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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: Page 10
Feb 1, 2018

The five original elements of Crew Resource Management (CRM) are:

  • Inquiry
  • Advocacy
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Decision Making
  • Critique

Most pilots have become proficient in the first four elements, but frequently the Critique element is ignored. A properly conducted Critique allows you to evaluate how the flight went and to learn from successes and failures of the flight's activities.

Basically, when conducting the Critique, you consider what went right and what went wrong, and what you would do differently if given the opportunity to conduct the flight again. It is comparable to the post-flight Debrief process conducted by military pilots.

Jan 29, 2018

Major General Donald W. Shepperd, USAF (Ret.) is president of The Shepperd Group, Inc. He performs independent consulting on defense, strategic planning, executive leadership, information technology and visioning and preparation of executive teams for the 21st century. He was a fighter pilot who flew 247 combat fighter missions in Vietnam. He retired in 1998 from the Pentagon where he served as head of the Air National Guard. He commanded over 110,000 Air National Guard personnel, 1400 aircraft, 88 flying units, and 250 support units spread throughout the 54 states and territories. General Shepperd was a military analyst for CNN.

He is also a writer and provides military commentary for radio in Arizona, Colorado, and the east coast.  He serves on several boards and was an ad hoc member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

He lives with his wife in Tucson, Arizona. His latest book, Bury Us Upside Down, published by Random House, is available in bookstores and on-line.

Jan 25, 2018

November 28, 2013
0312 Greenwich Mean Time West 87 Degrees
Altitude 4000 Feet

3

As we continued westward, we maintained radio contact with other aircraft on 123.45. It appeared that the entire electrical grid for the United States was wiped out. No one had any idea what caused it or how long it would take for the system to be restored. It seemed pretty clear to us that once we were on the ground, it would be quite a while before we would be able to travel anywhere.

This was a major concern for Jim and me. While Mark lived locally, in Schaumburg, Jim and I were both commuters, from Denver. Initially, we discussed perhaps renting a car and driving from Chicago to Denver, then reality set in. Without electricity, it would be impossible to rent a car or conduct virtually any other type of financial transaction, since pretty much everything is done with computers and internet connections.

And, even if we could get our hands on a car, we wouldn’t be able to reach Denver on a single tank of gas. The previous year’s aftermath of Hurricane Sandy demonstrated how fragile the fuel infrastructure is. Without electrical power, there was no way we would be able to refuel enroute from Chicago to Denver. So driving home was out of the question.

Mark listened to us discussing our predicament, and finally chimed in.

“Hey, guys, you can stay at my house.”

I wanted to at least make an effort to object, but it would have been totally transparent. He offered his help, and we needed it badly. We accepted his offer. I momentarily felt sorry for his wife and kids. They were expecting Mark to be coming home to their own rescue, and here he would be dragging complete strangers with him. And, with all communications out, there wouldn’t even be any way for him to give them a heads up.

We allowed our FMC to guide us to O’Hare, and set up for a visual approach to Runway 32 Left. I configured the aircraft a bit early, so that we could see if all of the onboard equipment was operating normally. Everything worked pretty much as advertised except for the autobrakes.

The Autobrake System was designed to automatically apply the brakes to slow the airplane at a predetermined, pilot-selectable deceleration level upon landing. It wouldn’t be a problem to use manual brakes and get the airplane stopped on the runway. What concerned me more was the potential for the Anti-skid System to also malfunction, so I would need to be extra careful with manual braking, since I would be the human-powered antiskid. Still, not a problem.

I easily picked out the landmarks along the shoreline of Lake Michigan and set myself up on a long straight-in final approach to Runway 32 Left, using the TCAS to give myself five miles spacing on the aircraft ahead of me. When I was on a three-mile final, I gave a quick call on 123.45, then on 121.5.

“WorldJet Airways 407 on three-mile final to three-two left.”

On short final, I looked over toward the control tower to see if they would flash a green light at me, the backup system to provide landing authorization. Nothing. There was no way to know if there was even anyone in the tower. I wouldn’t have blamed them if they had abandoned the tower hours ago, since there was nothing they could accomplish without any form of communications capability.

After we landed, I cleared the runway and shut down the left engine. My weight was light enough that a one-engine taxi would be no problem, and I wanted to save as much fuel as I could, to operate the APU if necessary. The Auxiliary Power Unit would provide electrical power and air for heating and cooling, if we needed to be self-sufficient for a while, such as remote parking.

We proceeded along the outer taxiway in a counter-clockwise direction to the International Terminal, the only terminal authorized for flights originating out of the United States. I knew from previous experience, inner taxiway goes clockwise, outer taxiway goes counter-clockwise. I just hoped the other airplanes on the ground knew it also.

And there were a lot of airplanes. They were everywhere. From what I could see at the concourses of the main terminal, every parking spot was occupied, probably by aircraft that were on the gate when the power failed.

