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VTOL news updates - Australia

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VTOL news updates - Australia

Old 10th Nov 2019, 19:50
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Australian Robinson helicopters – AVGAS problems in hot northern regions.

AHIA Update by Robyn Ironside in The Australian 25 Oct 2019. An exhaustive investigation into helicopter issues in northern Australia has found a change in fuel composition is to blame. The Australian Helicopter Industry Association appointed an expert panel to undertake the investigation after a Civil Aviation Safety Authority inquiry was unable to reach a conclusion. This issues related to piston-engine-powered light utility helicopters, such as Robinson model R22 and R44 types, that began experiencing a higher rate of premature engine-cylinder failures.

AHIA president Ray Cronin said that prior to 2013 there were almost no warranty claims for engine cylinders, but since then more than 2,000 barrels had been changed in the region. In some cases, cylinder failure occurred within the first 100 hours of service, prompting industry officials to try to find the cause. Early investigations indicated extreme heat was the problem, but it was unclear what was producing that heat. Fuel seemed the obvious answer, but the AHIA ran into difficulty with manufacturers providing limited co-operation, citing “commercial sensitivity concerns”.

Extensive testing was able to ascertain that avgas supplied to aviation operators in northern Australia had undergone significant composition change between 2012 and 2018, with the lead content halved and aromatic hydrocarbons increasing.“The problem with aromatics is they create a slower burning process, and they get hotter through that process. You’re not seeing cylinder head temperature changes, but the exhaust gas temperature increase is massive,” Mr Cronin said. “The problem that creates is when enormously hot gases are going past the exhaust valve and heating that whole region up.” It did not help that helicopters operating in northern Australia were already exposed to elevated temperatures due to the climate and the type of work undertaken, such as mustering at low altitudes where the air is warmer.

Mr Cronin said the report had been provided to CASA and Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack as well as AHIA members. “Our primary objective out of all of this is to see action taken to make this a safer industry,” he said. “We want to hear from CASA how they can contribute to make that happen.”His advice to helicopter operators in northern Australia was to “shop around” to ensure they were putting the right product in their aircraft and staying on top of maintenance.“They need to talk to their (avgas) suppliers, get certificates of composition of fuel, and find out what the percentage of aromatics is, the percentage of lead and make a decision,” he said.

A CASA spokesman confirmed that CASA had received the AHIA report and would respond as soon as possible. A spokesman for Viva Energy, which supplies avgas, said the company did not consider that the issues with the Robinson helicopters in the Northern Territory were related to fuel composition or specification. “In respect of this AHIA report, Viva Energy has not been approached by the AHIA or its investigation body for technical input, information, review or comment,” he said. “Viva Energy has only just been made aware of the report and we intend to analyse and provide a response to AHIA in due course.”

More soon - we are looking through a very well researched 52 page report.
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Old 13th Nov 2019, 06:26
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Regional Express gets govt approval to hire overseas pilots, engineers

Source: Australian Aviation e-news 12 Nov ‘19

Regional Express (Rex) says it has received federal government approval to bring in overseas pilots, engineers and flight instructors to help overcome what it describes as a “critical skills shortage” in the industry. The airline said on Mon 11 Nov ’19, day it has been granted a five-year labour agreement (LA) by the Department of Home Affairs that allowed the company to hire workers in those three areas from overseas on temporary skills shortage visas. The visa allowed those workers to apply for permanent residency after three years. Rex deputy chairman John Sharp said the shortage of pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and flight instructors had “severely impacted” the airline group in recent times. “The Rex Group is confident the LA will provide much needed assistance in helping us fill up our establishment for pilots and engineers so that we can continue to provide regular, reliable and affordable air services to regional and remote communities throughout our vast regular public transport (RPT) network in every state in Australia,” Sharp said in a statement. "The LA also allows accessibility to more flight instructors and this will bolster our capability to produce more pilots at our state-of-the-art pilot academy, the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA), based in Wagga Wagga, NSW, thereby perpetuating the cycle of pilots to meet the needs of the Rex Group and the broader aviation industry in Australia.” Rex has said previously it had been, at times, forced to cancel flights due to not having its usual contingent of stand-by pilots rostered for duty. Industry demand increases, according to the 2018-2037 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook showed 790,000 new pilots would be needed over the next two decades across the commercial, business and helicopter sector.

Further, it forecast demand for 754,000 new aviation technicians between now and 2037. Asia Pacific represented the largest source of demand with 31% all new pilots, 34.1% of all technicians and 36.1% of all cabin crew to be recruited in the region between now and 2037.

In July 2018, a report found Australia had an insufficient number of pilots with the necessary skills, experience and aptitude to fly and command aircraft operated by Australian airlines. Further, it said the situation was getting worse.

