FBOs and Ground Handling

A fixed-base operator (FBO), is defined as an organization that has been granted the right to operate at a particular airport and perform aeronautical services: such as aircraft maintenance, tie-down and parking, fueling, hangaring, flight instruction, and many more services. An FBO is typically the primary provider of general aviation support services and is usually located onsite at the airport.

FBOs also encompasses private jet services available at any given airport including a range of amenities for private jet customers, aircraft, and crew. FBOs service many people categorized under general aviation operations — students planning their flights, passengers about to travel, and even military pilots that need to stop somewhere along their flight path.

Upon arrival at an FBO, a traveler can expect to be greeted by the captain of their flight and the reception staff. Amenities such as Wi-Fi access, refreshments, and bathroom facilities are all standards of the FBO experience. Larger FBOs offer luxurious concierges, conference rooms, hotel rooms, and specified services for qualifying customers.

Each FBO will have its own specialization that differentiates it from other FBOs. Some seek to offer competitive fuel prices, while others pride themselves on exceptional VIP services that are aimed towards the highest profile travelers. FBOs can be found throughout the world, with some of the most luxurious options located in France, London, and New York.

Ground handling isn’t as hands on as an FBO may be; the purpose of ground handling is to service the aircraft while grounded. Services include cleaning, fueling, maintenance, ramp handling, etc. In order to ensure the proper functioning of a ground handling service, certain service quality levels must be achieved. This is where Service Level Agreements come into play. These are the guidelines that ground handling services must abide by and adhere to in pursuit of meeting a minimum level of quality service. Following this protocol ensures that the aircraft is taken care of properly and will be safe to fly.

Some FBOs offer a supervisory agent to assist and coordinate third party necessities. This can include a translator, smoother operations of ground handling, and enhanced fueling/aviation services. If you are travelling to a foreign country, a supervisory agent can be beneficial in helping you navigate the airport. Depending on which service suits your needs best, it is important to know the differences that each FBO specializes in.

At Veritable Aerospace, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the applicable fixed base operator products you need for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@veritableaerospace.com or call us at +1-919-348-4040.


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Aircraft Propeller Design

Today we’re focusing on the basic design of propeller blades. The use of propeller propulsion systems extends over a century and have paved the way for modern air travel as we know it. Let’s take a look at how standard propeller blade design helps to creates sufficient airflow in order to generate lift.

A propeller blade is a small-scale airfoil. Like an airfoil wing, they have a leading edge (which is the surface of the blade that interacts with air first), and a trailing edge. Both also have a cambered cross-sectional airfoil shape, in order to manipulate the shape of airflow around them. The force created by this process generates lift by changing the direction of air that they come into contact with.  

A propeller differs from an airfoil wing in multiple ways because of its threaded rotation engineering. The blades travel on their plane of rotation thanks to power from an engine or motor system. The spinning propeller will create differing velocity along the blade due to their distance from the center of rotation. Therefore, the blade tip is travelling much faster than the blade shank, or root. In order to account for this, a blade is designed with two primary requirements— angle of attack and pitch angle.

A specified angle of attack is the angle between the chord of a blade element and the relative wind. The efficiency of a blade at differing RPMs and altitude depends on the angle of attack along the length of the blade. The angle of the attack of a propeller blade is engineered to be steeper at the hub where the blade is moving slowest, and shallower near the tip where it is moving fastest. This design creates a twist along the length of an airfoil blade to facilitate uniform lift.

The pitch angle of a blade refers to the position each element along the length of the blade in relation to the hub of the propeller. An efficient pitch angle ensures that a propeller can accelerate air downward to create lift without creating too much drag. Propeller blades are installed at an angle from the hub, based on the most efficient placement for the needs of the aircraft. This ensures that the angle of attack of the blade extending from the hub can compensate for applied speed and force.

A propeller encounters force and stress when in operation. It is susceptible to thrust force, centrifugal force, and torsion (twisting) force. Thrust force can result in bending stresses, which encourage forward bending of the blade as it travels through air. Centrifugal force creates tensile stress, which puts pressure on the blades, pushing them outward from the center of the hub. Torsional stress is created by twisting forces within the blade resulting from interaction with the air flow, which tends to twist the blade toward a lower blade angle.

