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Just the Facts Aviation News Roundup

Record snow and ice caused havoc for airports in Texas, a flying non-car’s U.S. prospects dim, homebuilts face a regulatory wall between the U.S. and Mexico, a new EVTOL by 2023? And more in this week’s roundup of aviation news!

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The blizzards and bitter cold that clobbered the South Central United States – especially Texas—were hard on airports and air travel in general. Houston, Austin, and San Antonio airports were all shut down for a time as snow and heavy icing ground flights. Airlines were scrambling to recover after the airports reopened midweek, but the ripple effect of stranded passengers continued for several days.

California-based Joby Aviation recently announced new government investment, and secured FAA approval for some regulatory concessions laying a pathway to Part 23 approval for its electric vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) craft. Joby took over Uber’s well-funded EVTOL effort last year, and promptly received investment from the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program and commitment from Garmin for its G3000 avionics suite. If the craft makes good on that ambitious timeline, it will almost certainly be the first craft of its type to earn the FAA okay.

Fifteen years into its flying-car development program Massachusetts-based The Terrafugia will wind down all U.S. business activity by year end and move operations to China. The company’s Evolution flying car (or roadable airplane) recently received light sport aircraft approval, but has yet to be granted authorization for the automotive phase.

Flying over a deserted Bahamian island on routine patrol, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted three people desperately waving flags. Two men and a woman were stranded on the island 33 days after their boat capsized, reportedly surviving by eating coconuts, conchs, and rats.

Unlike Canada and the Bahamas, Mexico’s civil aviation authority (AFAC) does not use a standardized blanket flight authorization to validate U.S. homebuilts’ airworthiness certificates, leaving approvals up to changeable policy decisions. Since late 2020, a change has locked down many amateur-builts from cross-border flights. EAA and AOPA have sent a letter to AFAC asking the agency to correct the snag.

General Electric has mounted one of its Catalyst next-gen turboprops on the wing of a testbed King Air in Europe. The Catalyst will power Cessna’s Denali turboprop single and uses 3D printing along with other 21st century technology to reduce weight, emissions and parts count and increase efficiency.

Tech Mahindra will bring its expertise in composite airframe design, stress analysis, and optimization to Spike Aerospace’s S-512 supersonic business jet development program. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding, formalizing plans to collaborate.

Among the most active units of the warbird restoration and preservation group, the Georgia wing of the Commemorative Air Force has been elevated to Airbase status. Now known as Airbase Georgia, the group has seven flyable World War II aircraft, including the ultra-rare Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber.

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The Aviation Electronics Association has pushed back its annual International Convention and Trade Show for 2021 and will now meet in Dallas June 22-25. “The health and wellbeing of attendees and exhibitors is our first priority,” said AEA president and CEO Mike Adamson. 

Following an industry phone meeting with new Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped consideration of a coronavirus testing requirement for domestic U.S. passengers. The testing is currently required for passengers inbound to the U.S. on all international flights.

 

 

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