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Dzyne Technologies

NASA is now evaluating five proposed designs for an X-plane that will test new technologies that could help airliners to fly more quietly, burn less fuel and release fewer emissions than aircraft flying today. The concepts aim to address NASA’s goals for 2035, such as a 60 to 80 percent reduction in fuel consumption, greater than 80 percent reduction in emissions and reducing noise by more than 50 percent. “As of now, the plan is to begin implementation of the first subsonic X-Plane project around 2020, leading to a first flight in 2026,” said Fay Collier, NASA’s associate director for flight strategy. The five designs that will move forward were proposed by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Aurora Flight Sciences and Dzyne Technologies.

Boeing proposed two designs, a blended-wing-body aircraft with the jet engines placed on top of the fuselage to shield the noise, and an airplane with a truss-brace that could support a long, narrow wing. Aurora’s Double Bubble D8 features two hull sections fused together, and a vertical stabilizer with a two-fin T-tail. Dzyne proposed a blended-wing-body design similar to Boeing’s but for a regional-airliner size aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s design features a hybrid wing body with twin engines mounted on pylons attached to and trailing the wing.

Aurora Flight Sciences

Boeing BWB

Boeing truss-braced wing

Lockheed Martin

The CEO of Qantas has challenged Airbus and Boeing to build an airliner that could fly nonstop from Sydney to London with a full payload, by 2022. “This is a last frontier in global aviation,” said Alan Joyce, in an address to investors on Friday. “The antidote to the tyranny of distance. And a revolution for air travel in Australia.” A direct flight would last about 20 hours, about four hours less travel time for a journey to London than today’s flights, which require a fuel stop in Asia or the Middle East. New airplanes now in development can “almost do the job,” Joyce said – the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350ULR. Both have adequate range, but not with a full load. “We believe advances in the next few years will close the gap, and Qantas has the unique operational experience to be the airline that helps make it happen,” Joyce said. “This would be one of the most strategically important aircraft orders in the history of Qantas.”

Joyce said he is calling the campaign “Project Sunrise,” a nod to the legendary Double Sunrise flights operated by Qantas across the Indian Ocean during World War II. “They remained airborne long enough to see two sunrises in what was an incredible feat of endurance given the technology of the day,” he said. Joyce said he has written to the CEOs of Boeing and Airbus to extend the challenge to them.

Continental 'Factory new CM Magnetos at near-rebuilt pricing'

While the aviation industry in the U.S. is fighting hard to oppose proposals to privatize the air traffic system, Nav Canada, the private not-for-profit company that runs Canada’s ATC, said recently it will refund $60 million in fees to its customers this year. “Higher than expected traffic growth this year has put us in a position to be able to refund [these fees] to our customers,” said CEO Neil Wilson, in a news release on Aug. 11. “In the past, Nav Canada has spread the return of previous years’ surpluses, when applicable, by temporarily reducing rates for the coming year. With the unusually high traffic growth, we decided to implement a refund, which will enable our customers to fully benefit sooner.” Fees are also going down, effective Sept. 1, with a 3.5 percent average reduction to base rates and a 0.4 percent one-time rate reduction.

Nav Canada was established in 1996 to provide air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for Canada’s domestic and international airspace. The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association recently told AOPA they should stop citing Canada’s system as an example of failure. COPA President Bernard Gervais said his 17,000 members “are largely satisfied” with the service they receive from Nav Canada, although COPA has had some issues with Nav Canada's restriction of VFR access to some of Canada's major airports in recent months. General aviation advocacy groups in the U.S. are united in opposition to efforts to privatize the U.S. system. The groups warn that the proposed new corporation would be dominated by the airlines and GA needs would be secondary.

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The International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading Foundation is giving $10,000 to Women in Aviation International (WAI) to expand distribution of Aviation for Girls magazine and produce an updated brochure on aviation careers. "With this ISTAT Foundation grant, we address two important issues facing aviation: attracting young people to the aviation community and giving them concrete information on the multitude of aviation careers open to them,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “The magazine and careers brochure are take-home resources which we hope will inspire young people to join the ranks of the aviation workforce, and we thank the ISTAT Foundation for sharing our vision through its generosity.”

The Aviation for Girls magazine will be widely circulated at WAI’s annual Girls in Aviation Day, held on Sept. 23 this year, with local WAI chapters introducing local girls to the aviation community and its career possibilities. This is the third year that WAI has received an ISTAT grant. Women in Aviation International, founded in 1990, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests with over 12,000 active members.

