Monday, January 14, 2013

Ghost of Bridgeford Flying Service remains near Napa County Airport (KAPC), California

THURSDAY - JANUARY 10, 2013 - NAPA, CA - This billboard near the Napa County Airport still bears the name of Bridgeford Flying Services, even though the name was changed to Napa Jet Center in September 2011. 
J.L. Sousa/Register

Napa County Airport’s aviation provider changed its name more than a year ago, but its sign facing a nearby highway is still stuck in 2011 — and will remain so for at least a few more months. 

 A display on the west side of Highway 29 points airport visitors to Bridgeford Flying Services at the airport. Bridgeford, however, has been known as the Napa Jet Center since September 2011, when the company rebranded itself after a remodeling of its flight center.

While Napa Jet Center operates on county-owned property, its billboard remains on a privately owned lot — a quirk that has so far frustrated hopes for removing the obsolete display.

“Every time we’ve wanted to make a move, it’s been, ‘What do we have to do to get someone’s permission?’” said Martin Pehl, the airport manager.

SA Challenger Inc., a Minneapolis firm affiliated with U.S. Bank, acquired the billboard site in foreclosure in September and allowed county workers onto the parcel to try to remove or change the sign, according to David Casty, a SA Challenger vice president.

Pehl said the company gave airport staff the month of December to change the Bridgeford sign, but December rains left the ground too unstable to support a cherry picker. “We tried ladders but we couldn’t get high enough,” he said Wednesday.

Pehl said Napa County will seek SA Challenger’s permission for another crack at the sign, but first needs to let the soil dry thoroughly.

“If we’d had access a month sooner, we would have done it, but we had a bit of bad luck working against us,” Pehl said of December’s heavy rains.

The sign frame will stay in place at the property owner’s request, Pehl said. “We just want to clean it up, remove the eyesore,” he said. “Maybe in the future we can negotiate an easement for a monument-type sign, but that’s in the far future.”

Napa Jet Center is a business aviation firm that provides aircraft storage, charter services, maintenance, flight training and other services. The company and Bridgeford, its forerunner, have operated at the Napa airport since 1946.

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Ghost of Bridgeford Flying Service remains near airport 

Bridgeford Flying Services becomes Napa Jet Center

Saskatoon, Canada: Air Traffic continues to soar in city

Air traffic soared higher once again in 2012 to a record 1.326 million passengers.

“It is incredible,” said Saskatoon Airport Authority president and CEO Stephen Maybury. “We are up 6.5 per cent over last year.”

The 1.326 million passengers that flew out of John G Diefenbaker International Airport in 2012 was 80,000 higher than in 2011 (1.246 million).

“That is our ninth consecutive year of increase,” Maybury said. “That is just a reflection of the sustainable growth we have in the city.”

He said the increase is coming from all areas of travel.

“Every single sector that flies out of here is up.”

The airport is in the midst of a major expansion, scheduled to be completed by 2014, to address the increase in passengers.

It includes more food, beverage and retail amenities post-security, more passenger gates, increased seating post-security and a business lounge.

“(The expansion) is on schedule and on budget,” Maybury said.

With the corresponding high traffic numbers, airlines are also seeing relatively high load factors.

Maybury expects that to translate into modest growth in 2013.

“The demand is there,” he said, adding, “We would like to see an increase in capacity, which means either larger aircraft or more aircraft or more destinations etc.”

WestJet’s new venture, Encore, may help in that regard.

Encore, expected to launch in the second half of 2013, is a regional carrier which will fly in smaller domestic markets. Communities across the country have been lobbying for WestJet to consider them as possible regional destinations.

“Hopefully it adds some additional capacity,” Maybury said.

But they are also constantly marketing to other airlines.

“When you speak to the United and the Deltas, we are constantly in talks with them, but nothing to report at this point.”

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A herd of Piper PA-28-161 Cherokee's crossing Atlantic - Wings of Eagles Aircraft Delivery

RadioReference Forum:  "I often listen to aircraft on HF, but it still gets my attention when I find something unusual. Just heard Gander talking to aircraft N2575N, which was reporting Ops Normal for himself and N2545S...."

