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Tuesday
May022017

NBAA: Proposed Restricted Areas in Alaska Would Have Negative Operational Impacts

NBAA has filed formal comments in opposition to proposed new restricted areas proposed by the FAA as R-2201A through H, and J, in Fort Greely, AK, near Allen Army Airfield. The agency has proposed the change at the request of the U.S. Army, which is seeking this airspace carve out to “conduct full spectrum helicopter gunnery training, longer range firing on target areas and integrated use of varied weapon types.”

NBAA opposes the creation of this new restricted area, said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure, on operational and safety grounds.

“Eliminating access to more than a half dozen critical low-altitude IFR routes will have significant impact on the connectivity between northern and south-central Alaska. Further compressing of VFR traffic in this already-constrained VFR corridor is a bit like threading a needle – and will result in safety and operational impacts detrimental to navigating Isabel Pass,” she said. “If created, the new SAA [special activity area] would impact safety and operational efficiencies in Alaska.”

“This restricted area would impact the LifeMed flights we conduct out of the Fairbanks area,” said Steven Lewis, Aeroair LLC program manager. “We currently receive re-routes from ATC when the MOAs are active, even though we are medevac. To circumvent these vast areas when filing would prove to be extremely onerous to the patients awaiting care by adding to the preflight planning of a time-sensitive flight.”

The proposed SAA will make flying in Alaska more difficult and less safe, said Kristi Ivey, NBAA’s Northwest regional representative. “In the unique operating environment that Alaska provides, general aviation pilots are already required to manage multiple challenges, such as terrain and weather.

“This proposal would only serve to add an additional level of risk that could potentially affect the safety of the operations. Our members and the general aviation community in Alaska need proposals that would improve safety, not detract from it,” she said.

For more information, visit nbaa.org.

 

Tuesday
May022017

FAA Restricts Drone Operations Over Certain Military Bases

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is using its existing authority under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations – “Special Security Instructions” – to address national security concerns about unauthorized drone operations over 133 military facilities.

This is the first time the agency has instituted airspace restrictions that specifically apply only to unmanned aircraft, popularly known as “drones.” The authority is limited to requests based on national security interests from the Department of Defense and U.S. federal security and intelligence agencies.

U.S. military facilities are vital to the nation’s security. The FAA and the Department of Defense have agreed to restrict drone flights up to 400 feet within the lateral boundaries of these 133 facilities. The restrictions will be effective April 14, 2017.There are only a few exceptions that permit drone flights within these restrictions, and they must be coordinated with the individual facility and/or the FAA.

Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges.

To ensure the public is aware of these restricted locations, the FAA has created an interactive map online. The link to these restrictions is also included in the FAA’s B4UFLY mobile app. The app will be updated within 60 days to reflect these airspace restrictions. Additional information, including frequently asked questions, is available on the FAA’s UAS website at faa.gov.

Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 also directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a process to accept petitions to prohibit or restrict UAS operations over critical infrastructure and other facilities. The Department of Transportation and the FAA are currently evaluating options to implement such a process.

The FAA is also considering additional requests from federal security and intelligence agencies for restrictions. More information can be found at faa.gov.

FAA Will Release Maps to Speed up Drone Authorization ApplicationBottom of Form

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was scheduled to release the first set of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) facility maps on April 27. The maps will depict areas and altitudes near airports where UAS may operate safely. They will help drone operators improve the quality of their Part 107 airspace authorization requests and will help the FAA process these requests more quickly.

Beginning April 27, users may access the facility maps at http://www.faa.gov/uas.  Users will be able to download the data in several formats, view the site on mobile devices and customize their views.

By referring to the facility maps when completing airspace authorization applications, remote pilots will be able to tailor their requests to align with locations and altitudes that the maps indicate are likely to be approved for small UAS operations. This will help simplify the process and increase the likelihood that the FAA will approve their requests.

FAA air traffic personnel will use the maps to process Part 107 airspace authorization requests. Altitudes that exceed what are depicted on the maps require additional safety analysis and coordination to determine if an application can be approved. 

The maps will be informational only. They do not automatically authorize flights. Remote pilots must still submit online airspace authorization applications at https://www.faa.gov/uas/. The maps also do not guarantee approval for requests within the guidelines indicated by the maps. Only the FAA can grant controlled airspace access, which must be done through the authorization process.

The agency is releasing the maps in phases, with the first release on April 27 containing approximately 200 facility maps, as the first step in streamlining the airspace authorization process. The FAA plans to release facility maps over the next 12 months. Updates to the maps database will coincide with the agency’s existing 56-day aeronautical chart production schedule (PDF). If a map is not yet available, it can be expected in future releases.

