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December 18, 2003

100 Years Later, Spaceshipone Breaks Sound Barrier

On the day the world celebrated the centennial of flight, Dick Rutan and company were themselves high in the air over the California desert, testing a vehicle for the next century of aviation. It was a significant milestone for Scaled Composites in its bid for the $10 million X PRIZE: The first manned supersonic flight by an aircraft developed by a small company's private, non-government effort. Spaceshipone is Scaled's entry in the private space race -- the bid to become the first non-governmental manned flight into the nether reaches.

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Wright Centennial: Not Enough Speed… Not Enough Wind

If wishes were wind, the Wright Flyer built by Ken Hyde and flown by Kevin Kochersberger would still be soaring across the country. It wouldn't have needed an engine, or props, or even Bernoulli's law. 34,200 people came to Kill Devil Hill on a rainy Wednesday morning to watch history re-made. They left with soggy shoes, perhaps tinged with disappointment, but many realized that not every flight of an experimental aircraft will do what the designer, or pilot, or crowd would want. They cheered wildly when the Flyer was rolled from it's hangar, and again when the engine was started. They applauded and screamed at the end of the first attempt around 12:30pm. The die-hard airplane romantics and history buffs stayed through another rainstorm and cold front, and rollout and engine

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Wright Flight Ops: 12/17/03

It was raining most of the day, and wind conditions were, at best, fair only. The ground was soft, muddy, with standing water. The field between Kill Devil Hill and the actual "first flight" launching site had been plowed and furrowed to better duplicate the soft landing conditions the Wright's had on sand a century ago. The aircraft rolled out of the hangar at 12:10, and the moved to the launching track. The crowd goes wild. 12:24 Kevin Kochersberger mounts the aircraft. 12:28 Engine start, more applause and cheers. 12:30 First flight attempt. Plane moves down the track, catches a puff of wind, lifts about 6 inches high, and then comes down and to the right. Crowd Cheers again.

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Klyde Morris 12.18.03

Klyde Celebrates The Centennial... In His Own Special Way

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US Airways Pilots Demand CEO's Ouster

US Airways pilots want the airline's president, David Siegel, thrown out on his ear. The union also wants the company's CFO bounced. Read it as a sign that negotiations over US Airways' renewed demands for wage concessions aren't what you'd describe as "smooth" or "friendly." US Airways workers already kicked in $1.2 billion in concessions to help bring the carrier out of bankruptcy. But now, the airline is trying to compete with Southwest, which just started service to US Airways' most profitable hub in Philadelphia (PA). When Southwest made that announcement back in May, Siegel (below, right) warned employees that more cuts were needed so the airline could remain competitive.

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The Future of General 'Personal' Aviation

In a noisy newsroom at the Wright Centennial celebration, the EAA put a panel together. At Oshkosh or Sun & Fun, there would have been standing room only. Here, it's reporters. Not all of them well versed on things with wings and the issues that keep them in the air, and that, more recently, have been keeping them on the ground. From one end of the table to the other, you had Vern Raburn, the CEO of Eclipse Aviation. Then Alan Klapmeier, the President of Cirrus Design. Steve Brown from the FAA was next. He's the VP for operations and planning. Phil Boyer, President of the AOPA was next, and sitting next to him, Congressman James Oberstar. Bob Warner, Exec VP of the EAA was to the far right. They each had some points to make, some we've heard before. Alan Klapmeier mentio

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America West, Pilots, Finally Reach Deal

For the third time this year, America West and its pilots have reached a tentative contract agreement -- one the ALPA says will be voted on by the end of the year. The first two were turned down by union pilots in a dispute that's been ongoing for more than three-and-a-half years. But this time, ALPA leaders say it's different.

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United Gets Money Needed To Emerge From Bankruptcy

UAL, parent company to United Airlines, says it now has the $2 billion it needs to exit bankruptcy. The airline reported Wednesday that it had secured the financing from JP Morgan and Citigroup. But there are conditions. Both financial groups want $1.6 billion in loan guarantees from the federal government's Air Transportation Stabilization Board.

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International Airlines Eye 7E7

Okay, the Boeing 7E7 is officially on the market. But who's buying? Nobody. Yet. Here's how some major airlines are reacting to Boeing's announcement Tuesday that it will go ahead with plans to build the super-economic Dreamliner: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: "Of course we will be looking at it but at this moment we have no intention to order."

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Aero-News 20 Questions With...

James Labouchere has a dream. His company, Warrior Aero-Marine, hopes to revolutionize marine aviation with its Centaur seaplane. That's more than some PR drivel. The aircraft, with folding wings and a multi-hull design, could well be an everyman's aircraft. It will operate from sea bases as well as land-based facilities. ANN asked 20 questions of Mr. Labouchere. 1. Aero-News: The Centaur is a unique, multi-hulled seaplane. What advantages does that afford a pilot? James Labouchere: The hull form is derived from slender-hulled yachts and cuts waves and rides rough water with low shock-loading. This improves the whole deal for a pilot - better ride quality and a wider range of wave conditions in which a pilot can operat

