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Martian_AnkhV_VerySMWhere will you go when you die? The answer may surprise you. Read SECOND EDEN 

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NEWS...

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FLYING OFF THE HANDLE (Commentary and Opinion)

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NEWS ARCHIVES

 

New Jim Bede Design Announced (June 19, 2000)

BEDEAmerica Aerosport, LLC, announces the development of the BD-17, “Nugget,” a new all-metal, low-wing, single-engine, single-place homebuilt aircraft that has much to offer aircraft enthusiasts.  

Designed by Jim Bede, the primary features of this aircraft will be its low cost and fast build time. With only 110 parts, the Nugget will offer the builder a strong aircraft that is easy to assemble. This limited number of items also allows the kit to be purchased at a relatively low cost. The aircraft will accommodate a variety of available engine designs, ranging from 40 to 70 HP.  The Nugget’s take-off, climb and cruise performance will be excellent on a 50-hp engine. Estimated cruising speed will be 145 mph, while burning less than 3 gallons of fuel an hour. Mr. Bede states that his most important goal of this design is “to offer a relatively low-cost aircraft that the average homebuilder can build in a very short time.”

BEDEAmerica Aerosport was formed by a group of successful aviation enthusiasts, who then asked Mr. Bede to create the design. No prices for kits have been established at this time, and while the delivery date for the prototype is as yet uncertain, the company believes that the project will be well under way by the end of the year.

Mr. Bede resides in Medina, Ohio. He holds an aeronautical engineering degree from Wichita University and has attended numerous advanced-studies programs on aircraft design and engineering subjects.  Previously, he worked for North American Aviation’s Columbus division in aircraft performance, where he participated in the F4J and the A3 J supersonic carrier-based Navy aircraft programs.  Mr. Bede holds 16 patents in the US and overseas.

For more information concerning the BD-17 or any other available aircraft kits call or write:

                                                 BEDEAmerica Aerosport LLC

                                                        James R. Bede

                                                      6440 N Jefferson St.

                                                      Medina, OH 44256

                                          (330) 721-9999   Fax (330) 721-9998

Thunderbirds Cause Scare Near Reagan National (May 24, 2000)

Four of the Air Force´s precision flying team, the Thunderbirds, got their signals crossed, became separated and caused great consternation among the air traffic control personnel responsible for the flight area around Reagan National and Dulles International Airports.

Their departure from Andrews Air force Base, where they had just participated in the Armed Forces Day air show and open house, was into low clouds and restricted visibility. The main diamond formation, led by Squadron Leader Lt. Col. John Venable, had no trouble following the planned route out of the area. But one of the other four nearly went into the Shenandoah mountains, while another penetrated restricted air space over Vice President Gore´s house. Still another of the second group of four ended up 50 miles off course, overflying Fredericksburg, Virginia.  (More coming on this story.)

Atom Bomb on the Moon (May18, 2000)

According to a letter submitted to the science magazine Nature, plans were made during the Eisenhower administration to detonate an atomic bomb on the moon as a warning to the Soviet Union after its launch of Sputnik, the first manmade satellite.

The letter, detailing the discussions at the time, was submitted by  one of the participating scientists, who remarked that tensions were running unbelievably high at the beginning of the Cold War and that the suggestion to explode the bomb, which seemed reasonable at the time, now appears horribly bizarre and rash in hind sight.

Public benefit flying organizations unite to create nation’s largest charitable aviation network (May 1, 2000)

Under a single vision--to arrange for free air transportation for people in need to access medical care or for other compassionate or community service reasons--six independent non-profit Angel Flight volunteer pilot organizations and Mercy Medical Airlift have formally joined as Angel Flight America.  The group announced their efforts on April 28-29, 2000, at a conference in Virginia Beach, Va.

Each autonomous regional organization involved in Angel Flight America has a unique history and identity.  However, their mission screening and coordination procedures and marketing messages now coincide with each other. 

“As the idea of “public benefit flying” has evolved over the past several decades, not only has a camaraderie developed between those with the same charitable goals, but a need for combined efforts has been identified to utilize pilot, volunteer, donor and staff resources more efficiently and effectively,” said Angel Flight America Chariman Lee Johnson.  “The ultimate goal and mission of AFA is to help more people in need. Helping people, giving hope and saving lives is what Angel Flight is all about.”

