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Times are Changing

by Tori Williams 29. October 2014 08:00
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A log book is used to record how many hours you've gained flying - but are the hour requirements for upward mobility in the job industry becoming too strict?

In the world of aviation, times are changing. More specifically, the time required for a pilot to operate as the copilot of a commercial airline is changing. There are several factors involved in these changes, and in this article I will give an overview of the history and reasoning behind the recent modifications to the hour requirements in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

I enjoy spending time researching current events in the aviation industry. Naturally I like knowing the issues affecting my generation. I believe that most people in my position have heard about the laws changing regarding hour requirements, but have not dug deep enough to truly understand what it means for us. Obtaining the job position of first officer in a commercial airline operating under Part 121 is a very important step in any successful piloting career. This achievement has become much harder to obtain, but change is yet again on the horizon.

Here is the breakdown:

On January 12, 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3407 experienced an aerodynamic stall and crashed into a house in Clerence Center, New York. All 49 people on board were killed, as well as one person in the house. The accident was determined by the NTSB to have been due to the pilot’s failure to respond properly to stall warnings. Further investigation found that the pilot had previously failed three checkrides. It was also found that both pilot and copilot were severely fatigued at the time of the accident due to long flight hours the day before.

The friends and families of victims of this disaster formed a legal group. They took immediate action against airline regulations in order to create a safer flight environment and avoid future tragedies. They successfully implemented the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 in August. Amongst several regulations, they changed the crew rest requirements to provide more recovery time for busy pilots. The second huge change they implemented affected the hour requirements for flying commercially.

Prior to this disaster, pilots were able to obtain a commercial rating with only 250 hours, and immediately snag a job flying as first officer on an airline. From there they could gain hours and seniority with the airline that they were hired by fairly easily.

After the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 was implemented, all crewmembers in in an aircraft operating under Part 121 were required to hold an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certificate. This particular certificate cannot be obtained until the pilot has 1,500 hours of flight time. So pilots on their way to achieving their commercial licenses had to gain 1,250 more hours of experience than those before them to fly in the airlines.

The requirements for other commercial aviation jobs did not change, such as flight instructor or agricultural positions. However, these high hour requirements force pilots to stick with these lower-paying jobs until they have their required flight time.

Due to concerns about a pilot shortage, special permissions were granted to pilots training under different circumstances for what is called a Restricted ATP. There are three tiers to these special considerations. Students with an associates or bachelors degree with 30+ aviation semester hours could apply for a R-ATP at 1250 hours. All baccalaureate university professional flight graduates with 60+ aviation hours could apply at only 1000 total hours. Most substantial of them all, any former military pilots could apply at 750 hours.

Several accredited flight universities are working on owning or successfully own authorization for the 1000 hour RATP. This saves students 500 flight hours from the previous regulation. The future of these special permissions looks bright, as they are now researching and considering allowing pilots in universities to obtain their RATP at 750 hours. The argument is that a Part 141 university truly devoted to proper training and rigorous testing of its pilots can be very near the same quality level as military training.

The change the airline industry is facing regarding hour requirements can be quite fascinating. I sincerely hope that a middle ground is reached, allowing for well-trained pilots to make the transition to a commercial airline with ease.

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Tori Williams

Chicago O'Hare gets first RNP approach

by GlobalAir.com 17. October 2014 12:59
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Chicago’s O’Hare airport recently implemented its first RNP (required navigation performance) instrument approach. The satellite-based precision approach is part of the new generation of GPS approaches popping up at airports around the nation and the world. Chris Baur, president and CEO of Hughes Aerospace, the company that developed the approach, told the Aviation Examiner David W. Thornton on Wednesday that the new approach is an environmentally friendly alternative to current land-based approaches.

Instrument approaches are the procedures used by pilots to locate the landing runway when the weather precludes a visual approach. At large airports like O’Hare (KORD), the typical method of tracking to the runway involves an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. ILS approaches use land-based transmitters to send signals to the pilots that bring the airplanes to the touchdown point on the runway both laterally (with a localizer) and vertically (with a glideslope). This requires two separate transmitter facilities for each runway that utilizes an ILS. This can be cost-prohibitive for small airports.

