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An Airshow Star Flies West, More Details On Airbus Tail Strike And Big Dollars Flow To E-VTOL

Plus, a new virtual get-together from EAA, Joby flies really fast, and Icon makes leadership changes.

An Airbus A320 taking off from Yampa, Colorado, (near Steamboat Springs) departing for Fort Lauderdale suffered a serious tail strike on rotation, which was captured in a video from inside the passenger cabin. The pilots, reportedly unaware of the strike, were advised on the damage by ATC, thanks to good work by ground personnel at Yampa, and diverted to Denver International, where it landed without incident.  The NTSB is calling it an accident and is investigating what it calls serious damage to the plane.

In the wake of the accident, which was not widely reported upon, questions are arising regarding the crew’s actions following the tail strike, along with ATC’s issuing of clearances to both the Airbus and a King Air, which was on short final for the opposite runway, putting it on a potential collision course with the big airliner.

Joby Aviation tweeted that its as-yet-unnamed electric tilt rotor aircraft hit 178 knots! Okay, the announcement was that it had flown at a true airspeed of better than 200 mph. It’s not planning, according to the company, to expand the altitude envelope to 10,000 feet.

Boeing invested $450 million in Wisk Aero, the eVTOL company founded by Google co-founder Larry Page. The financing will help with the development of Wisk’s Cora, the all-electric VTOL for which the company plans to get Part 23 type certification for use as an autonomously piloted air taxi.

Renowned airshow performer Jacquie Warda, who performed as Jacquie B, passed away earlier this week after a long battle with cancer, according to a website that reported on her passing. Warda flew high-energy airshow routines in her Extra 300, performing at some of the most prestigious airshows in the world over her long career.

On the heels of its successful Homebuilders Week last year and in recognition of the 40 years anniversary of the creation by the FAA of the ultralight segment, EAA is conducting an online gathering of ultralight enthusiasts from February 22-24. More info can be found here.

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Appareo got a couple of STC approvals for its mostly stand-alone cockpit video and limited flight data recorder. The product only needs to be connected to power and ground, and plugged into a GPS system. The approvals were in a couple of helicopters, but we expect Appareo to announce approvals for fixed-wing aircraft before long. The NTSB has been recommending video recorders in commercial aircraft for years, though the FAA has yet to draft a rule requiring them.

AOPA published a story last week with the theme of aviation opening up, again, as evidenced by the return of live events around the country and around the world. The story came as large numbers of Americans, including the Centers for Disease Control, seem to be pivoting to a perspective of living with COVID-19, even as the Omicron variant continues to rage. That variant’s lesser severity has helped drive the transition to a management perspective. 

Icon Aircraft added to its management team last week, naming Jerry Meyer as interim CEO and Stephane D’haene as COO. Meyer has been with Icon since 2016 and most recently served as the directory of Brand Experience and Corporate Strategy. D’haene, who joined Icon last year, will oversee production, including final assembly.  

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Icon is undergoing a lot of change, as its majority shareholder fights a lawsuit from the company founder, claiming that Icon is engaged in an illegal transfer of aerospace technology to China, a claim that Icon suggests is baseless.

Bye Aerospace announced a slew of position deposits for its eFlyer 800, a commuter sized electric plane concept. The company continues to announce new position deposits for its aircraft, though it hasn’t yet flown a conforming prototype of any of them or started the construction process on the eFlyer 800. We reached out to Bye Aerospace for comment but haven’t heard back from them on short notice.

Coming Events

Redbird Migration flight training symposium, February 8-9, Lakeland Florida.

FSANA flight training tradeshow, February 16-18, Bally’s Las Vegas.

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Aircraft Electronics Association tradeshow, March 28-31, New Orleans Convention Center.

Sun ’n Fun Fly-In, April 5-10, Lakeland Linder International Airport.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 25-31, Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

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