The True Economics of Business Aviation
Sending in the Aerial Tankers JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018
Cessna’s Enduring Skylane REACH FOR THE SKY
How’s Your Dead Reckoning?
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Spectacular Jamestown Jamestown Airport in South Australia is the home not only to one of Australia’s most popular air shows, but also a healthy, vibrant flying group that is engaged with the surrounding community. Lucianne van Gelder reports.
Hitting the Marks Aerial firefighter Rohan Williams has been involved in the intense world of aerial firefighting for a large part of his aviation career. His report tells why this high-stress and frenetic job is becoming very sought-after by pilots looking to avoid the career mainstreams.
Reach for the Sky
Lessons from a Logbook
In today’s magenta-line world, is there still a need for the ancient art of dead reckoning? Steve Hitchen consulted an expert to find out why it is still taught and what pilots can do to get it right.
Jim Davis recounts three situations where experience translated into foresight, demonstrating emphatically to Jim and his mates that there are some people in aviation that you just listen to.
Assets in the Air Some people don’t get it. Business aviation is not a perk restricted to cigar-smoking high-flyers, but a valuable tool that many companies around the world are leveraging to increase efficiency. Philip Smart tells us how they go about using aeroplanes to their own advantage.
Cessna’s Legend of the Sky The first Cessna Skylane appeared in 1956, and quickly proved itself a winner. Decades later, the enduring C182 is still around despite many platform changes and being dropped from production twice. Andrew Andersen looks more closely at the Skylane to expose what is behind its longevity.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
Searching for a Spark What has gone wrong with the Australian avionics industry? With aircraft owners lamenting how long it takes to get jobs done, engineers are saying that there is not enough work! Philip Smart tried to get to the bottom of the problem.
Forging a New Alliance With the imminent demise of his flying school due to new regulations, Glen Buckley decided to do something about it, and at the same time came up with a solution the whole flight training industry can share. Steve Hitchen found out what the Australian Pilot Training Alliance is all about.
Regulars Editorial Airmail News Down to Business Products Rotors A Spot of Recreation Good Sports Safety Matters What Can We Learn The Kernels of Wheatie Short Final
10 12 14 66 70 72 74 76 77 78 80 82
Cover: Sunset on a beautiful Bellanca Decathlon caught by Steve Hitchen
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The second Norfolk Island report has resulted in another data-burst of conspiracy theories, meaning there is at least one more chapter to be written in this story. It’s just not the one that many in the industry think.
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Not the End of the Story
got a semi-cryptic e-mail the other day. I say “semicryptic”, because I knew who it was from and to what the writer was referring. It said, effectively, “if the choices are between a conspiracy or a stuff-up, go for the stuff-up!” It was a tad déjà vu-ish, because it was the second time in a year that a senior official in Canberra had said the same thing to me, in almost the same words. I do agree that, knowing what we know about how our regulators are going at the moment, the odds favour a stuff-up over a conspiracy ... but not always. Perhaps the most virulent theory of late 2017 surrounds the report into the 2009 ditching of a Pel-Air Westwind off Norfolk Island (see story p16). There has been reams written, senate inquiries, a review by the Canadians, TV spots; the Federal Police got involved as did parliament. Simply, the first report was not good enough and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was ordered to do it again. In sum, their report got an “F”. Their second attempt rolled off the printing press last year, but it has failed to satisfy the critics because it omits anything about why the original report was done so poorly. Clearly, the conspiracy fans say, there is more cover-up
here. Why is the senate report not mentioned? What happened to the Federal Police issue? Why hasn’t the ATSB probed the relationship between CASA and the ATSB? It is my view that there is no conspiracy here, but there would be if all of that was contained in the accident report. The ATSB has no chance of probing its own relationship with CASA and remaining independent. Can you imagine the screams from
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result in another back-hander. Not all that material is relevant to the accident; much of it is bum-covering. It’s like they have included every tiny little thing related to the flight, not just the accident. You could say that the second report is just as much of a stuff-up as the first one, but at the opposite pole. So do we need further inquiry? Yes, we do, but this one shouldn’t target the accident at all, only the
The second report is just as much of a stuff-up as the first one. the bleachers if they had? Even I would join in the conspiracy chorus! To have any integrity, the accident report needs to focus on only the accident and ignore the politics, which is what it did. But something has gone on: the first accident report was 78 pages and the second one was 531. What does need probing now is why all the material that was deemed necessary to go in the second report was omitted from the first one. I believe it is because the ATSB got such a whack over the ear for the first report that they have gone overboard for fear of leaving something out that would
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
actions and motivations of both CASA and the ATSB during the first investigation. The senate inquiry hinted that it believed CASA may have breached the Transport Safety Investigations Act, and that is air that has not yet been cleared to any definite conclusion. Do that and the last chapter is finally written. May your gauges always be in the green.
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AirMail Editor’s Pick
Personal experience has taught me that an antagonistic instructor can poison the cockpit environment and destroy confidence with one crack of their tongue. It is your flying career, your dream, don’t ever let an instructor ruin it for you by simply being rude and disrespectful. There are other instructors and other flying schools.
No Place for Disrespect Hi, Steve.
I’m just another student going through a tough MECIR training, but as I move on, my instructor and the assigned testing officer really make me disappointed. We all need confidence to fly, but it is something that easily slips away as you make mistake, particularly when the instructor starts blaming you and drilling at you. This is how my instructor corrects me: “See, they have to go around because of you.” It could be presented in a nicer way, I suppose. OK, not a problem. Keep shouting; I am used to it, but what about allowing people back seat for
LEFT: The relationship between an instructor and student needs to be harmonious for good learning to happen.
asymmetric training? And playing games on mobile phone while we were in IMC? Would you believe he has three bars on his shoulders? Isn’t this shameful? Shame on the CFI too! OK, now we come to the CASA approved testing officer, famous for falling asleep in flight tests. And how much does it cost? $800! These sort of people in the industry are just ridiculously endangering others. Will CASA do something? I doubt it. Now I see why we keep reminding people how important it is to choose a flight school for proper training. It’s not just about whether it’s worth the money or not, but more importantly, whether or not you are really up to the standard when you get signed off. Regards, Anonymous
Courtesy of AvPlan Our reader wins a one-year VFR subscription to AvPlan for our editor’s pick! To be in the running to win the same prize and have your views published on this page, submit your letter to the editor now! See e-mail and postal addresses at the top of this page.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
Got something to get off your chest? Australian Flying welcomes your input. Send your AirMail, with your name and contacts (which can be withheld from publishing upon request) to: stevehitchen@ yaffa.com.au or write to: Australian Flying, GPO Box 606 Sydney NSW 2001.
About AirVenture Australia Hi, Hitch.
I just read how you saw AirVenture a success and sadly, as a GA pilot I really got a different impression. This is the fifth year in a row I have attended. I was surprised by the temporary fencing barriers on the way in. Alienation number one! I checked out the displays and asked where the SAAA area was so I could check out the new planes and go to a workshop. The small SAAA booth in the tent really didn’t have the presence equivalent to what SAAA has in the recreation aviation and GA spheres. I found SAAA fenced out of the show itself and it only took a few brief discussions around the traps to find out that legal action had been threatened between organisations, and activities to encourage young people to consider a career in aviation were sidelined. Pilots I talked to both at SAAA and in AirVenture were all nonplussed and saddened at how the camaraderie between organisations had broken down so quickly from the year before. As there are three sides to every story– yours, theirs and the truth–I am not going to make any guesses on where and how this may have happened, it is just enough that it has.
With all of the talk of the demise of GA, I feel we should be putting differences of opinions aside and work together. SAAA feeds people in to RAAus and AOPA and vice versa; they are all organisations that have a symbiosis. On Saturday night I had to choose where I was going to have dinner, either at the SAAA hangar with some buddies and interesting planes or, over at the aero club to try and meet some new people. I tried to do both and had a great time, a laugh and a few beers and learnt a lot at SAAA, and then trotted over to the aero club at 8.00 pm. Instead of the packed, loud and laughing crowd of years gone by it was 20% full and subdued with a few isolated groups. I don’t put this down to the weather for the weekend. Observing all of this as an ordinary grass-roots pilot, the high fences, the entrance fee relative to the amount of displays compared to years gone by, the disappointment voiced by many pilots changed AirVenture for me. It was no longer an inclusive friendly flyin where everyone got together, instead it was a rather alienating visit. I do acknowledge the public would be totally oblivious to this. What a crying shame! I have no desire to go again. Peter van Herk
takes a few leaves from the US cousins’ book. Kind Regards Bruce Turner
General aviation comes in all sorts of sizes, shapes and colours, and one reader believes all parts should be working together.
More Airventure Hi, Steve.
I was disappointed in your review of AirVenture Australia You must have visited a different AirVenture than me, the many exhibitors, and visitors, all who said they were very disappointed with the layout, costs, lack of public toilets, long feed queues, poor the placement of fences ... one dealer could fit only one aircraft onto his site. The flight air show was badly located. You had to look into the sun, which made it hard to get good photos, with too long between acts!
But, what was the go with the Fort Knox mentality when it comes to fences! It is most unAirventure to fence the public in behind six-foot fences so you can only peer through the wire mesh to get glimpses of your favourite aircraft. We were prevented from having a wander through the parked aircraft to leave a saliva trail and tell stories and reminisce. A fellow friend and aviator uttered that he was offended by the fences. The lack of trust displayed in us by whacking up
What a crying shame. I have no desire to go again This produced a extremely poorlymanaged air show. The old AUF Natfly was a very professional air show. If AirVenture cannot improve their action, maybe someone else should take over. Keep on trying, John Washbrooke Freebird Aviation Australasia
And again ... Howdy, Steve!
I never contribute in this way but just wanted a say regarding the Narromine air show. The organisation was brilliant, as was the aerobatic display and the seminar tents were mostly OK once sound and water bugs were sorted.
barriers like that spoils the event. Compare this to the free-roaming Oshkosh Airventure, where there are bucket loads more people, but plastic barrier tape and strategicallyplaced cone markers will do. There is the risk that someone may walk into a spinning prop. How many do? Appropriate shepherd techniques seems to avoid that in Oshkosh. Are we a “bit slow” here in Oz? Here that “risk” triggers high fences and people in flouro vests directing your every breath. I love being around aircraft and smelling the fumes and hearing the noises. I’m looking forward to the next airshow and hoping that we can learn from the past and that the next Narromine AirVenture
Hi, all. My assessment of Airventure as a success was based solely on the numbers of planes and people. They were consistent with the previous years, which wasn’t a bad result given the blood-letting that went on in the months leading up to it. As noted by others here, a rift definitely opened in the GA community, and if the truth is to be known, it hasn’t closed yet.
PR Rubbish? Hi, Steve.
The piece [Short Final, p82 November-December 2017 Australian Flying], ostensibly by Greg Hood, was a disgrace. It was clearly written by his PR people and was full
of the kind of management-speak that we pilots abhor and which is symptomatic of the problems in aviation in Australia today. For example, “A number of change imperatives underpinned this program that provided the impetus to refine our business practices and expand our deliverables.” In English this might read: “Look, we know we haven’t been as efficient or responsive as we could be or should be and we’re trying to change that by doing XYZ.” You shouldn’t agree to publish this kind of advertorial nonsense and they should understand that it does nothing positive for them. Best, David Berger
David. Greg was given the opportunity to have his say, and this is what he elected to say. It does seem straight out of the textbook of Officialese, but that was their prerogative. – Hitch
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www.OnlineAviationTheory.com January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
FLYING LATEST NEWS
News Bundaberg’s Jabiru Aircraft survived the both an economic downturn and regulatory action, but it was a close-run thing.
Jabiru Aircraft has taken a reputational and economic beating like perhaps no other Australian aeroplane manufacturer in history. Once held up as a glowing success story, severe economic pressure and regulatory action has put the company in a precarious position. It is not stretching the truth to say that they were within a whisker of closing their doors. Already battling an industry downturn that is a hangover from the Global Financial Crisis of the late 2000s, the company was then subjected to action from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that put limitations on how Jabiru-powered aircraft could be used, citing reliability fears. If you go back through records, there aren’t many companies that survive long after CASA has taken action against them, such is the bite of having their reputation stomped on in a very public way. Today, the company is slowly recovering. There is a long way to go to the halcyon days of selling 20 airframes and six engines every month,
On the Comeback Trail
Engine maintenance, supply and development sustained the company through some of the hardest times it has seen.
but this company and its management team are nothing if not determined to regain what they have lost. “[it’s] just one foot in front of the other and trying to re-build,” says Sue Woods, Business Manager and daughter of company founder Rod Stiff, “because we’ve got so many people that depend on us to keep the aircraft in the air, and lots of flying schools with Jabirus and people all around the world that have built their lives around Jabiru. “So at the moment it’s just a sense of responsibility that keeps us going and that’s all ... nothing else.” CASA’s action surrounded the perceived unreliability of Jabiru’s home-grown engines,
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
causing the regulator to restrict the use of Jabiru-engined aeroplanes over populated areas and demand that any passengers sign a statement saying they understand the engine in the front is of a type that has reliability issues. The impact was devastating according to Woods. “After the CASA limitations we’ve had to start all over again,” she told Australian Flying. “We’ve had to take a big deep breath and start to rebuild our reputation in the market. We’ve taken a pounding over the last few years. “The CASA limitations caused unbelievable damage to our reputation, and there’s been a lot of things happening around the world that has
contributed to the downturn at the same time.” For Jabiru, the causes of their struggle can be sifted down to three things: a general economic downturn, a tendency for maintainers to either fiddle with the motors or skip maintenance items and CASA’s determination to send a message to recreational flying companies and
Jabiru’s new Gen 4 motor.
owners right across the country. “They did it on risk,” Woods laments, “and without knowing anything about what was happening in the market, just brought out these blanket limitations on us, then asked questions later. After the limitations came out, then they came up here to look at engine tear-downs. “Then they saw that only 20% were unmodified Jabiru engines, and the other 80% had been modified by someone else, and the maintenance hadn’t been done as per the schedule. Then the penny started to drop.” After all the angst and clamour over the action, CASA lifted the limitations after Jabiru did approximately nothing except stress the maintenance requirements to owners. “CASA didn’t require any modifications to our engines,” Woods points out. “What CASA required was that people completed all their maintenance in accordance
JABIRU AIRCRAFT PG 14-15
PEL-AIR & ATSB PG 16
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Jabiru Business Manager Sue Woods
with our maintenance schedules, and had done all the airworthiness and service bulletins, which we prescribed. “We’d embarked on changes to the engine through-bolts in 2012. The CASA limitations didn’t come out until 2014. This is the thing we were trying to explain to them over, and over again: we had done these developments, they were in place, the service bulletins were solving problems with the engines that were out there in the field. “That was the most difficult thing; trying to get that across. There was a complete ‘we don’t want to hear’ attitude about that. “I think they just wanted to put recreational aviation in its place. If they kept us in place then they had RAAus under their thumb, and if they made an example of us then everyone else would have to fall in line.” Part of the company’s recovery plan was the new Generation Four engine, which includes
modifications to increase the reliability of engines in aircraft that tend to become “hangar queens.” The engine bores are now Nickel-Silicon carbide, which resists rusting; a problem all general aviation engine builders have when their products are allowed to sit for too long.
So if we can get rid of that rust element, which is not unique to Jabiru engines, we see that we can reduce a lot of maintenance issues.” The subject of engines is constantly in Woods’ mind at the moment. Designed to be uncomplicated, it was that very characteristic that led some people to modify or neglect maintenance that caused the trouble with CASA, but it is also the engines that has sustained the company through the downturn. Had Jabiru not had both airframe and engines under their own roof, the company would have struggled to stay around. It’s hard enough now as it is, but even so, Woods has become transfixed on a glimmer of hope.
I think they just wanted to put recreational aviation in its place. “The problem we see in our market is that recreational flyers are doing only on average 20 hours per year,” Woods says. “Meanwhile the engines are sitting in the aircraft, typically in Australia around the coast, and are rusting out. “So when owners do come to go for their sunny Sunday fly, the bores are honed out a bit more, and over time, that can lead to problems downstream.
“This year we’ve seen our domestic market starting to recover, and we hope other markets around the world will follow on as well,” she says. “Australia always seems to be the one that will react first, but also when we go down in a hole, it takes them awhile to go down in a hole, so when we climb out first, then they tend to climb out. “So there is some reason for optimism.”
Helicopter Association gets New CEO
CASA proposes 105-hour CPL for Helicopters
Essendon Airport gets a New Name TAAAF sends Three Policy Papers to Canberra Graphical Area Forecasts go Live
Third Quarter Figures show Increase in Piston Shipments Chester calls for Industry Unity Goodbye Ben Sandilands CAE Oxford leases Tamworth Training Base
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The controversial ATSB investigation into the Norfolk Island ditching continues to raise questions.
LEFT: Pilot Dominic James (left) with flight nurse Karen Casey, whose life was forever changed by the ditching of VH-NGA. STEVE HITCHEN
BOTTOM: The wreckage of VH-NGA is brought back to the surface during the second investigation.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) in November released its second report into the 2009 ditching of Pel-Air Westwind VH-NGA near Norfolk Island. The ATSBs conclusions found issues with the flight crew’s planning and decision-making, the inflight weather information supplied, the operator’s procedures and CASA’s oversight of Pel-Air. The aircraft was on an aeromedical transfer operation from Samoa to Melbourne with six people on board, when inclement weather prevented the crew from landing at Norfolk Island to refuel. After four attempts to land and with not enough fuel on board to divert to an alternate, the crew elected to ditch the aircraft in the sea. All six on board were rescued. After the ATSB released its 78-page first report in 2012, the
findings were directed more at flight crew failings, which raised questions of cover-up and collusion between CASA and the ATSB, and resulted in a senate inquiry. Then ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan admitted that the report was not one he was proud of and a review of the ATSB by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) heavily criticised the report. Consequently, the ATSB agreed to re-open the investigation, which included re-visiting the accident site and recovering the flight data recorder. The 531-page second report released late last year found 36 safety factors including 16 issues that needed to be addressed, and covered aspects of the incident such as the decision to leave Samoa without the
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
maximum amount of fuel on board, deficiencies in the way weather information was passed to the crew, risk and hazard assessment by both the crew and Pel-Air, the crew’s decisions and actions once they became aware of the situation and CASA’s surveillance and audit processes. “This investigation report is one of the largest and most thorough safety investigations the ATSB has completed,” ATSB Commissioner Chris Manning said. “The ATSB obtained sufficient evidence to establish findings across a number of lines of enquiry, including relating to individual actions, local contextual factors, the operator’s risk controls and regulatory matters. “The ATSB recognises the
given the right weather on the night before I leave Samoa, or I get the correct weather handed to me in flight, the accident doesn’t happen; it’s a weather accident. “To talk about thing like pressurisation fuel when no de-pressurisation took place is a total red herring. It would be like having a whole expose on my pre-flight technique, but if nothing I did in the pre-flight had an impact on the accident, why go chapter-and-verse about my pre-flight technique?” The new report has done little to quell claims of cover-ups, because some believe it should address the actions of both CASA and the ATSB that led to the investigation being re-opened. “In an unprecedented way, we’ve had a senate inquiry, we’ve had the Federal Police involved, we’ve had the Forsyth review [Aviation Safety Regulation Review] and a huge amount of scrutiny into inappropriate relationships between CASA and the ATSB,” James said, “but there’s not a syllable in the report that discusses any of that. How did we end up with this report–the whole trainderailment that it’s been– and then not discuss it? “They really haven’t had another go at this.”
Second Pel-Air Report slams All Involved
importance of being able to demonstrate that the re-opened investigation addressed identified areas for improvement with the original investigation. A main focus of the reopened investigation was to address all of the relevant points raised by the Senate inquiry. We have also ensured the specific findings of the TSB’s review were fully taken into account in our final report.” Regardless, the second report has still failed to satisfy the captain of VH-NGA, Dominic James, who believes the report contains a lot of red herrings and information that he believes is irrelevant to the accident causes. “They’ve incrementally improved their understanding of what happened,” he told Australian Flying, “but given how much attention has been poured into this and what resources were given to them, the fact that they haven’t come up with a landmark document that could be given out as a paragon of accident investigation is a total cock-up. “There’s about 200 pages there that should hit the cutting-room floor straight away. They don’t help anyone do anything. It’s quite simplistic: if I am
Jamestown LUCIANNE VAN GELDER
In 30 years, Jamestown has gone from grass bush runway to a busy allweather airport that hosts one of Australia's truly great air shows. Lucianne van Gelder met the people who make it all happen.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
very three years in South Australian Jamestown, the smell of engine fuel lingers in the air and an exciting drone echoes throughout the region. It’s bold, fast and furious; it’s the Jamestown Air Spectacular and it truly lives up to its title, inspiring youngsters and giving the locals a taste of flight and skillful airmanship. What does it take to turn the concept of an air show into reality? How did the flying group evolve over a period of 30 years and grow to develop such a successful regional event?
