AVweb Flash

  • The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander broke free from its mooring mast at Cardington Airfield in England but a uniquely dramatic safety feature prevented it from running amok. Airlander reported on Saturday that after leaving its moorings, an onboard system ripped open the hull and deflated the enormous aircraft so it ended up crumpled on the edge of the airfield.

  • Sales of retrofit avionics for business and general aviation aircraft for the first nine months of 2017 are up 28% relative to the same period last year, says the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). Sales of forward-fit avionics (those destined for new aircraft) were down 17.1% over the same period.

  • The U.S. Navy has acknowledged that the rough contrail drawing of male genitalia in the skies over Washington state Thursday were made by one of its aircraft operating out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island—most likely an EA-18 Growler. The local CBS affiliate reports that complaints were made to the FAA, who informed the disappointed caller that childish drawings don’t fall within the jurisdiction of the FAA unless they pose a flight safety risk.

  • Overhauling an engine is a big investment, with downtime, reliability, and confidence hanging in the balance. The editors at Aviation Consumer magazine want to know about your engine overhaul experience and the experience you had dealing with the shop. We'd appreciate you taking a couple of minutes to answer these questions. Take the survey here: http://engineshopsurvey2017.questionpro.com

  • Textron Aviation announced this week it will continue its Top Hawk program for 2018, providing a new Cessna Skyhawk 172 to five university programs for use in their flight training and recruiting efforts. “As the Top Hawk program enters its fourth year, we’re proud to build on a program that has allowed us to support general aviation and contribute to the enhancement of student pilot training,” said Doug May, Textron’s vice president for piston aircraft.

  • Mooney has delivered the first M20U Ovation Ultra off its production line, the company announced on Thursday. In a ceremony in Kerrville, Texas, company officials turned over the keys to the new owner. The Ultra comes with a wider cabin, a newly designed leather interior, a pilot-side door, bigger windows and the Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite.

  • A Utah pilot is suing a local environmental group for damages to his airplane after he hit a camouflaged portable toilet on a backcountry air strip placed “on or very near” the landing surface at Hidden Splendor airstrip.

  • Pilots who just can’t get enough of aviation have two new media options to choose from this week. AARP Studios has launched a new video series on YouTube called “Badass Pilot,” an original unscripted series that features Art Nalls, age 65. Podcast fans can find a new offering from Miles O’Brien on iTunes, titled “Miles To Go.” O’Brien, a private pilot, has long covered aviation and aerospace for CNN and PBS, and is now an independent producer with a variety of clients.

  • The Dubai Airshow on Wednesday provided the setting for two enormous aircraft purchase orders, totaling billions of dollars for Airbus and Boeing. Airshow organizers called it “one of the most exciting days in recent aviation business history.” Airbus unveiled its largest single announcement ever, a $49.5 billion deal with Indigo Partners to purchase 430 aircraft in its A320neo family. Meanwhile, Boeing completed a $27 billion deal with carrier flydubai for 225 aircraft in its 737 MAX family, the largest-ever single-aisle jet order – by number of airplanes and total value – from a Middle East carrier.

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is going to build a new wind tunnel with all-new technology to replace its current 79-year-old facility, the university announced this week. It will be the largest and most advanced academic wind tunnel in the U.S., MIT said in a news release. The new $18 million tunnel will retain the historic Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel name.

  • Two very different “flying-car” projects, Terrafugia and Vahana, have reported major moves forward this week. Terrafugia, which has been working to certify a “roadable aircraft” with folding wings under the LSA rules, confirmed on Monday that it has become a fully owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese conglomerate that also owns Volvo and focuses on the auto industry. Vahana, an Airbus project, said they have moved their full-scale prototype VTOL electric aircraft from Silicon Valley to Oregon to prep for flight testing.

  • Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser successfully completed a drop and glide test flight from 12,300 feet to Runway 22L at Edwards Air Force Base last week. The Dream Chaser was original envisioned as a crew transport to and from the international space station, but after receiving part of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract, Sierra Nevada is focused on the cargo-only mission for now.

  • The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly told a cyber security conference it was able to hack the internal systems of a Boeing 757 sitting on the ramp at Atlantic City Airport with no help from anyone on board or anywhere near the aircraft.

  • My friend Chuck, a recent solo student, got the following request from the tower on landing … Tower:”Expedite clearing the runway.” … Chuck brought the C-150 to a halt on the runway …Chuck: ”What does expedite mean?” … Jeff B. Land

  • Sales of general aviation aircraft were generally flat in the third quarter of 2017, according to newly released data from the General Aviation Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Airframers shipped 256 piston aircraft and 275 turbine airplanes in the third quarter—substantially similar to last year’s deliveries of 253 and 284 respectively.

  • A dispute between two Spirit Airlines employees over sitting on the baggage belt left one in the hospital and one in jail on Sunday night. Local Cleveland news says police have confirmed that Rhett Rossos, 25, Westlake, Ohio was stabbed by co-worker, Vonda Ardaver, 39, East Cleveland, Ohio after seeking respite from his usual standing duties behind the check-in counter.

  • The U.S. Forest Service clearly doesn’t want to use the so-called “super tanker” firefighting aircraft that have emerged in the last decade but the Government Accountability Office says it has to come up with better reasons for barring them from the battle.

  • Transport Canada is reminding pilots that while the rest of the country may be changing its attitude toward marijuana, it hasn’t relaxed its stance. On July 1, 2018, possession of small amounts of pot and its recreational use will be legal in Canada.

  • The U.S. Air Force is now short 2,000 pilots said Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force, at the Pentagon’s annual State of the Air Force presentation Thursday. The Air Force had previously reporting being short staffed by 1,500 pilots, but said the number would grow due to an inability to train new pilots at the rate they are departing. Secretary Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein blame the shortage on sequestration coupled with the surge tempo of an indefinite war.

  • Embraer has paused the flight test program on its KC-390 medium-lift, multi-mission aircraft after an unplanned upset in early October. The twin-jet was performing tests on its slow flight characteristics with simulated ice formation at 20,000 feet, according to the company. In attempting to recover to cruise flight, Flightradar24 data shows the KC-390 prototype losing 17,000 feet before ADS-B coverage was lost, at one point reporting a vertical speed of -31,000 feet per minute.

Pages