All posts tagged 'flying' - Page 14

Confessions of a Student Pilot

Over the past 5 years I have more than earned my right to be called a student pilot. Between when I was 12 years old and now I have attended 3 different flight schools, passed my FAA Written Exam twice, and been lightheartedly made fun of by CFIs for rookie mistakes countless times. It’s been said that it’s about the journey, not the destination, and this rings incredibly true in the world of aviation. I have learned more about life and passion through aerospace than I ever learned in my standard high school curriculum. I have been taught discipline, self-control, dedication, logical thinking... All through my experiences in chasing my dream of becoming a pilot.

I hope to help other student pilots remember why they are doing this. It can be such a challenge to continue training when you feel you are stuck in a rut, or you will never achieve the dream that we all chase after. I have compiled a few observations or "confessions," if you will, that have stuck out to me during my journey. A few come with stories, a few are simply food for thought. Here are my confessions of a student pilot.

Keep your training consistent. This may seem obvious, but it keeps many student pilots from advancing quickly enough to reach their full potential. It is far better to wait and save up enough money for a flight lesson every week or so than to attend your flight school sporadically. For the first 3 years of my training I could only afford one lesson every month (between allowance and babysitting money that wasn’t too bad!) If I could go back and do it again, I would have saved up for a year or so and had lessons sequentially in just a couple months. In having to wait, I kept relearning the same concepts every month and was nowhere near reaching my full potential.

Don’t be scared to be assertive. On June 19th, 2013 I was on a routine flight with my instructor, going around the traffic pattern at Capital City airport. As my instructor continually pointed out, I was spending too much time with my eyes glued to the instrument panel and not enough time looking outside. As I turned for my downwind leg, he held a sheet of paper over the instrument panel to stop my nervous eyes from glancing inside too much. I huffed a bit, then began making a call to other traffic that I was on downwind. "Capital City traffic, Cessna -" my heart sank. I hadn’t memorized our tail number yet and the sheet of paper was obscuring my view of it. Without skipping a beat, I forcefully moved (read: slapped) my instructor’s hand out of the way, read the tail number off, and finished my radio call. I immediately felt bad and apologized for what I had done, but I had never seen my instructor so thrilled. "That’s what I’m talking about! THAT was a pilot in command move. If you know what you need to do, don’t ask my permission." The very next day I was endorsed and did my first solo flight. Which is the perfect segway into my next point...

Your solo IS as big of a deal as everyone says. Let’s say you have comprehended enough knowledge to safely takeoff and land an aircraft, and your instructor has enough faith in your abilities to let you do it completely by yourself. Congratulations, it’s time to fly solo! The whole ordeal in and of itself isn’t a big change from your previous lessons, as you have probably done exactly the same routine of taking off and landing many times before your instructor steps out. The real value and importance of a solo isn’t in the fact that there is one less passenger, it is that YOU are now the pilot in command. According to Federal Aviation Regulation 91.3, "The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft." You are now the CEO head honcho in charge of all aspects of safely executing your current flight mission. The boost of confidence that a student pilot gains after safely landing their first solo flight is astronomical. Celebrate this accomplishment and truly think about what it means to now be the pilot in command.

Networking is everything. I am a first-generation pilot. Nobody in my family has any ties to aviation, besides a strange obsession with warbirds my father and grandfather share. When I first started my flight training I felt like a very tiny fish in a very huge pond. All that I knew was that becoming a pilot was extremely expensive, difficult, and overwhelming... but that I absolutely could not live my life without doing it. I had not met a single female pilot in my first two years of training, but I knew they had to be out there. I began doing google searches, talking to family friends, and subscribed to seven different flight magazines in an attempt to gain an understanding of the general aviation community as a whole. Through a family friend I came in contact with a female UPS pilot, and she introduced me to the Ninety-Nines. From there I learned about Women in Aviation, AOPA, EAA, NBAA, all of these crazy acronyms which represented different organizations in the aviation community. I have met tons of interesting people who have taken a genuine interest in my future as a pilot, and I have learned so much about the different pathways that are available to me in the aerospace industry. Having a good network to support you is incredibly important for an aspiring pilot.

Do not give up. The most important "confession" I have for fellow student pilots is to not give up, no matter how difficult it becomes. Keep trying. Stay motivated. There have been times in my training where I have been completely overwhelmed and felt very unsure as to whether or not I would actually achieve my dreams. When this happens, I like to take a step back and evaluate what really draws me to aviation in the first place. I watch episodes of The Aviators, or read aviation literature and really soak in the pure beauty and freedom that a pilot can obtain. The challenge is half the fun, however daunting it may seem. I encourage all student pilots to really think about what keeps them going and to cling to it until they finally reach the day of achieving their ultimate goals.

