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FEBRUARY 2020

MGM Resorts flight department houses its fleet of Embraer and Gulfstream business jets at s LAS (McCarran Intl, Las Vegas NV). The team flies guests, entertainers, and executives TP & s to and from locations around the globe, creating the ultimate MGM experience. ter op

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Masthead In memory of Founder Murray Smith Management February 2020

MARCIA ELENI SMITH, President (esmith@propilotmag.com) ANTHONY HERRERA, General Manager (aherrera@propilotmag.com)

Vol 54 No 2

Editorial

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February 2020

12

Features

Vol 54 No 2

8 POSITION & HOLD The year 2019 in review by Anthony Kioussis Asset Insight President Anthony Kioussis analyzes business jet market indicators from last year.

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24 OPERATOR PROFILE MGM Resorts by Brent Bundy Fleet of Embraer and Gulfstream bizjets fly executives, elite guests, and entertainers to and from locations around the world. 30 AVIATOR DEVELOPMENT Solutions to the pilot shortage by Shannon Forrest Streamlining training, reducing costs, and raising salaries will produce more corporate pilots.

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34 SITUATIONAL AWARENESS Automatic dependent surveillance by Glenn Woodward Nuances and benefits of ADS-B, C and R systems. 38 INTERNATIONAL OPS Flying bizjets to and within China by Grant McLaren It’s an expensive operating environment, but the Civil Aviation Administration of China is more accessible, and visas and permits are easier to process now. 42 WX BRIEF Icing by Karsten Shein Nature’s weighty clear coat can ruin more than aerodynamics.

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46 BIZAV TRENDS Envisioning the future by David Ison This year looks positive for aviation. These are the developments forecast for 2020 and beyond. 50 HELICOPTER PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY Operators rate helicopter manufacturers based on aftersale service. Pro Pilot staff compilation

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60 WORKHORSE AIRCRAFT Turboprop recap by Mike Potts Here’s what’s available and what’s coming in the TP market.

4  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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February 2020

Vol 54 No 2

Departments 12 VIEWPOINT Former Helicopter Association International Pres & CEO Matt Zuccaro talks about the future of vertical lift. 14 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying helicopters into 87N (Southampton Heliport, NY). Answers on page 16. 18 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers reveal which piece of cockpit equipment they value the most. 28 SID & STAR Climate change produces unusual weather patterns for the pilots.

Cover MGM Resorts flight department houses its fleet of Embraer and Gulfstream business jets at LAS (McCarran Intl, Las Vegas NV). The team flies guests, entertainers, and executives to and from locations around the globe, creating the ultimate MGM experience. Photo by Brent Bundy

6  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Thank you, Murray. Your passion and dedication gave voice to a proud community that mourns your passing. May your message and mission continue to inspire and elevate us to new heights.

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POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion

The year 2019 in review By Anthony Kioussis President, Asset Insight

B

usiness aviation operates within a data-rich environment. The challenge has always been collecting useful data in a timely fashion, and then deciphering it to create actionable information. As we do every year, Asset Insight collected a significant amount of data during 2019, and many industry professionals accessed the information we derived to their benefit. With that in mind, we decided to look back at 2019 by way of determining useful market indicators, such as relevant correlations for buyers and sellers to take into account as they make decisions throughout the coming year. First, let’s have a look at the used aircraft inventory. In doing so, we should point out that Asset Insight tracked 96 actively traded models during 2019, comprising 33 large jets, 30 medium jets, 22 small jets, and 11 turboprops. As Table A illustrates, used aircraft inventory contracted in May and again in December, but it grew in total over the calendar year. While December’s contraction was probably caused by the year-end transaction frenzy, it is difficult to guess what made total inventory contract in May. Perhaps sellers were motivated to close before the slow summer season. Maybe buyers wanted to close on their aircraft for use during their summer travel. Perhaps both. The key takeaway here is that our tracked fleet’s inventory increased nearly 10%. That trend could lead one to infer that downward pricing pressure is likely during Q1, especially since all 4 groups contributed to the increase. Small jets led the way with a double-digit increase of 15.4%, medium jets were next at 9.8%, large jets followed at 8.7%, while turboprops posted a relatively minor 2.1% increase. Let’s test out our potential 2020 pricing theory by examining Ask Price changes since December 2018 (Table B). While inventory increased the most for the small jet group, pricing for this group decreased 5.7% during 2019, while pricing for medium jets, a group that incurred the 2nd highest inventory increase, experienced a healthy 11% year-over-year price increase. Specific model pricing may be negatively affected when large numbers of assets are listed for sale. However, assuming a correlation between model size availability and pricing is not justified statistically.

Table A 600

1800

550

1750

500

1700

450

1650

400 1600 350 1550 300 1500

250 200

Jan

Feb Large

Mar

Apr Medium

May

Jun

Jul Small

Aug

Sep

Oct

Turboprop

Nov

Dec

1450

Total

Asset Insight’s tracked inventory fleet increased nearly 10% during 2019, with all 4 aircraft groups gaining availability.

Table B 15.0%

10.0%

5.0%

0.0%

-5.0%

-10.0%

-15.0% Large Turboprop

Medium

Small Linear (average)

Monthly Ask Price changes during 2019 showed an increase for medium jets, but a loss for the other 3 aircraft groups.

8  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Table C 16.0% 14.0% Large jets 10.9%

12.0%

Medium jets 11.9%

10.0%

Turboprops 7.13% 8.0% 6.0% Small jets 6.18% 4.0% D-15 M-16 J-16 S-16 D-16 M-17 J-17 S-17 D-17 M-18 J-18 S-18 D-18 M-19 J-19 S-19 D-19 The Ask Price to Actual Transaction Value spread for medium and small jets ended 2019 by registering the smallest differential for each group during the past 3 years.

Excellent

5.500

Outstanding

Table D

Good

5.000

Very good

5.250

4.750

Jan

Feb

Mar Large

Apr

May Medium

Jun

Jul Small

Aug

Sep

Oct

Turboprop

Nov

Dec Average

The average Quality Rating for listed aircraft decreased during the year but remained within the “Very Good” category following its “Excellent” Rating in January.

Table E $3.5 $3.0 $2.5 $ Mil

In fact, without detailed analytics at the comparable aircraft level, such an assumption could lead a seller to reduce the Ask Price too quickly, or induce a buyer to offer less than the market value for a highly-desirable unit, and potentially miss out on their aircraft of choice to a better-informed purchaser. In an attempt to see if a correlation exists between Ask Prices and aircraft Actual Transaction Values, Table C plots the differential between these 2 data points for each aircraft group. While some correlation may appear to be present within the large jets group, this is probably coincidental, as the other 3 groups posed no statistical correlation for the past year. What is useful for sellers to note is that the Ask to Actual Value spread for medium and small jets closed out 2019 by registering the smallest differential for the past 3 years. This may signify that Ask Price for these aircraft more closely matched what the market is willing to pay. Next, let’s examine the maintenance quality rating (a measure of the proximity to maintenance events embedded in an aircraft) of listed assets by group (Table D). We utilized Asset Insight’s standardized scale ranging from –2.500 to 10.000. For more information, refer to “Understanding how Asset Quality affects value of an aircraft offered for sale” (Pro Pilot, Jan 2018, page 12). Asset Quality decreased 1.8% in 2019, with some groups faring better than others. Turboprops, for example, never managed to rise above a “Good” quality rating after January. While some would view this as a black mark for the group, the reality is that higher-quality assets are the ones preferred by buyers, with lower-quality assets remaining on the market for extended time periods. On the other end of the scale, large jets posted an “Outstanding” rating for January and maintained that rating from May through December. As opposed to those purchasing turboprops, buyers of large jets opted for lower-quality assets, possibly due to comparing price against the maintenance that sellers were willing to conduct in order to close transactions. There is one other behavior differentiator between large jet and turboprop buyers. A very significant percentage of large jets are enrolled on engine Hourly Cost Maintenance Programs (HCMP). As such, embedded/accrued engine maintenance expense does not pose the same risk and related cost hurdle that it poses for turboprop sellers. Relatively few turboprop owners enroll their aircraft engines on HCMP, and thus engine utilization and maintenance costs become a greater factor in aircraft pricing. This often leads to lower-quality aircraft owners viewing offers they receive as unacceptable, even

$2.0 $1.5 $1.0 $0.5 $0.0

Jan

Feb Large

Mar

Apr May Medium

Jun Jul Small

Aug Sep Turboprop

Oct

Nov Dec Average

Maintenance Exposure measures an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded maintenance expense compared to its condition on the day it came off the production line.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  9

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Table F

Maintenance Exposure also plays a key role in measuring an aircraft’s marketability through its Exposure to Ask Price Ra80% tio. The ETP Ratio calculates an aircraft’s 350 70% Maintenance Exposure as it relates to its Ask Price, and it is calculated by dividing 60% 300 an aircraft’s Maintenance Exposure (the 50% financial liability accrued with respect to 250 future scheduled maintenance events) by 40% the aircraft’s Ask Price. 30% 200 Days on Market (DoM) analysis has 20% shown that when the ETP Ratio is great150 er than 40%, the time it takes to remar10% ket the asset increases, in many cases by 0% more than 30% (Table F). For example, in 100 M-17 J-17 S-17 D-17 M-18 J-18 S-18 D-18 M-19 J-19 S-19 D-19 December, aircraft whose ETP Ratio was 40% or greater were listed for sale nearly Days on market Days on market Days on market 84% longer than assets with an ETP Ratio Below 40% ETP ratio Above 40% ETP ratio Differential below 40% (395 versus 215 DoM). It is important to understand that the ETP ETP Ratio measures an aircraft’s marketability. Once it exceeds 40%, an aircraft’s Days on Ratio has more to do with buyer and seller Market increase by more than 30%. dynamics than it does with either the asset’s accrued maintenance or its price. For any aircraft, maintenance can accrue only Table G so much before work must be completed, thus lowering Maintenance Exposure. But 1200 as an aircraft’s value decreases, there will come a point when the accrued mainte1000 nance figure equates to more than 40% of the aircraft’s ask price. When a prospective buyer adjusts their offer to address 800 this accrued maintenance, the figure is all too often considered unacceptable to the seller and a deal is not reached. 600 While the correlation between the ETP Ratio and Days on Market is not absolute, it is sufficiently high, and accurate, 400 that sellers need to understand how this market dynamic is likely to impact their aircraft’s selling period (Table G). 200 Lastly, when a seller’s aircraft is enrolled on an HCMP, the asset’s HCMP-adjusted 0 ETP Ratio decreases as Maintenance Ex0% 50% 100% 150% 200% posure is reduced by the value of HCMP coverage. While buyers may be preferMaintenance exposure to ask price ratio (ETP ratio) entially fond of aircraft enrolled on these Analysis has shown that when the ETP Ratio exceeds 40%, an aircraft’s remarketing period programs, the ETP Ratio quantitatively increases by at least 30%. demonstrates how HCMP reduces an aircraft’s Days on Market at resale. With increasing computing speed allowing for more data to be converted into timely, actionable though it is logical for buyers to address accrued mainteinformation, buyers and sellers lacking detailed analytics nance expense in their purchase offer price. will find it difficult to optimize the value of their aircraft in Table E displays the Maintenance Exposure figures, a fian industry that is quickly shifting from a data to an informanancial accounting of an aircraft’s accumulated/embedded tion-driven environment. maintenance expense compared to its condition on the day it came off the production line, posted by each group during 2019. While our tracked fleet’s average figure remained in a fairly narrow band throughout the year, large jets posted their lowest Maintenance Exposure figure during the month of December. Not surprisingly, December was also a month Anthony Kioussis is President of Asset where large jets posted one of the group’s highest MainteInsight, which offers aircraft valuation nance Ratings. and aviation consulting services. His A strong (but not absolute) inverse correlation exists be40+ years of experience in aviation tween an asset’s Quality Rating and its Maintenance Exincludes GE Capital Corporate Aircraft posure. In most cases, when the Quality Rating is rising, Finance, Jet Aviation, and JSSI. Maintenance Exposure is falling. When the Quality Rating is falling, Maintenance Exposure is usually climbing. 400

Days on market

DoM differential

Average days on market

90%

10  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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VIEWPOINT an editorial opinion

Image courtesy Embraer

The future of vertical flight

EmbraerX unveiled its eVTOL aircraft concept in Los Angeles CA during Uber Elevate 2018. The aircraft’s mission is to serve passengers in an urban environment, based on safety, passenger experience, affordability, and a very low footprint in terms of noise and emissions.

By Matt Zuccaro President/CEO (retired) Helicopter Association International

try will never be the same. With the introduction of civilian tiltrotor aircraft, we will experience greater range, higher speed, enhanced IFR capability, and potentially higher payloads.

as the helicopter industry or the vertical flight industry? With the introduction of drones, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), and urban air mobility, along with some rotary-wing aircraft manufacturers removing the word “helicopter” from their names, and other organizations rebranding as vertical flight entities, it is appropriate to review what is the most inclusive nomenclature for this market segment. For old timers such as myself, it is hard to break away from the legacy of the helicopter industry. However, I am certainly aware of the other technologies that encompass vertical flight, such as the tiltrotor initiative, the new eVTOL advancements, and drones. All of these aircraft are capable of operating in the vertical mode. Admittedly, this is a watershed moment for the vertical flight community. The way we view the helicopter indus-

Image courtesy Joby Aviation

urrently, we appear to be struggling C with the proper nomenclature to identify our industry. Are we to be known

Joby Aviation’s piloted eVTOL transitions from vertical to forward flight. The company promises zero carbon emissions and a range in excess of 150 miles.

12  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Photo by Brent Bundy

Photo courtesy Bell

Matt Zuccaro served as president of Helicopter Association International for 15 years. Here he is seen addressing the audience at Heli-Expo.

When one considers drone technology, it brings many enhancements to the operating environment. One game-changer is the elimination of an onboard crew, which removes the concern of loss of pilots’ lives in an accident. Drones, due to their size, will be able to operate in a more confined space than traditional helicopters. Moreover, their emissions/carbon footprint will be eliminated due to the electric power source. Other considerations are a drastic reduction in operating cost when compared to a helicopter. Worthy of consideration are recent test programs in which full production helicopters were used. In one of them, the mission was to support naval requirements of transporting cargo between ships. Another test program was performed in which the helicopter conducted aerial firefighting missions. Of note is the fact that neither of these tests had an onboard pilot, but were controlled remotely by a pilot on the ground. This leads us to consider completely autonomous oper-

ations for not only the vertical flight community, but for all aviation segments. In the future, and I do not claim to know when, completely autonomous flight will become reality. Years ago, it was unthinkable that aviation operations, including passenger-carrying missions, would be conducted with no crew on the aircraft. That being said, I think the major delay with autonomous flight will not be the technology, but public acceptance. Reluctance of the traveling public to board an aircraft without onboard pilots is to be anticipated. Many years ago, when airport trams were introduced between terminals, some passengers would not board them when they became aware there was no crew on board. But no one considers today that airport trams are fully automated – all they are interested in is boarding the next one to get to the proper terminal. However, one thing that might reduce passenger concern is the introduction of autonomous automobiles. If a positive comfort level is experienced with automobile technology, that will go a long way toward the acceptance of autonomous flight. And in terms of powerplants, electric seems to be the wave of the future. Of note is that electric engines are not limited to vertical-lift aircraft. At least one scheduled regional airline has announced the introduction of an electric-powered airplane into service. So, what does all of this technology mean for the future of vertical flight? I believe one significant benefit will be enhanced safety of operations. It will also facilitate expanded operational capabilities and the ability to add more missions. Further gains can be expected in the area of reduced operating costs and environmental impact. Finally, I see increased business opportunities across all the elements of vertical flight. No doubt about it, we are about to witness the most significant change in the history of vertical flight. Best part is you can say you were there and experienced it all. Let me know what you think. Send me an e-mail at tailrotor@aol.com. And, as always, fly safe, fly neighborly.

Photo courtesy Safran

Bell’s Autonomous Pod Transport is modular and scalable, and works for versatile missions with varying payloads.

Safran presented the first electric motor from its ENGINeUS family, designed for future hybrid and electric aircraft, at NBAA-BACE 2018.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  13

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Terminal Checklist 2/20 Refer to the 19-1 COPTER RNAV (GPS) 190° at 87N (Southampton NY) when necessary to answer the following questions: 



 





 

 



      



   



 













 

 









  

 

 

 



 

 



 



 







 







 

 



 

 

 

 

 



   



            









   







Not to be used for navigational purposes







5. Select the true statement(s) regarding terrain and obstruction clearance. a The highest charted obstacle has a height of 553 ft MSL. b IFR obstruction clearance is applied between CRANN and the landing site. c ATC may not vector the aircraft at an altitude that is lower than the minimum altitudes shown on the chart. d In an emergency, flying at an altitude of 1900 ft MSL provides 1000 ft of clearance over all obstructions within 25 nm of CRANN.







  



4. The approach is not authorized ______ a at night. b at a speed greater than 70 KIAS on final approach. c for arrivals at Hampton VOR via V16 southwestbound. d when the Westhampton Beach altimeter setting is not available.





 



3. Select all that apply. Copter approaches that include a visual segment to a specific landing site are developed at locations where _____ a obstructions exist near the landing site. b the flightpath requires turns greater than 30°. c the MAP is located more than 2 nm from the landing site. d landing can be accomplished with a maximum course change of 30°.







2. Procedural note 5 in the Briefing Strip indicates that this is a Point-in-Space (PinS) approach. a True b False



 





 

1. Select all that apply. When flying the approach in an aircraft without WAAS-certified GPS equipment, _____ a RAIM must be available. b DME/DME RNP 0.30 equipment may be used if RAIM is not available. c the GPS receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to the IAF. d the GPS receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to the FAF.

 





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

Answers on page 16

 6. Select the true statement(s) about the initial approach segment. a The course reversal has 1 min legs. b A maximum speed of 70 KIAS applies. 9. Select the true statement(s) regarding the visual segment of c A maximum speed of 90 KIAS applies. the approach. d A parallel entry to the course reversal is appropriate when a A minimum visibility of 1 sm must be maintained. arriving from CCC VOR. b A vertical descent angle of 6.00° is required to a 5 ft e A parallel entry to the course reversal is appropriate when hover height. arriving from HTO VOR. c Visual contact with the landing site must be acquired and maintained at or prior to CRANN. 7. If the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after passing d A minimum visibility that meets the basic VFR minimums STAYS, the approach may be continued as long as navigational required by the airspace class, operating rule, and/or guidance is still available. OpSpecs (whichever is higher) must be maintained. a True b False During the missed approach procedure_____ 10. 8. Select the true statement(s) regarding the final approach segment. a A maximum speed of 90 kts applies. a Final approach airspeed is limited to 70 KIAS. b 5 nm legs in the holding pattern apply. b The FAWP and MAWP are fly-over waypoints. c A climb gradient of 400 ft/nm is required. c The TLOF must be visible at CRANN before proceeding visually. d A direct entry is appropriate to enter the hold. d The visual segment may be initiated at CRANN if the VGSI or e A climb to 2000 ft MSL should be made prior to turning HALS is in sight. direct to BEADS. 



