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MARCH 2020

Thorn Air flies Gulfstream G550 to international and domestic destinations from its home base of SUA (Stuart FL). In the front are (L–R) DOM Bill Lunsford, s Op l a Capt Daniel Poit, and Capt Gustavo Lazarin. On stairs are Lead Flight n tio a n Attendant Inês Ribeiro and Chief Pilot Tony Barros. er Int

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Vol 54 No 3

Features 24 OPERATOR PROFILE Thorn Air by Brent Bundy Flight department operates single Gulfstream G550 to transport investment banking firm executives around the world.


30 LONG-RANGE BIZJETS Advanced designs extend business jet performance, productivity and flexibility by Don Van Dyke Greater payload, improved performance and modern features bring distant destinations within increasingly efficient and comfortable reach. 36 WX BRIEF Tornadoes by Karsten Shein Wicked whirlwinds can wreak havoc on airports and aircraft.


42 INTERNATIONAL OPS Transatlantic bizjet flights by Grant McLaren As of Jan 2020, there are new CPDLC and ADS-C mandates and requirements to be mindful of, but minimally-equipped operators still have options. 46 EVENT COVERAGE Heli-Expo 2020 by Brent Bundy New leadership, corporate acquisitions, fleet sales, and safety concerns highlighted at annual HAI gathering.


48 GONE WEST Tribute to late HAI President & CEO Matt Zuccaro by Pro Pilot staff 50 TRENDS Brexit and aviation by David Ison UK will mirror EU’s aviation regulations for at least 2 years beyond the 2020 transition period. Here’s what comes next.


52 CONNECTIVITY The advent of 5G by Shannon Forrest Although it has limitations, the benefits for aviation go beyond high-speed airborne data transfer rates.

4  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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March 2020

Vol 54 No 3

Departments 8 VIEWPOINTS AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier shares tips to ensure undisrupted bizjet missions abroad. 10 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying into BOI (Boise ID). Answers on page 12. 14 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers talk about their preferred flight planning services for successful domestic and international operations.




20 SID & STAR Oscar Lugnut declines an offer that could jeopardize the pilots’ jobs and the Howler’s Part 91 certificate. 22 PIREPS Latest news from general aviation manufacturers.

Cover Thorn Air flies Gulfstream G550 to international and domestic destinations from its home base of SUA (Stuart FL). In the front are (L–R) DOM Bill Lunsford, Capt Daniel Poit, and Capt Gustavo Lazarin. On stairs are Lead Flight Attendant Inês Ribeiro and Chief Pilot Tony Barros. Photo by Brent Bundy

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VIEWPOINT an editorial opinion

How to ensure undisrupted international operations By Mark Baier

CEO, AviationManuals


taying current on regulatory updates, authorizations, and country-specific requirements can be tricky for pilots flying internationally. Pilots need to be organized and have all flight operation elements in place well ahead of a trip. In too many cases, poor preparation could actually keep an aircraft grounded at its departure or destination due to a failed ramp inspection.

Procedures – content is crucial Operators should have an up-to-date international operations/procedures manual to ensure they are conforming to current required procedures and industry best practices when operating across the Atlantic and in Europe. This is the go-to reference for ramp inspectors to check for current procedures for North Atlantic High-Level Airspace (NAT HLA), RVSM, PBN (RNP/RNAV), and if the aircraft is CPDLC-equipped. Anything out of date, missing or incomplete could keep a flight from happening. Authorizations also can’t be overstated. FAA provides some leeway for general aviation flights in the US, but the moment a flight leaves US airspace, Letters of Authorization (LoAs) become crucial. It is advisable to obtain LoAs for all operations the aircraft is capable of, even if an international flight isn’t planned soon. One common misconception is that an LoA is no longer needed for RVSM operations. It’s true that US operators with appropriate ADS-B equipment can operate in domestic RVSM airspace without an LoA, but an authorization is still needed when flying internationally. Since it can take weeks or even months to get LoAs, I encourage you to apply as early as possible. Using outdated materials may create delays in processing LoAs and can affect operations. Pilots should make sure that LoAs are issued with the name of the entity with operational control of the aircraft. This is critical but not always clear-cut. If in doubt, an aviation attorney should be consulted.

Flight planning – it’s all in the details Errors often occur in the flight plan. There are a number of things pilots should pay attention to when planning a trip, such as operational capabilities, fuel compliance, and oceanic waypoints. Increased scrutiny on flight plans is becoming more common, mainly driven by SAFA inspections. Key things that might be checked are fuel compliance and properly coded equipment. Be aware of ICAO requirements for contingency fuel (ie, 5% of your trip fuel) and be sure the fuel is labeled clearly on your fuel block. Your total fuel may be compliant, but inspectors may still consider it a finding if they can’t identify the right quantity quickly.

International trip planning can be a complex task, as navigation and destination requirements change constantly. Staying current and keeping your documents organized will help you when operating overseas.

Crews should also be aware of equipment codes that apply in items 10 and 18 of the coded ICAO plan. For example, there are seven “J” codes associated with data link capability, and one, several, or nearly all of them could apply. Errors could cause issues with CPDLC networks and result in you being denied airspace entry. Such mistakes are then likely to be caught by a ramp inspector.

Training – keep learning, keep climbing Updated training is another area to pay close attention to. Crews need to keep up with new procedures in their international ops manual. Many regulatory bodies consider any training older than 24 months to be obsolete. International operations are constantly changing, so regulations and procedures from a year ago have often already been replaced or updated. For example, oceanic contingency procedures (eg, 5 nm offset) that took effect in March 2019 are anticipated to expand in November 2020. As these programs grow and procedures change, manuals need to be updated. Outdated certificates can also be a source of additional delays in LoA processing, so crews should be on top of all new rules and practices.

Organization is king Staying current and up to date on everything may not be enough, though. Crews should make sure they have everything well organized and handy, ready to provide to inspectors and regulatory bodies. Carry a neat “SAFA” binder or similar portfolio to easily present the operational documents a ramp inspector may want to see. After all, there’s no point in spending the time and effort to get your LoAs if an inspector can’t find them. Mark Baier is CEO of AviationManuals, a provider of digital operations manuals with update services, as well as SMS software and iPad apps for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, drone operators, and FBOs worldwide.

8  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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4. What items are required to fly this approach from SALLA? a GPS d Radar b HUD e Autopilot c DME 5. Arrival restrictions, such as those indicated by ballflag notes 2 and 4 on the plan view, may be based on a TERPS require ment limiting turns to 90°. a True b False



3. Select the true statement(s) regarding the requirements to fly this approach procedure. a Single-pilot operators may fly this approach. b Two independent radio altimeters are required. c FAA must issue a letter of authorization (LoA) for the aircrew. d Authorization may be specified in OpSpecs, MSpecs, or LoA.

  


2. Select all that apply. For the following ILS approach catego ries, what are the lowest authorized minimums with all ground and airborne systems operative? a SA Category I – DH 150 ft and RVR 1400 ft with HUD to DH. b SA Category I – DH 170 ft and RVR 1400 ft with HUD to DH. c Category I – DH 200 ft and RVR 1800 ft (with autopilot or FD or HUD to DH). d Category I – DH 200 ft and RVR 2400 ft (with touchdown zone and centerline lighting). e SA Category I – DH 150 ft and RVR 1200 ft (with touchdown zone and centerline lighting).


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1. Select the true statement(s) regarding the last revision of the chart. a Aeronautical information on the chart was effective at 0000 UTC on March 29. b The note “TERPS AMEND 13 29 MAR 2018” indicates that an update to the approach procedure was made. c The note “TERPS AMEND 13 29 MAR 2018” indicates that a minor change to chart information has occurred. d The “CHANGES” note below the chart border indicates that the chart represents a new type of instrument procedure.


Refer to the 11-1B ILS Y Rwy 10R SA Cat I for KBOI/BOI (Boise ID) when necessary to answer the following questions:

 



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




















  




  

 

 

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 

  6. Select the true statement(s) regarding the course reversal at JIMMI. 9. Select the true statement(s) regarding the landing minimums. a The course reversal is only required when flying from BOI. The RA minimum of 170 ft is based on the terrain eleva b No course reversal is necessary when flying from SALLA or a tion on the final approach course. RENOL. Both the minimum visibility and DH are the lowest c A parallel entry to the course reversal is appropriate when b authorized ILS minimums for an SA Cat I ILS. flying from RENOL. The RA of 170 ft should be used as the altitude at which to d No course reversal is necessary when using the KYAAN or c perform a missed approach if the runway environment is PARMO RNAV arrivals. not in sight. The DA of 246 MSL must be used as the altitude at which 7. Select the true statement(s) regarding the final approach segment. d to perform a missed approach if the runway environment a SITSE is located 5.7 nm from BOI. is not in sight. b The TCH for an SA Cat I approach must not exceed 60 ft. c The glideslope angle of 3.0° is required for SA Cat I approaches. Select the true statement(s) about the missed approach procedure. d Required lighting for this approach is the VASI, ALSF-II, and 10. a IBOI DME should be used to identify CUBTA. HIRL. b A direct entry is appropriate for the missed approach hold. Reaching 6000 ft MSL is required before turning direct to 8. The VASI and ILS glideslope both have a 3.00° angle and cross the c BOI VOR. threshold at 58 ft. d The 322° radial from LIA can be used to identify CUBTA a True b False intersection.


Not to be used for navigational purposes

Answers on page 12

10  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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Answers to TC 3/20 questions

Aeronautical information in the US is generally effective on the designated effective date at 0901 UTC, which allows for implementation between 0100 and 0600 local time. The chart revision dates in the heading section indicate a change to any information. If a procedural update has been made, a new amendment reference number and date are located on the lower left border. The “CHANGES” note below the chart border indicates what changes were made, such as an overall procedure change or changes to specific items, such as the landing minimums.


a, c Special Authorization (SA) ILS approaches allow for decreased landing minimums. According to the AIM 1-1-9, the lowest authorized ILS minimums, with all required ground and airborne systems components operative, are: Category I – decision height (DH) 200 ft and runway visual range (RVR) 2400 ft (with touchdown zone and centerline lighting, RVR 1800 ft) or (with autopilot or FD or HUD, RVR 1800 ft); and Special Authorization (SA) Category I – DH 150 ft and RVR 1400 ft, HUD to DH.

3. d Procedural note 1 in the Briefing Strip indicates that both aircrew and aircraft certification are required. Note 1 in the landing minimums section says, “Requires specific OPSPEC, MSPEC, or LOA approval and use of HUD to DH.” AC 120-118, Criteria for Approval/Authorization of All Weather Operations (AWO) for Takeoff, Landing, and Rollout, states that single pilot operations are prohibited from using SA Cat I landing minima and that a radio altimeter is required. However, 2 independent radio altimeters are recommended. A certified substitute for the radio altimeter may be approved in coordination with the Flight Technologies and Procedures Division. 4.

a, b Ballflag note 1 on the plan view indicates that RNAV 1-GPS is required. AC 90-100A, US Terminal and En Route Area Navigation (RNAV) Operations, states that “pilots must use a lateral deviation indicator (or equivalent navigation map display), flight director and/or autopilot in lateral navigation mode on RNAV 1 routes.” Procedural note 2 in the Briefing Strip states that DME is required and a plan view note indicates that radar or DME is required for procedure entry. However, according to AIM 1-1-17, GPS can be used in lieu of DME on IFR terminal procedures. Note 1 in the landing minimums section requires the use of HUD to DH.

