All posts tagged 'aviation' - Page 16

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.

Boeing 787 Engine Failure Sparks Fire at Charleston Airport

Article by: Gregory Polek
Brought to you by: AINONLINE

Another Boeing 787 engine problem—this time involving a General Electric GEnx turbofan in an airplane destined for Air India—sparked a grass fire at Charleston International Airport during a pre-flight test on Saturday, forcing the airport to close its main runway for more than an hour. The contained engine failure has prompted an investigation by the NTSB, Boeing and GE, maker of the engine now in service with Japan Airlines on four 787s.

Evidence so far points to a failure in the “back end” of the engine, specifically in the area of the low-pressure turbine. “GE Aviation continues to work with the NTSB and Boeing to determine the cause of Saturday’s incident during a ground-test run in Charleston on a newly built 787,” said the engine company in a statement sent to AIN. “GE is working aggressively to move the engine involved in the incident to a GE facility for an investigative tear-down.”

The incident involved the second of three 787s that have rolled off Boeing’s new assembly line in Charleston, South Carolina. It came roughly a week after Japan’s All Nippon Airways had to ground its five Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787s following the manufacturer’s discovery of corrosion in a crown gear within an external gearbox during product development testing.

ANA has since returned four of its five airplanes to service, and plans to redeploy the fifth early this week.

Dear President Obama, Why are you killing the only industry that still shines?

The 44th President of the United States of America

Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Author, Statesman and Business Aviation User

Mr. Barack Hussein Obama II

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.

Washington, DC  20500

Tele. +1.202.456.1414

Fax. +1.202.456.2883

[email protected]

 

 

 

Dear Mr. President;

 

I wanted to take a moment to ask you 'man to man' why you have decided to single out the General Aviation Industry for your public vilification and attacks, when you yourself are such a heavy user of the services provided by this vital industry?

 

You might argue that you do not use General Aviation while fulfilling your role as the Commander in Chief of the United States as the aircraft that you predominantly use for state business are operated by both the Air Force and the Navy.  However as you know, there are only 180 Air Force Bases and 40 Naval Air Stations located within the Contiguous United States, while these potential destination landing sites for both Air Force One and Marine One are supplemented by only a further 70 airports that are currently served by Commercial Airline Service.

 

If you chose only to fly in-and-out-of these 'less-than' 300 specific airports-exclusively (which I know is not what you do), then I believe that you would agree that it would be impossible for you and your executives to accomplish many of the tasks set you by the U.S. Citizenry. This is because there are 5,261 general aviation airports that you can choose to fly in-and-out-of, depending on the size and type of aircraft that you elect to utilize on that day. These public use airports are the only available option for fast, reliable, flexible air transportation to small and rural communities in every corner of the country, providing jobs, serving as a lifeline for small to mid-sized businesses, and providing critical services to remote cities and towns in time of natural disaster or crisis. I am confident that you would agree that Transportation is the lifeblood of an economy and in many places around the world, general aviation plays a vital role in basic economic development.

 

In addition to your utilization of General Aviation Airports, you and your executives also fly Business and General Aviation Specific Aircraft that include:

 

1 x Gulfstream III

2 x Boeing 737

3 x Boeing 747

4 x Boeing 757

5 x Gulfstream V

 

The aforementioned aircraft are exclusively operated for you by the 89th Air Lift Wing based at Andrews AFB in Maryland, while there are other executive aircraft in-use all-through-out the United States Government. Also during your bid for the Presidency in 2008 you primarily used a Boeing 757-200ER during your campaign travels as well as other chartered aircraft. Lastly I know that you are quite familiar with several of the Beechcraft King Air fleet aircraft that are operated by the Illinois Department of Transportation that is based in Springfield, Illinois; therefore I contest that you are a heavy user of General Aviation. Unfortunately when you do choose to fly, the draconian security measures, namely the Temporary Flight Restriction System that has been adopted by your Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you personally cause significant direct financial loss to our industry members located along the paths of your chosen travel itineraries.

 

Now please don’t misread what I am trying to say in this letter by identifying a few of the General Aviation aircraft that you and your executives utilize, because if you didn’t use these aircraft, then it would be highly questionable how effective you and your people would be, if you all relied solely on Military and Airline service alone. All thinking people know that a Business Aircraft is 100% a business tool just the same as a Blackberry or Laptop Computer is, NOT a just a perk for 'fat-cats', 'big oil executives' and 'billionaires' as you appear to be characterizing them as such. This mischaracterization of the value of business and general aviation is now severely nobbling this country. Corporate jets are business tools with varied uses. About 74 percent of corporate jets carry sales, technical and middle-management employees to more airports domestically, none of which have airline service. It is a fact that you and your executives are very familiar with, that corporations that use General Aviation and are members of the National Business Aviation Association, earn annual revenues equal to one half of the $14.7 trillion dollar economy of the United States while they employ more than 19 million people worldwide, thus making General Aviation users the single largest economic driving force within this country.

 

Why then do you find it appropriate behavior for you to publically deride and denigrate such an important industry like General Aviation, especially when we are all living out a time when the entire world is struggling to claw its way out of the worst Global Financial Crisis in history?

 

Surely you should know from reading that General Aviation itself as a stand-alone industry directly contributes to the country in all of the following ways:

 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the United States has nearly 600,000 pilots, including over 222,000 private pilots, 124,000 commercial pilots and 146,000 air transport pilots.

 

In 2005, a comprehensive study by Merge Global, Inc. concluded that employment from General Aviation totaled 1,265,000 jobs in that year.

