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An Aviation Movie for Every Preference

by Tori Williams 2. January 2017 17:00
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There’s nothing better than curling up with a good movie and some hot chocolate on a cold winter night. There are dozens of options if you prefer an aviation themed film, and I have categorized some of the best films into different categories based on content. I personally always love a great vintage aviation film, but sometimes I’m more in the mood for a drama or documentary. Thankfully with so many options out there, it is easy to find a film that suits your tastes.

Vintage Aviation

The Great Waldo Pepper

If you’re in the mood for biplanes, barnstorming, and aviation when it was far less regulated, you should seek out a vintage aviation film. My all-time favorite is The Great Waldo Pepper, which is currently streaming on Netflix if you have an account. This film is about a barnstormer-turned-movie star that flies in several “air circuses” during the era that more and more government regulation is occurring around aviation. He tries to make a living flying, but gets shut down several times due to breaking the new regulations. It is a great movie and worth seeing more than once!

Other examples: Those Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines, Amelia

Airline Flight

Sully

If airliners and commercial aviation excites you the most, there are several great films about that too. Arguably one of the best aviation movies of the year, Sully follows the real-life story of the miracle of the Hudson. The forced water landing due to a bird strike was a historical moment that is beautifully retold with Tom Hanks playing Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. It gives insight into the way that the NTSB has to investigate airline accidents, and shows how years of flying helped Sully beat the odds and have a completely successful landing.

Other Examples: Flight

Military Flight

Top Gun

Perhaps one of the most popular genres of aviation movies, military aviation boasts several classics. Top Gun has been one of the most popular aviation movies of all time since its release in 1986. The catchy songs, action-packed flight scenes, and dramatic love story make for a great film. I’m sure that more than a few Air Force and Navy hopefuls were inspired by this movie. This film is also currently available on Netflix, so you have no excuse not to watch it if you haven’t yet!

Other Examples: Red Tails

Aviation Humor

Airplane!

This genre is a little sparser than others, but there are a few good films. It goes to show that people can find humor in anything. Full of enough aviation puns to last you a lifetime, the movie Airplane! is an automatic classic and must watch for anyone who likes aviation or silly jokes. This movie is also the definitive origin of the “Surely you can’t be serious!” “I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.” joke.

Other Example: Disney/Pixar Planes

Drama/Thriller

Air Force One

Everyone loves a good thriller, and Air Force One starring Harrison Ford will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire movie. Ford plays the role of the president who is on Air Force One when Russian Terrorists hijack the plane. His family happens to be onboard as well, and they are quickly taken as hostages. I watched this for the first time inside of a camper at AirVenture in 2013, and it has stuck with me ever since. It’s always interesting to see how characters that are trapped in an airplane with virtually no escape handle difficult situations.

Other Examples: Snakes on a Plane, Red Eye

Documentary

One Six Right

Aviation has some historical stories that are stranger and more interesting than any fiction Hollywood could think up. Documentaries about these actual events can teach you something new and lead to further investigation into other new things. I personally loved the film One Six Right. It should be required in school curriculum. The film shows how general aviation has such resounding effects on the world, as seen through the happenings at a local airport. This film was deemed so important by AOPA that they sent a complimentary copy of it to every member of congress who was a private pilot in the spring of 2005. That is saying something!

Other Example: Living in the Age of Airplanes

I hope that at least one of these films peaks your interest and inspires you to watch an aviation film this weekend! There is certainly plenty to choose from, and the classics will never get old. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite aviation movie that I did not mention!

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Dogs in Aviation

by Tori Williams 1. December 2016 20:05
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Piper the Airport Operations Dog. Image via www.airportk9.org

I recently had the opportunity to adopt a puppy from a local animal shelter. My new puppy is a Shiba Inu with a lot of energy. She’s instantly become a big part of my life (mostly because she’s so needy and needs constant supervision until she’s housebroken) and it got me thinking about how dogs can fit into the wide world of aviation.

Most people think of the pain of traveling with animals when they think of bringing animals into aviation. However, there are several ways that dogs have been brought into aviation to do a job or accomplish a mission. I have collected some of the most fascinating examples of these dogs and I would like to share them with you.