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5. b Ballflag notes 2 and 4 state that the procedure is not authorized when arriving at SALLA or BOI VOR on specific airway radials. Restrictions of this type are typically due to a TERPS requirement that limits turns to 120°. 6.

c, d Ballflag note 3 on the plan view indicates, “NoPT at JIMMI for arrival on KYAAN and PARMO (RNAV) arrivals.” The NoPT designation is not shown at SALLA or RENOL. When arriving at JIMMI on a course of 006° from RENOL, a parallel entry is appropriate.


b, c Procedural note 3 in the Briefing Strip requires the use of IBOI DME when on the localizer course. According to FAA Order 8400.13E, the commissioned glidepath angle must be 3.0° or require the approval of FAA Flight Standards Service, and the TCH, RDH, or ARDH must not exceed 60 ft. The landing minimums section does not provide optional minimums if the approach lighting system is out. Required lighting for an SA Cat I is a SSALR, MALSR, or ALSF-1/ ALSF-2, and HIRL. A VGSI (in this case, a VASI) is not required.


b Procedural note 4 in the Briefing Strip indicates that the VGSI and the descent angle (glideslope) are not coincident. Although they both have a 3.0° angle, the VASI path crosses the threshold at 64 ft and the TCH indicated in the profile view is 58 ft. According to FAA Order 8260.19E, coincidental glidepath angles/vertical descent angles are within 0.2° with TCH values within 3 ft.


a, b, c The RA height is based on the distance from the landing threshold point (LTP) to the point that the decision altitude (DA) occurs. At this distance, the terrain elevation on the final approach course is subtracted from the DA to calculate the RA. The RA minimum should be used to determine the altitude at which to perform the missed approach because the accuracy of the barometric altimeter is much less than that of the radar altimeter. Using a barometric DA that can be off by as much as 75 ft based on the only preflight check required reduces safety margins. According to the AIM 1-1-9, the lowest authorized SA Category I ILS minimums are a DH of 150 ft and RVR of 1400 ft.


b, d The missed approach instructions and icons indicate that a climb to 6000 ft MSL should be initiated, and when reaching CUBTA the aircraft should turn right direct to BOI VOR. CUBTA is located at the intersection of the 113° radial from BOI and the 322° radial from LIA (114.9) at 11 DME from BOI VOR.

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prouts is the company we use for both domestic and international flight planning because they are also based in Germany. We are a corporate flight department with limited staff. Having Sprouts handle the flight planning and filing, and arrange overflights and landing permits, allows us to concentrate on flying. They are available 24/7 and this setup has worked very well for several years now. Erik Bodura ATP. Falcon 7X/50EX & Citation Excel Captain Adolf Wuerth Schwaebisch Hall, Germany

Who is your go-to company or software for flight planning needs, both domestic and international? How does your flight department benefit from using them?

ur corporate FltPlan Go account allows our flightcrews to file VFR/IFR flight plans domestically and internationally with ease. Ryan Motte Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII. Pilatus PC-12 Director of Safety Tradewind Aviation Naugatuck CT

Cabo San Lucas This MMSL facility won the 2019 Pro Pilot award for highest quality and professional service. • All airport with security 24/7, certified • Immigration & Customs permanently staffed • The biggest hangar in all the state • Ramp and hangar space available • Luxury transportation service available • Hours: 6 am to 8 pm local time daily and overtime upon request • Catering provided by The Coffee Air • 7000 ft runway HIRL, VOR/DME, no restrictions • Commercial and private permit. Source: 2019 Pro Pilot PRASE survey

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or a small country like Belgium, most domestic flights are flown VFR. This results in a need for a fast, complete, and intuitive tool, and SkyDemon is the company we use for domestic flight planning. For international flight planning, we use RocketRoute. It’s an invaluable tool for IFR flights in the complex European airspace. AutoRoute could be improved upon, although the company’s support via e-mail is usually very efficient. Lieven Van Belle Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo/CFI. Pilatus PC-12 & Airbus AS355 Chief HEMS Pilot & Captain EAPC/IMDH Kampenhout, Belgium

RINCDirect and ForeFlight are the companies we use for flight planning and situational awareness. Boeing Digital Solutions is also on our iPads for weather and monitoring flight progress. Its charts are superior to others for terrain presentation and ease of interpretation. Robert Oehl ATP/CFII. Learjet 60 Captain Worldwide Jets Starke FL


e use Universal Weather & Aviation because its uvGO software is great. We can easily create and file our flight plans, monitor the weather, and access information for airports, FBOs, and ground service on our iPad, iPhone, or by logging in online. João Bonatto ATP. Gulfstream G650 Captain Aero Rio Táxi Aéreo Rio de Janeiro RJ, Brazil


ntil the last days of DUATS, we stayed old school. Since then, we have transitioned to, and we couldn’t be any happier. It is a fantastic program that exceeds our expectations. What is especially great about is the eAPIS add on for US Customs. Eddie Yell ATP/CFII. Citation CJ3 Aviation Manager Boyd Aviation Springville AL

14  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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omestic flights at our company are planned with For international flights, we use World Fuel Trip Support (formerly Colt Trip Support). This combination has worked very well for our flight operation. Kevin Lee ATP. Citation Sovereign Chief Pilot Hausmann Construction Lincoln NE





find that using furnishes all of my flight planning needs. I use its weather, W&B, fuel prices, and digital chart functions almost exclusively. I can modify flight plans on short notice, and access airport and FBO information. Ease of use is a huge plus. Charles Hackett Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air 200 Chief Pilot Blue Sevens Denton TX ost of our flights are not put into Garmin because we use ForeFlight. Using this app, we can plan our flight, file, access weather, briefings, maps, and charts – all in one place. Donald McLean Comm-Multi-Inst/Helo. Bell OH-58 Pilot Butte Co Oroville CA



has made continuous efforts to improve its software. Our suggestion for improving the software interface are welcome, despite a steep initial learning curve. Overall, I’m very pleased with their service. Troy Moore ATP. Gulfstream G550 Senior Captain Colleen Corp Nottingham PA

eing a predominantly single-pilot operation of light jets and turboprops, we have found ForeFlight to be a simple and powerful tool for flight planning on the go with flexibility and portability. By adding the mobile service, you are all set. Steve Cirino ATP/CFII. Pilatus PC-24/PC-12 & Eclipse 500 Supervisory Pilot & Dir of Training U-Haul International Desert Hills AZ


orld Fuel Trip Support is the company we have used for a few years now. Although it is primarily a fuel contract company, it also provides flight planning. The company is customer-oriented and

rimary source for our flight planning needs for many years has been We continue to be completely pleased with their services. We are also ForeFlight users and find their services for flight planning very useful for both the flightcrew and passengers. Passengers have been using the ForeFlight Passenger app, and they seem very happy with it. Bill Boggess ATP. Citation Encore Captain Allen Lund Co Placerville CA

ervice we use for flight planning is We retrieve weather at our destination, enroute winds and temperatures, suggested routes, expected clearance routes, and so much more. Using the app on a phone or iPad makes filing very convenient. We are virtually paperless in our planning and weather briefing now. Another plus is that it’s free. We fly primarily domestic, which is when we use this service. When we fly internationally, we use Universal. Ryan Johnson ATP. Challenger 601 & King Air 350 Captain DC Air Denair CA


aving used both Honeywell GoDirect Flight Services and Universal, we’ve found that ARINCDirect’s flight planning software is the most user-friendly and the most adaptable system for our company’s needs. Brett Beasley ATP. Gulfstream G550/G450 Director of Aviation Alsco Salt Lake City UT

16  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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omestic flights are planned in-house using For international flights we use Universal Aviation. Universal is better equipped to coordinate customs, slot reservations, hotels, and ground transportation abroad. Also, their fuel calculations are spot on. David Mauer ATP. Falcon 2000EX Intl Captain Neurosurgery & Endovascular Assoc Milwaukee WI y go-to software for domestic flight planning needs, and occasionally when traveling internationally, is Foreflight. I also hire Air Journey to help me with the flight planning and filing since they are affordable and have also been to most of the locations and know how operations there actually work. Marc Dulude ATP. Citation CJ3+ Chief Pilot Mild Air Bluffton SC

ear in and year out, ARINCDirect works extremely well for us. They make flight planning a breeze and display EADIs in and out of the US. Their flight planning is always very precise and offer several route options. The weather graphics are very helpful to avoid difficult areas. We have had no problems so far. Darrell Roper ATP. Citation CE560+ & Falcon 2000LX President & Director Sovereign Aviation Services Kelowna BC, Canada

ollins Aerospace is who we use for our international flight planning. For our domestic planning, we use ARINCDirect. It’s clear that both these companies are staffed by experienced and competent professionals. Richard Goodhart ATP/Helo. Gulfstream G550 G450/IV Captain & Training Coordinator Ameriprise Financial New Fairfield CT


or international flight planning, we use International Trip Planning Services (ITPS). They have good personalized service and know us quite well. They coordinate our needs efficiently. For domestic flights we use We have a department log-in, and we’re all able to view the flight plans individually. It’s our one-stop shop for flight planning and weather. Erik Swanberg ATP. Falcon 7X Pilot White Lodging Yorkville IL

’ve been using for well over a decade with no issues at all. They provide excellent service. I give them 10s all around. Thank you, FltPlan, for all the years of working together. You’re the best! Rod Smith ATP/Helo/CFII. Citation Excel Pilot AZ KY LLC Pikeville KY

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ecause we traveled to the Caribbean, Central and South America quite often in the past, we used to use ARINCDirect exclusively. However, now we only travel outside of the US 2 or 3 times a year. We use FltPlan. com domestically and ARINCDirect à la carte, when necessary. Costs have decreased significantly. Gary Nickell ATP/CFII. Sabreliner Chief Pilot Fitness Management Grand Rapids MI


ur go-to company for all of our flight planning needs would have to be ForeFlight Performance Plus. We use as our backup. Both have been working very well for us. Clinton Ducote ATP. Citation CJ4 Chief Pilot DK Boyd Land & Cattle San Angelo TX


or trip planning within the US we use, because it

provides flight planning, calendar view, a very robust safety management system, and flight tracking alerts. is a one-stop shop. For a quick trip to Canada, the eAPIS portal is a breeze. It’s quite the package! For international trip planning, it’s hands down ITPS. I have used other providers, and ITPS has been the one that provides consistently great service. This is what sells us! James White ATP. Gulfstream G200 Dir of Aviation & Chief Pilot The Walsh Group Lake Villa IL


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s pilots, we use a combination of Aircraft Performance Group (APG)’s iPreFlight to calculate performance, weight and balance, and runway analysis data. For route planning, we use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, which contains all the information for airways and airports. For enroute following we use ARINCDirect. All dispatch documents are sent to our iPads/computers so that we can double-check and propose modifications should they be deemed necessary. Jorge Barroso ATP. Gulfstream G650 Flight Safety Supervisor & Captain SEAF Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain





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very time, our choice would have to be I love the accuracy of the flight routing and fuel planning. It has a very simple website which is very easy to use and navigate. Samir Kanuga ATP. Citation V Pilot Royal Paper Paradise Valley AZ


ocketRoute is easy to use, keeps me updated on mobile devices about the real-time status of flight plans. They also have very good support when occasionally you can’t find a suitable route to fly. Jeroen Lapidaire Comm-Multi-Inst. Piaggio P180 Chief Pilot Northside Aviation Oegstgeest, Netherlands


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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 If we use your idea we’ll credit you by name and pay you $100.

20  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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Phenom 300 receives enhancements, reaches M 0.80

Photos courtesy Embraer


mbraer Phenom 300E is now capable of flying at M 0.80. With the new enhancements, the aircraft has a high-speed cruise of 464 kts and a 5-occupant range of 2010 nm with NBAA IFR reserves. In the cockpit, the pilots have more leg room with ~40% longer seat tracks. Phenom 300E has Garmin’s G3000 Prodigy Touch suite. Situational awareness has been improved with the addition of runway overrun awareness and alerting system, predictive windshear, ADS-B In, and emergency descent mode. The aircraft also comes with a quieter cabin, the Bossa Nova premium interior option introduced with the Praetor line, and 4G connectivity via Gogo AVANCE L5. The new Phenom 300E replaces all previous 300 and 300E models and comes with a price tag of ~$9.65 million. Deliveries will start this May. Embraer Executive Jets reported 51 Phenom 300 and Phenom 300E deliveries in 2019, making it the most delivered light jet for 8th consecutive year. It has accrued more than 530 deliveries since entering the market 2009.

Pilatus obtains rough field certification for PC-24 ilatus developed its PC-24 for use on unimproved fields, and the manufacturer has now obtained full rough field certification for its twinjet. Operations on dry sand and gravel have been allowed since 2018, and a comprehensive post-certification test campaign was conducted throughout 2019 to certify the PC-24 for missions on unpaved runways and in differing conditions. “With immediate effect, all PC-24s may now also be operated on wet and snow-covered unpaved runways,” said the company on Feb 7, 2020.

