Sunday, June 24, 2012

NORTH CAROLINA: State hopes remote-aircraft industry takes flight

North Carolina hopes to launch one of its next big industries out of a tiny airport in Hyde County. 

The Division of Aviation, part of the state transportation department, is drafting plans for a test range where private companies and academic researchers could try out unmanned aircraft and the cameras and other devices they might carry.

If they’re successful at getting an FAA permit for the range, officials will then ask the Federal Aviation Administration to make it one of six sites nationwide the agency will use to help determine how unmanned craft can be incorporated into U.S. airspace.

Having a test range in the state could spur research and development worth billions of dollars, said Kyle Snyder, director of the NextGen Air Transportation Center at N.C. State University, which is working with the state, other universities and private industry to find uses for unmanned aircraft.

In North Carolina, Snyder said, “We could do the building, the testing, the final production, the training and the maintenance on these aircraft. We could do the full life-cycle.”

Unmanned aircraft – also called remotely piloted aircraft – have been in use for years, most notably by the U.S. and Israeli military. Large U.S. military drones have carried out attacks during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Within the United States, the FAA strictly regulates the use of unmanned aircraft. About five dozen universities and law enforcement agencies across the country are certified to operate them.

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JetBlue eyeing Naples Municipal Airport (KAPF), Florida

JetBlue has expressed interest in serving Naples Municipal Airport with nonstop, low-fare service from several New York airports. The airline recognizes the airport’s 75,000-pound weight limit for aircraft, and the City of Naples Airport Authority is investigating the airlines’ request for a waiver of that limit for specified commercial service. Under consideration by the airport authority is the possible impact of heavier aircraft on the airport’s runways and taxiways.

 “Working with our attorneys and our board of commissioners to evaluate the weight-restriction issue is only an initial step,” said Executive Director Ted Soliday. “Our bylaws require meetings with the city council and the public to change the weight limit in any manner. Whether JetBlue begins service or not, attracting the attention of this premier airline is a great achievement for the airport and the Naples area.”

“Although our modern fleet of Airbus 320 and Embraer 190 aircraft exceed APF’s current weigh limits, they have a noise footprint similar to or lower than smaller aircraft currently utilizing the airport,” Scott Laurence, JetBlue’s vice president network planning and partnership, wrote in a June 19 letter. “I am confident JetBlue can be a good neighbor and an active, positive member of the Naples community.

“We are pleased with the market dynamics of the Naples area and are confident that JetBlue’s high-quality, low-fare air service will drive significant increases in travel to Florida’s Southwest coast,” wrote Laurence.

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Cape Air shows map for success in tough times - Kirksville Regional Airport (KIRK), Missouri

By The Daily Express 


There are many who would argue small businesses can’t succeed, can’t expand, can’t get by in our recent and current economic climate.

To those people, we’d point to two words:

Cape Air.

Given the unparalleled success Kirksville’s commercial air service provider has seen, it’s easy to forget the precarious situation our local airport was in just two years ago.

Under previous carriers, ridership was down. Way, way, down. That meant the subsidy per rider, the amount the federal government was chipping in per ticket, was way, way up. Too high, in fact, to be sustained. As Air Choice One’s contract came to a close, the prospects looked dim for Kirksville to receive another Essential Air Service subsidy deal.

Enter Cape Air. Its slogan, “Mocha Hagotdi,” (which stands for “Make Our Customers Happy and Have a Good Time Doing It”), is kind of complicated. The recipe for success, however, couldn’t have been simpler.

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Prior Aviation Service at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF), New York: Keeping local aviation aloft for more than 50 years

By Emma Sapong 

Across the runways from the new terminal at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is a long-standing, local aviation business that has played a vital role in airport operations.

Prior Aviation Service has been a profitable business, serving as the private-sector arm of airline operations at the airport for 51 years, while operating its own separate charter flight service, flight school and numerous other services for the local aviation industry.

"Western New York is very much a good market," said David E. Mittlefehldt, the company's president and CEO, said of the charter business. "In fact a lot of companies depend on it exclusively to transport their employees around the country. There's definitely a huge need here."

Prior also handles other general aviation needs as a full-service, fixed-based operator. The company provides services to private and commercial aircraft, such as maintenance, hangaring and de-icing for major carriers.

Prior's hangars house corporate jets and other planes of several area companies; its own fleet transports business executives, celebrities and other private citizens, and its nationally accredited school trains about 50 pilots each year.

Such a broad-based approach to serving the aviation industry is almost a throwback in the evolving airport business.

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