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February 24, 2004

Comanche Helicopter Program Gets Axed

Cancellation Will Cost Army At Least $10 Billion

The Comanche helicopter has caused many to awe at its reported stealth characteristics, advanced flight controls, and superb firing platform. Well, forget all that because the entire program has been axed by Uncle Sam. The Army has decided to cancel its Comanche helicopter program, a multibillion-dollar project to build a new-generation chopper for armed reconnaissance missions, officials said Monday. The contractors for Comanche are Boeing Co. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.

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UPDATE: The Real Scoop On Gus McLeod's Polar Journey

The Good News: Gus And Plane Are Okay

On Monday, ANN gave you the latest update on Dr. Gus McLeod's effort to become the first person to solo circumnavigate the world from pole to pole. Unfortunately, the spokesperson who talked to us on McLeod's behalf, confused a few of the developing news items. So, we decided to talk to Duane Swing, owner of Velocity Aircraft Inc, the company providing key aircraft support for McLeod's trip. McLeod's aircraft -- called Firefly -- is a modified version of the Velocity design. Swing told ANN the Firefly's engine did not lose total power during his landing in a rural town north of Buenos Aires, Argentina. "The engine began to rough and Gus decided to make the landing," he said. "It (the engine) never stopped". The aircraft touched down -- und

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Bombardier Eyes Florida For Engine Sales Hub

Company Examines Using Space Coast Facility

Another aircraft engine maker is considering Florida's Space Coast as a distribution site for its new line of engines. Bombardier Motor Corp. of America, an affiliate company of Montreal-based Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., hopes to choose between Titusville's Space Coast Regional Airport and a site near Duluth (MN), by the end of the month. The Space Coast Regional Airport has agreed to a three-year lease of hangar space with Bombardier if it picks Titusville.

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A New Look For The Caravan

New Luxury Interior On Display at Asian Aerospace

Asian Aerospace attendees have their first chance to see the Cessna Caravan sporting its new luxurious, jet-like interior. The 1000th 208B Grand Caravan, which will be on display throughout the show (held February 24-29, 2004), is owned and operated by retail customer Supap Puranitee. The 1000th 208B Grand Caravan is one of the few precursors to the OASIS interior that is now offered by Cessna and Yingling Aviation, an authorized Cessna Pilot Center and Service Station in Wichita (KS). Cessna and Yingling Aviation have established an agreement that enables Caravan customers to order their Yingling OASIS interior from Cessna for installation by Yingling under their exclusive STC.

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Cessna Piston Sales Take Flight In China

Two G1000 Equipped Stationairs Planned for China

Cessna likes China and with good reason. The manufacturer says its single engine piston aircraft sales in the Far East and Pacific region have been robust throughout 2003, and 2004 is expected to culminate with the delivery to China of two new Turbo Stationairs equipped with Garmin's new, all-glass G1000 PFD and MFD avionics suite. In August 2003, Cessna announced the sale of the first Turbo Stationair in China. The T206 Turbo Stationair was delivered in January 2004 to Beijing Sport Aviation School. The institution will use the aircraft for commuter service, skydiving missions, and aerial surveys. The aircraft is also expected to be used in the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing.

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NATA Conducts Survey On Air Tour Rule Impact

Takes Lead On Industry Coalition

Wanting to get the word out on pending regulations that promise to make life a lot harder for sightseeing operations, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) released a survey on Monday targeted at members offering air tour and sightseeing flights under Part 135 and Part 91, respectively. These operations are the subject of an on-going rulemaking effort by the FAA. NATA members conducting air tours under Part 135 and all flight schools that offer sightseeing flights will receive the survey via email. The association has also posted the survey on its Website. 

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Caravans Populate Asia Pacific Region

Cessna Celebrates Another Stronghold

While Asian single-engine piston sales are becoming a source of much celebration at Cessna, its Caravan line is the dominant factor in the Asia Pacific region. The company claims Cessna Caravans are becoming more popular in the Far East and Pacific region as is evident by the influx of recent sales to new markets. Nearly five percent of the company's 1,400 Caravan deliveries have been delivered to the Far East and Pacific region.

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FAA Factors AOPA Concerns Into Final Air Carrier Airport Rule

Agency Promises To Work with Smaller Airports

The FAA has built flexibility into a stringent final rule on air carrier airport operations. Because the new rule now affects much smaller airports, AOPA had expressed concern that the high cost of meeting certification requirements, such as aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) equipment, would be passed on to general aviation pilots at those smaller airports. Because of AOPA's advocacy, those airports may be able to waive some of the requirements, reducing their costs, and ultimately the cost to GA pilots.

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American Airlines Workers Arrested In Drug Sting

Federal Agents Take Suspects Into Custody In Miami

At least 14 current and possibly former American Airlines employees at Miami International Airport have been charged with drug conspiracy in a suspected smuggling operation after a four-year investigation, U.S. government sources said. Federal drug agents picked up the first of the suspects at dawn Monday. Some of the defendants wearing American Airlines mechanic-type uniforms were seen in handcuffs being taken into custody at DEA offices in Miami. The U.S. attorney's office in Miami released a statement saying 14 people have been charged with drug conspiracy in two indictments.

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Bad Luck For Two Tokyo-bound Flights

Engine Trouble, Turbulence Affect Flights

The last couple of days have not fared well for Tokyo-bound flights. Two different US airliners were forced to return to their departure airports after running into trouble over the Pacific. An American Airlines flight that took off from Kennedy International Airport was forced to turn back due to engine trouble, authorities said.  A United Airlines flight from Hawaii to Japan hit severe turbulence over the Pacific Ocean on Monday, injuring three crew members who were later hospitalized, officials said.