Photos courtesy Pilatus


22 22 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / March 2020 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / September 2019

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Thorn Air

Photos by Brent Bundy

Flight department operates single Gulfstream G550 to fly investment banking firm members around the world.

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


The Thorn Air team logs 750 hours per years. The majority of destinations are international, including Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

ulfilling the corporate transportation needs of a high net worth individual holds the potential of sporadic schedules, bizarre requests, and unreliable aircraft. However, one New York-based company’s flight department has found that, with the right people and the right equipment, this could also mean a dream job. That’s the case with Thorn Air.

began to seek other options. Their search concluded in 2009 with the purchase of a new Gulfstream G550 and the foundation of their own flight department – Thorn Air. Once the decision was made to acquire an aircraft, they next needed to find someone to put together a team that could handle the international flight itinerary that was required.

Thorn Air takes flight

Finding a leader

For many years, the members of a family-owned investment banking firm looked to charter operations for their air travel, and this solution worked adequately, as it does for many individuals and corporations. However, as the firm’s flying became more frequent and included several international destinations, they

The first name to appear on the Thorn Air roster, and the architect of the team that was to follow, was Chief Pilot Tony Barros. Born and raised in Brazil, Barros’ love of flight started early. “As far back as I can remember, even as a little boy, I’ve always had a passion for aviation,” he states. During high school, he be-

gan taking flight lessons and, on Feb 14, 1974, only weeks after earning his ratings, he flew his 1st paid flying job. “During the mid-1970s, there was an economic boom in Brazil, with many new ranches opening up across the countryside, and almost all of them wanted to buy airplanes. This meant there was a need for pilots,” says Barros. “For the next 3 years, I flew as a bush pilot, but I always wanted to be an airline pilot.” Barros’ bush pilot days were followed by a few years flying a Cessna 310 and a Piper Navajo for a packing plant. His airline dreams were fulfilled in 1982, when he was hired by Brazilian air carrier VASP. He flew Boeing 727s and Airbus 300s with VASP for the next 5 years. Barros was then asked to start a grain and soybean company’s flight depart-

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Family support

Chief Pilot Tony Barros assembled the flight department in 2009 once the company purchased its new Gulfstream.

ment with a new Cessna Citation II. Later the company would add a Citation S/II and a III. With company headquarters in New York City and Citation training in Wichita KS, Barros would spend a lot of time in the US. “I really fell in love with the Midwest. It’s a lot like where I’m from in Brazil, with a lot of farming, good family values, good people. So, in 1992, I sold my ranch in Brazil and moved to Oklahoma. Over the next couple of years, my wife and I earned our US citizenship and we’re proud to be American citizens.” In 1994, Barros accepted a position with TAG Aviation flying a managed Gulfstream IV, and later a G550, out of West Palm Beach FL. He stayed with TAG until 2007, when he was offered the chief pilot position with Embraer Executive Jets, where he was tasked with putting together the new flight department. At Embraer, Barros organized demo flights around the world for new customers purchasing Legacy 600s. With a desire to get back to flying Gulfstreams and seeking a better schedule, he joined NetJets in 2008, and was assigned to the Middle East. This was short-lived, and Barros soon found himself back with Embraer by the end of the year. While on an Embraer demo flight, Barros received a call from a friend at Gulfstream. A family who owned an investment banking firm from NY was purchasing a G550 and were debating between having the aircraft managed or having their own flight department. Once they met Barros, Thorn Air began.

“Our job is to support the family. They have financial interests all over the world, and they rely on us to get them where they need to be,” Barros explains. “We average around 750 hours per year, with 95% of our destinations being international, including South America and Europe, which involve a lot of North Atlantic crossings.” With this much global travel, Thorn Air relies on Collins Aerospace’s ARINCDirect for flight planning and trip service needs. The company has tapped into Universal Weather & Aviation in the past, and still uses their services occasionally. “We support the family’s flight needs, and they also support us,” adds Barros. “They never question our safety assessments, and they provide us with whatever we need.”

Capt Daniel Poit brought valuable SMS and procedural experience to Thorn Air when he joined in 2019.

To ensure and impeccable record, Thorn Air has implemented a culture of adherence to procedures, including decision-making and change management. “We are a small department, but we fly just as we’ve written in our manuals, with a strict adherence to our CRM procedures. We even have a summarized SOP for contract pilots,” states Barros. Regarding aircraft choice, Barros is partial to Gulfstream. “I like most all of the aircraft I’ve flown, but everybody has a favorite. For me, that is Gulfstream. It is the Ferrari of the jets. We often fly 10- to 12-hour legs, and the G550 is comfortable, safe and reliable, and it’s backed up with great customer support.” Thorn Air’s home base is at SUA (Stuart FL), but with the amount

of time they fly, the plane is rarely there. Barros points out, “Our schedule is planned out well in advance. That not only allows us to plan our personal lives, but also for maintenance.” On the occasions when Thorn Air’s personnel aren’t available, the company will use contract pilots and/or flight attendants. “This aircraft is like an extension of the owners’ home. Our job is to make them feel at home, no matter where in the world they need to be.”

Thorn Air team Captain Gustavo Lazarin has been with Thorn Air since 2013. The São Paulo native was drawn to aviation at a young age while watching gliders at an airport near his home. At age 16, Lazarin began glider lessons and was soon in competitive flying. At 18, he knew he’d found his career of choice. Over the next 3 years, he earned all his ratings and found a position with a courier company piloting Cessna 402s. He built hours there until earning his ATP and landing his first airline job. “In 1996, I was hired by VARIG, the largest airline in South America, and flew with them for 10 years. While there, I was privileged to help certify the 1st GPS approach in Brazil, in 1998,” Lazarin recalls. While with VARIG, he flew Boeing 737s and Embraer 145s. Lazarin’s experience proved helpful when he was hired as Embraer’s chief pilot for the Phenom 100/300 program in 2006, and 3 years later he accepted a new position with Embraer in China as a client sup-

Capt Gustavo Lazarin flew gliders, airliners, and corporate aircraft before accepting a position with Thorn Air in 2012.

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Thorn Air’s G550 at a stop at Gulfstream’s headquarters in SAV (Savannah GA) for routine maintenance. The team also conducts recurrent training nearby with FlightSafety Intl.

port manager, training pilots in the 190 platform. He left Embraer and returned to Brazil in 2012, where he flew a Gulfstream G550 for a private owner after helping set up the flight department. When an economic downturn forced the company to sell the G550, a chance meeting of an old friend paved the way for Lazarin’s current position. “I had known Tony (Barros) from my time with Embraer. After selling the G550, I ran into Tony during recurrent training in Savannah at the time he was starting Thorn Air. He needed a pilot and I needed a job!” Lazarin states.

Safety first Lazarin is 1 of 3 full-time pilots with Thorn Air. He also helped establish the company’s Safety Management System (SMS). “Baldwin Aviation created our SMS manuals, and then we modified them to fit our small operation,” Lazarin explains. “With the amount of experience we have between our pilots, we do things at an airline level.” Thorn Air keeps its G550 under Cayman registration, which requires audits every 5 years. “We had attained IS-BAO Stage I. Although Stage II was not required by Cayman authorities, we adapted to meet what they require, which is similar to Stage II,” Lazarin explains. “We are a small operation and we like to keep things simple and safe. With that approach, we have never had an incident.” Lazarin emphasizes the importance of having a close-knit team. “We have an incredible group here at Thorn Air,” he says. “The people we fly for are very good to us, and the relationship that we have as a

team is wonderful. What we have is hard to find. I’ve worked other places, and this is the best, by far.”

Newest member in Thorn Air Captain Daniel Poit came from Curitiba, in the southern region of Brazil. Unlike many aviators, he has no influence he can point to that pushed him towards this career. “I was just born wanting to be a pilot,” he states. When he completed high school, he looked to the United States for his flight training, due to lower costs. He made his way to North Carolina in 2000, where he earned 2 separate aviation degrees – one in pilot career technology and one in aviation management. He attained his ratings while in school, tutoring to pay the bills before he had his CFI and could teach flying as well as ground school at the college. He also competed in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s annual SAFECON, where he was awarded Top Pilot in 2003.

DOM Bill Lunsford keeps the G550 ready to go at all times from its SUA (Stuart FL) base.

Lead Flight Attendant Inês Ribeiro has been coordinating cabin ops for 8 years with Thorn Air.

After school, Poit’s 1st pilot position was in a Mooney for a nursing home company. “I was doing any flying I could to build hours and make some money. I ferried airplanes, did contract work, and instructed around 1000 hours a year. I was able to get some SIC time in a Cessna Citation, and even paid for my ratings in King Airs and Citations,” Poit remembers. His big break came in 2009 when he joined the flight department for a grocery store chain in Brazil, logging hours in a Dassault Falcon 7X and 900. He stayed there until 2015, when he began flying a Falcon 7X for a private family in São Paulo. When Thorn Air was looking for a new pilot in late 2018, Barros tapped into a former colleague, who was the chief pilot at the flight department where Poit worked at the time. Poit was looking to move back to the States, so the timing was right, and he joined the Thorn Air team in Feb 2019. He brought a great deal of experience with him from his previous positions. “While I was with the grocery chain, I was able to be involved in a lot of projects, including the development of the SMS and coordinating the IS-BAO Stage I implementation, and upgrade to Stage II.” These skills have worked well for Thorn Air. “We’re like an orchestra, each with our own specialties but working together for the final result. The company is very pleased with what we provide,” Poit points out. He goes on to say that even as a small department, they are focused on technology. “We are fully paperless, and recently participated in the ARINC Beta testing of electronic plotting charts. Also, we are the 1st

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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

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Thorn Air’s Gulfstream G550 is outfitted to the owner’s tastes. At 10 years old, meticulous maintenance and operations have kept it looking brand new.

Cayman-registered aircraft for RNP AR approaches.” Poit also appreciates the benefits of working for a single family that recognizes their employee needs. “I joined Thorn Air because of Tony, but also because of the way we are treated,” he says. “Our schedules are very regular, we fly a great aircraft, and this job allowed me to move back to the US. This really is a great job.”

Support crew Flying for the same personnel requires the right person to understand and meet their specific needs. For Thorn Air, that is Lead Flight Attendant Inês Ribeiro. Hailing from Lisbon, Portugal, Ribeiro earned a degree in tourism and hospitality, but she yearned to travel. Some 20 years ago, she answered an ad in the newspaper for a flight attendant position. For the next 7 years, Ribeiro worked for a Portuguese flight department before joining NetJets, where she stayed until 2012. She met Barros while at NetJets, and when he contacted her 8 years ago, she made the move. Like the rest of her flightcrew, she is quick to point out the comradery they share. “We are like a family. There is very good interaction between the team and the owners. We deal directly with the boss, no secretary or assistant in between the line of communication,” Ribeiro states. During her 2 decades of corporate flight attendant work, Ribeiro has seen the pros and cons. “Working for Thorn Air is definitely at the top. Our employer has very specific demands, but very few requests while inflight,” she conveys. “We rarely have more than 6 guests on board, and we know

well in advance where we are going, how long we will be gone, and what they need. They are very organized.” Thorn Air only schedules 1 attendant per flight. If Ribeiro is not available, contract help is used from a list of regulars. She also handles all the catering worldwide, which is made easier considering the same destinations are visited often. Ribeiro attends training at FlightSafety International (FSI) every 2 years, including MedAire training and other safety courses. “Our employer recognizes that having this aircraft is a privilege. She treats us extremely well. I have worked all variations of flight attending, and this is definitely my favorite.”

Maintenance Thorn Air’s Gulfstream G550 can go nowhere without the proper attention on the ground. Turning wrenches for the company is Director of Maintenance Bill Lunsford. More than 20 years ago, Lunsford purchased a Cessna 150 that was badly in need of repair. “I was friends with an air show pilot in high school, and I helped him work on aircraft. We restored the 150 and I got my private pilot license in it. Working on that plane made me realize that was a career I was interested in,” he recalls. Lunsford then obtained his A&P at the Tulsa Technology Center near his hometown in Oklahoma, and soon found a job working for the owner of a few twin-engine piston aircraft. This was followed by time working with Bizjet in Tulsa. He and Barros met at the airport where they both stored their airplanes and Barros contacted him and brought him on board when Thorn Air started up.

