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December 17, 2003

Boeing Decides

Well, it wasn't a terribly big surprise, but Boeing today formally announced it's going ahead with its first new commercial aircraft line in 13 years. At least, the salesmen can start. Boeing can now make sales proposals to airlines around the world. The company expects those sales proposals to result in firm customer commitments and a production go-ahead, or formal launch, in 2004.

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AIA To Boeing: Standing Ovation

Industry reaction to Boeing's decision to move forward with its 7E7 Dreamliner project was fast and positive. The following is a statement from Aerospace Industries Association President John W. Douglass: The aerospace industry applauds The Boeing Company's decision to proceed with the 7E7 as the next great advance in commercial aviation. This will be a vibrant, far-reaching program that will take the world into the second century of powered flight.

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HondaJet Flight Tests "Officially" Underway

Honda Motor Company's HondaJet, a new experimental compact business jet equipped with Honda-developed HF118 jet engines, successfully completed the initial flight test this month at Piedmont Triad Airport (NC). The company says, compared with conventional jets, this experimental aircraft offers superior fuel efficiency and remarkable cabin space. The engines are optimally positioned on the upper surface of the main wing in a unique configuration that reduces drag at high speed and increases cruising efficiency. This layout also eliminates the need for structural engine mounts in the fuselage, creating over 30 percent more cabin space than in a conventional aircraft.

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NWA Delays RJ85 Repo Decision

Is it an economizing move in a rough aviation economy or a strong-arm tactic aimed at reining in pilots who demand pay hikes? In either case, it may not happen just yet. Northwest Airlines says it's thinking about putting off until the end of February a decision on taking possession of some 30 Avro RJ85s currently on lease to Mesaba. Coincidentally (or not), that decision comes as Mesaba, which provides regional service for NWA, is deadlocked after two-and-a-half years of contract talks with its pilots.

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Cirrus Captures Centennial Moment

Cirrus, the official aircraft of the First Flight Centennial Celebration and manufacturer of the Centennial Edition SR22, revealed that the final Centennial Edition SR22 aircraft was to be issued its Certificate of Airworthiness (COA) today; 100 years to the minute from when Orville and Wilbur Wright first demonstrated powered flight (10:35 a.m. ET, 1903). The custom-painted Centennial Edition SR22 was introduced at AirVenture 2003 to commemorate the Centennial of Flight. The entire series of 100 fully loaded performance Cirrus SR22s sold out to customers in 92 days.

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More Room To Land Due In London

The UK's national carrier, British Airways, says it's pleased as punch about a decision by the UK government to allow a new runway at Heathrow Airport. Heathrow handles around 64 million passengers a year, making it by far the busiest international airport in the world.

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Fossett And Delore Achieve 3 New Records With 13 Hour Glider Flight

Flying in the Andes Mountains, Steve Fossett (USA) and Terry Delore (NZL) Saturday capped a highly successful 2003 southern hemisphere summer gliding season with one of the top flights ever in the sport of gliding - the first ever 1500 kilometer (932.1 mile) triangle. Simultaneously, they set three new world records for speed and distance, bringing their season record total to six and their career partnership total to nine. Their aircraft was a 2-seat, German built ASH 25 Mi high-performance sailplane of carbon-composite construction, with a 25 m (82 ft) wingspan and a 60-1 glide ratio.

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British Environmentalists Protest New Aviation Plan

The British government's decision to add runways at both Heathrow and Stansted may be good news for airlines and their passengers, but it already has environmentalists up in arms. Friends of the Earth says the addition of more runways, of course, means the addition of more flights and that, they say, means an increase in the proportion of carbon dioxide attributed to aviation will more than double by the year 2020.

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LAX Centennial of Flight Festival

Los Angeles World Airports marks 100 years of aviation progress since the Wright Brothers' first flight and Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX's) 75th anniversary with a Centennial of Flight Festival on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will begin with a commemorative ceremony featuring five historic aircraft types once used to provide commercial passenger service at LAX and the sealing of an aviation-related time capsule. The vintage aircraft will arrive this afternoon (Tuesday) and early Wednesday at the Flight Path Learning Center aviation historical museum in the LAX Imperial Terminal at 6661 West Imperial Highway. The airplanes represent the significant passenger aviation advances of their respective eras. The aircraft are the 1920s-era Ford Tri-Motor, an e

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Israeli Anti-Missile Test Straight As An Arrow

Israel successfully tested the Arrow–2 anti-missile missile Tuesday morning, intercepting an incoming rocket at high altitude, the Defense Ministry announced. It was the 11th test of Israel's anti-ballistic missile system. The United States has put up most of the funding for the Arrow program and US officials were on hand for the test. Describing the test launch as "routine," a defense ministry statement said its objectives were to demonstrate the Arrow's systems improved performance against incoming targets at a higher altitude.

