All posts tagged 'International'

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!

NTSB To Assist Afghan Authorities With Investigation Into Bagram Cargo Plane Crash

WASHINGTON - The National Transportation Safety Board will lead a team to assist the Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation in the investigation of a cargo plane crash at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

NTSB Senior Air Safety Investigator Tim LeBaron will be the U.S. accredited representative. He will lead a team of three additional investigators from the NTSB as well as representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and The Boeing Company.

The private cargo plane, a Boeing 747-400 operated by National Air Cargo, crashed just after takeoff from the U.S.-operated air base at 11:20 a.m. local time Monday. All seven crewmembers onboard were killed and the airplane destroyed. The seven crew members were all American citizens. The accident site is within the perimeter of Bagram Air Base.

The international cargo flight was destined for Dubai World Central - Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Transportation and Commercial Aviation is leading the investigation and will be the sole source of information regarding the investigation. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, they can be reached at (873) 68 2341450 / 49 or by fax at (873) 68 1280784.

Contact Information
Office of Public Affairs
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594

Eric M. Weiss
(202) 314-6100
eric.weiss@ntsb.gov

So You Think You Want To Be A Pilot: The International Corporate Pilot

    On the thirtieth day of March, in 1984, a Palestinian leader comfortably traveled from Tunis, Tunisia on to Conakry, Guinea in a private Gulfstream jet. The Palestinian leader plans to attend a funeral ceremony to pay respects to the recently deceased Guinean president, Ahmed Sekou Toure. The Gulfstream jet made its way from Tunis all the way to the Conakry Airport and was near final approach to land before ever encountering any error.

    Somewhere around five thousand feet on the decent, the captain of the Gulfstream aircraft became aware of an immensely overflowing pattern. At that point, the Gulfstream pilot had no choice but to hold in the pattern, this lasted for nearly an hour. Suddenly, the president of Nigeria entered the pattern from some thirty-five hundred feet in a 707 aircraft and he was not stopping. “Nigeria is landing, NOW” the 707 calls out! At this point, the air traffic control tower lost all control of the small runway and in mere moments the airport became amidst in utter chaos. The Pilot of the Gulfstream jet was rapidly running out of options and fuel, as he made an abrupt but necessary executive decision. The Gulfstream simply could not wade through this mess any longer; they would have to make an attempt to land and refuel elsewhere. The nearest FBO was located approximately 90 miles Southeast of Conakry, in a place called Freetown, located in Sierra Leone. The Gulfstream pilot immediately diverted his aircraft to Freetown, and upon arrival he was given the approval to land. On final approach however, his passengers demanded that he hold back and change course. “We cannot land here” said one of the Palestinian guards. His voice is stern and he was not budging, the pilot and his copilot, unsure as why they were unable to land in this town, had to come up with another plan. They MUST land somewhere or they were sure to deplete of fuel completely. The Gulfstream jet has no choice but to around, backtracking the 90 miles northwest to the Conakry airport.

    Upon returning back to the Conakry airport the pilots were less than enthused to learn that the FBO had completely sold out of fuel and the FBO would remain out of service until sometime around midnight. At this point, the Gulfstream crew had been on duty for thirty hours, they were completely exhausted and they had yet another flight to make prior to their shift ending. Once The Gulfstream was able to be refueled and serviced the crew made their way to Casablanca where the airplane was finally shut down and the crew was able to rest. “Think that sounds like fun? Because I certainly do! “

     As a small child, we all have dreams. Children are adventurous and fascinated by the world, developing new questions and ideas every single day. Unfortunately, the things we dream of most as children rarely last the entirety of our lives. The things you wanted most are likely to change with age and wisdom and what you thought you wanted to become when you were grown had a tendency to change. This however, was not the case for the strong pilot in charge of the Palestinian leader’s Gulfstream jet. The pilot in command of that particular ship was a man by the name of Gregory Hundrup. As a young boy, Greg would look up into the sky whenever he would dream of his future. As a child his very favorite television show was “Sky King” and as far back as Greg can remember he says that he knew one thing for certain and that was his love for airplanes; they fascinated him. He knew, even as a child that he was willing to do whatever it would take to become a pilot; and that is exactly what he did.