Overall, an incredible amount of engineering is involved in aircraft propeller blade design. The field of aeronautics has advanced propeller technology to what it is today. As a result, you can find a variety of propeller blade designs that meet the former specifications and serve various applications within the aerospace industry.


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rusted bolt

It’s not fun to imagine a rusted bolt head crumbling or snapping off of your engine components. The premise isn’t fun, but for older systems, it’s a painful, inevitable reality. Corrosion and heightened pressure over time can lead to the degradation of an engine bolt rendering it entirely inoperable. There are a few steps to follow that might help you in your quest to remove the pesky fastener.

If you come across a rusted bolt that you want to salvage, do not attempt to force it off. First, you’ll have to decide, through a quick survey, whether or not the bolt is at the point of no return. If a bolt is not budging and looks corroded, consider if a locking compound has been applied. Locking compounds are adhesive fluids that help secure a fastener, such as thread locking fluid. These adhesives can be softened when heat is applied. A mini portable induction heater can be used to release fasteners from corrosion and adhesive compounds.

If a thread locking fluid is not the issue, you’ll want to remove some of the rust from the bolt. A wire brush can be applied gently to remove visible corrosion, in order to provide better visibility. Sometimes the bolt can be removed after a layer of rust is cleared. However, if the bolt is still not budging, you may need to consult the aid of mechanical and electrical tools.

Due to the degradation, a bolt may have reduced in size from its original measurements. You’ll want to make sure to have an assortment of box end wrenches on hand to compensate for the varied bolt corrosion you may encounter. It is also in your interest to have breaker bars and long handled ratchets in common bolt sizes on hand for more leverage. Open end wrenches are not as beneficial in this scenario because they are more likely to strip the bolt.

In the event that these first approaches are not working, it may be necessary to consult liquid thread looseners. These include specified lubricates and penetrating oil. The use of these catalysts can loosen a fastener from corrosive areas, enabling a smaller amount of torque to be applied for removal.

If all else fails, the bolt will need to be broken and removed. In this situation, a drill and drill extractor set will provide a convenient way to do so. The drill can be used to hollow out the bolt, enough to insert a drill extractor. Afterwards, a rachet can be applied to completely remove the fastener.

If you feel the bolt is not strong enough for any of the above, heat can be a decent Hail Mary. When heat is applied to a fastener, it expands and has the potential to break any rusted bonds. Analyze the components for any hazardous areas and proceed when safe. Heat the metal surrounding the bolt and remove while still hot.


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Honeywell's GoDirect Ground Program

Swissport International Ltd., a worldwide airport ground service provider, has recently signed an agreement with Honeywell Aerospace Company to employ their GoDirect Ground program for the next five years.  This collaboration will allow Swissport to operate using Honeywell’s ramps, providing them with real-time updates on baggage sorting, crew and passenger transportation, and aircraft loading and unloading.  All this data is then transmitted to the GoDirect Ground software and is used to help improve their services.

Swissport’s Global Fleet Vice President, David Burgess, hopes that this collaboration will help them develop “a safer and more efficient ramp environment, drive better on-time performance and lower fuel and maintenance costs”. Current estimates done by Swissport already predict a 13% decrease in aircraft repair and maintenance.  The decision to fully implement GoDirect Ground across Swissport’s entire operation, which spans over more than 50 countries and 318 airports, came after a successful test of five of their ground handling stations earlier in 2018.

Honeywell designed this program with their customers in mind. They were hoping to provide a solution that would decrease the number of delayed flights due to inefficient practices.  They reported that their intuitive and user-friendly GoDirect Ground solution offers the following benefits for airlines, airports, and ground handlers:

Airlines

  • Saves millions in costs due to delays (per airport)
  • Better on-time record
  • Increased overall passenger experience
  • Reduced turnaround time
  • Better asset utilization

Airports

  • Revenue increased due to better aircraft ground time (11% increase)
  • Improved gate/ground-traffic planning, which means fewer gate changes
  • More available flights, meaning higher revenue

Ground Handlers

  • Up to 5% revenue increase due to better service tracking
  • More control over coordination
  • More accurate service-level information, which helps with invoicing

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Safran’s Electric Motor

Hybrid vehicles have been around for more than twenty years, with the first hybrid vehicle debuting in 1997. Originally, hybrid vehicles were launched to reduce emissions and increase the fuel economy.  These vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric battery. Hybrid vehicles have become increasingly popular in recent years, which shifts the hybrid push to a new category, aircraft.

