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Volume 26, Number 20c
May 17, 2019
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Boeing Finishes MAX Software Update
Kate O'Connor

Boeing announced on Thursday that it has completed development of updated software for the 737 MAX, as well as concluding the associated simulator testing and completing the company’s engineering test flight. The software update is designed to address faults with the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that are widely considered to have significantly contributed to the fatal accidents of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. Boeing says it has also developed new training and education materials that are now being reviewed by the FAA, global regulators and airlines “to support return-to-service and longer-term operations.” The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded since March.

According to Boeing, it is now addressing FAA requests for additional information, which “include detail on how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios.” From there, Boeing and the FAA will schedule the certification test flight and Boeing will submit final certification documentation for the new software. “We’re committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need, and to getting it right,” said Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “We’re making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly.”

The U.S. House of Representative Aviation Subcommittee also held a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the current status of the Boeing 737 MAX. As shown in the video below, the committee heard testimony from FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell and NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. The hearing was the first in what is expected to be a series of Aviation Subcommittee hearings examining the circumstances around the accidents and the certification process for the MAX.

F-16 Crashes Into California Warehouse
Kate O'Connor

An F-16 crashed into a warehouse adjacent to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, at approximately 3:40 p.m. local time on Thursday afternoon. The building was evacuated after the crash and several minor injuries to people on the ground have been reported. The pilot was able to eject from the aircraft and is believed to be uninjured.

It has been reported that the aircraft was carrying live ordnance and that the Riverside County bomb squad and explosive ordnance disposal teams from March were on site. A section of Interstate 215 has been closed and the surrounding area cordoned off due to the accident. The pilot is part of the 144th Fighter Wing Air National Guard unit based in Fresno, California. The aircraft is believed to have been participating in routine training activities and possibly suffered a hydraulic failure.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Lilium Introduces eVTOL
Kate O'Connor

Aspiring air taxi company Lilium officially introduced its new all-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft on Thursday. As shown in the video below, testing of the five-seat Lilium Jet prototype is already underway, with the aircraft having successfully completed its first flight on May 4 after “extensive” ground testing at Lilium’s Munich, Germany, headquarters. The company flight tested a two-seat prototype in 2017.

“While a maiden flight is always a moment of truth for a business, the Lilium Jet performed exactly as expected and responded well to our inputs,” said Lilium Head of Flight Testing Leandro Bigarella. “Our flight test program will now continue with increasingly complex maneuvers as we look toward our next big goal of achieving transition flight, which is when the aircraft moves seamlessly from vertical to horizontal flight.” The aircraft was operated remotely for the flight test.

According to the company, the Lilium Jet is powered by 36 electric "jet engines." It is expected to have a top speed of 300 km/h (162 knots) and a range of 300 km (162 NM). Lilium says it plans to have its on-demand air taxi service up and running by 2025. The company reports having attracted in excess of $100 million in funding and currently employs more than 300 people.

Podcast: The Millionaires' Unit Documentary
Kate O'Connor

The Humanus Documentary Films Foundation recently premiered the museum cut of their World War I aviation film, The Millionaires’ Unit, at the New-York Historical Society in New York City. The documentary follows a group of Yale undergraduates who helped found the U.S. Navy’s air arm on the eve of WWI. In this podcast, filmmakers Ron King and Darroch Greer discuss the Millionaires’ Unit, the making of the documentary and other aviation projects from Humanus.

Honeywell Retires Convair 580
Kate O'Connor

Honeywell Aerospace has retired its Convair 580 test aircraft after 67 years of service, 103,000 landings and 67,000 total flight hours, according to a company announcement on Thursday. Data gathered using the aircraft, N580HW, helped engineers create Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System, and IntuVue RDR-4000 Weather Radar System. The company says testing of the IntuVue RDR-4000 included “flying the Convair under and directly into thunderstorms over the Everglades and off the coast of Florida” while EGPWS testing involved flying “directly toward mountainous terrain to test that the warning signals in the EGPWS were activating when the aircraft was too close to dangerous terrain features.”

