The risks of repair

The TSA is drawing criticism from lawmakers over a failure to regulate what overseas facilities are authorized to conduct repairs on aircraft operated by U.S. carriers. TSA chief Kip Hawley has vowed to meet the deadline, proposed by Congress, to enact new security rules by 2008 and complete the inspection of all foreign repair shops by 2009. This comes after the TSA apparently failed to act quickly enough on a 2003 inspector general report calling for the new regulations.

Columbia bidding war anyone?

We pointed out last week that Cessna was showing more than a little interest in the bankrupt Columbia aircraft, and that it would mark a departure from the familiar Cessna design. It does appear now that Cessna rival Cirrus Design Corp. is beginning to wade into the fray, if for no other reason than to keep Cessna honest. The complaint from the parties apposed to Cessna's approach is that the bidding process offers them an unfair advantage. The other interested parties have filed suit in Oregon, hoping to earn their place in the bidding set to take place on November 21st.


Before this article begins it needs to be made abundantly clear that the information and the story itself are of dubious origins. The point being made is a relevant one, it's just the way it's being spread and how it came about that have the old B.S. meter kinda pegged. The journey begins with a letter to the online magazine the Consumerist, claiming a brush with the law after a flight where an attendant asked him to power off his iPhone. What makes the article interesting is just how unclear things actually are.

Piper Expands Lineup With an Unpressurized Piston Single

Piper Aircraft has announced a new addition to their PA-46 line of single-engine aircraft, the Matrix. This new aircraft is the least sophisticated in a family three including the Mirage and Meridian. The Matrix sports a turbocharged 350hp piston engine, a top of the line avionics suite by Avidyne, a cruise speed over 200 knots, good range and useful load, and all the fancy trim you'd expect from a Piper aircraft in this class. The only thing it's missing: pressurization.

A380 Superjumbo delivered

The Superjumbo Airbus A380 marked it's debut with delivery of the first aircraft to Singapore Airlines. The 525 seat aircraft has been surrounded by delays causing its parent company some heartburn. Production for the jet is set to ramp up to 40 aircraft a year by 2010, with a total of 13 planes set to go out the door next year. The inaugural flight is going to take place on the 25th of October between Singapore and Sydney. This marks light at the end of a long tunnel for Airbus who won't break even on the aircraft until they've sold 420 airplanes, a long way from the 189 orders already taken.

ATC forced to use cellphones as a backup

In a rather large hiccup for the plans to upgrade an aging Air Traffic Control (ATC) system, a major telecommunication line failure in Memphis forced controllers to use their cell phones to manage traffic. The line failure affected all communication systems leaving the controller's with no other means to contact centers to re-route traffic. The failure caused backups and delays in an already delay ridden system, drawing the attention of not only the FAA but Congress as well.

Diesel Engines Go Mainstream...Finally

Cessna and Thielert officially announced at the annual AOPA Expo last week that the C-172S Skyhawk will now be offered equipped with a Thielert Centurion 2.0 turbodiesel engine as the C-172TD.

FAA pulls charter certificate, grounds 79 aircraft

In what appears to be a crackdown on a sometimes confusing charter operation system, the FAA issued an emergency suspension of AMI Jet's charter certificate. This move by the FAA comes after increasing concern over jet charter business practices and safety records. In this case the FAA is citing concern over AMI Jet Charter's ability to produce pilot training records along with crew rest documentation.

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