The idea of a hybrid aircraft is slowly turning into a reality with the debut of Safran’s electric motor. This new electric motor is part of Safran’s ENGINeUS motor family and will support both hybrid and electric aircrafts. The motor was unveiled at the 2018 NBAA’s Business Convention and Exhibition located in Orlando, Florida. The engine has an energy efficiency rating of 94% and has a continuous power of 45kW, with built-in dedicated electronic controls.

So far, the engine has been validated and tested on Safran’s electrical integration benches to verify performance. These electric motors have also been tested on the ground with a full hybrid-electric system. This type of testing almost perfectly recreates the needs and demands of an entirely electric aircraft. This engine will also help to make a shift towards vertical takeoff and landing. These engines will still be required to go through several tests and simulations before it is ready for actual use. Experts predict that hybrid aircrafts for flight should make their first debut in 2025. This possibility allows for an entirely new market for not only Safran, but for major manufacturers around the globe.


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Ground Support Equipment

Aircraft safety is serious business. From how many hours till the next hot section inspection or engine overhaul to how many cycles till the aircraft’s tires are replaced, every little thing involving the maintenance and repair of an aircraft has to be strictly regulated and monitored. And while it would be cool if all the service and maintenance was done in the sky, it’s usually done on the ground with aircraft ground support equipment.

Aircraft ground support equipment, or GSE, are specialized tools and devices used to service military and commercial aircraft while they are down on the ground. Found usually in the service area by the terminal of an airport, GSE are used for both routine maintenance and unscheduled repair to ensure the various systems on the aircraft are working properly.

These tools and equipment can be grouped in several different ways: for example, aircraft handling and aircraft servicing. If you group GSE’s into handling and servicing, handling equipment would include tow tractors, cranes, and dollies while servicing equipment would include power generators, cabin pressure test units, fluid servicing units, munition loading systems, and electrical testers. Servicing equipment, for maneuverability and mobility, are usually self-propelled, trailer mounted, or towed.

For commercial airplanes, most ground support doesn’t pertain to flying the aircraft in any way, but rather in cabin services. Catering vehicles, cleaning services, lavatory service vehicles, passenger boarding equipment, belt loaders, and so on are also considered GSE.

In most cases, aircraft servicing and handling is a quick and routine process that doesn’t affect the passengers in any way. However, if pre-flight checks reveal any problems, the plane might have to be towed to the hangar for further inspection and repairs, and the passengers will have to wait.


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Lisi Aerospace News

Lisi Aerospace, regarded as a leading manufacturer of fasteners and structural components, holds a core business in metal deformation, which is accompanied by heat-treatment, machining, and coating. The company has the ability to accomplish any kind of assembly requirement, which can range from preliminary project to designing sub-assemblies. The high operating standards, such as on time delivery and quality, supports Lisi Aerospace as a leader in the industry.

Lisi Aerospace has been a long-term supplier of Airbus since the inception of the aircraft manufacturer. Recently receiving two “Best Improvement” awards from Airbus Group of Industries as part of their SQIP approach, Lisi was rewarded for the company’s progression in performance. The first reward Lisi received was for the company’s fastener department, which applies to the 11 factories that organize the effort to delivering over 10,000 different fastener parts on time and meeting quality expectations.

The second award is in regard to Lisi’s structural parts, such as A350 frames and A320 NEO air intake lipskins. Airbus hoped to reward Lisi’s efforts to support the ramp-up and expected performance levels set by Airbus. Jean-Louis Colders, the chief executive officer of Lisi Aerospace, responded to these awards by mentioning Lisi’s great satisfaction for their recognition from Airbus. He stated that Lisi is determined to continue with their strategies to operate with further excellence and innovation.

Lisi Aerospace has also received many other accolades and awards. This further illustrates the company’s acceleration of their customer intimacy policy, innovation and excellence as a leader in the industry. Some additional awards Lisi has receive includes the Leap Together Award from Safran, AE Suplier of the Year from WESCO, Gold Standard from Pattonair LTD, and Team of Excellence for the Maiden Flight of C919 from COMAC.


