After almost five years of quiet at the Mooney factory in Kerrville, Texas, the assembly line re-booted in February and the classic Acclaim Type S was back in production. The company has risen, yet again, thanks to a fresh infusion of cash from new investors, and new corporate leadership. The new Acclaim models will feature the TSIO-550-G turbo-normalized engine by Teledyne Continental Motors and an upgraded Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite.
With no official public word from Cessna, the Skycatcher LSA appears to have been removed from the company website. According to AOPA, dealers were notified in late January that the aircraft is no longer in the fleet. The Skycatcher never achieved the kind of sales volume that Cessna had predicted, and market interest waned after a price hike from $114,000 to $149,000. When Skycatcher deliveries began in 2011, the company said it had more than 1,000 orders, but in the end, fewer than 200 were delivered.
In a hearing on January 30 to discuss its findings so far in the fatal August 14, 2013, crash of a UPS A300 cargo flight, the NTSB examined the issue of crew fatigue. Both the captain and first officer died in the crash, which took place just before dawn. The accident raised questions about cargo pilots being exempted from the FAA’s sweeping new fatigue rules that apply to crews of passenger airlines. The Air Line Pilots Association has called for “one level of safety.” UPS said the schedule of the pilots in the crash was in compliance with the stricter rules. The NTSB investigation is continuing.
Doug King, CEO of Epic Aircraft, says the all-new factory-built Epic E1000 single-engine turboprop is moving toward certification with a target date of mid-2015. The company is gearing up to produce new versions of the 2004 kit design, which will carry up to six people at speeds up to 325 knots with a 1,600-nm range. “We believe our performance and price point distinguish us in the industry, so we are ramping manufacturing to service that demand,” King said. He said the E1000 will sell for an introductory price of $2.75 million, and the company already has more than 10 orders in hand.
Bob Hoover has accumulated many unique achievements in almost 70 years of flying, as a test pilot and airshow star — his stick-and-rudder skills are legendary — and along the way he’s collected hundreds of friends. They turned out en masse to honor Hoover at a Hollywood gala in February, where they celebrated the release of a new hour-long documentary film about his life. Harrison Ford, narrator of the film, introduced the showing at the Paramount Studios theater. The list of hosts and guests included astronauts, heroes of various sorts, air-show pilots, airline officials, and a virtual who’s-who of the aviation world. The event ended with every one of the 470 guests in the audience donning a straw hat like Hoover’s own, and as one, they rose and tipped their hat to Hoover.
A new company based in Miami, Fla is working to build a new airline with the resurrected Eastern Air Lines brand…Cessna’s new Citation Latitude midsize business jet flew for the first time, on February 18…The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported 4.3 percent growth in aircraft sales for 2013…Proposed defense cuts would ground the A-10 Warthog and the U-2 spy plane…The FAA and NTSB issued new guidelines and advice to improve helicopter safety…”Charlie Victor Romeo,” a play based on cockpit voice recorder transcripts, is now a 3-D movie…Red Bull air racers launched a new season in Abu Dhabi, with new rules that aim to equalize airplane performance and reward pilot skill…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at www.avweb.com.