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February 18, 2004

Preventing Another TWA 800

FAA Orders New Safety Devices To Prevent Fuel-Tank Explosions

The FAA announced Tuesday that it will require airlines to install safety devices in order to to prevent fuel-tank explosions. However, the cost of safety is not cheap, as the devices, which flush oxygen from the fuel tanks, will cost airlines millions of dollars to install. The FAA's move appears to meet one of the key recommendations that was issued by the National Transportation Safety Board after the crash in 1996 of TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747 that exploded shortly after takeoff from New York City. All 230 people aboard died. The safety board concluded that a measure such as injecting non-flammable nitrogen gas into fuel tanks was needed to ensure the tanks could not explode. Since that time, the FAA has follo

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NTSB Chairman Weighs In On FAA Fuel Tank Rule

Better Late Than Never

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Ellen Engleman-Conners released Tuesday the a tatement Tuesday afternoon in reaction to the FAA's issuance of a final rule requiring fuel tank flame reduction systems in transport category aircraft, beginning with Boeing 747 models. The NTSB said it is generally pleased with the FAA's accomplishment comes despite the early industry and working group predictions that fuel tank inerting would be weight and cost prohibitive. Engleman-Conners commend the FAA for taking a two-pronged approach to the problem by recognizing that ignition source prevention alone cannot protect transport airplanes from this potential danger.

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SJ30-2 Makes It Into The Record Books

Shatters Presssurization 'World Record'

It seems fair to say that the folks at Sino Swearingen work well under pressure. Company officials announced Tuesday their SJ30-2 aircraft fuselage has passed the FAA pressurization tests to the ultimate load limits of 31.40 psi. Company officials claim the successful outcome if this test meets the requirements for the advertised pressurization of 12 psi and 49,000 ft. altitude. The SJ30-2 will be certified for single pilot operations. The company continues advancing the FAA certification process with estimated final certification in the second half of next year. 

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"Get a Grip" at NBAA Corporate Aviation Management Conference

Vern Raeburn Scheduled As Keynote Speaker

"Great Results Involve People (GRIP)" is the theme of the NBAA 10th Annual Corporate Aviation Management Conference, to be held in Anaheim (CA) on February 24 and 25. Join your fellow managers in a well-focused two days of considering what it takes to attract, motivate, evaluate and retain the best and brightest personnel for your flight department. Additionally, a two-day NBAA Professional Development Course will be offered on Thursday and Friday (separate registration required) as will the Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) Program Exam.

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Pilots Down Under Want More Air Traffic Changes

Group Asks For Airspace Changes

An Australian pilots' association is calling for Airservices Australia to go further with changes to improve controversial airspace regulations introduced by the Australian federal government. New safety measures have been announced in response to concerns over the regulations, which allowed light planes and jets to fly in the same airspace without having to communicate with air traffic controllers. The changes include giving pilots new charts of local air traffic control frequencies and using transportable radar to extend surveillance. But the Australian and International Pilots' Association's Richard Woodward says the regulations need further improvement.

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USUA Names New Region 11 Rep

The US Ultralight Association has named Bob Chase to serve as its Region 11 Representative. Region 11 (Far West) comprises California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Guam.  USUA tells us that Bob has had a life-long interest in tailless and flying wing type aircraft. He built his first tailless model aircraft when he was seven. During World War II, Bob was a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps. He flew B-17, B-24, B-25, C-46, C-47, and C-54 aircraft. Between 1947 and 1964, he was an Air Operations Specialist, working the last five years at the Flying Safety Office at the headquarters of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).

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Air Force Secretary Reveals Future Combat Systems Plan

New Aircraft Types to Enter Service

Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche revealed a list of new focus areas, as well as planned changes to existing systems and proposals for new aircraft that could significantly increase the service’s lethality and effectiveness. The secretary laid out plans to improve special operations, close-air support and battlefield management systems and recommended a trio of new battle management aircraft. Dr. Roche made his remarks Feb. 12 at the Air Force Association’s 2004 Air Warfare Symposium in Lake Buena Vista (FL).

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PAMA Urges FAA To Require Approved Mx Training Programs

Airlines, On-Demand and Commercial Operators Cited

The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) strongly urges the FAA to require all Air Carrier, Commuter and On-Demand operators to have and implement FAA-approved maintenance training programs. In a letter Tuesday to FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, PAMA President Brian Finnegan spelled out the disparity between the training requirements for flight crewmembers and other airmen and those for maintenance technicians. PAMA expressed concern claiming that while the aviation industry expands with greater numbers of flights carrying more passengers every year, the number of fatal accidents will also increase significantly with a constant accident rate. PAMA encourages FAA to complete the "Circle of Safety" now by req

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X-43A Flight Delayed

Rudder Actuator Blamed The flight of NASA's X-43A has been postponed, due to an incident with the rudder actuator on the booster. On Feb 11, during setup at Orbital Sciences Corporation for testing of the rudder and its actuator, an anomaly caused the actuator to go hard over and hit its mechanical stop, exceeding the torque to which the units were qualified. Although the actuator may still function normally, it will have to be replaced. A joint government/contractor incident investigation is under way to determine the cause and corrective actions. The stack, consisting of the X-43A and its modified Pegasus booster, will be air-launched by NASA's B-52 carrier aircraft at 40,000 feet altitude.

