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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: July, 2018
Jul 30, 2018

From Doc Weaver's website:

Upon graduation from college, Weaver pursued a flying career as a pilot in the United States Air Force. In addition to flying, painting gave him an outlet that added much to his life. His last assignment prior to retirement brought him to New Mexico in 1974. He retired from active duty in 1976 and from that time on he has painted full time.

In 1974 Doc Weaver joined the New Mexico Watercolor Society. He was awarded Charter Signature Membership in this society.

From 1972 through 1976 Weaver was employed as a workshop director with Tony Van Hassalt's Painting Holidays Workshops. Van Hasssalt's workshops always had a stable of top-notch artists teaching painting. He directed many workshops, principally for John Pike, Tom Hill, George Cheropov, Jack Pellew, Tony Van Hassalt and Charles Reid. Over the past 30 years he also conducted his own watercolor workshops throughout the West. In 1977 Doc moved from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, where he has remained active in the arts community. During the next several years he served on the Santa Fe City Arts Council, the Board of Directors and Master Selection Committee of the Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts, and has been an Officer and Trustee, Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

Weaver splits his time between painting outdoors and painting in the studio. Sketches completed on location are a valuable resource for his larger studio work. In addition to watercolor he also paints in oil and acrylic mediums. Many of his paintings are in private collections and in the collections of museums throughout the country. He is a member of the United States Air Force Artist Program and his paintings are represented in the United States Air Force Art Collection.

Exhibitions:
New Mexico Watercolor Society: 2004 Spring Show, Canson Award winner.
American Watercolor Society: Selected for exhibition in the 134th show, New York, NY, April 2001
Watermedia 2000: Signature Member Group, New Mexico Watercolor Society Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June, 2000
The Taos National Exhibition of American Watercolor II: Stables Gallery, Taos, New Mexico, November, 1996

Jul 26, 2018

Funding for the Bojinka Plot came from Osama bin Laden and Hambali, and from front organizations operated by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden's brother-in-law.

Wali Khan Amin Shah, an Afghan, was the financier of the plot. He funded the plot by laundering money through his girlfriend and other Manila women, several of whom were bar hostesses and one of whom was an employee at a KFC restaurant. They were bribed with gifts and holiday trips so that they would open bank accounts to stash funds.

The transfers were small, equivalent to about 12,000 to 24,000 Philippine pesos ($500 to $1,000 US), and would be handed over each night at a Wendy's or a karaoke bar. The funds went to "Adam Sali", an alias used by Ramzi Yousef. The money came through a Filipino bank account owned by Jordanian Omar Abu Omar, who worked at International Relations and Information Centre, an Islamic organization run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa.

A company called Konsojaya also provided financial assistance to the Manila cell by laundering money to it. Konsojaya was a front company that was started by the head of the group Jemaah Islamiyah, an Indonesian named Riduan Isamuddin, also known as Hambali. Wali Khan Amin Shah was on the board of directors of the company.

As soon as Yousef arrived in Manila along with other "Arab Afghans" who were making cells in Manila, he started to work on making bombs. Yousef had shown up in Singapore with Shah earlier in the fall of 1994. The two got their Philippine visas in Singapore.

He left Manila for several days, but was met by Islamist emissaries upon his return to Metro Manila. They asked him to attack United States President Bill Clinton, who was due to arrive in the Philippines on November 12, 1994 as part of a five-day tour of Asia. Yousef thought of several ways to kill the president, including placing nuclear bombs on Clinton's motorcade route, firing a Stinger missile at Air Force One or the presidential limousine, launching theater ballistic missiles at Manila and or killing him with phosgene, a chemical weapon. He abandoned the idea, as it would be too difficult to kill the President. However, he incorporated his plan to kill the Pope into the Bojinka plot.

In 1994, Yousef and Khalid Sheik Mohammed started testing airport security. Yousef booked a flight between Kai Tak International Airport in Hong Kong and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. Mohammed booked a flight between Ninoy Aquino International Airport near Manila and Kimpo International Airport near Seoul. The two had already converted fourteen bottles of contact lens solution into bottles containing nitroglycerin, which was readily available in the Philippines. Yousef had taped a metal rod to the arch of his foot, which would serve as a detonator. The two wore jewelry and clothing with metal to confuse airport security. To support their claim that they were meeting women, they packed condoms in their bags.

