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Briefing news

Garmin autolands Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association awarded its 2020 Robert J. Collier Trophy to Garmin for Garmin Autoland, the first certified autonomous system that can activate in an emergency to land an aircraft without human intervention.

“The Garmin Autoland system marks a significant improvement in civil aviation,” said NAA Chairman Jim Albaugh. “Its ability to take over an airplane with a disabled pilot and land it safely will save many lives in the future. It’s a remarkable technical achievement and clearly merits the Collier Trophy.”

A passenger can activate the system with the press of a button. Once activated, “the system calculates a flight path to the most suitable airport, while avoiding terrain and adverse weather, initiates a stabilized approach to the runway and lands the aircraft—without pilot or passenger intervention,” Garmin said. Autoland has been certified for the Piper M600/SLS, the Daher TBM 940, and the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet.


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Icon shareholders file suit
A group of Icon Aircraft shareholders, including former Boeing CEO Phil Condit and Icon founder Kirk Hawkins, is suing the California aircraft manufacturer claiming the firm intends to illegally transfer aviation technology to China. The suit filed in Delaware Chancery Court against Pudong Science and Technology Investment Co. (PDSTI)—a Chinese firm that owns a majority of Icon shares—wants to block the company from sending proprietary information to China and replace the current Icon board. It also seeks unspecified damages.

Attorney F. Lee Bailey dies
F. Lee Bailey, the inspired barrister, pilot, and entrepreneur, died June 3 at age 87. The renowned criminal defense attorney who helped acquit O.J. Simpson and who was responsible for freeing Sam Sheppard, the physician convicted of killing his wife, was best known in the aviation sphere for his role in helping famed aerobatic pilot R.A. “Bob” Hoover fight the FAA’s emergency revocation of his medical certificate, and for developing the Bailey Bullet, a highly modified Piper Twin Comanche, and the Hoover Hornet, a modified Rockwell Shrike. Bailey, with a group of investors, also owned the Enstrom Helicopter Corp. from 1971 to 1979.

You Can Fly challenge underway
The 2021 You Can Fly Challenge launched June 1 and will run through December 31. Donations to the AOPA Foundation for the challenge will be matched, dollar for dollar up to $2.5 million, by the Ray Foundation. The late James C. Ray was a World War II veteran and a member of the AOPA President’s Council who “believed that life skills are learned through aviation.” Donations through the 2021 You Can Fly Challenge will introduce more students to aviation opportunities, provide pilots more time in the air through flying clubs, enhance flight training success, and enable rusty pilots to safely return to the cockpit.


100 years ago, August 3, 1921

Crop dusting

Lt. John A. Macready of the U.S. Army Air Corps sprays a patch of ground infested with caterpillars, marking the first use of pesticides “dusted” over fields by airplane. His application from a modified Curtiss JN–6 was successful; however, the first commercial operations began in 1924 in Macon, Georgia. The S–1 was developed by Leland Snow in 1951 and the Grumman G–164 Ag-Cat began production in 1957. Aircraft designed for crop dusting include the Air Tractor line, Cessna Ag-wagon, Piper Pawnee, and Thrush models. Helicopters are also employed. Not really “crop dusting” anymore; the chemicals are liquid, no longer dust particles.

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