Archive for July, 2010

Two DC Airports Open Pet ‘Pit Stop’ Areas

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Two Washington, DC area airports have opened pet relief areas giving animals a place to go to the bathroom before getting on an airplane. The two fenced-in indoor areas at Washington’s Dulles airport have fake fire hydrants, artificial turf, and plastic baggies so that owners can clean up after their pets. They also have a flushing system and ventilation to keep things sanitary. Radio station WTOP reports that there are outdoor areas at both Dulles and Washington Reagan International Airport.

Federal regulations require “service animal relief areas” for animals like guide dogs who accompany their owners of flights, but the areas are open to all pets traveling with their families.

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Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

FAA pdf on Airplane Upset Recovery Training (25 mb file)

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‘Get out of Dodge’ with CDR

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

A rarely used, but important tool available for General Aviation aircraft flying out of busy airports is CDR (Coded Departure Routes). Knowing that CDRs exist, knowing how to file a flight plan requesting them, and how to use a CDR if assigned, can save you minutes (sometimes hours) of sitting on the ground when there is bad weather along your route of flight.

 What are CDRs?

CDRs are preplanned routes of flights that can be issued to pilots when thunderstorms, turbulence, or traffic constraints preclude ATC from issuing the standard routing between the airport pairs. These preplanned routes have special 8-letter identifiers (such as MDWTEBC6 ) where the first three letters are the departure airport ID, and the next three letters are the arrival airport ID, and the last two letters are for specifying which specific CDR route is to be used between the two airports. Thus the origin of the name CDR (Coded Departure Routes).

By giving a controller the ability to assign a preplanned CDR, coordination between ATC facilities and the flight crew is simplified. This can save time and avoid possible mistakes. This is done simply by assigning an 8-character clearance versus a lengthy reroute with all the Airway, VOR and intersections.

For more information on CDRs click here

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Light Sport Aircraft

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Flymall.org is pleased to announce that we have joined forces with another aircraft dealer and we can now offer our customers new and used Light Sport Aircraft.  These include Tecnam, Piper, Cessna, Remos, and Czech Sport Aircraft.  You can deal directly with us and receive the Flymall personal touch throughout the purchase process.  We are looking forward to assisting you with your Light Sport Aircraft purchase.  Blue skies and tailwinds.

Can a flight instructor teach judgment?

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Click here for our featured aircraft this month

There is an old aviation saying: “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment”.  And another well known quote that is found in numerous FAA manuals goes like this: “A superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid those situations which require the use of superior skill”.  But how do we get that “Good or superior judgment”?  The FAA does not tell us flight instructors how to teach judgment.  However FAA manuals do define pilot judgment as the mental process by which the pilot recognizes, analyzes, and evaluates information regarding himself/herself, the aircraft, and the external environment.  And they go on to say that good pilot judgment can be developed as part of a flight-crew training program.  But the FAA does not mention anything on how to teach judgment, more so good judgment.  The FAA does say that the best way to learn good judgment is through flying.  

A quote from FAA-P- 8740, Pilot Prerogatives: “You don’t have to fly every day to be good – to be sharp – but you do have to fly and to practice often. Practice makes better pilots. What is needed, then, is to gain exposure to flying in small, digestible chunks, and to effectively evaluate this experience. This is how judgment is developed.”   As an instructor it is easier to fine tune a student’s flying skills than to teach them good judgment.

Words like sound, good, critical, poor, best, professional are often used to describe what kind of judgment a pilot has or should have.  The FAA explains (in very good detail) what can impair our judgment or what can have an adverse effect on our judgment.  Designated Pilot Examiners use judgment when conducting a check ride.  We as pilots are even taught that good judgment is so critical to flying safely.

So how do we teach good judgment?  When examining this question in the various FAA manuals we find that the FAA does give some clues on teaching good judgment.  Judgment goes hand-in-hand with decision making and experience is also used when discussing judgment.  So perhaps the key the teaching judgment (good judgment) is to give your students the necessary tools and skills so that they demonstrate “good” decision making skills, and through their good decision making skills they will gain experience at their own comfort level. 

Pilots can relate to real life stories or experiences from other pilots.  There is nothing better than to learn from others mistakes.  So when teaching judgment I find that it is best to give real life examples or scenarios.  Share with your students your experiences.  A good discussion to assist in teaching judgment is a talk about early fuel stops and weather delays.  Years ago I was told a story about an airline captain on a flight from the west coast to New York.  As the flight neared the Ohio area the talk on the frequency was about a line of storms and that there would be a delay of about an hour getting into New York.  ATC was giving holding instructions to pilots and most said that they had enough fuel to hold for over an hour so hold they would.  This particular captain had “be there, done that” and he decided to land short of New York and take on fuel.  After landing and refueling he arrived up at altitude only to hear on the frequency that the other flights that decided to hold were getting low on fuel and had to land ASAP for fuel.  Our captain displayed good judgment, he evaluated the weather and the amount of traffic on the frequency and with all of that information he knew it was best to land early and get fuel.  As it turns out his flight was one of the first into KJFK (the delay ended up being more than 2 hours). Perhaps his good judgment was because of his experience.  So back to our question of teaching judgment, we can give our students tools to assist them in their decision making process and thus they will be gaining experience.  And it is their experience that will give them good judgment.  We as flight instructors may not teach judgment directly however we teach decision making and it is through decision making and experience that pilots learn judgment (good judgment).

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Today in Aviation History
May 25, 1927: Lt. James A. Doolittle files the first outside loop in a Curtiss P-1-B pursuit plane at McCook Field. Starting at an altitude of 8000 ft Doolittle pointed the nose of the a/c down and describes a circle of 2000 ft diameter, leveling out at his original altitude. At the bottom of the circle, flying inverted, it is estimated that his a/c was traveling at 280 mph. The outside loop had not been previously attempted because of fear that the a/c would disintegrate. [Note: French pilot Pegoud is purported to have performed outside loops prior to this date.]