July 2019 Aviation Articles

Can A Person Be Chief Pilot For A Part 121/135 Operator With A Third-Class Medical Certificate?

This was the question posed and answered in a recent Legal Interpretation issued by the FAA's Office of Chief Counsel (AGC). The Interpretation specifically answered the question "whether a chief pilot who no longer holds a first-or second-class medical certificate but holds a third-class medical certificate and is qualified to serve as pilot in command (PIC) in at least one aircraft used in the certificate holder's operation may continue to hold the chief pilot position."

Under 14 C.F.R. § 119.71 the chief pilot of a Part 121 or Part 135 air carrier must hold either an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate or a commercial pilot certificate. And as we know, under 14 C.F.R. § 61.23 a person must hold a first-class medical certificate to exercise PIC privileges of an ATP certificate and a second-class medical certificate to exercise privileges of a commercial pilot certificate. The Interpretation notes that "§ 119.71(c) and (d) only require the chief pilot to be qualified to serve as PIC in at least one aircraft in the certificate holder's operation." However, Section 119.71 does not specify that the chief pilot must be qualified to serve as pilot in command "in Part 121/135 operations."

As a result, the Interpretation concludes as long as the person (a) continues to hold either an ATP or commercial pilot certificate with appropriate ratings, (b) is qualified to serve as PIC in at least one aircraft used in the certificate holder's operation (which can include just Part 91 operations), and (c) has satisfactory experience (or has been granted a deviation from the experience requirements), then he or she may serve as chief pilot for the air carrier while holding only a third-class medical certificate.

So, in addition to holding at least a third-class medical certificate, the key issue for the chief pilot will be that he or she is qualified to act as PIC in at least one of the aircraft that the carrier is authorized to operate under its certificate. And this qualification can be limited to Part 91 operations rather than Part 121/135 operations.

As a practical matter I think this Interpretation probably has limited impact on most carriers since they typically expect the individual designated as chief pilot to also act as PIC in Part 121 or Part 135 flight operations. But where the chief pilot is not expected to act as PIC in Part 121/235 flight operations, this Interpretation does provide some flexibility to a carrier considering an individual without a first or second class medical certificate for the chief pilot position.

 

GlobalAir

How to Manually Extend Your Gear in an Emergency

Complex airplanes can be a large variety of different types of planes. Federal Aviation Regulations in the Airplane Flying Handbook define a complex aircraft to be "an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller." So, this can be different types of jets and especially general aviation planes.

Most commonly, we see general aviation planes such as a Piper Cherokee featured here on the GlobalAir.com Aircraft for Sale area. Planes like these are usually the roots of most pilots when they were working towards a complex endorsement. Nonetheless, every pilot should be ready for a gear extension failure regardless of the plane they're flying. 

The first step to realizing you've had a gear extension failure is after vocalizing gear in transition, checking to see that the gear is fully down. There will be an absence of a light on the indicator (in most cases it's green). Some planes may have 3 green lights for each wheel, and some may just have one. Regardless, if any of the required indicator lights are absent, you've got an issue.

Here, you want to do a quick check to see if it's the lightbulb that's the issue and not the gear itself. Ensure your master and alternator switches are on, and if able pull the outer cover of the light off to see the lightbulb. You can easily touch it or lightly twist it and if it comes on, then it's the lightbulb that's malfunctioning. Always check your circuit breakers as well. If the gear circuit is out, push it back in one time. If the light comes on, again it's an electrical issue there and not the gear. However, if the circuit pops back out again leave it alone. It's popping out for a reason, so don't push it in again and especially don't hold it in. 

If you've ran through these first steps and have diagnosed it's not the landing gear position indicators that are out, now it's time for a manual gear extension. Let ATC know (if you're talking to them) what's going on and what you're about to do, and if you're coming in to land (which you most likely are) that you'll be going ahead with a go around. It doesn't matter if you get the gear down safely in time for touchdown, take another lap in the pattern. This reverts back to safe decision making.

