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January 29, 2004

Update: Damp Ending To A Courageous Crossing

Japanese Balloonists Ditch In Pacific Ocean

On Wednesday, ANN told you about two daring Japanese balloonists, who were attempting to be the first to cross the Pacific Ocean since British entrepreneur Richard Branson made the trip in 1991. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned for the crew. The balloon ditched in the Pacific late Tuesday after traveling about 1615km. Initial reports indicate they crew spent about 8 hours in the sea before being rescued by a cargo ship. The Amanogawa 2 took off at 20:52:45 UTC on January 26th from Tochigi City, 100 km north of Tokyo. The balloon made the emergency landing on the Pacific Ocean at 0930 UTC on 27th. Reports indicate the crew performed a relatively soft landing on the water's surface, resulting in no injuries t

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Wow! This Guy Knows How To Fly A Helo!

There are pilots and then there are the guys that leave us meager aviators breathing (barely) in their dust. Keystone Helicopter, an industry leader in helicopter services for 50 years, gave special recognition last week to one such pilot. Larry Murphy was recognized for his recent skillful rooftop landing of a CH-47 helicopter to pick up Afghan Persons Under Custody during Operation Mountain Resolve in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province. Murphy, a 10-year Keystone Helicopter EMS pilot at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is currently on active duty with Company G, 104th Aviation Regiment. As you can see in the accompanying photo, Murphy knows his stuff.

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Update: Gus McLeod Heads South

Mechanical Problems Out Of Way...Hopefully

Dr. Gustavus McLeod has reached Lima, Peru after overcoming some nagging technical problems that forced his return to Florida late last week. January 22 was set to be the first day of a new bone-chilling adventure for the pioneering aviatior. Unfortunately, he was forced to return back to Florida after he noticed a series of abnormal electrical and oil temperature indications on the aircraft's instrument panel. The modified Velocity kitplane, called the Firefly, was worked on over the weekend and the decision was made to depart southbound on Monday. McLeod, 49 will head to Santiago, Chile today before flying down to Ushuaia, Argentina. From there, McLeod will fly the Firefly to the South Pole and back when weather cond

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FAA: DUAT Contracted Briefings To Continue

AOPA Says Thanks!

The old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly applies to DUAT weather briefings. And the FAA seems to agree. The agency has decided to continue using contractors to provide DUAT (direct user access terminal) briefings. That's a decision AOPA strongly supported because it will provide better services for pilots. Two private-sector contractors currently operate the DUAT system. FAA had planned to take back the service and integrate it into the new OASIS system now being installed in flight service stations. But the private contractors are today providing a higher level of service than what was planned for the FAA-operated system, according to AOPA. According to the decision made by FAA's associate administrator for Air Traf

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Self-Regulating Skydiving Ops: What A Concept!

FAA Proposes to Designate Authority to Organizations

The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that could transform the way the agency regulates skydiving and other aviation activities. The FAA is proposing the establishment of an “Organization Designation Authorization” program, under which the agency would designate various organizations with the authority to perform specific regulatory functions on behalf of the FAA. At its upcoming meeting, the United States Parachuting Association's (USPA) Board of Directors will consider the implications for USPA and the skydiving community and develop USPA’s formal response to the proposal.

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Eclipse Celebrates "World Class Supplier Team"

Will Supply Avio Total Aircraft Integration

Eclipse Aviation Corporation, manufacturer of the Eclipse 500 jet, announced on Wednesday that it has signed long-term contracts with a team of world class suppliers for its Avio system. Autronics, Crossbow Technology, FreeFlight Systems, Harco Laboratories, Hispano-Suiza and Meggitt Avionics have been added to the Avio supplier team. Eclipse claims that Avio, developed in partnership with its team of suppliers, delivers a level of integration and safety that has previously been available only in advanced military aircraft and commercial airliners.  This Total Aircraft Integration is delivered through integral, redundant computer systems and an advanced power distribution system, which monitor and control all aspects of

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The Martian Jinx Strikes Again

NASA Says Second Mars Rover Experiencing Problems

Here we go again. Just when we thought it was safe to land another spacecraft on Mars, another set of technical glitches have come back to haunt NASA. As NASA scientists poured over striking new photos from Mars revealing finely layered formations of ancient bedrock, engineers labored on Tuesday to diagnose problems with two robotic rovers on opposite sides of the Red Planet. Besides a serious malfunction that has idled the first rover, Spirit, since last Wednesday, mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said they are now contending with a power drain on Spirit's newly arrived twin, Opportunity. Mission manager Jim Erickson told reporters said the power loss appeared to be from one of th

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Randolph AFB Gets Its First T-38C

The first T-38C Talon destined for operations in the 12th Flying Training Wing touched down at Randolph AFB Jan. 21 at 10:06 a.m. There were no brass bands or flag-carrying marchers to greet the new arrival. In fact, the small cluster of people waiting on the ramp gave no hint of the importance of the event. But this was a red-letter day for the future of flight training at Randolph. "This is a great day for the 560th Flying Training Squadron. ... We've anticipated this for quite some time now and are excited to get under way," said Col. Margaret Woodward, 12th Operations Group commander. The tail number of Randolph's newest airplane, 67-921, shows that it originally rolled off the Northrop Aircraft Company's assembly line in 1967. The Boeing Aircraft Company did the ne

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Returning The Shuttle To Orbit

