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My Festive Gift to You!

by Jeremy Cox 1. November 2005 00:00
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It's December, a very special month, therefore I will try and stop being controversial (last month's article certainly seamed to stir the pot!) As you can see from the symbol on the bottom of the home-page, the esteemed webmaster of this site, my virtual publisher is a fish-head while I personally hold more secular views. When I took three years of compulsory religious education at my school in England, I learn't that there are close to 6,000 different types of religion on this, our planet earth. Therefore no matter whether you are a Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, Atheist, Bahal, Buddhist, Confucianist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Mandean, Muslim, Shintoist, Sikh, Spiritist, Zoroastrian, Quaker, Druid or whatever, December is a very special month! From Hanukkah, to Christmas, to Kwanza or whatever you celebrate, it is in my opinion an excellent opportunity to overindulge in turkey, Christmas pudding, Stilton cheese and cheap French plonk and brandy. The shopkeepers also need this time to bring their businesses out of the red and into the black as we drive ourselves into frenzy by engaging in wanton and unnecessary consumerism! So how many socks does one need anyway? It is traditional in England to tell Ghost stories at the time of Christmas, while sitting around a burning Yule Log in the hearth (don't ask me why; I guess that the Victorians have a lot to answer for!?!) Anyway instead of giving you a Ghost Story, my festive gift to you is the ‘mother-load' of aviation related jokes. Hopefully these will bring warmth and festive cheer to your hearts during this important month of celebration. So here goes with my Christmas compendium and don't forget to toast me and my friends at Globalair when you are at a holiday party telling some of these stories:

Santa Claus, like all pilots, gets regular visits from the Federal Aviation Administration, and the FAA examiner arrived last week for the pre-Christmas flight check. In preparation, Santa had the elves wash the sled and bathe all the reindeer. Santa got his log book out and made sure all his paperwork was in order. He knew they would examine all his equipment and truly put Santa's flying skills to the test. The examiner walked slowly around the sled. He checked the reindeer harnesses, the landing gear, and even Rudolph's nose. He painstakingly reviewed Santa's weight and balance calculations for sled's enormous payload. Finally, they were ready for the check ride. Santa got in and fastened his seat belt and shoulder harness and checked the compass. Then the examiner hopped in carrying, to Santa's surprise, a shotgun. "What's that for?!?" asked Santa incredulously. The examiner winked and said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this ahead of time," as he leaned over to whisper in Santa's ear, "but you're gonna lose an engine on takeoff."


Overheard in the lounge of an FBO…..

"I was talking to the CFO earlier this week and he told me that our Citation X is so fast, the payments are three months behind!"

"Did you just come in with the Lear?" "Yea I did, Why?" "You know that your right engine was smoking?" "Well it's old enough, what of it?"


Biggles coming down in his parachute met an old lady floating on a cloud. "What-ho" shouted Biggles. "Have you seen my Spitfire going down somewhere around here?" "No" said he old lady. "Have you seen my Gas Heater going up?"


While cruising at 36,000 feet, the airplane shuddered, and a passenger looked out the window.
"Oh no!" he screamed, "One of the engines just blew up!"
Other passengers left their seats and came running over; suddenly the aircraft was rocked by a second blast as yet another engine exploded on the other side.
The passengers were in a panic now, and even the stewardesses couldn't maintain order. Just then, standing tall and smiling confidently, the pilot strode from the cockpit and assured everyone that there was nothing to worry about. His words and his demeanor seemed made most of the passengers feel better, and they sat down as the pilot calmly walked to the door of the aircraft. There, he grabbed several packages from under the seats and began handing them to the flight attendants.
Each crew member attached the package to their backs.
"Say," spoke up an alert passenger, "Aren't those parachutes?"
The pilot confirmed that they were.
The passenger went on, "But I thought you said there was nothing to worry about?"
"There isn't," replied the pilot as a third engine exploded. "We're going to get help."


A blind man was describing his favorite sport, parachuting. When asked how this was accomplished, he said that things were all done for him: "I am placed in the door with my seeing eye dog and told when to jump. My hand is placed on my release ring for me and out I go with the dog."

