Drones take flight over North Carolina

By Shumuriel Ratlif

(WNCN) The first commercial drone approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for testing in North Carolina took to the skies near Raleigh on Thursday.

The Trimble UX5 weighs a little more than five pounds, but don’t let it’s size fool you. It can do a lot of work once it’s in flight.

“The aircraft itself is electric. It’s battery powered and it can fly for up to 50 minutes, and in that time you can get approximately one thousand depending on how high you fly and what the conditions are,” explains Trimble engineer Chip Berniard.

Thursday’s research flight showed the $50,000 dollar drone in action.  Click here for video

It will be use for agricultural research at North Carolina State University, and will be used by the North Carolina Department of Transportation as well.

“Some of the research we are going to start doing this summer is looking at infrastructure and landslides investigations that a DOT field agent would do,” says NC State’s Kyle Snyder.

Officials say there’s no cause for concern when you see this drone flying in the fields.

“We’re not a hobbyist we are doing research operations for the good of the state. That’s why we’re working with these different agencies, working with these industry partners that want to grow,” Snyder explains.



Transfer of air traffic control services to MCAS Cherry Point to improve local civilian-military air

By MCIEAST-MCB Camp Lejeune Public Affairs

Aviation officials are touting an agreement that will give Cherry Point air traffic control an expanded role in the skies of Eastern North Carolina.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to transfer airspace management and other air traffic control duties to Cherry Point from its Washington Center on Thursday, according to a release from Marine Corps Installations East at Camp Lejeune.

The change is designed to improve coordination and communication among civilian and military pilots while also easing the burden on air traffic controllers, according to the release.

Cherry Point will now have air traffic control service over civilian airports in Plymouth, Washington, Manteo and Kitty Hawk as well as two bombing ranges in Dare County.

The switch will result in real-time information going to military pilots in special-use airspace and provide improved service over the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke Island, according to the release.

“Airspace is a precious resource and improvements such as these will greatly benefit aviation and commerce in this region of the state,” Bobby Walston, director of the N.C. Division of Aviation, said in a statement. “This transfer has been a goal of the state and our military partners for some time and we are extremely excited to see this transfer of management and services take place.”

The switch also will make training airspace available on demand over Cherry Point, easing the burden of trying to coordinate with the Washington Center, according to the release.

Information on the change, including Cherry Point air control radio frequencies, is to be sent to pilots and aviation publications, according to the release.

Nat Fahy, Marine Corps spokesman at Camp Lejeune, said the switch would not result in any additional personnel at Cherry Point’s air traffic control tower.

Summary of Economic Impact of General Aviation in North Carolina

According to the 2012 Economic Contribution of Airports in North Carolina study, the annual economic contribution of general aviation airports to the state is over $2 billion.


According to the FAA, there are 114 public-use airports, 14,055 pilots and 5,451 active general aviation aircraft in North Carolina.


According to the 2012 Economic Contribution of Airports in North Carolina study, general aviation airports support 15,460 jobs in North Carolina, sustaining a total payroll of over $478 million.


According to the same study, the annual economic contribution of general aviation airports in North Carolina is over $2 billion.

According to FAA data, North Carolina is home to 65 repair stations, 11 FAA-approved pilot schools, 2,560 student pilots and 2,379 flight instructors.

In addition, there are 87 fixed-base operators in the state registered in the AC-U-KWIK directory. According to Helicopter Association International, there are 397 heliports in North Carolina.

According to the University Aviation Association, flight departments in North Carolina include Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City.

Additionally, Honda Aircraft Company, headquartered in Greensboro, NC, employs approximately 900 people locally.


To view a complete copy of the Economic Contribution of Airports in North Carolina study, visite the North Carolina Department of Aviation Division site.

– See more at: http://www.aviationacrossamerica.com/economic-impact/summary-of-economic-impact-of-general-aviation-in-north-carolina/#sthash.sPxv7OP0.dpuf

North Carolina Not Waiting on FAA to Explore Commercial Drone Use


The state-funded NextGen Air Transportation office at N.C. State University plans to apply for special FAA permission to start drone experiments for the state Department of Transportation.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to issue long-awaited draft regulations for operating small commercial drones this year, something that’s expected to open the skies to a multibillion-dollar industry.

President Barack Obama called for drone regulations this week after one landed, apparently by accident, on the White House lawn.