14  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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FLIGHTSAFETY HERE-FOR-YOU HELICOPTER AD - PROPILOT - Trim: 8.375” w x 10.875” d Terminal Checklist 2-20 lyt.indd 15

Bleed: 8.625” w x 11.125” d 1/27/20 4:54 PM


Answers to TC 2/20 questions 1. a, d According to the AIM 1-1-17, if RAIM is not available prior to beginning

an RNAV (GPS) approach, use another type of navigation and approach system, select another route or destination, or delay the trip until RAIM is predicted to be available on arrival. DME/DME RNP 0.30 may not be used to fly this approach as indicated by procedural note 3 in the Briefing Strip. When flying an approach with non-WAAS GPS equipment, the receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to the FAF.

2. b According to the AIM 10-1-3, Helicopter Approach Procedures to VFR Heliports, a Point-in-Space (PinS) approach is annotated “Proceed VFR from (named MAP) or conduct the specified missed approach.” An approach to a specific landing site is annotated “Proceed visually from (named MAP) or conduct the missed approach.” 3.

d According to the AIM 10-1-3, an approach to a specific landing site is aligned to a missed approach point from which a landing can be accomplished with a maximum course change of 30°. PinS approaches are used at locations where the MAP is more than 2 sm from the landing site, the path from the MAP to the landing site has obstructions that require avoidance actions, or the flightpath requires turns greater than 30°.

4. a, b Procedural note 1 in the Briefing Strip indicates that, if the Westhampton Beach altimeter setting is not received, the New Haven altimeter setting may be used. Note 2 states that the procedure is not authorized at night, and note 4 states that the maximum airspeed on the final and missed approach segments is limited to 70 KIAS. Ballflag note 1 on the plan view indicates that the procedure is not authorized for arrivals at CCC (Claverton VOR) via V16 southwestbound. 5.

a, d The highest charted terrain point or obstacle is indicated by the Highest Arrow on the plan view. According to the AIM 10-1-3, missed approach segment protection is not provided between the MAP and the landing site; obstacle or terrain avoidance is the responsibility of the pilot. A minimum safe/sector altitude (MSAs) – 1900 ft MSL, in this case – is published for emergency use, and normally provides 1000 ft clearance over obstructions within a 25-nm radius of the indicated facility. Because of differences in the

Terminal Checklist 2-20 lyt.indd 16

areas for minimum vector altitudes (MVAs) and those applied to other minimum altitudes, and the ability to isolate specific obstacles, some MVAs may be lower than the non-radar minimum altitudes depicted on charts.

6. c, e Legs of 4 nm are designated for the course reversal as indicated in the profile view. According to the AIM 10-1-2, a maximum speed of 90 KIAS applies when on a published route or track of GPS Copter procedure except when on the final approach or missed approach segment. A parallel entry is appropriate when arriving at TIDUE on a course of 304° from Hampton VOR (HTO). 7. b According to the AIM 1-1-17, if the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after the FAWP, the pilot should initiate a climb and perform the missed approach. The GPS receiver may continue to operate after a RAIM flag/status annunciation appears, but the navigation information should be considered advisory only. 8. a Procedural note 4 states, “Limit final and missed approach airspeed to 70 KIAS.” All the waypoints for this procedure, except the final approach waypoint (FAWP) of STAYS, are fly-over waypoints, as indicated by the waypoint symbols in a circle. The AIM 10-1-3 states that at least 1 of 8 listed references must be identifiable before proceeding visually, including the final approach and takeoff area (FATO) and the windsock, and the touchdown and liftoff area (TLOF). The heliport approach lighting system (HALS) and visual glideslope indicator (VGSI) are also listed. However, this heliport is not equipped with these systems as indicated by the absence of a lighting box on the chart. 9. a, b, c Ballflag 2 in the profile view states that a 6.00° descent angle to a 5-ft hover height applies from CRANN to the heliport. According to the AIM 10-1-3, during an approach to a specific landing site, the pilot must acquire and maintain visual contact with the landing site at or prior to the MAP, or execute a missed approach. In addition, the pilot is required to maintain the published minimum visibility (in this case, 1 sm) throughout the visual segment. A PinS approach requires the pilot to maintain VFR minimums. 10. b, c, d Procedural note 4 indicates that the final and missed approach airspeeds are limited to 70 kts. Holding legs of 5 nm are shown on the plan view. According to the AIM 5-4-21, a minimum climb gradient of at least 400 ft/nm is required for Copter approaches, unless a higher gradient is published. The missed approach instructions and icons indicate a climb to 2000 ft MSL while in a climbing right turn proceeding direct to BEADS.

1/27/20 4:54 PM


Terminal Checklist 2-20 lyt.indd 17

1/27/20 4:54 PM


and other situations arise, and only a cognitive being can analyze and correct them. Let’s see how well a computerized bird can solve those problems. Nina Anderson ATP. Hawker 800XP Former President The Building Analyst Sheffield MA

A

What’s the piece of equipment in your cockpit that you value the most? How does it improve the safety of your operation?

A

n Enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) combined with synthetic vision system (SVS) is my favorite piece of equipment by far. This combo improves situational awareness greatly, and provides peace of mind when it comes to tactical thunderstorm avoidance when flying at night. Also, thanks in part to the highly automated Bombardier Vision Flight Deck, low-visibility approaches are no longer a high-workload task. Jason Chiang ATP/A&P. Global Express Captain Amber Jet Shenzhen, China

W

e have Garmin G3000 in our Citation M2, and I find it exceptional! We just got a new Garmin autoland, and it’ll change everything. Art McMahon Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation M2 President Harvard Group Marietta GA

B

est equipment absolutely necessary is a pilot. In this age of automation, trends to make airplanes pilotless defy logic. Bad weather, icy runways, sick passengers, phone charger fires on board

modern iPad running ForeFlight, connected to an Appareo Stratus transponder or Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver showing traffic, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), radar returns and more. That is the best thing since the creation of GPS itself. I use it all the time, even doing top of climb with a Cessna 152 with a primary student. Robert Pavelka ATP/CFI/A&P. Cessna 206 VP & COO Ed’s Flying Service Alamogordo NM

T

raffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), both on the ground and in the air, is the most valuable equipment – especially in Class A airspace. It allows us to know where most aircraft are in relation to our position. Gregory Ramallo ATP/CFII. Boeing 737 Captain & Check Airman Southwest Airlines Phoenix AZ

I

n my opinion, the Garmin GTN 750 is the best piece of equipment a pilot can have in the cockpit. It makes flying easier and safer. Philippe Villemaire ATP. Boeing 737, Beech 1900 & Pilatus PC-12 Captain Chrono Aviation Québec QC, Canada

D

assault FalconEye is the most valuable equipment in a pilot’s aircraft. This Head-Up Display (HUD) lets you see what your eyes can’t see due to weather or terrain. Jack Pavlik ATP. Falcon 8X Chief Pilot Sony Aviation Los Angeles CA

I

really value our Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). It allows us to gather information quickly from varied sources. Time-critical information is a vital aspect of good decision making. Rather than elicit weather reports from a busy air traffic controller at a distant airport, I can use ACARS to send off quickly for multiple destinations. It will receive and store the reports until I have the time to look them over. Although Atlanta Radio could provide all the same data, having a fast electronic means of gathering information and communication is of value to me. Dillon Aerick ATP. Bombardier CRJ900/ 700/200 Pilot SkyWest Airlines Detroit MI

M

ost valuable equipment for me is the Runway Awareness Advisory System (RAAS). It’s a convenient backup for the airport diagram, and can be a life-saver if in your early-morning-sleepy state you confuse which runway you’re on – thinking of Comair 5191 at Lexington KY in 2006 – or, if you are landing, you’ve lined up with a taxiway. Among other benefits, RAAS advises you when you’re approaching a runway, which one you’re on, how much runway is available for takeoff, and, during a rejected takeoff, it tells you how much runway you have left. It’s a truly useful tool. Larry D’Oench ATP. Cessna 414 Director of Operations USAC Montville NJ

G

armin GNS 430W is the most important piece of equipment, in my opinion. It includes gyro compass, nearest airport, stormscope, terrain obstacles, and FltPlan.com. Also, I value NEXRAD with Garmin GTX 345 that gives access to traffic, weather, ADS-B In and Out, and transponder. Walt Bradshaw ATP. Citation CJ1 Owner KTR Inc Punta Gorda FL

18  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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1/28/20 5:39 PM


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1/28/20 5:40 PM


Squawk Ident

Image courtesy Dassault Aviation

Dassault FalconEye with Combined Vision System.

I

n my opinion, the best single piece of additional equipment since I started flying about 46 years ago is the TCAS. It’s an absolutely invaluable tool that improves situational awareness, keeps aircraft apart, and has made the phenomenal increase in air traffic almost insignificant. Charles Hunt ATP. Global Express Chief Pilot HK Bellawings Hong Kong

D

efinitely, the HUD with EFVS. These are helpful pieces of equipment, especially in marginal weather conditions. They’re both very accurate and reliable. And they’re useful in cruise at night as they pick up isolated cells which can correlate with weather radar, providing an additional layer of safety. Gavin Watson ATP. Global Express Captain ExecuJet Johannesburg, South Africa

H

ave found that using the HUD on the Gulfstream G450/G550 has kept me focused on the details of flying and gives me a good visual understanding of the weather and nearby traffic. I’m more precise on approaches and I don’t have to move my head away from the unit to observe the runway on approach. Patrick Dunn ATP. Gulfstream G550/G450 Dir of Aviation One North Aircraft Management Mount Prospect IL

M

y GPS with traffic alert is what I really trust the most. While I try and practice “heads up and out” for traffic, I believe it makes my trips safer. Joe Manis ATP/CFII. Cessna 310 Owner Manis Custom Builders Laurinburg NC

F

or me, it’s a combination of the iPad with FltPlan Go paired with dual band ADS-B receiver. It all gives me clear and quick situational awareness. Chris Edwards ATP. King Air B350 Chief Pilot Edwards Flight Corpus Christi TX

B

est piece of equipment on board would be an iPad with global navigation capability showing your position on a map all the time. Thomas Irbinger ATP. Global XRS Captain TAG Asia Hong Kong

A

portable electronic device (PED) with Internet connection is what works best for me. It displays the most recent weather information possible. I also value a PED’s ability to connect quickly to dispatch. Richard Schimmelbusch ATP. Global Express Chief Pilot TPS Seattle WA

F

or me, the most valuable equipment is the HUD. It’s excellent for all situational awareness, and allows Cat III approaches when necessary. Its commands for steering are easy to follow and it’s great in case of TCAS Resolution Advisory (RA). At all times, ”just put the thing on the thing” and the aircraft will go where it needs to. Also, although it’s not cockpit equipment, I appreciate the coffee brewers which dispense that much needed fluid! Kenneth Floyd ATP. CRJ900/200 Captain Jazz Air Prince Township ON, Canada

I

value the iPad provided by my company. It allows access to flight planning, pubs, weather, Jepps, Internet, and Notams – and it’s all at my fingertips whenever we operate. It totally transforms operations by making real-time information available to crew. William All ATP. McDonnell Douglas MD-10/MD-11 Line Pilot FedEx Port Townsend WA

T

he magnetic compass is the most reliable instrument in my aircraft. When everything else fails while in operation, it is still true! Dave Kobus ATP. Citation Sovereign+ Chief Pilot CPAir Kensington CT

M

ost value the Autopilot Flight Director System (AFDS). When used correctly, it enables the pilot to manage the workload. Therefore, one can have more brain capacity for situational awareness, especially during the critical phases of the flight. It provides the pilot flying with a better ability to fly the aircraft, and gives the pilot monitoring a better scope to monitor the flightpath. Namit Anand Comm-Multi-Inst. Boeing 737 & Airbus A330 Boeing 737 FO Fiji Airways North Lakes QLD, Australia

20  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Squawk Ident port my passengers safely. All of it, plus a good copilot, make for smooth, safe and timely flights. Greg Reed ATP. De Havilland DHC-8 Captain Piedmont Airlines Stuarts Draft VA

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Image courtesy Bombardier

utopilot and HUD work really well for me. They greatly improve safety, especially for helicopters with 1 pilot. Fernando Almeida ATP/Helo. Airbus AS350B3E Captain CEMIG Belo Horizonte MG, Brazil

Bombardier Global Express Vision Flight Deck.

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y preference goes to HUD with EFVS as most valuable equipment in my cockpit. HUDs allow pilots to look outside the window while still seeing useful flight information, and EFVS brings to my mind the sayings “lose sight, lose fight,” and “seeing is believing.” Kunal Kapoor ATP. Falcon 2000LX & Gulfstream G650 Chief Pilot Taj Air Mumbai, India

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ands down, the iPad. It’s the most versatile piece of equipment available, and a game changer for the complete industry. When coupled the right apps such as ForeFlight, FltPlan.com, and the myriad of other available apps, there is no longer a reason to be lost or situationally unaware. GW Bo Corby ATP. Falcon 900, King Air 200 & Pilatus PC-12 Managing Partner Rhino Air Federal Way WA

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ost valuable piece of equipment for me is my iPad. I can watch for traffic, look at the weather, and benefit from many other things that an iPad is capable of doing. Lynn Allen ATP. Challenger 601 Chief Pilot Allen Aviation Waxahachie TX

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raffic alerting systems have made all operations safer, I think. And in our low-level surveillance roll, they’re critical for avoiding rotary-wing and light aircraft. Bob Morcom ATP. Reims-Cessna F406 Captain Airtask Group Cranfield, England

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y Garmin GTN 750 is the equipment that I value the most. I chose the GTN 750 over any other unit due to its multiple capabilities, as it does weather, traffic, maps and approach plates. My flights are safer because of it. Butch Stevens Pvt-Inst. Daher TBM 700 President B&D Thermal Port Orange FL

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ithout a doubt, the most valuable piece of equipment is my Appareo Stratus ADS-B receiver. It’s my backup, security blanket and best friend, and it has already proved its value many times over. This truly is a wonderful piece of equipment at good price. Rod Smith ATP/CFII/A&P. Citation Excel Dir of Transportation AZ KY Corp Pikeville KY

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t’s tough to say. From RNAV to TCAS, all of the equipment is of high importance. Each day, I use everything I have available to trans-

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or me, the entire cockpit is important. I think the cockpit is a wholesome unit made almost sacred by the inclusion of the pilots into it. Every small piece of equipment, and even how it’s placed in a cockpit, adds to safety. Pilots need to learn how to use what they have to their advantage. T Ashok ATP. Leonardo AW109SP Captain Lulu International Shopping Mall Kochi, India

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o doubt, the HUD with SVS or EFVS overlay is the equipment that provides the most safety. You can observe flight parameters while maintaining your “head out of the cockpit,” and the SVS is an extra source for situational awareness. Chris Renton ATP. Global 5000 Training Captain ExecuJet Middle East Leicester, England

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trust our recording torque and turbine outlet temperature indicators. They both allow us to verify reported or detect unreported exceedances of these parameters. This enables our maintenance techs to take appropriate action timely. In a training environment, it also permits an extra margin of safety to the operations. Kevin Stewart A&P. Bell TH-57B/C Quality Assurance Rep Dyncorp International Milton FL

22  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Murray Smith 1930 - 2019

Your satisfaction is my responsability Manny Jr. Romero Vargas

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OPERATOR PROFILE

With a modern fleet of Embraer and Gulfstream jets, the more than 50 members of the MGM Resorts aviation team fly pax in the utmost comfort, style, and safety from their LAS base.

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

MGM Resorts Fleet of Embraers and Gulfstream bizjets flies executives, elite guests and entertainers to and from locations around the world.

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Photos by Brent Bundy

as Vegas. Entertainment Capital of the World. Every year, millions of travelers from across the globe flock to this desert oasis for its legendary gambling, extravagant shows, and decadent buffets. No matter if the visit is your 1st or your 50th, that initial glimpse of the neon lights of The Strip sets in motion thoughts of possibilities. For a select few, those who have proved their penchant for the preeminent Vegas experience and their ability to subsidize such a lifestyle, their method of arrival is also renowned – they have been invited by MGM Resorts, and that grants them access to a modern fleet of Embraer and Gulfstream aircraft. Welcome to Vegas, welcome to the show.

The beginning Although the past few decades have seen MGM Resorts’ expansion into a global conglomerate, the name 24

is synonymous with Las Vegas. And another name closely attached to Vegas is Kirk Kerkorian, the legendary investor. Kerkorian, who passed in 2015, had a deep connection to aviation. Throughout WWII, he ferried Mosquito bombers from Canada to Scotland, earning enough money to purchase a Cessna during his 1st trip to Las Vegas in 1945. Kerkorian soon bought a small charter airline flying gamblers to and from Los Angeles. The sale of the airline would eventually help fund his foray into Las Vegas real estate and casino building. By the late 1960s, Kerkorian acquired the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio and constructed, purchased, and sold several properties in and around Las Vegas, under the MGM banner. The original MGM Grand Hotels were sold to Bally’s in 1986, the same year MGM Resorts International was formed. Since that time, the company has become the

largest resort operator on the Vegas Strip with 12 properties. Their portfolio also boasts 8 more locations east of the Mississippi, and an additional 6 around the world.

MGM and business aviation Aviation has long been a part of the MGM Resorts plan. With the need to transport both executives and elite guests, having the right aircraft is crucial. The history of the company’s fleet goes back over 30 years, when it began flying McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, bringing in clients from all over the globe. The fleet transitioned through various manufacturers and models until 2006, when they settled with 2 brands – Gulfstream and Boeing. By 2007, they were flying 2 G350s, a G550, a GV, and a B737 BBJ. As needs changed, the company added a G450 in 2009. The year 2016 saw another shift, as MGM Resorts

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Director of Aviation and Transportation Safety Mark Antunes maintained US Air Force aircraft for 24 years before joining MGM Resorts.

built its current collection of a Gulfstream G650ER, 2 Embraer Lineage 1000s, and 2 Embraer Legacy 500s. Each aircraft is similarly outfitted in luxury configuration to meet the high expectations of the clientele. The company fleet occupies twin 35,000 sq ft hangars on the northwest corner of LAS (McCarran Intl), giving customers easy access to their most-visited destination, The Strip. In addition, the company has a Cessna Citation Sovereign based in Atlantic City, which supports east coast operations.

Leadership Working directly for MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren is Vice President John Flynn. Flynn explains that MGM Resorts, and probably Vegas as a whole, has gone through 2 reinventions of itself in the past 4 decades, and the company modified its operations to stay competitive. “In the 1980s, gaming accounted for 85% of our business,” Flynn explains. “By the 2000s, that had changed to 70% gaming and 30% non-gaming. Today, with the variety of choices we offer, gaming makes up only about 30% of our Las Vegas revenue.” In addition to the gambling available at nearly all MGM resorts, the company also offers an incredible variety of entertainment, shopping, and world-class dining. From magicians to musical acts to Cirque du Soleil spectacles, the company sells more than 9 million tickets to nearly 30 shows each year, worldwide. “We

Director of Mx Programs Patricia Pica oversees the daily operations of the 10 technicians working on the MGM Resorts fleet.

