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Copyright © 2002 AOPA.
| Protecting GA |
| AOPA DEVELOPS CONTACTS IN NEW DEPARTMENT |
President Bush on Monday signed into law the bill creating the Department of Homeland Security (Public Law 107-296), the largest reorganization of the U.S. government in more than 50 years. The law consolidates all government security-related functions under one department. Among the agencies that are moving into the new department that have a direct impact on general aviation are the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs Service. "The Department of Homeland Security will have a significant role in the future of general aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Fortunately, AOPA already has an extensive range of contacts within the new department, starting at the very top." AOPA secured language in the bill requiring TSA to use "all reasonable measures to ensure efficiency and a viable transportation system as it fulfills its security obligations." Language opposed by AOPA that would have expanded temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) over chemical weapons plants, further breaking up airspace, was removed from the bill before final passage. See AOPA Online.
AOPA AIRPORT WATCH PROGRAM GETS UNDER WAY
The toll-free number to report suspicious activity at an airport-866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287)-goes live on Monday (December 2). The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which is funding and operating the 24-hour hotline, has partnered with AOPA in providing an easy-to-remember national number as part of AOPA's Airport Watch program to help protect national security at our nation's general aviation airports. AOPA also has created posters and pamphlets to show pilots examples of suspicious activities, steps pilots can take to help law enforcement, and sensible precautions for improving airport security. The brochure is available online and will be mailed to the more than 388,000 AOPA members next month. See AOPA Online.
| GA News |
| ECLIPSE NIXES WILLIAMS ENGINE |
Citing a history of "constant failures," Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn said Wednesday that he has terminated the company's contract with Williams International. Williams, maker of the Eclipse 500's EJ22 engines, "failed to meet the terms of our contract," Raburn said in an interview. "It's an immature design, and was way behind its schedule. The engine never came close to meeting its advertised 750-lb thrust rating...there were hung starts, hot starts...and turbine wheels came apart in our test cells." Raburn also noted that the EJ22 couldn't stand up to duty cycle requirements, saying "...we didn't have confidence that the engine could meet the high cycle-to-hours ratios our air-taxi customers would need." Maintainability was another issue; any engine repairs required shipping the entire engine to Williams, Raburn said. The contract cancellation will cause a delay in Eclipse's type certification target date, originally set for late 2003 or early 2004, but the extent of the delay will depend on the selection of the successor engine. Eclipse said it was looking at two "Fortune 100" engine suppliers, and would announce its decision by the end of the year. "The new engines-whatever they are-will have more thrust, and therefore the Eclipse 500 will cruise faster than initially stated, and use less runway on takeoffs," Raburn said. The downside is that the Eclipse will most likely gain weight, and therefore require more fuel capacity to meet range goals.
...AND WILLIAMS ISSUES STATEMENT
Williams International, meanwhile, issued a brief statement, contending that it had met all of its contractual obligations to Eclipse. "Williams International has encountered a number of challenges in the ongoing EJ22 engine development and its integration into the aircraft. Continuing development of the Eclipse 500 jet aircraft has also resulted in Eclipse asking Williams International for increased engine thrust beyond the near-term growth capability of the EJ22 engine," the statement read.
PANEL CALLS FOR MORE AIRPORTS, FASTER CERTIFICATION
A high-powered White House commission on aerospace last week told President Bush that the United States needs to make a substantial commitment to improving air transportation, including building new airports and runways. The Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry reviewed everything from general aviation to the space program. Transforming the U.S. air transportation system must become a national priority, the panel members determined. The commission also called for a new certification process that will make it easier for companies to bring new and needed products to market faster. The report recommended changing from a system that requires each new product to be certified individually to one that certifies aircraft and equipment designers and manufacturers, making sure they have safety built into their design, testing, and quality assurance programs. See AOPA Online.
CHILDREN TEAM UP WITH RUSSIAN AIRPLANE TO DELIVER JOY
Next month three million American children will team up with the world's largest airplane to send thousands of shoebox gifts to needy kids around the world. The Antonov 225, originally built to carry the Soviet space shuttle, will be making its first commercial flight to help Operation Christmas Child airlift 80,000 gifts to children suffering from HIV/AIDS in Uganda and war in Sudan. Since 1993, the project has distributed more than 18.5 million shoebox gifts to children who suffer from disease, war, poverty, famine, and natural disasters in 120 countries. Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization. See the Web site.
GARMIN IMPROVES GPS RELIABILITY
Do you ever get that pesky RAIM alarm on your GPS and have to switch to another form of navigation because something has gone wrong with the signal? Garmin has announced a software upgrade to its 400/500 series of avionics that enables you to continue using the GPS for navigation. Called Fault Detection and Exclusion (FDE), it is an algorithm that monitors the accuracy and reliability of GPS signals, detects erroneous GPS data, and excludes that data from the active navigation solution. "FDE offers an increased level of safety to pilots flying over the Atlantic or Pacific or in remote areas where navigation aids are scarce," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing. "When incorporated in our proven line of panel-mount avionics with color mapping, FDE becomes an invaluable tool for navigating safely to one's desired destination." FDE is now standard in 400/500 series avionics but will be available as an upgrade to current owners.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| FIELD APPROVAL POLICY CREATES PROBLEMS FOR AIRCRAFT OWNERS |
AOPA has asked the FAA to rescind recent changes to its policy regarding FAA approval of routine major aircraft alterations/repairs, better known as field approvals. The revised policy is being interpreted by many FAA inspectors as more limiting than the previous policy, meaning fewer field approvals, more delays, and increased bureaucratic red tape that make the field approval process impractical. Operators indicate that FSDOs all over the country are balking at signing off on routine field approvals for things like wingtip strobes and drum-to-disc brake conversions not already covered by a supplemental type certificate (STC). AOPA has experienced the problem firsthand with its Sweepstakes Waco aircraft, when the shop was denied a field approval to install improved brakes on the 1939 airplane. The FAA issued the new policy on September 13 and publicly stated that the changes were intended to improve field approval service in all parts of the country. But it has had the opposite effect. See AOPA Online.
