Small Airport FBO Free Newsletter…
for Private Aircraft Pilots & Owners from Business Aircraft Jet Center, Danbury Municipal Airport, CT
Business Aircraft Jet Center’s free newsletter features news for the private aircraft community. Located at Danbury Municipal Airport in Connecticut, Business Aircraft Jet Center presents the latest on our fly-ins, events, specials, discounts, and issues that are important to the private aircraft community, the newsletter covers news and items of interest about our airport FBO.
Safety Review: Winter Icing Pre-Flight Checklist
With temperatures dropping, now is a good time to review one of the most complex and potentially dangerous problems pilots encounter: winter icing. Even if you don’t fly in cold weather often, it is essential for flight operators to understand the proper techniques for preventing and mitigating the risk of ground and airborne icing via anti-icing and de-icing techniques.
Here are some things to keep in mind with cold weather flying, but this is not a complete checklist. Please refer to the Original Equipment Manufacturer Aircraft (OEM) de-icing recommendations and your FBO/aircraft mechanic for the necessary pre-flight preparation for your aircraft.
Even Small Particles Can Be Dangerous
When temperatures drop below two degrees Celsius, ice, frost or frozen slush can form on an aircraft’s wings both on the ground and in the air. Even seemingly small particles of frost, snow, ice and slush can be dangerous and lead to power loss events such as stall, surge or flameout at altitude.
Frozen contaminants about the size of medium to coarse sandpaper can reduce maximum wing lift by 30 percent, or increase lift-induced drag by 40 percent. The results of not taking frozen contaminates seriously can be devastating.
Back in 2002, a Bombardier Challenger 604 crashed during takeoff at Birmingham International Airport. The cause of the crash was light frost buildup on the aircraft’s wings, which had been noted by the flight crew during preflight checks, but deemed to be within safe range. The crash due to ice resulted in the deaths of five people, including both pilots. Clearly, had the flight operators been more cautious about the icing, the crash would have been avoided. Don't be cavalier when it comes to cold weather flying and icing.
The key to minimizing icing risks before or during flight is proper planning and preparation. If possible, hangar your aircraft indoors during the winter to protect it from frost and frozen precipitation. Before flying, know the weather at your FBO, enroute and destination airports. If the weather looks adverse and freezing could take place, report to the airport earlier than usual and speak to the FBO regarding their de-icing and anti-icing capabilities, as well as your requirements. Also have a copy of and review the Original Equipment Manufacturer Aircraft (OEM) deicing recommendations. If airborne icing is likely, have alternate plans in mind, such as altitudes and re-routes and alternate airports/routes to work around weather.
If Case of Ground Icing
In addition to normal preflight checks, check aircraft for ice or snow, including propeller blade, flight controls and engine inlets. Even though cold weather does not particularly effect the engine itself, it may cause ice in the fuel lines, control valves, and fuel sumps, and certain parts may need preheating. If ice or snow is found, remove as much as possible by hand and thaw it with heated air or de-icing fluid before attempting start. Never scrape or chip ice off the aircraft.
A Note about Frost
Don't underestimate the hazards associated with frost formations, particularly at low airspeeds, takeoffs and landings. If left on an aircraft, frost can increase drag, prevent windshield visibility and even cause fatal engine failure. Make sure frost is thawed from the body, engine and controls, and windshield anti-ice is used to avoid loss of windshield visibility.
Taxiing in Cold Weather
An aircraft should not be taxied until all engine temperatures and systems pressures are within normal range. Taxi at a low speed with wide-radius turns. If the tires are frozen to the runway surface, a slight motion should break them free. If taxiing in soft snow, engage higher than normal power.
If Airborne Icing Takes Place
If airborne icing does take place, do not overreact. Realize the aircraft is flyable, but in a reduced speed range. As icing can increase drag and reduce lift, you may need to increase thrust in order to maintain airspeed.
If you have questions about cold weather preparation, contact Business Aircraft Center at (203) 748-7000 or visit our Private Aircraft Services page.
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New York Tri-State Area Holiday Event Calendar
Flying in to the New York tri-state area this month? In addition to Business Aircraft Center’s exceptional service, first-class amenities and the lowest jet fuel prices in the tri-state area, New York is a magical place to visit around the holidays. People from all over the world come here to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and other NYC holiday traditions.
Here’s a list of holiday events going on in and around New York City. Don't forget to take advantage of BAC’s new Pilot’s Lounge, concierge and catering services, and professional car service by Hoyt Livery.
Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting
Where: Rockefeller Plaza, between West 48th & West 51st Streets and 5th and 6th Avenues, Manhattan.
When: Wednesday, November 30, 7pm – 9pm
You’ve always thought about it. Make this year the year you take your family or a loved one to see the lighting of The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. The tree is traditionally a Norway Spruce and is illuminated by 30,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights on five miles of wire, and crowned by a Swarovski crystal star.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes
Where: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan
When: November 11, 2011 – January 2, 2012
Another iconic New York City Christmastime tradition, the Rockettes have been kicking their way into the hearts of people young and old for more than 75 years. Don’t miss this signature show, full of high kicks, precision choreography and exciting, show-stopping numbers — and, of course, an appearance by Santa!
Music on the Mount Christmas Concert
Where: 74 Joe's Hill Road, Danbury, CT
When: December 18, 3 pm
Enjoy Slavic Orthodox Christmas Hymns and Folk Carols arranged for string ensemble as well as works by Shostakovich and Beethoven by the chamber group Prometheus, followed by a wine and cheese reception with the artists. Tickets, $45. Contact: www.holytrinitydanbury.org or call (203) 797-8326.
The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center
Where: West 62nd and 65th Streets and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, Manhattan
When: November 25 – December 31
George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ is the holiday ballet of all ballets. From the moment the lights go down, you will be transported to a magical place inhabited by marching toy soldiers, a glowing one-ton Christmas tree, adorable children, mischievous mice, crystalline waltzing snowflakes, the Land of Sweets and some of the most glorious dancing on earth.
Where: 1920 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield, CT
When: December 9 – December 12
A four course meal is served between the acts of an original heartwarming holiday musical, guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit! Contact: email@example.com or call (203) 261-4868.
The Nutcracker at the Ridgefield Playhouse
Where: 80 East Ridge Avenue, Ridgefield, CT
When: December 17 – 18
The magical Nutcracker returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse with fresh new elements and an all-star cast that includes internationally-acclaimed opera star William Joyner. Contact: ridgefieldplayhouse.org or call (203) 438-5795.
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Are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles a Threat to Small Aircraft Pilots?
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been a controversial aviation topic for decades. The U.S. military began experimenting with UAVs as early as World War I. In 1916, A.M. Low’s "Aerial Target" was the first attempt at an unmanned aerial vehicle, and by the late 1950s, UAVs could be sent on a mission and recovered.
By definition, a UAV is an aerial machine that does not carry a human operator, and is controlled remotely by a pilot/navigator or can fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans. UAVs use aerodynamic forces to provide power and lift, are expendable or can be recovered, and can carry a lethal or non-lethal payload. Drones are not considered UAVs because they are strictly remote-piloted aircraft. Cruise missiles are also not UAVs because they are designed to be expendable and not recovered.
Military R&D Advances UAVs
Historically, UAVs have been developed and used by the military as a way to survey or spy on large areas without putting human flight crews at risk. As technology advanced, military confidence in using armed drones grew, but unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs) have been known to not reach their targets and incur collateral damage. Military research and development of UAVs continues to thrive, heightened by the war on terrorism. In fact, since 2006 more than 1,900 combat terrorists have been killed by UAVs.
This year at Edwards Airforce Base, a new generation of unmanned spy planes are being tested over the Mohave Desert. These UAVs can fly higher, faster and carry more weapons than UAVs before them. One new UAV known as the Global Observer has a wingspan of a Boeing 747, can fly for days at 65,000 feet, out of range of most anti-aircraft missiles, and can survey 280,000 square miles — an area the size of Afghanistan — on a single mission.
Civilian Use of UAVs and FAA Approval
UAVs have been used for civilian domestic purposes for many years, including aerial surveillance of pipelines, search and rescue missions, agricultural crop dusting, animal tracking, monitoring of forest fires and hunting hurricanes. As UAVs become more advanced and affordable, they will no doubt be used for more civilian jobs, especially if the Federal Aviation Administration makes it easier to get approval.