VP John Flynn spent time in the Pentagon, US Capitol, and White House during his time in the US Air Force before accepting a leadership position with MGM Resorts in 2016.

currently have in excess of 40,000 rooms in Vegas alone and employ more than 81,000 people across the company,” Flynn adds. Flynn, a colonel in the US Air Force Reserves, flew T-41s, T-34s, T-38s, and C-17s. After stints at the Pentagon, US Capitol, and White House, he joined MGM Resorts in 2016, shortly after his active duty. While the aviation group is just one of the areas under Flynn’s oversight, it is the one he feels most connected to. And for select guests, it can be one of the most important. “MGM Resorts is all about ‘Owning the Experience.’ And as a part of that experience, the aviation team is the 1st and last impression that these guests will have,” Flynn states. Whether a guest leaves having won or lost on the gaming floor, the job of the flight department is to ensure that they are left with a positive encounter. “We build relationships with our clients,” says Flynn. “Our goal is to shape a positive experience from beginning to end. We want them to be happy and, of course, we want them to come back.” Vice President of Aviation William “Butch” Barden joined the flight department 12 years ago and brought with him an impressive resume. The San Diego CA native had an early exposure to aviation when he was allowed time in US Navy simulators at Miramar via a friend’s father. At 17 years old, Barden joined the US Army as a demolition specialist. After 7 years of jumping out of aircraft, he decided to fly them, so he applied to flight school. Initially assigned to Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters, he later transitioned to Beechcraft RC-12s (King Airs) then moved on up through jet aircraft. By the time he left the military in 2007, he had flown Gulfstream GIII/IV/V/550s and Cessna Citations, and was the Army’s most experienced Gulfstream instructor. Just 7 days after leaving the service, Barden was flying for MGM Resorts. And less than 4 months later, he had earned the assistant chief pilot spot.

VP of Aviation William “Butch” Barden was the US Army’s most experienced Gulfstream flight instructor when he left active duty after 24 years.

Then came the 2008 recession. “Vegas turned to a ghost town,” Barden remembers. “Everyone was affected. We lost 3 pilots and 2 flight attendants.” However, the unique economy of this town quickly turned around. “Almost immediately after the downturn, we were flying record numbers of flight hours,” Barden adds. “We hired 2 of the 3 pilots back, added 5 more, and bought a new G450. Since then, we’ve been steady with our worldwide flight operations.” In 2016, Barden took on the chief pilot role, and was promoted to vice president of aviation 2 years later. He oversees a staff of 54 personnel. While he may be the head of the group, Barden is quick to give all the credit to his team. “My job is to help my people. Growing up within this flight department has allowed me to see that helping my people can have the greatest effect on this business,” he declares. With the type of clients the team flies and the sheer number of events held at MGM properties, teamwork is a necessity. “Some of the events that we fly for must be planned a year in advance. Our communication with marketing is key. We work extensively with them, which creates efficiency and saves the company money,” he explains. Flight hours average 3400 per year. 2018 saw an uptick to 3800, which, if maintained, could push for an expansion of the fleet. “Our flights are split with about 90% for guests and 10% for entertainers and executive staff. As the company continues its growth, Chief Flight Attendant Karen Garris has been with MGM for 17 years. She took on her current role, supervising the 11 other attendants, in 2019.

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Leading the group of 18 pilots are (L–R) Assistant Chief Pilots Cameron White and Michelle Miller, Chief Pilot Mike Cummings, and Assistant Chief Pilot Doug Wright (not pictured).

that could create demand for additional aircraft and personnel. We constantly evaluate our needs,” Barden states. “As the 1st and last face that our guests see, our job is to ensure that they have the ultimate MGM experience. Whoever is closest to the guest is in charge. Our dedication to our guests demands that we listen to their requests, which means that our flight attendants are 100% supported by every teammate in the department. I work with the best people in MGM, and I have the best flight department in the world, and they make that happen every day.”

The flight team Heading up Barden’s pilot team is Chief Pilot Mike Cummings. After high school, Cummings left his New Jersey hometown and accepted an appointment to the US Air Force Academy. He would spend the next 23 years on active duty flying C-141s, T-1s, C-17s, and 757s in a variety of assignments, including the 89th Airlift Wing, transporting White House VIPs. After retirement from the military in 2014, he heard that MGM was hiring. “They have such a solid reputation that I couldn’t send my resume off fast enough,” Cummings recalls. He joined shortly after and worked as a line pilot before taking over as chief pilot in 2019. The flight crew currently consists of Cummings, 3 assistant chief pilots, and 14 line pilots. New applicants need at least 5000 flight hours with 2500–3000 hours as PIC. Aircraft type-ratings help but are not a requirement. Once hired, each pilot will be trained in at least 2 of the aircraft. Currently, 6 team members are rated in all 3 jets. While most are signed off for international flights, the goal is for the entire group to be able

Making sure all the components for a successful trip come together is the operations group, led by Operations Supervisor Dani McLaughlin (center). She has been with MGM for 17 years, leading her team for the past 3.

to accept those assignments. Pilots work a schedule of 2 weeks on-duty, 1 week off, with most trips being scheduled in advance. “We don’t have a lot of pop-ups. When we do, there is a 1.5-hour show up time,” Cummings explains. “We have people here with airline, military, and civilian backgrounds, so they’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see regarding schedules.” Annual recurrent training is conducted with both FlightSafety and CAE. “Whether we are flying the executive team or our guests, we are the bookends of their experience,” stresses Cummings. “We are the first ones they see at the beginning of their travels and the last ones at the end. To be successful, we must build loyalty to the MGM brand. I feel that we do that very well.” A key component to building that loyalty is the onboard cabin crew led by Chief Flight Attendant Karen Garris. While planning her career path, her father suggested working as a flight attendant. She liked the idea of travel and interacting with people, so she joined United Airlines. “I spent 6 years with United, based in Las Vegas, then moved over to MGM in 2003, and I’ve been here ever since,” Garris says. In 2019, she was promoted to the chief flight attendant position. The flight attendant team is made up of 12 attendants, including Garris. Staffing is usually 1 attendant per plane, possibly 2 on the Embraer Lineage 1000 or the Gulfstream G650ER, depending on passenger count, service requirements, and length of flight. Although her supervisory role requires more time in the office, Garris prefers to be in the air. “The best part of this job is being in the plane, working with the pilots and the guests. That is why I started doing this, and I still love it,” she declares.

When not flying, Garris ensures that her people have what they need to fulfill their duties on board, works with the resorts to meet the needs of the guests, and assists with safety programs. Like the pilots, the flight attendants go for annual recurrent training at FlightSafety Intl, and do in-water training in the wave pool at Mandalay Bay. “Our job is to not only take care of the inflight requests of our guests, but also to make sure they are safe at all times. That’s just one more part of the relationship we build with our guests,” Garris explains. “This is a dream job. I have a passion for this company and for the people I serve. My team and I are tasked with a very important part of the MGM experience, and we are focused on doing fantastic job.”

Safety Overseeing the safety of customers and crew is Director of Aviation and Transportation Safety Mark Antunes. Like much of the management team at MGM Resorts, Antunes comes from a military background. He joined the US Air Force in 1983 and spent time as a crew chief on A-10s and F-15s, at bases around the world. In 2003, he joined – and later led – the maintenance crew of the iconic Thunderbirds demonstration squadron. After his service days, he signed on with MGM Resorts in late 2007. In addition to writing operations manuals, Antunes helped develop the in-house-designed safety management system (SMS). “When I am asked about our SMS, I tell people that our operations manual is our SMS. Our entire program is designed around safety and it’s constantly evolving. We’re on version 9 in 12 years,” Antunes conveys. The team’s

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The modern avionics of the Embraer Lineage 1000 and its luxury outfittings make it a perfect choice for transporting MGM’s passengers. Currently, the flight department has 2 of these in service.

dedication to safety was proved in March 2019, when they held their 1st-ever safety stand-down. No flights were conducted during the event. “Upper management was in complete support of us,” relates Antunes. “A last-minute flight was scheduled, but the company chartered it so everyone in the group could attend it.” If necessary, anyone in the flight group can call in “fatigued.” If they feel they are not safe, they can advise Antunes, and they are not questioned. “We will not put anyone on a flight if they are not 100% ready,” Antunes confirms. The team also has regular meetings of their Safety Action Committee (SAC) that is made up of representatives from each group in the flight department, and with a Safety Action Group, comprised of management that responds to concerns from the SAC. “We are providing a valuable service to MGM Resorts. The executive staff recognizes this and the need to put safety above all else. Safety is our culture here and we will not compromise that.”

Logistics Another key element to the culture of safety is Director of Maintenance Programs Patricia Pica. Her trek to MGM Resorts began after time spent with a helicopter operator in Texas, followed by a decade in the hospitality industry with Hyatt. After a hiatus to raise a family, Pica reentered the aviation field with XOJet in 2009. She began working in maintenance control, and later assisted in a transition between Embraer models. Her experience would come into play in 2016, when she joined MGM Resorts and the company was moving to Embraer products.

The iconic MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip is but one of MGM Resorts’ 12 properties here. The company owns 14 other such assets across the USA and around the world.

Pica oversees the 10 technicians working on the aircraft. “I’m not the one turning wrenches. Instead, I assist in running the business side of the maintenance department, which is one of our largest department expenditures, along with payroll and fuel,” she explains. Her duties include remaining compliant, account reconciliation, and budget work, among other tasks. With an entire fleet just over 3 years old, 4 of which were delivered in a 30-day period in 2016, Pica’s techs needed to be brought up to speed quickly, which Embraer and FSI assisted with. The maintenance staff attends annual training at FSI. Pica’s goal is to have all of her team certified as Master Techs. Her very experienced crew can handle most jobs in-house, but major work is sent out. The regular agenda of high-profile events at MGM resorts can also prove challenging for maintenance schedules. “There is a lot more to maintenance work than the hands-on aspect, and that is where I come in,” Pica states. “We are an instrumental tool for our resort hosts, and it is the job of my team to make sure that the pilots have safe aircraft.” Connecting the dots between the hosts, guests, and pilots is the operations group. Watching over this section is Operations Supervisor Dani McLaughlin. Her career with MGM Resorts began in 2003 working for the Bellagio as a limo dispatcher. In 2007, one of her drivers moved to the aviation team as a flight attendant and convinced McLaughlin to join him. She would spend the next 10 years as a flight dispatcher before taking over as supervisor in 2017. Her team of 7 is responsible for working with

the resort hosts to arrange the trips. “With all the variables between aircraft, guests, pilots and so forth, it’s like a big puzzle. That’s the fun part for me, putting the pieces of the puzzle together,” McLaughlin illustrates. “From the initial call from the host, to arranging ground transportation at both ends, and working with the pilot group, we are here to put together the best trip for our guests. We are arranging the MGM experience for them.”

Welcome to the show MGM Resorts represents a pinnacle of the entertainment adventure. Whether visiting Las Vegas or one of several other locales around the planet, every patron can expect a memorable encounter. However, if you agree with the phrase “the journey is the destination,” and you have the means to make an elite list, the aviation team at MGM Resorts will make sure that your journey is truly one to remember. They will make it the MGM experience and bring meaning to their slogan – “Welcome to the show!”

Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 28 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 18 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  /  February 2020  27

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Cartoon art by

We invite readers to submit story lines that would work for a 6-panel Sid and Star cartoon. Send your thoughts by e-mail to editor@propilotmag.com. If we use your idea we’ll credit you by name and pay you $100.

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AVIATOR DEVELOPMENT

Solutions to the pilot shortage Streamlining training, reducing costs, and raising salaries will produce more corporate pilots. of the simulator time necessary to qualify on the aircraft. The out-ofpocket cost for a pilot job applicant averaged $9000. The job that he was applying for typically paid between $12,000 and 15,000 per year.

Photo courtesy ERAU

Events that reshaped aviation

New pilots face training 3 times more espensive than what they were 2 decades ago. A university-based flight training program that culminates in a 4-year degree costs more than $250,000.

By Shannon Forrest

certificate to a job and accelerated career progression (seniority and a quick upgrade to captain).

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Hiring practices in the past

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

here’s a pilot shortage. Or so we’ve been told for at least the past 30 years. Whether or not one believes is a matter of perspective. For the 23-year-old graduate of a university-based flight training program, the employment prospects have never been better. Under the guidance of their major airline ownership, regional airlines are providing conditional job offers as early as a student pilot’s freshman year of college. If the student successfully completes the academic and flight training program, which usually includes a brief period of flight instructing, he or she will walk right into an FO position within a year or 2 of graduation. It’s a guaranteed job offer before the ink is dry on the diploma or restricted-ATP certificate. And, for the student pilot who started training in the past few years, it’s often an unobstructed path from obtaining a pilot

The unbridled optimism of the college freshman on a professional pilot tract is in stark contrast to the attitude of a pilot who has been in the industry for the past couple of decades. A job seeker with a freshly-minted commercial or ATP certificate in the late 1980s and early 1990s faced a job market the opposite of today’s. Jobs were scarce and pilots were plentiful. As a result, employers held the upper hand. Much to the delight of the shareholders, companies increased their hiring standards and engaged in practices that pilots considered diabolical. The most egregious was the concept of pay for training, or as some pilots called it, “buy-a-job.” Under the pay for training scheme, pilots who successfully passed an interview were provided a conditional job offer with one caveat: they had to write a check to cover the cost

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 dealt a hard blow to the aviation industry. In the immediate aftermath, airlines canceled classes for new-hires already in training. They eliminated future classes by rescinding conditional job offers and never provided them again, even though those applicants were fully qualified and had passed an interview. Widespread bankruptcies followed, pensions were dissolved, contracts were renegotiated, and pilots were furloughed. Many sought refuge anywhere they could garner a paycheck and stay behind the controls of an airplane, some changed disciplines and applied with corporate flight departments, and others did the previously unthinkable: eschew a legacy carrier in favor of start-up airlines. In 2008, the recession hit and the airlines experienced large financial losses. Corporate flight departments were especially hard hit. Smaller companies began to shed aircraft and pilots as a way to cut costs and also as a result of public perception. Even the stalwarts of corporate aviation were not immune, as companies like Ford and General Motors eliminated entire in-house flight departments, leaving a swath of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, and support staff without jobs. The 2007 Congressional decision to raise the mandatory pilot retirement age from 60 to 65 for Part 121 pilots affected the job situation in the late 2000s, and one that confounds the pilot shortage question in the present day. Asking a Part 121 pilot how he feels about the “age 65 rule” yields an emotional reaction depen-

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Side effects of changes in regs As is often the case, a change to one part of the regulations can unintentionally affect another. Although the retirement age change was directed at airline pilots, the corporate world saw an unexpected change as well. Under the old retirement date of age 60, an airline pilot had to figure out a way to bridge the financial crevasse between age 60 and 65. Getting to 65 was important because that’s when he would be eligible for full Social Security and Medicare benefits. The worst case scenario assumes no military pension or veterans health care. If the pilot could still qualify for a medical certificate, he typically went to fly corporate or private aircraft under Part 91. Those not medically fit for flight sometimes became instructors at Part 142 schools. For a period, the biggest type rating providers were top heavy or former airline pilots who had little, if any, corporate flying experience.

Current hiring dynamics Over the past few years, the aviation job market has changed drastically. Major airlines began hiring in rapid numbers with much of the

Some relatively inexperienced pilots view flying business jets as an opportunity to enhance their résumés. Their eventual goal is obtaining a job with the airlines.

staffing coming from their regional airline affiliates. In turn, regionals struggled to stem the flow of pilots leaving. More so, the regionals faced a problem of attracting pilots to begin with. If pay and benefits are relatively equal (and meager) and the entry-level jets are identical, the only difference is the paint color and logo on the fuselage (or whether the company requires you to wear a hat with your uniform). The 2013 rule change that required airline pilots to have 1500 hours (in lieu of the prior requirement of 250) had a major impact on the availability of new-hires. The 1500 number essentially became the “holy grail” of aviation in that a pilot was now only eligible for employment when that number was reached. To attract pilots to their brand, regionals enacted flow-through agreements with their major airline partners. There’s a lot of variability and gateways to get through, but, essentially, a flow-through agreement specifies that, if a pilot works for a regional airline for a predetermined duration, he automatically moves from the regional to major airline after said period. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the salary at a major airline, and that’s the payoff for putting up with the meager salary and working conditions for many years at the regional level.

Implications for general aviation Rapid airline hiring and flowthrough agreements have had a deleterious effect on the long-term retention of corporate, Part 91, and Part 135 pilots. Relatively new pilots

now see corporate positions as stepping-stones to an airline career. The thought is, “It’s okay flying a Citation right now, but as soon as I get 1500 hours, I’ll start getting my applications out to the airlines.” Experienced pilots who have borne the burden of pay for training, 9/11, the 2008 recession, and the age-65 rule, and are still actively flying, tend to find this mentality nauseating – or at least fail to grasp this line of thinking. At first glance, it’s just another example of a Boomer versus Millennial philosophical difference. The stark reality is, the days of slogging checks single-pilot in MU2s, hand-loading car parts into Learjet 35s in freezing conditions and spending 6 hours a day orbiting over downtown in a Piper Tomahawk doing traffic reporting are no longer viable. For the most part, those jobs don’t exist any more. Candidates pursuing a career as a professional pilot are not gaining experience the old-fashioned way like multi-engine instructing and doing whatever they can to grab a couple of hours of twin time here and there. In days past, a flight instructor could befriend a doctor, lawyer, or other well-off individual or business owner and tag along in their Cessna 310 or Navajo to log the coveted multi-engine time. Those aircraft are slowly but surely vanishing from FBO ramps as owners fly fewer hours than ever before. Right now, the number of multi-engine hours required to qualify for a regional airline FO position is 25. For comparison, in 1993, the minimum was 100, but being competitive typically required 500 or more.

Photo by José Vásquez

dent on the pilot’s background. Senior pilots closing in on age 60 held the proverbial winning lottery ticket in that they could keep flying for 5 more years at what was likely the upper end of the pay scale. To be fair, many needed the money since pensions had been scuttled and repudiated when the airlines filed bankruptcy. But pilots early in their careers felt shafted and set back 5 years through seniority stagnation.

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Side effects of changes in regs As is often the case, a change to one part of the regulations can unintentionally affect another. Although the retirement age change was directed at airline pilots, the corporate world saw an unexpected change as well. Under the old retirement date of age 60, an airline pilot had to figure out a way to bridge the financial crevasse between age 60 and 65. Getting to 65 was important because that’s when he would be eligible for full Social Security and Medicare benefits. The worst case scenario assumes no military pension or veterans health care. If the pilot could still qualify for a medical certificate, he typically went to fly corporate or private aircraft under Part 91. Those not medically fit for flight sometimes became instructors at Part 142 schools. For a period, the biggest type rating providers were top heavy or former airline pilots who had little, if any, corporate flying experience.

