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  • John Travolta is hanging up his four-barred Qantas uniform and donating his personal Boeing 707 to an Australian museum.
  • Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly says he "might" ban laptops in the passenger cabins of all international flights to and from the U.S. In an interview Sunday he said airliners with lots of Americans aboard are a prime target for terrorists and the ban wouldn't be a response to a specific threat, but a general attitude within the security establishment
  • The Air Force has reversed its plan to retire the A-10 and now says all 283 Warthogs have a productive future. The 2018 budget plan sent to Congress this week says the iconic close support aircraft will be in the fleet "for the foreseeable future," according to AP.
  • Boeing's Phantom Works will partner with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design, build and test a technology demonstration vehicle for the Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program, DARPA announced this week. Boeing will develop an autonomous, reusable, hypersonic spaceplane, called Phantom Express, capable of deploying small satellites of up to 3,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. Boeing and DARPA will jointly invest in the development.
  • As the drone industry gears up to produce technology to knock down their own products, they may find a big customer in the U.S. government. The Trump administration is circulating draft legislation that would give the government sweeping powers to track and destroy drones over the U.S., according to The New York Times.
  • London City Airport, a general aviation field popular with business travelers, will become the first airport in the U.K. to install a digital control tower, the airport has announced. The tower will be equipped with 16 high-definition cameras that will transmit data to a control center in Swanwick, Hampshire, about 100 miles away, where air traffic controllers will do their job off-site.
  • Putting even more pressure on GoPro, Garmin announced the new VIRB 360 fully spherical action camera to its lineup--the latest to its growing line of camera models.
  • An online retailer in China, JD.com, announced this week it plans to develop heavy-duty drones that can deliver one ton or more of cargo. The drones could also be used to ferry goods out of the rural areas, such as fruits and vegetables headed for urban markets, according to the company. JD chairman Richard Liu said he plans to build 150 drone delivery sites in China's rural districts within the next three years, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Budget details released by the White House on Tuesday show an apparent commitment by the Trump administration to privatize the air traffic control system, according to NBAA. "The president's budget takes the public's elected representatives out of the equation and leaves it to a private board to ensure the public's interest is being well served," said NBAA President Ed Bolen in a news release late on Tuesday. "We are troubled and concerned by this proposal and will review it closely as the legislative process moves forward."
  • The newly in-production K-Max helicopter, built by Kaman Aerosystems, flew for the first time on May 12, the company announced last week. The aircraft performed "flawlessly," said test pilot Bill Hart. "I look forward to successfully completing our production flight-test schedule over the coming weeks." The single-seat K-Max features a counter-rotating rotor system and is designed to be rugged and low-maintenance. It's optimized for external-load operations and vertical-reference flight.
  • Airbus Corporate Jets is now offering a corporate-jet version of its A330neo widebody airliner, the company announced at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, being held this week in Geneva. The ACJ330neo can carry up to 25 passengers in a customized cabin, with room for conference/dining areas, a private office, bedrooms, bathrooms and guest seating. The company also announced the launch of Airbus Corporate Helicopters, a high-end, custom brand for the VIP private and business aviation market.
  • A recent federal court decision that the FAA has no authority to require drone users to register is not sitting well with many aviators. Helicopter Association International issued a statement this week saying it "strongly disagrees" with the ruling, adding that helicopter pilots "are deeply concerned about our ability to fly safely in airspace where pilots could encounter any unmanned aircraft, be it commercial or otherwise." The National Agricultural Aviation Association also issued a statement.
  • Heard recently one morning on JFK tower frequency … JetBlue: Tower, is our speed compatible with the aircraft ahead of us? … Tower:  As long as you don't go to warp factor 6, you should be fine ... Marty Twersky
  • The European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) opens May 22 in Geneva and as usual, companies are making announcements in advance of the formal opening. Nextant has announced that it's dipping a toe in the large cabin market with an avionics upgrade for Challenger 604 bizjets.
  • Several U.S. manufacturers announced models that now are certified for sales in Europe this week at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, being held in Geneva. Piper said it has been awarded approval for its top-of-the-line single-engine turboprop, the M600, which was FAA-certified in June last year. The six-seat aircraft sells for about $3 million. Cirrus said it has received EASA certification for its $2 million Vision jet and has made its first delivery in Europe.
  • GE Aviation says it will work with Aerion Corp. to look at what would be needed to develop an engine for a supersonic jet. "We have thoroughly evaluated over two dozen civil and military engines from all leading engine producers over the past two years," said Aerion CEO Doug Nichols. That research, he said, led him to conclude that "working with GE Aviation will help us meet the challenging specifications needed to meet our performance objectives."
  • The Flying Aviation Expo scheduled for October in Palm Springs has been canceled but organizers are holding out hope it may be back in the future. Jeff and Vivienne Herold, who own Scheyden Eyewear, took over the show in its third year in 2016 and moved it from the Palm Springs Convention Center to the airport. Although the show got good reviews for organization and content, it was sparsely attended.
  • The Bahamas is the first neighboring country to the U.S. to accept BasicMed as a medical qualification for U.S. pilots flying in its airspace. BasicMed went into effect on May 1 and allows pilots to fly up to five passengers on day or night VFR or IFR pleasure flights (not for compensation or hire) in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds without a Class 3 medical.
  • A Washington court has quashed the FAA's drone registration program. The court ruled Friday that the registration rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed by Congress in 2012, that specifically bars the FAA from creating "any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft."
  • A temporary mobile air traffic control tower will be operating this summer at Leesburg Executive Airport, in Virginia, requiring special procedures from pilots. Pilots flying both VFR and IFR will need to contact the tower, NBAA said this week. The tests, which are part of the airport's Remote Control Tower experiment, will run June 5 through Aug. 12, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, and then from 4 p.m. to midnight, Aug. 13 through Sept. 8.

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