But with experts saying new rules for civilian use are still probably months or even years away, North Carolina’s nascent drone industry and state government agencies that are eager to use the aircraft aren’t waiting.

In coming days, the state-funded NextGen Air Transportation office at N.C. State University plans to apply for special FAA permission to start drone experiments for the state Department of Transportation.

Meanwhile, one of the state’s largest drone companies, Raleigh-based PrecisionHawk, is expecting its own FAA exemption in the next few weeks so that it can begin commercial operations across the United States.

NGAT, which has been investigating various aspects of drone use at several sites around the state, will demonstrate its newest aircraft Thursday for state officials and members of the media at an N.C. State University farm off Lake Wheeler Road. That particular aircraft is mainly aimed at agricultural use, said the office’s director, Kyle Snyder.

By late spring, NGAT expects to receive the aircraft it will use for the DOT experiments, Snyder said.

The highway department is keen to evaluate several jobs it thinks drones could do well, said Bobby Walston, aviation director for DOT. Among those are investigating routes for new roads and inspecting bridges, construction sites and rock slides.

Other state agencies will be keeping a close eye on the work, too, Snyder said, including the Division of Emergency Management, which could use drones for evaluating damage in disasters and for search and rescue.

A bigger question is probably which state agency, if any, would not have a proper use for a drone, said state Rep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican who helped craft a state drone law approved last year that addressed privacy issues among other things.

“We can all understand the potential for law enforcement, and we could really save taxpayer dollars with bridge inspection,” said Torbett, who will attend the demonstration flight Thursday. “I doubt that there is a state agency – except maybe treasurer – that won’t have an opportunity to apply the technology and do it in a very cost-effective way.”

Given that it’s impossible to even guess at the range of applications for drones, the economic potential they represent here, both for drone users and companies that are involved in creating them, is unknowable but huge, Torbett said.

PrecisionHawk is already doing business in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Latin America. It’s beginning to do more work on applications across a range of industries, including oil and gas, insurance, geology and mining and search and rescue, but its main focus has been agriculture.

PrecisionHawk sells its basic aircraft for about $16,000, but it essentially considers itself a data company, said spokeswoman Lia Reich.

That’s probably not surprising, given that the company has close ties to more traditional tech outfits. PrecisionHawk got a $10 million influx of cash this fall from a group of investors that included Bob Young, co-founder of the Red Hat software company, who sits on its board of directors.

The drone – which has a fuselage crafted from circuit boards rather than aerospace material – uploads the data it gathers to the cloud, where software developed by PrecisionHawk analyzes it and delivers the results to, say, a farmer’s laptop.

The buzzphrase is “precision agriculture.” Depending on which sensors a drone is configured with, the data it picks up when flying slowly over the farm can determine things such as how much nitrogen should be added to which part of a field or where weeds or disease are popping up, Reich said.

By helping farmers apply only as much nitrogen as a field needs, PrecisionHawk not only saves them money but helps reduce nitrogen runoff into streams and waterways.

Data from the drone also can help boost crop productivity. Just how much is something the company plans to gather more data on this year while working on several North Carolina farms in partnership with NGAT, Reich said.

Sporty’s FREE online course for Young Eagles tops 30,000

By General Aviation News Staff

The Experimental Aircraft Association and Sporty’s Pilot Shop report that more than 30,000 young people have enrolled in Sporty’s Online Learn To Fly Course as a follow-up to their EAA Young Eagles flights.

The Sporty’s course, which was first offered to all Young Eagles without charge beginning in 2009, allows young people to take the FAA Sport, Recreational and Private Pilot ground school course at no charge.

The course is a next step for the more than 70,000 Young Eagles flown each year by volunteer pilots. Since the Young Eagles program launched in July 1992, more than 1.9 million young people have been flown.

Actor Harrison Ford is one of the volunteer pilots who give Young Eagles flights.

“Sporty’s support for the Young Eagles program is truly outstanding,” said Brian O’Lena, EAA Manager of Young Eagles. “Sporty’s understands the Young Eagles mission and stepped forward to provide ways for those young people to further explore aviation through a pathway that is available in the technologies used today. This means that more than 30,000 young people have the opportunity to pursue aviation in a focused and meaningful way.”

The concept was developed with input from EAA pilots who had been flying Young Eagles. Those pilots said many of the young people wanted to discover more about aviation but there were not readily available resources for them.

