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Friday’s Just The Facts Roundup Of Aviation News: Week of June 22, 2020

This week’s news was all over the map, with shocking stories from across the globe, as well as from right here in the USA.

Pilot flying at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada.
Pilot flying at the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Jeff Schultes/Shutterstock

Reno is canceled. The organization that puts on the annual air races, the Reno Air Racing Association, has canceled the 2020 STIHL National Championship Air Races that had been scheduled for September 16-20, citing, to no one’s surprise, the pandemic.

The National Business Aviation Association continues to plan for its big Orlando convention despite Florida experiencing its highest COVID-19 numbers several days this past week and despite pleas, including ours, for the organization to call it off.

The FAA has given some pilots affected by the coronavirus pandemic some additional time to get their medical certificates and flight currency in place. The rules are confusing, and pilots who originally benefited from the FAA relief in March don’t get any help with this update. Here’s the FAA’s page detailing the provisions of the Special Federal Aviation Regulation and the link to our story on it.

It has been five months since Kobe Bryant and eight others were killed in the crash of a Sikorsky S-76 in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times reported that officials with the charter company that operated the helicopter knew of poor weather on the day of the trip but dismissed concerns about it. 

Pakistan published a preliminary report on the crash of an Airbus A320 in Karachi in May, and blamed the crash on pilot error. The report confirmed that plane was on its second approach after a balked gear-up landing when its engines quit and it crashed into a neighborhood, killing 98.

Diamond Aircraft officially launched its DA-50 retractable-gear five-seat single that was the cover story in our July issue.

Several outlets reported that Air National Guard surveillance aircraft were used to monitor protests against police brutality in at least two cities, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. The Air Force Inspector General is investigating the truth of the allegations and the legality of the flights.

Textron Aviation laid off 250 workers as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on aviation. The layoffs were part of parent company Textron’s laying off 12,500 workers.


Half of flight schools have stayed open during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) survey. About 35 % of schools did close and just over 12% limited flying activities, often restricting dual instruction.

FSANA also reported that flight testing by designated pilot examiners has suffered only a slight decline due to the pandemic. Plane & Pilot contributor Jason Blair’s story also outlines flight-test activity year-over-year and found that at some points 2020 activities exceeded that of 2019’s.


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