With the six-wheel Martian rover Spirit finally talking to its
controllers at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena (CA) again, and
its twin rover, Opportunity having rolled off its landing vehicle,
two vehicles are exploring the Red Planet at the same time -- a
"We're two for two! One dozen wheels on the soil," flight director
Chris Lewicki announced to the packed control room at 12:30 a.m.
Both rovers are equipped with onboard analytical laboratories that
allow them to take samples of the Martian surface and decipher
their contents. But already, JPL scientists say the rovers have
confirmed what was suspected all along: a geographical formation
called hematite, which forms when water erodes iron-rich rocks.
Cessna is feeling the pinch. No doubt about it. The Wichita
Eagle -- always a dependable eye watching the machinations of
aircraft manufacturers in the Heartland -- reports Cessna
deliveries were down 35 percent in 2003 as compared to the year
And the slide isn't over yet, although Cessna professes to see
light at the end of the tunnel.
While Cessna and its parent company, Textron, expect 2004
deliveries to continue the downward trend, the company predicts a
rise in deliveries for 2005.
If it could have gone wrong, it did. That's the word from
Sarasota County (FL) Sheriff Bill Balkwill in the case of a botched
911 call that left a downed Cessna 150 undiscovered for almost 20
hours last month. The 911 operator who handled the call has been
suspended, he says, and has asked to be reassigned.
It all started January 27th, when Cindy Toepfer and her husband,
Sheldon, were sitting on their back porch near the Venice (FL)
Airport. They heard the aircraft overhead -- but something didn't
sound right. Cindy said the engine was sputtering. After living
under flight patterns for 20 years, she knew something was wrong.
Then she heard -- or rather, felt -- the impact as the Cessna 150
crashed into a thick forest near her home.
So she dialed 911. But instead of getting i
AOPA President Phil Boyer will be the keynote speaker at this
year's Great Lakes Aviation Conference, being held February 6-8 in
Lansing (MI). Boyer's address at 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, February
7, will look at the current state of general aviation, as well as
some of the challenges and opportunities GA faces on Capitol Hill
and in statehouses, and county and city council chambers around the
And if he shows up in a bright red Waco biplane, someone else at
the conference might — just might — be going home with
the AOPA Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes grand prize.
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'B' rating to the $300 million in
senior unsecured notes issued by Northwest Airlines. The notes
carry a coupon rate of 10% and mature in 2009. The Rating Outlook
for Northwest is Negative.
The unsecured rating and the negative rating outlook reflect
Northwest's heavy debt load, high level of cash obligations over
the next few years and the lack of progress toward the achievement
of lower contract pay rates for unionized employees that would
bring the carrier's unit labor costs in line with its restructured
network carrier rivals. If competitive deals on amendable labor
contracts are reached, Northwest should be in a position to deliver
unit operating expenses at the low end of the network airline peer
group. However, progress toward this goal has been
The first brand awareness campaign for SkyTeam, an alliance of
six global airlines, takes off this month with an online
sweepstakes offering trips valued at up to $35,000 to any of 500
international destinations served by alliance members. Interactive
promotion specialist ePrize is in the cockpit, handling everything
from creative aspects and foreign legal, registration and
translation responsibilities to prize fulfillment.
During their quarterly meeting Thursday, the SkyTeam Steering
Committee confirmed their decision to welcome Aeroflot's bid for
membership in the alliance. SkyTeam constantly considers
prospective members that can offer customers greater convenience
and extend the alliance's global network. With 108 destinations in
54 countries, Aeroflot's addition to the allian
A struggling airline industry, ongoing pressure on profits and
intensifying competition are transforming the EUR 8.5 billion
European commercial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market.
The resultant trends toward outsourcing and industry consolidation
are expected to force market participants to redefine their
Several major, low-cost and regional carriers are today outsourcing
their maintenance work. As airline maintenance units strive for
third-party work due to compulsions of overcapacity, aggressive
competition is expected to result for some of the newly generated
outsourced businesses. Even as the contest between airline
maintenance units and independent MRO companies heats up, the entry
of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is expected to f
US Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta has announced the
Transportation Services Index (TSI), a new economic indicator
intended to measure the performance of the economy as reflected in
the movement of freight and passengers.
Secretary Mineta announced the Department of Transportation’s
(DOT) index after ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock
Exchange. The new index will focus on the movement of freight and
passenger traffic by land, water and air.
On February 3 at 8:00 p.m. PST, Singapore Airlines' new A345
LeaderShip aircraft will lift off from Los Angeles on the world's
longest scheduled non-stop flight. Traveling 7,937 nautical miles
over the Pacific, the 18.5 hour flight carries 181 passengers and
links two of the world's great cities: Los Angeles and Singapore.
