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March 22, 2004

Airlines Subpoenaed Over Loans

Five airlines confirm they've been ordered to turn over documents related to their dealings with the former chief of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board between January 1, 2002, and January 31, 2004, according to published reports.

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'I Knew I Needed To Get Out'

Reno (NV) pilot Ross Loudon didn't think he'd make it. When his homebuilt 1975 Wallace Skybolt (file photo of type, below) came apart in the sky near Cold Springs, he was inverted at just over 2000 feet AGL. "I just feel really lucky," Loudon told the Daily Sparks Tribune from his hospital bed at Washoe Medical Center. He flew as much as five times a week and said he practiced bailing out just about every time he went up.

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Emergency AD: Robinson R22s

Trouble in Australia and Israel Compel Emergency AD 2004-06-52 Applicability: Model R22, R22 Alpha, R22 Beta, and R22 Mariner helicopters, with a main rotor blade (blade), part number (P/N) A016-1 or A016-2, installed, certificated in any category.   Compliance: Required as indicated. The FAA has sent an Emergency AD notice to all US owners and operators of Robinson Helicopter Company Model R22, R22 Alpha, R22 Beta, and R22 Mariner helicopters. 

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FAA Recommends California Forestry Ground Aircraft

When the California Department of Forestry bought a King Air for $4.6 million back in 2001, it was supposed to be fitted with infra-red scanners and used to patrol the skies over the Golden State, looking for trouble. Now, the King Air (file photo of type, below) has found trouble alright, but back at the hangar instead of on the fire line.

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What's This? Tax Relief For Aircraft Owners?

Well, it's not much of a break, but every little bit helps, right? The Horry County (SC) Council last week voted to cut taxes on general aviation aircraft, dropping the assessment ratio from 10.5 percent to four percent. While the former rate generated about $20,000 a year for the county, the new tax will only generate about $7,000.

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A Bittersweet Visit

Evelyn Husband and her mate, Rick, had always planned to visit Israel. When Rick was assigned to NASA's STS-107 mission, the resolve was strengthened by the fact that one of his crewmates, Ilan Ramon, was Israel's first man in space. But those plans disintegrated along with the shuttle when it fell from the skies over Texas last year. Last week, however, several family members who lost their loved ones aboard the last flight of Columbia were in Israel, planting a tree in memory of the STS-107 crew.

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What's Wrong With Canada's UAVs?

For the fourth time in as many months, a Canadian UAV operating in Afghanistan has either crashed or made a hard landing. The record seems to validate concerns from both critics and experts that conditions in Afghanistan are just too tough for the French-made drones.

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A Brush With Disaster

The skies have become rather crowded over the beach at Gulf Shores (AL), and here's proof: a parasail rider collided last week with a banner towed by a low-flying aircraft.

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Flying As Fast As I Can Pedal

A pedal-powered aircraft built by the Science and Engineering faculty at Japan's Nihon University flew approximately 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) Sunday, breaking the Japanese record of 10.9 km (6.77 mi).

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End Of A Tribute

EAA's 1903 Wright Flyer was installed as the centerpiece of the "Heroes of the Sky" exhibit at The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, on Friday morning, March 19. Edsel Ford II of Ford Motor Company presented museum president Steve Hamp with the same airworthiness certificate that EAA President Tom Poberezny transferred to Ford at the national Centennial of Flight celebration last December in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

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Missing MU-2 Found In California

Authorities in California have found what appears to be the wreckage of a Mitsubishi MU-2 at the bottom of the Napa River, not far from where it was headed more than a week ago. The bodies of Ronald and Peggy Scott, both 62 years old, were found inside the wreckage.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (03.22.04)

"America West is happy to respond and comply with the request in a timely manner." Source: C.A. Howlett, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs, America West Airlines, responding to questions about subpoenas received at America West and at least four other airlines. The Treasury Department's Inspector General wants all information on the airlines' dealings with the former executive director of the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, Daniel G. Montgomery. The Inspector General wants to see all records on meetings, entertainment and talk of employment between the airlines, Montgomery and other members of the Stabilization Board. Also subpoenaed: any documentation they have on meals, gifts, airline tickets, loans or discounts given to Montgomery or any other bo

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Russia Re-Entering Shuttle Market?

What's this? Russia is designing a replacement for the venerable Soyuz spacecraft (below), a mainstay of Russian and Soviet aerospace since the 1960s? Da.

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USAFR WC-130-J Hurricane Hunter Open House in Puerto Rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico Emergency and Disaster Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration held a joint educational open house on March 20, at San Juan's Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport's main terminal ramp. An open invitation was issued to anyone on the island interested in taking a tour of the USAFR's newest hurricane hunter aircraft - one of three WC-130-J's of the 403rd Wing, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron based out of Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi - and several hundred local residents responded by lining up as early as 9am for the afternoon activity.

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A Simple Solution For A Complex Problem

Call it a simple 'fix' for a persistent problem. Superior Air Parts' Product Integrity Team (PIT), a group of employees representing all facets of the company and responsible for identifying and solving product performance and quality problems have recently developed a new push rod seal that would provide a better fit for the task at hand.

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Former Marine One Makes Final Landing

It was a vital tool for Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Now, the Sikorsky VH-3A that was their Marine One has landed at its final resting spot -- the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley (CA). Marine One will be displayed next to the retired Boeing 707 (SN 27000) that served as Air Force One for some 28 years. Both are on a replica of the White House's South Lawn at the Reagan Library.

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Have A Good Tip On Weather? ASF Wants You

If you have some practical, pilot-to-pilot tips on coping with weather, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation needs your help to put together its next major safety seminar, "Practical Weather Flying." ASF is looking for actual weather experience of real pilots, both VFR and IFR, as opposed to the "theory only" versions of weather often taught in ground school.

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ISS Crew Heads For Home Stretch

Heading into the homestretch of their 6½-month mission aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 8 Commander Michael Foale and Flight Engineer Alexander Kaleri spent the week conducting biomedical experiments and performing maintenance on a key Station component. Foale and Kaleri spent two days replacing a liquids unit and a water flow system in the Russian Elektron oxygen-generation device in the Zvezda Service Module after weeks of troubleshooting efforts failed to coax it back into service. The Elektron produces oxygen for the Station atmosphere through electrolysis – the separation of hydrogen and oxygen from water that flows through a series of pumps and valves. The hydrogen is vented overboard.

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Another Star In The GPS Constellation

Make it 50... the number of GPS satellites launched since the global positioning system was inaugurated decades ago.

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