Natural disasters like hurricanes and tropical storms have the potential to delay or cancel air travel for days — even weeks — until the skies clear. Numerous commercial airline travelers feel these impacts, and the delays and cancellations tend to make national news. But many people also fail to realize commercial air travel isn’t the only air travel type these storms impact. Those in the business aviation industry also experiences major impacts when faced with hurricanes.
Business aviation professionals should consider these impacts when operating in a region affected by tropical storms or hurricanes. Knowing where and when to fly could help you avoid revenue loss and damage to your aircraft. In particular, if you operate in or around the Gulf Coast, you should be mindful of scheduling flights from early June to late November.
Potential impacts during an active storm
When a tropical storm or hurricane emerges, many potential problems can arise for business aviation operators. Not only can these problems cause revenue loss but they can also incur thousands of dollars in damages.
One of the most obvious issues aviation insiders deal with during hurricanes is their effect on flight schedules. Severe rain and wind can make flying unsafe, causing delays and cancellations for many flights to and from the affected areas. Flights intended to go through the affected area may be re-routed, making them more expensive due to higher fuel costs.
Changes to flight schedules can also cause chain reactions. Operators located outside affected areas may have to cancel flights to dangerous areas — but might be able to continue other normal operations, limiting storm impacts on business. Those attempting to leave affected regions are likely to be stuck and their schedules disrupted until it’s safe to fly out of the area.
Private aircraft in mid-air during a storm may require mid-flight plan changes and emergency landings. These changes and cancellations have the potential to reduce revenue during the storm’s duration, as well as, incur landing fees or additional costs for more fuel.
Even if private aircraft aren’t flying, they can sustain severe and costly damages if not properly protected — or if the protective shelter collapses. Hail can dent and damage aircraft exterior and break windows, debris can cause structural damage, and winds can even be powerful enough to rip the wings off.
If you base your aircraft in an area frequently affected by hurricanes, you’ll need to think ahead to have a safe place to keep your jets in the event of a severe storm.
The lasting effects of hurricanes on aviation
Hurricanes and tropical storms don’t only cause problems while the storms are active, though. As evidenced from the 2017 hurricane season — which devastated areas in Florida, Texas, and the Caribbean — storms can have long-lasting effects on business aviation operations.
Flooding from storms can disrupt operations at airports and cause structural damage that takes days, weeks, or months to repair. Power outages and redirected personnel can lead to weeks of grounded aircraft.
Additionally, fuel may not be readily available in the affected areas for a time after a storm. Emergency services may redirect incoming fuel to rescue operations, meaning aircraft cannot fly unless operators pay higher prices for in-demand fuel.
Without a clear plan of action, those operating in hurricane-afflicted regions could lose sizable amounts of money due to cancelled flights, damaged aircraft, or the inability to fly due to airport damage.
Fortunately, preplanning can help private aircraft owners avoid these high costs and enjoy their aircraft year-round.
The expert jet brokers at L & L International are here to help you acquire the perfect jet. Need to sell your jet? We can assist with that, too. Contact the private aviation professionals online, at sales@L-Lint.com, or at +1 (305) 754-3313.
In 2017, United States-registered business jets saw 62.5% fewer fatalities. That’s certainly great news, but does it mean those in the private and business jet industry reached their safety goals and can congratulate one another on a job well done? In short, no. Aviation industry professionals should never become complacent over safety issues. Hazards and safety threats will always exist, so focusing on past accomplishments does not equate to safety assurance moving forward. However, savvy jet owners and travelers can look to past safety successes to guide their decisions as they continue to build on this culture of safety.
Making business aviation safer
Through dedication and perseverance, aviation professionals are making the industry safer every day, working to decrease flying-related vulnerabilities. But while safety gaps still exist, organizational leaders are taking steps to discover and mitigate them.
NTSB — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) hosts seminars to help jet operators with communications when aviation accidents occur. Aircraft operators involved in accident investigations can provide information valuable in preventing similar accidents, but strict guidelines govern the information they can and cannot share. While their insights are invaluable, much of the information they contribute cannot be shared publicly before its official release as it can jeopardize investigations.
