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Instruct the Instructor: ‘At the Cross Roads’ …

Instruct the Instructor: ‘At the Cross Roads’ Community Education Conference Recap:

Written by Drew Schnaath, Jul DeGeus and Esperanza Poquiz

Faculty and staff from The Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura College, and Tidewater Tech met with colleagues and industry specialists to enrich themselves, their campuses, and become better community leaders and more effective educators. On March 14th, leadership and instructors converged in Falls Church, VA to attend the annual Education Conference.

Left to right: Vice President Joel English, Damon Cook, Vice President Mike Busjahn and Nate Wade.

“This year’s theme centered around the intersection of education and community, how our schools work together with their respective communities,” said Dr. Mary Urbanski. “We believe in cultivating our school families, the greater communities surrounding our schools, and our faculty.” These relationships foster collaboration, integrity, and innovation, which benefits students, employers and the communities involved:

Centura Columbia hosted a three part Rock that Interview series of events, leading up to their Career Fair. The sessions educated those who attended on the following subjects: Writing your cover letter, creating your resume, collecting references and building your portfolio.

AIM Atlanta, AIM Chesapeake and AIM Manassas ‘drifted’ from aviation maintenance to automotive, as each campus hosted a Car Show & Open House. Automotive enthusiast learned a thing or two touring the hangars, while Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) admired the maintenance and upgrades of the vehicles that cruised onto the campus.

In September, members of the Hampton Roads campus branches partook in the organization and volunteering of the Safe House Half Marathon and 5k. 100% of the proceeds of this race went towards building a “safe house”- a haven for orphans that are at risk of being sold into sex slavery.

Centura Norfolk partnered with the City of Norfolk’s Fire-Rescue Department to develop an academic preparation training program for new recruits of the Fire-Rescue Academy. This free of charge program aims to help refresh the basic knowledge a participant will need to be successful in the Fire-Rescue Academy, as well as provides additional tutoring to ensure each recruit has the tools they need to succeed.

Tidewater Tech connected with the community’s strong military presence by holding a car wash and yard sale to benefit the crew members of the USS Eisenhower. Chief Petty Officer selectees from the vessel worked alongside Tidewater Teach staff members to make sure that every car that came for a wash was in ship shape!

For Christmas, AIM Indianapolis decked the halls with charity organizations, Bearded Villains and Bad Apple Offroad, to collect gifts for Toys for Tots. The holiday event gave families the chance to come to the campus and enjoy food, music and fun, while raising donations for a great cause!

Conference attendees heard from several well-known speakers, including Dr. Michael E. Wooten from the Department of Education, Cindy Bridges Milford, Enterprise Digital Specialist at Cengage and Dale Dworak, a 25-year industry veteran in business technology solutions. Campus educators were also able to learn from text book publishers such as Cengage, McGraw Hill Education, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Pearson and F.A. Davis Company. Each speaker offered valuable insight into their experiences in education, business, leadership, management, and even the technology that powers these institutions and ideas.

In addition to the veritable wealth of information, our faculty had the chance to meet and network with colleagues from our other brands and campuses. Jon Cason explained “Our goal is to foster community, both inside and outside our organization. Collaboration is important for our schools as they continue to grow.”

The post Instruct the Instructor: ‘At the Cross Roads’ Community Education Conference Recap appeared first on AIM Blog.

via AIM Blog

Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia Prepare for …

Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia Prepare for Battle as Joint Venture Ends:

It’s not often we see a joint venture unravel, but that’s exactly what’s happening across the Tasman as Air New Zealand has informed Virgin Australia that the party is over. Beginning October 28, the 8-year old joint venture between the two will end, and the partners will turn into enemies. You might think this would result in fewer flight options, reversing the justifications airlines often use to get joint ventures approved, but that’s not the case. The airlines are instead ramping up service to try to battle with each other.

Virgin Australia has been a mess for several years. Its strategy to try to move upmarket and compete head-to-head with Qantas has just not turned in acceptable financial results over time. It has had to raise money time and time again, and it now has 5 different major owners (Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Group, HNA Group, and Nanshan Group) pulling in every direction. Things have improved in the most recent half-year, but the airline is still in a challenging spot.

Air New Zealand used to own about a quarter of Virgin Australia. Back in 2010, the two carriers started their joint venture for travel between Australia and New Zealand so they could better compete with Qantas. A couple years back, Air New Zealand became so fed up with Virgin Australia that it tried to get new leadership installed. That failed, and Air New Zealand ended up selling its stake. The joint venture wasn’t killed immediately, but it required submitting for approval to renew this October. Air New Zealand declined, and that shouldn’t come as a surprise thanks to the history here.

