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Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 29, 2017

After graduating from Wake Forest University in psychology, Captain Tom entered the U.S. Air Force. Number one in his class when he got his wings in 1960, he was given his choice of assignments, and chose to fly the Air Force's first supersonic jet fighter, the F-100.

He served from 1961 until 1965 with the 9th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany flying the F-100 and F-105. In addition to flying, he did accident investigation and developed a safety device for the F-100.

While in Germany, Captain Tom raced a Lola Mk5 Formula 3 at the Nurburgring, Zolder, Zandvordt, and Rouen. When returning to the U.S., he converted the car to SCCA Formula C specifications, and won a U.S. National Championship in 1965.
From 1965 until 1986, he flew DC-8s, 707s, and 747s internationally with Pan Am.

From 1986 until 1996, he flew 747s, 757s and 767s at United Airlines.

The first fear of flying program was started at Pan Am by Captain Truman "Slim" Cummings. Captain Tom worked with him on that program until founding SOAR in 1982 to develop more effective methods for dealing with flight problems. This led to graduate school at Fordham University where he earned a Masters Degree with top honors, and several years of postgraduate study at the Gestalt Center Of Long Island, the New York Training Institute For Neurolinguistic Programming, and The Masterson Institute. He was licensed as a therapist in 1990.

Tom's website is http://www.fearofflying.com/ . He has authored an outstanding book to help travelers overcome their fear of flying.

May 25, 2017

Congratulations on achieving what at times probably seemed impossible. As a member of the legacy class of 1967 I'd like to share some thoughts with you.

As you go out into your first assignment, you’ll quickly learn that an Air Force squadron is truly a family, and your squadron-mates will quickly become your brothers and sisters. And you may notice that many of your contemporaries may not have the same posture, the same bearing, the same crisp salute that you have. That’s understandable - they didn’t have the advantage of being mentored 24/7 for four years by the finest, most highly-selected group of officers in the entire Air Force - your instructors, coaches and AOCs. But I can promise you that if you set the example you’ve learned over the past four years, everyone in your squadron will benefit.

A short story. In my Ready For Takeoff podcast I interview a cross-section of pilots with interesting stories to tell. One of my guests, a pilot named Tony, shared his story. Tony was a Lieutenant in the 1950s, before there was an Air Force Academy. He turned down a Regular commission after ROTC graduation because he didn’t really plan to make the Air Force a career. He described himself as a very mediocre Lieutenant, with equally mediocre Officer Effectiveness Reports. He was going to put in his four years and then become a civilian.

Then Tony was assigned to a squadron where he met a contemporary, an extremely sharp West Point graduate named Mike. Mike was always volunteering for projects, always trying to improve the squadron. Tony was impressed, inspired, and motivated by Mike’s example, and he began to rethink his career plans. He wanted to emulate Mike. Tony was an excellent writer, and started volunteering for projects, like rewriting most of the squadron manuals to remove the passive voice and create readable, concise text. And he became motivated to become a career officer.

As you might imagine, Mike had a great career. In fact, General Michael Dugan became the 13th Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. And, after reorienting his attitude, Tony had a great career also. He became a member of the Thunderbirds. He became a squadron commander as a major. And later, General Merrill “Tony” McPeak became the 14th Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

So be the finest officer you can, and you may find that your civilian-educated contemporaries will surprise you. And realize this: like you, they have all volunteered to serve on active duty during a time of war. And that puts them, and you, in an elite club, the 1 percent of the entire American population that is serving their country. Like you and everyone else who has ever worn the uniform of our services, they each signed a check, payable to the United States of America, in an amount up to and including their lives. I can guarantee you that when you leave your squadron, or lose a squadron-mate, you will appreciate just how special your brothers and sisters are.

The Reader’s Digest version of my career is: after pilot training I flew as a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam in the smallest airplane in the inventory - the O-2A, then flew the largest - the B-52, then volunteered for another tour in Vietnam in one of the fastest - the F-4. After my second tour in Vietnam, I went to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, in the F-4 and T-39, then became an O-2 instructor pilot at Patrick Air Force, Florida. At the eleven-year point I separated from the Air Force to pursue an airline career, and served in the Reserves as an Academy Admissions Liaison Officer. I enjoyed airline flying, but quickly discovered that qualities and characteristics we take for granted in the Air Force - character, discipline, cameraderie - are in really short supply in the civilian world. When I was furloughed by my airline, I was very fortunate to be accepted back into the Air Force, and had a great career, serving as an instructor pilot, evaluator, operations officer and squadron commander.

