For 56 years Hormel Foods Flight Dept has flown their aircraft from AUM (Austin d an s s Municipal Airport, MN), its hometown airfield. With their current fleet of a Gulfstream G280 s er ne re p a t c h and G150 are (L–R) Sr VP Supply Chain Mark Coffey, Chairman, Pres, & CEO Jim Snee, a w l A & Dis Chief Pilot Rick Stoulil, Sr Capt David Morehouse and Sr Capt Greg Vortherms. a n o ati u l e r s u t Si h e d Sc
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January 2018 Page
65 Airbus Helicopters BlueRock Marketing
C4 Gulfstream Direct
59 Avfuel FBO Network Direct
27 Jet Aviation Yank & Limey
75 Avfuel / Tupelo Aviation TUP Direct
39 Manny’s Catering Direct
35 Bangor Intl Airport BGR Direct
69 MD Helicopters / MD530F Direct
18 Banyan Air Service FXE Direct 57 Blackhawk / XP67A Direct 3 Bombardier Aircraft KSM South 23 Business Jet Center DAL Direct 79 CAE Direct 21 Castle & Cooke Aviation Direct 41 Clay Lacy BFI Direct 49 Clay Lacy VNY Direct 67 Concorde Battery Direct C3 Daher / TBM 930 E-COPILOT Direct 7 Dassault / Falcon Response Direct 19 Denver jetCenter Direct 6 Duncan Aviation Direct 5 Embraer Phenom 300E Direct
Vol 52 No 1
47 Million Air Direct 26 Pentastar Aviation PTK Direct 11 Pilatus Business Aircraft Direct 13 Pratt & Whitney Canada Sullivan Higdon & Sink 71 Robinson Helicopters / R66 Direct 29 Rolls-Royce CorporateCare YOU 24 Saker Aviation GCK Day Vision Marketing 61 Shell Aviation MAI 63 Sheltair Aviation Direct 45 Signature Flight Support Direct 31 SmartSky / 4G LTE network Greteman Group 51 TAG Farnborough Airport FAB Direct C2 & 1 TRU Simulation + Training Copp Media
17 FlightSafety Intl Greteman Group
33 Universal Avionics / InSight Direct
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55 Viasat / In-Flight Internet Direct
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Contributors in this issue GRANT McLAREN, Editor-at-Large. DON VAN DYKE, Canadian Technical Editor. ATP/Helo/CFII. BRENT BUNDY, Phoenix PD Officer/Pilot. AS350, Cessna 210/182/172. AL HIGDON, Cofounder of the Sullivan Higdon & Sink Ad Agency. KARSTEN SHEIN, Climatologist, Natl Climatic Data Center. Comm-Inst. ARCHIE TRAMMELL, Pres of Radar Training Systems. Comm-Inst/CFII. SHANNON FORREST, ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605. RICHARD ABOULAFIA, VP, Teal Group GLENN CONNOR, ATP. Cessna 425. Professional Pilot ISSN 0191-6238 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312 Fax: 703-370-7082 Tel: 703-370-0606 E-MAIL: email@example.com
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2 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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Bombardier, Global 6000 and Exceptional by Design are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries. © 2017 Bombardier Inc. All rights reserved.
We didn’t get here by sheer luck. This was deliberate.
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Vol 52 No 1
8 POSITION & HOLD Flat outlook continues for new bizjet and TP sales. by Richard Aboulafia 28 FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE Hormel Foods by Brent Bundy World famous food producer builds sales with Gulfstream G280 and G150.
36 INTERNATIONAL OPS Catering considerations by Grant McLaren Keeping passengers and crew happy with healthy and tasty meals when flying overseas. 44 FBO TRENDS Fixed base operators yesterday, today, tomorrow by Don Van Dyke Demand for acquisitions remains high with 3384 FBOs operating in the US. 52 WEATHER BRIEF Climate of the Pacific Northwest by Karsten Shein Variable conditions and hazards create challenges for pilots in this area.
60 RADAR SCHOOL Hail by Archie Trammell A guide on detecting these ice pellets and avoiding their dangers. 64 SPECIAL MISSION HELICOPTERS Rotary-wing aircraft strengthen law enforcement agencies around the world. by Pro Pilot Staff
72 CONNECTIVITY ALOFT Satcom Direct by Shannon Forrest SD will offer subscribers 4G LTE speeds through partnership with SmartSky. 76 ADVANCED AVIONICS Saab takes flightdeck displays to a new level by Glenn Connor Company has VR SVS and EFVS designed for performance-based airspace. 80 AVIONICS PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY Operators grade flightdeck OEMs on aftersale service. by Pro Pilot Staff 88 OUTER MARKER INBOUND The advantages of EFVS in flying safer approaches as well as takeoffs. by Nick Sabatini
4 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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PHENOM 300: SAFETY, ADVANCED AVIONICS, COMFORT “What inspired my purchase was a combination of the passion and love of aviation and to pilot a jet like the Phenom 300. But also for business purposes, I can fly around the world and meet with vendors who supply us raw materials. I can meet with retailers, so it’s very exciting to fly very quickly to them and avoid the delays and cancellations of commercial air travel. Plus, you can fly into smaller airports that are closer to your destination. And what got me so excited about Embraer was its DNA building airliners, the ERJs. I always tell people Embraer forgot it’s building executive jets. They still believe they’re building airliners for endurance, safety, redundancy. Embraer treats me as well or better than its airline customers. The company goes out of its way to keep the plane upgraded with service bulletins, improving the systems of the plane, improving every aspect of the airplane. I like the fact that Embraer is just constantly improving the Phenom 300, and they do a phenomenal job of keeping parts in stock. The plane is very stable. Passengers like the combination of the safety of the airplane, the advanced avionics, combined with the comfort of the plane. The lavatory being externally serviceable is awesome for both the owners/operators and passengers. I wanted the latest, greatest, best, safest technology, and Embraer had it all, from the avionics to the engines to the systems.”
- Wayne Gorsek, Founder & CEO, DrVita.com Watch Wayne’s story and request more information at EmbraerExecutiveJets.com/Wayne
The best-selling business jet in the world four years in a row, Embraer’s Phenom 300 platform achieved breakthrough status and dominated as the largest, fastest, longest range single-pilot aircraft on the market. And now, with the introduction of the brand-new Phenom 300E, a whole new standard in value and customer experience has been set. Designated “E” for “enhanced,” this modern, clean-sheet light jet delivers top-tier performance and next-generation avionics, along with a revolutionary new interior design for improved ergonomics, ease of maintainability, advanced connectivity and unmatched comfort and space. Add to that the industry-exclusive upper technology panel, plus the segment’s largest baggage compartment and lowest operating costs, and it’s easy to see why the Phenom 300E is truly in a class by itself.
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Vol 52 No 1
Departments 12 VIEWPOINT Asset Insight President Anthony Kioussis explains how Asset Quality affects value of aircraft being offered for sale.
16 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when arriving at IND (Indianapolis IN). Answers on page 18. 20 PIREPS Aerion and Lockheed Martin sign memo of understanding on AS2 supersonic business jet. 22 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers name aviation associations they have joined and the value of their memberships. 40 SID & STAR The pilots reaffirm their preference for service at Ligature Aviation. 42 AL LOOKS BACK As he says goodbye to Learjet, Al reflects on his many good times and quality friendships.
Duncan Aviation has a breadth of ADS-B experience that is unmatched
in the industry. Our three main MRO facilities, 27 satellite avionics facilities and workaway stations all share access to the engineering data for more than 42 STCs for FAA-approved ADS-B solutions. That allows our shops to perform upgrades on more than 100 aircraft models from turboprops to long-range business jets. We can help operators comply with the mandate on their schedule, often in their hangar...and most importantly, with a solution that will continue to fill their aircraftâ€™s mission and allow for future growth. Contact a Duncan Aviation facility now to schedule.
For 56 years Hormel Foods Flight Dept has flown their aircraft from AUM (Austin Municipal Airport, MN), its hometown airfield. With their current fleet of a Gulfstream G280 and G150 are (Lâ€“R) Sr VP Supply Chain Mark Coffey, Chairman, Pres, & CEO Jim Snee, Chief Pilot Rick Stoulil, Sr Capt David Morehouse and Sr Capt Greg Vortherms. Photo by Brent Bundy.
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HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. THOUSANDS OF PARTS. TWO INDUSTRY FIRSTS.
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POSITION & HOLD editorial opinion
Photo by José L Vásquez
Flat outlook continues for business aircraft sales
Used aircraft prices remain low, but tightening levels of available used jets imply a possible market rebound in 2018.
By Richard Aboulafia VP, Teal Group
reliminary business aircraft delivery numbers for 2017 indicate that the market stayed quite flat relative to 2016. Looking at the leading market indicators, there are only the faintest glimmers of hope that 2018 will see more than a modest uptick in most aircraft segments. The best that can be said is that if used aircraft availability continues to decline, the market for new business aircraft could finally begin to see a stronger and broader recovery in 2019. But whether or not the market sees renewed growth, in terms of new product development, all business aircraft manufacturers must continue to run, just to stay in place.
Bombardier’s long road back In October, Bombardier signed a deal with Airbus that, when executed, will give Airbus a majority share of Bombardier’s 110/130-seat CSeries jetliner program. While Airbus paid nothing for a jet that had required billions of dollars in Bombardier, Canadian Government, and UK Government investment, the agreement removes an enormous burden from the Canadian company. It can now go back to focusing on its core businesses. In terms of legacy, products, size, and profitability, business jets are the most important Bombardier core business. As our chart indicates, the Global series, along with the Challenger 650 and Challenger 350, constitute the strong majority of Bombardier aero revenue. Even if the CSeries had stayed a Bombardier program, the new jetliner still would not have come close to the importance of
the company’s business jet programs (as seen in our Bombardier program revenues chart, which assumes annual output of 70 CSeries by the early 2020s). Bombardier’s lavish CSeries spending has badly damaged this core business. A decade ago the market saw the emergence of a new ultra high-end segment for customers who will pay $75 million for the largest and longest-range models. Bombardier’s Global 7000 will enter service in 2018 in pursuit of this market. While a very impressive model, the 7000 is over 5 years behind Gulfstream’s highly successful G650. Bombardier has ceded its number 1 position in the business jet market – Gulfstream took this lucrative prize in 2013. Bombardier will need to do a lot of new product development work to get it back. After the 7000 (and possibly the 8000), Bombardier must turn its attention to its large cabin Challenger 650. While upgraded, the basic airframe is now one of the oldest products in the industry, and certainly the oldest jet in the high end of the market. The original Challenger 600 entered production in 1980. There is also the question of Learjet. The Model 70/75 upgrade represented a modest improvement to the Model 40/45, which had been in production for almost 20 years. That’s not a long time in this industry, but the 70/75 still use Honeywell’s aging TFE731 turbofan. With the Model 85 dead, it isn’t clear that Bombardier can see a way forward with this unit. A major clean-sheet product investment would be a high-risk proposition. In theory, the company could sell Learjet to raise cash for its other product lines. But it’s difficult to see who would pay more than a modest sum for the new build product lines. China could conceivably be interested in Learjet, but
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Bombardier’s future rests on the 2 health of the large cabin jet segment. This segment kept growing after the 0 2008 downturn had badly damaged the small and midsized cabin segments. It was only after oil prices fell that the large jets felt any pain at all. RJs Still, big iron is now almost 70% of the total business jet industry by value of deliveries. As the Global 7000 enters full production, and as the small and midsize cabin jets continue to see flat demand, this percentage will grow over the next 2 years, as seen in our forecast chart. The relative health of large cabin aircraft has encouraged manufacturers to move aggressively forward with new product development. Since the Global 7000 will soon seize the title of largest traditional business jet, Gulfstream will have no choice but to respond. A growth G650ER, possibly designated G750, would be the likeliest option. In the meantime, Gulfstream will continue to develop the G500/G600 large cabin jets, which will likely precipitate a Bombardier response. This may involve a significant update of the company’s Global 5000/6000 models. While Gulfstream’s new product development plans are more or less clear for the next 5 years (assuming the G750 directly follows the G500/600), it isn’t clear whether the G550 will survive. While the G550 is a younger airframe, it isn’t clear whether there is enough of a price gap between it and the new Gulfstreams to justify production beyond 2020. And remember, the last G450 will be delivered in early 2018. As for Dassault, it remains in 3rd place in the top half of the market. This is largely because the company doesn’t compete in the highest segments, where Bombardier and Gulfstream keep pushing the high frontier of what the market will pay. While Dassault will ultimately move forward with a Falcon 9X that could compete in those stratospheric price levels, the decision to cancel the Falcon 5X and replace it with a new, similar model, have pushed off any talk of another new Falcon family member. For decades, the market for jets priced above $25 million has been the exclusive domain of just these 3 manufacturers. Unfortunately for them, Cessna has prioritized disruption of their long-running grip. At the Nov 2015 NBAA show Cessna introduced the large cabin Hemisphere, the company’s largest design yet. It will cost about $35 million and should make its first
New products: pressing boldly on
Bombardier Aero: What a long strange road it’s been
Deliveries in 2017 $ billions
there would be little point in buying relatively old intellectual property. Also, China’s industry and government have shown little interest in actually buying Western aircraft primes. They purchased Cirrus, but they walked away from the opportunity to buy Hawker Beechcraft, which had several much newer products than Learjet’s line. Learjet’s aftermarket business might find a buyer, but Bombardier might decide that the product support business was too profitable to sell.
flight in 2019. Range will be 4500 nm (8330 km). Textron formally opened the Hemisphere order book at the Oct 2017 NBAA show. The Hemisphere is clearly aimed at the Challenger 650, giving Bombardier another reason to start working on a replacement model. It will also compete with Dassault’s Falcon 2000. This leaves Embraer as the only 1 of the 5 traditional business jet manufacturers without aspirations of entering the high end of the market, aside from the long-running business adaptations of its regional jetliner models. While the Brazilian company will think about its options now that the Legacy 450 and 500 have entered full production, it is hard to imagine them seeing any clear opportunities to move up in the market. There are few gaps in the 3 legacy product lines, and Cessna is targeting the only conspicuously vulnerable platform. The coming year should also see clarity on the Safran’s troubled Silvercrest engine. The cancellation of Dassault’s Falcon 5X, following 4 years of delays, killed off the 1st of Silvercrest’s 2 applications. In July 2017 the 5X made its 1st flight, but with a “preliminary” version of the Silvercrest. This decision was relatively easy; Dassault had effectively been ordered to use a French engine (originally, it selected a Rolls-Royce engine for its new jet). Cessna has no such political mandate for its Silvercrest-powered Hemisphere. This is scheduled to fly in 2019, with the Silvercrest engine. In Oct 2017 Textron CEO Scott Donnelly told analysts that it was “premature” to know what the company’s response would be to the engine’s problems, but it’s clear that 2018 will be a pivotal year. A powerplant change would not be unprecedented – Cessna’s Longitude was originally scheduled to use the Silvercrest, rated at 11,000 lbs of thrust, but in Nov 2015 this plan was changed to Honeywell’s HTF7700L. All of this high-end, new model development activity is in stark contrast to the bottom half of the market. Now that Embraer’s Legacy 450/500, Cessna’s M2 and Latitude, Cirrus’s SF50 Vision Jet, and of course the HondaJet PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018 9
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$15 $10 $5
have all entered service, the only thing in the new product pipeline is Pilatus’ PC24, a rugged $9 million light jet with first deliveries expected in 2018. Gulfstream/Israel Aerospace Industries let their G150 midsized jet die in 2016 with no plans for a replacement. Thus, the least expensive Gulfstream is now the $27 million super midsize G280 (also built with IAI). The relative absence of new small and mid cabin jets in the pipeline reflects a lack of confidence in the market by all the players involved. Or, in Cessna’s case, it reflects a decision to prioritize business development resources for high-end products. Then again, given the reported success of Pilatus PC24 sales, it’s quite possible that these smaller segments are suffering due to a lack of stimulation by new models and technologies. The absence of a recovery may be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy by the manufacturers. Whatever the cause, the former bottom half of the business jet market remains relatively flat in Teal Group’s forecast. As our forecast chart indicates, we do not expect the first 4 size classes to return to their 2008 market peaks any time through 2026.
Vertical traffic jam While business jets appear to be stuck in a decade-spanning market rut, legacy and new-start manufacturers are dreaming of a completely new market for private air vehicles. Over the past 2 years, there’s been a remarkable proliferation of proposed vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft designed for inter-urban mobility. Most of these manufacturers promise a new age of city travel, something akin to the flying cars in Blade Runner. Some dream of coupling these craft with an Uber-like on-demand travel service. Unsurprisingly, Uber itself has been a leader in pushing this idea, under the Uber Elevate program. It wants to start with some kind of basic air taxi service in the United Arab Emirates, as early as 2020.
2017 $ millions
Other key VTOL vehicle players include XTI, Lilium, Terrafugia, and Elytron Aircraft. And most notably, there’s Airbus, with its CityAirbus and Vahana concept designs. However, 1 of the key avatars of this imagined new age, Paul Eremenko, departed his job as Airbus’s Chief Technology Officer in Nov. This could indicate that Airbus is moving its focus back to its traditional line of jetliners, helicopters, and other “non-disruptive” air vehicles. Many of the technologies envisaged as key enablers for this market are many years away from fruition. These include electric propulsion, autonomous flight, and the systems needed to ensure safe operations in a dense airspace. But even when these technologies arrive, it isn’t clear how these new air vehicles could offer radically Midsized different costs compared with modern Very large piston and light turbine helicopters. Turboprops And the market for these light helicopters hardly justifies spending even a fraction of the billions of dollars needed to bring even a few of these new VTOL concepts to market. Annual deliveries of all civil market rotorcraft priced below $3 million have never exceeded $1 billion. In 2016, deliveries of all sub-$3 million models, for all market segments (including military customers) came to just $820 million. For air taxi system promoters like Uber, the way around this market problem is simple. Critical mass will produce lower unit costs. In other words, in theory, building thousands of VTOL air vehicles per year will enable the low costs needed to stimulate the market, producing thousands of sales. As the market grows, costs will come down further. The problem with this is that light helicopters are already inexpensive. A Robinson R66 turbine, for example, costs less than $900,000. Building it in much larger numbers would probably not have much of an impact on the price tag. It’s difficult to imagine the new VTOL concepts competing if they’re priced much higher than that. The new VTOL concept models, and the mass growth market they’re chasing, will remain aspirational for manufacturers for decades to come. For now, the reality is that the business jet market remains relatively quiet. But it’s important to remember that this market is still worth more than $20 billion annually. Even in 2017 dollars, that’s higher than any year prior to 2006. And with a market of this size, it would be foolish for manufacturers to not make the kind of new product development investments that we’re seeing in the high end. 2022
Business aircraft market by class A gradual shift towards larger aircraft
Richard Aboulafia is VP, Analysis at Teal Group Corp, an aviation and defense market intelligence and consulting company. He has tracked the business aircraft market for over 25 years.
