Wednesday, September 13, 2017

City of Klamath Falls in talks with SkyWest for air service

The City of Klamath Falls is in discussions with SkyWest for potential commercial air service from Klamath Falls to San Francisco.

City Manager Nathan Cherpeski and Airport Director John Barsalou met with officials from SkyWest on Tuesday about the possibility for air service by a 50-seat Canadaair Regional Jet 200.

SkyWest, based in St. George, Utah, will conduct an internal route analysis to evaluate the feasibility of Klamath Falls' proposal for air service in the coming weeks. City officials are slated to meet with SkyWest in mid-October following the study.

"The support received from the County Commissioners, City Council, Sky Lakes, and other community partners allowed us to attend armed with necessary resources to address SkyWest's start-up concerns," Barsalous said in a news release. "The encouragement was great!"

City leaders also discussed the possibility of a route expansion to include Portland, in addition to San Francisco, if supported by demand.

Story and comments:

Alternatives to Flying Commercial? Buy Or Lease Your Own Jet

By Mary Jo Dusel
Senior Vice President of Aviation Finance For Indiana, PNC

Corporate and personal aviation has returned for many passengers in the U.S., after being grounded, or at least staled, in the wake of the Great Recession. Rising financial markets, growing corporate earnings, a strong U.S. dollar, and increasing consumer and business confidence are driving demand for private aircraft.

Across the country, private aircraft flight hours are up, charter aircraft use is up, and private aircraft inventory is looking better than it did a decade ago. In Indiana, the number of private aircraft owned is around 150.

Faced with crowded airports, jammed-packed commercial aircraft and delays, affluent individuals and corporate executives alike are increasingly turning to private aviation to relieve the time constraints and delays of commercial flying and to take advantage of the myriad of smaller airfields located closer to their final destinations.

For business needs in and out of Indiana, the time could be right for individuals or companies to consider owning or leasing their own aircraft. Before calling an airplane broker and kicking the tires, consider these three financing options:

Traditional Loans - No different than your smaller purchases - like houses, cars and boats - your traditional aircraft loan can be fixed rate or floating rate, with a loan amount up to 100% of value. Some financial institutions offer a hybrid which features a floating rate loan with the option to buy a “swap.” In other words, you can lock in your rate and benefit from early payoff and interest rate increases; not a bad idea in a rising rate environment. Traditional loans can be structured for as short as 48 months or as long as 120 months with amortizations as long as 240 months. Just keep in mind, the longer the terms, the higher the interest rate.

Asset Based Loans - Over the last fifteen years, this type of financing – lending against the value of certain assets of the borrower, including the aircraft - has become an increasingly popular option for individuals and businesses seeking aircraft ownership without making financial disclosures or guarantees. Loan down payments can be as low as 20% of the aircraft value. Only a select number of organizations offer this product, but it has a number of benefits, including:

No financial disclosure or covenants - Truly hassle-free asset based financing.  No need to forward years of tax returns and K-1’s or to disclose financials of a privately owned company

No or limited personal guaranties - This may be very important for companies that have bonding requirements or covenants limiting the amount of debt or guaranties than a company may incur. There may be partners involved in the ownership and the owners may be unwilling to sign on the other partner’s debt

Non-recourse - If the borrower defaults, the lender can seize the plane, but cannot seek out the borrower for any further compensation.

Aircraft Leases - As with other types of large equipment, businesses as well as individuals may elect to lease 100% of the aircraft value as an alternative to purchasing.  An individual or business may have multiple reasons to lease instead of purchase, including cash flow considerations, federal income tax considerations, sales tax considerations and accounting treatment. There are several types of leases with the choice often determined by how the aircraft will be used:

Non Tax Lease - The individual or entity leasing the plane (lessee) owns the asset for tax purposes. Typically, this option is put in place for off-balance sheet treatment. The lessee will use the aircraft only for business and has an “appetite” for tax depreciation, therefore, can take advantage of the tax benefits.

Tax Lease - The lessor (the bank or other entity granting the lease) owns the asset for tax purposes, realizing the tax benefits such as the depreciation of the aircraft. Because the lessor takes the tax benefit, the lessee is typically offered a more favorable interest rate.

Where do you start the journey to find a lender? Often, borrowers start their financing search where they have an existing banking relationship. However, that may not always be your best financial option.

General aviation industry knowledge should be a critical criteria for your lender. For example, does your lender have expertise with the FAA requirements? Are they aware of new regulations on the horizon that could impact your purchase? Does your lender have an established specialty in aircraft financing or only do an aircraft loan every once in awhile at the request of a marquee customer? Is the lender credentialed with key trade associations like the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA), or and National Aircraft Finance Association (NAFA)? If you don’t know, aircraft brokers and dealers, aviation attorneys and aircraft managers are a good source for referrals and recommendations.

Mary Jo Dusel is senior vice president of PNC Aviation Finance for Indiana.

Original article  ➤

Incident occurred September 13, 2017 near Columbia Regional Airport (KCOU), Boone County, Missouri

HALLSVILLE, Mo. - A plane that took off from Columbia has been called out as an aircraft emergency.

The plane was headed to Ainsworth, Iowa and had an engine failure.

