The 149 federal contract air traffic control towers previously targeted for closure beginning June 15 will remain open through Sept. 30 the FAA said Friday, as other programs also found funding. The Department of Transportation said Friday it would fund air traffic technology and maintenance programs with $21 million by moving funds within its budget. The FAA was required by sequestration to cut $637 million from its budget. As drafted, the agency was granted little latitude in how it applied the cuts. That changed when controller furloughs correlated with commercial flight delays, and more changes soon followed.
A relative surge in shipments of multi-engine turboprops led a positive first quarter for all GA shipments as billings improved by 31.7 percent over last year's number, GAMA announced Thursday. Improvements to piston aircraft and jet shipment numbers were modest, posting positive changes of 3.8 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. Diamond's DA40 led all models in the piston single group with 27 sold. Cirrus and Flight Design were close behind. And Beechcraft Corporation, which emerged from bankruptcy in February, managed deliveries of multiple models.
The $100 hamburger can be a pleasant quest for pilots, but there's nothing like planning a flight to a specific event to get the prop turning. That's the theory behind Social Flight, an app that lists more than 3,500 flying-related events all over the U.S. with customized features that let pilots know where they can fly -- but, more importantly, why they should. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Social Flight's Jeff Simon.
Chairman of the board and interim CEO Jack Pelton says EAA represents personal aviation everything from jet warbirds to paragliders.Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers how they planned to advance themselves (or aviation in general) this year; click through for the breakdown of answers we received.
The FAA Wednesday announced that 72 control towers (PDF) and other facilities that had been slated to shut down night operations to meet budget cut requirements will stay open. The FAA had planned to eliminate night shifts at 69 towers, two regional approach control facilities and one tower that also provided approach control services. The sites were targeted in response to spending cuts required by sequestration. Most of the facilities saw light traffic during the proposed hours of closure, but not all. Chicago's Midway -- which handles about 250,000 flights per year -- was on the list. There are other tower closure issues still pending.
When Rotax introduced its high-tech 912iS a year ago, it claimed that the engine would be about 20 percent more fuel efficient than previous 100hp models. But new testing done by the company last year reveals that those claims fell short of the engine's actual efficiency. In this video shot at Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany last week, Paul Bertorelli reports that the 912iS may improve fuel efficiency by up to 30 percent.
Honda Aircraft Co. confirmed this week it will delay until late 2014 its certification effort for the HondaJet light business jet to accommodate more testing for the aircraft's GE Honda Aero engines. The company announced last October that it was aiming for full FAA certification in the first half of 2013 with deliveries to customers to follow before year-end. Honda Aircraft said it now expects the jet's engines to be certified late this year. The company has not yet set a new delivery schedule.
Anyone who has been a flight student in the last two years is invited to take part in an online poll and share their experience and insight, AOPA said recently. The poll deadline is Aug. 9 and is open to all; you don't need to be an AOPA member to participate. "This unique pilot poll will give people a great opportunity to share feedback on their flight-training experiences," said Shannon Yeager, vice president of AOPA's Center to Advance the Pilot Community. The poll also asks participants to nominate a flight school and instructor for AOPA's Flight Training Excellence Awards.
United Airlines will start using the Boeing 787 on domestic routes on May 20, USA Today reported on Wednesday. A flight from Houston to Chicago will be the airline's first flight for the jet since it was grounded by the FAA in mid-January, after two incidents when the airplane's lithium-ion batteries overheated. It's also the first flight announced for the jet on a U.S. route. Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways already have resumed 787 service. The FAA has approved a modification that aims to both "prevent and isolate a fault should it occur," Boeing said. Meanwhile, the NTSB is continuing its investigation to try to determine why the batteries malfunctioned.
Terrafugia announced plans this week to proceed with development of a four-seat VTOL hybrid electric semi-autonomous flying car with a 500-mile range. Even with a time frame of 10 years or more, the regulatory, technological, and funding challenges are steep. Terrafugia CEO Carl Dietrich spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady about the company's plans.
The burned wreckage of an Antonov An-2 biplane with 13 people on board that crashed last June in Russia was found late Saturday, and officials confirmed that all 13 were found dead at the scene. The airplane had taken off after 11 p.m. from an airport in the Ural mountains, reportedly by "revelers
who did not inform air traffic control," according to the Ria Novosti news service. The pilot, according to the BBC, had flown the airplane frequently and took off with a group of friends he'd been drinking with, presumably to visit a fishing spot or a sauna. An extensive search for the missing airplane was called off last November, due to winter conditions, and was expected to resume in the spring. Grouse hunters found the wreckage less than five miles from the airport.
