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Cessna Citation Sovereign+ flight check
Senior VP of Marketing & Sales Gulfstream Aerospace Market Focus: Asia• Fuel and Africa • Avionics • Training and and safety Market Focus: Africa cards and programs • Training safety SectorFocus: Focus:Asia Fuel•cards programs • BizApps Market Sectorand Focus: Avionics • BizApps
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Contents FC UPFRONT 8 Meet the team
10 Memo and index of advertisers
FC Interview: Scott Neal Senior VP of Marketing and Sales Gulfstream Aerospace
12 FC Upfront: Business aviation in China Asia’s fastest growing economy recognizes the value of a healthy bizav sector. Phil Rose looks at the current state of affairs and future prospects.
FC INTERVIEW 20 Scott Neal is senior vice president of marketing and sales for Gulfstream Aerospace. He talked recently to FlyCorporate’s Phil Rose about Gulfstream’s presence in Asia and its view of business aviation prospects in the region.
24 Planning to ﬂy to China? Regulations for visiting business aircraft, crews and passengers have changed in recent months. FlyCorporate asked an expert for advice to operators intending to visit China.
Tips for business operators planning to fly to China
28 Africa – the next potential great market While the industry looks for signs of recovery in established regions, bizav OEMs are shifting their focus to emerging markets such as Africa. Jason Zappa Janse provides a progress report.
OPERATOR PROFILE 32 AMREF Flying Doctors Jay Selman describes how a Nairobi-based aeromedical company uses aircraft to transport doctors and patients, and bring advanced medical services to remote areas of East Africa.
Africa – business aviation’s next great market?
Cover photo: Cessna Citation Sovereign+
Contents OPERATOR PROFILE
38 African ops – a case study Many operators in Africa face challenges unlike any familiar to readers in North America and Europe. Medical and humanitarian operations can make the difference between life and death. How advances in avionics are improving safety and efficiency
SECTOR FOCUS 40 Enhanced skies – how advances in avionics are improving safety and efﬁciency New avionics technology used to be installed in the latest airliners ﬁrst and trickled down to executive jets over time. Today, as J Peter Berendsen reports, some of the most advanced cockpit and cabin technology can be found on board business aircraft. 48 Fuel cards and programs – the options, the beneﬁts, and user opinions The most variable component of any corporate ﬂight’s DOCs is fuel. Many operators choose the relative predictability of a fuel program or fuel charge card. Rob Seaman describes the advantages and possible drawbacks.
Fuel cards and programs – options, benefits, and user opinions
60 Cockpit automation – the debate over training While business aviation has a good safety record, many pilots are concerned about the possible side effects of increased cockpit automation, including the erosion of situational awareness and loss of basic pilot skills. Kathryn Creedy reports.
FC FLIGHT CHECK 60 Checking out the Citation Sovereign+ Erin Chappel was invited to ﬂy the latest edition of Cessna’s midsize Sovereign. In this report she shares her impressions of the aircraft and its ﬂight characteristics. 66 BIZAPPS – the latest tools for business aviation
We check out the Cessna Citation Sovereign+
ALL THE VALUE THE OEM MAINTENANCE PROGRAMS PROVIDE
PLUS ALL THE ADDED VALUE THEY DON’T
SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT
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THE JSSI TRUST
OVER 325 MAKES & MODELS
8 YOUR BIZAV RESOURCE
Jason Zappa Janse
Ward Van den Broeck
Online Editor jason.janse@ﬂycorporate.com
Audience Development Manager ward.vandenbroeck@ﬂycorporate.com
Editorial Director phil.rose@ﬂycorporate.com
Art Director mike.vlieghe@ﬂycorporate.com
Multimedia Production chris.smith@ﬂycorporate.com
Nadia K Del Rio
Senior Project Manager
Business Development Director natalya.berdikyan@ﬂycorporate.com +32 (0) 475 969 105
J Peter Berendsen Rod Simpson
Editorial & Production Assistant, China
MACHMEDIA.BE Luc Osselaer
Chief Financial Ofﬁcer
Yannick Steyaert Financial Assistant
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EXPLORE THE WORLD OF FLYCORPORATE
10 YOUR BIZAV RESOURCE
CHANGING TIMES Prospects for business aviation in the emerging economies of the world may be brighter than those in the longer established markets of North America and Europe – at least proportionately. Of those countries identiﬁed ﬁve years ago as showing the greatest promise of attaining signiﬁcant economic power by 2050 – the so-called BRIC nations – China has shown the most robust growth to date. This edition of FlyCorporate, timed to coincide with the annual ABACE Convention in Shanghai, focuses particularly on developments in that part of the world. We also take a look at a region sometimes overlooked as a potential market for business aviation – Africa. Manufacturers and suppliers are focusing their gaze on this vast continent as entrepreneurs, associations and governments across Africa recognize and embrace business aviation’s beneﬁts. Change demands adaptation. To adapt well requires constant improvement, which is why FlyCorporate is evolving into an increasingly compelling digital product. Our downloadable app for the iPad, launched last year and available at the App Store, provides access to the magazine together with multimedia extras and links to archived features. Whatever happens in the world of business aviation, or in business aviation around the world, FlyCorporate will continue to be there, providing the best in timely, insightful bizav intelligence. We look forward to seeing you all in Shanghai.
Phil Rose Editorial Director FlyCorporate phil.rose@ﬂycorporate.com
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Business aviation in China the prospects Phil Rose reports
t was only a few years ago that business jet manufacturers began to observe a shift away from the decades-long North American dominance of new aircraft orders and deliveries. The change may well be permanent. While the US is home to more bizjets than any nation on Earth — a position unlikely to change given the sheer quantities involved — it no longer sees more new deliveries than the rest of the world combined. As North America and Europe struggle to regain some kind of ﬁnancial equilibrium, the so-called emerging nations are building their industrial bases and developing the infrastructures necessary to support growth. A look at the number of civil business jets registered in different countries around the world produces few surprises. The US, naturally, tops the list at somewhere north of 12,000. No other country comes anywhere close. Brazil is in second place with around 750, followed by Mexico with 700, and Canada with slightly under 500.
The US no longer sees more new deliveries than the rest of the world combined
Dassault Falcon 7X
Official approval for change China’s ﬁve-year plans (FYPs) are blueprints outlining key economic and development targets. The current FYP was approved by the National People’s Congress — China’s top legislature — in March 2011. The section headed “Improving interregional trafﬁc networks” includes the following signiﬁcant goals: Improve the aviation network with international pivotal airports and trunk line airports being the backbone, and feeder airports as a supplement, promote the development of generalpurpose aviation, reform the airspace management mechanism, and improve the efﬁ ciency of utilization of airspace resources. In a similar vein, “Priorities of trafﬁc construction: Civil aviation” lists the following: Construct a new airport in Beijing, expand the airports of Guangzhou, Nanjing, Changsha, Haikou, Harbin, Nanning, Lanzhou and Yinchuan, [construct] a number of new branch line and general-purpose airports, and study the feasibility of constructing new airports in Chengdu, Qingdao and Xiamen. Accelerate the construction of new-generation ﬂ ight control systems.
FC UPFRONT The biggest surprise, considering how little noncommercial (and non-military) ﬂying took place there until quite recently, is China. As of February 2014, there were an estimated 200 business jets registered in mainland China — a ﬁgure that places the country in the top 10 of civil business jet registries. If business jets registered in Hong Kong and Macau are factored in, the total rises to more than 250.
Bizjet preferences and OEM market share
According to China Business Aviation Group (CBAG) Chairman & CEO Jason Liao, there may be as many as 400 business aircraft based in what he terms the Greater China region — mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — although this ﬁgure includes an estimated 100 aircraft based in mainland China but registered in another country.
It is estimated that China today has some 200 billionaires — more than 50% of the total for all Asia Paciﬁc nations.
Business aviation is important for China, says Liao, in part because of the sheer size of the country and the need to serve its vast population (1.3 billion); but also because China is a long way from other major markets. Some examples: Australia is 10 hours away, while it takes 11 hours to ﬂy to Europe and 12 hours to the US.
Liao explains that business culture in China is often quite different from that in the West. “Most Chinese will not do business until they feel comfortable,” he says. “They’re less formal compared with the West. They tend to do business in a more relaxed situation — at the dining table, drinking together, at a karaoke bar, playing cards. And they’re more likely to do business with friends — with people they know.
Liao attributes the recent rapid growth of Chinese business aviation to three factors — economic development, wealth accumulation, and strong government support. “Development of business aviation is a key element of the current ﬁve-year plan,” says Liao, “and the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) has brought out a series of regulatory changes.” To underscore his point, Liao notes that both the minister and vice minister of CAAC attended ABACE last year. He stresses, “This was a rare event and very signiﬁcant. Attendance itself makes a very strong statement.”
Economic adjustments and wealth China may have slowed the rate at which its economy is expanding — GDP growth last year was 7.7% — but this rate is likely to continue under current government policies that encourage long-term stable growth and infrastructure development. In any case, China’s GDP growth over the next three years is forecast to remain faster than that of any other Asia Paciﬁc nation. Asian Sky Group (ASG) General Manager Jeff Lowe lists four reasons for China’s curbing of growth — a slowing Chinese economy and, in particular, cooling measures in certain industry segments; austerity measures introduced by the central government; a shift in focus to domestic “organic” growth; and a longer decision-making process — in other words, more educated buyers.
“Demand for private aircraft is highly correlated to wealth creation in the [Asia Paciﬁc] region,” according to Jetsolution International’s Asia Business Aviation: 2013 Review and 2014 Prediction. “Between 2012 and 2013, the population and wealth of Asia Paciﬁc’s high net worth individuals (HNWIs) increased at double and triple the rates of ... the rest of the world.”
“Aircraft in this region are mostly heavy, long-range aircraft,” says Liao. “And the average purchase price of a business aircraft in this area is $30 million, compared with a world average of $10 million.”
“A business aircraft is ideal [for this]. In the West it’s mostly a transportation tool — in China [this aspect] is also very important, but the aircraft can be used as a venue for doing business. On a plane they can make friends before doing business.” In terms of numbers of aircraft in service, Gulfstream and Bombardier have the largest share of the Chinese market — 38% and 31%, respectively. (See tables on p 18.) In all, 106 bizjets were delivered in 2013, according to ASG. (Of these, 65 were new and 39 pre-owned). Going in the other direction, 45 business jets were deleted from the registers, resulting in a net growth for the year of 61 aircraft — a 20% increase over 2012.
Accessibility and infrastructure Domestic air trafﬁc control remains under the control of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). This arrangement is deemed essential to national security. According to ofﬁcial sources, the PLAAF monitors nearly 10 million military and civil ﬂights annually. As part of the movement toward liberalization of Chinese airspace, the military has closed several hundred designated training areas, relocated 10 airﬁelds, and designated 13 airports for civil aviation. There are now reportedly more than 60 joint-use airports across China.
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FC UPFRONT By the end of the current FYP in 2015, China intends to have 230 civil airports — a goal with enormous implications in terms of both engineering and infrastructure development, given that this translates into the construction of 10 to 15 new airports a year.
It is estimated that China today has some 200 billionaires This is only part of the story. Liao notes that FBOs and MRO facilities are not very well developed. “There are only a few FBOs,” he says, “but the industry can still grow. Almost all airports in China have facilities already available for government VIPs — now they can be used for business aircraft.” “Infrastructure is a major obstacle to growth,” says Embraer China President Guan Dongyuan. “At the end of 2013 there were 193 airports open to civil use — but, with tightly controlled airspace, airlines receive priority. Although business jets provide ﬂexibility, their use is hampered, at least for now.” Also, he adds, “the lack of professional staff is still an obstacle. There is a gap between the pilot sources and the needs of the market.” Jet Aviation Business Jets (Hong Kong) Managing Director Iris Riesen agrees. “The airlines dominate airport trafﬁc,” she says. “Business aviation uses the same facilities, and the infrastructure takes time to absorb new developments.” A series of well-publicized national reforms are gradually opening airspace in China. Due to be complete by 2015, these changes are expected to boost the Chinese market for business and general aviation — a market estimated to be worth more than $160 billion annually. Some low-altitude sectors have been opened already, but the effects have been felt mostly by smaller GA and helicopter operators.
Another step, Riesen notes, is that permits are easier to obtain these days, and permit lead times are considerably shorter than the once typical three weeks. Nowadays the process takes a few days at most. What hasn’t changed, she observes, is that aircraft originating in Hong Kong/Chek Lap Kok (HKG) or Macau (MFM) are treated like any other foreign-registered aircraft entering China. Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions of China, with their own civil aviation departments and aircraft registries. Having an aircraft registered in Hong Kong can bring advantages for a local operator or owner, says Riesen. “It’s extremely easy to set up a company in Hong Kong,” she says. “The tax and legal systems are good. And for many there’s also a question of identifying with Hong Kong.” That said, operating in China with a Hong Kongregistered plane has no added beneﬁts over mainland Chinese registry. And all Hong Kong-registered aircraft must complete a 90-minute ﬂight test every year for CofA renewal under HKCAD requirements. Clearances for mainland Chinese-registered aircraft are processed faster, says Riesen, and they have access to far more Chinese airports.