Travelers can dine on Lobster Thermidor, grab a snack in the
world's first Economy Class lounge on a plane, or choose from more
than 29 movies and 122 music CDs.
(Last week, ANN reported that Boeing actually turned a
profit in 2003 -- thanks in large part to a tax refund for Uncle
Sam. While that may sound like good news on the surface, the boys
over at Motley Fool see it from a different angle. --
Aircraft and defense giant Boeing reported its annual results
with earnings of $1.11 billion dollars. These earnings are just
about double last year's results. Investors who consider this
particular outcome as being meaningful will be in error, however.
From an analytical perspective, this number is the next best thing
to worthless, so let's view it, admire it, and move on.
As if the airline industry wasn't already beset by all sorts of
problems already, get this:
Fitch Ratings is providing the following commentary on the US
Senate's passage last week of a broad pension funding reform bill
that includes targeted relief for the largest US airlines. The
Senate legislation, which passed by a vote of 86-9, now must be
reconciled with a House of Representatives bill that also includes
airline industry relief provisions. Pending the outcome of
House-Senate conference committee negotiations to determine the
final form of the bill (assuming no White House veto), it now
appears likely that significant changes will be made in the
required cash funding of the major airline's defined benefit
pension plans in 2004 and 2005. Fitch believes that the proposed
Imagine lighting your runway without paying the electric bill.
That's the driving vision behind a Canadian company called
One of the company's latest projects involves lighting both
taxiways and runways at the Truckee Tahoe Airport (CA) at a cost of
$122,000. Purchased in December, the airport estimates the
solar-powered LED lighting from Carmanah will save more than a
quarter of a million dollars over the cost of conventional
"We're two for two! One dozen wheels on the soil."
Source: JPL flight director Chris Lewicki, as the
Pasadena (CA) control room erupted in cheers when the rover
Opportunity rolled off its landing vehicle and onto the surface of
Mars. For the first time in history, two robotic rovers are
scouring the Martian surface for ancient signs of water -- and
The good news is that Emirates Airlines acknowledges it's a
potential customer for Boeing's new 7E7 Dreamliner. The bad news
is, the carrier is worried about how the revolutionary airplane
will stand up to the usual bump and grind experienced on the
To put it in a nutshell, the airline is worried about the sort of
fender-benders that are all to common to aircraft in near-terminal
Boeing's Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power unit successfully
completed hot-fire testing of an RS-88 rocket engine at
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville (AL) this
The 50,000-pound-thrust engine was designed and built by Boeing for
use on Lockheed Martin's Pad Abort Demonstration (PAD) vehicle,
scheduled for launch in late 2005. The vehicle will carry four
RS-88 engines. A series of 16 hot-fire tests were conducted adding
up to 53 seconds of firing, including multiple full-duration
The FAI Environmental commission was formed back in the
mid-90’s to deal with the growing noise complaints. The
commission has traditionally focused on technical issues, but is
keenly aware of the growing problems associated with political
concerns. There are increasing reports from National Aero Clubs
(NAC) of problems associated with environmental concerns. In most
cases these problems are economic issues under the guise of
environmental. Regardless, the results are fewer airports (or
areas) in which to enjoy air sports. As one delegate described it,
“we are suffering death by a thousand cuts.” Taken
individually, none are significant, but collectively they threaten
Signature Flight Support...David Best has been named Managing
Operating from the aviation services company's base at London Luton
Airport in the UK, Best will focus on growing and expanding
Signature's fixed base operation (FBO) network throughout Europe,
Africa and the Middle East. Best has also been tapped to sit on the
board of Signature's joint venture in Hong Kong.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has a new
manager for its seminars program -- Dina E. Green, who joined NBAA
in a full-time capacity on January 26. Her responsibilities include
assisting in the planning and implementation of the NBAA Seminar
Program and Informational Sessions at the Annual Meeting &
Convention, EBACE and LABACE. Green reports to Sandy Wirtz, NBAA
Aero-Note: Every time I read this e-mail from
Laurel Clark, sent just days before she ascended to heights
unimaginable, my eyes mist over and there is pain in my
But I must offer this amazing missive once again, a year after the
tragedy that robbed young Iain Clark of his beloved Mother because,
"She knew the journey was more important than the
God Bless Her and all those aboard Columbia...--Jim Campbell, ANN
HELLO FROM ABOVE our magnificent planet
Earth. The perspective is truly awe-inspiring. This is a terrific
mission and we are very busy doing science round the clock. Just
getting a moment to type e-mail is precious so this will be short,
and distributed to many who I know and love...
TFR Issued Due to Law Enforcement Activities
Issued: 02/01/2004 15:51
Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice
Facility: ZME - MEMPHIS (ARTCC),TN.
Description: MENA, AR.