Celebrating its 20th year, the SEL flight dept transports employees all over the globe in the company’s 4 Cessna Citation X+. At SEL’s home field PUW (Pullman-Moscow Regional WA) are n tio (R–L) Founder/Pres/Chief Technology Officer Dr Edmund Schweitzer III, Chief Business Officer en v n co Joey Nestegard, Director of Av Mark Wray, Av Mx Mgr Greg McCann, Chief Pilot Brian CE A EB Hemingway, Av Dispatch Mgr Kori Whitcomb and Corporate Travel Mgr Donna Wolf. s& PR
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Contributors in this issue DAVID BJELLOS, ATP/Helo. Gulfstream IV, Sikorsky S76, Bell 407. BRENT BUNDY, Phoenix PD Officer/Pilot. AS350, Cessna 210/182/172. SHANNON FORREST, ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605. ANTHONY KIOUSSIS, President, Asset Insight. GRANT McLAREN, Editor-at-Large. BOB ROCKWOOD, Managing Partner, Bristol Associates. MARTY ROLLINGER, ATP. Challenger 600/604, Falcon 2000 EASy. KARSTEN SHEIN, Comm-Inst. Climatologist, Natl Climatic Data Center. Professional Pilot ISSN 0191-6238 5290 Shawnee Rd, Suite 201, Alexandria VA 22312 Fax: 703-370-7082 Tel: 703-370-0606 E-MAIL: email@example.com
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Vol 53 No 5
Features 8 POSITION & HOLD Current threats to aviation by Bob Rockwood 30 OPERATOR PROFILE Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories by Brent Bundy Electrical equipment manufacturer flies 4 Cessna Citation X+ twinjets out of Pullman WA to visit customers worldwide.
38 PRASE SURVEY RESULTS Pro Pilot readers evaluate bizav ground service providers Staff compilation 52 RUNWAY ILLUMINATION Fitting landing strips with Light Emitting Diodes by Shannon Forrest LEDs are more energy-efficient but can cause problems for pilots. 56 EVENT COVERAGE AEA Convention and Trade Show 2019 by Brent Bundy Palm Springs CA hosts 62nd Aircraft Electronics Association convention.
58 SAFETY STANDARDS New stabilized approach criteria by Marty Rollinger Latest revisions to the Flight Safety Foundation’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction tool. 62 CONVENTION REPORT Heli-Expo 2019 by Brent Bundy Helicopter Association Intl celebrates 70th anniversary in Atlanta GA. 66 INTERNATIONAL OPS Flying bizjets to and within Europe by Grant McLaren Rules often vary from country to country, and it’s still expensive, but now there’s better awareness of general aviation needs.
72 WEATHER BRIEF Thunderstorms by Karsten Shein Extreme convection remains a top threat to unprepared pilots. 76 OUTER MARKER INBOUND Leroy Grumman: From biplanes to the moon by David Bjellos 78 PREVENTING RUNWAY OVERRUNS Use the 7 second + air distance + touchdown policy by Cengiz Kantarci Know your actual landing distance to come to a complete stop from a point 50 ft above the landing surface.
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D UN C A N AV I AT I ON H AS 1 7 E N G I N E R A P I D R E S P O N SE L AU N C H LOC AT I ON S W I T H MOR E T H A N 35 E N G I N E T E C H N I C I A N S I N TH E F I E L D D E D I C AT E D TO 24/7 AOG S U P P O R T.
Vol 53 No 5
Departments 12 VIEWPOINT NBAA President & CEO Ed Bolen says continued global advocacy supports industry growth. Asset Insight President Anthony Kioussis talks about objectivity when selling/buying used aircraft. 18 TERMINAL CHECKLIST Quiz on procedures when flying into MSP (Minneapolis–St Paul MN). Answers on page 20. 22 SQUAWK IDENT Pro Pilot readers reveal their favorite FBOs and explain why they like them so much. 28 SID & STAR The pilots have to abort a landing because of safety concerns and make the case to equip the Howler with ADS-B In.
Experience. Unlike any other. www.DuncanAviation.aero/engineRRT Aircraft Acquisition & Consignment | Airframe Maintenance Avionics Installation | Emergency Assistance (AOG) Engine & APU | Engineering & Certification Services Government & Special Programs | Paint & Interior Parts, Avionics, Instruments & Accessories
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Celebrating its 20th year, the SEL flight department transports employees all over the globe in the company’s 4 Citation X+. At SEL’s home field PUW are Founder/Pres/CTO Dr Edmund Schweitzer III, Chief Business Officer Joey Nestegard, Director of Aviation Mark Wray, Aviation Mx Mgr Greg McCann, Chief Pilot Brian Hemingway, Av Dispatch Mgr Kori Whitcomb and Corporate Travel Mgr Donna Wolf. Photo by Brent Bundy.
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POSITION & HOLD an editorial opinion
Modern threats to aviation
By Bob Rockwood Managing Partner, Bristol Associates
s we look to the next 10, 20 and 30 years, what are the biggest game changers related to corporate or private aviation? Cultural changes in attitude is a big one. Wait... What? Not greenhouse gases? Not personnel shortages? Not exponential cost increases? Not overcrowded airspace? Nope! Personnel shortages will straighten themselves out if the economics justify it. If aviation can pay enough, people will work there. Cost increases? Same answer. Overcrowding? This one is being solved with technology. Greenhouse gases is a bit hazy because this problem is not as easy to define and quantify. Hence, we have believers and deniers, evidence that can be disputed – or at least argued, and a political football that just gets tossed around and never really lands anywhere. So let’s start this discussion with some facts. The burning of fossil fuels results in CO2 emissions. Specifically, aviation fuel emits 3.15 grams of CO2 per gram of fuel. If we turn to Conklin & deDecker’s Business Aviation CO2 calculator, we see this converts to a Boeing BBJ emitting some 7.26 metric tonnes of CO2 per hour. A metric tonne equates to 1,000,000 grams, so we are talking about CO2 emissions in the range of 7,260,000 grams per a BBJ flight hour. If the plane is carrying 12 passengers, the CO2 emissions per passenger per hour equates to 605,000 grams.
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A BBJ is essentially a 737-700. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll assume total emissions to be the same. The 737-700 is typically set up for 149 passengers, and average load factors are somewhere around 65%, so let’s assume 100 passengers. So, on a per-passenger basis, CO2 emissions per passenger per hour equate to 72,600. Now we could argue all day about the benefits that accrue to these additional emissions per passenger that result from private flying. The arguments for this are well known. But here’s the thing: most of these arguments, both pro and con, don’t affect other people, but CO2 emissions do. And here’s the other thing: survey upon survey points to the fact that younger people, those of the millennial or centennial generations, look upon climate change as the major megatrend affecting aviation’s future. So to my original supposition, it is the cultural change in attitude that takes precedence. Without it, nothing else could ever change. Even recognizing that the shoreline at the beach house is 10 ft narrower than last year won’t stir up action unless, attitudinally, it’s accepted that climate change is a thing. What physical changes will take place in response to this attitude change remain to be seen. They may take the form of resisting the use of private aircraft. More likely they will drive manufacturers to produce lower-emitting products. And certainly these changes in attitude will
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Younger generations perceive climate change as the major trend affecting the future of aviation, and greenhouse gases from aircraft emissions are a huge factor contributing to global warming.
bring about advances in hybrid or even pure electric propulsion sooner rather than later. No matter. It all starts with people saying “we care” instead of “huh?” What other cultural changes are we seeing, and how might they affect our industry? If you were born in 1977 or later, you grew up with a computer at hand and matured with a cell phone on your hip. From early days you were exposed to social networking projects like Friendster, MySpace, and the King Kong of them all, Facebook. All this has led to younger people being more open to the concept of sharing personal information, experiences and, in general, their lives. For comparison I, who was born a tad before 1977 (a tad being defined as many dog years), had access to a black, rotary-dial phone. Unlike today’s unlimited call plans, each time I wanted to talk and “share” with someone, the phone bill went into the stratosphere. And we had a 2-party line, so our conversations were frequently listened into. Sharing seemed intrusive and was not a concept that was in favor. So we see here a cultural change. It takes us from resisting the concept of sharing to opening our kimonos wide, and it is changing the definition of private flying. Yesteryear, private flying meant owning your plane. Today it means dialing up an app and finding a flight at a reduced cost by sharing it with strangers. Hardly earthshaking news, but another peek into how a cultural change can alter a business model. Now consider another effect of this cultural change. Because future users of private aircraft will access them through charter/sharing/apps, they will be less connected to their operation. Line item costs won’t be broken out. There won’t be any focus on FAA and ATC related costs. How much easier then for politicians to pass ATC privatization than it is today when such an act raises a hue and cry from owners? Today’s generations have grown up with more technology in the palm of their hands than existed for the first moon landing, and this leads to another cultural change: the willingness to allow technology to make our decisions and perform our tasks. “Cortana, where are my socks?” It is this adaption to ever-improving artificial intelligence that will give rise to eVTOL pilotless urban transport, and
Travelers have access to private aircraft using smartphone applications that enable them to browse and book seats on existing shared flights around the world.
pilotless flight in general. A recent survey indicated that those of the current generation did not think they would get on a pilotless aircraft in the next 5 to 10 years, but were quite certain they would be willing to do so in the next 15 to 20 years. The economic and cultural implications of eVTOL pilotless urban transport are mindboggling in their scope. Our geographic landscape could be radically changed as a result of the advent of this technology. As someone old enough to still not fully trust automatic transmissions, let alone a computer making decisions for me, I can attest to the degree of cultural change necessary to allow for pilotless flight. Last, we are witnessing the cultural change of wanting experiences over things. It will be interesting to see if this change has legs and survives current generations getting older and giving into the natural urge to nest. However, the failure of assets such as houses, and yes, airplanes, to hold their value as in the past, may provide impetus for this trend to continue. If so, it will encourage the continuation and deepening of the sharing trend. As I have suggested in the past, sharing private aircraft does not encourage the growth of the fleet which, in turn, inhibits sales. In a nutshell, change – technological or otherwise – cannot happen without attitudes changing to accept it. If no one cared about climate change, nothing would be done about it. Therefore we must perceive that cultural changes in attitude are the number one threat, or maybe, benefit, to private flying. And, as indicated above, these changes in attitude can affect seemingly unrelated areas in unanticipated ways. Bob Rockwood has been in the aircraft brokerage business since 1978. During his tenure at Omni Intl Jet Trading Floor he began writing The Rockwood Report, which discusses the corporate aircraft market. In 1986 he joined Bristol Associates as a managing partner.
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VIEWPOINTS editorial opinions
Aircraft on display at GVA (Geneva, Switzerland) during the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2018.
Ed Bolen President & CEO, NBAA Continued global advocacy supports industry growth
usiness aviation has always been a global industry that requires advocacy in all parts of the world. NBAA understands this mission and works continually, at regional and international levels, to support policies that foster the industry’s growth and prosperity. For example, NBAA has been working for over a decade to help international operators comply with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)’s Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) ramp check program. NBAA recently commented on proposed changes in SAFA inspections, making EASA aware of operators’ concerns and explaining how business aircraft flying differs from airline operations. Beyond our work in specific regional theaters, the association also advocates for the industry at the global level. Much of our work in this regard is undertaken in coordination with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), business aviation’s official observer to the proceedings of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
As of this writing, NBAA is helping IBAC prepare for the next major meeting of ICAO, which will deal with a variety of important topics that affect business aircraft operators, such as using data-driven risk assessment to enhance safety and facilitating worldwide adoption of innovative air-traffic management initiatives. NBAA and IBAC also continue working to achieve reasonable compliance limits and procedures for ICAO’s global aviation emissions plan, known as the Carbon Offsetting and Reductions Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. We were pleased that ICAO heard and understood our position on the plan’s introduction, that business aircraft emissions represent a tiny fraction of all aviation emissions, and that the segment should be given proportionate consideration under CORSIA. This understanding led ICAO to grant the vast majority of business aircraft operators a “small emitter” exemption from the policy, greeted with strong support from NBAA and IBAC. That said, the 2 organizations continue monitoring the voluntary compliance requirements in place for CORSIA, with an eye toward ensuring compliance is workable. Of course, not all of the advocacy work done by NBAA relates to compliance with government mandates. Business aviation has a long record of support for industry-driven initiatives, and NBAA is active on a number of those as well. One of the most promising among these is
Photo courtesy EBACE
Bolen: Global advocacy supports bizav growth. Kioussis: Maintaining objectivity when valuing used aircraft.
12 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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the development and use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels (SAJF), derived from a broad variety of renewable sources and blended with petroleum jet fuel, resulting in a mixture indistinguishable from straight Jet-A. Illustrating the industry’s long-standing commitment to reducing its already small emissions footprint, several business aviation stakeholders in May will recognize the 10th anniversary of the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change, which identified SAJF among other initiatives for further reducing overall emissions in business aviation. Over the past year, as part of that commitment, a coalition of international business aviation organizations released the Business Aviation Guide to the Use of Sustainable Alternative Jet Fuels, which outlines the pathway toward the adoption and use of SAJF and sponsored a demonstration day in the US to prove these fuels’ viability and safety. In fact, the promotion and use of SAJF will be in focus as never before at the 2019 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) taking place May 21–23 in Geneva. The event will include an SAJF-focused technical panel discussion at the EBACE Innovation Zone on the show’s opening day, while TAG London Farnborough Airport will host the 1st European SAJF demonstration day on May 18, building on the US event earlier this year at VNY (Van Nuys CA). Clearly, as business aviation continues to grow around the world, NBAA will continue to reflect the industry’s needs across multiple areas, engaging with government officials and industry stakeholders to protect and promote business aviation in an evolving global environment.
Anthony Kioussis President, Asset Insight Maintaining objectivity in a subjective world e occasionally receive teleW phone calls that start with (what we call) the famous 4 words:
“This can’t be right.” The caller then proceeds to explain why the figures displayed by eValues, our automated valuation system, do not match their view of the world, and the implied – if not stated – expectation is that we will correct the transgression. Knowing the artificial intelligence program running eValues is not infallible, we try to listen very carefully to ensure we understand the caller’s issue. We then point out the objective path that led to our system’s conclusion. Most people understand that an automated system looks at everything with complete objectivity, yet some clients cannot help but “feel” that our conclusions are wrong. Feelings are fine. The problem is they provide a subjective viewpoint. Our goal is to minimize subjectivity to the maximum extent possible, and we have programmed eValues to think the same way. Subjectivity is a very slippery slope that an appraiser can follow to an unsupportable conclusion. We know. We have encountered some of these folks during expert witness testimony and their “feel” did not serve them, or their clients, well.
Average life expectancy of a paint job is 7 years. Offer prices will adjust to compensate for repainting poor or oudated paint schemes.
Take, for example, aircraft exterior paint. The Asset Insight Maintenance Rating scale ranges from –2.500 to 10.000, and the rating for new paint objectively depreciates to 0.000 over 7 years. Why? Because in speaking with numerous paint facilities, that has been the average life expectancy of aircraft paint and styling. The paint on any specific aircraft could (and many times does) exceed 7 years of service, but odds are that a buyer will adjust their offer price for the cost to repaint the aircraft if its paint looks marginal, or if the paint scheme is dated. We once had a discussion with an owner who believed his aircraft’s paint should be rated at an 8, even though more than 15 years had elapsed since the aircraft was last painted, because the aircraft had been kept in a hangar. Well, the aircraft didn’t do any of its flying inside of the hangar, but it certainly experienced the elements that affect paint, such as rain, sleet, hail and UV rays from the sun each time it flew a mission. Next is the issue of an aircraft’s interior condition. Again, there are those who will rate their aircraft’s interior much higher than the 0.000 it achieves when it has aged more than 8 years. The interior’s condition could be good, but styles change, and interior colors and schemes become dated. The colors that were prevalent some years ago are probably out of fashion today, and even the TV monitors may need to be replaced with high-definition units. Notice that we are not suggesting that the paint was peeling, the interior fabrics were torn, the leather was worn, or the wood on sidewalls and table-tops was damaged. In fact, the paint and interior may be perfectly acceptable to the current owner and the prospective buyer. However, unless transaction prices allow us to value the asset higher, the only objective basis that intelligence, human or artificial, can rely on is the facts. Another client valuation angst is the market depreciation pace of cockpit and passenger cabin “technology,” which is often valued lower than some people “feel” it should be. What many are not considering is the pace of technology obsolescence. Avionics manufacturers, along with cabin communication system OEMs, are introducing new equipment every few years. Considering capability and dependability – not to mention safety – improve with each iteration, values of aircraft not equipped with the latest technology can depreciate more rapidly than “feels” fair. But is that not to be expected?
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Quality Rating vs Aircraft Price Source: assetinsight.com 10
Value ($ Millions) Like Make/Model
Consider a scenario where you install a new avionics suite after its technology has been available for some time. A couple of months later a more advanced system is introduced, and many aircraft owners adopt it for the make/model aircraft you operate. While perhaps unfair, sellers of these newly-equipped aircraft are likely to expect more (and buyers are likely to pay more) for those assets, at the expense of aircraft equipped with your less capable system. One item with the potential to dramatically alter an aircraft’s value is Hourly Cost Maintenance Program (HCMP) enrollment, and the amount of value change can be influenced by several factors, and the specific level of coverage the program provides is certainly an important one. More than one level of coverage is often made available by the OEM, and there are independent companies offering such programs with differing levels of coverage. Another important factor is a program’s transferability. If it cannot be transferred at time of sale, the program holds no value for the purchaser. However, the primary HCMP value driver is the actual differential between what buyers are willing to pay, by make/model, for aircraft enrolled on HCMP compared to those not enrolled on a program. Also, if only 20% of your make/model fleet is enrolled on a program, don’t expect the value increase to be dramatic. On the other hand, if 80% of your make/model fleet is enrolled on a program and your aircraft is not, expect a value deduction on your asset. Why? Because your aircraft’s specification relative to HCMP coverage is clearly not preferred by most buyers. You may find a buyer who does not wish to acquire a HCMP-covered aircraft, just like you may find a buyer willing to acquire an aircraft sporting an outlandish paint scheme. However, rest assured, if they are an experienced buyer, their offer will more than likely reflect your asset’s HCMP coverage status. By way of seeking an increase in their aircraft’s valu-
ation, some HCMP-covered aircraft owners point to the higher Ask Prices often sought by sellers whose aircraft are enrolled on a specific level of HCMP coverage. Regrettably, higher Ask Prices do not always translate into higher Transaction Values – the only relevant figure when it comes to valuing an aircraft. Lastly, maintenance condition can be a serious value driver – particularly following a major airframe inspection or engine work. While some owners “feel” that an aircraft’s valuation should increase by an amount equal to the average cost of a major maintenance event, that is usually not possible. In fact, the value applied to maintenance events will decrease over time, as will the value applied to the other items mentioned in this article, including HCMP coverage. As an aircraft ages, there will come a time when an engine overhaul, or even a major airframe inspection, will be more expensive than the aircraft market value. The asset’s owner may elect to invest $1 million for a double-engine overhaul, and prospective buyers may become preferentially fond of this aircraft, but that does not mean a “willing buyer” will be found who will pay $1 million above the $300k to $400k transaction price range achieved by aircraft of this make/model. Individually, most of these items are likely to have a negligible effect on an aircraft’s value – excepting HCMP coverage. As a group, however, even if only some of them are misinterpreted or computed by “feel,” the consequences can be an illogical and erroneous conclusion. An appraiser’s function is to provide “an opinion of value.” Thus, valuing an aircraft higher or lower for some specific reason is well within their job description, and their purview. At Asset Insight, when computing a figure (except in the case of an eValues calculation), we try to ensure that “reason” is based on objective factors to the maximum degree possible, just in case we’re asked to support our conclusion through expert witness testimony.
