Monthly Archives: September 2018

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Air NZ first A321neo to enter service mid-November


Air New Zealand’s first Airbus A321neo will enter service in mid-November, flying on transtasman and Pacific islands routes.

The carrier says that the 214-seat, all-economy configured A321s will feature larger overhead baggage bins, Android-based in-flight entertainment with 10in screens, USB charging points and in-flight connectivity.

As is the airline’s tradition, the first aircraft will wear an all-black colour-scheme, which was recently applied at Airbus’s facility in Hamburg.

“We operate up to 240 services each week with our Airbus narrow body aircraft. These new aircraft are key to enabling us to grow our short haul network while offering our customers a great inflight experience,” says chief executive Christopher Luxon.

The carrier will take delivery of two A321neos in November, which will be followed by its first A320neo in February 2019. It has selected Pratt & Whitney PW1100Gs to power its neo fleet.

Between leases and direct orders, the carrier is set to take 14 A321neos and six A320neos, most of which will gradually replace its A320ceos operated on the Tasman and Pacific Islands networks.

In August, the carrier disclosed that seven of the A321s will be added to its domestic fleet to replace A320ceos between 2020 and 2024.

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U.S. Air Force May Use Artificial Intelligence for Pilot Training


System could save money while improving learning.

The USAF is testing new educational technologies the service believes may help its airmen to learn faster while also improving retention. Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command hopes the results of current testing, scheduled to be completed next year, will show technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, all funneled through super computers, can improve the speed and effectiveness of the adult brain. If the Air Force testing is successful, it’s not farfetched to imagine civil pilot training one day using some of those same proven technologies in its training.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor Maryland last week, Kwast cited pilot training as one area of focus where technology could update the one-on-one training relationship between pilot and instructor. For example, consider that a fighter pilot learning basic aerobatics is ready to begin the block about how to fly the perfect loop. Today, a pilot learns the basics on the ground, then practices in the air with an instructor acting as a guide from the back seat.

But AI could begin that pilot’s education differently long before the first training flight. Using technology on the ground, “the artificial intelligence is watching you do that loop,” Kwast said. “As you pull back on the stick, it can tell what you are doing and says, ‘Hey, you are pulling back too much. … or, your nose is starting to drift to the right a little bit. Keep your eye on the horizon.'” The artificial intelligence is also watching and learning from the new pilot. “It’s learning how you learn, and it’s giving you advice that’s helping you adjust in real-time so you aren’t making mistakes,” all with no human intervention.

As it becomes less expensive to create realistic, three-dimensional training environments, AI can adapt that environment to other aspects of how people learn. Kwast said, “It will even suggest, ‘You are more of a visual learner or you are more of a text learner. It’s better for you to read it first and then do it, or for you, it’s better for you to see it first and then do it.’

“We are not looking to remove the human element from training and education,” said Brig. Gen. Jim Sears, director of Plans, Programs and Requirements at AETC. AI would simply supplement the limited number of human instructors and allow students “24/7” access to simulators without worrying they’ll pick up any bad habits when their instructor’s not close at hand. Kwast said the testing results should be ready by next summer.

If the Air Force testing is successful, who knows how long it might take for civil pilot training to begin using some of those same proven elements in tis training.

Source: Flying

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SWA Commitsto BWI


Southwest Airlines will build a new maintenance facility at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The announcement was made a ceremony marking Southwest’s 25th year of operation at the airport.

The hangar will cost $130 million and be 130,000 sq. ft. and is scheduled to be completed by 2021. Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines called the plans “a serious commitment” to the area. Southwest says about 240 aircraft fly through that airport daily and that it parks about 30 aircraft there nightly. The new facility will allow routine maintenance to take place inside according to Southwest Senior Vice President of Technical Operations Landon Nitschke.

Source: AVM

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Learn How to Fly a Drone in Controlled Airspace


King Schools offers free LAANC course.

San Diego-based King Schools is offering a free course to help drone operators stay out of trouble in controlled airspace. “Using LAANC to Fly Drones in Controlled Airspace” helps operators through the task of getting approval to use airspace from the FAA Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC).

LAANC allows drone operators to request and quickly get permission to use controlled airspace near airports. “The FAA has made it possible, but navigating the system is not easy,” said Barry Knuttila, King Schools CEO. “In this course you will find simple, clear tips and information that can speed you on your way to getting the most from LAANC.”

The course will teach you about which companies offer LAANC services and how to use their services. It also explains how to use the FAA’s B4UFLY app, which was designed for drone operators. Other topics include UAS facility maps, FAA’s DroneZone and airspace authorization and waivers.

The information from the free course can be accessed here and is also included in King Schools’ Drone Pilot License initial test prep course.

Source : Flying

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Record Broken at Reno’s Air Races


A Legacy speed record and multiple maydays made for an exciting weekend.

