Archive for August, 2012

Guidance Helicopter Training Flight Turns Into Rescue

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Reprinted with permission from Guidance Helicopters

Crashed Huey helicopter in the Arizona desertIt was another beautiful day in Prescott, Arizona Tuesday, November 15 2011 as Guidance Aviation Helicopter Instructor Pilot Trent Jefferson, CFII, and Guidance Aviation Helicopter Flight Student Tom Armstrong preflighted their Robinson R44 for a flight from the Prescott Municipal Airport to the Grand Canyon (GCN) Airport. But, nothing is ever routine in aviation and Wednesday was no exception as the Guidance Aviation Helicopter Pilots would discover.

Armstrong is a US Navy Veteran and certificated private pilot, helicopters, enrolled in the Yavapai College-Guidance Aviation Professional Helicopter Pilot Degree Program, working on his instrument rating. The flight plan included a cross country flight from the Prescott Municipal airport (PRC) to the GCN. After a full stop at GCN, it was off to Valle Airport (40G).

Upon providing their position report to Valle traffic, Valle personnel at the airport radioed back to the Guidance crew that there was that a helicopter down near their position. Within 15 minutes, the Guidance crew located the the crash site.

Circling the helicopter on the ground, Guidance Instructor Pilot Trent Jefferson reported that the helicopter appeared to be a slightly on its side and could see the pilot in the cockpit, waving his hands. The Guidance crew reported the Lat/Long position to authorities and within 15 minutes Angel Four and the Sheriff’s department were on the seen.

The pilot of the downed helicopter, Jeff Boatman, a seasoned pilot with over 28,000 hours of pilot in command time in helicopters, was leaving the Valle Airport airspace when his Huey experienced catastrophic transmission failure. With a broken pelvis and numerous broken vertebrae, Boatman was able to cut himself free of the wreckage and make a call to 911 on his cell phone.  911 operators then contacted Valle Airport and asked them to radio any aircraft in the area.

photo of helicopter pilotsMost emergency personnel will tell you they only see the front end of an unfortunate incident.  Rarely do the EMS and Search and Rescue professionals get to see the result of their work and have the opportunity to meet the people they have assisted.  On Saturday, August 25, 2012 during the Grand Canyon Valle Airport Thunder Over the Coconino VIII, Trent Jefferson, CFII at Guidance Aviation of Prescott, Arizona met up with Jeff Boatman, professional pilot.

“I couldn’t ask for a better way to start my career,” says Jefferson.  “To not only help someone in need  but then have the privilege to meet them later is inspiring.  I am glad to see Mr. Boatman doing well.”

Click here to learn more about Guidance Helicopter Pilot Training Programs

Looking for flight training? Head to the mall.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Is mall-based flight training the way of the future?

What place would come to mind when you think about flight training? If you’re like most of us, you’d think of an airport. In the future, if Continental Motors’ new concept is any indication, you may be picturing the local mall instead.

Continental Motors, one of the big aircraft piston engine manufacturers, has recently launched a new flight school called Zulu Flight Training. While it may sound like just another school, it features an interesting twist–it’s located in an upscale shopping center. Shoppers in Spanish Fort, Alabama can drop by the Pottery Barn, pick up some new home decor, and then stop in for an hour of flight training in one of several Redbird flight simulators.

The bulk of the training takes place in the simulators, which are all located right there in the shopping center, and later students will transition to actual aircraft located at the local airport. Continental developed the concept in-house and tested with their employees before rolling it out to the general public. According to Gloria Liu, General Manager, as reported by AvWeb, “Our training model is an adaptation of the Redbird Skyport, but rather than the customer going to the training, we bring the training to the customer.”

Zulu is currently offering training for a Private Pilot Certificate at a flat $8,500. The course follows a standard syllabus and is designed to keep lessons convenient and maximize retention of skills. The hope is to reduce the amount of time students require in the actual aircraft, which could really help in congested urban areas, like Los Angeles or New York, and eventually places like China or India.

Like the Redbird Skyport, Zulu Flight Training seems like an interesting concept. While it may be intended as more of a test bed for international markets, it could very likely be a badly-needed source of new pilots here in the US. In either case the concept represents a breath of fresh air in an industry that can be slow to react to change.