On December 8, Yousef moved into the Doña Josefa Apartments under the alias "Najy Awaita Haddad" and purported himself to be a Moroccan. Edith Guerrera, the manager, laughed with the receptionist after the two men asked for new registration forms. "Perhaps they have forgotten their names", she said as the first ones were torn up. Yousef had accidentally put his "real name" on the first form. He did not want to get discovered too early.

Yousef had booked Room 603 in advance. He had made an Php 80,000 (Philippine peso) deposit, and added Php 40,000 more up front before taking the elevator to Room 603.

A conspirator named Abdul Hakim Murad came to Manila with Yousef and stayed at the same apartment.

The apartments are located in the Malate district, 200 meters away from the embassy of the Holy See in the Philippines, and 500 meters down the street from Manila Police Station No. 9 on Quirino Avenue. One of the windows of Room 603 looks down on the path that the Papal motorcade was to take.

People were suspicious of the men in Room 603. The men renting the apartment were very secretive. According to Guerrera, "They gave me the impression that they were here to study", said Mrs. Guerrera. "They looked like students. They double locked the door when they were inside or out. They didn't ask the room boy to clear up the room." The men, who had chemical burns on their hands, were carrying boxes and never hired other people to carry them up. The boxes contained chemicals bought from suppliers in Manila and Quezon City in Metro Manila. Yousef would use these to make his bombs.

Mohammed purported himself to be a Saudi or Qatari plywood exporter named "Abdul Majid." Yousef and Mohammed had already started planning Operation Bojinka.

According to Abdul Hakim Murad, Yousef got an idea for crashing a plane into the CIA from Murad while at the apartments. According to Murad, Yousef replied, "OK, we will think about it", before heading off with Mohammed to Puerto Galera for scuba diving.

Yousef's first operational test of his bomb was inside a mall in Cebu City. The bomb detonated several hours after he put it in a generator room. It caused minor damage, but it proved to Yousef that his bomb was workable.

On December 1, Shah placed a bomb under a seat in the Greenbelt Theatre in Manila to test what would happen if a bomb exploded under an airline seat. The bomb went off, injuring several patrons.

On December 11, 1994, Yousef built another bomb, which had one tenth of the power that his final bombs were planned to have, in the lavatory of an aircraft. He left it inside the life jacket under his seat (26 K) and got off the plane when it arrived in Cebu. Yousef had boarded the flight under the assumed name of Arnaldo Forlani, using a false Italian passport. The aircraft was Philippine Airlines Flight 434 on a Manila to Narita route, stopping partway at Cebu. Yousef had set the timer for four hours after he got off the aircraft.

The bomb exploded while the aircraft was over Japan's Minamidaitō Island, part of Okinawa Prefecture. A Japanese businessman named Haruki Ikegami occupying the seat was killed and an additional 10 passengers were injured. The flight was carrying 273 passengers in total. The blast blew a hole in the floor and the cabin's rapid expansion severed several control cables in the ceiling, cutting off control of the plane's right aileron, as well as both the pilot and first officer's steering controls. Usually, 26K, the seat that Yousef chose to plant the bomb, would be positioned directly over the centre fuel tank, and the detonation of the bomb would have caused a crippling explosion, but on this particular airframe, a former Scandinavian Airlines aircraft, the seat was two rows forward from normal. The flight crew kept control of the Boeing 747-200 and brought it into an emergency landing at Okinawa's Naha Airport. Satisfied with the deadly results of the attack, Yousef then planned which flights to attack for "Phase II" of the plot.

The first plan was to assassinate Pope John Paul II when he visited the Philippines during the World Youth Day 1995 celebrations. On January 15, 1995, a suicide bomber would dress up as a priest, while John Paul II passed in his motorcade on his way to the San Carlos Seminary in Makati City. The assassin planned to get close to the Pope, and detonate the bomb. The planned assassination of the Pope was intended to divert attention from the next phase of the operation. About 20 men had been trained by Yousef to carry out this act prior to January 1995.

