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3 Things Writing Has Taught Me

by Lydia Wiff 15. May 2016 08:00
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As the academic year is now over, I’ve been reflecting on the last several months and where I am today versus nine months ago.  More specifically, how writing for the Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation Scholarship has taught me three things:  good writing takes (lots of) practice, writing promotes learning, and writing takes you places.

#1: Good Writing Takes (Lots of) Practice

I remember those first initial essays I ever wrote – my parents marked them all over with notes, enough to make one seriously doubt that writing was their thing.  I went on to take classes in writing, work with professional editors, and with many professors for various classes.  Long story short, good writing takes (lots of) practice.

Just how much practice?  Consider this: every time I write an essay, article, or research paper, I edit it.  No matter how much, or how often I write, I always print off a copy and mark it up with a pen or pencil.  I’ve written thousands of words over the last five years, but I still make many mistakes.  It could be grammar, sentence structure, facts, punctuation, etc.  Even now, as a “veteran” writer, I still find myself writing outlines, trying to gather my thoughts, and reformatting articles (even now, I’m trying to decide if I should reword this sentence…)

Just when I think I’ve got a handle on this writing business, I find myself mulling over what topic to cover next in my bi-weekly blogging.  I try to brainstorm a list of topics, which I inevitably write about and then need more.  I really don’t think any one person can master how to write well, but I’ve had a lot of fun practicing.

#2: Writing Promotes Learning

If you’re a student reading this article, you’re probably rolling your eyes because the last thing you want to do is study more.   I can relate because after writing papers for your classes, applying for scholarships and more, you might be sick of writing.  However, let’s consider how writing promotes learning.

I’m a prolific note taker when it comes to academics – I do most of my note taking by hand on the PowerPoints, on notebook, paper, and sometimes on my laptop.  Writing about what I’m hearing forces me to structure the information into short sentences that get to the point.  Sometimes this doesn’t always go as plan because I’ll come back to my notes later and can’t for the life of me figure out what I was saying.  Overall though, rewriting my notes, or taking them by hand, goes a long ways in comprehension of a subject matter.

Another way writing promotes learning is through exploring new subjects.  For instance, some of my past blog topics came about as a result of wanting to learn more about a particular subject such as the new Student Pilot Certificate rules, or new pieces of legislation affecting different segments of the aerospace industry.  I find that I’m much more informed on a subject when I actually write about it.

So, while you may shudder at writing to promote learning, just think of it as telling your best friend a story.

#3: Writing Takes You Places

Writing takes you places – maybe that seems too good to be true, but I can promise you it is.  Consider the following: job applications, resumes, cover letters, scholarship applications, and academic classes.  All of these require writing and they all can take you places such as a new job, money for your education, and a way to earn your degree – the possibilities are endless.

With GlobalAir.com, I’ve found a creative outlet, a scholarship curator job, and a way to hone my writing skills.  I’ve used my writing skills many times over for scholarship applications, class research projects, and much more.  I honestly didn’t think I’d be paid to write about my passion for aviation – the Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation Scholarship became my opportunity to pour my passion for aviation onto paper and pushed me to develop my professional writing skills while putting myself through school. 

I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my skills as a writer and the willingness to develop them.  If there is one piece of advice I could pass on to students it would be to practice, practice, practice – we’ll always be writing and there is no time like the present to get started.

Now, get out there and write!

Do you know a student in aviation (really, any facet) that has a passion for writing? 

Globalair.com is pleased to announce the opening for application submissions for the Globalair.com “Calvin L. Carrithers” Aviation Scholarship.  The scholarship is offered to all students who are currently enrolled in an accredited university or college aviation program for the 2016-2017 academic year.            

After a successful launch of the inaugural Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation scholarship program in 2014, students from around the country have benefited from the scholarship.  In the 2015-2016 academic year, students from University of North Dakota, Florida Institute of Technology and Eastern Kentucky University were chosen as recipients.  Each year four students are awarded the scholarship that entails writing weekly blog posts sharing their flight training or aviation management experiences while being awarded a scholarship of $250 twice a semester, equaling a total award of $1,000.

Interested students should apply at https://www.globalair.com/scholarships/ before August 10, 2016 to be considered.



Keeping your FBO customers happy

by Joe McDermott 4. May 2016 16:57
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Whether you run a small regional airport GA FBO or a major BizAv corporate facility there are many things you can do to keep your customers happy, be they crew, owners or trip support providers.