The plane landed one mile east of Route Z on Rohr Road in a corn field near Hallsville.

The Boone County Fire Protection District is working the scene. The FAA has been notified and there are no injuries.

Original article can be found here ➤

BOONE COUNTY — The Boone County Fire Protection District responded to a report of a plane that made an emergency landing near Centralia at about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Gale Blomenkamp said the small single engine plane landed safely in a corn field. The landing took place in Hallsville near Route Z, one mile east of Rohr Road.

The aircraft departed from Columbia Regional Airport, according to Manager Mike Parks.

No injuries have been reported. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Warwick Municipal Airport (N72) hosts Tenant Appreciation Day September 10th

On Sunday, Carol Greene and her husband, Dick, had an opportunity to take a spin and a splash down on Greenwood Lake with Steve Kent (left), Cessna regional sales manager and vice president of the Warwick Valley Pilots Association, in his amphibious Cessna aircraft.

WARWICK — On Sunday, September 10th, Carol Greene, the daughter of the late aviation pioneer Fred Wehren, and her husband were among the guests at the annual Warwick Municipal Airport Tenant Appreciation Day.

Her father, who flew in World War I, became a land developer and turned an abandoned airstrip in the New Jersey marshes into Teterboro Airport. He also developed much of Ringwood, N.J., along with Greenwood Lake Airport.

Wehren, who passed away at 97, flew his Jet Ranger helicopter until age 82. Greene is also a pilot. And on Sunday, she and her husband, Dick, had an opportunity to take a spin and a splash down on Greenwood Lake with Steve Kent, Cessna regional sales manager and vice president of the Warwick Valley Pilots Association, in his amphibious Cessna aircraft.

Guests enjoyed a static display of antique aircraft, musical entertainment and lots of food.

The town, which leases the field to the Pilots Association, owns Warwick Municipal Airport.

Unlike many of the airport's community events, this event is geared to thanking the approximately 50 local pilots and their families who base their aircraft at the airport. And more than a few of the tenants are owners of vintage airplanes with historic manufacturers' designations like Stearman P17, Boeing P23, Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, Ryan PT-22 and Tiger Moth.

According to "Orange County Airports Past and Present," by June Simpson, Warwick-Wickham Airport, now known as Warwick Municipal Airport, has a history dating back to 1926 when Mary F. Clark deeded farmland to the Wickham Lake Development Corporation, which had plans for the establishment of an airport for early pilots.

In 1932 development of the airport became a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, which was completed in 1938.

By that time, the Town of Warwick had already purchased the 86 acre airport for $5,000.

Ed Gorski, who had served as Amelia Earhart's mechanic, and his wife, Julia, managed the airport in 1942 when it was selected as a Civilian Pilot Training Program during World War II.

In 1967 the Town of Warwick purchased an additional 41 acres for the airport.

During the 1970s the airport fell into disrepair but in 1983 the Warwick Valley Pilots Association leased the field from the Town of Warwick and immediately made dramatic improvements.

The association also initiated its own "good neighbor" rules and regulations for the direction of flight in the local traffic pattern and banned "touch and go" practice landings and take-offs as well as transient night landings.

"We have a lot to offer here," said Airport Manager Dave MacMillan. "It's a beautiful small airport. The views are magnificent. The area is fenced in along with a security gate. And we're all here to help."

Original article  ➤

Montgomery County, Texas: Aircraft surveying the area, mosquito aerial spraying to begin

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Depending on weather conditions, aerial spraying for Montgomery County is scheduled to begin September 14, 2017 at sunset.

Since aerial spraying is contingent on weather and wind speed we will see spraying through September 20, 2017, in the dusk till dawn hours.

Planes will be flying over the area during the daytime hours. Do not be alarmed; these flights are for aerial surveying only, no insecticide is being released.

Organized outdoor activities such as football games will still see the low flying planes. The aircraft is sophisticated enough to allow the insecticide spray to be regulated, and the pilots will stop the spraying as they fly over these highly populated areas.

The insecticide that will be used is Naled. According to the CDC, when large areas need to be treated quickly aerial spraying is the most effective and does not present a risk to people, pets or other animals. The insecticide is dispersed by airplanes equipped with nozzles that create droplets just the right size to kill mosquitoes. Once any remaining droplets settle to the ground, they quickly break down on surfaces, in water and in sunlight.

The licensed professional will use about an ounce (one to two tablespoons) per acre. If you would prefer to stay inside and close your windows and doors, when spraying takes place you can, but is not necessary.

Read more here ➤

More improvements coming to Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (KABY)

More big changes will be coming to Southwest Georgia Regional Airport soon.

The airport recently received a grant for $1,684,101 from the Federal Aviation Administration for safety improvements.

Local government will be responsible for 10 percent of the costs, which is $187,122.

The money will go toward two projects, one of which is redoing the main runway with new paving, markings and blast pads.

The other project will be to build a new passenger boarding bridge, which the airport currently doesn't have. Transportation Director David Hamilton said the FAA usually doesn't award grants for projects like that one.

"For one, it will get passengers out of the elements as they get on and off the plane. They won't have to be out in the rain anymore," Hamilton said. "And also, it improves safety and security for the airport itself."

