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Pilots Fired For Rolling A Learjet, End Of The Line For Aerion And A New Beginning for Eclipse

Plus, a big deal for Garmin, an eastern European country forces down a Western jetliner, NTSB head to step down and much more!

Just the Facts

A German captain and first officer have been shown the door by their employer after the captain intentionally rolled the Learjet 31 they were flying while in a descent at 11,500 feet on a repositioning flight with no passengers aboard, this according an incident occurrence report from the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation. The maneuver wasn’t discovered for several months, and even then, it wasn’t until the company was performing a routine read-out of the plane’s flight data recorder data recorder, which showed unusually high rates of roll on the descent of the flight in question. The co-pilot maintained he had no hand in the maneuver.

Garmin announced its purchase of AeroData, a leading provider of performance computation services for the airlines and other operators. The move could put the Olathe, Kansas, avionics and commercial electronics powerhouse in a position to greatly expand its aviation business.

Eclipse Aerospace is back in business. A court approved the new company’s business plan, and the company is already busy at work making parts for the more than 200 Eclipse 500 and 550 very light jets already flying. A story by Rob Finfrock in Aviation International News quoted the new company’s interim CEO, Mike Press, as saying that supporting existing Eclipse jets was the first priority but that putting the highly regarded but much traveled twin jet back into production is a real possibility down the line.

An Australian flight instructor, his wife/business partner and one-year old child are all fine after the instructor made a successful off airport landing of the Tecnam P-2008 he was flying on a small beach north of Sydney after the light plane’s engine failed.


Would-be supersonic bizjet maker Aerion closed its hangar doors citing a lack of funding sufficient for continued operations. The company’s emerging AS2 design was targeted for first flights in two years, though the company never built a prototype, conforming or otherwise.

The NTSB has published its preliminary, factual docket on the midair collision between a Cirrus SR22 and a twin turbine Metroliner freight plane near Denver-area Centennial Airport last week that miraculously resulted in all three occupants of the two planes walking away unharmed following a chute deployment by the Cirrus and a normal landing by the pilot of the Metro with a huge chunk missing from the upper fuselage of the plane.

The FAA has adopted a rule requiring operators of aircraft used for most kinds of commercial applications to upload pilot job performance data to the soon-to-be established FAA Pilot Records Database. The recordkeeping mandate, which was roundly opposed by pilots and many operators, will phase in over the next couple of years.


The nation of Belarus used fighter jets to force down a Ryan Air commercial airliner in its airspace in order to detain dissident Belarussian journalist Roman Protasevich, whom strongman Belarussian president Aleksandr Lukashenko had removed from the flight and immediately arrested. Belarus is not a member of the European Union, and that body has vowed sanctions against Belarus, including banning the rogue state’s own airliners from EU airspace.

Honda Aircraft has again updated its HondaJet Elite, launching the Elite S. The improvements include an extra 120 nm of range, 200 max takeoff weight increase and an improved ground handling system. Cost of the Elite is a base price of $5.4 million. Owners of previous models will reportedly will not be able to upgrade them to the higher capability and performance numbers.

NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt is stepping down from his role as chief at the end of June 2021. Board member Jennifer Homendy, who is often the public face of the NTSB, is widely expected to step into the role. Sumwalt has been a popular and uncontroversial NTSB head, and Homendy is, likewise, said to be highly respected by President Biden and by members of both parties in the Senate.


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