The European Aviation Safety Agency STC’d Hartzell Propeller’s swept airfoil composite five-blade propellers on the Daher-Socata TBM 700/850. First installation of the new higher performance Hartzell prop on a European-registered TBM was recently performed at the Socata North America Service Center in Pembroke Pines, Fla. According to Hartzell, the new propeller for the turboprop single results in faster takeoff acceleration, higher cruise speeds and better climb, along with less noise.
Textron Aviation subsidiary Beechcraft is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its King Air this week at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The current-production King Airs–the 350i, 250 and C90GTx–are on static display at Beechcraft’s exhibit area along the flight line, flanked by the Baron G58 piston twin and Bonanza G36 piston single. On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the company will celebrate the anniversary with cake, refreshments and giveaways at its static display.
John Leenhouts, president and CEO of Sun ’n’ Fun, opened the 40th anniversary Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In with some encouraging news. “I expect between 200,000 and 225,000 feet through the gates this Sun ’n’ Fun,” he told AIN. “Our pre-sales are up two and a half times normal, and the campgrounds are filling up fast,” he continued. He said he expects 11,000 to 12,000 aircraft movements per day, which would result in about 3,500 aircraft on the field at one time.
A major release of iFlightPlanner’s iPad app—Version 2.0–adds many new features to the flight planning and moving-map app, including virtual GPS capability to display simulated own-ship position on FSX and X-Plane flight simulators and an integrated flight recorder. The iFlightPlanner app synchronizes with the company’s flight-planning website, including the mobile version, so flight plans created on the website can easily be synchronized with the user’s iPad.
The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.
Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
Hartzell Propeller Inc. introduced two- and three-blade versions of its new scimitar-shaped Trailblazer propeller for experimental and certified aircraft during Sun’n Fun’s annual International Fly-In & Expo at Lakeland Linder Field in Florida this week. To celebrate the company is continuing its support of aerobatic performers at the show, including Sean D. Tucker, Michael Goulian, Matt Chapman, Team AeroDynamix, and the Paul McCowan Parachute Team.
A preliminary NTSB accident report released last week provided details of the March 18 crash of a Eurocopter AS350 in Seattle. The pilot and the photographer aboard the helicopter were killed when it spun out of control shortly after lifting off from a TV station’s helipad near the downtown Space Needle tower. One person on the ground was seriously burned after the crash set his vehicle on fire near the crash site.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said an additional go-around might have prevented a January 23 wet-runway excursion involving a chartered Fairchild SA-226 turboprop at Archerfield in Queensland.