Briefing: February 2021



Textron has introduced an updated 200-series King Air. The King Air 260 has Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense autothrottle, a new digital pressurization controller and the Collins Aerospace Multi-Scan RTA-4112 weather radar. “These investments reflect our commitment to providing superior upgrades and engineering innovation that create the best flying experience for Beechcraft King Air 260 owners and operators around the world,” said Textron Aviation CEO Ron Draper. The 260 carries nine passengers, can cruise at 310 knots and has a range of 1720 nautical miles. It’s already in production and first deliveries are expected in 2021.


The FAA issued its final rule on an AD affecting 11,476 PA-28 and PA-32 aircraft in the U.S. The AD requires inspection of hard-to-see sections of the wing spars to detect corrosion. The final version of the AD allows the inspection to be done with a borescope that can be fished through existing openings. It should cost less than $200. The first versions of the AD would have required inspection panels to be cut in the skins and that’s still an option. The inspections can also be done during major repairs. The inspections have to be carried out within 100 hours of the publication date of November 23, 2020, or within a year of that date.


The Paris Air Show has been cancelled for 2021 but other big shows are apparently still holding out hope that they might salvage the coming season. Projections show a gradual return to relatively normal life sometime this summer but that wasn’t enough for Paris organizers, whose show was scheduled for late June. “We are obviously disappointed not to be able to hold the 2021 edition of the Paris Air Show,” said Chairman of the International Paris Air Show and Chairman of the Daher Group Patrick Daher. AirVenture planning is under way and a final decision will be made in May. Chairman Jack Pelton says EAA has to be ready to make expensive commitments to the companies it needs to stage the show. The Aircraft Electronics Association has moved its convention from April until June.


Uber has sold its aerial ridesharing unit Elevate to Joby Aviation, a somewhat secretive California eVTOL development company. Joby is well financed with partners like Toyota, Intel, and JetBlue and has also worked with Uber. Uber is bleeding cash because of the pandemic and is concentrating on its core business but its academic and deliberate approach to the urban motility business attracted Joby. “The team at Uber Elevate has not only played an important role in our industry, they have also developed a remarkable set of software tools that build on more than a decade of experience enabling on-demand mobility,” said Joby CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “These tools and new team members will be invaluable to us as we accelerate our plans for commercial launch.” Joby’s winged vehicle has tilting electric motors that allow VTOL performance with a top speed of 200 mph according to the company.


Piper has certified its Pilot 100 trainer, a two-seat Archer with an optional third “observer” seat and modern avionics. The aircraft was introduced at the 2019 Sun ’n Fun with a Continental PRIME IO-370 but it will go into production with a Lycoming IO-360-B4A at 180 horsepower. In addition to the seating arrangements, it differs from the standard Archer with the lack of a baggage hatch and the third cabin window. Piper says it’s priced at less than $300,000 and is designed to help the training industry fill what is expected to be huge demand for airline pilots.


AD requires crankshaft replacement on 257 Superior, Lycoming engines … Bell continues development of electric tail rotors for helicopters … Fix for Cessna 206 door interference gets FAA STC … Garmin added a function that will automatically deflect the rudder if an engine fails on a twin … The FCC has barred cell phone use by airline passengers … See for breaking news in general aviation.


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