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January 09, 2004

Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer Unveiled

Steve Fossett continues to plan another record assault and fellow record-setter Richard Branson is backing him up... Branson's Virgin Atlantic has unveiled the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer aircraft in the Mojave Desert, California, the home of aviation record-setting for over half a century. This somewhat aircraft (which bears some intersting similarities to the original Voyager) will be piloted by Steve Fossett later this year in his attempt to break the last great aviation record by attempting the first solo non-stop flight around the world. The pioneering aircraft - the world's most efficient jet plane - has been designed by aviation legend Burt Rutan. The unveiling is the latest milestone following years of design and construction and also marks the beginning of an excitin

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Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer - The Facts And Figures

Some Background Data On The Virgin Atlantic Globalflyer The record attempt is the first solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world in an aircraft, meeting the criteria of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI). Steve Fossett is the pilot, with Richard Branson reserve pilot. The attempt will take place in 2004, either around April or from October onwards depending on the favourability of the jet streams and the flight-testing of the aircraft from January to March 2004. The route will be planned around a take off from a central United States location. The aircraft will follow the jet stream across the Atlantic to the UK. From there the aircraft will route south to the Mediterranean and then route through the Gulf to P

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C-5 Hit By Shoulder-Launched Weapon, Lands Safely

Somewhere in Iraq, there is a very good C-5 flight crew that is badly in need of a change of laundry. An Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport departing from Baghdad International Airport declared an in-flight emergency shortly after taking off. The crew said there was "excessive vibration" in their No. 4 engine, combined press information center officials said. The craft returned safely to the airport, with no injuries among the 63 passengers and crew aboard. Air operations at the facility continue, said officials.

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ETC's GAT-II Drafted By USAF

Environmental Tectonics Corporation has delivered and installed a GAT-II General Aviation Trainer at Randolph AFB, Texas. Randolph Air Force Base is one of the few bases in the Air Force that does instructor pilot training. Joint Undergraduate Navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer Training is also held at Randolph. The 12th Flying Training Wing provides air transportation and immediate response emergency airlift, and trains and equips its people to meet the Air Force's worldwide mobility commitment. In addition, the 12th Flying Training Wing is responsible for the operational test and evaluation of newly acquired training systems and modifications to existing systems. The USAF will use the GAT-II(R) to provide pilots' training in the hazards associated with spatial disori

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EMERGENCY AD: Eurocopter AS355E, F, F1, F2, and N

AD #: 2004-01-51 This Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) is prompted by a report of a main gearbox freewheel unit slippage, resulting in an engine overspeed and shut down, which occurred during the single-engine phase of an acceptance flight. This condition, if not corrected, could result in an engine overspeed, an engine shut down, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. The FAA has reviewed Eurocopter France (Eurocopter) Alert Telex No. 63.00.21 R1, dated December 19, 2003, which describes procedures for contacting the manufacturer and cleaning the bevel reduction gear pending the results of an ongoing investigation. The Direction Generale De L’Aviation Civile (DGAC), the airworthiness authority for France, notified the FAA that a

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FAA Wants AD for Garmin Mode S Transponders

A problem with the software for Garmin's GTX 330 and GTX 330D Mode S transponders has prompted the FAA to propose an airworthiness directive (AD) to fix the problem. But Garmin has told AOPA that it has already sent updated software to fix the problem to all Garmin Aviation Service Centers. Without Garmin's recently released software 3.03, the Mode S transponders may not reply to Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) interrogations from other airborne traffic detection systems. That could cause the "safety net" of TCAS/Transponder operations to fail, thereby increasing the risk of a possible close call or mid air collision. Garmin issued a Safety Bulletin in mid-2003, and has since shipped the upgraded software to all of its service centers.