The report was written by a panel of experts shared by The Australian Aviation Associations Forum and comprising representatives from Aircraft Structural Contractors, Aviation Australia, Basair Aviation College, QantasLink, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Regional Express Flight Training Academy and Virgin Australia. Sharp said Rex would continue to seek local workers to fill these pilot, flight instructor and engineering roles, noting its pilot academy at Wagga Wagga had been training pilots for the past 10 years. “The Rex Group will continue its search for skilled workers in Australia and is 100 per cent committed to supporting local employment by ensuring that the employment of Australian workers will take precedence over skilled workers from overseas,” Sharp said. In August 2018, Qantas has secured approval from the federal government to recruit up to 76 overseas pilots and instructors for its regional wing QantasLink to help with pilot training. The move was aimed at bringing in simulator instructors and experienced pilots to support QantasLink’s training program.

Problem is the airline industry is now poaching the more senior RW drivers in the USA, as are the UAM/Air Taxi Industry now emerging. And no doubt engineers would probably enjoy working with an airline, to avoid so much bush work away from kids when they get to high school? Can we blame the difficult CASR Part 61, Flight Crew Licensing rules, and the similar one for engineers. Perhaps they need simplification to allow better understanding?
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Old 20th Nov 2019, 10:00
  #23 (permalink)  
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NZ attracts more cruise ships – good for helicopter tourist operators
Source: World of Aviation Nov 2019.

The weakening Australian and New Zealand dollars has resulted in a booming cruise ship industry as residents of both countries are travelling more on cruise ships which sail from Australia to the South Pacific Islands via New Zealand. The currency problem has also attracted an enormous number of Europeans and North Americans whose stronger currency makes travelling and shopping in Oceania value for money. At peak times, about a dozen cruise ships are visiting New Zealand ports; either doing the “around New Zealand cruise” or stopping for a night or two and then heading out to the South Pacific Island nations.

Each year cruise ships get larger and passenger numbers have increased to 2,000 - 3500 per ship. This has been a bonus for the aviation tourist industry, especially for the helicopter operators who do their best to provide scenic flights for passengers going ashore for the day. Aircraft ownership in New Zealand reflects changes caused by the tourist industry. The NZ Register has 4,300 aircraft of which 900 are helicopters. The number of single-engine helicopters suitable for tourist work dominates the fleet. Lead type appears to be the AS350 series with 200 registered, followed by the R44 Robinson with 160 and Bell 206 in third place with 100. Overall this group represents 50% of the Register.
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Old 27th Nov 2019, 14:00
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African Swine Fever. An opportunity for mustering and drone operators?

Source: Australian Aviation Issue 375 (Dec '19).

Australian Pork Limited’s CEO Margo Andrae recently told ABC News an African Swine Fever outbreak in Australia would cost $2 billion over five years. Not only is our pork supply at stake but the jobs of 36,000 Australians are at risk,” Ms Andrae said. The disease is extremely contagious and is 80% fatal.

There is no vaccine for the disease yet, and it has been estimated more than 200 million pigs have become victims around the globe. Margo stated feral pigs in Australia are not yet infected. However, if they were, it would be a disaster, as the disease is so contagious. It would spread quickly into our domestic pork industry. Margo later stated we must try and eradicate our feral pigs before the disease comes across from Timor Leste. It would be far too late if we waited until it is detected on our shores. “When an uninfected feral pig is euthanised; say by an aerial shooting program, we can leave the carcass to rot. However, a dead infected pig must be taken away to a quarantine area and destroyed otherwise other pigs eating the infected carcass would become infected. Removal of infected carcasses would be a logistic nightmare; especially in rugged terrain!”, said Margo.

China recently announced they were now short of 10 to 20,000 tons of pork each year due to the mass slaughtering of diseased animals. They look to Australia to send beef to provide the protein to replace pork losses. But we are suffering from a severe drought and floods which caused an enormous loss of cattle recent years and cannot met China’s demands. Australia achieved many accolades for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis from 1970 to 1997. This involved a large number of aerial shooters, and the extensive use of light helicopters.

Today, the number of piston engined helicopters Australia number almost 1,400 of which one third are probably involved within the mustering industry and able to carry out aerial culling of feral animals. The eradication of feral pigs prior to African Swine Fever getting to Australia would require enormous resources; however, there is no other option. This creates an opportunity for the light helicopter and drone operators to suggest a plan for an eradication program. As feral pigs very active after dark, new drone technologies could be used at night, allowing another cost-effective solution.

The pending availability of small armed drones may be another weapon against feral pigs!
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Old 4th Dec 2019, 12:45
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Senate inquiry into CASA and GA

On 3 Dec ’19 it was announced a two-year Inquiry has been launched into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the General Aviation industry (GA).

The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (RRAT) will conduct a two-year inquiry into CASA to gauge the effectiveness of regulation it has applied to GA in the past 10 years. RRAT Chair, Nationals Senator Susan McDonald from Qld, said the aim of the inquiry is to establish how regulation imposed on GA had achieved CASA’s stated aim of balancing safety, relative risk, and economic costs.

The inquiry will look at the social and economic impacts of CASAs decisions on charter businesses, helicopter mustering, agricultural operations and maintenance operators across regional, rural and remote Australia,” she said. “We want to examine the relevance of the Civil Aviation Act in relation to maintaining the highest safety standards while encouraging general aviation and training. “I have spoken with participants in GA and many feel the past 10 years of rulemaking by CASA has not achieved the stated aim of balance.

