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Monday, December 30, 2013

FAA Selects Virginia as one of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research and Test Sites

After a rigorous 10-month selection process involving 25 proposals from 24 states, the Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research and test site operators across the country.
In selecting the six test site operators, the FAA considered geography, climate, location of ground infrastructure, research needs, airspace use, safety, aviation experience and risk. In totality, these six test applications achieve cross-country geographic and climatic diversity and help the FAA meet its UAS research needs.
A brief description of the six test site operators and the research they will conduct into future UAS use are below:
  • University of Alaska.  The University of Alaska proposal contained a diverse set of test site range locations in seven climatic zones as well as geographic diversity with test site range locations in Hawaii and Oregon. The research plan includes the development of a set of standards for unmanned aircraft categories, state monitoring and navigation.  Alaska also plans to work on safety standards for UAS operations. 
  • State of Nevada. Nevada’s project objectives concentrate on UAS standards and operations as well as operator standards and certification requirements. The applicant’s research will also include a concentrated look at how air traffic control procedures will evolve with the introduction of UAS into the civil environment and how these aircraft will be integrated with NextGen.  Nevada’s selection contributes to geographic and climatic diversity.
  • New York’s Griffiss International Airport.  Griffiss International plans to work on developing test and evaluation as well as verification and validation processes under FAA safety oversight. The applicant also plans to focus its research on sense and avoid capabilities for UAS and its sites will aid in researching the complexities of integrating UAS into the congested, northeast airspace.
  • North Dakota Department of Commerce.  North Dakota plans to develop UAS airworthiness essential data and validate high reliability link technology. This applicant will also conduct human factors research. North Dakota’s application was the only one to offer a test range in the Temperate (continental) climate zone and included a variety of different airspace which will benefit multiple users.
  • Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.  Texas A&M plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing. The selection of Texas A&M contributes to geographic and climactic diversity.
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).  Virginia Tech plans to conduct UAS failure mode testing and identify and evaluate operational and technical risks areas. This proposal includes test site range locations in both Virginia and New Jersey.
Across the six applicants, the FAA is confident that the agency’s research goals of System Safety & Data Gathering, Aircraft Certification, Command & Control Link Issues, Control Station Layout & Certification, Ground & Airborne Sense & Avoid, and Environmental Impacts will be met.
Each test site operator will manage the test site in a way that will give access to parties interested in using the site. The FAA’s role is to ensure each operator sets up a safe testing environment and to provide oversight that guarantees each site operates under strict safety standards.
From the start, the FAA recognized it was important to have requirements ensuring that privacy and civil liberties are protected at the test sites. Among other requirements, test site operators must comply with federal, state, and other laws protecting an individual’s right to privacy, have publicly available privacy policies and a written plan for data use and retention, and conduct an annual review of privacy practices that allows for public comment. 
Under the current law, test site operations will continue until at least February 13, 2017.
For more information go to

Monday, December 16, 2013

2014 International Aviation Art Contest


All artwork for the state competition must be postmarked by Friday, January 17, 2014.

THEME - "Flying Saves Lives"

First and foremost, powered flight began as an adventure – a sport.  In the beginning, flying was a risky business that was not for the faint of heart; injury, or even death, was something that pilots had to consider each and every time they went up.  But over the 20th century, as powered flight became more stable, routine, and safe, it also became less and less the sport of daredevils and more and more a way to transport people and goods rapidly over long distances.  During this time, powered flight also became something else – it became a means of saving people’s lives.

Today,  helicopters fly rural accident victims to far away hospitals; organs are packed in ice and flown, in the nick of time, to save dying patients; pilots use planes and helicopters to fight large fires; and relief agencies transport food and water to starving and thirsty people around the globe.  Flight allows us to see like birds and move faster than the wind, and it has given us the ability to help those who could never be helped before.  Can you think of other ways that “flying saves lives?”  Let us count or perhaps more accurately, illustrate the ways.  Good luck!


Entries in each age group are judged and state winners and runners-up are selected. Winners receive recognition from their state. The top three entries in each age group are forwarded to Washington D.C. to be judged in the national competition.
1st, 2nd and 3rd place national winners are selected from each age group. All national winners receive certificates, ribbons and a framed reproduction of their artwork with the original being forwarded to FAI for the international competition.
Winners of the international competition receive certificates and gold, silver, or bronze medals.

Click here for contest ELIGIBILITY and RULES.
2013 International Aviation Art Contest application.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Liberty University School of Aeronautics to Launch Affiliate Program in Newport News

Spreading its wings in its mission to train pilots and aircraft maintenance workers in the rapidly growing aviation industry, Liberty University School of Aeronautics (SOA) is expanding beyond its Lynchburg Airport Campus this month to Virginia’s Tidewater region.

