Flying - Page 18 Aviation Articles

The Aerobatic Experience of a Lifetime

There is great excitement around Louisville right now. Last weekend Thunder Over Louisville came to our charming little city. Thousands of people gathered around the Ohio River to watch the Blue Angels, Lima Lima Flight team, Trojan Horsemen, Team AeroDynamix, and several other big names in airshow entertainment. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze, the perfect setting for the 25th anniversary of the airshow.

One of these Thunder performers was John Klatt. He is an Air National Guard pilot who proudly flies the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" and C-130 "Hercules" aircraft on combat, air support, and humanitarian missions. In addition to all of this, he is an airshow performer extraordinaire with over 10 years’ experience flying for millions of spectators. In his current routine he flies his MXS in a plethora of twists, turns, and flips at stunning speeds.

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to ride along with John and his flight crew for some practice before the big event. I strapped on my parachute and climbed into the front seat of their 300 horsepower Extra 300L. I had not experienced aerobatics previously, so as they secured me with the abundance of harnesses and safety straps I had a brief moment where I was questioning what I was getting myself into. Being born a thrill seeker, I gave a thumbs up to the crew and braced myself for the adventure that awaited us.

After an incredibly speedy liftoff, we flew in close proximity behind John in his single seat MXS. When we reached the practice area he headed north of the Ohio river and we headed south to do maneuvers. We started out simple, with just a dive from 5000’ to gain airspeed and roll into some steep turns. After this we did a hammerhead, loop, and barrel roll. I tried to play it cool but every moment I lost sight of the ground I couldn’t help but grin.

Flying aerobatics is what I believe to be one of the fundamentals of aviation. Humans have always been seeking out the biggest thrills. We question how fast something can go, how high we can fly. Part of human nature is pushing the limits and finding new ways of controlling our surroundings. For years we have been building faster and better aircraft in this pursuit of maximizing our abilities. Maybe I am getting too philosophical with this, but the entire concept of aerobatics beautifully demonstrates the human spirit. Airshows are built around this human adoration of pushing boundaries. The fact that we have created machines capable of such breathtaking feats is worth celebration enough. Add in the remarkable skill and talent of pilots like John Klatt, and you have a perfect display of human intellect and liveliness.

After I hopped out of the Extra 300L, I felt like my eyes had been opened to a whole new world of flying capabilities. The sheer power and agility of the plane shocked me. This truly was an unforgettable experience and I want to thank John Klatt and his team for this opportunity.

New EAA Video Answers Pilots’ Questions about Completing FAA MedXPress Medical Form

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (April 9, 2014) — A new EAA video is answering the most common questions about the now-required MedXPress online form for FAA airmen medical certificates, including how to save time when completing the form.

This unique video features Dr. Greg Pinnell, a member of EAA’s Aeromedical Advisory Council, which consists of EAA-member physicians who volunteer their time to assist other members and guide EAA policy on aeromedical issues. Dr. Pinnell is also a senior flight surgeon for the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing and founded Air Docs, a health provider focused on aviation medical examinations and certification.

“Many longtime pilots are used to filling out the paper form at their own aviation medical examiner’s office, but the FAA now only allows the online form to be used,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “The online requirement has led to many questions and occasional confusion and misunderstanding for pilots unfamiliar with the MedXPress system. This new EAA video answers questions, clears confusion, and ensures the first step in obtaining an airman medical certificate is a smooth one.”

During the 20-minute video Dr. Pinnell goes step-by-step through the MedXPress registration and completion process. That includes displaying individual online screens and easy-to-follow instructions on completing the pre-examination paperwork.

“Along with showing the MedXPress online completion process, the video discusses many of the related questions that EAA headquarters receives on a regular basis, as well as those I receive as a senior aviation medical examiner,” Dr. Pinnell said. “We’ve found that having this type of visual instruction is a great help to clearing much of the confusion and apprehension that pilots might have when using the system.”

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 185,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with the EAA Twitter feed.

The Race is On – Where Do You Play the Ponies?

Image Courtesy Oaklawn Racing and Gaming

Now that Spring has officially sprung, everyone that has a set of wings that they’re pulling out of their T-hangers and taking to the skies. And sure, there are a ton of aviation related events on our calendar, but what about other events. As our office is located in Louisville, Kentucky, and I personally live about a mile from Churchill Downs, one type of event that comes to my mind that comes to mind is horse racing. For my money, you’re not going to find a more exciting gambling venue than being trackside, right up near the action as the thoroughbreds thunder by!

Here is a list of some of the venues to which you may consider flying to experience the thrill of horseracing – airports that are close enough to the track that it’s worthwhile to land there:

Memorial Field Airport (HOT) – If you’re itching to start right away, fly into Hot Springs to hit up Oaklawn Racing. Better hurry though – racing ends halfway thru April!

Bowman Field (LOU) – As I mentioned, we’re not that far from Churchill Downs, and "the Greatest Two Minutes in Sports" known as the Kentucky Derby. This is the 140th year of the Run for the Roses, the first leg of the Triple Crown, and the biggest party you’ll ever find for a horse race. Festivities kick off with Thunder Over Louisville on April 12 with a huge airshow (featuring the Blue Angels this year) and the world’s largest fireworks demonstration.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport (BWI) – The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, is rife with tradition of its own. Events leading up to the Stakes on May 17 include Sunrise at Old Hilltop, the Alibi Breakfast, and a Jockey autograph session. A flight to Pimlico may be in order!

