FAA Administrator Signals Safety Evolution

October 6th, 2015

Plane above morning Earth

Speaking today at the Flight Safety Foundation’s Newsmaker Breakfast at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Federal AviationAdministration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced the next step in the FAA’s continuing evolution of working with those it regulates. The FAA developed the new Compliance Philosophy to  enhance our ability to find safety problems before they result in an incident or accident, use the best tools to fix those problems, and then monitor the situation to ensure that no new problems develop. This approach recognizes that most operators comply with the rules and use Safety Management Systems to identify hazards. They then assess the risks from those hazards, and put measures in place to mitigate the risks.

The Compliance Philosophy challenges the status quo. The FAA wants safe operators, not operators who inadvertently make a mistake and then hide it because they’re afraid they will be punished. Based on cooperation and trust, it encourages an open and transparent exchange of information and data between the FAA and industry. The Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) successfully used this approach to reduce the risk in U.S. commercial aviation by 83 percent over 10 years.

“The FAA’s Compliance Philosophy helps the FAA and industry to use critical thinking to work smarter and more efficiently to get to the bottom of potential safety problems,” said Huerta. “It’s about finding a problem, fixing a problem, and making sure it stays fixed.”

Huerta stressed that the FAA will continue to have zero tolerance for intentional reckless behavior, inappropriate risk-taking, repeat failures, falsification, failure to fulfill commitments, or deviation from regulatory standards.  The FAA will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement action in these circumstances.

Read FAA Administrator Huerta’s speech on FAA.gov.

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FAA Awards $24.5 Million in Environmental Grants to Airports

September 17th, 2015

Beautiful view of silhouette of airplaneWASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx recently awarded $24.5 million in Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants to 11 airports around the country to reduce emissions and improve air quality through the FAA’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) and Zero Emissions Airport Vehicle (ZEV) programs.

“These programs are crucial to our efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and make our skies and roads more environmentally-friendly,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to working with airports and communities across the nation to improve air quality and protect the health of future generations of Americans.”

VALE is designed to reduce all sources of airport ground emissions in areas that do not meet air quality standards. The FAA established the program in 2005 to help airport sponsors meet their air quality responsibilities under the Clean Air Act.  Through these programs, airport sponsors can use Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds and Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) to help acquire refueling and recharging stations, electrified gates, low-emission vehicles, and other airport-related air quality improvements.

The ZEV program, created through the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, allows airport sponsors to use AIP funds to purchase vehicles that produce zero exhaust emissions.  AIP funds can cover up to 50 percent of these total project costs.  Airport sponsors also can use federal funds to pay for any needed infrastructure construction or modification needed to facilitate the delivery of the fuel and services for these vehicles.

“The FAA continues to award grants for projects with short-term and long-term emissions reductions benefits on or near airports,” said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta.  “These airports must be responsible environmental stewards and good neighbors to their surrounding communities.”

The $23.4 million in VALE grants include:

  • Chicago O’Hare International, $2 million– to purchase and install 15 ground power units (GPUs) and pre-conditioned air (PCA) units, which will allow aircraft arriving at overnight parking positions to shut off their auxiliary power units and connect to a clean central heating and cooling system.  The project will save fuel and reduce aircraft emissions on the ground.
  • Memphis International, $1.3 million – to purchase and install three GPUs and PCA units.
  • Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall, $2.5 million– to purchase and install eight GPUs and eight PCAs for passenger gates.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International, $1 million – to install 28 charging stations in Terminal four for electric ground service equipment.
  • Port Columbus International, OH, $2.7 million– to purchase and install 13 GPUs and 11 PCAs at passenger gates.
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International, AL $2.6 million – to purchase seven clean fuel burning vehicles and a refueling station.
  • Indianapolis International, $3.9 million– to purchase and install 12 GPUs and 22 stationary pole lights.  The stationary pole lights will replace diesel-powered lights and will help illuminate ramp operations on the cargo apron to improve safety and reduce fossil fuel emissions.
  • William P. Hobby, Houston, TX, $1.6 million – to purchase and install five PCAs and GPUs for passenger gates.
  • Cleveland Hopkins International, $1.1 million – to install four GPUs and PCAs for passenger gates.

