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January 29, 2024

Airborne 01.29.24: Rotor X Tries Again, Van's Needs $, Ingenuity Bites Mars Dust

 Also: Collier Trophy Nominations, Japan v V22, Electra Order Book, AerCap Ransomware Attack

The sad story of a once cool helicopter kit company continues make news with a questionable attempt to right the ship... We reported that nearly 100 customers have been affected by broken promises, undelivered and incomplete  kits, and ‘untrue’ statements by the company as it attempted to prop up its faltering operations... and many other ills. The latest Van's Aircraft situational update has repeated a familiar refrain... that builders can eventually get what they paid for... but it's going to cost them more money... Unfortunately, we have a feeling that the sport aircraft industry will forever be tarnished as a result... as

Van's Latest Update: Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money

Van's May Survive... But The Only Ones Apparently Doing Well Are The Lawyers...

The latest Van's Aircraft situational update has repeated a familiar refrain... that builders can eventually get what they paid for... but it's going to cost them more money... raising the necessary expenditures for completing one of these RV dreams well beyond what many had expected when they first started down the road as RV builder/customers... Unfortunately, we have a feeling that the sport aircraft industry will forever be tarnished as a result... as a significant percentage have decided to abandon/sell their projects and the tone of many discussion boards and social media posts take an ever darker turn. 

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Flyer Beware (Again)? Rotor X Reportedly Trying Again

Interim CEO Claiming To Reorganize, But Infamous Don Shaw Still Part of the Organization

The increasingly sad story of what was once a cool little helicopter kit company continues to gain attention with news of an attempt to right the ship... but, again, the details are worrisome. As ANN readers may recall, the Rotor X company came under close scrutiny after reports of all manner of problems. Nearly 100 customers have reportedly been affected by a few year's worth of broken promises, undelivered kits, incomplete kits, and what can only be termed as untrue statements by the company as it attempted to prop up its faltering operations -- possibly, it appears, with the support of one or two players in the Builder Community (a situation that has been r

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Virgin Galactic Completes Flight 11

Company Begins Passenger Service in Earnest

Virgin Galactic completed its 11th tourist space flight, taking up 4 passengers on "Galactic 06". The manifest included "Astronauts" 023 to 026: Lina Borozdina, Robie Vaughn, Franz Haider, and Neil Kornswiet. The launch took place at Spaceport America, when the VSS Unity took to the skies under the wing of Virgin's mothership VMS Eve. The flight marked the very first time all 4 passenger seats were taken up by paying non-company passengers.

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Collier Trophy Nominations Due 1/31

Aeronautical Recognition Offered to Pioneering Personnel

The National Aeronautic Association's Robert J. Collier Trophy is up for grabs for 2023, and nominations are accepted through January 31st. The trophy is annually awarded to the "greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles". The trophy has one particular addendum for such pioneering ideas, however - the advancement has to have proven itself valuable through actual, demonstrated use in the preceding year. As such, the trophy's recipients offer a pretty thorough timeline of aeronautical improvements over the years.

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Red Cat Integrates AI into Army's Recon Drone Program

Teal 2 Drone Will Host Autonomous Target ID, Tracking

Red Cat Holdings has announced efforts to integrate "advanced AI capabilities" into the US Army's Short Range Reconnaissance Program. The UAV specialist is looking to incorporate Teledyne FLIR's Prism AI platform, allowing the future recon UAVs to autonomously classify, detect, and track objects and targets while underway, day or night. Red Cat subsidiary Teal Drones is heading up the integration after being selected by the US Department of Defense's Defense Innovation Unit, and the Army, as one of 2 finalists in the Short Range Recon program.

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Training Book Lays Out Plan for Helo Teaching 101

Keller Expands Catalog with New Publication Sporting Years of Experience

Kenny Keller, a 23-year rotary wing instruction veteran, has published his own take on teaching students to meet and exceed PPL standards in helicopter operation. His new book, "Private Pilot 101 - A Helicopter Training Blueprint", offers a summary of decades of instruction in the industry, granting would-be helo pilots a concise, approachable way to learn everything they need to know about the process of going from zero to hero.

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Classic Aero-TV: Czech Sport Aircraft - 'Americanizing' A Prominent LSA

From 2017 (YouTube Version): Company Now Marketing Under Its Own Brand…

The Czech Sport Aircraft Company has had a presence in the U.S. market for some time, most notably, perhaps, as it's brief association with Piper, when it was marketed as the Piper Sport LSA. That partnership didn't work out as either company had expected, but the company is back with the Cruiser Aircraft, which it now plans to market in the U.S. under its own brand. At the Sebring Sport Aviation Expo in January, Czech Sport Aircraft CEO Martin Jurik told ANN news editor Tom Patton that when he was hired to operate the company in 2013, he wanted to have U.S. m

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NTSB Prelim: Beech 95-B55 (T42A)

Airframe Icing Was Observed On The Leading Edge Of Both Wings And Horizontal Stabilizers

On January 14, 2024, at 1125 eastern standard time, a Beechcraft 95-B-55 airplane, N7345R, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain near Leyden, Massachusetts. The flight instructor, commercial pilot, and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. A preliminary review of Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) radar data revealed that the airplane departed runway 20 at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport (BAF), Westfield/Springfield, Massachusetts, about 1106. After departure, the airplane made a 180-degree left turn toward the north-northea

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (01.29.24)

Aero Linx: The Planetary Society

In 1980, Carl Sagan, Louis Friedman, and Bruce Murray founded The Planetary Society. They saw enormous public interest in space that was not reflected by government investment, as NASA’s budget was cut again and again. They established The Planetary Society to give anyone from anywhere in the world an active role in advancing space exploration.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (01.29.24): Final Approach Fix

Final Approach Fix The fix from which the final approach (IFR) to an airport is executed and which identifies the beginning of the final approach segment. It is designated on Government charts by the Maltese Cross symbol for nonprecision approaches and the lightning bolt symbol, designating the PFAF, for precision approaches; or when ATC directs a lower-than-published glideslope/path or vertical path intercept altitude, it is the resultant actual point of the glideslope/path or vertical path intercept.

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