Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Where to Enlist in the Fight Against User Fees

OK, aviators, the games have begun, the warm-up is over. Already Congress is hearing from the FAA and the airlines about the "need" for a radical new tax structure to fund the FAA; Congress is also hearing from the various alphabet-soup groups opposing this "toxic proposal," as NBAA's Ed Bolen called it.

This process will continue in stops and starts throughout the coming months until a final piece of law emerges, passes and goes to the White House for the president's signature -- all of which needs to be done by midnight of Sept. 30, 2007.

Now and maybe several other times throughout those months: Time for you to let your voice be heard. Here are some Web sites that can help you craft that calm, reasoned, logical letter expressing your view on paying higher fuel taxes and new user fees to fly as a general aviation pilot.

If you fly on business or for business, you can use the NBAA contact site: www.nbaa.org/userfee

If you are an AOPA member, you can get help here: http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2007/070222congress.html

If you are an EAA member, here's that site: http://www.eaa.org/govt/index.html

And for what it's worth, you don't have to be a member of any outfit to use information on contacting your member if Congress available from AOPA and EAA...but you might want to join as a way of saying, "Thanks for the help."

Now's the time, fellow flyers!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gathering Of Mustangs Attracts USAF Heritage Week

Aero-news reports:

Both Events To Be Held This September In Columbus, OH

Aero-News has learned the US Air Force selected Columbus, OH as the site of this year's Air Force Heritage Week, in conjunction with the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends at Rickenbacker International Airport in September.

These are just the hottest looking airplanes!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Remedial Education at DFW ATC...

Seems that an airline pilot with a fuel emergency was denied his requested runway because it was counter to the pattern in use...well, not the next time:

The Video Story link:
The Dallas Morning News Text:

Incident at D/FW spurs retraining

Controllers schooled on emergency procedure after pilot request denied

11:10 PM CST on Tuesday, February 20, 2007

By KATIE FAIRBANK / The Dallas Morning News kfairbank@dallasnews.com

Air traffic controllers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport recently were retrained after an American Airlines pilot declared an emergency but was told he couldn't land on the runway he requested.
The crew on the Aug. 31 flight between Tulsa and D/FW declared a low-fuel emergency and asked to land against the flow of traffic.
"We're not sure if it's a fuel leak or what, but we need to get on the ground right away, please," the captain of the aircraft is heard saying on audiotapes obtained by WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
A controller supervisor is then heard to say that type of landing would delay other flights. The controller went on to suggest that the pilot land on a different runway or possibly go into Dallas Love Field.
Ultimately, the captain accepted landing with the air traffic and put the jet down safely at D/FW.
"That is not normal," Denny Kelly, a retired captain from Braniff Airways who now works as an aviation consultant, said about the air traffic controller's decision. "That airplane could have run out of fuel, flamed out and crashed."
Mike Conely, representative of Local D10 at D/FW for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said that controllers weren't happy either when they heard the tapes.
"A lot of the controllers were upset. They heard the tape between the controller and the supervisor. What really transpired here is the supervisor made a bad decision," Mr. Conely said.
American Airlines said the emergency declaration resulted from a bad valve causing false readings on the fuel gauges in the cockpit.

"American feels that its pilots need to know that when they have a fuel emergency, they will receive the appropriate help from the air traffic control in this type of situation," airline spokesman Tim Smith said. "They have to feel if they have a fuel emergency, they'll get the support they need."

The Federal Aviation Administration has retrained all of the controllers at the airport to clarify how to handle such incidents.

"This was a situation where there was confusion about the term 'minimal fuel' and 'fuel emergency,' " FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. "The controller was confused about the distinction. When the supervisors became aware of the incident afterward, they used the tapes as an opportunity to retrain everyone in the facility that if a pilot declares an emergency, he should be allowed to land on the runway he's requested."

Since the retraining, a similar incident occurred at the airport Feb. 1.

"They, in fact, stopped all the arrivals and departures," Ms. Brown said of that incident.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NPR report on FAA funding proposal

NPR report on FAA funding proposal.

Corsair crash at air race

Quietly dramatic video (1994?) of Corsair at an air race (Phoenix?). The aircraft on fire, the pilot successfully bailing out, and the aircraft impacting the ground.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Airbus 380 Touch 'n Go

Man, that is one big airplane! I wonder if we'll get one at Oshkosh this summer?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Here! FAA Releases New Funding Proposals

...and we must apologize -- we were wrong; FAA wants only to triple GA fuel taxes, add fees to access the 30 busiest airports, fees for medical and airman certificates, and the right to re-set these items -- and more! -- every two years!

