Heli-Expo 2014 in Anaheim

This year we decided to attend the Heli-Expo in Anaheim, CA. We booked our tickets and hotel about a month before the event and were excited to go to California and get some sun, leaving the wet and nasty Oregon winter weather for a few days.

When we arrived in Los Angeles we took our shuttle to the hotel and after checking in decided to wander around to check out the surroundings. After grabbing some lunch we found out that the Convention Center was only about a 10 minute walk away from our hotel.

Our schedule began with some courses that started actually one day before the convention opened its doors so to attend those we walked over to the Convention Center. Almost nobody was there other than some of the exibitors which were finishing setting up their booths.

We also decided to do the rotor safety challenge and attend some of the safety courses like “Autorotational Success”, “CFIT: Avoiding the Unexpected Sudden Stop” or “Safety Management Systems for Small-Fleet or Private Operators”. There were a lot more courses and we attended quite a few and completed the safety challenge and got our certificates.

Another forum that we attended was the “Meet the Regulators” where you could ask questions to the FAA and they commented on some of the newest regulations like the new HEMS rule that affects almost all helicopter companies. It was interesting to hear how controversial that topic is.

Finally we also explored the exhibition floor with a lot of helicopter companies showing off their equipment. From cleaning supplies, flight simulators, instruments all the way up to huge helicopters, there was pretty much nothing left out.

One of the most interesting things to look at was the new Bell 505 Jetranger X and the Cabri G2. We saw the Cabri a couple months ago so we were familiar with it and were more interested in the Jetranger 505 X. It is a very beautiful new design which uses some of the parts from the older models like the rotorblades.

A big part of the helicopter is new though, like the structural part, the flat floor cabin and the turbine. The most remarkable thing about it is definitely the open cockpit. It reminded me a little bit of the Airbus Helicopters EC120 setup. It is possible to remove the seats and floor which then reveals attachment holes where you can secure cargo or other equipment.

It is easy to get in and out. I was sitting in the back with two other adults and there was still some room left. So it is a full 5 person setup. I just hope it will be available for a suitable price in a couple years. Most likely it will be available in 2016.

After four days of intense helicopter courses and exhibitions we were looking forward to sleeping in our own beds again. Here are now some photo impressions from the Heli-Expo 2014.

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2013 Konect Aviation Car Trophy Winner

2013 proved to be another good year for the Ezra Koch Car Show here in McMinnville, Oregon and Konect Aviation was honored to have the privilege of awarding a trophy again this year to the hottest car! There were many amazing cars and after narrowing down the competition to less than 10 cars out of nearly 100 I really started to feel the pressure.

Honestly, I knew the car I would choose when it drove through the entry gate but was determined to give all the rest a fair shake.

Even after taking a closer look, this car screamed quality, original American craftsmanship and high performance.  Add on top of that my personal nostalgia for the Dodge Challenger, we’ve got another no-brainer for 2013.

Meet Steve and Sharon, proud owners of a 1970 Dodge Challenger! In 2013 one might argue the car is in better condition than when Steve bought it in 1972 for $2100.00. He has kept the car true to the MOPAR design with only upgrades originally offered as options and the restoration of worn parts and interior. Since he is a mechanic, he has done most of the work himself but did get it professionally painted in 1992.

The 1970 debut model of the Dodge Challenger was arguably the best in terms of options. According the article “Dodge Challenger: History of the Dodge Pony Car” (Tyll, 2008), there were 9 power-train options available in 1970 a number which was drastically reduced the 4 subsequent years the Challenger was produced due to increasingly more strict EPA and Safety standards.

“So what’s under the hood?” you might ask. This car has the 340 cubic inch V-8 to which Steve added the Six-Pack option later on which has three Holley carburetors with a total of 1350 cfm. What makes this one special is that it has the A66 Performance Package with the following features:

  • raised hood with call-out emblems
  • 150 mph speed-o-meter
  • Rally dash with needle gauges
  • front sway bars
  • 15 inch Rally wheels
  • heavy duty 11 inch front and rear drum breaks
  • 3-speed console shift 727 transmission
  • full-harness seat belts

There is a lot more to this car, but I tell you what makes it really special is that Steve and Sharon have kept this American Classic as a family car in such great condition and are now sharing it with their 7 grandchildren who will likely get to appreciate it when they are old enough to know what it is.

