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100 Years For Bessie Coleman, Single Pilot Airliners Take A Step Forward, NFL Hall Of Famer To Chair 2022 Citation Airlift And The FAA Releases Factual Report on Fatal Helo Crash

Plus, new features for a popular Garmin product, sonar crew finds GA plane on lake bottom, and more!

Aviation News

Think single-pilot, passenger-carrying airline travel will never happen? You might want to reconsider that take, as Airbus has announced it will team with Cathay Pacific to develop a system to enable single-pilot long-haul flying in wide-body Airbus aircraft. The Airline isn’t committing to actually doing it, though it says it plans to take a serious look at cutting the number of pilots on board to just two on such flights, though not any time soon.

Tuesday marked the 100th anniversary of aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman getting her pilot’s certificate. The young but fiercely focused Black/Indigenous woman, who was living in Chicago at the time, had to go to France to do the training, as few U.S. flight schools were open to teaching women or people of color.

Garmin has added new features to its popular GI 275 electronic flight instrument, including being the control for compatible transponders, allowing remote switching between flight control modes on third-party autopilots and acting as standby attitude indicator when paired with the company’s G500 autopilot. The new features are software-based. Dealers are already performing the updates. 

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning will be the Honorary Chair of the 2022 Citation Special Olympics Airlift. The airlift, which Cessna, now owned by Textron Aviation, started in 1987, and over the years has transported more than 10,000 athletes from their home states to the site of the event and back again upon its conclusion. Next year’s Orlando, Florida, event will run from June 4 through June 12.

To the surprise of no one, NBAA is moving forward with its plans to hold an in-person event in Las Vegas, Nevada, in October of this year. While the United States is opening back up from restrictions on in-person events that would have precluded the event even a few months ago, other nations face increasing Covid-19 caseloads and the reinstitution of travel restrictions.

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AOPA is reminding pilots who got an FAA survey in the mail to complete it and get it back as soon as they can. The survey on GA and charter flying takes less than 20 minutes to complete. The FAA uses it to make critical funding and program decisions.

The NTSB released its factual report on the May 17th crash of a Sikorsky Blackhawk modified for firefighting duties. The helicopter was performing its seventh water pickup from a nearby lake when the suction hose swung up into the main rotors, causing catastrophic structure failure. All four aboard died in the ensuing crash and fire.

A crew testing a new sonar rig in central California’s Folsom Lake discovered the wreckage of a small plane on the lakebed. It was initially believed to be a Comanche that had crashed in 1965, killing four. But based on a second sonar scan, the local sheriff’s department concluded it was instead, an aircraft that had crashed two decades later. There were no fatalities in that crash.

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President Joe Biden has chosen Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger to be the ambassador to ICAO, the international aviation rulemaking body that helps to regulate international air travel.

Another Delta flight, this one from Los Angeles to Atlanta, was diverted to Oklahoma City after a passenger, an off-duty flight attendant, began to act erratically, making an announcement over the in-cabin PA system. He had to be subdued by the flight crew and passengers and was arrested when the flight landed in Oklahoma City. The man could face federal charges and steep fines for the incident.

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