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Rockwell Collins’ purchase of aircraft interior finisher B/E Aerospace has attracted the attention of some Wall Street wheeler-dealers who are suggesting it is Rockwell Collins itself that should be up for sale. Starboard Value, a hedge fund that specializes in investing in undervalued companies, has purchased an unknown amount of Rockwell Collins stock in recent days and will vote against the proposed merger, favoring a sale instead. According to Bloomberg, that position has support among some of the venerable avionics company’s biggest investors. So far, Rockwell Collins says it’s going ahead with the B/E deal.

“We remain confident that B/E Aerospace acquisition will create significant value for our shareholders,” Rockwell Collins Chairman and CEO Kelly Ortberg told a Credit Suisse conference last week. “We are filing or have filed all the regulatory activities. We have all of our synergy and integration teams underway, and we expect to receive shareholder approval and close the deal in the spring.” It would cost Rockwell Collins $300 million to break its deal with B/E Aerospace and Ortberg has said the merger is a good fit for both companies because it would allow an integration of the integration of electronics and interiors that aircraft owners are looking for. If the merger goes ahead, the resulting company will have 30,000 employees.

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An unknown number of passengers and crew were injured when a Qatar Airways Boeing 777 flying from Washington to Doha hit severe turbulence and made an emergency landing in the Azores. Flight 708 was almost five hours into the 14-hour flight Saturday when it hit three minutes' worth of really rough air. Passengers tweeted accounts of numerous passengers, including children, hitting the ceiling and landing on other passengers. There was also a report of one passenger suffering a heart attack. None of the reports has been verified. No deaths were reported

It’s not clear if the Boeing 777-300ER was damaged but it landed safely at the Portuguese airbase of Lajes about 6 a.m. local time. Qatar Airways said it was sending a replacement aircraft and that passengers were being accommodated. Some of the passengers disputed that, saying American and European passengers got hotel rooms while others, including some who were injured, were left at the air base awaiting visas to enter the country.


VSS Unity, Virgin Galactic’s replacement for the original SpaceShipTwo, which crashed in October of 2014, glided to a landing for the first time Saturday after three months of captive testing slung below WhiteKnightTwo. The 2014 crash killed copilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold. Unity separated from the mothership at 10:40 a.m. PST and glided back to the Mojave Air and Space Port about 10 minutes later. The next milestone will be powered flight but there has been no timeline announced for that.

Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic says the test moves its space tourism forward and the pre-crash goals remain the same: to democratize space flight and “to open space to change the world for good.” VSS Unity is the first vehicle built in-house by Virgin Galactic. The new spacecraft incorporates safety features that will prevent the premature release of the vehicle’s feathering mechanism, which resulted in the 2014 crash. The feathering was actuated by Alsbury as the spacecraft accelerated through Mach 1 and it was pulled apart. The feathering mechanism is used for deceleration from re-entry. Virgin Galactic hasn’t released video of the flight yet but here’s one on the first captive flight.

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NASA had two successful launches of its largest scientific balloons this week in Antarctica as part of a three-flight series on behalf of university researchers studying components of outer space. The project, NASA’s Antarctica Long Duration Balloon Flight Campaign, uses unmanned balloons with 40 million cubic feet of volume, as big as a football stadium, that will take advantage of the unique Antarctic climate. The balloons carry solar-powered instruments that will run reliably with the 24-hour sunlight available during Antarctic summers. Meanwhile, the air mass circulating over the continent will keep a balloon circling aloft over land about 24 miles high. Its predictable path will make it easily recoverable after flights that will last about 20 days.

Clear, calm skies allowed the launches to take place early, NASA announced. Friday’s launch, commissioned by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, took place from the Ross Ice Shelf near the McMurdo research station to gather data for studying particles from stars that are present in Antarctic ice. The first launch took place Monday for the University of Maryland, which is examining cosmic rays. Weather permitting, the third launch for a University of Arizona project is slated for mid-December, NASA said. The flights are engineered and operated under a NASA contract by Orbital ATK, which also launches unmanned cargo rockets into space for the agency.


It was my first time flying into OSH after 7 hours of hand flying a Skyhawk.

Tower: "Welcome to OSH"  

Me:"I'm not a virgin anymore"


It was like a reflex.


Kenneth Larson 


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AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine and is published twice a month. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause in the NTSB’s web site at Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

September 2, 2016, Viborg, S.D.

Van’s RV-6 Experimental

At about 1000 Central time, the airplane impacted a corn field. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

Except for the main wreckage area, there was no noticeable damage to the field’s corn stalks. The cockpit, engine cowling and a majority of the fuselage were consumed by fire, although the wings and empennage were mostly intact. Witnesses reported hearing the engine “sputtering,” and then heard a “thud” and saw a fireball. They did not observe the airplane in the air.

