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Icon will establish a production plant in the city of Tijuana, in Baja, Mexico, company spokesman Brian Manning told AVweb on Tuesday, confirming an online report published over the weekend at a Tijuana news site. The new facility will produce composite airframe components for the A5 assembly plant in Vacaville, California, Manning said. It's scheduled to open early next year. "The new Tijuana facility is part of Icon’s revised business plan announced in May of this year," Manning said. "That plan includes in-sourcing all composite manufacturing to optimize quality and cost, and will allow the company to significantly ramp up production in the coming months and years."

According to Eltijuanese.com, the new plant will employ more than 1,000 people and more than $150 million will be invested. Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins, who is expected to hold a news conference in Tijuana on Thursday, told AVweb all of Icon's facilities in Tijuana will total over 300,000 square feet of new construction. "Parts will be made on Icon tooling, by Icon processes, to Icon quality standards, in Icon facilities," Hawkins said. Icon put delivery plans on hold while the company works to develop its supply chain and finesse its production process. About 20 airplanes are in the works at Vacaville, which will be used for training at regional Icon Flight Centers. "The Vacaville IFC opened this summer, a Florida IFC is set to open this fall, and a Texas IFC is slated to open in Q1 of 2017," Manning said. Hawkins added that 30 customers have now completed flight training in California, and said the 12th A5 was delivered to a customer.

 

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WFTV

Air traffic controllers need better training in how to assist aircraft in distress, the NTSB says in a report released this week. The safety recommendation is based on an analysis of five general aviation accidents, from 2012 to 2015, in which seven people were killed. In each case, the pilot was communicating with ATC but the controller either failed to provide adequate assistance or instructed the pilot to take actions that made the situation worse, according to the NTSB. The FAA should develop a required national training program to ensure that all controllers have training that is “current and relevant,” the NTSB said, and includes lessons learned from recent events.

In one fatal incident, in North Carolina in December 2012, a private pilot flying a Piper PA-28-160 in IMC had difficulty controlling the airplane and advised ATC that he was “no gyro.” The controller “did not understand that the loss of these primary flight instruments would make it extremely difficult for the pilot to maintain the correct attitude,” the NTSB said. The pilot asked to be cleared to an alternate airport with visual meteorological conditions. However, the controller instead prompted the pilot to leave VMC and attempt another approach into IMC, during which the pilot lost control of the airplane and crashed. The NTSB determined that contributing to the accident, in part, was “the inadequate assistance provided by FAA ATC personnel, and the inadequate recurrent training of FAA ATC personnel in recognizing and responding to in-flight emergency situations.”

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Researchers at NASA are “investigating promising advances” in high-temperature materials that can be used to make turbine engines run more efficiently, the agency said last week. The materials, called ceramic-matrix composites, or CMCs, are lighter and stronger than the metal alloys used today, and can withstand the extremely high temperatures of 2700 degrees Fahrenheit and more that are generated in the core of jet engines. In general, the hotter an engine runs, the better the fuel efficiency. “CMCs are in a position to replace the nickel-based super-alloy metals in today’s aircraft engines,” according to NASA’s news release.

The current research is focused on how CMCs and protective coatings can withstand not only high heat, but also environmental particle hazards such as dust, sand and volcanic ash. “This is important because, as aircraft engine temperatures increase to promote fuel efficiency, sand, when it’s ingested into an engine, can actually melt into glass and potentially cause power loss or failure,” said NASA Glenn materials engineer Valerie Wiesner. Moving next-generation aircraft toward greater operating efficiency will depend, in large part, on advances in engine technology and materials manufacturing capabilities, NASA said.

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The U.S. Air Force has created a new kind of testing regime for evaluating military aircraft, and recently announced that Textron AirLand’s Scorpion jet will be the first product to go through the process. The process, called a cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA, is open to any industry partner, on a first-come, first-served basis, the USAF said. “This process enables the Air Force to gain a much deeper understanding of the state of civil aviation,” according to the USAF news release, “while providing industry with an expert, independent evaluation of the safety and reliability of their products.” The manufacturer benefits by gaining an expert assessment of its design, while the USAF says it will gain a better understanding of commercial innovations and advance its broader research and development goals.

