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AirSmart offers charter, fractional ownership, and aircraft management. (L–R) FO Samantha Fata, DOM Clinton Campbell, CEO & Dir of Ops Tommy Suell, and Chief Pilot Chris Honea, with Charter Mgr Robyn Langland and Dir Landside Ops & Coord Marlee Malamut (on stairs), pose with Pilatus PC-24 and 1 of 4 PC-12s.

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12 POSITION & HOLD NBAA Pres & CEO speaks ahead of virtual bizav convention by Ed Bolen First ever VBACE will take place on December 2–3, 2020.

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14 SPECIAL MISSION HELICOPTERS Parapublic rotary-wing aircraft by Pro Pilot staff We present a selection of turbine-powered helos performing in law enforcement roles around the world. 26 FLIGHT TRAINING Professional pilot development by Shannon Forrest Becoming a skilled airman is largely a result of training. The more you put into it, the more you’ll learn.

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32 FLIGHT DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR AirSmart by Brent Bundy Las Vegas-based operator flies 4 Pilatus PC-12s and a PC-24. 40 WX BRIEF Microbursts and downdrafts by Karsten Shein Strong outflow and low-level windshear are ever-present dangers near thunderstorms.

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PRAETOR 600: CERTIFIED OUTPERFORMANCE. The Praetor 600 — the world’s most disruptive and technologically advanced super-midsize aircraft that leads the way in performance, comfort and technology. Unveiled at NBAA in October 2018 and now certified by ANAC, FAA and EASA, the Praetor 600 did not just meet initial expectations, it exceeded them. Named for the Latin root that means “lead the way,” the Praetor 600 is a jet of firsts. It is the first super-midsize jet certified since 2014. The first to fly beyond 3,700 nm at M0.80. The first with over 4,000 nm range at LRC. The first with full fly-by-wire. The first with turbulence reduction capability. The first with a cabin altitude as low as 5,800 feet. The first with high-capacity, ultra-high-speed connectivity from Viasat’s Ka-band. And all of this, backed by a top-ranked Customer Support network.

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Quiz on procedures when flying into IOW (Iowa City IA). Answers on page 10.

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Cover AirSmart offers charter, fractional ownership, and aircraft management. (L–R) FO Samantha Fata, DOM Clinton Campbell, CEO & Dir of Ops Tommy Suell, and Chief Pilot Chris Honea, with Charter Mgr Robyn Langland and Dir Landside Ops & Coord Marlee Malamut (on stairs), pose with Pilatus PC-24 and 1 of 4 PC-12s. Photo by Brent Bundy

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



Refer to the 12-2 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30 for KIOW/IOW (Iowa City IA) when necessary to answer the following questions:









  













   



 

 

 





 

   











 





 



 













 



7. Which of the following is not authorized at night? Select all that apply. a Circling to land. b Flying the approach procedure. c Circling to land on Rwy 25. d Landing on Rwys 7, 12, and 30.



 

  

 



  



 



 





























  





 





 

 

    











 

 

 

   

 

  

















     

  

          

         



Reproduced with permission of Jeppesen Sanderson. Reduced for illustrative purposes.

 





6. The flight is cleared direct for ICWAR and cleared for the approach. Which of these courses to ICWAR requires a course reversal? Select all that apply. a 036°. b 090°. c 180°. d 216°. e 270°.



 



4. A flight arriving from the southeast at 4000 ft MSL that re ceives the following instructions: “Cleared direct ICWAR, expect RNAV (GPS) Rwy 30,” may descend to 3000 ft MSL within 30 nm of ICWAR. a True b False 5. Select all that apply. When flying direct to ICWAR on a course of 090° at 5000 ft MSL, a flight that is cleared for the approach should descend to____ a 3000 ft MSL after reaching ICWAR. b 3000 ft MSL within 9 nm of ICWAR. c 3000 ft MSL within 30 nm of ICWAR. d 3300 ft MSL within 30 nm of ICWAR.





   

         



3. What items are required to fly the approach to LP minimums? a RAIM. b WAAS-certified GPS equipment. c Aircrew and aircraft authorization. d Monitoring of ground-based navigation equipment.





 



      

1. LP minimums are most likely published for this approach because terrain, obstructions, or operational limitations pre vent the use of vertical guidance to LPV minimums. a True b False 2. Select the true statement(s) regarding RNAV (GPS) approaches with LP minimums. a Advisory vertical guidance will not be provided. b LP minimums must be lower than those associated with the LNAV procedure. c Lateral navigation sensitivity increases as the aircraft gets closer to the runway. d LP minimums may be published with LPV minimums as a fail-down mode if vertical guidance is lost.

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 

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Terminal Checklist Answers on page 10 12/20

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Not to be used for navigational purposes

9. Which of the following are correct interpretations of chart no tations and symbology? Select all that apply. a Reverse C in the black diamond – obstacle clearance is less than standard during circling procedures. b TERPS block in landing minimums section – landing mini mums meet TERPS Change 20 standards or later. c Reverse C in the black diamond – the circling minimums are higher than those meeting standard TERPS criteria. d TERPS block in landing minimums section – the criteria for determining minimums are similar to EU-OPS standards.

8. Select the true statement(s) regarding continuing the ap proach if WAAS service is unavailable. 10. Select the true statement(s) regarding the final approach segment. a The flight must proceed to an alternate airport. a The approach light system includes a PAPI. b The approach may be completed to LP minimums provid- b Use of the Cedar Rapids altimeter setting increases the MDA ed a lateral flag or integrity alert does not appear. by 80 ft. c The approach may be completed to LNAV minimums pro- c The notation “34:1 is not clear” in the profile view means vided a lateral flag or integrity alert does not appear. that the obstacle clearance surface is not free of obstructions. d If a lateral flag or integrity alert appears, ATC can issue a d If the runway environment is not in sight, the missed ap clearance to remain in a holding pattern until the flag/alert proach should be performed at RW05 when flying to either disappears. LP or LNAV minimums.

8  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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Answers to TC 12/20 questions 1. a RNAV (GPS) approaches with localizer performance (LP) minimums are commonly referred to as WAAS procedures without vertical guidance. These approaches are typically published in locations where vertical guidance is not feasible due to terrain, obstacles, or other operational limitations. 2. b, c Refer to AC 90-107 for guidance on conducting RNAV (GPS) approaches to LPV and LP minimums. LP course guidance provides lateral sensitivity that increases as the aircraft gets closer to the runway. LP minimums are only published if they are lower than LNAV minimums. Advisory vertical guidance may be available during an LP approach. However, barometric altimeter information remains the primary altitude reference for complying with any altitude restrictions. LP is not a fail-down mode for approaches with LPV minimums. LP minimums are not published with LPV or LNAV/VNAV minimums. 3. b The aircraft must have GPS equipment certified for WAAS capability by TSO C145/C147 in order to fly to LP minimums. The use of WAAS-certified equipment does not require RAIM. If the aircraft’s equipment is not WAAS certified, the approach may be flown to LNAV minimums without monitoring ground-based equipment, but RAIM must be available. No special aircrew or aircraft authorization is required.   4. b According to the AIM 5-4-5, an ATC clearance direct to an IAF or to the IF/IAF without an approach clearance does not authorize a pilot to descend to a lower TAA altitude. If a pilot desires a lower altitude without an approach clearance, the lower TAA altitude must be requested from ATC. 5.

b, d A course of 090° to ICWAR is within the boundaries of the TAA icon depicted in the upper left of the plan view. The ballflag notes for the TAA icon indicate a descent to 3300 ft MSL within 30 nm of ICWAR, and a descent to 3000 ft MSL within 9 nm of ICWAR.

6. b, c The absence of the notation “NoPT” for the TAA icon in the upper left corner of the plan view indicates that an aircraft arriving on a course between 036° clockwise to 216° (in this case, 090° and 180°) should perform the course reversal at ICWAR. “NoPT” on the icon shown in the lower right of the plan view indicates that a course reversal is not authorized when arriving on a course between 216° clockwise to 036° (in this case, 270°). According to the Terminal Arrival Area section of the AIM

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5-4-5, “if approaching with a TO bearing that is on a sector boundary (in this case, 036° or 216°), the pilot is expected to proceed in accordance with a “NoPT” routing unless otherwise instructed by ATC.”   7. d Procedural note 1 in the Briefing Strip indicates that a straight-in landing to Rwy 30 is not authorized at night – most likely due to the lack of an approach lighting system as indicated by absence of the lighting box. The circle-to-land minimums section does not include a note that circling to land is not authorized at night. However, procedural note 2 in the Briefing Strip indicates that circling to Rwys 7 and 12 is not authorized. Therefore, circling to land on Rwy 25 is the only option when performing this approach procedure at night. 8. c, d AC 90-107 indicates that, if WAAS service is not available prior to reaching the FAF, the pilot may complete the RNAV (GPS) approach to LNAV minimums if no lateral flag or other integrity alert appears. However, if the pilot sees a lateral flag or integrity alert, the pilot should do one of the following: • Request clearance from ATC to enter and remain in a holding pattern (fuel permitting) until the lateral flag or integrity alert disappears, • Request a clearance from ATC for a different approach using ground-based navigation aids (if available), or • Request a clearance from ATC to fly to an alternate airport. 9.

b, d The reverse C inside the black diamond indicates an expanded segment of airspace defined by TERPS that protects aircraft during circling approaches and offers additional obstacle clearance. TERPS in the upper left corner of the landing minimums section indicates that the landing minimums meet TERPS Change 20 standards or later. TERPS Change 20 is a set of criteria for determining minimums that was designed by FAA to harmonize with EU-OPS more closely.

