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Volume 25, Number 39c
September 28, 2018
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House Passes FAA Reauthorization
Kate O'Connor

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 302 Division B) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 398 to 23 on Wednesday. The bill will authorize FAA funding and programs until 2023. If it also passes the Senate, which has to happen before it can be signed into law, it will be the first time that the FAA has received a five-year reauthorization since 1982.

“I am proud of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s bipartisan work on this legislation,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R, Pa. “Not only does it provide FAA programs with stability and certainty for the next five years, its numerous reforms will allow America’s aviation industry to continue to safely innovate, thrive and lead.”

As previously reported by AVweb, this version of the reauthorization legislation, which was released on Saturday, incorporated several compromises that legislators believed would allow it to pass both House and Senate votes. A provision that would have given the Department of Transpiration oversight of certain airline fees was removed last-minute. A few notable provisions that did make into the 1,200-page bill were a controversial set of additional restrictions for model aircraft, a requirement for the FAA to set seat pitch and width minimums on commercial airliners, returning supersonic civilian aircraft to U.S. airspace and further regulation of unmanned aircraft operations, including expanding unmanned aircraft traffic management systems and allowing the government to shoot down drones thought to be a threat.

Several aviation groups including the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) have voiced their support for the bill. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill before the FAA’s current authorization expires on Sept. 30.

Everything I Know About Flying I Learned From Social Media
Paul Bertorelli

Once upon a time in a world thought to be a fantasyland, but that actually existed, if you did something stupid in an airplane that didn’t kill you, this would happen: An avuncular man with pattern baldness wearing a short-sleeve white shirt, a narrow black tie and a blue FAA nametag, would put his arm around you and start the conversation by saying, “son.” Wisdom and advice would flow, but your certificate wouldn’t be wrested from your wallet. And a good thing, too, because you probably left it on your dresser.

It’s different now. If you do something embarrassing, it will be caught on video, likely from several angles, edited, posted and viralized before the engine cools. And what will happen next will be the beat down of your life on social media because everyone is, well, just smarter than you.

I hardly need to post the video link because there are only about six people on the planet who haven’t seen the footage of the hapless pilot of a Cirrus get ignominiously dragged across the ramp after the airplane got away while he was propping it. Only two of those people haven’t commented.

I’m going to skip adding another lash to the poor man because I think the horse has already been reduced to red molecular mush and I can’t add much … other than to make the case for propping big ass engines in the first place.

That’s right, I’m arguing for and not against propping. Somehow, the notion has evolved that it’s OK to prop 65-HP Continentals, but an O-360? That’s suicide. I used to think that myself until the starter on the right engine of a Navajo I was flying crumped in, of all places, Teterboro. When I described my plight to the maintenance shop, the mechanic on duty said he could prop me so I could fly home to get the starter he didn’t have in the parts bin.

Prop a TIO-540-J2BD? Are you nuts?, I asked, but not in those words. He said something that began with “son” and ended with “just watch.” So I manned up, he propped the engine and away I flew. Both mains were chocked while all this supposed impossibility and inadvisability was going on. I’m sure I was on the brakes, too.   

So yeah, you can prop a Cirrus. Or a Bonanza, an Arrow, a Mooney or almost any small airplane with pistons. A DC-3? I don’t think so. But I saw a pre-YouTube film of some clever lads wrapping a rope around the prop hub and tugging it with a truck to spin the engine to life. Necessity may birth invention, but desperation nurses it. Maybe it's Briggs and Stratton run amok, but on other the hand, it's just a question of scale.

The usual reason for doing any of this is a dead battery or, as in my case with the Navajo, a defective starter. But it is a good idea? Depends. If the battery can be easily and conveniently charged and you’re not in a hurry, that solution is less risky and allows you to have that second cup of coffee while you savor the wisdom of not planting yourself in front to something that can cut you to pieces. The second point would be to never be in a hurry around airplanes. It just never seems to be of any benefit.