These changes are a continuation of a larger improvement project at the airport, which have recently included a new parking pay station and an exit lane for the parking lot.

Hamilton said you can expect to see new hangars and a general air terminal in the future as well.

Original article can be found here ➤

101st Aviation Combat Brigade Stages at Mobile Regional Airport (KMOB)

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — 212 soldiers with the 101st Aviation Combat Brigade based at Fort Campbell in Kentucky are in Mobile. They’re on standby to deploy to Florida for Hurricane Irma relief and are using the Mobile Regional Airport as a staging area for their 32 aircraft.

“The Screaming Eagles strike fear in our nation’s enemies.  But I want the American people to know we’re here to provide help from them,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Boyle, Task Force Aviation Commander for 5th Battalion of the 101st Aviation Regiment.

On Wednesday morning, officials with the U.S. Army held a ceremony thanking local organizations for the help that’s been provided to them since they arrived Monday.

“One of the reasons that we chose Mobile was because of the open hands that the City of Mobile and the airfield management provided us when we contacted them in regards to being able to stage from here,” said Lt. Col. Boyle.

The Mobile Regional Airport will continue to be the brigade’s staging area until they’re either called to action or told to stand down.

Original article can be found here ➤

Air Anchorage: Cargo a huge boon for Anchorage economy

ANCHORAGE — When you see those big cargo jets rumbling low over Anchorage, heading into Ted Stevens International Airport, think of them as big tubes stuffed with money.

They carry all kinds of things, of course – express packages, your orders from Amazon, clothing, even animals. But those planes translate to big bucks arriving in Anchorage, in jobs, hotel rooms, spending in local restaurants.

“The airport is a big source of job growth, and it helps stabilize other parts of the economy,” says Bill Popp, president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.

When it was last measured, in 2011, economists estimated that airport operations, much of it cargo, puts a billion dollars a year into the local economy.

There’s no recent estimate, but it has grown a lot since 2011, Popp said.

It’s set to grow more this year, too, thanks to strong trade relationships between the U.S. and Asia, which translates into more things being shipped, including in planes.

“We’ve got a good situation with the national economy. Several companies are very bullish, telling us they will be increasing their stops,” Popp said. Federal Express and United Parcel Service, which operate big freight-sorting hubs at the airport, are planning for sharp growth this year along with companies like Atlas Air and Polar Air Cargo, which operate international cargo flights and stop in Anchorage to refuel. Both carriers base crews in Anchorage, as do Federal Express and UPS.

How big is this?

At certain times of the day you can look out of a window at Ted Stevens’ South Terminal (one of two for passengers) and see cargo jets lined up wingtip-to-wingtip. It’s almost like a United Nations for aviation, with airlines from countries we rarely hear about.

What you don’t see from the passenger terminal is what’s at the far north end of the airport, which is where United Parcel Service and Federal Express operate cargo sorting hubs. There are just as many planes lined up, but they have Fed Ex and UPS logos painted across their fuselages and tails.

Air cargo is one pillar of Anchorage’s economy that’s as sturdy as an oak, and growing. Cargo makes up a big share of the $1 billion a year the airport puts into Anchorage’s economy.

Many of these flights are stop-and-gas transit flights. Planes land, refuel, and typically switch out crew because flights from Asia or continental U.S. cargo destinations can take seven to nine hours.

Operators of these international flights, like Atlas and Polar, maintain staff based in Alaska and do a big business with local hotels. Atlas alone contracts for 1,500 to 2,000 hotel rooms per month in the Anchorage, company officials told an Aug. 16 air cargo meeting in Anchorage. That’s year-round and it helps the city’s hotels get through the winters between summer tourist seasons.

FedEx and UPS have more impact on the local economy because their package sorting hubs see freight unloaded from incoming planes from several Lower 48 cities. Packages are sorted and then reloaded on planes bound for cities across Asia.

The sorting hubs require year-around staff working all year, day and night. A good many UPS and FedEx pilots live in Anchorage also, as well as the maintenance and support staff for the aircraft. Both carriers operate flight training simulators in Anchorage, too, and those sophisticated facilities, which allow someone to virtually fly a big jet, require operating and support technicians.

People working for cargo operators make good money, too. Depending on seniority, pilots earn between $150,000 to $300,000 per year. Even a ground-based parcel delivery driver with experience and seniority can pull down $100,000 a year.

The Alaska advantage

Alaska’s advantage for cargo is that it still pays for air carriers to bulk up with payload, carry less fuel, and stop in Anchorage to gas up.

Here’s how this works: A cargo operator could easily fly nonstop from Portland to Tokyo but it takes fuel to do that, and to carry the fuel the plane can’t be loaded with as much paying freight.

A stop in Anchorage, part-way to Tokyo, allows the plane to carry less fuel and load up with freight. It’s a simple economic calculation to compare the two cases, with more freight and less fuel vs. more fuel and less freight. Usually the flight with more freight wins, with higher revenues, less costs and more profits.

This still must be balanced, however, with the added costs of landing in Anchorage, which includes the time to do the stop, and the airport landing fees and other expenses, which are higher in Anchorage than on the Lower 48. So far the calculus is still working to Anchorage’s favor, because the planes are still landing. When it no longer works many of the cargo planes will be overflying like the international passenger flights that fly nonstop and which dropped the Anchorage refueling stop decades ago.

