Updated: 1 hour 58 min ago
click for larger imagesFor every "after" photo of an aircraft refurb, there's a "before" photo to match, and this time, we're showing just such a pair from Kitchener Aero Avionics, a well-known shop in Canada.To be fair, the "before" panel isn't too shabby. With a Bendix/King HSI and a Garmin GNS530/430 pair in the stack, you could find your way around in the clouds without too much stress. But for a turboprop working airplane, the panel is somewhat dated.
The budget deadlock in Washington will affect aviation today, when the FAA is expected to release its list of contract towers that will be closed. Earlier in the week, AVweb's Mary Grady talked with NATCA representative John Bratcher to find out more about how long this might last and how it could affect GA operations.
Guest editorial by Jason Blair. As the government's budget sequestration gains steam, the FAA is expected to announce which control tower might close as a result, perhaps as early as today. Discussion on this topic has produced plenty of opinions, some valid and some best characterized as fear mongering, in my view.
A 57-year-old Boeing project manager named Jonathan Standridge has decided to take a personal role in the rehabilitation of convicted airplane thief 21-year-old Colton Harris-Moore, aka the "Barefoot Bandit." Harris-Moore is serving a seven-year sentence for crimes related to the boats, cars and airplanes that he stole or took on joy rides. Pending charges may extend the term. Standridge told The Associated Press that his motivation in helping Harris-Moore stems from a second chance granted to him when he was young. Standridge says he believes that chance gave him a brighter future. "That is what I'm passing on to Colt," he said.
Thursday, Beechcraft announced that it has filed suit in Federal Claims Court "to contest the U.S. Air Force's decision" to move forward with a $427 million contract awarded to Embraer/Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The Air Force has twice selected the Embraer/SNC Super Tucano over Beechcraft Corporation's AT-6 for its Light Air Support program, but Beechcraft's maneuverings have so far blocked performance of the contract. Beechcraft's new lawsuit aims to halt execution of the contract "while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) continues to review Beechcraft's protest."
As we told you Monday the popular head of EAA's homebuilder section Chad Jensen was dismissed from that position but EAA was still hopeful of finding a place for him in the organization. That apparently happened and Jensen is now Homebuilt Technical Specialist through EAA's Member Services team. Read Jensen's post on the Van's Airforce Forum site here.
Jane's All The World's Aircraft has come out in favor of the notion that Gustav Whitehead first fulfilled the definition of powered, controlled flight a couple of years before the Wright Brothers. Were the Wrights better aviators, or did they just have a better photographer?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if the sequester cuts will affect their flying; click through to see the breakdown of their answers.
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has reopened its aircraft rescue firefighting training and research facility and announced a partnership with Embry-Riddle after a yearlong expansion that includes a new burn pit and "the only" Airbus A380 training hull in the United States. The $29 million expansion was designed to enhance the facility's real-world training environment and improve its capabilities as a research center. Prior to the expansion, the facility trained more than 15,000 students from 24 countries. It will now integrate an Aviation Fire Science program developed by Embry-Riddle. DFW is also partnering with the FAA and ICAO for information sharing.
Critics that include the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA) and a senior curator for the Smithsonian Institution have refuted claims made this month and supported by Jane's All the World's Aircraft that Gustav Whitehead piloted a powered aircraft years before the Wright Brothers. The claim, which specifically stated that Whitehead first flew his original powered monoplane by at least 1901, was recently promoted by Australian aviation historian John Brown. Brown's evidence appeared to satisfy Jane's editor, Paul Jackson, who included it in the foreword of the 100th edition of Jane's All the World's Aircraft. NAHA calls the evidence "fanciful" and notes a letter written by the Smithsonian's Tom Crouch that states the persistent accounts of Whitehead's success have been previously discredited.
This isn't an ideological struggle about government and aviation, but a discussion about spending money we don't have.
The one-of-a-kind Orbis flying eye hospital will get an upgrade this year, transitioning from a DC-10 to an MD10 donated by FedEx. The flying hospital travels the world to deliver surgical eye care and training to people in poor countries, with a fully equipped surgical suite and staff on board the aircraft. "The new MD10 will have many new advantages," Orbis spokesman Christopher Bogusz told AVweb. The interior will be configured to handle new custom-made modules. "These innovative modules are essentially stand-alone units that can be upgraded, replaced, or easily taken off the aircraft to be modified," Bogusz said. Volunteer pilots from FedEx and United Airlines do the flying.
