Briefing: June 2015
New Airplanes Debut At Aero, Sun ‘n Fun
Aero Friedrichshafen, the biggest general-aviation event in Europe, opened in April with the delivery of an EASA type certificate to Diamond Aircraft for its twin-engine DA62. CEO Christian Dries said FAA certification should follow by early next year. Other news was the first flight of a four-seat C4 prototype from Flight Design, just a few days before the show, and Pipistrel’s introduction of the Alpha Electro battery-powered trainer, ready for sale. At Sun ‘n Fun, in Lakeland, Florida, Piper debuted three new M-class models--the M350 piston and M500 and M600 turboprops--and Mooney brought a mockup of its new all-composite M10T three-seat trainer.
Eclipse, Kestrel Join Forces
Eclipse Aerospace, which builds and supports the Eclipse jet fleet from its facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has joined forces with Kestrel Aircraft to form a new company called One Aviation. Alan Klapmeier, a co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft and CEO of Kestrel, will be CEO of the new company, and Mason Holland, who has been at the helm of Eclipse since taking over the company in 2009, will act as chairman. The bigger company will more efficiently use resources, Klapmeier said, and is also more attractive to investors. Kestrel has been working to develop a single-engine turboprop.
More Diesel Options for GA
Superior Air Parts will launch a full line of diesel aircraft engines starting with a 100hp unit aimed at the LSA market and scaling up to as much as 600hp, the company said at Sun ‘n Fun in April. The 100hp engine will offer fuel savings up to 25 percent, the company said, and they’re aiming for a 2,000-hour TBO. The company said it will also offer bigger engines with 6 to 12 cylinders capable of replacing many small turboprop engines. Superior hopes to have certified engines for sale that will be competitive, with low cost and high efficiency, within a couple of years.
Progress On Part 23 Revision
Industry advocates have been working for several years to develop new international certification rules that would enable general-aviation manufacturers to bring new aircraft to market with “twice the safety, at half the cost.” That effort moved forward in April when EASA officials published a draft rule. GAMA said in a statement it hopes the FAA will follow up with a similar proposal this summer. Advocates say the current certification system hasn’t kept up with the pace of technological change. They say simpler industry-consensus rules, similar to the rules that apply to light-sport aircraft, will make GA aircraft both safer and cheaper, and also will make it easier for manufacturers to develop international markets.
NTSB Issues GA Safety Alerts
The NTSB issued four new safety alerts and a video in April, highlighting safety issues relevant to general aviation pilots and mechanics. The alerts warn pilots to master mountain-flying skills and emergency-survival procedures before venturing into the mountains, seek transition training before flying an unfamiliar aircraft, and perform thorough preflight checks on airplanes after maintenance. The mechanics’ alert offers advice on avoiding misrigging mistakes. The video features interviews with a pilot who safely recovered from a misrigging event, and with the mechanic who made that mistake. The safety board said it has identified these safety issues based on several recent investigations. The new alerts, along with dozens of others previously released by the safety board, can be found at the NTSB website.
Cirrus Aircraft has started production of its Vision SF50 single-engine jet...The Navy’s X-47B unmanned aircraft successfully completed the first-ever fully-autonomous aerial re-fueling in April...Glasair’s Merlin LSA flew for the first time, in April...Epic Aircraft CEO Doug King says he plans to certify the E1000 turboprop by the end of this year...A new documentary film from National Geographic, Living in the Age of Airplanes, is now playing nationwide...HondaJet expects FAA certification for its twinjet by this summer...Get breaking news in general aviation www.avweb.com.