The FAA’s website will be updated within the several weeks with additional guidance and information about the facility maps. Visit www.faa.gov/uas on April 27, 2017 to view the facility maps.

Additional questions may be directed to the FAA’s UAS Integration Office via uashelp@faa.gov or by calling 844-FLY-MY-UA.

 

 

Tuesday
May022017

2016 A Record Year of Growth and Expansion for Cirrus Aircraft

The Cirrus Red Jet SR 272 contributed to the company’s outstanding sales record in 2016, having reached a multi-year high of 317 units sold. (Photo courtesy Cirrus)Cirrus Aircraft announced in February that new customer aircraft deliveries of its SR line of aircraft, the world’s best-selling high-performance piston airplane, reached a recent multi-year high of 317 units for 2016. Further highlighting the year were initial customer deliveries of the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet, the Cirrus Vision Jet, as three units were delivered to customers in the U.S.

Total new aircraft deliveries in 2016 mark the third consecutive year that Cirrus has delivered more than 300 units and highlights steady growth over the past eight years – an increase of almost 20 percent since 2009. The record performance propelled Cirrus to a global fleet of more than 6,500 SR series aircraft in more than 60 countries.

In addition to the strong delivery performance and product line expansion, Cirrus capped off the record-setting year by launching the all new G6 SR22T, SR22 and SR20 product line, opening the Vision Center – the re-imagined Cirrus Aircraft Customer Experience Center – in Knoxville, TN, expanding Duluth manufacturing operations, providing technologically advanced aircraft to global training fleets, and receiving the Joseph T. Nall Safety Award from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

Cirrus Aircraft CEO, Co-Founder and National Aviation Hall of Fame Member Dale Klapmeier noted the importance of the last twelve months to the enterprise, “We will look back on 2016 for years to come and recognize it as a time that changed the trajectory of the company.  To have achieved any one of our 2016 accomplishments is certainly impactful; but taken altogether, our performance last year truly speaks to the capability of our team and our commitment to customers, owners and operators of Cirrus aircraft around the world.”

The Vision Jet Arrives

Cirrus ushered in a new era in personal transportation in 2016 when the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet – the Vision Jet – was certified by the FAA in October. The spacious, technologically-advanced, pilot and passenger-friendly Personal Jet revealed to the world an all-new category of aircraft and began revolutionizing regional transportation as soon as Vision Jets started entering the hands of customers in December. The first delivery took place at the brand new 68,000 square-foot-Finishing Center in Duluth, MN, in front of more than 1,000 Cirrus employees and their families, customers, partners and national, state and local dignitaries. More than 600 Vision Jet production position holders are eagerly awaiting their turn to join the Vision Jet revolution.

Cirrus G6: The Smartest, Safest, Most Connected High-Performance Piston Ever

True to its core value of relentless innovation, Cirrus yet again changed the customer experience value proposition in the high-performance piston market by introducing the all-new G6 – the smartest, safest and most advanced models ever of the best-selling SR22T, SR22 and SR20 airplanes. The enhanced SR series includes the ultra-high speed Cirrus Perspective+ by Garmin flight deck, luxury automotive-inspired Cirrus Spectra wingtip lighting, premium cockpit connectivity solutions and more. The improved SR20 now comes equipped with a modernized Lycoming IO-390, 215HP powerplant. This four-cylinder G6 SR20 creates an enhanced ownership experience as it increases power while, through a collection of additional enhancements, also increasing useful load by up to 150lbs (68kg). The sixth-generation Cirrus began delivering in January 2017.  

Vision Center Campus Opens in Knoxville

Cirrus Aircraft’s Global Customer Experience Center campus – the Vision Center – opened in mid-2016 at the McGhee Tyson airport in Knoxville, TN and by early 2017 the campus has grown to include the Experience Center, Factory Service Center and Delivery Center.  An all-new Training Center is under construction and is expected to open by the end of 2017.  Beginning in 2017, all SR series aircraft now deliver from the Vision Center and Vision Jet deliveries will move from Duluth to Knoxville at the end of the year. As the flagship location for all customer activities, the Vision Center campus is home to world-class training, sales, delivery, maintenance, support, personalization and more.

Expanding Fleet & Special Mission Markets

Global flight training organizations continued to select the technologically-advanced, industry-leading SR series of aircraft as part of their fleets in 2016 to prepare pilots for careers in aviation. Japan Civil Aviation College and the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation, among others, added Cirrus airplanes to their fleets this past year due to the exceptional safety features, flight management system technology and cost of ownership advantages available on the SR platform.