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 Piper PA-28-161 =  N2472Z,  N2545S,  N2575N,  N2579L

Wings of Eagles Aircraft Delivery, LLC:

Company at Melbourne International Airport (KMLB) begins selling motorized gliders

The Phoenix S-LSA, which stands for light sports aircraft, is manufactured in Czech Republic and brought to Florida by ship. The avionics are installed at Sebastian Communications in Merritt Island the aircraft are then brought to Melbourne International. 

Phoenix Air USA, a Melbourne International Airport company, is now selling motorized gliders. 

The Phoenix S-LSA, which stands for light sports aircraft, is manufactured in the Czech Republic and brought to Florida by sea. The avionics are installed at Sebastian Communications on Merritt Island before the aircraft are brought to the facility at the Melbourne International Airport.

“This is a uniquely versatile aircraft,” said Jim Lee, owner of Phoenix Air USA. “ Not only does the Phoenix allow for incredibly efficient and affordable flying, on top of that, you can go soaring. I would say it’s the wave of the future.”

Phoenix USA, while a very small project, is another sign of aviation business growth at Melbourne International. For the past few years, the airport has inked deals for major companies like Embraer jets and AAR Airlift, as well as a number of smaller businesses, to locate on the airport's property.

Because the Phoenix is equipped with a motor, Lee sees his market being comprised of pilots who enjoy small aircraft and those who prefer the gliding experience.

Lee said he and his wife recently flew more than 700 miles from Melbourne International to Phoenix and used 20 gallons of unleaded fuel. He said he also traveled in a Phoenix from Kissimmee to the Georgia border, soaring without a motor most of the distance.

The aircraft are priced at between $149,000 and $172,000. Customers already have 12 of the aircraft.

“It is very positive for another innovative product in a growing niche aviation market to be distributed from right here at our airport,” said Richard Ennis, Melbourne International’s executive director. “Phoenix Air USA is a great example of the airport’s continued growth as a major aviation manufacturing hub that is reshaping the Space Coast economy.”

Lee has four employees at the two hangars he has been leasing at Melbourne International for the past five years.

He called Melbourne International the ideal spot to grow his company. Shipping to the area is easy, the availability of aviation mechanics is ample and it’s simple enough to get FAA inspectors to come to the airport and issue air worthiness certificates for the aircraft, Lee said.

“Essentially,” Lee said, “everything I need is here locally.”

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Phoenix S-LSA:

Gulfstream IV-SP (G-IV) N49RF: NOAA deploys high-tech plane to improve winter storm forecasts

NOAA's Gulfstream IV jet will collect data over the Pacific Ocean to improve winter storm forecasts. 
Credit:  NOAA

Data collected over the north Pacific Ocean the next two months by a highly specialized NOAA jet aircraft will improve North American winter storm forecasts. 

Scientists aboard NOAA’s  Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft, typically used to study hurricanes, will measure wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature and humidity in areas of the Pacific where North American storms breed and where taking measurements is difficult and data is sparse. NOAA will fly out of Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, where the aircraft will be based through February. The aircraft will reposition to Anchorage, Alaska in March before returning to its home base in Tampa, Fla. 

Data from the flights will be monitored by meteorologists aboard the aircraft and relayed as it is collected to NOAA National Weather Service forecasters on the ground, who will use the data in real time to improve forecasts of potentially extreme winter weather events across the entire country and extend those forecasts into the three- to seven-day ranges. 

“Data from this special plane will enable forecasters to see whether or not all the ingredients necessary for a strong winter storm are present,” said Jack R. Parrish, flight director and meteorologist with NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations

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10 Candidates In Running For 'Worst Job In PR' – head of communications at Ryanair

Just 10 candidates remain for what has been dubbed “the worst job in PR” – head of communications at Ryanair.

The no-frills airline began advertising for the position last month, after it was announced that current incumbent Stephen McNamara would be taking up a similar role at the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s chief executive, paid tribute to Mr McNamara, who he said had been “battered and bruised” for four years, and added that the hunt was on to find a “brave soul” to take on the “high profile and incredibly overpaid” challenge.

