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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: 2018
Jul 12, 2018

United Airlines Flight 173 was the watershed event that launched the establishment of Crew Resource Management (CRM) throughout the airline industry. That accident occurred thirty years ago. With the widespread acceptance of CRM in airline operations, one would surmise that crew communication issues would be a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it has worked out. We have no way to determine how many times a Captain has disregarded a First Officer’s suggestions or comments and there is no adverse effect, but we do   numerous accidents where this has been a causal factor.

Take, for example, the case of Air Florida Flight 90, three years after Flight 173. During the takeoff roll, the First Officer expressed concern about the airplane’s performance. Three times the former F-15 pilot First Officer expressed concern. “That don't seem right, does it? Ah, that's not right.” The Captain answered, “Yes it is, there's eighty.”. Then, twelve seconds later, the First Officer said “Naw, I don't think that's right. Ah, maybe it is.”. Twelve more seconds and the First Officer said: “I don't know.”.

So was this simply a case of the pre-CRM philosophy that “the Captain is God”, early in the use of CRM? After all, in the old days, the Captain WAS God! Consider Ernest Gann’s book Fate Is The Hunter, in which he recounts his Captain holding lit matches in front of his face as he flew a challenging instrument approach to minimums - with passengers aboard! But that was then, this is now, right?

I wish that were true, but I believe there are still far too many of “Captain-God’s” out there. When I was flying for a major airline in Asia, on  several occasions I made errors (thankfully, all minor) and never heard a word from my First Officers. During our post-flight debriefing, I inquired why they had not advised me of a potential problem, especially since I had specifically briefed them to do so. (“I’d rather be embarrassed in the cockpit than on the evening news”). In EVERY case the response was, roughly, “Captain, I did not want to disagree with you”! I suspect there is a cultural aspect to this, wherein First Officers are used to being disregarded.

In 2007 Garuda Indonesia Airways Flight 200 crashed following an unstable approach in which the First Officer repeatedly advised the Captain that the approach was unstabilized and to go around. The Captain ignored him, attempting to salvage a landing by descending at 4000 feet per minute, and crashed. In 2010 India Air Express Flight 812 also crashed on landing. The Captain was the pilot flying, and the first Officer had said “Go around” three times, the first being on two-mile final. Of the 160 passengers and crew, only 8 passengers survived.

And, it apears to be a problem world-wide. First Air Flight 6560 crashed in 2011 attempting an ILS in Canada. The First Officer specifically advised the Captain that the GPS showed them off course to the right, and that the localizer was showing full-scale deflection. He also said “Go around”. Altogether, the First Offficer expressed clear concern THIRTEEN TIMES. Yet the Captain continued the approach. Everyone onboard died.

Psychologists will tell us there are valid reasons for the pilot flying not wanting to go around when another crew member who has less professional image at stake has no problem abandoning the approach. Let me posit a concept that should appeal to EVERY pilot - money. When you go around, the flight lasts longer, and you get more flight pay! Depending on your operation, you may be required to submit some sort of report. So be it. Here’s a suggestion for First Officers: if you EVER experience a Captain ignoring your suggestion to go around, visit your chief pilot or Professional Standards Committee immediately!

Let’s not lose sight of the requirement that common carriers, such as scheduled airlines, are REQUIRED to exercise the HIGHEST degree of safety in performing their duties. Unless you are operating in an emergency fuel situation, continuing an unstabilized approach does not satisfy that requirement.

Bottom line: it’s not WHO is right, it’s WHAT is right!

Jul 9, 2018

Dr. Davidson grew up in a Navy family in California and Virginia and was commissioned as an Air Force second lieutenant in 1988. She flew combat support, airdrop, and humanitarian air mobility missions in the Pacific, Europe and the Middle East in both the Lockheed C-130 Hercules and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster cargo aircraft, and also served as an instructor pilot at the United States Air Force Academy. She was a Distinguished Graduate of Air Force Squadron Officers’ School and was the first woman to fly the Air Force’s tactical C-130. 

Dr.  Davidson became president of Metropolitan State University of Denver on July 24, 2017. Her primary focus is on student retention and graduation – better serving the nearly 20,000 current students that call the University home and preparing them to launch into the workforce. While MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans through programs relevant to the state’s economy, Davidson aims to build the institution’s reputation both nationally and internationally. She served as Under Secretary of the United States Navy from 2016 to 2017. She is the author of Lifting the Fog of Peace: How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War, a study of organizational learning and institutional change within the U.S. military.

Lifting the Fog of Peace: How Americans Learned to Fight Modern War by [Davidson, Janine]

Following the conclusion of her Air Force career in 1998, Davidson pursued doctoral studies in international affairs at the University of South Carolina. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Director of Stability Operations Capabilities within the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict). She was founding director of the Consortium for Complex Operations, later renamed the Center for Complex Operations (CCO), a research center within the National Defense University that studies military and civilian coordination in stability operations.

From 2009 to 2012, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans, where she oversaw the formulation and review of military war plans and global force posture policy. She was recognized with the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Following her service in the Pentagon, Dr. Davidson became an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Public Policy at George Mason University, where she taught courses on national security policy and civil-military relations.

On January 17, 2014, Dr. Davidson accepted the position of Senior Fellow for Defense Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. During this time, Davidson also served as a presidentially appointed member of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force, which recommended changes to service structure and management policies, as well as a member of the Reserve Forces Policy Board.

On September 18, 2015, it was announced that she had been nominated by President Barack Obama to become Under Secretary of the United States Navy.She was confirmed by the United States Congress and assumed her post on March 17, 2016.

On February 14, 2017, Metropolitan State University of Denver announced that Dr. Davidson would become the next president of the university.

