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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 to Host Word-Record Skydiving Attempts During Afternoon Air Shows

by GlobalAir.com 23. January 2015 09:50
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Skydiving Hall of Fame to organize international teams of expert jumpers

Skydiver courtesy cristinasz @ Morguefile

Photo courtesy cristinasz@Morguefile

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin - A world-record skydive attempt will be part of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, with an international team of top skydivers aiming to make history at The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 is July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Skydiving Hall of Fame based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, will organize the 108-person jump team for the record attempts sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which is the official organization that maintains the world’s aviation-related records. The teams will practice and prepare with record attempts at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, before the scheduled record attempts on July 22 and 24 at Oshkosh (weather and conditions permitting).

“Skydivers have been part of the EAA AirVenture air show for decades, but the opportunity to have a world-record attempt at Oshkosh is something unprecedented here, and very exciting,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, who leads the AirVenture event organizing team. “The Skydiving Hall of Fame is bringing the best of the best in their community to Oshkosh, matching the standard of performers that have made the AirVenture air show a true all-star event.”

The Skydiving Hall of Fame team, known as the Eagles, will jump from as high as 20,000 feet from its Short SC.7 Skyvan and deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otters to begin their record attempts. Any record would then be confirmed by FAI and its U.S. representative, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA).

“These seasoned skydivers, who are among the best in the world, face enormous challenges,” said James F. (Curt) Curtis, president and CEO of the Skydiving Museum & Skydiving Hall of Fame. “To achieve an FAI world record while performing a high-profile professional exhibition requires extraordinary skill, talent and focus. But the opportunity to attempt this at Oshkosh during AirVenture week is a unique moment for our community.”

About the Skydiving Museum & Skydiving Hall of Fame

The purpose of the Skydiving Museum is to recognize and promote the sport of skydiving through public education and awareness; recognize the contribution to skydiving by its participants, suppliers and supporters; capture forever the history of the sport via its events, equipment and personalities; and enhance aviation safety. Established by the Museum in 2010, the Skydiving Hall of Fame recognizes and honors those who, through leadership, innovations and/or outstanding achievements have defined, promoted, inspired and advanced skydiving at the highest and sustained levels in the past present, and for future generations of skydivers. More information on the museum and its programs is available at skydivingmuseum.org.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

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Aviation History | Flying | News | Press Release

The career of a 'Lost Generation' pilot

by GlobalAir.com 22. January 2015 09:02
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Writen by: David W. Thornton
Aviation Examiner

My career is somewhat typical of the Lost Generation of pilots.After flying and flight instructing for fun for several years, I decided to change careers soon after getting married. I took a job at a large aviation training academy in Florida that had a reputation for providing pilots to the airlines.It was late June 2001.

Scarcely two months into my new job, I watched the recorded crashes of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into the two towers of the World Trade Center. The FAA ordered all civilian airplanes grounded for several days after the four hijackings on September 11. Since I didn’t get paid unless I flew, I felt the effects of the attacks almost immediately in my paycheck.

After we started flying again, things never returned to normal. Some students were already at the school and midway through their training, but we quickly realized that fewer and fewer new students were starting the program. With fewer students, there were too many instructors to earn a living. My paychecks stayed small and I realized that it would take years of work to satisfy my training contract with the school.

A ray of sunshine burst through the clouds when Atlantic Coast Airlines, a regional airline that operated United Express and Delta Connection flights, came to the school to look for qualified pilots. Since ACA was about the only airline hiring at the time, I interviewed and was given a start date only a week later. I was on my way to becoming an airline pilot.

On July 5, 2002, ten months after the terrorist attacks, I was in class as an ACA pilot. I started my airline career flying the British Aerospace Jetstream 41 turboprop under the banner of United Express. Six months later, United Airlines declared bankruptcy.

We didn’t feel the effects of the bankruptcy immediately. For a year I flew from Washington Dulles airport around the northeast corridor, the most congested and demanding airspace in the United States. Many of the ACA pilots were optimistic that United’s bankruptcy would be good for us. We cost less than United’s highly paid pilots so we would be doing more flying, right?

After a year with ACA, a bid opened up for several first officers to transition to the Delta side of the company and fly the Fairchild Dornier 328 Jet. By this time it was apparent that ACA was not going to see many benefits from the United bankruptcy and a furlough, layoff in normal speak, looked possible. I put in for the transfer since the DoJet, as it was called, paid more and, I reasoned, if I got laid off I could at least say that I had flown a jet. I was awarded one of the slots and, after training, moved with my wife to “Cincitucky,” our nickname for the area around the Cincinnati, Ohio airport which is paradoxically located in northern Kentucky.

