How to Care for Your Aging Aircraft

According to the May/June edition of FAA Safety Briefing, 40 is now the average age for more than two-thirds of aircraft in the general aviation (GA) fleet. In the early days of aviation, planes were expected to last 20 or 30 years.

According to the May/June edition of FAA Safety Briefing, 40 is now the average age for more than two-thirds of aircraft in the general aviation (GA) fleet. In the early days of aviation, planes were expected to last 20 or 30 years.

What Is a Charter Plane?

Flying in style is easy when you choose to charter a plane, but what exactly is a charter plane? A charter plane is a private aircraft that will attend to your personal requirements.

Flying in style is easy when you choose to charter a plane, but what exactly is a charter plane? A charter plane is a private aircraft that will attend to your personal requirements.

All About The FAA Medical

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the FAA medical when someone is learning about what it takes to become a pilot. This article is intended to answer all your questions. Questions such as: What is an FAA Medical What type do I need What do I need to pass one How often…

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the FAA medical when someone is learning about what it takes to become a pilot. This article is intended to answer all your questions. Questions such as:

What is an FAA Medical
What type do I need
What do I need to pass one
How often do I need to get one
Where do I get one
How much does it cost

Let's get started …

What is an FAA Medical?

Under the Federal Aviation Regulations, pilots are required to meet certain medical requirements. Depending on what type of pilot you are, you will need to pass a certain type of medical exam.

What type of FAA Medical do I need?

There are three types of medical certificates:

First Class – for airline pilots
Second Class – for pilots who get paid for flying, but not necessarily as an airline pilot
Third Class – for private pilots and recreational pilots

What do I need to pass an FAA medical?

The FAR's (Federal Aviation Regulations) list the requirements for each type of Medical Certificate. You can find these on the FAA website as well.

Here is a summary of what you need depending on the type of medical you need:

NOTE: this is just a quick overview, you should read the full Federal Aviation Regulations, or FAR's, for more detailed information.

Medical Requirements overview
Eye – With or without corrective lenses, distant Vision 20/20 (for First & Second Class), distant vision 20/40 (for Third Class), near vision 20/40

Ear, Nose, Throat, Equilibrium – demonstrate acceptable hearing, no disease that affects equilibrium

Mental – no personality disorders, psychosis, delusions, bipolar disorders, or substance abuse

Neurologic – no epilepsy, disturbance of consciousness, transient loss of control of nervous system, seizures

Cardiovascular – no heart attacks, heart disease, angina pectoris, or pacemakers

General – no diabetes, or anything else the examiner will make you an unsafe pilot

So what happens if you are denied a medical certificate?

If you have reason to believe that your application should not have been denied, you can appeal. The process is lengthy and may take several months (as does anything with the FAA). FAR 67.409 talks about the appeal process.

What if you have reason to believe that you will not pass an FAA medical? Are you doomed to be a ground dweller forever?

Not exactly. If you have never been denied an FAA medical certificate, you can become a Sport Pilot. The Sport Pilot Certificate allows you to fly small aircraft that are classified as LSA's or Light Sport Aircraft. These airplanes have several restrictions, but for the most part, these are:

Can not weigh more than 1,320 lbs (1,420 lbs for a seaplane)

Can not have the ability to fly faster than 120 knots (about 139 mph)

Cannon carry more than one passenger

To find out more about LSA's and Sport Pilot Certificates, visit the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) website – http://www.eaa.org .

Medicically, you still have to be fit to fly, however, you only need a current driver's license to prove this.

How often do I need to get an FAA Medical exam?

Because the rules and duration of FAA Medical certificates have become so complex, the FAA has come up with a table that makes it very easy to help you figure out how long your medical will be valid. The table is buried under FAR 61.23 (d). Just google this and you should find it easily enough.

Where do I get an FAA Medical?
To search for a nearby medical examiner, you can look for one on the FAA website – http://www.faa.gov .

However, since every AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) is different they have some latitude in determining whether you meet the requirements or not, be sure to ask some local pilots who they recommend.

How much does an FAA Medical cost?
Each medical examiner will set his / her own price for each type of medical certificate.

My experience has been that they cost in the range of $ 95 – $ 140.

When It Comes to Flight Time, Is Quality Better Than Quantity?

