... And The Bad News Is That He's Stuck At McMurdo
First The Good News: On Monday 8
December, Australian pilot, Jon Johanson became the first pilot to
fly a homebuilt, single engine aircraft over the South Pole. It is
believed that he is also the first person ever to fly a fixed wing
aircraft solo over the South Pole on a long distance flight.
Jon set this new world record during a non-stop flight from
Invercargill, New Zealand to overfly the South Pole before landing
at the joint US(McMurdo)/NZ (Scott)Base in Antarctica.
He flew his special RV-4 aircraft, call sign VH-NOJ, that he has
already flown three times around the world including over the North
His aircraft was modified for this history-making flight with a
The FAA and NATCA have signed a two-year contract extension
that expands pay-for-performance to air traffic controllers
and provides potential savings of several million dollars.
The extension modifies or eliminates a number of costly pay rules
and other agreements that had been in place over the past five
years. Under the extension, a portion of the controllers’
annual salary increases will be based on meeting agency
performance targets. Depending on actual hiring needs, the
extension could allow the agency to avoid costs of as much as $40
million over the next four years.
“This extension helps the agency and the union concentrate on
what we do best: moving airplanes safely,” said FAA
Administrator Marion C. Blakey. “The FAA is beco
A US Army helicopter made a hard landing near Fallujah, Iraq,
Tuesday, according to US Central Command. The helicopter's pilot
and co-pilot were able to walk away from their OH-58D Kiowa
observation aircraft after making an emergency landing south of
Fallujah, CENTCOM spokesman Marine Maj. Pete Mitchell said.
Mitchell initially reported that the Kiowa might have been forced
to land "due to hostile fire." A subsequent CENTCOM news release
confirmed that the aircraft had come under enemy fire.
“This is a very aggressive schedule…we’re on
the road, taking Naval Aviation to the Heartland”. With those
words, Lt. Mike Blankenship, the Public Affairs Officer for the
Blue Angels, grabs my printed schedule and makes a quick
correction, adding Niagara Falls, New York to the schedule (a
34 stops in three countries, and an early October trip to Hawaii
for the team, the first at MCAS Kaneohe Bay.
They’re also heading east for a weekend visit to Bermuda on
12-13 June, and their Canadian foray will be 11-12 September to
Shearwater, Nova Scotia.
“We’re adding three new pilots to the team this year,
including a Marine flying in the #3, or left wing slot.”
The smile on Mike Chandler’s face is genuine. It goes from
ear-to-ear, and his face just lights up. Like a Dad talking about
his kid’s little league game, he’s beaming.
Let’s face it. We’re all airplane nuts. We love
this stuff. How many of us get to live our dreams, or even beyond
them… that’s where “Chanz” finds himself
now. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, 17 years after
graduating from the Academy, he says this is the best job of all.
He’s the new commander of the Thunderbirds.
In his dark blue flight suit, with the number 1 on the left chest,
this native of Cedar Falls, Iowa is getting settled into the new
job, even though the official change of command ceremony takes
place in January. He’
USUA tells us that after (conducting) negotiations with First
Flight Insurance Group, 3rd party liability insurance will soon be
available for USUA members. Even though the preparations are still
in the final stages, USUA has confirmed that USUA registered
ultralight pilots will soon be able to purchase insurance for their
USUA registered vehicles. Coverage will be extended to single and
two seat fixed wing, weight shift (trike) and powered parachute
vehicles. This new USUA program is being administered by First
Flight Insurance Group- a leading provider of sport aviation
insurance- and underwritten by Lloyds of London - the most highly
respected and revered underwriter of insurance.
It is important to note that this policy will offer 3rd party
liability insurance coverage for n
Pratt & Whitney Canada tells ANN that the first development
PW615F turbine engine, selected by Cessna Aircraft for its new
Citation Mustang business jet, has achieved a first successful run
at its rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds. The engine ran for a
total of eight hours and has also completed a number of performance
and characterization tests.