“You have to have confidence in your aircraft to be around mountains, thunderstorms and volcanos, because you’re flying so close to terrain, you’ll experience a lot of turbulence. Thankfully, the Convair is a heavy-duty aircraft and has very reliable engines,” said Honeywell Aerospace chief test pilot Randy Moore. “I always thought of it like a 1952 Chevy pickup. That’s what the Convair was like.” Moore has flown the company’s 580 since 2004.

Honeywell’s Convair 580 has a long and well-documented history. Certified on January 15, 1952, as a Convair 340, it spent many years carrying passengers for United Airlines. After being sold to Frontier in 1966, it was converted to a 580. The aircraft was acquired by AlliedSignal in 1992 and became part of Honeywell’s fleet when the companies merged in 2000. It will be retired to a planned aviation museum in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

Senate Commemorates AOPA's 80th Anniversary
Kate O'Connor

A bipartisan resolution commemorating the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's (AOPA) eightieth anniversary was passed by the U.S. Senate on Monday. The resolution (PDF) “recognizes the efforts of the association in—(1) helping to ensure the freedom to fly; and (2) leaving a lasting legacy for future generations of aviators.” It was submitted by Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., along with cosponsors Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Steve Daines, R-Mont., John Boozman, R-Ark., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

“For eight decades, AOPA has been a leading advocate in the aviation community, educating the public and members of congress about the many important issues facing our nation’s general aviation pilots,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m excited to have worked alongside Senator Inhofe to pass this resolution honoring their valuable contributions.”

AOPA was officially formed on May 15, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was founded by Alfred L. Wolf, Charles Townsend Ludington, Laurence P. and Philip T. Sharples, and John Story Smith. In its 80-year history, the organization has been led by five presidents: Joseph ‘‘Doc’’ Hartranft, John Baker, Philip Boyer, Craig Fuller, and, currently, Mark Baker.

Who You Gonna Call?
Mike Hart

Last summer, while flying over the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states, I heard a radio call: “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. White Cessna... [broken and inaudible transmission].” I heard just enough to understand something bad was happening, but not where. I repeatedly tried to hail the aircraft to get them to repeat their location, to no avail. My attempts, however, did pique the curiosity of other aircraft on the backcountry frequency, all of which were south of my position. None of them had heard the call. I deduced the distressed aircraft must have come from somewhere north of my position, so I turned to head upriver where the most likely airstrips were and tuned to 121.5 MHz to listen for an ELT.

I was flying a U.S. Forest Service mission at the time, so during my turn, they contacted me on the dispatch frequency to ask if I had an emergency. The USFS flight following operation was monitoring 122.9 MHz and had heard my call, but not the original Mayday. After I confirmed that I was okay and relayed what I knew, the USFS Central Idaho Dispatch called the county sheriff to report the event.


Unknown to me, at about the same time I reported the Mayday call, a pilot on the ground at the Flying B. Ranch in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness had seen an aircraft depart, struggle to climb over the adjacent Bernard airstrip, then subsequently turn up a ravine that rose faster than an airplane can climb. The crash and subsequent fire were reported to the county sheriff via satellite phone by the witness. Based on the combined information, and knowing they were the closest resource, the USFS sent a “Helitack” helicopter-borne firefighting team and medical helicopters toward the accident site.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) based at Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base picked up an activated ELT signal and corresponding position. Per protocol, they contacted the Idaho Division of Aeronautics, who by this time was already on the phone with the county sheriff. Within a few minutes, all three distress signals—the Mayday call, the satellite phone call and the ELT—had worked through the system to a central point of contact. A well-coordinated picture of what had happened was emerging.

Those in charge of rendering rescue and first response, and all of the agencies, were following the National Incident Management System, a comprehensive, national approach to incident management applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines. The closest assets—USFS helicopters fighting nearby fires—were self-dispatched to the scene with the knowledge they were looking for an airplane crash and fire in a canyon above the Bernard Airstrip. They were fed what was known about the circumstances of the crash, including information from the eyewitness and the ELT’s coordinates. When the Helitack team arrived on scene, they could see the two reported occupants had survived and escaped the smoldering aircraft. They were lucky to find a suitable landing spot near the crash site and began firefighting, initiating rescue and relaying critical information back to both the sheriff and the Idaho Division of Aeronautics.