16 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Terminal Checklist 5/19 Answers on page 20
Reproduced with permission of Jeppesen Sanderson. Reduced for illustrative purposes.
7. Which altitude restrictions apply to this arrival? a ERICX—maximum FL240 b SPUKI—mandatory 7000 ft MSL c BRNVL—minimum 8000 ft MSL d HDEEE—minimum 9000 ft MSL e TORGY—minimum 13,000 ft MSL
6. If ATC issues the clearance “descend via TORGY Three Arrival, except maintain 10,000,” the flight must_____ a comply with the altitude restrictions at ERICX, TORGY, and OFSON, then descend to 10,000 ft MSL. b request an amended clearance from ATC because the chart depicts bottom altitudes of 7000 or 8000 ft MSL. c immediately initiate a descent to 10,000 ft MSL and comply with the lateral path requirements of the STAR. d descend and maintain 10,000 ft MSL and then comply with any lower published altitude restrictions on the chart.
5. An aircraft at FL240 receives a “descend via” clearance at UFFDA. If, after passing ERICX, ATC issues a clearance to “descend and maintain 11,000” the flight should comply with the published altitude restriction at TORGY before descending to 11,000 ft MSL. a True b False
4. Select the true statement(s) regarding the route from SSWAN to TORGY. a The route is charted to scale. b The portion of the route from ERICX to TORGY is charted to scale. c The Grid MORAs of 34 and 33 provide 1000 ft of obstacle clearance. d The Grid MORAs of 34 and 33 provide 2000 ft of obstacle clearance.
3. Select all that apply. Minneapolis Center issues a clearance to “descend via TORGY Three Arrival, Runway 30R transition,” a Runway 30R is the landing runway. b The aircraft must comply with the arrival’s speed restrictions. c The aircraft is expected to comply with the lateral path of the STAR and published altitude restrictions only. d “Descending on the TORGY Three Arrival” is an appro priate way to verify to Minneapolis approach control that a “descend via” clearance was issued.
2. A maximum total system error and cross-track error of 1 nm applies to this arrival. a True b False
1. Select the item(s) required for this STAR. a Radar d Turbojet aircraft b RNAV 1 e Moving map display c Autopilot f GPS or DME/DME/IRU
neapolis MN) when necessary to answer the following questions:
Refer to the 10-2J TORGY 3 RNAV ARRIVAL for KMSP/MSP (Min-
Not to be used for navigational purposes
9. After reaching JAEDN, ATC issues a clearance to fly a heading of 090°. The pilot should modify the route in the RNAV system to prepare to rejoin the STAR at the next fix or procedure leg. a True b False
Select the true statement(s) regarding the landing portion of 8. What speed restrictions apply to this arrival when flying from 10. the STAR. SSWAN? a An MSA of 3600 ft MSL applies to an aircraft over JAEDN. a Descend via Mach number until ERICX. b KRUGG, IRRRV, JJENI and GWAIT are fly-over waypoints. b Descend via Mach number until TORGY. c One of the landing transition serves STP (St Paul MN). c Maintain 280 knots until reaching JAEDN. d At KRUGG, an aircraft may be cleared to fly the ILS d Maintain 280 knots until reaching TORGY. e Maintain 210 knots at SPUKI, KRUGG, OSMOH and MAUER. approach to Runway 12L or 12R. 18 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Answers to TC 5/19 questions 1. a, b, d, f The procedural notes in the Briefing Strip indicate that DME/DME/IRU or GPS, radar, and RNAV 1 are 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.” 2.
b AC 90-100A states RNAV 1 equipment requirements. Aircraft operating on RNAV 1 STARs and SIDs must maintain a total system error of not more than 1 nm for 95% of the total flight time. However, cross-track error/deviation is limited to 0.5 nm.
b According to the FAA document Climb Via/Descend Via Speed Clearances Frequently Asked Questions, ARTCCs cannot assign a landing runway. However, many issue the “runway transition” with the “descend via” clearance. Minneapolis approach will assign the landing runway as indicated in procedural note 5 in the Briefing Strip. A “descend via” clearance means that the aircraft is expected to comply with the lateral path of the STAR and with all published altitude and speed restrictions. When changing frequency, pilots must advise ATC on initial contact of current altitude, “climbing via/descending via” with the procedure name, and runway transitions, if assigned. FAA Information for Operators 14003 states phrases such as “on the” or “descending on” a procedure are not acceptable.
b, c MORAs are represented in abbreviated form by indicating the thousands figures plus the first hundred figure in smaller character. On Jeppesen charts, all MORA altitudes that are 6000 ft or lower have an obstacle clearance of 1000 ft. MORA altitudes of 7000 ft or greater, provide obstacle clearance of 2000 ft. Grid MORAs are only charted for the To-Scale portion of the chart based on grids formed by 30 minutes or 1 degree of latitude/longitude. The transition route from SSWAN to ERICX is not to scale as indicated by the absence of a Grid MORA and the chart note.
5. b Unlike a “descend via” clearance, when cleared to “descend and maintain,” the aircraft is expected to vacate its current altitude and begin an unrestricted descent to comply with the clearance. For aircraft already descending via a STAR, published altitude restrictions are cancelled unless reissued by ATC.
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6. a If a flight is cleared to “descend via” a STAR, but the controller adds “except maintain (altitude),” the pilot must comply with all published altitude and speed constraints until reaching the assigned altitude, unless explicitly cancelled by ATC. AIM 5−4−1 provides examples of arrival clearances and describes compliance actions. 7. b, d, e Altitude restrictions are depicted according to ICAO standards. A line above the altitude shows the upper limit (maximum). A line below the altitude shows the lower limit (minimum). “At” is depicted by a line above and below the altitude value (mandatory). And 2 altitudes shown with lines above and below indicates between altitudes/flight levels. 8.
a, d Speed restrictions that apply to the entire procedure are shown below the procedure title. In this case, “…descend via Mach number until intercepting 280 KT, maintain 280 KT until slowed by the STAR…” Arriving from SSWAN, the aircraft must be at 280 kts from ERICX to TORGY, then slow to meet the speed restrictions of 230 kts or 250 kts at SPUKI and JAEDN, respectively. Speed restrictions of 210 kts apply to KRUGG, OSMOH, MAUER, and BRNVL.
9. b According to the AIM 5-4-1, if vectored or cleared to deviate off of a STAR, pilots must consider the STAR cancelled, unless the controller adds “expect to resume STAR.” In that case, pilots should then be prepared to rejoin the STAR at a subsequent fix or procedure leg. According to AC 90-100A, if ATC issues a heading assignment taking the aircraft off an RNAV procedure, the pilot should not modify the route in the RNAV system until a clearance is received to rejoin the procedure or the controller confirms a new route clearance. 10.
d A Grid MORA of 3600 ft MSL applies at JAEDN. However, the minimum safe/sector altitude is 2800 ft MSL depicted in magenta for the sector south of the 090° and 270° radials from MSP VOR. Only IRRRV, JJENI and GWAIT are flyover waypoints as identified as the waypoint symbol enclosed in a circle. KRUGG is a fly-by waypoint. Airports that are served by the procedure, known as “Also Serves” airports, are depicted using a blue color. All secondary airports that are not served by the procedure, such as KSTP, are depicted in gray. A note on the plan view and in the Landing instructions section indicates that at KRUGG, an aircraft may expect the RNAV (RNP), RNAV (GPS) or ILS approach OR radar vectors to the final approach course for Runway 12L or 12R.
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Of all the FBOs you have ever visited, do you have an overall favorite? Why is this your preferred FBO? What do they do that’s so good?
ur favorite FBO would have to be Atlantic Aviation PDX. The facility is spectacular, the line
Cabo San Lucas
service personnel and the CSRs are incredibly attentive and efficient. Even the general manager comes out occasionally to make sure we are being taken care of. The Atlantic points are the icing on the cake. Keven Christopherson ATP/CFI. King Air B200 Chief Pilot PacifiCorp South Jordan UT
or 15 years, I’ve been going to The Ohio State University FBO at OSU (Columbus, Ohio) and have always had outstanding service from the line staff to office personnel, exceptional in every way. They have a new FBO that is state of the art, with everything you could possibly want. Attached to the FBO there is an excellent restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, or dinner and it’s always awesome! Joe Drummelsmith ATP/Helo/CFI. Airbus AS365 N3 Chief Helicopter Pilot Drummelsmith Acquisition Maineville OH
Thank you for your vote in PRASE 2019
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 Source: 2019 Pro Pilot PRASE survey
Cabo San Lucas Airport • Tel 624-124-5500 • email@example.com • www.acsl.com.mx
’ve been going to Meridian at TEB since 1990. Their name has changed a few times, but the people stay the same. Betsy Wines and Victor Seda must be doing something right. Joseph Tiritilli ATP. Learjet 55 Captain Florida Jet Deerfield Beach FL hen I went for training at FTW, I was not parked on Texas Jet’s ramp, nor was I going to buy any fuel. I went to rent a car from them, instead, they gave me a crew car for free. Since then, I’ve been back dozens of times. The service and pricing are the best. These guys do it right. Pete Melcher ATP. Learjet 45 & Challenger 300 Captain Cockrell Resources Houston TX
ilson Air in CLT, HOU, and CHA are consistently at the top of their game. They are professional, courteous, and we know what to expect when we visit them. Their people love their jobs and it shows. Brett Udy ATP. Citation X Asst Chief Pilot Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Pullman WA
ignature Flight Support MSP has excellent service. Denny Zeller ATP. Gulfstream G550 & Falcon 2000 Captain IBM Flight Operations Montgomery NY
just love independent familyowned companies that can compete well with the major chains and National Jets FLL does just that. They consistently give great customer service and have a superior location, road-wise on the field. Dean Brock ATP/CFII/A&P. Challenger 604 Captain Executive Flight Services Jacksonville FL
22 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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y favorite FBO would be Meridian at TEB, because they have good ramp personnel and their customer service is great. Their facility for passengers and pilots are top notch. Don Walker ATP. Gulfstream G550 Captain Jet Linx Waleska GA
uring my time as a Coast Guard Falcon 20 pilot, and later as a T-34C instructor pilot, I made several stops at Million Air at CWF (Lake Charles LA). They are my favorite because they are always prompt, courteous, and professional. They have a good ramp and are familiar with handling numerous types of aircraft. They also have a nice clean facility and are friendly and hospitable. Michael O’Brien ATP/Helo/CFII. Leonardo AW139 Captain PHI Cantonment FL
ignature is my favorite because we have platinum status which gives us certain perks such as credit card on file for payment and priority hangar space to name a couple. I have found that most Signatures always get the bill done correctly the first time, it’s especially nice when we are on a tight schedule. Pam Barwick ATP. Citation Excel/XLS Captain Fly Exclusive Hobe Sound FL
y top pick is Kaiser Air at OAK (Oakland CA). In summary terrific service at reasonable prices. Their line staff is well trained and attentive to the pilot’s needs. The front desk staff are good at multitasking and they frequently help me coordinate hotel reservations and rental cars. Their facility has a comfortable crew rest area with reliable internet and plenty of good coffee. They also have a great price on fuel. Jay Brentzel ATP. Embraer Legacy Chief Pilot HSMM Carlsbad CA
anyan Air Service FXE is by far one of the best and consistently the most professional FBOs we use on a regular basis. Line crews and staff are attentive to our needs. They never say we can’t. The facility is pilot friendly and great for passengers. Banyan exemplifies what an FBO should be! James Wilson ATP. Falcon 7X Chief Pilot FJet Management Trumansburg NY
he #1 service we continue to get each and every time we visit is at Signature South at TEB. They treat us like royalty, even though we are a turboprop! Jodi Novak ATP/CFII. King Air 300 Captain Gama Aviation Fowlerville MI
fly all over the world and there is an expectation of service everywhere I go. I’m based at MYR and would just like to commend the guys at Myrtle Beach Aviation. They are hometown friendly and always go above and beyond. It doesn’t matter if I’m in my Challenger or a Skyhawk 172, it’s always a great experience. Thanks, Myrtle Beach Aviation. Allan Watkins ATP/Helo. Challenger 350 Pilot NetJets Myrtle Beach SC
f all the FBOs I have been to, my favorite is Mapiex at PAC (Panama City, Panama). Every time I go they treat us like family and like we are #1 for them. It’s a super special treatment that I haven’t received anywhere else. They are always ready to go the extra mile. One time, we needed transportation for something personal and they offered to help us alongside the regular services they provide. Nothing but good testimonials from me. Good and happy people. Arnoldo Rojas ATP. Legacy 500 & Phenom 300 Pilot Elite Jets Naples FL
usiness Jet Center at DAL is my preferred FBO because they treat passengers and crew as VIPs. They give very good service and are very friendly. Also, a crew can always be made available. John Emerson ATP/CFI. Pilatus PC-12 President Altitude Aviation Lake Charles LA
ou can find the best service anyone could ask for at Signature STP. They anticipate any upcoming requests and are always happy to help. Bob Schroeder ATP/Helo/CFII. Citation Mustang/King Air C90 President WSI Appleton WI
y favorite FBO is Jet Aviation at GVA (Geneva, Switzerland). They work hard to make our arrivals and departures perfect. João Bonatto ATP. Gulfstream G650 Captain Aero Rio Táxi Aéro Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
ilson at CHA have such helpful line crew and CSRs, they send crew Hallmark cards. There is always plenty to eat, drink, and they give away stuff every time I have visited. With the Shell AeroClass rewards program I earn double points on fuel. It is consistently the most outstanding FBO of all my travels. Mark Fairless Comm-Multi-Inst/CFII. Citation V/CJ1 Chief Pilot Connair Consulting Trenton TN
ur preference goes to University Air Center at GNV (Gainesville FL). This knowledgeable team delivers unfailingly professional service. Their polite line crew and counter staff always provide consistent and excellent service rain or shine, day or night. Paul Lackie ATP. CRJ700 Pilot Elite Airways Melbourne FL
24 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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don’t go there very often anymore but I would choose Meridian at TEB. Their facility and line techs are top notch. They have a movie theatre, computer work stations, nice quiet rooms, and lots of windows looking out NYC. On the second floor, you can see almost all of the airport. Michael Zangara ATP/Helo/CFII. Sikorsky S76 Chief Pilot, Check Airman & Instructor Pilot Associated Aircraft Group Highland NY
ignature MEM is my go-to FBO. They have great people who provide excellent service. Steve Miller Comm-Multi-Inst. Caravan Captain Southern Airways Express Pompano Beach FL
et’s keep it simple, Texas Jet at FTW is my preference. They are all about service and caring for the customer. Charles Hackett Comm-Multi-Inst. King Air B200 Chief Pilot Seagull Management Denton TX
illion Air at ADS is my top pick because it’s like going home! Patrick Hill ATP/CFI. Citation CE650 Pilot Jetup Oceanside CA
ery pleased with services at Banyan FXE. All I receive from them is outstanding, classy and friendly treatment. Banyan, under the leadership of Founder and Owner Don Campion, is 2nd to none. David Kendrick ATP/Helo/CFI. Fairchild Swearingen SA227 & UH72A Lakota Aviation Safety Officer & Line Captain Berry Aviation Bakersfield CA
oss Aviation at TRM (Thermal CA) is the FBO of our selection for the excellent service they provide. Mostly we operate in the West Coast and I must say, for such a small operation, the Ross staff always treats us very well. Service for the plane and pax is superior and also a crew car is available if needed. They have a nice lounge and gourmet coffee and tea. Snacks are also offered. Todd Pastorini Comm-Multi-Inst. Citation Sovereign Pilot Sundance Aviation Discovery Bay CA
Bill Bill Weaver Weaver ith a heavy W heart, I announce the passing
of our very own Bill Weaver on April 12, 2019 at age 66. Knowing that this day would come, I’ve often thought about how I would one day write this message. Like all of you, I loved and admired Bill dearly. In his final months, he remained very active in Million Bill Weaver Air HPN (White Plains NY) and he wouldn’t have had it any other way. In March of this year, Bill was able to attend the grand opening of the new Million Air White Plains and shared in the excitement and joy to be able to participate and celebrate the fruits of his generational contribution at HPN. It was magical and resolute for him. He displayed tremendous strength and remains an inspiration to us all. Bill and Mike Mason, his best friend and business partner for life, were literally raised in this business at HPN. Bill and Mike’s fathers were the original founders of the flight school and FBO on the airport, on the very spot that we have recently built the iconic mothership FBO for Million Air. In 1954, when their fathers were flight instructors at the airport, they reported to work one morning to find the old farmhouse doors locked and the old Willys Jeep sequestered. The airport manager had ceased the property for non-payment, so he threw the keys to the farmhouse to Mr Weaver and Mr Mason and instructed them to run it until further notice. That’s how little Billy and Mikey grew up on the airport property, washing aircraft, turning wrenches and a shoveling snow when necessary. They purchased the business from their mentors and fathers in 1983 and, through all of their hard work and sleepless nights, they turned Million Air HPN into truly one of the finest, most elaborate and iconic FBOs in the world. Bill served in the Air National Guard as a mechanic in the prop shop and was an accomplished commercial pilot. He was a loving father, dedicated husband, served on his town council for 16 years, and was mayor for 2 terms. To everyone in the Million Air family, he was a mentor, a boss, a partner and a deeply loyal friend. Our hearts are with everyone who knew him dearly, especially the Million Air White Plains Family. Although we will suffer the pain of his loss, we are grateful he is at peace and home. He will be forever remembered, forever missed. God speed, Bill. —Roger Woolsey
26 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Edward Edward “Skip” “Skip” Koss Koss
Thomas Thomas Hirschmann Hirschmann
is with great sadness that Concorde Battery CorpoIlongtration announces the passing of Edward “Skip” Koss, time Vice President of Marketing and great friend
of the aviation industry. Skip was surrounded by family at his Redlands CA home at the time of his passing on March 19, 2019. Skip is survived by 2 sisters, 9 children, Kathy Katz, Eve Arnett, Paul Koss, Amy Koss, Pete Koss, Erin Thompson, Pamela Little, Jill Duke, Mark Koss, and 18 grandchildren. Skip, a legend in aviation and the industry’s battery authority, started his aviation career at DET (Detroit MI) in the summer of 1949 where he washed and polished airplanes and swept hangar floors. He went on to attend Aero Mechanics High School the following September, at age 16, and continued to work at DET. At 17, Skip passed his written exams for FAA A&P certification but he had to wait Edward “Skip” Koss until 18 to take the practical test. Skip went on to work for General Motors Air Transport section for 13 years as a licensed A&P before moving on to act as the Director of Maintenance for Midwestern Airlines, Omni Aircraft Sales and Sunstream Jet Center. He chose to accept a position as Sales Manager with Aero Quality Sales in 1973. There he became the industry’s battery authority and worked closely with engineering expert Joe Mibelli to develop the first charger analyzer that could charge and discharge high currents at low voltages – the Superseder. In 1980, Skip joined Teledyne Battery Products. He then worked for Marathon Power Technology from 1983 to 1987. Ultimately, Skip’s enthusiasm for Concorde’s new AGM technology led to him joining the Concorde team. His business prowess and aircraft knowledge propelled Concorde into the strong position it holds today by way of designing drop-in replacement batteries that provided pilots and mechanics with a dependable, low-maintenance solution. He made significant developments in sales and marketing over more than 30 years of dedication to Concorde and will forever be a rich part of the company’s history.
homas Hirschmann passed away on April 3, 2019 T in Zurich, Switzerland. Hirschmann was a well-respected leader at Jet Aviation, where he served for 29
years. The company and its employees mourn his untimely loss. He was 64. Thomas Hirschmann, 2nd son of Jet Aviation Founder Carl Hirschmann (1920–1995), joined Jet Aviation in 1974 and served as the company’s Chairman & CEO from 1990 through 2003. He remains a significant figurehead to the company. Jet Aviation celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 and Thomas Hirschmann was often warmly remembered throughout the year for all that he achieved for the company. Thomas devoted nearly half of his life to Jet Aviation, launching the company into the completions business, building up its marketing and communications department, establishing a presence in the US, expanding to Asia, and leading the company as Chairman & CEO for nearly 15 years. “I am greatly saddened to learn of Thomas Hirschmann’s passing,” said Rob Smith, Jet Aviation Group President. “By all accounts, Thomas was a well-liked leader who maintained a strong customer focus and was able to build relationships with Jet Aviation’s key clients around the world. My condolences, and the condolences of the entire Jet Aviation family, are extended to the Hirschmann family.” Thomas Hirschmann poses with Donald Trump on the ramp at Jet Aviation PBI (West Palm Beach FL) for the Oct 1995 Professional Pilot magazine front cover.
PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019 27
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Cartoon art by
We invite readers to submit story lines that would work for a 6-panel Sid and Star cartoon. Send your thoughts by e-mail to Pro Pilot Publisher Murray Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your idea we’ll credit you by name and pay you $100.
28 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Electrical equipment manufacturer flies 4 Cessna Citation X+ twinjets to visit customers worldwide.
Photos by Brent Bundy
SEL Founder, President & Chief Technical Officer Dr Edmund Schweitzer III. In early 2019, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, shortly after being awarded his 200th patent.
By Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172
The SEL flight department ensures that its people get to any of the 164 countries where the company’s products can be found, in furtherance of its mission to make electric power safer, more reliable and more economical.
he electrical grids that provide power for millions of people around the planet have become an expectation. When we plug in our devices, flip on a light switch, or step into a cooled room, we assume that uninterrupted energy will fulfill our needs. For the past 35 years, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories has made sure that the current is flowing in the most efficient, protected way possible. Founder Ed Schweitzer has also made sure that his employees have had the most efficient access to their global interests, and he has done so with business aviation.
Birth of technology Hailing from the northern suburbs of Chicago IL, Ed Schweitzer was born into a family with electricity in their genes. “My father owned a company that made faulted circuit indicators
and my grandfather was a pioneer in high-voltage electrical fuses. They each had around 100 patents for their work,” he recalls. While it seemed their destiny to be in this field, each Schweitzer has stood on his own merits. “I never worked for my dad and he never worked for his dad,” says Schweitzer. He graduated from Purdue University in 1968 as an electrical engineer and later received his PhD from Washington State University. After time spent as a professor in electrical engineering at his alma mater and Ohio University, he started his company in the basement of his Pullman WA home. This was the beginning of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), which shipped its
1st digital protective relay, an invention of Schweitzer’s, in April 1984. From that first relay in Schweitzer’s basement, SEL has grown into a company employing more than 5100 people at upwards of 60 facilities across the US and 52 international offices providing service to the 164 countries where the company’s products can be found. It didn’t take long for Schweitzer’s groundbreaking inventions to permeate the global market. It also didn’t take long for him to realize that in order to provide the level of service he promised early on for his customers, reliance on commercial travel was not ideal. In 1995, his father’s patent attorney, Gene Cummings, invited Schweitzer to the annual NBAA convention. “I flew commercial into Chicago, then Gene took me to Houston in his Falcon 10. That was my 1st exposure to business aviation, and I was hooked,” Schweitzer relates.
30 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Aviation Maintenance Mgr Greg McCann joined SEL in 2007 and currently has 3 additional technicians helping keep the fleet safe and ready.
Not being one to enter into something without research, Schweitzer then began studying how aircraft ownership could benefit his company. After a short period of chartering planes to gain 1st-hand experience, the value became clear. “At that time, we were driving an hour and a half to Spokane, waiting an hour for a commercial flight that usually wouldn’t take us right where we needed to be, then maybe taking another flight and repeating the whole procedure to get home,” Schweitzer states. Recognizing the inefficiencies of this process, SEL established its flight department in 1999.
Began with Citation Bravo The 1st aircraft that SEL selected was a Cessna Citation Bravo. Schweitzer says the Bravo was a great plane, but they soon realized that they needed more seats, more range and more speed. Being quite happy with the Cessna brand, in 2002 they added a Cessna Citation X. “The great advantage of the X is the speed. When nearly every trip begins from Pullman WA, you want to climb up as high as you can and go as fast as you can to cover the great expanse of distances out west,” Schweitzer explains. The X proved so beneficial that in 2005 SEL purchased another Citation X. Looking for additional short-field capability, in 2009 they welcomed a Citation Sovereign, which was assigned to SEL’s newly opened base in Charlotte NC. 2012 saw 2 more Sovereigns added as Schweitzer sold 1 of the Xs. Continuing to evaluate its needs, in 2015 SEL closed the Charlotte base and brought the Sovereign home to PUW (Pullman-Moscow Regional WA). That same year, SEL traded in its last X and upgraded to a Citation X+. By 2016, seeking commonality across the fleet, the original Bravo and all 3
Director of Aviation Mark Wray has been with the SEL flight department since its inception and has led it for the past 15 years. The company now employs 15 pilots who are busy flying nearly 3000 hrs per year.
Sovereigns were sold to make room for 3 new Citation X+ twinjets. This brought them to a total of 4 identical aircraft, all based at PUW. “We could not be in Pullman without business aviation,” Schweitzer proclaims. “We’ve got great people in our organization, which is 100% employee-owned, and business aviation is right in line with our dignity-of-work value. We’ve had 3000 different employees fly at least once in our airplanes. We have engineers going to meet with customers, business and finance people traveling, manufacturing employees going places... We make very efficient use of these airplanes. They save people time and we work hard to get the most out of this asset.”
Leading the charge In 1999, Mark Wray found himself in a difficult situation. His position as captain of a Cessna 310 and King Air 200 for a small charter operation was being eliminated and he needed employment. “This was before the Internet was what it is today, so I went to the library, looked up ‘pilot jobs’ and SEL was advertising for a copilot. I flew out here, interviewed, and they offered me the job,” Wray remembers. This was quite a stretch from his days growing up on a hunting and fishing lodge in northern Ontario, Canada. “I was 10 years old, living on the edge of a lake, watching the bush planes come and go. One day, one of them made a pass that was so low, I could see the pilot. From then on, I knew that was what I wanted to do.” At 12 years old, Wray joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets, a youth branch of the Canadian military, and by 15 he had earned his glider pilot license. In 1993, Wray graduated with his Aviation Technology degree from the prestigious Sault
College in Ontario, 1 of only 19 to do so from over 800 applicants. He left school with his multi-engine, commercial, and instrument ratings and 250 hours in his logbook. While most of his fellow graduates joined Air Canada, Wray made his way to Traverse City MI where he replicated his Transport Canada ratings over to FAA ratings. This led to a right-seat position in a Mitsubishi MU-2 for that charter company in Sault Ste Marie MI in 1994. He worked his way up through the ranks, eventually flying the 310 and 200, and serving as copilot in a Learjet 25. After tragedy struck and took the life of the owner, the company closed down and Wray decided to move to Pullman WA. “I went from Michigan to Wichita to get typed, then flew SEL’s brand new Citation Bravo home to Pullman,” Wray recollects. That was the beginning of SEL’s flight department and within a year they were already hitting 500 hours of flight time. “We realized pretty quickly that we needed some relief. Not only did we fly that plane a lot, but we also took it to some faraway places.” From that point on, expansion began as the flight department progressed through various aircraft, eventually settling on the 4 Citation X+ aircraft operated today.
Training at FlightSafety Along the way, in 2004, Wray took over as Aviation Manager and was instrumental in the growth of the flight department to its current complement of 15 pilots. Having a standardized fleet makes recurrent training much easier. “When we had the mixed fleet, we would have to send pilots in groups of 2 or 3 at a time to different training facilities. It could get complicated. This fleet simplifies things and saves us money,” explains Wray.
32 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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After flying a variety of Cessna Citation models, including Bravos and Sovereigns, SEL assembled a fleet of 4 identical Citation X+ in 2016. The Mach 0.935 and 3500-mile range were deciding factors.
you create a culture where people love to come to work. And that is what we have here at SEL.”
Assistant Chief Pilot Brett Udy fulfilled a lifelong dream of piloting for SEL after first accepting a position as an intern when he was only 17 years old.
FlightSafety is SEL’s vendor of choice with a 10-month rotation of pilots being sent to Citation X+ simulator training in Wichita. “We are very focused on quality and safety as a company. We conduct regular internal and external audits,” declares Wray. “The core of the SEL Safety Management System (SMS) consists of a Hazard Reporting and Continuous Improvement program, and Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA). We analyze this data monthly and quarterly and drive our changes from it. The FOQA has been a very useful program to drive operational improvement within our department.” Wray is very complimentary in regard to the capability of their chosen aircraft and their applicability to SEL’s mission. “We’ve had a Citation X on every continent except Antarctica. We have put it to the test, and we’ve made it work effectively,” he says. And when asked about what lies down the road for the flight department, Wray responds, “We are always looking to the future and looking to the industry for answers to our needs. Our company doubles every 5 years and, as we grow, the flight department and the service we provide must grow with it.” He adds, “I’ve been with this flight department for 20 years and I learned long ago that if you surround yourself with smart, capable, outgoing people,
In addition to being 100% employee-owned, one way that SEL makes sure to follow Wray’s guidelines for finding the right people is through its substantial internship programs within the company, including the flight department. Schweitzer states, “We love working with the universities and high schools to give opportunities to young people. Internships are a wonderful way to team up with our communities and bring in new talent.” SEL boasts a conversion rate of interns to full-time employees greater than 75%. Assistant Chief Pilot Brett Udy is one of those who made that jump. Born and raised in the Pullman area, Udy knew early in life he wanted to somehow be involved in aviation. That was cemented with him when, at 12 years old, his parents sent him on a 30-minute introductory flight at the local airport. “From then on, I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career,” Udy says. Using the money earned on his newspaper route, he would take lessons monthly until soloing on his 16th birthday and earning his PPL at 17. Udy adds, “I also knew that I wanted to work for SEL in some capacity, so
Aviation Dispatch Manager Kori Whitcomb and her team coordinate the often hectic, always busy schedules of SEL’s private and commercial travel.
I wrote Ed (Schweitzer) a letter.” This led to a paid-internship position in the hardware engineering lab. “They didn’t need me there, but it was amazing that they gave me the opportunity. They were great mentors, and I still see them to this day as I fly them around.” After high school, a church mission, and 1 semester of college, Udy wrote Schweitzer another letter, which was as successful as the previous one, landing him his 2nd internship with SEL, this time in the flight department. “I did everything they’d let me. I cut the grass, helped in maintenance, worked with dispatch, whatever they needed me to do.”
SEL manufactures a variety of digital products and power grid protection systems from its 3 US manufacturing facilities. The company is 100% employee-owned and ships its wares all over the planet.
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From the outset, the Schweitzer flight department has been based near the world headquarters in Pullman WA. All aircraft are housed in privately-owned hangars, a necessity with the harsh Washington winters.
In 2008, after graduating from Utah State and a year and a half with SkyWest Airlines, Udy’s dream came true when he was hired as a pilot by SEL. “This company has been amazing to me. From the time I was 17, they wanted to give a young, local guy an opportunity to learn. And that has not stopped, I continue to learn and grow with SEL.”
Scoring Xs in maintenance Another area of the SEL flight department that has been made a bit easier with a homogeneous fleet is the maintenance. In charge of this is Aviation Maintenance Manager Greg McCann. From the town of Calumet OK, McCann’s 1st interest in aviation was from a neighbor who was a founding member of the Flying Farmers of America. “I saw his Piper J-3 Cub in the barn and I was mesmerized by how it all worked,” McCann reminisces. Later, while in junior college, he worked as a line tech at a small airport. He went on to earn his A&P and was hired by Halliburton in Duncan OK, working on a Gulfstream I and a Bombardier Dash 8. A year later he moved to Dallas TX to work on Halliburton’s Gulfstreams and Hawkers. He spent 11 years with Halliburton as a flight mechanic on international flights, including with then-chairman and future US Vice President Dick Cheney. Over the next several years, McCann worked as director of maintenance for various companies – in addition to a stint as a boat captain – before receiving a call from SEL in 2007. “I researched the company and it almost seemed like they’d written the job just for me! It was everything I was already doing at the time, so I moved to Pullman,” he says. When McCann joined, he was the only maintenance person working on the 2 Citation Xs and the Bravo. As expansion continued, SEL brought on 3
The Cessna Citation X+ flightdeck is equipped with the newest upgrades for the Garmin G5000 avionics suite, a thoroughly modern yet easy-to-use system.
more techs, which McCann feels is the perfect number for their current fleet, even with the nearly 3000 hours flown each year. Most work is completed at the home base, with 2 and 3-year items being sent out to Textron. For maintenance tracking, in 2017 SEL signed on with Flightdocs and has been completely satisfied. “It was a big decision, but we’ve found that their innovation and support has been wonderful.” McCann sums up what makes SEL different than other companies he’s worked for when he says, “At SEL, it’s all about the culture. It comes from the top down that we are all involved in the big picture. This company is innovative and forward-thinking and it treats people like they want to be treated.”
Superb scheduling With flight schedules akin to a regional airline, it takes a strong team to keep it all organized. That team includes 6 schedulers, 3 in charge of SEL jet travel and 3 managing commercial travel for SEL employees. Aviation Dispatch Manager Kori Whitcomb emphasizes the value of close collaboration between private and commercial scheduling. “We often combine private and commercial services to ensure our employees get where they need to be,” Whitcomb explains. “We may fly someone on 1 of our aircraft to an airport where they can then connect a nonstop commercial flight to their final destination. Our 2 travel groups work together to make the most efficient use of our planes and our employees’ time.” A Pullman native, Whitcomb previously spent 8+ years as a travel agent and another 4+ as a scheduler on a leased aircraft, aptly preparing her for her current position. She joined SEL in 2001 when it owned just 1 plane and has been involved in the growth over the years.
Shortly after being hired, Whitcomb attended her 1st NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, of which she is now on the Scholarship Subcommittee. Whitcomb’s infectious enthusiasm is quickly revealed when asked why she works for SEL. “Because this company is amazing!” she says. “I love being able to get our people to our customers, especially when our customers need our help. But also the community support that SEL gives through Corporate Angel Network (transporting cancer patients) and other programs is incredible. SEL’s values truly do match my own. I just love coming to work.”
Charging ahead While the past 10 years have been a difficult period for business aviation, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories took that time to analyze and finetune the flight department to best suit its needs. In doing so, SEL has created a robust, effective program that has reflected the growth of the company they support. With a modern fleet of 4 Cessna Citation X+ aircraft upholding an organization focused on customer service, Ed Schweitzer and his team have put together a successful equation to handle whatever the years ahead may present.
Brent Bundy has been a police officer with the Phoenix Police Dept for 27 years. He has served in the PHX Air Support Unit for 17 years and is a helicopter rescue pilot with nearly 4000 hours of flight time. Bundy currently flies Airbus AS350B3s for the helicopter side of Phoenix PD’s air unit and Cessna 172, 182s and 210s for the fixed-wing side.
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2019 PRASE WINNERS Signature STP is #1 US FBO. #2 Pentastar PTK, #3 Texas Jet FTW, #4 Million Air HOU, #5 Signature MSP. Best US Independent Pentastar PTK. Most Improved Million Air BUR. Best US FBO Chains: Small (3–10) Wilson Air Center, Large (11+) Million Air. Pro Pilot readers returned 1260 forms in 46th annual PRASE (Preferences Regarding Aviation Services and Equipment) Survey of 2019. Original Pro Pilot FBO Survey initiated in 1974.
2 Pentastar PTK
1 Signature STP
Pro Pilot staff report
Top International FBOs/Handlers
ignature STP wins the 2019 S crown as #1 US FBO, same as 2011. Pentastar PTK took the #2
Canada Million Air YYC Mexico Cabo San Lucas FBO CSL Caribbean Jet Aviation Nassau NAS Latin America 3 Texas Jet FTW Mapiex Panama PAC Europe FBO Personnel TAG Farnborough Arpt FAB Line Tech Middle East & Africa Pat Walter, Signature MSP ExecuJet DXB CSR Asia Sandy Tachovsky, Signature STP Hong Kong Business Av Ctr HKG
spot after being #3 in 2018. Texas Jet FTW placed #3 after being #2 in 2018. Top US FBOs US Signature STP Independent Pentastar PTK Most Improved Million Air BUR Small Chain Wilson Air Ctr Large Chain Million Air
Top 10 US FBOs for 2019 with comparison rankings for the last 4 years 2019
3 Texas Jet
4 Million Air
6 Banyan Air Svc
8 Jet Aviation
9 Million Air
10 Wilson Air Ctr
Catering – each region has a winner with no overall national one. Northeast – Rudy’s NJ area South – Silver Lining PBI area Mountain – Perfect Landing APA Fuel Brand Phillips 66 Aviation Fuel Credit Card US Bank Multi Service Intl Trip Planning World Fuel Trip Support MRO West Star Pro Pilot Writer Karsten Shein
38 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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2019 PRASE WINNERS
elivering excellent service and offering an outstanding product has always been the key to success. Whatever your field of aviation, customers always expect a pleasant experience, flawless performance and total dedication. This rule also applies to aviation ground service providers, as their facilities and CSRs host company presidents and high-ranking executives, and their equipment and line personnel assist flight department representatives who look for the best experience, quickest turn around and the best service possible. Pro Pilot created the PRASE (Preferences Regarding Aviation Services & Equipment) Survey to measure those services rendered by FBOs, handlers, personnel and ground activities that are necessary to fulfill the expectations of FBO users. For 46 years, since its inception in 1974, our PRASE Survey has been the benchmark for FBOs and ground service providers. It gives operators a chance to measure how well those services were executed during their stay and to express whether or not their needs were satisfied by the service providers. Consequently, the manner in which these procedures are carried out has become extremely competitive. Each year, Pro Pilot readers take the opportunity to rate their favorite FBOs in the US. They also have the chance to evaluate services provided by Canadian, Mexican, Caribbean, Latin American, European, Middle East & African, and Asian FBOs and ground handlers. There is also a section for FBO personnel, so users can choose their favorite line techs and CSRs, and rate the quality of their assistance. Additional services such as catering for aviation, fuel brand, fuel credit card, international trip planning, and MROs (Mx, Repair and Overhaul) – extremely necessary for the aviation industry – also get ranked. Finally, to round out the PRASE Survey, readers vote for their favorite Pro Pilot writers. Our PRASE Survey form enables participants to list the FBOs they have visited within the past year and rate them with scores from
1 (poor) to 10 (excellent) within all 6 listed categories – Line Team, CSRs, Facility, Amenities, Promptness & Efficiency, and Value for Price.
