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The Business Mission Drives The Aircraft Mission

Image: Gulfstream G650

The Gulfstream G650 and Citation Ten vie for the world’s fastest business jet. But if you need to get an accident victim from the accident scene to a hospital fast, you most likely need a helicopter. Business jets are not designed to land beside the highway and helicopters won't do for a long cross-country flight. I'm stating the obvious, but how many aircraft choices seem to ignore this?

"To execute the corporate mission" is the answer to the business question "Why do we have an aircraft?" If the aircraft is a personal aircraft, the "why" may be "to enjoy flying." What type of flying is fun to one person can be very different from another. In the world of business aircraft, whether the business is high tech, services, hospitality, acute care, etc., the why of the aircraft must be tied into the why of the company. If it isn't, then the aircraft may be a mismatch to the company mission.

The closer the aircraft's mission can be tied into the reason for the corporation's existence, the more secure the aircraft (and aviation employees' jobs) will be. If IBM were having a tough year financially, no one would ever suggest that they get rid of all their computers! How close does the mission of your business aircraft fit into the reason your company exists? If the aircraft went away, would it have a negative impact on the ability of its users to successfully execute the company's mission?

Our own company mission is: The mission of Conklin & de Decker is to enable the general aviation industry to make more informed decisions when dealing with the purchase, operation and disposition of aircraft by furnishing objective and impartial information.

We are much too small to afford a corporate aircraft, but if/when we get there, the aircraft better directly support our ability to "enable the general aviation industry to make more informed decisions." The added value to the business from the person(s) using the corporate aircraft must exceed the costs of having that aircraft. If the leader of a corporation is worth $1 billion dollars to the corporation, and their use of the company aircraft enhances that value, then the $1 million budget for the aircraft should be easily defensible. If the mission of the health services company includes providing critical care to a large community, then the EMS helicopter should be easily defensible.

A company has a written mission statement that is used to guide its daily business. The aviation department should also have a written mission statement. That mission statement should support the mission of the corporation. The aviation department should be part of the corporate structure just as legal, human resources, IT and other departments. Your may not be making widgets, but you are making the making and selling of the widgets easier and more productive.

After that, the next step is developing the measurement criteria for the aircraft to enable management to determine how well the aircraft is at meeting its mission needs. Then, and only then, can you start the analysis of speed, range, payload, cabin, and performance needed to make a wise aircraft choice.

What you then end up with is measureable criteria that can be used to evaluate the aircraft choices. Each of those criteria stem from the assigned mission of the aircraft. The assigned mission of the aircraft is directly supporting the mission of the corporation. Thus, the answer to the question of why do we need eight seats and 2,400 NM range, is to support the corporate mission.

A caution here is that in some situations, supporting the senior leadership can be mistaken for NOT supporting the corporation. There are no easy answers to the “big boss uses company jet for private retreat” headline. But, that personal use of the corporate aircraft better be documented and reported.

Business aircraft of all types can be used to further the successful mission accomplishment of the corporation. These missions need to be in writing and clear enough so that the justification of the use of a business aircraft can easily be done.

What is your mission statement? Does your choice of transportation reflect it? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Importance of WAAS with LPV

Mark Wilken – Director of Avionics Sales with Elliott Aviation
www.elliottaviation.com

Traditionally, ground-based landing systems have been the only method for low visibility approaches. Many business aircraft, however, are operated from airports without ground-based systems and are restricted to using non-precision approaches. If your aircraft is equipped with WAAS and LPV you have many more options to get to where you are going safely and efficiently.

There is a common misconception in the industry that WAAS and LPV are one in the same, however, they are two completely different systems.

WAAS, or Wide Area Augmentation System, was developed by the FAA to augment GPS to improve accuracy. Put simply, it is a corrected GPS. It is accurate to about one meter of your actual position. Combined with LPV, it can get you into more airports in a more direct manner. Without LPV, WAAS is just nothing more than an accurate sensor.

LPV, or Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance, gives you an enhanced database in your FMS GPS and allows ILS-like approaches at airports that do not have an ILS or ground-based system. LPV approaches allow for minimums to be as low as 200 feet.

If LPV approaches are not available at the airport you are traveling, they likely have LP approaches available. LP, or Localizer Performance Approaches, provide precision lateral guidance using the enhanced accuracy WAAS provides. As an example, an LP approach into Telluride, Colorado allow for minims of an additional 460 feet for days when the weather is less than perfect.

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 where 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 8000/850/900, 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).

