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01/21/15 03:14PM
Rapid City South Dakota
01/21/15 11:42AM
Springfield IL
01/21/15 09:36AM
Crestview Florida
01/21/15 07:47AM

01/16/15 11:42AM
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Short Final

Back in the early 1960s, I was a USAF F-101B Voodoo interceptor pilot flying out of the San Francisco Bay area. Every couple of months, we would have an exercise where friendly T-33 target aircraft with the callsigns "Brainbird Alpha," "Brainbird Bravo," "Brainbird Charlie," etc. would sneak up on the base. I got to fly the target one time, entering from Oregon over the Baker Beacon (an early ADF radio range). Passing over the beacon, I got to call the FAA and announce: "Brainbird Bravo is over the Baker Beacon!" -- George J. Marrett

Private Aircraft Still Blocked From Cuba

Those dreaming of flying to Cuba in their own aircraft will have to wait for now. Even though the U.S. has liberalized travel restrictions to the island nation and some airlines are gearing up for scheduled service, the virtual ban on flying a private aircraft from the U.S. to Cuba remains in effect.

Two Eagles Team Launches Pacific Flight (Updated)

Two balloonists lifted off from Saga, Japan, about 6:30 a.m. local time on Saturday in a quest to cross the Pacific and set new distance and duration records for their category of aircraft. Troy Bradley, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev plan to continue flying for up to 10 days, perhaps to Albuquerque or beyond.

Man Sentenced For Pointing Laser At Police Helicopter

A Maryland man pleaded guilty this week to a federal charge of pointing a laser at a Baltimore County police helicopter in 2014, the Baltimore Sun reported. The helicopter was flying over a high school in September when a green laser beam twice illuminated the cockpit, according to the Sun's report on the court case. James Robert Hensler, 24, will be sentenced in March and faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Medical Reform Still Has Friends In GA Caucus

Advocates of third-class medical reform hope the campaign will forge ahead with help from new leadership in the congressional GA caucuses. Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V., will co-chair the Senate caucus. In the House, Reps. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and Marc Veasey, D-Texas, will serve as co-chairs. Boozman and Graves (also a member of the House Aviation Subcommittee) had previously spearheaded medical reform legislation.

New Sleep Apnea Rules March 2

The FAA will impose new guidance on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to air medical examiners on March 2. The new rules are much different than the controversial 2013 edict that came from then-Chief Flight Surgeon Fred Tilton, which automatically grounded pilots with body mass index of 40 or more.

GA Groups Urge FAA To Consider ADS-B Compliance Concerns

Fourteen GA groups told the FAA on Friday the agency must straighten out issues with the ADS-B Out compliance rules if aircraft owners are to meet the 2020 deadline for the new equipment requirements. In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, they highlighted concerns including compliance for experimental aircraft, which don't have type certificates and so can't comply with a new certificate or STC.

Avgas Prices Falling - Slowly

Avgas prices have dropped enough to garner attention, prompting aircraft owners to ask FBOs if they'll keep going down like prices at their local car-gas stations. Hoping for $2 avgas is unrealistic, but FBOs around the country told AVweb their posted prices have ticked down in recent months.

NTSB Recommends Cockpit Cameras on Airlines

Cockpit cameras and improved aircraft locators are among the recommendations the NTSB placed in the lap of the FAA Thursday in the wake of crash investigations including Air France 447 and the yet-to-be found Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

Drone Pilot Settles With FAA Over Video Flight

A drone pilot who fought a $10,000 government fine for filming video with an unmanned aircraft in 2011 has settled his case for $1,100 without admitting guilt, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Raphael Pirker, a Swiss citizen, flew a drone over the University of Virginia in 2011 to make a promotional video. In court, he challenged the FAA's authority to criminalize drone flights. The FAA has yet to come out with a proposal to regulate commercial drone operations, even though the agency said it would have one by the end of 2014.

Bodies From TBM 900 Crash Recovered

The bodies of pilot Larry Glazer and his wife, Jane, whose TBM 900 crashed into the Caribbean in September, have been recovered, according to a report in USA Today. The New York couple were flying to their second home in Naples, Florida, when they became unresponsive from an apparent loss of cabin pressure.

Diamond's Turboprop Makes Maiden Flight

Diamond Aircraft's single-engine turbine prototype made its maiden flight this week in Austria. The DA50-JP7, first announced in 2013, is designed for seven passengers and touts higher fuel efficiency with a Ukrainian-built 465-horsepower, AI-450S engine. Diamond CEO Christian Dries flew as test pilot, accompanied by Ingmar Mayerbuch, head of flight testing.

Terrafugia Wins Support For Exemption Request

Terrafugia's request to the FAA for an exemption from the LSA rules to allow extra weight and a higher stall speed in its Transition roadable aircraft has won support from the industry. In comments posted to the FAA docket, GAMA and EAA both said the request should be approved. "We believe it is in the public interest to consider and approve [the requested change] as the product which is being proposed will provide unique safety improvements and will increase access to flying," GAMA said in its statement.

The Weekender: Just For Passengers; Flying for a Cause

Weekender found some fun and informative outings to check out on the SocialFlight calendar. On Saturday, free cotton candy awaits those who fly in to the Community Open House/Fly-In at Palatka Municipal in Florida. There will be food, displays and activities including rides in a helicopter, a Waco biplane or EAA's Ford Tri-Motor.

New This Week

AVweb's search of aviation news worldwide turned up Africa's first Boeing 787 full flight simulator, a business startup program tied to EAA's AirVenture, a new research project on improving aircraft aerodynamics, and a business expansion for Jetcraft.

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