Monday, October 09, 2017

Eastern Slope Regional Airport (KIZG) committee said to have secretly negotiated with Nestle

Steve Bender, a member of the Eastern Slope Regional Airport Authority.

FRYEBURG, Maine — A member of the Eastern Slope Regional Airport Authority has charged that the authority’s executive committee violated its own bylaws by conducting secret negotiations regarding a proposed land sale for the purposes of putting a Poland Spring water bottling plant at the airport, despite the fact that building a plant there could create an aviation hazard.

The chairman of the authority called such concerns "premature." 

The allegations were made by the authority's representative from Lovell, Maine, Steve Bender, 65, against the airport board's executive committee consisting of Chairman Don Thibodeau, 64, of Fryeburg, Vice Chairman Carl Thibodeau, 63, of Conway, Treasurer Gene Bergoffen, 79, of Fryeburg and Secretary Ed Bergeron, 69, of North Conway.

Bender has about 47 years of professional aviation experience, having worked as an airline captain and airport manager, among other capacities.

The other town representatives are Rick Hiland of Albany, Jim Meyers of Brownfield, Maine (Bender says Meyers resigned), Thomas Henriksen of Chatham and Michael Corthell of Bridgton.

According to the airport's website, there are open seats for representatives from Bartlett, Denmark, Maine, Eaton, Madison and Sweden, Maine.  

Whether to give permission to sell surplus land at the airport is up to Fryeburg voters, who will weigh in on that question and another on creating a tax increment financing district in town (known as a TIF, also beneficial to Nestle) at a special referendum election this Thursday.

However, the final say goes to the Federal Aviation Administration, which can either approve or deny the sale.

As described by Fryeburg Town Manager Sharon Jackson, named as the agent for the sale in Referendum Question No. 2, about 100 acres is involved; however, the question doesn’t specify a buyer, how much land is involved or the selling price.

Bender said 100 acres at the airport would fetch about $2.5 million.

Poland Spring, which is owned by Nestle, has called the land sale a “necessary step” in bringing a bottling plant, along with at least 40 promised jobs, to Fryeburg.

The town of Fryeburg owns the airport land and leases it to the authority. Much of the money to start the airport came from the FAA in the 1960s.

Bender explained the airport authority has four subcommittees and the executive committee is one of them. They are charged with running the airport between the full authority's quarterly meetings. 

While it can meet between quarterly sessions, the executive committee cannot make long-term decisions for the airport on its own. Its actions must be ratified by a vote of the full board. But Bender said the board generally meets less than quarterly.

The board next meets Oct. 26, which is after the scheduled town vote, which is why Bender felt he needed to get the issue out to the public now.

Executive committee members are supposed to be elected during the first quarterly meeting of each year.

"They haven't done that since 2015," said Bender. "It's our position that these individuals are acting outside of the bylaws. They are not our duly elected representatives, and they don't have the authority to be doing what they are doing." 

The last set of minutes from the executive committee posted on the Eastern Slope Regional Airport website dates from September 2016. A note on the page says the minutes from the August meeting will be available soon.

But Don Thibodeau (owner of Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg and a flying enthusiast who keeps his plane at Eastern Slope airport) said officers of the authority — the executive committee — were elected early this year and in accordance with the bylaws.

He also said that Bender is welcome to attend executive committee meetings and can participate in any future formal actions of the authority. 

"Steve’s questions are appropriate, but at this time premature, or in other words 'the cart before the horse,' Thibodeau said. "FAA is the deciding judge as to whether anybody can buy or build anything on airport land. FAA will make no determination until all the facts are presented."

He said the following steps need to be taken sequentially: getting a "yes" vote by the town; identifying a parcel of land; coming up with a construction plan; addressing environmental issues; and addressing aviation issues.

"Then and only then, FAA will approve or deny a sale and construction on land currently owned by the town of Fryeburg and governed by FAA rules and laws," Don Thibodeau said.

According to Bender, Conway businessman and selectman Carl Thibodeau (no relation to Don) admitted that the executive committee has been working on the negations for six months and has spent airport general funds on a consultant. 