Congratulations to all 2019 PRASE winners and ground support activities that make possible a pleasant experience for bizav operators.
Beach Capital Chief Pilot Ronald Pepper is an ATP with 6000 total flight hours. His flight department operates a Global Express to cover its missions in the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Asia. He shows his preferences and scores on 14 lines with 72 individual evaluations. This is 1 of 1260 forms returned in the Pro Pilot 2019 PRASE Survey.
PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019 39
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Final results of the 2019 Professional Pilot PRASE Survey
Signature STP voted #1 US FBO Signature STP (St Paul MN) QC/LST Andrew Eull, Duty Manager Sandy Tachovsky, CSR Michaela Brown and LST Mark Eidsen proudly celebrate clinching the top position in the Best US FBO category of the 2019 Pro Pilot PRASE Survey.
( ) denotes 2018 ranking
US FBOs 2019 FBO Airport rank
did not place in 2018
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness Value team & efficiency for price
1 SIGNATURE STP 9.83 9.89 9.44 9.39 9.89 9.28 9.62 (10) 2 PENTASTAR PTK 9.49 9.76 9.44 9.57 9.69 9.44 9.57 (3) 3 TEXAS JET FTW 9.67 9.77 9.15 9.49 9.71 9.54 9.56 (2) 4 MILLION AIR HOU 9.59 9.52 9.95 9.67 9.48 9.10 9.55 (4) 5 SIGNATURE MSP 9.47 9.66 9.58 9.45 9.45 8.58 9.37 (1) 6 BANYAN FXE 9.43 9.40 9.67 9.30 9.24 8.87 9.32 (9) 7 GLOBALSELECT SGR 9.28 9.24 9.62 9.48 9.24 9.02 9.31 (5) 8 JET AVIATION PBI 9.53 9.84 9.00 9.00 9.53 8.79 9.28 (18) 9 MILLION AIR ADS 9.30 9.43 9.33 9.20 9.33 9.05 9.27 (7) 10 WILSON AIR CTR MEM 9.39 9.36 8.97 8.97 9.30 9.09 9.18 (14) 11 BUSINESS JET CTR DAL 9.26 9.26 9.16 9.18 8.98 8.92 9.13 (11) 12 WILSON AIR CTR CLT 9.65 9.19 8.77 8.58 9.42 9.03 9.11 (6) 13 MERIDIAN TEB 9.13 9.45 9.14 8.87 9.04 8.91 9.09 (15) 14 MONTEREY JET CTR MRY 9.44 9.39 9.00 8.72 9.11 8.72 9.06 (16) 15 NAPLES AV (formerly Naples Airport Authority) APF 9.27 9.27 8.84 8.36 9.23 8.81 8.96 (22) 16 MILLION AIR BUR 8.72 9.11 8.94 8.89 9.22 8.83 8.95 (*) 17 FONTAINEBLEAU AVIATION OPF 8.89 9.16 9.21 8.84 8.63 8.89 8.94 (*) 18 ATLANTIC MDW 9.31 9.46 8.77 8.42 8.92 8.50 8.90 (33) 19 CLAY LACY VNY 9.42 9.26 8.00 8.26 9.16 9.16 8.88 (*) 20 VAIL VALLEY JET CTR EGE 9.28 9.00 8.96 8.92 8.92 8.16 8.87 (13) 21 SHELTAIR FLL 9.05 9.06 9.16 8.58 8.84 8.32 8.84 (29) 22 SIGNATURE SDL 9.25 8.80 9.00 8.95 8.95 7.95 8.82 (*) 23 DENVER JETCENTER APA 9.21 8.79 8.52 8.34 9.00 9.00 8.81 (24) 24 WILSON AIR CTR HOU 9.26 9.13 7.57 8.00 9.30 9.30 8.76 (8) 25 EPPS PDK 9.13 9.28 8.03 8.00 9.13 8.77 8.72 (17) 26 SIGNATURE TEB 8.85 9.21 8.96 8.58 8.75 7.90 8.71 (25) 27 ATLANTIC TEB 8.94 9.19 8.61 8.19 8.70 8.37 8.67 (28) 28 ATLANTIC PBI 8.79 9.11 8.68 8.25 8.71 8.29 8.64 (*) 29 JET AVIATION TEB 9.08 8.96 8.58 8.33 8.69 8.15 8.63 (26) 30 ATLANTIC SNA 9.13 9.33 8.13 7.96 8.83 7.96 8.56 (*) 31 ATLANTIC LAS 8.84 9.12 8.52 7.72 8.60 7.80 8.43 (27) 32 SIGNATURE IAD 8.39 8.39 8.89 8.61 8.11 7.72 8.35 (32) Ranking Criteria for US FBOs—For 2019 the total number of ranked US FBOs was 32. A minimum of 18 respondents with 6 categories giving 108 individual evaluations from PP subscribers. FBOs acquired after July 1, 2018 retained their former affiliation for this 2019 PRASE Survey.
40 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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2019 PRASE WINNERS Best Independent US FBO
( ) denotes 2018 ranking
did not place in 2018
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank
Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency
1 PENTASTAR PTK 9.49 9.76 2 TEXAS JET FTW 9.67 9.77 3 BANYAN FXE 9.43 9.40 4 GLOBALSELECT SGR 9.28 9.24 5 BUSINESS JET CTR DAL 9.26 9.26 6 MERIDIAN TEB 9.13 9.45 7 MONTEREY JET CTR MRY 9.44 9.39 8 NAPLES AV (formerly Naples Airport Authority) APF 9.27 9.27 9 FONTAINEBLEAU AVIATION OPF 8.89 9.16 10 CLAY LACY VNY 9.42 9.26 11 VAIL VALLEY JET CTR EGE 9.28 9.00 12 EPPS PDK 9.13 9.28
9.44 9.15 9.67 9.62 9.16 9.14 9.00 8.84 9.21 8.00 8.96 8.03
9.57 9.49 9.30 9.48 9.18 8.87 8.72 8.36 8.84 8.26 8.92 8.00
9.69 9.71 9.24 9.24 8.98 9.04 9.11 9.23 8.63 9.16 8.92 9.13
Value for price
9.44 9.54 8.87 9.02 8.92 8.91 8.72 8.81 8.89 9.16 8.16 8.77
9.57 9.56 9.32 9.31 9.13 9.09 9.06 8.96 8.94 8.88 8.87 8.72
(2) (1) (4) (3) (5) (7) (8) (11) (*) (*) (6) (9)
Most Improved US FBO 2019 rank
Million Air Burbank CA up 18 places
This award is given to the FBO that made the largest gain in ranking position as compared with the previous year. Million Air BUR didn’t rank in the top 33 in the list of 2018 US FBOs but moved up into the 16th position in 2019. Hence, Million Air BUR advanced by at least 18 positions to win Most Improved US FBO for 2019.
Methodology The Professional Pilot PRASE Survey is an annual tabulation of customer opinions of aviation ground services. Executives in charge of flight departments, aviation managers, chief pilots, pilots, CEOs and other qualified subscribers to Professional Pilot magazine are polled once a year in order to determine the PRASE Winners’ List. PRASE is the gold standard of aviation ground service leaders. Pro Pilot uses a multistep process to ensure accurate PRASE survey results. 1 • • •
Ballots were sent to subscribers in 6 waves. PRASE forms were sent to subscribers in Oct 2018. PRASE forms were sent with the Nov and Dec 2018 issues of Professional Pilot. Additional mailings were sent to Pro Pilot subscribers separately from the magazine in Jan, Feb and Mar 2019.
Subscribers were instructed to return their completed ballots to Professional Pilot in Alexandria VA. Cutoff date for the 2019 PRASE Survey was April 11, 2019. Late ballots were not included in the tally.
Million Air at BUR won Most Improved US FBO for 2019.
Strict checking was done and only 1 ballot per participant was allowed. Voting was restricted to qualified Pro Pilot subscribers only. In categories where they compete, members of organizations or individuals were not permitted to submit ballots. Public relations, marketing and advertising personnel are ineligible. Ballots are checked thoroughly to ensure all information listed is current and correct. Careful verification of FBO names is made since some names change because of mergers or acquisitions. The 2019 PRASE Survey received a total of 1260 ballots. Of these forms a total of 1086 met the Pro Pilot acceptance criteria and were used in the analysis. There were 174 ballots disqualified due to inconsistencies, errors, duplications, or lack of required information. 2 Qualified ballots were sent to Conklin & de Decker (a JSSI company) to transfer the data into an electronic database. 3 Database information was analyzed and tabulated by Conklin & de Decker at their headquarters in Arlington TX. A precount as a preliminary step was accomplished followed by a final count to determine the rankings and winners. The winners list was finalized on April 26, 2019.
42 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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A REFLECTION OF EXCELLENCE
Visit the Farnborough Airport Experience on Stand M73 at EBACE
TAG Farnborough Airport Design and people working beautifully together The purpose-built airport for BUSINESS, for PRIVACY, for LONDON tagfarnborough.com
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2019 PRASE WINNERS
( ) denotes 2018 ranking
did not place in 2018
In addition to US FBOs, the Pro Pilot PRASE Survey determines the best international FBOs/Handlers within the following areas – Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Asia.
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings
Best Canadian 2019 FBO Airport rank
Line CSRs Facility Amenities team
YYC YYZ YUL
9.33 9.18 9.09
9.42 9.32 9.32
9.00 8.90 8.73
8.92 8.65 8.45
9.17 8.82 8.82
8.75 8.38 8.48
9.10 8.88 8.82
CSL TLC PVR
9.47 9.00 9.17
9.78 9.10 8.91
8.94 8.80 7.25
9.28 8.40 6.67
9.39 8.20 8.50
9.00 8.20 7.91
9.31 (1) 8.62 (2) 8.07 (3)
MILLION AIR CALGARY SKYSERVICE TORONTO 3 SKYSERVICE MONTREAL
Promptness & efficiency
Value Overall 2018 for price rating rank
(*) (1) (4)
Best Mexican 1 CABO SAN LUCAS FBO 2 MANNY AVIATION TOLUCA 3 AEROTRON PUERTO VALLARTA
Best Caribbean 1 JET AVIATION - NASSAU, BAHAMAS 2 PROVO AIR CENTER - PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS & CAICOS 3 ODYSSEY - NASSAU, BAHAMAS
NAS 9.12 9.24 8.12 7.94 PLS 8.89 9.00 8.11 8.11
8.53 8.53 8.58 (2) 8.44 8.00 8.43 (*)
Best Latin American 1 MAPIEX INTL - PANAMA CITY, PANAMA PAC 9.75 9.50 9.25 8.75 2 ICON AVIATION - SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL CGH 9.25 8.25 8.00 8.50
9.50 9.50 9.38 (3) 8.25 8.00 8.38 (*)
Best European 1 TAG FARNBOROUGH AIRPORT FAB 8.92 8.72 9.32 8.80 2 SIGNATURE LUTON LTN 8.79 8.89 9.11 8.79 3 SIGNATURE LE BOURGET LBG 8.36 8.36 8.36 8.09
8.36 8.24 8.73 (1) 8.47 7.89 8.66 (4) 8.36 8.00 8.26 (3)
Best Middle East and African 1 2
EXECUJET DUBAI, UAE JET AVIATION DUBAI, UAE
8.60 8.80 8.60 8.20 9.00 8.40 8.40 7.60
8.40 8.00 8.43 (1) 8.20 8.00 8.27 (2)
9.09 9.09 8.91 8.91
Best Asian 1
HONG KONG BUSINESS AV CTR
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2019 PRASE WINNERS
US FBO Chains In the Pro Pilot PRASE Survey the definition of a small chain is 3–10 bases. A large FBO chain contains 11 or more. Those FBOs with only 2 locations are considered as 2 separate independents. FBO groups classified as networks are not considered FBO chains. A PRASE judges panel composed of top av dept mgrs established these definitions in 2011.
Best Small FBO Chain (3–10 locations) Wilson Air Center is thrilled to be the #1 Best Small FBO Chain, as voted by Pro Pilot readers for the 12th time (2007–2009, 2011–2019). The company wishes to thank its team members and customers for this accomplishment. From L–R are Line Supervisor Troy Pickett, CSR Mgr Chris Bell, CSR Amy Brothers, Concierge Deb Hullender, Line Technician Kevin Cusack, Ops Mgr Andrew Swain and Safety/Training Coordinator Louis Bell.
( ) denotes 2018 ranking
did not place in 2018
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 FBO Airport rank
Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency
1 WILSON AIR CTR (CHA, CLT, HOU, MEM) 9.42 9.32 8.64 9.41 9.24 8.76 2 CUTTER AVIATION (ABQ, COS, DVT, PHX) 3 JET AVIATION (BED, CPS, DAL, HOU, IAD, PBI, TEB, VNY) 9.22 9.14 8.79 4 ROSS AVIATION (ANC, FAT, HPN, LGB, SDL, TRM) 8.93 9.07 8.80 5 JETCENTERS (APA, COS, FNL) 9.09 8.83 8.31
8.66 8.38 8.65 8.40 8.19
9.36 9.10 8.91 8.80 8.97
Value for price
9.17 9.00 8.35 8.43 9.00
9.10 8.98 8.84 8.74 8.73
(1) (*) (2) (4) (3)
9.09 8.84 8.78 8.68 8.67
(1) (4) (2) (5) (3)
Note: JETCENTERS includes Denver jetCenter (APA), Colorado jetCenter (COS) and Ft Collins/Loveland jetCenter (FNL).
Best Large FBO Chain (11+ locations) Pro Pilot readers have voted Million Air as the #1 Large FBO Chain for the 8th year in a row. (L-R) Chief Information Officer Bruce Lambert, Chief Commercial Officer Terry Cross, Dir of FBO Support and VP of Intl Ops John Bridi, Chief Brand and Business Development Officer Sandy Nelson, CEO Roger Woolsey, Dir of Marketing Allie Woolsey and Customer Business Dvlpmt Mark Stroderd.
2019 FBO rank
Line CSRs Facility Amenities Promptness team & efficiency
1 MILLION AIR 9.02 9.28 9.05 2 SHELTAIR 9.20 9.19 8.78 3 ATLANTIC 9.13 9.28 8.71 4 TAC AIR 8.99 9.02 8.61 5 SIGNATURE 9.01 9.10 8.65
8.97 8.48 8.29 8.27 8.42
9.27 8.91 8.91 8.70 8.79
Value for price
8.93 8.45 8.36 8.47 8.06
FBOs acquired after July 1, 2018 are considered as they were, as independent FBOs or part of another chain, for this survey.
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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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2019 PRASE WINNERS ( ) denotes 2018 ranking
FBO Line Techs and CSRs
did not place in 2018
Pro Pilot subscribers also voted for their favorite Line Techs and CSRs, scoring them within the categories of Can-do attitude, Knowledge, Attention to detail, and Promptness & efficiency.
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings
Best Line Tech
2019 FBO Airport rank
Can-do Knowledge Attention Promptness Overall attitude to detail & efficiency
SIGNATURE MERIDIAN TEXAS JET MERIDIAN
STP TEB FTW TEB
10.00 9.96 10.00 9.82
10.00 9.96 9.90 9.82
10.00 9.96 9.90 9.76
10.00 9.96 10.00 9.82
10.00 (4) 9.96 (1) 9.95 (2) 9.81 (5)
Best CSRs 1 2 3 4
SANDY TACHOVSKY BETSY WINES HOLLY HOPKINS VICTOR SEDA
Other Services—Catering, Fuel Brand, Fuel Credit Card, Intl Trip Planning, and MROs Pro Pilot subscribers assessed 5 additional services—Catering for Aviation, Fuel Brand, Fuel Credit Card, International Trip Planning, and MRO service centers. These were scored based on Quality of service, Value for price, Dependability, and Customer satisfaction.
Best Catering for Aviation by region (Northeast, Middle Atlantic, South, Mountain, Midwest and West) Each region has a winner with no overall national one.
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings 2019 r ank
Quality of Value Dependability Customer Overall 2018 service for price satisfaction rank
Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT) 1 RUDY’S
NJ area (EWR, MMU, TEB)
9.60 8.43 9.63
9.58 9.31 (1)
9.75 8.75 9.88 9.60 8.50 9.70
9.63 9.50 9.50 9.33
South (AL, AR, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, TX) 1 SILVER LINING 2 SILVER LINING
PBI area (PBI) MIA area (FLL, FXE, MIA, TMB)
Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY) 1 PERFECT LANDING
Note: Not enough votes received to determine winners for these regions: West (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA),
Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, VA, WV), Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI).
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Keep flying in 2020.
Standalone ADS-B or complete FANS solutions. ADS-B Out only
ADS-B Out with FANS 1/A+
Gulfstream Falcon Challenger Hawker Learjet
Gulfstream GIV, GIV-SP, GV Challenger 601-3A/601-3R • 14-day downtime • Under $300,000* • FAA and EASA approved
2019 SLOTS AVAILABLE FAA Part 145 Repair Station Van Nuys Airport
Pat Conroy Director of Service Sales 818.208.1377 email@example.com
Clay Lacy FANS STC is also available at your preferred Universal Avionics Authorized Dealer for Gulfstream GIV/GIV-SP/GV and Challenger 601-3A/601-3R.
W O R L D ’ S M O S T E X P E R I E N C E D O P E R AT O R O F P R I VAT E J E T S © 2019 Clay Lacy Aviation. *Actual downtime and price based on specific aircraft configuration.
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2019 PRASE WINNERS ( ) denotes 2018 ranking
Ranked by category scores and overall ratings
did not place in 2018
2019 r ank
Quality of service
Value Dependability Customer Overall for price satisfaction
Best Fuel Brand 1 PHILLIPS 66 2 AVFUEL 3 SHELL 4 WORLD FUEL SERVICES
9.56 9.09 9.55 9.13 9.48 9.20 9.35 8.96
9.66 9.62 9.36 9.48
9.67 9.50 (1) 9.51 9.45 (3) 9.32 9.34 (4) 9.36 9.29 (2)
9.65 9.42 9.43 9.35 9.50 9.08 9.43 9.14 9.39 9.05
9.65 9.39 9.42 9.41 9.50
9.55 9.57 (3) 9.39 9.39 (1) 9.38 9.35 (5) 9.36 9.34 (2) 9.36 9.33 (4)
Best Aviation Fuel Credit Card 1 US BANK MULTI SERVICE 2 WORLD FUEL CONTRACT CARD (formerly Colt Intl) 3 UVAIR 4 AVCARD by WORLD FUEL 5 AVFUEL
Best International Trip Planning 1 WORLD FUEL TRIP SUPPORT (formerly Colt Trip Support) 2 UNIVERSAL WEATHER & AVIATION 3 COLLINS AEROSPACE Includes ARINC, Ascend and Air Routing
9.40 9.00 9.40 9.33 9.28 (2) 9.39 8.63 9.37 9.23 9.16 (4) 9.13 8.59 9.30 9.13 9.04 (3)
Most Preferred MROs (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) Category established in 2014
West Star Aviation once again took top honors as the #1 Preferred MRO. (L–R) CEO Jim Rankin, Pres & COO Rodger Renaud and Chairman Robert Rasberry.
