News aggregator

FAA Offers Advice For Switch To Tower-Free Ops

AVweb News - Sat, 04/13/2013 - 08:00
On Tuesday, the FAA issued a safety notice noting that since 149 contract towers will close starting this Sunday, April 7, it is important for pilots "to increase our awareness of proper operating practices and procedures at airports without an operating control tower."The FAA suggested that pilots should always check Notams prior to flight, communicate, stay alert, and continually scan for traffic. Traffic may include jets and helicopters that are not accustomed to "standard traffic patterns" at your airport, the FAA said. You also may be sharing the pattern with non-radio-equipped aircraft or ultralights. Also, towered airports may see an increase in activity, particularly students who are required to practice certain procedures at a field with a tower. This will necessitate "diligent planning" on the part of training providers, instructors, and students, the FAA said.
Categories: Aviation News

NTSB Schedules 787 Hearing

AVweb News - Sat, 04/13/2013 - 08:00
The NTSB said on Tuesday it will hold a two-day investigative hearing on April 23-24 in Washington, D.C., to focus on the Jan. 7 battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 at Boston's Logan Airport. The hearing will focus on issues relating to the design, testing and certification of the battery system, the board said. Meanwhile, Boeing cancelled a planned 787 test flight on Saturday that was intended to test newly engineered power panels, according to the Seattle Times. The company did not release any information about the test or its delay, the Times said. However, ground tests were continuing, the Times reported, and a single demonstration flight to certify Boeing's battery fix is expected this week.
Categories: Aviation News

Evektor Flies Electric LSA

AVweb News - Fri, 04/12/2013 - 20:57
Evektor flew an electric-powered light sport aircraft for the first time last week, the company has announced. The airplane made two short flights from Kunovice Airport in the Czech Republic, and was powered by its electric motor for about 30 minutes. "I am glad that we are among the first companies in the world who have managed to realize the idea of electric-motor-powered sport aircraft on the level of a machine heading toward the serial production," said Martin Drsticka, project manager. "I am convinced that the range of potential of electric-driven sport aircraft is very wide." The electric airplane is a derivative of the SportStar RTC two-seat LSA, with a new trapezoidal wing with an extended span. The airplane will be on display at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, coming up April 24 to 27.
Categories: Aviation News

More Lawsuits Over Tower Closures

AVweb News - Fri, 04/12/2013 - 20:57
Last week, the city of Spokane, Wash., went to court to try to prevent the FAA's shutdown of an airport tower, and this week other cities are trying the same tactic. Lawsuits now have been filed by city officials in Bloomington, Ill., and the operators of three airports in Florida -- Naples, Ormond Beach, and Punta Gorda. The suits have all been combined together into one case, according to The Associated Press. Lawrence Krauter, director of Spokane International Airport, told the AP he expects more airports and possibly trade associations will join the legal challenge. The suits cite federal rules that require a thorough risk analysis prior to ATC changes. Meanwhile, 149 contract towers are scheduled to close April 7 through May 5, and pilots will need to be prepared.
Categories: Aviation News

Drones Drive Jokesters -- But They're Coming

AVweb News - Fri, 04/12/2013 - 12:55
A French newspaper celebrated April Fool's Day with a story about a plan to deliver its papers by drone, and the idea was also adopted by The Daily Sentinel, in Colorado. The story was picked up and repeated across the blogosphere, but late in the day on Monday, NBC News confirmed that the post was a prank. "The tiny drones don't seem to have room to carry more than just one newspaper," wrote Nidhi Subbaraman, of NBC. "How efficient could that possibly be, using a flying lawn mower to deliver one newspaper at a time?" But the story is not too far from the truth -- in the real news on Monday, the FAA invited the public to comment on its now-in-development UAV policy, as the agency prepares to choose six test sites for UAV integration later this year.
Categories: Aviation News

Alaska Integrates GPS In Search And Rescue

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 17:50
A test program in Alaska to integrate the consumer tracking devices Spot and Spidertracks with FAA search-and-rescue has been successful, officials said last week. The Enhanced Special Reporting Service was tested for two years and now has been made an official option for all pilots flying VFR in Alaska. The technology could be a lifesaver in Alaska's remote terrain. "For example," FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told the Alaska Dispatch, "if a pilot leaves Anchorage for Nome in a Cessna 172, it's about a four-and-a-half-hour flight. Typically, the search would begin for the overdue pilot 30 minutes after they were to have arrived. With this technology, the search would begin when the plane stops moving and will more closely pinpoint the aircraft's location." The program is available only for VFR flights within Alaska, but it may be expanded in the future, the FAA said.
Categories: Aviation News

