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02/12/16 11:04AM

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02/10/16 01:42PM
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Sheriff's Light Sport Crash Kills Two

Despite some eyewitness reports, including one from a long-time pilot, it's still not clear what led to the crash of a law enforcement version of a Flight Design Light Sport aircraft in California last week.

CAFE Foundation Sets Symposium Dates

The CAFE Foundation this week announced the dates for their 10th annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, May 19 and 20, at the Marriott Waterfront in San Francisco. "CAFE Foundation believes that collaborative efforts are key in order to push forward electric flight," the group said in a news release. "EAS 2016 will bring together the people who are vital to this effort, with a special focus on early entry practical market opportunities." CAFE also said they are working with industry agencies and organizations to broaden the scope of topics and the roster of speakers.

Reauthorization Bill Moves Out Of Committee

The controversial FAA reauthorization bill that would privatize air traffic control services made it out of a House committee Thursday in a 32-26 vote that almost followed partisan lines but there will be much more debate and it's still not clear what's on the Senate's collective mind.

Santa Monica Airport Supporters File Federal Complaint

A group of businesses and advocates of Santa Monica Airport have filed a formal complaint with the FAA, charging that the city has improperly diverted airport funds and denied airport leases. The complaint, filed under Part 16 regulations for federally funded airports, says the city has imposed interest "on purported loans at rates exceeding those allowable" under FAA policy and failed to properly document loans and interest charges.

Hybrid Air Vehicles Plans Airlander Test Flight

Hybrid Air Vehicles of England plans to test fly its Airlander 10 in March for the first time. The aircraft is a combination of lighter-than-air, airplane and helicopter concepts and resembles an airship. It's capable of high-altitude flight, although the first test will be limited to 4,000 feet over a two-hour flight, according to the Independent.

New This Week

AVweb's search of news in aviation found announcements from FlyThisSim, Rectrix Aviation, Aviator Flight Training and Baldwin Aviation. Increasing demand for FlyThisSim TouchTrainers from international customers has prompted FlyThisSim to integrate worldwide navigation data into their range of TouchTrainers.

Mooney Unveils Something New: A Two-Door Acclaim

Besides the signature reversed vertical fin, Mooney airplanes have always been characterized by a single cabin door. But no more. This week, Mooney rolled out the new Acclaim Ultra M20V, a significant redo of the company's best-selling Acclaim. At the company's newly refurbished Kerrville, Texas, factory, Mooney showed the production version of its new model to reporters and editors at a press event on Thursday.

GA Pilots Face Risks For Science

A British pilot flying a helicopter to track poachers in Tanzania was killed recently when he was hit by gunfire from the ground and the helicopter crashed into trees. Roger Gower, 37, was flying in partnership with Tanzanian wildlife authorities on Jan. 28, to track down and arrest active elephant poachers. "In the course of this action the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded," according to Gower's employer, the Friedkin Conservation Fund.

The Weekender: Warming Up With Chili, Cake And Coffee

It feels like spring is a long way out for some, but The Weekender found some turf runways to head for on the SocialFlight calendar -- snow is optional. Triple Tree Aviators will host their third annual Chilly Chili Fly-In and Lunch on Saturday to raise funds for their aerodrome in South Carolina.

GAMA Report: Aircraft Shipments Drop In 2015

General aviation manufacturing saw declines in the overall market worldwide as shipments for airplanes are reported down for 2015 over the previous year, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported Wednesday. Airplane shipments declined 4.6 percent, from 2,376 units in 2014 to 2,267 units in 2015.

NASA Seeks Support For X-Plane Programs

Space may get all the mainstream attention in the new NASA budget proposal released today, but staff from the Aeronautics Research Mission are excited about a boost in research funding for new technologies that will impact commercial aviation -- including projects that aim to cut fuel burn in half, dramatically reduce noise, restore commercial supersonic flight over land, and develop safer and more efficient air traffic management. "We are ready to take these new technologies into actual X-Plane flight demonstrations," said Jaiwon Shin, associate administrator for the ARM directorate, in a conference call with reporters on Monday.

Garmin Rolls Out All-in-One ADS-B Solutions

Apparently responding to buyer complaints about complex ADS-B Out solutions that require expensive WAAS upgrades, Garmin International has announced two all-in-one transponders that will allow owners who don't have WAAS GPS receivers to upgrade to ADS-B Out as simply as possible. One version of the new product combines both In and Out in a single box, with the option of onboard WAAS GPS, while a second is a less expensive Out only solution.

FAA, NTSB Cite Lithium Cargo Dangers

The FAA today issued a safety alert to airlines around the world, urging them to conduct a "safety risk assessment" regarding the transport of lithium batteries as cargo, in light of new evidence from the agency's recent lithium-battery-fire tests. The FAA also advised its inspectors to determine whether airlines have adequately assessed the risk of carrying the batteries as cargo. Also today, the NTSB issued two safety recommendations regarding shipments of the batteries aboard cargo aircraft. The rules should be changed to require that the batteries are physically separated from other flammable materials, the NTSB said.

Advocates Speak Out On Veteran Flight Training, ATC Reform

A bill that would cap flight-training benefits for veterans at $20,235 should be scrapped, seven GA advocacy groups told Congress in a letter issued today. "This legislation would effectively put flying careers out of reach for many vets," said Jim Coon, AOPA spokesman for government affairs. "There are great jobs in aviation, and our nation's veterans have earned a right to pursue those opportunities." Also today, NATA told the House Transportation Committee about its views regarding proposed changes to air traffic control.

Reauthorization Bill Scrutiny Begins

The controversial FAA reauthorization bill that includes privatizing the air traffic control system will begin its journey through what is expected to be a tough legislative process Wednesday with a hearing.

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