STAT MedEvac flies a fleet of Airbus EC135s and 145s for the Center for Emergency Medicine and Univ of Pittsburgh Medical Ctr healthcare system. At s TP & AGC (Allegheny Co Airport ) are (L-R) Dir of Mx Chuck Horgan, CEM Pres & CEO Douglas o xp E Garretson, Dir of Ops John Kenny, and Chief Pilot Timothy Daschbach. i el H
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2 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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Vol 52 No 2
8 POSITION & HOLD Solidifying the economic forecast for 2018 by Owen Davies Global GDP up by 3.3% and US tax changes will make it easier to justify buying and staffing corporate aircraft.
28 SAVING LIVES STAT MedEvac flies fleet of 20 Airbus helicopters by Brent Bundy EC135s and 145s fly out of 17 bases located in PA, OH, MD, DC. 36 VERTICAL TAKEOFF & LANDING AIRCRAFT The future of VTOL and eVTOL by Don Van Dyke These are the latest vertical lift capable machines currently in planning or production, with some expected to enter the market in the near future. 44 RULES & REGS Changes for close parallel approaches by Bill Gunn FAA recently issued revised standards for minimum separation.
48 AIRBUS RACER Airplane-helicopter hybrid is the new concept from Airbus by Nihad Daidzic Clean-sheet design aims to have more speed and range than conventional helos. 58 TP PHOTO ESSAY Business and utility turboprops are featured. by Pro Pilot Staff 62 WEATHER BRIEF Become familiar with the 500-mb chart by Karsten Shein Direction and speed of 500-mb winds usually tell the movement of T-storms.
68 INTERNATIONAL OPS Southeast Asia by Grant McLaren Flying to this region can be expensive and requires compliance planning. 72 CONNECTIVITY ALOFT ARINCDirect by Shannon Forrest Rockwell Collins provides connectivity and flight planning through ARINC. 76 ACCIDENT REPORT Execuflight Hawker 700 crash at AKR by Jim Walters NTSB report details lack of pilots compliance with required procedures.
80 HELICOPTER PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY Operators grade rotary-wing aircraft OEMs on aftersale service. by Pro Pilot Staff 88 OUTER MARKER INBOUND Roscoe Turner: Airman and showman extraordinaire. by David Bjellos
4 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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PHENOM 100: IT STANDS NUMBER ONE “Why the Embraer product? I researched the market, and I knew exactly what was there. There are other airplanes in the entry-level class, but if you look at the numbers, the Phenom 100 is the one aircraft that meets our needs in this category. And if you compare it side by side with the others in its class, the Phenom 100 stands number one, it does. The design of the aircraft cabin is a big deal to people who sit back there. The people who are on trips with us for business love it. It’s bigger, it’s taller, the windows are better, so it’s comfortable for the guys in the back. This is a clean-sheet design aircraft. It’s incredible. And if you’re up front, the design of the cockpit is very pilot-friendly. The way the avionics suite works is user-friendly and it reduces the workload. The Phenom 100 has met or exceeded the performance or design criteria completely. There are other companies out there that make jets. There are no other companies out there that make jets of this quality, doing this mission as designed. For 45 years I’ve owned products from other companies, and service is not always equal. I’ve had the best experience in 45 years with Embraer. And you know, it’s not that others don’t do good things, it’s just that Embraer has figured out how to do it better.” - Keith Christensen, Owner, Christensen Industries Watch Keith’s story and request more information at EmbraerExecutiveJets.com/Keith
One of the most disruptive entry-level jets ever designed, the Phenom 100EV offers exceptional advantages and advanced capabilities. Its avionics suite - the Prodigy® Touch, based on the Garmin G3000 - features the first-ever touchscreen glass flight deck designed for light turbine aircraft. With its exclusive Oval Lite® cross-section and modern, sophisticated design, the Phenom 100EV boasts the segment’s roomiest cabin, abundant leg and head room, seating for eight occupants and the largest windows and baggage capacity in its class. The aircraft’s private lavatory is the only one in its category with windows, allowing for plenty of natural light, while the signature airstair and largest-in-class entrance door provide truly enviable ramp presence. Delivering exceptional jet performance with operating costs similar to a turboprop, the Phenom 100EV is a true standout among entry-level business jets.
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Vol 52 No 2
Departments 14 VIEWPOINTS Editorial opinions from HAI President & CEO Matt Zuccaro and Nationwide Aviation GM Daniel Wolfe.
Call +1 402.475.2611
18 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying helos into 8A4 (Dowtown Heliport, Indianapolis IN). Answers on page 20. 22 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers relate how they made aviation their professional career. 54 AL LOOKS BACK A Hawker and a Musketeer enter the picture, then a different relationship with Learjet. 56 SID & STAR Oscar Lugnut experiences the performance of a turboprop airplane landing on a short runway.
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STAT MedEvac flies a fleet of Airbus EC135s and 145s for the Center for Emergency Medicine and Univ of Pittsburgh Medical Ctr healthcare system. At AGC (Allegheny Co Airport) are (L–R) Dir of Mx Chuck Horgan, CEM Pres & CEO Douglas Garretson, Dir of Ops John Kenny and Chief Pilot Timothy Daschbach. Photo by Brent Bundy.
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POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion
Solidifying the economic forecast for 2018 Global GDP is up by 3.3% and US tax changes allow IMF DataMapper
faster depreciation for bizav acquisitions, making it easier to justify buying and staffing corporate aircraft. Real GDP growth (Annual percent change)
People’s Republic of China
By Owen Davies Economic Analyst Forecasting International & TechCast Global
hen last we examined the global economy (Pro Pilot, Oct 2016, p 74), much of the world still was suffering a post-recession hangover. Although things look better today, it’s worth a brief look back at late 2016 to see how far the world has come in only 15 months. The US had seen a modest expansion (historically), with an expected 1.6% growth for the year and 5% unemployment. Europe had never fully recovered from the Great Recession. Germany and other leaders were prosperous, but many still remained sluggish. Weaker economies saw unemployment ranging from high to horrifying. China’s economy was growing by more than 6% per year – great for any other country, but far from the 2-digit expansion Beijing used to deliver. Interest rates were so low in most industrialized countries that lenders actually paid borrowers a percent or 2 to take their money. The Bank for International Settlements, concerned about all these issues, warned of a “gathering storm.” Twice.
Present status You’ve probably noticed: The global economy has not imploded again in the last 15 months. In fact, there has been little but good news. For the 1st time in living memory, all 45 of the national economies tracked by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are growing. Those nations account for about 3/4 of the world’s economic output and more than
©IMF, 2017, Source: World Economic Outlook (Oct 2017)
80% of its people. According to the IMF, global GDP grew by an estimated 3.3% in 2017. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) puts it even higher at 3.6%. This is relatively modest by global standards, but still solid and up from 3.1% a year earlier. International trade grew by about 4.3% in 2017 and is expected to maintain that pace in 2018. We consider that a healthy, sustainable expansion. Global investment also was up by 4% in 2017. This was good news, too, as many observers have feared this was a weak point in the world’s economy. Wall Street, of course, is on a tear. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through 26,000 in January 2018. The S&P 500 also set a new record. It seems all is well with the world.
Business aviation For corporate flight, a healthy global economy has meant better times. Through October, bizjet movements were up 4.1% year-on-year in the US. Midsize and large-cabin aircraft were most active, with small-cabin jets and turboprops much less so. Clearly, the greatest demand is coming from international business, not from within the country. In Europe, 2017 had the 1st 12 consecutive months of traffic growth since the recession. October movements were up 8.9% over 2016, and from January on all countries on the Continent saw growth. Most other regions also did better, with movements up in Asia, Africa and South America. Business aviation logged more time. Worldwide, the average was 29.11 flt hrs in Q3 2017. The trend has been up since Q2 2014, with this the strongest showing since late 2008.
8 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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Regional growth, weighted average Percent
10 8 6 4 2
East Asia and Pacific
Europe and Central Asia
Latin America and the Caribbean
Aircraft sales remain soft. The UBS Business Jet Market Index reached 53 in December. Anything above 50 represents growth; 53 is weak, but it still qualifies as growth. Deliveries were tepid at best. Some 643 were expected in 2017, plus 10 Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jets. Only 621 traditional bizjets are scheduled for delivery this year, a loss of 22 not counting 41 SF50s. Turboprop deliveries are expected to slide this year from 361 to 337. Even so, good economic news has industry execs more optimistic than they’ve been in a while. A JetNet IQ survey in Q4 2017 found 53% believe we’re past the bottom of the aircraft market; 27% said we’re there, and 19% thought the low remains to be seen.
Looking ahead We expect more economic progress in the coming months. In December, the IMF raised its global economy forecast to 3.6% growth in 2017 and 3.7% in 2018. The OECD and Dallas Federal Reserve Bank agree. Not everyone is that optimistic, but no one expects another recession soon. So let’s take a look at the usual suspects: US, the European Union (EU) and China. We made a deep dive into their economies in our Oct 2016 article. Since our long-term analysis is mostly unchanged, we’ll just hit the most important points.
United States With a GDP above $18.6 trillion in 2016, the US economy remains larger than the EU’s and much larger than China’s (despite some poorly-reasoned reports that China has finally outgrown it). Here are some current statistics: In the US, the world’s largest bizav market, GDP grew by about 2.3% in 2017, well up from the 1.5% in 2016. Gaining speed throughout the year, the economy reached 3.3% annually in Q3 2017. Q4 is expected to be about the same. The World Bank calls this “solid momentum.” It’s impressive given that the Federal Reserve has at last begun to raise benchmark interest rates – to 1.5% in December. And inflation averaged 1.7%, still below the Fed’s 2% target. Real disposable personal income has been ticking up, giving Americans $207 more at the end of 2017 than the beginning, a gain of 1.8%. It isn’t the 2.9% of 2000, but good enough. Personal consumption spending has grown faster than in-
Middle East and North Africa
come, as usual. Yet, consumer debt remains under control. The real estate market has also improved. At year’s end, the median home cost was $270,000, up 8% from 2016. Inventory was down by 9%, and sales were coming 7% faster than a year earlier. Only 5% of mortgages were classified as subprime, compared with 20% in 2005. In all, the housing market looks healthier than it has in years. Jobs numbers too are generally good, with unemployment stable at 4.1%. Total nonfarm employment has climbed by about 170,000 per month, 20,000 more than needed to employ everyone entering the workforce each month. The year ahead promises to be even better. Unemployment is expected to drop to 3.9%, and perhaps 3.5% in 2019. Core inflation – ignoring volatile gas and food prices – is expected to be 1.9%, still just under the Fed’s target, so further interest-rate increases should be modest. All this reckons without the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The headline number for us is the corporate tax rate cut from 37% to 21%. We’re told companies will use the extra income to create thousands of jobs. Another change allows companies to pay only 10% tax on deferred cash earnings and just 5% on whatever they reinvest. They’re already sitting on $1 trillion to $2.6 trillion in cash, with 80% of it overseas. The new tax plan is meant to encourage its repatriation for new jobs. Now the bad news. It won’t happen. Most offshore money is sheltered in partnerships and financing deals that the IRS has long since declared fraudulent. Bring it back, and someone might notice that companies owe catastrophic sums in back taxes and fines. We know from experience that few will take that risk. The 2004 American Jobs Creation Act offered an even better tax break to bring back offshore profits, and only $312 billion came home. Studies showed companies bought back their stock instead of creating new jobs. And this is what companies have been doing lately – buying shares, paying debt, raising dividends, and sitting on the rest. They’re not making capital investments or creating more jobs than they can avoid. There is no reason for this to change. The new tax plan has helped power the stock market to new highs, but this can’t be sustained. Dips in the Dow and S&P in the last 3 years are nothing like what Wall Street analysts expect after such a long run up. Here on Main Street, the tax cuts may raise GDP growth 1 or 2 tenths of a percent. Sustaining much more than that would be a surprise.
10 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
Position & Hold Feb 18 MQS/RH/CS.indd 10
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PERFECT FOR HARD -TO - REACH PLACES. LIKE PROFITABILITY. The Pilatus PC-12 NG puts out-of-the-way destinations squarely in your “go-to” zone. Its mix of speed, range, nine-passenger cabin and short-field performance will allow you to complete more trips and use your fleet more cost-effectively. All for much lower acquisition and operating costs than comparable twins. Profitability? You’ll be flying there daily. Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd • +1 303 465 9099 • www.pilatus-aircraft.com
PIL0517_ProPilot_HardToReach.indd 1 Position & Hold Feb 18 MQS/RH/CS.indd 11
5/10/2017 4:30:19 PM 1/31/18 9:58 AM
Harmonized unemployment rate: Total: All persons for the group of seven 8.5 8.0
7.5 7.0 6.5 6.0 5.5 5.0 4.5
Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD, “Main Economic Indicators - complete database”, Main Economic Indicators (database). Copyright, 2016, OECD. Reprinted with permission.
Europe The Continent is the global economy’s feel-good story. EU GDP growth is believed to have reached 2.4% in 2017, up from a forecast of 1.9%. Current forecasts expect growth of 2.1% and 1.9% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. But unemployment remains worse than it should be, around 7.8% for the EU as a whole in 2017. It’s 9.1% in the Euro area. Yet, it’s the lowest jobless rate since 2009, with the total number employed at a record high. Unemployment should drop to 7.3% in 2018 and 7.0% in 2019. The UK is an exception. Unemployment remains well under control, stable at only 4.3%. Economic growth is expected to be 1.8% in 2017, better than previously estimated, slowing some in 2018 and 2019. What happens then depends on the terms of its separation from the EU. Our outlook is less optimistic than some – Brussels has little incentive to give London easy terms. We’ve seen reports that some companies born in the UK are moving to the Continent. We expect to see many more before the situation stabilizes.
China The world’s 3rd largest economy in real-money terms won’t reach 1st place until at least 2030. And it’s no longer the fastest-growing; India has the lead and will likely stay there for many years. However, Beijing has been doing a remarkably good job of managing the weaknesses cited in our previous article. Growth in 2017 is expected to be 6.8%, a little above 2016 (a spectacular year for anyone else). The OECD believes their economy will expand by 6.5% in 2018, slowing to 6.3% in 2019. These estimates seem reasonable. Our greatest worry has always been China’s vast accumulation of debt, and it may be worse than anyone knew. As recently as mid-2016, their total debt, including both official loans and those hidden in “shadow banks,” was quoted as 237% of GDP. The most common estimate today is 260%. That may be a trifle low. Last year the People’s Bank of China quietly doubled its tally of official loans. Add in the hidden debt issued by shadow banks and the total comes to 833%! Economists used to estimate that up to $1 trillion of their debt could never be repaid. At this point we have no idea how much it might come to. The good news is that the China Banking Regulatory Commission just banned entrusted loans. These are $2.1 trillion of these transactions, where 1 company lends to another with the bank, or a shad-
ow bank, as intermediary. China’s Financial Stability Board estimates another $2 trillion is outstanding. Our assessment stands: Beijing will continue to manage its economy successfully. GDP will grow at upward of 6% for a few years, then slide gradually to 4% by 2030 or so. We’ll be watching the progress a lot more closely from now on.
The bottom line All this leads to a fairly boring conclusion. We don’t foresee any major changes in the environment for bizav in 2018, and probably not in 2019. These will be tolerable times, but probably not great ones. Yet tax changes in the US did bring bizav 2 worthwhile gains. Bizjets will no longer need be depreciated over time. New or used, aircraft can be charged off immediately so long as the owner has just bought the plane. In addition, the legislation clarified the rule under which bizjet owners hiring a management company were charged a 7.5% Federal Transportation Excise Tax on each seat. Instead, they’ll pay only the non-commercial aviation fuel tax. For small companies especially, these reforms will make it easier to justify buying and staffing new aircraft. Over the longer term, the economy probably isn’t the biggest issue shaping prospects for corporate pilots – it’s airline demand. Boeing estimates 640,000 new commercial pilots will be required over the next 20 years – 253,000 in Asia-Pacific, 117,000 in North America and 106,000 in Europe. Other estimates have North America needing 18,000 pilots by 2020 and over 65,000 by 2025. Japan is already establishing flight programs to ease an acute shortage anticipated by 2030. In Australia, airlines are already short of pilots. All good news for those seeking professional pilot slots. We remain concerned about the prospect of autonomous aircraft, which seem likely to begin displacing human pilots in the 2030s. Yet, the average CEO will not give up the prestige of having humans at the controls when the masses are beginning to do without. In all, we see smooth skies ahead for business aviation, and for the pilots who make it possible.
Owen Davies is a veteran freelance writer and was senior editor at OMNI. He now works as a futurist at Forecasting International and TechCast Global.
12 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
Position & Hold Feb 18 MQS/RH/CS.indd 12
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Position & Hold Feb 18 MQS/RH/CS.indd 13
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VIEWPOINTS editorial opinions
Matt Zuccaro emphasizes need for safer helo operations. Dan Wolfe says bizav pilots need to be above reproach. Sikorsky S92 Bell 407
Airbus Helicopter H145
Matt Zuccaro ATP/CFII. President & CEO, Helicopter Association International Safety involves doing the right thing
think the helicopter community is in a good place with regard to safety. I’ve been in this business for 50 years and from my perspective the current focus on safety is the highest that I’ve ever seen. Along with this high prioritization of safety we are witnessing a downward trend in accidents. Noteworthy is the fact that members of the Helicopter Safety Advisory Council, an HAI affiliate that represents helicopter operators in the Gulf of Mexico, flew 344 helicopters totaling 196,484 hours and carrying 1,498,418 passengers in 2016 without an accident. This is good news for sure. However, we must continue to ask: What will it take to stop all the accidents? As I review accident reports and related data, it would appear the problem does not rest with the infrastructure, operating environment, regulations, aircraft or technology being applied. The 1 element that continues to show up as an accident causation factor is the human factor; in other words, it’s the people associated with the flight. The primary sub-themes under this item are risk assessment and decision making. I believe that the required change to get us to where we want to go regarding safety is a significant cultural change within our industry. We know what is causing the accidents, we know how to stop the accidents, now we need to take the final step and apply the philosophy of safety
1st above all else in every risk assessment and decision we make, all the time, not just when it is convenient. I fully acknowledge this is not an easy thing to do. No aircraft operator, pilot or maintenance technician likes to advise the GA passengers or business customers that the flight cannot be conducted. Although I found from experience that when I explained to my personal GA passengers or a commercial customer that circumstances or conditions did not provide the required level of safety, they normally were appreciative and understanding. However, I will admit that in many circumstances I was confronted with a negative response and pressure from many fronts to conduct the flight. This is the most critical point in the decision-making process where you must remain focused on what is truly important. We can never forget that our passengers have entrusted their lives to us, be you the pilot, maintenance technician, company management, or owner. We must accept the fact we will not transport every Chairman to every meeting, every patient to the hospital or fly every air tour passenger. And we may not complete every charter, training, firefight mission, or recreational flight. This is that point in time where you need to apply your background, training, experience, intuition, and logic to decide if you can conduct the flight safely without consideration to economic factors, business impact, personal needs, or self-induced or external pressures. Just do the right thing to ensure that everyone gets to live and fly another day. Share the dream – imagine no accidents. It is possible and we can make it happen. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Let me know what you think by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fly Safe – Fly Neighborly.
14 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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Dan Wolfe ATP/CFII/A&P. Bombardier Challenger 605 Aviation General Mgr Fortune 100 Company Business aviation ethics: it’s about doing the right thing all the time!
rom the many articles I have written in past years, the 1 thing you may have learned is that I always like to point out the great things that are happening within the business aviation world. Many of us know the fine line that business and corporate aviation walks. For every hundred things we do right, we only hear about the one bad issue that takes place. Today’s media is thirsty for any misstep that they can report on and run with while dragging the whole industry over the coals. Not to mention, we have taken many of the high paying, 1st class passengers out of the airlines and they continue to look for ways to get them back. As an aviation leader and corporate pilot for over 30 years, 1 of the items I value the most in our industry is trust: the trust our companies put in our leadership, professionalism, and ethics that goes unquestioned. Many aviation managers get the leadership and professionalism piece, but ethics is the area in which I have seen a lot of ambiguity. Most companies have general ethics policies and guidelines in place while other companies do not. What is your ethics policy within your flight department? Do you enforce the company’s ethics policies or do you just not talk about them? Let me tell you about a situation that I witnessed early in my career. I had just come into the FBO and was at the counter waiting to pay the fuel bill. There was a pilot next to me who was paying his bill too, but what made it a little unusual was that he was buying leather coats, numerous shirts and just about anything that wasn’t tied down. Before he had time to finish paying, his passengers walked through the door. As he saw them from the corner of this eye, he grabbed everything he could carry and told the counter person to put it all on the fuel bill as a fuel expense. He then dashed for the door and about 10 minutes later he came back in, greeted his passengers, signed the bill and left. As I paid my bill, the counter person said someday he’s going to get caught! I said I am not sure what you mean and he continued to say that the pilot felt he was underpaid and that was the way he compensated for it. The FBO rep also went on to say that the pilot did the same thing every other week! I couldn’t stop thinking about his behavior, how it was so wrong and unethical. We have all seen or heard about these type of experiences. Those of us who have been in the industry for many years have at some point been approached or asked to do something that we know bordered on ethical misconduct. I’m still amazed how much of this type of behavior continues today, from charging inappropriate items on the fuel bill to not openly reporting 3rd party commissions on aircraft transactions. If you don’t report it or are afraid to document dollars exchanged in any transaction, then it might be seen as questionable behavior. If you don’t follow ethical guidelines, you may
Whether in the cockpit, on the ramp, in the FBO or interfacing with company management, business aviation pilots need to be role models. Any questionable practices by a single company pilot can bring an unfavorable image to all of us. Each of us needs to be an exemplary proponent of good practices.
lose everything: employment, personal or company integrity, or maybe even your whole career. The NBAA Business Aviation Management Committee has had an open discussion on the importance of ethics within our industry and has identified a statement of best practices. It should be in the NBAA management guide in the near future and should certainly be used as a reference within all flight departments and the business aviation industry. The bottom line is we work in one of the best industries ever. It is about each one of us coming together and doing the right thing. Take time to learn your company’s ethics policy and be a leader no matter what your position is. As leaders, we must do it right all the time. If you encounter a situation that possibly presents a conflict of interest or puts you or your department in an ethical quandary, reach out to the company’s ethics officer and/or legal department. If you’re a small flight department, take it directly to the aircraft owner/operator. It will allow you to build credibility with your leadership team and will let you have a good night’s sleep too. And don’t forget to join fellow industry leaders and rising stars for captivating sessions at the 2018 NBAA Leadership Conference in San Diego CA from Feb 26–28. See you there!
