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Volume 25, Number 47b
November 21, 2018
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GAMA: All Aircraft Shipments Are Up
Mary Grady

In its third-quarter shipment report, GAMA has found the overall delivery of airplanes and rotorcraft increased in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2017. “This is one of those few times since the great recession that we have seen all segments up in shipment numbers,” said GAMA President Pete Bunce. “While there remain some soft spots in a few segments, including business jet deliveries and impacts being felt from global trade disputes, I’m optimistic about our industry’s performance in 2019.” The report found piston airplane deliveries increased by 8.3 percent, to 784 units, compared to the same period last year.

Shipments of turboprops rose by 5.6 percent, from 374 to 395 airplanes. Business jet shipments increased from 433 to 446; piston rotorcraft deliveries were up 15.8 percent to 220; turbine rotorcraft shipments increased by 8.3 percent to 510; and shipments of turboprops improved 5.6 percent, from 374 to 395 airplanes. Business jet shipments increased from 433 to 446. Despite the rise in deliveries, billings declined overall, reflecting a trend toward smaller, less expensive aircraft in the jet category, including 41 copies of the Cirrus Vision jet. GAMA says it also is expanding its membership, mainly due to its efforts to reach out to the eVTOL development community. New members include Raisbeck Engineering, Ampaire, AVIAGE, Robotic Skies, SkyRyse, Volocopter and ZeroAvia.

Sure, You Voted. But Can You Renew Yourself?
Paul Berge

It’s inevitable, unpleasant and recurs every two years. No, not elections. We’re all very proud of your I Voted And You Didn’t sticker that’s been on your kombucha-stained, Sporty’s flight suit since 2010, but did you renew something fundamental in your life? If you’re a pilot, you probably did. If you’re not a pilot … what’s holding you back? You think Oprah is going to knock on your door and drag you to the airport? Actually, if I think that out, and I haven’t, getting Oprah into flight training could just be what GA needs. But let’s stick with renewals.

My instructor’s certificate will expire ten days before I turn 65, and this confluence has unleased double-barreled junk mail. Airline training offers have been replaced by ads for walk-in tubs and Medicare Part D scams. The whiff of my expiring CFI ticket has drawn a frenzy of offers to renew online with numerous flight schools. Non-instructors should know that the CFI renewal process is vaguely like a flight review that often doesn’t include flying (ironic).

Many pilots dread getting a BFR, but that biennial, sweaty-palm ritual wherein you explain to the CFI that your logbook isn’t lying, and you really have only flown three hours since your last review, pales when compared to what a CFI suffers to keep her instructor’s ticket. The FAA offers several paths to refreshing one’s CFIness. Let’s review those, and I’ll suggest an alternative that the FAA will surely ignore.

Instructors with a fondness for hotel conference rooms along the New Jersey Turnpike can enroll in two-day, 16-hour CFI renewal courses that include free coffee. I tried this route some years ago and sat among a couple dozen other CFIs, resembling kids who hadn’t done their homework, all hoping the teacher wouldn’t call on them. The course was efficient, informative and blew by like a Weekend At Bernie’s, if Bernie was a FAA-approved cyborg who charged from subject to subject, making all topics meld into a joyless bundle of get-me-out-of-here. Which is why two years later I opted for CFI Renewal Plan B.

Renew-at-home-in-your-underwear has been my choice for the past few cycles. Making sure to tape over the camera lens on my monitor, so the online instructors can’t see me, I log into the renewal link, enter my Visa card and travel at my own pace through the mandatory—and a few optional—topics that remind me just how little I retain after the PowerPoint goes dark. Relativity explores new dimensions when the 16 hours take weeks to complete outside a classroom environment, but at least I don’t have to pretend I’m listening … or even stay awake. During the periodic quizzes I scroll back to discover what the lesson was actually about. Upon successful completion—and I’ve never met a CFI who hasn’t been successful—I hit a key, a bell rings, and a tiny reward pellet drops from the computer, allowing another CFI to renew his wings.

