Archive for February, 2014

Future SUV With UAV Included – The Kwid Car by Renault

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
-By Justin Landis

SUV UAV

Every time I’m stuck in traffic I begin to wish I had a UAV at my disposal to look ahead and help me determine the delay. Well forkwid renault all of you out there who’ve had the same thought, we’re in luck as European automaker Renault has just released a concept vehicle being dubbed “The Kwid.” This concept includes a small quadcopter, known as the “Flying Companion,” that can be deployed from a roof compartment and controlled by a tablet handily mounted on the dashboard.

 

 

Image (rt) courtesy of: http://www.renault.com/en/innovation/l-univers-du-design/pages/concept-cars.aspx

The vehicle was released at the New Delhi Auto Show earlier this month and is targeting the “younger” generation that has the desire to always be connected and apparently omniscient. Considering this concept is a small SUV that similarly comes with a center mounted steering wheel and room for two, it may not actually make it to market but the futuristic look and design may be an inspiration for automakers in the future. The small quadcopter can be flown manually by the tablet or by pre-set GPS waypoints and match the speed to the vehicle. The practical concepts include warning of traffic and delays, dangers on the road ahead and finding the ever elusive parking spot in a crowded mall parking lot.

But let’s be serious here, we all know that what this will really be used for is recreating your favorite Need for Speed driving escapades with a perfectly placed chase cam to capture all the perfect replay moments. I expect this to turn up soon enough on Top Gear or at the nearest race track to help replay laps and analyze proper racing lines and apex entries, although preferably in a different model of car. Who knows, now that I’ve seen this concept maybe I’ll just purchase a DJI Phantom and send it out of my sunroof and see what happens. SEE:  http://mashable.com/2014/02/08/renault-kwid-drone/ This may be a concept and maybe even a gimmick but it may also be a foreshadowing of the growing acceptance and popularity of UAV’s.

A research report has just been released that details the current industry size and expectations for growth from 2013-2023. “The report titled ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Market (2013-2018)’ states that the global UAV market size can be expected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2018 and $114.7 billion by 2023. The report also states that North America constitutes the majority share of the global UAV market and demand for UAVs in the US will continue to drive growth into the North American market. Source: [http://www.aviationpros.com/news/11312272/unmanned-aerial-vehicle-market-uav-worth-1147b-by-2023] That is, when the FAA finally figures out how to integrate UAVs to the Next Gen airspace system and if the target date is actually reached.

Other regions are also reported to see growth including Europe being predicted to spend $24.3 billion on UAVs across the forecast period and an 8.66% growth is expected in the Asia-Pacific region. While I doubt UAVs will replace the need for manned pilots, I do believe they will fly in our airspace someday as it’s just a matter of integrating these systems into the airspace both legally and safely. These systems will come in all shapes and size and will not all be the large military style UAVs seen on the news, however, they can be applied to many applications that can remove a manned pilot from a dangerous situation and ideally save time, money and lives. With industry growth being reported in all sectors of aviation, including aircraft manufacturing, pilot demand, and the UAV industry, it’s never been a better time to find the right program for you and begin your aviation career today.

Go to Aviation Schools Online to find an Aviation School near you!

Best Time in History for Careers In Aviation =

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

[Pilot Shortage + Airlines Purchasing Record Number of Aircraft + FAA Hiring 10,000 + Mechanics Needed]

This is the best time in history for careers in aviation.  The math is simple.  With pilot shortages hitting the U.S., Airlines purchasing record numbers of aircraft, and the FAA hiringbecome a pilot air traffic controller airplane mechanic careers in aviation 10,000 air traffic controllers over the next ten years, there’s no doubt that something is in the air. That something could be your future.  Go to www.aviationschoolsonline.com,
pick a school near you and fill out an inquiry form to get more info!

