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December 22, 2003

Alisport Silent Demos Jet-Takeoff

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 power. 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 rate."

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Ridge Raises Terrorism Threat Level

"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.

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Bizjets Lose ELT Exemption On Jan. 1

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 years.

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Condition Orange: How One Airport Authority Responds

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.

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Why Pilots Are The Coolest People On (Over) Earth

The following missive was written by Cirrus SR20 Pilot Jerry Zezas... who kindly allowed us to share it with all of you. "... 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....

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A Real Flying Saucer?

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 flight.

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Virgin Atlantic Pilot Accused Of Trying To Fly Drunk

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 intoxictated. "He was suspended with immediate effect pending an internal investigation," said John Riordan, a Virgin Atlantic spokesman.

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Two Dead In Wisconsin Accident

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.

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Klyde Morris 12.22.03

Klyde... Please tell Us You're Not Spilling The Beans About Any of the ANN Gang!

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Controllers Prepare Beagle 2 For Mars Landing

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 in orbit. 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."

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Just What Happened On That Mexicana Flight?

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 airport. 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.

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Finally, Welcome Home, Airmen

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 burial.

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New AOPA Ad Campaign Keys On Wright Centennial

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

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Congressman Issa: Concern Over Charity Flights

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 pilots. 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.

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ALPA Denounces Effort to Gut Pension Bill

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.

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NATA Solicits Nominations For FAA Customer Service Award

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.

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Three Generation Thomas Team Re-enacts First Flight

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 close enough. 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.

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Boeing Delta II Places Air Force GPS Satellite into Orbit

A Boeing Delta II rocket successfully deployed a Global Positioning System (GPS) IIR-10 satellite for the U.S. Air Force Sunday morning. 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.

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WA TFR: 12/22

Undetermined Times, Check Carefully Before Flight! NOTAM: 3/1998 Issued: 12/19/2003 18:19 Effective: Undetermined - Undetermined State: A Facility: ZSE - SEATTLE (ARTCC),AUBURN,WA. Type: VIP Description: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, DECEMBER 22, 2003 LOCAL.

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VA TFR: 12/22

Undetermined Times, Check Carefully Before Flight! NOTAM: 3/2000 Issued: 12/19/2003 18:32 Effective: Undetermined - Undetermined State: A Facility: ZDC - WASHINGTON (ARTCC),DC. Type: VIP Description: ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, DECEMBER 22, 2003.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.22.03)

"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

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