AvWeb

  1. The accident rate in general aviation dropped below 1 fatal accident per 100,000 flight hours in 2016, for the first time in 50 years, the NTSB reported on Tuesday.

  2. For the 2017 fiscal year, there were 27 fatal accidents involving experimental category aircraft, down 18% from the prior year and down 47% over the last four years, says EAA, which is celebrating the trend.

  3. Days after a Navy E/A-18 crew decided to use government aircraft to draw a contrail phallus in the sky, two Marine Corps crews flew a Bell AH-1W Super Cobra and Bell UH-1Y Venom across town to pick up a cellphone left in a pub, according to the Mount Desert Islander. The local paper reports that a caller phoned the Thirsty Whale in Bar Harbor, Maine, on Saturday asking if someone from the restaurant would be willing to ferry a cellphone, left behind at lunch, over to the town baseball field.

  4. The last data point captured by the flight data recorder on Roy Halladay’s Icon A5 before his fatal crash shows the light sport at 200 feet above the water with a speed of 87 knots, says the NTSB. The preliminary report says a witness told investigators that “he saw the airplane perform a climb to between 300 and 500 feet on a southerly heading and then turn and descend on an easterly heading about a 45° nose-down attitude. He then saw the airplane impact the water and nose over.”

  5. Three Britons and a man from Vietnam were killed in the midair collision of a small helicopter and a Cessna 152 on Friday.

  6. A Tropic Air Cessna Caravan carrying the acting Prime Minister of Belize, Patrick Faber, Agriculture Minister Godwin Hulse and five other passengers clipped a car on takeoff from Placencia Municipal Airport and ended up in the water at the end of the runway Friday. No one was hurt in the incident, which has sparked an investigation into the safety of the airport.

  7. While regional airlines seem to be the hardest hit so far by the tightening supply of pilots, business aircraft operators are also feeling the pinch.

  8. I had the following exchange with a tower controller immediately after takeoff … Me: Tower, I'd like to report a bird strike during takeoff.  I don't believe there's any damage to the aircraft, but you'll need to have someone check for any bird parts on the runway … Tower: Was it a small bird?… Me:  It is now … Bernie Hirsch

  9. The Hybrid Air Vehicles Airlander broke free from its mooring mast at Cardington Airfield in England but a uniquely dramatic safety feature prevented it from running amok. Airlander reported on Saturday that after leaving its moorings, an onboard system ripped open the hull and deflated the enormous aircraft so it ended up crumpled on the edge of the airfield.

  10. The U.S. Navy has acknowledged that the rough contrail drawing of male genitalia in the skies over Washington state Thursday were made by one of its aircraft operating out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island—most likely an EA-18 Growler. The local CBS affiliate reports that complaints were made to the FAA, who informed the disappointed caller that childish drawings don’t fall within the jurisdiction of the FAA unless they pose a flight safety risk.

  11. Sales of retrofit avionics for business and general aviation aircraft for the first nine months of 2017 are up 28% relative to the same period last year, says the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). Sales of forward-fit avionics (those destined for new aircraft) were down 17.1% over the same period.

  12. Textron Aviation announced this week it will continue its Top Hawk program for 2018, providing a new Cessna Skyhawk 172 to five university programs for use in their flight training and recruiting efforts. “As the Top Hawk program enters its fourth year, we’re proud to build on a program that has allowed us to support general aviation and contribute to the enhancement of student pilot training,” said Doug May, Textron’s vice president for piston aircraft.