Thank you Steve for sharing your awesome car!!!

To learn more about the Dodge Challenger visit this article.

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Wedding exit in a helicopter and photo flight over Portland

A couple days ago we were able to play a big part in someone’s life. A couple booked us for the grand exit at their wedding. After getting the required permissions we landed at a venue in downtown Oregon City with our helicopter and picked up the bride and groom to fly them into the Portland Downtown Helipad.

The weather wasn’t nice but luckily it was good enough to fly. Since the wedding ended at 10:15pm that night we took off at the airport at 10:00 and headed to the venue. As we aproached the landing zone the crowd cheered and we landed in a grass area, helped the bride and groom into the helicopter and flew off.

It was a beautiful night, flying over the citylights over Portland. After we dropped off the freshly married couple we took Marc from Moving Picture Weddings on board to get a few shots of the city and take some footage for the couple.

Thank you to Colette and Joe for the good time and thank you to Marc for sharing the pictures with us.

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Konect Aviation’s new Robinson R44 helicopter arrived

After a couple months of paperwork we finally got our new helicopter on our ramp. It has been imported back into the US. It was stationed in Canada for the last few years, but now it is flying in McMinnville, OR. It is available for our customers for scenic tours and flight training or time building.

It is the same type of helicopter we used before with some differences that will make our customers experiences even greater.

The helicopter is very low time, almost new. It has a smaller instrument console than our last one for an even better view for the pilot and passengers. Another nice new feature are the so called bubble-windows. These windows are shaped like a bubble outwards, so that the passenger has more room and can see better and more of the beautiful Portland, northern Oregon and Willamette Valley area.

We still use top notch active noise cancelation headsets with bluetooth capabilities for a pleasant quiet flying experience and comfort.

If you are interested, stop by and have a look at our new aircraft.

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How to choose your flight school: geographical location of the school

If you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school you want to do your flight training with. This is what we think about the geographical location of a flight school.

Your flight training is what prepares you and sets your roots towards your future in aviation. The earlier you get used to procedures the better. Humans are very prone to habits. We like to get used to things because it makes us feel comfortable. At the same time it is important that your initial training is done right. Changing habits and procedures we used for a long time are hard to change.

Why is the geographical location of your flight school important? It’s about variety and getting used to procedures. In the Pacific Northwest you get the full variety of weather. We have a beautiful summer with temperatures over 100°F. In the winter we’re getting rain, fog, ice and snow. We have sea-level altitudes as well as mountains. All these factors and more influence the performance of an aircraft. The Pacific Northwest brings the full range of possible weather with your initial training and raises your awareness of possible weather hazards.

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Konect Aviation supports the Metro Toy Drive

We’re getting closer to christmas and it’s time to think about gifts for the beloved ones. Especially kids are really looking forward to the time of the year when Santa is packing his slay and deliveres gifts to all kids in the world.

Santa usually gets high priority from the FAA, but he is so busy that he can’t deliver all gifts to all of the kids. That’s why he needs our help.

Konect Aviation is supporting the Metro Toy Drive which year round ensures kids get the toys that make them happy.

This years Metro Toy Drive’s holiday toy drive runs from November 13th to December 26th. Help the Metro Toy Drive by dropping off new, unwrapped toys at any participating Starbucks Store.

For more information please visit the Metro Toy Drive Webpage.

Happy holidays from Konect Aviation!

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Dragging the Gut in McMinnville Oregon

One day early in June, Ingo and I went to Noah’s wine bar off 3rd street to talk about wine and helicopters when we happened to meet Ruben Contreras and learned about the Dragging the Gut Festival.  My first response was “dragging the gut?! What kind of name is that?” but Ruben’s enthusiasm was contagious and it didn’t take long for intrigue to take hold.

Having a muscle car buff for a father, I started to think of the possibilities and how cool it would be to drag the gut ourselves.  Of course, helicopters is a tough business so we would have to get pretty creative to find a car cool enough to cruise in.  Then it occurred to me, what if we could create a Konect Aviation award for the hottest car?

Well the rest is history, and August 25th I got the afternoon off of staffing wine country tours to go to the Ezra Koch Car Show, find the hottest car, and award it Konect Aviation’s trophy.  Even though I worried that I didn’t have what it takes to give a car award, I trusted my upbringing and worked my way through the amazing selection of nearly 100 car entries.

