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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: March, 2021
Mar 29, 2021

Mo Barrett launched her distinguished career as a successful failure at the Air Force Academy, persevering after becoming the first member of her pilot training class to receive a grade of “Unsatisfactory.” As an Air Force pilot, she flew the Alenia C-27A throughout Central and South America, then moved to Northern California to fly the Lockheed C-5 around the globe. After 9/11, Mo deployed with a small team to bare bases in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, converting them from austere fields to airlift hubs.

Mo has dealt with the shame, stigma, struggle and success of being a life-long non-conformist and lesbian in the military’s structured environment. She retired as a Colonel after a 25-year Air Force career leveraging hard work and an ability to view the world through lenses of humor, optimism and perspective. She has survived and thrived as a multi-minority and now connects with audiences of all ages and walks of life as a DC tour guide, podcast co-host and storyteller. Mo entertains audiences with her unique presentation style and contagious energy as she charts a course for people who want to laugh, learn and think!

Mar 25, 2021

In the airline world, there are a number of new rules, limits, and terms a pilot needs to learn. One area in which a new understanding needs to be had is in the takeoff.

Gone are the days when, as a general aviation pilot, you can just eyeball the runway, the load, the airplane, measure the wind with your thumb, and go for it. When you are flying passengers and cargo for hire, you need to be able to comply with the segmented climb. Specifically—-and this is key—-you need to be able to meet the climb requirements on a single engine (assuming you are flying a twin-engine jet) as a result of an engine failure at V1 [takeoff decision speed, but a beyond the scope of this post]. It is assumed that you will meet all the requirements if every engine is running.

The first segment is short—it ends when the airplane is airborne and the gear is retracted. Not partially retracted, but fully up-and-locked retracted. The airspeed must be up to V2, commonly known as “takeoff safety speed,” but in technical terms, the speed for best climb gradient.

The second segment requirement is often the most difficult one to meet. Segment two begins when the gear is up and locked and the speed is V2. This segment has the steepest climb gradient: 2.4 percent. This equates to a ballpark figure of around 300 feet per minute, and for a heavy airplane on a hot day with a failed engine, this can be a challenge. Often, when the airlines announce that a flight is weight-limited on hot summer days, this is the reason (the gate agent doesn’t know this kind of detail, and nor does she care; she just knows some people aren’t going).

The magic computers we use for computing performance data figure all this out, saving us the trouble of using charts and graphs. All we know is that we can either carry the planned load or we can’t.

Second segment climb ends at 400 feet, so it could take up to a minute or more to fly this segment. Think of all the obstacles that might be in the departure path in the course of 60 seconds or more.

Third segment climb begins at 400 feet, and here the rules can vary. The climb gradient is now half of what it was before: 1.2 percent. However, we are also required to accelerate to a speed called VFS (final segment climb speed). In graphs and publications, the third segment of the climb is often depicted as being a flat line for the acceleration. In many turboprops, that’s exactly the way it’s flown. The airplane is leveled off (and the pilot is using a very tired leg to overcome the increasing yaw tendency via the rudder) and accelerated before the final climb begins.

In jets, however, there is generally enough power in the remaining engine to avoid a level-off. If the airplane can continue to accelerate during the third segment, it may continue to climb, so long as it can do so without a decrease in speed or performance. In fact, during the climb it must continue to meet the climb gradient while accelerating to VFS.

Third segment climb ends upon reaching VFS.

The fourth and “final segment” begins upon reaching VFS and completing the climb configuration process. It is now permissible (and maybe necessary) to reduce thrust to a Maximum Continuous setting. The climb gradient is again 1.2 percent, and VFS must be maintained to 1,500 feet above field elevation.

V1 cuts and single-engine climbs are a staple of turboprop and jet training. It is critical that a pilot of such equipment understand what the objective is when it comes to performing the maneuver, and why the requirements are what they are. This material is taught in much greater detail in ground school than I presented here. In fact, there may be a few deviations and exceptions to the above, as this is a general introduction (there are, like many things in aviation, always caveats, so bear that in mind).

Some pilots dread V1 cuts, but the best way to approach them is to take them as a challenge and constantly push yourself to master them and excel in your performance.

Mar 22, 2021

For the women who have served in aviation, being surrounded by other women in our field, either physically or virtually, is magical, especially for those of us who spent most of our careers in isolation. My hope is that the sheer volume and diversity of these stories inspires us, and those who will take our place in the future.

