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  • NBAA-BACE opens Tuesday with delegates in a fighting mood as they collectively tackle what President Ed Bolen says is the biggest challenge to ever face business aviation. He’s of course talking about a bill, now treading water in Congress, that would turn the air traffic control system over to an unelected board of directors with membership weighted toward airline representatives.

  • Gulfstream’s latest aircraft, the G500 and G600, are ahead of schedule and performing well in certification flight testing. At a news conference at NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas on Monday President Mark Burns said the simultaneous development of two new airframes is an example of the company’s maturity after 50 years of business jet manufacturing in Savannah.

  • In 2005, a group of flying buddies in Houston created a website that used data from FAA flight plans to allow real-time tracking of aircraft in flight. Twelve years later, FlightAware is the busiest aviation website and will soon have much better flight tracking capabilities than the air traffic control system.

  • Horizon Pilots sent a letter over the weekend to the board of directors of the Alaska Air Group, and members of the media, challenging the company’s version of how the pilot shortage came to pass. Horizon has been among the regional carriers most visibly affected by a shortage of pilots, cancelling 700 flights per month after giving up some routes to be flown by SkyWest.

  • While it's an established fact that higher wingspan aids in aerodynamic efficiency, the other side of that coin is weight and structural complexity to support worst-case flight loads. A company called Tamarack Aerospace Group solves that problem with active winglets for business jets and at NBAA-BACE this week in Las Vegas, they announced they're going after the commercial transport market with yet larger winglets. Tamarack's mods work by extending the wingspan slightly, which reduces drag, and active spoilers on the system dump lift when gust loads approach strucutural limits.

  • Canadian officials say they’ll talk to their counterparts in India after air traffic controllers reportedly ignored a series of Mayday calls from an Air Canada Boeing 787 and ordered the crew to enter holds instead.

  • Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has the go-ahead to use a fleet of balloons to restore internet and communication services to hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico. The balloons, recently deployed in Peru for the same purpose, were developed by Loon, an Alphabet subsidiary and sister company to Google.

  • GA groups have mustered some considerable star power to fight the proposed privatization of air traffic control in the U.S. and will be unleashing the campaign on Tuesday at the opening general session of the NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas.

  • It’s been stormy in Europe this week and that, of course, has sent planespotters to runways all over the continent looking for gear-punishing landings and they found a couple. The bounce on the 747 landing at Schiphol in Amsterdam is cringeworthy while the A380 arrival at Frankfurt reminds us the wind demands respect, no matter how big and powerful the airframe. There but for the grace….

  • Danish officials have found parts from an Air France A380 engine that fell on the Greenland icecap on Sept. 30 following an uncontained failure.

  • The House bill sponsored by Republican Bill Shuster to privatize the U.S. air traffic management system failed to appear on the Congressional schedule for the week of Oct. 9—seemingly a surprise to the Pennsylvania congressman and Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who had expected it to come to a vote next week.

  • After punishing Bombardier with a 219 percent tariff on the CSeries airliner last week, the U.S. Commerce Department slapped another 80 percent levy on the jet this week. Responding to a complaint from Boeing, the Commerce department found that Bombardier’s prices on the CSeries in a sale to Delta Air Lines amounted to dumping or selling goods below cost.

  • There were no serious injuries in the crash of a 1964 C-model Mooney in Middlesex, Virginia, on Saturday that was absorbed by a luckily vacant house.

  • Safran, the French multinational aerospace and technology firm, celebrated the start of ground testing for its Open Rotor concept engine earlier this week. The Open Rotor is a variation on the propfan or unducted fan concept where a turbine engine drives one or more external fans. The Open Rotor utilizes two counter-rotating, unshrouded fans, which, like a turboprop, increases the effective bypass ratio of the engine. The European Commission, as part of the Clean Sky 2 research program, has given Safran €65 million over eight years to develop the fuel-efficient engine.

  • To replace the aging G600 and G500 retrofit primary flight displays, Garmin this week announced the new TXi series retrofit PFD/MFD displays.

  • The NTSB is investigating the collision between a civilian drone and an Army UH-60 helicopter that took place in New York on Sept. 21, the board said on Thursday. “The NTSB is investigating the incident because the drone was a civilian aircraft,” the board said in a news release. The Army also is conducting its own investigation.

  • Zunum Aero, a startup based in Seattle that plans to build a family of hybrid-to-electric regional aircraft, released details of its initial design on Thursday. The aircraft, the company said, will seat up to 12 passengers, and will be ready for flight tests in 2019 and first deliveries in 2022. The company also announced the opening of a development center in the Chicago area, where they plan to add more staff, expand the work on their electric propulsion technologies and start ground tests.

  • Boeing announced on Thursday it plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, a technology company that specializes in autonomous systems and robotic aircraft. "The combined strength and innovation of our teams will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems," said Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology.

  • Bell Helicopter’s V-280 Valor prototype is ready to fly and on track for its first flight this November, the company said this week, and is now completing ground-run tests at the Bell assembly center in Amarillo, Texas. The V-280 is a clean-sheet next-generation tilt-rotor designed for military use. It will be simple to operate and affordable, Bell says. During the ground tests, the engineering team will check all the aircraft systems and flight controls before the first flight.

  • Citing the growing global pilot shortage, the University of North Dakota on Wednesday announced it has established a $1.5 million scholarship endowment for high-achieving students to earn their wings. The endowment is funded by $500,000 contributions from the nonprofit UND Aerospace Foundation, UND Promise Scholarship Program and the James C. Ray Foundation. The scholarships will go to incoming freshmen.

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