Page 1

Best CSR Sandy Tachovsky Signature STP

Best US FBO Signature STP

Best Line Tech Pat Walter Signature MSP




Best Latin American FBO

Mapiex Panama PAC

Best Independent US FBO Pentastar PTK

Best Caribbean FBO

Jet Aviation NAS

Cover PRASE 7- 19 lyt.indd 1

Best Large FBO Chain (11+) Million Air

Best Small FBO Chain (3-10) Wilson Air Center

Best Asian FBO Hong Kong Business Av Ctr HKG

Best Canadian FBO Million Air YYC

Best Mexican FBO Cabo San Lucas FBO CSL

Best European FBO TAG Farnborough Airport FAB

Best Middle East & African FBO

ExecuJet DXB

7/1/19 11:01 AM



JULY 2019

RCSD Aviation Unit provides law enforcement and search-and-rescue services to the 4th largest county in California from its main base at HMT (Hemet-Ryan, Hemet CA). In front of 2 n tio n e Airbus H125 helicopters are (L–R) Deputy Ray Hiers, DOM Luis Morales, Chief Pilot nv Co N Michael Calhoun, Corporal Andy Rasmussen and Deputy Mike Chevalier. CO S


Cover 7- 19 lyt.indd 1

6/27/19 2:01 PM



R AT E U S I N P R O P I L O T ’ S P R O D U C T S U P P O R T S U R V E Y. YO U R V O I C E H E L P S U S D E L I V E R O U T S TA N D I N G S E R V I C E . 1CALL for 24/7 AOG

Reduced prices on

Faster response times

The largest global service

support and extended

20% of our most

and shorter work orders

network with a growing team of

mobile service coverage

common parts.

so you spend less time

field service representatives and

on the ground.

technical support experts.

throughout the world.

Never underestimate the power of your feedback. Learn more at Š 2019 Textron Aviation Inc. All rights reserved.

CAC2354_Service Value Prop_Rate Us_Professional Pilot_8.375x10.875.indd 1

6/10/19 2:50 PM

Textron -garmin C2-1.indd 2

6/27/19 2:27 PM

Client: Textron Aviation












For more information, visit © 2019 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

19-MCJT23621 G5000 Upgrade Ad_Citation-8.375x10.875-ProPilot.indd 1

6/13/19 3:57 PM

Textron -garmin C2-1.indd 1

6/27/19 2:27 PM







Masthead July 2019

Vol 53 No 7

Management MURRAY SMITH, ATP/CFI, Publisher ( MARCIA ELENI SMITH, Assistant to the Publisher ( ANTHONY HERRERA, General Manager (

Advertisers Index Page

Company/Creative Agency



Company/Creative Agency

MURRAY‚SMITH, Editor ( RAFAEL HENRIQUEZ, Associate Editor (

21 Avfuel | Global Aviation Network 57 Meridian TEB Direct Direct

Graphics JOSE VASQUEZ, Art Director (


29 Avfuel | Pensacola Aviation PNS 24 Mid-Continent | True Blue Power Direct Direct 18 Banyan Air Service FXE Direct 3 Bombardier Aircraft | Support Direct 25 CAE Direct 33 Clay Lacy VNY Direct 27 Concorde Battery Direct C3 Daher | TBM 940 Direct 7 Dassault | Falcon Response Direct 6 Duncan Aviation Direct 5 Embraer | Praetor 600 Direct 17 FlightSafety Intl GretemanGroup

55 Hong Kong Business Av Ctre Direct


51 Million Air Direct

ANTHONY HERRERA, Circulation Manager (

Advertising MURRAY SMITH, Advertising Director ( MARCIA ELENI SMITH, Advertising Services Mgr (

23 Monterey Jet Center Direct 20 Pentastar Aviation PTK Direct 15 Pilatus Business Aircraft | PC-12NG Direct C4

Pratt & Whitney Canada Sullivan Higdon & Sink


Saker Aviation GCK Day Vision Marketing

53 Shell Aviation | McKellar-Sipes Reg MKL Direct 19 Sheltair Aviation Direct 43 Signature Flight Support Direct

49 Texas Jet FTW 2 Garmin | G5000 Direct Direct 47 Global Select SGR Direct

MARCIA ELENI SMITH, Research Manager ( MARIAN CORONADO, Research Assistant (


Textron Aviation | Support Copp Media

26 Westjet Air Center RAP Direct

22 Manassas Regional Airport ndp

59 West Star Aviation MAI

41 Manny Aviation Services Direct

61 World Fuel Direct








Regular contributors BRENT BUNDY, Phoenix PD Officer/Pilot. AS350, Cessna 210/182/172. SHANNON FORREST, ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605. MARTY ROLLINGER, ATP. Challenger 600/604. Falcon 2000 EASy. GRANT McLAREN, Editor-at-Large. KARSTEN SHEIN, Comm-Inst. Climatologist, Natl Climatic Data Center. DON VAN DYKE, ATP/Helo/CFII. Canadian Technical Editor. DOUG WILSON, Pvt SEL/Helo. Pres of FBO Partners. Professional Pilot ISSN 0191-6238 30 S Quaker Lane, Suite 300, Alexandria VA 22314 Fax: 703-370-7082 Tel: 703-370-0606 E-MAIL:


Publication mail agreement #40030961 E-mail:

Member NBAA. Aircraft: Beech Baron N241MS Piper Saratoga N4301M and Beech Sundowner N67135 Qualified subscriptions‚ Those pilots and aviation dept mgrs operating business/ executive aircraft for a living under FAR Part 91 and 135 may qualify for a limited number of free subscriptions. For a complete description of who qualifies and instructions on receiving a qualification form go to our website at PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS‚ Rates for 12 issues are set out below: US $50 Canada/Mexico $60 Other countries $80 Back issues $10 per issue Salary Study $20 per issue Only checks in US dollars are accepted. Virginia residents add 5.0% sales tax. Credit cards are not accepted. Make checks payable to Queensmith Communica­ tions Corp. Mail payment to 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing. ADDRESS CHANGES‚ Please mail or fax the white carrier sheet containing your current address label along with any corrections to Professional Pilot magazine, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Fax to 703-3707082. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for processing. POSTMASTER‚ Send address changes to Professional Pilot, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. Professional Pilot is published by Queensmith Communications Corp, 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312. TITLE AND TRADEMARKS‚ The title Professional Pilot has been trademarked as a magazine title by Queensmith Communications Corp and is duly registered at the US Patent Office. PERMISSIONS‚ Nothing may be reprinted in whole or part without a written permission from Queensmith Communications Corp. All rights in letters sent to Professional Pilot will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and as subject to unrestricted right to edit and to comment editorially. Published monthly. All rights reserved. MAILING AND POSTAGE‚ Periodical postage paid at Alexandria VA and addi­ tional mailing offices.

© Queensmith Communications Corp July 2019 • Vol 53 No 7


Ad Index 7-19 lyt.indd 2

6/28/19 5:43 PM

Bombardier and Exceptional by Design are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries. Š 2019 Bombardier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bring your jet

Home For all your support needs, bring your jet home to Bombardier and trust it to the experts who know it best.

Exceptional by design Exceptional by design

Ad masthead 3 Ad Index Index & 7-19 lyt.indd 2-19-lyt.indd 3

1/30/19 6/28/19 6:00 5:43 PM PM

July 2019 Vol 53 No 7


Features 8 POSITION & HOLD State of the FBO Industry 2019 by Doug Wilson FBO Partners President & Founder explains why providing a consistent customer service experience is paramount for ground service providers.


12 FLIGHT SAFETY Becoming an operational test pilot by Marty Rollinger An inquisitive mind when studying your aircraft text books, controllability checks, and imaginative sim training sessions will prepare you to overcome unexpected flight conditions. 30 EVENT COVERAGE EBACE 2019 by Brent Bundy Annual convention and exhibition celebrated in Geneva, Switzerland gathered attendees from all over the world May 21–23.


34 OPERATOR PROFILE Riverside County Sheriff’s Department by Brent Bundy RCSD Aviation Unit serves 2.5 million residents with all-Airbus Helicopters fleet covering over 7300 sq mi. 38 INTERNATIONAL OPS Saving costs on bizjet missions abroad by Grant McLaren Tips from the experts: Plan in advance, arrange fuel uplifts as early as possible, and prescind from unnecessary services.


42 PRASE SURVEY WINNERS 2019 Pro Pilot readers rank the best in aviation ground services by Pro Pilot staff Recognition to top FBOs, MROs, line techs, CSRs, catering, fuel, credit cards. 62 WX BRIEF Flight-level flying by Karsten Shein Cruising above the weather is not without its atmospheric challenges.

62 4  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Contents 7-19 lyt.indd 4

6/28/19 5:48 PM

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

Learn more at


Contents 7-19 lyt.indd 5

6/28/19 5:48 PM


July 2019

Vol 53 No 7

Departments 16 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying helos into LGA (LaGuardia NY). Answers on page 18. 20 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers describe the type of flying they do and how their line of work may benefit from current trends in aviation. 28 SID & STAR Star approaches an attractive FO at an FBO but is scolded by her captain.

Covers This July 2019 edition of Pro Pilot marks the 46th year publishing results of our PRASE Survey – an an­ nual study tallying reader votes to determine the best ground ser vice providers in the aviation industr y. Do­ mestic and foreign FBOs, ITPs, fuel providers, cater­ ers and MROs are rated. In addition to being show­ cased on our front cover, top performers are featured with photos and writeups in the text. Cover designed by Pro Pilot Art Director José Vásquez.

WATCH THE TIMELAPSE: Aircraft Acquisition & Consignment | Airframe Maintenance Avionics Installation | Emergency Assistance (AOG) Engine & APU | Engineering & Certification Services Government & Special Programs | Paint & Interior Parts, Avionics, Instruments & Accessories

Contents 7-19 lyt.indd 6

RCSD Aviation Unit pro­ vides law enforcement and search-and-rescue services to the 4th largest county in California from its main base at HMT (Hemet-Ryan, Hemet CA). In front of 2 Airbus H125 helicopters are (L–R) Dep­ uty Ray Hiers, DOM Luis Morales, Chief Pilot Michael Calhoun, Corporal Andy Rasmussen and Deputy Mike Chevalier. Photo by Brent Bundy

6/28/19 5:48 PM

FalconResponse_Planes_212.7x276.2_PP_uk.indd 1 Contents 7-19 lyt.indd 7

15/03/2019 14:47 6/28/19 5:48 PM

POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion

Photo courtesy Million Air

State of the FBO Industry: Customer service

Million Air won Best Large FBO Chain (11+ ) in the Pro Pilot PRASE Survey. All Million Air employees, such as Million Air HOU Customer Service Mgr Sabrina Elias (pictured), receive a “Credo” card during employee orientation that serves as a daily reminder of the company’s many service promises.

By Doug Wilson President and Founder, FBO Partners


ustomer service is one of the hallmarks of our industry – it alone can make an otherwise good FBO a great FBO. Conversely, if the humans manning the storefront are apathetic, their service can render an otherwise great FBO a terrible one. Because of this, customer service has the potential to level the playing field, allowing even the most austere FBOs to shine – or, if executed poorly, making even the most lavish FBO appear sub-par. What is great customer service? For most, the easiest answer is, “I can recognize it when I see it,” because it is different to each person – beauty being in the eye of the beholder, so to speak. For any number of reasons in the FBO industry, customer service has become comfortingly formulaic. A focal point resembling a hotel check-in desk, with views of the FBO’s main entrances, manned by uniformed employees, surrounded by an array of computer screens, phones, and a ground-to-air radio – and quite possibly, a copy of this publication. If you’re reading this article while behind an FBO’s desk right now, these words must seem eerily accurate. But that’s not customer service. That’s the customer service desk of an FBO, the efficacy of which I will soon suggest should be reconsidered altogether. Customer service is a multi-faceted discipline common to every business in the world today, and a look outside the FBO industry is especially instructive.

Net Promoter Score Earlier this year, Newsweek, in partnership with research firm Statista, released a report entitled “America’s Best Customer Service 2019,” which consists of data from 20,000 customers who completed 132,954 surveys of 141 different retailer and service provider categories. While the report makes for an interesting read, more applicable to the FBO industry is the methodology used to rank customer service. The survey uses a scoring matrix called Net Promoter Score (NPS), which takes the otherwise subjective notion of customer service, and converts it into actionable, quantitative data. If running a business is a science, and customer service an essential element, then the NPS is its atomic weight. To arrive at an NPS, 5 types of evaluation criteria are scored and then weighted at 50%, while the remaining 50% of the score is based on likelihood of recommendation. Hence, NPS equals the aggregate evaluation criteria multiplied by 0.5, plus likelihood of recommendation multiplied by 0.5. By way of example, in the Transportation-Airlines category, Alaska Airlines was number 1 with an aggregate score of 8.47 out of 10.

Applying the NPS to the FBO industry We need to examine the 5 evaluation criteria of the NPS for applicability to the FBO industry. One of them is Quality of Communication, which measures the extent to which the interaction between business and consumer


Position hold -7-19 lyt.indd 8

6/27/19 2:40 PM

Photo courtesy Meridian

Jet Aviation’s busy IAD (Washington Dulles Intl, Dulles VA) FBO is part of the AirElite Network, a designation bestowed upon premier FBOs supplied by World Fuel Services meeting a set of criteria, including top-tier customer service.

a receipt. The contrast couldn’t have been starker. In one instance, I was led by an engaging, pleasant employee to exactly the item I sought, and in the other I wandered aimlessly among apathetic employees, automated checkout lines and misplaced upsells. The next metric of the NPS is Technical Competence, which measures the accuracy of the information provided to a customer. For FBOs, this is a core challenge of customer service. While a Chick-fil-A-style ethos of being polite is easy to adopt at the FBO level, aviation requires slightly more technical know-how than making chicken sandwiches. Hundreds of different aircraft types and a host of highly specific terminology conspire to create a difficult path to technical competence for FBO employees – a path only mastered after years. It’s easy to see why pilots, who by definition must be technically competent to perform their job, grow frustrated when interacting with an FBO’s newer, less technically competent employees. Rounding out the remaining 3 categories of the NPS are Range of Services, which measures whether one’s personal expectations were met; Customer Focus, which measures whether a tailored solution was provided to a customer’s personal requirement; and Accessibility, which measures the availability of customer service in the storefront itself – or online if not a brick-and-mortar store.

Photo by Jose Vásquez

was “polite and friendly.” At major business aviation airports in the US, many FBOs strive to deliver a bespoke experience. Yet the industry’s historical love affair in delivering a “Ritz-Carlton-like experience” for FBO customers may result in service that, while well-meaning, can feel a little manufactured. In fussing over the delivery of a white-glove experience, sometimes the most genuine element of the Quality of Communication score is missed altogether – simply being polite and friendly, as opposed to rigidly scripted. In the fast-food industry, for example, the top-scoring chain has the lowest number of stores but earns more revenue per location than any competitor while operating only 6 days a week. Chick-fil-A, which claims to have invented the chicken sandwich, has also learned that training their employees to say “welcome” and “my pleasure” is the most important element of customer service. Yes, much of their win has to do with just being nice. While some FBOs have service standards that provide exacting requirements pertaining to nail polish colors or the approved uniform tie, precious little time is spent in the “how to be nice” part of training. While not a fast-food restaurant connoisseur, I do frequent McClendon’s, a local hardware store chain in the Northwest with exceptionally nice employees. What is it they do differently? Surreptitiously eyeing a colorful screensaver on of their computers that read “We take our customers to the product,” I realized that, sure enough, they do. Without exception, any time I ask the whereabouts of a product in their store, an employee says, “Let me show you,” and walks me to the part I was seeking – all the while engaging me in polite conversation. This simple act of kindness makes a customer feel valued, special and, most importantly, human. By contrast, when I patronized a nearby home improvement warehouse store for a specialty item not carried by McClendon’s, the few employees I observed talked with each other and did not acknowledge my presence. Determined to interact with an employee (for scientific purposes, of course), I steered clear of the self-checkout registers, and was asked 2 questions by the cashier: (1) would I like to sign up for their store’s credit card, and (2) would I like

The front desk

Perennial PRASE Survey all-star Betsy Wines greets a flightcrew at Meridian TEB. She is among the most winning CSRs in the history of PRASE.

