What is Solar Obstruction Light?

Solar powered obstruction lights are gaining popularity day by day in the aviation industry. These long lasting and low-maintenance lighting solutions are simply perfect to be used on tall buildings or structures like TV tower, telecom tower, wind mill etc. to direct the aircraft to the correct path. This wireless lighting solution is very cost-effective and is reliable even in extreme weather conditions like darkness, humidity, fog, rain etc. The best part with these solar powered aviation lights is that they neither create any electromagnetic interference nor any radio frequency interference for the aircraft.

Wider Reach & Wider Use


As the solar aviation lights or LED aviation lights are installed over tall structures to direct the aircraft to the correct path in the air, there are various other solutions that cater to the same need on the earth. In simpler words, solar obstruction light manufacturers and suppliers offer a wide range of lights that are used on the ground. These are:


Taxiway & Runway Lighting

Such pathways are usually crowded. To avoid the collision of any vehicle with the aircraft, you may come across a number of lighting tools in the market that are designed especially for taxiways and runways. These lights are very helpful during the night hours. This particular lighting module is very beneficial especially when there is a repairing or maintenance task going on over the runway.


Helipad Lighting

Safe landing is as important as safe take-off. To serve the purpose, even in night hours or bad weather conditions, solar light manufacturers have recently come up with helipad lighting that helps in increasing visibility and navigability of the helipad.

Several other types of such solar obstruction lights are ‘Airfield Safety and Way Finding Lights’ and ‘Tower & Crane Marking Lights’. These lights are very useful in directing the aircraft to the correct path and also help in safe landing of the same.

The author is an expert writer with in depth knowledge in telecom products, security products and services. At present, he is working with Spaceage Security and provides informative content on access control system, fire alarm, personal security, aviation light, led light, bts tower light. Find more information on telecom products and security products at www.spaceage-security.com

Locksmith Chicago For Tough Times Of Your Life

A Chicago locksmith is one that you cannot be done away with at some time in your life. When you do not know where to go for help they will surely come to your rescue for sure. They can help in home projects as well as during emergency cases. Many people trust Locksmith Company because they have good reputation when it comes to emergency situation like lost car keys, home lockout, car lockout, and many more emergency cases that is connected to keys. In order to get help as and when required try to maintain a contact with the Locksmith in the chicago vicinity. The company provides service round the clock.

After some period of time your lock inside the home is bound to get worn out and needs a change. Getting a lock repaired over a period of time is a good idea as it tends to get damaged due to usage after few years. Changing the locks of your is something that you can easily do yourself, but you still need to hire professionals to help you do it easily. When time is a constraint then you must check out the Chicago locksmith alone as they provide good timely service even if they charge a bit more. It will seem like a very small investment when looking at the protection point of view.

Home is not only the one who is need of the services of professional lock company such as Locksmith. A broken car keys on a tour as well can make you require repairing it. As Chicago locksmith are the only ones that can help you in such circumstances without spoiling your car. When there is a coerced entry into your car there will be more damage and cost you more on fixing it. It is better to opt for Lock Company than to pay for bigger amount of money for repair. Locksmith are capable of opening any kind of lock with all the up to date tools that they have making them a very qualified company. They can help you with new keys for you car that has got damaged.

The regular services offered by them is that of lock repair. If you have old keys inside the house, you need have a lock repair, but this option is not a long term solution. Even in future you can be assured of a lock replacement. The old safe box that you might have with a key instead of a combination type of lock can be replaced by them with a new key.

Apart from doing the lock work the Chicago locksmith are capable of undertaking high security system. Your home will be secured especially when you are in a high risk area that is close to homes that are empty due to abandonment or foreclosure. Your home may be surrounded with some of the thieves at night time. You will no longer have to spend sleepless nights when you hire the locksmith to get the security system in place.

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Pre-Flight Checklists – Are You and Your Aircraft Ready For Flight?

Every day around the world thousands of private pilots enjoy the experience of flying light aircraft.  Some will go no further than a short journey in the local area around their home airfield while others will make longer journeys to airfields and airports hundreds of miles away and even across long stretches of open water.

Each of these pilots will, to one degree or another, carry out a sequence of checks that prepare both themselves and the aircraft for flight.  How many checks are carried out will depend on a variety of factors.  For example, how recently was the aircraft flown and when was the last time the pilot was PIC (Pilot In Command) of an aircraft?  It will also depend on the airmanship of the pilot.