The first affiliate program of Liberty University School of Aeronautics and Freedom Aviation Flight Training will launch Saturday, Dec. 14, at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport with an open house set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The facility will offer online courses through Liberty University Online (LUO) for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in aeronautics to supplement flight training provided by instructors hired through Freedom Aviation, the flight operations center and aviation business used by the SOA at Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dave Young, dean of Liberty’s School of Aeronautics said Newport News was selected as the first site for the pilot program primarily because of its location, within 50 miles of eight military bases. The SOA offers a specialization in military aviation as well as commercial/corporate and mission aviation.

“The Newport News Airport administration and the Newport News community have been tremendously supportive of this endeavor and are committed to a ‘win-win’ relationship,” Young said. Young expects the affiliate program to lead to more partnerships with SOA-approved flight schools located at airports across the U.S.

“We plan to partner with the Virginia Department of Aviation to spread this concept across the state and then eventually across the country,” he said. “These affiliations will give students a way to fund not only their flight training, but also their degree.”At the open house, visitors can take discovery flights and simulator rides as well as tours of the 6,000 square feet of office and hangar space that Freedom Aviation is leasing from Newport News/Williamsburg fixed-base operator Atlantic Aviation.

Instructors from SOA’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program  (AMTP) and its Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) division will be on hand as well as representatives from Liberty’s Office of Military Affairs, LUO, Residential Enrollment, and recruiters from Piedmont and ExpressJet Airlines, among others.
Liberty’s SOA established a hiring agreement with ExpressJet in September of 2012.
Representatives from the Virginia Department of Aviation and aircraft manufacturing companies such as Cessna also will attend the open house along with world-renowned aviation video instructors John and Martha King.

“The invitees include prospective pilots and aviation students, but we also have invited a broad scope of industry personnel to provide a large networking opportunity for individuals and organizations in all aspects of the aviation industry,” said Jenna Campbell, Freedom Aviation’s project manager.
Additionally, through a new partnership with the Denbigh “Magnet” High School Aviation Academy — also based out of Newport News/Williamsburg International — LUSOA is offering prospective aircraft mechanics flight training and college course credit toward their airframe and powerplant license through Liberty Online.

“We have much room for growth and visions of expanding into the public school networks, where we can start an aviation mentorship program early on,” Young said. “This effort is part of a strategic initiative to introduce the possibilities of an aviation career into the minds of young people, initially at the high school level, but expanding even into elementary and middle schools.”

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics has grown from four students to more than 800 in the last 11 years and is currently the largest faith-based university aviation program in the country. The school offers a variety of online and residential programs, including a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in military aviation, missionary aviation, commercial/corporate aviation, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), as well as flight attendant training. 


Monday, December 9, 2013

2013 Virginia Department of Aviation’s Photo Contest Winners

Drum roll please... Announcing the winners of the 
2013 Virginia Department of Aviation's Photo Contest! 

1-      Alexander Peters
2-      Anna Brown
3-      Steve McCaughey
H.M. Chad Weaver

1-      Anna Brown
2-      Tom Stiles
3-      Monique Shealy
H.M.  Jarrod Powers

1-      Joseph Mash
2-      Chad Weaver
3-      Anna Brown

Misc Aviation
1-      Alex Sweeney
2-      Joseph Mash
3-      Tom Stiles

1-      Monique Shealy
2-      Tom Stiles
3-      Joseph Mash

Digitally Altered
1-      Anna Brown
2-      Monique Shealy
3-      Alexander Peters

The first glimpse of the winners' photography will be featured in the 2014/2015 Virginia Department of Aviation's Calendar, which should be published just after the new year. To request a copy send an email to

Monday, November 25, 2013

Betty Vinson Christmas Toy Airlift Will Fly Into Chesterfield County Airport on December 14th

The Betty Vinson Christmas Toy Airlift, a project of the Virginia Chapter Ninety-Nines, invites volunteer pilots from across the Commonwealth to fly into Chesterfield County Airport on Saturday, December 14th to deliver gifts for military families and for hospitalized veterans.  Visitors are invited to fly in or drive to the airport to join in the festivities including food, music and an opportunity to welcome Santa Claus.  Santa will arrive by private aircraft at 10:00 a.m. and will greet children in the terminal until 2:00 p.m.  Children who wish to bring donations for the Airlift can give them directly to Santa.  Live Christmas music will be provided by several groups throughout the day and food will be available from King’s Corner Restaurant onsite.  The event will last from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and the rain date is Sunday, December 15th.

Collection boxes for toys will be setup at public airports across Virginia.  Last year the sixth annual Christmas Toy Airlift brought in over 1000 toys for children of military personnel in addition to gifts and over $1,000 in gift cards for McGuire Veterans Hospital.  Pilots flew in from as far away as Martinsville, WVA and drove in from as far away as Galax, VA.