Your Guide to Summer Aviation Fun

After months of freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and grounded airplanes it’s nice to finally have some warm weather in the forecast. What better way to embrace the end of winter than to begin planning for summer aviation activities? The number of events that await your attendance this summer is both exciting and a little overwhelming. I hope to help give you a quick reminder of the major events, as well as introduce you to some that are lesser-known but well worth looking into.

Airshows

There is nothing better on a warm summer day than to go to an airshow. You can grab a cold drink, wear a sun-blocking hat, and watch beautiful aircraft dazzle you from the flight line. Listening to the buzz of the engines and hearing the enthusiastic announcer awakens the love of aviation that is inside all of us. Last year was a difficult one for the Airshow industry, but thankfully things are looking hopeful for 2014.

The Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels are back in action, ready to woo audiences in their tours around America. The patriotic and awe-inspiring pilots will be at several locations during the spring and summer, so visit their websites to get more information on this can’t-miss show.

Classic airshows for summer fun are being held at AirVenture and SUN 'n FUN. However, most states host at least one local airshow during the year, several hosting more.  The Globalair.com Aviation Events calendar can help you find your nearest show, and give you an idea of what is going on around the world.

Fly-Ins

For pilots who are itching for a change of scenery, a fly-in is a great option. Many airports and aviation organizations host fly-ins, which usually involve great food. Most EAA Chapters host monthly pancake breakfasts which are open to the public and feature speakers or activities that are of interest to aviators. These events are great for meeting other friendly pilots, and enjoying a relaxing summer’s Saturday.

I have recently come across a couple of truly unique fly-ins that would be unforgettable to attend. The International Seaplane Fly-In in Greenville, Maine is designed specifically for those with an interest in seaplane operations. Beautiful Moosehead Lake is the setting for the graceful seaplanes and visitors are close enough to town to explore the unique shops and restaurants of Maine. The Cessna 150-152 Fly-In in Iowa celebrates the most loved basic training aircraft. The small Cessna has been the starting point of a life in aviation for nearly 60 years. Over 100 of the aircraft will be flying into the heartland of America for this event.

Conferences

If the weather gets too hot for you, there are plenty of indoor conferences going on this summer. The Ninety-Nines are hosting their annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana during the month of June. The Great Alaska Aviation Gathering is happening the first week in May. If there is an area of aviation that you find particularly interesting, there’s very likely a conference happening which covers it. There is even a NBAA Business Aviation Taxes Seminar happening in May. These seminars and conferences offer the perfect environment to learn new skills, network within your industry, and have a great time.

Other Happenings

In addition to all of the fun events already covered, there are plenty of unique activities going on if you know where to look. The 6th Annual 1940’s WWII Era Ball is happening June 14th in Colorado. Visiting this amazing ball has always been on my bucket list. For pilots who want a good challenge this summer, the Arizona Rumble in the Desert is a self-proclaimed “back country Olympics.” Competitions include short field landing, short field takeoff, power off approach, spot landing, and flour bombing.

Last but not least, there are always aviation summer camps. Many are available for all ages, but I cannot think of a more perfect way to introduce today’s youth to aerospace than a fun week of learning. These can get a little expensive, but there are scholarship opportunities available for most. AOPA has compiled a good list, but doing some quick Google searches around your area may help find one that is not listed.

Hopefully this quick list has helped you get excited for all the events happening this summer. It’s almost time to shake the ice off, pack some snacks, and enjoy beautiful summer weather!

Eclipse 550 Receives Approval for Part 23 Auto Throttle and Anti-Skid Brake Systems


Photo © Eclipse Aerospace

Eclipse Aerospace announced on Thursday that the company has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA for new auto throttle and anti-skid brake (ASB) systems for its Eclipse 550, a new-production very light jet that the company says is the "most fuel-efficient jet in the world."

The new auto throttle system was developed in conjunction with Innovative Solutions & Support, and this STC is the first of its kind for a jet certified under FAR Part 23. The new auto throttle system will allow pilots to input the intended airspeed into the autopilot system and the auto throttle system will automatically adjust to the correct power setting. To gain the STC, the auto throttle system had to conform to some Part 25 standards, including quick disengagement controls for each pilot.

The Anti-Skid Brake system, also approved with this STC, was designed by Advent Aerospace and is the only light aircraft ASB system that doesn't require a bulky hydraulic system. Advent Aerospace boasts that it's a lightweight, easy-to-install system that provides better control and improved stopping distance for very light jets.

The Anti-Skid Brake system can also be retrofitted to fit Eclipse 500 aircraft that have the IFMS Avionics package.

