Aviation Technology Aviation Articles

Three Tips for Avoiding Runway Confusion

Have you ever had runway confusion? This confusion could come from runway numbers closely aligned or even complex airport layouts. From one pilot to another, we’ve all had some confusion during one stage of training or another. Here are a few tips to equip you with better runway familiarity and ridding the chance of possible confusion.

Three major ways to avoid possible risks associated with runway confusion include:

I) Always remember ATC is there to help you, especially at unfamiliar airports. Make sure to request progressive taxi instructions. Progressive taxiing is essentially asking for step-by-step, turn-by-turn instructions to your destination runway or airport destination.

 

Current Airport Diagram

 II) Always carry a current airport diagram, trace or highlight your taxi route to the departure runway prior to leaving the ramp. This also applies to when you are in the air. If you are a distance out from the runway environment and are unsure how you will enter the pattern, draw out your aircrafts heading and position on your airport diagram to the runway of intended landing. Be sure to listen to the airport ATIS to anticipate the runway in use before ATC tells you. Stay ahead of the aircraft if you can!

 

PIT Airport Diagram

 

III) If departing on Runway 36, ensure that you set your aircraft heading “bug” to 360°, and align your aircraft to the runway heading to avoid departing from the incorrect runway.

Before adding power on the runway currently aligned, make one last instrument scan to ensure the aircraft heading and runway heading are centered.

 

Runway and Pressure Gauge

 

Airport Information

It is important to review the current data for your airport or airports of use. Make sure you have these three common sources to obtain airport information.

I) Aeronautical Charts

  • Map designated to assess navigation of aircraft. Make sure your charts are current!

Aeronautical Chart

II) Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)

  • Contains information on airports, heliports, and seaplane bases that are open to the public.

FAA Chart Supplement

III) Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) 

  • NOTAMs are time-critical aeronautical information that include such information as taxiway and runway closures, construction, communications, changes in the status of navigational aids, and other information essential to planned en route, terminal, or landing operations.
  • Types include FDC, SAA, FICON, Pointer, D, and military. 
  • NOTAMs are super important to understand the condition of the airport environment around you and how it can affect your awareness/routing.

These are a few very useful tips to help you familiarize yourself with unfamiliar airports and reduce confusion. Do you have any other useful tips to avoid runway confusion? Leave a comment below! 

 

Ready to File a Flight Plan? Here’s What You Need to Know!

              Flight Planning

What is a flight plan? A flight plan is pretty much the product of thorough flight planning that the pilot is responsible to do before every flight. There are certain flight plans though that require you to file them to FSS so that ARTCC can process the information for route sequencing. This precise planning, in other words, provides written intentions to ATC outlining their (the pilots) intended plan of flight.

There are five types of flight plans—VFR flight plan, IFR flight plan, composite flight plan, defense VFR flight plan, and International flight plan. Today, we will be discussing the two flight plans primarily used—VFR and IFR flight plans. If you are interested in learning more about composite flight plans, defense VFR flight plans, and International flight plans, check out AIM 5-1-6 through 5-1-9.

Even though filing VFR is not necessary unless you plan to fly through an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), there are still benefits to it. It’s purpose is to activate search and rescue procedures in the event that your flight plan is not closed 30 minutes after your proposed time of arrival. This is why it is very important to remember to always close your flight plan as soon as it is safe to do so!

         Filing Flight Plan

Your IFR flight plan works a little bit differently. Before you enter into IMC conditions that lower visibility below VFR (1000 ft ceilings and 3SM) or entering Class A airspace you must file a flight plan to FSS. It is recommended that the pilot file their IFR flight plan at least 30 minutes prior to estimated time of departure to preclude possible delay in clearance received from ATC. If nonscheduled operators are conducting an IFR flight above Flight Level (FL 230) they are asked to voluntarily file their IFR flight plan 4 hours prior to Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) to allow the FAA to provide traffic management and routing strategy. Be sure to pay close attention to the clearance you are given! If you are on the ground at your controlled departure airport contact clearance deliveries frequency to receive your clearance. (REMEMBER the acronym CRAFT)

  • Clearance Limit
  • Route (Via route, via direct…, via radar vectors)
  • Altitude 
  • Frequency
  • Transponder Code

In the event that your airport is uncontrolled, there’s still a way to open it before you get into IFR conditions. Take note that the methods in which you can open your flight plan, are similar to the ways you can close your flight plan.

OPEN FLIGHT PLAN                                                                               

  • Contact Clearance Delivery via frequency on the ground
  • Call FSS via 1-800-WX-BRIEF or radio frequency (On the ground or in the air)
  • Call your local tower controller (On the ground or in the air)
  • Open with Electronic Devices (ForeFlight, FLTPlan Go, etc.) 

CLOSE FLIGHT PLAN 

  • If your at a controlled field, the tower will close it upon your landing
  • As long as you can guarantee you are in VFR conditions, can maintain VFR altitudes for involved airspace, and can remain in VFR conditions all the way to landing, you can close your flight plan in the air (Via approach controller or FSS).
  • Once we land at a uncontrolled field, you can close your flight plan via FSS or controlled tower of local region.
  • Close with Electronic Devices (ForeFlight, FLTPlan Go, etc.)