I hung up my Air Force uniform for the last time 30 years ago this July, and returned to my airline job, where I had a very satisfying career, flying outstanding equipment all over the world. But, I’ll be honest, I still miss the Air Force to this day. In fact, about ten years ago there was a program called Retired Recall, where the Air Force brought old far…, I mean, mature officers, back on active duty for four-year tours. I signed up, volunteering to go to Afghanistan for one year, to be followed by three years teaching at the Academy.

But it turned out I was ineligible, because there is a statutory requirement that line officers can only serve on active duty past the age of 64 if they are Brigadier General or higher in rank. I had an easy, obvious solution for that, but the Air Force told me “No, Major!”.

I’ll leave you with one final thought. I had two civilian jobs before I was hired by my airline, and seven jobs after my airline retirement. In every case, my employment in those ten jobs was facilitated by networking. As of today, you have just become members of the Long Blue Line, which is an excellent opportunity for networking, to get help and to help others.

I hope that in 50 years, as members of the Legacy Class, you will have the opportunity to share your thoughts with the Lieutenants of the class of 2067. And I hope I will be able to join you.

 

May 22, 2017

Bob was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1926 and graduated from The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee in 1944. At age 17, Bob volunteered for the US Navy and was training to go into submarines when he was accepted into the US Naval Academy at the war’s end. As a midshipman he served on various warships, including a heavy cruiser, destroyer, carrier, and the battleship USS North Carolina in which his GQ station was the 16 inch gun turret. Bob graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1949. He took his commission in the Air Force where he could go immediately to flight school. He went on to fly the Republic F-84 ThunderJet in combat against MIGS in Korea and was then selected after the war for the elite Air Force Research and Development team where he flew virtually every aircraft in the USAF inventory including “expanding the envelope” in the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. As a Lockhead F-104 instructor pilot, Bob taught some of the world’s leading pilots how to fly the Starfighter. Some of his students included WW2 Luftwaffe fighter aces Gunther Rall, and Johannes Steinhoff as well as Canada’s Wing Commander Kenneth Lett and USAF General John Dunning. Remarkably, Bob has made 5 successful “dead stick” landings in the F-104 – an amazing accomplishment given that the F-104 glides like a “toolbox” and is extremely unforgiving of pilot errors. Bob was also involved with fellow Lockheed test pilot Darryl Greenamyer in breaking the FAI world restricted altitude speed record of 988.26 mph in a highly modified F-104 on October 24, 1978.

Bob Gilliland has logged more test flight hours at Mach 3 than any other pilot in the world. He has been recognized and honored for his work many times. In the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum, he is honored for making one of the greatest contributions to aviation in his time as a test pilot/astronaut joining the 7 Mercury astronauts, Charles Lindberg and Howard Hughes in the same honor. Bob is a fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and a recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Flight Test Historical Foundation for his distinguished aviation career. Bob was awarded the prestigious Ivan C. Kincheloe Award in 1964 for his work on the Blackbird program. He was named an Eagle by the Air Force Flight Test Historical Foundation in 1998 and received the Godfrey L. Cabot Award in 2001. Among his many honors, the one which he seems to have enjoyed the most, was the “Legends of Aerospace Tour” to Europe and the Middle East in March of 2010. As one of America’s five Legends, along with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, Jim Lovell, and Vietnam fighter ace Steve Ritchie, the Tour stopped at many “down range” US military bases and hospitals. Former Good Morning America host David Hartman served as the moderator for the Tour. The Legends spoke daily to thousands of our servicemen defending our interests abroad, reminding Bob, he said with a smile, of how much he had enjoyed seeing Bob Hope and Betty Grable visit his airbase when he was flying combat in Korea.

May 18, 2017

Factors of a Stabilized Approach

Maintain a specified descent rate.

Maintain a specified airspeed.

Complete all briefings and checklists.

Configure aircraft for landing (gear, flaps, etc).

Be stabilized by 1,000 feet for IMC operations; 500 feet for VMC approach.

