December Briefing


100LL Endangerment Finding Released

General aviation groups say they are committed to a safe transition to unleaded aviation fuel after the EPA’s long-awaited October endangerment finding on 100LL. Immediately following the announcement, the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions group, made up of the heads of most GA associations, held a media briefing to stress that it will work to ensure that 100LL remains available to operators whose aircraft require it to fly safely until a thoroughly tested alternative is readily available to them. Lirio Liu, FAA executive director for certification, said the FAA will have a central role in the transition. “The EPA can find that a component causes harm,” she said. “The FAA will define the standards.”

Hartzell Sold To Equity Firm

Hartzell Aviation has been acquired by $8.9 billion private equity fund Arcline Investment Management. The company, which operates the century-plus-old propeller business along with engine accessory and subsystem manufacturer Hartzell Engine Tech, has had the same family owners for almost four decades. “Our family has been blessed to be the stewards of Hartzell Aviation for 37 years. As we look to the future, we believe Arcline fully embraces our core value—Built on Honor—and will bring the skills and resources to build on over a century of excellence and innovation,” said Jim Brown, president of Hartzell Aviation.

Operators Protest Charter Changes

The FAA’s plan to tighten up regulations for public charters under section 380 of Part 135 will have the unintended consequence of denying air service to dozens of communities according to a group of business and commercial-aviation associations. The groups jointly issued comments on the FAA proposal to prevent Part 135 operators from essentially running airlines. Under section 380, charters can take advance bookings on scheduled flights as long as they use aircraft with 30 seats or less. Under Part 135, operators do not have to comply with Part 121 1500-hour experience rules, nor do they need the same level of security screening. Airlines and pilot unions have complained that the current regs create unfair competition. However, many government subsidized routes to smaller communities are served by these operations and may be withdrawn if the rules are changed.

Field Takeoff Planned For A320

Ural Airlines says it plans to fly an A320 from a farmer’s field in Russia this winter. The airliner was dropped in the field when it almost ran out of fuel in August. The off-airport landing went off without a hitch, there were no injuries among the 167 people onboard and no significant damage to the airplane. The airline spent the fall getting the aircraft prepped to take off from the field after winter temperatures firm up the ground. There are differing accounts of what led to the off-airport landing but a partial hydraulics failure and near fuel exhaustion were factors. Shortly after the mishap, crews gave the plane a going over and moved ground service equipment into place for the eventual takeoff.

AI “Guardian” Helps Human Pilot

MIT developed an AI-driven copilot designed to monitor the performance of the human captain and intervene at the slightest deviation from what the AI has determined to be the correct inputs. Air-Guardian uses eye tracking to determine where the human is focusing and if it doesn’t match the AI’s gaze, the machine takes control. “If they’re both paying attention to the same thing, the human gets to steer,” MIT said in a description of the system. “But if the human gets distracted or misses something, the computer quickly takes over.” The school says the “proactive copilot” has shown in tests to reduce the risk of pilot error in flight.


Rolls-Royce used hydrogen fuel in jet engine … FAA conditionally approved first vertiport … GPS position report spoofing raising concerns … United Airlines created new military pilot recruitment program … AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Richard McSpadden died in Cessna 177 crash … Collings Foundation settled with Nine-O-Nine crash victims … The airline pilot shortage has eased according to a consultant’s report … Find breaking news in general aviation at


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