Forgetting about the soap-opera level of drama here, does it make sense to end this partnership? Probably. If two airlines don’t have the same goals, then a partnership isn’t likely to work. And things have changed for Air New Zealand in particular.

Air New Zealand has spent a lot of time building up Auckland into a gateway to Australia for North American travelers. It has upgraded flights in the bigger Trans-Tasman markets to use long-haul aircraft with international premium cabins. It has also added a great deal of capacity into the US with Houston and soon, Chicago, flights coming into the mix. In other Trans-Tasman markets, Air New Zealand has focused on serving the local market with all-coach airplanes. Air New Zealand is much bigger than Virgin Australia in the Trans-Tasman market, and it thinks it has built up is presence enough that Virgin Australia isn’t as necessary.

When airlines make their pitches for a joint venture, they usually talk about all the additional traffic that tie-ups will create. The increased connectivity and coordinated schedules are supposed to result in an increase in service. So, if that’s the case, then we should expect service options to fall when a joint venture breaks up, right? Well, not in this case.

Both airlines have announced that they’ll be ramping up service individually. Here’s the plan for each.

Air New Zealand

  • Auckland – Brisbane goes from 17 to 20 flights per week
  • Auckland – Sydney goes from 5 to 6 daily
  • Christchurch – Brisbane goes from daily to a mix of 1 to 2 daily flights
  • Christchurch – Melbourne goes from daily to a mix of 1 to 2 daily flights

There are also a lot of strategic increases during seasons or on weekends. You can see those details here.

Virgin Australia

  • Sydney – Wellington up to 5x weekly (new flight)
  • Melbourne – Queenstown up to 4x weekly (new flight)
  • Sydney – Auckland gets one additional daily flight
  • Melbourne – Auckland goes from 11 flights per week to 14
  • Brisbane – Auckland sees a couple extra flights per week

It’s not all an increase here. Virgin Australia is also decreasing Melbourne – Christchurch from 11 to 7 weekly flights and Brisbane – Wellington down from 14 to 9 weekly. (You can see full details.) But overall, you can see this is an increase in capacity for both airlines. So what gives?

Well, Virgin Australia says that it is changing the times on its schedules to “better suit the needs of both leisure and business travellers.” Scheduling no longer requires coordination with Air NZ’s services, so this re-timing makes sense and may help Virgin Australia to fill more seats. But is this really going to result in a huge increase in passengers? I can’t imagine so.

Instead, this to me appears to be an example of airlines trying to continue to offer the same level of service so that they can fight for the travelers who now have to pick an allegiance. In markets like Auckland to Sydney, there will be a fair bit more capacity with two additional daily flights between the two airlines. That should mean that fares will come down as the two airlines try to jockey for position.

In short, this increase in service isn’t likely a result of actual market needs. This is about trying to get the upper hand. It would be more interesting to see what happens in a year. Will there still be as much service from these two airlines in November 2019 as there is in 2018? I would expect that someone will have to either blink or get comfortable with reduced margins.

April 24, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Virgin America Has One More Day Before it Disa…

Virgin America Has One More Day Before it Disappears and Alaska Is Prepared:

Virgin America’s time is almost up. After the last flight goes tomorrow night, April 24, the airline will officially be gone from the public eye. Starting Wednesday, all those Airbuses operate under the Alaska Airlines name. There are many milestones in a merger, but for the public, the passenger service system (PSS, aka reservation system) cutover in the big one. Sometimes these migrations have gone horribly wrong (US Airways/America West and United/Continental are the poster-children) while others have gone extremely well (most recently, American/US Airways). How will this one go? After talking to the team running this cutover, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t go smoothly.

I’ve written about how American and US Airways set the gold standard for how to do a cutover, but Alaska and Virgin America are making things even more fool-proof. I spoke with Charu Jain, Alaska’s Chief Information Officer as well as Sandy Stelling, Managing Director of Process Engineering (and project lead for the migration) who walked me through the plan.

You’ll remember that American and US Airways did a “drain down” meaning that at 90 days before the day they wanted to cut over, they stopped accepting reservations on US Airways and sold the flights as American only. That meant that there were very few reservations that needed to be migrated to the new system since most bookings happen within 90 days of travel. Alaska and Virgin America are taking this one step further. They won’t have to migrate a single booking.

About a year ago, Alaska made the decision to set April 25, 2018 as the date that all flights would operate under the Alaska name. So at 330 days before departure when reservations would normally open for sale on Virgin America… they didn’t. Oh sure, you could keep buying tickets on Alaska’s Boeing fleet. But the Virgin America Airbus routes just didn’t go on sale for travel past April 24. In fact, they kept cutting down the booking window for the Airbuses, not taking any bookings past April 24 until October 5 when the schedule finally opened for sale… as Alaska flights.