 

Jul 6, 2018

From Wikipedia:

The choice of material used to construct the runway depends on the use and the local ground conditions. For a major airport, where the ground conditions permit, the most satisfactory type of pavement for long-term minimum maintenance is concrete. Although certain airports have used reinforcement in concrete pavements, this is generally found to be unnecessary, with the exception of expansion joints across the runway where a dowel assembly, which permits relative movement of the concrete slabs, is placed in the concrete. Where it can be anticipated that major settlements of the runway will occur over the years because of unstable ground conditions, it is preferable to install asphaltic concrete surface, as it is easier to patch on a periodic basis. For fields with very low traffic of light planes, it is possible to use a sod surface. Some runways also make use of salt flat runways.

For pavement designs, borings are taken to determine the subgrade condition, and based on the relative bearing capacity of the subgrade, the specifications are established. For heavy-duty commercial aircraft, the pavement thickness, no matter what the top surface, varies from 10 in (250 mm) to 4 ft (1 m), including subgrade.

Airport pavements have been designed by two methods. The first, Westergaard, is based on the assumption that the pavement is an elastic plate supported on a heavy fluid base with a uniform reaction coefficient known as the K value. Experience has shown that the K values on which the formula was developed are not applicable for newer aircraft with very large footprint pressures.

The second method is called the California bearing ratio and was developed in the late 1940s. It is an extrapolation of the original test results, which are not applicable to modern aircraft pavements or to modern aircraft landing gear. Some designs were made by a mixture of these two design theories. A more recent method is an analytical system based on the introduction of vehicle response as an important design parameter. Essentially it takes into account all factors, including the traffic conditions, service life, materials used in the construction, and, especially important, the dynamic response of the vehicles using the landing area.

Because airport pavement construction is so expensive, manufacturers aim to minimize aircraft stresses on the pavement. Manufacturers of the larger planes design landing gear so that the weight of the plane is supported on larger and more numerous tires. Attention is also paid to the characteristics of the landing gear itself, so that adverse effects on the pavement are minimized. Sometimes it is possible to reinforce a pavement for higher loading by applying an overlay of asphaltic concrete or portland cement concrete that is bonded to the original slab. Post-tensioning concrete has been developed for the runway surface. This permits the use of thinner pavements and should result in longer concrete pavement life. Because of the susceptibility of thinner pavements to frost heave, this process is generally applicable only where there is no appreciable frost action.

Runway descriptions

Macadam is a type of road construction, pioneered by Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam around 1820, in which single-sized crushed stone layers of small angular stones are placed in shallow lifts and compacted thoroughly. A binding layer of stone dust (crushed stone from the original material) may form; it may also, after rolling, be covered with a binder to keep dust and stones together. The method simplified what had been considered state of the art at that point. Tarmac is tar on top of macadam, initially called tarmacadam, patented in 1902. Tarmac is now used as a generic term.

Jul 2, 2018

Vincent Aiello (aka "Jell-O") took his first airplane flight when he was 11 years old, and was smitten. He attended UCLA, majoring in Mathematics, and then entered the Navy. He was initially assigned as a life guard while waiting for flight training, then finally started his flying. He flew the T-34, the T-2 and the TA-4 while in training.

After his initial training, he flew the FA-18 at El Toro, then flew at Cecil Field. His first deployment was on the USS George Washington. He later attended TOPGUN and remained on staff as an instructor.

Following 25 years of service, he retired from the Navy and, somewhat reluctantly, became n airline pilot.

Jell-O is the host of the Fighter Pilot Podcast, where he interviews fighter pilots from all branches of the service in captivating episodes.

Jun 29, 2018

From Wikipedia:

The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948–12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche mark from West Berlin.

The Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift (26 June 1948–30 September 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city's population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food. The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.`

By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe.

Jun 25, 2018

Leland Stolberg volunteered for military duty immediately after graduating high school, right after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was trained as a Radio Operator, and flew in that position on the C-46 aircraft on missions flying over the "Hump", resupply missions flown from Assam, India to China in support of American and Chinese forces. The mission was extremely hazardous because of enroute weather challenges and poor single-engine performance. Altogether almost 1700 American crewmembers were lost in this operation.

Leland once had a very close call when his plane lost an engine. He went to the cargo area and dropped all of the 55-gallon fuel drums of cargo to lighten the plane enough for it to maintain altitude.

From Wikipedia:

The Hump was the name given by Allied pilots in the Second World War to the eastern end of the Himalayan Mountains over which they flew military transport aircraft from India to China to resupply the Chinese war effort of Chiang Kai-shek and the units of the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) based in China. Creating an airlift presented the AAF a considerable challenge in 1942: it had no units trained or equipped for moving cargo, and no airfields existed in the China Burma India Theater (CBI) for basing the large number of transports that would be needed. Flying over the Himalayas was extremely dangerous and made more difficult by a lack of reliable charts, an absence of radio navigation aids, and a dearth of information about the weather.

The task was initially given to the AAF's Tenth Air Force, and then to its Air Transport Command(ATC). Because the AAF had no previous airlift experience as a basis for planning, it assigned commanders who had been key figures in founding the ATC in 1941–1942 to build and direct the operation, which included former civilians with extensive executive experience operating civil air carriers.

Originally referred to as the "India–China Ferry", the successive organizations responsible for carrying out the airlift were the Assam–Burma–China Command. (April–July 1942) and the India-China Ferry Command (July–December 1942) of the Tenth Air Force; and the Air Transport Command's India-China Wing (December 1942 – June 1944) and India-China Division (July 1944 – November 1945).

The operation began in April 1942, after the Japanese blocked the Burma Road, and continued daily to August 1945, when the effort began to scale down. It procured most of its officers, men, and equipment from the AAF, augmented by British, British-Indian Army, Commonwealth forces, Burmese labor gangs and an air transport section of the Chinese National Aviation Corporation(CNAC). Final operations were flown in November 1945 to return personnel from China.