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Iris Scanning Wanted At European Airports

Frankfurt Debuts New Technology

Most business travellers want to see the use of biometric technology at airports, according to a survey from airline industry group IATA. Various international airports have begun testing biometric technology, which can scan the retina, iris, face or fingerprint to determine the accurate identity of an individual. The technology is designed to make passports and other identification documents harder to forge, as well as speed up check-in procedures. Amsterdam's Schiphol has introduced iris scanning, while London's Heathrow, New York's JFK and Washington's Dulles airports have also considered the scheme. Travellers at Germany's Frankfurt airport, continental Europe's busiest, are currently using the system via a three-second scan of their eyes. H

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Pilots Just Love Their Leather

AAL Pilots Can Now Wear Leather Jackets

Seeing that few fashion trends remain strong like leather, American Airlines will allow its pilots to sport leather bomber jackets in the cockpit. The black jackets, which will be optional, are seen as a way to honor the traditions of pilots, increase their cool factor with customers and, the airline hopes, cheer up employees in the wake of pay cuts and corporate instability. "We think that the finest aviators in the world deserve the finest uniform accessories," wrote Mark Hettermann, American's vice president of flight, in a letter to the airline's pilots. Soon after sending the note, the Fort Worth-based carrier was inundated with questions about the uniform change. Flight administration officials asked pilots to be patient in

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NEGEV Enters Space Race

New X-Prize Design Joins The Pack

IL Aerospace Technologies (ILAT) has unveiled its new X Prize competition vehicle design now called "NEGEV" (formerly named NEGEV-5). This vehicle will be a self-sufficient reusable sub-orbital space craft capable of being launched and recovered anywhere in the world from land or sea without the need of runways, assist aircraft, costly installations or complicated procedures. The Negev 5 will be launched from ground level using ILAT's own fully reusable High- Altitude Launch Platform (HALP). The concept allows the vehicle to hitchhike a free ride on a large stratospheric balloon filled with helium to its intended rocket launch altitude of 25 Km (82K ft) above mean sea level.  ILAT is Israel's first entry in the X PRIZE Competition.

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Lockheed Martin Gets Okay To Integrate Sniper XR Targeting Pod Onto A-10

Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to integrate the Sniper XR targeting pod on the A-10 aircraft in support of the A-10 Precision Engagement (PE) Program. The contract award follows a successful demonstration of the Sniper system during the A/OA-10 Precision Engagement upgrade program's critical design review.

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F/A-18A Hornet 'Sold' On eBay

Jet Used By Blue Angels

A Navy F/A-18A Hornet fighter, "some assembly required," is being offered on the online auction house eBay. The price for the jet, which formerly belonged to the Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team, is just over $1 million, or about $9 million for a buyer who wants it assembled, painted and certified ready-to-fly. Only legal U.S. residents can bid. The auction is scheduled to end Thursday, just before 5 p.m. EST. Mike Landa of Landa and Associates in Arlington (WA), the brokerage that listed the Blue Angels fighter on the Internet auction service, told The Virginian-Pilot the jet is in parts and came out of military service in 1994. Landa wouldn't identify the owner but said he came by it legally.

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The End Of An Era For Boeing Space

Successful Launch of Last Boeing IUS Deploys USAF Satellite

On the final mission for the program, a Boeing Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) payload booster vehicle successfully deployed a U.S. Air Force Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite on Valenintes Day. The IUS-10 and its integrated payload, DSP-22, were launched aboard a Titan IV B rocket, which also flew with a Boeing-made fairing. Liftoff was at 1:50 p.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (FL). The Defense Support Program is a satellite surveillance system providing the United States and its allies with ballistic missile early warning and other information related to missile launches, surveillance and the detonation of nuclear weapons.

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AZ TFR: TFN

TFR Issued Due to Potential Hazard NOTAM: 4/1171 Issued: 02/18/2004 00:15 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: AZ Facility: ZAB - ALBUQUERQUE (ARTCC),NM. Type: HAZARDS Description: NE OF PHOENIX,AZ.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.18.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"With 12 psi, we would only have a 5,500 ft cabin in outer space ... if we could find the right booster rocket." Source: Ed Swearingen, Senior Advisor and Director of Sino Swearingen Aircraft commenting on the SJ30-2 aircraft fuselage's successful FAA pressurization tests. The unit was pressurized to the ultimate load limits of 31.40 psi. Company officials claim the pressure reading reached during the FAA testing is higher than all general aviation business jet aircraft ever built in the history of aviation.

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