The details of Phase I were found in the evidence discovered in the investigation into Room 603 in the Doña Josefa.

The next plan would have involved at least five terrorists, including Yousef, Shah, Murad and two more unknown operatives. Beginning on January 21, 1995, and ending on January 22, 1995, they would have placed bombs on 11 United States-bound airliners which had stopovers scattered throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. All of the flights had two legs. The bombs would be planted inside life jackets under seats on the first leg, and each bomber would then disembark. He would then board one or two more flights and repeat. After all of the bombers had planted bombs on all of the flights, each man would then catch flights to Lahore, Pakistan. The men never needed U.S. visas, as they only would have been on the planes for their first legs in Asia.

United States airlines had been chosen instead of Asian airlines so as to maximize the shock toward Americans. The flights targeted were listed under operatives with codenames: "Zyed", "Majbos", "Markoa", "Mirqas" and "Obaid". Obaid, who was really Abdul Hakim Murad, was to hit United Flight 80, and then he was to go back to Singapore on another United flight which he would bomb.

Zyed, probably Ramzi Yousef, was to target Northwest Flight 30, a United Flight going from Taipei to Honolulu, and a United Flight going from Bangkok to Taipei to San Francisco.

The explosions were to be timed by the operatives before they disembarked from the plane. The aircraft would have exploded over the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea almost simultaneously. If this plan worked, several thousand passengers would have perished, and air travel would likely have been shut down worldwide. The U.S. government estimated the prospective death toll to be about 4,000 if the plot had been executed. (For comparison, about 3,000 were killed during the September 11 attacks in the United States.)

If Phase II of the plot had been successful, it would have been, in terms of casualties, the most devastating terrorist attack in recent history.

The "Mark II" "microbombs" had Casio digital watches as the timers, stabilizers that looked like cotton wool balls, and an undetectable quantity of nitroglycerin as the explosive. Other ingredients included glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and minute concentrations of nitrobenzene, silver azide(silver trinitride), and liquid acetone. Two 9-volt batteries in each bomb were used as a power source. The batteries would be connected to light bulb filaments that would detonate the bomb. Murad and Yousef wired an SCR (silicon controlled rectifier) as the switch to trigger the filaments to detonate the bomb. There was an external socket hidden when the wires were pushed under the watch base as the bomber would wear it. The alteration was so small that the watch could still be worn in a normal manner.

Yousef got batteries past airport security during his December 11 test bombing of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 by hiding them in hollowed-out heels of his shoes. Yousef smuggled the nitroglycerin on board by putting it inside a small container, reputedly containing contact lens cleaning solution.

Abdul Hakim Murad's confession detailed Phase III in his interrogation by the Manila police after his capture.

Phase three would have involved Murad either renting, buying, or hijacking a small airplane, preferably a Cessna. The airplane would be filled with explosives. He would then crash it into the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in the Langley area in Fairfax County, Virginia. Murad had been trained as a pilot in North Carolina, and was slated to be a suicide pilot.

There were alternate plans to hijack a 12th commercial airliner and use that instead of the small aircraft, probably due to the Manila cell's growing frustration with explosives. Testing explosives in a house or apartment is dangerous, and it can easily give away a terrorist plot. Khalid Sheik Mohammed probably made the alternate plan.

A report from the Philippines to the United States on January 20, 1995 stated, "What the subject has in his mind is that he will board any American commercial aircraft pretending to be an ordinary passenger. Then he will hijack said aircraft, control its cockpit and dive it at the CIA headquarters."

Another plot that was considered would have involved the hijacking of more airplanes. The World Trade Center (New York City, New York), The Pentagon (Arlington, Virginia), the United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.), the White House (Washington, D.C.), the Sears Tower (Chicago, Illinois), and the U.S Bank Tower (Los Angeles, California), would have been the likely targets. In his confession to Filipino investigators, prior to the foiling of Operation Bojinka, Abdul Hakim Murad said that this part of the plot was dropped since the Manila cell could not recruit enough people to implement other hijackings. This plot would eventually be the base plot for the September 11 attacks which involved hijacking commercial airliners, as opposed to small aircraft loaded with explosives, and crashing them into their intended targets. However, only the World Trade Center (which was destroyed) and The Pentagon (which suffered partial damage) were hit.

