Best of the Web

Spike in Fatal General Aviation Accidents. December has already seen its share of fatal general aviation accidents in the US. Last Sunday, four people aboard a small plane were killed after it crashed in the southwest Colorado mountains – the second fatal plane crash in the Silverton area for this year. Then on Wednesday, a luxury sunset helicopter tour of the Las Vegas Strip and Hoover Dam came to a tragic end for the pilot and four passengers (it was also noted that the tour company, Sundance Helicopters of Las Vegas, had at least five accidents and was the subject of 10 federal enforcement actions since 1994). Finally and on Friday, an aircraft leaving the Sioux Falls Regional Airport nosedived into the ground and burst into flames that were so powerful, the four people trapped inside had no chance of survival.

FAA Chief Resigns After a Drunk Driving Arrest. In other American aviation related news, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt was forced to resign after being arrested last weekend for allegedly driving while intoxicated. If convicted, he will lose his pilot’s license.

FAA Re-allows the Blocking of Flight Info. In addition, the FAA has recently reversed itself over the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) rule. Specifically, pilots on IFR flights will no longer have to submit a Certified Security Concern to the FAA to prevent their flight information from being broadcast over the Internet. Many pilots and business flyers had expressed concern that making such information public would be both an invasion of privacy plus alert terrorists or competitors about the movement know the actions of company personnel.

Is the British Public Misled Over the Benefits of Aviation? In the UK, the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) claims that the financial benefits of aviation are overstated by both the aviation sector and the government. Specifically, AEF cited the draft of the Gatwick Airport master plan, which claims that the aviation sector directly accounts for £53 billion (3.8%) of UK GDP and that the government’s latest estimate is £9 billion. However, the Gatwick Area Conservation Committee (GACC) claims that even the government’s figures are too high because it does not include depreciation plus the sector benefits from tax free fuel and VAT-free aircraft.

China Gearing Up For General Aviation. Meanwhile, AVweb has reported that the Civil Aviation Administration of China has unveiled more significant legislation to aid Chinese GA growth. Compared with existing Chinese airport regulations, the new standards are less strict and offer greater flexibility – which should give unprecedented room for GA infrastructure growth.

The Role of Bikes in Aviation History. On an interesting historical note, the Humble Cyclist blog recently had a lengthy post filled with pictures and videos about the role of bikes in aviation history – starting with Leonardo Da Vinci’s ideas and sketches and ending with more recent ideas that had originated with him.

Aviation Themed Wedding. Finally, if you are a pilot who wants to have a memorable wedding with an aviation theme, check out the wedding photos and videos of Steve, the blogger behind “A mile of runway will take you anywhere.” Certainly, the throwing of wooden airplanes as the bride and groom came out of the church was a nice and very unique touch!

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