"But how do you know when you are going to land?" he was asked. "I have a very keen sense of smell, and I can smell the trees and grass when I am 300 feet from the ground" he answered.

"But how do you know when to lift your legs for the final arrival on the ground?" he was again asked. He quickly answered: "Oh, the dog's leash goes slack."


In the early 1930's, a farmer and his wife went to a fair. The farmer was fascinated by the airplanes and asked a pilot how much a ride would cost.

"$10 for 3 minutes," replied the pilot. "That's too much," said the farmer.

The pilot thought for a second and then said, "I'll make you a deal. If you and your wife ride for 3 minutes without uttering a sound, the ride will be free. But if you make a sound, you'll have to pay $10."

The farmer and his wife agreed and went for a wild ride. After they landed, the pilot said to the farmer, "I want to congratulate you for not making a sound. You are a brave man."

"Maybe so," said the farmer, "But I gotta tell ya, I almost screamed when my wife fell out."


"Squawks" are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews to fix before the next flight. Here are some squawks submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews.

(P) = Problem (S) = Solution
(P) Left inside main tire almost needs replacement

(S) Almost replaced left inside main tire
(P) Test flight OK, except autoland very rough

(S) Autoland not installed on this aircraft
(P) #2 Propeller seeping prop fluid

(S) #2 Propeller seepage normal - #1 #3 and #4 propellers lack normal seepage
(P) Something loose in cockpit

(S) Something tightened in cockpit
(P) Evidence of leak on right main landing gear

(S) Evidence removed
(P) DME volume unbelievably loud

(S) Volume set to more believable level
(P) Dead bugs on windshield

(S) Live bugs on order
(P) Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent

(S) Cannot reproduce problem on ground
(P) IFF inoperative

(S) IFF always inoperative in OFF mode (IFF-Identification Friend or Foe)
(P) Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick

(S) That's what they're there for
(P) Number three engine missing

(S) Engine found on right wing after brief search
(P) Aircraft handles funny

(S) Aircraft warned to straighten up, "fly right" and be serious
(P) Target Radar hums

(S) Reprogrammed Target Radar with the lyrics


You May Be A Redneck Pilot If...

... your stall warning plays "Dixie."

... your cross-country flight plan uses flea markets as check points.

... you think sectionals charts should show trailer parks.

... you've ever used moonshine as avgas.

... you have mud flaps on your wheel pants.

... you think GPS stands for going perfectly straight.

... your toothpick keeps poking your mike.

... you constantly confuse Beechcraft with Beechnut.

... just before impact, you are heard saying, "Hey y'all, watch this!"

... you have a black airplane with a big #3 on the side.

... you've ever just taxied around the airport drinking beer.

... you use a Purina feed bag for a windsock.

... you fuel your wizzbang 140 from a Mason jar.

... you wouldn't be caught dead flyin' a Grumman "Yankee."

... you refer to flying in formation as "We got ourselves a convoy!"

... there is a sign on the side of your aircraft advertising your septic tank service.

... when you are the owner of Red Neck Airlines and pilot of Redneck One.

... you subscribe to The Southern Aviator because of the soft paper!

... you have ever incorporated sheetrock into the repair of your aircraft.

... you have ever responded to ATC with the phrase "That's a big 10-4!"

... you typically answer female controllers with titles like "sugar" or "little darlin'."

... she responds with the words "Honey" or "Big guy" then she may be a redneck.

... you have ever used a relief tube as a spitoon.

... you glance down at your belt buckle to help you remember your N-number.

... you have ever tried to impress your girlfriend by buzzing her doublewide.

... the preprinted portion of your weight and balance sheet contains "Case of Bud."

... your go/no-go checklist includes the words "Skoal" or "Redman."


The 33 Greatest Lies in Aviation

1. I'm from the FAA and I'm here to help you.

2. Me? I've never busted minimums.

3. We will be on time, maybe even early.

4. Pardon me, ma'am, I seem to have lost my jet keys.

5 .I have no interest in flying for the airlines.

