Learjet 70/75’s Garmin G5000 Avionics Get an Upgrade - Bombardier Business Aircraft and Garmin have announced a significant avionics upgrade for the Learjet 70/75’s Bombardier Vision flight deck, which uses the Garmin G5000 avionics suite as its platform. The upgrade, which is now in flight testing, will be available on ne
September 6, 2018
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Learjet 70/75’s Garmin G5000 Avionics Get an Upgrade

Bombardier Business Aircraft and Garmin have announced a “significant avionics upgrade” for the Learjet 70/75’s Bombardier Vision flight deck, which uses the Garmin G5000 avionics suite as its platform. The upgrade, which is now in flight testing, will be available on new Learjet 70s and 75s in the second half of 2019, with a retrofit for in-service models made available concurrently.

According to the companies, the update will help to reduce pilot workload by including improvements in climb, cruise, and descent vertical navigation, and enhanced takeoff and landing performance calculations, among others. In addition, FANS-1/A+ will be offered as an option to ensure readiness for modernized airspace requirements and deliver efficiency gains via more favorable routings.

“Avionics is one of the fastest-evolving systems on a modern aircraft and the upgrade will make sure our Learjet 70 and 75 customers remain ahead of the curve,” said Peter Likoray, senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Bombardier Business Aircraft.

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Flights Remain on Upswing in Europe

Last month was the busiest August in the past decade for business aircraft activity in Europe, according to data released today by WingX Advance. The 83,230 departures marked a 2.4 percent improvement when compared with August 2017. Business jets drove that growth, which rose 4 percent year-over-year and accounted for 65 percent of all activity in the region, WingX reported.

Flights jumped 6 percent in the UK and 4 percent in Italy last month, while those originating in Germany were up 9 percent. However, not all locations within Europe shared the same gains. France, the busiest market in Europe, experienced a 3 percent decline and Spain a 4 percent drop.

But year-to-date, all of the major markets, including France, have experienced an uptick in departures, with Germany leading the list. Among smaller markets, Greece has seen a 10 percent jump in flights through the first eight months.

The number of flights involving large-cabin business jets slid 12 percent in August in Spain and also shrunk in France. The UK marked the largest gain in that segment. Germany, meanwhile, saw an 11 percent increase in small and midsize business jet activity.

Domestic flights in Europe overall were up 2.5 percent in August and 3 percent year-to-date.

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Jeddah-based FBO/MRO Outfit Arabasco Shuts Down

Arabian Aircraft Services Co. (Arabasco), the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based MRO and FBO services provider, has shut down. AIN was able to confirm with three independent Saudi sources that the company has closed due to a lack of business and the malaise that is currently affecting the Saudi business aviation sector.

Founded in 1984, Arabasco was one of the oldest and most respected names in the Saudi business aviation industry, providing FBO services in Jeddah, Riyadh, Medina, Yanbu, and Dammam. The company also offered ground handling and aircraft management.

One source said the company owed around $90 million in fees to the General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA), a situation that had adversely affected its attempts to build additional hangar space at Jeddah International Airport, which would have allowed it to improve its MRO offering there.

CEO Hashem Jamalallail, who previously said the company was looking to boost its MRO business to increase revenues, did not attend the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association’s (MEBAA) conference in Jeddah on Tuesday, while other company officials were also not in attendance.

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Wrong-surface Events Remain Nagging Genav Issue

Calling wrong-surface events one of the top five hazards of the National Airspace System, acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell urged government and industry leaders to make the issue a top priority. In remarks at a recent FAA Safety Summit on the issue, Elwell noted that 1,100 such events have occurred nationwide in the last three years alone. Recently, the number of reported wrong-surface events has increased on arrivals, up 47 percent since early 2016, Elwell said. “The risk is particularly great for general aviation, where we’re seeing a much higher rate of incidents,” he said.

Highlighting the summit, NBAA pointed out that general aviation aircraft were involved in 86 percent of the 596 landing/approach wrong-surface events from Fiscal Years 2016 to 2018. Mark Baker, a keynote speaker at the safety summit, cited loss of situation awareness as a root cause of many events and stressed technology can make a significant difference. He backed the promotion of existing and emerging technologies from iPads to head-up displays in combatting wrong-surface events.

“In most of the cases we’re discussing, there weren’t any injuries or damage. That’s good news. But it still tells us that something in the system needs our collective attention,” Elwell said, stressing the need for collaboration.

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MEBAA Conference Highlights Saudi Pilot Needs

Further evidence of the looming industry demand for professionals was presented on Tuesday at the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Capt. Bander Khaldi, managing director of the country’s National Aviation Academy, noted that Saudi Arabia alone will need 8,800 pilots and nearly 12,000 maintenance technicians by 2024 to keep up with worker attrition and fleet growth.

