Briefing: September 2015


A “Tremendous Week” For EAA At AirVenture

EAA hosted one of its busiest Oshkosh shows ever in July, with record numbers for aircraft arrivals and campers. Near-perfect weather for the entire week kept the airplanes flying. The show hosted for the first time a B-52, and an Airbus A350 XWB from the test fleet was open for tours. All the usual daily airshows, forums, and events kept visitors busy nonstop. Aircraft designer Burt Rutan returned after an absence of several years to talk about his new SkiGull amphibian design, and Icon delivered their first A5 amphib LSA to EAA’s Young Eagles. Yingling Aviation, based in Wichita, debuted a new remanufactured 172, and Vulcanair, from Italy, introduced a newly FAA-certified twin turboprop.

ALPA, GA Advocates Spar Over Medical Reform

Few issues are as dear to the hearts of general-aviation advocacy groups as reforming the third-class medical rules—the issue is a number-one concern for their members, and studies have shown the current rules do little or nothing to promote safety. So when the Air Line Pilots Association opposed, at the last minute, GA efforts to pass a Pilots’ Bill of Rights 2 that would change the law, advocates were fuming. “This is an out-and-out attack to derail the bill,” EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said at EAA AirVenture. “We think it’s unconscionable, and unfair to the GA public.” With the issue unresolved as Congress took a break in August, Pelton said he hoped for another chance to address the reforms in September, via the FAA reauthorization process.

Solar Impulse On Hold In Hawaii

After safely completing an unprecedented five-day flight from Japan to Hawaii in a solar-powered electric airplane, the Solar Impulse team announced they would spend the winter in Oahu and resume the flight next April. The flight across the Pacific set a record for pilot Andre Borschberg, for the longest-ever nonstop solo flight. During that flight, the team found the batteries were overheating due to over-insulation, and on inspection in Oahu, it was decided to ground the flight for the winter so the system could get an overhaul. The team plans to launch in April to fly to the U.S. and then back to Abu Dhabi to complete the circumnavigation.

Eclipse Jets Get An Upgrade

Eclipse has retired its Total Eclipse series of aircraft, and instead will offer a new version of the factory-refurbished twinjet, called the Eclipse Special Edition. The SE, based on the original Eclipse 500, will include nearly all the features of the factory-new 550 jet, including a dual Avio integrated flight management system, anti-skid brakes, a new standby display unit, PPG glass windshields, an upgraded interior and a two-tone paint scheme. The SE jet also comes with a three-year factory warranty and maintenance program. The Eclipse SE will sell for a base price of about $2.2 million.

Loose Cargo Blamed For Fatal 747 Crash

As in many tragic accidents, it seemed clear from the start what caused a National Airlines 747 cargo plane to crash in Afghanistan in 2013. The cargo bay was loaded with heavy military vehicles, and dashboard-cam video showed that the crew tried to turn back shortly after takeoff, as the nose came up and the airplane stalled. All seven on board were killed. The NTSB’s detailed investigation, completed in July, traced the exact chain of events in an effort to identify how the cargo shifted, causing the pilots to lose control. The investigators found the airline’s operations manual omitted critical information about how to properly secure the cargo, and also contained incorrect restraint methods for special cargo loads. The FAA proposed a fine of $77,000 against the airline for its mishandling of the cargo.


Aircraft designer Jim Bede died at age 82…The captain of a TransAsia ATR-72 turboprop shut down the wrong engine after an engine failure on departure, according to Taiwan’s air safety agency; 43 people died…The FAA said it will discontinue Airport Advisories and World Aeronautical Charts…EAA launched an Innovation Prize of $25,000 to encourage new ideas to prevent loss-of-control accidents…Drones completed the first FAA-approved deliveries…Get breaking news in general aviation at


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