Aviation International News Monthly

Chad Trautvetter, April 1, 2014

Daher-Socata unveiled the latest iteration of its turboprop single, the TBM 900, at company headquarters in Tarbes, France, on March 12. Derived from the TBM 850, itself a variant of the original TBM 700, the new version offers better efficiency and performance without an increase in fuel consumption or engine power, according to the company. The aircraft received both FAA and EASA approval before it was publicly unveiled.

Chad Trautvetter

Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.

Thierry Dubois

The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.

Click a heading below to see the stories in that channel.

Accidents, Safety, Security and Training
Matt Thurber, April 6, 2014

After the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) submitted a petition for exemption for the third-class medical requirement for private or recreational pilots on March 20, 2012, more than 14,000 comments overwhelmingly in support of the exemption were submitted to the FAA. However, the agency failed to act on the exemption request, and now Congress is exerting pressure on the FAA to expand the third-class medical exemption, which currently applies to sport pilots.

Matt Thurber, April 2, 2014

“I’m telling you, our plane was like a pharmacy with wings.”

Paul Lowe, April 2, 2014

Never renowned for its ability to fast-track rulemaking, the FAA might be gunning for a new record.

It has been nearly a decade since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced an amendment to its aviation rulemaking to require member states to have certified international airports establish a safety management system (SMS). The FAA has said it supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices.

Robert P. Mark, April 4, 2014

The FAA’s recent rule prohibiting the personal use of electronic devices in the cockpit applies only to Part 121 carriers, although the NTSB would like to see the rule extended to cover Part 135 and Part 91K operators. AIN recently surveyed readers for their insights about the distractions that challenge them–and the answers were surprising. We received 112 responses to our four questions. While the informal survey yielded a relatively small number of responses, the answers pilots gave about their experiences with distractions are illuminating.

Thierry Dubois, April 1, 2014

The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.

Aerospace Industry
Gregory Polek, April 3, 2014

While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.

Curt Epstein, April 5, 2014

JSfirm.com, an online aviation-specific employment board operator, recently released the results of its fifth annual hiring trends survey. The survey not only looked back at the results from the past year, but noted some positive indications for the coming year as well. “This annual survey has proved to be accurate in past years at forecasting the hiring trends and is eagerly anticipated by the aviation industry,” said Jeff Richards, the company’s operations manager. Four hundred companies across various sectors of the industry provided the data for the survey.

Airports, Heliports and FBOs
Curt Epstein, April 1, 2014

For the FBO business, 2013 may go down as the year the industry truly began its slow, tentative climb out of the trough. U.S. business jet activity, both domestic and international, rose over 2012, which in turn saw a modest gain over 2011. At almost 3.4 million operations, domestic activity last year increased by 2.4 percent, according to the FAA, an improvement of more than 79,000 operations but still 19 percent lower than the record high of 4,191,692 operations set in 2005.

Paul Lowe, April 2, 2014

Never renowned for its ability to fast-track rulemaking, the FAA might be gunning for a new record.

It has been nearly a decade since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced an amendment to its aviation rulemaking to require member states to have certified international airports establish a safety management system (SMS). The FAA has said it supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices.

Avionics
Matt Thurber, April 8, 2014

Sandia Aerospace has developed a low-cost standby display, the SAI 340-Quatro, which retails for $3,595. The Quatro provides airspeed, attitude, altitude and slip indications in a lightweight instrument that fits into a standard three-inch instrument hole. The Quatro weighs half a pound and is just 1.4 inches thick. The unit’s lithium-polymer battery provides power for up to two hours. Certification is pending.

Matt Thurber, April 6, 2014

At last month’s AEA show, Ingenio Aerospace introduced a series of products designed to help aircraft manufacturers and interior refurb and completion centers deal with a thorny problem: the rapid pace of smart-device technological change.

Matt Thurber, April 2, 2014

In January, Honeywell opened the doors of its advanced-technology facility in Deer Valley, Ariz., and shared details of what its engineers and scientists are exploring for possible use in future aircraft programs. These included tests on touchscreen controls, gesture-based avionics manipulation, haptic feedback devices, voice controls and even transcranial neural sensing.