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Boeing-KLX

KLX Inc, a worldwide known part and service provider, has been purchased by the great Boeing aircraft company. The purchase will include several divisions of KLX such as the solution group and a portion of KLX’s Energy Services Group if they are able to successfully integrate with the newly incurred changes. Their net debt is equaling an approximate $1 billion that contributes to the total cost at $4.25 billion.

KLX is also known for their all-cash transaction system that allows their company to bring their share up to $63. Not only does KLX Aerospace bring their assets but their services of different types amenities as well. KLX is also a wide provider of chemical composites that will be a create a new sector for their Boeings Aviall division to be distributed.

Creating the opportunity for Avail to be able to provide products such as the chemical composites will create a new entire source to add to the already existing variety of aviation parts that it sources.

As well as the great products and services that KLX contributes to the industry its revenue shows for its self with its 2017 fiscal year revenue amounted to 1.4 billion US alone.

Boeing is expecting for KLX to be able to maintain their current revenue at the same pace and is predicting that it will start to increase the year after.

As well as these predictions they forecast their savings to be able to grow up to 70 million US by year 2021 with the newly integrated features.

The sale of the company currently still underway and has been planned on being completed by the 3Q of 2018. Boeing is still confined to subject to customary conditions that will enable Boeing to be cleared for regulatory clearance as well as needing to receive the approval of the current KLX shareholders.


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Molex INC

Molex incorporated, an Illinois based electronic company has recently purchased Bittware Inc., through a recent acquisition in the computer industry. Molex incorporated is a leading company that provides connectors parts and electronics with high quality and service. Acquiring Bittware is going to help expand and grow Molex incorporation and assist with field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Essentially, it is going to help expand Molex capabilities and its subsidiary Nallatech. Molex incorporated is constantly seeking ways to help provide better services and connector parts. As computer technology grows at a rapid pace, the need for bigger firms like Molex to absorb smaller companies is important to provide a wider range of products and services to meet clients need and requirements.

Based out of Concord N.H., Bittware is a leading company that specializes in FPGA that offer better responses to high volume level computing for large organizations in both private and public sectors. As companies are handling more data and information, the demand for more powerful computing platforms are on the rise. Molex incorporated aims to fill the gap by acquiring companies like Bittware and similar computer bases companies. Further, the need for stronger hardware components such as electronic connectors and connector parts will required to run such platforms.

Bittware will be a valuable and integral part of Molex Incorporated because it can leverage its machine learning capabilities and artificial intelligence (AI), enhancing computer performance and functionality. The ability to effectively use artificial intelligence is vital to stay on the cutting edge of technology and innovation.


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Ground Support Equipment

On April 2, 2018 Romes Ciampino Airport (LIRA) welcomed the reopening due to renovation of Universals ground aviation ground support area. Filled with members of Universals staff, esteemed clients, partners as well as airport administration.

The area of renovation is deemed the largest area in the newly renovated general aviation terminal. Universal will have a significant impact with all the new amenities it recently provided. Currently, Universal Aviation is the ground support in 20 different countries with over 50 locations worldwide.

Universal is well aware that by renovation of the Italy location will be a huge hit with the amount of people that it will affect. According the Managing Director of Universal Aviation Italy, Lorena Carraro , she states

“Rome Ciampino is the airport where general aviation is allowed to operate in the Rome area and we recognize this is as a high-traffic and strategic location for business aviation operators”

The new state of the art facility has plenty to offer for staff and passenger as well. Having operation offices with modern structure, staff business center, a lounge for staff to rest and an exclusive lounge for passengers. The lounge has an overlooking view over the ramp that will be departing. Along with the passenger lounge it also offers a staff lounge that is directly across from the operation office so they have direct access to enter into their flight briefing.

In representation of Greg Evans, Chairman of Universal Claudia Evans states this project has made possible with strictly their customers in mind and would like reassure that they will always come first by stating,

“The renovation of our facilities in Rome Ciampino reinforces Universal’s commitment and Greg’s vision to accommodate our customers to the highest standards, delivering not only a successful mission but a Universal experience provided by the Universal team and family in over 20 countries today.”


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