Aviation Maintenance Technology Program has impact on San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) Students

November 11th, 2014

 

SJVCFresno-Aircraft-Maintenance-instructor-Don-Dutra1

Aviation Maintenance  Technology Program has impact on San Joaquin Valley College SJVC Students

As an instructor for  San Joaquin Valley College’s (SJVC) Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program, Don Dutra has seen every type of student join his Powerplant class. Those eager faces fresh out of high school, career-change seekers, and close-to-retirement adventurers who are finally fulfilling a dream, stare back at him. Aviation Maintenance  Technology Program has impact on SJVC Students.

“We get some students with zero experience and those who have been in the job market for awhile,” says Mr. Dutra.

No matter what their work background or experience level, the AMT program will have a positive impact. “Even when a student has not really decided that this is the right course for them, it is important that they keep working toward completion; not giving up,” says Dutra. “Maybe for the first time, they learned to finish what they started and to become good at something.”

What seems to be an obstacle to their success, if overcome, “helps graduates to become good employees – no matter what the field – and good civilians,” as Dutra calls it. “Many happy parents and spouses are grateful they finished and look forward to the next chapter.”

And, then there is the ‘natural,’ that person who was born to fly…or keep things flying.

“That student is motivated by being around aircraft; seeing all the different aspects of aviation,” says Dutra, whose program is located at Fresno-Yosemite National airport where students can look out on the runway and see aircraft take off and land daily.

“They don’t get bored seeing that, and they know that one day they’re going to be turning wrenches on similar aircraft,” Don says.

Mr. Dutra’s Powerplant class provides instruction in all facets of aircraft engines. Students are up to their shoulders in huge engines of all imaginable aircraft in the campus’ expansive hangar.

Don describes his teaching style as more ‘coaching’ than professorial. “I like to let my students learn from their own mistakes and then briefly explain what went right and what went wrong,” he says. “A belly flop makes a better point and they retain the information long-term.”

Don Dutra spent some of his 23-years as a Navy jet mechanic teaching ‘mechanics school’ to Navy and Marine recruits. After separation from the military he decided to get the formal education necessary to continue a career as an educator.

He earned his A.S. and B.A. degrees while going to school at night and working full-time for SJVC. He took the FAA exam to get his Inspector Authorization license. Don’s experience allowed him to bypass additional training for the test. He passed on his first try.

“Airframe and Powerplant certified mechanics with an IA endorsement is about the highest honor mechanics can achieve in their career,” says Jason Alves, Academic Dean.

During these years of balancing work, school, homework and home-life with his wife, Mary, Don lived the spread-thin life many of his students experience today. He can tell them first-hand that the end result is worth it.

“I am the very first person in my family to ever earn a college degree,” he says having grown up in Fresno in a family of eleven. But, he had good role models. “My mom worked hard her whole life, and my dad was a junk man who spent his life buying and selling cars, which is where I got my interest in engines.”

Don wants to make sure that his students get every bit of life and career experience he has to give them.

“I want our students to walk away with something that serves them in long-term employment and, hopefully, happiness,” he says. “When they walk away with their license, we know they’ve accomplished what they came here for and we’ve done what we are supposed to do.”

Judging from a long line of grads that stop by the campus, the successes are self-evident. Their claims of “I couldn’t have done it without you,” and “I am amazed and surprised at how much we learn here and apply on the job,” reinforce Don’s confidence in what the AMT program provides.

Toward this end, Don likes to plant seeds of wisdom and offer a little inspiration that might help his students get there from here.

“I tell them that there will always be the stories about the pilot who saved the day or landed the plane safely,” he says. “But, what you never hear about is the mechanic. It’s the mechanic – you – who puts that plane in the air; and it’s only going to stay there if you do your job right.”

Don’s words make a nice landing.

