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Critters vs. the Hurricanes

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana Coast in the summer of 2005, it was then the strongest storm ever to strike the U.S. mainland. It displaced tens of thousands of people and thousands of animals in one fell swoop. Then came Irma last week to claim the top title and that, just a week after Hurricane Harvey had devastated the southeast coast of Texas and Louisiana separating more people from their animals. Of course the animals can’t ask for help.

For better or worse, pets become a part of people’s lives. That means they’re dependent upon us for many of their basic needs like food and shelter. Without us, their fate is pretty much sealed.

In an effort to help, the folks at Signature Flight Support PWK turned a corner of the station into the local hub for critter necessities under the watchful eye of Audrey Boehner.

If you’d like to help, you can drop off any of the items in most need. A cash donation at Signature’s front desk works too at their location on Tower Road just west of Milwaukee Ave. Donations are being accepted until October 7th when everything will be packed up and head to the PAWS facility in the Chicago for the trip south to where they’re desperately needed.

No tear-jerking music here, just a request to help if you’re someone who can.

The Most Needed Items:

Dog/cat food, Bottled water, Food bowls, Leashes & collars, Blankets & towels, Litter boxes, Dog treats & chew toys, Flea & tick spray, Dog shampoo, or cleaning supplies such as bleach, dish soap, trash bags, paper towels & laundry detergent. Signature’s open 24 hours each day, seven days a week. Ring Audrey at 847-537-1200 with your questions.

 

Collings Foundation Aircraft Depart to Rave Reviews

Collings Foundation Aircraft Depart to Rave Reviews

By the time the Collings Foundation’s squadron of aircraft departed PWK last week, they’d already made quite the impression on people both on and near the airport. The 2017 visit of the world-famous B-17, B-24, B-25 and P-51 this year drew nearly 3,000 visitors, many who waited in long lines in the hot sun just for a chance to get up close to the aircraft all hunkered down on the east side ramp. A few of the lucky ones went for rides aboard these vintage birds. The money taken in at the gate and to carry riders during the week all went back to the Collings Foundation, a 501(c) 3 educational foundation, to support the aircraft and the people who flew them.

Chicago Executive Airport and Signature Flight Support-PWK again supported the vintage airplanes during their visit July 26 to the 31st. Signature deeply discounted the fuel delivered to the 4-aircraft during the stay while the airport provided some of the safety support to keep people close to the airplanes and away from the runways.

The Signature folks said, “Thousands of aviation enthusiasts and their families came to tour and take a flight, bringing back memories for many former military people who were involved with these aircraft 70 years ago.”

Once the numbers were tabulated, the Signature people said some 2,850 people passed through the gate. About 216 visitors took a ride aboard one of the airplanes during one of the 41 separate flights, 16 for the P-51 and 25 for the B-17, B-24 and B-25. The P-51 carried one passenger while the B-25 carried six. The B-17 and the B-24 were each capable of carrying 10 passengers on each trip.

If you missed them this year, the Collings Foundation airplanes will be back in July 2018. Find more on the Collings Foundation here.

60 Years at PWK and Still Going Strong

Do You Know Lou Wipotnik?

There aren’t too many things around PWK that date back to 1957. The old timers still call it Pal-Waukee Airport and will probably never stop.

The airport’s original control tower built above hangar 4 in the 60s was torn down years ago and replaced by a more modern structure where controllers keep an eye on things from high above, just east of Signature Flight Support’s ramp. In the 50s, the only way for an airplane on the ground to reach Runway 16 for a south takeoff was to wait for a gap in traffic and scoot the opposite way up the runway for a quick turnaround. Back in the late 50s and early 1960s, student pilots were often seen practicing their landings and takeoffs on Runways 24 Left and 30 Left, surfaces turned into taxiways decades ago. In the airport’s busiest days of the late 1960s and early 1970s, takeoffs and landings often hovered between 200,000-225,000 each year. In 2016, airport traffic totaled about 79,000.

