Fixed Based Operators (FBO) Aviation Articles

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 

 

The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.

 

1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.

 

2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.

 

3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.

 

4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.

 

5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.

 

6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.

 

There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

5 Ways to Improve Your Scholarship Application

Whether you're pursuing a college degree, flight training, or both, your wallet will surely feel the financial burden. Scholarships are a great option for students to alleviate the cost of schooling. Although pilot hiring in the aviation industry has slowed due to COVID-19, it won't be long until the pilot shortage surfaces once again. The pilot shortage prior to the pandemic had several casual factors. One of the prominent factors was the expense of initial flight training. The aviation industry has many generous donors who provide funding for struggling students through scholarships. Here are five ways to make your scholarship essay stand out.

 

1. Did you follow the directions?

Many applicants can disqualify themselves for not thoroughly following the directions. This can be as simple as not submitting an official transcript, an essay that doesn't meet the length requirement, or the omission of other requirements.

 

2. Do you qualify for the scholarship?

This goes hand-in-hand with not following the directions. Some scholarships are directed towards applicants with certain characteristics. These characteristics could be a certain grade point average, area of study, grade in school, gender, and other demographics. 

 

3. Tell the scholarship community how YOU are different from other applicants.

The best place in the application to do this is in the essay. The essay is the place to make the scholarship committee remember you. This is the ultimate goal of the application. Many applicants have a similar essay on how they work several jobs and can't afford their flight training/schooling. Instead, focus on writing an essay that explains how you are different from everyone else. Explain what you are doing to better someone else, describe your volunteer experience, express your hobbies, etc. 

 

4. Double and even triple check for grammar and spelling errors.

A good place to be remembered (for the wrong reason) is in an essay with grammatical mistakes. Find a friend or family member to read through your essay after you triple checked it for flaws.

 

5. Do your research on the organization/individual offering the scholarship.

Explain in your application why you are honored to receive their scholarship. Include their mission and goals in your explanation. Show the scholarship committee that you have done your research. 

 

Filling out scholarship applications can be timely, however, it will always be worth your while. You will get better at applying for scholarships with trial and error. A great scholarship opportunity for anyone interested in aviation is the annual GlobalAir.com Scholarship. The application window is open until August 15th, 2020. Follow the tips above and make sure to get your application in!

GlobalAir.com Challenges You to Step Up for the FBOs (#FBOchallenge)

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to take hold of the aviation industry, now is the time to support each other. Specifically, we need to support our Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) on the field. These FBOs are the backbone of the aviation industry.

From the time an aircraft arrives at an airport, the FBO is responsible for fueling and maintaining not only the aircraft but the pilot. Often pilots are provided complimentary treats and coffee from the FBO on the field.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many FBOs have had to cut down on their hours and staff at the airports. For those who do so much for our industry, we are challenging you to give back to them.

GlobalAir.com will be providing lunch for the employees and staff at Louisville Executive Aviation on Bowman Field (KLOU) as a thank you for all of their hard work during the pandemic. The staff continues to work to service aircraft coming into the airport as well as maintaining those within the hangars.

We are challenging you to do the same!  Say a big thank you to your local FBOs as they work tirelessly to keep the airport going during this time. Say thank you by tipping after a full-service fueling, providing lunch or baked goods for your local FBO, sending cards of appreciation, or posting a message of encouragement on their social media pages!

Times are uncertain for the aviation industry and the world, but spreading kindness and saying thank you to those who work hard in our industry is important!  Join #FBOchallenge and spread the word.

If You Want To Appeal An FAA Order/Decision, Make Sure It Is Final.

FAA Decisions

It isn't uncommon for someone to be unhappy with an FAA decision. Fortunately, our laws provide a mechanism for appealing or objecting to certain final orders or decisions issued by the FAA. Specifically, 49 U.S.C. § 46110(a) provides that a person with a substantial interest in the FAA's order/decision "may apply for review of the order by filing a petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit or in the court of appeals of the United States for the circuit in which the person resides or has its principal place of business." The petition must be filed not later than sixty (60) days after the order is issued unless reasonable grounds exist for filing later than the 60th day.


However, in order for an FAA order to be subject to review by a court, the order must be "final." What does it mean to be "final"? Well, the courts have held that two requirements must be met: (1) the FAA's action must evidence the completion of the agency's decisionmaking process, rather than simply tentative or subject to further consideration; and (2) the FAA's action must determine certain rights or obligations, or result in legal consequences. Courts also consider whether the decision or order is at a stage where judicial review would interfere with or disrupt the FAA's administrative/decisionmaking process.

So, for example, if the FAA issues a letter merely restating a previously adopted interpretation of a regulation, that would not be considered a a "final" decision. However, if the FAA issued a new interpretation or clarified an existing interpretation, in either of those instances it is quite possible that the FAA's action would be considered a "final" decision subject to appeal.