It was an amazing collection of cars, making it the best car show I have been too.  Fortune would have it, though, there was one car that was the perfect Konect Aviation award.  I couldn’t have imagined I would stumble on this car making the decision so easy and I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Low and behold, a 1968 Shelby Mustang GT 500 Eleanor with Carroll Shelby’s signature on the dash.

What makes the 1968 Shelby GT500 the perfect car for the Konect Aviation trophy?  Well, not only is the designer Carroll Shelby known for racing and designing high performance cars, he is also known for his aviation experience as a flight instructor and test pilot during WWII.  You can find a bit more about him and his cars at the following web pages

Shelby American Collection

EAA Article

Carroll Shelby’s Life

Thanks Chad and Lisa for showing off your awesome car!

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Went vintage

Last weekend I was very lucky. A guy with a vintage airplane, a 1930 New Standard D-25 biplane showed up at the McMinnville Airport. He was was dressed accordingly with goggles, pants and everything.

We joked about he should have a little crank attached to his cell phone because it wouldn’t fit the theme otherwise.

He was waiting for a friend to take up for a short ride. Talking to us at the FBO he said that he had room left in the plane and if we would like to go up as well. Of course!

So we climbed up into the front seat. There was actually room for 4 passengers. He fired up the engine and off we went for a ride over the museum, the city and back to the airport.

The feeling of flying a vintage airplane was great. The air hitting your face, just sitting there in the open cockpit hearing the roaring engine and the wind going through the strings was an awesome feeling.

Thank you for the ride!

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How to choose your flight school: big school versus small school

If you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school you want to do your flight training with. This is how we think about big and small flight schools.

Big flight school:
The bigger the school is the more impersonal it gets. It is likely you are just one of many students that go to that school every day. How can a big flight school know all their students needs? Are there always aircrafts available for every student? It can easily happen that a student that just began his training will be pushed back because another student needs that same aircraft to get a check ride done.

Small flight school:
A small school has the advantage of better being able to stay in touch with the student. The instructor can easily react to any changes or personal needs of the student, because there are fewer administrative steps to take and less other students to take care of.

Conclusion:
We think it is important to get a personal training that fits your needs and a flight school that is able to react to the students requirements. This is usually easier with smaller flight schools.

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How to choose your flight school: busy airport versus small airport

If you are looking for a flight school you should carefully research and choose the school you want to do your flight training with. This is how we think about flight schools located at busy versus small airports.

Big and busy airport:
Flight training at big and busy airports is usually more expensive than at small airports. Usually busy airports have a control tower that manages the traffic at the airport. You cannot move your aircraft, leave or enter the airspace without getting permission from the tower. This means that you have to wait! Either you have to wait for other aircrafts to finish their operation, or if the tower is busy managing other traffic you are low on their priority list and have to wait.

Since you usually get charged by the minutes you fly the aircraft you end up paying money for sitting on the ramp or a taxiway with the engine running while doing nothing but wait.

Another factor is the weather. Especially if you fly a helicopter you might be able to do flight training even though the weather isn’t great. If it is good to fly, but not good enough, some airspace restrictions might apply. In that case only a limited amount of aircrafts is allowed to fly at the same time. You might end up not flying at all.

Small airport:
At a small airport you just don’t have enough traffic to slow down aircraft operations, and if it gets busier it usually gets resolved very quickly and it slows down. Usually you should be able to just get into your training aircraft and take off. This saves you time and money to focus on the important parts of your flight training.

Some people say that your radio communication skills are not as good as if they would if you train at a busy airport. Make sure there are busy airspaces in the area that you can fly to to easily learn these skills. This way you don’t have to multitask from the beginning of your training.

Conclusion:
It is likely that at busy airports you spend a lot of money just waiting to take off or enter an airspace. Small airports are usually quieter on the radio, making it necessary to fly to a different airport to experience a busy airport. The upside is, you can time your training to train your radio skills.

Tip:
While you study your books, open the liveatc.net webpage and listen to a busy airspace nearby to get used to listen to a tower. Choose an airport you can fly to, to get used to locations, taxiways and runways mentioned in the radio calls. It will help you getting used to it.

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