On March 2, 2017, the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) brought the winds of freedom not only to operators but especially to manufacturers of single-engine turboprops. This date is effectively an important turning point in European skies as it authorizes operators to perform commercial air transport operations under Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) and at night. A look back across a long-awaited measure by professionals and explained by an EASA expert. Pilatus, Daher and their competitors are already eager. The new regulation should offer manufacturers significant growth for the sales of single-engine turboprops. These manufacturers are betting on a reshuffling of the European market and a movement in their favor on behalf of airlines that prefer to focus on this type of aircraft, especially for reasons relating to operating costs. While it is true that the turboprops has countless advantages: fast, easy-to-maintain and particularly cost effective compared to light jets, single engine turboprops also have the undeniable advantage of being able to land on nearly any available airfield across Europe. Mistrust On the other side of the Atlantic or Australia, the “single engine” turboprops air transport taboo seems to have been forgotten over recent decades, while until now Europe has remained rather hesitant to open commercial operations up to this type of aircraft. Even though Europe has two of the largest manufacturers of turboprops in the industry: Daher-Socata and Pilatus. What a quandary. According to Hervé Julienne, Air Operations Standardisation Team Leader, “The debate over this regulation is nothing new. The Joint Aviation Authority (JAA), predecessor of the current EASA first brought up a draft on this legislation well before the year 2000. A first draft was published but it was rejected by the member states”.


To share chartering costs and fill up seats in available private jets, passengers used aircraft sharing to evacuate at-risk zones. There were multiple displays of solidarity and some passengers even invited families who were stuck by the hurricane to fill empty seats. According to the private jet reservation platform PrivateFly, many requests came from new clients who had never chartered a private plane before and were looking to evacuate their friends and families as quickly as possible. Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly stated, “We tried to group together passengers in order to fill up private jets, and space quickly became very limited”. He added: “Some passengers even offered empty seats on their aircraft. A man booked a 6-seat jet to leave town with his wife. He ran into a family of four that were desperately trying to reach the mainland and invited them to join him for free. In San Juan, two neighboring families grouped together to fly to Miami. Numerous passengers stuck in Puerto Rico also reached Tampa as a group.” According to PrivateFly, when the hurricane approached Florida requests multiplied for flights evacuating to the north of the country, especially from Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. “Concerns were very high in the region, including for our team based in Fort Lauderdale. The number of available jets was limited, but we made every effort to group together requests and organize flights as quickly as possible. Today, many people are trying to get back to their homes. We are doing everything we can to organize flights to airports that have been re-opened to the public,” concluded Adam Twidell. Source: UltimateJet

Airports Work To Minimize Hurricane Irma’s Issues

Awaiting the arrival of the President for a tour of hurricane-affected area in Florida, Marine One sits sequestered in a hangar at PrivateSky Aviation Services, the lone FBO at Southwest Florida International Airport. The two helicopters arrived last night aboard a pair of C-17 transports. Air Force One is expected to arrive there tomorrow. Life is slowly returning to normal at Naples Municipal Airport in Florida, which clocked wind speeds of 142 mph at the height of Hurricane Irma’s landfall on Sunday. Power was restored to the airport-owned FBO early this morning, but airport manager Christopher Rozansky noted that lack of sufficient fresh water remains a problem. He said the airport expects to issue a Notam announcing a limited opening tomorrow at 2 p.m. on a prior-permission-required basis for daytime VFR only. But with airport staff still returning to the region, he asked for patience on the part of aircraft operators and owners. Naples Jet Center, the other provider on the field, is still without power, owner Matthew Hagars told AIN this morning. He plans to send some of his crew to help out at the Naples Airport Authority FBO today. In Fort Myers, power has been restored to Page Field, which reopened this morning with full fuel service. Nearby, Southwest Florida International Airport did not officially close during the entirety of the hurricane. Vincent Wolanin, owner of PrivateSky Aviation Services, the lone FBO on the field, rode out the storm in the facility’s Category 5-rated concrete structure, along with many of his staffers and their families.   According to Wolanin, the facility lost power early Monday morning, hours after Irma had passed by, but its massive generator immediately fired up, providing ample electricity for the entire location until main power was restored

