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Just the Facts Aviation News Roundup For The Week Of September 28, 2020

The big 75th VE Day commemoration fly-over in D.C. was scrubbed, thousands of pilots got laid off, Harrison Ford gets FAA slap on the wrist, and much more!

The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument

The Arsenal of Democracy fly-over of The National Mall in downtown Washington, D.C. was canceled after two false starts on Friday and Saturday of last week due to poor weather in the area. The organizers said that the complexity of scheduling a huge public event in Washington was such that rescheduling it was not an option. Close to 100 World War II warbirds had been poised to fly in what would have been a memorable tribute on the 75th anniversary year of the end of World War II.

Flight training provider ATP began construction of its 13,875-square-foot professional pilot development center at Dallas-area Arlington Municipal Airport. The training organization is already conducting operations in Arlington and is bullish on the future for airline pilots despite the current setbacks the industry is facing, looking at a big wave of mandatory retirements over the next ten years to spark a lot of new hiring.

Garmin released its Garmin D2 aviation watch, a lighter, thinner, very capable wristwatch with a bright touchscreen face that interfaces with personal devices and Garmin aviation devices to display flight plans. The watch has a built-in navigation database, HSI display, pulse oximeter, flight logging and much, more. Look for a coming review in Plane & Pilot.

The California legislature has passed and governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law that would prohibit officials taking photographs at accident or crime scenes on personal devices. The action came on the heels of Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa suing Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies for their allegedly having taken photos on their personal cell phones of the aftermath of the crash of the helicopter in which her husband, former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, and their daughter, Ginana, were killed along with seven others when the helicopter they were flying in crashed in bad weather in Calabasas, California.

Thousands of pilots, flight attendants, ground workers and gate agents, among others, were laid off by the major airlines on Thursday, October 1st, 2020. That was the day that the guarantees behind the CARES Act airlines support bill expired and airlines were free to furlough or terminate workers at their will. United pilots got a reprieve and many others were saved from furlough because of the sheer numbers of pilots and other workers who took early retirements.

The FAA has declined to issue enforcement sanctions against actor Harrison Ford for his mistakenly crossing an active runway without clearance in Hawthorne, California, in April of this year. Ford was required to attend runway incursion training, which he successfully completed. The actor was involved in another incident last year, in which he accidentally landed on a taxiway at Santa ana’s John Wayne International Airport.

Tom Carr, the director of flight operations at Garmin international, won the Society of Experimental Test Pilots Iven C. Kincheloe award for his work with Garmin over the years in helping in the development of many groundbreaking products, including the recent autoland utility. Congratulations, Tom!

Roll-Royce announced that it has completed successful ground tests of what it claims will be the world’s fastest all-electric plane. The 500-hp powertrain is currently being tested in what the company calls an “ion bird,” a play on words for “iron bird,” the test frame that aircraft makers use to test systems in airplanes under development, it says, will power the demonstrator aircraft to speeds of up to 300-mph. The project is one of the company’s initial steps toward achieving its goal of carbon neutrality in 30 years.


British company ZeroAvia completed a test flight of a Piper M-class aircraft retrofitted with electric and hydrogen fuel storage. The company promises a 250-nm flight in the airplane by the end of this year.

AOPA’s You Can Fly program welcomed its 150th flying club recently. The Bald Eagle Aviation Club was founded four months ago in Kalispell, Wyoming. According to AOPA, it operates a single 1957 Cessna 182. Congrats to the Bald Eagles and where do we sign up!


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