Additionally, if the FAA issues a letter or notice in which it indicates that a party's practices may potentially violate the law, that letter or notice may not necessarily be the completion of the agency's decisionmaking process such that it determines a party's legal rights or obligation
s. For example, neither a letter of investigation nor a notice of proposed certificate action is considered final agency action because the FAA hasn't yet determined whether it will actually pursue enforcement action and issue a final order subject to appeal.


As a result, if you are concerned about something the FAA says or does, before you run to the courthouse to file a petition asking a Judge to tell the FAA it is wrong, make sure the FAA's action is actually a "final" action subject to judicial review. Otherwise, you could end up wasting time and money only to have the Judge tell you that the Court doesn't have the authority to even consider your arguments.

Safety is an investment, not a cost! Ramp Safety and Business Aviation

The quality of ground operations staff training at FBOs and business aviation handling agents across the globe varies greatly, with some organizations using NATA Safety 1st or similar dedicated programs while others rely on in-house developed systems, some of which are not up to the job and often suffer from insufficient oversight.

Safety Management Systems (SMS) can see just as much diversity in the sector.

The consequences of a training program or SMS which is under resourced or treated as an annoying requirement to be left to the safety/training manager alone are, quite frankly, dire. Safety failures on the ramp can cause serious injury and even death. In terms of physical damage to aircraft such failures can cost many millions of dollars even for what seem to be a minor incident, just ask your aviation insurance agent.

Contact between aircraft and ground service equipment accounts for more than 80% of ramp incidents. Unsurprisingly, ineffective communication is at the heart of most incidents. Without a robust training program with follow-on recurrent training and a suitable, evolving SMS, effective communications on the ramp will not exist and accidents will invariably happen, given time.

Safety must be rooted in a culture that starts at the very top of an organization. It is very much in the interest of Accountable Managers (AKA Accountable Executives) to understand that safety is an investment, not a cost! Taking a proactive stance on the subject can allow an Accountable Manager to energise his/her team with the enthusiasm to approach joining up effective training and SMS implementation for the benefit of all.

Here are a few misconceptions that prevail on ramp safety:

  1. Once the ramp crew has been trained, the job is done.
  2. Ramp training is only for the ramp crew.
  3. Safety oversight lies with training manager only.

 

Accountable Managers may well be surprised how reasonable such programs can be, especially when compared to an incident. Costs are far from prohibitive, even for smaller FBO and BAHA.

NATA's Safety 1st Professional Line Service Training (PLST) program sets the standard for line service training. AMR Combs created the first training program for line service specialists in the mid ‘80s. In the late 1990s, the Aviation Training Institute (ATI) produced a new video edition of PLST. NATA purchased ATI's PLST in 2000, improved it again, and subsequently introduced it under the NATA Safety 1st brand of line service training tools. That version of the training is used today by more than 1,100 FBOs and thousands of line service specialists across the United States and internationally.

Since the launch of the NATA Safety 1st and the introduction of PLST, NATA have released numerous other online training tools for all general aviation businesses.

In 2014 ICAO set up the Ground Handling Task Force to look at safety, efficiency and standardization issues associated with ground handling.

The International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) launched IS-BAH, the International Standard – Business Aviation Handling in May 2014 at EBACE. The standard was developed at the urging of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA).

IS-BAH Standards based on:

  • ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs)
  • Business Aviation Best Practices

 

IS-BAH is a set of global industry best practices for business aviation ground handlers, which features at its core a SMS. The IS-BAH follows the structure of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) Program and incorporates the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program. These two systems are a great fit for any FBO or business aviation ground handler.

IS-BAH is the global industry standard for handlers and operators around the world to meet the coming SMS requirements from ICAO.

This standard really is achievable for any FBO or Business Aviation Handling Agent, small or large. Increasingly aircraft operators are gaining IS-BAO (International Standard - Business Aircraft Operators) certification, introduced in 2002 (after two years of development testing) and prefer to use FBO or BAHA that have, or are working towards, IS-BAH, as this gives them confidence that their aircraft will be handled by an organization that has invested in their staff and the industry standards for training and SMS.

Not only does IS-BAH offer FBO/BAHA the highest safety culture possible for their staff and clients, as with the Safety 1st training program, it may well help pay for itself through reduced insurance premiums, there is anecdotal evidence that underwriters are taking a positive view on IS-BAH and the reduction of risks it brings to ramp operations.

The National Air Transportation Association’s (NATA) successful Safety 1st Ground Audit program was incorporated into the new standard, setting a new and higher standard for Safety Management Systems and best practices throughout the business aviation ground support industry.

Day-to-day operation of the standard and audit processes is managed by IBAC.

Certification will also bring with it an added marketing bonus when it comes to promoting your business to aircraft operators.

The IBAC International Standards Support Services Affiliate (I3SA) Program has been established to improve the quality of support services provided by organizations assisting operators in implementing the IS-BAH.

Any reader who would like to discuss this topic further can contact the author at [email protected]

See related article by this author on Globalair.com “First in Africa – Small Investment, Large Results” 31 January 2017

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