AVweb Flash

  • The FAA published Airworthiness Directives this week that affect certain Piper Cherokees and turbo Bonanza airplanes. The proposed Piper AD was prompted by reports of corrosion found in an area of the main wing spar that’s not easily accessible for inspection. The turbo Bonanza AD is a revision of an earlier proposal published in April, adding more models to the list of airplanes affected and adding a visual inspection of the exhaust tailpipe.

  • The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum opened 41 years ago on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and is the most popular museum in the U.S., with about 8 million visitors a year. Now the NASM is due for its first major upgrade, the museum has announced. The seven-year, billion-dollar project, which begins next summer, will transform the exterior of the building, and all 23 galleries will get a makeover. The museum will remain open through the entire effort.

  • Boeing’s 747, the iconic humped two-decker jet, flew its last flight for United Airlines on Tuesday. The four-engine widebody has lost ground to more-efficient modern aircraft. A United Airlines crew flew the final trip, from San Francisco to Honolulu, tracing the same route as the first United 747 flight in 1970. The 747 will remain in Honolulu, United said, and passengers on the final flight were booked to go home on a different airplane.

  • Retired Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay, 40, was killed on Tuesday when his Icon A5 crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pasco County. This is the second fatal Icon crash of 2017. In March of this year, renowned Icon test pilot John Karkow and a new Icon employee, Cagri Sever, were killed after evidently making a wrong turn into a box canyon while flying low over Lake Berryessa, according the NTSB report.

  • Boeing’s 747, the iconic humped two-decker jet, flew its last flight for United Airlines on Tuesday. The four-engine widebody has lost ground to more-efficient modern aircraft. A United Airlines crew flew the final trip, from San Francisco to Honolulu, tracing the same route as the first United 747 flight in 1970. The 747 will remain in Honolulu, United said, and passengers on the final flight were booked to go home on a different airplane.

  • After stopping production more than 20 years ago, Aero Vodochody is preparing to bring an updated version of the L-39 Albatros jet trainer back to the market. In the L-39NG, a William FJ44-4M will replace the Ivchenko AI-25 found in the original. The new model will also come with a lighter airframe, wet wings and modern avionics.

  • The Air Force, in a press release, says it has deployed drone defenses at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. “Our mission is to ensure the safety and security of resources and personnel on base and this is just one method of keeping pace with an ever-evolving threat,” says Lt. Col. William Smith, commander of Offutt’s 55th Security Forces Squadron. That one method isn’t exactly clear.

  • Air traffic control privatization could trigger government paralysis as the extra $100 billion it costs ripples through the programs that money is needed to fund, according to EAA.

  • Copycat suicide is one of three scenarios being considered by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board in the 2015 crash of a cargo aircraft with a drunk pilot in the left seat.

  • On final approach to Runway 23 in a D-18 Beech at Mansfield Lama Airport, Ohio, we received this inquiry from the control tower … Tower:  Beech XXXXX please confirm nose wheel extension? … Beech 18: After looking at each other in surprise and much laughing, we responded: Mansfield Tower, N8504, we don't have one! … Sue Packer

  • The U.S. Air Force F-16, assigned to the Thunderbirds, that crashed following a runway overrun at Dayton International Airport in June was more than 40 knots too fast on final approach and did not touch down until nearly 5,000 feet down the runway. The $29 million aircraft was entirely destroyed when it flipped after departing the paved surface area.

  • In a tweet, Finnair announced that they are asking passengers to be voluntarily weighed before flights. The airline assures passengers that they’re not preparing to charge more for larger passengers. "For us, this has nothing to do with ticket pricing or anything like that,” says Päivyt Tallqvist, director of communications at Finnair.

  • Electric powerplants and autonomous systems continue to make progress, with reports this week of first flights and new designs. In China, the two-seat RX1E-A, an advanced version of the RX1E, designed by Shenyang Aerospace University, flew for the first time this week and proved it can now fly for up to two hours on a single charge, an improvement over the 45-minute endurance of the previous model, which has been in production since last year.

  • Bruce Landsberg, who promoted GA safety for many years at AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation, faced tough questions at a Senate hearing this week regarding his nomination to serve on the NTSB. Six senators signed on to a letter before the hearing asking why he criticized the 1,500-hour rule during his years at AOPA. Landsberg has said he believes in “performance-based regulation as opposed to an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all rule.”

  • The FAA and NTSB both issued safety alerts recently that warn pilots to use proper procedures when operating on runways. The NTSB cites several accidents when pilots chose an intersection takeoff to save time, and then lost power. In each case, if the pilot had used the entire runway, there would have been room for a safe landing straight ahead. Instead, all three aircraft crashed, and two people were killed.The FAA’s Safety Alert for Pilots also concerns runway operations, reminding pilots and airport workers about the correct procedures for using runway status lights.

  • Now that the Part 23 rules to certify airplanes have been revised, the FAA says it’s ready to take on an overhaul of the regulations for certifying helicopters. “The proposed changes are necessary to address modern designs currently used in the rotorcraft industry and would reduce the burden on applicants for certification of new rotorcraft designs,” the FAA said in its proposal, published Wednesday in the Federal Register.

  • Two men who died in the crash of a Czech-built light-sport aircraft in Rhoadesville, Virginia, in May 2016 had deployed a parachute recovery system, but it failed when the single front attachment point detached, according to a recent NTSB report. According to the NTSB, the pilot had recently purchased the Jihlavan KP 5 ASA (Skyleader 500), an all-metal, two-seat low-wing aircraft, with a chute supplied by Galaxy Rescue Systems, and was taking instruction in it to satisfy insurance requirements.

  • The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will invest $1 billion in three of Richard Branson’s space/aviation companies — Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit, Branson announced on Thursday.

  • Icon Aircraft told deposit holders yesterday that prices for the closely watched light sport would be going up about 30% for a base model and more than 50% for a fully loaded aircraft.

  • The F-16C that crashed on April 5, 2017, shortly after departure from Joint Base Andrews, was brought down by faulty reassembly of the main engine control (MEC) unit during overhaul, according to the Air Force Accident Investigation Board assigned to the mishap.

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