“Bill is an incredible asset for our team. He not only keeps our aircraft flying safely, but he also finds ways to save us a lot of money every year,” Barros declares. Once with Thorn Air, Lunsford attended initial training at FSI in Savannah GA and returns for regular recurrent training. His A&P is also validated by the Cayman authorities, where the aircraft is registered. Regarding the G550, Lunsford is very happy with the aircraft. “In my opinion, Gulfstream is the best in the business. Our plane is very reliable.” The aircraft is stored At SUA, but it is rarely there with the flight department’s busy schedule. Lunsford conducts most maintenance at the home base, but will travel with the plane when necessary. If he is not able to complete the work himself, he only uses the Gulfstream FAST support team. “The support we get from Gulfstream and our employers is unmatched,” he says. “Everybody at Thorn Air is great to work with. They are like my family away from home. I love it here. I hit the jackpot with this job!”

Family first With regularly scheduled trips to worldwide locations, fractional or charter memberships are often the best option. But when the specific needs of this company were evaluated, ownership of an aircraft seemed a viable alternative. Once that decision was made, they’ve never looked back. While the team at Thorn Air flies for a family, they are treated like family. That is why, for over a decade, they have been able to provide unrivaled services for domestic and international travel. And this family looks forward to many more years working together. Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 28 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 18 years and is a helicopter rescue pilot with nearly 4000 hours of flight time. Bundy currently flies Airbus AS350B3s for the helicopter side of Phoenix PD’s air unit and Cessna 172, 182s and 210s for the fixed-wing side.

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Advanced designs extend business jet performance, productivity, flexibility, and luxury Greater payload, performance, and modern features bring distant destinations within increasingly efficient and comfortable reach. By Don Van Dyke ATP/Helo/CFII, F28, Bell 222. Pro Pilot Canadian Technical Editor


he terms long-range and ultra long-range (LR/ULR), while not formally defined, generally refer to non-stop flights planned to exceed 2500 nm (or 5 hours duration) and 6000 nm (or 12 hours duration), respectively. LR/ULR aircraft fulfill a need for range, utility, and comfort, while making such trips more tolerable. These aircraft are purpose-built for capacity and reliability, and optimized for speed, short field performance, and operating costs, which are particularly important considerations when operating over remote or challenging areas. Technologies meeting the demands of mission-ready LR/ULR aircraft include next-generation wings with optimized aerodynamics and high-speed performance, improved maintenance and diagnostic systems, lighter construction, and use of fly-by-wire (FBW) controls. Powerplants. Achieving extended operating performance is critically dependent on powerplants. OEMs, including Pratt & Whitney (P&W), RollsRoyce (R-R), General Electric (GE), and Honeywell, strive to deliver turbofan families featuring greater thrust and reliability and lower specific fuel consumption (SFC). The technologies involved must be future-proofed in terms of regulatory stringency, anticipated traffic congestion, and greater ecological urgency. Embraer has unveiled a demonstrator with 100% electric propulsion technology, currently under joint development. Longrange applications of electric propulsion will emerge from 2 principal lines of research: sourcing sustainable green power, and developing methods of converting this energy to thrust. Avionics. Flightdeck suites offer innovative ergonomics and aesthetics,

which reduce workload and provide pilots with upgraded comfort and control of features like airport moving maps, real-time traffic, advance weather detection, vision systems (enhanced, synthetic, or combined) with head-up displays (HUDs). Increasingly, large-format touchscreens are offered to improve situational awareness and information management. Cabins. The newest LR/ULR jets incorporate interiors inspired by the latest trends in functionality, personal tastes, and effective soundproofing. Cabin management systems (CMSs) control environment, comfort, lighting, connectivity (Wi-Fi), and entertainment schemes. Onboard gourmet kitchens are sized, appointed, and designed to help make each meal unforgettable. And advanced inflight entertainment (IFE) systems aim to deliver a personalized experience, like Bombardier’s l’Opéra high-fidelity audio suite developed for the Global 7500, which features full-range speakers, digital signal processing, and seat-centric sound technology. Milestones. Development of Textron’s Cessna Citation Hemisphere was suspended recently owing mainly to the failure of the selected turbofans to meet all performance requirements. However, the new super midsize Citation Longitude received type certification in September 2019. Gulfstream G550 was replaced by the G600 but remains in limited production for long-term special-mission applications. The 19-place Gulfstream G700 was launched at the 2019 NBAA–BACE to compete with Bombardier’s Global 7500 in the ULR market. The aircraft has an exceptionally large cabin which features a master bedroom and 5 living areas, and the ability to operate from short, weight-limited, and high-altitude runways.

Dassault Falcon 6X was released to manufacturing in 2019. It replaces the Falcon 5X, which was canceled owing to development delays on the engine manufacturer’s part. Initial deliveries will come in 2022. Embraer unveiled its midsize Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 (essentially enhanced variants of the Legacy 450 and 500, respectively) in October 2019, reflecting the company’s increased focus on executive aviation and defense. Finally, Bombardier delivered its first customer aircraft fueled with sustainable aviation jet fuel (SAJF). SAJF is certified and regulated to ASTM D1655, requires no changes to receiving equipment, and is environmentally, socially, and economically superior to fossil fuels. Emerging designs. The Chinese Caiga CBJ800 Pegasus remains largely unknown, except for claimed long range, large cabin, high cruise speed, FBW, new-generation propulsion, and a production target of 2020. Nextant’s 604XT will be an upgraded Bombardier Challenger 604 powered with GE CF34-3B engines boasting a 4-passenger range of 4535 nm. Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet (SSBJ) continues to aim for Mach 1.4, a range of 4750 nm, and a maiden flight in 2023. Don Van Dyke is professor of advanced aerospace topics at Chicoutimi College of Aviation – CQFA Montreal. He is an 18,000-hour TT pilot and instructor with extensive airline, business and charter experience on both airplanes and helicopters. A former IATA ops director, he has served on several ICAO panels. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and is a flight operations expert on technical projects under UN administration.

30  PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020

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Bombardier Global 6500

Bombardier Global 7500

Dassault Falcon 7X

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max.....................3+8/17 Length (max)...........................................43.3 ft

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max.....................3+8/19 Length (max)...........................................54.4 ft

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max.....................3+8/19 Length (max)/volume.................39.1 ft/1552 ft3

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................56,800 lb MTOW/MLW.................................106,250/NA Payload w/max fuel.......................................NA Fuel w/max payload......................................NA Max fuel weight...................................47,450 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................61,700 lb MTOW/MLW.........................114,850/87,600 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1890 lb Fuel w/max payload............................47,600 lb Max fuel weight...................................51,510 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................36,600 lb MTOW/MLW............................70,000/62,400 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1660 lb Fuel w/max payload............................29,200 lb Max fuel weight...................................31,940 lb

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)............M 0.85/487 kts High speed cruise.............................M 0.88/NA MMO.........................................................M 0.90 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........6600 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)............M 0.85/488 kts High speed cruise......................M 0.90/516 kts MMO.......................................................M 0.925 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........7725 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)..........M 0.800/459 kts High speed cruise....................M 0.866/497 kts MMO.......................................................M 0.900 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........5760 nm

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise, lateral/flyover/approach..........NA/NA/NA

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach............91.6/80.3/88.8 EPNdB

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach............90.1/82.3/92.6 EPNdB

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............5800/2240 ft

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............5710/2120 ft

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model..............2 x GE Passport 20-19BB1A MTOT/flat rating...............18,920 lbf/ISA+15° C

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model...........................3 x P&WC PW307A MTOT/flat rating..................6402 lbf/ISA+17° C

AVIONICS Standard suite..................Global Vision (Collins)

AVIONICS Standard suite...EASy III (Honeywell Primus Epic)



AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............6370/2236 ft POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model...............2 x R-R Pearl MTOT/flat rating...............15,125 lbf/ISA+15° C AVIONICS Standard suite...................Global Vision (Collins) EIS/PRICE...........................2018/$72.8M

94 ft

104 ft

86 ft

27 ft

25.4 ft

26.2 ft

111 ft

99.4 ft

76.7 ft

6.2 ft

7.9 ft

6.2 ft

8 ft

6.2 ft

7.7 ft

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Dassault Falcon 8X

Embraer Praetor 600

Gulfstream G600

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max.....................3+8/19 Length (max)/volume.................42.7 ft/1695 ft3

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max.....................2+8/12 Length (max)...........................................24.1 ft

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max...................4+16/19 Length (max)/volume.................45.2 ft/1884 ft3

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................36,800 lb MTOW/MLW............................73,000/62,400 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1259 lb Fuel w/max payload............................32,200 lb Max fuel weight...................................35,141 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................24,658 lb MTOW/MLW............................42,857/37,478 lb Payload w/max fuel................................2194 lb Fuel w/max payload............................14,330 lb Max fuel weight...................................16,138 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................51,440 lb MTOW/MLW............................94,600/76,800 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1800 lb Fuel w/max payload............................37,560 lb Max fuel weight...................................41,730 lb

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)..........M 0.800/459 kts High speed cruise..................................497 kts MMO.......................................................M 0.900 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........6235 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................45,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)........................433 kts High speed cruise..................................466 kts MMO.........................................................M 0.83 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........4018 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC)............M 0.85/488 kts High speed cruise......................M 0.90/516 kts MMO.......................................................M 0.925 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........6518 nm

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............88.7/80.1/90.6 EPNdB

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............85.5/73.1/89.9 EPNdB

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............................NA/NA/NA

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............5880/2245 ft

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............4717/2165 ft

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............5900/2550 ft

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model..........................3 x P&WC PW307D MTOT/flat rating..................6722 lbf/ISA+17° C

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model..................2 x Honeywell HTF7500E MTOT/flat rating..................7528 lbf/ISA+18° C

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model.........................2 x P&WC PW815GA MTOT/flat rating...............15,680 lbf/ISA+15° C

AVIONICS Standard suite...EASy III (Honeywell Primus Epic)

AVIONICS Standard suite..................Collins Pro Line Fusion

AVIONICS Standard suite...................Gulfstream Symmetry




86.3 ft

70.5 ft

94.1 ft

68.1 ft

80.2 ft

25.3 ft

21.2 ft

26.1 ft

96.1 ft

6 ft

6.3 ft

6.2 ft

7.7 ft

7.6 ft 6.8 ft

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FAA PART 145 REPAIRS Los Angeles KVNY San Diego KCRQ Oxford KOXC

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Gulfstream G650ER

Textron Cessna Citation Sovereign

Textron Cessna Citation Longitude

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max...................4+16/19 Length (max)/volume.................46.8 ft/2138 ft3

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max....................2+9/12 Length (max)..........................................25.3 ft

CABIN Seats, crew+executive/max....................2+8/12 Length (max)..........................................25.2 ft

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................54,500 lb MTOW/MLW..........................103,600/83,500 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1300 lb Fuel w/max payload............................43,500 lb Max fuel weight...................................48,200 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................18,235 lb MTOW/MLW............................30,775/27,575 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1400 lb Fuel w/max payload......................................NA Max fuel weight...................................10,025 lb

WEIGHTS BOW....................................................23,600 lb MTOW/MLW............................39,500/33,500 lb Payload w/max fuel................................1600 lb Fuel w/max payload............................13,700 lb Max fuel weight.............................................NA

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................51,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC).............M 0.85/488 kts High speed cruise......................M 0.90/516 kts MMO.......................................................M 0.925 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........7437 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................47,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC).......................368 kts High speed cruise..................................448 kts MMO.........................................................M 0.80 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........3069 nm

PERFORMANCE Max cruise altitude..............................45,000 ft Long-range cruise (LRC).......................449 kts High speed cruise..................................478 kts MMO.........................................................M 0.84 Range@LRC (200 nm alternate)..........3500 nm

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............78.7/89.6/88.3 EPNdB

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............87.8/71.9/87.9 EPNdB

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE Noise,lateral/ flyover/approach.............88.4/72.9/89.9 EPNdB

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............6299/2660 ft

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............3530/2600 ft

AIRFIELD PERFORMANCE (SL,ISA) Field length, MTOW/MLW..............4810/2597 ft

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model...................2 x R-R BR700-725A1-12 MTOT/flat rating...............16,900 lbf/ISA+15° C

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model...........................2 x P&WC PW306D MTOT/flat rating..................5907 lbf/ISA+16° C

POWERPLANT(S) Manufacturer and model...................2 x Honeywell HTF7700L MTOT/flat rating..................7600 lbf/ISA+19° C

AVIONICS Standard suite...............Gulfstream PlaneView II

AVIONICS Standard suite..............................Garmin G5000

AVIONICS Standard suite..............................Garmin G5000




72.3 ft

68.9 ft

99.6 ft

20.3 ft

19.4 ft

25.7 ft 63.5 ft

99.8 ft

73.2 ft

5.8 ft

6 ft

6.3 ft

8.2 ft

5.5 ft

6.4 ft

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Our Experience Speaks Volumes. It all starts with experience - Experience builds knowledge. Knowledge builds expertise. But in this business, experience should never be a “one-size-fits-all” approach. That’s why we are dedicated to building the most experienced airframe-specific teams in the industry, backed with deep resources and a full scope of technical capability. So when you choose West Star for maintenance, avionics, paint or interior services, you can rest assured that your team is trained, skilled and specialized on your specific airframe. Get solutions tailored to exactly what you fly. Call West Star Aviation.

