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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: December, 2017
Dec 29, 2017

The slide rule side of the E6B computer is used to calculate time, speed and distance. The scales on the outer circle and the first scale on the inner disk are identical. Also on the inner disk is an additional scale that represents hours corresponding to the number of minutes on the first scale. Think of the edge of the inner disk as representing the word "per", such as "miles per hour", gallons per minute, etc.

To calculate any rate, simply place the black triangle on the inner disk opposite the number on the outer scale that represents the value that changes with time, such as miles per hour and gallons per hour. Then, opposite the number of minutes on the inner disk, you can read the result. Naturally, you need to provide the zero or decimal point if appropriate by first estimating an answer to comply with the TLAR (That Looks About Right) rule.

To compute True Air Speed, use the small window and align the temperature opposite the altitude and read the True Air Speed on the outer scale opposite the Calibrated Air Speed on the inner disk.

Dec 25, 2017

Paul Strickland entered the Air Force in 1983, graduating with honors from OCS. Paul has had a distinguished and successful Air Force career logging over 3,900 hours in military aircraft including the A-10, F-5 and F-16. Paul served with various squadrons in the US, Europe, and Korea, flying combat missions during Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia, Operation Northern Watch over Iraq, and supporting Operation ALLIED FORCE over Kosovo as operations director, Combined Air Ops Center in Italy. In 1991, “Sticky” was named to the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” as the #4, Slot pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Examiner, and Safety officer. While with the Thunderbirds, he logged over 160+ air shows throughout the United States and two overseas tours, flying in 11 European countries (and the first ever USAF demonstration in Hungary and Poland), and seven South American countries. “Sticky” commanded the 4th Fighter Squadron “Fuujins”, the 388 Ops Support Squadron “Raptors”, and the 8th Ops Group “Wolfpack” at Kunsan, Korea before serving with the Joint Staff, Pentagon as the Chief, Joint Operations Division, SOUTHCOM, until his retirement in 2006. “Sticky” is currently a pilot with Southwest Airlines.

Dec 23, 2017

The last combat mission of World War II began Aug. 15, 1945, when fighter pilot Jerry Yellin and his wingman, 19-year-old Philip Schlamberg, took off from Iwo Jima to attack airfields near Nagoya, Japan.

The war seemed all but over. Germany had surrendered in May, and much of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in ruins, decimated by atomic bombs dropped the previous week. If Mr. Yellin heard a code word — “Utah” — Japan’s rumored surrender had occurred, and he was to cancel his mission and return to Iwo Jima, a rocky island that he had helped secure months earlier and that offered a base for American bombers headed north to Japan.

Later that day, on what was still Aug. 14 in the United States, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender. For some reason, however, Mr. Yellin and Schlamberg never got the message.

Taking on antiaircraft fire in their P-51 Mustangs, they strafed their targets and headed home, passing through a thick bank of clouds. Schlamberg, who had previously admitted a sense of foreboding to Mr. Yellin, saying, “If we go on this mission, I’m not coming back,” never emerged from the haze.

Disappearing from Mr. Yellin’s wing, he was presumed dead and considered one of the last Americans to be killed in combat during World War II.


Mr. Yellin in 2015. (Lightfinder Public Relations)

Mr. Yellin, who landed on Iwo Jima to discover that the war had ended three hours earlier, and who later became an outspoken advocate of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, died Dec. 21 at his son Steven Yellin’s home in Orlando. He was 93 and had lung cancer, his son said.

For Mr. Yellin, the war was a hellish necessity, essential for halting the spread of Nazism and Japanese aggression. But he also spoke forthrightly about its costs, including the mental anguish over memories of combat that nearly led him to suicide. He recalled with particular horror the experience of landing on war-torn Iwo Jima for the first time, where “there wasn’t a blade of grass and there were 28,000 bodies rotting in the sun.”

“The sights and the sounds and the smells of dead bodies and the sights of Japanese being bulldozed into mass graves absolutely never went away,” he told the Washington Times in August.