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

Source: Zulu Brings Flight Sim Off-Airport
This article was written by Matthew Everett, a private pilot, aviation writer, and frequent contributor to You can follow him on twitter @leaving_tf or read more on his flight training blog.

Spartan College of Aeronautics & Technology Gets 727 From FedEx

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

FedEx-donated 727 on the ramp at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology


FedEx Express donates Boeing 727-200 to Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. The Boeing 727 will provide a continued training resource for aviation maintenance, avionics maintenance, nondestructive testing and quality control students.

Special thanks to FedEx Express for donation of Boeing 727-200. Spartan’s students are excited about this new training tool!

Click the links below to get more information about Spartan’s aviation programs.

Spartan’s FAA approved Aviation Maintenance Technology program

Spartan’s Avionics Technician Program

Tweeting and Terminations: It Can Happen To Pilots!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Cage Consulting logo

By Angie Marshall

I recently discovered Facebook. I know what youre thinking, Where have you been? I will have to admit, it is a lot of fun to see what all of my friends are doing. By the same token, Im still not a huge follower of any of the social networking sites due to privacy concerns. Needless to say, I have been very guarded with my photos and personal/family information with regards to the social networking scene. Just as I started to loosen up and thought about posting some family trivia to my Facebook page, I received a call from a seasoned airline Captain that stopped me immediately in my tracks.

For simplicity sake we will call this person John. John stated that he had recently been fired from a long term flying job because of a situation in his background that he had been so careful not to disclose to any of his co-workers and especially his employer.

Four years ago John was arrested and convicted of a crime. He did exactly what the court required, completed his probation, paid his fines and then retained a lawyer to have his records expunged. Because of the expungement proceedings, John felt that he could keep the embarrassing matter to himself and not have to discuss it with anyone, ever again.

Last month, as John was preparing for one of his trips, he received a call from his Chief Pilot. John was asked to stop by the office before checking in for his shift. John was greeted by the Chief Pilot, the Director of Operations, and the Director of Human Resources. After sitting down, John was handed a piece of paper that had been printed from the internet.

John was devastated to realize that his arrest and conviction had been discovered by a coworker and had been passed along to the Chief Pilot. What is even more amazing was how this co-worker had been able to find out this information.

Apparently John’s arrest took place in a small town where EVERYTHING gets written about in the local paper. An acquaintance of Johns, saw the small town article and asked another friend about it on Facebook/Twitter. Before long, several people on Facebook/Twitter were talking about the incident and one of the Friends of a Friend happened to be a co-worker of Johns. As a result, the co-worker did some Googling on John and found the article regarding the original arrest. The co-worker then passed the information on to the Chief Pilot. Unfortunately, John was terminated on the spot.

Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet are all wonderful tools that allow us to learn, work, research and communicate with the rest of the world. The problem is that most everything is recorded on the internet. Whether it is pictures of our new baby, a snowstorm in the Northeast, a School Teacher winning an award in the South, or a local resident getting arrested in a small town. Once the information is captured by the Internet, it is permanent; there is no getting rid of it. Never assume that just because your paper records have been expunged or sealed or because you have not spoken to anyone about the matter, that a situation will go unrecognized.

The good news is that John was able to find another flying position. With a lot of hard work, he was able to present himself and his past situation in a manner that allowed his current employer the opportunity to see that while John had made a big mistake he was well worth the effort for training and employing.

While this story is not meant to have you feeling like youre under a microscope, it is meant to make you think. With the anticipated hiring expected in the aviation community for this fall, there are some areas where pilots need to be cautious. Remember that potential employers are Internet savvy. Use discretion in what pictures you post and what you say on your social networking pages. Do a Google/Facebook/Twitter search on yourself and see what others might find. If you have difficult areas in your background, be prepared to discuss them openly, take responsibility, and have your documents in order. And remember, being a pilot doesnt mean you have to be perfect, it just means that you have to prepare accordingly, present your background appropriately and accept responsibility for your actions.

Angie Marshall
Cage Consulting, Inc.

The Process of Becoming a Forestry Fire Pilot

Monday, August 20th, 2012


Click to find helicopter training near you

This post was brought to you by Hannah Edwards, a writer for Hillsboro Aviation

Becoming a forestry fire pilot is an extensive and dedicated process.  Before beginning flight school, you must first meet the criteria for your specific state. Most states require those learning to become pilots to be at least 18 years of age and have earned a GED. If you meet these basic requirements, it is recommended you contact a helicopter flight school about their programs and become enrolled in one specific to forestry training. Training to become a helicopter pilot can be rigorous and physically demanding, so you will need to be in excellent physical shape. You will also need to pass aptitude and physical tests before continuing to your certifications.

