Saturday, June 01, 2013

Towering presence at Nashua Municipal Airport moves on after 22 years: Boire Field (KASH), Nashua, New Hampshire

NASHUA – As longtime colleagues of newly retired Nashua Municipal Airport manager Royce Rankin Jr., Len Cushing and Russ Beeson wouldn’t have thought of missing Rankin’s sendoff social last week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

But if they seemed to heap a few extra thank-yous on Rankin, there’s a good reason: Both would most likely be out of work now, along with five other controllers, if Rankin hadn’t stepped up to vehemently oppose recent threats to close the local control tower.

Nearly 100 friends, family members, and current and former co-workers at the retirement party Thursday agreed: Rankin’s leading role, along with Don Davidson, Airport Commission chairman and former mayor, in heading off the sequestration-related tower closure in April capped most fittingly his 22 years at the helm of Nashua’s storied airfield.

Former Pease Development Authority security director Stephen Bourque is picking up where Rankin left off. Bourque, also a former director of Rochester’s Skyhaven Airport, was hired in April and worked alongside Rankin for a month to familiarize himself with the position.

Rankin’s retirement was announced publicly at the Aldermanic Budget Review Committee meeting Wednesday. The thanks and kudos began there, with several committee members and Mayor Donnalee Lozeau taking turns praising the 64-year-old Air Force veteran before getting down to the business of looking over next year’s airport budget.

Rankin first came to Nashua in 1988, when he was hired by Midwest Air Traffic Control Services to open a new control tower at the growing airstrip. The airport opened in 1934 and was dedicated as Boire Field 11 years later in honor of Navy Air Corps Ensign Paul A. Boire, one of Nashua’s first casualties of World War II.

“I was fresh out of the Air Force,” Rankin said of his 1988 military retirement. “I remember looking around and thinking, ‘Wow, look at all these little planes.’ ”

Three years later, Rankin was named airport manager upon the retirement of the late Ken Howe. The time flew by, Rankin said, probably because his job was more like a favorite hobby.

“So many people tell me they hate their job,” Rankin said. “But I’m lucky – I love mine. It’s easy to go somewhere to do something you love every day. I never thought of it as work.”

That kind of workplace demeanor seemed to work both ways for Rankin, who from all accounts was as appreciated in his position as he was appreciative of it.

“He’s always so easygoing. You do your job well and he’s happy,” said John Marcum, longtime airport maintenance man and retired Nashua Fire Rescue fleet superintendent. “Roy’s a great guy to work for.”

Several local aviation legends, including James Tamposi and retired Nashua District Court Judge Kenneth McLaughlin, were among those celebrating Rankin’s career Thursday.

“I’ve always had an excellent relationship with Roy. We worked very closely for a time on airport construction projects,” said McLaughlin, now a co-owner of Nashua Jet Aviation, which manages and rents out airport hangars.

“Never a harsh word was spoken. Roy and I have always had the same goal: to improve services.”

Cushing, meanwhile, recalls the day 22 years ago when he happened to see a Telegraph story announcing the promotion of an old friend to airport manager.

“We’ve known each other since 1971,” Cushing said. “He was one of my first supervisors. When I saw his name in the paper, I was in the flooring business, working across the street from the airport.”

The next day, Cushing said, he walked over to say hi. One thing led to another, and 24 hours later, Cushing was back in the aviation business as a Nashua controller.

He and Beeson, a controller for 11 years, shudder to think what might have been.

“He and Don did a tremendous job of getting a contract signed so we could stay open,” Beeson said.

“That’s right,” Cushing added. “Otherwise, we would have been out of work by now.”

Armand Dufresne, a contractor with whom Rankin did business, remembers prodding Rankin into trying golf.

“He said, ‘Sure, I’ll try it.’ ” After only a few outings, Rankin was taken: “One day he says, ‘I’m 59 years old. Why haven’t I done this before?’ ” Dufresne said to laughs.

Later, Rankin confessed one of his biggest worries about retirement.

