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Volume 26, Number 13a
March 25, 2019
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MAX Software Fix Soon: Boeing, FAA
Russ Niles

Boeing and the FAA say they expect to finish a software and training update for the 737 MAX series of aircraft shortly. Boeing said it’s been working on the update since the crash of a Lion Air MAX 8 last October but the crash of an Ethiopian MAX 8 in early March prompted the issuance of an airworthiness directive requiring Boeing to have a fix by April. “We’ve been working diligently and in close cooperation with the FAA on the software update,” a Boeing spokesman said Saturday in a statement. “We are taking a comprehensive and careful approach to design, develop and test the software that will ultimately lead to certification.”

Boeing has now confirmed the software fix will focus on the angle of attack sensors and their interaction with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which autonomously controls the pitch of the horizontal stabilizer if data supplied by an AOA indicates an imminent stall. The MCAS currently gets data from only one of two AOAs. The fix makes both AOAs supply pitch data to the MCAS and a formerly optional disagreement warning on the PFD will become standard equipment. The update will also limit the MCAS’s ability to keep pushing the nose over in defiance of manual inputs from the pilots. The current system will relentlessly pivot the tailfeathers if the angle of attack is reported to be too high. The software update will only allow one jump of the tail position and trigger an alarm that tells the crew the MCAS has been activated. Pilot training will be part of the system updates.

Welcome Back, Mr. Hinson
Paul Bertorelli

James Baker famously called it “the worst ^%$&ing job in government.” He was referring to the job of White House chief of staff but he may as well have been talking about being FAA administrator. If it’s not the second-worst job in government, it’s surely in the top five.

Now comes Steve Dickson, late of Delta Air Lines, to line up for the corner office at 800 Independence Ave. Nothing confirmed yet, but he’s the leading contender. First of all, as simply a measure of character, the fact that he hasn’t yet withdrawn his name and run screaming into the night shows he’s made of sterner stuff than, say, a tattooed ultimate fighter or a Navy SEAL, occupations that are the mere equivalent of Girl Scout troop leader compared to running the FAA.

When I was scanning his resume, dej� vu swept over me and I thought … Dave Hinson! Yup, full circle in a little over 20 years. Hinson, you may recall, was FAA administrator for 39 months from 1993 to 1996, during the Clinton administration. You may also recall that it was an eventful three years. AVweb launched in the middle of that period and I wore my fingers to nubs writing about the ValuJet crash. Ultimately, the FAA got dinged for poor maintenance oversight. The agency's mahogany row took some casualties on that one.

More opprobrium came Hinson’s way when seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff died in the crash of a Cardinal in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in April 1996, attempting to set the record as the youngest transcontinental pilot. What started out as one of those feel-good GA stories we all love and cherish metastasized into the Child Pilot Safety Act. Personally, I can hardly think of the act or the tragedy that inspired it without agita and embarrassment. It came at Hinson not from left field, but from Mars. As the Karmic wheel creaks past 360, here we go again.

Then there was Roselawn. You forgot about that one, right? Oct. 31, 1994: An American Eagle ATR 72 holding for O’Hare in severe icing rolled inverted into an Indiana soybean field. The NTSB found that the ailerons were subject to reversal because of ice damming that got past the boots in super-cooled drizzle drop conditions. The NTSB—and here, I’m going to italics because it’s the writer’s way of turning on an echo effect—said it questioned the FAA’s ability to oversee aircraft certification. If you can’t see where this is going, Google MAX 8.

Veering from the shoulder back to the center lane of my narrative, Hinson’s background was as a military pilot, an airline pilot and an airline executive, specifically Midway Airlines, which he started. Hinson also operated an FBO and flew GA airplanes, so that drew an endorsement from AOPA.

Steve Dickson has a similar background. Air Force Academy grad, F-15 pilot, line pilot and airline executive at Delta, from which he recently retired. Does this make him the ideal qualified candidate? Mark Baker at AOPA thinks so; click the check box for general aviation endorsement.

I’ve never bought the argument that the administrator ought to be a pilot. Maybe that’s important, maybe it isn’t. The critical job skill is to manage a giant, bloated, intransigent bureaucracy that’s constantly buffeted by domestic and international political winds and which congress bats around like a cat with a rubber mouse. It’s more of a Survivor type show than, say, Shark Tank.

