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January 03, 2024

Airborne-Flight Training 01.03.24: Last Harrier Pilots, NAHF Award, Young Eagles

 Also: PSA Buck$$$, FedEx Pilots NOT Happy, Embry-Riddle, USCG Awards DFC 

 
 
The Harrier's time is coming to a close in US Marine Corps service, as the last 2 pilots in the type enter the training pipeline. The AV-8B Harrier will be replaced by the totally functional, showtime-ready (but still somehow in LRIP after 10 years) F-35 Lightning II and the steadfast F/A-18C/D Hornet. The transition will (theoretically) be completed by 2030, meaning the USMC can coast on its stocks of Harrier pilots for the next 7 years without much concern. Julie Rosseter of Suwanee, Georgia has been announced as the lucky recipient of the National Aviation Hall of Fame's Educational development scholarship. EAA’s much-lauded Young Eagles program c

Delta Throttles Back on Pilot Hiring

2024 to Onboard ~1,000 New Pilots in 50% cut

Delta said it will hire fewer pilots in 2024 than it did in 2023, rolling back to about half of what it onboarded last year. The change might sound spooky to those eyeing the airline industry for a future career, with fears of a recession and omnipresent inflation always in the back of student pilots' minds. The airline reiterated that it still plans to hire 1,000 new pilots this year, and that it's still a pretty high number for an average year. The change is just throttling back from a post-pandemic high, looking to achieve a more reasonable, consistent level of growth.

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Samson Sky Nets Another Patent

Another Approval for the Company Portfolio as Samson Advances Towards Production

Samson Sky has snagged another patent for their Switchblade flying car, making it their 6th such achievement in the intellectual portfolio. The patent this time was granted by the European Union, pertaining to Samson's swinging, retractable wing configuration. The system has required more than a few patents to protect, according to the company - making something light enough, rigid enough, and robust enough to function as a load-bearing wing structure isn't as easy as it seems on paper. The patenter, founder, and CEO of Samson Sky, Sam Bousfield, said the added patents help to fund the company in this risky developmental period, too.

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Turkish ANKA-3 Takes Flight

Stealth Drones for the Rest of the World

Turkish Aerospace Industries sent its ANKA-3 stealth drone up into the air for the first time, stimulating conversation in would-be clientele about the availability of a stealthy, uncrewed aerial drone smaller buyers could actually afford. The Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle, as TAI designates their new baby, hit a top speed of 150 knots at 8,000 feet during its 70-minute test flight. The ANKA-3 aims to be everything a modern competitor in the military drone game should be today - stealthy, sleek, intelligent, and capable - but in typical Turkish defense fashion, more affordable than its competitors at NATO would price theirs.

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Britain Gets 2nd F-35B Frontliner Unit

809 Naval Air Squadron, "The Immortals", Brought Back From Hibernation

The Brits have their second frontline-ready F-35B unit in action, bringing 809 Naval Air Squadron back from dormancy to operate their shiny new fighter. The unit was resurrected from among 100 historic Fleet Air Arm squadrons, chosen for its "illustrious history as a strike and attack squadron". In their heyday, 809 NAS received honors from operations in the Arctic, Mediterranean, Burma, Suez, and the South Atlantic over a 41-year operational life.

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Celestis Enterprise Flight to Take Fan Aboard with Star Trek Heroes

John Zemple’s Remains to Join Stars Above

A murder-suicide victim’s ashes will be among the first batch launched into space on the Celestis Memorial flight, taking off on January 8th. The Enterprise Flight, as it’s been designated within Celestis, will contain the DNA, cremated remains, and “mindfiles” of more than 200 clients. Included in that bunch is a Topeka man who was slain by his disturbed wife in March of 2022. The long-time Star Trek fan, John Zemple, will become part of the cosmos when his tiny vial of ashes makes its way into orbit.

