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Anyone who wants to fly the Icon LSA now can take instruction in Tampa, Florida, the company announced last week. The new flight center is open at the Peter O. Knight Airport, a general aviation field. The training program is offered not just to A5 position holders but to anyone who wants to sign up. Options range from a 90-minute introductory flight to a full sport-pilot training program, which the company says will take 15 days. “We studied a range of high-performance schools, like car and motorcycle racing courses, before developing the Icon training program,” says CEO Kirk Hawkins.

“We optimized our approach based on how people learn, so they can most effectively absorb critical information and learn the fundamentals of flying. In addition to emphasizing basic airmanship, we also focus on developing good judgment and decision-making, self-reliance, and encouraging Icon pilots to be responsible members of the flying community.”

The flight center is the second one for Icon, which also offers training from its headquarters in Vacaville, in northern California. A third facility is scheduled to open in Texas early next year. The company said it has already trained 40 new pilots at its California location. AVweb’s Rick Durden took a look at the A5 in Vacaville last summer and filed a video report.

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The FAA has approved Disney’s use of drones to create an aerial spectacle over one of its Orlando theme parks. Disney had already patented technology to use drones to carry and create displays in the skies above its resorts. On Tuesday, the FAA gave the nod for the company to exploit that technology in what looks like a tip of the iceberg for the fertile minds at the company.

The first demonstration of the technology, released by Disney in a brief video (below), is a spiral of rotating drones carrying green lights to create the rough image of a Christmas tree. But Disney has major plans for drone shows depicting its characters and other magic in the future and a unique set of circumstances in which to exploit the plans. Disney parks are under permanent flight restrictions for security and nuisance (banner planes) reasons and the company actually had to apply for an exemption from its own flight ban to launch the drone effort.

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A3, the Airbus advanced-projects group based in Silicon Valley, has contracted with two local companies who are tasked with developing a flying prototype of an autonomous electric taxi aircraft by the end of next year. Modern Technology Solutions Inc. (MTSI) will lead the flight-test effort, and Soar Oregon will provide test-range support and other services. “This unique air vehicle will challenge traditional flight-test methodologies,” said Paul Linnell, who will direct the project for MTSI. A3 officials have said they plan to have a production-line-ready demonstrator ready by 2020, and could have a product ready for the market in 10 years. They foresee a demand for millions of the vehicles worldwide.

At its website for the project, called Vahana, A3 says they aim to create “the first certified passenger aircraft without a pilot.” Their goal is “to help enable truly vertical cities by opening up urban airways in a predictable and controlled manner.” The fully automated vehicles will minimize human error, according to the website, to maximize safety. “We believe this mode of operation will be compatible with future airspace management systems and will allow more aircraft to share the sky,” the website says. “Full automation also enables us to make our aircraft as small and light as possible, and will significantly reduce manufacturing costs.”

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Admirers and friends of aviator Bob Hoover will come together next week at the Van Nuys Airport, in California, to celebrate his life and legacy. The event, set for Friday, Nov. 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., is free and open to all, but online preregistration is required. The program will be hosted by Clay Lacy at his FBO facility at the airport, and masters of ceremonies will be Sean D. Tucker and airshow announcer Danny Clisham. After the program, snacks and refreshments will be provided. Parking at the FBO is on a first-come, first-served basis, the organizers said.

Hoover’s extraordinary life included flying in World War II, test-flying for the Air Force and performing a unique airshow act demonstrating the laws of aerodynamics with a twin Shrike Commander. He died on Oct. 25 at age 94. He had recently attended the Reno air races, and has been described by many as “the best stick and rudder man who ever lived.” He flew more than 300 types of aircraft in his career. He was the first to fly the XFJ-2 Fury Jet and the T-28 trainer. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier’s Medal, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart, and was named to the National Aviation Hall of Fame. According to the Reno air races website, “Bob was an aviation pioneer, a hero, and a great man.”

