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December 14, 2003

A Hitch In The Plan For Return To Flight

NASA still can't repair the kind of shuttle wing damage thought to have destroyed Columbia on re-entry. That type of repair, once thought easy to accomplish, is now the biggest obstacle to the shuttles' return to flight, proposed for next year. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) found that foam debris from the space plane's external fuel tank probably punched a hole in the orbiter's left wing. That allowed super-heated gas to breach the heat shielding and caused Columbia to break up in flight.

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Daley Can Bulldoze The Runway, But He Can't Invent Money

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has a problem. The man who bulldozed Meigs Field earlier this year with the intention of turning the lakeside airport into a park doesn't have enough money to pay for the pet project. To do so means increasing mooring fees along Lake Michigan and increasing local property taxes to fund the Parks Department. Enter the Friends of Meigs Field (FOM). They're here to help. The group presented its proposal, “Parks and Planes,” at the Chicago Park District board budget hearings Thursday, following up with a request to aviation enthusiasts everywhere to express their support through a special message to the board, accessed from its website. FOM wants to combine a re-opened airport with new parkland—the Bessie Coleman Skypark—a

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ACA Takes It To The Streets

It's the latest shot fired in a takeover battle that's becoming more and more shrill. Atlantic Coast Airlines has sent a letter to stockholders regarding connection with Mesa Air Group consent solicitation. Mesa announced back in October it wants to take over ACA and boot the entire board of directors. Now, ACA is writing stockholders, asking for their support in fighting off the hostile takeover bid.

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Government Faults FAA On Commercial Safety Inspections

In the wake of the Midwest Air crash in Charlotte (NC) earlier this year, the Charlotte Observer has been looking into watchdog complaints about commercial airline maintenance. Now, the paper has dug up a series of Government Accounting Office (GAO) and other federal government reports citing a number of incidents over the past 18 years. Beginning in 1985, the GAO, the watchdog of Congress, reported on regional differences among FAA safety inspections. Two years later, the GAO pondered maintenance in a deregulated airline economy, suggesting the "fiercely competitive, deregulated environment" could

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Another Florida Aircraft Down -- This Time In Alabama

The pilot of a Cessna 441 that went down shortly after take-off from Birmingham International Airport (AL) Wednesday has been identified through dental records. The Jefferson County Coroner's office says 56-year old John Wayne DeLamater and 44-year old Melia Warrington were killed when the aircraft crashed minutes after take-off, at around 2:21 pm Wednesday. The Cessna was on its way to Venice (FL) after Ms. Warrington visited with a sick relative in Alabama. She was from Osprey (FL). DeLamater was from Gulfport (FL). The cause of the accident is still under investigation. A company contracted by the NTSB removed the wreckage Friday.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.14.03)

"It was clear to us that they (shuttle engineers) have some things that they are still having to work. But they have ways to work on them and at this point aren't saying they can't make it." Source: Former astronaut Richard Covey, who co-chairs a shuttle oversight group mandated by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. NASA has so far been stumped in coming up with a way to patch hull breaches, like the one that caused the disintegration of Columbia as it re-entered the atmosphere last February.

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President Kicks Of Centennial Of Flight Week

Statement by the President George W. Bush, Friday, December 12, 2003: Today, I have signed into law H.R. 2115, the "Vision 100 -- Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act." The Act is designed to strengthen America's aviation sector, provide needed authority to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and enhance the safety of the traveling public.

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Aerosonic Gets The Nod

Aerosonic Corporation has been awarded a multi-year contract to design and manufacture electronic standby instruments for Cessna's new Citation Mustang. "This award represents another milestone in a relationship between Cessna and Aerosonic that spans 30 years," stated Mark Perkins, Aerosonic's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "We are proud and privileged to be launching a new product line on an aircraft that has such tremendous market appeal with a world class aircraft manufacturer like Cessna."

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