Learning to Fly in the United States

By

Getting a Student Visa for Flight Training

In spite of worldwide demand for qualified commercial pilots, flight training in many regions is prohibitively expensive, a regulatory nightmare, or both. While it may seem strange to travel to a completely different country to train, learning to fly in the United States can be a huge benefit to student pilots from many regions. There's only one major catch - getting a student visa for flight training.

Which visa is right for me?

Let's jump ahead in the process slightly and discuss visa specifics. The United States issues two kinds of student visas - F1 and M1. With such descriptive titles, I'm sure you know exactly which one you need right? Honestly, in spite of their unhelpful titles, the basic difference between them is when they expire.

An M-1 visa, which is good for up to 12 months, is best for a student pilot seeking a limited number of certificates or ratings. For example, a typical commercial pilot course (including private pilot training and an instrument rating) might take 8 months to complete. In this case, when you enter the U.S., officials will stamp your visa with an expiration date of 8 months plus a 30 day grace period to complete your training and return home.

An F-1 visa, which is not given an expiration date, is best for student pilots in university programs or certain longer professional pilot courses that might include flight instructor certificates or time-building. Such programs may take years to complete or allow a very limited amount of work-study opportunities for students without requiring a work visa.

Where do I start?

Now that you understand the difference in the two types of visas, you're probably curious where to begin. As an international student, you must choose a flight school which offers training approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Federal Aviation Regulation Part 141 and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue I-20 forms. It is highly recommended to seek out a school that caters to international students, because those schools will know how to navigate all the regulatory hurdles and keep you flying.

Photo: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA (Bush pilot) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

What do I need?

Once you've located a school, most of the hard work is done. You will need to contact the school, such as Phoenix East Aviation, and provide them with all the necessary documents and fees in order to get a signed I-20 form that you will take to the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate with your completed visa application on your scheduled interview date.

I'm sure all of this sounds complex, but the most important thing to remember is you need to find an approved school here in the U.S. that offers the training you want. Since they regularly work with student pilots from all over the world they can help you navigate through the process and get started learning to fly in the U.S. today.

To find a school in the USA start here: AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can also search Globalair.com’s aviation training directory. For more information on visas, please go to https://visaguide.world/us-visa/

About the author - Kyle Garrett is the founder of Aviation Schools Online, has over 20 years of experience in the marketing and vocational school industry, and is an experienced instrument-rated private pilot.

The Importance of WAAS/LPV

Don’t Let Less Than Ideal Conditions Ruin Your Approach
John Crabtree of Elliott Aviation, Avionics Manager
www.elliottaviation.com

Sometimes, one experience can change your entire perspective on flying. A few years ago, a Hawker 800 pilot relayed a story to me about WAAS LPV. The pilot had been requesting WAAS/LPV in their aircraft but had been denied his request because the aircraft owner saw it as a high cost with very little value. One business trip from Nashville to St. Louis changed the value seen in LPV.

The aircraft owners were flying in for a very important business meeting and planned to land at Lambert Field but the ILS was down and there was a very low ceiling. This forced the aircraft to divert to an airport many miles away. Meanwhile, the owner witnessed a Cirrus land right after their missed approach.

Because it was an unplanned arrival at a very small FBO, they had to wait for a car to become available and drive nearly an hour out of their way, missing their meeting. Needless to say, the owner was very upset that his mid-sized jet could not get into an airport while he witnessed a small piston aircraft land with ease. The owner scheduled a WAAS LPV system installation the following day.

WAAS (wide area augmentation system) and LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) is a system that uses satellites and ground-based radio systems to enhance GPS signals for the entire flight path of the aircraft, including approaches that can get you down to 200 feet. From an approach standpoint, the FAA’s most recent update (November 15, 2012) shows LPV approaches at 1,519 airports including 1,307 LPV’s to non-ILS airports. This flexibility can get you closer where you want to go.

Other benefits include cutting distances between airports, saving time and fuel because the aircraft does not have to follow routes based on ground based systems alone. It also allows safer flight at low altitudes because older system equipment is often blocked by terrain or elevation changes. Simply put, WAAS will get you to where you want to go faster, safer, and often times with less fuel.

