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Report: Germanwings Pilot 'Practiced' On Prior Flight »

During the flight from Dusseldorf to Barcelona immediately prior to the fatal crash on March 24, Germanwings first officer Andreas Lubitz repeatedly re-set the A320's altitude to 100 feet while alone in the cockpit, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the French BEA safety board. Lubitz didn't activate a descent, but the changes in selected altitude were recorded by the flight data recorder. Lubitz was alone in the cockpit for about four and a half minutes. More

Cirrus Building Tennessee Facility »

Cirrus Aircraft will likely announce a new delivery center in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday. Tennessee officials, including Gov. Bill Haslam have invited media to a news conference at McGhee Tyson Airport near Knoxville to reveal "a significant economic development announcement." More

Commemorative DC Flyover Set For Friday »

Organizers are calling this Friday's flyover of the nation's capital "one of the most diverse arrays of World War II aircraft ever assembled," with 56 aircraft in 15 historically sequenced formations flying 1,000 feet above the National Mall to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. The flyover is being held to honor the large number of veterans expected to gather at the WWII Memorial for a ceremony on Friday morning. For those not in the capital city, the event will be broadcast live on the Internet, with the ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. and the flyover at 12:10. More

NASA Flies 10-Engine Electric Drone »

NASA has successfully flown a remotely piloted aircraft powered by 10 electric motors that can take off vertically, then rotate its wing and fly like an airplane. The aircraft, which weighs about 62 pounds, has a 10-foot wingspan, with eight motors on the wings and two on the tail. "During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again," said Bill Fredericks, aerospace engineer. "Now we're working on our second goal -- to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter." More

Continental Buys ECI »

Continental Motors Group said today that it will purchase Danbury Aerospace, a group of aviation manufacturing companies that includes Engine Components International, the San Antonio, Texas-based manufacturer of PMA engine parts. Danbury is a privately held company and the dollar amount of the deal wasn't disclosed by Continental. Because Continental is itself owned by the Chinese-based AVIC International, the purchase must still be approved by the State Department's Committee for Foreign Investment, according to Rhett Ross, director of the Continental Motors Group and an AVIC vice president. More

NTSB Says FAA Needs Better Landing Procedures »

As part of its investigation into several events when airplanes landed at the wrong airports, the NTSB told the FAA this week it should amend its ATC procedures. "Controllers [should] withhold landing clearance until the aircraft has passed all other airports that may be confused with the destination airport," the NTSB said. Also, software that warns controllers about minimum safe altitudes should be modified to also warn them if the airplane crew is trying to land at an airport different from the one in the flight plan. More

FAA Mandates 787 Electrical Reboots »

The electrical systems on Boeing 787s need to be shut down and restarted before they reach 248 days of continuous power, the FAA said on Friday, to prevent a "loss of all AC electrical power, which could result in loss of control of the airplane." The airworthiness directive was issued "straight to final rule," without a preliminary notice, and is effective immediately. The FAA said it was informed about the problem by Boeing, and the manufacturer is working on a software upgrade that will address the issue. More

Short Final »

Last Friday morning, I was en route to Sun 'n Fun. The weather at KLAL prevented canceling IFR and joining the Lake Parker VFR arrival. As I (along with several other aircraft) was issued a holding clearance at LAL VOR to wait my turn for the ILS runway 9 approach, I was reminded just how oblivious some pilots are. ... A pilot came on the very busy TPA approach frequency and said, with all seriousness: "N12345 requesting multiple approaches to Lakeland." ... Kudos to the professional controller, who simply responded: "Negative. We have Sun 'n Fun going on today." ... To which the pilot responded: "O.K. How about Winter Haven?" -- Al Rice More

Shape-Changing Wings Successfully Tested »

NASA says it has successfully flight-tested wings that can change shape in flight without seams or gaps and is calling it a next-generation breakthrough in aircraft design. In cooperation with the Air Force and FlexSys Inc., the developer of the system, NASA mounted the morphing wings on a Gulfstream bizjet and put it through its paces. More

Aircraft Autonomous Flight: Sooner Than You Think? »

Is truly autonomous flight for aircraft—manned or not—lurking just around the corner? It depends on how you define around the corner, but some people in the autonomous flight field think it could be a reality within a decade and electric propulsion will both hurry it along and play a major role in its development. More