NTSB: Balloon Likely Hit Power Lines

The NTSB said Sunday that the hot air balloon that crashed in Texas early Saturday killing 16 people likely hit power lines before the balloon’s basket crashed to the ground. Although witnesses reported hearing popping sounds and seeing a fireball, it still hasn’t been determined whether the fire occurred before or after the balloon appeared to have struck the lines.
Source: avwebNTSB: Balloon Likely Hit Power Lines

NTSB Completes On-Site Balloon Investigation

NTSB investigators wrapped up their on-site investigation today of Saturday morning’s hot-air balloon crash in Texas, in which 16 people were killed. In a news briefing at 4 p.m. local time, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said their preliminary investigation had not revealed any pre-existing failures or malfunctions with the balloon system. He also said investigators had conducted interviews with the three ground-crew members who were working on the day of the crash.
Source: avwebNTSB Completes On-Site Balloon Investigation

Picture of the day: Perfect scenery for a preflight

Donovan Hammer

Donovan Hammer sent in this photo with a short note: “The typical regional airport is a scenically austere place to do a preflight inspection. However, as I was doing the preflight prior to our departure from Jackson Hole Airport (KJAC), the view of the Teton Range compelled me to take a picture of our Cutlass RG as it sat ready to bring us back to Oregon.”

Donovan Hammer

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: Perfect scenery for a preflight

Remos GXiS: A Mercedes of LSA

Although I’m a longtime regular at Oshkosh, this year I did something I’ve never done. I flew out of KOSH and then returned.

If you’ve never flown into Oshkosh during AirVenture, you may not know what an experience such an arrival can be. This is the world’s busiest airport for one week. Airplanes arrive every few minutes and all of them do so in a unique, follow-the-plane-in-front-of-you method where no pilot uses the radio.

Departing was fairly simple. Arriving is always an eye-opening experience.

I did my departure and reentry with Patrick Holland-Moritz, a former German aviation magazine writer who is now a PR and marketing guy for Remos. We flew in the brand new Remos GXiS.

Remos in flight

Flying into Oshkosh was a repeat treat for me, but I think Patrick was blown away by the flowing river of airplanes of all types. This became even more interesting when the airport had to close one runway due to an incident. As on any freeway, this backed up and snarled traffic. Airplanes were circling back to get in line and our heads were swiveling on our shoulders trying to follow the traffic gaggle around us. Whew!

Remos remains one of the major brands in the U.S. light-sport aircraft fleet, but the company endured a major setback in 2014 when it was declared insolvent, roughly the equivalent of U.S. bankruptcy.

Meet Team Remos from Germany at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: (L-R) Christian, Daniel, Patrick, Jürgen (kneeling), and Paul.

Team Remos from Germany at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: (L-R) Christian, Daniel, Patrick, Jürgen (kneeling), and Paul.

In the last couple years, the German company has found new investors, reorganized, and clawed its way back into the business. Spending by their American representatives in the heydays of LSA helped trigger the problem. The revitalized company has a far more realistic plan of recovery.

One thing that didn’t change much was the basic Remos GX series. The company has a new model now and perhaps the period they used to reorganize came with a benefit: Remos did not immediately embrace the new Rotax 912 iS fuel-injected 912. The earliest installations by other manufacturers had some challenges (as with any new product). Remos was able to design its new install after some of the earlier bumps had been smoothed. The GXiS result was good… no, make that excellent.

I have more than 120 hours experience flying with the 912iS. It’s great, but it introduced complications. However, those complications are sorted out and Remos had time to thoroughly engineer its solutions.

The German engineering team said everything from the firewall forward is new, not only the cowling and spinner that you see. All electronics, along with heating and cooling and other details, are fresh.

In my evaluation as a pilot, this is best implementation of the 912 iS I have seen.

Rotax 912iS engine

Rotax 912iS engine

I’m going to tell you about the flying qualities, but first I want to tell you about the relatively mundane matter of starting a 912 iS. Boring, huh? You might not think so after you first confront Lane A, Lane B lights and some of the other new features of the 912 iS.

In its efforts to ease the transition to a computer-controlled engine, Rotax made the starting and run-up process similar to what pilots are used to with magneto and carb heat checks. The odd thing is that the computer is essentially already doing all this for you, so the pilot’s workload can be reduced. Remos engineers understood this and worked hard to make it easier.

In the Remos GXiS you turn the key switch to “Avionics,” which lights up the panel but does not turn on all other electrical systems. When you switch to “Engine,” all electrics are engaged and then you merely push the Engine Start button.