The plot was abandoned after an apartment fire at the six-story Doña Josefa apartments occurred in Manila, Philippines, on the evening of Friday, January 6, 1995. The fire occurred before Pope John Paul II was scheduled to visit the Philippines on January 12.

According to the initial accounts of the Philippine authorities, Abdul Hakim Murad started a chemical fire in the kitchen sink in Room 603 in the 6th floor of the Doña Josefa apartment by pouring water on a substance. The fire was spotted at about 11 pm after residents complained about a strange odour. Edith Guerrera, the owner of the apartments, called the fire brigade, but the fire went out unassisted. Yousef and Murad had told the firefighters to stay away before they fled. Police Major Francisco F. Bautista and his men, including watch commander Aida D. Fariscal, decided to investigate the situation and saw four hot plates in their packing crates, what looked like cotton batting soaked in a beige solution, and loops of green, red, blue, and yellow electrical wiring. The telephone rang, and the police ran downstairs, thinking that it was a trap.Fa riscal had been suspicious of the men in Room 603 due to the recent wave of bombings (committed by Yousef) that hit Metro Manila and Philippine Airlines Flight 434. Seeking a search warrant, they left and asked 11 judges before finding one that would grant a warrant.

After police discovered the evidence, they arrested a man who called himself "Ahmed Saeed." "Saeed", who later proved to be Murad, claimed that he was a commercial pilot who was on his way to the precinct house to explain that what he claimed to be firecrackers had gone off. Murad initially tried to run away, but he was arrested after he tripped over a tree root. The arresting officer, having lost his handcuffs, improvised a solution by tying Murad's hands with the elastic cord taken from the officer's raincoat. Murad was hauled to the precinct in a taxi van with the help of two other people. He offered 110,740 Philippine pesos (US$2,000) to the policemen if they would agree to let him go, but the officers refused. At the precinct, Murad signed a statement saying that he was innocent and that he was a tourist visiting his friend in his chemical import/export business. He then mumbled about "two Satans that must be destroyed: the Pope and America."

55-year-old Fariscal was later depicted (although by a much younger actress) in the 2006 docudrama The Path to 9/11, in which US agencies in the script gave her much credit. An actress portrays her in the Mayday episode "Bomb on Board." The widow of a slain police officer, she had spent seventeen years as a homemaker before enrolling in the police department in 1977. She became well known in her home nation, which awarded her the equivalent of 33,222 pesos ($700) and a trip to Taiwan. The CIA awarded her a certificate reading "in recognition of your personal outstanding efforts and co-operation." Her decision to investigate the fire was key to disrupting the plot and forcing Yousef to flee.

When the officers returned to Suite 603 at 2:30 am on January 7, they found: street maps of Manila with routes plotting the papal motorcade, a rosary, a photograph of the pontiff, bibles, crucifixes, papal confessions, and priest clothing, including robes and collars. This collection of objects, and a phone message from a tailor reminding the occupant that "the cassock was ready to be tried on", along with the fact of the Pope's impending visit, was enough for Police Major Francisco F. Bautista to infer that an assassination plot had been interrupted. A search warrant was granted by 4 am on January 7.

The most conclusive piece of evidence found was a manual written in Arabic on how to build a liquid bomb.

Stacks of 12 false passports, including Norwegian, Afghan, Saudi, and Pakistani were also found in the apartment. Investigators found a business card from Mohammed Jamal Khalifa; Saeed apparently possessed five telephone numbers from Khalifa. Investigators also found phone numbers for Rose Masquera, Mohammed's girlfriend.

Yousef's project was discovered on four floppy disks and an off-white Toshiba laptop inside his apartment, two weeks before the plot would have been implemented. Several encrypted files on the hard drive contained flight schedules, calculations of detonation times, and other items. The first string of text in one of the files states, "All people who support the U.S. government are our targets in our future plans and that is because all those people are responsible for their government's actions and they support the U.S. foreign policy and are satisfied with it. We will hit all U.S. nuclear targets. If the U.S. government keeps supporting Israel, then we will continue to carry out operations inside and outside the United States to include..." and the text ends.

