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The Fight To Stay In Business

WMU Consolidates Aviation Programs...

Western Michigan University (WMU) -- which has held contracts with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Emirates Airlines and European Pilot Selection and Training, and is one of the largest aviation colleges in the U.S. -- is giving up on its foreign pilot training program. At WMU, foreign enrollment has declined from a peak of 126 in 1999 to 26 this year. The University will instead offer an accelerated program for both international and domestic students. Robert Aardema, interim dean of the College of Aviation, said in a statement Monday, "...we've looked at our staffing levels and, with our domestic enrollment growing rapidly, we integrated our domestic and international faculty and staff. The new structure allows us to focus on our nearly 1,000 U.S. students, but still keep our international options open." WMU started its international training program in 1997 and the last of those contracts will expire this spring. Those airlines have chosen to suspend training until their need for new pilots returns, according to WMU's statement.

...As Foreign Enrollment Plummets

The new Certified Accelerated Pilot Training program, which will be open to both foreign and domestic students, follows a 13-month intensive training model. The program is FAA-certified and the FAA's European equivalent is expected to offer its approval as well, the university said. As the university continues to scrutinize its aviation programs and adapt to a changing aviation environment, one option under consideration, according to a report this week in the Kalamazoo Gazette, is privatization of the flight-training portion of the university's program. "It has the potential to be less costly to the student," interim Dean Aardema told the Gazette. "But the college dean has less control of the quality of instruction. We certainly don't want to compromise the quality of the program." The college intends to maintain enough staff to resurrect the foreign program when demand rebounds. "We have been carefully evaluating several options," WMU Interim President Daniel M. Litynski said in Monday's statement. "The results should be clear in the next few months." David Thomas, director of external relations for WMU's aviation college, told the Gazette, "If the war, for some reason, didn't take place, I think there'd be a leap in the economy and a leap in bookings immediately and suddenly the airlines will be looking for pilots. If it's a long war, you can make it as bad as you want."

Don't Give Up The Ship

Eclipse Setbacks Ripple Local Economy...

Vern Raburn, the CEO of Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque, is not one to give up when the going gets tough, according to a report in Tuesday's edition of New Mexico Business Weekly. Says Raburn: "If you are going to engage in something that is difficult, you have to be attuned from the very first day that ultimately you are going to do this until you die trying." Although the company has chosen a Pratt & Whitney engine to replace the Williams jet, which Eclipse says failed to live up to expectations, the glitch has set back the company's delivery schedule by two years (to 2006), and has the local economy waiting for some 2,500 high-paying aviation jobs to materialize. Local economic-development officials also must defer their dreams to turn Albuquerque into an aviation manufacturing center. Eclipse had planned to begin building a $75 million manufacturing plant this year at Double Eagle II Airport. Those plans now have also been pushed back by about two years, according to the Business Weekly.

...As Small-Jet Race Continues

While Eclipse works to redesign its program, other manufacturers are hot on the trail. Diamond Aircraft, of Canada, plans to build a single-jet five-passenger aircraft, with a powerplant yet to be determined. Diamond plans to deliver its D-Jet by 2006 with a price tag "well under U.S. $1 million." Adam Aircraft, of Colorado, also using Williams engines, plans to start delivering its $2 million A700 bizjet late next year. Safire Aircraft, in Florida, has chosen a larger model of the Williams engine, the FJ-33, to power its light jet, and plans to fly it next year. Cessna's contender, the Citation Mustang, will run on Pratt & Whitneys and sell for about $3 million. Then there's Honda. What could prove to be a dark horse in this steeplechase: Honda Motor Co. has been secretive about its plans, but is reportedly developing a twinjet in the $2 million to $3 million range that would fly with very economical Honda jet engines. Last Week, Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) and Honda Motor Co. announced they will join forces to study the feasibility of producing more bang for the buck through a next-generation piston aircraft engine for the GA market.