Pilot Shortage in U.S.
Don’t just take our word for it. Check out the news.  As recently reported in Wall Street Journal Online, there is a Pilot Shortage in the U.S. and it is hitting faster and harder than expected.  “The anticipated shortfall of U.S. airline pilots is coming to fruition earlier and more dramatically than expected because of a mix of mass retirements, the FAA’s new rest rules and sharply higher training requirements for beginner pilots.” [Source: http://on.wsj.com/1etw1by]

Airlines Purchasing Record Number of Aircraft
Meanwhile, Airlines are purchasing record numbers of aircraft.  As reported in the Dallas News Business Section, “Airlines are onbecome a pilot air traffic controller airplane mechanic the largest jet-buying spree in the history of aviation, ordering more than 8,200 new planes with manufacturers Airbus SAS and The Boeing Co. in the past five years. There are now a combined 24 planes rolling off assembly lines each week, up from 11 a decade ago.  And that rate is expected to keep climbing. [Source: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/airline-industry/20140112-airlines-go-on-a-record-new-jet-shopping-spree.ece?nclick_check=1 ]

FAA Hiring 10,000 Air Traffic Controller Over The Next 10 Years
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.gov) has announced that it will be hiring 10,000air traffic controller Air Traffic Controllers over the next 10 years, with 6,000 of those to be hired in the next 5 years!  Do you know how much an Air Traffic Controller makes?  According to a recent article in AVWeb, “According to the latest information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics published last month, the median air traffic controller salary was $122,530 in May 2012, with 10 percent earning more than $171,340 and 10 percent less than $64,930″.
[Source:  http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/FAA-to-Hire-10000-Controllers-in-Next-Decade221434-1.html ]

The Need for More Pilots, More Aircraft, and More Controllers, Also Means More Aircraft Mechanics
More pilots flying more planes means more things need to maintained and repaired.  It’s that simple.  So, it is also a fantastic timeaircraft mechanic to become an aircraft maintenance technician or Airframe and Powerplant Tech (A&P) – especially if you like to work with your hands!According to Salary.com, the average Aircraft Mechanic (Jets) earns $75,970 per year! [Source: http://www1.salary.com/aircraft-mechanic-salary.html }

Start Researching Schools Today!
Go to www.aviationschoolsonline.compick a school near you and fill out an inquiry form to get more info! It’s that easy.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Supports Think Global Flight as Crew Launches April 03, 2014

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Captain Judy Rice, Voyager Pilot Dick Rutan, and Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum President Greg Anderson

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Capt Rice, Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum Pres. Greg Anderson & Voyager Pilot Dick Rutan

SUN ‘n FUN, Lakeland FL. USA, February 11, 2014 – On April 3, 2014, the Think Global Flight Crew takes off from SUN ‘n FUN, airshow on its around the world flight to promote S.T.E.M. education and the promises that aviation and aerospace hold for our youth. Along the route, Captain Judy Rice, CFI, Teacher, and Navigator Fred Nauer, CFI-I, commercial airline pilot (ret.) will be stopping at schools around the world, interacting with students and discussing the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) education.

VIP supporters that will be present during the Think Global Flight launch at SUN ‘n FUN include Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and Voyager Pilot Dick Rutan. The Crew will be flying the northern route with an easterly heading. The flight around the world will take approximately 3 months and arrive back in Oshkosh, WI for AirVenture 2014, the world’s largest airshow.

In support of the effort, Buzz Aldrin will ride as a passenger during the first leg of the journey departing Lakeland, FL on April 3.Think-Global-Flight Buzz shares his support, “Back when I was privileged to be a part of the Apollo program, the USA was #1 in science and technology fields. No one had ever heard of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) because we were at the top. Unfortunately today America is falling behind other countries. S.T.E.M. is exactly the focus of Think Global Flight (TGF) reaching over 20,000 students and why I strongly support Captain Judy and TGF. I am looking forward to joining the official launch on April 3 from the SUN ‘n FUN airshow in Lakeland, Florida. In addition, I will celebrate a repeat of my T-6 solo flight in 1951 at Gilbert field in the TGF Cirrus with Captain Judy.”