Whatever the aircraft type and whether you’re a student pilot or a veteran aviator with many hundreds of hours in your log book there are some standard checks that should be carried out before every flight.  Even if some of them can be discounted without further attention the mental process of working through them and the physical process of walking around the aircraft will improve your airmanship and may one day save your life.

There are two mains sets of checks that can be carried out.  The first set comprises the considerations of the pilot’s physical, mental, and emotional state.  Fatigue, anxiety, and emotional upsets can all adversely affect the pilot’s ability to react and respond to emergencies as well as his or her concentration during flight planning.  If the pilot dispenses with traditional navigational tools such as the map, ruler, pencil and stopwatch and relies instead on GPS and other electronic aids then the selection process and data input require concentration if navigational errors are to be avoided.

During this first stage of preparation the pilot will also complete the flight planning in which he/she will decide upon the best route to the destination taking into account terrain, airspace restrictions, and weather.  For extended journey the pilot will also choose an alternate destination airfield should the weather deteriorate en route.  He/she will also check NOTAMS and other sources of information for any news about temporary restrictions or warnings about unusual activity.

The second set of checks comprises the sequence of checks carried out on the aircraft itself.  This is commonly called the ‘walk around’ as it involves just that; a walk around the aircraft while working through the aircraft’s check list.  This will be either memorized by the more experienced pilot or carried about by the student or less experienced pilot.  Just as each aircraft type has its own POH (Pilot’s Operating Handbook) so too will each type have its own checklist, but the basic principle is the same i.e. is the aircraft ready for flight?

Pre-flight checks on aircraft will include such things as; checking the overall aircraft structure, checking that the air vents and pitot tube are free from obstruction, checking the tires for signs of wear and tyre-creep, checking the propeller for any sign of damage or wear, checking the linkages on all moveable surfaces for signs of wear or breakage, and checking the levels of engine oil and fuel. 

The cockpit will contain fuel gauges but these cannot be relied upon for one hundred percent accuracy and it is much preferable to visual check to level of fuel in the tanks.  On a low wing aircraft this can easily be done by removing the fuel filler cap on the wing and using a tip stick, but on high wing aircraft like a Cessna a step ladder is required.  Fuel checks also include draining water from the wing tanks.  Water contamination of fuel is a common problem caused by the condensation that occurs on the walls of the wing tanks, but water is heavier than aviation fuel so it gathers at the lowest point of the tank where it can be drained off.

If the pilot is satisfied that he/she is ready for flight and that the aircraft is serviceable and prepared then there additional checks to be carried out depending upon the type of flight to be undertaken.  For example, does the aircraft contain the necessary emergency equipment needed for flights over remote areas or over water?

Pre-flight checks can sometimes seem laborious and tedious to those eager to get aloft and enjoy a few hours’ flight but they needn’t be a chore.  Repetition and practice will soon speed up the process and completing them will mentally prepare the pilot for flight.  Treating the checks as part of the flight will not only make flying safer for pilots and their passengers but will also train the mind to be alert and increase the confidence of student and veteran pilots alike.

Ben Lovegrove is a keen amateur aviator whose blog Aviate, Navigate, Communicate contains many other tips, reviews, and news about aviation.

ALICE Military Backpack System

The ALICE military backpack came into existence in January 1973. Designed to emulate older versions used in World Wars I & II, the Alice Pack was a necessity for the fighters in Vietnam.

ALICE stands for All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. This type of pack is still in use with the American military, though it is slowly being replaced with the MOLLE issue pack.

The ALICE Pack was designed to lighten the overall weight of their pack. By changing materials and the makeup of the components, the U.S. Military was able to lighten the pack down to three pounds empty. This was a considerable difference from older versions whose lightest weight was at five pounds. By changing the heavy cotton material to a lightweight, water proof nylon, and the components from heavy steel to aluminum, the ALICE pack became lightweight and less burdensome to the solider.

Designed with a pack on the back, two shoulder straps and a mid section belt, the ALICE design was made for easy carrying. The wide shoulder straps reduce the pressure put upon the shoulders from the weight of the pack and the multi function belt serves as weight distribution and additional carrying capabilities.

Military packs were designed to provide the solider with carrying capabilities for the mission at hand and that mission only. This usually comprised of a change of clothes, firearm and ammunition, a canteen, field first aid kit and any other relevant items that relate to the particular mission. Objective, terrain and length of time were all considerations in packing an ALICE Pack. ALICE Packs were available in three sizes and were issued on a per case scenario.