ACSF — The 2018 Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) 2018 Safety Symposium focused on procedural noncompliance and the resulting devastating consequences that can occur when pilots don’t adhere to strict safety measures. Discussions centered around the various causes of noncompliance and how best to balance operations with safety.
GHSS — Aviation safety initiatives are not focused solely on in-air safety. The first Ground Handling Safety Symposium (GHSS) was held in Washington, D.C., in late 2017, allowing industry insiders to discuss how to keep ground operations safe. The primary focus was on taking a business approach to safety by using safety management systems (SMS) to identify and mitigate safety concerns.
Top safety focus areas
What types of concerns should those in aviation focus on? In the spirit of making the industry ever more safe, the National Business Aviation Association’s annual “Top Safety Focus Areas” is out — and, once again, runway excursions are a leading concern. The NBAA reports that almost a third of business aviation accidents are due to veering off runways during takeoffs and landings, making runway excursions “the most common type of accident.” Most of these incidents are preventable if flight crews follow best practices to mitigate risks.
Others on the safety list include loss of control inflight (LOC-I), single-pilot operation safety, procedural compliance, as well as ground handling and taxi incidents. The NBAA Safety Committee came up with the list and will be working with regulators and stakeholders to identify effective methods for lessening these risks.
Safety management systems
To help alleviate these concerns and more, business and private aviation insiders can use SMS. An SMS is an organization-wide structured approach to proactively managing business aviation hazards and risks, helping ensure all involved handle safety management with the same urgency as other business processes. According to the AviationPros article, these are the four pillars of safety support in effective SMS initiatives:
Safety policy — A written statement outlining personal or company objectives that includes an emergency response plan
Safety risk management — A safety reporting system to assess incident reports and allow those involved to take steps to stop dangerous practices
Safety assurance — An analysis of the effectiveness of any measures put in place with opportunities to make changes where needed
Safety promotion — Continual safety goal education and periodic SMS training
Safety is an ongoing effort, with the goal to continuously make aviation safer for all. With persistence, vigilance, and resolution, those in private and business aviation can continue to make the industry as safe as possible.
Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance acquiring or selling a private jet.
As the holiday season approaches, one item sure to be on the wish lists of kids of all ages is drones, aka unmanned aerial systems (UAS). With the popularity of drones surging, people are beginning to question how safe they are as they share airspace with commercial and private aircraft. In October, the FAA announced it is receiving approximately 250 reports of safety incidents involving drones each month, an increase of over 50% than those reported in 2016. Some of the incidents include near-collisions with manned aircraft, including airliners and private jets.
Are drones actually threats?
It may seem difficult to believe that a small device like a drone could present danger to piloted aircraft. However, a new FAA study reveals drones have the capability to cause significant damage to jets. Even though they weigh only a few pounds, impact studies show they can do more damage than birds similar in size.
According to the Bloomberg article, FAA estimates 2.3 million drones will be sold in the U.S. in 2017. And the use of drones for commercial and emergency purposes is exploding. Their sheer numbers make them a serious threat to our skies, and hazards will likely only increase in years to come.
The collision study researchers hope their work will help in the creation of risk-mitigation requirements. Drone manufacturers and operators can do their part by fitting unmanned vehicles with transponders that would allow pilots and air traffic personnel to avoid conflicts, according to the AIN Online article. Drones could also be kept out of certain air spaces through geofencing, which puts up electronic barriers against drones.
Drone registration, too, could result in better prevention and prosecution of careless or malicious drone operations. In December 2015, the FAA introduced mandatory light drone registration, but that legislation was struck down in July 2017, with Congress ruling that the FAA “may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft.” That ruling, however, will likely be short-lived as Congress is set to reinstate the registration requirement.
It’s important for drone operators to be aware of their surroundings and operate under regulations. They need to pay attention to height regulations, stay clear of restricted airspace, and make sure to keep their drones in sight at all times. But at the heart of the matter, pilots of both private jets and unmanned drones are responsible for avoiding impacts with other aircraft.
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Time is everything in the business world, especially when you’re flying. Delays on the ground and in the air can cause fliers undue stress, which can lead to — and sometimes cause — missed appointments and opportunities. Even when using a company jet with more flexible departure and arrival windows, you can’t prevent bad weather. So, how do you know if you should keep your appointment and risk flying through it?
