Tag Archive for Aviation

topgun

Who’s the Best?

You probably remember that scene from Top Gun where Tom Cruise scans a briefing room full of hot-shot pilots during his first day at the famous Naval Fighter Weapons School and wonders “who the best is”. Top Gun was a fictional tale, of course… but I know the real-life answer to Maverick’s question. I’ve met the best aviation has to offer, and their names most certainly do not occupy a plaque in the ladies room. Read more →

courtroom

Liability: The Price We Pay

Liability concerns are a major expense and motivator for many industries. That’s why Superman costumes come with warnings that “the cape does not enable the wearer to fly”, Zippo cautions the user not to ignite the lighter in your face, and irons are sold with tags advising against ironing clothes while they’re being worn. But for general aviation, this sort of thing is dragging the lot of us down as surely as a cement block tossed into the murky waters of the East River. Read more →

A simple Cub and a grass runway.  This is flying!

No Apologies

Aviators can be an ambitious lot. We want to go places (no pun intended), and feel like we should always be progressing toward larger airplanes, new ratings, more hours. Sometimes I’ll hear an aviator speak in apologetic terms about their flying because they “only” fly this or that. Whether the subject is their aircraft, training, or experience, there’s no cause for apologies. Quite the opposite. Don’t be fooled by the number of ratings on a pilot’s certificate, or assume they’re a better aviator because their logbook has more hours than yours. Read more →

For decades, Japan Airlines ran an ab initio flight school in Napa, CA using Beech Bonanzas

The Ab Initio Flaw

Thus far, airline ab initio programs haven’t been a major part of the landscape here in the U.S. because our aviation sector is fairly robust. We are blessed with flying jobs which build the experience, skill, and time necessary for larger, more complex aircraft. But it might become an attractive option for airlines because the cost of learning to fly has risen dramatically over the past decade while the benefits (read: money) remain too low for too long. Airlines can cure the shortage by training pilots from zero hours… but at what cost? Read more →

baron-off-airport

Takeoff Briefings for Singles

Things happen quickly when the engine quits at low altitude. Doesn’t it makes sense that the time to prepare for emergent situations is before they occur? If the answer is yes, then I wonder why takeoff briefings are not typically taught or performed in single-engine airplanes. I think they should be, because they’re as important — if not more so — in a single than the multi-engine airplanes where they’ve long been standard procedure. Read more →

Gulfstream G550 simulator

We Don’t Train For That

Corporate & charter flying is already pretty safe, but I believe we can do even better. Perhaps instead of focusing primarily engine failures, we ought to look at the things that are causing accidents for a particular aircraft type and add them to a database of training scenarios which can be enacted in the simulator without prior notice. In other words, more teaching and less testing. Read more →