16 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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Terminal Checklist 2/18 Answers on page 20
3. Select all that apply. Point-in-space (PinS) approaches have been developed at locations where_____ a Obstructions exist around the landing site. b The flightpath requires turns greater than 20°. c The flightpath requires turns greater than 30°. d The MAP is less than 2 sm from the landing site. e The MAP is more than 2 sm from the landing site.
2. How does the availability of RAIM apply to flying the ap proach if the GPS equipment is not WAAS-certified? a RAIM does not have to be available to fly the approach. b To ensure that RAIM is available, the GPS receiver performs a RAIM prediction at the FAF. c If RAIM is not available prior to initiating the approach, another type of approach system should be used. d If the GPS equipment does not sequence into the approach mode or indicates RAIM failure prior to the FAF, continue the approach to the DA or MDA and then perform a missed approach.
1. Select the true statement(s) about obstacles that apply to this approach. a The highest charted obstacle is 1875 ft MSL. b The heliport is located in an area with few obstructions. c Staying above the charted structures ensures adequate obstacle clearance. d The MSA of 3100 ft MSL provides 1000 ft of obstacle clearance within a 30 nm radius of OPINIC waypoint.
6. A minimum visibility of ¾ must be maintained until cancel ling IFR. a True b False 7. Select the true statement(s) regarding the VFR weather minimums required for the approach. a The minimum VFR flight visibility may be based on OpSpecs requirements. b Visual contact with the landing site must be made prior to reaching OPNIC. c If VFR minimums do not exist upon reaching OPNIC, a missed approach must be performed. d The pilot must determine if the flight visibility meets basic VFR minimums after reaching OPNIC before proceeding to the landing site. 8. Select the true statement(s) regarding the final approach segment. a Final approach airspeed is limited to 70 KIAS. b The missed approach point is a fly-over waypoint. c The approach is not authorized if the approach light system is inoperative.
4. This approach is restricted to helicopters with a maximum VMINI of 90 kts. a True b False 5. Select the true statement(s) regarding flying the initial and intermediate approach segments. a Airspeed must be limited to 70 kts. b DME/DME RNP 0.30 equipment may not be used. c The initial approach segment requires a descent to 2400 ft MSL. d The procedure is not authorized if arriving on a radial of 030° to SHB.
Reproduced with permission of Jeppesen Sanderson. Reduced for illustrative purposes.
Not to be used for navigational purposes
Refer to the 92-1 COPTER RNAV (GPS) 291° at 8A4 (Indianapolis IN) when necessary to answer the following questions:
d If using the local altimeter setting, a descent from 2400 ft MSL to the MDA of 1380 ft MSL should be initiated at BOULD. 9. Select the true statement(s) regarding flying the visual segment of the approach. a The heliport is 4.2 nm from OPNIC on a track of 336°. b The heliport elevation is the same as the surface elevation at OPNIC. c The pilot must contact ATC prior to OPNIC to cancel IFR and proceed VFR. d IFR obstruction clearance is ensured if the aircraft maintains the MDA when proceeding from OPNIC to the landing site. 10. During the missed approach procedure_____ a A maximum speed of 70 kts applies. b A climb gradient of 400 ft/nm is required. c The aircraft should begin a right turn direct to VHP at OPNIC. d A climb to 1500 ft MSL should be made prior to turning direct to VHP.
18 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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ADVANCED TRAINING AD - PROPILOT - FEBRUARY 2018 ISSUE - Trim: 8.375” w x 10.875” d Terminal checklist-2-18 lyt/CS.indd 19
Bleed: 8.625” w x 11.125” d 1/29/18 11:41 AM
Answers to TC 2/18 questions 1.
a Procedural note 1 in the Briefing Strip states that the heliport is an area of numerous lighted and unlighted obstructions. Structure elevations cannot be relied on to avoid obstructions because higher uncharted obstructions might exist. An arrow indicates the highest charted terrain point or obstacle—in this case, a man-made obstacle with a height of 1875 ft MSL. Minimum safe/ sector altitudes (MSAs) are for emergency use and normally provide 1000 ft clearance over obstructions within a 25 nm radius of the indicated facility.
2. c According to the AIM 1-1-19, if RAIM is not available prior to beginning the approach, use another type of approach system. When flying an approach with non-WAAS GPS equipment, the receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to the FAF. If the receiver does not sequence into approach mode or indicates RAIM failure prior to the FAF, do not descend to the DA or MDA—proceed to the MAP, perform the missed approach, and contact ATC. If the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after the FAF, initiate a climb and perform the missed approach. 3.
a, c, e “Copter” Point-in-space (PinS) approaches, which involve a VFR segment between the MAP and the landing area, 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°. Each of these criteria applies to this approach.
4. b PinS approaches are restricted to helicopters with a maximum VMINI of 70 KIAS and an IFR approach angle that enables them to meet the final approach angle/descent gradient. According to the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook, final approach angles/descent gradients for public approach procedures can be as high as 7.5°/795 ft/nm. At 70 KIAS (no wind), this equates to a descent rate of 925 ft/min. Helicopters with a VMINI of 70 KIAS might have inadequate control margins to fly an approach with the maximum allowable angle/descent gradient or minimum allowable deceleration distance from the MAP to the heliport. 5. b Procedural note 3 states “DME/DME RNP-0.30 not authorized.” Procedural note 4 indicates that airspeed must be limited to 70 kts only during the final and missed approach segments. According to Ballflag note 1, the procedure is not authorized for arrivals on SHB VOR airway radials R-231
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clockwise through R-312, which does not include the 030° radial. This restriction is typically due to a TERPS requirement that prohibits turns of more than 120 degrees. The profile view shows an initial approach segment from the IAF of SHB VOR to LEEBR IF at a minimum altitude of 2600 ft MSL.
6. a According to the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook, the visibility is limited to no lower than that published in the procedure until canceling IFR. 7. a, c Procedural note 5 indicates “proceed VFR from OPNIC or conduct the specified missed approach.” The FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook states that visual contact with the landing site is not required; however, prior to the MAP, the pilot must determine if the flight visibility meets the basic VFR minimums required by the airspace class, operating rule, and/or OpSpecs (whichever is higher). The visibility must be no lower than that published in the procedure until canceling IFR. If VFR minimums do not exist, the missed approach must be performed. 8.
a, b Procedural note 4 states “limit final and missed approach airspeed to 70 KIAS.” The MAP of OPNIC is a fly-over waypoint as indicated by the waypoint symbol in a circle. The landing minimums section indicates no change in minimums if the ODALS is inoperative and an MDA of 1340 ft MSL with the local altimeter setting.
a The plan and profile views show a distance of 4.2 nm and a track of 336° to the heliport. Ballflag note 2 indicates that the MAP surface elevation at OPNIC is 824 ft MSL, which is 92 ft higher than the heliport elevation of 732 ft MSL on the profile view. According to the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook, the pilot must contact ATC upon reaching the MAP, or as soon as practical after that, and advise whether performing the missed approach or canceling IFR and proceeding VFR. According the AIM 10-1-3, IFR obstruction clearance areas are not applied to the VFR segment between the MAP and the landing site—obstacle/terrain avoidance is the pilot’s responsibility.
a, b, d Procedural note 4 indicates that final and missed approach airspeeds are limited to 70 kts. A minimum climb gradient of at least 400 ft/nm is required unless a higher gradient is published. The copter 20:1 obstacle clearance surface (OCS) requires a 400 ft/nm climb gradient to allow a required obstacle clearance (ROC) of 96 ft/nm for each nm of flightpath. The missed approach instructions and icons indicate a climb to 1500 ft MSL prior to a climbing right turn to 3000 ft MSL direct to VHP VOR.
1/29/18 11:41 AM
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Why and how did you make aviation your career?
lways enjoyed airplanes ever since I was a young boy. My dad was in aviation as well, so I was exposed to flying while growing up. Jay Willingham ATP/A&P. Hawker 850XP Pilot FT Leasing Collierville TN
y high school shop teacher, Mr Easterly, and I often talked about the Air Force. One month after graduating I joined up. My 1st flight chief, MSgt Jesse Owens, told me before I was discharged that I already had the experience to get an A&P license. When I got out I went to work for Lockheed Aircraft. Got my A&P and then went to work for Eastern Airlines. Then the GI Bill became available for flight training. I was now hooked. Got all my ratings and lucked out with a corporate flight job. My fortune continued when I got on with Midway Airlines after they bought Air Florida. I flew the same DC9 aircraft as captain at Midway I had worked on at Eastern as a mechanic. Midway went to Ryan International for start up of Morris Air and then Southwest bought Morris Air. When I retired I went back to corporate aviation flying a Hawker 900XP. Still love aviation after all these years. Phillip Vernon ATP/A&P. Hawker 900XP Chief Pilot MSI Aviation Orlando FL
tarted watching airplanes when I was 2 years old in Richmond VA at Byrd Field. I used to pretend I was an astronaut while watching the Mercury space program launch of John Glenn. I guess the bug stuck. Before I started flying real airplanes, I flew radio controlled (RC) planes. A friend of mine was also flying RC planes at the same time he was working on his private license. After he obtained his license I went for a ride and thought this is what I want to do for a living. I wasn’t lucky like some people who had their parents help pay for their ratings. Started my flying lessons in 1982 at age 25 at the MJK (Mt Empire Airport, Marion VA). I was hooked, so I quit my real job and started washing and fueling planes at the airport on minimum wage while working on my ratings. Built time on my 1st flying job doing aerial photography, then onto hauling checks, the commuter airlines and some corporate. Now I’m starting my 22nd year at NetJets, currently flying as a captain on the Global 5000/6000. Terry Tripp ATP. Global 6000/5000 Captain NetJets Canton GA
anted a career that was challenging and exciting. And I always tell everyone I love playing with buttons and switches, and planes have a lot of those. After fixing planes for years in the Air Force, I got out and tried flying them. It was so much more satisfying than fixing them and I decided this was for me. I completed my Private certificate and began work on my Instrument rating. Then I decided to move to Colorado and accidentally found a Part 141 school. I applied, was accepted, got all my certificates and ratings, then began teaching for the same school. Like many others, my next stop was flying cargo at night. Now I’ve moved on and am flying Part 135 charter. Paul Belanger ATP/CFII. Hawker 1000 & CRJ200 Pilot MAC Air Group South Portland ME
ave loved all things aviation oriented, so learning to fly and choosing an aviation career were just natural choices for me. Now flying a Hawker and Gulfstreams, which are dream aircraft. Graham Fig ATP/Comm Helo. Hawker 4000 & Gulfstream G550/GV Captain Talon Air Farmingdale NY
ascinated by airplanes from the age of 6 and I always wanted to fly one. It’s been a labor of love the whole way. Used my VA benefits for flight training and obtained fixed wing ratings up to CFI, including MEL, Glider, and Seaplane as well as basic, advanced, and instrument ground instructor. I also did flight instruction, Part 135 air taxi ops and later went into Part 121 flight ops. There were many lean years, long hours and hard work along the way, which sometimes challenged my desire to fly, but I persisted simply because I love aviation and flying. Would do it all over again if given a choice. Raymond Fredell ATP/CFI. Cessna Centurion II VP Cedar City Aviation & Leasing Sequim WA
oth of my parents were in the US Air Force when I was a child, so I grew up around airplanes. I always knew, even from a very young age, that I wanted to become a pilot. So I attended a structured Part 141 school and earned an A&P license to support my flight training. A couple of years later I also earned a Commercial certificate and Instrument rating. My MEI and ATP were add ons I completed later on down the road after getting some hours. I enjoy each and every aspect of aviation – the flying of course, but also the maintenance, management, mentoring, and everything that goes with it. Chris Konop ATP/A&P. Premier I Director of Aviation Ali-Gator Air Springboro OH
22 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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irst airplane ride was in a single engine Beechcraft in the beautiful Colorado foothills with my friend and mentor. I was only 17, but every aspect of that afternoon struck me with a force that I’d never experienced before. I got on the ground, found a logbook and a flight instructor. When I realized that my instructor was a B17 pilot and my examiner flew F86s, the desire to fly was like gasoline on a fire. I just had to be part of this. Eric Cipcic Comm-Multi-Inst/CFI/A&P. Cirrus SR22 Owner & Operator Coyote Aerospace Montoursville PA
rew up on Air Force bases so I was exposed to aviation from the beginning. I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I could talk. Christopher Kirby ATP/Helo. Embraer ERJ175 & Robinson R44/R22 First Officer Envoy Air San Diego CA
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new I wanted to fly as a career from when I was 5 years old. While growing up I watched a steady stream of airplanes headed to LAX (Los Angeles CA). Soloed at age 16, joined the US Army and flew 20 years for the government. Like many others, I had a lot of great mentors along the way. Brian MacInnis ATP/Helo/CFII. Bell JetRanger 206 & King Air 300 Instructor FlightSafety Intl Wichita KS s a boy was taken to Europe to see where my dad served in WWII. My father was also a magician known by Queen Elizabeth. We flew on Icelandic Airlines and the captain allowed us to go up front. Wow – 10,000 dials and switches and I could see forever out front. I was hooked for life. Don Corbin ATP/CFII. Citation I Pilot FlightSafety Intl Orlando FL
he desire to fly was embedded at my conception. I set my goals, graduated from the USAF Academy, finished flight training, and then flew the RF4 Phantom, F111 Aardvark, A10 Thunderbolt, F15 Eagle, and F16 Falcon over a 26 year career. I’m also an ATP/CFII, have owned 4 aircraft, and am still going strong well past 3/4 of a century. Life is good and full. Harold Watson ATP/CFII. Cessna C421 President BJAerospace Denton TX always liked new technology, which seems to be natural for pilots. As a teenager I built a Santos-Dumont Demoiselle Damselfly replica and while trying to make it fly I joined the Brazilian Air Force. Now I’m having a great time flying the G650. João Bonatto ATP. Gulfstream G650 Captain Aero Rio Táxi Aéreo Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2/2/18 10:17 AM
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hen I was younger, my father, an aviation enthusiast, took me to numerous airshows in Montreal and Ottawa. When I saw different pilots do aerobatic stunts and visited the inside of various aircraft, I said this is what I will do in the future. At about 18 years old, with my parents help, I went to an aircraft mechanic school during the day and took flying lessons at night. I’ve been in corporate aviation for 52 years and have had a great time. Robert LeBlanc ATP. Challenger 601 Captain & Safety Instructor Execaire Prevost QC, Canada
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enior in high school in 1962 and my father signed me up for a Private license at an unbelievable price. I could have cared less but he was a WWI pilot on the German side. Got my Private ticket in 1963. Joined the Air Force as a refrigeration mechanic, got out and used the GI Bill to get my ratings – Comm-Multi-Inst fixed and helicopter and CFI. Then my dad’s friend got me my 1st corporate position in DC flying a Bell JetRanger 206, serial number 4. This led to other corporate jobs flying all over, plus more type ratings like in the Citations. Never wanted to work for a living, so after 48 years and 16,000 hours I’m about done. Even though some of my companies went out of business, it’s been great to be a corporate pilot. All the jobs have been fun. Gary Effers ATP/Helo/CFII. King Air 200 Line Captain Airtec Zebulon NC
viation career started when I was in the US Navy repairing aircraft avionics and flying on the Lockheed Warning Star WV2 aircraft. When I got out of the Navy, I joined industry where there was a lot of flight testing that needed to be done. So I took up flying while also doing the test requirements. After 30 years, 13,000 flight hours and 7 North Atlantic crossings I retired from flying. I’m still involved today as a consultant to companies in the industry. Joseph Ethier Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air E90 President Norab Inc Johnstown OH
y 1st ride was while still in the womb. Both parents are pilots, dad a flight instructor and mom an advanced ground instructor. It was either fly or farm, so started logging time at age 11 with 164 hours at solo on my 16th birthday. Private at 17, Commercial at 18, Multiengine and A&P shortly after at 19. I’ve been fortunate to have had a lengthy aviation career. Retired now and enjoying my Taylorcraft. Having just returned from a tour of Key West in a 4 ship group of enthusiastic TC owners. James Zangger ATP/A&P. Taylorcraft BC12D Owner & Manager Zangger Vintage Airpark Larchwood IA
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STAT MedEvac flies fleet of 20 Airbus helicopters
Photos by Brent Bundy
EC135s and 145s fly out of 17 bases located in PA, OH, MD, DC. Control comes from the Center for Emergency Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh.
By Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172
TAT. Common parlance for the need of expediency in the health care field. Not an episode of the myriad of medical dramas on TV goes by without someone yelling out “STAT” in a life or death situation. But for the millions of people living in the rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania, it means even more. For over 30 years, the air ambulance division of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has provided critical care transport to the Keystone State. While it often involves life and death, the drama is real in steel country. And when help is needed STAT, the men and women of STAT MedEvac answer the call.
History In 1978, several hospitals in the Pittsburgh area recognized the benefits of combining forces to provide a multifaceted approach to emergency medical care for their constituents. This non-profit consortium would become
STAT MedEvac EC145 on approach to land at the UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh PA. Upper right photo shows aeromedical flightcrew members removing lifesaving equipment from their helicopter after a recent mission.
the Center for Emergency Medicine (CEM), which remains a worldwide leader in education, research and critical care transport. Over time, the collection of hospitals comprising the CEM would all be brought under the umbrella of the UPMC Health System, which now wholly governs the organization. As part of their quest to provide the best possible care for their patients, the CEM quickly realized there was a need to provide 1st-rate emergency health care to patients faster and more efficiently. To fulfill this requirement, the air ambulance arm of the CEM was opened in 1984. The new program was christened as STAT Angel One but would later take on the STAT MedEvac moniker to more clearly define their mission as a medical evac operator. Being new to the business of aerial medical care, STAT allowed a 3rd party to handle the flight portions of this new endeavor. With the newly opened STAT home-base at AGC (Allegheny Co, West Mifflin PA), a natural fit to
run things was CJ Systems, an activity located on-field. This relationship would continue until 2007 when STAT made the decision to acquire their own Part 135 certificate and take over complete control of the operation.
Currently 17 bases STAT MedEvac’s success was quickly validated and by 1994 they had opened 5 bases. By the turn of the century, that number had doubled as they ventured to Cleveland OH and Baltimore MD. For the next decade, they averaged a new base opening every year, eventually bringing them to their current total of 17, including locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and Washington DC. Coordination and dispatch of aircraft are handled from their communications center located on the 13th floor of UPMC’s flagship location of Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital, just outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
28 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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FLY Continuous customer feedback means we’re able to constantly re-engineer and improve our service. It’s just one of the reasons we’re the helicopter industry’s biggest service network, providing 24/7 assistance to 150 countries around the world.
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Dir of Ops John Kenny was a former Navy helicopter pilot and PA attorney before joining STAT MedEvac15 years ago.
Operations As STAT MedEvac expanded and UPMC absorbed those initial participating hospitals, there were many changes to the program through trial and error. One aspect that worked well from the beginning is the Center for Emergency Medicine and its operational control of the flight department. The UPMC governs the not-for-profit CEM and all employees are treated as UPMC personnel, even though the CEM handles the day to day operations. Assuring that things run smoothly is CEM President and CEO Douglas Garretson. After spending 30 years as a paramedic in Pittsburgh, eventually rising to the Chief of Pittsburgh EMS, he joined STAT in 2004 as Senior Director of Operations. In 2007, he was promoted to his current positions. In addition to his decades of experience in the EMS field, he is also a private pilot, an attribute he is proud of since it contributes to his ability to oversee STAT more effectively. Garretson is quick to note that while his piloting skills help in his administration of the program, more important is the backing that STAT receives from UPMC. “We enjoy great support from our board of directors. We are tasked with providing high-quality service in terms of medical care and safe transport. We do this in part by flying twin-engine aircraft, having multiple check airmen, and ensuring a robust, proficient IFR operation that we take immense pride in,” Garretson proclaims. “Safety is paramount to us. We were the 1st helicopter operator to participate in the FAA Aviation Safety Action Program. We were the 1st rotor wing air medical program to achieve Argus Platinum rating (no longer maintained due to simulator requirements), and we were the 1st air medical pro-
vider in Western Pennsylvania to be accredited by CAMTS (Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems).” Garretson also points out the emphasis his program places on IFR operations. STAT has developed and maintained nearly 40 GPS approaches to their facilities. All pilots are expected to maintain instrument currency and proficiency, with a minimum of 3 approaches per pilot, per month. In addition, they were one of the early adopters of the use of NVGs in aeromedical. They provide 3 sets of goggles for each aircraft and regular training is part of the regimen. “We meet the expectations of our board without pressure for profit. STAT MedEvac operates independently with a positive bottom line,” Garretson adds. Proof that the CEM and STAT are in capable hands was demonstrated in the fall of 2017 when Garretson was elected chairman of the board for the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS).
craft: 15 EC135s and 5 EC145s. Older models are phased out and replaced with new ships offering an 8 to 10-year life cycle. Before delivery they are outfitted by Metro Aviation in Shreveport LA. In another of many 1sts for STAT, final completions are underway for the delivery of 3 new H135s. They’ll be the 1st equipped with Airbus Helionix avionics, which is designed to increase pilot safety by reducing workload. This is achieved by utilizing 2 computers to run up to 4 display screens, a 4-axis autopilot and a traffic advisory system (TAS).