This year the event has been renamed in honor of its founder and longtime organizer, Betty Vinson, of the Virginia Chapter Ninety-Nines, who passed away on September 4, 2013.

The Ninety-Nines, Inc. (an international organization of women pilots) was founded in 1929 by 99 licensed women pilots for the mutual support and advancement of aviation.

Friday, November 22, 2013

“Virginia Warbird Association” seeks unity for local warbird enthusiasts

The Virginia Warbird Association has been established to educate, promote and preserve warbird operations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. A warbird is defined as any vintage military aircraft now operated by a civilian organization or individual. The creation of the Virginia Warbird Association hopes to honor Virginia’s aviation heritage and the men and women who dedicated their lives to flying these warbirds.

 Its intention is to bring local warbird groups and pilots together under one association and be the source of information for those who would like aircraft to serve as static displays for events in Virginia and neighboring states throughout the mid-Atlantic. The first association meeting was held in Petersburg this past October where it was decided that John V. Mazza, Jr. will serve as the chairman of the Virginia Warbird Association while the board of directors is under development.

 For more information contact Mr. Mazza at 804-536-4040 or

Monday, November 4, 2013

Southwest Airlines officially landed at Richmond International Airport (RIC)

Southwest Airlines started service at Richmond International Airport yesterday. The low-fare, no-frills carrier is entering the Richmond market initially with just one daily round-trip, nonstop flight to Orlando, Fla., the capital region’s No. 3 destination with about 173,000 annual passengers. But while Southwest’s arrival at RIC may have small short-term impact, in the long run, the airline could be crucial for the region’s economic competitiveness.
“When the American Airlines and US Airway merger goes through, then there’ll be four (major) airlines left,” said Jon E. Mathiasen, Richmond International’s president and CEO. “It’s important that Richmond has all of these carriers at its airport.”

Right now, five large airlines — Southwest, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways — carry more than 80 percent of domestic airline traffic. “As a community, you want all five serving you,” said Troy Bell, RIC’s director of marketing and air service development. And the big five fly at Richmond, as well as Southwest’s AirTran subsidiary and discount carrier JetBlue Airways.

Southwest Airlines is America’s largest low-fare carrier and it flies more domestic passengers than any airline — 112 million passengers last year. Richmond International officials have sought Southwest’s service for more than a quarter century.

Historically, the Dallas-based carrier’s entry into a market had produced lower fares and increased passenger traffic, a phenomenon called the “Southwest effect.” Local officials think the Southwest effect could work its magic in Richmond, too. “It’s a powerful brand. People make an instant association with low fares,” Bell said. “It’s a remarkable brand of service. They’ve received slews of awards and accolades for what they do.”

Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Virginia Flight team earns ninth straight NIFA Region X title

Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics flight team was extremely well equipped for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region X competition, hosted by Liberty at Franklin Municipal Airport in Franklin, Va., Oct. 16-19.

“We just acquired a new aircraft, a Cessna 150, less than a year ago and this was the first time we competed with it,” said John Marselus, aeronautics professor and faculty advisor to the team, noting the plane can land at a slower speed than other Cessna models. “The teams that do the best in the nation have that aircraft for the landing competition portion. Liberty University supported us and purchased one for us which really paid off.”
The team captured its ninth consecutive regional championship, accumulating 426 points. Daniel Hartman earned the Top Pilot award and Elizabeth Michel was the Top Scoring Female contestant. Liberty featured the top finisher in every category of the competition, beating out second place Averett University and third place Guilford Technical Community College. The victory qualifies the team for a return trip to the NIFA nationals, set for May 12-17 at Ohio State University Airport.

Liberty’s team of 16 competitors was accompanied to the regional event by coaches Kyle Dillon and Matt Sylvester and by Marselus, who also served as the NIFA’s regional safety officer for the competition.
Liberty competed with the Cessna 150 and two Cessna 172s that feature Garmin 1000 integrated flight instrument navigation systems.

“We want to thank the leadership at the university for providing the resources for us to be able to compete at NIFA,” Marselus said. “We don’t take that for granted, and we’re very grateful for the support Liberty gives us,” which also covers flight practice time and travel and entry expenses, he added.
Marselus also appreciates the tremendous time and effort invested in training by Liberty’s coaches and team members.

“There’s a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into this competition,” he said. “They’re working after school and they’re working into the night. The team did a superb job.”

At the NIFA, Liberty racked up 241 points in Flight Events and 185 points in Ground Events. Team members swept first place in Navigation (Zach Floto and Samuel Schmitz), Power Off Landing (Hartman), Short Field Approach and Landing (Hartman), Message Drop (Forrest Hurley and Jeremy Lee), Computer Accuracy (Jared Yoder), Aircraft Recognition (Lee), Ground Trainer (Sean Cothran), Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (Yoder), and Aircraft Preflight Inspection (Lee).