The India–China airlift delivered approximately 650,000 tons of materiel to China at great cost in men and aircraft during its 42-month history. For its efforts and sacrifices, the India–China Wing of the ATC was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation on 29 January 1944 at the personal direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first such award made to a non-combat organization.

Jun 23, 2018

From the Washington Post, 20 June 2018:

The FBI in Maryland is warning travelers taking to the skies this summer to be cautious as airlines nationwide have seen a recent spike in the number of sexual assaults reported on commercial flights.

The assaults, which typically occur on long overnight flights, are “increasing every year . . . at an alarming rate,” said David Rodski, an FBI special agent assigned to investigate crimes out of Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.

“This is statistically still very rare; however, it is very good ­advice for people traveling to have situational awareness,” said Rodski, one of several law enforcement officials who gathered at the airport Wednesday to warn travelers about the disturbing trend.

In 2014, airline passengers ­reported 38 instances of sexual assault on flights, compared with 63 reports in 2017, according to the FBI.

Rodski said the reports are coming from airports across the country and urged passengers to flag assaults immediately so law enforcement officials can effectively investigate and prosecute the cases.

“What we’re finding is a lot of people do not report the act” or report long after the incident occurs, Rodski said. “Hit that call button . . . notify the flight crew immediately.”

Brian Nadeau, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Division, said sexual assault on an airplane falls within the FBI’s jurisdiction and is a federal crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Nadeau said assaults range from strangers grazing other passengers to explicit acts. The assaults typically involve alcohol, a passenger who is asleep, or someone who is sitting in a middle or window seat when the cabin lights are darkened. Nadeau warned passengers on red-eye flights to be particularly careful if they’ve taken medication or sleep aids.

“We find offenders will often test their victims, sometimes brushing up against them to see how they will react or if they will wake up,” Nadeau said. “Do not give these offenders the benefit of the doubt.”

Renee Murrell, an FBI victim specialist in Baltimore, said many sexual assaults on airplanes go unreported because victims are ashamed or blame themselves.

“They are very scared and they don’t know what to expect,” Murrell said. In some cases of passengers assaulted while they’re asleep, “you wake up and you really don’t know what happened.”

Paul Hudson, president of the airline consumer organization Flyers Rights, said victims may not be reporting assaults on airplanes because the process can be onerous and flight attendants do not always have clear guidelines for how to handle complaints.

Hudson and others have called on lawmakers to pass legislation that would create standards for enforcement and reporting.

“If you’re a victim of a crime on the ground, what do you do?” said Hudson, who is an attorney and represented rape victims in New York. “You call 911 and report it to a police officer. But if you’re in an airplane, you can’t do that. You have to report through a flight attendant, and they have to report it to the captain, and the captain has to report it to a ground supervisor for the airline. . . . In many cases, too much time has passed.”

The union representing flight attendants recently conducted a survey asking about reports of passenger-on-passenger sexual assaults.

About 20 percent of 2,000 flight attendants who responded said they had received a report of a passenger-on-passenger assault while working, but law enforcement got involved only half the time. They complained that airlines often do not offer written guidance or training on how to handle such reports, the union said, with flight attendants relying on their own “resourcefulness” to intervene.

Jun 18, 2018

Pam Mannon was transfixed by aviation ever since she was a child. When she told her parents she wanted to be a pilot, they were not too happy. In fact, since they were both college professors, they wanted Pam to avail herself of the free tuition at their school rather than attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). Pam created a win-win solution by attending their school until attaining all the credits that could be transferred to ERAU, then completed her education at ERAU. She later earned a dual Master's Degree from ERAU in Aerospace Operations and Human Factors.

Once she graduated with all the ratings, she worked at numerous aviation jobs, from managing an FBO front desk to flying as copilot in various jets. She eventually became a flight Instructor at FlightSafety International, and subsequently became a pilot and instructor for Continental Express.

For the past 15 years Pam has been a pilot for Honeywell Aerospace, and as the Lead Program Pilot she travels internationally to conduct training, and also flies operational missions.

Jun 14, 2018

Dynamic Hydroplaning: Water on the runways reduces the friction between the tires and the ground and can reduce braking effectiveness. The ability to brake can be completely lost when the tires are hydroplaning because a layer of water separates the tires from the runway surface. This is also true of braking effectiveness when runways are covered in ice. When the runway is wet, the pilot may be confronted with dynamic hydroplaning. Dynamic hydroplaning is a condition in which the aircraft tires ride on a thin sheet of water rather than on the runway’s surface. Because hydroplaning wheels are not touching the runway, braking and directional control are almost nil. To help minimize dynamic hydroplaning, some runways are grooved to help drain off water; most runways are not.

Tire pressure is a factor in dynamic hydroplaning. Using the simple formula of 8.6 times the square root of the tire pressure in p.s.i., a pilot can calculate the minimum speed, in knots, at which hydroplaning begins. In plain language, the minimum hydroplaning speed is determined by multiplying the square root of the main gear tire pressure in psi by nine. For example, if the main gear tire pressure is at 36 psi, the aircraft would begin hydroplaning at 54 knots. Landing at higher than recommended touchdown speeds exposes the aircraft to a greater potential for hydroplaning. And once hydroplaning starts, it can continue well below the minimum initial hydroplaning speed. On wet runways, directional control can be maximized by landing into the wind. Abrupt control inputs should be avoided. When the runway is wet, anticipate braking problems well before landing and be prepared for hydroplaning. Opt for a suitable runway most aligned with the wind. Mechanical braking may be ineffective, so aerodynamic braking should be used to its fullest advantage.

Viscous Hydroplaning: Slippery surfaces can cause tires to slip. One of the most common factors is rubber build-up on the runway, generally in the touchdown zone.

