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December 19, 2003

Cargo Plane Catches Fire In Memphis

The NTSB is on the scene at Memphis International Airport (TN) after a FedEx MD-10-10 caught fire upon landing. One of the seven crew members on board was slightly hurt. "It was an incident upon landing," said Jim McCluskey, a spokesman for FedEx. "I don't think I'd classify it as a crash."

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NetJets Orders $360M Worth Of Hawker 400XPs and Hawker 800XPs

NetJets has ordered 50 new Hawker 400XP light jets and eight new Hawker 800XP mid-size jets from Raytheon Aircraft Company with a total value in excess of $360 million. The aircraft will be added to the NetJets fractional aircraft ownership program.The order includes an option for an additional 50 Hawker 400XP aircraft, bringing the total potential value to more than $600 million. In addition, discussion is underway on a long-term maintenance agreement for this new order that includes the existing Hawker 800XP and Hawker 1000 business jets in the NetJets fleet of fractionally owned aircraft.

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The Man Behind The Spaceship

Billionaire investor and former Microsoft guru Paul G. Allen Thursday confirmed speculation that he is indeed the long-rumored sponsor behind the innovative SpaceShipOne project, which broke the sound barrier today during its first manned test flight. SpaceShipOne and its White Knight turbojet launch aircraft represent the first private non-government effort to demonstrate a low-cost manned space effort. SpaceShipOne is a contender for the coveted X-prize.

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What Did They Know? When Did They Know It?

There's a storm building over Washington, as the commission investigating the attacks on New York and Washington finds evidence that the Bush administration could have -- should have -- prevented the aerial assaults. CBS Evening News Wednesday quoted former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, a Republican who was appointed by President Bush, as saying, "This was not something that had to happen" and he "is now pointing fingers inside the administration and laying blame." Kean said, "There are people that, if I was doing the job, would certainly not be in the position they were in at that time because they failed. They simply failed."

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Government Probe Could Push Boeing's Tanker Deal Over Budgetary Horizon

The Pentagon has now pushed back a deal to lease and purchase 100 Boeing 767 aircraft to be used as refueling tankers because of the ongoing investigation into just how the world's biggest aircraft manufacturer got the job. DoD Comptroller-General Dov Zakheim, told the London Financial Times, "It doesn't make much sense to put dollars in for a program that is under investigation."

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SJ30-2 Twinjet Making Progress Toward Certification

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation took another step along the path in the FAA certification process Wednesday by successfully completing the critical up-bending ULTIMATE LOAD tests on the SJ30-2 main wing. Dr. Carl L. Chen, CEO and president of Sino Swearingen stated, "This major milestone is one of the most important tests ever to be conducted on a new aircraft and it is a giant leap in our certification program to have passed the FAA Ultimate Loads successfully and within our time schedule. Results validate the critical structural strength of the main wing of this beautiful new jet aircraft. Additional testing shows the wing and support structures will provide customers with an amazing aircraft that has low maintenance and high use of the aircraft under heavy load conditions.

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Boeing Releases Independent Reviews of Company Ethics Program

Boeing Thursday released part one of a report examining the company’s ethics program and its rules and procedures for the treatment of competitors’ proprietary information. The Boeing board of directors initiated this exam by the independent team, led by former Senator Warren Rudman, last July.

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Bush: Wright Qualities Define Nation

Gray sky, chilly air and pouring rain did not dampen the sprit of an enthusiastic crowd Dec. 17 as they awaited the arrival of the event’s most anticipated guest speaker. President George W. Bush was scheduled to address the crowd at the Wright Brothers National Memorial on Dec. 17, the last day of the yearlong centennial of flight celebration. Around 9:20 a.m., the thunderous roar of five Marine Corps helicopters cut through the sounds of patriotic music, crowd noise and the reverberation of public-service announcements. Heads turned toward the aircraft above the tree line just west of the stage. Despite miserable weather and rumors he would not show, the president had arrived. Following an introduction by Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, the president took the

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Four Dead In Iowa Accident

The Lawson family was flying home for the holidays. Instead, what's left of the family now mourns four people killed when their single-engine Piper went down near Brooklyn (IA) Wednesday. Family members confirm Larry Lawson, 55, died in Wednesday night's accident. Lawson had been a volunteer firefighter in Altoona since about 1975. Other victims include Lawson's daughter, Lisa Lawson, 25, and his brother, Danny Lawson, 55, who was the pilot. The fourth person was Lisa Lawson's friend.

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Embraer Delivers First ALX Super Tucano To Brazilian Air Force

Embraer Thursday delivered the first ALX Super Tucano multi-purpose military turboprop to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). The ceremony, which took place at the Gaviao Peixoto facility in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo, was attended by high-ranking military and civilian authorities, Embraer executives, employees and technical personnel, as well as partners and suppliers that participated in the project.

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Engine, Parachute Tests Pave Way For Launch Escape System

NASA has tested rocket engines and parachutes that could be instrumental in developing the first spacecraft crew launch escape system in almost 30 years. The tests pave the way for a series of integrated Pad Abort Demonstration (PAD) test flights to support NASA's Orbital Space Plane (OSP) program. Launch pad abort tests support development of a system that could pull a crew safely away from danger during liftoff. Knowledge gained from the testing will reduce the future design and development risks of a launch escape system that could be used for the OSP.

