Left Shadow
Right Shadow

Hangars and Other Steel Buildings

AOPA members get a 10% discount towards the purchase of a new HANGAR (excludes specials page on website). Aviators prefer Worldwide Steel Hangars because they stand tall in all weather conditions. Imitators cannot match our quality, our state-of-the-art designs, or our dedication to the aircraft industry. Visit the AOPA Lifestyles website to see this deal.

NBAA Identifies Top Safety Focus Areas for 2018


Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, dhubbard@nbaa.org

Washington, DC, Feb. 16, 2018 ­– The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today released its annual list of Top Safety Focus Areas, topics identified by the NBAA Safety Committee as primary risk-mitigation targets for all business aircraft operators.

The 2018 NBAA Top Safety Focus Areas are: 

  • Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I)
  • Runway Excursions
  • Single-Pilot Operation Safety
  • Procedural Compliance
  • Ground Handling and Taxi Incidents
  • Distraction Management
  • Scenario- and Risk-Based Training and Checking
  • Positive Safety Culture Promotion
  • Inflight Aircraft Collision Risk
  • Workforce Competency and Staffing
  • Safety Data Sharing and Utilization

“The identified focus areas represent the most critical safety-related risks facing business aircraft operators in 2018,” said David Ryan, chairman of NBAA’s Safety Committee. "This list is the result of spirited collaboration between the dedicated men and women on the Safety Committee, who are committed to not only identifying potential hazards, but also through working with regulators, member companies and other industry stakeholders, to provide the business aviation community with the most effective mitigation tools and strategies.”

The Safety Committee’s goal is to promote safety-focused discussion and advocacy throughout business aviation, as well as to help NBAA prioritize how it should focus its safety-enhancement efforts.

Each year, during its annual risk-assessment meeting, the committee reviews safety survey results; risk-based safety data; and qualitative input from industry and regulatory partners, other NBAA committees and association members. Following this data-driven review, committee members deliberate and develop a list of safety focus areas for the year.

“NBAA relies on the expertise of its Safety Committee to guide our safety-related programming and resources throughout the year,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “Business aviation safety is a cooperative, ongoing effort that demands a daily commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, and the committee’s vital work has continually proven to be an asset in this pursuit.”

In addition to the 2018 list, the Safety Committee continues to promote and focus on its five “foundations of safety,” considered the heart of the committee’s messaging. They are: 

  • Professionalism
  • Safety Leadership
  • Technical Excellence
  • Risk Management
  • Fitness for Duty 

“These core values – the foundational elements of an effective safety operation – form the basis of our committee’s work,” said Ryan. “We encourage all business aircraft operators to adopt these tenets as part of their organizational culture.”

For more information: 


Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The association represents more than 11,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

MDA Advances Missile-Hunting UAV Programs

James Drew

As the U.S.'s adversaries field more complex and deceptive missiles, high-flying UAVs armed with advanced sensors and laser weapons could hold the key to defeating them.

Instead of using Boeing 747 airliners to shoot down missiles with chemical lasers, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) proposes employing high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs carrying modern diode-pumped alkali or beam-combining fiber lasers.

The agency has also proposed an upgrade kit for the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-9 Reaper that would allow the remotely piloted aircraft to detect and track missile threats as an airborne complement to ground-based missile defense radars.

The U.S. has spent hundreds of billions of dollars over decades developing exquisite radars, interceptors and exoatmospheric kill vehicles to take out traditional ballistic missiles. But North Korea and Iran's pursuit of decoys, penetration aids and defensive countermeasures for their missile forces, as well as Russia and China's introduction of more advanced hypersonic airbreathing and boost-glide vehicles, is undermining America's investments.

To counter these evolving threats, over the next five years, MDA proposes spending about $780 million to ramp up experimentation with droneborne sensors and laser weapons technologies. This level of funding pales in comparison to investments in next-generation radars, interceptors and kill vehicles, but it will validate new operational concepts for UAVs that could be rapidly fielded through partnerships with the military services, particularly the U.S. Air Force.

Today, the U.S. has very few options for taking out missiles in the boost phase, when they are moving slowest, hottest, and have not yet deployed defensive aids. But the YAL-1 Airborne Laser program in 2010 proved without a doubt that directed energy can efficiently and effectively shoot them down. Using a massive megawatt-class chemical laser, the 747 successfully intercepted multiple Scuds.

