|Volume 9, Number 25a||June 16,
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At
BILL FACES VETO...
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
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...
THINGS HANG IN BALANCE
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
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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LAUNCHES GRAPHICAL TFRS...
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
CARRIES 30 MILES OF BREATHING SPACE...
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
WANTS NUKE THREAT QUANTIFIED
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...
REBORN ... FOR PING-PONG?
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
UAV HAS FIRST FLIGHT
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.
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
NAMED FLIGHT'S BIRTHPLACE; KITTY HAWK PROTESTS
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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LOOKS AT PERIMETER TAXIWAYS
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
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...
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.
Cessna Pilot: ...About 50-knots jealous, yes.
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