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Volume 9, Number 25aJune 16, 2003

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

Well, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey may have no intention of privatizing air traffic control but she might want to check with the man who appointed her to the job. The Bush White House has put Congress on notice that an FAA Reauthorization bill passed by the House and the Senate last week will likely be vetoed by the president unless language prohibiting ATC privatization is scrapped. "If the final legislation includes provisions that would inappropriately prohibit the conversion of FAA facilities or functions from the federal government to the private sector, the President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," said a White House statement. All commercial airports have FAA towers but many smaller fields have private contractors handling aircraft. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told the Associated Press the government wants flexibility in administering those "contract towers." More...

The ATC provision was a single paragraph in sweeping legislation that, for the most part, have the alphabet groups cheering and taking credit for the good things they contain. In fact, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) ignored the ATC issue and accentuated the positive. As AVweb told you a few weeks ago, when the wording was first proposed, there is relief for GA businesses hardest hit by 9/11 and the war in Iraq, more flexibility for charter operations, an appeals process for certificate suspension by the TSA, the recommendation that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport be reopened to GA and a host of other provisions that are generally seen as positive developments for GA. NATA President James Coyne lauded legislators and staff "who have made this landmark legislation a reality." Of course, the White House has made it clear that it's not yet a reality. More...

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Temporary Flight Restrictions, though ever-changing, would appear to be a permanent fixture, so the FAA is (finally) doing something that might actually help pilots comply. Starting yesterday, the agency began posting its own sanctioned graphical depictions of TFRs on the FAA Web site. There have been some graphical TFRs on the FAA site for more than a year but they were for "special interest" NOTAMs, generally relating to presidential movements or national security. The new system should provide graphical TFRs of all flight restriction types but if you went there yesterday, you may have had a very hard time noticing any difference -- the new material will be loaded over a period of time and the first 90 days will be a test phase. Public responses will be used to modify presentation of the material. More...

It's not spelled out whether the president's hectic travel schedule will get the graphic treatment. A 30-nm TFR appears to have become the standard treatment wherever Air Force One touches down (aside from the one that encircles it while it's in the air) and as President Bush hits the campaign trail as many as three TFRs per day are being created. AOPA has added "Presidential Movement TFR" links to its home page to try and keep track of the wandering chief executive but pilots should always get the official word from flight services on any NOTAMs on their route before wheels up (and just hope the NOTAM doesn't arise after they do). Most groups agree 30 nm is excessive but they also seem to agree that it isn't going to change anytime soon. However, there is some pressure from the government to eliminate defense-related TFRs that blossomed after 9/11. More...

In the meantime, while the world's security agencies have no idea about the location of a 727 gone missing three weeks ago in Africa, the mainstream media's apparent preoccupation with GA threats to nuclear facilities has EAA demanding that the government respond. On June 10, USA Today ran a story on the number of airports that are located near nuclear plants. EAA said the story dwelled on "what if" scenarios that did not cite any scientific evidence that airplanes, any airplanes, are a threat to nukes. EAA spokesman Doug Macnair said the various threat scenarios that gain mainstream publicity are effectively undermining the public's confidence in the safety of GA and that could doom the industry. EAA said it wants the TSA to "clear the air" on nuclear-plant safety and any other supposed hazards posed by GA. More...

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Embittered though many of us may be over the destruction of Meigs Field, some would concede it could yet be a fabulous park ... but a ping-pong emporium? According to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times, initial plans by the Chicago Park District are to fill the terminal building with ping-pong (more properly known as table tennis) tables and throw it open to the public in the next few days. According to the Sun-Times, in addition to ping-pong, the imaginative folks at the parks district came up with skateboarding, climbing walls, wildflowers, prairie grass trees and an observation deck. Meanwhile the fight to save Meigs grinds on and the Friends of Meigs (FOM) has asked the Park District to delay until the FOM can present a cake-and-eat-it proposal that retains the airport and provides for park use. More...

