June 2014 Aviation Articles

Lessons Learned: What Pilots Wish They'd Known

Just for fun, I asked the pilots of Reddit what they wished they'd known as a student pilot. They came through, with answers that were insightful, useful and some of them, funny.

Here's a list of things that pilots wish they'd known during flight training, coupled with a lot of good advice for new student pilots. (To see the full list, check out the Reddit thread here.) According to the flying aces of Reddit, every student pilot should know:

  1. How to get fuel at a self-serve pump: For some pilots, a lesson in self-serve fuel may come long after a private pilot check ride. It can be embarrassing when you realize the FBO is closed and the only fuel option available is self-serve - and you don't really know how to do it. New students can prevent this embarrassment by getting hands-in instruction from someone who's been there before.
  2. What water-contaminated fuel looks like: This one's easy. Just fill up the GATS jar with fuel, then take it inside and add water, and then you'll know! But you'd be surprised at how many pilots have no idea what to look for when it comes to fuel contamination, or what to do when they find water or sediment in fuel during the preflight.
  3. What to do when you have a flat tire: A flat or low tire can be a huge bummer, especially when you're away from your home field. And for some pilots, the first flat tire experience leaves them wondering just what they should do next, and wishing they has asked about this situation before hand.
  4. How to start a hot engine: Starting a hot engine, especially a fuel-injected engine, can be tricky. Hot start procedures are best learned through a demonstration by a qualified instructor or fellow pilot instead of when you're stuck on the ground at an unfamiliar airport.
  5. That you probably won't fly as often as you'd like: With weather delays, maintenance delays and scheduling issues, your flight training might take longer than expected. Expect it.
  6. That you can talk to air traffic controllers like they're human: Yes, there are actual human bodies behind those robot-like voices. Take a tour of your local control tower to see for yourself. And, you don't always have to talk to controllers like they're robots. They speak regular old English, just like you.
  7. That actual IMC experience is invaluable: Get some.
  8. That VMC conditions can look and feel like IMC at night over water: See number seven.
  9. That making friends with an A&P is valuable: Having an A&P mechanic friend or mentor will mean you'll be able to watch them work on airplanes, ask them questions about systems, and learn the ins and outs of your airplane. You'll be a better pilot when you fully understand the airplane's systems.
  10. To make sure the FBO will be open: Almost every pilot has a story to tell about landing at an airport after hours, unable to get fuel or access a computer. It happens to the best of us. Check the hours before you plan a flight. (You can find FBO information at Globalair.com's Airport Resource Center.)
  11. To be prepared to change course, in more ways than one. Be prepared for anything, from unforecast weather, a diversion, a runway closure, and those pesky emergency situations you practiced so much. Your route to becoming a skilled pilot will rarely be a straight one!

Aviation is Synonymous with Innovation

The entire world of aviation was born from human innovation. We saw birds take flight and said to ourselves, “Why couldn’t we do that?” Since the beginning of time we have been looking for ways to be better, to move to the future, and to make tomorrow brighter and easier for mankind.

By now most people have heard of Nextgen, the nation-wide plans to move the aviation industry into the future. The Federal Aviation Association and Department of Transportation are pushing for this update to the National Aerospace System that will bring us into a safer and more efficient airspace environment.

The Nextgen mission is very fascinating, but I am interested in the projects that are put together by smaller companies. The innovators of tomorrow are truly the dreamers of today. They come up with amazing ideas, and decide to believe in their ideas with all of their might. Much like Steve Jobs starting the Apple empire in his garage in California, I believe that the future of aviation will be paved with innovations from individuals and small businesses.

I have recently come across a few companies that are doing just that. I am very interested to see where these innovators take their ideas in the future, and I can’t wait to see new realms of progress within the world of aviation.

"MakerPlane is an open source aviation organization which will enable people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost plane using advanced personal manufacturing equipment such as CNC mills and 3D printers.” Imagine being able to design your own aircraft and print the necessary pieces out. The technology this project is creating opens so many doors for the future of homebuilt aircraft.

Malloy Aeronautics has created a prototype for a stable and pretty great looking Hoverbike. They are currently still in the testing phase, but have plans for mass production of the hovercraft if they can secure enough funding for the project. I certainly can see a future where having a personal hovercraft is commonplace.

Terrafugia have created the flying car of tomorrow. Many have already heard of this project, but having an aircraft that is capable of converting into a car is an amazing feat.

I hope that showing you a few of these innovators inspires you to achieve more and create a better future for aviation. Here’s to the next great ideas!

Landmark Aviation Expands Charter Fleet with Seven Aircraft

 

 

(Houston, TX – June 24, 2014) Landmark Aviation’s Aircraft Management & Charter division has expanded its managed fleet with the addition of seven aircraft. These aircraft include a Premier 1A, Falcon 50, Falcon 900EX, Hawker 900XP, Lear 36, and two Lear 60s.

“We are excited to announce the expansion of our charter fleet and particularly the long range options now available to our charter clients in the Northwest market,” President of Aircraft Management & Charter Ben Murray explained. “The explosive fleet growth Landmark is experiencing across the board is a true testament to the commitment we have made to our managed and charter clients.”