     Greg started flying while he was still in high school. Working a part time job in a machine shop, he saved every penny he made and spent them all on flying lessons. In less than one year Greg was able to successfully pass his check ride and in 1967 Greg received his private pilot’s license. Once he graduated from high school in 1970, Greg joined the military, where he worked as an air traffic controller. In 1975, Greg completed his time as an active duty soldier and began working full time as a flight instructor in Dothan, Alabama. In 1977 Greg retired from instruction and took a job flying the co-pilot’s seat of a Learjet 25 for a private charter company.

     Some three years later, Greg stumbled across an advertisement inquiring for a Gulfstream pilot in Saudi Arabia, thinking it was surely a longshot, he applied anyway. “Go big or go home, right?” Greg applied and Greg got it! He was in the big leagues now, hired on as a first officer. Greg Moved to Saudi Arabia and flew the captain’s seat for ten years, then one day, Greg decided to make a career change. He then jumped ship and began flying in Southeast Asia for a family owned flight department where he flew for yet another ten years. Finally, in 2000, Greg went to work for a company known as Franklin Templeton Investments where his job was and still is to fly the company’s international fund manager around the world in search of investment opportunities. The company caters to four individual pilots specifically, and together they make up the fund manager’s personal flight crew, trading on and off shifts every twenty-one days. This means that Greg routinely flies a Gulfstream jet around the entire world for twenty-one days; then he is sent home via airline for another twenty-one days of rest.

    Imagine taking a day trip to Switzerland, then on to dinner in Paris, France; traveling throughout Europe in a week’s time, then on to the Far East for the following weekend. Greg’s life rapidly whips and turns him all the way around the globe; frequently taking trips through multiple countries in a single day. The countries that Greg sees on a daily basis are often places that an average person could never even dream of visiting. Interesting thought; although Europe fascinates me (personally) the most, Greg stated that his favorite part of the world is the Far East. He enjoys the friendly, warm and inviting people of Thailand; the seemingly spotless and safe, international city of Singapore; the lovely and tropical countryside of the Philippines; as well as the variety, shopping and Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong.

    Living this life sounds extravagant and surreal to me; upon asking Greg how he feels about his career, I received the perfect and most ideal answer imaginable. Greg loves his career. Throughout his endeavors, aviation has brought many great things into Greg’s life, including fantastic benefits, a rewarding salary, close friendships and even a loving wife. I asked Greg if he had a “least favorite” thing about his career as an international corporate jet pilot and his answers were “Africa, Russia and India.” (I found that comical.) It is my understanding that the air traffic controllers are less than easy to communicate English with in some of these places; specifically places where Portuguese is the primary language. Fortunately, at the end of the day, all is great on Greg’s end. He had absolutely no complaints regarding his career and that was stand-out fabulous for me to hear! C’mon, how many people do you know that are excited to get up and go to work each day?

    Greg’s twenty-one days in the air are of course followed by twenty-one days on the ground. When Greg is on what he refers to as his “holiday,” he resides at home with his adoring and ever so patient wife in small-town, East Washington State. This is also the place he calls home for his personal Cessna 210 aircraft that he flies recreationally with friends and family.

    Greg’s career is mind blowing to me. Just think, he has adventured completely around the world and then back again; says his company typically travels to an average seventy countries per year and will cruise the entire world in a matter of two-hundred days. We’re not finished yet though pilots, if you’ve got the story, I’ve got the skills. Just sent me an email to email to keely@globalair.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Growing Fleet Of Aging Bizjets Sits Idle

By: Matt Thurber
Aviation International News - September 2012

         What one expert calls an “overhang of unsold aircraft” is afflicting the business jet ecosystem. “These old business jets are not going to sell,” says Rollie Vincent, president of Rolland Vincent Associates. “Take a Hawker 700 with mega hours… There appears to be no market for it and it’s time to say goodbye.” This overhang, he adds, “is like a freight train coming.”