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Gulfstream G550 BizJet Establishes New City-Pair Distance Record

Gulfstream Aerospace tells ANN that its newest large-cabin, ultra-long-range G550 business jet has established a new city-to-city record between Tokyo and West Palm Beach (FL) flying 6,619 nautical miles nonstop at an average cruise speed of Mach .83. The record flight commenced at 11:58 p.m., November 9, when the G550 took off from Haneda Airport in Tokyo. It flew for 12 hours and 32 minutes crossing the International Dateline and landing the same day at 10:30 p.m. at the West Palm Beach International Airport.

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AF Leaders Speak on First Hundred Years Of Aviation

The following is a joint message from Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper: “It was the most significant 12 seconds of the last 100 years. “On Dec. 17, 1903, two bicycle builders from Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright, launched the world on a path to the heavens when their rudimentary airplane of wire, wood and canvas wings lifted off a windy, grassy hill at Kitty Hawk (N.C.). “Since their marvelous achievement, aviation has enabled our expansion, enhanced our commerce and expanded our communication...

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ICAS 2003 Follow-Up: Closing Notes

Through four long days and longer nights at the Wyndham-Anatole Hotel in Dallas, ANN tried talking with all 1,532 people at the ICAS convention. A few of the results: Tom Weber, Aerobatic performer, Phoenix, AZ: “This was a pretty good show… not as frantic as last year. I’m hoping to do 18-20 shows next year…I think we’re still in a recovery following 9/11. As far as Dallas and this hotel…well, I don’t like $14 hamburgers and $4.50 for a bottle of water. It wasn’t very user friendly.” Duane Carroll, TBM “Ida Red”: “Well, we didn’t sign any deal, but made a lot of good contacts…some good possibilities. Too much walking at this hotel, though… I&

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Coast Guard 'Ancient Albatross' At Kitty Hawk

Across the Wright Brothers National Monument on Monday, there were a variety of uniforms. Plenty of guys and gals in flight suits, then a pack of Naval Officers in their blues, with white covers, an Air Force Major in his blues, and then another set of blues with some serious gold braid around the cuffs. Wait a minute…that would be an Admiral, right? In Blues? Hmm. That sort of cuts it down to the Coast Guard, and it turns out to be Rear Admiral Jim Olson, call sign "Ox" who has the distinction of being the "Ancient Albatross" of the Coast Guard, the aviator who has been on duty the longest period of time… the senior aviator, based on when he got his wings. For Admiral Olson, that would be in May of 1972.  If you're like me…that makes you feel

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ICAS 2003 Follow-Up: 'Spooky' Back In Action

The AC-47 Gunship earned it’s spurs almost 40 years ago flying fire support missions over South Vietnam. Developed from the C-47 it gave a new lease on life to that venerable and legendary airframe. It has always bothered me that aircraft unique to the Vietnam War have gotten, like so many of it’s Veterans, a “short shrift” when it comes to air show performances or appearances. However, the tide seems to be turning. Not only is the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation flying their fleet of big green machines, but the American Flight Museum in Topeka, Kansas has taken to the sky in their AC-47 “Spooky 71."

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A Pilot By Any Other Name...

He is Whiteman 7. He is Spirit 36. He is "GQ." He is the first Whiteman-trained B-2 Spirit instructor pilot. And now, he is the project officer for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Spirit of Missouri’s arrival at Whiteman today. Col. Scott Land, 509th Operations Group deputy commander, who has been assigned here three times during the last 10 years, has been a part of the B-2 program from its infancy.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.17.03)

"Success four flights Thursday morning all against twenty one mile wind started from level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty one miles longest 57 seconds inform press home Christmas." Source: Orville Wright, in a December 17, 1903 telegram to his Father, noting the success of their efforts, ushering in a new age of transportation for all of humanity. 

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USAF Airmen Resume Refurbishing Tankers

As the saying goes, it's what's on the inside that counts. That is the case for a 45-plus-year-old KC-135 Stratotanker that has recently gone through an interior sprucing-up, by airmen of the 92nd Maintenance Squadron’s equipment excellence shop. "These improvements are critical to our mission," said Col. Anthony M. Mauer, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. "It's no small task, but the folks in maintenance are doing an incredible job keeping this aircraft (ready)."

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USAF Airmen Control Northern Iraq Flights Despite Ancient Facilties

With equipment older than many of its users, air traffic control services here present some unique challenges for the 32 people keeping Air Force and Army aircraft operating safely. Adapting to the challenges, airmen working in the 506th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron are responsible for Kirkuk’s airspace and all the airspace of northern Iraq, officials said.

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Flight Testing Under Way For Third Block of C-5 Avionics

Lockheed Martin and the Air Force have started flight testing the latest block of software developed for the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP). Testing began on Dec. 12 with a 4.8-hour flight from the company's facility here in an upgraded C-5B. Called Block 2.1, this is the third of four major software builds in the modernization program. It alone represents one third of the total amount of software code to be developed for AMP. More than 90 percent of the code to be developed for AMP is now in flight test.

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