All posts tagged 'Boeing'

Youth Aviation Adventure – Igniting Interest in Aviation Careers

I took some time at Oshkosh this year with Steve Wathen, Co-founder and Chairman of Youth Aviation Adventure, to learn about their program. "YAA is a fast-paced, ½-day program for youth ages 12-18 to foster interest in aviation. More than 300 pilots and aviation enthusiasts’ nationwide, using curriculum developed with and endorsed by the Ohio State University Department of Education, train in aviation fields such as aircraft instrumentation, aerodynamics, pre-flight routine, airport operations and careers in aviation and more."

According to the FAA, the number of student pilot certificates issued in 2009 was approximately 72,000, a 23% decline from 2000, and the forecast shows continued decline. In the next 20 years, the demand for aviation professionals will exceed supply, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). This shortage will include commercial pilots, aviation engineers and aircraft maintenance personnel.

YAA, through their Partner Programs (currently 27 nationwide, in 17 states total) offers a unique experience. The 20-minute station sessions include time for Q&A with the pilots and aviation professionals. A typical program hosts 25 to several hundred youth at each event, presented by at least seven volunteers. While the majority of participants are Boy and Girl Scouts (fulfills requirements for the Aviation Merit Badge), the program is open to any young person interested in learning more about aviation.

The Youth Aviation Adventure’s primary goals are growth and awareness. They are currently seeking installing their Large Group Program (LGP) in 50 cities nationwide by 2017, reaching an average of 30,000 kids per year. YAA has also is developing a new Small Group Program (SGP) for a dozen or fewer youth at any given time. This project timeline calls for modifying the curriculum and beta testing the program in 250 locations starting in January of 2014, with full national rollout by the end of the year.

During the first ten years of its existence, YAA operated solely in Columbus, OH. By 2007, they has expended to Cincinnati, OH. In its time, more than 8,000 youth have been exposed to aviation by the YAA, and nearly 2,000 adults accompanying youth at their events have gone through the YAA program. Financial support comes from individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations, including the AOPA, the Aviation Electronics Association, Boeing, Jeppesen, the Professional Pilots Association, the Sporty’s Foundation and the Wolf Aviation Fund.

At this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh (YAA’s 5th year in attendance), the YAA spoke with over 20 potential Partner Programs, so interest is continuing to grow. Partner Programs are asked for a minimum of an annual program (some do it as often as twice a year). To reach their goals, additional Partner Programs are essential, so the search for more volunteers is constant.

In addition to awareness, the Youth Aviation Adventure is also a finalist in the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation’s Pilots Choice Awards, in which the top five non-profit vote-getters in each of two divisions will receive grants to assist in program growth.

Regional Corporate Pilot: via “The Pilot Slot”

   A leadership coach once spoke of growing up in Nebraska. When he spoke, he said “there are things you learn while growing up in the country that you just can't learn anywhere else.” I found that extremely fascinating; after all, a person’s roots typically tends to tell a lot about that person. Interesting fact; because of this article, I learned that many famous names have come out of Nebraska, including Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Johnny Carson and Larry the Cable Guy! Although I’ve not personally met with any of those people, each of them had what it takes to fight for what they wanted in life. Becoming a household name doesn’t typically happen overnight. I would like to share with you a story of one truly inspirational pilot and fine Nebraska native that is living and breathing aviation every single day.

   Jim McIrvin was born in Nebraska in 1964. He grew up on his family’s farm, went to school and played with his friends; no different than any other young boy his age. Jim was just a boy in grade school when he met a science teacher that changed his life. He never forgot this man, for he was a man who collected and built model airplanes. If that wasn’t inspiration enough, Jim’s best friend’s “Uncle Gene” was sure to push Jim over the aviation edge. Jim was in the second grade when “Uncle Gene” came into his class for career day and spoke high and wide of his job as a Coast Guard Pilot. People don’t tend to forget the days that change their lives, and for Mr. McIrvin, this had been one of those days. Years later, while the family packed things up and prepared to move off of the farm, Jim would stumble across his father’s dusty old log book from World War II. Although his father had been trained as a pilot in the war, he never had a chance to actually fly in the war. Nonetheless, Jim appreciated and respected his father for this, and so it was, aviation had officially been set in stone for Mr. Jim McIrvin. Unfortunately, as a boy, flight was nothing more than a dream for McIrvin. Jim spent most of his childhood with his head in the clouds, dreaming of a day when his feet might join him. All the while, Jim kept busy on the ground, building model airplanes of his own and farming his family’s land. While in high school, Jim applied and was accepted into an Air Force ROTC program that would eventually grant him with an opportunity to attend college in Saint Louis, Missouri at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology; via “the pilot slot.”

