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August 04, 2023

“Liberty Lifter” Program Sees Renewed Investment from DARPA

Will There Be a Resurgence for Seaplanes? Darpa’s Funky Catamaran Demonstrator Gains $40 Million

Not long after news of a refreshed PBY Catalina hits the hangar, another bolus of money begins working its way into the LIberty LIfter program, a distributed thrust, ground-effect seaplane designed for tactical airlift in oceanic regions. It’s a bit interesting to compare and contrast the two aircraft, both designed to fulfill a military mission in their respective eras. The Catalina served as a recon, rescue, patrol, and anti-sub aircraft throughout WWII, later giving way to a waning interest in the pacific front as strategic enemies fell into history.

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Ampaire Provides Company Update

Holding a Winning Hand

Summer 2023 has been a busy and productive time for Ampaire. Advancements in the company’s technological, flight-testing, and business endeavors have been at once considerable and of consequence. In July, the company made history when its Electric EEL technology demonstrator became the first hybrid-electric powered aircraft to log in excess of twenty-thousand air-miles. July also saw Ampaire acquire Talyn Air, a Southern California startup about the business of developing a two-vehicle, fully-electric eVTOL system.

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Skyborne Instructors See Bump in Pay

Vero Beach School Kicks Base CFI Salary up to $43,000

Skyborne is putting out the word that CFIs flying at its Vero Beach, Florida home will see increased pay in an attempt to keep their talent in the nest, with premium pay topping out at $69 an hour with the right combination of certs and hours. Like any flight school offering the honeyed promises of eye-popping hourly rates to CFI’s scrounging for time, a lot of strings come attached. The “premium pay” ranges from $44.50 to $69 an hour for CFIA, CFII, MEI, and Check INstructors ONLY after flying over 58.3 hours in a month.

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EAA Type Club Coalition Convenes at AirVenture

The Art of Problem Solving

EAA’s Type Club Coalition (TCC) held its 2023 annual meeting at AirVenture on 25 July. Agenda topics included: insurance challenges, transition training, the additional pilot program for E-AB aircraft, and task-based flight testing.

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Wheels Up Program Strongly Criticized

Embattled Charter/Fractional Concern Impugned

An aviation industry insider has alleged federal regulators will presently undertake investigations of Wheels Up’s senior leadership for purpose of determining whether subject individuals perpetrated fraud in taking the company public. “Wheels Up is over,” the individual asserted, adding: “Civil action will commence as class action attorneys smell blood in the water.”

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Artful ALPA Speaks Out on Pending and Past Airline Legislation

A Tale of False Equivalencies

As Congress remains pedantically about its deliberations of legislation germane to the refilling of the FAA’s coffers and the redefining of the agency’s charter, as it were, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) has issued the following statement for purpose of commemorating the enactment of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, which the union contends “significantly raised the bar on pilot training and has led to the safest period in U.S. aviation history.”

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Alaska Airlines to Cut Over 3,000 January 2024 Flights

Airline’s Capacity to Drop by More than 500,000 Seats

Alaska Airlines intends to cut upwards of three-thousand flights from its January 2024 schedule, thereby depriving air-travelers of nearly half-a-million seats over the coming year’s nascency. According to data compiled by Cirium, an aviation industry analytical concern, Alaska will cut service to numerous North American airports.

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The Last of a Cooperative Era Takes Flight in Recent Space Launch

Antares Booster is a Silent Swan Song of East-West Cooperation

Space nerds watching NG-19 the last of the East-West rockets take off this week when an Antares booster lifted the Cygnus space capsule on its way to the ISS. A pair of Russian RD-181 engines powered the large rocket, the last time the country would be offering its wares for a cooperative spacefaring venture for the foreseeable future. The Antares rocket was a hodgepodge of different components, sporting Russian engines, Ukrainian structure, and an American first stage and payload. In years past, such partnerships were a way to pay into the pot of spacefaring goodwill, a service to the higher goals of human exploration and international brotherhood. Such ideals have faded quickly

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JetBlue Reports Record Quarterly Revenues

Spirit Acquisition Remains Uncertain

JetBlue, the U.S. low-cost airline currently at odds with the Biden DOJ over its proposed acquisition of Spirit Airlines, has reported its highest quarterly profit since 2019. The Queens, New York-headquartered air-carrier posted 2023 second-quarter earnings of $138-million—a significant improvement over second-quarter 2022 losses of $188-million. Positive short-term results notwithstanding, unfavorable factors, such as the carrier’s abandonment of its Northeast Alliance (NEA) partnership with American Airlines, have compelled JetBlue to reduce its full-year earnings forecast.

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NTSB Prelim: Cessna 550

Airplane Descended Below The Decision Altitude For The Approach

On July 8, 2023, about 0414 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 550, N819KR, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Murrieta, California. The two pilots and four passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Preliminary Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data and Air Traffic Control (ATC) communication showed that the airplane departed French Valley Airport, (F70), Murrieta, about 2118, and landed at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, about 2204, the night prior to the accident.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (08.04.23)

Aero Linx: The International Cessna 120-140 Association The International Cessna 120-140 Association is an all volunteer group of approximately 1,000 owners, pilots and others who share a common interest in restoring, maintaining and flying the Models 120, 140 and 140A aircraft manufactured by the Cessna Aircraft Company in 1946-1951. Though over sixty years old, these aircraft provide a combination of performance, ease and economy of operation and maintenance unmatched by many currently produced aircraft.

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (08.04.23): Obstacle

Obstacle An existing object, object of natural growth, or terrain at a fixed geographical location or which may be expected at a fixed location within a prescribed area with reference to which vertical clearance is or must be provided during flight operation. 

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (08.04.23)

“AirVenture offers a unique opportunity for aircraft owners and pilots to meet with regulators and discuss their perspectives on issues that impact safety. Today’s meeting was very productive. I’m grateful to the type club representatives, the FAA, and EAA for the forum.”   Source: EAA’s Type Club Coalition (TCC) chairman Coyle Schwab discusses their 2023 annual meeting at AirVenture 2023.

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