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What To Do If You Have a Bird Strike

Last month I gave some tips on how to conquer summertime flying. It's hot outside, performance is decreased, weather isn't always the best etc. 

Well there's one topic we didn't really discuss, and that's....

BIRDS.

Cue the dramatic music. Because they're EVERYWHERE.

Since the last post, within the past two weeks I've had two bird strikes while instructing. Neither were catastrophic, but each one cut our flight short (so more just inconvenient).

Here's what happened each time:

Pictured above is from the first bird strike incident. A student and I were doing some laps in the pattern and were all too familiar with dodging birds from earlier lessons. So when we saw a small bird coming at us we didn't panic, just tried to curve to the side and avoid it. 

At first it seemed we were in the clear until we heard a "ding" sound from the left side. We looked at each other then looked back at the strut and gear to see where it hit but couldn't see anything. BUT, we heard it, and even though we weren't 100% sure where it hit we decided to just make a full stop. 

After shutting down on the ramp we saw where it hit the strut. Mechanics verified our inspection and no damage was done!

Now bird strike number 2: this one was a little more dramatic (and kind of funny if you have terrible humor like me). 

Instead of a Cessna, a different student and I were in our SR20 who we named "Sherman." Don't judge, it's a great plane and therefore needed a great name! Anywho, Sherman, myself and the student were just cleared for takeoff and started bringing the power in. As the engine instruments and airspeed were being checked we saw a black shadow hit our windshield and roll off. So, power was brought back and as we kept positive control of the plane we notified tower we had a possible bird strike and needed to taxi off to shutdown. Once approved we taxied off and shutdown as soon as possible. That's where we found some blood on the cowling...it didn't just hit the windshield.

So, I called tower back and said we'd need a tow back to the hangars. While we waited we obviously had to document the incident with a selfie! I knew this would be going on the blog too after the second time, so I wanted to capture the proof. After we got our tow back mechanics checked the engine and verified yet again no structural damage, and Sherman was back on the flight line. 

So, I know one thing you might be thinking: why did they shutdown for a bird strike? 

In both incidents, I wasn't 100% sure where the bird hit. And even then, I can't see just from the cockpit what possible damage the hit caused. Bird strikes can be kind of funny like in our selfie moment, but they can also be as serious as the famous Sully on the Hudson River case. I know another instructor who had a bird strike and kept flying because "it was fine" and later landed to find a huge dent in the flap. Even in terms of structural damage, what if it strikes the wing and ruptures a fuel tank? It's okay to be too safe and cautious in these cases. 

In the case of a bird strike, here's what to do:

-Try to pinpoint where the bird hit so you can estimate what kind of structural damage may have been caused, and have a game plan set to counteract any problems that could have come from it.

-Land as soon as possible. You can't see everything from the cockpit and there may be damage unseen to you. 

-Be cautious, but never panic. I can't stress this enough, don't stress!! This is when your flying will be negatively affected. 

-Report the bird strike. You won't get in trouble, birds can be impossible to avoid in many cases so it's likely not your fault. Report it to a controller if you're in controlled airspace or other pilots if you're at an uncontrolled field. 

-Do a thorough inspection after landing and shutdown, but also have a mechanic verify it before releasing it back to fly. 

-After landing, report it to the FAA on the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. This is used for collecting statistics and understanding how we can mitigate further incidents. 

Bird strikes usually have a meniscal impact to the flight, but imagine other cases where they come through the windshield and have even hit the pilot(s). That's a scary thought, but at the end of the day you just have to FLY THE PLANE. Never panic, maintain control, and fly like you were taught too.

In other news, don't forget about the annual Globalair.com Scholarship! Applications close this month on August 15th. We'll be picking two recipients to help further their flight training towards a professional pilot career. 

Questions or comments to add to this article? Post below!