If you’ve been hanging around the airport for any length of time however, there’s one fellow you might have seen or perhaps even met … Lou Wipotnik. He first came to PWK in May of 1957 when he learned to fly at Sally’s Flying School on the east side of the airport. Don’t look for Sally’s though either … the place has been closed at least 30 years.

Lou earned his Flight Instructor rating in 1968 and has been teaching in airplanes & helicopters ever since, having worked at most of the schools on the airport at one time or another. He currently instructs with Fly There and Leading Edge Flying Club at hangar five on the west side of the field and flies as an independent instructor with aircraft owner pilots at PWK.

Lou was named the FAA’s U.S. Flight Instructor of the Year in 1996, as well as having reached the Master Flight Instructor Emeritus status in 2016. He certainly hasn’t been slowing down any, even after 60 years at PWK either. Lou was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in May of last year.

A longtime member of the Chicago Airport Pilots Association, Lou served two terms as club President between 2001-2004 and has been active with the Civil Air Patrol for 32 years. Lou still teaches a variety of aviation safety seminars in the Chicagoland area as a FAASTeam Representative for the FAA FSDO #3.

“Lou is a go to guy for aviation education. He always replies in the affirmative if you need a speaker and has donated his time and effort over and over and over again. I remember especially his aviation club from before 1986 with regular tests to keep the pilots sharp and his great IFR presentations at the 99s Safety Seminar. So glad he’s shared his expertise with so many for so long and so well.  Congrats LOU on the first half of your career 😋.”

Madeleine Monaco, President, Chicago Executive Pilots Association

Noise Exposure Map Update & Open House

Noise Exposure Map Update Open House

Everyone’s invited to the airport’s public information Open House on June 29 to hear the latest updates about the Part 150 Noise Exposure Maps (NEM). The NEMs are used to generate the noise contour levels and establish best land use practices for all the airport’s runways. The FAA requires airports to update these NEMs every five years to analyze aircraft noise levels at the airport and over the surrounding communities.

The Open House begins at 6 pm and runs until 7:30 pm at Hangar 19, 1604 South Milwaukee Ave in Wheeling (directions below).

Airport staff and consultants from Mead & Hunt, the company updating the NEMs, will be on hand to answer your questions about aircraft noise and how the new NEMs might benefit the community. If you’re  unable to attend but have a question or comment you’d like included for the record, please e-mail them prior to the meeting to Jen Wolchansky at jennifer.wolchansky@meadhunt.com.

 

Directions: Hangar 19 is accessible from Milwaukee Ave on Tower Road. Additional related questions may be sent to the Airport Communications Office at rmark@chiexec.com

 

 

PWK Named Illinois 2017 Reliever Airport of the Year

Chicago Executive Named Reliever Airport of the Year

Wheeling IL, May 8, 2017 – The Illinois Department of Transportation last week named Chicago Executive Airport its 2017 Reliever Airport of the Year, confirming the airport’s critical role in the National Airspace System (NAS). Reliever airports were created decades ago in order to draw air traffic away from already congested airline hub airports such as Chicago O’Hare and Midway.

The DOT announcement highlighted a number of important criteria Chicago Executive was scored on during the competition with nearly a dozen other reliever airports around Illinois. Some of those include the airport’s safety record, airport service provided to the local community and general maintenance and upkeep of the airport itself.

Chicago Executive Airport earned the reliever airport of the year award a decade ago when the facility was still known by its old name Palwaukee Municipal Airport.

The DOT will officially hand the award to the airport’s Executive Director Jamie Abbott on May 25 during this year’s Illinois Aviation Conference in Champaign IL.

Chicago Executive Airport, located nine miles north of Chicago O’Hare International Airport, is jointly owned by the City of Prospect Heights and the Village of Wheeling. Airport governance includes input from a seven-member Board of Directors chosen from the two towns. More information about Chicago Executive Airport is available at chiexec.com.

The FAA Wants You to Text While Flying

That’s right. The FAA wants pilots to text while flying. But not on your phone. A VHF Data Link, is the digital conduit for text messages between ATC and airplanes. Consider it the next step in the Next Generation Air Transportation System. Right now participation is voluntary, but one way or another, that may change once we get past the ADS-B deadline of January 1, 2020 (How are you doing on that, by the way?).