A recent Boeing study projects a worldwide demand for 790,000 pilots, as well as another 622,000 maintenance technicians, over the next 20 years. Collectively, the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors will demand an additional 155,000 pilots and 132,000 technicians. Khaldi discussed development plans for the academy and how it plans to fill the country’s specific needs. Among the other speakers were Dr. Sami Alsrisrari, deputy assistant president of aviation standards and director of safety and risk with Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation, and Capt. Mohammad Al Subaiei, director of Saudi Aramco’s local workforce development department.

The conference attracted nearly 150 business aviation professionals from the region. “The MEBAA Conferences are an integral part of our mission to drive business aviation forward in the MENA region,” explained Ali Alnaqbi, MEBAA’s founder and executive chairman. “Over the years, the conferences have grown and continue to attract the industry’s key players as speakers, panelists, and, of course, attendees.”

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AviationManuals Streamlines Change Management

AviationManuals has released an online change management form for its ARC Safety Management System software and app. The form was developed in an effort to improve change management control within flight departments through a more streamlined process. After associated risks are analyzed, task assignments are established and designated to the proper personnel. Tasks can be reviewed, reassigned, and reevaluated per a project manager’s discretion.

“Any kind of substantial change—a new director of aviation, moving to new hangars, adding aircraft to the fleet, or the implementation of an aircraft tug, for instance—can introduce risk. Flight departments need an efficient way to manage such changes on their own while also ensuring safety is considered before, during, and after implementation,” said AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier.

After evaluating the needs of their ARC SMS customers, AviationManuals created the form to guide users through “the process of identifying, planning for, and then managing the potential implications of change,” said Baier. The ARC SMS software provides users with a central location to submit, store, and analyze SMS-related data.

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Great Slave Helicopters Files for Creditor Protection

Great Slave Helicopters (GSH), one of Canada’s largest onshore helicopter operators, has filed for creditor protection after amassing concurrent-year, multimillion-dollar losses. Yesterday, an Ontario court granted it relief under the nation’s Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), which allows it to avoid repaying creditors and conduct a court-supervised sale and investment solicitation process as an alternative to straight bankruptcy.

GSH’s total debt is believed to top $100 million, and the company said it lost $13.7 million from operations over the past two years. It operates a mixed fleet of 51 owned and leased helicopters and employs 250.  

CCAA protection also provides limited relief against creditors for GSH’s parent corporation, 10671541 Canada Inc., and affiliate companies Air Tindi and Discovery Mining Services. Great Slave attributed its financial distress to high maintenance costs and decreases in its energy, mining, and charter-related businesses, coupled with the unwillingness of at least one major creditor, Clairvest Group, to provide additional financing.

In a statement to the court, the company said it has been working to restructure its business and requires additional financing to cover operating losses and remain a going concern. Absent that, the business and/or its assets need to be sold “in an orderly manner [that] is best facilitated through court-supervised proceedings.”

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FAA Chief: Drones Are the Next Internet

“Drones are going to do for aviation what the internet did for information,” acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said yesterday and called on the industry to work with the FAA to fully integrate them into the National Airspace System. 

Giving the keynote address at the InterDrone conference in Las Vegas, Elwell said it is up to industry to not just make a business case for UAS operations but also a safety case, noting that public and law enforcement have legitimate safety concerns. “If we want this technology to take hold, we’ve got to take these questions head on,” he said.

Elwell again took issue with more lax regulation of recreational drones compared to commercial operations. “Until we can set remote ID requirements that will be universally applied to every drone, until we can make sure everyone is following the same rules inside the system, full integration just isn’t possible,” he said. “The fact is that a lot of safety problems require technological solutions. And that means we need buy-in from all of you.”

Further, Elwell said the FAA is ready to move now to enable the drone industry to grow with initiatives, including the current UAS integration pilot program. “We’re building flexible, responsive regulatory processes that can keep up with all your creativity while ensuring safety isn’t compromised.”

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Join us for AIN’s Aircraft Connectivity Breakfast at NBAA

In recent years, access to high-speed connectivity has revolutionized the passenger experience, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The ultimate impact of connectivity will be felt beyond the cabin: it will unlock critical flight data, as well as information about component usage, maintenance reporting, and more. That data can be strategically shared and analyzed to help operators improve efficiency and reduce costs. Join us for breakfast on October 17 at NBAA to learn more about how connectivity and data analytics can impact your flight operations, maintenance, passenger experience, and bottom line. Sponsored by Honeywell.

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