Mr. Yellin, a captain in the 78th Fighter Squadron of the Army Air Forces, counted 16 downed pilots in his unit during the war, including Schlamberg. For years afterward, he struggled to keep a steady job, moving a dozen times in the United States and Israel (where he settled, at one point, partly in protest of the Vietnam War).

He eventually found solace through Transcendental Meditation, a twice-daily technique of silent concentration that his wife introduced him to in 1975 after she saw the practice’s originator, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, on “The Merv Griffin Show.”

Mr. Yellin soon began speaking to other veterans who struggled to adapt to civilian life, and in 2010 he co-founded Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation that helps veterans learn Transcendental Meditation. He said he was inspired to start the group after a friend and Army veteran killed himself that year. Mr. Yellin received support in promotional videos by actress Scarlett Johansson, a grandniece of Schlamberg.

“The feeling that one has when a buddy dies? You just can’t emulate that. We have a burden civilians will never understand,” Mr. Yellin told The Washington Post earlier this month, shortly after the release of “The Last Fighter Pilot,” an account of his World War II service written with Don Brown.

Dec 21, 2017

The great thing about the mechanical E6B computer is that it requires no batteries and gets more accurate the more often you use it! The easy way to use the wind side of the E6B is remember to start with placing the wind direction under the True Index.  Align the grommet over any solid line on the slide, and draw a wind dot UP a distance representing the wind speed.

Next, rotate the bezel to place the true course under the True Index. Now, move the slide until the wind dot is over the line that represents the true airspeed.

Finally, without moving anything, read your groundspeed under the grommet and read your wind correction angle under the near-vertical line that radiates from the bottom of the slide.

Dec 18, 2017

From Brian Schiff's website:

Capt. Brian Schiff is a captain for a major US airline and is type-rated on the Boeing 727, 757, 767, DC-9 (MD-80), CL-65, LR-JET, and G-V. Schiff’s roots are deeply planted in general aviation where he has flown a wide variety of aircraft.

     He holds several flight instructor ratings and is recognized for his enthusiasm and ability to teach in way that simplifies complex procedures and concepts. He has been actively instructing since earning his flight and ground instructor certificates in 1985. Schiff also has been an FAA-designated examiner.

     He attended San Jose State University, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and his Masters of Science Degree in Aviation Safety from the University of Central Missouri. He regularly conducts seminars about aviation safety and techniques to student and professional pilots alike.

Here's a great website that features a visit with Brian: http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2017/11/brain-schiff.html

Brian's website has tons of great information for pilots at every level of experience.

Dec 15, 2017

IMSAFE is the Aeronautical Information Manual's recommended mnemonic for aircraft pilots to use to assess their fitness to fly.

The mnemonic is:

  • Illness - Is the pilot suffering from any illness or symptom of an illness which might affect them in flight?
  • Medication - Is the pilot currently taking any drugs (prescription or over-the-counter)?
  • Stress - Is the pilot overly worried about other factors in his life? The psychological pressures of everyday living can be a powerful distraction and consequently affect a pilot's performance.
    • The Yerkes-Dodson study illustrates that performance actually improves with increasing levels of stress up to a certain level, then drops off rapidly if the stress level is too great.
  • Alcohol - Although legal limits vary by jurisdiction (0.04 BAC, any consumption in the past 8 hours or current impairment in the USA), the pilot should consider their alcohol consumption within the last 8 to 24 hours.
  • Fatigue - Has the pilot had sufficient sleep and adequate nutrition?
  • Emotion - Has the pilot fully recovered from any extremely upsetting events such as the loss of a family member?

'E', while defined under the FAA as standing for Emotion, is considered by other international Aviation Authorities such as the CAA and CASA to stand for Eating, including ensuring proper hydration, sustenance, and correct nutrition.

Dec 11, 2017

Dean Siracusa used to fly in his father's airplane as a child, but when he started traveling by air as an adult he developed a fear of flying. To combat this fear, he started taking flying lessons in 1999, and immediately fell in love with aviation.

