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The global aviation industry has come to an agreement this week to curb carbon emissions starting in 2021. About 191 members of the International Civil Aviation Organization, including the U.S., agreed to a voluntary program to cap emissions at 2020 levels for the initial five years of the program, with mandates beginning in 2027, The Wall Street Journal reported. Airlines, which spent more than $180 billion on fuel in 2015, could be spending anywhere from $5 billion to nearly $24 billion to comply with emissions limits in 2035, ICAO said. Among the potential costs are purchasing credits when exceeding the limits, according to the Journal report. The pact, called the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, was signed at an ICAO gathering in Montreal on Thursday. It parallels agreements the aviation industry made a year ago in Geneva, along with the Paris climate treaty signed by members of the United Nations.

How U.S. airlines will adjust and how much they will spend on carbon offsets remains to be seen, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in the Journal report. Also unknown will be the state of the fuel markets in the coming years. The International Air Transport Association said in a statement that the agreement is historic. “The CORSIA agreement has turned years of preparation into an effective solution for airlines to manage their carbon footprint," IATA said. "This agreement ensures that the aviation industry’s economic and social contributions are matched with cutting-edge efforts on sustainability." The Washington-based General Aviation Manufacturers Association, which is part of an international consortium representing the aviation industry, said the agreement includes exemptions for small businesses and aircraft. "GAMA’s member companies that manufacture business aircraft, engines, avionics, and components worked hard to achieve an agreement that will balance the industry’s continued economic growth with the need to address international aviation CO2 emissions," GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said.

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Map By Jacques Beaudry (SIGNAV), Courtesy Charles Cormier

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) has announced a major decision that may help ensure that Canadian airport operations are not hampered by wind farms. It had a little help from some bats, too. Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that a proposed wind farm would potentially “harm human health” by creating obstacle hazards in the pattern for Collingwood Regional Airport in southern Ontario and Stayner aerodrome, a privately operated airstrip a few miles away. “This is precedent-setting,” said COPA President Bernard Gervais. COPA spent more than $175,000 fighting a plan to build eight 500-foot wind turbines within two miles of the airports. Local municipalities and private individuals also fought the proposal. The turbines were planned for the downwind of the main runway at Collingwood, the major regional airport in that area of Ontario, and would have also caused conflicts for Stayner, which is a privately owned “aerodrome” operated by an aviation business but open to the public.

The tribunal decision was literally the last resort for opponents to the project, which was approved by the Ontario government under its Green Energy Act legislation last February. The Green Energy Act essentially invalidates any land use, property value or nuisance claims by local governments or individuals in its approval of alternatives to fossil-fuel energy. Approvals can only be overturned on environmental grounds and threats to human health are among those concerns. The opponents hung their case on the fact that colliding with a wind turbine on downwind would indeed be harmful to human health and the tribunal agreed. The Ontario government and the company proposing the project, wpd Fairview Wind Incorporated, argued the windmills could be accommodated by adding a right-hand pattern at Collingwood but the tribunal agreed that right-hand patterns are less safe than standard patterns and the alternative wasn't reasonable. Transport Canada, which could have rejected the project before anyone spent any money opposing it, instead took a hands-off approach but suggested there would be limitations on the airports’ operations if the windmills were permitted. But it’s not just airplanes that are in danger of running into the turbines. The tribunal also found that the little brown myotis, an endangered species of bat, could bash into the big blades and diminish their numbers even further.

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Textron Aviation flew its prototype Citation Longitude for the first time on Saturday, solidifying its presence in the super midsize market. The flight makes it likely the aircraft will be at NBAA in Orlando at the beginning of November. The Longitude was announced in 2012 and Textron had a proof-of-concept aircraft at NBAA 2015 in Las Vegas, but the official first flight was Saturday according to the company. "Today’s successful first flight of the Citation Longitude was performed exactly as we anticipated,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “Our product development process is second to none and allowed us to move smoothly from unveiling the Longitude last November, to the first flight of the prototype in just 11 months."

The airplane seats up to 12 passengers and offers a stand-up cabin and cabin-accessible baggage compartment. It has a full-fuel payload of 1,500 lbs., can go 3,400 nm (high speed cruise) and has a top speed of 476 knots. It has Honeywell FADEC engines with autothrottles and a Garmin 5000 panel. There’s an optional head-up display. First flight lasted more than two hours and all the basic flight characteristics were tested. We had a look at what Cessna flew to NBAA in Las Vegas last year.