The $955,088 in ZEV grants include:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, $926,789 – to purchase one electric shuttle bus for passenger service from terminal to terminal and fund infrastructure needed to charge the vehicle, including one wireless inductive charging pad and one long-term charging area.
  • Lambert-St. Louis International, $28,299 – to fund four electric utility carts for on-airport emergency services, and other uses.

Through VALE, airports are reducing ozone emissions by approximately 801 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing more than 44,735 cars and trucks from the road annually.  In fiscal year 2014, the FAA issued $16.6 million in VALE grants for nine projects at nine airports.  Since 2005, the FAA has funded 87 VALE projects at 44 airports, which represents a total investment of $215 million in clean airport technology.  That amount includes $173 million in federal grants and $42 million in local airport matching funds.

The Airport Improvement Program (AIP) provides more than $3 billion in annual funding for projects that are vital to maintaining the safety, security, capacity, efficiency, and environmental stewardship of the nation’s airports.  More than 3,300 airports are eligible for AIP grants benefiting commercial passengers, cargo operations, and general aviation activities throughout the nation.

The VALE program supports the objectives of the President’s Climate Action Plan.  The Plan builds on efforts to address climate change and support clean energy innovation.  The Plan also includes historic investments in advanced vehicle and fuel technologies, public transit, and rail under the Recovery Act.  The investments also include ambitious new fuel economy standards put into place for cars and trucks, which the Administration has worked to develop since 2009 in collaboration with industry.

For more information about the programs, visit:



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Virginia Beach Military Aviation Museum & Enthusiasts Step Back in Time for World War I Airshow

September 9th, 2015

Fokker Dr.I (yellow)VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 4, 2015) – The Military Aviation Museum’s Biplanes and Triplanes World War One Air Show kicks off Saturday, Oct. 3-4, in Pungo, Va., taking guests back to the 1920s for a weekend of flying, colorful World War One aircraft, live performances, elaborate reenactor encampments, a hangar-side movie showing, and more.

“Biplanes and Triplanes is all about immersing yourself in the 1920s. Folks come for the experience—watching the beautifully painted World War One airplanes dance through the sky, the entertainers, the history of it all. Whether you are an aviation buff or just someone looking for a great day out with the family, it’s a day you’ll remember,” said Mike Potter, Director of the Military Aviation Museum.

Beginning 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, guests are invited to wander through reenactor encampments, check out the on-site flea market exhibiting military and aviation memorabilia, and enjoy afternoon flights featuring the Military Aviation Museum’s World War One aircraft. 1920s-themed entertainers will take to the Museum’s stage throughout the weekend, to include The Manhattan Dolls, Theresa Eaman and other notable performers, such as the famous Charlie Chaplin. While at the show, delicious cuisine will be provided by local food vendors.

Visitors will also have the unique opportunity to witness part of the Mid-Atlantic WWI Dawn Patrol, a world-class display of remote-controlled flight in the spirit of WWI-era aviation, featuring pilots from around the world. To finish off Saturday’s festivities, the Museum will host a chicken/steak dinner, available for purchase online or at the gate, and a hangar-side showing of the movie Fly Boys. Activities end at 9 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, and 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 4.

For those that want to not only watch, but take to the skies themselves, the Military Aviation Museum will offer airplane rides over the incredible Virginia Beach landscape in two of their open-cockpit planes. Both their 1941 Boeing Stearman, which accommodates one passenger, and their Waco YMF-5, which fits two, will be available for booking. To schedule your flight, visit http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org/RideWithUs.html

Tickets are available online at an early-bird rate through September 28—$20 for an adult single-day admission or $40 for an adult weekend admission. Youth admission tickets at the early-bird rate are available for $10 for a single day admission and $15 for the weekend. After September 28, tickets will be sold online and at the door at regular rates. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.militaryaviationmuseum.org/ww1-airshow_2015%20tickets.html

For more information about the Biplanes & Triplanes Air Show, call the Military Aviation Museum at 757- 721-7767 or go online to www.VBairshow.com.