10 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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YOU’LL BE THE CHIEF PILOT WHO CAN’T SAY NO. Adding the PC-12 NG to your roster boosts your odds of saying “yes” to more trips, more often. Its short-field performance, speed, payload and range make it an unmatched, all-mission player. Its large cabin seats nine, and the huge cargo door handles the bulkiest luggage. And all at a far lower cost than twins and jets. “No” might just become a thing of the past. Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd • +1 303 465 9099 • www.pilatus-aircraft.com
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VIEWPOINT an editorial opinion
Understanding how Asset Quality affects value of an aircraft offered for sale Table A
Understanding maintenance equity Maintenance equity decreases due to aircraft utilization
$0 Maintenance equity
Max maintenance equity $
All scheduled maintenance due
Mid-time/ Mid-life aircraft
Maintenance equity increases as maintenance is completed
By Anthony Kioussis
President, Asset Insight
ou may be considering replacing your aircraft. How will its Asset Quality affect the value? Asset Quality summarizes an aircraft’s overall technical condition by taking into account everything – from the condition of the aircraft’s paint to its passenger interior – while principally focusing on the aircraft’s maintenance condition. Why? Because Asset Quality is the 3rd most influential metric when it comes to an aircraft’s valuation, preceded in importance only by the asset’s existing utilization (flight hours and cycles) and age. However, of the 3, Asset Quality is the only metric an owner can control once it’s decided to replace the aircraft. An aircraft’s accumulated flight hours cannot be rolled back, and a near-term reduction in flying will have no substantive effect on value. Conversely, if the aircraft has been underutilized, the owner is likely to realize little, if any, additional value, although their aircraft may experience greater market appeal and possibly sell faster, thereby realizing less depreciation. Similarly, age is an established metric that cannot be altered, and the longer the owner holds on to their aircraft, the more this factor is likely to negatively impact their asset’s value. Asset Quality, on the other hand, is arguably both an aircraft’s greatest “wild card” (since an unscheduled maintenance event can, by definition, occur at any time) and the only metric an owner has the ability to control in ways that can favorably impact the asset’s value. For example, prior to placing the aircraft on the market, the owner may elect to repaint it, refurbish the interior, enroll the aircraft on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Pro-
gram, and/or complete maintenance earlier than necessary. All such actions would improve the aircraft’s Asset Quality and its value. The obvious question is “by how much?” To address that question, we must employ an objective, standardized process able to grade every aircraft on the following 3 parameters (see article entitled “Value optimization – the new market dynamic” in Pro Pilot, Sep 2014, p 10): 1. Maintenance Rating: the aircraft’s maintenance status compared to its “optimum mx condition” (achieved on the day the aircraft came off the production line). 2. Financial Rating: the aircraft’s scheduled mx event costs based on its Maintenance Rating. 3. Maintenance Equity: the difference between an aircraft’s Maximum Available Maintenance Equity value (achieved the day the aircraft came off the production line), LESS the maintenance value consumed through utilization (due to flight hours, landings, or calendar time), PLUS any scheduled maintenance that has been completed. Accordingly, as an aircraft is utilized, Maintenance Equity decreases. As scheduled maintenance is completed, Maintenance Equity increases. See article entitled “Maintenance Equity” (Pro Pilot, Aug 2015, p 76). Averaging the first 2 parameters derives the aircraft’s Asset Quality Rating and (due to the Rating’s standardized scale) allows us to directly compare any 2 aircraft based on their specific maintenance program. Deriving the Maintenance Equity (see Table A) allows us to translate each aircraft’s Asset Quality Rating into a financial figure we can use to adjust its Current Market Value. To derive an aircraft’s Maintenance Equity, the estimated cost to complete each maintenance line item required by the aircraft’s maintenance manual must be calculated. Having compiled an aircraft’s maintenance history, the
12 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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Table B Current flight hours: 3050 Maintenance Event Event 1
Current cycles: 2500
Maintenance Event Limiter Flt hrs
Months in service: 120
Remaining Economic Life
Current Maintenance Equity
3000 flt hrs
3100 flt hrs
3000 flt hrs
3600 flt hrs
1800 flt hrs
3600 flt hrs
Maximum available maintenance equity:
Total currently available maintenance equity: Amount above / (below) average maximum available maintenance equity of $26,375:
time (flight hours, landings/cycles, and/or calendar period) accumulated toward each individual scheduled (upcoming) maintenance event is used to compute the dollar value of maintenance (equity) the aircraft still has available. Table B exemplifies the Asset Quality for an aircraft whose maintenance schedule has only 5 line items. While not realistic (turbine aircraft maintenance often includes hundreds of line items), the table simply demonstrates how Maintenance Equity is computed. Strictly speaking, Paint & Interior are not items listed in the aircraft’s maintenance manual. However, they do constitute part of the aircraft’s Asset Quality, with their Economic Life measured in months. Further, while Paint or Interior for a specific aircraft may be technically acceptable, styles become dated – hence the passage of time is a life limiter. The Maintenance Equity for the aircraft in Table B is $13,362.75 below the model’s Average Maximum Available Maintenance Equity of $26,375 (half of the Maximum Available Maintenance Equity figure). Therefore, if the average aircraft value for this model is $X, the value for this aircraft (all other factors being equal) should be $X minus $13,362.75. Of course, all this is moot absent a willing buyer, but this example allows such a buyer to justifiably offer a lower than average price for this aircraft based on its Current Maintenance Equity. In fact, many buyers are likely to assess a further decrease to the aircraft’s value due to the “time and trouble” they will experience upon acquiring this asset (due to loss of use while maintenance is performed). Rather than entertaining lower offer prices while concurrently sustaining value loss by virtue of increased marketing time (Days on Market), the seller could complete some of the maintenance due prior to listing the aircraft for sale. For example: • The seller could repaint the aircraft and refurbish its interior – potentially securing an appraised value increase equal to 40% to 60% the cost of such work. • Since Event 5 only has 30.6% of its economic life remaining, the seller might consider completing it early, as any savvy buyer is likely to discount the Event’s remaining
value as part of their “time and trouble” reduction. From an appraised value perspective, Scheduled Maintenance event completions normally recover between 60% and 100% of their cost at time of completion. Completing these 3 events would add $30,508 to the aircraft’s Maintenance Equity, increasing the asset’s appraised value between $18,305 and $30,508 (60% to 100% the value of the completed work) while concurrently increasing its Asset Quality Rating relative to other aircraft and making it more appealing to most buyers. The seller is also likely to decrease the asset’s Days on Market that, in a quickly depreciating environment, could equate to some additional value retention thereby offsetting the invested maintenance cost. Lastly, the aircraft could be enrolled on an Hourly Cost Maintenance Program, thereby recovering the value of time used on certain major aircraft sectors, such as the engines or the APU (see article entitled “Hourly Cost Maintenance Programs are more valuable than you may think,” Professional Pilot, Dec 2017, p 18). While further increasing most aircrafts’ market appeal, appraised value would be favorably impacted based on the specific figure attributed to the make/model. The key to securing the highest possible return on your aircraft investment, under any market environment, is establishing an objective methodology that measures and justifies your aircraft’s Asset Quality. It is the only metric under an owner’s control able to translate subjective descriptions – such as “good” or “bad” – to a financial figure that can favorably impact the asset’s value.
Anthony Kioussis is President of Asset Insight, which offers aircraft valuation and aviation consulting services. His 40+ years of experience in aviation includes GE Capital Corporate Aircraft Finance, Jet Aviation, and JSSI.
14 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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17-MCJT5858 Beechjet G5000 TakeOff Ad_REV-8.375x10.875-ProPilot.indd 1 Viewpoint 1-18 lyt MQS/RH/CS.indd 15
12/8/17 9:38 AM 12/22/17 3:35 PM
Terminal Checklist 1/18
5. Select the true statement(s) regarding flying the procedure from Shelbyville VOR. a Fly on a course of 041° to KOYDE at 2900 ft MSL. b An arrival on the radial of 090° may not fly the procedure. c Fly direct to FOGBU and perform a teardrop entry to the course reversal. d After flying from KOYDE to FOGBU, turn left to inter cept the final approach course of 252°. e After flying from KOYDE to FOGBU, perform a direct entry to the holding pattern course reversal.
7. Select the true statement(s) regarding use of the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting. a All circling MDAs increase by 60 ft. b The approach is not authorized at night. c The approach may not be flown to LNAV/VNAV mini mums using baro-VNAV equipment. d The minimum visibilities for all straight-in approaches are the same as those used with the RAIL or ALS out with the local altimeter setting.
6. Which are correct regarding the visual descent point (VDP)? a The position of the VDP is based on the angle of the PAPI. b The VDP is where the VGSI (in this case a PAPI) angle intersects the final approach course at the MDA. c The VDP is unusable with the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting because it is not aligned with a 3.00° angle from the runway touchdown when using the MDA of 1280 ft MSL. d All of the above are correct.
4. The procedure is not authorized for arrival on V50 at what fix(es)? a PENDS. b NEWTO. c FOGBU. d HUDAX. e SHB VOR.
3. Select all that apply. A flight arriving from the west is cleared direct to FOGBU at 3500 ft MSL and then is cleared for the approach. At FOGBU, the flight should___ a Descend to 2700 ft MSL in holding pattern course reversal. Maintain 3500 ft MSL until intercepting final approach crse. b c Turn to 072° heading for parallel entry to course reversal. d Turn rt to intercept final approach crse of 252° at FOGBU.
2. Select the true statement(s) regarding the equipment required to fly the approach. a RAIM must be available to fly to LPV minimums. b Baro-VNAV may be used to fly to LPV minimums. c WAAS-certified GPS is required to fly to LPV minimums. d Baro-VNAV may be used to fly to LNAV/VNAV minimums. e To fly to LNAV minimums, the GPS equipment must be certified for instrument approaches by TSO C145/C146.
Reproduced with permission of Jeppesen Sanderson. Reduced for illustrative purposes.
1. Do not fly the procedure if a NOTAM indicates that GPS service is “unreliable” or “may not be available. a True b False
Refer to the 42-2 RNAV (GPS) Rwy 25 for KMQJ (Indianapolis IN) when necessary to answer the following questions:
Not to be used for navigational purposes
Answers on page 18
d If the receiver does not sequence to approach mode, perform a RAIM prediction 2 nm prior to reaching HUDAX and if RAIM is available, manually switch to approach mode and continue the approach. 9. A straight-in approach to LNAV/VNAV mins with vertical guid ance allows descent to a DA lower than the LNAV MDA. a True b False
What are the correct minimums for approaches to straight-in 8. An aircraft is flying to LNAV minimums with GPS equipment 10. that is not WAAS-certified. Which are appropriate actions to landings? Select all that apply. LPV: local altimeter setting; PAPI out—DA 1160, visibility 1 sm. a take regarding RAIM status indications? Select all that apply. LNAV/VNAV: local altimeter setting—DA 1259, visibility 7/8 sm. a If the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after passing b c LPV: Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting, MALSR out—DA 1215, HUDAX, continue the approach to landing. b If the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after passing visibility 1 sm. d LNAV: Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting, category B aircraft— HUDAX, initiate a climb and perform the missed approach. c If a RAIM failure/status annunciation occurs prior to HUDAX, MDA 1280, visibility 1 sm. LNAV: local altimeter setting, MALSR out, category C proceed to RW25 via HUDAX, perform the missed approach, e aircraft—MDA 1220, visibility 1/2 sm. and contact ATC. 16 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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FLIGHTSAFETY ADVANTAGE AD - PROPILOT - JUNE 2017 ISSUE - Trim: 8.375” w x 10.875” d Terminal checklist-1-18 lyt MQS/CS.indd 17
Bleed: 8.625” w x 11.125” d 12/22/17 3:36 PM
Answers to TC 1/18 questions 1.
b According to AIM 1-1-17, the terms “unreliable” and “may not be available” in GPS NOTAMs are advisories indicating the expected level of service may not be available. “Unreliable” doesn’t mean there is a GPS signal integrity problem. If GPS service is available, pilots may continue operations and use the displayed level of service to fly the approach.
c, d To fly to LPV minimums, the aircraft must have WAAS-certified GPS equipment under TSO C145/C146. LNAV minimums only require the GPS equipment be certified for instrument approaches by TSO C129. Because WAAS is required to fly to LPV minimums, RAIM would not be required. A baro-VNAV system may be used to fly to LNAV/VNAV minimums but not to LPV minimums.
a, c A parallel entry to the course reversal is appropriate when arriving at FOGBU from the west. The profile view indicates an altitude of 2700 ft MSL in the holding pattern course reversal and while intercepting the final approach course until a descent at HUDAX.
b Ballflag note 2 on the plan view states “Procedure not authorized for arrival at NEWTO on V50 eastbound.” This type of restriction is imposed due to a TERPS requirement that indicates turns of more than 120º are not authorized.
a, d The plan view shows a course of 041° from Shelbyville VOR (SHB) at 2900 ft MSL to KOYDE. At KOYDE a course of 342° should be flown to FOGBU at 2700 ft MSL. A note indicates NoPT along this course, so at FOGBU, the airplane should intercept the final approach course of 252°. Ballflag note 3 indicates the procedure is not authorized from radials R-028 clockwise to R-080, which would not include the 090° radial.
d Procedural note 2 in the Briefing Strip indicates that use of the visual descent point (VDP) is not authorized with the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting. In TERPs, the VDP is based on the VGSI angle, or if there is no VGSI, it’s based on an angle of 3.00° or the vertical descent angle (VDA), whichever is greater. The VGSI in this case is a PAPI. A procedural note is used whenever a published glide
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path/descent angle (3.00° here) is not coincident angle for a runway. The VDP is unusable because it is a 3.00° angle from the runway touchdown when using is 60 ft higher at 1280 ft MSL) that applies to the altimeter setting.
with the VGSI not aligned with the MDA (which Indianapolis Intl
a, c, d Circle-to-land minimums show an increase of 60 ft for the MDA for each aircraft category. For example, the category C aircraft MDA increases from 1360 ft MSL to 1420 ft MSL. Procedural note 2 in the Briefing Strip indicates that using baro-VNAV equipment to fly the approach is not authorized with the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting. Landing minimums section shows minimum visibilities with RAIL or ALS out as 1, 1 3/8, and 1 and 1 1/8 for approaches to LPV, LNAV/VNAV, and LNAV minimums respectively. These same visibility minimums apply to the procedure with the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting.
b, c According to AIM 1-1-17, if the receiver does not sequence into the approach mode or a RAIM failure/status annunciation occurs prior to the FAWP, the pilot must not initiate the approach or descend, but instead proceed to the missed approach waypoint (MAWP) via the FAWP, perform a missed approach, and contact ATC as soon as practical. The receiver performs a RAIM prediction by 2 nm prior to the FAWP to ensure that RAIM is available as a condition for entering the approach mode. The pilot should ensure the receiver has sequenced from “Armed” to “Approach” prior to the FAWP. If the RAIM flag/status annunciation appears after the FAWP, the pilot should initiate a climb and execute the missed approach.
b The straight-in LNAV minimums are lower than the LNAV/VNAV minimums because performing the approach to the LNAV MDA brings the aircraft closer to the runway before reaching the missed approach point and different obstacle assessment areas apply to each approach type.
10. b, c, d The landing minimums section shows minimums for approaches to straight-in landings with and without an operative RAIL or ALS (in this case a MALSR as indicated in the lighting box). An inoperative PAPI has no effect on landing minimums. With the Indianapolis Intl altimeter setting the minimum visibility does not increase with inoperative RAIL or ALS. LNAV minimum visibilities vary based on aircraft category.
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By Pro Pilot staff
Aerion and Lockheed Martin sign MOU on GE-powered AS2 SSBJ
Photos courtesy Aerion
According to Aerion Chairman Executive Brian Barents, AS2’s 12-passenger cabin will offer the amenities, space and quiet comfort available in subsonic business jets. Aerion expects AS2’s unique laminar flow wing to fly efficiently at both subsonic and supersonic speeds over long distances (NY to London roundtrip in 1 day). Offering routes such as LA to Paris, up to 3 hours could be saved on a trans-Atlantic crossing by achieving 1.4 Mach over water and 1.2 Mach over land (where regulations allow) without a sonic boom reaching the ground.
n a joint press conference on Dec 15 at the National Press Club in IWashington DC, Aerion took another
Photo by José Vásquez
step towards realizing the world’s 1st Supersonic Business Jet (SSBJ) by announcing a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Lockheed Martin. The MOU also builds on an alliance made with GE Aviation in May 2017 to deﬁne a supersonic engine for the AS2. This latest formal agreement is based on Aerion’s recent discussions with Lockheed’s Skunk Works Advanced Development Programs team – and a company steeped in decades of supersonic innovation and technology including the F22, F35 and SR71 Blackbird.
This MOU deﬁnes a 12 month process where Aerion and Lockheed Martin will determine the feasibility of a joint development of the AS2. Frameworks will explore everything from engineering to certiﬁcation to possible production. According to Executive VP Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Orlando Carvalho, “Following our initial review of Aerion’s aerodynamic technology, our conclusion is that the Aerion AS2 concept warrants the further investment of our time and resources.” This sentiment was echoed by Aerion Chairman Robert Bass. “This relationship is absolutely key to creating
Aerion Chairman Robert Bass, GE VP & Gen Mgr, Business & General Aviation & Integrated Systems Brad Mottier, Exec VP Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Orlando Carvalho and Aerion Chairman Exec Brian Barents made statements and answered questions in this joint press conference.
Aerion Sr VP & Chief Technology Officer Dr Richard Tracy (L) and Pro Pilot Editor & Publisher Murray Smith at the press conference.
a supersonic renaissance,” he says. “When it comes to supersonic knowhow, Lockheed Martin’s capabilities are well known, and, in fact, legendary. We share with Lockheed Martin a commitment to the long-term development of efﬁcient civil supersonic aircraft.” Since 2003 when Aerion was formed, they have developed the core of the AS2 design – an advanced wing and supersonic natural laminar ﬂow – with NASA and other aeronautical institutions. In the last 2 1/2 years they also teamed with Airbus on the AS2’s wing, airframe and systems layout and ﬂyby-wire ﬂight control system concepts. Aerion expects the AS2’s 1st ﬂight to occur in 2023 with certiﬁcation in 2025. Fractional ﬂeet operator Flexjet already announced a 20-aircraft order in Nov 2015.
20 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018 20 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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e joined NBAA for the good they provide to the bizav industry. We’re working on building a closer relationship with them, especially for all the services they offer. Aldo Carbone ATP. Challenger 605 Ops Manager & Pilot Aviasur Santiago, Chile
What aviation organizations have you joined such as AOPA, NBAA, PC12 operators? Which association, club, organization has served you with best assistance and most value? Tell us why.
