Archive for September, 2010

Flight School To Open At Genesee Airport

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Instrument display in a technologically-advanced aircraft.

The Genesee County Airport in New York has not had a flight school since 2007, but will soon be home to a satellite location of Bob Miller Flight Training Inc. The committee that oversees the airport approved a five-year lease of two offices and two new T-hangars at the Genesee County Airport.

The lease and subsequent opening of the school will create several new jobs. Bob Miller Flight Training, a Cessna Pilot Center, plans to base two technologically-advanced training aircraft and instructors at the airport for training operations.

Bob Miller Flight Training can also provide associate’s and bachelor’s degrees through affiliations with schools such as Utah Valley University and Mountain State University. In these programs, students enroll in online degree programs offered by the schools while they complete their flight training at Bob Miller Flight Training. The flight school is FAA approved to offer accelerated flight training programs.

Since 1998, the Genesee County Airport has received nearly $13 million dollars from the federal government and nearly $350,000 from the county. During that time, the airport has been profitable 11 out of 12 years. Having an active flight training operation will help build on this already solid foundation and is an important step in further development of the airport.



This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

FAA Proposes New Pilot Fatigue Rules

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

A new proposal by the FAA tackles pilot fatigue.

Following the crash of Colgan Air 3407, the FAA identified pilot fatigue as an issue of great importance for airline safety. Since then, the FAA has launched an aggressive effort to take advantage of the latest research on fatigue. Under the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 the FAA is directed to issue a regulation on pilot fatigue by August 1, 2011. This proposal is a step in that direction and will likely result in such a regulation.

Under current requirements, there are distinctions between domestic, international and unscheduled flights. The FAA proposal will eliminate these distinctions and create new requirements for flight time, duty time, and rest. Additionally, the proposal creates a structure of requirements based on the time of day, number of scheduled segments, time zones, type of flights, and whether a pilot can sleep under different circumstances such as in crew quarters on board an aircraft.

“I know firsthand that fighting fatigue is a serious issue, and it is the joint responsibility of both the airline and the pilot,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “After years of debate, the aviation community is moving forward to give pilots the tools they need to manage fatigue and fly safely.”

Flight duty, under the proposal is any time when a pilot reports with intent to fly an aircraft, operate a simulator or operate a flight training device. Duty time can be comprised of flight duty and other tasks. The new proposal would set a nine-hour rest period prior to any duty time. In addition to a one hour increase in rest period, the proposal will change the way rest periods are measured such that pilots are guaranteed at least eight hours of sleep. The proposal also addresses cumulative fatigue in the form of weekly and monthly limits on duty time for pilots as well as monthly and annual limits on flight time.

“This proposal is a significant enhancement for aviation safety,” said U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Both pilots and passengers will benefit from these proposed rules that will continue to ensure the safety of our nation’s air transportation system.”

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This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

Obama Infrastructure Plan: More NextGen Funding, Runway Improvements

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

In a Labor Day speech, President Obama announced that NextGen and runway rehabilitation would receive a much needed boost under a $50 billion infrastructure improvement plan.

Under Mr. Obama’s plan, which calls for a $50 billion investment in the nation’s entire transportation infrastructure, the federal government will make a “robust” investment in modernization efforts to help move from a radar-based air traffic control system to one based on newer technologies and provide funds to rehabilitate or reconstruct 150 miles of runway.

The six-year plan will not increase the federal deficit and features improvements in the way infrastructure improvements are funded. The plan calls for the creation of a new Infrastructure Bank that will leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments in order to pay for job-creating infrastructure improvements.

According to a White House fact sheet, the NextGen investment is intended to help with the installation of technologies required to “move from a national ground-based radar surveillance system to a more accurate satellite-based surveillance system—the backbone of a broader effort to reduce delays for passengers, increase fuel efficiency for carriers, and cut airport noise for those who live and work near airports.”

In a statement released on Monday, AOPA President Craig Fuller said, “We appreciate the recognition in President Obama’s infrastructure announcement of the critical role aviation plays in the nation’s transportation system. AOPA will work to support the president’s infrastructure program to ensure the monies are used effectively at airports across the country and to advance the modernization of our air traffic control system as part of the FAA’s NextGen initiative.

“But as Congress and the administration proceed, it is vitally important that they both remember that general aviation is an integral part of the national transportation system, and that the key to the success of NextGen is a commitment by the government to invest in new technologies for all users.”

