|Volume 9, Number 24a||June 9,
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At
NAME OF SECURITY...
The Michigan legislature may just back gently -- and inexpensively --
out of its controversial law requiring criminal background checks for
student pilots. Michigan passed the law late last year and AOPA has
challenged it, with enthusiastic support from the FAA and Transportation
Security Administration (TSA), in federal court. Perhaps faced with the
possibility that the feds will quash the law, Michigan legislators seem
to be letting a bill that would repeal the background-check provisions
pass through with little opposition. Only a couple of weeks after HB
4704 was introduced, it's been vetted by the Committee on Veteran
Affairs and Homeland Security, and its opponents placated with a simple
While efforts abound to save the beleaguered banner-towing industry from
"security concerns," what some might describe as a conservative
Christian group came up with arguments to end the legislated TFRs
imposed over Disney theme parks. The Virginia- and Carolina-based Family Policy Network launched a
federal suit challenging the 3,000-foot, 3-nm no-fly zone because it
hoped to share a message from above (so to speak) with those attending
the Gay Day festivities held at
(not organized by) Disney World in Orlando. "Government infringement of
free speech rights cannot be based on speculation or mere
possibilities," the group's lawyer, Brian Fahling, told the Associated
USED AS "THREAT" AIRCRAFT
And in what seems to be the never-ending mission of federal security
forces to protect us from terrorists flying Cessnas, the Pentagon was to
have conducted a live test of just such a scenario over Washington,
D.C., last Thursday. Although we haven't heard how it all worked out,
the idea was for a couple of F-16s to intercept two Civil Air Patrol
172s over D.C. while antiaircraft missile crews and other forces
responded from their ground stations. Apparently the F-16s were to
minimize their use of afterburners in the pursuit. This type of exercise
is nothing new and there were at least two held in May, along with
drills involving cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. The
choice of the instantly recognizable Cessnas as villains and the
resulting perceptions it might have raised rankled AOPA.
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AIRCRAFT KEEP COMING -- JET CANARDS?
What some people might consider the ultimate personal aircraft is now
being built under the watchful eye of its creator. Les Shockley, best
known for making jet-powered trucks the
feature attraction at many air shows, has come up with a jet kit for
canard homebuilts, like Long EZs, Velocities and Cozy aircraft. Shockley
said the adaptation of a General Electric T-58 helicopter turbine, which
he calls the Shockwave 800+, weighs just 300 pounds and can be set up to
provide a range of power, up to about 840 pounds of thrust. The engines
cost about $30,000, plus installation (and a liability waiver), and
Shockley said he believes the combination of jet power and the canard
design is a good one. "I don't see any problem with it at all," he said.
"I think it's a hell of a concept." Les is currently finishing up his own 2.5:1 power/weight
jet/canard combination. More...
For those of us who prefer a more traditional approach, the latest spin
from Liberty Aerospace is that it's nearing type certification on its
XL2. The two-seat FADEC-equipped sport touring airplane has been
undergoing spin tests recently as the last item on a long checklist
leading to that coveted paperwork. In a letter to customers and
prospective customers, Liberty CEO Tony Tiarks said test pilot Leo
Janssens has spun the airplane 136 times -- some of those episodes have
been caught on
video, now available through the Liberty Web site.
HOLDS REUNION FLY-IN
Maybe, in a few years, Tiarks will be sending out news releases like
this one from Cirrus. The
Duluth-based company announced that the Cirrus Owners and Pilots
Association (COPA) will hold a fly-in at Duluth June 13-15. "As many
as 100 Cirrus aircraft are expected to fly in for this event and we are
very excited to have so many of the kids home," said enthused company
spokeswoman Kate Andrews. More...
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COMPUTER OFFERS BETTER FORECASTS
We can look forward to more accurate, longer-range weather forecasting
if the National Weather Service's
new computer system lives up to its billing. IBM has clustered 44
servers together to create a byte-crunching monster that can do 7.3
trillion calculations per second. Its ultimate capacity is expected to
be 100 trillion calculations per second by 2009. All that math adds up
to a system that can take weather measurements from all over the world
and project them forward to forecast conditions hours and days ahead.
And, whether you get your weather from DUATS or over your cellphone in
the cockpit, it should mean a better, more accurate picture.
