Monthly Archives: December 2015

Residents Turn to PWK as Drone Resource

drone 2Every holiday season is busy, for everyone these days. This year, 2015, opened a door into a new world of safety concerns for everyone who operates at Chicago Executive airport.

A few weeks before Christmas, as sales projections for unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones as most of us call them, indicated more than a million of these little buzzers might find their way under Christmas trees around the U.S., aviation-industry thinking began to realize that many of those drones would soon be operated by people who knew next to nothing about the aviation industry. The airspace above everyone’s is very well organized to ensure that every aircraft in the sky, does so safely. But how could we talk to new drone operators and tell them that their drone might end up becoming a nuisance to aircraft, at best, or a hazard at worst, much the way the hazardous use of laser pointers has increased the past five year?

The airport management team at Chicago Executive airport, as well as the Board of Directors, decided to preempt the potential for a collision between a drone and an airplane by creating a public education campaign to inform users of the dangers their vehicles could create should they be flying within five miles of any airport, but specifically around PWK. The information we’ve gathered over the past month has formed the basis of the airport’s new Drone Resource page where users will find useful links to FAA documents, safety-training videos and organizations that support the drone industry.  We were pleased the Daily Herald thought enough of our recent efforts to run a front page story about drones on Christmas Eve. People can subscribe to airport updates on the resource page that will include fresh information about drones as soon as we receive it.

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The airport doesn’t want to restrict anyone’s use of a new UAV. In fact, we don’t have such authority anyway. But we would like this new class of aviators to realize the safety of everyone on board a manned aircraft could be threatened when people operate drones irresponsibly, especially near an airport.

We’d like to urge anyone operating, or thinking about operating a drone, to take a look at our new resource page, or pass this link along to anyone in the community they think might benefit from better understanding the safety issues surrounding a potential mix-up of UAVs and airplanes. Of course we’re also here to answer your questions about how drones fit into the world these days. You’ll find all the contact information you need on our Drone Resource page.



Chicago Helicopter Experience Serves Chicago Executive with Premier Charter Service

che cityFrom its founding in 2011 until the City of Chicago approved its downtown heliport in 2014, Chicago Executive Airport was home for Chicago Helicopter Experience, CHE. Its founding airport is just one of the destinations served by the company’s recently announced service, Premier Charters. Operating under an FAA Part 135 charter certificate, PWK leads the list of CHE’s most popular destinations, just 11 minutes from its downtown terminal.

Flying the five-passenger EC130 and twin-turbine EC-135 helicopters, CHE’s instrument-rated commercial pilots stand ready to get passengers where they need to go 24/7 at 160 mph. In addition to Chicago Exec, CHE’s popular destinations include airports throughout Chicagoland, from O’Hare and Midway to Aurora, DuPage, Schaumburg, South Bend, Gary/Chicago, Michigan City, and the Grand Geneva Resort. At Chicago Exec and the other airports it serves, CHE can land at the FBO of the customer’s choice.

CHE also serves a number of off-airport destinations. They include the Medinah, Autobahn, and Cog Hill country clubs, the Harborside International Golf Center, Chicagoland Speedway, the Northbrook Gun Club, and the Horseshoe Casino. But the company makes it clear that the destinations it serves are not limited to this list. As its website makes clear, “We will fly you anywhere in the Midwest quickly and comfortably.”

Making the most of time is what aviation does best. Fixed-wing aircraft are better suited for longer distances and helicopters have no equals when it comes to shorter distances, especially in cities where almost every square foot of space is already spoken for. Together, they form a partnership that serves people’s aviation needs. When it comes to travel, the shortest distance is not a straight line; it is the ultimate destination’s nearest airport and heliport.

che mapChicago Executive is mere hours from any airport on either coast, and CHE’s heliport, located 2 miles from McCormick Place, 3 miles from the financial district, and less than 4 miles from the Magnificent Mile, is just 11 minutes from PWK. In 2016, at its downtown heliport, CHE will open its 20,000-square-foot LEED Gold certified terminal with its green rooftop and flight observation deck. In addition to customer service amenities and meeting facilities, it will feature a customer experience center with interactive and educational exhibits. It covers almost all the transportation bases. It is just off I-55, with ample free parking. A water taxi dock is part of its 2016 additions, as is bicycle parking.

Premier charter service is but one aspect of CHE’s services. The company was founded on aviation’s primary reward, viewing the world from an elevated perspective—day or night. But the addition is significant to aviation throughout Chicagoland because it inaugurates helicopter service to and from the city.

Long-Time PWK Pilot Announces Retirement From CAP

Lou Wipotnik and Jamie_30 Nov 2015Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Lt. Colonel Lou Wipotnik, a long-time PWK flight instructor and former commander of the Chicago Executive airport squadron last week donated a hand-carved model of a Cessna 172 to the growing office collection of airport Executive Director Jamie Abbott. The donation occurred as Wipotnik announced his retirement from the CAP after 26 years of service, effective November 30, 2015. The 172 is an exact replica of N903CP, a CAP aircraft once based at PWK.

Wipotnik said, “I wanted to offer the Executive Director a small token of appreciation for the years of wonderful treatment he’s offered CAP, as well as the cooperation we’ve received from the Village of Wheeling and the City of Prospect Heights.”

Lou Wipotnik began flying in 1957 at Sallie’s Flying School at PWK and joined CAP that same year rising to become first the squadron and then CAP group commander until he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1964. He returned to PWK in 1989 and served at the PWK squadron until his retirement.

Wipotnik was also in 1996 named the FAA’s Flight Instructor of the Year and was recently inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame for 2016. Despite his retirement from CAP, Lou says he’ll continue to teach people to fly at the Leading Edge Flying Club and Fly There LLC, both based at hangar 5, as well as with individual aircraft owners.