A mountaintop in Utah that's a popular launch site for paraglider and hang-glider pilots is being destroyed by a mining operation, and the fliers have launched a protest. "This is a jewel, this is a famous place," said Jonathan Jeffries, a paraglider, at a recent meeting where fliers gathered to plan a mountain-saving strategy. "People come from all over the world to fly here." The site, known as Point of the Mountain, just south of Salt Lake City, is owned by a mining company, and bulldozers are now infringing on the fliers' site. The fliers have launched a web site, an online petition, and a Facebook page in an effort to organize support and preserve the mountaintop for recreation.
Jay HubleinJay Hublein is the new Executive Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing at Nextant Aerospace.
The Pentagon and Obama administration invoked a rarely used power in overriding a congressional review of Beechcraft's second appeal of the loss of a contract to the U.S. Air Force. Citing "unusual and compelling circumstances," the Pentagon told Embraer to get going on supplying 20 Super Tucano light air support aircraft to the Afghanistan Air Force and ignore Beechcraft's appeal. The Air Force picked the Super Tucano for a second time over the Beechcraft AT6B in January after the former Hawker Beechcraft successfully appealed the first contract award. Beechcraft protested the latest contract award to the Government Accountability Office but the Pentagon action stopped that process cold. Beechcraft says it's considering its options and has issued a statement critical of the Pentagon's action, calling it "misguided."
The first truly new Eclipse aircraft to come out of the factory in Albuquerque in almost five years has been powered up and will be delivered to the customer in the fall. The Eclipse 550 is an updated version of the Eclipse 500, of which 260 were built before the company collapsed in 2008. The 550 uses the same airframe and PW610F engines but includes modernized flight systems and optional features like enhanced or synthetic vision, autothrottles, satellite phones and anti-skid brakes. Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said the milestone achievement sets the stage for a measured return to aircraft production by the company. "This event is another key signal to the world that we continue on our methodical and well-executed plan to reintroduce production and delivery of the Eclipse 550 Jet this year."
A Chinese automaker says it will jump into the general aviation business as the country gets ready to liberalize its airspace to allow personal flight. According to China Daily, Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) Chairman Xu Heyi told the ongoing session of the 12th National People's Congress that his company will soon begin research and development to "build reliable general aviation aircraft." The report also says China will open airspace below 1,000 meters to private aircraft this May.
Author Richard Bach, known for his stories about flying and most famous for the classic Jonathan Livingston Seagull, this week published a new book about a cross-country flight in his seaplane, Travels with Puff, A Gentle Game of Life and Death. "Could be that non-flyers would be startled at the trip, but the book was written for flyers, and for me," Bach told AVweb in an email interview on Tuesday. The book, illustrated with photographs by fellow traveler Dan Nickens, describes how he learned to fly the SeaRey amphibian in Florida then flew it back to his home near Seattle. The story captures the adventure of facing new challenges, exploring new landscapes, and making new friends along the way.
A Hawker Beechcraft Premier I jet that crashed into a house on Sunday had made two attempts to land, the NTSB said Monday afternoon. The airplane hit two houses before crashing into a third near South Bend [Ind.] Regional Airport. The owner of the aircraft, Wesley Caves, 58, of Tulsa, Okla., and his friend Steve Davis, 60, were in the cockpit when it crashed, and both were killed. Both men were certified pilots, and it was not clear which one was flying the airplane, the safety board said. Two passengers and a resident of one of the houses were injured but are expected to survive. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told AVweb the jet was on an IFR flight plan and departed Tulsa for South Bend in VFR conditions.
According to a transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, the captain of the Air France Airbus 330 that crashed into the Atlantic in 2009 said he had not had enough sleep the night before, a detail that was not previously released, according to the French magazine Le Point. Le Point says that in a judicial transcript it acquired, the captain said, "I didn't sleep enough last night. One hour, it's not enough." According to ABC News, the new information raises concerns about the investigation and whether the full content of the CVR transcript should be made public. Investigators released a final report on the crash last July.
The FAA was expected to announce Monday which control towers will close due to federal budget cuts, but now that announcement has been delayed until Friday, March 22. The FAA plans to eliminate funding for as many as 232 towers, most of them run by contractors, but operators of the affected airports were invited to make a case to the FAA why those measures would "adversely affect the national interest." Last Friday, FAA chief operating officer J. David Grizzle said the FAA has "received a very large number of responses" and needs more time to "review comprehensively the submission on behalf of each airport."