Frequency 123.45 became the de-facto CB radio, with everyone chiming in on their location and intentions. I could see that there were some open gates at the International Terminal, but the automatic Accu-Park parking system would, obviously, be inoperative.

I picked an empty gate, turned in along the lead-in line painted on the tarmac, and slowly approached the gate. As I got closer, I reached up to the overhead panel and started the APU. Just as I was about to slow to a stop, I saw a mechanic running toward our parking spot, with directional wands in his hands. As he got to our gate, he started marshaling me to the parking spot. When he gave me the “stop” signal, I set the brakes, confirmed that the APU was running, and shut down the right engine. The mechanic plugged his headset into the communication jack in the nose wheel well.

“Welcome to Chicago, Captain. We’ve had an exciting day!”
“So have we. Can you fill me in on what’s going on?” I asked.
“About five hours ago, a huge sun spot storm knocked out all power, pretty much all

over the world, as far as we can tell. Internet, phone lines, everything is out. All of our electronics are fried. The only radios that work are the hand-held transceivers that were in the garage and the baggage sorting area. Not very many. Let me ask you something, Captain. How much fuel do you have?”

“Twenty-two thousand pounds. Why?”

“We’re trying to get an idea how much fuel we have if we need to rob one airplane to fuel another. I’m going to be off headset for a little while to try to get some boarding stairs hooked up to door six left.”

“Why can’t we hook up the loading bridge?”

“The terminal backup power is out, and the loading bridge needs power to position it up to the airplane. Also, even if we had the bridge up to the airplane, we couldn’t use it without power, because the auto-leveler wouldn’t work.”

Of course – the auto-leveler. As people enter or leave an airplane, the weight of the airplane changes, and the auto-leveler adjusts the height of the loading bridge so that it remains at the height of the bottom of the aircraft door. When you offload over two hundred people, the aircraft can raise as much as three feet.

So we waited for portable stairs. At least we had the APU, so we could have electrical power for lighting and services, such as toilet operation. And heating. The sun was starting to go down, and the temperature was dropping quickly. After about an hour, portable stairs were positioned at door four left, and everyone slowly deplaned. It took about forty minutes for everyone to deplane, with all of their carry-on luggage. When everyone was off, I shut down the APU, turned off the Battery Switch, and headed to the back of the airplane, where the stairs were located. The Captain is always the last to leave. No telling when I’d be flying this baby again.

By now it was dark inside the airplane, and I reached into my flight bag, pulled out my new LED flashlight, and pressed the switch. Nothing. I cycled the switch a few more times, with the same results. About this time, the mechanic had entered the plane to make sure everyone had gotten off okay. His flashlight was working fine.

“Is that an LED light, Captain?”
“Yes, but it’s not working.”
“The radiation has wiped out pretty much all the LEDs. If you have HID headlights in

your car, they won’t work, either. As far as I can tell, most of the cars are operating okay, though.”

“Thanks for your help. We have a good ship. The only squawk we have is the autobrakes aren’t working. Other than that, clean bird.”

“Good to hear, Captain. Have a safe trip home.”

A safe trip home. With no way to communicate to the airline planning department, no way to flight plan without weather information, no way for the airline to even know where its planes or pilots were located, no way to communicate to the flight crews or passengers, and a winter storm approaching, a safe trip home would be nice. Really nice.

But it wouldn’t be happening very soon.

Jan 22, 2018

In Ready For Takeoff episode 83 we met Ryan Rankin, a Navy Instructor Pilot who had the goal of flying in 52 different aircraft over the course of one year - one per week. In this episode we catch up with Ryan, to see if he reached his goal and to find out about the exciting and unusual aircraft - airplanes, rotorcraft, and seaplanes - he flew.

Ryan describes how he traveled as far away as Poland in his quest, and he describes some really interesting and exciting rides.

Ryan documented his journey in his website, with photos and videos.

You're going to find his journey fascinating!

Jan 18, 2018

November 28, 2013
2346 Greenwich Mean Time West 60 Degrees
Flight Level 310

2

It was time to give ATC a call on Guard frequency. We were still over the ocean, but, I estimated, we would be in range of one of the radio facilities on the east coast.

For the previous three hours we had maintained a listening watch on VHF 123.45, and had passed along our information, sparse as it was, to aircraft following us. If this had been a domestic flight, we would have come into contact with aircraft that were headed east, but the NAT tracks only operate in one direction. Flights on the tracks go east at night, usually to arrive in Europe around the time the airport control towers accept arrivals, typically 0600 local time, like Heathrow. Westbound flights operate in the daytime.

