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New wind-tunnel tests by NASA of designs by Boeing and Lockheed show it's possible to build jets that can fly at supersonic speeds quietly enough to fly over land, according to the National
Business Aviation Association. "The game-changing technology out there is having tools available to design the external shape of the vehicle to give you a low sonic boom on the ground," Tom Jones,
project manager for the NASA research team, told NBAA. The latest experiments, which have been heralded as a "breakthrough," show that the aircraft might not create a "boom" at all, or if it does, it
would be very quiet.
The designs are likely to be first tried out on business jets, NBAA said, since they are lighter than passenger
jets. "The bigger the vehicle, the harder it is to make it quiet, "Jones said. The new experiments also show that it's possible to combine lower noise signatures with low cruise drag, which once was
thought to be mutually exclusive, according to NASA. The next step is to test out the theories in flight. "It is my hope and my goal to make sure that we develop an X-plane demonstrator in years, not
decades," said Jones.
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Pilots in the Washington, D.C., area on Tuesday morning, April 17, may catch a glimpse of the space shuttle Discovery taking its final ride strapped to the back of a 747. The now-retired shuttle
will be making its move from a storage facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Dulles International Airport in Virginia, en route to its final home at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center. The
modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft will depart from Florida just after sunrise on Tuesday and arrive in the Washington, D.C., area about 10 a.m., taking a final victory lap around various
landmarks before touching down.
The exact route and timing of the flight depend on weather and operational constraints, NASA said; however, the aircraft is expected to fly near the National Mall, Reagan National Airport, National
Harbor, and the Udvar-Hazy Center, at an altitude of about 1,500 feet. Two NASA T-38 jets flew over the area last week to scout out the route, and may join the SCA on the final flight. The aircraft is
also expected to execute a low pass over the airport at Dulles prior to landing. The museum has planned a welcome celebration and special events through the weekend. The shuttle will be moved to the nearby museum on April 19. Discovery will replace the shuttle Enterprise, which is currently on
Cage Fighting for Cylinders
Through repeated battles, one cylinder emerges as the "last man standing," and he earns respect for being the toughest guy.
A helicopter that crashed in Idaho in 2010, killing the pilot and two wildlife biologists on board, was brought down by a stray metal clipboard that hit the tail rotor, the NTSB said in its final report last week. Two scientists planned to conduct an aerial wildlife survey in a commercially
owned Hiller UH 12E helicopter equipped with a three-abreast bench seat and a fully enclosed cabin, the NTSB said. The pilot stowed most of the biologists' gear on the helicopter's external racks, and
all three boarded the helicopter, with the biologists in each of the outboard seats. About a half hour later, the pilot broadcast that the helicopter was "landing at Kamiah," about 35 miles short of
the planned destination, and moments later, the aircraft began to break up in the air.
The investigators found that the metal clipboard struck the tail rotor and caused it to separate, causing loss of control of the aircraft. Witnesses said the helicopter was rotating as it
descended. It left a 1,500-foot debris field and crashed into the driveway of a residence. The investigators weren't able to tell if the clipboard had been part of the gear stowed externally, or if a
passenger had opened a door in flight and the clipboard had fallen out. The clipboard also might have been inadvertently left unsecured on one of the external racks. One witness said the right cabin
door was open in flight, the NTSB said, but it appeared that both doors were closed at the time of impact.
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The 6th Annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium, coming up April 27 and 28 in Santa Rosa, Calif., will feature speakers from NASA, Boeing, Aerovironment, leaders in battery technology, and more,
the organizers announced recently. Tine Tomazic of Pipistrel will be there to talk about the Taurus G4, which won last year's $1.35 million Green Flight Challenge. Mark Moore of NASA will discuss
advanced concepts in electric propulsion, and Tom Gunnarson of FAA's Small Airplane Directorate will explain the agency's plans for certifying electric aircraft. The weekend is billed as a
"graduate-level program" (PDF) in new flight technologies, featuring experts in lithium battery research, design software, UAVs, quiet
propellers, and high-lift aerodynamics.
Future Green Flight Challenges will be unveiled at the event, the organizers said. Flight demos also will be held at the CAFE Flight Test Center. Registration is $499 and can be completed online.
AVweb's Mary Grady recently spoke with Tomazic about the G4's nomination for the Collier Trophy; click here to listen to that podcast.
AVweb's editorial director, Paul Bertorelli, visited the Pipistrel factory on a recent trip to Slovenia; click here to see his video flight trial of the Virus SW, which boasts fuel economy of nearly 50
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The NTSB is still working to complete its investigation of last year's fatal crash at
the Reno Air Races, but on Tuesday, board chairman Deborah Hersman announced a half dozen safety recommendations that she hopes the race organizers will implement before the races resume in September.
"We believe these recommendations can go a long way toward preventing future accidents," she said at a news conference at the Reno airport. The suggestions to race organizers include changes to the
course design and layout, improvements to the methods used to track and resolve discrepancies found during pre-race aircraft inspections, required pilot training in G-force tolerance, and better ramp
safety, such as keeping fuel trucks farther from the race area and improving the placement of barriers. Hersman also emphasized that pilots should document that highly modified aircraft have been
exposed to realistic race conditions -- high speeds and high g-loads -- before the race.