That means Alaska had to migrate exactly ZERO bookings from the Virgin America reservation system. Every booking was made on Alaska Airlines. So, uh, end of story, right? What else matters? Well, there are a few things.

Airport Training
While the bookings had all come in on Alaska, there’s still the issue of making sure the Virgin America people at airports know how to use the new Alaska systems. It certainly helps that both airlines use Sabre, but they each have different graphical overlays, so the Virgin America people had to learn something new.

At the time of the merger, Virgin America operated at 29 airports, and all but 2 were also airports where Alaska flew. Those two, LaGuardia and Love Field, got Alaska flights soon after the merger, and the airlines worked hard to co-locate in all of those airports as quickly as possible.

With the teams working together, Alaska decided to install both Alaska and Virgin America systems on every workstation. Training of Virgin America airport employees began last November and has been happening continuously. So Virgin America employees have been exposed to Alaska’s system for several months, and have used it in real-life on Alaska flights as well. They should be well-prepared.

Call Center Training
What about in the reservation centers? This one was easy. Virgin America outsourced its call centers to a third party, so, as Virgin America bookings wound down and volume increased on Alaska, Alaska started hiring in its own call centers in Boise, Phoenix, and Seattle. There are today more than 300 additional res agents on the Alaska side.

At the same time, Virgin America stopped using one of the outsourced call centers as volume shrunk. There are fewer and fewer people working in the second one. On April 25, calls will all go to Alaska’s in-house team, so no training of the old outsourced agents was needed.

Why Wednesday?
As I was going over this information, I stopped and realized how weird it was that they would make the switch on a Tuesday night into Wednesday. Why do that when most airlines do Friday night into the quieter weekend? Alaska had a lot of reasons, actually.

  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays are quieter operational days with fewer flights.
  • Demand is lower, so load factors are lighter and they could thin out the schedule by cutting more redeyes that night without having a big negative impact.
  • Middle of the week tends to have more experienced travelers who are more likely to understand how things work and need less hand-holding.
  • Lastly, Alaska’s most senior employees tend to be working on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and not on the weekend.

Adding all that up, Alaska thought mid-week was the way to go.

What to Expect
So what exactly can you expect to see that’s different between April 24 and April 25? Not much. The last departure goes surprisingly early on the 24th. It’s Virgin America flight 1947 leaving Los Angeles at 9:35pm and arriving San Francisco at 11:04pm. If you wanted to be on that flight, too bad. It’s a celebration flight for Virgin America employees who were there since the beginning. But there are flights which will land later, including a couple of the only redeyes still flying like SF to Newark and LA to Philly.

When the 25th arrives, things will only look mildly different. Alaska has already replaced Virgin America signage where it could. In some places, the Alaska signage is hiding beneath a Virgin America sticker which will just be removed. Alaska has already installed enough of its own kiosks to handle the full passenger load for both airlines. The old Virgin America kiosks aren’t being rewired. They’re being retired.

Possibly the most noticeable difference will be the extra employees in the airport. Alaska is staffing up in the Virgin America stations just in case there’s an issue, but really, there shouldn’t be….

What Could Go Wrong?
With all the bookings being made in Alaska’s system and employees already proficient in the new system, what actually could go wrong? Very little, but there are a couple points to watch.

The first is flight status, or what Alaska calls “flight movement.” The Airbus fleet will still run on the legacy Virgin America system for now when it comes to flight movement, and Alaska had to make sure that the res system would work with that. The work has been done and it’s been tested, but I’ll be looking for errant flight status information on that day if things don’t work right. Still, that shouldn’t be a major source of delays even if there is a hiccup.

The bigger threat could be the the passenger counts used for weight and balance. That’s also on a legacy system for the Airbus fleet, and it too has been tested with the Alaska reservation system. If that goes wrong, there are backups. But if you see them manually calculating weight and balance, then you know things have gone really wrong. That could cause delays if it were to happen, but that’s a pretty small risk compared to what we’ve seen in other migrations.

There are just so few potential points of failure in this cutover that it’s remarkable. Chances are, it’ll go smoothly and you’ll never even know anything changed. That is, unless you’re a Virgin America fan. Then you can recognize this as a key point in the ultimate demise of the airline. Sure, some of those airplanes will still have the name painted on the side and purple mood-lighting for awhile longer, but the end is near.