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Wicked whirlwinds can wreak havoc on airports and aircraft

Rope tornado skirts across the plains of “Tornado Alley” in the central US. Although rare, tornadoes can damage airports and aircraft, while the storms that produce them often require substantial deviations.

By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst Climate Scientist


midst the post-sunset gloom and heavy rain, not even the tower controllers saw it coming. A commuter pilot taxiing out to the furthest runway was the first to see it. With his wings rocking in the sudden wind, he radioed in and watched helplessly as the gray funnel passed over the airport boundary fence, perhaps 500 ft in front of him, headed for an area of hangars. ATC immediately ordered a ground stop and hastily evacuated the tower. Less than a minute later, the danger had passed, but, in that minute, the tornado produced a 300-ft-wide swath of twisted debris. Thankfully, there were only minor injuries, and the tornado had spared the main terminal with its thousands of passengers awaiting their flights. However, the general aviation hangars had taken a direct hit, and several dozen aircraft owners would be phoning their insurance companies in the morning. Inch for inch, tornadoes are easily the most violent weather phenomena on Earth, even though they are nothing more than rapidly moving air. Despite this, tornadoes tend not to be something that pilots would normally consider a danger to their flight – unlike turbulence, icing, windshear and even the thunderstorms from which tornadoes are born.

However, tornadoes do have a history of danger to aviation. In October 1981, a Fokker F28 inadvertently flew into a tornado after departing RTM (Rotterdam, Netherlands). The ensuing crash claimed 17 lives. Investigators noted the pressure altimeter rose and fell dramatically, corresponding to the sharp pressure drop inside the tornado, and the aircraft encountered +6.8 to -3.2 G over the course of a few seconds, detaching the starboard wing. A police officer reported seeing the disintegrating aircraft descend from the 1200-ft cloud base. More commonly, tornadoes strike airports and damage parked aircraft. They also mangle homes, business and communities, sometimes affecting the very people and businesses that own or use the aircraft you fly. In addition, by virtue of being a pilot, your passengers and bosses will expect you to be the company’s font of weather knowledge. This is why understanding tornadoes is important for any pilot, whether or not they live and fly in “Tornado Alley.”

To turn Whether named after the Spanish verb tornar (to turn) or the noun tornillo (a screw), a tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in

contact with both the ground and the base of a thunderstorm. Thus, while waterspouts are a type of tornado, dust devils, gustnadoes and firenadoes are technically not. Tornadoes are invisible, as they are only wind, but frequently, the intense low pressure of the tornado condenses water into a funnel-shaped cloud that gives the tornado its characteristic visual imagery. Once a tornado contacts the ground, it may also kick up dust, dirt and debris, producing a debris cloud at its base. Funnel clouds may occur in the absence of a tornado, simply extending from beneath the base of a storm. However, the presence of a funnel cloud usually indicates that a tornado is embedded within, and that the funnel has simply not yet condensed all the way to the surface. In these cases, a rotating debris cloud at the surface – with or without a funnel – will indicate a tornado in progress. Although tornadoes have been scientifically studied for over a century, and modern technology allows atmospheric scientists to look within their structure, the mechanisms behind the transition from a supercell to a tornadic supercell are still not fully known. Meteorological research and observation suggest that tornadoes normally begin forming

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Image courtesy Joshua Wurman

Mobile Doppler radar image of a mesocyclone (L) and hook echo (R) that provide a typical tornado radar signature. This radar was aimed directly at an active tornado in Wyoming on June 5, 2009.

long before they become the wedge or rope linking cloud and ground. Most significant tornadoes form as a part of a large and rotating supercell thunderstorm. Low-level windshear produced by the interaction of the downdraft gust front and the warm air flowing into the storm’s updrafts can initiate a rotation of the air. Within the storm cell, the rotating up- and down-drafts interact, producing an area near the rear of the storm known as a mesocyclone. The mesocyclone stretches vertically throughout the lower 2/3 of the storm. Around the mesocyclone, downdrafts are drawing it toward the base of the cloud. The mesocyclone may eventually extend below the cloud base as a rotating wall cloud. As the rear flanking downdraft of the storm cell descends and spins, it produces low pressure around the central axis that draws the air inward, concentrating it toward a small area at the surface and producing the common wedge or inverted cone shape characteristic of many tornadoes. As the radius of rotating air decreases toward the ground, the rate of rotation (and wind speed) increases, not unlike a figure skater who brings her arms inward in order to increase her spin on the ice. If the spin increases enough, and if the descending air is not too cold, a tornado may result. The same lowered central pressure of the tornado vortex is also drawing in the warmer, humid air beneath the storm as a rotating updraft. The rapid inflow forces the downdraft air

to reverse direction vertically rather than to spread out at the surface as would be expected from a typical downburst. Instead, the area around the “eye” of the tornado is known as the corner region, where inflowing winds from the surface boundary layer, which is just a few meters deep, transition from horizontal flow to vertical, entraining the downdraft wind into the updraft.

Funnel cloud Above the boundary region, additional warm and humid air is drawn inward in a counterclockwise direction (clockwise in the southern hemisphere) to feed the updraft, but not quite as violently as nearer the surface. The temperature and pressure drop of the inbound air produces the condensation that forms the funnel

cloud to make the tornado visible. In situations where the surface air is relatively dry, a funnel cloud may not form, and the tornado will remain difficult to see except for the debris cloud at the surface and possible rotation of the storm cloud above. The corner region, like the eyewall in a hurricane, is the most violent part of the vortex, and is where the debris cloud is found. Using mobile Doppler radars, winds in the corner region (at about 100 ft [30 m] above the ground) have been clocked at over 300 mph (484 kph), and the updrafts can exceed 150 mph (240 kph). Importantly for aviation, and yet another reason to keep well clear of thunderstorms, is that surface debris (and even fish and frogs) can and has been lofted tens of thousands of feet into the air, and can land well over 100 miles (160 km) Twin “waterspout” tornadoes are generally weak and form over water, but they can move onshore and cause damage. A single storm can produce multiple tornadoes.


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from its source. Impact with even a small rock at several hundred kts could prove catastrophic.

Tornado stats When we think of tornadoes, we often associate them with the wide open farmlands of the central US, known colloquially as “Tornado Alley.” However, tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica. In fact, although the most violent and destructive tornadoes occur in an area from Texas north to the Dakotas and east from Alabama north to Michigan, and the US is home to 4 times more tornadoes than the next most frequent place (Europe), many of the deadliest tornadoes in the history have occurred in Bangladesh. Because even with a network of radars we are still not able to accurately estimate the speed of each individual tornado, we rely on a category rating first devised by meteorologist Ted Fujita in 1971, who based estimates of wind speed on the tornado’s path of destruction. An F0 was associated with light damage and winds less than 73 mph (also the threshold between a tropical storm and hurricane). The scale increased up to an F5, associating “incredible damage” with winds over 261 mph. In 2007, more data connecting wind and damage replaced the Fujita F-scale with the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, that sets EF0 winds between 65–85 mph, and EF5 at above 200 mph. Because of its ease of transla-

Photo courtesy NWS Louisville KY

Massive EF3 wedge tornado near Anadarko OK. Some tornadoes can be so wide with a low cloud base, that they become difficult to distinguish as tornadoes. If conditions are right and a cloud appears to extend to the ground, assume it is a tornado.

When relatively dry air is entrained, it may not condense into a funnel, rendering the tornado invisible. However, it will be visible if it traps dust or debris at the surface.

tion to the public, the EF scale has been widely adopted by meteorological services worldwide. Tornado statistics reveal their widely diverse characteristics. As one would expect, EF0 and EF1 occur most frequently, as very strong supercells are normally required to produce higher EF tornadoes. Also, the most common place to encounter tornadoes is actually Florida, where near-daily weak to moderate storm cells produce frequent water/ land spouts, which are classified as tornadoes. Waterspouts are also frequently encountered in the maritime storms of the intertropical convergence zone. Just as most tornadoes are relatively weak, they are also mostly short lived, often lasting only a few minutes before dissipating; short traveled, moving less than a mile (1.6 km); slow moving or even stationary; and narrow of path, being less than 330 ft (100 m) wide. However, tornadoes can reach extreme proportions. The tri-state tornado that crossed Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana in March 1925 reached a record forward speed of 73 mph (117 kph), cut a path of 219 miles (352 km), and lasted 3.5 hrs, leaving 695 dead. While most tornadoes occur in the afternoon because they are dependent on strong storms that, in turn, need daytime heating to reach peak strength, sharp fronts and mesoscale convective systems that carry on through the night have produced devastating tornadoes at all hours. Many nocturnal tornadoes

rank among the deadliest, simply because they catch most people sleeping, and those who are awake may not be able to spot the tornado approaching in the dark. In addition, those organized convective systems sometimes produce a tornado outbreak involving dozens to hundreds of tornadoes.

Prediction Favorable conditions for tornado formation are well known to forecasters, but the actual prediction of a tornado remains elusive. We see this in the fact that well-trained tornado researchers attempting to intercept a tornado for study (storm chasing) simply choose a large area on the map where tornadic storms are likely, but they’re rarely able to anticipate when and where a storm will produce a tornado in time to intercept it. Similarly, forecasters, such as those at the NOAA Storm Prediction Center in Norman OK, will issue a forecast for a likely area of supercell formation and tornadic activity bounded in space and time. But these are very general bounds, often covering thousands of square miles and several hours of time. For aviation, these areas are translated into convective sigmets if the area covers at least 3000 sq mi (7800 sq km) and strong (level 4+) storms are expected to affect more than 40% of the area during the sigmet’s 2-hr duration. In a sigmet (or metar remarks), the word “tornado” will always be spelled out. But even if

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Damaged Learjet 45 beneath a collapsed hangar at HOU (Houston TX) in April 2018 after strong overnight storms. A tornado was considered unlikely, and the observed winds of 40 mph with gusts up to 60 mph were far calmer than what would be experienced in a tornado strike.

tornadoes are not specifically mentioned, the storms within a sigmet area will have the potential to become tornadic. In addition, although not explicitly mentioning tornadoes, TAFs and area forecasts will also relay the probability of thunderstorms, the former within 5 miles of the airport. If the airport is within a convective sigmet, or if conditions are conducive to strong storms, any forecast of thunderstorms in the vicinity should be viewed as a potential tornado threat.

