Archive for October, 2010

Reader’s Digest Offers Inside Look at Airline Pilot Jobs

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

In recent articles, Readers Digest is offering an inside look at airline jobs.

Reader’s Digest is running a couple of articles that should be of great interest to future airline pilots. The magazine interviewed 20 pilots and flight attendants and condensed their responses into 3 articles: 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You, 13 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You, and 10 More Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You.

The articles are excellent reading for any air traveller, but should really interest those seeking jobs with the airlines. They offer a real inside look at pilot and flight attendant jobs from the people that know them best: pilots and flight attendants.

Several of the “secrets” told by the pilots aren’t particularly surprising, like scheduling and pay troubles, given the amount of press those issues have gotten lately. One pilot in particular indicated that he didn’t appreciate passengers complaining to him about other aspects of the airline experience, because his “retirement was taken to help subsidize your $39 airfare.” Take that as you will, but it says something about the current state of many airlines-no area is safe when it comes to cost-cutting. Some of the cost-cutting that goes on at some airlines, as indicated by the pilots in the article, is mildly concerning. Namely the thought that airlines are cutting fuel margins close enough that deviations are sometimes required due to fuel.

While the rest of the content in the articles is informative, the final tip offered by a pilot in North Carolina completely sums up the airline pilot experience. The pilot states, “Here’s the truth about airline jobs: You don’t have as much time off as your neighbors think you have, you don’t make as much money as your relatives think you make, and you don’t have as many girlfriends as your wife thinks you have. Still, I can’t believe they pay me to do this.”

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training near you.

Sources: Pilots, FAs Vent To Reader’s Digest and 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

Flight School Donates Helicopter to Arizona Sheriff’s Office

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Guidance Helicopter School has donated a Robinson R44 to an Arizona sheriff's office.

During a recent meeting, the Cottonwood Arizona Board of Supervisors approved Guidance Helicopter School’s donation of a Robinson R44 Raven to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

The approval was the final step in a months-long process during which Sheriff Steve Waugh and John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Helicopter School, have worked tirelessly on transferring the aircraft, based at the Prescott airport, to the YCSO.

The helicopter, valued at $180,000, requires a complete overhaul, but it is expected to begin service within 4 months. Even with the cost of the overhaul, the sheriff’s office is saving more than half the cost of a new aircraft. According to the YCSO, funds for the overhaul has come from a Public Safety Stabilization Program grant and drug seizures.

Once the overhaul is complete, the 4-seat helicopter will be put into service conducting high altitude rescue operations. It will be primarily operated as a backup for the Ranger, already in operation by the Department of Safety, when time or money dictate.

Under the agreement established with the county, Guidance will provide certified pilots for the YCSO who will provide any additional personnel.

This is an exciting addition to this department that will certainly expand their abilities. Additionally, the Robinson R44 Raven-a specially-equipped, piston helicopter-will likely save the department a significant amount of money on operations that don’t require the larger, more expensive Ranger that has previously been their only option. As time progresses, YCSO personnel will most likely undertake flight training at Guidance, further solidifying the relationship between the two organizations.

For more information on helicopter flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Helicopter Training Resource Center or find helicopter training near you.

Sources: Guidance Helicopter Donates Robinson R44 Raven To YCSO
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

National Center for Aviation Training Opens in Wichita

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The new training center in Wichita will create opportunities for new aviation workers.

Wichita’s Colonel James Jabara Airport is now home to a 230,000 square-foot aviation training and research facility. The National Center for Aviation Training will provide aviation training and research new technologies.

According to National Institute for Aviation Research executive director John Tomblin, the combination of training and research will create a unique and innovative facility that will benefit companies by boosting production times for new technologies. Considering the list of partner organizations, the center will provide an incredible boost to students. Funded by Sedgwick County, the center has established ties with aviation companies like Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, and Hawker Beechcraft as well as several educational institutions like Wichita Area Technical College.

The facility, constructed over the last two years at a cost of $52 million dollars, consists of almost 50 classrooms and lab spaces. As of this fall, the facility is now open offering training for up to 1,500 students in 37 certification and degree programs.

“This training campus is a commitment from the Wichita community to the aviation industry,” said Vicki Pratt Gerbino, president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition. “The entire initiative from concept to design to curriculum is the result of Wichita’s aviation leaders working together and closely with public partners. The result is a training center designed so every detail is focused on meeting industry needs to advance our aviation companies.”