About the Mid-Atlantic WWI Dawn Patrol:

September 30, through October 4, 2015, is the fourth annual Mid-Atlantic WWI Dawn Patrol at the Military Aviation Museum—a world-class display of remote-controlled flight in the spirit of WWI-era aviation. Pilots from around the world will converge at the museum to demonstrate their talents both as pilots and as model builders. One of the fastest growing festivals for remote-control aviation, the Dawn Patrol will showcase models of up to 65-percent scale, all built to exacting standards, illustrating some of the more colorful specimens of the earliest warbirds. The event is produced in partnership with Tidewater R/C (Charter #641), the local chapter of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). Flights will take place from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. all week and will be included in the Biplanes & Triplanes Air Show over the weekend.

About the Military Aviation Museum:

A 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the Military Aviation Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of airworthy military aircraft from the first 50-years of flight. Truly a living museum, its aircraft are in restoration at facilities around the world. Besides the main Museum the Virginia Beach complex features additional exhibition spaces, including a mid-1930s Luftwaffe hangar, originally from Cottbus, Germany, which now serves to house the Museum’s collection of WWII-vintage German aircraft. Additional structures include the WWI Hangar, in which reside the Museum’s genuine 1918 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny and other aircraft of the period. Visitwww.militaryaviationmuseum.org for more information or call 757-721-7767.

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High School Program Delivers Helicopter Flight Training and S.T.E.M. Education

August 31st, 2015

tricity prep3

Prescott, AZ. August 31, 2015 - For the third year-in-a-row, Guidance Aviation provided helicopter pilot ground school and introductory helicopter flights for Tri-City Prep High Schoolers. This year’s class ran August 10th – 27th.  The high school students were taught numerous aviation topics including:

  • Helicopter Operations
  • Fundamentals of aerodynamics
  • Instruments and Flight Controls
  • Elements of weather and how they pertain to flight
  • Determining protocols for cross-country flight
  • Physiological and psychological factors affecting human safety
  • Identifying extreme hazards in helicopter flight
  • Using a Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) and Airport Facility Directory (AFD)

The course prepares the students for a portion of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Practical Knowledge Test, necessary to become a certificated helicopter pilot.

The future aviators also had the opportunity to utilize the Guidance Aviation flight simulation lab and fly the X-Copter helicopter simulator, an FAA approved, state-of-the-art helicopter flight training device used to prepare flight students for their first helicopter flights.  X-Copter’s manufacturing facility and corporate offices are also located at the Prescott Municipal Airport (KPRC), adjacent Guidance Aviation.

“Guidance Aviation has been a great partner for Tri-City Prep and genuinely cares for the students’ experiences. The program allows for our students to learn about unique careers in aviation while acquiring education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M),” states Principal Milliken, TriCity Prep.

“Guidance Aviation is delighted to offer our helicopter pilot ground school for the third time at Tri-City Prep High School.  Motivating students and getting them interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math needs to be done more often,” remarked John “JJ” Johnson, Director of Academics, Guidance Aviation.

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FAA Dedicates Runway Pavement Testing Facility

August 27th, 2015

FAA Press Release:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today dedicated its new National Airport Pavement & Materials Research Center at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

The research center is a unique facility that allows FAA engineers to use a custom-designed vehicle simulator to test asphalt and other pavement materials at very high tire pressures and temperatures. Airport pavement temperatures can reach 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit as far north as New York City. Tire pressure ranges from 220 to 250 pounds per square inch on new generation aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus 350. The vehicle simulator has an automated heating system that allows engineers to replicate and analyze the damage that heavy commercial jets can cause to the top asphalt layer when runways are hot. The vehicle was designed to simulate the behavior and weight of aircraft tires, and can show how repetitive aircraft operations affect pavement.

FAA engineers will move the Heavy Vehicle Simulator-Airfields (HVS-A) by remote control between four outdoor pavement test strips and two strips inside a new building, to allow for testing in a controlled environment. FAA engineers recently used the HVS-A to test the performance of airfield paint markings. The HVS-A is 130 feet long, 16 feet wide, 14 feet tall and weighs 240,000 pounds.