And there’s room for so much more. Every one of you has an inspiring story to tell, and there’s an audience for that story. In addition to featuring books already published, this website is a resource for aspiring writers, with writers’ panels and discussions on everything from publishing your own memoir, to doing historical research for biographies or historical fiction. If you’re a woman writing, or considering writing in aviation, please join us in the Writers’ Room.

My vision for this community is that it is a living, breathing resource. You can consume and participate in any way that fits for you. Read one new book, or read one every month with us. Share our amazing stories with your friends and colleagues. Find books for that Young Aviatrix who you’re hoping to inspire. Listen to monthly Aviatrix Book Club author interviews, and find out more about writing in the Writers’ Room. Leave reviews of the books you’ve read—here, and at your favorite book seller or book review website. Host or join small group virtual book discussions, or start one up with your local aviation club or chapter, and connect with others from around the world who share your passion, interest, and experience through stories.

  • Liz Booker transitioned to full-time writer in 2019 after a 28-year career as a Coast Guard helicopter pilot and foreign diplomat. She holds a Master in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She continues to fly, pursuing an extensive aviation bucket-list—a.k.a. ‘research’.

Liz has a LinkTree at https://linktr.ee/literaryaviatrix.

Mar 18, 2021

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at, or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space. Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded and is President of the Dare to Dream Foundation in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace, as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business. “When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one. After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation, especially those who grew up in a village, like me, an opportunity to do that?’. I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to,” Captain Phatsima says.

She says there are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. She says Botswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening around the world. “We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be definitely different from the businesses of today,” she says. “In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are part of the curriculum.”

She has written a book about her journey, Born To Fly.

Mar 15, 2021

“It started with me seeing a photo of a plane in a Christmas catalogue and pointing to it. From that moment, that was what I wanted. As a child I would dream of flying, would beg my parents to go to the airport, watch planes take off and land. Around the age of 6, I flew in my first plane. It was all I ever wanted to do.”

At the same time, Lepley, who was assigned male at birth, explains that “from my earliest recollection I knew I was a girl. Yet societal, family and religious expectations would not allow it. I didn’t even know what trans was. As a child of the 70s and 80s there was no Google, Internet, and so on. It was only through some research in the card catalogues of our library did I find a few stories on others like me. One was Christine Jorgensen. The other was Renée Richards.”

As Lepley was coming to terms with her gender reality, her drive to become a pilot was unabated. Like many trans people, Lepley focussed on her professional career and achieved substantial success — in many ways, at the expense of her personal life — before transitioning to her gender identity.

“When I was 15, my dad took me to the local community college in Traverse City, Michigan, which had an aviation program,” Lepley continues. “We met with the Administrator of that department and learned what I would need to do to prepare for my career. At the age of 16, I would begin ground school. In the mornings and early afternoon, I would attend high school. In the late afternoon? College.”

“By the time I was 21, I had secured my first airline job as a flight engineer on a Lockheed Electra for an airline called Zantop, based in Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, MI. I was on top of the world, traveling to cities throughout the United States,” Lepley says.

Today, Lepley, an MD-11 first officer for a cargo airline, is based in Anchorage and type-rated for the SA-227, B-757/767 and MD-11. In addition to her type ratings, she has flown the DC-9 and engineered on the L-188, DC-8 and B-747.

Lepley flies the professionally challenging MD-11 aircraft for a cargo airline. Image: John Walton

Looking back, Lepley notes that it was only as she achieved her professional goals and career success that the incongruity of living in the male gender became insurmountable. Gender identity is, of course, not a choice, and coming to the realisation that one is trans — and then making the decision to live an authentic life — is an often difficult journey. In aviation terms, Lepley describes knowing that she was female yet living in a male body as listening to the HF frequencies with constant static every hour of the day for more than thirty years.

That courageous decision to confront the need to live as the same gender in one’s brain, particularly for those people who transition to living in a gender into which they were not born, often comes with consequences, however.

Lepley’s transition cost her a marriage, her home, retirement, and friendships, as well as a church community, but the reaction from her employer and the aviation community was also a concern. “Weighing heavily on my mind was the career that I worked so hard to obtain. Would I lose that as well?” Lepley asked herself. “Aviation is very much a male dominated field, with less than 6% flying as women. I was very fearful of coming out. How would I be perceived? How would I be treated? Would I be accepted? These were just some of the multiple questions that I processed.”

“Fortunately,” Lepley notes, “I had a role model of a woman who transitioned a few years prior to me. We met on a few occasions while overseas. She offered her help and assistance when it came to opening the door for my transition and instrumental in my success.”