  Flight Plan

Which way do you prefer to open and close your flight plans?

 

 

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 

 

The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.

 

1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.

 

2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.

 

3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.

 

4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.

 

5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.

 

6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.

 

There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

The 5 Most Expensive Private Jets on the Market in 2020

While multiple modes of transportation are available in the United States, business aviation ranks among the most important for companies and the affluent alike. The demand for private jets stems not only from the comfortability provided by the aircraft but also from its ability to help reach a variety of markets. Seen as more of a business tool than simply an aircraft, private jets offer a space that can easily be utilized as an office, conference room, or even a bedroom dependent on the user's needs.

Private aviation also represents one of the most luxurious modes of transportation available. Those who can afford the cost of owning and operating a jet see it as more than just an expensive aircraft, they see it as a portrayal of their social status.

From athletes to movie stars, A-list celebrities desire an A-list aircraft to travel in. The cost of this class of aircraft can range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. And no, that does not include the cost of operating the jet.

Of course, the amenities of aircraft held to such a high standard come with a hefty price tag. Here are five of the most expensive private jets on the market.

 

 

Gulfstream G650ER  - $71 million


Courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace

 

 

The Gulfstream G650ER boasts a price tag of $71 million. With a range of more than 7,500 nm and a striking interior made from luxurious leathers, elegant wooden veneers, and handcrafted stonework, its no surprise that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, would make the G650ER his private jet of choice.

Currently, the G650ER holds the record for the farthest fastest flight in business aviation history, allowing it to set new standards for comfort, functionality, and safety. It is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in the world at its highest speed of 607 miles per hour.

The spacious cabin is also designed to be the quietest in business aviation. Sixteen panoramic oval windows fill the cabin with natural light and stunning views of the world below.

Elon Musk is a tech giant with a net worth of $41.1 billion as of 2020. Musk lives in a world surrounded by advanced technology, and he expects his G650ER to be the same. On the inside, this private just is equipped with advanced fly-by-wire technology and streamlined displays of the PlaneView II flight deck to increase safety and reduce pilot workload. The cabin is even entirely customizable and can be controlled using a smartphone app.

 

Bombardier Global 7500 - $72 million


Courtesy of Bombardier

 

The Global 7500 is one of the world’s largest and longest-range business jets on the market. Known for its luxurious interior, the Global 7500 is easily worth its price tag of $72 million.

With an industry-leading 7,700 nm range, a top speed of Mach 0.925, and exceptional short-field performance, the 7500 is practically unrivaled. If the allure of the words “ultimate long-range private jet” don’t entice you, then maybe the full dining table, luxury window seating, and private bedroom will.

Niki Lauda, a Formula 1 world champion, was one of the first to receive the Global 7500. Though a loyal client of Bombardier for many years, Lauda particularly liked the Global 7500 due to its elegant design and abundance of natural light. This jet can be hard to find, with few on the market today.

Unlike any other business jet on the market, the Global 7500 features The Nuage seats, the first new seat architecture in business aviation in almost 30 years. Designed with the intent to bring the comfort of luxury home seating into the cabin, the seat offers three key features unavailable on any other seat in business aviation: deep recline, floating base, tilting headrest.

Bombardier Pũr Air is offered on the Global 7500 with an advanced HEPA filter that captures up to 99.99% of allergens, bacteria, and viruses while completely replacing the cabin air with fresh air in as little as 90 seconds. Available exclusively on Global aircraft, Bombardier Pũr Air delivers cleaner air with better humidity and quicker heating and cooling than 100% fresh air only systems.

Bombardier’s Global 7500 has become the first in business aviation to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) from the International EPD System based in Sweden. The EPD allows for full environmental transparency about the Global 7500, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption, and other environmental impact indicators. Bombardier believes this aircraft will help cut down on the environmental impact of aviation, and they’re not afraid to prove it.

 

Dassault Falcon 8X - $59 million


Courtesy of Dassault

 

The Dassault Falcon 8X is an amazingly fast aircraft, capable of flying at a speed of 0.90 Mach to a distance of 6,450 nm without refueling. Improved wing design and new powerplant make this business jet 35% more economical than any other ultra-long-haul aircraft on the market. The Falcon 8X has a suggested retail price of $59 million.

While the Falcon 8X has a lower cost than the other four aircraft on the list, there are many unique amenities on this private jet that make it one of the most expensive on the market. For instance, its unique three-engine scheme helps to shorten transoceanic routes. The 8X gets you where you are going faster.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is no stranger to the world of private jets. In fact, he owns at least 3 private jets as of today. Gates just had to get his hands on the Falcon 7X, the predecessor to the 8X due to Dassault’s reputation for having the most advanced jets on the market. He’ll undoubtedly be looking for an upgrade to the 8X before long.

Offering the longest cabin in the Falcon family, the Falcon 8X will become your personal penthouse at an altitude of 41,000 ft. More than 30 stunning cabin layout options are available, each including seating areas, kitchens, crew compartments, and showers.