After many years of our relationship, though, I had to tell my online school that I was exploring other renewal possibilities. It’s not you, Martha, it’s me. One renewal method involves letting the old certificate expire. That’s stupid, expensive and involves taking a real checkride. I can’t speak for other instructors, but my initial CFI ride with FSDO was thorough. No way I want to do that again. That’d be like demonstrating how lousy I am at parallel parking in order to renew my driver’s license.

The easiest renewal I had was two years ago when I invoked the FAR 61.197 clause that says if an instructor successfully gets 80 percent of five students (FAA’s way of saying, “four”) through a practical test for a certificate or rating inside 24 months, CFI renewal is automatic … well, almost. There’s paperwork, a goat is sacrificed, and you do have to shine your shoes before visiting your local FSDO, which for many pilots isn’t so local.

Before my last renewal I’d tallied seven new private pilots, so my CFI recert was in the bag. But I have to wonder: Why just checkride recommendations? Flight instructors do so much more than grind out new pilots. Why can’t the rule include other worthy CFI services, such as giving successful flight reviews or additional training for complex and high performance? My specialty is tailwheel training, so why can’t those newly skilled pilots count the same as graduates from an easy-to-land Cherokee program?

Even teaching a student to fuel a Cessna 172 while standing on a rickety stepladder in Iowa winter should count for something. Or getting that stuck can of Dr. Pepper from the FBO’s vending machine. These are important instructor skill sets. Gussy them up with a few layers of lesson plan objectives and, maybe, see-and-avoid, some ADM and CRM, and I’d say these undervalued CFI achievements should be renewal-worthy. I’ll await the FAA’s response to my suggestions.

Meanwhile, I have airport fences to mend. My past 24 months’ primary training tally was low, so I need to contact my old friends in the cyber-renewal world. Hope there won’t be any hard feelings, because I really need that I Renewed sticker on my flight suit. I’ll let Oprah handle the Medicare stuff for me.

Three Dead In Air Ambulance Accident
Kate O'Connor

A Cessna 441 crashed near Bismarck, North Dakota, late Sunday night, killing all three people on board. The aircraft, which was owned by Bismarck Air Medical and used as an air ambulance, was en route from Bismarck to Williston, North Dakota, to pick up a patient. The victims have been identified as Todd Lasky, 48, Bonnie Cook, 63, and Chris Iverson, 47. Lasky was a pilot with Bismarck Air Medical and Iverson worked as a paramedic with the same company. Cook was a nurse at CHI St. Alexius Health medical center.

According to the Morton County Sheriff's Office, the aircraft was reported missing at approximately 11 p.m., about 30 minutes after it departed from Bismarck Airport. The Sheriff’s Office also reported that the Civil Air Patrol and an Air Force rescue team were able to track the aircraft’s location using cellphone forensics and radar analysis. No emergency communications were received.

The wreckage was discovered about 20 miles northwest of Mandan, North Dakota. Early reports have suggested an inflight breakup. The NTSB and FAA are investigating.

The Pilot’s Lounge #140: Ready For Winter
Rick Durden

As he does from time to time, Dave, the proprietor of the flight school here at the virtual airport, sent out a mass email to his aircraft rental customers—students and certificated pilots—asking them to come to an evening gathering to socialize and discuss an issue of interest to all of us. The evening’s theme was getting ready for winter flying. We live where the snow can get pretty deep. Dave recognizes that even experienced pilots can use a refresher course and many of the newer pilots hadn’t yet been exposed to much of what he was going to present. Dave’s been around the aviation block a few times and a number of the pilots present had significant cold weather experience, so I sat back and took notes.

Take Your Time

Dave started the evening’s discussion by emphasizing his main point: In the cold, allow extra time. For everything. Accept it. Plan for it. With that in mind, everything else goes pretty well.

It’s a good idea to show up about two hours before you intend to depart. It is likely that it will take that long to get the hangar opened, get the area in front of the hangar or tiedown cleared of snow, for the line folks to get the fuel truck started and service the airplane (Murphy's law requires that it wasn't fueled last night), to get the frost off the airplane, to get it started and to simply get to the runway. Too often, renters show up on time and work like mad to get the airplane ready to go, only to discover they have used up their time slot. As we say, it was nice of them to have gotten the airplane ready to go for the next pilot. Ever notice that smart renters never sign up for the first slot in the winter?

