Tag Archives: AviationNews

MD Helicopters Launches Flight Support For COVID-19 Humanitarian Missions

MD Helicopter launches flight support for COVID-19 humanitarian missions

Mesa, Ariz., May 14, 2020 – MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) begins flying humanitarian aid missions in a company-owned MD 520N supporting the fight against COVID-19.

An MDHI pilot flew the first mission in one of the Company’s helicopters to the Navajo Nation, whose border is approximately 150 miles north of MDHI’s Mesa, AZ base of operations.  The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles that can be logistically challenging for transport of goods due to terrain and obstacles throughout its vast expanse.  During the COVID-19 crisis, large quantities of relief aid accumulated in the Phoenix area awaiting distribution.  The urgent situation called for a helicopter solution to deliver the desparately needed aid to multiple locations much faster than ground transport could provide.  MDHI accepted the opportunity to assist our neighbors to the north.

Relief goods were accumulated at MDHI’s Mesa base, loaded into an MD 520N helicopter, and flown to Chinle Municiple Airport deep in the Navajo Nation, where the aid was delivered to relief workers. The entire mission covered approximately 500 nautical miles, included 2 fuel stops, and lasted roughly 5 hours.  “MD Helicopters has been a proud part of the Arizona community since its birth over 20 years ago” said Chris Jaran, the Chief Operating Officer of MD.  “We have always stood ready to help our neighbors and contribute to the welfare of our community.”  Jaran continued, “Our helicopters are flown by first responders and military units all over the world, and we are pleased to join the efforts of Arizonans to address humanitarian needs here at home in these challenging times.”

MDHI will continue flying relief aid missions in support of the Navajo Nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Airline Debt to Balloon by 28% Heavy New Debt Levels Will Weigh Down Airline Recovery

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released analysis showing that the airline industry’s global debt could rise to $550 billion by year-end. That’s a $120 billion increase over debt levels at the start of 2020. 
 

  • $67 billion of the new debt is composed of government loans ($50 billion), deferred taxes ($5 billion) and loan guarantees ($12 billion).
  • $52 billion is from commercial sources including commercial loans ($23 billion), capital market debt ($18 billion), debt from new operating leases ($5 billion), and accessing existing credit facilities ($6 billion). 


Financial aid is a lifeline to get through the worst of the crisis without folding operations. But during the re-start period later this, the industry’s debt load will be near $550 billion—a massive 28% increase. 

“Government aid is helping to keep the industry afloat. The next challenge will be preventing airlines from sinking under the burden of debt that the aid is creating,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In total governments have committed to $123 billion in financial aid to airlines. Of this, $67 billion will need to be repaid. The balance largely consists of wage subsidies ($34.8 billion), equity financing ($11.5 billion), and tax relief / subsidies ($9.7 billion). This is vital for airlines which will burn through an estimated $60 billion of cash in the second quarter of 2020 alone.

“Over half the relief provided by governments creates new liabilities. Less than 10% will add to airline equity. It changes the financial picture of the industry completely. Paying off the debt owed governments and private lenders will mean that the crisis will last a lot longer than the time it takes for passenger demand to recover,” said de Juniac.

Regional variations

The $123 billion in government financial aid is equal to 14% of 2019’s total airline revenues ($838 billion). The regional variations of the aid dispersion indicate that there are gaps that will need to be filled.

There are still large gaps in the financial aid needed to help airlines survive the COVID-19 crisis. The US government has led the way with its CARES Act being the main component of financial aid to North American carriers which in total represented a quarter of 2019 annual revenues for the region’s airlines. This is followed by Europe with assistance at 15% of 2019 annual revenues and Asia-Pacific at 10%. But in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America average aid is around 1% of 2019 revenues.

“Many governments have stepped up with financial aid packages that provide a bridge over this most difficult situation, including cash to avoid bankruptcies. Where governments have not responded fast enough or with limited funds, we have seen bankruptcies. Examples include Australia, Italy, Thailand, Turkey, and the UK. Connectivity will be important to the recovery. Meaningful financial aid to airlines now makes economic sense. It will ensure that they are ready to provide job-supporting connectivity as economies re-open,” said de Juniac.