While some may disagree with me, I have to give a resounding “YES”. Unfortunately, there are many times when I hear pilots touting their “thousands of hours” to less experienced pilots or the public. Even the media tends to inadvertently implying that thousands of flight hours is equivalent to superior skills and experience. Take some…

While some may disagree with me, I have to give a resounding “YES”. Unfortunately, there are many times when I hear pilots touting their “thousands of hours” to less experienced pilots or the public. Even the media tends to inadvertently implying that thousands of flight hours is equivalent to superior skills and experience.

Take some of the latest aviation stories in the news, one of which had 3 fatalities and happened on a clear day in a perfectly good airplane. News reports state that the captain had over 12,000 hrs of flight time and the first officer over 9,000 hours of flight experience – and that is the amount to which a pilot's ability and skills are determined.

To an outsider, it must seem that sure, someone with that many THOUSANDS of hours of experience could not possibly make rookie mistakes. But, consider the type of flying most airline pilots do: The takeoff, initial climb, approach, and landing phases of flight are considered the most risky.

This is also, not coincidentally, where most accidents occur – 80%, in fact. Yet these phases of flight make up only a small percentage of the entire flight. The rest of the time, the pilots are simply making sure the autopilot does its job (or they should be).

Sure, they go through simulator training at least every six months, in which they practice emergency procedures, but it has been my experience, that much of these recurrent courses have become very standard, with the pilots and instructors knowing exactly what's going to happen, at what airport, which approach they are going to shoot and how. There is very little surprise in these courses, a luxury that is simply not available in the real world.

One can only hope that these pilots who are earning thousands upon thousands of hours flying A to B in reliable, state of the art aircraft, obtained their first thousand or two thousand hours building up their skills and experience by flying in less predictable conditions.

Most pilots in the United States build up flight time slowly, by flight instruction, flying for small cargo operations, and by renting or taking airplanes on their own adventures cross country. This is typically done in small, general aviation aircraft that, many times, have no autopilot or the latest gadgets – airplanes that break down much more often than airliners.

It is this type of flying that sharpens your skills and abilities as a pilot and is the foundation for your future ability to deal with unforeseen circumstances during the rest of your career.

If you're in that phase of building flight time before you can apply to your dream job, such as airline pilot, make sure you step outside your comfort zone a little. Seek out opportunities that will stretch your boundaries – go to places you've never been to, fly aircraft you've never flown before, take on elementary students as well as advanced students if you're a CFI, participate in an air race, etc.

Do not let you skills get stagnant and while I know you want to put as many hours in your logbook as possible, make sure they are quality hours in which you are learning and gaining valuable experience.

Not Good at Math, But Want to Be a Pilot? What to Do?

“I’m not good at math, but I want to be a pilot, what should I major in?” OR “I haven’t taken physics or math, but I want to be a pilot, what do I do now? These are recurring questions that I receive, so I thought I’d answer these questions once and for all.

“I’m not good at math, but I want to be a pilot, what should I major in?” OR “I haven’t taken physics or math, but I want to be a pilot, what do I do now? These are recurring questions that I receive, so I thought I’d answer these questions once and for all.

The American Airpower Museum’s Legends of Airpower Weekend

When the four-place Cessna 172 Skyhawks that routinely approach Farmingdale's Republic Airport are reduced to shadows behind quad-engined heavy bombers, World War II has either been re-waged or the American Airpower Museum is holding one of its commemorative events to, ironically, do just that. The Legends of Airpower Program, occurring during the Memorial Day weekend…

When the four-place Cessna 172 Skyhawks that routinely approach Farmingdale's Republic Airport are reduced to shadows behind quad-engined heavy bombers, World War II has either been re-waged or the American Airpower Museum is holding one of its commemorative events to, ironically, do just that. The Legends of Airpower Program, occurring during the Memorial Day weekend in 2014, was one of them.

Located at that very airport- which is New York State's largest general aviation field-it itself was launched after a $ 250,000 grant was received from then-Governor George E. Pataki, and is housed in historic Hangar 3, one of several structures built at a $ 500,000 cost during the Second World War, having served as the incubation point of some 9,000 indigenous Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighters that were considered part of the country's “arsenal of democracy.”

“The American Airpower Museum is a repository of artifacts that function as they did in years past,” said Jeffrey Clyman, its president and founder. “(It is) a living history museum … that communicates across generations and to generations who will never experience the emotional intensity, the unfathomable cruelty inflicted upon those who could not defend themselves …”

During during the airport's annual Pearl Harbor Day Commemorative Service in 2000, it became a living tribute to Long Island's veteran population by honoring the past with the present, declaring its mission as “where history flies.”