Slated to be replaced in 1988 by the military, officially this has not happened. The popularity of the ALICE pack among personnel has made the change over slow. Many of the ALICE components are capable of interchanging with the newer packs being used by the military.

Popular with campers and backpackers you can find ALICE packs in many Army/Navy stores. The packs while no longer produced by the military are often found in their surplus lots. It will be a long time before the packs are no longer available.

While it may be a little dated by today’s standards, ALICE backpacks are still great for hiking and camping. And while the military now uses newer military backpacks, ALICE packs are easy to find at army surplus stores and online.

Corporate Jet Charter For Quick And Comfortable Travel

When you are part of a high level business company, you will find that time is the most valuable thing you can have. You often wont have enough of it, and many would pay thousands, if not millions of pounds to have more of it. It is a valuable commodity that cannot be bought or regained once lost. In this sense it is more valuable than gold or oil.

If you do run a business, you will find that every second of your time is valuable and cannot be wasted. In this sense, travel will be a great concern to you. If you wish to travel even within your own country, you will find that travel by road is often not a viable option. This is primarily because road transport can be held up by congestion.

Road congestion

Road congestion is an ongoing problem, as more and more people wish to drive, and the availability of road space stays the same, meaning that congestion can only increase. Therefore, if you wish to make a trip from one part of a country to another, you will find that giving an exact timescale for your trip can be almost impossible. You may say that you will arrive at a destination for a set time, but are then held up by congested roads. This will mean that you are late for your meeting.

The alternative to this is to leave for your destination perhaps an hour early to account for any potential congestion. This will mean that you are more likely to arrive on time, although it is still possible that you will encounter heavy congestion and still be late. If you are fortunate enough to be on time, you will find that your journey has take a longer total time, due to the fact that you started earlier, or you will find yourself too early for your meeting, which can be equally awkward.

Flustered and tired

This whole process will leave you potentially flustered and tired due to the long length of time involved and the uncomfortable transport method, even if you are not the one doing the driving. Therefore road transport cannot be considered as a completely viable method of transport for an important meeting.

Another consideration is train travel, but this can also be liable to face delays and can be mightily costly and uncomfortable considering the cost. It therefore cannot be considered a viable method of long or medium distance travel.

A method of transport you may not have considered but is highly viable and comfortable, is that of corporate charter. Business jet charter via corporate charter operators can be a great way to travel in a business friendly manner to your destination; with a lack of delays, high speed, and extremely high levels of comfort, youll arrive at your meeting comfortable and fresh, on time and calm.

I am an expert writer on corporate charter services. I suggest the website http://www.flymenow.co.uk for group flights and for executive jets.

Benefits of Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is part of the holistic concept of life coaching.  You have no doubt heard of life coaching as it has become more popular and mainstream in recent years, with its effective strategies and benefits that it is giving to individuals who have been part of this process and worked with such life mentors.  Executive coaching is one of the divisions of life coaching that is geared to helping various executives, managers of different organisations and top industry professionals who need to keep up with the demand of their challenging workplace. 

The benefits of executive coaching will be discussed below and so to will its effect on the organizations and companies that these executives are working with.

This type of high level coaching works for those executives who have come to a point where they are faced with daily challenges and demands in their workplace and career. A professional mentor helps to understand these challenges and provide options, paths and solutions that work not only for the individual but also for the company or organisation.

The process of coaching helps the executive identify his or her strengths and weaknesses in management, promotion, effectiveness and career direction.  When clear strengths and weaknesses have been established it is possible to create the most effective work and career plans tailored to the individual. Becoming more effective at work can also help to promote an individual as a key player or leader in their industry and work place.

It is also important to recognise how important this type of coaching and mentoring can be for a whole company or organisation. Individual employees can be provided with valuable leadership and management skills, resulting in better daily output and turnover for a company. There can also be a major boost to morale, providing a more dynamic and thriving workplace for employees. it can also establish more loyalty from employees to their employers, if this type of training was provided in the workplace as part of ongoing professional development.

If you are serious about finding an effective and professional life coach, then visit Life Coach London

There you will find more information and access to one of the top, life, career and executive coaches in the UK.

