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Volume 26, Number 16c
April 19, 2019
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Boeing Finishes Testing MAX Software Update
Kate O'Connor

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has announced that Boeing completed the final test flight prior to certification testing for software designed to address issues with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the Boeing 737 MAX on Wednesday. MCAS activation in response to faulty angle of attack sensors has been highlighted as a likely factor in the fatal accidents of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610. As shown in the video below, Muilenberg reported that 120 test flights totaling more than 203 hours flight time have now been completed using the new software.

Certifying the software update is just one aspect of returning the MAX to service. As previously reported by AVweb, the FAA recently posted a draft report from the Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board (FSB) adjusting pilot training requirements for the aircraft. The report added the MCAS to the list of areas that must receive special emphasis during ground training, but is not requiring flight simulator training for the system.

On Wednesday, Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau suggested that while no final decision had been reached, simulator training could be required for MAX pilots in Canada regardless of the FAA’s approach. “Simulators are the very best way from a training point of view to go over exactly what could happen in a real way and to react properly to it,” said Garneau. “It’s not going to be a question of pulling out an iPad and spending an hour on it.”

Sometimes Old Technology Is Appropriate
Russ Niles

I’ve actually never bought a brand-new vehicle and my long-suffering wife will attest to the occasional discomfort and inconvenience that has resulted. Nevertheless, we’ve mostly been able to get where we wanted to go, do what we needed to do and do it safely and mostly reliably without ever having a car payment.

Among the long list of secondhand vehicles in our past is a 1984 Toyota BJ60 Landcruiser (diesel) that carried us faithfully through a particularly perilous period in our lives with the same grace and determination that it took for our family to power out of that difficult time.

I had it restored a couple of years ago, essentially out of gratitude, and discovered that time moves on. I haven’t put more than 500 miles on it since because I have newer vehicles now that are more comfortable and convenient. The Cruiser is noisy, slow and rides like it’s always going over railroad tracks. It’s worth a lot of money in its restored condition so why don’t I sell it?

There’s no really good reason but I can rationalize keeping it by knowing that if I put a couple of batteries in it, the Cruiser would take me to hell and back regardless of the circumstances. There is no tougher, more capable or reliable 4x4 on the planet, period.

In that previous dark time I drove it for a month without a functioning alternator because it doesn’t have an ignition system, computers or electric accessories. It doesn’t need an alternator to run. I just made sure I was home before dark, didn’t listen to the radio and charged the batteries overnight to provide power for starting it and running the turn signals and brake lights the next day.

Simplicity can be a virtue, if you're willing to negotiate on comfort, convenience and efficiency.

So, it makes me wonder if the Air Force has come to the realization that some of its best ideas happened 20, 30 or 50 years ago and that finding ways to exploit them in the modern context is a suitable adjunct to the truly marvelous technology that is flooding the leading edge of military aviation.

It also might be giving Boeing some pause as it layers more software on top of its already complex MAX 8 to deal with what is mainly an aerodynamic issue. The growing sentiment among Boeing diehards is that the company has shifted to an Airbus-like philosophy that lessens the intrinsic role of the human pilots.

As for USAF, the obvious example is the B-52. As we reported earlier, the BUFF will fly until at least 2050 and probably beyond. It seems likely there will be 100-year-old examples in service although the current retirement date would technically see the type out of service at a fresh-faced 88.

The first B-52s were equipped with a tail gunner position. The current B-52Hs are technology hubs with plenty of flexibility for improvement. The new engines that 76 of them will receive will give them better performance, cut maintenance and boost reliability (although anything less than four engine failures is not much of an issue).

At the bargain price of about $3 billion, including weapons and electronics upgrades, the USAF will get a modern fleet of subsonic, lunch bucket bombers that can obliterate life as we know it on Earth. Developing a new platform that could deliver that level of utter destruction would cost at least 100 times more and since the result would be the same, why bother?

There have been a couple of other examples of the aerial forces reaching back in time for modern-day support, notably the Navy’s resurrection of some legacy F/A-18 Hornets from desert storage while it waited for the F-35C.