The new center will enable the FAA to research environmentally-friendly airport pavement materials such as warm-mix and recycled asphalt pavements.  The FAA’s goal is to expand the use of “greener” materials, and pavement materials that can be modified to enhance pavement durability, workability and strength. This will help airport operators save money by lowering the costs of initial construction, maintenance, and repairs, and will provide a longer pavement life.

The FAA has not recommended the use of environmentally-friendly airport pavement materials yet because research on the effects of aircraft tire pressure and heavy gear loads on green airport pavement materials has been limited.

Construction of the test facility began in August 2013 and was completed in May 2015 at a total cost of $3.8 million. The FAA accepted delivery of the $4.2 million HVS-A on November 1, 2013.

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Next Generation of Airbus Airliner A350-1000′s Wings in Production

August 19th, 2015


August 18, 2015 Press Release from Airbus:

First A350-1000 wing goes into production

The wings for the first Airbus A350-1000 have begun the process of assembly at Broughton, North Wales.

The A350-1000 wing has the same span of the A350-900 that is already in service, but 90% of the parts have been modified and the trailing edge has been extended to resize the wing for the additional payload and range.

At 32 metres long by six metres wide, the A350 XWB wing is the largest single part made from carbon fibre composite material in use in civil aviation today. They are designed and developed at Airbus’ facility in Filton, near Bristol, where a number of other systems are designed and tested including fuel systems and landing gear.

 The high-performance wings of the A350 XWB make the aircraft faster, more efficient and quieter. The wing design includes several streamlined features. Among these are droop-nose leading edge devices and new adaptive dropped-hinge flaps, which increase the jetliner’s efficiency at low speeds.
 To improve efficiency at higher speeds, the A350 XWB can deflect its wing flaps differentially, optimising the wing profile and providing better load control.

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FAA: Wildfires and Drones Don’t Mix

August 3rd, 2015

If You Fly We Can't

WASHINGTON – Responding to recent incidents in which unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as “drones,” interfered with manned aircraft involved in wildland firefighting operations, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is supporting the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service in their simple message to drone operators: If you fly; we can’t.

“Flying a drone near aerial firefighting aircraft doesn’t just pose a hazard to the pilots,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “When aircraft are grounded because an unmanned aircraft is in the vicinity, lives are put at greater risk.”

Often a temporary flight restriction (TFR) is put in place around wildfires to protect firefighting aircraft.  No one other than the agencies involved in the firefighting effort can fly any manned or unmanned aircraft in such a TFR. Anyone who violates a TFR and endangers the safety of manned aircraft could be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties. Even if there is no TFR, operating a UAS could still pose a hazard to firefighting aircraft and would violate Federal Aviation Regulations.

“The FAA’s top priority is safety.  If you endanger manned aircraft or people on the ground with an unmanned aircraft, you could be liable for a fine ranging from $1,000 to a maximum of $25,000,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Know the rules before you fly.  If you don’t, serious penalties could be coming your way for jeopardizing these important missions.”

Since so many people operate unmanned aircraft with little or no aviation experience, the FAA is promoting voluntary compliance and working to educate UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws. The agency has partnered with industry and the modeling community in a public outreach campaign called “Know Before You Fly.”

The campaign recently reminded UAS users to respect wildfire operations.  The National Interagency Fire Center also posted a video warning for users to, “Be Smart. Be Safe. Stay Away.”

Additionally, the FAA provided guidance to law enforcement agencies because they are often in the best position to deter, detect, immediately investigate, and, as appropriate, pursue enforcement actions to stop unauthorized or unsafe unmanned aircraft operations.

So remember this simple message around wildfires: If you fly, they can’t. Keep your drone on the ground and let firefighters and aircraft do their jobs. And, if you see someone flying a drone near a wildfire, report it immediately to local law enforcement and the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office with as much information as possible. You can find the closest FAA office at:http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/.

