Bronte Marshall, chief pilot at Oakland-based KaiserAir Inc., urges flight crews to be flexible in spotting relief flight crews on long overwater missions. That advice is based on hard experience involving a crew exchange that wound up being complicated by an unforeseen weather event.
At the 2014 NBAA International Operators Conference Robin Leach and Pat Dunn delivered the South Pacific presentation which included a list of common mistakes made by business aviation flight crews flying the SoPac routes. Here is an abridged version:
Not updating ETAs when early or late by at more than three minutes.
Not reporting reaching new assigned flight level when cleared to change. (Until verification is received, ATC blocks off intermediate flight levels.)
The Oceanic Division of Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center extends from the U.S. West Coast to 130 deg. E longitude and from 05 deg. South latitude to just above 56 deg. N latitude, covering a staggering 18.7 million sq. mi. of the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Chris Strand, lead pilot for Amway Corporation’s BBJ and a member of the NBAA International Operations Committee, learned a few things about fuel reserves when flying the Pacific as a navigator in Navy EP3s (the electronic warfare version of the venerable Lockheed P3, the navalized variant of the four-engine Electra turboprop).
Whoa. Wait a minute. Stop the presses! Wasn’t unleaded automobile gasoline (so-called “pump gas”) approved for use in some engine/airframe combinations years ago, at least for the smaller piston engines, e.g., the Lycoming O-360 installed in thousands of Cessna 172s and other light planes?
A small population of large (“heavy”) transport and vintage aircraft powered by commensurately large air-cooled radial and liquid-cooled inline piston engines remains active in the U.S. and abroad that cannot be operated on any fuel other than 100/115-octane leaded aviation gasoline.
As 2014 drew to an end, a lawsuit against a group of California FBOs and fuel distributors filed three years earlier by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) over sale of leaded avgas was settled through an agreement preventing what could have resulted in grounding almost all piston-powered aviation in the state.
While the National Business Aviation Association is almost always identified with issues affecting the operation of turbine-powered business aircraft, more than 1,000 of its member companies operate piston-engine light planes to support their business travel.
In a Nov. 13, 2012, email, Avantair President and founder Steve Santo
attempted to reassure the troubled fractional ownership program’s 600-plus shareholders that the company was being proactive when it voluntarily grounded its fleet of 56 Piaggio P180 Avanti turboprops the previous month.
Implicit in human achievement from the moment our ancestors climbed down from the trees to stand upright in the tall grass of the savannah has been the Law of Unintended Consequences. It works like this: Leave the arboreal sanctuary for the foraging temptations of the plains, and you increase your vulnerability to predation, perhaps winding up as some larger creature's lunch — and possibly leading to extinction of your species.
It took a data link mandate in the North Atlantic and, finally, pressure from airframe OEMs and operators, but avionics manufacturers are stepping forward with Future Air Navigation System 1/A options and upgrades to allow customers continuous unimpeded access to prime aerial real estate in the North Atlantic region, especially on the Organized Track System.
(See “CPDLC: Texting for Pilots,” October 2013 B&CA, page 80.)
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