SPOTLIGHT ON NEW TECHNOLOGY AT PARIS AIR SHOW
The Paris Air Show opened in June with the usual displays of military hardware and the latest passenger jets, but new and emerging technologies also attracted a lot of attention. Volocopter, a German company that has been developing a two-seat electric VTOL, announced it will work with the government of Dubai to test fly semi-autonomous air taxis by the end of this year. Boom unveiled the final design for a subscale prototype of its supersonic airliner, and said it will fly next year, with three GE engines. Airbus said it’s working on a new helicopter with a “box-wing” design that will cruise at 215 knots while maximizing efficiency. The Racer demonstrator will fly in 2020, Airbus said.
MILITARY AIRPLANE OXYGEN SYSTEMS BLAMED FOR PILOT DEATHS
Reports by military pilots about oxygen-system malfunctions have been frequent in recent years, but in June the Navy said the problems in T-45 and F-18 series aircraft were a factor in the deaths of at least four pilots. The announcement was made in a report commissioned in March after Navy flight instructors and students refused to fly T-45 trainers, citing breathing problems, dizziness, and other issues. The Navy said it’s not sure what’s causing the problems. “To date, finding a solution…has proved elusive,” the report said. Also in June, the U.S. Air Force grounded its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, after five incidents in which pilots complained of hypoxia-related issues.
PRIVATIZED ATC BACK IN PLAY
The Trump administration said in June it plans to transform the air traffic control system by taking it away from the FAA and operating it as a “self-financing nonprofit.” The proposal would create a board of airline, union and airport officials to oversee operations. Most airlines support the change. General aviation advocates were quick to react, with 16 groups signing a letter opposing the plan. “Dismantling the current system will devastate GA, while not accomplishing the desired goals of efficiency and technological improvements,” the letter says. The letter says “big airlines” are pushing for the new funding model.
TURBO SKYHAWK JET-A CERTIFIED
Both the FAA and EASA have certified the newest version of the Skyhawk, Textron an- nounced in June. The Cessna Turbo Skyhawk JT-A features Garmin G1000 NXi avionics and the 155-HP turbodiesel Continental CD-155 engine. The engine burns globally available Jet-A fuel. The maximum range of 963 nautical miles is a 50 percent increase compared to the standard Skyhawk, and maximum speed is increased to 134 knots, a 10-knot boost above the standard model, the company said. Other improvements include a new three- blade prop and standard ADS-B out and in.
FAA RELEASES FINAL NAVWORX AD
The FAA in June published its final Airworthiness Directive for certain NavWorx ADS-B devices, and included lengthy responses to issues raised by AOPA, EAA and others. The final AD requires owners to remove, disable or modify the ADS-B unit. Modifying the unit would cost about $340, the FAA said. The original proposed AD would have required the units to be removed before further flight, and offered no other options. The FAA denied a request by some commenters, including EAA, that the AD should not apply to experimental aircraft. “EAA still has concerns regarding the regulatory basis for use of an Airworthiness Directive (AD) towards an experimental product,” Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy, told AVweb.
Surf Air, an “all you can fly” membership service with a fleet of Pilatus PC-12s, acquired Rise, its closest competitor… London City Airport controllers will work from a remote tower starting next year…The first Cessna Citation Longitude jet rolled out of the hangar in Wichita in June…Bell Helicopter’s 505 Jet Ranger X is now FAA-certified…Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch satellite launcher rolled out of its hangar at Mojave to begin ground and taxi testing…Tom Cruise said a Top Gun sequel will start shooting next year…Find breaking news in general aviation at AVweb.