Sporty’s filled that role by offering its online course at no charge for Young Eagles. The goal is to continue to build the next generation of aviation and boost student pilot starts with the group already engaged through the Young Eagles program.

“Just like EAA, Sporty’s is dedicated to the Young Eagles program for the long term,” said Michael Wolf, President and CEO of Sporty’s Pilot Shop. “We will continue to invest in these potential young pilots by making Sporty’s Online Learn to Fly Course more accessible and more engaging for every Young Eagle.”

Young Eagles receive information on how to register and begin the Sporty’s Online Learn To Fly Course immediately after their flights. Registration No. 30,000 was recorded by Sporty’s on the Jan. 24-25 weekend.

“What’s next? Reaching more young people with this and additional opportunities to be involved,” O’Lena said. “All of us in aviation know the urgency of bringing more people into the world of flight. Thanks to Sporty’s support, EAA Young Eagles is doing that in a way matched nowhere else.”

Asheville Airport sets passenger record in 2014

By Mike Cronin – Citizens Times

More people than ever took to the skies at Asheville Regional Airport during 2014, officials announced Tuesday.

The number of passengers climbed 11.6 percent, to 756,425, in 2014 over 2013, when 678,023 people flew, according to figures released by airport officials.

The previous record was set in 2010, when 735,760 flew, or 2.7 percent less than last year.

Lew Bleiweis, the airport’s executive director, identified two reasons for the increase in fliers.

Airport officials succeeded in maintaining connections to airline hubs “and in attracting new low-cost service to Florida,” Bleiweis said in a statement.

Keeping links with hubs “involves advocacy,” Tina Kinsey, the airport’s spokeswoman, said in an interview. “It’s constant communication, building relationships with airlines and their planning departments. It also includes getting airlines’ information out to the passengers in Western North Carolina.”

Airport officials said the business model for airlines has shifted in recent years.

Instead of flying from a starting point to a destination, airlines now connect passengers from regional airports, such as Asheville’s, to major hubs, such as Atlanta.

Two-thirds of flights at the airport are offered by three carriers: Atlanta, Georgia-based Delta Air Lines; Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines — which has merged with US Airways and United Airlines, which is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Allegiant Travel Company, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, which entered the regional market in 2011, will supply about a third of all seats at the airport by June, Kinsey said.

Allegiant offers vacation packages to Florida destinations from Asheville Regional Airport.

That “is positive for air travelers in the region,” Kinsey said.

Mocksville Airpark Property

AIRPARK PROPERTY • Mocksville, NC. 2300 sq ft home with many updates and recent complete upstairs remodel. 3bed/ 2bath, over sized 2 car garage. Nice 5ac lot, great for kids or just room to roam. Large in-ground pool. 48×48 heated hangar with new 42` bi-fold door and 12′ lean to for storage of equipment. Runway is 2000`x60` of grass, FAA ID 4NC0. Convenient to Statesville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Charlotte area. We have an assumable VA loan at 3.5% if someone is interested. Also will consider trade for a house near Soldotna, AK.  Least expensive airpark home in NC!

Mocksville Airpark 2 Mocksville Airpark 3 Mocksville Airpark


For informaton … contact Len Leggette    336-547-6535    len.leggette@gmail.com 

Revised sleep apnea policy responds to GA’s concerns

By General Aviation News Staff

More than a year of lobbying work by general aviation’s advocacy groups on the FAA’s sleep apnea policy has brought considerable revisions to the agency’s original proposal, which would have forced costly sleep studies on pilots even if they had shown no symptoms of the disorder.

The new policy, which takes effect March 2, will not disqualify pilots from receiving a medical certificate based solely on body mass index (BMI). Pilots believed to be at risk for the condition will receive a regular medical certificate and be required to undergo a follow-up assessment. Those who are diagnosed with the condition must receive treatment to continue flying.

“The FAA’s new policy, as proposed, will not require a sleep study unless a pilot reports symptoms specifically associated with sleep apnea to their aviation medical examiner,” said Sean Elliott, vice president of advocacy and safety for the Experimental Aircraft Association. “We are still studying all the details of this proposed policy, but it is an improvement on the agency’s initial proposal more than a year ago that was quite overreaching, mandating additional tests based on Body Mass Index and other indicators even if no symptoms had been present. We found that very intrusive and draconian. EAA felt it was very important to get back to common-sense guidelines that can be primarily addressed between pilots and their local aviation medical examiners.”

