Novo avião presidencial deve economizar US$ 5,2 mi ao ano
da Folha Online
O governo federal informou neste sábado que o novo avião presidencial, batizado de Santos Dumont em homenagem ao aviador e apelidado de AeroLula, deve reduzir em cerca de 70% os custos de vôo do país em relação ao avião atual. O valor equivale a uma economia de US$ 5,2 milhões por ano.
Segundo o comando da Aeronáutica, a hora de vôo do Santos Dumont custa US$ 2.100 enquanto o atual Boeing-707 presidencial, conhecido como Sucatão, custa US$ 7.300 por hora de vôo. Portanto, em 11 anos, os valores economizados equivaleriam ao preço do novo avião.
A compra também é considerada vantajosa em comparação com os gastos computados entre 1999 e 2001, em vôos fretados. A Aeronáutica afirma que os fretamentos custam aproximadamente US$ 12,04 mil por hora de vôo.
O avião da FAB (Força Aérea Brasileira) custou US$ 56,7 milhões aos cofres públicos. Apenas US$ 5 milhões da dívida --referentes à compra de materiais de logística-- ainda não foram quitados. O pagamento deve ser realizado no primeiro trimestre deste ano, quando todos os produtos forem entregues.
Além disso, o governo pagará R$ 15,4 milhões por um contrato de manutenção com a TAM válido por cinco anos.
O AeroLula --que tem vida útil estimada em 30 anos-- decolou na cidade de Tolouse, na França, e chegou por volta das 10h40 deste sábado, na Base Aérea de Brasília, com 1h40 de atraso. O problema foi atribuído a uma corrente de vento ocorrida na costa da África.
O Sucatão continuará servindo o governo federal especialmente para reabastecer caças da Aeronáutica em vôo e poderá ser usado em viagens presidenciais quando a comitiva extrapolar a capacidade do AeroLula --55 passageiros, incluindo a tripulação.
O comando da Aeronáutica afirma que a criação de uma empresa chamada Sopeçaero, que comercializa componentes e peças para uso em aviação e está sediada em São José dos Campos (91 km de São Paulo), irá compensar parte do investimento --US$ 2,3 milhões.
Segundo o tenente-brigadeiro-do-ar, Luiz Carlos da Silva Bueno, o avião antigo está desatualizado e não possui especificações técnicas para realizar pousos em alguns aeroportos devido ao ruído que produz. "Quando tratava-se de viagens presidenciais, abria-se uma exceção", diz.
O novo avião tem equipamentos de alta tecnologia e permite pousos em aeroportos de grande altitude, como o de La Paz --situado a 3.600 metros do nível do mar.
Por questões de segurança, o comando da Aeronáutica não divulgou informações sobre os dispositivos de segurança.
Ao todo, apenas seis pilotos da FAB (Força Aérea Brasileira) concluíram treinamentos específicos e estão aptos a pilotar o novo avião presidencial. Outros dois deverão estar habilitados até o final do mês.
Para Bueno, "o presidente Lula vai ter de emagrecer" para sentir-se confortável na cama de casal do avião --muito estreita. "Não tem ostentação", disse.
O novo avião, com projeto interno personalizado, contém quarto de casal, banheiro com chuveiro, uma sala para o presidente e capacidade de até 55 passageiros, incluindo a tripulação.
Escrito por Pamplona às 08h00
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Pássaros do futuro
Airbus e Boeing apostam para saber qual avião de passageiros predominará nos próximos anos: o maior ou o mais econômico
Quando o Airbus A380 acionar suas turbinas para ganhar os céus – provavelmente dentro de dois anos –, a história da aviação comercial vai registrar um novo round em uma luta entre dois titãs. Com dois andares e capacidade para 555 passageiros, o A380 será o maior jato comercial jamais construído no mundo. Contudo, não estará voando só. Em breve, outro concorrente no bilionário setor do transporte aéreo de passageiros também vai decolar: o Boeing 7E7. A aeronave levará a metade do número de ocupantes do que o A380, mas entrará nessa briga com armas consideráveis. Como nenhuma outra de sua geração, será capaz de cumprir grandes rotas sem escalas (sua autonomia é de 14.816 quilômetros) e a custos mais baixos. O duelo entre os poderosos Airbus e Boeing, que disputam o mercado global de aviões, gira em torno de uma questão nada simples. Afinal, entre tamanho e economia, qual será a receita ideal para o avião do futuro?
Escrito por Pamplona às 13h00
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New Jersey man charged in aircraft laser incident.
NEWARK, N.J. - Federal authorities Tuesday used the Patriot Act to charge a man with pointing a laser beam at an airplane overhead and temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot. The FBI acknowledged the incident had no connection to terrorism but called David Banach's actions "foolhardy and negligent."
Banach, 38, of Parsippany admitted to federal agents that he pointed the light beam at a jet and a helicopter over his home near Teterboro Airport last week, authorities said. Initially, he claimed his daughter aimed the device at the helicopter, they said.
He is the first person arrested after a recent rash of reports around the nation of laser beams hitting airplanes.
Banach was charged only in connection with the jet. He was accused of interfering with the operator of a mass transportation vehicle and making false statements to the FBI, and was released on $100,000 bail. He could get up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.
Banach's lawyer, Gina Mendola-Longarzo, said her client was simply using the hand-held device to look at stars with his daughter on the family's deck. She said Banach bought the device on the Internet for $100 for his job testing fiber-optic cable.
