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A task force comprising 25 to 30 representatives from industry and government will be formed to develop a registration process for drones, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced today in Washington. The group will advise the department regarding which drones would be exempt from registration due to a low safety risk. They also will explore options for a registration system that will simplify the process for commercial operators. The task force has a deadline of Nov. 20 to deliver its report to federal officials. Foxx said he hopes to have a system in place before Christmas, when it's expected that up to a million drones will be given as gifts.

“Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” Foxx said. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.” In the last year, pilot reports to the FAA of drone sightings doubled. “These reports signal a troubling trend,” Huerta said. “Registration will help make sure that operators know the rules and remain accountable to the public for flying their unmanned aircraft responsibly. When they don’t fly safely, they’ll know there will be consequences.” Foxx said those who fail to register their drones will be subject to penalties.

A range of industry groups filed statements in support of the announcement, and will serve on the task force. The groups include the Air Line Pilots Association, Helicopter Association International, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the Academy of Model Aircraft, and more. While the task force is working, the FAA will continue its “aggressive education and outreach efforts,” according to the DOT news release. The agency also will continue “to take strong enforcement action against egregious violators.”

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

Visit AVweb.com to participate in our current poll.

Click here to view the results of past polls.

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Every year, the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation chooses five aviation charities to support based on the results of online voting, providing grants of $2,000 to $10,000. This year’s top vote winners were Pilots N Paws, the Ninety-Nines, and Civil Air Patrol. Grants also went to NTM (New Tribes Mission) Aviation, to help them buy a new airplane for missionary work in Papua New Guinea, and to JAARS, which provides support to Bible translation efforts around the world. "Awarding these aviation charities provides the opportunity to advance their individual cause and together expand awareness and appreciation for aviation," said Allan Schrader, president of Lightspeed Aviation.

Women in Aviation International also announced this week it has $600,000 available in scholarships for next year, and the deadline to apply is Nov. 16. Applicants must be members of WAI as of Nov. 2. “This year we are offering 111 different scholarships,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “I can’t say it too often – these scholarships are not just for college students; they are for people at every phase of their aviation lives.” Scholarships are available to support tuition, flight training, type ratings and learning to fly for fun. Students, mechanics, engineers, ag pilots, flight instructors, engineers and a range of other diverse occupations can find support. The 2016 awards will bring the total amount of WAI’s scholarship program to more than $10 million, disbursed to more than 1,300 WAI members since the program began.

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The one-of-a-kind Bugatti 100p is back in the air for the second time, after the first flight, in August, ended in an off-runway excursion and damage to the props and spinner. The airplane, equipped with two new custom-built propellers, took off Saturday at the Clinton-Sherman Airport in Clinton, Oklahoma, flew the pattern, and returned for a safe landing. “The flight was flawless and the airplane performed perfectly,” the team wrote on their Facebook page. The two props, both mounted on the nose, rotate in opposite directions.

The 100p is based on a design by Ettore Bugatti, of Italy. The original prototype never flew, as the project was put aside when World War II broke out in Europe. The current team has been working on the airplane for years, partly funded through a Kickstarter effort. The props are driven by two Suzuki Hayabusa 200-hp motorbike engines. The team hopes to fly the airplane at about 200 mph.

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1909 Wright Military Flyer reproduction from Hyde collection

Ken Hyde, whose painstaking reproductions of early Wright aircraft are known for their historical accuracy and attention to detail, has put seven of his custom-built aircraft on the market, representing a variety of models that originally flew from 1902 to 1911. “I hope to keep them together,” he told AVweb this week, but will sell them individually also. “They’re all airworthy, and they’re a tremendous educational resource.” Hyde said he’s had the airplanes appraised and is ready to take offers. He said he hopes the sale will raise funds that will go to building more Wright airplanes, “to finish the story of what these guys accomplished.” Also, Thierry Zibi of Sam Aircraft has set a price of $100,000 for his two-seat prototype and the company.

Sam Aircraft

Zibi said last week the all-metal airplane, which has a distinctive tandem cockpit with a canopy, is AULA-approved in Canada, compliant with the E-AB rules in the U.S., and he expects it would be LSA-compliant in the U.S., though he hasn’t completed that process. Zibi said the prototype, which has flown for 385 hours, and all the molds and patterns are included in the sale. Zibi, who first offered the design for sale last year, said he’s ready to move on to new projects. “My reward will be that someone will be able to continue where I stopped, and see more Sam airplanes in the air,” he said. “Some people are destined to design, some to build, some to fly. This designer is looking for the other two kinds of people to realize their dreams.” Aviation Consumer’s Larry Anglisano flew the airplane last year; click here for his video report.

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Levi Technology has introduced a new version of its iLevil called the iLevil 2 SW. It features an improved, two-frequency ADS-B receiver and a slight larger solar array to extend battery life. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently test-flew the SW.