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Documentary “Reunited”, Produced by Guidance Aviation, Celebrated at Prescott Film Festival

July 20th, 2015


“Reunited”, the short documentary of Arizona resident Barney Wasowicz, U.S. Military Veteran, pilot, and POW, will be celebrated at the 2015 Prescott Film Festival as an “Official Selection” on Sunday, July 26th at 1:00pm.

The film, produced by Guidance Aviation in early 2015, portrays the untold true story of a WWII pilot being reunited with one of the nation’s remaining B-26s, the same aircraft he was shot down in over occupied France 71 years ago on his 18th mission.
In his own voice, Wasowicz shares his emotional journey, memories of his crewmen, and 16 agonizing months in a German prison camp while remaining devout in honoring his fellow Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice during one of the most important and costliest wars in U.S. history.
Film Teaser: http://youtu.be/8TlNma5e2M4

The Prescott Film Festival runs Wed, July 22nd – Sun, July 26th.  This is the film festival’s 6th year. For more info, go to:www.prescottfilmfestival.com 



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FAA Allows Commercial Operation for the Black Hawk Helicopter

July 8th, 2015


The Black Hawk Helicopter’s Role in Military

The Black Hawk helicopter was designed by Sikorsky in the early 70’s to replace the army’s UH-1 Huey. It began to be utilized in 1979, and is still a vital component of military operations. It’s effectiveness for transport of troops, search and rescue, Special Operations and other battlefield assignments has made it a very necessary part of our military’s arsenal, and should be a part for the next few years. However, according to the National Defense Magazine, “the helicopter designs used by the various military branches are at least 30-50 years old.” The Apache attack helicopters and the Sikorsky Black Hawks have both been in use for around 40 years. Because of this, the Army has instituted a plan they call “Future Vertical Lift”, which will include up to four new helicopter models over the span of the next 20 years. One of the proposed replacements is what the Army calls a “ultra” helo that will be so large that it can carry off missions that only the fixed-wing C-130 transport plane can handle.

The New FAA Regulation

Now, with the Black Hawk facing a phase-out based on the plans for new models in the future, it seems that the circumstances may have laid the groundwork for the FAA issuing what is called a “groundbreaking new regulation” pertaining to the commercial operations of the Black Hawk. This restricted-category type certification to (Black Hawk) helicopters will allow commercial operations of the Sikorsky UH-60A for firefighting and other special operations such as aerial crane, contruction and film production. Now, more than the 60 UH-60A recently sold by the U.S. Army, can be used for commercial purposes. Firehawk Helicopters first obtained approval for this certification. This is the first certificate of its kind to be given to a privately-held company. Now, Firehawk Helicopters, Brown Helicopter, and Dynamic Aviation either have or have available for purchase 40 plus UH-60/S-70‘s.

Commercial Uses

The Black Hawk can now be used in multiple commercial scenarios, but one is probably not needed more that its firefighting capabilities. Typically, in a firefighting mission, the smaller helicopters are first on the scene; then, the “heavy lifters” such as the Firehawk Black Hawks are sent in to fight the largest, most threatening fires. The big Black Hawks can safely carry huge 900-gallon buckets, and have cruising speeds of 160-200 MPH, which enables it to access the fire quickly. As the demands of the private sector increase in the areas of border patrol, law enforcement and emergency services, and the increasing needs created by natural disasters (such as Hurricane Katrina), more non-military helicopters such as the Black Hawk, can now be made available.

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AOPA, EAA, NBAA, others, Call H.R. 476 a Disservice to Veterans, Asking Congress to Stop H.R. 476

May 20th, 2015

On May 19, 2015, the Aviation industry came together to protect Veterans and collectively oppose H.R. 476.HR 476 Attacks Veteran Benefits Helicopter Association International (HAI), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) sent a powerful message to Congressional leadership opposing H.R. 476 and calling for its removal.

Industry leadership has called the proposed legislation a “..disservice to our nation’s Veterans….discriminating against veterans seeking a flight-training degree from public institutions of higher learning”.

Read the letter HERE. Then, please SIGN & SHARE The Petition HERE.

Request that Congress STOP H.R. 476.

SIGN & SHARE The Petition HERE

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