As with many modern cars, that’s it. The Rotax starts instantly and you can carry on with flight preparations.

Remos calls the system “SMARTstart”…and it is.

While the Remos team and I discussed all these changes, we understood “simplification” is too basic a term and not very sexy. True to his marketing role, Patrick created the term “smartification.” Bravo! A new word is needed for this renewed LSA.


Instead of delving deeply into every change made to GXiS, let me hit some highlights. The throttle is now quadrant style instead of a knob on the panel. Throttle and brake use one lever: Forward to go, aft to slow. Flaps are now preset. You move the flap-shaped lever to the position you want and go to your next task.

Even cabin heating is new with a system that uses the engine’s warm fluid rather than drawing from air surrounding the exhaust system.

Changes go deeper, so interested buyers will want to contact Remos for all the details.

Finally, the flying part. Ah, this is the best (not to diminish the other excellent upgrades to the GX series).


Briefly, GXiS flies beautifully. It’s been a while since I flew a Remos and this is one deluxe flying machine. This is a Mercedes of Light-Sport Aircraft.

Overall the machine is civilized and luxurious. Handling is superlative, light but not twitchy; responsive yet stable; very nice and a form of warm tribute to original designer, Lorenz Kreitmayr.

GXiS flies over the Pasewalk, Germany factory producing the highly upgraded Light-Sport Aircraft. (All flight photos courtesy Remos)

GXiS flies over the Pasewalk, Germany factory producing the highly upgraded Light-Sport Aircraft. (All flight photos courtesy Remos)

Despite approaching amid a large flock of airplanes all anxious to land after the delays on the all-in-a-line approach path, my effort with GXiS went well, although I can’t claim the smoothest touchdown I’ve ever made.

Landing on one of five large dots on a runway with someone landing ahead of you and behind has a way of distracting one’s concentration. Yet in control authority, I lacked for nothing and again, that smooth, easy handling pays a benefit.

Besides the SMARTstart controls I predict everyone will love, Remos is laid out as comfortably as the interior treatment is deluxe and handsome. GXiS is not the widest cabin in the LSA fleet, but was certainly comfortable.

In-flight visibility is large, especially while banked thanks to the large skylight.

To give some balance to my overwhelmingly positive reaction to GXiS, I note the seats adjust in three positions but only while on the ground. Baggage is accessed by removing the seats, though that’s easy enough, and you have places for gear you need in flight.

The only remaining downside to the new Remos GXiS is a price tag close to $200,000. So, this won’t be for everyone, but if you would consider a fine German automobile, you should by all means check out GXiS.

This SLSA should satisfy even the most discerning buyers.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comRemos GXiS: A Mercedes of LSA

DJI And uAvionix To Release ADS-B Collision Avoidance Developer Kit

DJI and uAvionix Corporation, manufacturer of drone and aircraft collision avoidance technology, announced they will collaborate on an ADS-B based collision avoidance developer kit to help integrate drones into the national airspace system and help keep America’s skies safe. DJI and uAvionix share a passion for safety and are motivated by the improvement that real-time […]

The post DJI And uAvionix To Release ADS-B Collision Avoidance Developer Kit appeared first on DRONELIFE.

Source: Quadcopter/Drone newsDJI And uAvionix To Release ADS-B Collision Avoidance Developer Kit

Leak of the Week – GoPro Karma Images in Circulation

Perhaps in a sign that not a lot is going on in the world of consumer drones at the moment, supposed leaks are beginning to become big news. The leak in question this week is alleged – and we should really stress the ‘alleged’ part – to be a preview of what the long-awaited GoPro […]

The post Leak of the Week – GoPro Karma Images in Circulation appeared first on DRONELIFE.

Source: Quadcopter/Drone newsLeak of the Week – GoPro Karma Images in Circulation

7-Eleven teams with Flirtey for first FAA-approved drone delivery to customer’s home

7-Eleven and Flirtey have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer's residence (PRNewsFoto/7-Eleven)

RENO, Nevada — 7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience retailer, and Flirtey, an independent drone delivery service, have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence to advance research toward integrating drones into the National Airspace System.

The delivery was conducted in celebration of the convenience store chain’s 89th birthday.

The goal of advancing drone deliveries, as well as further refining Flirtey’s delivery technology and packaging, were highlighted when Flirtey teamed with the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) for the delivery.

“This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated,” said Chris Walach, Director of Operations for NIAS.