“This inquiry will look at people’s concerns with CASA and will deliver interim findings in December 2020, followed by a final report in November 2021.”Senator McDonald has established herself as a champion of aviation in Australia, most famously crossing the floor to vote with independent senators on the Community Service Flight legislation disallowance motion in October. McDonald was the only coalition member to do so. She was elected to the Senate for QLD in the 2019 Federal Election and made RRAT Chair in July. In detail: Under Standing Order 25 (2) (a), the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee will inquire into and report on the current state of Australia's general aviation industry, with reference to aviation in rural, regional and remote Australia.

The committee will consider the operation and effectiveness of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and other relevant aviation agencies, with reference to: The legislative and regulatory framework underpinning CASA's aviation safety management functions, including: the application of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 to Australia's aviation sector, and whether the legislation is fit for purpose; The safety and economic impacts, and relative risks, of CASA's aviation safety frameworks; andthe engagement of CASA with other relevant Australian Government agencies; The immediate and long-term social and economic impacts of CASA decisions on small businesses, agricultural operations and individuals across regional, rural and remote Australia;

CASA's processes and functions, including: its maintenance of an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including viable general aviation and training sectors; The efficacy of its engagement with the aviation sector, including via public consultation; andits ability to broaden accessibility to regional aviation across Australia, considering the associated benefits of an expanded aviation sector; and any related matters.

The committee will present its interim report on or before the final sitting day of December 2020 and will present its final report on or before the final sitting day of November 2021. Contacts: Committee Secretary. Senate Standing Committees on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, PO Box 6100, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600. Tel: +61 2 6277 3511. E: [email protected]

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Old 11th Dec 2019, 09:10
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NSW Ambulance Aeromedical Rescue Helicopter Service has won HAI’s Golden Hour Award

21 Nov ’19. (HAI) Helicopter Association International (HAI) announced Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Ambulance Service is the 2020 recipient of the Salute to Excellence Golden Hour Award.

This award recognizes the efforts of an individual, group, or organization that, through an activity or contributions over time, has advanced the use of helicopters in the vital mission of air medical transport. The award will be presented on 29 Jan ’20 at HAI’s Salute to Excellence Awards luncheon at HAI HELI-EXPO 2020 in Anaheim, California.

In the 1980s, the NSW Ambulance Aeromedical Rescue Helicopter Service provided a patchwork of rudimentary capabilities across multiple providers. The organization operated successfully for three decades, but the group needed to evolve to ensure it could continue to provide the efficiency, capabilities, and safety standards expected of a modern aeromedical service. In 2012, the NSW government undertook an independent review that resulted in a 10-year strategic plan to ensure significantly improved patient outcomes for all residents and communities across the state. The review determined the plan could be achieved only by completely transforming the state’s contracting and services delivery model for aeromedical support and by standardizing that model’s integration with NSW medical services.

The ambitious plan then required implementation by a strong team. Ron Manning, the ambulance service’s director of aeromedical services, and Garry Sinclair, its head of helicopter operations, were true leaders and patient advocates who knew that such transformational change would require vision and courage. The plan would have to entail improved patient outcomes and integrated team training to support a holistic environment and safety above all else.

Today, NSW Ambulance (as the organization is now known) boasts the largest aeromedical helicopter capability within the southern hemisphere. From seven bases across the state, the service operates a standardized fleet of 12 Leonardo AW139 helicopters in identical aircraft and aeromedical configurations utilizing a common set of operational procedures and standards.
The service ensures NSW Ambulance helicopter doctors and paramedics can quickly reach patients in remote areas. Over 96% of the population of NSW is within one hour of a helicopter and its critical care doctor and paramedic team.

Operating in a geographical region four times larger than the United Kingdom and slightly larger than the US state of Texas, the service has flown some 17,000 hours in two and a half years. During this time, it has conducted more than 10,000 critical care missions at multiple sites, including canyons, crevasses, roadways, rivers, oceans, frozen lakes, cliffs, and cruise ships. For each of its missions, the service’s average response times are less than 10 minutes by day and less than 20 minutes by night.

Central to NSW Ambulance’s focus on safety is the Aeromedical Crewing Excellence (ACE) Training Centre in Bankstown, NSW, which features a growing list of high-fidelity simulation assets, including:· An OEM Level D AW139 full flight simulator· An advanced sea survival and underwater escape training facility with full environmental controls· A virtual reality–based full-crew cockpit and cabin training system· Wet and dry-winching training capabilities· A suite of advanced clinical simulation assets.

The ACE Training Centre is built upon a holistic approach to provide best-in-class training facilities and highly realistic mission-simulation technologies. This approach to training requires a focus on fully integrated technical and nontechnical skills training for helicopter clinical crews, pilots, air crews, engineers, and specialist support personnel.

