The Most Dangerous Place in Aviation – The Icy Airport Ramp?

So, last winter I remember vividly the moment when I was laying in bed after a visit to my chiropractor thinking, “the most dangerous thing to me losing a medical might just be an icy airport ramp.”

Ok, so a little back story.

I had just finished a flight and was putting the plane away. I took lots of care doing this.

The ramp was icy, so I put the ice cleats on my shoes that I kept in my truck for exactly these conditions. I took my time hooking up the tug for the plane, and slowly pushed it back into the hangar. I didn’t want to fall on the ice or slide the plane into anything that would cause damage.

Successful, I close the hangar door, locked up, took the cleats off my shoes, and climbed to my truck. Off I went toward home.

But about two miles away, I noticed I had forgotten my coffee cup, hat, and gloves, in the plane. So I turned around and headed back.

I parked in front of the hangar and hopped out to just run in quick and grab what I had forgotten.

But when I did so my left foot hit the ice and slid out completely. 

I hit the ground hard on my left hip and back.

Laying there, I thought, “am I hurt?” or “is this just going to hurt?” Continue reading

Pilot Certificates are Not Participation Trophies

Every generation seems to think the next generation doesn’t work as hard, isn’t as talented, or doesn’t have the same motivation that their generation did when they were younger. I don’t think that has been any different in aviation training historically.

There are certainly things that younger pilots know and do better than generations before. There are probably skills and knowledge that older generations of pilots had or developed that new generations don’t, or don’t even need. But one thing that I can say is that from a metrics standpoint, it certainly seems that we are headed the wrong way in pilot skill and knowledge right now.

A statistic was recently shared with us
that indicates that in the past approximately
6-months, it appears first-time pass rates on
private pilot airplane single-engine land
practical tests are hovering somewhere
in the 50-60% range.

Take this to heart, please. It means that nearly half of our pilot applicants are failing their first attempts at a private pilot certificate.

This is bad. I don’t know how to say it any other way. Continue reading

Surprising data about training aircraft allocation and availability.

When you ask most people where they think most pilots train to become airline pilots, they will answer “at a college or university.” 

The data I have accumulated so far indicates that less than 20% of the aircraft we referenced were used in flight training in the collegiate environment. That means more than 80% of our flight training in the United States using this data is likely provided at local FBOs and flight schools, academy-style training operations, or large flight clubs.

The bulk of our training fleet that is used to provide training for pilots, professional ones included, is not likely in the collegiate environment.

What I ended up finding was a total of 6392 aircraft so far with only 1213 of those aircraft being in collegiate training programs. This leaves the bulk, over 80% of the fleet, in non-collegiate training operations.

(These numbers are as this was written – if the numbers in the spreadsheet below are now different it is because I am getting more information add adding/updating it as it comes in)

To no real surprise, it can also be seen that the bulk of the fleet is single-engine aircraft. With a much smaller percentage of the fleet being multi-engine aircraft (approximately 10%).

Our training fleet is likely smaller and less sourced from collegiate aviation programs than most would think based on this data. Continue reading