BAA, AOPA, and EAA are my organizations. AOPA and EAA provide many discounts and member benefits as well as quite a bit of entertainment and enjoyment. NBAA is great from a professional point of view on such topics as salary surveys, safety, insurance info, and recommendations. Dan Upstrom ATP. King Air 300 Captain Flexsteel Industries East Dubuque IL
ember of AOPA and EAA. AOPA is a good resource for medical and legal references. And they’re only a phone call away with any questions I have. I think they‘re a great value considering what you get for the membership cost. EAA also does an excellent job of providing assistance in the experimental and homebuilt area. They have great articles and provide good training for builders. In my opinion, each of these 2 organizations provide outstanding value. Robert Gerker ATP/Helo/CFII/A&P. Hawker 800XP Captain Contract Pilot League City TX
ne of the leaders in getting our Australian regulators to provide a less restrictive workforce is AOPA. This is really needed to revitalize GA here. I also like HAI – they’re a great tool for information as well as general news in the trade. And sport pilot organizations help me keep in touch with new and aspiring aviators. Phil Latz ATP/Helo/CFII. Bell 214 & Kamov KA32 Captain & Training Officer Hevilift Stokers Siding, NSW, Australia
OPA is an obvious choice, especially for their excellent license insurance coverage. Kurt Vogel ATP. Learjet 60 & Citation I Chief Pilot Million Air Richmond VA
est bang for the buck is AOPA, in my opinion. Anytime I have an issue, question, etc, they’re just a phone call away. Also use them for CFI renewal and online continuing education. They’re a great organization dedicated to the pilot. Thomas Conard ATP/CFI. Beechjet 400A First Officer Travel Management Corp Dover PA
have joined AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association. Also I enjoy the American Bonanza Society which provides a sense of community, safety and support with aircraft libraries and safety training. Floyd Wininger ATP/CFII. Learjet 60 & King Air 200 Chief Pilot PrePaid Legal Services Duncan OK
ike many others, I’m a member of both AOPA and NBAA. It’s important for all of us to join and support these advocates for general aviation. These organizations are the only way to protect this industry. Robert Grinch ATP/CFII. Citation Bravo President Grinch Aviation Ridgewood NJ
rivileged as aviators to have so many well run organizations to rely on. While there are many great associations, the 1 that stands out the most for me is the TBM Owners and Pilots Association. From website forums to one-on-one member involvement, this primarily owners flown group seems willing to drop what they’re doing to discuss anything you need. All owners treat each other as equals no matter what, which makes participating in this association so enjoyable. And this group gets the full attention of Patrick Daher, who will discuss issues or just socialize with the members. What a great aviation organization with excellent access, knowledge sharing and like-minded membership. John LaBonte Pvt-Inst. TBM 850 Owner JL Asset Management Rice Lake WI
ave joined NBAA and AOPA. Also worked closely with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America under a services agreement. We built a strong relationship with both NBAA and AOPA during the effort to build and implement SFAR (now PAR 91, Subpart N) for required annual training. We were fortunate that both associations embraced this cause with MHIA. It has been hugely successful in reducing the accident rate substantially and helping Mitsubishi build a safety culture unlike any other among out-of-production aircraft user groups. Patrick Cannon ATP/CFI. Beechjet 400 & Mitsubishi MU300/MU2 President Mission Air Services Lewisville TX
22 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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or 33 years I have been a member of AOPA, which has been a wonderfully rewarding organization to belong to. Their monthly magazine is a fountain of information, and the pilot protection plan has provided great legal assistance. Medical department was invaluable in retaining my FAA medical after a dual knee replacement. Kudos to AOPA. Randy Maley ATP/CFII. Citation CJ1 & King Air 90 Pilot Hynes Aviation Wichita Falls TX
’ve been a member of AOPA for over 60 years. Also a member of NBAA, Helicopter Association International, Experimental Aircraft Association, Commemorative Air Force, and Army Aviation Association of America. AOPA, CAF and AAAA have provided outstanding connections for me over the years. Craig Randall ATP/Helo/CFII. Bell 206 JetRanger Chairman The Rexford Penn Group Lyons OR
n the rolls of Eclipse Jet Owners and Pilots Assoc, Cessna Owner Association, AOPA, and NBAA. They all offer very good resources within their areas, whether directly or via Facebook. And NBAA’s help desk has become my go-to resource. Steve Cirino ATP/CFII/Helo/A&P. Eclipse 500 & Citation CJ1 Dir Pilot Training Rocky Mountain Sport Jets Desert Hills AZ
lpha Eta Rho is a nonprofit, international professional aviation fraternity working to enhance the quality of life of aviation students and strengthen the bonds that exist within the aviation community. Also a member of NBAA, AOPA, and Airline Pilots Association. AOPA has served me well – they’re always available for questions by phone or website 24 hrs a day with people dedicated to GA. Robert Frangione ATP/CFII. Challenger 600 President/Ops Manager ProAv Management & Consulting Sebastian FL
ember of AOPA and Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. AOPA is a great advocate for general aviation and offers free safety videos which are very helpful. We need them to help protect our freedom to fly. ERHC is an active community outreach program to address concerns of residents as they relate to helicopter issues. Michael Zangara ATP/Helo/CFII. Sikorsky S76 Captain & Check Airman Associated Aircraft Group Highland NY
imply put, I think that AOPA just does a good job helping GA pilots with their needs and issues. John Tatone ATP. Gulfstream IV & Citation X Captain Sun Air Jets Canyon Country CA
reat to have AOPA fighting to keep general aviation alive and well in the USA. I hope other countries have associations and organizations like this one to help with GA regulatory efforts. Dave Kendrick ATP/Helo/CFII/A&P. Metro III & Airbus UH-72A Aviation Safety Ofcr & Captain Berry Aviation Bakersfield CA
orporate Aircraft Association provides tangible results for our operation. Their mission of taking care of Part 91 operators along with their win-win mantra for members and FBOs alike makes their program 2nd to none. With over 4000 member companies, they have the power of numbers. Jamie Stember ATP. Challenger 605 Aviation Dept Manager CP Management Glenn Burnie MD
AA, AOPA and NBAA are the organizations I’ve joined. I think AOPA is the best for Part 91 topics. Robert Besaw ATP/CFII. Citation CJ2 Chief Pilot MMG Insurance Presque Isle ME
24 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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ndependent Pilots Association is an organization and trade union for professional pilots that is headquartered in the UK. Really appreciate their legal, individual and collective representation, and income and license protection. Also I’m a member of British Airline Pilots Association and British Parachute Association. I think BALPA has the best value since the subscription is factored based on your salary. It’s a big union and the reps in my company are very passionate. It also offers a very good website and career advice, and they petition Parliament on a lot of issues affecting pilots. Calum MacFarlane ATP. Bombardier Dash 8 First Officer Flybe Paisley, Scotland
fly an Eclipse 500 for my corporate work but also own a Piper Comanche for personal use. So I looked for an association that caters to all of aviation, and that’s AOPA. I think it’s really great that this organization can help all types of aviators across the board. Derek Leivestad ATP/CFII. Eclipse 500 Pilot DLorah Rapid City SD
uiet Birdmen probably have the best camaraderie of the many pilot organizations. They’re nationwide with “hangars” (regional groups) in almost every city. Need an invite to a meeting in your area? Just let me know: joeyjet@ joeyjet.com. Joey Jet ATP/CFII. Learjet 55/35 Director of Ops Joey Jet Inc Deerfield Beach FL
egal protection plan from AOPA is excellent. And NBAA has great resources for pilots regardless of what they do for a living. Bradford Archer ATP. Citation V/Excel Manager Private Jet Mentors Novato CA
BAA and AOPA are my organizations. AOPA offers great dayto-day assistance for the requirements of my job. NBAA excels at keeping me up on current issues. Juan Rey ATP. Gulfstream G450/G200 Chief Pilot Aerolineas Marcos Metepec, Mexico
resently part of AOPA and Society of Experimental Test Pilots. I have also been a member of HAI, EAA, and AAAA. AOPA rises above with their education, online classes and videos, legal advice, email, TFR alerts, and their “NOTAMs” updates on current important news. Most of all, they’re always striving to improve and find new features for pilots and owners. Michael Harrington Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW119Ke/AW109E/S Owner & Manager Koala Mike Mesa AZ
PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018 25
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oined AOPA, turbine option. Keeps me up to date on aviation news, relevant regulations, airspace and all of the industry trends. Loren Carson ATP/CFII. Citation Encore & Caravan Pilot Basin Electric Power Phoenix AZ
ife member of the Coast Guard Aviation Association. The majority of my flight time as a pilot has been with the USCG and I can honestly say that the finest individuals and some of the best airmen I have ever met have been in Coast Guard aviation. The CGAA is devoted to preserving and recognizing USCG aviation history and camaraderie, which is very important to me. Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW139 & Sikorsky S92 Captain PHI Cantonment FL
elong to a diverse group that has served me well: NBAA, AOPA, EAA, Citation Jet Pilots Association, and Seaplane Pilots Association. Each one has value for the difference regimes of flight. Even if you fly for business and then switch to personal flight, they all have something to offer. The more members these associations have, the larger voice we have in Congress to fight for our right to access and fair cost. Michael Herman Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Citation CJ3 Owner & Pilot Bear Air San Diego CA
taff at AOPA is always ready to help with any questions or concerns. Having pilots help pilots is a recipe for success. Andrew Benedict ATP/CFII. Phenom 100 Owner & Chief Pilot Betopsg4 Llc McMinnville OR
ember of AOPA and NBAA. Both have been quite helpful to me with information and support for the general aviation community. Tim Harold ATP/CFII/A&P. Pilatus PC12/PC6 Captain Yajasi Sentani, Papua, Indonesia
OPA and Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association (POPA) have my membership. POPA has a yearly convention and quarterly magazine with articles written by members. It keeps me up-to-date on various operating concerns, new products and modifications made by others to their aircraft. During the convention we mix business with pleasure and take time for lectures, question and answer sessions, demonstrations, great meals, and other activities. Mike Parnell Comm-Multi-Inst. Pilatus PC12NG Dir Flight Dept Time Tool Eastsound WA
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FLIGHT DEPT PROFILE
Hormel Foods cooks up tasty treats at Austin MN headquarters World famous food producer builds sales with Gulfstream G280 and G150.
The Hormel Institute
Photos by Brent Bundy
Hormel Foods World HQ
By Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172
ver 125 years ago in a quaint Midwestern town, a small meatpacking operation opened its doors and would eventually blossom into one of the largest food product companies in the world. Throughout that time, the Hormel Foods Corporation has not only remained true to their core values but to the town where it all began, Austin MN. As expansion outpaced accessibility to the home office, a more feasible mode of transportation became a necessity. Thus began a 56-year history of an increasingly advanced and far-reaching flight department, which the executives who utilize it
With the company’s Gulfstream G280 in the Austin MN hangar are (L–R) Capt Eric Caspers, Chief Pilot Rick Stoulil, SPAM product mascot Sir Can-A-Lot, Chief of Aircraft Maintenance Dave Triebwasser and Sr Captain Dave Morehouse.
give credit for the growth the company has experienced.
History In 1891, George A Hormel opened his meatpacking plant in Austin MN after settling there following his days as a traveling salesman. He saw early success and was soon joined by 3 of his brothers and other family members. Just after the turn of the century, George’s small business was incorporated, his original facility had increased in size and scope, and distribution centers were opening across the Midwest. And by the time World War I had hit, George was exporting
overseas and selling products under additional names. This also began his long history of supporting the military. As the Roaring 20s came to a close, George’s son Jay became the company president, America’s 1st canned ham was introduced, and operations had spread from coast to coast. The 1930s were monumental for George’s company. The continuing dedication to the people that made his success possible was proven when Jay began both the Annual Wage Plan, guaranteeing annual wages and weekly pay, along with the Joint Savings Plan, a profit-sharing program that still exists. This was followed by a 3-fold debut of their
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Chief Pilot Rick Stoulil joined the Hormel Foods Flight Department 17 years ago and took over as chief pilot 2 years later. He still flies both of the company’s Gulfstreams.
most iconic products: Dinty Moore beef stew in 1935, Hormel Chili in 1936, and SPAM in 1937. By the breakout of World War II, The Hormel Foundation had been started to handle the family trusts as well as support The Hormel Institute, a medical research branch of the University of Minnesota which is still active today. The war effort also saw huge government contracts which lead to 65% of their product being purchased by the US government as well as SPAM becoming a staple for soldiers who later continued their consumption on the home front. George Hormel passed away in 1946, shortly after the end of the war. Following in the footsteps of their founder, a succession of company leaders continued his desire for expansion, both geographically and in product offerings. This was particularly true in the late 1950s with increased international growth. By the early 60s, it became clear that to continue this pace they needed to move their people more efficiently, especially if the main base of operations was going to stay in Austin. With no plans to relocate, the obvious solution was airplanes.
Hormel Foods initiates a flight department Local aviation legend Glenn Hovland became the 1st chief pilot of the new Hormel Foods flight department in 1961. They began with an Aero Commander 680F light-twin turboprop. With a 3800-ft runway, AUM (Austin MN) was certainly a factor
Sr Capt Dave Morehouse (L) has been with Hormel Foods for 15 years and Capt Eric Caspers (R) signed on less than a year ago. They brought with them many years of experience flying corporate jobs and commuter airlines.
in selecting the AC680F. In 1968 a Beech King Air BE90 was added. And as the runway length grew progressively over the years (4800 ft in 1984 and 5800 ft in 2005), so did the company’s choice of aircraft. The King Air BE90 was traded for a BE200 then joined by their 1st jet, a IAI Westwind 1124A in 1989. This was followed by an IAI Astra 1125 in 1992, a Cessna Citation II in 1993, another Astra SP in 1996, and a Galaxy G200 in 2001. During these acquisitions, Hormel Foods always maintained at least 2 planes. The current fleet consists of a Gulfstream G150, purchased in 2007, and a G280, which replaced the G200 in 2014. While still based at AUM, the flight department moved from their original building in 2001 to their current facility, which has a 130x120 ft hangar, office space, and passenger reception areas.
Personnel While the flight department has gone through several aircraft over the years, they’re only on their 3rd chief pilot. Rick Stoulil was born and raised in nearby Iowa but spent time on the West Coast, where he learned to fly. He eventually worked for a commuter airline before making his way to Las Vegas for charter and cor-
porate jobs, gaining experience in an Astra. Stoulil returned to Sioux City IA and flew Astras for Gateway Computers before they relocated. He joined the Hormel Foods team in 2000. Originally hired as a captain, he took over for retiring chief pilot Roger Christensen 2 years later. Having been with Hormel Foods for 17 years now, Stoulil is justifiably proud of the flight department he inherited and what he has developed. They have been IS-BAO certified since 2011 with Stage III certification since 2015 and have an impeccable safety record, credited to both their Safety Management System and stringent hiring practices. Their history was recognized by NBAA in 2011 with the 50 Year Safe Flight Award. “We have a low rate of turnover with pilots here, only 20 pilots in 56 years. When we hire someone, they must meet not only our flight standards but our personality standards. We are a very tight-knit group and anyone coming in must fit into that group,” Stoulil states. To even be considered for a job with the Hormel Foods flight dept, pilots must have their ATP, 5000 hours flight time, and 500 hours in turbojets. Proof of their “group fit” concept is that they interview with the company CEO before hiring. Stoulil continues, “We are treated
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Sr VP Supply Chain Mark Coffey was hired by Hormel Foods over 32 years ago. During that time he has held a variety of positions and now oversees the flight department.
as part of the company, not just as hired drivers. Hormel treats all their employees this way.” Making sure Hormel Foods employees receive this attention is Chairman of the Board, President & CEO Jim Snee. Snee joined the company 29 years ago on the bottom rung and worked his way up the ladder through a variety of assignments, both domestic and international. He was named president in 2015 and acquired the CEO title the following year. He would be chosen as chairman of the board in the fall of 2017. With 20,000 employees working for him, or as he is quick to point out, “with him,” it is important to focus on their cultural beliefs and to recognize the value of each employee. He is clear that the value of the flight department to Hormel Foods is priceless. Snee explains, “We will never be able to quantify the impact that they have had. Their availability, flexibility, professionalism and willingness to be part of the team is unbelievable. In several instances, with merger and acquisitions situations, they can make the difference in getting a deal done.” Echoing this sentiment is Senior VP of Supply Chain Mark Coffey. Coffey, a 32-year Hormel Foods employee, oversees the flight department but was also a previous customer of theirs in his prior positions. Because of this, he recognizes their dedication to the company but most importantly, to safety. Coffey explains, “The role of the aviation department falls into 3 categories. It connects our employees to our customers, it supports our supply chain and manufacturing plants, and it re-
sponds to emergencies. But no matter the situation, safety is 1st. Safety always trumps the business need.” Coffey further emphasizes the importance of having an internal flight department when he states, “I look at our flight department as another tool in our toolbox. Very often they will be the first and last impression a customer may have. Rick and his team maintain the professionalism that we expect and need.” One of the people that customers probably will not experience firsthand is Lori Pirkl, but her importance is no less diminished. As Coffey’s executive administrative assistant, she handles the scheduling of the Hormel Foods aircraft. Pirkl has been with Hormel Foods for 19 years, the past 3 with the aviation department. Utilizing the Rockwell Collins Flight Operations System (FOS), she coordinates the flight schedules with the needs of internal customers. Coordination is maintained between pilot and passenger schedules, and if any conflicts arise, alternate arrangements can be made including the rare use of charter flights. Making sure that the concept of safety meets its application on the airplane is Chief of Aircraft Maintenance Dave Triebwasser. The North Dakota native is accustomed to the cold upper-Midwest, having spent most of his life in the area including earning his A&P in Fargo nearly 20 years ago. After serving in the US Air Force, he worked in several different maintenance departments before Stoulil called him in 2012 looking for part-time help. Seven months later, the director of maintenance retired and Triebwasser was offered the position. He has one other mechanic with
Exec Admin Asst Supply Chain Lori Pirkl handles the pilot and passenger scheduling duties for the flight department.
Chief of Aircraft Mx Dave Triebwasser is one of 2 mechanics that keep the Hormel Foods Gulfstreams in the air. He joined the team in 2012 at the request of Chief Pilot Stoulil.
him, Michael Haag, to make sure the 2 Gulfstreams keep flying. “The aircraft we have, especially the G280, are very maintenance-friendly. We have a great Gulfstream field rep and amazing flight crews that all make my job easier,” Triebwasser says. About 80% of the maintenance work is done in-house. When outside work is needed, the G280 is taken care of by Gulfstream Dallas and the G150 work is split between Duncan Aviation LNK (Lincoln NE) and Gulfstream ATW (Appleton WI). He also feels that the 2 personnel they have working on the planes is enough with current flight hours. “Safety is, as it should be, paramount to Hormel. This company likes Gulfstream because of their safety record, their warranty on the products, and the way we are taken care of by them.” In addition to Chief Pilot Stoulil, Hormel Foods has 5 full-time pilots. Sr Capt David Morehouse has been with the company for 15 years. As a sign of the longevity this flight department has, he is the 3rd most junior person. He learned to fly just out of high school and had his CFI by the time he was 19 years old. Morehouse then worked his way up through flight schools and charter work before landing his first corporate flying job with a utility company in Iowa. He moved on from there to the chief pilot position at Gateway Computers, where he met Stoulil. A couple years after Stoulil left for Hormel Foods, Morehouse joined him. “Flying for Hormel is different than other corporate jobs might be. They are a more conservative company and that makes it easier on
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The Hormel Foods hangar was built in 2001 and easily accommodates their Gulfstream G280 and G150. They hope to replace the G150 with another G280 to make the fleet even more ideal to serve the needs of the company.
the pilots. We only fly for business purposes, no personal flights for the executives, and the schedule is set in advance. We fly 3 to 4 days a week. This a very well-organized company which makes careful use of the tools at their disposal.” When asked about challenges they face, Morehouse says they are quite fortunate. He explains, “With the manner in which these planes are used, the challenge for us is simply to stay safe and to be as cost-efficient as we can. We have great aircraft that are maintained wonderfully, which takes a lot of the pressure off us as pilots.” He also reiterates previous comments on the relationship with management. “They truly do treat us like peers, they respect our judgment whether it is a flight issue or an equipment issue.” Morehouse concedes that the G150, at 10 years old, is getting a bit long in the tooth. “It’s still a good aircraft but its limitations are starting to show, especially in comparison to the newer G280.” He feels that the 2 aircraft are enough but would like to see 2 G280s in the hangar which would simplify training and increase safety. The newest member of the team is Captain Eric Caspers. Another product of the upper Midwest, Caspers made his career choice after a 16th birthday ride in a Cessna 172 had him hooked for life. In 2002, he graduated from the University of Dubuque with a double major in Aviation Flight Operations and Aviation Management. After 2 years of CFI work for his alma mater, he took his first corporate job with American Trust Bank flying a Piper Cheyenne IIXL. Caspers stayed there a year before moving on to Air Wisconsin to fly CRJs. Wanting to relocate to the Austin area to be near family,
he began the search for something new. Aware that Hormel Foods had a flight department, he bombarded Stoulil with e-mails which led to a tour of the facilities and eventually a job offer in February 2017. As of now, Caspers is type-rated in only the G280, with the expectation of the G150 being replaced soon. Even as the most junior person in the department, he already recognizes the advantages of working for Hormel Foods. “I feel more like a team member here than the airlines,” he says. “I really like being close to home, so this is the best of both worlds, but management really makes this a great job.”