Although the flying laser testbed was canceled in 2011, MDA's interest in lasers for missile defense never really went away, it just transitioned to new types of lasers based on high-altitude unmanned platforms.

"The 747 Airborne Laser wasn't a waste of money at all; it advanced some optics and beam-control capabilities that make the current program possible today," says Thomas Karako of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "We'd be further along today if that program had been prudently adjusted rather than canceled. We lost years."

Karako says the 747 had obvious operational limitations, but he encourages MDA to "stay the course" with its transition to unmanned platforms and solid-state laser weapons, and not get distracted by "every shiny object." He says putting new types of sensors on UAVs and space-based platforms will also help fill the U.S. government's "midcourse gap" in the birth-to-death tracking of missile threats.

MDA has access to three contractor-owned and operated General Atomics MQ-9s for its missile-tracking sensor experiments: two Block 1s and one Block 5 "Big Wing." Credit: Missile Defense Agency 

On Feb. 12, MDA Operations Director Gary Pennett confirmed during the agency's fiscal 2019 budget rollout that interest in high-altitude UAVs for finding, fixing and defeating missiles remains high, and funding has been earmarked for continued experimentation.

He says MDA is moving forward with preparations for a droneborne laser experiment, with flight-testing expected to get underway in the 2022-23 time frame.

The agency's budget line for "technology maturation initiatives" supports two main UAV-based efforts, one for scaling up lasers and another for discriminating sensors.

Pennett says $149 million has been requested for these efforts in 2019, of which $61 million advances the agency's Low-Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) program and $79 million funds Discrimination Sensor Demonstrator Development.

LPLD carries forward the work pioneered by the YAL-1 program, except on a high-altitude unmanned aircraft, although the government has not ruled out using a manned surrogate. If fielded, the platform would certainly be remotely operated to increase loiter time and reduce the cost of maintaining 24/7 orbits.

Last year, MDA awarded contracts to Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics to develop competing proposals. Later this year, the agency will select one of those proposals to carry forward into initial design. By next year, MDA expects to have a system-level blueprint ready for construction.

MDA has been working with two federally funded research laboratories on high-power laser architectures that could be scaled up to defeat missiles. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has been developing a next-generation diode-pumped alkali laser, while MIT Lincoln Laboratory works on a beam-combining fiber laser.

According to the agency's budget documents, flight-testing of the preferred high-altitude drone is set to begin in 2022. Flight experiments would take place in 2023, starting with target-acquisition and tracking-discrimination trials, followed by beam-control-and-stability and eventually high-power laser testing. MDA has earmarked $331 million for these laser experiments through 2023.

We have some idea about the performance specifications of the high-altitude test platform, thanks to a request for information issued last June. The testbed aircraft must fly above 63,000 ft. with an endurance of at least 36 hr. at cruise speeds of about Mach 0.45. It must have a payload capacity of between 5,000 lb. to 12,500 lb., produce 140-280 kW of power, and support an optical sensor measuring 3.3-6.6 ft. (1-2 m).

Pennett says MDA would not buy its own fleet of laser drones, but instead partner with the military services because its drones are test assets.

For sensor development, the agency has budgeted $407 million through fiscal 2023, which funds ground, airborne and space-based testing of "tracking lasers, advanced detectors, infrared sensors, and precision tracking and discrimination algorithms."

For these experiments, the agency has access to three General Atomics aircraft: Two Block 1 MQ-9s and one extended-range Block 5 MQ-9 "Big Wing" UAVs. The aircraft are contractor-owned and operated, with the most noticeable modifications being forward-looking Raytheon Multispectral Targeting Systems (MTS). While past experiments have used two MQ-9s to stereoscopically detect targets, the agency is upgrading the latest MTS-C sensor turret, which incorporates a tracking laser for single aircraft missions.

These medium-altitude aircraft, when linked into the wider ballistic missile defense architecture, would be valuable airborne sensors that could track conventional as well as maneuvering hypersonic threats, according to MDA.

"MDA is partnering with the services to develop concepts for the cost-effective integration of the sensor technology into limited-fielding upgrade kits," the budget documents state. "These kits could be installed on MQ-9 aircraft deployed in-theater to add missile defense capabilities on short notice."

