Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Get This Man a BBJ!

The leader of Great Britain flies on the commercial airlines!

AP via Yahoo!:

A commercial jet carrying British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and his family slightly overshot a runway at the Miami International Airport on Tuesday, but the plane was not damaged and no injuries were reported, officials said.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Brazil Airline System in Uproar

BBC News:

Brazil's president has demanded that the country's aviation authorities take action to end months of delays and temporary closures at major airports.

On Thursday, angry passengers staged a protest on the Tarmac in Brasilia.

In recent days up to 44% of flights have been delayed or cancelled, according to the authorities.

The problems started in October when air traffic staff began a work-to-rule protest following the deaths of 154 people in Brazil's worst plane crash.

Air traffic controllers say they are overworked, underpaid and understaffed, putting safety at risk.

#10 correction: Cirrus, not Eclipse

In Uncontrolled Airspace #10 I said that I thought Eclipse was offering a support package to its owners which included an instructor pilot.

The program I was thinking about is actually from Cirrus.

-- Jack

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Give us a call.

We've created a way for you to give your feedback in the form of a recorded message. Just call the new UCAP Listener Line at 206-495-6532 and leave your message just like a voicemail.

Give us some feedback on an episode, a tip on some hot story, or just tell us about some flying adventure.

Check it out.

UCAP #10 posted

We just posted episode #10 of the podcast. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cool Paint Job

Monday, December 18, 2006

If the Herald thinks it's a good idea...

I've felt for some time that the idea of raising the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots was a good one.

Today the Boston Herald came out in an editorial supporting the plan.

So now I'm reconsidering.

It's a flying dog!

The gift of flight

To anyone familiar with general aviation, this story is nothing special. But it's an example of the kind of marketing and promotion that is all too rare, but which every flight training FBO should be pursuing.

Forget the new gaming systems and tickle-me-whatevers, for $49 you can give anyone, any age, the gift of flight.

Law Aviation at the Anderson Municipal Airport is offering one-hour sight-seeing flight gift certificates that never expire.

"Whoever has the certificate gets to pick where they want to go within a half-hour," said Dave Cravens, chief operating officer. "Most people want to fly over Anderson or they choose to fly over the reservoir."

Read the whole article.

If you'd like to give an airplane ride as a holiday gift, visit your local airport, and look for the "learn to fly" sign.

A good kind of problem

This post points to an article which isn't directly about aviation. It's about how the excellent movie "One Six Right" was produced. But this paragraph at the end is kinda cool.

“The film has actually caused a small problem,” [producer/director Terwilliger] says. “People now come in from the East Coast not to visit the airport or for any other reason than to enter into their logbook that they landed on runway One Six Right. And if they get diverted to One Six Left, a parallel runway, they refuse to land. They go around, enter the traffic pattern, and come back until they get their clearance.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday is Wright Brothers Day...

Hope you can celebrate with some approtiate activity...go flying, go to the airport and watch some flying, take a pilot to lunch (or, more appropriately, to a bar...)

It's officially Wright Brothers Day!



Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release December 15, 2006

Wright Brothers Day, 2006

- - - - - - -

by the President of the United States of America a proclamation

America has a rich history of exploration and discovery, marked by scientific and technological achievements that have transformed the world. On Wright Brothers Day, we remember two aviation pioneers from Ohio whose big dreams and extraordinary accomplishments helped change the course of human history.

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright completed the first manned, powered flight in history and ushered all of mankind into a new era of possibility and promise. With Orville at the controls, the Wright brothers' small aircraft traveled 120 feet in 12 seconds above the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The age of flight had begun, and in the decades that followed, advancements in aviation would enable determined American risk takers to cross oceans, break the sound barrier, and walk on the Moon.

Today, our Nation follows the Wright brothers' example of innovation as we continue to explore the frontiers of air and space. My Administration has outlined a vision for space exploration that includes a return to the Moon and a long term human and robotic program to explore Mars and the solar system. By working to expand the realm of the possible, we can gain a better understanding of the universe and continue the journey that the Wright brothers began more than a century ago.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved December 17, 1963, as amended (77 Stat. 402; 36 U.S.C. 143), has designated December 17 of each year as "Wright Brothers Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation inviting the people of the United States to observe that day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 17, 2006, as Wright Brothers Day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


# # #

Florida court upholds law limiting homebuilding

The Florida Times-Union:

Local aviation enthusiasts received bad news when a Duval County judge upheld a city ordinance that bans anyone from tinkering on airplanes and airboats at their homes and requires the craft to be stored in enclosed garages.

