April 2015 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

Checklist for Flying Your Private Aircraft Internationally

The view leaving the East Coast from inside a Mooney

One of the most appealing benefits of owning your own aircraft is having the freedom to fly whenever and wherever you want to. Although sometimes you are limited by TFR’s or weather, you still have more freedom than the typical aircraft renter. Without having to deal with availability or tedious flying club paperwork, you are free to explore the skies more thoroughly. There are thousands of airports to explore in the US (Approximately 18,911 for those curious) and thousands more internationally. There are valuable skills you must learn in order to fly internationally, and it is certainly a challenge worth pursuing.

A good friend of mine recently flew with his family in their Mooney M20C to the Bahamas. After flying 210 nautical miles over open water, they landed at North Eleuthera Airport and took a boat to the tranquil and beautiful island of Spanish Wells and spent a week fishing, snorkeling, and relaxing. When you fly out of the U.S. you can explore exotic and interesting places in the world that many others do not have access to.

As I said before, flying out of the U.S. comes with its challenges. There is a lot of paperwork, planning, and in some cases extra gear for your aircraft involved. AOPA has a great series of guides for flying to specific international destinations. They have guides for the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Canada, Central America, Alaska, and Mexico. Pilots certainly have to reference these along with multiple other sources before leaving for their journey.

I have put together a list of a few of the major items you must have when flying internationally. This is not comprehensive, and a few international destinations have specialized legal information they require, but it will give you a good idea of what is to come if you choose to begin a flight plan out of the U.S.

1. Passports and legal Information. When you go through Customs and Boarder Protection, you will be asked to show all legal documentation as though you had flown in on an airliner. This is in addition to your usual flying legal documents. It is important to locate and carry your passport, pilot license, and medical certificate. All passengers must have a passport too, and any children flying without one parent must have a notarized statement of approval from the absent parent for the dates of the trip.

2. Paperwork for the aircraft. In addition to all of the paperwork required to operate an aircraft in U.S. airspace (Airworthiness certificate, registration, weight and balance, etc.) you must also have aboard a radio station license.

3. Charts You will have to seek out and purchase charts of the route you are flying. These foreign charts are similar in typography to their U.S. counterparts, but it is important to look over them and memorize features along the route of flight well before you depart.

4. Aircraft Insurance Certain aircraft insurance policies do not cover international flight. It is important to contact your insurer and discuss appropriate coverage. Proof of insurance that covers international flight is required to be carried aboard for certain destinations.

5. Radiotelephone Operator Permit You may remember vaguely from your Private Pilot Written exam that you need a Radiotelephone Operator Permit to fly outside of the U.S. Here is all the information you need to obtain one. Thankfully they are issued for the holder's lifetime.

6. Life Vest When flying over open water, you are required to have onboard a life vest or flotation device for each passenger. It is also recommended that you bring a life raft, but it is not legally required.

7. Sunscreen This one is certainly not legally required, but if you are traveling to a tropical destination such as the Bahamas or the Caribbean it is certainly recommended. Keep your skin safe to ensure that you get the most fun out of your vacation.

I hope that this article inspires you to look into the possibility of flying your private aircraft somewhere internationally. The new experiences are unbeatable and you will have fascinating stories to tell. Do you have any advice for pilots who are new to international flight? Let me know in the comments!

Disconnected: A Business Aircraft without Wi-Fi is not a True Business Aircraft

By Mark Wilken
www.elliottaviation.com

There is no excuse for productivity loss in today’s business world, as it’s almost impossible to go anywhere without Wi-Fi—including the sky.

Currently about 6,500 business aircraft are equipped with something more than a dial up connection according to GoGo, a broadband technology that makes inflight Wi-Fi a reality. This is a significant increase of in-flight Wi-Fi installations compared to the only handful of business aircraft equipped with it in 2008.

Commercially, fifty-two airlines now have Wi-Fi available and two-thirds of the miles offered by U.S. airlines provide passengers a chance for Wi-Fi signal, according to a recent study conducted by Routehappy, which rates flights based on their amenities for passengers.

 Business Man Works Over Cloud Photo courtesy bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aircraft passengers are rapidly gaining the ability to work in flight. According to Routehappy’s study, the number of U.S. domestic flights with at least some chance of Wi-Fi grew by nearly 1,600 in the last 18 months. That amount is only going to continue to grow. With such a large amount of flights offering connectivity, Americans have the opportunity to be more productive than ever.

The expansion of Wi-Fi on airlines has been remarkable, causing Routehappy to name 2014 as the year inflight Wi-Fi took off. This is carrying into 2015 as well. Gogo, the leading provider of inflight Internet and voice equipment in the United States, already has a backlog of 1,000 commercial aircraft installations for the year.

About 40 business aircraft types have GoGo’s business aviation products certified and, in 2014, the company’s revenues totaled roughly $400 million. Approximately 40 percent of that came from business aviation and 60 percent from commercial aviation income.

If your private plane is not yet equipped with Wi-Fi, your employees are missing out on that chance for extra productivity. There are multiple inflight Wi-Fi options available through GoGo and select avionics facilities can install it.

Imagine how many hours a company’s middle and upper management spend in the air. Take the number of people in the aircraft, multiply it by the average hourly salary rate times the number of hours flown in the month and you will see how much that loss of productivity cost the company. In most cases, you are spending thousands of dollars of lost productivity each month by not being connected with technology that is available for a fraction of that cost. Just one four-hour round trip for three managers equals twelve hours of inflight time, and twelve hours of their salary, that without Wi-Fi is productivity loss.

There are always emails to respond to, presentations to prepare for and research to conduct. For those business travel necessities, in-flight Wi-Fi is critical. Thanks to technology advancements like inflight Wi-Fi, travel time is no longer synonymous with lost productivity. It’s easier than ever to make your aircraft as efficient as your office. After all, your business aircraft should be more productive than a commercial flight.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

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). More information can be found at www.elliottaviation.com

 

 

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