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,
Spaceshipone is Scaled's entry in the private space race -- the bid
to become the first non-governmental manned flight into the nether
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
But this time, ALPA leaders say it's different.
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
But there are conditions. Both financial groups want $1.6 billion
in loan guarantees from the federal government's Air Transportation
Okay, the Boeing 7E7 is officially on the market. But who's
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
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
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
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,
"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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
"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."
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
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
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
"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
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.