Alisport has been doing some amazing things with their sport
glider series for several years now... in addition to developing a
very fine self-launched kit aircraft, as well as an electrically
powered version, they have now turned their attention to jet
The first test flights of a jet-powered Silent sailplane have been
conducted by an independent group working closely with Alisport to
analyze the potential for future development of turbine-powered
sailplanes. Powered by twin AMT USA engines (usually seen on larger
model jet aircraft), the 12m Silent easily self-launched with what
were determined to be "acceptable take-off distance and good climb
"Information indicates that extremists abroad are anticipating
near-term attacks that they believe will rival or exceed the scope
and impact of those we experienced in New York, at the Pentagon,
and in Pennsylvania more than two years ago."
Those words came from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge Sunday,
as he raised the threat assessment level from yellow to orange. It
was the first time since May 20th that the government's terror
threat indicator has been so high.
Effective on the first of the year, business jet owners will
have to carry an emergency locator transmitter (ELT), just like
almost every other general aviation pilot. Bizjets had been exempt
from the ELT requirement, but Congress ordered the FAA to remove
the exemption in the wake of a turbojet that crashed in New
Hampshire on Christmas Eve 1996 and was not found for nearly three
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) announced it has heightened
alertness and increased security at its airports in response to the
US Homeland Security Department's raising the national treat level
to high ("Orange").
Airport Police are working with the Transportation Security
Administration, local law enforcement officials and air carriers to
implement a range of security enhancements appropriate to the
heightened security alert.
The following missive was written by Cirrus SR20 Pilot
Jerry Zezas... who kindly allowed us to share it with all of
"... of the Angel Flight I did last Thursday. I took a young girl
who was a lung transplant patient home from Shands Medical Center
in Gainsville to Miami. As we flew south, just past Lake Okeechobee
around 6:00pm, I started my descent into Opa Locka airport and was
busy with Miami ATC vectors and altitude crossing instructions for
quite a while (busy airspace down there). I turned to see if I was
descending too fast for my passenger and asked how she was doing.
She had been leaning her head on the door and turned to me to tell
me she was fine, yet there were definite tears in her eyes....
No, they're not reshooting a Robbie the Robot remake at Patuxent
River (MD). That strange object you may see in the sky is called
EKIP, a Russian acronym for "ecology and progress." It's almost
round, with stubby little wings, an improbable flying design. But
it does fly.Its creators at Russia's Saratov Aviation Plant say
they can create a vacuum around the hull of the airship, making
what is otherwise characteristically un-aerodynamic capable of
Veteran Virgin Atlantic pilot Richard George Harwell is
scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges he tried to fly 383
passengerse from Dulles International Airport (VA) to London while
drunk. Harwell, an American who's 14-year record with Virgin is
described by the company as "spotless," is accused of being the
first-ever Virgin pilot accused of trying to fly while
"He was suspended with immediate effect pending an internal
investigation," said John Riordan, a Virgin Atlantic spokesman.
There's no indication yet of what exactly happened, but two men
are dead after their Mooney went down just after take-off from
Voyager Village Airport (WI).
Authorities say the 1963 Mooney had just taken off northbound and
was banking over Hanscom Lake near the Wisconsin town of Scott when
the aircraft seemed to lose power. The aircraft impacted the frozen
surface of the lake, broke through, then sank.
As the European Mars lander Beagle 2 speeds toward the surface
of the Red Planet, the lander's mothership, Mars Express, completed
a critical orbital insertion maneuver Saturday, designed to put it
It apparently worked.
"Everything went normally and took place in a good atmosphere,"
European Space Agency spokesman Bernard von Weyhe said. "We are
looking forward to getting Mars Express into final orbit."
On the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 9, Mexicana Airlines flight
MX819 bound for Chicago O'Hare (ORD) airport from
Guadalajara/Morelia was in violation of safety standards
established by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) by flying too
closely to another aircraft upon its final approach to the
The airline says, contrary to published reports, the aircraft's
pilot, Capt. Enrique Guadarrama, was immediately alerted to the
issue by the anti-collision system of the A319 aircraft and
subsequently implemented the proper evasion maneuvers specifically
designed for such cases. The pilot landed the plane safely at 6:45
p.m. CST, and neither the passengers nor the crew were injured.