6. I fixed it right the first time, it must have failed for other reasons.

7. All that turbulence spoiled my landing.

8. I'm a member of the mile high club.

9. I only need glasses for reading.

10. I broke out right at minimums.

11. The weather is gonna be alright; it's clearing to VFR.

12. Don't worry about the weight and balance -- it'll fly.

13. If we get a little lower I think we'll see the lights.

14. I'm 22, got 6000 hours, a four year degree & 3000 hours in a Lear.

15. We shipped the part yesterday.

16. I'd love to have a woman co-pilot.

17. All you have to do is follow the book.

18. This plane outperforms the book by 20 percent.

19. We in aviation are overpaid, underworked and well respected.

20. Oh sure, no problem, I've got over 2000 hours in that aircraft.

21. I have 5000 hours total time, 3200 are actual instrument.

22. No need to look that up, I've got it all memorized.

23. Sure I can fly it -- it has wings, doesn't it?

24. We'll be home by lunchtime.

25. Your plane will be ready by 2 o'clock.

26. I'm always glad to see the FAA.

27. We fly every day -- we don't need recurrent training.

28. It just came out of annual -- how could anything be wrong?

29. I thought YOU took care of that.

30. I've got the field in sight.

31. I've got the traffic in sight.

32. Of course I know where we are.

33. I'm SURE the gear was down.


Classic Tower Conversations

"Air Force '45, it appears your engine has...oh, disregard...I see you've already ejected."

"Citation 123, if you quit calling me Center, I'll quit calling you twin Cessna."

"About three miles ahead, you've got traffic 12 o'clock, five miles."

"If you hear me, traffic no longer a factor."

"I am way too busy for anybody to cancel on me."

"You're gonna have to key the mic. I can't see you when you nod your head."

"It's too late for Louisville. We're going back to O'Hare."

"Put your compass on 'E' and get out of my airspace."

"Don't anybody maintain anything."

"Climb like your life depends on it...because it does."

"If you want more room, captain, push your seat back."

"For radar identification, throw your jumpseat rider out the window."

"Hello flight 56, if you hear me rock your wings.." "OK TOWER, IF YOU HEAR ME ROCK THE TOWER!!"

The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 on downwind to make a three-sixty. The pilot of the 727 complained, "Do you know it costs us two thousand dollars to make a three-sixty in this airplane?" Without missing a beat the controller replied, "Roger, give me four thousand dollars worth!"


Aviation Sayings

A fiberglass port-a-potty at Oshkosh with the message "I could have been a Glassair!" written on it?

"I would like to die in my sleep like my father did, not in screaming terror, like his passengers."

If God had meant man to fly, He would have given him more money or airplane tickets.

"Gravity always wins!"

You know you´re flying a Cessna when you have a bird strike and it is from behind!

747 on final approach at 1000' off the deck. First Officer asks Captain "Are you happy with the position of the landing gear, sir?" Captain reaches down, lowers the gear and lands safely.

Lost Cessna Pilot: "Big airport with a little Cessna 150 overhead, please identify yourself!"

A Landing is just controlled mid-air collision with a planet.

"I hate to wake up and find my co-pilot asleep"


A small two-seater Cessna 152 plane crashed into a cemetery early this afternoon in central Poland. Polish search and rescue workers have recovered 300 bodies so far and expect that number to climb as digging continues into the evening.


Aviations Misunderstood Alphabet

Tower - Do you have Charlie? - Negative, we left him back at the hanger!
Tower - Do you have Echo? - Negative, receiving you loud and clear!
Tower - Do you have Hotel? - Negative, We are staying with friends!
Tower - Do you have Juliet? - Negative, and please don't say anything to my wife!
Tower - Do you have Kilo? - Negative, but there are a couple roaches in the ashtray!
Tower - Do you have Mike? - Negative, I have a push-to-talk button and a headset!
Tower - Do you have Oscar? - Negative, but I'm expecting a nomination this year!
Tower - Do you have Papa? - Negative, but I wrote him a letter last week!
Tower - Do you have Romeo? - Negative, Negative! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Tower - Do you have Uniform? - Negative, just jeans and sweatshirt!
Tower - Do you have Victor? - Negative, Who is Victor?
Tower - Do you have X-ray? - Negative, my doctor wants a CAT Scan!
Tower - Do you have Whiskey? - Negative, not in last 8 hours, Am I not on assigned heading?