AOPA LENDS SUPPORT FOR KEEPING HOUSTON AIRPORT OPEN
AOPA is working to ensure that a Houston, Texas, general aviation airport stays open. In a meeting with key officials of Fort Bend County and the City of Arcola, Texas, AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn pledged the association's support in converting privately owned, public-use Houston-Southwest Airport (AXH) to a publicly sponsored airport. Acquisition by the county would allow the airport to receive federal airport improvement funding. More than 150 GA aircraft are based there. The Houston area is still reeling from last year's closure of Houston Gulf Airport in League City. See AOPA Online.
AOPA MEMBERS BREAK PILOT TOWN MEETING ATTENDANCE RECORD
AOPA President Phil Boyer concluded 2002's slate of 26 Pilot Town Meetings (PTMs) on November 14 with a successful gathering in Denver. Five hundred pilots turned out, bringing the total number of pilots attending PTMs this year to more than 8,200. That's 1,000 more than last year's record-setting attendance. Since Boyer first "took the show on the road" over a decade ago, more than 61,000 pilots have participated in these sessions. See AOPA Online.
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| On Capitol Hill |
| CONGRESS ADJOURNS WITHOUT PASSING MEIGS LEGISLATION |
Congress adjourned for the year without passing critical legislation that would preserve Chicago's Meigs Field. Legislation introduced by Rep. William Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) would uphold the deal made by Mayor Richard Daley and outgoing Gov. George Ryan to expand O'Hare, preserve Meigs, and provide a third Chicago airport in Peotone. Federal legislation codifying the deal struck between the governor and the mayor will assure the preservation of the airport. "AOPA has worked tirelessly with Mayor Daley, Gov. Ryan, Rep. Lipinski, and Sen. Durbin to pass the Chicago airports legislation and we will continue to do so. Meigs Field is a Chicago landmark and an integral part of its airport system. It must be kept open," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. The legislation will be reintroduced in January for the 108th congressional session.
| Quiz Me! |
|Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: Where does it say that English is the recommended language for aviation communications?
Answer: The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted international standards, recommended practices, and procedures for air navigation services. Annex 10 (Aeronautical Telecommunications) states in Chapter 126.96.36.199.2, "Pending the development and adoption of a more suitable form of speech for universal use in aeronautical radiotelephony communications, the English language should be used as such and should be available...at all stations on the ground serving designated airports and routes used by international air services."
CLARIFICATION: In reference to last week's question about obtaining out-of-date charts, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) indicated that it is only able to make black and white photocopies from the originals. AOPA is supplying a list-provided by the NARA-of commercial vendors that provide high-quality reproductions ( click here to download). AOPA members also have informed the association that old charts are for sale on eBay.
Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
| Picture Perfect |
|Just in time for holiday gift giving, we've made it easier than ever to order photographic prints from the AOPA Online Gallery. The fabulous photography that has helped make AOPA Pilot the world's most popular aviation magazine can now be yours to enjoy anywhere, in a variety of sizes. Select your favorite photo from among the hundreds in our collection, make a few keystrokes into a secure e-mail form, and a high-quality print of your selection will be shipped to your doorstep. And of course you can still download your favorite images to use on your computer. For more details, see AOPA Online. |
| Weekend Weather |
|See the current weather on AOPA Online, provided by Meteorlogix. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS |
Houston, Texas. The American Yankee Association South Central Grumman Fly-in takes place December 7 at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). Contact Tom Jackson Jr., 361/442-5440, or visit the Web site.
North Canton, Ohio. A Mr. and Mrs. Claus Fly-in takes place December 8 at the Military Restoration Museum at the west end of the Akron-Canton Regional Airport (CAK). Sponsored by Women With Wings, a chapter of The International Ninety-Nines. The famous couple will arrive at 1 p.m. Contact Patricia Synk, 330/945-7518.
Aviation activities traditionally slow down at this time of year, and you may not receive a regional calendar each week. To submit an event to the calendar, or search all events, visit AOPA Online. For airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online .
For comments on calendar items, contact [email protected].
ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Austin, Texas, and Denver, December 7 and 8. Clinics are also scheduled in Orlando, Florida, and Chicago, December 14 and 15. Attend a FIRC during the month of December and receive a free ASF umbrella! For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.
ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter® Ground Schools will take place in Denver, December 8; and Orlando, Florida, December 15. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminar schedule will resume in January, featuring The Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings. See video clips and read the Safety Advisor publication that accompanies this new program on the ASF Web site.