A CAREER OF
DISTINCTION KEVIN BREDENBECK
AVIATION FUTURES | AIRVENTURE | FLYWOAW 2018 August 2018 Collective | 1
2 | Collective August 2018
A CAREER OF DISTINCTION
Living legend Kevin Bredenbeck tells Collective about history, his early ambition to be an Anstronaut, and his time spent breaking records as Sikorsky’s Chief Test Pilot, pioneering Future Vertical Lift technolgy By Sara Hunter
MAPPING CAREERS FOR PILOTS Colorado Heli Ops CEO Dennis Pierce spent the last four years creating a pathway to success for pilots willing to put in the effort.
A LOOK AT THE BIGGEST SHOW EAA’s annual Airventure show is still lacking in support of the helicopter industry, but there is still reason to be at the biggest aviation show in the world.
WOAW FACTOR ANNUAL EVENT BREAKS BOUNDARIES This year’s women of aviation worldwide event showed a new generation there are no limits to what you can achieve.
F E AT U R E S Editors Notes
Helipix 12 Helinews 22 August 2018 Collective | 3
P.O. Box 3134 Alpharetta, GA 30023 PHONE: 844.435.4932 FAX: 904-623-4354 EMAIL: email@example.com PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Mason | firstname.lastname@example.org DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Sara Hunter | email@example.com
Kevinf Bredenbeck Pilots the Sikorsky S-97 Raider during a test flight. Photo by Sikorksy Aircraft.
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPERS: Sara Hunter Damon Duran Seth Lasko Scott Dworkin Darren Willmin CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Ben Foulds Jessica Kanellos Brian Parsons Alison Martin PUBLISHED BY: Airborne Productions LLC.
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Editor Ryan Mason
Stepping outside your comfort zone Countless accidents each year are attributed to making poor choices induced by rushing. An urgency to “get the job done.” Sadly, that has resulted in many lost lives over the years. What dawned on me after the last several months on the road for the magazine, is that several photo shoots I was on had results that I considered less than desirable – because the shoot was rushed. It forced me to take a look at why some things did not go as well as I had wanted. In the photography business sitting in the back of an aircraft, just one small oversight can very well cause an accident. Something as simple as a dislodged lens hood hitting a tail rotor or a camera strap becoming entangled in a fuel cutoff valve, as is suspected in a preliminary crash report from an accident killing five in New York in March, can have fatal consequences. Over the years, I have continued to refine what I bring aboard an aircraft making sure that everything that I bring with me is safe and either secured to me or the aircraft, with redundancies. Now factor in if you will, the urgencies that can occur when doing this type of work. Urgencies can include the time of day, availability of aircraft needed, approaching weather and a dozen other variables. But one reality remains, every time I have been rushed, I have paid the price in some way, whether it is forgetting a key piece of equipment needed, not checking my settings and losing a key shot because of it, there has always been a cost. With what I do, screwing up has much less likelihood of having fatal consequences, the reality is, it could if I miss something big enough. That is why
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I spent my down time in the last week composing several checklists. Just like I would use when pre-flighting an aircraft, so I can check off each item of gear I need before I leave out of the office to fly to the location. I also developed a pre-shoot briefing checklist covering all of the vital safety concerns we must talk through during a briefing to ensure there is nothing left to chance. What I do in the air can be highly dynamic, and as such, things like the abilities of the pilots involved and their comfort level in executing the maneuvers to accomplish the shots I have planned sometimes need to be adjusted. I have noticed over the years that the pressure to perform – be it for a photo shoot or a pilot rushing to pick up a patient on a scene flight is very real. Selfinduced or otherwise. We have seen many post-crash NTSB reports state that weather was marginal at best, leaving most of us scratching our heads looking at the weather map at the time of takeoff and quickly deciding that in the same position none of us would have attempted to take off into that. Although many air medical operations are taking steps to double check things like weather, the ultimate rushed decision often rests with the pilot, and the one thing people reading the NTSB reports don’t factor in is the pressure one can feel, right or wrong, self-induced or externally influenced, to fly that fatal mission. I can count on one hand how many times I have had someone put their hand up to say they are not comfortable with something we have laid out in a planned shoot flight over the years – and each time it was valid. However, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to tell you the amount of times
Editorial Team Ryan Mason
Publisher & CEO
I know through my own mistakes over the years that any time I have hurriedly prepared, whatever the reason behind it was, it led to mistakes being made and things being overlooked. Hence why I recently reverted back to the tried and true checklist method I learned in initial flight training, hoping to lessen my chances of forgetting essential gear and minimizing risk as low as possible. But checklists are only good if you actually use them. In an aircraft, I am that guy some of you can’t stand and the other half chuckle at. I pull out that laminated checklist and methodically read it out loud as I check items off the checklist. It is my way of making sure that things are done correctly. Slow, methodical, but foolproof.if done correctly Goofy or not, at least I know it won’t be through lack of turning on a secondary hydraulic switch that gets me into trouble. While we have many issues to work on to further reduce the amount of fatal accidents occurring in our industry, I know one issue I will be paying closer attention to personally. I will be going out of my way to slow down, taking my time to conduct thorough pre-flight checks to eliminate unnecessary risks. Slowing down and being methodical about whatever your mission is, along with planning and briefing flights thoroughly, is not only what leads to great shots on a photo mission, but makes sure we all have the chance to return to loved ones after each flight. This should be the goal of every pilot. Every day. Fly safe, from your friend the turtle...
Jason Jorgensen Deputy Editor
A US Navy veteran, Jason is now a wellestablished aviation photographer and journalist. Based in the Los Angeles area, he specializes in business aviation, military aviation, emerging technologies, and investigative journalism, Jason also serves as our Los Angeles Bureau Chief.
Contributing Editor A writer and professional photographer for over a decade, Sara specializes in photography that captures the human element. She recently received national recognition for her work in producing a yearly calendar that showcases the real life of those in law enforcement.
Damon Duran Photojournalist
An aviation writer and photographer for many years published in multiple global aviation publications. Damon has also serves as a Professional Services Responder for the Orange County Sheriff’s department in California as the agencies Aviation Section photographer for several years.
Matt Johnson Writer
Helicopter FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, conducting Private through ATP level exams.His experience spans Air Medical,Law Enforcement, Flight Instruction and ENG Flying.A 3 time Master Instructor, FAA Gold Seal Instructor, USHST Human Factors Group representative and FAASTeam representative for the Greater Cincinnati Ohio region.
that I have had to adjust in the air or decide to abandon a specific angle or shot that I was aiming for due to pilots not being comfortable once we were airborne.
Always having an affinity for writing and later photography and videography, Ryan started out as a photographer and writer for several aviation magazines before having the opportunity to pursue his passion through COLLECTIVE, turning his love for aviation into a dream job.
Writer/Photojournalist Starting his aviation photography career almost a decade ago, he has been published in both national and international aviation publications featuring his work with both jets and rotary aviation.
Writer/Photojournalist Darren Willmin has been an aviation photographer for over 20 years. His passion for aviation taking him around the world. Willmin is also a published aviation book author and the owner of company Aviation In Action that specializes in aviation photojournalism for magazines.
August 2018 Collective | 7
Guest Column Steve Sparks, USHST
Donâ€™t Get Cold Feet Ovid quam, omniam intissit quiaectibus, tem sunti des accae aut dolenis experor erferfe ruptatem verum rae nim voluptat eosa sum endi doluptae nist, ullenim iliate nat ad molesedi dicitatia conem rem am, offici nonse corecus eost molo blaut eium susdam, offici oditae moluptius plit alicte siti ipsantium laborum idelit, se por sectota tiiscimin corio cusam atus quoditat perfers pienis in rem enda invel entiae. Ostiberum, conem quaspel enduci aut ommoluptae ne nobit doluptibus solor aut eatur? Quiam alitem eate voluptios asit ea quis exeribus, excestiunt. Ecabore ne lab inctectur? Explitatati odist minvent harupta si aut qui repudit, ipsa plis eum erferci antiam facepta tiuntistiur, quo tem consequias sum siniend ipsuntion pore sint. Citium as abo. Us, nonsecestio tem. Nam et eossum rehentia voloren ihitiorit ut laceatem doloribus ut maximpos mo dolupienem nisint. Apieniae omnimo eari bla plant etur? Epre veliquae nonsed et haris voloressit, versped quiam ne non eatur, que simagni dolorit fugit fugiae molessi aut alique sam quia nit, adi volupisci coneturit facescius repe nita is et imporro moluptatem fugitiae quiatur, asped quost, od esti dolorion et am volupta spelit et porendam id quiaepellent mo blam et excesti orectio ea eium rerspel iaestis atiunte catur, nimus reheni autas explabo ratqui consecum asperum ea pernature sandae vit aperias exceate mporem quis essequo et vellacea sinvella deliber itincto de pellori beatem quatum nihitat iumquiate velest atem autem lignihit officip suntur? Iliqui blaut eat dolupta turiorem qui arcipid enecus, a il et por 8 | Collective August 2018
susame cum dolorenduci sequae mos solupicia is quidunt quiamet et modi oditinc iment, nonsed que latur? Pore ea di dolupture erum fugit omnitatem istiumqui volum et peroratur, sant dus et liquae pro voluptae niminct otatestiat intior aut repre, ium lacium aruptis et ommos ut a quid quis ra doluptis inisciamet officae dolo vernatet odit fugit estiisi tiumqui assinis aut audae voluptatum necustis dolendi tionse estiaepudit audit utas quos eum eiur aut experem fugitiam solum et, que odipsamus ipsanis minvenem sollabori dolorem harum fuga. Ut lacit ea ne nonet incilicim at ex essit endanimus, ni id explia con ex et hicte nihicipient eos aceprec totat. Sit aspe sinus exceperum, neturiae. Obis ma doluptati utecture quis dolendis doluptat et volorectum fuga. Itatia sit quametus, tem ut eatia nis imaximin nost qui conserc hitintium reseque as resera voluptiorem qui des verovit invelest occatisit ime nonsentius comnia none dem eos dolectem fugitium aribus dolupiet litiundia sam quaes expliqu istio. Bus. Tem nis earcid molorae maxim rem facerum sincto to esed quidelibusam reri te quo consend ipiciatus, volo maio intiis doluptatur a simolor apidita tecessimil molenimaio mi, quunt aped eatem quibusamene nos doloreh entiur sinveritat porio. Ex etur? Quideliquia ius, none officia tatectatibus modi ut dolori odipit poreptate si alit, sim dolorer rovitatatum volorem ut ullorep tiasitisque veles sequam earci ommod quuntiatur ma et a sim faccum sapienissed quost magnatem et alitium aturit, tore vellabo. Et ipsandandis est, in nis aut a culpa dolor
reiciatum ium volorro eossequi repeliscid utenis ipsum ilisquo ex esequatem nobitatem nonsequunt facestiscide vid explab ipsum a et estrum restio. Oste dolupta tiusciderum ea volor ant. Est, quae exerspe ribus, tecaborem quae des enimet velest, sum nonsequiae esti de dus, sum ditas est experum aut repudissunt ide nihilla boribusdae. Ratem quos nos si doloresti aut il ime expliae nobis maio occum aliquis eicianimet eum ex erum quo quis ut ipis ilition nes iligniandam fugia alit pellant iaercitas apitionserro corion con re, occumet omnis cuptibus dolorit est odit, simi, qui con conest magnimil inullam quatiae ritaeptas aut quossequi aut quamus ersperiti opti volorerumet dolore esti ut rerum quundae volum fuga. Nempe dollaccum estia duciendae simusam in es mi, volut voluptur audae. Nam fuga. Num eatur si volessent ipictus quiasi dolorep eliqui aut maximin verovidellum et minctot aquatum qui doloriassi doluptatum am quae sit autemquae. Et fugitat ibeatem voluptatatem rectiissita dolo blam rerem verio. Urem repel ento mossed que dolupta commolu ptasim sin nem lam aut qui omnimus. Nonem quas ma dolent liti ad magnit a voluptus, adigenit qui reperec tempore quiaturis molorrum est eic to moluptae videlenistem fugit, ommolor ehenis et arum quiae sequi susaestium vent, vendus dolorrum re, totatatat volupiciasi dolor aut aut doluptatat. Rati officit hitatus evendunte pratibus il ipsam imus explignatur? Ad et anturibusda atist reheniet ullesequi nisci consed ullore pligen
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Westpac Helicopter Rescue on a job in Northern NSW Australia.