RNP approaches utilize satellite navigation technology instead of ground-based navigational facilities. The aircraft’s flight management computer is programmed to fly a predetermined course along a series of waypoints, locations on a map that do not have to coincide with any geographic feature, toward the runway. Because the airplane is following GPS waypoints, approaches can easily be planned to avoid terrain features or noise sensitive areas. They can also be developed over water where land-based facilities are impractical. At some airports, RNP approaches even follow a curved path to the runway using RF (radius to fix) segments, such as this approach at Atlanta’s Peachtree-DeKalb airport (KPDK).

Check out the rest of the David W. Thornton’s story here!

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aircraft instruments, IFR, IMC, safety | Flying | News

Are You Prepared for Instrument Failure in IMC?

by Sarina Houston 15. October 2014 16:51
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Photo: Wikimedia/Meggar

Autumn is in full swing, and the cooler nights tend to make morning fog a common occurrence in many places. While fog might not be a problem for you if you are IFR-rated and current, it’s nevertheless a good time to review your emergency procedures – like instrument failures and partial panel procedures.

A failure of any instrument in the cockpit of your airplane is difficult enough to deal with during a VFR flight, but the proper procedures after an instrument failure in IMC can mean the difference between life and death. While we tend to remain “current” by flying IFR flight plans and instrument approaches on a daily or weekly basis, unless you work for a company that requires it, you probably don’t practice instrument failures or partial panel procedures enough.

Are you ready for an instrument failure in instrument conditions? After training your eyes and brain to “trust your instruments,” can you immediately recognize instrument errors and reverse that deep-rooted feeling that your instruments must be correct?

Identifying instrument failures seems like an easy enough task – after all, if an instrument is behaving erratically, there’s a good chance it’s malfunctioning - but it’s difficult for our brains to determine exactly what’s happening at first glance when an instrument fails, and sometimes the failure occurs slowly, such as the slow icing over of a pitot tube. And that’s only the first part of the emergency. The second part is responding correctly. While in the clouds without correct instrument indications, knowing which way is up can be puzzling to even the most experienced pilots. Here’s a quick review about how instruments react to common types of failures in many light aircraft.

***This is not a substitute for instruction. Please consult your aircraft’s POH for emergency procedures specific to your airplane! ***

Pitot-Static System Failure:
A problem with the static system will appear on the airspeed indicator, altimeter or vertical speed indicator (VSI), or a combination of the three.

  • Blocked Pitot Tube: A pitot tube blocked with insects is a common culprit of erroneous airspeed indications. This type of blockage might be noticed during takeoff, when the airspeed doesn’t increase as usual. With a total pitot tube blockage, the airspeed will read ‘0’. But the pitot tube can also be blocked during flight with ice or heavy rain, and as ice accumulates slowly over the pitot tube, the airspeed indicator will show a slow decrease in airspeed, maybe not even noticeable at first.

    Since the pitot tube is used just for the airspeed indicator, a blocked pitot tube will not affect the altimeter or VSI.

  • Blocked Static Port: A blocked static port isn’t too much of a problem if the aircraft is equipped with an alternate static source (many are). But without alternate air, a blocked static source will cause the airspeed indicator to act as a reverse altimeter, showing an increase in airspeed during a descent and a decrease in airspeed during a climb.

    With a blocked static port, the altimeter will freeze, showing the last altitude recorded before the blockage occurred, and the VSI will indicate ‘0’.

  • Pitot and Static Blockage: If both the pitot tube and static system are blocked, the airspeed indicator will act like an altimeter, showing an increase in airspeed when climbing and a decrease in airspeed while descending.

Gyroscopic System Failure:
There’s a reason the vacuum gage is checked during the engine run-up. It’s because two of the three commonly used gyroscopic instruments run on a vacuum-driven pump, and if these instruments fail, flying can be pretty dangerous.

The gyroscopic instruments typically include the turn coordinator, heading indicator and attitude indicator. The heading indicator and attitude indicator are vacuum-drive most of the time, so a vacuum failure or loss of suction will cause the attitude and heading indicators to ne unreliable.