Next, follow your emergency checklist according to your POH here to start emergency gear extension. Check airspeed is below what's published-because the gear may not be able to drop down without hydraulic power if you're too fast-and hit the landing gear selector down. Now grab your emergency gear extension lever and drop it down. Here you should feel the gear drop down, as you'll feel the drag and airspeed will slow.

You're not done yet. Now, you have to make sure the gear is locked in place. The last thing you'd want is to have followed a good emergency gear extension checklist, then touchdown and have a wheel collapse. You can ensure this by checking your landing gear lights are all lighted. 

But what if you have an electrical problem (reverting back to earlier) and can't see a light, or it still isn't lighted? That means you have to "wiggle the plane" so to speak and push the gear into place. Yaw the aircraft with rudder to both sides, and this should push the sides into locking. The nosewheel should have locked into place given that you let the gear down below airspeed. 

Now, you're ready to land. Again, let ATC now know what is going on. On a VFR day at a controlled airport, tower can even help you out by spotting you and letting you know if they see all your gear is down. This also goes at an uncontrolled field if someone else is in the vicinity and talking on the CTAF. Think of out of the box ideas like this to help you, it's all about managing the resources available and making safety a priority. 

In the worst case scenario that gear still isn't down, go then to your gear up landing checklist. If you haven't already, now it's time to officially declare an emergency.

Now matter what follow your checklists, use your available resources, revert back to your training, and most of all stay calm. Panicking is the worst thing to do in any emergency because you can't think straight and can now easily stray away from your procedures. 

Have any stories about doing a manual gear extension or any emergency scenario stories in general? Comment below and stay tuned for more posts!

First Post-Restoration Flight for Ultra-Rare Airco DH.9 WWI Bomber

The world's only original airworthy WWI-era bomber, Airco DH.9 E8894 took to the skies over Duxford, Cambridgeshire following a 15-year restoration effort with Retrotec Ltd. in England on May 13th, 2019. (photo by George Land)

 

warbirdnews.com

 

The Historic Aircraft Collection’s extraordinarily rare, WWI-era Airco DH.9 light bomber took to the skies over Duxford Aerodrome on May 13th, 2019 for its first post-restoration flight following fifteen years of dedicated conservation and restoration at Retrotec Ltd. in Westfield, East Sussex. The aircraft hadn’t flown under its own power for the best part of a century, and it is currently the only original WWI bomber flying anywhere in the world!

The DH.9, designed by the legendary Geoffrey de Havilland in 1917, was essentially a larger, modified variant of his very successful DH.4, with which it shared significant components. It was intended to fly at 15,000′ and had an internal bomb bay; a first for British designs of the day. Although it had a sound pedigree, the aircraft’s Achilles heel was its powerplant, the Siddeley-Deasey Puma, which delivered at best 230 of the promised 300 HP promised. Added to this already near-fatal shortcoming, the engine was so unreliable that many DH.9s (and often their crews) were lost to engine failure. Even so, the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd. (Airco – a forerunner to de Havilland) built four thousand or so DH.9s, although a good number of the later variants, like the DH.9A, used the far more reliable and powerful Liberty V-12 or the Rolls-Royce Eagle Mk.VIII powerplants. Despite the type’s inauspicious beginnings, DH.9s and their variants served in more than twenty military air arms across the world, and a good number ended up with civilian operators as well. They soldiered on in every corner of the British Empire well into the 1930s, with the last flight believed to have taken place sometime in 1937.

Although Airco built several thousand DH.9s, only a handful still survive. Just three DH.9s were known to exist, none of them in the UK, before Guy Black confirmed the existence of a further three examples in India during the late 1990s. These three had been Imperial Gifts from the British in India to the Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh in Bikaner, Rajasthan, although it is doubtful they ever flew with their new owner. Black found that two of the DH.9s lay dismantled in the now-disused elephant stables within the maharaja’s fortress, while a third example had been crudely put back together for display. After a lengthy period of negotiation, Guy Black was able to acquire the two stored examples, which formerly served in the Royal Air Force as D5649 and E8894. Their service histories are presently unknown, other than that both of aircraft spent time at a storage depot in Biggin Hill, near London, England during early 1918; Guy Black believes that neither of them flew in combat during WWI.