Know the weather. There’s a big difference between what you see on the ground and what’s in the sky. Lightning, wind gusts, and turbulence are all factors when flying in bad weather. The name of the game is avoidance, and pilots use many tools to avoid flying through storms. Though large turbulence pockets appear on rare occasions, much is predictable through constant weather reports pilots receive — known as PIREPs — and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) tools. Pilots work with control tower personnel to plot the least dangerous routes possible through or around storm fronts.
Know the statistics. An average of only three dozen individuals are injured annually due to rough turbulence. In other words, flying through a storm — even briefly — may be rough but is not likely life-threatening. Should you still be concerned, it’s best you fly out in the early morning when the atmosphere is most stable.
Your pilot has hundreds of hours of classroom training and on-the-job practice to fly through less-than-perfect weather. Having a pilot with a lot of experience is your best defense against issues in the air. Your pilot’s goal is to get you to your destination as safely as possible. If you’re traveling on a private jet and are concerned about weather, express your concerns to your pilot and have a conversation about the conditions and risks involved.
While turbulence and poor weather can certainly make flying experiences uncomfortable from time to time, they shouldn’t stop you from doing business. Rely on your pilot’s knowledge and aircraft tools to get you to your meetings on time.
One way to gauge a pilot’s experience anywhere in the world is through his or her flying hours, or the number of hours each pilot has accumulated flying aircraft. Although valuable, flying time does not necessarily describe all your pilot’s qualifications: You’ll also want to consider “soft” skills in terms of how he or she communicates and interacts with you as a client. However, let’s look at flying and see what it takes from a “learning to drive” perspective.
Private pilot license
In the United States, there are several pilot license levels. The most basic is the private pilot license, which allows the holder to fly aircraft carrying passengers within U.S. airspace.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), private pilots must notch at least 40 hours of flight time, including 20 hours with an instructor and at least 10 flying solo. Although 40 hours is the minimum, private pilots almost always exceed this limit. The national average is 60 to 75 hours, according to the FAA Student Pilot Guide.
Instrument and multi-engine ratings
Private pilots must also obtain instrument and multi-engine ratings to fly aircraft under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Pilots must log at least “… 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which 10 hours must have been in an airplane.” They must also have “Forty hours of actual or simulated instrument time … of which 15 hours must have been received from an authorized instructor who holds an instrument-airplane rating …”
Commercial pilot certification
The next step for pilots is to qualify for their commercial pilot licenses (CPLs). At this stage, certified pilots must accumulate 250 flight hours with both single- and multi-engine aircraft to achieve those ratings. They must fly alone cross-country as pilot in command in both day and night conditions. Each CPL candidate must also complete a specific number of takeoffs and landings.
In 2013, the FAA upgraded these rules to include additional ground and flight training to prevent and recover from aircraft stalls, enhance runway safety, as well as better prepare for crosswinds and wind gusts.
With their CPLs, pilots may work for private jet companies. The biggest difference between most commercial airline and private jet pilots is the former will undergo further commercial airline training. In contrast, private jet pilots have a balance of valuable experience handling administrative issues and creating flight plans that commercial pilots may lack. The bottom line: Once pilots obtain their CPLs, they are well-qualified to fly private jets.
Contact the experts at L & L International if you need assistance purchasing or selling a private jet.
If you have a long flight coming up, you don’t have time to be sick or deal with health-related illnesses when you land. Unfortunately, long flights can sometimes lead to illnesses. Here are four ways you can stay healthier when flying for long periods of time:
Concentrate on your breathing. Breathing pressurized cabin air can be like breathing at high altitudes, and you may experience many of the same symptoms, such as shortness of breath and dizziness. There’s also less humidity in the air, which can also make it more difficult to breathe. Concentrate on your breathing while in flight. Try taking longer, deeper, slower breaths to ensure you’re getting enough oxygen.
