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11/24/15 03:50PM
2008 CESSNA 400SL

11/23/15 12:12PM
2006 CESSNA 400SL

11/23/15 12:03PM
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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.

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."

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.

Eclipse Jets Offered By The Hour

Ascension Air, which operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22 aircraft from its bases in Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale, now is offering jet cards and time shares for the Eclipse 550 jet. "Our new Eclipse 550 Contrails program will bring personal jet transportation to a growing segment of aviators who want the flexibility and benefits of flying their own jet, without the worries of full jet ownership," said Ascension Air CEO Jamail Larkins. "Our professional owner-services team offers easy fleet access, on-site concierge services, professional aircraft management, a safety pilot, and streamlined scheduling."

Blue Origin Achieves Safe Rocket Landing

Blue Origin, the space company headed by Jeff Bezos, has succeeded where every other effort has failed -- on Monday, the company launched its unmanned New Shepard suborbital space vehicle from Texas to 329,839 feet, then the crew capsule separated and landed under a parachute, and the rocket module also made a safe, powered, vertical landing. It's the first time a rocket has been recovered intact and reusable after a space vehicle launch.

Turkish F-16s Shoot Down Russian Su-24

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 was shot down Tuesday near the Syrian-Turkish border by air-to-air missiles fired by Turkish F-16 fighter jets, officials said. Various accounts have disputed whether the aircraft was above Syrian or Turkish territory at the time, and a U.S. official, speaking off the record to the Los Angeles Times, said if the jet did cross into Turkish airspace, it was only for a few seconds. The crew reportedly ejected before the crash, but Russian military officials said at least one of the pilots was killed.

Short Final

NY Center: "Jetsetter 123, got time for a quick question?" ... JS123: "Sure." ... NYC: "What's the service ceiling on that bird?" ... JS123: "FL 510." ... [A moment of silence followed.] ... Then someone asked: "Does that thing come with astronaut wings?" ... XY456: "Hey Center, what type of aircraft were you talking to?" ... NYC: "He's a G6." ... Some other regional jet driver then chimed in: "Man, I can't even afford a Pontiac G6." ... NYC had to apologize to Air Canada: "Sorry, guys. I was laughing so hard I missed you checking in." -- Jeremy King

FAA Drone Recommendations Released

All drones weighing more than 250 grams -- about a half pound -- should be registered, according to the recommendations from an FAA task force, released today. The task force, comprising 25 industry representatives from ALPA and AOPA to Google and Wal-Mart, reached "unanimous consensus," said Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA's UAS integration office, in a conference call with reporters. "There were no dissenting opinions" filed to the final recommendations, he said.

Seven Killed In New Zealand Helicopter Crash

Four British tourists and two from Australia were killed when the sightseeing helicopter they were on crashed in a crevasse on Fox Glacier on New Zealand's south island on Saturday. The pilot of the helicopter, a New Zealander, was also killed.

Drone Registration Recommendations Submitted

Drones weighing as little as 8 ounces will have to be registered with the FAA if the agency accepts recommendations of a 26-member panel struck last month to design a registration scheme.

TSA Agents Want More Money

Just in time for the busy holiday travel season, Transportation Security Administration agents say they're having a hard time getting into the spirit thanks to their contract negotiations with the agency.

Gyrocopter Pilot Pleads Guilty To Flying Without License

The former postal carrier who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol in April struck a bargain with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty on Friday to flying without a pilot's certificate. Doug Hughes, 62, will be sentenced in April next year.

Daher Pushes Charter Role For The TBM 900

Daher has found a comfortable niche for its speedy TBM 900 as personal transportation for owner pilots, but now it would like to expand sales in both North America and Europe in the fly-for-hire segment. Charter work has traditionally been dominated by twin-engine aircraft and especially turboprops and jet aircraft, mainly because of safety perceptions.

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