Tornado watch Since tornadoes will normally affect only aircraft that are on the ground, as well as airports, houses, businesses, and communities, pilots, briefers, and controllers should also pay close attention to severe thunderstorm and/or tornado watches issued by weather authorities. In some places, especially where tornadoes are rare, a severe thunderstorm watch will include the potential for tornadoes. In the US, a tornado watch is issued in place of a severe thunderstorm watch when severe storms capable of producing tornadoes are forecast or approaching the area. A storm or tornado watch should be treated as an opportunity to prepare for the worst, like reviewing what you would do if faced with a tornado or extreme weather situation. Do you know where you would shelter? Do you have emergency supplies at your disposal? Regarding your flight operations, can you advance your departure time to clear

your aircraft from the area? Do you know where to find a tornado shelter or other reinforced interior room? Airports are particularly dangerous places because the large hangar buildings with massive cross-sections are often not built to survive extreme winds and flying debris, and the acres of wide-open space afford few places to shelter from an approaching storm or tornado. If weather radar indicates a tornado signature, or if trained storm spotters have seen a tornado, then a tornado warning will be issued for that location and an area downwind of the storm movement. At that time, or if you actually see an approaching tornado – regardless of whether a warning has been issued – it is imperative to seek safety.

Staying safe Contrary to some myths, tornadoes can strike anywhere, including cities, mountains, rivers, and even airports. Large hangars and aircraft on the ground are not good places to be in or around as a tornado approaches. If time permits, abandon them and seek safer shelter. In tornado areas, most buildings, including hangars, will have a dedicated tornado shelter – usually a reinforced interior room on either the ground floor or in a basement. Look for tornado shelter signs. In the absence of that, seek shelter in any interior room with a small footprint and, preferably reinforcement in the wall, such as the pipes surrounding a restroom. Some protection may also be found

in stairwells. Don’t waste time trying to open windows or secure loose items. Tornadoes move fast and their violent forces can tear up or knock down most anything, even if has been well secured. Although there have been few recorded incidents of people killed in aircraft struck by a tornado, there is ample evidence from motor vehicles that they do not offer any substantial protection from a tornado, and you are safer if you can find shelter outside of the vehicle. If you are at a gate or parked at the FBO, offload your crew and passengers back to the building as quickly as possible. In the open, the best shelter is a culvert or other low spot in the landscape. Often, taxiways and runways will have drainage ditches on one or both sides. Similarly, sheltering in the lee of the small utility blockhouses scattered about the airport may also provide some protection from blowing debris. The key is to either put a substantial obstacle between you and any flying debris, or make yourself as small a target for debris as possible. Remember, the strongest winds are just above ground level, and it is the debris carried by those winds that poses the greatest danger. Importantly, do not try to outrun a tornado, even in a taxiing aircraft. Tornadoes can travel fast, and they may move erratically. Large storms may even spawn multiple tornadoes, meaning that you may be running from one and head straight into the path of a second vortex that may be less visible. However, from the air, we are often in a position to see the weather unfold. If you are avoiding storms and notice that they appear to be supercells or even see a funnel forming beneath them, send in a pirep or simply alert ATC so they can relay the information. In a tornado situation, giving people as much advance warning as possible is everything.

Karsten Shein is co­ founder and science director at ExplorEiS. He was formerly an assistant professor at Shippensburg Univer­sity and a climatolo­gist with NOAA. Shein holds a commercial license with instrument rating.

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Transatlantic bizjet flights As of Jan 2020, there are new CPDLC and ADS-C mandates and requirements to be mindful of, but minimally-equipped operators still have options.

Shanwick NAT-OTS ATC at STN (Stansted, London, UK).

Shanwick Oceanic Control covers the northeast sector of the North Atlantic, with Reykjavik Oceanic Control to the north, Gander Oceanic Control to the west, and Santa Maria Oceanic Control to the south. Shanwick has dedicated VHF frequencies for oceanic clearances, and also provides ACARS-based Oceanic Clearance Link (OCL) capabilities.

By Grant McLaren Editor-at-Large


orth Atlantic airspace is typically the busiest oceanic airspace in the world. Each day, about 2000 aircraft traverse this region, with up to 80% of oceanic traffic passing through Shanwick Oceanic Control Area (OCA) as the gateway to Europe. For general aviation (GA) operators, particularly those who are new to the North Atlantic Organized Track System (NATOTS), this can be one of the more challenging and potentially complex flying environments worldwide. Over the past couple of years NATOTS has undergone major regulatory and procedural changes aimed at safely reducing aircraft separation. As

of Jan 30, 2020, operators are now mandated to use datalink services (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications [CPDLC] and Automatic Dependant Surveillance – Contract [ADS-C]) almost everywhere in the NAT-OTS between FL290 and FL410. To legally fly most North Atlantic ops, aircraft need to be properly equipped, pilots must have required certifications, and all mandated procedures need to be followed. All this puts additional layers of restrictions and limitations on business aircraft operators planning to fly the North Atlantic. The days of jumping in your vintage Gulfstream II, firing up the engines and blasting off to the other side of the North Atlantic are fading quickly. In fact, according to international support providers

(ISPs), many such flights have now become virtually impossible or impractical due to new equipment and certification mandates. “Over the past 2 years, we’ve seen increased complexities when operating across the North Atlantic,” says Universal Weather Master Mission Advisor Jeff Kelley. “These days, if you don’t have High Level Airspace (HLA) approvals and associated equipment, you’re basically staying at or below FL270, unless able to climb straight up above FL420. Many operators, especially those with older equipment or non-updated avionics, find it’s not practical to operate through this airspace, particularly since Phase 2C North Atlantic Datalink Mandate coverage came into effect in January this year.” Jeppesen International Trip Planner Matt Neff adds, “Operating over the North Atlantic is probably 4 times more restrictive than what it was a few years ago. It used to be that if you had MNPS, HF radios and RVSM approval, you were good to go. Today, you need to have CPDLC and ADS-C between FL290 and FL410, as separation has been reduced from about 50 nm to 14 nm, and accuracy needs to be there.” ITPS Ops Mgr Ben Fuller declares, “NAT-OTS is unique in terms of air-

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space management, and traffic flows can be heavy. We recommend giving yourself 1–3 weeks just to familiarize yourself with all the rules, regs, required letters of authorization (LoAs) and current CPDLC requirements. Most clients who come to us will just wait until they have all their required LoAs, as fuel burn can be an issue if they’re not able to fly legally into or above the NAT-OTS.”

CPDLC mandates Prior to Jan 30, 2020, CPDLC-mandated routings within NAT-OTS only covered FL350–FL390, and workarounds were available for nonequipped aircraft. Today, there are fewer alternatives in avoiding CPDLC airspace. Everything north of 80º N is still free of most datalink mandates, and there are datalink exceptions for ops via New York Oceanic East. Routes T9 and T290, which provide a corridor of airspace between Canada and Iceland, are open to non-CPDLC-equipped aircraft, say ISPs. Those without required datalink capabilities can still request to climb/descend through datalink-mandated airspace, but options are limited and it’s only considered by ATC on a tactical basis. Meanwhile, non-equipped flights filing as medevac or state ops are permitted to flight-plan and fly through datalink-mandated airspace but may not get requested flight levels. “The non-CPDLC corridor crossing the middle of Greenland is a saving grace for operators who do not have CPDLC and who cannot maintain FL430 to fly over the tracks,” points out Neff. “However, options in avoiding CPDLC airspace are more limited today than what they were earlier in the year.” Be mindful that reporting requirements kick in at every 10º longitude over oceanic airspace, and every 20º longitude while north of 70º latitude. NAT-OTS reporting is normally done via ADS-C. Alternate and ETP planning remains as important as ever for NAT-OTS ops.

Preparing for new datalink requirements To enjoy relatively free movement through the NAT-OTS, requirements now include datalink equipment and relevant authorizations. If your Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) is

SMA (Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal), located in the southeast of the Azores island group, provides a useful alternate/ETP for bizjets crossing the southern North Atlantic.

efficient, some mandated LoAs can be obtained in just a couple of weeks, but others take much longer. “Certain LoAs for NAT-OTS can take anywhere from a couple of months to 2 years or more to obtain,” says Avfuel Account Mgr David Kang. “This all depends on how your aircraft is documented, the FSDO you’re using, and any problems you might encounter. In most cases we recommend planning about 3 months in advance to gather required paperwork and to update all crew documents. Keep in mind that the US may allow you to get away with simply a commercial license for the right seat, whereas in Europe both pilots need to be PIC type rated with ATPs. So, this adds another layer of requirements that not all US-based operators may be accustomed to.” Be mindful that, in order to fly legally in the European Union (EU) regulatory environment, operators require certain mandated equipment, such as radios with 8.33 kHz channel spacing. “This has potential to open up another can of worms, as you’ll need sufficient documentation to pass a Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) check and everything needs to be in an EU-compliant format,” reminds Kang. “While this may seem to be a big task, it’s not really that bad – it’s just different. But still it can be a lot to deal with for a 1st-time operator to Europe.” When subjected to a SAFA check, you’ll need, for example, to provide evidence of fuel and fuel reserve calculations for your route across the North Atlantic in an EU-man-

dated format. You’ll be penalized if you don’t have evidence of fuel logs and correct alternate airport and ETP planning during a SAFA check. Note that your chosen alternates/ ETPs must be open and weather needs to be suitable for an emergency landing. Airports in the Azores usually close at night. SMA (Santa Maria, Azores, Portugal) does have “watch status” available, whereby they’ll open in an emergency, but they need to be contacted in advance. Greenland has fewer airports available now to use in the south, and they’re usually only open from 0800–1700 local and closed on Sundays. “Alternates and ETPs are absolutely important in terms of NAT-OTS planning. During SAFA checks, they’ll look at your flight plan to determine if anything is missing,” says ITPS Sr Flight Planner Keith Quibodeaux. “Warnings and penalties will be issued for operators not in compliance.”

Oceanic clearances From time to time, a mistake operators make is flying a flight planned route rather than the oceanic clearance given at the coast out point when entering the NAT-OTS. “Just because they accept your flight plan on the ground does not mean it’s the route you’ll be cleared for on the oceanic sector,” warns Kang. “When you receive your oceanic clearance, check it carefully against your flight log to ensure it’s identical, or update the FMS to reflect the new route. Otherwise, you may be guilty of a PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020  43

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for example, is mostly all random routing. And while some preferred airways exist between Brazil and South Africa, it’s still pretty much direct routing until you reach an FIR boundary.”


Nuuk is Greenland’s capital and largest city. GOH (Nuuk, Greenland) offers a 3117-ft runway and can be a useful tech stop option for lighter GA aircraft flying below the NAT-OTS.

gross navigational error (GNE). GNE busts initiate follow-ups, and this can be serious because NAT separation has become tighter and tighter.” In terms of picking up oceanic clearances for the NAT-OTS, this varies depending on direction of flight. “For eastbound flights, you can call the tower at YQX (Gander NL, Canada) or YYR (Goose Bay NL, Canada) and obtain clearance on the ground about 30 minutes prior to departure. If en route, request clearance from Gander Oceanic at least 1 hour prior to your coast out point,” explains Kelley. “For westbound ops, you’ll get it on the ground at airports like SNN (Shannon, Ireland) by contacting Shanwick Oceanic at least 20 min prior to departure. If en route, contact Shanwick Oceanic 30–90 min before entering oceanic airspace.”

Tips for those minimally equipped Non-CPDLC and non-ADS-C equipped aircraft operators need to consider either flying outside the NAT-OTS, above FL410 or below FL290, or on a non-CPDLC corridor over Greenland. Universal Weather Flight Planning Specialist Filip Aarsland explains that the boundary of this corridor is about halfway between Goose Bay and Frobisher Bay. “You’d operate to the Goose Bay area and head north to get into this corridor, which then heads east over Greenland and Iceland,” he says. ”Other than flying in this particular corridor, you’d need CPDLC to operate within the NAT-OTS.” As of Jan 30, 2020, when CPDLC airspace was extended to FL410, it

became much more challenging for many operators to overfly NAT-OTS. “You need to be certified and capable of flying at least at FL420 to avoid CPDLC NAT-OTS requirements, and this is affecting several operators,” says Aarsland. “Many aircraft are only certified to FL410, but you now need to fly higher than this, or drop down to FL270 or so, to avoid NATOTS restrictions.” If you don’t have HLA approval, which covers from FL285 to FL420, you’ll be staying down at FL270 or below unless you’re able to climb up above FL420. Securing HLA approval from FAA typically takes anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.