Disclosing Medical History On An FAA Application For Medical Certificate Is Not Limited To “Diagnoses”

If you have applied for an FAA medical certificate you know an applicant must complete FAA Form 8500-8GG via MedXPress and answer the questions on the form.  The FAA uses the information disclosed on the application to determine whether an airman is qualified to hold a medical certificate issued under 14 C.F.R. Part 67.
Question 18 asks for information regarding various medical conditions and circumstances that could have an impact on an airman’s medical qualification.  The preamble to Question 18 asks the applicant in all caps whether he or she has “EVER IN YOUR LIFE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH, HAD, OR DO YOU PRESENTLY HAVE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING?”  The airman is required to answer “yes” or “no” and, if “yes”, he or she must provide an explanation to the FAA.
Unfortunately, some airmen get hung up on the word “diagnosed” and either ignore or fail to consider the broader wording in the rest of the question. An example of this situation occurred in the case of Administrator v. Smith.
In Smith, the airman failed to disclose certain medications he was prescribed for fatigue and depression.  And in response to Question 18(m) (asking about depression), the airman checked “no.”  After the aviation medical examiner (“AME”) issued a medical certificate to the airman, the FAA learned about the medications.  It also discovered that one of the conditions for which the medications were prescribed was depression.  Not suprisingly, the FAA was not pleased.
Consistent with Order 2150.3C, FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program, the FAA revoked all of the airman’s certificates for violation of 14 C.F.R. § 67.403(a)(1) (intentional falsification).  After a hearing, the National Transportation Safety Board Administrative Law Judge affirmed the FAA’s order of revocation.
On appeal to the full Board, the airman argued, among other things, that he did not know he had been diagnosed with a mental disorder because his doctors didn’t share their formal diagnosis with him.  However, the Board rejected this argument.
The Board held the airman’s argument improperly attempted to narrow the scope of the preamble to Question 18 and, specifically, Question 18(m) (asking about “mental disorders of any sort; depression, anxiety, etc.”).  The Board stated

[i]t is clear from the text of the form and both versions of the accompanying instructions, that item 18(m) is not limited to a formal diagnosis.  Rather, any medical “condition” is to be reported.  The existence of an underlying condition is not dependent on [the airman] being told the formal diagnosis or condition.

It went on to conclude that even if the airman was not told of the formal diagnosis, he was still aware of an underlying condition for which he sought treatment.  As a result, the airman’s checking the box “no” in response to Question 18(m) was a false statement, and a violation of the regulations.
Unfortunately, this situation occurs more often then it should.  And the FAA’s response to falsification is predictable and unforgiving: revocation of all certificates.
When you are applying for a medical certificate, it is important that you read the questions carefully.  If you are concerned about whether something should be disclosed, do your research first.  Talk to your AME before you go in for your examination.  Or talk to an experienced aviation attorney who can help you understand the question and determine whether your circumstances require you to check the “yes” box.

The 5 Most Expensive Private Jets on the Market in 2020

While multiple modes of transportation are available in the United States, business aviation ranks among the most important for companies and the affluent alike. The demand for private jets stems not only from the comfortability provided by the aircraft but also from its ability to help reach a variety of markets. Seen as more of a business tool than simply an aircraft, private jets offer a space that can easily be utilized as an office, conference room, or even a bedroom dependent on the user's needs.

Private aviation also represents one of the most luxurious modes of transportation available. Those who can afford the cost of owning and operating a jet see it as more than just an expensive aircraft, they see it as a portrayal of their social status.

From athletes to movie stars, A-list celebrities desire an A-list aircraft to travel in. The cost of this class of aircraft can range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. And no, that does not include the cost of operating the jet.

Of course, the amenities of aircraft held to such a high standard come with a hefty price tag. Here are five of the most expensive private jets on the market.

 

 

Gulfstream G650ER  - $71 million


Courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace

 

 

The Gulfstream G650ER boasts a price tag of $71 million. With a range of more than 7,500 nm and a striking interior made from luxurious leathers, elegant wooden veneers, and handcrafted stonework, its no surprise that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, would make the G650ER his private jet of choice.

Currently, the G650ER holds the record for the farthest fastest flight in business aviation history, allowing it to set new standards for comfort, functionality, and safety. It is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in the world at its highest speed of 607 miles per hour.

The spacious cabin is also designed to be the quietest in business aviation. Sixteen panoramic oval windows fill the cabin with natural light and stunning views of the world below.

Elon Musk is a tech giant with a net worth of $41.1 billion as of 2020. Musk lives in a world surrounded by advanced technology, and he expects his G650ER to be the same. On the inside, this private just is equipped with advanced fly-by-wire technology and streamlined displays of the PlaneView II flight deck to increase safety and reduce pilot workload. The cabin is even entirely customizable and can be controlled using a smartphone app.

 

Bombardier Global 7500 - $72 million


Courtesy of Bombardier

 

The Global 7500 is one of the world’s largest and longest-range business jets on the market. Known for its luxurious interior, the Global 7500 is easily worth its price tag of $72 million.