Think Global Flight has set up Student Command Centers around the world, allowing teachers and their students to follow the flightguidance aviation cirrus think global flight through the Think Global Flight APP for iPhone, Androids, and iPads, as well as online, to interact with the flight crew, and participate in curricula developed to inspire students to see the promises that aviation and aerospace hold for them. Currently, there are 20,000 participants in 25 countries and 31 U.S. States.

The global effort is currently running three campaigns to raise the final funds necessary to complete the around the world flight. These fund raising efforts include ” Be A Hero”, “Buy A SkyWay”, and the “Jeppesen Giveaway”.

The flight will begin in a Cirrus SR 22 then broadening into a greater representation of general aviation completing the flight in various aircraft. The effort was kicked off by Guidance Aviation of Prescott, AZ and Baton Rouge, LA and now includes supporters and endorsers such asAir Journey, AOPA, AVweb, Jeppesen, Spidertracks, Sennheiser, and Signature Flight Support.

To follow the around the world flight in real time, download the Think Global Flight APP for iOS and Android devices by searching “Think Global Flight App” on your mobile device and download for free.

For more information, registrations, donations, and a complete list of donors go to: www.thinkglobalflight.org or contact judy@thinkglobalflight.org

What Is The Best Flight School – For You?

Monday, February 10th, 2014
-By Justin Landis
Guidance Helicopters R44

There is a huge demand for helicopter pilots in the U.S. and overseas.

So you want to pursue a career in aviation and it has led you to searching the internet for answers, answers to questions such as how do I choose the flight school or aviation program that is right for me? Airplanes, Helicopters, UASs, Airport Management?  From experience, I can tell you that making a decision on what aviation program to attend can be challenging and it took me a few tries before I got it right. So after a decade spent developing my career in aviation, here are my thoughts, and a checklist, on how you can choose the right training program for your needs.  When you’ve developed your own checklist, go to www.aviationschoolsonline.com to find your flight schools!

Your Checklist to Choosing the Right School for You

  • Set Goals
  • Find a Mentor
  • Know What You Are Getting Into

    How to find the best flight training school

    In 2014, as reported by WSJ, the US is experience a serious shortage of airplane pilots

  • Part 61 or Part 141
  • Make a List of a Few Schools, Visit Each
  • Take an Into Flight
  • Shortlist Your Favorite Programs, Learn About Them
  • Set Your Plan For Training

Set Goals

Do some self-reflections and determine what your goals are for your career in aviation. This may sound like a canned answer and intuitive first step, but you’d be surprised how many people move forward in life without any rhyme or reason. Having your goals set for and by yourself helps you maintain the determination and discipline needed to accept and conquer the challenges that wait ahead. Trust me, there will be challenges, just keep your focus on the goals you’ve set and they will help you push through to the other side and achieve your success.

Find a Mentor

This may be easier said than done, but I believe this is very important in trying to make decisions in life that will ultimately

air traffic control schools

As demand for pilots grows, so does the demand for air traffic controllers, maintenance techs, and avionics pros.

determine your entire trajectory throughout your future. In this context I would recommend attempting to find someone who has already pursued a path similar to the one you’re considering, ask an A&P mechanic, a current bush pilot, or an air traffic controller how they got to where they are and what advice they may have. Without necessarily regretting it, I may have been better off had I pursued the guidance of a mentor when I joined the Air Force rather than accepting the job I thought sounded the “coolest” to my 17 year-old self. There are always decisions in life that can benefit from being well thought out and the advice and guidance of a mentor will always prove valuable.

Know what you’re getting yourself into

Know what a career like the one you want to pursue in aviation may entail. Hopefully a mentor can help you discover the details, but keep in mind that learning how to fly, although fun, requires studying and knowing the material in depth. I’ve seen and heard of many students that have put on a pair of aviators, shown up to their lessons with the excitement that comes with jumping in the cockpit but failed to commit to opening the books and thus couldn’t pass their check rides and move forward. Be aware and be ready to be the best student you can be.

Part 61 or Part 141

USAF drone

Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) is one of the fastest growing segments of the aviation market.