Both airframes were in understandably poor condition, and without engines, but would form the basis for one airworthy and one static example for display in England. It was clear that almost all of the wood would need to be replaced in any airworthy restoration, so in order to preserve as much original material as possible for the ground-bound example, Black chose D5649 for static restoration as its woodwork was in the best condition… albeit suffering from further indignities and damage at the hands of the team in India charged with preparing them for shipment back to England. In the years subsequent to their arrival in England, the restoration team scoured the earth looking for original parts, not to mention drawings and manufacturing details. Following decade-long sympathetic conservation, Retrotec completed D5649 for display in 2015. This example was originally built in Hammersmith, London at Waring and Gillow, a furniture factory impressed into war work, and now she was complete again following decades of decay. She now sits proudly in the Imperial War Museum’s Airspace hangar at Duxford Aerodrome.

Due to the lack of any original drawings, and Guy Black’s determination to produce as authentic a restoration as possible, E8894 took more than fifteen years to restore. One stroke of luck came when Guy Black realized he had a complete set of DH.9 wing struts in his collection that he had acquired before starting the project. He also found a significant collection of DH.4 drawings in the Smithsonian’s archives in the USA, which provided useful data for the project since many DH.4 parts migrated to the DH.9 design. But the biggest problem was locating an appropriate, period engine to power the aircraft. Since the Siddeley-Deasy Puma was never used on any other production aircraft, for obvious reasons, it has become exceedingly rare, with just a handful or so rebuildable examples still in existence, and none available for acquisition. However, Guy Black was able to locate an even rarer Beardmore Halford Pullinger (BHP) engine within the Canada Aviation & Space Museum’s collection in Ottawa, Canada. Interestingly, the BHP was used in the early examples of the DH.9 before Siddeley-Deasy took up its production as the Puma. Rushed into production, there were many design faults, but one of them seemed so egregious as to be unbelievable. The connecting rods had their part number and inspection stamp crudely whacked into them at precisely the same spot where most of the failures seemed to occur. As a result, the restored engine incorporates newly manufactured con-rods, sans the troublesome stampings, so they should be more reliable than the originals. Retrotec conducted the first engine runs with the BHP powerplant mounted in E8894 during October 2018. There is a wonderful video available below which should give our readers a good idea of what this ancient engine sounds like…

 

 

The first flight took place at Duxford on May 13th, and our very own George Land was on hand to record the details. George reports the details as follows…

“After many years of painstaking labor, the dream became reality when in October of 2018 E8894’s first engine runs occurred,  followed by ground testing and taxi runs that November.

Finally on May 13th, 2019, we were lucky to witness the first flight of an authentic DH.9 in many long years when test pilot Dodge Bailey, who is one of the most experienced vintage biplane pilots in the UK, finally felt that everything was in order for a test flight. He took E8894 into the air using an into-the-wind, cross-field take-off on the grass from the west end of RAF Duxford for the first time. 

After numerous circuits of the airfield at differing heights, Dodge Bailey took the DH.9 on a run down the field in front of the tower before bringing the historic WWI bomber around for a safe cross-field landing and a successful conclusion to her first flight following restoration.

Since then, a number of flights have taken place and it is hoped that the first public display might take place during the Flying Legends air show at Duxford on July 13th.”

 Obviously, given the nature of its engine, the DH.9 will only fly occasionally, but it is marvelous to see it flying again; a tangible link to our collective past that is all down to the perspicacity of Guy Black and the ingenuity and hard work of all those at Retrotec Ltd. and HAC. As some will know, the Historic Aircraft Collection, and their restoration arm, Retrotec, have a prodigious reputation for unusual and complex restorations. These include a unique survivor of the Hawker Fury interwar biplane fighter, perhaps the most beautiful biplane ever built… at least to your editor’s eyes… and a Hawker Nimrod Mk.II (a navalized Fury) to name a few. Currently, they are working on the resurrection of de Havilland Mosquito NF.36 RL249 for another client.

