The most eye-catching news stories from 2012
Tecnam started the year off by introducing the P92 Sea-Sky Hydroplane – a new model in the model of the P92 Echo Classic and Eaglet range of aeroplanes.
The CAA announced the replacement of the Light Aircraft Maintenance Program (LAMP) with a generic template, which maintenance organisations can use to show that an aircraft complies with EASA rules.
Changes to French/British border approval enabled light aircraft approved in each country to fly within the other’s airspace for up to 28 days.
The certification program for Cirrus’s SF50 Vision jet was given the go-ahead by the company’s owner, CAIGA. Certification and production of the aircraft is expected by 2015.
Aircraft giant Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy, and Denny Fitch – an airline pilot who saved the lives of 184 people during the Sioux City DC-10 crash in 1989 – passed away.
On a brighter note, thirteen-year-old Robbie Rizk soared into the record books by becoming the youngest person in the world to compete in an aerobatics contest. He won the beginners class of the UK National Glider Aerobatic Contest with a score of 82.6%.
This month saw the announcement that City & Guilds was set to develop an apprenticeship scheme for commercial pilots. It is hoped that the scheme would encourage more young people into the aviation industry.
This was a great month for human-powered flight. A team of students from the University of Maryland created an unofficial new world record, after achieving 50 seconds of flight in a human-powered helicopter. Closer to home, the inaugural Royal Aeronautical Society Icarus Cup contest took place at Lasham. The individual pilot prize was awarded to Robin Kraike, with Airglow taking home the team award.
In commercial news, Boeing estimated that 465,000 new pilots will be required worldwide over the next twenty years, as airlines expand their fleets.
Finally, with the launch of a certain sporting event came a series of airspace restrictions, but the least said about those the better…
Dave Rawlings and Tim Orchard lit up the Olympic Stadium in a Tecnam P2006T decked out in pyrotechnics during the Paralympics opening ceremony.
Britain also saw sporting success in the British Gliding Championships, where Team GB took silver. Poland finished in gold medal position, while Germany took bronze.
Earlier that month the CAA introduced changes to rules for diabetic pilots. This meant that pilots and air traffic controllers with diabetes treated with insulin (and other medications that significantly lower blood glucose), may now be considered for medical certificates.
September saw the issuing of the first EASA licences. The transition to the new pan-European format of licence is expected to last five years.
It was also announced that those applying for the new Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL) will be able to get their fitness assessed by a GP.
The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC) created what it said was the first British series production manufactured biplane with aerobatic capabilities since the de Havilland Tiger Moth. The XP Aero is a variant of the company’s Sherwood Ranger.
In America a safety review was announced after an aircraft flew two legs without a left elevator.
The organiser of an excavation of alleged Spitfire burial sites in Burma announced that the dig will start in early 2013. At a press conference held at Imperial War Museum London, David Cundall said he believed that thirty-six “or maybe more” freshly delivered Griffon-engine MkXIV Spitfires had been buried in Myanmar province. However, many aviation historians remain sceptical of the whole story.
Meanwhile, current licence-holders were asked by the CAA to make sure that their English language proficiency endorsements were in date.
NATS was granted Aeromedical Centre status, making it the UK’s only provider of initial commercial pilot and air traffic control medicals outside of the CAA. Its doctors can now perform initial medical examinations for air traffic controllers and initial commercial pilot (EASA Class 1) certification.