Archive for November, 2012

Avionics Technician Careers: Who’s Hiring?

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
avionics technicianBy 

If you’re considering a career as an avionics technician, but you don’t know where you might work, we’ve got a rundown of places who hire technicians that should help you not only find a job, but direct the skills and knowledge you acquire during your training.

In our new article “Avionics Technician Careers: Who’s Hiring?“, we run down the major employers of avionics graduates, such as airlines and large charter operators. The following is just a sample of the article, be sure to click through to read the whole thing:

One group that is often overlooked when it comes to avionics technician careers is aircraft manufacturers and avionics manufacturers. While avionics manufacturers are likely to want someone with electronics engineering credentials given their more experimental nature, aircraft manufacturers employ a healthy population of technicians. From installation during the manufacturing process to testing new packages for future aircraft models, the aircraft manufacturers need the specialized skills of trained avionics technicians in order to keep up with advances in technology.

As long as technologies continue to develop, the demand for qualified avionics workers will increase. So whether you’re seeking a career at a local aircraft maintenance shop, with an airline, or with a manufacturer, avionics technician training is the key to a rewarding and potentially lucrative career…read more >>

Click here to locate avionics technician training near you.

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Become An Avionics Technician – Three Reasons Repairing Avionics Makes a Great Career

Avionics Technician Training – Three Perks Of Learning To Repair Advanced Avionics

Avionics Technicians – Three Perks Of The Job

Crystal Frisby | Upper Limit Aviation | Instrument Check Ride

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I am a veteran on the post 9/11 GI Bill at Upper Limit Aviation and just finished my instrument check ride.  Soon, I will begin my turbine transition in a Bell 206 B3 and fly that aircraft for the duration of my commercial training.

My check ride was on November 9th and due to an incoming cold front, winds were out of south at about 20 knots, gusting 30.  By the time I completed my oral exam and preflight, the sun was setting.  I logged two hours, 1.2 of that being night.  The first approach I flew was the ILS for RWY 3 at Ogden.  I then went missed to the Ogden VOR and held on the 281 radial.  Based upon my heading relative to the VOR, I flew a teardrop entry into the hold.  Upon crossing the VOR, I started my time and flew a heading of 251.  While flying 251, I wished my timer was backlit!  I tried using the map light, but it wasn’t much help.  Luckily, my examiner was very nice and helped me out!  He had a flashlight app on his cell phone. Lesson learned: have equipment that will serve you both during the day and night.  After one minute, I turned right to my inbound course of 101.  Due to the winds aloft, I flew perpendicular to the needle for nearly 20 seconds before it started walking in.  Upon crossing the VOR, I turned right into my outbound leg and held a 20 degree wind correction angle.  Quite a crash course in wind correction.  That was the first time I had flown instrument in winds so strong.

We then vacated the hold and tracked outbound on the 331 radial to fly the north arc for the VOR/DME RWY 7 approach at Ogden.  When I was introduced to the “turn 10 twist 10” method, I struggled with it for several flights.  However, I have grown to love it.  It is quite beautiful and accurate.  I flew the arc at 6000 feet instead of the published 8000 feet to avoid turbulence.  An AIRMET Tango had been issued that night.  I also flew the arc and approach partial panel: no attitude indicator.  I paid particular attention to my turn coordinator and airspeed indicator during my scan.  After completing the arc, I turned to my approach course of 101.  The VOR approach for runway 7 is non-precision so I did not have a glide slope during my descent.  Due to how bumpy it was, I spent a little more time on the VSI during my scan than I normally do.  Instead of going missed, I circled to land on RWY 16 for fuel.  Runway 7 is not lit.  After fuel and a much needed break, we took off and my examiner vectored me to the 031 approach course for the RNAV Z RWY 3 approach.  I flew it, went missed over I-15 South and flew VFR back to Salt Lake International.  On the way home, my examiner told me I passed!

instrument check ride complete - crystal frisby

A very happy instrument pilot!

Wall Street Journal: Airlines Facing Pilot Shortage

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
United Boeing 777 - are the airlines facing a pilot shortage?