 

DH.9 E8894 sitting outside Hangar 3 at Duxford Aerodrome before another test flight on June 15th, 2019. The aircraft was scheduled to have its first public display on June 22nd, however, this had to be postponed. (photo by George Land)
 

 

The Chocks Master

 

The Chocks Master

by Moreno Aguiari of warbirdnews.com

 

Over the decade or so of my being an active member of the warbird community, one of the things I have enjoyed the most has been the opportunity to meet some amazing people along the way. So many of them are among the unsung heroes of the movement; the vital volunteer army that helps bring success each year to events such as EAA AirVenture or Sun ‘N Fun.

 

One of these special guys I’m talking about is Dave Jackson, a longtime EAA and Warbirds of America member and a volunteer at both AirVenture and Sun ‘N Fun. I met Dave four years ago when a mutual friend asked me to bring him a WWII era 1 and 3/4″ stencil machine. I learned that Dave uses these stencil machines to create custom artwork that he paints onto aircraft chocks.

Why would one do that, you ask? Well, have you ever been to Oshkosh during EAA AirVenture and visited “Warbird Alley” – the area of the airport ramp where all of the warbirds are parked? If so, have you ever noticed that the aircraft is held in place by beautiful chocks, custom painted for particular occasions or anniversaries? Well, those chocks are the product of Dave’s year-long effort to add an extra degree of historical coolness to the ramp, celebrating the aircraft we all love so dearly.

 

The chocks Dave Jackson made for the D-Day Squadron

 

During the most recent Sun ‘N Fun show, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave for an interview to get a little more insight into how he goes about creating these marvelous aircraft chocks. We hope you enjoy hearing more….


MA: How did you get involved in aviation?

Dave: My parents’ house was near the Muskegon airport in Michigan, and I could see the airport beacon from my bedroom. I remember DC-3s and DC-6s flying in and out of the airport and that’s where it all started for me. I passed my passion to two of my sons that are now professional pilots; one flies F/A-18F Super Hornets for the US Navy and the other one is a former regional airline pilot.

MA: How did you start making custom chocks?

Dave: It’s pretty interesting… when my middle son Ryan was in college at the Florida Institute of Technology pursuing his Aviation Degree and working for Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he was asked to build chocks for the company’s airplanes. The local carpentry company gave him a bunch of 6″x6″ wood and off he went to build the chocks. He cut them to specs, painted them yellow and applied the stencils. He brought a couple of chocks home, and I was very pleased with his work. Fast forward to the same summer and my neighbor decided to install a fence around his pool. At the end of the job, I picked up a bunch of 4″x4″ [wood] of about a foot and a half long and brought them in my garage with the idea of building chocks for my aviation and pilot friends. As time went on, I primarily made chocks for warbird owners, active and retired military pilots.

 

 

MA: When did you actually start making chocks for events?

Dave: The first chocks I made were for the 1993 AirVenture (then called EAA Fly-In), so I have been making chocks for more than 25 years. I started with very simple chocks, then chock after chock… I started sanding them, smoothing the edges, improving the paint and the stencil’s quality. I tried to improve them every year.

MA: How does the creative process work?

Dave: I always come up with my own theme. I do research about anniversaries and important events for each year, and then I go to work.

 

 

MA: What are the most special chocks you have made?

Dave: One of my favorite sets of chocks were those I made for Susie Parish, founder of the Kalamazoo Air Museum. Susie, besides the pink P-40, used to have a T-34 Mentor of the same color. In 1997, I knew she was going to make AirVenture with her T-34, so I made chocks for her airplane… I didn’t know Susie, but I made the chocks for the airplane anyway. On Saturday night during the warbird banquet, she stood up and said, “I don’t know who made these pink chocks for me, but this was the best present I ever received!” A few years later, I made the chocks for her P-40 and delivered them to her at the museum. When she died, the museum decided to hang the P-40 from the ceiling in the museum’s atrium, and my chocks ended up in the cockpit of the airplane. To this day, the chocks are still there!”