September 3, 2016, Moss Hill, Texas

Bellanca 7ECA Citabria

The airplane impacted a river at about 1900 Central time. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane then pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed left, entering a near-vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river.

September 3, 2016, Cuba, N.M.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

At about 2240 Mountain time, the airplane impacted ground obstacles and nosed over during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power. The pilot and his passenger sustained minor injuries while the airplane was substantially damaged. Night visual conditions prevailed.

According to the FAA, the airplane lost partial engine power and the pilot elected to perform a night forced landing on a roadway. During the landing, the airplane’s wing impacted a ground obstacle, resulting in the nose-over.

September 3, 2016, Hollywood, Fla.

Cessna Model 172 Skyhawk

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean at about 0952 Eastern time. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While transitioning along the shoreline, the pilot contacted ATC and requested to fly below 500 feet agl. The controller approved the request, advising the pilot of “heavy precipitation at the 12 o’clock position and four miles ahead.” The controller further stated, “You should turn left and go offshore three miles to avoid the thunderstorm.” The pilot acknowledged the communication by stating “roger.” Three minutes later, the pilot reported, “I am turning back to the north.” No further communications were received from the accident airplane.

The wreckage was subsequently located about two miles east of the shoreline, submerged in about 15 feet of water. The airplane was recovered; its wings exhibited accordion crushing from leading edge to trailing edge.

September 7, 2016, Chariton, Iowa

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu

At about 1219 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain after an inflight breakup. The solo private pilot sustained fatal injuries.

The pilot was receiving VFR flight following services while cruising at 13,500 feet msl and deviating around convective weather. Shortly before disappearing from radar, the pilot reported to ATC he was around the weather, proceeding to his destination and descending. The controller instructed the pilot to contact ATC tower personnel but received no response.

Preliminary radar data showed the airplane making a rapid descending right turn before radar contact was lost. The airplane wreckage was located about five hours later. Examination revealed the airplane impacted a mature corn field, with wing and empennage components scattered along a path about ˝-mile long.

September 7, 2016, Carrollton, Ga.

Beech F33A Bonanza/Diamond DA20-C1

The two airplanes collided in mid-air at 1047 Eastern time while on final approach. The Beech was substantially damaged and its solo private pilot was fatally injured. The Diamond was destroyed. The the flight instructor and student pilot aboard it were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Initial radar data indicated the Beech entered an extended downwind from the north, above and directly behind the Diamond, at a groundspeed about 50 knots faster. Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that both airplanes remained physically attached after the collision. Additional examination revealed black transfer markings on the right half of the Diamond’s elevator consistent in color and tread pattern with the right main landing gear tire of the Beech. Other pilots in the area, flying airplanes from the same operator as the Diamond, heard the Diamond crew reporting their position and intentions on the CTAF. The Beech pilot did not appear to be broadcasting on the CTAF. The CTAF communications were not recorded.

September 9, 2016, Kodiak, Alaska

de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver

At about 1130 Alaska time, the float-equipped airplane sustained substantial damage during a collision with water, following a loss of control shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and two passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the scheduled Part 135 commuter flight.

Witnesses reported the accident airplane’s takeoff run was to the west, toward an area of rising, tree-covered terrain. After the airplane became airborne, it began a gradual left turn to avoid the rising terrain ahead. As the airplane flew closer to the rising terrain, the left turn steepened and the airplane began a steep nose-down descent. The airplane subsequently struck shallow water and came to rest partially submerged. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its wings and fuselage. The witnesses reported gusty wind conditions, from the west, estimated to be between 15 to 25 knots.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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It's not often that a bad case of high winds aloft puts you on the beach for the day. But not often is not the same as never.


Stemme is planning to deliver its $369,000 next-generation S12 motorglider to U.S. customers this coming December. The new S12 picks up where the Stemme S10VT (which will remain in production) left off. It sports a longer 82-foot wing and an impressive 53:1 glide ratio, more baggage space, an integral tail water ballast system, a Dynon EFIS and autopilot system and variety of other improvements. For this production, Aviation Consumer magazine editor Larry Anglisano flew the S12 with company demo pilot Wes Chumley at Stemme U.S.A.'s Columbia, South Carolina, delivery center.

DC One-X from David Clark
Picture of the Week <="228158">
Picture of the Week

As aviation photos go, this was the best this week but there are some great beauty shots when you click through. In the meantime, congratulations to Daniel Gillette of this very nice photo he calls Sunset Pitch-Out. the photo is copyrighted by Gillette.


The FAA is working on implementing congressionally mandated reforms to medical requirements for private pilots but until those rules are in effect, the old system is the law. EAA's Sean Elliot updated AVweb's Mary Grady on the promise and pitfalls of the changing medical regime.


Pilots tend to be optimists. To be otherwise would bring into question our fantasies of cruising above the planet while sporting little more than wings braced with the aeronautical savvy needed to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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