A file named "Bojinka" lists the 11 flights between Asia and the United States, which were grouped under five codenames. Strings were found, such as "SETTING: 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm TIMER: 23HR. BOJINKA: 20:30-21:30 NRT Date 5" (for United flight 80), and "SETTING: 8:30-9:00. TIMER: 10HR. BOJINKA: 19:30-20:00 NRT Date 4" (for Northwest Flight 30).[7]

The laptop had names of dozens of associates, including some photographs of a few of them and including contact information for Mohammed Jamal Khalifa. They contained records of information about five-star hotels, dealings with a London trading corporation, a meat market owner in Malaysia, and an Islamic center in Tucson, Arizona. Information about how money moved through an Abu Dhabi banking firm was found.

A communication signed "Khalid Shaikh + Bojinka" was also found on Yousef's computer that threatened to attack targets "in response to the financial, political and military assistance given to the Jewish state in the occupied land of Palestine by the United States Government." The letter also said that the bombers claimed to have "ability to make and use chemicals and poisonous gas... for use against vital institutions and populations and the sources of drinking water."

The letter also threatened to assassinate Fidel V. Ramos, the President of the Philippines at the time, as well as attack aircraft if the United States did not meet the group's demands. The letter said that the group claiming responsibility was the "Fifth Division of the Liberation Army".[7]

The evidence found at the Doña Josefa filled three police vans.

U.S. investigators did not find the connection with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to al-Qaeda until several years later.

The 9/11 attacks evolved from the original Bojinka plot

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed decided that explosives were too risky to use in his next plot, and chose instead to use airplanes. The plot was later revised and executed during the September 11 attacks. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was arrested in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in 2003.

Yousef filed a motion for a new trial in 2001. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard the case on May 3, 2002, and announced on April 3, 2003 the decision that Yousef and his partners were to remain incarcerated.

 

Jul 23, 2018

From John's website:

John O. Graybill has been an active aviator for more than fifty years. He holds a commercial pilot certificate (single- and multiengine rating), glider rating, is a certified flight instructor, is an instrument pilot, has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a master pilot, and has flown private airplanes all over the United States, Mexico, and Central America. He holds an MBA with studies in operations research and statistics. Mr. Graybill is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Road to Business Success and Personal Freedom.

John has owned numerous aircraft, both powered and gliders.

John's newest book, Private Airplane Passenger Safety, is now available at Amazon.

Jul 19, 2018

From the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge:

Density Altitude

SDP is a theoretical pressure altitude, but aircraft operate in a nonstandard atmosphere and the term density altitude is used for correlating aerodynamic performance in the nonstandard atmosphere. Density altitude is the vertical distance above sea level in the standard atmosphere at which a given density is to be found. The density of air has significant effects on the aircraft’s performance because as air becomes less dense, it reduces:

  • Power because the engine takes in less air
  • Thrust because a propeller is less efficient in thin air
  • Lift because the thin air exerts less force on the airfoils

Density altitude is pressure altitude corrected for nonstandard temperature. As the density of the air increases (lower density altitude), aircraft performance increases; conversely as air density decreases (higher density altitude), aircraft performance decreases. A decrease in air density means a high density altitude; an increase in air density means a lower density altitude. Density altitude is used in calculating aircraft performance because under standard atmospheric conditions, air at each level in the atmosphere not only has a specific density, its pressure altitude and density altitude identify the same level.

The computation of density altitude involves consideration of pressure (pressure altitude) and temperature. Since aircraft performance data at any level is based upon air density under standard day conditions, such performance data apply to air density levels that may not be identical with altimeter indications. Under conditions higher or lower than standard, these levels cannot be determined directly from the altimeter.

Density altitude is determined by first finding pressure altitude, and then correcting this altitude for nonstandard temperature variations. Since density varies directly with pressure and inversely with temperature, a given pressure altitude may exist for a wide range of temperatures by allowing the density to vary. However, a known density occurs for any one temperature and pressure altitude. The density of the air has a pronounced effect on aircraft and engine performance. Regardless of the actual altitude of the aircraft, it will perform as though it were operating at an altitude equal to the existing density altitude.