Dean has owned a Cessna 172, a Grumman Cheeta, and his current airplane, a Myers 200D. He's put 1000 hours on the Myers since buying it in 2006, and still raves about the plane.

In 2010 Dean noticed a major problem with aviation sunglasses: the temple pieces dig into the wearer's head when using a tight-fitting headset or helmet. That started him on his quest to design and develop sunglasses with micro-thin temples that are comfortable under the headgear worn for any activity, such as flying, cycling, and skiing. The result was a ground-breaking line of eyewear designed for aviation, and currently in use by pilots of C-130s, F-16s and a host of other military and civilian airplanes.

Glasses can be ordered directly from his website and also at numerous optical retailers.

Dec 7, 2017

It is estimated that once fully adapted to darkness, the rods are 10,000 times more sensitive to light than the cones, making them the primary receptors for night vision. Since the cones are concentrated near the fovea, the rods are also responsible for much of the peripheral vision. The concentration of cones in the fovea can make a night blindspot in the center of the field of vision.To see an object clearly at night, the pilot must expose the rods to the image.This can be done by looking 5° to10° off center of the object to be seen.This can be tried in a dim light in a darkened room. When looking directly at the light, it dims or disappears altogether. When looking slightly off center, it becomes clearer and brighter.

When looking directly at an object, the image is focused mainly on the fovea, where detail is best seen. At night, the ability to see an object in the center of the visual field is reduced as the cones lose much of their sensitivity and the rods become more sensitive. Looking off center can help compensate for this night blind spot. Along with the loss of sharpness (acuity) and color at night, depth perception and judgment of size may be lost. 

Dark Adaptation

Dark adaptation is the adjustment of the human eye to a dark environment. That adjustment takes longer depending on the amount of light in the environment that a person has just left. Moving from a bright room into a dark one takes longer than moving from a dim room and going into a dark one.

While the cones adapt rapidly to changes in light intensities, the rods take much longer. Walking from bright sunlight into a dark movie theater is an example of this dark adaptation period experience. The rods can take approximately 30 minutes to fully adapt to darkness. A bright light, however, can completely destroy night adaptation, leaving night vision severely compromised while the adaptation process is repeated.

Scanning techniques are very important in identifying objects at night. To scan effectively, pilots must look from right to left or left to right. They should begin scanning at the greatest distance an object can be perceived (top) and move inward toward the position of the aircraft (bottom). For each stop, an area approximately 30° wide should be scanned. The duration of each stop is based on the degree of detail that is required, but no stop should last longer than 2 to 3 seconds. When moving from one viewing point to the next, pilots should overlap the previous field of view by 10°. 

Off-center viewing is another type of scan that pilots can use during night flying. It is a technique that requires an object be viewed by looking 10° above, below, or to either side of the object.  In this manner, the peripheral vision can maintain contact with an object.

With off-center vision, the images of an object viewed longer than 2 to 3 seconds will disappear. This occurs because the rods reach a photochemical equilibrium that prevents any further response until the scene changes. This produces a potentially unsafe operating condition. To overcome this night vision limitation, pilots must be aware of the phenomenon and avoid viewing an object for longer than 2 or 3 seconds. The peripheral field of vision will continue to pick up the object when the eyes are shifted from one off- center point to another.

Several things can be done to help with the dark adaptation process and to keep the eyes adapted to darkness. Some of the steps pilots and flight crews can take to protect their night vision are described in the following paragraphs.

If, during the flight ,any high intensity lighting areas are encountered, attempt to turn the aircraft away and fly in the periphery of the lighted area.This will not expose the eyes to such a large amount of light all at once. If possible, plan your route to avoid direct over flight to built-up, brightly lit areas.

Flight deck lighting should be kept as low as possible so that the light does not monopolize night vision. After reaching the desired flight altitude, pilots should allow time to adjust to the flight conditions.This includes readjustment of instrument lights and orientation to outside references. During the adjustment period, night vision should continue to improve until optimum night adaptation is achieved. When it is necessary to read maps, charts, and checklists, use a dim white light flashlight and avoid shining it in your or any other crew member’s eyes.