A contracting notice issued in September say MDA has been discussing with the U.S. Pacific Air Forces the possibility of deploying these MQ-9s to Japan's Kadena Air Base "or an alternate remote deployment location." However, probably due to regional sensitivities, Pennett says the budget does not support a deployment to Japan. Agency documents show significant flight-testing with the MQ-9s taking place in the fiscal 2021 and 2022 time frame, including a "launch-on-remote" test where an interceptor will be fired at a target based on targeting information from the drone's new sensors.

Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, says the fiscal 2029 budget submission does not hugely ramp up investment in these airborne sensor and laser programs, but he expects greater investment to come in the 2020 budget plan.

"They need to put their best people on this technology and advocate for more investment to fully develop and test it," Ellison says. "It is the most challenging of all of the missile defenses we are developing. It needs to be on the scale of their Redesigned Kill Vehicle and Multi-Object Kill Vehicle investment."

Power Troubles Hinder Airbus Production Buildup Plan

Jens Flottau and Guy Norris

If Airbus CEO Tom Enders could have his way, the direction would be clear: Increase single-aisle production to 70 aircraft per month. That is a "no-brainer" to him from a demand point of view. "We could even go higher," he says.

For the short-term, that is wishful thinking, though. Airbus just halted deliveries of A320neo-family aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines after a recent spate of in-service problems. And the alternative supplier, CFM International, is so behind on deliveries that Enders personally brought the matter to the attention of leadership of CFM International joint-venture partners General Electric (GE) and Safran.

However, relief may be at hand, if the promised fixes materialize as planned. Pratt has assured Airbus that it can deliver a modified PW1100G in April, which would likely enable Airbus to resume deliveries of the variant to customers in the subsequent weeks.

The root cause of the problem has been identified, Pratt has told Airbus, and the engine maker is due to present a mitigation plan to airworthiness authorities by Feb. 16.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and subsequently the FAA, issued emergency airworthiness directives grounding all aircraft that have two engines installed with a modified knife-edge seal on the high-pressure compressor aft hub. Aircraft with one of the so-modified engines can no longer operate extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) flights.

The measures follow two recent in-flight shutdowns (IFSD) and two rejected takeoffs tied to the new problems. In each incident, an engine experienced high rotor vibration and a stall. All four engines showed similar damage: fractured high-pressure compressor rear hub knife-edge seals.

"We are issuing this [airworthiness directive] to address a high-pressure compressor (HPC) rear hub knife-edge seal fracture, which could lead to a sudden increase in high rotor vibration and stall in certain PW1100G engines, and consequent IFSDs or rejected takeoffs," the FAA writes. The EASA directive stated the risk of dual inflight engine failure.

Pratt says an engineering change was made in mid-2017 to improve durability and introduced into revenue service on customer aircraft in December. But in late January and early February, "four of these modified engines did not perform as anticipated," Pratt concedes. According to Pratt, 43 of the modified engines are on in-service aircraft, while a further 55 have been delivered to the Airbus final assembly lines.

The company is "working to assess an overall industrial and delivery plan to minimize customer disruption," Pratt says. However, the plan depends on regulatory authorities' approval of the proposed solution. The 43 engines are installed on 32 aircraft, 11 of which have to be grounded after three more sectors, according to EASA. Twenty-one have only one of the affected engines installed.

Airbus says it has stopped taking more PW1100G engines from the manufacturer, pending a technical fix. It can also no longer deliver new Pratt-powered A320neo-family aircraft to customers until the fix has been implemented. Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo grounded three of its A320neos following the EASA order. With 32 aircraft in its fleet, IndiGo is the biggest A320neo airline customer, followed by Air Asia with 23. Lessor AerCap has taken 35 aircraft so far. Airbus has delivered a total of 233 A320neos and 21 A321neos.

Enders emphasizes that the latest issue means "more work, stress and strain and more disruptions for our customers." However, he cautions that the impact on 2018 Airbus deliveries is not clear yet and may be less significant than many expect. "Look at what our teams have done in the past year," he says, referring to earlier changes to the engine and the following recovery effort. "Of course, we need engines, but I am confident our partners will not let us down."

The Airbus CEO also makes clear that Pratt is "not alone" in causing delays: "CFM is behind in [engine] deliveries to us, and that is something that needs to be corrected." But he adds that he has "commitment from the top leadership at GE and Safran that they will do everything they can to fix this."

