AIN Alerts
February 3, 2021
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AAG Sikorsky S-76

Directional Aviation Buying Helo Operator AAG

Kenn Ricci’s Directional Aviation Group unit OneSky Flight is acquiring helicopter charter operator Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) from Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky division, the companies confirmed yesterday afternoon. “OneSky Flight LLC can confirm the acquisition of [AAG] from Lockheed Martin and we are happy to welcome the company to our family,” a spokesman for Directional told AIN. “It has long been a vision to bring vertical lift to the OneSky portfolio…Look for more details on our overall vertical lift strategy in the spring."

AAG, which operates 10 Sikorsky S-76 medium-twin helicopters in the New York City area, was founded in 1989, purchased by Sikorsky in 1999, and used to launch the OEM’s fractional shares program. Current bases include Wappingers Falls, New York; Bridgeport, Connecticut; Trenton, New Jersey; and Providence, Rhode Island. AAG offers aircraft maintenance and management, charter, shares, airport transfer, and the “Excalibur Card,” a flight card sold in 10-hour increments.

Directional brands include fractional program Flexjet, Sentient Jet cards, FXAir charter, Sirio aircraft management, Nextant Aerospace, maintenance provider Constant Aviation, turbine parts provider N1, aviation training company Simcom, charter platform PrivateFly, aircraft brokerage Sojourn, and air ambulance company Reva. The acquisition of AAG could be linked to Ricci’s interest in advanced air mobility (AAM). In November, he co-launched special acquisition company Zanite to seek out investments in AAM, aerospace, defense, and emerging technologies.

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DC Aviation Expands Bizjet Wheel Mx Capabilities

DC Aviation has expanded the wheel shop at its Stuttgart, Germany airport maintenance center by 828 sq ft (77 sq m) and added new equipment in a move that will allow it to repair and maintain main and nose gear wheels of larger business jets. It builds upon DC Aviation’s C14 approval for repair and maintenance of main and nose gear wheels that it obtained in 2017.

Included in the expansion was the addition of two bead breakers to detach the rubber from rims of various sizes, a rim washing machine, a sandblasting cabin, and a hydraulic lift. “The wheel shop expansion is an ideal complement to our maintenance service portfolio,” said DC Aviation v-p of maintenance and CAMO Jürgen Sehne. “By performing repair and maintenance work on wheels in-house, our customers can optimize aircraft idle times and save costs.”

The company currently services wheels for the Cessna Citation XLS; Bombardier Challenger 300/604/605/850 and Global 5000; and Gulfstream G650.


Aerion Selects AS2 Supplier, Lead on Campus Development

Aerion continues to build out its supplier base, selecting Rosen Aviation to develop a new cabin management and technology system for the AS2 supersonic business jet. The AS2's 10-passenger cabin will bring together “traditional craftsmanship with cutting edge technologies,” said Tim Fagan, Aerion head of industrial design and cabin experience. “We look forward to collaborating with Rosen to create a truly immersive and intuitive cabin environmental that delivers previously unseen levels of passenger-technology interface.”

The naming of Rosen Aviation as a supplier is another signal of the progress being made on the supersonic program. Aerion expects to launch production of the aircraft in 2023 from a newly constructed plant at its 110-acre Aerion Park at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Florida.

Breaking ground late last year, Aerion anticipates construction on the site to continue into next year. Aerion finalized an agreement with the design, engineering, and construction firm Haskell to lead the development of the site. Aerion Park will encompass the company’s global headquarters, along with research, design, production, and interior completions work for the AS2 program.

Plans call for the use of clean energy at the site, including photovoltaic solar technology to generate energy for manufacturing, installation of on-site electric vehicle charging stations, and reuse of rainwater. Further, the project will involve the incorporation of recycled materials where possible.

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Textron To Offer ACA System in Larger Jets, King Airs

Textron Aviation will offer Aviation Clean Air’s (ACA) cabin ionization system as a retrofit to the Cessna Citation Latitude, Sovereign, and Excel/XLS/XLS+, as well as 300-series Beechcraft King Airs, the Wichita airframer announced this week. The company will install the system at its service centers.

“In today’s world, cabin air quality has never been more important,” said Textron Aviation customer service senior v-p Brian Rohloff. “The ACA System enhances the capabilities of the interior environmental control system, providing an in-flight experience that offers peace of mind. We are offering this to Beechcraft and Cessna customers as an aftermarket option to provide them the reassurance of a neutralized and purified cabin.”

Installed in an aircraft’s environmental control system, the ACA Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization (NPBI) process emits cold plasma that allows positive and negative ions to attach to water vapor molecules in the air, causing a molecular reaction that neutralizes gases, spores, bacteria, and viruses, including Covid-19, according to ACA testing.

Textron Aviation said it plans further development to retrofit the system in its other aircraft models.


FAA Aviation Weather Cams Coming To Hawaii

Long-awaited FAA aviation weather cameras could soon be up and running in Hawaii. In November, the agency began engineering surveys required for the installation of the first 10 of 23 planned camera systems there.

Hawaii’s mountainous terrain, rapidly-changing weather conditions, and vexing microclimates often render traditional weather forecasts and reporting of little value. The deficiencies have long been cited as factors in aviation accidents there involving inadvertent entry into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and the resulting loss of control, as well as controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). The NTSB and the state’s helitour industry have long called for a weather camera system similar to those already installed in Alaska and Colorado. 