Photographer: Bradley Webster.
R44 II sunbathing on the ramp in Tallahassee, Florida. Photographer: AndrĂŠ F. Connan.
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Hillsborough County Sheriffs on a training mission in Florida. Photographer: Brian Parsons.
A TEMSCO AStar resting on the helipad in Skagway, Alaska. Photographer: Jamie Livingston.
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Lake Helen is one of the pilotâ€™s favorite landing areas near Mt. Lassen in California. Photographer: Doug Hatcher.
The first air to air glimpse of the first PJ Helicopters owned Utility Hawk painted in PG&Eâ€™s distinctive colors, seen here flying in support of Hyd
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A Mk3 Merlin conducts exercises in the mountains of Norway. Photographer: Simon Pryor.
dro operations in the California Sierras. Photographer: @buttercup_commando (IG)
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Life Flight Network AW119Kx at Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Photographer: Scott Rumple.
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A Bell 407 out on the job in beautiful rural Oregon. Photographer: Kris Jeremiah.
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Just another day working the fire line. Photographer: Michael Larch.
HEMS configured AW139 operated by Provincia Autonoma di Trento, in Trento, Northern Italy. Photographer: Daniel Bertagnolli.
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â€œSaskatchewan River cruisin.â€? in a Robinson R44. Photographer: Tyler T. Hall
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One of the Bell fleet from Helicopters Express in Atlanta returns from firefighting near Kern Valley Airport, CA. Photographer: Ryan Patrick
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#helipix May2018 2018Collective collective| |2121 August
Helinews CHC Continues North Sea Growth, Holds Regional Safety Summit the Airbus H175 and Leonardo AW139 with Neptune Energy being CHC’s largest customer in the EMEA west region.
The first CHC H175 waits to depart on the innaugural flight out to the North Sea. Photo: CHC helicopter.
Neptune Energy and CHC Helicopter celebrated the inaugural flight of the Airbus H175 in August. Departing from Norwich on a flight to the Cygnus A and Cygnus B installations in the Southern North Sea, the flight commenced a new 22-month oil rig transport contract with CHC Helicopter that .includes multiple extension option
The additional Neptune contract comes after a two- and-half-year contract extension in November that provides Neptune three AW139 aircraft for transportation services to thirty two different locations in the Southern North Sea from the CHC Den Helder base in the Netherlands. CHC operates multiple aircraft types in the North Sea oil fields that include
In addition to CHC’s EMEA region suceesses, the company also announced the completion of its fourth South American Safety and Quality Summit in Rio de Janeiro. This year’s event was attended by more than 150 attendees with opening remarks from CHC’s Vice President of Safety and Quality, Duncan Trapp, followed by Marcelo Soares, CHC’s regional director of Latin America, who emphasized the importance of safety for the company.
“CHC Brasil is made up of 450 professionals and we have operated in Brazil for 30 years, with safety as our top priority,” said Soares. CHC will also hold a larger Safety and Quality Summit in Dallas, Texas October 2-4, 2018.
Van Horn Aviation receives STC for Longranger composite blades Van Horn Aviation received Supplemental Type Certification this month from the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States for the companies composite main rotor blade product intended for the Bell 206L LongRanger helicopter.
Loosely based on VHA’s composite 206B JetRanger main rotor blades certificated in 2016, the new Van Horn LongRanger main rotor blades were approved with a 16,000-hour service life - four times the lifespan of the current OEM blades.
“Our LongRanger main rotor blades reflect several design changes over the JetRanger blades due to inherent differences in the transmission suspension,” said VHA CEO James Van Horn. 22 | Collective August 2018
“Besides being 22 inches longer than the JetRanger blades, the LongRanger blades also use different carbon fiber layup schedules and leading edge / tip weight distribution.” Van Horn’s new blades feature carbon fiber skin and spars, titanium root grips, efficient NASAdesigned laminar-flow airfoils, and tapered tips. Stainless steel and nickel abrasion strips also cover the entire length of the blade for erosion and lightning strike protection. The new blade alternative for the markey use an identical installation configuration to those of OEM blades that allow
direct replacement without hub modification.
Van Horn Aviation has seen recent success since the 2016 introduction of composite blades for the 206B variant, with a large amount of sales in the Australasia region where there are over 500 206 models still flying. The company will market the new blades at an introductory price of $55,000 per blade through December 31, 2018.
Van Horn Aviation aims to repeat sales success in Australia with 206 blades. Photo: Van Horn Aviation
Rotortrade partners with Indocopters in India Announced during the Heli-Power India Airshow this month held in New Delhi, India, the companies announced the signing of a Network Partnership Agreement that will provide sales of pre-owned helicopters, retrofit services and ongoing support solutions to the Indian helicopter market.
our intentions are clear, and we are convinced Indocopters is the best partner to achieve our targets” said Aurelien Blanc Partner at Rotortrade.
“Indocopters will not compromise on quality and believes like us Rotortrade is an international helicopter dealer and distributor with six offices located that we must raise awareness on ways to build a more sustainable in in Singapore, Malysia, the United States, Canada and Mexico and is an exclusive international dealer of Leonardo helicopters worldwide.
and profitable industry for the benefit of all parties involved notably Indian operators”. “With this new partnership Indocopters closes another gap. With sales and re-marketing of pre-owned Helicopters, our operational (NSOP), maintenance and parts support, Indocopters is now a complete Solution provider for the Helicopter industry in the region. A one stop shop.” said Per Smedegaard, CEO at Indocopters.
Indocopters operates the largest specialist helicopter MRO center in India, headquartered in Greater Noida (New Delhi.) Indocopter operates alongside sister company Global Vectra, India’s largest privately-owned helicopter operator under the umbrella of the Vectra Group. Both companies noted a clear need to integrate their complimentary services providing joint benefit to both operations. As part of the agreement, Rotortrade will provide access to the companies extensive inventory along with their international helicopter sales experience.
The Indocopters EC155 seen here is used for charter operations. Photo: Indocopters
Indocopters ability to negotiate the complex intricate knowledge of Indian regulations and specificities combined with extensive in-house MRO capability including paint booth, engine shop and several bases across the country, the partnership will enable customers in India to source the best helicopters from around the world with a suit of customization and operational maintenance support options throughout India. The aim of this partnership is also to help provide an outlet for local operators to trade their helicopters within the global market rather than in their domestic market. It will give international customers more peace of mind and the opportunity to rely on a first-class organization to ensure the condition of the helicopters being sold and a smooth export process. Indian operators will also benefit from a suit of warranty services available on select Rotortrade helicopters.
“While we know it will not be so straight forward and success will not come overnight, August 2018 Collective | 23
Helinews FAA Approves Robinson R66 Cargo Hook
The cargo hook installation includes an Onboard Systems hook, right and left-seat controls (allowing for solo flight from either seat), a left-seat hydraulic switch, and a left-seat start button. A load weight gauge and a second set of engine power gauges (torque and gas temperature) are located in the left door sill allowing the pilot to monitor engine operations while keeping an eye on the external load. Provisions for remote control of external equipment (e.g., long line hook or a water dropping bucket) are also included.
Robinson hopes to increase mission capabilities of operators with new cargo hook. Photo: Robinson Helicopter
Robinson Helicopters announced the FAA approval of the companies R66 cargo hook installation.
The optional cargo hook carries external loads up to 1200 lb and increases the R66’s maximum gross weight increases from 2700 lb to 2900 lb.
Robinson, founded in 1973 is is the world’s leading manufacturer of civil helicopters and will be accepting orders for cargo hook installations on new R66 aircraft immediately. Pricing for installation of the hook starts at $28,000.
FAA Restricts Drone Operations over DOD Facilities operations over national security-sensitive facilities by establishing temporary flight restrictions specific to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). In cooperation with Department of Defense (DOD), the FAA is establishing additional restrictions on drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of the following Federal facilities: At the request of its Federal security partners, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations § 99.7. This CFR covering Special Security Instructions addresses concerns about drone 24 | Collective August 2018
The facilities being given expended protection cover two National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facilities near St. Louis, Missouri. These changes, which are highlighted by FAA NOTAM FDC 8/7350, are pending until they become effective on August 30, 2018.
The FAA further advised that operators who violate the flight restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges. Information on the FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which defines these restrictions, and all of the currently covered locations, can be found on the FAA website, that includes an interactive map, downloadable geospatial data, and other important details on restrictions along with all details being provided in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app.
Bell Completes 525 Hot and High Testing in Arizona
The Bell 525 has suffered setbacks including the crash of a test aircraft, but the company states that testing is back on track. Photo: Bell.
Bellâ€™s long awaited 525 completed hot weather testing conducted in Yuma, Arizona announced in a recent press release from the company stating the 525 completed testing at temperatures up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit as well as high altitude operations to density altitudes of 14,000 feet.
Canada. The Bell 525 flight test program has now accumulated over 1,000 hours of total test time with speeds exceeding 200kts at maximum gross weight limits. Bell stated that the aircraft performance continues to meet or exceed all design specifications.
Earlier this year, the Bell 525 successfully completed cold weather testing at temperatures down to minus 37 degrees Fahrenheit in North Manitoba,
Bell stated that the next step for the 525 is preparing for FAA flight test participation in Q4 2018 with a goal of planned certification in 2019.
TAS Achieves 10,000 Flight Hours with Sikorsky S-76D Fleet TAS has conducted its offshore operations for oil and gas producing companies for 30 years, utilizing Sikorsky helicopters exclusively. Since 1977, Sikorsky has delivered more than 875 S-76 helicopters to customers around the world. The offshore oil transportation mission accounts for 65 percent of the more than 7.25 million hours flown by the entire Sikorsky S-76 fleet.
Photo: Sikorsky Aircraft
Thai Aviation Services reached the milestone of 10,000 flight hours with their fleet of S-76D helicopters this month in less than two years of operations with the aircraft. This milestone was achieved just a few months after TAS began
operating as Sikorskyâ€™s first Customer Support Center in Thailand. TAS operates a total of eight Sikorsky helicopters, including five S-76D medium-lift helicopters, two S-92 heavy lift helicopters and one S-76C++ helicopter.
The S-76 line of helicopters is used globally in missions such as VIP transportation, utility work, search and rescue operations, and helicopter air ambulance transportation. TAS is also forecasting that the flight of its 100,000th S-76D revenue passenger will occur later this year. August 2018 Collective | 25
Helinews Tennesee Valley Authority Purchases MD530F
MFD, and a Garmin GTN 650 touchscreen NAV/COM/GPS. The TVA MD530F will also feature additional mission equipment that includes a Fargo 21-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, Onboard Systems talon LC Keeperless 3,600 pound cargo hook and Colorado Helicopters side hook bracket, high visibility main rotor blades and a wire strike protection kit.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) purchased a new MD 530F from MD helicopters this month. The MD 530F single-engine helicopter will be configured to support powerline utility, inspections, and construction operations throughout TVA’s multi-state service area. This will be the third F-model to join the TVA fleet.
TVA is the largest public power utility in the United States and one of the largest producers of electricity in the country. TVA’s new MD 530F is the first commercially delivered F-model with MDHI’s newest all-glass single- engine cockpit that includes Howell Instruments EICAS, Garmin G500[H] TXi EFIS with touchscreen GDU 700P PFD/
“Helicopters utilizing a working platform to perform construction, maintenance, and inspection services, can complete work faster and more efficiently than a ground crew,” said David G Hill, General Manager Aviation Services, Tennessee Valley Authority. “The ability to deliver linemen directly onto the structure allows the work to be completed without impacting the surrounding environment.” TVA’s service area covers most of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small slices of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. TVA will take delivery of their new MD 530F in the fourth quarter this year.
