California’s Van Nuys Airport celebrated the completion of a seven-month, $20.5 million renovation on its main runway late last week. Aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker sliced the ceremonial ribbon with the speeding wing of his Challenger biplane, officially opening the revamped runway to traffic.
Business aircraft operators and pilots weary of the high cost of flying into Los Angeles International (LAX), noise restrictions and curfews at Van Nuys and Burbank, or the un-welcome mat represented by Santa Monica’s higher landing fees can find respite in a hidden gem in the Los Angeles metroplex, Jack Northrop Field/Hawthorne Municipal Airport and its FBO, Jet Center Los Angeles. The airport is located about two miles east of LAX.
The tiltrotor test rig (TTR) development team at NASA Ames Research Center was honored today with a 2013 NASA Group Achievement Award. Team members include personnel from NASA Ames, Bell Helicopter and Triumph Aerospace Systems. The TTR is a joint project among NASA, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force to develop a new large-scale system that can test prop-rotors up to 26 feet in diameter at speeds up to 300 knots, allowing for advanced research on tiltrotors and other rotorcraft concepts.
The FBO community at California’s Van Nuys Airport, one of the most heavily used business aviation fields in the U.S., is seeing some upheaval with the announcement this morning that Signature Flight Support parent company BBA Aviation will acquire Maguire Aviation’s two FBOs at Van Nuys for $69 million. Subject to antitrust approvals, the deal is expected to be completed by year-end.
Sonoma Jet Center at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif., has joined Signature Flight Support’s affiliate FBO program, Signature Select. As such, Sonoma Jet Center will offer the benefits of the Signature Flight Support network, including Signature Status and Signature TailWins customer rewards programs. Sonoma Jet Center boasts an “elegant” passenger terminal and a newly constructed 22,000-sq-ft hangar built to house G650-size aircraft, as well as a smaller 12,000-sq-ft hangar.
Shell Fuel distributor Eastern Aviation Fuels has bolstered its California footprint with the addition of three new FBO dealers. Landmark Aviation’s locations at San Diego International Airport (SAN), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Metropolitan Oakland International (OAK) will now be participating in the Shell AeroClass customer loyalty program, while LAX and OAK will also offer Shell contract fuel. Customs and immigration clearance is available at all three locations.
Bob Trimborn, director of Santa Monica Airport in Southern California, retired on July 1 and has joined airport operations company American Airports, which is headquartered in Santa Monica, as director of business development. “Bob’s lasting legacy will be his impassioned advocacy, which made a real difference in the lives of airport neighbors and users,” said representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). “He worked tirelessly with elected officials, the commissioners and the surrounding community to promote transparency and seek solutions to the challenges facing the airport.”
The Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on Saturday had approached the runway at a speed “significantly below” the 137 knots targeted by the crew, according to preliminary data authorities have extracted from the airplane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.
Surf Air, a charter operator offering all-you-can-fly trips between select California cities for a monthly fee, received its FAA operating certificate and plans to begin flying on June 12. Surf Air is flying Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops with two pilots, and the first cities served will be Los Angeles and San Francisco, using airports in Burbank and San Carlos.
On July 1, 2015, Santa Monica Airport in southern California may be a completely different airfield, if the city of Santa Monica has its way. On that date, the city wants to end all fuel sales, not renew any aviation-related leases and cut 2,000 feet from the airport’s 4,973-foot runway.