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January 28, 2004

2003: A Very Good Year For Mooney

Deliveries in Increased 350 Percent

Mooney Airplane Co. announced on Monday that in 2003 the company delivered 35 airplanes, a whopping 350 percent increase from the number of aircraft delivered in 2002. Deliveries included 29 Mooney Ovation2 models and 6 Bravo DX aircraft. Mooney President J. Nelson Happy remarked: "We are very pleased with the company's sales and deliveries in 2003. It exceeds our expectations, and reflects the hard work that all of our employees put into restarting the company." Sam Rothman, chairman of Mooney's board, stated: "We accomplished a great deal in 2003. We went from a production rate of one airplane per month to about five per month. We are now well positioned to increase production in 2004. We have proven that the company is bac

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ASF: Dual Instruction Safe; Room for Improvement

Study Spotlights Two Areas Of Concern

A just-published Air Safety Foundation study on flight training safety has confirmed that instructional flight is actually safer than most other types of GA flying, especially personal aviation. But the study also pinpointed two areas of flight training with higher fatality rates than others: low-level maneuvering flight and failure to see and avoid, leading to midair collisions. The special ASF analysis showed that the rate of instructional accidents continues to decline along with the overall accident rate, and also that fatal accidents are a very small percentage of the overall number of GA accidents. But low-level maneuvering during training carries additional risk, the study confirmed. One of every three fatal accidents during

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Groen Brothers Aviation Goes Russian

American Autogyro Inc. Signs SparrowHawk Dealer in Russia

Groen Brothers Aviation Inc. announced Tuesday that its wholly owned subsidiary, American Autogyro Inc. (AAI), is further expanding its sales network by opening a dealership in Moscow, Russia. The dealership is owned and operated by Mr. Alex Lameko, President of the TwistAir Club in Moscow. This is AAI's fifth international dealership location. In addition to selling the AAI SparrowHawk, Mr. Lameko's dealership will provide service, pilot training and builder assist programs for SparrowHawk customers in the region. "We are very happy that we could form this relationship with Mr. Lameko and the TwistAir Club," says Mr. James Mayfield, President of AAI. "Alex is very well known in the region and is very familiar w

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ATG Gets A Helping Hand From New Mexico

Company Clears Barrier To Building In Albuquerque

New Mexico may have another personal jet manufacturer setting up shop in-the-not-too-distant future. Englewood (CO)- based Aviation Technology Group (ATG) got preliminary approval last week for $15.25 million in funding from New Mexico's State Investment Council's Direct Investment Program. The council's Private Equity Advisory Committee unanimously gave the go-ahead to consider investing $6.25 million in the manufacturer, which plans to build a manufacturing plant in Albuquerque if the funding is approved. The full council voted Tuesday on whether or not to proceed with the funding but results of the meeting were not available by ANN's deadline. ATG is asking the state to provide half of a $12.5 million round o

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These Balloonists Are Full Of Hot Air

Duo's Bid to Cross Pacific

Two adventurers took off from Japan in a hot-air balloon early Tuesday, attempting to be the first to cross the Pacific Ocean since British entrepreneur Richard Branson made the trip in 1991. Team leader Michio Kanda, 54, and his partner fired burners before dawn to lift their red, yellow and blue balloon into the air from heir launch site north of Tokyo. Called the Amanogawa No. 2, the 120-foot-tall balloon is about eight times bigger than the average hot-air balloon with a square, mostly aluminum gondola. Kanda said the flight would probably take about 50 to 60 hours. He and his partner, 26-year-old graduate student Naoki Ishikawa, plan to land somewhere in Canada, or in Washington or Oregon, depending on wind conditions.

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It's Good To Be Bombardier: Mesa Orders 20 More 20 CRJs

Mesa Air Group is spending big... and has placed a firm order for a total of 20 Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional jets. The mix of models will be determined at a later date. The order is valued at an estimated $637 million U.S. ($837 million Cdn.) and represents the conversion of 20 of the 40 options that Mesa holds on the Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 aircraft. Mesa Air Group currently operates 69 Bombardier CRJ aircraft including 43 CRJ200, 15 CRJ700 and 11 CRJ900 aircraft. In addition a further 11 CRJ200 from Midway Airlines will soon join its fleet. When the delivery of this recent order is complete Mesa Air Group will operate some 114 Bombardier CRJ aircraft and will have options on another 20 regional jets.

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Kitty Hawk Event Hops/Flops, But The Missouri Flyer Does Fly!