Short Final

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 17:50
In the hangar all day listening to our radio, I heard several pilots ask our tower if they were closing. This was the best exchange:N12345:"Are you guys done for?"Tower:"Who do you mean — me or the tower?"N1234U:"Both."Tower:"I'm done at noon, but the tower is going to be around for a long time."Scott Petersonvia e-mail
Categories: Aviation News

FBO of the Week: Air Care Aviation (W03, Wilson, NC)

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 17:50
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.06 (no change from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.58 (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 Air Care Aviation at Wilson Industrial Air Center (W03) in Wilson, North Carolina.AVweb reader Ron Horton had a great experience there, as did several attending a recent event:Flew into W03 (Wilson, NC) along with two other planes to give rides to a local church through the NC Baptist Men's Aviation wing. Gave rides to 90 passengers on a beautiful Saturday. Guilford Mooring was running things at the FBO and was most gracious to accomodate our three airplanes and a host of first-time fliers ranging in age from 2 to 82. He kept everyone fueled, shared the facilities, and welcomed the kids playing on the grass between the FBO and the fence next to the ramp. His hospitality left a very favorable impression on lots of locals who had never been to an airport before. Based on conversations, there might be a few new pilots from that group to add to the GA roster someday!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!
Categories: Aviation News

Professional Recognition Sought For Pilots

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 15:50
A Canadian group is trying to get formal recognition for pilots as professionals in the same league as doctors, lawyers and engineers. Tom Machum, president of the College of Professional Pilots of Canada, told AVweb that if successful, the College would set and enforce standards for commercial pilots and provide needed input into regulations and laws that govern aviation in the same way that the governing bodies of other professions operate. "We're hoping that we can transform piloting from its current status which is really kind of recognized as more of a trade into the true realm of being a professional," Machum said. He said the overall goal is to enhance safety by providing the framework for pilots to excel at their jobs. If successful, it would be the first professional pilot designation in the world.
Categories: Aviation News

Meigs Ten Years After

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:44
One of the most astonishing chapters in U.S. aviation history unfolded ten years ago when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ordered a secretive raid on Meigs Field, sending heavy equipment in under cover of darkness to carve massive Xs across the runway. At the time, Daley claimed the move was necessary to protect the city "from terrorism" but he soon admitted that it was the first stage of fulfillment of a long-held dream to turn Northerly Island, the man-made strip of land that housed Meigs, into an ambitious waterfront park. Ironically, the only development of any significance has been the repurposing of the terminal building into a nature center to anchor some walking trails and a 30-acre patch of ground seeded to natural prairie grasses. LiveNation also built a temporary stage to host concerts but the park is a far cry from the urban Shangri La envisioned by Daley. Meanwhile, a few stalwarts continue the fight to "save Meigs" although there's no realistic expectation that aircraft will ever return, which, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, happened with the advance knowledge of senior officials of the Department of Transportation.
Categories: Aviation News

Pilot Falls Out Of Airplane

AVweb News - Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:44
Authorities have found the body of a pilot who fell out of a Zenith 601 aircraft at about 2,500 feet over East Brainerd, Tenn., just east of Chattanooga on Friday. The man was not identified but the latest reports suggest he was an experienced pilot who had recently purchased the aircraft and was being trained to fly it by another pilot. "At some point during their flight, the canopy on the aircraft malfunctioned and, as a result, one of the pilots was ejected," Bradley Gault, a spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, told local media.
Categories: Aviation News

Texas Takes Over Tower Funding

AVweb News - Wed, 04/10/2013 - 13:33
Texas will take over funding of air traffic control towers at 13 airports that will lose them to the federal government's sequester cuts. The state's department of transportation made the decision on Thursday but it won't become official until the Texas Transportation Commission ratifies it. The commission is meeting in an emergency session next week to consider the move. That seems like a formality, however. "Safety is the primary reason we felt a need to take immediate action for the air travelers and business aircraft that use these airports," Texas Transportation Commissioner Fred Underwood said in a news release.
Categories: Aviation News

Solar Impulse To Fly U.S. This Spring

AVweb News - Wed, 04/10/2013 - 13:33
The Solar Impulse team Thursday announced plans for a multi-stop flight of its solar-powered aircraft, HB-SIA, departing the San Francisco area's Moffett Field in early May and concluding the trip in early July at New York's JFK. Planned stops include Sky Harbor Airport, Ariz.; Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; and Washington, D.C. One stop prior to D.C. has yet to be announced. Organizers hope the U.S. flight will be the last before the team embarks on a "zero-fuel round-the-world flight in 2015" with a new larger airplane. Structural failure during testing is among the team's previous setbacks.
Categories: Aviation News

