AVweb Flash

  • Several U.S. manufacturers announced models that now are certified for sales in Europe this week at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, being held in Geneva. Piper said it has been awarded approval for its top-of-the-line single-engine turboprop, the M600, which was FAA-certified in June last year. The six-seat aircraft sells for about $3 million. Cirrus said it has received EASA certification for its $2 million Vision jet and has made its first delivery in Europe.
  • GE Aviation says it will work with Aerion Corp. to look at what would be needed to develop an engine for a supersonic jet. "We have thoroughly evaluated over two dozen civil and military engines from all leading engine producers over the past two years," said Aerion CEO Doug Nichols. That research, he said, led him to conclude that "working with GE Aviation will help us meet the challenging specifications needed to meet our performance objectives."
  • The Flying Aviation Expo scheduled for October in Palm Springs has been canceled but organizers are holding out hope it may be back in the future. Jeff and Vivienne Herold, who own Scheyden Eyewear, took over the show in its third year in 2016 and moved it from the Palm Springs Convention Center to the airport. Although the show got good reviews for organization and content, it was sparsely attended.
  • The Bahamas is the first neighboring country to the U.S. to accept BasicMed as a medical qualification for U.S. pilots flying in its airspace. BasicMed went into effect on May 1 and allows pilots to fly up to five passengers on day or night VFR or IFR pleasure flights (not for compensation or hire) in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds without a Class 3 medical.
  • A Washington court has quashed the FAA's drone registration program. The court ruled Friday that the registration rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed by Congress in 2012, that specifically bars the FAA from creating "any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft."
  • A temporary mobile air traffic control tower will be operating this summer at Leesburg Executive Airport, in Virginia, requiring special procedures from pilots. Pilots flying both VFR and IFR will need to contact the tower, NBAA said this week. The tests, which are part of the airport's Remote Control Tower experiment, will run June 5 through Aug. 12, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, and then from 4 p.m. to midnight, Aug. 13 through Sept. 8.
  • Garmin has introduced its first head-up display, the company announced on Wednesday. The GHD 2100 is designed for super-midsize, midsize and light business aircraft, and will launch on the new super-midsize Cessna Citation Longitude, with the G5000 integrated flight deck. The GHD is a compact, self-contained projection system with a large 30-degree by 24-degree field of view. It projects critical flight information in an easy-to-use format, the company said.
  • Aurora Flight Sciences has successfully tested a robotic copilot in a Boeing 737 simulator, demonstrating that it can safely land the airplane on its own, the company said this week. The system is designed to function as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations while ensuring that aircraft performance and mission success are maintained or improved. Aurora is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the technology.
  • The NTSB issued its preliminary report this week on the fatal crash of an Icon A5 on May 8 in California. A witness, who was aboard a boat on Lake Berryessa, told investigators he saw the A5 flying over the lake about 30 to 50 feet above the water, at what seemed to be a low speed. The witness said the airplane passed by his position and entered a nearby cove, traveling in a northerly direction. The witness heard the engine "rev up" as the airplane drifted to the right side of the cove. Subsequently, the airplane pitched upward and entered a left turn, just before it traveled beyond the witness's field of view.
  • Proposals to spin off air traffic control from the FAA to be handled by a private agency charging user fees gained support on Wednesday in Washington, but it was still unclear if the plan has enough momentum to become reality. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a letter to Sen. John McCain that his department is "supportive of a possible privatization of ATC services and recognizes the potential risks." The support from Mattis could be key, according to The Hill.
  • The Coast Guard said late Tuesday that is has spotted debris in the water near where a missing Mitsubishi MU-2B is believed to have disappeard on Monday. The flight was enroute from Puerto Rico to Florida when controllers lost radar contact with it 15 miles east of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.
  • Work has begun on major improvements at the New England Air Museum, adjacent to Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. The $1.9 million project aims to enhance the visitor experience. The project will create lofty mezzanines in two of the massive aircraft hangars, which will provide vistas over the museum's aircraft collections. The mezzanines, equipped with grand staircases and elevators, will create space for additional exhibits, public programs and events.
  • The U.S. plan to ban laptops from airliner cabins on flights originating in Europe is drawing increasing resistance from the European Union, a UK pilot union and business travelers. EU aviation authorities will meet this week to consider the proposed laptop ban. The issue became the center of a Washington political firestorm this week on reports that President Donald Trump revealed classified information to Russian diplomats related to intelligence on terrorists' plans to use laptops as explosive devices.
  • Aerones, a drone company based in Latvia, has posted a video online showing a custom drone with 28 rotors carrying a skydiver aloft to about 1,000 feet, where he lets go and parachutes to a safe landing. The drone launches from a pond, then picks up skydiver Ingus Augstkalns from a nearby tower. The company claims it is the "first human flight with the drone and jump at high altitude."
  • Several upcoming airshows in the U.S. and Canada have been cancelled, following an announcement Monday evening that the Canadian Forces' Snowbirds are temporarily grounded. The team made the announcement on its Facebook page, following an appearance at the Memphis (Tenn.) Airshow. "A reduced training period hampered by poor weather which continued into the show season, resulted in numerous cancelled practices," said Major Patrick Gobeil, Snowbirds team lead, in the Facebook post. "As a result, more training is required before the Snowbirds resume the 2017 schedule."
  • Several upcoming airshows in the U.S. and Canada have been canceled, following an announcement Monday evening that the Canadian Forces' Snowbirds have temporarily suspended air show performances. The team made the announcement on its Facebook page, following an appearance at the Memphis (Tenn.) Airshow. "A reduced training period hampered by poor weather which continued into the show season, resulted in numerous canceled practices," said Major Patrick Gobeil, Snowbirds team lead, in the Facebook post.
  • The next generation of airliners use a lot less fuel and are whisper quiet but squeezing all that efficiency out is challenging and it's causing some headaches for airframers and their engine suppliers.
  • A panel of judges will review the deal struck between the FAA and the city of Santa Monica that will close the airport by 2028 and severely curtail operations in the meantime. A U.S. District Court of Appeals rejected the National Business Aviation Association's bid for an injunction against implementing the deal but it did agree the legal underpinning of the agreement needs further study.
  • As might be expected, pilots are reporting seeing a lot more drones these days but the lather that sightings seem to create might be overblown, according to an analysis by the Academy of Model Aeronautics. AMA looked closely at each of the 1,270 sightings reported by pilots of manned aircraft in data released by the FAA in February that showed that 44 of those encounters could be described as close calls.
  • Toyota has long been rumored to have an interest in flight (see here and here for starters) and recently they put some money into backing the Cartivator flying-car project, based in Japan. The investment is modest -- about $375,000 over three years -- but Cartivator is staffed by 15 young volunteer technicians, and the company says the money will go far to support work to "accelerate engineering development to achieve CRM's aim to light the flame with a flying car at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Opening Ceremony."

Pages