Know the difference between a Part 61 and Part 141 flight school and determine which is a better fit for you and your goals. There is plenty of information online to fully explain the differences between a Part 61 and Part 141 flight school, but to summarize, a Part 141 program will include a more structured approach with syllabi and FAA record keeping while a Part 61 will allow for some flexibility in your flight training.

Make a list of a few schools and visit each

Most schools, especially the ones represented here on AviationSchoolsOnline.com would be more than happy to host you for a tour to check out their program. You should have the chance to talk to students and flight instructors to get a feel for the program and get specific and valuable input from those who’ve already experienced the program you’re considering. A tour also gives you a chance to see the facilities of the organization, the fleet of aircraft the company is running, and any extra training aides such as flight training devices (FTDs), simulators, weather and flight planning equipment and whatever else you may desire or require.

Take an Intro flight

Be sure to take and introduction flight. Whether you’ve grown up in the cockpit with a family member or have never actually been in a single engine general aviation aircraft, it’s in your best interest to go up for an introduction flight with a school you’re considering. It can expose you to the exact environment you will be spending the next few hundred hours of your training in and help you in your decision making process. It may also expose you to whether or not you have the constitution needed to be a pilot, don’t be discouraged if you get queasy the first time, but realize whether its just your body adjusting or if you truly do not enjoy the experience as much as you had hoped (although highly unlikely).

Short list your favorite programs and Learn about them

Do your research and set a plan. Learn everything you can about the programs you want to select by doing your own research beyond the student services representative. It’s always prudent to research companies you want to work for and programs you want to train at. Be sure not to get side tracked by one disgruntled person who may have failed out and has a bone to pick on an arbitrary forum, but do aggregated research to ensure the program has a positive reputation within the industry and community and will be an asset to you as you move forward in your career.

Set Your Plan for Training

Finally, set a plan for what you want out of your training, what certificates you want to pursue, what companies you may want to apply to and use this information to assist you in your final decision.

We’ve all wondered at some point, where should I go, how much will it cost, how long will it take, when we’re up against a decision such as this. Fortunately, you’re not the first nor will you be the last to make a decision on what program to attend. Making a decision such as this will always be a challenge, but hopefully following these steps, the resources found within AviationSchoolsOnline.com and your ingenuity and determination will be an asset to you in your pursuit of a decision and a career in aviation.

Good Luck and Happy Flying!

Paper Airplanes – Projects of Passion

Friday, February 7th, 2014

-by Justin Landis

For most of us, Aviation is more than just an industry, more than a job, more than aircraft flying overhead. Aviation is a way of life,paper airplane competition it’s in our blood and in our dreams. The most identifying mark of those who live and breathe aviation is that for those of us who live this passion, have had it since a young age. A passion for Aviation lasts a lifetime but can start with something as simple and yet complex as a paper airplane.

The Great Paper Airplane Project – Pima Air & Space Museum, Tuscon Arizona

What better way to spread the love of aviation and inspire a new generation of aviators than to hold an annual paper airplane competition. This weekend, February 8, 2014, Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson Arizona will host the third annual Great Paper Airplane Fly-off competition where 300 paper airplane pilots will challenge each other for distance covered. Pilots ages 6-14 can enter with a standard 8.5”x11” sheet of paper folded into whatever aircraft design these young minds devise and each young entrant and up to four family members receive free entrance into the museum. The museum, one of the world’s largest non-government funded Air and Space museums, hosts the event inside among the many aircraft exhibits to give its young entrants a fully immersive experience.

pima air and space museum

Photo courtesy of Pima Air & Space Museum

The inaugural fly-off was held on January 14 2012, hosted by paper airplane Guinness world record Ken Blackburn, and was inspired by museum leadership in their attempt to bring young people into the museum to introduce them to the wonder and magic of aviation. The vision of Count Ferdinand Von Galen, Chairman of the Pima Air & Space Museum is simple and noble, “The biggest thing I’m looking for is to bring the air museum and the history of air and space to a new generation.”

