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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: 2017
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.

Sep 29, 2017

Volcanic ash poses a significant risk to aviation. It can cause problems for aircraft on the ground and inflight. This podcast discusses some issues that are significant to pilots.

Sep 25, 2017

MayCay Beeler is a spirited vivacious American aviatrix, record breaking pilot, best-selling multi award-winning author, television personality, veteran TV host/producer/journalist, spokesperson, and active FAA Certified Flight Instructor with a passion for all things flying.

Born in our Nation's Capitol, MayCay grew up in the Washington metro area. After a brief stint as a cowgirl working summer jobs in Wyoming, attending Montana State University, and graduating from the University of Kentucky, MayCay found her niche on the small screen and in the big sky. Her television broadcasting career began as a co-host for the nationally syndicated TV show PM Magazine at WATE-TV, the ABC affiliate in Knoxville, Tennessee. Her flying career took flight from these same roots.

With an extensive career in television, MayCay has worked for every major network affiliate as on-camera talent in TV news and entertainment. Readers of a local newspaper voted MayCay their "Favorite TV/Radio Personality" in a Charlotte area "best of" poll. Additionally, MayCay has worked as a TV news weather anchor for the ABC and NBC-TV stations in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

MayCay's knowledge of weather comes first hand from her flying career. She is a licensed Airline Transport Pilot and FAA Certified Flight Instructor. She set world aviation records in the experimental Questair Venture aircraft. MayCay has been named FAA Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year for the southern United States. She is a member and former chapter chairman of The Kitty Hawk Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. MayCay represents Greensboro, North Carolina's Piedmont Triad International Airport as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Airport Support Network volunteer. Additionally, she has served as an AOPA seminar instructor pilot traveling the nation for the Air Safety Foundation. MayCay is a former charter pilot and applicant in NASA's Journalist-in-Space Project. An avid proponent of learning to fly, MayCay is the creator of The Diva Flight Experience, which empowers women through aviation.

MayCay has produced numerous TV features on aviation, including her personal accounts of flying with General Chuck Yeager; and Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager of Voyager fame. Her many adventures in television include initially learning to fly for a TV assignment; competing in the Air Race Classic- an all-women's transcontinental air race; and skydiving with the Navy Seals.

 

Sep 22, 2017

FAR Part 107 describes the process of obtaining an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) certificate. Airman Certification Standards describes the process, which involves taking a written examination by computer at an authorized testing location, and there is no practical test (checkride) involved. The FAA has provided a study guide, an online course, and a sample test. For certificated pilots, the process simply involves completing the online course with an end-of-course exam.

Once you pass the test (or complete the online course for certificated pilots) you can immediately print your UAS license, and the permanent license will be mailed to you a short time later.

Getting a UAS license may be an excellent opportunity for new and aspiring pilots to gain an introduction to aviation.

Sep 18, 2017

Michael Morales had a dream to become an astronaut, and set a goal of attending the United States Air Force Academy to become an Air Force pilot. At the Academy, he discovered his eyesight would not qualify him to become an astronaut, but he was qualified to become a pilot. He attended Undergraduate Pilot Training and then became a C-17 pilot. Shortly after qualifying in the airplane, the Global War On Terrorism started and he was deployed worldwide for an extended period, away on missions 200 days a year.

After four years, he became a C-17 Instructor Pilot at Altus Air Force Base, and later transitioned to the C-130J at Ramstein Air Base. At Ramstein he became the Chief Pilot for the transition from the C-130E, working with numerous foreign military leaders. He served two tours in Afghanistan, training Afghani pilots in English and flying.

He later became a White House Fellow, serving with the Small Business Administration, and currently serves at the Air Force Office of Legislative Liaison.

Sep 15, 2017

Airport markings are full explained in Chapter 2, section 3 of the Aeronautical Information Manual. This podcast highlights the more important issues.