Being a forestry pilot requires a commercial pilot’s certification and learning advanced skills, regulations, and techniques to prepare you for a fire fighting career. Within this program, you must first earn student and private pilot’s certifications before moving on to the commercial course. To participate in the commercial course, you must speak and read English easily and have your private license. To pass commercial certification, you will have to meet the minimum requirements of flight time and training specified by the FAA (150 hours of flight time) as well as pass oral, written and flight tests given by the FFA.  It is also helpful to understand safety procedures and regulations, as well as be capable of performing necessary maintenance on helicopters. After certifications and training, helicopter pilots are required to fly over numerous types of terrain while aiding in vegetation management, flame suppression, and fire prevention.

Those seriously considering becoming forestry fire pilots will need to keep calm under pressure as they will be the eyes of the firefighters on the ground below and be responsible for the environment and people relying on them. Once hired, you may undergo more on the job training but different states can require different certifications and flight time hours, so it is suggested to do as much as you can while certifying, so that you are more hirable.

Click here to find helicopter training that can help you launch a career in forest fire fighting

Fastest Way to Become an A&P Aircraft Mechanic

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Small aircraft engineAre you interested in becoming an aircraft mechanic? Are you good with your hands and enjoy aviation? If you answered yes, you might make a great aircraft mechanic. The aviation industry offers exciting careers with lots of room for promotion. This is one of the reasons many people flock to these careers. Aircraft maintenance is a necessary industry that keeps aircraft safe for everyone. Oftentimes when we think about aviation, pilots come to mind. Pilots get some of the glory but behind every good pilot is a maintenance crew servicing and maintaining the aircraft.

Lancair aircraftBecoming an aircraft mechanic is not something that can be done overnight. This career is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA. The FAA requires that each student needs 1900 hours total of hands-on and classroom training to be able to take the airframe and powerplant (A&P license) tests. This rule ensures mechanics meet a minimum standard while attending school. Each school that teaches aviation maintenance falls under FAR part 147, which is why these schools are referred to as “part 147 schools”.

How Long Does It Take To Become An A&P?

Attending a part 147 aviation maintenance school is the fastest way to get the A&P license, which is the certification mechanics need to legally maintain aircraft in the United States. Generally, this 1900 hours of training takes about 2 years depending on the school. The Federal Aviation Administration does allow other means of meeting the experience requirements however. For an example, an aircraft mechanic who has 30 months of well-documented experience (perhaps from the military or other means) may meet the 30-month requirement. The FAA can interview an aircraft mechanic who meets this requirement and grant them the approval to take the airframe and powerplant tests. The 30 months rule is for both certificates, the airframe and the powerplant, if only one certificate is going to be obtained, the requirement is 18 months for a single license.

The Airframe And Powerplant Tests

The benefit of attending a certified aircraft mechanic school is that the student will be better prepared for the A&P tests. These schools are designed to teach exactly what is required for the tests. The A&P tests are not easy to pass. The A&P tests are actually three tests in three sections. The general, airframe, and powerplant. Each one of these tests has a written (computer based multiple choice), oral and practical test. During the oral part of the test, the designated mechanic examiner (DME) will ask various questions on each subject. The practical portion of the tests are where the student is given tasks and they must be accomplished correctly, such as timing a magneto. During the practical portion of the testing, maintenance manuals and all reference materials are available for review.

Rewarding Career

Being an aircraft mechanic is both challenging and rewarding. This industry is always in need of skilled technicians to keep aircraft airworthy. Aircraft mechanics take great pride in what they do. It is because of this dedication that air travel is as safe as it is today. Learn more about becoming an aircraft mechanic today!

Author Bio

John Janiszewski started his career as a turbine engine mechanic for the US Army which he also transitioned to a Chinook Mechanic. He also attended a part 147 Maintenance School at Ben Davis Aerospace Technical in Detroit Michigan. He has been working on aircraft for over 12 years and has held his A&P Certificates for approximately nine years. He currently works on a Part 135 EMS helicopter located in Saginaw Michigan. Read more from John Janiszewski at, the aircraft mechanic blog.