Another exciting week has come to its conclusion in Reno as the 55th Stihl National Championship Air Races were held at the Reno-Stead Airport west of Reno, Nevada. Five classes of aircraft battled it out around pylon courses at altitudes barely above the sagebrush-covered valley floor.

A big upset happened in the Sport Class, which has been dominated for the past few years by Jeff Lavelle who flies Race 39, a Super Glasair III. The airplane named One Moment, Race 30, piloted by Andrew Findlay, took the lead in the second to last heat, earning Findlay the pole position for Sunday’s final race. Findlay averaged 403 mph around the course, the first time a Lancair Legacy had broken the 400-mph mark, while Lavelle experience engine problems, putting Findlay at the top of the podium.

Rick Vandam, who won the Jet Class last year in American Spirit, an Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros, gave up his seat this year to Mike Steiger, who held off Pete Zaccagnino in the L-29 Just Lucky.

The Silver heat in Friday’s Jet Class race got a bit too exciting as Race 37, piloted by Brazilian Alexandre Eckmann, and Race 13 – Reality Czech – flown by Nathan Harnagel bumped into each other on the course. Though there was significant damage to both airplanes, the stellar pilots got them on the ground safely with some help from chase pilot Jeff Turney, a highly experienced racer who is a founding member of the Jet Class and Sport Class.

While there were no speed records in the Unlimited Class, which lacked fan favorites Strega and Voodoo this year, the roaring warbirds put on a terrific performance that put Dreadnought, a Seafury piloted by Joel Swager, first with a speed of 417 mph.

In the T-6 Class, John Lohmar took the trophy with Radial Velocity. Gene McNeely, who was part of the stellar four-ship AeroShell Aerobatic Team until last year, placed second in the Silver heat and flew a stellar T-6 80th anniversary demo as part of the airshow. Justin Meaders won Formula One in Limitless, a Snoshoo SR-1, while Andrew Buehler took home the Biplane trophy in Phantom, a modified Mong Sport.

Source: Flying

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Able Freight Partners with Cargo Screening K9 Alliance


The Cargo Screening K9 Alliance (CSK9) announced that it has entered into a five-year, multi-million dollar contract to support Able Freight cargo screening operations at four West Coast locations. This partnership establishes Able Freight as a pioneer in utilizing commercial and independently certified explosive detection canines in a cargo screening role. Able Freight anticipates that canine screening operations will begin in early November to coincide with full implementation of TSA’s Third Party K9-Cargo (3PK9-C) initiative.

“We are thrilled to partner with CSK9 says Able Freight’s Compliance Director, Grant Urata. The capabilities of these skilled canine teams will give us a competitive advantage, improve cargo processing time, and keep all our cargo secure. We are excited to get started with CSK9 later this year.”

The introduction of 3PK9-C certified CSK9 Teams as a primary screening method will allow Able Freight to shorten cargo processing times, increase cargo throughput, and lower screening and freight handling costs. Able Freight expects that leveraging these efficiencies will help to increase revenues and maximize profits.

“The implementation of third party K9 screening is going to massively change the industry for the better,” Paul Hammond, CSK9 president, said. “We are proud of the alliance we have built across the country to offer full national coverage to our clients. Whether you have facilities in Atlanta or Seattle, we have you covered.”

Source: AVM

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ST Engineering Opens Pensacola Facility


ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector opened a new airframe MRO facility in Pensacola, Fla. The new facility, which can carry out heavy and line maintenance, as well as aircraft modification work, joins two others that ST Engineering has in the U. S., one located in San Antonio, Texas and the other in Mobile, Ala.

Located at the Pensacola International Airport, the new hangar cost $46 million. At 173,500 sq. ft., it is one of the largest hangars in ST Engineering’s network of airframe maintenance facilities. The facility has an annual capacity of
600,000 labor hours, and can accommodate two of the largest version of the B777 widebody series, or six A321 aircraft, at any one time.

“Pensacola serves as an excellent base for us to serve the MRO needs of the North America region given its rich pool of highly trained engineering and aviation talent,” says Lim Serh Ghee, president of ST Engineering’s Aerospace sector. “We are pleased to have United Parcel Service as our launch customer at the new facility.”

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Flying Sponsors Second Annual New York City-Area Wings & Wheels Show


Thousands are expected at the “Salute to Veterans” event at New Jersey’s Essex County Airport October 6 and 7.

Flying once again is sponsoring the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame’s “Salute to Veterans” Wings & Wheels show at Essex County Airport in Northern New Jersey, which will be held this year on Saturday October 6 and Sunday October 7.