Pipistrel Panthera Rolls (With Video)

AVweb News - Tue, 04/09/2013 - 17:15
The four-seat, 1000-nm, 200-knot, (predicted) all-composite Pipistrel Panthera rolled onto the grass at Pipistrel's Slovenia facility and successfully ran behind its 210-hp Lycoming for the first time Thursday. The aircraft is highly anticipated by supporters and critics anxious to see if it will live up to performance predictions and also come to market at a competitive cost. A Pipistrel representative told AVweb Friday that the aircraft's airshow schedule has not yet been set for 2013, but the company aims to land the aircraft on U.S. soil as soon as possible. For now, you'll have to be satisfied with video of the sleek aircraft's trailing-link landing gear absorbing the Slovenian turf (backed by an AC/DC soundtrack).
Categories: Aviation News

Eclipse: Expect Deliveries By Year-End

AVweb News - Tue, 04/09/2013 - 17:15
Thursday, Eclipse Aerospace earned an amended production certificate from the FAA, "authorizing the final assembly, test, and certification of the new production Eclipse 550" jet, the company announced. Earlier this month, Eclipse powered up the first truly new aircraft to roll out of its Albuquerque factory in nearly five years. The amended production certificate grants the company approval of its quality system, allowing it to produce, flight test and grant airworthiness certificates to the aircraft it builds. New production Eclipse 550 twin-engine jets should begin reaching customers before year-end.
Categories: Aviation News

Court Delays Action On Leaded Avgas

AVweb News - Tue, 04/09/2013 - 17:15
A U.S. District Court Wednesday dismissed a suit brought by Friends of the Earth that aimed to push the EPA to decide whether emissions from general aviation aircraft are a threat to public health, but did not dismiss the possibility of further policymaking. The ruling found that the Environmental Protection Agency does have discretion to make an endangerment finding regarding leaded avgas emissions. But it also ruled that the EPA cannot be forced to make an accelerated finding. AOPA said it hopes the ruling will allow general aviation to transition away from leaded fuels based on a schedule "driven by facts and policy, hopefully not by more lawsuits." The EPA is not scheduled to make a decision before 2015.
Categories: Aviation News

Question of the Week: Time to Privatize Air Traffic Services?

AVweb News - Mon, 04/08/2013 - 17:49
The U.S. is an anomaly in most of the aviation world with a government-run air traffic system. Given the effect of the sequester, is it time to consider a privatized system, as suggested by by Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if the Wright Brothers were really the first to achieve powered, controlled flight as conventional wisdom holds forth. Click through to see the breakdown of answers we received.
Categories: Aviation News

Video: Aspen's New ADS-B Products

AVweb News - Mon, 04/08/2013 - 17:49
Demand for ADS-B products continues to trickle upward, and everyone who is anyone in the avionics business is developing or already selling ADS-B gadgets. Aspen rolled out its first products at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, with an eye toward a range of solutions that rely on the company's innovative Connected Panel system, an in-cockpit wireless network that links up with tablet computers. In this video from the show, Aspen's George Pariza gives AVweb a tour of the new products.
Categories: Aviation News

Ex-Mechanic Faces Jail For Fraud

AVweb News - Sun, 04/07/2013 - 22:35
Former aircraft mechanic Joel Stout Thursday pled guilty to charges that involve a retired FAA examiner and falsified documents in a case affecting inspections that took place over a span of several years, last decade. Stout worked as an aircraft mechanic at the Flying Tigers aircraft maintenance facility at Donegal Springs Airpark in Marietta, Pa., between October 2006 and October 2009. He was certified in 2005, but his certification expired in 2006.According to federal prosecutors, Flying Tigers continued to perform annual inspections from October 2006 to October 2009 without the presence of an IA, forged the signature of a certified mechanic, and arranged for retired FAA examiner Howard Gunter to sign off on inspections in which he was not otherwise involved.Stout may now face decades in prison.Gunter and Stout's father are also facing charges.
Categories: Aviation News

Jail Time For Pointing Laser At Pilots

AVweb News - Sun, 04/07/2013 - 22:35
A 19-year-old man who pointed a powerful laser at a Netjets Cessna Citation and then at a police helicopter that responded to the pilot's complaints in Burbank, Calif., was sentenced on Monday to 30 months in prison. Adam Gardenhire pleaded guilty to the charge, which was made a federal crime last year. At sentencing, "Gardenhire basically argued that it wasn't dangerous, that he couldn't have known it was dangerous -- that basically he was just bored and entertaining himself," said Asst. U.S. Atty. Melissa Mills. "The judge found the facts didn't bear that out and his behavior was reckless and very dangerous."
Categories: Aviation News