Report: War Would Cause Loss Of 70,000 Airline Jobs

The Air Transport Association released a report on Tuesday that predicts a war in Iraq would precipitate an economic freefall in the U.S. -- with the airlines leading the plunge. According to the report, "Airlines In Crisis: The Perfect Economic Storm," economic damage could be so severe that "there is serious risk of chaotic industry bankruptcies and liquidations" and "the prospect of a forced nationalization of the industry is not unrealistic." Jobs lost, already topping 100,000, would increase by an additional 70,000 to 98,000, the report said. Further, said ATA President James May, "The economic risks go far beyond the airline industry -- the stakes for the entire U.S. economy are extremely high." In the event of war, says May, "the outlook for the airline industry is bleak." The report based its analysis on a review of the impact of the last Gulf War -- which it says sent the airlines into a spiral that required a four-year recovery -- and the current state of the industry, which is struggling under multibillion-dollar losses stemming from the impact of 9/11, the sluggish economy, and rising fuel costs.

Above And Beyond: Women In Aviation History

This year's Centennial of Flight collided with Women's History Month, and one result is a 29-minute film from ArtReach-International called "Above and Beyond: 100 Years of Women in Aviation." The film debuted this week at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, near Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, and will be shown there twice daily through March, and also at the Women in Aviation International (WAI) conference in Cincinnati, later this month. WAI will salute 100 influential women from the first 100 years of aviation. Honorees, past and current, include: Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins and Martha King, co-owner of King Schools. Jeanna Yeager, pilot on the Voyager around-the-world record-breaking flight, and the WASPs are also on the list. The film "Above and Beyond" profiles about a dozen female aviators, from Katharine Wright, sister of the Wright brothers, to Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman, to Collins, the first female Space Shuttle commander.

NOTE: For more information about seeing "Above and Beyond" in Arlington, call (703) 533-1155.

Sino Swearingen Launches Second Light-Jet Test Aircraft

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp., of San Antonio, Texas, announced last week it has launched a second copy of its SJ30-2 twinjet as part of its FAA flight-test certification program. Sino Swearingen says the SJ30-2 seven-seat twinjet will have a range of up to 2,500 nautical miles, cruise speeds in excess of Mach .80, a maximum certified altitude of 49,000 feet, and will be certified for single-pilot operation. During last week's flight, several tests were conducted, including handling, stability, control, powering each engine back to idle, turns, banks and general maneuvering. The company said all the tests went well. CEO Carl Chen said, "Today's flight is another huge boost to the company and the FAA certification program. In a short time we will have a third aircraft flying .... We are also installing ground-to-air telemetry to help complete the FAA flight testing in a substantially shorter time." The jet is expected to sell for about $5.5 million.

FAA Use Of Designees Under Microscope

The General Accounting Office will investigate the FAA's practice of using private contractors and designees to inspect and certify airlines' planes and aircraft alterations, USA Today reported Monday. The probe was requested last week by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) of the House Aviation Subcommittee, who asked the GAO to study the FAA's inspection designee program. DeFazio cited several recent reports that raised questions about the number of designees -- more than 20,000 -- and the FAA's oversight of the program. DeFazio asked the GAO to determine how large the designee programs are and what activities they perform; what the FAA's procedures are for hiring, overseeing and removing designees; and whether the FAA has plans in place to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of its designee programs. DeFazio also asked the GAO to check into how the FAA manages its enforcement options for the airlines, such as warnings, fines, and suspension or revocation of operating certificates.

The 1903 Wright Flyer, Unveiled

Yes, it seems a little late in the game to unveil an airplane that first flew 100 years ago -- but this is a brand-new painstaking reproduction of the Wrights' famous flyer, ready to meet the public. With spring kicking into gear, Sun 'n Fun just around the corner, and the aviation show season about to rev up, EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk is gearing up. Next Tuesday morning, at Reagan Washington National Airport, the very aircraft that will fly at Kill Devil Hills on Dec. 17, 2003, to re-enact the Wright brothers' first flight, will be revealed. The Flyer will travel the country this year and will fly over Kitty Hawk, N.C., on the 100-year anniversary, at the exact date, time and place where the Wright brothers made their first flight. Special guests at Tuesday's special event will include Amanda Wright Lane, great-grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright; Ken Hyde of The Wright Experience, builder of EAA's 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction; plus sundry functionaries, officials, and public servants.