Bender believes the study should have been done before scheduling a town vote.

He referred to FAA Rule 77.27, which says: "The FAA will conduct an aeronautical study when: (a) Requested by the sponsor of any proposed construction or alteration for which a notice is submitted; or b) The FAA determines a study is necessary."

Bender said the airport authority was "completely blindsided" by the proposal to sell the land, which he said he learned about on Sept. 21 during a public hearing on the proposal held by the town. 

This was also when Poland Spring ramped up a media blitz aimed at presenting the company as a friend of Fryeburg, one of four Maine water sources, running full-page color ads in The New York Times and posting a five-minute video, starring local townsfolk such as Selectman Janice Crawford and Fryeburg Business Association President Donna Woodward, on The Wall Street Journal’s website.

The business association hosted a bottling plant community forum at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds back on April 11. It featured Mark Dubois, hydrogeologist and natural resource manager with Poland Spring, as guest speaker. It was moderated by Bergoffen, an attorney who runs Maineway Services, a transportation consulting firm in Fryeburg and a business association member.

"They have been acting in secrecy," Bender said of the executive committee. "This whole negotiation with the town of Fryeburg to sell off a fifth of the airport property needs to go before the whole board, and they haven't done that. They are acting on their own." 

According to Don Thibodeau, the town and Poland Spring told the executive committee about the potential land sale. He said the town is the party with the power to sell the land. 

"The executive committee immediately informed FAA and Maine DOT about these intentions, to clarify the respective roles of the town, the authority and FAA," said Don Thibodeau.

"It was clearly understood by all that any land sold would not be needed for aeronautical purposes and that any construction on the land would not be allowed to affect the safe operations of the airport. No actions regarding the potential sale have been taken by the executive committee."

However, an agenda from the executive committee meeting held Sept. 28 at Green Thumb Farms that was provided by Bender shows item No. 6 to be listed as "Poland Spring negotiation" and includes "update on appraisal of land and offer."

According to Bender, the full authority still doesn’t know for sure which acreage might or could be sold since, for safety reasons, there are restrictions on building in the area around the airport. 

"If the town of Fryeburg and the airport authority had done this correctly, they should have taken this to the FAA's airports branch and requested an aviation study, and that would require Poland Spring to be involved in this," said Bender.

"What they would do is they would take Poland Spring's plan, what they propose to build, location, exact building height, exact everything, and they would conduct this study and determine if there is a hazard to air navigation."

Asked about where a possible plant would be sited at the airport, Poland Spring spokesperson Jen Burke replied in an email Monday, "While we can’t speculate on what the building might look like until we decide where it is going to be located, we will work with the community and will adhere to their permit requirements."

Bridgton airport authority representative Mike Corthell, in a Sunday email, said he would oppose selling any land but would be willing to lease it under some circumstances. Regarding the town's debate over Nestle, Corthell said both sides need to be transparent. 

The safety study Bender is pushing for would have to be paid for by someone, and the most likely to do so would be the town, Poland Spring and the airport authority. Even if the FAA determines the bottling plant is a hazard, the plant could still move forward. 

"If somebody in an airplane hits that building, either on the ground or in the air, then the liability shifts to the ones who built it," said Bender.

Bender said that if voters on Thursday agree to sell the land, he and the other airport authority members will ask for the aviation hazard study to be done.

If the study is done before the sale happens, the FAA could prevent the sale. Bender said authority members would also ask the FAA to mandate the study be done before the land is sold.

"If the town of Fryeburg can act swiftly before this study is completed and sell the land, there's nothing we can do about it," said Bender, adding that a study would take at least 45 days.

Bender speculates that the executive committee is keen on selling the land in order to raise money for a jet hangar that could cost $2 million.

Don Thibodeau said should the ballot question pass, the safety analysis and other studies would be performed. The amount of compensation to the airport authority also would be determined after Thursday's vote. 

"The executive committee is not aware at this time about the specific location of a potential plant," he said. "The full board of the authority meets later this month, and will be briefed by the executive committee on all aspects of the situation as it exists at that time.