Currently, the FAA approves domestic civilian and government use of UAVs on a case-by-case basis. This is a slow process made slower by the increasing numbers of UAV applicants. But the approval process may change soon. As soon as December, the FAA may release a ruling allowing certain small UAVs to share national airspace with manned aircraft. The proposed ruling could come out as soon as December, and will be followed by a review period before a final rule is administered.
UAVs a Hot-Button Issue
The topic of civilian use of UAVs is a hot-button aviation issue for several reasons. First, there is concern about the intrinsic safety of UAVs. Are communication and control links truly reliable? Can a UAV "think" its way out of an unexpected collision and avoid crashing into a populated area? The Government Accountability Office doesn't think so. In a 2008 report, the GAO stated that, "no technology has been identified as a suitable substitute for a person on board the aircraft in seeing and avoiding other aircraft."
Secondly, there is growing concern that UAVs may start to take jobs away from small aircraft pilots. A conference in Montreal sponsored by Unmanned Systems Canada addressed this question. While industry representatives think that unmanned freight and passenger operations will happen in the next 30 or 40 years, UAVs still have a long way to go before they start to affect human pilots.
Thirdly, what if UAVs fall into the wrong hands? The recent arrest of Rezwan Ferdaus reminds us what could happen if terrorists turn technology against us. Ferdaus, a 26-year from Ashland, Mass., was planning to use three small unmanned drones packed with plastic explosives to crash into the U.S. Capital and Pentagon buildings. While Ferdaus was caught, how many terrorists are out there planning similar attacks? The recent arrest of Ferdaus may cause the FAA to rethink relaxing approvals for UAVs. And domestic terrorism fears aside, the FAA is unlikely to let UAVs share significant national airspace with piloted planes carrying passengers until they are proven to be failsafe.
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Top Aviation Apps for Pilots
With the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs, who was instrumental in creating the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices, we take a look at some of the top applications designed specifically for non-commercial pilots. Many pilots are great fans of the iPad and use apps for navigation, checking weather, airspeed and other flight tools.
Keep in mind that the iPad is not FAA certified, quality and reliability varies, and apps should be used in conjunction with, not instead of, a GPS. That said, here are some highly rated apps you may want to consider adding to your electronic flight book (EFB).
- AeroWeather. This free app gives you current and accurate weather conditions (METAR), weather forecasts (TAF) for flight preparations, plus worldwide airport weather stations from a built-in database by either name or ICAO code. Data is shown in its original format or fully decoded into easy understandable texts.
- FltPlan.com. When you access FltPlan on your iPhone using Safari, you can view Airport/FBO information on your PDA without being connected to the Internet. Create and file IFR flight plans, get weather briefings which meet 14 CFR 91.103 requirements, file IFR flight plans quickly, get access to radar summary and weather depiction charts, NEXRAD for an airport or a route, winds aloft, PIREPs and more.
- ForeFlight Mobile HD. Recently named the "Best App" in Aviation Consumer Magazine's Gear of the Year wrap-up, ForeFlight Mobile HD is lauded as a general, easy-to-use flight planner, chart manager and weather checker. Version 4 offers an all new navlog, plates organizer, integrated FAA "green book" A/FD, personal waypoints, airspaces and more.
- Jeppesen Mobile TC. With the Jeppesen Mobile TC aviation iPad app and electronic charting subscription, you can access your instrument charts and airport diagrams directly on your iPad. View approach plate charts, terminal procedures and airport diagrams. The FAA recently cited Jeppesen Mobile TC as an example of a process established to authorize iPad as an EFB with an operator.
- Garmin Pilot My-Cast. Designed specifically for general aviation, corporate and commercial pilots, Pilot My-Cast is a subscription service that lets pilots view comprehensive weather information for a route or airport. With Pilot My-Cast, see how the weather will impact your flight by overlaying numerous real-time data, including radar, visible and infrared clouds, AIRMETs, SIGMETs and lightning on a map with your flight displayed. Pilot My-Cast also features the AOPA Airport Directory along with the ability to file a flight plan and much more.
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Tech Tips: How to Prepare Your Plane for Winter
The mornings are getting cooler — a reminder that it’s time once again for northern pilots to start preparing their planes for winter. Whether you’re planning cross-country flying or not much flying at all, winter flying is all about assessing and managing risk. Here are some important tips and strategies to prep your plane. These do not supercede having your aircraft professionally serviced and maintained. For questions and information, contact BAC’s service department at (203) 748-7000 or visit BAC’s service page.
- Know the weather. Obviously, weather is the crucial variable in winter flying. It’s important to understand meteorology and keep track of upcoming weather patterns that could affect your flying. Start checking weather patterns three days prior to flight, but keep in mind patterns can change rapidly.
There are several useful weather tracking websites out there that offer forecasts, Doppler radar data, satellite imagery and useful aviation tools. Some of the best are the Aviation Digital Data Service at http://aviationweather.gov/adds/ and the FAA-sponsored Direct Access User Terminal Systems (DUATS) site at www.duats.com. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association offers free online weather information for members at www.aopa.org. Also check out the Weather Underground at www.wunderground.com and The Weather Channel on cable for helpful insight into national weather trends.
- Preheat your engine. One of the most important things to do before cold weather flight is to preheat the plane’s engine, especially if it is not housed in a hangar. If you use a combustion-type preheater, you’ll need to stay with the plane while it’s heating, as they can catch fire.
If you have access to electricity, an engine-mounted preheater can work well, but do not leave it plugged in all winter. To be safe, you’ll need to get to the airport and start pre-heating well in advance of take off. Another alternative is an Internet-enabled, cell phone-activated preheater, which allows you to start the heater before you arrive. Again, don’t leave the plane unattended for long.
- Change the oil. Even if your plane isn’t ready for an oil change, change it anyway — it’s important to remove contaminates in the oil. First, take the plane on a short flight to get the engine oil temp up, then return to the airport and change the oil. Inspect and clean the oil suction screen in the oil sump and remove, cut and inspect the oil filter. After changing the oil, run the engine for several minutes to check for leaks and circulate oil throughout the engine.
Once the plane is back in the hangar, do not turn the prop. Pulling the prop makes the pistons go up and down inside the cylinders which may be wiping the oil off the cylinder walls, increasing the likelihood of corrosion. Also cover the intake or inlet to the air box with duct tape and foam rubber balls in the exhaust pipes to prevent outside air from getting into the engine and reducing the chance of air mixing with moisture, which leads to corrosion.
Important: Mark them well and remove them before starting the engine! Also, a warning against ground running: Running the plane on the ground will not heat up the engine oil sufficiently to burn off contaminates — it will promote internal condensation, which leads to corrosion.
- Remember, planes need coats, too. If you keep your plane at an outdoor hangar, consider investing in wing covers to prevent frost, ice or snow buildup on the body. It takes some extra pre-flight prep time to remove, but you also won't have to remove snow and ice from the wings and flight surfaces. Order soon before frost begins.
Important note: The winter preparation tips above are suggestions and not a complete winter preparation list. To be safe and smart, contact Master Aviation (BAC valued Tennant) about servicing your plane. They can be reached at (203) 790-5226.
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Why just wait? Enjoy Sites & Events In and Around Danbury
Flying into Danbury in September? While you're waiting for passengers or your plane to be serviced, take advantage of BAC’s courtesy car for pilots and take in one of these upcoming events and activities. Whether you’re into hamburgers or history, Fairfield County has something for you to do!
Danbury Railway Museum
Located in the historic station and rail yard in downtown Danbury, the Danbury Railway Museum offers railroad history, guided tours, train rides, a collection of original and restored rolling stock and opportunities for hands-on railroad work at "12 inches to the foot" scale. For more information, call (203) 778-8337 the Danbury Railway Museum site.
Geary Gallery September Exhibit
Need a bit of culure? Take an hour and stop by the Geary Gallery in Darien, CT to see the breathtaking New England scenes of Neil McAuliffe, plus the decoy carvings of Kevin Kerrigan. The exhibit runs from September 1 to September 30, 2011. Admission is free and paintings and decoys are available for acquisition. Geary Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call (203) 655-6633 or visit www.gearygallery.com.
Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk
The Maritime Aquarium features several new documentaries. In "Coral Reef Adventure," follow husband-and-wife cinematography team Howard and Michele Hall on their 10-month quest to create a lasting cinematic record of the reefs in the South Pacific as they exist today. Narrated by actor Liam Neeson with music by Crosby, Stills & Nash.
In "Born to Be Wild," traverse the lush rain forests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick as they and their teams rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild. Narrated by Academy-Award® winner Morgan Freeman. For more information, call (203) 852-0700 or visit maritimeaquarium.org.
