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BlueSky Business Aviation News | 29th September 2016 | Issue #385

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United States

NBAA welcomes FAA's prompt investigation into SMO evictions

The National Business Aviation Association has welcomed prompt action by the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate an attempt by the city of Santa Monica, CA to evict two of Santa Monica Municipal Airport’s longstanding service providers, Atlantic Aviation and American Flyers.

The FAA’s action follows years of debate over the airport's future, and with several ongoing legal disputes over the city's federally mandated requirements to operate the airport.

On Aug. 23, the Santa Monica City Council passed a resolution to shut down SMO "as soon as legally permitted, with the goal of on or before July 1, 2018." The resolution also directed city staff to replace existing fuel vendors at the airport with a "proprietary" city-operated entity, and to cease the sale of leaded aviation gasoline.

On Sept. 15, Santa Monica served 30-day notices of eviction to Atlantic Aviation, the field's largest fixed-base operator (FBO) and its sole provider of Jet-A fuel, as well as American Flyers, a flight school and fuel provider that has operated at SMO for decades. Both FBOs immediately filed emergency requests for the FAA to halt the eviction process.

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SmartSky’s patented spectrum reuse radio technology receives FCC certification

SmartSky 4G network on track to provide nationwide in-flight connectivity service in 2017.

SmartSky Networks’ patented SmartSky 4G radio system has completed the major milestone of receiving FCC certification, clearing the way for deployment of the ultra-fast SmartSky 4G air-to-ground network later this year, with nationwide service launching in mid-2017.

Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO, stated:

“After investing tens of millions of dollars and over five years of research and development effort, SmartSky’s now certified technology has unlocked enough spectrum to be able to offer, for the first time, the reliable use of a sophisticated, custom-designed 4G system that can deliver an office-like internet experience in the air for both business aviation and commercial aviation customers.”

FCC certification is the culmination of work to develop and patent protect the multiple bodies of technology that uniquely enable SmartSky to make use of the unlicensed 2.4 GHz spectrum band, all without causing harmful interference to or receiving interference from the operation of the same band on the ground.

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We Bow to The King: Remembering Arnold Palmer

Ashley Bowen Cook, vice president at Greteman Group - a marketing communications agency based in Wichita, the Air Capital - pays a unique personal tribute to Arnold Palmer.

he world mourns a great man this week with the passing of The King.

Lovers of golf rightly revere Arnold Palmer for what he did for the game. Making it not just a pastime for the elite but a sport where talent reigned.

When he played, millions watched. It didn’t matter that he was the son of a greenskeeper. Only that his brawny, full-out power blasted balls far down the fairway. That guts smacked them out of the rough. And that Palmer won. Again and again and again. Sixty-two PGA Tour tournaments plus another 33 titles over a 52-year career.

Arnold Palmer

This superstar’s superstar made his mark in business aviation, too. In fact, he often said if he hadn’t been a golfer, he’d have been a pilot. He loved the left seat.

In 55 years he amassed more than 18,000 hours in it. Private aviation transformed his life. He called its winged magic “something out of science fiction.” Letting him travel not just to tournaments, but to building his kingdom. He and partner Ed Seay designed more than 200 courses around the world.

But rather than my telling you about this much-loved icon, I thought you might like to read the foreword he penned in 1998 for my father Paul Bowen’s first book, Air to Air.

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Global Jet Capital joins German Business Aviation Association

Florida-based Global Jet Capital, a provider of financing solutions for new and pre-owned mid to heavy private jets, has become a member of the German Business Aviation Association (GBAA).

Founded in 1985, the GBAA is a member of the European Business Aviation Association and works to promote the economic, political and legal aspects of the business aviation in Germany.

Global Jet Capital has identified Germany as an important market for its European operations. Company analysis reveals the country has a fleet of 781 business aircraft, which is the biggest in Europe. 

Germany has a large fleet of large-cabin, long-range business aircraft, with 207 jets in the midsize, heavy and jet airliner category, accounting for 27% of the total fleet. One in eight midsize to heavy business aircraft in Europe are based in Germany.

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Bombardier WAVE Ka-Band High-Speed Internet now available for retrofit at all of its Service Centres

Bombardier has announced that all existing Global aircraft customers can take advantage of ultra-high-speed Internet access, consistent performance and seamless coverage across the globe.

Awarded a supplemental type certificate, Bombardier WAVE (Wireless Access Virtually Everywhere), the fastest worldwide onboard connectivity solution, can now be installed on all Bombardier Global 5000 and Global 6000 aircraft, as well as previous Global aircraft models as a retrofit.