“When I finally sat down with my chief pilot, words just could not describe the anxiety I was feeling. Here I am about to tell another man: ‘I am a woman’. Fortunately, he was already briefed on what I was about to say and stopped me. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it…I am here for you.’”

Lepley is a first officer on the MD-11 fleet. Image: Kelly Lepley

“It was those words that I will never forget,” Lepley says. “In that moment, he showed me more Christ-like love than any of my peers at the church I once called home. This is all any of us want: to be treated with dignity, respect, and love.”

Lepley’s continued faith in the context of her gender identity and transition is one of the most striking aspects of this remarkable woman. “I attend church in both Alaska and Kentucky when my schedule affords me the opportunity,” Lepley explains. “My faith is much deeper and much richer than before.”

Noting that finding a church while overseas can be difficult at times, she has been able to worship in cities like Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Sydney, Honolulu and Southern California. Yet many trans people not only find an unwelcoming atmosphere in places of faith, but in their workplaces as well.

Lepley recommends finding a strong, motivating mentor to new pilots. Image: Kelly Lepley

“When news did break of my transition, and rumors began to fly, I sat down and wrote out my story and posted it on our internal union website,” Lepley says. “I didn’t know what to expect. Knowing once I posted that story, there was no turning back. A new chapter in my life was about to begin. Like the demands I place on myself as an aviator, I would demand it of myself as a woman. Mediocrity was not an option.”

“I had to earn the respect of my peers as a woman, and that was OK. From the way I wore my uniform, dressed after hours, to the way I walked, spoke, and carried myself, everything I did had to be done with the highest of my own expectations. These were my peers with whom I loved and they deserved my very best. Demanding respect is one thing, but in the end is not meaningful. Earning it creates something much deeper. That was what I wanted and that is what I received.”

In her current first officer position, Lepley explains that she normally works a two week on, two week off schedule. The best part of her job, Lepley says, is meeting people from around the world. The downside, however is that “there is no regularity to my life. As much as I would love to participate in a weekly Bible Study, dance class, or social gathering, it just isn’t doable with my schedule.”

That’s just one of the tradeoffs Lepley makes as part of her career, but she consciously does her bit to help others to make their work/life balance work more easily: “When I am not scheduled to be with my kids, I will bid lines over the holidays in order to give someone junior to me the opportunity to be home with their family.”

“It’s a tough call!” Lepley says when asked which route is her favorite. “There is so much diversity throughout this world. I love flying over Japan seeing Mt. Fuji the glaciers in Alaska, the Tien Shan Mountain Range over eastern Kazakhstan and Western China, the Zagros Mountains in Eastern Iran… each place has its own unique beauty.”

Of course, getting to the front seats can be an expensive investment for new pilots. “One of the greatest deterrent for taking up this career is cost,” Lepley notes. “When I speak to young people I tell them: do not discount the smaller colleges. When you look hard enough there are options. In my case, I could not afford a four year college to obtain my ratings. It was cost prohibitive. Fortunately, our local community college, Northwestern Michigan College had their own aviation school. For a fraction of what it would have cost me at a major name college, I was able to obtain all my ratings in conjunction with a two year degree.”

“I used that foundation and experience to land a flight engineer slot with Zantop Airlines. Upon earning my wings as a flight engineer, I turned back to school focusing on my four year degree through Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Program. By accumulating immeasurable flight experience, I was able to use my salary to obtain a four year degree. Although it took me over ten years to complete it, I overcame that obstacle and did it debt free.”

Having adopted two precious girls from China, Lepley has a soft heart for orphans. When on layover in Taiwan, she visits a home for orphans, bringing snacks, and playing with the kids. In a big way, these children tug at my heart. Image: Kelly Lepley

Lepley explains that she sought out mentors who matched and spurred on her own dedication. “There were two men in my flight school who pushed me hard. One was a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the other a long time instructor. Both of them took me under their wings. They pushed me hard. Anything less than precise was not good enough. That foundation they placed on me early in my career drives me today in what I do. I owe much of my career to them!”

To find that kind of mentor, Lepley recommends, “Set your bar very high. Seek out an instructor who has those same expectations. Show them your desire and be persistent. They will take you under their wings and push you if you are willing to allow it.”

