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Just the Facts Aviation News For The Week of November 16, 2020

Finally, good news for 737 Max, a tragic end for an extreme flyer, twin pandemic-related casualties, and much more in this week’s news roundup.

Photo courtesy of Loon

The FAA gave Boeing approval for the 737 Max to reenter service after it had been grounded for 20 months following a pair or catastrophic accidents. The approval is just the first step in the process for airlines to start flying with the Max again, but American Airlines said it plans to commence service before the end of this year.

Wingsuit record setter Vince Reffet died in what his team is calling a “training accident” in Dubai earlier this week. Reffet was the first person to take off unassisted from ground level and return to land a jet wing without parachute assistance. He was 36.

The EAA said that Fiscal 2020 was a good year for homebuilt safety, with the Experimental/Amateur-Built segment coming in well below the FAA’s target for continued safety improvement. The EAA has instituted a number of successful safety programs over the past two-plus decades that provide education and support for homebuilders. The fiscal year saw a total of 44 fatalities, of which 32 were in homebuilt aircraft.

AOPA reached out to pilots to get their take on new record sharing rules proposals, and unsurprisingly, pilots are extremely concerned about a number of possible side effects to the records sharing proposal that would increase their exposure to FAA action despite being in good standing. Plane & Pilot shares those concerns. 

Seattle-area aviation landmark Randy’s Restaurant was forced to close permanently, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. Randy’s was famously filled with aviation memorabilia.

The Deland Aviation Showcase canceled its event, scheduled for January, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event has already been moved from its normal November slot on the calendar because of Covid-19 concerns, but with cases spiking and no end near, it made what it called “a hard decision” to cancel the January show, in part due to its sponsors and attendees being unable to plan for the event.


The United States Air Force premiered a three-part web series on the Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tail Angels. The series is available free on YouTube. We give it two thumbs up.

Sales of GA aircraft was down by almost a third during the first nine months of 2020, a dip that is being blamed, surprise, surprise, on the pandemic. In its press release, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said that GA manufacturers delivered 378 planes over that time period.

Google sister company Loon launched internet service in Kenya that’s provided via its home-brewed balloon technology. It’s the first commercial service implementation for Loon, though it has provided such service in emergency relief previously.

And in case you missed it, because we did, the FAA adopted a policy that gave pilots a faster path to possible reinstatement if they to waive their rights to appeal, among other rights, when the FAA is enforcing certain kinds of legal action because of medical certificate falsification. It’s complicated, but the AOPA does a great job getting the heart of it here.


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