Farewell To Popular SecDOT, Airliner Parts Come Off in Flight and Runaway Plane Hits House

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Farewell To Popular SecDOT, Airliner Parts Come Off in Flight and Runaway Plane Hits House

Former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta passed away earlier this week at the age of 90. The child of immigrants, Mineta was interned along with thousands of other Japanese American people during World War II. He was later elected mayor of San Jose and, later, to Congress. Mineta was Transportation Secretary in 2001 when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took place, and was an advocate for keeping Washington National Airport open.

Cape Air and Eviation have signed a letter of intent to give the regional carrier the option to buy up to 75 all-electric Eviation Alice twin-propeller commuter planes. The nine-seat (plus two crew) Alice is an emerging design, and Eviation hopes that it will make the first flight of the model soon.

Boeing announced that it would move its headquarters from Chicago, where it had been since 2001, to Washington, D.C. The move is widely seen as the company’s attempt to be closer the nation’s center of political power.

Tecnam said that it had sold 85 of its aircraft at the recently concluded Aero Friedrichshafen trade show in Germany. The best seller among its many models was the IFR-certificated Part 23 approved P-Mentor two-place single-engine trainer.

A Virgin Atlantic flight heading to JFK from Heathrow made an expensive U-turn 40 minutes into the journey after someone at the home office discovered the first officer didn’t have a company qualification box checked off in his logbook. The first officer was replaced with a different pilot. Virgin stressed that the flight violated no regs, just internal requirements.

A taildragger, possibly an Aeronca-descended model, with no pilot aboard crashed into a home in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, earlier this week. The pilot had apparently been hand-propping the plane when it “got away from him.” No one was injured, and there appeared to be little damage to the structure.

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The EAA says that it’s keeping a close eye on the Trent Palmer case, following the well-known backcountry flyer’s release of a YouTube video disclosing a disciplinary action by the FAA against him. Palmer says he was making a low inspection pass to verify the makeshift landing site was safe, and he subsequently decided not to land there. The agency is alleging that Palmer buzzed the strip (which is not marked in any way), and an NTSB judge ruled the fly-by wasn’t a valid landing sequence because no landing took place. The EAA says that it’s concerned that the law reflect the safety need for pilots to fly inspection passes and for them to reject a landing altogether.

Earlier this week, the winglet of an Envoy Air Embraer 175 airliner came off in bad turbulence on a flight from South Carolina to Dallas-Fort Worth on a day with severe weather throughout the Central United States. The pilot landed the plane safely and there were no injuries. Winglets help cut down on drag, increase lift and extend range, but they are not integral to flight control. 

Business jet flying hasn’t just recovered. It’s at this highest level (both globally and in many specific regions) ever, this according to Argus International. North American business flying has jumped by nearly a third year over year, hitting the highest levels of activity ever.

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The National Transportation Safety Board is pushing for the implementation of two of its yet-to-adopt recommendations, for the mandatory installation of cockpit video recorders and a program to monitor safety management systems, both of which would apply almost universally to commercial aircraft. The FAA has yet to publish rules on either front.

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