The ordinance, passed this summer, targeted Brian Kraut of Arlington, whose neighbors complained when he worked on his Midget Mustang airplane.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bay State groups attempting to create aero museum

From Boston.com:

The large, nondescript steel hangar on the Concord side of Hanscom Field belies a colorful past.

The site was once a hotbed of aeronautical research, where pioneering navigation and radar systems were developed from 1948 to 2001.

Initially under the direction of the legendary Charles Stark Draper, then an institute professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the hangar has been called the MIT Instrumentation Flight Facility and the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Flight Facility. Today, the vacant building is simply known as the MIT Hangar, or Hangar 24.

Now, a coalition of historic preservation groups and aviation history buffs wants to convert the hangar to a nonprofit enterprise called the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum.

Friday, December 15, 2006

My Senator's response to my opposition to User Fees

Here's what came Wednesday from Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks):

December 13, 2006

Mr. Dave Higdon

Wichita, KS

Dear Mr. Higdon:

Thank you for your letter regarding aviation user fees. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) receives its funding from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund. The trust fund receives revenues generated from passenger ticket taxes, as well as aviation fuel taxes. However, these taxes are set to expire in 2007. Many proposals have been discussed regarding how to fund the FAA. One proposal suggests the imposition of user fees on the aviation industry. These user fees would be based on air traffic control services provided by the FAA. This proposal, as well as others, will be considered when Congress debates the reauthorization of the FAA.

I understand your concerns about the possible impact of user fees on the general aviation community. Recently, I and Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) hosted the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters in Wichita to discuss our concerns regarding such an impact. In our meeting, representatives from Cessna, LearJet and Raytheon, as well as locally elected officials, stood united in our opposition to a plan that could negatively impact Kansas' economy. Secretary Peters and I will keep a constant and open dialogue during consideration of reauthorization proposals.

Rest assured, when the Senate considers the FAA reauthorization bill, I will keep your comments in mind. Again thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at http://roberts.senate.gov. You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter that will provide additional updates on my work for Kansas.

With every best wish,


Pat Roberts PR:jl

Now, folks, anyone get a warm-and-fuzzy from this?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New England Regional Airport Faces Bumpy Future

Is it possible for a regional airport to be a healthy business? A recent FAA report paints a harsh picture for Pease Airport in Portsmouth NH. From a story in the Portsmouth Herald:

Focus on the niche.

That's the recommendation for Portsmouth International Airport at Pease from a recent forecast for the New England Regional Airport System.

The Pease Airport Committee heard a brief on the report Wednesday from Ralph Nicosia-Rusin, airport capacity program manager for the Federal Aviation Administration. Nicosia-Rusin said this report estimates that by 2020 as many as 76 million people will arrive at or fly out of New England's 11 major and regional airports -- up from 43 million in 2004.

But how much Pease, which has struggled for more than 15 years to develop and maintain regular commercial service, will contribute to that estimated growth remains to be seen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Personal Airships?

Forget about very light jets, and BBJ's. How about a personal blimp?

Looking into 2007

From an online press release:
Deedee Morrison, editor-in-chief of Private Air, the luxury publication focused on planes and the high-flying lifestyle of private plane owners shares insights for general aviation as the non-commercial aviation sector is experiences unprecedented growth. Morrison talks trends for 2007- which she is calling the "Year of Flight."
Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A bit moldy, but worth some snark...

[What if one actually *produces* liquids or gels on the airplane? -- Jeb]


TSA socks controllers in the gut

By Jim Spencer
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Article Last Updated:11/14/2006 09:37:45 PM MST

A can of Hormel chili. A piece of pumpkin pie. These are the kinds of deadly items Transportation Security Administration screeners have seized from air-traffic controllers at Denver International Airport.

Need a definition of bureaucratic insanity? First, the Federal Aviation Administration refuses to let controllers leave the DIA control tower to eat lunch. Then, because of rules restricting liquids and gels on airplanes, the TSA confiscates parts of lunches that some controllers try to bring through security checkpoints.