Life member and retired ambulance service officer Tony Leesong remembers the very first meeting of the Jamestown flying group. It took place in a shed, which was owned by real estate group Elders, comprising of only a few local pilots who became inaugural group members. Billy Butterfield, who was to become the aero group’s first president, Malcolm Axford and Leesong. The meeting took place as a result of a frightening incident that occurred on the grass runway, which the pilots and Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) were using.
19 MAIN: The Spectacular now attracts pilots and visitors from all over Australia.
LEFT: A visiting C180 pilot enjoys the luxury of Jamestown’s sealed runway.
CLIVE PALMER PHOTOGRAPHY
BELOW: Jamestown Flying Group’s incredible bunch of hard-workers.
One afternoon the RFDS aircraft tried to take off departing to the South, at this point in time trees were situated at the bottom of the runway as the plane began to take off. It clipped the trees, seriously distressing not only the passenger but also Leesong and local doctor Dr John Shepherd who were on board the plane. This incident brought about the urgency and need for the development of an adequate operational strip that could service the local community. Shortly after the inaugural meeting, plans were drawn and
decisions were made, securing the suitable airstrip location, with the first challenge being how to secure the land on which to build. Part of the land was owned by the railways and after entering into negotiations were able to rent the land for only a $1 a year; this nominal fee enabled the group to save a considerable amount as they didn’t have to purchase so much land. The group removed the boundary fence, freeing up enough space for the development of the strip. The land now adhered to legalities. One of the first milestones was installation of the generator powered strip lighting, which was funded via the Jamestown Ambulance Service.
Sealing the deal In October 1988, the aerodrome hosted its first small air show; the strip was still grass. “It’s good now,” says Leesong,
“being able to say we started with a bare paddock and we have ended up with a great airstrip”. Another long-time group member is Peter Thomas, who was President from 201216. He was also one of many people who, between 1988 and 1991, undertook the process of transforming the grass strip into a harder rubble surface. Thomas said the strip sat like that for quite a period of time and the group had always talked about having it sealed because that’s what really makes a beautiful airstrip, so for over 19 years it sat as just a rubble strip. Issues arose due to dust and stone chip damage to propellers, and jets couldn’t land there. May 2009 marked a year of much significance, with the sealing of the strip, which was the largest group project to date. After numerous years and multiple discussions in relation to sealing the strip, Thomas
became instrumental in driving the group to make a decision. One evening he attended a flying group meeting. That night he was adamant that the group would finally tackle the project. “I was a bit fired up probably had a few grogs,” he remembers. “‘I’m going to bitumise the f*cking airstrip,’ I told the group secretary. ‘I want you to put exactly what I said in the minutes.’ I had a lot of drive in me at the time to get the strip sealed. “Everybody had been talking about it for years, it really did make it. It’s beautiful now we can get jets to come in and pilots know they are not going to sustain damage.” He dedicated time sourcing quotes, and debate ensued over whether water channelling or piping had to be run underneath the runway which would have been extremely costly. Thomas then met with Peter Francis of Aerodrome Design
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
ock and “we started with a bare padd airstrip” t we have ended up with a grea
Services. Francis specialises in Australian airstrip design and inspections. They began discussions around the cross fall of the strip and if they were careful with adequately laying the earthworks they could actually allow water to run off the strip. Once the strip was sealed the surface would be able to sheet water effectively. Peter Francis recalls giving the group advice on the sealing process. “We considered alternative ways of looking at the strip because of the natural fall; running piping would have destroyed a great deal of the landscape. The strip design has never been a problem and seems to have worked really well.” After taking all advice into consideration, Peter Thomas then went to Council with preliminary approvals and posed the question to council: “If the group can seal the airstrip without council funding, could we proceed?” Once approvals were in place, the Jamestown and Districts Ambulance Association was fortunately able to make a major $150,000 contribution, and remaining funds were generated by the flying group and significant donations. Thomas personally contributed over $22,000, mostly for the preparation work,
and Northern Areas Council contributed to the line marking. The true test came only a few months later when the 2009 Air Spectacular took place, christening the freshly sealed runway.
If you build it The benefit of having a quality aerodrome and strip is evident not only for flying group members but also to the local community, who uses the services of the RFDS. Elizabeth Kelly, who is group secretary of the Jamestown and district RFDS support group, is a passionate ambassador for the RFDS and assists the group with fundraising activities throughout the year. She feels that it’s an incredible service for the local community. In 2016 the RFDS used the airfield 73 times for patient retrievals and transfers. It takes around 45 minutes by air as opposed to a lengthy three-hour road trip. Having an all-weather strip makes a huge difference as it can be accessed at all times unless severe weather and fog conditions are prevalent. “The Jamestown flying group do a fantastic job maintaining the airfield,” Kelly says. They really just keep it all going” From the very first president,
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
LEFT: The small community of Jamestown, SA, is situated to the north of Adelaide, and reaps the benefit of a very good airport, seen in the top right of this image.
Billy Butterfield, the flying group have had a total of 13 presidents in 30 years and they have all been instrumental in organising air shows during their terms. The Jamestown Spectacular has grown to become a significant regional and state event attracting locals and a great deal of interstate visitors. The flying group has successfully executed a total of 10 air shows, one every three years with the first air show taking place in 1988. The first official Air Spectacular came in 1997. The Spectacular is a great showcase for the very best Australian pilots, flying some of the rarest and most unique aircraft in the world such as Alan Arthur’s restored P-40 Kittyhawk in its maiden Australian air show, and Judy Pay’s CAC-18 Mustang. Over the years the Spectacular has assembled a wide array such as a CAC Boomerang, P-40 Warhawk, Chipmunks, Tiger Moths, T-6 Harvard, SIAI Marchetti SF.260, Lockheed L-12 Electra, Hudson, Yaks and Nanchangs. In 2009, an RAAF
F/A-18 Hornet flew over. Aerobatic legend Chris Sperou OAM has supported the Jamestown displays since its inception and other aerobatic pilots such as Paul Bennet and current Freestyle champion of Australia Paul Andronicou have put on incredible displays for a crowd that averages 4000-4500 spectators. If spectators hearts aren’t racing enough due to the aerobatic displays, the air show pyrotechnics that Explosive Effects conduct are guaranteed to make an impact. The team uses commercial grade explosives, which they coordinate with the display aircraft creating a realistic combat simulation. The team also holds the world record for the longest wall of fire at 1137 metres. The group has also had the privilege of hosting with numerous WWII pilots. These veterans of the air, these VIPs, sit and watch the display overhead reminiscing and sharing experiences of their remarkable endeavours which were so often fraught with danger. It’s important to acknowledge the valour of these former service men who received distinguished honours. As crowds watch in awe they recall the aircraft overhead in a very different light.
Here’s to 30 years The flying group’s success executing air shows throughout the 30 year history is to be commended. Danny Keller,
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Australian Geographic’s support and donation of a display cabinet.
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The Wilkins connection
ABOVE: Paul Bennet Airshows adds to the excitement of the Jamestown Air Spectacular LEFT: A Nanchang CJ-6 basks in the early morning light at Jamestown.
who has been involved with the club for over a decade and has been chairperson for the past three years, said “It’s a big role being Chairperson, it keeps you busy.” The club is run entirely by volunteers and sponsors, and Keller’s role sees him coordinate and liaise with sponsors. Often after an air show when you can finally sit down and take a breath, you haven’t seen much of the show but you know that everything has gone well and the crowd has had a great experience. Keller reminisces about his own flying adventures, and every time he hears the words “Clear prop” “You know the adventures about to begin,” he says. Once you get hold of that
hickory stick, you’re in a different world, it’s called a joy stick for a reason. Keller’s enthusiasm for flying is evident and the Spectacular is one way in which the group can spread the love of flying to the wider public. Keller thinks that it’s quite incredible. The program, which can feature up to 45 acts, is a challenge in itself, trying to equal or better the program every spectacular. At the group’s 30th Anniversary dinner, celebrations were under way surrounded by loyal club members, sponsors and aerodrome supporters. Peter Thomas took the opportunity to raise the importance of sponsorship it’s really critical in order to fund the Air Spectacular. Sharon Thomas spoke about the group promoting the Spectacular via multiple social media channels to ensure that attendance numbers are high crowd numbers are important. Peter discussed the challenges
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
that the group faces such as an aging population of members, although club members such as 18-year-old George Seppelt inject a youthful exuberance to the membership base. George currently flies in the club’s Jabiru with his future ambition being to undertake a Bachelor of Aviation at the University of SA. Over the years the group has received acknowledgement and accolades for their efforts securing multiple awards such as the 2007 SA Great Regional Award, National Community Link Volunteer award, five South Australian Community event of the year awards, 1995 District Council event award for the aerodrome centre opening weekend which was dedicated to South Australian explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins The centre opening weekend took place in 1994 when Dick Smith and pioneer aviatrix Nancy Bird-Walton officially launched the club’s central building (now visitor centre), during a commemorative weekend dedicated to Wilkins. The group acknowledges Dick Smith’s ongoing support for the Hubert Wilkins Centre and also
Who was Sir George Hubert Wilkins? He was a man of many talents, achieving distinction for his work in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Wilkins learned to fly in 1912, pioneering aeronautical photography techniques and motion picture coverage of war. In 1917 Wilkins joined the Royal Australian Flying Corps with ambitions to fly for his country; however, he failed the medical examination. His feet had never recovered from an earlier near-death experience where he suffered from frostbite during the 1913 Stefansson Canadian Arctic expedition. He also discovered he was colour-blind. As a wartime photographer he covered every major Australian battle. Wilkins was wounded and awarded the Military Cross and bar. The Australian Commander in Chief, Sir John Monash, described Wilkins as the bravest man he had ever met. Wilkins achieved numerous world firsts with the greatest significance being his 1928 flights over the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Danny Keller feels that the club and its dedicated members are like the “custodians of Sir Hubert Wilkins legacy.”
An electric future It seems that the past and future of aviation coincide in Jamestown with a recent visit from Space X CEO Elon Musk, who landed on the Jamestown strip to launch the world’s biggest battery which is currently in development. And next year, the Jamestown Flying Group are looking to potentially bring a Siemens 330LE electric aircraft to Australia for the first time. Jamestown really is playing a significant role in bringing old and new technologies to the forefront for the benefit of the group and the wider aviation community.
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Aerial Firefighting ROHAN WILLIAMS
Hitting the Marks Only the best of the best are called to fly singleengine aerial tankers during the fire season, but according to Rohan Williams, it is becoming much sought-after job.
f the many fields within the world of aviation there are a few small niches that represent the road less traveled when it comes to career path planning by young and eager student pilots. Well-trodden are those paths towards the airlines, instructing, charter flying and corporate jets. What is it about the specialist niches out there and who are the pilots who chose this “road less traveled”? One such specialist niche which encompasses operations of a vast array of different aircraft types and applications is that of the aerial fire suppression industry. Increasingly, the arena of aerial fire suppression is one that uses a large cross-section of aircraft of both the fixed- and rotarywinged varieties. There are almost countless roles to be played by vastly differing aircraft within what, to date, remains a rarely explored field of operation by today’s trainees and one in which current flight crews have become involved almost by accident. Among the roles concerned
with aerial fire suppression is that of fixed-wing fire bombing. Many might be familiar with the unique lines of an Air Tractor AT-802 that often briefly graces the screens of our televisions during news coverage of significant bushfire events. Their appearance will invariably be a brief one before the camera focuses doggedly onto the more promoted platforms such as the Sikorsky Skycrane Elvis or the latest favourite of the media, the larger air tankers such as the DC10 contracted from the United States.
Mosquito fleet The Air Tractor AT-802A and AT-802F now form the mainstream of Australia’s fleet of single engine air tanker (SEAT) aircraft engaged in aerial firefighting. Of more than 60 of the collective variants currently recorded on the Australian Civil Aircraft Register, just over half are listed with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) as either contracted or call-when-
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
needed aircraft available for aerial firefighting operations. Based on its smaller stable mates manufactured at the Air Tractor Inc. manufacturing facility in Olney, Texas, the Air Tractor AT-802 is a large single-engined aircraft capable of lifting loads of over 4000 kg in its 800-gallon hopper. With a certified maximum take-off weight of 16,000 pounds (over 7200 kg), this aircraft evolved from earlier marks of Air Tractor agricultural aircraft with both aerial agriculture and firebombing in mind. Today it has become colloquially known in both agricultural and firefighting circles as the “802”. Some of the later variants of the 802 are powered by the Pratt and Whitney PT6A-67F turbine engine which is capable of producing 1700 shp under ISA conditions. This is a significant leap ahead of the traditionally
A 802 lets go a load of retardant. Note the elevator input needed to counteract the sudden pitchup during the drop.
engined 802 powered by either the PT6A-65AG or the PT6A67AG of 1220 shp each. The extra margin afforded by the -67F models can be particularly welcomed by a pilot in their cockpit, fighting a downdraft at the bottom of a steep, smoke-filled valley, or when endeavouring to maintain full load carrying capacity under increasingly high temperatures from high altitude airstrips. The -67F engine is also a must when any power plant is considered for the FireBoss amphibious variant of the 802, which reloads by scooping from open water ways and injecting fire suppressive gel into the load from an on-board reservoir. To date, the pilots who operate the 802 on aerial firefighting operations have been those same men and women who originally cut their teeth flying
smaller, less powerful and far less valuable agricultural aircraft on spraying and spreading missions distributing agricultural chemicals, fertilisers, and performing various seeding applications. The majority of these men and women did not necessarily aspire to qualifying for the airlines, instructor ratings, or corporate jets. They typically approached their original flying school with just one goal in mind: to fly “ag”. Many of these pilots do not, and have never aspired to hold an instrument rating as their career paths have simply not warranted it. Their skill set peaks within other corners of the flying envelope such as flying precision agricultural application missions at night and at less than 10 feet above their target, either under or over power lines as each particular situation demands.
In the beginning As far back as the 1960s, it was actually our aerial agricultural industry that first began trialing fixed-wing aerial fire suppression. Prior to the establishment of the air wings of our various bushfire agencies, local aerial agricultural operators were those who provided the aerial firefighting service to their surrounding communities, often without reward. However, with the establishment of formal aviation departments within our state bushfire agencies, and later with the establishment of the NAFC, the deployment of private enterprise dedicated to aerial firefighting has become the norm, albeit with access to our quality pool of agricultural pilots. Of course many of today’s ag pilots have previous experience in the 802 on spraying and spreading
duties prior to their entry to the firebombing arena. Many of the state member agencies of the NAFC dictate minimum requirements for flight crew including minimum time-on-type. The few who do not have previous Air Tractor or 802 experience have, in the past, been able to qualify via dispensation from that minimum requirement, mitigated by previous relevant time on similar types. However, the minimum requirement of 1500 hours experience on agricultural spraying operations is generally upheld in order to guarantee that each pilot is proficient in the management of a heavily-loaded airframe in a demanding flight environment. As recently as September 2014, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), with the introduction of the new Part 61
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Strap strap Aerial Firefighting strap
licensing legislation, introduced a new pilot rating that formally authorises the work carried out by the pilots of SEAT aircraft engaged in aerial firefighting operations. However, the syllabus of training for that rating is still yet to be finalised between CASA, the Aerial Application Association of Australia (AAAA), the NAFC, and its member agencies. Therefore, it currently remains a prerequisite for SEAT pilots engaged in aerial firefighting operations to hold an Aerial Application Rating (the old agricultural rating) in order to continue via exemption. Any of those pilots engaged in fixed wing aerial firefighting prior to 1 September 2014 have been grandfathered across to hold the new Part 61 Fire (A) rating. It is also worth noting that both aerial agriculture and aerial fire suppression are both conducted under CASR Part 137 Aerial Application Operations, due to the many parallels between the two operations. At the time of writing, a list of desired competencies for the
qualification for a Fire (A) rating has been defined by CASA although they have now called for the submission of individually prepared syllabuses from the handful of Part 141 approved training organisations within the aerial application industry. To date, the first of those submissions is yet to be formally approved.
A different world Their entry into the aerial firefighting arena has been a multifaceted adjustment for Australia’s ag pilots. Most notably they find themselves involuntarily held on a public pedestal in praise of their efforts in helping to protect our fire prone communities from the threat of bushfire. This flies in stark contrast to their common and scornfully applied stigma of “environmental vandals” by those zealous urban activists who misunderstand the importance of the ag pilot’s professional role in modern agriculture. An agricultural pilot’s workplace is one in which they operate essentially alone and in
BRET T PAT TEN
sporadic communication only with their loading crew back at the base airstrip. In contrast, the environment over the fire ground offers a completely different atmosphere where multiple aircraft operate as a coordinated team with radio traffic pestering the firebomber pilot from the avionics stack of up to six operational radios. Many ag pilots settling into their new fire role have said that managing the radio traffic is the
st to their “This flies in stark contra plied common and scornfully ap ndals’ ” stigma of 'environmental va
greatest learning curve through which their fire conversion endures. Working in such a dynamic environment as one of a team of many varying aircraft types is often a daunting, but welcomed, extension for the average ag pilot as they enter the world of aerial firefighting for the first time. A flight of eight or more fixed wing firebombers can be tasked simultaneously with the application of their combined load of fire retardant upon, or in close proximity to, a fire front that can be equally busily attended by numerous light and medium helicopters, all at low level. Added to this hive of activity are the air attack platform above as well as line-scan and mapping platforms of both fixed wing and rotary types. Each individual aircraft has its own role to play and is commonly sequenced according to role and type by the air attack supervisor via one of the cacophony of radios bombarding the ear cups of each pilot’s helmet. Also in disparity to the ag pilot’s traditional manner of operation are the average conditions under which they are frequently required to fly on fire work. Modern agricultural operations are stringently limited to defined ABOVE: Locals refuel bomber 718 at Pekanbaru, Sumatra, Indonesia. LEFT: NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers reload 718 for its next sortie.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
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Strap strap Aerial Firefighting strap
LEFT: Air Tractor’s AT-802 carries a significant portion of Australia’s single-engine aerial tanker workload. BELOW: The pilot of 717 contemplates a tricky descent into a smoke-filled valley in the New England region of NSW.
“Typically of a type-A personality, it is every ag pilot’s immediate intention to produce results”
envelopes of atmospheric temperature, humidity, and wind velocities. It soon becomes evident when operating on days of high fire risk that flying fires is fraught with high temperatures and strong winds which are often met in the surrounds of steep and very unforgiving terrain. A pilot manoeuvring a heavily laden airframe towards a fire front on the floor of a very steep valley under conditions of extremely high relative pressure altitudes and high winds, quickly learns the art of extracting every ounce of performance from their airframe. A refined process of cool, dynamic decision making is also of utmost importance.
Precision needed Where the agricultural pilot assimilates naturally into the aerial firefighting environment is in the operation of an exceptionally heavily loaded, expensive, and powerful aircraft at low level with a focus on accurately applying the aircraft’s payload onto a predetermined target. This is exactly the skill set for which there is yet to be an agreed syllabus of training developed that does not include the prior completion of an agricultural rating. Even at entry level, the agricultural pilot’s transition into firebombing is met with at least the flying and application coming as a natural extension to their preexisting skill set.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
Also in parallel with the ag pilot’s agricultural duties is that strong sense of urgency required of all aircrew involved with aerial fire suppression. Typically of a type-A personality, it is every ag pilot’s immediate intention to produce results and achieve a positive outcome from every determined action. However, rarely required to fly before 0900 and ordered to land 30 minutes prior to last light on fire operations, the ag pilot truly considers the daily envelope of SEAT flying to be “gentleman’s hours”. Aerial firefighting is also, in general terms, a naturally complementary addition to an ag pilot’s working calendar. An
agricultural pilot is usually busy during years of high rainfall and their consequential demand for aerial agricultural application. Conversely, those are the years when there is less demand for the firebombing pilot due to the reduced risk of bushfires when things are damp. However, enter a dry, hot year and an agricultural pilot’s work can be more than halved due to high competition from ground rigs, reduced area plantings, and less risk of fungal crop diseases. This scenario allows a significant percentage of our small population of agricultural pilots to turn their attention to aerial firefighting where the dry year brings with it a heightened risk of bushfire and its consequential demand for aerial fire suppression.
Living the dream Today, Australian agricultural pilots often travel to various parts of the northern hemisphere in order to take part in the fire season on the other side of the globe while our local area descends into the depths of winter. There is an increasing concentration of both Australian and New Zealander agricultural pilots “flying fires” in Europe, the United States, as well as Indonesia in what is developing into a highly competitive industry worldwide. These are the pilots who have truly capitalised on that initial dream of flying ag. Rohan Williams is an agricultural pilot with 18 years’ experience. He has been involved in aerial firefighting for the past eight years. and has flown over 700 hours on fires, the majority of that in the AT-802.