More info? Ace Training Centre, 33 Nancy Ellis Leebold Dr, Sydney, NSW, 2200 Australia: E: [email protected] or www[.]tollgroup[.]com
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Old 18th Dec 2019, 09:44
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ATSB Update – UH-1H – Lost in bad weather near Newcastle, Australia on 6 Sep ’19

Source: VTOL e-news Asia-Pacific November Report

Our thanks to Paul Sadler, Communications Manager, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, for keeping us informed about this loss.

ATSB Preliminary Report of 7 Nov 2019 is still under investigation. The Final Report yet to be released. Edited below due space considerations.

What happened. On 6 Sep ’19, at 1430 AEST, VH-UVC, a Bell UH-1H helicopter departed Archerfield Airport, Qld, with four passengers on board. The owner-pilot was delivering the helicopter to Bankstown Airport, NSW.At about 1600 VH-UVC landed at Coffs Harbour, NSW and was refuelled. It then departed south at 1648 and at 1755, the pilot called Williamtown Tower, for a clearance to track south via the Visual Flight Rules lane. He also requested a climb to higher altitude, to ‘take advantage of favourable winds. The tower then asked the pilot to contact Williamtown Approach for clearance.At 1757, the pilot made contact and was identified four nm to the north-east of Broughton Island. He was cleared to operate at whatever altitude was needed, but not below 2,400 ft (LSALT).

The pilot then asked to operate between 3,000 and 3,500 ft. At 1758 UVC was cleared to track coastal at 3,000 to 3,500 ft. At 1759, Approach asked the pilot if Bankstown was his destination. At 1800, the pilot was then told if any further track and altitude changes were required to advise accordingly. (Possibly due bad weather along intended route).


At 1801, the controller again offered alternative tracking if required. The pilot responded requesting to remain on the eastern side of R578A restricted area. The controller clarified this request - the pilot replied if it was not available, he would continue the VFR coastal route. The pilot was then cleared to track as required for Bankstown Airport. The track clearance was acknowledged by the pilot at 1802.

However, at 1805, the controller asked if things were “operations normal?” This was due to the fact, VH-UVC dropped to 2,700 ft. In reply, the pilot commented on a sudden wind gust affecting the helicopter’s altitude. The controller then re-cleared VH-UVC to operate between 2,400 (LSALT) and 3,500 ft. The pilot again commented on the turbulent conditions. The controller again offered his assistance to the pilot - if it was needed.

VH-UVC was observed making a left turn to the south, departing the coastal VFR lane and heading offshore. According to Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) data supplied by Airservices Australia, the helicopter’s position at the beginning of the turn at 1811, was 2.3 km west-south-west of Anna Bay.The aircraft continued to track offshore to the south-west for about 1 min 20 sec, maintaining between 3,000 and 3,600 ft before commencing a rapidly descending, left turn. Later data showed the aircraft commenced this descent from 3,400 ft at about 1813, and the last data point identified the aircraft passing 525 ft only seconds later.

Two attempts by the Approach controller to contact the pilot were unsuccessful.

The controller then called the pilot saying identification had been lost and to immediately check altitude. Further advice on area QNH, the lowest safe altitude in the area, and an instruction to climb immediately were broadcast. The controller followed that transmission with several more unsuccessful attempts to contact the pilot.


Pilot details. The pilot held a CPL(H) and was qualified to fly by day under the Visual Flight Rules. The pilot last conducted a single-engine helicopter flight review in October 2018 that was valid until 31 October 2020. His logbook indicated he had a total of 1,440.5 flying hours experience. The pilot held a Class 1 aviation medical certificate that was valid until 26 Apr 2020.

Weather and available light. Forecast weather for the Williamtown area included moderate to severe turbulence and wind gusts up to 38 knots from the north-west from 1000. From 1800, severe turbulence was forecast with wind gusts up to 45 knots occurring from the west-north-west and layers of scattered cloud at 4,000 ft & broken cloud at 12,000 ft AGL. Light showers of rain were also forecast. At 1753, controllers at Williamtown observed the visibility to be about 6‑7 km.Last light for the Anna Bay area, was calculated to occur at 1801; however, the presence of cloud cover, dust or masking terrain to the west would have resulted in last light occurring at an earlier time.

Further investigation. The investigation is continuing and will include examination of: meteorological conditions and pre‑flight preparation, pilot qualifications, experience and medical history, recovered aircraft wreckage, aircraft performance characteristics and recorded flight data, aircraft maintenance documentation and operational records from of air traffic services.

Our thoughts are with the families.
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Old 20th Dec 2019, 19:01
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Tender Alert - Released 20 Dec 2019 & closing 29 Feb 2020

Queensland Government - Provision of Air Ambulance Services Health Support Queensland and the Aeromedical Retrieval and Disaster Management Branch, Prevention Division, Department of Health would like to invite interested parties to attend an Industry Engagement Session to discuss market drivers and opportunities for the upcoming Air Ambulance Services Invitation to Offer.

Industry Engagement Sessions Standing Offer Arrangement (SOA) HSQ102646 Services for Cairns & Far North Queensland; Mount Isa & North West Region; The Central West; South West & Darling Downs; Townsville; Mackay Whitsunday Region; Rockhampton; Gladstone; Wide Bay Burnett and South East Queensland.

