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NASA is now testing a tablet-based “super-app” that it says will help airlines and other operators to save time and reduce fuel consumption by constantly working to help fine-tune the aircraft’s route and altitude. The Traffic Aware Planner application connects directly to the avionics information hub on the aircraft. “It reads the current position and altitude of the aircraft, its flight route, and other real-time information that defines the plane's current situation,” said David Wing, project lead at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Then it automatically looks for a variety of route and/or altitude changes that could save fuel or flight time and displays those solutions directly to the flight crew."

TAP also can access weather and airspace data, and can scan the ADS-B signals of nearby air traffic. Wing and his team have tested the software twice aboard a Piaggio P180 Avanti aircraft. "We used it to make a route-change request from air traffic control, which they granted," said test pilot William Cotton. "We got a shortcut that saved four minutes off the flight time." Even four minutes of flight time shaved off each leg of an airline trip would result in massive fuel and time savings, NASA said. Virgin America and Alaska Airlines now will use the app in real-world tests over the next three years.

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Officials at the French Museum of Air and Space at Le Bourget say their Concordes are not for sale, effectively quashing the recently unveiled plan to buy one of the airplanes and restore it to flying condition. “These two aircraft are part of the national heritage,” the Museum said in a news release on Monday. “As stated in the Heritage Code, they are inalienable and imprescriptible, as are the Mona Lisa or the Palace of Versailles. … The policy of the Air and Space Museum is not to maintain its aircraft in flying condition, to best protect these parts as some are unique. There is therefore no doubt, whatsoever, that the Museum of Air and Space Concorde will not be sold, regardless of the financial offer, nor will they fly again someday.” The Club Concorde, based in the U.K., says it is prepared to spend up to $190 million to restore a Concorde to flight.

Raising millions of dollars to fund the “return to flight” project is beside the point, according to Emmanuel Davidson, managing editor of, a French aviation publication. The only Concordes still in France are those owned by the Air and Space museum, he said in an email to AVweb. “The bylaws of the museum are pretty clear about what is possible and what is not,” he wrote. “Once acquired by (or donated to) the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace an exhibit (airframe or any other object) is to be preserved in display condition and is expressly prohibited from flying again. There are no provisions to allow the sale of any exhibit to private interests.” The Club Concorde says it also will look into buying the Concorde now on display at the Intrepid Museum in New York.


Each week, we poll the savviest aviators on the World Wide Web (that's you) on a topic of interest to the flying community.

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Bill Moyle, a veteran aviation educator, will be the next executive director for the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, the group announced on Monday, after a six-month search. Moyle, of Waxahachie, Texas, succeeds former director and co-founder Doug Stewart. “We’re fortunate to have found a leader with Bill’s aviation and education background,” said Donna Wilt, chair of the SAFE board of directors. “We believe he has the right stuff to lead SAFE as we continue to expand representation and services to aviation educators in the U.S. and worldwide.” Coyle is a retired airline pilot with more than 13,000 flight hours in 28 different aircraft, and also is an active flight instructor.

Moyle started to fly at age 14, as an “airport kid” in Danbury, Connecticut. He began his career as a high-school teacher in 1974, then moved to Danbury Airlines where he instructed in Cessna Citations and developed systems training for the company. He flew as captain on the Boeing 727 for Champion Air. More recently, Moyle worked as an examiner and instructor at FlightSafety International from 2006 until 2009, when he retired, and is an active member of his local EAA chapter.

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The FAA has created no-fly zones for drone operators during this week’s visit from Pope Francis. Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia and surrounding communities are off-limits Tuesday through Sunday. “Flying a drone anywhere during one of Pope Francis’ visits is against the law and may result in criminal or civil charges,” the FAA said on Monday. The restrictions apply to all unmanned aircraft, including radio-controlled model aircraft.

"I'm asking the public to please leave your drone at home during the papal visit," said FAA administrator Michael Huerta. "Flying a drone anywhere near the areas Pope Francis visits is against the law and violators could face stiff fines and criminal penalties." All the sites where the Pope is traveling also will be protected by TFRs that affect manned aircraft. Pilots are advised to check Notams for more details about the exact locations and timing of the flight-restricted zones.

