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March 17, 2004

NBAA Urges Reopening Of DCA And TFRs To GA

Longmuir Proposes New Security Program

On Tuesday, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Shelley A. Longmuir (pictured below) urged that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) be reopened to security-qualified general aviation aircraft. In testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee, Longmuir unveiled a program including "10 rings of security" called Secure Access, which would ensure the safe operation of general aviation aircraft at the airport while again generating millions of dollars a year in economic activity in the Washington region.

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Enstrom Helicopter Offers EMS Configuration

Enstrom Helicopter Corp., in cooperation with LifePort, Inc., has added medical evacuation capabilities as an affordable option to the Enstrom 480B helicopter. The Enstrom 480B can be used for air ambulance missions with the inclusion of the LifePort, Inc. pivoting MedDeck. This enhancement was announced at the HAI Expo held in Las Vegas (NV).

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A Facelift for Bell's 427

Helicopter To Receive Major Upgrade

HAI Expo 2004 was the perfect venue for Bell to unveil one of its major headlines of the week. Bell Helicopter Chief Executive Officer Mike Redenbaugh announced the company's intention to go forward with an IFR version of the 427. The 427IFR will have several new features and some elements of Bell's MAPL technology program. Some of the more important features include more cabin room, a new state-of-the-art glass cockpit and new rotor technology offering increased performance. Bell hopes these additions will make the 427IFR an attractive platform for the EMS and Homeland Security mission. The manufacturer also expects to expand the market for light twins in the offshore industry.

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ASESA Purchases Ten New Bell 412EPs

Aircraft to Be Used For Oil Exploration

During the HAI Expo 2004, Bell and Aeroservicios Especializados S.A. de C.V. ("ASESA") officials announced that they had reached an agreement on the sale of ten new Bell 412EP Helicopters. The first few of the 412s have already been delivered to ASESA and have already started operations. Deliveries will continue through August of 2004. These aircraft will be used to service three new five-year contracts awarded by "PEMEX", Mexico's national oil company, each contract requiring five helicopters. The missions will be carried out in the Bay of Campeche region in southeastern Mexico.

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Private Jets A Growing San Jose Airport Trend

Biz Jets Outpace Commercial Air Ops

Silicon Valley businesses are slowly, cautiously, putting their executives and salespeople back into the air in order to meet with clients or woo new ones. However, many are turning from commercial airlines to private corporate jets -- their own and, increasingly, someone else's. While commercial business traffic is off about 20 percent at Mineta San Jose International Airport since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, corporate jet traffic has increased. Exact local numbers aren't available, but corporate jet traffic was up 25 percent nationwide in 2003 and locally accounted for nearly one in every three flights taking off or landing in San Jose. Plans are already underway to expand or build three new facilities for corporate jets and thei

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Air Methods Orders 10 Eurocopter EC135 Helicopters

Expands Air Medical Service Fleet

Air Methods Corporation announced Tuesday the placement of a major order for ten (10) Eurocopter EC135 twin-engine helicopters as part of the company's long-term fleet expansion and modernization program. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery to Air Methods throughout 2004. The company's Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services for hospitals and its LifeNet Division is the largest community-based provider of air medical services.

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Drawing Kids Into Aviation Through Education

Thomas Wathen Foundation Opens Skies For Children

Flabob Airport became a field trip destination for 118 local fifth graders in March, as part of a continuing series of Youth Education Programs set up by the Thomas Wathen Foundation. Flabob is one of nine regional sites selected for satellite programs designed by the EAA for attracting young people to aviation. The Wathen Foundation says it has actually moved far beyond the original EAA concept. About once a month, during the school year fifth and sixth graders travel to the airport where they spend a day learning about flight.

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NASA, Congress Kick Off 1st Round Of Budget Fight

Agency Battles Proposed Congressional Budget Cut 

In what NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe described as the first inning of a long ball game, the first attempt by Congress to cut the substantial budget increase the White House wants for NASA in 2005 was reversed. The Senate Budget Committee, citing the record budget deficits the United States is experiencing, cut back the money it would make available for many White House spending priorities, including a proposed 5.6 percent budget hike for NASA for 2005. The committee's budget resolution, adopted March 4, would have trimmed about $600 million from President George W. Bush's $16.2 billion request for NASA.

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Russia Replaces Space Agency Chief

General Takes Agency's Helm

Russia replaced without explanation its long-serving space agency chief on Friday and appointed a top general to replace him, Russian media reported. For the past 12 years Yuri Koptev has overseen Russia's space program -- the sole launcher of missions to the International Space Station since the United States grounded its shuttles in February 2003 after the Columbia disaster. The agency's new chief will be Colonel-General Perminov, 58, previously commander of the army's space division.

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Spirit Keeps Going And Going And Going

Mars Rovers to Last Longer Than Expected  

It took more than a month for NASA's Spirit Mars rover to finish the drive to its destination, a crater called "Bonneville," but mission planners are already looking toward more distant pastures, confident that their robust robot -- and its twin, Opportunity -- will last twice as long as originally expected. Spirit was scheduled to travel the last few feet to the rim of Bonneville Tuesday, then look around with its panoramic camera for anything interesting enough to nuzzle its science instruments against.

