FAA hiring: Fly the diversity-friendly skies

William Hamilton


Satire: Just as your aircraft reaches, say, 30,000 feet on your airline flight, say, from Denver to Chicago, the Captain says, “Hello. This is your Captain speaking. Welcome aboard Olympic Mountain General Airlines. Okay, I know some of you call us: OMG! But, seriously, passengers who studied urban sociology in college may be pleased to know the air traffic controllers who will be controlling our flight today from the En Route Air Traffic Control Centers had absolutely no previous training in air traffic control before they joined the FAA’s training program. [Read more…]

Go green in 2015 – fly

They came in droves. From all corners of the globe they flowed into rural Wisconsin filling every hotel room for 100 miles. Houses were rented, tents were pitched, and brats found their way onto the grill. AirVenture was the event. Aviation was the draw. Solid connections between people was the end result.

It was spectacular, simply spectacular, on every level.

Of course when humans gather in large numbers, transit comes into play. Thousands upon thousands of people piled into cars, climbed onto motorcycles, and slid into cockpits for a trip of a dozen miles, or a hundred, or a thousand. That has an impact on our ecology, as well as the economy. [Read more…]

Can I use #1 diesel in my airplane?

I have received numerous questions from farm and ranch pilots about using #1 diesel fuel in aircraft with diesel cycle piston engines. The reasoning behind these questions concerns the availability and price of Jet A in rural agricultural areas. #1 diesel is cheaper and more readily available. [Read more…]

We’re all in this together

Yes, I know that headline is a tad cliche, but it’s true. We need each other… more than ever.

In order to survive we need pilots, aircraft, fuel and airports. To thrive, we must add pilots, produce state-of-the-art aircraft, have a steady supply of fuel, and a healthy network of airports of all sizes. [Read more…]

Frugal pilots join the club

1963 Beechcraft Model 23 by FlugKerl2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1963BeechcraftModel23.jpg#/media/File:1963BeechcraftModel23.jpg

One of my original 10 Tips for Frugal Pilots two years ago was “Learn from smarter pilots.”

No matter what you fly or where, there’s someone nearby who knows more about aviation than you do.

Unsolicited advice can be annoying, but finding smart pilots who can teach without lecturing is an opportunity to improve your skills — and lower your flying costs — without having to depend on just your experiences and your pocketbook. [Read more…]

Growing GA is as simple as 1, 2, 3

AOPA Flying Club

The first flying club I ever came across was in Winter Haven, Florida. I was a newly minted flight instructor back then and moved to town for my first flying job.

The club was based on a taildragger, a Champ as I recall, although time may have affected my memory on that point. It might have been a Cub. No matter. There was a club. It was successful.

Eventually that club disbanded. I’m sure there were multiple reasons, certainly one of those reasons that many of the members had purchased aircraft of their own. [Read more…]

Check your bias at the hangar door


There is sometimes a vast disparity between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Generally, we’re kind to ourselves. We understand our inner angst, pat ourselves on the back for being so compassionate, and bear the scars of our emotional baggage with considerable grace. Then again, we may be perceived as bitter, wimpy, and consistently afraid of commitment.

A fascinating example of this tendency can be found in Bernard Goldberg’s 2001 expose “Bias.”

The subtitle of the book says a lot. “A CBS insider exposes how the media distort the news.” That’s powerful stuff. It’s incendiary. [Read more…]

In search of the $700 airplane

Image 3 : Funk Model  B


The Funk Model B certified in 1939 was the last of the Ford powered production aircraft to be produced and the most popular.

Source: Dennis Parks

Obtaining an engine for a lightplane was the greatest challenge facing amateur builders in the 1930s.

The prices for light airplane engines were prohibitive for most builders. The powerplant of the average small plane amounted to 60% of the cost of the complete plane.

That led builders to look to other sources of power. Auto engines, being cheap and plentiful compared to certified aircraft engines, proved tempting — so tempting, in fact, that in the 1930s there were 200 aircraft registered using Ford engines. [Read more…]