   It wasn’t until 1983 however, that Jim’s feet finally met his heart and soul in the sky. He was a sophomore in college, spending his spare time in one of the various local FBO’s of the Saint Louis, where he would go to watch the planes take off and come in. One afternoon, a man flew in from out of town in his personal Bonanza aircraft and asked Jim if he would care to accompany this man to a local airplane museum. Startled at first, certainly Jim couldn’t pass on an opportunity such as this. He kindly complied and off they went into the horizon via the stranger’s Bonanza aircraft in search of the aviation museum.

   During Jim’s senior year in college, he was awarded with his second pilot scholarship; this time, Jim had been awarded with an opportunity to pursue flight training in an accredited Air Force pilot training program. However, before he would become eligible to be sent into this pilot training, the Air Force required Jim to complete a rather lengthy screening process as well as successfully accomplish his first solo flight within seven hours of dual training with an instructor. Once Jim had successfully completed this task, as well as the required screening, he would be finished with his Air Force duties until the day he graduated as an officer. Until then however, there was no was no way that Jim would be sitting around with his feet on the ground! McIrvin had begun with his private training and wasn’t planning on stopping after just one solo flight. At that point, Jim took matters into his own hands and finished his private training at the FBO with his instructor. Once Jim had successfully completed his private pilot training he began competing with the NIFA program (National Intercollegiate Flying Association) via Park's flying team; the Flying Billikens. Apparently, Jim had been affiliated with this program throughout all four years of his college career; however, he had only participated as a ground member. It wasn’t until McIrvin’s senior year that he would compete nationally in the “SAFECON” flight competition, located at Ohio State University.

   Finally in 1986, Jim McIrvin graduated from Park’s College of Engineering, and carried on into the United States Air Force. During McIrvin’s military training he flew the Cessna T-37 Tweet as well as the Northrop T-38 Talon aircraft for precisely one year. Upon graduating from this training, McIrvin went directly to the FAA in order to test for and acquire his commercial pilot’s license. At that point, Jim was sincerely in need of flight time; no worries though, Jim was headed overseas on his very first Air Force assignment flying an F-111 in Desert Storm combat. In 1991, Jim became a certified flight instructor teaching student pilots to fly military aircraft such as the F-111, F-16 and the T-38. After teaching students on the side for just one year, McIrvin received his ATP rating in 1992. In 2000, Jim decided to transition into the Air Force Reserves in order to take a very promising FO airline job working for United Airlines, flying the Boeing 737. This was fantastic experience and not to mention great flight time for Mr. McIrvin. Unfortunately, once 9/11 happened, United Airlines laid off several thousand employees for a companywide downsize movement and needless to say, Jim was one of these several thousand involved. It was because of the downsize that Jim decided to reconnect with the military on a full-time, active duty status. In 2007 Jim added his single engine sea rating as well as a multi-engine sea rating and in 2010 McIrvin became type rated to fly in the Embraer Phenom 100 as well as the Phenom 300.

   In 2008, Jim retired from the United Stated Air Force and went to fly for the newly developed flight department of The Southern Bleacher Company. With this company, Jim flew in one of two different aircraft, depending on the job; either a Socata TBM 850 or Cirrus SR22. Today however, four years later, the Southern Bleacher Company’s fleet has grown and now includes two very beautiful aircraft; an Embraer Phenom 100 as well as a Piper Malibu Mirage. Jim’s job as chief pilot is to maintain these aircraft and of course, fly them to and from regional job sites. As a hobby, McIrvin continues flight instructing on the side. He is also very involved with the Young Eagles program and he serves as mentor pilot in the Phenom aircraft.