But if you want to prop just because you want to prop, chock the sucker down with the biggest blocks you can find and/or tie the tail. I do both now, after my own near miss of losing track of the Cub. Just don’t forget that even after doing all this, you can still get injured or killed. But then that’s true of flying in general, no? Why give up living just to stay alive?

Pro tip: Always have a ballpeen hammer either in the hangar or your flight bag. Before you swing that first blade, find every camera you can and smash it to bits. Can't a man at least enjoy his screw ups in privacy?

One last thing. Please keep the comments civil. We had to switch them off on the story about this because of downright nastiness. So, please don't.

Two Killed in Falcon 50 Accident
Kate O'Connor

A Falcon 50 jet slid off of the runway after landing at Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in Greenville County, South Carolina, killing the pilot and copilot. The two passengers onboard were injured in the accident and remain hospitalized. Airport director Joe Frasher said in a media briefing that he saw the aircraft land and that the touchdown appeared normal. No emergency communications were received from the crew. 

The accident occurred at about 1:40 p.m. local time on Thursday. The aircraft reportedly overran the runway, crossed a grass safety area, went over an embankment and came to rest on the airport road. One of the engines remained running until first responders were able to break into the cockpit to shut it down. A hazmat team was called to the scene to deal with fuel leaking into the watershed via a roadside drainage ditch. 

Frasher said he believed the aircraft was stopping in Greenville to pick up additional passengers, but that its airport of origin and planned destination were not yet known. The aircraft is registered to Delaware-based Global Aircraft Acquisitions. The FAA is onsite and a team from the NTSB is due to arrive shortly to begin its investigation.

More Dime-sized ADS-B Tech From uAvionix
Larry Anglisano

When complying with the 2020 ADS-B mandate, you'll still need a fully functional Mode A/C transponder. That means a transponder-based ADS-B solution is often the best choice for aging aircraft that haven't seen a transponder upgrade since the Reagan era. If the aircraft flies above 18,000 feet, there's no choice but to go with an ADS-B transponder. Montana-based uAvionix now looks to be aggressively pursuing that competitive market with its new 1090nano, a chipset that it says represents the core technology it will use in certified ADS-B transponders for both the GA and UAS markets. 

The new 1090nano single-chip ADS-B solution is similar to the dime-sized 978 MHz T-UAT ADS-B chip that's used in the company's skyBeacon and tailBeacon low-cost ADS-B exterior lighting fixtures, but the 1090nano uses 1090ES extended squitter transponder transmissions when connected with an approved WAAS GPS. uAvionix already has that technology, too, with its $500, 27-gram TSO-certified FYXnav miniature GPS position source used in UAS applications. 

uAvionix says its new chipset has a place in both the UAS and GA market because it offers a dual-band ADS-B solution when paired with its existing 978 UAT chip. Both chipsets are capable of transmitting ADS-B broadcasts at extremely low power (0.01-0.25 watts), while the dime-sized footprint means the transponder can be mounted remotely. The company's current ping200Sr Mode C and Mode S ADS-B remote transponder offers a clue as to what the new transponder tech might look like. The device measures roughly 3.5 by 2.24 by 0.66 inches and weighs 76 grams—that's small enough to mount virtually anyplace in the airframe.

With uAvionix recently earning TSO certification for its bolt-on skyBeacon ADS-B position light, the new 1090nano chipset announcement comes not a month after the industry learned of a patent infringement lawsuit from Garmin, which alleges that uAvionix copied some of its ADS-B technology. Read the news brief here. In its recent 1090nano chipset media announcement, uAvionix mentioned that much of its latest tech was made possible by two major investors— Airbus Ventures and Playground Global. uAvionix was founded in 2015 after it received Series A and Series B investment funding from these firms.