Current hiring dynamics Over the past few years, the aviation job market has changed drastically. Major airlines began hiring in rapid numbers with much of the

Some relatively inexperienced pilots view flying business jets as an opportunity to enhance their résumés. Their eventual goal is obtaining a job with the airlines.

staffing coming from their regional airline affiliates. In turn, regionals struggled to stem the flow of pilots leaving. More so, the regionals faced a problem of attracting pilots to begin with. If pay and benefits are relatively equal (and meager) and the entry-level jets are identical, the only difference is the paint color and logo on the fuselage (or whether the company requires you to wear a hat with your uniform). The 2013 rule change that required airline pilots to have 1500 hours (in lieu of the prior requirement of 250) had a major impact on the availability of new-hires. The 1500 number essentially became the “holy grail” of aviation in that a pilot was now only eligible for employment when that number was reached. To attract pilots to their brand, regionals enacted flow-through agreements with their major airline partners. There’s a lot of variability and gateways to get through, but, essentially, a flow-through agreement specifies that, if a pilot works for a regional airline for a predetermined duration, he automatically moves from the regional to major airline after said period. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is the salary at a major airline, and that’s the payoff for putting up with the meager salary and working conditions for many years at the regional level.

Implications for general aviation Rapid airline hiring and flowthrough agreements have had a deleterious effect on the long-term retention of corporate, Part 91, and Part 135 pilots. Relatively new pilots

now see corporate positions as stepping-stones to an airline career. The thought is, “It’s okay flying a Citation right now, but as soon as I get 1500 hours, I’ll start getting my applications out to the airlines.” Experienced pilots who have borne the burden of pay for training, 9/11, the 2008 recession, and the age-65 rule, and are still actively flying, tend to find this mentality nauseating – or at least fail to grasp this line of thinking. At first glance, it’s just another example of a Boomer versus Millennial philosophical difference. The stark reality is, the days of slogging checks single-pilot in MU2s, hand-loading car parts into Learjet 35s in freezing conditions and spending 6 hours a day orbiting over downtown in a Piper Tomahawk doing traffic reporting are no longer viable. For the most part, those jobs don’t exist any more. Candidates pursuing a career as a professional pilot are not gaining experience the old-fashioned way like multi-engine instructing and doing whatever they can to grab a couple of hours of twin time here and there. In days past, a flight instructor could befriend a doctor, lawyer, or other well-off individual or business owner and tag along in their Cessna 310 or Navajo to log the coveted multi-engine time. Those aircraft are slowly but surely vanishing from FBO ramps as owners fly fewer hours than ever before. Right now, the number of multi-engine hours required to qualify for a regional airline FO position is 25. For comparison, in 1993, the minimum was 100, but being competitive typically required 500 or more.

Photo by José Vásquez

dent on the pilot’s background. Senior pilots closing in on age 60 held the proverbial winning lottery ticket in that they could keep flying for 5 more years at what was likely the upper end of the pay scale. To be fair, many needed the money since pensions had been scuttled and repudiated when the airlines filed bankruptcy. But pilots early in their careers felt shafted and set back 5 years through seniority stagnation.

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Instead of acquiring aviation experience over time, new pilots are choosing to buy it as quickly as possible. They’re writing big checks and in many cases going into steep debt to do so. A 4-year degree from an aviation university, when combined with the flight training to reach 1500 hours, can cost in excess of $250,000.

Truth behind the pilot shortage There is no shortage of people who want to be pilots. There is a shortage of people who can afford to be pilots, both in terms of salary and the financial barrier to enter the profession. Attracting pilots and convincing them to remain in Part 91 jobs means the industry needs to address both. Experienced pilots with decades of time in their logbook want to be paid back for the givebacks of the past. The fastest way to do so right now is with the airlines, which offer a predictable schedule, nearly guaranteed career progression, and a known salary and retirement package. If companies want to keep their pilots and subvert the talent drain, they’re going to have to ante up and open the cash register and provide more definitive schedules. On the other hand, new pilots facing mountains of debt have little choice. They’re going to go where they can make the most money over the long run. Even if one prefers the corporate pilot lifestyle – flying

roughly 30% less than airline pilots, flying to different airports every time, etc – the deleterious effect of borrowing large sums of money for training is too great. Reducing training costs associated with entering the profession is one way to increase the pool of available candidates. Ironically, technology hasn’t helped lower costs under the current rules. In fact, technology has increased the cost of getting to 1500 hours. The transition to glass (technologically advanced) cockpits raised the price of primary training by a factor of 3. The ragged Cessna 172 trainer has been replaced by the brand-new half-a-million-dollar Cirrus. An $80/hour rental became a $240/hour rental. Whether this is good or bad remains to be proved. Studies show that glass cockpits at the general aviation level don’t make pilots markedly safer. Every modern-day jet aircraft type rating course provides enough guidance on glass cockpit methodology that a pilot with modest skills and a basic level of understanding can be successful. But is 1500 hrs of glass cockpit time at 120 kts beneficial?

A new perspective on pilot formation Another question that should be considered is whether a $250,000 university education produces a better pilot. For that matter, should

Photo by T Morter

The favorable economic climate along with a large number of impeding pilot mandatory retirements has caused airlines to hire in record numbers. Many corporate flight departments are feeling the strain as experienced pilots leave for an airline job.

a college degree even be required to be employable as a pilot? In the same way that there’s a high percentage of communication majors among college football players, there’s also a high number of less academically rigorous degrees across the pilot population. Spending 4 years earning a bachelor’s degree in humanities, or even business, doesn’t enhance a pilot’s day-to-day flying ability. Once a basic level of flying skill is attained, being a corporate or airline pilot is largely learned on the job. The days of knowing what a diode is and diagraming an electrical or hydraulic system for a type-rating oral are over. The new mantra is, “don’t worry about how it works, just leave it in ‘auto’ and don’t touch it unless the computer tells you.” This is an amazing time to be a pilot – so much so that aviation is seeing an influx of career changers entering the piloting profession in their later stages of life. After decades of industry trauma, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. To the newest generation of pilots, there’s always been a light because that’s all they’ve known. Changes abound. What hasn’t changed is the way the regulators and employers consider training and experience – the slogging of hundreds or thousands of hours, all at a high personal cost to the aviator. Proficiency, rather than gross accumulation of hours, along with a reduction in the cost of training to the individual, is the way to go. Curmudgeons might argue that the next generation must “pay their dues” just like they did. That’s selfish, and it’s one more barrier to entry to a profession that’s already struggling to find people. Maintaining the status quo because “we’ve always done it that way” is not the best course of action. If tradition for the sake of tradition were a valid strategy, CRM wouldn’t exist, and the industry would be losing airframes and pilots at a rate reminiscent of the 1960 and 1970s. Shannon Forrest is a current line pilot, CRM facilitator and aviation safety consultant. He has over 10,000 hours and holds a degree in behavioral psychology.

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

Automatic dependent surveillance Nuances and benefits of ADS-B, C and R systems. ADS-B In

Image courtesy Textron Aviation

ADS-B Out

Broadcasts identification, position, altitude, and velocity to other aircraft, ground vehicles and ATC.

By Glenn Woodward Contributing Writer

M

uch has been written about automatic dependent surveillance (ADS) and its various subsets – B (broadcast), C (contract), and R (rebroadcast), the latter of which receives ADS-B Out position reports between 1090 MHz ES and 978 MHz UAT. The extent of information available is extensive, and articles can be very specific, very vague, or both. The challenge for many is absorbing and assimilating all of that data. I aspire to simplifying some of the facts and offer a framework which readers can build on if they want to unpack the various spokes of this alphabet wheelhouse. Broadcast frequency 1090 MHz is mandated globally and in US Class A Airspace, and the ES part (Extended Squitter – mode S required for implementation) is a message or series of messages. Broadcast frequency 978 MHz UAT (Universal Access Transceiver) is for use below 18,000 MSL. An aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out transmits data about itself and its flight regime about once every second. Aircraft with ADS-B In capabilities receive data broadcast from other aircraft along with certain other information to include Traffic Information Service (TIS-B – available via 1090 MHz ES or 978 MHz UAT) and Flight Information Service (FIS-B – available only via 978 MHz UAT). Other elements include Swift-

Receives ADS-B Out traffic information broadcast by other traffic as well as ATC.

Broadband-Safety (SB-S), a global, secure IP connection for operations and safe communications; North Atlantic Organized Track System (NATOTS), with 80% of transatlantic traffic passing through Shanwick OCA; GPS; and Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP).

Implications for ATC ADS, with its peripheral and parallel participants, has a profound effect on both strategic and tactical applications of air traffic control. As an air traffic controller historically and exclusively immersed in the military/ contract-ATC world, I can attest that ADS-B, ADS-C, Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Mode S have always been part of the infrastructure within which I serve the aviation community. Several features and applications of ADS-B/C overlap, intertwine, and cross operational paths, making their definitions or the nature of their operations impossible to separate. The bigger picture these technologies provide is a comprehensive monitoring and surveillance system designed and constructed to both radically increase efficiency and profoundly improve safety for flight ops – both on the ground and in the air. These objectives are accomplished by an exponential increase in the accuracy of position verification of aircraft and airport vehicles (if equipped) in near real time.

Just a few of the benefits of satellite-based ADS-B are reduction of departure separation, up-to-the-second monitoring of runway occupancy time (ROT) for arrival separation, more than 90% reduction of inflight separation, and a drastic reduction in unauthorized runway incursions by vehicles or aircraft. ADS-B spikes your heart rate with either fear, anxiety, or glee. It all depends on whether you are the operator who has to integrate the mandated equipment along with all its implications (processes, procedures, etc), or the Part 145 station with a steady line of operators who need the system installed in their aircraft. The people with the smallest angst are the front line air traffic control officers (ATCOs). Whereas air traffic controllers are touted as the primary beneficiaries of this new system, they are, and will continue to be, facilitators of the end result: more things being delivered faster and in greater quantities. Traditional secondary surveillance radar (SSR) controllers must adjust to a new paradigm of precision paired with tighter separation minima. The technology of ADS locates and displays targets precisely and appropriately for control and management. For the controller on the scope, it means putting more aircraft within the same defined airspace parameters that previously could fit fewer airborne airframes, whether it’s class A, B, or C.

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NATs could soon be free routing and self-separating with satellite-based ADS-B monitoring.

North Atlantic Tracks For those controllers handling the North Atlantic Organized Track System (NAT-OTS), ADS-B/C and CPDLC, employing satellite communication technology, have reduced the minimum lateral separation of 60 nm to 23 nm, then to 19, with a projected decrease to 15. NATS (UK) will eventually transition to free routing with no defined track separation for operators. This will allow individual operators to choose their optimal flight regime, saving millions of hours of flight time. For ATMs, this poses a tsunami of data for airspace management analysis. This includes not just refining and tweaking the last few feet of airspace to exploit, but planning even further into the future to incorporate predictive analytics for increased safety and further savings. For tower controllers, knowing the exact position of aircraft in the circuit/pattern can help avoid squeeze plays when a pilot may “fudge” his reported location to jump ahead in line to the runway. Also important is an exact distance figure for aircraft on final approach when deciding to launch, or not, another aircraft while visibility may be less than ideal, yet still above that magic threshold for VFR/IFR ops. I did not find any conversations about a reduction of IFR departure separation, but that does not mean there aren’t any.

ADS is also vital during periods of extremely reduced visibility on the airfield. Discerning the exact location of aircraft and/or airport vehicles equipped with ADS-B is crucial to preventing runway incursions and other accidents with aircraft, vehicles, or airfield obstacles.

ADS-C and CPDLC Pilots operating in the NAT-OTS are familiar with ADS-C and CPDLC, as well as the SAT/HF communication requirements for position reporting. ADS-B could arguably be defined as the blue-collar sibling of ADS-C. Whereas C creates digital contracts with aircraft and compiles information in various formats, quantities, and specificity with various broadcast-termination options, ADS-B merely transmits a pre-defined packet of data for consumption by controllers and other properly equipped aircraft. Admittedly, very precise data that facilitates application of separation procedures and techniques and provides traffic and weather info is freely available to those aircraft equipped with a 978-MHz UAT transceiver (ADS-B In). ADS-B Out entities have no control over who receives the information and no interrogation is required. The controllers are pivotal in the execution of the benefits of both C and B systems. They establish

separation between aircraft with the information provided. Aside from the failsafe aspect, with ADS-C, only authorized agencies may receive certain data, if approved by the aircraft. In emergencies, however, if not deselected by the flightcrew, specific data can be broadcast irrespective and independent of internal aircraft power sources.

Possibilities for ATCOs For all ATCOs using ADS systems, having the certainty of an exact location and relevant data immediately results in fewer radio calls to confirm position, meaning there’s more time available on the radio for actual control instructions and, by extension, a safer flying environment. It is conceivable and regularly discussed that aircraft could self-separate in certain areas and under certain conditions. However, that is an enormous can of worms with regard to liability, training, and what would become a new definition of separation. As a concrete and viable objective in any published source material, I have yet to find it. Truthfully, there is a real possibility of fewer controllers handling more aircraft. Yes, the system will assist greatly with the additional application of artificial intelligence and more automation. However, like all new systems, it could also be an imPROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  35

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petus for a smaller ATCO cadre. This would shift the workforce in the direction of system maintenance and monitoring. In other words, it would be far from actually controlling. This is not necessarily a bad thing – simply one to consider. The system could also be a wash with more aircraft able to use existing airspace and more controllers handling the increased volume. Here is where the unions will want a large voice at the table. To me, this is starting to sound vaguely familiar to the argument made for cockpit automation.

FAA and ADS-B/C Recently, FAA announced its decision to move forward with ADS-C along with Mode S, contrasting a rapidly expanding global client base happily entrenched in the satellite-based ADS-B corner. Currently, the US is also heavily vested in ADS-B via multiple resources with an ambitious and optimistic radar-decommissioning goal of 50% by 2025. But there is one important nuance to the FAA statement regarding this decision. As it reads, ADS-C is “ops du jour” for US Oceanic airspace operations and separation applications, whereas for NATOTS, controlled by Canadian, Irish, and UK aviation authorities, satellite-based ADS-B will be de rigueur. Aireon, a major player in the game that is 51% owned by Nav Canada,

recently signed the Central American corporation for air nav services (COCESNA) into its satellite-based ADS-B system. They also integrated SAGITARIO, the air traffic control automation platform utilized by the Brazilian department of airspace control. These are 2 additional authorities affiliated to a robust list of global regions already using, or planning to use, ADS-B. That said, ADS-B is still a very important part of FAA’s NextGen. FAA concedes that ADS-B, as another layer of safety, is not a negative. In controlled airspace, however, where multiple procedural standards are in play, the one with the larger separation minima will apply, essentially negating the benefits of the new technologies. This invites the question: Will ADS-C separation be different from ADS-B, given that the possibility of self-separation exists for B? I can see that option in the Gulf of Mexico and other unique operating environments, but not over the distances required to cross an ocean. It may be that an employment priority is assigned to one system over the other in the case of a degradation of those layers of safety, in the same way that radar procedures are used over non-radar procedures and shifted when the primary system fails. Had we had these technologies in 1937, ANSPs would have tracked, located, and responded to Amelia and Fred’s distress signals. Emilia Earhart, while almost certainly not alive to-

day, could have left a far greater legacy and arguably been a more powerful catalyst for women to participate at greater levels than we have today in aviation and space exploration. I would go so far as to say there would be at least a major international airport or aviation facility named after. But I digress.

Brass ring ADS-B In/Out and ADS-C are game-changers when employed. Please note: ADS-B/C did not and do not need satellites to function. Previously, those same data signals were transmitted to ground-based stations (1300 in 25 European states) that re-transmitted the information to ATC or other aircraft. The limiting factor was, as in traditional communications, line of sight. In other words, geography and terrain were the barriers to complete near-realtime positioning verification necessary for separation. This ground-based system was restricted in its application by severely constrained access to remote areas of the world. Such limitations have a direct effect on both installation and follow-up maintenance. However, these were areas of the world over which flight operations most needed the coverage for safety and separation – precisely the benefits that satellite-based surveillance delivers. Initially, though, the same restrictions that prevented the installation

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and employment of traditional radar systems also prevented ADS-B via ground stations from providing the comprehensive coverage and safety it afforded. What satellites did was free the signals from terrain-based interference. Now, those same ADS-B/C signals are picked up by a network of satellites that re-broadcast the data unfettered directly to ATC, other ground stations that could re-broadcast to other ATC facilities, or aircraft in the air and on the ground. There are still many ground-based stations operating happily around the world, but going forward from this year, satellite-based surveillance should be the brass ring for ANSPs around the world.

ADS-B Out/In and ADS-C ADS-B Out provides information for the objective of separation. ADS-B In allows pilots to receive weather data capable of being displayed on a PFD or an EFB device, along with Mode S and traffic info to assist TCAS and ACAS II functions. ADS-C is an aviation cornucopia of information available in 3 formats. I think FAA’s decision was stout and provides several security aspects that ADS-B does not. Where various aviation ANSPs are in place around the world, ADS-B is a fantastic solution and a huge technological leap forward in terms of services provided. In terms of cost, it is also much less expensive than a region/country/ ocean-wide radar system for comprehensive coverage and sustainability, and here is where Aireon is capturing markets and clients. Countries can easily buy or contract for a package that upgrades their existing services and brings them into compliance with ICAO’s new 15-minute reporting standards. All of this translates into more airplanes in the air, and, subsequently, fewer on the ground. That perhaps means fewer gate-holds for airspace congestion and shorter lines to the runway, again reducing wasted fuel, which could, and should, translate into lower costs and lower ticket prices. Moreover, FAA and private companies are spending billions of dollars to upgrade the ATC/ATM system domestically and globally. There are some cost-related questions to consider. Will an increase

ADS-B equipment helps prevent accidents in many situations, such as taxiing when visibility doesn’t allow pilots to see other aircraft or airport vehicles near by.

in flights pump up the coffers of airports, airlines, nations or states? Will the increased traffic generate elevated taxes sufficient to maintain the system and prevent higher costs to passengers? Will the ROI to passengers mean that they realize a remarkable tangible benefit? Or will FAA introduce a new fee to offset the costs of implementing this new system, switching to a fee-based model that currently provides free TIS/FIS data? Will flights using ADS technology be more expensive than flights over areas where they do not employ satellite-based ADS-B ATC services?