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AOPA To TSA: GA Part Of The Security Solution

"General aviation isn't the threat, but it is part of the solution" That was the message AOPA President Phil Boyer gave to the new acting head of the Transportation Security Administration, Rear Admiral David M. Stone. In a meeting Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C., Boyer along with AOPA senior VP of government affairs Andy Cebula explained the important role GA plays in the modern transportation system, and how federal security actions have affected pilots' lawful use of their aircraft. "I came to this initial meeting concerned that it would be difficult for the new person to match the 'customer service' skills of the previous TSA administrator, Admiral James Loy," said Boyer. "It was a pleasant surprise to find a very different person, but one

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ISS: Still Breathing, Leak Seems To Be Disappearing

Expedition 8 Commander Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri returned to their regular workload aboard the International Space Station on Wednesday as flight controllers continued the investigation into the slight decay of Station air pressure. The crew used ultrasound equipment Tuesday to detect the source of a tiny decay in air pressure, which was first noted two weeks ago. Foale reported that he and Kaleri could not locate the origin of the minute pressure loss. The pressure on the ISS has stabilized over the last 24 hours with no further decay detected by sensors and other atmospheric monitoring equipment. The ISS is operating in excellent shape with the slight pressure decay posing no concern.

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Boeing and Cathay Pacific Launch 747-400 Special Freighter

Boeing has confirmed that Cathay Pacific will launch the Boeing 747-400 Special Freighter program, with an initial agreement to convert at least six, and as many as 12, 747-400 passenger airplanes into freighters. Cathay Pacific will receive its first Special Freighter in December 2005, and the sixth during 2007. Boeing is pleased to be working with Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (TAECO) in Xiamen, China on the prototype modification. The airline will also purchase one new 747-400 Freighter, to be delivered during February 2005. This order was previously identified by Boeing on its Commercial Airplanes Orders and Deliveries Web site. "The decision to acquire both new and converted freighters makes sound economic sense, both as a way to make best use of

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Mars Rover Airbag to Get Another Tug

The engineers and scientists for NASA's Spirit are eager to get the rover off its lander and out exploring the terrain that Spirit's pictures are revealing, but caution comes first. An added "lift and tuck" to get deflated airbag material out of the way extends the number of activities Spirit needs to finish before it can get its wheels onto martian ground. "We'll lift up the left petal of the lander, retract the airbag, then let the petal back down," said Art Thompson, rover tactical uplink lead at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. This and other added activities have pushed the earliest scenario for roll-off to Jan. 14, and it could be later. The first stereo image mosaic from Spirit's panoramic camera provided new details of the landscape's shapes,

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USAF: 'Poor Awareness' Caused F-16 Crash

Poor situational awareness was the likely cause of an F-16 Fighting Falcon crash in South Korea on Sept. 9, a U.S. Air Force investigation team determined. Capt. Kevin Dydyk, of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, sustained minor injuries when the aircraft he was flying crashed into the Yellow Sea about 56 miles southwest of the base. Neither Captain Dydyk nor Capt. Tood Houchins, an instructor pilot flying another F-16, gained enough situational awareness of a low-altitude condition early enough to prevent the crash, according to the investigation report. Captain Dydyk was flying lead in a two-ship training formation over the Yellow Sea when the mishap occurred. On the final mission of the day he unknowingly set-up and began the engageme

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (01.09.04)

"A lake bed is typically flat, with very fine-grain sediments. That's not what we're looking at. If these are lake sediments, then they've been chewed up by impacts and rocks have been brought in." Source: Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis, MO, Deputy Principal Investigator for the Mars Rover's science instruments, a member of the science team gathered in Pasadena right now having the time of their lives going over the data coming back from Columbia Memorial Station, Mars.

