FAA 20 Year Forecast Notes Effects on Regional Airlines and ATP Certification – Training Capacity Not A Factor Included

Releasing its 20 Year Aerospace Forecast, the FAA has again highlighted important considerations for the aerospace industry. Noting growth in the U.S. domestic passenger carriage sector over the next 20 years, the FAA credited positive economic indicators and lower overall oil costs that airlines experience. Coupled with this is an expected continued growth in regional jets, which we all know will continue to need pilots to keep them flying. While many factors were noted and considered in the report, a couple directly relate to the training industry.

The full report highlights the fact that mainline airlines are credited with greater numbers of enplanements (they fly aircraft that carry more people) they also typically have a higher “revenue per mile” than the “regional” airlines. To some degree this has been corollary with the efforts of regional airlines to fly aircraft with greater seat loads while at the same time the FAA notes that “the regionals have less leverage with the mainline carriers than they have had in the past as the mainline carriers have negotiated contacts that are more favorable for their operational and financial bottom lines.” It goes on to note that, “Furthermore, the regional airlines are facing some pilot shortages. Their labor costs are increasing as they raise wages to combat the pilot shortage while their capital costs have increased in the short term…” Continue reading

RTS with an April Fools Day Annual – Charlie Flies into 2019….

RTS – Returned to Service Charlie.

Well, winter is long in Michigan, and there is no rush to get an annual done when you drop the plane off to your mechanic at the end of January and it is just going to snow another month. So…we finally got it all done with an April 1 sign off for this flying season. The weather, my free time, and a relenting from the cold I have been fighting finally cooperated and let me go bring Charlie home for this season’s flying efforts.

Nothing too major was wrong, a couple of new cylinder studs, a new set of spark plugs all around just for good measure, a fuel selector seal replacement, a modification to remove one more reoccurring AD to name a few minor tweaks to go with a GLASS panel (kind of) upgrade. You can see it down in the bottom left of the panel.

A new Dynon D3 digital attitude and heading indicator serves as a replacement for the formerly inoperative heading indicator that I had and I also chose to remove the gyro attitude indicator. Both of these were venturi driven instruments and not completely reliable, so, for this VFR only airplane the Dynon box offers a digital option that would also have a backup battery option in the event of an electrical failure. Continue reading

Wings Credit for an FAA Practical Test? Request it from your DPE/CFI!

The FAA Wings program through the FAA Safety Team (www.FAASafety.gov) is a national effort to “improve the Nation’s aviation accident rate by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education; while establishing partnerships and encouraging the continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community.”

For many pilots, interaction with the FAA Wings program or its activities comes through local seminars, online content, or their flight instructor giving them Wings credit on a flight review. But there is much more!

One specific example of a way to get FAA Wings credit is when an applicant completes an FAA practical test with an examiner. Most practical tests such as a private pilot certificate, commercial certificate, instrument rating, or initial CFI certificate count for big blocks of Wings credit, and all you have to do is request credit of the DPE who conducted the test.

As a DPE, I am trying to do a better job of giving credit, but I also note that few of my applicants are registered for the program.

If you aren’t, you can find much more information about the FAA Wings Program at www.FAASafety.gov, where you can also register for an account that will be associated with your FAA airman’s record to get Wings credit. Once you have done this, you can collect your credit.

Oh, one more thing, if you get or give credit, you are eligible for yearly sweepstakes drawings. This past year’s winners can be found by visiting https://www.faasafety.gov/SPANS/noticeView.aspx?nid=8286.

Ok, so that’s it. It’s free. It promotes safety. And if you have completed a practical test you are eligible for credit. Just ask your DPE (me if I am the one that gave you a test) and we will validate your request.

Want a quick way to find a couple of the specific links? Here are a few common ones for you to use:

Request Private Pilot Practical Test FAA Wings Credit

Request Instrument Rating Practical Test FAA Wings Credit

Request Commercial Pilot Practical Test FAA Wings Credit

Request CFI Initial Practical Test FAA Wings Credit


Three Logbook Tips to Save You Heartache

There are lots of tips I could give you about doing better logging of your flight time, but there are three that could save you a big chunk of heartache if things go wrong.

All three of these relate to “what happens if a logbook gets lost, destroyed, damaged,” or otherwise is no longer available to document your flight and training experience.

“It won’t happen to me,” I know you are thinking. Sure, you are just that lucky or careful. But I have seen it happen to others who thought the same thing.

With that in mind, here are the three quick tips.

Back it Up – Multiple Ways

Make copies. Somehow. Actually, I recommend digital copies such as scans or even doing something as simple as taking pictures and saving them to your “cloud” storage of choice. And back it up where it lives in the cloud.

I personally use an app on my phone/tablet that allows me to “scan” via the camera on the device to a pdf file format. Compiling this over time I have developed a running file that is a full backup of my logbook in scanned digital format. A quick search on the app store for your devices will probably generate search results that will offer a few options for this that cost less than $5-10, a cheap price to protect your data.

No matter what you choose, pictures, pdf scans, or old school scanner files, backing this up to a computer is a good idea, but not enough. Hard drives fail also.

I like to back up my files to an online service. There are many options such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and OnDrive that offer a limited amount of storage for free that is more than enough for backing up your logbook. This ensures that the file would live through a computer failure. I know it sounds a little paranoid, but multiple levels of saving this data can ensure that copies of your logbook will live through hardware failures, software failures, house fires, and more.

Don’t forget to backup not just the pages with flight hours, but endorsements also. Missing things like tailwheel, complex, or high performance endorsements can also be a problem if they are lost. without an ability to document them it may require a pilot to re-do them.

Continue reading