“The ELT was registered, so we had an N-number and a contact number for the aircraft,” said Jim Hinen, search and rescue coordinator for the Idaho Division of Aeronautics, the lead agency for responding to downed aircraft in the state. “It was a difficult phone call, not knowing who I was talking to on the other end. It turned out to be the wife of the pilot. I explained that the reason for the call was we had an activated ELT.

“Fortunately, while still on the phone explaining the situation to the pilot’s wife, word arrived from the USFS helicopter crews that the two people on board the aircraft had survived and rescue efforts were underway. It was good to already have good news.”

This accident response was a textbook example: communications went extremely well and rescuers were both exceptionally equipped and exceptionally close. Resources from the nearby Helitack base were swiftly on the scene, and two medical evac helicopters were staged on a runway a mile from the crash site once the severity of the injuries became clear.

Why did the response go so well when the crash was in such a remote area with no cellphone service? The answer is redundancy. The airplane’s ELT activated, so AFRCC received data from its signal. The Mayday call was overheard and relayed to an agency with nearby rotary wing firefighting resources, including Helitack and MedEvac assets. The crash was witnessed by a pilot who accurately recognized what had happened and who happened to have a satellite phone.

Not So Seamless

The crash was gruesome; both occupants received full-body second- and third-degree burns, there was a smoldering aircraft to deal with at the height of fire season, and victims and rescuers alike were attacked by swarms of stinging insects. Despite it all, rescue operations were extremely quick and the outcome was as good as it could have been.

Rescue operations aren’t always so seamless. Earlier in the summer, there was another crash on a backcountry strip. It was witnessed, there was a positive 406 ELT transmission and a SPOT PLB messenger was used to request rescue for a pilot with severe facial injuries, multiple leg fractures and a severely lacerated wrist. On the plus side, immediate medical attention by the two well-equipped pilots on the ground perhaps saved the victim’s life. They had excellent first aid equipment, including gauze impregnated with blood-clotting agents.

The rescue, however, was impeded by human error and weather. Somewhere in the process of communicating the location of the accident, the latitude and longitude were transcribed incorrectly. Latitude and longitude can be written down as degrees, minutes and seconds, or as degrees and decimal increments, or in some combination. As a result, the rescue helicopter wasted time searching for the crash site approximately 12 miles from the actual one. When the rescue finally did arrive, fuel was too low to make a direct flight to a major city without a fuel stop and the weather, which was marginal, closed in. By the time rescue was accomplished, the route to the hospital was in IMC, requiring an aircraft change. The victim survived, but the rescue took five hours...longer than it perhaps needed to be, but still fairly swift. Despite the modern assets usually deployed, search and rescue (SAR) of downed aircraft in remote locations often (and typically) takes more than 24 hours.

Hinen described two other more recent accidents that triggered the search-and-rescue (SAR) rescue system differently. In one case, a pilot was involved in an accident in which the ELT was not activated. Fortunately, the pilot was equipped with a 406 MHz personal locator beacon (PLB). When activated, a PLB triggers the COSPAS/SARSAT system, a worldwide system operated by international participants. Since PLBs are not specifically aviation-related, AFRCC contacts the appropriate local SAR lead agency based on the lat/long location and respective individual agreements with the states. In most states— though not all—the lead agency for responding to PLB activation is a county sheriff. Once an accident is determined to be aviation-related, however, the appropriate state agency responsible for aviation accidents takes ownership.

The second case Hinen mentioned involved an unregistered ELT activation. These are problematic because with no registration, there is no N-number, aircraft description or contact information to work with. It was nearly dark when the AFRCC contacted the Idaho State Division of Aeronautics, too late to dispatch SAR aircraft either owned by the state or operated by the Civil Air Patrol, so the nearest county sheriff was contacted. He immediately recognized the location as a private airstrip. The airstrip owner was contacted, who confirmed a hard landing had triggered the ELT, which he reset. Case closed—no harm, no foul—but an unregistered ELT makes for more guesswork. If it had been an actual crash, SAR assets likely would not have been deployed until first light the following day.

