Briefing: May 2018


Changes Follow Fatal Helicopter Accident

Both the FAA and NTSB called for change after five people died in a helicopter accident in New York in March. They were flying in a Eurocopter AS350 with the doors off, a popular option for sightseeing flights, and were wearing special harnesses that were difficult to release. The helicopter lost power, and the pilot made an emergency landing on the East River. The aircraft then rolled over and sank. Only the pilot, who was wearing a different kind of harness, was able to escape. The FAA prohibited doors-off flights unless passengers have quick-release harnesses. The NTSB called on the FAA to prohibit commercial flights of all kinds that secure passengers without quick-release mechanisms.

AOPA Reports Progress On FBO Complaints

Two complaints about FBO pricing and practices that AOPA filed with the FAA last August have completed the “reply and response” phase and now will be studied by the FAA, AOPA said in March. The complaints address “egregious” fees and restricted airport access imposed on GA operators by FBOs at Asheville Regional Airport, in North Carolina, and at Key West International Airport, in Florida. AOPA said those airports and FBOs have failed to fulfill federal grant obligations to protect the airport for public use. Signature Flight Support, the sole FBO at both airports, and the airport operators have submitted responses to the FAA disputing AOPA’s complaints.

Kitty Hawk Unveils “Cora” Prototype

Kitty Hawk, the California company that has been working on a “flying car” funded by Google co-founder Larry Page, revealed its newest autonomous VTOL prototype in March. The electric-powered aircraft, dubbed “Cora,” is now flying in New Zealand. Cora is driven by 12 rotors mounted fore and aft of the wing, plus a propeller at the tail. After taking off vertically, it transitions to horizontal flight. Cora can cruise at about 80 knots for up to 54 nautical miles. Flight testing and first commercial flights are planned to take place in New Zealand. The aircraft will not be sold, the company said, but will be “part of a service similar to an airline or ride share.”

Voom Expands To Mexico City

Voom, the urban helicopter service operated by Airbus in Brazil since last April, has launched operations at a second site, Mexico City. “We couldn’t be more excited to bring an urgently needed, alternative transportation option to Mexico City,” said Uma Subramanian, CEO of Voom. Mexico City was chosen because it’s one of the most congested cities in the world, with a population of 23.9 million, the company said. The city also has more than 200 helipads already in operation, and a dedicated helicopter air traffic control system. “We are confident that Mexico City will be instrumental in defining the future of urban air mobility,” the company said. Voom says a trip from downtown to the airport, which now takes two hours in traffic, takes eight minutes by helicopter, and costs $134 in U.S. dollars. More cities will be added later this year, Subramanian said.

Guinness Awards World Record To 737

Boeing has produced 10,000 copies of the 737, setting a world record for the most-produced model of a commercial jet aircraft ever, according to Guinness World Records. “This incredible milestone … represents more than 50 years of success and achievement on the part of thousands of Boeing employees past and present, our supplier partners, and our airline customers around the globe,” said Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The aircraft first flew in 1967. It’s flown by more than 500 airlines, to destinations in 190 countries. At any given time, there are 1250 737s in the air, Boeing said.


GAMA’s 2017 data shows global airplane shipments up by 2.5 percent and rotorcraft shipments up 7.5 percent…Dassault launched the Falcon 6X business jet to replace the cancelled 5X…Boeing flew its Max 7 for the first time…The TSA gave up on its stalled GA security plan, proposed in 2008…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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