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February 21, 2024

Airborne-NextGen 02.21.24: Pyka, Drone Racers @ World Games, US v Drone Pilot

 Also: Intuitive Machines, Another UAV-Related NPRM, Drone Soccer Tourney, UltraViolet EXplorer Mission

 
 
Flight operations personnel from Pyka and AFWERX gathered on the tarmac at New Braunfels National Airport to witness the arrival of Pyka's Pelican Cargo, a large-scale autonomous electric cargo aircraft with a 400-pound payload capacity and 200-mile range, built for remote off-airport operations. The FAI has confirmed that Drone Racing is to be a feature at The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China. Following the successful debut of the drone racing competition at the 2022 Games in Birmingham, USA, this novel air sport is set to captivate audiences once again at The World Games, which runs from 7 to 17 August 2025. A US Atty, Jacquelin

Air Canada Forced to Honor AI Chatbot's Promises

Canadian Verdict Provides Passenger $1,216 for Trouble

Air Canada found out the hidden costs of entrusting its customer service to a bright-but-maybe-not-too intelligent AI assistant when a court found they remained liable for the virtual employee's promises. A passenger researching the carrier's bereavement travel policies used the Air Canada customer service chatbot, an "artificially intelligent" Large Language Model that's currently in vogue across the IT industry. The 'agent' sent Jake Moffatt to a landing page outlining the carrier's policies, but failed to accurately convey them when he inquired about the ticketing process. Moffatt's grandmother had recently passed, and he wanted to avail himself of Air Canada's special ticket fares ext

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Set Jet Quietly Shutters Operations

Failed Transition to SPAC IPO Leaves Would-Be Private Jet Firm Penniless

Set Jet, a private jet operator hoping to carve out a niche offering by-the-seat charter flights, has quietly folded up shop and closed down after running out of investor money. For the firm's almost 3,000-strong membership base, the news is bad all around, according to an apologetic but disappointing email. Set Jet's operations are completely closed, with no customer service lines taking calls and all employees retired with immediate effect. Those who had pre-paid for future flights or been billed for memberships? No refunds, but at least there won't be any future billing. In short, the firm simply couldn't continue spending money it no longer had, particularly after mi

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Delta Announces Eclipse-Chasing Flight

3-Hour A220 Flight Offers Constant Look at Stellar Phenomena

Delta Air Lines will be offering passengers a chance to view the upcoming solar eclipse from the air, using an Airbus A220-300 with "premium viewing, extra-large windows" to follow the path of the eclipse at its peak. Delta Flight DL 1218 will take off from Austin, Texas at 12:15 Central, and land in Detroit, Michigan at 16:20 Eastern, following a track that will provide them with the greatest exposure to the eclipse throughout the flight. That is subject, as always, to ATC routing, weather, and assorted variables.

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Van's Extends Deals Through Thursday

Van's Aircraft Sailing Through Reorganization with Aplomb

Van's Aircraft has extended the window to buy up kits, engines, and gear for those who'd put down payments in the past, extending the window through Thursday, February 22nd. Along with the announcement, Dick Van Grusnfen and Greg Hughes noted company progress along the way to filling all outstanding orders. Evidently, the price increases didn't dissuade the majority of aircraft builders, with 81% of orders being fulfilled under the new terms. Broken down further, they indicated that 93% of engine orders, 78% of kit orders, and at least 80% of prop orders have gotten the go-ahead from buyers. 

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United States Parachute Association Issues Clarion Call

Group Aims to Strike "Air Tour and Sport Parachuting Safety Act" from FAA Reauth

The United States Parachute Association is asking members to act on proposed Congressional action on the upcoming FAA Reauthorization, specifically the section titled the "Air Tour and Sport Parachuting Safety Act". They aren't the only ones. Earlier this month a bevy of general aviation manufacturers and interest groups signed a letter opposing a section of the FAA Reauthorization bill, warning of the dangers it poses to small aviation businesses across the country. With the FAA's current Authorization ending on March 8th, the House and Senate will soon convene a Conference Committee to reconcile both their respective drafts of the renewal bill. As such, th

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Breeze Airways Bolsters Airbus Fleet with Order for 10

Carrier Climbs Ranking to 3rd Largest A220 Customer

Breeze Airways has been building out its collection pretty quick since receiving its first A220 in 2021, with 20 planes in service and 90 more on order. Breeze ends up being the 3rd largest customer for the A220 family with its most recent order for 10 more A220-300 aircraft. The carrier is going all-in on the type, hyperfocusing its maintenance and operations departments on one airframe to get down-pat. Airbus figures it's a no-brainer to opt for their Euro-accented narrowbody aircraft, given its 3,600-nm range, reduced fuel burn, and emissions footprint.