BREAKTHROUGH! - Cubcrafters

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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 www.ntsb.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at www.aviationsafetymagazine.com.

May 13, 2017, Muskogee, Okla.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing at about 1500 Central time, following a partial loss of engine power during cruise flight. The private pilot was not injured; his passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that about 20 minutes into a local flight, the airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power at 3000 feet msl. The pilot applied corrective actions, but the engine continued to operate at only 500 rpm. He chose to make a forced landing on a highway, during which the left wing struck a road sign and the nose landing gear fork separated from the strut. The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude.

Examination revealed the fuel selector was positioned to draw fuel from the right fuel tank, which contained about 10 gallons of fuel. Neither the left wing tank nor the supply line located between the engine driven fuel pump and the carburetor contained fuel. When the electric fuel pump was activated with the fuel selector on the left tank, the pump cavitated and discharged minimal fuel. When switched to the right fuel tank, the pump cavitated for a few seconds before it established a typical fuel flow.

May 15, 2017, Teterboro, N.J.

Gates Learjet Model 35A

At 1529 Eastern time, the airplane departed controlled flight while circling to land, and impacted a commercial building and parking lot. The captain and first officer died; no one on the ground was injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

At about 1515, the flight was cleared to descend to 3000 feet msl, and then cleared for the ILS Runway 6 approach at Teterboro, circle to land Runway 1. The flight was subsequently cleared to land on Runway 1 and issued winds of 320 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 32. Radar data indicate the flight did not start its right circling turn until it was less than a mile from the approach end of Runway 6.

A tower controller observed the airplane bank hard to the right, with its wings almost perpendicular to the ground. The airplane then appeared to level out for just a second or two before the left wing dropped, showing the entire top of the airplane. Other witnesses described seeing the airplane’s wings “wobbling” before the left wing dropped and the airplane descended to the ground. The accident site was about ˝ nm from the Runway 1 threshold.

May 15, 2017, Dowling, Mich.

Mooney M20E Super 21

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1330 Eastern time when it impacted trees, a fence and a telephone pole, while landing at a private grass airstrip. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the airspeed indicator was not indicating as high as it normally does during flight. While on final approach for landing, the pilot decreased his airspeed to 70 mph, but the airplane would not settle to the runway so he went around. During the second attempt to land, the pilot decreased his airspeed to 60 mph and “forced” the airplane to land. The airplane porpoised and continued off of the runway, hitting trees, a fence and a telephone pole.

May 15, 2017, Eleuthera, Bahamas

Mitsubishi MU-2B-40

At 1339 Eastern time, radar and voice communication were lost over international waters near Eleuthera, Bahamas. Debris associated with the airplane was found floating amidst a fuel sheen the following day. The airplane was en route from Puerto Rico to Titusville, Fla., at FL240. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operating IFR.

According to FAA records, the airplane was a recent purchase, registered on January 23, 2017. It had been flown along the same route several times during the four months the pilot operated the airplane. After maintaining the same relative heading, airspeed and altitude for about 2.5 hours, the airplane’s radar target went into “coast” status and there were no further communications with the airplane. The commercial pilot reported 1480 total hours of flight experience as of December 2016. Satellite imagery in the area depicted a consistent cloud layer with cloud tops around 40,000 feet. Upper air soundings confirmed icing conditions between -10 and -20 degrees C in clouds.

May 15, 2017, Firebaugh, Calif.

Lancair Evolution Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1630 Pacific time during a forced landing. The private pilot and one rear seat passenger did not sustain any injuries. A front seat passenger and two rear seat passengers received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; the aircraft was operated IFR.

While in cruise at FL250, the windshield “exploded” without any warning. The airplane instantly lost cabin pressure and the pilot’s headset departed the airplane. The pilot donned his oxygen mask and initiated a steep descent. After identifying the nearest suitable airport, the pilot followed the magenta line to the airport. On final approach, the left main landing gear did not show a down indication. The pilot recycled the landing gear to no avail and decided to land with the landing gear retracted. The airplane made contact with the runway at a high speed but then overran the runway, impacted a fence and traversed a road before it came to rest in a field.

May 22, 2017, Noatak, Alaska

Cessna U206F Stationaire

The airplane was destroyed when a fire broke out while taxiing after landing at a remote unimproved site. The commercial pilot and single passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

The pilot later reported taxiing to the end of the landing site and turning around while raising the airplane’s flaps. He began to feel heat on his face and noticed flames in the aft cabin near the cargo door. Both the pilot and passenger immediately exited the airplane. The majority of the fuselage and right wing were consumed by fire.

May 24, 2017, Augusta, Ga.