Here are just a few often over looked areas worth considering:

Billing: Must always be prompt, transparent and complete. Airport fees such as landing, parking and security fees should be clearly displayed as such, ideally shown as a sub item, right up the top. FBO fees should always be accompanied by a full description. Third party fees, such as catering, taxis, chauffeurs etc. again should be in one section & accompanied by a full description. If a flight department or trip support service provider supplies special billing instructions they should be followed. Nothing is worse for a crew (billing wise that is) or trip support provider than a late or incomplete invoice. For the FBO, it can result in late payment, part payment and even loss of the customer. Every FBO needs to have a front line staff member in the billing loop as accounts department staff very often do not have any understanding of what happens on the ramp and probably could not care less. Almost every FBO I have consulted for was found to be losing out on significant revenue due to a disconnect between the services provided by the ramp agents and the accounts department processing of the bill.

Aircraft: All aircraft owners or flight crew are concerned about their aircraft while left on the ramp or in the hangar. Security, hangar rash (minor incidents involving damage to aircraft that typically originate due to improper ground handling in and around a hangar, other aircraft or objects on the ground) and FOD are a constant consideration. A well kept hangar and tidy ramp will always be noticed by pilots and will instil confidence.

Ramp staff: Your front line defence! Well trained, courteous and knowledgeable staff will always stand out. Clean, tidy and with matching uniforms suitably selected for ramp operations will catch the eye but also ensure your team are provided proper PSE and always ware/carry it.

Customer service: “Going the extra mile” is often cited as the mark of a good customer orientated operation. Frankly, the simple things come first, reading, understanding, confirming and carrying out the handling request instructions. Have everything in place and be ahead of the curve at all times. Get all of this right and it’s a great start. When the customer throws a curve ball, that’s when your team need to be able to fall back on training, back office contacts lists, excellent communication and a will to source a solution. Sometimes the customer will be unreasonable, looking for something that is just unavailable or not possible at that time. This is when team members get the chance to either pull out all the stops to comply with such a request or to fully explain why the request cannot be fulfilled and to explore all the alternatives. Above all, staff should try to anticipate clients needs, learn what specific clients likes, dislikes and patterns are for future reference.

Pet hates: Owners or passengers can react badly to staff for what they may see as over familiarization, inattentiveness, sloppiness, unkempt dress, cheap aftershave/perfumes or abrupt manner. Handling their baggage with due consideration is paramount. If an owner takes a dislike to a member or members of staff it can cause all kind of problems and can lead to a change of FBO and loss of business.

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Keep Your Banker Happy

by David Wyndham 4. May 2016 13:19
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Financing rates for loans and leases are very low. Yet it isn't easy to get financing and the paperwork can be daunting. If you are looking for a lease or a loan for an aircraft, here are a few tips to help you help your financier.

Educate your financier as to how your lease or loan is a great risk. There is plenty of money to lend and financial institutions want and need to do business. They need to do transactions, but they also need to carefully manage their risk. It is up to you to provide them the information they need demonstrating you are a good credit risk. That means lots of financials of course. But is also means that the individual you are working with needs to understand your business.  Much of the decision is based on analytics, but there is room for judgment.

Your local banker with whom you have had a long term business relationship may be more likely to support your need for financing, even if they don't know much about aviation. Educate them on the lower depreciation that aircraft have relative to other transportation forms. Yes, since 2008 aircraft resale values have not fared well, but relative to trucks, they are a much better risk with a much longer life. That may not be obvious to your banker.

Pick your aircraft like a banker or risk manager. New aircraft are easier to finance, but older aircraft do get financing. Turbine financing rule of thumb: aircraft age at the start of the lease/loan plus the length of the term should not exceed 15 years. Example: your should be able to get a five year term on a 10-year old aircraft. Don't expect the five-year term on the age 20 aircraft. Also expect to put 20% down on the loan - more if the aircraft is older. That down payment is the cushion the banker needs to keep what is owed well under what the outstanding debt is at any time.

Reducing financial risk also means that the banker will favor, or even require, a guaranteed hourly maintenance program on at least the engines. This is routine with leases. Lease return conditions generally require all components have at least 50% of their useful life remaining or you pay a detriment adjustment. The engine guaranteed hourly maintenance program both covers the time to overhaul adjustment plus makes the returned aircraft at lease-end more popular in the resale market, either in another lease or as a sale.