DART Aerospace Launches H130/EC130 Cable Cutter Sytem DART saw the demand to offer this kit to the H130/EC130 operating community due to the significant proportion of helicopter incidents that related to wire strikes as aircraft operate in urban areas and close to populated regions being most at risk. Photo: DART
DART Aerospace recently received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its new Cable Cutter System for the H130/EC130 family of aircraft. 26 | Collective August 2018
The new H130/EC130 Cable Cutter kit is an unobtrusive system with equivalent protection level to the other options available and is designed to offer protection to
the airframe, occupants and dynamic components should the aircraft impact wires during forward flight. With certified cable cutter options on over 10 different aircraft models including, most recently, the H135/EC135 T3/ P3 and H145/EC145T2, DART continues to promote safety by developing cable cutters that can save lives. Canadian and European validations for the H130/EC130 kit in development and testing currently.
EuroTec Installs First North American Maximum Pilot View Kit particularly those flying external load, aerial powerline patrol/service, airborne public safety, tour and firefighting missions. Key features of the MPVK door include improved lateral headroom for pilots, a seamless righthand panorama and elimination of airframe structures that typically cause loss of target view. The MPVK increases visibility by a factor of ten allowing superior downward and lateral views of terrain and load the company states. EuroTec performed the installation for Washingtonbased Rainier Heli International, the first operator in North America to implement the Maximum Pilot View Kit.
“Partnering with the innovative team at Swiss Rotor Solutions allows our customers a streamlined implementation of this new offering,” states EuroTec’s President, Chad Decker. “Our team at EuroTec has decades of background in the H125 airframe, ensuring a quality installation every time.” “After many years of fatigue and strain during vertical reference flights, this (Maximum Pilot View Kit) door and window upgrade is a major safety and efficiency improvement,” states longtime Pilot/Owner Jim Robinson with St. Louis Helicopter.
Owners of Airbus H125/AS350 series helicopters have a new option for dramatically improved visibility during flight operations from EuroTec. The company recently completed the first North American install of the Swiss Rotor Solutions Maximum Pilot
View Kit (MPVK). EuroTec provides sales and support for the MPVK with complete installation services after the product’s massive success overseas. A significant step forward in visibility, the MPVK is suitable for all operator types,
“ After completing a recent H125 lift contract placing 200 air conditioning units, it is very evident that the new door made all the difference in visibility, a much lower fatigue factor with easier view of the load, particularly compared with options we had years prior” adds Robinson. Currently there are dozens of Maximum Pilot View Kits in operation globally, EuroTec stating that further installations are planned. August 2018 Collective | 27
Pulselite Bird Strike Prevention System Approved by EASA and CAAC for Bell 407
Photo: Ryan Mason/Collective
Precise Flight, Inc. manufacturers of the Pulselite® Bird Strike Prevention System announced recently that the Pulselite product has been granted foreign validation from the European Aviation Safety Administration (EASA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for Bell 407 aircraft. The Pulselite System is an FAA certified lightweight electrical
28 | Collective August 2018
system controller that alternately pulses the landing and auxiliary lights of a helicopter, thereby increasing its visibility and reflecting the speed and directional movement of the aircraft. In addition to enhancing the margin of safety by increasing aircraft recognition, the Pulselite System has been proven to significantly reduce bird strikes.
The Pulselite System is certified for all major rotorcraft models through the Federal Aviation Administration. The recent exponential growth in global bird populations, combined with the increase in global air traffic, has caused bird strikes to become a primary safety threat and financial burden to rotorcraft operators.
“The Pulselite System is installed on more than 25,000 aircraft around the world, and continues to be the gold standard for aircraft recognition and bird strike reduction,” said Doug La Placa, Chief Executive Officer of Precise Flight, Inc. “The Bell 407 is one of the most successful and prestigious programs in the global rotorcraft industry, and Precise Flight is honored to offer the Pulselite® System to Bell’s customers in the fastest growing rotorcraft markets.”
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Frédéric Henrion started his career in 1987 with Hoechst as HR assistant. In 1988, he joined Lyonnaise des eaux (today part of the Suez group) as an HR representative. Within the company he fulfilled roles such as HR Manager (1991) and Careers Director (1995), before moving to United Water’s North American subsidiary as HR Director (Centers of Excellence & Staffing – 2000), and Director of Labor Relations (2003).
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In 2005, he was appointed Director of Human Resources of Ondeo Industrial Solutions (a subsidiary of Suez), before rejoining Lyonnaise des eaux as Vice President HR and CSR (2008). Since 2015, Frédéric has served as Senior VP Human Resources Development of the Suez group. Frédéric (53), is a graduate of the University of Nancy II (Master’s Degree in Social Law – 1986) and the University of Paris II /CIFFOP (Master’s Degree in Social Law & HR Management – 1987). August 2018 Collective | 29
Helinews Metro Aviation delivers new H145e to University of Utah AirMed
Photo: Metro Aviation
Metro Aviation announced this month that the Louisiana headquartered company delivered the first EC145e from one of its largest commercial helicopter orders to the University of Utah Health AirMed program this week. Metro Aviation took over the University of Utah Air Med operation in November of 2016, AirMed fleet consists of five Bell 407GX’s of which Metro Aviation completed three that commenced operations a short time before assuming the contract. The Metro operated program also operates an additional IFR equipped EC145, a PC-12/47E and a PC-12/45. The operation’s latest addition, the EC145e was outfitted with mission-specific equipment tailored to the often hot and high environments and the hospital’s service area that serves communities and scene 30 | Collective August 2018
calls that are in high altitude conditions that can also include responding to avalanche rescues. The new EC145e aircraft is also fitted with standard air ambulance equipment, which AirMed plans to utilize for mechanical circulatory support and bariatric support services as needed.
“We’re excited about the increased capabilities of this aircraft. It will be stationed at our Park City base, so having the increased lift is what we’re most excited about,” said AirMed program manager Frankie Toon. “This aircraft will also give us over-water capabilities, which increases our straight-line distance.” Metro Aviation operates operates a growing number of FAR Part 135 air medical operations around the United States. Headquartered in Shreveport, Louisiana, the
company also operates a helicopter training center in Louisiana and performs completion services for a wide range of OEM aircraft that are delivered worldwide. Metro Aviation also notes specializing in the EC135 and EC145 with several Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) developed by the company for these and other aircraft. The EC145e is a light twin helicopter that differs from the standard model by its increased useful payloadwhile retaining the power and performance of the EC145 model, now a favorite of the air medical industry. The EC145e delivered includes a single pilot VFR glass cockpit, Garmin G500H and GTN 650 GPS, with a maximum takeoff weight(MTOW) of 7,903 lbs, equaling the MTOW of the EC145C2 variant, increasing the useful load capacity by 330 lbs.
GVH Aerospace Delivers Aerostretcher MK IV System In Australia GVH Aerospace announced that its AeroStretcher Mk IV modular aeromedical system has been selected by the Caboolture Hospital in Queensland, Australia, as its new critical care transfer stretcher.
“We are extremely pleased that the Caboolture Hospital has selected our system as their critical care transfer stretcher as this is validation of the design philosophy that went into the conception of this product,” said GVH Aerospace CEO Gareth Dyer. “GVH Aerospace has created a high quality product with many innovative and patient-focussed features. All aspects of patient handling have been addressed, from loading and unloading the patient to equipment security while in transit. This stretcher is an example of excellent engineering and collaboration with front-line clinicians,” said Caboolture Hospital’s Emergency Staff Specialist Dr Doug Feinbloom. He added that the state-ofthe-art system demonstrated a leap forward in the safe transfer of critical care patients from Caboolture. Emergency Department Director Dr Sean Keogh, who has over 25 years’ experience in aeromedical and road-based retrieval of critically ill patients, said that the stretcher was one of the most user friendly and effective system he had seen. The AeroStretcher Mk IV modular aeromedical system is installed directly on to aircraft seat tracks using GVH Aerospace’s patent-pending multi-fit floor interface system.
The system is installed and removed in minutes without the need for tools and can be quickly adapted to any aircraft with standard seat track fittings.
AeroStretcher Mk IV modular aeromedical system has been selected by RUAG as the standard medical and casualty evacuation system on the Dornier 228 aircraft.
The modular design of the system provides multi-role and utility operators with mix-andmatch flexibility in configuring the aircraft to provide different levels of medical care
It is also certified for installation on the Airbus H135 helicopter as an EASA STC and currently being certified on other popular helicopter types.
capability, from simple casualty evacuation to inflight critical care. DRONE EXPO 2018
The product family include litter stretcher, standard stretcher, stretcher bridge, medical equipment mounts and oxygen bottle stowage racks. The
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August 2018 Collective | 31
Helinews Leonardo Signs Deal for NH-90 & Brazilian Distribution of Trekker
Leonardo’s military variant of the A109 Trekker Image: Leonardo
Leonardo announced in August that it had signed a contract in March for the supply of 28 NH-90 medium twin-engine multirole military helicopters that would be delivered to the Ministry of Defense of Qatar. As part of the contract, Leonardo will be the prime contractor to manage the Qatari military helicopter program valued at more than €3 billion to the NHI consortium. Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, stated: “We are proud to have made this important contract effective. We continue to be fully focused on executing our Industrial Plan aimed at ensuring long- term sustainable growth for the Group, also strengthening our commercial approach”. Leonardo also announced from the LABACE show in Brazil that ICON Aviation has been appointed an official distributor for the AW109 Trekker light twin engine helicopter in Brazil. The announcement was made 32 | Collective August 2018
during an official ceremony at LABACE exhibition and detailed the contract could be extended to additional models in the future. With five main bases in Brazil, ICON Aviation is a prime national player for business aircraft and helicopter sales and services. The agreement will strengthen the presence of Leonardo in the key Brazilian helicopter market where the AW109 variants have proven popular and successful among many customers for passenger transport duties and other roles. The AW109 Trekker is the latest addition to Leonardo’s helicopter portfolio and the company’s first light twin to offer skid landing gear.
Featuring modern modular avionics, it can be easily configured for a wide range of roles including EMS, utility, SAR, law enforcement, surveillance and passenger transport applications. Orders for 60 AW109 Trekkers have been logged so far by customers in Europe, North and Latin America, Asia to perform roles like emergency medical service, law enforcement and utility/pax transport missions. Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo. Photo: Leonardo
Satcom Direct Supports Outback Aviators’ Inspirational Air Race Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider is participating “virtually” in Australia’s most challenging aviation competition – The Classic Safari Company Outback Air Race time-trial. As sponsor of the Outback Aviators team, SD is providing aviation connectivity services to seamlessly maintain constant contact between the pilots and ground support team to underpin flight planning during the extreme navigation event. As competition-success is based on teams accurately anticipating a specific flight time between selfdesignated start and end points, the need to synchronize crew and operational planning is key to victory. To ensure connectivity for the event duration, The Airplane Factory two-seat Sling aircraft is carrying a Broadband Global Area Network terminal, ‘GO’ and press to transmit radios. The connectivity platforms enable pilots, Stephen Limkin and Shannon Samarasekera, to use voice and text messaging, browse the internet, review latest
weather and route info, as well as maximize VOIP and push-to-talk services to meet the anticipated flight times between the start and finish points. It also links up the feisty duo, the ground support team and online followers giving the competitors greater confidence in their navigation and flight operations, as well as providing essential moral support from terrestrial followers.
