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Magellan Jets Blog & News

The Magellan Jets blog is your go-to resource for all things related to private jet travel, the aviation industry, and even more. 

Boston airport lays first Green Runway

This weekend, Boston’s Logan International Airport expects to nearly finish the first runway in the nation repaved with an environmentally friendly material called warm-mix asphalt. The asphalt is heated to a lower temperature than normal, burning less fuel and emitting less carbon. Airport operator Massport says on this project that means a cut of 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 400,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The last batch of the asphalt will be laid on Runway 9/27 this weekend, though the runway won’t reopen until later this year. The $12.5 million project began in July. Some European airports have used warm-mix asphalt, but it had to pass Federal Aviation Administration testing before Logan could use it.

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Industry Weighs In On New TSA Chief

Organizations representing general aviation in Washington know that Errol G. Southers has been nominated by President Barack Obama (D) to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and that Brian Delauter has been named the new general manager of that department’s GA division. Of the two Delauter is the better known quantity, having been named acting manager in July. But Southers is known to the community mainly through his resume.

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New rules coming to Fight Pilots’ Fatigue?

Crowded skies and exhausted pilots are a bad mix, the airline industry and pilot unions agree, but they’re struggling over what to do about it. The airlines want to schedule some pilots with less-taxing flights – fewer takeoffs and landings – but for longer, not shorter, hours in the cockpit. The unions say they won’t agree to more hours for those pilots in exchange for fewer hours for pilots who fly as many as a half dozen short flights a day or take off at odd times. That was the main sticking point in an otherwise harmonious effort over the past month and a half to rewrite flying-time rules that in many cases are a half-century old and predate recent scientific findings concerning fatigue. The advisory committee on pilot fatigue was expected to deliver its recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration late Tuesday. Committee members said the FAA had asked them not to make their recommendations public.

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IS-BAO receives official endorsement from EU

IS-BAO, the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations, has received been received official recognition as an industry standard for business aircraft operations in Europe. The approval, announced last week, by the European Union’s standard body, should facilitate recognition of IS-BAO in the upcoming EASA Implementing Rules. IS-BAO was developed and is overseen by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) in Montreal, Canada. According to IBAC and the European Business Aviation Assn., business aircraft operators should be able to use IS-BAO registration in their declaration to EU civil aviation authorities as the means they use to meet the regulatory requirements. It is also anticipated that national regulatory authorities will take into account IS-BAO registration in their regulatory oversight of business aviation operators engaged in commercial operations. Brian Humphries, EBAA President and CEO, said, “The ISBAO was developed as a professional safety code of practice for business aviation operators and we encourage those operators to move forward with IS-BAO implementation so that they will be ready for the upcoming EASA Implementing Rules”. Because a Safety Management System (SMS) will be required of all commercial operations and operators of complex motor-powered aircraft engaged in noncommercial operations within the EU, the IS-BAO includes an SMS Toolkit that can be used by operators to develop their own SMS. – William Garvey Aviation Week

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Airlines, travelers prepare for more stringent ID rules