1 WEST STAR 2 DUNCAN AVIATION 3 TEXTRON AVIATION 4 GULFSTREAM
9.71 9.70 9.41 9.67
Most Favorite Pro Pilot Writers
Karsten Shein Wx Brief
Grant McLaren Intl Ops
Peter Berendsen Implementing Regs for Pilots
Brent Bundy Operator Profile
9.13 9.09 8.32 8.50
9.71 9.61 9.34 9.06
9.63 9.65 9.35 9.13
9.55 (1) 9.51 (3) 9.11 (2) 9.09 (4)
Ranked by total number of votes 2 019 rank 1 KARSTEN SHEIN 2 GRANT MCLAREN 3 PETER BERENDSEN 4 BRENT BUNDY
2018 rank (1) (2) (*)
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Fitting landing strips with LEDs Light Emitting Diodes are more efficient but can cause problems for pilots. History of the incandescent light bulb
LED lights at CMH (Columbus OH). LED bulbs are more desirable because of reduced energy consumption and low maintenance costs. FAA has approved LEDs for all airport surface applications except approach lighting systems.
By Shannon Forrest
President, Turbine Mentor ATP/CFII. Challenger 604/605, Gulfstream IV, MU2B
viation has a bright future and it’s not a result of the current job market. Incandescent light bulbs – the stalwart source of airport illumination since the 1930s – are slowly but surely being replaced with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Many in the industry believe the impetus for the change was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W Bush. Although media accounts at the time caused widespread concern about the disappearance of household light bulbs at the retail level, the act itself did not ban the use or purchase of incandescent bulbs. Rather,
the legislation specified a broad philosophy of decreasing energy consumption and increasing efficiency. Given that a household incandescent light bulb (40–100 watts) was so well known and ubiquitous, it was an easy target for regulators. The act excluded specialty lights (like those in appliances) but required that the efficiency of all other incandescent bulbs improve by 25%. Because LED bulbs are by design more efficient than their incandescent counterparts, they represented a natural transition. Manufacturers figured out that it was more cost effective to replace rather than re-engineer bulbs and responded by flooding the marketplace with LED options while at the same time reducing their incandescent product lines. While no ban on incandescent lights existed, the changing retail landscape made it seem like one.
A source of light is considered incandescent if it gives off light as a result of being heated. The history of the incandescent light bulb goes all the way back to Thomas Edison in 1880. A basic light bulb is created by applying electricity to a thin wire usually made of tungsten. The electrical current causes the wire filament to become hot, which then glows and gives off light. Increasing the amount of current creates more light, and vice-versa. Up to 95% of the electricity used in an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat. The other problem is that the thin filament wears out quickly. Encasing the filament in an inert gas minimizes the breakdown associated with rapid heating and cooling, but its lifespan is still relatively short. A halogen lamp represents an improvement from a basic filament bulb in that it makes use of a noble gas (like krypton or xenon) to achieve a higher level of brightness. Again, more brightness equates to more radiated heat. A beneficial characteristic of halogen is that it interacts with the tungsten atoms if incorporated into a light bulb, effectively slowing disintegration of the filament. Halogen or quartz halogen lamps are better than basic tungsten filament bulbs when used in airport applications, but they still require special transformers, cables, connectors and regulators to maintain a standardized current to each part of the system for it to function properly.
Levels of runway illumination FAA specifies 3 levels of runway illumination: Low Intensity Runway Lights (LIRL), Medium Intensity Runway Lights (MIRL), and High Intensity Runway Lights (HIRL). The candela (cd) is the universal scientific standard for measuring luminous intensity (brightness). It measures the amount of light a source projects in
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a certain direction. A lumen, on the other hand, is measured at a specific range in all directions, so it’s not the best way to compare runway light intensity. A pilot landing at night doesn’t care how well the grass is illuminated off the side of the runway; only how far in advance he can see the runway lights on a dark night, so using cd to measure runway lights makes sense. For reference, a household 100-watt light bulb measures approximately 120 cd. VFR-only airports utilize LIRLs, which only have 1 intensity level averaging 25 cd. Non-precision instrument runways are outfitted with MIRLs, which have 3 settings. The best and literally brightest lights (HIRLs) are used on precision instrument runways. HIRLs have 5 levels of intensity (referred to as “steps” by pilots and ATC) which, when set to maximum brightness, project an average of 10,000 cd outward. The lighting system an airport has can be found in the Airport Facility Directory (AFD) and on the airport reference page of instrument approach charts.
How LEDs work LEDs use semiconductors to produce photons of light as a function of electrons changing orbits. LEDs have no filaments and are housed in specially designed bulbs that focus light in 1 direction. Luminous efficacy is how efficiently electricity is transformed into visible light (as opposed to heat), and that’s what makes LEDs so desirable, as they generate almost no heat. An extremely long shelf life, low voltage requirement and vibration resistance make LED bulbs ideal for runway lights. Increased maintenance costs and operational headaches from decades old quartz halogen bulbs used in airfield lighting caused some airport authorities to start the switch from incandescent to LED in the early 2000s, well ahead of the 2007 energy savings mandate. Around 2002, first-generation LED lights were provided to some airports as part of a manufacturer’s pilot program. Although a few airports have gone full LED on the airfield side, it’s more common to see a piecemeal approach to eliminating legacy incandescent lighting. Runway renovation projects
Rwy 28L–10R with LEDs centerline/touchdown zone/edge/end
Rwy 28R–10L with halogen lamps
Difference between LEDs and halogen lights at CMH. Pilots should exercise caution when encountering a combination of LED and incandescent bulbs in close proximity. LEDs are perceived to be brighter despite being at the same setting.
provide excellent opportunities to upgrade to LEDs, especially when the surface is closed to aircraft movement during the construction. In 2014, MCO (Intl, Orlando FL) completed a $14-million renovation of Rwy 18R/36L. Converting the 12,000-ftlong runway to more efficient LED bulbs reduced power consumption by 40%. In March 2019, DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth TX) reopened Rwy 17C/35C after 6 months of construction. Although the designers promoted the technological achievement of the high-density asphalt construction (instead of concrete), the other important element was the installation of brand-new LED runway lights. The difference in appearance between Rwy 17C/35C and the 4 other south/ north oriented runways at DFW becomes immediately obvious when approaching the airport at night in visual conditions. The LED illumination stands out – it seems brighter than the adjacent incandescent bulbs even though the candela is the same across the airport.
The perception of brightness and its effects in aviation It’s easy to see the perceptual brightness effect of LED bulbs when driving at night ahead of a vehicle with the latest-technology headlights. When an LED headlight from the trailing vehicle strikes the rear view mirror of the lead vehicle, it can cause visual discomfort that’s attributed to excessive brightness. Surveys and studies validate the fact that nearly all pilots perceive
LEDs as brighter. This perception comes about because LEDs produce light in a narrower spectral distribution. This saturates the colors, making LEDs look brighter and bluer than the yellow/white light that emanates from incandescent counterparts. Perceptual errors associated with night-time flight operations can lower situational awareness and affect safety. In 2009, the captain of a Boeing 767 with 182 passengers aboard accidentally landed on taxiway M at ATL (Hartsfield-Atlanta GA). Taxiway M is parallel and adjacent to Rwy 27R, which was the runway assigned, accepted and acknowledged by the crew. According to the NTSB report, the probable cause of the incident was, “the flightcrew’s failure to identify the correct landing surface due to fatigue.” However, one of the contributing variables was denoted as “the combination of numerous taxiway signs and intermixing of light technologies on the taxiway.” At the time of the taxiway landing, the taxiway edge and centerline lights closest to the approach end of Rwy 27R had been replaced with LED bulbs, whereas the last portion of the taxiway still used incandescent lighting. NTSB highlighted the lighting inconsistency by stating, “The blue light emitting diode (LED) lights used on the eastern end of taxiway M were perceived to be brighter than the adjacent incandescent lights on the airfield and the alternating green and yellow lights in the ILS critical area provided the appearance of a runway centerline.” The fact that the crew was unaware that the approach PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019 53
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LEDs are not visible on EFVS because they produce very little heat. Manufacturers solved the problem by incorporating LED sensing technology into these systems. Collins EVS-3000, for example, is capable of detecting modern LED lights to help ensure reliable landings anywhere.
lights and ILS for Rwy 27R were out of service didn’t help the situation.
Solutions to the brightness issue Since the ATL incident, the perceived brightness problem has been addressed by enacting standards that ban the intermingling of incandescent and LED bulbs on the same continuous movement surface of an airport. For example, if a runway is illuminated by all incandescent bulbs and 1 burns out, that bulb cannot be replaced with an LED. Nor can a half of the runway be incandescent and the other half LED. However, a pilot could land on a runway that uses incandescent bulbs and then turn off on a taxiway lit by LEDs, since taxiways and runways are considered adjacent but dissimilar movement areas. Along the same lines, a runway can be lit by LED bulbs while a parallel runway maintains the classic incandescent look. FAA publishes a myriad of Advisory Circulars related to the installation and maintenance of airfield lighting. However, unless the US airport is certified under Part 139 of the regulations (defined as those served by air carriers) or accepts federal funds, managers are not required to comply with such lighting standards.
Implications for GA airports and Part 91 operators Corporate and private aircraft operating under Part 91 of the regulations and using small GA airports at night could be in for a surprise. Portions or entire sections of a runway light system might be out of
service indefinitely with no defined replacement schedule. If any portion of airport lighting is non-standard, the best practice is for airport management to file a Notam or for the information to appear in the AFD. According to the AFD, BLM (Monmouth Exec, Farmingdale NJ) has “Rwy 14-32 NTSD MIRLs,” and “RWY 32 thld lgts NSTD.” In plain language, a pilot would expect to encounter non-standard lighting at both the threshold and the runway edge lights, but that’s the extent of the information. The fact that Rwy 32 is served by an RNAV (GPS) approach, and that being 7345 ft long can be used by heavy business jets, makes the lack of information even more concerning. The exact nature of a non-standard lighting situation is neither easy to obtain nor readily available. CBE (Cumberland MD) airport authorities went a little further by annotating in the AFD, “NSTD LIRL thrd to RWY 11 dsplcd thld, due to improper lens covers and spacing.” Pilots using Rwy 11 at night would be advised that the lights between the threshold and displaced threshold are non-standard because the required spacing of lights is inaccurate and the wrong lens covers were installed. Whether or not the lens covers are the wrong color or projecting light in an odd fashion is not discernible from the info provided. One important caveat when evaluating airport lighting conditions is that whether an airport has been fitted with LEDs or still uses incandescent bulbs (or some combination thereof) is not indicated in the AFD, on instrument approach charts, or
any other document accessible from the flightdeck. Pilots operating under Part 91 are not required to have runway lights for operating at night. Contrarily, in 2007 FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) entitled “Runway Lights Required for Night Takeoffs in Part 121.” The document stemmed from a fatal Part 121 accident that occurred when an aircraft erroneously took off at night from a runway too short to meet performance requirements. The runway lights were inoperative at the time. The alert reminded pilots of Part 121 operations that runway lights are required and goes on to say, “checking pertinent Notams and doing some extra headwork are essential in making a ‘go/no go’ takeoff decision.”
Summary Extra head-work is a good idea for Part 91 pilots as well. This might mean a call to the airport manager to ask very specific questions regarding the lighting available. Knowing whether a runway has LEDs is especially relevant for corporate operators equipped with Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS). The very thing that makes LEDs most efficient (low heat signature) makes them invisible to the thermal IR detection used by EFVS. LED runway lights don’t show up on EFVS, and nor do obstructions lighted with LED bulbs, which is rapidly becoming the standard. EFVS manufacturers have taken note of the limitations and the latest versions, like the Collins EVS3000, have incorporated some form of LED detection ability. LED technology is here to stay and, over time, even smaller airports will gradually eliminate incandescent fixtures in favor of lower cost and better efficiency. Given some of the issues associated with airport lighting, a little investigative work done in advance ensures pilots don’t remain in the dark when flying to an unfamiliar airport at night. 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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AEA Convention and Trade Show Palm Springs CA hosts AEA 2019. By Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172
Photos by Brent Bundy
unny southern California was the place to be for the newest avionics reveals and updates during the Aircraft Electronics Association’s annual convention and trade show. Held March 25–28 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, both the weather and the event lived up to their expectations. More than 1700 attendees gathered to view the offerings of 140 exhibitors for the 62nd year of the conference. The opening-day session was monumental in that it saw AEA President Paula Derks step down from the helm after 23 years of leading the organization. During her time as president, the association expanded to more than 1300 member companies representing 40 countries. Taking her place is former AEA VP of Member Programs and Education Mike Adamson. Also relinquishing his role as chairman after 5 years was David Loso, with his position filled by Garry Joyce from IAE of Cranfield, England. The AEA Member of The Year Award went to Todd Winter, president and CEO of Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics and CEO of True Blue Power. Applied Avionics was presented with the Associate Member of The Year Award. Next was the “big event” of the convention, the New Product Introductions, where 28 companies revealed and updated various avionics, electronics, and repair items. Highlights included Garmin’s G3X Touch certification in nearly 500 single-engine piston aircraft, Mid-Con-
The team from SmartSky Networks was on hand to explain the company’s true 4G LTE inflight connectivity options for both business and commercial aviation.
Mid-Continent Pres & CEO/ True Blue Power CEO Todd Winter was honored as AEA Member of the Year. Presenting the award were AEA’s new leadership, Chairman Garry Joyce (L) and AEA Pres & CEO Mike Adamson (R). Duncan Aviation was represented by (L–R) VP Parts Sales/Avionics/ Accts/Sat Mark Cote, Sr Mktg Comms Diane Heiserman, Av Sat Mgr Anthony Loniero, and SW US Rgnl Mgr Alfredo Garcia.
UTC recently completed its acquisition of Rockwell Collins, now known as Collins Aerospace. At the show were Principal Acct Mgr Dominic Governatori (L) and Biz Dvlpt Dir Tom Simon.
tinent’s MD93H digital clock/USB charger, Genesys Aerosystems VFR HeliSAS, and Airtext’s low-cost connectivity services. In addition to the sold-out exhibit hall showcasing the goods and services of nearly every major manufacturer and repair specialist, the conference offered 70 technical training and professional development courses – the most training ever hosted during the conference. There were also more than 120 hours of regulatory, technical, and business management classes provided throughout the week, with credit toward AEA’s Avionics Training Excellence Award and accepted for FAA IA renewal and the AMT Awards Program. As new leadership takes over, the 2020 edition of the AEA convention will return to Nashville TN, March 24–27. StandardAero offers a variety of MRO services. Greeting showgoers was Sales & Biz Dvlpt Cert Svcs Erin Van Brooker.
Astronics innovative avionics technology was shown by Sr Biz Dvlpt Mgr Randy Burnett (L) and Prod Supp Eng Petar Dzhenkov.
Elliott Aviation showed its southern California style with Aftermarket Part Sales Spclst Mike Mettscher (L) and Parts Sales Mgr Joseph Stanley.
Garmin’s newly certified G3X Touch was a huge hit at the show. Providing demos were (L–R) VP Sales & Mktg Carl Wolf, Av Media Relations Jessica Koss, and Dir Av Aftermarket Sales Jim Alpiser. Gogo Business Aviation continues to lead the way with inflight connectivity. Meeting customers were (L–R) Rgnl Sales Mgr Russell Otowchits, Rgnl Sales Mgr Aftermarket Scott Tychsen, and Dir Sales Ops Annette Scheihing.
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ACCESSORY OVERHAUL AVIONICS AVIONICS SPARES COMPOSITE REPAIR ENGINEERING ENGINES & APU FUEL & RAMP MAINTENANCE AOG/MRT PAINT & INTERIOR PARTS & COMPONENTS WINDOW REPAIR
CHALLENGER CITATION CONQUEST EMBRAER FALCON GLOBAL EXPRESS GULFSTREAM HAWKER KING AIR LEARJET PIAGGIO
WESTSTARAVIATION.COM A L N I G J T I C H A I P C D I P W K I A PA I A S E I C XO I S D L I M S P
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New stabilized approach criteria
Photo courtesy Dassault
Revisions to Flight Safety Foundation’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction tool.
By Marty Rollinger ATP. Challenger 600 & 604, Falcon 2000 EASy and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Contributing Writer
ecently while descending on a Falcon 2000LX flight, the approach controller asked us to fly 250 kts to the final approach fix. The controller, we surmised, was probably new and was working hard to sequence traffic competing for the same landing strip. We politely declined the 250 kts request so he came back with “maintain best forward speed.” As good citizens of the sky, we agreed to this request and continued inbound. As every pilot knows, Air Traffic Control (ATC) can destabilize any approach with slam dunk descents, speed restrictions or late runway changes – all given with the best intentions. We found ourselves descending on glidepath at 700 ft height above touchdown, a notch of flaps shy of fully configured, and at VAPP plus 25 kts. Would you go around or continue? What is the best practice?
Dassault Falcon 7X flightcrew conducting an approach to CDG (Charles de Gaulle, Paris, France). The aircraft is on glidepath, properly lined up, at VAPP speed, configured, power setting stable, and checklists completed demonstrating a stabilized approach.
Current FSF stabilized approach criteria and go-around guidance According to Flight Safety Foundation (FSF)’s Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) Briefing Note 7.1 dated 2009, this approach would be classified as unstable, requiring the crew to perform an immediate go-around. The FSF ALAR definition of a stabilized approach is when all of the following criteria are met: 1. The aircraft is on the correct flightpath. 2. Only small changes in heading/ pitch are required to maintain the correct flightpath. 3. The aircraft indicated speed is not more than VREF +20 and not less than VREF. 4. The aircraft is in the correct landing configuration. 5. Sink rate is no greater than 1000 ft per minute. 6. Power setting is appropriate for the aircraft configuration.
7. All briefings and checklists have been conducted. 8. ILS approaches must be flown within 1 dot of the glideslope and localizer. 9. Unique approach procedures or abnormal conditions requiring deviation from the above elements of a stabilized approach require a special briefing. An approach that becomes unstabilized below 1000 ft above runway touchdown elevation in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or below 500 ft Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) requires an immediate go-around.
History of FSF stabilized approach criteria Founded in 1947, the Flight Safety Foundation is an international non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to provide impartial, independent, expert safety guidance and resources for the aviation and aero-
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space industry. Its mission includes developing safety standards and sharing leading practices. ALAR has long been among its primary goals. The Stabilized Approach Criteria (SAC) previously described are a result of studies conducted by the foundation’s ALAR Task Force in the 1990s. The task force conducted an in-depth analysis of accidents and incidents and found that failure to abandon an unstabilized approach was the number 1 risk factor in approach and landing accidents and the leading cause of runway excursions. The task force concluded that pilots needed specific criteria for evaluating whether an approach was stabilized, and guidance for when to abandon an unstabilized approach. The SAC was published in 1998 as part of the ALAR Tool Kit and has subsequently been updated. IS-BAO registration requires that operators define and operate to SAC. Most ISBAO operators defer to the expertise at FSF and adopt FSF SAC into their flight activities.
Industry approach and landing accident statistics FSF analyses of data show that approach and landing accidents make up approximately 65% of all accidents. Overrun and veer-off runway excursions account for 33% of all accidents. Roughly a half of runway excursions follow unstable approaches. This, of course, means that the other half of runway excursions follow stable approaches, becoming unstable only during landing. Veer-offs and overruns occur in approximately equal numbers, but the majority of veer-offs are preceded by stable approaches, whereas the majority of overruns are preceded by unstable approaches.