10.

b, c, d Rwy 30 is not equipped with an approach light system (ALS) as indicated by the absence of the lighting box. A PAPI is not considered part of the ALS but would be shown in the lighting box if applicable to Rwy 30. The MDA for the approach to LP and LNAV minimums increases by 80 ft with the Cedar Rapids altimeter setting – 1000 ft MSL to 1080 ft MSL, and 1060 to 1140 ft MSL, respectively. RW05 is the missed approach waypoint for both nonprecision approaches to LP and LNAV minimums. The note “34:1 is not clear” in the profile view section indicates that the 34:1 OCS (obstacle clearance surface) is not free of obstructions. The 34:1 slope is a 3.0° visual descent angle (VDA). The absence of this note indicates that a normal descent at a 3.0° angle from the MDA can be made clear of obstacles.

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POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion

With NBAA’s new VBACE, industry moves ahead online By Ed Bolen Pres & CEO, NBAA

Keynote sessions Dynamic and engaging keynote speakers will also be featured. We’ll kick things off with critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley, a nationwide headliner who knows the value of connecting with people the world over. A certified pilot himself, Bentley first spoke about the importance of utilizing business aircraft in his life and career to a packed audience at NBAA-BACE 2015 in Las Vegas NV. He will offer VBACE attendees his perspective on ways to bring people together in difficult times – an important theme for an industry that thrives on connection. The keynote session during the 2nd day will feature writer Erin Meyer, who, with Netflix Founder and CEO Reed Hastings, co-authored No Rules Rules – a candid overview of the entertainment provider’s unique organizational philosophy. VBACE will also feature a host of forward-looking education sessions on the industry’s most pressing topics, ranging from issues facing new entrants coming into the marketplace during this time of Covid-19, to operational concerns and other key issues.

Safety first Safety is always an important focus of NBAA events, and VBACE will build on this theme through a series of re-

laxed, informal “Turns Around a Pint” discussions of key drivers for business aviation safety, including data-driven safety management systems and the importance of flight department professionalism. Networking opportunities will also be plentiful. These will take place by way of direct person-to-person connection among attendees, as well as through dedicated subject-matter lounges. NBAA professional members may also access a dedicated happy hour to mingle with their peers, while enjoying performances by Comedian and Pilot Dave Coulier, Grammy-winning Performer and “Eye of the Tiger” songwriter Jim Peterik, and Jefferson Starship Lead Singer Cathy Richardson. This groundbreaking event is free for NBAA members to attend – and, as part of their VBACE experience, show-goers will be able to fill bottomless virtual backpacks with information from exhibitors.

Image courtesy NBAA

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he Covid-19 pandemic has unquestionably affected our world in countless ways, including many sweeping changes to how our industry conducts business and remains connected. As we all continue to navigate this unique moment, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is offering a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect and help each other not just navigate our challenges, but lead through them. We call this game-changing event for connecting people and companies the Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (VBACE), scheduled for Dec 2–3. VBACE will be the most technologically advanced virtual show in the history of aviation, with 3-dimensional exhibit booths, including from OEMs such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Cirrus, Dassault, Embraer, Honda Aircraft Company, Pilatus, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron Aviation.

Post-event access For those who may be reading this after VBACE has wrapped, access to the show will be available following the event’s conclusion, providing ample time to continue to experience the booths and education sessions from the comfort of your home or office. Simply stated, VBACE propels NBAA’s annual convention into the digital space, offering new and exciting opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike. While we all look toward the day when we may once again gather in person to celebrate our strong, resilient industry, VBACE presents an important venue, demonstrating that business aviation is doing more than simply moving online – we’re also moving ahead. I invite you to learn more, and join us, by visiting nbaa.org/vbace.

12  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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SPECIAL MISSION AIRCRAFT

Parapublic helicopters We present a selection of turbine-powered helicopters performing in law enforcement roles around the world.

Airbus H145

By Pro Pilot staff

Airbus Helicopters The single light H125 and H130, each powered by a Safran Arriel 2D

Photos courtesy Airbus Helicopters

A

irborne law enforcement (LE) agencies operating rotary-wing aircraft often fulfill a variety of missions in different demanding environments. These missions are not limited to aerial patrol, transport, and search and rescue (SAR), but may also include emergency response and medical transport. Light single-engine, single-pilot helicopters offer lower operating costs while performing reliably and handling most tasks favorably. And larger twin-engine platforms, on the other side, offer a perfect complement, as they have greater range and speed capabilities, as well as the capacity to carry heavier loads. Here’s what’s available for LE agencies and other parapublic services from the major helicopter manufacturers.

Airbus H175 turbine, are helicopters of choice for many LE operators around the world. Benefits include mission versatility, low sound levels, and lift capability. A variety of solutions has been developed for H125 and H130 parapublic missions, including LE-specific instrument panels, searchlights, electro-optical (EO) systems, operator consoles, night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible light sourcing and instruments, wire strike protection, loudspeakers, downlink, and rappelling equipment for tactical team deployment. The twin-engine H135s and H145s are widely used by police forces for

their large cabins, wide side doors and rear clamshell doors for loading/unloading, and high-set main and tail rotors, which improve safety during ground operations. The medium twin AS365 N3+ and H155 platforms are both workhorses in a diverse range of duties. They come equipped with glass cockpits that incorporate digital avionics and a 4-axis autopilot, allowing pilots to concentrate on the mission. In addition, the H175 is a highly capable platform for parapublic applications. Its large cabin has low vibration levels, resulting in a smooth ride – even at high speeds.

14  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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RELY ON.

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The new generation H160 boasts a range of unparalleled safety features. Maximized pilot visibility, intuitive information display, unrivalled pilot assistance with Helionix,Ž and unmatched flight envelope protection. What’s more, it carries up to 12 passengers with a radius of action of 120 NM, while burning 15% less fuel. With so many impressive features, the H160 is a huge step forward not just for its category, but for the environment, too. Safety. We make it fly.

airbus.com

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Leonardo AW109 Trekker has twin P&W PW207C powerplants and Genesys Aerosystems avionics. With an endurance of more than 4 hours, it’s suited for patrol, surveillance, and similar parapublic missions. Its large cabin has space for mission consoles and dedicated tactical mission equipment, including multi-band radios, radar, EO/IR devices, searchlights, loudspeakers, rescue hoist, and cargo hook. AW119Kx offers LE agencies a cost-effective platform with mission flexibility. It has a single P&W PT6B-37A engine, and Garmin’s G1000NXi glass cockpit, which enhances situational awareness. Its multi-role cabin can be configured with combinations of seats and mission-specific equipment, and its wide doors give good accessibility.

Leonardo AW169

AW139 is powered by 2 FADEC-equipped P&W PT6C-67C turboshafts. It can seat up to 15 pax or 10 deployable LE officers, and can be reconfigured in a variety of layouts, including accommodation for a fully-integrated mission console and advanced role equipment. The AW139 is suitable for a wide range of operations in confined and congested areas, and is easily adapted for disaster relief, humanitarian and community support.

AW169 is equipped with dual P&W PW210A engines and features an open architecture avionics suite that improves visibility and minimizes pilot fatigue. Its configurable cabin can carry up to 8 LE officers. The AW169 can be equipped with tools to fulfill roles such as surveillance, aerial support, drug enforcement, border patrol, medical and casualty evacuation, disaster relief, and SAR.

Photos courtesy Leonardo

Leonardo AW119Kx

16  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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Services You Can Trust

Leonardo’s strategic network of partnerships are integral to operations and enable business growth. A committed network of maintenance repair and overhaul centres and a global team of field service representatives provide civil and military customers with line and base maintenance services, ensuring continuous support either at Leonardo owned or customer facilities, worldwide. Leonardo invests in performance and infrastructure to strengthen network collaborations and expand its portfolio of helicopter solutions, providing the highest quality of service and the latest-generation technology for the operation and maintenance of customer aircraft. Inspired by the vision, curiosity and creativity of the great master inventor Leonardo is designing the technology of tomorrow.

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Bell 429

Bell Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is powered by a Safran Arrius 2R engine, and comes equipped with Garmin G1000H NXi avionics. It sports a highly-configurable cabin, and external mounting points for required equipment. Its multi-mission capability makes it a favorite with public safety operators, as it has the ability to add features such as a searchlight, EO/infrared (IR) sensor, public address speaker, large-format high-definition mission display, tactical radio, and additional audio panels. Bell 407GXi comes with a RollsRoyce 250-C47E/4 engine, coupled with an all-composite 4-blade rotor system that delivers superior hover performance, speed, and a smooth, quiet ride. Its Garmin G1000H NXi suite provides excellent situational awareness and improves safety. It has a spacious cabin that can be configured for different missions, and has an abundant capacity for LE equipment, like multi-sensor cameras and searchlights. In addition, the 407GXi has nearly 4-hours of loitering capability – ideal for patrol and surveillance missions.