“I looked around my office last week and realized I haven’t thrown anything away in 22 years,” he said. “Now I’ve got to spend time going through it all.”

But he’ll also find plenty of time this summer to hang out at his camp at Square Pond in Acton, Maine, to hit the links now and then, and finally to take the extended vacation to the Canadian Maritimes that he and his wife, Cynthia, have talked about for years.

Bourque, meanwhile, said he’s “very much looking forward” to his new role, though he does realize that succeeding Rankin is a tall order.

“For such a little guy, he sure left some pretty big shoes to fill,” Bourque said, sharing a laugh with his predecessor.

Story and Photos:

Braden Airpark (N43), closure would break local pilots' hearts -- Easton, Pennsylvania

Rich Lengel stands with his plane that is kept in a hangar at Braden Airpark. 
Photo Credit:  SUE BEYER,  Express-Times 

By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann | The Express-Times 
 on June 01, 2013 at 3:00 PM

For more than 70 years, amateur pilots and hobbyists have flown from Braden Airpark in Forks Township.

Children learn to fly there. Scouts sleep overnight there.

All of that will disappear if the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority goes ahead with a recommendation to close Northampton County’s only airport and sell its 80 acres.

Plenty of adolescents who learned to fly at Braden are now professional pilots, according to Jody Pysher, a member of Braden-based Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 70.

“It was one of our last outlets to interest kids that could be a lifetime career, pastime or hobby,” Pysher said. “It’s one thing to sit in a classroom to learn. It’s another thing to put your hands on an airplane.”

The Forks Township group has flown small planes and ultralights since the 1950s. Its 50 registered pilots fear the shutdown of the airport will lead to Chapter 70’s demise.

Airport authority members said pilots can move their aircraft to either Queen City Airport in Allentown or Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. Pysher said he doesn’t know if it’ll be worth the trip from his home in Upper Mount Bethel Township to Lehigh County to fly.

“If I have drive to Queen City — an hour — how much will I do it?” he asked. “The authority is not looking at the real importance of the airport community.”

Forks Township supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss, a pilot with Chapter 70, said fuel and hangar rentals will cost more in Lehigh County. It’s unclear how comfortable pilots of ultralights and gliders would feel shifting from a rural field to an international airport.

The airport authority last week postponed a vote on the recommendation by Lehigh Valley International staff to close Braden. The authority has to pay off a $16 million court-ordered debt by 2015 and while authority members are yet to say how much they can get for Braden, several sources said less than $1 million.

Maurice Heller, a pilot with Chapter 70 and a Nazareth Area school board member, estimated $1.4 million in tax dollars went into improvements at Braden Airpark so state police could refuel emergency helicopters.

"If Braden is closed and sold, those improvements will be bulldozed and the taxpayers’ money squandered," Heller said.

Keeping the airport open, though, would also require $455,000 in immediate building updates and equipment, as well as a $2.2 million capital investment over the next five years, according to airport authority officials.

Lehigh Valley International Airport Executive Director Charles Everett projects a loss from the operation of Braden by year’s end.

“The airport authority does not have the funds available to progress the necessary capital improvements,” Everett said, adding there are no pending offers to purchase Braden Airpark.

The airport had been run by Moyer Aviation, but when the airport authority refused to go beyond a month-to-month lease, Moyer left for Pocono Mountain Municipal Airport. That left a void for youngsters attending Moyer Aero Camp, which taught basic foundations and physics of flying and how to operate an aircraft.

About 300 to 400 youngsters take part in various Young Eagles programs each year, and those events are in jeopardy with the airport’s pending closure. There’s an annual fly-in for pilots. A radio-controlled airplane show draws hundreds of spectators annually, according to Chapter 70 secretary Richard Lengel.

“It would no longer exist at Braden,” Lengel said.

Each September, about 100 local boy scouts camp out under the stars at Braden. Those children would have to go to Lehigh County to fulfill badge requirements instead of in their own back yard, if the airports even allow them.

