IFR Briefing: December 2016


FAA Advice: Apply ASAP For ADS-B Rebates

The FAA’s long-awaited ADS-B rebate program launched on September 19, and drew more than 1300 applicants in the first two days, according to David Gray, the FAA’s ADS-B program manager. The $500 rebates are limited to the first 20,000 takers, and Gray said he expects to reach that number well before the program’s 12-month expiration date. Gray added that he believes there is plenty of capacity in avionics shops to get the work done. Owners who are ready to get started should go to the FAA’s ADS-B Rebate website at FAA.gov.

New Tech: Robot Co-pilot

A robotic co-pilot that can be quickly installed in a variety of aircraft has been successfully tested in a Diamond DA-42 and a Cessna Caravan by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System comprises both software and robotic components that can manipulate the throttle, control wheel, and other controls. The system has flown basic maneuvers under the supervision of a pilot. DARPA contractor Aurora Flight Sciences says it plans to develop the technology for commercial as well as military applications.

Longitude Flies, Falcon 8X Delivered

Textron Aviation flew its prototype Citation Longitude for the first time, in October. The super-midsize Longitude was announced in 2012. The flight lasted more than two hours and all the basic flight characteristics were tested, Textron said. The airplane seats up to 12 passengers and offers a stand-up cabin, 3400 NM range, and a top speed of 476 knots. Also in October, Dassault delivered its first Falcon 8X, to a charter operator based in Athens, Greece. The 8X is Dassault’s new flagship, with the longest range and the largest cabin in the fleet. It can fly up to 6450 nm at speeds up to Mach 0.9. The cockpit features a new-generation EASy flight deck.

NTSB Cites Pilot Error, Safety Culture In Hawker Crash

The crew of a Hawker 700A jet that crashed in Akron, Ohio, a year ago showed a “disregard for safety,” NTSB Chairman Christopher Hart said in October, and the company they worked for, Execuflight, also “fell short of their obligations.” Both crew members and all seven passengers died when the jet crashed short of Runway 25 at Akron Fulton International Airport on Nov. 10, 2015. The first officer flew the approach, the NTSB said, and failed to follow checklists. The flaps were set at 45 degrees instead of 25 degrees, the airspeed was too slow, and the rate of descent was too fast. “The first officer’s lack of awareness and his difficulty flying the airplane to standards should have prompted the captain to take control of the airplane or call for a missed approach, but he did not do so,” the board said.

NBAA Report: Flight Crews Skip Checks

Fifteen percent of flights in business jets begin without a complete flight-control check, according to a study conducted by NBAA. The NTSB suggested a need for the study after its investigation of a 2014 accident involving a Gulfstream G-IV, in Bedford, Mass. The safety board found the crew had not performed a flight-control check before takeoff, and as a result, had no way of knowing the aircraft’s gust lock was engaged. The jet ran off the runway and caught fire, killing all seven on board. The NBAA analyzed data from 143,756 business aviation flights and found that 15 percent began with a partial flight control check and 2 percent began with no check at all. “This report should further raise awareness within the business aviation community that complacency and lack of procedural discipline have no place in our profession,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen.


Bell Helicopter unveiled its design for an autonomous tiltrotor with a 65-foot wingspan…German researchers flew a four-seat hydrogen-cell-powered airplane…Tier 1 Engineering flew a battery-powered manned helicopter…Aviation advocate Arnold Palmer died at age 87…Viking completed its purchase of Bombardier’s amphibian line… The restored B-29 ‘Doc’ flew for a second time…GA fatalities decreased in 2015, the NTSB reported…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at AVweb.com.


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