Piper returns grounded M600 fleet to service

Piper says all 39 of its M600 single-engined turboprops that were grounded in July while the company investigated the extent of a supplier production error have now returned to service having successfully passed inspections. M600 The US airframer issued a mandatory service bulletin to the owners and dealerships in possession of M600s after it discovered cracking of the aft wing spar during final assembly. An airworthiness directive was issued on 9 August by the Federal Aviation Administration, requiring inspection of the structure and repairs as necessary before the next flight. The airworthiness directive says: "A quality escape during manufacturing resulted in an understrength part, and these nonconforming parts may have been installed on some of the affected airplanes. This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the aft wing spar and lead to wing separation with consequent loss of control." Piper says it "voluntarily grounded the fleet" to ensure that "all fielded aircraft met requirements, which they have".   To allay any concerns, Piper says it has extended the manufacturer's warranty for all wing-structure components from five to seven years. The M600 entered service in June 2016 following a 15-month certification campaign. The $3 million aircraft is a development of Piper’s M500 entry-level turboprop, featuring a redesigned wing, a Garmin G3000 flightdeck, digital fuel-management technology and a restyled interior.   Source: FLIGHTGLOBAL

Nextant To Offer Safe Flight Autothrottle on 604XT

Nextant Aerospace's remanufactured Challenger 604XT will feature the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion touchscreen cockpit, and the Safe Flight AutoPower autothrottle as a fully-integrated option. Aircraft remanufacturing specialist Nextant Aerospace has announced that the Safe Flight AutoPower automatic throttle system will be available as an option on its Challenger 604XT, which features the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion touchscreen cockpit. The system provides “takeoff-to-touchdown power-management capability for the aircraft, which not only improves overall efficiency, [but also] reduces pilot workload in critical segments of flight. This helps to further improve the overall safety of the new cockpit solution,” stated Ken Bannon, Safe Flight’s director of commercial and corporate sales. “In addition to precise speed control, the AutoPower system provides flight envelope and speed protection.” Nextant, through its Constant Aviation subsidiary, is offering the upgrade to 604 customers at a price of $199,950 for a limited time when installed with the Pro Line Fusion suite. “Nextant’s goal has always been to provide the best overall value proposition in the industry, and the announcement by our companies to offer this great feature at a price under $200K shows our commitment to that goal,” said Nextant executive vice president Jay Heublein.   For Challenger 604 owners who already have the Safe Flight autothrottle system modification—approximately 40 percent of the fleet, according to Heublein—Nextant will offer an exclusive integration pathway with the upgrade to the Fusion cockpit.   Source: AINONLINE

Pilatus calls time on PC-6

Pilatus will cease production of its PC-6 multirole trainer in 2019 after a 60-year run. The decision follows poor sales of the single-engined turboprop, also known as the Porter, and limited development opportunities for the platform. Pilatus PC-6 "The PC-6 no longer fits our product portfolio," says Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk. "Due to its age and other certification parameters, it is no longer possible to provide ongoing development in the scope we would wish." The company has produced some 500 PC-6s at its Stans headquarters in Switzerland since 1959. In addition about 100 PC-6s were built in the USA under licence. In recent years the short take-off and landing type has been manufactured in “small numbers,” Pilatus says. Flight Fleets Analyzer records deliveries of nine PC-6s in 2016 and none in the first six months of 2017. Schwenk says while the PC-6 gave Pilatus “fame and recognition worldwide”, every product has a finite lifespan. “That moment has arrived for the PC-6,” he says.   The PC-6 is well known for its short takeoff and landing capabilities and general versatility. Among its achievements, the Pilatus Porter holds a world record for flying several cargo and passenger trips at maximum useful load to 18,700 feet (5,700 meters). Pilatus is now switching its focus to the in-development PC-24 superlight business jet which is on track for certification and service entry in the fourth quarter: "The PC-24 requires our full attention," Schwenk says. The company will accept orders for the PC-6 until mid-2018 and will continue to provide product support for at least another 20 years. Source: FLIGHTGLOBAL