Feds want more info at booking to compare to terrorist watch lists
The Transportation Security Administration wants to know more about who’s boarding commercial flights in the United States.
Beginning Saturday, the federal agency will begin collecting additional data from airline passengers at booking time, including full name, date of birth and gender. That data must match whatever is on the form of government-issued identification — driver’s licenses and passports are the most common — that a passenger uses to check in and board the flight.
The new requirement will affect all airline bookings made beginning Saturday and is just the first phase of a larger program called Secure Flight. That program’s goal is to vet 100 percent of airline passengers through the TSA’s watch lists by next year. TSA’s goal is to vet 100 percent of passengers on all domestic commercial flights by early next year, and all passengers on all international commercial flights by the end of 2010.
The agency, known best for its takeover of the airport security screening process following the Sept. 11 attacks, is touting the program as a better way to keep dangerous travelers from boarding planes, while preventing confusion for passengers with names similar to people on the government’s “No Fly” and “Selectee” lists. Those lists bar some would-be fliers and mark others for “enhanced screenings” at airport security checkpoints.
Extra information helps
Because the government will have access to additional pieces of identifying information, the TSA says it will be better able to distinguish between, for example, a 25-year-old John A. Doe who is OK to fly and a 37-year-old John Z. Doe who is not. In addition to the data required of passengers, fliers who have had difficulty with watch list confusion can include a “redress” number. Those are issued to cleared passengers who have been stopped or delayed before because of similar names or other confusion. “By enhancing and streamlining the watch list matching process, the Secure Flight program makes travel safer and easier for millions of Americans,” Gale Rossides, the TSA’s acting administrator, said in a statement.
The Secure Flight program was born out of a Department of Homeland Security directive issued in 2006 that required the TSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to start working together to implement a system to make sure airline passengers have been cleared.
Aside from the additional information collected by the airline, Secure Flight will mean a closer relationship between those airlines serving the United States and the TSA. The new requirements call for passengers to provide the information to airlines when they book flights. The information, in turn, is sent to the Secure Flight system, which matches up names with watch lists, and determines whether the matches are legitimate or errors.Secure Flight then sends information back to the airlines, separating passengers into those who are cleared to fly, those who aren’t and those who will be subjected to enhanced screening. Initially, Secure Flight requires passenger information to match up exactly with what’s on the ID, so if a passenger’s license says “Richard,” for example, a ticket shouldn’t be booked under “Dick.”
Matching up names
“During this phase of the Secure Flight program, passengers are encouraged to book their reservations using their name as it appears on the government-issues ID they will use while traveling,” Rossides said. Most airlines say they’re implementing procedures to help passengers comply with the regulation so they’re not delayed or denied boarding. Airlines have been preparing for the new requirements for months. Delta Air Lines Inc., the world’s largest airline, which operates its second-largest hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, will roll out revamped online pages that will allow passengers booking tickets via the Internet to submit the required information beginning Saturday, said company spokeswoman Susan Elliott. Additionally, the airline will allow fee-free name changes on tickets, so names on reservations will match up with the documents passengers use to check in and clear security checkpoints.
By: Nathan Hurst / The Detroit News

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Aviation industry told to brace for 8-pound birds

With environmental protection measures giving rise to the number of birds, federal safety officials in the US have called for the construction of planes that can withstand attacks by 8-pound creatures. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), current airframe design standards were devised in the 1970s and need to be strengthened to meet the demands of skies shared by birds and aircraft. A Tuesday NTSB vote recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensure that the airframes of tomorrow be able to withstand a collision with a 4-pound bird and that the plane tails be able to withstand the impact of 8-pounders. The recommendation comes in response to five people losing their lives in Oklahoma on March 4, 2008 when a business jet collided with a flock of white pelicans, which can weigh up to 30 pounds. According to investigators, striking the pelicans caused severe damage to one wing of the Cessna Citation 500 and knocked out the power in one engine. They further pointed out that the plane could have continued to fly using its other engine, but not with the wing damage. In another incident last January, US Airways Flight 1549 ditched into the Hudson River after it struck a flock of Canadian geese following takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. It was dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” when all 155 people aboard survived. The risk of bird-aircraft collision is on the increase. On one hand, populations of most large avian species in North America have been increasing due to environmental protection. The species now have average weights double or triple current airframe impact standards. On the other hand, air traffic has increased dramatically which means more planes and more large birds sharing the skies and increasing the crashing risk.

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IG report accuses FAA of inadequate charter oversight

In a report on the on-demand Part 135 charter industry issued last week, the Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) concluded that the “FAA does not effectively target inspections to higher-risk on-demand operators” nor provide enough inspector oversight of charter operators in comparison with Part 121 airlines. The IG suggests that if Part 135 on-demand and Part 121 regulations were similar, then some notable accidents might not have occurred. While the IG audit notes that “the number of fatalities from on-demand operations makes it imperative that FAA take action to address these issues,” the IG was not able to analyze Part 135 versus 121 accident rates to support its concerns. The IG audit, said the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association, does not place “enough emphasis on the inherently-more-risky 135 environment.”
Much of the flying is done in foul weather, on demanding schedules, in relatively unsophisticated aircraft, with a single-pilot. And according to National Air Transportation Association president Jim Coyne, “The IG largely conducts an apples-and-oranges comparison. Part 121 is very homogenous with regard to the types of aircraft and operations. Part 135 contains every possible mission profile and includes single-engine pistons up to large cabin jets. Of course the requirements are going to be different.”

