Monthly Archives: July 2013

My Wife Doesn’t Understand Me……

Neither do my kids or my neighborhood friends. That’s the conclusion I came to after inviting everyone to a movie night, to watch the general aviation video, “One Six Right”. The plan was simple. Since previous attempts to share my passion for aviation were not successful, certainly no one could resist the words and pictures of this wonderful documentary. I was surprised, but undaunted when they failed to respond to the opening scene of the DVD. As each segment unfolded before them, I searched for the spark, but it was not to be found. Soon the excuses started coming as a constant flow of traffic left the couch for some unknown task upstairs. It was clear they were not to be swayed tonight. Why do some people get the bug and others do not? I thought back to my early childhood. There was no connection to aviation whatsoever. Yet the desire to be a pilot was strong. I remember writing to Cessna sometime back in the 60s, asking them to send information about their planes.   When the brochures arrived in the mail, I opened it to see my first centerfold – the instrument panel. With gauges filling both pages, it was easy to imagine sitting behind the controls. The brochure was laid on the bedspread. With hands under chin and elbows planted firmly on the bed, the dials came alive, bringing my fantasy to life. The view outside the cockpit didn’t matter. It was all about the instruments and being in control of this very special vehicle. That was over 40 years ago and it seems like yesterday. Where my passion came from, I cannot say. It started prior to my first airplane ride; an American Airlines Electra flight from Chicago to Buffalo sometime in the early […]

By |July 31st, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Aviation History

As I spend time browsing the Internet for Aviation related articles, it never ceases to amaze me on the number of fascinating stories that I find about the people that have helped to write the history of Aviation. I have added this section to our Website Blog to highlight some of these articles that I have found. If you have any of your own, please forward them to me and I will add them to the list. To view these articles, simply click on the “Aviation History” link shown on the menu to the left. In order to prevent any copyright issues, this section will differ from our other Blog Posts in that it will provide a short intro to the article and then a link to the actual article on the web. I hope that you enjoy reading these articles as much as I do. Mike Rogers LEFC Communications Chairman

By |July 30th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Koga’s Zero

In April 1942 thirty-six Japanese Zeros attacked a British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and were met by about sixty Royal Air Force aircraft of mixed types, many of them older obsolete british designs. Twenty-seven of the RAF planes went down; fifteen Hawker Hurricanes (of Battle of Britain fame), eight Fairey Swordfish, and four Fairey Fulmars. The Japanese lost one Zero. After Pearl Harbor and attacks like this one, the Allied forces quickly discovered how deadly an aerial dogfight could be with this Japanese fighter. The article below describes a little known piece of history on how a twist of fate helped the Allied forces learn intimate details about the Zero’s strengths and weaknesses, and helped to win the air war against the Japanese air force. [this is a very well done article with some great historical pictures] http://toshmcintosh.com/2011/02/kogas-zero-by-jim-reardon/ [For more info about the Japanese Zero and Petty Officer Koga’s final mission you can also check out these links in Wikipedia.] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akutan_Zero http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A6M_Zero

By |July 29th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Flying the Shuttle Home

We all have probably witnessed a Space Shuttle landing at Cape Kennedy on TV or via the Internet, but few have seen what it looks like when they have to taxi the Space Shuttle home from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Florida on the back of a specially designed Boeing 747! The links below are to a personal account from the Pilot of the 747 that brought the Shuttle Atlantis home to Florida on its last leg in June of 2009, and YouTube videos of its departure from CA and arrival back in FLA. Atlantis returned to its home base in Florida after completing its mission (STS-125) to repair the Hubble Telescope. First Hand Pilot Account of flying the Shuttle Atlantis back to FLA on the back of a 747 YouTube Video of the Shuttle Atlantis leaving Edwards Air Force Base in CA YouTube Video of the Shuttle Atlantis landing in FLA on the back of a 747