"Steve Bender, as a board member, and the full board will be engaged fully in any formal actions needed or appropriate in the future."

Asked why the other authority board members let these problems go for so long, Bender admitted they got "complacent." 

"We got caught asleep, that's the bottom line," said Bender.  

Bender said he discussed these issues with the executive committee on Sept. 28 in hopes they would become more transparent.

"So far, they have refused to do that," said Bender

The Sun attempted to cover the Sept. 28 executive committee meeting but was told to leave as it was not open to the public.

In airing these concerns, Bender said he was speaking as a member of the airport authority, a member of the operations and facilities committee of the authority and as a user of the airport.

Original article ➤

Editorial: Helicopter tours from waterfront is a fascinating idea

Anyone who has ever taken a helicopter ride understands that the idea of being able to take a flying tour of the waterfront is pretty cool.

Right now, it’s just a concept being put forth by Mike Campbell, owner of FlyBuffaloNY, working with Carl and William Paladino’s Ellicott Development.

Campbell would operate his company from a heliport to be constructed at 20 Buffalo River Place, off Ohio Street and not far from Silo City.

Activity would take place on a 5.9-acre parcel of vacant land owned jointly by Ellicott and Benderson Development Co. Benderson has applied for a special-use permit from the Common Council. The application is to be reviewed by the Buffalo Planning Board today.

The goal is to be able to offer tours and charter flights, while providing landing space for emergency medical services, media outlets and law enforcement.

There is certainly a “wow” factor to this proposal.

Soaring above the city would offer spectacular views of kayakers on the meandering Buffalo River and sailboats out on the lake. The flights would offer residents a new perspective on the city and also give visitors one more activity to keep them around.

Business startups and the jobs they bring are important to the future of the city. But there are potential drawbacks to the heliport to be considered during the planning process. There will be environmental impacts, especially noise, that need to be fully investigated.

Kate Gorman, who visits the Silo City area for kayaking and other activities, has expressed her concerns about the heliport’s proximity to a city neighborhood, noise and localized high winds from the helicopter downdraft. She pointed out that arts and cultural organizations have gained a foothold at Silo City, holding events such as concerts and poetry readings that could be disturbed by the noise. She recently wrote a letter to Everybody’s Column imploring people to attend the Planning Board meeting.

These issues must be dealt with responsibly, something company principals should keep in mind as planning proceeds.

Campbell said that helicopters have become quieter and “more eco-friendly and environmentally sound by nature.”

Showing evidence of that should help new commerce coexist with history and culture on the waterfront.

Original article can be found here ➤

Colleton County, South Carolina: State-of-the-art medical helicopter, first of its kind in state

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCIV) — The sky is the limit for high-tech emergency care in Colleton County. It's the only program of its kind in the state. It’s an integrated medical care system for rural areas.

Stationed in a secure area at Colleton Medical Center, a state-of-the-art helicopter is ready to leave at a moment's notice.

Flight paramedic Trae Wright and pilot Simon Enrich check the aircraft before and after their shift. It’s called Careflight --- an acronym for Colleton Air Rescue Evac.

"This aircraft is by far the Cadillac of all aircraft. It's stable. It’s very smooth. It’s got plenty of power," explained Wright.

Launched on June 15, Careflight goes to the far reaches of Colleton County. With more than 11-hundred square miles to cover, its designed to pick up patients who are critically injured or ill.

Trae Wright is trained to treat those who need urgent medical care.

"This brings the trauma center to the patient. And we're an extension of every hospital. This is a flying emergency room," Wright said.

He says Careflight is the best way to handle emergency medical needs in rural areas of Colleton, Beaufort, and Jasper counties.

"No traffic light needed. You know, straight shot to an ER. Or specialty center such as the burn center or a cardiac care center or the trauma center. Whichever one we have to go to. And it gives that patient that much more time," he said.

The helicopter is owned by Med-Trans of Texas. That's why Colleton County Fire Rescue officials say the Careflight program is the only one of its kind in South Carolina.

"This is a private company so it doesn't cost the taxpayers any money. They bill insurance companies or they bill patients so the county isn't investing any money in it," said Chief Barry McRoy of Colleton County Fire Rescue.