Sep 11, 2017

David Berke is a retired Marine Corps officer and combat veteran. As an F/A-18 pilot he deployed twice from the USS John C Stennis in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent three years as an Instructor Pilot at TOPGUN where he was dual qualified in the F-16 Fighting Falcon and served as the Training Officer, the senior staff pilot responsible for conduct of the TOPGUN course. He then served as an ANGLICO Forward Air Controller supporting the Army’s 1st Armored Division during extensive urban combat operations in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. He was the only Marine selected to fly the F-22 Raptor having served as an exchange officer at the Air Force’s 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron as the Division Commander. He became the first operational pilot ever to fly and be qualified in the F-35B, serving as the Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps’ first F-35 squadron from 2012-2014. He earned his Master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies with a concentration in Strategic Studies. He is now a leadership consultant at Echelon Front.

Sep 7, 2017

There is an abundance of information about airport lighting in Chapter Two of the Aeronautical Information Manual. This podcast covers some of the high points.

Aug 30, 2017

Christian “Boo” Boucousis was a fighter pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force for 10 years. He is now the CEO of Mode, an innovative property development group that is currently developing Australia’s tallest prefabricated hotel in the Perth CBD.

Boo’s story is a real world example of how fighter pilots use the skills developed during their military careers to succeed in business.

Diagnosed with a serious medical condition, Boo could no longer fly fighter aircraft and so he decided to take the plunge into business. Using the skills and knowledge he acquired in the Air Force, he co-founded a successful humanitarian support company in the Middle East growing it to over 1,500 staff. Boo then sold that business and moved back to Australia to focus on developing affordable building methods, which was the genesis of Mode.

Boo attributes his success in business to the values and discipline he learned in the Air Force – focus, efficiency, continuous improvement and simplicity. And because of this experience, Boo fundamentally believes that the simple methodology used by fighter pilots (which Afterburner calls FLEX), can accelerate the performance of any business or organization.

Aug 26, 2017

ADS-B enables increased capacity and efficiency by supporting:

  • Better ATC traffic flow management
  • Merging and spacing
  • Self-separation or station keeping
  • Enhanced visual approaches;
  • Closely spaced parallel approaches;
  • Reduced spacing on final approach;
  • Reduced aircraft separations;
  • Enhanced operations in high altitude airspace for the incremental evolution of the "free flight" concept;
  • Surface operations in lower visibility conditions;
  • Near visual meteorological conditions (VMC) capacities throughout the airspace in most weather conditions;
  • Improved air traffic control services in non-radar airspace;
  • Trajectory-based operations providing a gently ascending and descending gradient with no step-downs or holding patterns needed. This will produce optimal trajectories with each aircraft becoming one node within a system wide information management network connecting all equipped parties in the air and on the ground. With all parties equipped with NextGen equipage, benefits will include reduced gate-to-gate travel times, increased runway utilization capacity, and increased efficiency with carbon conservation.
  • Use of ADS-B and CDTI may allow decreased approach spacing at certain airports to improve capacity during reduced-visibility operations when visual approach operations would normally be terminated (e.g., ceilings less than MVA +500).
Aug 24, 2017

This episode features more great advice from our previous guests.

Aug 19, 2017

Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) is a protocol for pilots and controllers to communicate with each other via digital means. Think of it as pilots and controllers communicating via email.

The standard method of communication between an air traffic controller and a pilot is voice radio, using either VHF bands for line-of-sight communication or HF bands for long-distance communication (such as that provided by Shanwick Oceanic Control).

One of the major problems with voice radio communications used in this manner is that all pilots being handled by a particular controller are tuned to the same frequency. As the number of flights air traffic controllers must handle is steadily increasing (for instance, Shanwick handled 414,570 flights in 2007, an increase of 5% - or 22,000 flights - from 2006, the number of pilots tuned to a particular station also increases. This increases the chances that one pilot will accidentally override another, thus requiring the transmission to be repeated. In addition, each exchange between a controller and pilot requires a certain amount of time to complete; eventually, as the number of flights being controlled reaches a saturation point, the controller will not be able to handle any further aircraft.