Airbus expects to deliver around 600 single-aisle aircraft in 2018, 400 of which are planned to be A320neos and A321neos. The 400 aircraft are split roughly evenly between the CFM- and the Pratt-powered variants.

For Pratt & Whitney, the knife-seal issue emerges just as it is resolving the longer-term reliability problems with the No. 3 bearing seal and combustor that have dogged the engine program since 2015. Revealing details of what it believes will provide the final fix to these long-running issues, Pratt says all new engines are now being delivered with the revised configuration, and the changes are being implemented in both PW1100G A320neo engines and PW1500G powerplants on Bombardier's C Series aircraft as they come back in for overhaul and modification.

Airbus is urgently awaiting another modification to Pratt's PW1100G engines for deliveries to resume in May. Credit: H. Gousse/Airbus

The chief change to the bearing housing is a switch from the liftoff seal used in the original design to a dry-runningface seal that becomes the standard configuration. The dry-running face seal consists of a rotating mating ring made from a carbide material and a carbon-graphite stationary ring. The faces are flat and held tightly together using magnets or springs to prevent oil leaking through, despite the high revolutions. The liftoff seal, on the other hand, incorporates grooves and wedges to channel a thin film of air between the sliding sealing faces, which creates aerodynamic lift.

"We originally went with a liftoff seal because we thought it would be more durable over time. It turns out the problem we discovered was that the software was misreading the altitude, so the bellows were not putting enough pressure on the carbon seal to create that air bubble. Sometimes it was putting too much pressure, which was causing the carbon flakes to go into the oil side," a Pratt spokeswoman says. The resulting gap between the carbon air seal and associated seal plate allowed traces of metal particles to enter the oil system and trigger chip-detector warnings.

Pratt paved the way to the final fix by introducing an interim upgrade package in May 2017 that included the addition of a venturi tube to reduce the air pressure directed at the bearing compartment as well as associated modifications to the electronic engine control software to restrict the airflow. The tube was external to the compartment itself but integral to the carbon seal package. 

"The improvement package performed better than we had hoped, except for engines that had higher time on them, which had to be reprioritized for overhaul," Pratt says. The liftoff seal and the improvement package "bought us time to work out whether we needed to develop a permanent fix to the liftoff seal or go to a standard brush seal or dry-face design," Pratt adds. "We decided to go with a dry-face design, and that's now part of the standard bill of material."

The revised combustor configuration is designed to address the durability problems that led to a rash of premature engine removals by two Indian-based A320neo operators, GoAir and IndiGo. "We have roughly doubled the number of air cooling holes and configured the density of the holes to the lower left of intake/outtake valve. We essentially had the density in the wrong place originally," the engine maker says. 

The revised design is expected to increase durability by a factor of five over the baseline. Although the interim fix fielded in 2017 appears to be adequate for non-harsh environments, the revised combustor design will now be standard to cope with operations in areas such as China, India and the Middle East. All the upgrades have been introduced to production engines and will be woven into engines coming through for overhaul.

Pratt meanwhile says it remains on track to almost double production in 2018 compared to the 374 engines made last year. "Our facilities are ramping up for new production as well as overhaul capability, which last year we matured faster than we had expected," the company says, noting it expects to be under significant pressure throughout the year. "There is still a population of engines that will have to go through overhaul again because they are operating with the improvement package on the No.3 bearing and/or the combustor," Pratt notes. 


High-speed Weapons And Autonomy Boosted in 2019 DARPA Budget Request

Graham Warwick

New hypersonic, unmanned and small-satellite launch projects are included in a DARPA budget request that seeks $3.44 billion for defense advanced research in fiscal 2019, an increase of 8.5% over the previous year.

The request also notes significant changes to the research agency's existing hypersonics programs as the Pentagon ramps up interest in high-speed weapons.

With $50 million requested in 2019, up from an initial $6 million in 2018, Operational Fires (OpFires) will demonstrate "a ground-launched system enabling hypersonic boost-glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly and precisely engage critical time-sensitive targets," DARPA says.

The program aims to develop an advanced booster able to deliver different payloads to different ranges and mobile ground launch platforms that can be rapidly deployed and will integrate with existing ground forces. The program is planned to culminate in end-to-end flight tests.

OpFires will leverage the ongoing DARPA/U.S. Air Force Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program to demonstrate an unpowered hypersonic weapon that can be air-launched from existing platforms.