April 23, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Kansas City International: First U.S. Airport …

Kansas City International: First U.S. Airport with a Fleet of Electric Buses:

One of KCI's new electric buses. - Photo: Kansas City Aviation Department

One of KCI’s new electric buses – Photo: Kansas City Aviation Department

Today, countries all around the world are celebrating Earth Day. We recognize that transportation accounts for the vast majority of climate-changing emissions, and for what it’s worth, the industry and its supporting partners are starting to as well. Some could argue that the change is coming too slowly and that’s hardly contestable. The solution to climate change isn’t something we will solve overnight, or, apparently, in the 48 years since the first Earth Day. However, we at AirlineReporter are optimists and do our best to highlight the positives wherever we can. Enjoy this story about how a medium-sized, midwest airport is taking steps to sprinkle a small bit of sustainability into their own operations.

Late last year my hometown airport quietly deployed four brand-new 100%-electric buses to their fleet. Why should AirlineReporter readers care? Because being first is important. The Kansas City airport was the first U.S. airport to deploy all-electric buses alongside their existing fleet. Not Portland, not San Francisco, nor Austin – Kansas City. An airport in a so-called “red state” beat dozens of others on a short-list of airports in progressive and environmentally-friendly states. As a plug-in driver myself, I’m proud to see Kansas City International Airport lead its peers. Excellence deserves praise, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

I would contend that the best-managed airports are ones which appropriately reflect the local culture. These economic drivers are, after all, the front door to the greater community and a basis for first impressions. Thanks in part to leadership by KCP&L, the local electric utility, our two-state Kansas City metro is home to one of the largest EV charging station networks in the U.S. The Kansas City metro area also routinely ranks near the top for electric vehicle sales each year. Electrics are a big deal here in what many of us now refer to as the “Midwest Silicon Prairie.” It should come as no surprise that these electric buses arrived less than a year after the airport and KCP&L installed 27 dual-head (meaning two outlets) ChargePoint stations in the various airport-managed and partnered parking facilities.

Looking inside one of the electric buses. - Photo: Kansas City Aviation Department

Looking inside one of the electric buses – Photo: Kansas City Aviation Department

About the electric buses

The BYD electric buses picked up by Kansas City International offer a 144-mile range and can recharge in 2-3 hours using special high voltage chargers which the airport had installed as a part of their purchase. These buses are currently deployed on the economy parking circuit, the largest and most demanding of the bus assignments at the airport.

BONUSUrban Exploration: Kansas City International’s Shuttered Terminal A

As a plug-in driver myself, the number one question I get is about range. “How far can you get per charge?” Despite being an electric vehicle proponent, I still recognize the importance of a healthy dash of skepticism. On a recent visit to the airport, I did my best to replicate the “blue bus route” (economy lot buses are simply known as the blue buses) to understand the time and mileage associated with a single round. The roughly seven-mile trip clocked in at just under 30 minutes with typical traffic, lights, and low speed limits. Of course, I wasn’t making multiple load/unload stops along the way. Using a liberal estimate of roughly 14 miles driven per hour, the buses have more than enough range for a typical 8-hour shift, potentially enough for a 12-hour shift if the operator plugs in while on lunch.

The BYD electric buses join a fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) powered buses which, again, KCI was among the first to implement. CNG has become the defacto-standard for most public buses, just as I expect electrics will given time.

About BYD

BYD is Chinese-based and still an obscure manufacturer in U.S. BYD, which stands for “Build Your Dreams” is North America’s largest electric bus supplier with a large plant just outside of Los Angeles, CA. A firm backed by Warren Buffet, they also claim to be the largest EV-bus company in the world. BYD has delivered around 150 electric buses domestically, but over 27,000 worldwide.

BYD has recently made headlines in delivering over 16,000 electric buses to Shenzhen, the Chinese industrial megacity with a population of nearly twelve million. Shenzhen, the home to BYD HQ, just recently met its ambitious goal of converting their entire bus fleet to electrics and has now refocused their attention on 100% conversion of their taxies.

Final thoughts

I have written a lot on AirlineReporter about happenings here in Kansas City and our airport over the years. Typically my stories are regarding new (to us) news or coverage of events that regularly happen elsewhere. It’s not often that we here in the so-called “flyover country” get our place in the limelight. I am deeply proud of our airport and its administration for their environmental leadership and reflection of our local, passionate electric vehicle culture. I look forward to seeing other airports follow KCI’s example.