“This year’s team is the hardest-working team we’ve ever had,” Dillon said. “We have a few guys like Jared Yoder, Zach Floto, and Daniel Hartman who have really stepped up in both their own personal performance and in their respective leadership roles.”

Ernie Rogers, associate dean of the School of Aeronautics, served as chief judge for the competition. He said Franklin Municipal Airport did an excellent job of hosting the event for the second time in three years, with the neutral site leveling the playing field.

Liberty finished 18th out of 29 teams at NIFA nationals last year. Ohio State will have the home-airfield advantage, but Dillon doesn’t think that will make a difference.

“Liberty’s team has the talent and drive to place higher than we ever have on the national scale,” he said. “Having the Cessna 150 is a great tool and it gives us the same opportunity to win as the other big schools. Doing well is obviously our goal, but we do so in hopes of bringing glory to Christ.”

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics has grown from four students to more than 700 in the last 10 years and is currently the largest faith-based university aviation program in the country. 


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Aviation Safety Week is October 7-10, 2013

Fall Aviation Safety Week begins next week. The program entitled, "Weather Challenge", is presented by Pat Brown. 

You don't need a meteorologist level understanding of weather to be a good pilot-though to judge from some of the educational materials out there, you might think so. Skew-T diagrams and moist adiabatic lapse rates are all well and good, but for the most of us it's the practical stuff that matters.

With that in mind, the new seminar is aimed at bolstering your real-world weather wisdom and having a little fun, too. As with the recent "Chart Challenge" seminar, we'll put your knowledge to the test, quizzing you on everything from METAR/TAF decoding to real-world weather scenarios. Along the way the seminar will cover:

-The most important weather resources for pilots
-Critical tie-ins with risk management and decision making
-Weather-related accidents that didn't need to happen
-The promise (and pitfalls) of cockpit weather

Seminars will be presented at four locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia October 7-10 from 7-9 p.m.

Monday, October 7, 2013
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Virginia Air & Space Center
600 Settlers Landing Road
Hampton, VA 23669
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Virginia Aviation Museum
Richmond Int'l. Airport
5701 Huntsman Road
Richmond, VA 23250
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Comfort Suites Manassas
7350 Williamson Blvd.
Manassas, VA 20109
Thursday, October 10, 2013
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Virginia Tech Airport
1601 Tech Center Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

No RSVP required. For more information visit AOPA.

Friday, September 27, 2013

FAA approves reduced flight hours for aviation graduates

Liberty University School of Aeronautics has received authority from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify graduates for the reduced flight hour Airline Transport Pilot rating.

Under the new agreement, qualified graduates now need 1,000 flight hours instead of the more restrictive 1,500 flight hours to be hired as a first officer with a commercial airline. Liberty is the seventh university in the country to receive this authorization.

Dave Young, dean of the School of Aeronautics, said receiving this designation is significant for the school in that it allows graduates who are pursuing an airline pilot career to realize their dream much sooner. “This new agreement helps our graduates get a job with the regional airlines more quickly than they could have in the past and more rapidly than other potential candidates,” he said. “It is also recognition from the FAA that we have an excellent and solid program, or we would not have gotten the waiver of hours.” Walt Reichard, professor in the School of Aeronautics, said that within the next 15 years, there will be a need for 60,000 commercial airline pilots within the U.S. alone.

“With that kind of demand the airlines are anxious to get all the qualified graduates they can,” he said. “Reducing this program to the 1,000-hour requirement means the students will spend less time in training and school and will be eligible to fly for the airlines two years sooner.”

In May, Liberty signed an
agreement with American Eagle Airlines, Inc. (AEA) that gives graduates more opportunities to launch their careers in the commercial airline industry. The company will hire graduates — those who meet requirements ranging from grade-point average in aviation courses to accumulated flight time — for its Pilot Pipeline Program. AEA will pay graduates to serve as certified flight instructors for the School of Aeronautics while accruing their flight time. Participants will also receive boarding pass privileges and health benefits from AEA, as well as a $10,000 scholarship upon completion of the program.

Liberty signed a similar agreement with ExpressJet last year and is working on comparable opportunities with other airlines. American Eagle and ExpressJet are the two largest regional airline systems in the world, with nearly 4,000 daily flights to more than 200 airports throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DOAV Director Randall Burdette to receive 2013 Kenneth A. Rowe Ambassador of Aviation Award

Virginia Department of Aviation Director, Randall Burdette, has been selected by the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) to receive the Kenneth A. Rowe Ambassador of Aviation Award. Named after a previous Virginia Director, the award honors a state aviation director who embodies spirit, optimism, and fierce pride in the capabilities of the state aviation agencies. It will be presented at the upcoming NASAO Conference in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is a special award; it has only been presented eight times since its creation 19 years ago. Mr. Burdette will be the first Virginia director to receive it since it was presented to and named after Kenneth A. Rowe in 1994.

