All posts tagged 'pilots' - Page 2

Learning to Fly in the United States


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 (], 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: You can also search’s aviation training directory. For more information on visas, please go to

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.

Tuskegee Airmen Return To Historic Airfield And Share Memories

Article By:
Four Of The Unit's Original Members Head Back To The Site Of Moton Field

As part of a special trip sponsored by a non-profit organization, Wish of a Lifetime and the Dallas chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., the men have been given the opportunity to visit the Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site at Moton Field. The group and their friends and loved ones will be given a private tour by the National Parks Services on Saturday morning.

Later, the men will take part in a public seminar to share the history and legacy of the airmen at the auditorium in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center at Tuskegee University. The seminar, “An Evening with the Red Tails,” is being hosted by retired Col. Roosevelt J. Lewis, president of the Tuskegee chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
The Airmen:

Retired Staff Sgt. Homer Hogues (pictured, top left) was drafted into the military after he completed high school. After basic training, his orders were to go to Japan for clean-up duties. Upon the advice of a fellow airman and friend, his orders were changed and further testing resulted in Hogues’ assignment to the Tuskegee Airmen. At Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio, Hogues was assigned to the famous 99th Fighter Squadron 332nd Fighter Group. He was a mechanic on airplanes with pilots such as Daniel “Chappie” James, who helped win World War II.

Retired Flight Officer Robert Tennerson McDaniel (pictured, top right) entered the military in 1943 and was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Training Program at Tuskegee Institute. He flew the TB-25J serving his country as a flight officer with the 477th Bombardier Group. McDaniel suffered an unjust court-martial and was put under house arrest because of his courageous resistance against racism and segregation. The charges were eventually cleared and he was honorably restored.

Retired Capt. Claude R. Platte (pictured, bottom left) served as a primary flight instructor, training over 300 blacks to solo and fly PT -13s, PT-17s and PT-19s. He was assigned to the 301st Fighter Squadron and the first black officer to be trained and commissioned in the newly reopened Air Force Pilot Training Program at Randolph Field Air Force Base, Texas the "West Point of the Air."

Retired Lt. Calvin Spann (pictured, bottom right) went into the Army Air Corps to start aviation cadet training in 1943. He was sent to Tuskegee, Ala. for training. Spann received his wings at Tuskegee. At the completion of training in 1944, Lt. Spann was sent to Italy and became a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, a part of the 332nd Fighter Group under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. Lt. Spann flew 26 combat missions before the end of the war in Europe.

(Image credit:

Plane makes emergency landing on highway, no injuries

Article By: Scott Adkins

SELLERSBURG, IN (WAVE) - A pilot and passenger walked away without injuries after making an emergency landing on Highway 60 in Sellersburg.

The plane ran out of fuel, according to the passenger on board. It happened near Future Drive and Exit 7 on Interstate 65. The pilot clipped a truck as it touched down and caused minimal damage, according to Indiana State Police. Troopers said there are a few scrapes on the truck's hood, but that is the only visible damage.
A police escort guided the pilot as he drove it to Clark County Regional Airport where an FAA investigation will continue.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

Aviation Heroes Are Superheroes Too

         As I continue right along on my journey to “Pilot-hood” I’d like to discuss and share about two specific war heroes that I’ve learned to appreciate along the way. In my previous article I discussed an inspirational pilot who took me on as a private student and in turn became my very first flight instructor; Mr. Wagers. Sadly I must report, it is no longer this way, Mr. Wagers took another job and is no longer my private instructor. However, he had a plan (as I’m told all pilots should.) Mr. Wagers introduced me to an old friend of his that is also a CFI. His friend’s name is Mr. Frames, who conveniently enough also flies out of Indiana. Needless to say, Mr. Frames is now instructing me. Of course, Mr. Frames has his own style of teaching, his own habits and certainly his own punch lines; He’s a good man though and a great instructor! Throughout my time spent with Mr. Frames he has mentioned several different names of famous pilots that I should be aware of. Mr. Frames is a man very devoted to his job and yes, I have been assigned “homework.” So, on this particular day, I took it upon myself to do a little bit of research and find out just what this old bird was talking about.

         The first pilot that Mr. Frames mentioned was Captain Richard C. Mulloy; obviously I was completely and utterly oblivious. This name meant absolutely nothing to me. However, upon “Googling” his name I was astonished at the outcome, what an awesome person for Mr. Frames to teach me about! Richard C. Mulloy was known by employees and students of the Kentucky Flying Service as "Dick Mulloy," This man learned to fly in Tennessee in 1941, and once he finished his studies he entered the civilian pilot training program. Later he became a pilot instructor in the U.S. Army Primary Flying School, and eventually ended up flying C-46s and C-47s with the Flying Tigers over "The Hump" across the Himalayas in World War II.