The Accessibility metric is also one deserving of analysis in the FBO community. Because the front desk layout is virtually homogeneous at large FBOs today, if a customer walks in the lobby and the customer service representative (CSR) is busy responding to an aircraft radio call while simultaneously answering a telephone and dispatching a fuel order, are they really accessible to the customer? While in theory they’re visually present and accessible to customers, they are in fact fully task-saturated and preoccupied. The concept of accessibility invites further examination of the very role of the front desk at an FBO. Why does it exist at all? Designed for customers to gravitate instinctively toward it for their needs to be met, the FBO PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  9

Position hold -7-19 lyt.indd 9

6/27/19 2:40 PM

ness aviation industry is one with which the self-checkout model is not compatible. Candidly though, it may be time to re-examine the front desk of FBOs altogether. A hard look at what can be achieved behind the curtain, such as answering the radio, the telephone, and the transaction itself, may differentiate the FBO of the future. For an FBO that staffs more than 1 CSR during a busier period of operations, this is especially achievable. While 1 CSR is quietly completing the tasks associated with a service request behind a desk, the others are interacting with customers, making them feel valued – and human.

Photo courtesy Signature

Achieving consistency

Signature Flight Support’s newly completed FBO terminal at BNA (Nashville Intl, Nashville TN) features an open concept desk, allowing for ease of interaction between CSRs and customers.

front desk is the very nerve center of the operation. On reflection, most of the work performed at an FBO’s front desk need not be completed in view – or in earshot – of customers in a lobby. And yet, FBOs build new terminals every year, incorporating the same front desk layout today that has existed since IBM made the Selectric-brand typewriter. Once a CSR myself, I will advance the idea that front desks are a visual barrier between customer and employee. They literally prevent an employee from “taking a customer to a product” or, in the FBO’s case, walking with a customer to show them where the lounge is located. Further, because of the nerve-center role of a front desk, employees are faced with a no-win choice when approached by customers: They have to abandon the radio and phones, or walk from behind the counter in order to genuinely engage with a customer. As brick-and-mortar customer service evolves, the delivery of it is organizing down 2 distinct paths: A self-service approach such as grocery store self-checkout lines, or the one-on-one experience where no front desk exists at all and employees are free to interact with customers alongside them. In this latter model, the Apple Store or a mobile/wireless service store comes to mind. Employees greet customers at the door, engage one-on-one with a customer, and the transaction is completed while in comfortable chairs using an iPad. What can FBOs learn from this service evolution? First, I’ll state unequivocally that the FBO’s role in the busi-

The aggregate criteria that make up half of a business’s NPS, including Quality of Communication, Technical Competence, Range of Services, Customer Focus and Accessibility, are meaningless without consistency of delivery in each area. A new-hire at an independent FBO or a new location at a chain FBO has the potential to create inconsistent experiences for customers. While there is no 1 solution to achieve service consistency, setting clear expectations, constant training, rewards programs for employees (not just customers), and auditing against those expectations, is a good start. Only as one nears consistent delivery can a customer be asked the question that makes up the other half of one’s NPS: “With service in mind, how likely is it that you would recommend the selected brand to friends and family?” This question determines the difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer who advocates for a brand. To fully appreciate the difficulty of creating a customer-advocate, consider the required depth of a relationship with a friend that allows one to ask for a personal letter of recommendation for say, a job search. Probably a mere handful of friends qualify – far fewer than the hundreds listed as friends on Facebook. Now consider your FBO’s top 50 customers. How many of them would spend the time to write a recommendation letter about your FBO to a potential customer? Likewise, true customer advocates are as rare as hens’ teeth, as the expression goes. As consumers ourselves, it is easy to recognize a great customer service experience because, sadly, many interactions with businesses usually leave something to be desired. That something is the difference between a mere transaction with a customer, and genuine relationship. For FBOs, the yardstick for measuring customer service and advocacy shouldn’t be against those vaunted locations that made this year’s PRASE list, but other industries altogether. Tempting though it may be to think otherwise, FBOs are but one business with whom our customers interact, and our customers compare the service level they experience not just among other FBOs, or the aviation industry, but against the sum total of their experiences as consumers.

Douglas Wilson started as a lineman at JGG (Williamsburg VA). An active pilot, he now serves as president of FBO Part­ ners, an aviation consultancy providing business management advisory services to fixed base operations.

10  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Position hold -7-19 lyt.indd 10

6/27/19 2:40 PM


Heart of America

Located in the heart of the United States, Garden City, KS is your one-stop, modern FBO fueled by caring staff to enhance your adventure to – anywhere.

GCK Unicom 122.950 800.539.5055

Position hold -7-19 lyt.indd 11

6/27/19 2:40 PM


Operational test pilot An inquisitive mind when studying your aircraft text books, controllability checks, and imaginative sim training sessions will prepare you to overcome unexpected flight conditions.

Wake vortices

1000 ft

Unless you are one of the pilot types described above, probably you don’t think of yourself as a test pilot. Think again. If you are a line pilot flying professionally, you are an operational test pilot. Every time you fly, there is a chance that you will run across a degraded flight condition or failure that is new to you and the aviation community. No aircraft manufacturer, certification authority or training organization can prepare line pilots for every conceivable circumstance. Aircraft flight testing is finite and costly. Manufacturers thoroughly test their aircraft designs, but they cannot possibly flight-check and provide procedures for every imaginable situation. The cost of doing so, both in dollars and in time, would be prohibitively expensive.

Becoming operational test pilots

Bombardier Challenger 604 passed 1000 ft below an Airbus A380 at an altitude of 38,000 ft. The Challenger was caught by the wake of the Airbus and was flipped upside down. After several unintended rotations, the pilot was able to stabilize the aircraft and landed safely at Muscat International Airport, Oman.

By Marty Rollinger

ATP. Challenger 600 & 604, Falcon 2000 EASy and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Contributing Writer


hat comes to mind when you hear the title “test pilot”? Perhaps you think of experimental test pilots – those who fly research missions for the likes of NASA, or new aircraft designs for the very 1st time. These pilots are flight

test experts. Experimental test pilots purposefully design and conduct test programs that carefully expand new aircraft flight envelopes. Maybe you think of production test pilots – folks who take newly assembled airplanes out and fly them for the 1st time to ensure newly-built aircraft conform to certification specifications. And there are also maintenance test pilots – the 1st to fly airplanes after heavy maintenance to ensure the plane continues to conform to specs.

I was forced to become an operational test pilot when the jet I was flying experienced faulty angle of attack (AoA) probe readings shortly after takeoff from an aircraft carrier. The onboard computers used the erroneous AoA readings to automatically push the nose over in an attempt to correct the high AoA and presented stall warning. The aircraft bottomed out at just a few feet above the ocean waves. I was able to safely fly away, but in the moment I had no idea what had just occurred. It appears from preliminary accident reports that the pilots flying the ill-fated Lion Air & Ethiopian Boeing 737 Max became test pilots soon after takeoff. While the accident causation chains have not been officially determined, it appears that a faulty AoA probe began each accident. The malfunctioning AoA probe started feeding their airplane erroneous information. The high AoA condition caused the aircraft to trim nose down and resulted in yoke shaker on one control wheel along with associated loud chattering sounds.

12  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Operational Test 7-19 lyt .indd 12

6/27/19 2:14 PM

Unexpected flight conditions are more likely in new aircraft designs Pilots of novel aircraft designs have a greater chance of finding new failure modes or unexpected flight conditions. Similarly, modifications to aircraft that have been in service for many years may result in possible new failure modes. A great example of this is the addition of active winglets on Citation CJs that have recently become subject to an Airworthiness Directive. You inadvertently become an operational test pilot the moment you understand that aircraft can be damaged inflight from a midair collision with another aircraft, a bird or a drone; that speed limit or load factor limit exceedance after upset recovery can damage the aircraft; that flight controls can jam, trim can run

Photo by Rafael Henríquez

In addition, the erroneous AoA fed the on-side air data computer, which then altered the displayed airspeed and altitude information to one of the pilots – resulting in an air data mis-compare message. In this confusing situation, these pilots were coping with an unintended and unexpected flight regime. I can empathize with the 737 Max pilots. My defective AoA probe incident occurred in the fly-by-wire F/A-18 in 1992, 26 years before the 737 Max accidents. In my case, the AoA probe began providing faulty high information when it became jammed internally. The 1st indication was at weight off wheels immediately following catapult launch. The flight control computers used an average AoA from the right and left probes. Even this averaged reading was above stall warning numbers in the takeoff configuration, so the computers in command of the flight controls decided to save the plane by pushing the nose over to break the stall. This is a recipe for disaster at only 65 ft above the ocean. I was able to avoid impact with the water and climbed to what I considered a safe altitude (15,000 ft) to do a controllability check. I had been thrust into the role of operational test pilot. In this incident, the stuck AoA probe was freed after several seconds of flight and the aircraft flew normally. Thus, I could find nothing wrong with the aircraft, but made a precautionary landing anyway.

Angle of attack vane mounted below an ice detector on a Pilatus PC-24. Inflight, the airstream flows across the vane, causing it to rotate to match the airstream. Sensors inside the device measure the vane’s angle relative to a horizontal reference line. This AoA value is provided to computers and displays.

away, and center of gravity can get out of limits.

Be ready to handle adverse scenarios How do you prepare for your role as an operational test pilot? You master your aircraft’s system knowledge, know it far better than just well enough to pass a type ride test, be familiar with all applicable emergency procedures, and ask yourself, “What if this system fails? What if these sensors and computers were to provide erroneous information?” If your aircraft has AoA probes that feed information to onboard computers, find out what to expect if those probes start feeding erroneous data. Read the aircraft textbooks with a critical eye. There are mistakes in these manuals – humans wrote them! Find questionable content and ask for clarification from the manufacturer. You will be both smarter and a good aviation citizen improving the accuracy of the text for all users. Some flight departments even set a goal to collectively find and submit manufacturer document discrepancies annually. They routinely hit the goal and become active contributors to the safety of the aviation industry.

Controllability checks Learn how to do a controllability check in your aircraft. The F/A-18 controllability check was formally described in the emergency procedures section in the flight manual. Designed to assist a pilot in a shot-up aircraft, it applied equally to non-battle damage. The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge defines controllability as “the capability of an aircraft to respond to the pilot’s control, especially with regard to flight path and attitude.” If you experience controllability problems, consider landing faster than normal to give better airflow and control power from flight control surfaces. How much faster? Answering this question is the purpose of the controllability check. Why not just land normally? Because, due to damage, the aircraft no longer conforms to type certification specifications. Your damaged aircraft might be flying acceptably at present speed and altitude, but can you safely transition to landing configuration and decelerate to normal approach speed? Adherence to flight manual limitations keeps us on the safe side of safe/unsafe boundaries. If your aircraft has been damaged, those boundaries may have shifted. A conPROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  13

Operational Test 7-19 lyt .indd 13

6/27/19 2:14 PM

exceeding any applicable limit for the aircraft configuration. If the decision is made to extend slats and flaps for the landing, this step should be repeated after each notch of flaps. 4. Decelerate no slower than normal VAPP or that speed where 1/2 yoke or 1/2 rudder deflection is required to maintain balanced flight (constant heading and pitch with near zero bank angle). This is the minimum controllable airspeed. 5. Assess the controllability in a 15º angle of bank turn. If aileron displacement in one direction is required for straight and level balanced flight, all turns should be initiated in the direction of the aileron displacement. If fuel is not a concern, lower the gear as soon as possible to avoid further gear extension problems. 6. Fly the approach no slower than the minimum controllable airspeed plus 10 kts.

Photo courtesy NTSB

Sim training The catastrophic uncontained engine failure experienced by Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 on April 17, 2018 resulted not only in loss of thrust, but also damage to the engine nacelle, fuselage, wing and tail surfaces, which altered the flying qualities of the aircraft.

trollability check helps determine if the new boundaries have constricted your familiar flight envelope. Ideally, get to a safe altitude in visual conditions with many thousands of feet between you and the ground. Do not go too high because the aircraft may behave differently at high altitude than in the thicker air below. Configure slowly at altitude and gradually slow down. If the airplane starts to depart controlled flight, increase speed to catch it, note the speed, and stay a good bit above this speed when landing.

Make controllability checks SOP If the manufacturer does not provide specific guidance, the following procedure is worth considering for your flight department’s SOPs: A controllability check should be performed any time there are structural, flight control, center of gravity, or multiple problems which may affect approach and landing characteristics. Follow manufacturer guidance for the specific failure as applicable. The purpose of the controllability check is to methodically determine the optimal landing con-

figuration and airspeed so that the aircraft can be safely flown with sufficient control remaining to allow for normal corrections and counter any uncommanded pitch, roll or yaw excursions. The crew must assess the aircraft’s controllability and decide how best to land, keeping in mind such factors as the type of emergency, weight, speed, runway length/ width, braking conditions, wind and weather. The decision to use full, partial or no flaps should be made considering aircraft damage, degraded flying qualities, wind/gust intensity, and engine performance. 1. Declare an emergency with air traffic control if you have not already done so. This allows you the freedom to conduct the controllability check appropriately. 2. Maintain at least 5000 ft AGL; 10,000 to 15,000 ft AGL if practical. Tell air traffic control that you need a large block of airspace so that you have room to maneuver without focusing on altitude restrictions. 3. Reduce speed slowly in 5-kt increments, trimming as required. Airspeed indications should be crosschecked, determining their individual accuracies and, if valid, not

Be creative in your simulator training sessions. Sure you do the mandatory engine-failed operations and no-flap landings, but have you landed with pitch trim full forward and full aft? Runaway aileron trim? Hardover rudder? Do it in the simulator. Use your imagination. Chances are you will never deal with a failure of this magnitude in real life, but both familiarity and confidence will be gained by experiencing challenging scenarios in the simulator. Hopefully you will never directly use your operational test pilot skills in an actual incident, but thorough systems knowledge and knowing how to do a controllability check could save your life. Being prepared improves the odds of a successful outcome.

Marty Rollinger has over 35 years’ flight experience in 68 different aircraft. A career US Marine Corps pilot, he was a Liethen-Tittle Award graduate of USAF Test Pilot School. He is director of flight ops for a Midwestern operator and a member of the Falcon Operator Advisory Board.

14  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Operational Test 7-19 lyt .indd 14

6/27/19 2:14 PM

THE COMPANY WILL THANK YOU AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN You simply won’t find a business aircraft that offers a better return on invest than the PC-12 NG. You get a spacious eight passenger cabin, seating that can be reconfigured in minutes, and a private lavatory. And we guarantee your CFO will love its low acquisition and operating costs. With an airplane this comfortable, versatile and efficient, you’d better get used to the praise. Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd • USA • +1 303 465 9099 •

PIL0619_ProPilot_Thank_You.indd 1 Operational Test 7-19 lyt .indd 15

6/3/2019 2:57:03 PM 6/27/19 2:14 PM

Terminal Checklist 7/19 Answers on page 18



  

 



 




7. A minimum visibility of 3/4 must be maintained until cancelling IFR. a True b False 8. Select all that apply. During the visual segment of the approach ______ a The minimum VFR flight visibility may be based on OpSpecs requirements. b Visual contact with the landing site must be made prior to reaching WITKN. c IFR obstruction clearance is applied between the WITKN and the landing site. d If VFR minimums do not exist upon reaching WITKN, a missed approach must be performed. e If the weather conditions are below VFR minimums, ATC will automatically provide a special VFR clearance for the aircraft to operate in Class B, C, or D airspace.

 


    


      



 


  




 

   

 


 



 


 

 

 


  


 


   


   






 

 

 

 


   



      

 

       





 



     





















 




6. A reduction in the visibility is allowed because the proce dure is not annotated with “Visibility Reduction by Helicopters NA.” a True b False


 

5. Select the true statement(s) regarding flying the initial and intermediate approach segments. a Airspeed must be limited to 70 kts. b Airspeed must be limited to 90 kts. c A course reversal in the holding pattern at ZALAT is required. d The initial approach segment requires a descent to 1200 ft MSL.