Dave had some tips for aircraft owners: Before the first snow is expected, take the wheel pants off. Wheel pants collect snow and ice, which in turn can prevent the wheel from rotating freely. If you happen to slide into something hard, a bare tire will bounce off. A wheel fairing will crack or break, especially when brittle from the cold.

Carry a good quality CO detector—not the nearly worthless brown spot stick-on-the-panel thing. Exhaust systems wear out. Every year, there are a few accidents due to CO poisoning.

The winter preparation topic started the pilots talking. Most of the Cessna owners said they cover up the cabin air inlet openings on the wings. Some use duct tape, while others use commercially available attachments. All said that it makes a big difference in cabin comfort. A Piper owner said that he covers the inlets as well, but he discovered the hard way that one of them goes to the avionics stack and the lack of cooling air had fried his radios—so make sure that you’re only blocking cabin air inlets.

The pilots who have been around also make sure that the baggage curtain behind the back seat seals well. Most of the cold drafts come from the tail of the airplane. A bunch of the newer pilots were amazed to learn that the airflow within the airplane is from the aft fuselage toward the front, which explains why the rear seat passengers are so much colder than those in the front.

The more-experienced pilots and some of the guys who had taken survival training all said that it is wise to wear your warm coat while flying, not take it off once in the cabin. Should you have to make a forced landing, you won't have time to put on the warm stuff. These experienced cold-weather pilots also carry at least a sleeping bag in addition to their usual survival gear. Most have complete survival kits for cold-weather operations.


Dave emphasized that, when it's cold, pilots tend to hurry the preflight. Lots of things can go wrong: Components are more brittle, hoses crack, liquids freeze. A hurried preflight means that the chances of missing something are way too high. The rule of thumb is that when a pilot feels the urge to hurry that is a red warning flag to slow down, to take one's time. And, it sounds silly but, as your mother told you, bundle up. Dress warmly so that you can spend enough time on the preflight to make sure everything works.

Get organized before you walk to the airplane. Have everything for the cockpit the way you want it so that you don't have to futz with stuff once you get in. While you sit in a cold airplane, before startup, you are fogging and freezing up the windows. The defroster may not be able to deal with that, particularly on the sides. Spotting traffic can be a bit of a problem with frosted-over windows.

As you approach an airplane parked outside, examine it closely for any snow, ice or frost. It should go without saying that any contamination must be removed from the wings, tail and fuselage before even thinking about starting the engine. Large accumulations of snow should be swept off with a broom, taking care not to damage control surfaces or antennas. A short ladder can help. Smaller accumulations and stubborn spots, including ice, should be dealt with by either rolling the bird into a heated hangar or by using deicing fluid. If you plan ahead, many FBOs will be able to put the plane in a hangar overnight—for a fee, of course. If none of these options are available, remove any remaining frost or snow with your glove or with an old rag—it's better on the paint than an ice scraper or a credit card. Take care to ensure that there is no snow, ice or slush in the gaps between control surfaces. Even if it's warm enough to melt this stuff on the ramp, it’s likely to freeze at altitude—in the worst possible location at the worst possible time.

First thing on the preflight after opening the door: Put the ignition key on top of the panel so you and others can see it is not in the ignition. Then, turn on the master switch to see if you have electrical power. Do not drop the electric flaps, as you may need all of what may be limited battery power to crank the engine.

If fuel won't drain from a quick drain, the drain is frozen. Therefore, there is water in some form in the fuel system. No, you are not going anywhere until you get that one solved by a mechanic. You don't know where the water/ice is. The risk is simply too high. An engine failure due to ice in the fuel system could well delay your arrival at Grandmother's house.

When to Preheat

The twofold question that came up early in the discussion was pretty straightforward, and I saw a lot of nodding heads when it was asked: What defines “cold” when it comes to a cold start? When should you preheat?