Bell 429 has 2 P&W 207D1 engines, and Garmin GTN 650/750 with NAV/COM/WAAS GPS as standard equipment. Options include moving maps, multi-sensor camera imagery, searchlights, loudhailer, and NVG-compatible display units. Its cabin volume, large cabin doors, and optional rear clamshell doors, can accommodate additional special mission equipment easily, and allow for tactical unit deployments or hoist operations. Bell 412EPI is pushed by a pair of P&W PT6T-9 engines and has Garmin GTN 750 NAV/COM/WAAS GPS with helicopter terrain avoidance warning system (HTAWS). It has a cargo hook capacity of 4500 lb, and its cabin can be customized to match specific mission needs.

MD MD 500E comes with a 5-bladed main rotor that can be coupled with the operator’s choice of a single Rolls-Royce 250-C20B (420 shp) or Rolls-Royce 250-C20R (450 shp) turbine engine. Its cockpit is ergo-

nomically designed to facilitate single-pilot operation in the left-hand or right-hand command configuration. Also, noise signature is below FAA and ICAO requirements. Its large, flat floor provides plenty of room for cargo, and the useful internal load of 1519 lb is ideal for most utility ops. MD 500N has a single Rolls-Royce 250-C20R/2, which produces 450 shp, enabling a useful load of 1764 lb and a max range of 210 nm. MD’s proprietary NOTAR anti-torque system makes it a quiet and safe machine. In addition to police air support, typical applications include aerial survey, air rescue, and other parapublic duties. MD 530F is equipped with a 650shp Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine, providing reliable performance in hot and high environments. Its glass cockpit includes a Garmin G500H TXi integrated display system which uses a dual display unit to serve as the primary flight display (PFD) and multi-function display (MFD). Options to improve situational awareness include Garmin’s helicopter synthetic vision technology, and HTAWS.

Photos courtesy MD Helicopters

Photos courtesy Bell Helicopters

Bell 412

MD 902 Explorer

MD 500E

18  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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Photos courtesy Sikorsky

Photo courtesy Robinson Helicopters

Robinson R66

MD 600N derives its impressive control and maneuverability from its NOTAR anti-torque system and 6-bladed fully-articulated main rotor, which is driven by a single Rolls-Royce 250-C47M turbine engine producing 808 shp. Cockpit instrumentation consists of a Garmin G500 suite that includes an MFD and PFD, and an engine indicating and crew alerting system. MD 902 Explorer is the manufacturer’s twin-engine solution for the parapublic market. It’s powered by a pair of P&W PW207E, rated at 710 shp. In addition, it has a builtin health and usage monitoring system (HUMS), allowing technicians to download engine and flight data for reduced downtime during maintenance events. Optional LE equipment available for the MD 902 Explorer includes a 3000-lb-capacity cargo hook, external hoist (up to 600 lb), and mounts for a variety of searchlights, such as TrakkaBeam A800, Starburst SX-5, and Night Sun SX-16. For better situational aware-

ness, options include enhanced ground proximity warning systems, weather radar, and Garmin GTN 650 GPS/NAV/COM.

Robinson R66 is powered by a Rolls-Royce RR300 turbine engine delivering 300 shp. The company launched an LE version of the R66 (certified by FAA in 2012) which can carry a thermal imaging camera, a 10-inch fold-down color monitor, Spectrolab SX-7 searchlight, and dual audio controller. The R66 police helo has a cruise speed of up to 120 kts, and a payload of 800 lb with full fuel.

Sikorsky S-70i FireHawk is based on the UH-60 Black Hawk, and performs well in firefighting and utility roles. Its multi-mission nature makes it reconfigurable for many parapub-

lic purposes, including SAR, hoist rescue, troop transport, and medical evacuation with in-cabin equipment. FireHawk is powered by 2 GE T700-GE-701D engines, has a digital glass cockpit with flight management system, and is certified for single-pilot ops. The all-weather S-92 performs parapublic missions such as coastal and border patrol, emergency response, and humanitarian aid. Upgrades were announced at this year’s Heli-Expo for an S-92A+ kit. Improvements include the option of replacing the GE CT7-8A with the newer CT78A6 engine, which performs better in hot and high environments. Furthermore, it will have a 27,700-lb max gross weight with increased payload, and longer time between overhauls. Sikorsky also announced a new-production S-92B helicopter with all the A+ features, lower acquisition costs, and more economical hourly support program.

Sikorsky S-92

Sikorsky FireHawk

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020  19

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ose A20 is my preferred headset. Its active noise reduction (ANR) and sound quality can’t be beat. It’s also the most comfortable headset I’ve ever had. It is pricey, but for the number of hours I fly and how often I use it, it’s worth it! Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW139 AW139 Captain PHI Aviation Cantonment FL

T In headsets, what is your favorite brand and model? Why?

B

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elex Airman 850 is the headset that I prefer. I’m very pleased with its comfort, light weight, and good value. Jeffrey Artz ATP/A&P. Gulfstream G650 Lead Captain Jet Aviation Hegins PA

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ouldn’t have chosen any better than the Bose ProFlight aviation headset. I wanted a better noise-cancelling and lighter-weight option than a traditional on-ear headset. I took a chance with the ProFlight headset for my corporate jet cockpit. After a year of use, I’m very impressed. Brad Boyd ATP. Falcon 2000LXS Corporate Jet Captain Executive Jet Management Wilmington DE

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or the past 7 years, we’ve been using Lightspeed Sierra headsets. They’re not the most expensive, but they work extremely well. I’m pleased with the batteries, which last longer than a month. Operators can rotate the mic around so the wires are not in the way. And they also work with hearing aids. Jack Hunt ATP/CFII. Challenger Owner Hunt Aviation Cumming GA

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reat decision to acquire my DC PRO-X2. It feels very light on my ears. It has excellent noise attenuation, and its passive mode is a win. In fact, it’s so good that I forget to flip the switch on. The Bluetooth is awesome, and its ability to cut out when ATC or the copilot speaks makes the hours go by effortlessly. No regrets! Shane Murphy ATP. Citation Sovereign Captain NetJets Santa Barbara CA

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AV I AT I O N

Designed to be lightweight. Proven to be durable.

The FAA TSO and EASA E/TSO-C139a certified ProFlight Series 2 may be our lightest aviation headset ever, but it also meets our toughest standards. That’s because the ProFlight Series 2 has been engineered to withstand the harshest conditions in our quality assurance lab – from extreme temperatures and UV to moisture and impact – all so pilots can experience acclaimed Bose noise cancellation, comfort and clarity for years to come. See how the ProFlight Series 2 stands up to the toughest conditions – finance with Bose Pay powered by Klarna and start your 60-day test flight at Bose.com/ProFlight.

Connect with us @BoseAviation © 2020 Bose Corporation. All rights reserved.

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ery satisfied with my DC PRO-X2 headset. DC headsets are world famous for their customer service and warranty, as well as durability and audio quality. I use this headset in a Citation CJ4 and a Cessna 172, and never have any issues. Carl Griffiths ATP. Citation CJ4 & Cessna 172 Manager & Chief Pilot GW Aviation Lords Valley PA

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still use my old-model Bose A20 when I fly. I’ve owned it for more than 17 years and it still operates like new. Just need to replace the ear cushions once or twice a year, and I’m good to go. André Denbesten ATP. Citation Sovereign Pilot in Command NetJets Enterprise AL

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ightspeed is the headset of my selection because of its ANR feature. Ears never hurt, no matter how long duty day or legs are. I also enjoy its excellent Bluetooth feature. Battery latch would be the only weak point. Still, I’ve used Lightspeed headsets for a long time now. Mark Fairless Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII. Citation V/CJ1 Chief Pilot Connair Consulting Trenton TN

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omfort and quality are what I need in my headsets. Bose is outstanding! Mark Williams ATP/A&P. Phenom 300 Captain NetJets Fort Collins CO

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avid Clark headsets are beautifully made. There are many advantages to wearing them, including good fit, reasonable comfort, decent sound, reliability, and their robust feel. Overall aftersale product support is also outstanding. Sara Stearns ATP. Airbus EC135P2+ Pilot CALSTAR Seaside CA

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y Bose model A20 is excellent. It’s comfortable, lightweight and, most of all, quiet! Fred Barasoain ATP. Citation CJ1 & Learjet 40 Chief Pilot Remlat Aviation Rome GA

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een using DC PRO-X, and I’m glad I chose them. I like the headset’s size, Bluetooth feature, and battery life. Byron Bourquein ATP/CFII. Beechjet 400A Chief Pilot Reynolds Jet Cincinnati OH

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uite pleased with David Clark headsets because of their comfort and durability. Ted Mejia ATP. Boeing 737/727 & L-382 Hercules Program Mgr MAG Aero Cincinnati OH

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y headset of choice is David Clark H10-30 for personal use as a single-engine piston aircraft flight instructor. It’s been designed with great quality, it’s reliable, and it provides good engine and cockpit noise reduction. It’s possible and easy to replace parts when necessary. In addition, this DC product can be acquired at a reasonable price. Jean-Luc Pilotto ATP. Falcon 200 & King Air 200T Flight Instructor & Former Capt French Aviation Administration IGN–CNRS–ENAC Béthisy-Saint-Martin, France

