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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: October, 2017
Oct 30, 2017

Mark Berry started flying as a teenager, and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, earning all of his General Aviation (GA) ratings by the time he graduated. Following graduation, he paid his dues in GA, and passed his Airline Transport Pilot written exam and Practical Test (check ride), but couldn't receive his ATP rating until he turned 23 years old.

Flying Tigers Airline wanted to offer him employment, but couldn't hire him without an ATP. While he was waiting to "age" into his rating, he was hired by Trans World Airlines. His life was on track to a fantastic career, and he was engaged to his soul-mate, Suzanne.

Suzanne was traveling to Rome on business, seated in First Class of TWA Flight 800. When Flight 800 crashed, Mark's world fell apart. Every day he went to work he saw aircraft in his airline's livery that were identical to the plane that carried Suzanne to her death. Mark had to take time off, and had to find a way to deal with his loss.

In the long process of healing, Mark wrote two novels that explored survivor guilt. But he didn't deal with his own issues until, after much urging from family and publisher, he wrote his memoir, 13,700 Feet - My Personal Hole In The Sky.

Mark eventually recovered, and returned to airline flying. When TWA went out of business, he ended up at another airline, and is now a Captain.

Oct 27, 2017

Lightning has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to aircraft. It is estimated that lightning will strike an aircraft every 1000 flight hours, normally without serious complications. One of the more famous aircraft accidents caused by lightning was the 1963 crash of Pan Am flight 214, which crashed near the University of Delaware.

An immediate result of that crash was the requirement for all turbojet passenger aircraft to have lightning-dissipating static discharge wicks installed on the airplane wingtips. In addition, it was recommended that all jet aircraft use jet A fuel, rather than more volatile kerosene. Today, in the event of a lightning strike, the aluminum fuselage acts like a Faraday cage and diverts the thousands of amperes of electricity around the aircraft, not through it.

Oct 23, 2017

One day, while at Airventure at Oshkosh, Richard Taylor had a bold proposal to his friend, fellow pilot Pat Epps. "Let's fly over the magnetic north pole and do a roll to see what happens to the magnetic compass!" This was the start of a multi-attempt saga that took several years and took the pair on an adventure of a lifetime.

Richard Taylor had served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper, then attended college. He had promised himself a Private Pilot certificate as a reward for finishing college, and that was the start of his aviation passion. In this podcast you will hear Richard recount his flight to the north pole, his authoring of the memoir Roll The Pole, and his project with Pat Epps to rescue the P-38 Glacier Girl from under 250 feet of ice.

Oct 20, 2017

From Wikipedia:

Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis and rarely as circadian dysrhythmia, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body's circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance trans-meridian (east–west or west–east) travel. For example, someone travelling from New York to London feels as if the time were five hours earlier than local time. Jet lag was previously classified as one of the circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

The condition of jet lag may last several days before the traveller is fully adjusted to the new time zone; a recovery period of one day per time zone crossed is a suggested guideline. Jet lag is especially an issue for airline pilots, crew, and frequent travellers. Airlines have regulations aimed at combating pilot fatigue caused by jet lag.

The term "jet lag" is used because before the arrival of passenger jet aircraft, it was uncommon to travel far and fast enough to cause desynchronosis. Travel by propeller-driven aircraft, by ship or by train was slower and of more limited distance than jet flights, and thus did not contribute widely to the problem.

The symptoms of jet lag can be quite varied, depending on the amount of time zone alteration, time of day, and individual differences. Sleep disturbance occurs, with poor sleep upon arrival and/or sleep disruptions such as trouble falling asleep (when flying east), early awakening (when flying west), and trouble remaining asleep. Cognitive effects include poorer performance on mental tasks and concentration; increased fatigue, headaches, and irritability; and problems with digestion, including indigestion, changes in the frequency of defecation and consistency of faeces, and reduced interest in and enjoyment of food. The symptoms are caused by a circadian rhythm that is out of sync with the day-night cycle of the destination, as well as the possibility of internal desynchronisation. Jet lag has been measured with simple analogue scales, but a study has shown that these are relatively blunt for assessing all the problems associated with jet lag. The Liverpool Jet Lag Questionnaire was developed to measure all the symptoms of jet lag at several times of day, and this dedicated measurement tool has been used to assess jet lag in athletes.

