AVweb Flash

  • Air traffic continued its 8th year of uninterrupted growth says Department of Transportation data for the first half of 2017. U.S. airlines carried 414 million travelers in the first six months of 2017—361 million on domestic flights and 54 million on international flights—growth of 14.7% from a post-recession low in 2008.

  • With the tower at Cyril E. King International Airport in St. Thomas severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, controllers had been left to do their jobs from a tent on the airfield for several days. On Wednesday morning, the FAA activated a mobile control tower that had been flown in on a U.S. Air Force C-17 from Boise, Idaho. The FAA is flying personnel in from San Juan, Puerto Rico each day to keep the facility staffed with fresh controllers.

  • The CEO of Naples Jet Center at Naples Airport in Florida told AVweb he and everyone else involved in the clean-up after Hurricane Irma are writing a new playbook. “None of us have ever been through anything like this before,” Matt Hagans told AVweb after meeting with airport and FAA officials at the airport on Tuesday.

  • In a market flooded with higher-end ADS-B receivers, navigation app developer Seattle Avionics announced today the $250 Merlin portable ADS-B device. It's a full-featured ADS-B In receiver (it doesn't have ADS-B Out for mandate compliance) with built-in WAAS GPS, AHRS and dual-channel traffic and weather reception.

  • Landing in the trees is hardly ever a first choice, but it worked out for one pilot on Monday morning. Around 11:30 a.m. local time, a pilot flying a rental Cessna 172 from Robertson Airport crashed into a tree in the parking lot of an industrial equipment company adjacent to the airport. Security camera footage of the Carling Technologies parking lot shows the 1981 Skyhawk appearing to enter a spin, when it collides with a tree.

  • The president of the largest benefit flying organization in the U.S. says help is welcome from private aircraft owners in the enormous relief efforts in Texas and Florida but it needs guidance and direction.

  • When the FAA set aside ten million dollars to help general aviation pilots comply with the ADS-B Out 2020 mandate, few predicted that pilots would leave more than half that money on the table, but on September 18th it’ll be official. Starting on September 19 of last year, the FAA offered aircraft owners $500 to equip their airplanes with the ADS-B Out equipment required to permit those airplanes to fly in what is now Mode C airspace after January 1, 2020.

  • Doug Jackson didn’t set out to found the largest private disaster airlift operation in history, but Operation Airdrop took on a life of its own. Jackson, who owns a vehicle trailer dealership, was using some of his trailers to drive relief supplies to the Gulf Coast when he got the idea to work with a fellow pilot and friend to coordinate relief flights by general aviation pilots. Twelve days ago, Jackson was organizing mission on his cell phone with a note pad between flights, when the Operation Airdrop command center spontaneously self-organized.

  • The mysterious fatal crash of an Air Force aircraft at the Nevada Test and Training Range on Sept. 5 is raising speculation a new aircraft is under development at the fabled Area 51, the famous super-secret test center on the dry bed of Groom Lake in the Nevada desert.

  • The Air Force is proposing cutting costs on the future Air Force One aircraft by eliminating what has, until now, been considered an essential security measure. According to Defense One, Air Force brass are reportedly considering scrapping the converted Boeing 747-8i’s air-to-air refueling capability, saying the latest jumbo jets have all the range needed to get almost anywhere on earth from Washington.

  • Heard on Denver departure … N1234: "Just off Centennial.” …Center: "Squawk 6666.” … Center: "Umm, do you want another? We could give you a different one.” … Silence … N1234: No, it's okay, we'll keep that one.” … John C. Lamb

  • As Hurricane Irma raged up the west coast of Florida, images of the storm were pouring from news sites and it’s inevitable that aircraft and airports will have suffered from the onslaught. For instance, there was a report Sunday that the roof was torn off the fire station at Naples Airport.

  • Claims of theft by TSA employees are not a new phenomenon. John F. Kennedy Airport in New York has been described as “a flea market for airport employees,” where 200 items are reportedly stolen from passengers daily. Yet of the 7,900 claims filed with the TSA over the 14 months from January 2016 to February 2017, only 4,300 were resolved, says Stratos Jets, which crunched the government data.

  • Princess Juliana Airport, on the Island of St. Martin, has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma’s Category 5 winds. Maho Beach, where tourists take photos under jets landing on the island’s 7,500-foot runway, is entirely underwater in recent photos. The same photographs show a thick layer of sand covering 30 feet of the runway overrun area.

  • Claims of theft by TSA employees are a constant irritant for airline travelers so a jet charter company looked at how those claims are resolved and found that almost half were denied. Of the 7,900 claims filed with the TSA over the 14 months from January 2016 to February 2017, only 4,300 were resolved, says Stratos Jets, a charter company, which crunched the government data.

  • Lilium, a start-up aviation company based in Munich, announced on Thursday they have raised $90 million in investment to develop the five-seat Lilium aircraft. The funding, which brings the total capital raised to $100 million, will enable the company to grow its staff to more than 70 and work toward a first manned flight in 2019. The new investment “makes Lilium one of the best-funded electric aircraft projects in the world,” said CEO Daniel Wiegand.

  • After a contentious battle with the FAA over the design and certification specifications of the ADS-600-B system, NavWorx says it is now shipping a reworked version of the system, the ADS600-B 2.0. But the system is only for experimental aircraft.

  • The innovation that took AirVenture 2008 by storm may be headed for oblivion as shares for the company that now controls the Martin Jetpack have been suspended from trading on the Australian Stock Exchange. The company couldn’t meet its statutory reporting requirements by the Aug. 31 deadline so the stock, which was trading at six cents AUS, was wiped off the board.

  • A Boeing 747-400 SuperTanker whose owners have been disputing a rule of the U.S. Forest Service that keeps them from flying fought a fire in the U.S. for the first time last week, contracted by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The SuperTanker can drop more than 19,000 gallons of water or retardant at a time. “In six days of firefighting, the SuperTanker has flown 14 sorties, and made 22 drops of 248,025 gallons of retardant on four fires in California,” company spokesman Lewis Lowe told AVweb on Wednesday.

  • As Hurricane Irma bears down on what may be a landfall somewhere in Florida, aircraft owners across the state are considering whether to move their airplanes or just lash them down and hope for the best.

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