The Impact of Debt

The kind of aid provided will influence the speed and strength of the recovery. IATA urged governments still contemplating financial relief to focus on measures that help airlines raise equity financing. “Many airlines are still in desperate need of a financial lifeline. For those governments that have not yet acted, the message is that helping airlines raise equity levels with a focus on grants and subsidies will place them in a stronger position for the recovery,” said de Juniac.

“A tough future is ahead of us. Containing COVID-19 and surviving the financial shock is just the first hurdle. Post-pandemic control measures will make operations more costly. Fixed costs will have to be spread over fewer travelers. And investments will be needed to meet our environmental targets.  On top of all that, airlines will need to repay massively increased debts arising from the financial relief. After surviving the crisis, recovering to financial health will be the next challenge for many airlines,” said de Juniac.

Last week, the IATA Board of Governors committed to five key principles for the industry re-start.  Among these are commitments to the safety and security of staff and travelers, to meeting the industry’s environmental targets and to being a meaningful driver of the economic recovery with affordable connectivity. 

Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter conducts first successful firings of Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

Leonardo and Thales are proud to announce the first successful firings of the Thales ‘Martlet’ Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM) from Leonardo’s AW159 Wildcat helicopter. The firings were conducted as part of the UK MoD’s Future Anti-Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW) programme and demonstrated the integration of the Martlet onto the AW159 platform. This represents a major milestone for the programme and will enable this high-end capability to enter service with the Royal Navy later this year.

The firing trials were conducted from 27th April to 21st May 2020 and despite the current COVID-19 situation, Leonardo and Thales were able to support the UK Ministry of Defence by completing this critical activity. All of the teams involved had to adopt strict distancing procedures, in some cases having to find new ways of working, in order to make sure that the trials could go ahead. It is a testimony to the professionalism of those involved that these trials were successfully completed under such challenging and novel circumstances.

“This major milestone demonstrates that the combination of the AW159 Wildcat and Martlet missile will be a flexible and effective tool for the Royal Navy. Next year the Wildcat fleet will embark on Carrier Strike Group missions with HMS Queen Elizabeth on its maiden operational deployment. As the only British company to design and manufacture helicopters on-shore, we’re extremely proud to be equipping the UK Armed Forces with world-beating sovereign capabilities.” said Nick Whitney, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters (UK).

“The successful live firings of the Thales LMM Martlet from the AW159 Wildcat is a key milestone in the programme, delivering a significant step-change in capability for the platform. LMM Martlet will ensure that the Wildcat has the best-in-class offensive capability to protect HMS Queen Elizabeth and her task group during her maiden operational deployment next year. With each platform capable of carrying up to 20 Martlet, the Wildcats deployed with the task group will be a significant deterrent to anyone wishing to interfere with UK interests.” said Philip McBride, General Manager, Integrated Airspace-protection Systems, Thales UK.

In July 2014, Leonardo signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to integrate, test and install the MBDA Sea Venom (heavy) and Thales LMM (light) missile systems onto Royal Navy AW159 Wildcat helicopters, a programme called Future Anti Surface Guided Weapon (FASGW).

The FASGW (light) part of the programme has now seen the LMM, with its associated launcher and airborne laser guidance unit, successfully integrated into the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat sensor, displays and avionics systems. The LMM provides a step-change in capability for the Royal Navy which, in the maritime environment, faces a major challenge in engaging smaller, fast-moving, asymmetric threats, due to their high mobility, their small thermal and radar signatures and the severe background clutter encountered. The LMM is capable of surmounting these issues where traditional electro-optic and radar guidance systems do not provide the certainty of hit required.

On-board the AW159 Wildcat platform, the LMM Martlet could also allow operators to engage air targets such as UAVs and other maritime helicopters.

The launchers are mounted to the AW159 via the new Leonardo Weapon Wing, developed at the Company’s design and manufacturing facility in Yeovil and first trialled last year. Each weapon wing will be able to carry either ten Martlet or two Sea Venom missiles and generates additional lift for the helicopter in forward flight, reducing demands on the main rotor.

