New FBO Terminal 'Lands' at Florida Airport - Bent Wing Flight Services, the lone FBO at Florida’s Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport (FHB), began operations yesterday from its new terminal. Designed to represent a World War II F4U Corsair fighter in honor of the pilots who flew the “Bent Wing Bird” from the Navy tr
AINalerts
October 12, 2018
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New FBO Terminal ‘Lands’ at Florida Airport

Bent Wing Flight Services, the lone FBO at Florida’s Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport (FHB), began operations this week from its new terminal. Designed to represent a World War II F4U Corsair fighter in honor of the pilots who flew the “Bent Wing Bird” from the Navy training field that later became FHB, it features a nose section, skylight “cockpit,” and tail, as well as the distinctive inverted gull wings that earned the airplane its nickname.

The interior includes a two-story glass-enclosed lobby with a half-scale Corsair replica suspended from the ceiling. Furnished with a custom reception desk crafted from the fuselage and wing flap of a WWII T-6 trainer and aviation-themed leather seating, the terminal offers a comfortable crew lounge with shower facilities, flight planning room, crew cars, two conference rooms, a coffee bistro, car rental, and pilot/gift shop. The location also provides full- and self-service fueling options, hangar space, and concierge service.

“In addition to allowing our operation to provide superb services, the new terminal building distinguishes Amelia Island’s airport as an iconic aviation landmark,” said Brian Echard, the FBO’s owner. “Our goal is to welcome guests with a memorable experience at a first-rate facility during their initial introduction to Amelia Island.”

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AINsight: Special Issuance for Sleep Apnea

Screening for sleep apnea became a mandatory part of routine FAA medical exams in 2015. I previously discussed the physiologic effects of sleep apnea and why treating it is not only worthwhile for day-to-day living, but might also be a lifesaving therapy in the long run. As pilots who are diagnosed for sleep apnea will require a special issuance authorization, I’ll now discuss more of the nuts and bolts of the program.

In the first year or so after the sleep apnea screening discussions became mandatory, many pilots felt somewhat blindsided. They had dutifully filled out the FAA 8500-8 form, which lacked any questions about sleep apnea, but were then asked by their AME about this medical condition during the exam.

The purpose of the screening questions—and the AME’s opinion based also on exam findings—is simply to identify which pilots might benefit from a formal evaluation. Fortunately, from the standpoint of the pilot, obtaining a special issuance in the setting of sleep apnea is reasonably straightforward.

Most important for the pilot is that there is no pre-approval extended period of grounding involved, as is often the case for many other special issuance conditions. Treating sleep apnea is a “win” for pilots, their spouses, and their passengers. So pilots should not be discouraged from disclosing this condition to their AME and the FAA.

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Garmin, FltPlan.com Integrate Flight Planning Functions

Garmin International, which acquired FltPlan.com in August, has begun the initial integration of its Garmin Pilot app and the FltPlan.com web portal, saying the companies have made rapid progress in merging their portfolios. Under the initial phase, pilots will be able to use FltPlan.com for pre-flight planning and filing and automatically view that same flight plan within the Trip Planning section Garmin Pilot app on Apple mobile devices.

Customers using the Garmin Pilot app can access both recent and future trips that were created on the FltPlan.com website. Pilots can wirelessly transfer the flight plans from the app to Garmin avionics. The navigation log on the FltPlan.com website further can be viewed in Garmin Pilot under the NavLog tab in Trip Planning.

Customers have access to the seamless transition between the FltPlan.com website and Garmin Pilot app in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Venezuela, and Colombia, Garmin added.

This capability, available next week, is the first in a series of enhancements that are planned as part of the integration of FltPlan.com and Garmin products. “We are proud to show early progress and eager to launch this integration between FltPlan.com and Garmin Pilot,” said Carl Wolf, vice president of aviation marketing and sales. “This announcement symbolizes the beginning of a much anticipated collaboration."

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Bell, Yamato Team for On-demand UAS Package Delivery

Bell and Japan’s Yamato Holdings are collaborating on developing autonomous eVTOL systems that could be used for on-demand package delivery and large-scale logistics, they announced today, and they expect an initial “product” to enter service by the mid-2020s. For initial demonstrations, Bell will use its Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) while Yamato will develop a detachable pod suitable for ground-handling. Yamato has provided logistics services for nearly 100 years.

The companies’ joint goal is to demonstrate the integration of an existing ground logistics network with vertical-lift capabilities to provide new services to customers. Bell’s APT uses a tail-sitting configuration, is capable of speeds of more than 100 mph, and can be scaled to handle loads of 15 to 1,000 pounds.