Takeoff's are optional. Landings are mandatory.

Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.

Speed is life, altitude is life insurance. No one has ever collided with the sky.

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man. Landing is the first!

Everyone knows a 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. But a 'great landing is one after which you can use the airplane again.

The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.

Was that a landing or were we shot down?

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

Trust your captain.... but keep your seat belt securely fastened.

Be nice to your first officer, he may be your captain at your next airline.

Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwind.

A pilot is a confused soul who talks about women when he's flying, and about flying when he's with a woman.

Try to keep the number of your landings equal to the number of your takeoffs.

There are old pilots, and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold, pilots!

Gravity never loses! The best you can hope for is a draw!

Gravity SUCKS!!


The Pilot's Prayer

Oh controller, who sits in tower
Hallowed be thy sector.
Thy traffic come, thy instructions be done
On the ground as they are in the air.
Give us this day our radar vectors,
And forgive us our TCA incursions (*)
As we forgive those who cut us off on final.
And lead us not into adverse weather,
But deliver us our clearances.


Aviation Sayings

My first wife didn't like to fly, either.
-- Gordon Baxter

That's not flying, that's just falling with style.
-- Woody, from the 1996 movie 'Toy Story,' regarding Buzz Lightyear.

Flying is learning to throw yourself at the ground, and miss.
-- Douglas Adams, 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.'

Landing on the ship during the daytime is like sex, it's either good or it's great. Landing on the ship at night is like a trip to the dentist, you may get away with no pain, but you just don't feel comfortable.
-- LCDR Thomas Quinn, USN.

Flying a plane is no different from riding a bicycle. It's just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.
-- Captain Rex Kramer, in the movie 'Airplane.'

We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?
Cockpit crew in the movie 'Airplane.'

Listen to the classic original cockpit conversation
The odds against there being a bomb on a plane are a million to one, and against two bombs a million times a million to one. Next time you fly, cut the odds and take a bomb.
-- Benny Hill

When the weight of the paper equals the weight of the airplane, only then you can go flying.
-- attributed to Donald Douglas (Mr. DC-n).

The bulk of mankind is as well equipped for flying as thinking.
-- Jonathon Swift
Which is now a more hopeful statement that Swift intended it to be.
-- Will Durant

If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music... and of aviation.
-- Tom Stoppard

My definition of an optimist has to be the Luftwaffe F-104 pilot who gave up smoking!
-- John Wiley

In response to how he checked the weather, "I just whip out my blue card with a hole in it and read what it says: 'When color of card matches color of sky, FLY!'"
-- Gordon Baxter

Instrument flying is an unnatural act probably punishable by God.
-- Gordon Baxter

Arguing with a pilot is like wrestling with a pig in the mud, after a while you begin to think the pig likes it.
-- Seen on a General Dynamics bulletin board

It doesn't do any good to stand on the airplane's brakes when you're already on your back!
-- Rex Thorp

Nothing said I had to crash.
-- R.A. Bob Hoover, after hitting a telephone wire and losing two feet of wing in his P-51.

Captain Oveur: "Ya ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey: "No sir, I've never been up in a plane before!
Captain Oveur: "Ya ever seen a grown man naked?
-- from the 1980 movie 'Airplane.'

Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?
-- Captain Oveur, from the 1980 movie 'Airplane.'

Doctor Rumack: "When are we going to be able to land?
Ted Striker: "I can't tell.
Doctor Rumack: "You can tell me, I'm a doctor.
Ted Striker: "I don't know.
Doctor Rumack: "Well, can't you take a guess?
Ted Striker: "Not for another two hours.
Doctor Rumack: "You can't take a guess for another two hours?
-- from the 1980 movie 'Airplane.'

