Missouri senator Claire McCaskill (Democrat) hit the nail on the head when she wrote to the FAA about easing rules on the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) in aircraft. Her letter seeks to have the FAA reconsider restrictions on PEDs, citing as one example the fact that many airline pilots are now using switched-on iPads during taxi, takeoff and landing without any problems.
The supersonic business jet development program continues at Gulfstream Aerospace, but until the FAA decides to define “quiet” as it relates to the so-called sonic boom, “We just don’t see a business case,” said a spokesman.
In a series of patent filings last summer, Gulfstream emphasized mitigating the noise produced by the sonic boom, pointing out that regulations currently prohibit supersonic flight over populated areas.
The European Aviation Safety Agency issued an emergency airworthiness directive December 4 for the angle of attack (AOA) probes of both the Airbus A330 and A340. The AD, which became effective December 6, results from an incident in which an A330 in the climb experienced a blockage of all AOA probes, leading to autopilot disconnection and activation of the alpha (angle of attack) protection system when Mach number increased.
If you walk around the static display here at MEBA 2012, a common theme emerges: there are hardly any airplanes on show that do not have upturned wingtip extensions.
At a time when aviation has achieved an extraordinarily high level of safety, regulators and safety organizations are pushing for more improvements in pilot training to preempt future accidents and ensure that new pilots entering the ranks start off with the right approach. One of the key areas receiving extensive examination is stall training, both in the early stages of ab initio training and how it is taught later to pilots who are flying sophisticated high-performance jets.
Pascal Chrétien, the designer and pilot of an electric rotorcraft that flew in 2011, is forming a company that aims to offer hybrid power for aircraft, notably helicopters. The patented technology is called Tetraero, and according to its promoters its main benefit would be in safety.
Tamarack Aerospace has unveiled the first of what it promises will be a series of active winglet systems designed to relieve wing bending loads caused by winglets. The company’s active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) should be certified and available for installation on Cirrus SR22 G1 and G2 piston singles early next year, but Tamarack is also testing Atlas, which includes new winglets, on a Cessna CitationJet 525. Tamarack brought the Atlas-equipped CitationJet to the NBAA Convention in Orlando and gave demonstration rides during the show.
The NTSB has blamed the April 2, 2011, flight-test crash of a Gulfstream G650 on an aerodynamic stall and an uncommanded rolling moment that the pilots were unable to control. However, the Board also notes that it was the manufacturer’s rush to complete its aggressive flight-test schedule for obtaining certification that set the stage for the stall and uncontrollable roll.
The Lindbergh Foundation chose the first day of the 2012 NBAA Convention to award its prestigious Corporate Award for Balance to Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture between Aviation Partners (API) and Boeing created in 1999 to equip Boeing aircraft with API’s blended winglet technology. The winglets have saved billions of gallons of jet fuel and significantly improved the performance specifications of Boeing jetliners.
Aviation Partners has flight-tested its new split scimitar blended winglet on a Boeing Business Jet. The new design adds a blended ventral fin and scimitar winglet tips to the original blended winglet design, and the company says the tests confirmed a “measurable speed increase and drag decrease.” However, the company does not have current plans to make the new winglet available for any specific aircraft. Aviation Partners is displaying a full-scale mockup of its split scimitar blended winglet here at its NBAA booth (No. 5035).