At one time Alaskans could board flights in Anchorage and fly directly to Tokyo, Seoul or Hong Kong in Asia or London, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Frankfurt in Europe. Now there are seasonal nonstop charters, for summer tourists, but a passenger boarding a scheduled flight to Asia from Anchorage must first fly to Seattle, wait for the connecting flight, and then board again and fly right back over Alaska or near it (geography dictates that) en route to Tokyo or Seoul.

The calculation works differently for passenger flights. People want to get to where they are going as quickly as possible and they will avoid, if they can, flights that have to make an interim refueling stop.

Cargo shippers usually don’t mind two or three added hours in transit if it cuts costs, but people aren’t as patient as freight. There are cases now, however, where flies nonstop across the Pacific, but these are typically situations involving special cargoes, typically perishable items.

Business will pick up

Cargo flights will be picking up, and soon, mainly because of the strength of the U.S. economy and the continuing trade with Asia, according to the cargo operators’ presentations at the cargo conference Aug. 16. That means more refueling stops in Anchorage and more activity at the sorting hubs.

Atlas, for example, plans to increase its flights through Anchorage (combined inbound and outbound) from 5,919 in 2016 to over 7,000 in 2017, its officials said at the conference. Federal Express didn’t give an estimate of its new flights but said it is expanding the FedEx sorting center at the airport to handle 11,000 packages per hour, up from a capacity for 7,000 hourly in 2016. That means  more flights, of course. UPS is also expecting an increase, although numbers were not provided.

Meanwhile, the airport is a huge economic engine for Anchorage, Bill Popp says. FedEx says it employs 1,152 and UPS said its jobs total 1,200 to 1,300.

In a 2012 study for Anchorage Economic Development Corp., McDowell Group, the consulting firm, found that in 2011 the airport overall employed 9,000 directly and an additional 6,500 indirect and induced jobs, for a total of 15,600. The combined payroll impact was $1 billion in 2011. That was six years ago, and airport operations have grown substantially since then.

There are problems out there

This is all good news for Anchorage but there are problems looming out there.  Continued improvement in jet engines’ fuel efficiency and the ability of planes to fly farther without refueling, and to use less fuel, could undercut the “Alaska advantage.” It’s all about money, and if air cargo carriers get to the point where they spend less by flying direct, while carrying the same cargo, they’ll drop the Anchorage stop.

Federal Express and UPS have fixed assets here – the big sorting hubs – so the decisions for them are more complicated. But if flying direct gets cheaper it will, in the long run, undercut the economics of the sorting hubs.

Alaskans could also do things themselves to hurt these industries, Popp said, for example by raising taxes on jet fuel. A bill introduced by Gov. Bill Walker two years ago would raise taxes on all fuels sold in the state including motor, marine, aviation and jet fuel.

The bill didn’t pass, but the issue is on the table as the state grappled with its financial crisis. Fuel sold for international flights, a flight from Anchorage to Tokyo, is exempt from state fuel taxes, but flights from Anchorage to Lower 48 destinations would pay the tax.

Higher taxes on jet fuel used on domestic U.S. flights would raise operating costs for companies like UPS and Federal Express, which have invested heavily in Anchorage, in the long term eroding the advantage of using Alaska as a transit stop, Popp said. “Let’s hope the Legislature understands this, and doesn’t raise taxes on jet fuel,” Popp said.

Meanwhile, will soon be more planes circling over Anchorage for landing, or taking off. It will add noise. On the other hand, think of those greenbacks.

Original article can be found here ➤

Six airlines bid for Scottsbluff Essential Air Service

SCOTTSBLUFF — The Western Nebraska Airport Board now has a list of finalists to be considered as the carrier out of Scottsbluff.

Six bids were placed for the rights to service Scottsbluff. They are Boutique Air, Skywest, Great Lakes Aviation, Key Lime, Silver Airways and ADI. The bids ranged between 2.7 and 4.7 million with several contingencies and planes. Silver Airways wanted all five cities PenAir had serviced out of Denver or none at all. Each airline also had different amounts of trips per day as well as different sized planes.

“It will be interesting to see how the bids play out and whether carriers want one airport or several,” Airport Manager Darwin Skelton said.

The bids were sought to restore air service to the Scottsbluff airport after the last Essential Air Service provider, PenAir, announced it would be leaving. Before PenAir filed for bankruptcy and announced plans to pull all flights out of Scottsbluff on Sept. 10, the board filed a request with the Department of Transportation to end the contract and seek a new airline to service Scottsbluff. That move put Scottsbluff ahead of the line when PenAir made the decision. As a result, bids for Scottsbluff closed on Sept. 12.

PenAir will be at the airport until the end of the month to man the counter for four hours each day for anyone who doesn’t realize PenAir has left. Skelton said PenAir has already packed up and hauled out a lot of equipment already.

“Once they are completely out of there, we will go in and paint and get everything cleaned back up for the next carrier,” Skelton said.

With the bids in, a final decision will be made by the board on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at a special board meeting. After the board picks an airline, they will send their recommendation back to the DOT. The board will make recommendations, but the DOT ultimately has the final say in which airline will serve Scottsbluff.

