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January 10, 2021

Airborne 01.08.21: ATC Threat, Virgin Orbit, XCub Joins USAF

Also: Van's Aircraft Shipping Hold, Yuma Airshow 2021 Postponed, Civil Supersonic Flight, Kaman K-1200

Both the FBI and the FAA investigated reports after a Monday broadcast of a short audio message on air traffic frequencies threatening an attack on the US capitol in revenge for the killing of an Iranian general a year ago. The digitally manipulated voice had a simple message, "We are flying a plane into the capital on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged." While law enforcement sources indicated that there was a low probability of an actual threat, various federal  agencies took it seriously and

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Virgin Orbit Demo 2 Suffers Another Delay

9 CubeSat Missions Comprising 10 Total Spacecraft Are Set To Fly--But Not Until 1/13

ANN RealTime Update--01.10.21: The folks at Virgin Orbit are reporting that this weekend's launch of Demo 2 is likely put off for a few days and are now targeting Wednesday, January 13th... though that date could still slide a bit if you read between the lines of the latest info. VO's latest public statement indicates that, "...our team is wrapping up final tasks, coordinating with our customers, and preparing for our Launch Readiness Review on Friday morning. We are now targeting a launch on Wednesday, Jan 13, with additional windows throughout January if needed."

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uAvionix Announces Launch Customer Airbus Zephyr for ping200X and truFYX

Combined Weight Of The ping200X Transponder And truFYX GPS Is Only Around 70 Grams

uAvionix has announced that their launch customer, Airbus, has successfully integrated and flown the uAvionix ping200X ADS-B transponder and truFYX GPS throughout its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) 2020 flight test campaign in Arizona. Zephyr is a solar-electric, stratospheric UAS that flies above weather and conventional air traffic, filling a capability gap complementary to satellites. With a wingspan of 25m and relying on solar energy, onboard batteries are charged during daylight and have sufficient capacity to power overnight flight. Zephyr currently holds the world record for the longest flight duration at 25 days, 23 hours, and 57 minutes.<

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Pack It Up! Cargo Dragon Readies For Return to Earth

Spacewalks Planned For January 19 And 25

The Expedition 64 crew is going into the weekend packing the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship and readying it for a Monday morning undocking from the International Space Station. The orbital residents are also turning their attention to a pair of spacewalks taking place before the end of January. A month after its arrival and delivery of a suite of vital space science investigations, the Dragon will return the research back to Earth for analysis on Monday. The astronauts will be loading gear and samples from those studies, as well as a variety of station hardware, into Dragon this weekend before closing its hatch a few hours before undocking.

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Travis AFB Launches Small Unarmed Aircraft Initiative

First Such Air Force Installation Is A 'Game-Changer'

The 60th Security Forces Squadron, in collaboration with Easy Aerial, have launched the first automated drone-based perimeter security system for the Air Force, Dec. 11. The small unarmed aircraft initiative redefines on-base perimeter security systems to potentially advance warfighting capabilities, enhance strategic deterrence and foster full-spectrum readiness across the Air Force. “Easy Aerial’s unmanned aerial systems are a game-changer,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Hicks, 60th SFS small unmanned aircraft system instructor.

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Presidential Helicopter Program Marks End Of An Era

Last T58-GE-400B Shipped To HMX-1

Fleet Readiness Center East (FRCE) marked the end of an era when artisans recently boxed up the last T58-GE-400B presidential helicopter engine and shipped it out to the Marines who provide safe and timely transportation of the President of the United States. The current version of the presidential helicopter FRCE supports, the VH-3D Sea King, is scheduled to be replaced by the newer VH-92A presidential helicopter in 2021. The maintenance, repair and overhaul center located aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, has worked with the Presidential Helicopter Program, also known as the Gold Plate Program, for more than five decades.