Lightspeed Zulu 3

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n my opinion, Lightspeed Zulu and Zulu.2 are fantastic. They’re both lightweight and incredibly efficient at cancelling noisy helicopter turbine whines. On top of that, the superb support team located in Oregon provides unsurpassed service and turnaround time on repairs. Jared Douglas ATP/Helo. Bell 407 Line Pilot PHI Bend OR

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ery content with my Bose A20. They provide great comfort, clarity of sound, and excellent noise cancelling. Alain Gautron Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation Mustang/CJ1 Partner Stephenson Harwood Paris, France

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was a David Clark user before noise cancelling came about. I have 2 headsets, and had DC service both without charge – only asking for a donation. I sent 1 set in to have a mic bracket repaired, and they updated everything with new earcups, phone cords, volume control. However, they didn’t touch the bracket. I couldn’t complain as they didn’t submit a bill. I’ve been using other headsets for a few years and recently called the service department to request a new mic plug, and was told that they no longer support that model and have no parts, so I’m now back to my DC headsets. Sonny Volz ATP. Citation V & Cessna Conquest II/421 Contract Pilot Lewisville TX

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’ve been using Bose A20s for a long time. I’m so pleased with them that I don’t think I will ever change them. They’re the most comfortable headsets I’ve ever worn. Joe Kobiela ATP. King Air 300 Captain Wheels Up Auburn IN

M ennheiser headsets are excellent. They’re comfortable and lightweight, and communication is clear with no interference. Dov Kribus ATP/CFII/A&P. Phenom 100 Pilot Avery Aviation Mgmt Laredo TX

y David Clark headset is amazing. It folds up small and travels easily. I also find its ANR to be fantastic. Quality is unbeatable, and aftersale product support is outstanding. And it’s a David Clark product, so you know it’s awesome! Martha Morris ATP/CFII. Citation Excel Pilot Du Jour Aviation Tempe AZ

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eally like my Bose A20 headset. It performs very well during my instruction flights and many other trips that I make. Perry McCollom ATP/CFI. Baron G58 & Bonanza G36 Owner PCM Associates Louisville KY

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uietness is what I need in my headsets, and my Clarity Aloft equipment is as quiet as my David Clarks. My baseball cap can go on after and come off before the headset. It comes with 3 sizes of ear tips, and the smallest fit me best. Also, I can store my headset in its nice small sturdy case, which has room for other items. I prefer to use the non-noise-cancelling feature because I want to be able to hear the exhaust on some of the airplanes. Clare Patterson ATP/CFII/A&P. DC3TP Contract Flight Instructor Oshkosh WI

avid Clark PRO-X2 is the headset that I use. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and it has noise cancelling and Bluetooth capabilities. The David Clark team in Worcester MA sent me free ear pad replacements. How nice of them! In fact, encouraged by my experience, my son bought his own DC headset, just like mine, for his flight lessons in Lantana FL. Keith Krebs ATP. Boeing 737 & Cessna 172 Captain Intl American Airlines Delray Beach FL

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ouldn’t be more satisfied with my David Clark headsets. They’ve always been durable and extremely reliable. Larry Farnsworth ATP/CFII. Citation II President FASC Florence OR

avid Clarks are my preferred headsets. I’ve been using them for more than 40 years. I especially like their ANR models. Paul Buller ATP. Maule M-7 Owner/Pilot Paul Buller Enterprises Laguna Hills CA xtremely pleased with my DC headsets. I have a set that I’ve been using since 1986. They’ve never failed on me and continue to work great. Brian Page ATP/CFII. Citation Encore Chief Pilot Betteravia Farms Lompoc CA

Telex Airman 850

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est headset for the aircraft I operate is the Telex Airman 850. It is light enough for long days, and the noise cancelling it provides is good enough for my Learjet 75. Parts are easy to find, but I have only needed new ear pads and a mic wind cover in the past 8 years. Kent Weiss ATP. Learjet 75 Lead Pilot Learjet 75 & Training Captain Skyservice Business Aviation YYC Airdrie AB, Canada

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ave had the Bose ProFlight Series 2 for 4 months now, and they are fantastic. You can have them on your head for up to 10 hours and feel no discomfort. They’re easy to work with. I tried the Bose headsets thinking I’d end up returning them – but, to my surprise, I’m very happy with them. Glen Hicks ATP. Learjet 75/45 & Challenger 350/300 Contract Pilot Dallas TX

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use Telex Airman 7 to listen only, along with the Telex 38T, which is a hand-held mic. They’re both built rugged and have long life. I appreciate their excellent voice quality, and cleaning them is very easy. They’re both FAA TSO-C58 and TSO-C139A approved. N Kellman ATP. Boeing 727 Former Captain Al-Fattoah Investments Bothell WA

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C ONE-X is the headset I prefer. It fits perfectly fine. What I like most is the comfort it provides during long flight hours. Ted Hughes ATP/CFII. Legacy 500/ Phenom 300 Corporate Pilot CMH Homes Maryville TN

Clarity Aloft

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believe that Clarity Aloft headsets are superior. They have excellent noise suppression, superb quality, and, most importantly, they’re extremely comfortable both for short flights and all-day wear. Scott Alperin Pvt-Inst. Daher TBM 700C2 Member Sla flyer LLC Steamboat Springs CO

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ery pleased with my Bose ProFlight Series 2 aviation headset. I enjoy its light weight construction and clarity in communications. Also, it permits excellent handling in the cockpit. Harvey Duarte ATP. Gulfstream G650ER/ G550 Dir of Operations & Chief Pilot ALN (Bermuda) Teterboro NJ

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larity Aloft – hands down! Why? If you wear one of these for a while and then put on any other headset, you’ll notice the difference. The others become annoying quickly. Clarity Aloft has perfect sound and excellent noise protection. It weighs almost nothing, and doesn’t have a headband. What’s not to like? Jim McIrvin ATP/CFII. Boeing 737, Phenom 300, & Aero L-39 Albatros Chief Pilot McIrvin Aviation Washingtonville NY

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ove my Bose ProFlight Series 2 aviation headset. It’s lightweight, has 3 modes of noise canceling which are very helpful since I fly 2 aircraft with different noise profiles. Herman Ross ATP/CFII. King Air 90 Sr Technical Advisor FAA Flight Standards Hansville WA

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FLIGHT TRAINING

Professional pilot development

Photo courtesy FlightSafety

Becoming a skilled airman is largely a result of training. The more you put into it, the more you’ll learn.

FSI’s G550 simulator incorporates enhanced visuals that mimic closely the actual aircraft.

By Shannon Forrest

President, Turbine Mentor ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605, Gulfstream IV, MU2B

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he success of humanity in transitioning from feet to wheels to wings as a mode of transportation is largely a result of training. When considering the strides made in aviation over the course of the past 100 or so years, it’s natural to focus on how aircraft have flown faster, climbed higher, and become more technologically advanced. While those things are exciting, what’s equally important – but not as interesting to talk about – are the concomitant advances in learning methodology and simulation that allow pilots to operate an aircraft safely and efficiently. In a time before flight simulators, all training was done in a real aircraft. In the barnstorming era, learning to fly was analogous to teaching a 16-year-old to drive using a brand-new Lamborghini. Learning to fly has always been expensive.

Enter the flight simulator era Edwin Link was born in 1904, and took his first flying lesson in 1920.

He became a flight instructor and barnstormer, but is most famously known for inventing the first commercial flight simulator. His primary goal was to reduce the cost of becoming a pilot, so, using parts left over from his father’s piano repair business, he cobbled together a crude cockpit mock-up. Musical theory was the impetus for replicating aircraft motion. Link’s familiarity with air compression as applied to playing an organ, along with the mechanics of how a piano produced sound, convinced him that he could reproduce the sensations of flight within a ground-based device. Originally called “The Pilot Maker,” the strictly mechanical-pneumatic device would eventually be renamed the Link Trainer. At first, Link’s device was snubbed by the fledgling aviation industry. Not a single flight school would buy it. Instead, it found its way into amusement parks. Any sale brought in much needed cash, but entertaining the general public wasn’t what Link had in mind. His heart was in aviation, so he did what any passionate entrepreneur would do – he started his own flight school. Link’s big break came in 1934,

when he was able to sell 6 devices to the US Army Air Corps. The Army wasn’t that keen on the concept, but was willing to give it a try considering its history of 12 fatal air mail accidents in a 3-month timeframe. The incidents all stemmed from flying in instrument conditions, which was something the Link trainer could replicate easily. Less than a decade later, the Link Trainer would see widespread use in training pilots for WWII. One of its more notable uses was to train Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber pilots, including former US President George HW Bush (then an ensign), at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Fort Lauderdale FL. During the war, Link Trainers were also used to train Pan Am pilots on the massive Boeing 314 flying boat. Twelve Boeing 314s were produced between 1938 and 1941 (9 going to Pan Am), and the aircraft saw widespread service crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Frasca International Aviation has an inherent interconnectedness, and one invention often begets another. Rudy Frasca, a naval aviator who taught pilots on the Link Trainer at NAS Glenview IL, would eventually go on to form his own company. In 1958, he built his first flight simulator in his garage. Sixty years later, the company founded by Rudy Frasca, now known as Frasca International, has produced in excess of 2600 flight simulators and delivered them worldwide. Anyone who has come up through the civilian ranks as a professional pilot and started a couple of decades ago, is likely to have experienced one of the original Frasca general aviation trainers. The early model Frasca 141 (single engine) and 142 (twin engine) devices were equipped with round gauges and lacked motion or “out-the-window” visual displays. For all intents and purposes, they were exclusively instrument or procedural trainers. Smaller Part

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provement over the pneumatic/mechanical simulators reminiscent of the Link Trainer days, they had some big disadvantages. Simulator providers need a place to house the hydraulic equipment, and a paid staff of mechanics is required to maintain it. In addition, the fluid itself requires special handling due to environmental considerations. Photo courtesy Frasca

Electric simulators

Frasca designs and builds fixed- and rotary-wing simulators for private and commercial aviation.