Portraits by Ben Larrabee The Gallery at Still River Editions, Danbury
A fan of photography? Stop by The Gallery at Still River Editions for Moments of Grace®, a solo exhibition of black-and-white portrait photography by Ben Larrabee of Darien, CT. Larrabee calls the instances of synergy he captures in his subjects’ lives "Moments of Grace." The exhibit runs through October 28 and is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. For more information, call (203) 791-1474 or visit the Silver Editions Gallery site.
Richter Park Golf Course
Golfers of all skill levels will be challenged at this scenic 18-hole course. The undulating fairways are a mix of blue/rye, the greens are a bent/poa mix and are well guarded by one of the 49 newly-renovated bunkers surrounding the course. Water comes into play on 14 out of 18 holes. For more information, call (203) 792-2552 or go to richterpark.com.
Business Aircraft Jet Center’s Many Amenities
Business Aircraft Jet Center is conveniently located at Danbury Municipal Airport and is open seven days a week from 7:45 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition to our quality aircraft maintenance and repair services, BAC is proud to offer our pilots and clients many high-end amenities including a newly-renovated Pilots Lounge which features:
- Internet Wi-Fi
- Widescreen HD TV
- Pristine showers
- Catered refreshments
- Elegant and relaxing couches and seating
- State-of-the-art flight planning services
- HotSeat FLIGHT SIM®, the latest and most realistic flight simulator
We also provide exceptional catering services, concierge service including hotel and motel reservations, car rentals from Avis, professional car service by Hoyt Livery and complimentary shuttle service to local destinations.
View photos of our new Pilot’s Lounge.
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FAA Project Suspension — What It Means to the Aviation Industry
Most people tied to the aviation industry are aware of Congress’ recent failure to pass a bill to fund the FAA, and as a result, the agency’s partial suspension of many projects nationwide. But why did it happen and what does it mean to the aviation industry?
House and Senate at an Impasse
When the House and Senate went on summer recess on August 2, they did so without reaching an agreement to renew the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) operating authority, which had expired July 22.
The crux of the standoff between the House Republicans and Senate Democrats was over rules that govern union elections at airlines and other transportation companies. The republicans want to make it more difficult to form unions, the Democrats disagree.
The two parties also disagreed over proposed budget cuts of $16.5 million in airline service subsidies to rural communities.
Airport Projects Put on Hold
The result of Congress not renewing a bill to federally fund the FAA was that the FAA put a halt on more than 200 airport expansion and renovation projects around the country. The resulting suspension put 4,000 FAA employees and — by some estimates — as many as 90,000 construction workers out of work without a paycheck.
The suspended projects did not involve air traffic control operations, but did include airport modernization projects worth $2.5 billion such as radar systems to prevent runway and taxiway collisions, installation of runway safety lights and construction of air-traffic control towers. The project suspension also puts an estimated 46,000 other related industry jobs at risk.
No Taxes for Government, Refunds for Passengers
In addition to leaving thousands of American workers without a job and pay, the FAA project suspension stands to cost the government millions in uncollected airline ticket taxes. The ticket tax is generally 7.5 percent of an airline ticket's base fare. That adds up to $30 million a day and about $200 million every week.
Now that the tax has been suspended, some airlines elected to keep their base fares the same saving airline passengers a few dollars. Other airlines increased their base fares, saving passengers nothing.
The IRS released a statement saying that airline passengers who purchased tickets before the airlines had to stop collecting ticket taxes for travel on or after July 23 may be entitled to a refund of tax paid. On its website IRS.gov, the IRS asked the airlines to repay eligible customers who request refunds. Those who don’t receive one from the airlines can submit claims to the IRS under procedures being developed.
Temporary Truce until Mid-September
The budget standoff only lasted a few weeks. By mid-August, the House Republicans and Senate Democrats reached a truce allowing the FAA to resume full operations. However, full funding for the FAA was only approved to mid-September. Until then, the two parties will be working to find a longer-term resolution or risk further project suspensions, industry unemployment and lost airline tax revenues estimated in the millions. When airline taxes were reinstated, airlines that had increased their base fares reduced them again to avoid increased prices for passengers.
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Volunteer Pilots Flying Wounded Vets for Free
Imagine for a moment you’re a wounded veteran who has difficulty traveling. Maybe it’s hard to get around physically, or you just can’t afford to fly your family commercially. Now imagine an organization of volunteers to fly you and your loved ones where you want to go — for free. That’s the selfless concept behind Veterans Airlift Command (VAC).
Veterans Airlift Command is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization that provides free air transportation for medical and other compassionate purposes to wounded veterans and their families through a nationwide network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.
There is no cost to the veterans or their families. The volunteer organization or aircraft owner volunteers the aircraft, fuel and whatever else is needed to complete the mission. Thanks to the Veterans Airlift Command and its volunteer pilots from across the country, wounded military personnel, who could not travel long distances on their own, are able to be airlifted for medical care and to reunite with family and friends at important life events.
Since its inception in 2006, VAC has recruited around 1,800 aircraft owners and pilots nationwide and has flown close to 4,000 veterans more than 2.2 million miles.
VAC’s Founder, President and Chairman of Veterans Airlift Command Walter Fricke is a decorated combat Army helicopter pilot with hundreds of combat missions flown in Vietnam. In a CNN Money interview, Fricke stated, "Pilots understand freedom in a unique way and appreciate those who defend our freedom in a way that makes them want to stand up and help.
In 2007, Fricke and Veterans Airlift Command received the NBAA Al Ueltschi Humanitarian Award in recognition of the VAC’s work. And in 2009, Fricke was the recipient of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award — an annual award given to the private citizen who has demonstrated the greatest selfless commitment to general aviation.
Andre Bohy is the President of Omni Financial, a company that makes personal loans to active-duty military and career retired military personnel. He is also a VAC volunteer pilot. "Our company does business with the military and this air service is our way of giving back to our troops for their selfless dedication to this country."
Bohy continued, "Most people don't realize what service members and their military families and friends go through. As a pilot, I enjoy the satisfaction that comes with each of these flights."
To find out how you can help Veterans Airlift Command, visit VAC’s help page or call Ed Bauccio at (914) 576-1900, ext. 6007.
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How Pilots Can Volunteer — Eight Sites to Get Involved
As pilots, we are lucky to see and experience things that few people ever do. We also have a very unique skill set that can do much to help improve the lives of others. In the spirit of giving back, here are seven volunteer pilot organizations that may inspire you to go wheels up for a good cause.
- Angel Flight is a is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer pilot organization that provides free air transportation in private aircraft to children and adults in need of life-saving medical care that is not available locally. To volunteer or view a list of upcoming Angel Flight events, visit angelflightsoars.org.
- The Air Care Alliance is a nationwide association of flying organizations dedicated to humanitarian missions involving health care, patient transport and other missions for public benefit. Visit the ACA site for a list of member organizations, news and events.
- Brigade Air, Inc. is a Christian youth mentoring program that encourages young people to serve in the arena of missionary aviation. Established in 2000, Brigade Air has educated more than 2,100 campers in a total of 96 summer camp weeks over the last seven years. For more information, visit brigadeair.org.
- Emergency Volunteer Air Corp (EVAC) organizes general aviation pilots, amateur radio operators and other aviation personnel to supplement existing emergency personnel and organizations during a fire, earthquake, hurricane and other major public emergencies. For more information, visit EVAC online.
- Fly for the Cure is a non-profit organization located in Westfield, NY that provides pleasure trips to cancer sufferers and survivors across the country. Fly for the Cure is also involved in fund raising and promoting Cancer Awareness with an emphasis on the need for cancer screening and early detection. Visit fly4thecure.org to read more.
- Pilots and Paws Pet Rescue is a non-profit organization that pairs pet rescue volunteers with pilot plane owners willing to assist with the transportation of the rescued animals. Pilots and Paws helps arrange and schedule rescue flights, overnight foster care, shelter care and other related activities. To learn more, go to pilotsnpaws.org.
- The Volunteer Pilots Association provides free air transport for qualified patients who are in financial need. Pilots provide free air transport in privately owned, single engine or twin-engine, piston powered aircraft. VPA is not an ambulance service and pilots are neither trained nor permitted to provide medical assistance. For more information, visit volunteerpilots.org.
- Patient Airlift Services (PALS) is a network of volunteer pilots in the Northeast United States who provide free flights for patients and caregivers in need of medical diagnosis, treatment or follow-up. PALS pilots donate their aircraft, time and pay for all expenses related to the flight with no cost to the qualifying patients and caregivers. To learn about volunteering at PALS, or to sign up for the PALS volunteer squadron, visit the PALS volunteer page.