Mr. Burdette was appointed as Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) in 2004 by Governor Mark Warner and then reappointed in 2006 and 2010 by the honorable Governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell respectively. Leading an organization that reports directly to the Secretary of Transportation and the highest executive in state government (the Governor), Mr. Burdette took the reins of the agency and initiated programs that set the stage for state aviation agencies around the nation to emulate for years to come. The creation of organizations addressing security, safety and economic development were part of his vision to increase communications throughout the industry locally, regionally and nationally.

As the state aviation agency director, he led the DOAV to become the first IS-BAO (International Standards for Business Aviation Operations)-registered and ISO 9001:2008-certified state aviation agency in the country. Under his leadership and desire to better serve communities, he encouraged more business-use of airports by adding the infrastructure needed at airports during poor weather.  Virginia is the first state to have instrument approaches into all of its public-use airports and is on track to become the first state with weather reporting at 100% of the public owned/public use airports in November of this year.  These two improvements will give businesses better access to Virginia communities through its airports. 

Mr. Burdette also commissioned numerous reports and studies including: Virginia’s Flight to 2025: An Aviation Vision for the Commonwealth; Virginia Aviation and Space Workforce Analysis and Strategy Development; Competitive Analysis of Virginia’s Aviation Industry; Virginia Airport System Economic Impact Study; Virginia’s Aerospace Industry-An Economic Analysis; and the Competitive Analysis of Virginia’s Aerospace Industry.  Through his efforts AOPA’s Airport Support Network (ASN) reached 100% participation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Organizations developed under the leadership of Mr. Burdette include: Virginia Aviation Security Advisory Council (VASAC), Virginia Helicopter Association (VHA), Virginia Airstrip Owners Association (VAOA), Virginia Volunteer Pilots Group (VVPG), the Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association (VSPA) and the Virginia Warbird Association (VWA).

Mr. Burdette served as the chairman for NASAO’s Executive Committee, acting as the point of contact for the Memorandum of Understanding for NextGen Technologies, and is active in the aviation community, serving on the boards of numerous aviation organizations.

New Virginia Aviation Board Members

In case you didn't have the chance to meet the newest Virginia Aviation Board (VAB) members at this year's Virginia Aviation Conference here's an introduction:

William E. Coburn will be representing Region 1,
which includes these airports:
Blue Ridge Regional
Grundy Municipal
Lee County
Lonesome Pine
Mountain Empire
New River Valley
Tazewell County
Twin County
Virginia Highlands
Virginia Tech/Montgomery Executive

Bill Coburn is a career Air Force Intelligence Officer and lifelong Civilian Pilot.  Colonel Coburn retired from the Air Force after 30 years service in 2007 and is presently a lead Systems Analyst with Northrop Grumman in Newport News.  A native of Hampton Roads, Bill and his wife Elizabeth currently reside in Isle of Wight County, VA.  

Charles M. Quillin will be representing Region 6,
which includes these airports:
Chase City Municipal
Emporia-Greenville Regional
Franklin Municipal
Lake Country Regional
Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal
Lunenburg County
Mecklenburg-Brunswick Municipal
Wakefield Municipal

Dr. Charles M. Quillin is the director of operations for Headquarters, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (HQ ESGR) under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs (ASD/RA) in Alexandria, VA. A native of Scott County, Virginia, Dr. Quillin retired from the United States Air Force in 1995 as a colonel with 25 years of service and was the Dean of Institutional Advancement and Senior Development officer at Emory & Henry College. He and his wife Heda, live in Abingdon, Virginia.

For more information on the VAB visit our website.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2013 Virginia Aviation Conference

This year’s conference opened with a welcome panel including Bill Kelly, President of the Virginia Airport Operators Council (VAOC); Bill O’Brien, Special Projects Coordinator for Bath County; Randy Burdette, Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) and Sean Connaughton, Virginia Secretary of Transportation. Sessions following the welcome included “Insight from Washington” presented by Henry Ogrondzinski, National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) and “Perspectives on the Industry” presented by Jim Bennett, A.A.E.

So far attendance numbers are looking above average for the second year at The Omni Homestead. This afternoon’s agenda includes panels and breakout sessions as well as “FAA Question and Answer” with Terry Page, WADO. The annual awards banquet is scheduled for tonight where DOAV will have the opportunity to recognize outstanding contributions to our aviation community.

For more photos from this event visit our flickr page!