“We know the government likes low bids and that’s generally the way it goes,” he said. “If we were able to get enough support and didn’t choose the lowest bidder, we might be able to get them to go the way we’d like them to go.”

Skelton said there is a lot an airline must do to prepare to move in at Scottsbluff. There is a 30-day comment period, which is due on Oct. 12. At the end of October, beginning of November, a new airline should be known for Scottsbluff.

Once the airline is named, the new airline requires at least 90 days to get started. Among the things a new airline needs to prepare for service to the area is the movement of equipment to Scottsbluff, training of employees, getting computer systems installed and running and booking advanced tickets.

“All those things need to take place before they start service,” he said. “Because there are so may cities that are ‘dark,’ we hope it could be moved quicker, but I’m not holding my breath.”

The best case scenario for Scottsbluff is February or March 2018, which is a better timeline than other Nebraska cities Penair served, which are looking at a late 2018 start date.

Another issue the airport faces is, if the TSA does not provide any service for 45 days, the TSA has the right to pull service from the airport. There is then a lengthy process to get the TSA back. Skelton has been proactive in trying to make sure they will have TSA service when the new airline begins service. He spoke to the security director for the state. Some TSA workers have been moved to different states already to keep them trained so when the new service begins, they will be ready.

The airport also takes care of flight diversions. Sometimes, the people on those flights need to deplane. If that happens, the airport tries to keep them in the security area, but there are times when they would need to go through screening again, such as the recent diversion of nine planes at the same time. Skelton was assured if something similar were to happen, the TSA would be made available for screenings.

Swift Air also runs casino charters and TSA will be available. Skelton said, if needed, they could hire Nancy Dishman, ground security coordinator to work the flight under contract with the airport assisting with check-in. Dishman has performed the role before with Great Lakes and PenAir.

“We’re trying to accommodate everything that may come up, but there may still be a few surprises out there,” he said.

Skelton said the airport will work through the next few months as best as they can and hope the new carrier is successful and stable, and that people will want to fly on them. For now, it’s a waiting game to see what will happen.

“New businesses don’t come in buses, they come in airplanes,” said Bob Unzicker, board member. “That’s why it’s important to have an airline here.”

Original article can be found here ➤

$15M Lake Hood hangar project embraces new design tech

Seth Kroenke, left, president of Remote Alaska Solutions and the building project manager, shows the new insulation construction technology used on the Lake Hood Hangar Project’s 13-inch walls. At middle and right are project designer Stormy Jarvis and developer and owner Steven Zelener, who described the unique hangar layout built to add more space more efficiently at an airport that is running out of room for its famed small planes.

The three-phase Lake Hood Hangar project includes 71,620 square feet on the market for private or commercial lease, with the first phase slated for completion in December.

Airport hangars are typically low-tech pieces of Alaska architecture designed to keep an airplane warm and safe from notorious winter weather.

A $15 million project at Lake Hood in Anchorage is introducing a new kind of flexible hangar design featuring moving walls and floating lofts in a three-phase hangar construction project off Aircraft Drive.

Steve Zelener, owner and developer of Lake Hood Hangars LLC, is employing new technology design materials to construct a more energy-efficient, space-saving expandable “box” hangar off Aircraft Drive on Lake Hood.

Two critical reasons meant Zelener and project manager Stormy Jarvis wanted to use new construction methods on the old box design.

One: There’s a hangar shortage at the largest seaplane airport in the world. There’s also a shortage of floatplane tie downs and there’s no room to build more. It’s so packed around Spenard Lake and Lake Hood that gaining a floatplane slip means it’s not unusual to sit on a waitlist 11 years before acquiring one.

Two: “There isn’t much land left to develop and what’s here is poor soil,” Jarvis said. Composed of 10 feet of peat and sand on top of clay, 30 percent to 50 percent of a project’s cost can easily be in just dirt and gravel fill.

Some 8,000 planes, including the large jets, utilize Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. About 90 percent of those are small fixed wing or general aviation planes like the well-known bush planes of Twin Otters, Cessna, Pipers and Beavers.

“They’ve developed all the most desirable areas, and what’s left is the undesirable land,” Jarvis said.

Infill gravel and dirt costs on the 3.3 acres were nearly $1 million.

Given the lack of land, lateral and vertical design made sense. One concept no one else has employed in their hangar construction prior to the Lake Hood Hangars LLC is a floating mezzanine/loft that can be moved across the rafters to create more tail space or suspend planes in different configurations.

That’s because these hangars are built of four concrete walls atop 30-foot pilings.

“Hangars are typically made of metal, which means you had to have stronger rafters and the building would have to be taller and supported from the bottom, typically, not the top,” Zelener said.

Inside the concrete structures, they didn’t use the typical posts that take up space and constrain usage.

“One of the things that has taken extra time over the last couple of years,” Jarvis said, “is that we spent a lot of time really focusing on what the best designs would be. One of those, a big one, was being able to maximize the use of floor space and to do so was to eliminate posts or ways that made that floor space smaller.”

Each building features six hangars. Remote Alaska Solutions is the building contractor, which is set to finish the first phase in December. Over the next two years, the other two phases are slated to be completed that involve two more buildings for six hangars each.

