Briefing: September 2017


Icon Starts A5 Deliveries

Icon started to deliver airplanes to customers in June, and let them “take them home and fly them wherever they want,” the company said in its annual newsletter. The first deliveries went to owners in Seattle, Montana and California. To support these A5s, Icon said it trained authorized maintainers at their home airports. “We are continuing to grow the third-party partner network to service upcoming deliveries that aren’t near factory service centers, currently in Vacaville and Tampa,” Icon said. The company also said it has trained more than 125 pilots at its two Icon Flight Centers, and added that it hopes to deliver 15 more aircraft by the end of this year and ramp up to 200 deliveries in 2018.

747 Freighter Transforms Into Air Force One Replica

What happens to old freighters when they’re no longer needed? One aging 747, painted in the fading green-and-white livery of Evergreen International, has been on the ramp at Quonset Airport, in Rhode Island, for a couple of years now, and this summer began to morph into a replica of Air Force One. Franklin Exhibits, based in New York, owns the airplane. They told the local TV news they plan to replicate every detail of the presidential aircraft, inside and out, to create a tourist attraction. Fresh blue-and-white exterior paint has been applied, and crews have begun work on the interior. No details yet on when the replica will open to the public, or where it will be based.

Warbirds, Spaceships, and More at EAA AirVenture

EAA’s annual aviation extravaganza, AirVenture, opened in July in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with plenty of unique aircraft on display. Show central hosted not one but two restored B-29 bombers, Fifi and Doc, that flew together in the afternoon air shows; plus a space rocket from Blue Origin, the Proteus high-altitude flyer from Scaled, and military and civilian aircraft from all eras of flight. Apollo astronauts gathered for evening events, and daily air shows kept the crowds entertained. Fine weather all week helped break attendance records. If you missed any of it, don’t worry, next year’s edition is already in the works, and is sure to be just as jam-packed.

The Go-Around That Almost Wasn’t

For a landing where nothing bad happened, a mix-up by the crew of an Air Canada A320 on a July night in San Francisco got lots of attention. The crew had lined up to land on the taxiway instead of the runway, and four airplanes full of passengers and fuel were idling there waiting their turn to fly. The event got lots of “disaster averted” coverage in the mainstream press, which may have seemed overwrought until you listen to the ATC audio–neither the A320 pilot nor the controller seem close to figuring out what’s going on. It’s only after an unidentified voice pipes in–probably a crew member from one of the airplanes on the taxiway–that the crew initiates a go-around, and disaster is indeed averted.

GA Leaders Press Privatization Fight

Legislators in Washington once again have been trying to fix what’s wrong with our air traffic control system with a proposal to separate it from the FAA and create a new nonprofit corporation to run it. Similar proposals have come and gone in the past, but this one has gained traction under the Trump administration, and raised alarm among general-aviation advocacy groups. The air traffic controllers union supports the proposal, arguing that something has to change to fix the recurrent loss of funding that snarls progress under the current system. But most GA groups have united against it, saying it gives too much power to the airlines and would ignore the needs of GA and business flyers.


Bell resumed flight tests in the 525 Relentless helicopter, about a year after a fatal crash…The Falcon 5X business jet flew for the first time…Lycoming required thousands of engine owners to check their connecting rods for bad bushings…China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought the Terrafugia flying-car company…Mahindra Aerospace certified its 10-passenger GA10 Airvan turboprop utility aircraft…Breaking news in gen-eral aviation can be found at


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