Monthly Archives: September 2015

Around the Airport

Executive Director Hand Delivers Some Cash


Madeleine Monaco with Airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott

The PWK Board of Directors and the airport’s Executive Director last week delivered a check for $2,000 to Madeleine Monaco, this year’s President of the Chicago Executive Pilots’ Association. The check, destined for the pilot association’s scholarship fund, was the airport’s donation from money earned at the July 4th weekend’s 5K race that brought over 400 runners and walkers to the field. Each year in June, the pilots association announces the winners of that year’s scholarships. The total amount awarded annually is equal to roughly half of the amount donated each year.

Scholarship winners are students attending an Illinois accredited institute of higher learning in an aviation program focused on a wide range of subjects in addition to learning to fly. Monaco said, “The past few years have brought us many applicants across the spectrum of aviation careers. All have shown dedication, good grades, financial need and good career goals. We have also funded cadet flight training from time to time at the Johnson Flight Academy held each year at Coles County Airport for Civil Air Patrol Cadets.” In the recent past, individual scholarships amounts have averaged about $1,000 range although one in 2013 did total $6,500. Monaco said the association hopes to see the scholarship’s base fund continue growing each year. Learn more about the Chicago Executive Pilots Association online.

Airport Noise Committee Holds First Meeting

The Airport Noise Committee (ANC) met for the first time on September 15th at the airport office to discuss the group’s purpose, as well as the details of how subject matter would be handled in the future. Future quarterly meetings were scheduled including the December’s that will takes place on December 8th at 6:30 p.m., again at the airport office. The ANC is comprised of one Aldermen from Prospect Hts. and one Trustee from Wheeling, in addition to three local residents, one from Wheeling, one from Prospect Hts. and one from Mt. Prospect. rounding out the ANC is airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott, Airport Communications Director Rob Mark and PWK Tower Manager Jim Bergagna. The group generally agreed to evaluate a number of issues on the table, such as possibly adding noise monitors around the airport to measure noise levels, as well as updating the airport’s noise models that recently expired. Another goal is to develop cost-effective solutions to airport-generated noise when possible while reviewing how noise complaints currently generated by local residents will also fit into the ANC’s agenda. The group learned that the option to seek federal funding for any local noise sound proofing of homes, for instance, is dependent upon first updating those old noise models. Jamie Abbott said he’d be talking to the Board about that at the next meeting in October. While the next quarterly meeting is, of course, open to the public, questions or comments about airport noise issues or topics to be added to the next agenda may be sent at any time to Rob Mark at, prior to that December meeting.

Wheeling/Prospect Hts. Chamber of Commerce Holds Business Meeting at Atlantic AviationWPH CHamber 9-15

Also on September 15th, nearly 50 people attended an event created by the Wheeling/Prospect Hts. Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with both the airport and Atlantic Aviation to help create the next generation of leaders in the manufacturing industry. Key to the event’s success this year and in the future, will be matching the needs of local businesses with the programs young people are studying before they graduate from local academic institutions such as Harper College, National Lewis University, District 214, Wheeling High School and Solex College. Wheeling Village Manager Dean Argiris and Prospect Hts. Mayor Nick Helmer kicked off the afternoon’s presentations, followed by comments from representatives of the various schools and finally much Q & A from the audience. The audience also learned that Wheeling and Prospect Hts. are part of the fourth largest manufacturing district in the United States. While this was the first time this particular chamber leadership gathering was held, it is expected to become an annual event. More information about the Wheeling Prospect Hts. Chamber of Commerce is available online.

Drone Course Offers PWK Pilots New Opportunities

Vortex Drone session, 5/30/15 at Atlantic Aviation, PWK.

Vortex drone demonstration by Vortex UAS at Atlantic Aviation, PWK

From the EditorsWelcome to the first edition of the airport newsletter in a digital form. Our goal is to bring you interesting stories about KPWK on a bi-weekly basis that can be easily read in the format more and more people tell us they want.

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The notice that Vortex UAS was going to hold an introductory course for drone pilots at Atlantic Aviation on Chicago Executive Airport confused some and concerned others.

Vince Donohue, a corporate pilot and president of Vortex UAS efficiently explained that as the rules exist today, to be used for commercial, for-hire purposes, a drone must be operated by an FAA certificated pilot.

Nodding toward his multi-rotor and fixed wing drones on the table, Donohue said their operation had little in common with the aircraft the half-dozen pilots in the course flew. But drones are aircraft that operate in the National Airspace System, and the participants’ pilot certification demonstrated their knowledge of FAA regulations—and first-hand experience—of operating in it.

The educational goal of the 4-hour course was to introduce the pilots to the growing aviation opportunities drones represent. The participants were evenly divided between recent and just-about-to-graduate collegiate aviators and veterans a generation older. Donohue explained the history of drones, the elements of unmanned aerial vehicles, and the components of an unmanned aircraft system, which includes the ground control station.

Addressing the legal landscape, Donohue said commercial drone operations exist today, work under case-by-case approvals, which his company will soon receive from the FAA. Flying them is a part-time opportunity, but that will change significantly when the FAA issues the final drone operating rules in the next year or so.

Before addressing current drone technology, their capabilities, and coming career opportunities, Donohue demonstrated the precise control of two camera-equipped multi-rotor drones in an adjacent hangar. One of them barely filled his hand. In the classroom, videos demonstrated a number of drone applications that shared the safe and economical flight of various sensors that accomplish hundreds of different missions.

Vortex UAS has three missions, Donohue said, training pilots to operate drones, to facilitate commercial drone missions, and to advocate for their safe and efficient integration into aviation. As it does in other industries and aspects of aviation, success in the infant drone industry hinges on the unified employment of knowledge and skills, networking, and experience, said Donohue. Vortex UAS offers all three, with expanding opportunities now that the company has earned its 333 exemption from the FAA.

Vortex’s next drone pilot class begins at KPWK on September 19. More information’s available at the VortexUAS training site.