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China’s first general aviation “airpark” will open to the public soon and will feature a host of services and industries based on non-scheduled aviation activity. The Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) says it wants to build 50 facilities like the one it’s almost finished in Jingmen in Central China’s Hubei province. The services and basic facilities at the 30-square-kilometer AVIC Airpark are done and include a 6,000-foot runway, a 2,800-foot runway and an adjoining reservoir where seaplanes can land and take off. The airpark will become the hub of GA activity in that area of China, which is about 800 miles southwest of Beijing.

The airport is a small part of what’s planned for the airpark. AVIC is planning a sport aircraft factory that will build 500 aircraft a year, along with research and development facilities. To serve the GA traffic that is expected there, hangars, flight schools, club facilities and museums are planned. “The opening of the park will help boost development of China's general aviation and strengthen public interest and awareness of the sector,” AVIC said in a news release.  The airpark will be divided into five zones concentrating on commercial flight services, GA manufacturing, aviation tourism, research and development and “cultural industries.”

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American skydiving showman Miles Daisher makes his living doing extreme sports but even he’ll admit a recent jump was out of the ordinary. Daisher and other members of his Miles Above television series were doing a wingsuit jump for the cameras when the boot on the suit snagged around the gear leg step of the Cessna jump plane. That left him hanging upside down and backward in a big draggy suit, which undoubtedly altered the flight characteristics of the airplane.

In his narrative, Daisher said he concentrated on staying calm and stabilizing himself so the pilot could counteract the pull to the right he and his suit were causing. “I’m thinking I better lock this up and keep it together because if I spin this thing (the aircraft) it’s gonna go bad,” he said in the clip of the outtake, which was posted on YouTube Oct. 6. He managed to configure the wing so he was being “towed by my foot from a Cessna … flying a wingsuit backwards” while jump mates on the aircraft worked to free him. One succeeded in cutting the fabric free of the step and Daisher tumbled away to the relative safety of a wingsuit freefall. Naturally it was all caught in multiple angles from helmet and aircraft-mounted cameras.

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The Collings Foundation's bombers were giving rides while I was getting ready to depart the airport at Ramona, CA early this summer.    When I called for takeoff, I was told to hold short while a B-17 landed.  After that beautiful plane cleared the runway, the follow exchange happened:

RNM: Cessna, cleared for takeoff, caution wake turbulence from the arriving B-17.

Me: Roger, I'll bet you've been waiting to say that all day.

RMN: Pretty much


Ken Glaze

 

There has been one light quietly continuing to burn despite the dark news of declining general aviation activity—that’s sport parachuting, you know, skydiving. While the number of pilots has dropped, airports are closing and new aircraft sales just struggle along, skydiving activity has been consistently growing. Canny airport managers looking at red ink in their ledgers, where hangars go unrented and fuel sales slump, are seeking out skydiving operations for their airports. Often, skydiving proves to be the key that revitalizes an airport, bringing people out to experience a new adventure in aviation. Fuel sales go up and some of those who came out to skydive decide to learn to fly.

The door to skydiving adventure lies in the jump pilot. Someone has got to safely and efficiently fly skydivers to altitude and then hustle back down so to the ground so they can load up and do it again. Many professional pilots started their aviation careers as jump pilots—and discovered the combination of required stick and rudder skills, ATC communication needs and significant level of responsibility as pilot in command in a challenging environment served to prepare them well for the airline world. More than a few who went on to corporate and airline positions are still jump pilots on their days off.

So, what does it take? You’ll need a commercial certificate, a high performance sign off and about 500 hours total time. While many pilots use the job to build time towards other piloting employment, don’t think of it as just an entry-level position. It will challenge your skill set and decision-making abilities. It’s not a kick the tires and light the fire kind of job.

Training

Before you start, you’re going to go through training in the airplane you’ll be flying, the specialized demands of flying jumpers and the FARs that apply to jump operations and you as the PIC of a jump airplane. You’re not just responsible for complying with the regs yourself—you are responsible for the jumpers doing so as well. That extended responsibility is a new experience for most pilots and excellent preparation for other aviation positions where the pilot may be held responsible for the behavior of others on his or her airplane—such as in the airline world.