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2011 Northeast Air Show Calendar
With so many entertainment options out there, air shows are amping up the thrill factor to attract and entertain crowds. That means the summer 2011 air shows are likely to be some of the most intense air shows ever, full of heart-pounding excitement and patriotic emotion. Strap in for summertime thrills with the 2011 Northeast Air Show Calendar!
- June 25-26: Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show, Quonset State Airport, North Kingston, RI. Featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. For information, click here.
- July 8-10: Geneseo Air Show, "The Greatest Show On Turf," Geneseo, NY. World War II living history and air show. For information, click here.
- July 16-17: Rochester International Air Show, Greater Rochester International Airport, Rochester, NY. Featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. For information, click here.
- Aug. 13-14: Boston Portsmouth Air Show, Pease ANGB / Portsmouth International Airport, Portsmouth, NH. Featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. For information, click here.
- Aug. 17: Atlantic City Air Show, "Thunder Over the Boardwalk," Atlantic City, NJ. Featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and U.S. Army Golden Knights. For information, click here.
- Aug. 20-21: Lancaster Community Days Air Show, Lancaster Airport, Lititz, PA. Featuring military aircraft demonstrations. For information click here.
- Aug. 26-28: Greenwood Lake Air Show and WW II Showcase, Greenwood Lake Airport, West Milford, NJ. Featuring the Northeast Air Raiders. For information, click here.
- Sept. 3-4: Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River Air Expo '11, NAS Patuxent River, MD. Featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, U.S. Army Golden Knights and Air Force F-16 East Coast Demonstration Team. For information, click here.
- Sept. 10-11: Thunder of Niagara, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Niagara Falls, NY. Honoring 9/11 first responders and the U.S. Military; featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. For information, click here.
- Sept. 10-11: Wings Over Pittsburgh, Coraopolis, Pittsburgh, PA. Featuring The Heavy Metal Jet Team, Sky Soldiers and the F-16 West Coast Demonstration Team. For information, click here.
- Sept. 17-18: Ocean City Beachfront Air Show, Ocean City, NJ. Featuring the F-18 Super Hornet Demo, B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, A-10 Warthog Demo. For information, click here.
- Oct. 1: Wings & Wheels — A Georgetown Fall Festival, Sussex County Airport, Georgetown, DE. WWII reenactments, vintage plane fly in and classic car show. For information, click here.
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Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Air Show Stunt Pilot?
Have you ever fantasized about being an air show pilot? One of those All-American, movie star- types who perform death-defying stunts in the air to the cheers of the crowd below? Well, it’s not that easy. Here’s an inside look at what it takes to be a professional air show stunt pilot, and the challenges and dangers they face in their chosen career.
A Unique Breed of Pilot
Today’s air show stunt pilots are a unique breed. They often forego job security and physical safety in exchange for the thrill of flying death-defying aerobatics. Why would a pilot choose such a difficult path? Flying a stunt plane is either a passion or it’s not. Many professional stunt pilots knew from an early age it’s what they wanted to do. At the air shows of their youth, they were usually the kids that were first to arrive and last to leave—dreaming of flying upside down and clamoring to talk to, "a real stunt pilot."
Many professional stunt pilots will admit they are not only confident in their abilities—a critical factor for safety and success—but also "addicted to the rush" of flying on the edge of control. But the reality of being a professional stunt pilot is a lot less romantic than some may realize. For one, it’s inherently dangerous, and flying becomes riskier whenever aerobatics are involved. Stunt pilots learn to live with the reality that any given air show could be their last. While advances in airplane design—such as lighter propeller blades—enable pilots to do previously impossible maneuvers, there is nothing to replace hours of the training and practice required to perform aeronautical acrobatics.
Mitigating Unnecessary Risk
A good pilot is a master at energy maintenance. That is, adeptly managing the amount of air speed, or kinetic energy, used in an acrobatic stunt. You need to fly fast enough to perform the stunt, but not too fast that you overstress the physical limitations of the plane. A good stunt pilot will know how to conserve energy by balancing the plane's air speed with the potential energy of its altitude. In addition to training—you can never do enough spin recovery training. And of course, a responsible pilot takes aircraft maintenance very seriously.
But all that training and maintenance costs money, and—unless you’re a stunt pilot with a name and reputation—many stunt pilots are not paid as much as you would think. Many are sub contractors who charge a fee to appear at an air show—and that fee can be negotiated down due to heavy competition from other stunt pilots.
Travel demands are another drain on a stunt pilot’s lifestyle and finances. Some travel around the country to appearances as much as six months out of the year, and flying a stunt plane around the country can take a toll on a pilot’s physical and mental health.
Increasing the Excitement Factor
With so many summer entertainment options out there—from 3-D blockbusters movies to interactive Xbox games—acrobatic air shows are upping the excitement factor to attract and maintain crowds. That means stunt pilots are working harder to create and perform more awe-inspiring sky stunts. All the more reason to respect the men and women who call themselves professional stunt pilots. It’s summer air show season. If you get a chance, catch one in a town (or sky) near you. This summer’s air shows are sure to be some of the most exciting in aeronautical history.
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What Pilots Can Learn from Capt. Sullenberger about Aircraft and Aviation
It was recently announced that "Miracle on the Hudson" pilot, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, will be the new aviation and safety correspondent for CBS News. With Capt. Sullenberger back in the spotlight, here’s a look back at that remarkable landing and what pilots can learn from Capt. Sullenberger about aircraft and aviation.
American Heroes of Aviation
On January 15, 2009, Capt. Sullenberger took off from LaGuardia Airport for Charlotte/Douglas International Airport on US Airways Flight 1549. About six minutes after takeoff, a flock of Canadian geese took out both engines on the Airbus 320-214.
What happened next made Capt. Sullenberger, co-pilot Jeff Skiles and the flight attendants American heroes—while the cabin filled with acrid smoke and the smell of jet fuel, Sullenberger overruled traffic control’s suggestion to try and land 10 miles away in Teterboro, NJ. Instead, he made the split-second decision to land Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Sullenberger and the crew’s quick thinking and calm focus saved the lives of all 155 people on board, and the entire crew was awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.
What Pilots and Aircraft Personnel Can Learn
What can pilots and aviation professionals learn from Sullenberger and the crew of US Airways Flight 1549?
- Deliberate calm. Contrary to popular belief, people like Sullenberger do not just stay calm, while other weaker individuals give in to panic. Fear and panic are automatic brain responses under frightful and dangerous circumstances.
What made Sullenberger truly heroic was his ability to push through his fear, to override it with rational thought. To be able to think, "Stay calm, keep it together, you have a plane to land," and then actually do it. Neuroscientists call this metacognition. Pilots call it "deliberate calm," the ability to give oneself an automatic correction under stressful circumstances.
- Embrace the flight simulator. Flight simulators are an incredible tool for teaching pilots and aircraft personnel how to stay calm and focused under duress. First, simulators can teach technical skills, such as how to land a plane that has lost power in the water. But just as important, a simulator can train individuals how to override their fear so they can think clearly amid the chaos.
- Preparation, and more preparation. Sullenberger has said that he "had done a pretty good job of preparing himself for whatever might come." That’s an understatement, considering that he has logged more than 20,000 flight hours over the course of his career, from Air Force jet fighter pilot to commercial airline pilot. It takes years of training and discipline to be as prepared as he was that day the engines went out on Flight 1549. The lesson for all pilots and aircraft professionals is to—as the Boy Scouts mantra says—be prepared. Train, learn, log hours, stay sharp in order to be prepared for whatever may come.
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Inspirational Quotes on Aviation, Aircraft and Flying
The feeling of flying an aircraft is often indescribable. But throughout history, some famous aviators managed to express the joy, wonder and mystery of flying in words. In celebration of fearless aviators past and present, here are some inspirational quotes on aviation, aircraft and flying.
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor and founder of the Aerial Experiment Association:
"There are two critical points in aerial flight—its beginning and its end."
Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic:
"I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty. That the reasons flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the aesthetic appeal of flying."
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, aviator and author of "The Little Prince:"
"I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things."
Bessie Coleman, first African American woman pilot:
"The air is the only place free from prejudices."
Charles Lindbergh, first non-stop solo transatlantic flight:
"I owned the world that hour as I rode over it—free of the earth, free of the mountains, free of the clouds, but how inseparably I was bound to them."
Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III, who safely landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River:
"In hindsight, I think something remarkable did happen that day."
