Archive for August, 2011

Helicentre Aviation UK Helicopter Flight Instructor Refreshers

Monday, August 29th, 2011

helicenter aviation logoHelicentre Aviation has gained CAA approval to deliver Helicopter Flight Instructor Refresher Seminars at their FTO (Flight Training Organisation) base at Leicester Airport, United Kingdom. The first seminar which took place in July was a huge success, and further dates have been set with the next course scheduled to take place on 8th and 9th October.

The seminars are the first of their kind to be aimed solely at helicopter instructors, and will be offered several times a year giving increased flexibility to helicopter FI’s. “Many of the instructors we speak to who have attended seminars have found that they were primarily for fixed wing instructors with only a small element relating directly to rotary wing” says Helicentre’s Managing Director and Chief Flying Instructor, Sarah Bowen. “Our seminar has been designed by helicopter instructors solely for helicopter instructors, presented by Captain Geoff Day and speakers who are actively involved in the helicopter industry – even the Aeromedical Examiner presenting on Human Factors is a current helicopter pilot.”

Comments from delegates attending the initial seminar were universally favorable, and amongst the feedback received was “first class”, “highly relevant for rotary instructors”, “informative and enjoyable”. The next seminar will be running on a weekend with more dates penciled in for 2012. Bookings can be made over the phone on 0116 259 0186 or via the website

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Flight Training – How Fractional Programs Create More Pilot Jobs

Saturday, August 27th, 2011
By Woody Robinson

Name one person you know that wouldn’t want a private jet. Pretty tough right? While millions of dollars will get you the nicest plane out there, alternatives in recent years have made owning a private plane a bit more tangible.

In fact, private flight has actually become increasingly accessible. Fractional jet ownership is now a viable option for wealthy individuals and corporations worldwide. Created in 1986 by Net-Jets, fractional ownership prorates the full market price of an aircraft and distributes the cost between several customers, or ‘owners’. However, instead of owning a single aircraft owners have access to an entire fleet. With hundreds of available locations, you can’t argue the convenience.

The good news for flight training students is these fractional ownership programs create more pilot jobs because of increased utilization of each airframe in the fleet. In the “old” days, a company might purchase a business jet but only fly it a few times a month. Today, that same company has the option of buying in to a fractional ownership program. Since many people / companies share the same (or similar) aircraft, the fractional company must hire many more pilots in order to meet the demands made by multiple owners. Most fractional aircraft are flying constantly with a minimum of downtime. The end result is a much larger demand for pilots.

To learn more about becoming a commercial pilot, check out our flight training resources page.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Gets FAA Production Approval

Friday, August 26th, 2011

EVERETT, WA – Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Randy Babbitt today announced that the FAA has approved production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

At an event at Boeing’s facility in Everett, Washington, Administrator Babbitt presented Boeing executives with two certificates for the design and production of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Rolls-Royce engines. The first, a Type Certificate, is for the FAA’s approval of the airplane’s design. The second, a Production Certificate, allows Boeing to manufacture the 787 following a rigorous review by FAA inspectors of Boeing’s quality system, production tooling, manufacturing processes and controls, inspection methods, and supplier control procedures.

“The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is an incredible technological achievement – one that sets a new standard for innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The new engine technology is fuel-efficient and reduces noise, minimizing the impact on the environment. Those are key to meeting our NextGen goals.”

“Today’s achievement could not have been possible without the professionalism and dedication of the FAA team involved in the certification,” said Administrator Babbitt. “The engineers, inspectors and flight test pilots all worked diligently to ensure our high safety standards were met.”

The Boeing 787 is a medium-size commercial transport airplane. It’s the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction, more than 50 percent by weight. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel and produce less noise compared to similarly sized airplanes. It was designed and manufactured by suppliers and partners around the world and integrated at final assembly. The 787 incorporates many capabilities of the nation’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen.

The European Safety Agency (EASA) also issued a same day validation of the FAA Type Certificate of the 787.

Flight Training – Know Your Engine!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Understanding your aircraft’s power-source is incredibly important. From Pistons to Turbo-Jets, there is a broad spectrum of engines used for diverse flying. With specific training for different equipment, a brief overview of three common engines could help you choose a path in aviation.

Piston engines are the type most commonly found on primary training aircraft, both for fixed wing airplanes and helicopters. Piston engines are internal combustion engines and operate on the exact same principal as most automobile engines. However, the majority of piston engines designed for aircraft are different than your car engine in several ways: they are air/oil cooled, they mostly use magnetos for an ignition source (just like your lawnmower!), and they are designed to operate at very high power settings over the life of the engine. If you’re learning to fly, chances are your flying behind a piston engine.