 
 
Mar 11, 2021

Jet bridges provide all-weather dry access to aircraft and enhance the security of terminal operations. They are often permanently attached at one end by a pivot (or rotunda) to the terminal building and have the ability to swing left or right. The cabin, at the end of the loading bridge, may be raised or lowered, extended or retracted, and may pivot, to accommodate aircraft of different sizes. These motions are controlled by an operator's station in the cab. The cab is provided with an accordion-like canopy, which allows the bridge to dock with aircraft with differing shapes, and provide a nearly weather-proof seal. Additionally, many models offer leveling devices for the portion of the floor that makes contact with the aircraft; this allows passengers to slowly transition from level aircraft floor to sloping jet bridge floor. As such, jet bridges provide enhanced access to aircraft for passengers with many types of disabilities and mobility impairments, as they may board and disembark without climbing stairs or using a specialized wheelchair lift.

Some airports with international gates have two or even three bridges for larger aircraft with multiple entrances. In theory, this allows for faster disembarking of larger aircraft, though it is quite common, especially on aircraft such as Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s, to use one bridge for only passengers in first class and/or business class, while the other bridge is for the use of passengers in economy class. In some designs, the second jet bridge would even extend over the aircraft wing, being suspended from an overhead structure. This was, for example, originally adopted for most wide body gates at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The Airbus A380 is unique in that both of its two passenger decks have outside access doors and so using loading bridges for each deck is possible, having the advantage of faster aircraft loading (in parallel). Faster loading can lead to lower airport charges, fewer delays and more passenger throughout for the airport, all factors which impact an airline's bottom line.

Though loading bridges are usually permanently attached at their terminal-building end, leaving only the cab free to move, this is not always the case. Those at Melbourne Airport's international terminal are — and at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak Airport were — anchored in the middle and movable at either end to permit the terminal building-end to be raised or lowered to connect with either the departures level or the arrivals level of the terminal building.

Loading bridges restrict aircraft parking to spots immediately adjacent to the terminal. Thus, airports use mobile staircases to facilitate disembarking at hardstands (remote parking positions).

Loading bridges may pose hazards to aircraft if handled improperly. If the bridge is not retracted fully before departure, it may contact protruding parts of the taxiing aircraft (e.g., a pitot tube), requiring repair and delays. Furthermore, during cold weather, the loading bridge may become frozen to the aircraft. In this case, when the jet bridge retracts, it could damage the aircraft if that area has not been properly de-iced.

When regional jets are used, jet bridges have another disadvantage, since they allow only one aircraft to park at the gate at a time. Several airlines have removed jet bridges at regional jet gates at airports such as Atlanta which are short on gates. When having passengers disembark on the ramp or apron, airlines can fit two or more regional jets per gate. In many other places like Beijing Capital Airport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, a gate for large aircraft can be used to accommodate two smaller aircraft like Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s.

Several incidents of jet bridges collapsing include Sydney, Hong Kong, Seattle, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Islamabad.

Airports frequently charge increased fees for using loading bridges on stands as opposed to mobile stairs, therefore low-cost airlines such as Ryanair have avoided using these wherever possible.

Jet bridges are occasionally used at smaller, single-story airports. This is accomplished by a flight of stairs and, in some instances, a wheelchair lift. In this scenario, a passenger proceeds through the gate and then up a flight of stairs to meet the height of the jet bridge. An example of this can be found at South Bend International Airport. Alternatively, a ramp can be used in the terminal building to bring the passengers from the waiting area to the height of the jet bridge. For example, Sawyer International Airport has jet bridges that can load passengers onto smaller passenger aircraft such as the Saab 340 turboprop. The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has two gates using this approach. This can be done to attract larger airlines that require use of a jet bridge to the airport, as well as to make disembarking smaller planes easier for disabled people and to improve the disembarking process in bad weather.

At the airport terminal, the bridge is connected to a portal (called a "gate") in the terminal wall behind the gate desk. Once airplane boarding starts, passengers hand their boarding passes to the gate's attendant, who lets them pass through.

Inside, the bridge looks like a narrow, lighted hallway, without doors. Loading bridges usually have no windows, but glass walls are becoming more common. The walls are normally painted in accordance with airline standards, generally with relaxing colours. Some bridges have advertisements on interior or exterior walls. The floor is generally uneven with many bumps, creating a hazard for wheelchairs and individuals with mobility issues.

By using a retractable tunnel design, loading bridges may retract and extend varying lengths. Some airports use fixed walkways to effectively extend the reach of a loading bridge. The fixed walkway extends out from the terminal building and connects to the loading bridge rotunda. Occasionally, fixed bridges lead to multiple loading bridges. There are some jetways (such as several older bridges on the north terminal at Edmonton International Airport) that sit directly on the ground, as opposed to supports. These jetways are often used by small airlines or airplanes that are sometimes too low for conventional jetways.