A Tribute to “The Rape of the Lock”

Rape of the lock by Alexander Pope

The Rape of the lock is not only an exquisitely ingenious example of a perfect satire, it is an exceptionally beautiful candidate contesting man’s greatest achievements in intellectual capacity, for the kind of grace that is an immortal goal in every man. Rape of the lock is an uncommon satire based on a true incident in the life of Arabella Fermor and Lord Petre, where Lord Petre at a ball was so enraptured by Miss Fermor that he proceeded to snip away a lock of her hair. This very incident triggered rigorous rivalries between the two respectively distinguished families, which we are made to know, were on otherwise better and more convivial terms. Pope, imbued and kindled by both Muse and imagination, went ahead to concoct a tale that elaborated the vanity and the ludicrousness of undertaking such a needless enterprise of a breach for an unworthy and ineffably trifling reason. It is believed that Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, was instrumental in redeeming the lost cordiality and amity amongst them and pronouncing the hatchet buried. In the following snippets, I’ll alight upon what I consider the cardinal cantos of the poem. So, they follow -


Before summarizing the third canto, it is essential to remember that Pope consistently burlesques Homer’s and Virgil’s prowess in the epical fashion, establishing the most fundamental and draconic of principles of allowing some semblance to the genre of producing a mock-epic. The third and fourth cantos, with the one exception of the Homeric battle in the fifth canto, stockpile almost all key instances of parodied or satirized scraps of the majestic epic approach. Even in a segregate essay by Pope himself, he pokes cool, unlabored fun at the epic motif and infers that the epical style of writing is choked with invariable conventional loopholes that can only very lamely qualify as stipulations of style or a freak of an ideology.

Now, the summarizing of Pope’s mock epic may concern a very abstract approach, as is commonplace to paraphrasing poetry. Written for the eighteenth century layman, on the whole the satire can be intriguingly assumed to mark the hypocrisy of the aristocratic class, and if such an advent is welcomed, then the third canto is the vastest episode of such a stabbing enterprise. By debunking the vanity involved behind the walls of the private chambers of Hampton Court, Pope concentrates on envisioning a supercilious and hypocritical stubbornness of a superfluous class that overtly toils to embellish their miens or general natures with unusual airs as those of snuff-boxes and card-games. Much space has been rendered to the neat portrayal of the card-game, Ombre, which has been confidently imitated from the ‘Scacchia of Vida’, and by such an example in a castigating satire, perhaps Pope aims to chastise the vain, grotesque and much refutable elitist temperaments and unworthy sophisticated dispositions of a haughty and lofty class of aristocracy. It is during the card game that Belinda encounters with the Baron and defeats him at the game.

Proceedings head so that the Baron, so stimulated by Belinda’s unerring, beguiling charms that he readies himself to snip away a lock of her hair. Though reasons have not been fashioned, but Clarissa is the one who lends the scissors to the baron to commence the nefarious deed. Throughout these junctures, it is perhaps the sylphs (Pop borrowed the idea of the invisible beings from a little French book entitled, Le Comte de Gabalis) that are not only great sources of amusement but provide some categorical intensity and swashbuckling nervy gung-ho zest to the scene – ‘Swift to the lock a thousand sprites repair’. A few sylphs tug at Belinda’s earring about thrice, making her turn just a tad, not enough to spot the Baron with the ‘engine’. Some sylphs humorously, drolly but still unsuccessfully attempt at blowing at the endangered lock to make it shift, budge.

Ariel, Belinda’s personal sylph, tries to conduct all other sylphs but then discovers that since Belinda holds some delicate but hidden feelings for the baron, he too retreats obediently. The deed is done. The Baron snips away a lock of Belinda’s hair with the spread ‘fatal Forfex’. The immediate denouement explains how a sylph ventures between the blades of the scissors to arrest the process but is divided in two, which line is an admirable parody on Milton’s idea of a wounded Satan – ‘The girding sword, with discontinuous wound, passed thro him; but the ethereal substance closed, Not long divisible’. At the end of the canto, Pope lends a comic panegyric to the invention that is steel and how more than once it has confirmed the doom of man. On the whole, it is just to point out that this canto might solely be the most pregnant of the five, for it holds all real and effectual action of the satire.

Omens have been general and generally conventional to a poet’s technique to imply or suggest or presage some oncoming adversity. Virgil did it to develop upon the death of Dido. The rape of Belinda’s lock too is preceded with alarming, droll and comic prodigies, which can be discovered in the first canto.


Canto 4 discusses the sphere of the domesticated supernatural, i.e., the sylphs, in detail and with more creative ingenuity as Pope deliberates on the ‘gloomy cave of Spleen’.