Cutting directly to the point, there is a number that can be considered hard and fast: 20 degrees F. At anything below 20 degrees F (there are exceptions that go down to 10 degrees F—use 20 and be safe), the engine should be heated before starting. There is definitive guidance on the subject from the engine manufacturers — Continental Service Information Letter 03-1 and Lycoming Service Instruction 1505.

Both manufacturers are blunt about cold starting risks: For example, Lycoming says, "Improper cold weather starting can result in abnormal engine wear, reduced performance, shortened time between overhauls or failure for the engine to perform properly." I am of the opinion that the "or" in that sentence should be "and." Continental warns, "Failure to properly preheat a cold-soaked engine may result in oil congealing in the engine, oil hoses and oil cooler with subsequent loss of oil flow, possible internal damage to the engine, and subsequent engine failure."

Have they made themselves clear?

Once the temperature drops below 20 degrees F, there are three generally accepted methods of getting a piston aircraft engine warmed up to a temperature at which it can be safely started and operated: 1) sticking the airplane into a heated hangar, 2) a high-volume hot air heater (preheater) and 3) an engine-mounted electric heating system.

Keep in mind that even if you have preheated the engine, if you have single-weight oil in the engine and it’s not the right viscosity for the cold, that summer-weight oil may not provide adequate lubrication.

Heated Hangar

If nature’s warm air is not available, a heated hangar is best—it warms up the entire airplane. Continental says to allow four hours to assure congealed oil is flowing.

From a technique standpoint, once the time in the heated hangar is drawing to a close, the pilot should have everything ready to go the moment the airplane is towed out—ideally with everyone in the airplane so the pilot can hit the starter as soon as the tug is clear. It helps to open the windows until the engine is running and the heater putting out warm air as windows will fog and ice over quickly due to the respiration of the aircraft occupants.


Continental and Lycoming are explicit in calling for careful use of high-volume hot air preheaters to assure that all of the engine is heated—oil sump, external oil lines, cylinders, air intake, oil cooler and oil filter. Be careful not to damage non-metallic components such as seals, hoses and drive belts. As someone who once unknowingly melted the sleeve of a down jacket using a forced-air preheater and then filled the cabin of the airplane with feathers on getting inside to start up, be careful where you point the heater and what you touch with hot parts of it.

Continental says to preheat for a minimum of 30 minutes. Lycoming says to apply heat in 5- to 10-minute intervals and then “feel the engine to be sure that it is retaining warmth.” It goes on to say that during the last five minutes, the heat should be directed to the top of the engine.

Once preheating is complete, both manufacturers call for starting the engine immediately. We agree—we’ve seen too many pilots finish preheating, then start setting up their iPads and plugging in the headsets over 10-15 minutes and then discover the engine won’t start because it’s gotten cold again.

Engine-Mounted Heaters

Engine-mounted heating systems have been reviewed periodically in our sister publication Aviation Consumer. Continental recommends a system that includes “individual cylinder head heater thermocouples, oil sump heater and crankcase heater pad.” Having owned four airplanes with engine-mounted heaters, I have found them to be handy, especially when traveling, as the combination of a blanket over the cowling and a long extension cord allows preheating at almost any airport.


Both Continental and Lycoming urge immediate starting after preheating is complete. They caution the pilot to assure that the start is made at low engine RPM, not more than 1,000, due to risk of cylinder damage from lack of lubrication and to assure that oil pressure comes into the acceptable range soon after start.

Pumping the throttle before or during start is not a good idea. It creates a high risk of engine fire on a cold start. Pumping the throttle more than once usually does nothing but flood the carburetor.

For a carbureted engine, the proper procedure is to use the primer to put fuel directly into the cylinders. Many operators recommend leaving the primer out and letting it fill with fuel after the last pre-start priming shot. Then, as the engine is cranking and fires, give another shot or two of prime.

Continental goes into detail regarding post-start procedures in cold weather. Briefly, it calls for frequently checking oil pressure to assure that there is not congealed oil somewhere in the system that can cause engine damage—it will manifest itself by high or low oil pressure indications. Do NOT let the RPM exceed 1,000 until some oil temperature is indicated. This is important—we’ve all seen the pilots who start the engine at 1,500 or 1,700 RPM; they’re damaging the engine, hot or cold. When the checklist says “throttle cracked,” it means a small fraction of an inch, not halfway to the firewall.