Now, according to a report in the Irish Independent, the airline has reduced the field to 10 candidates after the latest round of interviews took place last week. It is also understood that the final selection of candidates will be interrogated by Mr O’Leary himself – a daunting task that will only be topped by the actual job of looking after Ryanair’s public image.

For a company that describes itself as “the world’s most popular airline”, Ryanair’s receives criticism on a frequent basis – largely due to its high fees and charges.

To check in a bag on the Irish carrier, travelers must pay between £25 and £45, while all passengers are required to pay a £6 “admin” fee, a £6 “web check-in” fee, as well as a “EU261 levy”, to offset the cost of paying compensation for flight delays and cancellations, and an “ETS levy” to cover the cost of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

It also faced allegations about flight safety last year when two aircraft bound for Madrid were forced to make an emergency landing in Valencia after they drew near to their minimum level of fuel.

Mr O’Leary’s outspoken nature is unlikely to make life any easier for the new PR guru. Last year he described Suzy McLeod, a British woman who was charged £236 by the airline for failing to print out her own boarding pass, as “stupid”. Other memorable comments include his dismissal of customer service – “People say the customer is always right, but you know what - they're not. Sometimes they are wrong and they need to be told so” – and his criticism of overweight passengers – “Nobody wants to sit beside a really fat ****** on board. We have been frankly astonished at the number of customers who don't only want to tax fat people but torture them.”

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Atlantic City Airshow brought $42.5 million into area, study says

More people than ever before attended the Atlantic City Airshow in 2012, pumping $42.5 million into the regional economy.

Organizers said those numbers are encouraging as the airshow prepares to break from tradition with a 2013 show that will not feature a major jet team and will be held for the first time in June rather than August.

Following the 2012 show — the first to be held on a Friday rather than a traditional midweek date — Richard Perniciaro, director of Atlantic Cape Community College’s Center for Regional and Business Research, conducted an analysis of the event’s impact.

According to the study completed in late November and released to The Press of Atlantic City this month, even if conservative crowd attendance estimates are used, Atlantic City’s airshow still ranks as one of the largest in the nation.

 The study estimates that 908,000 people watched the 2012 airshow. Of that total, a formula estimates that 289,095 people were not from the area and would otherwise not have been in the Atlantic City region on a typical Friday in August. That’s up from the 180,000 people in the region specifically for the 2008 airshow — the last time an economic impact analysis was conducted. That show was held on a Wednesday.

The 289,095 people from outside the area for the 2012 show likely spent about $147 each on food, lodging, entertainment, gambling, transportation and shopping for a total of $42.5 million, according to the study.

“It is clear to anyone that attends the event that the number of attendees is substantial,” the study found. “There are a variety of other benefits of the event. These include improving the image of Atlantic City, focusing attention to the beach and Boardwalk, providing a family-oriented venue for a full day at the shore, and a host of other intangibles that obviously are found to be attractive to tens of thousands of attendees.”

Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Joe Kelly said the chamber, which organizes the show each year, was pleased to see the numbers increase. That means the show has gained a positive reputation over the years, something organizers hope will bring people back for this year’s show even with a lineup that doesn’t include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, he said.

Neither the Thunderbirds nor the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are scheduled to perform in Atlantic City’s show this year. The U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, however, is confirmed, according to the chamber.

“For us, it’s more about the reputation and establishment of the show as it continues to go on. We’re also seeing that a good percentage of people chose to start their weekend early with the show. That’s an important fact as we’re planning for the future,” Kelly said.

This year’s show will be held June 26, a Wednesday. After last year’s show wrapped, organizers said they planned to return the event to a midweek date in an effort to drive additional tourism on a less crowded weekday. Without the Thunderbirds in the lineup for the first time since the show’s modern revival in 2003, Kelly said, the chamber chose the June date in the hope that people may choose to start the July 4 holiday sooner than expected. The show will fall a week before the Fourth of July.

The study shows that traffic through the Pleasantville toll plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway was up about 12 percent over a typical Thursday in August the day before the 2012 show, at 75,089 vehicles. Traffic was also up about 12 percent over a typical Friday in August on the day of last year’s show, with 87,841 vehicles passing through the plaza.

There is no reliable information on how many people were in each vehicle. Data also are unavailable on traffic into the resort from other roadways.