The cab of the loading bridge is raised and lowered to dock with aircraft of differing sill heights. The height of the cab is matched to the height of the aircraft door sill height. This often results in a slope along the length of the loading bridge.

 

Mar 8, 2021

Larry Freeland was born in Canton, Ohio.  Since his father was an officer with the United States Air Force he grew up on many Air Force bases across this country.   After graduating from High School at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, he attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.  He graduated in 1968 with a degree in mathematics and a concentration in finance. He joined the U.S. Army and served one tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division as an Infantry Officer and a CH-47 helicopter pilot.  He is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star, and various other military service medals.

Upon release from active duty in 1973, Larry returned to civilian life and pursued a career in the Financial Industry.  During his professional career, he continued his education earning graduate degrees in Management and Banking.  He worked for 29 years in the banking business with Trust Company of Georgia, Citizen and Southern Corporation, now Bank of America, and Wachovia, now Wells Fargo.  After retiring from banking he worked as an independent financial consultant for 3 years in the Atlanta area and then worked as an instructor for 6 years with Lanier Technical College in their Management and Leadership Development Program.

Larry is now retired and lives in North Georgia with his wife Linda, a retired school teacher.  They stay involved in various activities, most notably those associated with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Veterans related organizations.  They also enjoy traveling together and spending as much time as possible with their two daughters, three grandsons, and two granddaughters.

Larry's novel Chariots In The Sky is based on his experiences in Vietnam.

Mar 4, 2021

With Covid-19 vaccines rolling out across the United States, the beginning of the end of the nation’s struggle with the pandemic may be coming into sight. But while the two currently approved Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are more than 90 percent effective at preventing the development of serious illness, scientists don’t know whether someone who has been vaccinated can carry the live virus and spread it to others.

Initial vaccine trials focused on vaccine safety. These were designed to gather data quickly and accurately on how effectively the vaccines prevented large groups of people from getting seriously sick with Covid-19.

In the push to get a vaccine approved for emergency use as quickly as possible, other effects of the vaccines were left untested. Scientists must test a smaller pool of people with greater frequency to understand how the virus travels between people after vaccination—an effort that became secondary to studying vaccine safety and efficacy.

“We design the trials to determine how we reduce the disease burden and keep people from progressing to hospitalization and death and being on a ventilator—that was and I think, still is, the first primary purpose of developing a vaccine,” says Larry Corey, co-director of the Covid-19 Prevention Network, a group formed in part by the National Institutes of Health to address the need for vaccines.

Now, as new, highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 variants from California, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil spread globally, understanding transmission as it relates to vaccine rollout efforts is vital.

Most vaccines still seem to prevent worst outcomes, like hospitalization and death, against the new variants. However, it may be months before researchers have conclusive findings about how viral transmission from vaccinated individuals to unvaccinated individuals works.

In the meantime, health experts recommend vaccinated people continue to adhere to current mask and social distancing practices.

“You’re self-protected, but you still could be a danger to other people, especially if you start using behavioral disinhibition, saying, ‘I'm vaccinated, I'm invulnerable’,” Corey says. “You could acquire Covid and it will be silent, and then you can infect a bunch of people who are not as lucky as you to be vaccinated at this point in time.”

The two approved mRNA vaccines provide systemic immunity, meaning they encourage the production of antibodies in the blood and trigger a whole-body response to the virus. However, the virus typically first infects the mucus of a person’s nose and mouth, where those antibodies don’t actively fend off pathogens. A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in November shows that people who recover from natural Covid-19 infections develop antibodies to protect the mucosal regions in the respiratory tract, but there is no evidence yet that the same is true with vaccine-induced immunity.

Deborah Lehman, a professor of clinical pediatrics at UCLA, says if a Covid-19 vaccine is able to prevent the virus from living in the mucosal passages, it may not be able to spread to other people.

Since scientists haven’t yet found evidence that the vaccines provide mucosal immunity, someone who is vaccinated and has no symptoms of illness may be carrying the live SARS-CoV-2 virus and spreading it to others when they cough, breath or sneeze.

“You could have a lot of people vaccinated who are walking around but are still acquiring the virus—potentially still being infectious—and we don't really see a reduction on a population basis of disease burden,” Corey says.

