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  • Airline pilots fear not, your jobs are safe! The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on August 7 letting pilots and aviation experts know that airlines should not expect to see unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) flying regularly in the United States airspace “anytime soon”.
    The statement came as a result of reports of unauthorized UAS flights near airliners. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta assured pilots that the entry of UASs into the airspace system would be done prudently in a step-by-step fashion with safety being of utmost importance.
    Unmanned aircrafts, popularly referred to as drones, are governed by state regulations. In a report on August 4, ABC News said that there have been 10 incidents in the 30 days prior where unmanned aircrafts flew too close to passenger jets in the New York area. In some of these cases, the pilots flying the passenger planes had to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
    The FAA is already starting to feel pressure from the unmanned aircraft industry and Congress who want some commercial operations to be exempt from current regulations. The operators who are looking to receive an exemption are involved in areas of business including precision agriculture, powerline and pipeline inspection and oil and gas flare stack inspection. To ease some of the pressure by these two bodies, the FAA said it would release a long-delayed draft rulemaking in November to standardize the regulation of small UASs.
    The FAA was also able to announce that it did grant a certificate of authorization allowing unmanned aircraft testing by Griffiss International Airport in Rome, New York. This will be the fifth of six national UAS test sites to begin operating.
    Canada currently allows commercial UAS flights, but operators must obtain and comply with the conditions of a Special Flight Operations Certificate.

  • Employers have finally had enough of the chaos that comes with apprenticeships and internships and are calling for a centralised point where information can be found.
    Companies are asking for a system, much like the UCAS system for degrees, which will help students to navigate the many options they have when it comes to educational work routes.
    Currently, human resource experts have many concerns over the public’s understanding of any benefits an apprenticeship may have for students and how it can help young professionals choose a career route.
    One HR expert praised the vocational request from employers saying, “for university courses the UCAS system means students can access information easily. Why isn’t their something like this for alternative routes?”
    Employers would also like to see more in-school education about the options offered by apprenticeships. Although, it would be great if all students took the university route, unfortunately it is unrealistic to think 100% of high school students will move on to university.
    Members of the panel at a recent recruitment specialist debate told the audience that teachers and parents had originally been dismayed when they announced their intentions to sign up for a vocational qualification. Employers feel that apprenticeship education is extremely important because of this very reason. There is a negative stigmatism attached with the word apprenticeship, however, “apprenticeships are a real alternative”.
    One HR panel expert suggested more education through social media and online advertisement. This is more of a “straight to the source” approach since the target demographic is always online and plugged in.
    The benefit for an employer is very clear; the company is guaranteed to have a young person in their company who is willing to learn. Companies are urging for more apprenticeship education so that students can see why it will benefit them as well.

     

  • Despite an increase in pension scheme membership, recent data suggests that FTSE 100 companies paid almost £2bn less to employee pension schemes in 2013.
    In a report released by LCP, data shows that FTSE 100 employers finally got a break after many years of consistent cost increases. Thirty-eight of the companies, however, did say they added additional security to their pensions schemes that came in the form of guarantees, pledges or even charges over assets. 
    Reforms announced in this year’s Budget are allegedly already having an impact on the UK’s pensions outlook. Human resource experts explain that this is being predicted long before the changes take full effect in April 2015.
    Some of the major reforms include removing the obligation to buy an annuity, with savers in defined contribution schemes given full flexibility in deciding how to draw funds. Additionally, those in defined benefit schemes have the ability to transfer their benefits to a defined contribution scheme. HR experts firmly believe that this option encourages great pension savings.
    Ultimately, the 2014 Budget makes retirement-saving plans appear more attractive for individuals. “Economic growth brings investment opportunities for pension schemes and their sponsors.”
    The government still has quite a bit of work ahead of them before the reforms become active. It still has to implement the free guidance for all defined contribution scheme members, but even with the amount of work ahead, HR experts are extremely optimistic.  

  • Pilots and technicians have been vigorously testing the EC135 Level D Full Motion simulator, in preparation for its certification since its original installation in spring.
    The simulator was certified at its former location but not at its current home at the Helicopter Flight Training Center. When the simulator was transported to its new location in Shreveport, Louisiana it had to receive its FAA certification once again.
    The simulator was just recently certified Level D and already has over 120 hours of training time for Metro Aviation pilots under its belt. The simulator provides a tool for aircraft specific training and is great for honing IFR and NVG skills. The simulator is also used for FAA-approved check rides.
    The addition of the simulator at the Helicopter Flight Training Center means that there will be more aviation expert foot-traffic in and out of the center as well as the addition of certain training programs. The director of the center is elated that the simulator found its new home in his center especially because of the “raised standard” and recognition of simulator based training sessions.
    The Helicopter Flight Training Center is also home to an AS350 Level 7 Flight Training Device. Both this simulator and the EC135 Level D simulator are available for dry lease.

