Briefing: July 2018


FAA Halts Flight-Testing Of 100LL Replacements

In June, the FAA put on hold its flight testing for the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) unleaded 100LL replacement fuels program. The FAA said it would assess issues related to the differences between the two PAFI fuels and 100LL. “Both fuel producers, Shell and Swift, are currently evaluating options to mitigate the impacts that these differences will present in fuel production, distribution, and operation in the GA fleet,” said the FAA. The FAA also said it will also assess alternative fuels developed outside the PAFI program. Meanwhile, General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI) said it’s close to completing testing on its own 100-octane unleaded fuel. GAMI sidestepped PAFI in favor of a more streamlined STC approval process.

At EBACE, Bombardier, HondaJet, Denali Updates

At the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Geneva, in May, Bombardier introduced two new business-jet models, the Global 5500 and 6500, scheduled to enter service next year. The jets feature a newly optimized wing design and all-new Rolls-Royce engines. Also at the show, HondaJet introduced a new model of its twinjet, “HondaJet Elite,” with an extra 200 NM of range, noise-attenuating structures for the engines, and avionics upgrades. Also, Textron officials said the fuselage, wings and tail cone of the first three prototypes of the Denali single-engine turboprop are now in production. First flight is planned for early next year.

Manufacturers Advance Hybrid Engine Efforts

Bell and Safran have agreed to work together to develop hybrid-electric power systems for Bell’s eVTOL aircraft concept, they announced in June. Bell will lead the design, development and production of VTOL systems, and Safran will work on “a disruptive propulsion system,” the companies said in a news release. Bell showed a mock-up of its four-seat eVTOL air-taxi cabin concept recently at Heli-Expo. Meanwhile, Tecnam, BRP-Rotax and Siemens said they have begun work on the High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain (H3PS) project, a joint venture whose objective is to develop, manufacture, and test a parallel hybrid powertrain for general aviation. The kickoff meeting for H3PS was held in May at Tecnam’s headquarters in Italy.

FAA Accepts SureFly eVTOL Type Certification Application

The FAA said in June it would accept an application from Workhorse to type-certify its hybrid-electric SureFly VTOL. According to Workhorse, “the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric eVTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.” The company said its goal is to certify the aircraft by the end of 2020. The eight-motor SureFly, which first flew untethered in April, has a 70-mile range, top speed of 70 MPH and 400-pound useful load, the company says. Its gas generator is paired with a lithium battery. The company intends SureFly for emergency response, personal transport, precision agriculture, or military support.

Uber Launches eVTOL Research Center In Paris

Uber will invest $23 million over the next five years to create a new Advanced Technologies Center in Paris that will focus on the company’s Elevate project, which aims to bring autonomous eVTOL taxis into urban areas, the company has announced. Initially, the project will focus on airspace management, autonomy, artificial intelligence, energy storage, and charging systems, to support Uber’s goal of launching demo flights of its air-taxi system in three cities by 2020. The Paris ATC will open this fall, Uber said, and will be the first of its technology offices to focus exclusively on Uber Elevate.


In late June, the FAA published long-awaited Part 61 changes that include logging instrument-currency flights in a simulator without an instructor, commercial candidates flying a TAA instead of a complex aircraft, return of the generic CFI-Instrument that’s not limited to a particular category, and more…Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport will test its remote tower this summer…GEICO Skytypers pilot Ken Johansen died when the team’s SNJ-2 crashed in New York…Apollo astronaut Alan Bean died, at the age of 86…Breaking news in general aviation can be found


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