From Wikipedia: Viscous aquaplaning is due to the viscous properties of water. A thin film of fluid no more than 0.025 mm in depth is all that is needed. The tire cannot penetrate the fluid and the tire rolls on top of the film. This can occur at a much lower speed than dynamic aquaplane, but requires a smooth or smooth-acting surface such as asphalt or a touchdown area coated with the accumulated rubber of past landings. Such a surface can have the same friction coefficient as wet ice.

From Wikipedia:

Reverted Rubber Hydroplaning:

Reverted rubber (steam) aquaplaning occurs during heavy braking that results in a prolonged locked-wheel skid. Only a thin film of water on the runway is required to facilitate this type of aquaplaning. The tire skidding generates enough heat to change the water film into a cushion of steam which keeps the tire off the runway. A side effect of the heat is it causes the rubber in contact with the runway to revert to its original uncured state. Indications of an aircraft having experienced reverted rubber aquaplaning, are distinctive 'steam-cleaned' marks on the runway surface and a patch of reverted rubber on the tire.

Reverted rubber aquaplaning frequently follows an encounter with dynamic aquaplaning, during which time the pilot may have the brakes locked in an attempt to slow the aircraft. Eventually the aircraft slows enough to where the tires make contact with the runway surface and the aircraft begins to skid. The remedy for this type of aquaplane is for the pilot to release the brakes and allow the wheels to spin up and apply moderate braking. Reverted rubber aquaplaning is insidious in that the pilot may not know when it begins, and it can persist to very slow groundspeeds (20 knots or less).

Jun 11, 2018

Scott Weaver hails from a long line of pilots, starting with his grandfather, Leo Purington, who had a 4-digit pilot certificate number. Scott was immersed in aviation from a young age, but had initially aspired to a career as a professional baseball player.

Finally, the flying bug bit him, and he entered the Air Force and attended Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). Following UPT, he stayed in Air Training Command as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP), instructing student pilots. Then it was time for him to get his fighter assignment, and he selected the F-16. Scott continued to fly the F-16 for the rest of his career, including his time in the DC Air Guard. He retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.

After leaving active duty, Scott hired on with a major airline, and currently flies B777's on international routes.

Scott also wrote a book that chronicles the history of Thunderbird Field and his family's role in that history.

As part of his research, he met Jerry Yellin, the pilot who flew the last combat mission of World War II, who trained at Thunderbird Field.

Jun 6, 2018

From Flying Magazine: "In all, an estimated 13,000 Allied aircraft participated in the D-Day operations. It remains the single largest aerial operation in history. As it was an unprecedented action, it was a learning process, and there were fundamental misunderstandings about how aircraft would operate and interact. The operation was so critical and so complex that commanders made clear early on that they were willing to accept great losses in order to establish a beachhead."

From History on the Net: "However, success was not achieved without cost. During June 1944 the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces lost 904 aircraft: 284 in aerial combat, 400 to flak, and 220 operationally. The total included 320 Eighth Air Force B-17s and B-24s plus 44 B-26s and A-20s of the Ninth Air Force. Combined Eighth and Ninth fighter losses amounted to 540 Thunderbolts, Lightnings, and Mustangs."

From Smithsonian Air and Space Museum: "The planners feared friendly fire - anti-aircraft fire from Allied naval vessels and Allied troops - against their own air flotilla, and pilots mistakenly engaging in dogfights against their own comrades in arms. The existing system for identifying friendly aircraft, Identification Friend or Foe, would in all probability be overwhelmed by the sheer number of aircraft over the beaches. To avoid fratricidal incidents, the D-Day planners called for paint and brushes, and ordered that the aircraft of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and supporting units be painted with alternating black and white stripes on wings and fuselage - 18 inches wide on single-engine aircraft, and 24 inches wide for twin-engined craft. They were called invasion stripes." D-Day stripes article https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/stripes-d-day

From Wikipedia: "CG-4As went into operation in July 1943 during the Allied invasion of Sicily. They were flown 450 miles across the Mediterranean from North Africa for the night-time assaults such as Operation Ladbroke. Inexperience and poor conditions contributed to the heavy losses. They participated in the American airborne landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and in other important airborne operations in Europe and in the China Burma India Theater. Although not the intention of the Army Air Forces, gliders were generally considered expendable by high-ranking European theater officers and combat personnel and were abandoned or destroyed after landing. While equipment and methods for extracting flyable gliders were developed and delivered to Europe, half of that equipment was rendered unavailable by certain higher-ranked officers. Despite this lack of support for the recovery system, several gliders were recovered from Normandy and even more from Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and Wesel, Germany."

Jun 4, 2018

Kathleen (Kay) Hilbrandt started taking flying lessons in 1942, and in 1943 was accepted into the Womens Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) program. She attend Army Air Corps flight training (the same course as male pilots) in 1944, flying PT-17s, BT-13s and AT-6s. Then she served as a safety pilot in Eagle Pass, Texas, for aviation cadets performing instrument flights "under the hood".

After the war, when the WASP was disbanded, she joined the Ninety Nines and returned to New Jersey to work for Bendix Aviation Corporation. Following that, she was a flight instructor, training veterans who were using their GI Bill to obtain flight training.

In 1960 she flew in the All Women Transcontinental Air Race ("Powder Puff Derby") in a Cessna 172.

In 2010 the WASP were awarred the Congressional gold Medal for their service during WWII.

In 2013 Kay received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. She continues to fly for pleasure.

May 31, 2018

As part of ATC modernization (NextGen), the FAA will be shutting down 308 VORs of the roughly 1000 in use right now in the United States. They will continue to operate VORs that provide coverage above 5000 feet over the entire continental United States (CONUS). This will provide Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS) continuity. They will also retain VORs that are used with VOR, localizer and ILS approaches, and those in mountainous terrain and those used by the military. This will leave what is called the Minimum Operational Network (MON) for use in the event of GPS interruption.