Your training experience will cover more than just how to set mixture and throttle for repeated climbs and descents. You’ll need to know the applicable sections of FAR Parts 61, 91, 105 and Advisory Circular 105-2E, Sport Parachuting. For example, you’re aware of the cloud clearances you’ve got to comply with when flying VFR—under Part 105, the jumpers leaving your airplane also have cloud clearances they must comply with for the entirety of their jumps. Get this: You are responsible to see that they do so. If they don’t, you’re on the hook. That can be especially challenging if you are hauling skydivers using wing suits, which allow them to travel a significant horizontal distance once they leave the airplane. You’ve got to make sure that they can’t get near enough to a cloud to violate the cloud-clearance regs or your certificate can be on the line.

You’ll need to know the Pilot Operating Handbook/Owner’s Manual/Aircraft Flight Manual for your airplane cold. When emergencies happen with skydivers on board, a whole new dynamic exists—they can leave. Several resources for flying skydivers can be found at DiverDriver.com and at USPA.org.

Let’s look at a typical day in the life of a jump pilot. It begins early with an involved weather briefing. While skydiving is a VFR operation, you are probably going to be climbing high—as much as to 13,500 feet—on every flight you make. That means you need to be able to effectively visualize the weather in three dimensions. Weather trending towards cloud cover or high winds can, and will, ground an operation for safety concerns and the need for the pilot and skydivers to remain in visual conditions. A detailed look at the winds aloft is important, as skydivers generally freefall for a minute prior to opening their parachutes. High winds can cause drift and jumpers should open their parachutes upwind of the landing area so they can fly a traffic pattern to a safe touchdown. Skydiving is mostly a daytime activity, and many jump pilots fly from very early in the day until very late.  

A by-the-book normal preflight of the jump plane is a must. The airplanes get a lot of hard use, so make sure you’re satisfied it isn’t going to let you down when you least expect it. A unique aspect of flying skydivers in many jump airplanes is that the main cabin door will be opened in flight, so the door-operating mechanism must be inspected for condition and security. You want it to do what it’s supposed to do, when it’s supposed to do it.

The Airplanes

As a jump pilot, you may be assigned to fly anything from a light piston single up through a twin-engine turboprop. Most skydiving businesses (know as drop zones) have at least one Cessna 182. New jump pilots almost always begin on the Cessna family of aircraft such as the 182, 205 and 206. The 182 is a rugged and docile aircraft with a very long production history and a good rate of climb. Most of the ones used for skydiving have a naturally-aspirated O-470 engine—a reliable, sturdy and fairly easy to operate powerplant. Cessna started selling 182s 60 years ago—and some from that vintage are flying jumpers today—it’s been the right airplane for skydiving. Because it is in such wide use, I’ll use it as the example for the rest of this article.

www.diverdriver.com

Once you’re satisfied with the weather and the airplane, you’ll start your first of many conversations with the individual or individuals who handle assigning jumpers to each flight. “Manifest,” means the list of jumpers on a particular flight as well as the part of the operation that creates the manifest. Members of that part of the operation are usually called manifesters. You and the manifester will have a continual dialogue throughout the jumping day. You’ll tell the manifester the timing of each drop, when you’re going to need fuel, when you’ve got to take a break and what’s happening with wind and weather—because you’re the one right there in it.

Jump planes typically depart at max gross takeoff weight. Most Cessna 182s carry four skydivers in addition to the pilot, which will not allow for full fuel tanks. You must calculate mission fuel plus VFR reserve fuel, all while remaining within weight and balance limits. Seating position of the skydivers will also be important to keep center of gravity within limits, because skydivers don’t use seats. FAR Part 91.107 allows skydivers to sit on the floor as long as approved restraints are installed and utilized during taxi, takeoff and landing. Those restraints work; part of your job is to assure they are used. While landing with jumpers is rare, it does happen on occasion, usually because of weather conditions.

After takeoff it’s all about best rate of climb for the next 15-20 minutes to jump altitude. Smooth and coordinated operation of the controls will produce the best possible climb rate. Letting the ball wander from the center of the race will knock more than 100 FPM off the rate of climb.

The direction of intended drop is called the jump run. You will need to keep an eye on rate of climb and your position over the ground to time the level off with reaching jump altitude at the appropriate point to begin the jump run. The aim is to have minimal level flight time before opening the door.

As you level off on the jump run, the skydivers will be preparing for their exit. As you open the jump door and the jumpers start to move into position to exit, you’ll need to be on guard to ensure that there is no inadvertent bumping of flight controls, fuel selectors or power controls. You’ll be doing that while maneuvering the aircraft to align with the winds for the slowest ground speed. That gives the most amount of time to make a good drop and minimize the chances of flying past the intended exit point.