Plan on time to research and secure your financing. Talk to your banker early in the acquisition process and see what information they will need. You may need to check out several sources. One banker that deals with turbine equipment up to $5 million in value isn't likely to want to do a deal on a new mid-size business jet. Know who and what your options are.

There are a lot of financial uncertainties in any time. Right now the oil/energy markets, China, the Middle-East, and the US election are in the front of their anxieties. When looking for financing or a lease, don't add to them! And yes, cash is and always will be King. 



David Wyndham | Leasing

Taking out the Guesswork

by GlobalAir.com 4. May 2016 09:47
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By Adam Doyle – Paint and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

For a customer, a large paint and interior project can be very intimidating. In many cases, the aircraft is not planned to look anything like it does when it comes into the shop. However, when doing a project with a major paint and interior work scope, it is critical that there are minimal surprises along the way.

With a mid sized jet or larger, it is impossible to imagine what your paint and interior will look like without help from your paint and interior team. A good team can put projects together on the front end so you can visualize your custom aircraft interior from day one. In addition to visualizing your aircraft, a good team will have everything taken care of for you from ease of communication, to having materials in stock and ready to review.

3D Software
There are programs that are focused on having full 3D renderings of what your interior will look like before you start the project. You pick a variety of materials, woodwork samples, leathers, plating and you are able to have a really good handle on what your aircraft will look like upon completion. Our proprietary system, Envision 2.0, even lets you virtually walk around the cabin and compare different materials in real time.

Materials In Stock
As paint and interior professionals we know that even with advanced technology, it is essential to actually have material on hand to get the most accurate representation possible. A reputable shop will have a large catalog of options for you to choose. That way you don’t just get to see it, but you get to feel it and understand the unique qualities that leather or material may posses.

Design Expertise
The problem that many people may have is that there are TOO many options. That’s why it is important to have a team of designers to really understand your preferences and help guide you through the process. Aircraft paint and interior designers follow all of the latest trends not only in color, but in things like LED lighting, ink-resistant ultra leather, custom carpets and new seat designs. They cannot only save you a lot of time and headache trying to come up with designing a modern cabin.

Paint Chips and Spray Outs
As certain colors like metallics are impossible to properly visualize on a screen, your shop should be able to aid you with paint chips and spray outs. This would be very important to doing something like matching the colors of a logo, or seeing the color-changing effects of a chromalusion stripe. You can also request multiple so you can see how multiple colors will look together on your aircraft.

Improved Communication Flow
During the project, communication is key. A good shop will not only give you a single point of contact Customer Service Representative, but allow you access to talk directly with the technicians that do the work. This helps the customer to get detailed technical questions answered to help them make a more informed decision. It is also critical that your representatives respond to you in a timely manner. You are paying a lot of money and may have uncertainties. A good team will make sure that when your project is in house, you are the number one priority.

Summing it All Up
As aircraft professionals, we all understand that when going into a major paint and interior refurbishment you have many uncertainties. It is our job to try and not only address all of them up front, but to be proactive about any issues that may arise along the way. During the project, you need proper communication to make sure everything turns out better than you could even imagine.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at www.elliottaviation.com

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I Toured the UPS Worldport and it Changed my Life

by Tori Williams 1. May 2016 18:53
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One of the major perks of attending the only flight university in Kentucky is that we have a great relationship with UPS. Seeing as their worldwide air hub is located about an hour and a half down the road, it only makes sense that a partnership was created and has been growing for several years now.

I consider myself a Kentucky girl and anyone from here knows what a huge deal UPS is for our state. Most of the pilots who are training at EKU that are originally from Kentucky started their piloting education because UPS inspired them. It is hard to miss a giant Airbus, MD-11, or Boeing 747 flying through the air on any given day in UPS livery.

They allow a group of students from EKU Aviation to come tour once a year. Getting into the Worldport was a big deal. We each had to provide personal information so that they knew exactly who was on the premises at what time. Our tour began at 10:00 PM on a Friday night and lasted until 3:00 AM because they wanted us to be there during their “rush hour,” so we could see everything in action.