Director of Ops John Kenny, a Canadian native, moved to the Pittsburgh area as a teenager and then joined the Navy to fly helicopters. After several years of flying the Kaman H-2 Seasprite, he left the service and returned to Pittsburgh. While flying various odd-jobs in the area such as air taxis and county fairs, he realized he needed a break from aviation so he went to law school. After graduating, Kenny worked for the PA Supreme Court as a staff attorney for the chief justice and later for a local law firm. When a fellow Navy buddy moved to town and told him about his new job flying for STAT MedEvac, Kenny realized that flying was his true calling and he dove back into aviation in 2003 as a line pilot. Having a 3rd party, CJ Systems, run the flight portion of the CEM/UPMC air transport was causing operational issues at STAT MedEvac. So in 2006 the decision was made to obtain their own Part 135 certificate and bring everything in-house. Kenny was tapped to assist in the process and when the cer-
In the early years of STAT MedEvac, they flew a variety of aircraft. Their 1st ship, Angel One, was an MBB BO105. Different models were added as more bases were opened, including EC AS355 TwinStars, Aérospatiale AS365 Dauphins, MBB BK117s and Bell 430s. Although the aircraft changed, one constant was the use of twin-engine variants which they preferred for the performance and safety advantage. In 1997, STAT took delivery of their 1st Eurocopter (now Airbus) EC135. This delivery of serial #9 carried great significance for both STAT and Airbus. It was the first EC135 to be operated in the USA and was also the beginning of a long, successful affiliation with Airbus. Since then, STAT has built their all-Airbus fleet to an impressive 20 air-
Regional Av Mgr and Line Pilot George Cavalier began flying helicopters over 30 years ago. After 8 years of active duty time with the US Marines, he joined STAT in 1995.
Dir of Mx Chuck Horgan has been working on STAT helicopters for nearly 30 years. He currently supervises 40 mx personnel.
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STAT’s main base at AGC is equipped to complete just about any work needed on their fleet of 20 Airbus helicopters. Minor maintenance is done at outlying bases.
tificate was acquired in March 2007, he was brought over to STAT as chief pilot, a position he held until taking over as director of operations in 2009. From 2007 on, all aspects of the aeromedical operation have been handled by STAT and the CEM under the umbrella of the UPMC. Kenny feels that this is the optimal way to run the program, not only for STAT but healthcare in general. “UPMC is much more than just a bunch of hospitals, but what I feel is the model for the future of healthcare. This is a vertically-integrated health delivery system. It includes insurance, education, hospitals, and much more. STAT MedEvac is part of that system and we are here to support them and their customers,” Kenny explains. By working for the not-for-profit CEM, they have the luxury of not reporting to stockholders. Kenny echoes Garretson when he states, “Helicopter air ambulance is a very competitive and challenging industry, especially if you want to operate at the high level that we do. Safety is our priority and we receive the utmost support from this organization. Many of the safety features that we incorporate, we were doing before they were required, and some things still aren’t required.”
Pilots It is this culture of safety that is attractive to prospective pilots. STAT currently maintains approximately 75 pilots spread across the 17 bases. New hires must have 2000 hours total time with 1500 in helicopters and 1000 hours PIC along with 75 hours of instrument time. Even with these elevated requirements, they rarely have difficulty finding applicants. Keeping watch over the pilots is Chief Pilot Timothy Daschbach. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, he earned a
BS in engineering from Penn State University and then joined the US Marine Corps in 1983 with the goal of being a pilot. For the next seven years he flew CH46 Sea Knights before transitioning to jet aircraft in the early 1990s and flying T2 Buckeyes and A-4 Skyhawks. Daschbach left active duty in 1996 and stayed on in the reserve until full retirement in 2006. When his active duty time ended in 1996, he went back to flying helicopters when he joined STAT MedEvac as a line pilot. In 2010 he was promoted to chief pilot. Of his many duties, he is tasked with finding the best aviators he can as well as keeping the flight schedule filled. “When it comes to hiring new people, what I get more than anything is applicants coming here because of the reputation of my line pilots. They come here because of the equipment we have and the pilots flying the line. I have a bunch of very loyal pilots working for me. Whatever the need, they always step up,” Daschbach says. “This is a very forward-thinking company. Whether it’s our single-pilot IFR aircraft or NVGs or TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) or just about anything else the NTSB was recommending years ago, this company was already doing. This organization provides me with the tools I need to do my job and do it safely.”
Training STAT MedEvac pilots receive the best training available under an assigned director of training. Requirements include annual checkrides (1 per airframe for dual-qualified pilots), recurrent training, 1.5 hours of IIMC (Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions) training per quarter, 2 IIMC drills with medical crews per quarter, the 3 aforementioned instrument approaches per
Chief Pilot Timothy Daschbach is a former US Marine helicopter and FW pilot. He oversees the 75 pilots spread across STAT’s 17 bases.
month, and more. The emphasis placed on instrument flying is merited. Daschbach points out that in 2016, company-wide they flew 664 flights in IFR conditions. He sums up his view of STAT when explaining, “We operate as well as we do because I have loyal pilots and I have bosses that give me the autonomy to do the job as I see fit. I am very fortunate.” Pilot George Cavalier flew CH46 Sea Knight helicopters in the Marine Corps. After nearly 8 years of active duty time, he joined the reserves when he signed on with STAT MedEvac in 1995. During his time in the reserves, he has been activated several times for overseas deployments, for which he applauds STAT’s support. “I did a couple tours to Iraq while working for STAT and they were fantastic every time,” he relates. “They really take care of us.” Of the 17 STAT bases, Cavalier has been assigned to 3 of them at different times but has been to nearly all of them filing in for other pilots. He makes his way around quite a bit now, as he holds the title of Regional Aviation Manager, one of 6 in the company. In this role, he supervises 3 bases with 4 pilots per base, each working a 7-day rotation with a 12-hour on/12-hour off schedule. His duties include administration, payroll, scheduling, and performance reviews, along with monitoring IIMC and recurrent training. This is in addition to flying his regularly assigned flights, which can average 20 to 25 hours a month of flight time. When asked what makes STAT different than other similar operations, he again stresses the aircraft and management. “We have new equipment, great IFR training, NVGs, and so on. And what’s important to me is that our company is confident in us, they really do watch our backs. I love it here,” he explains.
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Making sure the STAT MedEvac headquarters daily operations run smoothly at AGC are Administrative Assistants Fran Johnson and Vicki Oliver.
Maintenance With all the impressive equipment they operate, none of it would mean a thing if it weren’t ready when they needed it. And making sure of that is Director of Maintenance Chuck Horgan. Another of STAT’s Pittsburgh-natives, he served in the US Army but never spent time on the aviation side of the military. He did, however, develop an interest in aircraft and enrolled at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics to earn his A&P certification. Horgan worked his way through school by pumping gas at AGC, the same field that CJ Systems and STAT MedEvac were based. After completing his A&P, he went to work for CJ Systems, first working on the maintenance floor, then in the engine shop where he became a supervisor. In 1997, Horgan heard about a new helicopter going into production and that STAT MedEvac would be the very first operator. He figured that if he could get onboard working on this new model, it would give him an advantage down the road. Subsequently, when STAT took delivery of that EC135, Horgan moved over to their side of the house with CJ Systems. And when STAT obtained their own Part 135 certificate in 2007, Horgan was asked to come over with them to set up and run the records department. He held this spot until 2010 when he stepped into the DOM role. With 17 bases spread across 4 states, it takes quite a crew to keep things running smoothly. The 40 personnel reporting to Horgan are up to the task. Included in that number are mechanics
at each base, most operating 24/7, 4 full-time records techs, 3 people in logistics, 10 mechanics on the floor at the main AGC base, and 4 roving mechanics. Most routine work can be completed at the outlying bases, but periodical and heavier work are brought to AGC. This location has individual shops for avionics, engines, blades, and small paint work. About the only work not being done is engine and transmission overhauls. On average, with around 800 hours a year being flown on each aircraft, they end up with 2-3 ships in the main hangar at any given time. Like his peers on the flight side of STAT, Horgan credits his top-notch maintenance team to the reputation and operations of the company. “This is a great place to be, not only because of the new equipment but because of how they treat us. We have full operational control and there is no pressure to curtail what we do. This contributes to the very low turnover that I see on my team. My people are so experienced, they could be field reps for Airbus.” He adds, “Bigger is not always better. We have what we need. And as UPMC expands, we expand with them. Our mission is to support the UPMC and the healthcare they provide and they allow us to do that.”
Future With 80,000 employees, the UPMC is the largest single employer in Pennsylvania, operating more than 30 hospitals across the state and beyond, with more being added regularly. Even with this growth, more expansion is anticipated.
In addition to opening new locations yearly, they are routinely approached to incorporate other operations. This expansion of the healthcare system naturally means expansion of the services provided by the Center for Emergency Medicine and STAT MedEvac. As CEM President and CEO Garretson points out, “This is cutting-edge healthcare and we are here to support that mission. We go where the health system goes. That will surely mean more bases and more aircraft as new facilities come on board.” From an equipment standpoint, Kenny has been very pleased with the product that Airbus has provided. “Doing our due diligence, we look at all the options that are available in the market each time we are acquiring new equipment. For now, Airbus has the product and the support that we need.” With a continuous cycle of new helicopters replacing aging models, STAT MedEvac’s goal to keep the safest, best aircraft for their mission is constantly achieved.
Conclusion For the past 34 years, the people of Western Pennsylvania and surrounding areas have been privileged to be served by a preeminent emergency air transport program. From a single aircraft in 1984 to the impressive 20-helicopter fleet they operate today, STAT MedEvac flight ops log nearly 15,000 hours a year. This represents 12,000 flights in sometimes unimaginable weather, all to provide a net of safety to the millions of citizens that rely on them. As leaders in the helicopter air medical field, for over 3 decades STAT MedEvac has set the pace that others have followed. Unparalleled backing from a world-renowned healthcare system assures that the bar will continue to be set high and they will be given the means to reach it. When time is of the essence and help is needed “STAT”, rest assured that the men and women of STAT MedEvac will be on their way. Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 26 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 16 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.
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VERTICAL CAPABILITY AIRCRAFT
The future of VTOL and eVTOL The global rotorcraft market is projected to grow from $26.93 billion in 2017 to $30.69 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 2.65%. Airbus Project Vahana
Another trend is the increasing rate at which OEMs morph through acquisitions, mergers and outreach, bringing new ideas to the fore. Goals. From the OEM perspective, prominent product goals include increased speed, improved autonomy, and enhanced artificial intelligence, all coupled with better services and support.
Pioneering VTOL/eVTOL mobility By Don Van Dyke ATP/Helo/CFII. F28, Bell 222 Pro Pilot Canadian Technical Editor
lthough helicopters have been steadily updated over the years with new engines, avionics and other improvements, most are unable to take advantage of breakthrough aviation technology. The recent, sharp disruption in the rotary-wing aircraft industry didn’t help. Declining global oil prices significantly slowed growth and demand. Now, as oil prices strengthen, optimism rises in this cautious market. But even though current market indicators are encouraging, helicopter OEMs are exploring other opportunities for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) machines. The American Helicopter Society (AHS) International website on manned electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft catalogs more than 40 separate aircraft designs currently under development around the world. Nearly all of them leverage the promise of distributed electric propulsion (DEP) using multiple electric motors, each one spinning a simple propeller to generate thrust. The goal is to create a new generation of efficient, quiet and safe aircraft. These initiatives face a rotorcraft market driven by the need for reliable mobility and safe access. Increased global demand for emergency medical services (EMS) and replacement military helicopters along with capability expansion pro-
grams worldwide will propel the helicopter market. At least 19 companies, including Airbus and Boeing, are developing transformative applications refining designs as they try to pair electric energy sources with new VTOL airframe concepts. And there is keen interest from wide-ranging markets beyond those listed above, including postal services, major retailers, taxis, surveyors, and numerous others.
Technology trends and goals Rotorcraft OEMs and their suppliers recognize the growing demand for technologically advanced helicopters for military and commercial applications. So they are focusing on innovation in their models and designs to help their customers compete on a range of diverse service offerings. Trends. VTOL technology is on the verge of shifts driven by better batteries, motors and software. Since electric motors are lighter than conventional aircraft engines, greater design flexibility is permitted. The use of multiple electric motors can lead to significantly quieter aircraft, possibly allowing them to operate in closer proximity to populated areas. The ever-greater influence of software is seen in flight control systems (FCS), parts manufacture using 3D printing to lower prices and increase margins for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, and the spread of connectivity with and within the internet of things (IoT).
Airbus A3. This outpost (innovation center) of advanced projects and partnerships was established in Silicon Valley in 2015 to “disrupt both Airbus and the rest of the aerospace industry before someone else does.” The 2 related projects of special interest are Project Vahana and Project Voom. Project Vahana (eVTOL) is a flying-vehicle intended for both passenger and cargo transport. Realworld prototype testing is slated to begin in 2018. Many of the technologies needed – such as batteries, motors and avionics – are relatively mature. But the project will also require reliable sense-and-avoid technology. While such systems are now being deployed in the automotive sector, no solutions are yet available to meet the requirements of aviation. And according to the company, recent advances in automated composite manufacturing and assembly mean lightweight vehicles can be produced at high volumes with low enough costs compared with traditional aerospace manufacturing. This is what Airbus is really banking on. Airbus Project Voom
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Project Voom seeks to make commuters’ dreams a reality by letting them fly over traffic jams with the tap of a smartphone button. Voom has built 1 of the world’s 1st truly on-demand helicopter booking platforms that provides travelers with the ultimate in convenience and reliability, yet does so in the most affordable way possible. A rider can book and take off in as little as 60 minutes for up to 80% less than other helicopter services, uplifting their daily life by elevating their daily commute. Voom will compete directly with Uber Elevate.
Airbus Helicopters Airbus RACER
Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft (RACER) is an evolutionary concept of the Airbus X3 prototype which set a helicopter speed record of 255 kts in level flight in 2013. RACER is funded from the EU Clean Sky 2 initiative to investigate lowcost, high-speed rotorcraft. It’s incorporating innovations such as: • Combining the output of 2 Safran RTM322 engines with a single-shaft and gearbox to improve maintainability. • Moving the propellers behind the wings to isolate passengers from noise and vibration. • Replacing the rear tail rotor with a simple tail wing to reduce noise and increase speed. • Using counter-rotating propellers (lateral rotors) to provide antitorque for the main rotor. Safran Helicopter Engines and Safran Electrical & Power have validated a turboshaft-electric eco mode in ground tests and will fly the technology on the RACER. Eco mode allows a pilot to idle 1 of 2 turboshafts in cruising flight for either extended range or fuel savings of around 15%. The idle engine returns to full power rapidly and automatically with the help of an electric motor.
Bell 505 Jet Ranger X
CityAirbus is a 4-place self-piloted eVTOL urban air mobility vehicle designed to explore technologies for fast, affordable and environmentally friendly transport. During testing in October 2017, the team thoroughly checked the performance of 1 of the ducted lift units, confirming its lower acoustic footprint. In December 2017, the ground test facility was completed to enable evaluation of the propulsion system. This fully integrated drivetrain sports 8 rotors and 8 specially designed Siemens SP200D drivetrains (each direct-drive with 100 kW operating power) with high torque-to-weight ratio. The maiden flight of the CityAirbus is planned for late 2018.
computers and is guided by computer augmented piloting. The tail boom’s new anti-torque system enhances safety and operating performance while reducing noise. It provides thrust vectoring capability for improved control while avoiding the need for a tail rotor. Bell 505 Jet Ranger X is the 1st helicopter in its class to feature a fully integrated glass flightdeck. The goal is to equip it with a powerful turboshaft engine with Full-Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC), a modern digital cockpit, and a true 5-place cabin. Marketing price is planned to be about $1 million. Bell 525 Relentless
Bell Helicopter Textron FCX001 helicopter concept. Bell Helicopter unveiled a new future helicopter concept featuring a range of next generation technologies at Heli-Expo 2017 in Dallas. The FCX001 is a 5-bladed new medium twin, positioned as slightly larger than the Bell 412 in length and width. It features an advanced antitorque concept, hybridized propulsion, advanced airframe design, morphing rotor blades, virtual cockpit, advanced landing gear, enhanced cabin design, and flight control technology. This aircraft is controlled with a fly-by-wire (FBW) system integrated with 3 independent flight control
Bell 525 Relentless. This 20-pax helo resumes its flight test program. This 1st commercial helicopter with FBW features BAE Systems flight control computers. Bell V280 Valor is the first new American tiltrotor since the MV22 Osprey. It is a candidate to replace the UH60 Black Hawk. One major difference is the method of rotating the rotors: while the Osprey rotates
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Bell V280 Valor
the entire wingtip, including the engine; the Valor only tilts its rotors. The Pentagon’s long-term plan is to replace all current military helicopters with Future Vertical Lift (FVL) designs. UH60 Black Hawk and AH64 Apache helicopters, introduced in the early 1980s, will be replaced with FVL–Medium (FVL–M) aircraft.
In late 2017, Boeing acquired Aurora Flight Sciences, indicating accelerated interest in VTOL aircraft, electric airplanes and UAS. Boeing is sponsoring the GoFly competition, which aims to create the 1st personal flying device with VTOL capabilities. The competition’s organizers, a mix of aviation engineers and enthusiasts, have spent the last 2 years working with aviation groups, authorities and Boeing to devise the rules and structure for the competition in such a way that they might spur the sort of innovation sought. According to GoFly rules, “The goal of the GoFly Prize is to foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.”
Lilium Jet Leonardo AW 609. Leonardo currently expects the 6-9 passenger AW609 tiltrotor to be certified in 2018. Next Generation Civil Tiltrotor (NGCTR). A successor to the developmental AW609, the NGCTR demonstrator should fly in 2023. And a follow-on product, likely to be a 20-seat aircraft, could emerge in 2030 or shortly after. The company has long pursued a larger and more efficient design than the AW609, which the Italian manufacturer inherited from a defunct collaboration with Bell Helicopter. Several new technologies, including new rotor blades, wings and ailerons, will first be tested using subscale articles on an AW609 testbed. Leonardo also plans to replace the full engine tilting of the AW609 with simply tilting the gearbox and rotor blades. A new wing optimized for hover and cruise modes may improve efficiency by 10-15%. Leonardo also launched a long-term program to develop an electric-powered tail rotor and is still working to significantly improve the power-to-weight ratio of the electric tail rotor, which remains inadequate for commercial operations. The potential benefits make the technology attractive in the longterm since it removes the tail rotor driveshaft and the tail rotor gearbox and associated complexity.
The Lilium Jet consists of a rigid winged body with 12 flaps, each one carrying 3 electric jet engines. Depending on the flight mode, the flaps tilt from a vertical into a horizontal position. At takeoff, all flaps are tilted vertical so that the engines can lift the aircraft. Once airborne, the flaps gradually tilt into a horizontal position, leading the aircraft to accelerate. When they have reached complete horizontal position, all lift necessary to stay aloft is provided by the wings as on a conventional airplane. The Lilium Jet motors have a single moving part: the central shaft carrying the fan and motor magnets. Last April, an electric Lilium Jet flew near Munich, Germany. In total, 36 electric motors turning fans in a ducted wing and canard powered the flight.
Marenco Swisshelicopter SKYe SH09. The SH09 is a cleansheet design that can seat 5–8 pax. It’s a single-engine utility helicopter featuring an entirely carbon composite airframe, a 5-bladed main rotor with bearingless hub, a shrouded fenestron tail rotor and a high-visibility cockpit. It is powered by a single Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft engine. Reportedly, hot-and-high performance is excellent, noise signature is low and the available cabin volume approaches that of medium-sized twin-engine helicopters.
Marenco SKYe SH09
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MD Helicopters MD6XX. New features of the MD6XX include FBW controls, 3-axis digital autopilot, integrated weapons plank, radar cocoon, IFR capability, ability to launch and recover drones, all-glass primary displays, rugged high-definition tactical displays, and an integrated mission management system. The MD6XX also includes new-design main rotor blades offering more efficient operation, reduced noise profile and better autorotation characteristics. The extended composite tail boom and redesigned empennage with 4-blade tail rotor delivers over 40% more antitorque compared with NOTAR.
Passenger Drone Little is known about this OEM. The aircraft, known simply as Passenger Drone, commenced flight testing in early May 2017 and for the last few months has performed intensive testing with different simulated payload weights, simulated engine failures and different control modes. Initial manned flights with passengers onboard took place in August 2017 and the results and feedback are promising.
Robinson Helicopter R66 ENG. Robinson reported that sales of options were up despite its reduced 2016 year-on-year production which reflected the prevailing depressed market. One particularly interesting variant of the venerable R66 is the Electronic News Gathering (ENG) package. Standard on the ENG are Garmin’s G500H PFD/MFD system, Aspen EFD 1000H, Garmin’s GTN 650 navigator, 3 HD micro cameras, a pair of 7-inch monitors and 2 Geneva digital audio controllers. In the aft compartment, camera controls are located on the center and laptop consoles and images display on several HD monitors. Similarly, a multitude of options are available including a Genesys HeliSAS autopilot and air conditioning.