Beechcraft Model 58 Baron

At about 0100 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a gear-up landing. The commercial pilot was not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight; the flight operated IFR.

The pilot later stated he departed on a personal flight at 0715. Later in the day, he accepted the accident flight with an expected departure time of 1630, but takeoff was delayed until 2000. The pilot stated that while on approach, he did not extend the landing gear at the final approach fix, which was standard procedure, and he failed to confirm a safe landing gear indication before landing. He reported that he was fatigued, and his attempts to contact the fixed base operator during approach distracted him. The pilot reported 14,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 6000 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

May 27, 2017, Haines, Alaska

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

The airplane collided with the ground shortly after a low-level pass over a remote airstrip during a landing attempt. The commercial pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The rear-seat passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The rear-seat passenger later reported the pilot intentionally shut down the right engine to demonstrate how to restart it. Despite several attempts, however, the engine would not rotate enough to start on battery power alone. The pilot then made several attempts to restart the engine by gaining altitude and diving the airplane to use airflow to assist in rotating the engine. After two unsuccessful attempts to air-start the engine, the pilot diverted to a remote gravel airstrip. Witnesses observed the accident airplane at tree top level at the end of the airstrip. It descended just before banking right and impacting the shoreline. The landing gear was found extended, the wing flaps were up. The right propeller was feathered; the left one was under power at impact.

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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Canada Just Isn't the Same as the U.S.

by Mark Baker

When Congress returns from summer recess in early September, they will consider a vote on H.R. 2997, the 21st Century AIRR Act, which would remove air traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and turn it over to the airlines. Supporters of the bill often point to our neighbors to the north as a shining example of how ATC privatization is successful, and some in Canada, including our counterpart, are content with what they have. But with operations that are one-tenth the scale and complexity of the U.S.’s airspace system, comparing ourselves to Canada is a moot point.

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., an outspoken critic of ATC privatization, said comparing American and Canadian air traffic is like “comparing an apple to a horseshoe; you can’t compare the two.” The congressman makes a valid point since Nav Canada deals with air traffic roughly equivalent to that of Houston and Dallas combined, far from the nearly 44,000 daily flights the United States ATC system handles.

The U.S. national airspace system works well and is the envy of the world. Why would we want to jeopardize that? Broken promises, staff shortages, a lack of access and a decline in general aviation is what the U.S. airspace system faces if we mirror our Canadian counterparts.

At Missouri’s annual Tarkio Fly-in, pilots spoke out against the negative consequences of a privatized ATC system. Ron Renz, a test pilot, aeronautical engineer and user of both systems, was unimpressed with what privatization has done in Canada. Renz said GA fees in Canada have gone up while traffic has gone down and virtually every small airport is suffering. He witnessed the decline of GA, saying, “Privatization has killed GA in Canada.”

Most countries that switched to a privatized system did not receive the intended benefits. According to a 2016 Delta Air Lines study, Canadian fliers faced a 59-percent increase in ATC fees on airline tickets and in the U.K., passengers saw a 30-percent jump following privatization. Additionally, the Delta study also found that since 1998, Canadian ATC has seen their revenue go up by around 21 percent while flight volume actually decreased by 16 percent. The U.S. Government Accountability Office also found that following privatization, many Canadian general aviation pilots in rural areas faced an increase in local fees because privatization there seemed like such a good idea that the nation privatized its airports too.

Following privatization, Canadian ATC has experienced staffing shortages that continue to affect access. In Canada, NOTAMs are issued periodically advising VFR traffic of delays, reroutes or declined clearance requests around the country’s busiest airports such as Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg during peak operations. 

Temporary VFR bans aren’t that uncommon with the Nav Canada system. Just recently, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association spoke out about a ban on VFR flights at Vancouver International Airport restricting VFR arrivals, other than seaplanes and helicopters.  “The Vancouver NOTAM is a special concern because its long continuous duration is unprecedented,” said COPA President and CEO Bernard Gervais. “COPA has been in contact with Nav Canada about the NOTAM and we’ve been assured that measures are being taken to correct the situation.”

Barry Powers, a pilot who frequently flies up North, said privatization has hurt GA in Canada because of the associated costs. “Now, they want to charge you for everything, they send a bill and it discourages people.” When discussing privatization in the United States, Powers said, “That would be a terrible idea. It [ATC] works well here.”

Handing over control of the skies to the airlines with unchecked power would be disastrous. Nearly every airline has filed for bankruptcy, and these are the ones that charge billions each year just so you can bring your luggage, the ones that want to reduce seat sizes even further, the ones that have an excruciatingly dismal customer service record, and the ones that can’t even handle computer glitches. How are they supposed to handle our entire airspace system and national security?

