William Gilbert, former board member and chairman of NBAA, died. Gilbert served on the NBAA board from 1970 to 1980 and as chairman from 1975 to 1977. He was a former chief pilot for Weyerhaeuser’s flight department, which he helped build from a small Twin Beech operation into one that operated various aircraft with several bases around the country.
Aviation International News » March 2007
With 34 FBOs in the U.S. and Canada, Landmark Aviation has grown to be one of the larger FBO chains. The company was formed through the merger of Piedmont Hawthorne, Garrett Aviation and Associated Air Center, all of which trace their roots to the 1930s and 1940s. These aviation service companies started coming together in 2001, when Piedmont Hawthorne bought Associated.
Kansas City Aviation Center celebrated the grand opening of its newest FBO, Midwest Aviation Center at Missouri’s Spirit of St. Louis Airport, on February 13. The St. Louis FBO includes a 30,000-sq-ft hangar tall enough for Gulfstream Vs and 12,000 sq ft of office space. Ten acres are also available for future FBO expansion.
Boise, Idaho-based Western Aircraft is offering FBO customers a new concierge-style service called Gold Standard. Arriving aircraft will be assisted by a Western Aircraft ramp coordinator, who will take care of all passenger, crew and aircraft needs. According to the company, services–including arranging for ground transportation and sprucing up the cabin–are provided free to customers.
Avfuel dealer FirstFlight is building a new chain, starting with two FBOs at Pennsylvania’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and Garden City, Kan. FirstFlight also manages the Tech Aviation FBO at Niagara Falls International Airport in New York. In addition to FBO services, FirstFlight offers charter/management, aircraft sales and acquisition consulting and jet maintenance.
Mercury Air Group signed a letter of intent to take on the management contract for a new FBO at Kuwait International Airport. Jet Aviation had announced plans to open an FBO in Kuwait in 2004 but revealed to AIN late last year that it had discontinued those plans. The Mercury project is in cooperation with Kuwait’s United Projects, the company behind the previously planned Jet Aviation FBO.
New chain Encore FBO now has four bases, having purchased Business Aviation Services of Sioux Falls, S.D., late last year. Encore’s other U.S. location is Addison, Texas, where it has a management agreement to operate facilities and provide fuel. In Europe, Encore FBO bought two FBOs, Euralair at Paris Le Bourget and FBO Dublin in Ireland. An Encore spokeswoman told AIN, “We’re working on getting the fueling rights” in Dublin.
Avitat Westchester opened its newly renovated Westchester County Airport FBO in January. Featuring a two-story 21,000-sq-ft terminal fronted by a glass canopy, Avitat Westchester’s lobby welcomes visitors with five column-shaped tropical fish aquariums and the new Café du Grand Fromage (the big cheese café). Piano music wafts throughout the lobby’s glass-canopied atrium on a Sony Disklavier automated baby grand.
Tom Appleton retired as president and CEO of Piaggio America, effective January 28. He was replaced by Eric Hinson, a former U.S. Navy pilot and test director who has served in various senior executive roles. Appleton will remain non-executive chairman of Piaggio America and will continue to support parent company Piaggio Aero.
Eurocopter AS 350BA, Kapaau, Hawaii, July 12, 2005–The NTSB blamed the crash of the AS 350 on the in-flight separation of the tail-rotor system as a result of a loss of clamp force and fatigue fracturing of the attachment nut plates, likely due to a tail-rotor blade strike during a landing. This resulted in an imbalance and a high-frequency vibration that induced fatigue in the nut plates and caused one bolt to back out.