“Our decision to sponsor is multipurpose. We want to support the aviators on their challenging journey by providing a robust connectivity solution to keep them safe and connected, showcase how SD makes synchronizing flight operations a reality, stimulate awareness of the importance of general aviation to the Australian nation, and most importantly help raise funds to outfit vital RFDS aircraft. We are extremely proud to be part of the event,” says Nathan Andrews, SD APAC regional director. “Having access to the SD equipment and satcom facility is a major boost to our winning potential. The race is not about speed, it’s about navigating with accuracy and adjusting routes
according to flying conditions. Connectivity is crucial in making this happen. We can also interact with our followers, donation givers, family and friends to tell the story of our adventure. We can’t express how important it is to have this. We only started planning a few months ago and the SD services have helped make the impossible, possible,” says Outback Aviators pilot, Limkin. Participating in the time-trial gives the pilots an opportunity to inspire a future generation of aviators to recognize that whatever the challenges. The Classic Safari Company Outback Air Race sees competitors and aircraft pit their skills against each other in a GPS navigation time-trial crossing Australia’s unforgiving outback. The 9000kilometer (c 5592mile) aerial voyage from the east to west coast has raised over two million dollars for the Australian Royal Flying Doctors service since wheels up in 1996. The stories from the spirited pilots also bring awareness of the importance of aviation to a country as vast as Australia.
August 2018 Collective | 33
AV I AT I O N
Pilots enrolled in the Avition Futur
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res program can look forward to a long and successful career. Dennis Pierce photo.
D ennis Pierce is one of the people in the
industry that speaks quietly, but with an air of excitement about anything he has a passion for. An active member of the United States Helicopter Safety Team, Pierce is also Vice Chair of the HAI Flight Training Committee and serves on multiple other committees in the industry, all with similar themes centered around safety, training, and leaving the industry a better place than he found it. I have known Pierce longer than almost anyone in this industry, our paths crossing almost a decade ago, soon after Pierce opened his flight school, Colorado Heli Ops (CHO). At the time CHO had just two training aircraft. Since then, the school has grown in both size and operational depth. When I first met him, Pierce was looking for help with an AATD simulator that was no longer supported. Even as his school was still growing, Pierce was one of very few smaller flight schools that had invested significant capital in making flight simulators a huge part of training for pilots in training. CHO training courses incorporated the simulators to help in developing both flying and decision-making skills. He saw the potential for their use in creating safe pilots, in addition to the benefit of cost savings to students. August 2018 Collective | 35
Founder of the Aviation Futures program, Colorado heli Ops CEO Dennis Pierce, said standing up a new program like this has not been without its complications and has taken almost five years. Dennis Pierce photo.
It was his â€œoutside the boxâ€? thinking that finally brought to fruition an idea that Pierce had been working on for many years behind the scenes. Aviation Futures was officially started as a program in 2015 but has been in Pierceâ€™s head for much longer than that, in fact his first plan of action draft was presented at HeliExpo in 2009. Pierce began to approach those in his extensive network of connections to assist in creating a program that, with the help of industry partners, provides participants a chance at having a 36 Collective August August 2018 2018 36 || Collective
pathway to career success and more. The program affords each pilot an opportunity to build their experience through established stages in their career, in the direction of their desired industry segment. The career path is defined by a group of commercial helicopter operators who have agreed to give guaranteed interviews and priority hiring to pilots who are in the Aviation Futures program. These assurances reduce the uncertainty and risk for pilots entering
the industry and when advancing in their career. In addition to a defined career path, the Aviation Futures program has attributes similar to that of cadet-type programs in the fixed-wing world. In airplane programs, low time pilots are brought under the wing of a regional airline or larger airline who trains the recruit and gives them the hours and ratings they need to fly aircraft such as the CRJ or Dash 8 on regional routes. During this period, the pilot gains valuable experience and time that qualifies them for a transition into larger aircraft and more desirable pilot jobs. In the fixed wing model, both the training liability and the cost rests with the airline. The Aviation Futures model, however, is quite different.
SE T UP F O R S U C C E S S Set up as a 501c3 nonprofit, Aviation Futures aims in the future to assist participant pilots with access to funding for flight training, and other donated benefits. After completing their private pilot certificate with CHO. Companies interested in hiring the Aviation Futures pilots can choose to donate to a specific student’s training, incentivized by a tax-deductible write-off. In the fixed-wing industry, airlines shoulder the costs of paying the employees, training the individual, and the liability associated with that training. In the Aviation Futures model,
the donating company gets a qualified pilot to hire, a tax write-off, and influence on the training program, but without the extra expense and risk exposure associated with training internally. The tiered program of Aviation Futures provides a training program and career path that is not only an industry first, but a win/win for everyone involved. Already well under weigh, over the last year AF provided more than 100 hours of free flight time to participants, most of it in turbines, and some with the owner of a program partners sitting next to the pilot. How would you like to spend four hours in a 407 flying cross country getting to know the owner of the utility partner?
INDUSTRY SUPPORT In the short amount of time that the program has been operational, it has attracted some big names in the industry to sign on as partners. Those businesses will undoubtedly reap the rewards of the kind of candidate that the Aviation Futures program will create by way of reducing time spent hiring and selecting candidates. Commercial helicopter operators including Black Hills Aerial Adventures, Papillon Airways, Zephyr Helicopters, PJ Helicopters, Air Evac Lifeteam, and Aero Tech were early adopters of the idea for these reasons.
“Papillon Airways is a major employer in the helicopter industry and is delighted to be part of the Aviation Futures initiative started by premier flight school Colorado Heli Ops” stated Simon Whitely, Papillon’s Director of Flight Operations, regarding the company’s early sign on as an operator partner in the program. “The search for quality pilot applicants is an ongoing challenge. A program such as this can only help to streamline recruitment of suitable candidates and we look forward to working closely with Colorado Heli Ops, Black Hills Aerial August 2018 Collective | 37
Adventures, and other business partners within the Aviation Futures program to help nurture the next generation of professional helicopter pilots” he added. Air Evac Lifeteam is the first HEMS provider to see the benefits of Aviation Futures and sign on as a partner, “As the pilot shortage increases, we view this program as a resourceful method to develop a pool of qualified helicopter pilots for both the near and long term” said Air Evac Lifeteam’s Tony Bonham who serves as the Senior Director of Flight Operations for AEL.
PA R T N E R B E N E F I T S As mentioned by Simon Whitely from Papillon, the time spent selecting qualified applicants and making sure they are a good fit for the organization is a time consuming and laborious process. Operator Partners in the Aviation Futures program benefit from the opportunity to influence the training and development of each pilot they hire, ensuring a safer and more streamlined transition. Aviation Futures will also be maintaining records of pilot experience, hours and certifications to
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provide a clear and traceable history for each applicant, removing the risk and attrition for the operators when hiring new pilots. Partners in the Aviation Futures program are also permitted to stipulate a minimum employment term, if the pilot wishes to remain in the program. Colorado Heli-Ops’ active Safety Management System, propriety on-line Flight Risk Assessment & Mitigation Tool, and FITS/Scenario-Based training will ensure that pilots are well qualified for the positions made available through the program.
H OW I T WO RKS To be eligible to participate in the Aviation Futures program, students must first complete their private rating at Colorado Heli-Ops. Once certificated, students can apply for a slot in the program. When accepted, pilots will be eligible for funding assistance through the program while they train to complete their ratings. Once training is complete, the pilot will choose the next step in the career path by applying for a position with an Aviation Futures operator for which they are qualified. With a successful interview, the pilot will be hired and begin moving through the career path.
It is important to note here that the AF program accepts candidates at all training levels past private. There are two CFIIs in the program now that came from other schools. One that came to CHO as a CFII, and one that finished her commercial through CFII at CHO. Even though the tour season is winding down, both CFIIs have secured a spot in the BHAA rotation program for next season.
The first tier of the Aviation Futures program begins once the participant completes a Flight Instructor-Instrument rating (CFI-I) at CHO.
TIE RE D S O LU T I O N
The participant is then evaluated for hire with CHO as a flight instructor. Upon successful hire and attaining five hundred hours of flight experience, the pilot may be selected for tier two of the program: flying tours with Black Hills Aerial Adventures (BHAA).
The Aviation Futures program is structured around a “tiered” progression. As a pilot gains flight and work experience with an Aviation Futures operator, the pilot becomes eligible for hire into an industry sector that requires more experience. Aviation Futures partner operators vary in experience requirements for hire, thus placing some operators in higher “tiers” than others.
BHAA holds open positions each year for pilots in the Aviation Futures program. The selected pilots fly tours with BHAA for two weeks, and then return to CHO to provide flight instruction for two weeks on rotation throughout the summer season. Two of CHO’s CFIIs started the rotation in March and have enjoyed helping this program come to fruition.
Pierce’s school in Colorado will serve as a feeder for the Aviarion Futures program and provide students a path to becomming a successful pilot and instructor. Dennis Pierce photo.
August 2018 Collective | 39
BHAA, located in South Dakota, provides lowertime commercial pilots an opportunity to fly tours in the Robinson R44 and R66, Bell 47, and Bell 206. The tour experience in high-density altitude and mountainous environments helps prepare the pilots for work in more complex commercial flying roles. The exposure to new aircraft, new flying environments, and different operational pressures further enhances their flying and risk management skills. Aviation Futures pilots keep their position at Colorado Heli-Ops during this phase, ensuring they
maintain work year-round as tours slow down and the weather gets colder in the Dakotas. While Pierce is the first to admit that there is no perfect solution to starting up an industry first program, he says that as the program matures, participants have been instrumental in helping identify potential issues, come up with solutions, and even provide ideas that are slowly being worked into the program to streamline how it works. He also is encouraged to see others in the industry take up his ideas and begin to discuss emulating the AF program. He notes however that â€˜discussing
Black Hills Aerial Adventures located in South Dakota was the first tour operator to sign on and see the benefits this program would provide them. Dennis Pierce photo.
| Collective August 2018 | Collective 40 40 August 2018
it and making it happen are two very different (with others wanting to sign up). Pilots who have things, as it has been a challenge to say the leastâ€™. a successful interview will go on to commence training with the operator, which on completion Tier three of the program begins once the lands the pilot their first long-term role flying participating pilot has reached a total of one turbine helicopters. thousand hours PIC, but, they are encouraged to teach a bit longer and obtain an ATP certificate. T H E FI N AL T I ER At this stage they are eligible to take the next step in their pilot career. After gaining experience at tier three, some pilots may spread their wings and find their own The next leap forward in the program is a next stepping stone in their career. However, for guaranteed interview for full-time employment those looking to reduce the uncertainty with that with a tier three partner. Tier three partners that transition, tier four partners are already on board participants can interview with include Papillon and ready to give priority consideration to those Airways in Nevada or Temsco Helicopters in Alaska coming through this professional pipeline.
Airbus Helicoptersâ€™ H130 flight demonstrator returning from a demo flight.
Black Hills Aerial Adventures headquarters in South Dakota offers Aviation Futures program members the opportunity to get exposure flying mulltiple helicopters from Robinson Helicopters and Bell aircraft used as tourist helicopters flying around Mt. Rushmore. Dennis Pierce photo.
August 2018 Collective | 41 August 2018 Collective | 41
Although it will still be at least a year until anyone in the program reaches the hours minimums required, partners like PJ Helicopters in the utility field and Air Evac Life Team in the air medical sector are excited that this initiative will make hiring the right fit for their organizations easier and lessen the work required of their human resources teams in selecting qualified applicants.
The 4th tier in the program provides a 2000hour Aviation Futures pilot priority hiring all the way thru their careers until established in a fire, EMS, or heavy lift flying position if they maintain high professional standards for themselves.
As the program matures, participant levels will continue to grow - thus, creating a much needed long term pipeline of applicants that already possess the needed skills.
Participation and even continuation in the program are not guaranteed however. Pierce and his team at CHO look for only the most committed individuals, selecting pilots based
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One of Colorado Heli Ops fleet of Robinson R44â€™s flies above the clouds in Colorado. Dennis Pierce photo.
on their ability to use sound judgement and implement the use of industry best-practices as they progress in the career path. Each selected candidate must exhibit professionalism, integrity, and strong risk management skills and aeronautical decision-making. All applicants are held to the same standard throughout the selection process and when evaluating their eligibility to continue into the next tier of the program.
CONCLUSION The Aviation Futures program is the only one of its type for the helicopter industry in the United States that is active and benefitting pilots in the field. If not for the tenacity and commitment of Dennis Pierce & his team at CHO, the industry might still be without a needed program such as this that provides a clear career track with backing from industry heavyweights to make it happen.