ANN Note: We are pleased to be very good friends with a wonderful little regional publication by the name of Fly-Low. Published by Ralph McCormick, we're pleased to note that every now and then he sends us a neat story from Fly-Low to share with ANN readers all over the world. Here's a good one... "Hallelujah!" hollered Bill Ghan as pilot Don Nevels (below, center) throttled up the Missouri homebuilt Wright Flyer replica and lifted off the runway. "I knew it would fly!" Bill Ghan stated proudly as his Wright Flyer replica made its first sustained flight on Saturday, January 10, 2004. It maintained twenty miles per hour for 290 feet, and reaching an altitude of about ten feet above the runway. The hand made aircraft stayed aloft for 9.67 seconds

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Report: Raytheon Selling Wichita Fabrication Business

GKN Aerospace May Be In The Market

According to a report in the Seattle Times, Raytheon Aircraft Co. is close to selling off its Wichita fabrication division to a British company called GKN. In the story, which was a next-day follow-up to another article on the possibility of Boeing selling its on Wichita plant, the Times says British aerospace supplier GKN Aerospace "is already close to a deal to buy Raytheon's fabrication division in Wichita." The newspaper cites an unnamed source identified only as an executive with a Wichita aerospace supplier with the sale of the Raytheon Aircraft unit. If true, this news is not entirely surprising, as Raytheon Aircraft officials have publicly stated in the past that the company plans to move to a business model in which i

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FAA Relaxes GPS Installation Guidance

Eliminates "New Technology" Label

The FAA has eliminated the “New Technology” label from GPS and now allows repair stations to install GPS’s using standard alteration criteria that would be used for any navigation system. The agency describes the new criteria via AC 20-138A. The AC also clarifies Flight Manual supplement issues for GPS installations.  A GPS installation which is a minor alteration may still need a FMS The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) says it is extremely pleased with the publication of this Advisory Circular.  After working with the FAA for years to revise this “outdated” label, AEA commends the agency for modernizing their installation criteria for one of the most common system installat

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GA Group Sees A Future In China

Consortium To Visit Far East

Uniworld LLC (Uniworld), based in the San Francisco Bay Area and with offices in Beijing, China, announced on Tuesday it is forming a consortium of General Aviation (GA) related companies and individuals to take advantage of Uniworld's extensive experience and position in China's civil aviation market. Members of the consortium, after being educated about the potential offered through the historic recent opening of China's airspace to General Aviation activities, will go to Beijing, China to meet with their Chinese GA- related counterparts at GA Forum 2004, May 24-27. The Forum is organized and presented by Uniworld and is co-hosted by the China Civil Aircraft Development Co., China Aviation Oil Holding Co., Beijing Capital Airport

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FAA Clarifies Part 145 Letter of Compliance Requirement

LOC Is NOT Required As Part Of The Part 145 Rewrite

The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) informs us the FAA has recommended that Part 145 certificate holders review their Letter of Compliance (LOC) or update it as a means to verify their compliance posture with respect to the new Part 145 rule. This FAA recommendation is a request and has been left up to the discretion of the certificate holder to determine if it is, in fact, necessary.  If they choose not to update or submit an LOC, it will not affect the accomplishment of the FAA's review of manuals or other documents submitted to comply with the rule requirements. The Association recommends that repair station’s review their original LOC for applicability, however, the additional admini

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Mineta Addresses Future Air Gridlock Concerns

Calls for Immediate Action To Deal With Congestion

On Tuesday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta announced plans for a new, next generation air transportation system with expanded capacity to relieve congestion, prevent gridlock and secure America’s place as global leader in aviation’s second century. In a speech before the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., the Secretary warned that recent delays at Chicago’s O’Hare airport marked the return of increased passenger demand for air travel and potential gridlock in the skies. Mineta said that the FAA has set in motion several airspace modernization plans to add capacity and improve efficiency, including seven new air traffic control towers; five new terminal air traffic control fac

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The Ups and Downs Of Mars Exploration

Opportunity Prepares To Move While Spirit Sits

Like any new arrival grabbing all the attention, NASA engineers were thrilled to watch, the Opportunity rover sent home its first color snapshot from Mars. However, engineers reported Monday that its ailing twin, Spirit, seemed to be suffering from a problem trying to manage too many files. Sounds like the ANN office.   Spirit has spent 23 Martian days, or "sols," on the red planet, the last five or so without much activity, while Opportunity has completed two and will spend a week or two moving cautiously through the steps required for it to stand up and roll off onto Mars' terra firma. The team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is increasingly convinced that Spirit's problem has a remedy, possibly related