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A couple years ago, an airship moored at Orlando Executive Airport for an event.  The area where airships moor is in an area used by helicopters as a practice area.One day, a student was using the practice area & an airship was also moored in the practice area.  The student called the tower for takeoff clearance, but seemed a bit confused by the controller telling him to avoid the airship.

Controller "You see the big blue and white thing?  Don't hit it.”

Bob Lancaster



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

August 1, 2016, Spanish Fork, UT

Beech C99 Airliner

At about 1840 Mountain time, the airplane sustained substantial damage following a collision with an object while being operated as a scheduled FAR 135 cargo flight. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions were reported.

The pilot later related he was in cruise climb at about 8500 feet msl when he noticed something in his peripheral vision, then felt a “thud” as something struck the airplane. There was no loss of control or abnormal control feel, so he continued the flight and landed uneventfully. Upon landing, about 12 inches of the airplane’s vertical stabilizer was missing; there also was substantial damage to the rudder. Initial examination showed no evidence of organic material. A detailed examination by the NTSB is pending.

August 2, 2016, Destin, FL

Cessna 414A Chancellor

The airplane descended into the Gulf of Mexico at about 2025 Central time, shortly after takeoff. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Night visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was active.

A pilot-rated witness observed the airplane early in its takeoff at between 50 and 100 feet agl with its landing gear retracted. Other witnesses noted the airplane flew over a building adjacent to them at an estimated 150 feet agl. The airplane continued over the Gulf of Mexico, and then banked sharply right, with one witness describing the wings being nearly vertical. The airplane appeared to roll wings level, before it began descending and impacted the water.

August 2, 2016, Flagstaff, AZ

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II

At about 2122 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo airline transport pilot received fatal injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed.

At 2119:44, the pilot told ATC he was “off two one” and climbing to “eleven thousand five hundred.” At 2120:17, ATC advised it had radar contact. At 21:22:57, ATC initially advised that radar contact had been lost, then made repeated, unanswered calls to the flight. Radar returns indicated the airplane climbed at about 1000 fpm for about 60 seconds; then the climb rate dropped to and remained at about 400 fpm for another minute. The airplane reached a maximum radar altitude of 8400 feet msl, then descended to ground impact during the next 20 seconds. Field elevation at the departure airport is 7014 feet.

Evidence indicates the airplane hit terrain at high speed and power settings. According to the NTSB, the 76-year-old pilot held multiple certificates and ratings, and reported 11,858 total hours on a second-class medical certificate application in March 2016. The 2157 weather observation included winds from 240 degrees at three knots, visibility 10 sm and a broken ceiling at 11,000 feet.

August 3, 2016, Fond du Lac, WI

Sonex Waiex

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1155 Central time, following a partial loss of engine power. Both the private pilot and flight instructor were seriously injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to preliminary information, the pilots were performing touch-and-go landings. Shortly after a takeoff, “the pilots reported a loss of engine power. During the forced landing, the airplane collided with a transmission line and impacted terrain. An inspection of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.”

August 4, 2016, Russellville, OH

Cessna 150L

At 2009 Eastern time, the airplane was force-landed in a soybean field after the engine lost power. One pilot sustained a minor injury; the other pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilots, the airplane was descending for landing when they heard a loud “bang” and the engine lost power. Unable to maintain altitude, they made a forced landing in a soybean field, struck a ditch and nosed over. Examination revealed the Number 2 cylinder had separated between the flange and the head.

August 5, 2016, Wasilla, AK

Cessna 210-5/de Havilland DHC-2T

The two airplanes collided in mid-air while landing. Both aboard the Cessna—a flight instructor and a pilot receiving instruction—sustained minor injuries. The commercial pilot of the de Havilland DHC-2T Turbine Beaver and its sole passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The de Havilland DHC-2T pilot subsequently told investigators he was conducting a long straight-in final to land. While on final approach, at about 20 feet above the runway, the Cessna overtook the de Havilland from directly above, impacting the propeller. Following the impact with the Cessna, he continued the approach and landed.