Since the Eclipse 550 is in the very light jet category, it can be certified under FAR Part 23, which is designed for light general aviation aircraft under 12,500 pounds. Since most general aviation aircraft fly under Part 91 and occasionally Part 135 operating rules, FAR Part 23 is less restrictive than FAR Part 25.

FAR Part 25 certification stadards apply to commercial operations including business jets. Aircraft certified under Part 25 are required to have certain standards of system redundancy and procedures in place that would allow for the safe continuation of flight in case a system fails.

According to a federal register docket regarding the Eclipse 500 auto throttle STC, FAR Part 23 does not "sufficiently address autothrottle technology and safety concerns" and in response, required special conditions to be met for approval of the Eclipse 500, and ultimately, the Eclipse 550.

The Eclipse 550 has two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F engines rated at 9oo pounds each, giving the lightweight aircraft enough power to cruise at 375 knots to 41,000 feet smoothly and efficiently. The Eclipse 550 starts $2.9 million.

Military Operations Areas: What You Need to Know


Ah, the controversial military operations area. Military operations areas (MOAs) can be a point of debate for pilots and flight instructors. Some pilots recommend you avoid them completely, no matter how inconvenient. Others have no problem flying through them without a care in the world.

An MOA is a military operations area that the FAA has designated as special use airspace due to a high density of military aircraft in the vicinity. The MOA has a designated ceiling and floor, and is depicted on sectional charts as a maroon hatched area. MOAs are "caution" areas for pilots and the FAA urges pilots to use extreme caution when operating in these areas, and also recommends speaking to the local controlling agency when flying in an MOA.

Military flying includes low-levels, formation and high-speed maneuvers. While military pilots are trained to clear the area before maneuvers, the maneuvers are fast and cover a lot of ground. When two fighter pilots are flying in formation, they're paying more attention to their wingman and their training mission than they are to potential intruders.

As a private pilot, I flew through a few active MOAs, because after all, it's totally legal and there was nothing stopping me. But as a CFI flying in and out of a local airport near a military base, I learned more about what goes on in MOAs and quickly changed tactics. Now, I constantly urge students to avoid MOAs whenever possible. But sometimes it's really inconvenient to fly around and impossible to fly above or below, so pilots still need to know how to fly though an MOA safely. Here are a few need-to-know items about military operations areas:

  • During active times, MOAs often have different types of aircraft performing maneuvers at different airspeeds.
  • MOAs are often divided into sections for various types of training, and many MOAs have a "high" and "low" area.
  • MOAs have active and inactive hours, also known as "hot" and "cold" times. Check with a flight service specialist before you fly to find out whether the MOA is active or not.
  • MOAs are sometimes granted permission to fly "lights out" training missions in which the exterior lighting on the aircraft is turned OFF during night training flights in order to simulate night vision technology and practice night-related maneuvers. The lack of position lights or strobes will obviously make aircraft in MOAs nearly impossible to see, so it's especially important to avoid these areas at night. Again, checking NOTAMs and knowing about specific military operations are in your area will help you determine your options.
  • Military aircraft do not necessarily have airspeed restrictions within MOA limits. The 250-knot restriction, for example, does not apply to military aircraft in MOAs.

If you can't avoid a military operations area, there are a few precautions you can take to minimize the risk of encountering a military jet:

  • Always know the locations of active MOAs and corresponding altitudes, limitations and frequencies.
  • File a flight plan and utilize flight following services.
  • Make sure you turn your aircraft's transponder ON. Some military aircraft have traffic collision avoidance technology.
  • Always use extreme caution when flying through an MOA. Because of the high speed of some military aircraft, the necessary reaction time will be substantially less if you need to get out of a situation.

To find out which MOAs are active, what the hours are, or to learn about lights out activity, you'll first want to check the NOTAMs. If you check NOTAMs through the use of 1-800-WX-BRIEF, you'll need to specifically ask for operating hours of local MOAs, including a specific request for information on lights out operations.

You can also get updates via the military installation directly. Most (if not all) military installations will have flyers and information readily available to general aviation pilots, local airports and the general public about specific local military operations. This information can often be located on the installation's website or by calling the installation's safety office or public affairs office.

Military operations areas are high-risk, and general aviation pilots should seriously consider other options before flying through an active MOA. At the very least, it's imperative for pilots to be on a flight plan and talking to the controlling agency when flying through an active MOA.

For more information on military operations areas, military airports and military training routes, visit seeandavoid.org.