In addition to the broken promises, lack of access and decline of GA traffic, switching to an airline-dominated privatized system would add almost $100 billion dollars to the deficit, as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently announced. That money is better spent on updating our system with newer technology. We have a system that works for all users today, as proven by our safety record, and there’s no need to mimic Canada’s ATC model.

Mark Baker is president and CEO of the U.S.-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 

We Wouldn’t Go Back to Government ATC in Canada

by Bernard Gervais

So what’s it like to fly in a privatized Air Navigation Services (ANS) system?  Not that bad actually.  Probably just cheaper and simpler. ANS (or ATC) has been privatized in Canada for the last 20 years. I was not around and not even a pilot back then when it happened, but I quickly caught up on the history, from looking at our old clippings and reading through historical documents. At first COPA was against privatization, not knowing what the future held for our members and their GA aircraft. Understandably, because the ANS Act said, “Nav Canada’s charges in respect to recreational and private aircraft must not be unreasonable or undue.” That’s not the most reassuring piece of legislation you can find during a transition period. That left the door open to any type of speculation and a little apprehension amongst the aviation community.

Now, we know. Close to 30 percent of our members don’t even pay a single penny because their aircraft weigh less than 1360 lbs. The vast majority pay $66 per year and the heavier birds (more than 3000 kg or 6600 lbs.) pay a little more. All of this has continuously come down over the years. It’s also not costing the taxpayers anything, based on the user-pay model.

We have also noticed in the long run that there has not been any degradation of services for GA. The governance model in place is comprised of a board with four out of 15 positions being airlines-appointed.  There is also 20-member Advisory Committee reporting to the board. It represents a broad spectrum of organizations with an interest in the ANS, half of which are GA associations. I sit on that committee.

What’s the typical use of the system? Whether VFR or IFR, you call up the 1-800 number, get a detailed weather briefing and then decide about filing your flight plan with the person now or later or it can be done electronically through any software like ForeFlight or Flight Plan. That’s it. Take off and your flight plan gets activated by ATC or at the time you said you would take off. Land and your plan gets closed by ATC. No need to call FSS. You get a bill once a year. Doesn’t cost anything to taxpayers.

There are certainly some things affecting GA, specifically VFR and IFR training flights. The system is not perfect. With a lot of retirement from the baby-boomer crowd, there are staffing issues around the five or six biggest airports in the country on sunny weekends or peak vacation periods, where service can temporarily be denied. These issues would be like trying to get into JFK or Atlanta VFR with your C-172 on a beautiful Saturday morning, or trying to shoot an approach at O’Hare during peak inbound traffic. There may be some delays or you may get turned away. Still, there is no reason why this should happen and the situation is being closely watched by the Advisory Committee and Nav Canada’s board.

So things are working out pretty good. Would anyone go back to a government-run system? No. Not everything is perfect, but our members all like the services and the system. It is one of the safest in the world, the governance model is just and fair, the fees are low (free for many) and we get great service, without costing taxpayers anything. Nav Canada has also been able to be innovative and is at the forefront of technology, as the major shareholder of Aireon (space-based ADS-B). With anticipated profits, is free ANS for all in Canada in the future? Perhaps.

Bernard Gervais is president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association.

L3 Aviation Products continues to advance its Lynx NGT9000 multifunction ADS-B transponder. In addition to ADS-B weather and traffic, the new software enables display of Stormscope lightning data, enhanced traffic surveillance and terrain alerting. Aviation Consumer magazine Editor Larry Anglisano went flying with the system, along with L3's Todd Scholten and Jessica Power, in the L3 company airplane for this product demonstration video.

In anything we do aloft, Risk pokes its ugly head beneath the wing flap. But when confronted with the facts, Risk melts into a sniveling bully unable to confront your awesome ability to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

'IFR' Is the Only Magazine for Pilots Who Understand the Realities of Instrument Flying || Subscribe and Take Advantage of Our Special Offer

While flying back to my home airport, KAVQ, I heard this exchange from two pilots entering the non-towered airport airspace:

Cherokee: Cherokee 1234 entering left downwind for runway 12, full stop.

A Grumman Tiger pilot was also entering left downwind making a similar call.

Cherokee pilot: Grumman aircraft, we will swing wide since you are faster to allow you to land first.

Grumman pilot: No problem, I'm retired.  Grumman number two to land behind the Cherokee.

And so they did.


 

John Winter 

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