Lengel would miss the group’s pavilion, where they meet and hold breakfasts for families to eat and watch the planes take off. The area will never be the same, he said.

“We share our interest in aviation with the public,” Lengel said. “So, because the LNAA made a terrible error in operating their business, we must pay for it by losing something we love.”


EAA Chapter 70 is sponsoring free flights for children from ages 8-14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 8 at Braden Airpark on Sullivan Trail. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Story and Photos:

Aviation students check out a plane at Braden Airpark. 
Photo Credit:  Dino Ciliberti 

LETTER: Find a way to keep Braden Airpark open 

By Express-Times Letters to the Editor on June 01, 2013 at 12:58 AM, updated June 01, 2013 at 12:59 AM  

As someone who earned his pilot’s license and purchased a plane through the former Easton Airport (also known as Braden’s), I feel the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority has done a disservice to the community by reneging on their promise to keep the airport open.

When the authority took ownership of it from the Braden family, it made a pledge to keep it open, to assist Lehigh Valley International Airport by having an additional place for small general aviation aircraft. 

If the authority had any intentions of selling, it should have made overtures of their intentions with a price from the start, so interested parties could possibility negotiate a deal. But true to form, they chased out the vendor who was operating it. LVIA was never destined to be a full-service  international port of call, complete with customs service. Yet the authority kept moving that way, driving up the cost of airport operations.

Now it is finally dawning on them that their mismanagement is degrading their grand plan, and they can’t meet their obligations to the community. To keep Braden Airpark open, Forks Township should work with any group capable of owning and operating it on a permanent bases, even if it means a temporary bridge mortgage until the financials are in place. 


Story and Comments/Reaction:

How to become a Cebu Pacific pilot

By Alena Mae S. Flores, Manila Standard Today 

Posted on Jun. 02, 2013 at 12:02am

Airline companies are aggressively recruiting new pilots to support their expansion amid the growth of the air transport sector.  One company makes sure these airlines have a pool of skilled pilots to choose from.

The Philippine Academy of Aviation Training built a $50-million facility at Clark Freeport in Pampanga to provide world-class training to pilots, focusing on Airbus aircraft.

PAAT, a joint venture between budget carrier Cebu Pacific and CAE of Canada, the world’s largest manufacturer of flight simulators, established the state-of-the art training center in Clark to help fill the demand for pilots especially trained to fly Airbus commercial planes.

“Competition for new pilots is fierce because air travel is booming especially in Asia. Our mandate is to improve training standards in the Philippines and being part of the CAE network, we are able to leverage its strengths,” says PAAT general manager Raoul Perez.

As global economies expand, air travel is expected to reach unprecedented levels.  Both aircraft manufacturing giants Airbus and Boeing forecast a strong demand for new aircraft orders, highly-competent pilots and technicians.

Airbus forecasts demand for new aircraft to reach 10,000 in the next 20 years, fueled by increased orders from Asia-Pacific airlines.

Meanwhile, the 2012 Boeing Pilot and Technical Outlook predicts that some 460,000 new commercial airline pilots and 601,000 maintenance technicians will be needed by 2031 as global economies, most especially countries in the Asia Pacific region grow.

The Boeing Outlook further states that training programs will have to focus on enabling airline operators to gain advantage of the latest generation of airplanes.

This is where PAAT comes in.  The flight training center offers type-rating, a qualification needed to fly a specific aircraft type as well as recurrency training for the Airbus A320 family.

The PAAT training center, located at C.M. Recto Highway corner P. Kalaw Street, focuses on bringing Airbus standards to training.

It has adopted the standard Airbus training footprint for Early Line Training Jet Familiarization & Multi-Crew Coordination course and A320 initial-type rating. The ELT Jet Fam/MCC is a requirement for the Airbus A320 initial type-rating.

“All our curriculum, training plans are all using the Airbus standards. All our entry requirements follow the Airbus standard including our training materials,” Perez says.