   

4. Select the true statement(s) about elevations that apply to this approach. a LGA heliport elevation is 21 ft MSL. b The MDA is 391 ft above the elevation of LGA. c The surface elevation at the missed approach point is 129 ft MSL. d The surface elevation at WITKN is the same as LGA airport/heliport elevation.


     


     


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




3. Select the true statement(s) about how RAIM applies to flying this approach with GPS equipment that is not WAAS-certified. a RAIM does not have to be available to fly the approach. b The GPS receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to NEUMN. c If RAIM is not available prior to initiating the approach, another type of approach system should be used. d If the GPS equipment indicates RAIM failure prior to the FAF, the aircraft should not descend to 520 ft MSL and a missed approach must be performed at WITKN.



Not to be used for navigational purposes

2. This approach is restricted to helicopters with a maximum VMINI of ______. a 65 KIAS. c 80 KIAS. b 70 KIAS. d 90 KIAS.




1. PinS approaches may be established at locations where the MAP is more than 2 sm from the landing site and no obstructions exist near the landing site. a True b False

 



Refer to the 12-8 COPTER RNAV (GPS) 250 at LGA (LaGuardia NY) when necessary to answer the following questions:


9. Select the true statement(s) regarding the visual segment of the approach. a A track of 257° should be flown from LGA to JRA. b A track of 246° should be flown from WITKN to reach LGA or JRB. c All the destination heliports shown on the chart are within 14 nm of WITKN. d Helicopters destined to a New York City heliport must fly a heading of 234° to Throgs Neck Bridge and request a clearance from ATC. During the missed approach procedure_____ 10. a A maximum speed of 70 kts applies. b A climb gradient of 400 ft/nm is required. c An airspeed of 90 kts should be maintained in the hold. d A heading of 070° should be maintained until reaching 1240 ft MSL. e A climb to 1240 ft MSL should be made before beginning a left turn to ZALAT.

16  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Terminal Checklist 7-19 lyt.indd 16

6/27/19 2:23 PM

FlightSafety is Here For

YOU Your Success

Your Proficiency

Your Satisfaction

Relax. Our instructors work to ensure

Be the very best. We are committed

Count on us. We all have the same goal:

YOU have an exceptional training

to helping YOU achieve and maintain

providing YOU with the highest-quality

experience with a positive outcome.

the highest level of skills and safety.

training and outstanding service.

Train with FlightSafety and benefit from our unequaled experience, team of master instructors and safety-focused programs using state-of-the-art simulation technology. Trust that we’ll always go above and beyond for you and your flight department and deliver the value you deserve and expect. It’s all about you.

FLIGHTSAFETY HERE FOR YOU AD - PROPILOT - Trim: 8.375” w x 10.875” d Terminal Checklist 7-19 lyt.indd 17


Bleed: 8.625” w x 11.125” d 6/27/19 2:23 PM

Answers to TC 7/19 questions 1.

b The AIM 10-1-2 provides information regarding helicopter instrument approaches. “Copter” Point-in-space (PinS) approaches, which involve a VFR segment between the MAP and the landing area, are used at locations where the MAP is more than 2 sm from the landing site, the path from the MAP to the landing site has obstructions that require avoidance actions, or the flight path requires turns greater than 30°.

2. b PinS approaches are restricted to helicopters with a maximum VMINI of 70 KIAS and an IFR approach angle that enables them to meet the final approach angle/descent gradient. According to the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook, final approach angles/descent gradients for public approach procedures can be as high as 7.5°/795 ft/nm. At 70 KIAS (no wind), this equates to a descent rate of 925 ft/min. Helicopters with a VMINI greater than 70 KIAS might have inadequate control margins to fly an approach with the maximum allowable angle/descent gradient or minimum allowable deceleration distance from the MAP to the heliport. 3. b, c, d According to the AIM 1-1-17, if RAIM is not available prior to beginning the approach, use another type of approach system. When flying an approach with non-WAAS GPS equipment, the receiver performs a RAIM prediction at least 2 nm prior to the FAF. If the receiver does not sequence into approach mode or indicates RAIM failure prior to the FAF, do not descend to the DA or MDA – proceed to the MAP, perform the missed approach, and contact ATC. If the GPS equipment displays a RAIM failure after the FAF, initiate a climb and perform the missed approach. 4.

a, c The Briefing Strip indicates that LaGuardia airport elevation is 21 ft MSL, which is the same as LGA heliport as shown on the plan view. Ballflag note 1 on the plan view indicates that the surface elevation at WITKN (the missed approach point) is 129 ft MSL. The MDA of 520 ft MSL, shown in the landing minimums section, is 391 ft above the elevation of WITKN.


b According to the AIM 10-1-2, the maximum airspeed is 90 kts on any segment of the approach or missed approach. The holding pattern at ZALAT is for the missed approach procedure. The initial approach segment from YORCI or ODALE is conducted at 2000 ft MSL. During the intermediate approach segment from ZALAT to NEUMN, a descent from 2000 ft MSL to 1200 ft MSL is indicated on the profile view.

Terminal Checklist 7-19 lyt.indd 18


b According to the AIM 10-1-2, helicopters flying conventional (non-Copter) SIAPs may reduce the visibility minima to not less than 1/2 the published Category A landing visibility minima, or 1/4 sm/1200 RVR, whichever is greater, unless the procedure is annotated with “Visibility Reduction by Helicopters NA.” However, helicopters flying Copter SIAPs must use the published minima, with no reductions allowed.

7. a According to the AIM 10-1-2, the visibility is limited to no lower than that published in the procedure until canceling IFR. 8. a, d According to the AIM 10-1-2 at or prior to the MAP, the pilot must determine if the published minimum visibility, or the visibility required by the operating rule, or OpSpecs (whichever is higher) is available to safely transition from IFR to VFR flight. If not, the pilot must execute a missed approach. Visual contact with the landing site is not required but the pilot must maintain the appropriate VFR weather minimums. IFR obstruction clearance areas are not applied to the VFR segment between the MAP and the landing site – obstacle or terrain avoidance is the pilot’s responsibility. If the visual segment penetrates Class B, C, or D airspace, the pilot is responsible for obtaining a Special VFR clearance, when required. 9. b, d Ballflag note 2 on the plan view specifies tracks and distances to proceed visually from WITKN to the heliports, JRB, JRA, LGA, and 6N5. Procedural note 3 in the Briefing Strip states that “helicopters destined to a New York City heliport should process VFR via the south stanchion of the Throgs Neck Bridge and request appropriate clearance from LaGuardia Air Traffic Control.” Ballflag note 3 on the plan view specifies a track of 234° to Throgs Neck Bridge at 4.1 nm from WITKN. 10.

b, c, d Procedural note 4 indicates that final and missed approach airspeeds are limited to 70 kts. However, the missed approach instructions in the Briefing Strip indicate that airspeed should be increased to 90 kts upon reaching the missed approach altitude (2000 ft MSL) and in the hold. The copter 20:1 obstacle clearance surface (OCS) requires a 400 ft/nm climb gradient unless a higher gradient is published. The missed approach instructions and icons indicate that a climbing left turn should be initiated to 1240 ft MSL but that the helicopter should maintain a heading of 070° until reaching 1240 ft MSL.

6/27/19 2:24 PM

Terminal Checklist 7-19 lyt.indd 19

6/27/19 2:24 PM


fly Part 91. Too bad I’m 60 years old because the future looks bright. When the airline I used to fly for went belly up, I received a job offer to fly a King Air. I’m still with the same company after 24 years, and have flown several airplanes. I’ve been flying a Challenger 300 for 13+ years. Frank Stadthagen ATP/A&P. Challenger 300 Flight Dept Manager Salep Coral Gables FL

T What is your type of flying? Corporate Part 91, Fractional 91K, Charter 135, Airline 121, Police, EMS, SAR, Offshore, Military – FW or RW. How did you come to choose this area? And how do you see the future for your area of professional flying?

he 2 reasons why I fly corporate Part 91 are because there are fewer FAA hoops to jump through compared to Part 135, and I like the fact that I’m always going to new destinations. I believe this type of flying is even expanding, as evidenced by the coming of the soonto-fly supersonic transport aircraft. Jack Silva ATP/CFII/A&P. King Air 350/200 Owner Silva Aircraft Services Salmon ID

Best Independent FBO

Proudly delivering on our unwavering commitment to exceed our customers’ expectations.

Thank You!


e are a Part 91 flight department and have been in operation for 15 years, flying worldwide. After 20 years of flying as an airline pilot, I needed a new challenge. For future flight departments, I will have a total transformation operating hypersonic jets and drones, instead of helicopters. Walter Santos ATP/Helo/CFII. Global 6000 & Leonardo AW109S Ops Director/Chief Pilot Jetcare Cosmetic Company Sorocaba, Brazil


art 135 scheduled seaplane service is what we do. We enjoy beautiful summers, mountains and ocean views flying happy visitors to docks, beaches, and summer lodges north of our base in Seattle. David Tennesen ATP/CFII. de Havilland DHC3/ DHC2 Captain Kenmore Air Seattle WA


Edsel B. Ford II Chairman & Owner

Gregor y J. Schmidt President & CEO

We appreciate your support in making us the most awarded aviation company in the PRASE Survey for over a decade! | 800-662-9612 | Private Jet Charter | Aircraft Management | Advisory Services | Aircraft Maintenance | Avionics Services | Interior Services | FBO Services ©2019 Pentastar Aviation

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 20

7/1/19 11:15 AM

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 21

7/1/19 11:15 AM

Squawk Ident




urrently, I fly Part 121 and Part 91 after retiring from the military. My best answer is flying anything fixed-wing. I chose the military while in college – the rest is a logical progression with twists and turns resulting from 9/11 and the 2008 economic crisis. With progress and technology advancement comes change. Airplanes with human pilots will be around for a long time in one form or another. Jim McIrvin ATP/CFII. Boeing B737 & Phenom 300 Chief Pilot/Captain McIrvin Aviation Washingtonville NY


fly strictly for recreation and personal business purposes. I chose to fly for faster transport and more efficient business relations. Jacek Leonowicz ATP. Piper M500 Owner Leoplast Czestochowa, Poland


hen I graduated college in 1996, the compensation at the airlines was not good. They offered low salaries, one had to pay for one’s own training, and upgrades took long. Instead, I took a job flying for a Part 135 operator and management company. While I enjoyed the flying, the 135 life was not for me. After 2.5 years I landed a Part 91 jet job and never looked back. I see Part 91 only getting better for us with experience. Christopher Anderson ATP/CFI. Pilatus PC-24/PC-12NG Captain MEB Leasing Indianapolis IN



have spent 2 years doing Part 91 and 135, 17 years in corporate, 14 years in Part 121, and the last 4.5 years flying Part 125. When I am required to retire from the operation within the year, should I decide to continue in this industry – professionally – I will have to return to corporate, 135, or flight instructing. For me, it has not been something that I chose, but rather a need. I have met less than a handful of pilots in my career who started and ended in the same area. My experi-

ence shows it is not a matter of a pilot choosing, but rather a necessity to adapt in order to continue flying professionally. This industry is dynamic, and pilots must be as well. Norbert Cooley ATP. Boeing 757 Captain/Standards L-3 Technologies Elkton MD


fly Part 91. The owner travels for business and personal use, both domestic and international. This is my preference because I don’t want to retire at 65. Also, I know the schedule in advance and I don’t have to be on call for charters. James Vanderburg ATP. Global Express Captain Clay Lacy Aviation Murrieta CA


he area I fly is private (Part 91/133/135/137) on government contract. It’s hard to find qualified pilots because the airlines are taking them all. We need pilots badly. I suspect that soon companies will have to release contracts because they can’t provide a pilot. It’s that bad. I chose RW because I hated the FW industry. I actually gave up flying because I detested the lying, manipulation, and backstabbing. I got into Part 133/137 because I love the challenge of precision work. Marina Saettone ATP/Helo. Airbus AS350B3 Owner/Pilot SaeMarke Aviation Mesa AZ


fly for a small Part 91 corporate flight department. My future at this current position is as secure as any Part 91 job could be. The boss needs to travel on a very flexible schedule and has the resources to own his private aircraft. As long as he is doing business, I am employed. But when he no longer needs a flight department, I’m updating my résumé. Hopefully, he needs a plane until I’m ready to retire. Ryan Johnson ATP. Challenger 600 & King Air 350 Captain DC Air Denair CA

22  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 22

7/1/19 11:15 AM

Oh my goodness, they finally did it!

Don’t forget to reserve your Car Week slots!

Introducing the Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 23

New 7/1/19 11:15 AM


Squawk Ident


fter retiring from the USMC in 1997, I settled in Richmond VA, where I have been blessed to fly Part 91 (FW/ RW) and 135 RW ever since. Being involved with a variety of flight operations and having the opportunity to fly multiple aircraft types and models keeps life challenging and interesting. I have always enjoyed RW flying the most, and currently fly Sikorsky S76D, Bell 427 and 206 helos.  As the chief pilot for HeloAir, I enjoy working with the younger pilots and helping them grow and enhance their helicopter skills and safety awareness. I did not choose or pursue Part 121 because I had no desire for the tedium of airline seniority programs, unions, schedule biddings, large crews, and unhappy passengers, etc. RW pilots are mostly very independent, work well with very little supervision and are problem-solving experts who strive to deliver top-notch customer service – all while flying in extremely hazardous low-level, wire, and obstacle-infested environments. And they still come to work and go home most days with smiles on their faces and the satisfaction of doing and having a great job. The growth of autonomous aircraft will certainly affect the RW business. Drones/UAS operators already have a slight but growing impact on this market. In addition, with all the major aviation manufacturers vying for the speculative Uber air taxi industry, there could be spin-offs into other facets of the RW industry and, in the very long run, these could have a negative impact on RW pilot jobs. On the bright side, some very capable and cool platforms could evolve for RW and vectored thrust markets. Initially, these will be piloted – but one day, our great-great-grandchildren will ask us, “You drove a car or piloted an aircraft? Why?” Sonny Rea ATP/CFII/Helo. Bell 427/206 & Sikorsky S76D Chief Pilot HeloAir Richmond VA


o gain experience and build up time, I flew Part 135. Now I fly Part 91corporate – and I prefer it! I know my passengers and I know whom I fly with. I am part of the company team. My company is doing great. Hopefully, my future will be in parallel! Strong future ahead. Robert Stegman ATP. Challenger 300 Pilot Nestle Purina St Peters MO


or the past 35 years I have been attached in some way to an aircraft manufacturer in a pilot capacity. My area of expertise ranges from company support flights, demonstration flights, test flights, litigation flightpath reconstruction, and training flights. I never considered changing my path. It’s been always fun and sometimes it’s full of challenges. This type of flying is slowly dying off from what it was in the 70s, 80s or 90s, but it is a great path to take if the opportunity arises. Patrick Cannon ATP/CFI. Beechjet 400 & Mitsubishi MU2 President Mission Air Service Lewisville TX

24  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 24

7/1/19 11:15 AM

How does CAE elevate your training experience? 1.



With centers located in

With highly skilled and

Through a customer service

some of the world’s most

dedicated instructors delivering

team offering a friendlier,

desired locations

customized training

more cultural experience




By working with OEMs and

By using simulators equipped

By training more aviation

NAAs to deliver programs

with advanced capabilities,

personnel than anyone

specific to your needs

improving training efficiency

else globally

Work with the team that works with you.