Future From upper management to the pilots and mechanics, there is complete satisfaction with the choice and number of aircraft. Even as Hormel Foods pursues more global expansion, 95% of the flights are domestic. Combined, the 2 planes accumulate 750 to 900 hours a year with average legs for the G280 at 1.6 to 1.7 hours and the G150 seeing 1.2 to 1.3 hour segments. Stoulil admits that, while they have traditionally been on a 12 to 13 year life-cycle for replacements, he would like to see that reduced. “With advancements in avionics, performance, and on-board communications happening so quickly these days, I would like to see our replacement cycle closer to the 10year mark,” he declares. There also seems to be unanimous agreement that when the time comes they would like to see another G280 in the fleet. Although Snee will leave the lion’s share of the decision up to the aviation experts, he agrees that
the G280 is ideal for them. “For our purposes, at this time, we don’t need anything bigger. We are a conservative company and it serves our needs perfectly,” says Snee.
Conclusion 126 years ago, George Hormel opened his meatpacking business in an abandoned creamery in a modest rural town. Even with his early aspirations for expansion and diversification, there is little doubt that even he could have imagined what was to follow. What originated from a meager $500 loan has prospered into a multi-billion dollar, Fortune 500 enterprise and has become one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Throughout its journey, the company experienced both domestic and global growth that would not have been possible without the utilization of business aviation. For 56 years, the Hormel Foods Flight Department has taken their people to all corners of the globe and been instrumental in the success the company enjoys today. With an unblemished safety record, infallible maintenance and absolute support from management, George would most certainly be proud of their contribution to his legacy. 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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Catering considerations when flying overseas Keep your passengers and crew happy with healthy and tasty meals aloft. International support providers (ISPs) and inflight caterers say it’s best to put in catering orders at least 24 to 48 hours prior to departure. Have catering delivered to the aircraft 90 to 120 minutes before your departure and review all delivered items while there’s still some time to coordinate a possible fix. Corporate Flight Attendant Training & Consulting CEO & President Susan Friedenberg says it’s essential to go over every single detail of an order with your inflight caterer or restaurant/hotel to avoid last minute surprises and complications.
Anything is possible in the world of airborne catering, assuming sufficient planning and coordination. Here MJets Thailand welcomes clients with a 4-course seafood lunch extravaganza.
By Grant McLaren Editor-at-Large
hile engine failures, decompression events and emergency diversions are extreme rarities in today’s bizav world, the same cannot be said for catering malfunctions, food poisoning and cuisine disappointments. These all happen on a regular basis, with the potential of ruining your passenger’s or crew member’s flight experience. When a crew member experiences food poisoning at FL 470, this can cause serious schedule interruptions and/or delays with onward flight legs. But there are a host of less severe catering malfunctions that can lead to passenger distress, such as when an order arrives with full cream milk rather than the requested 1% milk,
or there is a substituted brand of the requested yogurt, or there’s insufficient ice replenishment. On international missions, particularly those to remote regions, catering uplifts are always important considerations. While you’ll face catering limitations of some degree at assorted international destinations, proper planning can do much to minimize food safety risks and appropriately manage passenger good food expectations. “Catering quality varies dramatically from airport to airport, even in first world countries,” says Avfuel Account Mgr David Kang. “At some locations, food safety may be a higher risk while at others you may have very limited options to choose from. Although it’s rare for a catering order to not show up, it’s not uncommon to experience wrong or missing items or to have catering turn up late.”
Inflight caterers suggest that best practices include considering ingredients that are fresh and in-season at particular international destinations, as well as available local cuisine specialties. If you order hot dogs or hamburgers at secondary airports in China, for example, taste and ingredients may be nothing close to what you’re used to. Kang recalls a case of a crew ordering boxed lunches overseas and being presented with a box containing bread slices, stacks of cold cuts and a jar of mustard. “Even the simplest items we tend to order stateside may not really exist in the rest of the world or they may not be understood or are not part of the local culture. While you may expect US-style food, it may not have US-style ingredients or taste.” Jeppesen Vendor Relations Mgr Jan Hanna recommends that crews consider local ingredients and local cuisine styles when overseas. “Don’t expect everything to be the way it is at home. It’s important for crew to manage passenger expectations, particularly when operating to smaller or remote international locations. We had passengers who
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wanted blackberries at a stop in SPN (Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands), something that’s not available locally. The blackberries arrived but turned out to be moldy, as they’d been shipped from California some weeks prior and had been languishing in storage.” A particular ISP brings up the case of a corporate trip enroute to Asia uploading 5 large pizzas from a fast food supplier during a tech stop at OME (Nome AK). The pizzas were not the quality they’d wanted or expected but after takeoff it was too late to do something about it. It’s important to keep in mind that just because something might be available it may not be what you want.
Dining aloft Some cuisines can be more challenging than others at altitude. Cherries flambé, for example, is not recommended in airborne settings, certain cream-based sauces tend to experience separation issues, and all manner of cuisine has potential to taste differently aloft than they do on the ground. “Taste of food at altitude is impacted by decibel level in the cabin, cabin humidity and air circulation,” explains Air Culinaire Sr VP Global Ops Steven Roberts. “Typical cabin noise levels of 80 to 85 dB have an effect on taste sensation, cabin humidity of 20% (vs 40 to 50% on the ground) impacts both taste and smell, and air circulation in the
cabin evaporates aromatics in the air. Additional seasoning can also add to taste and aroma, with a positive impact on the food experience aloft.” Success with any international catering uplift is grounded in effective communication with the caterer and rigorous detailing of each order and delivery. “It’s important to be very specific with each item ordered, to try to avoid any uncertainly,” remarks Roberts. “With some flights to and from the Middle East, for example, we may spend 4 to 6 hours documenting catering requests before sending the order out for preparation.” Even something as seemingly simple as sourcing adequate ice supply needs to be carefully considered. Kang adds, “Ice and use of ice is often a uniquely US thing. In China or Eastern Europe ice may be in limited supply and operators may need to specifically order it as they would other catering or tech services. I’ve seen passengers survive on long international flight legs on chips and crackers and whatever else is onboard, but the whole experience can fall apart if they don’t have enough ice for their drinks.” To avoid international ice dilemmas, Friedenberg sometimes recommends departing home base with a large quantity of ice, perhaps kept frozen in the hold with dry ice, just in case the ground handler overseas only has a couple of dozen ice cubes available or the local water source is not trustworthy.
Food safety Food poisoning continues to be an issue affecting international bizav operations. Contamination can occur inflight, preflight or when crew are on overseas RON. “Food contamination risks can result from a single person not following proper hygiene, leading to flight diversion and/or significant delays,” points out Friedenberg. “Gastrointestinal issues are the #1 reason crews call for medical support while inflight.” While it varies from person to person and depends on the particular germ or toxin, food poison symptoms generally show up about 2 to 4 hours after exposure, incapacitating crewmembers for some 4 to 6 hours. “Food contamination can be serious and follow-on effects could involve severe dehydration,” says Medaire Global Medical Dir Dr Paulo Alves. “There are effective prescription and non-prescription remedies that can be taken but it’s always important to confirm use with your medical provider as these remedies have possible side effects.” Contamination issues need to be considered pre-trip and on RONs. Alves recalls the case of 2 crew members who both ate eggs Benedict at the hotel in Bogotá prior to flight departure and became so sick the flight took an 8 hour delay. Jeppesen Trip Support Account Specialist Jean-Michel Sicaud tells of the case of a crew member who repositioned from
Photos courtesy Manny Aviation
Manny Aviation Services’ catering dept maintains kitchens throughout Mexico to support domestic and international catering needs for GA.
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Fine dining aloft is routinely orchestrated aboard this Tyrolean Jet Services Airbus ACJ318. Flight attendants are well versed in all aspects of food safety as well as cuisine presentation.
JFK (New York NY) to DXM (Dubai, UAE) on a business class commercial flight to join a corporate flight out of the Emirates. “The particular crew member experienced food poisoning after eating onboard the commercial flight. As replacement crew were not available, the GA flight was delayed almost 3 days in Dubai,” he says. Friedenberg also recommends, as best practice, that crews on overseas RON avoid buffet meals as well as street food options, no matter how tempting or irresistible they might be.
Inflight vs local restaurant catering At larger destinations, airline and inflight caterers are available to supply a full range of catering options, along with sample menus. Air Culinaire Worldwide, for example, maintains 25 culinary centers around the world and works directly with 1600 airports in the US and 3000 airports worldwide. They also run a training facility to help flight attendants prepare and present food inflight. Due to the specialized nature and requirements of GA catering, Roberts estimates that 80% of the orders they prepare are custom made, as opposed to standard menu offerings. At smaller and more remote international locations, it may be necessary or preferable to cater directly from a local hotel or restaurant. In this case you’ll need to work closely
with the local chef, have food items cooled to a safe sub 40º F range and packaged in containers appropriate for your galley. Keep in mind, however, that many hotels and restaurants will decline takeout aircraft catering orders for liability reasons. “Many hotels in the US will not do aircraft catering due to liability issues of passengers becoming sick as a result of ill-trained flight attendants,” explains Friedenberg. Alves adds that “At international destinations many hotels and restaurants – particularly Michelin rated properties – do not allow food to be taken out of their control. There are liability and reputation risks to consider in terms of take-out food safety.” Additionally, some airports and FBOs have exclusive catering provider arrangements and/or restrictions prohibiting self-catering options. “Most airports in Italy, including airports in Rome and Milan, do not allow foods to be brought airside other than by approved caterers,” says Hanna. “We’ve had issues come up in the past where catering from non-approved caterers has been turned away at security.”
Consider catering costs and double provisioning When operating to remote locations or doing tech stops with limited catering options, consider bringing catering from the original departure
Photo courtesy Airbus
point for the onward leg. However, there may be certain limitations on this practice, based upon what’s permitted by local agricultural regulations, so it’s always important to confirm your options in advance. Catering costs are another consideration to be mindful of. We’ve heard reports of a $16,000 charge for an order of caviar for 2 people on a 6 hour flight. In another case, a multi-thousand dollar catering uplift in the Middle East was untouched upon landing at BGR (Bangor ME). Due to US agriculture regs, it all had to be disposed of and new catering had to be uplifted for the onward leg to Texas. Hopefully, the passengers had a better appetite on that 2nd leg.
ISPs and inflight caterers agree that the key to a successful catering experience is to plan early, provide plenty of notice, specify carefully what it is that you expect, have catering delivered airside at about the time the crew arrives at the airport, and rigorously follow food safety procedures to mitigate risks of cross contamination. “At the end of the day, aviation catering is primarily about health and risk mitigation, with taste being the secondary consideration,” says Alves. Be mindful that neglected issues, even small items, can cause big complications in the world of international catering uplifts. If you neglect to board sufficient cutlery settings, extra salad dressings or condiments, this can cause issues. “A typical international GA catering order is revised some 12 times, in terms of items ordered and delivery time changes,” says Roberts. “A lot of work and coordination goes into each successful catering experience. You’ll want to have catering delivered well before wheels up so that crew and flight attendants have time to go through their catering checklist and review every item on the order.”
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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AL LOOKS BACK
As he says goodbye to Learjet, Al Higdon reflects on his many good times and quality friendships Frank Hedrick joined Beech Aircraft just prior to beginning of World War II. He became CEO at time of Mrs Beech’s retirement, a position he held until sale of Beech to Raytheon in early 1980s.
Bill Lear’s early 1960s vision for possibilities of the business jet industry flew in the face of a forecast at that time that a total of 300 units might ultimately be built cumulatively by all manufacturers combined. He personally funded his company through its first 6 years. Olive Ann Beech, cofounder of Beech Aircraft with her husband Walter in 1932, was singularly in command of the company following Walter’s death in 1950. She was the nation’s first woman to be CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
By Al Higdon
Former Beech and Learjet Communications Executive Cofounder of the Sullivan Higdon & Sink Ad Agency
s an employee of Beech Aircraft for 4 years and Learjet for nearly 8, my experience cup was running over with amazing memories by 1971. How the heck was I so lucky as to be on the scene for the launches of both the King Air and the Learjet – 2 brands exceeding 100 combined years of market prominence? I was lucky to also work with and for some of the giants in the general aviation industry: Olive Ann Beech and Frank Hedrick of Beech; Bill Lear and Harry Combs at Learjet; and countless other men and women both at those 2 fine organizations and so many others in aircraft manufacturing, avionics, engine production, and fixed
base operations. That’s not to mention all the consultants and the business and trade media, the latter group teaching me much of what I learned about the industry. An important linkage with the broader general aviation industry for me was my involvement with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) public affairs committee. I served on it for many years, representing Learjet. In this group were a dozen smart, articulate people, passionate about the industry and committed to its success. The growing awareness of the Learjet and the relevance of business aviation for me were played out at numerous social events that my wife, Judy, and I attended during those years. Inevitably, the conversation often got around to the Learjet and business airplanes in general, by people not even associated with the industry! “Thank God I’m not in the business of touting washing machines,” I would quietly say to myself.
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Former Learjet executive Linden Blue (L) and Al Higdon worked together on Learjet marketing and promotional programs. Blue went on to serve as CEO of Raytheon Aircraft (now Textron Aviation-Beech) and is now vice chairman of defense contractor General Atomics. Here are 4 close friends with a combined 170+ years in general aviation. From left to right are Doug Allen, independent film producer; Clay Lacy, Clay Lacy Aviation; Al Higdon; and Alex Kvassay, former Beech and Learjet international marketing chief.
Charles Gates (L) persuaded Harry Combs (R) to come out of retirement to head Learjet in 1971. Gates owned the Gates Rubber Company, which in 1966 bought Combs Aircraft and in 1967 bought Learjet.
At Beech and later Learjet I was mentored by Jim Greenwood, who literally wrote the book on how to promote general aviation. That he was my close friend and actually appreciated my work was one of the rewarding experiences of my life. Jim died in 2012 at the age of 91. Also at Beech I met, worked alongside, and became best friends with Wendell Sullivan, at that time the company’s assistant advertising manager. He would later become my co-founding partner of an advertising/public relations firm bearing our names. Among others I worked closely with at Beech and Learjet were Alex Kvassay, no stranger to Pro Pilot readers, who at time of his retirement in 1982 had sold more business jets outside the US than anyone else in the industry. My buddy Linden Blue was my tennis partner on too many occasions to count; he went on to establish a significant legacy in aviation and, more recently, defense at General Atomics, which successfully produces UAVs for government use. Also looming large in my Learjet memory bank is Benn Isaacman, who was a true game-changer in conceptualizing how business aircraft interiors are de-
Benn Isaacman came to Learjet from Atlantic Aviation in 1968 to head up all interior design. His work over the years greatly improved Learjet interior appearances and functionality. He continued to set industry standards throughout his post-Learjet career.
signed, produced and installed. Another talented friend was Doug Allen, an independent film producer of dozens of commercial videos for the industry, including a princely number of great ones for Learjet. By early 1971, with the economy and the industry struggling mightily, I had an itch to move on. Wendell Sullivan and I for years had talked about starting our own business and now the time was right for both of us. In early June I gave notice to the Learjet program, and on July 1 we opened the doors of Sullivan Higdon Inc. But we never closed our doors to aviation.
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.
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Fixed based operators yesterday, today, tomorrow Demand for acquisitions remains high with 3384 FBOs currently operating in the US.
Signature Flight Support VP Mktg Patrick Sniffen oversees the company’s global customer loyalty incentives, including Signature Status (turnaround benefits) and Signature TailWins (gift and promotion redemptions). Photo shows Signature PDK (Peachtree GA).
By Don Van Dyke
ATP/HELO/CFII. F28, Bell 222 Pro Pilot Canadian Technical Editor
he term fixed base operator (FBO) originated in the US in an era when there were very few airports, so early airplanes operated from grassy fields to open the skies to modest and often remote communities. When enough visiting aircraft could guarantee fuel orders sufficient to allow the fueler to stay on location and make a living, he was called a fixed base operator. Commonly, an FBO is the primary provider of support to general aviation operators at public-use airports. FAA defines an FBO as having the granted right to “provide aeronauti-
cal services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-downs and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, and similar services.”
FBOs yesterday Although built by the US Army Signal Corps in 1909 as a training location, civilian aircraft began flying from CGS (College Park Airport, MD) as early as December 1911. This makes it arguably the world’s oldest continuously operated airport. The end of WW I in 1918 heralded an era of unrestrained innovation in aviation. Airmen, aircraft, maintenance, training, and support organi-
CGS (College Park Airport) circa 1911–1912. A Wright Model B airplane is admired by the crowd. Photo courtesy of College Park Aviation Museum.
zations operated unencumbered by regulation or standards for licensing, registration, navigation, and operations. Entrepreneurship meant that any aspiring aviator could take off and land whenever and wherever desired, carry passengers for hire, and perform any stunt without having to answer to anyone. Typically, barnstormers (transient pilots) flew inexpensive military surplus aircraft from city to city, often landing in open fields on the outskirts of a town as airports were scarce at that time. These aviators often joined in flying circuses providing airshows and aerobatic displays and offering airplane rides to the local townsfolk, charging whatever local economics would allow. With no fixed business location, mechanics and early flight instructors moved with the aircraft. Notably, safety measures and consumer protection were low priorities. A number of airports were owned and/or operated by the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company (later Curtiss-Wright Aviation) until the onset of the Great Depression. During WW I, Curtiss became the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, employing 18,000 in Buffalo NY and 3000 in Hammondsport NY to produce 10,000 aircraft, many of which saw service beyond their war years. Bill Kidder was a typical early entrepreneur who obtained his pilot’s license in 1917 at the Curtiss school at Newport News VA. In 1919, he secured the first Aerial Transportation license from the State of Minnesota
The earliest located photo of North Beach Airport (now LaGuardia NY) seaplane ramp was of a 1929 XSL-1. Riker’s Island is on the horizon at the left of the photo. The XSL-1 was Grover Loening’s first design for a folding airplane to be carried in a tube on the deck of a submarine. Photo courtesy of Alan Reddig from his father James Reddig’s collection.
44 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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Million Air CEO Roger Woolsey (inset) applies a solid education and seasoned flying experience in wide-ranging charter and aircraft management areas to a franchised network of 30 companies in the Americas, Caribbean and China. Million Air BUR (Burbank CA), shown here, is located less than 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.
and acquired 75 surplus Curtiss JN-4 Jennies to sell and service, to train pilots, and to offer short flights for $15, all from Curtiss Northwest Airport (Falcon Heights). From 1918 to 1925, his was the 1st full-service airport and center of aviation in Minnesota. A later dispute led to Kidder’s departure and the airport closed in 1930. The Air Commerce Act of 1926 set requirements for operations, training, licensing and maintenance, which ended the cavalier nature of post-war civil aviation. Pilots and mechanics who had made their living on the road established permanent FBOs at ever-more airports throughout the US to distinguish themselves from the transient businesses common before 1926. Open fields gave way to hangars and support facilities. In 1927, Glenn Curtiss bought land from New York Air Terminals as a base for distributing his Curtiss Robin light aircraft. It was sold to Curtiss-Wright in 1929 as a private landing ground and named the Glenn H Curtiss Airport, North Beach. The field was located on the waterfront so that it could accommodate both land and seaplanes. The name was changed to North Beach Municipal Airport in 1935 when the site was bought by the city as a light aircraft field and base for crating aircraft flown in for export. In 1939, the airport was dedicated as New York Municipal Airport and later renamed LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in 1953. Cutter Flying Service (later Cutter Aviation), America’s oldest continually family-owned and operated FBO network, started business in Albuquerque NM in 1928. Cutter survived the Great Depression by providing air charter services to ranches, towns and businesses across Arizona, New
Banyan Air Service FXE (Fort Lauderdale FL), cofounded in 1979 by CEO Don Campion, provides fuel and ground support for business aviation, storage for more than 400 aircraft, airframe and engine maintenance, avionics service, aircraft and parts sales, management and acquisitions, the Jet Cafe and the largest pilot shop in the US.