General Charles "Chuck" Yeager, first pilot to break the sound barrier:
"If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off."
Harriet Quimby, first American woman to earn a pilot’s license and first woman to fly solo across the English Channel:
"If a woman wants to fly, first of all, she must, of course, abandon skirts and don a knickerbocker uniform."
Howard Hughes, famous pilot and aircraft engineer who set a transcontinental airspeed record:
"Find me some clouds!"
Neil Armstrong, first person to step foot on the moon:
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Galactic in his new book, "Reach for the Skies":
"There isn’t a flight that goes by when I don’t stare out of the window and thank my lucky stars for what I’m feeling and seeing."
Richard Bach, pilot and author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull:"
"The highest art form of all is a human being in control of himself and his airplane in flight, urging the spirit of a machine to match his own."
Wilbur Wright, along with brother Orville, inventor of the first piloted and powered airplane:
"More than anything else, the sensation is one of perfect peace, mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination."
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FAA Registration Reminder—Re-Register Your Plane Online and On Time
Aircraft registration reminder: The FAA is updating its aircraft registry and requires that all eligible aircraft owners re-register their planes. All re-registration of aircraft and updating of the U.S. Civil Aircraft Register must be completed by December 31, 2013. It is very important that you re-register your aircraft by your plane’s registration expiration date, otherwise it will not have FAA permission to fly.
Aircraft Registration Easier Online
The FAA has responded to requests from law enforcement and governmental agencies for more accurate, up-to-date registration data. To streamline the process, the FAA has automated its registration process online.
As a result, more aircraft owners are re-registering online than by mail. Re-registering your plane is faster online than by mail — turnaround is just one week, compared to six to eight weeks by mail.
As of January 1, 2011, 53,885 first re-registration notices have been mailed to aircraft owners. The FAA has processed 20,500 online registrations and 7,000 paper registrations.
If you prefer to re-register by mail, you may do so. The FAA is also mailing re-registration notices to owners, using the mailing address of record. The notices indicate the plane’s registration expiration date, and the due date in which the re-registration application must be received by the FAA.
The notices include a code to re-register online. Re-registrations generally cost just $5 if there are no changes in ownership, address, or citizenship. If there are changes to report, you can download a re-registration form, print it, fill it out, sign it and mail it in along mailed with the $5 fee.
FAA Re-Registration Tips
The FAA offers these re-registration tips to help the process go more smoothly.
Prepare to re-register:
When filling out your form:
- Remember to print or type your name
- Include the appropriate fee
- Check only the "info correct" or "changes made" boxes, not both.
- If you make a mistake on the form, simply draw a line through it and correct it.
- Mail the re-registration form ONLY when it is your turn.
For detailed instructions on re-registering your aircraft, and to find out your plane’s registration due date, read the FAA’s Aircraft Re-Registration Schedule.
If you have questions on registering your aircraft, call the FAA’s Registration office toll-free at (866) 762-9434 or (405) 954-3131. Or email the FAA Registration office.
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A Review of Airfield Safety and FAA Rules
Understanding airfield safety and FAA rules are crucial to avoiding trouble on the runway. According to the FAA, more than 80% of pilot-caused runway incursions occur during taxi to the departure runway. As pilots across the country get ready for spring flying, now is a good time to review some of the FAA’s safety fundamentals.
FAR 91.103 states, "The pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight."
- Understand the airfield’s signage and markings.
- Review airport diagrams, review any hotspots and print a copy for the cockpit.
- Check for any airfield risks, such as runway closures or construction activity.
- Explain to passengers the necessity for limited conversation during flight.
Tips for Taxiing
Remember your full attention should be on moving the plane from ramp to runway.
- Have the airport diagram out and ready to reference.
- Review the taxi route and the assigned runway on the diagram prior to taxiing.
- Use proper terminology and phrasing when communicating on the radio.
- Confirm you have ATC clearance before taxiing.
- If any confusion on taxi clearance, stop and request ATC clarification.
- Once cleared by ATC, visually check to ensure there is no conflicting traffic.
- Remember that hold short lines can be as far as 400 feet from the runway.
- When taxiing, focus attention, keep eyes outward and maintain correct speed.
- Be aware of similar call signs in the field.
- Insist on a quiet/sterile cockpit when taxiing.
If ever in doubt, ask ATF!
- Do "clearing turns" prior to entering any runway.
- Once cleared for "taxi into position and hold," turn on all exterior lights except take-off/landing lights.
- If you have been holding on the runway for more than 90 seconds, or upon seeing a potential conflict, contact ATC.
- Once "cleared for take-off," turn on all exterior lights, including take-off/landing lights.
- If assigned a take-off at an intersection, state "intersection departure" at the end of the take-off clearance readback.
- When preparing to land, follow the "Tips for Taxiing" rules above.
- Wait until you have exited the active runway and are sure of your taxi clearance before beginning an after-landing checklist.
Additional Airfield Safety Suggestions
- If you need to adjust something when taxiing, stop the plane and notify ATC.
- Do not taxi to the hold/short line too quickly.
- Have your airport diagram ready in case an FAA inspector asks at a ramp check.
Read the full FAA article, "Runway Safety—Pilot Best Practices," click here.
Stay up-to-date at the FAA's Office of Runway Safety page.
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Our Community Is At Risk: Time To Speak Up!
As we reported last month, Governor Dannel Malloy is proposing a property tax that could drastically impact the landscape of aviation in the state of Connecticut. Malloy’s Bill HB6387proposes that all aircraft based in Connecticut be taxed at 20 mils of its valuation, regardless of where in the state the aircraft is based. That means an aircraft valued at $100,000 would have a property tax liability of $2,000; an aircraft valued at $1,000,000 would have a property tax of $20,000 and so on.
If the bill passes, it will likely have a huge negative financial impact on Connecticut airports. Many aircraft pilots have already said that they will move their planes to a neighboring state with lower property taxes. As a result, Connecticut fixed base operations and related businesses will lose significant income on aircraft rental fees, fuel sales and plane maintenance services. Our community is at risk, and it is time to speak up.
What You Can Do
Connecticut State Senator Frantz and other legislators have formed an Aviation Caucus. The Caucus provides some stability and structure within the legislature while at the same time educating newly elected officials about an often times misunderstood but critically important industry. Click here for the current list of legislators on the Connecticut Aviation Caucus. Contact your legislators about joining the Connecticut Legislative Aviation Caucus. They may do so by contacting senator Frantz’s aid Katelyn Higgins at Katelyn.Higgins@cga.ct.gov.
The NBAA regional representative, Dean Saucier, has written a letter to Governor Malloy to show the fallacy of the property tax as a revenue generator. To bring attention to the issue, this month they will be running a full page ad in the April issue of Atlantic Flyer. By circulating these within and outside the community you can bring much needed attention to the matter.
Complete the survey which will show the impact this Bill could have on you personally, and return it to Dean Saucier. But hurry, the results will be tabulated shortly. The results of the survey will be tabulated and the findings sent to Governor Malloy. You can also contact your state representatives to make sure they know where you stand and how you want them to vote.
Your input it needed to help fight Malloy’s proposed tax hikes. Thank you!
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Get Social with Online Pilot Groups
The private aircraft community is a vibrant social one—get us together and we’ll talk about everything aircraft and our adventures for hours. The Internet and social media websites such as Facebook and dozens of online forums are a great way to find pilot groups—online and offline aviation clubs. Just Google "aircraft pilot group" and your interests and location, and you’re sure to find one in your area. And with warm weather on the way, now is a great time to get involved in fly-ins and other social activities pilots and their families can share.
Meetup’s Northeast Pilots Group (NEPG) is one such group. Based in Norwalk, CT, the NEPG is a resource for pilots and aspiring pilots in and around New England. The group sponsors a variety of activities from fly-in events and informative safety seminars to casual meet and greet lunches. The NEPG encourages you to stop by their site and find out about area get-togethers. Go to www.meetup.com/NEPilotsGroup.
For example, on Friday, April 1, the group held its Annual Fly-In to Meigs Field (KCGX) in Chicago. Last year, the NEPG received a very positive reaction from members, the FAA, and the City of Chicago. It featured a fly-in to historic Meigs Field, a visit to the Town Hall and a ramp-side barbecue at O’Hare (KORD).
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BAC in Time: The Origin of Air Charter
Most airplane historians know that the first piloted flight was by the Wright brothers in 1903. But do you know when the first chartered flight took place? Here’s a brief history of air chartering—renting entire aircraft as opposed to single seats on a plane.