John Crabtree oversees over 30 avionics technicians at Elliott Aviation’s headquarters in Moline, IL. Crabtree has 28 years of avionics experience that started in the US Navy where he was an Avionics Technician. He has worked on avionics systems with Gulfstream, Standard Aero and Hawker Beechcraft Services. As part of John’s current duties, he is leading one of the most successful avionics retrofit programs in history, Elliott Aviation’s industry-leading King Air Garmin G1000 retrofit program.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Citation X Captain Pilots For World-Renowned Fractional Operator

   On warm and sunny days here in Louisville, Kentucky, I have made a habit of going out to the field that lies due south of my father’s house. There in the field I feel at home; I lie down in the cool, soft grass, look up at the endless sky as I ponder my life. High above this planet where the vapor turns to gas, there is no such thing as hurt, there is no such thing as pain; there is no war and there is no evil. Up there, life is peaceful, beautiful and every shade of blue. It fascinates me to imagine how simple life could be; all we have to do is take the time to stop and see the world around us. Life has a funny way of twisting and turning in every direction except the one we are expecting; and once we lose our way, we are apt to miss out on something really great. There are always going to be reasons why we never did those things we wanted most, but that is so silly. Live your life, do everything you ever dreamed of doing and don’t look back.

   This time, my story is about a boy who knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a pilot. So much so that he would lie awake at night, letting his imagination carry him away as he slipped into fantasies of flight. The year was 1970, young Jeffrey Newcomb was twelve years of age and constantly on the lookout for anything aviation. Jeff would spend days with his nose in a flying magazine, any that he could find. Specifically, Jeff he recalls reading Air Progress, Private Pilot, Plane and Pilot and Flying. Jeff wasn’t quite sure why this dream had found him, be it spiritual or for the simplicity of freedom; but he supposed it didn’t matter anyway. What mattered was that he knew he was going to be a pilot someday. Unfortunately, bad news was lurking in the shadows for your young Jeff. One night over a family dinner, Jeffrey attempted to first express his passion for aviation to his parents. Needless to say, times were different then and aviation was less than safe according to Jeff’s mother and father. Jeff’s father had served time in the NAVY and although he had not piloted himself, he had a horrible fear of flight and refused to see his son put himself in such “danger.” On top of that, it has been said that the 70s and early 80s were NOT the best time to become a career pilot simply due to the large number of military pilots coming out of the Vietnam war. Ultimately, Jeff’s father had different ideas for his son and promptly began pushing him towards a career in business, sales and marketing.

   When the time came for Jeff to go away for college, he headed off to the University of New Hampshire in order to complete his undergrad degree. In 1979 Jeff graduated from UNH with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as his father had suggested. Jeff continued forward with in his education and almost immediately ventured off to Antioch New England Graduate School located in Keene, New Hampshire, where he received his master’s degree in counseling Psychology. Still unsure as to what profession he may finally end up pursuing, Jeff went off to George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia where he completed a second master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

   In 1987, Jeff went to work part time with an old country medical doctor out of a private office. For the next five years the medical doctor and Jeff worked together helping each other, help others. Once a week, Jeff would take over this medical office in order to meet with his clients for their routine therapy sessions. Jeffery enjoyed helping people in any way that he could, yet, he began to notice a pattern in his work. Although Jeff met with many different types of patients over the years, he found that he primarily spoke with married couples in couple’s type therapy. Some rekindled their love while others ended harshly in divorce and misfortune. Although these relationships and occurrences all took vital importance in Jeff’s life, none affected him quite as much as the divorce of his own parents. In 1992 Jeff’s parents filed for a divorce and just like that Jeff’s life had changed. He no longer desired a career in psychology; Jeff was ready to do just exactly what his parents had always advised him not to do. Needless to say, in January of 1993, when Jeff was thirty-five years old he began taking flight lessons. Again, people in Jeff’s life discouraged him from aviation. They told him that he was too old, the lessons would cost too much money, he would never be able to make a career out of flying without military background, etc.

Jeff wasn’t listening.

   Luckily, Jeffrey had friends in the business. His old pal Lee and colleague Greg owned and ran a small FBO named Sky Bright out of Laconia, New Hampshire. There in Laconia, Jeffrey Newcomb learned to fly despite every negative thing anyone had ever told him. It took Jeff roughly one year to complete all necessary pilot training and in 1993, he became certified to instruct and began teaching student pilots at Sky Bright. At this point in Jeffrey’s career he needed to begin building his time in multi-engine aircraft so that he could begin a new job as a charter pilot and work his way up in business. Some twenty thousand dollars later, Jeff was successfully checked out to fly the Beechcraft Baron as well as the Cessna 310 and in no time at all he was began his new career as a charter pilot flying the Baron for Sky Bright.