Often time, pilots have no say in how airfield operations are handled, but listed below are some precautions that can be taken to make night flying safer and help protect night vision.

•Airfield lighting should be reduced to the lowest usable intensity.

•Maintenance personnel should practice light discipline with headlights and flashlights.

•Position the aircraft at a part of the airfield where the least amount of lighting exists.

If a night flight is scheduled, pilots and crewmembers should wear neutral density (N-15) sunglasses or equivalent filter lenses when exposed to bright sunlight. This precaution increases the rate of dark adaptation at night and improves night visual sensitivity.

Unaided night vision depends on optimum function and sensitivity oftherods of the retina. Lack of oxygen to the rods (hypoxia) significantly reduces their sensitivity. Sharp clear vision(with the best being equal to 20–20 vision) requires significant oxygen especially at night. Without supplemental oxygen, an individual’s night vision declines measurably at pressure altitudes above 4,000 feet. As altitude increases, the available oxygen decreases, degrading night vision. Compounding the problem is fatigue, which minimizes physiological well being. Adding fatigue to high altitude exposure is a recipe for disaster. In fact, if flying at night at an altitude of 12,000 feet, the pilot may actually see elements of his orher normal vision missing or not in focus. Missing visual elements resemble the missing pixels in a digital image while unfocused vision is washed out.

For the pilot suffering the effects of hypoxia, a simple descent to a lower altitude may not be sufficient to reestablish vision. For example, a climb from 8,000 feet to 12,000 feet for 30 minutes does not mean a descent to 8,000 feet will rectify the problem. Visual acuity may not be regained for over an hour. Thus, it is important to remember, altitude and fatigue have a profound effect on a pilot’s ability to see.

•Select approach and departure routes that avoid highways and residential areas where illumination can impair night vision.

Night flight can be more fatiguing and stressful than day flight, and many self-imposed stressors can limit night vision. Pilots can control this type of stress by knowing the factors that can cause self-imposed stressors.

Dec 4, 2017

When John Fairfield visited an Air Force recruiter, he became convinced he should be a navigator to gain additional aviation education before becoming a pilot. He attended navigator training and served as a B-52 Navigator, eventually becoming a check airman and a Navigator-Bombadier. Due to his exceptional performance and attitude, he was selected to attend Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training as the only Navigator released from Strategic Air Command for this school.

He performed extremely well in pilot training, and had his choice of assignments. He elected to remain in Air Training Command as an Instructor Pilot, to gain additional flight experience. At Williams Air Force Base he became the base expert in T-37 spin recovery training, administering this training to students and instructors alike. After gaining additional flying experience, John volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam.

Following F-4 Replacement Training Unit training, he arrived at the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, just as Operation Linebacker commenced. He quickly became a flight commander and flight leader on missions over Hanoi, at the time the most heavily-defended area in the world. He led combat flights during both Linebacker I and Linebacker II.

After Ubon, John was assigned to the Pentagon to manage the Air Force fuel program. A few months after assuming that position, the 1973 Fuel Crisis occurred, and it was his job to ensure that the Air Force could continue flying with drastically reduced fuel stores. Because of his performance in this position, he was promoted from Captain to Colonel in four years, considered an impossibility during peacetime!

John eventually got back into the cockpit in the B-52 and served numerous roles, including becoming a Wing Commander a few weeks after arriving on base when his wing failed an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) and the previous Wing Commander was fired. He instituted a corrective action program that resulted in his wing achieving the best bombing scores in the history of the Strategic Air Command during the ORI re-test.

Numerous other assignments, including another tour at the Pentagon, led to his selection as Lieutenant General (three-star). For most of these assignments, General Fairfield was not selected for these positions because of his in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the tasks, but for his leadership and for his ability to inspire his men and women to achieve the goals of their mission.

General Fairfield retired from active duty in 1997.

Dec 1, 2017

Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) pose a serious inflight risk to aircraft. In this episode, we discuss some of the findings in the comprehensive ASSURE study performed by 23 academic institutions.

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