Category Archives: News

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Wheels Up Network Grows With New Acquisition


Light jet aircraft will complement Wheels Up’s existing fleet.

New York City-based Wheels Up, a private member-based aircraft operator, today said it was adding Travel Management Company (TMC) to its portfolio. The acquisition is responding to the increasing demand from Wheels Up members for high-quality light jets that meet Wheels Up’s stringent safety and operational standards. TMC is the largest wholesale-focused light jet operator in the U.S. operating an owned and leased fleet of Hawker 400XP aircraft across North America. TMC’s fleet of 26 Hawker 400XP aircraft will complement Wheels Up’s current fleet of 93 aircraft.

TMC will continue to operate out of its current Elkhart, IN, location as an independent subsidiary of Wheels Up providing the same service to its existing wholesale channel partners. TMC customers and wholesale channel partners will continue to engage with their respective TMC contacts, including Phil Dodyk and the TMC leadership team. The deal was effective May 31, 2019, although specific financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Source: Flying

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FAA Grounds Citation 525s With Tamarack Winglets


AD allows a ferry permit with flight restrictions.

The FAA today issued an airworthiness directive effective immediately that grounds all Cessna Citation CJ 525, 525A and 525B models operating with Tamarack active load alleviation system (ATLAS) winglets installed in accordance with STCSA03842NY. The agency said malfunctioning of the ATLAS could lead to loss of control of the entire aircraft.

The European Aviation Safety Agency issued a similar AD against Tamarack-equipped CJs last month explaining, “the active load alleviation system, when operational, deflects the Tamarack active control surfaces on the outboard wings. Recently, occurrences have been reported in which ATLAS appears to have malfunctioned causing upset events where, in some cases, the pilots had difficulty recovering the aircraft.” EASA required operators to deactivate ATLAS and fix those control surfaces in place within 10 hours of flight. The European agency also added a number of operational limitations and repetitive pre-flight inspections to these aircraft. The NTSB is investigating whether Tamarack winglets played a role in the earlier loss of a Citation 525.

The FAA, however, does not allow Tamarack CJs to operate with the ATLAS disabled. The agency did not agree with the disabling solution provided by the STC holder, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions, for the use of speed tape around the Tamarack active camber surface to prevent movement. The agency said further flight would be unsafe because an operational ATLAS may reduce the pilot’s ability to control the airplane and hence should be grounded pending incorporation of an FAA-approved modification estimated to cost $175.

Until repairs have been made, the FAA is allowing a ferry permit on individual aircraft as long as no passengers are aboard. Until repairs are completed, the aircraft is also restricted to flight at FL250 or below and airspeeds not to exceed 140 knots on the 525 and 161 knots on the 525A & B models.

Source: Flying

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Senate Grills FAA Nominee on Boeing 737 Max Issues


Former Delta executive Steve Dickson’s path to confirmation as the next FAA Administrator is expected to be a smooth one despite pointed questions from senators.

Former Delta Air Lines executive Steve Dickson faced heated questions in the Senate on Wednesday about whether regulators could have done more to prevent two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 Max jets.

Dickson, who was senior vice president of flight operations at Delta until his retirement last October and a former F-15 fighter pilot, is President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the FAA. Under questioning from senators, he pledged to look into issues ranging from the FAA’s “delegation” of some of its oversight to the companies it regulates to pilots’ manual flying skills when automation fails.

The hearing in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation came after President Donald Trump in March announced the nomination of Dickson to a five-year term as FAA Administrator.

Senators praised Dickson’s extensive experience in aviation, but also asked pointed questions about how he will handle the challenges the FAA faces.

“Bureaucratic inertia is powerful,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during the hearing. “What I’m asking you to do, if confirmed, is be pissed off that 346 people died.”

Dickson asked Cruz not to mistake his calm demeanor for satisfaction “or saying that any accident is acceptable — it is not.”

Despite the pointed questioning during the hearings, Dickson is widely expected to be confirmed as the next FAA Administrator as aviation groups strongly supported his appointment.

General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce praised Dickson for his strong leadership abilities, particularly with regard to advancing the FAA’s NextGen programs.

“I have known Steve for more than 40 years and am deeply familiar with his demonstrative leadership in aviation, both as an Air Force fighter pilot and as a senior executive at Delta Air Lines,” Bunce said. “GAMA members also deeply value the contributions Steve has made to advancing air traffic modernization through his roles as chairman of the NextGen Implementation Task Force and as industry co-chair of the RTCA NextGen Advisory Committee Working Subcommittee.”


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Van Nuys Airport Holds Another Successful Aviation Career Day


1,200 students heard from dozens of exhibitors.

Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest general aviation facilities in the U.S., last week held its 14th annual, “The Sky’s the Limit: Aviation Career Day.” This year more than 1,200 students got a first-hand look at dozens of job opportunities possibly awaiting them in the aviation industry. Since the first VNY Aviation Career Day in 2006, nearly 20,000 Los Angeles area kids have taken part in the event.