Then there’s the continuously delayed retirement of the A-10, which can really only do one thing but does it better than anything else and comes in really handy when the circumstances dictate.

None, however, is more intriguing than the continued use of the F-117 Nighthawk.

As we recently reported, the original stealth fighter has allegedly gone back to the front lines in the Middle East and created some fresh mayhem over Syria. That unsubstantiated report is buttressed by well-documented sightings of Nighthawks tooling around the desert ranges of California, often in tandem with F-16s and F-35s.

Although it was officially retired 10 years ago, there are 52 flight-ready F-117s in storage in the desert and apparently four of them may have been dropping bombs in Syria in 2017.

It makes sense, if you think about it. Direct involvement by U.S. F-22s, which replaced the F-117, would be a major provocation in the delicate balance of military power in the region. But there are circumstances in which the off-the-books Nighthawk might be a viable option. After all, it was designed to evade the very Russian-supplied antiaircraft radars and fighters that Syria operates. And since all of the Nighthawk’s once top-secret capabilities have been thoroughly and publicly explored and revealed, losing an airframe in Syria would not be much of an intelligence blow compared to the loss of an F-22 or F-35.

We’ll likely never know officially if the F-117 was or is operational but I have to applaud the abstract thinking that created the plausible scenario of putting a 38-year-old uniquely capable machine back to work.

Makes me want to charge up the batteries and go for a ride in that 36-year-old Cruiser. You never know …

Embraer E195-E2 Certificated
Kate O'Connor

Embraer received type certificates for the updated version of its E195 passenger jet from the FAA, EASA and Brazilian regulatory authority ANAC on Monday. The E195-E2, which has a maximum takeoff weight of 135,585 pounds, is the largest aircraft ever manufactured by Embraer. According to the company, 75% of the aircraft’s systems are new compared to the first-generation E195. Changes include Pratt & Whitney GTF PW1900G engines, an entirely new wing design, full fly-by-wire controls and new landing gear.

“Our flight tests confirmed that the aircraft is better than its original specification,” said Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO John Slattery. “Fuel consumption is 1.4% lower than expected—that’s 25.4% less fuel per seat compared to the current-generation E195. Maintenance costs are 20% lower.”

The E195-E2 can be configured for up to 146 passengers and has a maximum range of 2,600 NM with a full passenger load. The aircraft is scheduled to enter service in the second half of 2019 with Azul Linhas Aereas Brasileiras S.A. The first edition to Embraer’s E2 family, the E190-E2, received FAA, EASA and ANAC type certifications in February 2018. The company also has plans for an updated E175 model.

NTSB Investigating American Airlines Wing Strike
Kate O'Connor

The NTSB announced on Wednesday that it is investigating an accident involving an American Airlines A321 that hit a runway distance marker during its takeoff roll at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on April 10, 2019. One of the pilots reported experiencing an uncontrolled 45-degree bank as the aircraft rotated. The uncommanded bank caused the aircraft’s left wingtip to strike the sign, a light and the ground.

The pilots were able to continue the takeoff and the aircraft landed back at JFK approximately 30 minutes later. 102 passengers and eight crew members were on board the flight, which was headed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). No injuries were reported. The accident occurred at about 8:40 p.m. local time. Weather reports at the time indicate winds from 360 degrees at 17 knots. The flight was departing Runway 31L.

According to the NTSB, it has assigned a six-person team to the investigation including technical subject matter experts in vehicle recorders, flight ops, aircraft systems and performance. At this time, it will not be sending investigators to the scene.

Japanese Airliner Begins Certification Testing
Kate O'Connor

Japan's Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation has begun “certification flight test activities” for its Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), according to a company announcement on March 27. Mitsubishi says flight testing is being conducted in Moses Lake, Washington, as well as at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base for extreme environment certification tests. The company is working concurrently with both the FAA and Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) on certification processes.

“Obviously, as a Japanese aircraft manufacturer, we are working very closely with the JCAB,” said head of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s certification management office Andrew Telesca. “With our flight test center located in the United States, and since the United States is one of our largest target markets, having the FAA on board at the same time as the JCAB makes things much more efficient.”