Interestingly, although he was excoriated for not being able to see ValuJet, the Dubroff crash and Roselawn coming, in retrospect, Hinson was captive to both events and an entrenched federal edifice resistant to change. If Dickson takes the job, he’ll at least have the benefit of knowing what ^%$#storms he’ll have to navigate: the aftermath of the Boeing MAX 8 certification fiasco, unmanned drones in the civil airspace, urban air taxi, the implementation of NexGen, the fight over ATC privatization—which he is said to oppose—the post-Brexit wreckage, a new emerging supersonic age, space tourism and a constant battle over reauthorization funding. Then, on his second day on the job, I’m sure something else will come up.

But compared to everything else, the MAX certification lapse by the FAA will be all consuming. It's already a raging, black hole soon to suck in everything in the known air transport universe and that's before congress gets seriously involved. In the best of times--I'm having trouble coming up with an example of that--the administrator's job is like flying turns around a point by pivoting a hand out the window. Positive control is elusive at best, non-existent at worst.

In the popular press, the rising sentiment seems to be that in the MAX fiasco, the FAA and by extension, the U.S., has ceded something the country has always been said to own: World leadership in aerospace technology, with an emphasis on safety. If I were a lawyer, I wouldn't argue that case, but the new guy at the FAA will have to.

Here's hoping for one of those Bull Halsey no-great-men-just-great-challenges moments. The bright spot is that Mr. Dickson will be starting at rock bottom, making up the only direction left.

Note to Readers: No, it's not something you said. Because of persistent denial of service attacks against AVweb, we're moving the site to another platform. The commenting section will be unavailable for a time. I apologize for the inconvenience, but the site will be better for it in a week or two. In the meantime, if you have a comment, e-mail me and I'll append it to the blog.

I sure hope Mr.Baker of AOPA is correct about Mr. Dickson. The last time AOPA sent praises for an Adminstrator candidate, that individual (Huerta) showed to be nothing but a bureaucrat, fighting the 3rd class medical changes along with other GA issues. I myself have doubts. --Matthew Wagner

If it takes as long to confirm his appointment as it has for a lot of other agency positions, it will be in the next administration before it happens.--John McNamee

Certainly some things must change within the FAA (though I'm not certain that more oversight would have caught the [alleged] MAX issue. In the software biz, we'd say "works as designed", even if that design wasn't particularly astute.) The entire medical system needs to be overhauled (as in ditching it entirely for piloting small, low, and slow planes), transient parking space needs to be provided at federally funded GA airports (don't wanna buy seven dollar gas to avoid a $75 ramp fee), and the unleaded gas initiative needs more initiative, from the GA perspective. (OK, from MY GA perspective!) Good luck to the new guy; he will certainly need that, to go with his skills. --Richard Phillips

The new guy to be confirmed will be up to his eyeballs in alligators known as part of the Federal “swamp”. Gee, I thought the “swamp” supposed to be drained? Promises…promises.

I have no sympathy for the next FAA head. It takes a narcissist to want to run for any leadership position in our non-republic today. Any attention, good or bad, is the fuel these people crave. The “new’ NexGen FAA is a perfect place for scads and scads of attention but with the option to lay blame in all sorts of directions except themselves, when the attention becomes a bit uncomfortable.

Sadly, 350+ people died in a macabre game of airliner “Lawn Darts” with the past and current reign of “swamp” drainers, who allowed a mysterious behind the scenes “safety” enhancement to be certified and installed without telling the purchasers, the maintenance departments, and the flight crews. And then the FAA and Boeing had the unmitigated gall to say those purchasers, the passengers, the maintenance and flight crews… and now the families of the deceased…they had no “need to know”. And when they finally did, it was through a customer service bulletin.

And Boeing still has not finished an appropriate fix to MCAS, but it is coming soon, they have promised. This tells me the solution is not an easy upgrade, and it will be at best, a rushed one with no guarantee this solution is any improvement over the original problem. The current NexGen FAA is no different today than when the 737MAX 8-9 were certified. The certification process for the MCAS “improvement” is no different. So, I see no real gain in safety…just the appearance of safety, because the 737 MAX must fly again. It is more than just a change in the thrust line of the engines that required the incorporation of MCAS. This airplane is now fundamentally different than the 737 predecessors. So, Boeing has no choice but somehow make MCAS work. And to save any kind of face, the same FAA who allowed the original certification of MCAS, is the same FAA who will approve the “fix”. I am sure that will come quickly. But will it solve a problem or create new ones?--Jim Holdeman

How Effective Is The Cirrus Parachute System?
Paul Bertorelli

The Cirrus line has been flying for 20 years and although most people in aviation know they have full aircraft parachutes, it's fair to ask how effective these have been. With more than 90 uses of the so-called CAPS, has the system really saved lives? In this video, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli analyzes the record.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Indonesian Airline Moves To Cancel MAX Order
Kate O'Connor

In the wake of the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 on March 10, Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines has sent a letter to Boeing saying that it intends to cancel its order for 49 MAX 8s. According to the airline, the decision was made due to lack of customer confidence in the model. Garuda ordered 50 MAX 8s, valued at approximately $4.9 billion, in 2014 and has accepted delivery of one.