"He wasn't trying to harm any person, any aircraft or anything like that," she said.
The jet, a chartered Cessna Citation, was coming in for a landing last Wednesday with six people aboard when a green light beam struck the windshield three times at about 3,000 feet, according to court documents. The flash temporarily blinded both the pilot and co-pilot, but they were later able to land the plane safely, authorities said.
"Not only was the safety of the pilot and passengers placed in jeopardy by Banach's actions, so were countless innocent civilians on the ground in this densely populated area," said Joseph Billy, agent in charge of the FBI's Newark bureau.
Then, on Friday, a helicopter carrying Port Authority detectives was hit by a laser beam as its crew surveyed the area to try to pinpoint the origin of the original beam.
According to the FBI, the Patriot Act does not describe helicopters as "mass transportation vehicles." As for why Banach was not charged with some other offense over the helicopter incident, Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, did not immediately return calls for comment.
A few hours after the helicopter was hit by the laser, FBI agents canvassed Banach's neighborhood, trying to find the source of the beams. Banach told the agents it was his daughter who shined the laser at the helicopter, according to court papers.
Similar incidents have been reported in Colorado Springs, Colo., Cleveland, Washington, Houston and Medford, Ore., raising fears that the light beams could temporarily blind cockpit crews and lead to accidents.
Last month, the FBI and the Homeland Security Department sent a memo to law enforcement agencies saying there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. But federal officials have said there is no evidence any the current incidents represent a terrorist plot.
David Banach, left, of Parsippany, N.J., stands with his wife, Allison, outside federal court in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2005. Banach is charged under an anti-terrorist law with pointing a laser at an airplane, temporarily blinding the pilot and co-pilot. He faces up to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $500,000.
Escrito por Pamplona às 12h48
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U.S. airlines end 3-year period with only 34 fatalities.
WASHINGTON - Only 34 people have died in U.S. commercial airline crashes in the past three years, making it one of the safest periods in aviation history even as more Americans than ever travel by air.
On Oct. 20, a Corporate Airlines twin-engine turboprop crashed into the woods on approach to the Kirksville Regional Airport in Missouri, killing 13 people. Those were the only fatalities aboard U.S. scheduled airlines for the year.
National Transportation Safety Board chairman Ellen Engleman Conners, noting that some 42,000 people die every year on the roads, said, "I hope all modes of transportation could replicate aviation's safety record."
The last U.S. crash of a jumbo jet was Nov. 12, 2001, when American Airlines Flight 587 lost part of its tail and plummeted into a New York City neighborhood, killing 265 people. Safety investigators concluded that the crash was caused by the pilot moving the rudder back and forth too aggressively, which put more pressure on the tail than it could bear.
Last year, the number of fatal accidents per 100,000 departures was .015. Air travelers are estimated to have boarded planes 685 million times in 2004, a 3 percent increase over 2000, the previous busiest year, according to the Air Transport Association.
Marion Blakey, who heads the Federal Aviation Administration, said new technology has improved safety. For example, many planes now have systems that warn pilots if they're about to fly too close to the ground.
Jets and turboprops manufactured after March 29, 2003, are required by federal regulations to have a so-called Terrain Awareness and Warning System. All other planes with more than six seats must be retrofitted with the devices by March 29, 2005.
The plane that crashed in Missouri in October was months away from being outfitted with a terrain-warning system that might have prevented the accident.
On the ground, 34 major airports have been equipped with systems that warn air traffic controllers of a potential collision on runways. One of the worst aviation disasters in history involved two jumbo jets that ran into each other on a runway in Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1977, killing 582 people.
Weather radar and wind shear alert systems also have helped eliminate accidents caused when planes encounter concentrated downward bursts of wind on approach to the airport.
Safety experts agree that better training and awareness of safety issues have played a big part in making U.S. skies safer.
A key effort has been the FAA's formation in 1997 of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, which set the goal of reducing fatal aviation accident rates by 80 percent by 2007. The accident rate has fallen 50 percent since then, and is on track to meet the goal, said FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette.
As part of the CAST project, airline unions and management, along with federal agencies and manufacturers, are collaborating on identifying safety problems and solving them. Among the 85 safety improvements CAST is working on include:
- Teaching pilots how to recover from unusual flight conditions that could be dangerous.
- Developing tougher standards for icing-prevention technology on new planes.
- Establishing new procedures for air traffic controllers to prevent collisions on runways.
Blakey said such cooperation hasn't always been the norm.
"At an earlier point in aviation's development, there was less incentive, less willingness to be candid about problems," Blakey said.
Though pilots often are at odds with their employers, they do agree that airline management shares their commitment to safety.
Paul Rice, vice president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said airline executives realize that safety enhances the bottom line.
"If there's a big plane crash, people stop flying," Rice said.
Rice points to a change in federal regulations, which took effect Dec. 14, 1995, as a key development for aviation safety.
On that day, all commercial air carriers — from commuter planes with 10 or more passenger seats to jumbo jets — were required to follow the same safety rules for operating. Before then planes with 30 or fewer seats fell under less stringent regulations than bigger aircraft.
Echoing the caution of many safety experts, Bill Waldock, aviation safety professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona, characterized the past few years as "safer, not safe."
Waldock noted much was made of the fact 2002 ended without a single person dying in a commercial airline accident. Eight days into 2003, 21 people were killed in a plane crash in Charlotte, N.C.
"When we have a real safe period, people get complacent," Waldock said.
Escrito por Pamplona às 07h18
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