From what I could determine, all of the airplanes I had made contact with had exactly the same indications we had, in terms of inoperative equipment. Fortunately, our TCAS was working, since it was dependent only on the operability of onboard equipment. That meant we would be able to visualize nearby aircraft on our TCAS display, and we would all be able to maneuver to avoid midair collisions with other TCAS-equipped aircraft. At these high altitudes, all aircraft were required to have TCAS. It might be a different story altogether when we got lower, as we approached to land,

since light planes didn’t usually have that equipment. But I suspected there wouldn’t be any light planes flying by the time we got to Chicago.

We had a fairly lengthy discussion about exactly where we should land. Given that the meteorological conditions were virtually the same everywhere, arrival weather would likely not be a factor. There was the real potential that, wherever we went, we might not get a gate at the terminal. That would mean remote parking.

The problem with remote parking was that we might not be able to get off the airplane. The 777 sits so high that it takes a special loading bridge or portable stairs to reach up to the aircraft door sill. If we were to divert to an airport that didn’t routinely accept 777s, we could have a problem with our passengers trapped onboard.

That’s what happened when I was flying a trip on September 11, 2001. Like today, weather was crisp and clear all over the United States. When the national aviation emergency was declared, every aircraft was told to land immediately at the nearest airport.

At the time, I had only been a 777 Captain for two years. Two years may sound like a long time, but the 777 is a highly sophisticated airplane, and it takes quite a bit of time for a pilot to fill his bag of tricks on a new airplane. I was flying a domestic trip, from Washington Dulles Airport to Denver International Airport. We were over Kansas when the national emergency was declared. It seemed like a no-brainer to me to continue to Denver, but when the controllers said land immediately, they meant immediately. The closest small blue circle on my cockpit moving map display, denoting a suitable airport, was labeled “KFOE”. From my Boeing 727 days, when I had flown nothing but domestic

trips all over the country, I had remembered that FOE was the VOR identifier for Topeka.

With some great help from my copilot, I had scrambled to program Topeka into our FMC to enable the pressurization system to schedule properly, located the paper approach charts for Topeka that I carried in my “brain bag”, the catalog case that carried all of my documents, and set up for an immediate landing. As I extended the speed brakes and executed an emergency descent, my copilot had made a quick Passenger Address announcement advising everyone on the aircraft that we were making an emergency landing at Topeka.

When we landed at Topeka, the Ground controller advised us that the loading bridges could not accept any aircraft larger than a 727, so we would have to deplane remotely. Then they told us that the only portable stairs they had would be three feet short of our door sill. I still remembered, now eleven years later, how I had stood on the top step of the portable stairs and helped the passengers deplane, one by one. We had three wheelchair passengers that day. It was grim.

I wasn’t going to let that happen again today, if I could help it. The passengers already were aware that something was wrong. About a half hour after the glitch happened, the purser came up to the cockpit.

“Captain, is there something going on that I need to know about? One of our passengers noticed that our airplane symbol isn’t moving on the Airshow moving map display on the passenger video screens. He did a pretty good impression of Scotty from

Star Trek when he said, ‘They have us in a tractor beam.’ Anything wrong besides the Airshow?”

“We’re not sure, Bill. We’ve lost contact with our GPS satellites, and with all ground- based communications facilities. We’re hearing from other airplanes that the power grid is out all across the United States. Right now, we’re planning on continuing on to O’Hare, but that’s subject to change. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I hear anything new. I’ll make a PA announcement to let the folks know what little I know.”

“Thanks, Ham.”

Bill was one of the few Flight Attendants that could get away with calling me by my nickname. We had flown trips together for years, and I had gone to dinner with the cabin crew on numerous layovers. I usually treated the crew. Bill ran a tight ship in the back, and his crew always did an outstanding job of taking care of the passengers.

Several years ago, I had been dead-heading in the cabin on a domestic 737 flight where Bill was the purser when a passenger, an overweight lady in her sixties, had a heart attack. At the time, not all WorldJet Airways planes had Automatic External Defibrillators onboard, and the 737 fleet was the last fleet scheduled to get outfitted with AEDs. We didn’t have any on board. Worse yet, there were no medical personnel among the passengers, and the two other Flight Attendants were new-hires and had not yet gotten CPR qualified. Since I had been trained on Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation as part of my side business as a fitness trainer, I volunteered to help out. Bill and I administered CPR as a team for over 40 minutes while the Captain made an emergency divert to Spokane. By the time the medics got aboard, we were exhausted. But we saved

the lady’s life, and after the passengers deplaned, we were overcome with emotion. I guess when you’ve cried with someone, he can call you by your nickname.

I picked up the PA handset.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Hancock. You may have noticed the moving map display on your video screens is not working properly. That’s because the Global Positioning System signals are not tuning properly. Apparently, there’s also a problem with the domestic power grid, so we may experience some difficulties with the loading bridge after we arrive at Chicago. We don’t know a whole lot more right now, but I’ll keep you posted as we receive additional information.”

That should do it. Keep it short and sweet. For the life of me, I wanted to start out by saying “We have good news and bad news”, but years ago the company had said that was a big no-no. A career-ending no-no. So I kept it short and sweet.