The affairs as their turn have them are sublimated from, and the scene shifts to the cave of spleen as a gnome or ‘a dusky melancholy Spright’, Umbriel, careers down or repairs to the Central earth, to the cave of spleen. Spleen, though imagined in the text as a deity, is actually the personification of a melancholic disorder prevalent in ladies of the upper social strata due to intense torpor, languor and indolence. There are vicious images governing the cave dovetailed with the enthroned, detached, ‘wayward queen’, to whom the gnome entreats to ‘touch Belinda with Chagrin’. The gnome returns with a bag of the queen’s replete munificence and finds Belinda in Thalestris’s arms. Thalestris, another character virginal to the poem as of yet, was the implied queen of the Amazons. It is suggested that Umbriel issues all the vile contents of the bag over them both, and then commences a menagerie, a pell-mell of swift comic action that would broadcast itself majestically in the fifth canto. Thalestris brandishes a violent, pugnacious speech under the supernatural influence and reprimands Belinda for her flimsy, helpless attitude. Then, we’re introduced to Sir Plume, who speaks naught but uncivil claptrap, twaddle and nonsense. Sir George Brown, the man after whom the character was framed, took great offense and couldn’t bear that Sir Plume would spew nothing but nonsense and gibberish.

Then the baron comes forth and reinforces his claim to the lock, and destines it as his forever. Umbriel, depraved gnome, sets himself to action once again as he breaks the vial of Sorrows and then the miserable, doleful nymph, Belinda, steals the cynosure. She curses the day, curses Hampton-court, and curses her need for vanity t


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Sun-Driven Aircraft of Tomorrow and Beamed-Energy Propulsion

In December 2003 we have celebrated 100 years of powered air flight. Century-long progress of aviation is amazing. Indeed, if we will look at the differences between Kitty Hawk and some flying marvel of modern technology, like, say, B-2 Spirit, we will see the changes of century-long progress. They are breathtaking. If only Orville and Wilbur Wright could see how far their experimentation with glued spruce and bicycle spokes will go.

There are signs that he way of progress is not always accompanied by roar and fumes. One day the limited supply of fossil fuels and inevitably growing price on use of incinerating technologies will put an end to everything that moves out of combustion. It is quite likely, that when this day will come, the spiral of progress will return us back to a pastoral reality of Huffman Prairie, field where Wright flyers were developed. Fumes and noise will be gone, and instead there will be light. And the light will keep our new silent flyers to go farther and longer than we could ever dream.

The aircraft of the future will be powered by light and it will be fumeless and noiseless. It will be driven by solar energy during the day and by beamed light energy during night. It will be serving to the needs of local individual transportation (substituting modern cars): even the range of daily transportation will be expanded from exhausting today 50 miles of driving to several hundred miles of pleasant flight. (Similar change happened with advent of Ford T and dwindling of horse-powered transportation). Scaled-up planes will work as long-distance passenger carriers, jumbo jets will be history. Never again the price of fuel will dictate the cost of long distance travel.

So what will be the specifics of such aircraft?

It will be built from lightweight composites. The upper surface of airplane wings will be covered with solar cells. During the day flight the photovoltaic elements will convert light energy into electricity, which will run the motors of the plane. Part of this energy will be accumulated in the batteries for keeping engines running when the light is blocked by clouds or during the night. Sounds like too much dependence on capricious weather and too much battery weight? Perhaps, but the beamed energy can permanently fix both problems: reduce battery weight and eliminate the risk of power outage. Of course, this will take a network to build, but the effort will bring hundredfold benefits.

Imagine a network of airborne power stations, which will charge the passing aircraft with beamed energy of light. The stations can be lifted on aerostats fixed at 3 to 5 thousand feet altitudes and equipped with directed light sources (spotlights or lasers, this will depend on the range and type of photovoltaic elements on planes). Each airborne station could cover an area of at least 120 square miles. Alternatively, the beaming sources can be placed on towers: this will reduce the range of coverage and require additional photovoltaic cells on lower surfaces of the flyers. For the same time, ground-based stations will be much easier in operation and maintenance, not to mention building costs. The stations will be beaming light at passing aircraft and literally re-charging it with electricity.