61 “mom and pop” flight schools couldn’t afford those simulators, so they typically appeared at larger Part 141 schools and in university aviation programs.

Sim training for airline pilots During the 90s, at least 2 regional airlines (called “commuter” at the time) used Frasca 142 simulators as a screening tool during pilot interviews. Today, airlines have gotten away from purely technical interviews in which flying ability is weighted above all else. Now they use a more human-factors-centered approach to hiring. This wasn’t always the case. Before regional jets and advanced glass cockpits became the norm, a newly hired commuter pilot could find himself slogging through the northeast corridor, flying 5 legs a day with approaches down to minimums in a sparsely-equipped Jetstream 41 turboprop. In 2000, the interview profile at Atlantic Coast Airlines, a United Express carrier based at IAD (Dulles, Washington DC), consisted of a normal takeoff, non-published hold with a parallel entry (conducted on raw VOR needles), and an ILS approach back to the airport. Although it was possible for a sadistic instructor to fail an engine, both engines of the Frasca 142 kept turning. The belief at the time was that, if a pilot couldn’t fly a basic profile to commercial standards, this wasn’t the job for him. Ultimately, the benefits of simulation proved to be twofold: cost reduction and safety. In 1948 the Curtiss-Wright Corporation devel-

oped the first simulator that accurately replicated flight control feel. This was possible because analog computers were employed to solve equations of flight dynamics. Once again, Pan Am was a big proponent of simulation, and used the Curtiss-Wright device to train 125 crews on the 4-engine Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. Prior to the simulator, Pan Am required 21 hours of inflight training time per crew. The simulator reduced that time to 8 hours and lowered training costs by 60%.

FlightSafety International In 1951, a Pan Am pilot would turn simulation into an industry in and of itself. Albert “Al” Ueltschi, who had been employed with Pan Am since 1941 and served as company founder Juan Trippe’s personal pilot, started a small company at LGA (La Guardia, New York NY) called FlightSafety. Ueltschi, who was doubtless familiar with the benefits provided by simulators of the day, believed that corporate pilots should have the same advantages. Today, FlightSafety International (FSI) is a household name in the world of aviation, and operates 320 full flight simulators in learning centers all over the globe. The organization supports 135 aircraft models through 4000 courses for pilots, technicians, flight attendants, and dispatchers. Most pilots are familiar with simulators that use hydraulics to provide the sensation of aircraft motion. For a long time, hydraulically-powered simulators were considered state of the art. While they were a huge im-

The latest technology is electric motion and control loading. FSI pioneered this methodology, and claims the new simulators run quieter and use 80% less power. The effects of electric motion are most noticeable during taxi, especially on aircraft that use a tiller for steering. Even the best hydraulic simulator always seemed a bit sloppy when making turns on the ground, but the new electric simulators smooth out ground handling and add realism to the taxiing. Another area of improvement is visual depictions. Simulators with visual displays could always produce instrument meteorological conditions and runways to some degree, but the specificity was not there until the past decade or so. New graphics technology, like FSI’s VITAL1150, have amped up the realism. The 8K resolution of the VITAL system can be used to generate advanced weather scenarios typical of those encountered in the real world, and, in turn, provide an exercise in decisionmaking. Pilots will recall that the older technology weather avoidance scenario used to be a blob of weather directly in front of the aircraft. For the most part, it was an exercise in futility, as the pilot’s response always seemed to be, “Well, we’d better go around it.” Now, the visual correlates with the radar, and provides cues more in alignment with what a pilot would see in real time.

CAE CAE is the other major player in the flight training simulation industry. According to the company’s website claims, “CAE has the world’s largest civil aviation training network, with 250+ full-flight simulators in 50+ training locations in some of the world’s most desirable destinations.” Simfinity is a proprietary CAE product designed to ensure continuity

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Photo courtesy CAE

King Schools

Pilots practice procedures at CAE using a Simfinity trainer.

and consistency across training devices. The Simfinity suite of products includes a virtual simulator (VSIM), simulator-based courseware (SBC), and a CAE instructor aid tool (IAT). VSIM is enormously helpful to a pilot who is completing initial aircraft certification. The software allows a student to interact with all aircraft systems on a laptop. As procedures (virtual button pushing and switch flipping) are accomplished, the output is indicative of what would be seen in the actual aircraft. Replicating aircraft malfunctions is also possible. The self-paced and self-directed nature of the Simfinity suite allows form-differentiated instruction. Students learn in different ways and at different rates, and standard classroom pacing may not reach all learners. VSIM, in concert with simulation-based courseware, permits a broad-based or in-depth analysis of aircraft systems, depending on which of these the student deems most appropriate for their style of learning. The days are over for a monotone instructor standing in front of a class of 30, endlessly lecturing about diodes buried deep in the fuselage.

The Covid-19 effect Over the course of this year, the Covid-19 pandemic has placed tight constraints on the aviation community. Nothing has grounded corporate aircraft, but the ancillary effects – especially as they relate to training – have challenged flight departments. Due to Covid-19, social

distancing has reduced the throughput at training centers, and reduced commercial flight schedules make it difficult to get to and from training. However, the concept of remote learning is nothing new to the aviation community. Both FSI and CAE have distance and online instructional programs. In some cases, vendors have gotten a little creative and had to rethink whether courses traditionally taught in-person can be delivered remotely. Medaire, known for its Management of In-Flight Illness & Injury course, is now offering a virtual learning option. A Medaire training pack that includes a wrist monitor, bandages, personal precaution equipment, and a manikin, is sent in advance, and students receive training via the Zoom delivery platform. MedAire has also incorporated a Covid-19 module that addresses crewmember safety in hotel rooms, disinfecting aircraft surfaces, delivering oxygen to coronavirus patients, and personal protection and mitigation measures. Given that FAA has granted exemptions and extensions on landing currency, medical expiration dates, CFI renewals, BFRs, and certain testing and checking requirements under the guise of Covid-19, it’s worth considering whether the virtual training format will be approved for additional FAA-mandated courses in the future. Or, more interestingly, if no incidents or accidents are attributable to these exemptions to the rules, maybe the expiration dates of said rules should be extended permanently.

In the world of distance learning, it would be a disservice to the aviation community to fail to mention 2 of the earliest pioneers in the field – John and Martha King. In the mid-1980s, they transformed what was an in-person ground school into video-based training. Without a doubt, there’s a plethora of pilots with a stack of King Schools VHS tapes tucked away in a closet or basement. Over time, the original tapes gave way to disks and, now, online training. While many believe King Schools is geared only toward private pilots, they offer a host of courses targeted at professionals. Selections include, but are not limited to, jet transition, RVSM, international procedures, CRM, EVAS, ADS-B, and Oceanic RNP.

Photo courtesy King Schools

Martha and John King introduced pilots to remote learning through video-based training.

Conclusion Pilots often view a training event the way they look at death and taxes – they know it’s inevitable but they don’t have to like it. Still, most pilots take a positive approach and have come to realize they get out of it what they put into it. Learning is a change in behavior as a result of experience. Sometimes one undesirable experience in a realistic simulation is all it takes to change behavior forever. But, if not, thankfully there’s a reset button for another try. Shannon Forrest is a current line pilot, CRM facilitator and aviation safety con­ sultant. He has over 10,000 hours and holds a degree in be­ havioral psychology.

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FLIGHT DEPARTMENT OF THE YEAR

Operator flies customers using 4 Pilatus PC-12s and a PC-24.

AirSmart covers the US Southwest and beyond from its Las Vegas home base with a fleet of Pilatus aircraft.

Photos by Brent Bundy

By Brent Bundy Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172

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hen internationally recognized entertainment venue architect Paul Steelman purchased a Pilatus PC-12 in 2005, he never foresaw the global economic crisis that would hit just 3 years later. Countless aircraft owners were forced to sell their assets, and droves of corporate operators shuttered their

flight departments. However, where others saw adversity, Steelman saw opportunity. Not only did he keep his beloved plane – he also found a way to capitalize on it. That was the foundation of Steelman Aviation. One plane and a plan would evolve into a multi-faceted operation and become AirSmart.

