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February 21, 2004

Fossett Picks Chelton

Chelton Flight Systems' synthetic vision EFIS (Electronic Fight Instrument System) has been selected for the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer. Steve Fossett expects to fly the aircraft around the world, non-stop, covering 23,000 miles in just under 80 hours in either April or October. Designed and built by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, the GlobalFlyer had to meet very exacting criteria for lifting the enormous load of fuel needed for the journey. Component strength, reliability and weight are critical. Chelton Flight Systems, which has hundreds of EFIS units already flying in both experimental and certified aircraft, has the advantages of providing a tremendous volume of navigation information along with aircraft performance data and engine function data in a compact, lightweight pa

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Now We Know

More than a year after the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated 60,000 feet above Texas and Louisiana, NASA now says it knows "for certain" what caused the accident. Fixing that problem, along with one recently discovered, means NASA will delay the next shuttle launch until at least March, 2005.

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'Like A Car Crash'

"I remember the 'bang,' hitting the ground, like a car accident, getting in a car accident." Those words came from co-pilot Mike Welborn, one of two San Antonio (TX) police aviators aboard a Schweizer 333 as pilot, Edward A. Ramirez, fought for control of the aircraft -- and for his life. "Come on, auto! Come on, auto!" Welborn yelled to Ramirez, as the aircraft auto-rotated to a hard landing in a grocery store parking lot. Ramirez and Welborn had launched at about 2:30 am CST Thursday from Stinson Airfield, responding to calls for assistance during a police chase. Within less than a minute, the two officers heard a series of bangs and felt an ominous shudder in their flight controls.

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IN TFR: 02/21-02/24

TFR Issued Due To Demolition Ops NOTAM: 4/1334 Issued: 02/20/2004 13:40 Effective: 02/21/2004 12:00 - 02/24/2004 22:00 State: IN Facility: ZID - INDIANAPOLIS (ARTCC),IN. Type: HAZARDS Description: CHARLESTON, IN.

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Canada Lifts Grounding Of CH-149s

The Canadian Air Force is lifting a flight restriction on its fleet of 15 CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopters that temporarily limited the aircraft to search and rescue operations only, following modifications to an engine fuel supply line. The individual CH-149 Cormorant aircraft (Canadian Coast Guard varient shown below) will be able to be used for training flights as soon as they are modified. The flight restriction meant that the Cormorants could only be flown for actual search and rescue missions: no training flights could be conducted until aircraft modifications were completed.

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World War II Ace Salutes Racial Progress

Decorated World War II aviator and "Ace" Lee Andrew Archer Jr., 84, says he dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot at an early age. The Yonkers (NY)-born veteran recalled reading comic books during his boyhood that featured illustrated stories depicting World War I duels in the skies between Germany's Baron von Richthofen and allied fliers. "I wanted to be a pilot," Archer said at a Feb. 19 National Black History Month commemoration ceremony at Veterans Affairs Department headquarters, noting that watching planes take off and land at a small airport near his family's summer home in Saratoga (NY) also whetted his desire to fly.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.21.04)

"We said, 'Stop. Let's go ahead and extend the schedule, and let's figure out what the right way is to go about (meeting the recommendations of the Columbia accident investigators).' We're not going to be driven by the calendar. This is going to be a milestone-driven event." Source: NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, announcing that the space shuttles' return to flight won't happen before March, 2005. Redesigning the space planes' external fuel tanks, along with new problems found in the rudder-speed brake assembly and CAIB-mandated restrictions that require daylight for both the launch and the external fuel tank drop have all conspired to keep the three remaining shuttles grounded in the wake of the Columbia disaster.

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Phil's Excellent Adventure

Alaska pilots face challenges that pilots in the lower 48 states often could not imagine, which is why AOPA President Phil Boyer just completed his ninth trip there — to hear pilots' concerns for himself. "The unique weather, geography, and other aspects of the 49th state convinced me on my very first trip that Alaska requires additional and unique thinking when dealing with general aviation regulations and legislation," said Boyer. "One size does not fit all when it comes to Alaskan aviation issues.

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