The aviation industry is an industry characterized by rapidly developing technology. Home to several large aviation companies, Wichita is as close to a capital of aviation in the US as you can get. With so much of their economy depending on aviation, it makes sense to create a cutting edge training center in Wichita. The success of this training center is virtually assured and in a time of economic unrest, this is excellent news for current and future aviation industry workers looking to expand their skill sets in search of better jobs.

For more information on aviation maintenance schools and choosing the right school, check out our Aircraft Mechanic Training Resource Center or find aviation maintenance training near you.

Sources: Aviation training center opens in Wichita
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

KSU Establishes UAS Pilot Degree Program

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

The close relationship of KSU-Salina and the US Army allows access to state of the art equipment.

Kansas State University at Salina recently created a unmanned aircraft system pilot degree program. The program, which piggybacks off of existing research at the school, is one of only three in the US.

Military support and high-level aviation industry connections have contributed to the success of KSU-Salina’s unmanned aircraft research program. The program is responsible for a number of revolutionary developments in unmanned aircraft such as the “Wolverine” helicopter, which boasts nearly an hour of flight time. The aircraft is no longer than 3 feet and fully automated and, with nearly twice the flight time typical of this type of aircraft, looks to be quite successful.

The primary focus of many of the school’s aircraft has been disaster response. Their mobile command center and wide selection of unmanned aircraft, some with flight times approaching 30 hours, create a very innovative disaster relief organization that is equipped to produce their own aircraft and operators.

Perhaps the most crippling handicap of unmanned aircraft is their inability to practice see-and-avoid like traditional manned aircraft. KSU-Salina is currently researching in this area to create solutions that would allow their aircraft to sense and avoid obstructions or other aircraft automatically. If unmanned aircraft were given this capability, it would likely lead to widespread implementation as it strips away the biggest obstacle to integration into the national airspace system.

KSU-Salina’s proximity to Fort Riley has led to a very close relationship between the school and the US Army who operate UAS such as “Reapers” or even Black Hawk helicopters that can operate without pilots. While most military UAS are usually larger aircraft, the Army is also looking for smaller aircraft such as those developed by KSU-Salina that could be deployed by a convoy to detect IEDs.

The need for UAS pilots and military grants have allowed KSU-Salina to acquire state of the art technology and software to establish a degree program to create UAS pilots. The program, which is especially popular with enlisted personnel at Ft Riley, blends a UAS curriculum with traditional flight training curriculum. When students graduate, they are fully qualified to operate unmanned aircraft and, having also received private pilot certificates with instrument ratings, manned aircraft.

KSU-Salina’s program is an exciting addition to the UAS training offerings. Their strong research programs, relationships with the military and corporations, and their take on UAS pilot training will bring a much needed boost to this growing industry. With the continuation of their efforts, it won’t be long before UAS are successfully integrated into the national airspace system safely operating right beside manned aircraft.

For more information on unmanned aircraft systems training, check out our UAV/UAS Training Resource Center or find UAV/UAS training near you.

Sources: KSU-Salina unmanned program takes off
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

Update: California Flight Schools Regulations Delayed

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

A delay of costly new regulations on flight training providers in California has been approved.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that will push back the implementation of new regulations on California’s Flight Schools. The next step in dealing with these controversial new regulations is the development of a permanent fix.

After a failed attempt to include a delay of the regulations in another bill, legislators added it to a package of trailer bills that was added to the state budget which the governor signed on October 19th. This will delay the regulations, originally introduced in the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009, until July 1, 2011, giving interest groups and legislators time to develop a more workable set of regulations.

“This bill signing marks an important day for GA in California as it will keep countless future pilots in the air and, importantly, keep thousands of instructors, mechanics, and other aviation personnel working in this troubled economy,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “AOPA—and our allies—will continue to move forward aggressively to see this issue through to the completion.”

The act, introduced in 2009, is intended to protect postsecondary students from being taken advantage of by for-profit education providers. Unfortunately, its broad-sweeping regulations are likely to wreak financial havoc with flight schools which are typically smaller and less financially gifted than other education providers. Now that those regulations have been delayed, interest groups must focus on developing a new set of regulations that will appropriately balance the intent of the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 and the financial needs of the affected flight schools.

