Briefing: March 2018


Mayo Clinic Offers BasicMed Course

The Mayo Clinic is now offering a free online BasicMed course for pilots. The course takes about 90 minutes to complete and is followed by an online test. Pilots must submit evidence of having passed a physical exam prior to beginning the course. Once the course is completed, pilots can print a certificate to keep in their logbooks. Certification information is then transmitted to the FAA. The clinic is the second organization, after AOPA, to offer an online BasicMed course. Pilots who choose to fly under the BasicMed rules must take an online course every two years. The course can be found at

First U.S. Flight For Volocopter

Electric-powered VTOLs took center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, in January. Volocopter, a German company working to develop a semi-autonomous VTOL as an urban air taxi, flew its aircraft for the first time in the U.S., unmanned and tethered, on stage during the keynote address. Volocopter also announced it had flown with a passenger for the first time last month, taking Intel CEO Brian Krzanich for a short flight inside a hangar. “That was the best flight I’ve ever had,” Krzanich said after landing. “Everybody will fly like this someday.” SureFly also exhibited its “passenger drone” at the show, but a planned demo flight was scrubbed due to weather.

Huerta Ends His Term At FAA

Michael Huerta’s five-year term as FAA administrator ended in January. GA advocates said Huerta had been a good listener and consensus-builder. “Michael has been a steady leader at the FAA during a time of significant change,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen. “Under his stewardship, the agency has shown demonstrable progress in implementing NextGen to ensure America’s continued global leadership in aviation; in rewriting Part 23 certification standards to ensure the safety and affordability of small aircraft; and laying the groundwork for the safe introduction of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System. These important priorities will be among the pillars of his legacy.” Deputy administrator Daniel Elwell will serve as acting administrator until the position is filled.

Piper Upgrades Panel Options

Garmin’s G1000 NXi integrated flight deck is now included as standard equipment in Piper’s Meridian M500 single-engine turboprop and the Mirage M350 piston single, Piper announced in January. The company also plans to offer the system as a retrofit option (via STC) for both airplanes, as well as the Matrix, that are currently equipped with the G1000. The G1000 NXi system features wireless cockpit connectivity and faster processing power. Additionally, the upgrade provides visual approach guidance (with autopilot coupling). Piper spokeswoman Jacqueline Carlon told AVweb the STC is not expected to be complete until later this year, so the company hasn’t yet set a firm price for the retrofit option.

AOPA Offers Mid-Air Prevention Seminars

Pilots may think that talking to ATC or using ADS-B protects them from midair collisions, but mistakes can still happen, and they can be fatal. AOPA’s Air Safety Institute is taking on the midair threat in a big way, offering in-person seminars at 48 sites across the U.S. this year. “What we hope pilots take away from this seminar is that even if you are doing everything right, you can find yourself in a situation where you are closer in proximity to other airplanes than you realize,” said Richard McSpadden, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute. For a full listing of the Collision Course seminar locations, go to


John Young, NASA’s longest-serving astronaut, died in January at 87…The restored B-29 “Doc,” which made its debut at Oshkosh last summer, will be back at the show this year…Vulcanair’s four-seat trainer, made in Italy, is now FAA certified in the utility category…The V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor under development by Bell Helicopters, flew for the first time…Find breaking news in general aviation at


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