AVweb Flash

  • Wright Electric, a San Los Obispo-based startup, aims to make every short commercial flight electric within 20 years by building what co-founder Jeff Engler calls their "electric 737." Wright's vision is a 150-seat, short-haul aircraft capable of serving routes under 300 miles. Engler told attendees at the Sustainable Aviation Symposium that Wright was inspired to reject energy density arguments by looking at data on the length of commercial flights around the world.
  • The Sustainable Aviation Symposium (SAS) opened Friday morning in Redwood City, California, for two days of seminars and discussions about the future of efficient flight. The event has drawn the attention of A-list attendees, including representatives from NASA, FAA, Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company, Icon Aircraft, Epic Aircraft, General Atomics and Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Dr. Brien Seely, chair of SAS, celebrating the event's success, told AVweb, "finally, the industry is awakening" to the market opportunities available in sustainable aviation.
  • An online course that will satisfy the aeromedical education requirements of the BasicMed regulations should be approved sometime next week, FAA representatives told AVweb Thursday. BasicMed regulations will become effective on May 1, but one requirement to use BasicMed in lieu of a Third Class Medical is that pilots must take an approved online course about aeromedical risks.
  • Continental Motors is working with the FAA to dispel what they see as confusion and unnecessary concern about a mandatory service bulletin (MSB) issued by Continental Motors in early 2017 for a camshaft gear found mostly in older IO-520 and IO-550 engines. Several GA groups, including AOPA, the American Bonanza Society, COPA, Twin Cessna Flyer and Savvy Aviation were sufficiently exercised about MSB05-08B that they requested an audience with the FAA without inviting anyone from Continental.
  • Continental Motors is working with the FAA to dispel what they see as confusion and unnecessary concern about a mandatory service bulletin (MSB) issued by Continental Motors in early 2017 for a camshaft gear found mostly in older IO-520 and IO-550 engines. Several GA groups, including AOPA, the American Bonanza Society, COPA, Twin Cessna Flyer and Savvy Aviation were sufficiently exercised about MSB05-08B that they requested an audience with the FAA without inviting anyone from Continental.
  • An online course that will satisfy the aeromedical education requirements of the BasicMed regulations should be approved sometime next week, FAA representatives told AVweb Thursday. BasicMed regulations will become effective on May 1, but one requirement to use BasicMed in lieu of a Third Class Medical is that pilots must take an approved online course about aeromedical risks.
  • The CAFE Foundation, which has held annual symposia in California since 2007 to explore new technologies for aviation, this year will host its event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the group announced this week. The Electric Aircraft Symposium will be held at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, July 22 and 23, the weekend before AirVenture. The group plans to continue holding the event in Oshkosh for the foreseeable future, executive director Yolanka Wulff told AVweb.
  • The inaugural U.S. Flight Expo kicks off early next month at Marana Regional Airport (KAVQ) near Tucson, Arizona. Show organizers say the event will focus on the markets other than certified aircraft--particularly light sport and experimental. Their goal is to put on a show where aircraft buyers have easy access to manufacturers to get questions answers and, for the serious shoppers, to take demo flights.
  • The first airline customer for Aireon's space-based ADS-B tracking services will be Malaysian Airlines, Aireon reported in a press release issued this week. Aireon is placing ADS-B receivers on Iridium NEXT low earth orbit communications satellites, which will receive location reports from ADS-B Out equipped aircraft and relay that position to end users through Aireon partner SITAONAIR's AIRCOM service.
  • A Southwest Airlines pilot was arrested in Albany, New York, on Monday for trying to board his plane with a loaded handgun in one of his carry-on bags. TSA officers spotted the .380 caliber gun during a routine x-ray scan, the agency said in a news release. The gun was loaded with six bullets. The pilot said he was unaware the weapon was in the bag, a Southwest spokesperson said. He was taken into custody by the local sheriff and charged with criminal possession of a weapon.
  • A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was on a routine training flight with three crew on board when it crashed on a golf course in Maryland Monday afternoon, killing one pilot, CNN has reported. One survivor was in critical condition, and the other was in serious condition, according to the US Army. The flight had launched from Davison Airfield at Fort Belvoir, in Virginia.
  • In an April 5 report on its ADS-B rebate program for general aviation, the FAA says it has processed 5,008 reservations for the rebates, and 14,910 rebates remain to be claimed by the end of the program on September 18. That's much slower than the FAA's planned rate for reaching its goal, which projected 12,000 reservations by April. Also, the report states that 35 rebate applicants who originally planned to install NavWorx systems have switched to install an "eligible avionic unit."
  • The NTSB has released a special report based on its investigation last year into the effectiveness of pilot weather reports. The report concludes that pilots need better training and procedures, and air traffic controllers need to do more to be sure the pilot weather reporting system enhances aviation safety. One key to a safer system is better handling of the reports when they are received by ATC, says NTSB Acting Chairman Robert Sumwalt.
  • Metro Skyways said on Monday they plan to develop a four-passenger, hydrogen-powered, autonomous VTOL flying car, the CityHawk. The vehicle will initially use jet fuel, but eventually will be converted to liquid hydrogen and then to compressed hydrogen, the company said. Development is expected to take about five years.
  • Some years ago I was flying into a very congested London Heathrow Airport when I heard the following exchange withHeathrow Approach ... Heathrow: "Speedbird 123, what is your position in the hold at Lambourne?" ... Speedbird:  "We are just turning outbound at flight level 200." ... Heathrow:  "Roger, Speedbird, could you possibly cross Lambourne inbound at 3000 feet?" ... Speedbird:  "Roger, I could probably make that, but I doubt if I could take my aircraft with me." ... John Marshall
  • The Air Force moved quickly last week to quell concerns that it would force pilots to stay in uniform beyond their agreed-to separation dates. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told an event in Washington last week that's not currently an option to stem the exodus of pilots to the airlines.
  • The union representing Jet Airways pilots has ordered its Indian pilots to refuse to work with non-Indian pilots and has demanded the airline fire all non-native cockpit crew. Jet has about 100 non-Indian captains (who are presumably also in the union) and the National Aviators' Guild is demanding they be purged from the airline.
  • United Airlines pilots and their families are chiming in on the public relations disaster that befell the airline last week when a Louisville doctor was dragged violently from his seat off a plane after refusing to be bumped.
  • While military aircraft boneyards are nothing new, the YouTube display of the hulks of some ex-Navy fighters in a rural area of Temple, Texas may be causing some concerns at the Pentagon.
  • The Air Care Alliance is holding its annual conference on the East Coast this year and public benefit pilots will meet April 21-22 on Long Island, New York. Patient Airlift Services is hosting the event and there are plenty of topics of interest who donate their time and aircraft to help others.

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