The first Great Paper Airplane Fly-off was held as part of a bigger project, a project to build the world’s largest paper airplane. The winner of the fly-off, a young Arturo Valdenegro, was awarded the role of honorary engineer to help aerospace engineer Art Thomson design and test the giant paper airplane. The airplane would be designed based on Arturo’s winning paper airplane and on March 21, 2012, Arturo’s Desert Eagle, a 45 foot, 800 pound giant paper airplane was hoisted to an altitude of 2700 ft. AGL (meant for 5000 ft. but released early due to wind) by a vintage Sikorsky S-58T helicopter and released to take flight. The aircraft was able to glide for approximately 10 seconds reaching speeds of nearly 100 mph before smacking into the desert floor. The remains are now an exhibit in the museum as a dedication to the ongoing project along with the Great Paper Airplane Fly-Off trophy that recognizes the winners of past with their names engraved and on permanent display. “The Great Paper Airplane Project was intended to get young people interested in careers in the aerospace industry, and it seems to have worked with Valdenegro, as he reportedly now plans on pursuing a career in engineering.”

From the world’s biggest paper airplane to the world’s most detailed paper airplane

Quite possibly the world’s most intricate, time consuming, and detailed paper airplane ever built has been created by Luca Iaconi-Stewart. Being called the world’s coolest paper airplane in Flying Magazine and the world’s most impressive paper airplane by CNN, Luca has spent the past five years constructing a 1:60 scale Boeing 777 out of manila folders. Luca states that the project grew out of his love for airplanes and after stumbling upon engineering drawings he had discovered of an Air India 777-300R, Luca began printing his “parts” on manila folders using Adobe Illustrator to design his components. “I spent a lot of time making drawing from pictures, then I got ahold of a maintenance manual for people who maintain airplanes. It contains plenty of detail, which is useful for specific parts, but you’re still having to draw everything from scratch.”

With approximately 400 manila folders used and 10,000 hours estimated to get to this point in the project, (the wings have yet to be built) the landing gear retracts, the business class seats recline, the doors open and close and the thrust reversers extend. He even devoted an entire summer just to the seats, twenty minutes for an economy seat, four to six hours for business class, and eight hours for first class. It’s truly an amazing work of art as it displays the focus and ingenuity of the human mind and how that passion for aviation can inspire a young man to create a labor of love with intense discipline and devotion. I suggest you take a look for yourself, Luca has documented some of his work by hosting time lapse videos on his YouTube channel. After watching his videos, discovering his techniques and seeing the airplane, maybe Boeing engineers will give this guy a call; he may not be formally trained, but natural skill in engineering miniature parts out of paper may be a special case for qualifications.

Paper airplanes… they’re simple, complex, inspiring, giant, and most importantly, to a young person or old, fun. A simple experience from a young age can spark that life-long dedication to a passion and a career in aviation and following that dream becomes increasingly rewarding. I speak from experience as I realized that spark at a young age, I built the model airplanes as a teenager, joined the U.S. Air Force upon graduation from high school where I maintained F-16s and then attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where I have since graduated and continue to pursue a rewarding career in Aviation. It worked for me and it can work for you; Aviation is a way of life that continues to fuel many of us, especially if you’re exploring a blog such as this. It needs continuous innovation and the ingenuity of young people around the country and the world and hopefully something as simple as yet complex as a paper airplane can inspire us all.

iPhone Controlled Paper Airplane – Another VERY Cool Paper Airplane Project
http://venturebeat.com/2014/01/17/powerup-toys-surpasses-1m-raised-for-its-iphone-controlled-paper-airplanes/

 

Pilot Shortage Hits The U.S. – No Better Time To Become A Pilot

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

There is a Pilot Shortage in the U.S. and it is hitting faster and harder than expected. As reported in Wall Street Journal Online, “Thebecome a pilot shortage us anticipated shortfall of U.S. airline pilots is coming to fruition earlier and more dramatically than expected because of a mix of mass retirements, the FAA’s new rest rules and sharply higher training requirements for beginner pilots.” [Source: http://on.wsj.com/1etw1by]

New FAA Rules To Become a Pilot

Specifically, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) recently raised the minimum requirement for the number of hours of flight experience from 250 to 1,500 hours time logged for commercial airline pilots.  Add to this an increase in the number of pilots retiring due to an aging pilot population AND the international demand for pilots where countries like China are recruiting senior pilots in the U.S. to meet the growing Chinese pilot demands overseas, and you have a “Perfect Storm” for pilot demand in the United States.