You can hear and see the FAA's justifications here:

and here:

and here, for some FAQs:

Let the debate now really begin.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

GAMA Gets to Gloat!

The numbers are in and in a couple of ways, 2006 was a record year for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association -- no less so than in the record $18.8 billion in sales recorded...

But 2,750 pistons, regardless of how good that sounds for contemporary times, still pales next to those five-digit years of the late 1970s...ah, for the good-old days, we have the new good-old days...


Love the Loran You're With

This fromk AIN Alerts on Tuesday:

Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Loran
A public survey by the DOT and Homeland Security drew more than 900 responses about whether Loran should be kept operational or shut down. Pending an official tally, a preliminary count indicates that around 93 percent of the responses supported continued operation, divided roughly into 40 percent each from aviation and marine users, and 20 percent from other interests, including telecommunications giant Sprint, which values Loran’s timing as a GPS backup. Aviation supporters included the Air Transport Association, AOPA, Boeing, the National Air Transportation Association and NBAA, which suggested that additional time be given to establishing the full aviation benefits of e- (enhanced) Loran. International Loran Association president and former FAA administrator Langhorne Bond hailed the strong endorsement of the system after so many stays of execution. On January 8, the Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security issued a request for comments on Loran. The comment period closed on February 7.

Now for those of you who don't know, Loran is a product of WWII that has already evolved considerably over the decades...The FAA even (somewhat grudgingly) started paying attention to Loran C in the early 1980s, when the first panel-sized navigators started hitting the market...

We want to know we have a back-up to GPS; Loran is less vulnerable to some shortcomings of Loran; Loran already exists and new advances have come along in Europe...how about staying smart and exploiting an existing, low-cost technology we already understand?

Just a thought...

Enough with the Ice Airport already

OK, so I'm being a little obsessed with this thing, but there's not much Aviation going on up here in NE this time of year. And it's about to snow a foot, then rain, so who knows how much longer this year it will last.

Anyway, this was too good to not post. Also by way of the AANH.

Two interesting landings on the ice.

Parking on the ice

Another pic from the Alton Bay Ice Airport. Feb 11, 2007.

[Pic from Carsten Schanche of AANH]

Friday, February 09, 2007

Alton Bay Ice Airport Open

This report from a member of AANH.

"Pleased to announce that the Alton Bay ice runway is plowed and open for business."

UPDATE: More pics, from Ossipee Aviation.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Go get 'em, Sam!

Seems the junior senator from here in Kansas isn't swallowing the White House/DoT/ATA line on FAA Funding, according to this same-day account from GAMA:

Ms. Katie Pribyl
(202) 393-1500
Released: 02.08.07 at 14:55


WASHINGTON, DC, February 8, 2007 - Today, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) welcomed questioning by Congressional leaders regarding the Administration's contention that they must establish user fees to achieve transformation of the national airspace system.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) questioned Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters this morning before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. The Senator questioned the Secretary on her plans to implement user fees and significantly raise aviation fuel taxes.

He began by pointing out that the President's budget shows that the upcoming FAA reauthorization bill and its user fees and fuel tax scheme would raise LESS revenue than simply extending current law and tax rates. Administration budget documents show that between 2008 and 2012, the new user fee scheme will raise approximately $1 billion less than the current funding mechanism.

The Senator went on to ask, "How can you say your funding proposal is needed to modernize our nation's air traffic control system when you would raise less revenue over the next five years?”

"I'm pleased to see that within days of the Administration releasing its budget, Members of Congress are asking tough questions about this ill-advised funding scheme. We hope that more Members of Congress will challenge the Administration's rhetoric that our aviation system cannot be modernized without implementing user fees," said Pete Bunce, GAMA's President and CEO.

GAMA is an international trade association headquartered in Washington, DC representing over 50 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics and related equipment. GAMA's members also operate fleets of aircraft, fixed based operations, and pilot training and maintenance training facilities. For additional information, visit GAMA’s website at www.GAMA.aero.


Go get 'em, Sam...we can only hope for more of the same from our senior senator, Pat Roberts, and all four Kansas members of the House. Shucks, Sen. Sam's stance may even win him some pilot support for his fledgling presidential bid.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

King Air decompression miracle

Aero-News Net [and AvWeb] is reporting on the inflight decompression of a King Air with what appears to be a miraculous recovery and safe landing.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Episode #14 Feedback

Use this "open thread" to post comments about Episode #14 "Course Correction".