AVweb flash

Sierra Nevada Offers Commercial Orbital Service »

Sierra Nevada Corporation has unveiled a smaller version of its Dream Chaser space plane designed to be launched to low earth airport by Paul Allen and Burt Rutan's Stratolaunch system. The scaled version of Dream Chaser will carry three astronauts or it can be flown as a space UAS carrying cargo only. More

Europe Backs ASTM Light Plane Certification Plan »

The standards organization ASTM says both the European Commission and European Aviation Safety Agency have endorsed a "global initiative to modernize the way smaller airplanes are certified." ASTM says the CS23/Part 23 Reorganization is a blueprint for the world's aviation authorities to bring their certification standards up to date and it was unveiled at meeting hosted by ASTM and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in Brussels in September. More

EAA: New FAA Policy Will Prevent Crashes »

The FAA has updated its policy on experimental-amateur built (E-AB) aircraft to allow pilots who build their own airplanes to bring along a qualified additional pilot on their initial test flights, EAA said on Monday. "This policy change comes after years of data suggesting that the most accidents in the E-AB fleet occur in aircraft during their first eight hours of operation," EAA said. "The majority of those accidents were related to pilot loss of control and were preventable." More

Airbus A350-900 EASA-Certified »

The Airbus A350-900 XWB, which has been in the works for about eight years, was certified by EASA on Tuesday. FAA certification will follow soon, Airbus said. The "extra-wide-body" model can carry up to 440 passengers and eight cabin crew. "The A350 XWB embodies many extra innovative technologies which make all the difference in passenger comfort and airline efficiency," Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier said in a statement released on Tuesday. More

DHL To Start Commercial Drone Deliveries »

The global parcel-delivery company DHL has received authorization to start regular drone delivery flights to an island in the North Sea about 7.5 miles off the coast of Germany. "This research project represents the first and only time in Europe that a flight by an unmanned aircraft will be operated outside of the pilot's field of vision in a real-life mission," said DHL in a news release. The DHL "parcelcopter" will primarily be used to transport medications at times when ferries and flights are not available. More

FAA Will Review ATC Security Plans »

Following a fire that knocked out ATC equipment at a facility in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said on Monday the agency will conduct a 30-day review of its contingency plans and security protocols to be sure they address system efficiency as well as safety. "I do understand the traveling public's frustrations," Huerta said. More than 2,500 flights were cancelled over the weekend at Chicago's busy O'Hare and Midway hubs. More

Short Final »

I was arriving in the Washington, D.C., area with a destination of Manassas Regional in Virginia. There was a mid-morning thunderstorm that was causing aircraft, including Air Force One, to request deviations when I heard the following. ... After being denied a 20-degree deviation to the right to avoid weather and given an alternative of 30 degrees left, a GA pilot sounded irritated and was particularly demanding with a second request for a 20-degree deviation to the right. ... Sounding ever the professional, Approach responded: "I can give you 20 right, but if I can't give you any more if you need it because that will put you in the Washington restricted airspace and you'll have an F-15 escort within a couple of minutes." ... The response? After a short pause, a more humble: "I'd like the 30-degree left deviation, please." ... I would have also. -- Joe Shelton More

Air France Pilots End Strike »

Air France pilots ended a two-week strike Sunday but did so without resolving its fight with the company. The SNPL, Air France's main pilots union, simply gave up and flights are expected to resume in a couple of days. The pilots walked out to pressure the airline into covering pilots of its new budget carrier Transavia with the same contract as those on the main line. More

Canadian Lancaster Back Home »

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster bomber is back at its home base in Hamilton, Ontario (about 40 miles west of Toronto) after a triumphant and, at times, dramatic six-week tour of the U.K. More

FAA, Controllers Coping With Chicago Outage »

Capacity is steadily increasing at airports affected by the sabotage of critical communications equipment at Chicago Center on Friday. As of late Sunday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said 72 flights per hour were getting into O'Hare International Airport and departure delays of 15 minutes in the afternoon were expected to increase to about 30 minutes later in the day. More