Briefing: October 2014

EAA AirVenture -- All About AmphibiansEAA AirVenture -- All The RestFAA Nixes Plane-sharing NASA Flies Electric VTOLCAIGA To Build Four-Engine SeaplaneFAA Reveals Buzzing ViolationNOTAMS

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Seaplanes led the news at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh this year, with Icon’s debut of the final production version of its aircraft. The company is ramping up for production at a new plant in Vacaville, Calif., with plans to start deliveries of the LSA seaplane next year. Also, a new contender, MVP.aero, showed off a concept with a bundle of unique features. The mock-up and graphic display of the MVP.aero Model 3 amphibian’s unusual design, targeting fun flying, featured a cockpit that opens up to a deck for fishing, relaxing, and camping out.

The show at Oshkosh was one of the best in years, by most accounts, with robust attendance, great weather and happy vendors reporting healthy sales activity. EAA’s One Week Wonder project gave hundreds of visitors a chance to contribute to building an airplane from scratch, and the airshow featured first-ever displays by the Thunderbirds and Alaskan STOL competitors. Cessna introduced a diesel Skyhawk, and the new owners at Mooney delivered their first new airplane. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said a proposed new rule for the third-class medical will be published later this year.

Some new companies hoping to promote plane-sharing apps for private pilots, similar to services available for cars or homes, were disappointed when the FAA said the apps are not acceptable. AirPooler and other companies hoped to offer a service to help private pilots find passengers to fill empty seats and share expenses. The FAA said to post such offers on the Internet amounts to “holding out” to provide transport for compensation or hire. AirPooler has said they’ll keep talking to the FAA and may tweak their business model to make it work.

NASA test-flew the GL-10 Greased Lightning, a hybrid electric tilt-rotor, in August. The aircraft, with a 10-foot wingspan and 10 propellers, takes off vertically, then the wings and tail swivel for forward flight. The engines run on batteries that are recharged in flight by two diesel engines powered by recycled fryer oil. The August flights were tethered, but free flights are planned later this year, NASA announced.

The China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. is developing the TA600, powered by four turboprop engines, which will be the largest amphibious aircraft in production, the company has announced. The TA600, aimed at the firefighting and rescue markets, is expected to fly for the first time sometime next year. The airplane will be bigger than a B737, with a wingspan of 130 feet, takeoff weight of about 53 tons, speeds up to about 300 knots, and a range up to about 3100 miles.

A Piedmont Airlines pilot lost his ATP and his job in 2012 after he flew extra-low over his house on his way to a landing in Maryland, but he now has his certificate back, USA Today reported in July. Edmund Draper’s Dash-8 flight was enroute to Wicomico Regional Airport when it descended within 500 feet of a shopping mall on the approach path. “[Draper] operated an aircraft with reckless disregard for safety during a Part 121 flight with 24 passengers on board at an excessive speed and dangerously low altitude,” according to an FAA statement obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request.

Pipistrel flew a new two-seat electric trainer with an hour’s endurance plus 30-minute reserve…Cessna’s CJ3+ business jet completed its first flight…Eclipse Aerospace laid off an undisclosed number of workers, citing slow sales…A girl and her father were killed when a Piper pilot made an emergency landing on a Florida beach…Cessna is shutting down its fractional CitationAir operation…A proposed Airworthiness Directive would require the owners of 6000 GA aircraft to check cabin heaters…A Breezy pilot was killed and his passenger was hurt in a crash at Oshkosh…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at www.avweb.com.

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