Air density is affected by changes in altitude, temperature, and humidity. High density altitude refers to thin air, while low density altitude refers to dense air. The conditions that result in a high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressures, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors. Lower elevations, high atmospheric pressure, low temperatures, and low humidity are more indicative of low density altitude.

Effect of Pressure on Density

Since air is a gas, it can be compressed or expanded. When air is compressed, a greater amount of air can occupy a given volume. Conversely, when pressure on a given volume of air is decreased, the air expands and occupies a greater space. At a lower pressure, the original column of air contains a smaller mass of air. The density is decreased because density is directly proportional to pressure. If the pressure is doubled, the density is doubled; if the pressure is lowered, the density is lowered. This statement is true only at a constant temperature.

Effect of Temperature on Density

Increasing the temperature of a substance decreases its density. Conversely, decreasing the temperature increases the density. Thus, the density of air varies inversely with temperature. This statement is true only at a constant pressure.

In the atmosphere, both temperature and pressure decrease with altitude and have conflicting effects upon density. However, a fairly rapid drop in pressure as altitude increases usually has a dominating effect. Hence, pilots can expect the density to decrease with altitude.

Effect of Humidity (Moisture) on Density

The preceding paragraphs refer to air that is perfectly dry. In reality, it is never completely dry. The small amount of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere may be almost negligible under certain conditions, but in other conditions humidity may become an important factor in the performance of an aircraft. Water vapor is lighter than air; consequently, moist air is lighter than dry air. Therefore, as the water content of the air increases, the air becomes less dense, increasing density altitude and decreasing performance. It is lightest or least dense when, in a given set of conditions, it contains the maximum amount of water vapor.

Humidity, also called relative humidity, refers to the amount of water vapor contained in the atmosphere and is expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold. This amount varies with temperature. Warm air holds more water vapor, while cold air holds less. Perfectly dry air that contains no water vapor has a relative humidity of zero percent, while saturated air, which cannot hold any more water vapor, has a relative humidity of 100 percent. Humidity alone is usually not considered an important factor in calculating density altitude and aircraft performance, but it is a contributing factor.

As temperature increases, the air can hold greater amounts of water vapor. When comparing two separate air masses, the first warm and moist (both qualities tending to lighten the air) and the second cold and dry (both qualities making it heavier), the first must be less dense than the second. Pressure, temperature, and humidity have a great influence on aircraft performance because of their effect upon density. There are no rules of thumb that can be easily applied, but the affect of humidity can be determined using several online formulas. In the first example, the pressure is needed at the altitude for which density altitude is being sought. Using Figure 4-2, select the barometric pressure closest to the associated altitude. As an example, the pressure at 8,000 feet is 22.22 "Hg. Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website (www.srh.noaa.gov/ epz/?n=wxcalc_densityaltitude) for density altitude, enter the 22.22 for 8,000 feet in the station pressure window. Enter a temperature of 80° and a dew point of 75°. The result is a density altitude of 11,564 feet. With no humidity, the density altitude would be almost 500 feet lower.

 

Jul 16, 2018

Official Air Force Biography:

Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria is the Superintendent, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. He directs a four-year regimen of military training, academics, athletic and character development programs leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant.

Prior to assuming his current position, General Silveria served as the Deputy Commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and Deputy Commander, Combined Air Force Air Component, U.S. Central Command, Southwest Asia. As Deputy Commander, he was responsible for the command and control of air operations in a 20-nation area of responsibility covering Central and Southwest Asia, to include operations Resolute Support in Afghanistan, and Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria. He has previously served as Commander, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and Vice Commander, 14th Air Force, Air Forces Strategic at Vandenberg AFB, California, as well as Director, Security Assistance in the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq.

General Silveria grew up in an Air Force family and is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He completed undergraduate pilot training in 1986. He is a command pilot with more than 3,900 hours in the T-37, T-38, F-15C/E, HH-60 and F-35A aircraft. He has flown combat sorties over the Balkans and Iraq and served as Vice Commander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

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.

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