Briefings: One-hour sessions will be held with interested parties between 3, 4 and 6 February 2020 at Aeromedical Retrieval and Disaster Management Branch, Level 7, 33 Charlotte Street, Brisbane Qld 4000.

If you are unable to attend in person, participation by video conference may be arranged.

Registration: You must complete and return the Industry Engagement Sessions RSVP Form by 16:00 AEST 17 January 2020 to [email protected] You will be contacted on 22 January 2020 to confirm your session date and time. Forms and more info: robsrich [at] bigpond [dot].com

You can also go onto to government website; however, you have to set up an account with all those security controls. At present only meeting notice and registration forms are available. See email mentioned if you are in a hurry. More info will be here - so keep in touch with PPRuNe. This is a big contract - Queensland is a large area with 5m folks a long way from medical facilities. (Queensland is almost three times larger than Texas and has around 800 helicopters).

Rob
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 09:16
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Fire fighters and emergency services are really appreciated as Christmas approaches.
Source: 22 Dec ’19. Media release. VTOL e-news Asia-Pacific.

Editor has passed on the thanks of the Australian public to those giving so much defending our lives and communities from the fire emergencies. The editor reported he attended an upmarket Christmas Carol event last night; and the organisers took time to thank all the Australians and other international teams now fighting the bushfires both on the ground and from the air. The audience was told these folks were giving up so much of their Christmas family activities to save others during this dreadful drought and almost unmanageable bushfires. They also recognised the loss of life and injuries being suffered by our local heroes.

The response via applause was enormous!

Many had tears in their eyes, knowing there had been several fatalities and almost 100 firefighters needed hospitalization to date. The audience knew that these families would be having a sad Christmas along with the owners of several thousand homes and buildings lost to date – plus the enormous loss of livestock!

It shows we do care - perhaps it is the Australian way – mateship!

Just thought this should be shared with those now sleeping rough on our behalf!
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Old 22nd Dec 2019, 10:35
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Bravo.
👏
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Old 28th Dec 2019, 11:02
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VSL student loans increase good news for schools and students in 2020.

But what about helo folks?

In April 2019, Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack announced from January 2020, the amount those studying aviation can borrow more under the vocational education and training (VET) student loans scheme will be increased from $104,440 to $150,000. An industry review in 2018 had shown the previous loan limit was not enough to provide aeroplane student pilots with all the licences and ratings required. It was recommended the increased limit would allow more students to obtain the Flight Instructor Rating as well as either the agriculture rating for students wanting to stay in General Aviation or the Multi Crew Cooperation course for those wanting to continue to the airlines.

That’s why the cap will be lifted to the same level as courses for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.

An aviation skills and training report written by a panel of experts chaired by The Australian Aviation Associations Forum and published in July 2018 found Australia was experiencing a severe shortage of aviation personnel and urgent action was needed if the country was to avoid major disruptions.

The panel of experts comprised representatives from Aircraft Structural Contractors, Aviation Australia, Basair Aviation College, QantasLink, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Regional Express Flight Training Academy and Virgin Australia, made extensive recommendations.

Later, the Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF) chairman Jeff Boyd welcomed the increase in lifetime loan limit. “This increase will now ensure that pilots will be able to complete their training with not only bare minimum qualifications, but relevant and employable qualifications thereby helping to ease Australia’s pilot shortage,” Boyd said in the ministers’ statement.

Readers should note the helicopter industry was not directly involved in the AIS study, although the TAAAF (Jeff Boyd) would be representing the AHIA which is a member of the TAAAF.

As a result, helicopter potential students are not sure how the new increase will work for them at helicopters schools. Due to the more expensive flying rates, a VFR single engine commercial license will probably cost around $95,000 using a VSL loan. Advanced training for IFR and multiengine helicopter training is very expensive and is yet to be evaluated.

Further, the situation is further complicated by the fact only a very few flying schools can provide the needed advanced training. This situation is being reviewed by several government agencies, such as TAFE Queensland.

This is a challenge for the AHIA executive; who are doing a great job getting RotorTech 2020 ready for June 2020 – and representing the firefighting industry as needed during these terrible times with bushfires. However, training schools appear not yet be ready to handle this complicated issue and are not well represented at Rotortech 2020.

Is it time to have a new industry group focussed on the helicopter training problems; or maybe ask the AHIA to establish a training advisory group within their existing structure.

The new funding starts in a few days .... are we ready?
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Old 3rd Jan 2020, 05:29
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Tender Alert - Released 20 Dec 2019 & closing 29 Feb 2020
Queensland Government - Provision of Air Ambulance Services

On 3 Jan 2020, the Qld Govt advised an update to the potential contract mentioned previously.

It is for FW only.

So - I will not track this anymore on your behalf. But it is still an active invitation to go to briefings.

False alarm. Apologies.