Many commonly used turn coordinators are electrically driven (done for redundancy and as a backup to the vacuum system), and will fail along with an electrical failure.

A pitot-static or gyroscopic failure can be difficult to diagnose and confirm at first. The trick is to think about a failed instrument on a systemic level by determining which, if any, other instruments are also affected. If your airspeed seems off, check your other instruments. If they are also indicating erroneously, than you can bet there’s a pitot and static failure. If only the airspeed is incorrect you can rest assured the pitot tube alone is the culprit. By cross-checking often and making sure all your instruments agree with each other, you’ll be able to determine which are malfunctioning and take appropriate action. What’s the appropriate action? Covering up the inaccurate instruments and converting to a new insrtument scan that will keep you alive and allow you to land safely.

In any case, the quick and proper diagnosis of an instrument or system failure will turn an emergency into an inconvenience (although you should always declare an emergency when the situation warrants). A good pilot is always prepared, and preparation in this case comes with consistent practice, so be sure to brush up on your partial panel procedures often!

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Flying | Sarina Houston

CAVEAT EMPTOR

by Janine Iannarelli 8. October 2014 14:37
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The world of aircraft sales is fraught with risk and it is a wise buyer who retains professional assistance in the process of buying or selling an airplane. However, the risk in the selection process is not merely limited to what airplane to choose. In some cases the risk starts with the advisor you choose!

Just because someone holds themselves out as having years of experience in the aviation industry does not necessarily make them an expert in the preowned marketplace. This subset of the aircraft sales profession suffers from an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts who in reality have little or no experience in this unique arena. They may very well have held jobs directly related to the operation, maintenance or even sold new aircraft, but it is a misconception to think that they thus hold the skill set necessary to see a complex transaction through from start to finish. If the deal is more complex, such as a cross-border sale or dealing with a repossession, then you need to make sure that the agent you hire has that specific experience. Nearly all my peers at one time or another have encountered legal counsel who seem to think they can manage the deal better than an experienced preowned salesperson. Perhaps the perceived largess to be earned, accolades to be bestowed or allure of mixing with the top one percenters and business leaders the world over draws folks to the aircraft sales world like a moth to flame. Caveat emptor.

In absence of any regulation or requirement for formal credentials that substantiate one is qualified to conduct a pre-owned aircraft sales transaction, the prospective buyer or seller has little to go on in terms of validating a broker’s level of expertise other than perhaps word of mouth or advertising. While references and recommendations should be requested and verified, does the enduser really understand what qualifies as experience in the preowned aircraft sales marketplace? Being a nice person alone is not good enough. Having years of new aircraft sales experience is not enough. Having spent a career specializing in a particular area of the aviation industry is not enough. Advertising in the aviation industry can be a lot of smoke and mirrors and if you do not know what you are reading, you can easily be beguiled into believing that bigger is better. Anyone can create glossy advertising depicting a wide array of aircraft for sale, but do they really? All the while making claims as to their expertise in aircraft sales.

As you might have guessed, I am here to offer a short tutorial on what to look for when evaluating who to hire to handle your aircraft acquisition or sale. First time buyers in particular…pay attention! You are most at risk as you will for the most part have no basis for comparison. An experienced preowned aircraft sales expert is completely comfortable with taking a transaction from start to finish. As one would expect, they should have an industry network in place, first-hand experience working with the various maintenance facilities and other experts you may seek to employ in the sales process including escrow agents, free-lance technical advisors and legal counsel. After all you are paying that individual to in essence be a project manager and they should have a working knowledge of what each party in a qualified go-to team brings to the table.

An experienced aircraft sales professional will have access to research data for a particular make/model of airplane including comps on which to base what you should be paying for a targeted airplane. Indepth primary research of course assures you of complete coverage. If the salesperson you are dealing with is not able to reach out to each and every owner within a select make/model, then you are not getting what you are in part paying them for. While it doesn’t mean you should not buy an already advertised airplane, you do want to be assured you did not miss any off-market opportunities.