Maj. Richard Cooper Jr. of Salisbury (MD), and Chief Master Sgt.
Charlie Poole of Gibsland, (LA), had finished flying for Uncle Sam
and were flying for themselves on December 19, 1972. Their B-52D
had just dropped its load over Hanoi and was returning to base when
they were hit by a SAM. The aircraft went down about six miles
southwest of Hanoi. Friday, the Pentagon said their remains had
been identified and were being shipped home to their families for
With the Wright brothers now at the forefront of the public's
attention, AOPA will again reach out to explain the benefits of
general aviation to the general public. Starting on December 22,
AOPA will sponsor a series of television ads on the Weather Channel
to tell the public about the benefits general aviation brings to
their lives and to promote the association's educational Web site,
General Aviation Serving America.
"Since the tragedy of the September 11 terrorist attacks, nothing
has been more apparent than the lack of understanding on the part
of the general public of who and what GA is and does," said AOPA
President Phil Boyer. "All of us need to keep working to ensure the
future of general aviation. But too often we find ourselves talking
to ourselves about all the advant
A growing sense of concern in Congress and among the public
about a proposed FAA rule governing charity fund raising flights
and sightseeing flights is increasing pressure on the agency to
accept an AOPA suggestion and meet face-to-face with affected
Representatives Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL)
have each written to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, urging the
agency to hold public meetings so it can better understand the
impact of the proposal.
The head of the Air Line Pilots Association Friday blasted what
it called "an administration attempt to gut the pension bill" now
in the Senate.
"They are making a last-ditch, desperate push to torpedo the
short-term relief provisions in the Senate bill for pension reform.
They've sent a letter to the Senate leadership, packed with
mischaracterization and outright falsehoods," said Capt. Duane E.
Woerth, ALPA president.
Remember the old aviation saw, "We're the FAA. We're not happy
until you're not happy"? We can joke about it, but the truth is,
the FAA is here to help.
The National Air Transport Association (NATA) is now accepting
applications for the 2004 FAA Customer Service Excellence
Award. This award recognizes the FAA office that demonstrates
the highest degree of customer service. The Association wants
to encourage the FAA’s efforts to foster industry-government
relations and, through this recognition, NATA hopes to assist the
FAA in advancing the its customer service goals.
It wasn't a 1903 Wright Flyer, and it wasn't on the sandy dunes
of Kitty Hawk (NC), but to a family trio from Madison (WI), it was
Tom Thomas, father, grandfather, and pilot in command of the UW
Flying Club's Cessna 172 used to recreate the 12 second flight,
said December 17, 2003, started out on a positive note when his
3-year-old granddaughter, Emma Soderholm, called him at 6:00 a.m.
(with mom's help dialing the number) to wish him a "Happy Century
of Flight" day.
A Boeing Delta II rocket successfully deployed a Global
Positioning System (GPS) IIR-10 satellite for the U.S. Air Force
Liftoff of the Delta II occurred at 3:05 a.m. EST from Space Launch
Complex 17A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (FL). The deployment
sequence was completed in 68 minutes at 4:13 a.m.
"The 12 second flight finally took off, and landed, at the
specified time. The tower people commented, 'Wow, that wasn't a
very long flight' as we taxied off the runway. I'm sure we went
more than 180 feet in our 12 seconds, maybe 13 or 14 seconds with
the 172 floating, but it didn't take long at all. That was the
amazing part. I would have liked to have done the four follow-on
flights (of the Wright Brothers) in sequence, timing wise, but it
wasn't in the cards."
Source: Tom Thomas, who, last week, did his own
Centennial of Flight recreation at Dane County Regional Airport in
Wisconsin. Although, like the Wright Brothers, he had a little
trouble at first, he finally managed to get his Cessna 182 into the
air for 12 seconds at the precise moment the Wright Brother