"Existing Global aircraft customers can install the system at any of our Bombardier Service Centres, and take advantage of an ultra-high-speed in-flight connectivity and productivity solution to make the most efficient use of their time onboard," said Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Vice President and General Manager, Customer Experience, Bombardier Business Aircraft.

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Western Aircraft named Textron authorized service facility

Boise, Idaho-headquartered Western Aircraft, Inc., a Greenwich AeroGroup company, has announced today that Textron Aviation has designated it as an authorized service facility for several models across the Beechcraft and Cessna platforms.

The Channel Partner Agreement signed between the two companies authorizes Western Aircraft to perform maintenance, service and support for King Air 90 Series, King Air 200/250 Series, King Air 300/350 Series and Bonanza/Baron Series aircraft. 

The Channel Partner Agreement also names Western Aircraft as a Cessna Aircraft Propeller Service Station for single engine propeller equipped aircraft and Cessna Caravan 208 models.

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U.S. Aviation Fuel Prices


AirMed International


Steven McNeely

AirMed International has named Dr. Steven C. McNeely as Safety and Security Executive Officer.

McNeely is responsible for AirMed personnel and fight safety processes, policies, procedures, Safety Management System and Emergency Response Plan in addition to aircraft and facility security.

McNeely earned a PhD in Aviation Business Management from Northcentral University, an MBA and undergraduate degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he is an adjunct associate professor. He has more than 40 years of aviation and safety experience, most recently for Era Helicopters and Jet Solutions, L.L.C. His military career covers 22 years in the United States Air Force and four years in the United States Navy. 

He is an FAA certified Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and a published author on Aviation Internal Evaluation Programs.

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United Kingdom

Wijet acquires Blink to create the world’s largest air taxi service

Wijet is acquiring Blink to create the world’s largest air taxi company, with an enterprise value of €45m.

The transaction will see the respective fleets, totaling fifteen Cessna Mustang VLJs, brought together into the same company and based all across Europe.

The company will have joint CEOs, Corentin Denoeud and Cameron Ogden, and combined revenues in 2016 of €18m and are predicted to be €28m in 2017 with 11,000 flights and 16,000 passengers. read more

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Aerie Aviacao Executiva named as Pacific Aerospace's Brazilian sales agency

New Zealand-based aircraft manufacturing company, Pacific Aerospace Ltd, has signed an agreement with Aerie Aviacao Executiva (Aerie) to become its sales agent in Brazil.

Pacific Aerospace design and manufacture the P-750, a utility aircraft used for passenger, freight, skydiving, and agricultural purposes across the globe. The P-750 is the world’s first Extremely Short Take Off and Landing (XSTOL) aircraft, making it the perfect aircraft to operate in Brazil’s rugged terrains. read more

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United States

FAA dedicates new Tucson control tower

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has joined federal and local officials in dedicating the new, environmentally friendly air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport.

The new tower is 252 feet tall - about double the height of the old tower, which served the airport for 58 years.

It provides air traffic controllers with better airfield views and makes it easier for them to determine the positions of aircraft on the ground and in the skies around the airport. 

The project came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

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Gulf Aviation Academy signs MoU with SpeedJet Aviation

GAA and SpeedJet Aviation offer courses for pilots, cabin-crew, engineers and ground staff.

Heralding India’s growing dominance in the aviation market, Gulf Aviation Academy (GAA), part of Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, the investment arm for the Kingdom of Bahrain, has entered the Indian market through an agreement with domestic aviation training institute, SpeedJet Aviation.

The new partnership between GAA and SpeedJet Aviation offers Indian students a competitive advantage in the aviation industry that is at par with international norms. read more

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RUAG achieves approvals for Challenger 604 and 605 in Geneva

RUAG Aviation has announced the extension of EASA Part 145 Maintenance Organisation and FAA approvals to include line maintenance for Bombardier Challenger CL604 and CL605 at its facilities in Geneva.

At the same time, the company also confirms the supplement to the approvals for Malaysian registered aircraft.

“Both of these achievements are significant for our customers. These approvals allow us to prove our reliable maintenance support and expertise on their behalf, providing them with individualised services according to their needs and schedules,” says David Ricklin, General Manager at Geneva.

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United States

TRAQPak integrates with FlightBridge for streamlined FBO reservation capabilities

ARGUS International announced the recent integration of its business aviation flight tracking software - TRAQPak FBO - with FlightBridge’s online reservation and communication tool.