The agency provides six officers who can fly on Careflight.

"We provide the helicopter, the mechanics, the pilots, and the flight nurses. And then we partner with the county to supply the firefighter paramedics that are on board the aircraft," said Henry Ward, strategic operations director for Med-Trans.

It’s a partnership for a program designed to bring life-saving treatment to far away areas.

Story and video ➤

Naval Air Station Whidbey Rescue crew: Your worst hour is their best hour

In the blink of an eye, it's easy to risk your life. From snowmobiling on Mount Baker's Easton Glacier to dropping without warning 100 feet into a crevasse.

From a tubing on the Nooksack River to clinging to a log for dear life.

From a Cascade mountain high to a bone crushing misstep.

All real stories, and all of them survivors.

They were saved by the elite search and rescue team at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Their mantra? Your worst hour, is our best hour.

"They're awesome, they are the best, I think in the U.S. Department of Defense at doing mountain rescues," said Captain Geoff Moore, NAS Whidbey Island Commanding Officer.

'We are here for anyone in legitimate danger'

Our state's varied terrain means the Navy's SAR Unit must be ready for anything: mountain, city, desert, or water rescues.

"That high altitude, all weather, day or night is kind of what sets us apart over water, over land, high level, low level we will do it," said Mission Commander and pilot, Lt. Mark Hlousek.

The Navy SAR unit, also known by their call sign Firewood, is on standby day and night, 365 days a year.

"This is very difficult mountainous terrain -- you have to be cognizant of mountain winds, weather... professional flying is required," said Captain Moore.

If an aircraft from Whidbey goes down, the team can be wheels up in as little as 15 minutes.

"We are going to be the best and we are going to train to be the best at all times," said Flight Medic HM2 John Siedler.

What most people don't know is that they also here for us. This year, the team has completed 33 civilian rescues involving 61 people.

"The opportunities to help the community is, bar none, the best experience I’ve ever had in Naval aviation," said pilot Lt. Kellen Odom.

They get the call when local law and SAR units, or the Coast Guard, are busy or need additional help or expertise.

"We are here for anyone in legitimate danger," said Siedler.

Non-stop training

It turns out helping the community helps them.

"OK, this is amazing!" said Odom. "I am here pushing the limits of the aircraft getting real world experience. I'm helping the community out all the while reinforcing the mission I’m here to do to make sure I bring home one of ours in case something bad happens."

Each civilian rescue is a learning experience as it's followed by a de-briefing, covering every element of the event in detail.

"That's what allows us to get better and better after each mission," added Odom.

The team trains 3 to 5 days a week. Every week.

In August, we joined them for a day of training and a fly-along. They practiced tricky landings in postage stamp clearings.

But sometimes there is no landing zone, so they practiced a no-room-for-error one-wheel landing on the side of a mountain and held that position while a flight medic jumped out just as he would if there was an injured patient.

To cap it off, the five-man team found me lost in the North Cascades.

Aircrew member Siedler, free-rappelled 250 feet from the Nighthawk to the ground to prepare me for a tandem hoist and rescue. The rotor wash knocked me off my feet. I didn't move, Siedler came to me, and used a locking carabiner to connect me to the safety rope.

He was all business as we dangled thousands of feet above the tree tops for a short haul.

Like his crew mates, he was direct, precise and supremely confident.

"The aircrew men in the back are the best I've ever seen in my career," said Lt. Hlousek. "The things we do up here in flying-wise are things I never thought I would be able to do in a helicopter."

It's the same drills every week.

They practice technique and being precise, and the unit works as a team that's constantly adjusting their plan.

Their approach can vary depending on the type of emergency call, the time of year, weather and time of day.

The unsung heroes

They insist every bit of it: from hovering 70 feet above the ocean and dropping rescue swimmers to conducting a bad weather medical evacuation from a care home to a hospital, wouldn't be possible without the maintenance crew.

That's another 24-7 unit.

Each day the aircraft are combed for the tiniest problems.