An experience in Kabul Even as a lowly contract-tower controller, I am aware of the enormous benefits available using satellite ADS technologies. Here are some personal real-world examples. Our crew received a call from the tower supervisor. We were driving back to the main base after completing our shift, and he asked if we put a vehicle on the runway. “Of course not!” we answered. He asked because he had just received a report from a landing Boeing 747 pilot that he rolled out over a small truck under his right wing between #3 and #4 engines about halfway down the runway. A week later, a departing Boeing 767 pilot also queried the tower about a small truck he saw under his left wing at V1. In both cases, which occurred at night, ADS-B would have alerted the tower to the unauthorized runway incursion. Fortunately, no one was injured and the operational environment was very laissez-faire. Considering the other possibility, the consequences would have been dev-

astating. They would have included loss of life, aircraft, and runway use in a strategically vital airport and region, and a negative impact on US global strategic policy. For the approach and ACC controllers, during the initial push and build-up, ADS-B would have prevented at least 2 crashes, both CFIT. One commercial Boeing 737 airliner loaded with passengers (IFR), and one contract Lockheed L-100 (VFR) with 5 POB. Both aircraft flew into nearby mountains. ADS-B would have given controllers exact position data to include altitude as well as climb/descend rates in time to warn both aircraft to prevent these tragedies. Even taking controllers out of the equation in these examples, the pilots, had they been flying aircraft equipped with ADS-B Out/In, could have ascertained via their own PFDs an accurate presentation of their position with respect to the local terrain and taken action to avoid disaster. In a few years, I can envision the water-cooler talk at ATC training facilities as they try to imagine what controlling must have been like in the past (2015–2019) before global coverage of satellite-based ADS systems, and how we only had to handle half the volume of airplanes they do with new pilot-mandated self-separation protocols.

Boeing B-52s.

Glenn Woodward is an air traffic controller with 18 years of tower experience in the US, UK, and Afghanistan. He is an FAA-licensed flight dispatcher as well as a veteran flightcrew member on

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INTERNATIONAL OPS

Flying bizjets to and within China

PEK PKX

TSN

SHA

CHINA

CAN

PVG

SZX China is an increasingly common destination for international business aviation. Most ops, however, go into about 8 major centers on the mainland.

By Grant MCLaren Editor-at-Large

C

hina is considered one of the most expensive and restrictive business aviation operating environments worldwide, although it has actually become easier in terms of permit request turnarounds, crew visa options, and prevalence of high-quality ground handling services. Overall, it’s a welcoming and fairly flexible general aviation (GA) arena, say international support providers (ISPs). “Don’t be afraid to operate to and within China. Huge efforts have been made to welcome bizav over the past few years,” says UAS Ops

Dir China Carlos Schattenkirchner. “With proper trip planning and staying on schedule, China is very straightforward, and offers solutions to most issues related to permits, parking, airport slots, or visas. Sponsor letters ceased being a requirement a few years ago, crews now have more flexibility in types of visas that will be accepted, and there are ways to park longer than official parking limitations in the Beijing and Shanghai areas. We’re even recommending China for international tech stops these days, so long as operators plan ahead and consider all applicable rules.” Avfuel Account Exec David Kang points out that, despite parking being

difficult from time to time, operating business jets to China is getting easier. “The military still controls airways and flight levels, and you’ll face both airway restrictions and altitude holddowns occasionally. However, it’s now much clearer on what the rules of the game are, and we can live with this,” Kang adds. “In the past, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) would not notify you of the mistakes you made or wouldn’t direct you on how to correct perceived mistakes. Now, communication with CAAC is much better, and they’ll tell you what’s wrong with your paperwork and how to amend it. Keep in mind that you need to allow sufficient lead time to make any necessary changes to permits or applications.” ISPs say that, although local and foreign-registered bizav traffic has been down somewhat over the past 2 years, GA ops remain steady. While current US trade provocations against China have affected N-registered aircraft movements to the country, this decline has been substituted with increased business aircraft movements from the EU, Middle East, and other parts of Asia.

Operating basics Popular GA airports in China include PEK (Beijing), PVG (Pudong, Shanghai), SHA (Hongqiao, Shanghai), TSN (Tianjin), CAN (Guangzhou), and SZX (Shenzhen). This past October, PKX (Dexing), a new $11-billion airport located 29 miles south of central Beijing, opened to serve the capital. The plan is for both PEK and PKX to provide access to Beijing, which may provide some relief for GA operators currently struggling for airport slots and parking at PEK. Both PEK and PKX have dedicated GA terminals. Note that official GA parking limitations for PEK are 24 hours, while both Shanghai airports officially limit GA stays to a maximum of 72 hours. “Nonetheless, it’s possible for ground handlers to negotiate park-

Image courtesy Google Earth

It’s an expensive operating environment, but CAAC is more accessible, and visas and permits are easier to process now.

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Photo by Gu Zhimin

ing extensions, particularly if private hangar space can be sourced on the field,” says Jeppesen International Trip Specialist Jessica Chu. Overflight and landing permits required for China can be obtained within 3 days – often within 24 hours. “It’s much easier today to apply for and obtain overflight and landing permits, and we often receive approvals on the same day for major airports of entry (AOE),” remarks Beijing-based Jeppesen International Trip Support Specialist Ruby Du. “However, if you’re going to a location where slots are more limited, it’s still recommended to apply for permits as early as possible. In the case of domestic (non-AOE) airports, you should apply 7 business days in advance for permits and, as expected, there will be additional documentation requirements.”

AOE restrictions Your choice of Shanghai airports will be restricted depending on the direction from where you’re arriving. If you’re entering the country from Japan or the northeast, the only approved GA option will be PVG. “Should you wish to use SHA, you’d have to fly down the coast, turn around and approach SHA from the west, but this can be complicated,” says Kang. Other restrictions of which to be

Photo by Jose Vasquez

PEK is probably the most popular bizav destination on the mainland, followed by the 2 Shanghai airports. Note that there are parking restrictions here, and that slots may not always be easy to obtain.

Chinese Police marching in Tiananmen gate to the north of Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

mindful in China include being limited to no more than 6 flight legs and 5 stops within the country. After that, you’ll need to exit China, apply for a new permit, and pay another air compensation fee. Also, keep in mind that there are several airports, including PEK, PVG, SHA, CAN and SZX, where you’ll only be permitted 1 airport slot between peak hours (0800 and 2300 local), so, if you land at 0900 local, you’ll not be able to depart or reposition until after 2300. This can create issues for crew who may land at PEK after a long flight and then not be able to reposition to TSN for parking until later. This rule also makes daytime tech stops impractical at these locations. Another item to keep in mind is that aviation authorities in China do not like you to make too many schedule changes. While there does not appear to be a set limit to the number of permit/schedule changes

that will be entertained, ISPs caution operators against making more than 3. “China can be quite resistant to schedule change requests. If you send in multiple changes, authorities may just deny all landing permissions,” says Kang. “We recommend not trying to make more than 3 changes to an approved permit.” On the good news, cabotage is seldom an issue in China, and you’ll normally be allowed to pick up and fly local nationals point to point within China, say ISPs. Also, CAAC does not differentiate between private and charter ops, so long as the aircraft has fewer than 30 pax seats. “Aviation authorities here consider all GA flights to be private if you have fewer than 30 passengers,” says Du. “But if you’re attempting to operate a traditional charter with more than 30 passengers, plan on at least 30 days’ lead time, although permit approval is not guaranteed.” PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  39

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Visa options

ITPS Sr Ops Specialist Chris Linebaugh says that cost is a factor that should be considered when operating to and within China. “Expect to pay about twice what you might pay to operate to and within India,” he states. “Ground handling and associated charges for a stop at PEK can easily run from $15,000 to $20,000, and you’ll pay about $3000 in airspace compensation fees – all this in addition to nav charges of up to $5000 each time you enter/traverse the country.”

Airways and routings With each permit request, operators should specify desired routing. However, the routing you’re ultimately given will not necessarily be what you’d requested. “You’ll be kept on airways in China and not necessarily be permitted to choose the most convenient published airways or altitudes,” confirms Kang. ITPS Sr Ops Specialist Jon Wells points out that certain airways, such as L888 across China toward Europe,

are open only to commercial flights. Likewise, direct airways between China and India are only accessible for airline ops. “Unless your aircraft is registered in China or Taiwan, you cannot fly directly between the 2 territories,” explains Wells. “You’ll need to stop at HKG (Hong Kong), MFM (Macau) or perhaps CJU (Jeju, South Korea) first if heading up to the Beijing area.” UAS Ops Mgr Duke LeDuc mentions that it’s quite common to be held down at non-optimal flight levels when traversing China. “From time to time, the military shuts down part of the airspace, creating bottlenecks and delays. It’s also common to be held down below FL300, so you need to be conservative in fuel planning. Keep in mind that you cannot easily divert to an alternate to pick up fuel as you can in other parts of the world. Diversions to alternates are only allowable if you declare an emergency and you may be on the ground for hours to prove to local authorities that your stop was really due to an emergency.”

Photo by Peter Kesternich

PVG, pictured here, and SHA are the major airports supporting GA flights into the Shanghai area. Shanghai skyline is shown at left.

For years, the rule had been that flightcrew members needed C-type visas to operate into China. In the case of crew arriving and departing by 2 different means – one direction as active crew and the other as an airline passenger – they needed both a C and an L-type business visa. “This created a lot of issues in the case of crew swaps,” relates Kang. “Some larger cities now allow crew members to go in and out on just a business visa – that is if they’re listed on the gendec. But it’s not always an easy process, and crew members may be stuck for over an hour at immigration from time to time.” However, this rather onerous crew visa situation seems to have eased somewhat. “Today, in most cases, a business visa is sufficient for crew members and they no longer necessarily need C-type crew visas,” observes Schattenkirchner. “But still, it’s always best to confirm this with local authorities in advance.” In some cases, GA crew members have been arriving in China and leaving, both as active crew and otherwise, without visas. A number of airports in China now allow visa-free stays of up to 144 hours, as long as you’re in transit from one country to a 3rd country. If, for example, you’re flying from HND (Haneda, Tokyo, Japan) to PVG and continuing on to DMK (Don Mueang, Bangkok, Thailand), you may be able to take advantage of a visa-free stay. However, this exception does not apply if you’re flying HND–PVG–HND.

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CAN is the major airport serving Guangzhou. Photo shows the city’s iconic Canton Tower.

Shenzhen, pictured, links Hong Kong to China’s mainland. Operators use SZX to access the city.

“These visa-free rules apply to both passengers and crew, and we’ve been using this quite a lot recently for crews going to China,” adds Schattenkirchner. “On occasion, crews will fly in commercial without a visa and pick up a GA flight out, on the gendec, without a visa. This is something operators can consider, but it does take some prep work, and it’s best to talk with local customs and immigration in advance.”

Looking to the future

Photos courtesy Unsplash

While permit and visa processes have eased somewhat over recent years, ISPs project that China will remain an expensive operating en-

vironment into the foreseeable future, and one with more operating restrictions than many other parts of the world. Congestion and parking issues are likely to affect bizav ops for the long term, although this may ease a little as airport infrastructure is added and expanded. China’s current 5-year plan calls for the construction of dozens of new airports to welcome GA operations. “Demand for aviation services continues to surge in China, but new infrastructure and airports are being built, which may ease some congestion and free up GA slots and parking options somewhat,” suggests Schattenkirchner. “We expect the new PKX to eventually ease GA ac-

Tianjin is one of the biggest industrial cities in northeastern China. GA operations are possible into TSN.

cess to the Beijing area, and there’s already talk of a new 3rd airport for Beijing some time in the future. For now, however, operators just have to deal with the congestion, costs, and assorted restrictions. Using a good handling service helps eliminate some of the in-between handling agents that had been necessary previously, and helps ensure the success of your trip to China.” Despite current trade wars and provocations, China is on a fast track to becoming the global economic leader. We can anticipate much more GA activity to and within this region in years to come. One bright spot is that China remains committed to expanding aviation infrastructure, from the Greater Bay area around Hong Kong and Guangzhou, and throughout the country. Future generations of pilots will likely be piloting supersonic business jets on routine ops to this part of the world, and enjoying the experience. Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 40 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage. PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  41

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WEATHER BRIEF

Icing

Photo courtesy USAF

Glaze ice fully coats the wing of an NCAR research aircraft as part of a study to understand icing behavior and its effects on flight. No amount of ice on an aircraft is truly safe, even if the aircraft is certified for flight into known icing conditions. Freezing rain event fully coats several Raytheon T-1A Jayhawks at Vance AFB (Enid OK). Ice is heavy and has the potential to overstress hydraulics and spars. All ice must be removed before attempting a takeoff.

By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst Climate Scientist

H

urtling past midfield, the copilot called out “V2” and the pilot applied back pressure to the sidestick. The nose lifted, but the aircraft struggled to lift off. After a few more seconds, the aircraft took to the air, but it wasn’t gaining altitude and the trees beyond the airport fence were approaching quickly. The stick shaker activated. Suspecting ice and knowing that the aircraft probably wouldn’t clear the trees, the pilot yelled “Aborting!” and pulled back on the throttles. With a heavy thud, the aircraft returned to the ground, and the copilot applied the spoilers and thrust reversers. They managed to slow the jet appreciably, but it still struck the runway end lights at around 40 kts, collapsed the nose gear, and left an 80-ft-long furrow in the wet ground. No one was injured, but the aircraft was substantially damaged. Investigators determined that the warm skin of the aircraft emerging from a heated hangar had melted

the snow that had been falling heavily for the past hour – snow that had refrozen as the aircraft skin cooled during taxi. The process left a rough and bumpy glaze that neither pilot had thought to look for. It was enough to disrupt airflow and reduce lift to the point that the aircraft would have stalled out and mushed into the trees, had the pilots tried to continue the takeoff.

Supercooling Ice accretion is one of the more frequent contributors to weather-related aircraft accidents, and a pilot’s ability to anticipate it requires an understanding of its formative factors. Like most weather phenomena, ice is a product of heat and water. With few exceptions, the water must be in liquid form, and the temperature must be at or below freezing. Except at bitterly cold temperatures below about -40° C (-40° F), most clouds are composed of liquid droplets. Only very cold clouds, such as cirrus or the high tops of towering cumuli, will be made entirely of ice crystals.

Photo courtesy NCAR

Nature’s weighty clear coat can ruin more than aerodynamics.

At temperatures above -40° C but below freezing, clouds will be a mixture of ice crystals and water droplets. However, at OAT below around -20° C (-4° F), the majority of water present will be ice. Temperatures between -20° C and 2° C (-4° F to 35° F) present the greatest danger for ice accretion, with temperatures of -10° C to 0° C (14–32° F) being the zone in which ice accumulation is likely to be most rapid. In fact, at -10° C, studies have shown that for every ice crystal present in a cloud, there are at least a million liquid cloud droplets, and these droplets are supercooled. While ice will always start to melt as temperatures rise above 0° C, water does not always begin to freeze when temperatures drop below freezing. There are several reasons for this. Most water droplets in the atmosphere contain microscopic impurities. The smaller the droplet, the less pure water exists in it, and the lower the temperature at which it will eventually freeze. In addition, while many small droplets will develop ice crystals in subfreezing temperatures, the weak ice bonds formed within the droplet are often broken quickly due to internal agitation as the droplet is jostled about.

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Cold soak icing The opposite situation may occur as an aircraft descends from high-altitude cruise. Fuel in the wing tanks doesn’t immediately equalize temperature with the surrounding air. As a result of this cold soaking, the wing skin may remain well below freezing as the aircraft flies through rain that is above freezing. The rain striking the wing is quickly cooled and may freeze to the wing. Normally, cold soak icing is temporary and will melt as the wing equalizes temperature with the air, but it’s still dangerous in that it distorts the airfoil, well aft of deicing systems, often during the critical landing phase of flight. At higher altitudes (up to 42,000 ft or so), and at temperatures well below -40° C, ice crystal ingestion into powerplants can cause accretion problems. Although water content is greatly limited at the supercold temperatures where ice crystals are abundant, the crystals can still accumulate within the engines and

Lowest freezing level (100s of ft MSL)

Photo courtesy NWS AWC

However, the situation changes as the supercooled liquid water droplets impact a larger surface that has a subfreezing temperature. The contact will serve to transform the liquid droplet more or less spontaneously into ice. This is why aircraft icing can occur any time there is liquid precipitation present and the OAT is at or below freezing. There are also other ways in which ice can accrete that do not involve supercooled water. One is the situation in which snow or sleet falls in subfreezing air on an aircraft skin that has been warmed above freezing, such as by being parked in a heated hangar or subjected to infrared deicing measures. Even use of onboard heated deicing systems can produce ice accretion. As the frozen precipitation lands on the warmer skin, it melts. If the meltwater remains as the skin cools in the subfreezing air, the water may refreeze as a bumpy glaze. At high speeds, the water will likely run back beyond the leading edges, accreting across the skin and especially any unheated sections. At slower speeds, such as in taxi, the leading edges will be affected as well. And if air bleed or heated deicing is on, the accretion will likely occur well aft of the leading edges.

Freezing level map for North America. Knowledge of the freezing level along your route of flight will provide critical guidance for avoiding altitudes at which icing is likely, or for finding warmer air to melt accreted ice.

around engine system probes. Such issues are most commonly encountered in the vicinity of towering cumuli, and, unlike supercooled water, these ice crystals don’t show up well on radar and won’t produce accretion on exterior surfaces. An important factor in ice formation is the drop in air pressure corresponding to airfoils and air intakes. As pressure decreases, so does temperature. When OAT is up to 2° C above freezing, the pressure decrease above a wing surface may drop the temperature to freezing or slightly below, allowing rain to freeze to the surface. Similarly, carburetors and turbine air inlets lower the pressure of air fed into the combustion sections. This similar drop in pressure can produce intake icing. Carburetor icing can occur at air temperatures as high as 20° C (68° F). While the venturi effect is not as severe in turbines, especially in direct flow turbines, the indirect airflow ducting in many turboprop engines can accrete ice at bends in the inlet ducts. The result of engine ice accretion can, in severe cases, block air intakes and produce compressor stalls or even combustion flameouts. More commonly, ingested ice may cause

surging or blade vibration. Excessive vibration or ingestion of shedding ice can damage fan blades and other parts of the engine, leading to engine failure.

Weight, drag, and angle of attack The most common issues of ice accretion relate to the aerodynamic performance characteristics of the aircraft’s lifting surfaces. Airfoil ice accretion adversely affects 3 of the 4 essential flight factors – lift, drag, and weight. Even a small amount of ice on a wing will dramatically reduce its coefficient of lift and the stalling angle of attack (AoA). The effect is most noticeable at lower airspeeds. While all icing increases drag, rough ice, glaze ice horns, and ice ridges aft of the leading edges all increase drag disproportionately relative to a clean wing surface. Even a few millimeters of ice can double a wing’s drag factor, and large glaze horns on the leading edges can increase it by 200% or more. Simultaneously, the surface roughness and deformation of airfoil shape by ice accretion will reduce lift substantially. Lift reductions of 30–40% are not uncommon, even with just a thin rime.

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or manual reporting, pilots should recognize that any report including liquid precipitation or fog in places where air temperature is at or below freezing suggests that icing is likely. Importantly, even at airports with the capacity to report freezing rain or ice accretion, the lack of a report should never be taken as an indication that those conditions are not present, especially if other conditions are right.