In July, Cirrus received FAA certification for Cirrus Perception, an adaptable, cost-effective special mission platform tailored specifically for both the Cirrus SR22 and SR22T aircraft models. This multi-mission, adaptive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft expanded Cirrus Aircraft’s global portfolio by offering unique performance capabilities suitable for airborne traffic and law enforcement operations, aerial surveying, mapping and photography, search and rescue missions, disaster management and support, border surveillance and more. The Minnesota State Patrol took delivery of the first Perception in 2016.

Recognized as Leader in Aviation Safety

Cirrus was recognized as a global leader in 2016 for another core value – Safety – when it was honored as the first-ever recipient of the Joseph T. Nall Safety Award from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Institute. “By doubling down on safety, both in making substantially more investments in its Cirrus Approach training and transition courses and in working with its owners group, Cirrus leadership brought its accident rate to less than half the industry average,” said an AOPA Air Safety Institute representative. “Over the past decade Cirrus has rightly earned one of the best safety records in the industry, and we are proud to acknowledge their work with this first Joseph T. Nall Safety Award.”  The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS), standard on every Cirrus produced, has returned 146 people to their families to date.

Global Customer Experience Team Gathers in Knoxville 

Cirrus Aircraft Sales, Service, and Flight Training representatives from around the world gathered in Knoxville recently to continue developing and rolling-out best practices for exceeding customer expectations across the Cirrus ownership experience. Called “Cirrus CX”, more than 400 members of the global Customer Experience Team were present for the inaugural multi-day event. “The strength of the Cirrus Aircraft global brand is in the unique way we take care of our customers,” said Todd Simmons, President, Customer Experience. “We are fortunate to have the best team of professionals in the world aligned with our vision and we are looking forward to raising the bar again in 2017 and beyond.”

Breitling Offers Cirrus Owners an Exclusive Limited-Edition Timepiece

Two legendary brands known around the world for innovation, bold design, a passion for aviation and a unique appreciation for precision in time, teamed up in 2016 to create a chronograph especially for Cirrus aviators. Having just arrived to the passionate fans of Cirrus, the Breitling Aerospace Evo Cirrus Aircraft Limited Edition watch features many design touches that tell the story of Cirrus innovation and leadership in global aviation. With only 220 crafted, the highly-desirable timepiece captures the Cirrus Life with commanding power and style.

Cirrus Renews Sponsorship of Team 99 in Red Bull Air Race World Championship

For the fourth consecutive year, Cirrus Aircraft will have an international presence in the Red Bull Air Race World Championships as a sponsor of Team 99 and U.S. Master Class Pilot Mike Goulian. After a strong late-season performance in the 2016 Championships, including six Top-10 finishes in the 8-race series, Mike has already scored a Top-6 finish in the first event of the 2017 race season in Abu Dhabi. The Red Bull Air Race World Championship has become globally renowned as the fastest and most exhilarating motorsport on the planet. Cirrus will be hosting special events at the San Diego, California and Indianapolis, Indiana races during the 2017 championship.

 

About Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft is a recognized leader in general aviation. Its all-composite line of personal aircraft – the SR20, SR22 and the turbocharged SR22T – incorporate innovative and advanced performance, electronic and safety technologies, including Cirrus Perspective+ by Garmin avionics and the unique Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). To date, total time on the worldwide Cirrus Aircraft SR-series fleet surpassed seven million flight hours with 146 people returned to their families as a direct result of CAPS being a standard safety feature on all Cirrus aircraft. For additional information on Cirrus and its products please visit cirrusaircraft.com.

 

 

Tuesday
May022017

Textron Aviation wins Turbo Skyhawk JT-A order from Purdue Aviation

Textron Aviation wins Turbo Skyhawk JT-A order from Purdue AviationTextron Aviation Inc. announced on April 5, it has received an order from Purdue Aviation, LLC for a Cessna Turbo Skyhawk JT-A. The delivery to Purdue Aviation will be the first in the U.S. following Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the aircraft equipped with the next-generation Garmin G1000 NXi integrated cockpit. The company expects to achieve certification later this year.

“We are thrilled to integrate Jet-A powerplant technology into the world’s leading flight trainer, and excited to offer a solution that brings unparalleled efficiency to customers like Purdue Aviation,” said Doug May, vice president, Piston Aircraft. “The Turbo Skyhawk JT-A is an example of our commitment to modernize the piston product line and bring innovative technologies to market, allowing operators around the world to meet changing environmental regulations, while benefiting from faster climbs, increased range and fuel savings.”

Purdue Aviation is a full service fixed-base operation (FBO) that provides fuel sales, aircraft maintenance, flight training, aircraft rental and aircraft sales.