By |July 28th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

The Doolittle Raid

In early 1942 President Roosevelt asked his top military advisors to find a way to send a message to the Japanese informing them that they had made a big mistake in attacking the United States. With the help of Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and others in the War Dept., an air raid on Japan was planned using B-25 Bombers flown off the deck of an aircraft carrier. The following link is a personal account of the preparation for the raid and the actual attack written by Lieutenant Colonel Edgar “Mac” McElroy (USAF, retired). He was the pilot of aircraft #13 on the Doolittle Raid. While you may have heard this story before, it is a very different account to hear someone tell it in their own words. http://www.doolittleraider.com/raiders/mcelroy.htm [scroll down once you get to the site to read Lt. Col. McElroy’s personal account of the raid]

By |July 27th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

TAA Avionics – The Audio Panel

I continue to get questions about the avionics in our Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA). Thanks to Mike Rogers for creating a special place within the BLOG section of the website. It’s a perfect place to start a series of quick tips about how to get maximum value from our avionics. The goal is not to give a complete training, but to highlight areas of interest. Let’s start with one that doesn’t get talked about much. The Audio Panel. Yep, many people don’t think twice about the audio panel, but with it being part of the core of your communications, it is critical to understand it’s operation. By the way, there is an on/off control on the unit. The left small knob, when turned all the way counter clockwise, will click, turning off the unit. That same knob controls the volume of the Pilot’s intercom (ICS) volume. It does not control the volume of ATC. That is controlled on the Comm Radio. Speaking of the small knobs, the right one controls the Co-Pilot ICS… AND the backseat passengers. The way to control the passengers’ ICS volume is to pull the right small knob out before setting the volume. When finished, push the small right knob in, and its back to controlling the co-pilot’s ICS volume. Click on Read More to read more (can’t be more clear than that). Point of interest, if power is lost to the unit or it is turned off, there is a failsafe mode which automatically connects the pilot’s communications to the COM1 radio. If you are flying with a “co-pilot”, please be aware of the COM ½ button on the panel. It’s a great asset. When pushed, the pilot’s radio is on COM1 for both […]

By |July 26th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Airbus A380: Cutting Edge Thinking

Airbus engineers are never satisfied, and customers of the European airframe builder should have only one response: thank goodness. While many point to the A380’s size as the achievement of which they are most proud-a maximum takeoff weight of roughly 1.2 million pounds and room for 525 passengers in typical long-haul configuration-the leviathan also incorporates radical new systems including brake-to-vacate (BTV), designed to reduce significantly the time an aircraft spends on the runway, overrun protection, and a new TCAS conflict resolution system, which the company believes will increase safety by a factor of two. AIN reporter Robert Mark had a rare opportunity to fly the aircraft ahead of the Paris Air Show and here he shares insights into what its new technology actually delivers. The cockpit of the A380 is massive by any measure, with some two-and-a-half feet of space between the two pilots once they’re seated. In addition to three jump seats, we had as many as seven people moving about behind us in flight after we switched off the seatbelt signs. With several pilots planning to try their hand at the A380, the plan was to demonstrate the brake-to-vacate to each of us, then land and switch seats during the taxi back to Runway 32L at Toulouse. Takeoff weight was calculated as 846,575 pounds, considerably below the maximum of just over 1.2 million pounds. The engines, started two at a time, are so far aft of the cabin that the gauges are the only indication of what is happening in the back. Even with the engines running, the noise level in the A380 cockpit was no more than in a regular automobile with the windows rolled up. Taxiing the A380 is not nearly the […]

By |July 25th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Avoiding Bird Hazards