The origin of the air charter, also known as air taxi or executive charter, goes back to 1945 when World War II ended. A surplus of leftover military aircraft prompted pilots and owners to rent out or "charter" their aircraft to offset the expense of maintaining the plane. This in turn provided individuals and businesses with urgent deadlines and time-sensitive cargo the opportunity to rent out private planes for their purposes.
The introduction of the Learjet 23 in 1963 revolutionized the industry and led to the "golden era" of the private jet charter. The Learjet 23 was the first "corporate jet" and was designed by Hans-Luzius Studer after the Swiss FFA P-16 fighter jet.
Following the success and popularity of the Learjet 23, more luxury jets were manufactured and put into service. But unlike the adapted military aircraft, the new generation of jets was tailor made for air charter, establishing the executive standard for air travel.
A Global Business Model
The Internet changed the world, and the air charter industry was no exception. Prior to the Web, people in search of an air charter mostly relied on word-of-mouth or the good old phone book. In the 1990s, the Internet allowed air charter companies to market their services to a now-global audience, and gave rise to new business models that made both ownership and charter renting more affordable.
Another result of the Internet was the advent of the aviation or airplane broker, who could receive a request for a charter from anywhere in the world, and broker deal an arrangement with the most available and competitively-priced aircraft in the renter's area. The concept of fractional ownership programs also came about, allowing owners to purchase a "fractional interest" or share in an aircraft. This kept the cost of aircraft maintenance and acquisition fees down and allowed more people to "own" an aircraft.
Fractional ownership had its issues, and the solution was on-demand air charter. Now air charter renters could purchase individual flights on a per-trip basis, without having to pay up-front or monthly fees. Like a commercial airline travel agent, air charter agents help consumers find the safest, most luxurious and affordable aircraft for individual charter flights.
The Future of Air Charter
What direction is the air charter industry flying in? With the economy continuing to struggle, environmental issues with coal, oil and gas are huge concerns, and a "green" mentality spreading the globe, the industry will likely trend toward lighter and more fuel-efficient aircraft. And as the global business becomes more the norm, ever-developing technology will continue to increase the efficiency of flights for both owners and consumers. We've come a long way from those first charters in 1945.
Call BAC for Your Service Needs
Whether your private airplane needs simple maintenance or full-service repair, our service crew will deliver fast, dependable service to get your airplane up and flying safely. Call us today at (203) 748-7000 or visit our services page.
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Pre-Flight Preheating FAQ
It may seem like common sense, but it’s critically important to preheat your small aircraft’s engine before flight in the cold winter months. Here are some "frequently asked questions" about the why, when and how of preheating your plane. These are only guidelines. Before taking flight, be sure to call BAC about the best winter maintenance program for your aircraft.
Why should I preheat my plane's engine?
The primary purpose for preheating an engine is to ensure that the engine assembly is warm and at proper clearances. When an engine cools down after a flight, the aluminum pistons and crankcase decrease in size more than the iron crankshaft and cylinders. Then when the engine is started again in very cold temperatures, the clearance of the main bearings is less than specifications call for, while the clearance of the piston to cylinder walls is more than what is called for. This can result in increased wear and reduced engine life and is why preheating is so important.
What if I use a multi-vis oil?
Using multi-viscosity oil gives you an extra margin of safety in that it provides improved flow at low temperatures, but it does not mean you do not have to properly preheat your engine. Proper preheating is critical to your engine life even if you use a multi-viscosity oil. Also keep in mind that just heating the oil is not doing a proper job. There are many electrical heating systems that just put a heating pad on the oil pan. Make sure there are heating elements on the cylinders as well. In addition, you should either blanket or at least plug the cowl to ensure that the entire engine assembly is heated.
At what temperature should I preheat my engine?
To be on the safe side (the only side), it is wise to preheat whenever the temperature is below freezing (32°F). Some engine manufacturers recommend preheating at temperatures below 20°F, but keep in mind that, even if the air temperature is 20°F, the engine and its parts are still well below that temperature. If you use the 32°F target temperature, it gives you an extra margin of safety.
Do I have to preheat if my plane is in a hangar?
Yes. Regardless of whether your aircraft was tugged out of a hangar or not, it is still cold compared to flight ready temperatures. In the September 2008 issue of Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine, Harold Tucker, Director of Technical Information and Training of ConocoPhillips Commercial Lubricants stated: "An engine at rest is always cold relative to its normal operating temperatures; therefore, the oil is also thick relative to its designed operating viscosity." Again, consult your manuals and mechanic for details on how to preheat your specific engine, battery and cockpit.
How long should I preheat my engine for?
How long you should preheat depends on various factors, such as the type of aircraft, age of the plane and outside temperature. The time required to preheat will also depend on the method that is used, but expect the duration to increase exponentially as the temperature gets colder.
Let BAC Preheat Your Plane
BAC’s new preheating services will get your plane warmed up and ready to go in the coldest weather. During the winterizing time of year, we provide you with a checklist that will help you through the process. And ensure that your plane is safe, well maintained, and running smoothly. Call us today at (203) 748-7000 or visit our services page.
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Debate Over Small Aircraft Security Continues
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration took decisive measures to improve commercial airline security: cockpit doors were locked during flight, air marshals were added onboard and airport security checks became more thorough. Yet relatively little has been done to increase the security of smaller aircraft and airports.
In 2008, the Transportation Security Administration sought to impose mandatory security rules on 15,000 private jets—not small, piston-engine aircraft—including requirements that jet pilots check passengers against watch lists and ban weapons onboard. In response, 7,000 private pilots, businesses and aviation groups protested, labeling the plan as potentially crippling to jet owners, forcing the TSA to revise its security plan.
Then in February 2010, a man crashed a small plane into a Texas I.R.S. office, killing himself and an employee and causing extensive damage. While that case was found to be the work of one distraught man—not a terrorist plot—it brought the hot button issue back to the forefront between the TSA, Homeland Security and those in the industry, and put small aircraft, not just jets under scrutiny.
The core of the debate is over how much danger is actually posed by small jets that fly in and out of thousands of airports with no TSA oversight. Even Homeland Security is divided over the issue. The TSA said large private planes "could be used effectively to commit a terrorist act" while a 2009 Homeland Security report stated that private aviation "does not present serious homeland security vulnerability."
To date, private-aviation groups have been influential in countering TSA efforts to impose security rules on private jets, but a new TSA proposal is likely in this year — a decade after the 9/11 attacks.
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The North Pole Is On the Go, Again
New research shows the North Pole is moving at a rate of 25 miles (40 kilometers) a year. As a result, planes were grounded recently at Tampa International Airport while compass signage was repainted.
Pilot navigation is dependent on the Earth’s magnetic fields. When a significant shift occurs, navigational charts, airport signage and runway compass headings are adjusted. Every five years, the FAA reevaluates shifts in the poles, known as magnetic variation, and makes necessary changes to runways and flight procedures. The FAA also publishes new aeronautical charts for pilots every 56 days.
Around the first of the year, The North Magnetic Pole shifted about 40 miles toward Russia at a rate of approximately 40 miles per year. It is currently about 85 degrees latitude. The South Magnetic Pole is approximately 65 degrees latitude and is moving about three miles per year.
The magnetic shift of the North Pole has generated widespread industry interest, but the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stated that the "regular, natural process is nothing to be worried about." However, pilots that use old-fashion compasses for navigation should be aware of new charts and headings.
Poles On the Go
Over the past century the North Pole has moved 685 miles (1,100 kilometers) from Arctic Canada toward Siberia. At its current rate, the Pole could reach Siberia within the next 50 years.
The Earth's magnetic fields are constantly changing. Geologists think the magnetic field is caused by the Earth's core that is made up of a solid iron center surrounded by rapidly spinning liquid metal. This creates a "dynamo" or electromagnet that interacts with the rocky mantle of the Earth, which is also shifting, resulting in an ever-changing magnetic field.
The location of the North Pole also influences the Northern Lights, which form when solar radiation bounces across the magnetic field in the upper atmosphere. As the north magnetic pole drifts, the Northern Lights move with it.
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Preparing Your Plane for Cold Weather Flying
Winter flying has a beauty all its own, especially witnessing the majesty of snow-capped mountains from above. But freezing temperatures also bring unique conditions and challenges for both man and machine.
Adequately preparing small aircraft for cold-weather flight is essential to the safety of the pilot and integrity of the aircraft. Here are some (but not all) important tips for pilots planning on flying—not just storing—their planes during the winter months.
- Reread the aircraft flight manual, particular the sections on winterization.