The Turbo-Jet created in World War 2 fighters lead to the the safer and more reliable Turbo-Fan commonly used in commercial flight. Turbo-Fans are most efficient at 500-550 knots and have both low and high bypass systems. Low Bypass systems are commonly used in military aircraft because of increased power to weight ratio, while High Bypass engines are used in commercial aviation due to great fuel efficiency and low noise. Turbo-Fans were also the first engines to use multiple spools which allows the engine to react more quickly to changing power requirements.

The Turbo-Prop stems from a combination of military technology and civilian needs. Gas turbines require low maintenance and offer high power. Engine manufacturers mounted a propeller on a gas turbine, and an efficient and incredibly low maintenance engine was born. Turbo-Props are currently used for both private and regional commercial flights.

While you may think helicopter engines are vastly different than fixed wing aircraft engines, they’re actually incredibly similar! However, there is one main difference: while the Turbo-Prop propeller is supported by the engine, a Turbo-Shaft does not provide any physical support to the helicopter’s rotors. Most Turbo-Shaft engines are used for helicopters and are often times produced by Turbo-Prop manufacturers because both engines are based on similar designs.

As we all know, understanding your equipment is of the utmost importance in aviation. While these are only short summaries of three primary engine types, there are aircraft engine resources that offer a vast amount of information on a broad spectrum of engine design.

Please follow these links to learn more about flight training aircraft mechanic training, or helicopter training.

Air Traffic Controllers Riding in Cockpits Again

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Air traffic controllers communicate with pilots and watch the movements of aircraft on their monitors all day long, but few ever meet the pilots or see the planes they direct. This doesn’t necessarily interfere with their ability to do their jobs, but getting a chance to experience what a pilot goes through helps a controller get in the mindset of their co-workers. A new program started by the Federal Airline Association is putting air traffic controllers in the jump seat behind the pilot so they can learn first-hand what a pilot goes through.

Chris Boughn was one of the first controllers to participate in the program, aptly named Flight Deck Training. CNN reports that he claimed it was one of the most valuable training programs that he’s participated in. The program is completely voluntary, and isn’t new. A similar training method was available prior to 2001, but the terrorist attacks on September 11th halted the practice. The controllers chosen to participate are carefully screened and monitored to eliminate any security risk to the pilot.

Despite the common link of aviation, air traffic controllers and pilots experience drastically different work routines. Controllers work in more spacious and generously equipped offices, while the pilot is limited to the cockpit. The pilot has to manage just the single airplane he’s flying, but a controller has to direct and orchestrate the take-off and landing procedures for as many as 30 airports in a region. Giving the air traffic controller a chance to witness the actual process of flying a plane gives him or her a new appreciation for the work of the pilot. It also improves communication between the two.

The program was previously known as Familiarization Training and was criticized by the media and FAA for abuse. Many controllers used it to receive free travel and eight trips per year were included for each worker. The program was also referred to as an entitlement in official documents. The new program is designed strictly for training, and each controller can only apply for two flights each year. Controllers are also on duty and can’t be on leave during or around the time of the flight.


More Info – Find an Air Traffic Controller School Here

Flight Training – Kansas State Aviation is Honored Once Again

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Kansas State University logoThe recent approval to renew Kansas State University’s professional pilot program accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International reconfirms the elite ranking of the Salina, Kansas program. The school first earned this distinction in 2006, and is currently among 26 of 100 universities, and colleges with aviation programs in the United States, who are bestowed this honor.

Kansas State training aircraft

Kansas State University offers several types of aviation training

The Aviation Accreditation Board International works to evaluate the integrity, quality, and performance of aero flight learning programs both nationally and internationally. They are the only specialized, professional, credentialing organization that has been approved to accredit aviation programs based on their findings; and being acknowledged by the AABI as a result of their intricate evaluation is only for the best of the best.

Among being AABI accredited, the Kansas State University aviation program is also proud of the exceptional staff that runs their highly recognized program. K-State employs more Master Certified Flight Instructors than any other university or college in the country, and it is these elite instructors who give the program the direction required to rank as one of the top five aviation universities. Kansas State’s flight instructors continually work to exceed AABI standards, and as can be seen, their work has paid off.