Ted: "We're gonna have to come in pretty low on this approach.
Elaine: "Is that difficult?
Ted: "Well sure it's difficult. It's part of every textbook approach. It's just something you have to do ... when you land.
-- from the 1982 movie 'Airplane II, The Sequel.'

In the Alaska bush I'd rather have a two hour bladder and three hours of gas than vice versa.
-- Kurt Wien

Lady, you want me to answer you if this old airplane is safe to fly? Just how in the world do you think it got to be this old?
-- Jim Tavenner

I know, but this guy doing the flying has no airline experience at all. He's a menace to himself and everything else in the air. ... Yes, birds too.
-- Air Traffic Controller in the 1980 movie 'Airplane.'

They're beeping and they're flashing. They're flashing and they're beeping! I cant stand it anymore, they're blinking and they're flashing.
-- Buck Murdock, in the 1982 movie 'Airplane II, The Sequel.'

The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.
-- Mark Russell

[When asked why he was referred to as 'Ace']: Because during World War Two I was responsible for the destruction of six aircraft, fortunately three were enemy.
-- Captain Ray Lancaster, USAAF.

People think it would be fun to be a bird because you could fly. But they forget the negative side, which is the preening.
-- Jack Handey, 'Deep Thoughts from Saturday Night Live.'

You know they invented wheelbarrows to teach FAA inspectors to walk on their hind legs.
-- Marty Caidin

The light at the end of the tunnel is another airplanes landing light coming down head-on to the runway you are taking off from.
-- Robert Livingston, 'Flying The Aeronca.'

If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage/classic helicopter fly-ins?
-- Jim Tavenner

What is that mountain goat doing way up here in the clouds?
-- Gary Larson, in a well-known 'Farside' cartoon.

Death is just nature's way of telling you to watch your airspeed.
-- Anon.

Buttons . . . check. Dials . . . check. Switches . . . check. Little colored lights . . . check.
-- The Bill Waterson comic character Calvin, of 'Cavin and Hobbes.' fame.

Leader, bandits at 2 o'clock!
Roger; it's only 1:30 now—what'll I do ‘til then?
-- The Bill Waterson comic character Calvin, of 'Cavin and Hobbes.' fame.

It only takes five years to go from rumor to standard operating procedure.
-- Dick Markgraf

I've flown every seat on this airplane, can someone tell me why the other two are always occupied by idiots?
-- Don Taylor

When it comes to testing new aircraft or determining maximum performance, pilots like to talk about "pushing the envelope." They're talking about a two dimensional model: the bottom is zero altitude, the ground; the left is zero speed; the top is max altitude; and the right, maximum velocity, of course. So, the pilots are pushing that upper-right-hand corner of the envelope. What everybody tries not to dwell on is that that's where the postage gets canceled, too.
-- Admiral Rick Hunter, U.S. Navy.

Son, never ask a man if he is a fighter pilot. If he is, he'll let you know. If he isn't, don't embarrass him.
-- The Great Santini, in 'Get ready for a fighter pilot.'

Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that?
-- Captain Picard, from 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episode 'Booby Trap.'

MaCleod, since you've flown the SeaBee a lot you'll understand when I say it was the only airplane I ever owned that you could put in a dive, loose a cylinder and stall out!
-- Ernest K. Gann

I don't like flying because I'm afraid of crashing into a large mountain. I don't think Dramamine is going to help.
-- Kaffie, in the1992 movie 'A Few Good Men.'

It was 1977 and we were on an old DC8 Air Ceylon coming in to Colombo, Ceylon from Bangkok. The landing approach was pretty bumpy, but the biggest bump was saved for when we hit the tarmac - a massive shudder and shake - at least I hoped it was the runway.. We were soon however airborne again and climbing steeply when a voice with a heavy Indian accent came over the PA as follows:
I am sorry about the landing ladies and gentlemen, the pilot will now take over.
-- Tim Stuart, Great Aviation Quotes reader.