For more information on San Joaquin Valley College / Fresno Aviation please click on the following link to inquire about becoming an Aviation Technician:

http://www.aviationschoolsonline.com/school-info/San-Joaquin-Valley-College-AMT-Program/1253/3032/F/2.php

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PIA Instructor Receives Statewide Recognition

November 10th, 2014

PIA Vector Logo big- Plane

PIA Instructor Receives Statewide Recognition  

September 26, 2014 (Pittsburgh, PA) – The Aviation Council of Pennsylvania (ACP) recognized Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) Instructor Dave Koehler as the recipient of their 2014 Education Award. The award was bestowed on Koehler for his work with PIA’s courses on Aircraft Instruments and Controls. Koehler, a PIA graduate and 14 year veteran of the instructional staff, was grateful for the acknowledgment. “I’m honored and flattered to even be nominated,” Koehler said. “It’s quite humbling to be recognized for my efforts.” Koehler brings a wide range of experience to the classroom, including work as a maintenance controller and quality control management. He constantly updates his teaching materials to reflect the latest advancements in the field of aviation. Many of Koehler’s pupils affirm the ACP’s selection, describing him as enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate. Koehler appreciates watching his students grow during their time at PIA. “I enjoy attending graduation and seeing the changes my students have undergone since going through my class,” Koehler said. The ACP also selected Corey Staley, a student at the Hagerstown Branch Campus, for their Aviation Technology Scholarship. The ACP focuses on improving and promoting aviation in both the government and private sector while increasing public awareness of aviation and aerospace. PIA President John Graham III serves as a member of the ACP Board of Directors. About Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics The school was opened by Glenn Curtiss and Orville Wright in 1927 as Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, and became PIA in 1929. PIA offers “hands-on” training for traditional and non- traditional students in Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Electronics. The instructional staff combine real world experience with class room instruction for an outstanding education. PIA also provides a wide range of student services while the student is in school, and after graduation.  The Career Services Department works one on one with students to reach their employment goals. PIA is often the first stop for many employers looking for quality employees. PIA offers an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree at its West Mifflin, PA location and Diploma programs in Youngstown, OH, Hagerstown, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC.  There is open enrollment through the year accompanied with admissions requirements.   

For more information on Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Flight Schools, and Flight Instructor Jobs click: http://www.aviationschoolsonline.com/

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Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project

November 5th, 2014

 

Watch the trailer of the amazing story of American aviation legend Bob Hoover!

“FLYING THE FEATHERED EDGE is a very special documentary film about aviation, innovation, ruggedness, precision, testing, excellence… and getting it right.

Machines alone could not have pushed the airplane forward. It took courage, and out of the box thinking. This film, about the authentic life of a dedicated American and our greatest living aviator, R.A. “Bob” Hoover, shows how by pushing the edge of the flight envelope, a handful of pilots enabled aviation to be safer for others — indefinitely.

WWII veteran and prisoner of war, Bob Hoover escaped Stalag Luft 1 and flew to safety by stealing an enemy aircraft. As an accomplished experimental test pilot, he participated in breaking the speed of sound and launching the world into the Jet Age. During his unrivaled international air show career, he performed for millions of spectators worldwide for over three decades.

The purpose of the film is to celebrate the spirit of the American fighter pilot, show the courage and the innovation that was essential to the birth of the jet age, and to enable the audience to relive incredible stories from a man born of simple beginnings in Tennessee who lived his dream of becoming the pilot he always wanted to be.

Filmmaker Kim Furst is an award winning director and editor of popular documentaries. Recent work includes Discovery Channel’s three part series ‘Rocket Challenge,” film editor of “One Six Right,” producer/director for AirshowBuzz’s “The Horsemen Cometh” about a formation aerobatics P-51 team, and producer of 5 hours of behind the scenes documentaries for “Mission Impossible 3,” for which she won the Golden Satellite Award, that industry’s highest award.”

Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project links:
YouTube! http://www.youtube.com/thepilotspilot
Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/TheBobHooverP…
Twitter! http://twitter.com/FlyngFethrdEdge
Webs! http://www.thebobhooverproject.com

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Renting Airplanes Just Got Better with OpenAirplane

September 23rd, 2014

Renting airplanes with OpenAirplaneOpenAirplane Launches New Service

Press Release
CHICAGO, IL September 18, 2014 – Renting airplanes just got better as OpenAirplane launched a new service today to encourage pilots to fly more. The new feature rewards pilots who are renting airplanes using OpenAirplane for referring their friends to the company with a $25 credit the first time another pilot they referred flies using the program.  “We’ve found that pilots who have flown using OpenAirplane to be our very best advocates.” said Rod Rakic, co-founder at OpenAirplane, “We’ve built our referral program to get more pilots flying.”Pilots who have rented with our program automatically become eligible to refer their friends. Pilots can refer up to 5 of their friends by entering their email addresses. Any pilot who has not flown with OpenAirplane yet is eligible to help their friends earn credits.The first time each of the pilots who were referred flies using OpenAirplane, whether it is a checkout or a rental, a $25 credit will be automatically added to the referring pilot’s account. Pilots can earn up to $125 in credit if all 5 of their friends start flying with OpenAirplane.Credits earned will automatically be applied the next time the referring pilot flies with OpenAirplane, reducing the cost of flying any checkout or rental.OpenAirplane is now live at over 70 locations across the U.S., with the network offering everything from taildraggers to twins. Over 30 models and 250 aircraft are now available to rent with OpenAirplane. Over 8,000 pilots from around the U.S. now signed up to fly with OpenAirplane. OpenAirplane’s innovative reputation system brings transparency to both sides of the rental transaction for pilots and operators.Pilots who want to get started flying with the company can sign up for free at www.OpenAirplane.com 

About OpenAirplane:

Established in May 2012 and based in Chicago, Illinois, OpenAirplane makes everyone’s pilot certificate more useful. The company offers a commerce platform for private aviation to make it easy to find, book, fly, and pay for aircraft rental online or a mobile device. OpenAirplane helps operators to get better utilization of their fleets, and helps pilots fly more.

PRESS CONTACT: 

Rod Rakic, co-founder, OpenAirplane, inc.

rod@OpenAirplane.com

+1.312.436.1018

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Aviation Apps !

September 12th, 2014

There are literally thousands of aviation apps for pilots and flying enthusiasts available for both Android and Apple platforms.  Here is a small sampling of some of them to take for a test drive.  Try them. Many are free! Perhaps they are already some of your favorites.  Talk to other pilots and get their recommendations and feedback about the apps they use.  If these aren’t exactly what you want, or maybe you just want to explore, there are many other options at your fingertips in the app store!

FlightAware-logo-on-mevvy.com_FlightAware - This app provides free, live flight tracking of GA flights in the US and Canada, and commercial flights around the globe in real-time. Illustrations showing the aircraft’s position on a map while also portraying its previous flight path with a live NEXRAD overlay are very helpful. It also has a search function for specific data using aircraft registration, route, airline, flight number, city pair or airport code.

cloud ahoyCloudAhoy – CloudAhoy uses GPS satellite technology to view your flight path, enabling you to review it once you are on the ground. Data is recorded during a flight and afterwards.  You can lay it over terrain maps or aviation charts allowing for reports or data analysis in a 2D or 3D condition. Flight logging, listing and viewing is free. The debriefing service has an annual fee but one can try it out first.

 

fltplanFltplan Legacy– This app provides the total allowance of US and Canadian aviation charts (VFR and IFR), a documents manager, weather briefing tool, logbook, flight tracking and GPS navigation abilities, and airport FBO info for over 6,000 airports. The new version includes a aircraft checklist feature as well.  It is also able to store flight plan logs created on the fltplan.com website – a valuable tool for pilots.

 

aeropadAeropad – Providing access to PDF’s and images of any size, as well as PDF navigation, aircraft manuals, charts, and a variety of other flight materials, this app is very useful in the cockpit. To allow for an easier viewing experience, there are day and night viewing screens. It has easy file sharing capabilities, one click storing of info, and a whiteboard for writing notes.