Now it was time to see if Guard frequency was alive. We tuned the left VHF transmitter to 121.5 megahertz, and made a transmission in the blind.

“This is WorldJet Airways 407 on Guard in the blind. Are there any Air Traffic Control facilities reading my transmission?”

No response. I tried several more times, with the same results. It looked like we would be on our own.

Shortly after we passed over the east coast, our Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System, called EICAS, displayed the warning, “Unable RNP”. That meant that the FMC was not able to maintain the Required Navigation Performance. In short, the navigation information from the FMC might not be very accurate.

Fortunately, I could see the ground. As our flight progressed, I was able to identify several airports on the ground that corresponded with the blue airport symbols on my cockpit moving map display, so I knew I was reasonably close to on course. Onward.

Jim, Mark and I had a fairly extensive discussion about where we should land, and I made the decision to proceed on to O’Hare. Landing there would be as safe as landing anywhere else, we had plenty of fuel, and O’Hare was where the passengers, and the airplane, needed to be.

 

 

 

Jan 15, 2018

From Lyle Prouse's website:

This is the story of the first airline pilot ever arrested and sent to prison for flying under the influence. He was fired by his airline, stripped of his FAA licenses, tried, convicted, and sent to Federal prison. This was a first. It had never occurred before.

Lyle Prouse came from a WWII housing project in Kansas and an alcoholic family where both parents died as a result of alcoholism. He rose through the ranks of the United States Marine Corps from private to captain, from an infantryman to a fighter pilot. He made his way to the pinnacle of commercial aviation, airline captain...then lost it all.

Today he is a recovering alcoholic with nearly twenty-two years sobriety. This story describes his rise from the ashes of complete destruction from which he was never to fly again. It is full of miracles which defy all manner of odds.

In a long and arduous journey, he eventually regained his FAA licenses. He never fought his termination; he considered it fair and appropriate.

Miraculously, after nearly four years, the President/CEO of his airline personally reinstated him to full flight despite the adverse publicity and embarrassment.

In effect, the President/CEO gambled his own career by taking such a risk on a convicted felon and publicly acknowledged alcoholic pilot.

In another stunning event, the judge who tried, sentenced, and sent him to prison watched his journey and reappeared eight years after the trial. He became the driving force behind a Presidential pardon although he'd never supported a petition for pardon in all his years on the bench.

Lyle retired honorably as a 747 captain for the airline he'd so horribly embarrassed and disgraced. He lives with his wife of nearly forty-nine years and has five grandchildren.

He continues to work with all the major airlines in their alcohol programs. He is also active in his Native American community, and he provides hope to those struggling with the disease of alcoholism, no matter who they are or where they are.

Lyle has documented his fall, and his redemption, in his fascinating memoir, Final Approach.

 

 

Jan 10, 2018

November 28, 2013
2013 Greenwich Mean Time West 30 Degrees
Flight Level 310

1

I had just drifted off to sleep, with the rhythmic undulations of the aircraft gently rocking me to sleep, when there was a loud knock on the bunk door. Calling the claustrophobic space a bunk was a stretch, but at least it provided the opportunity to get a power nap while my two copilots manned the cockpit. I opened the door and swung my legs to the aisle floor, being careful not to completely sit up so I wouldn’t hit my head on the bottom of the upper bunk.

I blinked against the light in the narrow hallway between the passenger cabin and the cockpit as I let my eyes adjust. Bill Burton, our Purser, was standing in the hallway.

“Captain Hancock, the crew called me to wake you. You’re needed in the cockpit immediately.”

“Thanks, Bill. Could you please send up a coffee, black with Splenda?”
“Right away, sir.”
My mind raced to clear the cobwebs as I tried to envision what the problem was. I

could fully appreciate what the Captain of Air France 447 must have experienced, as he was awakened from his crew rest and rushed to the cockpit as his airplane was falling out of the sky. Two minutes later, he was dead, along with everyone else on his plane.

But this was different. Unlike Air France 447, we were operating in daylight hours. At night, every emergency is at least twice as difficult to handle. More important, we were in a Boeing 777, not the Airbus 340 that Air France 447 flew. Every time I thought of 447, I muttered to myself, “If it ain’t Boeing, I ain’t going”.

I entered the cockpit access code into the keypad on the door lock and waited for the crew to unlock the fortified door. Mary, the First Class Flight Attendant, had arrived behind me with a Styrofoam cup of coffee. I took a quick sip, and the fog instantly started to clear from my mind. Obviously, my degree of sleepiness or wakefulness was totally psychological.

Jim Johnson, the copilot assigned to the left seat, peered through the viewport and opened the door. I swiftly entered.

“What’s up, guys?”

“Sir, we’re having a lot of different problems,” said Mark Mason, my other copilot. “They all happened at the same time, about ten minutes ago. And they all seem unrelated.”