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STC'd: Pentastar Aviation's Gulfstream High Speed Data System

The Avionics Department of Pentastar Aviation was granted an FAA STC for the first airborne high speed data system installed in Gulfstream series aircraft capable of transmission speeds up to 256 kbps. Pentastar notes that this is the first operationally capable 256 kbps data system utilizing the EMS Technologies HSD-128 Aeronautical Data Unit (shown below) and two HSD-X Extension Units which deliver the ability to utilize multiple ISDN communication devices simultaneously without sacrificing bandwidth. What this means, in plain English, is that data services are now available to travelers in the air, at speeds that are comparable to ground based users. The true benefit of this system is that Internet, e-mail, phone, and fax devices can all operate in harmony with no loss of speed

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XM Is Everywhere: AirTran Airways to Intro Inflight XM Satellite Radio

Over 100 Channels of Live Digital Audio Available to All Passengers AirTran Airways is excited to announce that the airline has selected XM Satellite Radio as the airline's new inflight entertainment system. As the launch airline customer for XM Satellite Radio, AirTran Airways will provide its passengers with the best selection of digital audio entertainment available. The service will be free for all passengers.

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US Airways Flight Attendants File Suit Against Airline

US Airways flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, CWA/AFL-CIO, filed a lawsuit, Thursday, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to prevent airline management from executing an illegal process in the involuntary furlough of 552 flight attendants. "The jobs and livelihoods of people are at stake," said AFA US Airways Master Executive Council President Perry Hayes. "AFA will fight with all legal means necessary to protect the US Airways flight attendants from this kind of blatant disregard for our contract and rights." At the same time US Airways management has made a public spectacle of asking for employee cooperation in turning the airline around, it has set off this clash over furloughs, which also comes on

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Another Black Hawk Down, 9 Dead

An American Black Hawk helicopter, performing Medevac duty, was shot down Thursday, near Fallujah. Originally described as an emergency landing, the downed Black Hawk had nine persons on board, now reported to all be soldiers. The area of the accident is a major area of concern in that it has become a major battleground for Iraqi insurgents and has been the scene of previous helicopter downings.  Military sources now say that the aircraft was crewed entirely by soldiers, though a number of media reports detailed conflicting stories that postulated as few as four soldiers and as many as five "passengers" were on board (though most reports now agree that there were a total of 9 people on board), while the aircraft was a Medevac version. It has not

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TX TFR: 1/10-1/12

The Boss Heads Home For The Weekend NOTAM: 4/0163 Issued: 01/07/2004 23:21 Effective: 01/10/2004 00:05 - 01/12/2004 17:35 State: TX Facility: ZFW - FORT WORTH (ARTCC),TX. Type: VIP Description: CRAWFORD, TEXAS, JANUARY 9-12, 2004 LOCAL.

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TX TFR: 1/09-1/12

The Boss Heads Home For The Weekend NOTAM: 4/0162 Issued: 01/07/2004 23:15 Effective: 01/09/2004 23:35 - 01/12/2004 18:05 State: TX Facility: ZFW - FORT WORTH (ARTCC),TX. Type: VIP Description: WACO, TEXAS, JANUARY 9-12, 2004 LOCAL.

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KY TFR: Immediately - Until Further Notice

Special Security TFR NOTAM: 4/0182 Issued: 01/08/2004 19:22 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: KY Facility: ZID - INDIANAPOLIS (ARTCC),IN. Type: SECURITY Description: RICHMOND, KY.

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LA TFR: Immediately - Until Further Notice

TFR Issued For Natural Gas Well Blowout NOTAM: 4/0180 Issued: 01/08/2004 18:47 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: LA Facility: ZHU - HOUSTON (ARTCC),TX. Type: HAZARDS Description: WESTFIELD, LA.

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AR TFR: Immediately - Until Further Notice

Special Security TFR NOTAM: 4/0187 Issued: 01/08/2004 19:35 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: AR Facility: ZME - MEMPHIS (ARTCC),TN. Type: SECURITY Description: PINE BLUFF ARSENAL, AR.

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IN TFR: Immediately - Until Further Notice

Special Security TFR NOTAM: 4/0185 Issued: 01/08/2004 19:31 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: IN Facility: ZID - INDIANAPOLIS (ARTCC),IN. Type: SECURITY Description: NEWPORT, IN.

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