Mid and South Atlantic crossings Although this is relatively rare, NATOTS coverage may extend southward into the Santa Maria FIR or New York Oceanic at times, based on jetstream position. Operating from, say, the Iberian Peninsula to AUA (Queen Beatrix Intl, Aruba) is normally outside NAT-OTS, but in some cases you may end up flying the NAT-OTS for a while. As there are few published airways across the Mid and South Atlantic, you’ll normally fly direct routings in this region. However, there are oceanic position reporting requirements every 10º longitude. A handful of preferred airways also exist between Brazil and southern Africa, but this operating environment is straightforward. “We generally see random routing over the Mid Atlantic,” says Neff. “BGI (Grantley Adams Intl, Barbados) to SID (Sal Intl, Cape Verde),

The North Atlantic is a region of the world where operating considerations, changes, and restrictions have been occurring fast and frequently lately. There’s a lot to be mindful of, say ISPs. If you’re new to flying the North Atlantic or have not flown here in some time, it’s best to work with an expert who can explain everything that’s required. Take advantage of North Atlantic international procedure training, and use an ISP to help confirm all required procedures and equipment mandates. Looking ahead, ISPs do not anticipate NAT-OTS mandates or aircraft spacing to tighten dramatically, unless some revolutionary new system or technology is introduced. “NATOTS spacing is now down to about 1/3 of what it was, and we don’t anticipate datalink requirements to expand down to the surface – at least not yet,” says Quibodeaux. The original intent was to capture about 90% of traffic over the North Atlantic on CPDLC routes, and, as of Jan 30, this was up closer to 95%. Aarsland points out that there’s a big push now in the EU to require CPDLC for operations in more of the continental airspace. “While the plan, for now, seems to be restricting new CPDLC requirements to aircraft over 100,000 lb, the general push is toward CPDLC and RNAV capabilities when approaching airports in the EU. NCE (Nice, France), for example, already requires RNP1 arrivals with enhanced equipment mandates, and we expect to see more airports in Europe introducing this in the future.”

Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 40 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.

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Heli-Expo 2020 New leadership, corporate acquisitions, fleet sales, and safety issues highlighted at annual HAI gathering. Leonardo’s display included the AW189 and AW169. Two power and payload performance packs were announced for the AW169.

New HAI Pres & CEO James Viola and FAA Administrator Steven Dickson, flanked by HAI board members, cut the ribbon, officially opening the 71st Heli-Expo gathering.

By Brent Bundy

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

Photos by Brent Bundy


unny southern California welcomed Helicopter Association International for its 71st annual gathering January 27–30. Heli-Expo 2020 filled over 300,000 sq ft of the Anaheim Convention Center with more than 650 exhibitors showing the latest in rotary-wing aircraft, technology, and services. Showgoers also had hands-on access to the 62 helicopters on display. While no new aircraft were announced, there was still plenty of news on upgrades, acquisitions, and orders. Just some of the highlights of the show were Leonardo purchasing upstart Kopter, Airbus reaching 100

Late HAI Pres & CEO Matt Zuccaro received FAA’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from FAA Administrator Steven Dickson.

million flight hours and completing several multi-unit orders, Bell nearing final tests of the 525 Relentless, Sikorsky upgrading the S-92, MD reinvesting heavily into future products, numerous updates for Robinson, and Enstrom celebrating 60 years. HAI made news with James Viola taking over as president and CEO, relieving Matt Zuccaro, who held the positions for 15 years. The 4 days of the conference also featured more than 150 educational courses, workshops, and seminars, along with interactive forums at HAI Connect on the show floor. The Big Easy will be host to HAI’s Heli-Expo 2021 as the annual event heads to New Orleans LA from March 22–25.

(L–R) Leonardo Managing Dir Gian Piero Cutillo, Kopter CEO Andreas Löwenstein, and Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo announce Leonardo’s purchase of Kopter.

Pratt & Whitney Canada VP Cust Prgms Tim Swail and VP Sales & Mktg Irene Makris with the PW210, used in AW169 and S-76D helos.

The Concorde Battery team was on hand to show the company’s array of products for helicopters of all makes and sizes.

At left, Robinson Helicopter President Kurt Robinson (R) shows the new features of the turbine R66 to FAA Administrator Steven Dickson. Robinson helicopters in a variety of public and law enforcement configurations were on display (above).

CAE has been providing aircraft training for nearly 75 years. On hand were (L–R) Reg Sales Mgrs Marcos Alencar, Sabrina Wolf, and Capt Andy Craig-Wood.

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Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even announced that the company’s worldwide fleet has surpassed 100 million flight hours and stated that the H160 medium-twin had completed flight testing. Certification is imminent, with EIS this year.

Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH) recent collaboration has resulted in the Aston Martin Edition ACH130.

The largest helicopter on display at the Airbus booth was the H175 super-medium twin. Universal Avionics CEO Dror Yahav and MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton reveal that MD will once again be using UA’s InSight avionics for the 900/902/969 twin NOTARs.

Metro Aviation Pres & CEO Mike Stanberry and Airbus CEO Bruno Even (center L–R) announce an order for 12 more EC145e helicopters for Metro.

MD announced that testing was recently completed to allow an increase in the 530F’s max gross weight to 3350 lb.

MD’s rocket, missile, and gun equipped 530 was a popular draw for showgoers.

Tennessee Valley Authority GM of Av Svcs David Hill signs agreement for 2 Bell 407GXi Bell 525 Relentless super medium-twin is in the final test flight helos for the public power operator. stages and proceeding toward certification. No EIS was revealed but it is expected soon.

Bell 505 Jet Ranger X has been on the market for a couple of years and is available in a variety of configurations including tour, elec- Safran’s Arriel 2B engine is tronic news gathering, and law enforcement. used in Airbus AS350s and EC130s.

Enstrom celebrated 60 years in business, having delivered over 1300 piston and turbine helicopters in more than 50 countries.

Safran CEO Franck Saudo announces a historic year for the company with the certification of 4 new engines in 2019.

Kopter announced final design configuration for the light-single SH09 just prior to Heli-Expo, but the big news was the company being purchased by Leonardo.

(L–R) GE Aviation TS/TP Flt Ops Integration David Spillman, Dir Rotor Mktg Tom Climer, and Dir Safety Prgms Bob Whetsell with the T700/CT7 helicopter engine.

Kaman’s unmanned K-Max program is being revitalized after completing operations in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24 are popular options for support of helicopter operators. Representing the Swiss manufacturer were (L–R) Sr Proj Engineer Jim Saxon, Biz AC Pres & CEO Thomas Bosshard, and AC Proj Mgr Tony Mueller.

Sikorsky S-76 remains a popular model for executive transport due to its range, capacity, power, and luxury outfittings. Garmin recently made news with its new GFC 600H flight control system for Airbus AS350 B2/B3. Mgr Av Aftermarket Sales Patrick Coleman was available for demonstrations.

FlightSafety Intl gave hands-on demos of the Novasim MR sim, the result of its collaboration with Brunner Elektronik.

With recent STCs, True Blue Power lithium ion batteries are now available for nearly all variants of most popular helicopters on the market. Answering questions were Pres & CEO Todd Winter (L) and Dir of Sales David Copeland.

(L–R) Rolls-Royce Helo Svcs Exec Scott Cunningham, Sr Mgr Rege Hall, Svcs Prg Mgr Helos Lance Mills, and VP Sales Lawrence Mann, with the M250-C47E, found in MD 530F/G, Bell 407GXi, and others.

FLIR continues to be the leading choice for camera and infrared sensor packages for law enforcement, firefighting, and other fields. Meeting customers were Dir of Mktg Cindy Jacobson and Sales Mgr Brian Spillane.

Schweizer RSG is bringing back the S300 in 2 variations later this year. With an S300CBi were (L–R) Mktg Spclst Cheryl Georg, Cust Acct Mgr/Chief Pilot Kendra Liechty, Pres David Horton, Social Media/ Spcl Projects Laine Horton, and Dir Tech Supt David Healey.

GONE WEST Tribute to Matt Zuccaro

Doreen & Matt Zuccaro


elicopter Association International (HAI) announced the passing of Matthew Zuccaro, the immediate past president and CEO of the association. Matt became an HAI member in the early 1980s. He was elected to

the HAI Board of Directors in 1987, and served as chairman in 1991. He was named president of HAI in 2005, and retired in January of this year. His tenure was marked by financial growth and safety advocacy. Among his many accomplishments, Matt may be best remembered for a column he wrote for ROTOR magazine in 2013, encouraging pilots to “land the damn helicopter” in situations where proceeding would endanger themselves and passengers. From that column, HAI’s

Matt & Murray Smith

Land & LIVE program was born, saving countless lives around the world. “My tenure as president and CEO of HAI has been the highlight of my working life,” Zuccaro remarked in a letter when he announced his retirement from HAI. “Leading this association offered me the opportunity to pay back the industry that has provided me with a rewarding and fulfilling career.” Godspeed, Matt. We’ll be forever grateful for your efforts to make this industry safer every day.

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Brexit and aviation Keep calm, and carry on – for now. cies such as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – the UK equivalent of FAA – as well as the operations that these agencies monitor.

Falcon 7X on final to LCY (London City, England). Business aviation operators will not see major impacts from Brexit immediately. Unfortunately, this status quo may not last for long, with a lot of uncertainty remaining as to what the actual long-term effects of Brexit may be.

By David Ison

Professor, Graduate School Northcentral University


hile the political landscape in the US has likely masked the drama that has recently unfolded in the UK (and will continue to unfold in the near term) in regard to the kingdom’s relationship with the European Union (EU), Britain’s exit (aka Brexit) was implemented on January 31 of this year. Surrounding this transition away from the EU, there has been a tremendous amount of confusion in terms of what effects it may have on businesses, travel, customs, taxes, costs, regulations, and so forth. Although Brexit occurred without a solid agreement with the EU, do not expect any end-of-days scenarios in the near future, at least not when it comes to aviation. For the most part, business aviation will enjoy a status quo in the near term. Beyond that, all bets are off for now.

So, what now? Many operators are at a loss as to what rules apply or what the future

holds in terms of business aviation and their associated aircraft. With that said, panic is not yet de rigueur, as there is a transition period for aviation through December 31, 2020. During this period, for the most part, things will not change for aviation operators, as the UK attempts to work out fresh deals with the EU and other nations. For example, through the end of the year, EU law continues to apply, and aviation still participates in the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) system. The UK continues to be a party to the EU Air Services Regulation with mutual recognition for EASA provisions. Furthermore, air connectivity and safety agreements remain in place for the time being. So, in short, during the transition period, there should be no apparent changes for businesses and individuals. According to the EU Withdrawal Act of 2018 (Brexit), EU laws are being converted into UK law. Moreover, the act preserves existing UK laws that were put into place to satisfy EU expectations and obligations. Supplementary legislation will be set in place to continue the functionality of transportation oversight agen-

The UK government states that it is committed to continuous transport connectivity to support economic and social ties to the EU and beyond. Thus, it has directed CAA to provide maximum support during the transition phase to ensure a seamless process to the “new” regulatory landscape. CAA will be available to provide technical advice and support to users as well as negotiators. In addition, CAA has been directed to support and create appropriate legal and policy support. CAA is working on creating and executing air safety agreements with the US and other nations to replace those that covered the UK while part of the EU. Probably most importantly, CAA is also drafting a contingency plan in case no solid deals are in place by the end of the 2020 transition period. Certain assumptions come into play if there are no set deals in place by the end of the transition period. One is that EU laws will be adopted automatically. Also, the UK will mirror EU aviation regulations for at least 2 years beyond the expiration of the transition period. At this point, CAA will assume regulatory functions that were handled by EASA, and the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements with the EU will become invalid. Unfortunately, beyond this point, there will be no mutual recognition of licenses, approvals, or certifications, although current holders will still be authorized to operate within the UK. Specific details as to what may be grandfathered in terms of licenses and the like are explicitly denoted in EU Regulation 2019/494. With this said, the UK has directed CAA to minimize additional requirements for licenses, approvals, and certifications.

Photo courtesy Dassault Aviation

Who’s in charge?