While you are doing all of the above, you are also required by the regs to be in contact with the Air Traffic Control facility assigned to your airspace and make a number of specified radio calls. You may also be making calls on the CTAF for the airport where the jumpers will be landing. By issuing traffic advisories, ATC will also give you an idea of surrounding traffic.

Changing Conditions

As you make the jump run the jumpers will be moving into position so the center of gravity will be shifting forward or aft depending on the type of aircraft used—forward in a Cessna 182. In the Cessna 182, the first jumpers will also be stepping out of the cabin onto the step and hanging onto the right wing strut to get in position to jump. That means not only increased drag but also reduced airflow over the elevator. You’re going to be working to keep the aircraft flying at a constant pitch attitude, or perhaps in a slight descent to maintain airspeed. The weight and drag of the skydivers on the step over the right landing gear causes the aircraft to turn right and this needs to be compensated for with coordinated control inputs. As the jumpers leave into freefall, all control inputs are relaxed—until the next jumper gets into position to go. This continues until all jumpers have exited.

Now all your friends have jumped out of the airplane—was it something you said? No matter why, your workload doesn’t ease up. It’s time to set up and manage the descent to get back on the ground, efficiently and safely. First, close the jump door by using left rudder to enter a skid. This changes the relative wind and causes the door that had been free-floating under the right wing to come down within reach. Grab the door handle, pull the door into place and lock it closed while maintaining flying speed and directional control. Now for power management—you can’t just go to idle on a piston engine and make a rapid descent. Set the power called for by the company, typically bottom of the green for manifold pressure and top of the green for the prop. Close the cowl flaps. The descent is made at the top of the airspeed green arc with frequent turns to look for traffic and make the airplane as visible as possible. The descent is made above maneuvering speed so care must be taken not to over stress the aircraft.

The next step is to check off with ATC, call manifest to say you’re descending and then make a call on CTAF for pattern entry and check for other traffic.

Once in the pattern it’s like any other arrival. Watch for traffic that may not be talking on the radio or on the correct frequency. Plan to stay within gliding distance of the runway in case the engine fails. And one other thing—your aircraft is empty. After having taken off at or near max gross takeoff weight with three or four jumpers you are now alone. The CG is now far forward and elevator authority will be different. Constantly changing conditions—I said this was a challenging job.

Now, REPEAT! The next load wants to go.

The skydiving industry has a wide range of jump piloting jobs. From the Cessna 182s flying a few times a day to large turbine aircraft making flight after flight non-stop all day. Are you up to the challenge?

Chris Schindler is a CRJ captain with 14,000 hours and is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He spent 3000 of those hours flying skydivers. His website is DiverDriver.com.

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For the past 10 days, I’ve been flogging the Cub around testing some new action cameras from Garmin and GoPro. Look for the video on that next week. While the Cub is fun to fly, it’s not like you’re going to take one on a trip, unless you’ve got calendar-scale time to burn and an iron butt and back. So it’s natural that Cub flying is fooling-around flying; lots of landings, working on things like steep turns, slips, slow flight and other assorted airwork most pilots who fly faster airplanes don’t really mess with because they’ve got better things to do.

So while the cameras were grinding away collecting pixels for evaluation, I amused myself with a full stall series, just to feel things out a little after nearly four months out of the cockpit recovering from an injury. While I was doing these, it occurred to me that sometime in my flying career, I disabused myself of the notion that stall recovery requires both lowering the nose and jamming in a bunch of power. I don’t do it that way unless there’s some compelling reason for applying all of the Cub’s thundering herd of 75 ponies.

In my experience, that’s generally not how pilots I’ve flown with have been trained or at least how they remember being trained. When I’ve done flight reviews and ask for a stall demo, the reaction is almost universally an abrupt pitch down and a vigorous application of power. What could be—and should be—an elegant, almost subtle thing, is actually a rather coarse handling of controls and throttle that results in more pitch down than is necessary, not to mention power-induced yaw that’s of no help.

I think the reason for this is that the FAA’s stultifying Airplane Flying Handbook, which is the doctrinal bedrock of primary training, describes the importance of power application in the stall recovery, mainly as a means of minimizing altitude loss. This makes sense, especially if you don’t have the altitude to lose if you were, say, at 500 feet in the pattern. Otherwise, it’s just Pavlovian stimulus-response for that single circumstance in which it’s assumed the pilot is too task saturated to analyze the situation and act.