Standing in the team's hangar with a maintenance crew working on one of the team's three birds, Aviation Machinist AD1 John Eagleton admits while the work can sometimes feel monotonous, he says it's critical because there is no room for mistakes when lives are at stake.

"A lot of times we're kind of overlooked cause we are not on the forefront; we're not on the scene, but our hearts are," said Eagleton.

It’s a team effort.

The team hopes they never get the call that a Navy aircraft is down, but if they do, they know they're battle-tested.

"At the end of the day when someone is lost or hurt on the side of a mountain and they're looking for a miracle, this is where that miracle is coming from," said Rescue Aircrew Member AWS1 Justin Wallman. "We are here for you."

The Navy SAR team also answers calls from the U.S. Air Force's Coordination Center in Florida. Earlier this month they got the call to help assist rescue efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey.

Story and photo gallery ➤

Bruno, Marion County, Arkansas: Resident cries foul over falling fowl

A Bruno resident has filed a complaint against Turkey Trot’s “Phantom Pilot” and the tradition of dropping live turkeys from an airplane.

Rose Hilliard of Bruno told The Baxter Bulletin that she went to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Monday to file a complaint against Mountain View pilot Dana Woods and several unnamed accomplices. Woods, a Mountain View pharmacist and city council member, admitted last year to being the anonymous pilot that has released turkeys over a creek near the festival in recent years.

The 72nd iteration of the festival returns to downtown Yellville on Oct. 13 and 14 offering live music, vendor booths, a parade and a “Miss Drumsticks” pageant.

The Turkey Drop, an unaffiliated event that is nonetheless synonymous with Turkey Trot, involves live turkeys being dropped out of a low-flying plane along Crooked Creek, two blocks from downtown Yellville. The turkeys typically flutter to the ground, where they are chased down by festival attendees.

More than a dozen turkeys were released from an airplane during last year’s festival, with at least two failing to slow their descent and dying upon impact.

“[The sheriff] knows this is going to happen,” Hilliard said, referring to the Turkey Drop. “He’s been put on notice that a crime will happen.”

A Facebook page maintained by someone listed as “The Phantom Pilot” includes a Sept. 28 post depicting an aerial photograph of the Marion County Courthouse in downtown Yellville. The photo’s caption reads, “Drop zone: Established. Payload release has been authorized.”

According to Arkansas Code 5-62-103, cruelty to animals is defined as when someone knowingly subjects an animal to cruel mistreatment; kills or injures an animal owned by another person without the owner’s consent; abandons an animal at a location without providing for the animal’s continued care; fails to supply an animal with sufficient food and water; fails to provide an animal with sufficient shelter consistent with that type of animal; or carries an animal in or upon a motorized vehicle or boat in a cruel or inhumane manner.

Under Arkansas law, cruelty to animals is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000 for each instance of abuse.

“If we were doing this to kittens and puppies, everyone would be up in arms,” Hilliard said. “But people say, ‘It’s a bird, it flys.’ But it’s not like releasing a hawk that soars away. They don’t really fly. They’re ground birds, like chickens.”

Hilliard described herself as an animal lover and said she is not directly affiliated with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the nation’s largest animal welfare organization and a vocal critic of the Turkey Drop.

“We have differing views on pets,” Hilliard said of PETA. “They oppose trap/spay/neuter programs, and that’s something that I support. But in the case of dropping the turkeys out of an airplane, they are right.”

Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans said that a deputy was working on Hilliard’s complaint. If an investigation is warranted, Evans told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he will ask the Arkansas State Police to conduct it to avoid conflict-of-interest allegations.

Federal aviation investigators have said that the Turkey Drop does not violate any FAA rules because the turkeys are released over the creek bed and not the downtown festival itself. It is legal to drop items from airplanes provided the items do not harm people or damage property on the ground.

“If the sheriff followed me down the road and I started throwing puppies out on the creek bed or the side of the road, I would be arrested,” Hilliard said. “It’s the same thing, just a different animal.”

Woods told the Democrat-Gazette last year that he had been releasing turkeys at the festival for about 15 years. Newspaper photographs from the 2015 Turkey Trot revealed the identification number of Woods’ single-engine 1959 Cessna 182B.

