LOCKHEED MARTIN STARTS RUNNING FLIGHT SERVICE STATIONS
Just after midnight on October 4, the FAA officially turned over control of the automated flight service station system to Lockheed Martin to run under contract. "AOPA was an advocate for the process that resulted in this switch because it was the only way to modernize flight service and improve services to pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Now we resume our watchdog role, to make sure pilots ultimately get everything that Lockheed Martin has committed to in its contract with the FAA." Pilots won't likely notice any change in the near future. Today it is essentially the same people using the same equipment as last week. AOPA has been told that, as Lockheed Martin phases in new equipment and new procedures over the next 18 months, pilots should eventually notice service improvements. The contract is expected to save the FAA and taxpayers more than $2 billion over the next 10 years. The FAA and Lockheed Martin established a command center with open lines to all 58 flight service stations to monitor the switchover. They report that so far all of the shifts have been staffed, and all of the equipment is working.

CONTENDERS PUSH A NEW SUPERSONIC AGE

We have lived to see a day without commercial supersonic flight. But it's an idea that won't go away, despite the demise of the Concorde. The French and Japanese are working to launch a test model of a supersonic aircraft in the Australian desert this Friday -- presuming they have fixed an "anomaly" with the aircraft's signal processor that cropped up during ground testing in August. Meanwhile, Airbus is developing a design for a 250-seat plane that could fly close to 1,500 mph with a 6,000-mile range, London's Sunday Times reported last week. During a recent conference at Cambridge University, researchers said that new supersonic passenger jets could by flying by 2015, and by 2050 supersonic travel could account for 20 percent of all flights. Aircraft makers Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Dassault, Gulfstream and Sukhoi have all announced plans for such airplanes, the Times said.

ROCKET PLANES, A NEW ERA FOR AIR RACING...
Will racing do for rockets in the 21st century what it did for aviation in the early part of the 20th century?
 

NEXT-GENERATION GPS SATELLITE LAUNCHED
A new GPS satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral last week, adding new technology to the current system that will provide greater accuracy, enhanced resistance to interference from the earth's ionosphere, and other improvements to performance. The two-ton satellite will replace an aging unit that was launched in 1993. What does it mean for GA users? "The latest launch represents a firm commitment to satellite navigation and demonstrates that there will be plenty of assets in space to ensure that the GPS signal is always available," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA's senior director of advanced technology. "That's especially important for general aviation as more GPS-based wide area augmentation system (WAAS) approaches are created."

AIRPLANE EMISSIONS CAUSE CONCERN IN EUROPE
In Europe, where worry over climate change due to industrial pollution is widespread, the emissions emanating from aircraft have again attracted attention. A recent study found that with the amount of air travel in the United Kingdom expected to double over the next 25 years, it will be impossible for the country to meet its goal of cutting carbon emissions 60 percent by 2050. "The failure of all governments to think about [emissions from] international aviation and shipping has led to a serious underestimation of the actions necessary," says researcher Simon Shackley, of Manchester University. All other sources in the country would have to reduce carbon emissions to zero in order to meet the goal while allowing aviation to expand, researchers said.

Question: Does completing an instrument proficiency check (IPC) as described in FAR 61.57(d) also count for my flight review?

Answer
: There is no provision in FAR 61.56 stating that completion of an IPC counts as a flight review. However, if agreed upon with the examiner or authorized instructor prior to the check, you could complete both the instrument proficiency check and the flight review at the same time. The instructor will need to provide two separate endorsements to indicate both checks have been completed. For further information on the flight review, see AOPA's subject report and John Yodice's "Pilot Counsel" article, "The Biennial Flight Review."

On The Fly...

The FAA is checking into Alaska Air maintenance procedures, after questions were raised about jackscrew lubrication...

The FAA last week gave its final OK to a $7.5 billion expansion project at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, but neighbors already got a court to halt the work...

The machinists' union ended its month-long strike against Boeing after the company made concessions on health care and pension benefits...

A T-65 Turbo Thrush owned by the U.S. State Department was shot down in Colombia while fumigating coca crops there. The pilot, a Colombian, died...

Garmin has received a Supplemental Type Certificate from the FAA for the GFC 700 autopilot for Raytheon's Beechcraft Bonanza G36...

Western Michigan University will retire its fleet of Cessna 172s and replace it with 30 Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft. The school will lease the aircraft from Cirrus and get new ones every two years...

FedEx has cancelled jumpseat privileges for most of its workers, due to security concerns. A flight crew was attacked by a jumpseat passenger in 1994...

100th anniversary of Wright brothers' first public flight at Huffman Prairie to be commemorated this week...

SpaceShipOne will take its place at the National Air & Space Museum with a ceremony on Wednesday.