The twin-engine multi-role AW159 is able to conduct missions ranging from constabulary to high end warfighting where it has the capability to autonomously detect, identify and attack targets on land and at sea, including submarine threats. The high-performance platform has state-of-the-art systems, including a Leonardo Seaspray multi-mode electronically-scanning (E-scan) radar, and integrated electronic warfare Defensive Aids Suite (DAS).

Over 50,000 flight hours have been logged by the helicopter. The AW159 has also been chosen by the British Army, the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy as a new maritime operator of the helicopter.

Lockheed Martin Announces Proactive Measures to Mitigate COVID-19 Impacts to F-35 Production

F-35 Production Employees Will Temporarily Adjust Schedules to Sustain Aircraft Delivery

FORT WORTH, Texas, May 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In response to previously reported COVID-19 F-35 supplier delays, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) is taking proactive measures to mitigate impacts and position the program for the fastest possible recovery by adjusting work schedules, maintaining specialized employee skillsets, and accelerating payments to small and vulnerable suppliers, to continue meeting customer commitments.

Lockheed Martin Logo (PRNewsFoto/Lockheed Martin) (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)

Today Lockheed Martin and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) agreed to a temporary alternate work schedule for F-35 production line employees in Fort Worth to maintain their skilled workforce.

The new schedule, which will begin May 23, divides each shift into three groups. On a rotation, each group will work for two weeks and then will have a week off. During the adjusted three-week work schedule, employees who work 96 hours or more will be compensated an additional 24 hours for their off week while receiving full pay and benefits.

The alternate schedule allows Lockheed Martin to staff the production line to meet a slower workflow resulting from supplier delays. In addition, it provides a work rhythm that retains the expertise of the talented workforce and provides opportunities to adjust work to better support production.

“These are challenging times, but managing tough challenges is when the F-35 program performs at its best. The alternate work schedule maintains the specialized skillset of the employees and provides opportunities to for us to adjust our workflow to account for supplier delays due to COVID-19,” said Aeronautics Executive Vice President Michele Evans. “Our F-35 workforce is the best in the world at what they do, and we will continue to deliver on our customer’s mission.”

The temporary alternate work schedule agreement will continue for its first three-week cycle. The company will then evaluate business needs and can alter the schedule as needed with the option to discontinue as warranted or continue until Sept. 4. Lockheed Martin and the IAM have also agreed to allow employees to volunteer to be furloughed for 30 days where they maintain their benefits but forgo pay during this period.

Rolls-Royce Launches First-time Immersive Virtual Reality Training For Business Aviation Customers

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rolls-Royce continues to ensure world-class support for our global customer base. As part of our IntelligentEngine vision we are further expanding the use of immersive Virtual Reality technology for customer training.

The latest addition to the remote training programme is an instructor-led distance learning course, providing a comprehensive overview of the construction, design and operation of the Rolls-Royce BR725 engine that powers Gulfstream’s current flagship G650 business aircraft family. After completion of this comprehensive two-day training course, participants will be able to service the engine and undertake non-routine maintenance.

Gulfstream’s current flagship G650

Andy Robinson, SVP Customers and Services – Business Aviation, Rolls-Royce, said: “Rolls-Royce has been the leading engine supplier for business aircraft for more than two decades thanks to our continued commitment to the highest levels of service support. We are tremendously proud to have been voted number one in the latest Engine Product Support Services Survey of Aviation International News (AIN) by our operators.

Digitalisation plays a vital role in in bringing our IntelligentEngine vision to life; we use it to design, test and maintain our engines. This new immersive live Virtual Training tool is nothing short of a game-changer – it makes us the leader in technical training and allows customers to participate in the new training, wherever they are in the world. They just need an internet connection, and the required VR equipment, which will be shipped directly to their door,” Andy added.

Lee Bradshaw, Director of Technical Operations, Cox Aviation, said: “The new Virtual Reality maintenance course is a great example of the innovative thinking that is needed to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world. This programme allows each student to immerse themselves in an augmented environment full of realistic images, interactive functions and auditory feedback to delve deeper into the engine like never before. The course complements the industry-leading service already provided by Rolls-Royce and is another reminder of why this company is pioneering the way in creative solutions for the future.”

