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December 08, 2003

Nine Afghan Children Dead After US Airstrike

They were aiming for a Taliban commander. Instead, an American warplane flying over Afghanistan hit a village in the Afghan mountains, killing nine children. American officials say the attack indeed killed former Taliban commander Mullah Wazir. Locals in the village, however, say he escaped. Still, the collateral damage threatened to inflame the Afghan public. American Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said he was "deeply saddened" by what he termed the "tragic loss of life" in the village of Hutala in southern Afghanistan. It was the latest strike in which civilians were killed, prompting the UN envoy to that war-torn country to say he's "profoundly distressed." Lakhdar Brahimi said the airstrike, "follows similar incidents (and) adds to a sense of insecurity and fear in the coun

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Restoring History

Making Oscar Skyworthy Again Imagine this: A WWII Luftwaffe cadet restoring a Japanese Oscar in Texas. Ooookay. But that's just what Herb Tischler and his son, George, are doing at Meacham Field in Fort Worth (TX). They're rebuilding four Japanese Ki-43-IIIa fighters from the rusted hulks of aircraft that originally rolled off the Nakajima assembly lines between 1939 and 1945.

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To Build Or Not To Build

Boeing Commercial Aircraft has made such a big noise about its newest commercial aircraft prospect, the 7E7 Dreamliner, that it may be too late to back out. Boeing's board of directors is scheduled to decide whether the company will push forward with the project at its meeting December 15th. New Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher said last week that he fully supports the new project. Already, the company has staged a worldwide competition to name the aircraft, a nationwide competition for a community in which to base its assembly plant and has divided work on the project among several different countries. It looks for all the world like the only thing left is to sign on the bottom line.

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NASA's New 'Bold Agenda' Looks Familiar

Expect a lot of heat and smoke, but not much in the way of substance when President Bush announces his new "bold agenda" for space exploration. So says the Orlando Sentinel. NASA documents obtained by the newspaper, as well as interviews it's conducted, indicate the new agenda will look an awfully lot like the old one. But it's designed to sound good. One internal NASA document written as a talking-points paper for the White House puts it like this: "A house with no foundation falls, and a journey without a plan traps us in the wilderness. To move America and the world boldly into our greatest frontier we must build the foundations of mind, technology and experience. Without them, our journey into space would be only a visit. With them, we can stay. Our childr

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Virgin Atlantic To Airbus: Super-Size It, Please

Richard Branson went to Toulouse, France, recently, looking in on his order for six Airbus A380s. He apparently liked what he saw. "It's an absolute dream," Branson said enthusiastically. The A380 will be able to hold as many as 800 passengers. The Boeing 747 typically comes with 450 seats. Boeing's only aim at competing with the Airbus, the 747X, was cancelled in 2001. "It's going to be a beautiful plane," said Branson of the A380, "and it's going to have a lot of wonderful things in it."

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Aircraft Down: Harrison (AR)

Two people aboard a single-engine, two-place aircraft, were killed Saturday when it went down just 300 yards from the Boone County (AR) Regional Airport. There's no indication yet as to what caused the accident. Workers at a nearby softball complex said the aircraft appeared to be "dumping fuel" before it went down. They reported smelling avgas as they say it fell around them.

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AOPA To NTSB: We're Aviators And We're Here To Help

AOPA President Phil Boyer and senior staff this week told the National Transportation Safety Board members that the association can be a real asset to the NTSB when it has general aviation concerns. "Only one of the board members has any significant GA experience," said Boyer. "We wanted the other members to understand that there are often non-regulatory ways to improve safety, and that AOPA can help with pilot education." Boyer and AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula began by introducing the board members to AOPA members. They explained that AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization and that AOPA members account for some two thirds of the entire US pilot population.

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WestJet Flight Aborts After Pressurization Problem

A WestJet 737 headed from Calgary to Winnipeg last week was forced to turn back because of a faulty air conditioning unit, which caused a slow depressurization in the aircraft cabin, according to the airline. The aircraft was able to return to Calgary without incident, albeit at a much-increased rate of descent. WestJet executives were angry at Canadian media reports the aircraft "nose dived" toward the airport after the pressurization problem was discovered. Some media outlets reported the aircraft lost more than 16,000 feet of altitude in only one minute.