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n 2008, three US car company chief executives became poster boys for the public perception of business jets as toys for over-paid captains of industry. Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of General Motors flew in to a storm of controversy when they landed their company business jets in Washington DC to attend a House Financial
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Services Committee hearing where they would ask for a US$25 billion US Government bailout for their ailing companies. New York Democrat politician Gary Ackerman described the “delicious irony” of executives lobbying for government finance to help streamline their businesses when they had just spent around $20,000 on a business jet journey that observers estimated would
less than 500 employees. And corporate aviation does much more than just help the executive team avoid the airport check-in riff-raff; NBAA figures suggest less than half of all business flights carry senior executives, with the aircraft more likely to be transporting a mix of sales and business development teams, specialist engineers and technicians on their way to solving a problem for a high-value customer, or bulky and sensitive products or equipment that couldn’t go by normal means. According to the NBAA more than 40% of business flights
day schedules that were virtually impossible on airlines. One private US business owner summed it up: in the year after acquiring a Bombardier Challenger 604 the time he spent visiting European customers increased by around 50%, yet so did the time he spent with family at home. Take US digital electrical relay company Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. President Ed Schweitzer estimates more than 2000 employees have travelled on the company’s four Cessna Citation aircraft. Schweitzer is an international business located in the town of Pullman, in a remote
“if you can get two days of their time back you can justify spending money” are to smaller destinations with little or no airline service. In the US airlines serve around 500 airports, while business aviation can use 5000. A US study by aircraft management firm Jet Advisors found that business jet use could save one company 22 work days and 24 nights of accommodation per year for each regular passenger. Not only were employees avoiding the time spent in airports, but they were also planning out-and-back single-
part of Washington State in the US northwest. Its global network includes 60 offices in the United States and 50 internationally, including three in Australia. Before the company bought its first Cessna Citation Bravo in 1999 employee business travel began with a 120-km drive to the nearest airport served by airlines, often overnighting to catch the first flight out to meet international connections. Today employees fly straight out of
The real story According to US National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) research, around 85% of the 11,000 companies operating corporate aircraft in the United States are small to medium sized businesses, with 45% having
MAIN: Gulfstream’s G650 is a globe-trotting large cabin business jet particularly in Asia for its ability to connect continents efficiently.
have cost less than $900 in first class on a commercial flight. "It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo,” he said. “It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious." Ackerman’s view typified that of many, suggesting business jet travel was little more than a perk for senior executives, with its value directly comparable to an airline seat. Industry attendees at the house committee sessions were pointedly asked to raise their hands if they intended to leave the business jet behind and fly airline for the return journey. None did. Apparently only the committee convenors thought it made sense to fly home business class on an airline while the company aircraft flew empty to the same destination in half the time. The Washington event and President Barack Obama’s later caustic comments on tax concessions for business aircraft prompted a wave of anti-business jet activity across the United States, with major corporations trimming, or even closing, their in-house flight departments and putting aircraft on the market. In 2009 the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) responded with a joint “No Plane, No Gain” campaign, still active today, to educate politicians and the media on the value and contribution that manufacturing and operating business aircraft make to the US economy. The irony and the tragedy for business aviation was that the three executives in the limelight were the pinnacle of the pyramid and not indicative of the average business aircraft user.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
australianflying.com.au LEFT: Cessna’s Citation range has included entry-level aircraft such as the M2, up to the world’s fastest business jet, the Citation X.
Pullman’s local airport. On a company Citation X, teams have landed in Beijing to service customers after little more than 11 flying hours. While the traditional view of work aboard a business aircraft is of onboard meetings or personnel labouring away on laptops, the uses are limited only by imagination. Companies have used business aircraft to help employees connect with international airline flights, to transport high value or sensitive
Europe and the United States for factory visits. Even high-rollers have been innovative: on one extended US tour members of British rock band The Rolling Stones minimised disruption to their families by establishing a permanent base in Las Vegas and commuting by business jet to performances around the country. A US Boeing BBJ owner opening new markets in Asia found his aircraft serving as accommodation, office and even a banquet room for entertaining
“They love being able to get on board and just get on with their work.” products, or to deliver the critical component a customer needs to return machinery to service (and thereby protect a contract and customer relationship that may be worth millions). British excavation equipment firm JCB has long used business aircraft (first a Hawker 125, now a Gulfstream G650) to collect potential customers from all over
in remote areas where local infrastructure could not yet provide an equivalent. One enterprising Formula One team flew a Bombardier Challenger business jet laden with drums of fuel from the UK to Monaco to circumvent a French road transport strike that threatened to disrupt race testing and practice.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
A tool of the trade For firms such as these an aircraft pays for itself as an enabler, allowing personnel to attend a meeting, close a deal or complete a task that may be worth many times more than the value of the aircraft, while also partly defraying expenses by making more efficient use of expensive assets: usually people. Studies in the US have found that an average domestic trip on a commercial airline takes three hours longer door-to-door than on a business aircraft. In that time the airline-traveling executive will be productive for around 30% of the flight, compared with 80% for their colleague on the company aircraft. In fact, around two-thirds of business aviation passengers have indicated they are more productive on the company aircraft than they are in their own office. “If you factor in the cost of executive salaries, accommodation, meals, time away in remote areas, it’s a very savvy business tool,” said Barry Graham, director of Australian aircraft charter broker JetCORP. “If they’re flying to mines, flying people up in to the Northern Territory from Melbourne, they
EXECUJET AVIATION GROUP
BELOW: The convenience of business aviation: sometimes it’s possible to go straight from car to aircraft.
might go up there for just a day for a whole series of executive meetings, where it might take days to do the same thing using scheduled airlines.” The ability to fly when convenient on a more direct route in a private, secure, companyowned environment where personnel can continue to work and interact also means the work at hand is no longer at the mercy of the limitations of airline travel. Having a business aircraft on tap offers flexibility in many forms. Barry Graham again: “Executives may have flown in from different directions and the meeting might not finish at 1700,” he said. “It might go to 2100, then everyone might be quite exhausted after the day and say 'Okay, well let’s finish it off tomorrow'. With a business jet they can do that without having personal assistants and executive assistants cranking up and being pulled out of bed to try and organise RPT services for them. “Most people that are in the position to be able to purchase private jets aren’t pilots themselves, but they just love the convenience of it. They love being able to get on board and just get on with their work. They don’t
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think twice, they just see it as the most efficient way to do it.â€?
Home grown With around 400 aircraft, including about 160 jets, Australiaâ€™s business aviation market is a fraction of the size of our US cousins, but the utility and mix of uses cover a similar broad spectrum. Australiaâ€™s dispersed mining industry has seen small to medium sized aircraft parked at remote airports, while the nationâ€™s South East Asian trading links have created demand for long-legged large-cabin aircraft such as Bombardierâ€™s Challenger, Gulfstreamâ€™s G650 and Dassaultâ€™s three-engine Falcon globetrotters. JetCORP has seen the gamut, brokering charters for mining companies, high rollers, sports stars and companies looking to move groups of personnel more efficiently than was possible with the airlines. One recent charter saw a Gulfstream 500 fly from New
York to Montreal in Canada, collecting an executive who flew to Perth for a three-hour meeting, then on to a personal engagement in Melbourne. Another saw a tennis player hop off her delayed international flight in to Sydney and straight in to a business jet to ensure she would make her start time on court at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne next morning. JetCORP has arranged medical evacuations out of Papua New Guinea, delivery of mining equipment to remote sites and even an engineer and critical part to get a broken-down cruise ship moving again. Rick Pegus, general manager of Navair Jet Services, said customers understood that chartering a business jet between two large cities is going to be more expensive than the equivalent number of airline seats. But thatâ€™s not what charter is about. â€œI always ask people when they ring, â€˜what are we trying to achieve
Horses for courses. The twin-engine King Air turboprop is still selling as a business and charter aircraft.
here?â€™â€? Pegus told Australian Flying. â€œItâ€™s more about what value you place on your time. If youâ€™re flying from Sydney to Melbourne and thereâ€™s flights every half an hour and youâ€™re on your own, then youâ€™re going to be catching airlines. But if you need to knock over a few meetings in the same day, if youâ€™ve got to go to remote locations, then it can sometimes take you days to get around. â€œSometimes customers need the privacy. Sometimes the airline schedule doesnâ€™t work and we can save them overnighting and
it saves them a day. Itâ€™s got to be saving you something somewhere else to spend the extra money on it. If you look at a sales person in your business and how much revenue they generate in a day, if you can get two days of their time back you can justify spending money on saving time.â€? Pegus has flown some famous faces, including Jimmy Barnes, Nicole Kidman and Bill Gates. Heâ€™s also flown investors to outback mines, a single computer chip â€œthe size of your thumbnailâ€? for a mine in Western Australia and a
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vision-impaired international singer who preferred to maintain a single familiar hotel room in Sydney for his Australian tour and just fly to Brisbane and back to perform. One of his favourites was the gentleman who booked a charter on Christmas Eve to the Gold Coast to join his family for Christmas. It transpired that this customer had partied a little too hard with friends the night before and missed his morning airline flight. He viewed the charter cost as money well spent to avoid having to explain his absence from Christmas festivities to his wife. Ever the thoughtful host, Pegus ensured the passenger received a hot bacon and egg roll and coffee on arrival at the aircraft. Many businesses defray the cost of a business jet by making it available for charter through companies such as Navair and JetCORP. It’s here that the difference between ownership and hiring becomes apparent for passengers and owners alike.
“The owners are very aware of who rides on the aircraft and who doesn’t,” Barry Graham said. “If it’s a mad bunch of rock and rollers or something, they may be mindful of that and they may request certain limitations. But the owners also have to be aware that a glass of red wine could go flying.”
Counting the beans Asking business jet manufacturers to quote operating costs is fraught with danger, or more usually, refusal. That’s partly because the answer is usually a variation of “it depends”. And it does. Factoring the acquisition cost across a small number of flying hours per year is naturally going to result in a higher number than for a similar aircraft flying more. Insurance, various maintenance and support programs and aircrew costs can potentially muddy the equation. To gain a general view of aircraft costs, Australian Flying turned to a table produced by aviation research consultancy
Conklin and de Decker on behalf of the US Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association (AOPA) before the 2016 National Business Aviation Association annual conference and exhibition. To compare apples with apples, the estimated costs include unscheduled maintenance discrepancies and troubleshooting, scheduled maintenance within a 100-year period, line replacement parts, overhaul labour costs, airworthiness and service bulletin compliance, on-condition maintenance labour for the airframe and avionics, and routine engine maintenance not covered by the Jet Support Services Inc. maintenance plan. As expected, increased capability and size means increased cost, from the Pilatus PC-12NG at around US$720 per hour, through the Beech King Air at about US$1000, to the Embraer Phenom 300 jet at US$1364. Moving in to the mid range,
an Embraer Legacy 450 came in at US$2200, moving to around $3000 for Dassault’s larger 7X, 8X and 900, and between $US3500 and $US4000 for Gulfstream’s G550 and G650. The heavy iron of the Boeing BBJ and Airbus ACJ, at between US$5000 and US$6000 per hour depending on subvariant, reflects the cost of running an airliner-sized aircraft, but also of course includes airliner performance, range and capacity.
End game Ford’s Alan Mulally went home from that 2008 House Financial Services Committee hearing on his business aircraft partly because the Ford board of directors had decreed that such a critical executive should travel only on company jets for reasons of security and insurance. And while the detractors probably envisaged a five-star flight with lobster and champagne, Mulally was more likely seeing the flight as just another day at the office.
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January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Aircraft Profile ANDREW ANDERSEN
It’s been 61 years since the first Cessna 182 was delivered. The platform has changed a lot since then, but the basic Skylane concept is still winning new admirers. Andrew Anderson tells us why.
y any measure, 1956 was a big year. World War II had been over for more than ten years, ICAO mandated a new phonetic alphabet, which finally excised terms such as “Able, Baker, Dog” forever from pilots’ vocabularies; Qantas decided on the Boeing 707 and not the Douglas DC-8, TAA ordered Vickers Viscounts and Fokker Friendships, Elvis Presley was on TV and the Olympic Games were held in Melbourne. The year was no less important for general aviation. The United States continued to grow as a manufacturing powerhouse, and riveted aluminium structures were replacing the “wood, rag and tube” airframes of before. But the last few years of the 1940s were a disaster for aircraft manufacturing, as they competed for limited market share, and often against war-surplus trainers. Although the idea of a fourplace, self-flown aeroplane for private travel was gaining ground, even experienced pilots were looking for something new. Small aeroplanes with tailwheels were hard to taxi, and new pilots frequently had landing problems anytime the wind had a crosswind component. The US automobile industry was producing cars with plush upholstery and more power,
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
and if private aircraft were to succeed they needed to compete on comfort, speed, easily handled controls and price. Way ahead of its time, Beech began building the first V-tail Bonanzas in 1947. These all-metal aeroplanes set the benchmark for premium comfort and speed, and a production backlog rapidly ensued. Piper launched the PA-22 TriPacer in 1950, with tricycle landing gear. Despite being slow and fabric covered, it was a success, primarily because it was easy to land. Cessna had avoided the worst of the light plane market volatility through diversification. Its 170 (1948) and 180 (1952) model taildraggers specifically targeted the owner-flown business market, and they were as prized for their ruggedness as the Bonanza for its speed. Even Cessna’s 140 trainer model had survived, but it was comparatively expensive, and sales volumes were declining. Clyde Cessna knew a major shift, much more than just metal-covered wings and redesigned rear windows, was needed to spring a new resurgence in general aviation. Cessna’s first foray into singleengined, tricycle gear aeroplanes was the 172, first flown in 1955. It was a hit, almost immediately;
of the Sky
but Cessna’s plan had two prongs, and the second was the 182, which turned out to be brilliant strategy. For other aircraft in this class, buyers had to choose between brands, but Cessna dealers had two distinct, modern, all-metal nose-gear choices for their late 1950s customers. Even before 1960 began, Cessna had produced 3358 182s – a staggering number for a completely new model. Unlike the 170, which was completely replaced by the 172, the 180 Skywagon remained in production until 1981.
The plane for all seasons Endless explanations account for the 182’s popularity with owner pilots. Compared to the 172, the aircraft is much roomier, faster and more useful with a load, but
MAIN: Cessna’s C182 has proven to be one of the most verstatile general aviation aircraft ever designed.
retains the operating economies of a four-seat single. Farmers have always loved Cessna’s high wings, and for good reason: they keep the sun off the cabin and they’re much less of a problem near stock fences. As pilots and passengers get older, they have the advantage of ease of entry and exit; even today, compared with clambering over the wings and dropping in the cabin of a Cirrus. There are other benefits in the highwing design too: there is always a positive head of fuel pressure at the engine, and a pilot’s visibility of traffic and the ground, particularly during turns, is much better. Skylanes have been sold all over the world, well beyond the rural America that Cessna initially targeted. The 182 remains a popular aircraft in Australia, especially
for private owners in regional locations. The 182 also appeals to those who want a solid instrument platform. Sometimes criticised for heavy control forces, 182s are very stable in pitch and roll, and go where they’re pointed in the clouds. Short field take-offs and landings, including on the grass, are their forte. Even loaded to gross, on a 30oC day, the current model 182 can be airborne in a measly 270 metres, and clear 50 feet in 512 metres of runway at sea level. An attentive pilot, who knows the type well, can land in less in a gentle headwind.
Platform for the future What was Clyde Cessna really thinking when he invested heavily in the 182? We really
BELOW: The Cessna JT-A turbodiesel was supposed to replace the avgas C182, but development issues have put the project on hold.
don’t know, but he was extremely conscious of the success that Beech was enjoying from the Bonanza line and Piper would become more competitive once established in completely new facilities at Vero Beach. Cessna needed a family of aircraft that could satisfy traditional rural customers, and appeal to new ones. The 172 Skyhawk gave Cessna an entry-level four-place aeroplane
that could compete on price. The 150, replacing the 140, set the standard for ab-initio trainers for decades. But the 182 did much more. Just a year after the 182 was certified, Cessna flew its first 210, which was largely a 182 with retractable landing gear. The 210 took Cessna head-on with the Beechcraft Bonanza and Piper’s Comanche. But there was more. The next derivative, the 205,
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Aircraft Profile LEFT: Sales of the C182T have been healthy since it was re-introduced in 2015.
appealed to buyers who wanted space, but without the complexity of a retractable. The resulting 206 and 207 Stationairs quickly became the aircraft of choice for farmers right around the world.
Flying the 182 The time-honoured Cessna wing designs produce lift like no other aircraft in their class. Stall speeds are low, typically in the 40s and 50s, even with only partial flap and maximum weight. All this lift comes at a price, however. The wing loading of a recent Skylane is 17.8 pounds per square foot; by way of comparison, the latest Cirrus SR22 has a wing loading of 24.8. That’s 39% higher, and why bumps are felt in a Skylane, that barely seem noticeable in the Cirrus. The Skylane won’t set speed records either, with its big fuselage, rivets, fairing gaps and protuberances adding drag. However, the Skylane leaves every other all-metal competitive aeroplane miles behind at short field runway performance, which is a critical factor for many owners. The fixed main landing gear uses no struts, and even Cessna’s harshest critics will admit it’s pretty tough. Unfortunately, the nose gear attachment is not nearly as rugged, and more than a few Skylanes have suffered
concertinaed firewalls from heavy, nose-first landings. Control forces are relatively firm. The “combination” method for crosswind landings works best, commencing the final approach with a crab-angle, adopting a sideslip prior to touchdown. Using less than full flap can make crosswind landings easier, but they’ll need a bit more runway. Various 182 models, and some different years within the same models, have peculiar weight and airspeed limitations, so pilots need to check the flight manual when flying an unfamiliar aircraft. Since the 182N in 1970, many (but not all) Skylanes have different maximum take-off and landing weights. Perhaps the most important skill for a new 182 pilot to master is the use of elevator trim. The design has a large range for its allowable centre of gravity (CG), but it can also be loaded to the rear CG limit. At the forward end of the CG limit, Skylanes can be particularly difficult to land for the inexperienced, and this is especially true of the most recent models. One part of the problem stems from the relatively large flaps, which, when fully extended, create a high degree of drag, but also considerable lift. Close to the ground, unless the pilot flares at
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
the right height, the nosewheel can touch first, resulting in wheel-barrowing or worse. Flare too fast, and the aeroplane will head skywards again until it loses airspeed, from whence it will come down with a bang. The solution lies in disciplined airspeed control, usually maintaining a small amount of power until crossing the threshold, and setting the elevator trim correctly. Skylanes need to be
trimmed and airspeed correct for aircraft weight and conditions, and there’s 100 feet or so to go. An unexpected go-around arises. The pilot quickly goes to full power and is shocked to discover the nose now pointing at the moon, with crazy-high deck angle, and elevator control pressure too strong to overcome. The causes are that flaps are still deployed, and the nose-up landing trim setting hasn’t been adjusted. This is a critically unsafe configuration, and rapid intervention is needed to avoid a stall, roll over and worse. Unsurprisingly, the solution to this problem is the same as the landing one: trim. That final stage of flap should be retracted quickly, and the remaining 10 and 20 degrees progressively. The second scenario, in which a Skylane’s flap motion pitch moment can bring big trouble, occurs when flaps are used for take-off and retracted with the initial climb checks. The 182 has a distinct nose down moment as each stage of flap is retracted. Right after take-off, this can result in the nose pitching down, airspeed increasing, and the initial climb rate going
“In 1986, it all seemingly came to an end; it looked like the legend was over.” flown until they stop. Some quality dual time is really a necessity when stepping up to this aeroplane.
Bad habits Another handling issue, one that comes with all Cessna singles, is flap-motion pitch moment, but on the 182, it has serious potential for trouble. The first, and perhaps most alarming manifestation of this arises in the go-around situation. In this scenario, imagine the pilot has established a stable powered approach, with full flap extended, at an appropriate approach angle to the runway. The aeroplane is
backwards, fast. Again, the solution is to trim, after every configuration change. When this happens after a dark night take-off, inattention could see the aeroplane fly into ground. Some experienced 182 pilots do not use flap for take-off at night, which means consequently longer ground runs, but lowers risk in the critical part of the climb. An alternative is to limit flap use at night to 10o, and leave it extended until above a safe height, say 1000 or 1500 feet, from which there is a bigger margin for error. A catastrophic, tragic accident
in 2001 highlights the risk of failing to manage trim in a 182. In this case, the pilot took off with the trim positioned full aft, which was possibly the result of autopilot engagement and disengagement whilst the aircraft was taxiing. Whatever the cause, both occupants died because the pilot could not overpower the elevator control in the limit noseup trim position.
Big nose You often hear complaints about the Skylane’s nose-heaviness. Many such comments are made by pilots transitioning to the 182 from a 172, or Piper Warrior or Archer, where the control forces are lighter, and a smaller, fourcylinder engine with fixed-pitch propeller has a more neutral CG on the ground. Sometimes, these pilots aren’t used to needing to use much elevator trim, and may not adapt to the 182 so easily. Nevertheless, nose-heaviness
is a legitimate complaint, and over the years, the problem has got worse, with the most recent Skylane models being equipped with six cylinder Lycoming IO540 engines and three-blade propellers. All that weight is right up front, probably the worst place in an aeroplane with tricycle landing gear. Unless ballast is carried, the T182T Turbo Skylane gets very close to the allowable forward CG limit if two standard adults occupy the front crew seats and there is insufficient weight in the back. To be fair to Cessna, the six-cylinder Piper PA28-235 models, and other types, can be nose-heavy too. The same things that make the Skylane a bit ponderous, close to the ground, make for fabulous extended cruise flight. In smooth conditions, it’s quite easy to trim a 182 for flight with minimal manual intervention, even in IMC, without an autopilot. The 230-hp engine produces oodles of
ABOVE: The interior of the current model Skylane is more luxurious than the pre-1986 models.
power, so winding back to 70% in cruise results in good airspeeds, 130-140 KTAS in later models. Skylanes with well-balanced propellers and even engine compressions typically run smoothly, often the first thing a new 182 pilot notices. The wide, roomy cabin, with low levels of noise and vibration, and excellent visibility, make it a very pleasant way to travel, even for hours at a time.