The Cessna sustained substantial damage to its empennage and fuselage, while the de Havilland sustained substantial damage to its right wing. The pilots of both airplanes stated that there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframes or engines.

August 5, 2016, Waco, TX

Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion

At about 1700 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its landing gear collapsed during landing. The pilot and four passengers aboard were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight was operated IFR.

While in cruise flight, the pilot reported an electrical system problem and elected to divert. After receiving an initial vector from ATC, the airplane lost all electrical power. According to the NTSB, the pilot then successfully lowered wing flaps and landing gear, followed by an uneventful approach. After touching down, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane departed the left side of the runway before coming to rest.

August 6, 2016, Burns Flat, OK

Bugatti-DeMonge 100P Experimental

The experimental amateur-built airplane impacted terrain during takeoff at about 0820 Central time. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed during the impact and post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

At least one witness reported the airplane lifted off and began climbing. During the climbout, the airplane banked to the right and then to the left. The airplane’s left bank steepened; it descended nose-first and subsequently impacted terrain inverted. At 0753, recorded weather included winds from 040 degrees at nine knots and 10 sm of visibility under clear skies.

The airplane came to rest about 1900 feet and 335 degrees from the departure runway’s threshold, on a 330-degree heading. Much of the airframe was consumed by fire. The rudder cables were traced to the their respective pedals, but control continuity for the elevators and ailerons could not be established. No pre-impact anomalies with the drivetrain or engines were observed.

August 6, 2016, Cardington, OH

Cessna 180

At about 1515 Eastern time, the airplane impacted a building. The commercial pilot received minor injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was planning to land to the east on a private grass runway. After noticing people on the ground, he maneuvered to land in the opposite direction. The airplane touched down with its flaps fully extended, floated and then drifted right, so he decided to go around. He advanced the throttle to full forward and the engine gauges appeared normal, but the airplane felt “anemic” and climbed slowly. The next thing he remembered was seeing the building in his windscreen.

The airplane impacted a small pole barn just past the end of the runway. The pilot exited the airplane before a post-crash fire engulfed it. The pilot reported the engine had accumulated about two operating hours since a top overhaul. Visual inspection of the engine did not note any obvious discrepancies. The FAA carburetor icing probability chart indicated the airplane was operating in an area associated with a serious risk of carburetor ice formation at glide power settings.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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Late last week, on the heels of NBAA BACE in Orlando, a new show popped up a few miles up the road in Deland: The Sport Aviation Showcase. I think everyone who has mentioned this to me has said the same thing: Don’t we already have one of these in Sebring, the Sport Aviation Expo? The answer is yes and that begets another question: Why two?

Evidently because the Deland Airport is bullish on growing the facility and they see a competitive advantage in going after Sebring’s efforts, with a combined show and an industrial complex devoted to light sport. I’ll get to the show in a moment.

One thing I think many people miss about the light sport industry is that it continues to, well, kind of trickle along. We have long ago settled the notion that it’s never going to be a mass-market industry but will likely continue to sell enough airframes to represent 10 to 20 percent of all aircraft manufactured in GAMA’s universe. (There’s another universe outside of GAMA and hundreds of airplanes are produced and sold in Europe and elsewhere that aren’t on our radar.)

So Deland’s idea is to erect a sport aviation “village” consisting of hangars and infrastructure devoted specifically to that industrial segment. Here, they are competing with Sebring, for in addition to its annual Expo in January, Sebring has several light-sport related industries on the field, including Lockwood Aviation, Tecnam, Paradise and a float manufacturer. So it’s not as if Sebring has been asleep. If Deland can offer sweeter deals and better support for light aircraft manufacturing, I’m sure it will attract companies, despite the anemic market activity. Remember, anemia isn’t death; it’s just weak growth. Many light sport businesses are cottage industries and it’s easy to see how they could benefit in a community of like businesses.