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Old 6th Jan 2020, 02:04
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Australian bushfires – recommended phone app – helps when lost

Emergency+ app

Several days ago, a spokesperson from the New South Wales RFS headquarters said their 000-emergency phone service normally handles 50 emergencies per day; now the number is more than 5,000.

Although they have increased their capacity to handle this number; they have noted a large number of people are calling in for help when they do not know where they are, which is understandable, if they been driving in heavy smoke conditions or maybe elsewhere when they suddenly need help.

The operators are spending an enormous amount of time trying to work out where the caller is located; which is especially hard for those who are tourists in unfamiliar territory.

The RFS strongly recommends the Emergency+ app, a free app developed by Australia's emergency services and their Government and industry partners which can be installed on your phone. The app uses GPS functionality built into smart phones to help a Triple Zero (000) caller to provide critical location details required to mobilise emergency services.

The moment you turn ‘tap on the app’; your latitude and longitudinal is shown so you and the operator can see where you are.

Those of you who have an aeromedical or SAR background will appreciate the advantage you are given when you can get specific geographical coordinates for your GPS systems.

And the price is right!
Rob
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Old 6th Jan 2020, 21:55
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Helicopter Association International (HAI) names next President

7 Jan 2020. Chairperson of the HAI’s Board, Jan Becker, said the Board was pleased to announce James A. Viola as the President and CEO effective 16 Jan 2020. James replaces Matthew S. Zuccaro, who announced his retirement last fall.

Viola most recently served as director of General Aviation (GA) Safety Assurance for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In this role, he oversaw 78 Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) and 2,500 employees across the United States and was responsible for maintaining consistency and standardization in the application of safety oversight activities for the GA community. Additionally, he ensured stakeholder and public needs were met quickly and efficiently and was responsible for starting the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST), serving as the initial government co-chair.

"When Matt announced his retirement, the board knew that replacing him would be no easy task. We had to find a dynamic, innovative CEO who has both vision and passion," said Jan Becker, HAI's board chair. "We sought someone able to take up the challenge of leading HAI forward to meet the needs of a globally changing industry. With Jim, we found that leader, as well as one who understands and supports HAI's safety values.

Our congratulations to James and thanks to Matt for a job well done over the past years.

Jan Becker is also the CEO of Becker Helicopters Pilot Academy (Australia).
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Old 18th Jan 2020, 18:51
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US FAA issues proposed rules on remote drone operations.

Drone numbers are doubling every two to three years - Canada's experience!

Around 1.5 million drones and 160,000 remote pilots are registered with the FAA. Equipping drones with remote identification technologies is needed to safely integrate operations into the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability which automates the application and approval process for most UAS operators to obtain airspace authorizations. Hopefully, this will allow for more complex operations, such as beyond visual line of sight at low altitudes. US helicopter operators will be watching this development closely as a recent collision between a helicopter and a drone at 1,000 ft over a city has again raised concerns. A Canadian report has stated drone numbers in Canada and the US double every two years – now a long-term trend. Spending on drones is expected to increase to US$20 billion (AUD$29 billion) by 2024 as air-taxi and aerial deliveries services are established in North America.

What will the world be like in 50 years? Less sunshine due trillions of drones blocking the sun's warmth? A solution to global warming?

What do you think?


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Old 10th Feb 2020, 10:24
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Overlapping wildfire seasons gives Erickson new sales opportunities.

Erickson Incorporated advised Heli-Expo 2020 attendees they are looking at a market needing around 150 of the upgraded version of the S-64F Air Cranes. This is due to the overlapping fire seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. As a result, the demand for the behemoth’s firefighting and heavy construction capabilities are more in demand. “Based on what we’ve seen in the market, we think that there’s a market demand of at least 50 to 100 airframes in the world,” chief executive Doug Kitani said on 28 Jan ’20, at HAI’s 2020 Heli-Expo. “A very, very significant increase in the number of airframes above today’s figures.”

The company is developing an enhanced version of their Air Crane called the S-64F+ that will feature new, more-modern full-authority digital electronic control (FADEC) engines, composite main rotor blades, advanced cockpit avionics and flight control system and an improved water cannon.

“We’re seeing things like in the firefighting realm where there’s not enough aircraft to go around! Where operators used to go between northern and southern hemisphere, we’re seeing that model break down. We saw this year the tragic fires in Australia,” Kitani said. “There’s significant demand, mostly from sovereign customers, but we think commercial customers will follow and build out bigger fleets with more capability.”

Last edited by robsrich; 11th Feb 2020 at 03:43.
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Old 12th Feb 2020, 01:21
  #37 (permalink)  
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Where there is a thirst there is a way??

An Australian couple quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan had become bored and were wondering how they could ease their boredom. They ordered two bottles of their favourite Pinot Noir wine from an onshore wine club. But, understandably, getting the wine out to the ship and delivered to quarantined passengers; would have been impossible due to the strict rules applicable to quarantine passengers.

So, they asked the wine club to have the bottles delivered to their balcony table by a drone. It worked well!