Not all lunch items are seized, a TSA spokeswoman assured me - just stuff like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cans of soup and yogurt.

And, the spokeswoman added, controllers can bring cereal through the TSA checkpoint, then buy milk from a restaurant inside the secure area.

They better buy it on the way to work, however, because the FAA has decreed that controllers must take vacation or personal leave to go to lunch.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Aviation Groups Decry Criminal Charges in Brazil Crash

From NBAA and other sources:

Alphabet Groups Cheer Release of U.S. Pilots from Brazil
Now, Remove Criminality In Accident Investigations...

Leaders of a variety of aviation groups sent a joint-letter Thursday to Brazilian prosecutorial authorities, commending recent legal action in Brazil that should shortly lead to the release of two American pilots held in the country for more than two months, and renewing a call that criminal inquiries not be made a part of investigations into any party involved in the accident.

The pilots have been held in Brazil since September 29, when their Embraer Legacy jet had a mid-air collision with a GOL Airlines Boeing jet; all 154 people aboard the GOL aircraft were killed as a result of the event. As Aero-News reported, a Brazilian judge allowed the men to recover their passports earlier this week.

"Since September 29th, the international aviation community has been calling for a thorough investigation into this tragic accident," the letter reads. "In order to fully understand the causes behind any accident, investigators must carefully examine all evidence, including the information that is collected from interviews with those operators most directly involved. Collection of crucial data must be free from any interference by the penal system, as fear of prosecution and/or imprisonment will only deter witnesses who may be willing to assist in the investigation."

"...A criminal inquiry has no place in the investigation of any party's role in this accident," the letter continues. "We are pleased that your criminal authority is working to release the pilots involved in the accident, and we implore you to also set aside any criminal component in your investigation of the involvement of air traffic controllers or other parties in the events of Sept. 29th."

The letter was signed by the leaders of the Flight Safety Foundation, the National Business Aviation Association, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations. The document outlines several additional reasons why the organizations believe criminal considerations, like those included in Brazilian authorities' examination of the Sept. 29th accident, should not be part of aviation accident investigations. Their reasons were as follows: A situation like that which occurred in Brazil has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for applying criminal charges to any pilot or other party to accidents involved in international aviation operations, and is counter to the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization.An emphasis on criminal penalties distracts investigators from addressing the root causes of an accident, and finding ways to avoid such causes in the future. It also allows for hasty conclusions to be reached that could be proven erroneous once a full safety investigation has taken place.Hasty criminal investigations can produce conclusions, and verdicts, that could be proven erroneous once a full safety investigation has taken place.

"We understand the need for a grieving public to want to see justice served, and we do not seek to put our colleagues above the law," the letter concludes. "However, criminal investigations into aviation accidents like the one on September 29 are at odds with efforts to discover root causes of accidents and avoid future mistakes."

The letter was signed by IFATCA president Marc Baumgartner; Ed Bolen, President, NBAA; IFALPA president Dennis Dolan; Alexander ter Kuile, Secretary General, CANSO; and William Voss, President and CEO, FSF.

FMI: www.ifatca.org, www.nbaa.org, www.ifalpa.org, www.canso.org/canso/web/, www.flightsafety.org

Friday, December 08, 2006

Legacy Pilots Charged and Released

This from CNN:

The two American pilots of the ill-fated Legacy business jet were charged Friday and released; the network didn's specify what the charges are, but noted the Americans are required to return for trial...


Another BizJet Growth Forecast...

This time from JP Morgan...via SpeedNews:


JPMorgan this week said that it expects the current business jet cycle will
expand into 2009.

Because the business jet delivery cycle typically lags that of US corporate
profits by two years and JPMorgan projects that corporate profit growth will
grow at a low-mid single digit rate in 2007, our visibility at this time extends
to 2009, and any downturn in corporate profits could produce a cyclical decline
as we approach the end of the decade.

However, the globalization of demand for business jets, continued security
issues with airline service, the emergence of replacement demand, and the
potential development of an air taxi industry should all contribute to secular
growth above the 5% rate in the global airline business.

JPMorgan forecasts 884 deliveries in 2006, 1,000 deliveries in 2007 (+13%),
1,084 deliveries in 2008 (+8%), and 1,110 in 2009 (+2%), excluding VLJs such as
the Cessna Mustang and Embraer Phenom 100.