One of the highlights of Aviation Career Day was the panel discussion, “How to Enter a Career in Aviation,” which included industry professionals offering insider tips based on their own career experiences. Personnel from the Los Angeles Airport Police and Los Angeles Fire Department also were on hand to talk about their careers. In addition to the speakers, industry experts and informational booths, there were numerous aircraft available with which students took photos and selfies. Display aircraft included a U.S. Navy F-18, a NASA Armstrong Research Center C-12, a drone display from Helinet Aviation, Los Angeles Fire Department air rescue helicopters, and two WWII-era Condor Squadron AT-6’s. Participants were treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the history and daily operations of VNY.

Flora Margheritis, Airport Manager, VNY said, “Aviation Career Day allows us to share our passion for airports and open kids’ eyes to the wide variety of careers available in our profession. Whether they’re into art, science, math or writing, there is a career path for these students in the aviation industry, and we want them to know that we want them to be part of our team.”

“As I always say, you can’t be what you can’t see,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez. “Aviation Career Day exposes our children to achievable high paying career paths. In a time when the aviation industry is experiencing a shortage of pilots, air traffic controllers, and other aviation fields, it is now more important than ever to introduce aviation to our students.”

“Twenty years ago, Van Nuys-based Western Jet Aviation started with one employee, today we have 75, many of which have been hired right out of our local schools. We look to hire local workers for all areas of our business, and we’re always seeking out new talent,” said Jim Hansen, Western Jet Aviation owner and founder. “Our hope is that someday soon, one or more of these students will come back and knock on our door, ready to join our team.”

Source: Flying

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Pilatus Delivers PC-24 to U-Haul


The 27th Super Versatile Jet joins other Pilatus airplanes in corporate fleet.

When you think about U-Haul, you probably envision a small or medium sized truck used for personal moving. But this week, the company took delivery of one of the most advanced business jets on the market – the Pilatus PC-24. Featuring an orange paint scheme reminiscent of the design on the easily identifiable trucks, the Super Versatile Jet will be based in Phoenix, Arizona. U-Haul is already operating two PC-12 turboprops and will soon add a second PC-24 to the fleet

“When Pilatus announced the new jet, we were confident that it would be a real workhorse that, alongside our two PC-12s, would help us manage our growing operations throughout North America,” Joe Shoen, chairman of Amerco, U-Haul’s parent company said as he took delivery of the airplane at the Pilatus facility in Broomfield, Colorado..

“Joe Shoen and his flight department have been on board with Pilatus and the PC-24 since we first introduced the concept to them more than five years ago,” said Thomas Bosshard, CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd, the U.S. subsidiary of Pilatus. “Throughout the development and certification of the aircraft they’ve been looking forward to this day, and we are thrilled to celebrate it with them.”

The Pilatus PC-24 is the first business jet designed to land on unpaved airstrips. It has an impressive climb performance of more than 4,000 fpm and can cruise as fast as 440 knots, yet its stall speed can be as low as 82 kias.

U-Haul’s PC-24 is the 27th production version of the Swiss business jet, and the fleet has accumulated more than 4,000 hours to date. That’s an impressive number of deliveries for this clean-sheet design, which first entered the market a little more than one year ago. The PC-24 was one of Flying’s Editor’s Choice Awards winners.

Source: Flying

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PBS Series Looks at The Airplane, An Idea That Changed the World


Series explains how other influencers helped the Wright Brothers create the airplane.

The second episode of a new PBS series, “Breakthrough: The Ideas That Changed the World,” premieres tomorrow night April 24 with “Airplane,” a look at the people who inspired the Wright Brothers to create the first practical aircraft.

The journey to the first successful flight is a story full of passion, danger and death, and this episode showcases the revolutionaries and visionaries who made it possible to leave the ground. Tomorrow’s episode looks at Abba Ibn Firnas, the Moorish/Islamic scholar and the world’s first pilot; Leonardo da Vinci; British inventor Sir George Cayley; French inventor and engineer Alphonse Penaud; German aviation pioneer Otto Lilienthal; famed pilot Wiley Post; and RAF officer and inventor, Frank Whittle, creator of the first jet engine.

Told through six iconic objects that modern people take for granted, the six-part Breakthrough series shows how science, invention and technology built on one another to change everything. The episode begins at 10 p.m. EST, but be sure to check your local PBS show listings.

Source: Flying

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Major Airlines Suffer from Boeing 737 Max Issue


Thousands of flights cancelled as a result of recent crashes.

Major U.S. airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights as a result of the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX fleet after two accidents in the past six months, one in Indonesia and the other in Ethiopia, killing a total of nearly 350 people. American Airlines reported it is grounding all 737 MAX flights through August 19. The decision amounts to 115 cancelled flights each day during the summer.

“…by extending our cancellations through the summer, we can plan more reliably for the peak travel season and provide confidence to our customers and team members when it comes to their travel plans,” said a statement from American’s chairman and CEO Doug Parker and president Robert Isom. “We remain confident that the impending software updates, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing for the Max, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon. We have been in continuous contact with the FAA, Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), [and] other regulatory authorities, and are pleased with the progress so far.” In the meantime, the company’s reservations team is finding alternatives for customers booked on 737 MAX flights this summer.