Leveraging Communications

Register your ELT. It makes a big difference. Even when it is not required, as with 406 ELTs, just do it. When you register, you have an opportunity to provide additional information, including alternate emergency contacts and other notes like special needs that might aid SAR teams. Every bit of information can jump the rescue efforts further ahead. “When an ELT is registered, we immediately know the identification of the aircraft involved, and the name and contact information for the registrant,” said Hinen.

Don’t count on a sudden stop involving aircraft damage to always activate an ELT. Sometimes the antenna is sheared off or destroyed by a post-crash fire. And sometimes an upside-down aircraft will prevent the signal from reaching out. When you know you are going to crash, all pilots should attempt to maintain positive control of the aircraft all the way through the accident sequence.

But if you know the outcome is going to be bad, why wait for the crash to trigger your ELT when you might be able to activate it from the cockpit? Setting off the ELT manually gets the ball rolling before the mayhem. When I fly new aircraft, I look for an ELT activation switch. I also brief my passengers on its location because the front-seat occupants are more likely to have head injuries.

Inform someone about your departure and expected return. In the first incident I described, the pilot had told his wife that he was departing and provided her with an expected time when he would be back home. Had none of the other systems been triggered, his wife still would have been able to alert authorities and provide the departure airport and time of last contact. Such information is gold to SAR.

None of us wants to be in a crash or at the root of a distress call. If, or when, the time comes, understanding what you have triggered may help you make better preparations and smarter choices that hopefully will significantly quicken your rescue.

Distress Signal Processing

When your ELT goes off, the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) receives its signal via the satellite-based COSPAS/SARSAT network. The AFRCC operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

The AFRCC is the United States’ inland search-andrescue coordinator, the single agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal SAR activities in the 48 contiguous states, Mexico and Canada. It is directly tied to the FAA’s alerting system, the U.S. Mission Control Center and to the organizations that conduct or assist in SAR efforts throughout North America.

When a distress call is received, AFRCC first tries to verify that it’s legitimate. In an ELT activation, they will try to contact the registrant. Then they choose the rescue forces needed based on availability and capability of forces, geographic location, terrain, weather conditions and the urgency of the situation. Priority is given to local jurisdictions including any state agencies, local or civil SAR resources. Individual states may operate differently. The AFRCC can also coordinate with Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard or other Department of Defense assets.

Not All 406 ELTs Are Created Equal

In 2009, the SARSAT system stopped monitoring 121.5 MHz ELT signals, which are notoriously difficult to locate. While a 406 MHz ELT provides much more precise location information, non-GPS versions still only get SAR folks within two to five miles of a location. In rough terrain with tree-covered canopy, that’s a much larger area to search than it may seem. Meanwhile, a 406 MHz ELT or PLB signal incorporating GPS can provide location accuracy to a few tens of meters. There are two basic ways to ensure GPS data is available in your 406 MHz ELT’s signal: Wire the ELT to your aircraft’s installed GPS navigator or buy an ELT with a GPS sensor built into it. This will improve accuracy. Incorporating GPS can provide location accuracy to a few tens of meters.

ELT False Alarms

Ninety percent of the ELT activations received by SAR resources are false alarms. That’s a lot of robocall-type annoyances for them to patiently sort through while still remaining alert for the 10 percent that are real. Incorrect ELT testing is a major culprit. 406 MHz ELT devices should NOT be tested the same as 121.5 MHz-only devices (by turning them on in the first five minutes after hour.) Instead, any live test of a 406 MHz ELT must be coordinated through the AFRCC (1-800-851-3051). Some ELTs feature elaborate self-testing without the need to transmit. Consult your ELT manufacturer’s documentation for recommended testing procedures.

Who Pays?