The post Kansas City International: First U.S. Airport with a Fleet of Electric Buses appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 23, 2018 at 12:57AM Source:

Cranky on the Web: Rethinking Window Seats Aft…

Cranky on the Web: Rethinking Window Seats After Southwest 1380:

Window seat or aisle? After Southwest incident, some fliers think twiceCNN Money
If you read the title of this post and rolled your eyes, then we’re in the same boat. When I got the call saying some people were suggesting that they would reconsider window seats because of the death that occurred on Southwest 1380, I started to rant. The odds of something like this happening in the same exact way are so incredibly tiny. You’re more likely to die by getting run over by a cart in the aisle, or something else equally improbable and ridiculous. But, I did change my tune toward the end of my conversation. I think people should definitely start choosing aisles more. That leaves more window seat options for me.

April 21, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Thank You Pilots

Thank You Pilots:

My kiddos aboard an Airbus A320, thanks to a gracious Delta first officer.

Knowing you’re in good hands is more than an insurance company slogan, it is a daily practice for the talented men and women who fly millions of people safely around the globe on a daily basis.

Less than 24 hours after the engine explosion that killed one person on Southwest Airlines flight 1380, I boarded an airplane with my two children for an international flight back home.  The kiddos (11 and 8) heard a little news about the incident, but I intentionally did not give them all the details so they wouldn’t get worried as we had two flights with a combined eight hours in the air that day.

As soon as we boarded, the first officer immediately said hello to my kids and quickly offered them a look up front. The kids were game and their AvGeek dad was more than willing to check out the flight deck of the Delta Air Lines A320 that would be safely getting us back to the USA.

Being the former TV news reporter, it’s habit to ask him lots of questions – which planes he’s flown, Airbus or Boeing and what one is his favorite. The thing that stuck out about the chat was his mentioning flying a KC-10 refueling tanker for the Air Force.

A Delta Airbus A320 - Photo: Aero Icarus

A Delta Airbus A320 – Photo: Aero Icarus | FlickrCC

When I asked him if flying a civilian plane must be quite boring compared with the military, he smiled and said “no, at least here there’s less chance of getting shot at.” Good point. If he handled military combat zones, in a big plane filled with fuel, then getting into Atlanta should be a piece of cake!

It is not rare to find veteran pilots, like the one I recently met. The Air Line Pilots Association reports 44 percent of Delta Air Lines pilots have served in the military.

Tammie Jo Shults was in the left seat when she made the emergency landing on SW 1380. She is also a veteran and one of the first women to ever fly a Navy F/A-18 fighter jet. For those with an urban dictionary, that’s considered “badass!” She and her first officer deserve the talk show appearances, book deals and speaking fees that come with such a feat.

My appreciation for pilots came during a TV news story 20 years ago. I had the honor of showing the training Air Force B-1 bomber pilots go through and got to fly with them on a training mission. I spent an entire day with them before the flight, going over their flight plan and doing all the “regress training” required in case there was an emergency. Pilot Kevin McCandless was at the controls that day and was as good as they come. Today he’s in the left seat of an MD-11 for FedEx.

A B1 Lancer – Photo: Airwolfhound | FlickrCC

The thing that struck me during the pre-flight the flight itself was the calmness and professionalism they displayed. I wasn’t a bit nervous hopping aboard because these guys were so cool and capable. We did an in-air refueling and they made it look easier than most people pulling up at a corner gas station, no less one that’s flying in the air.

Stop and think about how talented you have to be to fly a military aircraft and all the training required. Then tack on the idea of flying in hostile territory and its a safe bet you’re in mighty good hands if your pilot has served our country. More good news, a large number of air traffic controllers also have a military background. If they can figure out how to get planes in and out of an Iraqi desert, certainly O’Hare or LAX can’t be that bad?

Training for non-military pilots is extensive too, including years spent at smaller regional airlines before getting the call to the big leagues, or “mainline” as they say in the industry.

2 time NHL All Star, current American Airlines Captain Al Secord Photo: Brian DeRoy

One pilot I met has played in two big leagues. Al Secord was a 1978 first round draft choice in the National Hockey League and played 14 years in the pros. In the early 80’s he was a feared opponent, racking up 94 goals and nearly 500 penalty minutes in just two seasons. He was hated by so many teams that fans would often chant “Secord Sucks” when his Chicago Blackhawks took the ice.  He told me the “Secord Sucks” chant was an honor, that meant he was making a difference and helping his team.

Secord earned two All-Star game appearances, getting to skate with Wayne Gretzky.

After hanging up the blades and likely icing down his knuckles (he played when fighting in hockey was a lot more common), Secord took up another passion in life: flying. Breaking into aviation doesn’t have a draft or high-powered agents like today, he had to train and learn like everyone else. He spent six years at regional airlines before getting the call to the big leagues with American Airlines. He worked his way up from first officer of an MD-88, to captain of a 737. April marks his 20th year with American, six more than he played in the NHL.