The business plan Paul Steelman has always been enamored with aircraft design, starting

with his airplane models hanging from the ceiling of his home in Longport NJ. However, his passion for aviation design was redirected after the first moon landings, and he decided to become an architect. Steelman is a product of the east coast gambling and entertainment scene, where he worked for the Golden Nugget Atlantic City and Resorts International. By the late 1980s, he had set out on his own and formed his architectural firm, eventually known as Steelman Partners. He would soon move to the mecca of his industry, 2200 miles west, in Las Vegas NV. It wasn’t long until he found himself working on the iconic Mirage Hotel and Casino, for developer Steve Wynn. This project was followed by a succession of high-profile undertakings. Now in its 33rd year, Steelman Partners’ style quickly became sought after, and its portfolio of casino, resort, and entertainment projects expanded worldwide. Following in his appreciation of aviation, he maintains a philosophy that his buildings need to appear “in motion,” like his latest venture, CIRCA, in downtown Las Vegas. Preferring to travel commercially for his long-distant destinations, Steelman recognized a need to own an aircraft for frequently-visited locales in the US Southwest. Like many aspiring plane shoppers with similar needs, he acquired an example of the well-established Pilatus PC-12 in 2005. With a range of over 1800 nm, 270 KTAS cruise speed, short landing distance, and the ability to carry up to 9 pax, the Swiss gem was the perfect selection. Only 3 years later, the economic crash of 2008 struck. As the use of his plane decreased, Steelman implemented his plan to potentially monetize this asset. Allowing others to use his aircraft turned out to be a viable option and, in 2010, he obtained a Part 91 certificate under Steelman Aviation. And in 2016, he took the business to the next level, with a Part 135 certificate.

Expansion The single-plane operation ran successfully for several years out of VGT (North Las Vegas NV). This allowed Steelman to keep his aircraft and re-

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CEO & Dir of Ops Tommy Suell’s 20 years in charter, tour, and airline operations have helped expand AirSmart’s variety of offerings in his 4 years with the company.

Charter Mgr Robyn Langland left a career in TV and radio to venture into aviation when she joined the company in 2016.

Chief Pilot Chris Honea followed longtime friend Suell to AirSmart in 2016, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience.

coup some of the cost of ownership, while providing the potential for profit. After early success, in 2014 he added a managed PC-12 to the fleet. His first Pilatus was a legacy model, but this new addition was an NG variant. The NG upgrades included an improved and more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine with increased MTOW, better climb-out, and higher top speed. For the pilots, the inclusion of the Honeywell Apex avionics suite with its 4 glass panel screens was a game-changer. The company experienced significant changes in 2018. With the 2 PC12s keeping busy, they added another legacy model, this one equipped with glass-panel Garmin G600 TXi avionics. The company also moved into a new base at VGT – a large facility that also allowed for the expansion that was coming soon. A year after the third Pilatus was added, things took an even more impressive turn with the addition of the company’s first managed bizjet. Steelman had been so pleased with the performance of the PC-12 that, when it came time to up the ante, he tapped into Pilatus for a PC-24 twinjet in 2018. The company received the 15th jet off the assembly line. Managing this aircraft filled a need for the business, with the PC-24’s dual Williams FJ44A-4A engines powering it to a 440 KTAS max cruise speed, in addition to its range of 2000 nm, and its ability to operate from unpaved surfaces. The single-pilot operations, luxurious appointments for 8 passengers, onboard lavatory, and in-flight-accessible baggage compartment add to its appeal. For the pilots, Pilatus’ Advanced Cockpit Environment and its similarity to that of the PC-12 make for an easy transition.

With the fleet growing, management decided that a change in company branding was needed. In 2019, Steelman Aviation was renamed AirSmart, while retaining the same Part 135 certificate. A year later, Steelman added fractional ownership to his offerings. Finally, a fourth PC-12 was brought on, this time a brand-new NG model equipped with the latest (2015) upgrades, including increased top speed, 5-bladed propeller, and BMW-designed interior.

me to refocus my life. What I realized is that aviation was a part of me,” he recalls. So he left school and was hired by Allegiant Air at LAS (McCarran, Las Vegas NV). Initially working the ramp, he would make his way to inflight services as a flight attendant for the next 6 years. Suell soon earned his commercial license and began conducting tour flights to the Grand Canyon in a Dornier Do 228 for Vision Tours. This lasted a year before he joined American Eagle, flying CRJ700s and Embraer 145/140/135s. In 2012, Suell was at GoJet Airlines in Chicago, again in CRJ700s. A mere 18 months later, Vision called him back to Las Vegas to fly a Boeing 737, chartering sports teams and repatriation flights to Central America. Vision Tours closed its doors in 2015, and Suell headed to California to take a position with Surf Air, which gave him his first exposure to the Pilatus PC-12. Although he was working in California, he still lived in Las Vegas. In 2016, Steelman called in offering him a job flying a PC-12. When he joined the company, there were only 2 PC-

The team AirSmart found the right people to fulfill its clients’ demands. Leading the lineup is Director of Operations Tommy Suell. Raised in Japan with a father who was a designated pilot examiner, Suell describes himself as “born into aviation.” He explains, “My dad taught me to fly, I soloed at 16 years old, and got my private pilot license (PPL) at 17.” In 2002, Suell had moved to Las Vegas and stepped away from flying. He was in college when his father died tragically in an airplane crash. “That caused

Maintenance on the fleet of Pilatus aircraft and a Piper PA-28 is conducted by experienced A&Ps in the expansive hangar at VGT.

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FO Samantha Fata has been with AirSmart for 1 year, is second in command in the PC24, and will soon be signed off on the PC-12.

12s and 3 pilots. Soon after his arrival, the chief pilot departed and Suell was awarded the position. At the time, most of Steelman operations were Part 91 flights. Suell realized that they were missing out on opportunities by not fully utilizing the Part 135 certificate, so he pushed the company to take advantage of this potential. His wishes were granted, and soon they added the third PC12 and the PC-24, and also hired more pilots. This growth settled into a split of approximately 80% charter and 20% Part 91 flights. It also led to Suell being promoted to director of operations in August 2020, and adding the title of chief executive officer in November 2020. From being a 3-person department when Suell joined, AirSmart has grown to include 15 pilots, 4 administrative personnel, 3 ramp workers, and 2 mx technicians. Overseeing the cadre of pilots is Chief Pilot Chris Honea. His introduction to aviation came in a glider flight when he was 8 years old in Santa Barbara CA. He started his flight training in 1993, but life priorities pushed it to the back burner until 2003, when he earned his PPL. After several years working as a car and motorcycle mechanic and racing instructor, he eventually made aviation a career, flying skydivers, and later charter ops, in a King Air around the Las Vegas area. By the time he earned his commercial certificate, he had already known Suell for a decade through a mutual adoration of racing cars. Suell had tried to recruit Honea to join him at Vision and Surf Air. The third time was the charm when he enticed Honea to sign on at Steelman in 2016.

Hiring more pilots Honea got in on the ground floor as expansion was gaining steam. As more

pilots joined and aircraft were added, Suell moved up to dir of ops, and Honea took over as chief pilot. In his current role, his flying has decreased, but he and Suell still handle all the PC-24 flights. As AirSmart’s growth continues, Honea plays a big role in hiring and training new pilots. With a fleet of such popular and pilot-loved aircraft, there’s a lot of interest. “We receive a lot of résumés from regional airline pilots as well as pilots trying to build time, but we look for more than just someone’s number of hours in the cockpit. We need the right personality to fit into our family atmosphere,” he explains. Once hired, nearly all training is done in-house, with a final phase of training conducted at SIMCOM. Suell explains, “I like to have my pilots really fly the plane, learn from experience. That’s how they get comfortable in the cockpit.” Both Honea and Suell are check airmen, so they will provide the final check ride. Their pilots will then work a schedule with 9 days off per month, bid for by seniority. “It works well for our team,” says Honea. Part of that team is First Officer Samantha Fata. As another child of a pilot, Fata was exposed to aviation from an early age. “My father is an airline pilot, and was a US Air Force and Air National Guard pilot in Hawaii, where I grew up,” she remembers. Her interest in flying waned as she progressed through high school and college, but tugged at her again before her planned start of grad school. Her family moved to Las Vegas, where, after an introductory flight in 2017, she determined that a career as a pilot was for her. By April 2019, Fata had earned her flight instructor rating and was instructing at VGT. Seven months later, with

DOM Clinton Campbell oversees the work on the AirSmart fleet. He joined the team 18 months ago, having previously worked on Steelman aircraft.

Dir of Landside Ops and Coord Marlee Malamut has helped bring to fruition several of AirSmart’s expansion projects in the 15 months she’s been with the company.