The need for change Current SAC guidance is not working – it is not leading to the intended outcomes. Aviators, in theory, apparently agree to SAC and its associated mandatory go-arounds, but in practice they find it difficult to follow it consistently. FSF findings show that unstable approaches occur on only 4% of approaches, but in these cases, the vast majority of pilots do not comply with mandatory go-around. How big is vast? FSF data reveals that
The Flight Safety Foundation ALAR Tool Kit Update is a multimedia resource for safety professionals and training organizations.
97% of flightcrews whose airplanes are in an unstable state continue the approach to landing. Seeking to understand and address this extremely poor compliance rate, FSF initiated the Go-Around Decision-Making and Execution Project in 2011. The project was also created to address gaps in the ALAR Tool Kit, which did not include the landing phase itself. The project finished in March 2017 with publication of a 55-page report that is free and readily available on the Internet. The results of the project are fascinating and provide realistic recommendations that will improve the effectiveness of the SAC. The project report identifies that pilots feel that the 1000-ft SAC is unrealistically conservative in day-today operations. To accomplish their mission, pilots frequently deviate from SAC. For example, TEB (Teterboro NJ) arrivals via ILS Rwy 01 with a circle to land Rwy 6 means disregarding the SAC, with potentially deadly consequences, as we are all acutely aware. Passage of the simulator check ride involves mandatory circling approach where SAC goes out the window. This is normalization of deviance. The report explores the psychology of non-compliance regarding the
mandatory go-around requirement. The previous SAC implies that going missed approach is always a better option than just fixing an unstable approach. And yet a go-around just transfers risk to the next phase of flight as it involves physical risks which include loss of control, midair collision and impact with terrain. Also, go-arounds involve occupational risk to the pilots if they miss an altitude or turn point, exceed an aircraft limitation, or are perceived by their employer as incapable. Many go-arounds are stressful, high-workload events for both the crew and ATC. Often, adhering to the original SAC best practice is like driving the speed limit on the highways around Chicago. The rule follower becomes an impediment to everyone else. The pilot who goes around at 900 ft can be a detriment to himself and others.
New criteria The solution is to modify the “best practice.” Make it simple, realistic and applicable always. The goal is to gain and maintain 100% stable landings. When the aircraft isn’t in a position to accomplish a stable landing, execute a go-around. According to the report authors, “About half
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Gulfstream G200 suffered a runway excursion after landing on the 6631-ft-long Rwy 02 at TGU (Tegucigalpa, Honduras) on May 22, 2018. NTSB is assisting the government of Honduras with the investigation.
of all accidents could be prevented with a decision to go around. No other single decision can have such an impact on the overall aviation accident rate.” The newly proposed criteria are found in Appendix 10.3 of the project report under the title New Stabilized Approach and Go-Around Guidelines 2017 (proposed for industry validation). The title is encouraging because it acknowledges that the previous recommendations were essentially invalidated by industry non-compliance. The new guidelines still define SAC using the previously published 9 elements, but crews are given the leeway to continue an unstabilized approach down to lower altitude. The new guidelines establish 3 simple gates. • Gate 1 is the configuration gate. Nominally, this gate is at 1000 ft, but operators can set it to their own requirements – generally between 800 and 1500 ft. The flightcrew strive to be fully configured for landing at this gate. Landing configuration is desired but not essential. If the aircraft is not configured by this gate, then the non-configuration is noted and the crew work quickly to get configured soon. • Gate 2 is the stabilized gate. Meeting all SAC at this gate is desired, but not essential. The report recommends 500 ft for this gate. If the aircraft meets stabilized criteria, this is verbally called out. If not stabilized, the offending destabilizer is verbally noted and the pilot flying works quickly to fix it. Missed ap-
proach is not mandatory. • Gate 3 is the go-around gate. The report recommends 300 ft. If the aircraft does not meet the SAC by this point, or if it becomes unstabilized below, it is time to go around. Note the mandatory go-around altitude has decreased from 1000 ft to 300 ft. This is an enormous change that gives crews 700 additional vertical feet (a full minute of time) to correct any unstable criteria. Of course, if the aircraft is grossly unstable at any point before the final gate, the approach may be abandoned.
Safe landing guidelines The project authors also proposed the following guidelines for safe landing to prevent the high percentage of excursions that follow an otherwise stable approach. Adhere to these guidelines to prevent the actual landing from becoming unstable. They are found in Appendix 10.4 of the report and are titled Revised Safe Landing Guidelines, 2017 (proposed for industry validation): 1. Fly a stabilized approach. 2. Height at threshold crossing should be 50 ft (if the approach profile design has you crossing higher than 50 ft, additions should be made to the actual landing distance required). 3. Speed at threshold crossing is not more than VREF + 10 KIAS and not less than VREF. 4. Tailwind is no more than 10 kts (non-contaminated) and zero tailwind accepted for contaminated
runway. 5. Touch down just beyond the touchdown aim point following a normal flare, and not beyond the Touchdown Zone (TDZ). If not touched down within the TDZ, go around. 6. Touch down on the runway centerline with the main landing gear on both sides of (straddling) the runway centerline. If all main landing gear are on 1 side of the centerline, go around. 7. After touchdown, transition promptly to the desired deceleration configuration: a. Brakes b. Spoilers/speed brakes c. Thrust reversers or equivalent 8. Speed less than 80 kts with 2000 ft of runway remaining.
Summary Properly planned and executed landings involve less risk and a stable landing is easier to achieve when the approach is stable. Did we go around at 700 ft? Negative. Our operation incorporated the new SAC. We continued our approach reaching the 500-ft gate in the landing configuration, with pre-landing checklist complete, just 10 kts fast, enabling the pilot monitoring to declare “stabilized.” The pilot flying further reduced the approach speed by the 300-ft gate and maintained this until threshold crossing. With the new SAC there is no need to abandon an approach that can easily and safely become stabilized by Gate 3. No more deviating from the SAC when circling at TEB or in the simulator. The new SAC is simpler because it is the same for VMC as well as IMC, and it reconciles our common sense desires to follow best practices and to be efficient.
Marty Rollinger has over 35 years flight experience in 68 different aircraft. A career US Marine Corps pilot, he was a Liethen-Tittle Award graduate of USAF Test Pilot School. He is Director of Flight Ops for a Midwestern operator and a member of the Falcon Operator Advisory Board.
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Heli-Expo 2019 By Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Officer-Pilot AS350, AW119, Cessna 210/182/172
elebrating its 70th year, the Helicopter Association International brought its annual Heli-Expo gathering to Atlanta GA for the first time. Held March 4-7, over 1 million sq ft of floor space at the Georgia World Congress Center was filled with more than 700 exhibitor booths, hosted 18,000+ and showcased 57 aircraft. At the opening breakfast, HAI Pres/CEO Matt Zuccaro had a sit-down with FAA Acting Administrator Dan Elwell to discuss many issues affecting the helicopter industry. Educational opportunities were offered covering a variety of flight, maintenance, and management topics. A flurry of exciting, unexpected product announcements were made during the conference. Airbus assembled an H145 on the show floor with a 5-bladed main rotor. This new version of the light-twin, dubbed the H145D3, will boast a 330-lb increase in useful load, FADEC, lower empty weight, and a single-bolt foldable blade. Certification is expected early 2020 and the mods will be available as a retrofit on earlier H145 models. Airbus also displayed an EMS mockup of the H160 medium-twin, which looks to be cer-
Photo courtesy Universal Avionics
Universal Avionics announced the retirement of CEO Paul DeHerrera (L) after 25 years with the company. Incoming CEO Dror Yahav (R) took over April 10.
Universal Avionics unveiled its new InSight Display System and Heli-ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System helicopter flightdeck.
HAI Pres & CEO Matthew Zuccaro welcomed attendees at the Membership Meeting & Breakfast.
Leonardo Managing Dir Gian Piero Cutillo addressed the media during the company’s annual pre-show press conference and dinner. The company has seen solid growth and expects it to continue in the upcoming year.
tified by the end of 2019, and a law enforcement H125 – both interiors prepared by Metro Aviation. Airbus nabbed 43 new aircraft orders during the show. Leonardo showed its AW169 in a VIP interior layout, alongside an AW109 Trekker and AW119Kx. Preshow announcements highlighted increased sales and market value, continued focus on customer support, including the recent opening of their Gulf Coast Support Center in Broussard LA, and revealing that the first production AW609 begins assembly in a few weeks. Also making a Louisiana-based announcement was upstart Kopter, which revealed that its US production and service facility for the single-engine SH09 will be in Lafayette LA. With 25 orders already in, certification is expected mid-2020. Bell drew crowds at its display, primarily for the full-size model of its in-development Nexus electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The company announced an IFR certified 407 to be ready by August and certification of the medium-twin 525 Relentless planned for end of 2019. Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) UAV’s and the Georgia State Police 429 were also at the booth. Sikorsky unveiled 2 new versions of
Leonardo was voted 1st place in the 2019 Pro Pilot Helo Suport Survey. (L–R) Leonardo Helicopters Cust Sup & Training SVP Vittorio Della Bella, SVP of Strategy and Competitive Analysis Roberto Garavaglia, Managing Dir Gian Piero Cutillo, Managing Dir AgustaWestland Philadelphia Corp William Hunt and Leonardo Helicopters SVP Global Sales Emilio Dalmasso.
its S-92 heavy-twin, the S-92A+ and the S-92B. The various improvements to each model will offer lower operating costs, greater reliability and more operational capability. Sikorsky also discussed plans for its version of urban air mobility, focusing on optionally-piloted existing models such as the S-76. MD Helicopter CEO Lynn Tilton spoke about additional military sales, the continued advancement of the twin 902 into the 969, and a modified, winged, 200-knot version of the 969, to be called the Swift, which will compete in the US Army Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. Smaller manufacturers also made news. Robinson celebrated 40 years of building 12,600 helicopters with a retro-themed R22. Enstrom updated its 280FX piston single, had its 480B turbine approved by Transport Canada, and showed strong overseas sales. Newcomer Guimbal is planning an around-the-world trip this summer with its 2-seat G2 equipped with a Fenestron-type tail rotor and a 4-cylinder Lycoming engine. Announcements were also prevalent in the aftermarket suppliers and rebuilders. Metro Aviation had a busy year with new operating programs, joint ventures with most OEMs, and delivery of the first IFR-certified EC145e. Boeing purchased popular electronic flight bag app ForeFlight. Universal Avionics unveiled helmet and head-mounted EFVS Flight Deck. Safran continues work in hybrid power and 3D printing of engines. Aviation Specialties Unlimited debuted its new lightweight E3 NVGs. And True Blue Power brought its new 5th-gen lithium-ion batteries. HAI’s Heli-Expo will reconvene Jan 27–30, 2020 in Anaheim CA.
Photos by Brent Bundy & José Vásquez
HAI celebrates 70th anniversary in Atlanta GA.
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MD Helicopters venerable MD 530F continues to be a favorite for law enforcement, military and a variety of service industries.
Airbus Helicopters displayed a mockup of the upcoming H160 medium-twin in an air medical configuration completed by Metro Aviation. Certification is expected in 2020.
MD 969 Combat Helicopter, an evolution of the 902. It has 6 wing-mounted weapons stations, more powerful engines, a glass cockpit, room for 8, and a max speed of 180 kts. It is a preview of the proposed “Swift” model, a 200-kt further advancement of the series for military use.
P&WC Sr VP Maria Della Posta with a PW207 engine. P&WC announced several enhancements and options to its engine maintenance and warranty programs for helicopter operators.
Swiss Rotor Solutions signed an agreement to make its Maximum Pilot View Kit (MPVK) available directly through Airbus Helicopters.
Representing the host state was this Bell 429 light-twin operated by the Georgia State Police. Robinson Helicopter Pres & Chariman Kurt Robinson spoke about 2018 aircraft deliveries, product upgrades, an R44 powered by a diesel engine, and the company’s 40th anniversary.
Leonardo’s AW109 Trekker received FAA certification shortly after Representing Concorde Battery were Heli-Expo 2019. (L–R) Tech OEM Mgr Bob Burkel, Area EASA approval sales Mgr Dave Schiavone, VP Busi- came in 2017. ness Devlpt Noga Holck and Sr VP John Timmons.
David Clark Market Mgr for Aviation Dennis Buzzell showed his company’s headsets at convention.
MD Helicopters CEO Lynn Tilton updated showgoers on the latest for the company, including increased military sales and updates to the 902/969 platform.
Transportes Aéreos Pegaso CEO Enrique Zepeda (L), signed a deal with Leonardo Helicopters Managing Dir Gian Piero Cutillo adding 6 brand new helicopters to their fleet, 2 AW139s and 4 AW169s.
Bell’s vision of future vertical urban mobility is the Nexus, a hybrid-electric, fully autonomous vehicle driven by 6 fans. They predict it to be in the skies within the next decade. Leonardo and Nakanihon Air Svc signed an MoU to evaluate AW609 tiltrotor operations in Japan for transport and public service roles. Leonardo VP Mktg Paul de Jong van Ellemeet (L) and Nakanihon Air Svc Exec Dir Hajime Futagami celebrate the agreement.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (L) and Kopter CEO Andreas Lowënstein announced that Kopter’s soon-to-be-certified SH-09 will have a US-based production and service facility in Enstrom brought its 480B turbine (L), recently approved by TransLafayette LA. port Canada, along with the updated 280FX piston single engine.
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Conklin & de Decker, a JSSI Company, released the newest version of its aircraft comparison report and mobile app. (L–R) JSSI Dir of Mktg Susy Uribe and Dir Biz Dvlp Kyle Sale, C&dD VP Brandon Battles, JSSI Helo Prog Mgr Walter Given, C&dD Client Relationship & Sales Mgr Mark Gomez, JSSI Helo Tech Adv Kevin Mawhinney and Sr Client Relationship Mgr Peter Schroeder. Metro Aviation had another busy year with program openings, delivery of more EC145e helos, and collaboration for medical interiors with Airbus, Leonardo and Kopter. At the show were (L–R) Managing Dir Milton Geltz, COO Kenny Morrow, Dir Biz Integration Todd Stanberry, and Pres & CEO Mike Stanberry.
Pilatus Aircraft was one of the few FW manufacturers at the show due to their close relationship with EMS and LE operators. (L–R) from Epps Av Sales were Scott Ducker and Matthew Rule with Pilatus Sr Proj Eng Jim Saxon.
Rolls-Royce was represented by (L–R) Administrator Angela Smith, Helo Svc Exec Jerry Sheldon, VP Customer Relations Roy Griffin, Advance Visualist Lead Jack Eliker, VP Customer Relations James Payton, and VP Mktg & Comms George McLaren.
Honeywell debuted its hybrid-electric turbogenerator, a combination of the HTS900 engine and 2 compact, high power density generators. Showing off the new powerplant were (L–R) Dir Cust & Prod Supt Lori Cartledge, Sr Cust Supt Prog Mgr Deta Adams, Dir Biz Dvlp Randall Clark, and Sr Mgr Media Relations Adam Kress.
Bose Service Mgr Miguel Menendez and Major Acc Mgr North America John Mackie showcased Bose A20 headsets.
True Blue Power introduced its 5th gen, maintenance-free Lithium-ion battery family. Making the announcement were (L) Director Erik Ritzman and President & CEO Todd Winter.
Demonstrating FLIR Systems IR offerings were VP Global Integrated Logistics Supt Tom Norton (L) and US Sales Mgr LE Brian Spillane.
Garmin Av Regional Sales Mgr Wayne McGhee (L) and Av Web Mktg Spc Scott McCurley with Garmin G500H TXi.
CAE was represented by Reg Sales Mgr Moresby Gonzalez and Group Leader Tradeshows & Events Daniel Martineau. From Avfuel were (L) Account Mgr Jim Coleman and Contract Fuel Ops Supervisor Steve Montgomery.
(L–R) GE Dir Rotorcraft Mktg Jon Perkins, Program Mgr Military Systems Operation Charles Blood and Cust Serv Leader Comm Rotorcraft John Ledbetter.
Everett Aviation acquired a Sikorsky S-92A (shown at right) that will support oil and gas and utility operations in East Africa managed by Lobo Leasing. Signing the agreement at the Sikorsky booth were Lobo CEO Bill Wolf (L) and Everett CEO Simon Everett.
Guimbal’s 2-seat, Fenestron-type tail rotor Cabri G2 is rapidly gaining popularity in the training field since coming to market 11 years ago.
Safran had several announcements including partnering with CHC Helicopters for Arriel engine support and being chosen to power Bell’s upcoming Nexus. Shown is the popular Arriel 2B engine.
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Thank you to all our customers!
Leonardo Helicopters is honored to have achieved first place in the 2019 Pro Pilot Helicopter Product Support Survey. This great result has been reached thanks to our customers who have trusted us, recognizing our efforts to create added-value solutions and to build a continuous and effective dialogue with them. Leonardo Helicopters is committed to delivering the highest quality of customer support, advanced service solutions and a comprehensive range of training programs ensuring mission success; anytime, anywhere. Inspired by the vision, curiosity and creativity of the great master inventor Leonardo is designing the technology of tomorrow.
leonardocompany.com Helicopters | Aeronautics | Electronics, Defence & Security Systems | Space
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Flying bizjets to and within Europe
Glasgow (left) is a popular GA business and tourism destination, particularly during summer months. GLA (Glasgow, UK), pictured at right, provides full business aviation support services, and overnight parking here is seldom an issue.
By Grant McLaren Editor-at-Large
lthough many operators consider Europe to be a relatively easy and straightforward operating environment, this is not always the case. In Europe you’re dealing with more diverse airspace than within North America and you face assorted regulations and requirements that may vary from country to country. “Operating to and within Europe can be more complicated and challenging than planning domestic trips stateside, so it’s important to be aware of all applicable differences,” says Universal Weather Sr Mission Advisor William McLendon. “There are numerous regulatory requirements, noise abatement procedures, emission reporting requirements, charter ops mandates and tax collection procedures that foreign-based operators may not always fully appreciate. Basically, there’s a laundry list of checklist items to be aware of in organizing a successful trip to Europe.”
Flight planning in Europe In terms of flight planning, don’t rely on the point-to-point direct routings we’re accustomed to in North
America. Most routings will be on airways and only certain routings will be accepted by Eurocontrol. “Route planning is more challenging in Europe than in the US, and there are restrictions in terms of available and permitted routings,” explains Jeppesen International Trip Specialist Steve Leathem. Airway slots can be an issue, particularly in terms of Airport Collaborative Decision Making (A-CDM) coordinated slots. A-CDM, where 2 airports in different countries work together to restrict flows of traffic, can result in unforeseen delays. “You could, for example, face a 3-hour slot-related ATC delay and there’s not much you can do about this,” adds Leathem. “Route planning in Europe is, overall, more complex than in the US in terms of what you can and cannot do.” UAS VIP Team Supervisor Zack O’Malley reports that altitude deviations are occurring with more frequency these days and they get some foreign-registered operators in trouble. Level busts have doubled since 2017 throughout Europe, particularly in the UK. It’s important to keep in mind that regulations and procedures in Europe differ from North America. If you’re not prepared this can get you into trouble. And, unlike in the US,
there are no standard transition altitudes in Europe, so operators need to pay attention to the differences.
Photo by José Vásquez
Rules often vary by country. It’s still expensive but there is now better awareness of GA needs.
