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February 02, 2004

Opportunity Steps Out, Spirit Speaks Up

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 historic first. "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. PST Sunday. 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.

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Cessna Bizjet Business Takes A Fall

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 before. Ouch. 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.

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911 Operator Suspended After Delayed Response To Crash Call

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

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AOPA's Boyer To Be Keynote Speaker For Great Lakes Aviation Conference

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 country. 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.

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Gloomy Financial News For Northwest

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

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Another Strategy To Beat The Slump: SkyTeam

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

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European Maintenance Providers Rethink The Way They Do Business

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 competitive strategies. 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

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Klyde Morris 02.02.04

Klyde Nails The Very Essence of the CBS Debacle (Smart Ant, That Klyde!)!

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Transport Sector Gets Its Own Economic Index

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.

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Record-Breaking Non-Stop Flight Gives A Whole New Meaning to 'Singapore Sling'

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.

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Boeing Gets A Boost

(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. -- ed) 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.

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This Might Sting A Little

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 fundin

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The Light Of The Sun Shines At Night

Imagine lighting your runway without paying the electric bill. That's the driving vision behind a Canadian company called Carmanah. 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 lighting.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.02.04)

"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 possibly life.

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7E7 Construction Worries At Least One Potential Customer

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 ramp. 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 operations.

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Boeing Successfully Tests New Engine for NASA Program

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 week. 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 six-second burns.

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ANN Free Classifieds Featured Ad: Airdrome Dream Classic

For Sale: Airdrome Dream Classic Kit Airdrome Dream Classic Kit built Ultralight Aircraft - Kawasaki 40hsp 440 Engine w/3blade Ultraprop- 0-time airframe- 10hr engine- Near Pensacola, FL- http://members.aol.com/ulfly5/dclassic.html Exterior Quality: 9, Interior Quality: 9 Used, will sell for $4,900.00 (or best offer)

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FAI Environmental Commission Meeting

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 our existence.

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Upgraded: David Best

Signature Flight Support...David Best has been named Managing Director, Europe. 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.

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Upgraded: Dina Green

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 director, seminars.

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A Proper Remembrance... 'The Journey Is More Important Than The Destination'

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 chest... 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 destination." God Bless Her and all those aboard Columbia...--Jim Campbell, ANN E-I-C 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...

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AR TFR: TFN

TFR Issued Due to Law Enforcement Activities NOTAM: 4/0753 Issued: 02/01/2004 15:51 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: AR Facility: ZME - MEMPHIS (ARTCC),TN. Type: HAZARDS Description: MENA, AR.

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