Briefing: March 2020


Fuel Dump Raises Questions

The FAA says it will “thoroughly investigate” the circumstances of an emergency landing by a Delta 777 at LAX that involved dumping thousands of gallons of fuel over the city. Photos shown by local media and social media suggest the aircraft jettisoned fuel for about six minutes as it set up for an unscheduled landing on January 14. Shortly after takeoff, the crew reported a compressor stall of the right engine. They declared the emergency and asked for priority handling for a landing on Runway 25R. The crew rejected an offer by ATC for a hold to dump fuel and asked to be vectored onto a high downwind for the requested runway but they did not tell ATC that they were dumping fuel as they positioned for landing. On final, they went over an elementary school and about 60 people, including more than 50 children, were hit with fuel. No one was hospitalized.

MAX Certification Was Done Properly

The certification process for the Boeing 737 MAX was generally effective and appropriate but a government advisory committee says reforms are needed to help the “aviation system become even better at identifying and mitigating risk.” The committee was struck by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao last April after new flight control software in the MAX was implicated the crashes of two MAX aircraft that killed a total of 346 people. Their report recommends closer coordination among the FAA offices engaged in the certification process, aggressive development of the FAA workforce to meet evolving industry needs, continued use and enhancement of the FAA’s system of delegation within the certification process, and clarification and updating of the FAA’s policies with respect to amended type certificates. It also urged the use of safety management systems throughout the industry.

Digital Round Gauge Replacements Offered

Garmin has launched electronic replacements for six-pack steam gauges that are approved for more than 1000 singles and twins. The GI 275 fits the standard 3.125-inch panel hole and turns that space into a touchscreen information center. Garmin says the device “can provide ADAHRS, autopilot interface and replace ADI, HSI, standby and EIS indicators.” The units are sold individually and start at $3995.

Boeing Flips On MAX Sim Training

Boeing has reversed its position and now recommends simulator training for 737 MAX pilots. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that was a factor in two fatal crashes of the aircraft was specifically designed to allow MAX customers to avoid costly sim training for pilots already type rated in earlier models of the 737. “This recommendation takes into account our unstinting commitment to the safe return of service as well as changes to the airplane and test results,” the company said in a statement. “Final determination will be established by the regulators.” Because sim training was not required when the aircraft originally went into service, only a handful of simulators were built and it will take time to modify the previous generation devices owned by most MAX customers.

Bombardier May Leave Aviation

Bombardier, which was the world’s third largest civil aircraft manufacturer a couple of years ago, has hinted it may abandon the aviation industry entirely to pay off debt and shore up its sagging train business. In a statement the company said it might revisit its partnership with Airbus on the A220 airliner, which Bombardier originally developed as the CSeries, and hinted it could sell its business jet enterprise. In the last two years, Bombardier has sold off its water bomber, Q400, and regional jet businesses, along with associated structures companies.


Chicago Executive Airport is considering closing one of its three runways … SpaceX hopes for a manned launch to ISS in April … Toyota has invested $394 million in Joby Aviation’s plan to build eVTOL aircraft … Mexico might raffle off its presidential 787 at $27 a ticket … A U.K. pilot was fined $2000 for dressing down a controller over the radio … David Calhoun replaced Dennis Muilenburg as Boeing CEO


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