NASA Says Fleet Could Fly Again by September  

Despite a critical report by the investigating commission, NASA officials said on Tuesday the space shuttle fleet -- grounded since last year's Columbia disaster -- could fly again by September.   "There's not a show-stopper that says we can't get there," NASA's Michael Kostelnik said of a possible launch window of Sept. 12-Oct. 10. At the same time, he and other space agency officials acknowledged in a telephone news conference that there is much to be done before then. "It's been a tough year, it's been a hard year, it's been a year full of lessons," said former astronaut William Readdy, now NASA's associate administrator for space flight. "We're about fixing the problems right now and returnin

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Boeing CEO: We Aren't Selling The Wichita Plant...Yet

Stonecipher Says Sale Isn't Imminent

Boeing Co. chief executive Harry Stonecipher tried to reassure workers in Kansas after rumors of an imminent sale of the company's Wichita facility surfaced last week. Boeing's top executive, however, refuses to commit to owning the Wichita facility permanently. In conversations with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and four members of the Kansas congressional delegation, he didn't say a sale of the Boeing Wichita facility would never happen. Stonecipher arrived in Wichita on Tuesday night after two separate conference calls with Kansas political leaders earlier in the day. The calls were hastily arranged after a report in the Seattle Times on Sunday described a Boeing planning document that explores a sale of its Wichita plant.

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Hail to Raytheon's New Chief

William H. Swanson Takes The Reins

There's a new big cheese at Raytheon but he's no stranger at the company. Effective yesterday, William H. Swanson, 54, assumed responsibilities as Chairman of the Raytheon Company board of directors. He replaced Daniel P. Burnham, 57, who retired from the company. Swanson was named Chairman on Dec. 17, 2003, effective Jan. 28, 2004. He became chief executive officer on July 1, 2003. Swanson's new title is Chairman and CEO, Raytheon Company. Former U.S. Senator Warren B. Rudman will remain in his position as lead director of the Raytheon Company board of directors.

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Seattle May Get New Commercial Airport

Paine Field May Open To Commercial Traffic

Those Seattle-area residents who loathe flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International airport (SEATAC) may soon have another option for their flying adventures. Sen. Dave Schmidt, R-Mill Creek, introduced legislation Monday in Olympia (WA) to fund a feasibility study on opening Paine Field in Everett to commercial air traffic, an idea that has been kicking around in the region for a few years. The $100,000 study would examine the possibility of building a new $20 million terminal at Paine Field, the first step toward bringing commercial airliners to the field. Schmidt said opening Paine Field to commercial flights would save Snohomish County travelers time and money. Paine Field, built in 1936, was intended to be

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Embry-Riddle, NASA To Train High School Teachers

Promoting Math and Science On The Wings Of Space Flight

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and NASA have joined forces in a new five-year project that will train 10,000 high school teachers how to make math and science more appealing by using human space flight and exploration materials in their classrooms. The project, part of an Embry-Riddle initiative called TeachSpace, will offer an intensive three-day workshop to talented, motivated teachers of high school math, science, and technology. Teachers selected for the three-day summer workshops will receive housing, meals, a $100 daily stipend, and one hour of graduate credit. Workshops for up to 20 teachers each will be held on the campuses of Embry-Riddle. The first workshops will take place in July 200

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CAPPS II Could Kick In By Summertime

U.S. to Start Mandatory Airline Background Checks Soon

Homeland Security officials say a government plan to check all airline passengers' backgrounds before they board a plane could be fully implemented by this summer. However, the decision to launch the controversial system could bring the feds a lot of flack from air travelers.   The new security procedure -- called The Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, or CAPPS II -- seems to be so urgent for the government to implement that it will continue to order airlines to provide background information on their customers to test the program, Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson said Monday. This could add fire to a program, which has already plagued those carriers who agreed to test

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Want To Fly With The Blues?

Blue Angels Accepting Officer Applications

The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) is currently accepting officer applications for various positions. Specifically, the openings are: two demonstration pilots (both Navy and Marine), an events coordinator, a Marine C-130 Pilot, a flight surgeon, a supply officer and an administrative/executive officer. Demonstration pilot applicants must be carrier qualified tactical jet pilots with 1,250 hours of flight time by Sept. 30 of year applying. Applicants are preferred to be rotating from sea duty or have been on shore duty for less than 12 months. Marine C-130 pilot applicants must have 1,200 hours of flight time and hold an aircraft commander rating in the C-130. Events coordinator applicants must be desi

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NH TFR: 01/29

Busy Day For VIP TFRs NOTAM: 4/0663  Issued: 01/28/2004 19:13  Effective: 01/29/2004 18:30 - 01/29/2004 21:05  State: NH  Facility: ZBW - BOSTON (ARTCC),MA.  Type: VIP  Description: MERRIMACK, NEW HAMPSHIRE, JANUARY 29, 2004 LOCAL. 

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CT TFR: 01/29-01/30

Busy Day For VIP TFRs NOTAM: 4/0651 Issued: 01/28/2004 18:07 Effective: 01/29/2004 21:00 - 01/30/2004 01:45 State: CT Facility: ZNY - NEW YORK (ARTCC),NY. Type: VIP Description: GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT, JANUARY 29, 2004 LOCAL.

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PA TFR: 01/29

Busy Day For VIP TFRs NOTAM: 4/0620 Issued: 01/28/2004 11:00 Effective: 01/29/2004 16:40 - 01/29/2004 20:35 State: PA Facility: ZNY - NEW YORK (ARTCC),NY. Type: VIP Description: PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JANUARY 29, 2004 LOCAL.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (01.29.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"We expect at this point the airlines will want a clear rule or directive from the government before they'd release information" Source: Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson commenting on the proposed full introduction of the Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS II) system this summer. While several airlines have being highly criticized by the public for helping test the system, Hutchinson indicated that all carriers will be mandated to participate once it is fully operational.

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