The National Championship Air Races at Reno Stead airport got started on Wednesday. One-hundred and forty aircraft are entered in seven different categories, with 2019 Unlimited champ Sea Fury Dreadnought being one of the early favorites to take the title again this year.
Speaking of Reno, the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced that it was sponsoring as many as 10 scholarships for students aged 15-19 that could finance their flight training all the way through the Private Certificate. The application window is November 1, 2021-January 15, 2022. More information will be available soon, RARA says.
In an exclusive story, Plane & Pilot reported that insurers of general aviation aircraft lost $50 million on insured aircraft despite premiums growing by around a third, to a total of $2.1 billion. The data, which was presented to insurers by analysts at Milliman, included a steep increase in the level of court judgments and the impact of severe weather events, such as the tornado at Nashville’s John C. Tune Airport, that cost insurers $100 million.
Garmin earned STC approvals for its GFC 600 digital autopilot for a number of Piper Meridian models, those manufactured from 2000-2009. The autopilot features extensive envelope protection features, including Garmin’s LVL button for getting back to straight and level flight, and its newly announced Smart Glide utility.
Rolls-Royce made the first flight of its all-electric Spirit of Innovation experimental aircraft. Powered by the equivalent of 500 hp of electric propulsion, the single-place aircraft is hoped to top 300 knots, thereby setting a world record for the fastest electric flight ever by a margin of more than 100 knots.
Bombardier launched a new jet, the Bombardier 3500. The Super midsize jet will feature autothrottles and will borrow some of the interior design, including new seats, from its ultra-long-range stablemates. For holiday shopping planning purposes, the $26.7 million bizjet will be available in the second half of next year.
Respondents to Plane & Pilot’s survey on vaccinations required at aviation events, were evenly divided on the subject of whether or not such requirements are ethical or whether they would or would not attend an event with such a requirement. The one question on which they were not evenly split was how long the pandemics effects would linger. The vast majority of respondents felt like we still have a way to go.
A review by the United States Air Force Inspector General found that a third of women in the Air Force and Space Force report being subjected to sexual harassment and unfair treatment in regard to pregnancy and family leave. Air Force secretary Frank Kendall has acknowledged the disparity in promotion, assignments and disciplinary matters, and has pledged to pursue a more ethnically diverse Air Force.
Earlier this week, SpaceX launched an orbital spaceflight with four non-professional civilian passengers/crew members. One of them, geology professor Sian Proctor, the fourth American Black woman in space, will serve as mission pilot. The flight is expected to last around three days.
British Airways made the first flight of one of its jets, an Airbus A320, fueled entirely with recycled cooking oil, part of BA’s work to cut its carbon footprint substantially. Reports of passengers craving French fries during the flight could not be confirmed.