With an industry-leading 7,700 nm range, a top speed of Mach 0.925, and exceptional short-field performance, the 7500 is practically unrivaled. If the allure of the words “ultimate long-range private jet” don’t entice you, then maybe the full dining table, luxury window seating, and private bedroom will.

Niki Lauda, a Formula 1 world champion, was one of the first to receive the Global 7500. Though a loyal client of Bombardier for many years, Lauda particularly liked the Global 7500 due to its elegant design and abundance of natural light. This jet can be hard to find, with few on the market today.

Unlike any other business jet on the market, the Global 7500 features The Nuage seats, the first new seat architecture in business aviation in almost 30 years. Designed with the intent to bring the comfort of luxury home seating into the cabin, the seat offers three key features unavailable on any other seat in business aviation: deep recline, floating base, tilting headrest.

Bombardier Pũr Air is offered on the Global 7500 with an advanced HEPA filter that captures up to 99.99% of allergens, bacteria, and viruses while completely replacing the cabin air with fresh air in as little as 90 seconds. Available exclusively on Global aircraft, Bombardier Pũr Air delivers cleaner air with better humidity and quicker heating and cooling than 100% fresh air only systems.

Bombardier’s Global 7500 has become the first in business aviation to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) from the International EPD System based in Sweden. The EPD allows for full environmental transparency about the Global 7500, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption, and other environmental impact indicators. Bombardier believes this aircraft will help cut down on the environmental impact of aviation, and they’re not afraid to prove it.

 

Dassault Falcon 8X - $59 million


Courtesy of Dassault

 

The Dassault Falcon 8X is an amazingly fast aircraft, capable of flying at a speed of 0.90 Mach to a distance of 6,450 nm without refueling. Improved wing design and new powerplant make this business jet 35% more economical than any other ultra-long-haul aircraft on the market. The Falcon 8X has a suggested retail price of $59 million.

While the Falcon 8X has a lower cost than the other four aircraft on the list, there are many unique amenities on this private jet that make it one of the most expensive on the market. For instance, its unique three-engine scheme helps to shorten transoceanic routes. The 8X gets you where you are going faster.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is no stranger to the world of private jets. In fact, he owns at least 3 private jets as of today. Gates just had to get his hands on the Falcon 7X, the predecessor to the 8X due to Dassault’s reputation for having the most advanced jets on the market. He’ll undoubtedly be looking for an upgrade to the 8X before long.

Offering the longest cabin in the Falcon family, the Falcon 8X will become your personal penthouse at an altitude of 41,000 ft. More than 30 stunning cabin layout options are available, each including seating areas, kitchens, crew compartments, and showers.

The latest technology is at your fingertips in the Falcon 8X with the ability to control its functionality from anywhere in the cabin through your Apple device. You can even call up a virtual moving map of any area around you by simply pointing your iPad in the desired direction.

 

Boeing Business Jet MAX 8 - $85 million


Courtesy of Boeing

 

The BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) MAX 8 is a state-of-the-art, $85 million airliner turned private jet. The interior is an astounding 1,025 square feet. That means space for you and 49 of your closest friends. The sky is the limit on the different configurations, including a master suite with a California King bed, a walk-in closet, and a master bath with a double-size shower and heated marble floors.

The BBJ MAX 8 has a range of 6,640nm and can cruise at an airspeed of 449 kn (832 km/h). Despite being larger and more capable than previous models of BBJ aircraft, the BBJ MAX has a 13% lower fuel burn and lower emissions, thanks to its CFM LEAP-1B engines and advanced winglets.

An interior cabin concept presented by Boeing for the BBJ MAX featured a ‘spaceship sleek’ design, including starlight detailing on the cabin ceiling. With the generous cabin space offered by this business jet, it allows you to create an office or home in the sky.

It's understandable why Steven Spielberg, famed film director, and producer, would choose the BBJ as his personal aircraft. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, he could easily own multiple of these private jets. However, he chooses to share ownership with fellow film producer and good friend Jeffrey Katzenberg.

While capable of offering luxurious seating for 50 people, the majority of clients opt to accommodate less. Instead, they take advantage of the space and implement board rooms, dining rooms, or master suites to get much-needed rest.

Boeing also offers a special panoramic window as an option on the BBJ MAX 8. Measuring 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet, the window allows a generous amount of natural light into the cabin, while at the same time offering beautiful views of the ground below.