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And Now, The Government Gets Into The Act

ACA says anti-trust officials at the Justice Department are investigating Mesa Air Group to determine whether Mesa's proposed acquisition of Atlantic Coast Airlines violates anti-trust laws.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.19.03)

"It was an incident upon landing. I don't think I'd classify it as a crash." Source: FedEx spokesman Jim McCluskey after a company MD-10-10 burned on the runway upon landing at Memphis International Airport Thursday. One of the seven crew members was slightly injured in the incident. Federal officials have determined neither sabotage nor terrorism was a factor in the incident.

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Gemini Air Cargo Restructures

Gemini Air Cargosays it's wrapped up new financing and corporate restructuring with its bank group, aircraft lessors, maintenance provider and equity holders. The terms of the restructuring include the forgiveness of bank term debt, the adjustment of aircraft lease and maintenance rates to reflect current market conditions, the return of certain leased aircraft and the infusion of cash by the Company's majority stockholder, The Carlyle Group.

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New NASA Space Telescope Sees So Much More

NASA has renamed the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, its newest space observatory, for the late astronomer Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr. The official name is now the Spitzer Space Telescope. The Spitzer Space Telescope program is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington D.C. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In concert with the renaming, NASA also released the first scientific images from the Spitzer telescope. The telescope is now online and has already sent back incredible pictures of the great beyond.

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Virus + Commercial Airplane = Another SARS Outbreak?

It's an equation that could spell another outbreak of the deadly SARS virus, but government and airline officials in Taiwan are moving quickly to keep that from happening.Two people exposed to the SARS virus, which killed more than 800 worldwide after it burst upon the world stage last winter, boarded a commercial flight for the United States before they knew they might have been infected. That could have exposed the other passengers on board the flight were exposed as well.

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GAMCO and CMC Electronics Selected By Dubai Air Wing

CMC Electronics has been selected by the Dubai Air Wing as the avionics systems integrator for their C-130 Hercules, L100-30 cockpit upgrade. CMC Electronics is teamed with Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO), the prime contractor for the project. CMC Electronics will supply its CMA-900 Flight Management System (FMS) as the core of the upgrade, while GAMCO is responsible for all Program Depot Maintenance (PDM) inspection requirements, a new cargo handling system, aircraft painting and the installation of the cockpit upgrade systems in full coordination with CMC Electronics.

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MD TFR: 12/22-12/26

P -40 "Up" For Four Days NOTAM: 3/1800 Issued: 12/15/2003 19:40 Effective: 12/22/2003 23:02 - 12/26/2003 18:00 State: MD Facility: ZDC - WASHINGTON (ARTCC),DC. Type: VIP Description: HAGERSTOWN/THURMONT, MARYLAND, DECEMBER 22-26, 2003 LOCAL.

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Upgraded: Betty Amos Righetti

Wings Over Miami Museum, Inc. is pleased to announce that, effective January 1, 2004, Betty Amos Righetti of Miami Florida was elected to the position of President and Chairman of the Board for the Wings Over Miami, Museum. Ms. Righetti replaces Walter H. Orth, Jr., a co-founder of the museum, who will remain as Vice President-Operations for the Museum.

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Proton Energy Systems Gets Two Contracts for Regenerative Fuel Cell Development

It's not a huge contract -- at least, not yet. But it seems to have major technological promise. Proton Energy Systems, a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp. says it's gotten the nod for a NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)to develop lightweight regenerative fuel cell technology. The new technology will be used in unmanned aerial vehicles. Proton also announced the award of a SBIR Phase I contract from the US Army Missile Defense Agency, or MDA, for development of lightweight regenerative fuel cell technology for high altitude airships.

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AD: Rolls Royce

The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for Rolls-Royce Corporation (formerly Allison Engine Company) AE 3007A1, AE 3007A1/1,  AE 3007A1/3, AE 3007A3, AE 3007A1E,and AE 3007A1P turbofan engines, with 1st to 2nd stage turbine spacers, part number (P/N) 23069627, 23070989, 23072849, or 23075364 installed. This AD reduces the life limit for 1st to 2nd stage turbine spacers, P/N 23072849, to a certain lower life limit, based on engine model.This AD also requires a one-time fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) of 1st to2nd stage turbine spacers P/Ns 23069627, 23070989, 23072849, and 23075364 before reaching the spacer life limit, within specified cycles-since-new (CSN), and requires replacement of the spacer if found cracked, or with bent or missing aft tangs. This AD i

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Coast Guard Flies and Fights

We think of Coast Guard Aviation in their brilliant White and Orange paint scheme, using a variety of aircraft, some unique to the service, which is now part of the Department of Homeland Security. They are known as lifesavers. From the air station at Opa Locka, Florida "The World's Busiest" to long-range search and rescue bases on both coasts with C-130's, plus their North Atlantic Iceberg search, they've been in the air for more than 80 years. Yet, for the first time in peacetime, the "Coasties" are flying armed aircraft on routine patrol on drug interdiction missions. The first squadron is based at Cecil Field, west of Jacksonville, and is the only U.S. unit flying the MH-68A "Stingray". Civilians would know the aircraft as the Augusta A-109E. About 140 total aircraft are

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