AIAA news: Apollo 17 Commander Concerned About Pilots’ Flying Skills.

Aviation International News (11/6, Mark) reports, “Apollo 17 commander Gene Cernan said he worries about the flying skills of pilots today.” He remarked, “I worry about the complacency that technology is imposing on pilots. Pilots tend to become overwhelmed with all the lights on these glass panels and forget they still have a responsibility to fly the airplane.” Meanwhile, “Cernan believes that part of the solution is pilots being honest about their flying skills and their shortcomings.”

AIAA news: Mayor Says Atlanta Police Helicopter Had Been Refurbished Before Fatal Crash.

The AP (11/6, Compton) reports, “The Atlanta police helicopter that crashed and killed two officers on board had been completely refurbished within the last decade, and its pilot and maintenance crew were confident it was safe to fly, officials said Monday.” The helicopter crashed Saturday as the officers were looking for a missing 9-year-old boy. The department did have “a newer chopper, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the veteran pilot who had been flying for 16 years preferred the older model because it was easy to maneuver.” It was still unknown “if the fallen officers had been using night vision, though Deputy Chief Renee Propes said pilots often rely on their sight alone, even at night.”

AIAA’s news: China Successfully Tests Jet Fighter.

RIA Novosti (11/1) reports, “China successfully completed a test flight on Wednesday of its new fifth-generation J-31 jet fighter, according to the Huanqiu Shibao newspaper.” The piece notes that “the flight represents a crucial step for the Chinese military, which has become only the third in the world – after the United States and Russia – to have developed a stealthy fifth-generation fighter aircraft.”

Wired (11/1, Axe) reports, “Fortunately for Washington, the acceleration of Beijing’s stealth program comes just as the U.S. Air Force is restoring its beleaguered F-22s to full service amid problems with their oxygen systems – and as the delayed, over-budget and technically troubled F-35 is finally showing some testing progress. In recent weeks the F-35 has refueled mid-air, released a missile and flown at night with its finicky helmet sight.”

AIAA’s news: ORBITEC’s Vortex Liquid Fuel Rocket Engine Successfully Tested.

Gizmag (11/2, Dodson) reports, “Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) successfully flight tested its patented vortex liquid fuel rocket engine on October 25. … The flight established substantial progress toward ORBITEC’s development of a 30,000-lb (13,600-kg) thrust vortex engine for the US Air Force Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program and for NASA’s Space Launch System.”