Sikorsky Sikorsky S97 Raider was developed from the speed-record setting Sikorsky X2 compound helicopter which was retired in 2011. The S97 remains a prototype but partners Sikorsky and Boeing plan to use its technology and design process as a basis to develop the SB1 Defiant, a high-speed rigid rotor coaxial rotorcraft for the US Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program. JMR-TD is the precursor to the Army FVL program. The SB1 competes directly with the Bell Helicopter V280 Valor.
Robinson R66 ENG
Sikorsky SB1 Defiant
Civil-configured S70i Black Hawks are increasingly popular in specialist roles such as firefighting and VIP transport. As more of these aircraft become surplus to military requirements, they may undergo refit for civilian service.
Personal Air Taxi 200 (PAT200). In late 2017, Erik Lindbergh, longtime pilot and grandson of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, announced the formation of VerdeGo Aero. Their focus is on creating and producing a short-range aircraft suitable for on-demand flights in urban areas. The VerdeGo PAT200 has tilting wings with 8 electric motors powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system comprising a liquid-fuel combustion engine and an electric generator. The 8 electric motors independently drive cyclic pitch prop-rotors on tilting fore and aft wings. A sub-scale demonstrator with commercial motors is expected to fly in 2018.
Volocopter Volocopter 2X. Volocopter’s mantra “Reinventing Urban Mobility” was underscored when the 2-seat Volocopter 2X demonstrated its capabilities as a quick, safe, emission-free, and quiet autonomous air taxi in Dubai in September 2017. In early January 2018, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed himself was transported for a
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XTI Trifan 600 Volocopter 2X
full 5 minutes in the Volocopter 2X. Although the trip was short, it represented a substantial statement of confidence in the concept to have served royalty from the region in this way. Autonomous Air Taxis (AATs), are the latest innovation that Dubai has implemented in its commitment to becoming the smartest city in the world and to reach its goal of 25% autonomous journeys by 2030. The objective is to provide 30-minute flights in Dubai that can be secured simply by using a smartphone. Further plans are in place for standardizing drone delivery by March 2018, initially using 5 UAVs and increasing to 100 by 2022.
Workhorse Group SureFly. This 2-place hybrid-electric helicopter with 8 rotors was scheduled to make its 1st manned test flight January 8 in Las Vegas during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Unfortunately, rain thwarted the planned maiden flight of the SureFly. Now, with an experimental airworthiness certificate already approved by the FAA, the company expects to fly this 400-lb payload capacity eVTOL “soon,” according to a writeup issued by Workhorse on January 8. Workhorse Group plans to start with human pilots aboard, and eventually develop autonomous flight capability to deploy SureFly in emergency medical and air taxi applications. SureFLy
The simple flight controls are comprised of a single joystick and an up/down rocker switch. Safety features will include flight control and stabilization systems that can keep SureFly airborne even if 1 or more motors fail, enough battery power to land safely in case of combustion engine failure, and a ballistic parachute if all else fails.
XTI Aircraft TriFan 600. One of the most innovative airplanes under development for the business market is the XTI TriFan 600, displayed for the 1st time at the NBAA 2017 Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. Using 3 ducted fans, the aircraft will lift off vertically and its 2 wing fans will rotate forward for a seamless transition to high-speed flight. The expectation is to reach 300 kts in just 90 seconds with cruise up to FL290 and a range of up to 1200 nm. The aircraft continues to its destination and reverses the process, landing vertically on any suitable helipad-sized surface. In March 2017, the company announced its collaboration with Bye Aerospace and disclosed that the TriFan 600 will be powered by a stateof-the-art hybrid-electric propulsion system. This aircraft, once realized, will offer true point-to-point travel for significantly shorter trip times.
Conclusion The VTOL and eVTOL vision is tantalizing: quiet, cheap, clean flight summoned by smartphone and free of runways and big heliports. Uber Elevate envisions air taxis typically operating over a 40 to 60-mile range, avoiding the snarl of ground traffic. Where helicopters are designed to hover efficiently, eVTOL generally aims to launch vertically and transition as quickly as possible to cruising flight.
What distinguishes eVTOL is its ability to put rotor systems with less noise than helicopters in smaller areas in high-frequency operations. In doing so, eVTOL aircraft realize the utility of using the 3rd vertical dimension to give a new perspective on cities as prime living spaces. Naturally, the challenges facing eVTOL urban transport are related to infrastructure, regulations, and cultural/political concerns. Global infrastructure, for example, generally does not afford many locations to place helipads, either on rooftops or at street level where real estate is at a premium. The new simplified Part 23 regulations allow for certified airplanes to be developed with electric propulsion up to 19 passengers, 19,000 lbs. Dialogue continues with FAA and other key authorities to determine if Part 23 regulations can be applied to eVTOL aircraft. Crashworthiness and other issues for eVTOL certification remain to be addressed. An example of how industry can help itself in this regard was given by GAMA having released the 1st global standard for measuring hybrid and electric propulsion in general aviation aircraft in 2017. This will permit a more quantitative and comprehensive evaluation of the 2 propulsion approaches. As with driverless cars, autonomous air taxi operations must earn the trust and acceptance of the public, regulators and politicians. For this reason, the path to autonomy may be shorter by 1st certifying piloted aircraft and operations. What’s clear is the future of VTOL and eVTOL is feasible and potentially vibrant. It depends on safe, cost-effectively service to a mass market. The pace of development has quickened dramatically but so too has the pace of opportunity. Don Van Dyke is professor of advanced aerospace topics at Chicoutimi College of Aviation – CQFA Montreal. He is an 18,000 hour TT pilot and instructor with extensive airline, business and charter experience on both airplanes and helicopters. A former IATA ops director, he has served on several ICAO panels. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and is a flight operations expert on technical projects under UN administration.
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RULES & REGS
Change for close parallel approaches FAA recently issued revised standards for minimum separation. Dependent Parallel Approaches • Runway centerline spaced between 2500 and 9000 ft • STAGGERED approaches • Final monitor controller NOT required • Less than 2500 ft when specifically authorized
Independent Parallel Approaches
Visual depiction of dependent and independent parallel approaches. Not shown is Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach.
By Bill Gunn
ATP/CFII. Pro Pilot Regulations and Compliance Specialist
t is common knowledge among airport mangers that there are no standard airports, just airport standards. Many of the world’s public use airports date back to pre-WW II days or the early 1950s. And as such, many runway layouts are less than optimal for today’s high density traffic and high performance aircraft. To keep traffic moving and use all resources, the FAA categorizes parallel or near parallel active runways based on lateral separation. Dual simultaneous precision instrument approaches are normally approved by the FAA with parallel runway centerline separations
NO TRANSGRESSION ZONE
NO TRANSGRESSION ZONE
Simultaneous Parallel Approaches • Runway centerline spaced between 4300ft and 9000/9200 ft for airports above 5000 ft (duals and triples) • Final monitor controllers required
PRM Approaches (Simultaneous Close Parallel) • Runway centerline spaced at least 3000 ft and less than 4300 ft (duals and triples) • Final monitor controllers required • Certain runway spacing requires PRM for NTZ monitoring • Attention All Users Page (AAUP) required
of 4300 ft. On a case-by-case basis, the FAA will consider proposals utilizing separations down to a minimum of 3000 ft where a 4300 ft separation is impractical. This reduction of separation requires special high update radar and monitoring equipment. Several airports recently built – or with new added runway(s) – meet the desired 4300 ft requirement, including AUS (Austin Bergstrom) and DEN (Denver CO). Older airports such as SFO (San Francisco CA) for double arrivals, ORD (Chicago IL) and ATL (Atlanta GA) for triple arrivals, either did not possess sufficient land area or did not exist before such a need was envisioned. The FAA published Notice Joint Order 7110.693 in 2015 to revise procedures for monitoring and separat-
ing aircraft on simultaneous parallel approaches. These new procedures are now incorporated in JO 7110.65. Additionally, the format for Attention All Users Page (AAUP) which is associated with each simultaneous close parallel approach was revised in December 2017.
Simultaneous parallel dependent and independent approaches “Dependent” here has a slightly different meaning than might 1st be thought. Runways with 2500 ft up to 9000 ft (9200 ft for high altitude airports) lateral separation may operate without additional monitoring of the final segment. However, ATC must stagger arrivals with sufficient nose to tail separation to ensure safety if 1 or more aircraft do not maintain exact lateral track to the runway. Depending on runway separation distances and aircraft size, minimums vary from 1 to 2 nm angular or 3 nm lateral separation and initial 1000 ft vertical separation. “Dependent” implies ATC must ensure this stagger separation; this is less than the maximum density capability that abeam simultaneous parallel approaches provide. Independent approaches do not require staggered separation for the full approach. They fall into 2 categories: simultaneous parallel and simultaneous close parallel approaches. The 4300 ft separation standard is the dividing line here. The minimum limit for close parallel approaches is 3000 ft separation between runways. Both simultaneous parallel and close parallel approaches require additional final segment monitoring while close parallel require dual frequency monitoring and specific crew training. Note that runways meeting the 4300 ft lateral separation minimum may operate either (1) simultaneous dependent parallel approaches where ATC will stagger arrivals between runways to ensure separation, or (2) simultaneous parallel independent approaches where ATC provides additional monitoring on the approach and (3) simultaneous close parallel approaches requiring additional ATC monitoring and crew training.
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No Transgression Zone; precision runway monitoring No Transgression Zone (NTZ) is a corridor of airspace of defined dimensions but not less than 2000 ft wide located centrally between 2 extended parallel runway centerlines. ATC will intervene and provide immediate heading and altitude instructions to aircraft when this airspace is penetrated by 1 or more aircraft conducting simultaneous approaches to parallel runways. When turning to the final approach course for any simultaneous parallel or simultaneous close parallel approach, ATC will provide a minimum of 1000 ft vertical or a minimum of 3 miles lateral radar separation between aircraft. During triple parallel approaches, no 2 aircraft will be assigned the same altitude during turn-in; all 3 aircraft will be assigned altitudes which differ by a minimum of 1000 feet. ATC uses high update, high aspect ratio radar to monitor aircraft on Simultaneous Close Parallel (SCP) approaches. This Precision Runway Monitoring (PRM) is required for 2 runways less than 4300 ft apart or 3 runways less than 5000 ft apart. Only specifically annotated ILS, RNAV (GPS), and GLS procedures qualify for SCP approaches with straight-in arrivals only; missed segments must not conflict between aircraft; and all aircraft are advised SCP approaches are in use. All SCP approaches carry a chart note for “Dual VHF comm required.” Both tower frequency and a secondary PRM frequency are monitored by both aircraft at the same time to protect against a blocked “breakout” instruction from tower. Tower transmits on both, although the aircraft only transmits on tower frequency while monitoring both. ATC will ensure the aircraft are transferred to the dual frequencies prior to reducing the vertical separation between aircraft on SCP approaches. PRM may be terminated when visual separation is applied or the aircraft reports the runway lights or runway in sight. ATC does not advise the aircraft PRM is terminated.
Dual monitoring; breakout protocol If final approach monitoring shows an aircraft straying off course, that specific runway monitor will attempt to return the aircraft to the final approach course transmitting on both monitored frequencies. If the aircraft does not or is too slow to respond, tower may issue a breakout call. This takes the format
Offset approach MAP
Depiction of a Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach. Precision runway monitor is required as well as staggered arrivals. Approach courses are not parallel. High update radar may require 1 second update rates at specific locations.
of “Traffic alert (call sign) turn (left/ right) immediately heading XXX climb/ descend and maintain YYYY.” While it is almost universal to fly such an approach on the autopilot, all breakout maneuvers must be hand flown and acted on immediately. Breakouts are rare. It is highly recommended that before conducting a SCP approach with PRM, the crew brief their aircraft-specific procedures covering such topics as autopilot and flight director use and specific crew duties if a breakout occurs. The crew should respond on the tower frequency only (even if the breakout is only receiver on the PRM frequency) as soon as possible after the breakout is executed. For aircraft equipped with a certified Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) that issues a climb or descend Resolution Advisory (RA), the crew should follow the TCAS RA even if opposite to ATC’s breakout altitude advisory. The crew must, however, follow the heading instructions issued by ATC. For example, tower issues a breakout of “turn left 280, climb and maintain 4000” but TCAS RA calls for a descent, the crew should turn left 280 but descend as directed by the RA. It is easy to see that a mandatory hand flown split maneuver such as this, when rapidly executed, requires excellent crew coordination and ver-
Straight-in approach MAP
750 ft – 2999 ft
ification, so pre-briefing a possible breakout is imperative. Each SCP approach procedure has an associated AAUP reviewing requirement for SCP and that particular approach which must be used as part of the pre-briefing. Close parallel approaches will note a PRM frequency in the tower box, which is the monitor-only frequency. Also of note is the absence of any minima except for straight-in. If an SCP approach is anticipated and briefed with a subsequence change, and parallel approaches are not in process, pilots may continue the approach. Individual company rules will dictate, however the FAA considers the approach to have been appropriately briefed if a SCP approach was anticipated and then briefed.
Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approaches PRM and the Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approach (SOIA) are a marriage of existing approach technology. Aircraft are provided a minimum of 1000 ft vertical or a minimum of 3 mi radar separation between aircraft during turn−on to final approach, and hand off to tower must be completed prior to a change in vertical separation. All SOIA airports require specific FAA approval and can require very PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018 45
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NOT FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES - GlobalAir.com
Close parallel ILS 28L at SFO. Red arrows indicate information only shown on close parallel approach documents. Not show is the Attention All Users Page (AAUP) associated with each procedure outlining pilot responsibilities when flying the approach.
SW-2, 04 JAN 2018 to 01 FEB 2018
high radar updates of 1 second to monitor the NTZ. The SOIA procedure is used to conduct simultaneous approaches to runways spaced less than 3000 ft, but at least 750 ft apart. The SOIA procedure utilizes an ILS PRM approach to one runway and an offset Localizer Type Directional Aid (LDA) PRM approach with glide slope to the adjacent runway. In SOIA operations aircraft are paired with the aircraft conducting the ILS PRM approach always positioned slightly ahead of the aircraft conducting the LDA PRM approach. The trailing aircraft will exe-
Not for navigational purposes SW-2, 04 JAN 2018 to 01 FEB 2018
cute the offset maneuver. The aircraft that will execute the offset maneuver in the visual segment of the approach will only do so after passing the offset missed approach waypoint and when beyond the end of the NTZ. This visual segment of the LDA PRM approach is established between the LDA MAP and the runway threshold. The aircraft transitions in visual conditions from the LDA course beginning at the LDA MAP to align with the runway so it can be stabilized by 500 feet AGL on the extended runway centerline.
The FAA released a revised format for the AAUP document in early December 2017, making the information easier to read and understand. Additionally, a newly developed training aid titled Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) Pilot Procedures replaces previously training videos used for both air carrier and general aviation pilots. Although the core elements of the training remain unchanged, this new version has been streamlined to reduce completion time and provides the most up-to-date information on how to safely conduct PRM approaches. Revised training information for crews flying monitored approaches is available at faa.gov; search for “Precision Runway Monitoring.” Air carrier operators must follow company guidelines, Part 91 operators flying large aircraft must complete the new training guidelines available at faa. gov, and Part 91 operators flying other than large aircraft are encouraged to complete the training. All aircraft flying SCP approaches must review the AAUP associated with the approach. Not commented on in these most recent updates – but certainly in consideration – is the advantage of ADS-B Out for surveillance beginning in 2020. ADS-B provides 1 second position updates, which in all instances exceeds the update rate for SCP monitoring. ADS-B is proven to be a highly accurate position source which does not degrade with range, as radar does. Reducing the cost of PRM equipment and the increasing demand to maximize use of the airspace may alter today’s methods for close in arrival and open up additional airports for the procedure. Bill Gunn is former compliance manager for the Texas Dept of Transportation, Av Division. He is an ATP, CFII and FAA Safety Team rep. Bill lectures nationally for a private aviation advocacy group and is an aviation compliance mediator.
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An airplane-helicopter hybrid called RACER is a new convertiplane design from Airbus This rapid and cost efficient rotorcraft offers a fresh approach to vertical and horizontal flight aiming to have more speed and range then conventional helicopters. By Nihad Daidzic, PhD ATP/AMEL/Helo/Glider/CFII/MEI Pres, AAR Aerospace Consulting Professor, Minnesota State Univ
irbus recently unveiled an airplane-helicopter hybrid design named Rapid and Cost Efficient Rotorcraft (RACER). It has a main rotor like a conventional helicopter but no tail-rotor. It also has a horizontal stabilizer with elevators and 2 vertical stabilizers with rudders on each fin providing yaw control in horizontal cruise. A short box-wing has tip-mounted engines with pusher propellers for anti-torque control during hover and low forward speeds or as chief propulsive devices for fixed-wing horizontal cruise mode. In this article, I’ll explore the aerodynamics that make such a design possible. Despite great utility, edgewise rotors have a major limitation in rather low forward speeds. A designer of a conventional helicopter can make some trade-offs between good hovering characteristic (low disc loading with longer blades) or faster cruise speeds (higher disc loading with shorter blades), but cannot achieve both without radical designs. Common solutions to this issue introduce airplane-helicopter hybrids. The history of convertiplanes and compound helicopters goes back at least to the early 50s, as helicopters were just gaining acceptance. It was quickly realized that conventional helicopters are rather slow with limited operational ranges. To improve performance, 3 experimental-vertical designs were proposed: McDonnell’s winged XV1, Sikorsky’s XV2 stopped-rotor design, and Bell’s XV3 tilt-rotor (predecessor of XV15 and
Box-wing, pusher propellers, and no tail-rotor on Airbus RACER defines a compound helicopter capable of airplane-like horizontal flight.
V22). One experimental design that was successfully flight-tested was the 1960s winged Lockheed AH56 compound helicopter design.
Dissymmetry of lift Early helicopters having relatively stiff cantilever blades could hover in zero wind condition. However, when starting to “fly” or hover in significant wind, things drastically changed. Advancing side blades (ASBs) experience higher relative speeds due to combined translation and rotation, hence producing more lift. Conversely, retreating side blades (RSB) produce less lift, resulting in edgewise rotor’s dissymmetry-of-lift phenomenon. Unequal lift production between ASBs and RSBs resulted in helicopters rolling over as soon as there was translational motion through the air. While different historical accounts exist, the credit for solving the lift dissymmetry problem is given to Spaniard Juan de la Cierva, a structural/civil engineer who worked with pinned frameworks. He devised a horizontal hub (flapping) hinge that allowed his autogyro blades to move out of plane (flap up and down as needed). Radial blade stiffness in rotary-wing aircraft is ensured by centrifugal force
acting on rotating negatively-twisted blades. For example, the helicopter’s operational centrifugal forces are about 10 to 30 times stronger than lift on individual blades (blade loading) resulting in rather small 1g in-flight conning angles (2–6 degrees). Centrifugal force depends on the square of the angular speed causing the coning angles to increase significantly even for small RPM reductions. Due to vertical force difference in edgewise rotors and with a flapping hinge, RSBs now flap-down and the local angle of attack (AOA) increases. Higher dynamic pressures and lift/thrust on the up-flapping ASBs causes reduced local AOAs and the accompanied reductions of the lift-coefficient (CL). The faster the helicopter flies, the more RSBs flap down reaching the maximum rate at the 270º point and the maximum blade-down deflection at the 0º (360 º) point. This results in increasing local AOAs, CL on RSBs and an approach to the aerodynamic-stall limit. And the higher the helicopter speed, the slower the RSBs are, hence requiring larger AOAs. A reverse flow region develops on the retreating side which is a direct function of the advance ratio m (aircraft forward speed divided by blade tip speed). As a byproduct of vertically flapping
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Translational relative speed
90° Reverse Flow Region
0° Dissymmetry of speeds and dynamic pressure as the helicopter transitions from the no-wind hover to progressively faster cruise. Not to scale.
blades, blowback or flapback occurs, which is corrected by forward cyclic until the physical control limit is reached. However, RSB stall is not the only factor limiting helicopter forward speed. As forward airspeed increases, ASBs experience high combined rotational-translational TAS with Mach numbers venturing into the transonic region. Blade stability problems occur as the drag-divergence regime and shock-stall (high-speed buffet limit in airplanes) is approached. Helicopters at high speeds also experience their own “coffin-corner.” Rotating blades are “squeezed” between the aerodynamic-stall and the compressibility limits. Similar to airplane wings, blade tips can be swept and high-speed thin thickness-tochord ratio (t/c) supercritical airfoils can be used to increase the critical and drag-divergence Mach numbers. This delays shock formation and reduces wave-drag at high forward speeds. The 1986 Westland Lynx helicopter set a 216-kt speed record using British Experimental Rotor Program (BERP) blades, a transonic design. Unlike with fixed-wing, rotary-wing blades transition between the 2 aerodynamic extremes on a time scale of about 100 milliseconds at 300 RPM. Maximum TAS and/or the maximum transonic Mach numbers limit the ASB’s speed at the 90º position. In the next 100 milliseconds or so, and on the retreating side (270º position), blades will encounter slowest local airspeeds while approaching the highAOA aerodynamic stall.