Later they posted social media, “Just got the first drop. Thank God for drones, the Japanese Coast Guard did not know what was going on!” The Diamond Princess is stationary off the coast with about 3700 people aboard as the entire vessel was held under two-week quarantine since they arrived back at the port of Yokohama. However, the discovery of a recent case amongst the passengers may require a further extension of the quarantine period by several weeks.

This happy incident will no doubt raise many eyebrows, as nothing can board a ship without the permission of the Captain. Can you imagine a cruise ship going through the Suez Canal, in Egypt, where hundreds of small craft come out to the ship to sell their wares to hundreds of passengers looking from above? Can you imagine several hundred passengers ordering samples from small boats and drones taking goods up to the deck; or maybe one of balcony rooms?

And of course, people with evil intentions could prove they are really very evil and go down in history in much the same way as the Titanic?

EASA is now drafting new rules for UAVs, UAM and UAV delivery services. How will they handle cruise ships?

What do you think?
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Old 7th Mar 2020, 18:30
  #38 (permalink)  
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Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reviewing alerting system – post-fires.

The Australian BOM provides an enormous amount of information to the emergency services during catastrophic weather episodes. During the current bushfire disaster, the BOM was assisted by the USA’s military satellites providing high-resolution imagery to assess flood and fire boundaries and Japanese meteorological satellites which can predict more accurately disastrous weather conditions.

But rural industries are suggesting ways to improve the current alerting protocols to avoid excessive losses in their area. Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, Australia has the same landmass as United States. Both are around 7.7 km2. However, Australia only has a population of 25 million, compared to the USA’s 324 million.

A year before the current bushfire disaster erupted across Australia, severe flooding in north-west Queensland killed more than 500,000 head of cattle due to the North-west Queensland's 2019 monsoon being one of the biggest on record. But an unexpected cold snap caused the widespread stock losses.

At present the focus is now on the southern areas of Australia where there has been a long-running drought, disastrous bushfires, many severe storms with hail and snow in some areas, and other weather events making aerial firefighting difficult. The loss Coulson Aviation’s Lockheed EC130 and three crew members when fighting a fire in less than ideal weather conditions is now under investigation. To date, the current fires have claimed four helicopters, fortunately with no loss of life. They all occurred in very hot weather conditions, which can reduce the performance of most helicopters.

Rural agricultural, livestock and aerial firefighting concerns have similar needs as they are all within the low-level airspace close to the ground. Hopefully, this review of existing methodology will help other nations such as USA, Canada and Spain, where fatal accidents have occurred during wildfire operations.

Next we will look how an international aerial firefighting service works with Australia’s state and territory system; and complies with our unique aviation regulatory system.


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Old 7th Mar 2020, 18:52
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HAI Member Reception, Queensland, Australia

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) Executive Committee will be conducting its March 2020 board meeting on the Sunshine Coast of Australia on Sat 14 March 2020 - 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

As part of the event, HAI President and CEO Jim Viola, along with HAI Board Chair Jan Becker, Board Vice Chair Stacy Sheard, Board Treasurer Dan Schwarzbach, and Board Assistant Treasurer James Wisecup, will be hosting a function on March 14 at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort. Please plan to attend; we'd love to meet and mingle with you. And we'll provide drinks and nibbles. Venue: Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Water Lily Room, 270 Ocean Dr. Twin Waters QLD 4564, Australia. Attire is Business Casual.

HAI offers an open invitation to any helicopter operator, MRO professional, drone operator, pilot, engineer, enthusiast member, non-member, or other interested party to come meet with us and discuss our great industry. We're here to engage and get an international perspective on how we as an international association can help you with issues Down Under. Your voice is important, so come along and make a night of it. Please RSVP at your earliest convenience to Sarah Arnold. E: sarah(dot).Arnold(at)rotor.org

Be there and tell the world what you think about our future. Remember Australia has the second largest RW fleet in the Western World with 2,350 registrations. .

More info? Tel: + 1 703-683-4646 www(dot).rotor.org
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Old 9th Apr 2020, 02:23
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Post COVID-19 business opportunities in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region

Australian readers would no doubt agree there is a lot of misinformation about the helicopter industry in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Fortunately, data released at the recent Singapore Airshow showed there are an estimated 6,000 helicopters in the region. Which is about one third of the civilian helicopter registrations in the USA.

The Australian and New Zealand helicopter figures were a surprise to many of the international visitors to Singapore Airshow in February 2020. These two countries with a combined population of only 30 million population have more than half (3,200) of the total helicopters in the area from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Japan, and across to the Philippines; to name a few.

This is an interesting comparison to Canada which has a population of 37 million and 2,848 helicopters (2018 data).

Australian helicopter industry. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) data current to 14 Feb ’20 indicated Australia had 13,372 aeroplanes and 2313 helicopters for a total of 15,685 aircraft. Helicopters made up 15% of the registrations. Fleet growth rates over the past year for both aeroplanes and helicopters are effectively zero! This was a great disappointment to Australians as the helicopter industry growth is usually twice the traditional GDP at 4.6% pa. In fact, during the decade prior to the Global Financial Crisis; the growth rate was 7 to 8% pa.

