Briefing: February 2015


Solar Impulse Preparing For Global Flight
Solar Impulse, the one-of-a-kind solar-powered aircraft designed to fly around the world, is now in Dubai, where it will launch in March. The aircraft was built and tested in Switzerland. It was then disassembled and flown to Dubai aboard a cargo airplane. Andr Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard, who have led the effort, said they are confident in the aircraft’s capability and their own training, and they will take turns as pilot. The expedition is expected to take 25 days of flying, and will be completed in stages over four or five months. Some legs above the Atlantic and Pacific will require five to six days of nonstop solo flight. The aircraft’s wings measure about 236 feet across, and carry more than 17,000 solar cells.

New Aviation Film Headed For Theaters
A new film by Brian Terwilliger, who produced the popular 2005 GA documentary “One Six Right,” will be released to theaters nationwide in April in partnership with National Geographic. The new film, “Living in the Age of Airplanes,” is narrated by Harrison Ford, and explores the ways aviation has transformed civilization. The film was shot in 95 locations, in 18 countries across all seven continents. “It’s an eye-opening view through the lens of how the airplane has enriched our lives,” Terwilliger told AVweb. “I definitely think pilots are going to enjoy the film.”

Amazon Pushes Back Against FAA
Aviators may be accustomed to the glacial pace of FAA rulemaking, but retail giant Amazon is losing patience, and a company executive told the agency its lack of response may cause jobs and investment to be exported overseas. “Amazon is increasingly concerned that, unless substantial progress is quickly made in opening up the skies in the United States, the nation is at risk of losing its position as the center of innovation for the UAS technological revolution, along with the key jobs and economic benefits that come as a result,” Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president for global public policy, told the FAA. The company sought permission from the agency to test its delivery drones outdoors at altitudes below 400 feet AGL, but so far the FAA has not granted approval.

Air-Show Season Gearing Up
Aero Friedrichshafen Europe’s big annual GA event, is coming up April 15 to 18, with a few new features for this year. For the first time, Aero will feature a Competence Center, where pilots can improve their skills and new enthusiasts can learn about flight training. The show is also expanding its UAS display. Shortly after, Sun ‘n Fun launches in Lakeland, Florida, April 21 to 26. The Brietling Jet Team, from Switzerland, will make its U.S. debut at the show. The aerobatic team, with seven L-39 C Albatross jets, will perform all summer at shows across the country. The 2015 Red Bull Air Race World Championship will return to the U.S. in September, with a stop in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by Las Vegas in October. The global event added two new stops for this year, in Japan and Russia.

Oldest Flying Jet To Debut At Oshkosh
The summer’s biggest air show, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, will feature the debut of an F-86A Sabre, built in 1948, the oldest flying jet in the world. The jet is returning to the U.S. after 22 years on the airshow circuit in Europe. New owners brought the jet to the U.S., where it will be reassembled after shipping, then it will need to be okayed by the FAA before it can fly for the air-show crowds. The jet’s service history includes Strategic Air Command, Air Defense Command, and the California Air National Guard. The Oshkosh show is set for July 20 to 26.

AirSharesElite, a plane-sharing company, quietly folded its tent in November…Dassault rolled out their first new ultra-long-range Falcon 8X late in December…The bonus-depreciation tax break, popular with aviation business, got another extension and promises of permanence…Airshow legend Bob Hoover accepted the Wright Trophy from the National Aeronautical Association…FAA funding has been secured through September 2015…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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