- Keep the aircraft in a hangar, especially the night before flight, if possible. If not, make sure the plane is covered.
- Make sure that the plane’s anti- or deicing systems are operational.
- Change the engine oil to multigrade, or the manufacturer-approved cold-temperature oil.
- Install a winterization kit to deflect the cold air and keep the cylinders warm.
- Renew the carbon monoxide detector and have the system checked for cracks.
- Turn on the cabin heater, heated pitot and demister to make sure they work.
- Make sure pitot head covers, static vent plugs, control surface locks and tie- downs are in working order.
- Confirm drain holes are clear of dirt and debris to prevent standing water from freezing and causing blockages.
- Check the carb heat and alternate air inlet, especially before take off.
- Find out if your aircraft requires Iso-propyl alcohol in the fuel for operation in low temperatures.
- After refueling, let the fuel settle in the tanks, then check for water in the system.
- Check that all the airframe, propeller and windscreen systems are operating correctly.
- Check that inflatable boots inflate properly, especially on the tailplane.
- Check that the battery is fully charged, and the alternator is working properly.
- Clean the airframe of mud, slush and dirt to prevent build up in wheel pants, elevator hinges.
- On flight day, wear warm clothing and water proof footwear.
- Pack a cold-weather parka, heavy blanket and winter survival kit on the plane.
- Before take off, get an up to date aviation weather forecast and note any icing warnings.
- Make sure your route plan is accurate and you have an alternative in case you encounter ice and snow.
Contact Master Aviation at (203) 790-5226 about helping you winterize your plane.
Important Disclaimer: Information provided by BAC is general information, and is not intended to substitute for informed professional advice.
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Missing Aircraft Information Shines Light on Mandatory Re-registration
An Associated Press article dated Dec. 10, 2010 revealed that The Federal Aviation Administration is missing information on who owns one-third of the 357,000 private and commercial aircraft in the U.S., and that this oversight could be exploited by terrorists and drug traffickers.
According to the FAA about 119,000 of the aircraft on their U.S. registry have “questionable registration” due to missing forms, invalid addresses, unreported sales or other paperwork problems. In many cases, the FAA cannot say who owns a plane or even whether it is still flying or has been junked.
There is grave concern that such unregistered planes could be used in terrorist attacks. There have already been cases of drug traffickers using phony U.S. registration numbers, as well as instances of mistaken identity in which police raided the wrong plane because of faulty record-keeping. In addition to law enforcement purposes, the FAA uses the database to contact owners about safety problems and locate planes that go missing.
Following this statement, North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan, a Democrat and the chairman of the Senate subcommittee overseeing aviation, said he would recommend holding congressional hearings on aircraft registration. The FAA reported taking proactive steps to update the database by requiring all aircraft owners to re-register their planes over the next three years. Re-registration will be mandatory, and the system will be similar to the one many states use to register cars.
Under the old voluntary plan, a plane had to be registered when it was purchased, but there was no requirement to re-register unless the aircraft was sold or scrapped, or the owner moved or died. Unfortunately, an increasing number of owners failed to update their registration and file paperwork.
Last July, the FAA issued a final ruling requiring mandatory re-registration of all U.S. civil aircraft in a rolling program that will begin Nov. 1 and end in Dec. 2013. The first three-month window targeted aircraft issued in March of any year. The registration process will then move on to certificates issued in April and so on for the next three years. The ruling also calls for aircraft registration renewals every three years. While owners with no changes to their registration will be able to re-register their aircraft online, those with changes will be required to submit their applications through the mail.
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Animal Rescue—Another Joy of Flying
There are many joys of flying, including the freedom and peace one feels soaring above the clouds. But imagine the great satisfaction you would feel using your energy, skills and resources to rescue helpless animals from dismal lives and certain death. There are a growing number of pilots and organizations dedicated to saving the lives of homeless dogs and cats — and a growing need.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that animal shelters care for six to eight million dogs and cats every year in the U.S., of whom approximately three to four million are euthanized. At this time, there is no central data reporting agency for animal shelters, so the actual numbers could be even higher.
Thousands of dogs, cats and other animals in need would have a better chance of living if they were able to travel to a new city or state. Many animal-loving pilots and plane owners are volunteering their time and resources to transport helpless animals hundreds or even thousands of miles to a new home or non-kill shelter.
Animal Rescue Flights (ARF)
Animal Rescue Flights is a non-profit, charitable organization of pilots and volunteers. ARF promotes, plans and performs the transportation of animals from overcrowded shelters where they face certain death to other parts of the country where qualified families are waiting to adopt them. There is never a fee of any kind, either to the sender or the receiver of an animal flying with ARF.
Pilots N Paws
Pilots N Paws puts organizations and people who rescue, shelter or foster needy animals in touch with pilots and plane owners willing to assist with their transportation. Through its website discussion boards and forum, those involved exchange information, and arrange to meet and transport dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals that need to be moved across the country. Pilots N Paws does not rescue the animals. All rescue flights are arranged between the people involved on an individual basis.
On a summer mission from Pilots N Paws, Rhonda Miles flew homeless dogs from Tennessee to Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) in Virginia where André Bohy and his wife Donna were waiting to transport them to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport (KAVP). Their final destination was New Hampshire where another volunteer pilot flew them to their forever home. Pictured from left to right: Rhonda, André, Donna and three lucky animal friends.
Take Flight, Save a Life
Pilot André Bohy has flown missions in the past from BAC, and encourages fellow pilots to use their free time and flying skills to get involved. If you’re a pilot with a love of animals and calling to help give dogs and cats a second chance, contact André at firstname.lastname@example.org. It could be the adventure of a lifetime that ends in an animal finding their forever home and living a long, happy life.
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Preparing Your Craft for the Cold
If possible, store your craft in a temperature-controlled hangar during the cold months. Whether or not that’s possible, here is a checklist of important things to do before putting up your plane for the winter.
If nothing else, change the oil. Shell recommends that you, at minimum, change the old oil from your engine and refill with the appropriate grade. Oil left in the engine can become acidic when combined with water from the atmosphere and cause corrosion. This can lead to pitting of components, which is then compounded when rust particles get into the oil and grind when the engine is next started. This reduces reliability, and can lead to expensive repairs — all for the cost of an oil change.
Remember to put on the brakes. You don’t want your plane rolling away with the winter wind. To keep the plane secure and keep the brakes from seizing up, chock the front and back wheels and release the parking brake.
Use covers and plates. Pitot tube covers and static vent covers should be used to prevent insects and dirt from forming blockages. Also, placing blanking plates over engine intakes and exhausts will reduce the amount of moisture that gets into your engine, and help prevent corrosion.
Don’t be cheap with grease. The correct selection and application of grease to the airframe is one of the most important choices a pilot, owner or mechanic can make. Grease is vital in preventing metal to metal contact so that mechanisms resist wear and operate smoothly. Grease also provides excellent protection against weather and corrosion, seals against dust and dirt and enables additives to be evenly held in dispersion.
Fill fuel tanks and close the valves. Filling the fuel tanks prevents the build-up of condensation in the tanks over winter. This is particularly important if your aircraft is stored outside and will likely save you from corrosion and potentially expensive tank repairs. If your aircraft is hangared, make sure you have permission to store your aircraft with full tanks. This is particularly important if your aircraft is stored outside. Also check that the fuel cocks are closed and master switches are off. You may also consider removing the battery to prevent any leakage current from draining it.
Cover it up for a long winter’s nap. Cover the windows, canopy, wings and the horizontal tail, as well as the prop blades. They are some of the most critical flying surfaces on the aircraft, and covers will reduce damage to the airplane's upholstery and avionics caused by sun and rain exposure and bird droppings.
An important note on winter flying. If you are going to fly during the winter or at high altitudes, some manufactures recommend baffles, winter fronts and oil cooler kits for their aircraft during low temperature operation. Winterization kits will reduce airflow through the oil cooler and reduce the chance of oil cooler freeze-up. Be sure to remove the winterization kit when it’s no longer needed.
During winter break-in and high altitude flight, pilots should also be especially observant of their oil temperature and pressure. If the oil pressure or oil temperature moves significantly up or down in flight, you may be experiencing oil cooler plugging or bypassing. If this occurs, take appropriate action.
Important note on winterization kits: If a kit was installed, was it properly signed off and placarded? Do you know at what ambient temperature it should be removed? If installation approval is not provided by the kit's manufacturer, FAA approval may be needed. Be smart and safe: Read the guides, air worthiness manuals and service bulletins put out by the FAA and manufacturers, and consult Master Aviation at (203) 790-5226 about helping you winterize your plane.