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 25

7/1/19 11:15 AM

Squawk Ident


e own and operate a fleet of more than 70 fixed-wing turbine aircraft. Although we’re based in Europe, we fly worldwide on ad-hoc business charter. I started working with business aviation by chance, although I had several friends in the sector who seemed to be having a great time. The longer I work with business aviation, the less inclined I am to look at anything else. My current employer has benefited greatly from the econom-

ic uncertainty of the past 10 years, where many of our clients would have operated their own aircraft in more stable times. I believe that our current business model will serve well for the foreseeable future and for the same reasons. William Kennett ATP. Global Express Flight Commander/Fleet Safety Officer VistaJet International Luqa, Malta


y current type of flying is corporate, police and training. I chose this area as a logical progression. My career moves have been from military to production test pilot, to regulator (CASA), back to military, and then on to corporate and government flying. In these moves, I have been involved in training pilots, one of the most satisfying parts of my career. I chose the current area to try to have a stable family environment for the final years of my career. There will always be a future for corporate/government flying in a country as large as Australia and a state as big as Queensland. Imagine Texas and California combined, with a lot fewer people. John McGhie ATP. Hawker 850XP, Citation V, King Air 350 & Caravan Head of Training Queensland Government Air Pinkenba QLD, Australia




e are a corporate Part 91 department. I have always desired a corporate career because of the variety of flying, personal familiarity with a small group of passengers, and having direct control of all the aspects of operation. Our company is on pace to have its busiest year flying, and our industry is maintaining solid fundamentals for sustained market viability. Andrew Kilgore ATP/CFII. Learjet 70 & Pilatus PC-12NG Dir of Flight Operations Peco Foods Tuscaloosa AL



like flying for people or companies I know personally, and having a somewhat routine schedule. I have had very few popup trips with this company. That’s why I fly Part 91. With the cost of flying, I see a lot of partnerships to spread the costs. We have 2 partners, but we’re not Part 91K. And they’re not just partners, but friends – they have known each other for years, so we have a good working relationship. I would never go back to charter or 91K operations. Bruce Rainwater ATP/CFII. King Air 200 Chief Pilot Houston Sigma Technologies Richmond TX



26  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 26

7/1/19 11:15 AM


Concorde STC’s now available for the Cessna 510, 525C, and 680 models.




Crafted for Quality in the U.S.A.

Squawk ident-7-19 lyt.indd 27 ProPilot_July2019_V2.indd 1

CONCORDEBATTERY.COM | 626.813.1234 | ISO 9001 + AS9100

7/1/19 11:15 AM 6/12/19 10:54 AM

Cartoon art by

We invite readers to submit story lines that would work for a 6-panel Sid and Star cartoon. Send your thoughts by e-mail to Pro Pilot Publisher Murray Smith at If we use your idea we’ll credit you by name and pay you $100.

28  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Sid & Star 7-19 lyt.indd 28

6/27/19 2:10 PM

The accommodating service and hospitable atmosphere at Pensacola Aviation is second to none. Warm welcomes and complimentary refreshments are always on standby at this full-service, Florida Panhandle FBO. Learn more at and explore offerings from its sister location, Montgomery Aviation (KMGM), at

▪ U.S. Customs Available ▪ Open 24 Hours Every Day ▪ 7,004-Foot Runway

▪ Rental Cars on Site ▪ Courtesy Vehicles ▪ Passenger Lounge

▪ Pilot Lounge ▪ Snooze Room ▪ Pet Friendly

▪ Pilot Supplies ▪ High-Speed Wi-Fi ▪ Catering

Avfuel Contract Fuel and AVTRIP Available

Sid & Star 7-19 lyt.indd 29

6/27/19 2:10 PM


EBACE 2019

Jet Aviation VP Sales Mgmt Oliver Bergsch (L) and Collins Aerospace Sr Director Mktg & Sales Didier Perrin signed an agreement to collaborate on upgrade programs for BBJ 737/747s. Embraer Executive Jets Pres and CEO Michael Amalfitano announced recent certification of the Praetor 600 by FAA, EASA and ANAC, along with positive company growth.

Attendees had the opportunity to see 58 aircraft at the sold-out static display at GVA.

The business aviation community gathered in Geneva to view products and learn about services from 400 exhibitors. By Brent Bundy

he eyes of the aviation world were focused on Geneva, Switzerland May 21–23 as the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) returned for its 19th annual gathering. More than 80 countries were represented by thousands of attendees visiting the nearly 400 exhibitors spread across 3 halls of the Palexpo conference center. Showgoers also had the opportunity to view 58 aircraft at the sold-out static display. Demonstrating their continued support for the Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel (SAJF) initiative announced at last year’s EBACE, 23 of those aircraft arrived powered by SAJF. The show was brought industry enthusiasm and a general upbeat feel-

ing for business aviation. This was portrayed at the opening session with EBAA Secretary Gen Athar Husain Khan and NBAA Pres & CEO Ed Bolen both speaking on initiatives for growth, innovation and sustainability. Another key focus was the future of air travel, specifically electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and urban mobility vehicles. This was emphasized by keynote speaker Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter, who plans to have his product in the air in a few years. These topics were also discussed at length during several Innovation Zone sessions. While business aviation may still be in recovery mode after a difficult decade, this year’s conference showed that the recovery is in full swing and the industry has plenty in store for the decade to come. Join the excitement next year when EBACE celebrates its 20th year, May 26–28, in Geneva.

Textron Pres and CEO Ron Draper said, “2018 was our best year in 10 years.” He also confirmed that Q1 2019 was very strong. The company is busy with impending Longitude certification and 2 new turboprops – the SkyCourier and the Denali.

Daher Sr VP Nicolas Chabbert announced that their newest airplane, the TBM 940, has received EASA certification. The company reported that 25 TBM 940s have been ordered.

Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW 119, Cessna 182/172

Photos by Brent Bundy


Gulfstream Pres Mark Burns announced that the G600 is nearing full certification and, once that is achieved, the manufacturer’s lineup will keep the company competitive.

Dassault Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier confirmed that the Falcon 6X is on track for entry into service in 2022.

Honda Aircraft Pres and CEO Michimasa Fujino revealed that the HondaJet maker will be increasing production capacity at its Greensboro NC factory with an 82,000 sq ft expansion.

Bombardier Sr VP Michel Ouellette outlined plans for new service centers in Singapore and Miami in 2020, and a new line station in Dubai later this year.

30  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Ebace 7-19 lyt.indd 30

7/1/19 11:46 AM

New EASA single-engine commercial operation rules have helped Piper with sales in Europe. Showing the company lineup were (L–R) European Aircraft Sales Owner Katja Nielsen, Piper Board Member Jennifer Bitterberg, and European Aircraft Sales Mgr Morten Raahauge.

Viasat announced FAA STC approval on its compact Ka-band system for super-midsize jets. Demonstrating the system were Dir of Global Biz Devt James Person and Mktg Dir Michelle Muñoz-Talcott.

Universal Weather & Aviation provides trip support, flight planning, and a plethora of other aviation services. Presenting their options were (L–R) Sales Mgr Tracie Carwile, CSR Laura Cook-Abbott, and Sr Dir of Intl Biz Sean Raftery.

Representing TAG Farnborough Airport were Events & Mktg Asst Bayley Rolfe (L) and Events & Mktg Mgr Elaine Turner. Meridian provides top-notch FBO services from its Teterboro NJ location and new Hayward CA base. (L–R) Dir of Mktg Kirk Stephen, Av Sales Exec MaKayla Gorski, Charter Sales Exec Bob Platten, VP Av Sales Mike Moore, Flt Coord Mgr Jamie Labocki, and Dir of Charter Sales Chris Battaglia.

Clay Lacy Aviation announced the selection of FL3XX as its new management software system. Representing the company were (L–R) Gen Mgr Steven Lee, Client Experience Mgr Anne Probst, and Charter Coord Juanita Contreras.

From Daher were (L–R) Sr VP Nicolas Chabbert, CEO Didier Kayat, Flying Smart Pres David Fabry, and VP TBM Sales Michel Adam de Villiers.

Covering the event for Sheltair were (L–R) Biz Av Sales Mgr David Buritica, VIP Cust Svc Mgr JFK Chris Beharry, Dir of Sales & Mktg Karen Kroeppel, and Dir of Safety Stuart Ochs. World Fuel Services was a provider of the Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuel which a record number of planes used to arrive in Geneva. At the WFS booth were (L–R) VP Supply & Comm Devt Duncan Storey, Sr VP Michael Szczechowski, and Sr VP Joel Purdom.

CAE recently won the contract for simulator training in the forthcoming Dassault Falcon 6X. At the company’s booth were (L–R) Exec Asst Olena Snopova, Gen Mgr Capt Chris Warton, and Mktg Spclst Claudia Lamarche.

Explaining Signature Flight Support’s worldwide FBO offerings were (L–R) Mktg Mgr Giselle Llanos, Ops Admin Sinead Powell, Standards & Cust Svc Mgr Sue Wilson, and Project & Mktg Mgr Lucy Lonergan.

Banyan Air Service continues to be south Florida’s top-rated FBO. Present were Dir of FBO Sales & Client Relations John Mason (L) and Sr VP AC Sales Michael O’Keeffe.

The leaders of Duncan Aviation were on hand at the show. From left to right are Chairman Todd Duncan, Pres Aaron Hilkemann, and Exec VP and COO Jeff Lake.

Rolls-Royce’s brand-new Pearl engine will power the Bombardier Global 6500, unveiled at last year’s EBACE. Showing the Pearl and explaining recent upgrades to the CorporateCare program were (L–R) Cust Biz Exec Trey Michaelis, Proj Mgr Elisabeth Fries, and Comm Mgr Stefan Wriege.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  31

Ebace 7-19 lyt.indd 31

7/1/19 11:46 AM

Showcasing Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW800, the power behind the new Gulfstream G500s & G600s, were Sr Field Support Rep Eduardo Lange (L) and Reg Sales Mgr Eric Beukema. JSSI’s team at the event included (L–R) Pres Latin America & Sr VP Biz Devt & Strategy Francisco Zozaya, Prod Line Spclst Derek Hepburn, Sr VP Client & Admin Svcs Joy Nebel, Dir of Mktg Susy Uribe, Dir Biz Devt James Carroll, and VP Global Strategy & Corp Devt Ash Reddy.

Universal Avionics offers a variety of upgrade options for multiple airframes. Demoing systems as well as their wearable HUD systems were (L–R) Dir of Sales Robert Clare, Field Svc Engineer Patrick Nenninger, and Reg Sales Mgr Christian Zumkeller.

Garmin Avionics has been chosen for 2 of Textron’s upcoming aircraft – the Denali and the SkyCourier. Explaining the operations of the popular G5000 was Mgr Av Prod Suppt Tim Lewton.

Safran is still the engine of choice for Cessna’s upcoming large-cabin Hemisphere. With the Silvercrest engine are Dir Prod Mktg Geoff Hanshaw (L) and Biz Av Prod Mktg Dir Aymeric Plantier.

Textron showed off the first Cessna Citation Latitude outfitted for aeromedical operation. Babcock Scandinavian Air Ambulance recently took delivery of the aircraft, which will be operated in Norway.

Piper hopes to move more of its M600s into the European commercial market with recently relaxed single-engine rules across the continent.

Gulfstream’s lineup showcased each current model, including the record-breaking G650ER (foreground), G600 and G500.

Bombardier’s flagship, the Global 7500, continues to break city-pair records across the globe. Deliveries began in late 2018 and the company forecasts 15–20 aircraft reaching customers this year.

Dassault Falcon 8X received FAA/EASA certification in late 2018 for the FalconEye low-viz approaches down to 100 ft. The technology is expected to spread soon to the rest of the Falcon lineup.

Piaggio Aerospace has fallen on hard times lately but was recently renewed with an Italian government contract and a restart of production lines. The P.180 Avanti EVO is Piaggio’s sole piloted model.

Leonardo’s AW139 medium twin helicopter configured in executive layout fit in well amongst the business jets on the ramp.

Bell Helicopter brought a twin-engine 429 outfitted with a VIP interior, completed by MAGnificent. This company does similar work in Bell’s new 505 Jet Ranger X.

For the first time since EBACE 2014, Pilatus reopened the order books for its PC-24 twinjet. With availability of an additional 80 slots, half of those were filled before the end of the show.

Honda delivered 37 HondaJet/HondaJet Elites in 2018. Demand in 2019 appears steady as the company expands production and training centers.

Following the certification of its stablemate Praetor 600, Embraer hopes to obtain government approvals of the Praetor 500 by end of summer 2019.

32  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Ebace 7-19 lyt.indd 32

7/1/19 11:47 AM

Keep flying in 2020.

Standalone ADS-B or complete FANS solutions. ADS-B Out only

ADS-B Out with FANS 1/A+

Gulfstream Falcon Challenger Hawker Learjet

Gulfstream GIV, GIV-SP, GV Challenger 601-3A/601-3R • 14-day downtime • Under $300,000* • FAA and EASA approved

2019 SLOTS AVAILABLE FAA Part 145 Repair Station Van Nuys Airport

Pat Conroy Director of Service Sales 818.208.1377

Clay Lacy FANS STC is also available at your preferred Universal Avionics Authorized Dealer for Gulfstream GIV/GIV-SP/GV and Challenger 601-3A/601-3R.

W O R L D ’ S M O S T E X P E R I E N C E D O P E R AT O R O F P R I VAT E J E T S © 2019 Clay Lacy Aviation. *Actual downtime and price based on specific aircraft configuration.

Ebace 7-19 lyt.indd 33

7/1/19 11:47 AM


Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept Aviation unit serves 2.5 million residents with all-Airbus Helicopters fleet covering over 7300 sq mi. By Brent Bundy

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


Photos by Brent Bundy

very day, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) is faced with a daunting task. Its mission is to provide a variety of services to the nearly 2.5 million residents of this southern California region. Stretching from the eastern edge of Los Angeles to the Colorado River on the border with Arizona, Riverside is the 4th largest county in the state, both by population and area. With its primary function being law enforcement, RCSD must make the most of its resources to effectively police the territory. For the past 29 years, one of its most valued resources has been an airborne one – the RCSD Aviation Unit.

There’s a new sheriff in town The responsibility of overseeing Riverside Co’s 2200 deputies falls to Sheriff Chad Bianco. The Utah native came to California with the intention of pursuing a career with the Fish and Wildlife Department. “I grew up in an outdoor environment and never really wanted to be a cop,” Bianco states. Ironically, in 1993 he joined RCSD. As is standard practice, Bianco spent 2 years working in the jail before transferring to the streets as a patrol deputy. After an assignment in narcotics, he was elevated to the rank of investigator for the Internal Affairs division. This was followed by a promotion to sergeant, then later to lieutenant.

In the short time Sheriff Chad Bianco has been on the job, he has already had a positive impact on the RCSD Aviation Unit.

Airbus H125 has proved to be the right choice for RCSD and the demanding topography of the area the unit serves. (L–R) Chief Pilot Mike Calhoun, Deputy Mike Chevalier, Corporal Andy Rasmussen and Deputy Ray Hiers next to one of the department’s H125s. 34  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Riverside-7-19 lyt.indd 34

6/27/19 2:21 PM

uties and the residents of this county need and I’m in a good spot to make a difference.”

The ideal fleet: Airbus helos

Chief Pilot Mike Calhoun has coordinated RCSD aviators since 2016.

