AVweb Flash

  • Invoking emergency powers, President Trump waived a law Friday that had limited the ability of the Air Force to pull pilots out of retirement. Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross says he expects the Secretary of Defense will use the power to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for three years each.

  • A reheated version of Airbus’s 25-year-old A330, the A330neo flew for the first time Thursday in the European company’s attempt to shore up its presence in the 250-300-seat long-range market.

  • Just months ago, government security agencies were contemplating a ban of electronic devices larger than a cellphone from airliner cabins, but this week, the FAA is calling for the opposite. In a paper filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the FAA said its tests show that large electronic devices such as laptops can cause fires that could overwhelm the fire suppression system airline baggage holds are equipped with. The paper said such a fire could be serious enough to result in a hull loss.

  • Citing a lack of FAA guidance or industry expertise in training pilots for low-altitude operations, Icon Aircraft has created guidelines for pilots flying the A5 and is preparing a low-altitude training course for pilots who want to go lower than the guidelines provide. “Our goal is to take a proactive, leadership role in the flight training process and we have developed our own low-altitude guidelines from lessons learned over decades of military, seaplane and bush flying,” says company CEO Kirk Hawkins.

  • Virgin Galactic is about three months away from launching into space, founder Richard Branson said at a business forum in Finland recently. He added that he expects to fly into space about three months after that. The company has said it expects to start launching flights for paying tourists by the end of next year. The carrier aircraft, WhiteKnightTwo, and the passenger vehicle, SpaceShipTwo, are based at Mojave, where they are undergoing flight tests.

  • The impact of misunderstandings between pilots and air traffic controllers due to language differences has been underestimated as a contributing factor in accidents, researchers from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said this week. Elizabeth Mathews, an ERAU professor and linguistics expert, said language issues in aviation are not investigated as thoroughly as other factors.

  • The government of Malaysia is considering a proposal from seabed exploration firm Ocean Infinity, a U.S. company, to resume the search for Malaysia Airlines MH370, according to news reports on Thursday. MH370 vanished in March 2014 in the southern Indian Ocean, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people aboard. Ocean Infinity has offered to search on a “no find, no fee” arrangement, according to Australian officials.

  • Just weeks after releasing a replacement product for its AD-stricken ADS600-B system, Texas-based NavWorx announced on its webpage today it is ceasing operations and is not conducting any business.

  • Two pilots for Air Berlin, approaching their last landing into Dusseldorf, Germany, before the carrier’s insolvency, instead flew along the runway, banked sharply, then pulled up and flew one last time around the airport. The maneuver was unauthorized by the airline, and the crew has been suspended. "We wanted to make a mark, a dignified and emotional goodbye," the unidentified Air Berlin pilot was quoted as saying by German broadcaster ZDF.

  • After halting a plan last week to start work on shortening the runway at Santa Monica Airport, a federal court has lifted its temporary restraining order, and the work will begin “within the next week,” according to a post on the city’s Facebook page on Tuesday. The court’s order means “the legal complaints raised lack merit,” the city’s airport director, Stelio’s Markrides, said in a statement.

  • Airbus and Bombardier announced today that the European aerospace giant will assume a 50.01% interest in the Bombardier C-Series jet program. To keep it afloat, the C-Series program required a $1.25 billion investment last year by the province of Quebec, which will continue to own 19%, with Bombardier owning the remaining 31%.

  • WACO Aircraft announced the debut of the amphibious version of their radial engine biplane yesterday—the YMF-5F. The company says the “F” designation is for both “float and fun,” not to suggest that the tailwheel gear version isn’t fun.

  • A commercial balloon pilot’s “pattern of poor decision-making” led to his balloon striking power lines and then crashing to the ground in Texas last July, killing all 16 on board, the NTSB concluded in its final report, issued on Tuesday. It was the deadliest balloon crash in U.S. history. Contributing to the accident were the pilot’s medical conditions and medications that likely affected his decision-making, the board said. Alfred “Skip” Nichols, 49, the owner of Heart of Texas Balloons and the pilot on the day of the accident, had Valium, oxycodone and the antihistamine Benadryl in his system on the day of the crash, the board said.

  • Japan’s Yoshihide Muroya was crowned Red Bull Air Race World Champion after a wild series of races over the brickyard at stormy Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday.

  • It was Saturday afternoon some years ago at our mid-sized, midwestern airport.Things were hopping. Air Guard jets were shooting landings on the long runway, airliners were arriving and departing, two or three aircraft were in the pattern practicing, transients were coming and going, and then there was my friend and me in a 1945 65-HP J-3 Cub doing touch and goes.   After four landings, blissfully unaware of the consternation our extremely slow speed was causing, we asked the tower on our handheld radio: …”Cub 843 would like a right turn out of the pattern.” … Controller (exasperated): “Right turn, left turn or straight out approved. I don't care.  Just please, please get out of my way!"

  • American Airlines is taking their turn in the hot seat over an incident last week where a pilot intervened to have a passenger removed. Prior to boarding her flight from Miami to New York, Tamika Mallory had a disagreement with the gate agent over whether she was to be seated in a middle or aisle seat, but thought the dispute was behind her as she walked down the jetway with her boarding pass in hand.

  • A Minnesota man is facing attempted murder charges after a Cessna Skywagon that overflew his property took a gunshot in the fuselage.

  • In the first documented incident of its kind in Canada, a Skyjet Aviation flight hit a drone while on approach to Jean Lesage Airport in Quebec City on Thursday. The aircraft suffered minor damage and no one was injured. Skyjet flies King Airs and Beech 1900s for charter and medevac.

  • It’s been 70 years since Chuck Yeager squeezed into the sharply tapered cockpit of the Bell X-1 rocket plane and cracked a physical and psychological barrier that busted aircraft development wide open.

  • Air France plans to ferry a damaged A380 back to France from Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador on three engines but before it can do that it has to install a new engine that won't be running.

Pages