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President-elect Donald Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning that Boeing’s costs for the next Air Force One, now in development, are “out of control,” and added, “Cancel order!” The costs, according to Trump, are already up to more than $4 billion. Boeing responded with a short statement, noting that “We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the President of the United States. We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the President at the best value for the American taxpayer." The current Air Force One aircraft are nearly 30 years old. Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group, told the Washington Post Trump’s tweet was “completely nonsensical and based on exactly nothing.”

Boeing is under contract to build two airplanes to serve as Air Force One. The entire cost of the program is expected to reach $4 billion, the Post said, citing an analysis by Todd Harrison, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The two new 747 aircraft, to be delivered in 2023, would be faster, with longer range than the current ones, and with newer technologies throughout. Boeing won a competition to supply the airplanes in January 2015. The 747-8 was the only plane made in the United States that could meet the requirements for the presidential aircraft, according to the Post. The two airplanes must be equipped with top-secret communications gear and security features that would enable the president to handle a global crisis, if necessary, while aloft.

Trump told reporters later on Tuesday that he thinks the contract is “ridiculous,” and “Boeing is doing a little bit of a number.” Aboulafia told USA Today that costs of $3 billion to $4 billion for the contract would be reasonable, and a belief otherwise is “completely ignorant.” He added, “This is the wrong place to talk about cost control.” In response to rumors that Trump may prefer to keep his own airplane, a Boeing 757 with a custom cabin and 24k gold-plated bathroom fixtures, Aboulafia was aghast. "That's up there with talking-to-aliens-on-the-toaster weird," he said.

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With winter on the way for much of the U.S., the FAA has released a new training video about the dangers of ice-induced stalls. “Much has occurred since NASA's original 1998 ice-contaminated tailplane stall video,” the FAA said. “The information in this training video supersedes, supplants, and replaces the instruction in all previous NASA tail stall icing training videos.” The video aims to “make pilots aware that vigilance is necessary to avoid the low-speed stall accidents that occur in icing, especially with the autopilot engaged.”

The video explores various scenarios and ends with a detailed safety checklist. FAA test pilot G.M. Baker advises pilots to know their airplane and check the weather. “Be vigilant of your airspeed when in icing conditions,” he says. “Do not let airspeed decrease unabated … When you’re in ice, work to get out.” AOPA’s Air Safety Institute and NASA also collaborated in producing the 30-minute video.

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Civil aviation authorities in Brazil have suspended the operating certificate of LaMia airlines, which operated the charter aircraft that crashed in Colombia last week, killing 71 of the 77 people on board. Authorities have confirmed that the airplane, an Avro RJ85, was out of fuel when it crashed on a mountainside near the Medellin airport. Freddy Bonilla, Colombia’s secretary of air security, said the flight was in violation of both local and international regulations regarding minimum fuel reserves. Brazilian newspaper O Globo has reported that the crew originally planned to make a fuel stop along the way, but after their departure was delayed, the plan was abandoned, apparently because the fuel provider would have been closed for the night.

The captain of the flight, Miguel Quiroga, who died in the crash, was reportedly a part owner of the airline. Questions have been raised about whether authorities who approved the airline’s flight plan should have questioned its margin of safety. A preliminary accident report is expected to be released next week.

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U.S. pilots now can buy a factory-built FAA-type-certified autogyro for the first time “probably in at least 60 years,” Bob Snyder, program manager at AutoGyroUSA, told AVweb on Monday. The Calidus autogyro, which has been flying in Europe since 2009, recently was awarded a type certificate in the seldom-used Part 23 primary category by FAA officials. Snyder said U.S. deliveries are set to start on Wednesday. “The first two are sold and we’ve already taken two more orders,” Snyder said. Pilots will need a gyroplane rating to fly the aircraft. “The easiest route, if you’re a private pilot, is to get a sport pilot gyro sign-off,” Snyder said. Active pilots can expect about 10 hours of transition training, he added.

Aircraft certified in the primary category are intended "exclusively for pleasure and personal use," according to the FAA. Snyder said, however, the Calidus can be used for instruction. The aircraft will be at all the big U.S. shows this year, including the Sebring LSA Expo, Sun ’n Fun and EAA AirVenture, where curious pilots can get an up-close look. “We also have dealers across the country, where you can get training,” he said. The company in Germany has been producing about 300 aircraft a year, for about 12 years. The gyroplanes sell for about $100,000.

Autogyros have no direct power to the rotor — they get thrust from a powered prop mounted on the rear of the aircraft, and the free-wheeling rotor provides lift. In the event of power loss, the rotor will continue to provide lift as long as the aircraft is moving forward, and landing distance requirements are very short. The Calidus is powered by a Rotax 912ULS, with an optional Rotax 914 turbo available. It burns less than 5 gallons of fuel per hour and can take off in 30 to 300 feet, according to the company website. Cruise speed is 82 to 95 knots, with Vne of 104 knots. It has a fuel capacity of about 20 gallons and an empty weight of 595 pounds. The autogyro’s main mission, according to Snyder, is “just to have a whole lot of fun.” AVweb’s editorial director Paul Bertorelli went flying with Snyder in a Calidus last year; you can view his video report here.

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AVweb Insider

It's not often that a bad case of high winds aloft puts you on the beach for the day. But not often is not the same as never.

Stemme is planning to deliver its $369,000 next-generation S12 motorglider to U.S. customers this coming December. The new S12 picks up where the Stemme S10VT (which will remain in production) left off. It sports a longer 82-foot wing and an impressive 53:1 glide ratio, more baggage space, an integral tail water ballast system, a Dynon EFIS and autopilot system and variety of other improvements. For this production, Aviation Consumer magazine editor Larry Anglisano flew the S12 with company demo pilot Wes Chumley at Stemme U.S.A.'s Columbia, South Carolina, delivery center.

Picture of the Week
Picture of the Week

As aviation photos go, this was the best this week but there are some great beauty shots when you click through. In the meantime, congratulations to Daniel Gillette for this very nice photo he calls Sunset Pitch-Out. The photo is copyrighted by Gillette.

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