There have been different Phantom Pilots over the years. A Roller Funeral Homes obituary for Harold C. Mears of Harrison, who died in July at the age of 84, describes Mears as “one of the first Phantom Pilots of Yellville’s Turkey Trot.”

The Yellville Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the festival, disavows any affiliation with the Turkey Drop or the Phantom Pilot persona.

“The Yellville Area Chamber of Commerce does not have a part in the release of turkeys from airplanes,” a letter from the Chamber’s board to the public posted online at reads. “We are in charge of planning the events that take place at the festival, the booths that are set up on our courthouse square, and the selling of Turkey Trot merchandise.

“The release of turkeys from planes has been a part of Turkey Trot for many years, but a third-party individual, not affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, regulates it … Chamber board members, Turkey Trot sponsors, and Chamber members have absolutely no affiliation, jurisdiction, or control over what any individual does in his or her private plane in the air.”

Story and comments ➤

After more than a decade, St. Mary's retires CareFlight plane

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) In 1978 the first GPS system went into use. It was also the same year St. Mary's CareFlight Two was built.

It's the plane they use to transport the toughest cases that even the skilled doctors and nurses at St. Mary's can't handle. Monday, that plane headed out on a new call.

Over 4,000 patients went through the doors of CareFlight Two since 2003 to get a higher level of care.

"This has been a great aircraft for us," Tom Feller, Flight Nurse, said. "It's made a difference; we've flown a lot of sick patients in this air craft."

Now the aircraft is retiring.

"You feel like you're really doing something that makes a difference," Bruce White, Lead Pilot, said.

"We've flown all over in this aircraft," Feller said.

The plane has gone to Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle and even Los Angeles. 2,000,000 miles and ten thousand hours have been spent saving lives in CareFlight Two.

"One of those steady aircraft that is really nice to fly," White said.

Faithfully flying patient's hours old, and some even older than the aircraft itself.

"It has satellite navigation now that didn't exist back then," White said.

At almost 40 years old, it's time for an upgrade.

"I've been flying this plane for the last 13 years, it seems like an old friend," White said.

An arch send off and into the sky CareFlight two went Monday, and onto it's longest journey to Virginia where it'll become a corporate plane. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Garmin® Head-up Display (GHD) system for integrated flight decks takes flight on Cessna Citation Longitude

OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), today announced the Garmin Head-up Display (GHD 2100) for super-midsize business aircraft continues to make progress with flight testing and certification on the Cessna Citation Longitude in conjunction with the G5000™ integrated flight deck. The GHD system incorporates modern optical design within a single display unit, projecting a crisp, clear view of pertinent flight information while also offering superior integration with Garmin integrated flight decks. Garmin will also feature a state-of-the-art, fully functional HUD at the Garmin exhibit (C12412) at the National Business Aviation Association Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 10-12, 2017, which will allow customers to interact with and experience the GHD first-hand. 

 “The operational benefits of flying with a HUD are significant, resulting in fewer missed approaches and vastly improved situational awareness – particularly in challenging environments,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. “We’re excited to see our new HUD continue to make progress in its flight testing along with the Longitude and look forward to delivering this product to aircraft so flight crews can experience the harmony between the GHD 2100 and a Garmin integrated flight deck.”

Throughout flight testing in the Citation Longitude, the GHD continues to progress in its own development and evaluation. Numerous instrument approaches in a variety of flight environments have been conducted during recent flight evaluations. Additionally, Garmin has completed a comprehensive evaluation in its own human factors flight simulation lab.

The GHD is a compact, self-contained projection system with a large 30-degree by 24-degree field-of-view. Driven by the Garmin integrated flight deck, the GHD projects a familiar presentation of critical flight information, symbology and more. Given its small, compact form factor, the GHD can easily be incorporated into a variety of business aircraft cockpits while also maintaining comfortable head clearance. The GHD incorporates intelligent dimming that automatically adapts to ambient light, delivering supreme clarity and brightness in all lighting conditions.