K-State at Salina is home to this exceptional aviation program. Operating with a fleet of more than 40 modern learning aircraft, students hone their skills on a 12,000-foot runway to earn their bachelor degree qualification. The aeronautical flight fields of study offered at the College of Technology and Aviation campus focus on avionics, airport management, air traffic control, professional pilot, aircraft maintenance, and unmanned aircraft systems. The tight focus regarding hands-on experience in these areas of study, and the 95% job placement rate, are also factors that contribute to the extraordinary educational opportunities KSU offers.

Being one of the few higher education facilities to obtain the AABI seal of approval, Kansas State is proud to have again passed this stringent evaluation. This award affirms that K-State aviation students are receiving exceptional quality flight training and that KSU’s top ranking is well-deserved.

Learn more about Kansas State University’s flight training programs.

Written by: Brenda Lytel, Freelance writer and author of, with information adapted from:

G.I. Bill Expansion Equals More Benefits for Flight Training

Monday, August 15th, 2011


Flight Training students and many others welcome the newest additions to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The updated GI Bill benefits our military personal in their academic endeavors. Implemented in March and August, new provisions regarding these changes are now fully in effect.Inactive service men and women such as members of the reserves, or the National Guard, will now receive GI benefit credits for participation in educational endeavors that do not lead to full college degrees. Vocational education, such as flight training, on-the-job training, and apprenticeship programs now qualify for tuition eligibility, and applicable living stipends.

Distance learning students, who were previously not eligible for living stipends, are now eligible. However, they will only be extended half of the allowable amount. Another stipulation extends more benefits to active duty members as well. Because active duty personnel already receive living stipends, there are no additional funds in this area; however, they are now eligible for a $1,000 a year book and supply allowance.

These developments facilitate a significant expansion of services that will promote the advancing education of our service members; but despite the changes for the better, making room for such additions has caused other cuts. Tuition caps are now set based on a national average instead of being capped separately for each state. This new cap on tuition assistance is now $17,500 a year; and will apply to all military students regardless of graduate or undergraduate status, or whether they currently enjoy full tuition coverage that exceeds this amount.

Additionally, the revision of the living stipend reward eligibility calls to base monetary compensation on the number of credits taken. Those who take less than a 50% course load will not be eligible for living expense payments, while those with a maximum course load will be eligible for the full amount. Also, implemented by this bill is a cut off concerning living stipends. Allowances received for these expenses will not be extended during periods where school is not in session.

All in all, this bill provides educational assistance to those who were not previously extended significant benefits. The cuts implemented to make these additions more feasible are expected to affect a minute number of people, as compared to those who will benefit.

Please visit to learn more about flight training schools.



Brenda Lytel, Freelance Writer and author of

Find a GI-Bill School – Aviation Schools for U.S. Veterans
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Flight Training Alert – British Airways Hiring 800 Pilots

Sunday, August 14th, 2011
british airways pilots

British Airways' next hiring phase is their largest ever. Click the image to learn more about becoming an airline pilot

Based at Heathrow Airport in London, British Airways has announced its plans to hire a record 800 pilots over the next five years. The company, which merged in January with Spain’s Iberia to form International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, already employs approximately 3,200 pilots.

According to British Airways spokesman Tony Cane, the new employees will be recruited in anticipation of the airline expanding its existing aircraft fleet in two years, with Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus SAS A380 superjumbos expected to be delivered.

British Airways intends to use existing flight crews to operate the new aircraft, and will need additional personnel to take over the crews’ former duties as they train and upgrade their skills. “We are looking for new pilots essentially to cover training for pilots converting to new aircraft joining the fleet,” stated Cane.

In addition to manning aircraft as new models are added, job openings are also expected to be created due to attrition as numerous pilots reach retirement age or move to part-time schedules.

Staff to be recruited will be a combination of fledgling pilots and seasoned ones from military sources and rival carriers. Cane added, “ It is about recruiting the right mix of new and experienced pilots for British Airways for the years to come.”

To help meet the increased demand, British Airways is launching a training program designed to assist approximately 400 prospective applicants in gaining admission to flight training schools in Spain and the UK.

A sponsor company, Airline Placement Limited (APL), will cover the initial expenses, and British Airways will serve as the guarantor. Those candidates who successfully complete the training requirements will be offered pilot positions with British Airways.

The company also promises other benefits of working as a pilot for them including offering a breadth of aircraft across both the long-haul and short-haul which allows opportunity for developing skills and career advancement.