Belmont Stakes on June 7. The day will feature a $1 Million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 6 and a $1 Million Guaranteed All Graded Stakes Pick 4. That’s a lot of $100 hamburgers!

There are obviously many more, and you can find many more of them at this link. If you want to win, place or show, these are all winning places to show up!

The Business Mission Drives The Aircraft Mission

Image: Gulfstream G650

The Gulfstream G650 and Citation Ten vie for the world’s fastest business jet. But if you need to get an accident victim from the accident scene to a hospital fast, you most likely need a helicopter. Business jets are not designed to land beside the highway and helicopters won't do for a long cross-country flight. I'm stating the obvious, but how many aircraft choices seem to ignore this?

"To execute the corporate mission" is the answer to the business question "Why do we have an aircraft?" If the aircraft is a personal aircraft, the "why" may be "to enjoy flying." What type of flying is fun to one person can be very different from another. In the world of business aircraft, whether the business is high tech, services, hospitality, acute care, etc., the why of the aircraft must be tied into the why of the company. If it isn't, then the aircraft may be a mismatch to the company mission.

The closer the aircraft's mission can be tied into the reason for the corporation's existence, the more secure the aircraft (and aviation employees' jobs) will be. If IBM were having a tough year financially, no one would ever suggest that they get rid of all their computers! How close does the mission of your business aircraft fit into the reason your company exists? If the aircraft went away, would it have a negative impact on the ability of its users to successfully execute the company's mission?

Our own company mission is: The mission of Conklin & de Decker is to enable the general aviation industry to make more informed decisions when dealing with the purchase, operation and disposition of aircraft by furnishing objective and impartial information.

We are much too small to afford a corporate aircraft, but if/when we get there, the aircraft better directly support our ability to "enable the general aviation industry to make more informed decisions." The added value to the business from the person(s) using the corporate aircraft must exceed the costs of having that aircraft. If the leader of a corporation is worth $1 billion dollars to the corporation, and their use of the company aircraft enhances that value, then the $1 million budget for the aircraft should be easily defensible. If the mission of the health services company includes providing critical care to a large community, then the EMS helicopter should be easily defensible.

A company has a written mission statement that is used to guide its daily business. The aviation department should also have a written mission statement. That mission statement should support the mission of the corporation. The aviation department should be part of the corporate structure just as legal, human resources, IT and other departments. Your may not be making widgets, but you are making the making and selling of the widgets easier and more productive.

After that, the next step is developing the measurement criteria for the aircraft to enable management to determine how well the aircraft is at meeting its mission needs. Then, and only then, can you start the analysis of speed, range, payload, cabin, and performance needed to make a wise aircraft choice.

What you then end up with is measureable criteria that can be used to evaluate the aircraft choices. Each of those criteria stem from the assigned mission of the aircraft. The assigned mission of the aircraft is directly supporting the mission of the corporation. Thus, the answer to the question of why do we need eight seats and 2,400 NM range, is to support the corporate mission.

A caution here is that in some situations, supporting the senior leadership can be mistaken for NOT supporting the corporation. There are no easy answers to the "big boss uses company jet for private retreat" headline. But, that personal use of the corporate aircraft better be documented and reported.

Business aircraft of all types can be used to further the successful mission accomplishment of the corporation. These missions need to be in writing and clear enough so that the justification of the use of a business aircraft can easily be done.

What is your mission statement? Does your choice of transportation reflect it? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Importance of WAAS with LPV

Mark Wilken – Director of Avionics Sales with Elliott Aviation
www.elliottaviation.com

Traditionally, ground-based landing systems have been the only method for low visibility approaches. Many business aircraft, however, are operated from airports without ground-based systems and are restricted to using non-precision approaches. If your aircraft is equipped with WAAS and LPV you have many more options to get to where you are going safely and efficiently.

There is a common misconception in the industry that WAAS and LPV are one in the same, however, they are two completely different systems.

WAAS, or Wide Area Augmentation System, was developed by the FAA to augment GPS to improve accuracy. Put simply, it is a corrected GPS. It is accurate to about one meter of your actual position. Combined with LPV, it can get you into more airports in a more direct manner. Without LPV, WAAS is just nothing more than an accurate sensor.

LPV, or Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance, gives you an enhanced database in your FMS GPS and allows ILS-like approaches at airports that do not have an ILS or ground-based system. LPV approaches allow for minimums to be as low as 200 feet.

If LPV approaches are not available at the airport you are traveling, they likely have LP approaches available. LP, or Localizer Performance Approaches, provide precision lateral guidance using the enhanced accuracy WAAS provides. As an example, an LP approach into Telluride, Colorado allow for minims of an additional 460 feet for days when the weather is less than perfect.

Mark Wilken is the Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation which employs over 40 avionics technicians at their headquarters in Moline, IL. Mark began his career at Elliott Aviation in 1989 as a bench technician repairing radios and quickly became the manager of the department. Mark helped launch Elliott Aviation’s Garmin G1000 retrofit program where the company has installed more King Air G1000’s than all other dealers in the world combined. Recently, he has headed STC programs for the newly-launched Aircell ATG 2000 system for Hawker 8000/850/900, Phenom 300 and King Air 350/B200/B200GT. Mark is a licensed pilot and holds an associate’s degree in avionics and a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Southern Illinois University.

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).

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