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Genesys Aerosystems Releases Ultra-Compact Air Data Computer

NanoADC Boasts Tiny, Flyweight Footprint Great for "Optionally Piloted Aircraft"

Genesys Aerosystems of Moog has seen its TSOA certification of the new NanoADC, a tiny, 304 gram/10.7 ounce Air Data Computer. "Approximately the size of a deck of cards", the NanoADC is tailor-made for applications where small footprints and light weight are vital, like the ever-expanding market of uncrewed, semi-autonomous vehicles. The first certified application of the NanoADC was a 440-lb Leonardo Rotary UAS, proving out the system's military bonafides right out the gate.

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Airborne-NextGen 02.13.24: Global Hydrogen Flt, AMA v FAA, Bell HSVTOL

Also: Dubai Air Taxi, Archer Readies 3, Axiom 3 Mission, Scout Helo Kaput

Swiss Explorer Bertrand Piccard, the first man to fly nonstop around the world using both a balloon and a solar-powered aircraft, is calling his next journey: hydrogen-powered circumnavigation in 2028. Piccard will be working with Climate Impulse, a brand that will support him in his mission to make an around-the-world flight that generates zero harmful emissions. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the bipartisan Senate FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. The legislation includes several provisions to strengthen safety standards and oversight at

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Airborne-NextGen 02.13.24: Global Hydrogen Flt, AMA v FAA, Bell HSVTOL

Also: Dubai Air Taxi, Archer Readies 3, Axiom 3 Mission, Scout Helo Kaput

Swiss Explorer Bertrand Piccard, the first man to fly nonstop around the world using both a balloon and a solar-powered aircraft, is calling his next journey: hydrogen-powered circumnavigation in 2028. Piccard will be working with Climate Impulse, a brand that will support him in his mission to make an around-the-world flight that generates zero harmful emissions. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation passed the bipartisan Senate FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023. The legislation includes several provisions to strengthen safety standards and oversight at the FA

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NTSB Prelim: Piper PA-24

Airplane Departed From Runway 36, And Subsequently Began A Turn Back Toward The Runway

On January 31, 2024, about 1325 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-180, N5520P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Weedon Field Airport (EUF), Eufaula, Alabama. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. According to the airport manager, she saw the pilot on the day of the accident on the ramp and they spoke briefly. She subsequently observed the airplane taxiing for departure but did not observe it takeoff. On February 1, 2024, a pilot who was taxiing for departure reported that he observed a crashed airplane at the end of runway 36.

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Classic Aero-TV: NASA's X-57 Sceptor-Lean, Green, Money Making Machines For Av

From 2016 (YouTube Version): NASA Develops Electric Flight Technology for Industry to Use…

While at EAA AirVenture 2016, our ANN video crew checked in with NASA to find out what’s going on with their experiments into electric-powered flight. They had the opportunity to interview Mark Moore and Sean Clarke, who are both NASA Principal Investigators for the Sceptor X-57 project. Just the name of this project sounds pretty exciting, and it is. The project centers on using electric propulsion for airplane flight, and the system

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (02.21.24)

Aero Linx: Porterfield Airplane Club The American Eagle Aircraft Corporation was started in 1925 by Ed Porterfield for the express purpose of providing a safe training aircraft for the fledgling Porterfield Flying School. Porterfield felt that a safer, better-performing trainer was badly needed to replace the existing "Jennys" and Lincoln "Standards" being used in his flight school. In April 1926, the American Eagle, Model A-1, first flew from Richards Field in Kansas City, Missouri...

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (02.21.24): Discrete Code

Discrete Code As used in the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS), any one of the 4096 selectable Mode 3/A aircraft transponder codes except those ending in zero zero; e.g., discrete codes: 0010, 1201, 2317, 7777; nondiscrete codes: 0100, 1200, 7700. Nondiscrete codes are normally reserved for radar facilities that are not equipped with discrete decoding capability and for other purposes such as emergencies (7700), VFR aircraft (1200), etc.

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (02.21.24)

“The April 8 eclipse is the last total eclipse we’ll see over North America until 2044. This eclipse will last more than twice as long as the one that occurred in 2017, and the path is nearly twice as wide.” Source: Warren Weston, Delta Air Lines Lead Meteorologist, commenting as Delta Air Lines will be offering passengers a chance to view the upcoming solar eclipse from the air, using an Airbus A220-300 with "premium viewing, extra-large windows" to follow the path of the eclipse at its peak.

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