“Okay,” I replied, “let’s go over them one by one. What’s the most serious?”
“ Well,” Jim answered, “we lost our GPS positioning. Both of them.”
That was unusual. Really unusual. The 777 has enough redundancy in its systems

that if one component fails, another will pick up the slack. I’d been flying the 777 for over ten years, and never had a Global Position System fail. The odds against both failing were astronomical.

But it wasn’t that big a deal, really. The Flight Management Computers on the airplane would simply compute our present position, groundspeed and wind vector from the Inertial Reference Units. The IRUs were much more accurate than the Inertial Navigation Systems like we had in the older airplanes. An INS will get you position accuracy within a few miles after a 10-hour flight like ours, while an IRU will get you within a hundred feet. And once we were over land, instead of the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where we presently were, the FMC would use land-based navigation transmitters, VORs, to update our position.

My copilots were too young to remember when we didn’t have “glass” cockpits, with moving-map displays and GPS positioning. During our layover in London, when we’d been doing some “hangar flying” at the hotel bar, they’d confided to me that they’d never flown anything but glass. Even their basic flight training airplanes had glass instruments. Using old-fashion round dials, like I’d been flying with for most of my forty-year career, would be an emergency procedure for them.

“Okay,” I responded, “not that big a problem. What else?”

“ At 30 west we couldn’t get CPDLC to work, and we’ve been unable to raise Gander on either HF or VHF.”

“Did you try the left, right and center radios for both VHF and HF?” I asked. “Yes,sir,” Jim responded,. “tried them all. Nothing.”
That could be a problem, but not a show-stopper. The Controller-Pilot Data Link

Communications System was the airborne equivalent of sending emails back and forth between aircraft and Air Traffic Control. CPDLC made it much easier to talk to ATC

than trying to make contact on the radio through static and interference from other aircraft transmissions. Our fallback communications method would be what we used back in the old days – voice transmissions on the radio, using either HF or VHF. It was really unusual for both radio systems, with their triple redundancy, to be inoperative.

Fortunately, the weather was severe clear. I looked ahead and could see an Air Canada 767 a thousand feet below us, slightly ahead, our speeds perfectly matched. Well ahead I could see contrails, those white trails that form when an aircraft disturbs the air and causes ice crystals to form, that indicated where we would be flying next. All aircraft on North Atlantic routes, called NAT Tracks, flew on assigned flight paths at specifically-assigned speeds. There were additional tracks every thirty miles north and south of our route.

I could see the other aircraft on our Traffic Collision and Avoidance System, called TCAS, and everyone seemed to be on course with no problems.

“Have you tried 12345?” I asked.

“Not yet,” Jim answered, “We thought we’d get your input before we went outside our airplane.”

That was a good call. It could have been something as simple as a couple of popped circuit breakers, and there was no reason to tell the world yet. I instinctively glanced at the overhead circuit breaker panel. None were tripped. I moved my transmitter selector to the right VHF radio, which was tuned to the oceanic inter-plane frequency of 123.45 megahertz.

“This is WorldJet Airways 407 on 12345. Is anybody up on frequency?”

“Hello, WorldJet Airways, this is Air Canada 332, a bit past 30 west. We’re having problems contacting Gander on any of their frequencies, and we’ve lost our GPS. And our SATCOM isn’t working also. Are you having the same problems?”

“That’s affirmative,” I answered, “We have no comm with our company on ACARS also.”

The Arinc Communication and Reporting System was an automatic data link with our company headquarters. Theoretically, we could maintain communications with our company anywhere in the world with either ACARS or the Satellite Communications system. When Air Canada mentioned SATCOM, Mark pointed at the Satellite Communications control panel and gave me a thumbs down signal.

“Same here.”

“WorldJet Airways and Air Canada, this is Delta 883. We’re about sixty miles ahead of you. Did you hear US Air’s transmission?”

“Delta, this is WorldJet Airways 407. Negative. Would you relay for us?”

“Roger, WorldJet Airways. US Air said that the word is being passed along that there’s been an EMP attack. No one is in contact with ATC, and we’re all pretty much on our own.”

An Electro Magnetic Pulse attack, the detonation of a nuclear weapon at high altitude over the United Airways States, could wipe out the entire power grid of the country in the blink of an eye. There’d been stories about the Iranians planning something like that, and the subject had been in the news recently when Boeing had announced that they had developed a drone that could do the same thing to an enemy

on a more local scale. But something about the EMP attack story didn’t sound quite right.

“Wait a minute, guys,” I transmitted, “an EMP attack wouldn’t knock out our GPS satellites. I think it might be something else, like sun spot activity.”

“This is Delta 883. You’re right, WorldJet Airways. I’ll pass this up ahead and see if anyone has any more information.”

I heard Delta relay my message, then I heard an intermittent, scratchy retransmission from an airplane ahead of him. Maybe one of the planes ahead of us would get more information. We had our own airplane to worry about.