This organization helps ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.  The unpredictability of life could put nearly anyone in a position of need. A simple call on the toll-free AFA Hotline, 1-877-621-7177, or a request through the AFA web site, www.angelflightamerica.org, will put potential passengers in touch with volunteers who can provide HELP and HOPE by arranging free air transportation.  

The volunteer pilots from each member organization involved in AFA all own or rent their own general aviation aircraft, pay for all operating costs of the flights including fuel, and donate their time away from their families and businesses to help others. Corporate aviation departments and airlines are also easily-accessed through the AFA network.

Out of the approximately 11,400 charitable missions flown in 1999 within the United States, 7,257 of those were coordinated and flown by the volunteers involved in the member organizations of AFA. These numbers alone define this new nationwide network as the largest charitable aviation organization in the country.

Public benefit flying . . .

MEMBERS

The Angel Flight America network is comprised of member organizations including: Angel Flight Southeast, Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, Angel Flight Northeast, Angel Flight South Central, Angel Flight Central, Angel Flight West and Mercy Medical Airlift.

STATISTICS:

Public Benefit Flying in the United States

Based on 1999 Statistics gathered from charitable air transportation programs managed by non-profit organizations.

Missions Flown in 1999

Angel Flight America regional organizations combined: 7,257     64%.   Other charitable aviation organizations:4,150     36%. TOTAL MISSIONS:11,407

 

 

BOB HOOVER CANCELS 2000 SEASON (March 23, 2000)

Legendary pilot and airshow performer Bob Hoover has cancelled airshow commitments for the 2000 airshow season because he could not obtain sufficient liability insurance, according to the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS).  The ICAS newsletter reports  Hoover is thinking of donating his famous Shrike Commander to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

In his world-famous act, Hoover shuts down both engines of the Shrike, performs aerobatics, including a loop, before landing and taxiing back to his starting point on the airport to conclude his show.  But perhaps many more remember his spectacular performances in a P-51D Mustang,  at the Reno air races and elsewhere.

A famous fighter and test pilot, Hoover flew alongside Chuck Yeager at Wright Patterson Field after World War II.  Hoover had been much in the news over the last few years because of a dispute with the FAA over denying him his medical. He said in a statement that he is in excellent physical and mental health, and plans to continue to be active in aviation. Hoover, 78, has a current medical certificate.

New Company Eclipse Announces Personal Jet (March 13, 2000)

Eclipse Aviation Corporation, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, has announced the Eclipse 500, a new personal jet aircraft.

The six-passenger aircraft is expected to have a cruise speed of 368 kt, a service ceiling of 41,000 feet and a range of 1,800 nm.

Although formally announced by the brand new company on March 6, the plane itself has been in development for two years. Two light-weight Williams International EJ22 engines, each weighing 85 pounds and producing 770 pounds of thrust at sea level, will power the Model 500.

Eclipse will help to fund development of the EJ22, which Williams will certify and produce. Along with the Eclipse's engines, Williams will also certify the aircraft and its production facility. 

Working  closely with NASA's Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) program, which includes a "highway in the sky" navigation concept to be used in the "Free Flight" environment that should revolutionize air travel, the company says the Eclipse is planned to have an all-glass cockpit, featuring state-of-the-art avionics.

When deliveries begin in 2003, the aircraft is expected to sell for around $775,000.

Kalahari Crash Survivor Followed  Elephants to Safety (March 7, 2000)

GABORONE, March 7 - After their twin-engined Cessna 414 crashed in Botswana´s inhospitable Kalahari desert, two of the survivors walked for four days, dodging lions and following elephant trails,  before the two men stumbled into a desert camp and radioed for help.

South African Carl du Plessis told a Reuter´s reporter he and the plane's pilot had wandered from one watering hole to the next in a desperate bid to seek help, all the while fearing that the other three survivors waiting at the crash site would be eaten by lions.

``You can't just walk through the bush, you had to walk on elephant paths. But as long as you had water you were fine. I was just more scared of the elephants,'' du Plessis told South African radio on Tuesday.

