Last June Bell/Agusta completed initial testing of its BA609 civil tiltrotor at Bell’s Fort Worth, Texas flight-test center. At the time, project test pilot Roy Hopkins said he was particularly impressed by the tiltrotor’s handling qualities. Over nine flights of the BA609, Hopkins, accompanied by flight test pilot Dwayne Williams, logged 14 hours in helicopter mode.
PIPER PA-46-310P MALIBU, OSTENN, FLA., JUNE 14, 2002–Trying to thread through a hole in an area of thunderstorms on an IFR flight from Raleigh, N.C. to Marco Island, Fla., the pilot of Malibu N9143B asked ATC for a deviation 12 miles to the west. He attempted to fly through an area of light radar echoes between the two large areas of heavier echoes.
Learjet 55, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 19, 2004–Learjet N55LF overran Runway 31 during its landing roll at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, in VMC. Neither the ATP pilot nor the commercial copilot was injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Repositioning the aircraft from Fort Lauderdale International, the crew was expecting to land on Runway 13, but it was closed and the tower told them to land on Runway 31.
Accommodating the requests of potential customers, Vulcanair of Italy decided in January to make a number of design changes to the fuselage of its 11-passenger VF600W Mission turboprop single.
Beech King Air C90, Windsor Locks, Conn., June 23, 2006–The nonflying pilot’s improper procedure, resulting in his inadvertent retraction of the landing gear while the airplane was on the ground, was the cause of the accident, the NTSB concluded. The FAA King Air, N20, had landed and was doing a touch-and-go at Bradley International Airport when the nonflying pilot asked the pilot flying if he wanted flaps up.
In the year before April 26, 2003, when Sino Swearingen’s number-one SJ30-2 prototype crashed after entering an uncommanded and unrecoverable right roll during high-speed flutter testing, company engineers were attempting to deal with lateral stability issues with the twinjet, according to the NTSB’s recently released factual report on the accident.
While the NTSB determined that “unnecessary and too aggressive” rudder inputs by the first officer broke the vertical stabilizer off American Airlines Flight 587, there was plenty of blame to spread among the airline, U.S. and French aviation regulators and Airbus Industrie, builder of the A300-605R that crashed into the community of Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001.
Moscow-based Tekhnoavia, an aircraft design house, delivered two piston SM-2000s in December and one turboprop SM-2000T last month. The trio of aircraft went to a Russian customer.
In the January issue of AIN (page 39), we recounted the origins of the Learjet, complete with references to the well worn tale of the Swiss fighter connection. We then heard from Bill Lear’s eldest son, who suggested that “since you can’t get it straight from the horse’s mouth, here it is from the horse’s offspring, who followed closely in the horse’s hoofsteps!”
Flight’s second century began Dec. 17, 2003, at 10:35 a.m., 100 years to the minute from Orville Wright’s momentous launch of the first powered airplane. Much fanfare, including participation by the President, attended the marking of that moment at Kitty Hawk, N.C., last month.