Phase I: From 2016 to 2020, the FAA will decommission 74 VORs. Phase II: Between 2021 and 2025, the remaining 234 VORs will be decommissioned.

If a VOR is shut down, it SHOULD be shown with a cross-hatch on aeronautical charts.

It will continue to be REALLY IMPORTANT for pilots to always check NOTAMS that pertain to their route of flight!

The FAA plan is shown here.

General Aviation pilots should continue to hone their map-reading skills!

May 28, 2018

George E. Hardy in March 1943, at the age of 17, passed the written and physical examinations for the US Army Aviation Cadet program.  In July 1943 he was called to active duty and sent to Keesler Army Air Field, Biloxi, Mississippi, for basic training.  In September 1943 he was assigned to the 320th College Training Detachment at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.  His group was scheduled to take college-level courses, at Tuskegee Institute, for a period of five months. This training was cut short in the beginning of December, as his group was transferred to Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) for Aviation Cadet training, as part of Class 44-H.  In September 1944 he graduated as a single-engine pilot and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In November he was transferred to Walterboro AAF in South Carolina for combat flying training in P-47 aircraft.  This combat flying training was completed in early February 1945, and he was shipped overseas to Italy.  In Italy, he was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, where he flew 21 combat missions over Germany in P-51 aircraft.  Those missions were mainly high-altitude escort missions of heavy bombers, but many of the missions also included strafing of ground targets.  He returned from Italy in August 1945 and served at TAAF, until it closed in the summer of 1946.  In July 1946 he was transferred to Lockbourne AAF, Ohio where he was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, flying P-47 aircraft. He was discharged from active duty in November 1946.

He attended New York University, School of Engineering, in the Bronx, from September 1947 to May 1948. He was recalled to active duty at Lockbourne Air Force Base (LAFB), Ohio, in June 1948.  He was assigned to the 301st Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, flying P-47 aircraft.  In September 1948 he was reassigned as a student in the Airborne Electronics Maintenance Officers Course at Keesler AFB, Mississippi.  The course of study covered radar and long-range navigational equipment on fighter and bomber aircraft.  He graduated in August 1949.  In July 1949 the USAF instituted racial integration and personnel at Lockbourne AFB were reassigned to Air Force bases worldwide.  After graduation in August 1949, he was transferred to the 19th Bomb Group (B-29 Aircraft) on the island of Guam. He was further assigned to the 28th Bomb Squadron as a maintenance officer. His primary job was supervising about 25 airmen in maintenance of electronic equipment on the assigned aircraft.  As a pilot he was also required to fly and was assigned as a copilot on a B-29 aircrew.  The Korean War started 25 June 1950, and the 19th Bomb Group was transferred to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. He flew 45 combat missions over Korea in the B-29 aircraft.

In March 1951 he returned to the states and was assigned to 6th Bomb Wing, at Walker AFB in New Mexico, as a maintenance officer. In June 1951 he was transferred to Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado for seven months training as an Armament Systems maintenance officer, specifically on B-36 aircraft.  The B-36 aircraft was the largest aircraft in the Air Force, capable of intercontinental bombing missions without refueling.  The armament systems field included not only the electronic navigational and bombing systems but also included the retractable gun turrets and maintenance and loading of the bomb bays.  After the training at Lowry he was transferred back to Walker AFB and in December 1952 he was transferred to Carswell AFB, Ft Worth, Texas. He became part of the 42nd Bomb Wing (B-36 aircraft) and in March 1953 the wing was transferred to Limestone AFB, Maine. He served as a maintenance officer in the 42nd Armament and Electronics Maintenance Squadron (AEMS), until August 1955.

In August 1955 he transferred to the United States Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio.  He entered the undergraduate engineering program and in August 1957, received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering.

In September 1957 he was assigned to the 3rd AEMS, 3rd Bomb Wing (B- 57, Canberra aircraft) at Johnson Air Base, Japan.  He was soon assigned as Maintenance Supervisor, a position he held for almost 3 years. The 3rd Bomb Wing  areas of operations were in Japan, Korea and Okinawa. He became jet-qualified as a pilot and in 1959 he received the aerial rating of Command Pilot. In June 1960 he was promoted to the grade of Major.

In November 1960 he transferred to Plattsburgh AFB, New York.  He was assigned as Squadron Commander of the 4108th AEMS, in the 4108th Air Refueling Wing (KC–97aircraft).  In the second half of 1962 his squadron held the 8th Air Force trophy for best AEMS squadron.  In November 1962 he was notified by the Air Force Institute of Technology of his eligibility to apply for a new graduate level systems engineering course specializing in reliability engineering.  He applied for the course and was reassigned, in January 1963, to the USAF Institute of Technology, at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio.  In August 1964 he graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Systems Engineering - Reliability.

In September 1964 he was assigned to the Electronic Systems Division of Air Force Systems Command, at  Hanscom  AFB, Massachusetts.  In 1965 he received his promotion to the grade of Lt. Col.  In August 1966 he was assigned as Chief of Engineering and Program Manager, for the Development, Installation and Cutover of the 490L Overseas AUTOVON (AUTOmatic VOice Network) Communications Switches, part of the Department of Defense first worldwide direct dial telephone system.  The AUTOVON services within the continental United States was provided by the various telephone companies.  With completion of the overseas switches, the Department of Defense and other government agencies would have almost worldwide, direct dial telephone access.  The initial sites in Europe, Panama and the Pacific were successfully cut over in 1969.