Have you thanked your pilot today? Photo: American Airlines.

I met him while working with Boeing and found his passion for flying equal to his love of hockey. He shares a love of flying with his wife Tracy, who also flies for American. Guess where they met? Yep, flight school!

Whether your pilot was a military fighter jet commander, a pro hockey all-star, or worked their way through the piloting ranks, stop and thank them for a job well done. They’ve spent a lot of time and money training and work weekends, holidays and early mornings to get you safely to your destination. We hope they don’t have to take heroic action like Captain Shults did recently, but if things get dicey we know they’re ready for anything.

And if you see Captain Secord, lay off the “Secord Sucks” chant. Hockey is only a game and he’s on your team now!

The post Thank You Pilots appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 21, 2018 at 06:19AM Source:

AIM and Fulcrum Labs’ PAMC Course Named “Cool …

AIM and Fulcrum Labs’ PAMC Course Named “Cool Tool” Winner in EdTech Digest Awards:

The Aviation Institute of Maintenance and Fulcrum’s Personalized, Adaptive Learning Platform Earns Cool Tool Status, Helping to Shape the Future of Learning.

The Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) and Fulcrum Labs, a leader in personalized, adaptive learning technology and predictive analytics, won EdTech Digest’s prestigious Cool Tool Award in the category of Best Professional Skills Solution. These awards represent the largest and most competitive recognition program in all of education technology, recognizing the biggest names in edtech.

The award was presented to AIM and Fulcrum Labs for their collaboration in creating AIM’s successful Professional Aviation Maintenance Certification (PAMC) course – an online test-prep program powered by Fulcrum’s proprietary AI-driven adaptive learning platform to prepare AIM students for the high-stakes FAA mechanic certification exams. The award-winning entry highlighted key metrics such as a 14-percent improvement in pass rates and a dramatic 25-percent increase in student exam participation, once again, validating Fulcrum’s mission to turn learners into confident subject matters.

“Our program is two years long, and students were often struggling to retain what they learned at the beginning of their coursework. PAMC has helped our students as both a confidence booster and to solidify mastery and application of the material prior to taking the FAA exams,” said Dr. Joel English, VP of AIM. “It has resulted in a higher rate of exam participation and an increase in exam pass rates from 79-percent to 90-percent.”

“The FAA Aircraft Mechanic Certifications are truly make or break exams for these students,” said Patrick Weir, CEO of Fulcrum Labs. “Students who pass have greater opportunities for career advancement and are poised to make as much as $80,000 more per year than their peers who don’t pass. By giving these students the tools and confidence to be more successful, we’re making a real impact in their lives and futures, which continues to validate the tremendous, measurable results that adaptive learning is providing in learning and development at large.

The EdTech Awards recognizes people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere.

“We celebrate who’s who and what’s next in edtech,” said Victor Rivero, who as Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest, oversees the awards program. “The innovators, leaders, and trendsetters represented here are dauntless, dedicated, and determined in their work.”

About Fulcrum Labs

Fulcrum Labs turns students into learners and learners into confident subject matter masters through its personalized, adaptive learning and predictive analytics (PALPA™) SaaS platform. This advanced learning platform leverages AI and machine learning to replicate and scale many of the benefits of a dedicated, one-on-one tutor, while verifying mastery and predicting those who are at risk of not applying the training. Fulcrum’s customers have seen tremendous results in markets including commercial aviation, healthcare, manufacturing, certification prep and higher education. For more information on Fulcrum Labs, please visit

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at:

About EdTech Digest Awards

Further information about The EdTech Awards is available here:

The post AIM and Fulcrum Labs’ PAMC Course Named “Cool Tool” Winner in EdTech Digest Awards appeared first on AIM Blog.

via AIM Blog

3 Links I Love: Allegiant and the FAA Get Hamm…

3 Links I Love: Allegiant and the FAA Get Hammered, Rolls Royce Has Engine Problems Yet Again:

This week’s TWO featured links:
I decided to feature two links this week, because they shine light on two sides of the same coin…

Allegiant Air: The Budget Airline Flying Under the Radar60 Minutes
In case you missed it, 60 Minutes ran a scathing half-hour piece on Allegiant’s safety issues last Sunday. It makes the FAA look pretty bad too. Now the question is… how much is right? Had Allegiant bothered to actually comment on the story, maybe some of the inaccuracies could have been resolved easily. But no, Allegiant inexplicably wouldn’t talk to 60 Minutes, and that instantly made the airline look guilty in the public eye. After the story went live, Allegiant finally woke up…

Personal message from Allegiant CEO Maury GallagherYouTube
Here’s a video from CEO Maury Gallagher that was uploaded on Tuesday talking about the report. He refutes some of what was in there, and I’ve talked to people who have been crunching the numbers. It’s not easy getting to some of the exact data points mentioned in the story, so I don’t quite know what to believe and what not to believe. But as they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire (inappropriate pun intended). There are issues here in one form or another.