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Part of Columbia Astronaut's Diary Found

Ramon's Personal Affects Returned To Family

Sections of a diary belonging to one of the seven astronauts killed last year when the space shuttle Columbia broke apart over Texas were found a few months ago and returned to his family, according to a published report. The Jerusalem Post reported that sections of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon's diary were found in a Texas field with other debris.The diary was submitted to the Israel Police for help in deciphering what was written, since the pages were written in Hebrew and some of the pages were full of holes, the newspaper reported. Johnson Space Center spokesman James Hartsfield confirmed on Friday that any personal items found among the debris were returned to the astronauts' families. Columbia broke

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Fuel Starvation Strikes...Again

Improper Planning Leads to Highway Landing

Just before noon on Sunday, an out-of-gas Cessna 210 with four aboard made a firm landing...on the top of a GMC Jimmy SUV. The aircraft then bounced on to Memphis' I-40, where the automobile was travelling on. There were no injuries. The airplane didn't have any apparent damage. The airplane came to rest close to the Austin Peay exit, about two miles west of touchdown. The pilot was on his way from Albany (GA) to Fayetteville (AR) and planned to refuel in Memphis. Unfortunately, he fell victim to  bad case of improper fuel management. Hopefully, this pilot, and everyone one else out there, will remember to never totally rely on POH fuel figures and certainly not the fumbling gauges found on most older Cessnas

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Fire Scout Gets Army Wings

Northrop Grumman's UAS Takes Flight

The Northrop Grumman Corporation-built Fire Scout vertical takeoff and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle system has officially lifted off as the Class IV unmanned aerial system (UAS) for the U.S. Army's Future Combat System (FCS). Northrop Grumman received an eight-year, $115-million contract for the program's system development and demonstration phase from The Boeing Company and Science Applications International Corporation, the Army's FCS lead systems integrators. During this phase, Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector will develop the Class IV UAS architecture, produce seven RQ-8B Fire Scout air vehicles, perform system tests and evaluations and help develop long-lead future requirements. Northrop Grumman's

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FLIR Systems and Max-Viz Join (Armed) Forces

Will Provide Enhanced Vision Systems for Military and Government Helicopters

FLIR Systems, Inc. announced Tuesday it has entered into an agreement with Max-Viz to act as the exclusive distributor of Max-Viz's Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS) for use in selected rotary wing aircraft applications worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement with FLIR, Max-Viz maintains executive transport, emergency medical services (EMS) and commercial utility helicopters as its customers. Max-Viz EVS provides pilots with increased situational awareness and the ability to react when unaided vision is impaired due to darkness or visual obscurants. Utilization of the system directly addresses the three major flight safety concerns today: controlled flight into terrain (CFIT); approach

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Virtual Flying Translates Into Real Recruiting Power

Navy Recruiting Gets Third F-18 Flight Simulator

Navy Recruiting Command has added a third F/A-18 Super Hornet full-motion simulator to its arsenal of attractions that support recruiting around the country. The simulator, provided by Pulseworks, is one of three aviation simulators Navy Recruiting uses around the nation. The Navy's partnership with Pulseworks began in 2000, and since then, Navy Recruiting has used two 20-seat simulators to showcase naval aviation as part of the Navy’s “Accelerate your Life™” recruitment campaign. The new simulator seats eight and will allow for the attraction to set up at venues that the larger 20-seat simulators could not attend due to logistical problems. The simulator made its first stop Jan. 2

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Report: FAA Neglected Pre 9/11 Hijack Threat

Smuggled Explosives Seen As Main Threat

A federal commission investigating the tragic events of September 11, 2001 claims the FAA failed to adequately prepare for hijacking prevention and focused too much on a perceived threat from explosives smuggled aboard planes The preliminary report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States said that in a presentation to airline and airport officials in early 2001, the FAA discounted the threat of a suicide hijacking because there was "no indication that any group is currently thinking in that direction." In July 2001, the FAA issued a warning to air carriers but did not mention suicide hijackings. Instead, it focused on the possibility that some terrorist groups might conceal explosive devices

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (01.28.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"Without actionable intelligence information, to uncover and interdict a terrorist plot in the planning stages ... it was up to the other layers of aviation security to counter the threat" Source: An excerpt from a published report by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. The 10-member, bipartisan commission was established by Congress to study the nation's preparedness before September 11 and its response to the attacks, and to make recommendations for guarding against similar disasters. FMI:  www.9-11commission.gov

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