Early Pilot Career Advice – Don’t Create Barriers to Mobility

So, what’s the best advice I can give a pilot who is in the early stages of their career?

Well, it is kind of simple. Be mobile. Your first professional flying job is just that. The first one. There will be more. Make it so you can accept offers for career-advancing positions by not placing barriers in the way.

I only half-jokingly tell many young pilots who are just beginning their careers to not get married, not to have kids, to not buy a house, and don’t even get a dog in their first 5 years of their aviation career.

I am not disparaging doing any of these things in their lives, just making a point that these are all things that can potentially stop a pilot from being as mobile. They are potential barriers from saying, “Yes”, when a company offers a pilot a job hundreds of miles from where they currently call “home”. Continue reading

FAA Publishes Final Rule on Aviation Training Devices; Pilot Certification, Training, and Pilot Schools; and Other Provisions

The FAA has released final rules that offer changes to training and pilot certification requirements that will offer new flexibility in flight training and certification provision.

The biggest change that will affect most flight training providers is the matching of recently changed Airman Certification Standards (ACS) that removed requirements for demonstration of use of a complex aircraft on single engine commercial and CFI practical tests with the regulatory requirements for training. The new rule offers an alternative to meet the previously required 10-hours of complex aircraft training to be met by “any combination of turbine-powered, complex, OR technically advanced aircraft” (TAA). A TAA aircraft is defined as an aircraft that has “an electric Primary Flight Display (PFD) that includes at a minimum, an airspeed indicator, turn coordinator, attitude indicator, heading indicator, altimeter, and vertical speed indicator and an electronic Multifunction Display (MFD) that includes at a minimum, a moving map using Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation with the aircraft position displayed, and a two-axis autopilot integrated with the navigation and heading guidance system.”

The gist here is that most modern aircraft with two-glass panel displays and autopilots will now be acceptable to meet the training requirements for single-engine commercial and CFI pilot training and no longer require time to be spent in an aircraft with a retractable gear. Continue reading

Sod Runway Season – Tips for using sod runways

‘‘Tis the season for landing on sod (grass) runways in much more of the country than it was just a few months ago. With the spring and summer weather comes a desire for many pilots to land on runways they don’t get to land on as often, or perhaps, only for a few months out of the year. Here are a few tips that are always good to remember when landing on sod runways.

Do Your Performance Calculations

It will take more runway length to take off on grass than it does on a hard surface runway. How much? Well, it depends.

Some aircraft provide performance calculation data or charts for takeoffs from other than hard surface runways, but not all. In the cases of those that do, there may be notes indicating that the data provided may only be for a dry grass runway. Even when data is provided, it is worth remembering that it was provided based on the experiences and performance skills of a test pilot in a perfectly performing aircraft. Enough said.

Personally, I usually add at least 50% more to any takeoff roll or obstacle clearance calculations when I am going to be operating from a good, dry, level, well-maintained sod runway. If it is anything worse, like wet grass, long grass, or a soggy field, I add more.

Take the time to carefully consider how much more runway you are going to need when operating from a sod runway. Continue reading