“Jim, do you have the WBM?”
“Here you go, boss.”
I looked at all five pages of the Weather Briefing Message. It was like I always said:
I’d rather be lucky than good. Severe clear weather over the entire eastern half of the United States, from Colorado east, for the next two days. A winter storm was predicted in a couple of days, but right now it was smooth sailing. This was great news. If the power grid was out, there was no telling if the backup systems at all the airports would be operational. We may have navigation signals, we may not. At least it was daytime, and the weather was good. We’d be able to make a visual approach to wherever we were going to land.

Chicago O’Hare Airport, our destination, was always hectic, even when communications were working. Even on a good day when everything was going smoothly, the ATC controllers usually sounded more like tobacco auctioneers than tower operators. If there was any snag in communications, it was going to get pretty hairy.

I looked at the O’Hare forecast. The wind was going to be from the west. At an airport that’s not very busy, that would most likely mean landing to the west. At O’Hare, unless the wind was greater than 10 knots, takeoff and landing directions were not so set in stone. My guess was that we’d be using Runway 32 Left, 32 Right, 27 Left or 27 Right. Depended on which runway they were using for takeoffs.

But wait. If communications were out, there wouldn’t be any takeoffs. Only landings. That meant our potential conflicts had just been cut in half. Things were starting to look up. I turned to Jim and Mark.

“Okay, guys, I think there’s been some kind of event that’s taken out most of the radios and the power grid. Is anything else on the airplane inop?”

“The only other thing I noticed is the EFBs aren’t working,” Jim said. “I think they quit around the same time as the GPS.”

I looked down at my Electronic Flight Bag. The screen was black, unpowered. Unlike when we carried 40 or 50 pounds of paper charts and maps in our “brain bags”, the leather catalog cases pilots had carried since the beginning of commercial aviation, all of our flight documents were now in our EFBs, with backup copies in the iPads we’d recently been authorized to use in the cockpit.

I looked on the overhead circuit breaker panel and found the EFB-L and EFB-R circuit breakers and pulled them out. One potato, two potato, three potato. I pushed them back in. It would take a few minutes to see if recycling the breakers would get the Left and Right EFBs back in operation.

“Jim,” I said, “check your iPad. We may need to use the charts in there.”

“Bad news, Ham,” he answered. “I tried cranking it up a few minutes ago, and all I got was a black screen with the Apple logo. I tried both of the others, too, and none of them are working.”

“Hamilton,” Mark said, “why would some of our equipment work and some not?”

“Most of our electronics,” I answered, “are in the lower electronics bay. That area is well shielded, and the airplane itself acts pretty much like a Faraday cage. The electronics in the cockpit, like the iPads, aren’t so well protected because of all of the windows. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that there was some form of event, like a sun spot, that caused a glitch. When we get closer to land, within radio range of the States, we’ll try Guard frequency. I suspect that Guard transmitters have some sort of power backup, and they’re probably well shielded. We’ll just have to wait.”

Mark and Jim silently nodded. After about three minutes, the EFBs came back to life. At least we’d have our charts. It was going to be at least three more hours before we were within range of any American or Canadian radio stations.

It was going to be a long three hours.

 

Jan 6, 2018

MAJOR GENERAL (RET) PAT BRADY served over thirty-four years in the Army in duty stations across the world: In Berlin during the building of the Wall; as commander of the DMZ in Korea, in the Dominican Republic; in the Pentagon as chief spokesman for the Army and for two years in Viet Nam. In two tours in Viet Nam he rescued over five thousand wounded and flew over twenty-five hundred combat missions. He is identified in the Encyclopedia of the Viet Nam War as the top helicopter pilot in that war and is one of two Viet Nam soldiers to earn both the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation's second highest award. Some pundits also identify him as the most decorated living veteran. His awards include: Two Distinguished Service Medals; the Defense Superior Service Medal; the Legion of Merit; six Distinguished Flying Crosses; two Bronze Stars, one for valor; the Purple Heart and fifty-three Medals, one for valor. He is a member of both the Army Aviation and Dust Off Halls of Fame. Brady is a former president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and a past Commissioner of the Battle Monuments Commission during the construction of the WWII memorial. General Brady has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Seattle University and an MBA from Notre Dame University.

Jan 2, 2018

Every time you fly a visual or instrument approach you will be flying a nominal-3 degree flight path. This podcast covers several techniques to fly a 3-degree final approach, whether you have glide slope guidance, such as an ILS, or simply referring to visual cues.Since the glideslope on most ILS installations and the desired visual glide path is 3 degrees, we will look at ways to easily fly a 3-degree glide path.