“When we’re finished, the three buildings together will be able to fit up to 70 planes, depending on the size of the planes,” Zelener said.

Potentially 40 airplanes inside will be more likely, yet even that number frees up a lot of surface space at the airport.

The type of doors to be used are also new to the industry.

“What you see normally is doors operated using belts or cables. Having hydraulic doors gives the advantage because cables break and when that happens, you can’t lift those doors. A company has to come and lift your door and fix your cables. That’s one issue that happens,” Zelener said. “It becomes a continuous maintenance issue. Hydraulics shut the door completely themselves. They’re lighter weight, insulated and keep out the cold better. You can open them manually.”

The increase in usable space means multiple partners can lease a hangar, taking seaplanes out of the harsh winter elements as well as protect them from vandals. Dozens of planes at Merrill Field, the general aviation airport off Sixth Avenue, had their tires slashed last year.

Alaskans tend to keep their $10,000 cars in a garage, but all around the airport, airplanes worth $500,000 to $1 million are left out in the cold, Zelener notes.

More hangars were a crucial need at the airport for several years now, because if the planes’ owners had a choice, many would have preferred to keep them in a warm building. Insurance companies also prefer it, and depreciation on planes decreases when kept inside, he said.

The total three-phase project includes 71,620 square feet on the market for private or commercial lease, with the first phase mostly leased and customized. Each hangar offers 23,872 square feet with an interior wall height of 24 feet.

Starting at the foundation, Seth Kroenke, the president of Remote Alaska Solutions and project building manager, inlaid 13-inch insulated cast-in-place concrete and steel reinforced walls.

The hangar doors and exterior walls are done with thermal high efficient triple glazing to better retain heat. Radiant in-floor heat is fed by gas-fired boilers and individual hot water heaters rated for 96 percent high efficiency under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, building certification standards.

“You pay more on the front end of a project, but on the longer end, you save because the high cost of energy isn’t ignorable any more,” Zelenzer said.

Zelener points to a typical construction hangar off the offices at 4451 Aircraft Dr. where his office is located.

“Hangars are built cheaply of metal; the columns are bearing the walls and as they grow in height, there’s less room at the top than at the bottom; you might have 35 feet at the top and 50 feet of space at the bottom,” he said.

That’s a loss of 15 feet.

To keep that 15 feet of space for the better use of office lofts or plane suspension, Kroenke used the insulated concrete forms, or ICF, instead of a metal building’s super structure. The concrete and steel is supporting itself and it doesn’t need additional columns.

The inner walls can be moved because they are non-structural walls.

The walls inside the concrete outer structure divide into six separate lease spaces. These walls can be moved to accommodate a larger hangar space, if the lease calls for that, or a smaller one. One large hangar space can potentially hold six or even eight planes.

The location is also critical, Zelener figures. His hangar project gives access to the Anchorage airport runways via Taxiway Victor to the west or for taxi to the east on Lake Shore Taxi Lane.

In addition to the hangars, Zelener is making more floatplane slips available. Presently he leases nine in front of his offices off Aviation Drive. His private ramp can access the public water lane. There he is building nine more.

When the entire hangar project is finished, it will show a new embracing of technology for an iconic Alaskan structure, Jarvis said.

“Green technologies have been common in the states for 30 years or more, and it’s funny that the impression in Alaska is that renewable energy and innovative building technology isn’t embraced here. But it causes the most impact to help most of our projects,” she said.

Zelener Group, the real estate arm of Zelener’s companies, manages properties in Anchorage, Nome and Dutch Harbor. The Solar Building in downtown Anchorage at 441 W. 5th Ave. is one example, though Zelener didn’t design it. Currently, the building supplies about 15 percent of its own power for the five-story office complex. He owns the Nome Federal Building and the airport structures at Dutch Harbor.

In the long run, Zelener believes Alaskans have to get serious about energy efficiency and new ways to save time, space and money.

“We figured a new way to design a hangar is a good idea for a lot of reasons,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

Van's RV6-A, N812SM, registered to the pilot: Accident occurred September 13, 2017 at Kelly Air Park (CO15), Elbert County, Colorado

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Elbert, CO
Accident Number: CEN17LA367
Date & Time: 09/13/2017, 1337 MDT
Registration: N812SM
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 13, 2017, about 1337 mountain daylight time, a Vans RV-6 experimental airplane, N812SM, registered to the pilot, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground following a loss of control during an attempted go-around at Kelly Airpark (CO15), Elbert, Colorado. 

The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries. 

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. 

The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. 

The flight originated at 1300 from the La Junta Municipal Airport (LHX), La Junta, Colorado, and CO15 was its destination.

The pilot stated that he was 5 miles south of CO15 and called the AWOS via radio.

He stated that the AWOS reported wind from 280 degrees at 24 knots with gusts of 32 knots.

He called AWOS again while entering the VFR base leg for runway 27 and the reported wind again was from 280 degrees with gusts of 32 knots. 

Upon turning to final, the pilot felt the strong wind and added power to stay higher than a normal approach. 

With flaps set to 40 degrees, the pilot decreased power and started to flare. 