This time up in the Himalayas where we had been stranded for days. Each day we would head down to the airfield only to be told the plane could not take off. Finally on a day the weather was slightly better the chief of police informed us as follows:
The allocated pilot for today is the best pilot in Nepal, don't worry, he will take the risk.
-- Tim Stuart, Great Aviation Quotes reader.

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
-- G. K. Chesteron, 'Orthodoxy,' 1908.

Eagles may soar, but weasels never get sucked into jet air intakes
-- Anon.

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.
-- Douglas Adams, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.'

I am not afraid of crashing, my secret is . . . just before we hit the ground, I jump as high as I can.
-- Bill Cosby

This is an especially good time for you vacationers who plan to fly, because the Reagan administration, as part of the same policy under which it recently sold Yellowstone National Park to Wayne Newton, has "deregulated" the airline industry. What this means for you, the consumer, is that the airlines are no longer required to follow any rules whatsoever. They can show snuff movies. They can charge for oxygen. They can hire pilots right out of Vending Machine Refill Person School. They can conserve fuel by ejecting husky passengers over water. They can ram competing planes in mid-air. These innovations have resulted in tremendous cost savings which have been passed along to you, the consumer, in the form of flights with amazingly low fares, such as $29. Of course, certain restrictions do apply, the main one being that all these flights take you to Newark, and you must pay thousands of dollars if you want to fly back out.
-- Dave Barry, 'Iowa -- Land of Secure Vacations.'

As you know, birds do not have sexual organs because they would interfere with flight. [In fact, this was the big breakthrough for the Wright Brothers. They were watching birds one day, trying to figure out how to get their crude machine to fly, when suddenly it dawned on Wilbur. "Orville," he said, "all we have to do is remove the sexual organs!" You should have seen their original design.] As a result, birds are very, very difficult to arouse sexually. You almost never see an aroused bird. So when they want to reproduce, birds fly up and stand on telephone lines, where they monitor telephone conversations with their feet. When they find a conversation in which people are talking dirty, they grip the line very tightly until they are both highly aroused, at which point the female gets pregnant.
-- Dave Barry, 'Sex and the Single Amoebae.'

Firewall: (1) The part of the airplane specially designed to allow all heat and exhaust to enter the cockpit. (2) The act of pulling 69 inches of manifold pressure, out of an engine designed to pull 60.
-- Bob Stevens, 'There I Was'.

If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us tickets.
-- Mel Brooks

If God had really intended men to fly, He'd make it easier to get to the airport.
-- George Winters

In the space age, man will be able to go around the world in two hours -- one hour for flying and one hour to get to the airport.
-- Neil McElroy, 'Look' (1958).

In America there are two classes of travel -- first class, and with children.
-- Robert Benchley

Now I know what a dog feels like watching TV.
-- A DC-9 captain trainee attempting to check out on the "glass" A-320.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the very first Fokker airplane built in the world. The Dutch call it the mother Fokker.
-- custodian at the Aviodome aviation museum, Schiphol airport Amsterdam.

Flight Reservation Systems decide whether or not you exist. If your information isn't in their database, then you simply don't get to go anywhere.
-- Arthur Miller

United hired gentlemen with the expectation of training them to become pilots, Northwest hired pilots hoping to train them to become gentlemen. To date, despite their best efforts, neither carrier can be considered successful.
-- Ed Thompson

Tower: Have a good trip.
Pilot: Make that a round trip . . .
-- Lloyd Lace, USAAF, 1944. Said before departing on C-46 missions, flying over 'The Hump' (China - Burma - India).

I hate to wake up and find my co-pilot asleep.
-- Michael Treacy

A joke told repeatedly at aviation industry conferences puts a man and a dog in an airplane. The dog is there to bite the pilot if the man so much as tries to touch the controls; the pilot's one remaining job is to feed the dog. Many aviation veterans have heard the joke so many times that is possible to tell those in the audience new to the industry by their laughter.
-- Gary Stix, in Scientific American, July 1991.

O'Hare ATC
There are many excellent pilots who would rather do anything than land a private airplane at Newark, Cleveland, or Chicago.
-- 'Aviation' magazine, August 1935.

