Crews Recover Missing Cirrus; Congress Gets the UFO Skinny; and East Hampton’s Bold Plan Gets Stymied
Crews raised a Cirrus SR22 and recovered the body of the plane’s pilot a week after the plane crashed into the Atlantic. The crash, which happened near Savannah, Georgia, remains unexplained. It occurred after the pilot and sole occupant stopped responding to the controller’s radio calls. At the request of the controller, another, unrelated Cirrus intercepted the track of the non-responsive aircraft and witnessed its crash into the Atlantic. The NTSB is investigating.
Aviation member organizations are lobbying for support from the federal government on creating a sustainable and affordable supply of non-petroleum-based jet fuel, often referred to as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Members of the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association say that development of SAF is key to long term sustainability of general aviation with a greatly reduced carbon footprint.
The good news is, the FAA has signed off on a plan for United to return its Pratt & Whitney powered Boeing 777s to service, this after they grounded the planes following the failure of the right engine shortly after takeoff from Denver International 15 months ago. The bad news? United still doesn’t seem to know what caused the failure.
The Flying Musicians Association has awarded a flying scholarship to Jovencia Webbeking, a high school student who already has a remarkable resume. Webbeking, who is a flautist, is headed to Vanderbilt University, where she’ll study mechanical engineering while minoring in music, all the while pursuing her dream of becoming a pilot.
Most of the respondents to a Plane & Pilot survey about the legal risks of sharing recordings of flights on social media won’t let the FAA’s recent investigations and enforcement actions against high profile pilots stop them from sharing their flights, though a majority did say that they would do so with greater caution in the future.
A House Intelligence subcommittee held hearings earlier this week to learn more about the DoD’s understanding of the existence of Unexplained Aerial Phenomena, which most folks still call “UFOs.” DoD officials testified that they do know the objects exist and that their behavior is inexplicable, adding that they don’t think they’re from China or Russia. The officials also declined to rule out alien origin.
The New York State Supreme Court slammed the brakes on a plan by East Hampton, New York’s, airport governing body to turn the airport into a public, non-federal facility. The plan would require the FAA to cancel instrument approaches to the Airport, which the town would then be responsible for. The plan would allow the town to charge what it wishes for aircraft operations while also allowing strict curfew rules that the government would presumably have little oversight over. Aviation member organizations and lobbying groups are working to defeat the plan.
In Salzburg, Austria, Lazar Krstić won the Red Bull Paper Airplane contest with a mighty heave that sent his featherweight plane just over 200 feet, more than 15 feet longer than the second-place finisher. Krstić came in second in the 2019 contest. (As a side note, EASA is not investigating anyone following the event, during which several paper aircraft were damaged.)
Embraer delivered its 1,500th Ipanema ag plane. Introduced in 1972, back when the Antonio Carlos Jobim tune was still fresh in everyone’s mind, the plane has been a stalwart performer for Embraer. The company says it has a 60% market share in its home country of Brazil with a healthy order book to boot.
Kenneth Allen, the pilot who lost consciousness on the Cessna Caravan he was flying heading from the Bahamas to Florida, is recovering after a six-plus hour surgery. According to the Palm Beach Post, the pilot had a tear in his aorta. After Allen became incapacitated, a non-pilot passenger, Darren Harrison, with help from air traffic controllers, managed to pull the plane out of a nosedive and successfully fly the big single-engine nine-seater to a safe landing in Palm Beach.