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Mobile Phone Use Remains Banned on Most Flights, CAA Says

A ban on using mobile phones on aircraft remains in place for safety reasons, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said last week, despite tests on cell phone systems on some aircraft. An increasing minority of passengers appear to be ignoring instructions to turn off phones on aircraft, but mobile use is forbidden unless cabin crew say otherwise. The CAA said: “Use of mobiles can adversely affect navigation and communication functions, producing significant errors on instrument displays and background noise on pilot radios.” Pilots complain that interference from phones has led to false notification of unsafe conditions, the malfunction of aircraft systems and interrupts flight crew communications. CAA head of flight operations Bob Jones said: “The safety risks of using a mobile on board an aircraft are well established. Some airlines are testing various systems, but this does not weaken in any way the ban on phones being used on board the vast majority of UK aircraft. “Unless told otherwise, people must not text or phone while the cabin doors of an aircraft are closedA ban on using mobile phones on aircraft remains in place for safety reasons, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said last week, despite tests on cell phone systems on some aircraft. An increasing minority of passengers appear to be ignoring instructions to turn off phones on aircraft, but mobile use is forbidden unless cabin crew say otherwise. The CAA said: “Use of mobiles can adversely affect navigation and communication functions, producing significant errors on instrument displays and background noise on pilot radios.” Pilots complain that interference from phones has led to false notification of unsafe conditions, the malfunction of aircraft systems and interrupts flight crew communications. CAA head of flight operations Bob Jones said: “The safety risks of using a mobile on board an aircraft are well established. Some airlines are testing various systems, but this does not weaken in any way the ban on phones being used on board the vast majority of UK aircraft. “Unless told otherwise, people must not text or phone while the cabin doors of an aircraft are closed.”

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New FAA Chief Counsel

WASHINGTON – Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt has announced the appointment of David Grizzle as the new FAA chief counsel. “David Grizzle has top-level experience and I’m looking forward to having him on the team,” Babbitt said. “He understands the challenges of leading a diverse, international organization, as well as the complex interaction between governmental processes and our ultimate stakeholders, the American people.” Grizzle comes to the FAA following a 22-year career with Continental Airlines, Inc. From 2005 to 2008 he served as senior vice president of customer experience, where he was charged with developing and implementing new operating strategies and improving product deficiencies and services. From 1986 to 2004 Grizzle served in many other leadership positions at the airline, including senior vice president of marketing strategy and corporate development, where he headed up a group of 150 finance, planning, operations and marketing professionals. From 2004 to 2005, Grizzle was tapped by the U.S. Department of State and took leave from Continental to serve as the transportation and infrastructure coordinator and attach© for the Afghanistan Reconstruction Group, Kabul, Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, he worked with the FAA and other government organizations to accelerate reconstruction efforts for air and surface transportation projects as well as power, and telecommunications. Prior to his career at Continental, Grizzle served as vice president of administration and general counsel for New York Air, Inc. from 1984 to 1986. From 1978 to 1984 he practiced law at several New York-based law firms, including as a partner at Kellner, Chehebar, Deveney&Grizzle from 1983 to 1984.

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And the Chosen One is…..Randy Babitt!

Randy Babitt was confirmed by the senate for a five-year term as Administrator of the FAA. The Air Transport Association’s PResident and CEO James May said he is looking forward to working with Randy and cannot wait to start implementing the new air traffic control system set to go into effect of the next few years. They could use a guy like him in Indonesia….

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Airline Mechanics Who Can’t Read English

It has recently been revealed that there are serious flaws in the way FAA licenses mechanics who fix planes. There is evidence that there has been problems testing mechanics for years and that questionable licenses have been given out. Now there is evidence that there have been low-wage mechanics hired who cannot even read English. Twenty-one people died when the U.S. Airways Express crashed in Charlotte in 2003. The plane went out of control at takeoff. One reason for the crash was that the cables were incorrectly connected to the plane’s control surfaces. Repairing and maintaining airplanes is complicated and have many manuals. Its hard to stick to those manuals when you can’t read them. FAA has some serious explaining to do.

