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  • Sun ‘n Fun welcomed more than 100 returning World War II, Korea and Vietnam war veterans back to the warbird area last night after a whirlwind day of visiting war memorials in Washington, D.C. The Flight to Honor continues a tradition of chartering day flights to the nation’s capital so aging veterans can see the monuments erected to commemorate their service.

  • HorizonX, the Boeing “innovation cell” that launched about a year ago, has invested in its first U.K. company, Reaction Engines Ltd., Boeing announced on Wednesday. Reaction is known for its “Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine” (Sabre), a hybrid engine that blends jet and rocket technology. The engine is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight, Boeing said.

  • Elbit Systems, based in Haifa, Israel, has completed the acquisition of Universal Avionics Systems Corp., of Tucson, Arizona, for a price of about $120 million, the companies announced on Wednesday. Universal develops and manufactures commercial avionics for a wide range of aircraft, including flight management systems, displays, communication systems and complete cockpit solutions.

  • Scaled Composites flew the second copy of its single-engine-jet, Model 401, for the first time, on Wednesday, the company has announced. “As a proof-of-concept, rapid-prototyping company, it is very rare when we get to build more than one of the same type of aircraft,” the company posted on Facebook. The first one flew in October.

  • Although autogyros in the U.S. aren’t quite the thing they are in Europe, a new one is being shown off this week at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida. The Rotorvox C2A, an all-carbon fiber design, is being pitched and an experimental amateur built aircraft for the U.S. market.

  • With a day of rain gone, the weather cleared in Lakeland Wednesday and the mud dried, but show organizers said first-day attendance still took a hit. Sun 'n Fun president John "Lites" Leenhouts joked that hotels in northern Florida were calling to say thanks, as many pilots were stopped cold by an intense line of weather Tuesday. "There's no question we took a hit," Leenhouts said Wednesday, but because advance sales were up, "we're on par with where we were in 2017."

  • Jeppesen and aviation hardware and software solution provider Bad Elf recently announced a system that makes updating avionics possible from inside the cockpit. Using the Jeppesen Distribution Manager (JDM) Mobile app paired with Bad Elf’s Wombat accessory, Jeppesen subscribers can wirelessly download updates to their iPhone or iPad, insert the avionics data card into the Wombat and transfer the update.

  • An effort to allow pilots to share expenses of flights with strangers has resurfaced, with a bill introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. The Aviation Empowerment Act would add “definition and clarity to existing rules that will help unleash innovation in the aviation community,” Senator Lee said in a news release.

  • Progressive Aerodyne, manufacturer of the light sport and experimental Searey line, says it has offered the Seaplane Pilots Association a yearlong loan of an aircraft to promote aviation in general and seaplane flying specifically. At Sun 'n Fun 2018 in Lakeland, Florida, this week, Progressive Aerodyne's Kevin Oaks said the company is committed to popularizing and promoting seaplane flying and sees the nonprofit SPA as a safe means to do that.

  • A developer in Miami has added a skyport to his high-rise luxury apartment building, anticipating a demand for VTOL flying taxis, according to the Miami Herald. Dan Kodsi, who is building the 60-story, 530-unit Paramount Miami Worldcenter, is designing the rooftop to accommodate a 5,000-square-foot skyport.

  • Jumbotrons at airshows have become commonplace but this year at Sun ‘n Fun, the airshow has both the giant screens and live streaming for those who can’t make it to the actual event. In partnership with Sun ‘n Fun, a company called LiveAirshowTV is feeding both pre-show programs and the show itself to online audiences the world over.

  • Headset manufacturer Lightspeed Aviation says it's expanding its aviation philanthropic efforts by focusing in-kind donations of headsets to scholarship and learn-to-fly programs. At a press conference at Sun ‘n Fun 2018 in Lakeland this week, Lightspeed CEO Allan Schrader says past donations have been funneled into compassionate giving, but now the company is interested in stimulating aviation growth.

  • Sun ‘n Fun President John “Lites” Leenhouts announced on Monday that the Air Force has sent the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team to fill the vacant performance spot left when the Thunderbirds cancelled their scheduled performance last Thursday. The cancellation was due to the loss of Thunderbird pilot Maj. Stephen Del Bagno in a training accident last week.

  • What better way to learn how to fly than in a taildragger Cub? That's the idea behind a new organization called Kids Fly Cubs, which is working to set up learn-to-fly promotions using Legend Cub serial number 1 loaned by American Legend, the Texas-based company that has been manufacturing updated Cubs for more than a decade.

  • Piper announced this week that its M600 turboprop and piston twins will soon be available with angle-of-attack systems from Safe Flight. The systems will be offered as options by the third quarter of 2018, Piper CEO Simon Caldecott said in a press conference at Sun ‘n Fun. The Safe Flight system, which is STC’d for several other aircraft, has a display indexer mounted on the glareshield that’s designed to be visible in all phases of flight.

  • Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, has completed its first supersonic, rocket-powered flight, the company announced last week. The aircraft was carried to about 46,500 feet above the Sierra Nevada mountains by the WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, then released. After a few seconds of glide, Unity’s rocket motor engaged, accelerating to Mach 1.87.

  • At Sun 'n Fun 2018 in Lakeland, Florida, Garmin is showing its new line of portable weather and traffic receivers. The GDL50 series—which includes the GDL50/51/52 models—is the company's next-generation portable unit that replaces the GDL39 ADS-B receiver.

  • Boeing’s HorizonX division, which supports new business ventures, is now a partner at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Research Park, ERAU has announced. HorizonX will join the John Mica Engineering and Aerospace Innovation Complex, located next to the Daytona Beach campus, which aims to help new businesses bring new enterprises to market.

  • Terrafugia, the Massachusetts-based “flying-car” company, said on Tuesday it has created 75 new jobs in the last year and plans to add 50 more by December. The company was recently acquired by Zhejiang Geely, a Chinese conglomerate, which provided the resources for the company to expand its operations and hire new workers.

  • As Sun ‘n Fun opens Tuesday, Bose announced a new noise-cancelling in-ear headset called the ProFlight Aviation Headset. The new product, Bose’s first aviation headset since the A20 was introduced in 2010, is aimed at the cabin class and turbine market, whose cockpits have lower noise levels.

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