CONTROLLERS THREATEN JOB ACTION
Canadian air traffic controllers are threatening "job action," but that
won't affect pilots and travelers immediately. It's illegal for
controllers to walk off the job. About the only leverage they have in
the current contract dispute with Nav Canada is to cease
training new controllers, which would eventually lead to a shortage of
qualified controllers. That seemingly minute arsenal didn't stop the
union boss from talking tough. "Our members have waited 30 months and
their patience has run out," blustered Buzz Hargrove, president of the
Canadian Autoworkers Union, which represents the controllers. The last
contract expired in March of 2001 and those 30 months since have not
been kind to the privately run air traffic services company.
PILOTS RECRUITED FOR COCKPIT STUDY
If you'd like a glimpse ahead at future cockpit technology and wouldn't
mind helping make it pilot-friendly, NASA and Lockheed Martin need you.
You'll even get paid for it. The company is recruiting GA
pilots to take part in a series of NASA Aviation Safety Program
studies at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The studies
center around the development of future glass-cockpit technology and
advanced flight-deck concepts dealing with safety and automation. There
is particular interest in pilot opinions on Synthetic Vision Systems,
which use computers and GPS to create clear virtual views of the outside
world regardless of weather. More...
The combustion heater fuel pump (model 91E92-1 or 91E93-1) in certain
New Piper PA-34-200T, PA-44-180, and PA-44-180T aircraft must
be inspected for leaks. If leaks are found, the pumps must be
repaired or replaced.
The rudder torque tube and associated ribs must
be inspected on various New Piper PA-31 models to check for
corrosion. An inspection hole must be cut to accomplish the inspection.
Comments on this NPRM will be received until Aug. 11, 2003.
An AD, effective July 28, 2003, requires owners of Pilatus PC-12 and
PC-12/45 aircraft to inspect
the front and rear pressure dome for damage and cracks and repair as
ULTRALIGHT PILOT KILLED
One of the best-known and most-respected ultralight pilots, instructors
and sport aviation boosters died Thursday during a training accident in
Alaska. Mike Jacober and his student Robert Pelkey were killed when the
ultralight trike trainer they were flying crashed about two miles from
the Birchwood, Alaska, airport. Cause of the crash is unknown. The
wreckage of the trike was discovered by fellow instructor Rick Huggett.
Jacober was owner of Arctic Sparrow Aircraft
Inc and was recognized by many as one of the country's top
ultralight pilots. More...
Well, we have to wonder if there's a 51-percent quick-build version of
the new Boeing 7E7 on the drawing board. The Boeing exec leading
development of the super-efficient jetliner told a meeting of Washington
State's Snohomish County Economic Development Council last Wednesday
that the company expects final assembly of each jet to take as little as
three days. "We're trying to get as much of the work done before final
assembly where we bring the airplane together in relatively complete
pieces and put it together in a relatively short time," Mike Bair told
the assembled business leaders and other dignitaries attending the
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3,000 attended AOPA Fly-In despite the weather...
Laid-off Illinois airline workers can apply for extended benefits...
Traffic, stock prices on rise for airlines...
1,208 airline screeners were fired because of background...
Women In Aviation named its 100 most influential.
An exchange overheard between departure control at a Canadian airport
and a B727 pilot.
Pilot: Where's Annule?
Dep. Control: What is it ... an intersection or something?
Pilot: I don't know.
Dep. Control: Where did you see it?
Pilot: On the screens in the terminal. Lots of airlines go there but the
flight's always cancelled.
Dep. Control: (Laughter) Welcome to Canada, Monsieur. "Annule" is French
Pilot: Ah. Oui, oui.
AVweb's AVscoop Award...
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Paul Bailey, this
week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to
Rules and information are at
New Articles and Features on AVweb
CEO of the Cockpit #20: Don't Sweat the SEPs
That's Someone Else's Problems. Why get steamed over flyspeck mechanical
glitches or boneheaded airline management when there's nothing you can
do about either? AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit advises you kick back, grab
some perspective and consider renting a sailboat in San Diego.
A Handle on Repairs
Owner-driven maintenance can mean swinging a wrench, but thorough
inspections and involvement with the shop are often enough, as shown in
this article from Aviation
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