The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is offering FAA-approved employee-background verification for FBOs and other airport service businesses. NATA president James Coyne said, “The first line of defense against improper tampering with aircraft is knowing who has access to the airplane, on the ramp, in the hangar or in the shop.
All airport workers with access to airplanes and secure areas have been ordered to submit to new criminal background checks. Employers will also be asked to assist authorities in new criminal background checks of “flight-safety sensitive” personnel. The FAA is requiring the revalidation of all airport IDs to make sure they are current, genuine and correspond to the person carrying them.
In a major marketing change spurred by the fallout from September 11, Salt Lake City, Utah-based Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA) recently announced it would slow the already lagging FAA certification program on its four-place Hawk 4 gyrocopter, and concentrate on selling the aircraft to government agencies as a noncertified public-use aircraft.
In an experiment reminiscent of Jimmy Doolittle’s trailblazing instrument blind flight in 1929, researchers at Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) have conducted a full takeoff and landing flight of their testbed fly-by-wire Bell 205 helicopter controlled by a pilot completely “under the hood” and receiving all his visual cues via a helmet-mounted enhanced synthetic vision system (ESVS).
Although the shadow of the September 11 atrocity in the U.S. was evident at Helitech, the major American companies participated fully, and some praised both the exhibition and its new venue. Previously held at Redhill Aerodrome, conveniently close to London Gatwick Airport but all too often waterlogged, Helitech moved this year to Duxford Airfield’s hard runway and concrete apron–a switch that was widely welcomed.
While many cities, counties and other agencies from coast to coast pursue policies of scaling back operations at airports they control–or in some cases even eliminating them entirely–Clark County, Nev., is flying a reciprocal course. Comprising the state’s southern tip, Clark includes the state’s two largest cities, Las Vegas and Henderson. The area’s economy is perhaps the most tourism- and convention-dependent in the nation.
Well known Brussels-based FBO and air taxi company Abelag Aviation is celebrating its 40th anniversary, making it one of the oldest business aviation companies in Europe. “We are also the oldest Belgian air transport operator still in the hands of private Belgian investors,” said Hervé Laitat, the company’s deputy general director.
At the end of this month, Brian Humphries will take over as chief executive of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), succeeding Fernand Francois, who is retiring after 12 years in the post. Humphries, who has been EBAA chairman since 1996, will retire from his day job as managing director of Shell Aircraft, the international flight department of the Royal Dutch Shell energy group.
A 35-acre site for a new FBO at London’s Southend Airport is to be offered to private developers. Regional Airports Ltd, which also owns the UK capital’s Biggin Hill Airport and operates an FBO at the Royal Air Force’s Northolt base, is positioning Southend to serve business aircraft operators wanting to get close to the government-backed Thames Gateway plan to expand London eastwards.
Bombardier’s Learjet 40 and 45XR were set to receive UK Civil Aviation Authority approval to operate into London City Airport (LCY) before the end of last month. Europe sales director Trevor Lambath told the EBAA Forum that a Learjet 45 completed validation flights at the downtown gateway during the second week of last month.