Prior to COVID-19, economists suggest the slowed global economy, the prolonged drought in Australia, several severe flood disasters and the recent record-breaking bushfires have contributed to this situation. But there was good news coming from the recent Heli-Expo 2020 in the USA. Several leading manufacturers stated sales were about to move forward again. This would have been good news to the Robinson Helicopter Company whose products dominate the Australian register. The past year has seen a dramatic drop in their sales; but industry experts suggest global helicopter industry is just at the bottom of one of the seven-year cycles. Kurt Robinson, son of Frank Robinson, was optimistic about the immediate future as they were receiving a lot more enquiries. From the early eighties Australia has purchased 10% of the Robinson output.

Australia’s global position. Australia is ranked second in the western world for helicopter registrations. (It would be third after Russia which has mainly heavy machines and a small number of small privately-owned machines).

Australia has the largest fleet of light helicopters in the world, after the USA. Now listed are 1,413 piston engined helicopters (61% of registrations) and 897 turbine powered helicopters (39%). Of the 897 turbine powered helicopters, 630 are SE engined helicopters (70%) and 267 are ME (30%). The Robinson Helicopter Company dominates the Australian register with 1,201 machines, or 52% of all helicopter registrations. The Robinson lead helicopter is the R22 helicopter (617), closely followed by the R44 (553). The Robinson piston engine helicopters make up 85% of the Australian piston fleet.

International Registrations. Probably due to the disastrous bushfires which have only recently been doused by flooding rains; many international helicopters were placed on the CASA Aircraft Register. Of the 2,313 helicopters on the register, 75 were registered as international aircraft. Companies represented: Argentina -1; Barbados - 1; Canada - 2; Cayman Islands - 7; France - 4; Ireland - 20; Japan - 2; New Zealand - 6; PNG - 3; Samoa - 1; United Kingdom - 3; and USA - 26 for a total of 75.

Location of Australian helicopters. This often hotly disputed topicis left over from a situation which existed half a century ago. At that time, a great percentage of all aviation activities, including helicopter operations, occurred in Victoria. In fact, CASA’s predecessor was headquartered in Melbourne. But today, almost 50% of registered helicopters are north of the “Brisbane line” due to the expansion of rural, tourist and private operations in remote areas in the northern parts of the Australian continent. The leading state is Queensland 758, followed by New South Wales - 526; Victoria – 331; Western Australia - 290; Northern Territory - 191; South Australia – 77; Tasmania - 48 and Australian Capital Territory – 9.

New Zealand breaks records. With a population of only 4.7 million, their aircraft register lists 5,401 aircraft of which 924 are helicopters, which make up 17% of the total. Robinson helicopters make up one quarter of the registrations with 245: consisting of R22 – 90, R44 – 149 and R66 – 6. Other piston types are well represented and probably make up about another 15%. The turbine fleet is dominated by single engine Bell 206 and Airbus 350 series used for agricultural and tourist operations. The AS350 has a good lead over the Bell 206 numbers.

Due to the need for high-performance helicopters to operate in mountainous and windy terrain, the New Zealand twin-engine fleet consists mainly of light twins capable of SAR and aeromedical work. By comparison to Australia, where long-range operations require larger helicopters which access more remote areas.

At present, New Zealand is recognised as a country with more helicopters per head of population than any other. They have 924 helicopters for only 4.7 million people – an excellent result! (5,086 people per helicopter). By comparison, Australia – 10,808 and USA 13,880.

What is happening in rest of APAC? A report published at the Singapore Airshow stated although the expansion of the civil turbine helicopter fleet in the Asia-Pacific region continued in 2019 (up 2 percent), the growth trajectory is slowing, from 5% in 2018 and 3.9% in 2017. The fleet reached 4,373 civil helicopters in 2019, up from the 4,289 at the end of 2018. Report indicated a further drop of the growth rate to 1.5% is expected in 2020. This is reflected in the latest figures from Australia and New Zealand where growth has slowed significantly.

Focus on China. This has occurred in mainland China. After seeing a 10 percent jump year-over-year in 2018, this has softened slightly to 6% net growth, or 41 helicopters, in 2019. While the rate is still well above the region’s average, it marked the first time since 2009 it had fallen to a single-digit percentage. More than half of the fleet, 53%, is used for multi-mission, with corporate, law enforcement, and charter uses each accounting for 8% of the remainder, followed by offshore at 7%, emergency medical at 6%, search and rescue at 6%, private at 2%, and training only at one percent. This creates an opportunity for other nations, who have a reasonable training capability to assist China. The provision of helicopter professionals, in much the same way as Australia has an enormous industry producing pilots for various Chinese Airlines.

OEM status? Airbus continues to account for the largest share of the Asia-Pacific civil helicopter market at 42%, followed by Bell, this 27% and Leonardo at 11%. However, Leonardo saw the most growth in terms of net additions, with 34 more helicopters. Sikorsky, meanwhile, saw 13 deductions in 2019. Preferences remain for single engine turbine helicopters, accounting for 52%, while medium helicopters claim a 24% market share.
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