Resources and Schools To Become A Pilot

It is clear there is no better time to become a pilot.  Aviation Schools Online maintains a comprehensive directory of over 2,500pilot shortage us aviation schools throughout the United States and overseas.  Check out the following quick links to start your career as a pilot:

Increased demand for pilots in the U.S. also means an increased demand for aviation professionals in Aviation Operations and Management (Airport Mgmt, Air Traffic Control) as well as Aviation Technicians and Mechanics (A&P techs).  Check out schools for these aviation careers below:

For more info, go to our Home Page and explore over 2,500 Aviation Schools and start your Career as a Professional Pilot!

Denver 7th Grader Wings Up with Astronaut and Aviator to Promote Education and Aviation

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
Denver 7th Grader Rice Aldrin Think Global Flight

L-R: Capt. Rice, Ali, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin

Students around the world joining Think Global Flight promoting education: 20,000 participants in 25 countries and 31 U.S. States

She has flown in Cessnas, Pipers, Beechcrafts, and even Robinson Helicopters with her father while attending airshows to collect aircraft pins for her flight bag. Along the way, she met Captain Judy Rice of ThinkGlobalFlight.org – A flight around the world to promote the importance of S.T.E.M. education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and the promises that aviation and aerospace hold for youth.

The 7th grader and Think Global Flight Ambassador to Denver, Co., “Ali”, received an invite from Captain Judy Rice to meet an important supporter of the global flight to promote S.T.E.M.. As she walked into the door of his home and viewed photos of lunar landscapes, space suits, NASA medals, and F86 Sabre squadrons, Ali knew she was meeting a man not of this world – The one and only Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut, Fighter Pilot, Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, and U.S. Military Veteran.

guidance aviation cirrus think global flight

The plane the started it all: The Cirrus SR20 donated by Guidance Aviation.

“Dr. Aldrin shared with me photo albums only a few have seen; they were amazing. We spoke about how science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and even the arts play a huge role in aviation and aerospace. He shared with me his support of Captain Judy’s effort, Think Global Flight, and how the flight around the world will help kids to see a connection between their interests in aerospace and aviation with the topics they study in classes like math and science. He even shared with me another one of his projects that help U.S. Military Veterans become pilots,” stated the Campus Middle School 7th Grader.

Buzz Aldrin Shares His Support of Think Global Flight

Buzz shares his support, “Back when I was privileged to be a part of the Apollo program, the USA was #1 in science and technology fields. No one had ever heard of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) because we were at the top. Unfortunately today, America is falling behind other countries. S.T.E.M. is exactly the focus of Think Global Flight (TGF) reaching over 20,000 students and why I strongly support Captain Judy and TGF. I am looking forward to joining the official launch on April 3 from the SUN ‘n FUN airshow in Lakeland, Florida. In addition, I will celebrate a repeat of my T6 solo flight in 1941 at Gilbert field in the TGF Cirrus aircraft with Captain Judy.”

20,000 participants in 25 countries and 31 U.S. States

Think Global Flight is setting up Student Command Centers around the globe, signing up teachers and their students. Within theseStudent Command Centers, students take part in curricula designed to make a connection between their school work and their interests in aviation and aerospace. Students can take part in subject matter ranging from flight planning and meteorology to international relations and green technology. While the around the world flight is taking place, students can connect with the flight, track its progress, and communicate with the flight crew via the Internet. Currently, there are 20,000 participants in 25 countries and 31 U.S. States.

The Think Global Flight crew is scheduled to take off April of this year. Their current objectives are to finalize the flight plans and raise the remaining amount of funds needed to fly around the world and stop at schools to promote aviation and education. After the flight, Captain Judy Rice plans to continue the effort with a foundation to promote aviation and education.