“Continuing the Max order does not benefit Garuda,” airline spokesman Ikhsan Rosan told The New York Times. “Our passengers, psychologically, they don’t trust flying with Max anymore. They often asked during booking what type of aircraft they would be flying on.” Rosan also said that while signed purchase agreements can be difficult to get out of, Garuda will be discussing options with Boeing that include switching to a different aircraft model. Boeing is reportedly meeting with Garuda next week.

An estimated 4,000 Boeing MAXs are on order worldwide. Several larger carriers, including American, United and Southwest, have said they have no plans to change their MAX orders, but will instead wait for Boeing’s promised software upgrade and training updates.

Helicopters Evacuate 476 Cruise Passengers Off Norway (Updated)
Russ Niles

One of the largest civilian helicopter rescue operations ever undertaken ended Sunday when the crew of a foundering cruise ship managed to restore power and sail to a nearby port. Before the ship was able to move again, a total of 476 of 1,300 passengers and crew on the Viking Sky were winched to one of five helicopters hovering overhead in rough weather off Norway. The ship's crew called a Mayday on Saturday after it lost power in heavy seas and high winds off the rocky west coast of Norway. Crews managed to anchor the ship but the 30-foot swells and 40-knot winds prevented a sea rescue. Instead, five large 19-passenger helicopters normally used to service offshore oil platforms hovered over the ship’s top deck and hoisted passengers by winch and cable one by one to relative safety. Early in the rescue, two of the helicopters were diverted to evacuate a nearby cargo ship that was also in trouble.

The initial stages of the cruise ship operation were arduous. It took seven hours to get the first 180 passengers off the ship and it would seem some might have preferred to take their chances on the ship. "It was just chaos,” American passenger John Curry told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. “The helicopter ride from the ship to shore I would rather not think about. It wasn't nice.” Curry was among the first passengers taken to shore at the nearby town of Molde. About 20 people were hurt in the operation. Meanwhile, back on the ship, the storm was causing the powerless vessel to list violently from side to side. Passengers waiting for rescue donned life preservers and some got wet when waves smashed windows.

Commuter Jet Landed On Infield
Russ Niles

The NTSB says a United Express Embraer 145 that ended up off the runway at Presque Isle, Maine, in early March also started there. In its preliminary report, the board said the regional jet, with 31 people onboard, lined up between the runway and taxiway on its first aborted landing attempt. On the second try, the crew again aimed for the infield and the deep snow tore off some of the gear. Two passengers and one crew member were hurt in the rapid stop.

The mishap was originally described as a runway excursion but radar data showed otherwise. “Radar track data show that the airplane was aligned right of runway 1 during both approaches,” the prelim said. One of the gear legs ended up stuck in an engine and there was substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The accident occurred during moderate snow at 11:43 a.m. March 4. The aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Newark.

Civilian Ejected From Fighter
Russ Niles

A journalist on a familiarization flight gained an intimate understanding of a system even the most seasoned military pilots almost never touch when he was accidentally ejected from a two-seat Rafale fighter in France this week. The unidentified 64-year-old man suffered a serious back injury in his abrupt return to the runway at Saint-Dizier 113 air base on March 20. He’s expected to be OK. The pilot was able to keep control of his suddenly open-cockpit jet and land safely. He had some cuts on his hands from the canopy glass but was otherwise uninjured.

A host of agencies are now investigating and they still haven’t said whether the seat launched because of a malfunction, an accidental deployment or if it was intentional. The seat is made by a joint venture between Safran and Martin Baker. The passenger would have received training on the operation and deployment of the seat prior to the flight. This Martin Baker compilation of ejection seat tests gives some idea of what the passenger experienced.

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Defiant Makes First Flight
Kate O'Connor

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant helicopter successfully completed its first flight on Thursday. The aircraft was developed by Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky in partnership with Boeing to be part of the U.S. Army’s Future Vertical Lift program. It was designed using technology developed from Sikorsky’s X2 Technology Demonstrator, which won the Collier Trophy in 2010. Features include active vibration control, a rigid rotor system, pusher prop, fly-by-wire flight controls and composite fuselage.