The CPDLC application provides air-ground data communication for the ATC service. This includes a set of clearance/information/request message elements which correspond to voice phraseology employed by air traffic control procedures. The controller is provided with the capability to issue level assignments, crossing constraints, lateral deviations, route changes and clearances, speed assignments, radio frequency assignments, and various requests for information. The pilot is provided with the capability to respond to messages, to request clearances and information, to report information, and to declare/rescind an emergency.

The sequence of messages between the controller and a pilot relating to a particular transaction (for example request and receipt of a clearance) is termed a ‘dialogue’. There can be several sequences of messages in the dialogue, each of which is closed by means of appropriate messages, usually of acknowledgement or acceptance. Closure of the dialogue does not necessarily terminate the link, since there can be several dialogues between controller and pilot while an aircraft transits the air traffic service unit (ATSU) airspace.

https://youtu.be/PweVyYqleF8

 

Aug 14, 2017

In prior Ready For Takeoff podcasts our guests have shared their advice for new pilots just starting out their flying training. In this episode we've assembled a cross-section of their thoughts.

Aug 11, 2017

This information is for training and informational purposes only. Wake turbulence is generated whenever an airplane is developing lift. The heavier and slower the airplane, the greater the wake turbulence. Your key to avoiding wake turbulence is to always fly through undisturbed air.

A Bombardier CL604 Challenger suffered catastrophic damage at FL 340 from the wake of an Airbus A380 flying at FL 350. The report is very sobering.

Aug 7, 2017

Todd Curtis served as a Flight Test Engineer in the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base prior to launching the web site AirSafe.com in 1996, capitalizing on his Bachelor's Degree (Electrical Engineering), Master's Degrees (Electrical Engineering and Business) and Doctorate (Aviation Risk Asseessment). The site consistently ranks as a top three or first page result for Google searches for airline safety, fear of flying, carry-on baggage, and numerous other airline safety and security terms. The web site has also been cited frequently by major newspapers such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington post. The site and related online properties continue to provide the public with a diverse source of airline safety and security information.

He has worked at Boeing and is a frequent guest on television news shows as an aviation expert.

Aug 4, 2017

Modern jetliners have an environmental control system (ECS) that manages the flow of cabin air. Outside air enters the engines and is compressed in the forward section, prior to the combustion section, ensuring no combustion products can enter the cabin. A portion of that compressed bleed air is used to pressurize the cabin. The ECS then recirculates some of that cabin air through HEPA filters, while the rest is directed to outflow valves, ensuring there is a constant supply of fresh, clean air coming into the cabin pressurization system at all times.

It is possible for contaminants to enter the cabin through the air-supply system and through other means. Substances used in the maintenance and treatment of aircraft, including aviation engine oil, hydraulic fluid, cleaning compounds and de-icing fluids, can contaminate the ECS. While ground and flight crews, as well as passengers themselves can be sources of contaminants such as pesticides, bioeffluents, viruses, bacteria, allergens, and fungal spores.

Possible sources of poor-quality cabin air include exposures related to normal operations of the aircraft:

  • Ozone (O3)
  • Carbon dioxide (passengers exhaling CO2)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO - Jet exhaust fumes, Ambient airport air)
  • Temperature
  • Relative humidity
  • Off-gassing from interior material and cleaning agents
  • Bioeffluents
  • Personal-care products
  • Allergens
  • Infectious or inflammatory agents
  • Cabin pressure/partial pressure of oxygen
  • Alcohol
  • Formaldehyde
  • Deicing fluid.
  • Particulate Matter (Including dust which contains microbes).
  • Dry ice used to keep food cold.
  • Toilet fluid, leaked or spilled.
  • Rain repellent fluid.
  • Pyrethroid Pesticides
  • Pre-existing illness—such as anemia, asthma, COPD, and coronary arterial disease—the stresses of flight could exacerbate symptoms.
Jul 31, 2017

For twenty-four years Mark Hasara operated one of the Air Force’s oldest airplanes, the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. His career started during the Reagan Administration, carrying out Strategic Air Command's nuclear deterrent mission. Moving to Okinawa Japan in August 1990, he flew missions throughout the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia. His first combat missions were in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. As a Duty Officer in the Tanker Airlift Control Center, he planned and ran five hundred airlift and air refueling missions a month. Upon retirement from the Air Force, Mark spent seven years at Rockwell Collins in engineering, designing and developing military fixed and rotary wing aircraft cockpits. Mark became a full-time author and defense industry consultant in 2014.