If you ask Ali what her objectives are as the Think Global Flight Ambassador to Denver she’ll say, “Fly Me to the Moon! My dad is always singing that and I’m sure Dr. Aldrin (Buzz) would appreciate it! I hope the Denver School District signs on!”

*For more info on Think Global Flight, visit the mission website at: www.thinkglobalflight.org

The Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Revolution and New Aviation APPS

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

EFBs, APPs, The Digital Age, and Device Mastery in the Cockpit

They call this the Digital Age, but to many of us born after 1985 this is how it has always been. We’re the first generations to growhelicopter-pilot-training-mobile-app-guidance-aviation up with laptops under our arms, cell phones in our pockets, and now tablets for everything in between. We can teach our parents and grandparents how to use this technology and we continue to adapt to new devices and technology daily. As device mastery becomes inherent nature, it only seems fitting to incorporate them into the flight planning cubicle and the cockpit.

Tablet devices, such as the iPad mini, are seeing deployment throughout the Aviation industry as what is being referred to as an Electronic Flight Bag. With implementation growing industry wide and quickly becoming the standard equipment, many organizations are starting to reap the benefits. American and United Airlines have become some of the first major commercial airlines to complete implementation and discontinue paper revisions. The implementation of iPads replaces nearly 40 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals that pilots have carried for years to a one-and-a-half pound device that can be updated in seconds. They call it the paperless cockpit.

“Our Electronic Flight Bag program has a significant positive environmental and cost-savings impact,” said David Campbell, American’s Vice President – Safety and Operations Performance. “In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our aircraft saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices.”

The EFB reduces the burden on the pilot and aircraft, enhances safety and enables operational savings for airlines as well as smaller operations. The value of this device for Aviation, pilots, and especially flight training cannot be understated. Most importantly flights schools around the country are implementing them into the initial training for new students starting at their Private Pilot Courses of instruction. Who can blame them? EFB implementation increases the interactivity, simplifies pre-flight planning, and increases efficiency in training and operations.

With the increased use EFB’s continue to receive, developers are keeping up by pitching five new aviation apps:

Jeppesen Mobile FD (Free in iTunes, subscription required)electronic flight bag cockpit apps
Jeppesen has added an app to support its current collection called Mobile FliteDeck (FD) said to increase situational awareness. FliteDeck will provide pilots with enroute chart data, aircraft positioning on approach plates, terminal charts and airport diagrams. It also supports multiple weather features including NEXRAD, icing, surface observations, turbulence, winds aloft, and lightning while allowing for saved flights, importation of active MyFlitePlan routes, and WIFI flight plans to/from Aspen Avionics.

FlightSafety (Free in iTunes, subscription required)electronic flight bag cockpit apps
FlightSafety International, the provider or professional aviation training, has released this app to provide its customers the ability to receive training materials electronically. This could be a great tool for training departments worldwide that use FlightSafety International as materials such as digital manuals, cockpit posters, flash cards, and guides can all be accessed through the app once customers are enrolled.

Sporty’s IFR Communications ($34.99 in iTunes)electronic flight bag cockpit apps Sporty’s Pilot Shop has released an updated version of their classic IFR communication videos as an app for the iPhone and iPad. This app claims to “not just be a rehash of basic radio procedures, but gives today’s instrument pilot a real-world look at IFR communications through all phases of flight in a variety of airspace.” This new and convenient IFR training aid could be a lifesaver for any pilot in IFR training especially with its 3D animations, in-flight video and real-world scenarios.

Flight Data Recorder Mobile ($5.99 in iTunes)electronic flight bag cockpit apps This app is meant to mimic an aircraft “black box” and record position, altitude and attitude data along with cockpit voice (CVR) so that complete flight information can be saved. The data generated by the app can then be imported into the Instructor Station program and can be played back in 2D/3D with simultaneous audio feed to re-live any flight. This will be a great tool for flight training instruction as instructors can utilize this tool to debrief their students by providing meaningful feedback based on the exact scenarios as they occurred.