Mexico and Texas. By 1938, Cutter offered aircraft sales, line and fuel services to transient pilots, and aircraft maintenance supporting the growing number of aircraft in the Southwest. And at the outbreak of WW II, Cutter became a pilot training provider for the US military. In the post-war period, business growth in aircraft sales and maintenance, fuel and on-demand air charter services reflected the prevailing trend of prosperity. Ultimately, the product line included additional aircraft and avionics dealerships as well as fuel and line service for both transient and based aircraft. Cutter Aviation is ranked among the top 5 in the Best Small FBO Chain category in the 2017 Pro Pilot PRASE Survey. In 1935, Foster Lane founded Lane Aviation at what became CMH (Port Columbus Intl, OH) where it remains, aside from a period during WW II when Navy control forced its relocation. One of 2 FBOs on the field, Lane provides virtually every form of private aviation service including a passenger lounge, concierge, business center, pilot’s lounges, sleep rooms, crew showers, a game room, A/V-equipped conference rooms, crew cars, on-site car rental, a food vending area, high-speed Wi-Fi and fresh baked cookies. The company has its own Part 135 certificate and lays claim to the longest-standing unblemished safety record of any Part 135 air carrier. They received the 2010 NBAA Commercial Flying Safety Award for operating accident-free for 75 years. Its Part 145 Cessna-approved repair station provides maintenance on the company’s charter aircraft and can handle most tasks up to and including major inspections on light to midsize business jets.
Lane Aviation is rare among FBOs in that fuel sales are co-branded. Retail customers have a choice of fuel brand, each retailed independently based on the distributor price. Employee tenure is one of the hallmarks of the company, with many of the FBO’s 115 employees logging decades of service. The exceptional safety record is attributed in part to low turnover, retained experience and staff professionalism.
FBOs today Today’s business aviation sector handles more than 31,000 aircraft worldwide, and this important niche market requires high levels of service and customization from FBOs. The full-service FBO concept is most refined in North America and Europe but with well-developed variations in Australia, Brazil, the Middle East, and certain other regions. In the US, the FBO industry is represented nationally by the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), but is also partly represented by both the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The number of US businesses meeting the minimum criteria as an FBO is 3384 (2015) marginally up from 3346 (2006), according to NATA and the Aviation Resource Group International (ARGI). FBOs are developing slowly in Asia, appearing most notably in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and the Philippines. This is principally due to the relative immaturity of private and corporate aviation in Asia, where there are relatively very few business aircraft compared with the US and Europe.
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Under the leadership of Reed Pigman, founder and president, Texas Jet FTW (Fort Worth TX) ranked Best US FBO and Best Independent FBO in the 2017 Professional Pilot PRASE Survey, receiving a total of 1299 forms in this 44th annual assessment in 6 categories: Line Team, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs), Facility, Amenities, Promptness & Efficiency, and Value for Price.
Future of the FBO industry Business aviation flight operations in the US rose by 2.57% between 2016 and 2017, marking the 8th straight year since the 2008 economic downturn that the industry has seen a year-on-year gain, according to the FAA September 2017 Business Jet Report. TEB (Teterboro NJ), home to FBO facilities, saw the most activity over the past year, logging 141,322 operations between September 2016 and August 2017. Industry data provider Argus also described 2016 as one of the best years business aviation has seen, with year-on-year gains in flight activity in all 12 months. Consolidation. This remains the major trend for tomorrow’s FBO industry. When British aircraft services company BBA Aviation combined subsidiary Signature Flight Support with acquired Landmark Aviation, it eliminated a major competitor and created the world’s largest FBO network with more than 200 properties. The Department of Justice required the new owner to shed 6 locations which then became the nucleus of a re-launched Ross Aviation last summer. Interestingly, some of the locations were sold by Ross to Landmark just 2 years earlier. The demand for FBO acquisitions remains high. In the ensuing months, Ross Aviation, Sheltair and Atlantic Aviation acquired AirFlite at LGB (Long Beach CA), Tampa International Jet Center at TPA (Tampa FL) and Black Canyon Jet Center at MTJ (Montrose CO), respectively. In the 1980s there were 10,000
Clay Lacy Aviation offers FBO services that make bizjet operators feel like they’re home. Aircraft, passengers and crew are cared for at Clay Lacy VNY (Van Nuys CA), BFI (Seattle WA) and OGG (Maui HI). The BFI facility is the first North American FBO to receive IBAC/NATA International Standard for Business Aircraft Handlers (IS-BAH) Stage II registration.
FBOs; today the industry has been pared back to 3500. Whether consolidation will continue at the same pace is debatable. Operating standards. Created by the International Business Aircraft Council (IBAC), the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) is the set of best practices for business aviation ground handlers worldwide. IS-BAH is based on the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) construct and features a safety management system (SMS). By incorporating the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program, IS-BAH has become the standard for operators and handlers worldwide since its introduction in 2014. There are currently 63 IS-BAH-registered facilities worldwide. IS-BAH promotes blending the SMS with industry best practices in FBO day-to-day operations. This shows customers and other stakeholders a corporate and business aviation safety culture which promotes hazard identification and risk control measures helping to reduce the rate of airside incidents. Alliances. Pinnacle Air Network, created in 1994 and headquartered in Vero Beach FL, is an alliance of strong, reputable, independent FBOs, MROs and aircraft sales companies, and is a member-owned limited liability corporation. This network currently comprises 19 members in 113 locations earning combined revenues of $1.6 billion. It manages 4670 employees and 1100 technicians as well as inventory valued at $38 million. At any given
time, Pinnacle dealers have an average of 300 aircraft for sale or lease. Similar in concept to the International Airline Technical Pool (IATP), the purpose of the alliance is to: 1. Provide members the opportunity for open exchange of ideas on industry trends and to share best practices on providing world-class service. 2. Leverage the collective power of the alliance to negotiate attractive arrangements with selected large suppliers to the industry. Mergers. Certain mergers may yield enhanced capabilities of particular interest to FBOs. This is illustrated by the 2016 creation of Asset Insight, LLC through the merger of SAI Valuations, LLC and Asset Insight, Inc, which offers actionable information regarding maintenance evaluation and asset financial optimization services based on: 1. Audits of aircraft documentation, physical characteristics and condition. 2. Valuations and appraisals providing comprehensive and legally defensible analysis of aircraft value. 3. Expert witness services providing oral and written testimony when required for depositions and court proceedings. FBOs involved in aircraft sales and lease activities will measurably benefit from mergers of this type. Alleged egregious pricing. When airport owners or sponsors, planning agencies, or other organizations accept funds from FAA-administered airport financial assistance programs, they must agree to certain obligations
48 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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Wilson Air Center CEO Robert Wilson’s upbringing was in a home of hospitality and business, created by his late father Kemmons, founder of Holiday Inn hotels. In 1996, Bob built the allnew Wilson Air Center MEM (Memphis TN), achieving the AIG Operational Excellence Award, the only FBO ever granted the designation. Wilson Air Center has been voted #1 FBO chain many times by Pro Pilot readers.
(or assurances). These obligations require the recipients to maintain and operate their facilities safely and efficiently and in accordance with specified conditions. The assurances may be attached to the application or the grant for Federal assistance and become part of the final grant offer or in restrictive covenants to property deeds. The duration of these obligations depends on the type of recipient, the useful life of the facility being developed, and other conditions stipulated in the assurances. FAA has the responsibility and authority to ensure that airports comply with the grant obligations with which they agreed when accepting federal funding through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). This includes requiring FBOs to charge reasonable and non-discriminatory pricing for each aeronautical service rendered. This requirement is necessary to protect the airport for public use. Otherwise, permitting exorbitant FBO prices would restrict or deter access and disrupt the entire national system of publicly-funded airports the FAA oversees and has sought to create. Parties concerned about whether an airport is complying with its Federal grant or property-related obligations can file an informal complaint under 14 CFR Part 13 or a formal complaint under 14 CFR Part 16. The primary distinctions between actions under Parts 13 and 16 are rooted in issues of formality, legal standing to bring a cause of action, and the potential for and type of recovery available to a complainant. Additional guidance material, especially lim-
TAG Aviation FAB (Farnborough, UK) base shown here. Founded in Switzerland over 50 years ago, TAG offers charter, management and maintenance services at multiple centers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. FBO and handling centers specializing in amenities and facilities for pilots, crew and passengers are located in GVA (Geneva, Switzerland), SIR (Sion, Switzerland) and FAB. In picture at right is FAB base CEO Brandon O’Reilly.
itations on monopolies at airports, is available in AC 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports, from Jan 4, 2007. AOPA alleges that airports lack competitive or regulatory forces to ensure pricing reasonableness. The 2 paramount issues are reasonable access and transparency of pricing. To identify categories of charges deemed exceptionally egregious, AOPA compiled a list of airports charging more than $6 per gallon or fees for minimal or no services exceeding $100. AOPA cited egregious FBO pricing practices involving the facilities at EYW (Key West FL), UGN (Waukegan IL) and AVL (Asheville NC). The FBOs that AOPA cited at all 3 airports are Signature Flight Support facilities. The complaint process is a means for AOPA and impacted pilots, who also signed the complaints, to ask the FAA to investigate these practices and take any necessary action to ensure compliance with the airport’s grant assurances. NATA communicated its concerns to local FAA airport district offices about the informal Part 13 complaints. They asserted that the complaints reflect a misunderstanding of certain key points related to the economics of aviation businesses, namely, pricing of aeronautical services, industry consolidation and the airport sponsor-tenant relationship. Interpretation of grant assurance requirements in the Part 13 complaints is also questioned. The Signature Flight Support FBO chain noted that it invests its own capital to build, renovate and maintain its facilities and said, “We
will continue to invest in all of our facilities, including ramp construction, maintenance and repair and will continue to work very closely with the airports we serve to ensure consistent service for all aviators as well as remain in compliance with the FAA, all regulatory authorities and airport requirements and conditions.”
Conclusion Complaints pitting clients against certain FBOs merit quick resolution. A healthy and financially secure business aviation industry is essential to local economies and the national interest. Business aviation plays a critical role in driving economic growth, jobs and investment worldwide. Safety and security are among the greatest challenges facing operators. FBOs and operators are each entitled to a fair and reasonable return on their pursuits. Recognition of this will bind the 2 in mutually beneficial and profitable ways. 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.
50 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / January 2018
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Climate of the Pacific Northwest Variable conditions and numerous hazards in this area can create challenges for pilots. year, so he called ahead to the FBO at PAE to arrange ground transport. By the time they taxied in, a golf cart met them at the airstair and whisked them to a waiting town car, while the pilots made arrangements to park the aircraft for a couple of days until the weather cleared up and they could reposition back to their home airport.
Image courtesy Google Earth
The Pacific Northwest
Oregon, Washington and British Columbia comprise the core of the Pacific Northwest of North America. This region’s weather can have a significant impact on aviation operations.
By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst. Climate Scientist
he copilot had already warned the boss and his family in the back that they may have to divert from their intended landing at BVS (Skagit WA) due to a cloud deck that remained well below minimums. They’d shoot the GPS approach, but after the nonstop flight home from OGG (Maui HI), they wouldn’t waste too much time and fuel making multiple attempts. Sure enough, as they approached the IAF at SOCLO intersection to start their approach to runway 11, the AWOS report put the ceiling at
200 ft with 1 mile visibility and rain – well below minimums. Carrying on, they reached the decision altitude but could see no trace of the runway or its lights. Pushing the throttle, the crew flew the missed approach and informed ATC that they’d try their luck at PAE (Everett WA) where the ILS and MALSR on runway 16 should give them a better chance. Needless to say, the boss was not happy. The diversion would mean a long car ride back to the family home in the midst of a rainy Friday evening rush hour out of Seattle. But he couldn’t blame the pilots for the bad weather as such conditions are typical for the region at this time of
Like most regions of the world, the area considered the Pacific Northwest is not so much based on political boundaries as it is defined by a shared geography – physical, climatic, and even cultural commonalities. The Pacific Northwest is most commonly described as the part of North America from Oregon in the south to British Columbia to the north. Often, the Alaskan peninsula is included as well. From west to east, the region extends from the Pacific coast inland to the Cascade mountains, giving rise to its alternate name – Cascadia. Of course, with no definitive boundaries, the region is sometimes considered to include inland areas as far east as the continental divide. The fact that the majority of the region lies between a major ocean and a major mountain range, and rests squarely beneath the westerly flow of the polar jet throughout much of the year, means that the Pacific Northwest is heavily influenced by an onshore flow of cool maritime air that is forced to rise as it encounters the mountains to the east. The position and track of the polar jet also favors the development of frequent and intense cyclonic storm systems in the Gulf of Alaska, which contribute a great deal of extreme weather to the area. Globally, atmospheric scientists identify areas of different climates by their temperature and precipitation patterns. These patterns help us to understand and even forecast the dayto-day and seasonal weather conditions the area is likely to encounter.
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Thick advection fog blankets Vancouver and the Fraser river. Cool maritime air flowing over cold surfaces often produces these fogs along the Pacific Northwest coast.
Climatologically, however, the Pacific Northwest includes several climate zones. Along the coast, especially around the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island, the climate is a “Marine West Coast” climate. Due to basin-wide circulation patterns in the ocean, most west coast places in the middle latitudes are influenced by a cold ocean current offshore that helps to suppress summer temperatures. A Marine West Coast climate is a temperate oceanic climate (abbreviated Cfb by climatologists) where the coldest month averages
above freezing (0° C | 32° F), but no month averages above 22° C (72° F) and only 4 months are above 10° C (50° F). The ‘f’ in the abbreviation indicates that there is no distinct dry season, rather rain and snow is distributed more-or-less evenly throughout the year. Of course, there are some distinctive variations in precipitation throughout this region, such as the rain shadow occurring to the ENE of Mt Olympus on the Olympic peninsula. South of the Olympic Peninsula and inland of Puget Sound, the cli-
Home to several large airports, Seattle is more prone to fog and low cloud decks than to rain or snow. Nearby volcanoes also mean pilots should check for ash advisories.
mate switches over to what is most closely a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (or Csb). While little of the area around Seattle and Bellingham could be considered Mediterranean in the classical sense, it does share some general temperature and precipitation characteristics with that European region. Temperature wise, this Csb region is similar to the coastal Cfb, but summer average temperatures in areas away from the coast will tend to be a few degrees higher. For example, as with the Cfb climate, the average temperature of the coldest month in a Csb climate is above freezing. But, whereas the coastal climate is characterized by even rainfall totals throughout the year, the Mediterranean climate experiences a winter maximum of precipitation in which the wettest winter month has at least 3 times more precipitation than the driest summer month, and that driest summer month receives less than 30 mm (1.2 in). At SEA (Seattle WA), July sees just 16 mm (0.63 in) of rain, while Dec averages 138 mm (5.43 in). Throughout this Csb region, the amount of precipitation can vary greatly. For example, while SEA averages just 864 mm (34 in) of precipitation per year, ONP (Newport OR) along the coast experiences nearly 1778 mm (70 in) per year. Even with such abundant rainfall, ONP sees most of its rain in winter, with a July average of just 26 mm (1.02 in), compared to 289 mm (11.38 in) for Dec.
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Photo by Karsten Shein
Rainy November evening at PDX (Portland OR). While larger airports in the region have instrument approaches that allow most modern jets to land under even the lowest of ceilings and visibility, most of the 500 or so airports in the Pacific Northwest require higher approach minima, and therefore are more prone to weather issues.
nual precipitation, but in terms of a dry summer and much wetter winter. This climate zone, however, has a more variable temperature regime, dropping below freezing in the coldest month, but having at least 4 months above 10° C (50° F) and its warmest month above 22° C (72° F). Lastly, the climate between the mountains and the coast north of YVR (Vancouver, BC) is considered a warm-summer, humid continental climate (Dfb). This climate has a coldest month average temperature below freezing, with no month averaging more than 22° C, but at least 4 months exceeding 10° C. Like the Marine West Coast climate, there is no dry season.
Photo by Karsten Shein
The region gets its reputation as always rainy because there are small amounts of precipitation on a lot more days, even though much of the region does not receive a large total of precipitation. SEA, for example, has an average of 147 days with precipitation each year, and just 2163 sunshine hours per year (out of a possible 4469). There are 2 other climate zones in the region most commonly called Pacific Northwest. To the east rise the Cascade mountains. This zone is considered a continental climate with hot and dry summers (Dsa). Here the precipitation pattern is similar to that of the Mediterranean climate, not necessarily in total an-
Low clouds and rain obscure Bainbridge island and Puget Sound near SEA (Seattle WA). Though summers can provide fine flying weather in the Pacific Northwest, winter months tend to bring low ceilings and copious rainfall.
Dreary skies The significance of this amalgam of climates is that for a majority of airports in the region, pilots are most likely to encounter unfavorable flying conditions from Sep through Apr. This is the period when much of the region experiences the majority of its rainfall along with the cloudy skies and low ceilings that accompany it. Much of this adverse weather is driven by a general southerly wind that draws in cool and humid air from the adjacent Pacific. Frequent frontal systems also affect the region as intense low pressures develop in the Gulf of Alaska and drive onshore with high winds and heavy rain. The cloudiness of the season is enhanced because as the cool and moist air drives onshore it immediately encounters a rugged shoreline and terrain that rises quickly toward the mountains. This transition to overland flow lifts the air, often sufficiently to force saturation into a low cloud deck. The result is that the Pacific NW has more cloudy days than just about anywhere else in North America – Portland has 222 and Seattle 226. Wind across the region averages around 10 kts or so, with speeds exceeding 40 kts during some winter storms. However, there are many days when winds are light and variable. The persistent winter rains also ensure that, when the wind does die down, fog is a frequent visitor. With coastal areas leading the way, many airports in the region see between 120 and 180 days with fog each year. And because these fogs
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Photo by Richard Bowen
Mt St Helens erupts on May 18, 1980. One of several major shield volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest, Mt St Helens represents the potential for a major volcanic ash event over the region.
are normally advection or precipitation types forming during the winter months, they can become thick and persistent. Additionally, despite winter months having an average monthly temperature above freezing, daily temperatures can and do drop several degrees below freezing. Fog, in connection with subfreezing temperatures, is a recipe for freezing fog so operators often need to deice before flight. Though the coasts, with a good chance of rainfall through the year, may not present ideal flying weather, most of the region experiences periods of excellent weather during the summer months. With less than 1 inch of rain falling during some summer months, skies are frequently clear and temperatures are high enough to require substantial weight adjustments to account for departures under increased density altitudes. However, the much drier weather during the summer can lead to a different weather hazard.
Fire weather As recent summers have demonstrated, the lack of rain during the summer has been coupled with far above average temperatures, often climbing into the 30–40° C or 86– 104° F range. This combination of hot and dry has contributed to active wildfire seasons in the heavily for-
ested region. Though the prevailing westerlies move much of the smoke eastward over the mountains, at low levels the southerly flow has produced greatly reduced visibility at many of the area airports and forced a number of airspace closures to facilitate firefighting activity. The Pacific NW is also a geologically active region with several major volcanoes. Most of these volcanoes are dormant, but as Mt St Helens reminded us in 1980, they are far from extinct. Over the past decade or so, volcanic activity has been minimal in the area, but pilots should recognize this can change quickly. The region may be faced with a volcanic ash advisory, grounding a lot of air traffic based in the region and diverting transiting aircraft. The mountains also present another potential flying hazard for the region. Steady winds flowing over the Cascades and other ranges there will frequently produce standing mountain waves. The height of the mountains ensures that these waves will affect much of the lower atmosphere. Even an isolated peak can create a standing wave and strong mechanical shear downwind. Whenever you are faced with winds blowing toward you over a mountain or range, you should expect to be in a region of mountain waves and possibly encounter moderate to strong turbulence.