How's Lycoming Doing With Replacement Engines?

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is tracking customer satisfaction with Lycoming's efforts to get owners impacted by its recent crankshaft recalls back in the air. If you were affected by the recall and would like to participate in the survey, contact Aviation Consumer at

On The Fly...

The Civil Air Patrol will receive the National Aeronautic Association's Frank G. Brewer Aerospace Education Trophy for 2002, in recognition of "significant contributions of enduring value" for more than a half-century of leadership in educating the nation's young people on the many opportunities available to them in the fields of aviation and space flight...

The Transportation Security Administration intercepted more than 4.8 million prohibited items in its first year of passenger screening at the nation's 429 commercial airports, the agency announced Tuesday. Those items included 1,101 firearms, nearly 1.4 million knives, nearly 2.4 million other sharp objects including scissors, 39,842 box cutters, 125,273 incendiary or flammable objects, and 15,666 clubs...

A British Airways Concorde had engine problems and returned to Barbados shortly after takeoff last Saturday. The supersonic jet landed safely but was grounded and has not yet been returned to service...

The FAA will hold its 28th Annual Aviation Forecast Conference on March 18 and 19 at the Washington, D.C., Convention Center. The theme of this year's conference is "Aviation's Recovery: Timing, Strength, and Structural Change?" At the conference, the FAA will release its Aerospace Forecasts Fiscal Years 2003 - 2014, with estimates of activity and growth in aviation products and services...

Flyers find Florida's facilities finest: Tampa International Airport is the nation's best airport, according to a poll of readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine, and Orlando and West Palm Beach airports are close behind. The criteria: location and ease of access; ease of connection; customs and baggage handling; food, shops and amenities; and comfort and design. Tampa ranked third in the world behind major airports in Singapore and Amsterdam ... which might cause one to wonder what special comforts and amenities might be found there.

AVweb's Picture Of The Week...


We received over 50 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Erin Hutchins, of Grand Rapids, Minn. As we begin to prepare for the pleasures of spring, Erinís picture reminds us of the uniqueness of winter flying. She photographed this 1946 ski-equipped Champ sitting on frozen lake at minus 20F temperature. Great picture, Erin! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to

AVweb's Question Of The Week...


We received over 1,200 responses to our question last week on crosswind landing techniques. About one-third (29 percent) of those responding prefer to hold a crab during final approach and just before the flare. On the other hand, 26 percent prefer slipping the aircraft on final approach.

To check out the complete results, including comments, go to


This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the effects of war on the GA industry. Please go to to respond.

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to Note, this address is ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.


Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) makes it fast and simple to apply for term life insurance and offer your family the protection and financial security they would need in your absence. Apply with PIC in minutes and save up to 40 percent off what you currently pay for similar insurance coverage. With over 50 years of aviation experience, PIC knows what you fly and can accurately base quotes on both your aviation and medical information. For a personalized quote from one of PIC's professional agents, call PIC today at 1-800-380-8376 or just go online.

Sign up now for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight over the U.S. and Canada. Simply enter an N-number to track a flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated ETAs. The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month. Subscribe now.

Purchase any LightSPEED ANR headset and receive a LightSPEED logo flight bag FREE, a $30 value, till March 31. For this, and fantastic prices on all your pilot supply needs, go online and visit Marv Golden today.

SUBSCRIBE TO AVIATION CONSUMER AND SAVE - PLUS GET FREE ACCESS TO THE subscribers-only Web site packed with ratings and evaluations of aircraft, avionics, aviation products and accessories. If you want to enjoy greater confidence when you buy and when you fly, start your AVIATION CONSUMER subscription now! Visit them online.