”These partnerships will help our military maintain its technical superiority while supporting a robust defense industry base,” said Jorge Gonzalez, of the Air Force’s Technical Airworthiness Authority. The standard CRADA will take about two years to complete, and the industry partner will cover all expenses, the USAF said. The Scorpion jet first flew late in 2013. The design aims to fill a gap between a turboprop light attack aircraft and multi-role strike fighters, according to Textron AirLand. It has a composite airframe, two turbofan engines, an internal payload bay and a tandem cockpit. It sells for under $20 million and operates at $3,000 per hour, according to the company.

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Family and friends were watching the first takeoff of an experimental home built.As he came down the runway he over pitched then pushed the nose down hitting the runway causing a ground loop off the runway with dirt flying. He then taxied back on the runway.

Tower: "What are your intentions?"  

He said there was no damage and would like to go again. 

Tower: “We will have to check the runway to be sure its clean first." 

Pilot in pattern: “And he'd better check his pants to make sure they are clean."

 
Name Withheld

 

 

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As an aviation journalist, my job description isn’t exactly to cheer when a flying machine craters, runs amok, blows up or otherwise goes awry. Hey, two wings, one love, right? So it was with a little guilt when, like a beer burp you can’t quite keep down, I had this moment of so there, when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 blew itself into charred scrap metal last Thursday at Cape Canaveral during a test fire.

Horrible thought, right? I’ll concede I’m defenseless, but I know why that thought darkened my otherwise sunny and nurturing disposition. One reason is the private enterprise space industry’s natural tendency toward hubris and the other was that one purpose of the satellite being launched was to bring Facebook—internet access, really—to Africa. When boy billionaire Mark Zuckerberg reacted to the accident, his tone struck me a little shocked that his rocket could blow up. So, yeah, you’re not NASA, but your rockets can still blow up. Welcome to aerospace. There, got that off my chest.

The AMOS-6 satellite, an Israel Aerospace Industries build, was a multi-purpose satellite with 45 transponders for communication services in Europe and the Middle East, not just Facebook’s internet-to-Africa initiative. Facebook’s Zuckerberg has made it his calling to connect parts of the world that don’t have affordable internet access but his true intentions have been met with suspicion, mainly because single providers threaten the concept of net neutrality.

In India, a group of tech companies and users viewed Zuckerberg’s effort as less altruistic than just another marketing plan. My thought is, do people who don’t have clean water, sufficient food and who are dodging tribal wars really pine for the navel-gazing wonders of Facebook? It’s absurd to think this justifies blowing up a guy’s satellite, it just makes it harder to collapse on the floor in inconsolable grief. Hope they had enough insurance. Also, Facebook plans to build as many as 10,000 Aquila solar-powered drones to beam internet around the world. This is actually more ambitious than the satellite project.

But I know where the real genesis of my feeling is and it goes back to the NASA bashing Burt Rutan did in the early days of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism venture. Did I mention that was 12 years ago and Galactic has yet to fly a single tourist? There, got that off my chest, too. (And no, I’ll never get over it.)

If there’s anything useful to be derived from this it’s that private space ventures may or may not, in the long term, have better launch records than NASA or the Air Force. Thus far, before this accident, SpaceX was comparable to the rest of the industry, with about a 93 percent success rate. But it’s not better. SpaceX’s launch costs are the lowest in the industry and expected to get lower with scale and if reusable boosters work out. All good. But it’s always wise to remember this: No matter who you are, your rockets will still blow up. No matter how many likes you have. 

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Daher surprised us all with a clever, self-deploying lav for the back of the TBM 950. At the touch of a button, it springs into action. AVweb shot this demo video recently.

What Everybody Ought to Know About the CGR-30P from Electronics International

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Mike Busch, the Savvy Aviator and one of the U.S.'s best known aircraft technicians, has been fighting the FAA on what he terms an unnecessary and seriously flawed airworthiness directive regarding barrel-head separations on ECi cylinders for big-bore Continental engines. We've given you two options to learn more from Busch about this controversial move by the FAA. We edited a short-form podcast of the basics of the history and impact of the AD. We've also included an essentially unedited version of the interview where Busch gives the history and context of what he says is a terrible example of rulemaking.