Jet lag may require a change of three time zones or more to occur, though some individuals can be affected by as little as a single time zone or the single-hour shift to or from daylight saving time. Symptoms and consequences of jet lag can be a significant concern for athletes traveling east or west to competitions, as performance is often dependent on a combination of physical and mental characteristics that are impacted by jet lag.

Travel fatigue is general fatigue, disorientation, and headache caused by a disruption in routine, time spent in a cramped space with little chance to move around, a low-oxygen environment, and dehydration caused by dry air and limited food and drink. It does not necessarily involve the shift in circadian rhythms that cause jet lag. Travel fatigue can occur without crossing time zones, and it often disappears after a single day accompanied by a night of good quality sleep.

Jet lag is a chronobiological problem, similar to issues often induced by shift work and the circadian rhythm sleep disorders. When traveling across a number of time zones, the body clock (circadian rhythm) will be out of synchronization with the destination time, as it experiences daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms to which it has grown accustomed. The body's natural pattern is upset, as the rhythms that dictate times for eating, sleeping, hormone regulation, body temperature variations, and other functions no longer correspond to the environment, nor to each other in some cases. To the degree that the body cannot immediately realign these rhythms, it is jet lagged.

The speed at which the body adjusts to the new schedule depends on the individual as well as the direction of travel; some people may require several days to adjust to a new time zone, while others experience little disruption.

Crossing the International Date Line does not in itself contribute to jet lag, as the guide for calculating jet lag is the number of time zones crossed, with a maximum possible time difference of plus or minus 12 hours. If the time difference between two locations is greater than 12 hours, one must subtract that number from 24. For example, the time zone UTC+14 will be at the same time of day as UTC−10, though the former is one day ahead of the latter.

Jet lag is linked only to the trans-meridian (west–east or east–west) distance travelled. A ten-hour flight between Europe and southern Africa does not cause jet lag, as the direction of travel is primarily north–south. A five-hour flight between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States may well result in jet lag.

There are two separate processes related to biological timing: circadian oscillators and homeostasis. The circadian system is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus of the brain. The other process is homeostatic sleep propensity, which is a function of the amount of time elapsed since the last adequate sleep episode.

The human body has a master clock in the SCN and also peripheral oscillators in tissues. The SCN's role is to send signals to peripheral oscillators, which synchronise them for physiological functions. The SCN responds to light information sent from the retina. It is hypothesised that peripheral oscillators respond to internal signals such as hormones, food intake, and "nervous stimuli"

The implication of independent internal clocks may explain some of the symptoms of jet lag. People who travel across several time zones can, within a few days, adapt their sleep-wake cycles with light from the environment. However, their skeletal muscles, liver, lungs and other organs will adapt at different rates.This internal biological de-synchronization is exacerbated as the body is not in sync with the environment—a "double desynchronization", which has implications for health and mood.

Oct 16, 2017

Raymond Leopold knew he wanted to be a pilot since he was a child. He took flying lessons before entering the United States Air Force Academy, and continued his lessons with the Academy Aero Club. After graduation, he went to graduate school, earning his Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering, before attending Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training.

In pilot training, he was at the top of his class. In fact, to celebrate the fact that he was the first student to solo in a jet, his classmates threw him into the swimming pool. In the process, he was injured, herniating three lumbar discs, and was medically eliminated from pilot training.

The Air Force assigned him to a position that would let him utilize his education, and he attended night classes to pursue his Doctorate in Electrical Engineering. He followed this assignment with a stint teaching at the Air Force Academy. By this time he had become a CFI, and was selected to supervise the Balloon Club at the Academy, earning his balloon ratings in the process.

Ray's career included a tour at the Pentagon, working with aviation pioneer John Boyd. After serving twenty years in the Air Force, Ray made the hard choice to pursue a civilian career. And that's where he changed the world.

Ray was hired by Motorola, and created the satellite telephone system that became known as Iridium. In this podcast, you'll hear a recap of the incredible efforts that went into launching 77 communications satellites and the system that now enables telephone calls from anywhere on the planet.

You'll also hear about how Ross Perot was willing to bankroll Ray in his attempt to lead the first team to successfully fly across the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon.

Oct 12, 2017

Drug testing is a way of life for pilots and other transportation workers. As a pilot, you will receive pre-employment drug testing, random (no-notice) drug testing, and reasonable-cause drug testing throughout your career.

Oct 9, 2017

Gateway Select is an innovative talent pathway for those seeking to become pilots at JetBlue. This particular Gateway Program will allow an applicant, if successful, to learn with us from the beginning and become a JetBlue pilot after completing a rigorous training program.