“… Using the extra machines on display here,” said Clyman, “(we) defended those who were defenseless.”

Colonel Francis Gabreski, who had been Long Island's highest-ranking World War II ace and had most of his victories in the very P-47 aircraft produced here, had served as the museum's honorary commander.

Throngs of people, from infants to war veterans, employed the ramp on the bright, almost-hot, summer-thresholds Memorial Day weekend, explaining the unbroken chain of parked cars lining either side of New Highway that accessed it.

By sight, sound, and sensation, military aviation, and the purpose the museum served, had been resolved here.

A pair of L-39 Albartrosses, single-engine Soviet jet trainers that first flew in 1968 and featured 570-mph maximum speeds, emitted ear-piercing pitches as they awaited clearances on the museum-fronting taxiway, while a Dassault Falcon business jet, a glimpse into the airport's true general aviation purpose, thundered down Runway 19, leaving the air permeated with the smell of jet fuel.

Passing over the threshold a moment later, a B-17 Flying Fortress, sporting its expansive wings and four radial engines, snatched consrete and decelerated.
Uniformed “servicemen and women,” emerging from the museum's Ready Room after their mission briefing, filed out of the cavernous hangar to the blinding sun, as the olive-green C-47 Skytrain taxied toward the ramp and disgorged its previous “paratrooper” complement after its propellers had ceased turning.

As the military counterpart to the Douglas DC-3 airliner – the most widely produced aircraft of all time – it initially served in the Berlin Airlift and was later joined by the four-engine C-54 Skymaster, itself the military version of the Douglas DC-4. Having last served with the Israeli Air Force, the museum's example, sporting side seats and parachute hookups, partook of troop deployment during D-Day operations over Normandy.

Symbolic of the era and area, the P-47 Thunderbolt itself, the largest and heaviest single-engine piston fighter with a 467-mph speed, posed on the ramp next to the very hangar that had hatched it.

Amid the voice of Ronald Reagan, who narrated the continuously played documentary concerning the Tuskegee Airmen in the hangar itself, a short line of interested patrons had formed to speak with and purchase DVD's made by one of the actual pilots who complied that group.

Drowning out the waves of motion-anticipating music from the signature “Highway to the Danger Zone” song from the movie Top Gun, the first of the two Albatrosses made its 180-degree left swing on to the runway and, sporting its now extended trailing edge flaps, spooled up its engine. Inching forward like a stallion unleashed from its starting gate, it throttled itself into its acceleration run, arcing skyward at a reasonable angle after only seconds and leaving a trail of desert-hot, carbon-laced exhaust-and momentary silence, carried by the fierce wind until an announcement broke it. “Last chance to claim the last seat on the Flying Fortress's 3:00 departure,” it advised.

That four-engine bomber, dubbed the “Yankee Lady” and currently marshaled into its parking position after its 2:00 flight, joined its smaller, World War Ii stable mate, the North American B-25 Mitchell, “Miss Hap,” on the ramp, sporting only half the number of powerplants as its big brother.

As the fourth aircraft of the type to roll off the production line, the museum's B-25, displaying serial number 40-2168 and the oldest surviving one, was synonymous with the Jimmy Doolittle-led Tokyo raid that saw 25 of them launched from the deck of the USS Hornet in April of 1942, demonstrating American potential in the Pacific theater of war.

Initially assigned to the 17th Bomb Group for reconnaissance missions on the West Coast, the medium mission bomber offered a 284-mph speed at 15,000 feet and a 1,500-mile range, but General Hap Arnold had a determined nonmilitary purpose for it when he inspected a similar B-25 dubbed the “Whiskey Express” that was used as a personal transport and determined he wanted one of his own. Selecting what would later become the museum's example, he had it retrofitted with an all-metal nose-located cargo compartment, sleeping quarters in the former bomb bay, additional passenger windows, and an aft section office.

He was barely the only noted user of the type. After having passed away from several civil operators after the war, it was acquitted by none other than eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes, who flew it for his own personal purposes until it was removed from the Civil Registry and declared salvage in 1965. Yet it did not quite make the scrap heap.

Additional civil owners kept it in the sky until Jeffrey Clyman purchased it in 1989 and today it offers flight experiences to museum “passengers” on scheduled days.

