World's Leading Independent Aviation News Service
Volume 25, Number 22c
June 1, 2018
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Quest Launches Upgraded G1000NXi Kodiak
Kate O'Connor

Quest Aircraft Company has announced that it is now offering an upgraded model of its Kodiak 100. The new Kodiak 100, Series II incorporates many of the changes the company has made to the original design over the last ten years and adds on some new features including a Garmin G1000NXi avionics suite, the Flight Stream 510, an angle-of-attack indexer and a digital 4-in-1 standby indicator.

“The refinements and upgrades across the entire platform truly elevate the Kodiak experience, while continuing to deliver the distinctive design and workmanship we’re known for,” said Quest CEO Rob Wells. Quest has also reworked some of the cabin features, adding in additional cockpit storage, new sun visors and LEMO headset plugs. Better fuselage seals were included for improved soundproofing and the cargo doorstep saw a weight-reducing redesign.

The Quest Kodiak is a 10-seat, single-PT-6 powered STOL workhorse. Among other things, it can be equipped for float operations, cargo hauling, passenger carrying, medevac and skydiving. According to the company, the Kodiak can take off in under 1,000 feet at its maximum gross takeoff weight of 7,255 pounds and climb at more than 1,300 feet per minute.

Republic Airways Opens Flight Academy to Combat Pilot Shortage
Kate O'Connor

Republic Airways announced today that it is launching a pilot training academy to help address the shortage of qualified commercial pilots in the U.S. The Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy, which will be located at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) in Indianapolis, Indiana, is designed to be a direct-to-hire path for students. Graduates of the program are, according to Republic, guaranteed a First Officer position with the airline.

“When our industry began facing a significant pilot shortage—a shortage that is expected to worsen in the coming years—we knew we had to do something,” said Republic Airways Holdings CEO Byran Bedford. “Although we had begun taking several steps to bolster our supply of pilots, we knew we needed to do something more. Something big. Something to create a pipeline of graduates. Something to help train the next generation of aviators.”

Republic told AVweb that the goal is for the LIFT Academy to be “one of the largest aviation training schools in the U.S. with the potential to train 300-400 students each year.” Academy enrollment begins on May 31, with additional enrollment periods scheduled to open monthly. Republic says it will accept 12 students for its first class in September, with class sizes growing to about 30 as LIFT takes delivery of more aircraft. After program candidates fill out the online application, LIFT will conduct a short phone/Skype interview followed by an in-person interview and aptitude testing before class selections are made.

The company says that the total tuition for the program will be approximately $65,000. The LIFT curriculum includes flight, simulator, online and classroom training. The school fleet will be made up of DA40 single-engine and DA42 twin-engine aircraft coupled with Diamond Flight Simulator Training Devices.

In addition, Republic has announced a new partnership with Vincennes University (VU). Beginning in 2019, VU flight students will complete their flight training at LIFT Academy and be able to opt in to the Republic Airline career pathway program. On the other side, LIFT Academy students will have the option to pursue an online associate’s degree from VU.

Healthy Pilot #10: Neurological Disorders
Tim Cole

While there are some rare instances when a history of seizures, paralysis or other neurological events won’t be disqualifying, any presentation of a neurological disorder is usually met by an adverse FAA decision. Neurological disorders are item 18L on the Basic Med checklist.

The FAA’s Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners is helpful if you think you might have suffered this kind of situation: The condition is defined as “a disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause.” The disposition requires an FAA decision, and unless certain criteria are met, that decision usually runs against the pilot.

We once again turn to AVweb’s sister site, University Health News, for some answers. In its February, 2018 piece Seizures: Causes, Triggers, and Treatments, UHN explains, “a seizure is when the brain becomes over-stimulated, causing it to function abnormally (and therefore causing the body to do weird things). The brain is made up of neurons, specialized cells that create and transmit electrical impulses between each other to communicate. The transmission of these impulses is responsible for everything you can do, from walking, to digesting food to remembering what day it is. When a person has a seizure, this electrical activity gets out of control.”

There are two main types of seizures. The type that most people are familiar with is a grand mal seizure, also known as convulsions. This type of seizure is usually characterized by the person’s body going stiff and then rapidly jerking.

Focal seizures are limited to a smaller area of the brain, and thus affect only part of the body. One arm might jerk, or the person may uncontrollably chew and smack his or her lips.

“Absence seizures” are when the person seems to zone out and stare. Also, there are muscular disorders that may cause episodes and movements that look like a seizure but are not.

Most seizures last only a couple of minutes. If the seizure is prolonged, or if the person experiences several seizures one after the other, the brain can overheat and cause permanent damage.