Check out the rest of the David W. Thornton’s story here!

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What’s in Your Airplane Emergency Kit?

by Sarina Houston 16. January 2015 07:13
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Have you ever looked at the contents of your aircraft survival kit? Have you thought about what might actually be useful in an emergency, and what just takes up space and adds weight?

Most pilots probably don’t give much thought to the contents of their survival kit. It’s there in the back of the airplane – we check during the preflight - and that’s good enough, right? Maybe, but if you're actually stuck in the wilderness after a plane crash, you might wish you'd have given it more thought.

Not all commercially packed survival kits are created equal. And while those that we buy from the store are convenient, chances are good that if you were to find yourself out in the woods, you might find that the contents of these ready-made kits are often cheap and sometimes useless when it comes to actually surviving. Some of them come with a lot of fluff that you don’t need (tongue depressors?) and also lack critical items that you’d clearly want, like a good knife.

Next time you’re stuck on the ground due to icy weather this winter, make good use of your down time by reviewing the contents of your survival kit. Make sure the contents haven’t expired. Change out the batteries in flashlights and check that the ELT is operational and is in compliance with the FARs. Update your kit for any changes in flying habits you’ve made, making sure you take into account the routes you fly most often, as well as the other passengers you might be flying around. Just like your smoke detectors in your house, your aircraft emergency kit should be evaluated often.

Your aircraft survival kit should be tailored to you and your flying needs. You might need to consider weight, including only the very critical elements. You might need to consider water survival gear if you frequently overfly lakes. And if you’re flying in the Alaskan wilderness, your needs will be different than they would be if your flights were within 30 miles of your home airport in the Midwest. Think about your personal needs when putting together your survival kit. Here are a few of the basics that you’ll need.

ELT/PLB
The ELT and PLB are so important that they get their own category here. In the case of a plane crash, your chances of being located increase drastically if you have a working ELT (emergency locator transmitter) and/or a PLB (personal locator beacon). If you’re still flying with an old ELT that transmit on 121.5 MHz, consider getting a 406 MHz ELT. They don’t have the false alarm problem that the 121.5 MHz ELTs are known for, and they increase your chances of being found by a significant amount.

The aircraft you’re flying likely has an ELT installed, but it doesn’t hurt to fly with a PLB, too, which comes in handy if you want to leave the area on foot to try to find help. (It’s usually best to stay with the wreckage after an aircraft accident, by the way, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain and area.) PLBs can be activated manually, and transmit on both 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz frequencies. These days, you can get a really good PLB for a couple hundred dollars – a small price to pay for a chance at survival.

In addition to an ELT, you’ll want to have these items in your emergency kit:

Survival Gear

  • Emergency Blanket
  • Canopy
  • Flares (or, better yet, and emergency strobe)
  • Duct tape
  • Knife
  • Firesticks
  • Rope

Food and Water

  • Food rations and other high-calorie protein snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Water purification tablets
  • Fishing kit

Medical Supplies

  • Bandages (various sizes)
  • Tape
  • Aspirin
  • Scissors
  • Personal Medications

Have you discovered any must-have emergency supplies? Share them with us in the comments!

2015 Business Aviation Outlook - Sunny Skies?

by David Wyndham 7. January 2015 11:38
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2014 was an interesting year for the aviation economy. There were strong signs of improvement but still there was a feeling of wariness.  Globally, corporate profits were increasing in 2014 with estimates of 5% real GDP growth in the US. According to CNN Money, the number of billionaires doubled in the past six years. Both of those represent a growing set of buyers for turbine aircraft, especially business jets. New aircraft sales volume in 2014 looks to be about $21 billion. The US Dollar was up 11% this past year, a good sign for those Americans purchasing non-US goods (hurray for Dassault and Embraer?).  

Oil is now at $50 per barrel. Good news for turbine fuel prices, bad news for the oil & gas industry. I heard two Texans exclaim how strong the oil market was recently, but they were talking about Texas-produced olive oil! There are no signs of significant oil price increases, so that should help with the cost of flying in 2015.

Aviation International News reported a 10% increase in print advertising in 2014. Given the state of most print media, this is almost miraculous. Looking at AIN's December issue I counted 15 full-page ads - six from the aircraft manufacturers. That shows some hope on the part of their advertisers for as good year ahead.

New aircraft sales should continue to do well in 2015. Not because of bonus depreciation, but because of pent up demand. Business and high net worth individuals have the cash and look to be spending more of it. Lenders are also competing for quality - both assets and clients.

