Lufthansa Technik unveiled a "Fly Away Kit" for VVIP and special-mission aircraft that allows carriage of spare parts and consumables in a convenient container. The company said it has already received its first order for the kit, which is integrated in a modified standard airliner-size ULD9 container. The first order is for a head-of-state Airbus A340.
Examples of what might be carried in the unit includes wheels, a mobile aircraft jack, essential spares and oil. "Easily accessible in the aircraft's cargo bay, technicians have the equipment where it is needed," the company said.
"This new product gives our customers the independence to go to any remote airfield with a good feeling having the essential spares onboard," said Lufthansa Technik senior v-p Walter Heerdt. "The Fly Away Kit can be tailored for each customer's specific needs, operation and mission. For example, the new Patient Transport Unit Next Generation can be safely stowed in the ULD along with other emergency medical equipment."
Neil Bracken, formerly director of the General Mills flight department, has joined Fargo Jet Center as vice president of flight operations and interim general manager for the company's recently acquired Premier Jet Center in Eden Prairie, Minn. Meanwhile, Mike Clancy was promoted from director of maintenance to vice president of technical services for both locations, as well as the company's associated Weather Modifications business. Finally, Bruce Boe was promoted to vice president of meteorology at Weather Modifications.
California-based Vessix, an aviation software developer, has partnered with Total Control Systems, a provider of electronic flow meters, on a new FBO fuel inventory reporting system, which is making its debut here at NBAA.
According to its designers, the new system will modernize and streamline the fuel invoice and inventory-monitoring processes. "The sheer amount of wasted time and energy [currently] involved is mind-blowingly expensive, not to mention an incredibly archaic process that is prone to costly mistakes," said Vessix co-founder and COO Tom Perkins.
The system consists of the TCS 3000 electronic register/flow computer, a device fitted to each of a service provider's fuel tankers, which will automatically calculate the fuel amount delivered and transmit it directly to an FBO's licensed Vessix business management system. Once the data is received, the system will generate invoices and store the fuel inventory data for backend processes such as accounting, taxes and reporting.
By using the system, service providers will no longer require handwritten fuel tickets, nor will they have to estimate how much fuel they have on hand. "Vessix clearly understands the pitfalls and opportunities that the FBO industry is facing," said Dan Murray, Total Control Systems' vice president. "TCS and Vessix are looking forward to eliminating hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor costs and accounting inaccuracies."
Perkins told AIN that the company is currently working with a fuel provider to create a back-end interface at its home office. The system will take data feeds from all its trucks and prepare a report, so the provider can track what all its bases are doing instantaneously, as well as monitor inventory in the tanks.
MD Helicopters and partner Universal Avionics Systems of Tucson, Ariz., are progressing well in their program to offer a next-generation cockpit for the MD Explorer helicopter. Capable of supporting single-pilot IFR operations, the new cockpit will be available on both new-build helicopters and as a retrofit option. The Explorer has found particular success in the law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) world.
Universal is currently finalizing the specifications for the engine and crew advisory system functions, as well as designing and constructing a systems integration rig that will be used for both testing and demonstrations. MD Helicopters has completed final vendor selections for peripheral avionics systems and is working on installation/approval documentation and safety assessments. The company is also overhauling an engineering-prototype helicopter and preparing it for installation of the new avionics systems. This machine will be the conforming vehicle for FAA ground and flight tests.
Equipped with three large, high-resolution Universal Avionics LCD displays with LED backlighting, the next-generation cockpit has been optimized for the kind of low-altitude operations routinely undertaken by helicopters. A unique feature is a cursor slew switch on the collective, offering a "point and click" display control function so that pilots can keep "hands-on and heads-up" during all phases of flight.