AVweb Flash

  • Textron Aviation has so far not confirmed that it has discontinued the TTx, the often renamed high-performance single it acquired 10 years ago.

  • So far more than 2,000 people have signed up to be part of Boeing’s GoFly challenge, which offers $2 million in prizes to inspire the creation of a “safe and easy-to-use near-VTOL personal flying device.” Already Boeing has hosted six online “Master Lectures” covering diverse topics such as safety, how to find funding, rotary-wing flight controls and more, all hosted by experts in their field. The lectures all are posted online. The competition is open to individuals over age 18 and to teams.

  • The FAA is reminding helicopter operators that they must use certified gear when conducting “human external cargo operations” — that is, transporting humans via a harness slung beneath the aircraft. This form of travel is fairly common for workers who inspect power transmission lines and towers that otherwise would be hard to reach. “Operators are strongly encouraged not to conduct HEC operations with attaching means not certificated to the part 27/29 HEC requirements,” the FAA said in a recent statement to Vertical Mag.

  • If you’ve been watching any of the winter Olympics events recently, you might have wondered, why are there no gold medals for Aeronautics? According to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, there used to be. In 1936, at the Berlin Olympics, no contests took place, but Switzerland was awarded a gold medal in Aeronautics in recognition of Hermann Schreiber’s glider flight over the Alps. Fourteen pilots from seven countries took part in demonstration flights at a nearby airfield.

  • Lockheed Martin has started construction of a new 255,000-square-foot office facility in Orlando, Florida, and plans to hire about 1,800 people over the next two years, the company has announced. About 500 of those new hires will be based in Orlando. Gulfstream Aerospace also announced it will build a new service center at Appleton International Airport, in Wisconsin, to support its jet fleet. The expansion will create about 200 new jobs.

  • A Wall Street Journal editorial last week said it would be a good idea to privatize the air traffic control system, and singled out the opposition by NBAA and AOPA for critique. “What’s really going on,” the WSJ editorial board says, is that the business jet industry pays just 0.6 percent of aviation user taxes, though it accounts for 11 to 13 percent of controlled traffic. “The industry would like to keep it that way,” the board says. NBAA and AOPA were quick to respond in their own defense.

  • Boeing’s latest version of the 737, the Max 9, is now FAA certified and will soon start deliveries, the company announced last week. The airplane adds three additional seat rows compared to the Max 8, for a total capacity of 220 passengers. CFM International LEAP-1B engines and Advanced Technology winglets enhance efficiency and reduce noise. Boeing says the 737 Max is the fastest-selling airplane in its history, with more than 4,300 orders from 93 customers worldwide.

  • All 65 people aboard an Aseman Airlines ATR-72 turboprop were killed when the aircraft crashed in bad weather in the mountains of southern Iran Sunday.

  • The only fatalities resulting from the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Mexico on Friday were 13 people on the ground hit by a crashing military Blackhawk helicopter on Saturday.

  • ATC: Squawk 0007 maintain 4500 direct to XXXX … Me: Maintain 4500 direct XXXX, squawk licensed to kill … ATC: only if your name is Bond, James Bond … Me: Since my name is Dave I guess I will just squawk 0007 … Dave Gagliardi

  • Canada is looking at banning some types of laser pointers after its Transport Minister ordered his staff to look at “all possible options” to halt laser attacks on aircraft.

  • The FAA and NTSB are now mulling the circumstances of a relatively minor helicopter crash in South Carolina that may go down in history as the first U.S. aircraft crash caused by a drone.

  • Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) has certified the Pipistrel Alpha Electro in its advanced ultralight category, the first certification of an electric aircraft in North America.

  • A company in Wyoming has secured FAA approval to start flight tests with a large twin-engine drone, the Flyox Mark II, built by Singular Aircraft of Barcelona, Spain. The amphibious drone has a 35-foot wingspan and can carry up to 4,000 pounds of water for dropping on forest fires. According to Singular, it’s the world’s largest amphibious drone, and can be used for agricultural work, freight transport, border surveillance and rescue missions. Unmanned Aircraft International, headquartered in Casper, Wyoming, will conduct the flight tests.

  • FBOs and local airports across Canada have been affected by a quarantine of avgas following a quality control problem at the only refinery that makes 100LL in Canada.

  • The FAA said this week it plans to spend $100 million in Phase II of its CLEEN (Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise) program, working with industry partners to develop new aircraft and engine technologies that are more efficient and quieter, and advance the development of alternative jet fuels. The program aims to enhance environmental protections and also allow for sustained aviation growth.

  • The FAA has published an Airworthiness Directive affecting an estimated 2,147 Cessna twin-engine airplanes, requiring the owners or operators to inspect the spar caps, and if cracks are found, replace the carry-through spar. Sixteen models in the 400-series are listed in the AD, along with serial numbers for each type. If no cracks are found, the inspection must be repeated every 50 hours. If cracks are found, the airplane is grounded until the spar can be replaced.

  • The FAA appears to be ramping up its promotion of ADS-B equipage now that the clock is really ticking on getting the gear.

  • The pilot at the controls of a Learjet 35A until just before it crashed in Teterboro last year should not have been flying, according to documents released by the NTSB this week. Company policy required that first officers with a rating of 0, on a scale of 0 to 4, were not permitted to fly the aircraft, though they could occupy the right seat. The first officer, who had logged 1,167 hours of flight time, had been rated 0, but was at the controls for most of the flight, from Philadelphia to Teterboro.

  • Current laws limit the ability of the FAA to regulate drone operations, to the detriment of safety, according to a joint letter to Congress released by ALPA, NATCA and Airlines for America on Tuesday. “Small drones are very difficult to visually acquire by pilots in flight or by air traffic controllers in the tower,” the statement says, “and small drones do not currently have electronic anti-collision technologies that are compatible with airline collision avoidance systems.”

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