This is an big but not altogether unexpected development on this issue. It is important that interest groups, legislators, and the flight training institutions work together to find a set of regulations that will protect students without devastating the flight training providers. Hopefully by July of 2011, those involved will have created a system whereby future pilots will never lose money if their flight school goes out of business, otherwise it is unlikely that the legislators will further delay the original regulations.

Check out our directory of over 2500 flight training schools.

Sources: Calif. flight training industry looks to long-term reg fix
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

Two University Flight Training Programs Set to Expand

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Two university aviation programs are set to expand in the next five years.

Two university aviation programs have announced that they are set to expand over the next five years.

Florida Institute of Technology recently announced a $14 million dollar contract with Turkish Airlines.

Under the contract, similar to an existing partnership between FIT and an Irish airline, FIT will provide primary flight instruction through the commercial pilot certificate level. The program, already underway since June, will train more than 100 Turkish pilots per year for the next five years.

In a similarly happy story, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has announced that they intend to open a third campus in either Houston, TX or Rockford, IL. The final announcement is expected sometime in March. With more than $125 million dollars in projects planned in the next five years, it’s no surprise that the school is eyeing expansion. Rockford is located in an area of significant growth in the aerospace industry with more than 130 companies located within an hour of the town. Houston, on the other hand, has NASA which is one of the largest employers of aerospace professionals.

Embry-Riddle, a very well known aviation school, currently has locations in Prescott, AZ and Daytona, FL. Embry-Riddle’s Daytona location is still relatively new as approximately half of the campus facilities are no older than 12 years. The campus is home to several facilities featuring some of the latest in flight training technology including flight simulators, hyperbaric chambers.

While these announcements are certainly good news for these schools and their students, they bear a certain similarity that other flight training providers would do well to notice. As indicated in both announcements, the schools are seeking out partnerships in the industry at large. In partnering with companies like airlines and aircraft manufacturers, these schools are paving the way for graduates to find jobs as well as providing alternate sources of funding which reduce the cost of their flight training programs.

Sources: Florida Tech lands $14M deal to train airline pilots and Embry-Riddle boss: Houston is Rockford’s competition
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

California Flight Training – An Ideal Environment

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Traveling for flight training? Consider California.

Are you considering traveling to complete your flight training? Maybe your home isn’t located in an area that is conducive to training or you don’t live near a flight school. Whatever the reason, traveling for flight training is often the best way to save money and time.

After deciding to travel for training, you might wonder where to travel. In a series of new articles, we will investigate some of the more popular locations for training. In the first article, we investigate what makes California an ideal location for flight training. We found that California, the third largest state in the US, is blessed with a climate and diverse geography that create an ideal training environment. Find out more at California Flight Training – Climate, Diverse Geography Create Flight School Mecca.

This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

Delaware Tech Expanding Aviation Maintenance Program

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Delaware Tech is set to expand their aviation maintenance training offerings.

The Sussex County Airport in Delaware became home to a new aviation maintenance education program a year ago. According to an agreement recently approved by the Sussex County Council, Delaware Technical & Community College now has a 30-year lease on a 1-acre parcel to construct a new hangar in order to expand its aviation maintenance program.

The school currently has in place a three-phase plan for expanding the three-year-old aviation maintenance program, which will eventually encompass three disciplines. The program just recently graduated its first group of students and Delaware Tech hopes to graduate many more in years to come.

The county views the agreement as a way to allow citizens of Sussex County to train and compete for aviation industry jobs they hope to create as they look to attract more aviation-related businesses. Their overall goal is to create a strong manufacturing base at the Sussex County Airport in order to strengthen their economy and workforce. As part of this goal, Sussex County, Delaware Tech, and PATS Aircraft LLC partnered to create the aviation maintenance associate degree at Delaware Tech.

The first step in creating the program was to establish the airframe mechanics curriculum which will be followed by power-plant mechanics and avionics technician curricula as the program expands. With the new facility, Delaware Tech will be able to construct classrooms and hangar area to allow students the space and tools necessary for the power plant technology program and eventually the avionics technology program.

Programs such as this one are an important step for the aviation industry as a whole, because without qualified mechanics and avionics technicians, pilots don’t have airworthy planes. Additionally, with the aviation industry set to expand exponentially in the next few decades, there is an ever expanding need for all types of trained aviation personnel such as pilots, mechanics, and dispatchers.

