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Aviation News Roundup For The Week Of April 5, 2021

Sun ’n Fun gets underway on Tuesday, NASA set for historic first flight away from Earth, new boss at Piper and great news on the aviation hiring front.

aviation news week of April 5
A shot from Day 2 of Sun ‘n Fun 2019. Aviation News this week suggests record breaking crowds at this years Sun ‘N Fun.

Slated to get underway in a matter of days, the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, which was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is projected to have the highest number of attendees in recent event history. Sun ’n Fun chairman John “Lites” Leenhouts told The Lakeland Ledger, “We never saw it coming.” Organizers were anticipating a far smaller-than-normal crowd, but with bullish ticket sales, the show has, without explanation, dropped the cap on daily attendance, which would have limited admissions to 30,000 per day.

The FAA has published draft guidance to put in place an optional task-based Phase I program for Experimental Amateur-Built (E-AB) aircraft. Part of an upcoming update to Advisory Circular (AC) 90-89B, the program considers Phase I accomplished after an aircraft completes a flight test plan that meets FAA standards. Experimental Light-Sport (E-LSA) continues to carry a five-hour test period ,and the existing 25- or 40-hour flight test period for Phase I will remain an option for all E-AB.

If Ingenuity, the Mars helicopter, flies this Sunday, NASA will broadcast a livestream of the agency’s team analyzing the historic event. The livestream is expected to launch around 3:30 EDT on Monday, April 12, and can be seen on NASA Television, the NASA app, the NASA website and the agency’s social media platforms, including its YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Piper Aircraft named former CFO John Calcagno as acting CEO as 10-plus-year Piper CEO Simon Caldecott retired last week. Piper has not announced when it plans to name a permanent replacement for Caldecott or if Calcagno might be that person. An Air Force veteran with long experience in a variety of businesses, including some Fortune 500 companies, Calcagno has been with Piper for 11 years.


There was support for a bill in the Wyoming House of Representatives that would have enabled county commissioners to set up tax districts to fund local airports. But the bill failed to pass. Ironically, opponents of the measure used the federal stimulus bill against passage of Senate File 4 (SF 4), arguing that the funding was not necessary in light of the possibility of the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) providing money for the state’s airports.

Seaplane pilots can now order one of three ready-built versions of Aero Adventure’s Aventura, a two-place LSA amphibian. The Deland, Florida manufacturer, headed by Alex Rolinski, recently received FAA approval for a Special LSA (SLSA) versions and will be signing up buyers at Sun ’n Fun this month. Prices range from $119,900 for the Basic model; $157,435 for the Deluxe, and $179,995 for the Carbon STOL version.

EAA is reaching out to FBOs around the country to be included on this year’s list of facilities offering specials for AirVenture pilots planning their migration to Oshkosh in July. It has become an annual tradition for FBOs, especially those in the Midwest, to welcome them for fuel, layovers and other services. According to EAA, many FBOs offer fuel discounts and other amenities to pilots who are Oshkosh-bound or heading back home after AirVenture.


Hartzell Propeller has reached an agreement with the Recreational Aircraft Foundation (RAF) to offer a special $1,000 discount on Hartzell’s line of backcountry propellers for RAF members. The RAF is a national organization headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, which is dedicated to preserving, improving and creating airstrips for recreational access. Propellers included in this partnership include: The 3-blade metal scimitar Voyager designed for the Cessna 180, 182, 185 and 206; the 2-blade composite Trailblazer for the Aviat Husky, American Champion Scout, Maule M-7-235 and host of experimental aircraft; the 3-blade composite Explorer for many experimental aircraft; and the 3-blade composite Pathfinder, available on the Cubcrafters XCub and Carbon Cub FX, as well as several Experimental aircraft.

The original proof-of-concept (POC) prototype HondaJet will be the featured display when the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum in Japan’s Aomori Prefecture reopens April 20. Aomori is the hometown of Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino, designer of the HondaJet. The POC first flew on Dec. 3, 2003, powered by Honda-designed and -built HF118 engines configured in the unusual over-the-wing-engine-mount (OTWEM) format.

More than half of the respondents in Aviation employment specialist JSfirm’s Aviation Hiring Trends Survey for 2021 anticipate growth this year. Further, two-thirds of the companies responding did not cut jobs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey tapped 200 companies representing several industry sectors. Pilots and maintenance, and avionics technicians are in the greatest according to the survey.


A lack of diversity on the flight decks of U.S. based airliners is a problem, and one airline is doing something about it. United Airlines has set new diversity goals through its Aviate Academy training program. It’s targeting 50% of the planned-for 5,000 new pilots trained and hired over the next decade be women and people of color.



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