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A CAREER OF
DI TINC To become a helicopter pilot, you must be skilled at many things. After the dawn of the social media age, those adept at mastering the art of self-promotion can become well known in their field with relatively little effort and some good luck.
Some go on to become wellknown industry figures, while some prefer to work diligently towards achieving goals they have 44 | Collective Collective August August2018 2018
Story By: Sara Hunter Images By: Sikorsky/Kevin Bredenbeck
CTION set out to achieve over the course of their career. The latter group excelling behind the curtain of relative anonymity in the helicopter industry as “quiet achievers.” Kevin Bredenbeck is one of the quiet achievers that has achieved more over his thirty-five-year career than many could hope to accomplish over multiple careers.
THE EARLY YEARS Like many pilots, Bredenbeck’s love for all things airborne began in early childhood. Growing up
in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the “Gemini Years,” as the United States competed with longtime foe Russia to be the first country to send man into orbit and safely return him to earth, continuing the pursuit of greatness in the race to be the first country to land a man on the moon.
Fascination with aviation was a par t of growing up in that era, and Bredenbeck was far from an exception. The son of an Air Force Veteran, Bredenbeck’s father ser ved in the Korean War as a crew chief for the F-84 Thunderjet fighter-bomber. A lesser-known aircraft than the popular F-86, the F-84 was the primar y bomber aircraft used throughout the conflict in Korea. The F-84 credited as being responsible for over 60% of all successful bombing missions. The F-84 was also the first aircraft to be refueled mid-air by an early model C-130 Hercules and was the first aircraft used by the USAF August August 2018 2018 Collective Collective || 45 45
Bredenbeck (left) during his time as an officer in the Army poses in front of a UH-60A “DUSTOFF” helicopter. Kevin Bredenbeck Photo
Thunderbirds display team. Growing up only a half mile from what was once Springfield Airport. His childhood exposure to aviation was so vast that at an early age, Bredenbeck could identify dozens of aircraft purely by their sound. “I was the geek kid who could name any plane without looking up,” he noted during our interview.
event, Marveling at the technology on display. Each launch showcasing just what man was capable of with enough money and a competitor like Communist led Russia to beat to the punch. His mind was made up before he even reached double digits in age – Being an astronaut was his destiny. “I was always going to be an astronaut or a fighter pilot. Period,” he said.
Bredenbeck’s hometown also played a notable part in aviation history, as home to the Grandville Brothers (GB) Aircraft Company based in Springfield, where the duo produced the powerful, yet obscure looking and notoriously dangerous Gee Bee Racer R1 and R2 in the 1930s as air race competition planes. Bredenbeck could recall walking the now abandoned grounds of the former Springfield Airport as family members recounted witnessing the Gee Bee aircraft being put through their paces as they walked along the perimeter fence of the airport.
Never straying from his goal, he began his journey by learning to fly in 1978, gaining his private, commercial, and instrument ratings during his four years attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, graduating in 1982 at the age of 22 with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Studies and Avionics.
TH E S PAC E R AC E As launch events took place with regular occurrence during the space race of the 1960s, each launch day saw the young Bredenbeck granted permission to “play hooky” from school. His fascination for space too great to even consider attempting to concentrate on schoolwork, he would sit motionless in front of the family television for the many hours of televised coverage that was broadcast for each launch 46 | Collective August 2018
During his four years at Embry Riddle, Bredenbeck was also a member of a Marine PLC club, which he explained was not quite the same as a traditional ROTC program, but contained many of the characteristics of an ROTC. The club working as a funnel to bring skilled talent into the Marine Corps aviation program as officer candidates. Bredenbeck, still with his eyes set on space, took the Marine Corps aptitude test, which he scored high enough to grant him a provisional slot in Marine Fighter Pilot training. Eager to begin his flying career, Bredenbeck was preparing to head to Pensacola, Florida to begin his career and sign his paperwork committing at least the next four years to Uncle Sam, when a phone call
Bredenbeck was tasked with many unique missions while flying both domestically and overseas, but none were more noteable than being tasked during his time in the Army reserve on September 11th, 2001 to provide air coverage over the remains of what would be called later “Ground Zero” the site of the worst terroriist attack on American soil at the World Trade Center where over three thousand died as the towers collapsed after being impacted by terrorists on a suicide mission who hijacked four commercial flights, two of which crashed into the towers, bringing them down shortly after. Kevin Bredenbeck Photo.
“I was always going to be an astronaut or a fighter pilot. Period” August2018 2018 Collective | 47 August
TAlthough o b he ec om e l iawards c o pduring t e rhis To would goe on toawinhmany career, Bredenbeck dreamed of nothing more that being an Astronaut growing up as the space race played out in the become helicopter pilot, must 1960s. His trip a to space never eventuated, butyou his dogged determination saw him secure a role first at NASA, and then go on to use his engineering degree during his first stint become skilled atArmy many things. at Sikorsky before joining the to become a pilot.After His returnthe would see him take the pilot’s seat and become one of the companies living legends. Sikorsky Photo dawn of the social media age, those mastering the art of self-promotion can become well known in their field with relatively little effort and some good luck.
Some go on to become well-known industry figures, while some prefer to quietly achieve goals they set to achieve, quietly excelling behind the curtain of relative anonymity in the helicopter industry as “quiet achievers”. Kevin Bredenbeck is one of the latter. Yet, has achieved more than many could hope to accomplish over several careers. Like many pilots, Bredenbeck’s love for all things airborne began in early childhood. Growing up in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the “Gemini Years” as the United States competed with longtime foe Russia to be the first country to send a man into orbit and safely return them to earth, continuing the pursuit of greatness in the race to be the first country to land a man on the moon. Fascination with aviation was a part of growing up in that era, and inevitable for Bredenbeck, the son of an Air Force veteran who served in the Korean War as a crew chief for the F-84 Thunderjet fighter-bomber. A lesser-known aircraft than the popular F-86, the F-84 was the primary bomber aircraft used in the Korean war, responsible for over 60% of all successful bombing missions. The F-84 was also the first aircraft to be refueled in mid-air and was the first aircraft used by the USAF Thunderbirds display team. Growing up only a half mile from what was once Springfield Airport. His childhood exposure to aviation was so vast that at an early age, Bredenbeck could identify dozens of aircraft purely by their sound. “I was the geek kid who could name any plane without looking up,” he noted during our interview. HOMETOWN AVIATION HISTORY Bredenbeck’s hometown also played a notable part in aviation history, as home to the Grandville Brothers (GB) Aircraft Company based in Springfield, where the duo produced the powerful, yet obscure looking and notoriously dangerous Gee Bee Racer R1 and R2 in the 1930s as air August2018 2018 48 | Collective August
changed his career path – at least temporarily. Bredenbeck was asked by the person on the line if he would like to come and work for NASA. Utilizing his degree he became a systems engineer for United Space Booster Incorporated, who specialized in assembling and placing the solid rocket boosters on spacecraft that would propel them into the outer atmosphere and eventually into outer space, where Bredenbeck hoped to one day travel as an astronaut.
NA SA A N D S I KO R S K Y After just over a year at NASA’s USBI, still yearning to fly more, Bredenbeck was given some sage advice from a mentor that knew his aspirations of being an Astronaut. He was advised that if he wanted to become an astronaut, he needed to obtain a more widely diversified experience level if he was going to make the grade. His mentor at USBI then placed several calls on his behalf to friends at Sikorsky Aircraft located in Stratford, Connecticut that would soon lead to Bredenbeck’s employment. Within a month, he would begin work at Sikorsky as a flight test engineer that specialized in production testing removals with the early model UH-60A Black Hawk. Sikorsky at the time was ramping up deliveries of the Black Hawk, completing over twenty units a month as the role replacement for the Vietnam era Bell UH-1 series helicopters as they began to reach the end of usefulness in the Army. In addition to
many Black Hawks leaving Connecticut, Sikorsky also completed at least two Sea Hawks and one CH-53 monthly at the time, which Bredenbeck mentioned was, for a non-wartime effort - a substantial achievement for the company. Clearly not cut out for life flying a desk, Bredenbeck’s determination to fly for a living proved a powerful motivator as the sky continued to call him back to his original plan of flying in the Military. After a year with Sikorsky, he began submitting applications for flight school with both the Army and Navy. Both services expressed a keen interest in making use of his unique background in the technical and engineering side of aviation. Bredenbeck’s wealth of knowledge was something that few if any other military pilots possessed. This skill would continue to benefit him right throughout his career as people grew to know his skill at identifying problems and finding solutions. All he wanted to do was fly…and in the least amount of time possible. His mind already made up, he decided that the choice between the Army and Navy was not a difficult one and he would join the branch that made him an offer first.
S ERVI CE TO CO U N TRY Not a service that likes to lose quality applicants, the Army scooped up Bredenbeck with an offer of a direct commission due to his background in August 2018 Collective | 49
aviation. One to lead by example, Bredenbeck decided to do it the hard way, completing basic training first, then earning his wings at Fort Rucker Army Airfield where he completed warrant officer flight training (WOFT) where after three months, was promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. Bredenbeck stayed on at Rucker for a period, although not as an instructor as was common for high performers with natural leadership and training skill. Instead he moved into a role he was uniquely qualified for - joining the test division based at Mother Rucker where he flew a variety of aircraft until he finally transitioned as a pilot in command of what was by now an old friend - the UH-60 Blackhawk. TOP: Bredenbeck arrives on scene during a mock medical evacuation training exercise flying a 377th DUSTOFF Medivac Sikorsky UH-60. Unbeknown to Bredenbeck at the time, he would go on to assist in the further development of several new Black Hawk models during his 23 years with Sikorsky using his extensive combat experience in Iraq. U.S Army photo BELOW: Images from Bredenbeck’s deployment during operation Iraqi freedom depict the varied mission profiles and landing areas his team would have to adapt to during thir time in Iraq. Kevin Bredenbeck photo.
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Staying on at Fort Rucker until the end of 1985, Bredenbeck was then deployed to Korea, serving in the 377th “Dustoff” medivac company headquartered in Soul, South Korea. His new company operated a total of twentyfive UH-60 Black Hawks from four bases around South Korea, including aircraft stationed at the demilitarized zone at the border between North
and South Korea. Upon his arrival, Bredenbeck was sent to Taegu, South Korea, home of the 377th 3rd platoon. Upon arrival, he was not even given a chance to put his bags down before having bars pinned on his collar. Bredenbeck had been granted his direct commission. This meant instead of assuming the role of a pilot in the 377th and serving in multiple mission types that included medical evacuation, search and rescue and patient/soldier transport, Bredenbeck instead assumed the role of unit maintenance officer.
TH E N E X T S T E P Bredenbeck would not see deployment again until the onset of the second Iraq war, where he was deployed as a Dustoff pilot during Operation Desert Storm. After eight years spent in active duty in the Army, after returning stateside after Desert Storm in 1994 he then decided to retire from active duty status. Bredenbeck transferred to reserve status where he would continue to serve his country for an additional five years attached to AVCRAD, based in Groton, CT.
RET U RN I N G TO T H E FOLD During his “second round” at Sikorsky, Bredenbeck noted that he was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be “mentored by the best old school pilots there was.” Each fueling his passion to eventually strive to personally make a difference in helicopter safety. His endless passion for achieving set objectives, unstoppable drive, and his unique skill set thanks to his engineering background before becoming a pilot set Bredenbeck up for long-term success at Sikorsky. His ability to assist from a more technical level fueled his rapid rise through the ranks within the company. Applying everything he learned working with industry legends of the time, he progressed to the role of engineering pilot, then test pilot. Learning from industry greats like Ed Dinsmore, who helped
“I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to be mentored by the best old school pilots there were”
His reserve unit responsible for bringing aircraft back to service from active duty after serving in a war zone. Bredenbeck’s unit oversaw quality control procedures and allowed him to still gain flight time in the Bell UH-1H Huey and Blackhawk. Bredenbeck finally retired from Military service in 2000 after his growing workload forced a decision to be made to ensure he still maintained a good work/life balance. As his full-time military service days wound down, Bredenbeck decided he wanted to continue flying as a career and began the search to find an employer that he could make that happen within the civilian world. That search led Bredenbeck back right to where his career in the helicopter industry began. Returning to the place he had departed over eight years prior as an engineer, taking a role at Sikorsky in Connecticut. But this time in the flying role he had always wanted as a production test pilot. Unbeknown to Bredenbeck, taking this role would set in motion a career path that would not only become his home for twenty-three years but also see him become part of helicopter aviation history.