During his ascent up the ranks, Bianco witnessed – and was often the subject of – the internal politics of the organization. Not being one to stand by idly, he threw his hat into the race for the elected position of sheriff in 2014. And he lost. As would be expected, this loss did not help his situation, but Bianco is also not one to accept defeat, so in 2018 he ran for election again. This time, with solid backing from the union and, most importantly, his fellow deputies, he was victorious. When Bianco took over the top law enforcement position in the county this past January, he inherited a department that was woefully understaffed and mismanaged in many areas. “What I quickly found out was that we didn’t really have a budget problem – we had a sheriff problem,” he declares. “As a department, we had failed the county. My job now is to rectify those failures, both for my deputies and for the citizens.” In these few months on the job, Bianco has already begun aggressive hiring, department-wide. One of the divisions that had been somewhat neglected was the RCSD Aviation Unit. Bianco recognizes the incredible advantage that his deputies are given by having support from aircraft, and his goal is to further bolster that role. “I don’t even know how you would measure the importance of the helicopters,” he says. “The benefits they provide are so valuable, it’s almost not quantifiable. I don’t think you can do law enforcement without an air asset. My challenge is to provide what my dep-

Riverside Co encompasses over 7300 sq mi of terrain varying from low deserts with sub-sea-level elevations to mountains towering nearly 11,000 ft. Its inhabitants are divided amongst densely populated cities and almost inaccessible rural communities. At its widest point, the county is 180 miles across. The resources of an airborne law enforcement unit are most often dictated by the services required in combination with the territory they are provided for. Using that formula, RCSD has settled into a sweet spot with one of the most popular helicopters for police work: Airbus H125. With its aviation base at HMT (Hemet-Ryan, Hemet CA) in the western part of the county, RCSD Aviation Unit needs to be able to reach all corners of the region and still be able to complete the mission once on scene. The H125 has proved itself to the RCSD for nearly 2 decades. The Aviation Unit began operations in 1990 with 3 former marine pilots and 1 civilian pilot. Like many fledgling air support divisions, it kicked things off with surplus military aircraft – 2 OH-6s and 2 OH58s. Throughout the years, the unit also flew MD 500Es. It was around the turn of the century when the 1st Airbus (then Eurocopter) AStars made their way to the unit. After initially being loaned an AS350BA, its range, high-altitude performance, and overall versatility quickly became apparent. So, as aircraft replacement became necessary, the AStar became the unit’s primary choice.

Making the difference While Sheriff Bianco is ensuring that his deputies and constituents are receiving the support and equipment they need, Chief Pilot Mike Calhoun makes sure it’s all being used safely and for maximum benefit. Born and raised in southern California, 2 of Calhoun’s biggest interests were the Marine Corps and helicopters. “I always wanted to be a Marine, ever since I was a little kid, so I joined right after high school,” he relates. As an infantryman in the Corps, Calhoun spent time fast-roping out

Corporal Andy Rasmussen has been with RCSD for 23 years, the last 13 with the av unit.

of helicopters, which reignited his early fascination for them. After an injury forced a medical discharge, he began looking into a career as a paramedic or a nurse. And then he received some sound advice. “A friend told me, ‘You should be a cop. You should apply to an agency that has an air unit.’ So that’s exactly what I did; I joined the RCSD in 2001 with the goal of making it to the air unit.” After stints in the jail and patrol, Calhoun was selected to the RCSD Aviation Unit in 2007, prior to which he had earned his private rotorcraft rating on his own. Following 3 years as a Tactical Flight Officer (TFO), a pilot spot became available. Calhoun then received his commercial rating and turbine-transition with Helistream at SNA (John Wayne, Santa Ana CA). In 2016, he became a CFI, and a year later took over as chief pilot. Calhoun organizes, coordinates, executes and documents training for the unit’s pilots. The current makeup of the unit is 8 full-time pilots and 4 full-time TFOs. Acceptance into the unit requires 2 years as a patrol deputy followed by a rigorous testing process which includes a résumé review along with oral and practical exams. Calhoun explains, “What we’re looking for are good street cops – cops with a tactical mindset.” There is no requirement to become a pilot, but most opt for it. Once the move is made to the pilot position, training can take several years before the applicant is signed off. “A fully trained pilot will progress through day VFR, PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  35

Riverside-7-19 lyt.indd 35

6/27/19 2:21 PM

The unit’s Airbus H125s are equipped with the most modern airborne law enforcement equipment, including mapping systems, infrared sensors, and digital communications.

night VFR, rescue training, hoist training, and more. By the time they are finished, they will have been training for 3 years and have over 2000 hours of flight time.” In addition to the standard training, RCSD practices some unique specialties including horse rescue, aerial use of force, formation flying, and external load flights. While not all airborne law enforcement units conduct these operations, they are useful due to the variety of calls to which the air unit responds. “Our pilots each fly around 600 hours per year and, as a unit, we conduct 60–80 rescues annually,” Calhoun states. “That is a lot of flying and requires proficiency in a variety of situations.” Keeping pilots proficient

Director of Maintenance Luis Morales joined the team in 1999 and has witnessed its transformation to the modern, well-equipped unit it is today.

For its newest helicopters, RCSD has chosen the Trakka Systems TrakkaBeam A800 multi-mission searchlight.

involves recurrent training with power-recovery autorotations conducted every 60 days in-house, and full touchdown autorotations performed with Helistream 3–4 times per year. With Sheriff Bianco at the helm and providing much-needed backing for the air unit, Calhoun hopes to see additional aircraft and more personnel. “Right now, we have 12 deputies but we hope to expand to 16 in the near future. With additional aircraft and a new base opening soon, I would like to see the number grow beyond that, as well.” Corporal Andy Rasmussen has been with the Aviation Unit during much of the transition to the current fleet. Like Calhoun, Rasmussen is a military veteran and a lifelong Riverside Co resident. “A week out of high school, I enlisted in the Navy, like my father and his father,” Rasmussen remembers. He spent 2 years on active duty and 6 years as a reserve. Spending time around military aircraft – especially helicopters during his reserve time – further entrenched his passion for aviation. “I’ve always loved flying. Even as a young child my dad would take me to Ontario airport just to watch the planes,” he remembers. “When I was 14 years old, my parents sent me on an introductory flight in a small Cessna and I was hooked.” After his time in the service, he accepted a job with the California Department of Corrections, where he spent 2 years before being hired by RCSD in 1996. He enjoyed his time as a deputy on patrol, but during an alarm call early in his career, STAR 80, RCSD’s MD 500 helicopter, arrived overhead to assist. “I looked up

and said, ‘That’s what I want to do!’” Rasmussen recalls. Several years of testing paid off in 2006, when Rasmussen was accepted into the Aviation Unit. After 2 years as a TFO, he was selected for pilot training. The year 2010 saw him promoted to corporal, and a year later he was asked to become chief pilot. During this time, he obtained his instructor rating for both helicopters and fixedwing aircraft along with an instrument rating in airplanes. Rasmussen held the chief pilot position until 2016 when he stepped down to allow Calhoun to take over. Now, as the only corporal in the unit, Rasmussen’s responsibilities include assisting the sergeant and chief pilot, flight scheduling, tactical operation planning, working with vendors on equipment acquisitions, and more – all while still routinely flying patrol shifts. Throughout his many years in the unit, Rasmussen has seen the pros and cons of varying managerial styles and the effects they can have on daily operations. With that experience under his belt, he says it is clear that things are turning in a new, more productive direction. “In just the few months that Sheriff Bianco has been here, we’ve seen positive changes. His support of the Aviation Unit is undeniable. He turned on the light at the end of the tunnel and we can now see where we’re going.”

Equipped for the mission After the initial founding of the unit with refurbished aircraft, it began to acquire Airbus products in 2000. By 2016 the unit had amassed the current fleet of 5 helicopters,

36  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Riverside-7-19 lyt.indd 36

6/27/19 2:21 PM

consisting of a single 2B, a pair of 2B1s, and 2 B3e machines, now known as H125s. All models are equipped with FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HDc cameras, AeroComputers mapping systems, Technicsonic TDFM-9300 radios, Troll SkyLink downlink antennae, and rescue hoists (Breeze-Eastern on the older aircraft, Goodrich on the new). For scene lighting, the 2B/2B1s utilize Spectrolab SX-16 Nightsuns and the B3e models have the new Trakka A800 searchlight. For fleet uniformity purposes, as new aircraft are added, they will be equipped identically to the 2 newest H125s. In 2018, after an evaluation of their calls for service, RCSD realized that there were times when even more was needed from its aircraft. To fulfill that critical demand, the Aviation Unit will soon be taking delivery of an Airbus H145 twin-engine helo. The advanced capabilities of this model will further enhance the services the unit can provide, particularly with added lifting and load abilities, increased range, and poor-weather performance. Sheriff Bianco is excited about this acquisition and hopes to have it in the air for the county by the end of 2019. “I don’t ever want to have to tell a resident of this county that we can’t rescue them because we don’t have the right equipment,” he proclaims. Bianco is also in favor of adding another operating base at the Thermal CA location, with more patrol helicopters and associated staff. RCSD Aviation Unit’s only fixedwing aircraft is a Cessna 182, which is used for training, short transports, and occasional surveillance missions. The department is considering the expansion of the fixed-wing operations section to add larger planes.

Keeping it all in the air With a fleet of this size, it takes the right person to keep the equipment ready to launch. RCSD has found that person in Director of Maintenance Luis Morales, who found his calling working on helicopters during his 14 years of combined time serving in the US Air Force and Army National Guard. After his military time, Morales and a friend of his started their own company to facilitate being hired by RCSD as part-time contract mechan-

RCSD fleet of 5 Airbus AStars is housed at HMT, but plans are under way for an additional base in Thermal CA when more aircraft are acquired.

ics on the Aviation Unit’s OH-58s in 1996. Through attrition at the unit, a full-time position opened up in 1999 and Morales was brought on board, edging out his partner for the sole available position due to Morales possessing his FAA Inspector license. In 1999 the unit was especially busy as it experienced some accidents in its MD 500s, and the other 2 mechanics took positions elsewhere. This left Morales as the sole maintenance person working on RCSD’s only OH-58. The following year, management evaluated multiple aircraft, including the Bell 407 and the Eurocopter EC120 and AStar. The AStar won the competition and deliveries began shortly after, which also brought another mechanic to the team. As more AStars have joined the fleet, Morales has been able to bring on more personnel, to his current total of 3 mechanics and 1 senior mechanic, in addition to himself. With the amount of flying RCSD does each year, Morales says that current staffing is adequate. However, with the impending delivery of the H145 and the potential new base in Thermal, he will need at least 1 more mechanic, which he is sure he will be given. “Often, safety is a cliché in this business. But not here. Safety drives this place, all the way from maintenance to operations. Management is supportive – they always provide us with what we need, especially the new sheriff,” he declares. Morales also has high regard for Airbus. “They’ve been great to work with – very supportive. I was new

to this aircraft (AStar) when we got them, and it was intimidating. But Airbus sent out techs to help every step of the way.”

Moving forward There is no doubt, especially in the mind of Sheriff Bianco, as to the value of airborne law enforcement for the safety of his deputies and the service he owes to his community. And with the support he has shown and the actions he has taken, Bianco has also removed any doubt as to the present and long-term commitment to this well-established airborne support unit. To the crews flying the aircraft, you couldn’t ask for much more. But there is so much more to come. New aircraft, new operating bases, new personnel, all part of a new mission. That mission is to make the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit one of the best in the business. Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 27 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 17 years and is a helicopter rescue pilot with nearly 4000 hours of flight time. Bundy currently flies Airbus AS350B3s for the helicopter side of Phoenix PD’s air unit and Cessna 172, 182s and 210s for the fixed-wing side. PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  37

Riverside-7-19 lyt.indd 37

6/27/19 2:21 PM


Saving costs on bizjet missions abroad Tips from the experts: Plan in advance, arrange fuel uplifts as early as possible and prescind from unnecessary services.

By Grant McLaren Editor-at-Large


he primary objective of business aviation is to transport passengers to any point in the world efficiently, on their chosen schedule, and with adequate schedule flexibility. And although this may not be the most economical form of travel, there are ways to save money and minimize expenses. “Charter operators are typically the most cost-focused, while private business aviation is generally more concerned with the quality of service than anything else. But still, nobody wants to pay for what they don’t need,” says Avfuel Account Mgr David Kang. “There are many steps that can be taken during the trip planning phase and on the day of operation to reduce operating costs. Typically, fuel uplifts represent the largest controllable expense.” Some regions of the world are particularly expensive in terms of overall trip costs, including China, India and parts of the European Union (EU) as well as popular resort and business

When flying to popular international business or resort locations with few alternative parking options, be prepared for higher costs. Landing and staying here at BOB (Bora Bora, French Polynesia), particularly with an ocean view parking stand, is going to be expensive.

destinations during peak periods. First-time operators to new parts of the world suffer massive sticker shock from time to time, say international support providers (ISPs), but, in many cases, there’s not much you can do about this. If you wish to land at HKG (Hong Kong), in the London area, at BOM (Mumbai, India) or at popular Caribbean and Mediterranean islands during high season, you either pay and land or you won’t land at all. And many applicable costs, like permits, airport slots, nav fees, airport service charges and parking, are essentially fixed. However, UAS Ops Mgr Duke LeDuc points out that there’s much a good ISP can do to manage overall trip costs and mitigate some of the dramatically higher-expense items. “Planning fuel uplifts to avoid high costs, taxes and duties is a big item. And with advance planning, you can also save on international nav fees, excessive catering charges, local transport costs and unnecessary se-

curity services, as well as on overthe-top parking and hotel expenses.”

Best practice tips As your ultimate goal is a successful and glitch-free international mission, there are certain things you’ll need to do upfront to avoid frustrations. ISPs recommend obtaining landing and overflight permits as soon as the schedule is known, and ensuring you have parking and hotel accommodations organized. As for permit revisions, it’s best to do it closer to the day of operation. “We always recommend securing parking and hotels early, as these are 2 items that have the potential to mess with your trip planning,” explains LeDuc. Note that nav fees can be very high in China, Russia, and Indonesia. Overflying China, for example, can cost over $5000 in nav fees alone, say ISPs. But you can avoid this by routing around high-priced areas or overflying fewer countries.

38  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Intl ops-7-19 lyt.indd 38

6/27/19 2:12 PM

Jeppesen Sr Mgr International Trip Planning Sarah Stenning says that producing cost-efficient trips can be a balancing act because it all depends on variables such as operators who habitually revise their flight schedules. “During the trip planning phase, you can find savings in terms of tech stops and fuel uplifts, longer-term parking options, catering possibilities, hotels, local transport, security, and nav fees. But if multiple schedule changes are made, things can end up costing significantly more,” explains Stenning. “Also, be aware of cancellation charges. Hotels these days typically want 24–48 hours notice for cancellation, but holiday destination properties may need at least a 2-week notice – if you want a refund.” Catering and transport providers also usually want at least a 24-hour cancellation notice, while ground handlers may impose set-up charges if you cancel service arrangements within 24 hours of ETA/ETD. Security arrangements at destination can be also a high-cost proposition. “It’s important to spend your security budget effectively,” advises Stenning. “Most international airports of entry these days are highly secure, so dedicated aircraft guards may be unnecessary. Remember that if you have elaborate security arrangements in place at your destination, you’ll be likely subject to penalties for short-notice cancellations.” ITPS Ops Mgr Ben Fuller stresses the value of obtaining pre-trip cost quotes. “Many cost-conscious operators ask for trip quotes,” he says. “These are fairly accurate, unless you revise your schedule too often or add last-minute services.”

Cost surprises Strategic planning of fuel uplifts is usually the biggest saving available to international operators. Fuel prices, including taxes and duties, can be 2 to 3 times higher in Germany or Switzerland, for example. So, before flying into these pricey destinations, a tech stop to refuel in Ireland or Scotland could keep this expense to the minimum. In addition, significant savings are often feasible in terms of longer-term parking options. LTN (Luton, London, UK) may be convenient when flying into London, but parking

HAN (Noi Bai Intl, Hanoi, Vietnam), like many larger destinations in Southeast Asia, has very good airport security in place, so it is usually not necessary to invest in additional on-site security such as private guard services.

charges here can be extreme. When staying in this area for more than 2 days, you can save on parking at FAB (Farnborough) or BQH (Biggin Hill). Overnight parking for longer stays costs even less at SEN (Southend), but it can be a 3-hour drive into central London. Be mindful that there are areas that have better alternative parking options than other locations. “In the south of France, there are many alternate airports to consider if you’re trying to save on longer-term parking costs. But if the destination is Hong Kong, there are few cost-saving possibilities available,” says Fuller. Kang suggests to avoid hangaring your aircraft to reduce costs. “Choosing to park in a hangar in Europe, or in many parts of the world, can really push up costs. You may be paying €200/hour or perhaps €20,000 for a 7-night stay. If you can tolerate leaving your aircraft on the ramp, big savings are possible.” Requesting airport or customs/immigration overtime at international locations is another cost that operators must consider. “Typically, you’ll be charged overtime by the hour – from normal closing time up until 1 or 2 hours after your flight,” says Kang. “This may run from $250/hour at some Caribbean locations to over €500/hour in the EU.” There are also variable costs to consider in the realm of international nav fees. “Often there are feasible

routings available to avoid higher nav fees, such as in China and Russia,” says Fuller. “Some operators opt to fly over Japan to avoid high Russian nav fees while others want to go as far north as possible and will pay a higher price. There are considerations in terms of flight time and extra fuel burn to weigh against nav cost savings.” Be mindful that, when dealing with monopoly FBO and ground handler situations, you’ll often face higher costs and reduced flexibility. In many cases you may be restricted to using only certain fuel providers, and there could be limitations on using catering from sources other than officially designated caterers.