Ensure only small changes in heading/pitch are necessary to maintain the correct flight path. Go-Around for Safety If these factors are not met, the approach becomes “unstabilized,” which means a go-around for another attempt at landing. If you choose to continue with an unstabilized approach, you risk landing too high, too fast, out of alignment with the runway centerline, or otherwise being unprepared for landing. These situations can result in loss of control of your aircraft.

Are Stabilized Approaches Always Safer? Yes, if you’ve incorporated the checklists and are prepared for a safe landing. It’s a good idea to execute a go around if your checklists are not completed. Your safety depends on your ability to focus on safely touching down.

Tips for a Stabilized Approach:

Pay attention to the wind in traffic pattern operations, especially on the base to final turn.

Adjust your stabilized approach guidelines to your type of aircraft based on manufacturer’s guidance.

Aircraft should be configured for landing at some predetermined distance from the airport or altitude, after which only small corrections to pitch, heading, and power setting should be made.

If not stabilized, go around.

May 15, 2017

Although Natalie Hoover's dad was an Air Force pilot and then became a Fedex pilot, she really didn't have any interest in flying until after she graduated college. On her way to pursuing a master's degree, she took an introductory airplane flight, and never looked back. She spent the next two years virtually living at the airport, collecting all the ratings, and getting an airline job.

Then she realized she wanted to get back to her roots in General Aviation, and became a full-time CFI. Later, she became a Designated Examiner, and now divides her flight time between instructing and conducting evaluations.

Natalie also writes a monthly column for AOPA Pilot Magazine. In addition to her ATP, she holds Gold Seal CFI, CFII, and MEI certificates.

May 11, 2017

Dean "Diz" Laird entered the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on January 2, 1942, was commissioned an Ensign on August 11, 1942, and was designated a Naval Aviator at NAS Miami, Florida, on October 21, 1942. His first assignment was as an F4F Wildcat and then F6F Hellcat pilot and assistant gunnery officer with VF-4 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, from November 1942 to March 1943, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) from March 1942 to December 1943, at NAS Quonset, Rhode Island, from December 1943 to May 1944, at NAAS Ayer, Massachusetts, from May to July 1944, at NAAS Hilo, Hawaii, from July to September 1944, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) from September to November 1944, and aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9) from November 1944 to March 1945. During this time, Lt Laird was credited with the destruction of 5.75 enemy aircraft in aerial combat, plus one damaged in the air. He shared in the destruction of a German Ju-88 and an He-115 off Norway in October 1943, and the rest of his air victories were against Japanese aircraft in the Pacific Theater, making him the only Navy ace to have scored air victories against both Germany and Japan.

May 8, 2017

Ryan was born and raised in Sarasota, FL. As a young boy he would drag his parents outside so he could look for aircraft flying overhead. Flying is the one thing he has wanted to do more than anything else. Thanks to the Navy and the support of his family he has been able to do just that, and in ways he could have never imagined.

While he loves flying, he is equally fascinated with meeting people  who share this excitement for aviation. So in 2017, he is going to fly 52 different types of aircraft with dozens of different people who, like him, love flying. He wants to tell their story.

These flights will be video documented and the content posted here and on his social media sites every week. When possible, these videos will feature airborne interviews with the people he flies with, as well as in an in-depth look at the aircraft they will be flying. For more information about the videos take a look at the introduction video on his blog.

May 4, 2017

To serve as Pilot In Command of a large (over 12,500 pounds) or turbojet aircraft, you must have a type rating in that aircraft. Normally, training for the type rating is conducted in a formal training environment, using simulators and advanced training facilities.

The Type Rating Test (check ride) is normally conducted adhering to the Practical Test Standards, although at some airlines the rating process is conducted using the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) with proficiency determined at various milestones during training.

The Practical Test Standards are spelled out in FAA document FAA-S-8081-5F. This podcast discusses tips for success in your training and advice for a successful Type Rating Test.

May 1, 2017

Bruce Mayes started flying as a teenager, and continued his flying first in the Army and then in the Coast Guard, where he flew both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.

After the service, he was hired by Aloha Airlines, where he rose to Captain on the B737 until the airline went out of business. Of the nine world records Bruce holds, one of them is in the B737-700 on a passenger flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles!

Bruce has owned several airplanes, most of them antiques, and currently flies his Globe Swift out of Honolulu.

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