 

spin-a-wind

Spin-a-Wind – This app is all about the wind. It can determine wind direction, pressure and density altitude.  It also enables a pilot to follow wind speed by runway number. In addition, runway and wind direction reels now scroll continuously. For safety purposes, this is a must have app!

 

 

WingX Pro7WingX Pro7 – This app requires an annual subscription with a free trial. Moving maps with tracking and in-flight reference using accurate digital charts is what sets this app apart.  A split screen allows for map viewing while also displaying charts. The latest version is compatible with Zaon XRX and SkyRadar ADS-B. Syncing with an external AHRS for altitude based display is also possible.

 

Aviation Weight and BalanceAviation Weight and Balance – It takes the sweat out of the process calculating the weight and balance of an aircraft.  There are over 600 pre-configured aircraft templates, so no problem finding the template you need.  Additionally, if your aircraft is not on the list, you can create a customized template for your aircraft.  Great APP!

 

Garmin PilotGarmin Pilot – This app gives pilots everything they need in one place. It includes pre-flight planning, in-flight navigation, DUATs filing, charts, interactive maps, weather briefing resources and navigation capabilities, and approach plates, just to name a few. It is designed like Garmin’s touchscreen cockpit systems and one’s device with pre-flight data can connect to the cockpit system for a seemless flight. Perhaps most impressive is the weather capabilities with NEXRAD radar, visible and infrared cloud imagery, lightning data, winds and temperature aloft and other weather essentials for a safe flight.

MyRadar weather radarMyRadar Weather Radar – Delivers a clear radar picture centered on your location within moments. Quick animation allows you to quickly assess precipitation shifts. By entering an aircraft N#, the app will show the filed route on a map. It allows you to zoom in on map details and gets storm warnings and real-time tracking of hurricanes from the Nationa Weather Service. The downside is that it only works in the contiguous 48 states of the US.

 

FlightlinkFlightlink – An in-flight cockpit recording app by Lightspeed that is expressly designed for use with Lightspeed Aviation headsets. Once you pair your headset over Bluetooth, the app records all communications, both cockpit and ATC, for instant playback and/or an archive of your flight communications.

 

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Aviation: The Invisible Highway – narrated by Harrison Ford – Official Trailer #1

August 29th, 2014

Official trailer for AVIATION: THE INVISIBLE HIGHWAY: A story about how the airplane has changed the world. Filmed in 18 countries across all 7 continents, it renews our appreciation for one of the most extraordinary and awe-inspiring aspects of the modern world. The documentary is produced and directed by Brian J. Terwilliger (“One Six Right”), narrated by Harrison Ford, and features an original score by Academy Award-winning composer James Horner. It’s scheduled for a 2015 release.

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AirVenture – A History of The World’s Largest Airshow

August 11th, 2014
AirVenture Oshkosh

Start of AirVenture 2014, Oshkosh, Wi.

This year, between July 28th and August 3rd, we attended AirVenture, the world’s largest airshow. Each summer, it is a week at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin that is like no other.  It’s a week full of the latest in airplanes and helicopters, breathtaking air shows, films, energetic concerts, various demonstrations, workshops, and numerous other fun filled activities centered around aviation, attracting nearly 500,000 people every year.  This annual celebration of aviation is called EAA AirVenture and is held by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which is an international community of people who all share the same love and appreciation of flight.

Originally called the EAA Fly-In, the first get-together was a part of the Milwaukee Air Pageant in September of 1953. Approximately 150 people attended and there were only a small number of airplanes.  Every year it grew and even before the 1950s ended, the EAA Fly-In out-grew the Milwaukee airport.

The event then moved to Rockford, Illinois Municipal airport.  With more space, the EAA Fly-In expanded its aviation interests to include warbirds, aerobatic performers, and antique aircraft. Soon Rockford could no longer contain the growing EAA Fly-In and once again the event had to relocate.

