Briefing: June 2021



The FAA says pilots are better off getting preflight information electronically than from Flight Service briefers. Updated guidance on preflight information gathering in the new AC 91-92, says, “By self-briefing, pilots can often improve their knowledge of weather and aeronautical information,” and “Flight Service personnel are available should a pilot need assistance.” The AC even says that Flight Service should be used “in a consultative capacity” and an Internet selfbriefing “may be compliant with current federal aviation regulations.”


The final NTSB report on last year’s crash of Collings Foundation’s B-17 Nine-ONine brings together all the damning evidence that was released or leaked during the investigation. It paints an organization whose lack of safety and maintenance protocols played a direct role in the accident. The report says “the Collings Foundation’s ineffective safety management system (SMS), which failed to identify and mitigate safety risks; and the Federal Aviation Administration’s inadequate oversight (contributed to the accident).” The bomber was on a “living history flight experience” with 10 paying passengers and two crew members when it crashed on final at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Connecticut, killing seven. The aircraft was returning with the No. 4 engine feathered and No. 3 making partial power when it crashed into a parking lot off the threshold of the runway. Improper maintenance was the cause of the engine faults, the board said.


Despite COVID-19’s impact on airline business, Boeing’s financing arms says there’s money available for new aircraft. Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corporation said, “there generally continues to be liquidity in the market for our customers, and we expect it to further improve as travel begins to rebound.” He said once the pandemic subsides, projections call for a market with four percent annual growth. That means there will be 22,500 more commercial aircraft in the air in 20 years than there are today for a total of 48,400. The potential market is bigger than the fleet increase number because a lot of the aircraft in the current fleet will have to be replaced in the meantime.


Airbus is studying use of superconductors on electric aircraft to boost their range and performance. The company’s ASCEND program will investigate cooling electrical components with liquid hydrogen to make them more efficient. At ultralow temperatures, some elements lose virtually all electrical resistance to become superconductors, allowing them to transmit and use electrical power with no losses, meaning components can be smaller and lighter. “The importance of this work can’t be understated: cryogenic and superconducting systems could be key enablers to enhancing the performance of low-emission technologies, which will be essential to achieving our ambitious decarbonization targets,” said Airbus spokesman Bour Schaeffer.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has created a phone app that serves as proof of vaccination and/or negative tests for COVID-19. The Travel Pass app allows certified labs and vaccination providers to send documents directly to the recipient. IATA says it’s now in discussions with governments and airlines to accept it for travelers and workers. It was beta tested on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Barbados. IATA says it hopes most countries and airlines will allow the phone documents to speed up check-ins and customs checks. He said a “huge amount” of airlines will be on board once governments sign-on.


Boeing keeps CEO by boosting retirement age … SpaceX won a $2.9 billion lunar lander contract … South Korea unveiled its indigenously-built KF-21 fighter … United targets women, minorities in recruitment and training push … UPS will buy at least 15 eVTOLs … See for breaking news in general aviation.


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