We met our point of contact and tour guide in the parking lot and he ushered us into the building that was clearly designed for touring groups. Large dramatic photos depicting their fleet and operations hung from the walls and a screen showed a live feed of where all of their planes were currently positioned. The first impression that this place gives off is awe-inspiring. We all checked in and filed into the next room where they had models of all of their aircraft types. Our guide gave us a quick overview of the planes and their capacities. Our group knew a little bit more about airplanes than a typical group would so he told us some mechanical facts too.

You could tell that the people who were in charge of public relations were the best of the best. They were courteous, friendly, professional, and seemed to really love their jobs. Their enthusiasm for sharing the UPS Worldport with us was amazing and they continually encouraged us to someday join their company as pilots or employees in another capacity. This was a huge deal for most everyone on the tour, who has an end-goal of flying for UPS.

They showed us a video presentation about their production capacity and it literally gave me chills. They have the capacity to process 416,000 packages per hour, and process an average of 1.6 million packages a day. They turn over approximately 130 aircraft daily, and they keep 2.5 million gallons of fuel on site. During their peak season they will use all of that fuel during one 4-hour period. These are just a few of the quick facts that they presented on the video.

After the video we split the group in half, and one half went to tour the Worldport while the other half went to fly the simulators. I ended up being in the group that did the simulators first, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I have had in aviation yet. They took us to the training building and we got to fly in the Airbus A300. All five of us fit comfortably in the simulator because it was as large as a room. There was the part for the pilot and co-pilot, a large chair with controls on it for the simulator operator, and two jump seats in the back for observers.

The simulator was full motion so everyone could feel every control input. I flew in the captain seat first and he guided me on how to takeoff, fly to some headings and eventually fly an ILS down to the runway. It was so amazing applying everything I have learned from my training thus far to try to understand the complex systems of the A300. Just as my experience from flying a RJ simulator a few years back taught me, using the trim was extremely helpful and necessary for flying this beast.

After we flew in the simulators the instructors offered to write the time in our logbooks. I am so happy to say that I now have actual simulator time logged flying the A300! We thanked our instructors and headed off to the maintenance hangar. They had the 747 and an A300 sitting in this maintenance hangar that appeared to go on forever. We did a walk around of the A300 and they pointed out a few interesting features. The one that fascinated me the most was the large red dot that was located under the tail. Our guide told us that during the preflight inspection, pilots look to see if any of the paint on this red dot was scraped off. If it was, the previous flight had a tail strike!

From here we went out to the actual ramp and road around in a tour bus to see different phases of the operation. With a steady stream of flights coming in as our background, we saw employees unloading the giant containers of packages and transporting them to the package sorting area. They stopped the tour bus where we had a perfect view of the active runway. UPS planes were landing every two minutes, touching down only a few yards away from where we were. It was so fast and high-energy that we could not help but stare in awe for as long as they would let us stay.

Our tour of this side of the Worlport ended with us walking around the package sorting area. This particular part of the premises has been on television specials such as Modern Marvels, Ultimate Factories, and many more to showcase how it is the number one most efficient factory of its type in the world. I could write an entire article just about this place. It boasts over 100 miles of conveyer belts and takes up an area equal to more than 90 football fields. There was so much going on that it made my head spin. They have truly perfected the monumental task of sorting and tracking thousands of packages every minute.

We got back in our bus and headed to the Global Operation Center (GOC) across the road. This building contains offices for crew scheduling, flight dispatch, maintenance control, contingency functions, and their meteorology department. The operations here control every UPS flight worldwide. It was amazing how every department was situated in the same room, so that if something were to happen in flight dispatch that needed assistance from crew scheduling, they only had to walk a few feet away and talk to the person in charge of that department. Perhaps most importantly, they have an entire meteorology department located about 10 feet away from the flight dispatchers.

They gave us a briefing on each of the functions of the departments and allowed us into the main room after an intense security screening. The lights were very dim so that employees would keep their voices down and have an easier time focusing. There was no photography allowed at this point of the tour and it was a very serious environment. The safe and successful operation of their entire fleet was dependent on the people in this room so it gave us all a bit of a tense feeling.

Although it was almost 3:00 AM at this point, I was wide-awake from all of the amazing things I had seen during our tour. UPS is truly one of the most advanced and efficient companies in the world. I was continually blown away by their innovation and professionalism in all aspects of their operations. I hope that some day I am able to work for UPS, or any company of such high caliber. It truly changed the way that I see possibilities for the future and what a passionate group of hard workers are capable of achieving.

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Airlines | Aviation Technology | Airports | Tori Williams

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