- Kevin Bredenbeck
him develop an in-depth understanding of how the avionics and electronics in a helicopter worked with each other. Bredenbeck also listing major influencers in his career to include Phil Pacini, a former Air Force pilot who flew the iconic Sikorsky HH53S “Jolly Green Giant” before joining Sikorsky. Pacini took him under his wing, teaching him the finer points in the relationship between the structural engineering process and how it related to test flights in helicopters. Nick Lappos was also a large influence in Bredenbeck’s early flight test days. Lappos was at the time the chief test pilot for the research and development department at Sikorsky, who he credits as teaching him lessons that he still applies to flying to this very day. In addition to his mentoring, Lappos was the person to offer him the job returning to Sikorsky once again, this time in the pilot seat. John Dixon was Sikorsky’s former chief pilot for many years prior to Bredenbeck’s arrival, who remembered the name on the resume on his desk, inquiring as to if the resume belonged to the same person that he recalled from almost a decade prior from his short stint as a flight test August 2018 Collective | 51
engineer. Although almost a decade had passed, Dixon clearly recognized Bredenbeck from his first stint. Bredenbeck still considers himself incredibly fortunate to have studied under such industry greats that chose him to share their knowledge with to see him succeed and reward his passion for what he was doing.
After spending twenty-three years with Sikorsky, it was time for a change, said Bredenbeck. After achieving a great deal throughout his test flying career that played a substantive part in the overall safe operation of thousands of helicopters now serving in multiple disciplines and missions around the world.
L E GE N DA RY M E N TO R S
Bredenbeck credits the testing process related to the introduction of fly by wire technology into helicopters, first with the Black Hawk, then continuing with the S-92 as both one of the largest challenges and greatest successes that he states in a humble tone that he played a “small part” in its eventual success within the industry as the new standard.
The long list of “hall of fame” quality test pilot alumni that passed on some of the most valuable lessons he could have ever imagined also included Russ Stiles, Sikorsky’s former chief development pilot on the iconic “helicopter that never was” the RAH-66 Comanche and his direct boss and mentor Chris Geanacopoulos – nicknamed “G12” by his peers. G12 was the chief test pilot of the Black Hawk. Bredenbeck progressed over the next decade eventually succeeding Dixon as the Chief Pilot of Sikorsky 2003, incorporating other roles and titles that included Director of Flight Operations at Sikorsky, essentially the top role in his field in 2005. In 2006 took on the role as chief development pilot of the revolutionary X2 technology demonstrator that would become the test bed to prove the technology functionally now residing in what is aimed at becoming the next step in military light gunships, the S-97 Raider and future vertical lift generation Black Hawk, the SB-1 Defiant. During the X2 program it conducted 23 flights, totaling 22 total hours of flight time. The X2 unofficially broke the rotorcraft world speed record, set on July 26th, 2010. The X2, having met or exceeded all testing parameters was approved during this test flight to see how fast the aircraft could fly safely without any adverse effects, reaching a top speed of 252 knots (289MPH) in straight and level flight to the delight of the flight test engineers and ground crew, having broken a long-standing record in the industry. The X2 program was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy in 2011 for its technology and achievements in aviation. In 2014, after nearly a decade in one of the most respected roles in commercial aviation, Bredenbeck stepped away from the management and leadership roles he had excelled in to specialize in the once in a lifetime opportunity to become the Tech Fellow R&D pilot for advanced platforms using X2 technology originally developed and tested in the X2, making Bredenbeck the logical choice for the role, which would be his last. 52 | Collective August 2018
While being fortunate enough to gain knowledge and experience that few ever will, Bredenbeck chose to eventually take an early retirement from Sikorsky, retiring in March 2016 at age 57. His aim from that point forward was to indulge his passion for helicopter safety through a new mission. Never pausing to take a breath after retiring, Bredenbeck decided to take the bull by the horns and invest in his passion for safety and saving lives by using the knowledge he had gained from a lifetime flying, to create a world first program for the helicopter industry that he hoped would significantly advance safety if widely adopted by the industry. In 2017 Bredenbeck began his own company, KLB Aviation, Inc. located in Westlake Village, California. His initial idea developing into a syllabus of over three hundred pages of instructor and student reference material titled Helicopter Upset Recognition and Recovery Training program (HURRT.) This revolutionary approach taught instead of avoidance methods, but what to do if bad weather or inadvertent meteorological conditions (IMC) occurred. Bredenbeck has never been one to shy away from hard questions, like this
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one created when his training was announced, which forced the industry to confront an ugly truth and admit that changes needed to be made if lives were to be saved. His course structured to tackle the problem
is not spent on simulation, but hands-on training, so that students can feel the responsiveness of the helicopter and perfect their techniques in flight. Bredenbeck has lofty goals regarding safety within the industry. He states that in a perfect
of what to do and how to survive to overcome the muscle memory reactions and panic responses that have cost many lives in the past occurring to those that were never trained to
be IN an IMC situation, but to avoid it, which was all too often leading to deaths each year as no training existed in the helicopter world to combat this issue, unlike in the fixed wing world that had taught recovery from these situations for over a decade. Bredenbeck has gone on to work with civilian companies, individuals, the Helicopter Association International (HAI), IHST, and the FAA to “define requirements that address an advanced stage of learning focusing on training techniques that will directly impact and aim to reduce the number of loss of control (LOC) and controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) accidents seen in the industry” said Bredenbeck. The course delivered by KLB is delivered in a threeday course Covering basic aerodynamics, then moves on to more complex methodology designed to combat poor decision making and classroombased instruction on how to recover from some of the more common mistakes that can lead to loss of control in an aircraft. Students then progress to actually performing the tasks and beginning to develop the muscle memory needed to become proficient in avoiding or recovering from LOC in the helicopter by performing the maneuvers in a helicopter simulating IFR conditions under the supervision of Bredenbeck. Describing the technique of what is achieved during his course, Bredenbeck says that his course is “flying the fine line of control and pushing them (students) as far as they can go to eliminate over- controlling of the aircraft.” Students learn to master managing the energy of the helicopter, a BO-105 used for this course, featuring twin engines and a rigid rotor system. Time 54 | Collective August August2018 2018
world, he hopes to change the way pilots look at safety. “I’d like to drive the requirements back into the FAA, PTS or ACS standards in all rating types, so you’re always visiting these topics in flying and working them through,” he stated. “I think this will address
the safety problems we’ve all had in the industry. You can’t change bad decision making, but you can give people the skills they need to fly better.” Bredenbeck has never been one to shy from complex tasks in his over thirty-five-year career and enjoys being the go-to for the hard questions. So, inventing a first for the industry that challenges pilots to “adapt and overcome,” developing new skills that may keep them alive in extremely adverse conditions suits him just fine. Bredenbeck keeps busy training pilots from various branches of the Military to instruct other pilots as HURRT instructor pilots, along with training
Firefighting pilots in initial and advanced flying of both the UH-60 and S70i Black Hawk and Fire Hawk respectively after securing several lucrative training contracts to provide training to federal, state and local
making sure that military rotorcraft delivered by the industry giant was the best they could be for our troops, I am certain that somewhere in Montana, sits a stream stocked full with trout that has his name on it, waiting patiently for the day he trades his wings in for a fishing pole. Even if it is only for a day or two before the sky calls to him again.
CENTER: As Sikorksy’s Chief Experimental Test Pilot, Bredenbeck was responsible for the testing of X2 future vertical ligt technology that resulted in the design of the S-97 Raider. BELOW: Bredenback after making the record breaking flight in the X2 reaching a speed of 252 knots & becoming the fastest helicopter pilot in the world.
agencies that operate both airframes thanks to his diverse experience with every model of Sikorsky aircraft and his diverse training background. If Bredenbeck’s commitment to safety is contagious, it may
very well be the start of a major shift in the industry. When asked what he saw in the long term and where he wanted to see himself situated over the next decade, the usually quick to respond Bredenbeck paused, giving careful thought to the posed question.
“After years of doing so much, and moving so fast, the most appealing thought is to slow down and stand still: Fly fishing.” He replied matter-of-factly. “I have owned a rod for years,” he explained. “I’d love to just stand in a stream in Montana. Catch a Trout, throw it back.” Having achieved more in helicopter aviation than many in his over three decades of service to his country, both directly in the Military and with Sikorsky, August 2018Collective Collective| |5555 August 2018
Story and photos by Ryan Mason | Collective August 2018 | Collective 56 56 August 2018
Billed as the largest aviation event in the world, Collective Editor in Chief, Ryan Mason hits the ground running to see what the EAA Airventure show holds for the helicopter industry. August2018 2018 Collective | 57 August
Arriving the evening before most of the “real” show started, air traffic overhead seemed never ending. It was everything I had ever read about – a non-stop parade of aircraft tracking a line in the sky.
R ISING F RO M T HE F I E LDS Over 600,000 visitors make the pilgrimage to this aviation mecca that rises from the fields of the several square miles that surround Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, nestled on the Western side of Lake Winnebago, a picturesque lake also bordering the cities of Neenah to the north, and Fon Du Lac to the south. The several square miles surrounding Wittman Airport transform from lush green grass to a self-contained village of close to thirteen thousand individual sites that are a mishmash of Luxury campers, fifth wheels, caravans, and tent sites. For a guy that is admittedly not as knowledgeable about the fixed wing side of the industry, I was staggered at the sheer number of aircraft on site. Tucked into every available piece of the landscape not already claimed by a tent, camper or vendor, were thousands of GA aircraft, vintage warbirds, and everything in between. In addition to the seemingly endless rows of vendors, Airventure boasts an airshow performance each afternoon and two nighttime airshows. Adding to that hectic schedule was a non-stop flow of historic aircraft performing formation fly overs of the airfield for what seemed like the entirety of each day of the show. On the helicopter side, EAA owned Bell 47 helicopters created an almost permanent airborne pattern of several Bell 47 aircraft conducting joyflights from sun up to sun down. Flying in one of the over 1,000 flights conducted by volunteer pilots is also the only place to get a bird’s eye view of the show while in full swing due to the restricted airspace surrounding show center where air traffic controllers handled almost one hundred and thirty takeoffs an hour. The air traffic control tower at OSH looks like it would be better suited to a large international airport, appearing somewhat out of place on the 359 days of the year when Airventure is not in full swing at the airport that usually holds just over 100 aircraft. By the end of the Airventure 2018 show, air traffic controllers directed just shy of twenty thousand aircraft movements over ten days.
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Wittman Regional Airport for 355 days a year houses just over 100 aircraft. During the ten days of the Airventure show, over 20,000 aircraft will land at the airport, making Wittman Airport the busiest airspace in the United States for just over a week each year.
Below: For many seasoned attendees, there is no expense spared in their annual trip to Oshkosh. Campers stay in everything from the latest million dollar luxury tour buses, to those that prefer to rough it in a tent in the camping site that sprawls out for miles in several directions. Main image: Wittman Airport in Wisconsin becomes the busiest airspace every year during the show, averaging 140 takeoffs an hour.
The fields surrounding Wittman Regional Airport begin to fill with campers from around the world in the week prior to the beginning of EAA Airventure. By the time the actual show begins, campers number over 20,000 over almost four thousand campsites.
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SIGH T S A N D S O U N D S Eye candy for the aviator starts at the experimental, rotorcraft and ultralight display area on the south end of the field. This lively section of the show managed its own air traffic outside of the concern of the main runway, their grass runway operating autonomously from airshow traffic, although they would shut down demo and display flights during each day for the airshow performances, likely to push all attendees into show center to watch the spectacle only seen at Airventure. Vendors and aircraft were stacked twenty deep along the western edge of the taxiway until you hit show center covering every inch of spare space. Show center, easy to spot from a distance using the giant tail of a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy for navigation. The military area was also flanked by an assortment of military jets including the newest F-35 Lightning drew a constant stream of spectators. Part booth and part corporate chalet, large two-story structures housing VIP’salso dotted the landscape around the show.