         The glut of old jets is a problem for many reasons, according to Vincent. At some point these jets have zero trade-in value. As jets age, the supply chain that formed to manufacture all the parts, avionics and complex components is gone. Another factor is the jets’ engines: “If the engines are getting close to overhaul, you’re looking at very little value,” says Vincent. “I’ve seen Falcon 20s with no engines. Those aircraft will never fly again, and at some point they get scrapped.”

         It used to be that third-world countries welcomed old business jets, but that is no longer the case. Many countries now limit the age of imported used jets. And, says Vincent, “emerging markets bring in new aircraft; they’ve been able to afford it.” Financing is elusive for buyers of older jets. “Most bankers won’t touch them anymore,” says Vincent. It’s also getting harder to find maintainers who know how to troubleshoot and repair old jets and who have the necessary equipment and parts. Vincent expects to see about 2,200 business jets taken out of service in the next 10 years.

Never Selling

         JetNet pulled some statistics on older business jets from its database for AIN. (See pie chart below.) Some models, stubbornly remaining unsold, are headed for the scrap heap. Lear 24s, for example, have no pulse, languishing on the market for an average of 2,605 average days– more than seven years.

         According to JetNet, 1,818 business jets have been retired from service since 1957. (These numbers include some aircraft that were likely registered with the FAA as preproduction prototypes, such as three Adam A700s–an airplane was never certified.)

         Logically enough, the majority of retired jets hail from earlier eras (see bar chart at right). Many aircraft delivered in the 1960s have been retired, as well as 1970s-delivered jets. Retirements of jets delivered in the 1980s taper down, and aircraft delivered in the 1990s have seen few retirements, according to JetNet. The bottom line is that in the next 10 years, if Vincent’s prediction is correct, the aviation industry will see about 2,200 business jets retiring from the fleet, which is 400 more than the number that retired during the first five decades of business jet manufacturing. Two thousand two hundred is a lot of jets to dispose of, especially when compressed into a period of 10 years rather than 50.

Where Do They Go?

         The high number of soon-to-beretired and already-retired jets poses a challenge for manufacturers of new jets. A Gulfstream III, for example, could be gold-plated with new avionics, paint, interior and a digital-age entertainment system, for less than the cost of a used GIV and far less than the cost of a new Gulfstream. The GIII is a perfectly good airplane, other than the fact that it faces a Stage III noise ban beginning Dec. 31, 2015. Two Stage III noise-reduction kits– from Hubbard Aviation and Quiet Technology Aerospace–are available for the GII and GIII, so the types may yet have some life left. Conversely, GIVs selling for around $5 million could swiftly kill off the GII/III market.

         Would it make sense for manufacturers simply to buy old jets and recycle them? Vincent doesn’t expect this to happen: “They have other fish to fry, including active research and development plans and new product development. They’re going to wait for somebody else to do it.”

         As for what owners should do with jets that no longer have any value, Vincent advises, “People need to know what they’re looking at. They’re looking at nothing. Just write it off.”

Broker Action

         Jeff Carrithers used to be an aircraft broker, but in 1995 the brand new World Wide Web beckoned and he launched Globalair.com, an aircraft sales listing service that includes airport and fuel pricing information and a proprietary system for aircraft brokers called BrokerNet. From his perspective, many older jets linger on the market because the owner can’t afford to sell at today’s lower prices and because there simply isn’t any demand. He sees Citation IIs, Falcon 10s and Westwinds as examples of types that are dying in the marketplace. “A lot of the problem for these owners is that they bought aircraft in the 2007-2008 heyday, and we’ll never see that kind of activity ever again. With the economic conditions today, operators will just park the aircraft.”  