In October 2018, Bombardier filed a lawsuit against Mitsubishi alleging that the company had recruited Bombardier employees and stolen trade secrets in order to assist with the certification and testing process for the MRJ. Mitsubishi filed a countersuit in January 2019 asserting that Bombardier had “engaged in illegal anticompetitive behavior with the intent to impede the development and certification” of the aircraft. Both cases remain open.

The MRJ is the first airliner to be completely designed and built in Japan since the NAMC YS-11, which stopped production in 1974. The MRJ90 version—the first variant up for certification—will seat 88 passengers in its typical configuration and be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1217G engines. The jet is expected to have a maximum range of approximately 2,000 NM and will be equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics system. It is currently scheduled to enter service in 2020 with launch customer ANA Holdings. Seventy- and 100-seat versions of the MRJ are in the works as well.

The Pilot's Lounge #145: Tossing Flying Club Deadwood
Rick Durden

A few months ago, I was at the virtual airport watching the aviation world go by through the picture window of the pilot’s lounge when a sharp-looking Grumman Tiger taxied in and shut down. The canopy slid back and two old friends, Jayne and Dan, based at an airport a couple of hundred miles away, stood up, stretched and stepped out of the cabin. I shot out of the lounge, down the hallway and out onto the ramp before they had descended from the airplane.

I had been talking with Jayne and Dan over the last year as they were guiding their flying club’s Tiger through a pretty involved refurb. I walked over to them and have to admit that my greeting was kind of perfunctory—I was taken by the superb paint scheme and was eager to see the new interior and panel. I was impressed. My friends’ flying club has a practice of keeping the airplanes that prove to be member favorites and they regularly invested serious coin to update them. It had proved to be a good way to attract new members—both established pilots and new students—and retain old ones. Even with regular refurbs, the hourly rates were less than what was available—in less attractive airplanes—at nearby FBOs.

Dan and Jayne tied down the Tiger as I was looking over the interior. We walked into the lounge, poured ourselves cups of the lousy coffee and sat down to spend some quality time talking airplanes.

Over the next several minutes I got the full brief on the refurb—this was one of the first flights since it had been completed and, so far, they were pleased at the way things were operating.

Disturbing Thoughts

However, as we talked, I got the impression that Dan and Jayne were thinking about something other than the refurb and that the thoughts weren’t particularly good. I looked at Dan and said, “All right. You’ve got yet another excellent refurb, the parts and pieces are getting to know each other and the avionics work—so why do you two look like it’s time for a root canal?”

Jayne was first off the mark. “Yeah, I suppose it shows. We’ve got a club member who is doing stupid stuff with the airplanes and we’re going to have to throw him out of the club. We’ve been talking with him and hoping that he’ll get his act together but it’s not happening. I hate this sort of thing. We’ve got to get rid of him, but we’ve been procrastinating—sort of justifying it by saying that we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt when there’s really no doubt any longer. It’s been so long since we’ve had to 86 someone that we’re not acting as definitively as we should. Dan and I are two of the four officers of the club and I’m the chief instructor. We decided to make this flight and do some serious talking about what’s going on and what to do.”

“Wait a minute.” I looked at Jayne, “Your club covers discipline of club members in its operating rules; I’ve seen them. You have a serious problem child, you set up a meeting of the members or the Board of Directors, give the member 10-day notice of the meeting, hash things out in the meeting and then hold a vote—the majority of those present make the decision. What’s so tough?”

Dan stepped in. “One of the good things about a flying club is the chance to socialize with other pilots and make new friends. It’s tough to pass judgement on a guy you see every time you’re at the airport. All of the club officers are volunteers and having to discipline a member just plain stinks. I think that's why we know what we need to do, but we’ve been dragging our feet. Plus, part of the problem is that this guy is really aggressive. He will never admit he’s made a mistake; everything that goes wrong is always somebody else’s fault. Plus, the times our chief instructor—Jayne—tried to discuss matters with him, he personally attacked her and her qualifications. Good grief, this guy is a 250-hour private pilot with an instrument rating and Jayne flies for the airlines.”