The Electronics International crew drove down to Arbuckle California to meet up with Pacific Valley Aviation's Darren Miller for two days of filming.  Miller and his crew fly ag planes for a living.  His livelihood depends on speed and dependability, which is why he's chosen to fly with Electronic International's MVP-50T.  The MVP-50T is the engine monitor of choice for both Thrush and Airtractor aircraft. A state-of-the-art digital engine monitor that offers the features pilots need to fly safe and protect their investment, the MVP-50T is a superstar in EI's line-up of products.  Click here to learn more.

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To a precious few earthlings who fly in the northern hemisphere, autumn offers denser air for better aircraft performance to clear gilded ridgelines beneath early sunsets — and anyone can fly it all after acing this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

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This month’s doing-it-right mention goes to my friends at Skydive City, my home drop zone in Zephyrhills, Florida. Last week, in a sporting crosswind, the DZ’s Twin Otter had a runway excursion of the sort that happens every day in general aviation. The Otter is built like a locomotive so damage to the airplane was limited to a scuffed-up control hinge.

What happened post-incident is a case study in how such events can yield a positive push to prevent the next one from happening. I think in many such incidents, the cause is filed under s%$t happens or the pilot is assumed to have failed to deliver on his training or skills. Maybe. But that disposition stands little chance of conveying a useful educational moment. Over the weekend, DZO T.K. Hayes told me the company conducted its own in-house post mortem in the spirit of the kind of inquiry that yields things you don’t always expect.

He showed me a list with a dozen action items that enumerated why the incident might have happened and what procedures might be followed in the future to avoid a re-do. All of the items were thoughtful and penetrating, including reconsidering what training the pilot had and what remedial work he might need.

But one item stood out for me. It has to do with what I call “the culture thing.” Be it airlines, charter, crop dusting or banner flying, a certain go-go attitude can infect a flight operation where profits are a goal. For a jump pilot flying 20-minute turns at a busy drop zone, landing and taking off on the closest runway to the aircraft loading area, irrespective of wind, is a given. It cuts minutes off the turn time. And time being money, you know the rest.

But the PIC is the PIC and Hayes was sure the pilots hadn’t been pressured to push the airplanes to the crosswind limits or their own comfort level just to save a couple of minutes. And I’m just as sure pilots will pressure themselves to do this because I’ve flown in commercial operations and I surely did it. And I’m an average kind of guy about stuff like this.

So Skydive City’s inward-looking response was to reiterate that PICs make the decisions on such things and can expect the unconditional support of management to do so, especially with regard to pushback on weather conditions. It’s really just re-enforcing what every pilot knows, but like muscles that atrophy if not exercised regularly, it’s easy to forget that you can and should just say no once in a while. Having a corporate culture that spares consequence from such decisions stiffens the spine and just makes, if not a safer atmosphere, one in which a profoundly egregious oversight is less likely to occur. The macho, I-can-do-this attitude is ever present. In the imaginary world all of us wish we inhabited, accident/incident investigation is a reductive process that doesn't seek to assign blame, but to impartially devise solutions. But blaming something or someone so neatly ties the knot that it's hard to avoid it.

In it's internal probe, the DZ also plugged a minor gap in its communication procedure that could have made a difference. As they sometimes are, the AWOS at the airport had been broken, but the drop zone has its own wind system, with an indicator that’s not convenient to manifest. Now, there will be a wind data repeater where the radios are, providing the pilot with an option that puts another stitch in the safety net.

Wouldn’t it be heartening if every accident or incident were followed up in this way independent of government or insurance investigations? A consciousness of safety comes not from government edict, but self-informed survival instinct. That usually doesn’t happen of its own, but accrues from the will to self-examine and learn from mistakes, no matter how minor.

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The 88Charlies, an organization named after its home airport in Palmyra, Wisconsin, shows how a grassroots approach to teaching kids about airplanes can grow into an organization that makes aviation fun for all.

The David Clark Ball Cap Is Back! Purchase a DC PRO-X Online and Get Yours Today

Daher's TBM 900 leads the single-engine turboprop market in speed and efficiency.  In this informational video from AVweb, we take a look at the airplane's performance and market appeal.

Kids Fly Safe || CARES FAA-Approved Airplane Safety Harness

Bose recently introduced Bluetooth capability for its popular A20 headset. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a flight trial and shows how an older A20 can be upgraded to Bluetooth.

Autumn Is in the Air - You Should Be Too || Save Up to $125 on Lightspeed Headsets

In this AVweb sponsored video, we take a close look at Dynon's D2 pocket EFIS.

TouchTrainer from FlyThisSim || Click for Aviation Expo Specials

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at AVweb.com.)