Reporting icing conditions

Partially-shed ice accretion on the leading edges of a Raytheon Beech King Air. Anti- and de-icing systems should be seen only as a means to buy enough time to leave icing conditions.

The modification of lift and drag factors also affects the stalling AoA. Ice accretion on the wings has been shown to reduce the critical AoA by up to 50% of the clean wing angle. The airflow over an iced wing may also have unanticipated effects on the behavior of trailing edge control surfaces. While such controls work primarily by deflecting air, ice can modify the flow of air across them, altering their effectiveness. At 919 kg per cubic meter (57 lb/ cu ft), ice is relatively heavy. If 1 mm of ice were to accrete over 120 sq m of wing (~1284 sq ft), it would add roughly 110 kg (~242 lbs) of weight to the aircraft. While this weight may not make a huge difference on the wings of a powerful business jet, it can put an already heavily laden aircraft over its maximum takeoff or landing weight, and may also shift the center of gravity. More dangerously, accretion on the stabilator surfaces far from the center of gravity can destabilize the aircraft and make it difficult – or even impossible – to control or recover from a stall or other unusual attitude.

Observing and forecasting ice Most larger airports worldwide have automated weather observing systems (AWOS) with precipitation discrimination capabilities – that is

sensors that can distinguish between rain and snow. The most advanced of these systems will also have instruments capable of identifying freezing rain and/or runway surface condition. When a system includes a precipitation discriminator, the metar will include the code A02. Otherwise, it will include an “A01” (although not all A02 stations will have a freezing rain sensor). Typically, freezing fog or precipitation will be included in metars and speci reports. The code FZ precedes the fog or precipitation code, as in FZDZ (freezing drizzle), FZRA (freezing rain), or FZFG (freezing fog). At a few coastal airports, a pilot may even encounter FZPY (freezing spray). As with any precipitation report, it can also be qualified by a leading “+” (heavy) or “-“ (light) symbol, and may also include VC for “in the vicinity.” If there is a freezing rain sensor but it is inoperative, the remarks (RMK) section will include the code FZRANO. At a few airports where observers manually augment observation reports, the RMK section may also include the thickness of ice accumulated on a horizontal surface. This includes the thickness of melted and refrozen snow. However, most airports are not equipped for manual reporting of ice accretion. Regardless of AWOS instruments

Aloft, many pilots who encounter icing or those who are not accreting ice in an area where icing has been forecast will issue a pirep. Pireps remain the only way for meteorologists or pilots to tell for sure whether icing is present at a given location and altitude, and they can be the best way to help fellow pilots avoid those areas or find warmer air, should they be accreting ice. In the absence of pireps, observations from weather balloons are used to estimate the freezing level, and that information is fed into numerical models to produce maps of icing potential. Given the relatively straightforward set of conditions required to produce accreting ice, present weather and forecast map products of icing potential are available for many regions around the globe. FAA, for example, issues a current icing product (CIP) based on a mixture of observational and model data to visualize the current likelihood and severity of icing (none, trace, light, moderate, and heavy), as well as the possibility of encountering supercooled large droplets (SLDs). SLDs are larger rain droplets that can produce rapid glaze ice accretion that may be difficult to fully shed. The CIP is updated hourly and uses a 20x20-km grid. Because it is estimating icing, the CIP will never suggest 100% certainty. Only a pirep can do that. But a good rule of thumb is that if the CIP is calling for more than about 50% chance of icing at a given altitude and location, pilots should expect it. A companion forecast icing product (FIP) provides similar information to the CIP but for the next 12 hours. These products are available from aviationweather. gov. Similar forecast guidance for other regions can be obtained from several websites, such as wxweb. meteostar.com.

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Photo courtesy Unsplash

When conditions aloft are conducive to icing, an icing airmet or sigmet may be issued. Moderate icing potential over a region will prompt an airmet, while heavy icing potential requires a sigmet. Airmets are valid for 6 hours, and icing sigmets are valid for 4. Convective sigmets for thunderstorms should also be considered icing sigmets, as heavy icing is frequently encountered in and around thunderstorms at altitudes above the freezing level.

Operating in ice Ice tends to accrete first on protrusions that have a thin cross-section relative to the oncoming airflow. Antennae, pitot systems, and even the raised frames of a cockpit windscreen are all places where ice, if it is accreting, will likely appear first. In older aircraft, many of these spots can be monitored easily from the cockpit, but as aircraft become more aerodynamically clean, pilots may not have as many visual cues on which to rely. Instead, they’ll follow environmental conditions to anticipate the presence of ice and monitor their instruments and performance for any anomalies that might suggest accretion. These anomalies include the aircraft not remaining in trim, and discrepancies between pressure and GPS altitudes and airspeeds, particularly when pressure altitude/ airspeed remains constant or lags behind the GPS readings, suggesting the pitot tube has become blocked. While it is never a good idea to knowingly fly into airspace where icing is present or likely, many aircraft are certified for flight into known icing conditions. This simply means that such aircraft have anti-icing and/or deicing measures designed to mitigate accretion for a period of time – generally enough time to exit the icing region safely and shed any buildup. In all instances, pilots should be familiar with icing advisory information such as FAA’s AC 91-74B, as well as their particular aircraft’s AFM or POH. On the ground, approved deicing methods should be employed before any takeoff is attempted. Most deicing fluids will maintain surfaces ice free for an approximate period of time or until several minutes after takeoff. Departure delays may require a second round of deicing.

Falcon 900EX is deiced at ZRH (Zürich, Switzerland). Aircraft must be deiced if there is frost, snow, or ice on the aircraft, and should also be deiced if the aircraft is likely to encounter ice accretion during taxi or departure.

Pilots should also be cautious in that the freezing rain that coats their aircraft is also likely coating taxiways and runways in ice. In anticipation of entering a region of icing potential aloft, anti-icing measures should be deployed before any ice is detected. A good rule of thumb though is to activate anti-icing systems at the first signs of visible moisture and OAT less than around 2°C (35°F). If accretion is noticed, deicing systems should be activated. Many pilots choose to delay popping deicing boots until enough ice has accreted, mistakenly thinking that a thin veneer of ice is more difficult to remove, and repeated use may create an air pocket beneath a thicker layer, making the ice impossible to remove.

Fly away from icing conditions Regardless of the type of deicing system on your aircraft, it is best to follow the AFM or POH for proper use, and try to remove the aircraft from the icing situation before it gets so bad that the deicing systems become ineffective. It is also worthwhile to keep anti- or de-icing systems active until you can be sure that your aircraft and its systems are and can remain ice free. Departing an area of icing is often as simple as changing altitude. Before departure, be sure to have a good handle on the freezing level along your route of flight. This will provide the most immediate help

in locating warmer air. Controllers, flight watch, or other pilots in the area may also be able to tell you where warmer air can be found. Near the surface in the vicinity of fronts, the frontal boundary presents a temperature inversion, with warmer air riding above colder surface air. Most surface fronts extend just a few thousand feet above the ground, so climbing to warmth may only require a small altitude adjustment. Absent a front, warmer air will almost always be found at a lower altitude, and, if you have sufficient altitude, a descent will bring you toward ice-melting temperatures. Naturally, finding clear air quickly, using airborne or surface radar data – if available – will halt any further accretion, although subfreezing air temperatures will help keep already accreted ice in place. As usual, if you have picked up ice, or are not getting ice in an area where it was forecast, be sure to file a pirep that will help meteorologists and your fellow pilots better pinpoint danger areas.

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.

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TRENDS

Envisioning the future This year looks positive for aviation. These are the developments forecast for 2020 and beyond.

Continued economic growth across the globe is good news, as is domestic growth, even if it’s slower than many would like. But, hey, it’s better than a recession.

Aircraft deliveries between 2020 and 2029 will total some 7600 units worth approximately $248 billion. Long-range bizjets will account for more than 70% of the total value.

By David Ison

Professor, Graduate School Northcentral University

V

isions of a new year typically involve resolutions, changes, and recovering from the agitation of a busy holiday season. It also marks the time for predictions and forecasts about a varied number of things, from sports teams to economies. Considering that significant financial decisions, both public and private, teeter in the balance based upon such data, their importance cannot be overestimated. Thankfully, the consensus is for 2020 to provide a hospitable environment for the business aviation sector. While there is a wide range of issues that may affect or change this fact, some of which will be discussed here, the overall outlook for this subset of aerospace is favorable. Let’s look at what may be in store over the near term for business aviation. In order to place sector trends into perspective, it makes sense to take

a look at the economic landscape, both globally and regionally. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global average “real” gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 3.0% in 2019, a retraction from slightly higher averages in recent years. Global GDP is expected to increase to 3.4% in 2020, with the recovery being mostly thanks to a resurgence of emerging economies. On the other hand, growth in the world’s largest economies (China, US, Japan, and Europe) is expected to taper. Beyond 2020, the global economy is predicted to increase its growth to levels above 3.4%. Within the US itself, GDP growth for 2019 was 2.4%, slightly above expectations, with the growth most densely isolated to the Southwest, Washington state, and Alaska. The weakest states were found in the Great Lakes region, including Maine, as well as Georgia. US GDP is forecast to grow at 2.1% in 2020 and slow to 1.6% through 2025.

For aviation, and specifically for business aviation, the forecast is a mixed bag, depending on your perspective. According to Honeywell, between 2020 and 2029, the world will need some 7600 business jets worth $248 billion. Considering that aircraft performance (eg, fuel efficiency) was rated as the main factor for stakeholders, new aircraft purchases are expected to go up 5%, while replacement purchases will drop by about 3%. Interestingly, large and long-range aircraft are expected to make up 71% of expenditures. In North America, new jet deliveries are predicted to shrink by 2%, although used aircraft acquisitions will jump to 11%. Part of this is due to a 26% drop in used aircraft prices, as well as a change to tax laws that modifies 1st-year ownership exemptions. Obviously, low used plane prices are good news for some and bad news for others. Respondents to Honeywell’s survey indicated that 1/3 of operators expected a need to replace or supplement their fleet over the next 5 years. Asia is theorized to expand its bizav sector by 3%, while Latin America will continue to shrink, but only by 1%. Trends in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa are uncertain, with the UK Brexit plan adding ambiguity until resolved.

Photos by Brent Bundy

Business aircraft trends

Bizjet manufacturers Aircraft manufacturers are beginning to adapt to changing economic conditions and stakeholder requirements. For example, Bombardier, after Airbus acquired its commercial aircraft segment, is refocusing on business aircraft. Embraer is also ramping up its business aircraft

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Courtesy US Bureau of Economic Analysis

US GDP growth. Percentage change in real GDP by state from Q2 2019 to Q3 2019.

emphasis after Boeing snapped up most of the company. Gulfstream, meanwhile, is focusing on fewer and smaller aircraft, which, unfortunately, has come with typical downsizing ramifications such as job cuts. Textron has seen the light concerning its inability to effectively penetrate the large jet market, and the company will instead focus on mid-sized aircraft, such as the Longitude, as well as on turboprops. Among aircraft developments, expect rapid adoption of electric and hybrid engines, as well as more use of geared and non-geared higher-bypass turbofan powerplants, all of which seek to reduce fuel consumption and environmental footprint. In terms of actual aircraft that are likely to have a bright future, a few models coming to market in 2020 are likely to have a significant impact. There is a range of revolutionary advances that will begin to surface within the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) marketplace. Part of this will come at the hands of the rapid progress being made in the world of urban air mobility (UAM), in the form of passenger drones from Airbus, Bell, Uber Elevate, and many other companies. In this realm, electric VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft are a piv-

otal component of the UAM business model. Another VTOL game-changer coming soon is the Leonardo AW609. Bell’s Model 525 is also expected in 2020 or soon thereafter, adding another capable helicopter to the VTOL market. Textron will also have a few aircraft up its sleeves in the coming year or so. The company’s SkyCourier, for example, may upend the cargo world by providing an alternative to the Caravan. There are 50 orders for the upcoming plane already, compliments of FedEx. The other model, the Denali, presents a potential competitor to single-engine turboprop manufacturers such as Pilatus and Daher. Although the Denali has seen more than a few setbacks, it appears close to release in 2020.

Labor Aviation interests around the globe have been struggling with recruiting and retaining talented employees. Unfortunately, 2020 will not provide any relief. With 15,000 to 18,000 airline pilot retirements on the horizon in the US alone, coupled with lower ATP production, we are far from being out of the woods on the

pilot shortage. Business aviation will continue to get hit hard by this predicament, as pilots seek higher pay, better retirement benefits, and more of what they perceive as improved job stability. The number one reason why pilots jump ship from business aviation to airline flying is schedule constancy and predictability. Increasingly, too, aircraft technicians are leaving, for similar reasons as pilots. Oddly, many opt for working in places such as amusement parks, to be sure they know when they will be home and for a fatter paycheck. For business aircraft operators to compete, something will need to be done to address the disparities enticing employees to leave.

Costs Tied directly to the aforementioned, labor costs are only going to increase this year. There are few other options where a pilot can literally earn twice as much elsewhere (or even triple abroad). Jet fuel will also put a damper on things as it is expected to rise in price by 10¢ a gallon. In typical globalization-interconnectivity fashion, new rules for low-sulfur diesel for shipping vessels has affected jet fuel supply, leading to a minor pinch PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  47

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Air vehicle concepts on display at NBAA-BACE 2019. Clockwise are Bell Nexus, Safran-Uber concept, Airbus Vahana, and XTI TriFan 600.

in pricing. Because of the ample supply and production capabilities of the oil industry, it is expected that these changes can be absorbed easily without causing havoc for aviation. With this said, jet fuel prices are up 23.6% from the previous year, although price movement appears to have stabilized. The long-range forecast is showing pricing markedly lower than the spike experienced between 2012 and 2014, but nowhere near the lows experienced at the end of 2015.

Sustainability and other developments Not surprisingly, aviation has not been isolated from the drive toward sustainability and mitigation of the impact industries have on the environment. In Europe, where there is high social pressure toward adopting sustainable business practices, authorities have implemented what has been called a carbon tax. However, in the US and elsewhere, more financially-driven decisions have been made to reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. Sustainability practices have included development and implementation of sustainable alternative jet fuels (SAJF), as well as development of more efficient engines. Expect more movement toward being environmentally friendly. As a perhaps curious result of a

changing climate, there has been a boost in aviation activity recently, the more extreme weather having resulted in increased rescue and supply missions. More such events are expected, so this could provide some cushion to the industry if other predictions falter. Other developments to become more influential this year include flight shaming, the rise of Uber-like on-demand charters, and continued low interest rates. Flight shaming is when people or companies are degraded for flying on private aircraft, not only because of its cost, but also because it fails to leverage more sustainable forms of transportation. Recently, for example, Prince Harry was flight shamed into taking commercial for a royal visit outside the UK. In order to avoid flight shaming, individuals and corporations may move to expand the use of charter services or fractionals, escaping “detection” while enroute. Another related trend is that the fractional business model will continue to do just fine, but that non-membership and no-investment options will grow. These circumvent being tied to a specific service or having to pay fees or deposits. In short, users are not out any money until they complete their travel. Lastly, low interest rates continue to pervade worldwide and are not expected to change significantly in the near

future. This will help companies finance new and replacement aircraft, as well as provide more flexibility to fiscal decisions of flight departments.

Conclusion While no outlook can be assumed to be entirely reliable, 2020 looks like a positive year for aviation. The wild cards of the 2020 election in the US, Brexit, and possible unrest in the Middle East or on the Korean peninsula add some uncertainty to things. While the first 2 aforementioned items are going to be resolved one way or another in the next year and in a (most likely) peaceful manner, the last 2 could play havoc on fuel prices. Yet aviation has been enjoying a long, positive run, and business aviation looks to continue growing at varying rates over the near to medium term. No doubt, 2020 will be an interesting year for all.

David Ison, PhD, has 33 years of experi­ence flying aircraft ranging from light singles to widebody jets. He is a professor in the graduate school at Northcentral University.

48  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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2020 PRO PILOT HELICOPTER PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY

Turbine: 1 Leonardo, 2 Bell, 3 Sikorsky, 4 Airbus, 5 MD. Piston: 1 Robinson Leonardo continues to take the lead in aftersale product support for 2 consecutive years. Robinson is 1st in piston for 17 years in a row. Survey results based on 478 line evaluations, a 12% return. Pro Pilot staff Report

Compiled by Conklin & de Decker

Turbine Leonardo keeps the crown in the turbine category for the 2nd consecutive year in the PP Helicopter Survey. It was 2nd in 2018 and 2017. Overall score earned was 8.28 compared to 7.79 in 2019, an increase of 0.49. This was the biggest overall score increase. Leonardo placed 1st in all categories of the survey, and had a remarkable improvement in spares availability with a score of 7.90 compared with 7.18 in 2019, a 0.72 difference. It also received a score of 8.30 in speed in AOG service this year compared to 7.63 in 2019, an improvement of 0.67. Leonardo is ready to assist operators with 24/7 Customer Support, ensuring faster response and solutions to customer needs. Bell retains 2nd place with an overall score of 7.86 this year compared to 7.61 in 2019, an increase of 0.25. Bell was #1 for 24 consecutive years up to 2018. It received 2nd place in all categories of this survey by achieving improvements in each category. Biggest single improvement for Bell was in the tech reps category with a score of 8.48, up from 7.90, an increase of 0.58. Bell

pared to 7.30 in 2019, a 0.15 increase. Sikorsky’s Customer Care Center, based in Trumbull CT, is available 24/7 worldwide to solve operator needs and improve aircraft availability and customer satisfaction. Airbus is 4th for the 2nd consecutive year with an overall score of 7.22. It was 3rd in 2018. Airbus showed an improvement in speed in AOG service with a score of 7.39, up from 7.32 in 2019. Airbus HCare, a 24/7 worldwide customer support, is dedicated to ensuring the appropriate response to each inquiry or concern operators might have.

continues to work hard 24/7 around the world providing solutions and innovations for its customers through its Customer Service and Product Support Teams. Sikorsky keeps 3rd place this year with an overall score of 7.53, slightly down from 7.58 in 2019. It was 4th in 2018. Sikorsky received 3rd place in all categories except for cost of parts. Best category advancement was in cost of parts with a score of 6.20 this year up from 6.04, a 0.16 difference. It also achieved a higher score in speed in AOG service with 7.45 this year com-

Helicopter OEMs overall scores Manufacturers

Responses

Company response time 2020 2019

Turbine

Spares availability

Dif

2020 2019

Cost of parts Dif

2020 2019

Dif

Leonardo

152

8.48

7.91

0.57

7.90

7.18

0.72

7.17 6.74

0.43

Bell

107

7.95

7.87

0.08

7.70

7.53

0.17

6.60 6.17

0.43

Sikorsky

33

7.68

7.84 -0.16 7.07

7.32 -0.25 6.20 6.04

0.16

Airbus Helicopters

110

7.49

7.71 -0.22 7.04

7.17 -0.13 6.03 6.12 -0.09

MD Helicopters

26

7.58

7.19

0.39

6.31

6.17

0.14

6.35 5.36

0.99

24

8.52

8.46

0.06

8.74

8.58

0.16

7.91 7.90

0.01

Piston Robinson

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter

6

7.03 7.41 7.03 7.38 7.08 6.98 7.07 7.33 7.02 7.49 7.52 7.38 7.28 7.25 7.15 7.52 7.40 7.63 7.52 7.73 7.59 7.22 7.21 7.22 7.58 7.53

26 years of surveys 7.67 7.84 7.82 7.89 7.93 7.80 7.62 7.66 7.66 7.81 7.63 7.59 7.66 7.50 7.67 7.80 7.96 7.87 7.84 7.83 7.76 7.88 7.85 7.95 7.61 7.86

8

6.24 6.52 6.11 7.12 6.56 6.73 6.86 7.56 7.28 7.38 7.35 6.85 6.92 6.12 6.75 6.60 6.90 6.54 6.97 7.26 6.79 6.61 7.32 7.80 7.79 8.28

Comparison of overall average scores

4

Leonardo

Bell rated 1995-2020

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

0

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

2

*Sikorsky *2008/2017 includes Schweizer

50  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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MD remains in 5th place, rounding out the Pro Pilot 2020 Turbine Helicopter Product Support Survey. MD’s overall tally was 7.08 this year, up from 6.69, an increase of 0.39. MD placed 3rd in cost of parts with 6.35, up from 5.36, a 0.99 improvement. It was the biggest improvement accomplished in the entire Helicopter Survey. MD’s global support team and mymd.aero portal are ready to cover any operator’s needs.

Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey

Piston Robinson is the winner of the piston category, keeping the crown for the 17th consecutive year. This Torrance CA-based company achieved an overall score of 8.48, the highest aftersale product support score for any helicopter company in this 2020 Helicopter Survey—piston or turbine. This helo OEM received its greatest improvement in service satisfaction with 8.71 in 2020 compared to 8.42 in 2019, a betterment of 0.29. Robinson Technical Support and Customer Service continues to make the effort to keep customers pleased with their helicopters.

Overall ranking

Turbine

152

Leonardo

8.28 107

Bell 33

Sikorsky

7.53 110

Airbus Helicopters MD

7.86

7.22

26

7.08

Piston 24

Robinson

8.48 2

0

4

8

6

Overall ranking

10

Responses

comparisons: 2019 vs 2020 Manufacturers

Speed in AOG service

Tech manuals

Tech reps

Service satisfaction

Overall scores

Turbine

2020

2019

Dif

2020

2019

Dif

2020

2019

Dif

2020

2019

Dif

2020

2019

Dif

Leonardo

8.30

7.63

0.67

8.56

8.45

0.11

9.02

8.72

0.30

8.53

7.90

0.63

8.28

7.79

0.49

Bell

7.87

7.69

0.18

8.32

8.14

0.18

8.48

7.90

0.58

8.09

7.95

0.14

7.86

7.61

0.25

Sikorsky

7.45

7.30

0.15

8.23

8.33

-0.10

8.30

8.37

-0.07

7.81

7.85

-0.04

7.53

7.58

-0.05

Airbus Helicopters

7.39

7.32

0.07

7.20

7.37

-0.17

7.93

8.04

-0.11

7.48

7.82

-0.34

7.22

7.36

-0.14

MD Helicopters

6.81

6.70

0.11

7.56

7.13

0.43

7.92

7.19

0.73

7.00

7.10

-0.10

7.08

6.69

0.39

8.25

8.14

0.11

8.39

8.75

-0.36

8.81

8.67

0.14

8.71

8.42

0.29

8.48

8.42

0.06

Piston Robinson

Product Support Survey

8

2

0

Airbus Helicopters

MD

0

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

2 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

4

1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020

4

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

6

2004 2005 2006

7.50 6.85 6.85 6.54 6.43 6.53 6.84 6.89 6.34

5.20 5.14 5.18 6.10 6.11 6.88 6.66 6.41 6.59 7.06 7.09 6.95 6.97 6.76 6.70 6.69 7.08

6

6.39 6.32 6.23 6.34 6.52 6.60 6.49 6.75 6.45 6.72 6.64 6.69 6.64 6.71 6.57 6.89 6.93 6.99 7.01 7.06 7.15 7.01 7.06 7.35 7.36 7.22

8

7.83 7.64 7.96 7.81 7.76 7.72 7.76 7.90 7.86 7.74 8.11 7.60 8.06 8.17 8.15 8.42 8.48

Piston helicopters

Turbine helicopters

Robinson rated from 2004-2020

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  51

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Leonardo

L

Leonardo Helicopters Philadelphia VP of Customer Support and Training, Michael Hotze, can be reached by phone at 215-281-1490 or on his mobile at 215-300-7015. Send e-mails to michael.hotze@leonardocompany.com.

V

ery pleased with Leonardo. They’re great to work with and parts are always on time. The FSRs are available and eager to help at all times. And the product itself is brilliant. Dumi Mdluli A&P. Leonardo AW139/119/109 Maintenance Mgr Fireblade Aviation Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa

uring the past few years, we’ve seen Leonardo’s transition from a helicopter maker with very little customer support to a company that has made vast improvement supporting its products. Our Customer Support Mgr Mehran Jafari has always been on top of any issues that we’ve brought to his attention and we’re very pleased with the support received. Alex Fernandez A&P. Leonardo AW139 Lead Tech Flight Management Corp Sarasota FL

Company response time Turbine Leonardo

8.48

Bell

7.95

Sikorsky

7.68

MD

7.58

Airbus Helicopters

7.49

Piston Robinson

8.52

6

8

10

C

ustomer support provided by Leonardo here in Australia is outstanding. We’ve noticed its service has improved enormously in this region over the years. We’re very satisfied. Brett Quarrell Helo. Leonardo AW169 Aviation Mgr Fox Helicopters Pty Essendon Fields VIC, Australia

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey

4

D

e have operated Leonardo (AgustaWestland) products for the past 20 years. In that time, we’ve seen Leonardo implementing new ideas and processes to enhance customer service levels. Some of these processes have greatly benefited the customer through AOG and parts availability. However, I’d like to have more communication between Leonardo and the customer regarding all fleet failure issues. I’d also like to give credit to an excellent customer support team working with us on Leonardo’s behalf, and its leaders Customer Support Mgr Mehran Jafari and Tech Rep Donald Brown. Larry White A&P. Leonardo AW109/169 Maintenance Manager NextEra West Palm Beach FL

pecial thanks to Leonardo’s team in Moscow for its excellent response time, great support in every aspect of service, and availability 24/7. Our Customer Support Mgr Andrea di Giovanni, Tech Rep Fabrizio Tenardi, and Avionics Engineer Kostadin Bochev have been very professional supporting us. Dmitry Nikitenko Helo. Leonardo AW139 Engineer Russair JSC Saint Petersburg, Russia

2

ur Leonardo Tech Rep Terry Ward is outstanding. We can rely on him to assist in providing answers to any issues we may have. Rene Navarre A&P. Leonardo AW139, Bell 407GX and Sikorsky S92A Inspector Supervisor Chevron USA Picayune MS

W

S

0

O

eonardo provides the best technical support I’ve ever encountered. Team members work extremely hard for the customer, way beyond expectations. My special thanks go to Customer Support Mgr John Cary and Tech Rep Graham Allan, who always take care of our needs. Dartanyon Van Der Grinten Operator. Leonardo AW139 Aircraft Maintenance Engineer London Air Services Richmond BC, Canada

Spares availability Turbine Leonardo

7.90

Bell

7.70

Sikorsky

7.07

Airbus Helicopters

7.04

MD

6.31

Piston Robinson

8.74

0

2

4

6

8

10

52  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Services You Can Trust

Leonardo is committed to delivering the highest-quality of maintenance, customer support, advanced service solutions and a comprehensive range of training programs - ensuring mission success; anytime, anywhere. Leonardo strongly believe in partnerships which are one of the essential keys to provide network opportunities for create, maintain and grow business together with customers - offering continuous support either at Leonardo owned or customer facilities, worldwide. Inspired by the vision, curiosity and creativity of the great master inventor Leonardo is designing the technology of tomorrow.

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M

y company operates an AW109C and AW119K, and it’s been a great experience to work with Leonardo. I’d like to thank Leonardo Training Academy for the excellent technical support provided and also to Customer Support Mgr Javier Matos and Tech Reps Roman Carreto and Marco Espejel for their outstanding cooperation and great disposition. Ramon Abreu A&P/Helo. Leonardo AW109C/ AW119K Dir of Maintenance Auto Europa and Sonata Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

to experience. AOG response time is also getting better. However, regular communication during the part procurement and delivery process could be better. Leonardo’s tech rep team is the best in the industry no matter the time or the issue. They are always professional, knowledgeable and available. Michael Kennedy A&P. Leonardo AW169 Aircraft Mgr 51NL Concord MA

hat I see in Leonardo is an excellent company. Our AW169 is a superb helicopter and the OEM’s support couldn’t be better. I’m very pleased with all aspects of Leonardo’s product support, especially with its technical manuals. Lee Hun ATP/Helo. Leonardo AW169 EMS Pilot HeliKorea Daejeon, Korea

ngineering dispositions are delayed by Stateside PSE (product support engineering) having to converse with Italy for approvals. While the dispositions are given immediate attention, the delays greatly hamper fantastic efforts made by all. At the same time, Leonardo’s customer service is outstanding and needs are met with personal, yet professional

reat improvement in spares availability is what I continue

Cost of parts Turbine Leonardo

7.17

Bell

6.60

MD

6.35

Sikorsky

6.20

Airbus Helicopters

6.03

Piston Robinson

7.91

6

8

10

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

W

E

G

4

ave been receiving limited support for our Leonardo AW189s. We operate the only 4 AW189s in the US. Parts availability has become an issue for us and it hinders our operations. I’m sure this can be fixed. Will Carter ATP/Helo. Leonardo AW189 Captain Era Helicopters Texarkana TX

eonardo makes an excellent product. However, I feel that lately its responsiveness providing replacement parts for AOG aircraft has slipped from the progress it has made over the past few years. Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW139 Captain PHI Cantonment FL

’m very pleased with the people at Leonardo Training Academy. They’re all extremely helpful and responsive. However, I’m continually frustrated by the delays generated by the dependence on Italy for final technical dispositions. In my opinion, North American operators would benefit greatly from a higher level of Academy autonomy. Barry Hesketh A&P. Leonardo AW139 Chief Engineer Ornge Toronto ON, Canada

2

H

L

I

0

care. Customer Support Mgr Mehran Jafari is fantastic and requests for support are immediately met with knowledgeable and factual responses. We are grateful to have Mr Pearl answering our calls. Steven Sharek A&P. Leonardo AW139 Acting Chief Inspector Maryland State Police Aviation Command Baltimore MD

Speed in AOG service Turbine Leonardo

8.30

Bell

7.87

Sikorsky

7.45

Airbus Helicopters

7.39

MD

6.81

Piston Robinson

8.25

0

2

4

6

8

10

54  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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O

Bell Susan Griffin serves as Bell’s executive vp commercial business. She can be reached at 817-280-2011 or svc_bh_officeoftheb@ textron.com.

B

ell’s aftersale product support is excellent. The company’s products are outstanding and its knowledgeable tech reps work very closely with operators. They’re always striving to provide the best service possible in the industry. Cristian Forghieri Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. Bell 206/407/427/505, Airbus AS350 & Robinson R22 Flt Ops Mgr Elicompany Carpi, Modena, Italy

B

ell support for the Bell 430 hasn’t been as good as I expected. Spares are hard to find and prices are increasing. However, I must say that company support for our previous Bell 206B3, 206L3 and 407 in our operation was excellent. William Stricker ATP. Bell 430 President & CEO Ozark Management Columbia MO

ur company used to have a Bell 409 and now it has acquired a Bell 429. We’ve already flown about 75 hrs. And we’ve also spent around $150,000 on maintenance to bring it up to date. What a great helicopter it is and the service received from Bell has been very satisfactory. Sávio Montenegro Zamboni ATP. Bell 429 & Phenom 300/100 Chief Pilot TAM Aviação Executive & Táxi Aéreo Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

44 101 74

roduct support received from Bell continues to be of high quality. Bell still outperform other manufacturers in service satisfaction. Ken Johnson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell 205A1/407 & Airbus AS350B/B2/B3 Dir of Operations Guardian Helicopters Fillmore CA

I

.operate the Bell TH-67 Creek and .OH-58 for my flight department and I’ve noticed that it’s becoming very difficult to keep legacy aircraft flying because of parts availability. Donald McLean Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell TH-67/OH-58 Pilot Butte County Sheriff’s Office Oroville CA

Tech manuals Turbine Leonardo

8.56

Bell

8.32

Sikorsky

8.23

MD Airbus Helicopters

7.20

Piston Robinson

8.39

4

6

8

92

Aviation Dept Mgr, Chief Pilot, Dir of Aviation, Flight Ops Mgr or VP Operations Captain, Line Captain, First Officer or Pilot Owner, Chief Executive, President, VP, other Corporate Officer or General Mgr Maintenance Chief, Maintenance Mgr or Mechanic

I

n my opinion Bell has outstanding aftersale product support. Parts pricing could improve, though. Rob Rose Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. Bell 429 & Sikorsky UH-60 Pilot FBI Tactical Helicopter Unit Quantico VA

H

ere in Mexico I operate a Bell 407 for the Government of Oaxaca. My experience with Bell has been great. They do an excellent job maintaining our Bell 407. José Mora ATP/Helo. Bell 407 & Leonardo AW109E Pilot in Command Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca Oaxaca, Mexico

I

7.56

2

Job titles of survey respondents

P

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey

0

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey

10

’ve being operating Bell UH-1s for the past 2 years. And, based on my experience, I think Bell has been doing a very good job supporting our helicopters. Colin Hudson ATP/Helo/CFII/A&P. Bell UH-1 Chief Pilot UH-1 Kord Technologies Belton TX

56  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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Sikorsky Sikorsky VP for Commercial Systems & Services Audrey Brady manages Sikorsky’s S92, S76 and S61 products and services. Brady and her team are in Trumbull CT. Call her at 203-416-4005 or e-mail at audrey.s.brady@lmco.com. Sikorsky’s support team can be contacted at 1-800-WINGED-S (intl dial +1-203-386-3029) or by e-mail at sikorsky.AOG@lmco.com. Website: https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/ capabilities/sikorsky/sikorsky-commercialaircraft-and-services.html.

W

e deeply regret Airbus’s decision to stop production of the EC120. It’s the best helicopter in its class. We hope Airbus continues to deliver its excellent support for many years to come. Pascal Brandys Helo. Airbus EC120 CEO CALPASS Del Mar CA

O

ur Airbus H125 is a great and high-powered helicopter. It’s a reliable aircraft and easy to maintain. I’m very satisfied with the product support received from this OEM. Martin Erdle ATP. Airbus H125 Contract Pilot Dement Construction Humboldt TN

O

perating our Sikorsky S-76C+ has been a pleasant experience. We’ve always received excellent service and product support from Sikorsky. James Moore ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S-76C+ Dir of Aviation Citi Aviation Moneta VA

Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter)

Anthony Baker is VP of customer support for Airbus Helicopters North America based in Grand Prairie TX. Baker oversees all customer support efforts for Airbus Helicopters in North America including civil/commercial aircraft spares support, logistics, customer training, and technical services. Baker can be reached at 972-641-3624 or by e-mail at anthony. baker@airbus.com.

A

irbus Helicopters produces the most reliable helos. If you are looking for an excellent performing aircraft in any mission environment, Airbus Helicopters is the best choice. And they provide the best customer service and support in the industry! Carmine Berardino Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. Airbus AS350B2 Aviation Consultant & Pilot RG Aviation Loxahatchee FL

Palmetto Aircraft & Rocky Mountain Rotors Owner James Lee has 18,000+ hours logged and over 30 years of maintenance experience. He rates Bell and Robinson and shares his experience on aftersale product support. His survey form is 1 of 429 helicopter survey forms received for the 2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Mfrs Product Support Survey. PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  57

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P

A

roduct support provided by Airbus is outstanding. And our Regional Tech Rep Scott Dodge is superb solving any issues or questions we’ve had. I’m also very pleased with the support we receive from Port City Air, the authorized service center in our area. William Midon ATP. Airbus EC120B Managing Member Bedford Jetflight Concord MA

B

ecause of 3 issues, I gave Airbus Helicopters an overall score of 8 for service satisfaction. First, spares availability is a big deal for us since we operate many “legacy” aircraft produced before the year 2000. It’s becoming more difficult to obtain replacement airframe parts. Second, we’re experiencing a rapidly rising cost of parts due to changing of vendors. And lastly, the technical manuals do not show the legacy aircraft and airframe parts in many cases. Therefore, we either refer to outdated manuals which of course are no longer produced, or we have to contact the Airbus Helicopter technical department for assistance. Michael Lammlein A&P. Airbus AS350 Dir of Maintenance NorthStar Trekking Juneau AK

irbus Regional Technical Representative Peter Soderlund has supported our fleet of AS365s extraordinarily this year. We couldn’t be happier with him. He’s always available day or night to solve any issues or questions that arise. Josh Ambroski A&P. Airbus AS365N/N2 & Leonardo AW109E Mechanic Mercy St Vincent’s Life Flight Toledo OH

ifind the Airbus H135 and H145 ito be good products, especially the H135, which is very reliable. And the Helionix avionics systems in the H135 are an asset for day/night (NVIS)/VFR/IFR HEMS missions. However, software to support Helionix and flight data is not well organized and in consequently time consuming. I think it needs further develop-

Leonardo

9.02

Bell

8.48

Sikorsky

8.30

Airbus Helicopters

7.93

MD

7.92

Piston Robinson

8.81

6

8

10

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 25 & 20 or more, respectively

A

I

Turbine

4

lying an Airbus AS350SD2 and a Bell 206L4 for ENG operations has been an excellent experience. Both are great helicopters to fly. However, the AStar’s ability to hover OGE is a great advantage over the Bell 206L4. This is especially important when trying to film a tight scene. Charles Atchison ATP/Helo/CFII. Airbus AS350SD2 & Bell 206L4 Helicopter Pilot Helicopters Inc Mansfield MA

ere in China we have difficulties with Airbus response for both spare parts and repair work. I hope it gets better. Ma Chuncai Operator. Airbus AS350/AS365N Maintenance Manager Government Operator Beijing, China

Tech reps

2

F

H

2020 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey

0

ment and better user interfaces. The Airbus logistic support could be also improved. Timon Kruisman A&P. Airbus EC135/ H135/H145 Technical Director ANWB Medical Air Assistance Lelystad, The Netherlands

irbus has truly gone above and beyond to support our AS365N3 over the years. We’ve received excellent service from the tech reps to the sales teams and of course from their training department. I’ve been flying Airbus equipment for over 25 years. And the company has always been there to support us. Airbus is simply the best! Joe Drummelsmith ATP/Helo/CFI. Airbus AS365N3 & Bell 407 Chief Helicopter Pilot Drummelsmith Acquisitions Maineville OH

Service satisfaction Turbine Leonardo

8.53

Bell

8.09

Sikorsky

7.81

Airbus Helicopters

7.48

MD

7.00

Piston Robinson

8.71

0

2

4

6

8

10

58  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020

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MD Helicopters Nick Nenadovic is VP of aftermarket and customer support for MDHI and is responsible for Customer Service, Spares Sales, MRO, Field Operations, Technical Publications, and Training for MDHI’s global fleet. Nenadovic can be reached at 480-346-6490 or via e-mail at nicky.nenadovic@mdhelicopters or via the Contact Form on the MD Helicopters website.