The following is a list of questions and answers on the issue of Avoiding Bird Hazards. As we enter into the spring flying season, many pilots find themselves sharing the skies with migrating flocks of birds. Knowing a little about their migration habits may be helpful if you find yourself flying during the peak migration seasons of Spring and Fall. 1. What are the major bird migration seasons? The main migration seasons in North America are Spring (Mar. thru Apr.) and Fall (Aug. thru Nov.). 2. What are the altitiudes that you may find migrating birds at? The altitudes of migrating birds will vary with winds aloft, weather, fronts, terrain elevations, butt conditions, & environmental variables. Remember they are subject to the same four forces of flight and flying conditions that you are! 3. At what altitude are you most likely to encounter birds? 90% of the reported bird strikes occur at or below 3,000 ft. AGL. Bird strikes at higher altitudes are more common during migration season. 4. Which birds create the greatest harazd to aircraft? Gulls, waterfowl, vultures, hawks, owls, egrets, blackbirds, and starlings are considered the greatest potential hazard to aircraft because of their size, abundance, or habit of flying in dense flocks, espescally during migration season. 5. What are the four major migratory flyways in North America? Bird migration is generally thought of as a north-and-south movement, with the lanes of heavier concentration following the coasts, mountain ranges and principal river valleys. The four major North American migration flyways are: The Atlantic flyway, which parallels the Atlantic coast. The Mississippi flyway. The Central flyway. The Pacific flyway, which parallels the Pacific coast. For more detailed info on the bird migration flyways […]

By |July 24th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Winter NOTAM Review

FAR91-103 Preflight Action – Requires you to be a “Know It All”, pertaining to any flight. For winter operations a few worthwhile contractions should be familiar in your Notam aviation vocabulary. Contractions from the AIM 2010 (5-1-3) used in “NOTAMs.” BRAG Braking Action = Good – Suggests caution, conditions could change BRAF Braking Action = Fair – Always be on guard BRAP Braking Action = Poor – Be extremely careful BRAN Braking Action = Nil – Reconsider Plans or change Airport(s) FRNZ SLR Frozen Slush on runway(s) IR Ice on runway(s) LSR Loose Snow on runway(s) SIR Packed or Compacted Snow and Ice on runway(s) SLR Slush on runway(s) SNW Snow SNBNKS Snow Banks – Along runways, also watch the taxiways WSR Wet Snow on runway(s) WTR Water on runway(s) – Could freeze at anytime, especially after sundown   Note: During the winter snow and ice season, it is always a good idea to call ahead too the local FSS, FBO and/or a local flight school. Check on hours of operation for fuel, storage, pre-heat and ground transportation, etc.   Taxi / Takeoff / Landing Tips*: 1. Whenever the taxiway is wet or slippery, reduce your taxi speed accordingly. Take precautions to avoid jet and prop blast, and watch for snow ridges and unplowed areas. Such hazards can snag a wheel and pull you off a taxiway or runway. To avoid an inadvertent slide during your run up, find some dry pavement on which to plant your airplane’s wheels. 2. If the runway is slick, snowy, or slushy, a soft-field landing is your best approach. Extra prop-wash makes the rudder and elevator more effective, and you have the positive control response needed to make corrections during […]

By |July 23rd, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Traffic, Traffic!

While cruising at FL370 last week on our way to Chicago, (ORD) my first officer asked me a question that stuck with me long after the flight had ended. Aware that I was also a designated pilot examiner in the general aviation world and knowing how important clearing turns are in accomplishing the various checkride maneuvers, he asked me how many flight hours I thought I had accumulated over the years just doing clearing turns? Interesting question. Well, I had never really thought of that. Probably because clearing turns are something pilots do without regard to the time it takes to complete them. I think this was the first time in over thirty-one years of airline flying that a question about clearing turns had ever come up. However, as a pilot examiner I am frequently asked a variety of questions regarding clearing turns, usually from either aspiring pilot applicants about to take their checkrides or from CFIs responsible for preparing their students to become the safest pilots possible. Typically, their questions are more like, “What constitutes a proper (or acceptable) clearing turn for the checkride?” Or, “How often do I need to accomplish a clearing turn during the checkride?” These questions are usually centered on their desire to determine what I will need to see during the checkride to be a “happy DPE” and therefore PASS the applicant for behaving like a safe pilot. But whenever I hear questions like these, I can’t help thinking that the person asking the question is maybe missing the point. What I think they really ought to be asking is, “What must I do as a pilot to virtually eliminate the risk of a mid-air collision?” That’s really what it’s […]