800 hours in her logbook, she was hired by AirSmart. In the year since, she has attained her multi-instrument rating, learned Part 135 operations, nearly doubled her flight hours, become a second in command in the PC-24, and is soon to be a pilot in command in the PC-12. “The on-the-job training here is great. And the family atmosphere is one of the best things about working at AirSmart,” she says. Fata is fortunate to be part of an organization that actively promotes women in aviation. Currently, 4 of AirSmart’s 15 pilots are female, and, at one point, half of the aviators were women. “I know there is adversity for female pilots out there in this industry, but everyone at AirSmart has treated me as an equal,” Fata states. “I love my job here. It has everything I want, and I don’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Maintenance No aviation team is complete without an experienced maintenance contingent. AirSmart fills that requirement with a 2-man crew, led by Director of Maintenance Clinton “CJ” Campbell. The southern California native initially wanted to be a pilot, but changed directions and acquired his A&P certification in Oakland CA in 2007. He then headed back south to CNO (Chino CA), where he worked on various general aviation planes. A year later, he found himself back in the north, working on a NetJets account in San Jose. The arduous schedule burned him out, so he moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to work for helicopter tour companies Sundance and Papillon. Campbell eventually made his way to VGT, where he ended up working on Steelman Aviation planes. That turned out to be fortuitous when, in August 2019, AirSmart offered him his cur-

34  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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AirSmart’s Pilatus PC-24 was added to the stable in 2018. It enhanced significantly the company’s capabilities for its growing customer base. Pilots enjoy its Advanced Cockpit Environment as much as passengers love the luxurious flat-floor cabin with seating for 8.

rent position. In the AirSmart tradition, Campbell has advanced a great deal in just over a year. “I’ve been to PC-12 school and earned my inspection authorization (IA),” he relates. As for Pilatus aircraft, he says, “They truly are workhorses. They can take just about anything you throw at them.” With all 5 of his planes requiring annual inspections between August and November, his team is quite busy. Most work is completed by Campbell’s team, with the remainder sent out, usually to Western Aircraft in BOI (Boise ID). As AirSmart continues to expand, there will certainly be a need for additional mechanics to maintain the high level of service demanded by its customers. “I’m here for the pilots,” says Campbell, “and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep them and our customers safe.”

Promoting AirSmart The success of AirSmart relies heavily on bringing in the right customers for the type of services it offers. Heading up this aspect of the business is Director of Landside Operations & Coordinator Marlee Malamut. Hailing from New Jersey, Malamut came to Las Vegas with a degree in finance, to accept a month-long internship. She discovered quickly that she did not enjoy working in finance, but loved the city. “A month and a half later, I was hired by AirSmart, with zero aviation experience,” recalls Malamut. What she lacked in experience, she made up for in motivation. Brought on as the sales and marketing coordinator, her aptitude for organization and management soon became evident. In little more than a year, Malamut has become heavily involved in the numerous expansion projects that AirSmart has opened already, and in others that will be commencing soon. “My job is to pick up all the pieces and make 36

sure they go in the right place,” she says. In true AirSmart fashion, she has also finished her MBA and has started flight training. “AirSmart has pushed me outside my comfort zone, and that is where I thrive.”

Charter ops Rounding out the crew is Charter Manager Robyn Langland. After a career in broadcast radio and TV, Langland made the jump to aviation. She says, “I didn’t choose aviation – it chose me! I needed something new, but I wasn’t sure what industry. I joined the company when it was small, handling a lot of different things. As they grew, so did my responsibilities.” Her experience in radio and TV transitioned well to aviation, as they are both overseen by strict government entities – FCC and FAA. Joining the company when it was small and actively building relationships with charter brokers, Langland excelled quickly in sales. She has contributed immensely to company growth, increasing sales well over $1 million annually. In her current position, she handles charter and fractional sales, along with scheduling and monitoring all flights. “I’m looking forward to our fleet expansion and the vision we have for AirSmart.”

The future The evolution that AirSmart has gone through in the past few years pales in comparison to its plans for the future. It is more than an average business offering charter flights and fractional sales. It is a team that considers the organization a family. The goal for the AirSmart brand is to be a 1-stop shop for its customers, whether those customers are pilots, passengers, or aircraft owners. Steelman’s future plans

include AirSmart Aviation Academy, an in-house flight school starting any day; GoldStrike Aircraft Services, a Part 145 maintenance and repair station; and Prestige Jets, a broker company to accommodate all national and international flight requests. Paul Steelman is a man of designs. He fell in love quickly with the Pilatus PC-12 and its vast capabilities, and he wants to share that passion. That has been his driving force, to give more people access to the advantages of private aircraft ownership. Just as he has laid out the strategy for his portfolio of projects across the world, he has entered the aviation trade with a solid business plan, which involves assembling a team with the right people, the right planes, and the right vision. With these pieces firmly in place, AirSmart is conquering its segment of the market, and there is little doubt of its continuing success in future endeavors. Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 29 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 19 years and is a helicopter rescue pilot with nearly 4000 hours of flight time. Bundy currently flies Airbus AS350B3s for the helicopter side of Phoenix PD’s air unit and Cessna 172, 182s and 210s for the fixed-wing side.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT / December 2020

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ulfstream Aerospace has announced the addition of a 5th G700 to its new flagship’s test program. This comes only 3 weeks after the previous G700 flight test aircraft flew for the first time. “The G700 flighttest program is progressing exceptionally well,” notes Gulfstream President Mark Burns. “Every day, we come closer to our goal of delivering this revolutionary aircraft to our customers. We are steadily increasing flights and flight hours, [while completing] numerous company tests, further raising the bar for business aviation around the world.” First flight of G700 number 5 took place on October 23. The flight lasted 3 hr 8 min, reached an altitude of 48,000 ft, and achieved M 0.935, topping the aircraft’s projected maximum operating speed on its 1st flight. This particular aircraft will be used chiefly for avionics testing. Qatar Airways’ charter operation, Qatar Executive, will be the launch customer for the 7500-nm G700. Gulfstream has also announced that Flexjet will be the 1st North American fleet customer for its all-new bizjet. G700 deliveries are expected to begin in 2022.

Pentastar Aviation Charter renews IS-BAO registration

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Photo courtesy Rolls-Royce

Photo courtesy Gulfstream

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Rolls-Royce to test pure SAF in next-gen engine demonstrator

MD 530F demonstrator to tour southern California Photo courtesy MD Helicopters

Gulfstream adds 5th G700 to flight test program

Photo courtesy Pentastar

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entastar Aviation Charter has renewed its registration under International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), a code of best practices based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). “Pentastar is committed to employing safety practices that go above and beyond FAA and international regulatory standards,” says Pentastar Aviation Charter President & CEO Greg Schmidt. The company has been IS-BAO certified since 2010.

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M

D Helicopters is offering demo flights in an MD 530F, the latest model in the 500 line, from Nov 30 through Dec 4 in the southern California area. The touring MD 530F is fitted with a glass cockpit featuring Garmin G500H TXi electronic flight instruments (EFIs), Howell Instruments electronic engine instruments and crew alert system (EICAS), and Garmin GTN 750 NAV/ COM/GPS. It will be available for drop-in demo flights at Rotorcraft Support (Fillmore CA) on Dec 2, and other onsite demos in the region throughout the week.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT / December 2020

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WEATHER BRIEF

Microbursts and downdrafts Strong outflow and low-level windshear are ever-present dangers near thunderstorms.

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Aircraft flying through a downburst will first encounter strong headwinds, tempting a power reduction, followed by rapid shift to a tailwind and loss of altitude. Full-power go-around should be initiated immediately on recognizing downdraft penetration.

Gust front

2 3 Gust front

Comm-Inst Climate Scientist

A

fter a long but uneventful flight, the 2 pilots were looking forward to a few days off. Settling into the glidepath above the final approach fix, the copilot noted the early evening thunderstorm activity popping on their radar scope. Most of the active cells were well outside their course to the runway, leading the senior pilot to retort that they’d be inside the FBO before the first drops hit the aircraft. Because the frequency was busy and the last weather check had light and variable winds, the pilots didn’t bother asking for a wind check. With flaps set, wheels down and the altimeter spooling toward field elevation, the aircraft suddenly gained speed and ballooned upward with a jolt. The copilot, with his hand already on the throttles, began to draw them back and push the nose forward, but his crewmate quickly reached out and pushed the copilot’s hand and throttles forward to the stops, calmly stating “I’ve got the plane.” The business jet responded briskly to the pilot’s inputs just as the airspeed dropped and altitude began bleeding away quickly. The GPWS was whooping in their ears as the jet struggled but began to regain altitude. The copilot, realizing what had just happened, called in the missed approach and requested

Rainshaft vectors to a second approach. By the time they had returned to short final, the storm that had been maturing just to the east of the runway had moved past, and the pilots made a smooth landing. Unfortunately, not all microburst encounters end so benignly. Aircraft have been brought down by these thunderstorm byproducts since the early years of powered flight, and, despite recurrent training and technology capable of detecting and alerting pilots to them, aviators continue to encounter them – sometimes with fatal outcomes.