He stated that the wheels hit hard and the airplane bounced, and a gust of wind moved the airplane to the south off the runway. 

After another bounce, the pilot added power and attempted a go-around. 

The airplane struck a cistern to the left of the runway, a fence, and came to rest inverted.

Two witnesses stated that there were very strong wind gusts at the time of the accident.

The nearest weather reporting facility was located about two miles from the accident site.

The METAR at 1329 (seven minutes prior to the accident) reported wind from 280 degrees at 21 knots with gusts of 25 knots.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: MILLER STEVEN M
Registration: N812SM
Model/Series: RV6 A A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Meteorological Information and Flight Plan
Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MNH, 7060 ft msl
Observation Time: 1329 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 10000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 21 knots/ 25 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 12000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: LaJunta, CO (LHX)
Destination: Elbert, CO (CO15) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 39.224722, -104.640000 (est)

Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200ER, N261PS, PSA Airlines - American Eagle: Accident occurred September 13, 2017 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT), North Carolina

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

AFS Investments 71 LLC:

NTSB Identification: DCA17CA197
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of PSA AIRLINES INC
Accident occurred Wednesday, September 13, 2017 in Charlotte, NC
Aircraft: BOMBARDIER INC CL 600 2B19, registration: N261PS

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Flight Number JIA5233: On taxi to the gate, wingtip struck a tug. The one (1) person on the tug sustained unknown injuries. No injuries to persons on board aircraft. Damage unknown.

Date: 13-SEP-17
Time: 19:46:00Z
Regis#: N261PS
Aircraft Make: BOMBARDIER
Aircraft Model: CL600
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Aircraft Operator: PSA AIRLINES
Flight Number: JIA5233

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - One person was injured when a plane at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport struck a tug while taxiing to the gate Wednesday.

The incident happened around 4 p.m. near the north side of the E terminal at the airport. Officials said the driver of the tug was taken to the hospital.

The tug driver's name and condition have not been released.

The accident involved American Eagle flight 5233, which arrived in Charlotte from Charleston, West Virginia. 

Airport officials said travelers could expect residual delays for regional flights departing and arriving in Charlotte. The FAA lifted that ground stop at 5:26 p.m. and said that regional flights were resuming.

No further information has been released.

Original article can be found here ➤

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An American Airlines plane arriving at Charlotte-Douglas Airport has collided with a 'tug' vehicle outside of Terminal E, hospitalizing one person.

An American Airlines flight 5233 coming from Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia landed around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday, when it began taxiing to gate E-35. Shortly after, it ran into an airplane tug vehicle not working with the plane.

31 Passengers and 3 crew were on board the plane at the time of the incident, but none were reported injured. 

The driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital and is in stable condition.

CLT's Terminal E houses roughly half of the regional flight gates. The crash is expected to impact dozens of regional flights tonight and possibly into tomorrow.

Sources tell NBC Charlotte that the north part of Terminal E will be closed until the FAA and NTSP complete their investigation into the crash.

A statement released by the Federal Aviation Administration reads:

PSA Airlines 5223, CL600-2B aircraft, and a tug collided on the north ramp at Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 4:35 pm today. The collision occurred while the aircraft was taxiing to the gate after landing. The aircraft and tug are blocking several gates.

Passengers at Charlotte-Douglas have reported being directed off of planes that were getting ready to take off in the terminal.

Original article can be found here ➤

Boeing to raise 787 jet output, upbeat on 777

(Reuters) - Boeing Co will raise production of 787 Dreamliner jets to 14 a month in 2019, Chief Executive Dennis Muilenberg said on Wednesday, reviving plans previously on hold due to a wobble in demand for wide-body jets.

Boeing shares rose as much as 1.20 percent.

The increase in output from 12 a month comes as Boeing also voiced confidence that production rates for its older 777 have stopped falling and signals its faith in rebounding wide-body demand.

“Based on existing backlog, we’re confirming now that we are going to build 14-a-month production rate in 2019,” Muilenberg told a Morgan Stanley conference.

“We expect to add 100 airplanes to the 787 (accounting) block. That will factor in to the financials and is accretive to our margins.”

Boeing earlier struck a preliminary deal to sell eight 787s to Malaysia Airlines..

Muilenberg said Boeing had also just grabbed an order for six 777 aircraft, whose output has been slowing as Boeing prepares to introduce an upgraded model from 2020.

The order, to be announced on Thursday, increases Boeing’s confidence about filling remaining production slots during the transition to the new 777X, he said.

“So I think the production plan we laid in place for the 777 represents the floor and we still have some work to do to fill in the remaining skyline, but we’re closing in on it rapidly.”

Asked about future developments, Muilenberg suggested a decision on whether to launch a new “middle of the market” jet could come within the next year.

“It’s going to driven on closing the business case, so it’s not an imminent decision,” he said.

“But if you think about an airplane that would have to enter service in the 2024-2025 timeframe, we’ll be getting into the front end of that decision process over the next year or so.”

As Boeing expands its reach into services, the proposed mid-market airplane, which industry sources say would carry some 220 to 260 people, will be designed from the outset to support higher-margin aftermarket services.

Muilenberg said Boeing could bring more activities in-house after setting up an Avionics business. That too is meant to support future services revenues, rather than just parts manufacturing.