It’s all systems go for Gogo’s new 4G service

Gogo business aviation DASH Internet connectivity specialist Gogo Business Aviation has got government approval for part of its new inflight Wi-Fi system. The Federal Aviation Administration has granted Supplemental Type Certification and Parts Manufacturer Approval for the dual-directional antennae that will be used with the Gogo AVANCE L5 system (formerly known as the Gogo Biz 4G LRU). This means that Gogo can start shipping the system and installing it on business aircraft. Gogo AVANCE L5 connects to the Gogo Biz 4G network, which uses Gogo’s ground network of more than 250 towers across the US to allow activities such as live streaming video and audio, on-demand films, personal smartphone use, real-time data for cockpit apps, and remote diagnostics and support during flight. It is part of a group of new products that combine Gogo’s hardware and software technology to create an inflight connectivity and entertainment platform. The Smart Cabin systems – SCS Elite and SCE Media – launched in July, followed by the AVANCE L5 hardware – a box incorporating dual-band Wi-Fi and a host of other features. “Using our proprietary Gogo Biz 4G network, Gogo AVANCE L5 will deliver an inflight Wi-Fi experience unrivalled by anything else in aviation, and demand from customers is strong,” said Gogo senior vice president and general manager Sergio Aguirre. “I’m so proud of our team. We told the marketplace that we would launch 4G service in mid-2017, and we met that commitment.” Gogo’s dealer and OEM partners are pursuing their own STCs, to certify the Gogo AVANCE L5 system for installation on more than 40 business aircraft models. Most other models will be able to have the system installed using existing certifications. A spokesman for Gogo

Hurricane Irma Wreaks Havoc, But Many Caribbean Airports Rebound

St. Maarten’s main airport, Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), sustained infrastructure damage caused by the powerful winds of Hurricane Irma. In the aftermath of a direct hit by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, Signature Flight Support is reporting significant damage to the general aviation terminal at St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport, which it shares with another FBO. According to a company spokesman, communication with the location is limited to satellite phone, and as of Thursday evening it was still trying to account for all of its employees. With photos showing widespread destruction at the airport, Signature has no timeframe for its reopening there. For the BBA Aviation subsidiary’s FBO at Puerto Rico’s Isla Grande Airport, the story was much brighter as the monster storm’s path veered northward and spared the island from its most intense fury, causing little if any damage to the facility. Jet Aviation reports a similar situation with its location at San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. Antigua’s V.C. Bird International Airport was open on Friday morning as well. While other islands suffered varying amounts of damage, Bohlke International Airways, the lone FBO at St. Croix’s Henry E. Rohlson Airport, escaped virtually unscathed and is currently being used as a staging hub for relief efforts throughout the Caribbean. Other affected areas include St. Thomas and Tortola. Signature noted its affiliated facility at Turks and Caicos closed on Friday ahead of the storm’s arrivals. The airports at St. Kitts and Nevis are expected to reopen by Saturday. Signature, like most of the FBO chains has added a hurricane information page to its website, alerting customers to the latest operating conditions of its locations in Florida and up the East Coast.   Source: AINONLINE


Gulfstream G280 Gulfstream Aerospace has announced the creation of its Connectivity Service program, a comprehensive, bundled suite of in-flight internet, voice and entertainment offerings customized to meet the needs of each Gulfstream operator. “This new service will simplify and enhance the connectivity experience by seamlessly integrating all aspects of in-flight connectivity with the Gulfstream aircraft ownership experience,” said Derek Zimmerman, president, Gulfstream Product Support. “It will make connectivity more accessible and easier to understand. The integration provides customers everything they need to create and maintain the ultimate experience in nose-to-tail connectivity. Gulfstream will be their single source for equipment, service networks and technical support.” As part of the program, Satcom Direct will be the exclusive provider of cabin and cockpit connectivity service plans on both in-production and in-service aircraft. “Satcom Direct is proud to have been selected to support Gulfstream’s Connectivity Service program,” said Jim Jensen, founder and CEO of Satcom Direct. “Through this program, Gulfstream customers will be able to fly in confidence knowing they can maximize faster, richer data during all phases of flight around the globe.” Bundled cabin connectivity options will feature Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX, the fastest in-flight internet connection in business aviation, as well as other networks, such as Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband and ViaSat’s Ku-band service. Flight-deck options will include a datalink service that enables mandated safety systems, including Future Air Navigation System (FANS) 1/A+.  Gulfstream Technical Operations, with on-site support from Satcom Direct, will be the single source for connectivity questions and troubleshooting. Gulfstream’s company-owned service centers worldwide will complete connectivity installations in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia; Westfield, Massachusetts; Appleton, Wisconsin; Las Vegas, Nevada; Long Beach, California; Dallas, Texas; West Palm Beach, Florida; Luton, England; Sorocaba, Brazil; and Beijing,