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December 10, 2003

Good News and Bad News For Jon Johanson's New Polar Flight Record

... And The Bad News Is That He's Stuck At McMurdo First The Good News: On Monday 8 December, Australian pilot, Jon Johanson became the first pilot to fly a homebuilt, single engine aircraft over the South Pole. It is believed that he is also the first person ever to fly a fixed wing aircraft solo over the South Pole on a long distance flight. Jon set this new world record during a non-stop flight from Invercargill, New Zealand to overfly the South Pole before landing at the joint US(McMurdo)/NZ (Scott)Base in Antarctica. He flew his special RV-4 aircraft, call sign VH-NOJ, that he has already flown three times around the world including over the North Pole. His aircraft was modified for this history-making flight with a speciali

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FAA, Controller Union Sign Contract Extension

The FAA and NATCA have signed a two-year contract extension that  expands pay-for-performance to air traffic controllers and provides potential savings of several million dollars. The extension modifies or eliminates a number of costly pay rules and other agreements that had been in place over the past five years. Under the extension, a portion of the controllers’ annual salary  increases will be based on meeting agency performance targets. Depending on actual hiring needs, the extension could allow the agency to avoid costs of as much as $40 million over the next four years. “This extension helps the agency and the union concentrate on what we  do best: moving airplanes safely,” said FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey. “The FAA is beco

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Army Kiowa Down In Iraq -- Crew Safe

A US Army helicopter made a hard landing near Fallujah, Iraq, Tuesday, according to US Central Command. The helicopter's pilot and co-pilot were able to walk away from their OH-58D Kiowa observation aircraft after making an emergency landing south of Fallujah, CENTCOM spokesman Marine Maj. Pete Mitchell said. Mitchell initially reported that the Kiowa might have been forced to land "due to hostile fire." A subsequent CENTCOM news release confirmed that the aircraft had come under enemy fire.

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ICAS 2003: Turnin’ and Burnin’ with the Blues’

“This is a very aggressive schedule…we’re on the road, taking Naval Aviation to the Heartland”. With those words, Lt. Mike Blankenship, the Public Affairs Officer for the Blue Angels, grabs my printed schedule and makes a quick correction, adding Niagara Falls, New York to the schedule (a printing oversight). 34 stops in three countries, and an early October trip to Hawaii for the team, the first at MCAS Kaneohe Bay. They’re also heading east for a weekend visit to Bermuda on 12-13 June, and their Canadian foray will be 11-12 September to Shearwater, Nova Scotia. “We’re adding three new pilots to the team this year, including a Marine flying in the #3, or left wing slot.”

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ICAS 2003: Thunderbirds Launch Into ‘04

The smile on Mike Chandler’s face is genuine. It goes from ear-to-ear, and his face just lights up. Like a Dad talking about his kid’s little league game, he’s beaming. Let’s face it. We’re all airplane nuts.  We love this stuff. How many of us get to live our dreams, or even beyond them… that’s where “Chanz” finds himself now. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, 17 years after graduating from the Academy, he says this is the best job of all. He’s the new commander of the Thunderbirds. In his dark blue flight suit, with the number 1 on the left chest, this native of Cedar Falls, Iowa is getting settled into the new job, even though the official change of command ceremony takes place in January. He’

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USUA: Insurance Available Soon!

USUA tells us that after (conducting) negotiations with First Flight Insurance Group, 3rd party liability insurance will soon be available for USUA members. Even though the preparations are still in the final stages, USUA has confirmed that USUA registered ultralight pilots will soon be able to purchase insurance for their USUA registered vehicles. Coverage will be extended to single and two seat fixed wing, weight shift (trike) and powered parachute vehicles. This new USUA program is being administered by First Flight Insurance Group- a leading provider of sport aviation insurance- and underwritten by Lloyds of London - the most highly respected and revered underwriter of insurance. It is important to note that this policy will offer 3rd party liability insurance coverage for n

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Pivotal New PW615F Achieves Takeoff Thrust During Testing

Pratt & Whitney Canada tells ANN that the first development PW615F turbine engine, selected by Cessna Aircraft for its new Citation Mustang business jet, has achieved a first successful run at its rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds. The engine ran for a total of eight hours and has also completed a number of performance and characterization tests. "This first run at full takeoff thrust marks an important milestone in the PW615F development program," said Maurice Weinberg, P&WC director, Engine Development Programs - Small Turbofans. "It clears the way for the first test engine to be provided to Cessna in early 2004. We are also on track for engine certification by the end of 2005." The PW615F is a member of P&WC's newest engine family, the PW600. Spanning the 9

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CarterCopter Back In The Air

After two, short, test hops and some final adjustments, the CarterCopter (CC) has taken to the air once again. A preliminary flight-test was conducted on Saturday, December 6th at 4:32 PM. It is the first time that the CC prototype has been in the air since it was damaged in a wheels-up landing last spring. Carter has scheduled a series of short test patterns for the CarterCopter before more strenuous flight-testing begins. In addition to major repairs, Carter modified and improved several operating systems including the addition of a new turbo-charged engine.