Stretch, flex, and move. Blood can pool in your extremities if you stay seated for a long time. This is especially true when you’re in a pressurized cabin and your body isn’t processing oxygen as well. Lack of movement can lead to a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), dangerous blood clots in the legs. To help keep your blood flowing, stretch often, especially your calves. Tap or flex your feet to keep the blood flowing, and try to get up and move around the cabin often. Some experts even suggest wearing compression socks to help reduce the likelihood of DVT.
Eat properly before and during flights. You should not eat a big meal just before or during a flight because your body has a harder time digesting food when in flight. It’s a better idea to eat smaller meals, and try to stick with warm food as it stimulates digestion. Also, pack some healthy snacks like raw almonds or fresh fruit, and avoid alcohol and caffeine before and during a flight.
Stay hydrated. Do you ever feel parched after a long plane ride? It’s because the recirculated air in airplane cabins has lower humidity than the air on land. This means that not only does your body get dehydrated on the inside but it also gets dehydrated on the outside. Drink lots of water during long flights, but also remember to keep your eyes, nose, and skin hydrated. Bring along moisturizer, a saline nasal spray, and eye drops to ensure that you don’t land all dried out.
Even long, private flights can be hard on your health. With a little planning, you can reduce the amount of stress on your body during a long flight so that you can keep moving when you land.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released changes to its existing policy regarding the non-aeronautical use of aviation facilities June 15. Specifically, the policy update addresses the use of hangars located at federally obligated airports. Airports that have not received federal assistance in the form of Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants or federal conveyances are not subject to these constraints.
Overall, the greatest change to the existing policy is in how hangars may be used at airports that have received federal funds. In the past, they could only be used as storage for aeronautical use, and that definition was very narrow. The policy update, however, allows for the expanded use of hangars.
Members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have been lobbying for an expansion of the definition of “aeronautical use” for a number of years and, as a group, consider this expanded definition a win. According to the AOPA, some of the most important changes that the policy update enables include:
Building experimental and kit aircraft in hangars — In the past, only the final assembly was permitted at the hangar, but now, more of the work can be done on-site. The AOPA maintains that this is an aeronautical activity and should be permitted in airport hangars.
Use of empty hangars to generate revenue —However, there are a couple of caveats. According to the FAA policy, the airport must get FAA approval before entering into a long- or short-term lease. Once a 30-day lease has been approved, it can be renewed without further FAA involvement. Also, the space that is leased must be quickly recoverable should the need arise to use the leased hangar.
Storage of non-aeronautical items in unused hangars — Another qualification with this change: The items stored in the hangar cannot interfere with the intended aeronautical use of the hangar.
Expansion of the “operational aircraft” definition —“Operational aircraft” now includes aircraft that are down for maintenance. Airport sponsors now have the ability to determine if they will allow such aircraft to be stored in an airport hangar while maintenance is being performed.
In all, these changes to the FAA hangar policy are designed to allow federally obligated airports more control of hangar space, especially when there is excess hangar capacity. If you have additional questions about these hangar requirements, the FAA offers an FAQ webpage.
At the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Symposium in Florida, the first hosted by the Federal Aviation Administration, administrators Michael Huerta and Michael Whitaker explained where the agency is headed with regard to UAS. FAA decision-makers asserted their agency’s commitment to the safe, timely, and efficient integration of unmanned technology. Huerta and others also said that the FAA is taking the conversation of necessary and extraneous regulation very seriously.
Drones and other unmanned aircraft help as well as hinder. Highly publicized problems —such as firefighters forced to halt desperate firefighting operations due to a drone entering their airspace, for example — have the FAA pressing onward for clearly defined standards and regulations.
At the symposium, Huerta discussed the FAA’s UAS partnership with NASA to test various systems, including the administration’s UAS Traffic Management program focused on geofencing, altitude rules, and trajectory scheduling. These types of UAS integrations are critical developments and strong indicators of the engagement with and acceptance of UAS into the U.S. airspace system.
Unmanned aircraft systems represent the future for the industry and have energized an entirely new generation’s interest in aviation. It remains to be seen what effects legislative efforts will have on the rising interest and investment in public sector UAS projects.
Laser pointers — those cheap, entertaining trinkets that inspire household pets to chase and pounce — are causing significant problems for law enforcement. Most people see these red or green dot pointers as having weak lights, but they underestimate just how far light travels and the damage these lasers can do when pointed at aircraft.
