"Mars has been a most daunting destination. Some -- including me
-- have called it 'The Death Planet.'"
So says NASA's associate administrator for space science Ed Weiler.
Indeed, Mars has claimed its share of probes. Fully two-thirds of
the missions sent to Mars have fallen prey to its harsh climate,
communication difficulties and the tenuous nature of the Earth-Mars
Gus McLeod has a dream. The Gaithersburg (MD) pilot wants to set
a record for flying over both the North and South Poles in a
single-engine piston aircraft. He wants to show "there's still
magic in aviation." The 49-year old father of three leaves Monday
in his one-of-a-kind, Korean-built Velocity Firefly.
McLeod, who became the first man to ever fly over the North Pole in
an open-cockpit aircraft, will make the flight in a Velocity
"Firefly," obtained from Korean Aerospace Research. "It flies like
a little race car," said McLeod, who owns a medical supply company.
"It's just a little rocket sled." The pusher-prop canard aircraft
is designed for long-range flight at more than 200 kts. "They told
me the writing said 'Korean Aerospace Research,' " McLeod said. "It
could say 'This is
A New Zealand pilot, attempting to fly from Hilo (HI) to
Woodland (CA) died after making what parajumpers described as a
good water landing.
Kelvin Stark, 58, had made this kind of ferry flight several times
in the past, according to the US Coast Guard. Although the ferry
aircraft, a PAC 750XL made in New Zealand, carried enough fuel for
a 17-hour flight, Stark ran out of avgas only 11 hours 45 minutes
into the journey. Stark was delivering the Pacific Aerospace
aircraft to Utility Aircraft Corporation in Woodland (CA), where it
was to be converted for use by skydivers.
As part of its most ambitious military project since the
collapse of the Soviet Union 12 years ago, Russia Friday launched
its first flight of upgraded SU-27SM fighters from the company's
manufacturing plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The aircraft flew to
their new base at the Russian Air Force training center in Lipetsk,
where they'll undergo testing before becoming fully
The SU-27SM features new engines and updated avionics and already,
Russian pilots are thrilled beyond comparison. "They still smell of
fresh paint. They are like factory-fresh cars," a smiling squadron
leader, Yuri Gritsenko, told NTV television.
The explosion of low-fare carriers has spread beyond the US and
Europe and is now rocking the air travel market in Asia. The West
Australian Newspaper calls it something akin to an "aviation gold
rush," even though the worldwide market continues to reel from
9/11, the war on terror and the SARS epidemic.
"We ain't seen nothing yet," said Peter Harbison, managing director
at the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, a consulting firm based in
Sydney. "This is going to be a big, big movement."
"It's caught everyone by surprise. They're saying it's too many
planes that want to come to Fort Lauderdale, so they're holding
them at airports around the country."
So said Jim Reynolds, spokesman for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood
International Airport, after the FAA imposed a traffic management
stop on all flights to the airport Friday. Sheesh, and it's not
even Spring Break yet.
"They still smell of fresh paint. They are like factory-fresh
Source: Russian Air Force squadron leader, Yuri
Gritsenko, on the arrival of a flight of Sukhoi SU-27SM fighters
fresh from the factory. The deployment is part of Russia's $11.7
billion military aviation upgrade planned between now and 2005.
As their January 10 strike deadline approaches, Mesaba Airlines
pilots announced today they will open additional strike operations
centers in Detroit and Memphis. Earlier this month, Mesaba pilots
opened a strike operations center in Minneapolis. A strike would
impact 600 daily departures for Northwest Airlines.
"We deserve and have earned a fair contract," said Capt. Tom
Wychor, Chairman of the Mesaba ALPA Unit. "Mesaba pilots don't want
a strike, we want a contract. But we are prepared to strike if
management forces us to."