Briefing: July 2015
GA Groups Weigh In On UAS Rule Proposal
More than 4400 comments were filed in response to the FAA’s proposed rule for allowing small unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system, and the general aviation advocacy groups had their say. EAA, AOPA, and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association all said the FAA should lower the ceiling for small UAS operations to 400 feet, instead of the proposed 500 feet, to provide a bigger buffer between UAS and manned aircraft. Other suggestions included requiring UAS to automatically terminate flight if communications are lost, and ensuring that the operators of manned aircraft aren’t required to add new equipment as a result of UAS integration. The FAA will now review the comments before publishing a final rule, which is expected to take up to 18 months.
Cessna Puts Diesel Project On Hold
Cessna confirmed in May that it has put on hold its development of a diesel-powered Turbo Skylane JT-A 182, which was introduced at AirVenture 2013. The company said it will resume production of its avgas-powered Skylane 182T, with deliveries to start by the end of this year. “The company is committed to offering customers options for their aircraft needs across the Textron Aviation family,” the company said in a statement. Deliveries of the diesel-powered Skyhawk 172 are on track to start sometime next year, the company added. However, no date is set for when the 182 diesel project will resume.
GAMA Reports Decline In Aircraft Sales
After a rise in sales trends for general aviation airplanes in 2014, deliveries in the first quarter of this year were down by 15 percent overall, according to data compiled by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in May. Deliveries of piston aircraft were down 20 percent from last year, while turboprops fell 8 percent and business jets dropped by 13.6 percent. Helicopter deliveries fell even more, by 18 percent. The numbers reflect difficulties with U.S. export rules, according to GAMA president Pete Bunce. If Congress would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank in June, Bunce expressed hope that would help to stabilize the market.
C.A.F.E. Symposium Hosts Record Numbers
The annual C.A.F.E. Electric Aircraft symposium was held in May in Santa Rosa, California, with a record number of participants. The event brought together experts and advocates from around the world to present their latest research and engineering advances in the development of aircraft powered by electric batteries and solar cells. Airbus officials said the company plans to produce a four-place hybrid airplane by 2020, and Siemens, a German company, announced they are working on a hybrid electric motor that they hope will eventually scale up for use in regional airliners.
First Flights For Pilatus Jet And G500
Pilatus flew its PC-24 twinjet for the first time, in May, from Buochs airport in central Switzerland. The jet used less than 2,000 feet of runway for takeoff, and flew at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. The PC-24 is the first jet for Pilatus, and the first business jet to be built in Switzerland. Certification is planned for 2017. Also in May, Gulfstream flew its all-new wide-cabin G500 business jet for the first time. The two-hour test flight took place from the company’s home field in Savannah, Georgia. Certification of the G500 is expected in late 2017. The test crews for both flights reported that all went well with no problems.
Aerion is now taking orders for its $120-million supersonic bizjet...Aeromobil’s flying-car prototype was damaged in a crash in Slovakia; the pilot was unhurt and the aircraft is repairable...The FAA dropped longtime provider DTC DUAT from its online pilot briefing service...A nurse died after falling from a rescue helicopter in Austin, Texas...The first Piaggio Evo was delivered to a customer in Greece...NASA test-flew an electric drone with 10 engines and rotating wings...Continental Motors Group bought ECi...The FAA issued an Emergency AD for Avidyne integrated flight display units...Breaking news in general aviation can be found at www.avweb.com.