“In the past few years, our Bell team has renewed focus on novel innovative solutions to better serve our operators globally, and we are excited to use our expertise to redefine the practice of civilian logistics,” said Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice president of innovation. Last month Bell announced that its APT would also be used in a NASA project to conduct end-to-end commercial UAS flight demonstrations by 2020 that include integrating the vehicle with detect-and-avoid capabilities. 

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Industry Groups Petition FAA for Ramp Labeling

Five aviation groups—AOPA, NBAA, GAMA, HAI, and EAA—have co-signed a letter to acting FAA administrator Daniel Elwell requesting that the agency standardize the labeling of airport ramp space to ensure airport diagrams clearly and accurately mark parking options for pilots.

“We believe it will be very helpful to pilots to ensure that transient parking ramps are outlined in the Airport Diagram and have consistency with respect to standardized parking definitions and airport signage, informing pilots of where these transient ramps are located,” the letter stated.

At an April meeting of the FAA’s Aeronautical Charting Forum, AOPA submitted a proposal that included standardized labels for different types of ramps. That proposal is currently before the FAA.

“Many of these ramps were paid for in part by federal fuel taxes administered through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, and we didn’t spend that money to keep them a secret,” said AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker.

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Hitachi To Develop UAS Flight Management System

Hitachi has been awarded a contract to develop Japan’s “Fukushima Robot Test Field” drone flight management system. Under the contract, Unifly and Terra Drone will provide the UAS traffic management (UTM) backbone for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone flights at the test center. The flight management system will monitor and track registered drones in real-time informing the authorities continuously on drone flight activities and flight compliance. The test center’s goal is to further advance BVLOS flights.

Hitachi established a drone service review unit in 2015 to promote research and development on the core technologies, services, and operational methods needed to implement drone services through advanced demonstration experiments with customers in several industries. Simultaneously, the company is expanding its portfolio of services that use artificial intelligence (AI) to process and analyze the data collected by drones. AI and historical data is used to select the locations with the highest potential for materials deterioration and AI-assisted image processing is used to automatically detect materials deterioration and contamination and highlight locations requiring more detailed inspection.

In addition to its proprietary UAS work, Hitachi also provides UAS policy advice through the Japan Unmanned Operation Management Consortium, UAS research at the University of Tokyo, and UAS international standardization activities through ISO.

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FAA Renews ADS-B Rebate Program

With the 2020 ADS-B deadline looming, the FAA is reopening its rebate program to incentivize light general aviation operators to install ADS-B Out-compliant equipment on their aircraft. Beginning today, the agency is offering $500 rebates to owners of fixed-wing, single-engine piston aircraft who purchase qualifying equipment. This offer is expected to run for one year “or until funds for all the remaining rebates are exhausted, whichever comes first.”

To qualify, aircraft must have been registered before Jan. 1, 2016. In addition, the equipment must have TSO authorization and meet ADS-B Out rule requirements, the agency said. Software upgrades to existing equipment are not eligible. Rebate reservations must be made within 90 days of installation.

The FAA previously had run a year-long rebate program, taking reservations through Sept. 18, 2017. But as many as one-third of the available rebates had been left unclaimed, then FAA administrator Michael Huerta said at the time, adding that “we’re just not where we want to be” on equipage.

AOPA praised the FAA’s decision to reopen the rebate, estimating that the $4.9 million available under the new rebate program will help fund 9,800 new installations. Association president and CEO Mark Baker said this “will make our skies safer and more efficient by incentivizing even more pilots to adopt the cutting-edge technology.”

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Paint-A-Plane Competition To Support STEM Programs

AirFlair, a competition hosted by the Greteman Group, invites participants to design their own airplane paint scheme online. The tool allows users to impart creativity on the colors, patterns, and textures used on the fuselage, engine, wings, and tail. The competition supports Greteman’s holiday outreach and will be conducted in tandem with its donation to WSU Tech’s STEM aviation programs.

“Integrating science, technology, engineering, and math into real-world applications helps us all fly higher,” said Sonia Greteman, president and creative director of Greteman. “Developing AirFlair has been as fun for us as we hope it will be for everyone who plays along. Can’t wait to see the entries and to do our part for STEM."

After designs are completed, users can share their creations through social media and are entered into a Greteman prize drawing. A random winner will be selected to receive a 3D model of their aircraft featuring their design selections. The drawing will be held December 18 and a winner will be announced January 7.

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What does the Future Hold for the World’s Largest FBO Operator?

Signature Flight Support is the world’s largest FBO operator, and the company recently received new leadership when Mark Johnstone took over as head of parent company BBA Aviation. Earlier this year, BBA made another major purchase when it acquired industry fuel provider Epic Aviation.

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