While some may think the light stops before reaching a passing aircraft, but it doesn’t. Even the standard laser pointers used for presentations are bright enough to distract a plot. At distances up to 1,200 feet, the light from a standard laser toy can reverberate about the cockpit and cause near blindness, according to Jake Rossen, a Mental Floss contributor.
Lasing is a felony
Interfering with aircraft operation has long been a federal crime, but, according to an article from the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration’s FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 made the act of intentionally pointing a laser at an aircraft a felony.
Since the FBI and the FAA began tracking laser strikes, there has been a significant increase in the number of laser illuminations, or lasing, by curious or malicious individuals on the ground. According to the FAA, as cited in a Laser Pointer Safety article, lasing incidents could increase 64% from 2015 to 2016.
What happens when a laser is pointed at an aircraft?
From the ground, it may seem that a small beam of light won’t make a dent on a pilot’s vision. But when pointed at airplanes and helicopters, a laser’s light can be significantly magnified by the aircraft windows. The windshield turns opaquely green and the strobe effect can cause a burning sensation in the eyes. According to a Popular Science article, lasing can even cause temporary blindness in affected pilots and crewmembers.
According to the Mental Floss article, the crew’s ability to see is seriously compromised and, while no lasing accident has been reported yet, pilots have been forced to change course, even in crowded airspace, and later required medical attention. Pilots who have been hit with lasers claim it’s the equivalent of having a very bright camera flash go off in pitch blackness right in front of you. According to an Air and Space magazine article, green lasers are especially harmful because the human eye is susceptible to damage from light in the yellow to green part of the spectrum.
The FAA, FBI, and local law enforcement teams have worked out a number of effective methods to find and prosecute those who point lasers at aircraft. Increased public awareness is helping somewhat, but tens of thousands of dollars and years of jail time and community service are doing a lot to curb enthusiasm for this curious activity as well.
Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet.
You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at +1.305.754.3313, or visit us online.
Got a friend with a private jet you can borrow? It seems like a good idea: The aircraft is available, has a crew well-known by the owners, and costs significantly less than standard charter rates. But you’re not just doing a favor, you’re acting as a charter service — and doing so without the proper credentials is illegal.
The bizav community dubs these flights “Part 134 1/2″ in reference to the FAA’s Part 135 rules that regulate charter operations and air charter operators. While no statistical evidence exists to expose the extent of the practice, experts readily agree that illegal charters are commonplace.
Of course, the truth is that most of these flights occur without incident, so the likelihood of their discovery is limited. Plus, airports are businesses, and when they sell fuel, maintenance, and other qualified services to jet owners, they’re hesitant to report suspected illegal charters.
What’s the risk in friends helping friends?
Illegal charters are fraught with the potential for risk:
Lack of oversight means less safety — If you’re flying on an illegal charter, realize that the pilot and jet owner are acting illegally, which could put you at risk.
Lack of accountability per the FAA — When flights aren’t regulated, risk factors go up.
Less stringent training and potentially less skill — This is a case of “getting what you pay for,” and in some cases the pilot may have less skill and training.
Less security around aircraft maintenance — If the operator is already engaging in illegal activity, are you confident in the aircraft’s maintenance?
Less drug and alcohol testing — There is potential for unregulated crews.
Less flight experience — Some pilots use illegal charters to get more flight time, but wouldn’t you prefer to have a fully qualified and experienced pilot?
Less insurance coverage — If the charter is illegal, you have limited recourse in an accident.
Protecting yourself from illegal charters
To minimize your risk of booking an illegal charter, follow these simple steps:
Use your common sense. Extremely low prices are a warning sign because legitimate charter operators carry proper operating costs.
Ask questions. A legitimate operator will readily provide its certificate number and tail number.
Book through trusted sites. You can cut through the smoke and mirrors by working with trusted charter operators.
Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a worry-free private flight.
Contact L & L International if you need assistance in purchasing or selling a private jet. You can reach our sales specialists today at sales@L-Lint.com, call us any time at 305-754-3313, or visit us online.