Continental says that if the oil pressure cannot be maintained above 30 psi or below 100 psi, shut down and repeat the preheat process. It also says not to close the cowl flaps during engine warm up.

Once oil temperature is indicating, the engine may be operated as high as 1,700 RPM; however, it should be approached gradually to make sure oil pressure does not exceed 100 psi. The runup can then be conducted. Continental recommends cycling the propeller three or four times to move cold oil out of the propeller dome. On feathering propellers, do not let the RPM drop more than 300.

Only when oil temperature exceeds 100 degrees F and oil pressure does not exceed 60 psi at 2,500 RPM is the engine sufficiently warmed to accept full rated power.

I'll add the suggestion that it’s a good idea to take an absolute minimum of five seconds in going from idle to full power during a cold weather takeoff—at least 10 seconds is probably better. I’ve seen engines cut out with rapid throttle movement in cold weather.

When the temperature is above 20 degrees F and below 40 degrees F, Continental does not require the use of preheat, but it recommends that the post preheat engine starting procedures regarding RPM, oil pressure and oil temperature be followed.

Taxi And Takeoff Considerations

If you are wearing boots, make sure you can work the rudders and brakes through full travel, and that you can work the rudder pedals without hitting the brakes inadvertently.

Naturally, check the brakes right away. If there is snow or ice on the taxiway, go more slowly than normal and be certain to hold the correct aileron deflection for the wind. On a slick taxiway, you may find yourself almost sailing the airplane, so make use of the aerodynamic controls in winter. If you taxi through any snow, assume that it is going to melt on the brakes and then freeze as you stop. If possible, try to plan your movements so that you have to use very little or no brakes at all. Stay on the center of the cleared area of the taxiway, but do not roll off onto soft ground doing so. As the wind blows and snow drifts, the painted centerline of the taxiway is rarely the center of the area between snow banks. Try to avoid rolling a wheel through loose, drifted snow as you attempt to keep the nosewheel on centerline. You will make a quick turn toward the snow and may find the prop cutting into the drift. Not fun, and sometimes expensive.

When you do the runup, make sure the tail isn't pointed at a building or another airplane so that you don't blow snow where it shouldn't be. You may clog someone's air intake or have the snow stick to and obscure a warm windshield, necessitating that the pilot shut down and get out to clear it.

Try to do the runup on a dry spot so you don't slide. Any time you have the throttle above dead idle, be looking outside as the airplane may be moving. Having the power at 1,700 RPM for the mag check while you put your head down to recite mantras is a poor way to discover you need a prop overhaul and engine teardown after you slid into a snow bank. Accordingly, keep the runup short. It is a time when the airplane can move unintentionally, so bring the power up, check the mags, prop, the alternate air/carb heat, eyeball the engine gauges and suction, then get the power back.

After the runup, assume that at least one brake will be frozen. So, have some room to maneuver as you add power. If the airplane does not roll freely, slowly continue to add power, being ready to bring it to idle. Most of the time the brakes will free up with a noticeable "bang" as the ice breaks, at somewhere around 2,000 RPM (of course, this was after you couldn't get the airplane to hold still during the runup). Keep the airplane moving and take off. Try to avoid stopping again, because you now have moisture on the brakes and they are likely to refreeze. They will probably freeze again after takeoff. This is usually not a serious problem, but it is something to keep in mind on landing.

On the takeoff roll, bring the power in smoothly over a time of 5 to 10 seconds. Keep the airplane tracking where you want it to go, as drifting snow may mean that you have to dodge and weave a bit to stay in the center of the open areas. If you run one main gear wheel through some snow, as little as a half-inch deeper than the other wheel experiences, the airplane will swerve. It may be violent, so be ready with the rudders. It may take rapid rudder pedal application, perhaps to the stop, to keep the airplane straight. On a tailwheel airplane, hitting loose snow has the added attraction of pitching the nose down abruptly. Therefore, once the tail is up, keep it low, so the thrust line of the airplane is upward, not purely horizontal. If the runway is slippery, keep the aileron correction in for the crosswind and accept that you may actually accelerate the last few knots to rotation speed sliding crabwise if rolling control is lost. You will have to point the airplane into the wind to keep it traveling in the desired direction.

