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  • In an effort to cut some cost off the next Presidential transport, the Air Force is reportedly in talks with Boeing to buy two 747s that had been produced for the now-bankrupt Russian airline, Transaero. The two jumbo jets were ordered by the airline in 2013, but Transaero went bankrupt in 2015, before it could pay for and take delivery of the airplanes, which are now sitting in the Mojave Desert awaiting a bargain shopper. Each 747 has a nominal new sale price of around $390 million, on which the Air Force is presumably getting some discount.

  • Maximum endurance test flights on highly-polished commercial aircraft can be boring—taking the phrase “drilling holes in the sky” to the new flight levels—but Boeing’s flight test team has been making an effort to add some levity to the ordeal. The new Boeing 787-800 needed an eighteen-hour test flight as part of its ETOPS certification, so the flight planners turned the long-range, twin-jet into the world’s most expensive Etch-A-Sketch.

  • The total solar eclipse that will take place across the U.S. on Aug. 21 is having a significant impact on general aviation. In Oregon, GA airports in the path of totality already are reporting that they are fully booked up for the event. Pilots will be camping out with their airplanes, beer gardens are planned and car rentals are hard to find and expensive. In Nebraska, Diana Smith, manager of the Beatrice Municipal Airport, told the Nebraska Radio Network she’s heard from pilots across the country who want to fly in for the eclipse.

  • The Perlan II glider reached its own best altitude of 32,500 feet this week as the team plans to soar well past the existing sailplane record of 50,727 feet, set by Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett in Perlan 1 in 2006. To get the pressured, two-seat glider to the target altitude of 90,000 feet, Perlan Project CEO Ed Warnock has taken his team to El Calafate, Argentina, where a strong jet stream near the south pole combines with the massive terrain of the Andes to create the world’s strongest mountain waves.

  • A solid-gold replica of the Apollo 11 lunar space module that had belonged to Neil Armstrong was stolen from the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, late Friday night, according to local police. Three of the 5-inch-high 18-karat-gold lunar module replicas were created by Cartier, in France, on a commission from the Le Figaro newspaper, which raised the money through a subscription drive. The replicas were given to Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins during their world tour in 1969.

  • While travelers have complained for years about shrinking space aboard airline flights, the FAA has elected to ignore the problem, saying it has not been shown to affect safety. But a federal court on Friday told the FAA they must “adequately address” issues raised by the advocacy group Flyers’ Rights. The petition said that since the early 2000s, the average seat width has narrowed by about an inch and a half, to 17 inches.

  • Flying air taxis from Germany are ready to “conquer the world,” Volocopter announced on Tuesday, thanks to 25 million Euros invested by Daimler and a handful of others. “Using this fresh capital, Volocopter will further expand upon the leading technology in its purely electrically driven VTOLs, speed up the introduction process of the Volocopter serial model, and conquer the market for flying air taxis,” the company said.

  • Boeing has created its own in-house avionics shop, called Boeing Avionics, to develop and produce its own avionics, the Seattle Times reported on Monday. In a memo to employees, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the move is a “strategy to build targeted vertical capability.” Boeing had created its own in-house avionics until 2003, when it launched the 787 program. Creating the new unit is “tantamount to an admission that Boeing made a mistake,” according to the Times.

  • With day after day of sunny skies and low humidity in Oshkosh last week, the crowds at EAA AirVenture had nothing to hamper them, and EAA this week reported record-breaking attendance numbers. In his closing news conference on Sunday, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said it’s estimated that more than 600,000 people came to AirVenture this year. “It was an incredible week,” Pelton said. “Ten days for us, if you count the early arrivals, and certainly each day had its own truly unique venue or feature. It was hard to really pick what was the best.”

  • An Air India flight was diverted last week because the crew didn’t raise the landing gear. There were apparently lots of clues that something was terribly wrong but the A320 crew pressed on, climbing to 24,000 feet instead of the normal 35,000 to 37,000 feet and reaching only 230 knots as the plane gobbled huge amounts of fuel to beat the drag of the wheels.

  • On the Saturday night before Oshkosh opened, I was listening on my iPhone to KOSH tower for 27, wishing I was there instead of doing yard work. Evidently, weather was not great so traffic was slow when I heard an "experienced" pilot tell tower he was turning final ... Tower: Low wing cleared to land 27 ... Pilot: Cleared to land 27, did you give me a dot?...Tower: Traffic is light so no dot, land at your discretion ... Pilot: Wow, I have been coming here for 40 years, and this is the first time I didn't get told a dot ... Tower [chuckling]: Well, I can give you one if you want ... Pilot: No thanks. Just good to be here ... I hope I can claim just one tenth of that in years to come!

  • NASA plans to fly an F-18 at supersonic speeds above Florida’s coastal waters later this month, producing sonic booms for a test program. The aircraft will fly at or above 32,000 feet when it goes supersonic. The flightpath is designed to keep the strongest-sounding sonic booms away from residential areas, while still producing booms above Kennedy Space Center, where the sound will be collected by 32 microphones on the ground. The booms will be loudest on the beaches north of KSC, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will hear quieter booms.

  • Airbus is in the electric airplane business for at least the medium term and the next few years could see the first flight of a BAE 146 regional jet converted to fly on electric power.

  • The pilot of a Beech Baron involved in a highly publicized ditching in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012 has been indicted for insurance fraud. Theodore Wright and two other men, Shane Gordon and Raymond Fosdick, have been charged with several counts as part of a larger investigation that also involved an old Citation, an exotic car and a boat.

  • Samson Motors brought its pre-production prototype of the Switchblade flying-car design, which is still under construction, to EAA AirVenture this week. The vehicle “highlights the unique internationally patented wing-swing mechanism,” the company said. According to CEO Sam Bousfield, the company’s goal is “to produce the first commercially successful flying sports car.” The design will fly at 200 mph, the company says, with a 190-HP turbocharged V4 engine, and have a range of 400 miles.

  • Lycoming says it’s not ruling out labor charge allowances for engine shops and customers affected by the mandatory rod bushing service bulletin announced earlier this month. In this podcast recorded at AirVenture on Friday, Lycoming general manager Michael Kraft told AVweb that shops need to first do the inspections, then contact Lycoming about support.

  • Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. plans to build a four-seat version of its all-electric airplane, the company announced at EAA AirVenture this week. The Sun Flyer 4 will have a payload of 800 pounds for pilot and passengers, the company said. “The four-seat airplane will have operating costs five times lower than costs associated with similar combustion-engine aircraft,” said George Bye, CEO of AEAC. “With four hours of flying time, the versatile Sun Flyer 4 will appeal to both flight schools and pilot-owners.”

  • Mooney’s Chino, California-based design center, which did much of the work on the emerging M10 line, will move its operations to the Kerrville, Texas, factory headquarters. “We’re going to be consolidating efforts,” says Mooney’s Lance Phillips.

  • The Garmin G1000 NXi integrated flight deck is now available for the Cessna Caravan and Cessna Grand Caravan EX, Textron Aviation said at EAA AirVenture this week. The option has been OK'd by both the FAA and EASA, Textron said. Features in the new flight deck include significant flight-display modernization with faster processing times, improved graphics rendering, and enhanced readability with LED back-lighting, the company said.

  • Last year at EAA AirVenture, Textron Aviation unveiled a mock-up of the cabin in its all-new Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop, and this week at the show, the company provided an update on its progress with the airplane. Manufacturing of the first full-airframe test article has begun, the company said, and the team has started to build tooling for production. “The team began propeller test runs and component tests with GE’s new advanced turboprop engine,” said Brad Thress, senior vice president, engineering.

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