 

Airbus ACJ320neo - $95 million


Courtesy of Airbus

 

Coming in at an astounding base price of $95 million, the ACJ320neo changed the game for airlines and is now making waves in the private jet industry. This private jet delivered lower operating costs and increased efficiency than previous Airbus A320 models. New engines and aerodynamically friendly sharklet wingtips aid in reducing fuel consumption and providing additional range.

Considering it has the widest and tallest cabin in the industry at 3 times the space of a large traditional jet, it only makes sense that the elite of the elite would seek out this aircraft for business use.

With private jet owners spending many hours on the aircraft, they must find time to relax during the flight. Airbus offers the Melody Cabin, focusing on providing an attractive environment that is both quieter and better adapted to providing sound and vision in a “home cinema” setting.

What truly sets the ACJ320neo apart from the commercial model is right within the name, with “Neo” being an acronym for new engine option. These new engine options include the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A.

The ACJ320neo’s head of state, VIP interior can seat 25 passengers and 6 crew with an approximate range of 6,000nm, connecting city pairs such as London and Beijing as well as Moscow and Los Angeles.

 

These private jets were created with the elite in mind. Across the world, they represent wealth and power to socialites and business owners alike. Functioning as more than just a mode of transportation, these aircraft act as apartments, offices, entertainment spaces, and more for the wealthy. Needless to say, it’s expensive to be rich.

4 Tips for Safer Summer Flying

There's no doubt about it, summertime is hot and it feels like it gets hotter every year this time around. 

You walk out to go preflight and just feel the heat wave take over you. As a CFI in Texas I feel this all too often this summer, so I wanted to share some tips on how to overcome it and make sure you don't put yourself in a dangerous scenario.

Pictured above is a photo I took flying above the Houston coastline the other day, and then edited it to make it look like I'm flying somewhere like Hawaii instead.

You have to know how to finesse the system my friends.

The relevance of this photo is that I took it on one of my last flights of the day and this was actually around sunset. All day I had been drinking a ton of water and before going up for this flight ran out and didn't have any left at the flight school. I decided "oh, it's okay I'll be fine. The temperature is starting to cool off now anyways."

Well, I was fine. But on this flight I did land close to exceeding my personal minimums. Preflight was hot enough to do without having a sip of water here and there, coupled with the fact that as a CFI our job is basically to talk the entire flight. I remember taking this photo while in the middle of a ground reference maneuver and realizing how much I was still sweating and how quickly I really wished I had water with me. So tip #1:

Bring. Enough. Water.

-Not just A bottle of water, but enough to last throughout the entire flight. I also remember being on a cross country last summer and running out of water in the middle of the flight. It was about 35 degrees Celsius outside and about an hour into being out of water I started to feel slightly dizzy and have a blur in vision. It was a very very faint dizziness and change in vision, but I knew it wouldn't be long before it got worse. Luckily I was near my home airport and landed shortly after, but what if I wasn't? what if I had 200 miles left to go? This could have easily turned into an emergency had the problem persisted. Don't let the Macho attitude take over and make you feel like you can overcome anything. Bring water, bring food, make sure you're well rested...all those aeromedical factors need to be addressed before EVERY flight and taken seriously. 

Pack Windshield Cleaner

-Summertime is when all the bugs like to come back out. Love bugs, mosquitoes, lightning bugs, you name it. They hit the windshield and leave guts everywhere. Make sure the windshield is clean before you fly, and if for some reason it builds up too much during flight then land at a nearby airport and clean it off. Bug spots seem so minuscule but they're important in looking for traffic and can easily be a risk factor. A good tip is if you have trouble getting spots off, don't scrub the windshield harder. Let the cleaner sit on the problem area for a minute or two and then it will wipe right off. 

Do Your Performance Calculations

-Remember that the hotter it is outside, the worse your airplane will perform. It causes your density altitude to increase, and factors such as fuel burn, takeoff, and landing distances will increase. If you're pushing fuel minimums, have a short runway, or especially an obstacle to clear after takeoff these numbers are extremely important. 