A Brazil–China partnership Embraer has been in China since 2000. Authorized service center agreements with ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China at Tianjin (TSN) and Metrojet at HKG provide maintenance service for Legacy 600/650 and Lineage 1000 customers in China. Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Company (HEAI) is a joint venture of Embraer and Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), established in January 2003 to assemble ERJ145 regional jets. By April 2012, HEAI had delivered 41 ERJ145s to Chinese airlines. In June 2012, with an eye to China’s prospects as a business aviation market, Embraer and AVIC agreed to set up a Legacy 600/650 assembly line in China. In January 2013, HEAI started assembling the ﬁrst Legacy 650. This ﬂew in August 2013 and was delivered in January.
Airspace above FL290 has not yet been opened up. However, in the lower ﬂight levels, ﬂights can now take off within two hours without special permission. Inevitably, some conditions apply.
According to Guan Dongyuan, between 2004 and the end of 2013 Embraer took ﬁrm orders from Chinese customers for 35 executive jets, plus ﬁve options. Embraer’s installed base of business aircraft in China consists of Legacy 600/650s and Lineage 1000s. The ﬁrst Phenom 300 for China was delivered late last year.
As Riesen comments, “This is not really a change that beneﬁts business aviation, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.”
Looking ahead over the next 10 years, Embraer sees a total market for as many as 805 business jets in China — a ﬁgure that dwarfs forecasts for any other Asia Paciﬁc country.
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FC UPFRONT In all, 106 bizjets were delivered in 2013 — 65 new and 39 pre-owned — but when deletions (45) are taken into account, actual net growth was 61. GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG, MACAU, TAIWAN) 2013 BIZJET DELIVERIES (courtesy ASG):
2013 BIZJET TOTALS BY TYPE (courtesy ASG):
Dassault Falcon 7X
Dassault Falcon 7X
Embraer Legacy 650
Dassault Falcon 900LX
Embraer Lineage 1000
Embraer Legacy 650
Embraer Legacy 600
Dassault Falcon 7X
Embraer Legacy 600
DEC 2013 BIZJET TOTALS (courtesy ASG):
Only types totaling ﬁve or more listed. Totals may not correspond with 2013 delivery ﬁgures due to aircraft departing from register. DEC 2013 MARKET SHARE BY MFR:
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Gulfstream in Asia An interview with Scott Neal Senior VP of Marketing and Sales Gulfstream Aerospace
ulfstream Aerospace Senior VP of Marketing and Sales Scott Neal talked recently to FlyCorporate’s Phil Rose about Gulfstream’s presence in Asia and the company’s view of prospects in the region.
Honeywell suggests that over the next five years demand for business aircraft in the Asia Pacific region will represent about 5% of the global total. Do you see demand across the region increasing or softening? Economic shifts have impacted business aviation in the Asia Paciﬁc just as they have around the world. That said, we have a strong presence in the region. Our installed ﬂeet there has more than tripled in the past three years, growing from 75 in 2008 to more than 230 in 2013. The Asia Paciﬁc region represented about 24% of our nearly $14-billion backlog at the end of 3Q2013. Which Gulfstream products are proving the most popular in the Asian market? Long-range aircraft are especially popular in Asia. This is because of their tremendous capabilities, including speed and range, as well as their technologically advanced ﬂight decks, safety and reliability. At this point, the GIV and GV series are the market leaders in the region. Which countries would you say are showing the most promise? Our strongest presence is in China (with 35% of the Gulfstream Asia Paciﬁc ﬂeet), Hong Kong (20%), and Singapore (10%). We’ve seen tremendous growth in China these past six years. In 2007 there were 20 Gulfstream aircraft in the greater China region — today there are more than 120. China is an important market for Gulfstream, and we continue to make signiﬁcant investments in people, parts, and facilities in the region to make sure that we remain the Number 1 brand there. Is the reported regional preference for larger bizjets borne out by your experience? Yes, it is. Long-range aircraft that can connect Asia with almost anywhere else in the world quickly and efﬁciently are the most popular in the region. Our share of the large-cabin, long-range market in China alone is more than 60%. What do you consider the reasons for the popularity of Gulfstream products in Asia? Which characteristics appeal especially to customers in that part of the world? We encourage operators to select the aircraft that best suits their particular mission. That’s easy to do with a Gulfstream aircraft, because we offer an extensive range of products, from the wide-cabin, high-speed G150 up to the ﬂagship of our ﬂeet — the ultra-long-range, ultra-large-cabin G650. Beyond that, Gulfstream aircraft are known for their performance, cabin size, comfort, technology and reliability. The award-winning Gulfstream product support network also plays a role.
FC INTERVIEW In terms of products, the G280 is an ideal aircraft for transportation in and around Asia. It’s the most fuel efﬁcient and environmentally friendly super-midsize business jet, with a range of 3,600 nm [6,667 km] at Mach 0.80. At that speed, the G280 can easily connect Beijing and Anchorage or Moscow at Mach 0.80. The G650 goes further faster than any other certiﬁed business jet in the world. The aircraft has a top speed of Mach 0.925. At Mach 0.90, it can whisk eight passengers and four crew 6,000 nm [11,112 km]. At Mach 0.85, its range increases to 7,000 nm [12,964 km]. That’s Beijing to New York or London nonstop. Earlier this year, the G650 set a world city-pair speed record ﬂying from Shanghai to New York in just 13 hours, 32 minutes. In addition, the G650 has the largest purpose-built business jet cabin — and it has a number of amenities to make life on board comfortable and more productive, including wider seats, more aisle room, and a large stateroom option. Passengers enjoy the largest windows, the quietest cabin, and low cabin altitude to improve comfort and reduce fatigue on long-range ﬂights. In addition, we developed our new Gulfstream cabin management system, which allows passengers to control the cabin entertainment, temperature, and lighting with their iPhone, iTouch, or iPad. The G650 also offers a number of safety advances as standard features, including Gulfstream’s enhanced and synthetic vision systems, which improve pilot situational awareness in low-visibility conditions.
To what do you attribute the recent growth in Asian business aviation, especially in China? We attribute the growth of business aviation in Asia to a number of factors, including increased awareness of business aviation’s many beneﬁts — ﬂexibility, safety, security, comfort, reliability — a growing acceptance of business aviation, continued streamlining of business aviation regulations, and, of course, the overall expansion of the world economy. It’s routine today to have companies based in China doing business in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Business jets allow those companies to be more productive and competitive in their markets. Do transportation infrastructure growth rates in emerging markets constitute a challenge? To a certain extent they do, yes. Governments throughout Asia have already made signiﬁ cant strides in enhancing the environment for business aviation. However, the region could beneﬁ t from even more enhancements to its infrastructure, both in terms of operating business aircraft and importing them. For example, creating dedicated general aviation airports with FBOs would allow business jet customers to take full advantage of one of business aviation’s greatest features — its ﬂ exibility, which allows them to go where they want when they want. Right now, it’s challenging to secure ﬂ ight slot approvals when sharing commercial airports with airlines. So we’d like to see more airports and slots available for business aviation, more FBO services, and greater availability of trained pilots and mechanics.
The G650 goes further faster than any other certiﬁed business jet in the world
FC INTERVIEW When did Gulfstream first establish a market presence in Asia? Our ﬁrst sale in Asia was more than 40 years ago. How many Gulfstream aircraft have been delivered into Asia? And roughly how many of these are large-cabin aircraft? As of 3Q2013, there were 230 Gulfstream aircraft in the Asia Paciﬁc region. Of those, 191 were large-cabin. And how does the Chinese market compare with that in India and Southeast Asia, for example? We have approximately 50 aircraft in Southeast Asia (deﬁned as Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines). India, meanwhile, is home to nearly 20 Gulfstream aircraft. Each of these areas has its own particular challenges to overcome in terms of continued aviation growth. And all three regions could beneﬁt from continued education and awareness regarding the beneﬁts of business aviation. Toward that end, we participate in various lifestyle events that promote business aviation. Sometimes we do this by co-hosting such events with our business partners in the region, to educate our customers on our brand and our products as well as the acquisition, ownership, and operation of business aircraft. It’s true to say that these areas could all use a boost in terms of infrastructure. Hangars, for example, are in short supply, and permission to build them isn’t easy to obtain. In addition to infrastructure, there need to be more service providers — not necessarily the toplevel maintenance providers like Jet Aviation, which are already established in the region, but smaller companies specializing in ancillary services that FBOs traditionally provide, such as detailing and catering.
What kind of customers choose Gulfstream? And how do customer profiles in Asia differ from those in other regions of the world? Our aircraft are most popular with corporations, individuals, and charter operators, in that order. We’ve found that for many large corporations, the founder/ individual is still at the helm and making the decisions. As the market matures and the second- and third-tier customers are exposed to business aviation and its beneﬁts, we’ll see a change in the types of customer we encounter. Do you encounter obstacles in terms of national regulatory environments, tariff issues, or regional operational requirements? If so, how are these matters handled? We do encounter some obstacles, but those have lessened recently. To ensure continued streamlining of the regulatory environment and continued market growth, we work closely with the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC). Among the challenges we address are the stringent airspace and import restrictions. Relaxing airspace restrictions will lead to faster ﬂight approvals, more direct routings, and more usable airspace, especially at higher altitudes (which generally provide a smoother ride, better weather, and greater fuel efﬁciency). Import restrictions represent another challenge in terms of taxes, licensing requirements, and government approvals. In addition to this, we have numerous Gulfstream personnel (contracts, sales support, product support, certiﬁcation support) based in the region to make it easier for our customers to do business in China. Lastly, we recently established a Hong Kong ﬂight department staffed with ﬁve experienced pilots. These pilots work closely with customers and their local aircraft management companies to facilitate the transfer of Gulfstream aircraft into the region. They also assist in the transit of aircraft to and from the United States, provide entry-into-service ﬂying for customers, and support regional air shows.
to fly to
China? Some practical tips for business
immy Young is Universal Aviation’s managing director for China. FlyCorporate asked him what advice he would give to business aircraft operators intending to visit China, especially since a number of regulations have changed in recent months. Here are his tips on some important topics. Operators planning to ﬂy to China need to make sure they have all the right documentation — not just visas, but also valid permits and sponsor letters — and comply with all ofﬁcial requirements.
Tip 1: Visas Obtaining correct crew visas continues to be a challenge for operators to China. The fact is, China is extremely strict when it comes to visas. There are many different types of visa, and they can take a while to obtain, depending on which embassy the operator goes to. Generally, all crew members operating to or from China will require a “C”-type crew visa. For passengers, all visas are valid except for “C”-type visas. If crew members arrive in China without the correct crew visas, the result can be a ﬁne or deportation.
MARKET FOCUS: ASIA It’s recommended that you contact your visa provider to obtain the most up-to-date information, as visa requirements may change at a moment’s notice.
Tip 2: Landing and overflight permits There have been some recent changes in permit requirements. As of December 2013, the General Aviation Sector of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has a new director, and changes have been instituted to the GA landing and overﬂight permit process. New minimum permit lead times have taken effect, and there are new limitations with regard to the number of permit revisions that will be permitted. It’s important to note that these changes are active now, and that compliance is being strictly enforced, particularly with regard to permit lead times. Minimum lead time for landing permit requests to airports of entry in China is now three business days prior to the estimated time of arrival. CAAC wants all documents submitted with the initial permit request — or else authorities will not begin the permit approval process. If the required documentation is not assembled and available, you may need to delay your trip in order to allow sufﬁcient permit processing time. The only exceptions to the new three-day permit request policy are for diplomatic and emergency medical ﬂights. In such cases, no speciﬁc lead times are imposed, and CAAC will process permit requests as quickly as possible. In the case of emergency medical ﬂights, a patient medical condition letter from a local doctor must be submitted to CAAC, together with relevant hospital information. This reduction in ofﬁcial permit lead time from ﬁve days to three days is good news for GA operators. However, it’s important to be aware that this new lead time requirement is strictly enforced, and that operators now have reduced ﬂexibility in terms of permit revisions.
Tip 3: Sponsor letters Note that a sponsor letter from a local business contact is required for all permit requests. There are no exceptions. This sponsor letter needs to be in a speciﬁc format, and it’s best to allow one week’s lead time to prepare and submit this letter. This is the only documentation requirement for the permit process. Best practice is to contact your ground handler as soon as a schedule is known, so that he or she can coordinate the sponsor letter process and ensure that the letter is in a format acceptable to CAAC. Sponsor letters must be written in Chinese and must display the company seal (known locally as a “chop”) of your local business contact.
