Briefing: June 2010


EPA Advances 100LL Rulemaking Process
Efforts from companies like Swift Fuel and GAMI to find a replacement for 100LL may get some more serious attention now that the EPA has released its advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the need to eliminate lead from fuel. “Converting in-use aircraft/engines to operate on unleaded aviation gasoline would be a significant logistical challenge, and in some cases a technical challenge as well,” the EPA said. The EPA also acknowledged that a joint effort with the FAA will be critical and has not set a date for the rulemaking, but said it would like to see leaded fuel phased out as early as 2017.

One Of Two WAAS Satellites floats over the event horizon
The Wide Area Augmentation System, which broadcasts GPS corrections used by aviators across North America, hangs on just two satellites. Oh, wait, make that one. The FAA contractor, Intelsat, lost control of the satellite on April 3. This quickly cut WAAS coverage at 16 airports in Alaska. However, due to the lack of redundant coverage, WAAS users across North America may experience temporary service interruptions. Also, the FAA pointed out that a “single-point failure situation exists until redundancy [is] restored.” A replacement satellite should launch by the end of this year. This on top of the lagging replacement of regular GPS satellites. Don’t sell that KX 155 just yet.

Boeing 777 and a Cessna 182 pass within 300 feet over San Francisco
Your government agencies are trying to figure out how a United Boeing 777 and a Cessna 182 came within 300 feet vertically and 1500 feet laterally of one another over San Francisco. The FAA is blaming the SFO Tower controller for the loss of separation. According to the NTSB, the 777 crew spotted the 182 in a hard left turn traveling from their one o’clock to three o’clock position and the first officer pushed the yoke forward to level the aircraft. The 777 took this action at about 1100 feet just after retracting the gear. The flight continued to Beijing, but not after telling SFO Tower, “We need to talk.”

FAA Changes Policy On Antidepressants For Pilots
The FAA is now allowing for special issuance of medical certificates to pilots using medication for depression, and will offer forgiveness for some previously undisclosed conditions. The change applies to pilots using Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa or Lexapro and who have been “satisfactorily treated on the medication for at least 12 months.” Pilots who can’t show a history will be grounded for at least that period. The FAA’s forgiveness is limited to a six-month window. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the agency’s adjustment is motivated by a “need to change the culture and remove the stigma associated with depression.”

Garmin now offering bundled pricing on data subscriptions for their portable GPSs … Diamond DA42NG now FAA/EASA certified … New Kestrel turboprop hopes to be a certified spin-off of the Epic LT kit design … NTSB cites neglected tire maintenance in 2008 crash of a Learjet … Thielert engine owners may get hit with a $1600 AD … Washington State decides against aircraft tax … Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft carried a pilot to 3900 feet … NASA’s X-48B blended wing body remotely piloted scale model tests continue to show promise … ForeFlight, NavMonster and X-Plane all available for the iPad … DARPA is offering financial rewards for a roadable/flyable VTOL vehicle that will fly by 2015 … “Total Eclipse” VLJs for sale in limited numbers with niceties like GPS-coupled autopilots and known-ice certification … P-49 Bush ranch prohibited area to shrink … Approach plates and geo-referenced airport diagrams now available for Aspen Avionics retrofit MFDs … California motorist credited for facilitating the emergency landing of a Citabria on a busy highway … Wreckage of a Curtis SB2C Helldiver found in Oregon woods … AOPA launches updated online airport directory … FAA may significantly complicate certification of light jets, but, on the other hand, rumor has it that the FAA may extend the ASTM-type used by LSAs to larger piston singles … For breaking news in general aviation, log on to


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