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 EAA AirVenture- Highlights from a Virginia Perspective

Now that we are all back in good ol' Virginia let's talk about one the best AirVentures yet. Final numbers say more than 500,000 people came out for the show as well as over 10,000 aircraft landed at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airport in eat-central Wisconsin. Check out how many Virginia pilots stopped by our booth!
Virginia exhibitors are holding strong with ten of us representing the commonwealth. Those include: Avionics Systems LLC; Butler Parachutes; UMA Inc; Helicopter Association International (HAI); The Aviator's Bookshelf; Liberty University; CSC Duats; Airfleet Capital Inc; Tecnam and the Virginia Department of Aviation.

Also representing the Commonwealth of Virginia was the Virginia Aviation Board. They attended a roundtable discussion with state directors, board and commission members including NASAO Executive Director, Henry Orgodzinski. And supported DOAV Director Randy Burdette's forum "Virginia Aviation Initiatives".
Virginia was also mentioned at the SocialFlight app's media conference as we are considered an ambassador for the program. The DOAV was also represented in the WomenVenture photo!
On the last day of the show the Virginia Department of Aviation's former director Kenneth Rowe was inducted to the EAA Memorial Wall. This annual gathering honors, celebrates and offers remembrance on behalf of dearly departed EAA members and aviation enthusiasts. The moving service featured a reading of the newly installed names, followed by the playing of taps with a missing man formation overhead.

Other highlights include Jetman's first appearance in the United States, a flight from the Terrafugia flying car and the wold premiere of Disney's Planes with special guest "Dusty" in an airshow.

Another notable moment of AirVenture this year was Sean Tucker being named chairman of the Young Eagles, taking the reins from Miracle on the Hudson pilots Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles. For additional 2013 EAA AirVenture photos visit our flickr!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mauiva Landing at Manassas Regional Airport

On Tuesday, July 16, Mauiva AirCruise landed at Manassas Regional Airport on their inaugural flight into the area.  Mauiva is bringing international visitors to the City of Manassas on their journeyaround the East Coast. Mauiva selected Manassas Regional Airport as a regular stopping point for their AirCruise tour for the airport’s personal attention to patrons; for the inviting terminal building; for the 6,200 foot runway which gives aircraft a longer area for takeoff and touchdown; for the proximity of the airport to tourist attractions; and because of the de-icing equipment available to airport clients at Manassas Regional Airport.  Manassas Regional Airport is the busiest General Aviation airport in the Commonwealth with more than 400 based aircraft.  It has an annual Economic Impact to the community of $235 million.  

“This new venture at the Airport is a great step in Economic Development for the City of Manassas,” said Mayor Harry J. Parrish II.  “We welcome the AirCruise to the Manassas Regional Airport and look forward to a lasting relationship with Mauiva and it’s subsidiary, Charter Air Transport.”

Mauiva, which will be working with APP Jet Center located at the Manassas Regional Airport, is the innovator of a concept called the AirCruise that allows guests to experience regions of the United States in a week’s time. Through the use of private planes for transportation from destination to destination, passengers experience a hassle free vacation without the headaches of more conventional travel.  In addition to the private flights, Mauiva AirCruise offers clients all-inclusive pricing that includes stays at some of the area’s well-known hotels, attractions and sightseeing during the trip, most meals, private transportation, luggage service, and all gratuities. Mauiva AirCruise was most recently recognized as being in the top 10 percent of companies worldwide with favorable reviews by TripAdvisor guests.  Visit for more information.

In addition to the AirCruise, Charter Air Transport, a subsidiary of Mauiva, provides private and corporate charters, casino trips, university sports teams, and air transportation.  Charter Air Transport has become one of the largest private charter companies in the United States. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Virginia Announces Initiative to Explore Adding New Licensed Public Use Turf Runways

The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) in conjunction with the Virginia Aviation Board (VAB) are exploring opportunities to develop new licensed turf runways at existing public-use airports to accommodate the needs of student pilots, and operations by gliders, antique/warbird aircraft and tail-wheel aircraft. The Virginia Aviation and Space Workforce Analysis and Strategy Development revealed a need for over 12,595 new pilots over the next 15-20 years to meet the Commonwealth of Virginia's future demands. Additional licensed public use turf runways will provide a safe environment to train the future aviators in numerous piloting maneuvers.

DOAV Director Randall Burdette introduced the initiative to the VAB at its May 16, 2013 meeting. VAB members are appointed by the governor to promulgate appropriate aviation rules and regulations and approve funding for airport capital projects and other statewide infrastructure needs, such as public use turf runways. This potential need will be evaluated by the DOAV’s Airport Services Division (ASD) as an extension of the ongoing Virginia Air Transportation System Plan Update. Currently there are only two licensed turf runways in the commonwealth, located at the William Tuck Airport in South Boston and the Shannon Airport in Fredericksburg.