Search planes, guided by du Plessis and pilot Costa Marcandonatos, finally rescued their compatriots in a grove of trees near the burnt-out wreckage of the plane.

``We kept wondering all the time, will Costa and Carl get back? We didn't have food or water for five days. When the helicopter came it was relief...it was incredible,'' one of the survivors Mike Nicolic told Reuters from a Gaborone hospital on Tuesday, where they were being treated for back injuries, burns and dehydration.

The twin-engined Cessna 414 crashed after springing an oil leak on a flight between the capital Gaborone and Maun in Botswana's prime northern tourist region.  Unexplained was why the plane was 300 km (187 miles) off course when it crashed and burst into flames.

The day after the crash, the four passengers and pilot drew lots to decide who would go for help. Du Plessis and Marcondonatos were chosen. During the four-day trek, they escaped the searing heat by diving into muddy pools used by elephants to bathe. They had only scant food salvaged from the plane, but fortunately, because of heavy recent rains, had plenty to drink.

Their greatest fear, other than the elephants, which they closely followed, was that they would encounter one of the Kalahari´s abundant lions. They never did, though they could hear them roaring throughout every night.

``I will never give these shoes away,'' Du Plessis told the Johannesburg Star newspaper as he rested his blistered feet at the Maun airport bar on Monday night.

``We were clutching at life, at anything we could find. Today, life is glorious.'' Back To Top

Russian ``Concordsky'' Turned Into Flying Laboratory (February 29, 2000)

MOSCOW-- A Russian company said  it has converted Russia's ``Concordsky'' supersonic passenger jet, the Tu-144, into a flying laboratory for aircraft designers and engineers.

Long regarded as the best living example of industrial espionage, the Tu-144 is also famous for its spectacular crash at the Paris Airshow, in which it purportedly suffered a structural failure.

Alexander Pukhov, chief designer of the converted aircraft, said the Tupolev design bureau was in talks with potential clients from the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Japan who might want to use the facility for all manor of aeronautical research, according to a report by Reuters.Back To Top

Barkeeper 'Trader Jon' Dies at 84 (Feb. 23, 2000)

PENSACOLA, Fla.-- Martin Weissman, better known as ``Trader Jon,'' died here at 84.

Though he was never in the Navy,  he was renowned among naval aviators for the legendary smile he always wore and the cheerful  ``Beeyouteeful,''  with which he responded to virtually everything. 

The proprietor of Trader Jon's saloon for nearly half a century died Friday at Sacred Heart Hospital. A fixture for aviators from Pensacola Naval Air Station, the Navy's training headquarters, Trader Jon's served every stripe of aviator, from  "nugget" to astronaut to admirals.

The impish Weissman treated everyone with equal affection, from raw recruits to war heroes, astronauts and celebrities, retired Vice Adm. Jack Fetterman said Saturday.

``He was a loving, caring guy who never said anything bad about anybody,'' Fetterman recalled. ``You talk about bonding, and you talk about brotherhood, and you talk about what naval aviation was all about. Trader kind of provided that foundation.''

The Blue Angels, based at Pensacola,  made Weissman an honorary flight leader of the precision flying team, and they would sometimes give him rides in their jets.

``It's natural to love guys who take chances,'' Weissman said in an interview with The New York Times four months before his stroke. ``You've got to earn their love, their friendship.''

Weissman's trademark was mismatched socks. He had a standing reward for anyone who ever caught him in a matching pair--no one ever did.

Trader Jon's opened in 1953 in an old brick building once used as a ship chandlery, on Pensacola's waterfront. Over the years, his beloved customers helped him fill the saloon with various aviation mementos: everything from wings to propellers to flight suits and crash helmets. There were also dozens of model airplanes and hundreds of photographs. In 1996, Weissman moved some of the memorabilia to an adjacent building that he turned into a Blue Angels museum.

Over the years, numerous celebrities came to call. There was comedian Bob Hope, actors John Wayne, Ernest Borgnine and Elizabeth Taylor. Even England's Prince Andrew visited Trader Jon's. In 1992, Florida recognized Weissman's role in naval aviation by placing a historic marker in front of the saloon.

