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11/30/15 10:16AM

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2008 CESSNA 400SL

11/23/15 12:12PM
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Air Asia Report: Distraction, Crew Miscommunication Led To Stall

The string of incidents that led to the crash of Air Asia Flight QZ8501 on December 28 last year began with a mechanical malfunction that had gone unresolved despite having failed 23 times, investigators said in their final report (PDF), issued today by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee. But in trying to cope with the malfunction, the captain issued "ambiguous commands" to the first officer, and failed to take over the controls, the report concludes. The Airbus A320 climbed to 38,500 feet, rolled 104 degrees to the left, then stalled and lost altitude at a rate of up to 20,000 feet per minute. The airplane crashed into the Java Sea, killing all 162 on board.

JetBlue Plans Ab-Initio Program

JetBlue plans to develop an "ab-initio" training program for its Embraer SA E190 crews, the company told Bloomberg News last week. The airline must get FAA approval for its plans, but if it does, it would become the only U.S. airline to recruit zero-time pilots. The program will start with about two dozen participants, said JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw. The training will be designed to build "the complex skills required of airline pilots from the first day…. to ensure the quality of our current cadre of pilots is maintained," he said. Under FAA rules, pilots must log 1,500 hours of flight time before serving as first officer for an airline.

Amazon Unveils New, Larger Delivery Drone

Amazon took advantage of Cyber Monday to announce the latest details about its planned drone delivery system, releasing two new videos and a Q&A that aims to convince consumers that the concept is not "science fiction." One day, says Amazon, "seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road." The video shows a larger Amazon drone than what has been seen in earlier updates, a hybrid that can take off and land vertically and then convert to horizontal flight.

First Chinese ARJ21 Delivered

China's first indigenous commercial airliner is now in revenue service with domestic budget carrier Chengdu Airlines. The ARJ21 was delivered Sunday.

Airbus Patents Modular Passenger Cabins

The U.S. Patent Office has accepted Airbus' design for shipping-container-style loading of passengers on aircraft. The company's prolific patent department put forth the "aircraft pod concept" in 2013 to load passengers in detachable cabin sections to minimize turnaround time on the ground.

E-Volo Flies, Unmanned And Tethered

The one-of-a-kind E-Volo volocopter came outside for its first flight tests recently, the company announced in a news release today. The volocopter was controlled remotely, and the crew tested for automatic altitude control and position hold, and automatic landing. Weights of about 265 pounds were placed in the cockpit to test for payload capacity. The tests were completed in Karlsruhe, Germany. "In the process, the company's CEO Alex Zosel remotely flew the Volocopter for the first time – single-handed and only with a joystick," the company said.

Study: Toy Drone Strikes Pose Greater Hazard Than Birds

An aerospace company's new study on the hazards of toy drones mixing with manned aircraft concludes that the safety risks are greater that those of bird strikes. The study from Aero Kinetics, "The Real Consequences of Flying Toy Drones in the National Airspace System," concludes that rotorcraft pilots are at the highest risk of dying from a head-on drone collision.

Army Helicopter Crashes In Texas, Four Dead

A UH-60L Army helicopter crashed Monday evening while flying in Fort Hood Range in Texas, killing all four crew members on board. Fort Hood officials said emergency crews found the wreckage after an "extensive search" of the northeast portion of the range.

Helicopter Crashes In Siberia, 10 Dead

An Mi-8 helicopter crashed on a frozen river in Siberia Thursday, with at least 10 reported dead and 15 injured. Rescue crews with snowmobiles are at the site, about six miles from the Igarka airport.

Tecnam P2012 Testing Continues With Lycoming iE2

The testing of Tecnam's upcoming P2012 airplane now includes FADEC engines developed by Lycoming. The Italian aircraft manufacturer announced this week it has installed iE2 engines on the test aircraft, which is slated for a first flight in mid-2016.

Hybrid Airship Advances Toward Certification

Lockheed Martin has moved a step closer to FAA certification for its hybrid airship design, the company said last week. Lockheed worked with the FAA's certification office in Seattle for more than a decade to develop a plan to allow a nonrigid hybrid airship to operate as a commercial aircraft, since the FAA had no existing regulations to cover the category. Two years ago, the FAA created a certification pathway. Now the FAA has approved Lockheed Martin's plan showing how its design will meet all of the certification criteria. Lockheed Martin now plans to achieve certification and start delivering operational 20-ton airships as soon as 2018.

Rutan's SkiGull Takes First Flight

Burt Rutan's latest aircraft prototype, the SkiGull, took a first flight this week from Coeur d'Alene airport in Idaho. The documentary film team following Rutan's work posted photos on Facebook, saying the flight lasted for about 90 minutes with test pilot Glenn Smith, who reported that "the plane was responsive, predictable and fun."

The Weekender: A Good Day To Fly Indoors

The Weekender is on the road after Thanksgiving and found a few places to stop on SocialFlight. All pilots (current and non-current) are invited to share their experience with budding aviators at the St. Louis Science Center, where the Gateway Eagles will host nine simulator stations to introduce visitors to flying the Cessna 172.

New This Week

AVweb's search of aviation news around the world found updates from the flight simulation industry, an upcoming business jet conference, and the passing of the founder of Mayo Aviation.

NTSB: Icing, Malfunctions Led To Citation Crash

Severe icing and malfunctioning instruments led to the crash of a Cessna Citation in Kansas two years ago, the NTSB said in its probable cause report this week. The 1975 Cessna 500 Citation I was at 15,000 feet when it began a high-speed descent and crashed in a field, killing the pilot and single passenger on board.

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