Parked Airplanes

         Most of the airports in the Southwest U.S. that store unneeded and obsolete airplanes are repositories for airliners. At Kingman Airport in Arizona, Kingman Airline Services has just one business jet, a GII that will soon be dismantled, according to a spokesman. The company is currently storing 50 EMB-135s, forty 727s, 20 MD-80s, eight DC-8s and 20 CRJ200s. Some of these airplanes are headed for recycling, while others will fly again, and Kingman Airline Services can handle either destiny. Airplanes that will fly again are kept on life support–the required storage maintenance processes outlined by manufacturers. For airplanes that will never again charge down a runway, some parts are still worth salvaging, especially the engines. The remaining airframe is then dismantled by another company, which hauls away the metal for recycling.

         Norm Hill Aviation at California City Airport in the Mojave Desert opened in 2008, and since then founder Norm Hill’s company has parted out 21 Gulfstreams. He thinks there is still plenty of life left in old Gulfstream airframes and thus a steady demand for parts that he can supply.

         With the upcoming Stage III deadline banning non-hushkitted GIIs and GIIIs from flying in the U.S., Hill expects to see as many as 85 older Gulfstreams parted out in the next few years. But there are also plenty of airframes with relatively low hours and cycles that can keep flying, if hushkitted. “What I’m doing is going to be good for quite a while,” says Hill, adding that his technicians dismantle the airplanes carefully, not with a chainsaw but rivet by rivet when necessary, to preserve as many good components as possible. “We’re stocking all those parts with traceability data all the way back to birth.”

         One factor that accelerates the decision for owners to give up on their older jets is the cost of upcoming heavy maintenance events. This includes older Gulfstreams that are due for a 72-month inspection and a 5,000-landing event. “That’s $500,000 to $600,000,” according to Hill. Add to that the cost of overhauling the Rolls-Royce Spey engines, and that’s another $400,000 for the midlife service and $800,000 for overhaul, for each engine. “This perfect storm is there and people are falling into it,” he said.

         Hill currently has eight GIIs and two GIIIs in California and one GIII being dismantled in Opa-Locka, Fla. Hill says his company is providing a service to the used airplane community, because, he says, an owner can get more from selling a decent jet to Hill than from dumping it on the used market. And if Hill can extract more value by selling good parts, he says he shares that with the seller.

         Companies like Dodson International Aircraft Parts have long specialized in what CEO JR Dodson calls “demanufacturing” of obsolete aircraft. “The last three years we’ve been buying a lot of older business jets,” he said. Most of these are jets coming up on major maintenance events or overhauls and some are bank repossessions that can’t be sold. “There’s more supply than demand right now.” Dodson International also carefully removes valuable parts, and the leftover carcass is either stored at the company’s 120 acres in Rantoul, Kan., or sent to the smelter for recycling. The company has parted out more than 3,000 aircraft since opening in 1980. There are currently about 1,000 gutted airframes at the facility, which parts out about 100 aircraft every year, ranging from turbine helicopters to business turboprops and jets to Boeing 747s.

Serial Number 10

         And then there are the hopeless cases, such as a GII and Hawker 700 parked on the Western Jet ramp at Van Nuys Airport in Southern California. The buyer of the GII thought he was getting a great deal when he purchased the airplane–S/N 10, one of the last GIIs built at the Grumman facilities in Long Island, N.Y. He bought the airplane in Panama, and the seller promised to send the logbooks, but they never arrived. Western Jet founder Jim Hansen finally told the owner that to bring the GII up to safe and legal standards would take about $5 million, because all components would need overhauling, given the lack of documentation. “I’ll have to chop it up,” Hansen said sadly. “It’s not worth the parts.”

         A Hawker 700 parked next to the GII is also in a sorry state. The owner, perhaps unknowingly, let the jet sit at another maintenance facility for more than two years without covers on the engines or application of any preservation processes. “There is no value,” Hansen said.

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