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FAA’s new ADs highlight concerns over 5G

Two recent FAA airworthiness directives (ADs) underscore the aviation industry’s ongoing concerns over the imminent deployment of 5G data transmission networks, despite assertions from telecommunications providers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that such networks do not pose a significant threat of radar altimeter interference. In January, wireless providers in the U.S. will begin nationwide deployments of 5G networks operating in bandwidth from 3.7-3.98 gigahertz, near frequencies used by radar altimeters.

The ADs – one applicable to transport category fixed-wing aircraft equipped with radar altimeters, the second to helicopters – require operators to insert flight manual limitations prohibiting use of those systems when operating in specific areas NOTAM’d for potential 5G interference. Such limitations will severely curtail many aviation operations in low-visibility conditions. In a Dec. 7 statement, the FAA termed the ADs “an important step” toward the safe co-existence of 5G telecommunications and vital aviation systems. “The FAA is working closely with the [FCC] and wireless companies and has made progress toward safely implementing the 5G expansion,” the agency continued. The FCC maintains suitable limits are in place to prevent such interference or can be deployed in the event of demonstrated impact to aviation systems. Initially, the new 5G networks will also operate at reduced power as providers and the commission further gauge interference concerns.


Jet Aviation launches SAF book-and-claim program

Jet Aviation announced last week that it has entered into an agreement with SkyNRG, a global leader of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and related solutions, to offer SAF to their customers universally through a book and claim service with immediate effect.

Book and claim enables business aviation owners and operators for whom SAF is not physically available for uplift to access SAF at will and thereby reduce their carbon footprint. SkyNRG supplies the SAF at an airport nearby the production location where it is sold as conventional jet fuel. The volume of SAF is tracked and verified, and the corresponding carbon emissions factors are then calculated and allocated to the end-customer. This ensures environmental benefits are properly accounted for, including the avoidance of unnecessary transportation costs.


Gulfstream G500 and G600 demonstrate steep approach

Gulfstream Aerospace last week announced performance accomplishments for its next-generation Gulfstream G500 and Gulfstream G600. Both aircraft successfully demonstrated steep-approach landings into London City Airport, as well as Lugano Airport and Sion Airport in Switzerland.

Following official FAA and EASA steep-approach certification, anticipated next year, the G500 and G600 will gain access to challenging airports such as London City as well as Lugano and similar airports. Lugano’s short runway, situated in the mouth of a valley, requires an extremely steep approach. Following the landing demonstrations, the G500 and G600 each claimed city-pair speed records, departing London City Airport at average cruise speeds of Mach 0.90 and above. The G500 flew 3,077 nautical miles/5,699 kilometers to Teterboro Airport near New York in just 6 hours and 46 minutes, besting the previous record by 12 minutes despite challenging headwinds. The G600 set its own speed record from London to Seattle, completing its 4,235-nm/7,843-km flight in just 8 hours and 39 minutes. Both flights landed with fuel reserves exceeding NBAA-IFR minimums.


People: Niclas von Planta to be the new CEO of Cat Aviation AG

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

Business jet airline Cat Aviation is reconfiguring its management, thus ensuring long term stability of the company. The founder, Helene Niedhart, is handing over the

operational management of the business. From 1 July 2022, the new CEO will be Niclas von Planta, an experienced aviation specialist, lawyer, and a managing director with many years of experience. Helene Niedhart remains Chair of the Board of Directors and the majority shareholder.

Founded by Helene Niedhart in 1987 with a twin-engine Cessna C421, Cat Aviation AG now operates six business jets, has around 70 employees and serves a broad customer base in the charter and aircraft management sectors. Niedhart has decided to hand over operational management in mid-2022. She says: “Everything that we have successfully built up at Cat Aviation over almost 35 years will continue and be expanded." Niclas von Planta will start his work with the company on 1 January 2022. Over the first six months he will be introduced to the operational activities by Helene Niedhart and work with her to drive forward the company’s strategic development. It is also planned that Niclas von Planta will acquire a stake in the company alongside his role as CEO.

Following many years working as an aviation lawyer in a law firm in Zurich, Niclas von Planta joined ExecuJet in 2011 as General Counsel. He was Vice President of ExecuJet's European business from 2015 until its sale in the summer of this year. He is also President of the Swiss Business Aviation Association (SBAA).

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