Either way, I don’t think this hurts Allegiant in the long run. People will still keep buying tickets because it’s cheap and in many cases, it’s the only nonstop option. Oh, and did I mention it’s cheap?

One for the road:
FAA imposes restrictions on Boeing 787s powered by some Rolls enginesThe Seattle Times
Remember when Rolls Royce had those A380 engine problems? Well, now it’s time for the 787s to have trouble. No US airlines are impacted since they don’t have Rolls onboard, but British Airways, Norwegian, and ANA all do. And now they have to fly closer to alternate airports while this gets worked out.

April 20, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Southwest’s Post-Accident Response Starts the …

Southwest’s Post-Accident Response Starts the Right Way, But The Road is Long:

At first, it seemed like a routine engine failure. Sure, the pictures coming off Southwest flight 1380 looked bad as did the panicked passenger response, but we’ve seen that plenty of times. It was only in February that a United 777 lost an engine cowling and those images looked just as bad. But the more we learned, the more the severity of this situation became clear. The window was knocked out by the debris from the engine, and one passenger was killed. Southwest’s crisis response team jumped into action, and it did a commendable job. But this is just the beginning of a long and difficult path.

Southwest has been flying for more than 45 years, and it has never lost a passenger due to an accident until this week. (Yes, a little boy was killed when a Southwest aircraft over-ran the runway in Chicago. Not that it’s a distinction that really matters, but he wasn’t on the airplane.) Like most big airlines, Southwest had a response plan in place, but it hadn’t been tested in a real-life accident like this. Heck, no US airline has been tested in this way since 2009 when Colgan Air had an aircraft crash in Buffalo.

This particular aircraft was flying from New York to Dallas near cruising altitude when the engine failed. The pilots descended quickly and landed in Philadelphia just before 11:30am Eastern. By all accounts, they did a textbook job of getting the aircraft on to the ground safely, though I’m sure that will be scrutinized carefully in the investigation, like every other detail.

It looks like Southwest’s first official tweet about the accident was at 12:39pm (all times Eastern from here on out).

An initial press release was put out confirming that something had happened. Southwest continued to operate Twitter as normal by responding to customers as quickly as possible, but no proactive tweets went out except for those related to the accident.

As we’ve seen other airlines do in other parts of the world, the airline then scrubbed its public presence to make sure it appeared focused on the accident and not on selling tickets. The logo on Twitter was changed from the usual multi-color heart to a gray one. And the background was just a flat blue.

On the airline’s website, it took off any sale advertising and left a generic blank spot with the logo in the middle. (That was eventually shrunk down in size and a link to information about the flight was posted.)

Another press release was put out around 4:30pm with more detail, including the fact that one person had died. The press release linked to a video of CEO Gary Kelly talking about the accident.

I thought the video was well done. I know he’s just reading a script, but Gary still seemed somewhat shaken. Leaders are at their best when they don’t try to hide emotions in times like these. That somber tone carried through to the media briefing Southwest held at 6pm. (Ok it was more like 6:15pm by the time it got started, but that’s excusable. There’s a lot going on.)

The name of the passenger who died soon became public. Jennifer Riordan was from Albuquerque. She was married with kids. This made the story much more human. Southwest didn’t flinch, however, and stayed on message that its focus was on helping the family and not on anything else. By the end of the day, when people were talking about Southwest, they were talking about the actions of the pilots and not about any potential culpability of the company. But that will inevitably change over time as the unfortunate race to assign blame begins.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Robert Sumwalt said yesterday that in the preliminary investigation, they had found that one of the fan blades in the engine had broken away. And in this “preliminary examination,” they saw that there was “evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated.”

We don’t know more than that, but that is the kind of news that makes everyone nervous. Certainly there will be questions about whether Southwest properly inspected the engines on this airplane. The engine manufacturer, CFM (a joint venture between GE in the US and Safran in France), will come under scrutiny as well. This is one of the most popular engines in the world, and it has had a handful of issues that may be similar to this one. In fact, there was an airworthiness directive issued the last time this happened (also on a Southwest aircraft). Undoubtedly the FAA will be under the microscope. Looking closely at every party involved is what makes for a good investigation.