Airport Operations Dog

A video went viral a few months back featuring Piper the K-9 Wildlife Management Specialist at Cherry Capital Airport in Michigan. The dog works closely with his Operations Specialist owner who drives him around to chase away any wildlife that is a hazard to airport operations. Wildlife can be a huge problem at airports, and sometimes using flares and traps isn’t enough. He appears to love having such an important job, and getting to run around chasing his natural enemies away must be rewarding as well.

Airport Security Dog

I have encountered airport drug sniffing dogs several times during my travels. These large, serious-looking dogs walk up and down the lines heading towards TSA. They have a mission to find drugs or hazardous materials that passengers may be trying to smuggle past security. They are extremely good at their jobs and help add an extra layer of protection to the airport with their superior sniffers.

Lost and Found Dog

Another viral video sensation, which unfortunately turned out to be staged, featured the adorable beagle named Sherlock who returns lost items to passengers on KLM. The PR stunt was done incredibly well, as the majority of people who saw the video (myself included) were completely convinced that dear Sherlock was a real full-time employee of the airline. Although the story was not 100% true, I could totally see a dog with an excellent sense of smell and memory being able to do that job.

Airport Stress Relief Dogs

As I mentioned in my previous article about stress relief, an even increasing number of airports are having volunteers with stress-relief or emotional support dogs come to greet passengers and hopefully make their days a little better. These furry friends help anxious passengers feel calm and comforted. I believe this is an incredibly valuable service, especially during the holidays when passengers who do not regularly fly are on their way to family and friends.

Additional Note on Taking Your Dog Flying

One of the things I was most excited about when I got my new puppy was being able to take her with me to fly-ins during the summer. Thankfully she does great in car rides so I am hoping this will translate to her first plane ride as well. AOPA has a wonderful article outlining tips for flying in your general aviation plane with your dog. It discusses restraints, food and water, motion sickness, oxygen, hearing, and traveling with your dog outside of the U.S. I highly recommend reading it in its entirety before you take your dog for a plane ride. Being safe and knowledgeable will make the flight all the more fun for you and your dog!

I hope this list has helped you see that integrating dogs into aviation can be beneficial and amazing for airports and the dogs themselves. There are a lot of opportunities for well-trained dogs to make a difference in the world. Aviation is a great field for it!

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Airports

Top 5 Jobs in Aviation (That are not Professional Pilot)

by Tori Williams 1. March 2016 08:00
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Since I was a young girl and I took my first airplane flight, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life associated with this wonderful world of flying machines. My immediate action after this flight was to decide I would be a professional pilot. After all, in my young mind that was the only job that would let me be around airplanes and airports all day. Since then, I have pushed on with single-mindedness towards earning my flight ratings. First private, then instrument, now I am building hours towards taking my commercial pilot checkride.

However, he more that I dig deep into the world of professional flight, the more I see that it is certainly not just the pilots that play an important role. In reality, they play just as important of a role of any of the hundreds of other personnel that run airports and flight operations daily. These jobs are not given the “rock star” persona that the general public tends to give pilots, and I believe that is a terrible misunderstanding.

In my Crew Resource Management class at my flight university we have been discussing a lot about what exactly the definition of “crew” is. Is it just pilot flying and pilot monitoring? Is it also ATC? If ATC is included, wouldn’t maintenance and dispatch also make the cut? A commercial flight operation could not possibly happen without the combined efforts of all of these resources.

I want to give a brief overview of what I consider to be five of the most important “crew” resources for every commercial flight. I would also like to encourage every young aviator out there to take a step back and appreciate all of the supporting people that work to make these operations happen. They are all “rock stars” in their own right and work very hard to keep the skies safe and efficient.

Air Traffic Controller

Picture this scenario: It is a sunny and beautiful day at a medium-sized airport that supports both commercial and general aviation traffic. Everyone suddenly gets the urge to stretch their wings and spend a few hours in the air. At the same time, routine commercial flights are coming and going at breakneck speed to accommodate travelers. As a controller, it is your job to perfectly orchestrate the dozens of aircraft that are in your airspace at any given moment. You also have to take into consideration the type, speed, altitude, and intention of each plane. Air traffic controllers have an extremely difficult job, that when done well is not noticed.

Dispatcher

A dispatcher is in charge of organizing a large portion of the logistical information for a flight. In the U.S. and Canada they also share legal responsibility for any aircraft they are assigned with the pilot in command. Dispatchers are trained to ATP standards, and must have extensive knowledge of meteorology and aviation regulations in general. A dispatcher typically handles between 10 and 20 aircraft at the same time, and must monitor each of them to ensure safe flight operations.