The new policy “combines a focus on safety with a commonsense approach that lets pilots who haven’t been diagnosed with an illness keep flying,” added Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

The issue of sleep apnea came to the forefront in 2013 when the federal air surgeon described a planned policy change in an FAA medical bulletin. Under the original FAA proposal, pilots with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater would have been required to undergo testing for sleep apnea by a board certified sleep specialist. The FAA said it planned to expand the policy to include all pilots with a BMI of 30 or greater.

But GA’s alphabet groups strongly objected to requiring thousands of pilots to go through expensive and intrusive testing based exclusively on BMI. The groups turned to Congress for assistance, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have required the FAA to go through the rulemaking process before introducing any new policy on sleep disorders.

In December 2013, the FAA stepped back from its initial announcement and began working with pilots and GA advocacy groups to address concerns about sleep apnea.

For moderate to severe sleep apnea, the most common treatment is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) device

Under the new policy, announced Jan. 23, the risk of obstructive sleep apnea will be determined through an integrated assessment of the pilot’s medical history and symptoms, as well as physical and clinical findings. Aviation medical examiners will be provided with guidance from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to assist them in determining each pilot’s risk.

Pilots who are determined to be at significant risk will receive a regular medical certificate and undergo a sleep apnea evaluation. That evaluation can be performed by any physician, including the aviation medical examiner, and does not require a sleep study unless the physician believes one is needed.

Pilots will have 90 days to complete the evaluation and forward the results to the FAA’s Aerospace Medicine Certification Division, the Regional Flight Surgeon’s office, or the aviation medical examiner. Thirty day extensions will be available to pilots who need more time to complete the process.

If the evaluation does not lead to a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, no further action will be required. Pilots who are diagnosed with sleep apnea will then have to send documentation of effective treatment to arrange for a special issuance medical certificate to replace the regular medical certificate issued previously.

The new policy also eliminates the initial plan by the FAA to eventually extend required sleep evaluation to those with a BMI of at least 30. That provision was among the most-opposed by EAA, as it was predictive medicine without evidence of safety benefit that would be extremely costly for pilots, even those without symptoms, association officials noted.

“We appreciate the FAA’s willingness to move forward toward a more realistic policy for addressing and treating this disorder within the aviation community,” Elliott said.

“It’s also important for pilots to be forthcoming with their personal AMEs if they do have sleep apnea symptoms, for their personal safety and that of their passengers,” he continued. “This is not simply because it’s required within the regulations. As EAA continues to push for medical certificate reform, we are telling regulators, the Administration, and Congress that pilots are responsible when self-certifying their fitness prior to every flight. Reporting and addressing disqualifying conditions by those who have them are essential to our overall goal of wider freedoms for pilot medical certification.”

Carolina Air and Auto Center at the Winston Salem Airport

Click here for a Video About the Carolina Air and Auto Center


Business Model

The Board of Directors intends to establish an education center to teach hands-on technical skills to school-aged students in a fun and friendly environment. The center will also feature a high interest aviation and auto museum patterned on that of the Auto and Technik Museum of Sinsheim, Germany.

Winston-Salem Technology Education CenterFunding for the education center will come largely through educational grants, while the museum will follow the Sinsheim model and be established by aviation, automobile, and history enthusiasts using the minimum of government funding and professional curatorial staffing. The exhibits are nearly 100% given, or loaned, by local enthusiasts, and often rotated in and out of the collection. The ever-changing exhibitions serve to promote frequent visitor returns, and also dramatically reduces curatorial expenses (owners maintain their own exhibits.)

An education center and museum are a natural pairing as one helps feed the other. The Board of Directors of this group has a very strong background in education, and notably, in creating effective and successful “hands on” educational opportunities that students enjoy.

The goal of the Board of Directors is to acquire a suitable building, and then seek long term loans of aircraft, automobiles, military artifacts, and other items of historical interest. The museum will largely be run by volunteers who will be guided by the smallest possible paid administrative staff.

The funding for the museum will be marginally from the gate receipts, but the goal is to build a sufficient endowment so as not to be dependent on ticket sales.

Carolina Air & Auto Center 450 West Hanes Mill Road Suite 202 Winston-Salem NC 27105 336-470-9477 flipaero@gmail.com www.airandauto.org