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The Hungry Plane

It’s about time that airlines came up with an excuse for all the luggage that is lost on flights in this country. This time, the plane ate it. A Japanese 747 with just under 250 passengers on board sucked up a big metal baggage cart during taxi yesterday. This accident forced the plane to stay grounded and the passengers to return to the terminal. The plane had barely left the gate. It was towed away for repairs. Luckily, the pilot noticed a slight malfunction in the engine because there was something more severe then geese flying into the engine this time.

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Heliflite Becomes Wyvern Approved

Wyvern Consulting recently performed an on sight audit of Heliflite Shares, LLC. Heliflite is based at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey and has 5 aircraft, one Sikorsky S-76 and four Bell 430’s. This puts Heliflite in the few elite helicopter charter services recommended by Wyvern. For more information visit their website or speak with Magellan Jets about your summer helicopter needs provided by Heliflite.

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People Upset by FAA’s Sly Move to Conceal “Bird” Accident Records

The FAA has proposed to the government to restrict access to bird strike accident reports. They plan to block all public access for bird collisions like the one that brought down the plane in the Hudson in January. The proposal went virtually unnoticed and is essentially approved. The FAA claims that the goal of this move was to prevent the public from being “mislead” by the data.

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Private Aviation Flight Activity Picking Up

According to ARG/US, business flight activity increased 28.55 percent last month from January. These numbers could be early indicators that the private aviation sector is starting to recover. The data includes all turbine business aircraft on IFR flight plans. The company also indicates that total flight activity has declined 18.51 percent over the last 12 months. In the fractional market, flight activity was down 28.1 percent, while FAR Part 135 flight activity dropped 46.7 percent.

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NBAA Applauds Senator Brownback’s Supporting Statements

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen commended Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) for taking to the floor of the Senate late last month to remind his colleagues of the value of business aviation for citizens, communities and companies across the U.S. “The people of the business aviation community applaud Senator Brownback for explaining what business aviation is all about, and correcting some of the misstatements and mischaracterizations about business aviation that have recently been made,” Bolen said. In his remarks, Brownback told his colleagues: “Some federal officials have recently been making use of business aviation a matter of derision. Well, there is a lot of good that this business–a U.S.-dominated business–does, and we ought to support it, not hurt it.” To illustrate his point, Brownback noted the following, among other facts:

  • Business aviation employs more than one million people in manufacturing and support services.
  • Many companies rely on an airplane to conduct business across a number of different locations, which are often located in areas without robust airline airline service.
  • Of the nation’s 5,000 public-use airports, only 500 are served by the commercial airlines, making business aviation the only option for accessing most airports.
  • Eighty-six percent of people aboard business aircraft are not a company’s senior officials, but are mid-level employees, including salespeople, engineers, or other technical specialists.

“Whether its a piston or a jet, it [a business jet] is often what ends up connecting a lot of people on a rapid basis throughout the country,” Brownback said. “Without the use of business aircraft, you’re going to have a lot more inefficiencies in companies; you’re going to have a lot more difficulty getting people from point A to point B.” Bolen agreed, adding: “Business aviation is an essential tool for many companies to be productive and efficient, which is especially critical in this economic climate. But as the senator also pointed out, business aviation means jobs for more than a million people. It provides a critical lifeline for communities across the country, many of which have lost some or all of their airline service in the past year. And, it supports humanitarian initiatives, including medical transport for people in need and delivery of relief and supplies for victims of natural disasters. We thank Senator Brownback for recognizing these facts in highlighting the essential role of business aviation in America today.”

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NBAA Launches “No Plane No Gain” Campaign to Promote Aviation

The National Business Aviation Association in parternership with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association has launched a multimedia campaign designed “to educate the public on the importance of business aviation to our country and its communities, companies, and citizens. In the United States, business aviation generates well over a million jobs, provides a lifeline to communities with little or no commercial airline service, helps thousands of businesses of all sizes to be more productive and efficient, and provides emergency and humanitatrian services to people in need.” In recent months, business aviation has come under scrutiny by both the government and media. Although business aviation is a necessary tool for many, the negative attention has caused some businesses to rethink their aircraft use.

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