News

XCOR Assets Sold To Build A Plane »

Build A Plane, the nonprofit that offers kids a chance to restore an airplane using donated aircraft, now is expanding into rocketry, and with help from a major unnamed donor, recently bought up the assets of XCOR, the bankrupt company that had been working to build the Lynx spaceplane, for $1.1 million. More

Drones For Storm Recovery: Useful, But Challenging »

Following a major natural disaster, there’s no better way to quickly assess damage than by aerial survey. But companies doing that work following 2017’s intense hurricane season found that while flying the drones is easy, preparing the operation and sorting the data is anything but. More

FAA Rolls Out Drone Airspace Approval Test »

The rollout of the FAA’s streamlined low-altitude airspace approval for drones rolled out this week with few hiccups, according to an FAA official at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL show in Denver. Wider deployment is expected later this year. More

FAA Expands Checks For CFM Engines »

A new FAA Airworthiness Directive responding to the recent engine failure on a Southwest 737 will require initial and repetitive inspections of the fan blades in CFM56-7B engines, based on the accumulated fan-blade cycles, the FAA said on Tuesday. The AD, scheduled to be published on Wednesday, aims to “address the risk of fan-blade failure for the entire CFM56-7B fleet.” More

DOT Moves To Monetize Drones »

It’s a small step, but the Transportation Department on Monday took what could be the first move toward allowing the widespread commercial use of drones to transport cargo, and eventually, passengers as well. The DOT—the parent of the FAA—published a “notification of procedures” on Monday stating that it will provide “certificate or exemption authority” to companies proposing to operate drones to engage in air transportation, including the delivery of goods for compensation. More

AUVSI: Drones Drive A New Economy »

With more than 700 exhibitors at this week’s AUVSI XPONENTIAL show in Denver, there’s a drone for every purpose and the association says UAS applications are expanding. “This business is adding more and more jobs to the overall economy,” the association’s president, Brian Wynne, told some of the 8500 attendees at an opening-day keynote address. More

Urban Drone Taxis: Don’t Hold Your Breath »

Hardly a week goes by when another story about autonomous drones whisking passengers over traffic-choked city streets fails to portend the George Jetson future. Less in evidence are reports on rapid progress in the regulatory foundation for such technology and at this week’s AUVSI XPONENTIAL Expo in Denver, the crystal ball is hardly clearer. More

GPS Jamming: Major Threat To Drones »

As drones multiply, as they are expected to do, incidents of GPS (or GNSS) jamming and spoofing are expected to rise in concert during the next decade. That poses not just a threat of loss of the vehicles, but also to nearby aircraft and unaware people on the ground, according to Jeremy Bennington of Spirent, a company that specializes in jamming and spoofing defense. Bennington spoke at the AUVSI XPONENTIAL Expo in Denver this week and sketched a threat that’s not yet emergent, but will escalate enough to require drone manufacturers to harden their aircraft against interference. More

Aviation Journalist Richard Collins Dead At 84 »

Richard L. Collins, well-known author of books about aviation and longtime editor-in-chief at Flying magazine, died on Sunday at his home in Maryland. Collins began his journalism career working on Air Facts, a magazine founded by his father, Leighton Collins. He began writing for Flying in 1968 and became editor-in-chief in 1977. He also worked at AOPA Pilot, and wrote more than a dozen books. More

Blue Origin Launches Sub-Orbital Flight »

Private space startup Blue Origin launched its eighth test flight from Texas Sunday, boosting microgravity experiments and an instrumented dummy astronaut to an altitude of 66.5 miles, the company reported. The reusable New Shepard booster was making its second flight and landed successfully on a concrete pad near the launch point about eight minutes after it ignited. More