“As one of the preeminent flight schools in the country, we at Purdue Aviation look forward to utilizing this next generation aircraft with advanced Jet-A engine technology in our flight training fleet,” said Scott Niswonger, Chairman of Purdue Aviation.

About the Cessna Turbo Skyhawk JT-A

The Cessna Turbo Skyhawk JT-A is a factory option that introduces advanced Jet-A powerplant technology to the world’s leading training platform. The Turbo Skyhawk JT-A incorporates a Continental CD-155 engine to deliver greater range and fuel efficiency, while accommodating environmental regulations and the global availability of aviation fuels. Maximum range is 885 nautical miles, a 38 percent increase over the standard Skyhawk, maximum speed is increased to 134 knots, and operators can experience up to 25 percent lower fuel burn per hour. The Turbo Skyhawk JT-A also offers improved takeoff performance, especially in high and hot conditions. 

The Skyhawk is renowned for offering the best combination of modern features, including the leading Garmin G1000 NXi avionics system, and proven dependability. The aircraft’s high-wing design enables superior flying characteristics ideally suited for pilot training. More Skyhawks have been delivered to customers around the world than any other type of aircraft, with more than 44,000 put into service since 1955.

 

 

Tuesday
May022017

Baker Testifies on GA Airports, Safety, Pilot Community 

By Dan Namowitz  (AOPA)

AOPA President Mark Baker speaking before the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. (Photo courtesy of John Harrington and AOPA) The nation’s 2,950 federally funded general aviation airports boost local economies and can serve as a community’s lifeline in a natural disaster or other emergency—but billions of dollars from the federal program that funds most GA airport projects has been reallocated to other projects in the past 10 years, AOPA President Mark Baker testified April 6 before a Senate subcommittee.

Baker appeared before the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation during a hearing on FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Rural Air Service and the General Aviation Community. The session focused on federal efforts to improve access and safety, and initiatives “that could bolster rural air service and the general aviation (GA) community.”

Baker urged reform of the Non-Primary Entitlement Program, which provides most of the funding for GA airports but no longer functions as intended because of low funding levels and the reallocation of some funds for other uses.

He highlighted the role general aviation airports play—despite the funding gaps—in humanitarian efforts and providing assistance in areas prone to natural disasters, often transforming a small rural airport into a community lifeline brought to life by pilots volunteering their time and their personal aircraft for rescue operations and humanitarian missions.

The active pilot community, however, has declined by about 30 percent between 1980 and 2015. To combat that trend, Baker explained that AOPA has introduced the You Can Fly program—a series of initiatives “to build a more vibrant and resilient pilot community.”

Baker fielded several questions from committee members on the ineffectiveness of the Non-Primary Entitlement Program, which he said is constrained by the program’s low level of funding in any year—$150,000 per non-primary airport for capital improvements—and by the struggle faced by many airport sponsors to put up the 10 percent local match.

In 2016, total program funds were roughly $440 million dollars—but $329 million was carried over to the FAA’s discretionary fund, and reallocated to other non-NPE airport projects across the country, a problem that Baker set out in detail in written testimony submitted to the panel.

During the past ten years more than $2 billion dollars in NPE funds has been placed into the FAA discretionary fund and used for other airport projects around the country. Baker emphasized that AOPA stands ready to help develop solutions to the program’s shortcomings.

One of the most important factors in the declining numbers of active pilots is costs. AOPA credits Congress, and specifically the Committee, Baker said, with taking a major step to reduce costs by passing the medical reform legislation known as BasicMed, which was signed into law last July and will permit eligible pilots to fly without a third class medical certificate beginning May 1.

AOPA launched the You Can Fly program, consisting of a series of initiatives to support flying clubs, encourage best practices in flight training, get lapsed pilots back in the air, bring AOPA’s resources and expertise to pilot groups across the country, and invite high school students to learn more about careers in aviation and aerospace, to revitalize GA activity.

In response to senators’ questions, Baker noted that AOPA has not heard complaints from pilots about the current air traffic control system, which has been proposed for privatization in a budget outline released last month. (A similar proposal last year was supported by some major airlines and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, but failed to make it to the House floor.)

He added that he serves on the federal NextGen Advisory Committee, which he said functions well addressing the priorities outlined for the ATC system.

Baker reiterated AOPA’s continued and strong opposition to user fees, noting AOPA’s longstanding support for the current system by which Congress funds the FAA with excise taxes on fuel.

Safety is general aviation’s top priority, he said—as indicated by general aviation experiencing the safest year in history.

AOPA will work with the FAA, National Transportation Safety Board, and other stakeholders to promote safety and develop an even safer aviation system, Baker said.

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