Friday, May 31, 2013

“Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association” Takes Flight

Virginia becomes the first state to establish its own seaplane pilots association according to the Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA).  The Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association (VSPA) takes wing during the Lake Anna Splash-In (May 23 & 24, 2013). Those attending the seaplane splash-in at Lake Anna voted unanimously to establish the Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association and elected Bill Fosdick as its first President. Edgar "ET" Tello, the regional representative from the SPA was in attendance and provided valuable guidance to the group. The Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) Director, Randy Burdette and the DOAV Director of Flight Operations and Safety, Steve Harris were there in support of creating the association. The new President of the VSPA, Bill Fosdick said, “Virginia is considered a seaplane friendly state and with a concerted effort by the 209 seaplane pilots already in Virginia we can make the business and sport of flying seaplanes in Virginia much safer for the pilots and citizens of this great commonwealth through education and preservation and cooperation.”

The goal of the Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association is to educate, promote and preserve seaplane operations throughout the commonwealth.  Education of public officials, decision makers, other waterway users and the general public about seaplanes and their operations is key to continued acceptance on commonwealth waterways.  Promotion of seaplanes in a public safety and service role provides value to the local community.  Education and promotion will result in the preservation of seaplane operators’ rights to share the commonwealth’s natural resources with other groups. One objective of the VSPA is to document in the Virginia Airport Directory and SPA Directory information on landing waterways in the commonwealth and contact information for those who have oversight responsibilities for those waterways. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Virginia Seaplane Pilots Association contact Bill Fosdick at 540-872-6744. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Virginia Aviation Board meets, allocates funds to state airports and recognizes Virginia Aviation Board members

The Virginia Aviation Board (VAB) approved tentative allocations of Commonwealth Airport Funds for Fiscal year 2013 at its meeting on Thursday, May 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Airport. Approved Air Carrier/Reliever Discretionary funding was $3,159,812.28 and General Aviation Discretionary funding was $990,340. Projects addressed ranged from obstruction removal in Martinsville, to parking lot rehabilitation and expansion in Shenandoah Valley, to terminal building renovation and upgrades in Charlottesville and a taxiway extension in Manassas. Total Commonwealth Airport Fund discretionary funds allocated were $4,150,152.28.

The board also recognized Virginia Aviation Board members Robert “Bob” S. Dix and Richard “Rick” C. Franklin, Jr. for their years of services to the Commonwealth. Both board members’ terms expire June 30, 2013. Several accomplishments during Mr. Dix’s term include: terminal buildings at Lee County, Mountain Empire, and Twin County Airports; runway, apron and taxiway extensions, expansions and rehabilitations at Blue Ridge Regional, Lee County, New River Valley and Virginia Tech-Montgomery Executive Airports; and AWOS replacement and rotating beacon relation at Tazewell County Airport. Mr. Franklin’s accomplishments include: a new terminal building at Lawrenceville-Brunswick Municipal Airport; hangar site preparation, clearing and grading at Lake Country Regional and Mecklenburg-Brunswick Regional Airports; runway rehabilitation at Emporia-Greensville Regional, Franklin Municipal and Lake Country Regional Airports; and self-fueling equipment at Wakefield Municipal Airport.

The next VAB meeting is August 23 during the annual Virginia Aviation Conference.

The VAB has eight members representing seven regions of the Commonwealth. The Board approves funding requests brought to it by the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV).

Monday, May 20, 2013

Virginia Department of Aviation's 2013 Photo Contest

Due to the popularity of the contest, we have decided to add back categories to our photo contest. Generally the rules are the same but if you have any questions feel free to give us a call!

2013 Photo Contest Rules

2013 Photo Contest Application

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Navy Cancels 2013 NAS Oceana Air Show with Blue Angels

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Navy announced today the cancellation of the annual Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show and appearance by the Flight Demonstration Squadron, the “Blue Angels” as a result of budget shortfalls due to sequestration. 

Recognizing budget realities, current Defense policy states that outreach events can only be supported with local assets at no cost to the government. 

This is one of many steps the Navy is taking to ensure resources are in place to support forces operating forward now and those training to relieve them. 

The Navy believes there is value in demonstrating the professionalism and capabilities of our Naval aviation teams, thus inspiring future generations of Sailors and Marines. The Navy intends to continue aerial demonstrations in the future as the budget situation permits.

“The Oceana Air Show highlights the tremendous partnership between the people the Hampton Roads area and our Navy team. It is unfortunate we must cancel the 2013 celebration due to the continuing budget challenges. Over the years, the city and many community agencies have developed strong partnerships with the Navy and the Air Show affords us an opportunity to highlight military service during the three-day event. However, until we finish our evaluation of what the current budget will support, with priority on operational and Fleet readiness, we have no choice but to cancel the Air Show,” said Capt. Bob Geis, commanding officer of NAS Oceana. 

“We appreciate the community’s understanding during these uncertain times. I am also profoundly thankful for what the city and our community partners do for our service men and women each and every day.”