In addition to the sponsor letter, you will need to submit complete crew and passenger details — with full names, passport numbers and expiration dates, nationalities, and dates of birth — with the original permit request. In the past this was not a requirement, but as of December 2013 it has become necessary. Submission of full crew and passenger information is now also a requirement for China overﬂight permits. You’ll need to submit operator information, your full schedule, and full routing into and out of the particular airport you plan to use, as well as your intended entry/exit points to and from China. If CAAC determines that your routing or entry/exit points are not acceptable, it will provide you with a revised route and/or revised entry/exit points. If this happens, you must adhere to it. At present, no aircraft documents need to be submitted for either landing or overﬂight permits, unless the aircraft has 30 seats or more. CAAC considers any such aircraft to be commercial, and the authorities will want to see a seating conﬁguration, aircraft interior diagram, and air operator certiﬁcate, along with certiﬁcates of airworthiness and registration. Your sponsor must be a local business contact familiar with your company and your planned ﬂight operation. Sponsor letters require full name and contact details of the sponsor, along with company name and job title of the person signing the letter. The sponsor name and contact number should be provided to the ground handler once the time schedule is known, so that they may communicate with your business contact and begin the sponsor letter process. Note too that your business contact must be located in the same city to which your aircraft is traveling. You may operate to up to ﬁve locations within China under one local sponsor. If you plan on traveling to more than ﬁve locations in China, however, you’ll need to depart the country after ﬁve stops and apply for a new landing permit prior to re-entering the country. Be aware that GA tourism ﬂights are not permitted to or within China.
A sponsor letter from a local business contact is required for all permit requests
MARKET FOCUS: ASIA
China the 12 principal business aviation airports 11 Beijing/Capital (PEK ZBAA) • 12,460 ft x 197 ft (18L/36R) 10,500 ft x 164 ft (18R/36L) Elev 116 ft FBO: Capital Jet (Deerjet) Handlers: Beijing Aviation Ground Services China Aviation Service Foreign Airlines Service Corporation (FASCO) Maintenance: Beijing Dingshi GA Tech Service Center (CFIC) — Cessna Citation Gulfstream Beijing
12 Chengdu/Shuangliu (CTU ZUUU) 11,810 ft x 197 ft (02/20) Elev 1,625 ft Handler: Menzies Chengdu Airport Services Maintenance: Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Taikoo Sichuan Aircraft Engineering Services
13 Guangzhou/Baiyun (CAN ZGGG) • 12,460 ft x 197 ft (02R/20L) 11,810 ft x 148 ft (02L/20R) Elev 50 ft Handlers: China Southern Airlines GAHCO Maintenance: Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (GAMECO)
14 Hong Kong/Chek Lap Kok (HKG VHHH) • 12,460 ft x 197 ft (07L/25R) 12,460 ft x 197 ft (07R/25L) Elev 28 ft FBO: Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre (HKBAC) Handlers: Hong Kong Airport Services Hong Kong International Airport Services Jardine Air Terminal Services Menzies Aviation Maintenance: China Aircraft Services Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Jet Aviation (Hong Kong) — Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream Metrojet — Bombardier, Cessna Citation, Embraer
15 Jinan/Yaoqiang (TNA ZSJN) 11,810 ft x 148 ft (01/19) Elev 76 ft Maintenance: Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering (STAECO) — Bombardier
MARKET FOCUS: ASIA
1 10 5 2 7
11 3 12
Macau (MFM VMMC) • 10,540 ft x 148 ft (16/34) Elev 20 ft FBO: Macau Business Aviation Center Handler: Menzies Macau Airport Services
Shanghai/Hongqiao (SHA ZSSS) • 11,150 ft x 190 ft (18/36) Elev 10 ft FBO: Shanghai Hawker Paciﬁc Business Aviation Service Centre Handlers: China Eastern Airlines Executive Air Foreign Airlines Service Corporation (FASCO) Shanghai Airlines Business Jet Shanghai International Airport Air Services Constituent Company Maintenance: Shanghai Hawker Paciﬁc Business Aviation Service Centre — Bombardier, Cessna Citation, Dassault, Hawker Shanghai Technologies Aerospace (STARCO)
Shanghai/Pudong (PVG ZSPD) • 13,120 ft x 197 ft (17/35) 12,460 ft x 197 ft (16/34) Elev 13 ft Handlers: China Eastern Airlines Executive Air Foreign Airlines Service Corporation (FASCO) Shanghai Airlines Business Jet Shanghai International Airport Air Services Constituent Company Maintenance: Shanghai Technologies Aerospace (STARCO)
Shenzhen/Bao’an (SZX ZGSZ) 11,150 ft x 148 ft (15/33) Elev 13 ft FBO: Shenzhen Business Aviation Centre Handler: Shenzhen Airport Company (Deerjet)
Tianjin/Binhai (TSN ZBTJ) • 10 10,500 ft x 164 ft (16/34) Elev 10 ft Maintenance: ExecuJet Haite Aviation Services China — Bombardier, Embraer Xiamen/Gaoqi (XMN ZSAM) 11,150 ft x 148 ft (05/23) Elev 59 ft Handler: Xiamen International Airport Group Maintenance: Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering
1 Zhuhai/Jinwan (ZUH ZGSD) 12 13,120 ft x 148 ft (05/23) Elev 21 ft FBO: Zhuhai Business Aviation Center (Metrojet JV) Maintenance: Metrojet Hanxing General Aviation
• Airport of entry
MARKET FOCUS: AFRICA
business aviationâ€™s next great market?
MARKET FOCUS: AFRICA
hile the entire business aviation industry is looking wherever it can for more encouraging signs of recovery in the European and North American markets, many believe it is unlikely that the industry will recover to the point where it was before the crisis of 2008. Indeed, such a search might not end well. The center of focus has been shifted from the prominent players to emerging business aviation markets, as they hold the potential of booming — something many believe Europe and the US to have lost. Jason Zappa Janse reports.
Among the world’s emerging markets, Africa is a prominent future player. In 2013, the IMF reported a GDP growth of 5.2% continent-wide, with an anticipated increase of 7.0% for 2014, making the continent the world’s third fastest growing market after Asia and the Middle East. Although business aviation there is still in its infancy, Africa is currently booming through its agriculture, energy, telecoms and natural resources – such as oil, gas and minerals – making the continent a more viable and welcome airspace for business aviation to spread its wings. The continual demand for the abundant resources the continent has to offer will be a major contribution to further development of the African business aviation landscape. “The African business aviation landscape will witness peak growth over the next ﬁve years as more corporations, entrepreneurs and governments discover the unique merits of business aviation and its beneﬁts for those operating on the continent,” says Rady Fahmy, executive director of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA). “I also believe that investments – be they from public or private organizations – availability of aircraft ﬁnance and governmental initiatives toward a more streamlined regulatory industry will become key to support this burgeoning industry that complements the civil aviation and transportation sector.” AfBAA is kicking it up a notch with the commencement of regional symposia, the ﬁrst of which was held in September 2013 in Marrakech, Morocco, to advocate on behalf of its members in raising awareness of the business aviation community and address present-day challenges. And challenges there are. The continent consists of 54 countries, with 54 different civil aviation authorities (CAAs), making compliance with
individual regulatory standards very difﬁcult. In addition, these 54 countries in total contribute a mere 3% to global air trafﬁc – and, unfortunately, to around half of all fatal aviation-related accidents worldwide. Although the latter doesn’t affect business aviation’s safety record in the continent more than in other markets, by now it is well known that one of the biggest challenges the continent faces is perception. “Africa is a huge continent, and because of its size you ﬁnd a lot of diversity in terms of demand for business aviation,” says Ettore Poggi, ExecuJet’s MD Africa. On the topic of possible obstacles to growth, Poggi sees the lack of decent infrastructure – be it ground transportation or commercial aviation – as a prominent example. “The lack of direct ﬂights from one capital to another and the lack of proper ground transportation, in combination with underdeveloped roads, make it difﬁcult to travel from one country to another,” he says. Africa has approximately 3500 airports, but there is no wellestablished commercial aviation network. In addition, the lack of navigational aids is signiﬁcant. What is self-evident in more mature business aviation markets – service, infrastructure, security, handling – can come as a surprise when encountered in Africa. However, Poggi also believes the continent is poised for tremendous growth. “There’s a lot of wealth both circulating and being created through Africans, for Africans,” he says. “On top of that, there’s a signiﬁcant increase in investments going on, particularly from the resource giants.” The energy and telecoms sectors, along with natural resource industries, such as minerals, agriculture and oil, have been booming in recent years. Of course, to realize investments and secure a continuous ﬁnancial ﬂow, there has to be a safe, efﬁcient and quick means of transportation.
MARKET FOCUS: AFRICA “We started a facility in Lagos some two years ago, and already we’ve seen tremendous growth,” Poggi adds. “We handle around 150 international ﬂights on a monthly basis – which might seem little from a European perspective, but it’s signiﬁcant for an African country.”
countries within the continent, a foreigner is often seen as an opportunity to make some extra money.” Banks advises operators not to take offense at this, since most people are simply trying to survive, support and care for their families.
Extending the comparison, Poggi refers to the recession that struck Europe and the US six years ago. “We haven’t been immune to it,” he says. “We have suffered, [although] not nearly as much as Europe has suffered.”
However, the most useful advice when using business aviation in Africa is not to take things for granted. Universal’s ELATE Team Senior Trip Owner Jessica Bauer advises anyone traveling through the continent to anticipate everything. “Request and conﬁrm all services as far in advance as possible in order to avoid potential delays and service issues at destination,” she says. “The best practice is to have ﬂight plans and weather brieﬁngs sent in advance of the planned ﬂight – to multiple locations, on the day of operation – to ensure that this information is received.” When submitting permit requests or arranging jet fuel uplifts, hotel reservations, and local ground transport, Bauer recommends ﬁve working days in advance – more when traveling to remote locations. “When operating to off-the-beaten-path destinations in Africa, always have a Plan B,” she says. “Ensure that your cell phone has coverage and the ability to reach your thirdparty provider. In some cases, you may want to consider carrying a satellite phone as a backup.”
Poggi himself is an eyewitness to Africa’s GA resurgence. “In West Africa alone, over the past 12 to 18 months,” he says, “we’ve seen a 650% increase in general aviation aircraft sales. Consider that, ﬁve to ten years ago, there was only a handful of business aircraft in Nigeria; today there are over 100.” At present, business aviation is thriving primarily in countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Morocco. Expanding operations further into West Africa or toward the eastern part of the continent is currently not on ExecuJet’s agenda. “With huge investments in our Lagos facility, we need to stabilize operations there ﬁrst and get some returns before thinking of expanding further,” Poggi concludes.
Meeting challenges Unfortunately, lack of proper ground transportation isn’t the only obstacle to growth. “Political instability in some African countries – [along with] major security concerns – exist throughout the entire continent,” says Universal Weather and Aviation’s ELATE Team Manager Jerri Banks. “Consequently, one of the biggest barriers to successful operations in Africa is preconceived notions of its nations and people.” So, too, is the perception of foreigners from an African point of view, as Banks further explains: “Due to political instability and poor living conditions in most
WINGX Business Aviation Insight shows that bizav is growing in a number of African countries. In particular, there was large and increasing demand for business aviation out of Nigeria, Libya and Angola in 2013. Key Africa–Europe citypair connections include Moscow and Hurghada, Egypt; Lisbon and Luanda, Angola; and London/Luton and Lagos, Nigeria. Europe is the principal destination for ﬂights originating in Africa. In 2013, the most active market was West Africa, from which there were 7,534 business aviation ﬂights.
As is the case with ExecuJet, Universal has seen steady growth in the number of trips it supports. Banks continues, “From 2012 to 2013 the number of trips we supported to Africa increased 11%, and the number of legs increased 20%. “African nations are also taking strides to improve the level of service, safety and security – something foreigners tend to take for granted. Radar coverage improvements have been made, and business aviation advocates like AfBAA are collaborating with other organizations to raise awareness.”
“When operating to off-the-beaten-path destinations in Africa, always have a Plan B”
MARKET FOCUS: AFRICA
“Each African country has its own cultural sensitivities and is at different stages of business aviation development” While it’s true that the continent has yet to see widespread acceptance of the concept of business aviation, the African bizav landscape is looking extremely bright at the moment, according to Achuzie Khosi Ezenagu, MD of Nigerian corporate charter company Toucan Aviation. “In the past decade,” he says, “there has been a radical change in the underlying beliefs and perceptions of the relevance and efﬁciency of business aviation in Africa. In the late ’90s, business aviation was perceived as a luxury reserved for the rich few. Today, medium to large companies operating in the region have completely [grasped the concept’s importance] to their survival. Small to medium businesses in Africa are growing at a blisteringly fast pace, all in a bid to catch up with the rest of the global economies.” Ezenagu believes that, to survive in the emerging African economies, one will need speed, productivity, efﬁciency and ﬂexibility in one’s business travel arrangements. “It has now been fully understood that this can only be achieved through business aviation,” he says. “Gone are the days when executives were willing to accept an 8- to 10-hour delay at an airport anywhere in the continent while their peers kept pace with opportunities, appointments and meetings with the convenience of pre-planned business aviation.” He continues: “Operators who understand the business have embraced the infrastructural requirements needed to sustain the industry on the African continent.”