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US Airways Formulates New Business Plan

Significant Labor Concessions Needed To Succeed

A broad new US Airways business plan released late last week calls for simpler fare structures, improved employee productivity and other measures aimed at lowering costs, while boosting revenue. However, a successful restructuring plan likely will have to also include significant pay, benefits and work rule concessions from labor to accomplish its goals and keep the nation's seventh-largest airline flying into the future. US Airways officials have been mum regarding specific details of its new business plan. However, the Association of Flight Attendants posted an eight-point overview of the plan, called "Framework for the Future," on its Web site following a meeting last week with US Airways president and CEO David Siegel and oth

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Russian Shuttle To Replace Aging Spacecraft

Soyuz To Give Way To Clipper By 2010

Russia is developing a manned space shuttle of a radically new design capable of carrying six cosmonauts, claims a high-ranking Russian space official. Boris Sotnikov, a deputy head of the Energia space corporation's R&D center, says the new spacecraft may replace Russia's current Soyuz space vehicles in 2010. According to Sotnikov, Clippers will be used for self-contained orbital flights lasting up to 10 days and will also serve as a base for various  scientific experiments. In addition, the new spacecraft will have a capacity to carry as many as four "space tourists", three more than the Soyuz is able to haul.

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Russia, Japan Back Delayed Space Shuttle Launch

What Choice Do They Have?

Russia and Japan, two key partners in the International Space Station, understand the need to delay the U.S. space shuttles' return to flight until next year, a top NASA official said on Friday. "They're not going to push us or rush us in that regard ... They are comfortable with where we're going," said Michael Kostelnik, the No. 2 official in NASA's shuttle and space station program. He pointed out one key reason why: "There is no other vehicle to complete assembly" of the space station.

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Southwest Airlines Donates Boeing 737 Section To Flight Museum

Donation Joins Museum Move

When the new Frontiers of Flight Museum (TX) opens this spring, one display will be the forward section of a Boeing 737-200 airplane donated by Southwest Airlines. Southwest, which makes its headquarters at Love Field, retired aircraft N102SW in late January and airline employees have volunteered to work in their off-time to get the section ready for the museum. The donation comes as the 15-year-old museum prepares to move out of its old location, a 5,500-square-foot cranny in the Love Field terminal, to a new, $9 million, 100,000-square-foot, stand-alone building at 6911 Lemmon Ave. at the airport.

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Miami Rethinks Plans For Historic Airline Site

Watson Island Aviation Complex Under City's Eye

Now that the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau is no longer moving to Watson Island, Miami officials are rethinking the use of 5.6 acres on prime land. The only tenant enlisted to occupy the parcel so far is Chalk's Ocean Airways, owned by Miami entrepreneur James Confalone. Chalk's, the the world's oldest scheduled airline, currently operates a small terminal on the island, uses Biscayne Bay as the runway for its seaplanes heading to and from the Caribbean. Early last month, the city picked Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national consulting firm, to come up with different development alternatives for the waterfront site.

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DFW Hosts First Ever Facilities Management Conf. of Industry Execs

New Standards to Build And Maintain New Terminals

Skyscrapers and schools have them. So do hospitals and shopping malls. But in the airport business, there are no consistent benchmarks for airline terminals, no performance data for multi-billion dollar facilities and infrastructure construction projects built for millions of travelers. DFW International Airport officials are intent to make that change. The airport, in partnership with the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), will host the first-ever Airport Facilities Council for airport and airline executives March 25-26 with the goal of establishing industry-wide standards to measure and benchmark airport facility performance, and ultimately the potential development of industry facility design, operations a

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.24.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"We are on track and fully funded until we hear otherwise." Source: Sikorsky spokesman Matthew Broder commenting on media reports of the US Army's decision to cancel the Comanche helicopter program. Although killing the 20-year Comanche project would save tens of billion in future costs, the cancellation decision is expected to require the Army to pay at least $2 billion in contract termination fees.

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AD: Rolls Royce Turbofan Engines

AD NUMBER: 2004-04-05

MANUFACTURER: Rolls Royce SUBJECT: Oil System Check SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for Rolls-Royce Corporation (RR) (formerly Allison Engine Company) AE 3007A, AE 3007A1/1, AE 3007A1/2, AE 3007A1, AE3007A1/3, AE 3007A1P, and AE 3007A3 turbofan engines. That AD currently requires initial and repetitive inspections for bearing material contamination of the engine oil system. This AD requires the same inspections but with an extended repetitive inspection interval, and adds terminating actions to the repetitive inspections required by this AD.

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AD: General Electric Turbofan Engines

AD NUMBER: 2004-04-06

MANUFACTURER: General Electric SUBJECT: Airworthiness Directive 2004-04-06 SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain General Electric Company (GE) CT58-100-2, CT58-140-1, -140-2, and T58-GE-1, -3, -5, -8E, -8F, -10, -100, and -402 turboshaft engines. This AD requires the removal from service of certain fuel flow divider assemblies.

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AD: General Electric Turbofan Engines

AD NUMBER: 2004-04-04

MANUFACTURER: General Electric SUBJECT: Master VG Actuator Fault Messages SUMMARY: The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for General Electric Company (GE) CF34-8E series turbofan engines, with certain serial number (SN) master variable geometry (VG) actuators installed. This AD requires initial and repetitive reviews of the airplane computer systems for master VG actuator fault messages. This AD also requires replacement of actuators reported faulty by the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

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