How pilots prepared for transition to medium- and heavy-bombers such as these was indicated by another type in the museum's collection, the bright red, two-place, open-cockpit Waco UPF-7 biplane that first flew in 1923, but was extensively employed in the World War II Civilian Pilot Training Program.

Although the B-25 was never designed for carrier-borne operations, two other naval aviation representing aircraft on the museum's roster were-namely, the Grumman TBM Avenger and the Vought FG-1D, respectively designed for torpedo bombing and fighting roles.

Other conflict-associated aircraft, all powered by pure-jet engines, were also on the ramp that day, including the Republic F-84 Thunderjet, one of the earliest fighter and attack bombers still sporting piston-reminiscent straight wings and complete with range- extending tip tanks; the swept-wing Republic RF-84 Thunderflash, a 720-mph photo-reconnaissance type and the first equipped with cameras capable of horizon-to-horizon images; the sleek and swept Republic F-105 Thunderchief, capable of 1,390-mph speeds; and the General Dynamics F-111, a long-range, all-weather, supersonic, variable-geometry strike aircraft that was initially deployed in Vietnam.

All were on loan from the Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Briefly restrained behind the fence until a Stuart tank rolled by, the latest uniform-clad “paratroopers” were commanded to “march” toward the awaiting C-47. Newly provisioned with them, the aircraft, making the short roll on to Runway 19's threshold, unleashed the deep, throaty roar of its two Pratt and Whitney engines upon full throttle advance and surrendered to the sky with its outstretched wings, disappearing over the airport perimeter as it set course for the simulated beaches of Normandy on Long Island's south shore.

World War II may not have been entirely replayed on the ground that Memorial Day, but it was re-enacted in the air during the museum's Legends of Airpower commemoration with the very aircraft that had been instrumental in the country's victory the first time, and the thousands who paid a visit to the museum that weekend unknowingly also paid tribute to it.

Aircraft Egress, Are You Ready?

In order to survive a water ditching, there are three things that must be accomplished. The aircraft has to successfully land on the water, you must egress from the aircraft before it sinks, and you must be rescued. This article describes why it is so important to have your survival equipment close at hand, how…

In order to survive a water ditching, there are three things that must be accomplished. The aircraft has to successfully land on the water, you must egress from the aircraft before it sinks, and you must be rescued. This article describes why it is so important to have your survival equipment close at hand, how important it is to practice egress for both daylight and darkness using both primary and secondary exits, and the importance of verbally identifying the located exits.

Small Commercial UAVs – It’s Time For the FAA To Drop the Draconian Dictatorship Directives

How big is the market for small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), and MAVs (Micro-Air Vehicles). Well, right now, no one really knows, but every one you ask in aviation sees it as significant and everyone would like a piece of it. If we allow this new aviation sector to flourish, we…

How big is the market for small UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), and MAVs (Micro-Air Vehicles). Well, right now, no one really knows, but every one you ask in aviation sees it as significant and everyone would like a piece of it. If we allow this new aviation sector to flourish, we stand to gain quite a bit. Did, I just say; Jobs! Yes, and profits, and innovation, and all that goes with it, we are talking about the future. So, let’s discuss this shall we?

FAA Revises Sleep Apnea Guidance

In April, the FAA announced that it will ask aviation medical examiners (AMEs) to review new draft guidance that would require pilots at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to undergo testing and treatment, if necessary. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. The FAA says…

In April, the FAA announced that it will ask aviation medical examiners (AMEs) to review new draft guidance that would require pilots at risk for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to undergo testing and treatment, if necessary. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea. The FAA says that the new guidance, “aims to improve safety and pilot health by reducing the burdens and disincentives that may have prevented some pilots from getting an OSA evaluation and treatment” and comes “in response to concerns from the aviation medical community.”

Aircraft Washing – Military Contracts, Washing the Stealth Fighter

Back in the late 80s my company had a contract to clean aircraft for the United States Air Force. It wasn’t a very big contract, as we had larger aircraft cleaning contracts with regional airlines, large corporations and wealthy business owners. But it was rather good for bragging rights as a young man. There are…

Back in the late 80s my company had a contract to clean aircraft for the United States Air Force. It wasn’t a very big contract, as we had larger aircraft cleaning contracts with regional airlines, large corporations and wealthy business owners. But it was rather good for bragging rights as a young man. There are solicitations given out from time to time by various branches of the military that own aircraft which need cleaning because they wish to save labor costs and hire a service vendor contractor.