 

PIREP Pro (Free in iTunes)electronic flight bag cockpit apps
PIREP Pro allows pilots the ability share and read pilot reports with minimal clicks. The app states that “heavy cockpit workload and busy controllers are no longer obstacles when it comes to issue a Pilot Report.”

 

For all you Windows and Android users out there I apologize for the iPad heavy list but unfortunately the development for the iPad platform is setting the pace. The Apple product is leading the pack as organizations and flight training departments are increasingly incorporating the iPad into their operations. For those of you who may have just received your new EFB or will soon and don’t quite know where to start, here is a recent list developed by AOPA’s senior vice president, Adam Smith, and his 20 favorite aviation apps.

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2013/October/12/AOPAs-Smith-offers-20-favorite-aviation-apps.aspx

-by Justin Landis

Cold Weather Means Safer Skies, Or Does It?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

We’re just over one month into the New Year and January 2014 has been a record breaker. Two long standing records will fall come the end of January 2014.   It could be argued that they’re connected both directly and indirectly as they certainly affect the Aviation community.  January 2014 is turning out to one of the coldest on record and conversely General Aviation’s safest month ever.

Is this the coldest January ever?

Cold weather safer skies

Cherokee Six over the Sawtooth Mountains by Chris Rose.

The coldest temperatures of the century for many cities around the country have been recorded in the first month of 2014. Subzero temperatures have been recorded from North Dakota to New York and as far south as Oklahoma and Alabama. Just this week when the country thought the cold had abated, Atlanta, Georgia received a rare snowstorm that accumulated up to 3 inches. This storm stranded people in retail stores and offices as the roads became treacherous. Three inches may not seem like much to most of the country, but in Georgia it’s a rarity. According to the weather channel, more than 50 primary weather observation sites (mostly in major’s cities) recorded record lows for the date

Cold air is dense air, when air molecules are compressed together they move slower. Increased air density is awesome for pilots when the sky is clear, but freezing conditions produce ice and ice on any airfoil or in the engine is not awesome. If it’s freezing at ground level than there’s a high probability of freezing conditions at any altitude above ground level (AGL). As a result many general aviation aircraft around the country may have been either grounded or under-utilized as the weather conditions made it a challenge to fly safely. With record breaking cold blanketing the country, are we just flying less or is the following a coincidence?

Safest Skies Ever

As snow falls from the skies in unlikely cities, aircraft are not. As we approach the end of the month, reports are indicating that January 2014 may end up as one of the safest ever recorded for General Aviation. “There have been four fatal crashes this month in the United States involving noncommercial piston-powered airplanes, resulting in six fatalities. That’s well below the monthly average.”

That’s 70 percent below the average for January’s over past five years according to the NTSB. In a category where the majority of flight training aircraft fall into, this stat is an impressive one for General Aviation and its active participants. The real question lies in whether this is a direct correlation to the cold weather or simply a contributing factor.

Flying Magazine decided to take a look and according to FlightAware.com, general aviation piston flight activity recorded by the site was down 17 percent this January compared with last January. Can a 17 percent reduction in flight activity contribute to a 70 percent reduction in major accidents? I’ll let you be the judge, but I would presume that there are more reasons than just weather that are contributing to this low number.

Flight training organizations are increasing their focus on safety by developing rigorous Safety Management Systems (SMS) while Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) are becoming increasingly prevalent in cockpits across the nation. Equipment such as the Stratus 2 are being introduced to the market and incorporated into aircraft with ADSB in/out capabilities improving situational awareness for the pilot. Apps, such as Foreflight, now include functional weather tools, sectional maps, and updated airport diagrams as they become a standard. It’s my opinion that flight training is as safe as it’s ever been due to safety awareness, improved training aids, and continuous advances in technology. Although the weather may be a contributing factor to this month’s record breaking safety, hopefully it becomes a safety trend rather than a one month anomaly.  – By Justin Landis

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