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Volunteer Flyers Needed for PALS
Looking for a good way to spend your time? Consider donating your time flying for a wonderful cause. Patient AirLift Services arranges free air transportation to individuals requiring medical care and for other humanitarian purposes based on need. The network of volunteer pilots provides this free service to individuals with limited financial resources, using their own or rented aircraft. Generally the individuals who need these services have or are receiving diagnosis, treatment or follow-up for various types of acute or chronic illnesses or conditions, and because of financial hardship, cannot use public commercial or private charter transportation.
Between them, PALS’ founders have personally flown thousands of missions as pilots-in-command. As experienced volunteer flyers, they donate their time, airplanes and all expenses without compensation, and their only sources of income for operation costs are private donations and grants.
PALS needs pilots with P-I-C qualifications to join up to help transport. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of people, you’ll find it every time you complete a mission through volunteer flying with PALS. Volunteers are also needed to contact health care professionals and institutions in their local area so that the word spreads about its valuable and cost-free service.
On Friday, November 19, 2010 from 7PM – 11PM Patient Airlift Services will hold its first-ever fundraiser event. It will be held at the Tamarack Country Club in Greenwich, CT. It will be a gala evening with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music, dancing and a silent auction. Tickets are being sold in advance. Sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information please call Eileen Minogue at (516) 300-1660 or (888) 818-1231 option 2.
To learn how as a pilot you can be of service, contact Joe Howley, President, Chairman of the Board of Patient Airlift Services. To learn more about Joe and the work of the organization, visit www.palservices.org or contact him at (203) 312-3055.
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Winterizing Your Airplane
November is winterizing month. It’s a time to prepare your aircraft to be in perfect operating condition, whether you plan to use it throughout the harsh months, or if you plan to store it. Storing your aircraft in a hanger where it will be protected from the weather is the best, but there are some things you should do whether it will be in a hanger or at an outside tie-down.
It is good practice every year to go through a check list of the steps you must take to maintain your aircraft’s peak efficiency through the winter. BAC suggests you take the steps mentioned in this checklist from Shell.
Whether your private airplane needs winterizing, maintenance or full-service repair, BAC’s service crew will deliver fast, dependable service to get your airplane flying safely. We’re ready to help you get your aircraft prepared for the winter. To learn more about the quality service, available from BAC, visit our services page.
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Tips on Aircraft Technical Analysis
We’ve come across a valuable article that we feel every pilot should read. David Wyndham of Conklin & De Decker wrote an informative piece recently on Globalair.com, discussing important points in evaluating aircraft performance and technical specifications. With such a diverse choice of private airplanes, it’s often difficult to analyze your needs. Wyndham breaks down how he is able to evaluate “apples to apples.”
Read the article in its entirety, published on Globalair.com.
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Flying Missions for Heroes
This August, Pilot Andre Bohy, a key member of our BAC “family” related his involvement with Veteran’s Airlift Command (VAC) and the heartwarming mission he flew to help a wounded veteran reunite with her family. This volunteer organization of pilots fly wounded Iraq and Afghanistan service members and their families to and from hospitals and special events, when they would otherwise be unable to afford the airfare on their own.
VAC was contacted by Major Yvonne Heib, an active duty Army Operating Nurse who was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan four times throughout her 15 year Army career. Last January, just two days before her latest Afghanistan deployment was completed, Major Heib was wounded during a mortar attack that exploded 6 feet away from her. Her numerous injuries rendered her unable to perform her nursing duties and she is currently assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion and stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. She was injured on her right hand, received shrapnel to both legs, chest, right arm, and head and suffered permanent nerve damage to her left leg. She has so far undergone 5 surgeries and there are more to come.
With her numerous surgeries, Major Heib had not been able to visit her family since her return stateside. She contacted the VAC to request air transportation so that she could attend her niece’s wedding on August 21st. In addition, she wanted to surprise her oldest brother who was celebrating his 50th birthday that same weekend. She and her brother were always close and he was quite shaken up when he heard of his sister’s injuries.
Andre Bohy, who is based out of Business Aircraft Jet Center volunteered to fly out of Danbury airport for the mission, pick her up at Fort Bragg, and fly her to Enid, Oklahoma for the wedding and return her afterwards. The trip consisted of a total of 3,000 nautical miles in his Bonanza F33A. Bohy is also is president of New York-based Omni Financial and explained, “Our company does business with the military and this is our way of giving back to them.” This was his first flight for the VAC but he plans on working with them whenever he is called on for years to come. “Personally, as a pilot, I enjoy the satisfaction that comes from giving back to the men and women who have been injured on front lines while protecting our freedoms."
The Veterans Airlift Command provides free air transportation to wounded warriors, veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. For more information about the VAC, visit their website at veteransarlift.org.
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Breaking Down the FAA’s Three-Year Life-Limit Rule
On July 20th, the FAA filed its final ruling on “Re-Registration and Renewal of Aircraft Registration.” This new rule will impact the entire private aircraft industry and confusion abounds. This rule will terminate the registration of all aircraft registered before October 1, 2010, and will require the re-registration of each aircraft in order to retain U.S. civil aircraft status. These amendments establish a system for a 3-year expiration and renewal of registration every three years for all aircraft issued registration certificates on or after October 1, 2010.
The database compiled from an estimated hundreds of thousands of newly registered aircraft will be used by the FAA to determine ownership in response to an overdue flight or report of a downed aircraft. Law enforcement and other government agencies use the database for their own purposes.
For more information on this new regulation, we recommend reading this article "Understanding The FAA's New Aircraft Re-Registration And Renewal Requirements" on GlobalAir.com.
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Last month, there were a particularly high number of small aircraft crashes throughout the US. While there was no single factor that contributed to this spike (pilot error, weather, etc.) we’d like to stress the importance of keeping your plane well serviced and maintained. BAC and Danbury Aviation take your safety seriously, and provide expert full-service maintenance including inspections, repairs and modifications provided onsite by Master Aviation, Inc. Our service center is open seven days a week from 7:45am to 7:00pm.
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A Salute to the 2010 Citation Special Olympics Airlift Pilots
This past week, Cessna coordinated its 6th Annual Special Olympics Airlift, transporting 2,000 athletes to and from the Special Olympics US National Games in Lincoln, NE. It has become the largest peacetime airlift in the world, and we salute the Citation pilots who volunteered and enabled these special athletes the opportunity to go for the gold.
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New Ownership Brings Improvements to BAC
In March, Business Aircraft Jet Center was purchased by Tango Yankee, LLC, owned and operated by Lynda and Santo Silvestro of New Canaan, CT. Since then, the couple has been busy with renovations, planning fun Fly-Ins, lowering jet fuel prices, and providing frequent customers with a new program to help them save with “Corporate Crew Rewards.”
Now BAC customers can earn great rewards. With every 500 gallons of Jet Fuel purchased at BAC, you’ll receive a $50 American Express Gift Card and free use of a courtesy car for local transportation. Not only does BAC have the lowest jet fuel prices in the NY Tri-State area, you can earn rewards to enjoy anything you’d like, including all the fine dining and shopping Danbury has to offer.
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Corporate Jets Do Not Equate to Corporate Greed
The industry is fighting back. During the height of the recession, corporate jet travel was vilified, becoming the poster child for what was wrong with the economy, at least according to certain congress members who pointed it out during the car company bail-out hearings. However, according to an article in Forbes, the industry is working to educate the consumer as to why it’s not always a luxury, but it is also a necessity for many businesses. In what has become the dramatic quote of the time, Rep. Gary Ackerman told Detroit’s CEOs in November 2008, "It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo." Unfortunately that public opinion has had a very negative, direct affect on the industry. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported that for the first three quarters of 2009, there was a sharp 37.8% drop in sales from the same period a year before. The industry “has been working to educate consumers, executives and especially Capitol Hill — on why the corporate jet is not just a luxury for the few, but a necessity for business,” Forbes reported. Also working hard to change public opinion is the National Business Aviation Association, which campaigns to explain how essential business aviation is to our nation's economy and transportation industry. They have brought to the forefront the importance of the jobs created from corporate aviation, especially in those areas with little or no airline service. Many lawmakers have been surprised to learn that 85% of private air travelers are from small and mid-sized companies, and almost 75% that travel are middle managers, most of which are trying to visit three or five cities in a single day.
If you would like more information about the campaign to educate the public and lawmakers about the benefits of saving an estimated 1.2 million private aviation jobs visit General Aviation Serves America.
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