Interestingly, the AFH also explains that stalls can be recovered without power and that this should be taught. And I think it is taught. But I don’t think it gets much emphasis in training because absent any instructions, many pilots will use the cram-in-the-power method as though a power-off recovery hadn’t occurred to them.

But in the Cub—or any airplane where I’m messing with stalls—I almost always use the power off method. Slow the airplane down, idle the engine and smoothly and gently pitch up until the stall announces itself with a post-burble break, if there is one. (The Cub doesn’t have much of a break.) Then gently lower the pitch until unstalled flight is reestablished, rinse, repeat. The fun is to feel for that moment when the wing is happy again, then load up a little and stall it some more. I can do that for 10 minutes without losing enough altitude to need power to recover it. It’s helpful to remind yourself to keep the wings level with rudder, not aileron. And not using the ball, either, but an outside reference for yaw cues for wings-level stalls.

I wouldn’t be so cheeky as to suggest that teaching stalls this way—de-emphasis on power recovery in favor of simply unloading the wing—would make the slightest dent in the stall/spin accident record. And anyway, maybe we’ve gotten about as good as we’re going to get on stall accidents. Maybe we’re into group think in beating this idea that we’re terrible at stall recovery. But I do wonder if it would make some pilots less nervous about stalls and more cognizant of a feel for wing loading, angle of attack and precise control of the airplane if power were more evenly left out of the recovery scenario.

It would require giving up on the lowest common denominator notion that posits that most would-be pilots don’t have the mental bandwidth to analyze whether they need gobs of power as a survival response or they can just, you know, relax the pitch a little. I’ll admit that for some students, this is probably true and expecting a nuanced, situational response from them is futile. I have no idea what the percentage of pilots who are thus overwhelmed actually is. But it’s probably not trivial.

Related to this high-Alpha meandering around the sky is a note David Rogers sent me when we were discussing the FAA’s new doctrine on teaching slow flight. Rogers is a longtime faculty member at the Naval Academy and a nationally recognized aerospace engineering expert. He says it’s worth mentioning that the term “behind the power curve” is something that’s briefed theoretically but it’s not something that’s trained much, if it all. And why would it be?

It’s not inside the normal envelope of operation and the real need for the understanding is probably limited to that rarified slice of pilots stuffing airplanes into short fields or sandbars on a regular basis. And even then, a pilot skilled in such operations shouldn’t have to hang it on the prop to spot land and stop short, although that’s one way of doing it.

But like exploring stalls just for the heck of it, learning about flying behind the power curve—also sometimes known as the region of reversed command—is useful just as a skills and knowledge multiplier. If you’ve experimented with it in the casual realm of fun flying, you might just recognize it if you ever blunder into it in the heat of battle. I’m actually a recognized expert myself in this topic; the Cub is so anemically powered that every climb out is behind the power curve. You kinda get used to it.

About Those Cameras

More instructors are using cameras in the cockpit as just another teaching and learning tool and they’re terrific for that purpose. For a while now, Garmin’s VIRB series cameras have had onboard GPS capable of recording various flight parameters that can be overlaid right on the video.

That’s useful to have for post-flight briefing. The cameras will also record good quality audio from the aircraft audio system so both student and instructor can have an indelible record of the training. You may recall that Icon is installing cameras in cockpits as standard equipment to serve, for all intents and purposes, as a cockpit voice and data recorder.

The latest cameras are impressively capable but there’s a problem: They’ve been that way for several years and GoPro finds itself in financial difficulties because it has been slow to introduce new products and the new product, at least the GoPro Hero 5 I’ve been testing, is not so much better that droves of buyers will rush out to grab it. It’s not like the difference between an iPhone 5 and 6, say. GoPro is a victim of its own success.

This gives Garmin a market opportunity with the new VIRB Ultra 30 because with its sophisticated GPS and altimetry, it does things the GoPro doesn’t and ties nicely into Garmin’s extensive line of fitness and sports products. I won’t be surprised to see Garmin become a bigger player in the action cam segment. I was at the dropzone over the weekend having a skydiver friend test the cameras and several people said, “Hey, I didn’t know Garmin made cameras.” Well, it does. And you may see more of them.     

AVweb's Elaine Kauh took Lightspeed's Tango Bluetooth headset for a flight to see how it compares to wired ANR gear. It's a little heavier, but the sound quality and convenience get good marks.

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