Vortex lift and unsteady aerodynamics A straightforward application of the steady-state aerodynamics would predict RSBs stalling as they flap extremely downward to increase the local CL. For example, the blade of a 300 RPM conventional edgewise rotor in forward motion will spend 100 milliseconds on the advancing side and another 100 milliseconds on the retreating side, resulting in continuously varying tip speeds, Mach numbers, AOA, CL, CD, etc. Fortunately, each rotor blade spends only 10-20 milliseconds in the critical high-AOA zone on the retreating side and does not stall. In fact, the CL can significantly increase, extending the flap-down movement range. The answer is in unsteady aerodynamics and vortex-lift dynamics. The separation of the boundary layer (BL) occurs in a short but finite time. Just as the BL would start separating, the blade has already left the high-AOA region. Additionally, the leading-edge vortex detaches and rolls over the blade, providing low or suction pressure over the upper blade surface. This results in nonlinear vortex (dynamic) lift. The faster the helicopter moves forward, the lower dynamic pressure and higher-AOA on the retreating side and more down-flapping is required. Clearly, there is a limit to this and is 1 of the reasons for the VNE speed. Paradoxically, and unlike in fixed-wing airplanes, the faster a helicopter flies, the closer its retreating blades are to the high-AOA stall.
Helicopter never-exceed speeds Both FAR 27.1505 and 29.1505, address the helicopter VNE speeds. Typically, VNE for a civilian helicopter is not to exceed 90% of the design-limit speed due to vibrations, dynamic pressure, etc. The VNE is higher than the VH speed or the maximum horizontal speed at the 30-minute engine(s) rating. One of the control limits is the retreating blade stall. While airplanes are dynamic-pressure limited at lower altitudes (equivalent IAS/CAS/EAS), helicopters are TAS and Mach limited. Helicopter performance curves will usually give VNE as a function of weight, altitude and air temperature. Aircraft certification regulations also require a specific control margin when flying at VNE (eg, 1.15 g). The higher the (density) altitude, the lower the air density, which for constant IAS/CAS results in increased TAS. For a constant limiting blade-tip TAS, the maximum allowable IAS/CAS must then decrease with altitude. Higher-than-standard air temperatures, elevation, and humidity also cause an increase in TAS, hence helicopter IAS/CAS must be reduced. On the other hand, as the altitude increases and air temperature drops, so does the local speed of sound. This results in the limiting blade-tip Mach number occurring at a progressively lower TAS (and appropriate IAS/CAS). Higher blade-tip Mach numbers cause adverse transonic wave drag (profile drag increasing) and control-stability problems.
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Weight dependence One of the more confusing effects is weight dependence. Why does VNE decrease with increasing weight? Since the main rotor RPM is more or less constant so is its blade-tip speed. The faster the forward speed, the slower the blade-tip tangential speed on the retreating side. Average blade CL,max (generally a function of Mach and Reynolds number) is essentially constant at not too high Mach numbers and too high altitudes. Hence, to support a heavier helicopter, the RSBs must be faster locally, and that is only possible if the helicopter slows down while at constant RPM. Accordingly, VNE decreases steeper in IAS/CAS than in TAS and with increasing weight for constant density altitudes. Limit blade loading (CT/σ) decreases with the blade-tip speed ratio m (advance ratio). The symbol σ signifies blade solidity, while CT is the main rotor thrust coefficient. Typically, VNE (IAS/CAS) can be constant at lower density altitudes (2000–6000 ft) resulting in a small TAS increase before it starts decreasing.
Advanced-blade concepts, slowed-rotors, stopped-rotors, and variable-radius blades So how can a helicopter’s VNE increase? One solution is the Advanced Blade Concept (ABC) pioneered by Sikorsky in their S69. It uses very stiff blades with 2 counter-rotating main rotors. This removes the roll-trim with coaxial rotor symmetry. In this respect, the retreating blade stall problem is reduced, but the maximum Mach number advancing blade limit remains. Perhaps a more elegant or mechanically less complex way to increase forward speeds is by reducing main rotor angular speeds. In fact, recent research findings have revealed that the total rotor power required (induced and profile) can be reduced by lowering RPM (70–100% range) as a function of forward speed (advance ratio) and inflight disc loading. By slowing down main rotor RPM, the maximum blade-tip tangential speeds are re-
Control margin Helicopters flying at VNE are in their own coffin-corner region. Not to scale.
Rotor tip speed (knots or ft/s)
This is somewhat similar to an airplane’s flight envelope, but 1 significant difference is that helicopters don’t have a low-speed buffet boundary (they can hover). At low altitudes, helicopters are dynamic pressure and TAS limited, and at higher density altitude, they are TAS and tip Mach number limited.
St Stored kinetic energy limit In-flight stored kinetic energy limit
li al l
Forward speed (knots)
duced, allowing helicopters to fly faster. But as main rotor RPM is reduced, the retreating-blade stall occurs at progressively slower forward speeds. We could now relieve the main rotor from providing all lift (portion of main rotor thrust to counter weight) and just have it produce forward thrust. This can be achieved by adding fixed wings to a helicopter – a compound helicopter or a compound airplane design. Since the dynamic pressure (and lift) is a quadratic function of TAS, halving angular speed (eg, from 300 to 150 RPM) will also result in a 75% lift reduction. The main rotor will now produce only 25% of the lift required. For example, a 20,000 lb compound helicopter will need a fixed-wing surface area to relieve the main rotor from all that lifting at high cruising speeds. A simple calculation using fixedwing cruise CL of the of 0.6 and surface area of about 118 ft2 (about 20 ft wingspan with 6 ft chord) at 250 KCAS will produce 15,000 lb of lift, while the main rotor provides the remaining 5000 lb at significantly lower RPM. One problem with a fixed-wing on a compound helicopter is increased download during hover. Slowing down rotors in flight has gone as far as stopping them completely. Again, during the 1950s, Sikorsky’s XV2 (S57) had a stopped-rotor concept that transformed a helicopter into an X-wing airplane. However, the helicopter blades turned fixed-wings were designed to be slender and flexible, and so did not possess the stiffness necessary to prevent catastrophic aeroelastic flutter of a forward-swept blade-wing in multi-blade rotors. Additionally, modified 2-bladed XV2 flight tests demonstrated traumatic pitch and roll response during inflight
Co mp res sib ilit y li it mi m t i l l l ta s r to ro
restart of the main rotor. Variable-radius telescoping blades were also investigated, both as a sole solution or in combination with the RPM reductions. Such designs offer significant increases in efficiency and performance of edgewise rotors. While in-flight main rotor speed reductions could be implemented with relative ease, the variable blade-radius designs have been plagued with many structural and technical difficulties. One of the reasons the RPM is maintained constant in conventional helicopters is to avoid resonance.
Conclusions By adding small fixed wings, horizontal thrust propulsion systems and conventional airplane flight controls to orthodox helicopter designs, faster cruising airspeeds are achieved while preserving extraordinary VTOL advantages. This is routinely accomplished in tilt-rotors, tilt wings, and compound helicopter designs such as the Airbus RACER. Airplane-helicopter hybrids or convertiplanes combine many good performance characteristics of airplanes and helicopters, but the cost is a more complex design. Nihad Daidzic is president of AAR Aerospace Consulting, LLC, located in Saint Peter MN and has worked for many years on the US and European space programs. He is also tenured full Professor of Aviation and of Mechanical Engineering.
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AL LOOKS BACK
A Hawker and a Musketeer enter the picture, then a different relationship with Learjet Charles C Gates Jr was CEO of Denver-based, family-owned Gates Rubber Company, which in 1967 purchased Bill Lear’s 60% ownership in Learjet. An experienced pilot, Gates and his company owned majority interest in Learjet for the next 18 years.
(L–R) Harry Combs and Al Higdon first met in 1961 when Combs was a Beech distributor in Denver, and Higdon was a Beech public relations staff member. In 1972, as president of Learjet, Combs persuaded Higdon to return to Learjet as a consultant to head the firm’s public relations activities. Photo taken at 1996 NBAA Higdon retirement event.
By Al Higdon
Bill Robinson was an experienced and highly capable aviation communicator, serving during his career as head of public relations for all 3 Wichita general aviation manufacturers, Cessna, Beech and Learjet.
hile departing Learjet on very good terms in 1971 to open our own advertising and public relations firm, I did not ask for any business from them, nor did I expect to receive any. General aviation was deep into hard times. Unemployment in Wichita reached 11% that year and bumper stickers were appearing that read: “Will the last one out of Wichita please turn out the lights.” And this was a year to start a new business? None-the-less, Sullivan Higdon Inc was born 4 days before the July 4th holiday. In our first 60 days I got an unbelievably welcome phone call to have lunch with my old friend Bill Robinson, then head of public relations for Beechcraft. We
were to be joined by Lloyd Harris, who had sales responsibility for the HS-125 line that Beech was marketing in the US for Hawker Siddley. Lloyd and I did not know each other, and it was clear during our lunch conversation he was trying to get a bead on me and my knowledge of promoting business jets. About an hour after I got back to the agency office I received a call from Robinson asking if I would like to enter into an agreement to represent Beech in helping promote the HS-125. While I confess to a bit of queasiness after all those years with the Learjet program, this was a new day. I said “yes” and threw myself hard into that effort. That initial work for Beech led to additional projects for both the single-engine Musketeer line and helping to launch the newly-announced Beech Aero Club concept headed by my friend Mike Gordon. My partner Wendell Sullivan, also a Beech alum, did the lion’s share of our agency’s work on these programs.
In the early 1970s, Beech Aircraft marketed the HS-125 business jet in the United States, with Higdon helping to promote the brand for a brief time in 1971 and 1972.
The 3-model Beechcraft Musketeer line had been marketed for 18 years when Higdon’s ad/pr firm in 1971 began developing sales materials for both the Musketeer group and the Beech Aero Club concept, which was an outgrowth of the product.
Former Beech and Learjet Communications Executive Cofounder of the Sullivan Higdon & Sink Ad Agency
54 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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During Al Higdon’s 21 years with the Learjet program, activity on the company’s production line ranged from highly busy to barely moving, depending on how the economy and other factors influenced order rates.
Later in our 1st year I got another phone call that reversed much of our then current aviation activities and headed Sullivan Higdon onto a new, but also quite wellknown, path. Harry Combs, who in 1966 had sold his Denver-based FBO Combs Aircraft to The Gates Rubber Company with plans to retire, was brought out of retirement in 1972 at the request of 3 Learjet officials who had implored him to accept presidency of the struggling Learjet. Combs was eager for me to take over the company’s public relations program on a contract basis. This was an easy decision for me, and I said “yes,” thus ending our cordial and beneficial relationship with Beech to avoiding any conflict of interest. I was back with an office at Learjet 3 days each week directing a staff of 6, and spent the other 3 work days at Sullivan Higdon on Learjet and other client business. Soon after my contract for PR began, we were awarded all advertising business for Learjet, which we continued until 1985. These Learjet days, too, were fun and rewarding, but they were different. Much of the start-up spark had gone out of the business and there was an ongoing turnover of
Jim Taylor had an impressive resume when he took over the Learjet program in 1985, having previously introduced the French-built Falcon into the U.S. in the 1960s, and heading marketing for the Cessna Citation when it entered service in the early 1970s.
This early 1965 photo of 7 Learjets ready for customer delivery was staged as an announcement to the industry that the company had passed all of its well-publicized hurdles and was now ready to compete aggressively in the fledgling business jet marketplace.
James R Greenwood spent his entire career in aviation as a pilot, a public relations executive, an FAA official, an author, and an industry advocate.
senior people. In the mid 1970s, I did help facilitate the return of Jim Greenwood to the company from his position as director of public affairs for the Federal Aviation Administration, which he had accepted in 1969. This was a very good move for both Learjet and Greenwood. In 1985, James B Taylor, an acknowledged legend in bizjet marketing, was hired to head Learjet. In truth, while our relationship was totally cordial and professional, it was not one either of us drew much satisfaction from. The company was again on hard times and openly offered for sale by Gates Rubber. Budgets were trimmed to the bone and our firm’s assignments were getting slimmer and slimmer. By this time, our agency, now going by Sullivan Higdon & Sink to reflect addition of new partner Vaughn Sink in 1979, had too much aviation communications talent onboard to let sit idle. One day in late 1985 I walked into Taylor’s office and politely resigned the business I had been a part of for 21 years, freeing the agency to seek another major airframe manufacturer as a client. Al Higdon spent 12 years as a public relations executive with Beech and Learjet before co-founding an advertising/pr firm that represented more than a dozen clients in aviation, including Learjet and Cessna, over a 25 year period before his retirement at 60 in 1996. PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018 55
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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 Pro Pilot Publisher Murray Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your idea we’ll credit you by name and pay you $100.
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TP PHOTO ESSAY
Business and utility turboprops
Photo courtesy Daher
By Pro Pilot staff
Photo courtesy Piaggio
Daher TBM 930 is the latest version of the world’s fastest certified single-engine TP. It’s powered by a P&WC PT6-66D capable of cruise speeds of 330 kts. TBM 930 can carry up to 6 passengers and has a max range of 1730 nm. Its cockpit features Garmin G3000 avionics with high-resolution displays and touchscreen controllers.
Pilatus PC12 NG is capable of flying in and out of short and rough fields. It has a max cruise speed of 285 kts and max range of 1845 nm. Powered by a P&WC PT6 engine and fitted with Honeywell’s SmartView SVS, the PC12 NG can carry up to 10 passengers and is certified for single pilot operations. This platform is used for transport, surveillance, air ambulance, and search and rescue missions.
Photo courtesy Pilatus
Piaggio P.180 Avanti EVO is powered by 2 P&WC PT6A–66B engines coupled with Hartzell ve-scimitar blades low noise propellers. Performance specs for the Avanti Evo include 402 kts, max range of 1490 nm (1770 nm with increased range configuration) and a max net payload of 1750 lbs.
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Photo courtesy Quest Kodiak
Quest Aircraft built the Kodiak tough to safely accomplish extreme missions, yet comfortable enough for business or personal use. A PT6A-34 gives the Kodiak impressive short field performance (934 ft takeoff, 765 ft landing), transporting as many as 10 passengers. MTOW is 7255 lbs and max speed 183 kts.
Photo courtesy Piper Aircraft
Photo courtesy Viking
Viking upgraded its Series 400 Twin Otter to include P&WC PT6A-34 engines and fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex avionics. Available landing gear configurations include standard, optional straight or amphibious floats, skis, wheel skis, or intermediate flotation gear. The 400 Series Twin Otter supports military operations as well as civilian roles such as regional commuter, environmental monitoring, parachute operations, and cargo and infrastructure support.
Piper M600 is powered by a P&WC PT6A-42A engine mated to a 4-blade Harzell propeller. Garmin’s G3000 integrated flightdeck improves the pilots’ situational awareness with underspeed and overspeed protection and emergency descent mode with hypoxia recognition. M600’s MTOW is 6000 lbs, range is 1400 nm and max cuise speed is 274 kts.
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Textron Beech King Air 350i surpasses its predecessor’s performance with more payload capability, increased range, quieter interior with standard Wi-Fi, and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite. Maximum cruise speed of the 350i variant is 312 kts, useful load is 5145 lbs and max range has been streched to1806 nm.
Textron Cessna Grand Caravan EX engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, rough runways while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity. A P&WC PT6A-140 gives the EX a max range of 964 nm and a cruise speed of 195 kts. Pilots take advantage of the Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite’s graphical interface, powerful hardware, high resolution displays and increased situational awareness.
Photos courtesy Textron Aviation
Textron Aviation announced a new single engine turboprop at AirVenture 2015 and unveiled a mockup of the aircraft a year later. This clean-sheet design, the Cessna Denali, will be powered by a GE engine with FADEC and 4000-hour TBO. The 1240 shp engine will be coupled with a 5-blade McCauley BLACKMAC carbon composite propeller to achieve a maximum cruise speed of 285 kts and a range of 1600 nm. The cockpit will feature Garmin G3000 avionics. Cessna Denali will transport 8–11 occupants. The program is targeted to achieve 1st flight in 2018.
Textron Aviation unveiled a new large utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier 408, in Nov 2017, with FedEx as launch customer. SkyCourier will be offered in both cargo and passenger variants. The cargo version’s max payload will be 6000 lbs and will have a max cruiser speed of 200 kts, while the transport configuration will carry up to 19 passengers. Entry into service is planned for 2020.
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500-mb chart Become familiar with this essential briefing tool. Thunderstorms frequently move proportionately to the direction and speed of the 500-mb winds. ly among the pilot community. For many pilots, weather maps and charts remain a simple visual aid, when in reality, they each contain a wealth of information that can help a pilot understand and take advantage of favorable conditions. One such map is the 500-mb (500-hPa) chart.
Troposphere is where most aircraft fly
500-mb absolute vorticity chart. Areas of red indicate greater positive spin of the atmosphere, which is an indicator of rising air and potential convection. Black lines (in decameters) show roughly the altitude at which the pressure is 500 mb.
By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst. Climate Scientist
n the early days of flight, pilots would look to the sky to study the character and movement of the clouds, and perhaps consult a barometer to discern what weather they might face on their flight that day. But advances in meteorology over the past century ushered in the concept of a flight briefing, where a trained forecaster would provide a digest of weather information to the pilot about the route of flight. Now there are many online services that bring the latest weather maps and charts directly into the hands of pilots. A pilot can see the winds aloft and larger-scale weather patterns that were previously just being described by the briefer. Being able to visualize the weather through which one is about to fly is a very important part of flight planning, and one most pilots welcomed. However, this evolution of weather
services for pilots also came at a price. As aviation weather services evolved, the reliance on briefings from professional forecasters stifled a corresponding development of meteorological education for pilots at the click of a mouse. In most countries, the requirements for a pilot license are limited to knowledge of airspace rules and the operation of the aircraft. There are a few weather-related questions on the written tests, but these are primarily to test knowledge of weather minima and severe weather avoidance, not interpretation of weather behavior. Instrument ratings require basic knowledge for recognizing critical weather conditions, but as with licenses, emphasis is placed on knowledge of the rules for operating in IFR conditions. Many aviation ground schools do provide basic instruction in meteorology such as how to read a surface weather map, but the degree of meteorological knowledge varies great-
Though our atmosphere has no precise upper boundary, the Kármán line (edge of space where air density is no longer sufficient for aerodynamic lift) occurs at around 100 km (62 mi). A trace atmosphere (meaningful from a physics perspective) extends to around 10,000 km (6200 mi) from the surface. The atmosphere is divided into 6 distinct layers based on energy and temperature behavior. However, except for a few select aircraft, almost all of our flight takes place in the lowest layer – the troposphere. The troposphere extends from the surface to, on average, 33,000 ft (10,000 m), ranging between around 26,000 ft (8000 m) over the poles in winter to around 60,000 ft (18,000 m) above the tropics. It is powered by solar heating of the Earth’s surface and as a result, air temperature decreases with increasing altitude. At the top of the troposphere, air temperature levels off for several thousand feet before increasing with altitude in the stratosphere. It is the temperature profile of the troposphere, coupled with an ample source of water, that makes this layer the home to a majority of all of the atmosphere’s weather. Gravity ensures that around 75 to 80% of the overall mass of the atmosphere is in the troposphere. We can measure this mass in terms of the pressure it exerts. Given an average sea level pressure of 1000 millibars (1000 hectopascals), this means that the top of the troposphere occurs at around 250 to 200 mb. And given the exponential decrease in pressure with altitude, 500 mb occurs around halfway up in the troposphere (around 18,000 ft or 5500 m).
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a long flight, our cruise altitude will need to be adjusted to avoid entering or exiting the transition level.
The severity, rate of development, and movement of thunderstorms and other convective systems are largely determined by conditions found in the middle troposphere – at around 500 millibars. Meteorological charts of this level provide meteorologists and pilots a wealth of knowledge about the atmosphere.
500-mb significance Although meteorologists look at many levels of the troposphere when they model and forecast the weather, there are several atmospheric levels that are arguably of greater importance than others. The 1st is near the top of the troposphere. Conditions at around 300 mb describe the jet streams and the upper air support for vertical movement of air. Patterns at this level drive large-scale storm systems. The 2nd level is the surface layer. Heat and water availability at the surface determines the energy available to drive the weather machine. The 3rd critical level is the halfway point in the troposphere, or around 500 mb. The properties of the atmosphere at around 500 mb are essential for describing the dynamic motion of the troposphere. Thunderstorms and midlatitude cyclones frequently move proportionately to the direction and speed of the 500-mb winds. The spin of the air, or vorticity, is a measure of how much energy is being moved upward or downward, and therefore provides an indication of the instability of the troposphere.
Reading the charts There are 2 kinds of upper air charts: constant altitude and constant pressure charts. Both types of charts are contour maps. In a constant altitude chart, the contour lines are lines of equal pressure (isobars). Every place on the chart is the same altitude, and the isobars tell you the pressure at that altitude. A constant pressure chart is the opposite. Everywhere on the map is the same pressure and the contour lines are lines of equal altitude that describe
the height above sea level (in meters or decameters) of that pressure. Since pressure is the force applied by the mass of the atmosphere, pressure and altitude are intrinsically connected. Visually there is little difference between a 500-mb chart and an 18,000 ft chart, but because most of the meteorological equations governing dynamics rely on pressure, constant pressure charts are of more use in weather forecasting. The connection between pressure and height means that the height contours on a 500-mb chart will reveal the pressure patterns in the middle troposphere. High altitudes on the chart are connected to high surface pressure (more air above that point), while low altitude contours signify lower surface pressure. Through this relationship, it is straightforward to see the atmospheric pressure patterns and positions of major highs and lows. Aligning them with the highs and lows at the surface and at 300-mb will provide an indication of the likelihood of growth or decay of midlatitude storm systems.