AirVenture Oshkosh

Warbird Alley at AirVenture

The airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, suggested by Steve Wittman, had the ideal qualities to host such an event.  The land surrounding the airport could accommodate the numerous airplanes, tents, and vehicles.  Also, the two runways at the airport didn’t intersect, allowing traffic to flow better. The EAA board approved the move to Oshkosh in 1969.

It turned out to be the perfect place and became the home of the  EAA Fly-In which was renamed EAA AirVenture in 1998. Each year approximately 500,000 people make the journey to Oshkosh with 10,000 aircraft in attendance. It is the biggest aviation event in the world!

X-Copter Simulator

X-Copter Helicopter Flight Simulator

This year’s  at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 had some great new additions! The Thunderbirds’ entire team of F-16s flew for the first time as a result of an increased acrobatic area for them to perform! Also, air shows were streamed online for everyone to enjoy. The newest helicopter flight simualtor, X-Copter, was at AirVenture this year – one of the first helicopter flight simulators to be on display at AirVenture.  There was also a ‘One Week Wonder’, an airplane built from a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit in seven days by everyone at the show who wanted to help and it flew! In addition, this year’s space themed days included special guest speakers discussing everything on the topic including private space exploration. Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman, stated in a recent interview that he sees space aviation as a growing and important sector of Oshkosh in the coming years.  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is constantly changing and growing every year and it’s no wonder it has become aviation’s mecca!

Check out our Facebook page for all our AirVenture 2014 photo albums at: https://www.facebook.com/AviationSchools 

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What are “quality” flight hours?

June 5th, 2014

Soon after getting your flight certificates and ratings you will want to start building up flight time.  If flying is a hobby, getting quality flight time will not only be fun, but it will make you a safer pilot.  If being a professional pilot and flying for a living is your dream, logging quality time is not an option, it’s a necessity.
But, what is “quality flight time”?  Consider Silvia and Nelson, both have just finished their flight training and are anxious to start getting paid to fly in hopes of becoming airline pilots one day.
Nelson marches himself to the local airport and applies for a sight seeing pilot position.  He gets the job and is soon taking passengers on sight seeing tours in a Cessna 182 showing them the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon and area around it.
Silvia, on the other hand, starts flight instructing at her local flight school and soon has a couple of private pilot students and an instrument student.
Nelson logs almost 600 hours his first year!  Silvia only logs 430 hours.  Who has the most fight time?  And, more important, who has the most “quality flight time”?
While Nelson may have more hours in his logbook, most, if not all, of that flight time is VFR (Visual Flight Rules) day time.  Nelson probably hasn’t flown in instrument conditions very much (conditions in which you have no reference to an outside horizon and you have to fly and navigate with reference to the airplane’s instruments only).  Nelson also has little night time in his logbook.
Silvia has less total time, but her pilot skills are as sharp as they’ll ever be – student pilots tend to ask tough questions, keep you on your toes, and really test your abilities as a pilot.  Instrument students (students working on their Instrument rating) have kept Silvia’s instrument skills razor sharp.  She’s also been able to log a decent amount of cross country time and night time.
The point is, as in other aspects of life, you should concentrate on Quality as much, if not more so, than Quantity.  Employers hiring pilots know (or should know) the difference between someone who’s logged a lot of VFR day time versus someone who’s been willing to stretch outside their comfort zones in order to keep learning, improve their piloting skills, and really grow as a pilot.
Some of the best lessons I’ve learned as a pilot have come from flight instructing private pilot students or flying as a ferry pilot.  These experiences are priceless, but it required a commitment to seek out opportunities that would require stepping outside my comfort zone.  As a result, I can often hold my own when talking to pilots with a lot more flight time than I, but without as many interesting experiences.
Now, don’t get me wrong, any time you get an opportunity to fly (even as a sight seeing pilot), take it!  VFR day time is still better than no time.  But, make sure you continue to learn and grow as a pilot by seeking out opportunities that stretch your boundaries.
Here are 6 ideas to do just that:
1. If you’re a CFII, take on a good balance of primary and advanced students
Primary students will keep you on your toes and, since they can’t fly yet, will allow you to demonstrate many of the maneuvers before they can do it themselves.  Being a CFI, in and of itself, is a great way to stay sharp as pilot, be sure to check out the FAA handbook for flight instructors on the FAA website (http://www.faa.gov)
2. Attend FAA Safety Seminars
In addition to getting free information to keep you safe and legal, these are great opportunities to network with pilots in your area.  You never know who you might meet.  To sign up for these FREE seminars, visit the Flight Safety website (http://www.faasafety.gov).
3. Join an organization and do some x/c flying
Many airports are home to flying clubs or other flying organizations that will offer you the opportunity to participate on fly-ins and other adventures.  A great way to meet other pilots and gain from their expertise.  Social Flight (http://www.socialflight.com) is a great site that will keep you updated about flying activities in your area. (Social Flite)
4. Participate in a race
There are several air races throughout the year.  Even if you don’t own an airplane, you could join a team and become a involved in a race as a supporting member.  The Air Race Classic (http://www.airraceclassic.org) is one example of a fun race that happens annually.
5. Get an additional endorsement or get checked out in a different aircraft
Flying as many types of airplanes as you can is a great way to gain an indescribable type of experience.  It helps you become more in touch with the machines that you operate as your body and senses start discerning all the different nuances of different aircraft.  For example, the lessons I learned when earning my tailwheel endorsement translated to making me a much better pilot in any airplane I get to fly.
6. Offer to ferry airplanes
When I was building up flight time, ferrying was the bets way to do it fast!  You really have to be on top of your game, since you will be flying unfamiliar airplanes whose history you don’t know much about.  You’ll be flying over unfamiliar terrain, into and out of unfamiliar airports, and it’s almost a given that you’ll run into un-forcasted weather or unplanned mechanical issues.  Visit PilotTricks.com to read about my own ferrying adventures.
In conclusion, make sure to keep you skills sharp, always look for opportunities to learn and, of course, stay safe!
For more ideas on building “quality” flight time, visit: http://www.pilottricks.com/when-it-comes-to-flight-time-is-quality-better-than-quantity