Power beaming will be something similar to modern day in-flight fueling, excepting that the process will be much easier and safer to perform and it will be available to everyone. If in-flight charging still sounds too logistically challenging, as an intermediate solution the stations could charge hovering flyers, the process somewhat similar to modern-day car fueling at gas stations. In this case in-flight power beaming will be the next step of developing technology. Individual aircraft will fly in the night from station to station and as far as the network goes (on-board batteries will cover dark zones). When sun rises, the stations will be turned off till the next sundown or cloudy day.

I hope that this is where we are going now. Just imagine the inevitable: there will be the day when internal-combustion engines will become part of a history and individual, family-owned, light aircraft, likely capable of hovering, vertical take-off and landing (somewhat like tiltrotor V-22 Osprey) will be flying daily and safely from point A to point B without air pollution, without fumes and noise. They will rule the sky day and night. How realistic is this? There are full-scale working prototypes. To learn more about solar powered aircraft check the story by Ron Laurenzo about Solar Impulse plane in May 09 issue of Aerospace America. To find out more on the subject and applications of power-beamed transportation, please, visit the official web site of American Institute of Beamed Energy Propulsion.

Andrew Pakhomov is founder and president of American Institute of Beamed Energy Propulsion, a nonprofit scientific organization serving to development and popularization of this space technology of the future AIBEP He is also associate professor of physics at University of Alabama in Huntsville. To read more about fascinating field of beamed-energy propulsion, please visit official site of AIBEP.

The Fundamentals of Fractional Jet Ownership

Fractional ownership became popular in the 1990s and now is a staple on the private air travel menu of options. With fractional, you purchase a partial interest in an aircraft that an aviation company operates. Along with other owners, you have the right to use any comparable aircraft in the company’s fleet, on demand, for a predetermined number of hours each year. (A typical agreement might include 100 hours of flying time per year for each one-eighth share you buy.) Your operator manages the aircraft and the rest of the fleet, providing pilots, maintenance, hangaring, insurance, catering and other services. You merely call a few hours ahead to schedule a flight and the company will deliver an airplane where you want it, when you want it, to take you where you want to go.

The cost of fractional flying includes a capital investment for purchasing the aircraft share; ongoing management fees that cover maintenance, insurance and operating expenses of the program; and a charge for each hour you fly. These costs vary depending upon the type of aircraft and the size of your share.

You’ll also pay fuel surcharges, which reflect price increases over a base rate for fuel that is specified in your contract. Because most providers use unrealistically low base rates, the recent surge in fuel costs has significantly increased these surcharges, so much so that they now substantially affect the cost of fractional flying.

Fractional contracts usually last five years. However, if you want to get out of the deal after the minimum term (usually two years), your provider is obligated to repurchase your share at the then fair market value of your aircraft, less a remarketing fee (generally 5 to 12 percent). Thus, in addition to the costs you incur while you own the share, you bear the risk of changes in the market value of your aircraft.

So the “all in” cost of your investment includes not only the management fees, hourly fees and fuel surcharges that you pay as you go, but also the difference between what you pay for the share when you buy it and what you recoup when you sell it back to your provider.

The fleets of the major U.S. fractional programs-NetJets, Flexjet, CitationShares and Flight Options-include aircraft of various sizes and capabilities. If an airplane other than the type you own will better serve your needs for a particular trip, you may upgrade or downgrade to the right-sized jet for that flight and your cost will be adjusted accordingly.

Is fractional the best choice for you? The general rule of thumb is that if you fly fewer than 50 hours per year, jet cards or charter may be better options; and if you fly more than 400 hours per year, purchasing a whole aircraft may be the way to go. If you’re in between, fractional may be your best bet, but the number of hours you fly is only the starting point of the analysis. From there, you should look closely at your needs, travel patterns and budget. Here are a few more factors to consider as you do so:

Your home base and destinations. If you’re not near a hub airport and you’re not well served by a charter operator, fractional may be a good choice. Similarly, if you travel to out-of-the-way places not well served by major airlines or charter companies, fractional may be attractive. However, if you fly outside the fractional providers’ main service areas, you may incur additional charges.

When you fly. If you fly primarily on high usage or “peak” travel days, such as around major holidays and events like the Super Bowl, you may not be guaranteed a flight or often may find yourself on a charter.

Length of your flights. If you fly lots of short hops-say, 30 minutes each-you’ll lose about half your flight time because you’re charged a minimum of one hour for each flight.

Your passengers. Make sure that the aircraft you choose will accommodate your passenger load and luggage on most trips.