The show will include numerous historic aircraft, including the rare Douglas C-54 “Spirit of Freedom” owned and operated by the Berlin Airlift Foundation, plus a TBM Avenger, F4U Corsair and many others. Helicopter rides will be offered both days of the show, as well as tethered hot air balloon rides. Entertainment will be provided by the Victory Belles trio.

Veterans wearing VFW or American Legion caps and active duty military personnel will be admitted free. Adult admission is $15 and children 5-12 and seniors 62 and older $10. Kids under 5 a free. Show cars will be admitted for $20 for one day or $30 for two, and includes admission for all occupants. All proceeds benefit the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum located at Teterboro Airport.

If you’d like to exhibit your interesting airplane at the show, visit the NJAHOF for details.


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Colorado Begins Testing Remote ATC Tower


Remote towers can be made operational at a much lower cost than traditional facilities.

Despite more than 90,000 annual operations, Northern Colorado Regional Airport (FNL) in Loveland has never had the safety benefits of a manned control tower, until now. The Colorado Department of Transportation reports being close to completing a new remote tower project for Loveland, a facility that won’t demand the building of a traditional, expensive tall tower building. FNL serves privately-owned aircraft, commercial airliners, military aircraft, pilot training, and helicopters and is home to three flight schools, specialized aircraft maintenance services, and a 24/7 FBO.

Denver’s CBS4 TV last week said the new ATC facility will be created with a ground-level building that inside is covered nearly wall-to-wall with large video screens to deliver air traffic controllers a 360-degree view of the field in high-definition images, reported to be as good if not better, than what humans would see with their own eyes. The remote facility’s video feeds are fed by dozens of remote cameras sitting atop tall masts planted in a variety of locations around the airport. The resultant feed to controllers at FNL will also use satellite data to create both visual and radar data to help controllers keep airplanes safely separated.

The price tag to bring the remote tower facility to this point is reportedly more than $8 million. The Colorado DOT said successful testing could have the new ATC facility up and running by the end of 2020. CDOT hopes that successes at FNL could mean expanding the system to other state airports currently in need of ATC services such as Gunnison, Telluride and Montrose.

Source: Flying

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Hoffmann Group USA to Sponsor Germanic Apprentice Program Competition


Hoffmann Group USA, a Turnkey Solution Partner for Germanic Apprenticeship Programs (GAP), in a partnership with Kamm Consulting Group, LLC, and other corporate sponsors, will provide workstations and tooling for student apprentices to compete in a four-day competition held during this year’s IMTS conference.

Hoffmann Group USA will provide workbenches, tables, cabinetry, hand tools and cutting tools, in addition to donating tooling prizes for the winning teams.

The Agenda for the GAP Partner Apprentice competition will be as follows during normal exhibition hours:

  • Monday, September 10 – Press and Media Announcement – Project and Student Reveal & Kick-off (time TBA)
  • Tuesday – Friday, September 11-14, 9am to 3pm – Student Apprentice Competition & Showcase Exhibit
  • Saturday, September 15 – Press & Media Announcement & Award Ceremony (time TBA)

Student apprentices:

  • Should be currently enrolled in a high school or college apprenticeship program as a Precision Machinist, Tool and Die Maker, CNC Milling Machine Operator or other, similar machinist occupation.
  • Will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Who apply will be selected to compete in one of three different levels of competition, including Year 1 (Beginner), Year 2 (Intermediate) and Year 3 (Advanced).
  • Who successfully complete the four-day project and prove their competencies in both written and practical exams will receive a NIMS Certificate as proof of their competencies in the skills required for each competition level.

Twelve students will be selected to compete (4 students at each level). High school, college and company sponsors are encouraged to select their best student apprentice candidates in each of these levels and to register their student apprentices to compete in this prestigious event.

Applications will be received, and student apprentices will be selected, on a first-come, first-serve basis. All travel, hotel accommodations, meals, exhibition passes, and all other related expenses will be the responsibility of the student, college and or company sponsors. To register, please contact Bryan Kamm at, or call at 813-415-7514.

The GAP Partner Apprentice Competition will take place in the 800 square-foot GAP Partner Exhibit in the Student Summit located at Booth: 215437 Pavilion: Smartforce Student Summit Pavilion.

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Hoffmann Group USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Hoffmann Group, Europe’s leading system partner for quality tools. The company offers 62,000 quality tools from 500 of the world’s leading manufacturers including GARANT, Hoffmann’s own premium brand. Hoffmann product lines include hand tools, cutting tools, workstations, and storage options. Hoffmann Group, with an international corporate headquarters in Munich, Germany, combines trading competence with leadership in both manufacturing and service. This combination guarantees reliability in supply, quality, and productivity in the tooling sector to more than 135,000 customers. The company, with its worldwide partners and over 2,500 employees, serves major companies as well as medium-sized and small companies in more than 50 countries.

Source: AP