Five launches and a clotheslined Piper this week

Fire response after Piper N3586M became entangled in power transmission lines in Louisville Township, Scott County, Minnesota, 23 November 2019 (Scott County Sheriff)

Regional News
20 Nov 2019 – Wisconsin Space Grant features Katherine Kolman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
23 Nov 2019 2157 UT – Piper PA-12 N3586M tangled in power lines on approach to Shakopee, MN
26 Nov 2019 – Wyoming Supreme Court rules Jackson Hole Airport Authority can purchase intangible assets as part of FBO acquisition
27 Nov 2019 – FlyTrex drones deliver to Grand Forks golf course, eye new markets
27 Nov 2019 – Fargo-based Elinor to participate in aerospace coatings research
28 Nov 2019 ~ Michael Haubrich of Racine wants to land at every airport in the Midwest

Further News
18 Nov 2019 – ThrustMe completes on-orbit test of I2T5 iodine fuel thruster
27 Nov 2019 ~ ISS Thanksgiving Menu : Forgot the Pumpkin Pie!

Late News
20 Sep 2019 ~ Conference discussion on need for automated orbital collision avoidance
24 Oct 2019 ~ University of Dubuque opens new aviation building

Orbital News
23 Nov 2019 0055 UT – Xichang CZ-3B Beidou (launch destroyed a house)
26 Nov 2019 2123 UT – Kourou Ariane 5 TIBA-1 Inmarsat GX-5
27 Nov 2019 0358 UT – Sriharikota PSLV Cartosat-3
27 Nov 2019 1752 UT – Plesetsk Soyuz-2.1v Russian Military payload
27 Nov 2019 2352 UT – Taiyuan CZ-4C Gaofen-12

KZ-1A flew twice in less than a week

A KZ-1A rocket lifts off from Jiuquan with two commsats from German company KLEO Connect, 1000 UT 17 Nov 2019. (Weibo)

Orbital News
17 Nov 2019 ~1000 UT – KZ-1A KL-Alpha x2

Regional News
Recently – Lance Nichols (Montana State University) featured by Montana Space Grant
11 Nov 2019 – Mary Claire Mancl (University of Wisconsin-Madison) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
13 Nov 2019 – Kelsey Mueller (Iowa State University) named Iowa EPSCoR coordinator
15 Nov 2019 – Jack Stutler (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) featured by Minnesota Space Grant
15 Nov 2019 – Omaha NOAA WSR-88D Weather Radar refurbished
18 Nov 2019 – Nicholas Hennigan (Milwaukee School of Engineering) featured by Wisconsin Space Grant
19 Nov 2019 – South Dakota Space Grant awardee Brad Goff (Lake Area Technical Institute) featured by KELO-TV
21 Nov 2019 – Skies features Natalie Esser, Albertan kit-plane builder and sport-flyer

Further News
15 Nov 2019 – Structural failure caused SARGE crash
19 Nov 2019 – SNC fêtes ‘Shooting Star’ external cargo module for Dream Chaser
20 Nov 2019 2126 UT – Starship Mk 1 suffers BLEVE during Liquid Nitrogen fill, SpaceX will move on to Mk 3 model

Late News
11 Nov 2019 1456 UT – CCAFS F9 Starlink
13 Nov 2019 0105 UT – Hayabusa2 departs from asteroid Ryugu
13 Nov 2019 0340 UT – Jiuquan KZ-1A Jilin-1 Gaofen-02A
13 Nov 2019 0635 UT – Taiyuan CZ-6 Ningxia-1 x5

Bismarck remembers flight disaster

Hundreds gathered in Bismarck to mark the first anniversary of a fatal aviation incident, according to the Tribune. On 19 November 2018 0330 UT, a Bismarck Air Medical flight departed Bismarck Airport for Williston’s old airport, Sloulin Field. However, at about 0340 UT, the 36-year-old Cessna 441, registration number N441CX, broke apart mid-flight, killing 3 onboard. 20 hectares of rural Morton County were showered with the shattered wreckage. The final NTSB report on the incident is expected early 2020.

Missing Cessna found crashed near Aberdeen; Airman mourned

After air searches ended on 18 October, a passing hunter found a missing Cessna aircraft in a ravine just 5 km from Aberdeen, at about 2310 UT 21 Oct 2019, the American News reports. The Brown County (SD) Sheriff Department confirmed the only deceased to be Gerald W. Seliski, 70, of Hecla, SD. Seliski owned the plane but only held a student pilot certificate.