Adiabatic cooling Whenever air becomes denser than its surroundings, it will descend. There are several reasons why this may occur, but the most common cause is air that has been rapidly cooled. This cooling happens when air rises, either mechanically or thermally. A mechanical process is one in which air is forced to flow over obstacles, such as rising terrain, while a thermal process is one in which air is heated to become less dense, and it rises. In either case, rising air cools adiabatically, meaning it cools without transferring heat or matter to its surroundings. Adiabatic cooling is at the heart of the meteorological con-

4

Image courtesy NWS

By Karsten Shein

Runway

cept of the air parcel – an isolated volume of air that moves up or down in the atmosphere. As air rises into altitudes where the environment is less dense, it expands. In expanding, its volume increases, but its mass remains constant, meaning its density – and therefore pressure – decreases. This also means that its temperature decreases at a constant rate of -9.8° C per 1000 m (-5.38° F per 1000 ft) for unsaturated air. As the air cools, humidity rises and water vapor condenses out, releasing heat into the parcel that slows the rate of cooling. Less constant, the saturated adiabatic lapse rate is around -3.6 to -9.2° C (-2 to -5° F) per 1000 ft. Since the rate of cooling with altitude of the lower atmosphere is roughly -6.5° C per 1000 m, rising air can become denser than its surroundings quickly, especially if it remains unsaturated. The result is that the cold, dense air will descend through the warmer air beneath it. Although it will also warm adiabatically as it descends (again at 9.8° C per 1000 m), if there is water or ice present, evaporation and sublimation will pull heat from the air, slowing the warming. In some instances, the descending air will remain colder and denser than the air through which it is falling, allowing it to flow

40  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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Image courtesy NWS

Downbursts

Ground-based Doppler weather radar signatures of a microburst near STL (Intl, St Louis MO). Radar can provide microburst detection, but not much lead time for alerts as downbursts form and dissipate quickly.

back along the downsloping terrain, or reach the surface in the case of a thermal downdraft.

Lee flow Mechanical downdrafts are frequently found on the lee slopes of mountain ranges as Chinook (aka föhn or Santa Ana) katabatic winds and lee wave winds that generate low-level rotors which can easily upset aircraft departing or arriving at nearby airports. These warming winds often accelerate as they descend, reaching speeds of 70 kts or more. The record Chinook gust is 93 kts near Spearfish SD, which also raised the surface temperature from -4° F (-20° C) to 45° F (7° C) in just 2 minutes. Chinook and, to a lesser extent, all downslope winds – such as what occurs in a valley at night – are relatively shallow events. A pilot may not experience their effects if they are more than a few hundred feet above the round. They will always come from the direction of rising terrain, and may create a sudden wind shift (directional shear) if the prevailing atmospheric flow is from a different direction. They will also likely create speed shear as they arrive, causing a sudden increase in speed and gustiness that may last for just a few minutes. That low-level windshear will also appear as the katabatic wind dissipates, returning the flow to its previous state.

Critically, however, pilots must exercise caution when approaching to land, as the shallow nature of the wind means that the aircraft will encounter it just before landing, when it is in a low-and-slow configuration and poorly responsive to control inputs that may be necessary to land safely or go around. If a Chinook or valley downdraft is possible, maintaining a greater approach speed than normal is warranted – if the runway length will allow. Also, if available, request wind checks on approach if winds are blowing from higher elevation terrain. Strong thermally-driven downdrafts are far more common, occurring in every thunderstorm. During formation, thunderstorms are driven primarily by updrafts with little downdraft. At maturity, however, both up and downdrafts are present. In most thunderstorms, a lack of windshear aloft means that the downdraft falls through the updraft core, disorganizing both and limiting the strength of the downdraft as it exits the storm’s base. In its dissipating phase, the disorganized updrafts are incapable of sustaining the storm, and the downdraft dominates. However, most downdrafts exiting a storm base produce only relatively weak radial outflow incapable of upsetting an aircraft. Frequently, we feel this as a mild gust front from the approaching storm.

Downbursts and their more compact variants, called microbursts, are strong downdrafts able to maintain coherence all the way to the ground, normally by avoiding interaction with updrafts. Downbursts are not clearly defined, but in general are described as strong downdrafts that develop quickly and may last only a few minutes. As they reach the ground, they spread out radially, normally generating a horizontally rotating vortex of air around their core that can extend several hundred feet into the air. Downbursts are differentiated into microbursts if their radius is under 2.5 mi (4 km), and macrobursts if the radius is larger. Downbursts can also be separated into dry and wet, depending on whether they are accompanied by rain. Wet downbursts are often easily identifiable from the rain shaft extending from the cloud, and are prevalent in humid regions where there is ample moisture. In arid regions, the warming air of the downdraft and the dry air beneath the cloud may combine to evaporate the rain as a virga shaft, making it more difficult to “see” the downburst, except in the dust that may be kicked up in a radial pattern at the surface. Any time pilots see virga beneath a cumulonimbus, they should assume the accompanying presence of a downburst. While the sudden onset and shortlived nature of downbursts makes them difficult to forecast, meteorologists can identify atmospheric conditions that support downbursts. These factors include strong winds aloft, high low-altitude humidity, and dry mid-level air. Such conditions are frequently associated with late afternoon summertime thunderstorms in humid subtropical places such as the US Southeast. Downbursts can also often be seen on Doppler radar, which measures the motion of reflectivity toward and away from the radar. In the same way that the radar can pick up the signature of a rotating tornado, divergent motion patterns on the scope will identify a possible downburst.

Downburst encounters The dangers that downbursts pose to aviation are their violent strength and the way in which they act on aircraft passing through their domain.

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erating below 1000 ft AGL. However, should you inadvertently encounter a downburst, timely recognition is essential. At the first indication of strong low-level windshear on approach, a full power go-around should be initiated. And, if it happens on departure, maintain full power. Pitch should be set for optimal climb (just at stick shaker activation for those aircraft so equipped) and decreased slightly when the downburst core is penetrated to account for the loss of airspeed that will follow when exiting the core. Wet downburst near PHX (Intl, Phoenix AZ) in July 2016 as seen from an approaching helo. Massive rain shafts frequently contain strong downdrafts and microbursts, and through-flight should be avoided.

Downdrafts in strong thunderstorms can exceed 100 kts, and there is little to slow that airflow down as it reaches the surface and spreads out. There are 2 ways in which an aircraft might encounter a downdraft. The first is that it flies directly through it, and the second is that the downdraft hits the aircraft from the side. Since the leading edge of the expanding downburst on the ground is air that is pushing outward and rising into the leading edge vortex, the effect on the aircraft will most likely be to lift the upwind wing. As the vortex passes over the aircraft, the lifting will shift to the downwind wing, while the upwind wing may be forced down, possibly initiating an uncommanded roll. The pass-through is more complex, and has been the cause of several high-profile commercial air crashes through the years. In the pass-through scenario, the landing or departing aircraft encounters the leading edge of the roll vortex and the strong headwinds that accompany it. Initially, the aircraft balloons and appears to increase airspeed. The instinctive response of pilots is to reduce power and lower the nose. A few seconds later, the aircraft enters the downburst core, where 100kt winds push directly down on the aircraft, and any headwind advantage the aircraft may have had is lost. Here, a rapid loss of altitude is experienced. The untrained response would be to pull back on the yoke and increase power to maintain altitude and airspeed. Unfortunately, as jets take a few moments to spool up, the sudden backpressure at a slow airspeed may create a stall scenario.

Finally, if the aircraft hasn’t yet impacted any terrain or obstacles, it exits the downburst core into a region of strong tailwinds that may reduce airspeed critically. Even if the aircraft is producing maximum thrust at this point, airspeed may not be sufficient to arrest a descent, and trying to force a climb may result in stalling out. In the few seconds it took for the aircraft to transit the downburst, it may have experienced as much as 150-kt shear (headwind to tailwind change).

Avoidance and recovery On August 2, 1985, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar passed through a microburst on approach to DFW (Dallas–Fort Worth TX), killing 137 people, and drawing attention to the dangers of downbursts to aviation. As a result of that accident, windshear monitoring systems were installed at dozens of major airports, pilots were instructed to report windshear whenever it was encountered, and ATC reporting of low-level windshear (LLWS) was standardized across ATC systems. Also, many bizjets and all commercial jet aircraft now have an airborne windshear detection and alert system that is capable of detecting and alerting pilots rapidly to possible windshear situations. The system is now commonly integrated into airborne weather radar avionics. Without a doubt, the best way to avoid encountering a downburst is never to fly directly beneath thunderstorms, and preferably not to fly beneath the base altitude of any thunderstorm within about 2 miles of your flightpath if you will be op-

Conclusion Downbursts, even if just suspected, are nothing to mess with, and likely will have dissipated by the time the aircraft is positioned for a second approach. Because the forces within a downburst can be severe, and the leading edge is a vortex that has the potential to upset the aircraft, wings should be kept as level as possible until clear of the downburst. At busy airports, it can be tempting to take previous pilot reports as gospel, but you could inadvertently fly directly into a downburst, since downbursts are ephemeral and come on without warning. The aircraft ahead of you on approach may pass through a rainshaft without incident, but when you reach that same position a minute later, a downburst may be waiting for you. Importantly, when pilots encounter windshear on approach or departure, they should report it immediately to ATC. Such reports should be specific, such as “encountered windshear on final, loss of 15 kts at 300 ft,” while avoiding the terms “negative” or “positive,” as their meaning can be misinterpreted as a gain/loss in airspeed or altitude, or that windshear was/was not encountered. If specifics are unknown, the effect on the aircraft will do (eg, “windshear on final, lost altitude, max power required”). Every bit of information will help your fellow pilots. Karsten Shein is co­ founder and science director at ExplorEiS. He was formerly an assistant professor at Shippensburg Univer­sity and a climatolo­gist with NOAA. Shein holds a commercial license with instrument rating.

44  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  December 2020

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