“Our instructors have been standardized by Airbus and have extensive experience in airlines and Airbus training centers abrpad,” he says.

PAAT has two A320 Level-D full flight simulators and an Airbus Procedures Transition Trainer. It has one computer-based training room, six classrooms, 10 briefing rooms, 2 APTT rooms, a pilot lounge and a cafeteria.

The two A320 simulators give pilots a realistic Airbus 320 experience, allowing them to obtain critical knowledge in flying the aircraft used by most commercial airlines.

Perez says unlike other A320 type rating schools, PAAT requires its applicants to have 25 hours of multi-engine flight time for a higher safety standards and competency level among its graduates.

“Our basic minimum requirements for those who want to study in our facility is that first, they should be pilots already. They should have minimum of 200 hours flight time, a commercial pilot license and instrument rating and have multi-engine flight time of 25 hours,” he says.

Perez says PAAT included this requirement so that pilots will be able to easily transition from flying solo in a single engine propeller-driven aircraft (which has a weight of one ton) to flying a twin engine jet-propelled  aircraft (77 tons) with two crews.

“We feel that our graduates would be more prepared because they already experienced multi-engine flying,” he says.

Perez says PAAT graduates also have an advantage of being hired by Cebu Pacific, one of the country’s fastest-growing airlines.  He says Cebu Pacific will be getting its pilots exclusively from PAAT.

“Both local and international airlines know the quality of our graduates because they trained under the CAE brand which is well regarded globally as part of the Airbus CAE cooperation,” he says.

Perez says the investment for the 40-day A320 type-rating training at PAAT would be a wise investment for the future partly because of the strong demand for Airbus pilots.

PAAT graduates gain more experience while training at CAE and are thus prepared for opportunities both here and overseas.


Dealing with Clouds and Airframe Ice in the Descent in a Piper PA46 Aircraft: Master Instructor Dick Rochfort

Ride along with Master Instructor Dick Rochfort on an in-flight demonstration of the techniques and procedures for dealing with clouds and air frame ice in a G500 equipped Piper PA46 Mirage. Dick uses proper call-outs and well documented, disciplined procedures to ensure the safety of this challenging flight. Dick Rochfort is a full-time pilot trainer specializing in the PA46 Matrix, Malibu, Mirage and Meridian aircraft. He also provides pre-purchase valuation, training, corporate service and expert witness services worldwide.

Aviation camp for students set for June: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 7:00 am

Lake County Airport (KLKV) has new manager -- Lakeview, Oregon

Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 12:00 am

By LEE JUILLERAT Herald  and News 


New faces are filling some key jobs in Lake County.

Lake County commissioners recently approved a contract for Tom and Julie Andrews to manage the Lake County Airport.

The Andrewses, who currently have an aviation business in Grants Pass, were hired to oversee airport operations effective today. Lake County Commissioner Ken Kestner said the couple will replace Bert Young, who plans to retire.

Kestner said Tom Andrews is licensed to repair fixed wing aircraft and helicopters and has experience serving planes owned by Lake County pilots.

Under terms of the contract, the two will not be county employees. Their $70,000-a-year contract stipulates the couple will manage and oversee the airport, handle airport promotion and marketing, represent Lake County at airport-related meetings and oversee the county-owned Paisley Airport.

The two-year contract also allows them to relocate their airplane repair and maintenance business to the airport’s main hangar. Kestner said it’s expected that several of Tom Andrews’ current clients will have work done in Lakeview, which, in turn, is expected to allow out-of-area pilots to become more familiar with Lakeview and the county during layovers. Julie Andrews will handle promotional efforts, research airport-related grants and be in charge of airport operations when her husband in unavailable.

As part of the new contract, Kestner said airport coverage is being increased to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Young, who has been paid $25,000 annually, had fewer job requirements and hours. He will remain available to work with the Andrewses during a transition period.

Efforts to hire a new airport director began last summer but the county received no responses.

“We had several very good applicants,” Kestner said of more recent recruitment efforts.