In Australia, the Skylane is often the first choice of many pilots on long cross-country touring flights that involve two or three people.
My how you’ve grown Just like the song, the 182 has “sung a lot of changes since 1955”. Happily, there haven’t been any really “bad arrangements”. Almost every year since, the design has received some improvements; some of the more important ones are discussed below.
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The first big design change came fast, in 1957, with the “A” model (prior to this, the simple designator “182” was used). The 182A had a lower, wider main gear track, the answer to landing incidents in which the earliest aircraft had a tendency to topple. The fuel capacity was increased to 246 l (65 US gal) and the maximum weight to 1202 kg (2650 lb). In 1960, the 182C received a swept tail, additional side windows, more headroom in the back and an
ABOVE: EFIS units are now standard on new-delivery Skylanes. TOP: The Skylane also had a retractable version on offer. This is a TR182 on landing.
elevator downspring for greater pitch stability. In 1961, the 182D’s landing gear height shrunk another 100 millimetres, and the nose gear fork got stronger. The 182E marked a major redesign in 1962, reinforcing Cessna’s commitment to the product. Among the big changes were a wider fuselage and cabin, updated aileron control system, new wing tips, electric flaps, redesigned landing gear, flat cabin floor, new rear window and optional autopilot and long-range fuel tanks. In the 1965 182H, a wider horizontal stabiliser was introduced while the 182N of 1971 had grown to 1338 kg (2950 lb). By 1975, the 182P had gained tubular main landing gear legs, replacing the flat spring steel ones, bonded metal doors, redesigned door posts and new wheel fairings. In 1977, Cessna switched to the O-470-U engine, which had a quieter maximum RPM of 2400. The 182Q of 1979-80 made its mark with wet-wing fuel tanks. This saw the end of accidents caused by
water being trapped in ripples in the old fuel bladders. The 182R, which followed in 1981, had an increased maximum weight of 1406 kg (3100 lb). For the first time, a turbocharged Lycoming O-540 engine was offered as an option. In 1978 Cessna also introduced the Skylane 182RG, which made around 15 knots better in cruise than the fixed gear model. Naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions, utilising the Lycoming O-540 engine, were built until 1986. During this time, the general aviation aircraft industry grew wildly. In 1978, US GA manufacturers delivered 17,811 aircraft, including 14,398 single-engine piston aircraft. A staggering 7263 straight-leg Skylanes were built in that decade. But the volumes weren’t sustainable. From 1980, sales of new aircraft, industry-wide, had begun to contract. In 1983, Cessna, the market leader, posted its first-ever loss. In 1985, it was acquired by General Dynamics, which liked its new and profitable business jet line. By then, pistonengine aircraft sales had slowed to less than a trickle, and Cessna was suffering in the increasingly litigious US legal environment, which had sent its product liability costs soaring.
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AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
Into hiatus In 1986, it all seemingly came to an end; it looked like the legend was over. Production of all Cessna single and multi-engine piston aircraft ceased. In 1992, General Dynamics sold Cessna Aircraft Company to Textron. Textron already owned the Lycoming engine manufacturing business and Bell Helicopter. Cessna was now a business aviation company, with the Citation jets and Caravan turbo-props being built at its headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. However, Cessna Chairman Russ Meyer believed that general aviation still had a future, and was prominent in gaining the passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act by the US Congress in 1994. In 1996, it was announced that the legend would live again, with major upgraded single-engine piston designs, and a new plant at Independence, Kansas, for the legendary “restart” Cessna singles.
“Cessna stumbled in 2015 with the premature announcement of the dieselpowered Skylane JT-A.” The 182S of 1997 was a massive departure from the Skylanes of before. A new variant of the Lycoming IO540 engine, new avionics and interior fit raised the bar on safety, performance and comfort, and importantly, these aircraft were fully corrosion-proofed and gained a beefed-up firewall. Unlike their competitors, Cessna re-certified the design of the 182, and its other single engine models to FAR Part 23 at various amendments, ensuring a clear regulatory basis for major changes. The biggest improvement in the 182S, which first shipped in 1997, was the power plant, which
eliminated carburettor ice, for which the previous Skylanes were infamous. Initially built with two-blade propellers, the 182S soon was fitted with a three-blade McCauley propeller that reduced noise and vibration. The 182T, with improved fairings and cabin improvements, took over in 2001. The turbo-charged T182T, ideal for crossing the Rocky Mountains, was also introduced that year. In 2003, the GA world was shaken by the Garmin G1000 glass-cockpit avionics, which became available as an option in the Skylane the following year. The round-dialled versions waned in popularity and the G1000 fit became standard. The
attitude-based GFC 700 autopilot followed, and this year, the faster, crisper Garmin G1000 NXi displays were adopted.
Diesel days Cessna stumbled in 2013, with the premature announcement of the diesel-powered Skylane JT-A. The plan had been to replace the Lycoming-powered 182T with the JT-A, based on a variant of the 227-hp SMA engine, but major problems were found during flight testing. During 2014, Cessna delivered no Skylanes at all, and when deliveries resumed in 2015, the airframes had been fitted with Lycoming IO-540 engines, and the Skylane JT-A was nowhere to be found. Close to 25,000 Cessna 182s have been delivered since 1956. In that time, it’s become an advanced, high-performance, personal travel aeroplane that’s still good at shortfields and has a pilot-friendly high wing. The legend lives.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Reach for the
So You Reckon Dead Reckoning’s Dead? The box of tricks on the panel knows where you are, but do you? If your GPS died in-flight, would you manage to get home the old-fashioned way? Steve Hitchen reviews the art of dead reckoning navigation. True Course 70 degrees, var. 11 degrees E., deviation 0 degrees, therefore compass course 59 degrees. Drift? A guess. I lay off 10 degrees to starboard. That will take us clear of the high ground anyhow. I put the course on the compass, 69 degrees, straighten her up for Smithy to set his gyro, and then hand over. Immediately he sits her back on her tail and we climb up into the cloud. – Pacific Flight, 1935 hus did PG “Bill” Taylor and Sir Charles Kingsford Smith set off for Suva, Fiji, in their Lockheed Altair Lady Southern Cross. It was 1934, and navigation was based on compass, clock and commonsense, correcting for wind and using position fixes and star shots to confirm or deny where you thought you were. They would make it all the way from Brisbane to San Francisco, with Taylor constantly checking, correcting and checking again. Getting lost was a option that would lead only to a watery grave. In 2018 we would just set the GPS and follow the magenta line, whether it be on a device built by Apple, Bendix King, Garmin or one of many others. Not for us the use of drift flares and sextants, and in many general aviation cockpits today even the whiz wheel doesn't get to make the journey. It seems the art of navigation–called “dead reckoning”–has been killed off by the march of technology.
But those who applaud the apparent demise of “pilotage” as it was often called, arguing that the reliability and accuracy of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have made dead reckoning obsolete, are ignoring the fact that even with this technology, a basic understanding of how flight across the ground works is still critical. Put simply, it means you can use the technology in a educated way, rather than just in the metaphorical “fat, dumb and happy” way. And most of us are aware of what the term “fat, dumb and happy” usually precedes.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
Still a need Ignoring the fact that dead reckoning is in the CASA navigation training syllabus, there are still several reasons why it should be practised in every GA cockpit on a VFR flight. Gary McGhee, Grade 1 Instructor at Lilydale Flying School in Victoria, is very adamant that dead reckoning still has a place in general aviation despite the rapid proliferation of technology. “We still need dead reckoning for redundancy,” he says. “If the iPad or GPS screen goes black, what do you do? Dead reckoning
LEFT: That's a good landmark. Is it appearing in the right place at the right time. ABOVE: Dead reckoning navigation means reading a chart, not just following a magenta line.
January â€“ February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
44 Reach for the sky It means you can use the technology in a educated way.
What’s wrong with this picture? You know where you’re going, but was the original track measured correctly?
also gives a student a basic appreciation of how wind works and how you would navigate manually without this technology, which reinforces the learning process and makes the appreciate the iPads and GPS technology. “It enables them to appreciate different conditions, such as the wind strength and the impact it has on their planning. Understanding wind allows the pilot to use the technology in an educated way, rather than just being 'children of the magenta line'. “Just following what the technology tells you, if you had no appreciation of wind direction or strength, you could almost think you're flying in the wrong direction, with the nose pointing in one direction, but the aircraft flying in another.” Understanding and using dead reckoning is probably the main difference between a person who pilots an aircraft and one that steers an aircraft. A pilot selects the route, plans the route, flies the route and makes all the decisions along the way that bring the aircraft to its destination. But like Bill Taylor and his
contemporaries, pilots must have the basics of dead reckoning in place first before they take to the skies to learn what really happens. The current CASA training syllabus takes care of all that, but pilots who are past that stage and have been seduced by the ease of navigation by technology may find themselves too distant from the navigation nursery to do it well.
Basics in focus Pilots who fly by Instrument Flight Rules have been slaves to technology for decades; there is no other way to fly on instruments. Similarly, there is no other genuine way to fly visually but to look outside and set your position and track based on what you see. You can use a GPS course as an aid to visual navigation, but never as the primary method. Therefore, the basics of dead reckoning are integral to being a good VFR pilot. “Dead reckoning means having an appreciation of the environmental factors such as wind direction, wind strength, turbulence; anything external to the aircraft that may influence how we get from one place to another.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
“It's visual flying using ground references and knowing how to navigate.” The two factors that make up the building blocks of good navigation are time and direction. What direction do you point the nose, and for how long do you hold that heading? With those two variables known, the pilot can then check constantly that the aircraft is going where they want it to, not where the wind wants to send it. “Clock, map and ground,” says McGhee. “Having an appreciation of how long it should take you to get to a certain position, what
ground features you should be seeing at about what time; and if you're not seeing them, then working out where you are.” With a track line drawn on a chart, pilots can relate the features on the map to what they see on the ground. Should that town be on my left or my right? Am I crossing that road about the time I think I should be? Of course, all that presumes the pilot did their homework before leaving the airport so they know in advance what they should be seeing and when. That homework is a series of calculations we refer to as the Triangle of Velocities. Velocities are vectors, and as such each one has a direction and a magnitude. There are three that affect aircraft navigation. • Track/True Airspeed (TRK/ TAS). This is what you want to achieve. It is the direction you wish to fly and the speed you wish to fly at. • Wind Direction/Wind Velocity (W/V). This is the movement of the air that will influence where the aeroplane actually goes. • Heading/Ground Speed (HDG/GS). This is the compass heading you have to fly to compensate for the action of the wind, and the speed made across the ground. It is derived from calculations based on the first two vectors.
Getting the TAS used in calculations is often a matter of flying straight and level to get the performance.
The wind will blow you from your heading to your track, and from your TAS to your ground speed ... in an ideal world. In the real world the actual and the forecast winds tend to disagree, resulting in you being blown from your heading to somewhere else, but most often not onto your pure magnetic track. “The triangle of velocities give you a plan,” McGhee stresses, “what happens when you get up there might be different ... that's what makes it fun. “The effect of the wind–which may not be as forecast–will manifest itself, provided you fly the heading that you've planned. Whether we end up left or right of track depends on the actual winds.” If it all sounds very amorphous, take into account that of the six factors that make up the three vectors, only the TRK is not a variable unless you change where you want to go in flight. Therefore, to call dead reckoning
a science is perhaps inappropriate; scientists like more known factors in a system than one in six.
Reducing the variables Good dead reckoning comes from constantly checking and compensating for the variables; checking your TAS instead of relying on the book figures, aligning the compass and the directional gyro, getting ground fixes and calculating the Track Made Good (what direction you are actually flying) and calculating your ground speed to estimate leg times. It's a constant process, and it starts with the biggest question of all: have you firstly turned the right way? More than one pilot has made the mistake of haring off on a heading that is 180o off what it should be: steering 020oM when their measured track called for 200oM, or steering the right way
How the triangle of velocities works. The wind is from the north-east so to get to Toowoomba you need to point at Wards Hill or you’ll end up at Mount Davidson.
in the air, but having measured the track on the chart wrong in the first place. Get the track right and you're at least off to a good start. “It's part of your orientation checks,” McGhee points out. “Are the mountains on the correct side? Is the water on the correct side? Is the sun on the correct side? You should always question what you're doing. Whether you use CLEAROFF or some other personal acronym is up to you, but
it's an important part of checking where you're going.” But as noted above, the track across the ground is made good by steering a heading on the directional gyro (DG), which introduces more disciplines to navigation. Not only does the DG have to be aligned to the compass, but it needs to be checked sporadically to make sure the DG is not precessing. Precession, in our world, is when the DG rolls
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
46 Reach for the sky
LFS instructor Gary McGhee is a big proponent of dead reckoning navigation.
all by itself, giving the pilot a false reading of the heading. Some do it, some don't. Some are so bad at precessing that the pilot needs to declare the DG unusable and go back to flying on the compass, compensating, of course, for all the errors in that instrument. But the biggest variable of all is a lack of diligence in watching a heading. Aircraft will wander for
a number of reasons: not rigged properly, fuel imbalance, rudder out of trim ... it could warrant a feature article all on its own. Consequently, the pilot needs to watch the heading, but not to the extent that their head is always in the cockpit. “At least 95% of the time your head should be out of the cockpit,” McGhee reckons. “You can
incorporate heading discipline as part of your look-out. As you scan from left to right, in the middle you can just drop your eyes down to look at the heading and altitude; the basics of checking if you're flying what you've planned.” Another important discipline is the true airspeed. The TAS is what the aeroplane presents to the wind, and the wind acts on the TAS to produce the ground speed. So, we need to achieve our TAS to get our calculated ground speed. “I find that even experienced PPLs don't have a good idea of what their TAS is,” McGhee says, “particularly in flight. To achieve anywhere near the book TAS, you have to fly to the numbers the manufacturer set in terms of power setting. You need to do that to get the performance. “It also comes down to weight and balance, nose attitude and whether or not you've properly trimmed the aeroplane. If you set a given nose attitude and
power setting, you should get the performance. Effective trimming makes it all a lot easier.” If you boil all this down to see what remains, you have the hackneyed directive that flying instructors are always banging on about: fly straight and level. Maybe there is something behind that after all.
Getting it wrong There are some basic habits that will go a long way to getting a pilot lost, and one of the biggest is track crawling. Track crawling is when you choose a feature on the chart that is only a short distance ahead, then fly to that feature and repeat the process with the next one. It will increase your workload significantly, keep your head in the cockpit too much and result in a track across the ground like the path of a drunken snake. Not very efficient and nearly impossible to plan for. Also, pilots will try to zen
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dead reckoning; making heading changes because it “ just feels right”. If you are making a heading change, challenge yourself why you need to change and how you know what the new heading should be. Don't waffle around. “Going from ground to chart instead of from chart to ground is another one,” McGhee chimes in. “Saying something like 'that town down there has a road through it running east-west, it must be this one on the chart'. That's just jumping to conclusions. We try to teach what time it is and where on the chart you should be, what should the ground look like. “Before you commit to anything being what you think it is compared to the map, there should be at least five reasons why you think a town or other feature on the ground is the one on the map. Is it roughly the right size? Is it in the right place oriented to other features, are the railways and other line features where they should be?”
Going from chart to ground is fraught with all sorts of dangers, and is taught to be used only when you're “temporarily uncertain of your position”. Read: lost. Even then, getting genuinely lost is most often caused by a lack of discipline or even a blasé attiude towards navigation. And you will
to happen, hoping that somehow they will arrive at their destination anyway. In reality, they are only making themselves more lost by every minute. The sad thing is most errors are not gross, so often you are only a few miles away from your track, or a few minutes early or late. That's where you look: a
getting genuinely lost is most often caused by a lack of discipline find that by the time you are lost, the error is historical. You didn't make it five minutes ago; you made it about 20 minutes ago and weren't on the ball enough to pick it up. That's why the town you were expecting at 10 minutes past the hour failed to materialise. Some inexperienced pilots will drone on waiting for something
couple of miles either side of track or a couple of minutes up track or down track. If you've kept your discipline, you're not as lost as you think you are. When you are “lost” it's not the aeroplane that’s lost, just your situational awareness.
Dead last Good navigation is not the art
of not getting lost as PG Taylor illustrated in the first paragraph. He was taking a guess at the drift, but planned it so an error would take them clear of the high ground. Then, he checked and rechecked and corrected Smithy's path all the way to Fiji. It was a method of navigation that took them all the way to San Francisco, and Taylor would later use it to pioneer routes across the southern Pacific and the Indian Ocean. “Manual dead reckoning, although it sounds very basic, is extremely effective and accurate,” McGhee concludes. “Even just having a compass and a watch you can navigate very accurately.” And he leaves out one thing; it's great fun. Dead reckoning is a visual means of navigating, and visual pilots use it as a learned skill just like everything else about flying. That's probably how it got the name “pilotage” in the first place.
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Lessons from a
Jim Davis has a passion for instructing. He has been training civil and military pilots, in the air and on the ground for 50 years. His other passion is writing, which he studied at Curtin University in Perth. You can see, and buy, his two pilot text books PPL and Flight Tests at www.jimdavis.com.au
The Wisdom of Zingi Harrison Experience counts for a lot in aviation, and as Jim Davis remembers from early in his career, if you come across sage advice, it’s best to listen and learn rather than suffer the destinies of the unwise.
shouldn’t moan about the 40-Rand-per-month that Old Piet paid me, because part of the deal was that I also got a house–well, a sort of house–on the airfield. Actually it used to be the paint store belonging Eddie Pelcher from Republic Air Parts before becoming my home. It was about 50 yards down from Placo’s hangar. Anyhow, that’s where I lived with my wife and three-year-old son. This is relevant to this story, so here we go. Tea-making was one of the assignments at which I was particularly sharp. I could produce a cup of hot sustenance, to Zingi’s formula, in less than a minute. I was busy with this duty when the window between his office and the hangar clattered open. This was a chilling sound as it always seemed to precede a difference of opinion between myself and my short-tempered boss. “Davis,” Zingi yelled, “tell those bastards not to aim their aircraft at my hangar.” The mind raced. Our hangar must be the target of some sort of attack. I wasn’t certain how I would repel the bastards, or deter them from their evil intent, but I was more than willing to answer the call to arms. I dashed outside to assess the danger and to get a better view of the enemy, so as to formulate
a plan that would put an end to their villainous aiming. Looking where Zingi had pointed, I could see nothing more offensive than a couple of guys in the middle distance trying to start an Auster. Thank God we are safe, I thought, and went back to report to Zingi that I could detect no evidence of any danger in our immediate future. Had Zingi not been Managing Director of Placo Sales, he could have taken up employment with any branch of the military that was in need of a Sergeant Major. His diction, volume and word choice would have fulfilled the most stringent demands of the job. After adjusting his bow tie, he treated me to a sample of this talent, touching, as he often had before, on my genealogy,
As the wheels left the dirt runway I knew Zingi was right – I was going to die. education, and resemblance to some vile creature in a pond. He also intimated that if I did not immediately get the Auster pointing in some other direction, he would perform bowel surgery on me with a Comanche tow bar. This gave me considerable incentive, but it was still with a certain foreboding that I approached the perspiring pair of
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
prop-swingers. They must have been at it for some time as the blazing sun was taking its toll on the bonhomie that is usual amongst pilots. They viewed my approach without enthusiasm. My cheerful greeting and apologetic relaying of the boss’s message did nothing to revive the joie de vivre that I expected.
Using an expression with sexual connotations, they invited me to go away. Now I was in trouble; their suggestion was unambiguous, and yet Zingi had been more than clear about his requirements. I shuffled hesitantly in No-man’s Land, edging towards the hangar, hoping that Zingi had been called away on urgent business. He hadn’t. He emerged from the shadows and stood, legs apart, gently swinging the aforementioned tow bar. Even at that distance he seemed to have the disposition of a young Charlie Bravo. I could tell that if I wished
A pilot’s logbook is far more that just a record of dates, times, places and flights; it is also a history of a pilot’s flying career and a chronicle of the lessons learnt that makes them the aviator they are today. Jim Davis takes a look back through his own logbooks, and records the incidents that have shaped his approach to flying.
ABOVE: Visibility over the nose of a Tiger Moth on take-off is limited, so what chance of seeing a Tri-Pacer on the runway?