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USAF Vet Caps 31 Years With Bills-Patriots Flyover

KC-135 pilot Benjamin Canetti Gets Massive Sendoff

Attendees at the Bills-Patriots game on December 31st watched a USAF KC-135 pilot's final military flight durings the game, roaring overhead as he capped off more than 3 decades with the service. Benjamin Canetti flew one of the 91st ARW's KC-135 tankers above 70,000 football fans ahead of the showdown between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. The current Delta pilot found that it got to be a little much, juggling two disparate careers with a pair of teenagers at home. So he decided it was time to ride off into the sunset for Uncle Sam, setting a December 31st retirement date.

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Astoria, Oregon Gets New Flight School

New Blood Returns in 1st Aviation School Lower Columbia has Seen in Years

Astoria Aviation has opened up shop in their namesake Astoria, Oregon, operating a trusty '73 Cherokee 140 and a '65 Cessna 150E. It's a fine combination to start off with, offering students a super-affordable VFR day bird for primary, and a more stable, tractable IFR trainer for those who advance onwards and upwards. Astoria Aviation is breathing new life into the area, having been without a new flight school in the area for years. The local paper took note of the starting trio, including Dave West, Phil Rohr, and the faintly flamboyantly-named Thaddeus Fickel. They are the President, VP, and Secretary-Treasurer for the fledgling firm, and have been a fixture at the fi

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NTSB Final Report: Piper Aircraft Inc PA-44-180

The Flight Instructor Did Not Remember That The Landing Gear Was Still Retracted And He Did Not Complete The Final Landing Checklist

Analysis: The flight instructor stated that during a simulated one engine inoperative approach and landing, the pilot receiving instruction chose to leave the landing gear retracted until the landing was assured. The pilot receiving instruction turned the airplane onto a short base leg before final, increased the mixture and propeller control settings, and increased the airplane bank angle so as not to overshoot the final approach course. The flight instructor saw that the airplane airspeed was decreasing and told the pilot receiving instruction that they were low. 

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Classic Aero-TV: 2010 PRA Convention-A Quick Look At Rotorcraft's Premier Event

From WAY Back in 2010 (YouTube Version): As The Rotor Turns... Over Mentone!

Every year, the most dedicated fans of sport rotorcraft journey to a sleepy little airport in a small town in Indiana, by the name of Mentone. The town hosts a pretty neat little airport that, among it many claims to fame, is the home of the Popular Rotorcraft Association and a dynamite yearly rotorcraft gathering that gets its buzz on right after Oshkosh. The PRA was founded by the man who created the sport rotorcraft industry, Dr. Igor Bensen as, essentially, a type club for builder/pilots of his Bensen Gyrocopter. When Dr. Bensen found himself older

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ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (01.03.24)

Aero Linx: Midwest Aviation Expo The 16th ANNUAL Midwest Aviation Expo will be Thursday, September 5, 2024 – September 7, 2024 at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport (MVN) Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Midwest Aviation Expo is specifically organized the unique event to sell Light Sport Aircraft, LSA Ancillary Services, and LSA related Services. The Midwest Aviation Expo specifically created the event to educate aviators about all facets related to the LSA industry including the many different aircraft types, available engines, and LSA performance; promote the sale of LSA’s, the use of LSA aircraft for flight training and in rental fleets; and promote economic development in the southern

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ANN's Daily Aero-Term (01.03.24): Minimum Vectoring Altitude (MVA)

Minimum Vectoring Altitude (MVA) The lowest MSL altitude at which an IFR aircraft will be vectored by a radar controller, except as otherwise authorized for radar approaches, departures, and missed approaches. The altitude meets IFR obstacle clearance criteria. It may be lower than the published MEA along an airway or J-route segment. It may be utilized for radar vectoring only upon the controller's determination that an adequate radar return is being received from the aircraft being controlled. Charts depicting minimum vectoring altitudes are normally available only to the controllers and not to pilots.

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Aero-News: Quote of the Day (01.03.24)

“Delta’s 2024 hiring projections are representative of a continued healthy and robust demand for pilots. What we anticipate for the coming year is a very strong, yet more normalized, growth pattern that is reflective of Delta’s full operational restoration post-pandemic and continued focus on industry leadership.” Source: From a statement made by a Delta Airlines spokesperson, explaining the cutbacks in hiring they plan for the coming year. 

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