A 3-degree glide path is equal to an altitude loss of 300 feet per mile. Considering that a nominal threshold crossing height (TCH) is 50 feet, the proper glide path would be an altitude of 350 feet above ground level (AGL) at a distance of one mile from the runway, 650 feet AGL at 2 miles, and 1000 feet AGL at 3 miles (I'm a pilot, so I try to simplify things!). If you know your distance from the runway and the elevation of the airport, it's fairly easy to keep yourself on the right path. You can determine your distance from the runway using GPS, VOR/DME or visual references.

The vertical speed (VSI) (in feet per minute - FPM) to arrive at a 3-degree flight path is one-half your groundspeed in knots times 10. For example, if your groundspeed is 100 knots, your VSI for a 3-degree flight path would be 500 FPM. It's important to note that this is GROUNDSPEED, not airspeed.

You can determine your groundspeed from your GPS (if you have one) or by calculating your true airspeed (TAS) and subtracting your headwind. To calculate your TAS, you can estimate it by increasing your indicated (or calibrated) airspeed by 2 percent for every 1000 feet of altitude. So if your IAS is 100 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and you are at 5000 feet MSL, your TAS would be 110 KIAS. You can estimate your headwind by taking the headwind component at the runway and increasing it by about 20 percent. In this example for a 100 KIAS approach flown at 5000 feet MSL with a 20 knot headwind, you have a groundspeed of 90 knots, and would descent at 450 FPM.

If you do not have an ILS receiver and are approaching a runway served by an ILS, you can fly toward the runway in level flight, configured and at final approach airspeed, until reaching the outer marker (OM), then simply lower the nose 3 degrees.

 

Dec 29, 2017

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

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

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

Dec 25, 2017

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

Dec 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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


Mr. Yellin in 2015. (Lightfinder Public Relations)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 21, 2017

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

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

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

Dec 18, 2017

From Brian Schiff's website:

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 15, 2017

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

The mnemonic is:

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

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

Dec 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

Dec 7, 2017

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

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

Dark Adaptation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Fairfield retired from active duty in 1997.

Dec 1, 2017

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

Nov 27, 2017

After Otis Hooper graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, he attended Undergraduate Pilot Training in Columbus, MS, and then flew the KC-135 aircraft at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas. He had just returned from his first deployment (of eight total) when the September 11th attacks occurred, and was assigned to fly refueling missions over New York City for the fighter aircraft protecting the city.

After leaving the active duty Air Force, he flew VIP airlift support missions in the C-40 Boeing Business Jet with the Washington, D.C. Air Guard. It was at this time that Otis started his fitness transformation. During an 18-month period, he dropped 50 pounds of fat, gained 25 pounds of muscle, and competed in the Mr. Olympia contest. He continues his bodybuilding activities, and has now become a professional.

But that's just the beginning of his non-flying activities. He trained for and completed an Ironman triathlon, and then competed on the American Ninja Warrior program. He is also a motivational speaker with the Afterburner Team, and has just started a career as a movie actor, appearing in Rampage with Dwayne Johnson.

Nov 24, 2017

- Pilots should avoid flight within areas of reported ongoing unauthorized laser activity to the extent practicable.

- In the event a cautionary broadcast (by ATC or another pilot) regarding unauthorized laser illumination is made within the previous 20 minutes for a particular area, pilots should avoid the area, if practicable.

- In the event laser activity is encountered or reported in the vicinity of flight, pilots operating in accordance with instrument flight rules (IFR) should obtain ATC authorization prior to deviating from their assigned clearance.

- In the event aircrews are unexpectedly exposed to laser illumination, direct eye contact with the beam should be avoided, and eyes should be shielded to the maximum extent possible consistent 4 with aircraft contract and safety. ATC understands that, under these circumstances, aircrews may regard the event as an in-flight emergency and may take evasive action to avoid further exposure to the laser illumination.

- As soon as possible, following an incident, pilots should report it to the appropriate ATC facility in accordance with the guidance provided by this AC. Forward as much information as available. Expeditious reporting will assist law enforcement in locating the source of the laser transmission.

Nov 20, 2017

This is our second visit with aviation artist and historian John Mollison. In this interview, John discusses his newest film, the award-winning South Dakota Warrior: The John Waldron Story.

On 4 June, 1942, LtCDR John C. Waldron led 29 other men into battle against the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. The result was (nearly) utter annihilation of his squadron...and the moment that assured that the United States would utterly defeat the Japanese. His mission led to the destruction of four Japanese aircraft carriers (the Soryu, the Hiryu, the Kaga and the Akagi) during the Battle of Midway, which changed the course of the war in the Pacific.

In Mollison's film, we learn the John Waldron story and the lessons of the Battle of Midway.

Nov 16, 2017

Turbulence is air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly. It can be created by many different conditions, including atmospheric pressure, jet streams, air around mountains, cold or warm weather fronts or thunderstorms. Turbulence can even occur when the sky appears to be clear.

While turbulence is normal and happens often, it can be dangerous. Its bumpy ride can cause passengers who are not wearing their seat belts to be thrown from their seats without warning. But, by following the guidelines suggested on this site, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe when traveling by air.