There’s no telling if or when there will be a similar mandate for data communication equipment, but ATC has ways of encouraging aircraft operators to step up. First among them is serving first those aircraft with the desired equipment. And with data comm, being equipped is the only way to take advantage of the service.

For those fuzzy on exactly what data comm is, and what it can do, in simple terms, it’s a text message a controller sends to a pilot. When the system is fully operational, it could be anything from an IFR clearance to reroutes to a alternate destination and just about anything in between. The messages use a set format. Upon receipt, the pilot reads and then pushes a button to accept or decline the instructions. If accepted, the pilot then hits another button to load the instructions into the airplanes flight management system.

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LAMP Looks Ahead With Sensible Aviation Weather Elements at Over 1,500 Airports

Most pilots are dedicated aviation weather geeks because, at the least, their lives, and those of their passengers depend on the crew’s current knowledge of what Mother Nature is doing at Chicago Executive Airport, the flight’s destination, and everything between them. To the list of the weather information sources that pilots frequent, the National Weather Service has added LAMP, for Localized Aviation Model-Output-Statistics (MOS) Program.

In other words, LAMP focuses on more than 1,500 airports (including Chicago Executive) and provides forecast guidance on “sensible weather elements.” Sensible means they are “perceivable elements” of weather, such as temperature, dew point, wind speed, direction, and gusts, sky cover, ceiling, visibility, obstruction to vision, precipitation and type, lightning, and convective activity. And as the capture from the PWK page shows, pilots can select the sensible elements they want to see. They can also get the same info in text form, if they are so inclined.

What makes LAMP a worthwhile weather product addition to any pilot’s weather briefing resources is that it is totally automated. On the downside, it might not be as accurate as a forecast tweaked by a human meteorologist, but the LAMP graphic is updated hourly. This hourly update incorporates the latest surface conditions to create hourly forecasts that look up to 25 hours into the future. Regardless of who or what is predicting the weather, no source is 100 percent, so LAMP pairs nicely with human-involved weather products such as a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF).

At each airport’s LAMP page pilots can access fresh forecast info for the next 24 hours. The page delivers both “categorical and probabilistic forecast guidance” on the given elements, and using the selection click-boxes at the top of the page, pilots can extract the information they want. When selecting the ceiling and visibility category forecast, it includes a “conditional forecast” that takes precipitation into account. “This data attempts to account for some of the temporary fluctuations that occur in flight.”

To learn more about the LAMP, visit its homepage on the Meteorological Development Lab.

Avoid Convective Weather With New Aviation Weather Center Forecast

Knowing what Mother Nature has in store is critical for pilots planning a cross-county flight. Generally, this research starts with the big picture, with specific interest in areas of convective activity such as thunderstorms between Chicago Executive Airport and their destination. The Aviation Weather Center has made this big-picture easier to grasp with its TFM Convective Forecast (TCF).

The forecast is a collaborative effort that creates a high-confidence representation of convective activity for those making traffic flow decisions. But pilots should find looking at it beneficial because they can see how Mother Nature might affect their cross-country flights out of Chicago Exec.

Available for this year’s convective weather season, which runs from March 1 through October, the TCF is the result of the two-year Collaborated Aviation Weather Statement (CAWS) demonstration. (An auto-TCF begins in November 2017 and runs through March 2018.) Succinctly, the TCF is an agreed upon forecast, compiled from a variety of weather sources, for use by all traffic flow managers.

Collaborated between the National Weather Service and industry meteorologists and available online at www.aviationweather.gov/tcf, the TCF is issued every 2 hours, with 4, 6, and 8-hour forecast projections 24/7. All areas depicted on the graphics will be “high confidence,” meaning meteorologists are better than 50 percent sure of it. TCF graphically indicates convective coverage. Tops of the convective activity are given in 5,000-foot increments starting at 25,000 feet and extending above 40,000 for you high flyers.