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MN TFR: 12/10

TFR Issued For "Blasting Activity" NOTAM: 3/1644 Issued: 12/09/2003 19:53 Effective: 12/10/2003 15:30 - 12/10/2003 16:45 State: MN Facility: ZMP - MINNEAPOLIS (ARTCC),MN. Type: HAZARDS Description: ELY, MN.

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ICAS 2003: 2004 USAF Thunderbirds Schedule Announced

Thunderbirds' 2004 Tour Starts March 273th!

Note: Since all military team schedules are subject to change (especially in time of war), please recheck schedules prior to traveling to these events.

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Boeing's 777-300ER To Offer Increased Performance/Capability

The Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) passenger airplane’s excellent performance during flight testing has led the company to decide to offer the airplane with higher range and payload capabilities than originally planned. Such enhanced capability for the newest 777 family member would be available for newly-delivered airplanes and as a retrofit option starting in the fourth quarter of 2004. The enhanced airplane’s maximum takeoff weight would be 775,000 pounds, up from 759,600 pounds. Its design range would be 7,705 nautical miles compared to 7,525 nautical miles. “The airplane’s performance during flight testing has been nothing short of outstanding,” said Lars Andersen, program manager for Boeing 777 Longer Range airplane programs. “Thi

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ICAS 2003: 2004 USN Blue Angels Schedule Announced

Blue Angels' 2004 Tour Starts March 13th! Note: Since all military team schedules are subject to change (especially in time of war), please recheck schedules prior to traveling to these events.

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ICAS 2003: 2004 Canadian Snowbirds Schedule Announced

Canadian Snowbirds' 2004 Tour Starts May 1st! Note: Since all military team schedules are subject to change (especially in time of war), please recheck schedules prior to traveling to these events.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (12.10.03)

“The FAA is becoming a more performance-based organization, and this extension is a significant component of that effort. This agreement helps us focus on the needs of the traveling public and the taxpayer.” Source: FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, commenting on the recent announcement that the FAA and NATCA have signed a two-year contract extension that  expands pay-for-performance to air traffic controllers and provides potential savings of several million dollars.

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Bell Launches Major Amarillo (TX) Expansion

Bell Helicopter CEO Michael Redenbaugh has announced that the Fort Worth-based helicopter manufacturer is adding 113,300 square feet to its existing Assembly Building located at the Amarillo International Airport. "We need this new manufacturing space because we are bringing the H-1 assembly line up to Amarillo," Mr. Redenbaugh said. Since 1999, Bell's Amarillo facility has been the Assembly and Delivery Center for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor program. The Bell center is located on 184 acres along the southeast corner of Amarillo International Airport.

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Boeing Names First BBJ Service Center in Middle East

Boeing has signed an agreement with Alsalam Aircraft Company, making the company the first authorized service center for Boeing Business Jets (BBJ) in the Middle East region. The agreement was announced during the eighth annual Dubai International Air show. Based in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, Alsalam will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services as well as BBJ warranty work on behalf of Boeing. “This new service center operates in the heart of the Arabian peninsula, which is the geographical link between the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa. It expands our global access and allows us to continue meeting the needs of BBJ owners worldwide,” said Lee Monson, president of BBJ. “Alsalam is a proven provider of aircraft maintenance and tec

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Sometimes, It's Not Enough To 'Walk Away From It'

The pilot of a stricken C172 went down shortly after takeoff this weekend, impacting in a lake after a takeoff from a strip in the Alaskan boonies failed. When he failed to get airborne, Strahan's Cessna skidded off the strip and into Eklutna Lake, about 40 miles northeast of Anchorage. Strahan was on a sightseeing flight among the Chugach Mountains last Friday, enjoying the first decent weather in several days. After going down, pilot Wade Strahan, 56, found his way to an unheated trapper's cabin and was forced to endure over 24 hours of below-freezing Alaska winter that included an eight mile hike before his rescue. Maj. Mike Haller of the Alaska National Guard explained that a skier found Strahan, who alerted rescue crews via text messaging/cellphone. Despite temps that flirted

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Aero-News Alert: OMF GmbH Declares Bankruptcy in Germany

OMF Aircraft Inc. (the North American Company) Restructuring The last few years have been tough on general aviation... even for some of the best and brightest in the biz. Following up on last week's announcement of financial difficulties with the highly regarded OMF Symphony program, we now learn that the German parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection. OMF GmbH, of Trollenhagen Germany, the parent company of OMF Aircraft, declared bankruptcy in Germany Tuesday, December 9. OMF GmbH, which was established in 1998 and employed 60 people, produced the two-place single-engine Symphony 160 aircraft and was d

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