Briefing: April 2017


FAA: Santa Monica Airport Will Close In 2028

The general-aviation airport in Santa Monica, California, which has been in place since the 1920s, has long been in contention, as the surrounding area has become densely populated at the same time as the airport’s importance as a GA hub has intensified. In January, the FAA said it had agreed to end decades of legal wrangling over the airport and close it in 2028, citing safety and environmental concerns. The airport has about 270 resident aircraft and 450 landings and takeoffs a day. NBAA, AOPA, and EAA said they may challenge the agreement. The city plans to turn the 227 acres into a park.

POTUS TFRs Affect Florida Operations

Airport operators and flight schools near Palm Beach, Florida, complained in February they suffered economic loss and disruption due to TFRs related to President Trump’s visits to his Mar-a-Lago resort. The TFR essentially shut down busy Palm Beach County/Lantana Airport and disrupted flight training and other GA activities. Lantana is located about 6.5 miles from Mar-a-Lago, which is on a barrier island off the Florida coast. Local authorities and advocacy groups asked the Secret Service for relief, but none was forthcoming. AOPA requested a meeting with the FAA to propose a TFR that would put Lantana in an airspace cutout, but no date was set.

Progress For Autonomous Flying Taxis

Just over a year after EHang’s passenger-carrying autonomous drone was unveiled in Las Vegas, officials in Dubai said in February they plan to offer flights to the public in the aircraft by this summer. The EHang, built in China, can carry one passenger for up to 30 minutes at a speed of about 62 mph. The passenger will select a destination on a tablet and the aircraft will autonomously fly there, remotely monitored by company controllers. Eight propellers arrayed on four arms propel the aircraft. Uber also is moving forward with a project called Uber Elevate, now headed by former NASA engineer Mark Moore, which aims to provide urban aerial transport. Airbus officials also said they plan to begin test flights of a flying-taxi prototype by the end of the year.

50-Year Apollo Reunion Set For EAA AirVenture

In 1967, yes 50 years ago, NASA scheduled the first mission in the Apollo program, and EAA will celebrate that era of exploration this summer at AirVenture, with a reunion of Apollo astronauts and other special events. Many of the activities will center on “Apollo Day,” Friday, July 28, highlighted by a major evening program at Theater in the Woods. Among the astronauts scheduled to attend are Frank Borman (Apollo 8), Walt Cunningham (Apollo 7), Fred Haise (Apollo 13), Jim Lovell (Apollo 8 and Apollo 13), and Al Worden (Apollo 15). The Apollo 1 mission, in 1967, was destroyed in a launch-pad fire, in which three astronauts died. Apollo 11 was the first mission to reach the Moon, in 1969, and in 1972, Apollo 17 was the final mission to the Moon.

FAA Warns About Class B Boundaries

Pilots should be wary when operating close to the boundaries of the Class B airspace that surrounds the nation’s busiest airports, the FAA said in a Safety Alert for Operators in February. Flight crews on approach may sometimes stray outside the boundaries, the FAA said. At the same time, GA pilots may be operating close outside the boundaries without talking to ATC, as they depend more and more on inflight navigation aids such as GPS moving maps. That proximity increases the risk of a near-midair collision, the FAA says. The solution is for all pilots, whether flying inside or outside the Class B space, to become familiar with the vertical and lateral boundaries, the FAA said.


Harrison Ford mistakenly landed his Husky on a taxiway at John Wayne Airport in California…Lancair International, now Evolution Aircraft Company, sold off its kit designs to a Texas company…The first LM-100J, a civil version of the Lockheed Hercules, rolled off the assembly line in February…Textron said it will scale back jet production this year…Find breaking news in general aviation at


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