Aircraft Maintenance Worker

If aircraft were not maintained to the high standard that they are today, there would be twice as many accidents happening during daily flight operations. Aircraft maintenance technicians are highly skilled in mechanics, computer systems, and a whole host of other practical expertise. They spend weeks memorizing the complex systems of each aircraft that they work on. They are not afraid to get dirty, and keep thousands of aircraft flying every day.

Management

With all of these moving parts, there has to be some sort of management in place to assure that everything is running smoothly. That is where the managers, administrators, HR workers or “higher-ups” come into play. They know the business side of aviation, and often incorporate their personal aviation knowledge into their managerial methods. These are the people that help to keep the business going when things get tough.

Flight Attendant

No list of important aviation jobs would be complete without mention of flight attendants. These hard working crewmembers deal directly with the general public for hours every day. They travel the world just as much as the pilots do, and have to be wise and patient when handling any issues caused by passengers onboard. They must be friendly but assertive, constantly holding a professional demeanor. The life of a flight attendance is not glamorous, but it sure can be fun.

This list does not scratch the surface of all the types of jobs available in the aviation industry. I am sure that if you thought of almost any job, there is an equivalent job in the aviation industry. Keep an open mind when looking towards your future career endeavors, and always do what you love! We have a great list of job search resources available on the GlobalAir.com Aviation Directory.

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Tori Williams

A319 Lands On Antarctic Ice In Rescue Mission

by GlobalAir.com 10. August 2012 11:19
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Person At McMurdo Research Station Needed Medical Attention

Article by: www.aero-news.net

FMI: www.nsf.gov

An Airbus A319 made a dramatic flight to Antarctica Thursday to evacuate a person in need of medical attention from McMurdo Station (shown below during summer months). The crew had to wait for a break in the harsh Antarctic winter and land on a runway built of ice during a narrow "twilight" window during the near 24-hour darkness this time of year. Then consider that the temperatures Thursday during the operation hovered at -13 degrees Fahrenheit.

CNN reports that the United States sought assistance from an Australian medical team for the evacuation of the researcher, who was not identified. The plane was dispatched from Christchurch, New Zealand and arrived at the research station early in the afternoon local time. It was on the ground a little more than an hour before departing back to Christchurch.

In a news release prior to the flight, the National Science Foundation said that it had reached an agreement with the Australian Antarctic Division, which manages Australia's Antarctic research program, to make the Australian A319 available to fly the patient out. The Royal New Zealand Air Force agreed to provide search-and-rescue coverage for the flight to and from McMurdo Station. The agency said that prior to the flight, the patient was stable but could require corrective surgery beyond what could be provided by medical personnel at the station.

The three nations' Antarctic research programs have existing agreements under which such assets may be shared as needed.

The ice runway, known as Pegasus, is one of only a very few runways in Antarctica that can accommodate wheeled aircraft. Antarctica is currently emerging from its six-months-long night, so there is a period of twilight at mid-day that could assist pilots in landing on the ice runway.

The evacuation flight comes shortly before a regularly-scheduled series of late winter flights to prepare for the coming Antarctic research season, which gets underway in October.

(Image Credit: Peter Rejcek, National Science Foundation)

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Pilot’s Bill of Rights Gains Congressional Approval

by GlobalAir.com 8. August 2012 11:20
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Article By: Paul Lowe
Brought to you by: www.ainonline.com

July 26, 2012, 4:20 PM

A bill requiring the FAA to inform pilots why they are being subjected to an enforcement action was passed by the House of Representatives on a voice vote and sent to President Obama for his signature. The Senate approved the measure in June.

The measure guarantees that pilots facing certificate action are provided access to ATC and flight service recordings, and requires the agency to provide the evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action. For the first time pilots would be able to appeal decisions in federal courts and the National Transportation Safety Board would be given a greater oversight role in reviewing enforcement cases.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a long-time general aviation pilot who ran afoul of the FAA when he landed his airplane on a closed runway in South Texas in October 2010, introduced the bill. Although the runway was marked as closed, Inhofe told investigators he didn’t see workers and trucks on the runway until it was too late to abort the landing. In the aftermath, the FAA ordered Inhofe to take remedial training. The senator complained he wasn’t treated fairly and felt powerless.

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