Briefing: October 2018


EAA: AirVenture A Record-Breaker

This year’s AirVenture at Oshkosh was “about as close as one could imagine” to perfect, said EAA chairman Jack Pelton. Attendance set a new record, with about 601,000 visitors, nearly 2 percent more than last year’s record crowd. Pelton credited “the combination of outstanding programs, aircraft variety, a robust economy and good weather,” plus the efforts of EAA staff and 5000 volunteers, who created a show that was upbeat and exciting. Planning is already underway for AirVenture 2019, which will run from July 22 to 28. That show will celebrate EAA’s 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh.

Lost WWII Plane Found In Greenland

A nonprofit group searching for vintage aircraft in Greenland has reported they located the site of a P-38 wreck from the World War II “Lost Squadron,” buried about 340 feet deep in glacial ice. Arctic Hot Point Solutions surveyed the area using new ground-penetrating radar mounted on drones. Eight airplanes landed on the ice in July 1942 after they were delayed by weather and ran low on fuel. The crews were evacuated but the aircraft were abandoned, and gradually sank beneath the ice. The search team plans to recover and restore the P-38. Another P-38 from the Lost Squadron, known as “Glacier Girl,” was recovered in 1992 and now flies on the airshow circuit.

Air Force Tries VR Training

The Air Force is hoping to ease its pilot shortage by speeding up the training of new pilots using virtual-reality simulators. The first class of 20 Pilot Training Next candidates graduated in August. The experimental course provided the trainees with unlimited access to the VR simulators. They learned faster and mastered complex flight profiles earlier, compared to conventional training. The VR simulators also made it easy to let students practice flying in formation, to re-play lessons so they could recognize and correct mistakes, and record the lessons so they could later be reviewed by students and instructors. The Air Force says the new systems also are cost-effective; they can buy 300 VR simulators for the cost of one legacy simulator.

MH370 Report Draws No Conclusions

Despite an international effort to determine why Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 crashed in March 2014, the accident investigation team concluded that it was “unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance.” In a report released in July by the International Civil Aviation Organization, investigators said they were hampered by the lack of evidence, since the airplane has never been found. The report declines to blame the crew, but leaves open the possibility that someone other than the crew could have deliberately taken control and crashed the airplane. Controllers on duty at the time failed to follow procedures and monitor the flight as closely as they should have, the report said. Investigators also said the report is not considered “final,” and they will resume the investigation if any new evidence is found.

Boeing To Open New Research Center At MIT

Boeing and its subsidiary, Aurora Flight Sciences, have announced plans to open an R&D facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s new mixed-use district in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Boeing Aerospace & Autonomy Center, Boeing said, “will focus on designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies.” Center employees will support programs that are part of Boeing’s new NeXt division, announced in July, which will work to “advance next-generation airspace management and evolve the transportation ecosystem.” NeXt will explore technologies such as artificial intelligence, airspace management for autonomous flight, and advanced propulsion. The new MIT facility will occupy 100,000 square feet.


The Airbus BelugaXL transport jet flew for the first time…A ramp worker died after taking off in a Horizon Air Q400 near Seattle and crashing…Gulfstream’s all-new midsize G500 jet is now type-certified by the FAA…Virgin Galactic test pilots flew VSS Unity to 170,800 feet, a new altitude record for the rocket-powered ship…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at


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