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Frontier's Animal Ads Proving Popular

Airborne Critters Catch Fliers Attention Will Jack the Rabbit and Foxy ever get together? Will Flip the Dolphin ever get to Florida? People are asking Frontier Airlines such questions about its talking animals ad campaign, which has proved to be wildly popular with consumers. When the animals that are painted on the tails of Frontier's planes began conversing with each other in TV commercials last year, the airline garnered a 50 percent leap in brand recognition. Now the TV and radio commercials are earning top industry awards.

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The End Of Manned Fighters?

F-35 Will Be Last Of Traditional Aircraft

The top gun of the future will be a robot - not your hormone-pumping human aviator. Unmanned aircraft will be the key to the modern battlefield as the traditional fighter aircraft is phased out, say industry analysts. In fact, some believe the F-35 may well be the end of the line for American fighters. This was the most obvious change at last month's Asian Aerospace 2004 fair in Singapore. By presenting analyses and demonstration charts, industry analysts described the decline of the traditional fighter jet. All agreed this would mark the end of one era and the beginning of a new one -- when the unmanned aircraft will lead the way into the modern battlefield.

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Chinese Council Presents New Evidence In China Airlines Crash

Carrier Fined By Government

The government will fine China Airlines, as fresh evidence indicating that the carrier was to blame for a crash off Penghu County in May 2002 has been found, a spokesman for the Aviation Safety Council under the Executive Yuan reported yesterday. The Civil Aeronautics Administration under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is planning to issue a fine of NT$1.8 million (about US$54,000) to the carrier over the crash, the spokesman said. The ASC official, however, pointed out that while the new evidence might not necessarily be the key cause of the crash of flight CI611, it will make the investigation into the fatal accident more comprehensive. The results of the ASC probe will be released late this year.

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Another Chapter In Naval Aviation

Naval Reservists Bid Farewell To The T-2 Buckeye

After more than 40 years of service, the venerable T-2 Buckeye training aircraft is retiring from the Navy after one last hurrah in Key West (FL). Since the early 1960s, the T-2 had been the first jet flown by Navy and Marine Corps student pilots while earning their wings. But it will be leaving service soon after one last training detachment with Training Wing 1’s Reserve Squadron Augment Unit (SAU) 9.

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NBAA Announces Three CAMs

Announces Two Upcoming Exam Dates

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced three individuals who have successfully passed the Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) Examination, administered February 26 in Anaheim, CA. As NBAA describes, the CAM Program "offers a way to identify and measure the aviation-specific knowledge and management skills of current and aspiring flight department managers." Through the certification process, NBAA seeks to raise the professionalism and quality of management within flight departments. The next CAM Exam will be administered on Thursday, May 20 in the New York City area. Location details will be announced shortly.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (03.17.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"This purchase represents the most important acquisition of helicopters made by a private Mexican company. It turns ASESA in the largest offshore operator in Mexico." Source: Mr. Humberto Lobo De La Garza, Chief Executive Officer of ASESA. The company -- part of a Mexican oil conglomerate -- purchased 10 Bell 412EP helicopters. The first few of the 412s have already been delivered to ASESA and have already started operations. Deliveries will continue through August of 2004.

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Upgraded: Suzanne Scharton

Promoted to GM At Signature Flight Support's SBA Facility

Suzanne Scharton has been promoted to the general manager position at Signature's Santa Barbara (CA) facility. Scharton, a 17-veteran of the aviation industry, leaves her position as Client Service Manager at Signature's Orlando headquarters. While there, she worked closely with the sales department to help de

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AD: McDonnell Douglas

AD: McDonnell Douglas

AD NUMBER: 2004-05-25 MANUFACTURER: McDonnell Douglas SUBJECT: Cockpit Seats SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to certain McDonnell Douglas airplane models, that requires inspection of the captain's and first officer's seat locking pins for minimum engagement with the detent holes in the seat tracks; inspection of the seat lock pins for excessive wear; and corrective actions, if necessary.

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AD: Boeing

AD NUMBER: 2004-05-27

MANUFACTURER: Boeing SUBJECT: Airworthiness Directive 2004-05-27 SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to all Boeing Model 737-200 series airplanes modified by Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) ST00516AT, that requires removal of the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system installed per that STC. This action is necessary to eliminate the possibility that the airplane crew could be unable to remove power from the IFE system during a non-normal or emergency situation, which could result in the airplane crew's inability to control smoke or fumes in the airplane flight deck or cabin. This action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

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AD: Textron Lycoming

AD: Textron Lycoming

AD NUMBER: 2004-05-24 MANUFACTURER: Textron Lycoming SUBJECT: Airworthiness Directive 2004-05-24 SUMMARY: The FAA is superseding an existing airworthiness directive (AD) for Lycoming Engines (Formerly Textron Lycoming) AEIO-540, IO-540, LTIO-540, O-540, and TIO-540 series reciprocating engines. That action requires replacing certain zinc-plated crankshaft gear retaining bolts. This action retains that requirement, but expands the population of affected engines. In addition, this AD adds five additional kits for replacing the crankshaft gear retaining bolts.

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