While not intended to completely replace practical training, Rolls-Royce see the value Virtual Reality adds for customers, such as higher flexibility and the elimination of the need to ship a full size training engine. The user finds themself as part of two realistic scenarios – the engine installed on the aircraft in a virtual hangar and the BR725 engine alone, just like it would be in our in-person training courses. The immersive environment allows them not only to watch the process steps to get familiar with the respective task, but to interact with the engine and the tools, and actually accomplish the task under the constant supervision of the instructor.

Where to enroll? https://rollsroycetraining.wufoo.com/forms/maj05r114g9sx7/

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

1.          Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.

2.         Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.

3.         Annual underlying revenue was £15.3 billion in 2019, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.

4.         In 2019, Rolls-Royce invested £1.45 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.

5.         The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.

Gulfstream G700 Development Accelerates

SAVANNAH, Georgia, May 8, 2020 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced the second and third all-new Gulfstream G700™ test aircraft have taken flight, further advancing toward certification and customer deliveries of the industry’s new flagship.

The second G700 flight-test aircraft had its first voyage on March 20, departing Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) and flying for 2 hours and 58 minutes. The aircraft reached an altitude of 45,000 feet/13,716 meters and a speed of Mach 0.85. Also departing from SAV, the third flight-test aircraft flew for the first time today, soaring over Savannah for 3 hours and 2 minutes. It also reached an altitude of 45,000 ft/13,716 m and a speed of Mach 0.85.

“The G700 flight-test program is running very well, a reflection of the extensive testing we conducted in our ground labs,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “All three flight-test aircraft are performing exactly as we expected them to, and that helps us ensure a safe and thorough certification of the highest performing, most spacious and technologically advanced aircraft in business aviation.”

The three flight-test aircraft have flown more than 100 hours since the program’s first flight on Feb. 14. The G700 has reached a maximum altitude of 54,000 ft/16,459 m and a maximum speed of Mach 0.94.

The current flight-test aircraft are being used for envelope expansion, flutter testing, flying qualities and flight control, as well as mechanical systems, flights into known icing and environmental control systems, among other tests.

The G700 features the longest, widest and tallest cabin in the industry with 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows and up to five living areas, along with an ultragalley with more than 10 feet of counter space and a crew compartment or passenger lounge; a master suite with shower; and the industry’s only ultrahigh-definition circadian lighting system.

The G700 is powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines and can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km. The G700 also includes the Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck™ with the industry’s only electronically linked active control sidesticks; the most extensive use of touch-screen technology in business aviation; and Gulfstream’s award-winning Predictive Landing Performance System.      

Leidos, Paramount USA, and Vertex Aerospace team up to pursue U.S. Special Operations Command Armed Overwatch prototype program

Home

(Reston, Va.) May 4, 2020 – Leidos (NYSE:LDOS), a FORTUNE® 500 science and technology leader, today announced a teaming agreement with Paramount Group USA and Vertex Aerospace to pursue a new contract to deliver the Bronco II, a new purpose-built, multi-mission aircraft. The aircraft will support the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Armed Overwatch program. 

This strategic relationship, with Leidos as the prime contractor and Paramount and Vertex as primary teammates, will combine decades of experience integrating, manufacturing, and delivering cutting-edge airborne solutions to the warfighter.

The Bronco II is a rugged, affordable, and sustainable multi-mission aircraft that will be manufactured in Crestview, Fla. The Leidos offering is built to meet the specific needs of U.S. Special Operations Command.

“Leidos has a long history as a premier provider of airborne solutions,” said Gerry Fasano, Leidos Defense Group president. “The Bronco II demonstrates our commitment to providing the best-of-breed in technology, as well as our agility in meeting the needs of our country’s national security missions. This offering will leverage each company’s expertise to deliver cost-effective innovations for the warfighter.”

“Our collaboration with Vertex and Leidos will present best of capabilities for what will undoubtedly be a critical program to enable U.S Air Force Special Operations Command to deal effectively with the challenges and rigors of modern day asymmetrical warfare,” said Steve Griessel, CEO of Paramount Group USA. “The Bronco II was designed specifically for asymmetrical warfare and will operate at a fraction of the procurement and lifecycle costs of an aircraft with similar mission applications and capabilities.”