H

eli-Mart makes the MD product line work extremely well. Because of its vast inventory of highuse parts, hard-to-get parts, and its ability to ship parts overnight from the West Coast, we are able to get the parts needed by 9 o’clock the next morning. Scott Yackel Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/A&P. MD500E/MD520N Chief Pilot Chatham County Savannah GA

W

e’ve received good support from MD. We did have an issue with the manufacturer deflecting possible fault for track/balance from its own parts to aftermarket blades. After 8 months of troubleshooting, it was finally revealed that the issue was indeed the MD part. Although we spent some time battling this issue while AOG, we continue to have a very good relationship with MD Helicopters. Darren Rigsby Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFII. MD500E/MD530FF Instructor Pilot City of Mesa Mesa AZ

I

ihave over 13,000 hrs flying MD ihelicopters alone, and I love these machines. However, I believe that availability of major components could be better. This, combined with MD’s pricing, is making it unviable for us to keep operating their helos. I hope the company addresses this. Ray Worters Helo. MD500D & Robinson R44 CEO & Chief Pilot Eastland Heliservices Hexton, Gisborne, New Zealand

Robinson Robinson Helicopter Technical Support Representative Dan Rugenstein may be contacted by phone at 310-539-0508 x 425 or by e-mail at ts4@robinsonheli.com.

R

obinson’s entire staff is readily accessible and great to work with. I’m very pleased with the manufacturer’s product support. An area in which the company could improve is response time, especially when evaluating parts to determine whether they need to be repaired or replaced, and when issuing back credit for cores, and warranty reimbursements. David Hynes ATP/Helo/CFII. Robinson R66/ R44/R22 President HRCS & HRH Chesapeake Bay VA

O

ur Robinson R44 Raven I helicopters are well suited for our agricultural operations. The aircraft continue to be dependable day in and day out. They are truly a “gas and go” helicopter. And the product support received from Robinson is outstanding. Harry Teachman Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Robinson R44 Raven I Line Pilot Firefly Helicopter Services South Dartmouth MA

W

e’re satisfied with Robinson’s product support. We’ve logged more than 300 hours in the R44 Raven II in the past 2 years, and the service received from the tech reps team has been excellent. Michael Warren Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Robinson R44 Raven II Partner Rock Creek Aviation Lookout Mountain GA

Methodology

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or the 26th year Pro Pilot has asked helicopter operators to rate the quality of aftersale product support provided by helicopter manufacturers. And for the 17th year Pro Pilot is publishing results for 2 divisions—turbine and piston. There are 7 categories listed on the form—company response time, spares availability, costs of parts, speed in AOG service, tech manuals, tech reps, and service satisfaction. The form includes 8 helicopter manufacturers and has space for write-ins.

During Oct 2019 a total of 3584 survey forms were mailed to helicopter operators. Of these, 2518 survey forms went to a random selection of established Pro Pilot subscribers. A supplemental mailing of 1066 was sent to other helicopter operators. A total of 429 survey forms, representing a 12% return, came back to our Pro Pilot office in Alexandria, VA before the cutoff date Jan 20, 2020. Only 1 properly filled-out form per respondent was accepted. After review, 311 survey forms were accepted as being properly filled out. These forms provided a total of 478 line evaluations—446 for turbine and 32 for piston helicopters. In all, a 118 forms were disqualified due to inconsistencies, errors, lack of information, or duplication. Pro Pilot rules established a minimum requirement of 25 evaluations for the turbine division and 20 for the piston division to rank in the survey. There were 5 turbine helicopter manufacturers that met the criteria—Airbus, Bell, Leonardo, MD, and Sikorsky. Some manufacturers that received responses but not enough to qualify were Boeing (5), Enstrom (3), Mil Helicopters (2), Kamov (1), and Robinson (7). In the Piston division only Robinson met the criteria. There were piston OEMs that received some evaluations but not enough to rank in the survey—Enstrom (3), Scott’s Helicopter Services (2) and Sikorsky (3). Conklin & de Decker, a JSSI company, acted as research agent for this survey and performed the independent data analysis.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  February 2020  59

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WORKHORSE AIRCRAFT

Turboprop recap Here’s what’s available and what’s coming in the TP market. TBM 910

By Mike Potts Senior Contributing Writer

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or many years, turboprops (TPs) were the leading category of business aircraft. In 1980, as published by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), there were 677 business TPs delivered that year, compared with 285 jets. All 677 of those TPs were twins. The single-engine TP (SETP) was still only a concept that would enter the market in early 1985, when Cessna delivered the 1st SETP – the new Caravan. Later, in 1990, Socata introduced the 1st pressurized SETP – the TBM 700. In 1990, TPs still outsold jets 281 to 168, with 66 now being SETPs. By 1995, the gap in deliveries had closed almost entirely, with TPs leading slightly at 255 units compared with 246 jets. Moreover, hard times in the TP market had caused many manufacturers to withdraw, and only Beechcraft, then called Raytheon Aircraft, continued to build twin TPs. However, by the beginning of the new millennium, jets were leading in deliveries by almost 2 to 1, with 588 units vs 315 TPs in the year 2000, as Piper M500

TBM 940

reported by GAMA. Of those TPs, 110 were SE, with Piper and Pilatus having joined Cessna and Socata as SETP manufacturers. The SE models were becoming a major force in the market. The year 2001 would bring the appearance of an all-new twin TP in the GAMA listings – the Piaggio P.180 Avanti. Now Raytheon and Piaggio were the 2 makers of twin TPs. The GAMA report shows delivery of 12 Avantis that year. The Avanti made its debut in mockup form at the NBAA convention in Dallas in 1983, where Beech Aircraft introduced its ultimately ill-fated Starship. The overall business aircraft market seemed poised to pick up in the early 2000s, when the 9/11 attacks flattened the economy. The TP market plummeted from 421 units in 2001 to 194 in 2004. That would be the worst year for TPs in the period covered by this article. It would also be the worst year for jet production in this century (403 units), although jets were still ahead of TPs by a factor of more than 2 to 1. This spread between TPs and jets would continue, sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse, up until today.

Market recovery The entire market surged beginning in 2005. In 2007 and 2008, jets sales totaled 1136 and 1313, respectively. TPs also surged in those years, but not as significantly, reaching 465 in 2007 and 538 the next year. The 538 in 2008 totaled 336 SETPs, surpassing the 202 twins (172 from Beechcraft and 30 P.180 Avanti IIs). Now outselling twins by a rate of 3 to 2, the SETP had emerged as the significant segment in the overall TP market, while the classic twin-engine was fading. Leading players in SETPs at this point were Cessna with the Caravan series, Pilatus with the PC-12 and PC-6 Porters, and Socata with the TBM series. By 2010, the TP market had sunk back to 368 units, compared with 763 jets. For those following the GAMA delivery report, 2011 looks like a banner year for business TPs, with the total jumping to 526 units – a gain of 43% over the previous year. It appears to be the best year for TP deliveries since 1981. However, the gain is illusory. What happened is that GAMA added 2 new manufacturers to the 2011 year-end

Piper M600

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King Air 250

report – Air Tractor and Thrush. Both build SETP agricultural airplanes designed to spread chemicals on farm fields. There is no way, at least in my view, that these single-seat airplanes can remotely be considered business aircraft in the traditional sense. The addition of Air Tractor and Thrush added 165 units to the total in 2011. With these airplanes removed, the TP total for 2011 was 361 – a slight reduction from the year before, not a gain at all. GAMA has continued to include these airplanes in the TP total every year since. In GAMA’s defense, the airplanes in question are SETPs, and the 2 companies are GAMA members. But for someone trying to judge the health of the business TP market, it is necessary to deduct the agricultural airplanes from the TP total. In 2012, in a move that reflected the overall change that had taken place in the industry, GAMA amended the summary page of its delivery report to distinguish between singleand multi-engine TPs. In this first report with the 2 segments broken out, SETPs led the multi-engine versions 490 to 94. Of course, the SE number included the agricultural airplanes, and that year there were a lot of them (220). But even without the ag airplanes, SETPs led the multi models by 270 to 94 – almost 3 to 1. Bottom line: The multi-engine TP business aircraft that was once king of the industry no longer reigned supreme, while its SE counterpart emerged as the belle of the ball over the previous years.

King Air C90GTx

Flat is the new normal

Twin-engine TPs: Beechcraft

The year 2012 was also notable when Honeywell, in its annual forecast issued on the eve of NBAABACE, told us that flat is the new normal. For the TP market, this would prove to be stunningly accurate. Over 5 of the next 6 years, business TP totals varied by just 16 units, from a low of 415 to a high of 431, with the most recent total being 422 for 2018, the last year for which there is complete data as of the day of publication. That was just 2 units ahead of the 420 recorded 5 years earlier, in 2013. The 6th year that was out of the range was 2017, when the total sank to 387. While there has been no growth in the TP market in recent years, SETPs have been growing slowly since 2012, with gains averaging a little better than 5 units/year, and only 1 year in the period when there was not a gain over the prior year’s total. Meanwhile, twin sales have been sinking slowly, with sales totaling 107 units, while SEs finished at 315. GAMA lists 8 TP manufacturers. They are Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft and Cessna, Daher, Pacific Aerospace, Piaggio, Pilatus, Piper, and Viking Air. Until last year there were 9, but Daher acquired Quest Aircraft Company, which also built TPs. Now the Quest product line is folded into Daher. Let’s take a look at their offerings, starting with twin-engine products. Companies will be listed in the order of most aircraft delivered in 2018.

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft has 4 models of the King Air series, all of which feature Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suites. King Air C90GTx mostly closely resembles the original King Air C90 introduced in 1964. The C90 model has been upgraded significantly over the years, and is now faster, flies higher, and is far more luxurious. The most recent upgrade came in 2014, when it became the C90GTx, with a maximum range of 1260 nm, a max cruise speed of 272 kts and a useful load of 3280 lb. It carries a maximum of 8 occupants. Base list price for a C90GTx is $4.2 million. King Air 250 evolved from the original King Air 200, which debuted in 1974. Like the C90GTx, the aircraft has been significantly upgraded with newer engines and improvements to virtually every aspect of the airframe. Today, the 250 has a maximum range of 1720 nm and a maximum cruise speed of 310 kts. It carries up to 9 people and has a useful load of 3280 lbs. Base list price for a King Air 250 today is $6.39 million. King Air 350i evolved from the original King Air 350, which was introduced in 1990 and featured a cabin stretch of almost 3 ft over the 200 series airframe. The 350 also featured 2 additional cabin windows on each side. It was upgraded to 350i status in 2009. Enhancements include a maximum range of 1806 nm and a maximum cruise speed of 312 kts. The 350i has a generous useful

King Air 350ER

King Air 350i

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Cessna Denali

Cessna SkyCourier

load of 5145 lb, which allows it to operate with all the passenger seats occupied when the aircraft is loaded with full fuel – a rare attribute among business aircraft. Base list price for a King Air 350i today is $7.75 million. King Air 350ER has the same airframe configuration as the 350i, but features beefed-up landing gear and larger fuel tanks capable of holding 236 more gallons than its lighter-weight brother. Added fuel gives the 350ER a maximum range of 2692 nm, although maximum cruise speed is a tad slower at 303 kts. The 350ER is the model Beech markets to special mission customers and the military. Base list price for a King Air 350 today is $8.33 million.

Piaggio P.180 Avanti EVO features a unique 3-wing configuration. It has the largest cabin in the business TP class, with a height of 5 ft 9 in and a width of 6 ft 1 in. It is also the fastest, with a top speed of 400 kts and a range of 1700 nm, and carries up to 8 passengers. Nonetheless, it has been just moderately successful in the market, with 213 in service today. The current version, introduced in 2015, is priced at $7.695 million.

Cessna The 408B SkyCourier is an all-new twin-engine, high-wing TP currently in development. First flight is expected later this year. The SkyCourier is predicted to have a cruise sped of 200 kts and a range of 900 nm. It is to Cessna 208 Caravan

62

be built in both a cargo version without cabin windows and a 19-passenger version with large cabin windows and separate crew and passenger doors. Launch customer is FedEx, with an initial order for 50 units and options for 50 more. Current pricing for a SkyCourier is $5.5 million.

Single-engine TPs: Cessna Textron’s Cessna division has 2 TPs in production and 2 in development, making it the only company that has announced all-new TP products. The 208 Caravan is typically configured for up to 9 passengers in its unpressurized fuselage, although many Caravans have been delivered in a cargo configuration with no cabin seats. In addition to its fixed tricycle landing gear, Caravans are frequently operated on floats or skis. It features forward doors on each side of the cockpit along with an airstair door on the right side of the cabin, and a cargo door on the left. Many also feature an underslung cargo pod. Cruise speed is 186 kts and range is 1070 nm. A 208 Caravan is currently priced at $2.32 million. The 208B Grand Caravan EX came along when Cessna stretched the Caravan airframe by 4 ft. Both models shared the Pratt & Whitney PT6A114 TP and comparable performance, although in 2013 the Grand Caravan was upgraded to a PT6A140, which gave an 11-kt improvement in cruise speed, albeit cutting range to 964 nm. Grand Caravans currently outsell the regular model by a rate of about 6 to 1. Since its

inception, nearly 2800 Caravans of both models have been delivered. A Grand Caravan is currently priced at $2.685 million. Cessna Denali is an all-new SETP announced by the company at EAA AirVenture in 2015. The aircraft bears a stunning resemblance to the Pilatus PC-12, although it is projected to be about 10 inches longer in the cabin and have a slightly larger cargo door. The Denali is unique among all the TPs listed here in that it does not use a version of the Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine. Instead, it is to be powered by GE Aviation’s new General Electric Catalyst engine, which is also in development. It is expected to have a cruise speed of 285 kts and a range of about 1600 nm with 4 passengers. Cessna says there will be a 6-seat executive configuration as well as a 9-seat commuter seating arrangement. Current pricing for a Denali is $5.35 million.

Pilatus PC-12 is currently the best-selling TP model in the world, based on the most recent GAMA report of aircraft deliveries. Pilatus has delivered more than 1700 PC-12s since the model reached the market in 1994. Built at the Pilatus factory in Stans, Switzerland, the current NGX model made its debut in 2019. Cruise speed is 290 kts and range is 1845 nm. The flightdeck features Honeywell Primus avionics. Price for a typically-equipped 2020 Pilatus PC-12 NGX in executive configuration with 6+2 seating is $5.39 million.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan EX

PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2020

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Pilatus PC-12

Daher TBM 910 and TBM 940 are both products of Daher Aerospace, a French industrial conglomerate active in aerospace, defense, nuclear, and automotive that traces its history back to 1863. In 2009, Daher purchased Socata, the original manufacturer of TBM TPs. To date, 977 TBM models have been delivered. The TBM 910 and TBM 940 share the same airframe and engine, as well as the same performance. Range is 1730 nm and top speed is 330 kts, and they both carry 6 passengers. What differentiates the 2 models is their avionics – the 940 has a Garmin G3000 system while the 910 has a Garmin G1000 NXi suite. In addition, the 940, which just recently supplanted the TBM 930, features an autoland system, autothrottles, and a 5-blade Hartzell propeller. Current standard-equipped price of a TBM 910 is $3,925,715, while a 940 costs $4,125,590. Kodiak 100 Series II, formerly a Quest product, is a high-wing non-pressurized SE utility aircraft designed for short takeoff and landing operations from unimproved fields. It can be equipped with floats for operation on water. Quest Aircraft Company was formed in 1999 to build the airplane, which was certified in 2007 and first delivered in 2008. Since then, 267 have been sold worldwide. An executive interior was offered for the Kodiak beginning in 2014 to broaden its appeal in the market. Typical cruise speed is 174 kts with a range of 1132 nm.

Quest Kodiak

Daher bought the company midway through 2019. Current pricing for a Kodiak is $2,150,800.

Piper Piper M600 was initially delivered in the market in 2016 as an upgrade to the M500. A revolutionary new system Piper calls HALO was recently incorporated that, when activated, assumes control of the aircraft, identifies the nearest suitable runway and brings the aircraft to a safe landing there utilizing Garmin’s autoland system. The system communicates with ATC along the way, and, after engine shutdown, instructs the passengers how to exit the aircraft. HALO is a part of the Garmin G3000 avionics suite in the M600. On the ramp, the M600 is visually distinguishable from the M500 by its 5-blade propeller. The M600 has a cruise speed of 274 kts and an NBAA IFR range of 1484 nm. Its landing distance is 2659 ft. Current price of an M600/SLS is $3,081,402. Piper M500 shares the same airframe configuration and cabin size with the M600, but it is fitted with a 4-blade propeller. M500 has a cruise speed of 260 kts and a range of 1000 nm with 45-min reserve. It requires 2110 ft to land and is equipped with Garmin G1000 NXi avionics. It’s priced at $2,122,600.

manufactured by Pacific Aerospace in New Zealand. It was initially developed to facilitate sky diving, but has subsequently been sold for roles including freight, agricultural applications, passenger operations, aerial photography, and surveying. In passenger configuration, it is typically equipped with 9 seats. Cruise speed is 140 kts with a range of 1179 nm. Cost typically ranges from $1.7 to $2.2 million.

Viking DHC-6 Series 400 Twin Otter is built by Viking Air in British Columbia. The manufacturer began operations 40 years ago as a maintenance and repair facility. In 2006, the company acquired the type certificate for the DHC-6 along with the TCs for a number of other former de Havilland Canada designs, and in 2010 put the DHC-6 back in production at a factory in Calgary AB, Canada. The highwing unpressurized Twin Otter has a cruise speed of 157 kts and a range with standard tanks of 775 nm. It can be operated equipped with floats and skis, as well as on its tricycle landing gear. Cost of a new Twin Otter is about $6.5 million.

Pacific Aerospace PAC P-750 XSTOL, formerly known as the P-750XL, is a lowwing unpressurized utility aircraft

Mike Potts is senior editorial contributor for Professional Pilot. He was in corporate communications for Beech and Raytheon Aircraft between 1979 and 1997.

Piaggio P180 Avanti EVO

Pacific Aerospace PAC P-750XL

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