Seizures can be caused by physiological states in the body, such as:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Fainting
  • Stress or an anxiety attack
  • Strong emotions
  • Hard exercise
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hormones

Seizures can also be triggered by things in the environment, like:

  • Flashing lights
  • Loud noises
  • Chemical smells

Some people experience sensations before or during a seizure. These sensations are called auras. An aura could be unexplained fear, not feeling well, or a smell or sound that no one else can sense. These auras can occur alone or may precede a grand mal seizure.

How are Seizures Treated?

Seizures are really more of a symptom than an actual disease, so when possible, doctors will treat the underlying cause of the seizures. For example, if the patient has a brain tumor, removal or reduction of the tumor will most likely resolve the seizures. Infections will be treated with appropriate antibiotics, and seizures caused by diabetic shock will be resolved once the person’s blood sugar levels have been stabilized. Seizures caused by hormonal fluctuations can be treated with hormone therapy. If the cause of the seizures is psychological—stress, for example—anti-anxiety medications will be prescribed.

There are a variety of anti-seizure medications on the market, each with its own pluses and minuses. You’ll need to work with your doctor to select the best medication for you, and expect that determining the optimal dose may take some adjustments.

Some medications have side effects that will go away as your body becomes used to the drug, while others may persist (if this happens, consult with your doctor to try a different medication). As with any medication, you want to get the best results with the least number of side effects. If necessary, multiple medications may be taken at once.

For anti-seizure medication to be effective, it is important to follow instructions carefully and take your medication at the same time every day. Also, discuss any other medications that you are on or might consider taking with your doctor to avoid any potential drug interactions.

Yes, there are instances where a history of seizures does not result in the loss of pilot privileges. Those instances include childhood “febrile” seizures occurring prior to age 5, with no recurrence and no resort to medication. Also, a history of so-called Rolandic seizures—defined as benign childhood epilepsy with no recurrence—may not interfere with your flying.

The language from the FAA circular on the subject reads in part: Infrequently the FAA has granted an authorization under the special issuance section of part 67 (14CFR 67.401) when a seizure disorder was present in childhood but the individual has been seizure-free for a number of years. Factors that would be considered in determining eligibility in such cases would be age at onset, nature and frequency of seizures, precipitating causes, and duration of stability without medication. Follow-up evaluations are usually necessary to confirm continued stability of an individual’s condition if an Authorization is granted under the special issuance section of part 67 (14 CFR 67.401).

The FAA Airman Seizure Questionnaire is densely written, but it’s helpful in parsing out exceptions and qualifications, should you and your physician decide to challenge the FAA.

For instance: “Have you ever had a grand mal seizure or a big seizure where you lost consciousness or your whole body shook and stiffened?” Or “do you ever have a warning before your big seizure?” Or “have you ever had a small ‘spell’” that lasted for more than two minutes?

The questionnaire also asks you to identify any unexplained feelings, smells, tastes, sights or sounds, possibly indicative of a neurological event.

As you can see, seizures are the kind of thing that the FAA takes extremely seriously when granting access to the nation’s airspace.

Brexit: UK And EU Business Aviation Seek Direction
Jason Baker

Leaving the European Union proves a rather difficult task, according to the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA). The association shared a detailed analysis of possible scenarios for business aviation operations in the aftermath of the departure, also known as Brexit. The official "divorce" becomes final on March 30, 2019.

Available options range from maintaining status quo for operators who qualified before Brexit, to a scenario requiring the UK to renegotiate dozens of new agreements with individual EU member states.

“Aviation is simply not on the agenda in those discussions at all,” according to Mark Bisset with Clyde & Co., the firm commissioned to perform the EBAA analysis. “And that’s worrying, because the clock is ticking and we’re trying to remain positive.”

A top concern is traffic rights between the UK and EU member states for operators, and with previous "blanket agreements" ending there is high risk that UK operators may be limited to flights between the UK and a single destination, barring multi-trip legs, point-to-point flights within the EU and all cabotage rights. Other concerns include how to handle customs duties and VAT requirements. Further so-called third-country access to Britain by outside entities, including from the U.S., would change once the UK converts to the status of a third country.

The British aviation industry is sensing risk, and not just from the threat of lower traffic rates. Business aviation alone directly supports 35,000 jobs in the UK, out of a total of 200,000 jobs across all the country’s aviation sectors. Many of those workers originate from other EU member states, and their work statuses could be threatened under Brexit.