Leading by example At present, Nigeria seems to have embraced the industry with both arms. For the ﬁrst time ever, the country’s CAA has set up a directorate especially for business aviation, to tailor regulatory requirements to meet the growing demand for business aviation. In addition, Nigerian Minister for Aviation Princess Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi has authorized revamping all the airports across the nation. Ezenagu adds: “The Ministry of Aviation, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority have fully recognized the importance of general aviation to the growth of the country’s national economy. Nigeria is leading the way for the rest of the continent to follow.” Also talking positively about the steady expansion of business aviation is Catherine Gaisenband, managing
partner of aviation consultancy provider Aviacare. “Leading lights in the African business aviation landscape are, for sure, Nigeria and South Africa, but countries like Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire and Angola are becoming increasingly active,” she says. Gaisenband also emphasizes the importance of the continent’s inner diversity and difference from other markets. “Each African country has its own cultural sensitivities and is at different stages of business aviation development.” Gaisenband continues: “As the individual countries develop and the business synergy between [them] increases, a growing demand for business jet travel is likely to follow, to ensure that business continues.” And what will be the drivers for ensuring continuing business? Appearing at the top of the list once again is the burgeoning need of African nations for domestic national infrastructures. But, according to Jay Husary, senior director of operations and sales for trip support provider United Aviation Services (UAS), another item should be added to the list of obstacles to growth – lack of attention to detail. Husary emphasizes the importance of setting the right expectations for customers who are not seasoned operators to Africa. “It’s important to limit potential surprises,” he says. “Customers need to be made aware not only of the challenges of infrastructure, but also of local customs and procedures, security – not just personal security, but risk analysis, aircraft security, medical intelligence and food safety – when conducting missions to sparsely populated areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa.” UAS recently boosted its on-the-ground presence by opening a headquarters facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. Even so, Husary notes, “transforming an entire continent like Africa requires effort that is measured in decades, not years.” Time will tell whether Africa will see an overall acceptance of business aviation – but, through further development at a local level, and adjustment of existing regulations toward a more uniform system, more African countries will likely follow in the footsteps of the existing prominent players.
providing vital services across East Africa with an 18-strong fleet of turboprops and bizjets
n 1957, three reconstructive surgeons working in Kenya — Michael Wood, Archibald McIndoe, and Tom Rees — recognized the need to provide advanced medical services to those regions of East Africa that were only accessible in an expeditious manner by air. Thus, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Flying Doctors was established. Jay Selman explains how this initiative became a major success story. From its humble beginnings with one Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer, the organization has evolved into an internationally recognized and accredited air ambulance service. Today, in conjunction with Phoenix Aviation, it operates a ﬂeet comprising a Citation Excel, four Citation Bravos, seven King Airs (six B200 and a B350), a Eurocopter AS350B2, and ﬁve Cessna 208B Grand Caravans. Two Caravans and a King Air B200 are owned by AMREF — the remainder are owned by Phoenix and operated under contract. The entire operation is based at Wilson Airport (WIL) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Operations and programs Bettina Vadera is the CEO and medical director for AMREF Flying Doctors. She gained her medical degree from the Medical University in Hamburg, with specialization in emergency, family, and tropical medicine. She also holds a PhD in nuclear medicine from the University of Marburg and she is certiﬁed in numerous areas of trauma, pediatric, and cardiac life support. Vadera joined the organization in 1999 as a ﬂight physician with AMREF Emergency Service, accompanying air ambulance ﬂights in East Africa and beyond. The core of the Flying Doctors operation, Vadera explains, is the AMREF Outreach Program, in which doctors with specialized expertise take their skills to the most rural, remote, and disadvantaged communities in the region. “Today,” she says, “this program serves 150 hospitals in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Southern Sudan. The Caravans are used to dispatch teams of doctors in these outlying areas for between 3 and 5 days, as needed. The Outreach ﬂights operate on an airline-type schedule and tend to be relatively routine in nature.” Less routine are the emergency evacuation ﬂights, when Flying Doctors aircraft are dispatched to bring injured or critically ill patients to one of Kenya’s handful of full service hospitals. Vadera says, “The Kenya National Hospital in Nairobi is the largest public facility in the country, and this is where we plan to bring our air evac patients unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Our two-doctor teams on board the aircraft are often faced with having to make quick and clear decisions in order to stabilize the patient under the pressure of time and, occasionally, politics.”
She notes that, even in emergency situations, the process of obtaining overﬂight and entry rights can occasionally take longer than the actual ﬂight. “All the time, we have a critically injured or ill patient on the ground aboard one of our aircraft, waiting for the diplomatic process to unfold in order to allow us to transport the patient to Nairobi. This process can be extremely frustrating and dangerous.” Dangerous too are some of the locations that Vadera’s teams ﬂy to, such as war-torn Somalia. She notes, “None of our planes have actually been shot at, but we have ﬂown into some areas where that could be a possibility.” Flying Doctors aircraft may also be used for less critical patients requiring, or even requesting, transfers from one facility to another. Depending on the patient, these transfers can include ﬂights as far away as South Africa or Western Europe. Naturally, these longer ﬂights typically use the Citations. AMREF Flying Doctors Service was the ﬁrst non-European, non-US air rescue provider to receive accreditation by the European Aeromedical Institute (EURAMI) — one of only two organizations in the world that can ofﬁcially assess standards of service provided by air ambulance organizations.
The ideal aircraft Captain Kefa Kihara is the chief pilot for the Flying Doctors Service. He is a product of the Kenyan Air Force and has
over 7000 hours under his belt in a variety of military and civilian aircraft. He joined AMREF in 2006 and eventually became the organization’s ﬁrst Kenyan chief pilot. He is currently rated as captain in the Caravan and King Air, as well as ﬁrst ofﬁcer in the Citation. “We have four pilots,” Kihara explains, “and Phoenix has 16 assigned to AMREF Flying Doctors Service. I coordinate with the chief pilot of Phoenix to make sure that all of our ﬂights are adequately crewed.” He continues, “The Caravan is the backbone of AMREF Flying Doctors. Two are owned by AMREF the other three are owned by Phoenix Aviation. Under a cooperative agreement, pilots from both owners can ﬂy either’s aircraft.” Kihara describes the Caravan as ideally suited for the type of ﬂying done by his organization. He notes, “There are some 1000 airstrips in Kenya alone, including military airﬁelds, and the Caravan can ﬂy into virtually all of them. While not a STOL aircraft, the Caravan does possess excellent characteristics for hauling generous loads in and out of short unimproved landing strips. Just take a look around Wilson Airport and you will see that the Caravan is one of the mainstays of the bush ﬂeet in Africa. “All of our Caravan ﬂying is done single-pilot. We have a dozen or so preset circuits we cover for Outreach ﬂying, some of which offer some challenges, so all of our pilots must be trained and approved on each complete circuit.”
He continues, “Chances are that our emergency ﬂights will take us to an unfamiliar strip, so we rely on a network of pilots throughout the region to help us keep an accurate database of landing ﬁelds.” One pilot and aircraft are kept on standby at all times, with the goal of a 30-minute launch. For longer ﬂights, or emergencies requiring an aircraft with a pressurized cabin, the King Air is tops. Kihara says, “There’s really nothing else in the world that will match the performance and economics of a King Air. It can operate into most of the strips that will accommodate the Caravan, and, of course, it’s faster, it’s pressurized, and it’s a twin. For shorter hops during daylight hours, we operate the King Air single-pilot. For longer legs and night-time ﬂying, we use two.”
For longer ﬂights, or emergencies requiring an aircraft with a pressurized cabin, the King Air is tops
OPERATOR PROFILE Experienced pilots wanted Aviation in Kenya has grown tremendously in the past 15 years, says Kihara, and it’s not easy to ﬁnd pilots with the experience to handle the challenges of ﬂying for the Flying Doctors. “Some 70% of the pilots in Kenya are indigenous to the region, and most of them have their eye set on ﬂying for the major airlines,” he says. “Our type of ﬂying requires an experienced aviator, because you never know what you’ll ﬁnd. Our operational challenges run the spectrum from outdated information on landing strips to dangerous terrain and animals — even people — on the landing strip. Remember that in this region it’s a major event to have any aircraft arrive — even one the size of a Caravan. People get excited, and have no real understanding of the dangers of a spinning propeller, or standing on a landing strip. We’re always looking for pilots who are experienced and comfortable with this sort of ﬂying.” The kind of ﬂying performed by the Flying Doctors brings unique challenges. Kihara gives an example. “At night we often ﬂy into landing strips that require improvised lighting of varying quality. Short-notice cross-border
clearances can be a challenge, and occasionally, in extreme medical emergencies, we’ll launch and head toward the border, hoping that we obtain the necessary approvals in time. The humanitarian nature of our operation usually helps expedite the process, but not always. At cross-border destinations, we try to keep our ground time as short as possible, especially in certain unfriendly environments, but even then, certain local protocols occasionally create frustrating and dangerous delays. Fortunately, we’ve been in operation long enough that we have a pretty good idea how to anticipate and avoid most risks. To sum it up, we need pilots who are capable of making decisions on the ﬂy, so to speak.”
On an Outreach mission The author was invited to join Captain James Munene Ngati on a fairly typical Outreach ﬂight. We departed WIL and ﬂew to Moshi, Tanzania (QSI), which lies in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. At Moshi, we picked up a dozen or so doctors, whom we then dropped off at ﬁve remote villages throughout northern Tanzania. All but Moshi were dirt strips of varying quality.
OPERATOR PROFILE The ﬁrst two stops — Haydom and Itigi — were relatively routine, but when we landed in Manyoni, we encountered an hazard not normally found on Western soil — elephant droppings on the landing strip. Captain Ngati had no trouble avoiding the sizable encroachments on landing rollout, but as we taxied out for takeoff, he maneuvered so that he mashed a couple of the more impressive offenders with the main wheel of the Caravan. He took the time to explain that this was not done for sport — he wanted to ﬂatten as many as possible so that they would be less of an obstacle on takeoff.
Maintenance requirements vary depending on aircraft mission. All ﬂights in a saltwater environment require an engine wash afterwards. Similarly, ﬂights into dirt strips — which are very common with evacuation and Outreach ﬂights — necessitate an engine wash using special detergents. Mutava is currently the only full-time mechanic for AMREF Flying Doctors, but he is also actively involved in an apprenticeship program, recruiting students from the Nairobi area, and has established a three-month program to support growth in the aviation maintenance ﬁeld.
For this author, the next stop — Makiungu — provided the highlight of the whole trip. The landing strip was adjacent to Makiungu Catholic Hospital, where two doctors were being assigned. The adjoining church is also home to a school, and when we landed the entire school turned out, Sister Maria leading the way, bearing homemade cookies for us.
Since AMREF was incorporated in 2010, the corporation is permitted to operate a for-proﬁt maintenance facility, so Mutava is hoping to bring on a couple of additional mechanics. He says, “We’re presently responsible for the maintenance of 19 aircraft, so this represents a new and potentially lucrative business for us.”
Ngati explained, “Our visit represents a real highlight for the schoolchildren, and Sister Maria always meets us with goodies of some sort. Our ﬂight into Makiungu is always a very big deal for everyone in the village, and they’re especially excited about seeing a visitor from the United States!” I found this moving and humbling.
From charity to business
Our last stop was at the village of Dareda. This strip provided the only real piloting challenge for Captain Ngati. The approach involved a downwind leg through a fairly narrow valley before making a sharp 180° turn toward the relatively short dirt strip. As remote landing strips go, Ngati explained, Dareda was still fairly tame. After dropping off the last of the doctors, we headed back to Nairobi.
Keeping them in the air
That AMREF Flying Doctors is now a for-proﬁt organization opens up many potential growth opportunities. Prior to this step, the organization depended primarily on donations, both public and private. Shortly after its reorganization, AMREF Flying Doctors launched new insurance initiatives offering air evacuation services for subscribers. Bettina Vadera notes that these programs are generating earnings beyond initial projections, and indicates that this is only the beginning of a revenue growth process. Despite these growth opportunities, AMREF Flying Doctors intends to remain focused on its core service, taking much of the burden off patients and their families in their time of need, as well as assisting international insurance providers.