To test whether this population is spreading live virus, Corey says researchers need to collect samples from a large group of vaccinated people multiple times per week for evidence of viral shedding. Corey’s team at the Covid-Prevention Network (CoVPN) proposed a study of 20,000 vaccinated college students to track transmission on a campus; it’s still awaiting federal funding. Lehman says studying the viral load in vaccinated people can help researchers understand how infectious they are compared to non-vaccinated people.

Given the rate of vaccinations, the duration of testing, and quantity of samples needed, Corey and Lehman expect researchers won’t collect enough data on transmission to have an answer until the fall. Having more information about virus transmission is crucial to the future of informed public health recommendations. If vaccinated people can still spread the virus, it could change the timeline for reopening businesses, allowing large gatherings and loosening current restrictions.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doesn’t provide significant immune protection until 12 days after the first dose and only reaches 52 percent efficacy after a few weeks, per a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in December. The Moderna vaccine is similarly 51 percent effective two weeks after the first immunization, per its application for authorization.

During this time, the body is still relatively vulnerable to infection. People will need to be mindful of when their friends and family got vaccinated in order to understand their immunity status, which will get complicated over time as more of the population gets vaccines.

“Vaccination hubs and centers are reinforcing the information that after the first dose and after the second dose you need to continue to practice these public health measures,” Lehman says. “[Immunity] takes a while and I think that's true for all vaccines.”

Ann Marie Pettis, who leads a national organization of infection preventionists, says experts are working to provide the most up-to-date Covid-19 information to the research community and general public so people can make safe decisions.

“There're so many more questions than answers, unfortunately,” Pettis says. “You just have to stay in touch with the data and with the science and try to keep track of what the experts are coming up with, from day to day.”

Until scientists are certain about the risks of transmission, and a large enough portion of the population is vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, Pettis says all people must continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and maintain good hygiene.

While widespread vaccination is a major milestone in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic, Lehman says it’s no “magic bullet.” Until more information becomes available, people should continue to live, work and travel with an abundance of caution for public health.

“The vaccine gives us all a certain amount of comfort, which is good, but I think it would be a mistake to just assume, get two vaccines and then we can have large gatherings again,” Lehman says. “It’s going to be a while before we feel comfortable recommending that all those restrictions be relaxed.”

Passengers must be tested with a viral test that could be either an antigen test or a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Available NAATs for SARS-CoV-2 include reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), transcription-mediated amplification (TMA), nicking enzyme amplification reaction (NEAR), and helicase-dependent amplification (HDA). The test used must be authorized for use by the relevant national authority for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the country where the test is administered. A viral test conducted for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, including DOD contractors, dependents, and other U.S. government employees, and tested by a DOD laboratory located in a foreign country also meets the requirements of the Order.

Rapid tests are acceptable as long as they are a viral test acceptable under the Order.

The Order requires a lab report to be presented to the airline or to public health officials upon request. A home specimen collection kit that is tested in a laboratory should meet the requirements, if such methods have been authorized by the country’s national health authorities. A viral test conducted for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) personnel, including DOD contractors, dependents, and other U.S. government employees, and tested by a DOD laboratory located in a foreign country also meets the requirements of the Order.

Mar 1, 2021

Ralph Wetterhahn went from 1100 knots to 11 knots, while serving as president, U.S. Merchant Marine Veterans of WWII, charged with maintaining and operating the historic SS Lane Victory berthed in San Pedro, CA. In addition, his skill as an aviation archaeologist, has enabled him to become a real life "Indiana Jones," traveling the world from Cambodia to the Russian Far East, to Guadalcanal, to the Philippines in search of aircraft wrecks, our nation's missing-in-action, and the amazing stories that his discoveries reveal.  His documentary efforts have appeared on NOVA, Discovery, and National Geographic Channels, including The Last Flight of Bomber-31, Missing in MiG Alley, Dogfight Over Guadalcanal, and in the Air Aces segment about the legendary Col. Robin Olds.  Widely read in Air & Space/Smithsonian, MOAA’s Military Officer Magazine, Leatherneck, and VFW Magazine, among others, he is also the author of four books: the Colby Award winning The Last Battle, as well as The Last Flight of Bomber-31, The Early Air War in the Pacific, and Shadowmakers.  A graduate of the USAF Academy,Wetterhahn served three tours during the Vietnam War flying fighters in both the U.S. Air Force and Navy, and is credited with downing one MiG-21.  He flew 180 combat missions in the F-4C Phantom and A-7E Corsair, made 144 carrier landings, and was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and 19 Air Medals. He now spends his time working his seven gold claims in Northern California.

 

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