Sun n Fun B Credit Richard Spolar

The biggest story was a new sheriff is in town in Washington, D.C., with the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, and what that might mean for aviation, some of which we predict will be good things.

Sun ‘n Fun says that it’s going forward with its fly in, scheduled for April 13-18 in Lakeland, Florida. The event was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the same time, other major aviation event organizers were taking a rain check on their springtime gatherings. Heli-Expo got canceled, reportedly after numerous exhibitor withdrawals, Aero Friedrichshafen postponed its show until later in the year, Women In Aviation International is making its March gathering a virtual affair and the Aircraft Electronics show is pushing back to late June.

Meanwhile, Biden’s pick for Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, is expected to meet little resistance in his upcoming Senate confirmation hearing.

The Biden administration also rolled out a series of international and interstate flight regulations, to go along with a mask mandate on all federal properties.

Among the executive orders is one that requires the wearing of masks on all federally regulated forms of transportation, which include at many airports, on commercial aircraft and trains, on public boats and ferries, on certain buses and more.

The FAA published an Airworthiness Directive mandating wing inspections of Piper PA-28 and PA-32 aircraft due on aircraft with a factored time of 5,000 hours, a figure that is determined using a complicated formula based on total time and the number of inspections the plane has had.

Investigators are reportedly looking into the deadly crash of a Sriwijaya Airlines Boeing 737-500 last week into the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia, with a focus on the plane’s autothrottles, which were actually suspected from very early on as a possible factor after others of the airline’s pilots said the plane had suffered autothrottles problems in the days leading up to the crash.  The accident killed all 62 aboard the plane.

In good news for a change, Pipistrel Aircraft reports that it’s adding a second shift on its Velis Electro production line, as demand for the electric trainer (and Plane & Pilot’s 2020 Plane of the Year) heat up.  Pipistrel currently has orders for 70 Velis Electros and is anticipating flurries of additional orders throughout the rest of the year.

Tarbes, France-based Daher Aircraft delivered its first Kodiak to a French customer since it acquired Quest Aircraft last year. The plane, it says, is a natural parachute jump plane, in addition to its numerous other missions.