Beware of false economies Doing all aspects of your trip in house while ditching the services of competent ISPs and good local ground handlers can be a dangerous proposition. Trying to set up a trip to central Africa on your own could end up costing you much more, with potential complications on the day of operations. Few foreign-registered operators attempt flying to India on their own as there’s just too much red tape. Even flying your bizjet to Mexico without the help of ISPs and ground handlers can be a troublesome exercise. “There are shady airports and handlers here and there who can really PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  39

Intl ops-7-19 lyt.indd 39

6/27/19 2:12 PM

Access Oslo Executive Handling provides full bizav support at OSL (Gardermoen, Oslo, Norway). Fuel uplifts, ground support services and airport-related fees are typically reasonable in this part of the world.

hold you to ransom, particularly if you’re doing everything on your own and paying for services and local charges directly,” observes Kang. “I cannot overstate how important it is to work with good ground handlers who have credit arrangements at the airport. There was recently a documented case of an aircrew at LOS (Lagos, Nigeria) who chose to settle all their fees independently. Everyone got a cash payment but they all wanted more. Ultimately, ground control blocked the aircraft from departing, until the crew settled all requested additional charges and fees.” On the other hand, operators don’t want to focus on economizing so much that it has a negative impact on the passenger experience. Parking at a more distant airport from your ultimate destination is not usually ideal. Avoiding picking up expensive catering at Dubai, in favor of uploading much more reasonable catering several hours latter at SNN (Shannon, Ireland) could be an unpleasant experience for the pax. In this regard, you may want to consider sourcing catering from hotels/ restaurants, as opposed to inflight caterers, at certain locations worldwide. And, as long as you avoid the urge to request Sri Lankan lobster and vintage French wines in Siberia, tech stops will help dodge extreme costs, assorted complications and day-of-operation delays.

Credit options and handling Having credit in place for fuel, airport fees and local 3rd-party services is critical when planning internation-

al bizav missions. At many locations, in particular at secondary airports in more far-flung places, you may need to pre-pay, use ISP or ground handler credit sources, or pay directly with cash. Expect to pay at least 15% on top if you use handler or ISP credit. This, however, is usually money well spent, as they often have access to volume discounts. In doing so, you avoid having to set up new credit arrangements locally and, if something goes wrong on the day of operation, you have someone to help you. If you always deal with the same ISP and ground handlers, there may be potential for “price creep” over the years. “Consider asking for trip cost estimates from 2nd or 3rdchoice providers every now and then,” recommends LeDuc. “Don’t feel like you’re married to one particular ISP, FBO, or ground handler.” “I’ve observed costs for international business aviation go up every year while, at the same time, traffic volumes continue to rise. It’s the basic law of supply and demand,” explains Kang. “No matter how exorbitant charges become, traffic is still increasing to major global destinations and during peak travel seasons. Popular airports around the world know they can keep raising prices without impacting traffic growth.”

Summary While your ISP may charge you a couple of thousand dollars or more to coordinate an international trip, there are cost-saving advantages, know-how, and volume discount pricing options to avail yourself of.

“There are many different rules, requirements, idiosyncrasies and costs to consider when planning international missions,” says LeDuc. “You could spend 20 years trying to figure out all the details and potential cost-efficiencies of international corporate travel and still not understand it all. A good ISP can, potentially, save you tens of thousands of dollars on an international trip.” Sometimes, however, you’ll just have to pay the costs to get what you need. “Costs will be high at some locations and in some regions, and there may be very few alternatives,” says Fuller. “Stopping at PEK (Beijing, China) or making a short-notice trip to a popular Caribbean island during high season is going to be expensive. And those who accumulate the highest trip costs are often operators who feel they can do whatever they want and those who change their schedule constantly.” Is the moral of the story, perhaps, not to try to operate an intercontinental business jet on a backpacker’s budget? In the world of international business aviation, the primary focus must always be on successfully accomplishing each mission.

Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.

40  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

Intl ops-7-19 lyt.indd 40

6/27/19 2:12 PM

We strive for perfection by continuing to educate ourselves and learning from the challenges, making us the leading experts in the industry.


1 877 50 MANNY +52 722 273 0981


Ground Handling and FBO Coordination in MEXICO

Intl ops-7-19 lyt.indd 41

6/27/19 2:13 PM


Signature STP is #1 US FBO. Pentastar PTK is #2, Texas Jet FTW #3, Million Air HOU #4, and Signature MSP #5. Pentastar PTK wins Best US Independent. Most Improved, Million Air BUR. Best US FBO Chains: Small (3–10) Wilson Air Center, Large (11+) Million Air. Pro Pilot readers returned 1260 forms in 46th annual PRASE (Preferences Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment) Survey. Initial Pro Pilot FBO Survey ran in 1974.


xcellent product supported by great service is key for customers to come back. A dedicated team, supervisors and managers are the human factors who help an organization to achieve the goals of providing the best service in the industry and increasing the number of returning customers.

Pro Pilot readers voted for the 46th year by selecting FBOs, handlers, personnel and other services of their preference by assigning scores for all categories requested. The selection is based on pilot and management experience when using their favorite service providers. No list is given to participants.

Signature STP is the winner of the US FBO category this year after placing 10th in 2018. It was 1st in 2011. Pentastar PTK takes 2nd place, up from 3rd last year. It was 1st in 2012. It also took the Independent FBO crown this year. Texas Jet FTW is 3rd in this year’s competition after being 2nd in 2018 and 1st in 2017, 2010 and 2009. Million Air HOU repeats its 4th place from 2018. And Signature MSP is 5th after placing 1st in 2018, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2nd in 2017. Pro Pilot is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 PRASE Survey. Top US FBOs US – Signature STP Independent – Pentastar PTK Most Improved – Million Air BUR Small Chain – Wilson Air Ctr Large Chain – Million Air Top International FBOs/Handlers Canada – Million Air YYC Mexico – Cabo San Lucas FBO CSL Caribbean – Jet Aviation NAS Latin America – Mapiex Panama PAC Europe – TAG Farnborough Arpt FAB Middle East & Africa – ExecuJet DXB Asia – Hong Kong Business Av Ctr HKG FBO Personnel Line Tech – Pat Walter, Signature MSP CSR –Sandy Tachovsky, Signature STP

Beach Capital Chief Pilot Ronald Pepper holds an ATP with 6000 total flight hours. His flight depart­ment operates a Global Express to cover its missions in the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Asia. He shows his preferences and scores on 14 lines with 72 individual evaluations. This is 1 of 1260 forms returned in the Pro Pilot 2019 PRASE Survey.

Other services Catering – each region has a winner with no overall national one. Northeast – Rudy’s NJ area South – Silver Lining PBI area Mountain – Perfect Landing APA Fuel Brand – Phillips 66 Aviation Fuel Credit Card – US Bank Multi Service Intl Trip Planning – World Fuel Trip Support MRO – West Star Pro Pilot Writer – Karsten Shein

42  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 42

7/1/19 11:18 AM

Congratulations to Signature St. Paul

for taking the top spot in the 2019 Professional Pilot Magazine PRASE Survey

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 43

7/1/19 11:18 AM

Final results of the 2019 Professional Pilot PRASE Survey Signature STP voted #1 US FBO (L–R) Signature STP (St Paul MN) QC/LST Andrew Eull, Duty Mgr Sandy Tachovsky, CSR Michaela Brown and LST Mark Eidsen proudly celebrate clinching the top position in the Best US FBO categor y of the 2019 Pro Pilot PRASE Sur vey.

( ) denotes 2018 ranking

US FBOs 2019 rank



did not place in 2018

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings Fuel brand Airport

Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness Value team & efficiency for price


9.83 9.49 9.67 9.59 9.47 9.43 9.28 9.53 9.30 9.39 9.26 9.65 9.13 9.44 9.27

9.89 9.76 9.77 9.52 9.66 9.40 9.24 9.84 9.43 9.36 9.26 9.19 9.45 9.39 9.27

9.44 9.44 9.15 9.95 9.58 9.67 9.62 9.00 9.33 8.97 9.16 8.77 9.14 9.00 8.84

9.39 9.57 9.49 9.67 9.45 9.30 9.48 9.00 9.20 8.97 9.18 8.58 8.87 8.72 8.36

9.89 9.69 9.71 9.48 9.45 9.24 9.24 9.53 9.33 9.30 8.98 9.42 9.04 9.11 9.23


8.72 8.89 9.31 9.42 9.28 9.05 9.25 9.21 9.26 9.13 8.85 8.94 8.79 9.08 9.13 8.84 8.39

9.11 9.16 9.46 9.26 9.00 9.06 8.80 8.79 9.13 9.28 9.21 9.19 9.11 8.96 9.33 9.12 8.39

8.94 9.21 8.77 8.00 8.96 9.16 9.00 8.52 7.57 8.03 8.96 8.61 8.68 8.58 8.13 8.52 8.89

8.89 8.84 8.42 8.26 8.92 8.58 8.95 8.34 8.00 8.00 8.58 8.19 8.25 8.33 7.96 7.72 8.61

9.22 8.83 8.63 8.89 8.92 8.50 9.16 9.16 8.92 8.16 8.84 8.32 8.95 7.95 9.00 9.00 9.30 9.30 9.13 8.77 8.75 7.90 8.70 8.37 8.71 8.29 8.69 8.15 8.83 7.96 8.60 7.80 8.11 7.72

Avfuel Phillips 66 Unbranded World Fuel Avfuel Avfuel Epic Fuels Avfuel Shell Shell Epic Fuels World Fuel World Fuel World Fuel Unbranded Unbranded Epic Fuels


9.28 9.44 9.54 9.10 8.58 8.87 9.02 8.79 9.05 9.09 8.92 9.03 8.91 8.72 8.81

Overall rating

2018 rank

9.62 (10) 9.57 (3) 9.56 (2) 9.55 (4) 9.37 (1) 9.32 (9) 9.31 (5) 9.28 (18) 9.27 (7) 9.18 (14) 9.13 (11) 9.11 (6) 9.09 (15) 9.06 (16) 8.96 (22) 8.95 (*) 8.94 (*) 8.90 (33) 8.88 (*) 8.87 (13) 8.84 (29) 8.82 (*) 8.81 (24) 8.76 (8) 8.72 (17) 8.71 (25) 8.67 (28) 8.64 (*) 8.63 (26) 8.56 (*) 8.43 (27) 8.35 (32)

(§) formerly Naples Airport Authority) Ranking Criteria for US FBOs—Each US FBO needed a minimum of 18 respondents in order to qualify. PP subscribers provided individual evaluations across 6 categories, resulting in a minimum of 108 scores per qualifying FBO. FBOs acquired after July 1, 2018 retained their former affiliation for this 2019 PRASE Survey.

44  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 44

7/1/19 11:18 AM

2019 PRASE WINNERS 2 Pentastar PTK Pentastar PTK ranks 2nd this year, up from 3rd in 2018. It placed 1st in 2012. On the far left are VP of FBO Services Bob Sarazin and President & CEO Greg Schmidt with proud personnel.

3 Texas Jet FTW 4 Million Air HOU

Texas Jet FTW takes 3rd spot. In front of winning personnel are (L–R) Pres Reed Pigman, Customer Svc Mgr Holly Hopkins, Line Svc Mgr Mario Sanchez, Book Keeper Lesa Moke, Assistant Line Svc Mgr Gabe Cross and Assistant to the Cust Svc Mgr Sarah Bichara.

Million Air Houston HOU repeats its 4th place this year. (Back row far L) are Line Service Mgr Harvey Tucker and (far R) Customer Service Mgr Sabrina Elias.

5 Signature MSP

6 Banyan FXE

Signature MSP ranks 5th this year after placing 1st in 2018. Photo shows (L–R) Duty Mgr Matthew Hall, LST Darryl Volk, Shift Spvr Patrick Walter, Area Dir Kyle Schmaltz, CSR Pamela King, CSR Spvr Zachary Larson, CSR Dmitry Foster and LST Jason Chadbourne.

Banyan FXE President Don Campion (center) and his award-winning team of directors, managers and CSRs are pleased with their 6th place this year, up from 9th in 2018.

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  45

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 45

7/1/19 11:18 AM

2019 PRASE WINNERS 7 Global Select SGR

8 Jet Aviation PBI

Global Select SGR places 7th this year. (L–R) Asst Dir Elizabeth Rosenbaum, ASR Supervisor Denise Beckwith, Line Svc Superintendent Ron Stroud, Line Svc Supervisor Guillermo Escobar, and Line Svc Supervisor Dimas Renteria.

Jet Aviation PBI moves up to 8th this year from18th in 2018. Personnel in photo are (L–R) Mgr of Customer Svc Cathy Moore, Cust Svc Supervisor Noreen Ohnmacht, CSR Debbie Morris, CSR Katerine McCollum and Dir & GM FBO West Palm Beach Nuno Da Silva.

9 Million Air ADS

10 Wilson Air Ctr MEM

Million Air ADS captures 9th spot. Photo shows honored team including VP & Dir of FBO Operations Jeff Zimmerman (4th from L), Line Svc Mgr Chris Neufeld (5th) and Dir Cust Svc Melissa Thompson (6th).

Wilson Air Ctr MEM personnel ranks 10th this year, up from 14th in 2018. (L–R) Line Tech Howard Nelson, Controller David Holmes, Assistant Controller Griffin Lonardo, Concierge Tharren Hayes, Marketing Specialist Margie Katsma and Line Tech James Boltinghouse.

Methodology Professional Pilot PRASE Survey is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of aviation ground services. Executives in charge of flight depart­ments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified sub­scribers to Professional Pilot magazine are polled once a year in order to determine the PRASE Winners List. PRASE is the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders. Pro Pilot uses a multistep process to ensure accurate PRASE survey results. 1 • • •

Ballots were sent to subscribers in 6 waves. PRASE forms were sent to subscribers in Oct 2018. PRASE forms were sent with the Nov and Dec 2018 issues of Pro Pilot. Additional mailings were sent to subscribers separately from the magazine in Jan, Feb and Mar 2019.

Subscribers were instructed to return their completed ballots to Profes­sional Pilot in Alexandria VA. Cutoff date for the 2019 PRASE Survey was April 11, 2019. Late ballots were not included in the tally.

Strict checking was done and only 1 ballot per participant was allowed. Voting was restricted to qualified Pro Pilot subscribers only. In catego­ries where they compete, members of organizations or individuals were not permitted to submit ballots. Public relations, marketing and advertising personnel are ineligible. Ballots are checked thoroughly to ensure all information listed is cur­rent and correct. Careful verification of FBO names is made since some names change because of mergers or acquisitions. The 2019 PRASE Sur­vey received a total of 1260 ballots. Of these forms, a total of 1086 met the our acceptance criteria and were used in the analysis. There were 174 ballots disqualified due to inconsistencies, errors, duplications or lack of required information. 2 Qualified ballots were sent to Conklin & de Decker (a JSSI company) to transfer the data into an electronic database. 3 Database information was analyzed and tabulated by Conklin & de Decker at their headquarters in Arlington TX. A precount as a preliminary step was accomplished followed by a final count to determine the rankings and winners. The winners list was finalized on April 26, 2019.

