A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper crashed into Lake Ontario November 13 after a satellite link to the drone failed. The Reaper was being operated by the 174th Attack Wing from Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum, N.Y., in military controlled airspace above 18,000 feet when control was lost. Another drone, an MQ-1B Predator, crashed at Holloman AFB New Mexico a month ago.
Cutter Aviation has embarked on a $1.75 million expansion and renovation project on its facility at New Mexico’s Albuquerque International Airport (ABQ). The $250,000 modernization of its FBO terminal includes the refurnishing of the lobby, conference room and pilots’ lounge areas. The FBO is home to approximately 50 airplanes, nearly half of them turbine-powered, and its 75,000 sq ft of hangar space has been filled to capacity for the past several years, according to company president Will Cutter.
Approximately 350 aviation workers, pilots and enthusiasts in New Mexico joined with elected officials and alphabet group leaders yesterday at Cutter Aviation in Albuquerque for a general aviation jobs rally hosted by the General Aviation Manufacturing Association (GAMA.)
On May 4 Boeing flew for the first time an F-16 that the company has converted for pilotless flight under the U.S. Air Force’s Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) program. The flight took place at Cecil Field, near Jacksonville, Florida. A Boeing test pilot took the aircraft up to 41,000 feet during the 66-minute sortie.
Eighteen years ago, Presidential candidate Ross Perot referred to “a giant sucking sound” of U.S. jobs moving south to Mexico. According to union officials in Wichita, “the air capital of the world,” that sucking sound is as real today as it was in 1992, and Mexico appears to remain the destination of choice.
The trend of airports adding solar power systems is growing in the southwest U.S., which sees more sunny days each year than other parts of the country. Sacred Power of Albuquerque, N.M., installed a 10-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array at White Sands Regional Airport in Alamogordo last November.
Congressional aviation committee and subcommittee leaders from both sides of the political aisle held onto their seats Tuesday, but some long-time friends of general aviation fell by the wayside. With 99 percent of the vote tallied by late afternoon yesterday, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee, appeared to have retained his seat.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air E90B, Ruidoso, N.M., Aug. 5, 2007–The Southwest MedEvac King Air was destroyed when it crashed while maneuvering four miles southeast of the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport in Ruidoso. All five people on board–the ATP-rated pilot, the flight nurse, the flight medic, the patient and the patient’s mother–were killed. The airplane was en route to Albuquerque in VMC with the patient, a 15-month-old.
New Mexico’s license plates proclaim it to be the “Land of Enchantment.” And a growing number of business aircraft manufacturers are enchanted with New Mexico’s efforts toward becoming an “aviation cluster” of airframe manufacturers and supporting businesses.
Maui-based Pacific Wings exacted a small measure of revenge on Hawaiian gatecrasher Mesa Air Group last month when it won the rights to two of Mesa’s Essential Air Service destinations in New Mexico. Pacific Wings plans to start serving Hobbs and Carlsbad, N.M., from Albuquerque using four nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans on June 1.
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