Cicada madness has struck the United States, and the mid-Atlantic states are getting the worst of it. After being underground for the past 17 years, huge swarms of cicadas have arisen and wreaked havoc (well, minor annoyance anyways), causing a delay to an Air Force One Press Flight and showing up on radar screens around the Washington, D.C., area, where experts say there are trillions of the bugs. At least now we know how many bugs it takes to fill the Nation’l Mall.
AOPA, EAA and nearly a dozen other member organizations are baffled and angered—they said “displeased”—by the FAA’s reading of a judge’s opinion on flight training that arose from a case against Warbird Adventures, which conducted living experience flights in a Curtiss P-40 to paying students. The court ruled that such flights were illegal, and the FAA followed up with an opinion that supported that of the court. The FAA guidance, the member groups say, could have a devastating impact on training in several different categories of aircraft, including homebuilts.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has partnered with Frontier Airlines for a pilot hiring program. Frontier will make regular recruiting trips to ERAU and meet with students there who have great recommendations, high GPAs and a record of “stellar” flight performance.
In an announcement that has drawn little notice, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the SAE International, a global manufacturing standards association, have signed a cooperative agreement to work together in light GA and business aviation efforts. The partnership could have positive long-term implications for a new generation of Light Sport Aircraft-like models that could emerge within the next few years.
Genesys has introduced a big upgrade to its already popular S-TEC 3100 digital autopilot, with new hardware and capabilities, including an upgraded display and extensive V-NAV capabilities. The improvements are retrofittable to existing model 3100 autopilots.
A group of minority shareholders of Icon Aircraft have banded together to sue the manufacturer, owned by a Chinese company, claiming that Icon has passed up partnerships and other opportunities that would have improved the company’s fortunes. The suit claims the reason that Icon is doing this is so that it can transfer related technology to China.
The United States Air Force is looking into the development of a supersonic or hypersonic replacement for Air Force One and Air Force Two aircraft. The funds, reallocated from an existing program, are paltry compared to what would be needed for such development. Experts further suggest that the effort is part of a move by the Air Force to invest in the technology that China has been pursuing for the past several years.
Speaking subsonicallly, Vice President Kamala Harris was off on a multi-day trip to Central America when, only 20 minutes into the flight, the plane had to return to Andrews Air Force Base due to the landing gear not fully retracting. They swapped out planes and the Veep was on her way with minimum delay. No word on whether the mechanical issue was cicada related.
Boeing backed out on Aerion at least in part because of its great interest in the urban aerial mobility market, according to a story in Aviation International News Online. The story quotes Boeing president and CEO Dave Calhoun as saying that its joint venture with Kitty Hawk on the all-electric Cora eVTOL shows the kind of commercial promise that the Aerion Supersonic program presumably lacked.
The future of eVTOLs is beginning to look a lot like an electrical direction for conventional helicopter operations, and the order for 50 urban air mobility craft from Brazilian helo operator Helisul from Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions adds to the perception. Eve is a subsidiary of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer. It had earlier gotten an order for 200 of its craft from Halo, an urban air mobility startup.