AVweb Flash

  • Able Flight, a nonprofit providing sport pilot training to people with significant disabilities, is at Sun 'n Fun 2017 educating light sport aircraft makers about the demand for planes adapted for use by persons with disabilities. A basic adaptive airplane requires little more than a hand control for rudders and brakes. Many light sport aircraft already use handbrakes, which eases the conversion. Charles Stites, founder and executive director of Able Flight, says, "People are in the market for airplanes. They want to be able to continue flying after they get their license with Able Flight."
  • Much to the surprise of drone pilots who assumed it was already illegal, the FAA announced today that it will restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of 133 military facilities. Flight above 400 feet by unmanned vehicles is already prohibited without special authorization. The restrictions will be effective starting on April 14.
  • Diamond Aircraft launched three new diesel-powered singles at Aero Friedrichschafen but it won't be supplying the engines itself. Flight International reported the Austrian company will produce four-place, DA50-IV, five place DA50-V and seven-place DA50-VII with 230, 260 and 360 horsepower Safran/SMA diesels.
  • Diamond Aircraft unveiled a design for a composite four-seat light-single piston helicopter at Aero Friedrichshafen on Thursday, Flight International has reported. The Dart 280 easy-to-fly trainer would be the first in a family of rotorcraft, which will include a hybrid-electric tilt rotor. "Diamond has been in the GA market for 30 years and it's time to try something new," CEO Christian Dries said, according to FI. "Why not?"
  • Boeing has created a new "innovation cell" called HorizonX that will seek out and encourage new emerging and "potentially transformative" technologies and business models in aviation, the company said this week. Among its first investments is three-year-old Zunum Aero, based in Kirkland, Washington, which is pursuing the development of electric-powered aircraft.
  • Earlier this month, Tecnam rolled out the P2012 Traveler mini-airliner it designed for Cape Air and showgoers at Aero in Friedrichshafen got their first look at the new model.
  • The Planes of Fame Air Museum, in Chino, California, plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary with its 25th annual airshow on May 6 and 7, but now a judge is scheduled to decide on April 20 if the show will be shut down. According to local news reports, a group of commercial tenants at Chino Airport asked the court for the closure, citing financial losses and hindrances to doing business.
  • DARPA, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, announced this week they have completed sub-scale testing of their hybrid electric VTOL design and will move ahead with developing a full-scale aircraft. "The VTOL demonstrator was designed specifically to test the aerodynamic design of the aircraft, validate flight dynamics, and develop the flight and mission-systems controls for application to the full-scale vehicle," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager.
  • A week after unveiling plans to build a new factory on its Mobile, Alabama, site, Continental revealed that it's finished up cert work on its six-cylinder 300-HP diesel and that EASA certification is expected shortly.
  • The U.S. Navy grounded its fleet of T-45 trainer jets on Wednesday, after instructor pilots refused to fly, complaining that the oxygen systems were not working properly and had caused lightheadedness and blackouts. "We take the concerns of our air crew seriously and have directed a two-day safety pause for the T-45 community to allow time for naval aviation leadership to engage with the pilots, hear their concerns and discuss the risk mitigations, as well as the efforts that are ongoing to correct this issue," said Cmdr. Jeanette Groeneveld, a Navy spokeswoman, according to The Washington Post.
  • E-volo is debuting its new electric-powered VTOL, the Volocopter 2X, at Aero, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this week. The new version of the company's two-seat multicopter represents the "evolution of the VC200 prototype towards everyday use," the company said. The 2X has been developed for approval as an ultralight aircraft and is expected to be certified as a Sport Aircraft under a newly created "Multicopter" type category in Germany next year.
  • While the U.S. has been working to revise its CS-23 certification rules for small aircraft, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been working on a similar project, and this week EASA published its final rule. Both new rules are set to take effect in August. "This is a landmark day for the general aviation industry," GAMA President Pete Bunce said in a news release from Aero, Europe's biggest GA show, which opened Wednesday in Germany.
  • This week may be all about Sun 'n Fun and the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany, but it's not too soon to start planning a trip to EAA AirVenture -- especially if you intend to fly your own airplane there. The traffic into Oshkosh requires that a slew of special procedures are put in place, so planning ahead is key. The FAA this week released the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 Notice to Airmen, featuring detailed arrival and departure procedures for the show, coming up July 24-30.
  • Sun 'n Fun played host on Wednesday to an aviation career fair inviting employers, pilots and mechanics to mix, mingle, interview and trade resumes. Fourteen aviation employers were in attendance, including most of the big regional airlines.
  • If drones can do pipeline patrol and survey work, why can't a light sport aircraft do the same? That's the question the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association is asking the FAA to consider and the answer may eventually result in an approval for just such work.
  • Full-time internet connectivity is a fact of life for businesses, homes and even some cars and will soon be just as common in light aircraft, according to Avidyne's Dan Schwinn. The company is busily whiteboarding what may be the next big thing in avionics.
  • The noise-cancelling aviation headset has been with us for three decades and may have now reached a plateau in further development, according to Allan Schrader of Lightspeed Aviation, which just released the Zulu3, an incremental upgrade to its best selling Zulu2.
  • For many Mooney owners -- and a few would-be buyers -- a second cabin door has always been on the wish list and on Tuesday at Sun 'n Fun, Mooney delivered just that. The company rolled out the fully certified Acclaim Ultra, sporting both the new left side cabin door and a lighter, spiffed up interior. Mooney first announced the two-model as part of a major retooling just over a year ago. The revised airframe has a new composite plug section and redesigned fuselage cage to accomodate the new door.
  • Some FBOs are charging too much for minimal services to general aviation pilots, AOPA said in a report posted online last week. "No one is watching," said AOPA general counsel Ken Mead. "There's a fox in the henhouse and no one is paying attention." AOPA has complained to the FAA. On Monday, NATA (the National Air Transportation Association, representing aviation businesses) responded with a report defending the industry practices.
  • The pilot of a Piper Cherokee was arrested and charged with operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, after he landed in the parking lot of a warehouse in Whittier, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, according to the Pasadena Star-News. Darrel Roberts, 58, apparently had planned to fly south from Temecula to San Diego, a distance of about 60 miles, on Monday, but got lost and was running low on fuel.

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