Newly hired employees will be expected to assist with day-to-day service coverage, and will fly aircraft already existing in the fleet, typically starting out with short domestic and European hauls across Gatwick and Heathrow.

British Airways is encouraging candidates interested in the new pilot positions and training program to apply online at .

University of Illinois Closes Pilot Training Program

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

The University of Illinois has decided to close their aviation program, which includes their pilot training program. They cited declining enrollment in the program. In 2002, 176 freshmen applied compared to 34 in 2010. The closing is expected to save up to $75,000 annually. The program is slated to close in 2014, which will allow current students to obtain their degrees. The lack of enrolled students is somewhat of a mystery, considering the predicted world shortage of airline pilots. Some commentators have expressed the opinion that many U.S. students prefer to be doctors and lawyers.

Perhaps they are discouraged by the fact that in the U.S., 4,000 airline pilots have suffered layoffs. Still, sources state that U.S. airlines will need 40,000 new pilots by 2023. The major demand will be in Asia where the economies are booming, especially in China and India. The economy in China is expected to grow 10.5 percent in 2011, with the economy in India close behind at 9.4 percent. This new-found prosperity is creating a prosperous middle class that creates a burgeoning demand for air-passenger service.

A group that opposes closing of the school has established a website at The group blames some actions of the university for worsening the lack of enrollment. Barring a reversal of the decision of the board of trustees, the group’s efforts have failed.

Airlines in the middle-east are participating in the boom. Emirates Airline, the Middle-east’s largest airline, has ordered 200 planes. The airline is owned by the government of Dubai, of the United Arab Emirates. The airline has a world-wide presence with 2400 flights weekly to 111 cities and 62 countries. It is possible to fly non-stop from Dubai to San Francisco.

Due to the economic condition of U.S. airlines, their pilots do not receive compensation commensurate with the skill and experience required. Although U.S. pilots have taken severe pay cuts in recent years, the worldwide demand for pilots is beginning to increase competition for pilots. Emirates Airlines is offering a villa in come cases. In the light of these facts, it appears that the job prospects for U.S. pilots are very encouraging; especially if they are willing to relocate to a foreign country. Airline pilot is a very demanding job that requires the utmost in skill and dedication. The perfect example is Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, who crash-landed the airliner in the frigid Hudson River without loss of life.


Sophia Tareen/”U of Illinois Votes to End Aviation Program”/Bloomberg Businessweek

Save the Institute of Aviation Website

Chan Sue Ling/”Pilots Needed for Cockpits as Asia Boom Creates Shortage”/Bloomberg

Pilots Make Good Leaders: Notre Dame Study

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Individuals that have trained to fly private aircraft intrinsically possess thrill-seeking characteristics that lends to them being more effective CEOs than non-pilots, according to a new study conducted by professors from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Oregon. This study explores the link between the risk taking characteristics of pilots and how this affects major business decisions such as financing deals, mergers and acquisitions and debt accumulation. The general belief posits that individuals that are willing to take great risks in their personal lives will transfer these same qualities into their business decision process.

These high flying, thrill-seekers are considered to be much more aggressive than their non-flying counterparts when it comes to running a corporation. As a result of these traits, these CEOs are believed to add more value to their firms. Activities such as utilizing more leverage as it relates to capital structure and being more likely to execute acquisitions, demonstrates these individuals are more willing to take risks that may lead to higher financial rewards. This information was gathered, in the same study, by comparing the business decisions of 179 CEOs with pilot licenses to 2,900 CEOs without a pilot license.

Researchers focused on CEOs that enjoyed flying small aircraft by looking up records in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) airmen certification database. Their research was influenced by the Sensation Seeking Scale, initially put together by a psychologist during the 1970s that has since been used in many other psychology studies. The intent of the study was to measure the different kinds of behaviors displayed by sensation seekers, including risk-taking activities and cognitive innovation.

The study revealed CEOs that scored high on the Sensation Seeking Scale are inclined to run a business more successfully than CEOs that were rated as non-sensation seeking individuals. The researchers are of the opinion that these risk taking CEOs have a level of creativity and discipline within their characteristics that leads them to deals that increase the growth prospects of their corporations.

It is also believed that pilots also make great leaders within the corporate arena. Pilots that have flown in battle and have gone on to run major corporations, were noted for being among the best leaders and business decision makers within their particular industries. Pilots that have had to face countless life-threatening decisions with a sense of calm and reason have proven themselves to be invaluable assets in the daily operations of heading multi-billion dollar firms.

Source: University of Notre Dame
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