Briefing: May 2020



A longstanding design issue with the Cessna 206 might end up resulting in an AD after it was implicated in the death of three passengers in a crash in Canada in  2019. The forward of two rear cargo doors, which also serve as the emergency exit for rear seat passengers, won’t open fully if the flaps are deployed 20 degrees or more. This interferes with opening the rearmost door. In the Canadian accident, the passengers were trapped in a submerged 206 on floats after a survivable landing accident. A modified door handle, installed in all 206s built in 1998 and later, allows the rear door to be forced open independently but most of the 7000 in-service aircraft were built before then. Canada is considering making the retrofit of the older aircraft mandatory along with removing a center row seat to allow easier egress from the back if the rear doors are damaged in a crash.


The FAA has updated guidance on passengers chipping in for flight expenses with an Advisory Circular that covers offering flights over the Internet. The agency was ordered by Congress to clarify the restrictions on pilots receiving money for noncommercial flights after online flight sharing service Flytenow was shut down and then took the FAA to court. The agency concluded that posting available seats in private aircraft on universally accessible and widely distributed Web sites amounted to “holding out” the flights and therefore made those operations “common carriage.” The courts agreed. Only flights where the pilot has a legitimate reason for going (building time isn’t enough) and the passengers are part of their immediate family or social circles are eligible for direct flight expense sharing. The pilot also has to kick in his or her share for gas, airport fees and plane rental.


Swift Fuels is offering customers access to all supplementary type certificates it holds for its unleaded 100LL substitute fuel for a one-time fee. “While there is no assurance that the FAA will grant such a certification to every aircraft, Swift Fuels is actively pursuing their FAA certification program for engines and airframes across the North American fleet, with expectations of replacing 100LL on a global scale within three to five years,” said Swift Fuels CEO Chris D’Acosta. The program is available in Canada and the U.S. for $100.


Boeing has stopped fighting the FAA over a wiring defect in its 737 MAX aircraft and will fix all 800 existing airframes and incorporate the change into new builds. During the recertification process of the MAX, Boeing discovered it had neglected to incorporate revised rules on the separation of low and high voltage wiring bundles in the aircraft. The rules were enacted in the late 1990s after wiring issues were cited in the crashes of a TWA Boeing 747 and a Swissair MD-11. There are about a dozen problem areas and the work will take about five days per plane.


Drug use, both illicit and legal, is up among pilots killed in aviation accidents from 2013 to 2017. About 28 percent of 952 fatally injured pilots had a potentially impairing drug in their systems at the time of the crash and more than half had enough of those drugs on board to be impaired. About 10 percent of the pilots had controlled substances in their systems and five percent had illegal drugs in their blood and tissues. Drug use has been rising steadily since the NTSB began tracking the data in 1990 and jumped about 15 percent across the board over the period from 2008 to 2012.


Bombardier hired Eric Martel as its new CEO, replacing Alain Bellemare … Ethiopian authorities mainly faulted Boeing, rather than pilots, in the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX in March of 2019 … Astronaut Al Worden, who was the first to conduct a deep space spacewalk died at 88 … A moderate earthquake briefly closed Salt Lake City Airport in March … Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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