Jul 28, 2017

It was 30 July, 1972. Operation Linebacker was well under way.  Typical missions north of Hanoi would have us refueling over Laos and making “right turns” to attack targets northwest of Hanoi, or refueling feet wet and making “left turns” to attack targets northeast of Hanoi. In mid-July, some genius at Seventh Air Force figured out that we could surprise the gomers by ingressing using left turns from feet wet to attack targets to the northwest: all the SAMs (surface to air missiles) would be pointing the wrong way!

We weather cancelled on the same mission for about 10 days in a row. If there had once been an element of surprise, it was gone by the time we actually executed the mission on 30 July.  To make matters worse, COMSEC on the radios was less than perfect.  While we were on the tanker, someone from one of the escort flights asked, “Are you guys planning to ingress over Kep?” So much for theelement of surprise!

I was number Four in Walnut flight, four F-4D’s from the 8th TFW at Ubon Air Base, Thailand. Jim Badger was my back seater on his first mission to Pack 6, the area around Hanoi, at that time the most heavily defended area is history. Our new squadron commander, Sid Fulgham, was Walnut One, leading his first four-ship flight.  As we entered the target area, we dodged nine SAMs, and then attacked the target and exited to the East.

When we got feet-wet, Walnut One called for a fuel check. It was then that I realized that I was in deep trouble. I checked in with less than half the fuel of the other aircraft in the flight. There was a long pause, and then lead said, “Walnut Four, say again”. As I read my fuel again, it finally hit me how bad my situation really was. We were now somewhere over the Gulf of Tonkin and a long way from our post-strike refueling track.

Walnut Three, our deputy flight lead, was a highly experienced F-4 driver, instructor and Weapons School grad who was checking out the new flight lead. He came on the radio and said, “Walnut Lead, this is Three. Request permission to take the flight”. To his great credit, Lead knew that the mission was more important than ego, and passed the lead to Three. Walnut Three, the new flight lead, sent us over to Guard frequency, and transmitted, “Mayday, mayday, mayday. This is Walnut flight. We need an emergency tanker”.  Almost immediately Purple 28 responded. Walnut Three got his radial and distance from Red Crown, a TACAN located on a navy ship out in the gulf. He signaled for me to move to the lead for flying, so I wouldn’t need to jockey the throttles to stay in formation, and he assigned me a heading. He then calculated a heading for the tanker to fly to rendezvous with us. Walnut Three then told me to slow down and start ashallow descent to conserve fuel. I pulled the throttles back and started a half-nozzle descent.

At this point I was somewhere outside the airplane, about ten feet above, looking down on an F-4 being flown by someone who looked an awful lot like me. Inside the airplane, robot George wasflying.  Jim was reading the Preparation for Bailout checklist, and Robo George was answering with short, clipped responses that would have made the Apollo astronauts envious. Only I wasn’t DOING anything. I was in total negative panic. Jim read “Stow all loose objects” and I answered “Stowed”. Only later did I realize that I had left my camera strapped to my CRU-60 connector, an invitation to smash my face in during an ejection.

While robo George was flying the airplane on a steady heading and totally oblivious to everything else that was going on, Walnut Three was getting updates on Purple 28’s position relative to Red Crown and giving him headings and altitudes to fly. At one point he gave Purple 28 a 180-degree turn to our heading. Shortly after that, real George took over from robo George, looked up and saw a tanker right in front of us, doing a toboggan refueling descent. Somehow, I was in “contact” position. I opened the refueling door and had a sudden realization that a lot of people had performed extraordinary airmanship to get me to this point. What if I became more of a hamfist than usual and couldn’t refuel? As I was struggling with my sudden self-doubt, I felt a “clunk” and heard fuel rushing into my airplane. I was getting fueled! I looked down at my fuel gauges for the first time since robo George had taken over. I had 0 on the tape and 0030 on thecounter. Roughly 2-3 minutes fuel remaining at the time refueling started. While I was on the tanker I heard another F-4 bail out one mile in trail of a tanker due to lack of fuel.  We lost several aircraft that day.