“Defiant is designed to fly at nearly twice the speed and has twice the range of conventional helicopters while retaining the very best, if not better, low-speed and hover performance of conventional helicopters,” said Sikorsky Vice President of Future Vertical Lift Dan Spoor. “This design provides for exceptional performance in the objective area, where potential enemy activity places a premium on maneuverability, survivability and flexibility. We are thrilled with the results of today’s flight and look forward to an exciting flight test program.”

The helicopter falls in the 30,000-pound weight class with room for a four-person crew plus cabin space for 12 combat-equipped soldiers. The Defiant is also participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program where it is competing with Bell’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor for a contract to replace the military’s Black Hawk helicopters. As previously reported by AVweb, the Valor flew for the first time in December 2017.

Aspen Avionics: New Software Fix For FAA AD
Larry Anglisano

The FAA issued Airworthiness Directive 2019-01-02 back in February 2019 to address a safety-of-flight-issue with many Aspen Avionics Evolution flight displays, and the company this week announced a fix with a new software modification.

The AD affected Aspen Evolution Flight Displays (EFD1000/500) loaded with software version 2.9 because of the potential for uncommanded inflight resetting of the display. This anomaly affects Aspen displays interfaced with ADS-B FIS-B-equipped transceivers and transponders, and the condition can occur when certain ADS-B data is received.

The fix is accomplished through Aspen's Service Bulletin SB-2019-01, which includes loading Aspen software version The software is free of charge and can be accomplished at authorized Aspen Avionics dealerships.

Visit for more.

Top Letters And Comments, March 22, 2019

Boeing 737 MAX

Seeing the rapidity of Boeing’s claim to have a fix indicates that someone already knew of the potential of the problem but somewhere in the certification process got "voted off the island" when saying it needed to be fixed and tested. This is the classic development story of unclear requirements, time and budget dictating system release, and insufficient testing. Systems are tested during certification for operationally passing requirements, they are not sufficiently tested for operation when they fail. Also, I can on one hand count the number of times when, (other than me), a qualified pilot was actively involved in pre-release, non-flight test, certification testing. People have now died due to these deficiencies.

Homer Landreth

In the Spirit of "developing and maintaining multiple narratives"...

It's a given that computer code along with parts and sub-assemblies are developed and produced around the world for aircraft. The sub-sub-contractors that wrote the code for control systems could have been sitting at a high table at Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon anywhere in the world. We also know that cutting and pasting sub-routines into code is common practice and leaves an opening for a mistake. This opening could also be exploited to insert a bit of "sleeper" code that is woke under specific conditions.

That the two crashes of 737 MAX are so similar increases the "sabotage" narrative significantly.

Thinking about the great desire of terrorists to bring down airliners there certainly is intent to commit such a crime.

Frank Kalinski

Ethiopian Air Crash Investigation

It's a small point, but in the interest of accuracy (which is king in the aviation world after all), the French aviation authority examining the Ethiopian black boxes is the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses pour la Securite de l'Aviation Civil (BEA), which is responsible for French civil aviation accident investigation and is overseen by the French government. Wiki translates it as Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety. Whatever, it's usually referred to simply as the BEA. The overarching French civil aviation authority is the DGAC (Direction Generale de l'Aviation Civil). I think we both need a rest after that long-winded comment... Keep up the good work!

David Pearson

There's been a lot of talk about the copilot's low flight time, but how does a 28-year-old captain have 8,000 hours? Even if he maxed each year with the 900-hour limit for a typically regulated air carrier, that would mean he started that rate of flying at 19 years of age. Is anyone looking at the "captain's" flight experience and logbook?

Steve J. Ottaviano

No one with any stature has yet publicly expressed any concern that French authorities may well be conflicted with respect to any findings derived from their investigation. Why? The obvious fact is that in effect they also 'represent' the commercial interests of Airbus, and its directly competitive interests. Maybe I'm being something of a paranoid, but I'm a lawyer (yes, I know all of the lawyer jokes, etc.) but I'm paid to be a skeptic. I think the possibility of conflict on the part of French investigators should be spoken of openly discussed and considered as a sort of recognition to them that we're aware of the possibility. That public recognition may be enough by itself to head off any 'darker' instincts or temptations on their part. Remember, everyone's lives – and the economic future of a significant American company – depend on an independent, accurate analysis, leading to an effective, swift, dependable resolution.

