An FAA program for non-punitive reporting of safety concerns among air traffic controllers needs “significant improvements” before it can become effective, according to the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General (OIG). The safety reports are meant to reveal safety issues while protecting the controllers who submit them, but the OIG says reports have been accepted that address “air traffic controller conduct issues,” rather than performance concerns. These include controllers falling asleep, viewing videos while on position, and refusing to take handoffs. This leaves us wondering: If those aren’t the safety issues worth reporting, what are?
Avidyne is still finishing up its IFD540—a slide-in replacement for Garmin’s GNS 530—but that didn’t stop them from announcing the IFD440. This is a slide-in replacement for what’s probably the most popular GPS navigator of all time: the Garmin GNS 430. The IFD440 will have both a touchscreen and conventional knobs and buttons, as well as FMS operating logic from the company’s R9 integrated glass. Two IFD440s can act like one larger unit, with a virtual keyboard on one to enter data on the other.
An FAA assessment of Light Sport manufacturers has found that “the majority” failed to prove compliance with the category’s standards, and that could affect the certification status of some aircraft. The FAA said that, “Aircraft within the existing fleets” of manufacturers not able to issue a valid Statement of Compliance “may no longer be eligible to retain their airworthiness certification as S-LSA.” Precisely how the FAA notice will affect the existing fleet, and when, may require more clarification.
Cessna unveiled the new Turbo Skylane 182 at Oshkosh this year—with an SMA diesel engine. As of next year, this will be the only engine option for a turbo Skylane. In an interesting twist, Cessna also announced that Lycoming will support the engine in the field with parts and services. The new aircraft will be easy to spot, with four huge air intakes on the cowling. Cessna says it will make 155 knots at 20,000 feet, have a range of 1160 miles, and cost $515,000.
Zulu Flight Training is a flight school in an urban shopping center in Spanish Fort, Ala. “Our training model is an adaptation of the Redbird Skyport, but rather than the customer going to the training, we bring the training to the customer,” said General Manager Gloria Liu. “The storefront is located right off a major highway and is very convenient to the population center.” A private pilot course is a flat cost of $8,500, including what real-world flight time is needed. That happens at a local airport.
In ADS-B weather portables, first there was SkyRadar, then there was Stratus. Now there are entries from Dual, NavWorx, Garmin and Sagetech, along with in-panel solutions from FreeFlight Systems and Dynon. The ADS-B mandate may be years away, but if you want ADS-B weather and have about $800 and an iPad, have at it.
ForeFlight announces several new features for iPad, including advanced flight planning and QCIP certification … Jeppesen updates their iPad app with new features and navigation … SocialFlight.com announces app and website to make finding fun flying destinations easier … Garmin’s latest aircraft radar has algorithm to sniff out turbulence … Microsoft “Flight” flight simulator being dropped by Microsoft … Cessna to move Skycatcher out of LSA category … Air Force thinks the F-22 hypoxia problem may be from faulty pressure-vest valves … American Champion introduces 210-HP Decathlon … Glasair, a popular kit aircraft manufacturer, sold to Chinese company … ICON Aircraft asks FAA for a weight exemption on its long-awaited amphib LSA … Airbus will build its first U.S. factory in Mobile, Ala. … Virgin Galactic will make tourist flights into space next year … For breaking news in GA, visit www.avweb.com.