Used aircraft prices pretty much stabilized in 2014. We finally saw the recovery in the light jet market. Aircraft for sale data from AMSTAT shows the number of days to sell a light jet in 2014 was 326 days. Close to that for the large jets (312 days) and a bit worse than medium jets (283 days). The percentage of the business jet fleet for sales remains at just over 10%. Still, there is a bifurcated market for used business jets. Those built in the late 1990s and newer with updated avionic systems and engines on guaranteed hourly programs are selling well. Older business jets are still not faring as well. As an example, 18% of the active Citation II fleet is for sale as compared to 4% of the Citation CJ2+ fleet. A used business jet with ADS-B Out, RVSM, and engines on a guaranteed hourly program will sell first and for more than others who lack that equipment. 

The turboprop market seems unremarkable. Medium turboprops (AMSTAT lists King Air 200/350, PC-12, et al in this category) are at 6.6% of the active fleet for sale which indicates a sellers' market. But prices are not climbing. 

The helicopter market, especially for the larger turbine models, is beginning to feel the pain of lower oil prices. The demand for helicopters in the oil and gas markets is a major driver in that market. A client who owns a small helicopter charter company said that helicopters make money when everyone else is miserable:  high oil prices, forest fires, flooding, and accidents! It may take a year or more for the declining oil prices to significantly impact new helicopter orders. Still, there is a looming shortage of trained helicopter pilots and look for that to continue. 

With increased flying comes increased need for maintenance. MROs should do well this year. Avionics shops should be running at full capacity. Less than 5,000 of the 200,000 US registered aircraft have been equipped with ADS-B Out. The FAA says midnight on December 31, 2019 is still the deadline with no exceptions.  

I think 2015 will be a growth year for business aviation and aviation in general. Nations whose economies that are not dependent on oil revenues should do well for aircraft sales.  As always, managing costs and focusing on the customer will be important for all of us. Good luck to you in 2015. 

 

 

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Are You In or Are You Out?

by GlobalAir.com 6. January 2015 09:32
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ADS-B In VS. ADS-B Out

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

Avionics at Elliott Aviation

Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast, or ADS-B, is a system put into place by the FAA that promises to make the skies safer for everyone. ADS-B signals use GPS technology, which is far more reliable than radar and will allow air traffic control to reduce separation minimums. As an upcoming mandate, each aircraft will be required to transmit ADS-B to ground stations by January 1st, 2020. While the mandate to aircraft operators only requires ADS-B out, this technology can give you some highly beneficial information by utilizing ADS-B in. I’ll explain the differences below:

ADS-B Out

When you hear about mandates from the FAA, they are talking about ADS-B out. ADS-B out is a WAAS GPS based signal that broadcasts your aircraft position, vector, altitude and velocity to ADS-B ground stations. This will allow air traffic controllers to more efficiently route traffic to reduce congestion, emission and fuel consumption. To ensure safety, ADS-B needs to broadcast WAAS GPS data from a highly accurate source. Your two options are the dedicated 978 MHz universal access transceiver (UAT), or a 1090 MHz Mode S “extended squitter” transponder with an approved WAAS GPS navigation source. If you already have a WAAS GPS on board, you may just need your transponder updated.

ADS-B In

While on the surface, ADS-B may just seem like a mandate, you can take advantage of ADS-B technology by utilizing the highly-beneficial ADS-B in. ADS-B in gives you free datalink traffic and weather that can be show on select displays and mobile devices. With a dual-link receiver, ADS-B in allows you to see all ADS-B equipped aircraft in your vicinity because it receives signals for 978 UAT and 1090 MHz ES transponders. In addition, when you are in range of ground stations, you see a traffic picture similar to what the air traffic controllers are seeing.

ADS-B will give pilots and passengers many long-term benefits, however, ADS-B in gives you a more immediate return on your investment. If you have any further questions on if your aircraft will comply or how you can take advantage of ADS-B in, contact your certified avionics installer.

Mark Wilken is the Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation, which employs over 40 avionics technicians at their headquarters in Moline, IL. Mark began his career at Elliott Aviation in 1989 as a bench technician repairing radios and quickly became the manager of the department. Mark helped launch Elliott Aviation’s Garmin G1000 retrofit program in which the company has installed more King Air G1000’s than all other dealers in the world combined. Recently, he has headed STC programs for the newly launched Aircell ATG 2000 system for Hawker 800/850/900, Phenom 300 and King Air 350/B200/B200GT. Mark is a licensed pilot and holds an associate’s degree in avionics and a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Southern Illinois University.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).





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