This unique, accessible and cost effective JetBlue Pilot Gateway Program will take a more competency-based approach to becoming a professional pilot. The Program will optimize the training of prospective airline pilots by offering early exposure to multi-crew/multi-engine operations, full motion simulator training, crew resource management, and threat and error management. Once meeting all program requirements, including the FAA's 1,500 flight-hour requirement, pilots will become a new hire at JetBlue. At that time, graduates will go through the same orientation and six-week instruction that all E190 first officers complete.

Oct 7, 2017

Misidentifying airports and landing at the wrong runway has plagued pilots for generations. Typically, the two airports are within 10 miles of each other and have similar runway orientations. But the wrong runway may be significantly shorter.

From NTSB:

Without adequate preparation, robust monitoring, and cross-checking of position using all available resources, flight crews may misidentify a nearby airport that they see during the approach to their destination airport.

The risk of an accident increases because the runway at the wrong airport may not be long enough to accommodate the landing airplane, and other aircraft operating at the airport may also be unaware of potential conflicting traffic.

Air traffic controllers may not detect a wrong airport landing in time to intervene because of other workload or radar coverage limitations. Related incidents The following incidents involving air carriers landing at the wrong airport occurred within 2 months of each other:

On January 12, 2014, about 1810 local time, a Boeing 737-7H4, Southwest Airlines flight 4013, landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri, in night visual meteorological conditions (VMC). The airplane was scheduled to fly from Chicago Midway International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, to Branson Airport. Instead, the flight crew mistakenly landed the airplane at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, Branson, Missouri. The flight crew reported that they were flying direct to a fix for an area navigation (RNAV) approach. They advised the air traffic controller that they had the airport in sight; they were then cleared for the visual approach. Although the correct destination airport was depicted on their cockpit displays, the flight crew reported flying to the airport that they visually identified as their destination; once the airport was in sight, they did not reference their cockpit displays. The airplane stopped at the end of the 3,738-ft runway after a hard application of the brakes. (DCA14IA037)

On November 21, 2013, about 2120 local time, a Boeing 747-400LCF (Dreamlifter) landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, Kansas, in night VMC. The airplane was being operated as a cargo flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport, Jamaica, New York, to McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kansas. Instead, the flight crew mistakenly landed the airplane at Colonel James Jabara Airport, Wichita, Kansas. The flight crew indicated that during their approach to the airport, they saw runway lights that they misidentified as McConnell Air Force Base. The flight was cleared for the RNAV GPS 19L approach, and the flight crew saw Jabara but misidentified it as McConnell. The flight crew then completed the flight by visual reference to the Jabara runway. Once on the ground at Jabara, the flight crew was uncertain of the airplane’s location until confirmed by the McConnell Air Force Base tower controller. The Jabara runway is 6,101 ft long, whereas McConnell runways are 12,000 ft long.

What can flight crews do?

Adhere to standard operating procedures (SOPs), verify the airplane’s position relative to the destination airport, and use available cockpit instrumentation to verify that you are landing at the correct airport.

Maintain extra vigilance when identifying the destination airport at night and when landing at an airport with others in close proximity.

Be familiar with and include in your approach briefing the destination airport’s layout and relationship to other ground features; available lighting such as visual glideslope indicators, approach light systems, and runway lighting; and instrument approaches.

Use the most precise navigational aids available in conjunction with a visual approach when verifying the destination airport.

Confirm that you have correctly identified the destination airport before reporting the airport or runway is in sight.

 

Oct 2, 2017

Aviation has been a major part of Stacey Banks' family for three generations. Inspired by her uncle, an American Airlines pilot, Stacey's father became an Air Force pilot, flying F-4s in Vietnam, then flying for United Airlines. He took Stacey up on numerous civilian flights when he was delivering cargo and checks when she was a toddler. When Stacey was a teenager, she started taking flying lessons, vowing that her father would be her first passenger once she obtained her Private Pilot certificate.

Achieving that goal came under enormous pressure when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Finally, when she earned her ticket, her father was permitted to leave the hospital to accompany her on her most memorable flight. After her father passed away, Stacey chose to remain closer to home to help her mother, and attended Metropolitan State University of Denver, majoring in Aviation. During her internship at American Airlines, she formed her goal to be a pilot for American. She worked her way up through the piloting ranks, and finally was hired by American.

During her journey, she suffered serious potentially career-ending injuries, and overcame numerous obstacles to achieve her dream.

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