Briefing: December 2012

Hawker Seeks A Future Without China, and Probably Without JetsThe Drones are ComingSpace Jump Breaks Aviation Records-And YouTube RecordsSudden Change to the Top Seat At EAANTSB Cites Absence of Leadership At Gulfstream In Fatal Test CrashBurma Okays Recovery Of Lost Spitfire SquadronNotams


Trying to avoid bankruptcy liquidation, Hawker Beechcraft has been trying to sell itself. It thought it had a buyer in Superior Aviation Beijing Co, but talks broke down. With no other buyer, Hawker is going to tighten its belt and try to stay afloat on its own. They hope to sell off their line of jets but, again, nobody’s buying and the line might just be closed. Hawker will focus its efforts on what it sees as “high growth potential” markets of turboprops, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft while also relying on parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbs.

The FAA is under pressure to find a way to meet a 2015 deadline to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace. R3 Engineering says it has developed an autonomous sense-and-avoid system to resolve midair conflicts for UASs that operates with no external control inputs. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency says it has successfully tested safe and autonomous in-flight refueling with a pair of drones. Can scheduled UAS passenger service be far off?

When Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger made a long, lonely jump from a balloon gondola in 1960 almost 20 miles above the Earth, he set a record for highest freefall that would stand for decades. When Felix Baumgartner shattered that record on October 14, the whole world was watching over his shoulder, in real time, via YouTube. The event set a new record, with more than 8 million viewers online all at once. The record attempt, five years in the making, was a public-relations effort for Red Bull.

Just two years after being hired for the top spot at EAA, Rod Hightower has abruptly left the organization, citing family issues. Jack Pelton, the recently retired former head of Cessna, took over the reins to lead the search for a new president and keep operations on track in the meantime. Pelton said Hightower’s departure doesn’t signal a change in direction for the organization, and he couldn’t say how long it might take to find the next leader.

The fiery crash of a Gulfstream G650 during flight testing in April 2011 was caused by an aerodynamic stall and subsequent uncommanded roll during a one-engine-out takeoff flight test, the NTSB has determined. Those events were the result of several human failures, according to the NTSB, including Gulfstream’s failure to correct a takeoff safety speed error during previous G650 flight tests. Two pilots and two engineers died in the crash in Roswell, New Mexico. The G650 was type-certified in September.

At the end of World War II, dozens of pristine Spitfires were reportedly crated and buried in Burma. Now a British aviation enthusiast has secured permission to unearth the cache. David Cundall and his Burmese business partner think there could be 60 Spitfires, all of the rare Mark XIV model, at a location found by Cundall after 16 years of searching. Only about 35 Spitfires are still flying in the world today.

It may cost more for your flight test in the Southwest thanks to FAA limits on how many tests an examiner can give … Sikorsky’s S-76D helicopter, in the works since 2005, is now type-certified … Randy Babbitt, former head of the FAA, has been hired by Southwest Airlines to oversee labor relations … AOPA held its annual Summit in Palm Springs, California, and announced an energized flying-club initiative … International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers picketed Bombardier in Wichita … Business-aviation advocates took offense at President Obama’s debate remarks about corporate-jet owners … A rare 1934 De Havilland DH84 Dragon was destroyed in a crash in Australia, all six on board were killed … Honda Aircraft Co. is expanding in Greensboro, North Carolina, to provide a maintenance facility for its coming fleet of HondaJets … See general aviation breaking news at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here