Jayne commented, “I think there’s also a fear that the guy is so volatile that if we expel him, he’ll sue us and we can’t afford that.”

I looked at them. “I can’t help but wonder if he’d sue you if he wrecks one of the club airplanes, survives and you don’t act as a cheerleader for him during the NTSB investigation.”

We talked for about 45 minutes before Dan looked at his watch and announced that they needed to get going. I walked out to the airplane with them and continued talking with Dan as Jayne did the walk around—it was her leg to fly. Before they started up, I asked that they let me know what the club decided to do.

The Wheel Turns

A month later Dan called me and let me know that before the Board had done anything, they’d made sure that they had directors and officers (D and O) insurance so if someone sued the club officers over a decision there would be insurance to defend them. They wouldn’t risk going broke for decisions they made as volunteer officers for something that they joined to have fun—a flying club.

He went on to tell me that they followed the club rules by calendaring a Board meeting for the purpose of addressing specific actions of the member—long delays in paying his bill, not cleaning up airplanes after he’d flown them and making some IFR and VFR flights in weather that was below the club’s published minimums. They gave the member a two-week notice of the meeting by arming all of the Board members with written copies of the notice and one gave it to the member when she saw him at the airport.

The member did bring a lawyer to the Board meeting—which was held in executive session. The member’s defense consisted essentially of “You have no right to question anything I do.” His arrogance got so bad a couple of times that his lawyer tried to calm him down. The Board voted to terminate his membership and informed him in writing.

Thus far nobody has seen the former member at the airport.

After I talked with Dan, I thought about some of the flying clubs and group ownerships I knew and how they handled membership.

Prospective Members

The good ones required that a prospective member spend some time with the club members to see if there was a good fit. Clubs develop personalities and it seems to me that a prospective member needs to learn that personality and determine whether he or she will fit. By the same token, the club members have to try to get a feel for the prospective member. Do they have the same goals for a club? For some it’s building time as cheaply as possible, for others it’s getting ratings, while for most, in my observation, it’s having access to reasonably priced, well-maintained, clean airplanes for recreational flying, travel and skill level-up.

I’ve seen big fights in clubs where there was not care taken to assure there was a “fit”—most often it was between those who recognized that flying isn’t cheap and were willing to pay what it cost to maintain the airplanes in good condition versus those who were constantly complaining that the club was wasting money on the airplanes, that it needed to cut rental prices and it wasn’t worth the cost to fix little things that broke or wore out such as a turn coordinator, number two navcomm or a pilot’s side window that had a hole punched in it.

Some of the best clubs I’ve observed have a formal get-acquainted procedure for potential new members. The prospect has to give the club a check for the membership fee right away—but the club doesn’t cash it until the prospect actually becomes a member. It’s returned immediately if the prospect isn’t voted into membership. Monthly membership meetings are mandatory and are social—so members can stay acquainted and can meet prospective members. In one club there is a monthly day to wash some or all of the airplanes. If you don’t show, your monthly dues are a bit higher. A prospect gets the idea that this club’s members like clean airplanes—and is willing to follow the club rule requiring that the windshield is cleaned and bugs scrubbed off the leading edges after every flight.

What About the Deadwood?

No matter how careful a club is, some of its members will become a problem. There are those who never fly but pay their dues like clockwork. We claim to like them because they aren’t going to be competing with us for getting access to a club airplane. However, the fact that they don’t fly means that they may be a menace when and if they do. They have a tendency to suddenly show up and go flying on short notice. They also have a tendency to land on nosewheels or lose control on landing in a crosswind. In my experience, good clubs have—and enforce—rules that require dual instruction if a member hasn’t flown as PIC within a certain period time.

The opposite problem is the member who flies a lot but doesn’t pay the bill—or takes months to do so. To my knowledge, there are no flying clubs in the U.S. that are licensed as banks—they should not be in the position of making loans to members to finance their flying time. In my observation of flying clubs, I’ve noticed that the successful ones have procedures in their rules for dealing with members who are slow in paying their bills. (And every new club member has to sign a statement that she or he agrees to and will comply with the terms of the club rules and future changes.) Most have an escalating series of late fees—either a specific number of dollars or an increasing percentage of the outstanding balance. They also cut off the offending member’s ability to schedule, or fly, any club aircraft. That’s become easier as computerized scheduling has become the rule at more and more clubs.