It's March. It's Madness. It's the 50-percent-off sale on all Pilot's Audio Update tapes. Cassette tapes such as "Getting the Most Out of ATC," "Are You Ready for an Emergency," and others, to help you be a better pilot. Review the entire library and save through March 31.

ASA offers aviation textbooks, books for pilots, books for mechanics, FAA test-prep guides, checkride essentials, FAA publication reprints, and a vast array of pilot supplies. Pilots from student to ATP, CFIs, flight engineers, and maintenance technicians will all find what they need in ASA's big online catalog.

It's a FREE download. Dave Higdon (yes, you know him as an AVweb special projects editor) has assembled a gallery of images from his lifetime love affair with all things airborne. Dave hopes these photographs speak to your aviation dreams and passions. Take a look!

Klyde Morris isn't Irish, but he knows how to catch those of you that are with a St. Patty's Day March special. With any purchase from his Web site you will receive a FREE autographed Klyde Morris poster, suitable for framing, of course.

Kennon Covers is offering a spring discount of $15 on a full set of their sun shields. Now is the time to order and save. Offer ends April 30.

With 17 percent of general aviation fatalities caused by controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), MountainScope is a safety essential. Its display gives situational awareness of your surroundings in plan and 3-D views with pictorial warnings of dangerous obstacles or terrain. Terrain elevation points at 90-meter intervals provide the basis of the topo and 3-D map displays to the viewer. Overlaid onto the terrain are familiar aviation charting symbols to provide guidance to the closest airports and navaids in case of emergency or disorientation. Flight Planning and Track Logging are additional features. For a FREE demonstration go online.

Order "Flying and Learning: Basics for Every Pilot," a book for all levels of pilot skill, and receive one of four children's books -- while supplies last. For an in-depth AVweb review of "Flying and Learning" go online.

SHAKE OFF WINTER'S COLD. BASK IN THE WARM SUN OF AN ISLAND VIDEO from Current Productions and plan a trip to those exotic tropical destinations in Mexico, Central America, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Current Videos provides all the technical and flying information along with a travelogue for resorts, destinations and activities. MARCH FEATURED VIDEOS: Caribbean AND Cayman Island videos, $59.95, save $10 with free U.S. shipping.

Get to those Sun 'n Fun evening activities with the folding 17-pound HANDYBike. This German-engineered, all-aluminum, racing-inspired bike folds so small that one for each passenger can be carried in a Cessna 172. Order in time for a speedy delivery. It is available online.


TRADE-A-PLANE ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS ARE UPDATED DAILY with Product/Advertiser Index, Dealers/Brokers, Forums, NAAA Evaluator, Performance Database, Spec Sheets, and Weather. Order your subscription online.

Whether it's smoke in the cockpit or a fire in your hotel or office building, the EVAC-U8 is an escape device that gives you 15 minutes of breathable air to help you get to safety. The patented EVAC-U8 smoke hood has a Kapton hood that resists 800 degrees to protect your head, plus an air-purifying filter that removes carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. Order the EVAC-U8 smoke hood and other medical and safety products online.

"Traffic! 12 o'clock, high one mile!" is what you will hear -- loud and clear -- from Ryan International's TSO-certified 9900BX TCAD with "Audible Position Alerting." Enhance your flight safety by installing a Ryan TCAD. Locate a dealer near you to receive a FREE interactive CD-ROM. SUN 'N FUN ATTENDEES: Come by Ryan's Booth #D071-072 to learn more about flying with the Ryan 9900BX.

What the new WX information -- beamed directly into the cockpit -- will mean to you; Landing Gear Mishaps; Successful Crosswind Landings; VFR the Sane Way; Avoiding the Wire Environment; plus accident reports, service difficulties, and real-life experiences. Don't miss an issue. Order today.