For the full forecast that includes VLJs: http://www.speednews.com/a/jpm.pdf

We Fly more safely because of this man...

From various sources...


Leonard Greene, a pilot and aviation safety advocate who invented the stall-warning indicator, among other products, died November 30 of lung cancer. He was 88. Greene was the founder of Safe Flight Instrument Corp. Greene's first stall-warning system was crude, consisting of a bicycle horn and other obscure parts, according to The Washington Post. It evolved into the systems you see on airplanes today. The stall-warning indicator was Greene's first of 60 aviation-related patents. His later patents and inventions would provide wind shear and power line detection for airplanes and helicopters. Greene also helped start the Corporate Angel Network, which arranges free transportation for cancer patients on corporate jets.

CAN announced Greene's passing emphasizing his humanitarian efforts in founding the organization -- but for far more people his invention of the stall-warning indicator stands as a landmark acheivement in flying safety, one too easily overlooked today because of the seemingly simple and totally ubiquitous nature of the device.

We should all stop and think a thought of thanks for this guy next time we wiggle that little switch during preflight...

Legacy Pilots Leave Brazil -- Yeah!

From various sources (including this from AOPA's ePilot of Friday, Dec. 8) we learned...


A federal judge in Brazil on Tuesday ordered the government to return the passports of two U.S. pilots who have been forced to stay in that country following the midair collision between an Embraer Legacy business jet and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737. Brazilian authorities had seized the passports, preventing the pilots from leaving, while a criminal investigation into the accident proceeded. Federal judge Candido Ribeiro said there were no legal grounds for restricting the pilots' travel. But the court said the two Americans must agree to return to Brazil for any further inquiry or judicial action. Both AOPA and the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations had appealed for the pilots' release, as well as the NBAA, several airilne-pilots groups and other organizations. Meanwhile, the investigation continues and Brazil's ATC system looks more and more like it's got chronic troubles to face (see below...)

Federal Turf not State

Here we go again -- another state is about to learn the limits of its authority...

This is a must-win for the aviation community and AOPA is taking the bull by the horns...


AOPA and seven New York flight schools filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of the state law requiring criminal background checks for all flight school students. "This law is unnecessary, discriminatory, anti-business, and ineffective," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "and it violates the U.S. Constitution. AOPA tried to work with the New York legislature on this issue, then gave the governor compelling reasons to veto the bill. AOPA fought a similar law in Michigan and won. We're still looking for a mutually acceptable compromise with the state of New York, but we'll fight this one all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to." The issue is not about security, but rather what part of government has the authority and responsibility for aviation security. Congress has already enacted legislation to create, "a single, uniform system of regulation for the safety and security of aviation, to be maintained by the federal government," according to the suit, and that preempts any state laws. "Beyond the constitutional issues, the New York law stands to hurt many small businesses in the state," said Boyer. "Faced with the expense of a background check, many prospective student pilots may decide to forego flight training, or worse for the New York flight schools, do their training in a neighboring state. Bottom line, nothing in this law makes New Yorkers any safer, but it sure will make some of them poorer."


Thursday, December 07, 2006

ULTRA light

Is this what they mean when they refer to a plane as a "light twin" ?

When will they learn -- UAV's must work WITH us...

Picked this up from today's AIN Alerts:

Renewed Interest Expressed in TCAS III
The FAA might revive TCAS III. The system, which would add lateral resolution advisories (RA) to the current TCAS II’s vertical commands, was proposed many years ago but dropped after technical investigations showed that it would have been extremely difficult to develop and implement. The renewed interest in TCAS III comes from the expectation that future unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) operating in the National Airspace System would be unlikely to have the climb capability required in a current RA vertical avoidance maneuver. It was suggested that an AD could one day be issued to mandate an upgrade of all TCAS II units to TCAS III standards. However, several industry specialists told AIN that such a proposal would be strongly opposed by the manned aircraft community and ATC. The established position–from the International Civil Aviation Organization down–is that UAV performance limitations should not have an adverse effect on other airspace users.

Seems the UAV community wants to see other aviation participants adapt to UAV's limitations -- rather than take the trouble to UAV's compatible on the basis of existing safety practices...such as "See and Avoid" or "Climb" or "Descend" for TCAS-conflict resolution.

Let's just say, "No," to this dangerous idea.

