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  • Santa Monica Airport is preparing to start work next week on shortening its single runway from 4,973 feet to 3,500 feet. Authorization to shorten the runway at the airport was the result of a controversial settlement between the city government and the FAA in January. Initial work will take place in the evenings, with the airport closed from 9pm to 7am local time, Monday through Friday, starting Monday, October 9 and anticipated to run through December 20.

  • Facing down a critical short of pilots, the Air Force is turning to its retirees to pick up the slack. Under the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) program, the Air Force plans to put retirees back in uniform to serve in roles that require aviation experience, but don’t involve actual flying. The goal is to reduce staff demands on current aviators to keep them in the cockpit.

  • The FAA has banned drones from flying within 400 feet of several U.S. landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty and Mt. Rushmore, and five of the largest dams in the U.S. a day after FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was worried about terrorists using drones against the U.S.

  • A Southwest passenger travelling from Baltimore to Los Angeles earlier this week was removed from her flight after telling flight attendants she was deathly allergic to dogs. The passenger, Anila Daulatzai, 46, is a college professor from Baltimore. Two passengers aboard the flight were travelling with canine companions. Video shot by one of the other passengers, Bill Dumas, began circulating late this week showing Maryland Transportation Authority Police struggling to get Daulatzai off the plane.

  • Air France is facing a daunting technical challenge to repair an extensively damaged A380 at one of Canada’s most remote airports.

  • Elon Musk says his SpaceX company is developing a new booster system that will launch a cargo mission to Mars by 2022, followed by manned missions in 2024. Moreover, the new system, which he calls the BFR, will be capable of re-entry and reuse, making hypersonic passenger service between cities on earth practical and affordable.

  • AOPA announced the locations of the four fly-ins for 2018. Up first is KMSO, Missoula International Airport, in Western Montana on June 15-16—the first fly-in held in the mountain west region of the country. AOPA is saving the next three for cooler fall weather: KSAF, Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 14-15, KMDH, Carbondale, Illinois on October 5-6, and KJKA, Gulf Shores, Alabama on October 26-27.

  • Udacity, an online training site based in Silicon Valley, is now offering a “Flying Car Nanodegree” program, but notes that “the idea of a flying car is a metaphor for a new vision for the future of smart transportation.” The new program aims to teach a new generation of engineers the skills they’ll need to create autonomous flight vehicles “that will be crucial to the transportation systems of the future.” The two-term program will help students understand the air transportation system and develop skills in software and engineering.

  • Responding to a complaint by Boeing, the U.S. Department of Commerce says it will levy a 219.63 percent tariff on every Bombardier CSeries airliner imported into the U.S. The tariff ruling is considered preliminary and is yet to be approved by the U.S. International Trade Commission in early 2018.

  • The House and Senate voted on Thursday to extend FAA funding for six months. The extension allows more time for debate on whether air traffic control should be privatized, and whether changes should be made in the requirements for commercial pilots.

  • Dubai took another step toward providing autonomous flying taxi service, when an unmanned Volocopter took off and flew a demo flight above the city on Monday. It was the “first-ever public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi,” according to Volocopter. “This establishes the feasibility and safety of airborne taxis as a means of public transportation.” The test was preceded by weeks of intense safety assessments of the aircraft, operations and the test site, the company said.

  • Tecnam and Cape Air said this week they have agreed on a delivery schedule for the 11-seat twin commuter that was designed to replace the Cessna 406s in Cape Air’s fleet. Cape Air has agreed to buy 100 of the P2012 Traveller airplanes, and Tecnam now says the first 20 will start deliveries in January 2019. The P2012 was announced in 2012, and debuted at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany this year.

  • Airbus has flown a test aircraft for the first time with its new transonic laminar wing that it hopes will reduce wing friction by up to 50 percent. The gain in aerodynamic efficiency would lower carbon-dioxide emissions by 5 percent, the company said. The Flight Lab test aircraft, an A340, flew for about three and a half hours in southern France on Tuesday. It’s the first test aircraft in the world to combine a transonic laminar wing profile with a true internal primary structure, Airbus said.

  • A two-part Boston Globe Spotlight investigation into the tracking of aircraft registrants and pilots with criminal ties found an overwhelming lack of scrutiny on the part of the Federal Aviation Administration. The investigation puts the FAA in the crosshairs for being unable to assist law enforcement with connecting U.S.-registered aircraft to the persons who actually own them—potentially an important piece of evidence in terrorism, drug trafficking and international corruption investigations.

  • A Republican proposal to fast-track a six-month FAA reauthorization was sidelined by Democratic objections to non-aviation programs attached to the bill. The Republican-authored measure would have increased privatization of federal flood insurance programs and offered tax credits to certain people impacted by recent hurricanes. The fast-track process requires the support of two-thirds of House members. It failed 245 to 171.

  • Boeing is offering $2 million in prize money to encourage innovators to create a “safe and easy-to-use personal flying device,” the company announced on Tuesday. The two-year competition, called “GoFly,” is open to teams from around the world. Boeing hopes the project will leverage recent advances in propulsion, energy, lightweight materials, and control and stability systems “to make the dream of personal flight a reality.”

  • The Vintage Air Rally’s next event will run for six weeks from Ushuaia, Argentina to Lakeland, Florida. Setting off from the southern tip of Argentina on March 1, 2018, the group expects fly to 9,000 miles, passing through 19 countries, and arrive in Florida just in time for Sun N’ Fun. For fifteen teams with the fortitude and access to a pre-WWII era airplane, the costs of participating in Ushuaia2USA (U2U) are fully covered by the sponsors.

  • An unusual collision sent the pilot of a light aircraft to the hospital for observation and left the pilot and passenger of a helicopter unscathed at a private strip near Clearwater, FL on Saturday.

  • I heard the aircraft part of this conversation to Grand Forks FSS at 21:05 local time recently. I was too far away to hear the controller but they wanted to know the time off for the aircraft ... Cessna 1234: “I was airborne at 9:05 ... Pause, Err, ahh, make that 26:05" ... No further calls were made ... Harv Penner

  • The Army has confirmed that one of its Blackhawk helicopters hit a drone while patrolling over New York City on Thursday.

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