Every primary student who’s at least been ready to solo has experienced a few stalls and recoveries. If they’re lucky, they also are introduced to different kinds of stalls, and how the ways we enter them can help determine their characteristics. Along the way, we learn ways to recover from them. We learn these maneuvers for three reasons: So we’ll recognize, avoid and be able to recover from them.

At least in my experience, it’s not the simple, straight-ahead, power-off stall that poses the greatest risk to complete loss of control. But when some or all of a wing’s critical angle of attack (AoA) is exceeded in attitudes other than straight and level, stalls get more interesting, Variations on the simple stall—including accelerated, cross-control and elevator-trim—are where the greatest risk of losing control can be found. We’ll call them “advanced stalls.” Also in my experience, pilots are more likely to encounter these stalls than we are the more-benign, straight-ahead, power-off variety.

Common Factors

Of course, stalls occur when we exceed the wing’s critical AoA. One of the characteristics of some advanced stalls is that the likelihood of only one wing stalling is greater than both of them stalling at the same time. That’s because it can be more difficult to maintain coordinated flight when demonstrating an advanced stall, and the tolerances are tighter: Even if a turn is only slightly out of coordination, the effects can be dramatic.

Whichever wing is experiencing the greater AoA will stall first. With the other one developing lift, over you’ll go, rolling in the direction of the stalled wing. One result can be a spin. But if the turn is accurately flown, without yaw, the airplane simply will pitch down as if it were in a straight-ahead, power-off stall.

Another common factor in advanced stalls can be altitude loss. Any time an abrupt maneuver results in a stall, it probably will be with power on, and stalling with power on typically means everything about the stall happens more quickly. This includes losing altitude, especially if an incipient spin develops.

A final thing these so-called advanced stalls have in common can be lack of formal warning. Conventional stall warning devices usually work quite well, but any time you find yourself getting slow, with power on and in, say, 30 degrees of bank or more, you need to stop and think about your wing’s AoA. Moreover, the traditional buffet many airplanes exhibit when nibbling at a straight-ahead stall simply may not occur in an advanced version. That’s because things happen quickly and, when abused, a wing can go from flying to stalled before you realize what’s happening.

Accelerated Stalls

If your first thought upon hearing of an “accelerated” stall was something like, “How can it stall if it’s accelerating?” welcome to the club. In fact, an aircraft experiences two types of acceleration. There’s the acceleration in airspeed, but there’s also accelerated g loading. This is one of the fundamentals of accelerated stalls: The airplane is experiencing higher-than-normal g loading, usually resulting from relatively steep banks or abrupt maneuvering.

The thing with accelerated stalls is they can occur at an airspeed much higher than expected. For reference, the chart on the opposite page describes the relationships between bank angle, g-loading and stall speed. The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A) says, “At the same gross weight, airplane configuration, and power setting, a given airplane will consistently stall at the same indicated airspeed if no acceleration is involved. The airplane will, however, stall at a higher indicated airspeed when excessive maneuvering loads are imposed....” Stalls resulting from “abrupt maneuvers tend to be more rapid, or severe, than the unaccelerated stalls, and because they occur at higher-than-normal airspeeds...they may be unexpected by an inexperienced pilot.”

A traditional accelerated stall demonstration is begun from a level flight attitude at reduced power and at or below VA. Roll to the desired bank angle and smoothly, firmly and progressively increase back pressure to maintain altitude and increase the wing’s AoA until a stall occurs. The turn’s radius will decrease as airspeed drops from the increased g loading.

With the accelerated stall, you’re essentially demonstrating what can happen in an improperly executed steep turn, stall/spin recovery or abrupt pullout from a steep descent. That’s because an accelerated stall can occur any time “excessive back-elevator pressure is applied and/or the angle of attack is increased too rapidly,” according to the Airplane Flying Handbook.

Recovery from an accelerated stall is rather like any other: Release back pressure on the pitch control and increase power. This has the effect of reducing AoA and moving it further away from its critical point. It’s likely a wing will drop, since coordinating such a turn is difficult. If this occurs, add to your recovery procedures a coordinated turn to a wing-level attitude. The idea of an accelerated stall demonstration is to recognize an imminent stall and take steps necessary to prevent it, including relaxing back pressure, rolling wings level and/or adding power.