         Following the war, Dick returned to Louisville, Kentucky and formed the Kentucky Flying Service, which was located at Bowman Field (KLOU.) He built the organization over the years, operating out of the large hanger where they overhauled, maintained, and sold aircraft. In addition, Dick is generally credited with training more pilots than anyone else in this particular part of the country. In 1987, Dick sold the Kentucky Flying Service, and 1992 he sold Helicopters Inc., completing 47 years of operations at Bowman Field. I thought it ironic that such an influential and heroic man lived out his aviation career as well as his life right here in our very own Louisville, Kentucky.

         Next Mr. Frames told me about a man named Terrence Wilcutt. Born on October 31, 1949, and a native of Louisville, Ky., Wilcutt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in math from Western Kentucky University in 1974. He then taught high school math for two years before entering the Marine Corps in 1976 and earned his naval aviator wings in 1978. From 1980 until 1983, he was stationed in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and flew F-4 Phantoms during two overseas deployments to Japan, Korea and the Philippines. For the next three years, he served as an F/A-18 fighter weapons and air combat maneuvering instructor while assigned to Squadron VFA-125 at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California. At this time he had more than 6,600 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft. (Wow!) Wilcutt joined NASA in 1990 as an astronaut candidate and was accepted into the corps in 1991. He logged more than 1,007 hours in space as the pilot on two shuttle missions, STS-68 in 1994 and STS-79 in 1996, and commander of two others, STS-89 in 1998 and STS-106 in 2000.

         Finally, effective as of September 1, 2011, Terrence W. Wilcutt was appointed NASA’s chief of safety and mission assurance.

         Needless to say, a search to find a hero in the aviation world is not a difficult one; you just have to know where to find them. The two men that I have met and worked with in aviation thus far were inspiration enough; however, these two veteran heroes simply blew my mind. Aside from their international achievements, they were both at one point in the very same place that I now find myself. Where there is a will there is a way.

And again I’ll say “If you can dream it, you can do it.” –Walt Disney

Extending Your Fuel Efficiency

Article By: Peter Garrison
Brought to you by:

It ought not to be true, but it is: In every pilot’s life there comes a moment when he wishes he had a little more fuel.

Perhaps the headwind was stronger than forecast; the gauges have dropped below a quarter sooner than you hoped they would; the descent and climb for an en route stop to drop off a passenger used up more fuel than you expected; you took a detour around weather; or your planning was careless in the first place. Whatever the reason, you find yourself in that awkward spot: a certain distance from your destination, with a certain amount of fuel and with a nagging worry about where those needles will be pointing when you arrive.
The cautious thing to do is to land at the next opportunity and get more fuel. But that is not always possible or convenient. There may be no intermediate place with suitable weather; you may have told someone to meet you at a certain time. And there is always the reluctance to lose time, and to give up altitude and then to have to claw it back — a reluctance so strong that many a pilot has run out of fuel rather than overcome it.

But nothing can be done about extreme pigheadedness. Let us stipulate that there are situations in which a pilot of normal maturity, competence and regard for safety might feel concerned, even conflicted, about his or her remaining fuel, but in which a decision to continue might depend on rational analysis rather than, say, how lucky he or she was feeling that day. These are the situations in which it is not irresponsible to “stretch” range.

How far an airplane can go on a given amount of fuel is principally determined by four factors: propeller efficiency, fuel consumption, speed and wind.

The role of wind is obvious. Any headwind, and even a side wind, increases the time to fly. The chart of wind components is familiar to pilots, though roofers, who have to cut their two-by-fours to match the run and rise of rafters, are more likely to remember the precise numerical relationships. But in the era of GPS no chart is needed; the wind component is obvious from the groundspeed.

Your flight time will be lengthened in roughly the same proportion as the headwind component stands to your airspeed. If you cruise at 150 knots and the wind component is minus 15 knots, your flight time will be increased by about one part in 10; it will take you 66 minutes — actually, 66 minutes and 40 seconds — to go as far as you would normally go in an hour. That is not likely to be a problem. But a component of 30 or 40 knots might be. To maximize your range you want as little headwind as possible, and so you should pick an altitude — if you haven’t already done so — where the wind component is least.

A headwind component works against you in two ways. First and more clearly, it increases the time needed to go a certain distance. Less obviously, it complicates the choice of a speed to fly.

Speed is a pilot’s most powerful tool for increasing range. The amount of speed you get in exchange for a given fuel flow — in other words, your miles per gallon — varies across the speed range. It is worst at very high and very low speeds, owing at the high-speed end to parasite drag and at the low-speed end to lift-related induced drag. Parasite drag increases with speed, and induced drag increases with slowness; they are equal at the speed for minimum drag. This is the speed at which the least power is needed to stay aloft, and therefore it is the speed for greatest endurance. It is typically about a third greater than the clean stalling speed.

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