For as far as the eye can see until you hit the road leading back to the camping area, the rest of the area was filled with blocks and blocks of large white tents that served as booths for large aviation brands like Lightspeed aviation headsets, Garmin and almost a thousand other vendors that exhibited at this year’s EAA Air Venture. The Airventure show was surprisingly well catered to families in attendance, evidenced by the Ford Motor Company’s commitment to providing entertainment for children in attendance, as too was the availability of giveaways from many vendors aimed at kids, hoping to spark a passion for aviation like many of us in the field have.
A ONE SIDED AFFAIR The helicopter presence at Airventure, when compared to the showing from the fixed wing community, was unfortunately low, with representation from rotary comprising a mere twenty-two airframes, including four that were
Commemorative flights of dozens of warplanes like these were a common sight at the annual Airventure show each day.
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Top: Safari Helicopter’s new 500 model takes to the skies for the first time in front of the corwds at Oshkosh. Safari reported three pre-order sales of the still in testing aircraft.
conducting joy flights for EAA, and four experimental Safari 400 helicopters that were all flying demo’s the entire show. Safari and Enstrom helicopters by far had the largest showing of helicopters at the show, Safari announcing the sale of thirteen helicopters that included several pre orders for their eagerly anticipated Safari 500 experimental helicopter that will begin shipping in factory assembled and kit form in early 2019. Bobby Baker, co-owner of Safari and designer of the new Safari 500 experimental helicopter stated how happy he was with the turnout this year that likely helped boost the company’s sales at the show. The company’s new Safari 500 test aircraft also took to the sky for the first time at Oshkosh to demonstrate the aircraft’s performance. Many spectators familiar with experimental helicopters noted how impressive the new helicopter from Safari seemed to handle, even while hovering at low speed (the Safari 500 is still in flight testing and would not progress to forward flight testing until after the show,
Top inset: UND displayed the Robinson R44 Cadet at Oshkosh that generated much interest in the helicopter and the universities aviation program. Bottom: An OH-6 Little Bird restored to flying condition took to cloudy skies above the EAA Airventure show as part of a Vietnam war era demonstration in which the OH-6 was instrumental in many battles fought in the conflict.
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although Safari’s multiple 400 series helicopters performed non-stop flights throughout the show for potential buyers.) The rest of the rotorcraft present at the show were mostly static display’s forming part of University flight programs, including a Robinson R44 Cadet garnering a great deal of interest from curious onlookers that noticed only two doors on the R44 frame and wanted to investigate further.
FUTUR E V E R T I CA L LI F T Future vertical lift contenders sparse, but also showing a presence at the show. Early developer and frontrunner Workhorse Group’s Surefly was on static display near show center and was also scheduled to demonstrate its early capabilities in front of eager crowd curious to see this new quad rotor hybrid was capable of.
Unfortunately for the team at Workhorse, mother nature stepped in at the last moment once the team had rolled the Surefly on to the taxiway, producing winds that exceeded the company’s flight testing envelope forcing them to abort the flight after barely starting to spool the very quiet rotor blades.
H EL I CO PT ER O U T LOOK The helicopter world still hasn’t embraced Oshkosh like it should, although previous attempts have been made over the years. HAI made a run at trying to drive more attendance into the show with a chalet that lasted several years, until they too apparently decided Oshkosh was a place for the fixed-wing market, despite the hundreds of other vendors at the show for which it has been worthwhile attending for decades. Vendors we spoke to that sold products to both fixed wing and rotary customers noted that they sold many helicopter related items during the show, but it has still not become a destination for larger OEM’s other than Airbus who parked a sleek H130 outside their Chalet that was the most modern rotorcraft on the grounds.
U LT ERI O R MOT I VE S
Airbus Helicopters Featured this H130 in front of their Chalet at Oshkosh
Other than seeing what this show was all about for the first time, we had another mission at Oshkosh. Having completed routines at a couple of airshows and some overseas work prior to Oshkosh, the new look Red Bull aerobatic BO-105 was scheduled to
The highly anticipated public flight of the experimental FVL Workhorse Surefly was cut short soon after the aircraft powered up its eight rotor, dual powered prototype due to high winds.
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Background: Part of new Red Bull Pilot Aaron Fitzgerald’s first Oshkosh routine involved veteran Air Racer and fellow Red Bull teammate Kirby Chambliss corkscrewing around the newly painted Red Bull helicopter of Fitzgerald before he commenced his aerobatic routine in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Left: Fitzgerald departs show center loaded with Red Bull Air Force skydiving team members JT Holmes, Jon Devore, Amy Chemelecki and wingsuited skydiver Miles Daisher, who “flew” the length of the three mile runway before landing in front of the large crowd assembled at Oshkosh’s show center to see Fitzgerald debut in his first official performance that also unveiled the Red Bull BO-105’s new paint job, featuring a majority metallic blue paint inlaid with chameleon like stars and Red Bull logo with red and white accents throughout.
perform for the first official time with a performance each day, showcasing its striking new metallic blue, pearl and red paint job to the world. As dozens of long lenses pointed to the sky from the media pit at show center, Red Bull’s newest addition to the team would be in the pilot seat to perform for the first official show appearance as the new face of Red Bull’s pioneering aerobatic helicopter. Aaron Fitzgerald is that face, universally known as one of the nicest guys in the helicopter business, Fitzgerald’s personality is matched only by his insane talents piloting the Red Bull aerobatic Airbus (MBB) BO-105 helicopter. His character and ease with fans quickly endearing him to those seeing him perform for the first time. Fitzgerald would often spend whatever amount of time was needed to answer dozens of questions posed by young fans, sign autographs or just chat with those curious about what makes the helicopter capable of its eye-popping routine. Fitzgerald has worked previously for many years in various capacities flying for Red Bull that initially
centered around aerial camera work during Red Bull Air Races before being tapped to fill the vacant role as an aerobatic helicopter pilot on the demanding air show circuit.
PL AN S AN D EX ECU T I ON Our plan was to attempt something that had never been done (or approved) before. The challenge was not insurmountable if planned and delivered to the key decision makers the right way. I had been throwing the idea to shoot Fitzgerald, not from the ground, but air to air flying the Red Bull BO-105 during his routine for several months before suggesting it. To my surprise, Fitzgerald, who I have known personally for many years decided to roll the dice with me and see if we could succeed. We still had two substantial hurdles to overcome that carried the risk we could be going home emptyhanded. As the show approached the end of the week, we decided on the Thursday airshow as our target day. That gave us several options if Thursday was ruled out or weather became a factor. We scheduled to meet with the “Air Boss” that was responsible for all aircraft movements on the show side. As luck would have it, he August 2018 Collective | 63
Above: Aaron Fitzgerald flew daily in his first official performance as the new pilot of the Red Bull Aerobatic BO-105 helicopter at Oshkosh where Collective was given the chance to shoot Fitzgerald for the first time during an aerobatic performance at Oshkosh. Right: Fitzgerald touches down after his first aerobatic performance at Oshkosh as the Red Bull Air Force gather their parachutes having landed several minutes earlier.
entertained our idea, with the stipulation that the FAA had final refusal rights, right up until the time we were supposed to lift off. With the lack of any larger helicopters on the field to use as a photo ship that I was familiar with, Safari Helicopter offered the use of a Safari 400 experimental helicopter as a photo ship. The 400 resembling a smaller Bell 47, offering the convenience of the large bubble canopy just like the Bell 47 and large door openings for me to shoot out of. I was lucky to have some familiarity with the Safari 400, having flown the very photo ship we were using at Safari headquarters in Florida several weeks prior to Oshkosh. As I would be busy with the camera, the task of photo pilot fell on the part owner of Safari, Abe Gaskins. 64 | Collective August 2018
Gaskins is both a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, in addition to being a pilot that competes in the annual Reno Air Races in his own personal Lancair.
GAME ON, SMOKE ON As our time slot approached in the early afternoon I checked and rechecked my Capewell G2 safety harness, each of the cameras I was taking up, and ran through our plan again in my head. It was soon time to launch and find our slot behind show center to wait for the familiar sight of “Smoke On” as Kirby Chambliss entered show center at high speed, included as part of Fitzgerald’s opening to his routine. After Fitzgerald finished launching members of the Red Bull Air Force skydiving team it was game time
Above: Red Bull Air Force Wingsuit Skydiver Miles Daisher pops his chute after his wingsuit flight in front of fans as he descends to join fellow Red Bull Air Force team members JT Holmes, Jon Devore and Amy Chemelecki who each take a low altitude jump from the Red Bull Helicopter as part of the airshow entertainment provided by Red Bull at Oshkosh.
for us. Fitzgerald had already departed the area forming up with Chambliss outside the view of the large crowd. Within 30 seconds the smoke from Kirby Chambliss’ Extra became visible at the end of the runway painting a large circular corkscrew pattern of smoke in the sky that Fitzgerald dropped into from altitude roaring through the middle of Chambliss’ smoke rings to the delight of the crowd. After what seemed like only a minute, Chambliss took one final turn skyward at full throttle, cut smoke, and disappeared into the grey clouds on the horizon. Like clockwork Fitzgerald climbed to the top of his aerobatic box and dropped the nose sharply to begin his solo routine. Staying in a box that is less than a quarter mile long in front of show center, Fitzgerald elicits excited squeals from children that have never seen a helicopter defy gravity like only the Red Bull BO-105
can. Applause continuing from many seasoned aviators that are also capable of aerobatic maneuvers, but wouldn’t dare to try it in a helicopter. Although capable, Airbus (MBB when the BO-105 was certified) could never have imagined when designing the BO-105 that a company like Red Bull would one day come along and want to challenge the limits of their extremely well built and strong helicopter. After a furious five minutes of shooting every angle I could, battling to frame Fitzgerald as he moved from a flip to a roll as he put the Red Bull helicopter through its routine as I tried to catch whatever light I could in the challenging overcast conditions. Before I knew it, I saw Patty Wagstaff’s plane making its turn on to the runway which I recalled from our extensive briefing earlier that morning was our cue that our time was up and it was time to quickly exit the show center. We made a beeline back to the experimental field, giving each other a high five after we set down, August 2018 Collective | 65
both relieved that the mission was complete and after a quick review, I was also satisfied that we got what I came for.
understand the sheer size and magnitude of a show this big that would take twice as long as it runs to see everything there is to offer.
A quick review of my images revealed a tack sharp image depicting Red Bullâ€™s flagship helicopter in its brand new paint positioned at show center the way it should always be seen, upside down.
Alas, for the helicopter industry to see it as a worthwhile annual event at which to market their products, more needs to be done to promote participation from the rotary world.
T HE R U B The EAA show has been an annual pilgrimage for thousands, some for more years than I have been alive. The spectacle that is Airventure is truly something that has to be seen in person to
I am sure much effort has been made in the past, including inviting HAI to participate but to truly reach that wider rotorcraft segment, EAA may need to think outside the box to entice more from the business world and demonstrate a
Shots clockwise from left: View from the air looking towards the end of the main runway, Boeingâ€™s large presence at the show included static displays of the Chinook and Apache helicopter, historic aircraft Oshkosh that included dozens of T6A Texans. Top Left: World renowned air show performer Sean D. Tucker entertained the crowd daily in his ORACLE biplane. Top Right: The obscure piston & turbine powered daily appearances. Middle left: The Air Force was in full swing during each days performances with this F-15 and many other assets on site. Middle Right: Lt. Col Justin Lewis was a hit in one of two BD-5 Micro Bottom Left: Although one of the two night performances had to be rescheduled for weather, the night shows drew a huge crowd for this unique performance, Bottom right: Two L-39s depart for a commem
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true value proposition that will do more to appeal to both sides of the aviation world. Although rotary participation was paltry when compared to fixed wing participation, I hope that EAA continues to try other ways to increase participation levels from the hover lovers among us. Airventure is unique in that its mix of being a part air show, part trade show, and nonstop action. That in itself makes vendors see it as the best place to market their wares, and despite the drastically smaller number of helicopters at the show, vendors in attendance did cater to both markets.