Few of these human-machine interfaces will appear in any cockpits soon, but Honeywell’s experts are exploring new avenues toward making aircraft safer and more efficient.

Business Aviation
Amy Laboda, April 5, 2014

Concurrent with Women’s History month, Women in Aviation International, a non-profit member organization that promotes diversity and women’s integration into aviation and aerospace, held its largest conference ever at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Chad Trautvetter, April 1, 2014

Daher-Socata unveiled the latest iteration of its turboprop single, the TBM 900, at company headquarters in Tarbes, France, on March 12. Derived from the TBM 850, itself a variant of the original TBM 700, the new version offers better efficiency and performance without an increase in fuel consumption or engine power, according to the company. The aircraft received both FAA and EASA approval before it was publicly unveiled.

Chad Trautvetter, April 1, 2014

Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.

Curt Epstein, April 5, 2014

JSfirm.com, an online aviation-specific employment board operator, recently released the results of its fifth annual hiring trends survey. The survey not only looked back at the results from the past year, but noted some positive indications for the coming year as well. “This annual survey has proved to be accurate in past years at forecasting the hiring trends and is eagerly anticipated by the aviation industry,” said Jeff Richards, the company’s operations manager. Four hundred companies across various sectors of the industry provided the data for the survey.

Paul Lowe, April 5, 2014

The cloud over general aviation may not yet have a silver lining, but there are rays of sunshine from the increasing business use of all types of GA aircraft, which the FAA expects to expand at a faster pace than for purely personal and recreational transportation.

After growing rapidly for most of the past decade, and then slowing over the past few years, the overall general aviation aircraft market has recorded modest growth, according to the most recent shipment activity.

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 5, 2014

Embraer expects to sell 295 business jets worth $13.5 billion over the next 10 years in the Middle East. According to the Brazilian manufacturer, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates now account for 61 percent of the active fleet in the region.

“The Middle East fleet is younger than the world average and accounts for 2 percent of the world’s total business jet fleet, equivalent to 360 aircraft,” said Marco Túlio Pellegrini, president and CEO of Embraer Executive Jets. “If including commercial jets, an Embraer airplane takes off every five minutes in the Middle East.”

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 2, 2014

Gama Aviation’s FBO at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessed 70-percent growth in traffic last year and is anticipating similar growth this year. To keep pace with demand, during the second quarter of this year the company expects to complete development of new passenger and crew lounges. It is also set to double staffing levels at the facility by the end of next month.

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 3, 2014

Middle Eastern charter and scheduled service operator Rotana Jet plans to more than double its fleet by 2016. At the Air Expo show at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport, where Rotana Jet is based, the company said that over the next two years it will add at least seven aircraft to the five it currently operates. However, most of the expansion for now is focused on the scheduled part of its operation.

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 3, 2014

Seawings has launched an amphibious seaplane shuttle service to connect Dubai’s remote new Al Maktoum International Airport with the Park Hyatt Hotel in the city center. The new operation has been launched in partnership with flight support provider Jetex, which operates an FBO at the airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Peter Shaw-Smith, March 4, 2014

March 11, 2008, was a not-to-be-forgotten date in the annals of United Arab Emirates motoring history. That day, 250 cars were involved in a pile-up on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai road just outside Ghantoot, about 30 miles from Dubai. Despite the thick fog that had drifted in from the Gulf, motorists apparently made little or no attempt to moderate their speed, and mayhem was the result. Abu Dhabi Police helicopter pilot Major Hammad Al Kitbi arrived on the scene to find devastation.

Neelam Mathews, April 8, 2014

The economic downturn over the past couple of years has resulted in negative growth for Indian general aviation, which has “hit rock bottom,” according to Rohit Kapur, president of the country’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA). Nevertheless, the Indian bizav community hopes that a general election next month will result in more decisive political leadership and effect change to a regulatory environment that many agree has stifled growth in their own industry and the wider Indian economy.

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 3, 2014

Gulfstream has a fleet of more than 100 business aircraft owned and operated in the Arabian Gulf region, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) representing strong customer bases in the large-cabin market.

