Our guest is the president of Helicopter Association International. In the news, we look at the role of helicopters as well as local airports in times of emergencies, medical reform around the globe, Boeing 787 Dreamliner woes, and how Aurora Flight Sciences can make any rotary-wing aircraft fly autonomously. We also have the return of the history segment.
Matt Zuccaro is president of Helicopter Association International. HAI provides support and services to its members and to the international helicopter community. They have their headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, and HAI members fly more than 5,000 helicopters some 2.3 million hours each year.
Matt has been in the helicopter industry for 50 years and president of HAI since 2005. He held several executive levels and operations management positions with commercial, corporate, air tour, scheduled airline, and public service helicopter operations in the northeastern United States. During his tenure with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, he served in operations management positions at Kennedy International Airport and the Port Authority’s public and private heliports.
Matt received his initial helicopter flight training as a U.S. Army aviator and served with the 7/17 Air Cavalry unit in Vietnam. He was subsequently assigned as a flight instructor at the Army Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Matt holds Airline Transport Pilot and Instrument Flight Instructor certificates for both airplanes and helicopters. He is a recipient of HAI’s 10,000-Hour Helicopter Pilot Safety award, as well as many other industry awards for his efforts and commitment to the helicopter industry.
The City of Santa Monica plans to shorten the single runway at SMO to restrict airport usage to small airplanes. When the airport closes in 10 years, there won’t be anywhere to base firefighting helicopters and other vital equipment.
Medical reform in the shape of BasicMed came to the U.S. in 2017, and now Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced “Basic Class 2” medical for piston aircraft with up to five non-paying passengers, during daytime visual flight rules. AOPA and AOPA Australia together urged CASA to undertake reforms similar to BasicMed.
Devastating fires are again plaguing California and response teams include a variety of aircraft, including helicopters. The Weather Network published a dramatic video shot from a helicopter as it navigated through heavy smoke over a residential area.
A United Airlines Boeing 787 experienced a lithium-ion battery failure on approach to Charles de Gaulle Airport on November 13. United Flight 915 was at the end of a seven-hour flight from Washington’s Dulles Airport when pilots received a warning that the main battery was overheating.
Airlines are grounding Boeing 787s for urgent maintenance as one of the engines on Air New Zealand Boeing 787 flight NZ99 failed in-flight this week. The photos of failed engine show damage to turbine blades, suggesting a part broke off and traveled through the engine.
A system developed by Aurora Flight Sciences can be installed on any rotary-wing aircraft and enable it to fly autonomously. Dennis Baker, AACUS [Autonomous Aerial Cargo Utility System] program officer said this “gives revolutionary capability to our fleet and force. It can be used as a pilot aid in degraded visual environments, or allow fully autonomous flights in contested environments, keeping our pilots out of harm’s way.”
The Airplane of the Week
Our aviation historian David Vanderhoof tells us about the Douglas X-3 Stiletto. Just because an aircraft looks fast doesn’t mean it is. The X-3 is a lesson that disappointment does not necessarily mean failure.
Commercial Aviation Story of the Week
If you use TSA Pre-check, you’ll notice a change when you go through the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The TSA started testing a new technology for pre-check travelers that only requires a photo ID. The Credential Authentication Technology is expected to verify the authenticity of a passenger photo ID and validate information from the ID against TSA’s Secure Flight vetting system.
City in the Sky on PBS
The Waldron’s Dilemma Educator’s Kit – the educator’s companion to the award-winning film, South Dakota Warrior.