David Mutava is the chief engineer for AMREF Flying Doctors at WIL. He has been with AMREF for over 40 years, and has passed up countless opportunities to work on big iron because, as he explains, “I love the idea of working on aircraft used for humanitarian purposes.” Mutava has seen plenty of changes, the most recent being the transition to Caravans from Cessna 206s. He says, “This represented a signiﬁcant improvement by lowering costs, increasing capacity, and improving reliability. The Caravan is pretty much the baseline single-engine turbine utility aircraft throughout Africa, and it’s probably the perfect vehicle for our Outreach ﬂights. Looking ahead, Mutava says, “I certainly see a need for pressurized equipment, and would love to see us add our own King Air. Maybe there’s a place for a PC-12 somewhere down the line as well.”
The core of the operation is the Outreach Program, in which doctors with specialized expertise take their skills to remote rural communities
Getting the job done Many operators in East Africa face challenges and opportunities unlike any familiar to readers in North America and Europe. Our feature story on AMREF Flying Doctors (pp 32–37) gives a vivid insight into the way in which this emergency medical transport service carries out its crucial and sometimes dangerous missions. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, AMREF conducts its operations in an environment where things can go wrong without warning. As AMREF Flying Doctors Chief Operations Ofﬁcer Sean Culligan says, “We face enormous challenges, and the distances are vast. The continent of Africa is 4 1/2 times the size of the USA, and our normal day-to-day operational region – the area closest to us – is the size of Western Europe.” This means, among other things, that ﬂight times are often long and arduous. Other perils may await, too. Culligan cites a couple of examples. “Since the hospital facilities are often limited, patients can be in serious need of our services,” he says. “With many airﬁelds being daylight ops only, and the challenges of ﬂying over or through the areas of conﬂict and internal strife surrounding Kenya’s borders, it’s often a struggle to get clearances and get to the patient as quickly as we’d wish.” Worth noting, too, is the fact that AMREF doesn’t beneﬁt from any government initiatives. As Culligan puts it,“We operate as best we can in the circumstances.”
A glass half full Analysts and accident investigators sometimes refer to “the Swiss cheese model” in which all the holes line up to allow the eventual disaster to occur. Matt Edwards is a doctor with AMREF. He proposes a kind of inverse Swiss cheese model to account for sequences of events that end well for all concerned despite daunting odds. It isn’t all about random events, of course – someone with knowledge and experience has to start by lining the
ﬁrst few holes up. These experts often work behind the scenes as members of the operations team. Edwards talks about just such an inverse Swiss cheese sequence in a blog entry from last year. Many of the places served by AMREF are, as he puts it, incredibly remote, geographically and logistically. “If you’re taken ill in one of these places,” he says, “you’d better cross your ﬁngers and hope your own body can sort it out.” Sometimes, an operation like AMREF Flying Doctors can make all the difference. Edwards recalls the following dramatic example. “A young man traveling in a remote area of Ethiopia had become extremely sick,” he says. “[The doctors] thought it was probably malaria but could not conﬁrm. He’d had a pretty classic malarial course, with a few days of very high fevers and rigors [after which he] started to develop dark urine and jaundiced skin. He seemed to improve on a dose of artemether ... and then during the night became drowsy, confused and convulsed. He had not regained consciousness since. The doctors in the clinic there had neither the supply of medication, nor the facilities, to treat such a severe illness. Their experience of severe malaria [like this] in their local population is that it is invariably fatal. They just expect to watch people pass away.” Edwards continues, “When a distress emergency call like this comes into AMREF, a number of things need to happen before we can get going. One of the ﬁrst things is getting conﬁrmation from the insurance that they will pay and the patient is covered for what we propose to do. Then we need to get the guys at Phoenix Aviation [AMREF’s partner] to work out how to get us there. That requires knowledge of the airspace, the airstrips in the region and – crucially in this case – their opening hours. Our operations team need to get clearance for our aircraft to enter the [other] country’s airspace and land, and get [Kenyan] immigration to agree to let the patient into the country.
AFRICAN OPS: A CASE STUDY “In this particular case, the challenge was that the call came through at lunchtime, and the airstrip we were ﬂying to – Lalibela – cannot support night ﬂights. The runway ... is tarmac and well maintained, allowing us to get there in a jet ... but immigration dictates we can’t go straight there – we must ﬁrst stop in the capital, Addis Ababa, to process the paperwork.” Edwards notes, “Only in extremely rare circumstances is that [requirement waived] in any country – not just Ethiopia. So, given that it’s two hours from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, then about 30 minutes until we can set off to Lalibela, which takes 45 minutes and shuts at 18:00, we were looking at a cut-off time of 14:30. If we missed it we would have to wait until morning. The medical report strongly suggested that the patient would not survive such a delay. “As our operations staff battled with Ethiopian immigration and badgered [them] to gain clearance for the ﬂight, our radio room tried to charter a ﬂight in Ethiopia to go get the patient and bring him to Addis, which is open 24 hours, [so that] we could pick him up there, but we couldn’t get a doctor or nurse to do the escort. At 13:45 it was looking like this young man’s life was slipping through our ﬁngers. All we could do as the medical team was sit with our equipment, ready to go, and hope the operations team could pull it off in time. It just seemed crazy to me that this red tape couldn’t be sorted out while we were on our way, but that just isn’t the way it works.
Racing against the clock “At 14:10 we got the call that clearance had been granted, the insurance had conﬁrmed they were happy, the patient’s travel documents had been found, and we started up the jet. It was going to be tight. It was entirely dependent on the immigration ofﬁcials at Addis Ababa. Airport ofﬁcials here seem to behave a little like ‘rheopectic liquids’ – i.e., they become slower and thicker over time when shaken, agitated, or otherwise stressed. Utter deference to their lofty status and prostrated begging normally works better. “In Addis we were able to speak to the doctor treating this chap. He was worried. He said his respiratory pattern was changing, indicating he was not long for this world. This news came as the pilot did his calculations and worked out we would have about 30 minutes on ground. We told the doctor to get him to the airstrip [because] we couldn’t come to him. He was reluctant, but it was the only way. “The ﬂight into Lalibela was about 45 minutes. As Clement [one of our newest ﬂight nurses] and I drew up drugs and set up the ventilator, I caught glimpses out the window of an incredible landscape. This particular region is breathtaking, with vast undulating valleys, deep canyons and lush green cultivated ﬁelds. From that elevation I missed [seeing] the
famous temples carved out of the ground and canyon walls, but I could see the scattered village buildings resembling little mushroom plantations. Soon we were banking hard around a valley rim and on ﬁnals into Lalibela. “The patient had been brought to the airstrip. He looked worse than I imagined. His traveling companions were obviously incredibly worried – and glad to see us. Like in any of these situations, a little crowd of locals had gathered to watch. It’s annoying and intrusive, but you get used to it. There’s simply no point telling them it isn’t a spectator sport, because it really is. You just have to get on with it. [Besides, bystanders] can be useful as another pair of hands. “Given our absolute max time of 45 minutes, Clement and I set to with resuscitation. The pilots were incredibly helpful and just became members of the medical team. In a situation like this where there’s no one to bail you out, like in hospital, it’s even more critical to keep your head. [Clement and I] gelled and did a bloody good job. Within our allotted 45 minutes we had more IV lines in him with improving oxygenation and blood pressure, and had established him on the ventilator without any complications. We settled him into the plane with all our pumps, drips and machines, and were taking off from beautiful Lalibela just as the light was fading.
One of the ﬁrst things is getting conﬁrmation from the insurance that they will pay and the patient is covered for what we propose to do “With all our kit, we were able to monitor [the patient’s] progress as we treated and corrected his various issues. As he improved he started to require more sedation to help him cope with the ventilator – a promising sign that his brain was coming back on line. By the time we arrived in the hospital in Nairobi he had improved massively and was even breathing for himself. The patient later stabilized and improved in intensive care and the doctors felt positive about his prognosis. Edwards recalls the case discussion that followed. “We all agreed that, had it not been for the actions of our dedicated ops team busting through that red tape and our pilots ‘pushing the envelope,’ the story would have been very different. But for this lucky young man, all the holes in the Swiss cheese lined up just in time.”
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
Author Peter Berendsen (L) at the controls of a Falcon 7X with Dassault Chief Test Pilot Philippe Deleume in the right seat
Enhanced skies how advances in avionics are improving safety and efficiency
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
n the good old days, new avionics technology was installed in the newest airliners ﬁrst and trickled down to smaller executive jets over time. Today, some of the most advanced cockpit and cabin technology can be found on board business aircraft. J Peter Berendsen reports. There are many reasons for this, including commercial airlines’ focus on cost-cutting, ever more capable and smaller electronics, and executive jet passengers who demand nonstop performance in total comfort and connectivity to any point on Earth. While shorthaul use of executive jets has still not quite recovered from the economic downturn, medium to longhaul ﬂights have a healthy growth rate. Increased international production and trade, as well as exploration and mining of raw materials in remote places, all contribute to robust demand for executive jet service. Smaller (but powerful and fuel-efﬁcient) engines and advanced aerodynamics allow better takeoff performance data and longer ﬂight durations, fulﬁlling this market demand. As always, the goal in business aviation is to provide safe and efﬁcient transport directly from point to point, while hopefully allowing for productive time or refreshing relaxation for the passengers on board.
Some of today’s most advanced cockpit and cabin technology can be found on board business aircraft
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
Avionics play a big part in this. New technology allows safe navigation in difﬁcult terrain with good situational awareness (SA), with greater independence from local ground-based navigation aids. Enroute, more and more air trafﬁc control units require controller/pilot datalink communications (CPDLC), especially on international routes. And in the cabin, ever smaller satellite antennas coupled with intelligent routers allow for complete online connectivity as the aircraft makes its way through the skies. The key terms to look for are RNP, HUD, EVS, SVS, CPDLC and onboard Internet.
One major prerequisite for FAA’s transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) is the elimination of mapshifts. In this context there are two key concepts — required navigation performance (RNP) and actual navigation performance (ANP).
ANP is actually the sum of three errors — ﬂight technical error (FTE), navigation system error (NSE) and path deﬁnition error (PDE). This may sound technical, but for the ﬂightcrew it is straightforward — ANP simply has to be lower then RNP. If it isn’t, the aircraft’s ﬂight management system (FMS) generates a warning. On the new Boeing 747-8 which I ﬂy, RNP and ANP are shown constantly on the navigation display (ND).
The Global Positioning System — GPS — has become a universally known term. But we pilots know that a GPS position is only as good as the number of satellites and the geometry of their constellations. Atmospheric and other errors may inﬂuence signal travel time, resulting in GPS ﬁx inaccuracies. GPS mapshifts used to be quite common.
RNP deﬁnes the navigation performance necessary for particular air routes and approaches expressed in nautical miles. ANP is the actual position accuracy achieved — and it has to be equal to, or better than, RNP.
The key terms to look for are RNP, HUD, EVS, SVS, CPDLC and onboard Internet
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
Berendsen and an Embraer avionics technician in the laboratory at São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
But what has been done to improve GPS accuracy? In all areas, including over water and uninhabited land, more satellites in view at any given time, plus better GPS receiver clocks, go a long way to a more precise signal travel time calculation — and hence position ﬁx. Over land and close to the ground, where it matters most, differential GPS is used for even smaller ANP values. The principle here is that a ground station at a known and precisely measured position receives GPS signals and compares the results to its own known position. A correction signal is then sent to GPS users in the area. In aviation, this signal is sent via the same frequencies as the original GPS signal — or, in the case of local area augmentation system (LAAS), the ILS signal — eliminating the need for a separate antenna. However, the receiver has to be WAAS or LAAS enabled.
In wide area augmentation system (WAAS), the ground station transmits its correction signal to geostationary satellites which repeat the signal back to Earth to all users in that particular area. In LAAS, the ground station transmits the correction signal directly to users in the surrounding area. WAAS allows for approaches with better then non-precision minimums; LAAS makes Cat I and even Cat II and III lowvisibility approaches possible. FAA calls these approaches RNP authorization required (RNP AR); internationally, they are known as ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) approaches. The design criteria are very ﬂexible and allow for curved ﬂightpaths in mountainous terrain. They often allow for lower landing minima at airports with critical terrain, and have the added beneﬁt of allowing FAA to decommission conventional navigation aids such as VHF omnidirectional radio range (VOR) and non-directional beacons (NDBs).
Rockwell Collins EVS HUD
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
As the safety margins for these approaches are smaller, integrity of a navigation system is central to its certiﬁcation for instrument approaches. The WAAS speciﬁcation requires the system to detect errors in the GPS or WAAS network and notify users within 6.2 seconds. The probability of an error going undetected has to better then 1×10-7, meaning not more then 3 seconds of bad data per year may be received. The allowable downtime is 5 minutes per year. RNP AR approaches will have an RNP value of RNP 0.3 or less. Garmin, Honeywell and Raytheon have all been active in this ﬁeld and offer airborne installations. Honeywell’s Cat I ground system provides precision approach service within a radius of 23 nm of a single airport, and it even has a service to help you along the certiﬁcation process. Jeppesen has designed many RNP AR approaches and can also design procedures for a speciﬁc operator.
EVS and HUD As you ﬂy down these RNP AR approaches in mountainous terrain with no direct raw data radio ﬁx, you might want to crosscheck the ﬂight trajectory calculated by your GPS system. An enhanced vision system (EVS) is the next step in SA. Infrared (IR) images of the area ahead of the aircraft allow the crew to see through night and fog, and are best displayed on a head-up display (HUD). Units have become less bulky in recent years, allowing HUD installations in light to midsize jets. In my opinion, one of the best such solutions is the Rockwell Collins HGS-3500, in which a holographic image is projected into the HUD’s seethrough screen from the top side, eliminating the need for bulky projectors that take up valuable headroom space above the pilot. HUDs used to be a cheaper alternative to automatic low-visibility landings possible only on transport category airline jets. A HUD reduces crew reaction
time signiﬁcantly, as the pilot does not need to translate the instrument display into the real world. The display is already projected into the real world on a see-through screen. For this to work, for the graphics and the real world to meld seamlessly in the pilot’s mind with no reaction time delay at all, the HUD image has to be 100% conformal with the real outside world. Before this was only possible on ﬁnal approach on an ILS approach. This is why they are widely used on regional jets, especially in areas with frequent fog, such as Europe. But now HUDs are also looked at as useful situational awareness tools for all phases of ﬂight. The symbols that a HUD projects into the ﬁeld of vision of the pilot always includes the horizon and ﬂightpath vector (FPV). But more ﬂight data and even synthetic vision graphics overlaying EVS IR images may be selected. Today, the much improved attitude and position data make this possible for all phases of ﬂight.
SVS and HDD Instrument panels themselves, sometimes called headdown displays (HDDs), have also come a long way. Today, the term “glass cockpit” really means something, as screens have become very large and offer many display possibilties. Entire landscapes out of the onboard database are now projected on the ﬂight displays. The symbolized landscape on the primary ﬂight display (PFD) replaces and complements the ND, while the ND itself has at least as much information as an aeronautical chart. Some designers think they can project goals or hoops into the sky and make the pilot ﬂy through them as he follows his ﬂightpath. This “tunnel in the sky” concept is a step toward full 4D navigation, where not only is the precise ﬂightpath (deﬁned in track and altitude) prescribed to the pilot, but so are speed and crossing times.
Infrared (IR) images of the area ahead of the aircraft allow the crew to see through night and fog
SECTOR FOCUS: AVIONICS
Rockwell Collins HGS-3500. A holographic image is projected into the HUD screen from the top, eliminating the need for a bulky overhead projector.
The basic ﬂying skills of the crew will always be the foundation on which everything else is built CPDLC, APTCAS, onboard Internet, etc. Many other developments exist which do not ﬁt into this space today. In air trafﬁc control, automatic CPDLC has become the norm on international ﬂights, starting right after you cross the boundary to the north into Canada. Honeywell FMS computers integrate this feature, but there are also separate displays for ATC communication. The maneuver triggered by a trafﬁc collision avoidance system resolution advisory (TCAS RA) will be ﬂown by the autopilot, as demonstrated by Airbus aboard the A380 testbed that I ﬂew recently in Toulouse. And high-speed onboard Internet service for ﬂightdeck and cabin needs will be the norm. (Some airlines offer this already.) Thrane & Thrane has developed an excellent
and cost-efﬁcient onboard Internet solution which comes with a phone service that works similar to Skype.
Manual skills Despite all these new avionics developments — and there are more — we should never forget one thing. The basic ﬂying skills of the crew will always be the foundation on which everything else is built. Avionics may malfunction or give erroneous information. The pilot must always have the skills, conﬁdence and authority to disconnect all electronics that are not helpful at the time, and ﬂy the aircraft manually. A number of tragic accidents have reminded us of this absolute necessity in recent years, and it is up to professional pilots to make sure it never happens again.
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SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS
Fuel cards and programs â€“ the options, benefits, and user opinions
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS
uel is the most variable component of any corporate ﬂight’s direct operating costs (DOCs). Given the global nature of business aviation, it is also far and away the most ﬂuid. And, since prices vary by region, many operators choose the relative stability and predictability of a fuel program or fuel charge card. Rob Seaman reports. The concept started simply enough, as a form of bulk buying in which the price of the product was somewhat predetermined regardless of the point of uplift. Over time, ideas have evolved and the options have multiplied. The unique services of individual programs are as numerous as the service providers. The success or failure of one choice versus another seems to boil down essentially to preference.
Variations in average fuel price Let’s start with the obvious — the basic retail price variance of a gallon of jet fuel today. According to the AirNav.com website, between November 27 and December 31, 2013, the average price of a gallon of Jet A fuel across the continental US was $5.46. The lowest price was $3.58; the highest $12.36. The survey reviewed 2,515 FBOs across the US.
The success or failure of one choice versus another seems to boil down essentially to preference
Photo courtesy EPIC Aviation
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS
Some people in the FBO world feel that customer loyalty based on brand is increasingly a thing of the past
The price differentiation is signiﬁcant and illustrates how important planning fuel uplift is. Price swings of this magnitude make it easy to understand why many operators choose to “tanker” fuel, as opposed to the old, polite practice of always buying a token amount from each FBO visited. Some people in the FBO world feel that customer loyalty based on brand is increasingly a thing of the past. Allegiance today comes more from service experience and location — and price — as opposed to the logo on the door or ramp. Many FBOs report a signiﬁcant drop in the amount of pure “retail” product sold. The trend toward a “program” or card covers the majority of sales. Asked how many exist, one North American FBO manager reached under his desk, pulled out a six-inch-thick binder and said: “These are all the programs and cards we honor. I think we have them all covered. Everyone today has a deal somewhere.”
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS
As full retail sales decline, many of the service add-on elements that were a discretionary “no-charge” with a good sale are now charged for, more frequently than not. FBOs must pay the bills somehow, so if you’re using someone else’s card or “deal,” expect to pay for all the services you receive.
How is the price of fuel determined? The cost of a gallon or liter of fuel (i.e., the actual cost to the pump before all the taxes) is based on: • Cost of fuel (from supplier) • Transportation fee (by pipeline or tanker from terminal to airport) • Airport authority fees • Storage facility fees • FBO margin With so many hands in the pot — even before taxes are added — the regional diversity in retail pricing is easy to understand. Petroleum-based products are an easy and popular way for many extended palms to be greased. (This is not to excuse the practice, but it does provide insight. It also explains how creating a more or less level playing ﬁeld is desirable from an operator’s perspective.) Using collective buying power across the board is one way to smooth the pricing rollercoaster and manage DOCs better. Hence the growth of the fuel card and fuel program business. A predictable and stable structure is the result.
What fuel cards and programs offer The ﬁrst component of any fuel program is price per gallon or liter. In most cases the program operator strikes their best deal with the fuel companies. This is almost always based on volume rates, so the more their “pool” buys the better the price. Jet Fleet International (JFI) exempliﬁes this concept. JFI’s mission is “to leverage the purchasing power of a global ﬂeet and promote the highest standards of safety, quality, and savings.” JFI leverages its industry purchasing power for volume discounts on jet fuel. It can include aviation insurance and credit card processing on behalf of hundreds of private and corporate jet owners. As JFI’s ﬂeet grows, so too does its buying power.
FBOs must pay the bills somehow, so if you’re using someone else’s card or “deal,” expect to pay for all the services you receive
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS Another familiar name in the fuel program business is Rockwell Collins (which acquired Air Routing and its related subsets a few years back). Tommy Mock, fuel manager for the Rockwell Collins Ascend Fuel card program, identiﬁes its main focus as that of a contract fuel program for business aviation. He says: “We have relationships with fuel suppliers throughout the world to provide ﬂight departments with fuel options tailored to meet their needs, whether it’s cost savings, convenience, or both.” Like others, Ascend Fuel offers the option of combining or bundling services. As Mock points out, operators can combine services with Rockwell Collins Ascend International or Regional Trip Support. “Operators realize even more beneﬁt by having access to the full range of ﬂight services, from pre-ﬂight to
post-ﬂight, including ﬂight planning, weather briefs, and concierge services.” He continues: “In addition, Ascend Fuel allows operators to access fuel information within Rockwell Collins ﬂight planning, scheduling and dispatch applications. These include Ascend Flight Manager and Ascend Flight Operations System (FOS). Users can search for optimal fuel options all in one application, which reduces workload and improves performance by easily and efﬁciently calculating actual travel times and accurate fuel burns.” Ascend Fuel comes without a membership fee or required monthly minimum purchase amount. Customers receive a fuel card for each aircraft (providing credit facilities from suppliers and vendors that accept the card).
Operators can combine services with Rockwell Collins Ascend International or Regional Trip Support
Rockwell Collins call center in Houston, TX
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS The subject of fees and minimums crops up frequently in this discussion. Some providers charge additional fees; others do not. For many operators, the question of fees and minimum purchases can make or break a deal. In the end, it comes down to research, discussion, and personal choice. Another long-standing provider that started reselling fuel is Colt International. When it began, Colt offered customers its best price on fuel based on the day and location, with agreements Colt had with the fuel provider. The drawback to this — and other similar early programs — was that it was by and large a manual system based on intensive paper exchange, faxes, and so forth. It was not uncommon to arrive at an FBO and ﬁnd the requisite paperwork for a fuel purchase was not in hand or was on the back end of the transaction. The summary paper trail did not make it back for invoicing in a timely manner, and trip reconciliation became a nightmare. Like other companies, Colt has evolved to offer services enhanced by current technology. Its customers can ﬁnd, quote, and arrange fuel via access to real-time fuel pricing using e-mail, phone, and online tools. Not surprisingly, the growth of fuel-related software for quoting and buying has made it relatively simple for new companies to get into the business even if they lack background or experience. The challenge is accuracy, credibility, and accountability. Is what you were quoted what you end up paying? Is the billing handled properly? Did the deal that looked great at the time really save you time and money in the end? Are there hidden or additional fees popping up to surprise you on the ﬁnal bill? To quote a well-used adage, you need to know before you go. That includes as much about the services and people providing them as your ﬂight plan and destination intel. Joe Serrano, Colt’s director of marketing, says: “Our business model is focused on personalized service, dependability, and value. Our account managers are experts in aviation fuel and concentrate all their efforts on providing tailored services that beneﬁt each of our customers’ needs.” Among the things Colt promotes and stands by is errorfree billing — 99% of the time, according to an outside audit. (To its credit, Colt doesn’t claim to be perfect.) To further simplify things, the company has moved to a charge-card-type system for services, and says it has agreed working relationships with each facility and operator at more than 10,000 FBOs worldwide. Like many similar products, the Colt Card allows users to charge not only fuel — price based on Colt’s quoted combination or “rate”
(which they state up front may or may not be as good as the volume programs) — but multiple services through the same card. Like many who started in the fuel reselling business, Colt has quietly grown up to offer more than just fuel and a card, developing trip support and risk management services. Operators choose what they need based on a ﬂight-byﬂight approach. Colt offers its card and services with no membership or management fees. Flight departments are consistent when it comes to naming the top players in fuel programs and cards. They remain Avfuel, Colt, Multi Service, Rockwell Collins, UVair and World Fuel (with its AvCard). For the majority, these cards represent a combination of price efﬁciency and added services (like ﬂight planning and handling and accounting consolidations) that users like. Most operators report that they carry all or most of these cards to ensure acceptance at all FBOs.
Simplified statements One major beneﬁt that operators seem to prefer is the “one statement” approach most of these card providers offer. Having all costs per trip in one place makes travel budget resolution easier — a feature preferred particularly by charter ﬂight operators and corporations working to justify efﬁciencies and costs of corporate aviation. One notable newer player in the US and Canada is Epic Aviation, with 250 branded locations and 20 UVair FBO Network locations (these being Epic’s premier sites). The company introduced its Epic Card in the US and Canada in January 2012. Epic Senior VP Business Development & Strategy Steve McCullough feels that contract fuel programs have grown to the point where they dominate the FBO industry. According to McCullough, “Epic has always focused on the relationship between the FBO and the cardholder and has become a pioneer in Web technology that allows unique pricing visibility and access, not only to the FBO, but speciﬁc to the cardholder by FBO location.” As an example, he points to the “iGO EPIC” mobile application for Android and iOS, which allows a cardholder to see unique pricing at any FBO in Epic’s network. Epic recently announced a co-brand card that allows acceptance globally by thousands more FBOs. “This expansion is unique,” says McCullough. “The Epic Card continues to retain all of the original functionality that FBOs within the network have come to expect. Plus, Epic Card holders still enjoy the account functionality they appreciate.”
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS John Nelson, Epic VP & Chief Product Ofﬁ cer, says: “Adding the Epic Card’s global acceptance into the mix along with our partner’s card, UVair Fuel Card allows the ﬂ ight department to handle essentially all purchasing needs at any FBO. Two cards do it all — they can leave the wallet of cards at the ofﬁ ce.”
Operator perspectives An informal survey of operators — of all sizes, from all around the globe — brings to light some common observations. Some larger ﬂ eet operations, like Gama Aviation Group in the UK, manage their fuel buying through a combination of card and program access, via an internal operations department. Gama, whose global headquarters is at Farnborough (FAB), has 25 operating bases across four continents and operates more than 80 aircraft. Penny Mullin is Gama’s fuel and EU-ETS manager. According to Mullin, Gama works with all the major oil companies, their preferred FBOs and the well-known re-sellers, and uses multiple cards and programs. Mullin explains that when Gama tenders, it does so with all its suppliers — card and fuel programs as well as fuel providers themselves.
Asked what would encourage her to change from one program to another, she lists a combination of price, services offered beyond fuel, billing systems and reporting, and global acceptance. Perks and rewards come last. On a different part of the scale, Charter Air Transportation Services (CATS) is a smaller, recent start-up business based at Toronto/Pearson (YYZ), Canada. CATS goes where the customer wants — to many different cities and FBOs. Building a relationship when you are small and just getting started can be a challenge, so CATS depends on its card service providers. One of the challenges that a start-up operator encounters is acceptance by the card program. Despite general improvement in the business aviation world, getting on line with an established fuel and card provider can be tough for a new, smaller operator. For this reason, many of CATS’ services are currently covered by use of traditional corporate credit cards — MasterCard, Visa, Amex — while the company builds a track record that the optional service providers will accept. (Many FBOs report still doing substantial business via traditional credit cards, rather than aviation-focused ones.)
SECTOR FOCUS: FUEL CARDS CATS COO Kevin Heitman says his company would prefer a fuel card program that offers ﬂexibility and the opportunity to charge for services other than fuel. “Prearranged releases, when time allows, and on-demand uplift via card, when required, are important,” he says. Echoing earlier comments about additional fees, he says, “Some programs that offer the card for ancillary service attach high admin fees, which deter its use. And many FBOs are beginning to increase uplift amounts required to waive fees when contract fuel is lifted. Some will not waive or add fees when contract fuel is taken.” Across the ﬁeld from CATS at YYZ is one of Canada’s largest business aviation operators — Skyservice Business Aviation, which also has facilities at Calgary Intl (YYC) and Montréal/ Trudeau (YUL). Being both a service provider and host allows Skyservice a somewhat different perspective on the subject of fuel cards and programs. Its total annual aircraft operations exceed 15,000 hours per year, of which 20% are out-of-continent or international ﬂying. Skyservice also relies on the support of fuel programs and cards. Like most, it carries several fuel cards (ﬁve in all) as well as 10 different fuel suppliers working fuel releases and fuel cards. When it comes to speciﬁc likes and dislikes, this group too has issues with the admin fees associated with using some fuel cards or programs for additional services. Skyservice is large enough to have its own ﬂight planning and handling
services in-house. However, there are occasions when a card is needed for other third-party services. Like other operators, Skyservice ﬁnds that the additional fees quickly cancel out the convenience.
What about perks? Finally, there are loyalty programs. These are on the rise. Client retention — or awards for services purchased — is a variable. From gift programs and catalogs to time-limited contests and, most recently, Visa reward checks (usable for personal or fuel/aircraft-related causes), numerous schemes have been devised to increase operator loyalty. Not everyone approves. As one larger management operator says: “Loyalty? Show me the money! Plans to give out free T-shirts and points wither in the face of ﬂuctuating fuel prices. Introduce a loyalty program when things are constant and differentiation is sought. Until things stabilize — and they really haven’t for many years — it’s all about price to most of us.” The bottom line, as always, is price. Card and fuel programs are ways to get better or best value. You have to shop and compare, though. They all want your business and will go the extra mile to get it. You just have to make sure the terms, conditions and services are agreeable to you as well as to them.
Line technician refuels a Citation Excel at one of Epic Aviation’s 250 branded locations and 20 UVair Network locations
CAE Falcon 7X training simulator
the debate over training and its implications for corporate pilots
SECTOR FOCUS: TRAINING AND SAFETY
The debate surrounds such well publicized accidents as Asiana Flight 214 (July 6, 2013), Air France 447 (June 1, 2009), and Colgan Air 3407 (February 12, 2009). The fact is, maintaining situational awareness inside the cockpits of highly automated aircraft goes far beyond basic ﬂying skills, and questions are now being raised about whether some aspects of basic training are even relevant any more. “There is a lot more to the issues than basic ﬂying skills,” says Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) CEO Kevin Hiatt. “We have to teach new skills to keep the pilot in the game and actively monitoring the systems.” Recent accidents have been largely centered on the evolution from hands-on pilot to systems monitor. Experts indicate that pilots may become so dependent on computers that they fail to notice when something is not happening as it should. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), one of the issues emerging from commercial aircraft accidents is the role of the pilot ﬂying versus that of the pilot monitoring. Supporting this idea is a recent study of numerous accidents, resulting in almost 20 recommendations. As business aviation and commercial cockpits become more automated, deﬁning the division of roles between the ﬂying and monitoring pilots has become increasingly important. Hiatt notes that business aviation accidents continue to include loss of control, CFIT, runway excursions, and landing incidents. Evidence from cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) underlines the need for changes.
Automation in perspective
espite the rising safety of business aviation, concerned corporate pilots are following the debate about cockpit automation closely, as Kathryn Creedy reports.
Safety experts, however, are careful not to blame automation as such. “We need to take a step back when we’re talking about cockpit automation,” says Hiatt. “Automation isn’t the enemy. In fact, it has made ﬂying safer. We’re in one of the safest periods in aviation history, and automation plays a huge role in that — but we have to be aware that it can also cause complacency.”
SECTOR FOCUS: TRAINING AND SAFETY Hiatt reviews the safety advances automation has brought about. He starts with collision avoidance systems such as the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) and trafﬁc collision avoidance system (TCAS). “We saw the integration of the autopilot with the ﬂight management system (FMS),” he explains. “That reduced the burden on the ﬂying pilot. This was then coupled to the autothrottles, which meant the aircraft could be ﬂown more efﬁciently, which equated to fuel savings. We now have navigation systems linked to all of it, giving us a robust system that manages the ﬂight very well. There is no doubt all this has decreased risk. The issue now is whether we’re managing those features to ensure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing as we go forward.” NTSB agrees, and makes an important point. “We only hear about it when the monitoring pilot fails to recognize a degrading situation and take action,” says NTSB Director, Ofﬁce of Aviation Safety, John DeLisi. “We don’t know how many times they monitor automation successfully, but we do know that ﬂying is the safest it has ever been.” The agency indicates that safety improvements go beyond automation. As DeLisi points out, “Automation allows aircraft to operate in the most economic and efﬁcient manner, in all types of weather, and it provides for smoother ﬂights. Still, the most important asset in aviation safety is having that second person in the cockpit. That means, if one person loses focus or makes a mistake, the second person is there to backstop, to double check the ﬂying pilot and ensure increased safety.”
Do pilots understand automated systems? A recent study calls for at least two training changes — increasing hands-on ﬂying and curriculum focus on technology and its shortcomings. Operational Use of Flight Path Management Systems, by the Performance Based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC), also recommends better cockpit designs and warnings and, interestingly, training of regulators on technology advantages and disadvantages. While the study also cites the erosion of basic piloting skills to automation, it indicates — ominously — that pilots may not understand what automation does or what to do when things go wrong because either there are no checklists or those that exist are inadequate. “We see a common thread that both the pilot ﬂying and the pilot monitoring lose focus and fail to heed something wrong in the cockpit,” says DeLisi. “It used to be that pilots
had their hands on the yoke and throttle and ﬂying was a physical activity — and that went a long way in keeping the human mind engaged and active. We have gone from active, physical ﬂying to monitoring automated systems. We think the skills needed for monitoring systems are different than skills needed for hand ﬂying. We need training curriculum to teach pilots to continually question the system to conﬁrm it’s working to plan. This takes a different kind of skill,” he concludes, “and we have to ﬁgure out how to keep the pilot’s mind in the game, especially with the high reliability of aircraft we have today.” Hiatt notes, “Pilots can become disengaged from the aircraft and are not necessarily monitoring and cross checking as they should. We need to ask what they’re accomplishing in terms of keeping their head in the game. Do they know what the systems are doing and what their options are if something is not happening right? They need to be planning for what they would do if it failed.” The application of basic ﬂying skills to automated cockpits is crucial. “The question becomes how to keep pilots engaged to ensure quality monitoring,” concludes Hiatt. “The professional pilot will work to stay out in front of his airplane by continually thinking about what will happen next, and to ensure automation is operating correctly. Otherwise the pilot is just along for the ride.” Some US carriers have required pilots to keep a hand on the throttle (sensing its position) during descent. This contributes to maintaining awareness during landing — a key factor in what went wrong on Asiana 214. None of the pilots was monitoring the airspeed; all thought the autothrottle was maintaining power and speed. In fact, the autothrottle was armed but not deployed. The PARC study notes that 27% of accidents included mode-selection errors and confusing cockpit signage as factors. “It’s subtle,” says DeLisi. “We’ve seen accidents in which pilots think they’ve asked the automation to do something — but haven’t actually done so.” Hiatt agrees. “The key is establishing a baseline in training to ensure the pilot completely understands the automation — why it’s there, what it can do for them, how it works, how to prepare if something goes wrong with it. If they don’t understand those things, we have to look at the training to establish why not.” The 2013 Asiana crash also raised questions about culture in the cockpit. In the West, ﬁrst ofﬁcers are taught to interject themselves in decisions. With automation this has become more important, because the role of the pilot
SECTOR FOCUS: TRAINING AND SAFETY not ﬂying ensures systems accuracy. Whether that methodology holds true in Asia is another question. Indeed, this is more relevant following Chinese introduction of a new requirement. As of January 1, 2014, instead of executing a go-around when RVR is between 350 and 550 meters (1,150 and 1,800 ft), pilots who ﬂy from the top 10 Chinese airports into Beijing/ Capital (PEK) need a new rating allowing such “blind landings.”
Corporate aviation’s unique issues NTSB views the situation in corporate aviation differently. Says DeLisi, “Monitoring is also very important. In some cases, an aircraft may need only a single pilot. [In these case] pilots become very vigilant, and we don’t see single-pilot operations as a problem. However, in other cases there may be another pilot [and this] can become a distraction. That’s what we’re hearing anecdotally with the CVRs. What we haven’t heard is a delegation of duties between the two pilots — and that leads to confusion. We may need CRM [crew resource management] training that when you have two pilots, you set the assignments and the second pilot works the ﬂight.” Hiatt notes that operators are paying attention. “Responsible business aviation operators have some of the best training in the world,” he says. “They use such organizations as Flight Safety International or CAE to provide that training. But we have to ensure that the training is relevant to today’s world.” He continues, “Vigilant business operators have been very proactive in sending chief pilots and pilots in charge of safety to industry conferences to learn about the issues trickling down from the air transport side.” Some basic skills may be used only once in a blue moon, he suggests. While that doesn’t diminish their importance in training, other skills need to be nurtured, including knowledge of the automation used by ATC, air trafﬁc design, RNAV [area navigation], and RNP [required navigation performance]. Hiatt questions whether a VOR approach is relevant in today’s world. “Possibly not,” he suggests. “So we have to revisit how we train and certify pilots on a particular aircraft given the signiﬁ cant changes brought by technology.” Hiatt says FSF is working with NTSB on a pilot-monitoring-and-crosschecking training aid. “We know what ﬂ ying skills are needed,” he says, “but what monitoring skills are needed? We also know that each airline is different. Some say pilots should program the autopilot, autothrottles and FMS, and take a hands-off approach. Some say land automatically and then [have] the pilot take over. Others encourage hand ﬂ ying or modiﬁ ed hand ﬂ ying to a particular altitude. In the business aviation world, it varies widely depending on the chief pilot and the culture.” Hiatt’s conclusion is this — that while pilots obviously want to take advantage of an automated system that gives them the safest and most economical ﬂying, they must develop monitoring skills to maintain situational awareness inside the cockpit.
“Responsible business aviation operators have some of the best training in the world”
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK
We check out Cessna’s new
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK
ETD: 0830 EST Departure: HPN (Westchester County, White Plains, NY) Route: HPN, GREKI, JUDDS, CAM (Cambridge, MA), ALB (Albany, NY), VALRE.5 Arrival, HPN Altitude: FL410 ETE: 1+30 Souls on board: 5 Mission: Demo Citation Sovereign
Sovereign: A leader possessing boundless power or status Erin Chappel ﬂies the Sovereign+ for FlyCorporate.
ne minute after receiving an invitation to ﬂy the bizjet with the bold name, I pushed my novel aside, cleared my schedule, and donned my aviation hat. The ﬂight wouldn’t be for a few weeks, but I wasted no time in starting to acquaint myself with the latest edition of Cessna’s midsize jet. I read the aircraft’s manual, researched online press accounts, and scoured blogs for operational feedback on the plane I was about to meet for the ﬁrst time. On paper, the Sovereign+ appeared to be a standout — a spacious, smooth-ﬂying bird with US coast-to-coast range (3,000 nm), excellent runway performance (2,680 ft at max gross landing weight, SL), and an exceptional sound system — all with Mach 0.80 cruise. These are impressive claims, which is why I thought, “I’ll believe it when it rolls up on the ramp.”
Sovereign+ demonstrator N504SV. Cessna built 349 legacy Sovereign aircraft (serial numbers 680-0001 through 0349) before switching production to the new model. Sovereign+ serial numbers begin at 680-0501.
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK As the electronic doors opened at Jet Systems HPN, I was greeted by a strong, biting East Coast wind. Three hundred degrees at 20 kts, to be exact, with peak gusts reported at 33. In my mind, this made it a perfect day for the Sovereign+ to show her stuff and give me the opportunity to answer two very important questions — what kinds of mission is the Sovereign+ best suited for and, more importantly, would I enjoy ﬂying this ninepassenger jet on a regular basis? Eager to get resolutions, I made my way across the ramp.
First impressions At ﬁrst glance the Sovereign+ is not super-eye-catching. Its squatty, oval fuselage and moderately swept wing (16.3°) make it far less sexy than its older sibling, the Mach 0.92 Citation X. Never one to rely on ﬁrst impressions, I kept my mind open — which is fortunate, because if I hadn’t, I’d have been mistaken. Citation Demo Pilot Gene Kenneford met me at the nose and began the pre-ﬂight inspection. Highlights of the walk-around included a main entry door with a stiff outer seal capable of maintaining sea level cabin pressure up to 25,000 ft and 7,200-ft max cabin altitude at FL450. An additional pressurized inner seal provides acoustic silencing and the door opening is 12 inches taller than that of the Citation X, with no weight limit on the air stairs (making them an ideal spot for group photos). The single-point fueling port is located in front of the wing, away from the external power panel, which is positioned behind the trailing edge of the Fowler-type ﬂaps. Since the baggage door is located on the opposite side of the fuselage, it’s possible to fuel and load baggage simultaneously and comfortably — a well-thought-out feature carried over from the X. Back to the aircraft’s curb appeal. From the rear, I saw the aircraft from a different perspective and took a closer look at what Cessna likes to call “swooplets”
arced elegantly from each wingtip — an aerodynamic booster shot that adds approximately 150 nm of range. This was a top request on Cessna customers’ wish list. Another performance plus is the aircraft’s canted engine pylons, designed to reduce contaminated runway landing distances by about 500 ft — a clear beneﬁt if operating out of airﬁelds with runways of 5,000 ft or less. According to Kenneford, the trailing-link landing gear allows for consistently smooth, cabin-comfortable landings on the touchdown markers, and makes the most skilled pilot appear even better. Speaking of passengers and their needs, the baggage capacity of the Sovereign+ consists of 140 lbs available in the forward closet, 245 lbs in the aft storage area (accessible through the lavatory) and a 1000-lb heated exterior compartment with removable hanging bar — enough storage to ease ﬂight crew anxiety when a convoy of SUVs packed with luggage pulls through the gate. Passing through the front door, I was overcome by a sense of airiness. Bright, crisp LED lighting runs along either side of the headliner, creating a feeling of being out on a covered porch instead of cooped up in a tunnel-like pressure vessel. At 5 ft 9 in tall I could just about stand upright in the 68-inch cabin. Seating conﬁguration is typical — eight club stations grouped in two sections of four. Wasting no time, I slipped into the VIP chair and put it through its trials — shifting it into the aisle, extending the footrest, spinning 180° and positioning it to give the best view in the house. Those almost inevitable neck cricks are virtually eliminated. Then, when the meetings are over, you can swivel forward, reach for the Clairity touchscreen mounted on the armrest, and send a “do not disturb” text to your fellow passengers. Clairity, developed by Cessna in cooperation with Dallas, TX-based Heads Up Technologies, does more than instant message. Maps, ﬂight tracks, and estimated arrival times are displayed onscreen at every seat.
Passing through the front door, I was overcome by a sense of airiness
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK The occupant of the VIP station has control of cabin temperature. With a touch of my index ﬁnger, I moved the hot/cold slide bar and adjusted the climate inside. Although not required for the demo ﬂight, the crew explained that an added pre-cooler ensures that the airplane will be cool on the ground on hot days, instead of after 20 minutes in the air. Universal piloting fact — if the people in the back are comfortable, the ﬂight crew is happy. Other amenities provided by Clairity are pre-set takeoff, sleep and movie buttons. A single keystroke can open or close all window shades and change cabin lighting conﬁgurations. Movies are available via Blu-ray disk, and the installed sound system has the acoustics of an openair amphitheater. Outlets behind the center seats are stout, capable of ﬁrmly holding large laptop chargers. With the rider in me more than satisﬁed, my ﬂying side grew restless. After a generous nod from Kenneford, I beelined for the cockpit, where Pilot Brandy Althouse — the second member of the demo crew — was waiting patiently, and climbed into the left seat. As Althouse initiated the brieﬁng, I buckled the ﬁvepoint harness and inventoried all available resources.
The Garmin G5000 avionics suite includes three landscape-format touchscreens that span the length of the otherwise uncluttered instrument panel. Two Jeppesen chart sized screens mounted on either pilot’s sidewall are earmarked for radio tuning, PFD and MFD split-screen control and functionality to make a phone call without removing a headset. The center console houses engine start switches, speed brakes, ﬂight control lock, parking brake and autothrottle. Operational pilot’s and copilot’s side windows can be opened to communicate with ground support or used for cross-ventilation. Ergonomic seats and adjustable rudder pedals allow for full ﬂight control deﬂection — and I was just delighted to see a nosewheel steering tiller. Garmin’s G5000 integrates many traditional pilot functionalities. Position/nav lights come on when the airplane is powered up; the beacon any time the start switch is activated. Pilot input is still required to select strobe and landing lights on before taking an active runway. In ﬂight, however, the TCAS II system cycles the anticollision lights on demand if a trafﬁc threat is detected. Destination ﬁeld elevation is also set for the pressurization system, and (with FAA approval) many of the aircraft system tests are now done automatically.
FC’s guest ﬂight check pilot Erin Chappel
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK The status and digital results of the auto checks can be monitored on either pilot’s PFD — and, if any systems are out of parameters, a crew alerting system (CAS) message report is generated on screen followed by a master warning signal ﬂashing on the upper dash. Deﬁnitely a sign of the times, but, truth be told, I had to ﬁght the urge to run a manual stall test. Pilot perks on the MFD worth mentioning include a pictorial view of the winds-aloft chart. Altitudes, wind directions and speeds are displayed with a graphic of an actual aircraft. And the fact that conventional radar and NexRad weather can be viewed side by side in splitscreen mode would make even radar guru and safety consultant Archie Trammell covet a seat in this cockpit. After the electronic checklists were complete, Althouse introduced me to the autothrottles. In my experience, these are tools generally used to hold speciﬁc speeds or thrust settings so as to improve fuel management. But Cessna’s thoughts behind installing autothrottles on the Sovereign+ are focused more on workload management. Senior VP Engineering Michael Thacker explained that, with an increasingly complex airspace system, autothrottles reduce workload so that crews can focus on more pertinent tasks.
Takeoff and climb to altitude Gusty conditions at HPN warranted taxiing with the ﬂight control locks engaged. Arriving at the end of Runway 34, we reviewed the departure procedure and set the speed bugs for a 28,000-lb aircraft (two crew and three riders in back). With autothrottles engaged, I released the brakes, set takeoff power, disengaged the tiller, maintaing runway centerline by use of the rudders. It took about six seconds to accelerate to 108 kts (for anyone who still counts time from takeoff thrust/brake release to rotation). As we broke ground, pitch forces felt typical, and in line with most other jets I’d ﬂown in the past. The autothrottles adjusted to maintain the selected proﬁle and I initiated a turn to our assigned heading. The controls felt heavy — like steering a 63-ft cabin cruiser on the Atlantic — so I took Kenneford’s advice and manipulated the yoke with both hands. This may be another design beneﬁt to the autothrottles. We climbed to FL410 in 25 minutes and, once level, easily attained Mach 0.80 — just as advertised in the performance specs. The autothrottles held max continuous thrust for ﬁve minutes as the airplane leveled, and then made adjustments to maintain the requested M=0.80. If temperature at altitude doesn’t allow the programmed speed, a CAS message appears on the PFD reporting that requested thrust is not available and the system continues to maintain max obtainable thrust.
Once the autopilot was engaged, I climbed out of the cockpit. Because it was moderately turbulent at altitude, universal pilot fact number one tempted me to sample the ride in back. About to pass by the cabin door, I hesitated and listened. There was no high-pitched whine or echo of rushing air — a beneﬁt of the acoustic seal. The galley area was quiet, at least until I took another step. Smartphone in hand, Cessna’s Manager of External Communications Andy Woodward’s activated his playlist, and music boomed over the speakers, demonstrating the inﬂight sound system’s effectiveness. Despite the bumpy ﬂight conditions, the ride in the cabin seemed buffered and comfortable. As we ﬂew in and out of the clouds, the crew commented on how the LED wing lighting is less distracting in hard instrument conditions.
Heading home Back in the cockpit, Althouse set up the arrival and ILS into HPN. Autopilot and autothrottles managed multiple step-down ﬁxes, hitting target altitudes and speeds as expected. A PIREP from Westchester Tower reported low-level windshear (LLWS), ± 20 kts on ﬁnal, so Althouse bumped the aircraft’s typical 80 to 100-kt approach speed to 120 kts to compensate. We landed beautifully in less than 3,000 ft, with no real need to use the thrust reversers — operational proof that the stats I’d read in the pre-trip prep were factual. With the shutdown checklists complete, I took one last look around the paperless cockpit and considered if I had answered my two questions. As far as the Sovereign’s piece of sky, its niche seems to be moderate leg lengths out of short, high ﬁelds, good cruising speeds and excellent cabin features including an exceptional amount of baggage storage. But, as a pilot, would I enjoy ﬂying this aircraft? The answer is yes, but with a few important personal caveats. While I recognize the value of reducing pilot workload in task-saturated segments, the level of automation in today’s business jet cockpits means that pilots need a high level of discipline to maintain full situational awareness while monitoring the instruments. I also feel that strong command of the autopilot and autothrottles are necessary skill sets for any professional pilot, provided fundamental hand ﬂying skills don’t suffer. As I walked away and glanced backwards across the ramp, I considered the Sovereign+ from a different vantage point — as an all-round jet which has edged its way successfully into a highly competitive market by being well equipped, performance oriented and reasonably priced. The Sovereign+ is a generalist of sorts — an aircraft that balances customer demands with technology that challenges pilots to be their best.
FC REVIEW: FLIGHT CHECK
Citation Sovereign+ ﬂ ightdeck features Garmin G5000 avionics suite
Max takeoff weight
Full fuel payload
Wet runway takeoff
Max cruise speed
Range figures based on NBAA IFR reserves (200 nm), high-speed cruise, max fuel, MTOW
As we ﬂew in and out of the clouds, the crew commented on how the LED wing lighting is less distracting in hard instrument conditions
FC REVIEW: BIZAPPS The iPad has totally changed the way we work and communicate, providing a new platform for business applications and information sharing. FlyCorporate looks at some of the latest apps designed for the bizav market. Name of app Pilot Aircraft Buyers Guide Target user Pilots What it does A must-read for anyone planning to buy an aircraft and for those who enjoy reading about them. Packed with a wide range of ﬂight tests of different aircraft, this 116-page book is full of aircraft information. Cost
Name of app Aviation Abbreviations and FAA Terms Target user Pilots, crew, operators What it does Aviation Abbreviations and FAA Terms is an app containing more than 1500 aviation- and FAArelated glossary terms – a perfect educational and reference app for anyone interested in the aviation industry. Cost
Name of app FBO Fuel Prices Target user Operators, crew, pilots What it does An enhanced version of the original app, this update includes a GPS location feature that enables the pilot to see airports in a selected area with the best fuel prices in relationship to their current position. Cost
Name of app Pilots Atlas Target user Pilots What it does The Pilots Atlas app is an all-in-one map source, also useable ofﬂine. It includes topographical maps of the entire world scaled down to iPhone and iPad size. Cost
Name of app Aviation Airport Guide Target user Pilots, operators and crew What it does Browse and search airport aeronautical information for US public airports. Browse airports, ﬁltered by state, county, and city and airport name. Cost
Name of app FlyCorporate Target user Business aircraft users and industry professionals What it does FC is the premier multimedia resource for business aviation. It is dedicated exclusively to international operators, industry professionals, and users and owners of corporate aircraft. This quarterly publication is now available as a downloadable app for your iPad. Cost
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