 

That same study pegged the national total economic contribution of General Aviation at $150 billion annually.

 

Additional economic impact can be inferred from the 2,200 charter flight companies, 4,144 repair stations, and 569 flight schools operating 4,653 aircraft. There are 3,330 fixed based operators, 18 “fractional” ownership providers and 261,806 airframe and power plant specialists.

 

Over 320,000 general aviation airplanes worldwide, ranging from two-seat training aircraft to intercontinental business jets, are flying today; 231,000 of those airplanes are based in the United States.

 

In the U.S., general aviation aircraft fly over 27 million hours and carry 166 million passengers annually.

 

Nearly two-thirds of all the hours flown by general aviation aircraft are for business purposes.

 

General aviation is the primary training ground for most commercial airline pilots. The United States used to be the largest trainer of pilots the world over, until the TSA put this segment of the General Aviation Industry into rapid decline because of their extreme vetting procedures.

 

The general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry remains a bright spot in U.S. manufacturing exports and continues to contribute positively to the U.S. trade balance. As an example, in 2008 it generated $5.9 billion in new airplane export revenue for the United States. Unfortunately sales are on the decline, thus your comments should be words of encouragement and pride instead of the current poison that you have been orating of late.

 

In the time period between 1994 and 2008, manufacturers of general aviation aircraft produced and shipped over 41,000 type certificated, fixed-wing general aviation aircraft worth over $182 billion. During this same period, the size of the piston engine aircraft manufacturing  industry grew by over  240 percent, generating tens-of-thousands of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States and around the world.

 

In the United States there are well over 230,000 active aircraft which are used in corporate and business aviation, in emergency medical service and for personal recreation. These aircraft fly over 27 million hours each year, two-thirds of which are for business purposes. around the world, an estimated 320,000 general aviation aircraft are in operation, flying in excess of 35 million hours per year.

 

U.S.-made business aircraft dominate here and abroad, helping our nations' balance of trade and keeping Americans in high-paying manufacturing jobs. Last October you proposed and wrote into law a bill that accelerated depreciation schedules for business aircraft purchases made by corporations to encourage companies to invest in new aircraft by reducing their tax burden. Now you propose reversing this sound economic policy.

 

We should be encouraging growth. General aviation manufacturers have lost 13,000 jobs, aircraft sales have fallen 7 percent, one manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy and banks have all but made aircraft loans impossible to get. We don't need tax changes to drive our industry farther into despair; we need support from our elected officials and government regulators to foster growth in business aviation.

 

An aspect of your Budget Deficit increase debacle is the issue of the appropriate way of funding the FAA. This issue has made the FAA a political football that has been kicked around 21 times now, with no goal scored! Worse I am fearful that you are leaning towards a user-fee system to replace the current funding through federal Excise tax charged on Aviation Fuel sales and Commercial Flight Segments, all supplemented by the interest earned by the Aviation Trust-Fund.

  

MYTH: GENERAL AVIATION DOES NOT PAY ITS FAIR SHARE

In reality, General Aviation makes up only about 3 percent of the operations at our busiest and costliest airports.  The system was designed for the commercial airlines.  The entire size, complexity and cost of the system are driven by airline operations.  NASAO, as one of the many advocates for reopening Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in the wake of 9/11, knows that that airport was closed to General Aviation for four years.  Yet, FAA’s costs at the airport did not decline; controllers were not laid-off or transferred.  General Aviation is obviously not a major cost driver.

 

MYTH: USER FEES ARE BETTER THAN THE EXISTING FUEL TAXES FOR GENERAL  AVIATION

In reality, user fees would require the creation of a new, expensive and unnecessary federal bureaucracy which would need to raise fees simply to sustain itself.  NASAO has watched user fee systems in other countries.  They do not seem as effective or efficient as fuel taxes.  During economic downturns – government bailouts have been necessary.  The current fuel tax system is elegant in its simplicity.  General Aviation pays at the pump.  The larger the aircraft or the farther it flies– the more it pays.

 

Instead of asking you to 'cease and desist' with your targeted abuse against my industry and my livelihood, I will close with an analogy that I have extrapolated from history to apply to you and government:

 

The German Tiger Tank was the most feared piece of artillery in World War II, however due to the size and weight of its gun, it could not fire while moving. It's armor could deflect multiple rocket attacks and shelling and in hindsight it seems that the most effective way of killing the Tiger Tank was to not engage them and instead to make them travel some distances on the hunt for action until they inevitably died from mechanical breakdowns, which were unfortunately a common occurrence for the German offensive force.

 

It is easy to view your current government in the same way as the Tiger Tank, i.e. you and your executives share the same characteristics by holding the reins of the most fearsome world power on the planet today, which unfortunately cannot act while moving, and instead you spend weeks, months and sometimes years of sitting in your offices debating without acting, because to do so might damage your nicely engineered condition which affords you all  life-time health and pension benefits in recompense for only a single term of service in public office.

 

Eventually your government, just like the Tiger Tank, will eventually grind to a standstill due to infrastructure breakdowns, and then ultimately we as a nation will be picked-off by lesser forces because of your inane system of movement and fire. China is watching and waiting…

 

On the evening of November 4th, 2008 in the capacious Park in Chicago that was named after General Ulysses Grant, you gave a momentous victory speech after winning the Presidency. During this speech you said: "This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can." 

 

We the people of General Aviation are also your people.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jeremy Raymond Courtney Cox

Employee within the General Aviation Industry, U.S. Citizen, Voter and Very Disappointed

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