Starship SN15, the 15th iteration of the SpaceX rocket series, lifted off from the company’s Boca Chica, Texas, launch site, and about six minutes later, touched down near the launch pad, after having successfully performed the remarkable flip maneuver it does to reorient itself for landing. The four previous prototypes of what SpaceX calls its high-altitude prototypes exploded shortly before or shortly after takeoff or landing.
U.S/UK hydrogen-power research company ZeroAvia’s Piper Malibu Mirage test aircraft made a gear-down forced landing in a field adjacent to Cranfield Airport in England on April 29. No one was injured, according to ZeroAvia, but the aircraft is heavily damaged, with its left wing separated at the root. The PA46 was on a “routine pattern test flight,” according to the company. There was no fire, which ZeroAvia cited as evidence of the safety of its hydrogen-power research to date.
Massachusetts State Senator Julian Cyr’s bill proposes to charge most aircraft, including small planes, $1,000 for each and every landing anywhere in Massachusetts. The money would go toward unspecified climate change remedies.
ForeFlight’s new update—version 13.3—includes a lot of new features, including the Dynamic Winds and Temperature page. The display shows forecast wind speed, direction and temperatures at multiple altitudes and times from all around the world. It shows primary forecast values at the selected altitudes and times on color-coded heat maps. Overlaid particle animations display wind direction and speed so pilots can more easily see large-scale weather patterns from the cockpit.
One of general aviation’s most prolific aircraft designers and a pioneer of the modern homebuilt movement, Zenair founder Chris Heintz died at his home in France on April 30. He was 82. In his more than 40 years as the head of Zenair, Heintz designed at least 12 aircraft that became kits and plans-built aircraft.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifting in many places around the world, Women in Aviation International’s Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD) will return to in-person events on September 25, 2021. Further, WAI chapters and corporate members will be eligible to host in-person events for girls ages 8-17 this year, in accordance with local health guidance. WAI will also continue to provide virtual materials, activities, information and interviews throughout the year via the Aviation for Girls app, available worldwide for free all around the world.
As of May 1, international travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to receive a RT-PCR test before entering the Bahamas. Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that other travel restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals have also been eased. In addition, Minnis also said that indoor dining and culture activities are now approved for those who have been fully vaccinated. The curfew on Abaco will be reduced to 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. from the previous restriction of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Aerobatics airshow performer Matt Younkin was uninjured after a partial gear-up landing in his Beech D-18 twin in St. Joseph, Missouri on April 29. No one was injured. Younkin was in the Sho-Me state for an airshow and reported a problem with the gear on his D-18, dubbed “Miss Ellie.” With first responders in place, the plane went off the runway and was heavily damaged. Despite all this, thanks for local help, Younkin got his big Beech back up and running in just a few days’ time!
A Mitsubishi Mu-2 crashed into a residence in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, late Tuesday night, killing all three aboard the turboprop twin and a man in the house it crashed into. Three others inside the house escaped with what authorities are saying are minor injuries. The plane took off from Wichita Falls (KSPS) earlier that evening bound for the Bobby L. Chain Hattiesburg Municipal Airport. Initial reports are that controllers received no transmissions from the flight suggesting any problems, and the weather at the airport, located just a few miles southeast of the crash site, was reporting clear night skies and unhindered visibility.