Archive for May, 2011

International Learn to Fly Day at JA AIr Center Aurora Airport

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
JA Air Center Cessna 172

Learn to fly at JA Air Center’s Open House, May 21st.

JA Air Center and Flight Training will be holding an open house on Saturday, May 21st at their location at the Aurora Municipal Airport in Sugar Grove, Illinois. The event will be from 9am – 5pm and include airplane rides, food, corporate and new Cessna aircraft displays, walk-throughs of the facility and giveaways throughout the event. The event will also have a few “Learn to Fly” workshops throughout the day so people can gather more information on what it takes to become a pilot.

The open house will be held on International Learn to Fly Day, “a cooperative effort set in motion by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) of pilots, companies, governments, and organizations in countries around the world to raise interest in flying and encourage current pilots to get others involved in aviation” as stated on the website

According to the company website, “JA Air Center offers a broad spectrum of customized programs that serve every level of aviator, from beginners to veteran pilots. We‘re also proud to be offering the Cessna Pilot Center (CPC) web-based curriculum. This program allows both our instructors and students to track their progress and accomplishments throughout the training as well as give students the ability to continue their education from the comfort of their own home. This level of organization and flexibility is one of the reasons that CPC students earn certificates and ratings in less time than the national average. Our courses are designed to keep students engaged, exposing them to and preparing them for as many possibilities as they may encounter in the air. Safety is our top priority, so our instructors never allow student pilots to advance before they’re ready. Veteran pilots can count on our trainers to serve as skilled partners that help them keep up with the latest technology and exceed all FAA-mandated qualifications.”

JA Air Center is located at 43W700 US Hwy 30, Sugar Grove, IL. Please call 630.584.3200 or email for more information.

Learn more about JA Flight Training programs
Visit the JA Air Center Website

New FAA Flight Training Rules Proposed – How Will They Affect You?

Monday, May 16th, 2011
CFI and student pilot check oil on Cessna 172

Significant flight training rules are headed your way - photo: Brandon Farris

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wednesday proposed what an administrator called “the most significant” policy changes for flight training in twenty years. The proposed rules would “contribute significantly to reducing aviation accidents,” according to the article, “FAA proposes major revamp of airline pilot training,” on

According to the FAA, there were 178 accidents from 1988 to 2009 that might have been avoided with better training. The FAA believes these accidents were the result of inadequate manuals, training standards, operating procedures, and pilot training. A total of 492 people were killed, 196 suffered severe injuries, and 615 received minor injuries in the subject accidents.

The new rules would require those being tested to prove their skills in flying simulators. In addition, ground-based dispatchers, flight attendants, and flight crews will learn how to work as a team on responding to emergencies. The new rules will mean new training procedures for flight schools.

A rule similar to the new rule was first proposed in January 2009. The changes to that rule came one month after Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, killing 50. The public became more aware of the disparity in the amount of experience between airline captains who must hold an Airline Transport Pilot license and pilots who fly as first officers who may have only earned a Commercial Pilot license.

According to a article, the proposed rules are contained in a 671 page document as an update to the rule proposed in 2009. Comments by the National Transportation Safety Board were also considered, as well as comments from the public and legislation passed by Congress.

New rules for pilot training would ensure that the first officer would have as much training as the captain, and there is some discussion of training both together as a team in pilot schools.

“It’s clear to us in looking at (the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash) that there are things we should be doing now,” FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt explained in the CNN article why the rules were proposed. “My goal is to make sure that the entire industry – from large commercial carriers to smaller, regional operators – is meeting our safety standard.”

As for what the new rules will mean as far as safety for the public, Mark Rosenker, a CBS News aviation safety expert and a former National Transportation Safety Board Chairman, said on a CBS article if the rules had existed before the Colgan crash, many lives could have been spared. The article noted the crash was blamed partially on faulty pilot training.

Utah Helicopter Training School Earns Part 141 Status

Saturday, May 14th, 2011
Mountain Ridge Helicopters logo

Click here to learn more about Mountain Ridge Helicopters

Mountain Ridge Helicopters in Logan, Utah announced Friday the school has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to offer FAR Part 141 Certified Pilot Training. The helicopter school offers private, commercial and flight Instructor certification, all of which are now available under Part 141, a rigorous program in which a student’s instruction is regimented and structured to provide the most comprehensive training available.

According to a company press release, the school will hold a celebration on May 21st in conjunction with National Learn to Fly Day at their location at Logan/ Cache Airport in Logan, Utah. Introductory flights will be available for $59 and hands-on demonstrations will be offered to give attendees a “real world” feel of being a helicopter pilot. The school also will supply lunch to visitors.

According to the company website, “Mountain Ridge Helicopters was purchased in August of 2005 by Vaughn and Jean Carlston. The Carlstons have been business entrepreneurs for over 20 years in the Salt Lake Valley and are aviation enthusiasts. Vaughn built his first helicopter over 10 years ago. Purchasing the school became a way for the Carlstons to combine their business savvy with their passion for helicopters. They compiled a staff of professional aviators who have an ingrained desire to teach, innovative administrators who are financially knowledgeable and hands on in order to aid in the production of incredible pilots and a memorable flight instruction experience.”