Prepare for More Air Traffic

-Even though our planes perform better in the wintertime, people just don't like to fly as much when it's cold. Summertime is when not only airlines are at their peak travel season (outside of corona times) but also general aviation. One thing to talk about here is the new requirement of ADS-B Out this year as of January. While there is the requirement of ADS-B Out there is NOT the requirement of ADS-B In, meaning you don't have to be able to receive the signal of other planes to display on your map screen (ex through syncing an iPad with ForeFlight and seeing it there).   

the busier the skies are, the safer it is to start using ADS-B In. If you can't see them physically then at least you can see them on a screen (like a redneck version of TCAS is what I jokingly say) to avoid them. If you'll be flying this summer, take all the precautions you can to help see and avoid traffic. While midair collisions are rare, they are possible. 

In conclusion, summertime flying is fun and should definitely be enjoyed but with good caution. Never just go out and fly the plane without doing a thorough flight plan and risk assessment. 

Have any tips to add for summertime flying? The more we have the safer we are! Feel free to comment below. 

 

Concepts to Think About When Using Flaps

A hilarious but actually really important concept featured above in this meme. I can't say how many times a student has done this with me in the plane on a go around, once about 8 feet above the runway where I had to immediately take controls to avoid slamming back in the pavement. 

If I could create a national movement about bringing flaps up in increments always, I would. I'd be extra dramatic and have t-shirts made, posters, a Facebook group...the whole 9 yards. 

But, let's talk about some concepts here. WHY is it dangerous for flaps to be brought up or down all at once???

Flaps serve several purposes for flying and can affect the plane in multiple ways:

  1. they change the camber of the wing, so when you bring them down they increase lift
    1. because they're changing the camber they also decrease stall speed (therefore it becomes harder to stall the plane)
  2. although they increase lift, drag is also increased
  3. when coming in to land, descent angle is increased without increasing airspeed
  4. as flaps are brought up, lift and drag are decreased back to normal

Pictured below is the concept of descent angle using flaps:

In all 3 scenarios constant airspeed and constant power is kept (so the nose isn't pushed down more to compensate, and power is also not taken out) and as more flaps are added the plane is able to reach the runway at an earlier touchdown point.

All of this is taken into account in the factor of why we teach to never just put in or take out all of your flaps at once.

To simplify these terms, let's say that we're coming in to land on final. You realize on short final you forgot to put in any flaps so you hit the switch to put them all down. If flaps increase lift, this means your nose is going to pop up and you're going to have to counteract it by pushing back down. BUT because it increased that lift in that time span, now you're going to land farther down the runway because it increased your altitude! This is an important concept to avoid, however a trick where you can use this to your advantage is if you lost your engine and need an extra 40-50 feet to make your landing point. Dump all the flaps in at once! Practice a power off 180 in the pattern one day and don't put in any flaps until short final, them dump them all in and you'll see what this does. It's actually very cool. 

Now let's say we're coming in to land and about 10 feet above the runway (so pretty low) another plane crosses the runway in front of us. If we continue the landing, bad things happen so therefore we execute a go around.

On the go around our steps are:

-full power

-carb heat off (if carb heat was on)

-ONE knotch of flaps comes up

-wait for positive rate of climb (+VSI), then 2nd and 3rd knotches of flaps come out in increments.

The reason this happens is because let's say we're on our very initial climb out above the runway and I hit all the flaps to come up at once. All that lift is immediately lost, therefore the nose sinks down. You can counteract this by pulling the yoke back of course but it has to be at such a fast right that you'll stall. So, if you execute a go around the WRONG WAY like this then basically you'll come back down to a not-so-soft touchdown on the runway. 

For all the readers out there who have seen Surf's Up (the world's best Disney movie) and remember Chicken Joe, think to yourself to be like Chicken Joe when you fly. For those who have not seen it....I'm sorry for what you're missing. Chicken Joe is always very relaxed, never panics, and does everything smooth when he surfs. On a go around when you're reaching for that flap switch to bring it straight up, think about Chicken Joe. What would Chicken Joe do? He'd be smooth and take them out in increments. Be like Chicken Joe.

To conclude everything, flaps have multiple functions and affects on the aerodynamics of the airplane. Understand these concepts before you use them, because if you don't understand what's happening then you could be putting yourself in danger. 

Always fly smooth, never panic when you fly, and no matter what maintain positive control of the airplane. This is what makes safe pilots. 

For those sitting at home waiting out this pandemic, itching to fly again, check out the other posts and features on our home page for some interesting reads. Stay safe out there and to our fellow pilots, the industry is only going to get better after the pandemic is over. Keep your heads up!

Questions and/or comments? Let us know below!

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