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EUROCONTROL Chooses ARINC

ARINC has been chosen by Europe’s aviation authority to introduce the next generation of digital air traffic control communications in Europe—CPDLC, or controller-pilot data link communications. EUROCONTROL has named ARINC to be the datalink service provider for its busy Maastricht Upper Air Center (UAC), as part of its LINK 2000+ program. ARINC says it will deploy a network of 12 VHF Digital Link (VDL) Mode 2 ground stations this year to support CPDLC communications above flight level 245 in the skies over Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and northern Germany —- some of Europe’s busiest airspace. When the system goes operational in October, the Maastricht air traffic controllers will be the first in Europe to have the benefit of CPDLC—an easier,

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.18.03)

"We are here today to remember a small machine and honor the giants who flew it. Their invention belongs to the world, the Wright brothers belong to America." Source: Former 111th Interceptor Squadron (ANG) fighter pilot George W. Bush, speaking at the Centennial of Flight celebration in Kitty Hawk (NC). Oh, yeah. He's now president.

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Air Force Creates New C-130J Squadron

The Air Force reactivated the 48th Airlift Squadron Dec. 5, to establish the first active-duty C-130J Hercules training squadron in the Air Force. The reactivation of the 48th AS, the third flying unit attached to the 314th Airlift Wing here, will train crews in the newest generation of C-130s. "The mission of the reactivated 48th Airlift Squadron will be to bring to the active-duty Air Force the C-130J and to join its sister units in producing the world's best C-130 aviators," said Col. Joseph Reheiser, 314th AW commander.

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V22 Comes to Kitty Hawk

At the far north end of the static line sits perhaps the second oddest-looking aircraft around. The Wright Flyer would hold first place in that category. In spite of that, the longest line at Kill Devil Hill was to take a quick walk through the aircraft. It's a V-22 Osprey. The revolutionary tilt rotor wowed the crowds in a 10-minute demo on Monday…for Tuesday, it was back, sitting static, until it wowed the crowd again with a departure pass. HX-21 is now operating a total of 7 aircraft at the Navy's Patuxtent River Air Station. 2 more are flying with the Air Force flight test program at Edwards AFB, and two more aircraft going through workups at VMX-22 at MCAS New River.

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NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's Year Of Discovery

As 2003 draws to a close, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center researchers have completed a milestone series of evaluation flights for a revolutionary flight control system that could enable future aircraft suffering major system failures or combat damage to be flown to a safe, controlled landing. The Intelligent Flight Control System, aboard a highly-modified NASA F-15B, focuses on development of "self-learning" neural network software for aircraft control computers. In its final form, the software would compare data from how the aircraft and its systems are operating with a database of how it would normally operate, and automatically adjust the flight controls to compensate for any damage or inoperative control surfaces or systems.

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Continental Airlines Donates Historic DC-3 To Lone Star Flight Museum

Exactly 100 years after the first successful airplane flight, Continental Airlines donated its award-winning, historic, 63-year-old DC-3 aircraft to the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston (TX). "The DC-3 was a major stepping-stone in the development of today’s amazing commercial aviation system,” said Continental Chairman and CEO Gordon Bethune.  “We are proud to help preserve a bit of aviation history on the occasion of the Centennial of Flight.  And giving away our antique aircraft at this time helps to drive home the point that we really do have one of the youngest fleets in the business."

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Radial Engine Marks the Field

The tired old airplane engine is run-out and can't be repaired; it sits rusting in its crate in a dark corner of your hangar. Back in the day it was a smooth runner, it provided you with moments of solitude, the most beautiful views, and some of your greatest pleasures while high above the earth. You realize you just can't bear to send it to a scrap heap; isn't there a way to put it to use? A dedicated group of flyers at a friendly country airport did just that. A Continental radial engine now marks the way to the Wild Rose Idlewild Airport (C23). Don Gunderson, former 18-year airport manager, said Wild Rose (WI) Airport Association member Jim Stark donated the old Continental for use as the showpiece for a new airport sign.

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More T-6As Ordered

Raytheon Aircraft has been awarded a $228 million contract by the US government for 47 T-6A aircraft and associated program training devices.  This is the 11th straight option year exercised, out of a potential total of 19 for the entire program. The current option exercise extends deliveries through 2007. The JPATS program, which is the primary pilot training program for the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, calls for nearly 800 aircraft through the year 2017. To date, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have ordered 301 aircraft, and 149 have been delivered -- 120 to the U.S Air Force and 29 to the U.S. Navy. The total value of the acquisition program to date, including options, is $2.3 billion.

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Two Dead In East Texas Crash

"They were both pretty good friends of mine," said Panola College chemistry instructor Philip Verhalen in Carthage (TX). "Both of them were very strong family men. They will be missed a lot." He was talking this week about Brent Gee and Mark Schultz, killed Sunday night when their RV6 apparently ran off the end of the runway after losing power, according to the FAA preliminary report. The Longview News-Journal reports the aircraft's left wing hit the runway during a touch-and-go, then impacted the ground about a quarter-mile from the end of the runway.

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ANN Free Classifieds Featured Ad: RV-4

For Sale: Van's Aircraft RV-4 1991 RV-4, 930 TT 230SMOH, 160 HP Lyc., Hendrickson prop, Hooker Harness, Nice. Exterior Quality: 9, Interior Quality: 8 New, will sell for $46,500.00

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