Mountain Ridge Helicopters is also an authorized Robinson Service Center and a CATS testing facility.

Learn more about Mountain Ridge Helicopters flight training.
For more information please visit or call 435-752-3828

Why Boy Scouts of America Will Help Aviation

Saturday, May 14th, 2011
By Chris Faries
Boy Scouts of America logo

Boy Scouts of America logo

Almost everyone has flown in an airplane at least once during their lifetime. Unfortunately, for most people, this is the extent of their exposure to aviation. Professions such as aviation struggle to attract newcomers mainly due to the fact that these professions are not taught regularly in schools. It’s difficult for a student to be interested in a career he or she knows nothing about. For this reason, the Boy Scouts of America organization and the opportunities it provides to learn about aviation play a vital role in recruiting potential aviation professionals.

As an Eagle Scout myself, I can recall a few occasions on which I gained exposure to aviation that I otherwise would never have had. We once took a trip to the local airfield where we learned about all the different aspects of running an airport. We sat in small planes and saw all the controls, walked around the tarmac, and learned how the air traffic controllers operate. It was a trip I’m almost positive I never would have taken had I not been a Boy Scout.

My other Boy Scout aviation experience involved earning the aviation merit badge. I learned about many different aspect of airplanes, such as what roll, pitch, and yaw are and how they apply to flying. I learned about the physics of wings, lift, and thrust. I truly enjoyed the opportunity I had to learn about something new and relevant to my life.

While these types of events didn’t lead me to pursue a career in aviation, they most likely will have such an effect on some scouts. In the United States, where aviation is not a normal part of the education system, young people seldom develop an interest in aviation careers. The Boys Scouts provide a vehicle for learning about the profession and sparking an interest to learn more.

According to, this weekend, May 14-15, 2011 the Coastal Carolina Regional Airport will be hosting a camp-out for about 220 scouts to learn and earn the aviation merit badge. Activities will include a skydiving demonstration, flight simulators, and sessions in aerodynamics, navigation, and control tower operations. Scouts will even get to ride in small planes with experienced pilots. Such an uncommon opportunity will likely motivate at least some of those scouts to pursue an education in the aviation profession.

Whether or not every scout that earns the aviation merit badge becomes an aviation professional, as the number of people with a knowledge of aviation increases, the success of aviation will also grow. The Boy Scouts of America play an important role in determining the potential growth of aviation, so collaboration between the two groups is vital.

Author – Chris Faires is a writer for My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them search for online degrees that can help them reach their goals.

Ready, Set, Fly – International Learn To Fly Day Is May 21st.

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Aspiring pilots will get a chance to act out their dreams for a day during the second annual International Learn to Fly Day. Held on May 21st, the celebration is a cooperative effort designed to raise interest in flying and help a younger generation of pilots take their first steps forward into the world of aviation.

On International Learn To Fly Day, pilots can offer introductory flights to any interested people who want to learn to fly. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will lead the way by having its individual chapters offer complimentary adult flight lessons across the country on this specific day. For the EAA, introductory flights for adults are an extension of its popular Young Eagles program. Since 1992, that program has offered free flights to more than 1.6 million young people.

Organizations and EAA chapters hosting events connected to International Learn to Fly Day are encouraged to post these events on an official website affiliated with the day. The website fallows visitors to locate any local event designed to encourage a person to discover more about flying and what goes into it. Any group or company can also post their own event on the site that welcomes people interested in flying and flight training.

The inaugural International Learn to Fly Day took place only a year ago after the United States Congress passed a resolution the same year declaring that the third Saturday in May would serve as a day to recognize the contributions of flight instructors, flight schools and aviation groups in promoting flying as well as teaching and training the next generation of pilots.

Initial celebrations of International Learn to Fly Day in 2010 drew more than 40,000 people to nearly 250 events nationwide. Surveys showed that nearly two-thirds of people introduced to aviation on that day planned to pursue flight training on their own after attending one of the 250 events.

EAA officials are encouraging other aviation groups and businesses to join in the efforts to promote flying by offering introductory flights, open houses and seminars at airports and other locations across the globe.


Can Better Flight Instructors Really Turn General Aviation around?

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

In a podcast with AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Mel Cintron said that the agency, growing uncomfortable with the fatality accident rate in general aviation (GA), has launched a five year plan in the hopes of largely reducing those fatality numbers. The FAA has put together a joint steering committee made up of agents from the Federal Aviation Administration, members of the GA industry and “hopefully” others within the community.

Mr. Cintron is hoping that the steering committee will be able to not only figure out what should be done, but also get the message out to the General Aviation community. They seem to be walking a thin line between bringing the fatality rate down, and doing their best not to over regulate within the General Aviation community. While the number of accidents has been on the rise, the GA community has been shrinking, with less and less new members each year.

“We’re certainly all aware that we’re in trouble in General Aviation,” Doug Stewart told Paul Bertorelli. Stewart is the President of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and his group believes “the flight instructor is really the fulcrum point…” Stewart and SAFE believe that sub par flight training and instruction have played a huge part in both the rising fatality rates and the shrinking of the General Aviation community. “We need to change the way we’re teaching… the way we’re teaching instructors, and if we can achieve this, as a group, we can start improving things.”

