All posts tagged 'Student Pilot'

MISSING: What to do when your pilot logbook is MIA

 

Missing log books

By: Travis K. Kircher

It was past midnight on Dec. 17, 2016, and I was walking out of the theater after having just seen, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

When I got to my car, I imagine I was still whistling the John Williams score and basking in the coolness of that Darth Vader scene -- you know the one I'm talking about -- when I noticed my driver's side door was unlocked.

I always lock my doors. All of them.

Confusion gave way to panic as I quickly realized what had happened: some lout had apparently used a hammer and screwdriver to pop out the lock on my car, open the door, pop the trunk and make off with my loot. The cretin nabbed my laptop, my DSLR camera, and a backpack.

Thankfully, the perp -- no doubt a scruffy-looking nerf-herder -- had completely passed over one of my most valuable possessions. To my great relief, my pilot's headset bag, along with my logbook, was still tucked away -- rather lonesomely I might add -- in the back of the trunk.

His oversight was my gain, but it got me thinking: I was still a student pilot then. Many student pilots are not so lucky. What would I have done if he had taken my logbook? What would have become of my (then) 14 solo hours? My cross-country flights? My night hours? The time I logged wearing the foggles?

How would I one day prove to my checkride examiner -- not to mention the FAA -- that I have the experience I claim to have?

Retracing your steps

The pilot's log is a student pilot's most treasured possession. It records not only the dates and durations of flights but also the activities that took place during those flights -- and it tabulates the total time spent flying dual and solo. Without that information, the student would be unable to eventually take his or her checkride.

That said, a student whose logbook is lost or stolen does have options other than simply starting all over again. FAA Order 8900.1 5-172 states that students can reconstruct their flight history -- using among other things, aircraft logbooks and aircraft rental receipts -- and then submit a signed statement outlining that flight history.

Ed Bryce, a CFI of more than 30 years who is currently based in Seattle's Boeing Field (KBFI), says he himself was able to come to the rescue when thieves stole one of his students' logbooks.

"As a flight instructor, I'm required to keep a record of my instruction given," Bryce explained. "So since he had only flown with me, I had 100 percent of his dual time in my logbook. So I just simply typed it into an Excel spreadsheet and mailed it to him."

Flight school invoices and receipts also came in handy, Bryce said.

"He had minimal solo time, but he had the receipts for the flights when he paid for it, so he could reconstruct how long those flights were, even if he couldn't reconstruct exactly what he did on them."

Daniel Diamond, a CFI based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), says he encourages students who own their own aircraft to keep a detailed aircraft logbook in addition to their pilot logbook.

"They can always go ahead and write down the Tach time or Hobbs time in their aircraft, the date that they flew, where they went, what airport and what time," Diamond said. "That way they would always have somewhat of a secondary backup for them to go ahead and kind of recoup that lost time."

He adds that students who have recently completed a rating are at a particular advantage since part of the IACRA rating application requires them to complete FAA Form 8710-1, which includes a legally binding record of pilot time that can suffice as the student's signed statement.

Taking no chances

But both instructors agree the best way to protect yourself is to always create and maintain a backup -- either a digital backup or a hard copy -- before a loss or theft occurs.

GlobalAir.com offers a digital pilot logbook that is free and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. There's no limit to the number of entries you can have! 

"What I advise them is, whenever they finish a page, take a photo of it and e-mail the photo to themselves," Bryce said. "Your e-mail is usually backed up -- either at home or on a server somewhere -- so even if you lost your logbook, you would have all your e-mailed photos…That way you never lose more than a page."

"You can even go and make photocopies of each page, and keep that in a secondary location," Diamond adds.

Sound advice. And if you happen to see a scruffy-looking nerf-herder around, tell him I want my laptop back.

TRAVIS K. KIRCHER is a private pilot based at Bowman Field (KLOU) in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Kentucky Institution For Aerospace Education - Reaches For The Sky


MISSION: to improve student learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and create career pathways in aerospace throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

         Albert Ueltschi, born in 1917 and was raised in Franklin County, Kentucky. Ueltschi attended high school in Franklin County and eventually developed the school’s first ever aeronautical course in 1946.

         Decades later, a man by the name of Tim Smith is teaching an algebra mathematics course in this very same high school. Since algebra is often as mentally straining as rocket science, one might presuppose that this subject does not typically come as natural to the average 15 year old. Mr. Smith recognized a potential problem as he watched his students struggle. With this, he began to generate a brilliant solution!