I stuck my head out of the hangar and was greeted by the sight of an Auster with its nose through my bedroom window. Zingi followed me down to examine the damage. As he got there I looked around. Neither of us said a word, but the trace of a smile spread across his face as he lifted the tow bar and gently waved it in my direction. Now there was a guy who really knew about aeroplanes. (I am happy to report that no wives or children were harmed during the intrusion of the Auster into our home.) to avoid the painful installation he proposed, I would do well to re-negotiate the matter with the Auster-swingers. Tottering back to the front lines, I explained to the unhappy duo what Zingi proposed doing with the implement in his hand. “Aha!” they said in unison, as if adding their approval and support of Zingi’s plan. The long and the short of it was that they finally agreed to let me help them turn the aircraft 30 degrees to the left – which meant that it was not technically aimed at the hangar
I returned to HQ with an air of rightful indignation. I had been subjected to considerable mental anguish while conducting a worthless project. No sooner had I revived my tea-making activities when I heard the Auster start. After some introductory coughing and throat-clearing it settled down to a healthy roar. “For God’s sake throttle back”, I muttered into the teapot. They didn’t. The noise got louder and closer. There was a horrendous clatter and crash, a tinkling of broken glass, and then silence.
The Dendron incident My logbook tells me that this next story had repercussions some 15 years later. So if you don’t mind I will start at the end and then tell you what led up to it. As I may have mentioned, I am proud to be a founder-member of the Live Cowards’ Club. There are only two rules: don’t fly if something seems dodgy; and if you are flying and something seems dodgy, land ... gently. So my story starts with me wandering around the airfield at
Plettenburg Bay, waiting for my next student to arrive. Suddenly, from out of a crystal blue sky, a mate of mine, Carel van Aswegen, arrived in his little homebuilt single-seater Bergwind. This threw me into a mild panic. I knew, with the certainty of déjà vu, that I would be forced to break Rule 1. I could picture what was going to happen. Carel would spring out of his little aeroplane, stride across the grass, clap me on the back and say “Take her up, Jim.” Carel sprang out of his little aeroplane, strode across the grass… To understand my predicament I must take you back to the beginning again when I was working for the greatest pilot in the world: Zingi Harrison Zingi had flown spitfires in the war. Zingi could fly a Super Cub out of the hangar doors, and Zingi knew all there was to know about aviation. This being so, I almost wet myself with excitement when Zingi told me I was to accompany him to an air show at the little farming town of Dendron. I could think of no greater thrill than to inspect, in his company, such modern marvels as the Navion
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
52 Lessons from a logbook Rangemaster, the wooden-spared Mooney Master, and the S35 “butterfly-tail” Bonanza. All went well until noon when a thunderstorm hit the airfield at the exact time allocated to Dirty Potty’s Amazing Low-Level Aerobatics Display. Dirty Potty was the world’s second-greatest pilot, after Zingi. The “Dirty” part was nothing to do with being unwashed, or personal hygiene. It came from Potty’s nocturnal activities. Not to put too fine a point on it, Potty was happy to bed anyone, anytime, anywhere. But on with his aerobatics display. Potty somehow contrived
to emerge from the bottom of the thunderstorm, amidst pelting rain and flashes of lightning. His Tiger was going downhill at an impossible angle, and the engine was howling as he disappeared behind a hangar. I was in a state of horrified disbelief. On the one hand, I knew that the Great Dirty Potty was immortal – he couldn’t crash a serviceable aeroplane. On the other hand my eyes told me that he must thud into the ground within seconds. I couldn’t believe it when, a couple of heartbeats later, the Tiger appeared from behind the
hangar, now heading uphill at an increasingly steep angle, until it was inverted. Dirty Potty then pulled through to complete the loop, which again finished below the level of the hangar. This was the start of the wildest low-level aerobatics display I have ever seen. Dirty Potty hurled the Tiger through a sequence of suicidal manoeuvres at such low level that the crowd alternately surged into the hangars for fear of being struck by the aircraft, then rushing into the downpour so as not to miss the next lightening-studded event. As a finale, after once again herding us all indoors, Potty clattered the wheels of the Tiger along the corrugated-iron roof of the main hangar, kicking up such a racket that we all fled into the deluge again.
BELOW: Plettenberg Bay today. Years ago it was the site of Jim’s near-death experience with an out-of-limits CoG.
GE GOOGLE EARTH IMA
LEFT: The Auster is light and the engine is not the most powerful around, but powerful enough to runaway.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
The storm and the aerobatics stopped simultaneously. Next, a homebuilt aircraft arrived overhead. It was pitching up and down in a most alarming manner. As it joined downwind, Zingi dashed to the commentator’s podium. He ripped the mike from the astonished broadcaster’s hand and called for a doctor and an ambulance. I was as stunned as everyone else. Had Zingi lost it? We soon found out. The oscillating aircraft smashed into the ground and disintegrated. A doctor attended to the stricken aviator, and the ambulance carted him off. We never heard whether he had lived through the event. The state of the aeroplane would indicate that he probably hadn’t survived. Zingi was carried shoulderhigh and lauded as a hero. Here was a man who really knew about aeroplanes ... he could even predict crashes. One of the many pieces of wisdom that Zingi passed on to me was “Never fly someone else’s homebuilt”.
Carel’s Bergwind Now, back to Carel and his homebuilt at Plettenberg Bay on 6 March 1978. I could find no excuse not to fly it, so I reluctantly clambered aboard, with Zingi’s spectre waving a finger of rebuke in my face. Suddenly everything was OK ... I couldn’t get in! My long legs wouldn’t go under the instrument panel. “What a bastard,” I said, “I’d just love to fly it, but I can’t fit in.” “No sweat,” said Carel, “lean forward and I’ll take out the backrest.” This moved me back about four inches. My knees went under the panel and my feet rested comfortably on the rudder pedals. Now I had no excuse. As the wheels left the dirt runway I knew Zingi was right – I was going to die. I couldn’t control the nose attitude! It went steeply up. I eased forward, and then more forward. But nothing
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54 Lessons from a logbook happened. Then suddenly the nose pitched sharply down – way too far. I quickly eased back, but again nothing, for most of the stick’s travel, then bang, it was far too high again. Throughout that terrifying circuit, I could see every detail of the Dendron crash. Carel’s wretched Bergwind was behaving in exactly the same way. As it turned out I was just luckier with my landing, I managed to touch down at the bottom of one of its oscillations. There was no bloodshed or damage. That was when I found something new to be cowardly about – it’s this stupid phobia I have about flying with the Centre of Gravity out of limits. Those four inches had been enough to turn a pussy-cat into a raging tiger.
The Moth and the Milk Stool Air Traffic Control at Wonderboom in the early 1960s was rather a hit-and-miss affair. There was a controller, but he was an ordinary sort of guy with a requirement for ordinary bodily functions, so he wasn’t always in his little wooden box on bricks. And even when he was there, he wasn’t necessarily all there, if you follow me. So, the tower wasn’t always occupied, and even when it was, most of us didn’t have radios. If we were lucky the controller
sometimes made his wishes known by directing a rather feeble red or green light at us, but mostly we just kept our eyes open and our mouths shut. Anyway, Dronkie Lombard and I were leaning on the fence outside the crew-room. We watched idly as a blue Tri-Pacer, sometimes referred to as a Flying Milk Stool, entered our field of vision and taxied out. Zingi joined us, lit a cigarette, straightened his bow tie and said, “This is going to be interesting.” I looked at him amazed. I was intrigued to know what he expected to be so engaging. “Why? What’s going on, Skipper?” “Davis, you useless bastard. Don’t chirp – just watch and learn.” “Sure thing, Skipper.” I couldn’t see anything that looked like a learning opportunity, but when Zingi spoke, I listened. As we watched, a curious series of events started to unfold. A Tiger Moth had lined up at the threshold of 06, and a glider was being attached to its rear. There was the usual assembly of towrope-checkers, canopy-closers, arm-wavers and wing-holders, each contributing their particular skills to the operation. In the meantime the Tri-Pacer had taxied to the intersection and was about to back-track when it noticed the Tiger at the threshold. The Tri-Pacer courteously elected
to hold short of the runway to await further developments. What we didn’t know was that this was the Trike pilot’s very first flight after getting his PPL. He was taking his pretty blonde girlfriend along as his very first passenger. Not wanting to waste time, the Tri-Pacer decided to do its pre-take-off vital actions at the intersection. We observed the stream of red dust that poured out behind as the mags were checked at 1800 revs. With these formalities complete, and still no apparent sign of action from the
the God who looks after drunks and student pilots had recently been relieved of this responsibility
Tiger, the Trike decided not to back-track, but to set sail from its present position. Now, the God who looks after drunks and student pilots had recently been relieved of this responsibility because the student had become fully fledged PPL. He was no longer under the protective custody of the Almighty. With extremely bad fortune he managed to line-up on the runway at the exact instant that the pilot of the Tiger, having received OKs from his assistants, opened the throttle to get the show on the road, its own stream of red dust almost obscuring the glider. We, as observers, at first found no cause for speculation. It seemed obvious that, although the Tiger pilot was blind ahead with the tail-wheel rattling along the ground and the nose pointing skywards, there was plenty of time for the Trike to take off and leave a clear passage for the lumbering Tiger. Acceleration was slow in the hot 6000-ft density altitude.
The inevitable Christine, Vincent and my MG TA were unscathed as the Auster sailed into our house in the background.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
conscientious attention to detail. Whatever other faults he may have had, he was not the sort of guy to be rushed. He was the kind of pilot who likes to have things exactly right. Having lined up he decided it was a good idea to go through his checks again. I would like to report that this pilot’s thoroughness was a tribute to aviation safety, but I would be wrong. Duplicate checks take valuable time, and the Tiger has transitioned from a fast trot to a lolloping canter. The glider was airborne and the Tiger’s tail
Surely the Trike would start moving at any moment. But we hadn’t reckoned on the new pilot’s
up. This afforded its pilot an interesting view of the scenery ahead, and a particularly good view of the rear of the stationary Tri-Pacer, which grew steadily in his windscreen. The term “on the horns of a dilemma” accurately described the Tiger pilot’s predicament. If he closed the throttle, having no brakes, his momentum would probably still carry him into the Milk Stool. Besides, what would become of the flying glider in his mirror? But if he didn’t abort the take-off, and the Trike continued its sedentary condition, the result was obvious. As it turned out, the latter occurred. And so we witnessed the destruction of both aircraft. The glider pilot jettisoned the tow rope, flew over the scene of desolation and landed gently in the second half of the runway. Happily no one was physically hurt, although one hesitates to speculate upon the relationship between the Tri-Pacer pilot and the blonde. It was hot in the sun so we wandered back inside. It’s tough being a pilot when there is no flying going on. Besides it was nearly tea-time.
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Avionics PHILIP SMART
Searching for a Spark Australia’s avionics maintenance industry is in the doldrums thanks to a lack of expertise and an inability to train new people. Philip Smart investigates the background and details what’s being done to get the sector humming again.
t a time when aircraft are becoming networked nodes in a world-wide chain; when digital is replacing analogue in nearly every field of aviation, the pool of engineers trained to fit and maintain the avionics equipment that drives modern general aviation aeroplanes is dwindling. Decreasing general aviation flight hours, training and licensing issues and low-maintenance
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
modern technologies are combining to simply mean fewer units are landing on fewer benches less often, and spending less time there when they do. And that inevitably means fewer people at benches. “I know a lot of the avionics shops now have got probably 50% of the staff they used to have,” said Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA) executive director Ken Cannane. “A lot of that is to do with the low amount of hours being flown in general aviation. If aircraft aren’t flying hours then maintenance sits on the sideline and just waits for the hours to be flown.” Ironically, the very advancement and reliability of modern technology is part of the problem. Like iPhones and tablets, avionics systems are becoming cheaper to build, with replacement often cheaper than repair. Bruce Rogers of Victorian aviation engineering training company ATSV said even the humble landing light illustrates the issue. “We’ve now got aeroplanes with light emitting diode (LED) lamps that have a tremendous life,” Rogers told Australian Flying. “Once upon a time you’d change
RIGHT: General aviation aircraft today carry avionics as sophisticated as any airliner, such as these fitted to a Nextant 400XTi jet. LEFT: For many a business jet is classed as general aviation, but the Enhanced Vision System aboard this Dassault Falcon 8 is as sophisticated as anything an airline pilot would see.
a landing lamp every 150 or 175 hours because the filament inside it would burn out. But you put these LED landing lamps in and they’re good for 1500 or 2000 hours of operation.” The landing light example allegory holds true for more sophisticated parts of the aircraft avionics package too. The rise of “glass cockpit” electronic flight instrument systems (EFIS), GPS navigation and modern navigation and communications radios means there is simply less to maintain and a greater interval between scheduled maintenance or expected failure on equipment that isn’t designed to have replaceable components.
Gone are the mechanical clocks, drive cables and vacuum systems. In their place are “plug and play” electronic boxes. Rogers believes the trend is here to stay, as flying schools embrace EFIS both from its cost saving perspective and its ability to put students in to a cockpit that at least resembles the one they will eventually command as an airline pilot. “It’s a much easier way to have electronic instruments on your aeroplane because it’s almost a bolt-out, bolt-in mod,” he said. “You put in a couple of air data sensors for airspeed, you couple them up to an air data computer and you can run all sorts of things from them.
“And when you look at training aeroplanes now, one of the gains is that you can put someone in an aeroplane on Day One of their flying training and they will see the same screen and the same nav display and the same engine performance criteria they will see in their A320 five years later. "The advantage of that from the training world is that the student doesn’t have to keep climbing the learning mountain. They can concentrate more on handling the aeroplane, working their navigation skills, rather than having to spend days learning about electronic instruments here and manual instruments there. So it’s a great improvement.”
A disposable society The “replace don’t repair” philosophy also potentially removes the need for traditional costly after-sales logistics chains. If exchanged failed units are going back to the factory or just being binned, manufacturers no long need to appoint and audit thirdparty repair stations, provide data and manuals, or train repair station personnel, which may in itself convince owners of aircraft with increasingly unsupportable obsolete avionics to update. Ken Cannane again: “It’s getting to the point where often the cost of a new item is less than the cost of
the hours you’ve got to put in to try and repair the old item,” he said. “And I think a lot of the problem with the really old stuff is that the manufacturers are trying to pull data away from them, not stand by it. They want to get rid of some of the ancient instruments because they don’t want to run continual maintenance programs to keep up to date with all the different things going wrong with them.” General Aviation maintenance engineers can also find they need to nut out and interpret a little more than the airline engineers in the big end of town. Although manuals and data for older aircraft are now often available digitally, it’s often an electronic
Januaru – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
version of an existing manual, not necessarily updated for the purpose. Just as some would say general aviation aircraft are less sophisticated than their airline cousins, the manuals can be too. “They’re not as precise as maybe you would like them to be if you were working on an airliner,” Bruce Rogers said. “So the guys working on the aeroplanes tend to need more knowledge and better understanding of things than maybe someone working on an airliner like an Embraer E-Jet or
ABOVE: Many see general aviation as low-tech, but its needs and safety requirements are just as great as any airliner. LEFT: Standardised systems will maximise Australia’s ability to provide avionics training for international markets.
something like that where they go out with a laptop underneath their arm, plug it in, press a button and say 'well what’s the status going on?', and the machine tells them. “It’s reached a level of complexity that’s very difficult for people to understand, but it’s become so easy because we’ve computerised the system and it’s simple. So one would argue that, yes, you have to have a broad level of knowledge and a deep understanding of safety for everybody, but in GA the
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
boundaries are a little wider than they are on airlines, mostly because people working on airlines have probably only got one or two or three approvals. They can’t work on eight or nine different sorts of aeroplanes in a day, like can happen in GA.”
GA not so general For Bruce Rogers another issue with attracting new avionics engineers to general aviation is that many see the sector as low-tech. Not so. Many “GA” aircraft are equipped with navigation, flight management and communications systems that airline pilots would envy. “Lots of people’s interpretation of GA is that it’s all ‘bug smashers’, Cessna 150s, up to sort of Airvan sort of aeroplanes doing stuff mainly in VMC conditions,” he said. “But the thing to consider about general aviation is it also
includes business jets. The latest business jets from Gulfstream routinely cruise at 52,000 feet at 0.9 Mach. There are no airliners that do that nowadays. Concorde used to exceed those conditions, but normally airliners don’t fly anywhere near that high and they don’t fly that fast. “Business jets now have enhanced vision systems, similar to the night vision goggle sort of idea where they have infra red emitting lamps on the aeroplane and you have cameras which receive the infrared images and display them on a screen inside your aeroplane. So when your Jetstar and your Tiger aeroplanes are having to fly around again because they can’t see the runway, your business jets can just plough straight on through because they can see through all the fog.”
Regulation and training As part of Australia’s ongoing aviation regulation reform, CASA adopted the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 66, covering aircraft engineer licensing and ratings. The original concept was to adopt the European standard to give Australian engineers reciprocal standing with those of other countries, simplify our regulatory system and help position Australia to gain engineering work from overseas. As with other elements of recent regulatory reform, it didn’t quite work out that way. Along the way someone decided
Australian regulations had to divert from the original, and looked after the needs of airlines rather than those of GA. “They only took probably about 70% of the requirements from EASA Part 66 and tried to make it work here,” said Ken Cannane. “And Part 66 in Europe had the same options as what you could get here with a licence underneath the old CAR 31. So even though they’ve banged it in, that caused lot of problems, not only within the regulatory side, but also with the way it was then applied by the organisation building the training packages in the Education Department. And the training package that came out of it was a total mess. “Basically what was implemented was the training packages that met the needs of the airlines but not the general aviation industry.” The system no longer looked like the EASA program that it was designed to reflect.
Components of the system were even named differently, which immediately caused complications for Australian engineering companies in South East Asia, expected to be the powerhouse of aviation growth for the next two decades. A different name for the same training course or module immediately put the potential customer on their toes, wondering if the module from the Australian system would indeed be compliant or approved within their own EASA-based system. That meant Australian companies had to work a lot harder to convince them that our courses were compliant. Working harder in business costs money and time. Ken Cannane saw the issues first hand. “I was a speaker at the Indonesian MRO conference earlier in the month and I went to the VIP dinner. At the table I had the CEO of a training organisation in Singapore, who asked us why do you call it MEA AeroSkills and what
Light aircraft such as this Diamond DA42 have moved to EFIS cockpits to give students a seamless transition to modern airliners.
the hell do they do? He said when they adopted Part 66 just about every country he knows in South East Asia adopted the aircraft maintenance engineering qualification. “We had the engineering manager from a major MRO in Indonesia sitting at the table. And he jumped in and he said they take no notice of our engineering qualification. But if the LAME
(Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) has had 10 years experience with Qantas or Virgin, we accept that he’s got the qualification. “The next day at the conference there were about 15 people in the industry who stood up at one time and said why can’t we get qualifications from the education system that are similar right throughout South East Asia?”
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Avionics Hope on the horizon
OPPOSITE PAGE: Older avionics are becoming harder to maintain as manufacturers trim support in favour of new products.
BELOW: Legacy avionics fitted to much of Australia’s GA fleet take a lot of maintenance to keep them functioning as advertised. Not so the new generation products.
But there is change in the air. The recently created Aerospace Industry Reference Committee, comprised of industry representatives including Qantas, AMROBA, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, operators and maintenance organisations, has contracted a skills service organisation, Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA) with experience in similar issues with the automotive industry to rework the existing training modules. And it’s happening. “The committee was formed by putting together industry organisations, associations and then people that are involved in the actual work of it,” said Ken Cannane. “They have met a couple of times and that committee has
worked extremely well because it’s identified the shortfalls. “I just got an email yesterday of the change they’re doing to the current diploma system that has got the piston engine requirements in the training package so that the training schools that are out there and have been approved can actually provide the training for the general aviation industry. That has been the first fix. “The second fix is that they’ve taken on board that they’ve got to repackage the actual training packages because, now we’ve adopted the European system, the training package in Europe is set up so you can pass examinations against a number of modules. You’ll have maths and physics in one module and human factors in another module and the technical stuff in another module. “And the idea is that with each licence there’s a dedicated set of modules you have to pass and the training package in Australia
has never been put in to that packaging system. IBSA is quite willing to go ahead and repackage that. Hopefully by the end of next year they’ll have that all repackaged. “The last point that we put to them is that the title doesn’t match the international standard. The rest of the world has just called the qualification Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.”
Funding and facilities But repackaging the training modules won’t be enough. Cannane and Rogers both commented that funding for aviation training facilities needs to be held and managed at a national, not state level. Michael Kus, a navy-trained avionics engineer, former avionics specialist with the Victoria Police Air Wing and now Managing Director of avionics MRO Avionics 2000 agrees.