It is evident that EAA has continued to refine their offering to the audiences in attendance over their forty-nine consecutive years of hosting the AirVenture show. This show is the only one I have ever seen around the world able to strike a good balance between airshow, trade show, camping venue and even a destination that caters to children. Perhaps things will improve on the rotary side in the future at AirVenture, but the 50th consecutive AirVenture show in July of 2019, that brings with it a $170 million economic benefit to the area will be yet another must-see event on many calendars that draws tens of thousands to the small city of Oshkosh for years to come.
Center: A B1-B Bomber departs Oshkosh after rain postpones a night airshow performance.
flyovers were an hourly occurrence at d Yak 110 was a head turner during its oJet aircraft that performed at Oshkosh. morative flyover of the field.
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Fly WOAW Loveland, Colorado 2018
inspire empower elevate Girls of all ages explore the passion for flying during Women of Aviation Worldwide Week at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport in Loveland, CO
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Left to right: Dianna Stanger, and Ronnie Bogart teamed up to organize and fly the most successful Fly WOAW event to date.
For the past 7 out of 8 years, Pilot Dianna Stan-
aviation as possible with the Fly WOAW Event. This year they raising the bar by flying close to 1,700 girls and women in a single week long event. With 6 months of preparation, Ronnie Bogart organized a well run, safe and memorable experience for all in attendance.
“No other pilots, male or female, have introduced more girls of all ages to flight than Dianna has” says Mireille Goyer, Founder & President of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide (WOAW).
The fun began the week before the event when Dianna and Ronnie ferried Dianna’s EC135 Helicopter from Sacramento, CA to Loveland CO. What started out as just a logistics flight ended up being one the most memorable flights either of them have taken.
ger has made it her personal mission to give free flights to as many girls and women as possible. Dianna, with her EC135 helicopter, has been responsible for flying over 3,100 participants through the years for this event.
Statistics show that only 6% of the pilot population worldwide are female, and of that number, only .5% of those are helicopter pilots. These stats are what ignited the passion in Dianna Stanger, Ronnie Bogart and the vast amounts of volunteers that hope to increase those numbers. “To be able to do it with a program like this is real rewarding,” said Mel Callen, one of the volunteer pilots participating in the Fly WOAW event this year. Dianna and Ronnie joined forces in Ronnie’s home community of Loveland, Colorado to do their part in exposing as many girls and women to 70 | Collective August 2018
When looking for the perfect day, perfect weather and perfect companion, this trip will be the one that all others are measured by. It was a 7.5 hour day that consisted of 5.5 flight hours over four mountain ranges with a tailwind reaching 50mph at times. The terrain and conditions could not have been more perfect. As far as cross country flight planning goes, it doesn’t get any better. The local community rallied together to coordinate volunteers and vendors from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), AOPA, Civil Air Patrol, and local flying schools including, Leading Edge Flight
Training, The Flying School, and Aim Community College’s Aviation Program. Additionally, both the Flying School and Aim donated planes, pilot’s and fuel to help the event become the large scale success it was. Additional organizations participating in various capacities included Angel Flight, Whirly-Girls, The 99’’s, Medical Center of the Rockies EMS Helicopter, the Forest Service Aviation Division, the Air Force Academy and Fort Collins Junior League. CDOT brought a Red Bird Simulator to the event which gave all participants a chance to fly (virtually at least.) Female United Airlines Captains that atteneded the event were a hit with many young girls attending that delighted in seeing the female pilots in full uniform, who took turns speaking with the girls and ladies along with two female military aviators. Static displays included an airport fire truck which happens to have a female fire fighter, an EMS helicopter and Civil Air Patrol aircraft. Some of the vendor booths even included a selfie station featuring aviation clothing, helmets, hats and props that the participants could try on to take and post photos and get a feel for what they might look like as a future pilot.
Above: United Captain and Meghan Fridley from the Air National Guard came to the event in uniform to inspire and speak to the girls about their careers.
A large part of the success of this event was attributed to material and volunteer support from the Northern Colorado Regional Airport’s according to Top: Angel Flight West giving information about their program to bring transportation to those in need. Center: Aim Community College Aviation Program, in Greeley, CO, set up a booth to inform those interested in an aviation career degree program. Bottom: Leading Edge Flight Training is one of the flight schools based in Loveland and the Northern Colorado Regional Airport.
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Photo by Ronnie Bogart
The core group of volunteers that spent the week loading, flying and educating the girls and women of Fly WOAW 2018. From Left to Right: Mitchell Levy, Pilot Don Poncelow, Susan Armontroutt, Helicopter Pilot Dianna Stanger, Jodi Preston, Kelli Schmidt, David Solano, Cat Solano, Organizer Ronnie Bogart, Trina Bogart, Steve Plunkett, Pilot Debby Rihn-Harvey, Deb Montgomery and unnamed volunteer.
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Local Fort Collins Junior League ladies joined the fun and volunteered. They interacted with the girls and got them excited for the flights.
Bogart. “Deb Montgomery and Jason Nicon were wonderful and supportive” Bogart said. “They were an integral part of why this event was such a huge success on so many levels.” They supported the event from the beginning providing the location, hangar space along with all the facility resources. Both Mayor’s of the Cities of Loveland and Fort Collin’s presented the Fly WOAW event with proclamations celebrating Woman in Aviation Week. By the start of the event, there were 2,000 participants scheduled to attend. The event was scheduled for 7 days but due to high winds, the first day was canceled. The event was held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 6 days. Twenty-eight pilots, 7 of which were female, volunteered their time, aircraft and fuel to take women of all ages up in a helicopter, Cessna, RV and Cubs to share their passion. During those six days, there were 526 flights given to girls and women, breaking last years Fly WOAW world record of 1,221, which was also set by Dianna at the 2017 Fly WOAW event in Albuquerque, NM. That event was hosted by Dianna’s Uncle, 74 | Collective August 2018
Deb Montgomery, JetCenter Manager and Jason Nicon, Airport Manager.
Rick Preston who owns a flight school, Del Sol Aviation. Fly WOAW Colorado 2018 was the best attended event in the United States, giving a total of 1,694 girls flights with a total attendance of over1,800 attendees the event averaged 282 participants flown each day. Seeing the faces of the girls and women after taking their first flight in a helicopter or small GA airplane that leaves a lasting impression is the most commonly stated reason that volunteer pilots give when returning each year.
There were many confirmations that what WOAW set out to achieve had worked. Many of this year’s participants expressed a desire to make aviation a part of their lives. Which in the past, has seen flight recipients get bitten by the aviation bug as a result of the WOAW event that are now in flight training.
Participants having fun at Fly WOAW 2018 at Northern Colorado Regional Airport, Loveland, CO.
Some women/girls expressed a shift in career goals. One specific young woman had expressed she wanted to be a nurse. After taking a helicopter flight with Dianna, she now has aspirations of becomming a flight nurse. Some participants that attended the Fly WOAW event had a special connection to aviation. On one particular flight, four generations boarded Rosie The Riveter takes her first helicopter flight at the age of 93 Dianna Stanger’s EC135 for a flight. The youngest of the four was 9 years old, her great grandmother just 93 years young. The grandmother on the flight, Leah we would find out had more than a strong connection to aviation, she was a part of aviation history! Leah, you may know better by the name she was coined during WWII when she was imortalized in cartoon form as “Rosie the Riveter,” who helped building planes during the war effort. This flight also setting a record August 2018 Collective | 75
for the worldwide event for the most generations flown at one time.
PILOT PROFILE DIANNA STANGER is always the highlight of the event. Everyone loves her and her helicopter. Stanger is so dedicated to the mission of this event and spends all year looking forward to this week. She has the most infectious energy and smile and makes every flight feel like it is the best. From start to finish, her energy and enthusiasm to make this a memorable day for the participants, never waivers. She flies for up to 7 hours a day for the entire week and maintains her excitement from the first flight to the last. She has received the Women of Aviation Worldwide Week’s Most Dedicated Female Pilot recognition several years in a row. Dianna has many accomplishments to her credit, including being a board member of Angel Flight South Central along with flying missions for them, and has won the Air Race Classic Championship twice. She has also helped transport supplies during hurricane Harvey. She is the owner of Darkstar Air Racing, the only woman owned, women flown air race team at the Reno Air Races.
When Ronnie Bogart met 5-year-old Lillian Kiriakos on Wednesday morning at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, she saw a younger version of herself. Lillian, with no history of aviation in her family, wants to be a helicopter pilot when she grows up. So did Bogart when she was that age, but she didn’t have any way to channel her dream. She didn’t become a pilot until she was in her 40s. Now Bogart, a helicopter instructor, hopes Lillian and girls like her won’t have to wait to get into a profession that’s only 6 percent female. “Moments like that, is what we really want to nurture,” said Bogart. Lillian though, got to sit in the copilot seat in one of the helicopters she wants to fly when she grows up. Her favorite part was when they did a “roller coaster,” which is exactly what it sounds like: straight down, then back up, then down again as the helicopter hovered and flew backwards. Lillian’s mom said she didn’t know where her daughter’s passion comes from, but when she heard about the event she had to bring Lillian. “When I was her age, they Photos: Pilot Dianna Stanger with a few of her happy participants at this years Fly WOAW event.
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PILOT PROFILE DEBBY RIHN-HARVEY is a native of Nebraska and the third generation of aviators in her family. She is one of the highest ranked aerobatics competitors in the United States and is the most decorated Aerobatic Pilot, male or female.
Photos: Pilot Debby Rihn-Harvey with some of the girl that flew in a Cessna 172 with her.
She is a retired Captain for Southwest Airlines with over 35,000 hours. She owns and operates Harvey & Rihn Aviation. A flight school at the La Porte Municipal Airport in La Port, TX. Debby is an Aerobatic Competency Evaluator (ACE) for the International Council of Airshows and an FAA Designated Flight Examiner.
didn’t have events like this. It gives me purpose to know I can help to influence a young girls desire to fly” said Bogart. Among the list of 28 pilots volunteering to fly for the Fly WOAW event, there were a few special pilot guests. Jan McKenzie serves as the President of the 99’s and could be considered “aviation royalty.” Debby Rihn-Harvey was another well respected and known pilot to assist. Among Debby’s many accomplishments, she has been involved with Woman Soar You Soar. A EAA Program that is an aviation camp for girls at AirVenture. As part of the Women of Aviation Worldwide Fly It Forward Challenge, the Fly WOAW Event took the top worldwide awards by storm. The Colorado event run by Stanger and Bogart took home the honors of Most Female Friendly Airport Worldwide that was presented to Deb Montgomery, FBO Manager and Jason Nicon, the Airport Manager.
She is also the longest standing member of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatics Team, qualifying to represent the U.S. fifteen times in World Aerobatic Championships in North America and Europe. In world competition, Rihn-Harvey has been a Gold Medalist as well as holding many regional titles. Among her other awards are the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame, EAA Sport Aviation Hall of Fame, and she received the Loyd P. Nolan Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
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Ronnie Bogart receiving the award for Most Productive Organizer Worldwide, while Dianna Stanger took the award for the Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide, flying 716 girls and women in 2018. Not to forget the men that helows make the 2018 WOAW event a huge success, pilot Rick Turley received the Most Supportive Male Pilot Worldwide, Turley flying 63 girls and women in Colorado.
â€œI am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a monumental event that will inspire girls and women to take flight. We may never know how we touched lives or how those interactions may change their trajectory, but I have no doubt it did.â€? Plans are already in the works to take this event to the next level in 2019, with a goal to enlighten even more females to the world of aviation with a multifaceted event planned for next year that the team hopes will result in a more broad audience and another world record breaking attendance. August 2018 Collective | 79