If you are injured in a crash, you will probably feel grateful when your rescuers descend from a helicopter, transfer you to a waiting MedEvac chopper, and transport you to a major trauma center in a Pilatus or King Air. Search and rescue is one of those public services we sometime take for granted, but the $2000-plus/hour operating cost per aircraft is not paid in gratitude.

So who pays? It depends largely on the jurisdiction you crashed in and how many resources were required to extricate you from harm’s way.

Many SAR first responders are local volunteers. There is a good chance the person who hiked in from a trailhead to your accident site is unpaid. If the Civil Air Patrol is dispatched to look for a downed aircraft, the cost is covered by the USAF. County rescue personnel are often already on the county payroll, but some counties seek reimbursement. When private air support and professional medical crews are required, the costs can quickly mount and you may get a bill.

One way to hedge against the potential cost of rescue is to purchase SAR insurance. Many PLBs like SPOT and InReach offer various levels of coverage for rescue insurance costs. You can also get policies from the aviation businesses that serve your local or regional community. And your aircraft insurance may include SAR benefits. In many states, you can either purchase a card like Colorado’s SAR card, or you can purchase a hunting or fishing license, which often help fund state and local SAR budgets, and entitles the possessor to rescue coverage (even if you weren’t hunting or fishing). Each state varies. Some provide subsidized services and others allow local jurisdictions to recover costs.

Mike Hart is an Idaho-based flight instructor and proud owner of a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub and a Cessna 180. He also is the Idaho liaison to the Recreational Aviation Foundation.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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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

February 1, 2019, Atlantic Ocean

Piper PA-32RT-300 Lance II

At about 1315 Eastern time and about 20 miles east of West Palm Beach, Fla., radar contact was lost with the airplane. The private pilot and passenger were presumed fatally injured and the airplane to have been destroyed on impact. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect for the flight, which departed West Palm Beach, Fla., for Marsh Harbour, The Bahamas.

As the airplane was vectored to avoid “cells” and “areas of heavy precipitation,” the controller queried the pilot about his inability to maintain assigned headings. The pilot reported that his autopilot “had kicked off” and that “the winds are really weird up here.” At about 1310, the airplane slowed to about 70 knots groundspeed on a northeasterly heading before it began an accelerating 90-degree right turn to the south. By 1313, the controller again asked, “...appears you've turned back to the northwest and...are you going to turn back eastbound?” The pilot replied, “I don't know what's going on up here. I'm working on instruments… acting really goofy here.” Shortly thereafter, the airplane turned and descended from a northerly heading sharply to its right. The radar track tightened to the right as the target rapidly descended, then disappeared at about 1315 in an area that depicted heavy precipitation.

The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a search for the airplane by sea and by air over an area of 1115 square miles without success. After 36 hours, the search was suspended on February 3, 2019.

February 1, 2019, Socorro, N.M.

RANS S12 Experimental LSA

The airplane collided with an unoccupied helicopter and a light pole at about 1355 Mountain time during takeoff. The solo private pilot succumbed to his injuries seven days after the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot had recently purchased the airplane. Visual conditions prevailed.

A 1353 automated weather observation about 51 nm south of the accident site included winds from 160 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 20 knots.

February 2, 2019, Knotts Island, N.C.

Cessna 150

At about 1700 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he was performing a post-maintenance test flight. He said the airplane had about 22 gallons of usable fuel prior to takeoff. The pilot took off and remained in the airport traffic pattern, conducting several landing approaches. He then departed the pattern and conducted flight maneuvers for about 30 minutes, after which he turned east toward the Outer Banks Barrier Islands. While eastbound, he experienced an electrical problem and turned around, heading for the airplane’s base airport. Shortly thereafter, the electrical system failed, followed by the engine. The pilot attempted a restart but was unsuccessful and made a forced landing in a marsh.

According to the operator, the pilot was advised to remain in the traffic pattern of the local airport, considering how much maintenance was recently performed. Examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. About one cup of uncontaminated fuel was drained from the fuel system and the fuel selector was found in the open position. Both fuel caps were inspected and the fuel cap gaskets were intact. Both wing fuel tanks were empty of fuel, and there were no signs of fuel leakage.

