Briefing: September 2021



AOPA is warning CFIs to get their paperwork in order if they teach people to fly anything but standard category aircraft. Earlier this year, after legal wrangling over the prosecution of a Florida business for giving flying lessons on a P-40, the agency took a hard and very literal position on training in experimental, limited and primary aircraft. CFIs must have written permission from the FAA to give instruction in those aircraft for “compensation,” either through a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA) for experimentals or an exemption for the other two categories. The FAA has also determined that compensation doesn’t necessarily mean money. Goodwill, future prospects and building time are all considered compensation in this context. AOPA and other groups are livid because of the safety implications and are lobbying the agency to change its stance.


United Airlines and its regional partner Mesa Airlines committed to buying 100 electrically powered 19-seat airliners each from Swedish startup Heart Aerospace if the aircraft performs as advertised. Heart is developing the ES-19, claiming a 216 nautical mile range and a 40-minute recharge time. It’s scheduled to fly in 2024. The airlines are joined by Breakthrough Energy Ventures in investing in the technology. The ES-19 is a high-wing design with two motors on each wing.


A major airframer and a large engine manufacturer have teamed up to develop hybrid electric regional airliners. DeHavilland Canada and Pratt & Whitney Canada will retrofit a Dash-8-100 with electric motors on the wings powered by a turbine generator in the fuselage. The plane will be ready for ground tests in 2022 and fly in 2024. It’s predicted the aircraft will use 30 percent less fuel than a conventionally powered Dash-8 with a corresponding drop in carbon emissions. The companies say the technology is scalable and De Havilland is eyeing the system for the Q400 turboprops it’s currently building.


Yamaha is considering entering the aviation engine market and will start with a modest effort in the ultralight world. The recreational and motorsports giant is adapting its newest vertical twin motorcycle engine for installation in a RANS S-6. Japanese manufacturer ShinMaywa will do the mods on the RANS to fit the 70-horsepower engine. The companies say they don’t know where the collaboration will lead. “Both companies will use this joint research endeavor to explore possibilities for the commercialization of next-generation small aircraft, and take into consideration the direction and future of the project based on market interest and other factors,” they said in a joint news release.


Canada’s military wants Sikorsky to do a major software rewrite on the automated flight control system of the S-92 after one of the country’s military versions of the aircraft was flown into the ocean by its flight director. Six crew members were killed in the crash which occurred during a NATO exercise in the Ionian Sea off Greece in April of 2020. The S-92 is the same platform being developed as the next Marine One and the Canadians call it the Cyclone. In the incident, the pilot initiated an aggressive 180-degree turn called a return to target. It’s the helicopter equivalent of a Cuban 8. After about 20 seconds, the flight director tried to regain control of the aircraft and dove it into the sea. The Canadians want the section of code controlling that behavior written out of the software.


The FAA is being urged to remove gender-specific terms and descriptions from its literature … Families of victims of the crash that killed Kobe Bryant have settled their lawsuit … The Director of National Intelligence says unidentified aerial phenomena are real but they’re no threat to aviation … The FAA launched a new Voluntary Safety Reporting Program for employees … An Army King Air has clocked 50,000 hours … See for breaking news in general aviation.


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