“There’s a handful of these vertical areas that we want to invest in. We don’t need to be vertical everywhere...but where we need some targeted vertical capability, we’re going to invest to build that out,” Muilenberg said. 

Original article can be found here ➤

A New Surprise Airline Fee: The gate-service fee, a charge tied to Basic Economy fares, often erases the savings of the cheaper ticket

The Wall Street Journal
By Scott McCartney
Updated Sept. 13, 2017 10:54 a.m. ET

There’s a new snag at the airport catching fliers by surprise: the gate-service fee.

It’s not a fee to use a gate. (Maybe someday!) Instead, United and American have created a fee to discourage travelers who buy their cheapest fare, Basic Economy, from bringing a carry-on bag that doesn’t fit under the seat.

With Basic Economy on United and American, you lack privileges to put a bag in an overhead bin unless you have elite status or a qualifying credit card. But if you don’t figure that out before boarding or try and sneak one on anyway, the two airlines charge the standard baggage fee to check the bag at the gate, usually $25 if it’s your first checked bag. Then, they hit you with an additional $25 fee.

United calls it a gate-handling charge. American labels it a gate-service fee. It’s really a penalty on top of a fee.

Most passengers don’t get charged a baggage fee when planes run out of overhead bin space and bags must be checked. They are entitled to two carry-on items: a small one under the seat and a larger one overhead. Not so with Basic Economy on United and American. (Delta’s Basic Economy does allow an overhead bin bag.)

Vishnu Bhargava and his wife were flying on United from San Francisco to Boston in late July and didn’t notice the conditions of Basic Economy tickets. He checked in the night before, paid for one checked bag and planned to bring two carry-ons. He didn’t read the small print.

When they got to the gate, they were told their carry-on bags would have to be checked. His cost $50—the standard bag fee plus the gate handling charge. His wife’s was $60, since she had already checked one bag. United charges $35 for a second bag, plus the extra fee.

“I was shocked,” says Mr. Bhargava, a retired physician from India. “Whatever I saved with Basic Economy, I had to pay more. This fee is not at all fair.”

United says it communicates with customers about the Basic Economy rules throughout the booking process and prior to airport arrival. “We do everything we can to make sure customers do not reach the gate with a bag that needs to be gate-checked,” spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin says.

She declined to comment on why the gate-handling charge is added to the baggage fee. In the past, United has said that blocking overhead-bin carry-ons from Basic Economy passengers has sped up departures, since gate agents tag and check fewer bags.

American says it decided to impose the additional fee to encourage Basic Economy passengers to check bags at the ticket counter instead of the gate. “The whole guiding principle here is that it’s important for Basic Economy passengers to check all bags larger than a personal item,” spokesman Josh Freed says.

Checking more bags at the ticket counter avoids tying up agents with last-minute discussion and credit card transactions, he notes. “Things are better if they are not last-minute,” he says.

The past decade has seen airlines fall in love with fees, often charging for services once included in basic coach fares. Baggage fees began at major airlines in 2008. The fee to change a ticket rose to $200 for domestic trips about four years ago. Fees for many other functions, from carry-on pets to reserving seats together to sending unaccompanied minors, also have increased.

In 2016, U.S. airlines collected $4.2 billion in baggage fees, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and another $2.9 billion in ticket change and cancellation fees. That $7 billion equaled more than half of the $13.5 billion in total U.S. airline profits for 2016, according to BTS.

Gate-service fees arrive amid continuing confusion over heavily restricted Basic Economy fares. Many shoppers see the lowest prices on comparison-shopping sites and don’t realize those tickets don’t get advanced seat assignments or other basics. Even the name of the fare can be confusing: Isn’t Basic Economy what we’ve been buying all these years when we grab the cheapest coach price? The fares are more bare-bones than basic.

Jay Hines, a project manager for a New York health-care technology company, was warned by United about the Basic Economy baggage limit when he checked in at the airport in early August. He was surprised at so many restrictions on a $485 round-trip fare to Denver, and figured the $50 he paid to check his bag round-trip wiped out any savings. The threat of the gate-service charge added to his anger.

“It’s a little bit cruel and unusual punishment,” he says. “They charge you for checking the bag. They don’t have to impose a penalty.”

Disclosing the intricacies of Basic Economy fares and each airline’s policies, not to mention little-known new fees, becomes difficult for independent travel-sellers. That’s especially true when so much ticket-buying is migrating to phones apps with small screens and limited space for fine print.

At Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a major business-travel vendor, more than 50% of clients have chosen to block Basic Economy fares from displays because those companies decided the restrictions aren’t appropriate for their business travelers. The downside to CWT: not having the lowest fare to display can fuel the perception that third-party websites offer lower prices than corporate booking sites, CWT Chief Executive Kurt Ekert says. And disclosing all the restrictions is nearly impossible, especially on a mobile platform, he says.

Like many, Mr. Ekert wasn’t aware of the $25 gate-service charge.

“There’s no way you can describe that nuance,” he says. In terms of airline strategy, “you could say it’s deceptive, or very intelligent, depending on how you want to describe that,” Mr. Ekert says.

Original article can be found here ➤