Another risk of flying in the mountainous terrain of the Pacific NW is that the frequent and low cloud decks can easily obscure terrain and other obstacles. The region has seen its share of CFIT accidents as pilots misjudged their position relative to the mountains. Unfortunately, many of these accidents have occurred in remote areas during winter. At higher elevations, these mountains can build an impressive snow pack that can quickly bury a downed aircraft and make the rescue of survivors difficult – if not impossible. When flying across or near the mountains, it is important to pay extra attention to your position and maintaining minimum safe altitudes, rather than depending on any outside cues if ceilings or visibility are issues. Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have over 500 public use airports, with a majority of them in the more heavily populated Cascadia portion of the Pacific Northwest. In fact, for many communities, especially in the northern part of the region, aviation is often the only viable transportation option. The region also boasts 3 major hubs for trans-Pacific travel (SEA, PDX and YVR). Because of the importance of aviation to the region (Boeing still maintains a facility north of Seattle), there is a robust weather observing and forecasting network in place. This provides a level of coverage that ensures pilots throughout the region have access to reliable weather info. However, given the many remote community airports scattered through the region, and the highly variable nature of the weather as one goes between mountain and coastal climates, it is easy to recognize the importance of frequent weather reporting by pilots. In many parts of the Pacific Northwest, pireps may be the only information available to meteorologists and your fellow pilots.
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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Hail? No! But how do you avoid it?
Pea-sized hail will send your plane in for an expensive paint job. Avoidance is the objective.
The situation between 12 o’clock and 1:30 commands attention. Notice the aircraft is east-southeast bound, with an over hang to the left. Since high level winds in the US tend westerly to easterly, the top of the storm is obviously leaning downwind. And what do you suppose that little weak looking echo just to the left of the big red one (downwind of the mother cell) might be? Could it be hail blown out the top of the storm and falling out in front of its movement?
By Archie Trammell
Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII President, Radar Training Systems
he worse possible noise a pilot can hear is the bang! bang! whop! smash! of hail beating on the windshield. It renders you so helpless, and there’s no way to stop it; only Mother Nature has that power. So the question must be, how can it be avoided? Good question. The obvious answer is don’t fly when there are puffy clouds in the sky, which is not very useful advise. Better, don’t fly when there’s a chance of hail coming out of some puffy cloud. But how to do that is a still better question. Some will say you can get that information from NEXRAD, which can detect hail with the recent addition of parametric antennas. But it’s the same old problem, it gets to your flightdeck 5–10 minutes after being detected. Sometimes that’s helpful, sometimes not. Sometimes you may turn away from where it’s hailing at the moment and fly into an area where hail is just beginning. So avoidance must begin with some clue as to when and where hail is, or where it may be when you get there.
SPC Forecast, SPC Outlook and Google An excellent and reliable clue to where that may be is in the SPC Forecast, which can be called upon at spc. noaa.gov on computers or PEDs. Every flight in the US should begin with a look at the SPC Outlook for the time of the flight, especially for flights in March through September. In it you will often find a map warning where hail is most likely to be encountered over the following 4 or 5 hours. Take special heed in those areas. Outside the US, pilots rely on regional and local forecasts. Where tall thunderstorms are possible, so is hail. To get an overview of potential tall ones where you will be flying, begin your search at sites.google.com/site/acnetworkweather/home. Click the appropriate link for the nation or area of your interest. Spend an hour or so studying all the weather maps that cycle up. Pay close attention to echo heights and the map showing lightning strike location. Those tell you where storms exceed the freezing levels, obviously a strong clue to hail. Check temperatures and dewpoints for the cities you will overfly and/
or visit. To do that, simply key in the city name followed by “/aviationweather,” (eg, “Tampico/aviationweather”). That will bring up the METAR for the local airport, plus forecasts. If for any location you find a current or forecast temperature of 80º F with a dewpoint of 97º F or greater (a spread of 17º F or greater), expect thunderstorms in the area. The greater the spread, the greater the possibility of hail. After researching the SPC Outlook (or weather from other locations), carefully examine each thunderstorm you encounter by centering your radar’s beam at 5000 to 20,000 feet above the freezing level. Why? Because thunderstorm research pilots and scientists have discovered that echoes with a strong return in that altitude range almost always contain hail of some size.
Use of radar control To check it out before departure into an area that may contain hail, 1st conduct a preflight radar function check, then select full uptilt and turn your CAL control (often named GAIN) down halfway to MIN. If you see any red in an echo, it’s a Level 5 “Extreme” storm and most likely contains hail. If possible, avoid by 10 miles or so. Next, select TILT to 10º, CAL still down half scale. If you now see an echo with red at a range 10 to 20 miles, avoid if possible. At about 20 nm from departure and/ or clearing 10,000 feet, select TILT to “TIP” which is with the bottom edge of the beam level at your altitude. For most corporate aircraft that setting will be 4º TILT. For larger airline jets, 1.5 to 2º. With TIP selected, any echo detected reaches to and above your altitude. Thus in flight from 20,000 to about 25,000 feet, if your radar displays red in an echo, there’s possibly hail in it. Avoid to the upwind side. But why reduce CAL/GAIN to half scale? For 2 reasons: (1) because that narrows your beam’s diameter slightly,
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A pair of classic “hour glass” shaped echoes. Each is actually 2 joined thunderstorms. When this happens, sometimes the larger, taller one will spill over into the smaller shorter one. The result is a charge of energy to the smaller one which will then explode upwards. Hail and many other bad things may then occur.
resulting in a sharper pencil point, as it were, for an improved image; and (2) when you see red with CAL/GAIN reduced to half scale, it identifies a Level 5 or 6 echo, approximately – meaning an extreme storm. Research 50 years ago revealed that in temperate zones, a Level 5 or 6 “Extreme” echo may contain hail large enough to severely damage a large aircraft, so it will likely result in the crash of a smaller one. The risk of large hail is greater than 23%, according to scientific research. Enough said. By the way, on certain radars, mostly Bendix, CAL/GAIN cannot be reduced in WX mode, only in MAP. The resultant affect is about the same, only slightly more so. Also, for airline pilots using a Collins WXR700 system, on most of them the CAL/GAIN cannot be reduced. But if you switch to the MAP mode, red echoes will then have a reflectivity indicating a Level 4 or greater, which is into the top half of the “Heavy” storm range. Possible damaging hail size risk is up to 23%. It must be noted that, to the National Weather Service, “damaging size” hail has been changed to 1 inch or larger; it used to be 3/4 inch. On most business aircraft, however, 1/2 inch hail will do serious damage to radomes, fiber wing tips and even leading edges. Pea-sized hail will cost you a multi-thousand dollar trip to a paint shop. Also, it must be noted that the above referenced correlation between high radar reflectivity and hail hazard assumes operations in temperate zones. In tropical zones, extreme reflectivity indicates extreme rain, not hail necessarily. Hail does occur in tropical areas, but rarely. And about heights, in more northerly areas the freezing level is, of course, lower, so those earlier TILT/height sug-
Left, a round echo with even gradients – an indication of heavy rain (the magenta core) but most likely a common popcorn thunderstorm. On the right a similar echo but this one containing a handle, making it a “frying pan” shaped storm. That handle is obviously composed of precipitation of some sort. It could be a hail shaft or a tornado tube which sometimes wonder outside the mother thunderstorm.
gestions should be lowered a couple of degrees or so. In reference to that CAL/GAIN control: If possible, also turn it to MAX for a sweep or 2 now and then to identify weak echoes that will possibly turn red with time. Regarding those newest radars that “auto” tilt scan, in the case of the Collins radar, most pilots who know about convective storms prefer to run it in manual mode. With either the Collins “MultiScan” in Auto mode or Honeywell RDR 4000 system in any mode, determining when a storm has high reflectivity (is red) just above the freezing level is problematical at ranges greater than about 20 nm because of vertical lapping in successive scans. And in mountainous areas, hail will likely be encountered in the downflow on the lee side of a mountain range.
Indication of hail by echo shape A final indication of hail, perhaps the most telling one, is the echo shape. A round or oval echo with evenly spaced rain gradients is not likely to contain hail. The more the shape varies from round or oval, and the steeper the gradients, the greater your caution should be. Be wary specially of an echo that appears to be leaning downwind, as evidenced by gradients being longest toward the downwind side. Also, an irregular downwind edge to the echo could be caused by hail shafts in its interior. Be particularly cautious of an hourglass-shaped pair of echoes. That’s a pair of echoes joined or close together. If 1 of the pair is larger and more intense than the other, stay well clear of both, especially downwind. Sometimes precip and/or hail will spill over from the larger, taller one and fall down into the weaker one. That added moisture is actually added heat. The result is an
explosion of the smaller one in growth, hail and wild turbulence. When you see a suspicious looking echo in WX mode, try switching to MAP mode for a sweep or 3. That also sharpens your radar’s beam a bit (a finer paint brush as it were) and it yields a look into the interior of the red areas. Often you will then see revealing detail previously hidden. For an even closer look, tweak that CAL/GAIN dial counterclockwise a bit more for a look deeper into the echo. That’s a lot to think about. When you analyze it, not so much knob twiddling but a lot of thinking and remembering added to all the other things you must think about when flying A to Z. Down the road, help is perhaps on the way. A group of scientists at Oklahoma University, assisted by another scientist from NASA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, have devised a possible way to design a polarmetric antenna small enough to go onto business and airline aircraft. That would give airborne weather radar the same ability to detect hail that NEXRAD now has with their big antennas. But don’t hold your breath. First, radar manufacturers must do a lengthy cost/benefit analysis to determine if the increased cost is marketable. It’s going to be stretch. Meantime, back to the beginning. Either follow all the advice and tricks mentioned with your current radar to determine where hail is and where it isn’t, or leave your airplane in the hangar when there are any puffy buildups in the area. It’s your choice. Archie Trammell is President of Radar Training Systems. He holds CFII, A&P, and A&P Ground Instructor licenses.
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SPECIAL MISSION HELICOPTERS
Rotary-wing aircraft strengthen law enforcement agencies worldwide
Photos courtesy Airbus
Airbus H125 can be adapted to a variety of law enforcement missions including surveillance, border patrol, and search and rescue. A single Turbomeca Arriel 2D engine enables this helo to operate in high and hot conditions. The example pictured at right serves as a special unit transport and is operated by Mexicoâ€™s Federal Police.
LAPD Airbus AS350 B2 AStar equipped with a searchlight flies above Venice Skate Park on a patrol mission.
Airbus H215 Super Puma is powered by 2 Turbomeca Makila 1A1 engines. Rescue and transport missions are better accomplished using Super Pumas due to the IFR capability, fast cruise speed of up to 141 kts and useful load of 8587 lbs (20,615 lbs MTOW).
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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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Photo courtesy Bell
Bell 412EP has P&WCâ€™s PT6T-3D TwinPac. Its proven versatility and cost effectiveness is seen in configurations from airborne law enforcement to air ambulance. The Bell 412EP can also be equipped with hoist and cargo hooks to further increase its capabilities to perform firefighting, evacuations, and search and rescue tasks.
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk serves with the US military and armed forces of 26 other countries worldwide. Pair of GE T700 powerplants and strong airframe structure make the Black Hawk a multirole helicopter that can take on missions such as search and rescue, medevac and aerial firefighting, as well as transporting VIP and special ops troops. It can also carry internal and external loads (up to 9000 lbs) and externally attached forward-firing guns, rockets and missiles.
Photo courtesy Sikorsky
Photo courtesy Leonardo
Leonardo AW119Kx. Government and commercial operators benefit from its flexibility and productivity at a competitive acquisition price and operating cost. With a single Pratt & Whitney PT6B-37A engine, outstanding maneuverability and MTOW of 6283 lbs, the AW119Kx can be configured to excel in surveillance, emergency medical services and rescue operations.
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Photo by Brent Bundy
The multipurpose MD 902 Explorer has 2 P&WC 207E engines and is used by law enforcement agencies and emergency medical services providers worldwide. Operators of this helo include the Luxembourg Police (featured) and Cox Air Care.
Photos courtesy MD Helicopters
MD 600N boasts outstanding handling enhanced by a 6-blade main rotor and MDâ€™s NOTAR technology. Itâ€™s useful load of 2000 lbs, max cruise speed of 134 kts and 380 nm range make the 600N a popular helicopter for law enforcement activities in the US and abroad. International operators include the Costa Rica Ministry of Public Safety, pictured here.
MD 500F operated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. It is fitted with Spectrolab SX16 Nightsun searchlight, IAI POP300 camera/ thermal imager and MetaMAP tactical mapping system.
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Photo credit: Dan Megna, Mesa Police Aviation Unit. Mesa, AZ
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DEDICATED TO THE MISSION The MD 530F is engineered to meet your requirements for hot-day, high-altitude operation. Equipped with the 650 shp Rolls-Royce 250-C30 engine, the MD 503F operates more effectively in hot, high environments than other helicopters in its class. It offers the performance you need at a lower cost of ownership.
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Photos courtesy Robinson
Robinson R44 Raven II in law enforcement configuration with FAA-approved infrared imaging system, searchlight and a dual-audio controller. Optional equipment includes LoJack provisions, moving map systems and a selection of UHF, VHF and 800 MHz police radios.
Robinson R66 Turbine Police Helicopter. Forward looking infrared, searchlight, Garmin G500 PFD/MFD, GTN650 GPS and a pair of 6-channel audio controllers come as standard factory features. Optional add-ons include Garmin SVS, autopilot and an auxiliary fuel tank.
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Satcom Direct SD has 3G capability now but a partnership with SmartSky will offer subscribers 4G LTE speeds.
Photos courtesy Satcom
Satcom Direct security features monitor portable electronic devices in real time to protect the airborne network from nefarious activity or inadvertent computer viruses brought onboard by passengers.
By Shannon Forrest
President, Turbine Mentor ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605, Gulfstream IV, MU2B
magine being a flight department manager in 1997. Early on a Monday morning, the company’s brand new Falcon 50EX with the recently introduced Collins Pro Line 4 avionics package departs on a business trip with executives onboard. A few hours later you arrive at the office and soon thereafter, your Nokia 9000 Communicator rings. The caller is the spouse of one of the passengers, saying there’s been an emergency that necessitates time-critical decision making. The 1st logistical issue is how to reach the aircraft using standard telephonic voice communications. The need to contact those aboard aircraft to relay business-related messages was what prompted Jim Jensen to start Satcom Direct in the late 1990s. While traveling the world as a satellite communications support technician, Jensen noted the absence of a service
provider that could deliver uninterrupted global satcom coverage for aircraft in flight. Ironically, he pitched the idea to his bosses but the concept was dismissed. Undeterred, Jensen enlisted the help of a software developer and went out on his own. The end product was the patented Global One Number (GON), a single 10-digit telephone number that is routed to an aircraft irrespective of where that aircraft is in the world. In the present era of constant connectivity, this principle seems so rudimentary. But at that time (a decade before the 1st iPhone would hit the market), it was revolutionary.
GON was only the beginning GON provided the impetus to develop additional technologies and services to attract customers from all segments of the communications industry. In 2002, Satcom Direct created a division devoted to military and government needs. That year was also
a personal milestone for Jim Jensen in that he began learning to fly. His aircraft of choice was a Cessna 182 and when it was time to get an instrument rating, he switched to a Beechcraft G36 Bonanza. Later, a Baron BE58 provided multi-engine experience. It’s reassuring to see an entrepreneur that understands and appreciates the needs of business aviation and Jensen touted the utility and convenience of all 3 aircraft during an interview with NBAA in 2014. Satcom Direct now operates a Cessna Citation and has access to larger aircraft as necessary for development and testing. According to company literature, Satcom Direct is a global connectivity provider for aviation offering “nose-to-tail value-added services, such as flightdeck datalink service, accelerated high-speed data, voice and text, ATS position reporting, mobile applications and unified electronic billing.” Through partnerships and affiliations with top tier organizations like Inmarsat, Iridium, ViaSat, Universal, and SmartSky, Satcom Direct is involved directly or indirectly with approximately 10,000 aircraft. The original one dial calling to a hard-wired phone in the cabin eventually evolved into incorporating personal electronic devices (PEDs). The Satcom Direct GlobalVT service allows the full functionality of a customer’s smartphone, including texting, data service, and contact list access, to be utilized from takeoff to landing and across the globe. By using a proprietary method of reducing the bandwidth
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without impacting the quality of a call (down to roughly 25% of what would be expected if the same call was made using a cell band), Satcom Direct mitigates the latency issues typically associated with satellite communications.
Satcom Direct safeguards information with a private data center On the coast of Florida there’s a 25,000 sq ft nondescript building reinforced to withstand a level 5 hurricane. This building is a critical component in keeping Satcom Direct customers’ data safe and secure. Unlike other custodians of critical data, Satcom Direct does not outsource data storage and management to outside vendors. Data stays in-house. This is important because connectivity has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to wirelessly exchange information without considering the potential security (or lack thereof) implications. Connecting to a wireless network at a coffee shop, hotel, or FBO is a common practice amongst pilots and passengers alike, but experts and pundits point out that unsecured networks are the harbingers of malicious activity. Nonetheless, people still use them. Refraining from financial transactions or conducting activities that reveal personal information on public networks is prudent, but even mundane internet browsing can lead to compromised security. That e-mail from the department store that promises half off your next purchase, if you click on the link, might be a phishing attempt (using a legitimate looking e-mail to mask a nefarious purpose). If a computer infected with a virus is brought onboard the aircraft, it has the potential to wreak havoc with the network – dispelling the belief that once off the ground the airborne Wi-Fi is safe from hackers. Even a maintenance technician downloading data for analysis could introduce a compromised computer to an otherwise secure system.
Avoiding cyber attacks To combat the growing threat of cyber attacks, Satcom Direct has developed a comprehensive 4-part solution: network discovery, security risk assessment, risk mitigation and threat services, and an exclusive private data network. Every flight department is unique in mission profile and who flies onboard the aircraft, so there’s really no off-the-shelf approach when
it comes to cybersecurity. The process begins by identifying likely points of weakness in the system and determining the best way to reinforce them. Experts can recommend antivirus and malware protection best suited for the department. Most interesting is an enhanced service called “threat intelligence.” Satcom Direct security experts monitor the data traffic onboard the aircraft in real time and use analytic tools to identify – and stop – suspicious activity at an early onset and before it propagates. The most advanced option is to employ the Satcom Direct Private Network (SDPN). Understanding the framework requires a bit of knowledge on how the internet operates. Individual computers get to the internet by connecting through a point-of-presence (POP). This is not to be confused with POP3, or post office protocol which is a way in which clients and servers handle e-mail. The POP is a physical structure that consists of servers, routers, switches, electronics, and other digital components. POPs are typically operated by telecommunications companies or more specifically, Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In a hypothetical home installation, a personal computer would connect to a modem, (often combined with a router) which would transmit the signal to a regional POP. To form the backbone of the internet as we know it today, regional POPs connect to other POPs through network access points. Part of the appeal of the SDPN is control of the POP to its data center (there are actually multiple Satcom Direct POPs worldwide). This is analogous to owning a highway and only allowing approved vehicles to pass though the toll booth and into a lane. From a probabilistic analysis, less traffic on the road means fewer accidents. You also know who is driving the vehicle. Using the SDPN avoids the “public” internet, putting your aircraft in the faster carpool lane and by default avoids hazardous drivers. In the data world this equates to an enormous advantage in terms of security, especially since the malicious breach of confidential information has become so dismayingly common. Like Reason’s Swiss cheese model of defense as applied to human factors, the Satcom Direct security philosoGlobalVT service permits customers to use their own cellphone to call and text from the aircraft. The system seamlessly switches from satellite to terrestrial antennas to maintain connectivity for all phases of flight.