February 3, 2019, Yorba Linda, Calif.

Cessna 414 Chancellor

The airplane experienced an inflight breakup at 1345 Pacific time. The private pilot and four individuals on the ground sustained fatal injuries; two individuals on the ground sustained serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed over the accident location, while instrument conditions were nearby.

During the takeoff clearance, the tower air traffic controller cautioned the pilot regarding deteriorating weather, about four miles east. The airplane took off and made a left turn to the east. By 5 minutes after takeoff, the airplane had climbed to about 7800 feet AGL before it started a rapid descending right turn.

Numerous witnesses saw the airplane exit the clouds in a highspeed descent before parts started to break off. One witness “observed an aircraft emerge from the overcast layer on a northwesterly heading with a nose down pitch of approximately 60 degrees, pointed directly at my location with no discernible movement. It remained in that attitude for approximately 4 to 5 seconds before initiating a highspeed dive recovery. Approaching the bottom of the recovery, the aircraft began to roll to its right. As it did, the left horizontal stabilizer departed the aircraft, immediately followed by the remainder of the empennage. The left wing then appeared to shear off just outside of the number one (left) engine, igniting the left wing. After which, the aircraft disappeared behind the hill to the northeast of the observed location, trailing flames behind it. The sound of an explosion and large plume of black smoke immediately followed.”

February 5, 2019, Desert Hot Springs, Calif.

Cessna 172M

At about 1815 Pacific time, the airplane impacted mountainous terrain while en route. The commercial pilot and the passenger received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed. Undetermined night conditions existed at the impact location at the time of the accident.

The flight had departed Thermal, Calif., with North Las Vegas, Nev., as its destination. When the airplane was about 10 miles northwest of Palm Springs, Calif., at 3500 feet MSL, according to radar data, the pilot requested VFR flight following, and reported he was following California Highway 62.

While northbound, the airplane climbed to 4100 feet, then descended until radar contact was lost. The airplane came to rest on a steep hillside about 300 feet west of Highway 62 and about 500 feet above the highway. The 1815 automated weather observation about 20 miles northwest of the accident site included winds from 240 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 19 knots, and scattered clouds at 900 feet AGL.

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

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GAMA Names Aviation Design Challenge Winners
Kate O'Connor

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has announced Hayesville High School as the winner of its 2019 Aviation Design Challenge competition. As their prize, four students, one teacher, and one chaperone from the Hayesville, North Carolina, high school will be taking an all-expenses-paid trip to help build an airplane at Glasair Aviation in Arlington, Washington, from June 10 to June 22. 2018 Design Challenge winners Erie 1 BOCES Harkness Career and Technical Center in Cheektowaga, New York, placed second this year. They will receive a two-day Redbird Flight Simulations Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Lab Camp, hosted at their high school campus.

136 high schools were registered for the 2019 competition. “Our team of engineers serving as judges were extremely impressed with the quality of the designs submitted in this year’s competition,” said GAMA CEO Pete Bunce. “We look forward to working with these young people and teaching them more about the exciting world of aviation through the unique experiences of the Glasair Sportsman build and Redbird STEM camp.”

The Aviation Design Challenge was created in 2013 to promote STEM education at the high school level. Once registered for the competition, schools receive GAMA’s “Fly to Learn” curricula and flight simulation software powered by X-Plane. After completing the four- to six-week classroom program, students use the software to modify a virtual airplane based on what they’ve learned. According to GAMA, the designs then compete in a virtual “fly-off” that is “scored on aerodynamic and performance parameters while flying a specific mission profile.” In addition to Glasair and Redbird, companies sponsoring the competition this year include Boeing Global Services, Bombardier Business Aircraft, Cirrus Aircraft, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, ForeFlight, Garmin, GE Aviation, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, Hartzell Propeller, Lycoming Engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Textron Aviation, Uber and Wipaire.

Picture of the Week, May 16, 2019
Done for the day. Photo by Cody Timmons.

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