avweb.com/qotw.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on ATC facility tours.
Thanks to Matt McNelley for suggesting this week's topic. Please go to
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Note, this address is
ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Todd Hutsell, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
Rules and information are at
New Articles and Features on AVweb
Life Insurance - Medical Qualification
Sure, you can get just about as much insurance as you're willing to pay
for, but first there is that medical exam. Seth Legatowicz of the Pilot Insurance Center
gives you the inside track on medical underwriting when applying for
Flying The Summer Low
A wimpy winter evolved into a wet, cold spring above the Mason-Dixon
line, with plenty of low-pressure systems to entertain instrument
pilots. (This article originally appeared in the July 2002 issue of IFR
Refresher and is reprinted here by permission.)
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