“We are very excited to offer this integration with our TRAQPak FBO program,” said Shirley Mason, Senior Vice President of ARGUS Market Intelligence. “This will be a huge benefit to FBOs who already use FlightBridge and TRAQPak FBO, and will be a great tool for any FBO that wants to improve efficiency and customer service by managing flight tracking and reservations all in one system.” read more

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United Kingdom

Daher delivers first UK-based TBM 930

Daher has announced the delivery of a new TBM 930 to the first U.K.-based customer of this latest TBM very fast turboprop aircraft version, which also marks the initial TBM 930 sale by Flying Smart - the newly-appointed TBM Authorized Distributor for the U.K. and Ireland.

The TBM 930’s customer is Attila Balogh, an established American businessman in the United Kingdom, and who is the CEO of Partner in Pet Food (PPF), a leading company in the European pet food market. read more

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European Aviation has delivered a second A340 aircraft to a customer, the second in less than a year.

The unusual aircraft has been converted by European at its facility in Bournemouth, UK, and consists of 100 electric lie-flat seats in a 6 abreast configuration and two 4-seat divans. The Aircraft has also been fitted with a Wi-Fi entertainment system which allows all occupants to access films and music via their own hand held devices or by units handed out by the crew.

The aircraft enters commercial service later this month and will be available for charter. European has now delivered two A340 aircraft within the last year and the latest completion was done in 4 months. (www.euroav.com)

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CEPA EXPO 2016: JAA workshops and presentations look to the Future of Business Aviation

The organisers of CEPA EXPO have created a program of forward looking and visionary presentations for their 2016 event.

Featuring a series of educational workshops organised by the JAA Training Organisation, CEPA EXPO 2016 promises to deliver a highly educational series of workshop presentations enabling delegates to be fully informed on the latest regulations and the implications for the future. read more

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United Kingdom

Plans move ahead for London Aerospace & Technology College at Biggin Hill

A new world class training facility to be established at London Biggin Hill Airport was announced last week during an international lecture marking the 150th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

London Biggin Hill Airport, in conjunction with partners London South East Colleges have agreed in principle the terms for a shared ambition to establish a leading aviation college at the airport over the next decade. The announcement was made in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, attending as Patron of the British Business & General Aviation Association, the UK’s national trade organisation.

To be known as the ‘London Aerospace & Technology College’ (LATC) the initiative brings together London South East Colleges working in partnership with the London Borough of Bromley and Biggin Hill Airport to create the new state-of-the-art academic facility.

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Zenith continues expansion at London Biggin Hill with hangar acquisition

Following on from its recent announcement regarding additions to its aircraft fleet, Zenith Aviation has also completed the acquisition of the former heritage hangar at London Biggin Hill.

Plans for the new site are currently still under consideration but options include the demolition of the current building, replacing it with a larger purpose built facility.

“Our engineering activity has increased dramatically over the last 12 months and the additional space created by the new facility will enable us to further develop this area of our business in the coming year," said Stuart Mulholland, Managing Director of Zenith Aviation.

"In 2016 we’ve had incredible success increasing our fleet of managed aircraft along with our Part 145 capability and this new acquisition will take us from strength to strength.” 

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Continued strong double-digit growth in NAC in 2015/16

Nordic Aviation Capital A/S (NAC) continued to record strong double-digit growth in revenue and earnings in the fiscal year 2015/16 and strengthened its position as the world’s premier lessor of regional aircraft.

Fiscal year 2015/16, ending June 30, 2016 showed a continued expansion of NAC’s business platform through addition of new aircraft, new customers, new colleagues and increased business with existing customers. 

As a result, NAC improved its financial performance for the 20th consecutive year.

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Paula Kraft, founder and President of Atlanta, GA-based Tastefully Yours Catering.

It takes teamwork to build a great catering experience

his may strike you as strange when I say teamwork since, when
serving catering on board, the team you visualize is a team of ONE.

How often have you opened up a catering request and find it different from what you expected? In other words the catering didn’t meet your expectations, and you immediately want to assign blame. It might well be your catering source’s fault for not following your directions - but could it be yours or even the handler/FBO's?

I see a lot of new faces in the industry as the old guard begins to retire, and with the new faces comes a time for education and training. We are all part of a team . . . a big team, with lots of moving parts. It takes the work of many to successfully organize, plan, order, prepare, package, deliver, receive and serve even the simplest of catering requests.