After the flight, my low fuel state was chalked up to my being pretty much a hamfist, and the aircraft was released to fly again the next day. It just so happened that Jim Badger was in the back seat of that aircraft again on another Pack 6 mission. This time his pilot was Blaine Jones, one of the most experienced F-4 jocks in the wing. They came off the target with low fuel state again!  Poor Jim thought that EVERY Pack 6 mission would be like this! Finally maintenance decided to really investigate what the problem was with the airplane, and found a malfunction with the air data computer scheduling the inlet ramps improperly.

Walnut Three and Purple 28 saved my life 45 years ago. Not many pilots could have put all the pieces together to make it work out the way Walnut Three did, with no time left to spare. I know I couldn’t even today, after flying almos continuously for over 50 years.

When I look into my children’s, and my grandchildren’s eyes, I think about how this could have ended so differently. I could have been forced to bail out over shark-infested enemy waters, with death or capture equally as likely as rescue. And I owe the last 45 years to the unknown crew of Purple 28 and to J.D. Allen, the pilot of Walnut Three.

Jul 24, 2017

Brian Webb specializes in teaching church mission teams how to travel safely around the world with a biblical perspective on safety and security. In 2011 Brian was the sole recipient of the National Training Award and received the national award for Outstanding Achievement in Training from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Air Operations.

In addition to managing a covert operations program, Brian also served as the national program manager of the agency's Primary Aviation Survival School as well as Chief of the Standardization Training Branch and he continues to work as a survival instructor.

Brian was a professional pilot by trade and a former airline pilot who made his way into law enforcement.  In 2013 he retired as a pilot and Federal Agent for the Department of Homeland Security.  He is considered one of the world's leading experts in international narcotics smuggling and airborne counter terrorism operations. In this capacity he managed covert operations throughout the US and foreign countries for 20 years.

 
 
Jul 21, 2017

In the movie Pushing Tin they made it look like fun.

It probably inspired many people to think that jet blast was fairly harmless. For starters, in the movie, the actors were most likely (simulated) being tossed around by the aircraft wake, not the jet blast. 

The wind speed 200 feet behind an aircraft at takeoff power is equivalent to a Category V hurricane!

Jul 17, 2017

Dr. Tony Kern is the Founding Partner and CEO of Convergent Performance, LLC., a veteran-owned small business in Colorado Springs. Convergent was formed in 2003, and is specifically dedicated to reducing human error and improving performance in high risk environments such as aviation, military operations, surgical teams, law enforcement, and oil and gas. Tony is one of the world’s leading authorities on human performance in time constrained, error intolerant environments, and has lectured on the subject around the globe for over two decades. Dr. Kern has received multiple awards for his work, including Aviation Week & Space Technology 2002 Laurels Award for Outstanding Achievement in Government and Military, the University Aviation Association’s John K. Lauber Safety Award (2015), and the Flight Safety Foundation-Airbus Human Factors in Aviation Safety Award (2015). While Tony is grateful to have won these and other awards, it’s a completely different honor to have an award named after you. In 2015, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced the creation of the Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation award, and at the NBAA National Safety Forum in 2016, NBAA President Ed Bolan announced the first 19 award recipients. Dr. Kern has authored eight books on human performance, including the award-winning “Plane of Excellence” trilogy (Redefining Airmanship, Flight Discipline, and Darker Shades of Blue; McGraw Hill 1995, 1997, 1999). Broadening his approach beyond aviation, his “Empowered Accountability” series (Blue Threat: Why to Err is Inhuman and Going Pro: The Deliberate Practice of Professionalism; Pygmy Books 2009, 2011) creates a 21st century guide to extreme professionalism. His newest book (The Ghost of Nathan Hale; North Slope Publications 2016) remains in line with Dr. Kern’s passion for identifying and reducing threats. In it he details how declining public trust in government is an existential threat to America and the world itself, and provides strong motivation and a step-by-step path for restoring the integrity of government. A prolific writer, Tony is also a featured columnist and Contributing Editor for Skies and Vertical 911 magazines. In addition, Dr. Kern has been interviewed regarding his methodologies by the Fox Business Network, Bloomberg TV, the Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News, and 48 Hours with Dan Rather, among others. Despite his three graduate degrees, Dr. Kern does not consider himself an “academic.” He has deep operational roots in the U.S. Air Force as a Command Pilot and Flight Examiner in the B-1B bomber, as well as diverse senior staff and leadership experience, including service as the Chairman of the U.S. Air Force Human Factors Steering Group, and Director and Professor of Military History at the USAF Academy. Upon retirement from the Air Force in 2000, Dr. Kern served as the National Aviation Director for the U.S. Forest Service, where he directed the largest non-military government aviation program in the world in support of federal wildland fire suppression. Tony is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and the U.S. Federal Government Senior Executive Service Development Program. Tony has dedicated his adult life to helping individuals and organizations reduce error, mitigate losses, and optimize their performance, but still finds time to enjoy his personal hobbies of hunting, fishing, sports of all kinds, and writing. He currently lives with his wife of 29 years and their seven dogs in Woodland Park, Colorado.