The latest technology is at your fingertips in the Falcon 8X with the ability to control its functionality from anywhere in the cabin through your Apple device. You can even call up a virtual moving map of any area around you by simply pointing your iPad in the desired direction.

 

Boeing Business Jet MAX 8 - $85 million


Courtesy of Boeing

 

The BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) MAX 8 is a state-of-the-art, $85 million airliner turned private jet. The interior is an astounding 1,025 square feet. That means space for you and 49 of your closest friends. The sky is the limit on the different configurations, including a master suite with a California King bed, a walk-in closet, and a master bath with a double-size shower and heated marble floors.

The BBJ MAX 8 has a range of 6,640nm and can cruise at an airspeed of 449 kn (832 km/h). Despite being larger and more capable than previous models of BBJ aircraft, the BBJ MAX has a 13% lower fuel burn and lower emissions, thanks to its CFM LEAP-1B engines and advanced winglets.

An interior cabin concept presented by Boeing for the BBJ MAX featured a ‘spaceship sleek’ design, including starlight detailing on the cabin ceiling. With the generous cabin space offered by this business jet, it allows you to create an office or home in the sky.

It's understandable why Steven Spielberg, famed film director, and producer, would choose the BBJ as his personal aircraft. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, he could easily own multiple of these private jets. However, he chooses to share ownership with fellow film producer and good friend Jeffrey Katzenberg.

While capable of offering luxurious seating for 50 people, the majority of clients opt to accommodate less. Instead, they take advantage of the space and implement board rooms, dining rooms, or master suites to get much-needed rest.

Boeing also offers a special panoramic window as an option on the BBJ MAX 8. Measuring 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet, the window allows a generous amount of natural light into the cabin, while at the same time offering beautiful views of the ground below.

 

Airbus ACJ320neo - $95 million


Courtesy of Airbus

 

Coming in at an astounding base price of $95 million, the ACJ320neo changed the game for airlines and is now making waves in the private jet industry. This private jet delivered lower operating costs and increased efficiency than previous Airbus A320 models. New engines and aerodynamically friendly sharklet wingtips aid in reducing fuel consumption and providing additional range.

Considering it has the widest and tallest cabin in the industry at 3 times the space of a large traditional jet, it only makes sense that the elite of the elite would seek out this aircraft for business use.

With private jet owners spending many hours on the aircraft, they must find time to relax during the flight. Airbus offers the Melody Cabin, focusing on providing an attractive environment that is both quieter and better adapted to providing sound and vision in a “home cinema” setting.

What truly sets the ACJ320neo apart from the commercial model is right within the name, with “Neo” being an acronym for new engine option. These new engine options include the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A.

The ACJ320neo’s head of state, VIP interior can seat 25 passengers and 6 crew with an approximate range of 6,000nm, connecting city pairs such as London and Beijing as well as Moscow and Los Angeles.

 

These private jets were created with the elite in mind. Across the world, they represent wealth and power to socialites and business owners alike. Functioning as more than just a mode of transportation, these aircraft act as apartments, offices, entertainment spaces, and more for the wealthy. Needless to say, it’s expensive to be rich.

The Aviation Spark

Nicole Lund

 

My sister, Lauren, in the pink and me in the blue.

 

The question I am asked most often is "how did you get involved in aviation?". Most student pilots have parents or relatives that are pilots who helped them get a foot in the door. However, I do not come from a family with a background in aviation. So, where did the spark to become a pilot come from?

The first time I flew on an airplane, I was four years old and on my way to the happiest place in the world, Walt Disney World. I remember boarding the plane and the captain giving me a pair of plastic pilot wings that I wore with a giant grin across my face. I was completely blown away by seeing the world from 35,000 feet. Growing up, my mom took me to a local airshow at Offutt Air Force Base. This sparked an interest in serving the country. There was a C-17 at the first Defenders of Freedom Air & Space Show that I went to. I could not fathom how a plane of that size could fly. I ended up touring the inside of the C-17 and that was when I realized that I wanted to be a pilot.

 
A photo I took of a C-17 from Travis AFB on an overnight at KOMA.
 
 

I felt embarrassed and ashamed for wanting to become a pilot. I had never met a female pilot. I did not start telling family and friends that this is what I wanted to do with my life until high school. I tried easing my family into the idea by mentioning how I wanted to join the Air Force. Then I slowly started bringing up the idea of wanting to fly. Needless to say, my family and friends thought it was just a phase. In high school, I was a 4.0 student as well as a varsity athlete in cross country, track and field, and trapshooting. I focused on my grades and extracurricular activities so that I would be competitive for an Air Force ROTC scholarship. My senior year of high school I was overjoyed by the news of receiving a Commander's Scholarship for the local detachment at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). It was a full ride scholarship to study Aviation, I had my life planned out, so I thought.

My freshman year at UNO I juggled being a cadet and studying Aviation Management. At the end of my freshman year, I was crushed by the news that I had been medically disqualified from military service. That was a hard pill to swallow, but I knew I still wanted to fly. I ended up passing my first-class FAA medical and then began my private pilot training. I am now finishing up my commercial certificate with my eyes on a career in business aviation or with an airline.

Standing in front of a Citation Excel.

 

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