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Covid-19 grounding many student pilots

“When Covid-19 hit, survival intuition became important for everyone because individual lives and livelihoods were immediately at stake,” said Bianca Baldwin, head of admissions and enrollment at the Academy of Aviation, a Farmingdale flight school. “We had to react, but there was no script.”

Baldwin noted that the school was closed to the public and secured approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to shift to a digital model of instruction. Flight dispatch procedures were altered to maintain operations while all flight school staff switched to working remotely. Fever and symptom screening for instructors and students was done before pre-check of every aircraft, and before-and-after flight sanitation procedures were carried out on the ramp, as outlined by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

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New Apache Program on Schedule in Spite of COVID-19, Army Says

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the Army’s new AH-64E Apache V6 program is finding ways to get things done.

The Program Executive Office (PEO) Aviation’s Apache Attack Helicopter Project Management Office (PM Apache) plans to deliver the first production aircraft to the Tigersharks of the 1-229th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in October, according to an Aug. 18 release.

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Training Providers Prepare for Post-Covid Future

As most of the world continues the slow process of reopening, flight training providers are grappling with rebuilding their businesses with the new realities of sanitization, social-distancing, uncertain economies, and the ever-present worry of a possible second virus wave and another round of restrictions. At the same time, providers have found a resiliency through innovation that they believe will expand opportunities and provide new flexibility for students in the future.

Early on, as the pandemic set in, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) surveyed about 300 flight schools to determine how their businesses were faring amid the spread of the virus and the associated restrictions. Keith West, senior director of flight school business support for AOPA, said roughly two-thirds had shut down to some extent. That ranged from ceasing operations altogether to those that might have only conducted ground school or limited flight-training operations to students building solo hours.

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Safety Agency Warns of Tail Strikes, Off-Course Flying by Near-Empty Airplanes

One nearly empty passenger jet “climbed like a rocket,” prompting the pilots to exceed their assigned altitude. Others have scraped their tails on takeoff, gone off course or strayed close enough to other aircraft to prompt mid-air collision alerts.

The common thread: the massive disruptions to the U.S. airline industry caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the plunge in travel has in many ways eased pressure on roads and the aviation system, it has at times had the opposite effect on safety. The rate of highway deaths has actually risen as motorists speed on empty roads. And the drop in airline passengers has triggered an unusual spate of incidents that are challenging flight safety, according to publicly available reports as well as government, industry and union officials.

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