   From a very young age Jim knew that he wanted to fly. He didn’t look at the long term things like time or cost; and he didn’t care about the expense of how he might get there. Jim knew what he wanted from life and he never took “No” for an acceptable answer. “Just because the answer was No today, does not necessarily mean it will be the same answer tomorrow, or the next day” Jim stated. Jim McIrvin enjoys being a role model and a leader in the aviation world. He encourages all young people who dream of flight, (people like me) to take that leap and never look back. McIrvin says “Don’t be afraid to ask the questions; if it’s something you want, don’t ever stop trying.” As I conclude I would like to thank Mr. Jim McIrvin for contacting me and telling me his story.
   -- Jim shared with me a specific memory that touched his heart in a very special way. Years ago, Jim was very much involved with the Young Eagles program, even more so than he currently is today. McIrvin was giving free discovery flights to the young cadets involved in the program and out of the kindness of his heart; he chose to fly these cadets in his own private aircraft. One young man in particular, by the name Matt, sought after Mr. Jim McIrvin and asked for help in acquiring his private license. Young matt had been the only student that had chased after flight lessons and his willingness to fly sparkled in his eyes. Young Matt wasn’t taking “No” for an acceptable answer. Jim greatly appreciated Matt’s drive to learn, and made a bargain. Matt was to come to the airport on a regular basis and clean Jim’s personal aircraft in exchange for flight lessons. As the story goes, Matthew completed his private and carried all the way through flight training. In 2010 Matt graduated from flight school and is now a pilot in the U.S. Air force.

   There are pilots all over the world who want to share their story and their talents with young flight-driven students. Like Jim McIrvin, these pilots hope to help in leading students down a pathway to success. In the words of Jim McIrvin, “if it’s your dream, keep after it and never let it go.”

Jim and Matt

Phenom 100 with Jim

Note from the Author: Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my articles! I cannot even begin to describe how much I’ve learned in just a few short months since I started with this series. You are all such inspiring aviators and pilots, so thanks for reaching out to me with your comments and emails. I hope you enjoyed this article, now get yourselves prepared for my next article and in the meantime, keep up the awesome thoughts, comments and on-blog conversations! -As always, please feel free to message me directly with your thoughts at - keely@globalair.com. I’d love to hear from you!

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 Welcomes Back Commemorative Air Force ‘Ghost Squadron’ B-29 And B-24

 
Historic World War II aircraft to participate throughout week at Oshkosh

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (March 19, 2013) — Two of World War II’s most iconic aircraft, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, will be back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2013 as part of the Commemorative Air Force’s “Ghost Squadron” at The World Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The airplanes will be among the two most noteworthy of the hundreds of warbird aircraft at Oshkosh in 2013, as they will participate in AirVenture air shows during the week. In addition, the B-29 will be available for flights during AirVenture week, based at Outagamie Regional Airport in Appleton (20 miles north).

“These two aircraft are always popular, not only because of their historical importance from the World War II era, but because flying examples of them are so rare,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “Since Oshkosh is the world’s largest annual gathering of warbird aircraft, the audiences here truly appreciate the airplanes’ roles during the war as well as the tremendous dedication needed to keep ‘em flying.”

The Boeing B-29 FIFI operated by the CAF is the only one still flying in the world. It was discovered at a Navy weapons center near China Lake, Calif., in 1971 and brought to Texas. It was first flown at air shows in 1974 and has been continually restored and upgraded, most recently this past winter with the replacement of the one of the Curtiss-Wright 3350 engines. The airplane was christened FIFI in 1974 in honor of the wife of Col. Victor N. Agather, who had been on the wartime development team for the aircraft and had been personally committed and involved with the airplane’s restoration in the early 1970s.