Flight levels Over the US and Canada 18,000 ft (5500 m) is the transition altitude to flight level (pressure altitude) flying. In other parts of the world, the transition altitude is far lower (13,000 ft/4000 m in NZ, and as low as 3000 ft/1000 m in Europe). Transition levels will vary according to local QNH, but since the contours on a 500-mb chart are pressure altitudes (the altitude at which that pressure occurs), and this pressure level is at or above the transition altitude for most flight level flight, we can use the 500-mb chart to evaluate how our physical altitude might vary over the course of our flight, or whether on
Winds aloft are another easily visualized aspect of the 500-mb chart. Frequently a grid of wind arrows are drawn on the map, with the arrowhead indicating the wind direction and the wind speed shown either relatively as the length of the arrow or absolutely as a series of wind barbs. Unlike surface weather maps for aviation, the 500-mb map is designed for meteorology, so you should refer to the map’s legend to determine whether the barbs are displaying wind in kts, km/h or m/s. In the absence of wind arrows, wind direction and relative wind strength can be determined by the height contours. Air flow at 500-mb is not affected by surface friction. Instead, it is in balance between the pressure gradient force (PGF) and the Coriolis force. PGF is the change in pressure over some distance and is directed toward lower pressure. It can be estimated by the spacing of the height contours – the more closely spaced they are, the more rapidly pressure is changing and the stronger the PGF is. Strong PGF equates to fast winds. Coriolis force is a measure of the spinning motion created by Earth’s rotation – zero at the equator and maximum at the poles, and is directed opposite the PGF. The balance between PGF and Coriolis means the air moves parallel to the contour lines on the map and at a speed relative to the spacing of the contour lines.
Vortivity or spin of the atmosphere One of the more important bits of information on a 500-mb chart is something called vorticity. Vorticity is the spin of the air, at a relatively small scale – usually measured around a given point, and is directly related to the ability of the middle troposphere to move air vertically. Clockwise spin is associated with negative vorticity, which stems from the horizontal divergence of air below 500 mb. As that air spreads out, it becomes vertically compressed, producing a sinking motion in the upper atmosphere. Sinking air is associated with stability, high pressure, and generally fair or improving weather. Conversely, a counterclockwise spin means horizontal convergence (squeezing) of the air column, vertical extension, and rising air. Instability and deepening low pressure accompa-
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500-mb constant pressure chart. Wind barbs and colors indicate wind speed, while the contour lines show the height patterns at which 500 mb occurs (in decameters). Wind at this level parallels the contours and moves at a speed inversely proportional to their spacing.
ny rising air, and produce deteriorating or adverse weather conditions. Strong positive vorticity at a location is often an indicator of the potential for severe weather. This relationship is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. Vorticity is dependent on 2 factors, shear and the Coriolis effect. Shear itself is divided into 2 components, change in wind speed and/or direction over some distance. The 2 shear components and Coriolis are additive in the vorticity equation, resulting in a single value that is given in dimensionless units per second (/s). Meteorological models apply the equation for absolute vorticity to derive values that are used by other meteorological equations to determine atmospheric dynamics and make numerically-based forecasts. On the 500-mb map, we can simply look to the vorticity patterns to guide us. The strongest positive vorticities on the map are found in the centers of low pressures and the vicinity of the base of a trough in the contours. These are places where either the speed or curvature shear is greatest. Strong positive shear is also occasionally seen along cold fronts. Places of strong positive vorticity will be areas of the greatest instability on the map, and where pilots are most likely to encounter a region of adverse and possibly even severe weather. Conversely, low or negative vorticity is found in areas of high pressure or in the ridges of the altitude contours where air is rapidly curving anti-
cyclonically (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere) and/or decelerating.
Temperature can also be obtained from the 500-mb chart Another bit of information that can be gleaned from the 500-mb chart is temperature. As with all upper atmosphere charts, the conditions aloft are obtained from hundreds of weather balloon observations worldwide each day. This includes air temperature and humidity, which help meteorologists track energy availability and movement horizontally and vertically. The isotherms (lines of equal temperature) and observational values, when displayed on the chart, also provide information needed to estimate things like aircraft performance, icing potential, and forecast minimum surface temperatures at airports below. Lowered heights at the 500-mb level occur because the air below is colder and denser than the air around it. It also means that the 500-mb chart is useful in determining the likelihood that precipitation will fall as rain or snow. If the height of the 500-mb level is below about 5200 m, precipitation is likely to fall as snow. Above 5400 m, rain is likely, and between 5200 and 5400, freezing rain is a distinct possibility. The close relationship between temperature and pressure also means the height contours and the isotherms parallel each other. But in some places on the chart, those lines intersect. Because wind at this level always flows parallel
to the contours, these intersections are regions where either warm or cold air is moving in. Where there is low or no positive vorticity, warm air advection at 500-mb simply warms the area and increases the height of the 500-mb level. But in areas where there is already stronger vorticity, it adds energy to already rising air, enhancing instability and deep convection. Cold air advection will do much the opposite. Balloon observations historically allowed for 2 sets of upper air maps to be constructed each day. With the past several days of maps, it was possible to compare the positions of troughs, ridges, highs and lows, and produce trend forecasts of the evolution of synoptic weather systems such as midlatitude cyclones. But, forecast models now use those balloon sounding inputs to develop 500-mb forecast maps every 3 to 6 hours ahead, out to several days. Because the air at 500-mb is well away from the complex interactions with the surface, its behavior is much more precisely estimated by the equations meteorologists have developed to describe the atmosphere. As a result, forecasts of conditions at 500-mb (or other upper air levels) are more likely to remain accurate at longer lead times. Therefore, in these maps, pilots and meteorologists alike have access to forecast weather information that is generally considered more accurate than surface forecasts where any number of factors can introduce error, even over the short term. Despite this higher degree of accuracy, the forecast models are not infallible at 500 millibars, as vertical motions from below carry with them some of those surface biases. Even so, the wealth of weather information makes these upper air charts an invaluable part of a complete preflight weather briefing. They offer pilots the ability to visualize the conditions through which they may be cruising, and the development or decay of adverse weather systems. Naturally, such weather products are only as good as the information used to make them. And pireps are included in the data that construct these charts and feed into models that make the upper air forecasts. Karsten Shein is a climatologist with NOAA in Asheville NC. He formerly served as an assistant professor at Shippensburg University. Shein holds a commercial license with instrument rating.
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Southeast Asia has strict rules Flying to the region can be expensive and requires advance compliance planning. also be significant parking limitations and restrictions at certain destinations.” At HKT (Phuket, Thailand), for example, you’ll only be permitted about 2 hours on the ground. Try to change an Indonesian permit beyond its validity period and you could be looking at 3 or more business days lead time for a request to be approved. ITPS Ops Mgr Ben Fuller considers that SE Asia has become more GA friendly. Chinese permits, for example, are now possible within 3 business days and sometimes within 24 hours, but operating congestion is creating more and more challenges.
Southeast Asia is a popular and frequent GA operating destination. Services are generally good throughout this region, permits are relatively easy to obtain, and costs are somewhat less than in North Asia.
Problems and idiosyncrasies
By Grant McLaren Editor-at-Large
outheast Asia is, in most cases, a more open, flexible and less expensive operating environment than Northern Asia. You’ll usually find it easier to organize permits, secure preferred slots and arrange parking – all at lower costs than typical in the north. Operating flexibility in SE Asia is often much better than in the northern regions of the continent, with improved ability to revise schedules, routings and destinations. However, international support providers (ISPs) say that this is not always the case.
Slot and parking limitations “The SE Asian region has become easier in terms of permit lead times but more challenging due to increased congestion along with airport slot and parking space limitations. We expect this trend to continue,” says Universal Weather Mgr
Zulu Team Alexandra Ferullo. “DPS (Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia) recently imposed slots, for the first time, while SIN (Changi, Singapore) has become notoriously difficult for GA slots and parking, and the most popular resort destinations in Thailand no longer have overnight GA parking availability. Meanwhile, HKG (Hong Kong) continues to be the region’s poster child in terms of severely restricted and difficult access.”
Getting permits While permits are often quicker to obtain these days, there can still be long lead times and lack of flexibility to consider, particularly for short notice schedule changes. “Some of the longer permit lead times in Asia (5–7 days for Indonesia and up to 10 days for Myanmar) are in this region,” explains World Fuel Mgr Global Trip Support Pete Bennett. “There can
Of course, whenever you venture out into the international GA operating environment, there will be operating challenges, limitations and idiosyncrasies to consider. In China, the civil aviation authority limits permit revisions to just 2 and will only allow 6 flight legs before you’ll have to exit the country and apply for a new permit. The Philippines still has a rule on the books mandating that operators provide a color photo of their aircraft before approving overflight or landing permits. And Malaysia mandates GA operators provide a declaration letter specifying the relationship of all passengers to the aircraft owner before a permit is approved. Once in a while out-of-the-ordinary operating idiosyncrasies might also pop up. When a Japan-based but N-registered business jet landed recently at NGB (Ningbo, China), a Japanese national flight attendant was deemed by local authorities to be a US national. “This determination was based on registration of the aircraft, not nationality of the crew,”
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If you’re flying to Kuala Lumpur, keep in mind that SZB (Subang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) is the more GA-friendly and accessible option.
explains Bennett. “A Japanese national flight attendant does not require a visa for China. But she was told that, as the aircraft was US-registered she would be considered a US national – for immigration purposes – and was promptly deported. But this kind of oddity can also happen at other smaller airports in China, it’s not just confined to NGB.”
High costs High costs can also be a consideration when operating in Asia, even in traditionally less expensive SE Asia. While a 1–2 day stop in this region will usually not rack up the $8000–10,000 charges typical in Japan or China, it can, at times, be surprisingly expensive. “Operating to Vietnam is often pricey, a multi-thousand dollar experience, particularly if you take advantage of VIP clearance options,” adds Jeppesen International Account Specialist Jean-Michel Sicaud. Sticker shock is also routinely encountered within the realm of nav fee charges, at least in parts of this region. “Typical nav fees when transiting China run $4000–7000. We seldom see nav fee bills for less than $4000 from TONGDA, the independent company that collects nav fees in China,” says Bennett. “Thailand also has very high nav fees – about $3/km – compared to about $1/km for many other countries in the region.” ISPs note that parking fees at airports in SE Asia can also be high, in the order of $1000–2000 per day in some cases. You’ll find locations where parking may be limited to 1–2 days, with extended stay hangar and/
Singapore attracts steady flows of international bizav travelers. SIN (Changi) can be used for private GA ops, XSP (Seletar) is the preferred airport, with the best operational flexibility.
or private parking options possible for hefty additional charges. ISPs also point out that the region’s highest nav fees are in China and Thailand. “On a flight from DRW (Darwin, Australia) to ALA (Almaty, Kazakhstan) you’ll only pay about $220 to Indonesia, $238 to Philippines and $125 to Hong Kong. But nav fees to China will cost you $3900,” says Ferullo. “On a routing from Thailand to Hong Kong nav fees are just $160 to Laos and $170 to Vietnam but $1400 to Thailand CAA.”
Operational considerations You’ll usually have better operational flexibility for short notice schedule changes in SE Asia compared with Northern Asia. Still, it’s important to be aware of all local regs and restrictions. “To fly a domestic leg in Indonesia you’ll need special permit approval, and revising the trip schedule or make a stop could require 5–7 business days lead time,” remarks Sicaud. “Note that cabotage is strictly enforced in both Thailand and Taiwan. In Taiwan you may not operate any domestic leg as a ferry flight, as passengers must be onboard to make any domestic leg. Be mindful that charter flights are not permitted into SIN.”
Ground handing, CIQ & costs While there are a few excellent FBOs in SE Asia, including at HKG, MFM (Macau), XSP (Seletar, Singa-
pore) and DMK (Bangkok, Thailand), these Western-style facilities are the exception. You’ll normally be handled out of main terminals and clear customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) at the commercial terminal. Also, for operation into smaller or secondary airports in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos, ground handlers may have to be repositioned from larger airports to help coordinate local service requirements. There are a number of VIP CIQ clearance options available to crew and passengers, for a price. At SIN, for example, all GA passengers/crew must clear via the commercially important passenger (CIP) terminal at a per use charge of about $2000. According to Jeppesen it can cost $1000–2000 to clear via VIP facilities at PVG (Shanghai, China) and $500–1500 to access the VIP room at CSX (Changsha, China). “VIP CIQ clearance in Vietnam is a faster and more private experience than clearing in the main terminal, but expect to pay about $2500 per use for this service,” Adds Sicaud.
Parking challenges Many major destinations in this region have 2 city airports, with usually one of them being the preferred GA choice. For Singapore it’s much easier to operate into XSP, while HLP (Halim, Jakarta, Indonesia) and SZB (Subang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) are preferred GA airports for Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, respectively. Bangkok restricts GA stops at BKK (Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok, Thailand)
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While SGN (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and HAN (Hanoi, Vietnam) are the 2 most popular destinations in Vietnam, ground handling services and support are adequate at even the more remote and secondary airports in the country.
to 3 hours on the ground, while DMK usually allows GA operators to park their aircraft for up to 3 nights. HKG is always a difficult situation in terms of airport slots and GA parking. “If you’re planning a trip to Hong Kong 5–7 days out, the odds of getting the slot time that you want may only be 10%,” suggests Bennett. “So, you may need to revise schedule, land somewhere else or cancel the trip. However, this does not mean that you won’t get in, you just have to look at creative options. There were 7 new GA night slots recently made available at HKG between 1400–2259Z daily. For operators who don’t mind arriving a day early, this is an option to consider.”
Top tips While operating to and within SE Asia is easier than flying bizjets to Northern Asia or India, it’s definitely a more rigorous and challenging GA environment than Europe. You’ll need landing and overflight permits for virtually all operations, visa requirements are frequently a consideration, and airport operating curfews need to be considered along with country and airport specific GA restrictions. Specific routings and FIR entry and exit points are often required with permits. At HKG, penalties are imposed on operators who violate slot approvals. Meanwhile, several major airports in China prohibit all GA operations from 7–9 am local daily and only allow 1 movement, either
MNL (Manila, Philippines) is the closest airport to the city center but GA operating curfews were recently put into effect here. ISPs say that in the future this airport may become all but closed to bizav movements.
a landing or takeoff, between 9 am and 10 pm daily. Ferullo points out that direct flights from Taiwan to China and from Taiwan over China are not possible for foreign-registered aircraft. “If you’re coming out of Taiwan headed for Europe, you’ll need to first stop at HKG, MFM or perhaps in Korea before you’ll be able to overfly China,” he explains. Even though Indonesia recently dropped a prohibition on foreign registered GA aircraft making more than 1 stop in country, it’s still challenging planning a domestic leg as additional permit lead time is required and there are restrictions as to permit revisions. Be aware of ADS-B mandates impacting certain airways and flight levels within Hong Kong, Vietnam and Indonesia FIRs. If you’re not ADS-B outfitted and compliant, you’ll be restricted to unacceptably low flight levels. “You always need to be very diligent with ADS-B requirements,” says Fuller. “Without ADS-B certification you may need to operate on non-optimal routings or flight levels.”
Aviation congestion increasing in SE Asia Over coming years, it’s anticipated that both commercial and business aviation congestion will only increase within the SE Asian region, leading to increased access and parking challenges. China is looking to add more airports, a new airport
is being built in Beijing, and Hong Kong will add a 3rd runway. Still, growing congestion challenges must be anticipated. “Parking and airport slots will become more difficult at many SE Asia locations, and issues on the horizon could make things even more challenging,” says Bennett. “MNL (Manila, Philippines) has now put in place a 7-hour GA operating curfew during the middle of the day and they’re talking about moving GA out altogether to CRK (Clark, Philippines). Evolving operating restrictions and limitations are possible at other locations, as congestion builds.” When planning operations to SE Asia don’t wait too long to obtain approvals and coordinate parking and support. “Ideally, give yourself 1–2 weeks lead time,” recommends Sicaud. “It’s not like operating to Europe. You’ll need to consider permits, slots, airport curfews, visas, and parking limitations. But, as long as you’re aware of all applicable restrictions and limitations, particularly at busier locations, SE Asia can be a straightforward operating environment without exceptional challenges.” Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.
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ARINCDirect delivers a wide range of valuable services
Photo courtesy ARINCDirect
Rockwell Collins made a wise move in acquiring the worldwide flight planning, connectivity and logistics capabilities that ARINC provides.
By Shannon Forrest
President, Turbine Mentor ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605, Gulfstream IV, MU2B
ockwell Collins is a well established brand when it comes to flightdeck technologies. Corporate aviation has benefited from the latest advances in modern avionics in the form of the Pro Line 21 and Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics systems, which appear on a wide range of airframes from turboprops to heavy jets. What some pilots may not know is the company offers a vast array of value added services to the business aviation community. Even if one’s cockpit is not hard-wired with a Rockwell Collins suite of electronics, it’s still possible to gain benefits through the acquisition of ancillary products. The company has always outperformed when it comes to flight planning, and readers of Profession-
ARINC SFO communications center provides VHF/HF radio links for aircraft controlled by the Oakland and Anchorage ARTCC. It can also provide service in Hawaii and Guam.
al Pilot magazine may recall that in 2013 Rockwell Collins’ Ascend International trip Support (ITS) was ranked number 1 in this category as determined by the annual PRASE Survey. The results, a 9.11 out of 10 based on 2960 reader submissions, were published in April of 2013. A few months later Rockwell Collins made a pivotal move when it purchased ARINC, another highly regarded company with a solid foothold in the international flight planning arena. ARINC marketed its service under the trade name ARINC Direct and the combined portfolio of both companies was rebranded by omitting the space and joining the 2 words together. The ARINCDirect moniker is now representative of a suite of products that includes flight
planning and data link, flight operations management, cabin connectivity, and international trip services.
Details on ARINC services ARINC is a familiar name in the industry with a long history stemming from the early days of aviation. The name comes from Aeronautical Radio, Inc and was the label for frequencies originally intended only for airline use. ARINC is a name that just about everyone in aviation has heard of even if they can’t recall when or how. On paper it’s a $1.39 billion dollar company – per what Rockwell Collins paid for it – that at the time of acquisition in 2013 had annual revenue in the $600 million range.
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Despite a huge communications infrastructure that at 1st glance may seem overwhelming, complex and impersonal, pilots that contact an ARINC radio operator have a different impression. Those traveling in oceanic airspace outside of radar coverage off the East Coast of the US on a Lima airway to or from the Caribbean know the scenario well. Upon crossing one of the compulsory reporting points, a pilot keys the microphone with the radio set to a designated High Frequency (HF) and opens the conversation with the header, “New York Radio,” followed by the call sign and the word, “position.” A voice at the other end acknowledges the aircraft and responds with, “go ahead with your position.” If you’re fortunate enough to have ADS-C combined with CPDLC, the position report is made electronically. You’re still required to make at least 1 HF call to verify the radio works and check the selective calling (SELCAL) system that allows ARINC to alert the aircraft that voice communications is temporarily needed. Hearing a human voice is a bit reassuring when staring at seemingly endless miles of ocean, especially at night. In this case the ARINC communicator is transmitting from a location within the state of New York, but there’s another facility located in San Francisco as well. In total, ARINC’s HF coverage area encompasses 25 million square miles of oceanic airspace using 60 frequencies. For a thorough review of HF procedures visit the Professional Pilot archives online and select the April 2016 edition.
Frequency identification necessary One quick takeaway is that when contacting ARINC on HF, it’s important to identify on initial contact which frequency you’re calling on (eg “New York Radio Gulfstream N1234 on 6640”). The reason is that each radio operator is monitoring (“guarding”) an entire group of HF frequencies – known as a family – with the primary frequency in the operator’s right (“working”) ear and all the others in the left. When frequencies become congested with weather deviation and other requests, it saves time if the operator is able to match a specific frequency with a particular aircraft at the start of a conversation.
An ARINCDirect application loaded to a PED can be used to compute weight and balance and derive performance numbers. This is especially beneficial if the manifest changes right before takeoff.
Other useful ARINC capabilities In addition to HF radio, ARINC operates 11 VHF radio nets and has voice capability through both the Inmarsat and Iridium satellite networks. Aircraft with ADS-C/CPDLC and satellite capability would typically revert to using the satcom link for position reporting if the automated feature malfunctions. Still, reverting to HF – which seems anachronistic in the modern era – has proven to be a reliable backup if all else fails. Although ARINC is typically known for relaying position reports to ATC, it also delivers ATC clearances and instructions, disseminates weather reports, and provides phone patches to a flight dispatcher or medical provider. As of 2014, ARINC exchanged over 200,000 messages per month, with a request-to-response turnaround time averaging less than 5 minutes at an error rate of less than 1 per million.
ARINC history and accomplishments How ARINC got to where it is today is an interesting story. It goes back to 1929, when the Federal Radio Commission (the precursor to the modern day FCC) called for a central authority to manage and coordinate the frequencies used for commercial aviation. Prior to 1929, each airline hired their own radio operators and fought one another on limited frequencies being used at the time (mostly in the HF band).
The governmental solution was a business entity incorporated in the state of Delaware under the name Aeronautical Radio, Inc, or as abbreviated, ARINC. The charter specified that the corporation would be a not for profit entity. Individual airlines would be allotted stock based on the ratio of scheduled miles flown compared to the aggregated miles flown by all carriers. But there was 1 caveat: to protect against the possibility of turning a radio service provider into a venue for a competitive advantage, no carrier could own more than 20% of the stock. At first, ARINC served in a supervisory capacity as airline employees manned the radios. Later, the organization took over operations, installation and maintenance. It wasn’t long before ARINC developed a breadth and depth of technical competence in the nascent world of aeronautical communications. As a result, it provided assistance in establishing the 1st air traffic control towers in Newark, Chicago and Cleveland. ARINC also became involved with developing and promoting standards for equipment, hence the origin of the ARINC 429 electrical bus which established a common methodology for avionics components to interact.