Hersman also asked the FAA to review its publications that provide guidance for air racing, because the FAA order for the Reno race required just 500 feet between the race course and the
spectators; however, an FAA advisory circular recommends a separation of 1,000 feet when aircraft are flying faster than 250 mph. The board recommends that the FAA should "reconcile all of the
differences between these two documents," Hersman said. She also suggested that race organizers should evaluate the use of g-suits for race pilots, and consider making them a requirement. Hersman said
additional recommendations may be issued as the board continues its investigation. The accident in September 2011 killed pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators, and another 60 spectators were
The Florida Institute of Technology says it's the first post-secondary institution to graduate students with type ratings in modern jet airliners. Juan Villa-Navarro and Sidney Callaghan completed
the Jet Transition and Commercial Type Rating course as part of their bachelor's degree program at the Melbourne campus. They both earned type ratings in the A320. Type ratings are also available in
Boeing 737NG. "The courses will prepare them well and provide all the ratings necessary to go directly to a major airline. This represents the gold standard in collegiate flight training," said Ken
Stackpoole, vice president for Aviation Programs and dean of the College of Aeronautics.
The type rating course, which is available as an elective for junior, senior and grad students planning airline careers, is offered in partnership with Aerostar Training Services in Orlando. There
are six more students in the pipeline. Most graduates of university-level aviation courses obtain multi-IFR endorsements, but a type rating is required to fly jets. Peter Dunn, the program manager,
said the courses were designed specifically in response to what appears to be a looming pilot shortage and new airline pilot standards mandated by Congress. "We are responding to what the new law
intends," Dunn said. "We want to give our graduates the ability to compete for major airline jobs."
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Ascension Scattering: A Dignified Final Tribute for Any Aviator
Using a high-performance sailplane, Ascension Scattering releases cremated remains into strong thermals over the Rocky Mountains. The ashes are carried heavenward, making them part of
the sky. Your family is invited to personalize the release to create an individualized memorial event. Optional video of the release serves as a lasting memorial. Contact Aerial Tribute to
book an eternal flight, either as an advanced arrangement for yourself or as an arrangement for a loved one.
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Released from active duty in the Air Force and starting a non-flying civilian job, Dick Taylor misses aviation and joins a local Air National Guard squadron. But instead of
Stratotankers, he flies Fairchild Flying Boxcars and later, in the Air Force Reserve, Grumman Albatrosses.
Should a practical flying car be the next moonshot? After all, cars that fly have held perennial fascination for both pilots and drivers for decades. Mary Grady examines the idea on the AVweb
The futurists all said one day soon, we would all have a single device that did everything from phone calls to medical record retrieval. Is that why, asks Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb
Insider blog, he carries around a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad on his business trips? At the AEA show last week, he got the impression that airplanes have become merely 3-D conveyances to fly
The Center for Aviation Safety Research Offers Aviation Safety Education and Training CASR offers Aviation Safety courses to provide managers with valuable insight on how to achieve the highest level of safety within an organization while improving operational performance. Earn
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Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Which is better for training a new-age LSA or an old-school Cessna 152? For Texas flight school U.S. Aviation Group, the Cessna wins hands down on economics. It's also easier
to fly and solo, but not necessarily more fun.
Some of our favorite "FBO of the Week" nominations begin with an unexpected problem on a long trip. AVweb reader Jerry Quint was on his way home from Sun 'n Fun when he discovered
our latest top-notch FBO Arrow Aviation/Executive Air Service at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR) in Danbury, Connecticut.
Jerry provided the play-by-play of his exceptional visit:
I stopped for fuel and to spend the night. I was immediately impressed with the professional demeanor of the refueler, Mr. David Clark. When he discovered that I was remaining overnight, he directed
me to a convienent tie-down and offered me the use of the pilot's lounge to spend the night. After a lengthy search, he found a key to the shower room. Joanie, who handles the office chores,
answered all of my questions and made me feel welcomed. Cliff Brown, a CFI, made sure I had the codes to the doors, in case I wanted to leave the FBO after it closed for the day. Additionally, Cliff
introduced me to a Master A&E/IA by the name of Karl Wiemer, who not only restores fabric-covered aircraft but is an expert in chasing down oil leaks.
My SkyCatcher had developed a leak on the way up from Sun 'n Fun, so he met me the next day, after I had a delicious doughnut that Cliff had delivered that morning before his early departure for a
trip to Maine. With cylinder pressure testers in hand, Karl checked for the possibility of blow-by. After he determined there was no blow-by causing oil leakage, we started the engine and found the
oil was leaking out of the oil filter where the filter and the rounded flange met. Several calls to oil filter suppliers proved to be fruitless, and it was discovered that the oil filters for
SkyCatchers are only available at Cessna Dealers. They are very expensive, and there is no authorized subsitute. The nearest Cessna dealer was 40 miles distant, so Karl drove to retrieve it. After
his 80-mile trip, he installed the filter, and I was finally on my way.
Of all the ten airports that I have visited in the last two weeks, the folks at Danbury are head and shoulders above them all. I am proud to recommend them for "FBO of the Week."
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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