The Consolidated B-24 Diamond Lil came to the CAF in 1969 after a long history of military and civilian service since the bomber was built in 1941. It was originally restored in the colors of the 98th Bomb Group of the 9th Air Force. In 2006, a major restoration project renewed the original B-24A bomber configuration.

The two aircraft make numerous appearances throughout the country during the year, but will be part of the massive annual gathering of former military aircraft that come to Oshkosh. The two airplanes are scheduled to be at EAA AirVenture throughout the week. Flight opportunities aboard the aircraft will be announced in the near future through the https://www.airpowersquadron.org website.

In anticipation of the B-29’s return to Oshkosh, EAA will host a free webinar on March 27 about the history and operation of FIFI. CAF officials will talk about saving and restoring the aircraft, as well as its current operations.

Advance EAA AirVenture tickets at discounted rates, along with camping, parking, flight experiences, and merchandise are available at www.airventure.org/tickets.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

FAA Approves Certification Plan for Boeing 787 Battery Solution

FAA has approved Boeing’s certification plan for the redesigned 787 Dreamliner battery system, the first step in the process to return the aircraft to commercial service.

The agency grounded all in-service Boeing 787s in January, following several incidents involving malfunctioning of the plane’s lithium ion battery system and other critical components while it was being operated on commercial flights.

In a statement, FAA said the internal battery components have been redesigned to minimize initiation of a short circuit within the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system.

During its ongoing investigation of the Japanese Airlines 787 battery fire that occurred at Boston’s Logan International Airport in January, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) discovered that the origin of the fire was a short circuit occurring within one of the battery’s eight cells.

"Our proposal includes three layers of improvements. First, we've improved design features of the battery to prevent faults from occurring and to isolate any that do. Second, we've enhanced production, operating and testing processes to ensure the highest levels of quality and performance of the battery and its components," said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing's commercial airplanes unit. "Third, in the unlikely event of a battery failure, we've introduced a new enclosure system that will keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or being noticed by passengers," Conner added.

The redesign of the battery system will be approved only if the battery system completes all required tests and analysis to comply with FAA requirements. The airworthiness directive issued by the agency in January is still in effect, although two 787s have been approved to perform limited test flights. Those two planes will have the new versions of the battery containment system installed.

“We are confident the plan we approved today includes all the right elements to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the battery system redesign,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Today’s announcement starts a testing process which will demonstrate whether the proposed fix will work as designed.”

The agency did not disclose a possible return to service date for the 787.

Article Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - By: www.aviationtoday.com

Last Flying B-29 Grounded, Faces Costly Repair

Keep FIFI Flying Campaign Launched To Get B-29 Back in the Air

Midland/Odessa, Texas (November 14, 2012) - During the last airshow flight of the season, the world's only flying B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, experienced an engine problem. The crew returned the airplane safely to the ground, but it was soon determined that FIFI's number two engine would need major repairs. In response, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) launched a major fund raising campaign to raise money for one of the world's most famous World War II bombers.

At nearly $10,000 and 100 volunteer hours per hour of flight, keeping FIFI in the air is no easy task. And the cost for repairs to the number two engine and the purchase of a spare will top $250,000. The Keep FIFI Flying campaign's goal is to raise those funds, ensuring continuous future operation and flight.

"The number of World War II veterans is dwindling every day," said Neils Agather, Commander of the B-29 Squadron of the CAF that operates the aircraft. "Our mission is to preserve the living legacy of the Greatest Generation and we intend to do all we can to preserve their story of sacrifice and honor."

FIFI is a traveling piece of military history. The airplane flies to air shows and tour stops all over the country demonstrating to young and old the sights, smells and sounds of history. These personal experiences perpetuate the spirit in which these aircraft were flown in defense of our nation - honoring the courage, sacrifice and legacy of the greatest generation.

"But the continued flight of FIFI is at risk," Agather continued. "We need your help, each one doing a little bit, to continue to spread the message."

For more information about the campaign, visit www.KeepFifiFlying.com.

In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to "Keep 'Em Flying!" Now, 55 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, operating 156 vintage aircraft in Honor of American Military Aviation. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 9,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to 73 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000.

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