In retractable gear airplanes, do not be in a hurry to suck the gear up after breaking ground. Give the wind time to blow snow off and dry the gear to lessen the potential for frozen brakes or freezing the gear in the wells.


Check your power setting charts. In cold weather the engine develops significantly more power at a given altitude than on a standard day. You will see very high indicated airspeeds, mostly because it is cold, but partially because the summertime setting of 2,500 RPM at cruise was generating significantly less power than on a cold day. For example, in a Cessna 172N, at 4,000 feet on a warm summer day, 20 degrees C above standard temperature, 2,500 RPM is 67% power. At the same altitude and RPM setting on a day when the OAT is 20 degrees C below standard temperature, it is developing 76% power. Those who do not like to run their engines at above 75% power may be in for a surprise on a winter day.


If there is an overcast and snow on the ground, you can experience what is known as "flat light." This can cause a complete loss of depth perception. Until you experience it, you simply can't believe it. Twenty-foot-tall snow piles on the sides of runways appear to be completely and totally flat, level with the runway. Because one doesn't realize it is happening, and because there are still some snowplow drivers out there who are boneheaded enough to pile snow at the ends of runways, rather than the sides, do not aim for the numbers on a normal landing in winter. There may be something sticking up you just can't see. A lot of pilots have hit snow piles at the ends of runways at night and in flat light conditions, so aim a few hundred feet down the runway, day or night (remember, runway lights are 200 feet apart).

Plan on touching down on the center of the open area on the runway. Doing so may or may not equate to the painted centerline if there is drifted snow on one side of the runway. Assume that the brakes are frozen, so you will not be surprised. If they are, you will hear the tires slide briefly, then two bangs and the wheels will roll normally. During the slide, the airplane may swerve or fishtail slightly. If only one brake is frozen the airplane may turn toward it at a rate that varies depending on the available friction. You can generally overcome it by using opposite rudder and brake. Yes, if you lock up the other brake you will have roughly the same friction on each side. That is rarely necessary, although it does happen, and folks who have experienced it say it works. I also have one friend, an instructor, who got too complacent with a student. They landed well off centerline with one brake frozen. Neither he nor the student reacted fast enough, so the Cessna 150 went into the snow bank and flipped. He is more alert now.

After Landing

A few of the pilots in the lounge described exciting excursions during rollout on runways that they thought were in good shape. Their recommendations boiled down to not being in a hurry to get wing flaps up or cowl flaps open or lights off or anything until you have that airplane hauled down and turned off the runway. In the winter, you simply never know what the condition of the next foot of runway is going to be in. Keep all the aileron for a crosswind cranked in, and be ready to add power at any time to get control or go around if things don't feel right.

After clearing the runway, take care of housekeeping chores and taxi carefully to parking. Keep in mind that the last area to get plowed on many airports is the general aviation ramp. If you have to get through some untouched snow, keep the yoke all the way back and the power on, so as to avoid coming to a stop, if possible. If you cannot maintain directional control, chop the throttle, stop and shut down. It's a lot less embarrassing walking the last hundred yards to the pilot's lounge and asking for help getting the airplane in than it is doing that same walk and then having to say you hit something.

Once you have shut down, go through your usual securing checklist, then put on covers or plugs as the case may be, plug in the engine heater if you desire, and do a post-flight walk around. Check the airplane for any dents from chunks of ice you might have kicked up and for any leaks from a split fuel or oil line. A quick post-flight inspection may uncover a small problem before it becomes a big one.

Winter can provide some of the most enjoyable and scenic flying you ever do, but it does present challenges. In general, the consensus of the folks here in the pilot's lounge was that if you are pretty conservative with weather and allow extra time to get things going at the front end of the flight, it is a delightful experience.

Rick Durden is a CFII, holds an ATP with type ratings in the Douglas DC-3 and Cessna Citation and is the author of The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing it, Vols. 1 & 2.