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Satcom Direct Router uses proprietary technology to accelerate and compress data for faster transfer and to maximize bandwidth. It supports multiple WiFi-enabled devices simultaneously and can be tailored to adjust the connectivity speed of individual users.
phy uses a layered approach to plug holes and prevent loss. Analysts argue that it’s only a matter of time before a company is involved in a cyber attack. But prevention is still less costly than recovery, especially when it comes to public relations.
The Satcom Direct Router and WiFi Hub offer advanced connectivity and functionality The router is one of the least understood components of any computer network. Part of the reason is that a router often incorporates several other peripherals within the same housing. Just to review, a modem connects a device to the internet and a router connects multiple devices within a network. But routers are not used exclusively for internet access; for instance, they can connect multiple computers to a single office printer. Further, routers don’t always provide wireless capability, nor do they need to if the entire network is hardwired (so saying “wireless router” actually means 2 distinct things). A wireless access point (WAP) connects to a router and allows the WiFi functionality. Terrestrial WAPs are typically installed in places where demand for WiFi is high or when a large number of users are competing for the signal. Any of the 3 – modem, router or WAP – can be purchased separately and operated as a standalone feature. The SDR provides a multitude of technologies to ensure the capabilities of the ground-based office remain in effect even when at altitude. It has 8 ethernet ports available for hard wir-
ing, and WiFi transmissions are delivered across both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz band. The advantage of a dual band router is that the 5.0 GHz spectrum is considered more “modern” in that the newest PEDs and laptops are configured to operate on that band. Older devices – a somewhat subjective term given the speed of technological innovation these days – were designed for 2.4 GHz. The SDR router can separate devices into 2 virtual networks, placing all the older (most likely slower) PEDs on the 2.4GHz and the newer on the 5.0 GHz. In theory this division speeds up service for each user. Network speed is increased via the proprietary AeroXR acceleration and compression methodology. Acceleration is important because the terrestrial internet protocols for transferring data were not designed for satellite communications.
Hello? Are you receiving this? Data is transferred over the internet by bundling it into smaller chunks called packets. When moving data from one point to another, the transmitting device 1st sends out a small packet akin to, “Hello? Are you receiving this?” No more data will be sent until the receiver acknowledges the message. If the receiver takes too long (or never responds) the transmitter assumes the signal was lost and starts the transmission over, or assumes network congestion and slows the subsequent delivery speed. The speed of transmission increases as a function of the speed of acknowledgment. The problem associated with
satellites is that the orbital distance automatically induces latency in the signal delivery. If uncorrected, the transmitter misinterprets latency as slow acknowledgment and never ramps up the transmission speed. The result is exceeding slow internet when using a satellite as the delivery medium. Acceleration spoofs the transmitter by providing a timely acknowledgment even though the packets may not yet have traversed the distance to the satellite. Compression removes redundancies from the packets and reconfigures data in a more efficient manner. Both increase the speed of the network. The entire satellite bandwidth is available to the SDR (L, X, Ku, and Ka) and the device can combine 4 channels of Inmarsat SwiftBroadband to provide high quality delivery of video conferencing and live streaming. Satcom Direct advertises 3G data capability when on the ground, but a partnership with SmartSky will eventually offer subscribers 4G LTE over the contiguous United States using SmartSky’s patented beamforming technology.
First hand testing As an editorial contributor for Pro Pilot, I was recently invited aboard a SmartSky’s Citation jet to test the 4G LTE service and SDR router firsthand. The results were impressive. In all, 5 passengers used 9 WiFi-enabled devices to simultaneously check e-mail, text message from personal PEDs, update social medial accounts, use Facetime, stream videos from YouTube, and purchase an e-book from Amazon (delivered to an airborne Kindle along with a receipt that appeared via email). During the 45-minute flight, users consumed 881 MB of data during 20.3 minutes of connectivity – approximately 2.2 GB per hour, which provides a baseline estimate for flight departments when selecting a monthly data use plan for executives and crew. Satcom Direct is a self-described innovator committed to advancing the industry via world class services, support and technology. That’s a true statement both in theory and in practice.
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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Saab takes flightdeck displays to a new level
Photos courtesy Saab
Virtual reality SVS and advanced EFVS designed for performance based airspace.
By Glenn Connor ATP. Cessna 425 President, Discover Technology Intl
aab has a new avionics suite for bizjets, helos and commercial aircraft. It includes a new virtual reality (VR) Synthetic Vision System (SVS) – the next generation Primary Flight Display (PFD). It’s also equipped with Saab’s Avionics Management System (AMS) along with Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) integrated with Saab’s new Head-Up Display (HUD). This new flightdeck is built for performance-based airspace with the latest generation of graphics-rich vision systems, providing both innovation and affordability. The stunning high-resolution SVS operates with a new 3D image database that provides a level of detail and resolution far different from what you see with other products offered in the market today. When you look at this new VR PFD design, you first think you are looking at a camera picture with flight instrument overlay. Typically, resolution and details in an SVS terrain da-
Saab’s advanced flightdeck now features dual head-up displays and new virtual realty like synthetic vision system primary flight displays with high resolution imagery.
tabase has limited man-made features, and the technical challenge is the ability to display the high-level details of the scene. The more of the detail you show, the slower most graphics displays operate, and your flight display starts to move like a clunky mechanical instrument. But Saab Avionics with their new AMS computer seems to take the performance and image quality of the VR PFD display to a different level of capability. Saab’s vast experience and product lines in advanced flight controls, airborne computers and flight display products has enabled them to take strategic aim at this key component, the airborne computer. The result is a leap past black box designs and into the power of new graphics engines, satellite databases for the new spectrum of power to the modern flightdeck. What it means to you, the buyer/ operator, is your jet will soon be lighter, carry more payload and look like a starship.
Also announced at NBAA 2017 were Saab’s HUD products, shown as a dual HUD configuration with integrated EFVS and SVS or combined vision system (CVS). The EFVS technology announced by Saab, also at NBAA, includes an advanced millimeter wave sensor with all-weather capability, integrated with an infrared EFVS and combined with the company’s SVS. The Saab AMS completes the integration of multiple channels of vision sensors that can be controlled and displayed to the PFD and the HUD. Saab has not said much publicly about the millimeter wave EFVS technology other than it is “game changing.” The HUD products being offered by Saab are designed to capture a market that is looking for both dual HUDs and advanced EFVS and CVS capability at an affordable price. The Saab HUD has many features, and 2 items to note are the operational comfort provided by a large eye motion box and the crisp EFVS imagery.
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Saab marks 80 years in aviation Saab has been involved in the aviation business for 80 years in both commercial and military branches. They’ve been in the avionics business for over 50 years with systems on large commercial airliners, regional aircraft, and military trainers, fighters and helicopters. The company also has MRO and aero structures segments supporting the Saab 340 and Saab 2000 aircraft as well as components for commercial air transport and military aircraft. Saab is also 1 of the few remaining commercial HUD suppliers with both a commercial and military background, which has been a technical advantage. So with a renewed focus on workhorse and large cabin avionics, the company is bringing to the market some key components for the next generation vision flightdeck. Saab’s depth in corporate and commercial aviation is actually widespread, with a large presence across the globe. And the development of commercial flight controls and actuators also has leveraged the company’s successful defense industry capabilities. The company has commercially certified high lift control & monitoring systems, high lift control computers and other related components for aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A400M, as well as helicopter vehicle monitoring systems for the Leonardo AW109, Sikorsky S76 and S92, and other helos. Developing flightdeck and flight control computers is a rigorous activity, demanding the highest level of architecture, redundancy and safety in the aviation business. As a manufacturer of flight control computers, electromechanical actuators, high lift systems and displays for large aircraft OEMs, Saab has a built in technical cultural for what is called Level A hardware and software. So, a logical development of computational horsepower for vision systems and combined vision fits with the base and future of their avionics products. The progression of the new vision system avionics programs has also been facilitated in the EU Clean Sky 2 Project. Saab, as a key partner, will demonstrate advanced EFVS sensor technology and combined vision. In the Clean Sky 2 Project, Saab developed and integrated prototype systems for a proof of concept and flew them using a company test aircraft. Leveraging Saab HUD products and the processing expertise also helped, accord-
Typical SVS PFD with digital terrain only
New Saab VR synthetic vision PFD with photo realistic detail
At left is what typical SVS displays, mostly based on terrain and elevation data limited in detail. At right is Saab’s SVS view, showing a picture similar to what you would see with the naked eye.
ing to the company, to sort out what is needed to fill the market gap.
Saab Avionics VR synthetic vision The Saab Avionics SVS high resolution VR-like imagery has been developed as an aeronautical application of high-resolution data provided by a Saab joint venture company, providing access to the largest commercial satellite image database in the world. Using some very unique software, Saab Avionics is taking aim at the limitations of the current generation of SVS displays that use conventional digital terrain elevation databases (DTED). Today’s SVS are mostly based on the DTED maps created by the NASA Space Shuttle. The detail is limited to a resolution of 100 meters (330 ft), with a few areas (terminal and airport) having a small but higher degree of data resolution. The Saab Avionics VR PFD has high resolution data within the SVS scene that is global, with 3-meter (9 ft) data accuracy. The visual results you see on Saab’s PFD now include such details as buildings, highways, and correct color and texture, much like you would see with the naked eye. Using this level of data challenges every level of thinking of what is possible by today’s standards of avionics. The company says the data process for the VR SVS display is being developed in compliance with the FAA (RTCA
DO-200A/201) which is the regulatory control for digital data updates, so users of this system have access to global data refreshed on a more regular basis.
Focusing on demands of the next generation The development of the Saab avionics suite also brought focus to the demands of the next generation flight graphical displays, vision systems and touch screen controls. These require more than incremental improvements in the design of airborne computers. Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) have begun to leave the modern aircraft scene, replaced with card-based processors. However, this generation of processors are typically clocked out at their maximum power on the 1st day you turn them on, even with the previous old graphic software. As aircraft designers demand elimination of cockpit knobs and legacy control buttons in favor of touch-sensitive screens, the modern aircraft requires a network of connected devices. These are, in fact, powerful and affordable computers that can actually run the new advanced graphics.
The AMS The AMS which hosts the high resolution SVS is designed with multiple computer processors and advanced
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Saab HUD for helos The Saab commercial HUD developments are not only for large-cabin, fixed-wing aircraft, but are also designed for smaller workhorse aircraft and helicopters. Saab’s AviGuide Helo HUD has been flown on several helicopter models, and is unique in the way the optics are integrated into the helos front panel without creating obstruction. When you see the Saab Helo HUD symbology, the functions for steep approaches, oil rig approaches and off-field landings are real safety and performance features. In fact, all the Saab HUDs being demonstrated for both fixed-wing and rotorcraft have tested symbology designed for both EFVS and SVS vision system operations. They also considered that being heads up offers a chance to use energy management and conformal symbology far better than the conventional PFD.
The SAAB AMS airborne computer hosts their high resolution VR SVS. This type of flightdeck computer can manage multiple systems such as HUDs and EFVS sensors.
graphics engines. This type of flightdeck computer can run displays and applications software, and has a multitude of ways to connect to various displays and graphical controls, HUDS and EFVS sensors. The AMS also supports the full range of conventional aircraft management system functions such as aircraft configuration displays, CAS messages and even radio management. The interface to this horsepower is designed for touchscreen PFDs or through keypads and cursor controls. Another interesting element of the AMS architecture is the ability to host the software and data needed to drive HUDs or PFDs. This approach means that the AMS provides the option to reduce the box count of computers in your aircraft rather than the need for a computer for every display or independent function. Saab reports that the AMS is designed for multiple and independent functions – all within 1 single computer. And the AMS architecture is specifically designed for a dual HUD and dual PFD configuration. In other words 2 computers rather than 4.
The redundancy can be accomplished within the AMS rather than 4 computers. The AMS architectural design is highly suited for both OEM and aftermarket programs, providing a means to refresh an aircraft to now include these new technologies.
HUDs for vision systems The new Saab HUD is designed with the modern use of EFVS, SVS and CVS. One of the technical capabilities that is different about the Saab HUD is that it has a larger than typical eye motion box, the area that your head and eyes have to be fixed in while using the HUD. Some HUDS have limited and narrow eye motion box designs, but the Saab HUD seems to be relatively larger than most, which creates a noticeably better feeling for the user. Saab has also added extra features to the HUD with regards to symbology design as well as the use of EFVS and SVS to create a CVS. The integration of vision systems with the HUD symbology is something the company has been focused on as an area of improvement needed by HUD technology.
When you talk in-depth about computers to most people, the details of bits, bytes and throughput can be overwhelming. What the pilot and aircraft owner/buyer really want to know is that their shiny aircraft is modern and up to date. But we do speak frequently about the need for horsepower in your engines and a flightdeck that meets the ever-growing list of avionics mandates. What Saab avionics has done is bring out some new and complete options with dual HUDs, VR SVS-based PFD’s and vision systems. Along the way they reinvented the key and core components of the modern flightdeck: the computer. The new Saab displays and compo nents are easily matched for the new OEM or aftermarket refresh – but the new HUD, EFVS and VR SVS are designed to play well with existing systems. Now OEMs, new airframes or seasoned workhorse aircraft can take advantage of the future without fear of obsolescence. Saab and hitech flightdecks have arrived. And if the cockpit looks spaceship-like, that’s even better. Glenn Connor is president of Discover Technology Intl. He is a pilot and a researcher specializing in the development of enhanced vision systems and advanced avionics.
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2018 AVIONICS PRODUCT SUPPORT SURVEY
1 Garmin, 2 Universal Avionics, 3 Rockwell Collins, 4 Honeywell Garmin 1st for 14 yrs, Universal 2nd for 10 yrs, RC 3rd for 10 yrs, Honeywell 4th for 2 yrs. Operators sent back a total of 1049 survey forms, representing a 12.1% return. Total of 974 line evaluations used for results. Pro Pilot Staff Report Data compiled by Conklin & de Decker
s avionics systems become more complex, backup service from the manufacturers becomes more important. Field service reps still provide that human touch and play a vital role in bringing explanations, instructions and facilitating availability of needed parts or repairs for pilots using the equipment. Factory training and experts at the OEMs are equally important in the overall satisfaction of the operators. And this Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey, which started 23 years ago, has become a key measurement of the aftersale service provided by the various avionics manufacturers. Garmin once again, for 14 years in a row, has taken the crown as the avionics manufacturer with the best rated product support. Often having more products manufactured makes it harder to keep custom-
ers satisfied. So it is really quite an amazing accomplishment that this Olathe-based company continues to be the market leader in aftersale service when you look at the long list of flightdeck equipment Garmin sells and services. This year Garmin’s overall score earned is 8.47 as compared to 8.56 tallied last year. Garmin takes 1st place in all measured categories — Product Reliability, Speed in AOG Service, Cost of Parts, Manuals or CDs, Tech Reps, and Support from the manufacturer.
for the past 10 consecutive years. Operators have expressed their satisfaction with both the capabilities of Universal Avionics as well as the attentive backup service provided by this Tucson-based company. Universal FMS equipment is extremely popular with business aircraft operators and so is the backup service provided. Universal garnered an overall score of 8.22 in this year’s survey as compared with 8.25 last year. In all categories in the 2018 survey Universal was 2nd. Biggest improvement for Universal was in Manuals or CDs where this year the score was 7.93, an improvement of
Universal Avionics takes 2nd place this year as this OEM has done
Avionics OEM overall score Manufacturers
Speed in AOG service
6.68 7.87 7.52 8.03 7.48 7.84 7.92 8.31 8.21 8.51 8.26 8.42 8.51 8.27 8.55 8.47 8.53 8.51 8.44 8.50 8.56 8.47
7.90 7.68 7.78 7.76 8.04 8.17 8.22 8.15 8.34 8.16 8.10 7.88 7.81 8.05 8.11 8.20 8.23 8.14 8.16 8.20 8.29 8.25 8.22
23 years of surveys
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2005 2006 2008 2009
1999 2000 2001
2015 2016 2017 2018
2010 2011 2012 2013
2005 2006 2008 2009
1999 2000 2001
Not rated in 1993
Comparison of overall average scores
2018 Professional Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
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0.12 from last year’s score of 7.81. And in Cost of Parts the score for 2018 is 6.96, an increase of 0.11 as compared to 6.85 in 2017.
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
Rockwell Collins remained 3rd in this year’s survey as the company has placed for the past 10 years in a row. Overall score is 8.00 for 2018, down from 8.06 tallied in 2017. The Cedar Rapids headquartered company earned 3rd place in all survey categories. Biggest improvement for RC was in Cost of Parts with 6.49 this year as compared to 6.44 in 2017. And the Rockwell Collins CASP program has become quite popular among operators due to its help in accomplishing better budgeting and reducing costs.
Honeywell remained in 4th place as they have for the past 2 years now. The Phoenix-based company scored 7.58 overall in this year’s survey, a slight dip from the 7.61 tally received in 2017. Honeywell was 4th out of 4 in all categories of the 2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey. A bright spot, however, was in the Tech Reps scoring where Honeywell went up to 7.82 this year as compared to 7.75 in 2017, a betterment of 0.07.
8.00 262 7.58
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
comparisons 2018 vs 2017 Manufacturers
Cost of parts
Manuals or CDs
Support from manufacturer
based on information collected from operators during 2017
* No survey was conducted for 2003 and 2007.
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2005 2006 2008 2009
1999 2000 2001
7.60 7.64 7.59 7.73 7.73 7.88 7.83 7.52 7.71 7.67 7.80 7.55 7.47 7.63 7.62 7.60 7.35 7.52 7.60 7.57 7.67 7.61 7.58
Data for the 2005 survey was collected in 2004.