To keep you and your family as safe as possible during flight, FAA regulations require passengers to be seated with their seat belts fastened:

  • When the airplane leaves the gate and as it climbs after take-off.
  • During landing and taxi.
  • Whenever the seat belt sign is illuminated during flight.

Why is it important to follow these safety regulations? Consider this:

  • In nonfatal accidents, in-flight turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to airline passengers and flight attendants.
  • Each year, approximately 58 people in the United States are injured by turbulence while not wearing their seat belts.
  • From 1980 through 2008, U.S. air carriers had 234 turbulence accidents*, resulting in 298 serious injuries and three fatalities.
  • Of the 298 serious injuries, 184 involved flight attendants and 114 involved passengers.
  • At least two of the three fatalities involved passengers who were not wearing their seat belts while the seat belt sign was illuminated.
  • Generally, two-thirds of turbulence-related accidents occur at or above 30,000 feet.

 

Nov 13, 2017

From Spencer Suderman's website:

Spencer Suderman is not only one of the most exciting air show performers on the planet, he is also a Guinness World Record holder! On March 20, 2016, Spencer flew the Sunbird S-1x, an experimental variant of the Pitts S-1 biplane to an altitude of 24,500′ in the restricted airspace over the Barry M. Goldwater Range in Yuma, Arizona then entered an inverted flat spin. At an altitude of 2,000′ the recovery was initiated and the Sunbird smoothly returned to level flight at 1,200′. A new world record of 98 inverted flat spins crushed the previous Guinness World Record of 81 that Spencer set in 2014.

Spencer began flying while in college in the late 1980’s and quickly advanced from private pilot to commercial pilot with an instrument rating. In 2002 he became a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and now holds an FAA unrestricted Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC) card allowing him to perform solo and formation aerobatics down to surface level.

While working on his instrument rating, Spencer discovered that aerobatics are amazingly fun and quickly lost interest in merely flying straight and level. After attending numerous aerobatic contests in the Super Decathlon aerobatic trainer rented from a local flight school he moved up to the high performance Pitts S-2B. He’s been performing in air shows since 2006 and the plane was dubbed the “Meteor Pitts” because it shoots across the sky with its unique hot rod style flame paint scheme.

Spencer’s air show performance uniquely showcases the capabilities of the Meteor Pitts Biplane with Intense gyroscopic maneuvers like the Double Hammerhead and the Inverted Flat Spin with its signature corkscrew smoke trail as the plane drops towards the ground at over 6000′ feet per minute spinning like a Frisbee!

Spencer enjoys entertaining the audience with this amazing airplane. His enthusiasm for flight is infectious and he’s proud of the people that have been motivated to get involved in aviation. Spencer enjoys producing videos about flying that give the viewer a sense of being in the cockpit going along for the ride!

When not flying Spencer works in IT within the entertainment industry and lives in Southern California with his wife, children, and two dogs. His educational background includes an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a bachelors degree from the State University of New York. Education is the most important pursuit any human can undertake and Spencer speaks from experience when encouraging young people to pursue learning with passion.

 

Nov 11, 2017

What is Precision Runway MonitorTraining?
Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) training provides guidance on conducting PRM approaches. These are simultaneous, independent approaches to closely spaced, parallel runways.
What You Need to Know
The FAA, together with industry, recently completed an extensive overhaul of the PRM training material. The centerpiece of this effort is a newly developed training aid titled, “Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) Pilot Procedures.” It replaces previously used training videos for both air carrier and general aviation pilots. Although the core elements of the training remain unchanged, this new version has been streamlined to reduce completion time and provides the most up-to-date information on how to safely conduct PRM approaches.
In conjunction with this change, the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is being updated regarding simultaneous approaches in general, and PRM operations specifically. Over time, other relevant documents will also be updated.
To reduce cockpit workload, a new Attention All Users Page (AAUP) format will be implemented. This new format is shorter in length and delivers updated briefing material. It will be published on December 7, 2017.
The FAA’s PRM website (www.faa.gov/training_testing/training/prm)has been updated as well. Here, pilots can view or download the PRM training slide presentation. A link to the appropriate AIM section is also provided.
What Do I Need to Do?
Part 121, 129, and 135 operations:Pilots must comply with FAA-approved company training, as identified in their Operations Specifications.
Part 91 operations:Pilots operating transport category aircraft must be familiar with PRM and Simultaneous Offset Instrument Approaches (SOIA) operations as contained in the AIM. Training, at a minimum, must require pilots to view the new FAA slide presentation, "Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) Pilot Procedures."Pilots not operating transport category aircraft must be familiar with PRM and SOIA operations, as contained in the AIM. The FAA strongly recommends these pilots view the new FAA training slide presentation, "Precision Runway Monitor (PRM) Pilot Procedures."

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