Having said that, there are times that members simply stop paying their bills and cannot be persuaded to do so. I was in a club in which a member stopped paying his bills and had to be prohibited from scheduling and flying, even as he blithely explained that he certainly had paid—there must be some mistake. Under increasing pressure his excuses mounted, and we watched what we later learned was the classic behavior of an extortionist—smooth, charming, glib and utterly unwilling to admit that he owed the club any money. The club had to sue him in small claims court and then garnish his wages when he still didn’t pay. That’s when we found out that he owed money all over town and that we weren’t the only ones garnishing his wages.

For members who exhibit a general lack of respect for club airplanes, club members and/or club rules/FARs, my observation of successful clubs shows a common thread: The club has reasonable rules—not anal-retentive marching orders—and a person designated to counsel members on compliance. The person is usually the club president, chief instructor or a safety officer who is an experienced pilot (usually a CFI). The club, and the designated counselor, keep a written record of observed or reported transgressions by the offending member. It may be as small as a hangar door left open or failing to clean the windshield after a flight—the sort of small matter that can be the subject of counseling the first time and a $20 additional fee on the member’s monthly invoice each successive time. Most of the time, small matters such as that are because the member was in a hurry or got distracted. A chat with the offender often means the problem never happens again.


Then there are the true nightmares. I was in a club in which an instrument student filed IFR so he and two friends could make a trip in a club airplane on an IMC day. He was a few hours of dual away from his instrument checkride. He went up to the control tower to copy down his instrument clearance—telling the controllers that he wanted to make sure he got it right. The tower chief sensed that something was amiss and called the flying club (it had an office on the airport). The chief instructor was there and waited for the member at the airplane the member had reserved for the trip. The chief instructor informed the member that his membership was terminated immediately.

I’ve been told of a club member who would fill in some other club member’s name and club number on the paperwork after a flight in an attempt to have someone else pay for his flying time. There was no second chance for that member; he was gone. I was told by the member of a good-sized club that he was walking back from putting an airplane into its hangar after a flight when he looked into an open hangar he was passing. He saw another club member in the hangar, hitting his girlfriend. Shocked, the observer immediately called the club president. The club president called the offender who didn’t deny his actions—but said they were his business, not that of the club. The offender was kicked out of the club. Some years later the club president told me that he wished he’d been smart enough to go to the police a file a complaint and had been mentally kicking himself over not handling the situation even more aggressively.


More problematic are the members who simply don’t like rules and are constantly pushing them. If the club VFR minimums are a 3000-foot ceiling and five miles visibility, the member will insist on going when it’s 1000 and three. When called on it, he’ll point out that he was legal under the FARs and is so experienced that he doesn’t have to comply with the conservative club regulations.

In talking with people who have run flying clubs, I’ve come to be of the opinion that for those rule pushers it’s wise to address the problem the first time it comes up—usually with a directed conversation by the club designate for that sort of thing. It’s also important to document the event and the conversation. If the pilot does anything but admit that he screwed up and will make sure it doesn’t happen again, it’s time to start keeping an eye on the pilot. If his response is to try and deflect blame, claim that he’s so good that it’s OK for him to fly below club minimums and/or attack the club representative, do one of two things: Tell the pilot that he’s had his one warning and a second major disregard of club rules such as this will get him tossed out of the club so hard that he’ll bounce or immediately start the club’s internal procedure to expel the member.

There are those cases where the pilot can show that she or he got a forecast for weather that was above club minimums and the forecast didn’t hold up and the pilot completed the trip safely for the last 20 miles in WX that was well above FAR minimums but below club minimums. The pilot shows a good attitude about club rules, everyone goes away happy and the problem probably never repeats itself.