Right now, we don’t know why this happened, but the NTSB will figure this out. And there will be inspections and changes to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Ultimately, there will be learnings that make flying even safer than it already is. That’s the best thing that can happen in any accident and it’s what really matters, not the blame game.

As Southwest CEO Gary Kelly kept repeating over and over, this was a sad day. Southwest communicated well throughout the early hours of the crisis, but it will be tested further as this investigation unfolds.

April 19, 2018 at 01:45PM Source:

Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long…

Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long-Haul Routes For Boeing’s 787:

ZB-001 (N789EX) the First Boeing 787-9, takes to the sky – Photo: Bernie Leighton

March was a big month for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. The largest member of the family — the 787-10 — saw its first delivery. We also learned about two new Dreamliner routes delivering on the plane’s promise to make ultra-long-haul routes feasible. With its direct flight from Perth to London, Qantas became the first airline to run a scheduled service nonstop from Australia to Europe. And later this year, Air New Zealand will inaugurate a new nonstop route to Chicago O’Hare.

Go long! –

Read on for more details on these exciting Dreamliner updates!

Qantas launches the first direct route from Australia to Europe

In late March, Australian carrier Qantas inaugurated QF9, which flew without stopping from Perth to London Heathrow — a 17-hour journey over a whopping 9,010 miles. At least for now, it’s one of the top three longest routes in the world.

The first flight was operated with a 787-9 sporting a gorgeous livery inspired by Australia’s indigenous peoples.

A special livery based on the artwork Yam Dreaming by Indigenous artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye – Photo: Qantas

Two crews operated the ultra-long-haul flight.

QF9 flight crew and Qantas leadership – Photo: Qantas

The flight flew a fairly direct route, maxing out at 40,000 feet final cruise altitude before touching down in London on schedule.

Qantas’ fleet of 787-9s features a sweet-looking staggered business class seat. Behind the premium economy section in the middle of the plane, economy is in a tight nine-abreast configuration that some passengers might find tough for a 17-hour flight — though at least Qantas provides 32-inch pitch.

Qantas’ 787-9 business class – Photo: Qantas

Qantas’ 787-9 economy class – Photo: Qantas

Air New Zealand announces a new direct route to Chicago O’Hare

Starting from the same region of the globe but heading in the opposite direction, Air New Zealand unveiled a new planned route that will connect its Auckland hub with Chicago O’Hare International Airport 8,184 miles away. Flights will begin on November 30th of this year.

Air New Zealand's first Boeing 787-9 at the delivery center - Photo: Bernie Leighton

Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 787-9 at the delivery center – Photo: Bernie Leighton

The flight will take 15 hours northbound and 16 hours southbound. It will use the newer, more premium-heavy of Air New Zealand’s two 787-9 seating configurations.

Coinciding with Air New Zealand’s announcement, alliance partner United noted that it will turn its seasonal San Francisco – Auckland service into a year-round route. It’s one of the (few) United routes that feature the true Polaris seat — at least for part of the year.

BONUS: Taking a United 787-9 Delivery Flight – More Than Just A Plane

The benefits of ultra-long-haul direct routes

The sorts of ultra-long-haul routes enabled by Boeing’s Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350 aren’t just good for bragging rights (though they’re definitely good for those). They meet a need for direct point-to-point travel as an alternative to routings through mega-hubs. There’s the obvious time advantages from cutting out a connection. Then there’s avoidance of hassle associated with flight transfers — and the potential for irregular operations to mess them up.

BA787 flight deck - photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

BA787 flight deck – photo: Alastair Long | AirlineReporter

Another win with direct flights is that the routing from origin to destination is fully customizable, allowing the flight to take advantage of optimal winds. Add a connection along the way and you add constraints on the route.

It’s thrilling to see the sorts of new routes that are possible — and financially feasible — thanks to the Dreamliner. We’ll be excited to cover more new 787 (and A350) routes over the next few years!

Bonus photos: Singapore Airlines’ 787-10 delivery and new onboard product

The first ever Boeing 787-10 being delivered to launch customer Singapore Airlines – Photo: Singapore Airlines

BONUS: Singapore Airlines Returns To Ultra-Long-Haul Flying. Ready?

Singapore Airlines’ new regional business class seat, available on the 787-10 – Photo: Singapore Airlines

Economy cabin seatback and screens – Photo: Singapore Airlines

Now it’s time for us to hear from you. Are you excited about the new Dreamliner routes? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

The post Dreamliners Going the Distance: New Ultra-Long-Haul Routes For Boeing’s 787 appeared first on AirlineReporter.

April 18, 2018 at 06:51PM Source: