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January 02, 2024

Airborne 01.02.24: Falcon 9 Dunked, Young Eagles, Drone Smacks R44

 Also: B-29 Doc Returns 4 2024, USAF Reopens Tinian, DA62s to Nigeria, Honor Flight Plans

 
 
SpaceX lost one of its Falcon 9 boosters, a 19-time launch veteran, off the side of its recovery ship among rough seas on Christmas Day 2023. The booster had soldiered on through 19 space launches, capping off its last one on December 23rd for a well-earned retirement. During the recovery process, the 135-foot tall fuselage, standing on its tail just as it does for launch, toppled over amid rising waves and increasing winds. EAA’s much-lauded Young Eagles program continued its post-pandemic recovery in 2023, as more than 57,000 young people received flight experiences from volunteer EAA-member pilots as of December 17, 2023. The total numbe

FL Drone v R44 Meetup Does Not Go Well

Drone Destroyed, R44 Main Rotor Blade Damaged

It was not exactly a Happy Holiday for a few flyers this past weekend in Volusia County, FL. An in-flight collision between DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone and a Robinson R44, flying sight seeing tours, took place near the Daytona Beach Flea Market,  resulting in a costly bit of damage to the R44 main rotor and obliterating the drone. Volusia County deputies reported that the helicopter was flying on behalf of Leading Edge Helicopter Tours when it was impacted by the drone less than 200 feet in the air at approximately 1400ET, Saturday, December 30th.

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SpaceX Slings Steel At Unprecedented Rate

EOY Double Launch Takes Place in 3 Hours to Impressed Onlookers

SpaceX broke a record of sorts with their last launch, sending off its 95th and 96th of 2023 missions at a breakneck pace. The recent launches saw a single-core Falcon 9 rocket take to the skies in less than three hours from its preceding Falcon Heavy. The impressive show put an uncrewed X-37B spacecraft into orbit first, with the second launch delivering 23 fresh satellites for the Starlink constellation. As usual, Cape Canaveral served as an excellent launch point, providing the right blend of orbital ease and well-placed infrastructure needed to pull off a double header.

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ANN Wishes Our Readers, Listeners And Viewers A VERY Happy Holiday

Yes... We Will Be On A Holiday Schedule For The Rest Of Week

As the Aero-News staff observes the worldwide holiday of Christmas this weekend, we wanted to let our readers know that ANN will still be on the job, reporting breaking news in the aviation and aerospace fields as it happens -- in Real Time -- just like always. Aero-News will be publishing at a slightly reduced level on December 24th, 25th and 26th, as our staffers spend some time with their families... some of whom may not recognize them away from their computers. Basically, we're going to treat the long weekend as just that: a long weekend, meaning you'll still be able to find several new stories each day on our website.

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DARPA Solicits Osprey Successor

SPRINT Program Awards Contracts to Aurora, Bell, Northrop, and Piasecki

DARPA has begun issuing contracts for the development of an experimental, next-generation VTOL transport similar to the V-22 Osprey. So far, Piasecki Aircraft Corporation, Northrop Grumman, Bell Textron, and Aurora Flight Sciences have been granted contracts under the Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT) program. The overall value sits somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million. SPRINT contestants should have the prototyping and design phases completed by Q1 2027. The first phase will include the basic design, simulations, component and subsystem testing, pre-production planning, and flight testing.

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Bombardier Moves Some Metal

After Missing Out On Canadian Tender, a $326 Million Order Raises Spirits

Bombardier announced the firm reception of a 12-aircraft order from an unnamed mystery client, adding up to $326.4 million at list price. The order will see the delivery of a dozen Challenger 3500 aircraft beginning in the latter half of 2025, apparently outfitted as regular Bombardier planes. The client reportedly chose the Challenger 3500 for its "outstanding performance, refined cabin and sustainably minded features", at least they did according to Bombardier's PR department. The announcement is a large order with no mention of any special equipment packages, precluding the possibility that the client is a governmental customer looking for some special mission aircra

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Ehang Completes Passenger Test

Recently Obtained Certification For The EH216-S "Pilotless Passenger-Carrying Aerial Vehicle"

Chinese eVTOL manufacturer EHang completed a passenger-laden test flight using its EH216-S aircraft. It's another milestone for the brand, which recently obtained certification for the EH216-S "pilotless passenger-carrying aerial vehicle" in its home market. The flight bore out the passenger carrying capability of the small eVTOL, showing prospective customers just what the aircraft can do. Guangzhou, and Heifei, China became the first high-profile home to EHang demonstrations, picked for their large metro populations and snarled commuter traffic. Short scenic tours of the local sights provided some fun highlights and photo opportunities for those in

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AD: Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Airplanes

AD 2023-26-05 Requires Periodic Replacement Of Affected Titanium Threaded Bolts...

The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. (Pilatus) Model PC–24 airplanes. This AD was prompted by a determination that the titanium threaded bolts at the forward end of the short rudder trim tab actuating rods could be subject to unexpectedly high oscillating loads due to aerodynamic forces acting on the rudder trim tab. This AD requires periodic replacement of affected titanium threaded bolts, a one-time inspection of the rudder mass balance arm and other elements of the rudder trim tab installation for correct attachment, damage (gouges), cracks, deformation, surface finish, and corrosion on any surroundin

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Classic Aero-TV: Timber Tiger Touts Curtiss Jenny Replicas

From 2023 (YouTube version): First Kits to Ship October 2023

Having formerly resurrected the storied shape of the Ryan ST—in effigy, anyway—Montrose, Colorado-based Timber Tiger Aircraft has plied its considerable expertise and experience to the revival of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company’s JN-4—a World War I-era biplane known colloquially by generations of pilots and aviation enthusiasts as the Curtiss Jenny, or simply, Jenny. In point of fact, Timber Tiger has purchased the rights to sell Dennis Wiley’s Early Bird Jenny design as a kit. It should be noted, however, that while Wiley’s Earl

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NTSB Final Report: Piper PA-46-310P

Pilot’s Failure To Activate The Pitot Heat In A Timely Manner During Flight Into Icing Conditions

Analysis: The pilot reported that light rain and trace clear air icing were forecast along his intended route of flight, and he encountered those conditions during climb out. As the airplane was climbing through 14,000 ft mean sea level (msl) in instrument meteorological conditions, he noticed the airspeed had decreased 10-15 knots. He checked the wings for ice and did not notice any accumulation but activated the pitot heat at that time as a precaution. After the pitot heat was activated the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multi-Function Display (MFD) displayed a red X and went black.

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Airborne 12.18.23: New Shepherd Returns, AirVenture Jets!, Massive ICAS 2023

Also: Sierra Space Dream Chaser, Southwest/Thrive, Elixir Aircraft, JAL A350-1000

Originally scheduled for today, Monday, December 18th at 08:30 CST, New Shepard’s 24th mission launch is now TBD, having been scrubbed due to a “ground system issue the team is troubleshooting.” They expect to set a new launch target for this week. Once in flight, it will have brought more than 150 projects into space. A bevy of military aircraft demo teams and a unique private jet group have been added to the air show lineup for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024. AirVenture 2024 has received commitments from the F-22 Raptor demo team, the F-

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AD: Piaggio Aviation S.p.A. Airplanes

AD 2023-25-03 Is Prompted By A Report Of Corrosion On The Various Aluminum Alloy Reinforcements In The Horizontal Stabilizer...

The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Piaggio Aviation S.p.A. (Piaggio) Model P–180 airplanes. This AD is prompted by a report of corrosion on the various aluminum alloy reinforcements in the horizontal stabilizer (HS) central box caused by a humid environment inside the box from water ingress and/or condensation. This AD requires a one-time detailed inspection of the HS central box for corrosion; an assessment of the corrosion level; and depending on the determination, repetitive detailed inspections of the HS central box for corrosion and the internal composite structure for surfa

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (01.02.24)

Aero Linx: National FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) To fulfill its mission, the FAA’s Safety Program has a National FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) staff with assigned personnel holding positions such as Safety Liaison Team (SLT) Leads. FAASTeam Program Managers (FPMs) report to the Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs). The National FAASTeam develops the National Performance Plan (NPP) as well as national policy and guidance. FSDOs utilize assigned FPMs to accomplish the NPP and achieve the FAA’s safety program goals.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (01.02.24): Minimum En Route IFR Altitude (MEA)

Minimum En Route IFR Altitude (MEA) The lowest published altitude between radio fixes which assures acceptable navigational signal coverage and meets obstacle clearance requirements between those fixes. The MEA prescribed for a Federal airway or segment thereof, area navigation low or high route, or other direct route applies to the entire width of the airway, segment, or route between the radio fixes defining the airway, segment, or route.

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (01.02.24)

"The operator reported his DJI Mavic 2 Pro was recording video at a height of 180 feet. He was looking down at his tablet when he heard a loud impact, then noticed his drone was no longer in the air. The helicopter pilot reported he saw the drone through his windshield before impact but was unable to avoid it." Source: Part of the Volusia County Sherrif's report detailing the collision between a small drone and an R44 helicopter on a tour flight. The R44 landed safely, but with damage to the main rotor... the drone, as one might expect, was toast. 

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