TCF is the primary convective guidance traffic flow managers use to plan their efforts to safely and efficiently guide rivers of airplanes across the country. If you’re interested in more information about TCF or Traffic Flow Management, visit its online Learning Center.

Don’t Lead Other Aircraft Astray With Improper ADS-B & Transponder Tests

Apparently technicians conducting ground tests of transponders and ADS-B Out system have not been following all of the recommended procedures because the FAA has received a number of reports that the aircraft being tested has transmitted position information, including a simulated altitude.

What makes this situation a problem is that aircraft in flight received this test information, and when the test aircraft’s simulated ADS-B altitude was too close to that of another aircraft in flight, let’s just say that the pilots of the flying aircraft were more than a little bit concerned.

In one instance, said FAA Safety Alert for Operators 17002, which addressed this problem, the ADS-B Out test that transmitted a simulated altitude triggered a TCAS (traffic alert and collision avoidance system) resolution advisory (which way to go, such as climb, to avoid a midair collision) on a Boeing 737 on an approach.

Given Chicago Exec’s proximity to TCAS-equipped aircraft conducting terminal operations, it behooves everyone to invest a few minutes in reading the SAFO and ensuring that all test operations follow the proper procedures. And this applies to the operators of all aircraft equipped with ADS-B.

Following the proper procedures is the easiest way to avoid leading airborne aircraft astray with ghostly ADS-B position and altitude reports from aircraft being tested on the ground. There is little chance of this happening if the transponder and ADS-B system being tested has their transmission leads connected directly to the test equipment and not their respective antennas.

But depending on the aircraft, making this test-equipment connection is not always possible. In that case, the antennas must be shielded to prevent position and simulated altitude reports being transmitted to the air traffic control system and TCAS-equipped aircraft in the area.

To test the altitude reporting component of these systems, the test equipment is connected to the pitot-static system, which allows the technician to raise or lower the air pressure the system senses. This simulates the air pressure at different altitudes.

As a backup to following the proper transponder and ADS-B test procedures and effective antenna shielding, when required, technicians testing these systems should also notify the nearest air traffic control facility (that would be the Chicago Exec tower) about the impending tests.

Before they call, the should review the relevant guidance in the current Advisory Circular 29-151, “ Airworthiness Approval of TCAS II and Associated Mode S Transponders,” AC 43.6, “Altitude Reporting Equipment and Transponder System Maintenance and Inspection Practices,” and AC 20-165, “Airworthiness Approval of Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast Out Systems.”

Chicago Executive Airport’s EMAS System Earns Top Award

Chicago Executive Airport’s Safety System Earns Top Award

Some of you might recall an incident in January of last year when during an early morning arrival, a Falcon 20 cargo jet crew realized after touchdown on Runway 16 that they wouldn’t be able to halt their aircraft before the end of the runway. Landing to the south, Palatine Road runs east to west just off the airport’s property. Luckily for all involved, the airport had recently installed an Engineered Material Arresting System at both ends of the long runway. Landing to the south that morning, the Falcon ran into the EMAS system that safely stopped the airplane in just a few seconds with very little damage to the aircraft and zero injuries to anyone. That EMAS was installed because there was not enough flat surface available at either end of the runway to serve as the normal runway safety area demanded by the FAA.

That EMAS project, let by the airport’s engineering firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly was recently honored with a Merit Award at ACEC Illinois’ annual Engineering Excellence Award banquet earlier this month.

The Chicago Executive Airport Runway Safety Area Improvement project demonstrated how engineering ingenuity can help an airport continue to thrive despite a tightly-constrained environment. Due to those space restrictions, CMT proposed, designed, and championed for both approval and funding for the EMAS that saved the day in January 2016. EMAS allowed the airport to improve the runway safety area without the need to use any additional real estate and without sacrificing the level of operations at the state’s third busiest airport.

CMT vice president Brian Welker said, “It’s certainly an honor for CMT, but I’m especially grateful that Chicago Executive Airport is being recognized for all the work they’ve done. They’ve been committed to improving their facility for many years now. PWK is an invaluable asset, both to the people and businesses who use the airport, and to the overall economy of the region.”

Nice job folks.