At the end of 1969 he received notice of a flying assignment in Vietnam and was provided with refresher flight training as an AC-119K Gunship Aircraft Commander. He was assigned to the 18th Special Operations Squadron at Phan Rang Air Base in Vietnam in April 1970.  Although the squadron headquarters was at Phan Rang Air Base, the aircraft were located at two operating locations, one at Udorn Air Base, in Thailand, and the other at DaNang Air Base in Vietnam.  He was assigned as the Operating Location Commander at Udorn Air Base, Thailand through August 1970.  Missions were flown at night over northern Laos searching for truck traffic from North Vietnam.  In September 1970 he was transferred to DaNang Air Base in Vietnam as Operating Location Commander.  Missions were flown at night over central portions of Laos looking for truck traffic from North Vietnam.  He flew 70 combat missions before returning to the states in April 1971.

In May of 1971 he  was assigned to the Inspector General's office at Air Force Systems Command,  Andrews AFB in Maryland.  He served in the IG's office until November 1971 when he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor, the Air Medal with eleven (11) Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.

 

May 24, 2018

This past weekend I attend an outstanding workshop in Los Angles. Forty-eight veterans were selected to participate. The selection process was fairly intense - I had applied last year and was not selected, so I felt very honored to participate. I was there to see if I could develop a theatrical treatment of my Hamfist series.

The workshop was held at the Writers Guild Foundation. The Foundation describes itself as "a non-profit organization that serves as the premier resource for emerging writers and movie and TV lovers in Hollywood. boasting a vast toolbox for writers, the Foundation is unmatched in its mission to promote and preserve the craft, history and voices of screen storytelling through its Library, Archives, Programs and Events".

The Veterans Writing Project receives funding from donors and sponsors, including Final Draft, a software program that each participant received.

Attendees were divided into eight groups of six participants, all veterans. On the first day, in our individualized groups, we worked on Premise/Concept and Story/Structure. On the second day, we worked on Character and Dialog/Scene. We were guided by Mentors, all experienced, working, script-writers, and had an awesome two-hour presentation by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Billy Ray (Hunger Games, Captain Phillips).

I really enjoyed the workshop, and realize I have a lot of work to do to turn my novel series into a movie. Fortunately, the Foundation will be holding our hands for the next year, with monthly workshops in L.A. and video conferencing for those of us who don't live nearby. Altogether, this was a fantastic experience, and I would encourage any veterans who have a story to tell to consider applying. You can get more information on the Project's website.

May 21, 2018

From Jacqui's website:

Jacquie traces her love of flying her to her earliest days, when, as a newborn, her first outing was to the Los Angeles County Airport Air Show. Her pilotfather’s interest in airplanes and flying inspired Jacquie to want to dream of flying. Jacquie spent many years dreaming of flying but was unable to do much about it until years later after working and saving her money. By the time she was 32 years old, she decided she was tired of hearing herself say “I wish I could fly and airplane”. She enrolled in ground school and the rest is history, as they say. She earned her Private Pilot certificate in 1987 and shortly thereafter was introduced to the world of aerobatics. Shortly thereafter a friend offered her a ride in a Pitts Special and she jumped at the chance to do a different kind of flying. With that first flight of loops, rolls, spins and a few other very scary maneuvers, she was instantly hooked on aerobatics. Once she discovered aerobatics, there was no question in her mind she was destined for aerobatic flying. It took 10 years longer to save enough money to take aerobatic lessons, but save she did and took her first “formal” aerobatic lesson in July 1997. She joined the International Aerobatic Club in August 2000 and for the next 4 years she flew aerobatic competition. She raced her biplane at the Reno Air Races from 2001 through 2004 to learn a whole new kind of flying.

Jacquie is now flying an Extra 300 monoplane. She made the switch from a biplane of many years to something new. Her beautiful red Extra is faster, more capable of gyroscopic maneuvers and has two seats! She can now give rides and share her love and passion of flying with others across the country. She holds a Commercial Certificate in land-based aircraft as well as a seaplane rating and holds a Level 1 ACE card which allows her to perform air shows down to the surface.

Jacquie B has earned her wings. She no longer qualifies as a newcomer flying for gas-and-a-hot-dog, as the saying goes. Her time has come. With over 3,200 flight hours and more than 1100 coast-to-coast air show performances behind her, Jacquie has proven that she has the talent, stamina, discipline and guts to reach beyond the limits placed on her by naysayers. In fact, she broke even more stringent cultural boundaries when she became the first female solo pilot to perform at the 2010 Al Ain Aerobatic Show in the United Arab Emirates. Jacquie is a powerful inspiration to the millions of fans who realize that they too can accomplish great things in life.

Jacquie spends a large part of her time as a role model by way of speaking to kids at schools, speaking to civic groups, private groups, and particularly groups of women and young girls. In March 2013, she organized a week-long program to offer airplane rides to young girls and women of all ages in a concerted effort to introduce them to the joys of flight and all things aviation. Jacquie flew 31 girls/women with the help of several other pilots during that week and made some life-long friends! Most had never been in a small airplane before. And the first two riders – Mom and her high school aged daughter, both said at the conclusion of their ride that they “needed to buy an airplane”!! Poor Dad didn’t know what to do! But the result is these girls/women got to experience something they always wanted to do and may someday go on to do great things in aviation. “We must give back” says Warda. “Our real job is to educate others of the vast opportunities in the world of aviation and share our passion and make sure others learn about and experience what we love so much. We must help others get started down the path of achieving their dreams, and by simply giving a ride in an airplane, it works! It’s a small gesture but makes a HUGE impact on the lives of many”.

 

May 17, 2018

In Episode 149 we discussed how to fly a 3-degree visual approach. In this episode we talk about how to fly a manual ILS approach, i.e., an approach flown without a flight director.

If you are planning to fly to an airport with an operable ILS, a little flight planning goes a long way. You can check weather forecasts for your destination and determine the probable runway that will be in use when you arrive, along with the forecast temperature and wind. You need this information to plan your approach.