Could this improve your flying? We’d like to know; please feel free to leave a comment detailing how you feel this might affect your flying.


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This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

Aircraft Mechanics Get New UAS / UAV Program in Minnesota

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

UAS maintenance training at Northland CollegeAs more and more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) take to the skies in both military and civilian roles, the demand for qualified and trained mechanics to work on these specialized systems increases. Demand has finally hit the level that one school is creating a dedicated program to train mechanics to maintain and repair unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The Northland Community & Technical College Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Training Center located in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, announced that it will offer this new program to existing A&P mechanics in early 2011.

The need for a specialized training program stems from the fact the unmanned aircraft systems are different from conventional aircraft. First of all, UAS consist of the aircraft itself, additional sensor equipment not normally found on other aircraft, an up- and down-link infrastructure for communicating with pilot and sensor operators, and the ground control station itself. An article on indicates that the new program will create a hybrid aircraft mechanic with training in airframe and powerplant repair, avionics repair, computer programming, and heavy emphasis on information technology skills.

Students who want to take the program must currently hold at least FAA airframe and powerplant certificates. That means new students can attend the 20-month A&P program at Northland and then transition to the UAS program upon completion. People who already hold A&P certificates are welcome to enroll directly into the UAS program. Graduates of the program will receive a UAS Maintenance Certificate, and plans are in the works to add the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT) certificate as well.

Learn more:

Maintenance Training for Unmanned Aircraft Systems
NCTC Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Training Center

By Kyle Garrett, owner of and private pilot

Massachusetts Helicopter School Opens In Marlboro

Thursday, September 9th, 2010
Massachusetts Helicopter School Robinson R22

Robinson R22

North Andover Flight Academy, a helicopter training school in business since 2008, announced it will open a new branch in Marlboro Massachusetts. The school currently has two locations in Upstate New York and Lawrence.

The academy will be based at Marlboro Airport and will offer private pilot, commercial pilot, and instrument rating training, according to an article in the MetroWest Daily News. In order to earn either a private pilot or commercial pilot certificate, potential students must pass an FAA medical exam. However, students can begin flying anytime and pass the medical exam during training.

North Andover Flight Academy projects costs for training at $270 per hour, including fuel, the helicopter, and the instructor. Most students require between 50 and 60 hours of instruction to earn a private pilot certificate, event though the FAA only requires 40 hours flight time.

The academy operates Robinson R22 helicopters which are a proven and common trainer for the helicopter industry. In addition to offering helicopter training, the school also hopes to offer scenic tours of the local area out of the Marlboro airport location.

Source: MetroWest Daily News

Learn More:
Find Massachusetts Helicopter Schools
Robinson R22 Helicopters
North Andover Flight Academy

By Kyle Garrett, owner of and instrument rated private pilot

ASTM Votes To Prohibit SLSA in IMC

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

SLSA will be prohibited from operating under instrument conditions.

The ASTM committees for light sport aircraft recently voted to prohibit the use of special light sport aircraft in actual instrument meteorological conditions. The committee members have not yet agreed on whether SLSA should be operated in IMC, but they have elected to go ahead with the indefinite ban until such an agreement can be made.

The ban still requires further approval and FAA acceptance before it takes effect and even when it does it will not be retroactive. All currently flying SLSA that are properly equipped and operated by qualified pilots will be allowed to operate in actual instrument conditions. This will not prevent the aircraft from being used as instrument trainers or operating on IFR flight plans provided they remain under visual conditions. Additionally, the ban has no affect on operation of SLSA at night.

The ban is intended to limit liability concerns until the committees can establish a standard for IFR-capable SLSA. Once such a standard is developed, manufacturers would be permitted to remove placards prohibiting flight in actual instrument conditions from compliant aircraft. Regardless of standards, individual manufacturers can prohibit operation of their SLSA in actual instrument conditions.

This is an important development in the area of SLSA and one that could have far reaching implications in price and adoption of SLSA. In order to meet potential requirements for instrument flight, SLSA manufacturers would see increased costs that could drive up the sticker price. Additionally, many instrument-rated pilots and flight schools who might have adopted SLSA could elect to stick with FAA-certified aircraft, which would represent a significant blow to SLSA markets.