Equality in treatment between EU member and non-member states remains the top priority for the EU. Allowing the United Kingdom special benefits due to having been a member state prior to Brexit may cause trouble with other countries, according to legal experts. Meanwhile the British Business and General Aviation Association is seeking to minimize disruption to British aviation operators and is asking for dialog among the various member states and regulators. With various topics still up for debate a transition period, or extension to the March 30 deadline, may become a necessity as the lack of direction is raising anxiety levels within the industry.

Review an executive summary of the EBAA Brexit analysis (PDF).

GEICO Skytypers Pilot Killed in Crash
Kate O'Connor

GEICO Skytypers pilot Ken Johansen was killed in the crash of one of the team’s aircraft in Melville, New York, this Wednesday. Johansen’s SNJ-2 – a U.S. Navy variant of the T-6 Texan – went down in a residential area shortly before 2 p.m. about five miles from Farmingdale’s Republic Airport (FRG) where the Skytypers are based. No one on the ground was injured.

It has been reported that Johansen was flying in formation with three other aircraft when witnesses say they saw the plane come out of a loop and “drop straight down.” ATC did not receive any emergency communications from the pilot prior to the crash. Audio from FRG Tower, provided by, can be heard below. The NTSB is investigating the accident. No statement has yet been issued about how this will affect the team’s show schedule.

Johansen, 52, served as executive officer for the Skytypers. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, former Naval aviator, and commercial airline pilot. Johansen’s death is the second for the team, who lost pilot Jan Wildbergh to an accident during an airshow rehearsal in 2007.

New GA Hybrid Powertrain Project Underway
Kate O'Connor

Tecnam, BRP-Rotax and Siemens have begun work on the High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain (H3PS) project, a joint venture whose stated objective is “to put the basis for the development, manufacturing and in-flight test of a parallel hybrid powertrain for General Aviation…” The kickoff meeting for H3PS was held on May 17 at Tecnam’s headquarters in Capua, Italy.

“The project will allow broadening the horizons of knowledge in the field of parallel hybrid propulsion systems,” said Tecnam head of R&D, Fabio Russo, who is also the project manager for H3PS. “By developing electrical components, including a parallel hybrid drive system for GA segment, the project will introduce the most advanced technologies for all-electric aircraft and thus stimulating innovation.” H3PS, which will run for 36 months, was selected by the European Commission and INEA Agency from among 31 proposals. Funding for the project comes from the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.

H3PS is not the first project to explore GA hybrid powertrains. The EU-funded Hypstair project, which began in 2013 and was led by Pipistrel, designed a serial hybrid propulsion system for small aircraft. The hybrid-electric powertrain ran for the first time in February 2016. Hypstair underwent ground testing but never flew.

Although Hypstair concluded in July 2016, Pipistrel has moved on to the Modular Approach to Hybrid-Electric Propulsion Architecture (MAHEPA) project. MAHEPA is working on two different models for small and regional passenger aircraft – one a gas/electric powertrain and the other a fuel cell hybrid. Unlike Hypstair, MAHEPA is planning to flight-test both models. The project has also received Horizon 2020 funding.

Picture of the Week, May 31, 2018
Lenticular clouds on a flight in a Robin DR40 through the Bernina mountains in Switzerland. Camera: iPhone SE Photo by Paul Hopff.

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Uber Launches eVTOL Research Center
Mary Grady

Uber will invest $23 million over the next five years to create a new Advanced Technologies Center in Paris that will focus on the company’s Elevate project, which aims to bring autonomous eVTOL taxis into urban areas, the company has announced. “France is a perfect home for our next step forward, with its strong history of research and development, world-class engineers and a unique role in aviation worldwide,” Uber said in a news release. Initially, the project will focus on developing capabilities to support Uber’s goal of launching demo flights of its air-taxi system in three cities by 2020. These priorities include airspace management, autonomy, artificial intelligence, real-time communication networks, energy storage and charging systems.

The company already has established advanced-technology centers in Pittsburgh, Toronto and San Francisco, where they also have an artificial-intelligence lab. The Paris ATC will open this fall, Uber said, and will be the first of its technology offices to focus exclusively on Uber Elevate. The company also announced it has established a five-year partnership with École Polytechnique, a Paris research university known for its engineering programs. Uber will endow a research position to focus on “Integrated Urban Mobility” at the school. Initial collaborative research projects will include machine-learning-based transport-demand modeling, high-density low-altitude air traffic management simulations, integration of innovative airspace transport solutions with European aviation regulators and the development of smart grids to support future fleets of electric transport on the ground and in the air. “Together we’ll work towards a future where anyone can get a flight at the push of a button,” Uber said in its news release.

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