The new fleet additions will be based in the eastern and western United States. Five aircraft have been added at Boeing Field/King County International Airport (BFI) in Seattle including a Falcon 50 with seating for eight passengers, a Falcon 900EX with seating for 12 passengers, a Hawker 900XP with seating for eight passengers, a Lear 60 with seating for seven passengers, and a Lear 36 that is available for air ambulance service.

Additionally, a Lear 60 with seating for eight passengers has been added at Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York, while a Premier 1A with seating for seven passengers has been added at Mercer County Airport (BLF) in Bluefield, West Virginia.

These aircraft are currently available for charter.

About Landmark Aviation

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Landmark Aviation operates a network of fixed base operations located throughout the U.S., Canada and Western Europe. The Company offers a wide range of services, including FBO, MRO, aircraft management & charter. Landmark is a portfolio company of the Carlyle Group. For more information, visit www.landmarkaviation.com.

GlobalAir.com Displays “Oshkosh Specials” To Flyers Heading To EAA AirVenture

June 18, 2014 – Globalair.com announced today it has launched its annual “Oshkosh Specials” page. Since 2010 Globalair.com has produced this seasonal webpage, giving flyers heading to EAA’s AirVenture the ability to review discounts and special deals offered from FBOs nationwide just for them.

Jeff Carrithers, President and CEO of Globalair.com explains, “FBOs across the nation know Oshkosh is right around the corner and they also know there are thousands of aircraft flying from all over the nation heading to the event. They offer great specials for pilots, from large fuel discounts to free parking to free camping access. Some FBOs make it a little fun by offering food of some type. I always enjoy the free doughnuts myself, but some FBOs even offer hamburgers and barbeques.”

This is the fourth year Globalair.com has presented this information online to both aviators heading to Oskhosh and FBOs offering discounts. It is also the only aviation website that offers several EAA AirVenture specials in one place, with dozens of deals and discounts posted from across the nation. It is a good idea to check back often throughout the month of July as it is being up dated frequently. For those flying to Oshkosh, this is a must, as it will give pilots and operators plenty of time to review the listings, contact the FBOs and plan a cross country flight to the show. The page will also be available for the trip back home.

You can access the page at: https://www.globalair.com/airport/specials.aspx

FBOs that have specials they would like to post may contact fbo@globalair.com with the appropriate information, including the airport identifier, the name of the FBO, a point of contact and a short description (less than 200 characters) of the discount/special.

178 Seconds to Live: A Personal Account of Spatial Disorientation


As a flight instructor, I've always considered myself to be a safe pilot. Bad weather? Not flying. Under the weather? We'll cancel.

So when I found myself in a real-life VFR-into-IFR scenario, I actually wondered how it could happen to me. I was able to get my bearings that night, but not all pilots are so lucky.

I'd always heard about this "VFR into IMC" phenomenon and how bad it was, but I was always under the impression that I wouldn't need to worry about it. After all, if a pilot gets a proper preflight weather briefing, why in earth would he or she fly into bad weather?

The day I flew VFR into IMC was a definitely a lesson in weather and personal minimums and hazardous attitudes, but for me, it was also a blunt reality check. I had comfortably flown hundreds of hours in the Cessna 172, I had a lot of night time, cross country time, multi-engine time, IFR time, and apparently just enough instructor time for me to get slightly over-confident.

I was about to take two private pilot students up for a night flight when I realized I wasn't night current. I decided to start up the Cessna 172 and do my three full-stop take offs and landings before the students arrived. I checked AWOS first, and noted that the temperature/dew point spread was close - within three degrees- but a look at the clouds and sky told me it was a beautiful night.

During the first turn in the pattern I noted that the clouds were, indeed, lowering, and that maybe I should pay closer attention to the temperature and dew point. But it was the second take off that provided the reality check I apparently needed.

I turned crosswind, staying at about 800 feet AGL instead of the usual 1000 feet. I could see the ground, the buildings and lights, but was skimming the bottom of the clouds, and at one point went into IMC. Although brief, it was enough to disorient me. In what I suppose was an attempt to stay below the clouds, I had inadvertently commenced a turning descent during the crosswind turn.

I didn't notice until maybe a minute or two later, when I began a turn downwind and heard the sound of increased engine RPM. It sounded as though I'd increased power, but a quick check of the throttle indicated I hadn't. I knew something wasn't right. The engine sounded louder, faster. Thankfully, my brain was quick enough to tell my body that I was in a descent, headed quickly toward a "controlled flight into terrain" scenario that I'd read about in accident reports.

I was able to land safely that night but not every pilot is as lucky as I was.

An FAA publication from 1993 describes a study in which 20 student pilots flew simulators into instrument weather and all of them "went into graveyard spirals or roller-coaster like oscillations." The time until loss of control after entering IMC varied between 20-240 seconds, with the average being 178 seconds.

This harrowing video made by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) shows a common scenario in which a pilot might only have 178 seconds to live after flying VFR into IMC. It's a somber reminder for all of us flying around out there:


Source: 178 Seconds to Live: Spatial Disorientation can be a Killer, by Verdon Kleimenhagen, Ron Keones and James Szajkovics of FAA, and Ken Patz of MN/DOT Office of Aeroanutics, FAA Aviation News, January/February 1993.