   In the spring of 1995, Jeff jumped on board a new flying opportunity and was off to Orlando, Florida in order to pursue an offer to fly for Comair Airlines. At Comair, Jeffrey flew as first officer for several years before he was transitioned north to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became the captain on the Brasilia for one year. During these five years Jeff also flew the Canadair Regional Jet as well as the Metroliner. Newcomb absolutely loved this job and intended to stay…until a massive strike broke out in 2001. Just in the nick of time one of the largest international, fractional operator/time shares opened their door in search of a captain to fly their Cessna Citation X aircraft. Jeffrey Newcomb calls it “a spiritual thing” that he was lucky enough to be granted with such an incredible opportunity. In no time at all the cards played out and he was dealt a fantastic hand. Suddenly Jeffrey was on board and working his dream career with only 4500 hours of flight time.

   Today, twelve years later, Jeffrey has 4600+ hours in the Citation X aircraft, he has maintained his career with the same time share company and he says he could not be more thrilled! Jeffery will tell anyone he meets that he absolutely loves serving people; he enjoys making things happen and in turn, seeing people smile. “Airline flying was easy compared to private! However, flying corporate and fractional are so much more rewarding because you (as their pilot)get the opportunity to actually work one on one with your guests” Jeffrey states. “The greatest satisfaction is providing service directly to the people that you fly.” Also, Jeff thoroughly enjoys the variety of his trips. During an average week, Jeff typically flies to several different places. On any given day he may be flying a family to fabulous Bermuda for vacation, then turn around and spend the night in Aspen, Colorado that very same evening. With his current company, Jeff has also become very accustom to transcontinental flights where he may begin a trip in Teterboro, New Jersey, have dinner off the coast of southern California and be prepared for takeoff to Lakeland, Florida first thing the very next morning!

   The moral of this story is to not ever give up trying, on the things you want most out of life. Thirteen year old Jeffrey Newcomb sat at his family’s dinner table and thought very sincerely that all was lost. He thought his dreams of one day becoming a pilot were no more and he certainly would be sentenced to live a life on the ground. I’m here today folks, to tell you the good news of Jeff’s very real success story. On this very day, Jeff is a pilot working for a very successful company and living a very successful life. Against all odds, Jeffrey Newcomb did it. Currently, Jeff is living back home in small town New Hampshire with his adoring wife, Adriana and any spare time that he finds, he designates to students pilots. Jeff is excited to be back and instructing at Sky Bight, where he taught twenty years ago. Flying still excites Jeff to the nth degree. He feels excited to push the starter button on the engine of his Citation X and he still gets butterflies as he prepares for takeoff. Jeff enjoys watching the sun rise above the clouds and he states that he has the best office in the whole world; seeing the stars at night and ground below thrills him now more than ever and he wouldn’t trade for a thing.

Jim and Matt

Note from the Author: Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my article! 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, and keep up the awesome thoughts, comments and on-blog conversations! -As always, please feel free to message me directly with your thoughts at - [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you!

FIFI, the World's Only Flying B-29 Superfortress, Returns to the Sky

 

Addison, Texas - The Commemorative Air Force's (CAF) famous Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, FIFI - the only remaining flying example of the aircraft in the world - returned to the sky Saturday, January 13 and flew to her home base in Addison, Texas. The flight crew arrived in Midland, Texas and conducted a successful maintenance flight followed by the one and a half hour trip. It was FIFI's first flight since October 2012.

The B-29 experienced trouble with the number two engine and returned safely to the ground during a routine photo mission at the conclusion of AIRSHO. The B-29 is equipped with four radial engines, which are needed to power the massive aircraft. It was determined the number two engine would need major repairs and therefore the aircraft was grounded. For three months maintenance crews worked tirelessly to repair the engine and get this historic aircraft flying again as quickly as possible.

"It's all the difference in the world seeing it fly instead of in a museum," said Preston McPhail, the 70 year old son of a former B-29 mechanic. "You can smell the exhaust from the engines."

And for today's children, FIFI brings a history lesson to life.

"It's hard not to cry, it's real emotional. I'm happy these guys are keeping them flying," said Melanie Skinner, who brought her 8 year old niece to see the B-29 in Lexington, Ky. Skinner went on to say "My niece is a child of the millennium. (To her) World War II is ancient history. To be able to touch them, to feel them, to hear them, that's what history is all about."

A fundraising campaign was launched in November with a goal of raising $200,000 to repair the engine and purchase a replacement. Currently the campaign has raised just over $105,000 to get FIFI flying again, but is still short $95,000 to purchase a 5th engine, a spare, which will ensure continuous future operation and flight. For more information about the FIFI engine fund and how you can help, visit www.keepFIFIflying.org.

Contact:
Kim Pardon, Tour Media
Correspondent
(913) 636-6250
[email protected]

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