Because the GHD is highly integrated with the Garmin flight deck, consistent symbology is utilized between both systems so pilots experience a near-seamless transition when flying with the primary flight display (PFD) or with the GHD. In addition to displaying flight-critical PFD information, the GHD displays conformal attitude and flight path information overtop the real-world view, alongside navigation data, flight plan information, autopilot modes, master warning/caution annunciations and more. The GHD also offers a simplistic control interface and offers similarities in tactile operation in relation to the Garmin integrated flight deck.

The Flight Path Marker within the GHD precisely displays where the aircraft is flying, taking into account crosswind, angle of attack and other factors that impact the dynamic position and heading of the aircraft. Coupled with a flight path-based flight director, the pilot can more easily establish desired aircraft flight path relative to the outside world. The Flight Path Marker includes additional features such as speed offset and velocity cue, allowing for precise energy management. The combination of the Flight Path Marker and flight path-based flight director allows pilots to more easily establish and maintain a stabilized approach to land.

Pilots are provided with an enhanced level of situational awareness with Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT™), which presents a 3D depiction of terrain, traffic, obstacles, the runway environment and more within the GHD, supplementing the outside view with pertinent flight information. Also featured within the GHD, SurfaceWatch™ provides visual and aural cues to help prevent pilots from taking off and landing on a taxiway, on a runway that is too short or on the wrong runway based on performance data entered during preflight. For example, while on approach to land on a runway that is snow-covered or in an airport environment with reduced visibilities, SurfaceWatch highlights and outlines the pilot-selected runway on the GHD and on the PFD so it’s easier to identify.

The GHD is positioned to further expand its present capabilities. Future options such as integrating with external cameras, including Enhanced Vision Systems (EVS), provide significant improvements in situational awareness in fog and other low visibility situations. Future capabilities also include integration with a Combined Vision System (CVS), which blends EVS and SVT images to present pertinent levels of detail to the pilot, particularly during approach and landing.

The GHD also allows the operator to pursue Special Authorization Category I (CAT I), as well as Special Authorization Category II (CAT II) Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach minima.

Pilots can experience the GHD at the Garmin exhibit (C12412) at NBAA-BACE this week. The fully-functional GHD will allow customers to view and interact with the HUD first-hand as it’s flying a terrain-challenging instrument approach. For additional information contact

Garmin’s aviation business segment is a leading provider of solutions to OEM, aftermarket, military and government customers. Garmin’s portfolio includes navigation, communication, flight control, hazard avoidance, an expansive suite of ADS-B solutions and other products and services that are known for innovation, reliability, and value. For more information about Garmin’s full line of avionics, go to

For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin's virtual pressroom at, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at,, or

About Garmin

Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN). Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Garmin is a registered trademark and G5000, SurfaceWatch and SVT are trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Notice on Forward-Looking Statements:

This release includes forward-looking statements regarding Garmin Ltd. and its business. Such statements are based on management’s current expectations. The forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this release may not occur and actual results could differ materially as a result of known and unknown risk factors and uncertainties affecting Garmin, including, but not limited to, the risk factors listed in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed by Garmin with the Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission file number 0-31983). A copy of such Form 10-K is available at No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and Garmin undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. 

Original article can be found here ➤

SkyWest continues to grow

St. George-based SkyWest Inc., holding company for SkyWest Airlines has reported that it has entered into aircraft purchase agreements and capacity purchase agreements to acquire and fly 15 additional new aircraft with Delta Air Lines and five additional new aircraft with Alaska Airlines. SkyWest is expecting to take delivery of the 20 new planes beginning immediately through the end of 2018.

Of the 20 new airplanes, 15 Embraer E175 SC aircraft will fly under an agreement with Delta in a 70-seat configuration. The agreement with Alaska includes five Embraer E175s, with a 76-seat configuration, similar to aircraft SkyWest has previously placed into service with Alaska.

Combined with last month’s announcement for 25 new aircraft, SkyWest is now taking delivery of 45 airplanes. 

Original article can be found here ➤

How drones could be ‘lifesaving’ in an emergency

They are devastating events that we’re too familiar with: a mass shooter critically wounds victims. A tornado sweeps through a small town, harming dozens. Or a train or plane accident leaves passengers injured.