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AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
“Without continued focus on a stream of new engineers at the front of the system, the experience pool will shrink” “From a state level they’re wasting their time because there’s not that many people that need to be trained,” he told Australian Flying. “So they’re just wasting money. They’d be better off just cutting the budget in half, putting it in to a pool and saying ‘we’ll have two or three schools country wide that you can send your apprentices to and they’ll be centres of excellence.’ Then you use the money effectively.” Bruce Rogers believes the commitment required to become a licensed avionics engineer is considerable, and worthy of support from government to ensure Australia has the engineers it needs for the future. He also believes lack of funding, a state-based approach to training through organisations
with priorities on funding rather than the future of the Australian aviation industry are making life difficult for apprentices who increasingly have other career options. “A few years ago when apprentices were coming to us they were getting $2000 a year in expenses to use for travel and accommodation,” he said. “In Victoria now that’s $200. “We want to train them up in-country and get them working in-country. The only problem with that of course is it’s going to be five or six years before the two students the other side of this wall will be in a position where they can start certifying aeroplanes. They’re second year students, so they’ve already put a fair amount of commitment in.
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“A student wanting to be a commercial pilot can walk in off the street and be a CPL holder with a twin-piston approval within a year. Yet the guy who’s going to certify the aeroplane, that will take him five years. “Education is a business. It’s been made a business because of changes to the government funding. If the funding addressed the need and we didn’t have to do so much business then I’m sure a lot more aviation courses would be running. “It’s a Catch-22. Without
continued focus on a stream of new engineers at the front of the system, the experience pool will shrink, providing fewer experienced trainers for the next generation. “For students to have wellrounded training, you’ve got to have people who have been in the industry for a long time as trainers. You need people who have come from an aviation background. But you can’t just say ‘we’ll go and recruit someone from an avionics background tomorrow’ because there aren’t many of them around.”
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Australian Pilot Training Alliance STEVE HITCHEN
Glen Buckley has a lot of expertise in his team at APTA. From left to right: Group Head of Safety Andrew WarlandBrowne, Group Head of Operations Ermin Javier Jr, Standby Head of Operations Jacqui Armstrong, CEO Glen Buckley and Internal Co-ordinator Laveniya Ruthralingam.
A new style of training organisation, the Australia Pilot Training Alliance, is providing a fast and efficient path to CASA approvals for flying schools. As Steve Hitchen found out, their very existence has enabled some to expand and others simply to keep the doors open. AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
here are any number of people in the aviation community happy to tell you what’s wrong with the industry, but very rarely does someone come up with a truly innovative solution that can genuinely be labeled as a “game changer”. Glen Buckley is one person who has, and he’s literally bet his house on the outcome. Buckley is the owner of Melbourne Flight Training (MFT), a small but flourishing school at Moorabbin. MFT had its niche, and with quality, smart training as a weapon, gathered
new business purely through word of mouth. MFT was never going to rake in wads of cash for Buckley, but it did OK and provided employment for several flying instructors. Then came the day that the CASA threatened to wipe out all of that simply with a change of rules that excluded MFT, and many other flying schools, from 95% of the Commercial Pilot Licence training market. CASA announced CASR Part 142, a complex and costly form of flying school approval that had at its heart the 150-hour CPL course. It
was exclusive to Part 142, so if you didn’t have the capital to step up and invest, you were simply out of business. The aftershocks of Part 142 are still rippling throughout the aviation industry with destructive force, and at the end, only the strongest will still be standing, with the weakest relegated to scrambling for the 200-hour CPL market; a much less attractive option for potential students. “CASA said ‘Right, the 200-hour CPL lives here with the Part 141 schools, and the 150-hour CPL becomes the exclusive domain of the Part 142 organisations’,” Buckley recalls. “But my business gets 95% of its income from the 150-hour CPL,
the flying schools, and it is the extra salaries needed that have proven the largest stumbling block for schools to go forward. That’s where APTA comes into it: they provide an Air Operator’s Certificate approved to Part 142 and the expertise required to maintain all the manuals and oversight needed to comply with CASA regulations. Smaller flying schools join the alliance and share the resources. Arm-in-arm they go forward to tackle the 150-hour CPL market together. “The reason I took all this on is that we had a situation where a Part 142 school could offer the 150-hour PPL and a Part 141 school could not,” Buckley points out, “but in actual fact, the
“APTA has opened doors for us that would normally have been closed” and on 1 September 2017, the privilege was going to be taken away from my business overnight. It was destined for absolute destruction; there was no way in the world it could survive on Part 141 only.” Buckley is not the sort of person that you’ll see taking a lot of steps backward, so in the spirit of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” he set out to find a way that MFT could stay in the Part 142 market, and on his journey, developed a solution not only for MFT, but for other schools in the same predicament. He called his solution the Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA), and it’s now one of the very few training organisations that has Part 142 approval from CASA.
Getting it together When asked about APTA, Buckley most often falls back on the “IGA” analogy: it’s like a group of independent businesses banding together for mutual benefit to take on industry giants. Part 142’s largest burden is the need for top-end staff to service
same instructor could teach at both schools, and deliver exactly the same subjects out of exactly the same manual of standards. Then you get the same testing officer in to test both candidates to identical standards. So why does one business get forced into making one candidate fly an extra 50 hours?” The paradox is that Buckley believes that the 150-hour CPL is actually a good product, and
went through the onerous process of getting approval for MFT. However, he understood that it wouldn’t be sustainable, and so created APTA to share the load and give other small schools an easier path to CASA approval. “I moved the Part 142 approval over to APTA, as well as the RTO [Registered Training Authority] and the CRICOS [Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students]. Then I went after the very best people possible to fill the key roles,” Buckley recalls. Buckley has chosen his team astutely, with former Philippine Air Force and Royal Australian Navy officer Ermin Javier taking the key role of Group Head of Operations. Javier’s job is effectively group CFI, which means that alliance members don’t need a CFI of their own, relying instead on Senior Base Pilots to provide on-the-spot oversight. Similarly, the appointment of former CASA educator and safety advisor Andrew WarlandBrowne as Group Head of Safety has provided APTA with the horsepower to cascade the central safety management
system down to the group members, and with former Qantas operational manager Wes Mason running the documentation system and technical services, Buckley has put together a powerful team at APTA. And to top it off, even CASA is impressed. “Despite me being probably the hardest person CASA’s ever had to deal with, they are extremely supportive of the concept,” Buckley says with a wry smile. “Why? Every school puts their own spin on Part 142, so CASA has to walk into 10 different organisations and do 10 different audits. At APTA, all members run a system called Flight School Manager and it’s all paperless. “Everything from flying hours to maintenance tracking goes into this, which makes it a very powerful oversight tool. Now, we can monitor all group members from head office, and that’s why CASA supports the concept.”
LEFT: TVSA Flight Training at Bacchus Marsh used APTA as a fast-track to Part 142. ABOVE: Under the new rules, Part 141 schools can offer CPL candidates the 200-hour syllabus only.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Australian Pilot Training Alliance be sitting behind a CFI’s desk snowed under with paperwork, but instead, all that is taken care of by Javier at APTA, freeing up Schmidt to spend more time teaching people to fly. “I’m getting so much more time in aeroplanes now,” Schmidt said, “which means I can oversee the students and other instructors so much better. My logbook is looking a lot more healthy nowadays!”
Growth in progress
Avia Senior Base Pilot Darren Schmidt: “My logbook is looking a lot more healthy nowadays!”
It has been a bug-bear of CASA for many years that some arrangements between flying schools–“lending” an AOC–has resulted in remote oversight that has proven several times to be the equivalent of no oversight. According to Buckley, the software and systems within the APTA group mean they can show effective oversight of all members ... and that makes CASA very happy indeed.
Joining up At the time Australian Flying spoke with Buckley, APTA had five members: MFT, TVSA Flight Training, Learn to Fly, Avia Aviation and Flight Standards. There were more knocking on the door as the realities of Part 142 began to bite, but the APTA concept can be scaled up to cope with many more schools coming on board. Avia Aviation Co-founding Director Charles Gunter committed his company to APTA once he considered that doing so would be to Avia’s advantage.
“I’m ecstatically excited about this,” he said with a huge grin. “I wish we’d done this long ago. “Undoubtedly APTA has opened doors for us that would normally have been closed. And there are probably more doors out there that we haven’t knocked on. “The potential upside is enormous for potentially less overhead cost. If you look at the human resources that went into our original AOC, and the changes we had to make for Part 61 and Part 141, I estimate that we spent well north of $250,000 to achieve those objectives. “Now our overhead cost with APTA is probably one third of that.” But for schools looking to join APTA, there is one painful duty they have to perform: they must mothball their own AOC, the one they spent a lot of money to get and many long hours making sure they keep. The great advantage to doing that, it that they inherit quality staff from APTA instead. “We’ve always been impressed with Glen as an individual, and
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
also we were surprised at the calibre of people within APTA,” Gunter said. “They are people who have a track record in excellence in whatever they’re doing. That really impressed the heck out of me!” APTA membership also brings another opportunity: check and training. Not only is the 150-hour CPL the exclusive privilege of a Part 142 school, but also the right to conduct check and training for charter aircraft over 5700 kg MTOW. Flying schools with charter AOCs have traditionally been approved for this function, but if they stay at Part 141 level, they’ll have to farm that out to a Part 142 organisation. Through the APTA membership, there is now opportunity for Avia to branch into the check and training market. And there is another advantage that current Chief Flying Instructors will immediately relate to. Avia Senior Base Pilot Darren Schmidt is a Grade 1 instructor with MECIR approval and Flight Examiner Rating. He should
Perhaps one of the more surprising schools to jump on the APTA train is Learn to Fly. The Moorabbin-based school is recreational only, and so can’t benefit from anything that Part 142 brings. However, if you draw back that curtain, there is a clever decision behind it. School Operations Manager Kai Li has big plans for Learn to Fly, and APTA membership is a key part. The company has facilities also in Hong Kong. Singapore and Shanghai, and a large expansion into the general aviation training market is planned for Moorabbin. Already they have building approval for a 4400-sqm base to train 6080 students at one time, and the expansion plans will utilise the best advantages of APTA membership: Part 142, CRICOS, RTO and shared resources. “We do mainly recreational flying here, but our pilots have been doing some GA flying through MFT,” Li points out. “Our target is now students from overseas who want to do CPL, but you can’t do CPL on RAAus aircraft [for the 150-hour syllabus], so we needed to get into GA flying. “We tried to buy an Air Operator’s Certificate to get into the market, but the price was going to be too much. And even if we bought one, we wouldn’t have the expertise to run it. So it was better to join APTA rather than run our own school.” The economics of APTA also made a lot of sense to Li. The membership fee of $80,000
looks steep at first, but when you consider the cost of the alternative, it starts to look more like a bargain. “It’s not that much from my point of view,” Li reckons. “If I hire a GA CFI I would pay them that much anyway, so why not pay that money to APTA? It saves my time, gives me the Part 142 approval, RTO, CRICOS, management systems and access to the resources of the group.” Learn to Fly has plans for its own GA fleet to be housed in the new training complex, but in the meantime, they can fall back on the resources of other group
in place. APTA had all those personnel, plus all the systems and procedures in place ready for us. “At the same time we were going through a change of CFI and Chief Pilot. Joining APTA meant we could transition to Part 142 pretty easily without having to go through the whole CASA approval process.” But as a business person, Pearson also appreciates that APTA membership can provide more benefits than just the training approvals. “I think one of the big advantages is that there is other people within the group that we
“We have an Ausralian-owned product that actually has more capability than anyone else in the country” members to realise their ambitions short-term. Planes can be crosshired; instructors can be allocated from one school to another and their skills, expertise and training with them. For an organisation starting from scratch in GA training, Learn to Fly’s decision to go with APTA can’t have been that difficult: everything they needed would come in one neat package.
Fast track to Part 142 TVSA Flight Training at Bacchus Marsh found themselves not only on the Part 142 outer, but also down one critical person: a Chief Flying Instructor. For Director/ owner Dan Pearson, the decision to join APTA solved more than one issue. “We joined APTA because they are a Part 142 approved organisation, and we hadn’t yet transitioned ourselves to 142, so they provide all the approvals we need for all the types of training we deliver,” Pearson told Australian Flying. “We wanted to make sure we had the best of both worlds [Part 141 and Part 142] and that we had the right key personnel
can get access to. For example, whilst we might not do multi-crew training today, there are people in the group that we can use to gain that capability. “Also, if we need resources or other people within the group need resources, they can borrow planes or instructors from us, so it’s kind of like a sharing of resources and people.” TVSA was facing the same brick wall currently before the eyes of many flying schools around Australia: either shell out the money and time to get your own Part 142 approval, stay at Part 141 and forego a large market, or join in with someone like APTA. Pearson chose the latter, but if the APTA option wasn’t there, he and his team had a lot of hard work ahead of them. “We would have had to put a lot more emphasis on transitioning to Part 142 ourselves and we would have had to employ staff sooner than we wanted to, so APTA gave us some breathing space to employ them on our terms rather than those dictated by industry.
“We would have still made the transition, but it would have been much more difficult and taken a lot longer.”
Forging ahead Buckley sees APTA as an opportunity that goes beyond simply flying school management; his vision includes using the brand as a powerful marketing tool for members. “We have an Australian-owned product that actually has more capability than anyone else in the country,” he stresses. “APTA can offer every single course CASA has approved. Our Head of Operations brings to table multicrew ATPL flight testing, and most large flying schools can’t say that! “So if we can go overseas with the APTA brand, we’ve got a multi-base, Australian-owned business that does everything that any other organisation can do. “Provided we keep this wellintentioned and keep investing up
top here, I think we’ll kick goals.” In future, there may be even be scope for Part 141 flying schools and aero clubs to jump on the band wagon, in the process immediately boosting their own capability and potential. One of the problems plaguing country operations is attracting qualified CFIs to replace those that have moved on. In many cases, schools have had to temporarily cease operations whilst they hunted a replacement that was not only qualified and approved, but also was prepared to move to a regional area. APTA membership can provide the solution quickly and easily. “I think this is an opportunity for rural areas,” Buckley predicts. “APTA will bring a capability to flying schools that they’ve never had before, and they’re never going to get unless they come together like this. “If APTA can help keep a flying school in business, I would love them to come to us, because that’s truly what we’re about.”
ABOVE: Learn to Fly’s Kai Li has big plans for expansion, helped along by APTA membership. LEFT: With APTA oversight, Learn to Fly will be able to offer the 150-hour CPL to overseas students.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
Business Philip Smart presents inside information from the business and corporate aviation sector.
n May next year US company Aerion Corporation may officially launch what some see as the Holy Grail of personal transport, the supersonic business jet. For nearly twice the price of a new Gulfstream G650, buyers of Aerion’s proposed nineseat Mach 1.5 AS2 will eventually (probably around 2025) take home a long and lean needlenosed, three-engine aircraft that has a whiff of Concorde and Lockheed F-104 Starfighter about it. Almost as long as a Boeing 757, the AS2’s wingspan and interior cabin dimensions will be closer to those of a Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet. The aircraft is billed as having a maximum speed of Mach 1.5, with long-range cruise of Mach 1.4 and subsonic cruise of Mach 0.95. Aerion is also hoping to demonstrate a “Mach cut-off cruise”, where the aircraft’s sonic boom essentially dissipates before touching the ground, between Mach 1.1 and Mach 1.2. This would open the possibility that the United States may adopt ICAO standards permitting the AS2 to fly at low supersonic speeds over the US and internationally. With a maximum take-off weight of 54 tonnes, projected range is an initial 4750 nautical miles with Mach 1.4 cruise,
stretching to 5300 nm at subsonic cruise. Runway performance also harks back to Concorde and Starfighter, with the company claiming a sea-level standard day balanced field length of 7500 feet at maximum take-off weight and an approach speed of 135 knots. In practical terms, this will mean Sydney to Hawaii in five hours 42 minutes instead of eight hours 42 minutes, Los Angeles to Sydney in 10 hours instead of 15.5 (with a fuel stop in Samoa) or Sydney to Hong Kong in six hours nonstop instead of eight and a half, even with a longer flight route that would take the aircraft up the east coast of Australia, across Papua New Guinea and around the top of the Philippines to maximise overwater supersonic time.
A German Aerospace Centre paper Analysis of the Market Environment for Supersonic Business Jets, which studied the general market rather than a specific Aerion business case, suggested the most likely users of a Mach 1.5 aircraft would be fractional ownership companies, high net worth individuals looking for “superlative” status symbols, large corporations with developing markets overseas requiring attendance at short notice, and national government organisations such as diplomatic, defence, law enforcement and public safety agencies whose activities may rate time saving as a higher imperative than cost. Analysts have pointed out that a supersonic business jet’s ability to cover greater distance
Aerion believes it has the personnel and industry support to take the AS2 to market. And according to Aerion’s market research with more than 130 operators of large cabin jets in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia, there is a market for around 600 aircraft over the next 20 years. “The message from many of today’s long-range business jet operators is very clear,” said Aerion CEO and former Boeing Business Jet CFO Doug Nichols. “They want a supersonic jet sooner rather than later, a cabin comparable in comfort to today’s long-range jets, a range of 5000 nm or better and they are willing to pay more than $100 million for such an aircraft. That is the supersonic jet we are working to deliver.”
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
on fewer airframe hours would allow fractional programs to sell more shares in each aircraft, balancing the purchase price. With a Mach 1.5 aircraft, a twoday overseas business trip could be reduced to as little as 12 hours. And overseas really is the key: current prohibitions on overland supersonic flight would negate the Aerion’s speed advantage over the crop of subsonic jets on offer for domestic work, unless the proposed ICAO standard for Mach cut-off cruise is adopted. While previous supersonic business jet proposals have stalled, Aerion believes it has the personnel and industry support to take the AS2 to market. Executive
Business Aviation may go Supersonic within a Decade
Chairman Brian Barents is a former United States Air Force brigadier general who has forged a civilian career as president and CEO of Learjet, senior vice president of Cessna and past chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Aerion is sitting on one 20-aircraft order from US fractional ownership and charter operator Flexjet, and has had an engineering collaboration with Airbus since 2014 that has already produced designs for critical elements such as a 10-spar carbon fibre wing structure, an articulating main landing gear system to minimise required stowage space, a fuel system that helps maintain the aircraft’s centre of gravity and small, powerful actuators to fit within the aircraft’s thin flying surfaces. While Aerion’s AS2 may make history as the first supersonic business jet, rival Boom may beat it in to the air as the world’s third commercial supersonic aircraft. The Richard Branson backed company is predicting a 2018 first flight for its one-third-scale XB-1 demonstrator aircraft, with
MAIN: Aerion believes it has the clout to make the AS2 supersonic business jet a reality.
BELOW: Inside Airbus Industrie's ACJ319 corporate transporter.
a planned 55-seat supersonic airliner to enter service in the “early 2020s”.
Bombardier honours Execujet Sydney again Execujet’s Sydney maintenance, repair and overhaul facility has won Bombardier’s “International” prize at its annual authorised service facility awards at the US National Business Aviation Association conference in Las Vegas, the seventh such award Execujet has received since 2011 and the second for its Australian operation. The awards recognise commitment to serving Bombardier business aircraft operators. This year’s win by the Sydney facility follows a series of maintenance initiatives including providing customers with a preview of their on-board high-speed internet technology; installing ADS-B equipment and performing a number of heavy maintenance operations, including an ongoing five-year contract supporting heavy maintenance on China-based Bombardier CRJ aircraft.
Although sales data from Asia suggests the region’s love affair with large cabin aircraft may be cooling somewhat, there are still opportunities. Airbus has just announced the sale of an ACJ319 NEO (New Engine Option) corporate jet to an Asian customer, the ninth order for the ACJ NEO version of the A320 family. With the ability to fly eight passengers for 6750 nm or 15 hours, the ACJ319 NEO will bring much of the world within non-stop range for its new owner. More than 180 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including two Skytraders ACJ319s which have provided the Australian Antarctic Division with an airlink between Tasmania and Australia’s Wilkins ice runway in Antarctica for summer base resupply since 2007.
Cessna Denali turboprop is designed to compete directly with Pilatus’s PC-12 in the single engine turbine market and a quick technical comparison of aircraft size, performance, capacity and cost will confirm that the PC12 was something of a template for the new Textron product, including the large rear fuselage cargo door that helped establish the PC-12 as an effective utility aircraft. But Cessna doesn’t expect to dominate. Speaking at the 2017 NBAA business aviation conference in Las Vegas in mid October, Textron Aviation president and CEO Scott Ernest expected a market of around 120 single engine turbine aircraft sales per year, with the Denali expected to pick up around 50 of those. He believes the aircraft’s new FADEC-equipped GE turbine and Garmin 3000 touch-screen avionics will prove attractive to potential customers.
Cessna Denali coming Together
Around the World in a Hondajet
Textron Aviation has made no bones about the fact that the
American hospitality industry moguls Julian and Kim
Airbus sells more Big Iron in Asia
MacQueen have celebrated their purchase of a Hondajet business aircraft by taking it on a threemonth world tour. In a project that shows both Honda’s eye for a good marketing opportunity and the value of social media to a global business, the couple’s Around The World in 80 Stays journey took in 30 countries on six continents and included static showings and flight demonstrations of the new jet highlighted through a dedicated website and blog. Australia was originally on the list of potential destinations, but final operational realities meant the aircraft tracked from Bali to Taipei. This was the Hondajet’s first round the world flight. Honda is now building around four aircraft per month at its headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina and delivered 24 to customers in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe in the first half of 2017, making it the most delivered aircraft in its class. For the record, the “80 Stays” Hondajet spent 69 hours in the air, flew a total of 28,080 nm and burned a total of 48,513 lb or around 27,000 l of fuel.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
In nature, the falcon is a ﬁerce ﬁghter. In business, the Falcon 8X is just as powerful and agile. Every inch reﬂects its military DNA, with lean and mean aerodynamics and advanced Digital Flight Controls to get you to places others can’t. Nothing ﬂies like a Falcon because no other jet is built like one. Fierce. Fast. Agile. Falcon 8X.
