EAA hosted its annual AirVenture event at the end of July, highlighted by the first public flight of the Terrafugia Transition flying car, the first U.S. demo by Swiss “Jetman” Yves Rossy with his one-of-a-kind jet-powered wingsuit, and the debut of the ready-for-production HondaJet. Great weather helped draw big crowds on the grounds and in the air, adding to a sense the economic doldrums may be lifting at last. Diesels were popular, with Redbird, Glasair, and Cessna all reporting on programs. Icon announced the FAA okayed their weight exemption, clearing the way for the long-anticipated amphibian to proceed to market, and raising hopes for other LSA manufacturers seeking FAA flexibility. The air show was popular despite the lack of military displays due to the sequester, with new JumboTrons adding to audience engagement. EAA also hosted its first-ever Job Fair, drawing big crowds and an expectation of a return next year.
Up to 6,000 general aviation engines could be affected by an Airworthiness Directive proposed by the FAA in August. If enacted as proposed, the AD would require inspections of Continental engines with aftermarket PMA cylinders from Engine Components International, and in some cases the entire cylinder assemblies would need to be replaced. The proposal quickly drew reaction. AOPA and EAA both said the directive would impose a financial burden on pilots and might cause a supply problem. They also raised safety concerns about so many engines being disassembled and put back together. The FAA is soliciting comments to the proposal through October 11.
Two pilots died when a UPS Airbus A300 crashed on approach to an airport in Alabama on August 14, becoming the third approach-to-runway accident by a major carrier in the U.S. this summer. NTSB investigators found no immediate mechanical cause for the crash, and focused on pilot procedures. Earlier in the summer, a Southwest 737 hit the runway nose-first, collapsing the gear, and injuring eight people on board. Also, an Asiana Airlines 777 hit a seawall on approach to the San Francisco airport. Three people died and dozens were injured. An NTSB official said in August that once the accident investigations are complete, safety board experts “will look to see if there are wider systems issues that need to be addressed.”
Sales of general aviation aircraft grew 9 percent worldwide in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said in July. “This marks the first time since 2008 that airplane revenues have exceeded $10 billion in the first six months of the year,” GAMA said in a statement. Piston-engine airplane sales grew 16 percent compared to 2012, and turboprops showed continuing strong growth. However, business jet shipments were down 4 percent over the same period last year. “We are encouraged to see a strong increase in billings this quarter, but the mixed results in shipments—and the differences in performance among sectors—demonstrate that GA airplane manufacturers still face some strong headwinds as the global economy recovers,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce. The complete shipment report can be found at GAMA’s website.
Paul Poberezny, who founded the Experimental Aircraft Association in 1953 and remained its president for many years, died in August at age 91…AOPA announced that its next president will be Mark Baker, 55, a business executive and long-time GA pilot…Cessna’s diesel-powered JT-A 182 landed off-airport during certification test flying in August, the pilot was unhurt…NASA said its plans for the next 10 years include developing technology for commercial supersonic aircraft and expanding autonomous capabilities for air vehicles…A B-1B Lancer bomber crashed in Montana on August 19, all four crew members ejected safely, but the aircraft was destroyed…The FAA finalized a policy allowing private aircraft operators to block their real-time flight data from being displayed in public…The developers of the Martin Jetpack have received approvals for manned flight tests…Aerobatic showman Sean Tucker was named the new chairman of EAA’s Young Eagles…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at www.avweb.com.