Reuters reported that United expects the grounded 737s to return to service this summer. The company currently only has 14 MAX airplanes in its fleet, but was expecting another 16 to be delivered this year. United still expects to receive some of those airplanes before the end of the year.

Source: Flying

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Piper Introduces Pilot 100 and Pilot 100i Trainers


New trainers come at a value-focused price point.

Piper Aircraft announced two new value-priced additions to its trainer-class of aircraft on the opening day of Sun N’ Fun at Lakeland Florida. The company showed off its proof of concept Piper Pilot 100 and Pilot 100i. The basic 100 includes Garmin G3X Touch Certified avionics and a standard two pilot configuration while the instrument version, the 100i comes standard with a Garmin G3X Touch and a GFC500 autopilot. The VFR-equipped 100 will enter the marketplace at $259,000 and offers the durability and functionality of the Archer TX. The IFR version, the 100 is priced at $285,000.

A major change to this branch of the Piper line is the powerplant, a newly designed 180 hp Continental Prime IO-370-D3A engine that includes new generation magnetos designed to eliminate hot starting problems, an especially annoying problem for people learning to fly. The Continental engine gives the new aircraft a 128-knot cruise speed and a range of 522 miles with a 45-minute reserve.

Piper CEO Simon Caldecott said the new aircraft was identified following extensive research and the rapid expansion of trainer sales, as well as from increased demand for aircraft at a price point that could support the growing demand for professionally trained pilots. Since 2014, sales of the single-engine Piper Archer have grown more than 93 percent. For 2018, sales of the robust single engine Archer grew by nearly 50 percent year over year, while twin-engine Seminole deliveries rose 117 percent.

The new Piper Pilot 100 / 100i rounds off Piper’s portfolio of training aircraft products. With five model series now including the Pilot 100, Archer TX, Archer DX, Arrow, and Seminole, Piper says it now offers the widest range of training aircraft of any aircraft manufacturer

The Piper Pilot 100 will be touring flight schools around the country this summer as the company finalizes the aircraft’s design. Both aircraft will be available in limited quantities beginning in 2020.

Source: Flying

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L3 Commercial Aviation Announces Massive Piper Order


Worldwide training operation signs order for up to 240 airplanes.

Piper aircraft is having a terrific week at Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida. After yesterday’s announcement about the development of a pair of two-seat trainers, the Piper Pilot 100 and 100i, the company also won a huge order from L3 Commercial Aviation – a flight training operation with facilities around the world. The school announced it is purchasing as many as 240 new airplanes from the Vero Beach, Florida-based company.

A hard commitment has been made for 26 airplanes to be delivered this year. They comprise 19 Piper Archers and seven twin-engine Seminoles. The airplanes will be spread between the company’s training facilities in Florida, the United Kingdom, and the recently added facility in Ponte de Sor, Portugal. The company also runs a flight training facility in New Zealand.

“This significant investment in expanding and modernizing our fleet with these brand-new aircraft will help us in our aspiration to provide the highest-quality training while meeting the increasing international demand for new pilots from our airline customers,” said Geoff van Klaveren, vice president of Airline Academy, a subsidiary of L3 Commercial Aviation.

Source: Flying

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Piaggio Aerospace Aims To Find Buyer by April 2020


Troubled Italian aircraft manufacturer Piaggio Aerospace is trying to chalk up orders for its P.180 Avanti Evo turboprop twin while it simultaneously searches for potential buyers of the entire company by April 2020. Piaggio went into insolvency after its UAE-based owner Mubadala cancelled its order for the P.1HH Hammerhead, an unmanned maritime patrol version of the Avanti. The Italian government appointed lawyer Vincenzo Nicastro on December 3 as an “extraordinary receiver” to temporarily manage Piaggio.

Nicastro told AIN this week at the LIMA airshow in Malaysia that the Italian government has pledged €250 million to complete the final stage of the P.1HH program, of which €180 million is for the procurement of eight Hammerheads and four ground stations. It has also informally agreed to promote the sales of the aircraft to Italian government agencies such as the Italian Air Force, coast guard, and police. There are some 37 government-owned Avantis, some of which need replacement.

On Tuesday, Piaggio also secured a €45 million maintenance contract to service Italian air force’s National Acrobatic Air Patrol Team “Frecce Tricolori” Aermacchi MB.339 for 12 months, as well as P.180 logistics support for the state police (three-year contract), Italian Army (12-month agreement), and national coast guard (two-year contract).

“We want everyone to know that we are still in operation,” he said. “And we want to present the new Piaggio to the world.”

Next month, the company is aiming to receive non-binding letters of intent from potential buyers to get a better sense of market interest. By June, Piaggio will present a proposal and officially invite the market to buy the company. Nicastro said it hopes to complete the process, including approval by the government, by next April.

“We are confident that that will happen,” he added. “Potential buyers could include companies with aeronautical background or equity funds.”

Piaggio plans to participate at EBACE, Paris Airshow, MAKS (Moscow), and NBAA BACE to further promote the aircraft to potential buyers.

Source: AIN

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