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Dreadnaught Dominates Reno, Holland Does Same At National Aerobatic Contest

Plus, a bad day for a West Point 182, Piper recruiting maintenance techs, new aging airplane guidelines emerging and jerky passengers are getting theirs.

Dreadnaught
8 TMK Sea Fury N20SF Dreadnought 2014 gold race photo D Ramey Logan.jpg from Wikimedia Commons
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The Sea Fury Dreadnaught, piloted by Joel Swager, took top honors for the fifth time in a row at the National Championship Air Races at Reno, Nevada. Swager completed eight laps of the pylon course at an average speed of around 427 mph, completely outclassing the runners-up. The top three finishers, in fact, were all Sea Furies flown by Team Sanders, with Argonaut, flown by Sherman Smoot, taking second place and 924G taking third place honors flown by 2019’s champion pilot Dennis Sanders. There was no race in 2020 due to the pandemic.

A Cessna 182 operated by the United States Army Academy at West Point violated the airspace around the United Nations building in New York City and was escorted away by a NORAD F-16 fighter jet. The 182 trainer was reportedly on an instructional flight with a West Point instructor pilot and cadet aboard. The incident is being called a simple mistake.

Rob Holland won his tenth consecutive National Aerobatics Championship during the International Aerobatics Club contest in Salina, Kansas, earlier this week. Flying his MXS-RH, Holland dominated the freestyle segment. He is the reigning freestyle world champion. The World Championships take place next year in Switzerland.

Just as airlines are pipelining pilots through training and into their ranks, so too is at least one aircraft manufacturer. Piper Aircraft announced that it was teaming with Aerotech Academy to move successful aircraft technician graduates into jobs at the Vero Beach, Florida, manufacturer. Piper would also give a $3,000 signing bonus and $2,400 per year for tuition reimbursement.

How to stay on top of the health of aging airplanes? New ASTM International guidelines currently in the works would establish a framework for determining “safe life, inspection threshold and recurring inspection intervals for airplanes.” The guidelines would provide manufacturers and regulators with directions on how to establish those maintenance practices based on testing and analysis of components.

A factual NTSB report of the crash of a hot air balloon in Albuquerque in June indicated that the pilot had traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and cocaine in his system at the time of the crash. All five aboard the balloon were killed after it ran into wires, and the gondola separated, causing it to fall 100 feet to the ground.

The FAA says that the number of what it refers to as “unruly passengers” dropped after it launched its zero-tolerance campaign. The initiative eliminated warning letters to unruly passengers and started issuing fines instead. Those have so far totaled more than a million dollars. In the process, it has launched nearly 800 investigations and more than 150 enforcement cases.

Despite the relative good news on the unruly passenger front, Delta Airlines is taking it a step further and suggesting that airlines share their information on passengers who’ve acted out on their flights. So far, Delta’s list reported more than 1,500 names. The airline believes by sharing that information, problem passengers would be less able to switch to a different carrier after they’ve been blacklisted by one.

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A bipartisan bill is making its way through Congress that would make duty time guidelines for pilots apply to cargo airline pilots, eliminating what’s often referred to as the “cargo carveout” and which would create one level of safety for all commercial operators.

Shell announced that it would begin producing a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), with the target of producing two million tons of the fuels by 2025. The company says that it wants to work toward making SAF account for 10 percent of jet fuel sales by 2030. Currently, only one-tenth of  one percent of that fuel supply is SAF.

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