Your tax dollars at work


November 28, 2006

Contact: Marcia Adams Phone: (202) 267-3488

FAA Arranges Transfer of Fire Rescue Vehicles to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, DC — As part of its continuing effort to support the rebuilding of the civil aviation system in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) helped secure the donation of two surplus aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles for the Mazar-i-Sharif Airport in Northern Afghanistan.

"We are doing all that we can to help rebuild Afghanistan's aviation system," said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. "Making sure airports have the right safety equipment is absolutely essential."


"...the FAA's Office of Airports canvassed U.S. airports to determine if any had surplus vehicles."


My question: What, Halliburton couldn't shell out for a couple of fire trucks? WTF?

More on Raytheon

According to the ABS:

"Raytheon Aircraft Sale: In Negotiations

Raytheon Corp. is now negotiating exclusively with Onex Corp for the sale of Raytheon Aircraft Company, which includes Beech Aircraft.

A report in the Wichita Eagle states:

Raytheon Aircraft appears to have entered exclusive negotiations for a potential sale of the company with a team composed of Onex Corp. and Goldman Sachs, according to sources close to the deal. They were one of three leveraged buyout firms who recently emerged as final bidders for the company. The asking price for the maker of Beechcraft and Hawker products is about $3 billion, sources say. Onex Corp. has become a familiar name in Wichita after buying Boeing Wichita's commercial aircraft division in 2005 and forming Spirit AeroSystems.

See the Wichita Eagle report for more details.

Brazilian midair crisis continues

Even though the US Pilots have been released to return home, the fallout from the midair tragedy over Brazil continues to worsen.

Brazilian air traffic controllers are up in arms over the circumstances of the ATC systems in the country.

From the Globe & Mail

The crisis came to a head on Tuesday night, when officials were forced to temporarily shut down three major airports and cancel dozens of flights because of an apparent equipment failure that caused controllers to lose contact with planes.

"There has never been a day like this in Brazilian aviation," said Milton Zuanazzi, the aviation authority chief.

Stunning Number Of TFR Violations Since 9/11

From: avweb.com

Stunning Number Of TFR Violations Since 9/11

According to data obtained from the FAA by AOPA, there have been 6,658Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) violations between Sept. 11, 2001, andthe end of last month. Broken down even further, 1,632 of theseinfringements are presidential TFR busts and another 3,254 are due to"Washington, D.C. security-related" breaches, AOPA said. Some 2,672 of theWashington violations are related to pilots straying into the Air DefenseIdentification Zone (ADIZ) surrounding the nation's capital. The good newsis that Washington ADIZ busts are trending downward, an AOPA spokesman toldAVweb. Late last year, the FAA introduced a D.C. ADIZ training course, whichmight account for the decline in these violations. In July, the FAA issuedan NPRM mandating this training for entry to the D.C. ADIZ airspace, but theagency has not yet codified this requirement. The comment period for thisNPRM ended Sept. 5. Depending on individual circumstances, TFR violationscan result in anything from a warning letter to certificate suspension. Inmore serious TFR incursions, violators can be forced down by the militaryand dealt with on the ground by Secret Service agents.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Something special in the air

Flatulence, not turbulence forces plane landing in Nashville
By Samuel Shu, The Tennessean
Last Updated: 12/5/2006 3:07:10 PM

Flatulence brought 99 passengers on an American Airlines flight to an unscheduled visit to Nashville early Monday morning.

American Flight 1053, from Washington Reagan National Airport and bound for Dallas/Fort Worth, made an emergency landing here after passengers reported smelling struck matches, said Lynne Lowrance, a spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. The plane landed safely.

The FBI, Transportation Safety Administration and airport authority responded to the emergency, Lowrance said.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Is this really a b-1 bomber?

This pic is going around the net, described as the panel of a b-1 bomber. Is that right? Click img for bigger.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Passports required soon for international GA travel

AOPA is reminding us that soon we'll need a passport if our $100 hamburgers are across the border in Canada.

Passports required for international air travel in Western Hemisphere

You have less than two months to obtain a passport if you are planning to fly to Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico, or other points in Central and South America next year.

Starting January 23, you'll need it to enter (or re-enter) the United States under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative — your birth certificate and government-issued photo ID won't work anymore. And you'll need it whether you are flying in your own general aviation aircraft or if you're an airline passenger.