 

Jul 14, 2017

A traffic collision avoidance system or traffic alert and collision avoidance system (both abbreviated as TCAS, and pronounced tee-kas) is an aircraft collision avoidance system designed to reduce the incidence of mid-air collisions between aircraft. It monitors the airspace around an aircraft for other aircraft equipped with a corresponding active transponder, independent of air traffic control, and warns pilots of the presence of other transponder-equipped aircraft which may present a threat of mid-air collision (MAC). It is a type of airborne collision avoidance system mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization to be fitted to all aircraft with a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of over 5,700 kg (12,600 lb) or authorized to carry more than 19 passengers. CFR 14, Ch I, part 135 requires that TCAS I is installed for aircraft with 10-30 passengers and TCAS II for aircraft with more than 30 passengers.

TCAS is based on secondary surveillance radar (SSR) transponder signals, but operates independently of ground-based equipment to provide advice to the pilot on potential conflicting aircraft.

In modern glass cockpit aircraft, the TCAS display may be integrated in the Navigation Display (ND) or Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI); in older glass cockpit aircraft and those with mechanical instrumentation, such an integrated TCAS display may replace the mechanical Vertical Speed Indicator (which indicates the rate with which the aircraft is descending or climbing).

TCAS involves communication between all aircraft equipped with an appropriate transponder (provided the transponder is enabled and set up properly). Each TCAS-equipped aircraft interrogates all other aircraft in a determined range about their position, and all other aircraft reply to other interrogations (via 1.09 GHz). This interrogation-and-response cycle may occur several times per second.

The TCAS system builds a three dimensional map of aircraft in the airspace, incorporating their range (garnered from the interrogation and response round trip time), altitude (as reported by the interrogated aircraft), and bearing (by the directional antenna from the response). Then, by extrapolating current range and altitude difference to anticipated future values, it determines if a potential collision threat exists.

TCAS and its variants are only able to interact with aircraft that have a correctly operating mode C or mode S transponder. A unique 24-bit identifier is assigned to each aircraft that has a mode S transponder.

The next step beyond identifying potential collisions is automatically negotiating a mutual avoidance maneuver (currently, maneuvers are restricted to changes in altitude and modification of climb/sink rates) between the two (or more) conflicting aircraft. These avoidance maneuvers are communicated to the flight crew by a cockpit display and by synthesized voice instructions.

A protected volume of airspace surrounds each TCAS equipped aircraft. The size of the protected volume depends on the altitude, speed, and heading of the aircraft involved in the encounter. The illustration below gives an example of a typical TCAS protection volume.

Jul 10, 2017

Chuck Gumbert, The Turnaround Specialist™, has utilized a wealth of life and business experience, as well as a knack for overcoming challenges, to guide numerous clients to success. One of Chuck’s first major challenges—overcoming the debilitating effects of polio at age 2—did not stop him from eventually participating in high school athletics and later becoming a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, graduating at the top of his class. His drive for accomplishment, led to him climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and becoming a nationally recognized business leader, entrepreneur, speaker and mentor.