Often, in such cases, critical minutes pass as victims must wait for an ambulance to arrive. Yet high-tech drones could shorten that waiting period significantly, scientists suggest.

Researchers at William Carey University in Mississippi are studying how disaster drones could carry medical kits to victims in a mass casualty event, before an ambulance arrives. Bystanders could use the kits to help victims, or first responders on the scene could use them when multiple victims are injured.

The disaster drones, which also could deliver medicine to hard-to-reach remote locations, were designed and built at Hinds Community College in Mississippi.

The researchers have various prototypes, said Italo Subbarao, senior associate dean at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine, who is involved in the university’s telemedicine drone research project.

“We have a kit that is a general medical emergency kit that we would probably fly to a farmer’s home … for a rural type of general medical emergency,” Subbarao said, such as a heart attack.

“We’ve got kits that are designed to go into the wilderness so that if you’re stung by a bee or you’ve got a snake bite, things of that nature, we can provide assistance in that moment,” he said. “Most recently, we demonstrated our trauma kits.”

These kits could be used in a mass casualty event like a terror attack or a train crash, or when someone needs critical care. “We look at this as a piece of the puzzle, an important piece of the puzzle, that can connect with the local emergency management system,” he said.

Subbarao and his colleagues follow in the footsteps of researchers around the world who are investigating how drones could help save lives and possibly even beat an ambulance to a medical emergency scene.

Which is faster, an ambulance or a drone?

A team of researchers in Sweden recently tested whether a drone or an ambulance had a faster response time in delivering an automated external defibrillator to a patient in cardiac arrest. The device gives instructions to a bystander to use it for checking the heart rhythm and, if needed, sending an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

The researchers conducted 18 consecutive flights with the drone, with an average flight distance of 3.2 kilometers, or about 2 miles. They compared the dispatch and travel time of the drone with the dispatch and travel time of emergency medical services.

The researchers found that the drone arrived more quickly than EMS in all cases, with an average reduction in response time of about 16 minutes, and that no adverse events or technical problems occurred during any of the drone flights. During a medical emergency, those minutes can be the difference between life and death. This preliminary study was published in the journal JAMA in June.

Yet much more research needs to be conducted before you could see first-responder drones flying around, delivering medical care.

Certain limitations of the technology include whether a drone could carry heavy medical supplies, could withstand the impact of extreme weather or could limit the risk of technical flukes.

In Mississippi, Subbarao and his colleagues are planning to continue their research.

“For now, we’ve been working with the Mississippi Emergency Management (Agency) and Mississippi (State) Department of Public Health. We’re in conversations with the state agencies to help us study our product, help us refine what we’re doing here,” Subbarao said.

How a disaster drone works

Whether in Sweden or the United States, how would a disaster drone work? First, each drone should be equipped with medical kits and instructions.

In the US, those kits could incorporate recommendations put forth in the federal Department of Homeland Security’s initiative Stop the Bleed, which is intended to help bystanders become trained, equipped and empowered to tend to emergency situations before professional help arrives, according to developers.

A drone also could include audio or video communication systems so that the person who receives it could talk to a doctor for assistance. The researchers in Mississippi have been working with Google Glass and other types of visual technologies for this communications aspect, Subbarao said.

Then, following Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the drones could be flown to an emergency site.

“How do they know where to go? Well, just about everyone has a cell phone out, right? And most of them have their GPS,” said Dennis Lott, director of the unmanned aerial systems program at Hinds Community College, who helped develop the disaster drones in Mississippi.

“When events happen, the cell network knows where that phone is located within pretty close proximity, and that information could be transmitted back to emergency management so we know where that is,” he said.

The drones also could be outfitted with a variety of sensors, such as infrared, to support traveling to certain locations, according to developers.

Lott said that he sees drones providing the biggest benefit to patients in rural areas.

“Even here, there are people who are pretty isolated that need emergency care,” Lott said of his community in Mississippi.

“We could actually take one of these aircraft, and we can just go out there and deliver medicine,” he said. “Something as simple as a proper medicine can save lives.”

Original article can be found here ➤