The ‘Remembering Program Chocks’ are also very special to me. This is a program that I started two years ago to help honor those volunteers or pilots who passed. It is a nice way to remember our fellow friends. This year I started making the chocks to honor the WASP.

 

An example of one of the Remembering Program Chocks

 

MA: What type of wood do you use?

Dave: After much trial and error, I have determined that the white pine tree is simply the best wood, as it is soft enough that it can be modeled with ease, and more importantly, it doesn’t crack. The pinewood, being easy to work with, allows me to produce everything from mini chocks, which I use to gift people with, to big chocks for larger airplanes like the C-47 and bombers.

 

Dave signs every custom chock alongside his A-4 logo.

 

MA: What are the steps to finish and paint the chocks?

Dave: After a good sanding, I apply the primer and then I spray paint them. I have four stencil machines, a 1/4″, a 1/2″, a 3/4″ and now a 1 and 3/4″. For special designs, usually, I search the internet for images,  print them and transfer the subject to the stencil paper.

MA: Can you tell us what you are planning for Oshkosh this year?

Dave: The WASP chocks are going to be new this year. The main new design is the one dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747 and since AirVenture plans to have six or seven 747, I plan to make the 14″ chocks for all the airplanes.


Many thanks again to Dave Jackson for sitting down with me to discuss his creative process. And for those of you interested in meeting him in person, Dave will be easy to spot at every major EAA event – in fact, he drives a cool Blue Angels-themed golf cart equipped with afterburners and arrestor hook! Please make sure to stop him and shake his hand – you never know, you might walk away with some special chocks!

 

The author (R) with Dave “El Chocko” Jackson (L) during EAA Sun ‘N Fun 2019.

 

Effects of Summer Flying and How to Overcome It

First and foremost, let's state the most obvious effect of summer flying: it. is. hot.

Being a pilot from Texas, I can personally say you should check on your southern friends. There's a good chance we're dehydrated and .2 seconds away from passing out due to heat exhaustion. 

Okay, maybe a little overdramatic....but it is hot. 

When flying in the summer, whether as a student, flight instructor, or any type of general aviation pilot we need to understand the effects of the weather changes. 

Rule number 1: Always carry water. Even if you just hydrated before your flight and don't think you need it, grab water anyways (and by the way, try to go green and make it a reusable water bottle while you're at it). From first-hand experience, dehydration and heat exhaustion can have a bigger impact on flying than you'd think. Your decision-making skills and effectiveness on hand-flying the plane start to deteriorate. If ignored, dizziness and a headache can start to occur. This becomes even more important on long haul flights. Don't be the newest accident statistic due to poor flight preparation.  Even if you're in a rush, take 2 extra minutes and grab that water. 

Rule number 2: Take into account the changes it can have on aircraft performance. If you're taking off from an airport with a short runway, even if a ground roll is normally adequate, double check it. The hotter it is, the longer ground roll you need. That point you're used to rotating at or obstacle you're used to clearing might not be your friend today, especially as the heat rises continuing into August. A great tool to help gauge the temperatures at the surface and at altitude is the GlobalAir Aviation Weather Temperatures Tool. Just click the "national weather" tab, then click "temperature" and see it all illustrated on an analysis chart. A quick tip: if you're using it to plan a flight for later in the future (and not 30 minutes from now) make sure you click for the right time frame! left

Rule number 3: Still on the weather subject, check your winds before heading out. You're most likely to encounter gusts of wind on a hot summer day with calm winds at the surface. I've also experienced this firsthand, so it became a learning experience. As soon as I reached 1500 ft the wind picked up, and it didn't stop. The turbulence actually reached moderate for me that day, so I cut my flight short and went back. No sense in taking chances to keep going and fighting the plane the entire time! For any situation with undesirable weather or even maintenance issues remember this: it's better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground. The GlobalAir Winds Aloft Tool is also a great resource in planning for this. Be sure to check this and local METAR/TAF for each upcoming flight to ensure you don't get in a situation making you wish you were on the ground.