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Classic Aero-TV: One Tug Fits All??? - Best Tugs Pushes ANN Around

From 2016: Move All Your Toys With Just One Tug…

If you think it’s hard to get excited about a tow tug that moves your airplane in and out of the hangar, think again. Technology is everywhere in aviation and the fact is, very few airplanes can get in and out of the hangar without help. While at Sun ‘n Fun 2016 ANN news editor, Tom Patton, met up with Mark Patey, the owner of a company known as, Best Tugs. Patey had different tugs on display but the model he was demonstrating to Tom was specifically suited for all sorts of general aviation aircraft. The first thing he points out i

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A4A Lauds Departing SecTrans Chao

President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio 'Sincerely Thanks' SecTrans Chao for Last 4 Years

A4A has published a statement in support of departing Secretary Of Transportation Elaine Chao: "On behalf of Airlines for America (A4A) and our member carriers, we sincerely thank Secretary Elaine Chao for her dedicated service over the past four years as the head of the Department of Transportation (DOT). She is a proven leader who consistently applied her vast knowledge of aviation and other transportation issues..."

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ADS-B Violation? FAA Proposes $422,500 Civil Penalty Against Sky Lease I

Operated Two Boeing 747 Airplanes Without Required Avionics Equipment

The FAA has proposed a $422,500 civil penalty against Sky Lease I, Inc., of Miami, Fla., for allegedly operating two Boeing 747 airplanes on dozens of flights without required avionics equipment. Between June 21, 2020 and July 12, 2020, the company operated the aircraft on 56 flights when they lacked the required version of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out, the FAA alleges. ADS-B Out broadcasts an aircraft’s position, velocity and other information.

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Airborne 01.06.21: Save Dillingham!, 100th PC-24, DeLand ‘Flyway To Highway’

Also: B-29 Doc July Tour, Educational UAS Protections, Teledyne Acquires FLIR, Wheels Up

We've heard the story before... a great airport is under attack by the powers that be... The latest variant of the story comes from Hawaii, where a popular airport known for extensive GA and skydiving activity is under the gun. Dillingham Airfield is Hawaii’s most versatile airport and home to a variety of sky-related activities. It is located on the North Shore of Oahu and the only public use airport on the northern part of the island. The airport is located outside of Honolulu’s congested airspace and

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NTSB Prelim: Piper PA28

Airplane Was Cleared To Land On Runway 1R at TPA

On December 18, 2020, at 1322 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-140 airplane, N6978W, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Tampa, Florida. The flight instructor and two student pilots were seriously injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The instructor and two student pilots departed Tampa International Airport (TPA), Tampa, Florida around 0900. The airplane landed and was refueled at Zephyrhills Municipal Airport (ZPH), Zephyrhills, Florida, about 25 nm northeast of TPA, and departed for TPA around 1307. Review of preliminary air traffic control (ATC) communications revealed that the airplane was cleared to lan

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (01.10.21)

Aero Linx: Terrafugia Five award-winning MIT graduates founded Terrafugia in 2006. Today, Terrafugia’s team of experienced engineers, designers, certification experts, and business professionals combines aviation and automotive expertise in pursuit of our common vision for the future of personal transportation.  We will achieve our vision with the support of our parent company, Geely Holding Group, and our sister companies Volvo Cars, Lotus Cars and CEVT.  

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (01.10.21): Visual Separation

Visual Separation A means employed by ATC to separate aircraft in terminal areas and en route airspace in the NAS. There are two ways to effect this separation: a. The tower controller sees the aircraft involved and issues instructions, as necessary, to ensure that the aircraft avoid each other. b. A pilot sees the other aircraft involved and upon instructions from the controller provides his/her own separation by maneuvering his/her aircraft as necessary to avoid it. This may involve following another aircraft or keeping it in sight until it is no longer a factor.

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (01.10.21)

"...our team is wrapping up final tasks, coordinating with our customers, and preparing for our Launch Readiness Review on Friday morning. We are now targeting a launch on Wednesday, Jan 13, with additional windows throughout January if needed." Source: From a Social media post by the folks at Virgin Orbit, noting that another delay in the launch of 'Demo 2' has taken place and that there might be others in the January launch window.

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