Photo © copyright Brandon Farris


In an article published November 12th, The Wall Street Journal cited multiple conditions that appear to be leading to a very real pilot shortage in the next few years.

“U.S. airlines are facing what threatens to be their most serious pilot shortage since the 1960s, with higher experience requirements for new hires about to take hold just as the industry braces for a wave of retirements.”

Upcoming forced retirements, a slowdown in new pilot training, and a new 1500-hour requirement for airline operators look like the combination for the “perfect storm,” creating a lack of pilots.

“This is going to come to a crisis,” said Bob Reding, recently retired executive vice president of operations at AMR Corp.’s American Airlines and now a consultant to FlightSafety International Inc., an aviation training provider.

Added Kit Darby, a consultant on pilot-hiring trends: “We are about four years from a solution, but we are only about six months away from a problem.

Estimates differ on the problem’s magnitude. Airlines for America, a trade group of the largest carriers that collectively employ 50,800 pilots now, cites a study by the University of North Dakota’s aviation department that indicates major airlines will need to hire 60,000 pilots by 2025 to replace departures and cover expansion.

Mr. Darby’s firm calculates that all U.S. airlines, including cargo, charter and regional carriers, together employ nearly 96,000 pilots, and will need to find more than 65,000 over the next eight years.”

Read the full Wall Street Journal article here

If you’re interested in becoming a pilot, check out our pilot training resources.

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Aero L-39 Albatros type rating – What is needed?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Combat Jet Flight - L-39 Albatros

By Philipp Schaer

The Aero L-39C Albatros is a very popular military aircraft. Manufactured by Aero Vodochody in Czech Republic, this high performance jet was the standard military jet trainer in the East block except Poland, which used the strange looking TS-11 Iskra.

The L-39 Albatros comes with a two cockpit configuration, also for the light ground attack variant L-39ZA with a payload of 1290kg.

The light attack version L-39ZA has been spotted in the Syrian Civil War in 2012 when fighting against rebels over Aleppo. Rebels claim they shot down a number of L-39s. The L-39 was also used by Abkhasian separatists to shoot down Georgian drones in 2008 and for ground attack missions by the Azeri Air Force in the Nagorno Karabakh War.

In total, more than 2800 L-39s have been produced, and the L-39 is still in active service with countless air forces. The Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros is very well-known in the former East block countries, less in the west outside the aviation community. But many have seen the aircraft in movies like James Bond “Tomorrow never dies” and “Lord of War” or with Display teams like the Breitling Jet Team, Patriots Jet Team or the Black Diamond Jet Team, formerly known under the very manly name “Heavy Metal Jet Team”.

L-39The Albatros is a popular private Warbird

After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Eastern block, Air Forces had to fight with rapidly shrinking budgets. It was a very turbulent period with a lack of state control. This led to uncontrolled sales of weapons and other military hardware to new owners, with popular weapon traders like Wiktor But and Karlheinz Schreiber. Among them were countless L-39 sales from Air Forces to Civilians. A successful seller of East Block L-39s was Mr. Peier, a Swiss citizen: “There was a time they sold everything. Especially attractive was doing business in the Ukraine. Give them a freight car full of potatoes and you can choose your L-39 and fly away with it.”

Today there are more than 250 civilian registered L-39s in the US alone. The Reno Air Race even has a category only for the L-39. Apart from the large numbers produced, it is mainly the very nice and sporty shape that makes this military aircraft so popular among display teams and civilian owners. Also, due to the fact that so many L-39s are on the market, prices start as low as US$ 150,000. If you are looking for an Albatros in good condition you will probably have to pay much more. We strongly suggest a meticulous pre-buy inspection and professional help from somebody who knows the L-39. A good choice here is the “Godfather of L-39”, the German Bernd Rehn from Aerocontact.

Also, consider all the operational cost carefully. One of the reasons L-39 prices are currently so low is that many owners realize that the cost to operate the L-39 is high. Many L-39s change ownership often, with the former owner telling the interested buyer how easy and cheap this aircraft is to operate. If you fly a lot to practice and maintain it well, it is not that cheap.