Let me explain using an extremely simple request; a box meal. That seems really basic, easy, how could anyone screw that up, you're wondering. Oh, believe me, when I look into my crystal ball I have so many options, so many choices, and if I don’t see the details then I get to choose what to send! That's right . . . if you don’t tell me what you want, then I get to choose. Scary isn’t it? Let me explain how this team needs to work together to make every catering order successful.

I have taught numerous classes over the years on how to order catering and you'd think the class could be done in a few minutes, right? Not a chance!

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Air Charter Service Russia sees signs of a return to growth in charter market

Following a steady decline in Russian charter flight volumes over the past two years, leading aircraft charter provider, Air Charter Service, reports that it is starting to see the shoots of recovery in private jet bookings from its Moscow operation in the last few months.

Azat Mulgimov

Azat Mulgimov, Managing Director of ACS Russia comments: “Over the 18 months to February of this year, we only saw three months where charter numbers rose compared to the same month the year before. Since then, however, we have had four months of year on year growth in 2016.

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IBA identifies strong commitment from Chinese investors but advises caution

As the aviation industry descends on Tianjin for this week’s China Air Finance Development Summit, IBA (International Bureau of Aviation) a leading aviation advisory firm, asserts that despite increasing volatility in the global aviation market, Chinese investors remain committed to additional investments.

But, IBA cautions, monitoring should be increased in order to avoid financial shock when assets are returned.

IBA, which supports a variety of Chinese entities on their investments across leasing, acquisition and integration strategies, says that despite signs that global lease rates are softening and airlines in numerous developing destinations are experiencing tightening margins, their findings indicate that Chinese investors’ commitment remains firm. read more

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Jet Aviation has acquired the necessary tools and training at its Maintenance Center in Basel to perform the Pratt & Whitney Service Bulletin calling for replacement of the left and right bevel gear oil shield on PW307A engines.

Baffles are critical to the proper functioning of an engine. The baffle replacement is classified as a heavy maintenance input.

“We are delighted to offer this heavy maintenance service to our customers in Basel,” said Hans-Peter Amacher, manager of the Engine Shop at Jet Aviation’s Maintenance Center in Basel.

“Demand for this service is strong and we invested in the required tooling and training under this Service Bulletin to ensure we can continue to support our customers as needed. Our acquired expertise extends to Pratt & Whitney’s new improved NO 4 bearing carbon seal and seal runner (SB 72-47217), which can also be incorporated with the baffle replacement.”


A Day in the Life of . . . Danni Stoney, First Officer, Luxaviation UK (LEA) read

Eastwood Got It Right With Sully. Robert Mark gives a resounding thumbs-up to 'Sully' - the untold story behind the miracle on the Hudson. read

Paula Kraft, founder and President of Atlanta, GA-based Tastefully Yours Catering reports on last week's European Cabin Service Conference. read

IBA identifies strong commitment from Chinese investors but advises caution read

More stories in our

Industry Supplements

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Volga-Dnepr completes air-sea delivery of patrol boats to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Volga-Dnepr Airlines has delivered four Mangust patrol boats to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the Far East of Russia and provided its customer with additional logistics services, including the launch of boats at the port of Korsakov.

The boats, built at the Vympel Shipyard in Rybinsk for the Border Guard Service, were carried onboard two An-124-100 ‘Ruslan’ flights from Tunoshna airport near Yaroslavl and were loaded onto the aircraft using a ramp, rail system and a crane. Each one measured 19 metres in length and weighed 32 tonnes.

“These An-124 flights were operated for our customer, Vympel Shipyard, with the addition of a broad range of logistics services provided by Volga-Dnepr. These included arranging crane-lift at the departure and arrival airports, the ground transportation of the boats to the port of Korsakov as well as their launch in Korsakov, another first in the history of Volga-Dnepr,” said Alexander Kartashov, Key Account Executive at Volga-Dnepr Airlines.

One of the Mangust patrol boats about to be loaded onboard Volga-Dnepr's An-124

He added: “It was necessary to consider various different factors in completing this operation, including the typhoon conditions in Sakhalin and the challenging sea conditions. We did this successfully and, as a result, the boats were delivered, launched and provided on-time to the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.”

Volga-Dnepr has gained considerable experience of moving seagoing vessels over the past 26 years. Over this period, it has transported yachts, submarines, submersibles, rescue vessels and patrol boats, including previous flights carrying Russian Mangust boats. The airline has safely delivered these unique types of cargo all over the world.

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