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  • The new federal tax regulations that will take effect on Jan. 1 are mainly good news for aviation, according to AOPA and NBAA. The legislation passed this week will “directly lead to growth for the general aviation industry,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen. For example, the new rules allow for “immediate expensing,” Bolen said, which allows taxpayers to claim a 100-percent expense when they buy either factory-new or pre-owned aircraft. AOPA President Mark Baker also welcomed this change.

  • The V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor under development by Bell Helicopters, flew for the first time on Monday, in Amarillo, Texas, the company has announced. The Valor aims to deliver twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters, according to Bell, and is designed to be versatile and affordable. “The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell’s CEO.

  • Boeing Phantom Works took the cover off its refueling-drone project on Tuesday, revealing for the first time its entry in the U.S. Navy’s competition. The MQ-25 drone is designed to extend the combat range of fighter jets such as the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler and Lockheed Martin F-35C, which are deployed from aircraft carriers. The drone will also have to seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.

  • The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) heard opening arguments this week in Boeing’s complaint against Bombardier for allegedly dumping the narrow-body C-Series jets on the U.S. market below cost. To win, Boeing will have to convince the Commission that it will suffer a material economic injury as a result of Bombardier’s pricing.

  • Congressman Mark DeSaulnier is pushing to get cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data saved after a string of air carrier close calls at SFO this year. DeSaulnier’s district is close to San Francisco International, where an Air Canada A320 on approach to 28R lined up on a parallel taxiway in July.

  • After first putting weight on wheels this spring, the Stratolaunch completed its first taxi tests over the weekend—steering from the cockpit and moving under its own power.

  • I was in that stage of my instrument training where I was struggling to keep the shiny side up while monitoring radios, tuning NAV aids, and looking at approach charts.  My instructor and I were shooting a Localizer approach to 17R at David Wayne Hooks airport in Houston.  It was during the winter and already dark.  Thankfully, there wasn't much happening on the control tower frequency … Me: Hooks tower, Cessna 31C is 10 miles north for a practice Localizer 17R approach … Tower: Roger 31C, report passing Flika … I was overloaded; trimming for the descent, trying to keep the little line centered, watching my altitude, and everything else that was new to me and I blew right through the intersection. Hooks has radar so the tower controller knew where I was … Tower: 31C, have you passed Flika? … Me: Sorry, yes.  Now 4 DME … Tower: 31C, in that case, disregard passing Flika.  Cleared to land 17R or for the option … To his credit, there wasn't a hint of frustration or sarcasm in his voice.  I called him later to thank him for his graciousness to a fledgling IFR student.

  • After their plane crashed in the wilderness of northern Saskatchewan passengers aboard a West Wind Aviation ATR 42 spent about a half hour freeing themselves from the wreckage as local police and volunteers mustered a rescue effort.

  • Airlines were reportedly using emergency exit slides to deplane passengers stuck on the ramp at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Sunday as a prolonged power outage cut electricity to most of the sprawling terminal and support facilities.

  • A shadowy office deep in the Pentagon that investigates unexplained encounters by military aircraft with flying objects continues to operate even though its mandate was officially ended five years ago according to the New York Times.

  • A piece of aviation history roared to life for the first time in a decade last week in an important milestone toward first flight. Crews at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh started the No. 1 engine in That’s All Brother, the C-47 that led 800 other aircraft in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day.

  • BAE Systems and the University of Manchester have flown a stealthy drone that has no moveable control surfaces and therefore does not change shape at all in flight.

  • Aerion Corporation, promoters of the AS2 12-seat, supersonic business jet concept, have partnered with Lockheed Martin to explore development and production feasibility for the project.

  • The pilot of a Ryan Navion has been criminally indicted by a federal jury in Alaska in relation to the crash of a Ryan Navion that killed one person and injured him and two others in 2014.

  • NASA says its engineers reached a major milestone this week, successfully testing the battery system that will power the all-electric X-plane expected to take flight next year. “This was an extremely critical milestone for the overall project,” said Tom Rigney, project manager for the X-57 Maxwell. “Without a safe battery system, we wouldn’t be able to execute our objectives. This test truly ensures a safe environment for the pilot and the test program.”

  • The operator of a drone that collided with a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter in September didn’t see the aircraft because he was flying the drone beyond visual range, the NTSB said on Thursday. The operator also lacked adequate knowledge of the regulations and safe operating practices for drone flying, the safety board said. The operator did not hold an FAA remote pilot certificate. Also this week, the FAA’s rule requiring owners to register small drones was reinstated.

  • Faced with continuing delays in the development of a new jet engine from Silvercrest, Dassault Aviation said on Wednesday the Falcon 5X program is cancelled. It will be replaced by a new Falcon jet with the same cross-section, powered by engines from Pratt & Whitney Canada, with first deliveries in 2022. “There is still a strong market need for a brand-new long-range aircraft with a very large cabin,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation.

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has received a $1 million federal grant to establish a new aviation and engineering research center in Florida, the school announced this week. The money will help to build the Applied Aviation and Engineering Research Hangar, in Volusia County. The hangar will serve as the new home for ERAU’s Eagle Flight Research Center, a hub for engineering research and development, in operation since 1998.

  • Blue Origin, the company funded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos that’s working to develop sub-orbital space tourism, successfully launched a rocket from a west Texas site on Tuesday. The 60-foot-tall rocket carried crew capsule 2.0 on its first flight, to an altitude of about 322,000 feet, or 61 miles, in about two and a half minutes. The capsule then separated from the rocket for a few minutes of free fall, and then returned to the surface under three canopies.

  • There have been no reported fatalities in the crash of a regional airliner in northern Saskatchewan in Canada on Wednesday.

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