Looks like it won't be long before the plane in front of you holding short might have all the patience in the world. Altair, the test bed for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed to share the airspace with piloted aircraft, completed its first flight June 9. The long-winged version of the military Predator UAV (86 feet vs. 64 feet) stayed close to home at the General Atomics's flight-test facility at El Mirage, Calif., on its first flight, gliding to a landing after 24 minutes. Ultimately, however, it's designed to fly for up to 32 hours as high as 52,000 feet and carry up to 750 pounds of communications, sensing, radar and imaging gear in its forward fuselage. And it's designed to do it from the airports the rest of us fly from. More...

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What does Boeing have in common with Lancair, Cirrus, Liberty and host of other light plane and homebuilt manufacturers? A belief that composites help make better airplanes. The Chicago-headquartered aerospace icon announced June 12 that its 7E7 airliner -- if it's ever built -- will be made almost entirely of resin imbedded with graphite and graphite/titanium combined. A company news release said the decision was made after months of study and presentations from aluminum companies and composite manufacturers. "Composites offer us a variety of advantages, including better durability, reduced maintenance requirements and increased potential for future developments," said Mike Bair, VP in charge of the 7E7 project. The company also took dead aim at detractors' concerns about composite components -- maintenance and longevity. More...

As custody battles go, this is one for the (history) books. North Carolina politicians are going ballistic after Congress decided that Dayton, Ohio, where Orville and Wilbur Wright converted a bicycle shop into the first airplane plant, is the birthplace of aviation. Three North Carolina politicians were the only ones to vote against the resolution and rest their case on the obvious. "The Wright brothers made their first flight at Kitty Hawk. The last time I checked, Kitty Hawk [was] still in North Carolina," said Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) But Springfield, Ohio, Rep. Dave Hobson said there's more to parenthood than watching progeny fly away from the nest. More...

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Getting around the airport could take on a whole new meaning at DFW International Airport in the future. The airport intends to build huge taxiways that encircle the runways, thus eliminating the need for aircraft to cross runways on the way to the one they're using. "We believe the implementation of perimeter taxiways will enhance the safety of the airport and improve airport efficiency for the aviation community and the flying public," said FAA spokesman Ronnie Uhlenker. With conventional taxiways, the tests showed DFW averages 147 runway crossings per hour -- the perimeter taxiways eliminated them. More...

FAA named Russell Chew, an ATP with a doctorate, new COO...
Air France Concorde landed at Dulles for new museum display...
Bombardier's Paul Tellier defended $1.5 million U.S. salary to shareholders...
Stephane Mayer took over as CEO of EADS Socata...
Liberty XL-2 completed spin test program successfully...
Women With Wings plan fourth caravan to Oshkosh. More...

AEROSHELL'S E-STORE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS WITH AMOOLIA -- THE POSTER COW If you didn't get your moo-cool Amoolia Cow poster at AirVenture last year, it's not too late. Amoolia and other Aeroshell merchandise is available online at

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Steve Clearwater, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to Rules and information are at

An exchange observed between the pilot of a sleek experimental and a Cessna driver shortly after they both taxied to the ramp...

Cessna Pilot: Wow. That thing really moves! You must have to wind the rubberband really tight.
Experimental Pilot: Nah, I just installed an extra hamster wheel. You're jealous?
Cessna Pilot: ...About 50-knots jealous, yes.

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New Articles and Features on AVweb

The "Big Ten Inch" -- Avidyne FlightMax Entegra
How'd you like to have the front office of your little SEL decked out better than many airliners? And for a fraction of the cost of electronic displays the bizjets have. Avidyne recently certified the first-in-class primary flight display for small GA aircraft, and Dave Higdon has our review.

The Pilot's Lounge #62: Project D.A.R.W.I.N.
AVweb's Rick Durden has a quick way to drop the accident rate in General Aviation to zero: Get all the incompetent, nincompoop pilots -- who are just going to have accidents eventually -- to follow those disproven old wive's tales and get their accidents over in one year. Every year after that -- no accidents.

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JULY ISSUE OF AVIATION SAFETY HIGHLIGHTS: "The Bible Says", trust your POH but verify performance; "Fat & Happy", manage your weight and technique; "Bet Ya Can’t", don't race that airliner to the runway; "Missing Approach", being cleared for an approach that doesn't exist can be fatal; "Hangar Bangers", major damage may be just a ding away with ground handling carelessness; plus, accident reports, service difficulties, and real-life experiences in the air. Aviation Safety—just what the name implies at

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