This is one of the main reasons why many L-39s are held in shared and fractional ownership arrangements. Another increasingly popular way to own is financing the L-39 by offering rides to the public. A company specialized in bringing “Mavericks for a Day” and L-39 operators together is The advantage with giving rides is that pilot-owners get to fly more often, they can share this unique experience with a very happy and grateful customer and they do not have to share their military trainer with co-owners. only cooperates with professional Air Force and Navy pilots, hobby pilots with a lack of experience are not chosen to take passengers for a ride. So this second model is not for everyone.

Fighter Pilot for a DayThe L-39 Type rating – differences in the US and Europe

What is needed to get a type rating? Not much actually, at least not in Europe. While the FAA asks for 1000 flight hours, with 500 hours as Pilot-in-Command, European countries like the Czech Republic are not as strict. It is possible to have the L-39 type rating with 10-12 hours, that’s not much. Total cost are around €15,000  in Czech Republic ($19,000 US), including theoretical lessons, all exams etc. The training is with an Aero Vodochody factory test pilot. They are certainly among the best L-39 pilots worldwide, with thousands of flight hours on the L-39 only.

There might be cheaper “cookie-cutter” options available also. But we strongly recommend choosing a professional instructor and practicing a lot when operating an L-39. Also, refresher courses and emergency training should be done regularly.

Recent crashes suggest that the L-39 is a more dangerous aircraft than many think after having the training. As long as everything is fine the L-39 is good-natured, but the dangers are often underestimated. Recent incidents show that hobby pilots with a lack of training can lose their head in an emergency situation. And then the L-39 suddenly is a dangerous aircraft.
About the Author  – Philipp Schaer is managing partner at MiGFlug & Adventure GmbH, the parent company of The Switzerland-based company is specialized in fighter jet rides, zero gravity flights and well-positioned for the upcoming suborbital space flights. The company also offers the last possibility to fly supersonic worldwide, with the MiG-29 in Russia.

Top Three Tips To Finish Your Flight Training In Minimum Time

Monday, November 5th, 2012

cessna flight - click to find flight training schoolsBy Ruth Morlas, CFI

Why do some people take three months to get their pilot certificate while others take three years?  The biggest reason for this inconsistency is just that…inconsistency.  Many student pilots get interrupted during their flight training due to finances, family matters, weather, etc.  Others prefer to go at a slow pace and accept the fact that this will cost them extra time and money.

However, if you want to get your training done and over with so you can start enjoying the freedom of flight as a licensed pilot, you should have the money ready and the time available to invest in an intensive yet rewarding flight training experience.

Here are the top 3 tips you can follow to finish your flight training in minimum time!

  1. Schedule yourself for flight lessons 4-5 times per week

    By doing this, you will end up actually flying at least three times a week which is optimum.  This gives you room for cancellations due to weather, mechanical problems, and calling in sick.  Anything less than three times per week causes you to go more than two days between lessons and this means you WILL forget some of what you learned during your last lesson.I know committing 4-5 times per week of possible flight lessons is a lot, but it’s totally worth it when you become a pilot in minimum time.  It saves you time, money, and a lot of frustration.  Of course, this also means you have to keep up with the ground school and studying.  It’s a lot to take on, but if you don’t want to dilly dally, it’s a must.
  2. Chair fly the night before a flight lesson

    After each lesson, your instructor should tell you what to expect for next time.  Sometime before your next lesson, preferably the night before, sit down and “chair fly” the maneuvers.  This is a trick that the professionals use well into their careers.  I work with airline, military, and test pilots, and they all still do this!
  3. Take notes during your debrief

    During your debrief, make sure to take notes so you don’t forget what to correct for next time.  If your instructor doesn’t sit down with you after each flight to debrief you, get another instructor.Try focusing on one or two things that you would like to see different during the next flight.  Chair fly with these things in mind and you’ll see amazing results in your progress.

Hope this helps and happy flying!

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Author Bio: Ruth Morlas is flight test engineer/pilot and a part time CFI.  She loves to help people achieve their dream of flying.  Follow her on twitter @PilotTricks or check out her blog