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What should I study to become a pilot?

May 31st, 2014

photo by PilotTricks.com

photo by PilotTricks.com

The question comes up over and over, “I’m not good at math, but I want to be a pilot, what should I study in college?”
There is no right or wrong answer to this question…at least not in the sense that you might be thinking.  Perhaps because the question itself is flawed.  The real question should be, “How am I going to go about making my dreams a reality?”

 

Answering this question is going to take some soul searching.  First you have to determine what your dreams are.  Then, you have to determine what the steps are to achieving your dreams.  And the most important step, of course, is to start taking action.

Let’s go through this step by step:

1. What are you passionate about?

If you think you might be passionate about flying, you need to get specific and clear on what your ultimate goal is.  In other words, what type of pilot do you want to be and why?

If “money” or “status” are high on the list of reasons why you want to fly – you need to do some more soul searching.  Passion lies beyond material things – it’s something that you would do even if you didn’t get paid for it. The type of flying is also important – airline flying, for instance is different than corporate flying, different than military type flying, different than cargo flying, etc.  Find out what type of flying would suit you best.

2. Depending on the type of career you want, you now have to figure out a road map to get there.

Find companies offering the types of career you want or individuals who already have the type job you want.  Figure out what the requirements are.  College degree? Any special certifications?  For instance, most airlines require a college degree – they don’t specify what type of degree.  This is probably due to the fact that today’s aircraft are so sophisticated that they do most of the work for you.  If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, you have the required math skills required to be an airline pilot.

Other type of pilot careers may require more advanced degrees, e.g. Test Pilots usually have engineering degrees.

3. Take massive action.

Once you know the requirements, find out where get them.  Research schools, talk to others who have already achieved some level of success, and then act.  If you’re still not sure what to choose as a field of study in college, check out this article that will give you plenty of ideas.