Flying Clubs are for Fun Flying

We join flying clubs to help cut down the cost of flying and socialize with other pilots—it’s fun. We volunteer to take on a lot of work without pay to make sure that the flying club runs smoothly—the airplanes are maintained, club finances are kept healthy, tax returns are filed, and members get guidance to help them fly safely. I’ve held Board positions in flying clubs and burned the midnight oil as a volunteer to make sure flying club business got done. It’s all been worth it. I’ve made the closest friendships of my life because of flying club memberships. I’ve been able to afford flying in some cool airplanes that never could have happened had I been limited to what was on the line at local FBOs.

At the same time, I recognize that there is an unpleasant side to flying club membership. Members have to self-police their club. While an individual member may not be on the Board of Directors and have the unpleasant task of dealing with rogue members, each member has an individual obligation to help make sure that club rules are set up to allow getting rid of the true deadwood in the club—and not those who are just unpopular or “different”—so as to maintain a high level of safety among the club pilots.

While a club member may not be legally liable following the crash of a club airplane flown by another club member, there is always going to be the question in the member’s mind: “Was there something I could have done to have prevented he accident?”

Ninety-nine percent of the time flying club membership is a pleasant experience. The one percent of the time it’s not pleasant is when you have an obligation to the future success of the club and the safety of your fellow members, and you have to get involved with the process of dealing with a member who is unsafe or disrespectful of the club’s airplanes and/or members. It may be the price you pay for less expensive flying. It also requires that you step up and deal with your obligation to assess the behavior of the member alleged to be a problem in a fair, unbiased manner, using the club rules for guidance and take the steps you objectively believe are right.

Losing a pilot friend to a crash and thinking to yourself that “I saw this coming” and not having done all that you could to prevent the crash is one of the most horrible feelings you’ll ever have in aviation. I know. I’ve been there. Alternatively, kicking a friend out of a flying club is a tough decision to make, but it may just keep him or her alive.

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.

FAA Posts Updated MAX Training Requirements
Kate O'Connor

The FAA has posted a draft report from the Boeing 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board (FSB) covering updated pilot training requirements for the aircraft. The draft adds the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) to the list of areas which must receive special emphasis during ground training, but does not require flight simulator training for the system. The FSB only reviewed “training aspects related to software enhancements to the aircraft” for the report.

According to the draft, “MCAS ground training must address system description, functionality, associated failure conditions, and flight crew alerting. These items must be included in initial, upgrade, transition, differences, and recurrent training.” The new requirement is based on a March 2019 evaluation of the “modified” MCAS conducted by the FSB. The report states that the board found the MCAS to be “operationally suitable.”

The FAA says that it is still expecting Boeing to submit the final software package for certification in the coming weeks. The updated software is expected to address MCAS activation in response to faulty angle of attack sensors, which is widely considered to be a significant factor in the fatal accidents of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 last March and Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018. The FSB report (PDF) is open for public comment until April 30, 2019, and further revisions may be made based on comments received. For more information on how to file a comment, visit the FAA’s website.

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Podcast: uAvionix ADS-B Experiment In U.K.
Paul Bertorelli

As the 2020 ADS-B mandate pumpkin looms on the horizon, say this is about the system: Once you’ve ponied up for the installation cost, it does provide free weather and traffic. But in Europe and the U.K., no deal. And a recent experiment to see if pilots across the pond would pay for these services produced an unsurprising result. They won’t. In this podcast recorded at Aero this week, uAvionix's Mike Tetlow explains.

China's Flight Inspection Center Orders Citation Fleet
Kate O'Connor

The Flight Inspection Center (CFIC) of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) signed an agreement with Textron Aviation joint venture Cessna-AVIC Aircraft for eight new Cessna Citation XLS+ business jets on Tuesday. Textron says the aircraft will be outfitted with special flight inspection equipment for missions including inspection and certification for the communication, navigation, radar and flight programs of newly built airports, as well as regular flight inspection missions for airports already in operation. The new aircraft are scheduled to be delivered between 2019 and 2021.

“The successful purchase of these aircraft is only possible with the great support for flight inspection operations from the Party Group of Civil Aviation Administration of China, which is significant to the fleet construction of CFIC and ensuring civil aviation transportation safety,” said CFIC Director Xiong Jie.