Colorado’s system—installed in partnership with that state’s department of transportation—became operational over the summer using a system of 52 cameras at 13 locations and plans call for the addition of another 10 sites later this year. Alaska’s system, which began installations in 1999 and now uses 235 cameras, continues to expand and the state plans to add 140 cameras. Nav Canada also operates a system of 215 cameras.

The value of the cameras is clear, according to the FAA, whose survey data of Alaska Part 135 operators found that the weather cams had become critical tools in decision making and had cut unnecessary flight hours due to unreliable weather information by 64 percent.


Maintenance Group WAMA Surpasses 60 Years

Westchester Aircraft Maintenance Association (WAMA), which claims to be one of the country’s first professional organizations for aviation maintenance professionals, passed its 60th anniversary in 2020 but because of Covid-19 it now hopes to formally mark the occasion at its annual gala in the second half of this year.

Based at Westchester County Airport in New York, WAMA was founded in 1960 by a handful of aviation mechanics working for Fortune 500 corporate flight departments. The group aimed to create a social and educational organization to enhance the knowledge base of its members and to keep them abreast of the latest issues affecting the piston, turboprop, and jet aircraft they maintain.

Today, the organization maintains a “100-percent focus” on training, a concept that is embedded in its charter. It offers training through hosting classes in aircraft maintenance and career and personal development, as well as monthly dinner meetings with aviation OEM briefings and industry guest speakers. WAMA also works to connect local aviation schools with aviation companies for internships and maintains a website where members can post their resumes and open job positions.


Flyjets Adds Helo Flights to Booking Platform

On-demand jet booking platform Flyjets has added private helicopter flights to its web-based application version 2.0 rollout, initially in areas surrounding New York City, the startup company announced. Flights will first be available to airports such as JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark, as well as vacation destinations such as the Hamptons and Nantucket on Airbus AS350 and AS355 light singles and twins and single-piston Robinson R44s.

Flyjets’ booking application uses proprietary aircraft data and dynamic location sourcing in part to identify the lowest point-to-point charter rates and enable its users to take advantage of empty leg discounts. Membership in Flyjets is free with no upfront payment required.

“With the release of our new features, Flyjets is increasingly focused on providing value to flyers and aircraft providers via a unique software platform,” said Flyjets founder and CEO Jessica Fisher. “Flyjets is modernizing and democratizing access to air travel, and we are effectively preparing for the future of flight—for the forthcoming personal airplanes, eVTOL aircraft, consumer flying, and piloting needs of the future. We aim to grow our offerings in keeping with advancements in technology and transportation.”


FAA Outlines Super Bowl Air Traffic Plan

The FAA has released a plan involving temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), a No Drone Zone, and other procedures for general aviation and drone operations around Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, before, during, and after Super Bowl LV this weekend. While Covid-19-pandemic restrictions are limiting attendance for this year’s Super Bowl to about 25 percent capacity, the FAA still anticipates hundreds of additional GA takeoffs and landings in the Tampa Bay region, as well as aircraft parked at the nearby airports.

A reservation program began today and runs through February 9 to facilitate ground services, NBAA said, advising operators to contact their preferred FBO in advance to ensure they can secure a slot. In all, procedures have been established for 17 Tampa-area airports. Preferred routes also have been established.

In addition, a TFR will bar GA operations within a 10-nm radius of the stadium beginning at about 5:30 p.m. on game day, February 7. That TFR is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. but could be extended if necessary. Other procedures, involving screening and gateways, will take effect for a 30-nm ring around the stadium. Drones are prohibited inside the TFR area, as well as in a 2-nm area around Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park from the ground to 2,000 feet, during event hours.


Make Your Voice Heard in the 2021 FBO Survey

AIN’s FBO survey is open for year-round feedback, but the deadline to vote in the 2021 survey is this Friday (February 5). The results will be published in the April issue. The survey takes only a minute, and you can do it while waiting for passengers, on the shuttle bus to/from the hotel or any other time that is convenient for you. Participants will be entered to win a $500 Amazon gift card. Log on to to rate your experiences at the FBOs you visit.

AD Number: Israel CAA ISR-I-04-2020-06-02_R1
Mftr: Gulfstream Aerospace
Model(s): G280
Published: January 27, 2021
Effective: February 15, 2021

Requires increasing inspection frequency of the horizontal stabilizer trim actuator (HSTA) "no–back" operational check. Prompted by reports of solder cracking in certain flight control electronic control units, which can affect the signals within the electronic unit. The combination of the solder crack and the latent failure of the HSTA "no–back" mechanism could result in uncontrolled HSTA operation.

AD Number: Israel CAA ISR-I-57-2020-06-01
Mftr: Gulfstream Aerospace
Model(s): G280
Published: January 27, 2021
Effective: February 15, 2021

Applies to aircraft S/Ns 2003 through 2033 and requires installing a doubler at the attachment location of wing Rib 0 and the front spar. Prompted by full-scale fatigue testing that resulted in a crack forming in the area of the attachment of wing Rib 0 to the front spar. Thus, it was determined that a doubler is needed to be added at that location.

AD Number: EASA 2021-0041
Mftr: Airbus Helicopters
Model(s): SA365N/N1/N2/N3 and EC155B/B1
Published: January 28, 2021
Effective: February 11, 2021

Applies to helicopters equipped with an emergency flotation system that does not have AH modification (MOD) 0752C71 or MOD0752C77. Requires installation of an external jettisoning system on affected helicopters, installation of placards, and amendment of the rotorcraft flight manual.

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