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March 04, 2022

Airborne 03.04.22: Gyroplane Gathering, Inhofe Retiring, Daher Exceeds

Also: New FAA Boss?, F-35 Recovery, Charter Provider Buys 20 PC-12s, 2M MQ-9 Flight Hours
The Bensen Days Event is on for 2022, with a few days of all things gyroplanes. 
Each year, the Bensen Days team puts together a weekend of rotorcraft education, safety, and fun to promote the use and enjoyment of gyroplanes throughout the aviation industry. Named for the creator of the original Gyrocopter, Igor Bensen, the event aims to "once and for all eliminate the phrase 'Gyroplanes...the best kept secret in aviation!" While gyros are the primary focus of the weekend, other rotorcraft are welcome, thanks to the considerable degree of overlap between the two bodies of pilots. NBAA president Ed Bolen thanked Oklahoma

Navy Completes F-35 Recovery

Successful Salvage Operation Lets Intel Breathe Easy Once Again

The F-35 has gone for a few too many swims over the past year, said the commander in charge of salvaging the most recently submerged fighter. Navy Captain Gareth Healy oversaw the operation to recover an F-35C Lightning II from the icy depths, dredging it up from 12,400 feet. A delicate combination of remotely piloted diving equipment and a diving construction crane allowed the aircraft to be pulled up almost intact, but with unspecified damage. The remains of the plane were carefully obscured below a protective covering, likely hoping to protect some of the lesser-known aspects of the Lightning's design underneath damaged skin. 

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Aero-TV At SnF21: ACE Builds A Zenith CH-750

Built To Be A Lightweight, Hand-Controlled Aircraft Perfect To Support Able Flight

Andy Ovans, Maintenance Manager for the Aerospace Center for Excellence at Lakeland, Florida exhibited their “Spirit of Lakeland” Zenith 750, a group project that brought together high school students from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy and ACE staff mentors to complete the aircraft for use by the Lakeland Aero Club. The desired end result required some custom work and modification to bring the kit up to the spec, as well as the continuing practice and education of the high school students completing the plane.

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Airborne-Flight Training 02.24.22: CFI Changes?, 1500-Hour Rule, United Aviate

Also: SOSU Fleet Upgrade, Airbus Asia, National Guard Blackhawks, AMT Scholarships

Some interesting rumblings are afoot, according to the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE). A screen grab from a rumored FAA presentation has been making the rounds as an early "pre-decisional proposal." The proposal? Eliminate expirations for flight instructors and simultaneously restrict "exercising the privilege" based on required activity and experience like any other pilot certificate. SAFE notes that it's far too soon for CFI's to celebrate the change, since it will have to go through "a very long official NPRM – comment – process" before ma

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Quantity Discount? Charter Provider Buys 20 PC-12s

Pilatus Sees Success With Newest Generation NGX

Tradewind Aviation signed an order for a batch of 20 new Pilatus PC-12 NGX aircraft, almost doubling their current fleet of the type to 38. The PC-12 has entrenched itself as the more effete, premium single-engine turboprop on the market, combining affordability, reliability, and capacity, with cabin furnishings upscale enough for the kind of clientele most common to private, chartered passenger service.

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FAA Requests Comments on Vertiport Design

Engineering Bulletin Draft on eVTOL Framework In Development

The FAA's Office of Airports has begun requesting comments on the current draft for Vertiport Design. Engineering Brief 105 contains interim safety standards for those facilities that will soon dot the American landscape following the rapid proliferation of electric VTOL aircraft, making their execution part and parcel of safe and confidence-inspiring operations for a new aircraft type. The groundwork being laid out now could go on to become lasting bedrock in the transportation system for good, meaning any problems or shortcomings codified now could prove hard to address later on. 

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MQ-9 Reaches 2 Million Flight Hours

Military UAV Continues To Rack Up Experience with Operators Around the World

The MQ-9 Program has passed 2 million flight hours in service around the world, proving the General Atomics UAV's place as the standby in duty-ready autonomous aircraft. The MQ-9 has made it all the way to Block 5 in its life cycle, now boasting 27 hours of endurance at speeds up to 240 knots up to a ceiling of 50,000 feet. Using its embedded video capture, synthetic aperture radar, and more, the aircraft is a reliable choice for a remote controlled eye in the sky.

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Rocket Lab Announces New Virginia Facility

New Wallops Factory Will Host Launch Pad, Control Center, Fabrication, and Refurbishing Capability

Manufacturing expansions for California-based Rocket Lab have been announced for the company's next-generation Neutron Rocket, with a new 250,000-square-foot factory primed to kickstart operations on the east coast. Locals are excited about the addition to the economy as the space industry grows to accommodate a far higher level of activity than ever before. Until now, Rocket Lab's operations nearby have been limited to its smaller, lighter Electron Rocket, taking off from Launch Pad 2.

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West Star Aviation Sold to Sterling Group

MRO and Business Support Provider Changes Hands, Joins Aviation Umbrella

The investment firm that owned West Star Aviation, North East Partners, has sold the outfit to the Sterling Group, closing the deal on March 1st. Sterling is an MRO service provider to a range of business aviation companies, a good fit for a new home. West Star  offers comprehensive business aviation capabilities, including repair and maintenance of airframes, engines and APUs, avionics installations and repair, major modifications, interior refurbishment, exterior paint, accessory services, and parts.

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NTSB Prelim: Piper PA-24-250

Pilot Reported That The Landing Gear Did Not Extend Properly

On January 2, 2022, about 1600 central standard time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane, N5844P, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near at the Grand Forks International Airport (GFK), Grand Forks, North Dakota. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot reported that the landing gear did not extend properly as he approached his intended destination airport.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (03.04.22)

Aero Linx: Mercy Flight Southeast, Inc. Mercy Flight Southeast, Inc. is a non-profit volunteer pilot organization involved in “public benefit flying.” We provide a variety of services to the community, but mostly we arrange free air transportation by private aircraft to distant medical facilities when commercial service is not available, impractical or simply not affordable. Mercy Flight Southeast serves the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina. We are a member of Air Charity Network, an association of charitable aviation organizations comprised of more than 7,000 pilots who flew more than 22,000 missions for 35,000 passengers nationwide in 2006.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (03.04.22): DETRESFA (Distress Phase) [ICAO]

DETRESFA (Distress Phase) [ICAO] The code word used to designate an emergency phase wherein there is reasonable certainty that an aircraft and its occupants are threatened by grave and imminent danger or require immediate assistance.

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (03.04.22)

"These guidelines are mandatory for vertiport projects receiving federal grant-in-aid assistance and for federally obligated airports... The FAA recommends using the guidelines contained in this EB in the design of new civil vertiports, and for modifications of existing helicopter and airplane landing facilities to accommodate VTOL operations."  Source: The FAA's Office of Airports, who has begun requesting comments on the current draft for Vertiport Design. Their Engineering Brief 105 contains interim safety standards for those facilities that will soon dot the American landscape following the rapid proliferation of electric VTOL aircraft, making their execution part and parcel of safe and confidence-inspiring operations fo

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