IFR Briefing: February 2017


Cirrus Delivers First Vision Jet

With flashing lights, smoke, and fanfare, Cirrus Aircraft rolled out their first Vision Jet for customer delivery, in late December. “It’s a major milestone to deliver the first airplane,” said Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier. “This is a major step in the growth of our company.” About 800 employees and company friends filled the hall at Cirrus’s brand-new 60,000-square-foot finishing facility, in Duluth, Minnesota. The single-engine jet was FAA certified in October. Cirrus says it has about 600 orders in hand for the jet, which sells for about $2 million. It’s the first jet to include a full-aircraft emergency parachute as standard equipment.

FAA Finalizes New Part 23 Rules

The FAA in December finalized new aircraft certification rules for general aviation that are expected to help the industry bring new designs and technology to market more quickly and cheaply. The new Part 23 rules will go into effect in August 2017, changing the FAA’s traditional prescriptive design requirements to performance-based standards. The long-awaited revamp of Part 23 creates certification levels based on size and performance for airplanes with 19 or fewer seats and a maximum takeoff weight of 19,000 pounds. The changes are expected to help reduce the costs of certification while getting safety-related tools such as angle-of-attack indicators into aircraft more quickly.

Fuel Exhaustion Suspected In Colombia Crash

A chartered RJ85 crashed in Cerro Gordo, Colombia, while flying a holding pattern near its destination airport, on November 28. Seventy-two people, most of them members of a Brazilian soccer team, died in the crash. There were five survivors. The British Aerospace Avro RJ85 has a range of about 1,842 miles, and its takeoff point was more than 1,800 miles from its attempted landing. Authorities confirmed that the jet was out of fuel when it crashed. Officials said the flight was in violation of both local and international regulations regarding minimum fuel reserves.

Cessna Destroys Leftover Skycatchers

It might have made sense to the company, but nonetheless many aviators found it shocking to see Cessna dispose of its unsold Skycatcher stock, crushing the brand-new airplanes complete with their zero-time Continental engines. The Skycatchers never really caught on in a Light Sport market flooded with choices. Textron gave up on the project three years ago and began destroying the 80 unsold aircraft recently. A Cessna official told AVweb the company “utilized the remaining inventory for spare parts to ensure the current fleet of fielded aircraft can receive ongoing support. The company did dispose of what remained after salvaging usable parts.”

First Flight For Stratos Jet

Stratos Aircraft’s new light jet flew for the first time, in November, as the Oregon company launched its flight-test series for the prototype. The Stratos 714 flew for about ten minutes from Redmond, reaching 128 knots and an altitude of 3700 feet AGL. “After years of development, the first flight was a very exciting event for the whole team,” Stratos said in a statement. The four-seat, single-engine jet will cater to owner-operators, with a cruise speed of about 400 knots and a range of 1500 nautical miles. The company said it will introduce the prototype at EAA’s AirVenture show in July. No timeline has been announced for certification and customer deliveries.


SolarStratos, based in Switzerland, plans to fly a solar-powered airplane to a record 75,000 feet…An Amazon drone in England flew the first commercial delivery…Boeing clinched a deal to sell 80 airplanes to China…Astronaut Buzz Aldrin recuperated in New Zealand after being med-evaced from Antarctica…VirginGalactic’s SpaceShipTwo completed its first free flight…Airbus flew its newest airliner, the A350-1000, for the first time, in France…Gulfstream’s G600 flew for the first time…A Harvard research report found 12 percent of airline pilots in their survey met the criteria for clinical depression…Astronaut John Glenn died, at age 95…Breaking news in general aviation can be found at AVWeb.com.


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