In preparation for his solo nonstop around-the-world (ATW) flight tentatively scheduled for January, adventurer and solo ATW balloonist Steve Fossett has begun familiarization flights in the single-engine Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in Mojave, Calif., following a number of envelope expansion flights by Scaled Composites project engineer and test pilot Jon Karkow.
The void in the aeronautical spectrum created by the retirement of the Anglo-French Concorde fleet in October last year stands to be filled by two supersonic business jet (SSBJ) programs that were unveiled at last month’s NBAA Convention.
Ask most professional pilots about either the USAir accident in Pittsburgh or the United Airlines crash in Colorado Springs, when the Boeing 737s flipped upside down before impact, and the discussion often focuses on whether it was wake turbulence, a roll cloud or a rudder hard-over that caused the crashes.
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion on Sunday announced at the Dubai Air Show that it is now accepting letters of intent for a “limited number” of early delivery positions for its 12-seat supersonic business jet (SSBJ). “Market demand has driven our decision to begin accepting deposits,” said company vice chairman Brian Barents.
A proposed AD would mandate replacing the pitot probes on nearly 160 U.S.-registered Hawker 800XPs because of reports that they have frozen above FL290, causing erroneous airspeed indications. New probes and their installation would cost about $14,500 per airplane, according to the FAA. Replacement would be required at the next 24-month inspection after the compliance date of the directive. Comments on the proposal are due by November 28.
“Welcome to Lear Jet Country,” a marketing slogan that attached itself to the early-20-series Lear Jet, is likely to be remembered only by industry old-timers who recall the airplane’s ability to take off and climb to 41,000 feet without effort. It is a capability that disappeared with the advent of the Learjet 35/36.
The FAA’s rules are a “barrier to the development and application of supersonic technologies in advanced general aviation aircraft,” said the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in comments submitted to an agency request for information on SST noise rules.
Operators of U.S.-registered CitationJets must disengage the pitch-trim/ autopilot circuit breakers to prevent runaway pitch trim, a condition that has led to at least one accident, according to an October 21 AD (2203-21-17). A CitationJet was ditched on July 22 in Penn Cove in Coupeville, Wash., following a loss of elevator trim control, resulting in an uncommanded nose-down pitch attitude.
The first test flights of a Cessna Citation X equipped with Winglet Technology’s new elliptical winglets are proceeding well, according to Bob Kiser, president of the Wichita-based modification kit manufacturer. The winglets are expected to give the airplane an even higher maximum cruise speed at high altitude as well as improved climb performance and longer range.
According to the final report of the Irish Department of Transport Air Accidents Investigation Unit (AAIU) published earlier this year, a Beech King Air 90 (registration N712DB) rolled and dived during an August 2006 flight in Ireland because the owner/pilot lost control of the aircraft during a missed approach in instrument conditions. The pilot’s inexperience was deemed a factor.