Strategic approach (goals, vision, flow) towards flight currency

I’ve found success (with large and comprehensive projects) by entraining closely towards specific goals, with a clear vision (and realistic calendar schedule), of what success will look like.  Because there is a known working plan for aviation projects, which are fundamentally designed to achieve expected results, a logical flow can be followed.  This logical flow assists in keeping me focused on current project and avoiding distractions.

Within the Goals Section, you see a list of projects sorted in order of priority.  Prioritized in the sense of various dependencies that arise in aviation.  For example, it makes sense to get the medical out of the way before starting flight training again, towards the BFR (Biennial Flight Review).  It would suck to put a bunch of money into flight training, and then do the medical right before solo, and then find there is an issue.  As the cockpit is the worst classroom (noisy and all-encompassing) it’s suggested to get the written work (theory) completed before in-cockpit flight training.  While there may be an ultimate start date delay, possibly due to finances, there are still projects to work on (for free)  – ground school review.

This page will be used to cross-reference blog-posts and other pages for project action support.  Another purpose of the Goals Section is to record the completion date of various project deliverables.

In general, the strategy is to follow an end-to-end flow, where some line-items may be worked in parallel.

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Revision to NWS Aviation Weather Services Guide

When I started my aviation training in 1993, I remember several transitions had recently happened.  Airspace was now about letters (eg Class C vs TRSA).  Weather was about METARS/TAF.  The National Weather Service (NWS) was the go-to for various guides and tools.

NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) have a useful newsletter – called “The Front” – that comes out every so often, with interesting updates.

Within the October 2020 issue, is an article regarding a major update to their Pilot’s Guide to Aviation Weather Services.  Over the years, there have been many technological advances, and numerous sources that we can retrieve weather information from.

I’ll be using this revised guide to structure various pages/posts in my blog for my own weather refresher.  In the past, I used DUATS (Direct User Access Terminal) via modem dial-up and also visited the local FSS (Flight Service Station).  Things have expanded since then.

The guide has a general flow of pre-flight (days before a planned flight), to day-of, and during the actual flight.  There are various links to all the tools and references we can access.  Nowadays, tools like Foreflight are really popular.  Some of the information doesn’t apply to me (Traffic Flow, but it maybe interesting); Alaska and Hawaii; International Products.  Looks like there has been some enhancement to the NWS GFA (Graphical Forecast for Aviation) tools.

All good stuff, as pilots are weather junkies.

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Electric Aircraft – as of May, 2021

There is a lot of buzz about Electric-powered aircraft nowadays, which looks viable in near future.  The primary argument is about reducing/removing carbon (fossil fuels), as it relates to climate change (greenhouse gas).  The following are some topics in recent news:

Elle Lear

Was reading this article about Erin “Elle” Lear (heiress of Learjet – youngest of 12 grandchildren of William P. Lear), who now has an area of focus of raising the percentages of female pilots and supporting development of electric-powered aircraft.  Women make up about 7% of all certificated pilots.  When I was doing flight training in 1993-1995, I think the numbers were the same.  The article referenced Peggy Chabrian of Women in Aviation (WAI), who reports that there is a steady (but slow) increase in female ATPs since 1990.

Elle has also just founded the first female Aviation Academy (scheduled to start around 2024 and based at Van Nuys, CA), which she’s called Birde.  Appears to be collaboration with Bye e-flyer electric airplane.  I remember seeing something about Bye Aerospace in recent past.

The article mentions some key traits needed of pilots – think creatively; act under pressure; adopt a mentality fitting for a role of such great responsibility; communicate and work well as part of a team.  There was mention, after students completing pilot training, of opportunities to build time with Quantum Air and PAX (affiliated air taxi companies).

Greener Skies – PBS (May 2021)

In Judy Woodruff’s segment, the focus is on impending changes in the aviation industry, as a result of the realities of climate change.  We’re now heading to the 3rd revolution (electric), after the 1st (powered flight) and 2nd (jet engine).  The highlighted aircraft was Pipistrel Alpha Electro – which I’ve heard of before when in development.  When he stopped the aircraft during taxi (common, while waiting for takeoff), the propeller also stopped, which is similar to being in a hybrid car at the traffic light – the fuel shuts off, and is in that moment really obvious where this is going.  15% of carbon footprint comes from transportation.  Right now (pound for pound) liquid fuel contains 16 times more energy than the best batteries.  The issue is for the heavy jets – the batteries (for long flights) would be too heavy.

The segment also highlighted Joby Aviation (founded in 2009 by JoeBen Bevirt).  The aircraft is now with FAA for certification, and looks like a drone with the vertical props.  Focus here is on electric air-taxis – pilot and four passengers.  Flies 200mph with a range of 150 miles.  Bevirt’s vision is all about air taxis, which will therefore require another look at how to address more congestion in the air.  Looks like NASA Ames Research Center is investigating the logistics of how to communicate with and manage all these air taxis.  Goal is to bring down the costs of “taxi” service and possibly then replace the actual car.  Definitely seems like the free market is all over this, and things will start popping up in a couple years (or sooner).  I’m seeing an immediate focus on aviation flight training, and also addressing automobile congestion in places like SoCal.

 

 

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IMSAFE Checklist

The IMSAFE acronym is really important for all pilots to follow as a self-check before taking flight. In my opinion, this is the ultimate test of whether I’m behaving as Pilot in Command or not. I’m categorizing this as Checklists, Health – because it really is a self-check on all the human factors we may be experiencing, and confirm if we’re compatible with flight right now.

There are numerous checklists to attend to, that other people can witness, but only the IMSAFE checklist can be discerned by ourselves.

IMSAFE stands for:

I – Illness. Is there any form of current illness that may deter from PIC duties? There is a reg for this — (14 CFR 61.53). The key is to meet the relative requirements of your medical certificate.

M – Medication. There is a reg for this in the same place – (14 CFR 61.53). Also, AOPA has a medication database to review at www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Medical/Medications-Database

S – Stress. This is a large topic, and I’ll write more articles on this over time. I’m a Certified Hypnotherapist, so can specifically talk to this topic.

A – Alcohol. There is a phrase, “8 hours from bottle to throttle”. I don’t really drink, so for me it’s more like 24 hours from bottle to throttle. There’s a reg for this at – (14 CFR 91.17). The focus typically is on drinking alcohol, but this addresses any form of drugs.

F – Fatigue. In general, this means getting enough sleep/rest. As a Certified Hypnotherapist, I can also talk more on this. If the subconscious mind doesn’t get enough rest to process everything in there, who knows what havoc that can play on the conscious mind.

E – Emotion. This is also a large topic, but if you’re under some form of negative emotion that is negatively impacting your thinking, how is that going to play while being a PIC of an aircraft? This is also an area I’m specializing in, which are all the Human Factors to consider, as it relates to aviation — Pilots, A&P Mechanics, everyone.

In practice, this would be a part of each flight, and reviewed prior to flight. Ideally with a pen mark checking off each item, and a signature. It can be logged with any paperwork you have. You could even do a quick post-flight debrief to document how you felt, what stuff came up to review, etc.

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End-to-End Flight – Master

Purpose of End-to-End Flight – Master (Checklist)

Master Summary of all Checklists required for a successful flight from initial flight planning to securing the aircraft at the end.

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