PAMA Mx News Watch
Apr. 1, 2015

FAA wants to fine Southwest $328,550 for maintenance violations
The Dallas Morning News
The Federal Aviation Administration announced it has proposed $328,550 in penalties against Southwest Airlines covering two 2013 instances in which the FAA said the Dallas carrier violated federal aviation regulations. The first case involved an airplane that lost cabin pressure during a flight. The FAA alleged that Southwest mechanics failed to do a mandatory inspection for damage and to make sure depleted oxygen bottles were replaced.More

Civilian helicopter industry shows demand for new deliveries, technology
Aviation Today
Honeywell's annual Heli-Expo forecast estimates up to 5,250 new civilian helicopter deliveries over the next five years, a good indication for the growing aircraft connectivity market to make the majority of those purchases connected helicopters. Several of the avionics industry's largest manufacturers, including Garmin, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Thales, have high speed, satellite-based connectivity solutions available at the 2015 industry event in Orlando, Florida.More

Rust never sleeps
Over they years whenever I've had a chance to talk to folks who worked at Beech and Cessna and the other aircraft companies, I always asked them what time frame they designed these single-engine planes and light twins for. Of course they always tend to not want to be specific, probably since they didn't really know, but I'm sure it was not for even half the number of years and hours the typical GA fleet plane has on it now.More

Hand-propping demystified
Most casual discussions of hand-propping begin and end with the admonition "Don't." That's not bad advice, except when there's no other way to start the engine. In fact, hand-propping is a time-honored practice, dating to the beginning of heavier-than-air flight. That it's still employed says as much about the legacy of aviation as it does our ability to manage risk. Of course, hand-propping may not be for you. In which case, you need to get either a fully charged battery or a different airplane. More

Solo pilots still a reality for small-plane travel
The Globe and Mail
According to author Gary Mason: Frequently, I fly between Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, aboard a commercial float plane. It's almost always a staggeringly beautiful flight. It's common for the pilot — the lone pilot — to invite a passenger to come up and sit beside him in the cockpit. I've done it often and can tell you it's quite the joyride, particularly during takeoffs and landings. But as often as I've marvelled at the wondrous surroundings below me, and gotten a charge out of watching the pilot in action, something else has frequently crossed my mind: What if this guy has a heart attack?More

California city council to remove tie downs, implement short term leases
Lease terms at California's Santa Monica Airport were at the center of discussion during a contentious Santa Monica City Council meeting recently — a topic that drew large crowds of airport supporters and opponents alike. About 125 people signed up to speak at the meeting and, as is often the case when airport business is on the agenda, there were about as many passionate voices on each side. With so many speakers, the meeting did not adjourn until after midnight; however, the councilmembers did come to an agreement.More

Historic plane to return home
The Kansan
Mechanics from Wichita Air Services at Kansas' Newton City/County airport put pieces of history back together, restoring a classic 1930s airplane. The plane "went through a lot of owners," Don Stancer, lead mechanic at Wichita Air Services, said. "It's been around," Leeb Vonfange, shop manager, said. Along with several other mechanics, they restored a 1937 Lockheed Electra 10A, a model similar to what Amelia Earhart flew on her final, ill-fated trip.More

North Dakota airport adds aero center for aviation services
The Associated Press via The Washington Times
A welcome mat has been laid at the Tioga Airport, North Dakota. A gradual startup led to Tioga Aero Center becoming established in January as a fixed-base operator providing aviation services at the airport. The middle of winter might not seem an ideal time to launch an aero center, but owner Kathy Neset said it couldn't wait. "Right now is when we needed this," Neset said. "I was just really anxious to get it up and going. I am hoping we will continue to grow and have more air travel and be able to help and service the industry." More

Looking ahead: Maintenance forecasts
Airline Fleet Management
For Southwest Airlines, which operates 665 aircraft, MRO costs are high. About 30 of Southwest's aircraft are undergoing maintenance checks at any given time, so as John Brutag, the company's director of aircraft standards, puts it, MRO takes up "a considerable chunk of change." Reducing those costs is a priority for any aircraft operator. Brutag says the biggest challenge for an airline that is trying to schedule maintenance is dealing with an MRO's business model, which sometimes works against the operator's best interests. More

Just Aircraft launches stretched SuperSTOL
Just Aircraft has introduced a stretched version of the light-sport SuperSTOL that adds an extra two feet to the taildragger's aft section and an extra six inches up front. The changes allow the SuperSTOL Stretch XL to accommodate bigger engines, such as the UL Power 520 series and Lycoming O-320 engine putting out 160 hp.More