Proficiency is a key aspect of aviation safety for all pilots. We all realize that flying once every two years doesn’t maintain proficiency or skills, but many pilots who don’t fly regularly for work or other reasons may need a little tap on the back to study and fly enough to keep their skills alive. The same is true for instructors and you may be surprised to know how many licensed instructors may not be proficient at teaching.
When flight training pioneer Al Ulestchi, who founded Flight Safety International, died last month at the age of 95, it occurred to me that his legacy can be summed up with one concept: You can train pilots to fly real airplanes in the real world by using a flight simulator.
Just about any other week, the sinking of the HMS Bounty and the drowning of one of its crewmembers would be the top news story in the country. This hasn’t been any ordinary week, however, as superstorm Sandy caused unthinkable devastation across much of the Northeast and shut down dozens of airports.
Reports of damage resulting from the superstorm known as Sandy are just beginning to be heard. I was at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday morning, and as we spoke about the state of the industry, including all of the good work that NBAA and sister organization GAMA are doing to help promote this activity we all so love and that is so crucial to the business of this country and the world, I couldn’t help but think back a decade ago to Katrina, when the might of the storm took us all by surprise.
This week, Robert Goyer reported on the new certification standards that are currently in the making at the FAA. Our industry is in dire need of this change. We need it to improve our safety record and to attract more people into the wonderful world of flying.
When the EAA Board of Directors announced yesterday that Rod Hightower was resigning from the organization because of problems relocating his family all the way from St. Louis to Oshkosh, after two years at the helm at EAA, no one really believed that explanation, if indeed it were intended to be believable. The point was, the organization was moving on.
I'd planned on telling you today all the reasons why I felt Hawker Beechcraft’s planned sale to Superior Aviation Beijing was very likely on the verge of unraveling. I’ll still do that, but the story took on a new dimension when a press release from Hawker Beechcraft arrived in my e-mail inbox at 8:05 this morning proclaiming the deal was dead.
As we made our way east home from AOPA Summit at FL410, smoking along at 475 knots over the ground — it’s fast for a CJ — one airline pilot after the other on freq kept asking Albuquerque Center the same question: “Are they jumping today?”
“Yes, they are,” was all the word we got most of the time, though one controller added that the ascent was under way.
At AOPA Summit there was a great deal of enthusiasm in the air for ... well, for flying. Whenever you get a lot of pilots together to talk about flying you don’t really need much buildup or much hype. The recipe is simple: Take a bunch of aviators, add a nice pleasant Southern California atmosphere with gorgeous weather, good food and, voila, instant good times. As usual, AOPA has done a masterful job of creating the right tone at the show.
I attended a forum last weekend at the Museum of Flying adjacent to Santa Monica Airport in which the Friends of Santa Monica Airport (FOSMO) presented questions to potential Santa Monica City Council members. I was shocked at the lack of factual information with which some of the potential council members are basing their decisions and even more shocked at the unwillingness of some to listen to the facts.