Chuck has been heavily influenced by historic leaders in both business and the military—most notably motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, Darren Hardy, business leader, author and speaker Jeff Hayzlett and General George S. Patton.

Chuck has applied his core principles and proven business Success Model in the business world, advising corporate leaders and their teams how to achieve predictable and consistent success. A true leader in an ever-changing America, Chuck is known for his high integrity, pristine character, drive and ability to “get the job done” – no matter what the circumstances. He has the unique ability to quickly diagnosis complicated problems and breakdowns within an organization, rally the troops to get everyone on board working towards a common goal and launch a solid success strategy for improved and accelerated performance.

 

Jul 7, 2017

Flown West

I hope there's a place, way up in the sky,
Where pilots can go, when they have to die-
A place where a guy can go and buy a cold beer
For a friend and comrade, whose memory is dear;
A place where no doctor or lawyer can tread,
Nor management type would ere be caught dead;
Just a quaint little place, kinda dark and full of smoke,
Where they like to sing loud, and love a good joke;
The kind of place where a lady could go
And feel safe and protected, by the men she would know.

There must be a place where old pilots go,
When their paining is finished, and their airspeed gets low,
Where the whiskey is old, and the women are young,
And the songs about flying and dying are sung,
Where you'd see all the fellows who'd flown west before.
And they'd call out your name, as you came through the door;
Who would buy you a drink if your thirst should be bad,
And relate to the others, "He was quite a good lad!"

And then through the mist, you'd spot an old guy
You had not seen for years, though he taught you how to fly.
He'd nod his old head, and grin ear to ear,
And say, "Welcome, my son, I'm pleased that you're here.
"For this is the place where true flyers come,
"When the journey is over, and the war has been won
"They've come here to at last to be safe and alone
From the government clerk and the management clone,
"Politicians and lawyers, the Feds and the noise
Where the hours are happy, and these good ol'boys
"Can relax with a cool one, and a well-deserved rest;
"This is Heaven, my son -- you've passed your last test!"

The tradition of throwing a nickel onto the grave of a fighter pilot started a long time ago. About a hundred years ago, the Salvation Army would beat a drum to collect money to help alcoholics. A song cam about with the chorus "throw a nickel on the drum, save another drunken bum".

During the Korean War, an F-86 pilot named William Starr modified the song: "Throw a nickel on the grass, save a fighter pilot's ass". Oscar Brand recorded it along with numerous other Air Force songs in 1959 in his album The Wild Blue Yonder.

Nickel on the Grass

Chorus

Oh, Halleliua, Halleliua

Throw a nickel on the grass--Save a fighter pilot's ass.

Oh, Halleliua, Oh, Halleliua

Throw a nickel on the grass and you'll be saved.

 

I was cruising down the Yalu, doing six and twenty per

When a call came from the Major, Oh won 't you save me sir?

Got three flak holes in my wing tips, and my tanks ain't got no gas.

Mayday, mayday, mayday, I got six MIGS on my ass.

 

I shot my traffic pattern, and to me it looked all right,

The airspeed read one-thirty, I really racked it tight!

Then the airframe gave a shudder, the engine gave a wheeze,

Mayday, mayday, mayday, spin instructions please.

 

It was split S on my Bomb run, and I got too God Damn low

But I pressed that bloody button, and I let those babies go

Sucked the stick back fast as blazes, when I hit a hight speed stall

I won’t see my mother when the work all done next fall.

 

They sent me down to Pyongyang, the brief said "no ack ack"

by the time that I arrived there, my wings was mostly flak.

Then my engine coughed and sputtered, it was too cut up to fly

Mayday, mayday, mayday, I’m too young to die.

 

I bailed out from the Sabre, and the landing came out fine

With my E and E equipment, I made for our front line.

When I opened up ration, to see what was in it,

The God damn quartermaster why he filled the tin with grit.

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