Aviation Minute – May 2013

1. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found texting partly to blame for the recent crash of a medevac helicopter. The pilot sent and received multiple texts while in the air prior to the crash. That distraction plus fatigue led to the pilot’s failure to monitor his fuel. The helicopter crashed from fuel starvation about a mile from a nearby airport. The pilot, a patient, and two flight nurses/EMTs died. See the full story at http://rapidcityjournal.c#DA34B

2. Due to budget cuts, some US Air Force combat squadrons will “stand down” over the next year. Pilots in the “stand down” squadrons will, in essence, loose combat flying proficiency, and the units will have to regain proficiency before any future deployment. The Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels are also grounded. See more at http://bismarcktribune.co#DA34E

3. Flight delays from furloughs of Air Traffic Control staff stirred passenger anger in late April. Depending on which side of the political spectrum you are on, the delays are the result of Congress not funding FAA adequately because of the sequester or the result of FAA not adequately preparing for budget cuts. Congressional legislation resulted in many furloughed workers going back on the job.

4. The Solar Impulse is making its way across the US, testing the possibility of an around-the-world flight by a similar aircraft using only solar power. Some stats:

a. Average flying speed is 43 mph

b. Take-off speed is 27 mph

c. Max cruising altitude is 27,900 ft

d. Gross weight is 3,527 lbs

e. With a wingspan of 208 ft, it is closer to the 222 ft wingspan of a C5 Galaxy than the 38 ft wingspan of our Cessna 182s.