Archie Hovanesian

Of course there are close similarities. Both had the same failure: Pilot's angle of attack sensor. I don't know why this isn't appearing in the media as a partial cause of the incidents. But even this may not be the root cause, as I saw a report that neither American nor Southwest has ever had an AoA failure on a Max 8 aircraft. Did something happen to that sensor system on the ground in both aircraft? It seems that both took off in an un-airworthy condition with that sensor failed. IMO Boeing's installation not requiring agreement between the two AoA's and neither crew properly handling the failure were the other contributing causes of the accidents. I read where the previous Lion crew on their accident aircraft properly handled a MCAS failure, and possibly 3 other times before that.

Boeing made a huge, costly decision to concur in grounding the US fleet.

Dick Madding

Both MAX accidents, while rooted in something mechanical, serve to highlight the importance of well-trained and qualified crew. MCAS would be disabled with both Stab Trim switches to CUTOUT. But, furthering what Sully said...I also question a 28 yr old Captain with 8,000 hours flying time...that's pretty ambitious...

Jim McIrvin

Boeing 737 MAX Grounding

I'm surprised and a little dismayed by your comments regarding the grounding of the 737 MAX: In a typically American comment, you seem to have an aversion to government intervention, especially Federal. As an Australian private pilot and One World Emerald frequent flyer, I decided to avoid any 737 MAX flights immediately following details of the circumstances of Ethiopian crash.

That governments globally have grounded the troubled airliner is good: To my knowledge nobody has ever died due to an aircraft being refused permission to fly. Like most people in the civilised world I'm no supporter of Trump - nor his unhelpful comments on aircraft being too complex to fly - but if it took a Presidential order to ground them then so be it.

The bottom line is Boeing seems to have come up with another 737 lemon. It's a pity the same 24-hour news cycle and social media platforms weren't available when the 737's rudder deflection 'glitch' was happening. Perhaps many people would still be alive, even if it meant aviation publications, manufactures and insiders were bemoaning the influence of the 'ignorant' and the meddling of The Feds.

Richard Robertson

As a pilot with a major airline, having flown the 737, not the Max, Airbus pilot, instructor, as well as many others, I find Paul Bertorelli's statement both uninformed and borderline offensive:

"Knowing that, is it possible that because U.S. pilots are trained to use the automation routinely--including the autopilot--they simply never remotely got near the MCAS threshold? It's fashionable to complain about automation eroding piloting skills and the magenta line kids now have kids of their own, but we didn't drive the accident rate to near zero by practicing hand flying."

I was hired in 2000, so have over 7 years of airline experience (furloughed for 11) and many, many more as a Gold Seal CFI. We have never been trained to simply turn the autopilot on as a crutch. True, some turn it on as low as 100' after takeoff, but many, if not most, hand fly through clean up, 10k', transition, or even higher. It is less common to fly the opposite coming in, but often from 1,000' to landing is hand flown. We are being encouraged even more over the past 10 years to practice our hand flying skills and even required to fly a full approach and landing from downwind in the sim, and manual SIDs, as well as single endings ILSs, which have been required for longer. The US accident rate reflects the skill and training that we do constantly. The accident rate reflects our unwavering dedication to safety, communication, and experience, not automation nor the reliance thereof.

Thomas A. Hill

In your write up of the MAX 8 grounding you talk about politicizing the decision to ground the plane as if any of those decisions are wrong. The airline industry is a very politically controlled business all over the world and governments have rightly intervened when aviation authorities have dropped the ball.

Are you suggesting that the ability of the MAX 8 to make money is more important then the up to 220 passengers’ and crew's right to life basically? Are you suggesting this was pilot error or lack of pilot training? That is an awful risk no matter what the safety record says.

I can say that the worker's right to not go into a potentially dangerous situation was something unions were very proud of achieving in the forest industry in Canada. Evidently Air Canada was not going to give those that wanted to not fly in a MAX 8 a free change until the government grounded the plane.

Nobody can say for sure what happened on either the Lion Air plane or the Ethiopian plane. So, the plane was grounded until the appropriate bodies find out. It's a shame that Boeing or more aviation authorities didn't make that happen first.

They now know the elevator trim jackscrews were in the full down position in both planes. I wonder where the elevator jackscrew was in either. I also wonder where the controls for the four jackscrews where at the time of the crash. Did they concur with the jackscrew positions indicating possible jamming or not? Until that is known the planes should stay grounded.

