Year in Review

J. Mac McClellan gives his take of 2011: Recession, iPad and more….

“I don’t think it’s my fault, but 2011 has not been the most memorable year in aviation, but there was some good mixed in with the bad.”

Read the whole post here.

GA Safety Rate Improves

AOPA is reporting that:
“General aviation accidents and fatalities declined in 2010 for the fourth consecutive year, according to National Transportation Safety Board data released this month.

In total number, the 1,435 GA accidents marked a 20-year low, even as estimated total flight hours began to climb for the first time since the Great Recession began. There were 450 GA accident fatalities in 2010, down from 478 in 2009.:

Read the whole article here.

Hat Tip: AVweb

New Rest Rules for Pilots

Pilots who fly commercially are now subject to new rest rules. The View from 30,000 Feet blog covers some of the specifics, including:

“An increase from eight to ten hours for the minimum rest period between duty periods. The intent is for pilots to get eight hours of actual sleep between flights.

Anything you read on this subject is likely to say it’s the pilots fighting for these rules, and that the airlines are resisting change because it will raise their costs. Speaking only for myself, I was happy with the rules we had, and I’m concerned about the the new rules.”

You can find the whole blog here.

The Checklist

Flight Checklist for NASA Gemini program. CCimage courtesy of Erik Charlton on flickr

My instructors drilled the importance of checklists to me, it is a part of the way I fly. Here’s an interesting take from John Laming on the Air Facts blog:

“Was that checklist really necessary to safely operate a small single engine trainer – or was it part of an airline image policy? Watch a Boeing or Airbus crew carry out the before start drills. What may surprise you is that the challenge and response from the checklist covers only a few essentials – probably only ten percent of the total scanned items. Airline checklists are designed as a crew concept with a challenge and response of specific items after the actions have already taken place. A typical Boeing 737 before take off checklist consists of seven read-out items while the Boeing 767 has only four. In contrast, one sees in general aviation, lengthy parodies of airline checklists foisted upon bemused and bewildered student pilots who really do have the intelligence to learn items by heart if only allowed to do so.”

You can read the whole blog here.

FAA paves way for end of VORs

Many aviation publications are posting stories about the FAA’s goal to phase out VORs to a minimal network by 2020. The hope is that GPS will take over a the predominant form of navigation.

From AVweb:
“As part of its strategy to upgrade the National Airspace System, the FAA last week proposed to reduce the number of VOR facilities to a “minimal operational network” by 2020. The agency said the minimum network would enable aircraft anywhere in the continental U.S. to proceed safely to a destination with a GPS-independent approach within 100 nm. The FAA will convene a working group to consider which VORs will be shut down. “Each facility will be evaluated on its own merits,” the FAA said.”

From Aero-News:
“The FAA has posted a plan to shift away from VOR navigation to a system using RNAV and RNP in the Federal Register, and is asking for public comments. The proposed transition of the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) navigation infrastructure will enable performance-based navigation (PBN) as part of NextGen. The FAA plans to transition from defining airways, routes and procedures using VOR and other legacy NAVAIDs towards a NAS based on Area Navigation (RNAV) everywhere and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) where beneficial.”

Post-Christmas Flying Bash

Dear Club Members,

All members are invited to our Post-Christmas flying meet-up.

What: Post-Christmas Flying Bash – cross-country to lunch and back
with fellow club members. This will be “mixer-style” where folks will draw straws for aircraft.

When: Tuesday, December 27, 2011 10am meet-up.

Where: 1H0, Our Hangar T-6 (where we keep N1061X).

Who: Hopefully you.

Please RSVP to: Dave Chilenski so we can ensure aircraft availability.

No new Administrator for a year?

The online publication of Politico is making a tough prediction for the FAA. They presume the Administrator position will remain vacant until at least 2013.

“After being confirmed by the Senate, FAA administrators serve a five-year term. Republicans have their eyes firmly on the prize of taking back control of the Senate and White House, leaving them unlikely to sign off on a nominee from President Barack Obama. The GOP doesn’t want to let Obama choose an agency head who will serve the entire first term of who they hope will be a Republican president.”

It’s not quite clear what it means for us aviators, but we’ll keep you informed. Read the whole article here.

Blue Sky – Will Fly.

Here are some photos from a weekend cross-country trip down to Cape Girardeau (KCGI). Barges on the Mississippi: On the ramp at KCGI (free popcorn and coffee for pilots!): The meandering Mississippi as we head back home: Lindbergh Blvd and I-55 in South County: You can trace our route here.