The FAA already has approved a fix to allow operators to re-launch the 787 fleet within weeks, but meanwhile the NTSB is still searching for the root cause of the battery problem. In a solicitation notice posted online Friday, the board said it is planning to conduct "teardown examinations as soon as possible of several aircraft batteries" similar to the one involved in the 787 battery fire in Boston. The "urgent requirement" will include CT scans of the batteries to be conducted both before and after the batteries are subjected to testing. "Since the FAA has recently approved a plan intended to result in the Boeing 787 being approved for a return to service, the information from these tests (and the CT scans required to support these tests) is needed as soon as possible," says the notice. The board said it requires the "fastest possible receipt of this information to avoid potential future accidents involving this type of aircraft battery."
Nearly 4,800 repair stations around the world provide aircraft repair services to U.S. carriers, and the FAA is not doing enough to oversee them, the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General said on Monday. "We found that while FAA developed a risk-assessment process to aid repair station inspectors in identifying areas of greatest concern, its oversight continues to emphasize completing mandatory inspections instead of targeting resources where they are needed based on risk," according to the OIG report. Inspectors visited 27 repair stations during the review and said they found "numerous systemic discrepancies."
While Terrafugia continues to work on their Transition roadable-aircraft design, on Monday the company unveiled a plan to develop a four-seat, plug-in hybrid electric car capable of vertical takeoffs and landings, with fly-by-wire controls. The TF-X design is "designed to be a flying car for all of us," says the company website. It will be safe, simple and convenient, the company says, with a 500-mile range, 200 mph cruise speed, and the ability to take off vertically from a clearing with a 100-foot diameter. No technological breakthroughs are required to make the design work, the company said: "We believe these goals are achievable today."
I had a buyer from Argentina for my unfinished home built aircraft. For tax purposes, the Argentine government required the aircraft not be registered by the FAA. I sent a letter to the FAA requesting a letter stating that the aircraft had not been registered.The FAA's reply:"Your request for the FAA to notify Argentina cannot be accomplished as the aircraft has never been registered."via e-mail
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.01 (down 1¢ from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.49 (down 1¢ from last week)Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav, based on prices from the past 2 weeks. Changes are relative to last week's prices. /TEXT_ONLY-->AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Honaker Aviation at Clark Regional Airport (KJVY) in Sellersburg, Indiana.AVweb reader Charles Black recommended the FBO:Kevin Happel and crew proactively removed a bird nest from the engine compartment. It could have led to an in-flight engine fire. I never suspected it was there. Profuse thanks for noticing the bird activity.Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Harvard University researchers have demonstrated a fly-sized UAV that actually mimics insect flight. The researchers spent 12 years developing the robo-fly, which uses piezoelectric devices that contract and release when power is switched on and off, allowing it to beat its tiny wings. "We get it to contract and relax, like biological muscle," Dr. Kevin Ma, one of the scientists, said in a news release. The researchers released a video of the device in a controlled hover and envision it being used for search and rescue, where it could fly through the tiny spaces of a debris pile to locate survivors. It might even take on jobs normally done by insects, like pollination of crops.
The FAA says it needs more information before it can decide whether to exempt the Icon A5 from the upper weight limit restriction for amphibious light sport aircraft and allow it to weigh 1680 pounds. As AOPA reported last week, the agency wrote a letter (PDF) to Icon President Kirk Hawkins that due to "the complexity, extent and precedent-setting aspects" of Icon's request it needs time and more documentation to process the petition. In the letter, Earl Lawrence, manager of the FAA's Small Plane Directorate, said the agency normally tries to process requests in 120 days. Icon filed the request in July of 2012, saying the 250-pound weight increase is warranted because it's required to make the aircraft spin-resistant.
It appears the three crew members lost in the overseas loss of a KC-135 tanker were from Spokane, Wash., but the aircraft was based in Kansas. Two of the three bodies have been recovered after the loaded tanker apparently exploded in flight and crashed in Kyrgyzstan. The aircraft was on its way to support the mission in Afghanistan but that's about all military authorities are saying. The aircraft, which was based at McConnell AFB in Wichita, was deployed to Manas, a U.S. military base leased in Kyrgyzstan.
An unmanned X-51A WaveRider aircraft reached 5.1 Mach, Monday, pushed to more than 3,000 miles per hour over the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu, Calif., by a scramjet engine. The Air Force said Wednesday that the WaveRider was carried aloft from Edwards Air Force Base by a B-52. It was released over the ocean at about 50,000 feet and accelerated to 4.8 Mach in 26 seconds by way of solid rocket booster. The aircraft, which is designed to ride its own shockwave, then lit its air-breathing scramjet engine and accelerated to 5.1 Mach at 60,000 feet, covering 264 miles in just over six minutes. The effort follows an early program success followed by two less fruitful attempts.