Lockheed Martin is under contract to conduct the first TBG flight test in fiscal 2019, but the new budget increases funding to $139 million, from $37.6 million in 2018, adds a second contractor and begins development of a variant of the weapon for vertical launch from U.S. Navy warships.

The DARPA/Air Force Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) air-launched cruise missile also is scheduled to enter flight-testing in fiscal 2019, with both Lockheed and Raytheon under contract to develop demonstrator vehicles.

Funding requested for HAWC by DARPA decreases in 2019, to $14.3 million, but this reflects an increase in Air Force funding, budget documents note. The hydrocarbon-fueled, scramjet-powered missile is a successor to the X-51A hypersonic engine demonstrator flown in 2010-13.

Increased fiscal 2019 funding is sought for the Advanced Full Range Engine program to ground-test a turbine-based combined-cycle propulsion (TBCC) system that could power reusable hypersonic air vehicles from takeoff to beyond Mach 5 and back to a runway landing.

Boeing is developing the Phantom Express reusable spaceplane for DARPA's XSP program. Credit: DARPA/Boeing 

DARPA is seeking $53 million in 2019 as the program moves into ground demonstration of the mode transition between an off-the-shelf turbine engine and a dual-mode ramjet/scramjet. Both Aerojet Rocketdyne (with Lockheed) and Orbital ATK (with Boeing) are under contract to demo TBCC systems.

Aircraft and Vehicle Integrated Team (Aviate) is a new program for 2019 to demonstrate an advanced unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that is an organic extension of tactical ground vehicles, able to autonomously land, attach, stow, detach and take off from the vehicle without exposing the crew.

The agency is requesting $5.9 million in 2019 to begin Aviate, which closely echoes DARPA's Organic Air Vehicle program of the early 2000s. That program sought to develop a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) UAS that was to be an integral part of the Army's abortive Future Combat Systems family of armored vehicles.

Several of DARPA's larger unmanned systems programs are set to culminate in 2019. Flight-testing of the Aurora Flight Sciences XV-24A LightningStrike distributed hybrid-electric high-speed VTOL demonstrator is set to begin in fiscal 2019, and the funding sought drops to $4 million from $14.7 million in 2018.

Flight-testing of the Northrop Grumman-developed Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN) ship-based medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) VTOL UAS is planned for 2018. TERN is a joint effort with the Office of Naval Research, and the Navy requests funding in 2019 to establish a MALE (TERN) project unit "to further mature and assess the technology . . . in a ship-based environment."

Responsive Access for Space Resilience (RASR) is a new program for 2019 targeting the launch of satellites weighing less than 660 lb. RASR, also called the DARPA Launch Challenge, will "reward competitors who can demonstrate the ability to launch a payload to orbit with minimal notification time and unknown preconditions regarding the payload configuration, required orbit and launch site."

The fiscal 2019 budget request continues funding for DARPA's major responsive space launch program, the Experimental Spaceplane One (XSP). This is an autonomous, reusable, aircraft-like first stage being developed by Boeing as the Phantom Express. The $62 million sought in 2019 is about the same as in 2018 and will begin the integration and test of the XSP flight and ground systems. 


Pilot Insurance

Does your Life Insurance Company Really Understand Pilots? — Most life agents don't understand aviation life insurance underwriting. Forget the frustration of getting the wrong quote for pilot life insurance. A Pilot Insurance Center advisors will find you complete life insurance coverage that is properly underwritten at a great price. (800) 380-8376 or www.piclife.com

FRASCA Launches New Helicopter Training Device

January 24, 2018, Urbana, IL. Frasca International has launched a new, lower priced Helicopter Training Device (HTD).  The HTD™ is designed for helicopter air ambulance providers, airborne law enforcement, introductory turbine transition training, and ab-initio flight schools. Frasca will display the HTD™ at their booth (N3909) at Heli-Expo, February 27-March 1 in Las Vegas.

Frasca, a flight simulator manufacturer well known for their high fidelity flight training devices (FTDs) and full flight simulators (FFSs), developed the HTD™ in response to customer demand for a helicopter training device that had a lower price point but still delivered the features required to meet their training objectives.