Kelly said what information is available on traffic is encouraging because it shows people are willing to start their weekends early when the airshow is involved. He said the chamber isn’t concerned about attendance in the absence of a featured jet team, but the change in lineup has been factored into how the day will be planned. The show will instead offer many more full demonstrations rather than simple fly-bys from aircraft. Those demonstrations should increase excitement throughout the day, he said.

So far, confirmed acts are full demonstrations by the F-22 Raptor, the U.S. Marine Corps Harrier and the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, as well as the Golden Knights.

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Angel MedFlight Is On The Move: Barrett-Jackson 2013 Part 1

Published on January 11, 2013

 Angel MedFlight entered their Learjet 35 into the Parade of Planes making their way to the Barrett-Jackson Auto Show from the Scottsdale Municipal Airport.

Ukraine International Airlines launches 10 international routes earlier occupied by AeroSvit

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has announced the start of sales of tickets for the period starting from the summer navigation schedule of 2013 for some new international routes for the airline, which until recently were operated by AeroSvit Airline (both based in Kyiv).

According to a report of UIA, from March 31, 2013, new daily flights from Kyiv to Warsaw, Kaliningrad, Vilnius and Prague will be launched.

In addition, from April 1, 2013, flights to Stockholm, and from April 2, 2013 flights to Copenhagen will be launched, and they will be performed five times a week. UIA will fly to Athens from April 1, 2013 four times a week.

The airline from April 27, 2013 will fly on Saturdays on the Kyiv-Thessaloniki-Kyiv route and three times a week to Batumi, while from May 21, 2013 the carrier will perform flights to Nizhnevartovsk three times a week.

The prices of a round trip ticket, taking into account all fees, will be the following: from UAH 1,744 to Warsaw, from UAH 2,344 to Kaliningrad, from UAH 3,120 to Vilnius, from UAH 3,456 to Prague, from UAH 2,256 to Stockholm, from UAH 2,304 to Copenhagen, from UAH 3,520 to Athens, from UAH 3,560 to Thessaloniki, from UAH 2,920 to Batumi and from UAH 4,144 to Nizhnevartovsk.

Ukraine International Airlines was founded in 1992. Its fleet consists of 19 medium-ranged Boeing 737. The airlines operates flights to 40 capitals and cities of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the CIS. It also services connecting flights with routes of its international partners in more than 3,000 cities around the globe. Its main airport is Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport.


Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Woman gives insight into life as a fighter pilot

“An adventurer.”

That is what Lt. Col. Jill Long called herself as she spoke at the United Methodist Women’s New Year’s Tea at the First United Methodist Church in Carlisle. That title came from her experiences, which she said range from bagging groceries as a child, working at UPS and even doing some modeling.

What she is best known for, and where her passion lies, is taking to the sky in flight.

“I flew gas stations, dropped bombs flying A-10s and I’ve actually had dinner with Middle Eastern royalty, jumped out of airplanes and now I’m here at the Army War College,” Long said. “So the adventure continues.”

That adventure began when she was climbing a tree as a child in Michigan. Her mother asked her what she was doing, and she replied “I’m trying to get up there.” When she came back inside, her mother asked her if she had gotten up there.

“I said ‘not yet, but I will,’” Long said.

That sense of determination is a message that she relayed to the audience as she spoke. She told several stories about her childhood and her aspirations to one day become a pilot. That journey to finally soar the skies began when she was a teenager. She explained that she had around $20 left after taking her family out to dinner, and she decided that she was going to learn how to fly. After telling a humorous story of her calling an airliner, she again hinted at her determination to get into the air.

“I get these things in my mind, and I just jump in with both feet,” she said.

She was eventually directed to a small airport. After failing to get ahold of the airport, she rode her bike to the airport. She wandered into the hangar and began poking around, investigating a particular instrument that she thought was incredible and even a crashed airplane sitting in the corner.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is it,’” she said. “‘This is the perfect place. They have so many airplanes, they have extra!’”

Soon after, a man landed his plane in front of the hangar. That man would take her up in the sky for the first time in his small aircraft, and he would go on to become a mentor to her. She explained how the plane bounced down the runway as it picked up speed, before bouncing a final time and soaring into the air.