Weissman never returned to work after his stroke in 1997, which left him partly paralyzed and with impaired speech. After his family put the bar up for sale in late 1998, a group of Navy veterans began raising money in an effort to purchase and preserve the bar. But Fetterman said it will never be the same.

``In my heart, I can't think of that bar without Trader,'' he said.

Weissman is survived by his wife, Jackii, and two daughters, Cheri Weissman of Pensacola and Dahl Burke of Miami.Back To Top

Fred W. Dyer Jr. Takes Final Flight (Feb. 17, 2000)

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Fred W. Dyer Jr., whose combat flights with friend and fellow pilot George Wells are chronicled in NBC anchor Tom Brokaw's book, ``The Greatest Generation, died Saturday. He was 83.

Dyer's  combat record is just that--a record.  As a pilot during World War II, he flew a record 102 combat missions.

In 1943, Dyer received the Distinguished Service Cross for action in Sicily. In the best traditions of bravery under fire, he refused to leave his burning plane until all other crew members were out.

In addition to the above, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Silver Star and the Air Medal with 15 clusters.Back To Top

Jacqueline Auriol´s Final Flight (Feb. 16, 2000)

PARIS (AP)  Jacqueline Auriol, France's first female test pilot has died at 82, her family reported on Saturday, February 12.

Auriol, the daughter-in-law of former French President Vincent Auriol,  set several world aviation speed records in the 1950s and 1960s, including a world speed record for female aviators in 1951. She was awarded the Harmon International Trophy three times in recognition of her aviation exploits.

Auriol, who died on Friday, broke one of the last  male bastions of  aviation when, in 1951, she became a test pilot. Later, piloting a Mirage III R jet, she became the fastest woman in the world, reaching an average speed of 2,030 kilometers (1,270 miles) per hour in 1962 and 1963.

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin paid tribute to ``this courageous and dynamic woman who ... marked the legend of aviation.''

``As the first qualified female test pilot, she made her mark in a remarkable way in a highrisk discipline which up to that point had been reserved for men,'' he said in a statement.

At age 30 Auriol suffered a disfiguring crash, which forced her to undergo more than a dozen plastic surgeries. Yet this brave aviator remained a test pilot until the early 1970s.

She was born on November 5, 1917, in Challans in western France. A diminutive blond, she resisted all efforts by subsequent generations to turn her into a feminist icon.

``These very feminist women irritate me when they say: 'Men hold me back'. It's not true,'' she once said in a television interview.

Among her many achievements: She was made a Grand Officer in the Legion of Honour, France's national order; she was awarded the Great Cross of the National Order of Merit; she won three Harmon International Trophies; and she received innumerable other honors, including the undying admiration of her fellow countrymen and fellow aviators around the world. 

Auriol was widowed and leaves behind two sons.

Tom Landry Dies (Feb. 14, 2000)

Tom Landry died February 12 after a long battle with leukemia.

He was best known for coaching the Dallas Cowboys, but Landry was also an accomplished pilot who was proud of his aviation skills.

Landry began flying in World War II, where he piloted the redoubtable  B-17 Flying Fortress. He continued flying after the war as an Air Force Reserve pilot and an instrument-rated commercial pilot . He owned and flew a Cessna 210. Back To Top

Free Flight: A Heathly Choice (Feb. 5, 2000)

Last year, David Phillips of Davis, Calif., took a promotion by the Healthy Choice prepared food company to an around-the-world extreme. The promotion, to mail in 10 proofs of purchase and get 1000 frequent flier miles, he realized, was almost too good to be true.

He quickly figured that getting 1000 miles for ten $2 dinners wasn't bad,  but getting them for ten 25-cent pudding cups was even better. "I quickly realized that for 25 cents I was getting 100 free miles," the  told the Sacramento Bee, so he  bought $3,140 worth of diet pudding cups and earned 1.25 million miles. Now that many miles is worth about $25,000 in terms of flights.

But Mr. Phillips had another great idea: Why not  donate the pudding to food banks for a tax deduction.  He did. Now he has the $25,000 in free flights and a sizable tax deductioin to boot. American ingenuity at its best.Back To Top

Thirty-Year Anniversary for Boeing "JUMBO" Jet (Jan. 31, `00)

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of the first commercial flight of the 747 by Pan Am.  More than  1,238 of the Boeing giants  have been delivered  in the last three decades, more than any other wide-body passenger jet.