Boeing Schedules, Cancels Call On Max 8
Mary Grady

Boeing’s stock continued to tumble on Tuesday as the company apparently has been struggling in its response to the recent crash of a nearly new 737 Max 8 in Indonesia. Boeing officials scheduled a conference call Tuesday morning with operators to address their questions about the flight-control system on the jet, and whether the manuals provided enough information to operate the aircraft safely, but the call was later cancelled. No reason was given for the cancellation, but the call will be rescheduled, sources told the Los Angeles Times.

“You may have seen media reports that we intentionally withheld information about airplane functionality from our customers. That’s simply untrue,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg wrote in a message to employees, according to the LA Times. “The relevant function is described in the Flight Crew Operations Manual and we routinely engage with our customers about how to operate our airplanes safely.” In a statement released Monday, Boeing said, “While we can’t discuss specifics of an ongoing investigation, we have provided two updates for our operators around the world that reemphasize existing procedures for these situations.” Officials in Indonesia are investigating the crash.

JETcopter Reveals VTOL Concept
Mary Grady

JETcopter, a startup company based in Germany, said this week it has completed tests that confirmed the feasibility of its concept to power its seven-seat VTOL design with two 400-HP automotive engines that will drive two counter-rotating fans on top of the carbon-fiber fuselage. The company said it will bring a full-scale mock-up of the design to Aero, Europe’s biggest general aviation trade show, to be held in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April 2019. JETcopter says the aircraft will sell for $350,000, and a cargo version will be built first.

The JETcopter engines, according to the company’s news release, will be equipped with four vectoring nozzles. The amount of power given to each output point can be manipulated to control vertical hovering and maneuvering. Once the JETcopter is in the air, its fixed nozzles tilt for horizontal flight, and “from there it operates much like a jet,” the company said.

NASA Announces Flight Date For Supersonic X-Plane
Kate O'Connor

NASA now has an official development timeline for its Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) X-plane that, according to the administration, will lead to the X-59’s first flight in the next three years. NASA committed to the timeline after a Key Decision Point-C (KDP-C) review confirming funding and achievability of the project. The administration says the KDP-C “commits NASA to the full X-59 development effort through flight-testing in 2021.”

“This is a monumental milestone for the project,” said NASA associate administrator for aeronautics Jaiwon Shin. “I’m extremely proud of the team for its hard work getting to this point, and we all look forward to watching this aircraft take shape and then take flight.”

QueSST is part of NASA’s Low-Boom Flight Demonstration project. The X-59 is designed to travel at supersonic speeds while remaining quiet enough to overfly populated areas. A subscale model has been undergoing low-speed wind tunnel testing at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Once built, the X-59 will be NASA’s first piloted, full-size X-plane in more than 30 years. It is being built by Lockheed Martin.

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Leaked Images Show Superfast Russian Helicopter
Mary Grady

Helicopters are ideal for lots of useful tasks, but speed over the ground has never been their strong suit, with a world speed record of only about 220 knots. That could change if a new Russian design in development lives up to its promise — an official at a technical conference last month revealed plans for a twin-engine, two-rotor design that could go as fast as 378 knots. Images from his talk escaped into Russian social media, and the project was reported on last month by

“The Kamov Design Bureau appears to have leaked the details of a future two-seat high-speed helicopter it is about to develop for Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” according to the blog. The engines would be mounted in the rear, and supplemental lift would be provided by a short delta fixed wing in the rear and forward canards. Besides improving speed and range, the new technologies should provide better fuel efficiency, according to the talk.

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The classic by Avram Goldstein covering the basics of piloting and the procedures necessary to enable your passenger to get down in case of an emergency. No light plane pilot or pilot's friend should be without it. At this discount price, no one needs to. For more information click or call 970 726-5111.
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Book      $9.95
eBook    $5.95

For more information, call (970) 726-5111 or click here.
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Picture of the Week, November 15, 2018
Flying over Lower Otay Lake in Chula Vista, CA, headed for home at John Nichols Field (0CL3) in my Avenger UL. Photo by Peter Sigrist.

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