Aircraft News - North America.

 
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Sep 3, 2007

Congress wants increases for FAA inspection budget. The appropriations committees in both houses of Congress are interested in seeing the FAA increase the ranks of its safety inspectors. Bills moving through the House and Senate both increase agency funding for hiring and training inspectors. Aug 29, 2007

Reaper will be deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq. The Air Force this fall will deploy the Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle, an upgraded version of the Predator, in Afghanistan. The unmanned aerial vehicle has the bombing power of an F-16 and can fly three times as fast and carry eight times as much weaponry as the Predator. Officials say the UAV will also be used in Iraq. Aug 28, 2007

US Government Accountability Office issued a report on very light jets indicating that there is little consensus on their impact on the National Airspace System or on US FAA's costs and Trust Fund revenues but that "most experts" said Very Light Jets - VLJs "will likely have little impact on safety due to FAA's certification procedures for aircraft, pilots and maintenance." Aug 28, 2007

Eight forecasts reviewed by GAO predict a range of 3,016-7,649 Very Light Jet - VLJ deliveries in the 2016-25 period. The figure will depend particularly on the success or failure of air taxi operations, the agency said. Aug 28, 2007

GAO said FAA "has policies and procedures in place" to accommodate Very Light Jets - VLJs "because the aircraft will operate similarly to other aircraft and will enter the NAS incrementally," although there was no consensus among experts interviewed concerning the types of airports VLJs would use. "Many" experts said they will focus on smaller airports with excess capacity, GAO said, but "a few" said the aircraft may exacerbate delays by using larger airports. Aug 28, 2007

Corporate jets contribute to airspace congestion. Up in the sky, private jets often occupy the same air paths and rely on the same air traffic controllers services as commercial airlines, and on an average day, roughly 20% to 30% of the air traffic over New York is corporate jets, according to a spokesman for the Air Transport Association. It's possible that a crowded 737 might have to wait for a tiny Gulfstream to take off in Miami or at Dulles, outside Washington. Aug 27, 2007

The rich want to be green. The rich leave behind large carbon footprints by using luxury vehicles, such as corporate jets that consume as much as 15 times as much fuel per passenger as commercial jets. Some try to compensate by investing in carbon offsets, which some experts call mere window dressing. Others say the wealthy are leading the charge to bring the environment back into balance. Aug 27, 2007

Aeroflot

Aeroflot said it is converting two MD-11 passenger aircraft into freighters, with Boeing to handle the modifications in conjunction with SASCO, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Aerospace. "By putting [the MD-11s] in the hands of the original manufacturer for conversion, we can extend the life of the aircraft and maximize their capabilities," Aeroflot-Cargo GD Andrey Goryashko said. Modification work is slated to start in November 2008. A converted MD-11 has a capacity of 205,400 lb. structural payload at a range of 3,486 nm. (6,456 km.) and is capable of 630,500 lb. (286,000 kg.) maximum takeoff weight. The main and lower deck compartments are capable of holding as many as 36 96-by-125-in. pallets. Aeroflot-Cargo, which currently operates four DC-10 freighters, said it has committed to three additional MD-11 conversions. Aug 27, 2007

Alaska Airlines, Boeing

Alaska Airlines inspecting 737s. Alaska Airlines has begun checking its Boeing 737 jets to ensure that bolts on the wing slat assemblies are secure. The carrier says the inspections will be complete within 24 days. The FAA-ordered inspections are in response to an explosion on a Chinese Airlines jet that occurred right after it landed in Japan. Aug 29, 2007

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