A LOOK AT SOME EXCITING PILOT EQUIPMENT & RELATED PRODUCTS
When Qantas went to War A new book from Jim Eames turns history into yarns as he recounts the crunch days of World War II when Qantas put up the good fight. If you want to read books about aviators who went to war, Australia’s bookshops and libraries and the world’s on-line shopping sites have an almost over-supply of titles; each one telling stories of mateship, hardship and action in the face of almost debilitating fear. For the men of the world’s air forces, that’s what they signed up for. But it’s a different story if you want to read about the very few civilian aviators who, through circumstance or coercion, also
found themselves flying on the front line, facing similar anxieties as their air force counterparts, and in some cases suffering similar fates. So few of their stories have been told. Truly, they are the great unsung heroes of WWII aviation. One author has broken the mould: Qantas expert Jim Eames. In his new book, Eames has dug deep into the Qantas archives and the diaries and memories of experts to present a comprehensive story of the airline’s involvement in the defence
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
of Australia and keeping the lines of communication open to the outside world. Courage in the Skies tells stories of desperation, of flying defenceless through zones in South-East Asia known to be occupied by the enemy, of standing off at destination airports whilst Japanese bombers delivered their deadly payloads, of making unplanned detours and hoping like hell you had enough fuel. It went very sad for many pilots and ground staff. Eight were killed flying in Qantas colours; six others are still listed as missing. Some went into captivity, some shot down into the sea and others were on the noisy end of strafing and bombing. Qantas’ almost total commitment to the war effort is exemplified by the story of the eight Short S23 Empire flying boats delivered to the airline prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Some were pressed into RAAF service to cover the 10 Squadron Sunderlands that stayed in the UK, and others used in a desperate attempt to keep the air route to Britain open in the face of the Japanese advance. At the signing of the peace treaty in 1945, only one Empire, Coriolanus, remained. It was a problem that would mark much of Chairman Hudson Fysh’s war story: trying to keep an airline running in the face of the burden of war. With your best assets doing charters for the military in South-East Asia, flying rescue and support missions into Papua New Guinea and so many of your flying boats reduced to burnt-out hulks at their moorings, how do you actually find income streams to keep the airline from going broke? Courage in the Skies is effectively the story of how Fysh did it, with Lockheed Lodestars shuttling back and forward between Port Moresby and Cairns and
the reliable and redoubtable Consolidated Catalinas re-opening the way to Britain via the legendary Double Sunrise runs from Perth to Ceylon. And to add salt to the wound, whilst Qantas was hamstrung with war commitments, Pan Am was making overtures to secure rights to air routes that would have undermined Qantas in the post-war period. Through exhaustive research, Jim Eames has taken the dryness of historical fact, and coloured it with the detailed anecdotes of how the jobs got done. He has brought to life Qantas characters such as Russell Tapp, Bill Purton and the somewhat indestructible Aub Koch; men who took the risks and received little reward save their normal pay packet. Not for them the DFCs and DSOs adorning the chests of their RAAF counterparts. This book is not only a history, but a safety deposit box for the stories of the people largely forgotten in the scramble to honour the servicemen and women of WWII. From the air raid on Broome that destroyed S23s Corinna and Centaurus, the bombing of Darwin and the losses of Corio and Circe to enemy action, to the triangle route of Cairns– Morseby–Milne Bay–Cairns [repeat!] and close encounters around the Christmas Island, Eames’ book tells the stories, but does so with the same touches of dash and daring that were needed to create the history in the first place. Courage in the Skies is a coverto-cover read that will sit very appropriately in your bookcase alongside other Eames histories such as Taking to the Skies and The Flying Kangaroo. Courage in the Skies by Jim Eames RRP: $29.95 Allen and Unwin www.allenandunwin.com.au
Lighting the Night State-of-the-Art LED landing lights for general aviation aeroplanes. LED technology has progressed in leaps and bound over the past few years, and is becoming the norm in aircraft due to light weights, high outputs and low power consumptions. Sports pilot and avionics enthusiast Juergen Thiesen's newly developed LEDs provide all these benefits, plus integrated "wig-wag" function and automatic voltage overload protection within the state of the art, maintenance-free moulding. The ELL80 landing light provides a powerful 150 W despite its small 80 mm diameter and light 230 g weight, and with the new LED technology allows an incredibly white light using only around 10% of the input power compared with conventional lights. The casting in a highoptical plastic makes the ELL80 absolutely insensitive against water, vibrations and other environmental influences. The efficiency of the output is much higher than with conventional electric light bulbs. To avoid overheating, the heat balance is controlled electronically.
The 60mm diameter ELL60 landing light has an output equivalent to a halogen headlight of 180-200 W. With its newly developed central cooling, where air is passed through the landing light directly to the heat sink, it is now possible to implement this high performance in such a small space. Because it is completely embedded, the ELL60 is absolutely vibration inured as well as dust- and waterproof and can be installed anywhere on the aircraft. The smaller ELL50L comes in the common 50 mm diameter, with the equivalent of a 90 W halogen. It is completely dust and waterproof and can be mounted anywhere on the plane, even in the wheel pants. All landing lights operate from 10-17 Volts DC. For more information contact: Aerobiz in Australia on 0419 368 696 or visit www.thiesen-electronics.com
Flight Bag PLC Sport MyGoFlight’s Flight Bag PLC Sport is perfect for the digital-age pilot. Recognising that in the digital age not every flight needs a complete library of documents in the cockpit, MyGoFlight introduced a smaller version of the popular Flight Bag PLC Pro. The PLC Sport has enough room to carry one headset, an iPad or other tablet, a hand-held radio, and other bits of gear that make a pilot's life easier and safer. The construction is the same as the Pro, but it's just a smaller unit. Designed to meet the exacting needs of the cockpit environment, the PLC Sport is built from the ground up to be a perfect
solution for storing and protecting all of the gear needed while flying, but with a special focus on what has become a critical tool in just about every cockpit: an iPad. The PLC Sport has a specially-designed protective pouch to hold an iPad, laptop computer or one of many other electronic flight bag devices. All of the compartments are easy to see into, making it simple to find what you are looking for. The PLC Sport bag gives you style, storage, organisation, compact size and functionality. The interior pockets are mesh and the outer skin is made of sail cloth, which means it will resist water incursion, and it comes with a padded shoulder strap MyGoFlight Flight Bag PLC Sport Indicative Price: US$139.00 www.mgfproducts.com
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
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Rotors Skydive the Beach buys GBR Greg Thom presents news and views from the Australian helicopter industry.
ustralian adventure tourism company Skydive the Beach Group has bought Cairns-based Great Barrier Reef Helicopters (GBR) for $20 million. GBR has been in business for more than 20 years and is the largest helicopter company in tropical North Queensland, operating tourist flights from Cairns and Port Douglas. Skydive will add GBR’s total assets, including its fleet of 22 helicopters to its growing list of purchases, which include Byron Bay Ballooning, Reef Magic Cruises and Raging Thunder Adventures. Skydive CEO Anthony Ritter said “Helicopter flights over the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest are worldclass experiences, and we are incredibly fortunate to add such a wonderful and exciting product offering to our portfolio of highly recognisable and respected company brands.”
partner Adam Garrisson. Yarra Ranges Council economic and social development director, Ali Wastie, said it was the second time it had happened, and the council had written to Bennett and Garrisson last November, warning they would need a planning permit if it was to become a regular occurrence. Wastie said the helicopter landed less than 500 metres from a neighbouring property, which triggered the need for a planning permit. The pair have submitted multi-million dollar plans for development of the 22-hectare site. Councillors will soon decide whether to ask the State Planning MP Richard Wynne to appoint an independent panel to consider several unresolved community submissions.
Helicopter Movement concern Ranges Locals
Becker Helicopters wins Government grant
Locals in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges are concerned at the number of allegedly illegal helicopter operations to and from a restaurant on a Sherbrooke property. The historic Burnham Beeches site is owned by chef Shannon Bennett and his
Marcoola-based Becker Helicopters has won a $50,000 Queensland State Government innovation grant and will partner with the University of the Sunshine Coast to design and test a virtual reality aviation training system for helicopter aircrews.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
The grant was made under the Advance Queensland Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme.
Last EC135 T2+ delivered to ADF The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has taken delivery of the 15th and final Airbus Helicopters EC135 T2+ for the Royal Australian Navy. Boeing handed over the last aircraft recently at a ceremony at HMAS Albatross near Nowra. HATS is the ADF’s bold plan to modernise rotarywing training across the Army and Navy with the EC135s, tail numbers N52-001 to N52-015, having been acquired for the purpose. The ADF’s requirements for HATS specified a modern, twin-engine, glass cockpit, IFR capable helicopter which was also equipped with a rescue hoist. The programme will replace
the Army’s CAC (Bell) 206B-1 Kiowas and Navy Aérospatiale AS350BA Squirrels with EC135s, which will be operated by the ADF’s Joint Helicopter School (JHS), as part of 723 Squadron at Nowra. HATS program director Darryn Fletcher said “The arrival of the final EC135 helicopter by our partner Airbus marks an important achievement as we prepare to accept the first Navy and Army trainees in mid-January 2018.” Since being introduced to the program, the EC135 fleet has exceeded 1200 hours of flying.
Active Rotor Control tested The German Aerospace Centre (DLR), and Airbus Helicopters, have conducted wind-tunnel testing of an active rotor control system for a five-blade
FAA Certifies R66 ENG Newscopter
LEFT: Cairns-based GBR Helicopters is now owned by adventure company Skydive the Beach. ABOVE: Becker Helicopters has won a government grant to develop a virtual reality training system for aircrews.
rotor resulting in an approximate 30% reduction in noise. By using multiple swashplates, DLR researchers were able to successfully reduce rotor-blade vibration and noise emissions during landing approaches with the fiveblade rotor. Rotor noise on the ground during the approach was reduced by up to three decibels, and in high-speed flight at more than 270 kmh, fuel consumption was reduced by more than 5%. Researchers were able to reduce vibrations during flight by more than 80% with the new adaptive control system, which adjusts the rotor blades’ angles of attack multiple times during each rotor revolution. “The multiple swashplate system, (META) is comprised of two combined swashplates which allows us to individually control the rotor blades,” says project manager Philip Küfmann from the DLR Institute of Flight Systems, who explained that successful tests have already been carried out on a four-blade rotor. “The challenge with a five-
blade rotor is that the blades are asymmetrically divided between the two swashplates, which complicates the dynamic control of the entire system.” DLR had to develop new control algorithms for the five-blade system, in addition to a new five-blade rotor head and swashplates.
RMAF S-61s celebrate 50 Years of Service The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) recently celebrated 50 years of continuous service of the Sikorsky S-61. The first of 10 S-61 aircraft, subsequently named the Nuri (parrot), by the RMAF, arrived in Malaysia in late 1967. It has been reported that RMAF crews have since amassed more than 24 million flight hours in the S-61. The aircraft are based at Butterworth in West Malaysia, and Kuching in East Malaysia, with several also serving with the Malaysian Army. A programme was recently commenced to upgrade the fleet with new avionics and glass cockpits. “We are honoured to celebrate the golden anniversary of the S-61 Nuri with the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and commemorate 50 years of continuous service of the wellestablished and proven platform in a variety of roles,” said Christophe Nurit, regional executive for Sikorsky in Asia. “The celebration underscores Sikorsky’s legacy in Asia and our enduring presence, partnership and commitment to customers in the region.”
Robinson Helicopter Company received FAA certification for its R66 Turbine Newscopter in July. The R66 ENG (Electronic News Gathering) version is powered by the Rolls Royce RR300 turbine engine, and features a five-axis gyro stabilized gimbal that houses an Ikegami HD camera and Canon’s 22-to-1 HD lens. For tighter coverage, an optional Canon 40-to-1 lens is available. Also standard is Garmin’s G500H PFD/MFD system, GTN 650 navigator, three HD micro cameras, two seven-inch monitors, and two Geneva digital audio controllers. Other options include HeliSAS autopilot and air conditioning.
Leonardo delivers First HEMS AW169 in the US The Leonardo (AgustaWestland) AW169 is ready to make its debut in the United States EMS market. Travis County, TX, has signed a contract for three AW169s for its STAR Flight program as the county-based EMS provider upgrades its helicopter fleet. Travis County will be the launch customer of the EMS-configured AW169 in the US, with the aircraft expected to be delivered in late 2018. Leonardo made the announcement at the recent Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) in Fort Worth. The STAR Flight program will encompass patient transport, SAR, firefighting, and law enforcement missions.
FLEET HELICOPTERS Flight Training School “Train here...ﬂy anywhere” Private Helicopter Licence Commercial Helicopter Licence Endorsements Including: R22, R44, B47, B206/L, B204 /205, Sling, Low Level Biennial Flight Review High Altitude Flying (Sea Level – 5000ft Training Area) Participate in Routine Maintenance Training Bush Pilots for over a decade Armidale Airport PO Box 453, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia Ph +61 2 6772 2348 Fax +61 2 6772 7654 www.fleethelicopters.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
74 A Spot of Recreation
RECREATIONAL AVIATION AUSTRALIA
Are We Really that Different? RAAus CEO Michael Linke looks back at AirVenture and sets out his three main ingredients for unifying general aviation.
’ve been with RAAus for almost four years now and in that time a lot has happened at both RAAus and in the aviation sector. Rather than go on a history lesson, as most readers are well schooled in recent history, I thought I’d look into the crystal ball and discuss what are the ingredients needed to better unify the aviation sector. One of those ingredients is something we’ve been practising at RAAus for almost six years now, and it is non-parochialism. Too often I’ve witnessed direct inter- sector criticism. People saying to potential new entrants to our sector things like “Don’t join RAAus, they are dangerous/ there is no career path,” or “Don’t fly gliders,” or “Join our group, we will fight harder for you and hold the regulator to account.”
delivered just that, although embryonic, you could sense something bigger, better could happen. Part of Oz-Kosh 2016’s DNA was non-parochialism. And so planning for 2017 started in earnest in that vein. Largely the event that was delivered was a success and saw a host of varying aviation interests served. Some chose to fully embrace the event and commit scarce resources and play an active role, whereas others took a more fringe approach and chose to not contribute financially, but nonetheless took part and as such the event grew in stature, popularity and ultimately was a tremendous success. The event is now seen by many as the premier event of this type–an event for aviators, by aviators–on the calendar. Planning for AirVenture 2018 is already underway and we hope to have even more engagement
A strong and vibrant RAAus means a strong and vibrant sector. Imagine the poor 17-year-old woman hearing all this guff, often spewed out at her by a 50- or 60-something grey-haired man. I’d run a mile and I know a few who have. In 2015, RAAus Chairman Mick Monck stood up at AusFly at Narromine and said an event where everyone was welcome was the single best answer to a national fly in, airshow, event, get together, jamboree – insert whatever word you wish to use. In 2016 a group of people
as we continue to grow this event for the sector at large. I’m not going to discuss the event in full detail here. For a full run down of AirVenture I point you to Sport Pilot and the December 2017 edition. Available from the RAAus website: www.raa.asn.au. So if non-parochialism is one ingredient, what are others? A second and key ingredient is priorities. Each self-interested body has a set of priorities and we all go to the minister, or CASA or
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
whoever with our list of demands. We all think ours is more important or that our approach will be the shot in the arm the sector needs. We need more maintainers. We need simpler rules. We need simpler medicals. Airports are closing. Not enough kids are involved. The costs are too high. The regulator doesn’t listen to us. The regulator listens to them, but not us. Is it any wonder nothing gets done? When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. TAAAF does an excellent job of filtering priorities and the new CASA formed Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) is another tool that will aid in setting an order on some of these priorities.
Outside of these groups, though, sectoral organisations need to get together more often and discuss the priorities that unify them. Everyone knows RAAus priorities: we are seeking access to CTA and an increased weight profile for RAAus registrable aircraft. The priorities don’t threaten any other sectoral group, in fact they will aid the sector in general by opening up controlled airspace to many experienced and skilled pilots and allowing amateur builders a simpler rule set without an artificial weight limit of 600 kg. A strong and vibrant RAAus means a strong and vibrant sector, with opportunities for RAAus members to progress their aviation career in
LEFT: RAAus wants a weight limit above 600 kg to allow home builders scope for building for safety, not to an arbitrary limit. BELOW: The RAAus team at AirVenture 2017, with CEO Michael Linke kneeling front row left.
commercial, military or other aviation related fields, such as maintenance or air traffic control. As part of our commitment to being non-parochial, RAAus recognises that most new members will be a member for only two years, and if their experience is a positive one, they will progress into other parts of the sector and become aviators for life. With RAAus as the springboard, the rest of the sectors are the baskets for people to spring into. The third ingredient is collaboration. We need to talk to each other, not hide behind our organisations and refuse to share information or data. RAAus works with the SAAA on our occurrence management
system, we work with the Hang Gliding Federation of Australia and have an Memorandum of Understanding in place to facilitate respective members getting better services. RAAus works closely with the Australian Parachute Federation in the area of operator audits, compliance strategies and safety management. RAAus also works with industry; OzRunways and Airservices are major players in our annual scholarship program. RAAus will welcome any genuine strategy that strengthens the sector. And that is the key outcome we should all want â€“ a strengthening of the sector. The three ingredients, when put together appropriately, will assure us of that. January â€“ February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
76 Good Sports
An Epic Build Two continents, two states, five moves and 12 years. Gerhard Jordaan recounts the adventure of building "Dad's RV": the welltraveled RV-8 VH-ZGJ.
n late 2003 in South Africa I took a Sunday afternoon ride in the back of an RV-4. I had to have one. The RV-4 had been superseded by the RV-8, which was perfect for me. It is only when you look at the pictures of the children that you realise how the project became a journey for the family, with “Dad’s RV” always in the mix and complicating things. I wanted to keep the aeroplane as simple as possible and to take me on VFR Day trips with the odd cross country to a distant flyin. Aerobatics and IFR capabilities were therefore sacrificed. The choice of the Lycoming O-320D1A combined with a fixed pitch Sensenich propeller was a personal preference to minimise complexity, weight and maintenance. The only real challenges were finding time, budget constraints and managing work and family commitments. The
SPORT AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA
first serious interruption came after completing the empennage kit, when I realised the 4 x 5 m workshop in the backyard needed an upgrade to construct the wings and fuselage. This eventually resulted in the complete house being rebuilt nine months later around a new 6 x 6 m garage! I promptly got transferred to the UK for work in 2007 and parked the project for 18 months. Then I was transferred to the Latrobe Valley in Australia in 2008. There I joined the SAAA where members introduced me to the correct way of going about a project like this in Australia and accessed some great experience and advice. By late 2012 I was choosing avionics. Research showed that considerable cost, weight and complexity could be saved by installing the latest electronic displays. The Dynon Skyview with matching radio and intercom came out tops on the basis of cost and proven track record. For redundancy I added a set of analogue instruments to the panel, which combined with a back-up GPS. The aeroplane is also fitted with Night VMC lighting. At the beginning of 2013 it was time to start installing the avionics; however, my day job required another family move, this time to Queensland. As always “Dad’s RV” was complicating everything – moving companies
didn’t understand it, so a separate container was booked and everything loaded up once again. It’s no guess what the main search criteria was when househunting. It took six months to find the perfect shed with a suitable house attached. I set up the shed exactly the way I’d always wanted it ... 10 years into the build! By this time many acquaintances thought my perpetual project would never fly and I was just looking for excuses to build new sheds! I joined SAAA Chapter 22 at Caboolture where experienced members shared their knowledge. The engine was finally installed by July 2015. This was followed by the least enjoyable part of the project for me: fibreglass fairings and cowlings. It took a fair amount of persistence with the process of doing lay-ups, trimming, filling, sanding and priming with dust seeming to get into everything and everywhere. By August 2016, I made the sensible decision to get a professional aircraft painter to put the final touches to my dream aeroplane. The team at Alchemy Aircraft Painters did an absolutely stunning paint job. Chapter 22 then proved immensely helpful. Without them sharing their knowledge, tools, experience and time I would have been simply stranded. The guidance material in the SAAA Airworthiness Pack
Gerhard with the well-travelled VH-ZGJ.
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
provided for a relative hasslefree preparation process and application for a Phase 1 CoA. During the final inspection phase, I undertook five hours’ familiarisation flight training in an RV-6. This came out as an important recommendation in the SAAA Risk Radar Analysis report; however, I will highly recommend this to any prospective RV builder.