The Frasca HTD™ comes standard with one aircraft configuration kit (B206, B407, R44, AS350), Garmin G500H or analog instrument panel, Garmin GTN 650, Collective grip based on aircraft configuration kit (governed or ungoverned piston, modulated, or FADEC), annunciator Panel and Circuit Breakers required in RFM procedures, Frasca’s Helicopter Mission Training Database, Single Channel Visual System, Frasca's Simplicity™ Touch-Screen Instructor Station (IOS) and will be AATD qualified.

Additional aircraft kits can be purchased to add training value, and optional features include:

  • Garmin GTN750
  • Simulated HeliSAS
  • 3 channel visual display system
  • Trailer for mobility or self-contained facility
  • Custom Databases

Frasca designed the HTD™ for IIMC - inadvertant IMC encounters as well as operational and procedural training. The HTD was engineered using aerodynamic technology filtered down from the FFSs and FTDs Frasca is known for, with the goal of providing training value with a no-nonsense approach.  

The first launch customer for the Frasca HTD™ is Air Evac Lifeteam, who took delivery of seven B206 HTDs earlier this year. Six of the devices are housed in trailers for the option of mobile training.

For details on how Air Evac Lifeteam will be using their Frasca HTDs, visit  http://www.frasca.com/air-evac-training-with-frasca/

About FRASCA International:
Frasca International, Urbana, Illinois, USA, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of Flight Simulators, Flight Training Devices and Simulation components. Frasca has a proven reputation for delivering high quality simulation equipment and leads the industry in simulation technology such as aerodynamics simulation, flight test, data acquisition, visual systems, NVG simulation, control loading, motion systems, motion cueing, manufacturing & fabrication, electronics design and more. Since its founding in 1958, over 2700 Frasca simulators have been delivered worldwide. Frasca is ISO: 9001: 2008 certified. 

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.frasca.com or contact Peggy Prichard at pprichard@frasca.com.

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics Earns Gold Military Status, Among Top 20% in US

Veterans Training Programs,

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics has announced that it has earned Gold Award status, a designation awarded to schools that score within the top 20% of the nation’s Top Military Friendly Schools.

With a mission of making life better for veterans and their spouses by setting the standard for higher education institutions to provide positive opportunities, Victory Media, has released the 2018 Military Friendly® Schools list. Now in its 16th year, the Military Friendly® Schools list provides a comprehensive guide for veterans and their families using data sources from federal agencies, veteran students and proprietary survey information from participating organizations.

“It is both our honor and our obligation to help American soldiers acquire career-relevant skills and, in some cases, transition to civilian life. We are proud of our military friendly exclusively because it reflects our dedication to those who have served us in the defense of democracy and the freedoms we enjoy,” said Suzanne Markle, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey completed by the school. For the first time, student survey data was taken into consideration for the designation

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Victory Media with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

Victory Media’s Chief Product Officer Daniel Nichols stated, “Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to colleges creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to invest in programs to provide educational outcomes that are better for veterans.”

According to Boeing’s 2016 Current Market Outlook, the aviation industry will require more than 118,000 maintenance technicians by 2035 in North America. According to PIA Career Services officials, employers are seeking A&P mechanics with strong soft skills, leadership qualities and dependability - all skills required to grow and advance within a company. 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a median salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians at $60,270 (medians are not reflective of starting salaries).

Since 1929, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics campus has been training certified and work-ready aviation maintenance technicians in high demand with programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology and Aviation Electronics. PIA’s flagship program, the Aviation Maintenance Technology program, has been providing quality aircraft mechanics for over 85 years. This program provides students with the opportunity to test for the prestigious FAA’s Airframe and Powerplant Certification, the “golden ticket” to a career in aviation maintenance.


The school was opened by Glenn Curtiss and Orville Wright in 1927 as Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, and became PIA in 1929. Today, PIA is a non-profit, career-focused family of schools offering programs in Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Electronics.

The instructional staff combine real-world experience with classroom instruction, and a wide range of student and graduate services.  PIA’s Career Services team works individually with each student to reach their employment goals. PIA is often the first stop for many employers looking for quality employees. PIA offers an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree at its West Mifflin, PA, location and Diploma programs in Youngstown, OH, Hagerstown, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC. 

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics was recognized among the top schools fighting the nation’s skills gap in a list published in 2017 by Forbes. The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics lands as the No. 11 Two-Year Trade School in the U.S. and is the top school on the list for technical trades. 