Cross-Control Stalls

Once at or (preferably) below the airplane’s design maneuvering speed (VA), a classic demonstration of the cross-control stall is to ease in right rudder as you apply left aileron, smoothly reduce power and keep the nose above the horizon. This kind of stall is likely to occur if you get out of shape during a turn from base to final. Once a pilot overshoots the centerline, the correct fix is to increase the turn rate with coordinated control inputs. Or go around.

But a cross-control stall can result if the combination of low altitude and poor training tricks a pilot into holding a constant bank angle while trying to increase the turn rate with additional rudder input. Adding inside—toward the direction of turn—rudder causes the relative wind past the outer wing to increase, creating more lift.

But too much roll is a bad thing. Countering that greater lift and resulting roll moment in the direction of the turn means opposite aileron input. Drag produced by the down-deflected aileron on the inside wing reduces the relative wind’s speed and the lift the wing is generating. The result is a turn with rudder applied in the direction of turn but with opposite aileron, plus additional back pressure to maintain the desired descent rate in the resulting skid.

This further causes the airplane to roll. The roll may be so fast that it is possible the bank will be vertical or past vertical before it can be stopped.

The Airplane Flying Handbook again: “In a cross-control stall, the airplane often stalls with little warning. The nose may pitch down, the inside wing may suddenly drop, and the airplane may continue to roll to an inverted position. This is usually the beginning of a spin. It is obvious that close to the ground is no place to allow this to happen.”

Preventing this kind of stall typically means flying concise traffic patterns. If you get out of shape in the pattern—thanks to traffic, wind or poor technique—the smartest thing to do is execute a go around rather than try to salvage the approach.

Elevator-Trim Stalls

The classic example of an elevator-trim stall is when executing a go-around after a balked landing. The airplane is trimmed nose-up for the approach’s reduced airspeed, and when full or go-around power is added, the nose pitches up, way up. If the pilot doesn’t push—hard!—to get and keep the nose down, an excessive AoA will stall the wing. That’s a bad thing close to ground, as likely will be the case when initiating a go-around.

The cure is two-fold. First, don’t add full or go-around power abruptly when initiating the go-around. Instead, add enough power to arrest the descent and begin climbing, then re-trim the nose down. Once a climb is established, begin adding nose-down trim (or removing the nose-up trim, however you prefer to visualize it) until the pitch angle and control forces return to that used for normal climbs. Second, use both hands if you need them, but the nose needs to come down and stay down. If you’re truly concerned about losing control in this situation, reduce power and trim off the nose-up moment before adding it back and achieving a climb configuration.

An elevator-trim stall is little more than a power-on stall. The essential difference is that, when demonstrating a power-on stall, the nose-up attitude typically is provided by pulling on the pitch control. With a for-real elevator trim stall, that won’t be necessary: The nose-up pitch input is being provided by the trim setting. Get rid of that, or push hard to overcome it, and you easily can recover.

Understanding, recognizing and—ultimately—preventing advanced stalls means not placing your airplane in a position from which it’s easy to enter one. That means no steep turns when flying slowly, always flying with coordinated inputs so no slips or skids can occur, and managing power application with a healthy push on the pitch control when initiating a go-around.

Failure to recognize and recover from one of these stalls can lead to a spin or an unusual attitude. Close to the ground, as some of these recipes for advanced stalls imply, is no place to be out of control.

Practicing Advanced Stalls

If you want to go out and practice advanced stalls, here are a few things to remember:

Slow Down

Unlike with the straight-ahead, power-off variety, practicing an advanced stall usually requires some power and airspeed. As with any maneuver, there can be too much of a good thing. Never set up for one of these stalls at greater than the airplane’s VA for its weight. Ideally, you’ll be even slower, so the stall occurs well before any risk of damaging the airframe from higher-than-normal g loading.

Have Plenty of Altitude

The cross-controlled stall generally is encountered close to the ground, during the turn from base to final, while the accelerated stall can happen any time the airplane is maneuvered abruptly. In any case and thanks to the increased kinetic energy involved, these stalls can result in greater altitude loss than a more benign power-off stall. An extra couple of thousand feet won’t hurt.

Got Approval?

The airplane you’re flying may not be approved for demonstrating these advanced stalls (even if it can get into one), or may be approved only under certain conditions. Check the airplane’s limitations and placarding before heading out.

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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