John Roundhill, Boeing vice president of product strategy and development, said Boeing is fully committed to extending the winning stretch: "There is a bright future for the 747 and it will remain the primary solution to the airlines' requirements for 400seat and larger aircraft for many years to come."

Though the airframe has changed little in the intervening years, the cockpit crew and instrumentation have adapted to the digital world. Today it takes only two crew--pilot and copilot--to monitor the CRTs and computerized systems; whereas older planes, with more than 1,000 lights, switches and gauges , required a third airman, a flight engineer.

Boeing representatives see  a very bright future for the aerial leviathan, describing  a potential evolutionary model, the 747X aircraft, which could have a maximum takeoff weight of more than 1,000,000 pounds. The "X" would  carry 430 passengers and be capable of flying unrefueled for 10,000 statute miles.Back To Top

NASA: Oldsters Can Fly in Space (Jan. 30, `00)

BETHESDA, Md. —According to NASA officials, even those over 70 are welcome aboard--for space flight, that is. Which is to say that thanks to 77-year-old John Glenn and his historic nine-day shuttle flight in 1998, and the results of numerous medical tests on the world's oldest astronaut,  it's safe for our senior citizens to make space flights.

Space agency scientists confirmed  today that healthy senior citizens can, indeed,  safely travel in space, but said there are no immediate plans to replicate Glenn's historic flight.

In addition to his other duties in 1998, Glenn served as a guinea pig for everything from what effect zero gravity has on older people to being among the first to swallow a capsule holding a tiny radio transmitter and temperature sensor.  He spent four nights in a specially designed sleep suit, provided 17 blood samples and wore a mini data recorder for 24 hours to monitor his heart rate. 

Test results have yet to be released, but NASA scientists indicated that they were pleased.

“No physiological reason was found not to include healthy older individuals in flight crews,” Dr. John Charles told attending press.

Glenn's flight contained more scientific experiments, 88, than any previous shuttle mission. Glenn, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, was the first American to orbit the Earth, accomplishing the feat in 1962. He represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate for 24 years, retiring at the end of 1998. Back To Top

Dropped Cell Phone Disables Front-line Fighter (January 30, 2000)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. An Air Force F-15 fighter was damaged when a security guard crashed his patrol car into the  parked plane, causing $62,000 in damage.

How did the driver manage not to see the $39 million jet fighter?  Was it fog? Darkness? Medical incapacitation? No.... He was fumbling on the floor of the car for his cell phone.

 The car was totaled, and the driver, Airman Raymone Sydnor, received a concussion, according to an Air Force report released Wednesday. The report did not say how fast the car was going.

The airman will get an as yet undisclosed punishment.

In the future, the Air Force said, security personnel have been ordered to get out of their cars every halfhour for a 10minute break ``to combat boredom and oxygenate blood flow.''Back To Top

Frozen Poop Nearly Kills Man (Jan. 14, 2000)

MADRID A nine-pound iceberg of mixed human excrement, thought to have come from a passing airplane, fell from a clear-blue sky onto a man's car, crushing its hood only moments before he entered the vehicle, authorities said.

The man, from Spain's southern city of  Seville,  delayed entering his car while he chatted with a friend who'd just happened by. 

Had he not stopped, he might easily have been killed by the foul missile, which measured about eight inches in diameter. [It just go to show how important it is to stop and smell the roses--Ed.]

MAVERICK JET BEGINS  FLIGHT TEST PROGRAM (Jan. 13, 2000)

It's called Maverick Jet, and it's an allcomposite, twin-engine, four-place "personal" jet set to join the growing ranks of designs floated over the past few years.

Most of the new designs never see the light of day--meaning a prototype is never built.  But the Maverick is currently flying test runs, with veteran Warbird pilot and racer Skip Holmes at the controls.

According to the company,  the experimental jet  can beat 200 knots at FL150, with a climb rate well over 4,000 fpm. 

If everything goes as planned, Maverick Jet will debut the kit plane at Sun 'n Fun and Oshkosh this year. But you can take a peek now by going to their Web site at <http://www.twinjet.com>

 

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