Your budget. Carefully estimate the total cost of your investment, including anticipated fuel surcharges, expense increases and a likely loss in value of the share when you sell it back to your provider.

Tax depreciation. The benefits of depreciation, if available to you, may significantly reduce the after-tax cost of your investment.

If you determine that fractional is your best option, shop around to find the provider that offers the best fit for your needs. Despite what your salesperson will tell you, there is room to negotiate, but be sure to negotiate concessions that add value for you.

Once you strike a deal, read the contracts carefully. Although they’re made to look like standard boilerplate and are squeezed onto relatively few pages, don’t be fooled. These documents, and not the beautiful brochures, govern your rights and obligations in what may well be a multimillion-dollar investment. They cover when and where you can fly; responsibilities assumed by your provider; allocation of costs and other liabilities; and when and on what basis the provider will buy back your share.

Your goal should be to negotiate an investment that offers the right amount of flight time on the most appropriate, safe aircraft, at the best possible price. Remember, in the private air travel business, a mistake can cost you hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. On the other hand, however, the convenience, flexibility and reliability of a well-founded fractional investment will do nothing less than dramatically improve your life.

James Butler is an attorney and the chief executive officer of Shaircraft Solutions LLC (http://www.shaircraft.com), based in Bethesda, Md. Shaircraft advises individuals and businesses with respect to the full range of private air travel investments, including fractional ownership, jet card programs, air taxi services and charter, and also specializes in fractional share valuation disputes.

False Claims Act: Overview

The US government spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year, much of which goes to private entities that profit from government payments or contracts. Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE pay doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers for medical treatment. The Department of Defense pays contractors like Raytheon and Boeing to build aircraft and weapons systems. While healthcare and defense account for the bulk of government spending, taxpayer funds also go to thousands of other contractors who provide goods and services to government agencies and the military.

The sheer volume of government contracts and payments make it effectively impossible for the federal government to police all these contracts for fraud and abuse. Instead, the government relies on whistleblowers to report false claims against the government under the False Claims Act.

Types of Fraud Against the Government

The False Claims Act provides both legal protection and financial incentives to individuals who have knowledge of false claims for payment from the government. A false claim, under this law, is any act that results in government payment for fraudulent or unlawful claims. Examples of fraudulent or unlawful claims include:

Overcharging  the government (above fair market value) for goods, services, or labor
Charging the government for goods, services, or labor that are not actually provided or are short of contractual obligations
Receiving Medicare, Medicaid, or other government healthcare payments for treatment that is not medically necessary or is not in compliance with established regulations

False claims are not always overt or simple. In general, anyone who knowingly acts or conspires to cheat the government is probably liable under the False Claims Act. This includes less obvious practices such as:

Upcoding— Physicians, hospitals, or healthcare providers intentionally using diagnosis codes that are reimbursed by Medicare at a higher rate when another, less lucrative diagnosis code would be appropriate can be considered Medicare Fraud.
Cross-Charging—Defense contractors charging labor and material costs expended on a fixed-price contract to a cost-plus contract is a type of Defense Contractor Fraud.
Anti-Kickback Statute Violations—If a pharmaceutical company or medical device manufacturer offers kickbacks—incentives intended to influence healthcare providers to prescribe or recommend their drug or device—both parties can be held liable for all Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE payments tainted by those kickbacks under the False Claims Act.
Becoming a Whistleblower—Protection and Reward

If you have knowledge of these practices or any other false claim against the government, you may have grounds to file a qui tam claim on behalf of the government. A qui tam claim uses the False Claims Act to sue in federal court to recover payments made for fraudulent or unlawful claims. By initiating a qui tam lawsuit, you become a “relator,” the legal term for whistleblower, and are entitled to legal protection from retaliation as well as a generous reward.

Reporting fraud by becoming a whistleblower is an act of patriotism and an important public service. Whistleblowers help reclaim millions in taxpayer funding stolen through fraud and abuse. As a reward, the False Claims Act entitles the relator to 15-30% of the recovered amount, which in large cases can reach into the tens of millions of dollars. In addition, qui tam claims are sealed, which means that they are not made public until the government has completed its investigation in order to protect the anonymity of the whistleblower. The False Claims Act also makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against a whistleblower and allows relators to sue for any damages incurred because of retaliation.

If you have knowledge that your employer or another party has been defrauding the government, please visit the qui tam attorneys of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. online to learn more about becoming a whistleblower.