         Mr. Smith began studying; he was searching for a way to reach out to his adolescent peers. He longed to find a method of teaching that would allow room to engage in fun, yet educational activities; both inside as well as outside of the classroom. According to Mr. Smith, students always ask where they will use what they have learned in school throughout their real lives. Without a reason for learning, these students are likely to approach important topics with a lack of motivation and according to Mr. Smith; this lack of motivation creates poor learning habits in students. “Mathematics and science are tough enough for kids as it is. So why not give them what they are asking for?” says Mr. Smith. The STEM program was developed to reach out to these students, providing hands-on training in aircraft technology with hopes of making difficult school subjects more relevant and fun for students, while quietly boosting state test scores as well. He intends to show his students how subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics are relevant in the world and he intends to teach these skills through aviation. “Why not restore and rebuild old aircraft?” He says. With that, The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education was developed.

         As Mr. Smith continued with his research he discovered and learned of Albert Ueltschi and his achievements in aviation at Frankfort High School. “During Ueltschi’s time, the aviators were the rockstars!” Mr. Smith exclaims. “Everyone wanted to grow up to become a pilot, and when people looked up to the sky what they saw were heroes. Now, it seems our students don’t look up at all, growing up to become a pilot is not even considered an option.” He states. Educators hope to use the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education hand in hand with the STEM program to change this theory. Aviation is in fact a very attainable goal; especially for high school students who have been offered the opportunity to jump start their careers through programs such as the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education. An event such as “Aviation Day” out of Capital City Airport is just one of many events that this Institution is reaching out to; all with high hopes of inspiring young adults in our community. According to Mr. Smith, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education simply wants to show young adults how aviation can be a very real opportunity for them. “This is definitely an opportunity that has the potential to change their lives” says Mr. Tim Smith.

         During the first 3 years, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education maintained their program out of Frankfort High School. Only one other school in the area had caught on so they simply worked together. However as more of Kentucky educators began hearing about and sharing this fantastic opportunity, the program grew immensely. Today, a mere 7 years later the program has expanded to include 15 different high schools throughout the state of Kentucky. They have acquired and built a total of 8 aircraft, 2 of which are airworthy and now in use for student training. Recently the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education was offered a generous donation of land from the Capital City airport of Frankfort (FFT) as well as the Kentucky Department of Aviation for the production of their program’s soon to be hangar. Through the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education high school students are able to examine and experience firsthand what it may feel like to work in multiple fields, while receiving college credit to do it. If a student chooses piloting for example, they are given an opportunity to acquire a private pilot’s license completely free of charge to them. If that is of no interest, other programs are offered including Aeronautical Engineering, Space Systems as well as Operations and Maintenance.

         The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education is currently in the process of building a hangar for its students to get more involved. Eventually, the program would like to have an entire facility specifically for the education of its students. This is a 501(c)(3) non-profit program, but with the help of generous donations and grants, Mr. Smith says he would eventually like to see this program offering not only a full staff of teachers, but also specially designed classrooms, aircraft and tools. This is a fantastic opportunity for high school students today. Overall there are a total of 60 programs similar to this one throughout the United States. Of that 60, 15 of those programs are based out of the state of Kentucky thanks to this very program. This is a part 61 training course and there are currently over 600 students involved.

For more information please contact: info@kiae.org
Or call: (502)320-9490

 

Above are photos of a Cessna 195 that the high school students of the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education are currently in the process of rebuilding. All of these parts have been salvaged and will be refurbished entirely. Mr. Smith says the objective for this aircraft (as for many others) is air worthiness and eventually student training.

Split Second Weightlessness; Nobody Panic!

What is a stall? When someone refers to something as “stalling” what do you typically think of?

         A stall is something that I have always thought of as one of those “uh-oh” moments in life. This is one of those oh so special split second decision moments where you suddenly realize that you have done something silly or careless. You immediately go into panic-apology mode and begin rationalizing possible ways to go about eradicating whatever mistake you have just made.