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
2005 2006 2008 2009
1999 2000 2001
7.70 7.66 7.78 7.68 7.82 7.95 7.96 7.74 7.62 7.93 7.81 7.49 8.07 7.92 8.08 7.98 8.05 8.09 8.10 8.12 8.02 8.06 8.00
Avionics rated 1993–2018*
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Garmin Garmin Intl Dir of Aviation Support Lee Moore can be called on 913-397-8200 and faxed at 913-397-8282. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
or the 23rd year Pro Pilot has used a questionnaire to ask aircraft operators to rate the quality of product support provided by avionics manufacturers. The survey form includes—product reliability, speed in AOG service, cost of parts, manuals or CDs, tech reps and support from manufacturer. During Oct 2017 a target mailing of 8689 survey forms was sent out to a random selection of established qualified Pro Pilot readers. A total of 1049 survey forms, representing a 12.1% return, came back to the PP office in Alexandria VA by the cutoff date Dec 18, 2017. A total of 710 survey forms met Pro Pilot’s criteria for inclusion in the survey. These forms yielded a total of 974 line evaluations. There were 339 survey forms disqualified due to inconsistencies, errors, lack of information or for rating hand-held units rather than panel-mounted equipment. Pro Pilot’s minimum requirement to rank in the survey is 30 line evaluations. A total of 10 manufacturers were listed on the survey form and there were 3 blank lines for write-ins of others. Only 4 manufacturers received at least 30 evaluations and were included for ranking—Garmin, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Universal Avionics. Other manufacturers also received some evaluations but not enough to rank in the survey. They were Avidyne (19), Cobham/ Thrane & Thrane (1), Esterline CMC (4), L3 (10), Sandel (10), Thales Sextant (5) and others (17). This is the 4th year Pro Pilot shows Honeywell analyzed into 2 divisions—Honeywell and BendixKing. Respondents were asked to rate avionics manufacturers on a scale of 10 (excellent) to 1 (poor) for each category in the survey. Conklin & de Decker of Arlington TX acted as research agent and performed the independent data analysis. The company used an unweighted average to determine category scores.
armin has proven to be a leader in the avionics arena by providing flightcrews with outstanding, reliable, safety-oriented equipment with outstanding support. They make aviation safe and fun for everyone. Garmin is a 1st class company interested in what we need to get the job done every day. Thanks Garmin! Edward Ptak ATP/CFII/A&P. Learjet 75 Dir Aviation Services QuikTrip Tulsa OK
operate an Airbus H125 equipped with Garmin GNS 430 and GNS 530. These units are the lifeline of our business. I greatly appreciate the superb product support received from the manufacturer and their dedication to keeping software updated in a timely manner. Scott Wilson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Airbus H125 EMS Pilot Air Methods Huntsville AL
ove the Garmin G3000 installed in our Phenom 300s. The situational awareness is outstanding. In my opinion Garmin provides us with reliable and cost effective products and excellent product support when needed. Rick Boyer ATP. Phenom 300 Aviation Manager SCANA West Columbia SC
sing the GNS430 for our Bell 205A and 206L. We’ve had a good experience with Garmin – the product support, reliability and overall support has been exceptional. Ken Johnson Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell 205A1/ 206L & Airbus H125 Dir of Ops Guardian Helicopters Van Nuys CA
ith 500 different Garmin G1000 retrofits having been accomplished in King Airs, ours has been a continuation of the success of the platform. It’s a proven lineage of capability, utility and accessibility. And I feel it was the obvious choice when the decision to upgrade was made. G1000 system is a fantastic complement to an even more impressive lineage of the King Air family. It’s been the perfect fit for our King Air 350. Christopher Bender Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air 350 Captain Samet Greensboro NC
ery pleased with the Garmin GTN750 and GTN650 installed in our Citation CJ1. They’re both very reliable, accurate and user friendly. Jim Thorne ATP/CFII. Citation CJ1 Chief Pilot Marck Industries Boise D’Arc MO
ave found the Garmin G5000 to be a truly excellent product. It’s been a very reliable, easy to use and intuitive system. And it’s backed up with outstanding product support. Kyle Ramsey ATP. Citation Sovereign + Chief Pilot CWM Aviation Fort Calhoun NE
perated our King Air 350 for over 2 yrs and we couldn’t be happier with the Garmin G1000. Updates are a breeze and we’ve had no maintenance issues. Having FlightSafety ICT as our training provider with their King Air 350 and G1000 simulator is a real bonus. Can’t wait to get the G1000 NXi King Air upgrade. Edker Pope ATP/CFI. King Air 350 Chief Pilot Wings Like Eagles Elburn IL
vionics from Garmin are simply the best. We fly a Pilatus PC12 equipped with GNS 530, and its been my experience that Garmin products are reliable and easy to operate. Michael Zimmerman ATP. Pilatus PC12 Chief Pilot Aurora Flight Sciences Manassas VA
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he Garmin GTN 650 and G500H form a great combo in our Bell 206L4. These Garmin units really help us accomplish our Helicopter Air Ambulance provider mission. Morgan Michel ATP. Bell 206L4 HAA Pilot Air Evac Lifeteam Ashland KY
armin Prodigy 3000 installed in our Phenom 300 is great. Navigation features are top notch and overall support is outstanding. I have noticed the GPS derived AHRS is a bit lacking since loss of GPS results in rapid decay of AHRS. I think a solid state backup would be welcome in a M.78, FL450 jet. I’d also like to see a more robust performance computing capability for fuel usage and flight times based on inputs such as winds and temps instead of just current conditions and fuel flows. Matthew Caron ATP/CFI. Phenom 300 Captain NetJets Litchfield NH
est decision I made when purchasing our Citation Excel was to have 2 UNS-1Espw installed. They’re very dependable and allow us to make 200 ½ approaches all over the country. It’s also important now with the upcoming ADS-B install. Wish all my decisions were this good. Alan Dusman ATP/CFII. Citation Excel Aviation Dept Mgr Hanover Foods Thomasville PA
ery satisfied with the support we’ve received from Universal. Their UNS-1Ew is a great asset to our aircraft and is easy to operate. Michael Toman ATP. Learjet 31A & Citation CJ4/CJ3 Dir of Ops Classic Jet Center Willoughby OH
’ve found the UNS-1K in our Citation CJ1 to be a great product with excellent reliability. And Universal backs it up with superior support. Will Carroll ATP. Citation CJ1 Chief Pilot LDB Corp Kerrville TX
e upgraded from the UNS-1M to a UNS-1Ew in our Piaggio 180 and it’s fantastic. And the product support received from Universal has been superb. Eric Russell ATP. Piaggio 180 Avanti Chief Pilot Rainbow Sandals San Clemente CA
niversal Avionics is a great company with excellent product support. Our UNS-1M in the Sabreliner 80 we operate may not be the latest model, but it still works great. Glenn Michael ATP/CFII. Sabreliner 80 & King Air 100 Aviation Mgr Aeropac Merrimack NH
he UNS-1C+ is a great, reliable product, and Universal provides excellent support. One area I wish was easier is the ability to find and update manuals online. Brian Bowie ATP. Citation Excel Chief Pilot LMC Leasing Tallahassee FL
eliability is the word I would use to describe our UNS-1C on the Excel. My only request is for an internal battery with a longer life – but technical support has been outstanding every time we’ve called. Michael Hagedorn ATP/CFI. Citation Excel Chief Pilot High-Tec Industrial Williamstown KY
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
Speed in AOG service
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
ound the Garmin G3000 that equips our Citation M2 provides avionics integration at the highest level. I’m very pleased with the manufacturer in all aspects of product support, so I gave the highest marks in all survey categories. Garmin equipage will weigh heavily in any future aircraft purchases. Todd Tamura ATP. Citation M2 Chief Pilot JohnJay LLC Edmond OK
Universal Avionics VP Operations Steve Pagnucco can be phoned at 520-573-7627 or 800-595-5906. His e-mail is customersupport@ uasc.com.
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n my experience, Universal Avionics has always acted very professionally when dealing with their customers. Their knowledgeable team genuinely wants to help any time a question or issue arises. I gave excellent ratings in every category. Marc Galishoff ATP. Learjet 24 Captain JTP Productions Tarzana CA
Rockwell Collins Senior Director, Customer Support Craig Bries can be reached at 319-2954129. His e-mail is craig.bries@ rockwellcollins.com.
lways received great support from Universal. We have a UNS-1 installed in our Sikorsky S92. Although it’s an older system with a few quirks, Universal has always been there for us . Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Sikorsky S92 & Leonardo AW139 Captain PHI Cantonment FL
e’re a Challenger 604 operator I’m very glad that Rockwell Collins has provided a solution through an STC to make the aircraft FANS I/A capable. Their Corporate Aircraft Service Program (CASP) is also a good value for the cost and obtaining parts is rather easy. Steve Smith A&P. Challenger 604 Maintenance Supervisor Hanc LLC Bedford MA
ur Falcon 20-F5 came with the UNS-1D+ and we upgraded to UNS1-Fw WAAS units in 2013. We noticed over time there was an issue with VNAV and crossfill, so we upgraded the software to 1000.8 and also went from crossfill to Sync. The VNAV issues went away. We discovered there was an existing SB describing this issue prior to our installation in this configuration. This was an installer issue, however; Universal has provided us overall outstanding support. Michael Massell ATP. Falcon 20-F5 Dir of Aviation & Chief Pilot CRST International Cedar Rapids IA
he Collins Pro Line Fusion in our Global has worked well, although the jet rarely intercepts ILS final properly. It usually overshoots by about 1/2 dot deflection. And the Venue system in the cabin has had its share of problems over the last 1 ½ years – we’re still trying to find a way to reliably play movies on other than DVDs. Thomas Mizelle ATP. Global 6000 Captain Executive Jet Management Rockaway NJ
ave both a Rockwell Collins Cabin Electronics System and a vision system installed in our Global 5000. The experience has been superb, and we’re highly pleased with our FSR Joseph Pezzulo. He’s very knowledgeable and always provides us with great support. Joseph Szejko ATP. Global 5000 Chief Pilot APi Group Naples FL
ockwell Collins FMS 6000 is a truly excellent product. It provides one of the most straight-forward interfaces I’ve seen. Ray Roberson ATP. Challenger 604 Captain Jim Wilson & Associates Montgomery AL
ollins Pro Line 21 is such a joy to fly and it comes with superb product support. I’m glad they have a good Corporate Aircraft Service Program to help budget the price of parts. In my opinion, RC could make their support even better with similar cost controls on their manuals and training aids to increase their availability and affordability. And since the learning curve for operators of new systems can be steep, I also recommend more indepth computer based training for pilots new to the platform. Peter Breazeale ATP/CFII. King Air 350i Chief Pilot H&S Air Knoxville TN
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
Cost of parts
Manuals or CDs
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
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een operating the Collins Pro Line 21 in my Citation CJ1 for over 16 yrs and it’s been tremendous. Overall support from RC has been great. Dave Bassignani ATP/Helo/CFII. Citation CJ1 Chief Pilot Golden State Lumber Petaluma CA
o real issues in over 12 years of flying with the Collins FMS 6100. It’s been very reliable equipment in my experience. Jim Montgomery ATP. Falcon 2000 Lead Pilot JRB Air Maple Valley WA
upport from RC is great. My main concern is that they will stop supporting the Pro Line 4 in the next few years, but I would be excited about an opportunity to upgrade to the Pro Line Fusion. Ken Winters ATP/CFII. Challenger 604 Av Dept Mgr Professional Care I Parkland FL
ery reliable is how I describe our Collins Pro Line 4 in our Gulfstream G200. It’s over 20 yrs old and still works perfectly. I flew an older G200 with another FMS for 9 yrs and I’m happy to say the Collins FMS does quite a bit more for the pilot. Other FMSs are good, but I really like Collins and think it is a better option. Lance Offill ATP/CFI. Gulfstream G200 Lead Captain Jet Aviation Allen TX
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey Job titles of survey respondents 40
ser friendly and reliable – that’s the Pro Line 21 in our Premier IA. We’re enrolled in RC’s CASP program and I think it’s money well spent. This program has saved us so much more money than it costs. I wish they also made computers and light bulbs! Jim Cauthen ATP. Premier IA Chief Pilot Puckett Machinery Madison MS
Aviation Dept Mgr, Chief Pilot, Dir of Aviation, Flight Ops Mgr or VP Operations Captain, Line Captain, First Officer or other pilot Owner, Chief Executive, President, VP, General Mgr or other corporate officer Maintenance Chief, Maintenance Mgr or Mechanic
ur Venue cabin management system from RC is awesome. Since we upgraded to the Venue everything works perfectly for the passengers and they’re very pleased overall. The new Airshow options are also a big hit. This was an excellent upgrade for us and the best money we’ve spent in a long time. Thomas Frank Pvt-Inst/A&P. Gulfstream VSP Dir of Maintenance DeBartolo Aviation Tampa FL
y all-time favorite tools for the cockpit for professional pilots are made by Rockwell Collins. They deliver superior products that provide great performance for real accurate flying. Thomas Schaad ATP. Premier I CEO & President DiaMair Biberist, Switzerland
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Product Support Survey
Support from manufacturer
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
Manufacturers rated by 30 or more users
ro Line 21 is a great avionics suite from RC that has been designed to an airline standard. Collins has made sure we receive excellent AOG service and product support. I do wish I could see improvement in the cost of parts and updates. Raoul Weit Comm-Multi-Inst/CFI. Piaggio 180 Chief Pilot Fly Wings Agno, Switzerland
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Honeywell Honeywell Aerospace B&GA Dir Customer and Product Support Paco Perez can be reached by phone at 480-280-8667. He can also be reached by e-mail at jose.perez5@ honeywell.com. Alternatively, contact Honeywell’s Complete Customer Care team 24/7 at 800-601-3099. For Technical Support 24/7 at 855-808-6500/602-365-6500 or AeroTechSupport@honeywell.com. Honeywell Customer Support http://aerospace.honeywell.com/ CustomerSupport.
he Honeywell Avionics Protection Plan (HAPP) is excellent. It definitely helps with unexpected maintenance costs. All maintenance service received from Honeywell has outstanding, so I gave them high marks in all survey categories. Robert Hutto ATP/Helo/CFII. Lineage 1000/ Legacy 600 Aviation Dept Manager New Macau Landmark Mgmt Macau, Macau
ased on my experience I think Honeywell makes great products. I’m very satisfied with the quality of the Primus Epic PlaneView in our Gulfstream G450. Also pleased with the overall level of product support we’ve received. Jon Calhoun ATP. Gulfstream G450 Captain JCPenney Cedar Hill TX
ur Honeywell NZ2000 is bulletproof and easy to use. And the service received from this OEM has been great. Lynn Allen ATP/CFII. Challenger 601 Chief Pilot Allen Aviation Waxahachie TX
ntuitive and “easy” describes my experience operating the Primus Epic EASy II. It’s a nice platform that works well in our Falcon. Charles Belanger ATP. Falcon 7X/900EX Captain & Safety Officer Future Electronics St Therese QC, Canada
Honeywell divisions Division Honeywell
237 30 responses needed for ranking
Speed in AOG service Cost of parts Manuals or CDs Tech reps Support from manufacturer
Overall 7.61 7.33 For the 4th year, the 2018 Pro Pilot Avionics Manufacturers Product Support Survey analyzed the 2 divisions under Honeywell: Honeywell and BendixKing. There were 269 line evaluations for this breakdown. Between the 2 Honeywell divisions, Honeywell had the better overall score of 7.61 as compared to BendixKing which tallied 7.33 overall.
ery pleased with the amazing technology in Honeywell products. Also appreciate the outstanding aftersale product support we receive from this OEM. Robert Armstrong ATP. Pilatus PC12NG Chief Pilot KJV Aviation Rawlings MD
rimus Apex installed in our Pilatus PC12NG is a very user friendly and reliable system. We’re very pleased with this product and the support manuals. Andrew Twigg Comm-Multi-Inst. Pilatus PC12NG Pilot Millbrae Quarries Griffith NSW, Australia
eceived good support on the Primus Epic in our AW139. It’s a very reliable product for our missions. If I had 1 suggestion it would be desktop trainers to help us stay proficient on this avionics package. James Bukovec Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Leonardo AW139 Pilot Maryland State Police Cumberland MD
ll of the Honeywell products I’ve used get high marks for their reliability. And they’re backed up with excellent product support. Stephen Hogarth ATP/Helo. Sikorsky S76C++ Managing Director Upland Air Services Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England
lying a Falcon 7X with a Primus Epic EASy II. We’re very happy with the performance of the Dassault/Honeywell combination, even though it took them some time to work out the kinks and deliver all the promised features. James Carroll ATP/A&P. Falcon 7X Chief Pilot TPG Global Fort Worth TX
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y company’s Global XRS has a Primus 2000XP which is reliable and user friendly. My main challenge with customer support has been the loss of my FSR, which was pulled when Honeywell went through a major restructuring. All product support is now done through their 1 (800) number. As an operator it’s always nice to have that person, a tech rep, who knows you and understands what your organization needs. It seems that every time I need standard support I have to use my escalation contact to assist. Jesse Klein A&P. Global XRS Dir of Maintenance Microstrategy Services Corp Dulles VA
Avionics OEMs not scored Other manufacturers also received responses but didn’t meet the 30 minimum required to rank in the survey. Avidyne obtained the largest number of those not ranked (19 line evaluations) so their customer support contact information is provided.
Avidyne Avidyne Manager of Customer Support Administration Mike Clifford can be reached at 321-751-8445 or by e-mail using mclifford@ avidyne.com. Customers have a special website of MyAvidyne.com that presents the many services available for Avidyne operators.
oneywell makes good products that could be even better if they provided more focus on customer service. For example, ordering parts from Honeywell has sometimes been rather cumbersome. We discovered this process is easier if we go through Dassault Falcon Jet. Honeywell did instantly acknowledge an email I sent requesting pricing for a maintenance manual, but 10 days later I had to invoke a customer service rep to get what I needed. Although I gave their representatives a high score in this survey, in my opinion Honeywell could make these product support processes easier and more time efficient. Stephen Perlini A&P. Falcon 2000S Dir of Maintenance Allstate Wheeling IL
e have a Primus Epic PlaneView in our Gulfstream G450 and it’s a very reliable system. In a 2 year period of operations the only problem was with the colors in a LCD screen. We’re happy with how quickly Honeywell replaced the screen even though we had to cover the cost. I feel that overall Honeywell provides good product support for their operators. Nikolaos Mittas ATP. Gulfstream G450 Captain GainJet Melissia, Greece
Charles Polkinghorn has an ATP with 9500 logged hours and serves as the Chief Pilot for FIMCO Industries. He rated Garmin and Rockwell Collins in the 6 listed categories along with narrative comments for both manufacturers. His survey form was 1 of 1049 received for the Pro Pilot 2018 Avionics Manufacturers Product Support Survey.
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OUTER MARKER INBOUND
Runway environment as captured by Dassault’s FalconEye CVS. EFVS present a topographical view of the environment and provide aircraft state and situational awareness.
By Nick Sabatini
ATP/CFII. Former FAA Assoc Administrator for Aviation Safety
he increase in air traffic in the US, especially in the Northeast, is growing rapidly. Conventional thinking and conventional fixes, more RNAV procedures, and alternating runways are not solving the problem. But new technology, namely Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), when integrated along with NextGen procedures, will provide a means to reduce congestion, increase capacity and change the current business models. The problem with RNAV and other NextGen technology is that it’s fundamentals offer no better solution than a conventional ILS. Today, when weather or clouds and ceilings creep
into crowded airspace, air traffic is obliged to revert back to ILS technology developed in the 1930s. Simply said, RNAV and RNP approaches, even though they can help in noise abatement and avoidance of rising terrain, do not offer minimums. The conventional approach to airspace design is well established now, and it’s easy to fall back on, but nothing today or in the near future is offering a game changing capability – and we need something soon or else the limits of air traffic will have been reached. The combination of EFVS and NextGen (RNAV and RNP) procedures has been demonstrated to be the game changer that the US will need to increase, not decrease, the accommodation of air traffic. The ability of the pilot to see with EFVS during the instrument approach enables the use of less capability run-
ways and the full use of RNAV operations – even in clouds, low ceilings and low visibility – because the pilot will see the runway for several miles. My previous article on EFVS (Pro Pilot, Nov 2017, p 30) focuses on linking EFVS, EVO and NextGen. And one very important capability of EFVS is the ability to present Airplane State Awareness (ASA); in essence, situational awareness. In 1997, VP Al Gore announced the formation of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) with the goal of reducing commercial aviation fatal accidents. In their work and analysis, CAST learned that Loss of Control Inflight is – and has historically been – one of the largest categories of commercial aviation fatal accidents, where flightcrews lost awareness of their airplane’s state. The loss of ASA, as defined by CAST, includes information on Attitude (pitch or bank angle or rate), or Energy (the combination of airspeed, altitude, vertical speed, thrust, and airplane configuration), commonly referred to as situational awareness. In my Nov 2017 article in Pro Pilot I wrote about the many benefits the advanced sensors bring to NextGen. EFVS is especially beneficial in providing situational awareness by giving pilots flight information during approach, landing and rollout for aircraft control and performance in all weather conditions. But if you want, you could still fly your old panel avionics while some forward thinker passes you by.
Photo courtesy Dassault Falcon
Time to recognize the advantages of EFVS in flying safer approaches
Nick Sabatini was the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety of the FAA and served with distinction in that premier capacity for 7 years until his retirement in Jan 2009.
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Professional Pilot Magazine January 2018