"This first run at full takeoff thrust marks an important milestone
in the PW615F development program," said Maurice Weinberg, P&WC
director, Engine Development Programs - Small Turbofans. "It clears
the way for the first test engine to be provided to Cessna in early
2004. We are also on track for engine certification by the end of
The PW615F is a member of P&WC's newest engine family, the
PW600. Spanning the 9
After two, short, test hops and some final adjustments, the
CarterCopter (CC) has taken to the air once again. A preliminary
flight-test was conducted on Saturday, December 6th at 4:32 PM. It
is the first time that the CC prototype has been in the air since
it was damaged in a wheels-up landing last spring.
Carter has scheduled a series of short test patterns for the
CarterCopter before more strenuous flight-testing begins. In
addition to major repairs, Carter modified and improved several
operating systems including the addition of a new turbo-charged
The Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) passenger airplane’s
excellent performance during flight testing has led the company to
decide to offer the airplane with higher range and payload
capabilities than originally planned.
Such enhanced capability for the newest 777 family member would be
available for newly-delivered airplanes and as a retrofit option
starting in the fourth quarter of 2004. The enhanced
airplane’s maximum takeoff weight would be 775,000 pounds, up
from 759,600 pounds. Its design range would be 7,705 nautical miles
compared to 7,525 nautical miles.
“The airplane’s performance during flight testing has
been nothing short of outstanding,” said Lars Andersen,
program manager for Boeing 777 Longer Range airplane programs.
“The FAA is becoming a more performance-based
organization, and this extension is a significant component of that
effort. This agreement helps us focus on the needs of the traveling
public and the taxpayer.”
Source: FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, commenting on the
recent announcement that the FAA and NATCA have signed a two-year
contract extension that expands pay-for-performance to air
traffic controllers and provides potential savings of several
Bell Helicopter CEO Michael Redenbaugh has announced that the
Fort Worth-based helicopter manufacturer is adding 113,300 square
feet to its existing Assembly Building located at the Amarillo
International Airport. "We need this new manufacturing space
because we are bringing the H-1 assembly line up to Amarillo," Mr.
Redenbaugh said. Since 1999, Bell's Amarillo facility has been the
Assembly and Delivery Center for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor program.
The Bell center is located on 184 acres along the southeast corner
of Amarillo International Airport.
Boeing has signed an agreement with Alsalam Aircraft Company,
making the company the first authorized service center for Boeing
Business Jets (BBJ) in the Middle East region. The agreement was
announced during the eighth annual Dubai International Air
Based in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, Alsalam will provide
maintenance, repair and overhaul services as well as BBJ warranty
work on behalf of Boeing.
“This new service center operates in the heart of the Arabian
peninsula, which is the geographical link between the continents of
Asia, Europe and Africa. It expands our global access and allows us
to continue meeting the needs of BBJ owners worldwide,” said
Lee Monson, president of BBJ. “Alsalam is a proven provider
of aircraft maintenance and tec
The pilot of a stricken C172 went down shortly after takeoff
this weekend, impacting in a lake after a takeoff from a strip in
the Alaskan boonies failed. When he failed to get airborne,
Strahan's Cessna skidded off the strip and into Eklutna Lake, about
40 miles northeast of Anchorage. Strahan was on a sightseeing
flight among the Chugach Mountains last Friday, enjoying the first
decent weather in several days. After going down, pilot Wade
Strahan, 56, found his way to an unheated trapper's cabin and was
forced to endure over 24 hours of below-freezing Alaska winter that
included an eight mile hike before his rescue.
Maj. Mike Haller of the Alaska National Guard explained that a
skier found Strahan, who alerted rescue crews via text
messaging/cellphone. Despite temps that flirted
OMF Aircraft Inc. (the North American Company)
The last few years have been tough on general aviation... even for
some of the best and brightest in the biz. Following up on last week's announcement
of financial difficulties with the highly regarded OMF Symphony
program, we now learn that the German parent company
has filed for bankruptcy protection.
OMF GmbH, of Trollenhagen Germany, the parent company of OMF
Aircraft, declared bankruptcy in Germany Tuesday, December 9. OMF
GmbH, which was established in 1998 and employed 60 people,
produced the two-place single-engine Symphony 160 aircraft and was