I think Boeing's attitude has been downright dangerous. They have said the planes are safe without knowing the cause of the crashes but are updating the software on the planes, hopefully to stop them crashing. If they are safe then why do they need this update at all?

I thought stick shakers and the like were to warn a pilot when he gets a plane outside of its normal flight envelope. I understand that MCAS is to correct a situation because the plane has an out of normal flight envelope balance point, i.e. the balance point that is at a specific point of the aerodynamic chord of the wing, built in during manufacture because the engines, being bigger, had to lifted and moved forward on the airframe. What should have been done is to move the wing to put the static balance point back where it belongs if the engines could not be moved vertically.

One of the worst parts about automation is the user’s reliance on it, a system that can fail. New operators, and I am talking paper mill production operators, that learn their job once automation is in place have no idea how to run the operation if the automation doesn't work and even worse, cannot diagnose a problem when it occurs because they don't know how the automation works.

In this case the pilots need to know exactly how MCAS works to be able to tell what's happening when it doesn't. If they just shut it off, which has been suggested, they are now flying an aerodynamically unbalanced aircraft, something that is pounded into pilots should never happen. I can understand that with military aircraft, the pilots know what the situation is and have an ejection seat if they run into trouble. Doing that in a civilian aircraft, I don't understand how the FAA can let that pass.

I hope this shakes up the FAA and Boeing and something good comes out of it. Over 350 people have died as a result of it. Boeing certainly needs to work on fail-safes if it turns out to be a problem with faults on fault tolerant instrumentation. I was an Instrument Technician in my working life and fault tolerance is a boon but a very large problem at the same time. If you have two reading the same that's great but if not which one is right? You now need software that can determine, based on other inputs which is correct or make a decision on what to do when you don't know which is correct. That is critical.

I fly Boeing 777s and others 2 or 3 times a year between Canada and the UK. I understand a new 777x is out and Air Canada will likely use them as they are supposed to be more efficient than the older ones. I wouldn't be comfortable flying is a plane with an automation-based correction of a basic flying balance problem. I think that is a step too far for a passenger aircraft.

Peter Bowen

Picture of the Week, March 21, 2019
Enroute to Fanes hotel heliport in Italian Alps flying an EC120B helicopter, this particular picture was taken when entering the Alps near Sazburg, Austria. Taken with an iPhone X. Photo by Martin Riha.

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Industry Round-up, March 22, 2019
AVweb Staff

AVweb’s weekly news roundup found reports on a new partnership for Transcend Air Corporation, Air Astana’s adoption of a flight safety tool, an agreement between SKYTRAC and Vmo Solutions, and an upcoming documentary series on the history and future of the world’s fastest vehicles. Whole aircraft rescue parachute system manufacturer BRS Aerospace and Transcend Air Corporation have announced a partnership to integrate a BRS parachute system into Transcend’s Vy 400. The Vy 400 concept is a six-seat, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for “city-center to city-center mobility.”

Kazakhstan's Air Astana will be using CEFA’s Flight Animation System (FAS) to augment the airline’s safety program. The CEFA FAS software can be used to re-create realistic animated 3D views, cockpit instruments and environments from recorded flight data for later review. Also creating a new partnership, Vmo Solutions and SKYTRAC have formalized an integration agreement “to optimize operations for their mutual clients.” The deal will combine Vmo's web-based operational control software with SKYTRAC's flight data monitoring solutions.

Finally, streaming and on-demand site CuriosityStream has announced its four-part documentary series SPEED will premiere on April 18 on the company's website. The series explores the human “need for speed” from historic vehicles to predictions about speedy technologies yet to be developed.

Short Final: Flight Following

I was flying with a student in SoCal. Before taxi, she got an appropriate VFR clearance as required per ATIS.

However, she was a little confused and despite talking to approach with a distinct transponder code, was unsure if we had flight following. She asked me if she could confirm with ATC and against my wishes, proceeded to do so.

Except, she asked ATC to confirm if we had IFR flight following.

The controller, being in a good mood, responded, “No ma’am, you are VFR, with flight following aaaaall the way to Montgomery field.”

The next transmission from another pilot on frequency, went as follows: “N1234 also requesting flight following aaaaall the way to Chino.”

Piyush Kumar
San Diego, CA
Brainteasers Quiz #253: Stop Me If You've Experienced This

A pilot and a wallaby walk into a pilot's lounge, and the FAA says ... a whole lot of regulatory nonsense that sends the pilot running, and the Wallaby thinking how easy it's going to be to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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