When the art of radio communication between pilots and ATC is improved, the result will be vastly increased areas of significant misunderstandings.
-- Robert Livingston, 'Flying The Aeronca.'

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Jeremy Cox

Flight Review Requirements Under FAR 61.56

by Greg Reigel 1. November 2005 00:00
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It is always surprising to me how many pilots fail, whether intentionally or inadvertently, to obtain a flight review (formerly called a "biennial flight review") as required by FAR §61.56. This is the type of violation that is not readily apparent to the FAA, but is usually discovered by an FAA inspector's inevitable review of an airman's logbook following an accident, incident or violation. It seems that the requirements of FAR §61.56 are often misunderstood and even ignored. Now is probably as good a time as any to discuss when a flight review is needed and how the requirements can be met.

Requirements Of FAR §61.56

FAR §61.56(a) states that a flight review consists of a minimum of one hour of flight training and one hour of ground training. However, glider pilots may substitute a minimum of three instructional flights in a glider, each of which includes a flight to traffic pattern altitude, in lieu of the one hour of flight training.

The training must include a review of the current general operating and flight rules of FAR Part 91 and a review of those maneuvers and procedures that are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate. The authorized instructor giving the flight review has the discretion to determine exactly what maneuvers and procedures are included in the flight review.

FAR §61.56(c) goes on to say that the flight review must have been accomplished within the twenty-four calendar months preceding the month in which a pilot acts as pilot in command in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated. The authorized instructor must also endorse the pilot's logbook certifying that the pilot has satisfactorily completed the flight review. A pilot's demonstration of competency in any aircraft satisfies the requirements for all other categories or classes of aircraft for which the pilot is rated.

If a pilot performing a flight review with an authorized instructor is denied a satisfactory endorsement for flight review, the pilot may continue to exercise certificate privileges provided the twenty-four month period has not elapsed since the last flight review. However, if a pilot performs a flight review with an FAA inspector and does not receive a satisfactory endorsement, the pilot would not be able to exercise the certificate privileges until successfully completing a re-examination practical test under 49 USC 44709 (the "709 re-examination" formerly called the "609 re-examination").

When Is A Flight Review Needed?

Although FAR §61.56(c) states that "no person" may act as pilot in command unless he or she has completed a flight review within the preceding twenty four months, implying that any pilot desiring to act as pilot in command must accomplish a flight review, FAR §§61.56(d), (e), (f) and (g) identify several circumstances under which a pilot is either not required to accomplish a flight review or he or she may accomplish the flight review based upon requirements different than those specified in FAR §61.56(a).

Student Pilots. Under FAR §61.56(g), a student pilot is not required to accomplish a flight review provided the student pilot is undergoing training for a certificate and has a current solo flight endorsement as required under FAR §61.87.

Check-Ride/Line-Check Exemption. FAR §61.56(d) states that a flight review is unnecessary if within the preceding twenty-four months a pilot has passed a pilot proficiency check conducted by an examiner, an approved pilot check airman, or a U.S. Armed Force, for a pilot certificate, rating, or operating privilege. This means that a pilot who has passed a check-ride or line-check need not accomplish a flight review for another twenty-four months following the successful completion of that check-ride or line-check.

However, pilots should be aware that if they intend to rely upon a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) initial or add-on check-ride, the various Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO's) are inconsistent as to whether this examination qualifies as a flight review. If a pilot intends to rely on this type of check-ride for his or her flight review, a call to the governing FSDO would be appropriate to confirm its position on the issue. Alternatively, if a pilot is going to be taking a CFI initial or add-on check-ride, he or she should ask the examiner to conduct the oral and practical test so as to satisfy the flight review requirements as well, and to then endorse the pilot's logbook accordingly upon completion of the check-ride.

Certified Flight Instructors. Under FAR §61.56(f), if a CFI has satisfactorily completed a renewal of a flight instructor certificate under the provisions in FAR §61.197 within the preceding twenty-four months, the one hour of ground training is not required. However, the one hour of flight training is still required.