Niche rankings place Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in the #8 position among 619 trade schools in the United States for 2017 and #2 of 23 in Pennsylvania. Niche rankings are based on rigorous analysis of data and reviews. Additionally, in 2017, Zippia placed PIA among the top 10 best U.S. junior colleges for jobs based on a variety of score card data including emphasis on job placement results. 

PIA’s campuses in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Hagerstown and Myrtle Beach have been selected as four of approximately 40 aircraft maintenance schools to partner with D

AOPA Announces 2018 Scholarship Programs

FREDERICK, MD, – The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has announced three scholarship programs offering more than $130,000 in available funds. Applications will be accepted starting Feb. 1 to help student pilots in training earn their initial pilot certificate, and a new scholarship program to help certificated pilots achieve an advanced certificate or rating.

The application deadline is May 2, 2018 for the scholarship programs, all funded by generous donations to the AOPA Foundation.

The AOPA You Can Fly High School Scholarship program, in its third year, will award 20 scholarships of $5,000 each to provide current high school students age 15 to 18 with funds that can be used to pay for an initial pilot certificate, including a sport pilot certificate, private pilot certificate, or recreational pilot certificate. You Can Fly is AOPA's initative to support and build the general aviation pilot population. 

The winners will be announced in early June, said Cindy Hasselbring, AOPA senior director of the You Can Fly High School Aviation Initiative. For more information about the scholarships, eligibility requirements, or to apply online, visit the AOPA You Can Fly website.

In addition, applications are now being accepted for the AOPA Foundation’s Primary Certification Scholarships. The Foundation's Flight Training Scholarship program began in 2011, and in 2018 will issue multiple grants of from $2,500 to $7,500. Funds awarded can be applied to training for an initial pilot certificate including a sport pilot certificate; private pilot certificate; or recreational pilot certificate. To be eligible for an award, an applicant must be age 16 or older, and must be an AOPA member.

New for 2018, the AOPA Foundation Advanced Rating Scholarships will provide multiple scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $10,000. Winners can use the awards to help fund training for an instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate, instrument flight instructor certificate, or multiengine flight instructor certificate. AOPA membership is required to be eligible for an AOPA Foundation Advanced Rating Scholarship. Age requirements will vary depending on the certificate or rating sought. For more information or to apply online, visit the AOPA Foundation website.

"I find it so rewarding to see so many people chipping in to help others experience the joy of flight," said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. "These generous scholarships will change people's lives. Kids who dream of learning to fly can now go do it thanks to our donors. Adults wanting to advance their skills now have a financial path forward. All of general aviation should be greateful to the donors who make this possible." 

Read AOPA's story.

Rolls-Royce today launched its pioneering IntelligentEngine vision at the Singapore Airshow.

With more people flying than ever before and an increasing demand for more efficient travel, Rolls-Royce has defined a vision for the future of aircraft power that will help deliver passengers more reliably and more efficiently than ever before.

The IntelligentEngine vision is based on a belief that the worlds of product and service have become so closely connected that they are now inseparable. This trend was first identified when Rolls-Royce introduced the market-defining TotalCare® service in the 1990s and, since then, advancements in digital capability have accelerated this change and further blurred the boundary between the two.

The coming together of product and service, supercharged by digital technology, offers Rolls-Royce a wealth of opportunities to improve the way it provides power to its customers.

In addition to designing, testing, and maintaining engines in the digital realm, the IntelligentEngine vision sets out a future where an engine will be increasingly connected, contextually aware and comprehending, helping to deliver greater reliability and efficiency:

  • Connected – with other engines, its support ecosystem, and with its customer, allowing for regular, two-way flow of information between many parties
  • Contextually aware – of its operating context, constraints and the needs of the customer, allowing it to respond to the environment around it without human intervention
  • Comprehending – learning from its own experiences and from its network of peers to adjust its behaviour and achieve best performance

Dominic Horwood, Rolls-Royce, Director, Customer and Services – Civil Aerospace, said: “We are determined to pioneer the power that matters for our customers and our IntelligentEngine vision will allow us to do this.

“We have the right people, the right skills and the right infrastructure to grasp this opportunity and deliver world-beating digital insight, helping us to deliver even greater value for our customers.”

The IntelligentEngine vision enables Rolls-Royce to find new ways of pioneering power, whether that is through its engines installed today, through its future UltraFan® engine design, or even through the hybrid-electric concepts of the future.