To start, calculate the true airspeed of your aircraft at the anticipated landing weight when you arrive at your destination. Depending on your aircraft, this can vary considerably depending on weight. Now, consult your performance charts to determine your approach speed in indicated airspeed (IAS).

Use your IAS to calculate the true airspeed (TAS) for your approach. If you are operating into a sea level airport on a standard day, IAS an TAS are close to each other, but if you are flying your approach to a high-altitude airport there can be a considerable difference between IAS and TAS. The proper way to do this is to use your E6B computer, as explained in RFT 148. The fall-back method is to increase your IAS by 2 percent for each  1000 feet of altitude to determine TAS. For example, if you are flying 90 knots IAS at 5000 feet pressure altitude, your IAS would be 99 knots (90 knots plus 10 percent of 90).

You need this TAS to use the wind side of your E6B, as explained in RFT Episode 146. Perform a wind-side calculation to determine your groundspeed and wind correction angle for the approach.

Now, to stay on a nominal 3-degree ILS glide slope, descend at 1/2 your groundspeed times 10. If your groundspeed is 99 knots, descend at 500 feet per minute. When you intercept the localizer, apply the wind correction angle to the final approach course to get an initial approach heading.

ASSIGN yourself headings and descent rates, and you will find that it's relatively easy to fly an ILS with the needles centered, even without a flight director!

When you get to minimums and see the runway, don't change a thing!

May 14, 2018

Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is a manifestation of the passion of the Fisher family for seniors and for aviation. To understand this passion and the history of the Foundation, you need only look at the personal and professional legacy of the Fisher Family.

William L. and Dorothy Fisher started the family’s aviation heritage in 1940. Their love for the freedom of flight now transcends through four generations of pilots.  William purchased a Stearman for $1,200 but later sold the airplane.  They also had a very soft spot in their hearts for the aging and, in 1965, decided to open a senior health care facility in Roseburg, Oregon. Since then, aviation and senior care and service have become a lifetime priority for 3 generations of the Fisher family.

In the spring of 2011, William Fisher, son of William L. and Dorothy, and his son Darryl, decided to fulfill a life-long dream. They traveled throughout the United States, giving veterans and seniors in long-term care communities, an opportunity to fly in a newly restored Boeing Stearman aircraft.

Darryl was so moved by the positive emotions generated by the trip that he and his wife, Carol, decided to establish the non-profit organization, Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, as a tribute to seniors and United States veterans. Carol Fisher states, “The Fisher’s have always enjoyed sharing their love of aviation with anyone and everyone that has an interest in flying. Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation is the Fisher family’s way of giving back to those that sacrificed so much to help build this great nation”.

May 10, 2018

FAR 91.25 briefly discusses the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting Program. In many respects, it's a "get out of jail" card to avoid enforcement action. The program is explained in Advisory Circular AC 00-46E.

Enforcement Action. When determining the type and extent of the enforcement action to take in a particular case, the FAA will consider the following factors:

(1) Nature of the violation;

(2) Whether the violation was inadvertent or deliberate;

(3) The certificate holder’s level of experience and responsibility;

(4) Attitude of the violator;

(5) The hazard to safety of others, which should have been foreseen; Par 7 Page 3 AC 00-46E 12/16/11

(6) Action taken by employer or other government authority;

(7) Length of time which has elapsed since the violation;

(8) The certificate holder’s use of the certificate;

(9) The need for special deterrent action in a particular regulatory area or segment of the aviation community; and

(10) Presence of any factors involving national interest, such as the use of aircraft for criminal purposes.

Enforcement Restrictions. The FAA considers the filing of a report with NASA concerning an incident or occurrence involving a violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII or the 14 CFR to be indicative of a constructive attitude. Such an attitude will tend to prevent future violations. Accordingly, although a finding of violation may be made, neither a civil penalty nor certificate suspension will be imposed if: (1) The violation was inadvertent and not deliberate;

(2) The violation did not involve a criminal offense, accident, or action under 49 U.S.C. § 44709, which discloses a lack of qualification or competency, which is wholly excluded from this policy;

(3) The person has not been found in any prior FAA enforcement action to have committed a violation of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII, or any regulation promulgated there for a period of 5 years prior to the date of occurrence; and

(4) The person proves that, within 10 days after the violation, or date when the person became aware or should have been aware of the violation, he or she completed and delivered or mailed a written report of the incident or occurrence to NASA.

 

May 7, 2018

Christina Olds is the daughter of Robin Olds, an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general. After her father's death, Christina spent years combing through her father's notes, diaries and unfinished memoir to complete a captivating, intimate memoir of the consummate fighter pilot.

The son of Army Air Forces Major General Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot. He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots. Rising to the command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader.[4]

Olds was promoted to brigadier general after returning from Vietnam and became Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy. 

Olds had a highly publicized career and life, including marriage to Hollywood actress Ella Raines. As a young man he was also recognized for his athletic prowess in both high school and college, being named an All-American as a lineman in college football. Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can't teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks."

May 4, 2018

FOQA is a voluntary safety program that is designed to make commercial aviation safer by allowing commercial airlines and pilots to share de-identified aggregate information with the FAA so that the FAA can monitor national trends in aircraft operations and target its resources to address operational risk issues (e.g., flight operations, air traffic control (ATC), airports). The fundamental objective of this new FAA/pilot/carrier partnership is to allow all three parties to identify and reduce or eliminate safety risks, as well as minimize deviations from the regulations. To achieve this objective and obtain valuable safety information, the airlines, pilots, and the FAA are voluntarily agreeing to participate in this program so that all three organizations can achieve a mutual goal of making air travel safer.

A cornerstone of this new program is the understanding that aggregate data that is provided to the FAA will be kept confidential and the identity of reporting pilots or airlines will remain anonymous as allowed by law. Information submitted to the FAA pursuant to this program will be protected as “voluntarily submitted safety related data” under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 193.

