FAA finalizes rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS)

On July 21st 2016 the FAA finalized the long awaited rules for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS).

The rules are minimizing risk for other aircraft and people and property on the ground. A UAS may only be operated within line of sight and during daylight. If the drone has anti-collision lights, it is allowed to be flown during twilight. Some other restrictions apply as well.


In order to fly a drone, or sUAS as they are called by the FAA, you have to hold a remote pilot certificate with a sUAS rating, or be directly supervised by a person holding such a certificate.

Now how can you get that certificate? This is where we as your local flight school can help you. There is two ways to get a Small Unmanned Aircraft System license:

  • If you are a pilot holding at least a light sport or recreational license or higher, you need to be current with your biennial flight review (BFR). Then you can complete the online course for Part 107 (small Unmanned Aircraft Systems) located on the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) website and receive a completion certificate. Find a direct link to the FAAST sUAS online course here. You need to create a login!
    After that you need to complete the application process in the electronic FAA Integrated Airmen Certificate and/or Rating Application System (IACRA). In order for it to be processed it needs to be validated and processed by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) or other authority. This includes the completion certificate, government issued photo ID and current address.
    A few weeks later you will get your certificate in the mail.
  • If you are not a pilot or are not current on your biennial flight review (BFR) you have to pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test administered by a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC). After that the same procedure as above is required, applying through the IACRA system, although no instructor is required to validate the application since that has been done by the testing center test proctor.

Here at Konect Aviation, we can help you get current on your BFR in helicopters and airplanes, get you the required validation and can also administer the required knowledge test if you don’t have a license.

The small Unmanned Aircraft System Knowledge test will be available some time in August since it has not been released by the FAA yet.

Please call us at 503-376-0190 if you have questions concerning the sUAS certification.

Considerations for After You Graduate from Flight School

Graduating from flight school is exciting. Acquiring the skills and certifications needed to successfully pilot aircraft across the skies is a uniquely liberating accomplishment. Knowing how to fly an aircraft and having the licensing to do so gives you the freedom to go anywhere in the world that you would like to go, at your own discretion and with a little more control over the circumstances than flying commercial or even private. After you graduate, though, you may wish to think about what is next.

Piper Comanche

Piper Comanche

Will You Own Your Own Aircraft?

Many people obtain a pilot’s license with the intention of owning a personal aircraft. Owning a personal aircraft can give you access to the skies so that you can roam as you please – within reason. However, owning an aircraft comes with a lot of responsibilities and can become pricey. When you own your own craft, you must purchase aircraft insurance, figure out where you will park your aircraft, keep the craft fueled, and keep up with regular maintenance and certifications.

Shared Aircraft Ownership

Many owners are finding shared aircraft ownership to be more desirable than private ownership. When you share an aircraft with others, you share the costs of purchasing the craft itself and you also share all of the costs of ownership and maintenance. You may have to work with the other owners of the craft to be sure that it will be available when you need it, but this is often less of a problem than most pilots think. Pilots often tend to actually log few sky miles, so the lowered costs may be worth more than the sacrifice.

Aircraft Rentals

Another flight option that is becoming more widespread is aircraft rentals. Companies rent aircraft to certified pilots to use as needed. This option eliminates many concerns, such as where to park the aircraft and where to fuel up. Rental companies also handle insurance needs and maintenance, charging the pilot renting the craft a set rate that covers all costs. Many pilots like this option, as it allows for variety in the type of craft that is flown from one excursion to the next.

Will You Pursue a Career in Aviation?

There are many career options available after flight school. Working with rescue services, working with utility companies to supply necessary services, taking travelers to their dream destinations, and taking vacationers on flying tours can all be highly fulfilling careers that allow you to do what you love. Your options may vary based on the type of training that you receive, but licensed pilots are in high demand for many industries.

Wine tasting in a helicopter

The Oregon wine country is getting known worldwide for it’s great Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and other wines. Yamhill County, the heart of Oregon wine country where  wine growers started their first vineyards on the Dundee Hills, is home of more than 200 vineyards!

The region, with tasting rooms in Newberg, Dundee, Carlton and right in the middle, McMinnville has everything a wine connoisseur can imagine. Great restaurants, hotels, beautiful Bed & Breakfasts, lots of activities and of course wineries for every taste.

With the wine season starting on memorial day what better to do than get around a few vineyards, taste some of the wines, soak in the sun and views from the tasting rooms and enjoy life.

Getting around wine country can be time consuming. There is one way, though, to move it up a notch and not worry about traffic. Get picked up in either Portland downtown, Salem or McMinnville by a helicopter! Get in, relax, enjoy breath taking views of the Willamette Valley, the rolling hills and rivers while your helicopter pilot flies you from tasting room to tasting room.

He will explain some of the history of the area to you as well as pointing out interesting facts and scenic spots to you while you overfly the Willamette Valley wine regions.

There is no better way to explore vineyards like Stoller Family Estates, Sokol Blosser, Vista Hills, Domaine Serene, Domaine Drouhin, Winderlea, Alexana, Archery Summit, Hawks View, Methven Family Vineyards, The Dukes Family and a lot more, than in a helicopter. All those vineyards can be overflown in the helicopter in about 30 minutes. Trying to see all those driving on the roads will take you days.


Helicopter Proposal Flight

Propose on a Helicopter RideProposing to your future bride should be a special moment. We had quite a few customers that chose to propose to their girlfriend using our helicopter services.

There are a lot of options and there are always new ideas we can work on with you. A couple options we have done in the past were:

Propose during a flight in the helicopter

We will take you up on a helicopter scenic flight and show you the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It could be just a short ride around the Willamette Valley and it’s wineries or something longer to Mt. St. Helens, over Portland, the Columbia River Gorge, or over the Pacific Coast.

Our aircrafts have the best active noise reduction technology headsets. You can talk to your fiancée to be just like you do on the phone. We’ll even play some music in the background.

Once we are over your favorite spot you can pull out the ring and propose. How could she not say “yes” at that point?

Proposing on a quiet, secluded ridge or island

We are able to land during a scenic tour to give you the time to propose in private to your girlfriend and future fiancée. Take the love of your life up on a helicopter scenic tour. We land on a river island, during the tour. You will get off the helicopter and propose. We will even throw in a bottle of sparkling wine for you to celebrate that she said “yes”.

Helicopter picnic or romantic lunch with a beautiful view

Another option is to have us stop for a picnic. Have a romantic picnic on a river beach, or at a romantic winery with a beautiful view over the Willamette Valley.

There are probably thousands more options and we are happy to include your ideas and make it even more special with your personal touch.

Look at some pictures of a couple helicopter proposal flights we did in the past.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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!