Last week, the Rapid City Journal reported the deceased Ellsworth AFB servicemember to be SrA William T. Horton, 24 (28th AMXS).

South Dakota aviation loses two to blizzard

Approximate flight path of N6483B, lost 10 Oct 2019. Search and rescue operations are covering 85 km of the James River valley. (FAA / SkyVector / The Fargo Orbit)

Civil Air Patrol and the US Air Force continue to search for the pilot of a missing Cessna 172, N6483B, lost en route to Oakes, North Dakota after departure from Aberdeen Regional Airport at about 10 October 2019 0315 UT, just before a blizzard began to cross the plains. Weather and crop cover has hampered the response effort.

Also in the wake of the weather, a servicemember assigned to Ellsworth Air Force Base was found dead near their off-base residence, 14 October 2019.

Midwest Express takes flight with Milwaukee – Grand Rapids charter

Midwest Express Airlines has returned to service with a flight between Milwaukee and Grand Rapids on 28 Aug 2019.

The inaugural flight departed General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee at 1631 UT and landed at Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids at 1655 UT. The 24-minute flight reached a maximum altitude of 5200m and speed of 222 m/s.

Midwest Express MKE-GRR, 28 Aug 2019 1631 UT (FlightAware)

The plane then returned to Milwaukee in 29 minutes, with takeoff at 1826 UT and landing at 1855 UT, with the same top speed of 222 m/s and a peak altitude of 4875 m.

Midwest Express GRR-MKE, 28 Aug 2019 1826 UT (FlightAware)

For its initial operations, Midwest Express is leasing N96EA, a CRJ200 from charter operator Elite Airways, painted plain white with blue and yellow cheatlines and the old M-E logo on the tailplane.

The new Midwest Express will fly from Milwaukee to Grand Rapids, Omaha, and Cincinnati. Reservations are not yet open, though an August 6 press release from the airline stated that revenue service will begin by the end of 2019. In the meantime, Elite Airways has returned the plane to charter flight service.

GPS glitch grounds airliners

Outage regions for the Global Positioning System, 8 June 2019. (Credit: FAA)

Passenger airline flights were affected Saturday and Sunday 8 and 9 June 2019, due to an expected minor signal outage, plus a glitch with a particular type of GPS receiver. The affected planes were mostly Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700s, but also included CRJ-900s, as well as Boeing 737 and 767s.

Reports on indicate particular concerns with GPS receivers supplied by Rockwell Collins. In case the airplane’s barometer were to fail, the onboard GPS receiver must be able to track altitude accurately enough to maintain normal operations in the Class A airspace above FL180. This requires a GPS vertical accuracy within 500 feet (152 meters), and that the GPS constellation be in fairly good alignment – which, every now and then, just doesn’t happen.

That’s what occurred this weekend over a region over the Great Lakes and extending out over much of North Dakota and Manitoba, such that certain areas can expect, in theory, up to 40 minutes of signal loss on Sunday. The FAA estimated still further regions in the US could be affected by the outage. As affected planes wait for a technical fix, they are flying below 18000 feet, or simply being replaced by unaffected aircraft.

Airliners with the strictest requirements for their their GPS accuracy had to rely on alternative navigation modes when operating in the red region. (Credit: FAA)

In addition to highlighting the performance of one supplier’s GPS solution in an edge case, the incident also serves to highlight an increasing dependence on GPS for airline operations. Aviators have expressed concern about the trend of airports turning off their ILS, VOR, and NDB navigation systems. Many of these decisions assume that GPS will always be available, which may well be more than 98% correct. It’s the last 2% that may lead to unexpected problems.

Cessna jet flies off track, thought lost off Bahamas

Cessna Citation N832R drifts off the scopes, 24 May 2019. Credit: FlightAware

Air Traffic Controllers are searching for a Cessna Citation, registration number N832R, which was feared to be lost in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of the Bahamas Friday night (0000 UT 25 May 2019)

The flight, between St. Louis, Missouri and the plane’s likely home base of Fort Lauderdale, FL, went off course, veering over the Gulf of Mexico, then suddenly vectoring left across Southern Florida.

Position data from the plane was lost after the flight drifted past ground stations.

Experts suggest the plane may have lost cabin pressure during its climb, not quite reaching its planned cruising altitude of 12.5 km. While pilots are trained to reduce their flight level during oxygen failures, the effects of hypoxia may not always be noticed in time to achieve recovery.

Pressurization failures are a hazard for high flying jet aircraft, especially those like the Cessna Citation, which are regularly commissioned for business travel and may not necessarily have a dedicated ground crew, especially away from home.