RC’s acquisition of ARINC By merging a company well versed in communication technology with one known for premier flight planning services, Rockwell Collins has PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018 73
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ARINCDirect international flight planning can provide a detailed itinerary and make logistical arrangements for passengers and flightcrew.
the means to plan and monitor an international trip from start to finish. Experienced international operators can attest that, no matter how many times a particular trip is flown, there’s always something that doesn’t go perfectly. So having an experienced handler to find out where the catering went, track down the fuel truck, or negotiate slot times is invaluable. For pilots that don’t fly international trips frequently or are planning a trip to an unfamiliar destination, using a flight planning service is essential. Imagine the surprise when the boss, a wine enthusiast who makes 4 annual trips to APC (Napa CA) and 1 to BOD (Bordeaux, France), announces that next week he’d like to take his Gulfstream to Pehuen, Chile to explore investing in a Carmnère vineyard. The 1st question is probably what’s Carmnère (a varietal red of which 98% of the world’s supply is grown in Chile), and where is Pehuen (628 km southwest of Santiago). A host of other things soon come to mind: Does Chile require landing permits? What’s the closest airport to the destination? How do we get there when we land? Do we need an entry visa? What’s the fuel situation? Is the hotel safe? All of these things can be addressed through ARINCDirect international trip support. For added piece of mind, ARINCDirect customers are able to subscribe to a dedicated flight-following service via a 24/7 operations center located in Annapolis MD. Each dispatcher is licensed and certified
according to FAR Part 121 requirements (which requires a minimum of 200 hours of academic instruction that overlaps with several requirements of the ATP exam) and can provide up-to-the-minute weather and air traffic control information during the preflight and enroute phases. Through mobile and desktop applications, pilots can file flight plans, run aircraft-specific weight and balance and performance data – including runway analysis and obstacle departure procedures for engine failure scenarios – and use real time weather to compute fuel burn.
Achieving connectivity To achieve connectivity, ARINCDirect uses a proprietary Rockwell Collins Advanced Data Router (ADR) configured with 8 Ethernet ports and a dual band wireless capability (2.4 and 5.0 GHz). The WiFi access point is industry standard 802.11n/ac but the unit will even support the older a/b/g personal electronic devices (PEDs). By selectively assigning unique network identifiers to each PED, the router can manage content and speed at the level of the individual user or groups of users. A common strategy would be to allot bandwidth for WiFi-enabled devices based on a crew, guest, or VIP category and set constraints according to operational necessity or budgetary parameters. To ensure compliance with corporate policies, certain websites or content can be blocked from access
while on the aircraft. Voice capability in the cabin is enabled with the ARINCDirect Dial service that allows a single phone number dialed from the ground to be linked to any handset in the aircraft. Personal devices – both Apple and Android – can be used by connecting through the wireless ADConnect application. Global connectivity is assured by using a preferred satellite service provider or combination of providers in concert with the ADR. Requirements of each flight department are unique and as a result each can select a connectivity profile that fits their bandwidth requirements, meets their budget, and is logistically feasible with the airframe. An Inmarsat JetConnex (JX) subscription can provide Ka band text messaging, voice, VPN, e-mail, and data streaming up to 33 Mbps from the constellation of satellites 1 to 5. Operators with reduced bandwidth needs can opt for the SwiftBroadband SBB (432 kbps), SwiftBroadband 200 (200 kbps), or Swift 64 (64 kbps over the L-band spectrum in a lower profile antenna). If live streaming video is desired, either for business purposes or watching movies from an online provider, the Yonder service from ViaSat is a possibility. Advertised as an “office in the sky” continuation, Yonder supports connectivity from taxi out to block in, allowing users maximum productivity. For strictly voice and text, the Iridium satellite network is accessible from all over the world by using SIM cards provided by ARINCDirect.
ARINCDirect provides valuable services When it comes to flight planning, connectivity, and logistics of managing worldwide operations, the Rockwell Collins ARINCDirect product line delivers value whether operating a single domestic only aircraft or a large fleet of international heavy jets. 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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Execuflight Hawker 700 charter crash at AKR on Nov 10, 2015
Not for navigational purposes
Photo by Marcos Caput
NTSB report details lack of compliance by the pilots with required procedures.
Hawker 125-700A involved in the accident. At right is the LOC RWY 25 approach plate at AKR. Courtesy of NTSB and Jeppesen.
Capt Jim Walters
ATP/A&P. Boeing 757/767, MD80
ince 1967 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has been tasked with investigating all serious aviation accidents and incidents. Typically, the Board publishes a report that details a “probable cause,” any and all contributing factors leading up to the event, and recommendations for the purpose of preventing future mishaps. Pretty straightforward. Every once in a while, however, there occurs an event so egregious, where the operator has such a “casual attitude towards standards and compliance…[with] repeated deviations from sound operational practices” and a “culture of complacency and disregard for rules…” that an NTSB Board Member, in this case the Hon Robert Sumwalt, appends additional comments. This tragedy in AKR (Akron OH) was just such an event.
Execuflight Hawker 700 and pilots It was a fairly typical 2-day charter for the Part 135 operator, Execuflight, based in FXE (Fort Lauderdale Executive FL). Using the Air Traffic Control (ATC) call sign “Zipline 1526,” the Hawker 125-700A departed FXE
very early on the morning of Nov 9, 2015. Onboard were 7 passengers, all executives of a property management firm scouting possible investment opportunities throughout the upper Midwest. Stops were planned in St Paul, Moline and St Louis , terminating in Cincinnati late in the evening on the 1st day.
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Captain’s background At the controls was a 40-year old Colombian-born captain, who had about 1000 hours in the Hawker, but had worked for Execuflight only 5 months. His previous experience was primarily flying in South America, accumulating just over 6100 hours total time. In his previous job flying the Hawker 800A, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a letter of correction to him in June of 2014 for failure to comply with an ATC clearance. Remedial training was scheduled and completed. That employer fired him in April of 2015 for failure to attend recurrent training.
FO’s background Assisting the captain was the first officer, also hired in June of 2015. With 480 hours as Second in Command (SIC) in the Hawker, the 50year old Italian was less experienced in the jet, but had 4400 hours total time. He had been unemployed for several months prior to being hired by Execuflight, having been terminated by his previous employer in February. His performance there was determined to be “significantly below acceptable standards” while in Boeing 737 training, including struggling with “weight and balance computations, memory items, call outs, profiles and flows.”
Both pilots probably suffered from some fatigue The captain had flown a trip the day before, but had over 9 hours of rest opportunity prior to the 0650 departure. However, the 3 nights prior he had been afforded only about 6 hours of rest each night, resulting in a possible “sleep debt.” The first officer was fatigued, to the point that he mentioned it to a colleague the day before this departure. He had been assigned a trip on the 7th that ended up flying all night, arriving back in FXE the morning of the 8th. Flight logs showed that his duty time had been altered in Execuflight’s records so as to appear to be a “legal” assignment, when in fact it was not. Hawker N237WR left LUK (Cincinnati OH) at 1100 on Nov 10, 2015 for a 30 minute flight to MGY (Dayton Wright Brothers OH). After landing, the tanks were topped off and a 34 minute flightplan was
Distance from runway 25 threshold (NM) Profile view of the approach, based on radar data. The 3-degree glideslope is for reference only, as there is no glideslope on the Localizer 25 approach. Courtesy of NTSB.
filed to AKR with a cruise altitude of 17,000 ft and departure time of 1330. One of the pilots reviewed the weather, with the closest terminal forecast to the destination being CAK (Akron-Canton OH). Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) were forecast, with 4 miles visibility in mist and a 700 ft overcast. An alternate was required, but as in numerous previous flights by this captain, none was filed. A weight and balance computation was made, but used inaccurate basic operating, passenger and baggage weights. If the correct figures had been used, the crew would have realized that the aircraft would be almost 300 lbs over its maximum allowable landing weight at AKR. Zipline 1526 took off at 1413. Contrary to accepted company practice, the first officer was the pilot flying (PF) during this revenue flight. Thirteen minutes after liftoff, the crew started to prepare for the approach. In their attempt to obtain the current AKR weather from the automated system (ASOS), they failed to correctly tune the radio and received the weather for an airport 108 miles to the southwest. That airport was VFR, indicating a ceiling of 1100 ft and 10 miles visibility. Rather than conducting the ap-
proach briefing himself as the PF, as stipulated in the company operating manual, the first officer asked the captain to do it. A short discussion of the Localizer Rwy 25 approach followed that was interrupted 3 times; by a descent clearance, a frequency change, and once by a passenger talking to the crew. The flightcrew continued to discuss minimums and cloud height, and at 1 point it became clear that the first officer was incorrectly referencing the Rwy 25 RNAV (GPS) approach plate. A minute later, while descending to 9000 ft, the aircraft passed 10,000 ft at 298 kts, not slowing to the required 250 kts for almost 30 seconds.
CVR shows there were difficulties in communication The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) was of somewhat poor quality, but there were indications that although both pilots were “English proficient”, there may have been some difficulties communicating with each other. The automated weather for AKR was received and recorded, noting a 600 ft overcast and a 1.5 sm visibility in mist. The first officer then verbalized incorrectly that they were legal for the approach based on cloud height, PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018 77
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captain again said, “That’s what I’m saying. if you keep decreasing your speed--,” and the first officer interrupted, “but why?” Then the captain, “* because we gonna stall. I don’t want to sta--.” But for whatever reason, at no time did the captain intervene with power or aircraft flight control inputs.
Hawker approach procedures weren’t followed
Time, EST (hh:mm:ss) Altitude, estimated airspeed, and estimated angle of attack for the final minutes of the flight based on radar data.
not visibility. The flight was handed off to Akron Approach, and cleared to 5000 ft. About 4 minutes later, the flight was cleared to 4000 ft and told to slow to 200 kts. Shortly thereafter, they were cleared to 3000 ft, told they were following a slower aircraft, and to reduce to 170 kts. Perhaps the first officer was beginning to be a little uncomfortable with the approach, stating “I will. I till try to. drag every (thing).” Thirty seconds later the captain yelled, “Oh we got. We got. We got 9 degrees pitch up.”
Confusion with ATC instructions and failure to comply The CVR recorded a power increase, followed by the sound of the landing gear being lowered. At no time did either pilot call for or acknowledge preliminary flap or gear extension, as required by standard operating procedures (SOPs). A few
seconds later, the captain said, with urgency, “Did you hear what he say? There is an airplane on the approach. (He is) slower than us. He hasn’t canceled. We don’t know if he’s on the ground.” And then another comment about the aircraft pitch attitude. His stress level was building, “You need to (look). You need to. I mean we were-we were flying like (139). Nine degrees pitch up.” At that point, Zipline 1526 was about 4 miles from the final approach fix (FAF) and was cleared for the approach, as the slower, single engine aircraft had landed. Established on the localizer, the Hawker could have descended to the published FAF altitude of 2300 ft, but instead remained in level flight at 3000 ft. The captain was getting very concerned about the decaying airspeed, stating, ”look you’re going 120. You can’t keep decreasing your speed**.” The first officer answered, “No. One tw--. How do you get 120?” The
The flight was then given a frequency change, a position report was made on the local advisory frequency and the slower aircraft that landed reported breaking out at minimums. Just prior to the FAF, the first officer requested full flaps (45 degrees) instead of conducting the remainder of the approach at the required 25 degrees. The standard non-ILS approach procedure, however, was to call for full flaps only with the field in sight and “landing assured.” Inexplicably, the captain selected full flaps prior to further descent. According to one Hawker instructor interviewed by the NTSB, flying with full flaps in level flight was never trained, and induced so much drag that it would be “nuts.” The captain started the landing checklist, but only completed 1 item. With the first officer’s comment “alright we go to minimums,” power was reduced and the aircraft began to descend. Airspeed over the final fix was 109 knots, rather than the required Vref + 20 or 144 kts, and the aircraft was 400 ft high. The rate of descent increased dramatically to about 2,000 feet per minute. Over the next 90 seconds the captain repeatedly expressed concern about the descent, forcibly stating “...you’re diving. You’re diving. Don’t dive. Two thousand feet per minute buddy,” and “two thousand feet per minu--don’t go two thousand feet per minute.” But again, he made no attempt to take control of the aircraft. The Hawker continued its descent right through the Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA), with a descent rate of 830 ft per minute and at about 113 knots. No “minimums” callouts were made. No visual reference to the runway or runway environment was verbalized. Four seconds later the captain stated “ground”, and then “keep going.” Fourteen seconds after passing through the MDA he quickly said,
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“okay level off guy.” Pulling back on the controls caused an immediate activation of the stick shaker, signaling an impending stall. The ground proximity warning system commanded “pull up” a few seconds after that, followed by the 1st sounds of impact, as recorded on the CVR.
Hawker N237WR crashed 1.8 nm short of AKR Rwy 25 The aircraft slammed into the ground about 1.8 miles from the approach end of Rwy 25 in a left wing down attitude, impacting a small apartment building. The building and several cars were destroyed, and a severe post crash fire ensued. No one on the ground was hurt, but all occupants of the airplane were fatally injured, most of the passengers by blunt force trauma, the pilots by post crash smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. The NTSB published their final report just 11 months after the accident. Their investigative research was extensive, culminating in a comprehensive analysis of the myriad risks, errors, intentional deviations from procedures, deceptions, and illegal acts they uncovered.
NTSB summary of the accident Execuflight was found to have a “casual attitude towards standards,” and compliance, and that “the repeated deviations from sound operational practices identified in the investigation indicated a culture of complacency and disregard for rules.” Investigators discovered altered training records to indicate successful Crew Resource Management (CRM) training, when in fact the pilots failed those tests. A former employee, during a sworn deposition, was scathing in his remarks about the company, stating “they made such a scramble to change records and eliminate stuff right after that accident it would make your head spin.” The FAA didn’t escape attention either, with recommendations that oversight be improved, that flight data recorders and monitoring programs be implemented by all Part 135 operators, and that safety management systems be mandatory, among others. But the probable cause was “...the flight crew’s mismanagement of the approach and multiple deviations
Akron Fulton Intl Airport. View looking to the south, runway 25 threshold in the foreground.
from company standard operating procedures, which placed the airplane in an unsafe situation and led to an unstabilized approach, a descent below minimum descent altitude without visual contact with the runway environment, and an aerodynamic stall...”
As pilots, what is our takeaway from this event? To start with, what were the risks on this particular flight? Some that come to mind and should have been considered more in depth by this crew prior to and during the flight might be: fatigue, flying into an unfamiliar airport, the first officer’s inexperience in the aircraft, the poor weather, a very short and perhaps rushed flight, a planned non-precision approach, other traffic, in this case a slower aircraft on the approach, possible communication (English as a 2nd language) difficulties, and interruptions and distractions from ATC and passengers. How many of these do we experience with some regularity? Being aware of the possible threats to a successful operation is fundamental for a safe flight. There were numerous assumptions and errors made by the crew, and intentional deviations from standard operating procedures. Not filing an alternate, not using checklists, utilizing inaccurate weights in weight and balance calculations, failure to complete an appropriate and effective approach briefing, making no callouts, allowing the first officer to act as the pilot flying, and an inappropriate descent below MDA were a just
a few. An unstable approach, failure to monitor and maintain appropriate airspeed and altitude, the captain not taking over when necessary, confusion about the conduct of the approach and minimums, utilizing improper flap settings, and not slowing at 10,000 ft in the descent were all indicative of the crew’s overall complete mismanagement of the flight.
Main lesson: Stick with SOPs If there is 1 overriding lesson to be learned, it is the importance of compliance with standard operating procedures. A Flight Safety Foundation study found pilot non-compliance to be a factor in almost 40% of accidents worldwide. And other studies have shown that strict adherence to the use of SOPs reduces the likelihood of operational errors and “undesired aircraft states” by an incredible factor of 3! In the final report of this accident, NTSB’s Robert Sumwalt was again emphatic in his assertion that intentional non-compliance is perhaps the most prevalent, and preventable, cause of aircraft accidents. It is 1 that is completely within our control to avoid as well-trained professional pilots. Capt Jim Walters ATP, F-27, MD-80, B757/767, L-1011, A&P, 31,000 hours, Former Director of Safety and Chief Accident Investigator, TWA, former Chairman, ALPA Accident Investigation Board.
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2018 PRO PILOT HELICOPTER PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY
Turbine: 1 Bell, 2 Leonardo, 3 Airbus, 4 Sikorsky, 5 MD. Piston: 1 Robinson Bell wins 1st place for 24 consecutive years in turbine helicopter support. Leonardo retains 2nd place for past 2 years. Airbus steps up to 3rd place from 4th. Sikorsky drops a spot from 3rd to 4th. MD stays 5th. Robinson continues to be 1st in piston helicopter support for 15 successive yrs. Total of 576 line evaluations determine results, 13.2% return. Pro Pilot staff Report
Compiled by Conklin & de Decker
Turbine Bell once again won the crown staying as leader of turbine helicopter aftersale product support for 24 consecutive years. With 129 line evaluations, the highest number of evaluations in the 2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey, Bell again continued to deliver outstanding aftersale service for its operators. Bell sets the benchmark of excellency in service in the helicopter industry. Bell’s overall score earned this year was 7.95 compared to 7.85 in 2017, an improvement of 0.10. Bell was 1st in all categories of the survey except for tech reps where they placed 2nd. Leonardo remains in 2nd place for 2 yrs in a row. Overall score received was 7.80 this year, an improvement from 7.32 in 2017, a 0.48 increase. It’s the highest improvement achieved in the overall scores. Leonardo placed 1st in tech reps and 2nd in all other categories of the 2018 survey. They also earned the highest category improvement in speed in AOG service with 7.92 this year up from 7.13 in 2017, a 0.79 increase.
Sikorsky slipped to 4th from 3rd place. Overall score was 7.22 this year, slightly higher from the 7.21 earned last year. Operators continued to praise Sikorsky products. However they want to see more support from parent company Lockheed Martin since they took over 2 years ago. They hope also that LM doesn’t stand still and will catch up with Sikorsky’s competitors. Sikorsky best improvement was made in company response time earning a 7.46 this year compared to 7.26 in 2017, an increase of 0.20.
Airbus took 3rd place this year up from 4th in 2017. This helicopter OEM continues to show strong efforts in providing steadily improving product support for its operators. Overall score for Airbus this year was 7.35, an improvement of 0.29 from their score of 7.06 in 2017. Airbus captures 3rd place in the categories of company response time, spares availability, cost of parts, speed in AOG service, and service satisfaction and 4th in tech manuals and tech reps.
Helicopter OEMs overall scores Manufacturers
Company response time 2018 2017
Spares availability 2018 2017
Cost of parts Dif
7.09 -0.21 6.31
5.41 5.43 -0.02
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
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
7.67 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
24 years of survey
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
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2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
2006 2007 2008 2009
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
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
Comparison of overall average scores
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter
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MD stayed in 5th place rounding out the Pro Pilot 2018 Turbine Helicopter Product Support Survey. MD’s overall tally was 6.70 in 2018, slightly lower from 6.76 overall earned in 2017. Best gain that MD made in this 2018 survey was in spares availability with 6.31 this year compared to 6.00 in 2017, a betterment of 0.31. Good improvements were also made in speed in AOG service with 6.85 this year up from 6.56 last year and in service satisfaction earning a score of 7.15 in 2018, a higher tally from the 6.86 in 2017. Both categories showed a progress of 0.29 as compared to the previous year.