         Somewhere in between my discovery flight and lesson 4, power-off stalls were introduced to me. These are also known as approach to landing stalls; this is due to the location where they are most prevalent and most likely to happen. Now, I am certainly no professional by any stretch of the word, but any time I’m 5,000 feet above ground level and someone tells me they want to “power off” anything, I freak out a little bit. Call me queasy, but this was something new. After several failed attempts to get out of it, I realized that this was just going to be another one of those things in life that I had to do. Upon learning of its utter magnitude throughout my private pilot training and inevitability in the end, during my check ride I decided to give in. Being the colossal fan of Google.com that I am, my first approach was to “Google” this new topic. Thanks to Dictionary.com, this is what I found:

Stall:

  • To stop running as a result of mechanical failure

  • To halt the motion or progress of; bring to a standstill. To cause a motor (or motor vehicle) to accidentally to stop running.

  • To cause (an aircraft) to go into a stall.


  • In the wild world of aviation; a stall refers to “a condition in which an aircraft or airfoil experiences an interruption of airflow resulting in loss of lift and a tendency to drop.”

    “As the wing angle of attack (AOA) increases to or beyond the critical AOA (approximately 16-20°), smooth airflow over the wing is disrupted, resulting in great increase in drag and loss of lift: a stall”


             Great, this is just exactly what my instincts as well as my stomach (which, during the actual stall was floating somewhere in my throat) had told me about this situation.” I thought. In that actual moment, I thought for sure I was going to die. Why in the world would this ever be a good idea? Better question, why in the world is this happening to me prior to completing lesson 4 of my flight training?

             Well let me tell you why. Most aircraft accidents occur either during a takeoff or during a landing. Being aware of the hazards associated with these phases of flight and knowing how to get yourself out of a bad situation can only make your flights safer. Power-off stalls simulate what would happen if ever there was an occurrence where the pilot was flying too slowly during the landing phase of the flight. The primary objective of a stall during training is to enhance safety in the student right away by helping assure inadvertent stall avoidance and/or prompt stall recovery. In order to assure stall avoidance the student pilot is responsible for understanding any and all flight situations where an unintentional stall may occur. Also, it is necessary to grasp the relationship of various factors relative to stall speed (Vs), be able to properly recognize the first indications of a stall as well as the proper recovery technique.

             Other things to be aware of as the pilot in charge include the relevant aerodynamic factors, flight situations, recovery procedures, as well as the hazards of uncoordinated stalling. Select entry altitude allowing recovery above 1,500 feet above ground level. Carefully watch your approach or landing configuration with throttle reduced or set to idle, straight glide with 30o, +10o bank while continuing to maintain attitude (this will induce a full stall.) Promptly recover by decreasing AOA, leveling wings, and adjusting power as necessary to regain normal attitude, retract flaps as well as gear and reestablish a climb. Finally, avoid a secondary stall, excessive airspeed or altitude loss, spins, or flight below 1,500 feet above ground level. As a student pilot performing a power off stall your objective is to familiarize yourself with the conditions that may produce a stall. Develop knowledge and skill in recognizing imminent and full stalls, as well as the well known habit of taking prompt preventive or corrective action. Overall, the objective of a power-off stall is to understand what could happen if controls were improperly used during a turn from the base leg to the final approach or on the final approach.

             In conclusion, I remember my very first power-off stall vividly! It was tremendously terrifying and I thought with sincere certainty that it would be the first and last of my approach to landing stalls. Clearly, my instructor handled the situation better than I had expected and was able to operate the vehicle enough to maneuver us out of that stall. Since then I have learned how to maneuver myself out of these stalls and usually am asked to perform at least one each time I fly. Not to worry, they absolutely have held onto me with full intensity and each power-off stall that I perform leaved me singed with virtually the same streak of fear. My stomach hovers and I panic for a split second in time, for fear that I may not recover. For now, I take it with a grain of salt. I bite my tongue, hold my breath and thrust the yolk forward with all I’ve got; hoping the little airplane and my instructor will have my back. One day I will be asked to perform such a task without Mr. Frames by my side; until then, well wish me luck!

    This is me and this is my story about approach to landing stalls. But I’m curious; do other pilots have similar fears upon performing their very first power-off stalls? Do older, professional pilots even remember their first power-off stall? I would like to ask my viewers, what are your thoughts and insights regarding these terrifying first few hours of flight training?