In early May, 2011, SAFE brought together more than 150 instructors, examiners and industry experts in the society’s first symposium on how the General Aviation community can stimulate industry growth, as well as drive down the accident rate. The focus: Raise the bar on instruction in flight schools and flight training all around.

These are lofty goals, and likely to take some time. Jennifer Storm, a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) reported that both student starts and completions fell dramatically, as much as 64 percent in completions, from 1990 to 2010. Vice President of Redbird Flight Simulations, Jerry Gregoire, explained that this was no surprise. Apparently, flight training is still scheduled around the availability of certified flight instructors, rather than the desires or schedules of the students.


California City Honors Camp Pendleton Marines and Sailors

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
Armed Forces Day, Operation Appreciation in Oceanside, CA

Armed Forces Day, Operation Appreciation in Oceanside, CA

Each May, on Armed Forces Day, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oceanside bring the Oceanside business community and area residents together to provide a day of recognition to the Marines and Sailors and their families based on Camp Pendleton.

Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps base in the world, is home to more than 70,000 Marines, Sailors and their families. Units from 1MEF were the 1st American military forces to land in Kandahar following September 11, 2001. We need to recognize the contributions these Marines, Sailors and their families have made to our country. They have endured long separations and hardships to protect our freedoms. Armed Forces Day-Operation Appreciation is a perfect opportunity to say “Thank You.”

The day consists of a host of activities including a great children’s fun zone with mechanical rides, a rock wall, inflatable jumps, kid’s crafts and face painting. Live entertainment will be featured at the amphitheater all day long. The beach will be loaded with military land and amphibious displays, including the LCAC, for people to explore and learn about. All Active Duty Military and their dependents with Military ID Card to get unlimited rides, activities, and a free lunch.

This event is open to the public with wristbands available for purchase for children’s rides at $10 per person. Entertainment and military displays are free to all guests.

To learn more about Operation Appreciation, please visit the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce website.

Cost Remains The Real Issue Behind Flight Training Numbers

Monday, May 9th, 2011
Flight instructor working with student on ground training

Endangered species? Many students can’t afford flight training

Despite a recent Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) research study to the contrary, cost remains the primary hurdle to both new pilot starts and general aviation industry growth, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in an unprecedented position to change all that. The aviation industry as a whole, and especially the recreational side of general aviation (GA) is suffering the devastating effects of the perfect storm: skyrocketing fuel prices, declining discretionary incomes, virtually no financing for instruction or aircraft, increasing maintenance costs, community efforts to close airports, and punishing coverage of the industry as a whole from the media. It’s no wonder most aviation-based business are struggling.

To prove my point, let’s consider a hypothetical world where the cost of earning a private pilot license in today’s dollars is around $500, total. How many people would be signing up at your local flight school right now? I believe the sky would be dark with trainers as a huge percentage of the population flock to their local airport in search of flying lessons. And how many times have you heard a former student pilot say, I have all the money I need to earn my pilot’s license, I just didn’t like the instructor”? If you’re like me, it’s never happened. After providing all the excuses about “not enough time” or “can’t pass the test”, student pilots who did not complete their training usually complete the discussion with “and flying is just too expensive”.

AOPA’s 2010 study concluded that about 70% of the people interviewed expressed a desire to learn to fly for recreational or personal business. From these numbers it’s easy to see that most prospective pilots are going to have to pull the money out of discretionary income. Sure, outfits like Pilot Finance, Inc. can help, and some people resort to using a credit card to foot at least part of the bill, but the reality is many student pilots have to decide whether to put gas in the car, or gas in the plane, because they can’t afford to do both.

And that’s exactly where the FAA is poised to make a difference. Over the years, the FAA has created a truly remarkable air transportation system, and they deserve credit for merging air travel, training, and maintenance practices together into an extremely safe aviation industry. But that success has come at price, and I believe we’re all paying that price now. The very layers of paperwork and oversight that have created our safe system have inflated prices to the obscene for just about everything in the aviation world. Aircraft parts, when compared to their automotive counterparts for example, are typically many times the price for virtually the same piece of equipment, and most of that cost difference can be traced to FAA bureaucracies (with a fair share spilling over to liability insurance as well). Just this week, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt commented that the agency is possibly facing large budget cuts and layoffs. If that’s the case, this seems like the perfect time to re-analyze the current state of aviation regulation and loosen the grip, just a little, in key areas the FAA oversees. While we’re at it, why don’t we pass legislation that could severely limit the legal liability of aviation manufacturers. Both of these efforts could help drive down the overall costs of flying.

Let’s face it, aviation world… learning to fly is just too expensive. That’s the problem. And until that changes, we’re in for a long, painful “recovery” from our current state. I think the aviation industry has reached TBO and needs an overhaul. The sooner the better.

I’d like to hear what you think… please answer our poll question on Facebook “Is the cost of flight training the primary hurdle to earning your pilot license?


Babbitt: Budget Cuts Are At Tipping Point
AOPA – A Survey of Students, Pilots, and Instructors (pdf)