Business Aviation Aircraft
Matt Thurber, April 8, 2014

A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.

Matt Thurber, April 8, 2014

A challenge facing aircraft manufacturers is compliance with the FAA’s new Part 25 Subpart H Electrical Wiring Interconnect System (EWIS) regulations, which apply a systems approach to wiring.

Matt Thurber, April 1, 2014

If it isn’t blindingly obvious already that Cessna has made a huge shift to Garmin avionics in its lineup of business jets, then the addition of the G3000 flight deck to the Citation CJ2+ is yet another indicator of where the company is headed. The G3000 upgrade for the CJ2+ is part of a new package, called the Alpine edition, that is not an option for new jets coming off the assembly line in Wichita but is available only as a retrofit. Cessna has also switched the CJ3 to the G3000 system in the new CJ3+, but this is for new jets, not retrofits.

Business Aviation Engines
Thierry Dubois, April 5, 2014

Scientists in the propulsion system laboratory (PSL) at NASA’s Glenn research center in Cleveland, Ohio, have developed a test facility that can recreate high-altitude engine icing, a long-awaited capability that should equip the aviation industry to tackle a poorly understood hazard.

Charter
Matt Thurber, April 6, 2014

Empty Leg Market, the web-based service that aims to help charter operators fill empty flights with paying customers, plans to develop a tool to help buyers understand business aircraft charter costs to make the most of the company’s name-your-price feature. A recent analysis of how potential customers are using the bidding feature revealed that 50 percent of potential buyers dropped out at the point where they would have to enter an amount to bid on an empty leg.

Charter and Fractional
Matt Thurber, April 4, 2014

Wade and Dave Eyerly, the founders of Surf Air, an all-you-can-fly Part 135 membership service that operates Pilatus PC-12s on West Coast routes, have left the company. The brothers started Surf Air in 2011, and flight operations began in June last year. In February the company hired Jeff Potter as the new CEO.

Peter Shaw-Smith, April 3, 2014

Seawings has launched an amphibious seaplane shuttle service to connect Dubai’s remote new Al Maktoum International Airport with the Park Hyatt Hotel in the city center. The new operation has been launched in partnership with flight support provider Jetex, which operates an FBO at the airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

FBOs
Curt Epstein, April 6, 2014

Caribbean aviation services provider IAM Jet Centre has opened its newest FBO, at Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport. The 4,200-sq-ft facility will be the company’s third, joining locations in Barbados and Montego Bay, Jamaica. It features in-house customs and immigration facilities, conference rooms and security screening, as well as passenger and crew lounges. According to IAM group managing director Paul Worrell, the facility will connect private aviation passengers with luxury super-yachts that frequent the Grenadines.

Curt Epstein, April 7, 2014

Signature Flight Support agreed last month to purchase the FBO component of Metro Flight Services at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). Metro Flight was one of two FBOs at the airport, the other being owned by Signature sister company ASIG, which also provides the airline fueling and ground handling at DTW. Once the acquisition is complete, the FBOs will be combined into one Signature Flight Support location, leaving the BBA Aviation subsidiary the lone general aviation services provider on the field, while ASIG will continue to handle the airline traffic.

Curt Epstein, April 7, 2014

France’s Biarritz Airport last month concluded a more than $1.4 million upgrade including total refurbishments to its FBO and business aviation terminal. The beach resort is a noted fuel stop for Fortune 500 corporate aircraft transiting between North America and the Middle East, and its airport has a nearly 7,400-foot-long main runway and features customs and immigration support, lounges, on-site car rental and other amenities. Last year, the airport reported 2,000 corporate-jet movements, ranging from ACJs to Citation CJ1s.

Curt Epstein, April 7, 2014

The UVair FBO Network has enlarged its North American footprint with the addition of five new members: Gateway FBO at Stanfield International Airport in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Castle and Cooke Aviation in Van Nuys, Calif. and Everett, Wash.; Kaiser Air at California’s Charles M. Schulz/Sonoma County Airport; and the airport-owned FBO at Texas Gulf Coast Regional Airport in Angleton, Texas, taking to 23 the total number of FBOs in the network–a joint venture between Universal Weather and Aviation and Epic Fuel.