     

    Soaring Towards A Prize In The Sky

    "The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul." ~Walter Raleigh

             “21 years old and I’m starting over! A new beginning entirely, my glass is half full and I am going to Kentucky” That was how I said it and that was how it started. I am Keely Mick. I have a dream of success and I plan on making that dream happen no matter what it takes. I am driven and assertive, optimistic and hopeful. I do not believe in coincidence, and I refuse to believe that there is anything in this world that is entirely unattainable.
    ”If you can dream it, you can do it.” –Walt Disney

             On July 20, 2011 I finished packing up my apartment in Jacksonville, Florida and moved north to Louisville, Kentucky. I was a pre-med student, specifically interested in the study of Nuclear Medicine. It was all fun and games until reality hit me for the first time. I won’t soon forget the way that first, lonely week of August in Kentucky felt, as time seemed to slow and eventually stop. I was miserable. Kentucky was hot and utterly unpleasant, I was without the ocean, I was without my hobbies, I was without my friends and most importantly, I was without my mother.

             Luckily, my aunt had a new man in her life, a man that unbeknown to me, was about to change my world. Upon meeting this man I couldn’t help but notice that he seemed a little rough around the edges, I wasn’t entirely afraid of him, only slightly unsure. He was curious and loud, rambunctious and extremely intelligent; perhaps intimidating is the better word. Come to find out, this man is a pilot! He flew an F4 Phantom in Vietnam as a fighter pilot. Today he owns a Diamond DA 40 XL private aircraft.

             A month or so went by and I was given an offer I simply could not pass up. My aunt’s new pilot friend had offered to fly me home to see my mother and needless to say, I was ecstatic. Suddenly, I found myself stuttering to find words. I was completely engulfed in a world of bravery and disbelief as to what I had just consented to. I had always been quite terrified of airplanes, the mere idea of flying 5,000 feet in a vehicle no bigger than a mid-sized sedan simply stopped me in my tracks. Nevertheless, a date was set and we were off. On the day of the flight, my feet couldn’t have been more frigid, I was terrified of heights and the fact that this was actually happening to me made me sick with fear. After loading our luggage aboard the Diamond, I sat back and watched ever so intently as the preflight check began. Surprisingly, I found this to be extremely intriguing. Preflight was followed by something called an “ATIS” report and then a radio call to the air traffic control tower. I didn’t have the slightest clue what they were saying or what it meant, as they seemed to be speaking another language entirely. Again I’m intrigued, this was profoundly interesting! Somewhere between that initial radio call and our take off from runway 31, it hit me like a train. Everything was so clear, I was sold. I knew for sure that Nuclear Medicine was never meant to be my career; it was simply the stepping stone that brought me to this very moment. Instantly, I wanted to know everything there was to know about aviation, and I knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing this, “this is going to be my career” I concluded to myself.

             Once I returned back to Louisville, I immediately dropped my major and began my search for a way into the aviation world. Ironically enough, Groupon was offering a special that week on a “Discovery Flight” out of Bowman Field, (KLOU) in Louisville, Kentucky. “Can this be a coincidence?” I think not. Needless to say, I purchased the coupon and I went. It was there in that private airport that I met Mr. Wagers, who would soon become my very first flight instructor. He was the director for the duration of the included 3 hour Groupon class as well as the pilot during my discovery flight. Turns out, this man is a master CFI (certified flight instructor) and the chief flight instructor for the Academy at Shawnee (www.shawneeflyingeagles.webs.com) which is a Part 141 aviation program in the Jefferson County public school system. Also, he is a Marine Corps veteran; he serves in the CAP’s Kentucky Wing and is a FAASTeam representative in the FAA’s Louisville FSDO area. In a very short amount of time this man became my number one biggest influence in aviation. I could not learn fast enough as he openly shared his wealth of knowledge with me. This man truly is a heroic and a brilliant pilot. He said that he searched for a “spark” in young aspiring pilots; the same “spark” that found him when he discovered flight at the young age of 17. He also said he saw this spark in me, and because of this he took me under his wing. It is because of Mr. Wagers that I am where I am today and in only a few short months I have become completely submerged in aviation. I fear that I will never truly be capable of expressing my sheer gratitude and honest respect for this man and all that he has done in my life.

             I could not have asked for a more welcoming experience entering into the exciting world of aviation. I feel extremely lucky to have gotten as far as I have in such a short amount of time. My plan now is to work as hard as I can for as long as it takes. Thank you sincerely to everyone that I’ve met thus far along my journey. I can’t wait to continue pushing onward to the finish line.

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