“It was the most beautiful, wonderful, fabulous experience I’ve ever had in my entire life,” she said. “I was flying.”

From then on, she continued going back to the man and gave him $20 then and every day afterwards when they went flying. It has been around 30 years since that day, according to Long. She flew with him again a few years ago, gave him another $20 bill and said he called her “the best investment” that he had ever made.

In telling that story, she told the audience that the message she wanted to send was to never give up on pursuing a dream.

“If you stop think about all the reasons why you can’t do something ... pretty soon, you’ve built this house around you, or this argument, that justifies not trying to go after your dreams,” Long said. “It’s amazing to me how many people in the world have done that.”

Earning her wings

She would eventually go on to join the Air Force and go through the ROTC program. She got her pilot training slot, but it was taken from her as the Air Force cut back to only 141 pilots. As a result, she had to go through all the necessary paperwork and work to resubmit for her spot.

She would go on to be one of the 141 pilots.

“Well, pilot training was a new adventure,” she said. “Learning to fly the Air Force way is different than flying civilian way.”

She was one of five women on the base, and said she was surrounded with men with a “machismo” attitude towards women. When she flew with one of her instructors, she said she was not sure if it was his attitude or her anxiety, but she almost did not make it through pilot training. She eventually called her mentor, the same man that taught her to fly initially, when she received a wake-up call. He told her that she did not need to whine, and regardless of her instructor’s behavior, what she was doing was more important. She would go on and finish pilot training and fly 135s.

“The day that I pinned on my wings, he came out for it and gave me his wings from when he was in the Air Force,” she said. “It was a good moment.”

Becoming a fighter pilot

When she first went into the Air Force, women were not able to fly as fighter pilots. Through a program called cross-flow, opportunities began to present themselves.

“They would take 25 pilots from heavy aircraft ... and put them into fighters,” she explained.

As she applied for the program, Congress rescinded the program and women were then eligible to become fighter pilots. She was denied four times, and she explained that her friends were not supportive of her and often told her she would not be accepted. The last time she applied, it was the last time she was eligible for the program age-wise. She submitted her application and was sent off to Italy during an air conflict over Kosovo. One day while she was overseas, she got a phone call from her boss back home. He notified her that he was letting her go from the unit — then, he asked her if she wanted to fly F-16s or A-10s. She had been accepted as a fighter pilot.

“The moral of that story, I think, is pretty clear,” Jill Long said. “People are going to tell you that. All through your life, they’re going to say, ‘You can’t do this, this isn’t right for you’ ... don’t listen to them.”

Sending a message

Long told several other stories as she spoke to the audience. They included her declining doing her first air show at the last minute due to detrimental weather and meeting a young boy name Tripp. Each story had a message that was accessible to all. Those messages included all things are possible, to never give up and to give back in life.

While she has come a long way from bouncing down the runway with her mentor, she said the thrill of flying remains.

“That’s the great thing about flying,” she said. “If you love it, that feeling is always there.”

Her husband, Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. Chuck Long, sat in the back with his mother, Grace. The watched Jill speak and laughed with the crowd when she would tell a funny part of her stories. Humor aside, Long said that his wife’s talk did what it was intended to do.

“She did what she came to do, and that was to take her life and show people how she has been able to learn what she calls ‘nuggets of wisdom’... and share them with others so that they can make their lives better and the lives of others around them better,” he said.

Grace Long also felt that her daughter-in-law got her message across successfully.

“Jill lived up to my expectations,” she said. “She’s a great motivator, and she’s especially good with children, so this is a different audience, really than the people she usually talks to.”

Jill Long is enrolled at the Army War College and called it an “amazing experience.” She will be finished there in June.

“Imagine being allowed an opportunity to stop everything you’re doing and just go back to school and learn for a year,” she said.

Her promotional board met, and she said she should find out in February if she will be promoted to Colonel. It should be around that time that she’ll find out where she’ll go next. She said that once she retires from the Air Force, she plans to fly air shows full time.

Her future, while yet to be determined, is truly up in the air.

“Let’s hope,” Jill Long said. “As a pilot, I really hope it’s up in the air!”

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