Curt Epstein, April 7, 2014

An independent study commissioned by New York’s Dutchess County recommends the county privatize its airport, the third busiest general aviation facility in the state in terms of operations and based aircraft. The airport, which has a 5,000-foot main runway, is owned and subsidized by the county.

Curt Epstein, April 2, 2014

Tac Air has reached an agreement with the Omaha Airport Authority to construct a new 2,200-sq-ft Customs and Border Protection facility adjacent to its terminal at Eppley Airfield (OMA) in Nebraska. “The location of this new customs facility will allow seamless ground handling for international arrivals into Omaha,” said Mike Wilwerding, the service provider’s OMA general manager. The building is expected to be completed by the middle of the year. Tac Air has been providing fueling for commercial, military and general aviation aircraft at the airport since 1998.

Maintenance and Modifications
David A. Lombardo, April 4, 2014

Corporate Jet Solutions (CJS) is a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility that operates in conjunction with the company’s FBO, Dyenamic Aviation Services (DAS), named after founder and president Tony Dye. Located on Brooksville-Tampa Bay Airport (BKV), the 11.6-acre complex has its own fuel farm with jet-A and avgas fuel trucks and operates the airport’s only self-serve 24-hour avgas and 100LL station. It also has access to the airport’s closed runway adjacent to the facility, providing a significant amount of outdoor space for aircraft staging and parking.

Matt Thurber, April 6, 2014

Twenty-five years ago a group of entrepreneurs took a chance on an innovative idea: what if an independent company could offer an hourly-cost maintenance program, an alternative to power-by-the-hour products that typically were available only from engine manufacturers? The result was the founding of Jet Support Services, Inc. (JSSI) on Jan. 6, 1989.

People
Jane Campbell, April 5, 2014

Susan Herring was named director of initial-phase operations finance for Gulfstream. She joined the company in 2000 as a budget analyst and held various positions, including finance manager for the G450 and G500 and senior finance manager of initial-phase operations and advanced aircraft programs.

Nigel Moll, April 7, 2014

Hartwig Baier, 73, died early last month unexpectedly of a heart attack while on vacation in the Bahamas, depriving the button-down world of business aviation of one of its more colorful and highly regarded characters.

Curt Epstein, April 5, 2014

The NTSB report of the 1985 accident is sparse, noting only that the aerobatic airplane lost altitude and crashed after entering a roll approximately 100 above the ground. Then-11-year-old Tom Braun, who was a passenger, doesn’t remember much about the impact that claimed his father’s life and destroyed the scratch-built Steen Skybolt. A third-generation pilot, Braun today works as a sheet-metal technician at Jet Aviation’s St. Louis MRO and completions facility.

Regulations and Government
Mark Huber, April 5, 2014

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

Paul Lowe, April 2, 2014

Never renowned for its ability to fast-track rulemaking, the FAA might be gunning for a new record.

It has been nearly a decade since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced an amendment to its aviation rulemaking to require member states to have certified international airports establish a safety management system (SMS). The FAA has said it supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices.

Paul Lowe, April 7, 2014

Within 6 Months

March 26, 2014:

Use of Mobile Wireless Devices for Voice Calls on Aircraft

Mark Huber, April 5, 2014

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

Mark Huber, April 1, 2014

Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.

Rotorcraft
Matt Thurber, April 1, 2014

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

Thierry Dubois, April 8, 2014

ExecuJet Europe is launching helicopter charter and management services from its London Cambridge FBO, having received a helicopter AOC from the UK CAA. The company’s managed and charter fleet includes two Airbus EC155s based at Cambridge Airport, and negotiations for two more contracts have been under way since September. ExecuJet is telling managed helicopter customers they will benefit from its buying power for items such as fuel and insurance. Operations director John Brutnell said he expects charter demand for both business and leisure travel.

Thierry Dubois, April 8, 2014

Chartright Executive Helicopters will operate a depot for AgustaWestland in Toronto that will stock parts for the AW109, AW119 and AW139s. Chartright is an authorized AgustaWestland service center.