CFIC currently operates a fleet of eight 560 XLS/XLS+ jets to assist with its inspection and certification missions. According to a plan issued jointly by CAAC, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Ministry of Transport, China intends to complete work on 30 airports, begin work on 44 new airports, reconstruct and expand 139 airports, relocate 19 airports and conduct 51 additional civil aviation projects over a five-year period beginning in 2017.

General Aviation Accident Bulletin

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

January 2, 2019, Sacramento, Calif.

Progressive Aerodyne SeaRey LSA

The amphibian nosed over and became partially submerged during a water landing. The private pilot received minor injuries; the passenger succumbed to injuries 14 days after the accident. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that, after departure, another airplane distracted his attention and he forgot to retract the landing gear. It was not until the airplane was just about to touch down on the river that he realized that the landing gear was still extended. When the airplane touched down, it immediately nosed down and partially submerged.

January 3, 2019, Wilkes-Barre, Penn.

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250

At 1600 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field while on approach to land. The commercial pilot and the flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The landing gear did not fully extend; the gear handle was “stuck” mid-extension and would not retract. The emergency extension handle would not release. About this point, the engine failed to produce power. Unable to glide to the runway, the pilot made a forced landing on a soccer field. The airplane struck a ditch, damaging the airframe and an engine mount.

January 6, 2019, Flint, Mich.

Cessna T210 Turbo Centurion

The pilot experienced an unsafe landing gear indication and landed with the gear partially extended at about 1640 Eastern time. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured, but the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

Upon raising the landing gear after takeoff, the gear motor continued to operate longer than normal, and the pilot heard an abnormal sound toward the end of the sequence. The right main gear was hanging at about a 45-degree angle, and the left main gear was not visible. The pilot completed the appropriate checklists, without change. The pilot declared an emergency and ATC confirmed during a fly-by that the main gear was not extended. During the landing, the nose gear remained extended and the two main gear were retracted. The airplane came to rest on the runway and the passengers egressed without further incident.

January 7, 2019, Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking

At about 1334 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a lake while maneuvering. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane appear to perform “a tight U-turn” about two or three treetop heights above the water surface. The airplane then spiraled straight down counterclockwise and impacted the lake.

January 7, 2019, Colusa, Calif.

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza

The airplane collided with terrain at about 1050 Pacific time, two miles south of its departure airport. The private pilot and passenger aboard were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions existed in the area; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

A witness saw the airplane taxi out and heard its pilot on the CTAF. The witness estimated the cloud ceiling was about 500 feet and visibility was about one mile. Preliminary data indicate the airplane departed to the southwest and climbed through about 1000 feet MSL when a right turn was followed by a rapid descent until radar contact was lost.

January 12, 2019, Uvalde, Texas

Canadair CL 600 2A12

At about 1130 Central time, the Challenger 601 business jet impacted terrain following a runway excursion while landing at a private airstrip. The airline transport pilot, first officer, flight attendant and six passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to an airport representative, the airplane landed hard and a tire either popped or the landing gear tore off. The airplane slid off the runway’s right side, proceeded through a ditch and struck a perimeter fence before coming to a stop. The right main and nose landing gear had collapsed and were damaged. Additional damage included the right wing, right inboard flap, nose and vertical stabilizer.

January 13, 2019, Salem, S.D.

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1425 Central time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the instrument-rated pilot reported to ATC that he was having chest pains and was blacking out. The controller tried to get the pilot to land anywhere but lost contact with the airplane. The 69-year-old pilot’s third-class medical certificate was dated October 5, 2016. Weather at the nearby departure airport included wind from 200 degrees at 13 knots, 10 miles of visibility and an overcast at 1500 feet. The temperature was 1 degree C; dew point -3 degrees.

This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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Picture of the Week, April 18, 2019
This image was taken from a DG 1000 glider over the Lac de Joux in the Swiss Jura mountains, 30 miles NE of the city of Geneva. Photo taken with a Pentax K5 camera at 1/500 sec., focal length 100 mm. Copyrighted photo by Gilbert Benzonana.

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