I set up the shed exactly the way I’d always wanted it ... 10 years into the build! The first flight finally happened on the morning of 29 March – five months short of 12 years since the first kit box was opened! It went flawlessly. The 40-hour flight test phase was by far the most fun part for me, probably because of my day job as a professional flight test engineer. By the time all the prescribed test phases and a detailed performance assessment of the unusual RV-8Lycoming O-320 combination, the program was completed at 40.1 hours exactly. VH-ZGJ cruises comfortably at 170 KTAS in level flight; however, the take-off distances and climb rates have obviously been compromised somewhat with the fixed pitch propeller. My aim was for an honest 150 KTAS, which she does at 65% power and 28 lph. I can finally join the $100 Hamburger trips and the local breakfast fly-ins. Few things can beat a relaxing sundowner flight around the Glasshouse Mountains, and a coffee in Hervey Bay is now only 45 minutes away from Caboolture! To all my fellow builders out there – it is worth persisting!
Getting on with the Job Shane Carmody, CEO and Director of Aviation Safety at CASA, tells us where regulatory reform is at and where it is going from here on.
nce I had my feet under my desk at CASA it quickly became clear to me there were some issues that had been on the agenda for too long. These were matters that could not be allowed to simply drag on. This list included thorny topics such as improvements to our aviation medical system, flight crew fatigue management and the best approach to the use of radio frequencies at low levels in uncontrolled airspace. Action has been taken on all these issues and a path forward has either been determined or is close to finalisation.
I accept that not everyone may be entirely happy with all the outcomes, but progress is surely better than the alternative. Both CASA and the aviation community need clear air to focus on the main task, which is maintaining and improving safety. The other large item that has been sitting on the agenda for years is the completion of the regulatory reform program. I understand that regulatory reform is not a concept that inspires confidence in many people in the aviation community, not the least because CASA has made slow progress in the past in both developing and implementing new regulatory requirements. Modernising and improving the aviation regulations has been a drawn out process that has been rough in places. However, the goal behind the regulatory reform program has been, from the start, an admirable one. Most people would accept that continuing to rely on safety regulations developed decades ago ignores the realities of progress. Technology changes, risks change or are better understood and we learn new and better ways to manage safety. Importantly, it is incumbent on us to learn from accidents and incidents and to strive to prevent tragedies from re-occurring.
CASA is currently reviewing CASR Part 139, which covers aerodrome regulation.
CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY AUTHORITY
While the regulatory reform program has run for many years it should be noted that much has in fact been achieved. A total of 45 parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations have been made, with many in place for quite a long time and now being updated themselves. An example is Part 139 â€“ covering the regulation of aerodromes â€“ which was made in 2003 and is now in the process of being improved. Consultation on proposed changes
number of interim rule changes. The task now is to complete the development of the remaining yet-to-be-made parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations as soon as possible. My aim is to get the bulk of this regulatory development work done in the months ahead in 2018, although not every part will be fully implemented. Over the course of the year there will be a lot of focus on the operational suite of
Regulatory reform is not a concept that inspires confidence in many people. to Part 139 closed late in 2017 and decisions on the update will be made this year. The aim is to make the aerodrome safety requirements more streamlined, flexible and practical, while seeking to reduce regulatory costs and burdens wherever possible. Another set of rules that has been in place since the early 2000s is Part 101, which sets out the safety requirements for unmanned aircraft. The rapid developments in technology in this area have demanded a review of the regulations and this started with a discussion paper in 2017 and a
regulations: Parts 91, 119, 121, 133, 135 and 138 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. These affect pretty much everyone in Australian aviation, with the general operating rules in Part 91 of particular interest to the general aviation sector. There has been previous consultation as part of the development of the operational regulations and I thank everyone who has contributed in the past. As we move to finalise the package of new rules there will be one last stage of brief consultation to ensure we give everyone a chance to have their say on the settled details. I can assure the aviation community that we will carefully consider and review all feedback; however, this will not be a drawnout process if we are to meet the aim of completing the rule development in 2018. Our new online consultation hub will make the feedback process easier and more streamlined. Very importantly, we will also develop sensible and manageable transition plans for the new regulations to avoid over-burdening the aviation community with change. The year ahead will be busy with regulatory reform, with my aim being to lay a platform of certainty for the future.
January â€“ February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
What can we
Jim Davis has 15,000 hours of immensely varied flying experience, including 10,000 hours civil and military flying instruction. He is an established author, his current projects being an instructors’ manual and a collection of Air Accident analyses, called ‘Choose not to Crash’.
An Arrow Straight into the Ground CAA ACCIDENT REPORT SUMMARY This discussion contains extracts from the SACAA’s accident report. It is compiled in the interest of promoting of aviation safety and not to establish legal liability. Date of Accident: 27 August 2007 Time of Accident: 1630Z Aircraft Registration: ZS-FTT Type of Aircraft: Piper PA28R-180 Pilot in Command Pilot licence: Private Licence Valid: Yes Age: 49 Total Flying Hours: 416.05 Hours on Type: 62.75 Last Point of Departure: Lanseria International Aerodrome Next Point of Intended Landing: Lanseria International Aerodrome Location of Accident Site: Near Lanseria International Aerodrome Meteorological Information: Fine weather conditions No. of people on board: 1+0 No. of people injured: 0 No. of people killed: 1
Jim’s Analysis This makes me sick. A senseless loss of life and another pathetically bad accident report by the CAA. Let’s see what’s going on. Would I be happy to ride in the back of this aircraft? Well, on the face of it, it all looks pretty good. The pilot has over 400 hours, a night rating, 62.75 hrs on type, and 45.75 hours on type in the past 90 days. Fifteen hours per month means an hour every second day. That’s quite a lot for a PPL. The aircraft appears to have
SYNOPSIS The pilot was engaged in circuit practice at night as part of recurrent training to maintain his night rating. During final approach, the pilot was on a low approach and collided with high tension power lines, 2 nm short of the runway during fine weather conditions. The pilot sustained fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed during the accident sequence. The pilot was correctly licensed and rated on the aircraft type and held a valid, unrestricted medical certificate as a private pilot. According to available records, the aircraft was correctly maintained PROBABLE CAUSE The pilot was low on the approach for landing and collided with high tension wires.
been properly maintained, is the right aircraft for the job and the weather is fine. The pilot is a mature 49 years old and seems to be a sensible guy – he is doing some night circuits and landings solo in order to keep legally current should he want to carry pax. I have no idea why the report says it was a training flight. There was no instructor present, neither was one needed. Certainly I would fly with him. But wait – let’s just have a look at the paperwork. The aircraft has
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
flown less than two hours since the last MPI, and that was ten months ago. Yes, it would be legal to fly this aircraft at night, but would it be sensible? I don’t think so – not with my bum in it anyway. Shortly after maintenance is not a happy time. This is not a reflection on the maintenance organisation, it is simply a statistical probability that this is the time for things to go wrong. Have a look at the bathtub graph top right. But whoa! What’s this? The MPI was done 10 months ago, and she has only flown 1.8 hours since. Now I am really suspicious. Why would a good aeroplane spend most of its time sitting in the hangar and not flying? The logbooks show that the aircraft had done 2200 hours, and the engine was overhauled at 2000 hours. Very nice – and absolutely normal. But suddenly another red flag pops up. The prop has done 6800 hours, and 360 since overhaul. Why would you put a very old prop on a newish
aeroplane? I don’t know what that’s about, but it just doesn’t look good to me. So, with almost no flying in the last year, and questionable history, this aircraft looks like a dog. Sorry, but no way am I going to fly it at night. What else is going on? Well the sun set only 36 minutes before the crash. So I guess the pilot started up and taxied out perhaps 20 minutes after sunset. Hardly dark really, but it’s legal "night" and there is nothing dangerous going on. He was landing towards where the sun had just set – which makes visibility a bit crappy. And whoa! Another red flag. The tower had the PAPI and runway lighting on only 10% intensity. I just don’t believe he could see the lights from 2 nm, particularly looking towards the still-light sky. And now we come to the really worrying bit. If the pilot could indeed see the runway lights and the PAPI, what would cause him to hit the power lines and ground
Aiming to make safer pilots of us, here veteran instructor Jim Davis looks at extracts from official CAA Accident Reports from his homeland of South Africa and analyses why things went wrong and how we may all avoid making similar mistakes.
What’s the point of spending two years to put out a report that fails to mention the possibility of an engine failure “at a high descent rate and high forward speed”, which is what the full report says? The report is singularly disinterested in answering this allimportant question, and doesn’t even discuss whether the engine was delivering power at the time of the accident. An aircraft which has hardly flown in the last 10 months, and has a curious mechanical history, sails into the ground with considerable violence. It is being flown by a current, competent, and correctly licensed pilot, and no one brings up the subject of possible mechanical failure? The full report goes on to tell us that “A flight in a Cessna 172 was arranged to establish the possible
night landing illusions typical of featureless terrain at night, when there is a natural tendency to fly a lower-than-normal approach.” But it tells us nothing about the results of this experiment. They also fail to point out that when approaching an uphill runway (24 R climbs 120 ft over its length) pilots will have the illusion that all is well, when they are actually too low. Come on CAA! What’s the point of spending two years to put out a report that fails to mention the possibility of an engine failure, and the certainty of a visual illusion that will cause pilots to approach too low? And why didn’t you highlight the probability that the 10% light intensity was way too low? When the aircraft crashed it
should have been at about 600 feet above the ground. I don’t suppose we will ever know why he lost that 600 feet. My best guess would be an engine failure. And a close second would be the pilot’s inability to see the runway or the PAPI. The visual illusion caused by the uphill slope might be a small contributory factor – but this would not have been a consideration if the PAPI was visible. This looks like one of those rare, and very sad, cases where events gang up to take the life of a good pilot.
Late News I have just received the following from the CFI, who was also the owner of the aircraft. CAA got this report wrong. They even lost the file during the two-year investigation! I have checked my archives and can report as follows about the aircraft maintenance. Pilot: He was a good friend of mine and very meticulous. He had completed 4.5 hours on this aircraft in the previous 90 days. Aircraft: Total Time 6803 hours. Time since MPI 55 hours Engine: Time since Overhaul 252 hrs Prop: Time since Overhaul 252 hrs For information the area where
the aircraft impacted the powerlines is 4735ft AMSL at ground level. Nothing in this new information alters my view that the crash was caused, either by the pilot being unable to see the airfield lighting, or by a mechanical failure. But it certainly endorses my contention that this report is a shameful disgrace!
What can we learn? • If something looks even slightly dodgy – heed the warning bells, especially at night. • Whether you join on a long final approach, or from the circuit, never descend before you can clearly see gaps between the lights at the close end of the runway. If you can’t – you are too low. • If you can’t see the lights clearly, ask ATC to turn them up. • The half-light of dusk and dawn is notoriously dangerous – in aeroplanes and cars. • If an aeroplane has not been used much, treat it with extra caution. • Have a close look at the paperwork. • Keep that bathtub curve in your mind.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
The kernels of
wheatie DAVE WHEATLAND
Dave “Wheatie” Wheatland started out flying crop sprayers around South Gippsland in Victoria and was instrumental in the development of the GippsAero GA200 Fatman and the GA8 Airvan. He has ferried and demonstrated the GA8 all around the world, clocking up 3000 hours on the type. Dave is currently heading up the test schedule for the GippsAero GA10.
The Quiet Engine Conundrum An engine failure doesn’t have to end in disaster, says Dave Wheatland, provided you understand what the “P” in “PFL” stands for.
t was a beautiful day, sun shining, birds singing and the bloom of spring in the air, so being tasked to conduct a two-hour avionics installation and systems functional check flight in a brand new aircraft was an opportunity to be embraced. With the formal safety items checked, weather info downloaded and reviewed, document inspections, system test checklists prepared, aircraft pre-flight and fuel and oil checked it was time to strap in and go to what we laughingly call work. My flight test observer for the day was Blakey, a new PPL and aircraft owner as well as work colleague. Airborne, we headed for the nearest suitable VOR station–a more difficult task as every year passes– and passing 5000 feet on climb, set course for the station to start the range and aspect testing. In the cruise Blakey casually asked about what potential emergency landing areas I was constantly considering and identifying, as he had been told this was an essential part of cross country flying. He had not seen any noticeable activity on my behalf and he assumed I was doing it surreptitiously, perhaps not to cause any alarm. No, I had not been consciously scanning from place to place, as we were over dense forest at that particular time and scope was limited. In any case, the
bushfire damage was much more interesting and the bare, grey, dead, but very tall, mountain ash skeletons gave some insight into how for the ground was below the adjoining carpet of tree tops, which look so soft from altitude. We chatted about first actions in the event of an engine failure, and most importantly, the consideration of how you land not so much where you land. Survivable landings can be made in quite hostile terrain and environments providing the pilot remains in control, flies the aircraft in the
it was interesting that we all let ego get in the way when it got competitive. optimum manner and minimises energy before touch down, or “impact” as it is otherwise known. I have spent many hours trundling across oceans where the complete absence of a suitable landing site was a smaller consideration than pirates or sharks that would ruin my day even in the event of a successful ditching. As a flight instructor at a country flying school many years ago the CFI, a very wise old owl, decided that we three instructors– Willis, Holay and myself–would do some S&P (Standardization and Proficiency) check flying and he would see how we were
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January – February 2018
delivering the forced landing from the cruise and glide approach from high downwind lessons. Forced landing from 3000 AGL with the usual high- and low-key positions went very well, and we returned to the aerodrome to do some PFLs into a short grass strip adjacent to the main runway. Holay was junior instructor so was set up to demonstrate first ... and managed to miss the airfield completely, despite his protest that this normally worked perfectly when he did it with a student. I offered to show him how it was done from the other seat, and while pattering every thing I could think of, flew a fabulous pattern that only just missed the small strip, which I then justified by the old “Well, the next paddock was OK as well” explanation. Finally the grand master with 20,000 hours of instructor time took command, and we prepared to be awed as he showed us how it was done. Despite the opportunity to observe all previous mistakes in judgement and positioning, the “Fliegerfuhrer” missed the touchdown zone and had to go around as well. Then the “going through the far-end fence is better than the stall on approach” discussion ensued. If was an educational de-brief and lively CRM discussion, and while none of us clearly ever had these issues when training students it was interesting that we
all let ego get in the way when it got competitive. In real life I have only had a couple of engine-related emergencies; one was when I was crop dusting in the Lancefield region in the 1980s and the engine quit stone dead at about 100 feet AGL on a treatment run across a farmer’s pasture. Unbelievably, I was just about to fly past the end of an adjoining farmer’s airstrip, which I was looking at right when the deafening silence occurred, so made a hard right turn, pulled full flap stuffed the nose down and landed within about 20 seconds of the failure.
It has been said that no-one will live long enough to make every mistake there is to be made, so to stay safe we have to learn from the mistakes others have made. GippsAero test pilot Dave Wheatland has spent his career operating aeroplanes on the very edge of their limits and has a swag of yarns about how flying taught him some hard lessons that we can all learn from.
I could have just landed on the large grassy paddock I was fertilizing at the time, but instinct made me land on an airstrip, just because there was one right there. Also I did not have far to walk to make a phone call (no iPhone back then), and there were fewer gates for the LAME to open to get to me. But really, any paddock is as good as any other until you are safely out of the aircraft. Presenting the aircraft at minimum energy, full-flap minimum flight speed and into wind in any conditions will result in the greatest chances of survivability. Some luck helps as well, as I
had at one time just handed my cherished, near new, and almost exclusively-personal GA200 Fatman to a relief pilot while I got a weeks R&R during a busy winter spraying season. The strips were boggy and muddy, the weather foul and the hotel we were staying at was a 100-year-old ruin, so I handed him my handful of handdrawn spray maps and a job list, told him the plane was running like a Swiss watch and headed home. Bob Cusack, the other pilot, called me the next day from the bar phone of a country hotel and broke the news that on his second job the engine had suffered
a conrod failure and stopped stone dead at about 50 feet, and that my favourite toy was now parked on the side of a hill between some trees and rock heaps. Bob was totally casual about it as he had a couple of big engine failures when flying radials at low altitude, so this one was straight forward, but as he said, a little bit tricky “coz once I got in among the trees I had to dodge the mullock heaps and stone piles, otherwise it was OK.” So when flying at any level over any surface or terrain, the idea is to take any opportunity when presented, provided you know
that you can make it. Sometimes identifying a large landing area is pointless if there are smaller, but adequate ones that are easier to get to. Stretching the glide is a killer, and in an ag plane just not even a consideration due to their gliding characteristics. Practising PFLs (that’s what the P is for) from time-to-time is a good idea, and knowing about how far you can get from a given height and what that looks like as an angle is well worth knowing. Wind direction at ground level is important and the priority of Aviate, Navigate, Communicate is essential; no use calling Centre before first of all flying the plane, maintaining control, identifying your problems and treating the problem with a viable plan before pressing the push-to-talk. After my week at home the Fatty was still on the side of the hill among the trees where Bob had parked it with an amazing degree of skill and from whence it would need to be towed to a nearby paddock for recovery. In the meantime I was granted the use of Laurie Coote’s favourite AgWagon to finish off the outstanding jobs in the Central Goldfields of Victoria. The Wagon was different to fly compared to the Fatty, and not without is idiosyncrasies, like most ag planes, but all are affected by weather and the lack of visibility associated with mist drizzle and the pressure of an ever increasing list of spraying jobs. So, I found myself slogging along in minimum VMC at 500 feet with my face pressed against the windscreen, weaving between the higher peaks to stay “visual”. Legal, barely, but certainly sub optimal! Ah, but that is a another story for another day.
January – February 2018 AUSTRALIAN FLYING
82 Short Final
LEE DE WINTON
australianflying.com.au Bankstown and Camden CEO Lee de Winton addresses the RAAA convention in October.
WSA: the Bankstown View Lee de Winton, CEO of Bankstown and Camden Airports, is making sure the GA voice is heard when it comes to planning the airspace around Western Sydney Airport.
o, Bankstown's going to close, then?" That’s the question many people have been asking me, and my answer is simple: “Oh, I don't think so.” The reason is because they've never met my customers. Some of the most vocal advocates of GA in Australia are at Bankstown Airport, and the airport is also a training ground for a great deal of the higher-level aviation in Australia. So, I think Bankstown Airport is pretty secure for a long time. I have been in the role of CEO for most of 2017 and what I find is that people in the Bankstown area either love or hate the airport; there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. I’ve also found that most of the community don’t really know that Bankstown Airport makes an invaluable contribution to both Sydney and NSW. Part of my pitch to the community is that the airport is part of them as well. It’s part of
their history and their community. It's a little gem and it's their airport. We haven't told Bankstown Airport’s story very well recently; there hasn't been very many good news stories coming out, which is a damned shame because there is so much good happening. Whether it's from flying or engineering training, or the emergency services, the airport is a hub for everything that's good in aviation. But what we are facing in the future is the gorilla in the room: Western Sydney Airport (WSA). There is a pre-conception out there that WSA will get in the way of more aviation activity, and I know many customers on the airport are worried about it. Yes, both Bankstown and Camden airports are in the vicinity of the flight paths for WSA, which may mean we will need to critically revisit how and where we conduct our training, especially the part of our training areas that is over the new airport site. I am the industry representative on the Forum on Western Sydney Airport (FOWSA), which was
AUSTRALIAN FLYING January– February 2018
established earlier this year. It is a forward-looking forum comprised of a variety of different areas including politicians, mayors, council CEOs and community representatives, as well as the CEOs of Regional Development Australia and Regional Aviation Association of Australia, so we have a significant industry input into the forum.
The TWG includes members of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, CASA, Airservices and, importantly, the Department of Defence. But I find myself in a bit of a gamekeeper-turned-poacher position, because a few years ago, in my previous career within the ADF, I managed the military airspace, including some time in Air Combat Group, where we specifically discussed the Sydney airspace. Now, I find myself wishing to enter the discussion on the flexible use of the very same airspace, especially Richmond's. It’s come back to haunt me! There are substantial amounts of airspace that, if used flexibly, would accommodate both ADF needs and serve as a civil training area. We need to look at the whole issue holistically and realistically. I believe we can learn from other nations and how they use airspace efficiently and effectively. I think London and New York airspace planners especially face similar challenges with heavy air traffic and the proximity of airports. WSA airspace won't be implemented until a little before the airport comes online, but the TWG will start the design, as well
What we are facing in the future is the gorilla in the room. A Technical Working Group (TWG) has been established to start on the airspace construction. We've issued them an open invitation to come to Bankstown Airport and discuss all our customers' needs, because they all have unique needs. Med One flights are different to PolAir, and they are different to Toll Priority freight. And then there's the flight training. Their needs are all very different, and we want to make sure that we feed that information into the TWG now.
as working with the community. We're looking at about five years to the end of the preliminary design, so there is plenty of time to speak to the community and allow consistency and solid planning. We at Bankstown are committed to assisting with this work to ensure a successful outcome for all concerned. So Bankstown into the future? Absolutely. We’ll be right here, serving the community and feeding the future aviation capability of Australia.
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Published on Dec 15, 2017