Thierry Dubois, April 8, 2014

Russian Helicopters is launching a new phase of modernization at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant to re-tool and upgrade the factory. The first stage involves modernizing and expanding the production of protective coatings. “Project development started last year, to meet the need to increase efficiency and to ensure the products made are of the highest possible quality,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. As a result, the plant will be ready to start production of the Mi-171A2, an upgraded version of the Mi-8/171.

Anonymous, April 8, 2014

The Squadron’s new iFrat flight risk assessment tool for the iPad uses a color-coded risk scale and breaks down flights into five elements: planning, environment, assets, communications and event. Pilots record an assessment of each element, based on their flight experience and knowledge; iFrat then generates a simple pictorial report exportable via email. New FAA rules require helicopter EMS pilots to conduct a risk assessment before each flight.

Mark Huber, April 5, 2014

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

Mark Huber, April 3, 2014

The European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) four-year delay in, and disproportionately high fees charged for, certifying the Robinson R66 turbine single might suggest a bigger problem with the bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Europe that governs the certification of aircraft and components.

Mark Huber, April 5, 2014

On March 4 the FAA issued its final rule on Stage 3 helicopter noise certification standards for new helicopter type design and the upgrade of Stage 1 and Stage 2 helicopters when upgrading to Stage 3 via supplemental type certificate (STC). The rule standardizes FAA regulations with those adopted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2002 and follows the issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the topic issued in 2012.

Matt Thurber, April 1, 2014

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

Mark Huber, April 1, 2014

Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.

Thierry Dubois, April 1, 2014

The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.

Training
Matt Thurber, April 7, 2014

Simulator training provider ProFlight received FAA approval for its online CitationJet ground-school program for pilots in recurrency training for the Citation 525 and 525S. The ProFlight CitationJet Learning Management System (LMS) is interactive and students can not only view animations of systems but also manipulate switches and controls to see how they affect the systems.

April 2014

This Month's Top Stories

Rotorcraft

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

Business Aviation

Concurrent with Women’s History month, Women in Aviation International, a non-profit member organization that promotes diversity and women’s integration into aviation and aerospace, held its largest conference ever at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Rotorcraft

The European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) four-year delay in, and disproportionately high fees charged for, certifying the Robinson R66 turbine single might suggest a bigger problem with the bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Europe that governs the certification of aircraft and components.

Aerospace Industry

While the Regional Airline Association and regional airline management point to new rules governing flight time experience for first officers as the primary reason for a pilot shortage that has resulted in a loss of service to several U.S. communities, pilots contend the airlines have made their own mess by creating a business model predicated on breadline wages for cockpit crew. The Air Line Pilots Association, for one, argues that there’s no shortage of pilots, only a shortage of pilots willing to fly for substandard wages and inadequate benefits.

Accidents, Safety, Security and Training

“I’m telling you, our plane was like a pharmacy with wings.”

Accidents, Safety, Security and Training

The FAA’s recent rule prohibiting the personal use of electronic devices in the cockpit applies only to Part 121 carriers, although the NTSB would like to see the rule extended to cover Part 135 and Part 91K operators. AIN recently surveyed readers for their insights about the distractions that challenge them–and the answers were surprising. We received 112 responses to our four questions. While the informal survey yielded a relatively small number of responses, the answers pilots gave about their experiences with distractions are illuminating.

Rotorcraft

There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.

Regulations and Government

Top FAA regulators justified the new omnibus helicopter safety rule at February’s Heli-Expo convention. John Duncan, director of FAA flight standards, and Kim Smith, manager of the rotorcraft directorate, said the new rule is necessary in light of a recent surge in helicopter accidents, and they are confident that it will contribute to a significant reduction in the accident rate.

Business Aviation

The economic downturn over the past couple of years has resulted in negative growth for Indian general aviation, which has “hit rock bottom,” according to Rohit Kapur, president of the country’s Business Aircraft Operators Association (BAOA). Nevertheless, the Indian bizav community hopes that a general election next month will result in more decisive political leadership and effect change to a regulatory environment that many agree has stifled growth in their own industry and the wider Indian economy.

X