For more information on aviation maintenance training and careers, check out our Aircraft Mechanic Training Resource Center or find aircraft mechanic schools near you.

Source: UPDATE: Delaware Tech aviation program to expand
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

New 1500 Hour Requirement Challenged

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

An FAA advisory report questions a law requiring first officers to have 1500 flight hours.

Requirements set out in a new law passed in July have been questioned by an FAA advisory committee. According to a recent report, certain training courses may count for a large portion of the 1500 hours of flight time required by the law. The report also outlines concerns regarding the law that amount to a veritable laundry list of flight safety and economic concerns.

According to the FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt, effective academic training can be more valuable than just spending 1500 hours in a plane. Even still, there seems to be an even split on the issue. For example, according to lawmakers, airline first officers with more experience are better and safer pilots.

Another concern outlined in the report relates to economics. According to the committee, requiring first officers to have as much experience as captains will cause an increase in competition for salaries and benefits. The concern being that the law may artificially create a shortage of pilots. Additionally, there are flight training concerns put forth by college and university flight schools who worry that students will elect to train a smaller, less-expensive schools in order to minimize costs thereby putting them out of business.

The underlying issue for the entire argument is whether quantity of flight time outweighs the quality of training. According to people like Administrator Babbitt, quality training can overshadow quantity, while lawmakers maintain that quantity is most important. What is best? Who is right? It bears mentioning that the law was born out of the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 and there was an ATP rated captain with more than 1500 hours acting as pilot in command of that aircraft.

An obvious conclusion to be drawn is that the proper balance of quantity and quality is the key to safe flying. Whether that balance is 500 hours of flight training and academic instruction or 1500 hours of straight-and-level flight seems to be in the eye of the beholder. This issue will likely continue to be a hot-button topic for quite some time. Either way, future pilots are going to need training, the question is in how much.

For more information on flight training and choosing the right school, check out our Flight Training Resource Center.

Sources: Committee Challenges New 1500 Hr Requirement For FO’s and FAA panel opposes new law that requires more flying experience for pilots
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.

EASA to Force Holders of FAA Certificates to Convert

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Pending EASA regulations could have significant negative effects on US flight schools and aircraft manufacturers.

Pilots in Europe will likely have to go through costly and lengthy processes to convert their FAA-issued pilot certificates and aircraft registrations. According to new regulations put forth by EASA, the European equivalent of the FAA, all pilots that live in Europe must obtain EASA licenses in order to fly in Europe.

Prior to now, many European pilots have come to the US and obtained FAA certificates. The only major limitation until now has been that these pilots were required to fly N-registered aircraft. Unfortunately, under the new regulations, this practice would be illegal.

The biggest motivator for pilots in Europe to obtain FAA certificates was cost. Many JAA or EASA licenses cost significantly more than the equivalent FAA certificate. According to estimates, there are more than 10,000 pilots in Europe with FAA Instrument Ratings. These pilots, who likely saved thousands by coming to the US and obtaining the rating, will be required to convert to the EASA rating. Unfortunately, there is the potential that these pilots would have to undertake all seven examinations and additional medical examinations in order to qualify for the conversion thereby erasing any cost-savings.

According to the IAOPA, the most concerning issue is that the regulations appear to have very little to do with safety. They said that there have been no indications of safety issues with the current system.

While this may not directly affect pilots outside Europe, it will likely have a very detrimental effect on US flight schools. These regulations effectively destroy a significant market segment for many schools that primarily serve international students. These students will no longer realize a cost savings by coming to the US, so they will no longer come. In a time when many schools in the US are trying to cope with the struggling economy, it is likely some schools will be forced to close.

Additionally, since the regulations will also affect the operation N-registered aircraft in Europe, many US aircraft manufacturers could see a drop in demand. Most notably, certain modified aircraft, which are legal in the US under STCs, would not qualify under the new regulations rendering them virtually useless. This could lead US companies like Cessna and Cirrus to see a drop in European demand as pilots shift to European manufacturers like Diamond or DAHER-SOCATA. Given the current depressed state of the aircraft market, this can only lead to further cut-backs at production facilities in the US.

Learn more! Discover our Flight Training Resource Center or find flight training schools in our directory – over 1,500 listed.
Source: EASA to move against the N-register
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to AviationSchoolsOnline.com. You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or find his blog at http://leavingterrafirma.com.