Monday, March 25, 2013

FAA Closing Control Tower at Lynchburg Regional Airport

The sequestration plan is hitting home again, this time at Lynchburg Regional Airport. The FAA released its Tower Closure List on Friday, March 22 to go into effect on April 7 as an effort to cut spending.

Lynchburg Regional Airport is the only airport in Virginia that will close out of the list of 149 regional airports. As many as five people could lose their jobs at the Lynchburg Regional Airport. Planes will still be able to land and take off from Lynchburg, but they'll be monitored from a control tower in Roanoke.  That already happens during the late night and early morning hours, when Lynchburg's control tower isn't staffed.

The director of Lynchburg Regional Airport, Mark Courtney, says passengers can expect delays after the closure, but it will not affect the airport's stringent safety guidelines and procedures.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Sequestration Cancels the Memorial Day Weekend Air Show

The Lynchburg Regional Air Show Corporation (LRA) announced Friday, March 15, 2013 that the Memorial Day weekend air show featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels and other performers has been cancelled.

Due to the government’s “sequestration” of funding that supports military air show performers, the Lynchburg Regional Airshow Corporation concluded that the risks of attempting to conduct a viable air show were too great. Concerns included the potential inability of the air show to meet the high standards the Lynchburg community deserves, and the likelihood of significant financial losses.

It is unknown if the Blue Angels will be grounded before the May air show. However, this uncertainty combined with our recent notification that the Army’s Golden Knights have terminated all of their performances as well as other military aircraft and support cancellations the Lynchburg show was counting on gave reason for concern. A last-minute cancellation of the show would cause considerable disappointment, uproot plans, and place the air show in financial jeopardy. Thus, the decision to cancel at this time allows all affected entities to plan accordingly. 

Conducting an air show is an expensive proposition and must at least “break even.” 
Consequently other air shows around the country are being cancelled this year as a direct result of “sequestration.” 

The most regrettable result of this cancellation is the plan to recognize and honor our military on Memorial Day weekend, negated by the actions and decisions in Washington. This was to be the centerpiece of the show. 

The airshow leadership is extremely grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who were committed to assisting with the airshow. Many of whom have been working for over a year in preparation.

Planning for a 2015 air show in Lynchburg will begin immediately.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Virginia Business Aviation Symposium

          Air Charter and Air Taxi Operators, Fixed Based Operators, General Aviation airport operators and others associated with the small aircraft transportation sector are invited to join in a dialogue to explore methods to promote and increase the utilization of on-demand and charter business aviation services at this symposium. 
          Sponsored by the Department of Aviation and the Virginia Aviation Business Association, the 2013 Virginia Business Aviation Symposium is set to discuss and explore critical issues, and investigate possible partnerships to achieve higher rates for utilization of services which allow business and commerce to move by small aircraft to communities throughout the Commonwealth.
          Join leaders in the industry as well as daily practitioners for the day on March 26th.  Flying in?  Driving in?  It doesn’t matter how you arrive, but do plan on participating in this symposium, which will be hosted at the Metropolitan Aviation complex at Manassas Regional Airport (HEF).  Join in the discussion, and be a part of the action plan that will attempt to help foster more business for business aviation!

Monday, February 11, 2013

2013 International Aviation Art Contest- Virginia Winners


The Virginia winners of 2013 International Aviation Art Contest have been chosen. The theme this year was "My Favorite Air Sport". 

Entries in each age group were judged this year by Bill Kluge, a professional aviation artist, illustrator and graphic designer for NASA; David Hahn, Dinwiddie Airport Manager with an art history background and select employees from the Virginia Department of Aviation. Winners receive a certificate and recognition from the Commonwealth. The top three entries in each age group are forwarded to Washington, D.C., to be judged in the national competition.

Featured above are the first place winners in each of the age groups:

Junior Category

First Place: Will Clayton Smith, age 7
CM Bradley Elementary School
Warrenton, Virginia

Second Place: Julliette Guill, age 9
Hardy Elementary School
Smithfield, Virginia

Third Place: Daniel Murtha, age 9
Hardy Elementary School
Smithfield, Virginia

Intermediate Category

First Place: Delaney Myers, age 13
Kenmore Middle School
Arlington, Virginia

Second Place: Emily Lawson, age 14
Liberty Christian Academy
Lynchburg, Virginia

Third Place: Avery Rae Smith, age 13
Warrenton Middle School
Warrenton, Virginia

Senior Category

First Place: Luke Bergeron, age 18
Millbrook High School
Winchester, Virginia

Second Place: Natalie Jane Smith, age 16
Fauquier High School
Warrenton, Virginia

Third Place: Debi Acevedo, age 17
Christ Chapel Academy
Woodbridge, Virginia

All of the winners will be featured in the Virginia Department of Aviation's Spring 2013 newsletter. Request your copy here!