For more, visit


First G500 Delivered
Kate O'Connor

Gulfstream announced the delivery of its first G500 midsize business jet on Thursday. An unnamed customer took delivery of the aircraft at Gulfstream’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. According to Gulfstream, the G500 has already established more than 20 new city-pair speed records and its five test aircraft have flown more than 5,000 hours.

“We’re proud of the work we and our suppliers have done to deliver a technologically advanced, all-new, clean-sheet aircraft that exceeds our customers’ expectations and continues the longstanding Gulfstream tradition of excellence,” said Gulfstream President Mark Burns.

The G500 was introduced in 2014 and first flew in May 2015. The aircraft received both its FAA type certification and production certificate last July. The G500 has a long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.85, 5,200 -NM range and maximum takeoff weight of 79,600 pounds. It can seat up to 19 passengers. Other features include a third-generation Enhanced Vision System, active-control sidesticks, 10 touchscreens and a head-up display. The company has previously stated that it expects to certify the longer-range G600 later this year.

ICYMI: CAFE Symposium Now Posted Online
Mary Grady

The CAFE Foundation, which works to promote new aircraft technologies, held its 12th Electric Aircraft Symposium in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in July, and now all 19 of the speakers’ presentations have been posted online. The forums explore the future of electric-powered aviation and opportunities in the sector. The speakers include representatives from Aurora Flight Sciences, Uber Elevate, BRS Aerospace, Terrafugia and more.

“Our industry faces challenges,” says CAFE Executive Director Yolanka Wulff in the event’s opening remarks, including not only technology but also regulation, certification, funding, strategy and public acceptance. Yet, “electric flight is becoming a reality,” she said, and she expects a near-term global revolution in all-electric, hybrid and autonomous flight. The CAFE Foundation partnered with the Vertical Flight Society to produce the videos. EAS 2019 will be held in Oshkosh, July 20-21, the weekend prior to EAA AirVenture.

Bell Demonstrates Distributed Propulsion Aircraft
Kate O'Connor

Bell Helicopter demonstrated its unmanned Hybrid Drive Train Research Aircraft (HYDRA) at the first Tech Demo edition of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center of Excellence in Alma, Quebec, this week. According to the company, HYDRA uses distributed propulsion technology and a circular wing to “sustain wing-borne flight at reduced power consumption, while increasing its speed and range over a traditional multi-rotor aircraft.” The demonstration flight lasted for 40 minutes and ran through automated maneuvers including takeoff, conversion into wing-borne flight, conversion into hover mode and landing.

Bell hopes the research done with HYDRA will eventually allow the company to develop passenger transports and large unmanned aircraft that use distributed propulsion technology. “HYDRA has already proved to be a great teacher,” the company said. “Our team has discovered the unexpected stability of a circular wing in flight and certain control laws that allow aircraft stability in VTOL mode, airplane mode, during transition and even in the event of a system failure.” HYDRA is also being used to study new hybrid propulsion technologies such as electric and fluid dynamic power systems.

Partners To Fly Industrial Airships
Mary Grady

Hybrid Air Freighters, based in Paris, and Columbia Helicopters, in Oregon, have agreed to team up to operate a fleet of 12 airships to be built by Lockheed Martin. In a joint news release issued earlier this month, the companies said the airships will provide “high performance and innovative logistical services” for the oil and gas industries, as well as mining and large-scale construction sectors. The ships will transport both freight and personnel in remote areas. No significant ground-based infrastructure is required, and the airships can land on any type of surface, hovercraft-style.

HAF, a partner with the aircraft manufacturer Daher, agreed to buy the hybrid air freighters from Lockheed Martin for about $500 million, according to a June 2017 story in Air Cargo World. Each aircraft carries up to 21 tons in a 60-foot-long cargo bay.

Picture of the Week, September 27, 2018
Taken with an iPhone camera that I managed to not drop out the open door of the Cub. The location is the reservoir in Kokomo, Indiana. Heartland, close to sunset. Photo by Laura Stants.

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