Apr 30, 2018

Emilio Corsetti took a flight in an airplane as a teenager, and he was hooked! He started taking flying lessons, and received his Private Pilot license before his driver's license. He paid his dues at numerous flying jobs after becoming a CFI, and flew night check deliveries for four years before getting hired as an airline pilot.

During his journey, Emilio was unemployed a total of ten years as he moved from one company to the next, experiencing terminations and furloughs numerous times. His major airline flying, at TWA, started out in the Second Officer (flight engineer) position on the 727.

While a new-hire at TWA, he became fascinated by the story of the first turbojet airliner to ditch in open water. During his furlough he researched the event, interviewing crew members, survivors, rescuers, and air traffic controllers, as well as researching NTSB records.

The resulting book, 35 Miles From Shore, was an immediate success.

His next book, Scapegoat, chronicles the 10-year battle of a b727 crew to clear their names.

 

Apr 26, 2018

During qualification training, airline pilots learn to deal with depressurization, engine failure, and  emergency descent. It's a straight-forward process in training. Each of these are memory-response items that must be completed correctly. The training and checking for these emergency procedures evaluates each of these events separately. In fact, compound emergencies are not permitted to be evaluated.

Unlike a "routine" decompression, an explosive decompression is a much more serious event. The time of useful consciousness (TUC) during an explosive decompression is roughly half the TUC of a slower decompression. While the TUC at 35,000 is 30-60 seconds, after an explosive decompression it will be 15-30 seconds.

That is exactly what the pilots of Southwest Flight 1380 were faced with: Explosive Decompression, Engine Severe Damage, and Emergency Descent, and they performed magnificently.

Apr 23, 2018

Russ Goodenough is one of the few people on the planet to become a member of the caterpillar club from both seats of the F-4!

Russ attended the United States Air Force Academy in the second graduating class, and then went on to Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) and followed that with qualification in the top-of-the-line F-4.

During his combat tour of duty at Cam Ranh Air Base in South Vietnam he was shot down, exactly 52 years ago on the date of this recording, April 21, 1966. His dramatic rescue is chronicled, along with actual photos of the rescue, in his memoir, Why Johnny Came Marching Home.

 

Following his combat tour of duty, Russ flew F-4s in Europe, then separated from the Air Force to pursue a career as an airline pilot. He flew all over the South Pacific as a Continental Airlines pilot.

Apr 20, 2018

Aircraft on Ground or AOG is a term in aviation maintenance indicating that a problem is serious enough to prevent an aircraft from flying. Generally there is a rush to acquire the parts to put the aircraft (A/C) back into service, and prevent further delays or cancellations of the planned itinerary. AOG applies to any aviation materials or spare parts that are needed immediately for an aircraft to return to service. AOG suppliers refer qualified personnel and dispatch the parts required to repair the aircraft for an immediate return to service. AOG also is used to describe critical shipments for parts or materials for aircraft "out of service" or OTS at a location.

In aviation, master minimum equipment list, or MMEL, is a categorized list of on-board systems, instruments and equipment that may be inoperative for flight. Specific procedures or conditions may be associated with operation of the relevant item. It is considered by default that any equipment or system related to airworthiness which is not included in the MMEL is required to be operative. The MMEL is defined on a per aircraft model basis.

MEL (Minimum Equipment List): MEL is based upon the MMEL (Master Minimum Equipment List). MMEL is defined on a per aircraft model basis. MEL is prepared by the operator by taking reference of the MMEL keeping in mind the type and number of equipment installed. Initial issue of the MEL and its subsequent revisions will be approved by competent authority.

The philosophy behind MEL is to authorize release of flight with inoperative equipment only when the inoperative equipment does not render the aircraft unairworthy for the particular flight to avoid revenue loss to the operator and discomfort to the passengers.

Limitations, procedures and substitutions may be used to provide conditions under which the inoperative equipment will not make the operation unsafe or the aircraft unairworthy. This is not a philosophy which permits reduced safety in order to fly to a base where repairs can be made, but rather a philosophy which permits safe operations for a take off from a maintenance base or en-route stop.

It may not include items like galley equipment, entertainment systems, passenger convenience equipment, which do not affect the airworthiness of an aircraft. All items which affect the airworthiness of aircraft or safety of those carried on board and are not included in MEL are required to be operative.

Minimum equipment lists are issued to specific aircraft and specific operators. In order to use a minimum equipment list, that specific company must receive a letter of authorization from the national aviation authorities of the countries where the aircraft will operate.

A minimum equipment list is required in the United States by the Federal Aviation Administration:

  • When operating any turbine-powered aircraft such as jets or turboprops.
  • When operating under part 135 (Commuter and on-demand operations)
  • When operating under part 125 (Non-airline large aircraft operations)

The CDL evolved over several years from what was commonly known as a “missing parts list,” which was a list of non-structural external parts of an airplane that were found missing after flight. The missing parts list is known today as the CDL.

The CDL plays an important role in the operator’s ability to safely continue flight operations. It is a list of externally exposed aircraft parts that may be missing for flight while the aircraft remains Airworthy. CDLs are developed by aircraft manufacturers, approved by the FAA, and tailored for each model aircraft.

A CDL is developed for most U.S.-built transport 14 CFR part 25 aircraft and many 14 CFR part 23 aircraft by aircraft manufacturers during the initial certification process. However, they are not a required element for aircraft certification. The manufacturer makes the decision to develop or not to develop a CDL. If deemed necessary, the aircraft manufacturer develops a proposed CDL and submits it to the responsible Aircraft Certification Office (ACO). The ACO reviews, evaluates, conducts the required testing, and coordinates with the appropriate Aircraft Evaluation Group (AEG), if needed, to resolve any problems and/or discrepancies.

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