Briefing: November 2020



Mooney announced in August that a new management group made up of “pilots and Mooney owners” has taken over operations at the Kerrville, Texas plant. The new CEO is Jonny Pollack and he said his top priority is to ensure support for the existing fleet. “Our first and immediate focus is to make sure that we’re properly servicing the community’s fleet of over 7000 aircraft,” Pollack said in a statement on the company’s website. “For the last six months, we’ve taken over parts production and managed to keep spares moving to service centers. We have plans to improve our efficiency so that parts are easier to order and arrive sooner.” Mooney is owned by the China-based Meijing Group and Pollack said he intends to use its worldwide reach to expand Mooney’s international presence. There are some product improvement plans in the works, including a ballistic parachute option, but no indication when the production line, which shut down in January 2020, will reopen.


Airbus’s flagship A350 now has a “liquid resistant” primary engine control console after some spilled coffee and tea resulted in in-flight uncommanded engine shutdowns in separate incidents in early 2020. Last February, EASA issued an AD essentially banning beverages from the cockpit of the fleet of A350s after a Delta crewmember spilled coffee and an Asiana pilot dropped tea on the conveniently flat center console. The console houses the electronic nerve center for the engines and the incidents could just as easily have resulted in the shutdown of both engines. The liquids ban was a temporary measure and the final fix is a re-engineered console that sheds spills more easily. The A350 has several cupholders on both sides of the cockpit but they don’t fit the disposable cups used by most airport food vendors.


Diamond’s DA50 RG, a retractable version of its flagship high performance single, was certified by the EASA in August. The rejigged aircraft takes direct aim at Cirrus and its conventional market leading SR22. “With the DA50 RG we are introducing an innovative 21st-century retract single that we are convinced the market is missing,” said Diamond Aircraft Austria CEO Liqun Zhang. Cirrus is also facing pressure from Pipistrel’s Panthera high performance single, which also has retractable gear.


The Air Force has short-circuited the normal procurement process and designed, built and flown its own next-generation fighter. Details of the aircraft are a secret but its existence and flight test status were confirmed in August. “We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Will Roper told Defense News. “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”


Volocopter has announced it is selling tickets in advance for the first 1000 seats on its eVTOL aircraft. Those tickets will cost about $355 each (including a souvenir video) and are good for a 15-minute flight “scheduled within the first 12 months after commercial launch.” The paperwork on eVTOL certification is expected to take at least another two years in Europe. Those who want to be among the first 1000 can reserve their seats with a 10 percent deposit. The first flights will be flown by pilots. Volocopter was one of the earliest entrants to the market and flew its first prototype in 2011. The fourth generation VoloCity will have a range of 19 NM, a top speed of 59 knots and a pay load of 441 pounds.


Diamond is re-introducing the DA-20-C1 … Three people were hurt in the crash landing of a B-25 in Stockton, California … Congress faulted Boeing and the FAA for MAX disasters … Manufacturing faults may affect 680 Boeing 787s … Mission Aviation Fellowship founder Stuart King died at 98 … Seattle Avionics was bought out by AFV Partners … The DOT Office of Inspector General says FAA’s aircraft evacuation data needs updating … See for breaking news in general aviation. 


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