Article Author: Ruth Morlas is dedicated to helping others reach their dream of becoming a pilot.  For more information visit http://www.PilotTricks.com.

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Final Ruling on Helicopter Safety by the FAA

March 20th, 2014

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  issued a final rule in Feb 2014 that requires helicopter operators, including air ambulances, to have stricter flight rules and procedures, improved communications, training, and additional on-board safety equipment. The rule represents the most significant improvements to helicopter safety in decades and responds to government’s and industry’s concern over continued risk in helicopter operations.

“This is a landmark rule for helicopter safety,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “These improvements will better prepare

FAA-Logo

Airmen beware – The FAA has made several unannounced changes to three different airman knowledge tests

pilots and better equip helicopters, ensuring a higher level of safety for passengers and crew.”

All U.S. helicopter operators, including air ambulances, are required to use stricter flying procedures in bad weather. This will provide a greater margin of safety by reducing the probability of collisions with terrain, obstacles or other aircraft.

Within 60 days, all operators will be required to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations. Within three years, helicopter air ambulances must use the latest on-board technology and equipment to avoid terrain and obstacles, and within four years, they must be equipped with flight data monitoring systems.

[Search ALL the Helicopter Pilot Schools on Aviation Schools Online HERE !]

“This rule is a significant advancement in helicopter safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.  “This rule will help reduce risk and help pilots make good safety decisions through the use of better training, procedures, and equipment.”

Under the new rule, all Part 135 helicopter operators are required to:

  • Equip their helicopters with radio altimeters.
  • Have occupants wear life preservers and equip helicopters with a 406 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) when a helicopter isConsidering Becoming an Ag Pilot? Thoughts on Aerial Application operated beyond power-off glide distance from the shore.
  • Use higher weather minimums when identifying an alternate airport in a flight plan.
  • Require that pilots are tested to handle flat-light, whiteout, and brownout conditions and demonstrate competency in recovery from an inadvertent encounter with instrument meteorological conditions.

In addition, under the new rule, all air ambulance operators are required to:

  • Equip with Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS).
  • Equip with a flight data monitoring system within four years.
  • Establish operations control centers if they are certificate holders with 10 or more helicopter air ambulances.
  • Institute pre-flight risk-analysis programs.
  • Ensure their pilots in command hold an instrument rating.
  • Ensure pilots identify and document the highest obstacle along the planned route before departure.
  • Comply with Visual Flight Rules (VFR) weather minimums, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at airports/heliports without weather reporting, procedures for VFR approaches, and VFR flight planning.
  • Conduct the flight using Part 135 weather requirements and flight crew time limitation and rest requirements when medical personnel are on board.
  • Conduct safety briefings or training for medical personnel.

Since August 2004, the FAA has promoted initiatives to reduce risk for helicopter air ambulance operations (See FAA Fact Sheet). While

FlightSafety International has been granted level 7 approval for their Bell 407 FTD.

FlightSafety

accidents did decline in the years following that effort, 2008 proved to be the deadliest year on record with five accidents that claimed 21 lives. The FAA examined helicopter air ambulance accidents from 1991 through 2010 and determined 62 accidents that claimed 125 lives could have been mitigated by today’s rule. While developing the rule, the FAA considered 20 commercial helicopter accidents from 1991 through 2010 (excluding air ambulances) that resulted in 39 fatalities. From 2011 through 2013, there were seven air ambulance accidents resulting in 19 fatalities and seven commercial helicopter accidents that claimed 20 lives.

The estimated cost of the final rule in present value for the air ambulance industry is $224 million with a total benefit of $347 million over 10 years. The cost for other commercial operators is $19 million with a total benefit of $83 million over 10 years.  There is no cost for any operators to use new Class G airspace weather minimums for visual flying but the benefit is $147 million over 10 years.

The rule responds to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and National Transportation Safety Board recommendations.

Read the FAA Final Rule on Helicopter Air Ambulance, Commercial Helicopter, and Part 91 Helicopter
Operations.

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