Operating challenges Coordinating airway and runway slots is an important consideration for European ops but in most cases this is fairly manageable. You’ll normally be able to request and confirm airport slots at least 2 weeks prior to operation, but this is not always so, say international support providers (ISPs). GVA (Geneva, Switzerland) recently reduced slot notification from 2 weeks to just 5 days out, causing challenges for many operators. “GVA will not issue airport slots until 5 days prior, so there’s a risk you could have an arrival but not a departure slot,” says McLendon. “Parking may not be approved for the duration of your stay, or at least until you have confirmed a departure slot. Operators staying at GVA more than 5 days could need to negotiate parking on a day-to-day basis.” Note that revising slots on short notice is not always easy or possible. “At some busier locations, such as BCN (Barcelona, Spain) during high season, slot revisions can be difficult for requests made within 72 hours,” says Avfuel Account Mgr Da-
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Milan (right), like many destinations in Italy, attracts a steady volume of business jet visits throughout the year and particularly during local fashion weeks. Note that LIN (Linate, Milan, Italy) will close completely to all aviation movements for about 3 months this summer due to much-needed airport infrastructure repairs.
vid Kang. “It’s best to confirm slots as early as possible and to be flexible in terms of juggling airway and runway slots later.” ATC strikes still happen with relative frequency across Europe. While sudden, unannounced strikes are rare, any aviation-related strike activity has potential to cause delays, even if you’re just overflying the country in question. Be aware that night noise curfews and restrictions remain in place at LTN (Luton, London, UK) and STN (Stansted, London, UK) this year. As available night slots have been reduced after 2300 local, it’s often more critical to stay on schedule. “We’re seeing night operating restrictions more commonplace within the EU, to the point that it’s becoming almost a rarity for airports to permit GA night ops,” says Leathem. “Noise regulations vary from airport to airport, making parking and slots potentially harder to juggle. You could, for example, meet local noise regs to land at night but not to take off at night.” ITPS Ops Mgr Ben Fuller notes that LIN (Linate, Milan, Italy) will close between July 27 and Oct 27 this year for runway resurfacing.
Documentation considerations Be aware that Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) checks are common occurrences in Europe, so it’s important to have all required documents in order and ready for inspection. Kang points out that the likelihood of being SAFA checked varies throughout the region, but it’s currently approaching 50% at both LBG (Le Bourget, Paris, France) and LTN. “If you’re prepared for a SAFA
check the procedure can be wrapped up in about 15 minutes. But if your records are not organized, this could take 45 minutes. Be aware of potential problems, and longer delays, if any required documentation is missing, not up to date, or incorrect,” he notes. Be mindful that you’ll be required to have applicable Letters of Agreement (LoAs) for many European ops and this can involve between 4 and 6 months for some operators to set up. Should you operate without a required LoA (eg, shooting an RNP approach without the mandated approval), you’ll be in hot water if ramp checked. “Penalties for operating without required LoAs escalate depending on which reg you broke, how severe the breach was and if this was a first offense or not,” says Kang. “A first offense for a small violation is not too bad, but larger infringements, such as flying in the North Atlantic Tracks (NAT) without correct authorization, will be a much bigger problem.” As Europe is an ICAO operating environment, it’s important that all crew have type ratings for the particular aircraft. Note that ICAO standards differ from FAA standards and your compliance will be reviewed during unannounced SAFA ramp checks. Jeppesen Vendor Relations Mgr Ian Humphrey says that varying insurance requirements in Europe trip up foreign operators from time to time. “Insurance coverage and requirements within Europe are not the same as in North America,” he explains. “EU785/2004 provides applicable coverage standards for the European Union, and this is part of any SAFA check. In addition, individual countries may have their own spe-
cific requirements. Insurance policy wording, for example, must be in a specific format for ops to and within Germany.”
Parking challenges During peak summer season, overnight parking may be difficult or impossible to obtain at many Mediterranean locations. In most cases you’ll be able to negotiate a dropand-go, but even this is not guaranteed. Popular Greek islands can be especially challenging for summer parking, along with such Western Med destinations as IBZ (Ibiza, Spain) and PMI (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) and many locations in Italy. If you are able to secure high season overnight parking it may be very expensive and/or not guaranteed. “There was a recent case of a BBJ operator to Italy who had confirmed parking revoked at the last minute, to make room for 2 smaller Gulfstream aircraft,” recalls McLendon. “In this case they were offered the option to drop and go, but only between the hours of midnight and 0500 local.” Major airports of entry at London, Rome and Athens have become busier and harder to secure overnight and longer-term GA parking. “We had some problems last year with overnight parking in the London area and had to use SEN (Southend, UK), a 2-hour drive from central London, on occasion for longer-term parking,” says ITPS Ops Specialist Jon Wells.
Be mindful of costs Europe is generally a more expensive operating environment than North America but less expensive
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NCY (Annecy, France) offers a 5348-ft runway and professional bizav support services. Overnight GA parking options here are better than most other airports in the region. Annecy (R), a small city in SE France to the south of Geneva, has an old town section with cobbled streets, lovely buildings and assorted canals – the perfect place for a crew RON.
than Japan, China or India. At certain locations in Europe handling and parking charges can be particularly high, and first-time operators do experience sticker shock, say ISPs. “Nav fees can be expensive along with airport fees, handling charges and 3rd-party services,” notes Kang. “These fees add up quickly. You could be looking at over $10,000 for a 3–4 day stop at LTN, due to very high parking costs.” Unlike in the US, fuel is typically not provided directly by FBOs and minimum fuel uplifts do not offset ground handling fees. Mineral Oil Tax (MOT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) can double or triple base fuel costs at locations in Germany and Switzerland, so it is recommended to plan uplifts accordingly.
Ground handling, FBOs and fuel Europe, overall, has a great network of FBOs and general aviation terminals (GATs), but support infrastructure and services can be more iffy at smaller locations. “We’ve had some support challenges at smaller airports in France where the local chamber of commerce is responsible for handling,” says Fuller. “In some cases you can only count on basic services and limited ground support equipment, and you may need to set up a supervisory agent to help coordinate the process.” As fuel in Europe is normally provided separately from the FBO/GAT function, it’s important to set up arrangements well in advance and to confirm credit options. Operators do experience fuel delays from time to time in Europe. “There are situations where you may pre-arrange a
fuel uplift but the ground handler may call a different provider,” says McLendon. “To avoid missed opportunities for savings, it’s important to ensure the into-plane fueler is the one that had been pre-arranged.”
Charter considerations In order to operate a charter with a foreign-registered aircraft in Europe you’ll need a Third Country Operator (TCO) certificate, which covers you for the whole of the EU. Plan on a lead time of about 30 days to have your TCO request, an EASA requirement, approved. Required submissions include ops specs, insurance coverage, training records and maintenance logs. Once a TCO is approved, it must be maintained and updated, in terms of any documentation with an expiry date. If you don’t have a TCO and need to do a charter to Europe in the next few days, it’s not going to happen, say ISPs. In addition to having a TCO, there are applicable charter landing permit requirements in many European countries. For a charter to the UK, France or Germany, for example, you’ll need a charter landing permit, while for charter ops to Norway, Sweden or Spain, all you need is the TCO. McLendon points out that both Greece and Italy mandate blanket charter permits and do not offer 1-time charter authorizations. “Plan on up to 45 days lead time to secure a blanket charter permit for either Greece or Italy,” he adds.
Summary While the European operating environment is regulation-heavy and
not quite as free moving and fluid as it had been in the past, it has become easier in some ways. “The rules in Europe, although complex, have become much clearer over recent years,” says Kang. “If you understand the rules and can fit into the game, there are very few gray areas now. Communications have become easier and there’s generally better awareness of GA needs. Still, you could face some limitations here and there and not always get all services you might be accustomed to stateside. For example, you may need to bring a tow bar or pre-order ice and provide earlier notice for 3rd-party services.” ISPs anticipate increased airspace and parking congestion within Europe over coming years, making this operating environment more challenging. So it’s important to plan trips early, review all AIPs and be aware of SAFA ramp check requirements. “Be familiar with the overall EU regulatory environment, be aware of applicable SIDs and STARs, and review all AIPs, as this will give you any deviations from ICAO standards,” suggests UAS Ops Mgr Duke LeDuc. “Looking to the future, the regulatory environment will likely become more complex, particularly in terms of carbon emission offset programs that are still in the works. If you’re not familiar with the operating environment or particular airports in Europe, it’s always recommended to work closely with a good ISP.” Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.
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Thunderstorms Extreme convection remains a top threat to unprepared pilots. Lightning strikes reveal an active storm near LAS (Las Vegas NV). Pilots shouldn’t attempt takeoffs or landings when thunderstorms are present within a mile or 2 of the runway and approach path.
By Karsten Shein Comm-Inst Climate Scientist
n retrospect, the 2 pilots should have taken the convective sigmet calling for embedded storms more seriously. The less experienced copilot was unsure, but deferred to the senior pilot who argued that the sigmet covered a large area and they’d only be flying through a portion of it to get to their destination airport. Deviating around the region would take too much extra time for what he felt was a pretty low risk that they’d run into any severe weather. Besides, they had their trusty storm scope and airborne radar to help them dodge any threats. All around the aircraft, billowing cumulus towers were growing and blotting out the sky above. Soon they faced a wall of cloud, but their radar showed only light rain and the storm scope was devoid of lightning signatures near their path. They plowed on. About 2 minutes into the clouds, both pilots were pushed deep into their seats as a strong updraft hit them from below. At the same time, the storm scope began to reflect nearby flashes of lightning.
Soon the aircraft stopped shaking and they emerged from the updraft 1800 feet higher than the altitude from which they had entered. But before they could breathe a collective sigh of relief, their left wing was hit by a massive eddy shearing from a nearby downdraft. The pilots could only look on in terror as the wing separated and was briefly illuminated by a lightning stroke before it disappeared into the murk. Completely out of control, the copilot radioed a mayday, but the forces within the storm ensured that this encounter would be fatal. Investigators found most of the wreckage in a corner of a field of soybeans and concluded that the aircraft had completely disintegrated before it ever hit the ground. The cause of the accident was identified as inadvertent penetration of a level 5 thunderstorm.
Thunderstorms Thunderstorms are a perennial topic and will continue to be because every year, pilots tangle with thunderstorms and become accident file statistics. Those same accident files are almost unanimous in placing the blame on pilot error for messing with a storm.
These pilots come from across the spectrum – low and high time pilots, and those flying everything from single-engine piston aircraft to fly-bywire commercial jets. What they do have in common is that none of them meant to penetrate a storm. Most of us have a healthy respect for thunderstorms. But because we still want to get from point A to point B with a minimum of delay, many times we think that we will be able to see and avoid the dangers of a potential storm. We also may start to cut things a bit closer, making the incorrect assumption that danger is inversely related to experience. The complacency that comes with experience is normally what gets us into trouble with storms.
Convective cells Storms form all over the planet, even over Antarctica. Satellites and radio networks that detect lightning strokes help to paint a picture of where they are most common. But even without such observation, the process of formation and the properties of the atmosphere will give us a good idea of where they are most likely to be encountered.
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All storms follow the same formative pattern. Energy that builds up near the surface is released to rise into the atmosphere. As it rises, it expands and cools, condensing into cloud droplets the moisture it carries. The condensation releases heat energy that allows the updraft to continue higher and higher, so long as it remains warmer than the surrounding environment. Eventually, the air cools and dries to a point where it is denser than the air rising from beneath it. The colder air aloft begins to descend as a downdraft, carrying precipitation with it. In most cases, weak winds aloft ensure the downdraft falls through the updraft – disrupting both and preventing the formation of a circulation cell. Those types of storm are called air mass storms. They may produce a lighting stroke or 2, but normally go from formation to dissipation in 30 minutes or so. Nearly all storms that occur in the tropics, including those that form as part of a tropical cyclone, fall into this category. More dangerous storms are those that develop into an area of windshear aloft. The gradually increasing winds with altitude tilt the updraft, meaning that when the downdraft begins, it descends adjacent to the updraft. This is what creates a convective circulation. When the downdraft reaches the surface, it spreads out, with the gust front acting as a wedge to enhance the lifting of warm and humid air into the cloud. Storms
Typical anvil head of a supercell thunderstorm. Supercells are the largest and strongest of thunderstorms and may cover several square miles of sky. Frequently they can be seen and avoided, but occasionally they are embedded in thick cloud cover.
in which the circulation cell is established can maintain their strength for an hour or more. Air rising in a storm normally has some rotation around its axis due to the physics of air spiraling in about a low – the rising air creates a smallscale surface low beneath the storm. But the most severe thunderstorms are those in which the storm updraft is spun about by winds from different directions as it ascends, creating a mesocyclone. Storms with this sort of rotation are supercells and usually are accompanied by extreme dangers to aviation.
Geography Thunderstorms are most frequently encountered in places on earth where warm, humid air is forced to ascend. This can be along the intertropical convergence zone where tropical air from the northern and southern hemispheres flows together near the equator. It can also be along a coastline where the daily sea breeze circulation brings routine storms onshore in the day and offshore at night. It can be where air is forced to flow uphill, such as the front range of a mountain chain. Or it can be where cold fronts sweep across the landscape with regularity. Some of the most storm-prone places are Florida and Colorado in the US, equatorial Africa, Indonesia and the Amazon basin. The strongest supercells are frequent visitors to
the central US plains, where humid air from the Gulf of Mexico runs up against cooler and drier air pushing in from the west. Finally, a key ingredient in thunderstorms is something that keeps a lid on convective energy until it reaches a critical threshold, after which the air rises explosively. Most frequently, this lid is supplied by a low-level temperature inversion that often sets up overnight. Just 1–3° C warming at a few thousand feet AGL is sufficient. This inversion keeps the warming surface air in place, with all of its growing energy, until eventually either something comes along to push it through the inversion and into the colder free atmosphere above, or it attains enough energy to penetrate a weak spot in the inversion. Once a convective current is established through the cap, the rate at which it ascends will be tied to the difference in density between it and the surrounding environment. The greater the temperature difference (with the atmosphere being colder), the more explosively the updraft will rise. In the most favorable conditions, a storm can go from cap bust to mature storm in a few minutes. What’s worse is that developing storms often do not contain precipitation droplets that are large enough to be seen on radar. As a result, the storm may not show up on your scope – or show only as an area of light precipitation – right up until the point at which it cracks its first
Photo courtesy NOAA
Mature but dissipating airmass thunderstorm that produced a classic anvil head as it reached the temperature inversion at the top of the troposphere. Most storms are airmass storms that die out as quickly as they form, but can present widespread dangers to aircraft.
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lightning stroke as a mature cell. So pilots need to rely on information from forecasters and briefers to understand where storms are likely to occur and anticipate that even if the information calls for few or widely scattered storms, they may pop up anywhere in the forecast area and at any time during the forecast period. Things are a little more straightforward with frontal storms, which will form and decay just behind the surface cold front or along a prefrontal squall line. Storms may also form as part of a larger storm complex such as a hurricane or Mesoscale Convective System (MCS). It should go without saying that any region of organized storms should be avoided if possible.
Dangers Obviously, few pilots will intentionally penetrate a storm – or even fly close to one – because they recognize the dangers these storms pose. But, in the rare instance where a pilot inadvertently flies into a thunderstorm, they can expect the worst forms of many of the dangers they face any time they take to the skies. Ironically, while lightning, the main indicator of a thunderstorm, is a danger and may temporarily blind a pilot, fry avionics, or leave a small hole in the aircraft, it doesn’t bring down aircraft.
Downburst from an airmass thunderstorm over LYB (Edward Bodden Airfield, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands). Even the weakest tropical airmass storms can produce strong downdrafts and low-level windshear.
Most towering cumuli, including cumulonimbus, rise through the freezing level. Since cloud and rain droplets can remain in liquid state to temperatures of around –40° C (–40° F), the subfreezing regions of the storm are where severe to extreme icing can quickly coat the aircraft. Supercooled large droplets will transform into solid ice when they strike the subfreezing skin of the aircraft, and the ice will likely accrete at a rate far exceeding any ability of the aircraft to shed it. Even a descent may not help as the freezing level may be too far below to melt the full quantity of accreted ice before it becomes unmanageable. The air currents within the storm pose one of the greatest dangers. Up and downdrafts, along with the eddies they shear, can strike an aircraft from any direction, or multiple directions simultaneously. The associated turbulence is normally characterized as severe to extreme. While the actual force of a 100-kt wind striking an aircraft is unlikely to do physical damage on its own, when the aircraft is struck by strong winds from different directions at the same time, the torque can be enough to bend and break steel spars. More likely, however, is that a single strong eddy is able to cause a loss of control, and the gain or loss of hundreds – if not thousands – of feet of altitude. Hail is another danger inherent to
thunderstorms. An aircraft within a mature thunderstorm can be struck repeatedly by hailstones cycling through the storm cell. Eventually, the hail produced within the storm either falls from its base or is ejected from the top, front, sides or rear. Ejected hail has been observed traveling 20 miles or more from the storm that produced it. Where the updraft tilts forward into the anvil of a large storm, hailstones can be thrown from the anvil even greater distances. This is one of the reasons why staying at least 20 miles from any storm is important. A safer margin is avoidance by at least 1 mile horizontally for every 1000 ft of storm height, and 1000 ft above the storm top for every 10,000 ft of storm height. It is never a good idea to fly beneath a thunderstorm, or even near the base of one. Not only can hail strike your aircraft or rain cause you to lose visibility at a crucial moment – this is also the realm of strong outflow, including downbursts and microbursts. Microbursts produce low-level windshear that has slammed many aircraft into the ground as they were attempting to land. Because they were already low and slow, they had little chance of recovery from the loss of control. After several high-profile commercial crashes, many airports installed windshear alert systems and pilots received training in microburst recovery. But the best safety is
Photo by Karsten Shein
Photo courtesy WMO
Mature thunderstorm discharges a lightning stroke. Thunderstorms are frequently characterized as stratosphere-reaching anvil-headed giants, but they come in all sizes. Even the smallest thunderstorm can pose extreme risk to aircraft.
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to avoid approaching or attempting a landing at an airport when there are thunderstorms within a mile or 2 of your approach path, and never to fly beneath a storm in your attempt to take off or land.
Avionics such as storm scopes, strike finders and radar are helpful in identifying and avoiding active thunderstorms. Even the trusty ADF will point toward lightning strokes. But these are tools that will only show active storms. They will not generally help a pilot identify a storm as it is forming. Pilots must use the planning tools and weather information at their disposal to anticipate where thunderstorms are likely to occur. The best way to deal with that thunderstorm potential is simply to plan a route or a deviation to avoid those areas at the time when storms are expected. In most cases, we fly through regions where we can see the thunderheads poking through an otherwise benign cumulus deck. These are storms that can easily be seen and avoided. In other cases, we can see a line of lightning-lit storms pushed along a cold front. This too we normally have time to steer around. In some cases where thunderstorms have brought down aircraft, the pilot either attempted to fly through a gap between storms, or blundered into a storm that was embedded in a thick deck of cumulus congestus. Because storms won’t produce lightning or even heavy precipitation until they mature, these storms often surprise pilots who think they are simply penetrating an area of light precipitation. Even when the gap between storms is clear, pilots should ensure that it is wide enough to pass safely and should also keep an eye toward the surface. The outflow from the nearby storms often kicks off a rapidly building storm cell in the space between. If there is a growing cumulus cloud rising in the gap between 2 storms, plan on it becoming mature itself within a few minutes.
