General News

Universal Weather and Aviation has acquired the inflight catering and concierge services formerly operated by Air Chef Holdings. Air Chef is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal. The company operates 13 kitchens in the US, plus 1 in London and 1 in Paris. Its CaterLink World­wide system provides catering and concierge service at more than 800 airports internationally.

A Brazilian judge has sentenced 2 American pilots to 40 months of community service for their roles in an accident that killed 154 people. At the same time, he acquitted an air traffic controller he said was primarily responsible for the crash, but was too ill trained to be considered culpable.

The case stemmed from the Oct 2006 collision of a Gol Linhas Aéreas Boeing 737-800 and an Embraer Legacy 600 being ferried to its new owners in Miami. The Legacy limped to the nearest airport, but the 737 crashed in the Amazon jungle, killing all on board.

The US pilots were convicted of failing to notice that the aircraft's TCAS system had been inhibited but were acquitted on 5 other charges. The exonerated air traffic controller had failed his controller's exams 4 times but, despite this, was pressed into service by the military unit that runs Brazil's ATC system.

A second controller was convicted of criminal negligence for mismanaging communications. He was sentenced to 40 months of community service and stripped of his license. The US pilots have appealed their convictions.

With heavy Olympic traffic expected this summer, OXF (Oxford, England) will soon install a Thalès solid state STAR 2000 primary radar system and Eurocat-C radar display system. The Mode S and MSSR surveillance radar system will enable more efficient transits through local airspace and increase throughput of IFR flight activity. The $7.3-million addition should also make it easier for pilots to see large wind turbines, which have been proliferating around southeast England.


Cessna has tapped Aircell's Aviator 300 system to provide inflight passenger communications and Web connectivity. Passengers and crew can place and receive voice calls using cabin handsets, send and receive e-mails with attachments, and link to the Internet using Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, smartphones and electronic flight bags.

Satellite communications provider Guardian Mobility is buying Alakai Technologies, maker of flight data monitoring (FDM) and engine trend monitoring systems. Combining the 2 firms' technologies will allow Guard­ian to add satellite tracking, communications and automated logs to the Alakai FDM systems.

Rockwell Collins has added regional trip support for the European Union to its Ascend flight information products. The upgrade gives European flight departments access to a wide variety of flight ops applications and services. Among other functions, the Ascend flight information system provides flight planning and filing, runway analysis, weight and balance, worldwide weather, maintenance diagnostics.


Northrop Grumman has debuted a pilot-optional spyplane called the Firebird. It can reportedly eavesdrop on phone conversations and shoot live video footage from altitudes above FL300. With a top speed of 230 mph and endurance up to 40 hrs, the prop-driven aircraft is the first to operate with or without a human pilot onboard. It was one of the last projects overseen by Burt Rutan before he retired from Scaled Composites.

John Deere, based at MLI (Moline IL), has ordered 2 new Cessna Citation Tens. They are scheduled for delivery in 4Q2013 and 4Q2014.

Charter & management

Charter service TWC Aviation and its sister company, ACM Aviation Services, have added 5 new aircraft to their fleet. They consist of a Gulfstream G550, a GV, a Falcon 2000LX, a Falcon 900 and a Citation XLS. The companies now have more than 60 aircraft at 20-plus locations.

Grossman Jet Service, an executive jet operator based in Prague, Czech Republic, plans to move its 6-seat Cessna Citation II to the south of France. The plane and its support crew will be based at CEQ (Cannes, France) and will also operate from OLB (Olbia, Italy). This service is intended to meet growing demand for trips to the Mediterranean region, according to CEO Dagmar Grossman. The aircraft's 1200-nm range will allow direct flights from CEQ to London, Casablanca, Istanbul or Kiev.


Gulfstream Aerospace has announced that more than 300—301, in fact—of its employees have been named FlightSafety Intl master technicians. According to Gulfstream, this is the most of any OEM, and includes at least one in every service center.


CAE, the global pilot training network, will double the number of its locations catering to bizjet pilots from 4 to 8 over the next 24 months. The company currently operates training facilities for professional pilots at Dallas/Fort Worth TX, Morristown NJ, Burgess Hill, England, and Dubai, UAE. New facilities will be added in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Toluca, Mexico, São Paulo SP, Brazil, and a yet-to-be-announced location in Asia. The Mexico City-Toluca center will house simulators for the Bombardier Learjet 45 and the Bell 412. It will be CAE's first business jet training center in Mexico. The São Paulo location will specialize in the Embraer Phenom 100 and 300.

FlightSafety Intl (FSI) has become the first company to receive a Das­sault Authorized Training Provider certificate. FSI provides Falcon training at its centers in Col­umbus OH, Dallas/Fort Worth TX, Wilmington DE, Teterboro NJ and LBG (le Bourget, Paris, France). Its program covers the Falcon 10/100, 20/20-5/200, Falcon 50 and 50 EX, as well as all models of Falcon 900, 2000 and 7X. The Das­sault Authorized Training Provider program is part of the company's effort to ensure that training received by Falcon Jet operators conforms to the Falcon training policy manual.


Banyan Air Services at FXE (Exec, Fort Lauderdale FL), has signed Andrea Bahr as customer support manager. Bahr has 10 years of experience in customer service at other FBOs in Florida.

Stéphane Mayer, who joined Daher Group as CEO of Daher-Socata last September, has been appointed CEO as well. He replaces Francois Lépinoy, who has moved to the Air Caraïbes Group, where he becomes president of the executive board.

Flavia Ribas has become vp operations for Colt Intl's South American operations. She had spent more than 10 years with Líder Aviaҫão of Brazil, where she had worked in flight dispatch, international flight support, VIP trip handling, marketing and personnel management.


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