In an unusual move, the FAA has proposed an AD that would require pilots to view a new icing-awareness training video before they could serve as PIC of Mitsubishi MU-2Bs. The requirement would supplement a 1997 AD requiring MU-2B pilots to take an eight-hour training course about flying in icing conditions.
The growth of fractional aircraft share sales has cooled recently, reflected by delayed and canceled orders for new aircraft by fractional providers (AIN, May, page 1). Another apparent reflection of the downturn is the sharp reduction in total pilot hiring by the major fractional providers.
Cleveland-based Flight Options came full circle this week when company founder Kenn Ricci returned to the helm, some six years after he sold the fractional provider. He now comes back to a flagging company in need of help, not to mention one with pilot labor problems. AIN spoke with Ricci to find out his plans for turning Flight Options around, as well as making peace with the pilots.
Simulation and training specialist CAE is about to embark on a full-scale beta test of the new multi-crew pilot’s license (MPL) curriculum it developed to complement existing programs in its Global Academy.
Nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is now offering an accelerated first officer flight training (FOFT) program, which trains first officer candidates to regional airline and corporate fleet standards in less than a year.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is taking steps to address the looming pilot and mechanic shortage facing airlines globally. IATA’s training and qualification initiative looked at manufacturers’ market outlook studies, which predict that 17,650 new passenger aircraft will be delivered by 2018, requiring more than 200,000 new pilots, or nearly 19,000 pilots a year.
Twenty years ago owner-pilots of high-performance airplanes often supplemented their flying skills by offering the right seat of the airplane to a young CFI whose role was to help keep the left-seat aviator out of trouble. That usually meant working the radios, stowing the charts and generally acting as another set of eyes and hands when the weather was bad or the traffic was dense.
The summer of 2001 saw regional airline executives sweating from more than the heat of the season, as 89 days of uncertainty produced by the pilots of Cincinnati-based Comair threatened to halt the growth momentum of an entire industry. Of course, the strike severely hurt Comair’s parent airline, Delta, to the tune of at least $200 million.
“Beginning autorotation with left turn.”
“Roger. Autorotate to left.”
After a few moments, during which the MD 600N helicopter plummets toward the ground engaged in a sweeping left turn, the first pilot’s voice comes over the radio. “Recovering.” He recovers at approximately 100 ft over the desert floor.
“Roger. Recover.” This voice belongs to the pilot of the chase aircraft, also an MD helicopter.
The 843 pilots hired by six major fractional aircraft ownership companies in the first nine months of this year were about 30 percent fewer than the 1,210 frax pilots hired in the same period last year, according to employment tracking firm AIR. Nearly 1,400 frax pilots were hired during all of last year, compared with just 581 in 1999.