Briefing January 2018


Safety Advocates Focus On Runways

The FAA and NTSB both issued safety alerts in November that warn pilots to use proper procedures when operating on runways. The NTSB cites several accidents when pilots chose an intersection takeoff, and then lost power. In each case, if the pilot had used the entire runway, there would have been room for a safe landing. Instead, all three aircraft crashed, and two people died. The safety board advises pilots to use all available runway to increase the margin of safety on every takeoff. The FAA’s Safety Alert for Pilots reminds pilots about the correct procedures for runway status lights. The FAA cited several instances when pilots ignored the lights. The system operates independently from ATC. Illuminated RWSLs mean aircraft should stop and inform ATC. “Failure to comply with illuminated red in-pavement RWSL lights may result in a high-risk collision Runway Incursion event,” the FAA said.

Aviation’s Future, In The Works Now

New technologies continue to make progress, with a two-hour flight in China for the two-seat electric-powered RX1E-A, designed by Shenyang Aerospace University. The airplane flew in November and proved it can exceed the 45-minute endurance of the previous model. Also in China, the AT-200, an autonomous cargo plane with a payload of about 1.5 tons, completed its first test flight, in October. The drone, which is based on a P750XL Pacific Aerospace utility aircraft, is being developed by, a Chinese retailer, to deliver packages. In the U.S., Aurora Flight Sciences received an FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate for its optionally piloted Bell Helicopter UH-1H, to be used as a military research aircraft.

A Fatal Crash For Icon

An Icon A5 light-sport amphibian was involved in a fatal crash for the second time in a year, when Roy Halladay, 40, a retired major-league baseball pitcher, was killed in November while flying alone near his home in Tampa, off the west coast of Florida. The airplane hit the water and broke apart. Cellphone video shot by boaters showed Halladay flying a low-level steep turn just before he crashed. The NTSB is investigating. Icon said in a statement: “Icon will do everything it can to support the accident investigation going forward and we will comment further when more information is available.” In March, two Icon employees died in a crash in California.

Stratofreighter Flies Again

A restored C-97G Stratofreighter, owned by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation, made its first flight in more than 15 years, in November. The aircraft was restored at Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn. On its first flight, the crew flew to Reading, Pennsylvania, where the airplane will stay until June. The foundation says it plans for the airplane, which is the only one of its type now flying, to act as a traveling exhibit dedicated to the Berlin Airlift and the Cold War.

FAA: $3.7 Million Fine For NavWorx

The FAA said in October it wants to fine the now-shuttered NavWorx $3.7 million for allegedly altering its ADS-B transmitters to hide the fact they used a non-compliant GPS chip. The agency said NavWorx knew the chip didn’t meet standards tightened in 2015 for system integrity level (SIL), and rather than use a conforming chip, the company changed some software in the ADS-600B units to emit a code that falsely indicated the chip met the standard. In a statement posted on its website, NavWorx said, “Although the vendor represented their GPS module met 14 CFR 91.227, the FAA recently determined the GPS module does not meet 14 CFR 91.227.” NavWorx was unreachable for further comment.


The kingdom of Saudi Arabia will invest $1 billion in three of Richard Branson’s companies — Virgin Galactic, The Spaceship Company and Virgin Orbit…Airbus flew the A330neo for the first time…Mooney delivered its first Ovation Ultra…Terrafugia is now owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese conglomerate…Sales of GA aircraft were flat in the third quarter, says GAMA…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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