At a Reno 7-Eleven store, two deliveries were successfully completed. 7-Eleven merchandise — including hot and cold food items — were loaded into a Flirtey drone delivery container and flown autonomously using precision GPS to a local customer’s house.

7-Eleven and Flirtey have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer's residence (PRNewsFoto/7-Eleven)

7-Eleven and Flirtey have completed the first fully autonomous drone delivery to a customer’s residence (PRNewsFoto/7-Eleven)

Once at the family’s backyard, the Flirtey drone hovered in place and gently lowered each package. The purchases were delivered to the family in the span of a few minutes. Products included Slurpee drinks, a chicken sandwich, donuts, hot coffee and 7-Select candy.

In the future, both companies expect drone packages to include “everyday essentials” such as batteries and sunscreen.

“My wife and I both work and have three small children ages 7, 6 and 1. The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless,” said the Reno resident who received the Flirtey delivery. “It’s amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes.”

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have 7-Eleven, the largest convenience chain in the world, embracing new technologies and working with us at Flirtey to make drone delivery a reality for customers all over the world,” said Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny. “This is just the first step in our collaboration with 7-Eleven. Flirtey’s historic drone deliveries to date have been stepping stones to store-to-home drone delivery, and today is a giant leap toward a not-too-distant future where we are delivering you convenience on demand.”

Building on this initial collaboration, the two companies have plans to expand drone delivery tests and work closely together, according to 7-Eleven EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer Jesus H. Delgado-Jenkins.

“Drone delivery is the ultimate convenience for our customers and these efforts create enormous opportunities to redefine convenience,” said Delgado-Jenkins. “This delivery marks the first time a retailer has worked with a drone delivery company to transport immediate consumables from store to home. In the future, we plan to make the entire assortment in our stores available for delivery to customers in minutes. Our customers have demanding schedules, are on-the-go 24/7 and turn to us to help navigate the challenges of their daily lives. We look forward to working with Flirtey to deliver to our customers exactly what they need, whenever and wherever they need it.”

Source: http://generalaviationnews.com7-Eleven teams with Flirtey for first FAA-approved drone delivery to customer’s home

ForeFlight enhances Integrated Logbook

Image 5 - ForeFlight Logbook remote signature requested ipad

The newly released ForeFlight 8 includes a number of new enhancements to its integrated electronic pilot logbook, including Flight Sharing, Remote Signing, Progress Reports, and Logbook Connect.

“With the introduction of Logbook Connect, we are cultivating an ecosystem of tools and services that give pilots more freedom to access and manage their logbook data,” said co-founder and CEO Tyson Weihs. “ForeFlight Logbook is more than just a record of your flights. It’s a platform that makes it easy and a joy to maintain an accurate and current record of your flying time.”

Image 5 - ForeFlight Logbook Progress TrackingLogbook Connect enables third parties to link their services to the ForeFlight Logbook platform, giving pilots who use their services a direct link to their logbook in ForeFlight. ForeFlight’s launch partners for Logbook Connect include Redbird Flight and Schedule Pointe, a full service scheduling, dispatch, and business management solution for flight schools and clubs.

Customers can connect to their ForeFlight account from the Redbird Landing dashboard, which will automatically create draft entries in their ForeFlight Logbook. Similarly, pilots who use Schedule Pointe can connect their account and send draft logbook entries into ForeFlight from the same dashboard used for flight scheduling.

Flight Sharing

Flight Sharing makes it easy for pilots to send draft entries to those they are flying with, helping them to save time when filling out their own logbook. Using the “send to” action button, a pilot can select to send the flight entry to one or more people who, if they are an existing ForeFlight customer, can then modify and accept the entry into their own logbook.

Those who are not already a ForeFlight customer receive a notification email with a link to set up a ForeFlight account. Upon subscribing, the draft entry can then be added to Logbook.

Remote Signing

Students can send draft logbook entries to their instructor who can review, send back edits, or sign the endorsement, whenever and wherever it is most convenient. In just a couple of taps, the instructor can also opt to add the flight to their own ForeFlight Logbook as ‘Dual Given’ time.

Image 5 - ForeFlight Logbook remote signature requested ipadProgress Tracking

Another new feature designed for pilots-in-training is a Progress Tracking report that keeps tabs on accumulated flight time towards their private pilot certificate or instrument rating. The reports can be accessed, printed, or emailed via the ForeFlight app or through the ForeFlight website.

ForeFlight 8 will be available for download on the App Store in August along with the new features on the web.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comForeFlight enhances Integrated Logbook