FAA Wings Program. If a pilot participates in a FAA-sponsored pilot proficiency award program (the "Wings" program) within the preceding twenty-four months and accomplishes one or more phases of the Wings program, FAR §61.56(e) states that the pilot need not accomplish a flight review. Advisory Circular 61-91H describes the Wings program and sets forth the requirements for completing a particular phase in the program.

In order to qualify, a pilot must attend at least one FAA-sponsored or FAA-sanctioned aviation safety seminar or industry-conducted recurrent training program and the pilot's attendance must be verified in the pilot's logbook or other proficiency record, signed by an FAA Safety Program Manager (SPM), other FAA inspector, or an Aviation Safety Counselor (ASC) involved in conducting the seminar. Additionally, the pilot must receive three hours of flight training as follows: one hour of flight training to include basic airplane control stalls, turns, and other maneuvers directed toward mastery of the airplane; one hour of flight training to include approaches, takeoffs, and landings, including crosswind, soft field, and short field techniques; and one hour of instrument training in an airplane, FAA approved aircraft simulator or training device.

Benefits Of A Flight Review

Not only is a flight review required by the FAR's, but it is also good operating practice. A flight review can provide the pilot with an opportunity to practice maneuvers and procedures he or she wouldn't ordinarily perform in the ordinary course of his or her flying (e.g. emergency procedures or maximum performance maneuvers). It is also a chance to fine-tune and hone piloting skills or to try something new or that the pilot may not otherwise feel comfortable practicing on his or her own.

Also, the FAR's and the FAA's interpretation of the FAR's is constantly changing and/or being clarified. Airspace and operations into certain airports is also changing. The ground instruction component of the flight review can update a pilot as to some of the latest changes and clarifications of which the pilot may not otherwise be aware.


Now is a good time to examine your logbook and determine whether you are in compliance with FAR §61.56. If you are not, find a good flight instructor and obtain a flight review. Also, if you are goal or mission oriented, as many pilots are, you may want to get involved in the Wings program. Regardless of how you accomplish it, compliance with FAR §61.56 is not only required, it is also good operating practice.

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Greg Reigel

Measuring Costs

by David Wyndham 1. November 2005 00:00
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It's not only what you measure, but how you measure that counts.

We are doing some benchmarking between several clients and one of the items is "cost." Seems easy at first, just report your costs to me and I'll do the rest. It isn't so easy when you get into it, however.

In aviation, we all have a bad habit of talking hours. After all, we fly to save time, so hours are a good measurement. Not when it comes to costs, however. There's still more work to do. Aircraft are used to transport persons from one location to another, and back again. The aircraft's job isn't to fly hours, it's to fly miles. When you compare costs, you need to look at what the job is. If both aircraft are used as passenger shuttles, then a cost per passenger-mile is appropriate. Cargo haulers look at cost per ton-mile. Airplanes that fly miles should be compared to using a cost per mile basis.

Let's compare a King Air B200 and a Citation CJ3. Keeping life easy, assume both operators pay the same price for fuel at their local FBO. The King Air variable cost is $840 per hour and the CJ3 reports $1,140 per hour. There you have it; the jet costs $300 per hour more to operate! What's missing?

Cost per Nautical Mile. If the King Air averages 250 nautical miles each hour, its cost per mile is $3.36. If the CJ3 averages 360 nautical miles each hour, its cost per mile is $3.17 per mile. So what looks like one airplane having 36% higher variable costs (per hour) really has a 5.6 % per mile lower variable cost. Some aircraft take longer than others to do the job, so even if they are less costly per hour; the cost to do the job may be wind up being more.

Another, even more refined measure is cost per seat mile (or per ton-mile if flying cargo). Take two aircraft with the same cost per NM of $3.60. Aircraft A has five passenger seats while aircraft B has 6. Aircraft A costs $0.72 per passenger NM while aircraft B costs $0.60 per passenger mile – a 17% difference.

So when comparing aircraft costs, remember, not only do you need to know what the costs include and exclude, don't forget the last step is to compare the cost to get the job done.




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