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Safe Flight Instrument Corporation recently earned FAA certification for its latest-generation speed control/angle-of-attack system. In this video, Aviation Consumer editor Larry Anglisano flies with the system in Safe Flight's Cessna for a detailed look.

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Our sister publication Aviation Consumer wants to know about your experiences with aircraft cylinders, including factory-new, PMA cylinders from Superior and ECi (including RAM Nickel) and used or reconditioned cylinders. This survey pertains only to Lycoming or Continental engines, not Rotax or experimental engines. (Lycoming or Continental engines used in experimentals are fair game, however.)

If you have a moment, please click here to take the short (five-minute) survey.

The answers you give are confidential and will be shared with no one but the editors of Aviation Consumer. Look for a report on the results of this survey in their November 2015 issue.


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Remember that great closing scene in The Bridges at Toko-Ri  where admiral Tarrant, upon contemplating the loss of Brubaker, ruminates, “Where do we get such men?” For all the wrong reasons, I thought of that the other week when I was talking to Dave, one of the local IAs here.

While I was fooling with the plugs in the Cub, he said, “Hey, what do you know about nitrogen in airplane tires?” My reply is that I knew as much about it as I do nitrogen in car tires, which is enough to understand that using it is yet another way to separate a customer from his money.

This had come up because a customer had come into the shop asking to have the front tire on his Cessna 172—yes, a Skyhawk—inflated with nitrogen. When the shop said it couldn’t help, the customer steamed off in a hissy, muttering that the place must not know the first thing about maintenance.

But I had been around these houses before when the local Toyota dealer offered to “freshen” the nitrogen in our Matrix tires for $5 a pop. Did I want this special service? Not just no, but hell no. Twenty bucks to top up the tire pressures? I later learned that this was a bargain. Some dealers charge as much as $179 for this “upgrade.” The idea has somehow migrated over to airplane tires, but apparently via meme, not by anything the manufacturers recommend.

The theory behind nitrogen inflation is that it retains tire pressure over time better than straight air does and this has proven to be true. But we’re talking very small differences. Consumer Reports did a yearlong test and found that nitrogen held pressure in a tire about 1.3 PSI better than straight air. That’s in tubeless tires; it might be different in the tubed tires that light aircraft use. Nitrogen is typically drier than compressed air, so it’s also thought to reduce moisture content around the metal wheel, thus limiting corrosion. But again, in an airplane, the moisture is inside the tube and never sees the wheel surface. Nitrogen acolytes also believe that because the gas is inert, it will reduce tire degradation. Well, that’s fine, but the tire is exposed to all manner of destructive UV and environmental contamination on the outside, so what’s the point of protecting the inside with a $20 top off?

There isn’t one. Or at least one that’s consistent with spending that much on a tire you’ll probably replace long before a nitrogen fill will pay off. And since it’s an airplane, we’re not really worried about fuel economy.

It is true that transport category tires are nitrogen filled; says so right in the tire specs for those big, expensive buns. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. I didn’t speak to this owner directly, but I would have liked to. Isn’t flying expensive enough without, you know, doing it to ourselves? Ain’t it funny how we talk ourselves into such things?

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Tecnam is now marketing its new P2010 single-engine in the U.S.  AVweb took a flight in the airplane and prepared this flight report video.

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Dianna Stanger's unique L-139 won the prize for best jet in the warbird division this summer at EAA AirVenture, and next week it will be flying at Reno, competing in the National Championship Air Races.  Stanger talks with AVweb's Mary Grady about the airplane and her efforts to introduce more women and girls to aviation.

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Judy Rice and the Think Global Flight team have returned from their two-month trip around the world promoting education in an aviation context to students and adults in 25 countries. They departed Burbank, California on June 13 in a donated Citation Mustang. Along the way, Rice reached out to more than 20,000 students, who were exposed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational projects via Think Global Flight’s Student Command Centers. AVweb’s Elaine Kauh talked with Rice about her visits with students and what’s ahead for Think Global Flight’s educational initiatives.

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