Extraction At issue with getting out of a storm is the misperception that you accidentally flew into a mature storm, and the greater likelihood that the
Solitary airmass storm matures near TPA (Tampa FL). Although most thunderstorms occur in otherwise clear air and are easily seen and avoided, their dangers should not be underestimated.
storm matured around you while you flew. This distinction is important for how a pilot approaches extraction from the storm. In the former, you can guarantee the clear air is behind you. In the latter, you may have no idea where in the storm you really are. Traditionally, pilots have been taught to slow to turbulent air penetration speed and make a 180° turn to fly out of a storm as soon as they realize they have “flown into” one. However, when pilots find themselves in a storm, they are likely unaware of how they got there, how far into the storm they flew before realizing it and, therefore, where inside the storm they actually are. There is often little way of determining the shortest path out of the storm. Your radar cannot see behind you, only ahead, so you may waste valuable time turning only to see deep red pop up on your scope. Naturally, however, if you have radar, you’ll want to steer a path to avoid the heaviest returns and get to the nearest area of clear air. The other consideration is that turning your aircraft exposes it to reduced lift, speed and control. Even a standard rate turn places your aircraft at greater mercy of the forces within the storm than if you had kept the wings level and continued straight ahead.
If you have a relay to ground radar, you may see the bigger picture and plot a route out of danger. But here, too, you must remember that those radar pictures are up to 5 minutes old when they reach your aircraft, and may be 10 minutes or more out of date before they refresh. It is likely that the storm you penetrated wasn’t even mature when the image was captured. However, while you may not be able to identify the fastest path out of the storm you’re in, you may see where other storms and clear air are in relation to your position and plot a course away from the danger areas. Ultimately, the pilot must decide what is the best option for them and the safety of their passengers. As always, if you find yourself in a region of thunderstorms, or the weather is not what was forecast, file a pirep to help your fellow pilots. Naturally, please wait to file until after you’ve cleared any danger.
Photo by Karsten Shein
See and avoid
Karsten Shein is cofounder 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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OUTER MARKER INBOUND
From biplanes to the moon: The incredible story of Leroy Grumman
F6F Hellcat and Mitsubishi A6M Zero replica fly side by side during an airshow.
Always the airman first, Leroy Randle Grumman remained an active aviator well into his career. Diabetes began to rob him of his sight in his early 40s and although he gave up the cockpit, he remained an integral part of his company into his 70s and was instrumental in many crucial decisions regarding aircraft design and configuration.
By David Bjellos
ATP/Helo. Gulfstream IV, Sikorsky S76, Bell 407 Pro Pilot Senior Contributor
ew engineers and even fewer airmen have prospered in name and reputation for over half a century, and only a tiny handful of those have seen the progression from wood and fabric aircraft to landing on the moon. Here is the story of Leroy Grumman and his remarkable journey literally through time and space, and whose namesake company has been around since the dawn of aviation. Grumman earned his Navy wings at Pensacola in 1918 and was sent to Boston to study at MIT and learn the new discipline of aeronautical engineering. His first posting was at League Island Naval Yard (just north of Philadelphia Airport), where he tested and accepted flying boats for the US Navy. His airmanship and engineering expertise prompted the US Navy to send Grumman to the Loening Aeronautical Corporation, then based on the East River in Manhattan, to oversee trainer aircraft fabrication and completion. He served there as test pilot and production supervisor, and drew the attention and admiration of the company founder Grover Loening, who was taught to fly by Orville Wright. By 1920, post-WWI peacetime required a reduction in force of all branches of the military, and Loening offered Grumman a job. He eventually became Loening Aeronautical Corp’s general manager. The Great Depression of 1929 caused Loening to sell his NYC operation and production was moved to Bristol PA. Grumman chose not to remain with the new com-
pany, Keystone. Instead, along with 2 other key employees from Loening, he formed his own company named Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Company, based in Baldwin NY. His initial work consisted primarily of repairing the Loening M-8 monoplane produced for the US Navy as a trainer (the same ones he oversaw as GM). His engineers were expert aluminum fabricators from their experience at automobile construction, and Leroy Grumman had all the work he could handle from bent and broken seaplanes, twisted at the hands of young naval aviators. Grover Loening and his brother Albert wisely became investors in Grumman’s new venture. During his time at Loening, Grumman had helped develop and perfect amphibious landing gear. He was awarded a patent for this design and was rewarded with US Navy contracts for amphibious aircraft, and eventually the commercial market. He also invented the famous “stow-wing” folding system for carrier-based aircraft, which have become standard for nearly all purpose-built carrier aircraft today. As WWII approached, Grumman’s proficiencies and manufacturing strengths resulted in the US Navy ordering the famous F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat. The TBF Avenger, Tigercat and Bearcat quickly followed. Britain and France, along with a host of smaller nations, ordered the Wildcat. Each of the navy types performed well and were rugged, perfect for ship-board operations. In later years, his civilian aircraft were affectionately referred to as being built at the “Grumman iron works” by flightcrews and technicians alike due to their strength and reliability.
One of the first jets to join the carrier-based fleet was the F9F-5 Panther, shown here with VF-111 aboard CVA-39 (USS Lake Champlain). Eventually, the A-6 Intruder and F-14 Tomcat would join carrier ops from the Grumman stable. Note the folding/hinged wing design. Leroy Grumman invented the concept and it has been adopted for nearly every single carrier-based aircraft built since.
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Test pilot Matthew “Carl” Alber made the first test flight of the Grumman Gulfstream I in this undated photo. Alber is standing on the steps of the Gulfstream as his copilot shakes Leroy Grumman’s hand after a successful test flight.
The jet age was a time for innovation and design expertise, and Grumman began working on 2 distinct goals: space and jet fighters. The F9F Panther was Grumman’s first jet in 1949, followed by the A-6 Intruder and eventually the F-14 Tomcat. Quietly, the company had been contracted to produce the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) that was carried by Apollo 11 and landed men on the moon in 1969. Perhaps most famously for civilian pilots, Leroy Grumman can be thanked for producing the initial series of Gulfstream aircraft, beginning with the turboprop G I and progressing during his lifetime through the G IV.
Grumman designed, tested and assembled the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) at its Bethpage NY facility in the 1960s. Between 1969 and 1972, Grumman LEMs carried 12 astronauts to and from the surface of the moon, and one – Aquarius – served as a lifeboat for 3 astronauts during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission. Adults and children alike all but worshipped men like Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong for their bravery and skills, and for epitomizing the spirit of adventure when they landed on the moon July 20, 1969.
Perhaps no other aircraft ever made has done more for naval aviation recruitment (through the movie Top Gun) than the F-14 Tomcat. It was fast, capable and could carry an impressive quantity of weapons stores and fuel, with a max takeoff weight just under 73,000 lb, nearly identical to that of a fully-loaded Gulfstream IV.
In spite of Grumman’s failing health and poor eyesight in later years, his engineers developed 2 models for the turboprop Gulfstream prototype – one with a high wing, the other a low wing. Such was Grumman’s influence among his employees, his choice of a low-wing model was never questioned. What might these aircraft have looked like today had he chosen the high-wing version? Leroy Grumman lived long enough to see his company and products progress from underpowered biplanes with questionable powerplants and strut and wire-laden wings covered in dope and fabric, to supersonic fighters and Neil Armstrong stepping from his LEM to make first tracks on the moon. He retired as active Chairman from his company in 1966 and was made an honorary chairman. He sat on the board until 1972 and flew west on October 4, 1982 at the age of 87. Leroy Grumman received numerous awards, including the Guggenheim Medal for aeronautical pioneering, the Medal of Merit, and an honorary PhD in engineering by the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the International Air and Space Hall of Fame. The US Navy fleet replenishment oiler USNS Leroy Grumman was christened by his 3 daughters in 1988. Throughout his lifetime, he strove for perfection and expected expertise and attention to detail on everything that bore his name. Such was his influence that he was always referred to as “Mr Grumman” as a sign of respect. His motto, earned from humble beginnings during the hard scrabble days of repairing the broken and leaking Loening seaplanes, was “We always tried to do a solid job.” Well done, Mr Grumman. Mission accomplished. David Bjellos is the Aviation Manager for Florida Crystals, flying a GIV-SP, S-76C+ and Bell 407. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Helicopter Association International (HAI).
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PREVENTING RUNWAY OVERRUNS
Use the 7 seconds + air distance + touchdown policy Know your actual landing distance to come to a complete stop from a point 50 ft above the landing surface. The distance traversed over a period of 7 seconds at a speed of 98% of VAPP over the threshold is known as air distance.
Maingear touchdown 50 ft
Ground roll Actual landing distance
By Cengiz Kantarci ATP. Boeing E-3A/KC-135R, Airbus A320, McDonnell Douglas F-4E TRI, QA Auditor, Turkish Airlines
hat is your aircraft’s assumed Air Distance (AD) in meters/feet and seconds being used as the reference distance/duration for In-Flight Landing Distance (I-FLD) calculations after crossing 50 ft over threshold until touchdown? Ignoring the answer to this question could cause a runway overrun accident or incident. As we all know, the most common causes of runway overruns are “long flares” associated with contaminated runway conditions, plus poor airmanship. But what exactly do we mean by long flare? How long is it? Which data or what conditions can be controlled and managed during landing, and which cannot? Pilots should not extend the calculated flare duration prior to touchdown.
7 seconds + air distance Section 8.2.4 of FAA AC25-32, Landing Performance Data for Time-of-Arrival Landing Performance Assessments, says, “The air distance used for time-of-arrival landing performance assessments should be determined analytically as the distance traversed over a time period of 7 sec-
onds at a speed of 98% of the recommended speed over the landing threshold, also referred to as the final approach speed (VAPP). This represents a flare time of 7 seconds and a touchdown speed (VTD) of 96% of VAPP.” This means that, for an approach speed of 140 kts in calm air, ISA and SL would roughly correspond to 490 m (~1600 ft) increases with tailwind, temperature and altitude. That corresponds to a speed of ~70 m (~230 ft) per second after crossing the threshold until touchdown. The Airbus Flight Crew Techniques Manual (FCTM) describes the Actual Landing Distance (ALD) as “the distance to come to a complete stop from a point 50 ft above the landing surface. The ALD is a regulatory landing distance established during flight tests in non-operational conditions (rate of descent, piloting skills…), not representative of daily operations.” In addition, the Airbus Flight Crew Operating Manual states that the I-FLD considers the airborne phase of 7 seconds from threshold to touchdown. Regardless of the type of airplane operated, similar information and limitations must be described in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM). If you look for the AD descriptions in different AFMs, the result is pretty challenging. Some say 305 m while others say 455 m, and some may set
the time at 7 seconds while others may give different ranges. You have to be aware of what your airplane’s performance data considers for AD in the I-FLD calculations. This will definitely change the way you look at your landing considerations.
Touchdown zone Image on page 79 shows a runway with the actual Touchdown Zone (TDZ) embedded with AD, ground roll and ALD. For detailed information, you should refer to runway touchdown zone and aiming point markings in your navigation charts supplier’s manual. Not every flightcrew member is aware that the TDZ is the first 900 m (~3000 ft) of runway beyond the threshold. This being explained, there is a question: Are we always allowed to use the full length of the TDZ at all times during landing? In order to answer this question, we need to know the touchdown policy.
Touchdown policy The touchdown policy guidance indicates that: • All landings should be aimed to the first 300 m (~1000 ft) after the threshold or aiming point markings of the runway, unless the specific approach procedures require contrary.
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20 or 150 m
Touchdown zone over threshold
Actual landing distance Touchdown zone is the first 900 m (~3000 ft), and the air distance is just about the first 450 m (~1500 ft) of runway beyond the threshold.
• A positive touchdown should normally be accomplished between 300 m (~1000 ft) and 600 m (~2000 ft) within the defined TDZ. • If touchdown cannot be achieved within the first 900 m (~3000 ft) or 1/3 of the ALD (whichever is less) of the landing runway, a go-around/ rejected landing should be initiated with consideration given to remaining runway length, performance conditions and calculations, terrain and wind, controllability of the aircraft, etc. • The TDZ lights and/or markings painted on the runway can be used to assess the touchdown zone. The touchdown policy would be a remedy to prevent runway overruns if applied correctly. But, if there’s poor airmanship, no amount of definition is going to help. In most overrun accidents, the correct usage of the TDZ and TDZ policy seems to be overlooked and affected by other factors such as poor visibility, high crosswind, tailwind, long flare, etc. The key point is not to overrun the TDZ regardless of the external factors. Imagine where you might end up landing on a non-standard or runway strip shorter than 2400 m if you cannot land within the calculated TDZ in deteriorating weather and runway conditions. If you overshoot your TDZ and continue with the landing when conditions are very limiting, you’ll end up past the runway end.
Airmanship As described by Carey Edwards in his book of that name, airmanship is the (technical, operational and non-technical) knowledge, skills and attitudes that aircrew employ to operate an aircraft effectively, efficiently and safely.
We need to combine the missing airmanship part with the cumulative effects of the TDZ, 7 seconds + AD, and the touchdown policy in order to increase and strengthen our knowledge, skills and attitudes to master our landings. As we all know, runway overruns can also be caused by bad weather conditions, contaminated runway, tailwind, long landing, high flare, etc. However, since we do not have control over deteriorating weather and runway conditions, we need to keep checking and managing the use of the TDZ – the main thing over which we have control – and use our utmost airmanship. Additional piloting skills and techniques include: 1. Know the assumed AD duration or distance beyond the threshold. This is considered in the reference distance calculation. If you do not know it, refer to your AFM or QRH and figure it out prior to your first flight. This assumed AD is a crucial part of your I-FLD. 2. Know the type of AD allowance considered in the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) or hardware used by your flight department for I-FLD calculations. Then compare this information with your AFM or QRH. The assumed AD used for dry or contaminated runway conditions might be different from the one considered in QRH. Do compare the assumed value with different runway conditions. 3. Know how much flare duration or distance allowance you have over the TDZ compared to your I-FLD calculation and whether the ALD allows you to use the complete TDZ. Beyond the threshold and any time you may be exceeding, you are eating up either your safety margin (SM), usually 15%, or your remaining
runway distance beyond the I-FLD. Before touchdown we can manage and control the AD by adjusting our descent rate or shifting our aim point, but after the touchdown we cannot control or shorten the ground roll because we may already be using the best deceleration techniques and devices, so there will be nothing else we can use. As an example, if you’re landing on a 2100-m runway with VAPP around 140 kts and ALD is 1900 m (490 m AD + 1160 m ground roll + 250 m (15% SM) = 1900 m), the runway remaining after ALD is only 200 m. If we calculate the maximum flare time in seconds, then it is 7 sec (AD) + 3.5 sec (SM) = 10.5 sec. So, if you exceed 10.5 sec, you are outside of your calculated I-FLD envelope and only 2.85 sec or 200 m away from a runway overrun. If you decide to use the full TDZ (900 m), you will have only 40 m left once you stop at the end of the runway. In this case, having an applicable TDZ policy could be a lifesaver. 4. Know your landing runway. Details such as the availability of TDZ markings, dimensions, lights and aim point distance are particularly important. Especially on relatively short airfields, TDZ markings might not be standard. This, together with aim point, could be just 300 m from threshold, so your assumed AD might go well beyond the aim point markings. In that case, be prepared for it. 5. Create your own TDZ policy and establish such a policy in your operational documents. Have your flightcrew know about it and control it by your Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs) in the Long Landing section, particularly the part where it says, “If touchdown cannot be achieved within the first 900 m PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019 79
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300–450 m (~ 1000–1500 ft)
Aiming point at ~ 10 ft
End of touchdown zone Go-around/rejected landing
Touchdown should normally be accomplished within aiming point ±150 m (~500 ft). If it is not within the touchdown zone or 1/3 of the actual landing distance (whichever is less), you should initiate a go-around/rejected landing.
(3000 ft) or 1/3 of the ALD (whichever is less) of the landing runway, a go-around/rejected landing should be initiated.” This is a very effective method to avoid long landings and overruns in short field or close to short field operations. This policy restricts the use of the complete TDZ for runways shorter than 2700 m (~8860 ft) and keeps crews alert during landing not to overshoot the restricted touchdown point well before reaching the boundary of the TDZ. Any unexpected case beyond this point on the runway should require a safe action together with a callout as “go-around.” Any landing beyond this restricted point might be considered an unstabilized approach/landing with which none of us would/should prefer to cope. 6. Use the worst acceptable data for deteriorating weather and runway conditions to figure out the limits of the “go” or “no-go” envelope of your I-FLD calculations should they occur while passing the threshold around 50 ft. The Airbus FCTM clearly states, “Under degrading or rapidly changing conditions, the flightcrew should determine the worst acceptable conditions under which the landing can be continued, in case information to that end is received late during the approach.” Ask yourself what the worst tailwind limit, maximum VREF increment, and combination of both are acceptable for your operation. Using the technology, all we need to do is to enter more numbers on the EFB to figure out these data. Usually, the tailwind limit in an AFM is around 15 kts, but with current runway conditions this may not be the actual limit with some VREF increment such as +5, +10 or +15 kts due to gusty winds. Do combine these values to find out the limiting values for tail-
wind and VREF increment such as tailwind limits (7 kts with VREF +5 kts, 4 kts with VREF +10 kts, 2 kts with VREF +15 kts). Always keep the crosswind indicator on Navigation Display (ND) in crosscheck while crossing the threshold. By knowing the limiting wind factor before the threshold and checking the wind data on ND while crossing the threshold, you will know instantly whether the I-FLD calculation is valid or not. Do create another company policy to check the actual wind through the ND while crossing 50 ft over the threshold to continue with the landing or to perform a go-around. 7. Consider the worst rain and braking action conditions in I-FLD calculation. There is a 3-mm limitation in the performance manuals as a break point to determine the severity of braking action. I wonder if anybody has ever received 5, 7 or 11 mm water-covered runway information through Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) or any Air Traffic Controller (ATCO). Information about the depth of the water on the runway may or may not be delivered in a form we are expecting during deteriorating weather conditions, even if the runway is about to be flooded, so I recommend using “medium to poor” braking action data for any wet condition beyond light. Having a reliable pre-prepared go/no-go I-FLD data envelope at the right time, together with anticipating the worst conditions, is the key factor to control and manage a safe landing under wet or any condition. 8. Use the AD as your ground roll. As a contingency maneuver, by using the AD as your ground roll you may also use almost full runway distance as your ALD in a “committed to land” scenario. If you touch down
just beyond the threshold, for example, within the first 50–100 m of the runway (like a navy carrier landing), you will gain 400 m compared to the actual I-FLD calculation. However, this is not a recommended maneuver because it requires utmost handling and airmanship, and may only be performed in desperate situations, such as when there’s nowhere else to land. Keep it in mind as a once-in-alifetime maneuver and know how to use and manage the TDZ as opposed to overshooting it.
Summary I-FLD calculations must be precise. Even 1 meter makes a difference. Avoiding runway overruns requires knowledge of the assumed AD used in I-FLD calculations, the correct usage of TDZ and touchdown policies, how we can or cannot keep control and manage the I-FLD beyond the threshold, and building up your own operational guidelines. Build your airmanship to control your own and your airplane’s performance within the aforementioned guidelines in order to stay within the limits of the runway after landing. A landing which you cannot control or manage is not a landing but a recipe for a runway overrun. Set your internal hourglass for 7 seconds, stay safe and on the runway. Cengiz Kantarci is an Airbus A320 commander, type rating instructor, and quality assurance auditor for Turkish Airlines. He is a retired Turkish Air Force major with experience in Boeing and McDonnell Douglas aircraft.
80 PROFESSIONAL PILOT / May 2019
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Professional Pilot Magazine May 2019