AVweb Flash

  • An air force pilot in Belarus may have had some explaining to do after he ejected from his MiG-29 during a fiery failed takeoff attempt.

  • Authorities in Sonoma, California, are investigating whether the deployment of a Cirrus whole-plane parachute at low level was a factor in the death of the pilot. Pilot Bill Goldman was killed and his son, daughter and their nanny were seriously hurt in the crash.

  • Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger says privatizing air traffic control in the U.S. will reduce aviation safety and access to aviation. In an interview with Katie Couric, Sully said of the proposal, “There are other, better ways to solve this political budget problem — by giving the FAA, in running the air traffic control system and making capital improvements to the air traffic control system, more predictable multiyear funding — without giving away the keys to the kingdom to the largest airlines to control access and fees and pricing too."

  • A 57-year-old tourist from New Zealand was killed earlier this week when she was knocked off her feet and into a retaining wall while watching jets depart from the St. Maarten Airport. Even if the name is unfamiliar, most pilots are familiar with pictures of baby-blue KLM 747s flying low over the heads of tourists on a narrow white sand beach. The proximity to landing and departing aircraft has made the narrow stretch of Maho Beach a global tourist attraction, but one not entirely free of risk.

  • This year’s edition of EAA AirVenture returns to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in just over a week, promising a diverse and unique experience celebrating everything that flies, from hot-air balloons to classic warbirds to spaceships. A first at the show this year will be the appearance of the Blue Origin commercial space company, with its New Shepard rocket and a 1:1 mockup of its astronaut crew capsule. Also returning to the show in force, after several years’ absence, will be Scaled Composites.

  • The first Pilatus PC-24 destined for customer use crossed a major milestone on Wednesday when the wings and fuselage were “married” and the airframe was lowered onto its landing gear at the Pilatus headquarters in Stans, Switzerland. The PC-24 will be Pilatus’ first foray into jet aircraft. The Swiss manufacturer has been touting the ability of the new 17,000-pound twin-jet, equipped with a cargo door, to fly in and out of short, unpaved runways—places most operators are loath to take their current jets—with large or awkwardly shaped cargo.

  • Holding at the holding point Nelson, New Zealand, we were waiting for the cabin to be cleared before calling ready … Tower: Link XXX, are you ready? … Link XXX: "Just waiting on the cabin … Tower: It's right behind you ... Justin Zangerl ?
  • Air Force pilots have told their commanders that the needs of families have to take a higher priority if they want to attract and retain aircrew.
  • Although there's been a death watch over Learjet for a year or more, the Bombardier subsidiary had cause for celebration last week. The iconic bizjet brand sold its 3,000th aircraft on June 2 and it coincidentally happened to be the 100th Learjet 75 produced by the Wichita plant.
  • President Donald Trump will use a proposal to privatize air traffic control in the U.S. to kick off a week-long blitz of announcements to push his infrastructure revitalization plan. At an announcement that includes an Oval Office ceremony and White House Rose Garden event on Monday morning, White House officials have confirmed Trump will affirm his plan to move air traffic control services to a not-for-profit corporation overseen by a board of directors drawn from industry, aviation groups and government.
  • Eclipse Aerospace announced a slate of upgrades for its next generation of light jet--"Project Canada." The successor to the Eclipse 550 will be, predictably, bigger, faster and have fancy new avionics. The new jet will be powered by two of Williams' FJ33 turbofans, similar to those fitted to the Cirrus SF50, though the engines on the Canada will be rerated from 1,900 pounds-thrust to 1,200 pounds-thrust.
  • The FAA and Department of Transportation released the list of airport improvement programs (AIP) that they will fund out of the discretionary portion of the AIP budget for the 2017 fiscal year earlier this week. For small airports, AIP grants can cover 90-95% of the cost of airport improvements such as runway or taxiway construction, airport lighting or the installation of radio navigation equipment.
  • The NTSB has concluded the evidence-gathering phase of its investigation into the accident involving an Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-700 that ran off the end of Runway 22 at La Guardia Airport on the evening of Oct. 27, carrying then-vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and members of his campaign staff. There were no injuries.
  • Following the 2011 Budget Control Act, better known as the bill requiring "sequestration," the U.S. Air Force put eight of its newly upgraded C-5M Galaxy strategic airlifters into backup aircraft inventory--a highly ready but non-flying status--in order to keep operational costs under control, but Lt. Gen. Jerry D. Harris, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic plans and requirements, told Congress earlier this week that the force wants to reactivate them.
  • The newest version of ForeFlight's electronic flight bag software will include advanced fuel and performance planning tools for an additional $100 per year ($200 per year over the basic subscription price). Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO: "The new performance product that we're launching delivers high performance flight planning for high performance airplanes."
  • Paul Allen's ambitious, fixed-wing satellite launch platform, the Stratolaunch, rolled out of its hangar Wednesday to begin ground and taxi testing. The colossal twin-fuselage aircraft, built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, is projected to be--by wingspan--the largest aircraft to have ever taken flight, at 385 feet wide.
  • A JetBlue Airways Airbus 320 made an emergency landing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Tuesday after a laptop commuter stored in an overhead began emitting smoke. The flight landed safely with no injuries.
  • With Memorial Day behind us, the summer season takes off, and EAA has plenty of events in the works for this summer's biggest aviation show, AirVenture. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will make their first full team performance at the show on Friday and Saturday. Also flying at the show for the first time will be a rare North American F-86A Sabre, the world's oldest flying jet. Another highlight will be a gathering of Apollo astronauts to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the first Apollo mission.
  • Lockheed Martin's LM-100J civil freighter has completed its first flight, the company has announced. The airplane, part of the Super Hercules cargo line, will perform in a variety of roles, such as firefighting, medevac, and VIP transport. It also can deliver bulk and oversize goods to hard-to-reach locations. The first flight went "flawlessly," said Wayne Roberts, chief test pilot for the program. The LM-100J is an updated version of the L-100 cargo aircraft.
  • A sequel to Top Gun, the popular movie about pilots in the U.S. Navy flight school, will begin shooting sometime in the next year, actor Tom Cruise told reporters last week. Asked about the rumors during the Australian morning show "Sunrise," Cruise said "It is definitely happening." No other details were released by Cruise or the producers.

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