Turbine & piston mfrs rated by 35 & 30 or more, respectively
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Piston Robinson continues to be the undisputed leader in piston helicopter product support. They’ve won 1st place for 15 yrs in a row and are the benchmark in the piston helicopter world. Overall score achieved by this Torrance-based company was 8.15 this year, slightly down from 8.17 in 2017. Robinson’s best progress was made in spares availability, obtaining 8.56 this year compared to 8.17 last year, an improvement of 0.39.
comparisons: 2018 vs 2017 Manufacturers
Speed in AOG service
Tech manuals Dif
Product Support Survey
*Sikorsky *2008/2017 includes Schweizer
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
2 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
2 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
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
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
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
Piston helicopters 7.50 6.85 6.85 6.54 6.43 6.53 6.84 6.89 6.34
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
rated from 2004-2018
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Glenn Isbell serves as Bell Helicopter’s executive vp of customer support and services. He can be reached at 817-280-7960 or email@example.com.
lthough our 206B JetRanger is no longer in production, the tech support from Bell has remained outstanding. They understand the urgency that operators face, and are adept at finding a resolution to any problem in the minimum amount of time. It would be great if they brought this enthusiasm to their manuals. Peter Martin A&P. Bell 206B3 Aircraft Mechanic Tucson Police Dept Air Spt Unit Tucson AZ
ove our classic Bell helicopters. And the support we get from Bell is excellent, especially in response times. Alan Wilcoxson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell UH1/OH58 Aviation Unit Commander Stratford Police Dept Stratford CT
he Product Support Engineers (PSE) from Bell are excellent. They always provide great service. Asgeir Hogstad Mx. Bell 412 MSC/Structural Engineer Norwegian Air Force Kjeller, Akershus, Norway
ew spare parts policies from Bell Helicopter that were just recently adopted leave a lot to be desired. Most aircraft owners aren’t prepared or staffed to purchase their own parts. This isn’t a problem at a Factory Service Center, but this isn’t always a feasible option for operators. Michael OConnor A&P. Bell 407/206, Leonardo AW119/ 109 & MD600/500 Chief Inspector Dixie Jet and Rotor Service Lakeland FL
ur Bell Tech Rep John Griffith and Area Manager Greg Judd have always responded quickly with troubleshooting help. They offer assistance with our in-house training and have really helped us out of a tight spot a couple of times with rotor smoothing on our temperamental 407. Paul Rinker A&P. Bell 407GX Tech Helicopter CenturyLink Grand Junction CO
ell Helicopter has always been a leader amongst all the manufacturers. Their product support is outstanding, so I gave them high marks in all survey categories. Ken Johnson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell 205A1/ 206L & Airbus AS350 Dir of Ops Guardian Helicopters Van Nuys CA
ery much appreciate Bell Helicopter’s efforts to increase their presence in Europe. They’ve been doing a great job so far, and their field tech reps are superb. Cristian Forghieri Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. Bell 407, Airbus AS350 & Robinson R22 Flt Ops Mgr Elicompany Carpi, Italy
y opinion is that Bell remains the top original equipment manufacturer and support provider. I have noticed a real decline in PSE urgency, lack of spares availability and a general lethargy in fully supporting (especially) legacy models. Bell has been great through the years, so I hope this is just a temporary situation. Andre Coetzee ATP/Helo. Bell 407/222/206B CEO Henley Air Germiston, Gauteng, South Africa
think Bell is the mainstay for helicopters. Their support is outstanding, they only need to keep their cost factors competitive with other manufacturers. Eugene Dooling ATP/Helo/CFI. Bell 206 Police Advisor & Pilot Airscout Miami FL
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Company response time
Spares availability Turbine
Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
Turbine Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
roduct service and support from Bell is absolutely top notch. Our Bell tech rep responds immediately to any issues that arise. Parts are always available and pricing is reasonable. Brian Kunes ATP/Helo/CFI. Bell 407GX/206L Helicopter Pilot & Supervisor Pennsylvania State Police Reading PA
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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.
eonardo sales department is excellent in every aspect. I work with both Leonardo and Sterling Helicopter to keep up with our AW139 maintenance needs, and I must say Sterling Helicopter is the best service agency in our industry. In my opinion, Sterling should become a Leonardo Service Center. Tony Cosimano Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Leonardo AW139 President & Pilot International Aircraft Purchase & Lease Warwick NY
y main recommendation for Leonardo is to increase their stock of common parts in the US for the AW139 since many of them currently come from Italy. This would also help with the cracking issues on the AW139 exhaust ducting and heat blankets. There’s a backlog of serviceable ducts from the manufacturer and from the limited facilities certified to perform these repairs. Jeff Surdi A&P. Leonardo AW139 Maintenance Technician Flight Management Sarasota FL
believe the Leonardo AW109SP is ideally suited for our missions, including offshore, hoisting, day/night ops and IFR. Their professional tech reps and customer service personnel are a pleasure to work with. I wish upper management were faster when responding to issues, particularly for small fleet operators. Eugene Hill ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW109SP & MD902 Chief Pilot Brim Aviation Ashland OR
ery pleased with Leonardo. In my opinion they’re making real progress on customer support, and we’ve received excellent service from the tech reps. AOG support has also been outstanding. We’ve had parts flown via commercial on Saturday for a Sunday return to service. Spares availability is improving, as long as they prepare for the high demand following an AD. Joshua Jones Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW109E/S Dir of Ops North Memorial Health Air Care Crystal MN
reat improvements in product support year after year at Leonardo, and we as customers take note of it. Their tech reps continue to set the industry standard. They’re knowledgeable, friendly, always available, and establish a good visit presence with the operators to the levels of a few years ago. My special thanks to Tech Reps Roman Carreto, Marco Alejandro Espejel and Said Torres–each one of them has been a center piece of our success. Way to go Leonardo! Reynaldo Abreu Helo/A&P. Leonardo AW109C/ AW119 Dir of Maintenance Auto Europa Perth Amboy NJ
echnical and parts support personnel have been very helpful, patient and knowledgeable. And Leonardo tech reps have been truly invaluable when we’ve had to troubleshoot issues with our AW109s. I do think they should reevaluate their stock levels of common spare parts which would improve the customer support experience. Brian Burt A&P. Leonardo AW109E/SP Maintenance Technician SevenBar Aviation Bangor ME
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
eliability of our Leonardo AW139 is outstanding. It seems to get better year after year. Pierluigi Lanciotti ATP. Leonardo AW139 Captain PHI Lafayette LA
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Cost of parts
Speed in AOG service Turbine
Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
Turbine Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
e are pleased with the support received from Leonardo. And our Tech Rep Terry Ward and Customer Support Mgr Robert Dochnahl are very professional. They’re extremely good at providing whatever information we need if we have an issue. Rene Navarre A&P. Leonardo AW139, Bell 429/407 & Sikorsky S92 Inspection Supervisor Chevron USA Picayune MS
Piston Robinson 2
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roduct support for our Leonardo AW109S is great at all levels. Dixie Jet & Rotor Service is our preferred service center, and Director of Operations Mike O’Conner, along with his knowledgeable team, do an excellent job for us. Leonardo Technical Representative John Conrad also does a superb job. And Customer Support Mgr
Mehran Jafari and his team took care of us when we recently had to escalate an issue to upper management in Philadelphia. Carlos Cortes ATP. Leonardo AW109S Chief Pilot Leon Air Miami FL
ur experience with product support here in Turkey has been less than stellar. The authorized service center that maintains our AW139 and AW109 should continue to work on fully meeting servicing standards. Sinasi Demirkan A&P. Leonardo AW139/AW109 Maintenance Technician Zorlu Air Istanbul, Turkey
ere at Maryland State Police we operate an AW139. I feel it provides really great support for our types of missions. James Bukovec Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Leonardo AW139 Pilot Maryland State Police Cumberland MD
s a chief engineer I’ve seen some improvements in parts availability. It does seem that parts coming from Italy are still somewhat of a problem. This could be improved by shortening lead times and increasing communications with customers in regards to the status of their parts. Barry Hesketh Helo/A&P. Leonardo AW139 Chief Engineer Rotor Wing Ornge Mississauga, ON Canada
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Job titles of survey respondents
Aviation Dept Mgr, Chief Pilot, Dir of Aviation, Flight Ops Mgr or VP Operations Captain, Line Captain, First Officer or Pilot Randy Sharkey has been flying since 1981 with 11,700 hours logged. He holds an ATP/Helo/CFI and is a Grand Rapids FSDO rotorcraft DPE. As airport manager at GSH (Goshen IN) and Director of Ops at Sweet Helicopters, he knows helos and product support. His form provides comments on Airbus and is 1 of 500 received that provided 576 line evaluations of various helo OEMs.
Owner, Chief Executive, President, VP, other Corporate Officer or General Mgr Maintenance Chief, Maintenance Mgr or Mechanic
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sing 2 Airbus H145s and an EC145C2 plus the Sikorsky S76D and the MD902. The H145 is a great machine and in my mind is far superior to the EC145C2. Our crews love them. Tim Walsh ATP/Helo. Airbus H145/H145C2, Sikorsky S76D & MD902 Assistant Chief Pilot Vulcan Inc Seattle WA
lying our EC135P2+ has been a truly fantastic experience for me. It’s an amazing machine that just keeps on going year after year no matter what. It really enables us to fully accomplish our medical mission. Gary Lacore ATP/Helo/CFII/A&P. Airbus AS350/EC135P2+ Lead Relief Pilot Reach Air Medical Upland CA
Anthony Baker is vp of customer support for Airbus Helicopters Inc 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.
irbus produces top-of-the-line helicopters. In my opinion, product support could be better here in Brazil. They’ve made lots of improvements and we’ve seen very positive results, but I think there’s still room for adjustment. Daniel Braz A&P. Airbus H155 Dir of Maintenance Ocean Explorer do Brasil São Paulo SP, Brazil
ave a high dispatch reliability on our Airbus Helicopters EMS fleet. Overall we’re satisfied with the quality of their products, and their Parts-Bythe-Hour (PBH)/HCare Smart program ensures maximum availability. At the same time, we’ve noticed total direct maintenance costs increased quite rapidly in the last year. I also think they could improve the customer experience with increased accessibility and faster server speed for the new online tech manuals. Timon Kruisman A&P. Airbus EC135/H145 Technical Director ANWB Medical Air Assistance Lelystad, Netherlands
irbus continues to dominate the helicopter world. They use stateof-the-art technology and are always making improvements to their products. I’ve been flying for over 40 yrs and in my opinion they always come out on top. Great job Airbus! Joe Drummelsmith ATP/Helo/CFI. Airbus AS365N3 Chief Helicopter Pilot Drummelsmith Acquisitions Mason OH
leased with our Airbus EC145. I find it to be a good and reliable aircraft for the HAWS mission. The quality of finish could be better, but this aspect isn’t as important in a working environment. We’ve had 4 years of service with this aircraft and overall I’m very satisfied with it. Terry Hawes ATP/Helo. Airbus EC145 Pilot Metro Aviation Merchantville NJ
ove the Airbus EC145 I operate for the company. Tech reps are outstanding. My 1 suggestion is for Airbus to improve their pricing of parts. Gale Alleman ATP/Helo. Airbus EC145 Captain Metro Aviation Taylor Mill KY
ur techs are able to get parts from Airbus whenever we need them. Our company does keep a large inventory of parts on hand, so the lead times may be longer than the site mechanics know. John Guazzo ATP/Helo/CFI. Airbus EC145 Line Pilot Stat Medevac Falls Church VA
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
ased on my experience I think Airbus really knows how to build a workhorse helicopter. Even though it’s a great helicopter, I only wish my company would upgrade their AS350 fleet. Scott Wilson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Airbus AS350 EMS Pilot Air Methods Huntsville AL
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Tech reps Turbine
Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
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ased on my experience, Airbus continues to provide the best tech support in the industry, hands down. We’re very content with our Tech Rep Jon Hubbell. He responds immediately to all our inquiries regardless of the time of the day. Randy Sharkey ATP/Helo/CFI. Airbus H130/H125 & Leonardo AW109S Dir of Ops Sweet Helicopters Goshen IN
Sikorsky VP for Commercial Systems & Services Dana Fiatarone manages Sikorsky’s S92, S76 and Light Helicopter Products and Services. Dana and his team are in Trumbull CT. Call him at 203-4164005 or e-mail at dana.a.fiatarone@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.
ikorsky makes solid and reliable helicopters. We’re pleased with our S76++ and the product support that stands behind it. Stephen Hogarth ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S76++ Managing Director UPLAND Air Services Leicestershire, England
was hoping Airbus would improve their tech manual system since they took over Eurocopter. Their response time in other areas has been great, however, with good spares availability and AOG support. Paul Delo Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Airbus EC135 & Bell 407 Captain PHI Air Medical Martinsburg WV
e’ve received great product support for our S76B and S76C++. And I feel Sikorsky’s best asset is their tech reps. I give them a “10” rating in all aspects of their service. Thomas Meier A&P. Sikorsky S76B/C++ Aviation Maintenance Mgr Amway Grand Rapids MI
ave experienced a persistent technical issue with our new H145. But Airbus Helicopters has been extremely supportive and diligent in working to resolve issues. This manufacturer is also committed to supporting our operation. And their knowledgable and attentive tech reps get the highest marks from me. Howard Wilson A&P. Airbus H145 Dir of Maintenance Dare County Med Flight Manteo NC
ur Sikorsky FSR Wayne Anderson is absolutely the best in the field. He’s there to help us whenever we need him and always does an outstanding job. My suggestion is for Lockheed Martin to increase the frequency and level of support to Sikorsky to keep everything flowing smoothly. It’s been 2
2018 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey
Turbine mfrs rated by 35 or more. Piston mfrs rated by 30 or more.
y flight department operates a Sikorsky S76C+. We’re very happy with it and the great product support they provide to our company. James Moore ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S76C+ Supervisor Citi Aviation Glade Hill VA
ikorsky has proven time and again that they can manufacture great aircraft despite their high procurement cost of parts. Our S92’s dispatch availability is as close to outstanding as you can get. It would be nice to see a new type of Health and Usage Monitoring System data storage, improved acoustic insulation and in-flight access to the baggage compartment. Henrique Lopes ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S92/S76 Captain CHC Curitiba PR, Brazil
ery pleased with the great aftersale product support received from Sikorsky. One area they could improve on is on-line manuals, they’ve become more difficult to use recently. David Mackay Helo. Sikorsky S76C+ Engineer Supervisor SFS Aviation Muang, Songkhla, Thailand
ately it seems like Sikorsky has been slowing down in their response to parts requests. We’re also finding that S76 parts are becoming harder to acquire. Stuart Swanson ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S76B Captain & Helicopter Operations Supervisor SC Johnson & Son Racine WI
yrs since they took over this OEM and we’re still waiting for them to catch up with their competition. Darren Mills ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S92A Captain Jet Aviation Shohola PA
xperienced big improvements in parts response times and overall helpfulness from Sikorsky in the past few months. We’re very satisfied with their efforts and hope it’s a continuing trend in their product support. Jacob Ansbach A&P. Sikorsky S76B/C++ Mechanic Aero Med Spectrum Health Grand Rapids MI
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MD Helicopters Nick Nenadovic is VP of Aftermarket and Customer Support for MDHI and responsible for Customer Service, Spares Sales, MRO, Field Operations, Technical Publications and Training for MDHI’s Global fleet. Nick can be reached at 480-346-6490 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit MDHI at www.mdhelicopters.com.
ery pleased with the MD530FF our department operates. And I feel that it’s a great aircraft for our patrol missions. Edward Cox Pvt-Inst/Helo. MD530FF Police Officer & Pilot Columbus Police Department Columbus OH
ur MD OH6 is prior military, so the manuals and parts support doesn’t work like other civilian models. Most parts support goes through other vendors and agencies. Even though product support for this OH6 is not an easy process, our MD tech rep Larry White is always ready to assist in any way possible. Dustin Wesbecker A&P. MD OH6 & Airbus AS350B3 Dir of Maintenance Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Inverness FL
roduct support for our MD500E has been good overall. However I find cost of parts to be extremely high. MD could improve customer service by addressing this issue. Edmond Hrivnak Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. MD500E Pilot KP Properties Puyallup WA
lying an MD500D in our flight department. Since MD started to outsource their manuals it has caused real problems for us. Russell Appleton ATP/Helo. MD500D, Bell OH58 & North American Rockwell OV10 Bronco Chief Pilot Beaufort Co Mosquito Control Russell Appleton
Robinson The Robinson Helicopter Technical Support Supervisor is Pat Cox who may be contacted by phone at 310-539-0508 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
obinson is a delight to work with, so they get top marks in all survey categories from me. Their tech reps are very reliable and responsive. Parts are always available, costs are fair, and any orders are processed promptly. Ronald Bauman Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Robinson R44 Raven II Owner Little M Farms Stuttgart AR
e operate a Robinson R44 Raven II. It’s a great helicopter with good product support. I’ve had great luck with all 5 Robinson Helicopters I’ve had the opportunity to fly. Steven Cheney Helo. Robinson R44 Raven II Pres & Chief Pilot Cheney North Corp Hales Location NH
ll 3 of our Robinson R44 Ravens are a pleasure to fly. We’re using them in Part 133 and Part 137 ops in support of the cranberry industry. These helicopters work extremely well in their roles and our company is highly satisfied with their overall performance and low operating costs. They’re truly “gas-and-go” helicopters. Harry Teachman Comm-Mult-Inst/Helo. Robinson R44 Raven I Line Pilot Firefly South Dartmouth MA
ased on my experience operating different helicopter models I think Robinson offers everything you need in piston-powered helicopters. And they’re inexpensive to operate. Robinson’s turbine Ravens also appear to be inexpensive to fly based on initial operating costs. I hope their value proposition holds at the 12 year overhaul point in a cost comparison to Bell and Airbus helicopters. James Lee ATP/A&P. Robinson R66/R44/R22 & Bell 206/407GX/429 Co-Owner Rocky Mountain Rotors Belgrade MT
or the 24th year Pro Pilot has asked helicopter operators to rate the quality of aftersale product support provided by helicopter manufacturers. This is the 15th year that Pro Pilot has published results for 2 divisions—turbine and piston. There are 7 categories listed on the form— company response time, spares availability, cost of parts, speed in AOG service, tech manuals, tech reps, and service satisfaction. The form includes 8 helicopter OEMs and has space for write-ins. During Oct 2017 a total of 3798 survey forms were mailed to helicopter operators. Of these, 2564 survey forms went to a random selection of established Pro Pilot subscribers. A supplemental mailing of 1234 was sent to other helicopter operators. A total of 500 survey forms, representing 13.2% return, came back to our Pro Pilot office in Alexandria VA before the cutoff date Jan 24, 2018. Only 1 form per respondent was accepted. After review, 346 survey forms were accepted as being properly filled out. These forms provided a total of 576 line evaluations with 524 for turbine and 52 for piston helicopters. There were 154 survey forms disqualified due to inconsistencies, errors, lack of information or duplication. Pro Pilot rules required a minimum of 35 line evaluations for the turbine and 30 for the piston division. There were 5 turbine helicopter OEMs that met the criteria—Airbus, Bell, Leonardo, MD, and Sikorsky. Some manufacturers that received responses but not enough for ranking were Boeing (6 line evaluations), Enstrom (7), Kamov (2), Mil (2), and Robinson (7). In the piston helicopter division only Robinson met the minimum requirement. Other piston helicopter OEMs that didn’t meet the 30 line evaluations required to rank in the survey were Enstrom (7 line evaluations), Guimbal (1), Hiller (1), Scott (3), and Sikorsky (8). Conklin & de Decker of Arlington TX acted as research agent for this survey and performed the independent data analysis.
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OUTER MARKER INBOUND
Roscoe Turner – Airman and showman extraordinaire
Gilmore and Roscoe became a famous pair until the lion got too big. When Gilmore died, Roscoe had him stuffed and placed in his living room.
Roscoe in later years, with a well preserved Gilmore in his living room with wife Madonna.
By David Bjellos
ATP/Helo. Gulfstream IV, Sikorsky S76, Bell 407 Pro Pilot Airport Historian
viation has never been lacking in colorful characters, especially during the Golden Age of aviation from the 1920s through the end of the 1930s. Although there were many luminaries, none were as flamboyant and endearing as Roscoe Turner. He was a self-styled promoter of himself and all things aeronautical, and counted among his friends numerous movie stars, US Presidents and war heroes. Hollywood could not have made a better advocate for the growing enthusiasm of airplanes and their glamour. Roscoe epitomized the incredible appetite of the public for all things that flew. Turner was born in Corinth MS and flew balloons in WWI. After the war, Turner barnstormed and flew his own aircraft in Howard Hughes’ epic aviation film Hell’s Angels, as well as Dawn Patrol and Flight at Midnight. He struck out on his own forming a small airline called Nevada Airlines which flew between Los Angeles, Reno and Las Vegas. Early in his career, he saw that aviation was the key to both national defense and civilian growth. Since income and expenses never balanced, Roscoe turned to numerous companies to help support him and his airline by displaying their logos on the side of the airplane. None was more famous than the lion logo of Red Lion Petroleum. Turner was supplied a lion cub he named Gilmore and began flying with him in 1930. They became instant celebrities and were inseparable. The lion rode in the front seat of his Cord Phaeton, and stayed in his hotel room when on the road (he registered as Roscoe Turner and Gilmore). Hotel managers were delighted at the publicity and notoriety. When Gilmore exceeded 150 lbs, Roscoe very reluctantly had him removed from flying status, and eventually moved him to a zoo where he got the attention he required. A hilarious (and almost unbelievably true) anecdote told many times over was when Turner wanted to visit Gilmore at the zoo after hours (and after a night of serious imbibing with friends). The zoo keeper could not stop the irrepressible Turner, who walked up to the cage, petted Gilmore from the outside, then crawled inside for an hour, talking softly to the
The 1934 London–Melbourne crew was Turner, Reeder Nichols (radio operator) and Clyde “Upside Down” Pangborn. They finished 3rd overall, and were the only American crew to complete the race. Turner “borrowed” the Boeing 247D airliner and outfitted it with special fuel tanks for the long legs overwater.
now fully-grown lion. The zoo keeper is rumored to have had a nervous breakdown, and could not stay in the same room to watch, fearing that Turner would be devoured. Such was the presence and personality of Roscoe. Turner always said, “There is no other reason for an airplane except to go fast.” And his success at air racing was extraordinary. He was the only person to win the Thompson Trophy 3 times, and, along with Jimmy Doolittle, he won both the Thompson and Bendix trophies. He was the only American pilot to finish the 1934 London to Melbourne race in a borrowed Boeing 247D airliner from United Airlines. As colorful and glitzy as he made himself to the public, he was widely respected by his fellow racers, including Doolittle, Jackie Cochran, Vincent Bendix and many others. The stature of Turner was not unlike many others during his era, including Doolittle, Curtis LeMay, Hap Arnold and Eddie Rickenbacker. These men were fiercely patriotic and represented themselves and their country with fervor. A classic quote from Roscoe is “Aviation is going to control the world economically and militarily whether we like it or not. Airpower is not merely military aviation, it is also civilian aviation and airpower is peace power.” Turner became one of a handful of civilians to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1952 by Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan Twining for “extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.” He was only the 6th civilian recipient up to that time to receive such an honor. When Roscoe Turner passed away June 23, 1970, he was almost 75 years old. His final accolade would come from his old friend Jimmy Doolittle, who posthumously awarded Turner entry into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1975. Circumstances, timing, luck and skill produced a very exceptional man for his time, and the ages. David Bjellos is the Aviation Manager for Florida Crystals, flying a GIV-SP, S-76C+ and Bell 407. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Helicopter Association International (HAI).
88 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / February 2018
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Professional Pilot Magazine February 2018