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Solar Dust In The Wind

The Van Allen Belt is described by some as a magnetic shield, standing between Earth and the harm it might be caused by magnetic storms on the surface of the sun. But the shield is porous and often, huge amounts of solar wind seep through, causing problems for astronauts and their vehicles, aircraft on the move and even powerplants on the ground. Those findings came from scientists last week in the wake of the biggest solar storm ever recorded. Published in the journal Nature, lead researcher Harald Frey of the University of California's Berkeley campus, says this new information "will help us to make more accurate space weather predictions."

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Klyde Morris 12.08.03

We Think Klyde Wants To Go To The Moon

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Volvo Aero selected for the Mako Trainer Program

Volvo Aero Corporation has been selected as a major contributor to the General Electric Aircraft Engines (GEAE) F414M/MT engine for the EADS Mako trainer. A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, has been signed between GEAE and Volvo Aero Corporation. The MoU involves cooperation on development activities, hardware production, final assembly and testing, up to a total engine value of 30 percent.

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Bombardier President and CEO Calls for a Comprehensive Canadian Aerospace Policy

Bombardier President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Tellier (right), wants government policy-makers and industry stake holders to develop a comprehensive Canadian aerospace policy. "If the Canadian aerospace industry is to survive with the reputation of excellence it has gained worldwide with continued benefits to our economy, the Government of Canada and all stake holders will have to join together to establish the basic tenets of a comprehensive aerospace policy," Tellier told the Vancouver Board of Trade.

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Saaay... Why Can I See The Ground Through Our Wing?

Thai 747 Lands Safely After Damage Discovered Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Authority says there was never really any danger when the crew on board Orient Thai Airlines Flight 261 spotted a hole in the wing of their 747-200. It happened Thursday, about 15 minutes into the flight from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, Thailand. "The aircraft didn't request any sort of assistance, but we took our own initiative to provide what we call a local stand-by ... the lightest level for [the] airport's emergency service," said Norman Lo, deputy director of the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department. "If there is anything wrong with the aircraft or if the aircraft has any handling difficulties, I'm sure the pilot would be requesting emergency landing and full emergency service."

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Air Canada Expects Another Suitor To Call This Week

Just when Air Canada thought it was going to meet up with its white knight and all his money, it now appears there's another suitor for the bankrupt Canadian airline. Cerberus Corporation is expected to tender an offer for the company that could top an offer already on the table from Victor Li's Trinity Time Investments. The Trinity offer is about $650 million and would make Li the biggest single investor in Air Canada. "We'll be vigorously seeking the court's approval of the agreement," Mark Gelowitz, a lawyer for Trinity, said of tomorrow's court hearing.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.08.03)

"When you don't have plans, it becomes a challenge. But it's a neat thing to bring back a piece of history." Source: George Tischler, who, along with his 77-year old father, Herb, is rebuilding four Ki-43-IIIa "Oscars." The aircraft are being reconstructed from original parts found in northernmost Japan. About two percent of the parts will be original. The aircraft will be powered by DC-3 1830 engines, since no original powerplants are available.

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Where Skies Are Safest

Where are the safest skies in the world? Over Fort Worth (TX) and points west, according to FAA officials. The agency's southwest region has become one of the most accident-free operations in America. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports controllers at Alliance Airport, north of the city, have never experienced an accident in their 15 years of operation. At Meacham Field, there hasn't been an accident reported in nine years. "Knock on wood, we've been lucky," Meacham tower manager Gene Kasson said. "Anybody at any time, regardless of experience, can have an operational error. I don't know what it is about the region. I wish there was a magic potion you could take."

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Pilot Error, Engine Problems Blamed In Fatal Wisconsin Crash

The NTSB says there are two reasons a Cessna 414 with a Riley Super-8 conversion crashed at Marshfield Municipal Airport (WI) two years ago: engine problems and pilot error. The Marshfield News Herald reports CFIs Mitchell Schier, 41, and Andrew Maly, 31, both of Marshfield, along with Michael Cervi, 30, of Marana (AZ), died in the crash. Shier was trying to land the aircraft after it started losing power in the left engine. The three were headed to Doniphan (MO) in the 1974 Cessna.

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