How could this affect your flying? If you are considering an SLSA, would a permanent ban on flight in actual instrument conditions change your mind?

Source: AOPA – LSA flight into IMC to be prohibited

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This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

UND to upgrade flight school safety

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
By Matthew Everett

The University of North Dakota, operator of one of the largest aviation schools in the world, is upgrading their fleet of aircraft to offer more modern safety enhancements such as airbags, glass cockpits with flight data monitoring.

The university is working with Appareo Systems, an aviation software firm in Fargo, ND, to upgrade their glass cockpit aircraft with software that will allow instructors and students to view what is effectively an instant replay of previous flights. The software records flight data that the on-board instruments are displaying allowing instructors an insight into what the student may have been seeing or not seeing. Such recordings may bring to light certain patterns that might otherwise go unnoticed until they lead to a crash. Additionally, the data records would provide more information on the causes of incidents like recently when a UND student on a solo flight skidded off the runway on landing.

Flight data recording has long been a staple of safety efforts at airlines, whose large budgets and aircraft allow them to foot the bill and the weight for the often expensive and heavy equipment, but is only now beginning to filter down to smaller general aviation aircraft. Many flight schools and pilots still cannot afford flight data monitoring equipment, but thanks to their large population of student pilots, UND is able to afford this technology.

In addition to flight data monitoring, UND is adding physical safety enhancements to their fleet in the form of seat belt airbags. These devices have become prevalent in general aviation aircraft in the last decade and offer a significant improvement in safety. Historically tragic crashes are now becoming nothing more than a bent airplane and an insurance claim thanks to these airbags; a fact has not escaped many flight schools like UND who are rapidly adopting the devices in their flight training fleets.


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Matthew Everett is a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

MSU, ATP to offer joint aviation degree

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
By Matthew Everett

Mountain State University students have a new degree option thanks to a recent academic services agreement with Airline Transport Professionals. The agreement, signed by CEO and President of MSU Charles H. Polk and ATP President Derrick Dennis, provides the foundation for the Bachelor of Science in Airline Transport Professional Pilot Operations. Under the agreement, students will complete flight training through ATP at one of their 22 locations across the U.S. and college curriculum through MSU.

MSU, based in Beckley, West Virginia, is a not-for-profit educational institution with several campuses around the nation as well as a number of online degree programs. MSU chose to partner with ATP based on their proven record of professional multi-engine flight training, flying over 6,000 hours and providing 300 FAA pilot certifications a year.

According to David Robbins, director of aviation at MSU, “Airlines hire the most qualified pilots, preferring that applicants have a bachelor’s degree and high quality flight experience.” The program, which is intended to provide airlines with qualified pilot applicants, will allow students to build required flight experience, certifications and work as flight instructors while completing their bachelor’s degree. Additionally, students will study leadership, business and management, communications, and aeronautics.

“What makes this degree so unique is how the college coursework complements students’ flight training and professional pilot careers. With recent legislation requiring more flight experience of airline pilot applicants, it’s important that career pilots build high-quality flight experience as quickly and economically as possible. Graduates of this program will be the first of a new generation of airline pilot applicants,” said Derrick Dennis, president of ATP.

For more information see:

Source: MSU

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Matthew Everett is a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at

New Part 141 night vision goggle program takes flight

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
By Matthew Everett

Bristow Academy Inc. recently announced that the FAA has approved their Part 141 Night Vision Goggle training program. The program is intended to train helicopter pilots to use helmet-mounted night vision goggles during night flying. Night vision goggles are often employed by the military, but their use in civilian flying is continually expanding. Night vision goggles are now routinely used by emergency medical services and civilian law enforcement pilots.

The Bristow Academy program consists of two courses, which are designed to fully support trainees from initial training to recurrent training. The initial course is intended to teach the basics of night vision goggle flying and is backed up by the refresher course which aims to keep the pilots current.

The courses will be taught by Bristow Academy’s cohort of highly qualified instructors. Initial training is to be performed at the Titusville, Florida campus in compatible Bell 206-B3 helicopters. The academy hopes to expand the training to their fleet of Schweizer 300 CBi helicopters once approval is granted.

Bristow Academy is an accredited flight training school that is approved by the FAA and the European JAA. They are the only helicopter flight training organization outside Europe approved to offer training for the European JAA Commercial Pilot’s License.

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Matthew Everett is a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at