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March 28, 2004

Downed MiG Update: Wreckage Found, Pilot Lost

Wind gusts of more than 40 mph caused big problems for searchers in New Mexico Saturday, as they tried to find an MiG-17 missing since early Thursday.

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NASA Tests X-43A

Orbital's Hyper-X Launch Vehicle was successfully tested Saturday, in a flight that originated from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center located at Edwards Air Force Base (CA). The Hyper-X launch vehicle uses a modified first stage rocket motor, originally designed and flight-proven aboard Orbital's Pegasus space launch vehicle, to accelerate NASA's X-43A air-breathing scramjet to seven times the speed of sound.

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Psychic's 'Vision' Helps Ground AAL Flight

Check the date. No, it's not April 1st yet. But given what follows, it sure could be. A psychic's warning to the TSA office in Fort Myers (FL) Friday forced American Airlines to ground a DFW-bound flight. Nothing unusual was found on board Flight 1304 in a search conducted before the 128 passengers had a chance to board.

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Getting Ready For The Flames

It's the mother of all aerial bombardment tanks and Erickson AirCrane says it will revolutionize the firefighting business. The Central Point (OR) company says Italy has purchased four S-64 "helitankers," equipped with 2650 gallon tanks. The helitankers will be on the fire line later this year.

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F/A-18 Crash On Takeoff From RDU

Lt. Wesley Baumgartner is lucky to be alive. The 26-year old Navy pilot assigned to VFA-15 -- the Valions -- was part of a two-aircraft flight taking off from Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday, when his F/A-18 Hornet (file photo of type, below) burst into flames. Baumgartner ejected from the aircraft with minor injuries, as the Hornet cartwheeled down the runway, engulfed in fire. Air traffic was halted for hours, as was ground traffic on a nearby interstate, while officials put out the fire, cleaned up the wreckage and began the investigation.

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Aero-News Quote Of They Day (03.28.04)

"It was surreal. It was almost like a NASCAR crash. You could see dirt flying." Source: Rob Shapard, a reporter for the Raleigh Herald-Sun, who was on a flight that hadn't yet pushed from the gate when a Navy F/A-18 Hornet erupted in flames on a take-off roll and the pilot ejected. He spoke by phone from the Delta flight. The pilot of the Hornet, Lt. Wesley Baumgartner, ejected from the burning Hornet, sustaining minor injuries in the process.

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Which Is Nation's Third Most Profitable Airline? Surprise

Hawaiian Air Makes Remarkable Turnaround

Hawaiian Airlines Friday announced its final financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2003, showing that the company reported an operating profit of $77.5 million (including a $17.5 million security fee reimbursement from the federal government) on revenue of $706.1 million, compared to an operating loss of $55.2 million on revenue of $632.0 million for 2002. The results reflect an operating profit turnaround of $132.7 million and Hawaiian's most profitable annual operating result ever.

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The Mean Side Of UAVs

U.S. Eyed Use of Drones To Nab Bin Laden   

How lethal can a UAV be? The military thinks it can take out a high-profile target and even considered doing so when it began hunting down Osama bin Laden. The Associated Press reports US intelligence and military officials intensely debated how far to go using an unmanned aircraft to spy on — and perhaps attack — Osama bin Laden in the year before Sept. 11, 2001. According to preliminary findings of an independent commission investigating the attacks, the discussions, which reached some of the highest levels of government, centered on when and how to use the Predator UAV.

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