Briefing: July 2022



Republic Airlines asked the FAA for an exemption to the requirement of a minimum of 1500 flight hours for airline pilots. The company pitched the agency to allow new recruits in the right seat of its regional airliners with 750 hours when paired with an experienced training captain. It proposes to put new pilots through a rigorous training regimen that ensures they have the skills and attitude for the job, much like military pilots who only need 750 hours. The company says the exemption will open up the profession to more prospective candidates. “The Republic R-ATP Program is designed to make airline pilot career opportunities more accessible for qualified individuals from underrepresented groups who meet the selection criteria but may not have the financial means or academic support to pursue an aviation career path.”


Surack Enterprises has purchased Michigan-based Enstrom Helicopter Corp. and plans to “rebuild the Enstrom brand into one of the leading American-made helicopter manufacturer[s] as it once was.” Enstrom filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last January and MidTex Aviation announced in March that it would buy the company. That deal fell through and left Enstrom in limbo until Chuck Surack came along. Surack’s Indiana operation includes Sweet Aviation and Sweet Helicopter and Surack himself has owned an Enstrom 480B. The company will remain in Michigan and Surack said the first priority is to ensure parts and support are available for the existing fleet. He then plans to restart production and “improve and update” the aircraft.


Embraer says its unusually configured turboprop regional airliner could be in service by 2028 if there is enough interest. The design puts twin turboprops on tail-mounted pylons like most business jets saying its tests so far suggest the cabin noise will be reduced to that of a regional jet. Embraer is proposing a 70-90-seat cabin and is currently in talks with India to partner in its development.


Aviation groups are calling on the Department of Transportation and the FAA to ensure 100LL remains available until unleaded replacements are able to fully supply the fleet of aircraft that need the high octane fuel. Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, California has banned 100LL and offers only Swift Fuels UL94. That won’t cut it for the 30 percent of piston aircraft that burn 70 percent of the fuel sold in the U.S. AOPA President Mark Baker said in the letter that it’s a safety, commercial and even humanitarian issue. “The lack of 100LL fuel at Reid-Hillview has already had a negative impact on humanitarian flights that are now unable to refuel their aircraft at the airport. Moving as quickly as possible to an unleaded future is a top priority, but this transition needs to be done safely and smartly, and without political pressure,” the letter said.


The FAA changed its certification protocols for eVTOLs to assess applications as “power-lift” aircraft, a category originally created for the Leonardo (formerly Bell) AW609, rather than under Part 23 (small aircraft) rules. “The FAA’s [Part 23 certification] regulations were designed for traditional airplanes and helicopters,” the FAA said in a statement. “However, these regulations did not anticipate the need to train pilots to operate powered-lift, which take off in helicopter mode, transition into airplane mode for flying, and then transition back to helicopter mode for landing.” The agency says changes shouldn’t affect certification timelines for companies like Joby, Archer, and Beta Technologies who hope to certify by 2024.


Textron delivered its first SkyCourier freight plane to FedEx … NTSB has criticized the FAA’s lack of enforcement of safety management systems … Eric Crump is the new executive director of the Aerospace Center for Excellence … The FAA wants 5G-susceptible radar altimeters fixed or replaced … Boeing has moved its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia … Diamond says electric DA40 will recharge in 20 minutes … See for breaking news in general aviation.


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