  • Recently published research shows that millions of working age people in the United Kingdom could secure a financially comfortable life in retirement if they make minor changes to their saving habits.
    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that 11.9 million people aren’t saving enough for their retirement. Half of those people have almost reached their retirement income target.
    “The number of people classified as under-saving is defined by a replacement rate which measures retirement income as a percentage of working age income.”
    The research pinpoints three key factors that lead to poor retirement preparation. The first is not having a full work history, which can reduce entitlement to the State Pension. The second is not contributing to private pensions while at work. Finally, not contributing enough is cited in the research, which is more typical of those in higher income brackets.
    The Government recognises that this is an issue, which is what spurred many of the landmark reforms that have recently been made to the state pension system. These changes have been made to help reignite workplace pension scheme importance, education and interest. The introduction of the triple lock has also made a major impact. This is the commitment to increase the state pensions by whichever is highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 percent.
    The research also revealed that people in middle and higher income groups are actually the worst financially prepared for retirement. These income groups actually face the biggest income hit when they stop working.
    The research models how different increases could have different impacts on the number of people facing insufficient retirement funds. Experts have described this report as “extremely eye opening”.

  • Financial advisors feel that employers should pay for their advice when it comes to occupational pension schemes for employees.

    A recent survey conducted by the investment firm Quilter Cheviot Investment Management polled 130 financial advisors to learn their views on pensions reform, auto-enrolment and investment strategies. 

    When questions were asked most of the advisors agreed with each other - over half of the polled advisors said they believe employers should foot the bill for the provision of advice to members of occupational pension schemes. Almost 100% of respondents said they thought employees nearing retirement would increase their contributions for one reason or another. The same amount of respondents said they had high confidence in self invested personal pensions.  They cited a wide range of opportunities when it came to these personal pensions and said that employers should consider offering advice on these as well.

    Three quarters of the advisors also said they thought the 2014 Budget proposals may offer more opportunities for their business to advise members of occupational schemes on pensions. 

    Finally, the data revealed that a majority of these financial advisors believe the Government’s pensions reform will lead to workers increasing their contributions to their pension funds.

  • Dismal figures have been released after assessing the number of fatalities from business jet accidents worldwide.  In just the first half of this year, the number of accidents resulting in fatalities far exceeds the same piece of data for all of last year, according to statistics gathered by AIN. 

    So far this year (January – July), 29 people have died in seven crashes involving United States and non-United States registered business jets.  Last year, only 23 people were killed in eight accidents (January – December).  All US jet models that were involved in the fatal accidents that occurred in the last six months occurred under FAR Part 91.  “Part 135 charter/air taxi jet operations were only involved in one nonfatal accident in each of the comparable periods.”  Official investigations into these accidents are still in their preliminary stages. 

    Accident statistics also revealed that for comparable time periods, there were actually fewer fatalities from turboprop accidents and more from jet crashes.  Aviation experts are anxiously awaiting official investigation transcripts to see if there are any reasons that standout for the increase in fatalities.   

  • The gender pay gap, while it still exists, has decreased significantly since the 1970’s however the difference between what men and women take home today still differs greatly after the age of 30.
    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that figures show that in 1975 16-18 year old men and women were paid close to the same amount, yet after 18 this changed in the men’s favour. At that time 38-year-old men received, on average, 61% more than their female counterparts.
    Analysis of the ONS figures show that the average UK hourly wage for men today is £12.64 and £10.38 for women; this is a gap of 21 per cent.
    It seems that wage parity between the sexes lasts until around the age of 30. After this age, men start to out earn females.
    Some HR expertsbelieve that one explanation for this gap could be because of what is referred to as the “cohort effect.” Factors like gender discrimination legislation and changes within the United Kingdom economy, labour market, social attitudes and school achievements have come into play and have had a great impact on younger women.
    Human resource experts also point out that the figures released by the ONS do not account for the different type of occupations men and women hold. So, the fact that women are more likely to work part-time jobs once they start a family is not taken into consideration.
    Additionally, some HR experts believe that part of the discrepancy can be attributed to maternity leave and the fact that some women have had career gaps spanning several years. It shouldn’t be expected that after a hiatus a woman would walk in and receive the same salary as a man that has not taken any breaks.
    Experts urge management to remember that secrecy clauses have been outlawed, so employees are actually well within their rights to discuss and compare pay. Management should reward and pay employees based on business rather than bias and prejudice (deliberate or otherwise).

                                                                                                       

     

  • Airbus is breaking its own records it seems, but probably not the kind of records it wants to break. June 2014 orders and deliveries reports have been released and it appears that a total of 225 aircrafts have been cancelled so far this year.
    This marks the highest number of cancellations Airbus has seen in a given year. In the month of June, United Airlines cancelled 18 A320 family aircrafts that they had on order. This cancellation wasn’t completely unexpected since United hasn’t taken delivery of an Airbus aircraft since late 2002 and actually started cancelling their orders last year.
    Airblue also cancelled the remaining 13 A320’s it had on order last month. This airline ordered a total of 14 A320’s back in 2006, but only took delivery of one in 2010.
    Qantas cancelled an order for a whopping 21 A320’s, but also placed a new order for the same amount.
    Finally, Emirates’ well-publicized cancellation for 70 A350’s was recorded last month, but was replaced with an order for 150 777Xs.
    Aviation expertsexplain that although these numbers look discouraging the more orders that are made, the more cancellations can be expected.
    Even with all of these cancellations, Airbus is closing the gap in its orders war with Boeing. The manufacturer was able to lock in orders for 496 aircrafts worth $75 billion at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow.
    Airbus is currently building its first A320 assembly line on US soil at Mobile Aeroplex, which will help the manufacturer efficiently fulfill all of these orders. The $600 million facility should be completed by 2015 and will hopefully be able to deliver its first Mobile-assembled aircraft in 2016.