An experienced aircraft sales professional is familiar with all the documents necessary to conduct an aircraft sale. These include, but are not limited to, all FAA documents(if a domestic U.S. sale), transactional instruments such as a Letter of Intent (LOI) or Aircraft Purchase and Sale Agreement (APSA) and the International Registry. Most aircraft sales-professionals are comfortable in drafting at least a template for an LOI and the APSA. If your expert is reluctant to do so, then at the very least they should be actively engaged in assisting legal counsel in the construction of said documents, review and negotiation in an effort to accurately put forth the mechanics of the sale and otherwise avoid obstructions and encumbrances. The list of documents grows if the sale is cross-border in nature and this is not time for your “expert” to be learning how to conduct such a transaction. Of course there is a first-time for everyone and I don’t begrudge anyone a learning curve. As much as ninety percent of the transactions my company is involved in are cross-border in nature and on many an occasion we work with an agent representing the other side who has limited experience in such. Eighty-nine percent of the time they are grateful for the assistance we offer in navigating this territory and welcome suggestions as to how to speed the plow. After all, we share a common interest and that is to conclude the transaction.

Consider it a home run if you find yourself working with an aircraft sales professional who is comfortable with conducting a first-hand review of the subject airplane and records. While the level of familiarity with the plane and logs one should have need not be on the level of a pilot or A & P mechanic, it certainly should be to the extent that one knows what attributes as well as potential problems to look for. They should also be on-site during critical junctures in the prepurchase evaluation. This includes any time a repair is called for, at the time the discrepancy list is prepared and made available for review and at the conclusion of the maintenance so verification of fault rectification is made in a timely fashion. Caveat emptor.

Timing is everything they say and no less so when it comes to an aircraft sales transaction. An aircraft sales professional will have a keen sense of timing and will keep an eye on the specific dates of performance written into an APSA. While we all want to trust that everyone will do their job, an aircraft sales person may have to help marshal the deal along, particularly when it comes to the prebuy, and they should have no reservations in doing so. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. As well, they will have a checklist of what needs to be accomplished in order to close the deal and will keep the parties to the transaction aware of what is done and needs to yet be accomplished. There are delays and then there are delays, but don’t let the delay occur because tasks were left to within days of Closing. Caveat emptor. As this blog unfolds I realize I have just scratched the surface of the myriad of steps and tasks that encompass an aircraft sale. I could write a book, but then I could just keep writing my blog pro bono.

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AIRCRAFT SALES | Aviation Technology | Press Release

NBAA2014 to Host 'Careers in Business Aviation Day' on Oct. 23

by GlobalAir.com 8. October 2014 09:15
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Washington, DC, Oct. 6, 2014 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will once again host Careers in Business Aviation Day on Oct. 23 during NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014), the business aviation industry’s largest annual event, and one of the biggest trade shows in the country. The dedicated career day, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, will feature education sessions and tours, and is open to middle school, high school and college students across the U.S. who are interested in exploring career opportunities in the business aviation industry.

Students will have the opportunity to visit more than 1,000 exhibits with NBAA volunteers, as well as engage with the expected 25,000 attendees representing the spectrum of business aviation’s diverse opportunities, from flight department personnel and aircraft manufacturers, to flight crews and the many businesses that serve the business aviation community. College and university students also will learn more about career opportunities and receive advice from university representatives and aviation professionals in an informal roundtable setting.

Several keynote speakers will welcome students to Orlando, including Amelia Rose Earhart, the youngest female to have circumnavigated the globe in a single-engine aircraft; Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and Brad Hayden, president and CEO of Robotic Skies and a leading expert on unmanned aircraft systems. Access to the 2014 Career Day is free for all registered students and faculty. Students attending University Aviation Association-affiliated colleges and universities also qualify for complimentary access to all three days of NBAA2014.

More than 200 students are expected to attend Careers in Business Aviation Day, including those from high schools in the Orlando area, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Dakota, Florida Technical College and many more.

  • Who: Careers in Business Aviation Day, part of NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014)
  • What: A one-day opportunity for students ages 12 and older to learn about career opportunities in business aviation, and throughout the aviation and aerospace fields
  • When: Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Where: Orange County Convention Center, 9990 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Learn more about Careers in Business Aviation Day at NBAA2014.

Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world's largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.

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News | Press Release





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