Not all of this year's "surprises," at the highly successful
2004 rendition of the Aircraft Electronics Association's
Tradeshow/Convention were expected to be quite this cool... even by
the nosy folks at ANN.
Chelton introduced a somewhat novel new autopilot system that
leaves little to want for, once the initial install is over.
Jam-packed with features and capabilities, the Chelton AP-3C
diverges from the norm in that pitch attitude control is derived
from pitch trim motivation. Unlike many light GA autopilots, the
AP-3C does NOT use a pitch servo to drive the elevator.
The Professional Airways Systems Specialists tells ANN that they
have called on FAA management to end the staffing shortages that
contributed to an equipment outage at Jacksonville International
Airport on Thursday. The outage lasted approximately 45 minutes and
caused more than 200 delays during the busy morning rush.
According to PASS President Tom Brantley, the FAA has been trying
for over a year to fill multiple systems specialist positions at
Jacksonville's Hilliard Air Traffic Control Center. The FAA's delay
in filling the positions finally resulted in a disruption to air
traffic Thursday, when a systems specialist called in sick that
morning. Unfortunately, FAA management did not call in another
systems specialist to fill the shift, exacerbating an already
It was pretty obvious, to those of us at ANN, by the afternoon
of the first day of Heli-Expo 2004, that something very good was
happening, where the civil helicopter industry gathered in Las
Vegas, Nevada, March 15 through 17. By the second day, we suspected
record attendnace and activity. Now we find that our suspicions
have been confirmed. The 2004 HELI-EXPO convention and exposition
was a success, surpassing expectations. The exhibit hall was filled
with attendees exploring the vast array of helicopters, avionics,
engines, aviation products, and services.
Sonex has unveiled its new retractable gear system and since
we're a few days past our April Fool's issue, I can assure you
(this time, anyway...) that we're not fooling!
Sonex has been spending their "Spare Time" fitting a set of Czeck
Aero Works Amphibious floats to the original Prototype Sonex
(N12SX) with the 3300 Jabiru. Flight testing is set to commence
later this Spring, sometime after they return from Lakeland.
They're expecting "exceptional performance" from this combination.
For those "fishing" for more news, this option will add
approximately $10,000 to the overall cost of a Sonex.
Wow... when we published over 30 stories on April 1st, we
figured it was something of a record for us... until you folks
started responding... and several thousand emails later, it was
obvious that you had a lot of fun and set yet another record for
response to a single day's stories... though, in a few cases, only
after you fell for some of the gags, hook line and sinker. It was a
record response to a record day... and it sure looked like a good
time was had by all.
Signature Flight Support officially broke ground on its new
Toulon, France, facility during a March 25 on site ceremony. The
Orlando, Florida-based company took over flight support operations
at the Toulon-Hyeres Airport (TLN/LFTH) in January and is currently
operating from space in the main terminal with exclusive use of the
airport's VIP lounge. Construction on the new purpose-built
2,410-square-foot facility is expected to be complete in the third
quarter of 2004.
At a March 31st meeting with over 250 stakeholders, the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlined the terms of the
settlements with the American Petroleum Institute (API) and
Petroleum Marketers Association of America (PMAA) and detailed the
agency's plan for implementing Spill Protection, Control and
Countermeasure (SPCC) rules by the August 17, 2004 compliance date.
API and PMAA had sued the EPA to block implementation of new SPCC
"The staffing level PASS agreed to with
the FAA is the absolute minimum number necessary to maintain a safe
and efficient air traffic control system... The agency has no
immediate plans to hire the additional systems specialists needed,
which we find completely irresponsible."
Source: PASS President Tom
Brantley, discussing the unfilled systems specialist positions
at Jacksonville's Hilliard Air Traffic Control Center. The FAA's
delay in filling the positions finally resulted in a disruption to
air traffic Thursday, when a systems specialist called in sick that