“We are proud to team with Leidos and Paramount, as we share a commitment to deliver affordable state-of-the-art capabilities to combat the challenges posed by modern, multi-domain operations,” said Ed Boyington, Vertex Aerospace CEO and President. “With a long track record of delivering excellence to our customers, we look forward to producing and supporting the purpose-built Bronco II aircraft and weapons system as a transformational tool for our warfighters.”

Ahrlac formation at AAD 2018, AFB Waterkloof

Visit www.bronco-usa.com

About Paramount Group USA

Headquartered in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Paramount Group US Inc. is the U.S. entity of the Paramount Group, the global aerospace and technology company, providing fully integrated and turn-key air, maritime, and land solutions. Paramount Group USA is also the parent company of Paramount Aerospace Systems USA, its wholly-owned US subsidiary. Since its inception in 1994, Paramount Group has built strong relationships with governments in more than 30 countries around the world. It is a leading innovator in the design and development of state-of-the-art technologies that it manufactures in locations globally. Please visit paramountgroup.com/usa or follow us on Twitter.

About Vertex

Vertex Aerospace offers a global capability and complete solution for aftermarket aerospace services for government and commercial customers. The Company’s international presence and vast range of services has distinguished itself from competitors for over 45 years. The Mississippi-based company operates in over 100 locations worldwide and is proud to have a 50 percent veteran employee rate. Information about Vertex can be found at vtxaero.com.

About Leidos

Leidos is a Fortune 500® information technology, engineering, and science solutions and services leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in the defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and health markets. The company’s 36,000 employees support vital missions for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Reston, Va., Leidos reported annual revenues of approximately $11.09 billion for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2020. For more information, visit leidos.com.

Statements in this announcement, other than historical data and information, constitute forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause our actual results, performance, achievements, or industry results to be very different from the results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors set forth in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended January 3, 2020, and other such filings that Leidos makes with the SEC from time to time. Due to such uncertainties and risks, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof.

Preparing for a new digital normal: Rolls-Royce opens its Digital Academy for free training

Rolls-Royce is publishing, for free, its world-class digital skills training programme to help people and businesses around the world prepare for a potentially digital-centric recovery from COVID-19.

Bringing together its trusted training partners and platforms, the first suite of courses includes introductions to data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, coding and digital culture. Courses range from ‘bitesize’ 20-minute sessions to extended fully certified training programmes.

This release by Rolls-Royce follows its founding role in establishing the global Emergent Alliance, a voluntary group of technology companies and data science specialists working together to find new ways to accelerate and smooth the path to economic recovery as the pandemic passes.

The Rolls-Royce Digital Academy has trained 20,000 of our employees in the last two years as it assists our transformation into one of the world’s leading industrial technology companies – and these are the training courses that are helping make that change happen.

Head of the Digital Academy at Rolls-Royce, Manisha Mistry, said: “Many people and businesses are experiencing incredibly tough circumstances and these free training packages are a tangible way for us to offer some help. Many have been tried and tested by Rolls-Royce employees. They can help people prepare for work and businesses transform ready for a digital future, just like we’ve been doing at Rolls-Royce for the last couple of years.

“Whether you’re 8, 18 or 80 years-old, these training packages will help you during this disruptive period of isolation: whether you need to keep your kids occupied, need new skills for a future job or just want to learn more digital skills in anticipation of the future.”

Supporting partners for this open learning programme, and the tools they are offering are:

  • DataCamp – an opportunity to experience the top data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning courses used by Rolls-Royce employees
  • edX – Rolls-Royce’s own CPD-accredited digital skills fundamentals programme containing six key courses including data awareness, the power of data and agile mindset.
  • Google for Education – Google Applied Digital Skills helps teachers and students learn practical digital skills using the free project-based video curriculum. The ready-to-use video lessons teach digital skills that have immediate, real-life applications that provide students with the skills needed to succeed in the classroom and on the job, from researching to analysing data.
  • IBM – Machine Learning for Kids: it will soon be normal for machine learning systems to drive our cars and help our doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses. This course provides hands-on experience in an easy-to-use guided learning environment to the people who will be programming the machines of the future.
  • Learning Tree – Delivered by an award-winning industry leader, immerse in a suite of e-learning modules, white papers, skills assessments, live and recorded webinars on topics from agile to data analytics.
  • TeenTech – For students 11-19 years, there are weekly insights into world-class organisations and the opportunities that lie within them. Each session will be themed and hosted by sponsors and industry experts with Rolls-Royce leading an Innovation at Home day on 18th May. Students can ask questions, develop their own solutions to global challenges and learn more about different careers.
  • TechWeCan –free, easy to use and fun lesson plans for home schooling children (aged 10-13); children can learn about the opportunities a career in technology can offer; or join weekly Tech We Can Tuesday live lessons from 28th April at 10.30am; taking part in the City of Tomorrow challenge, where students apply their knowledge of science, technology, and engineering to create their City of Tomorrow where no ideas are too big, and everything is smarter, kinder, and safer than before.

People keen to learn will be able to access the courses from Friday 1 May through and https://www.rolls-royce.com/products-and-services/digital-academy.aspx

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.

Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.

Annual underlying revenue was £15.3 billion in 2019, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services.

In 2019, Rolls-Royce invested £1.45 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 29 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.

The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills.

Airbus develops solution for airlines to use their widebody aircraft for pure cargo operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Toulouse, 30 April 2020 – Airbus is developing a modification for A330 and A350 family aircraft which will enable airlines to install freight pallets directly onto the cabin floor seat tracks, after removal of the economy-class seats.

This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.

Compared with loading cargo onto seats, this Airbus solution facilitates easier and quicker loading and unloading operations, as well as reduced ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves. Other important benefits include the added security of robust fire protection, and the 9g load restraint capability to prevent anything from shifting in flight.

The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin (SB). Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering workscope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Its scope includes the removal of the seats & IFE (Inflight entertainment), installation of cargo pallets and associated safety equipment – and also the re-installation of the original passenger cabin elements for reverting back to passenger operations. The SB approach will also be valid beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alaska’s North Slope Borough Now Flies a PC-24 Air Ambulance

Operated by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department (SAR) in the northernmost region of the United States, the PC-24 provides basic medical care for 9,800 residents across a territory of 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometres). Outfitted with tandem LifePort™ AeroSled™ stretchers and five passenger seats, it is the fourth PC-24 to be delivered in a medevac configuration.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is located at 71 degrees north latitude. The average temperature in mid-January is –14 degrees Fahrenheit (–26 degrees Celsius) and the sun does not rise completely above the horizon until early February. This region, with its exceptionally harsh conditions, will be the new home for the Super Versatile Jet.

Multi-mission capability

The SAR Department is responsible for delivering basic medical care to all North Slope Borough residents. The team performs medevac operations, search and rescue and other emergency missions.

In addition to the PC-24, which replaces an older light jet, SAR currently operates two helicopters and a fixed wing turboprop aircraft. All are capable of day, night, visual or instrument meteorological flight conditions in a medevac context. Many flights are operated from snow and ice packed runways with paved, dirt, and gravel surfaces – conditions for which the PC-24 was specifically designed.

Unique characteristics

April Brooks, Director of North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, explained the reasons which motivated the choice of the PC-24: “The PC-24 is a gamechanger when it comes to fast, efficient transport of critical patients across vast distances in our extremely harsh environment. Its unique cargo door, large cabin and ability to safely operate from short, unpaved runways make it ideally suited to our needs.”

At the handover ceremony held at Pilatus’ US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado, North Slope Borough Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. said: “We are delighted we can now offer residents a new level of capability to enhance their safety and well-being. In this region, fast, efficient, high quality medical care is absolutely essential, and the PC-24 will enable us to fulfil every aspect of that commitment.”

Thomas Bosshard, CEO of the Pilatus subsidiary, presented the keys to Mayor Brower and commented: “We are proud of the role our PC-24 will play in supporting the residents of North Slope Borough and the SAR team in the execution of their missions. We are very pleased to see such high demand for the PC-24 as a medevac platform, in addition to its popularity as a business jet. This is exactly the type of versatility we envisioned when we began designing the PC-24 – and now it is a reality.”

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