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Planes and pilots There are some additional concerns for operators in terms of aircraft, those who fly them, and how they are maintained. Holders of air carrier operating certificates in the UK will be treated as Third Country Operators (TCOs) – a status which limits freedom rights on point-topoint charters within the EU. Separate approval may be needed for such operations. Since the UK’s departure from the EU also means leaving the customs union, this could lead to a need for aircraft to be reimported into Europe or the UK – depending on the location of registry, ownership, use, and/ or operations. The UK will recognize EASA certifications, approvals, and licenses within the UK aviation system during the transition period. Unfortunately, there is no plan for reciprocity with EU countries. Another issue is that UK-issued EASA licenses, certificates, and approvals for maintenance, man-

ufacturing, and design will no longer be accepted in the EU – unless explicitly validated. Pilots may face challenges depending on where they are licensed. UK pilots can fly UK-registered aircraft outside the country, but will not be able to fly EASA-registered aircraft unless such license has been validated. Again, there are currently no mutual recognition agreements with the EU.

The sky is not falling – at least not yet Most of the aforementioned will have minimal impact for all operators – at least over the near term. Certainly, US operators who have been dealing with the EU in terms of regulations on pilot, aircraft, and operations should not notice any hiccups, except for having to clear customs in more than 1 location if transiting through the UK to the continent. Eventually, however, once the new agreements and rules are ironed out

between the UK and the EU, there may be some finer details that demand the attention of operators. If there is any doubt on the applicability of these changes on your operation, licensure, or certification, it would behoove you to check with CAA and, if applicable, EASA prior to planning a trip into their respective spheres of influence. Multinational companies with pilots, aircraft, and maintenance all originating from different countries with varied certifications will need to pay extra care to navigating the changes brought forth by Brexit. As always, it’s best to plan ahead with all things aviation.

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

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The advent of 5G Although it has limitations, the benefits for aviation go beyond high-speed airborne data transfer rates.

Bizjet passengers expect hyper-convenience in the form of continuous Wi-Fi connectivity, even when traveling by air.

By Shannon Forrest

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


omophobia. This is the term given to those afflicted with extreme anxiety or fear associated with being without a smartphone or “disconnected” from the online world. Although it sounds fictitious, nomophobia is an actual disorder largely driven by an entire generation raised on smartphones and reinforced by an economy of hyper-convenience. In this day and age, someone can have a gourmet meal delivered in minutes, a bundle of retail goods dropped off in hours, or have a romantic date scheduled for the evening just by spending a couple of seconds clicking and swiping on a portable electronic device (PED). Surveys show that some would rather amputate a toe than be without a smartphone for 24 hrs. The constant-connectivity mindset has become embedded in nearly every device, from light bulbs to aircraft. One reason for smartphone dependence is that PEDs or smart

devices have replaced some human cognitive functions, and done so almost without our noticing. Having a refrigerator determine that a gallon of milk is running low – and subsequently placing an order for a new one – is less concerning than the effects smart devices are having on knowledge dilution.

Copilot syndrome Transactive memory is a field of study first proposed by psychologist Daniel Wagner in 1985 that deals with how groups encode, store, and retrieve information. Experimental evidence shows that, when humans are divided into groups and asked to solve problems collectively or work through difficult scenarios, a “groupthink” solution is often the result. In many cases, individual members of a group who lack knowledge or are uncertain about the veracity of their knowledge, will defer to the opinions of others in the group, even if such answers are wrong. In a 2-person cockpit, transactive memory sometimes manifests in the form of “copilot syndrome” – that is,

when a subordinate FO allows his knowledge to become weak or deteriorate because he believes the captain has enough knowledge to handle any situation. Basically, the copilot is along for the ride, as he believes the captain will look out for him. According to a 2015 article in Scientific American, “research on transactive memory finds that, when we have reliable external sources of information about particular topics at our disposal, this reduces our motivation and ability to acquire and retain knowledge about those topics.” Asking Siri or using Google to derive information is a widespread example of transactive memory. The ability of the smart phone to provide answers (eg, “Siri, what’s the surface visibility requirement for surface-based class E airspace?”) means there’s no need to memorize data, facts, techniques, or procedures. Some might say PEDs are “dumbing down” the population at large. The old admonition from a middle school teacher in the 1980s and earlier that “You’d better learn math because you’re not always going to have a calculator with you” was untrue. You do always have a calculator with you if you carry a cellphone. Transactive memory is a large part of nomophobia, and many people believe instant access to online resources is necessary to function in everyday life. Another example of transactive memory is the dependence on mapping applications. Most people today can’t use a basic map or find their way to an unfamiliar location were it not for Google Maps or a similar application. An aircraft that lacks “suitable connectivity” can be torturous for a nomophobic. Further, operators without Wi-Fi connectivity are at a distinct disadvantage from the standpoint of productivity and entertainment. This is especially noticeable in the charter market, where clients tend to avoid renting aircraft without connectivity capability.

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Image courtesy Gogo

Gogo promises flexibility. Rather in the manner of wireless carriers providing redundancy across their networks, Gogo will continue to use its 3G and 4G networks throughout the continental US and Canada to ensure optimal coverage.

Enter 5G Passenger comfort and productivity have always been a key consideration for any flight department, and one would be hard pressed to find a Fortune 500 operation without an aircraft equipped with Internet capability. However, it seems simply having Internet access is no longer enough, as clients and consumers want the fastest speed available. For now, that’s 5G. The 5G rollout is being heavily marketed by the terrestrial-based Internet service providers as they vie for customers. Unfortunately, however, there’s a big difference between delivering a 5G signal to an aircraft versus a hand-held PED, and, as a result, most of the advantages of earthly 5G won’t carry over to airborne installations. Knowing what 5G is – and what it isn’t – can help flight departments decide whether it’s worth the additional investment to modify a single aircraft or an entire fleet to add 5G service connectivity. The “G” stands for generation, and represents a technological improvement from generations 1–4. Generations 1 and 2 were confined to phone calls and text messaging, whereas 3 and 4 were true mobile broadband delivery mechanisms. In terms of speed, 3G requires a minimum transfer rate of 200 kbps (kilobits per second), which is very slow when compared to a 4G specification of 100 mbps (megabits per second) for high-mobility users (cars and trains), and 1 gbps (gigabit per second) for pedestrians. The different broadband speed requirements for moving and stationary devices with-

in the 4G network is a reminder that the physics of fast-moving objects, such as aircraft, affects the overall speed of the system. The “LTE” (Long Term Evolution) designation after 4G has an interesting and dubious history. The governing body for broadband standards is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It turns out that, when the 4G specification was published, manufacturers couldn’t really meet it. If 4G speeds couldn’t be met, a provider could use LTE, which meant that the broadband speed was faster than 3G but not as fast as the published 4G specifications. The designation 4G caught on, and the average consumer never really questioned whether they were getting the promised speeds. Aside from increased delivery speeds near 20 gbps download and 10 gbps upload, 5G is unique from previous generations in that it operates on low, mid, and high frequency bands. Because the low frequency band is also used by LTE, it’s become saturated, and therefore the most promise for 5G lies with the mid and high frequency spectrum. Each commercial carrier has staked its claim, so to speak, with a preferential band. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all plan on using the high spectrum, and Sprint plans on using a large portion of the mid band spectrum. Although the mid and high frequency 5G bands have the capability to push an enormous amount of data, there’s a flaw – neither penetrates buildings very well. So, the only solution to the penetration problem is to drastically increase the

number of 5G antennas. From an aesthetics perspective, 5G antennas don’t resemble the massive cellular towers in existence today. Small rooftop antennas (albeit in large numbers) work for 5G.

Privacy concerns Security pundits say this super saturation of antennas brings an unintended side effect – individual smartphones can be geolocated down to a couple of meters on a 5G band. Current technology allows a cellphone to be traced to specific towers, which in turn can be triangulated to a small geographic region, but a 5G-capable phone with the GPS disabled can be traced to a specific room in a specific building. The ability to pinpoint the exact geographical location of a phone on a 5G network is likely only applicable to flight departments that are highly security conscious and transport high-profile individuals to unsavory parts of the world. It’s important to note that operators that use a strictly satellite-based system for connectivity are not affected by 5G as it’s an air-to-ground (ATG) technology only. Aircraft that use a combination of Satcom and ATG could see a 5G benefit, but only when over US domestic airspace, as that’s the only place where the infrastructure operates. Of course, the ability to switch seamlessly between satellite and ground-based systems (eg, transitioning from oceanic to domestic) is a function of service providers in combination with a smart router. Honeywell and Satcom Direct both have excellent product lines in these areas. PROFESSIONAL PILOT  /  March 2020  53

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comical, but serves to illustrate how much data 5G can push and how airports are using it.

Other potential benefits

To prevent signal attenuation, 5G requires a large number of antennas within a small geographic area. An advantage of antenna saturation is the ability to locate precisely objects like drones, which can be equipped cheaply with 5G transmitters.

Main ATG 5G providers The 2 primary players in the 5G ATG space are Gogo and SmartSky. Gogo is deeply entrenched in both the commercial and private air transport segments of the industry, and is currently pursing 5G capability. SmartSky, on the other hand, estimates 5G operations in 2021. In an interview to Avionics International, SmartSky President Ryan Stone points out that 5G connectivity in the air is not quite as exciting as on the ground. According to Stone, using a 5G network to download a movie in under a second, which is applicable using millimeter-wave frequencies across ultra-short ranges, is ideal for a fixed urban environment, but it would be impractical to use on a moving airplane. There are 2 key questions: How fast is fast enough? And what is superfluous when it comes to 5G in the air? In a practical sense, a nomophobic or habitual smartphone user won’t notice much of a difference between 4G and 5G on airborne networks. Given the tendency toward transactive memory as a function of smartphone use, constant connectivity in the form of a satellite/ATG combo package would seem preferable to a meager increase in speed.

5G for pax convenience The most practical use of 5G is in airport infrastructure. The most visible use comes in the form of passen-

ger amenities and convenience. LAX (Los Angeles CA), LGA (La Guardia, New York NY), and DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth, TX) have installed smart restrooms in the terminals. At first glance, it looks as though the airport authorities have modeled the restrooms after smart parking garages – as with parking spots, if a restroom stall is unoccupied, a green light illuminates directly above it, and red means there’s someone in there. However, 5G allows more information than just whether the latch is selected to open or closed. So much so that an entire business has developed based on collecting data from airport restrooms. Modus Systems developed the Tooshlight product line, and claims “Smart restrooms are plugged-in, sensor-enabled facilities that are aware of their own conditions and can communicate that data to the network.” The company touts that it collects data on stall turnover, traffic tracking and analysis, repair and maintenance, emergency/security, and feedback tablets, and sends it over the 5G network. How long a passenger or pilot sits in a bathroom stall is now a data point. This practice sounds creepy, but smart restroom proponents justify the practice by pointing out that a person in the stall for an extended period could have had a heart attack or be in duress. To improve situational awareness for those in need of a restroom stall, the occupied or unoccupied status can be sent to a smartphone app. The whole thing is

5G has the potential to improve situational awareness both in the air and on the ground. In the air, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles can be identified and located. Pilot reports of drone sightings on or in the vicinity of an airport continue to increase. Since a 5G transmitter is cheaper to install than GPS, especially when it comes to lower-cost drones typically operated by hobbyists, the vast number of 5G antennas allows a precise location to be transmitted, and that information could be relayed to ATC. With this information, pilots could be advised of drone incursions in the form of a traffic report. On the ground, 5G could help avoid surface-based incursions. Fuel trucks, snowplows and other airport vehicles could all be cheaply equipped with a 5G transmitter that would provide a constant position report. Although, technically, these vehicles should be in contact with ATC at tower-controlled airports, many pilots can attest to being surprised by the unexpected presence of a vehicle, especially when transitioning from IMC to VMC. The enormous amount of marketing being directed at potential 5G consumers may generate unrealistic expectations when it comes to airborne connectivity, but promising improvements to aviation could come with 5G. Pilots might have to point out that, although downloading a 2-hour movie in 3.6 seconds from the home or office is entirely possible under a terrestrial 5G network, doing the same thing in 6 minutes in a place traveling at 500 mph isn’t all that bad. Perhaps the question might be: “Siri, how fast does a jet fly?”

Shannon Forrest is a current line pilot, CRM facilitator and aviation safety consultant. He has over 10,000 hours and holds a degree in behavioral psychology.

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For more information, contact Dave Brown at 913-440-1714 or

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