Like so many airports in Florida, Deland saw its heyday during World War II, when it was a Navy training field. Similarly, Sebring was used for B-17 training. Deland is smaller than Sebring, but it’s more centrally located—about an hour from Orlando International and half that from Daytona Beach. Inside the orbit of those two cities, Deland is, how to put this delicately, a little more cosmopolitan.

Deland has an active skydiving center and many of the businesses there are skydiving related. It’s already got several light sport businesses, a couple of turbine businesses and a naval air museum. MT propeller also has a facility and there’s a paint shop on the field. In other words, it’s got a solid core industrial complex and Deland clearly sees an opportunity to expand that.

As for the show itself, in this video, director Jana Filip said the city sees a symbiotic relationship between the sport aircraft village idea and an annual trade show to promote both Deland and the industry. It’s easy to see tie-in opportunities to make this work, although the ultimate success of such efforts remains to be seen. Launching a new show is a tall, steep hill to climb.

I canvassed a few of the exhibitors on Thursday, the day the show opened, and all of them said they booked a booth because the show was cheap to do and they were curious about the potential. Attendance on Thursday was too sparse to make any judgments; I’ll survey them again after the show closes. Two complaints I have consistently heard about the Sebring show concerned the weather and the racetrack. Sebring runs in mid-January and despite what you’ve heard about sunny Florida, when winter cold fronts march through, it can be cold, windy and rainy. More than once the Sebring show has been tanked for a day by gales. A November date, which is where Deland plans to be, will yield reliably warmer and drier weather. The Sebring show began life in October, but moved to January later.

The racetrack relates to Sebring International Raceway, which is joined at the hip to the airport runways. I don’t recall there having been races during the Sport Aviation Expo week, but there’s plenty of practice. And vendors and attendees have complained about the grinding din of cars running practice laps. It makes normal conversation a chore and at the end of a day, your teeth hurt from grinding them.

My initial impression is that the Deland show is set up similarly to Sebring, albeit smaller. I thought for a first effort, the show was well organized and had excellent signage to find the place and navigate the grounds once you’re through the gates. The demo area was an easy walk and they had a temporary tower set up to oversee operations with a nice, tight demo pattern. For indoor exhibitors, there was a spacious tent. They could do with better food opportunities, but I say that about every show I attend except for Aero, where I basically go just for the food. Next year, invite a Korean taco truck or two and that will help.

There was a media tent right at the show entrance; a solid there. I missed the free lunch because I could only stay for one day. I would offer this advice: Don’t lard up the schedule with phony press conferences. That’s not how people find out about things these days. It’s all through the web and social media. If you’re a company looking for coverage, make up a press contact list and issue direct invitations. Trust me, it’ll work a lot better. I could have stayed another day and done productive work, but juxtaposed against four days at NBAA, I just didn’t have the time.

Thinking about attendance at this show, I have concluded that expecting a big gate the first year is folly. It will take a few years for it to declare itself as real and durable. And vendors will have to decide if it’s worth coming back and my guess is they will choose between Deland and Sebring. For many of these companies, doing both is just not practical or possible. I suspect the competition will get fierce and I won’t be surprised if only one prevails. The industry is hardly robust enough to support two so closely spaced on the calendar.

Meanwhile, when I heard they’re going to call the complex a Sport Aviation Village, my ears perked up. Every village needs an idiot, so I’m sending them my resume. 


In Deland, Florida, the new Sport Aviation Showcase opened this week. AVweb attended and interviewed show director Jana Filip about what Deland's plans are.


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Picture of the Week

It was a tough call this week, but for sheer photographic excellence in composition and capturing the moment, Mike Bargman, of Geneva, Illinois edged out other contenders. Great shot, Mike. Get those submissions coming in and click through to see the rest from this week.

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AeroJones, which took over manufacturing and distribution of the Flight Design CTLS line, said it plans to expand early next year with a new facility in Florida. At the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase this week, AeroJones’ John Hurst told AVweb in this podcast that the company hasn’t settled on a site yet, but the new sport aviation village on Deland Airport is under consideration.


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