46  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 46

7/1/19 11:18 AM

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 47

7/1/19 11:18 AM


Best Independent US FBO Pentastar PTK Pentastar PTK is honored with 1st place as Best Independent US FBO. (L–R) Pres & CEO Greg Schmidt, VP of FBO Services Bob Sarazin, Facilities Supervisor Steve Luchenbach, Line Supervisor Matthew Sanzobrin, Customer Service Supervisor Krissy Ross and Catering Supervisor Jennifer McKenna. ( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank

Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency

1 PENTASTAR PTK 9.49 9.76 2 TEXAS JET FTW 9.67 9.77 3 BANYAN FXE 9.43 9.40 4 GLOBALSELECT SGR 9.28 9.24 5 BUSINESS JET CTR DAL 9.26 9.26 6 MERIDIAN TEB 9.13 9.45 7 MONTEREY JET CTR MRY 9.44 9.39 8 NAPLES AV (formerly Naples Airport Authority) APF 9.27 9.27 9 FONTAINEBLEAU AVIATION OPF 8.89 9.16 10 CLAY LACY VNY 9.42 9.26 11 VAIL VALLEY JET CTR EGE 9.28 9.00 12 EPPS PDK 9.13 9.28

9.44 9.15 9.67 9.62 9.16 9.14 9.00 8.84 9.21 8.00 8.96 8.03

9.57 9.49 9.30 9.48 9.18 8.87 8.72 8.36 8.84 8.26 8.92 8.00

9.69 9.71 9.24 9.24 8.98 9.04 9.11 9.23 8.63 9.16 8.92 9.13

Value for price

Overall rating

2018 rank

9.57 (2) 9.56 (1) 9.32 (4) 9.31 (3) 9.13 (5) 9.09 (7) 9.06 (8) 8.96 (11) 8.94 (*) 8.88 (*) 8.87 (6) 8.72 (9)

9.44 9.54 8.87 9.02 8.92 8.91 8.72 8.81 8.89 9.16 8.16 8.77

Most Improved US FBO Million Air BUR This award is given to the FBO that made the largest gain in ranking position as compared with the previous year. Million Air BUR didn’t rank in the top 33 in the list of 2018 US FBOs but moved up into the 16th position in 2019. Hence, Million Air BUR advanced by at least 18 positions to win Most Improved US FBO for 2019. Million Air BUR is the winner of Most Improved US FBO for 2019. (L–R) Front row: CSRs Maria Rossi, Kathrina Crossland, Grace Van Wagner and Ivette Driotez. Back Row: Line Service Techs Garret Dolan, Rafael Mares, Reynaldo Agojo, Danny Luna and Wilyum Butler.

2019 rank


2018 rank


Favorite Pro Pilot Writers

Million Air Burbank CA

up 18 places


Ranked by total number of votes 2019 2018 rank rank

Karsten Shein Wx Brief

Grant McLaren Intl Ops

Peter Berendsen Implementing Regs for Pilots

Brent Bundy Operator Profile

1 2 3 4


48  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 48

7/1/19 11:18 AM

Thanks to our AWESOME customers, we keep breaking our own records!

Voted #1 Independent FBO FIVE TIMES in 10 years and Top Five Independent FBO 15 years straight! And no matter how you spin it, we wouldn’t be where we are without YOU… and our great team! Thanks, y’all.

Fort Worth Meacham

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 49




7/1/19 11:18 AM


US FBO Chains

( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

In the Pro Pilot PRASE Survey the definition of a small chain is 3–10 bases. A large FBO chain contains 11 or more. Those FBOs with only 2 locations are considered as 2 separate independents. FBO groups classified as networks are not considered FBO chains. A PRASE judges panel composed of top av dept mgrs established these definitions in 2011.

Best Small FBO Chain (3–10 locations) Wilson Air Wilson Air Center is delighted to be the #1 Best Small FBO Chain for 12 years (2007–2009, 2011–2019). (L–R) Training Safety Supervisor Tyler Klee, CSR Carlye Garst, Line Mgr Cliff Adams, Line Tech Alec Hummel and CSR Tonya Mitchell. Wilson Air staff welcomes all aircraft and visitors.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank

Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency

1 WILSON AIR CTR (CHA, CLT, HOU, MEM) 9.42 9.32 8.64 2 CUTTER AVIATION (ABQ, COS, DVT, PHX) 9.41 9.24 8.76 3 JET AVIATION (BED, CPS, DAL, HOU, IAD, PBI, TEB, VNY) 9.22 9.14 8.79 4 ROSS AVIATION (ANC, FAT, HPN, LGB, SDL, TRM) 8.93 9.07 8.80 5 JET CENTERS (APA, COS, FNL) 9.09 8.83 8.31

8.66 8.38 8.65 8.40 8.19

9.36 9.10 8.91 8.80 8.97

Value for price

Overall rating

2018 rank

9.17 9.00 8.35 8.43 9.00

9.10 8.98 8.84 8.74 8.73

(1) (*) (2) (4) (3)

Value for price

Overall rating

2018 rank

9.09 8.84 8.78 8.68 8.67

(1) (4) (2) (5) (3)

JET CENTERS includes Denver jetCenter (APA), Colorado jetCenter (COS) and Ft Collins/Loveland jetCenter (FNL).

Best Large FBO Chain (11+ locations) Million Air Million Air is the #1 Large FBO Chain for 8 consecutive years. (L–R) Chief Commercial Officer Chuck Suma, Dir of Marketing Allie Woolsey, EVP of Corporate FBO Operations Jeff Stout, Chief Executive Officer Roger Woolsey and Director of Sales Dolores Johnson.

2019 FBO rank

Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency

1 MILLION AIR 9.02 9.28 9.05 2 SHELTAIR 9.20 9.19 8.78 3 ATLANTIC 9.13 9.28 8.71 4 TAC AIR 8.99 9.02 8.61 5 SIGNATURE 9.01 9.10 8.65

8.97 8.48 8.29 8.27 8.42

9.27 8.91 8.91 8.70 8.79

8.93 8.45 8.36 8.47 8.06

FBOs acquired after July 1, 2018 are considered as they were, as independent FBOs or part of the other chain, for this survey.

50  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 50

7/1/19 11:18 AM

US: Albany, Alexandria, Austin, Burbank, Dallas, Gulfport/Biloxi, Houston, Indianapolis, Lake Charles, Medford, Moses Lake, Orlando, Richmond, Riverside, Rome, San Antonio, St. Louis, Stennis, Syracuse, Tallahassee, Topeka, Tucson, Victorville, White Plains, Yuma Canada: Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary China: Beijing Colombia: Cartagena Puerto Rico: San Juan

PRASE winners 5-19 lyt.indd 47 PRASE 7-19 lyt.indd 51

5/2/19 11:18 3:33 PM 7/1/19 AM


International FBOs/Handlers

( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

In addition to US FBOs, the Pro Pilot PRASE Survey determines the best international FBOs/Handlers within the following areas—Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia.

Best in Canada Million Air YYC Million Air YYC has been voted #1 Best Canadian FBO. (L–R) Pres & CEO Derek Stimson, CSM/Office Manager Patricia Gonzalez, Operations Mgr Jeff Hebert, and Controller Martin Wright.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank 1


Line CSRs Facility Amenities team

Promptness & efficiency

YYC 9.33 9.42 9.00 8.92 YYZ 9.18 9.32 8.90 8.65 YUL 9.09 9.32 8.73 8.45

Value Overall 2018 for price rating rank

9.17 8.75 9.10 8.82 8.38 8.88 8.82 8.48 8.82

(*) (1) (4)

Best in Mexico Cabo San Lucas CSL Cabo San Lucas FBO earns 1st place as Best Mexican FBO in 2019 for 4 years in a row since 2016. They were also 1st in 2014. Photo shows personnel celebrating their victory.




9.47 9.00 9.17

9.78 9.10 8.91

8.94 8.80 7.25

9.28 8.40 6.67

9.39 8.20 8.50

9.00 8.20 7.91

9.31 (1) 8.62 (2) 8.07 (3)

Best in the Caribbean Jet Aviation NAS Jet Aviation NAS takes the honors as #1 Best Caribbean FBO in 2019. (L–R) Front Desk Supervisor Tamicka Nixon, Front Desk Supervisor Sherika Stubbs, CSR Tanisha Smith, FBO General Mgr Franz Bowe, CSR Brittany Gray, CSR Gelis Wells and CSR Brittany Deal.



NAS 9.12 9.24 8.12 7.94 PLS 8.89 9.00 8.11 8.11

8.53 8.53 8.58 (2) 8.44 8.00 8.43 (*)








8.41 (3)

52  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 52

7/1/19 11:18 AM

FBO Regional (MKL) Showcase McKellar-Sipes Jackson, TN

Located in the heart of West Tennessee, McKellarSipes Regional offers southern hospitality and small-town charm. Whether you plan your visit for business or pleasure, you will enjoy the music, history and beauty of Jackson, Tennessee. McKellarSipes Regional is committed to excellence and exemplary service. • • • • • • •

24 hour self service Crew cars and rental cars on site Pilot’s lounge and free WiFi Ground power unit Hangar and ramp tie downs Complimentary water, coffee and snacks Shell AeroClass Rewards


To learn more about becoming a Shell branded FBO, as well as information on the Shell family of cards, visit or call 800-334-5732.

McKellar Sipes 7.2019.indd 1 PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 53

6/17/2019 3:03:23 PM 7/1/19 11:18 AM

2019 PRASE WINNERS ( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

Best in Latin America Mapiex Intl PAC Mapiex earns the top honors as Best Latin American FBO repeating its success of 2014 and 2013. In front of team members are (L–R) Dir David Guiraud, VP Filly V de Guiraud, Pres Hugo Guiraud and Gen Mgr Juan Pablo Serrano.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank 1 2

Line CSRs Facility Amenities team

Promptness & efficiency


Value Overall 2018 for price rating rank

9.50 9.50 9.38 (3) 8.25 8.00 8.38 (*)

Best in Europe TAG Farnborough Airport FAB TAG Farnborough Airport is #1 FBO in Europe for 14 years in a row. Pictured are (L–R) Ground Handling Duty Mgr Adrian Rackley, Cust Services Duty Mgr Lisa Pirie-Barnes, Operations Officer Louise Yates, Head of Cust Services and Terminal Ops Sophie Lesnoff, Concierge Ricardo Ramos and Ground Handling Agent Dave Bakkelund.

1 TAG FARNBOROUGH AIRPORT FAB 8.92 8.72 9.32 8.80 2 SIGNATURE LUTON LTN 8.79 8.89 9.11 8.79 3 SIGNATURE LE BOURGET LBG 8.36 8.36 8.36 8.09

8.36 8.24 8.73 (1) 8.47 7.89 8.66 (4) 8.36 8.00 8.26 (3)

Best in Asia Hong Kong Business Av Ctr HKG HKBAC continues to be #1 in the Best Asian FBO category for 12 consecutive years. Many of HKBAC’s management and personnel are shown here.




9.09 9.09 8.91 8.91


7.00 8.62


54  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 54

7/1/19 11:18 AM

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 55

7/1/19 11:18 AM

2019 PRASE WINNERS ( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

Best in Middle East & Africa ExecuJet Dubai UAE ExecuJet DXB retains the crown as Best Middle East & African FBO for 2 years in succession. (Back row L–R) Afsal Erimban, Manuel Penalba, Hassan Ghulam, Mohammed Shoaib, Shihab Hameed and Dumani Ndebele. (Front row L–R) Abbas Ali, Moureen Shamallah, Mary Young and Yaman Gurung.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank

Line CSRs Facility Amenities team

1 2

8.60 8.80 8.60 8.20 9.00 8.40 8.40 7.60



Promptness & efficiency

Value Overall 2018 for price rating rank

8.40 8.00 8.43 (1) 8.20 8.00 8.27 (2)

FBO Line Techs and CSRs Pro Pilot subscribers also voted for their favorite Line Techs and CSRs, scoring them within the categories of Can-do Attitude, Knowledge, Attention to Detail, and Promptness & Efficiency.

Best Line Techs 1 Pat Walter - Signature MSP Best Line Tech is Pat Walter for the 4th consecutive year. With 30+ years of experience, he is able to give outstanding service to Signature MSP visitors. His dedication and hardwork have earned him this recognition in the 2019 PRASE Survey. 2019 FBO Airport rank





Can-do Knowledge Attention Promptness Overall attitude to detail & efficiency






2018 rank


Best CSRs 1 Sandy Tachovsky - Signature STP

Sandy Tachovsky of Signature STP earns the crown as Best CSR in the 2019 PRASE Survey as she did in 2011 and 2015. Her superb attitude and knowledge enables Tachovsky to provide excellent service to pilots, owners and executives. 2 Betsy Wines Meridian TEB

1 2 3 4



3 Holly Hopkins Texas Jet FTW

4 Victor Seda Meridian TEB

STP 10.00 10.00 10.00 10.00 10.00 (4) TEB 9.96 9.96 9.96 9.96 9.96 (1) FTW 10.00 9.90 9.90 10.00 9.95 (2) TEB 9.82 9.82 9.76 9.82 9.81 (5)

56  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 56

7/1/19 11:19 AM

Thank you

Betsy Wines (#2 Best CSR) and Victor Seda (#4 Best CSR) have been together in the Best CSR category for the past 13 years

“We would like to thank all of our customers and friends who voted for us in the 2019 Professional Pilot PRASE Survey. We truly appreciate your business and support.� Ken Forester, CEO


PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 57

phone: 201-288-5040 email: web: 

Meridian Teterboro 485 Industrial Avenue Teterboro, NJ 07608

7/1/19 11:19 AM


Other Services

( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

Catering, MROs, Fuel Brand, Fuel Credit Card and Intl Trip Planning Pro Pilot subscribers assessed 5 additional services—Catering for Aviation, MRO service centers, Fuel Brand, Fuel Credit Card and International Trip Planning. These were scored based on Quality of Service, Value for Price, Dependability and Customer Satisfaction.

Best Catering for Aviation by region

Each region has a winner with no overall national one.

Northeast, Middle Atlantic, South, Mountain, Midwest and West

Rudy’s, Northeast Rudy’s Inflight Catering is the winner of the Best Catering for Aviation category in the Northeast region for 8 years in a row since the av catering regional divisions were established in 2012. And before that Rudy’s was the undisputed aviation catering leader overall for 23 years. Photo shows (far R) Co-owners CEO Joe Celentano and Exec VP John Celentano with proud employees.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 r ank

Quality of Value Dependability Customer Overall 2018 service for price satisfaction rank

Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) 1 RUDY’S

NJ area (EWR, MMU, TEB)

9.60 8.43 9.63

9.58 9.31 (1)

9.75 8.75 9.88 9.60 8.50 9.70

9.63 9.50 9.50 9.33

(*) (1)






PBI area (PBI) MIA area (FLL, FXE, MIA, TMB)





Note: Insufficient votes were received to determine winners for these regions: West (AK, CA, HI, OR,WA), Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, VA, WV), Midwest (IA, IL, IN KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI).

Most Preferred MROs (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) Category established in 2014

West Star West Star takes top honors for the 6th year in a row. Photo shows some of the West Star team including Chief Executive Officer Jim Rankin, Chairman Robert Rasberry, Pres & COO Rodger Renaud and Cofounders Jim Swehla, Sam Haycraft and Mike Durst. 2019 r ank

1 2 3 4


Quality of Value Dependability Customer Overall 2018 service for price satisfaction rank

9.71 9.13 9.70 9.09 9.41 8.32 9.67 8.50

9.71 9.61 9.34 9.06

9.63 9.55 (1) 9.65 9.51 (3) 9.35 9.11 (2) 9.13 9.09 (4)

58  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 58

7/1/19 11:19 AM

In 2014 - We Were PROUD In 2015 - We Were GRATEFUL In 2016 - We Were HUMBLED In 2017 - We Were THANKFUL In 2018 - We Were HONORED

In 2019 - We Remain DRIVEN Being selected as the #1 MRO for the sixth consecutive year has ignited a new level of passion and professionalism in our team. And while we are still very Proud, Grateful, Humbled, Thankful and Honored, this year we remain Driven. Driven to continuously exceed your expectations at every turn and earn the only vote of conďŹ dence that really matters - that of our customers. THANK YOU!


PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 59

7/1/19 11:19 AM

2019 PRASE WINNERS ( ) denotes 2018 ranking


did not place in 2018

Best Fuel Brand Phillips 66 Phillips 66 has won as Best Fuel Brand for 3 consecutive years. (L–R) Unbranded Sales Rep Seth Thompson, Dir Gen Av VCO Dan Gallogly, Inside Sales Jim Miller, Branded Sales Rep Dennis Stafford, Dir Supply, Military & Exports Matt Dill, Dir Sales Development Kim Ruth and Mgr Gen Av Lindsey Grant.

Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 r ank


Quality of Value Dependability Customer Overall 2018 service for price satisfaction rank

9.56 9.55 9.48 9.35

9.09 9.13 9.20 8.96

9.66 9.62 9.36 9.48

9.67 9.51 9.32 9.36

9.50 (1) 9.45 (3) 9.34 (4) 9.29 (2)

Best Av Fuel Credit Card US Bank Multi Service US Bank Multi Service Aviation ranks 1st as Best Av Fuel Credit Card, up from 3rd place in 2018. Here are operations and account management teams in Overland Park KS.


9.65 9.42 9.43 9.35 9.50 9.08 9.43 9.14 9.39 9.05

9.65 9.39 9.42 9.41 9.50

9.55 9.57 (3) 9.39 9.39 (1) 9.38 9.35 (5) 9.36 9.34 (2) 9.36 9.33 (4)

Best Intl Trip Planning World Fuel Trip Support Senior leadership along with team members of World Fuel Services’ Business and General Aviation gather at Space Center Houston to honor World Fuel Trip Support being named #1 in Intl Trip Planning. Pictured with the team are EVP Global Aviation and Marine John Rau, SVP Global Operations Joel Purdom, SVP Business Aviation Bulk Fuel Sales Steve Drzymalla, SVP North American Sales Malcolm Hawkins and SVP Global Business Aviation Sales Michael Szczechowski.

1 WORLD FUEL TRIP SUPPORT (formerly Colt Trip Support) 2 UNIVERSAL WEATHER & AVIATION 3 COLLINS AEROSPACE Includes ARINC, Ascend and Air Routing

9.40 9.00 9.40 9.33 9.28 (2) 9.39 8.63 9.37 9.23 9.16 (4) 9.13 8.59 9.30 9.13 9.04 (3)

60  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 60

7/1/19 11:19 AM

Expect more from your global trip support partner THANK YOU to our loyal customers for voting World Fuel Trip Support as the #1 Best International Trip Support provider in 2019. For the past nine years, World Fuel Services has been named a top provider in the PRASE Survey. Our placement in “Best International Trip Support”, “Best Aviation Fuel Credit Card”, and “Best Fuel Brand” is proof of our commitment to excellence. World Fuel Trip Support’s services and technologies address the complexities of today’s business aviation operations. Whether it’s a self-service short hop or a multi-destination international journey, we deliver award-winning support for every phase of flight.

Contact our Trip Support Specialists +1 800 626 0577 +1 281 280 2200

Discover our solutions at Fuel | Trip Support | Card and Rewards | Technology | Logistics | Marketing

PRASE winners 7-19 lyt.indd 61

7/1/19 11:19 AM


Flight-level flying Cruising above the weather is not without its atmospheric challenges.

Summertime airmass thunderstorm matures over south Florida. Many modern business and commercial aircraft are capable of flying well above the majority of “weather,” but conditions in the flight levels still warrant weather vigilance.

By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst Climate Scientist


hen we think of weather and adverse atmospheric impacts, we normally think about conditions in the lowest levels of the atmosphere. For the most part, this is true. The atmosphere is divided into several distinct layers. The lowest of these layers, called the troposphere, is heated by the Earth’s surface – primarily by the heat it receives from the Sun. This means that the warmest temperatures are found near the surface, with the air cooling as altitude increases. This also means that some parts of the surface are heated more than others, and the heated air above them is able to rise convectively. It is this constant cycle of differential surface heating and cooling that creates the pressure differences which produce winds, and the thermal convection and mixing which produce clouds, showers and storm

systems. But it’s the simple fact that a different heat source controls the next layer up which means that the weather patterns and systems created in the troposphere largely remain there. The boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere, known as the tropopause, occurs at around 30,000 ft above the ground. Over the poles, however, the cold, dense air is compressed near to the ground and the tropopause happens at around 20,000 ft. Over the tropics, the warmer air expands the troposphere to an upper limit of around 50,000 to 60,000 ft. Since the height of the tropopause is temperature driven, higher tropopause heights occur in the summer and, accordingly, the tropopause lowers in the winter.

The stratosphere The stratosphere is heated by the ozone layer, which is most concentrated in the upper reaches of the stratosphere. Ozone is very effective at intercepting and absorbing solar

radiation in the ultraviolet and other parts of the spectrum. It releases this energy as heat. Because it is being heated from above, the stratosphere is a region of temperature inversion, with temperature warming as altitude increases. This inversion prevents convective activity and puts a lid on any convection attempting to rise beyond the troposphere. It is for this reason that we often learn that “weather” is limited to the troposphere. Most people think the stratosphere starts where the troposphere leaves off, but that’s not quite the case. The tropopause actually occupies several thousand feet of altitude between the 2. It is simply a zone where atmospheric temperature is relatively constant with height as the atmosphere transitions between heating from below and heating from above. While the stable temperature structure of the tropopause will slow and eventually kill convection, the tops of towering cumuli and thunderstorms frequently extend through the tropopause before being capped by the stratospheric inversion. In addition, the facts that the Earth rotates, revolves around the Sun, and is tilted on its axis, mean that distinct air masses occupy the tropics, midlatitudes and poles. Where they meet, the aforementioned differences in troposphere height produce a strong temperature discontinuity along the upper edge of the boundary between air masses. That temperature discontinuity creates a narrow pressure gradient that results in fast-moving air circumnavigating the globe along that upper tropospheric boundary between air masses. The strongest discontinuity is between the middle latitude (subtropical) air and the polar air. This ribbon of fast-moving air is known as the circumpolar vortex. Beneath that vortex is the polar front, along which surface lows occur to twist the polar front into warm and cold fronts. But aloft, within the vortex, there are regions where winds exceed 60

62  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

wx brief-7-19 lyt.indd 62

6/27/19 2:26 PM

kts (~30 m/s). Those regions are jet streams. What this all means is that flight at higher flight levels is still prone to intercepting a great deal of weather, including turbulence, icing, and even hail.

Turbulence When we think of high-altitude cruising, the 1st thing that most pilots consider is the jet stream and whether they will take advantage of screaming tail winds on an eastbound flight or avoid its fuel-gulping headwinds on westbound journeys. However, the presence of fast-moving air embedded in a region of more moderate winds often leads to strong to extreme turbulence. As the jet stream shifts direction or speed, even slightly, it shears against the slower-moving air surrounding it. These turbulent eddies can shear in any direction, and may extend several kilometers away from the jet axis. In general, jet stream turbulence (also known as clear air turbulence [CAT]) is most likely to occur and is strongest on the cold side of the jet axis, with secondary areas of concern above and below the axis. CAT is experienced less frequently on the warm side of the jet axis. Although all CAT associated with a jet stream should be addressed with caution, its intensity and extent are normally proportional to the speed of winds in the jet axis, the width of the jet, and the degree of curvature in the flow. The area around jet streaks, where winds may exceed 150 kts and which often occur within the base of a sharply curving trough, is a likely location for encounters with extreme CAT. Jet streams also often merge or separate, and these actions frequently produce a region of CAT. Another CAT factor to consider is that modern aviation technology has placed very large aircraft on common routes in the high flight levels. These aircraft produce significant wake turbulence while they cruise. Because these flight routings often have minimal crosswind, the turbulent vortices from these heavy jets descend into the paths of smaller aircraft on the same routes at lower flight levels. Where possible, pilots should request ATC alerts if a heavy aircraft will overfly them.

Forecast model estimates of the likelihood of strong to severe clear air turbulence (CAT) over the North Pacific Ocean. CAT frequently occurs in and around the jet stream at the top of the troposphere, which can be a challenge when pilots seek the strong tailwinds the jet stream also offers.

Finding favorable winds Finding favorable or avoiding unfavorable winds in the jet stream is another high-altitude weather consideration. Often this means finding the location of a jet stream that may only be a few hundred km wide and less than 10,000 ft thick. Upper air jets in the middle latitudes migrate through the year, both horizontally and vertically. In the winter, the polar air mass expands, pushing the polar front equatorward to around 35–40 degrees latitude. The colder temperature of both the polar and subtropical air masses also means the winter polar jet occurs at between FL250 and FL300. In the summer, the polar jet shifts to around 50–60 degrees latitude and rises to between FL300 and FL390. The weaker subtropical jet can be as high as FL500 in the summer. Synoptic pressure variations also help to propagate short and long wave patterns within the jet. These patterns can have extreme amplitudes and wavelengths, meaning that the ordinary westerly airflow may appear nearly northerly or southerly as it passes through these waves. Thus, pilots could find themselves

crossing through a jet even though the general position of the polar front might be hundreds of km away. In general, winds will gradually increase in speed with height in the troposphere, with the strongest winds – and the jet stream – in the tropopause. As soon as one climbs into the stratosphere, wind speeds quickly diminish. To optimize fuel burn and travel time, westbound pilots may need to choose a cruise altitude that keeps them out of the tropopause, while eastbound pilots will seek exactly the opposite.

Icing Although convection is largely limited to the troposphere, we must remember that, especially in the tropics or during the summertime, the top of the troposphere still exceeds the ceilings of most aircraft. In the intertropical convergence zone, towering cumuli routinely rise to between 45,000 and 60,000 ft. Not only are these towering cells nearly impossible to overfly, the flight levels that will take aircraft through their upper reaches are well above the ~15,000 ft (~4500 m) freezing level height. Furthermore, these clouds

PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019  63

wx brief-7-19 lyt.indd 63

6/27/19 2:26 PM

Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines spews lava and ash as it begins to erupt in 1991. Even smaller volcanoes can loft millions of tons of ash into the stratosphere, much of which may appear invisible to a pilot cruising there. Ash can cause abrasion, damage to engines, and even flameouts.

will contain supercooled liquid droplets from that altitude to at least 35,000 or 40,000 ft. While it is unlikely that an aircraft passing through the upper reaches of a towering tropical cumulus will accrete much in the way of ice, there is a documented danger of ice buildup in pitot-static systems and on exposed antennae. In addition, the vast quantity of tiny ice crystals that make up these convective clouds at the highest levels can become lodged in static ports. Pitot-static icing was a contributing factor in the crash of Air France 447 in June 2009. Even when an aircraft has the capability to cruise well above thunderstorm tops, it remains good practice to simply avoid the airspace directly over and immediately surrounding an active storm. Pilots should always consider an active storm as extending from the surface to the top of the troposphere, regardless of the cloud’s current height. In a developing storm, the upper reaches of the cloud usually won’t condense until the storm is about to mature. Flying over a developing storm can put an aircraft in a region of potentially strong vertical wind shear. When a storm is mature, it may extend vertically well above the flight level you’re cruising, or depending on the time of year and your aircraft’s capabilities, a few thousand feet beneath you. While most strong storms will fill in the entire troposphere, intense storms do sometimes cap out at lower altitudes. These storms can (and frequently do) produce hail. Air currents within the storm may toss hail out of the top of the storm as easily as out of the sides or bottom. Hail has been observed falling up to 20 miles away from the storm that pro-

duced it. A storm that can lob a hailstone that far can easily toss it several thousand feet vertically as well.

Volcanic ash Several volcanoes erupt every year, spewing ash into the atmosphere. While most of these eruptions are minor and don’t disrupt aviation, larger eruptions, especially from stratovolcanoes such as Mt Pinatubo or Mt St Helens, can easily propel millions of tons of ash into the stratosphere, where the finest ash is able to circumnavigate the earth for several years before eventually clearing out. The most immediate danger to aircraft is that these corrosive particles can remelt when ingested into an engine’s hot section, fusing to turbine blades and clogging injection nozzles. Ash, in quantity, can also interfere with radio communications and electronic navigation aids. Other effects of volcanic ash in the flight levels include a haze that can reduce visibility and depth perception, making it difficult to see other aircraft or judge their position and movement. Flying through an extensive ash cloud – even if virtually invisible to the naked eye – can also subtly damage the aircraft, scouring paint finishes, abrading windscreens, or clogging static ports. Any time you suspect you’ve penetrated an ash cloud, it is worthwhile having a mechanic look over the aircraft.

Pressure planes The last bit of weather that high-altitude operations should consider is one of pressure. The flight levels are not fixed altitudes above the ground,

which might ensure adequate separation of aircraft. Rather, separation is provided by all aircraft at heights above 18,000 ft MSL setting their altimeter to a standard pressure altitude of 29.92 inHg (1013.25 hPa). As aircraft fly through areas of higher or lower pressure, the absolute altitude of each aircraft above the grounds will vary the same, keeping the aircraft vertically separated from one another. One challenge is that pilots crossing an area of lower pressure when flying in lower flight levels may actually be flying at an altitude below 18,000 ft MSL, and be in conflict with aircraft flying below the flight levels. This potential danger is easily remedied by requesting flight levels above FL200, as even a strong low pressure will only change your absolute altitude by around 1000 ft. A more dangerous consideration is forgetting to transition away from pressure altitude when descending out of the flight levels. Not only will this likely place you at the wrong altitude for starting an approach or traffic collision avoidance, but it can be deadly if you have flown into a region of lower surface pressure. Areas of low pressure are also areas where IFR may be prevalent, and you may be making an instrument approach in the clouds. With your altimeter still set to QNE instead of QNH, your indicated altitude may be well above your actual, and you may wind up short of the runway. In general, cruising “above the weather” at high altitudes is an enjoyable experience. You can often take advantage of strong tailwinds and fly direct without worrying about dodging thunderstorms or picking your way through ice-laden cloud decks. However, even the flight levels have weather considerations that must be respected. As always, if you encounter any high-altitude weather, ATC and your fellow pilots will welcome a pirep. Karsten Shein is co­ founder and science director at ExplorEiS. He was formerly an assistant professor at Shippensburg Univer­sity and a climatolo­gist with NOAA. Shein holds a commercial license with instrument rating.

64  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  July 2019

wx brief-7-19 lyt.indd 64

6/27/19 2:26 PM


T he T BM 9 4 0 in tr oduces new levels of safe t y, per formance and r eliabili t y for the ul tima te owner ship ex perience. A s the f ir s t airplane in i t s ca tegor y wi th full y-in tegra ted au to thr o t tle and au toma ted icing de tec tion, the T BM 9 4 0 earns i t s place as the top member of Daher ’s ver y fas t turbopr op air craf t pr oduc t line – which is pr eferr ed by av ia tor s ever y wher e.

- Photo Airborne Films


Learn more at:, or speak to a Daher TBM expert: (Americas) +1 954 993-8477; (International) +33 5 62 41 77 88.

wx brief-7-19 lyt.indd 3

6/27/19 2:26 PM


FAST™ SOLUTION KNOW YOUR ENGINE FROM THE INSIDE OUT P&WC’s turnkey FAST™ solution captures, analyzes and sends engine and aircraft parameters electronically to customers. By providing actionable preventive alerts and prognostics, we empower operators to make informed decisions, reduce costs and troubleshoot issues before they happen. With the FAST™ solution, we take the words rapid response to a new level. It’s that easy. It’s that powerful. FAST™ Solution: Helps create a more fully planned maintenance environment Helps reduce operating costs and maintenance workload

• • • Supports increased aircraft residual value


19-0501 / 05-2019

Pratt Whitney ad-pg-C4.indd 4

6/27/19 2:28 PM

Profile for Professional Pilot

Professional Pilot Magazine July 2019  

Professional Pilot Magazine July 2019

Professional Pilot Magazine July 2019  

Professional Pilot Magazine July 2019

Profile for propilot

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded