16-Year-Old Solos in St. Charles

Bradley Rea after his Solo; Photo credit: Mike Weidhaas

In early January of this year a 16-year-old broke the surly bonds and headed up for three trips around the pattern – by himself. Bradley Rea soloed a Cessna 152 at St. Charles County Airport (KSET) two days after his 16th birthday. The Federal Aviation Administration allows students to solo an aircraft after their 16th birthday, however the feat is rarely accomplished. Today, the average age of someone obtaining a pilot’s license is firmly ensconced by those in their mid-30s. Rea is a junior at Hazelwood Central High School and the grandson of CFI and Aviation entrepreneur Herman Rea who has be a part of St. Louis aviation for over 30 years.

Congratulations, Brad!

Rea with his student pilot license endorsed for solo.

Adios, Paper Medical!

AOPA Online has a story that focuses on the FAA announcement of the end of the paper medical. That’s the “PAPER” medical, not all medicals.

“As of Oct. 1, 2012, aviation medical examiners will no longer accept paper applications. Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton announced the coming change to AMEs in the latest medical bulletin, calling on flight physicians to “significantly increase” use of the MedXPress system.

The electronic medical certificate application system, introduced by the FAA in 2007, is relatively easy to use, and offers several benefits to computer-savvy pilots. Errors that once resulted from poor penmanship or transcription—errors that frequently resulted in delayed issuance of a medical certificate should no longer happen. The electronic system should also make application processing more efficient, with less time spent by AME and FAA staff. This, in turn, will allow the FAA staff to focus their efforts on the more complex medical certification cases that require additional time for review.”

You can catch up on the entire story here.

Touchscreens from now on

Touchscreens for everything; ccimage courtesy of bark on flickr

J. Mac McClellan spends an interesting blog post on whether touchscreens are here to stay. The verdict? You betcha.

“The issue of transitioning from dedicated knobs and buttons to touchscreen menus is actually being resolved by our everyday lives. Most of us are spending so much time using touchscreen devices that it has, or quickly will be, the norm. When I call Exec Air and ask them to fuel the airplane I use a touchscreen. I typically use my smart phone to enter the flight plan into flightplan.com. I use a touchscreen in the car when I drive to the airport. So it’s just natural that in the airplane touchscreens will be there.”

Read the entire article here.

Club Mixer Tomorrow!

We’ll meet tomorrow morning (Jan 28th) at 10am at the T-6 hangar for our latest club mixer.

Please ensure you’ve done the following preflight planning:

1. Plan the route of your flight to Mt. Vernon (KMVN). Here is one suggestion to consider.

2. Review runway lengths, and NOTAMs for KMVN.

3. Check the weather for a planned departure at approximately 1645 Zulu.

4. Weight and Balance will be completed when we have the aircraft
assignments at the hangar. If you’d like to preview our new w&b tools
you can find them here.

5. And that FAA catch-all from Part 91.103 – please review “all
available information”

We are planning to eat at the restaurant at Mt. Vernon.

Things to do with your pilot certificate

I know I just recently linked to these guys, but Air Facts Journal has another great post up. They have the 11 things you need to do with your pilot certificate before you die.

“Everyone’s dream list will vary, but let me suggest 11 things that every pilot should do before they die. Call it a bucket list if you want, but I consider it a flight plan for a fulfilling life in the cockpit:”

I’m particularly fond of #6:

“Go on a flying family vacation. As this website declares, “There is nothing as rewarding and satisfying as using an airplane to go places.” That’s especially true when you can take your family with you, and show them that all the time and money you spend on flying can pay off. It probably won’t be a flawless trip the first time, but that’s part of the fun. Plan a relaxed schedule that allows you to enjoy the flying as much as the beach.”

Check the whole list out here.

Super Bowl XLVI TFR

F-16; ccimage courtesy of dvidshub on flickr

Unless you want to get up close and personal with the aircraft pictured above, make sure to note the TFR scheduled for the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. It’s a 30 nautical mile radius from the BRICKYARD VORTAC (VHP) 108 degree radial at 10 nautical miles. It is active from the surface to 17,999-ft-MSL from4:30 PM until 11:59 PM local Sunday, February 5, 2012.

Flight Planning at SkyVector.com

A Go or No-Go Decision

The Air Facts Journal has another interesting blog post asking pilots whether they would attempt a flight under a certain set of given information:

“The planned trip today is from the Clermont County Airport just outside Cincinnati, Ohio (home of Sporty’s Pilot Shop) to the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Maryland (home of AOPA). Your airplane for this solo flight is a 1999 Cessna 182. While it does not have a G1000 glass cockpit, it is well-equipped, with a GPS, multi-function display, autopilot and even a portable Garmin 696 with XM Weather. There is no deice equipment other than the heated pitot tube. Departure time is 1730Z. Now for the weather…..”

Read the whole blog post here and weigh in with your comments.

MACTS Last Day

With IFR conditions prevailing around the region, you could visit the Midwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show. The schedule for today is:

10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Risk Management/Risk Intervention Strategies, Steve Hofmann

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. Pilot Proficiency Wings Program, John Teipen FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) (June Tonsing)

12:20 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch – Free Pizza Lunch

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Learn to Fly – Adult & Youth Programs, Featuring: Craig O’mara Program Director. Guest: Dave Desmond, , Chief Test Pilot, Military Tactical Flight Operations for The Boeing Company

The event is being held at:
Maryland Heights Centre
2344 McKelvey Rd.
Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Pilots of all levels are welcome!

Warmer Days Ahead

I just picked up this METAR from Lambert (KSTL):
KSTL 210151Z 01006KT 2 1/2SM -FZRA BR OVC005 M02/M04 A2994 RMK AO2 FZRAE21B38FZDZB21E38 SLP152 P0000 T10221039

That’s freezing rain and IFR conditions. To cheer everyone up, there’s a nice read on the Let’s Go Flying blog about last year’s Oshkosh air show:
“What can I say about Oshkosh- the largest airshow in the world? (Although the sponsoring organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association, calls it AirVenture, everyone calls it Oshkosh.)

First, there were planes, planes and more planes. People come to see the planes, and there were thousands of planes. I heard that over 10,000 planes fly in and during the week it is the busiest airport in the world! Hundreds of RVs (the planes, not the camping vehicles,) hundreds of Cessnas, hundreds of everything, it seemed.”

You can read the whole article here.

Positive Exchange of Flight Controls

With a big seminar on safety scheduled for this weekend, it would be helpful to review a few safety steps for the cockpit. When flying with an instructor or on your check ride, one thing that every pilot needs to be aware of is called the “Positive Exchange of Flight Controls.”

From 111 FAA-S-8081-14A

“During flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between students and flight instructors of who has control of the aircraft. Prior to flight, a briefing should be conducted that includes the procedure for the exchange of flight controls. A positive three-step process in the exchange of flight controls between pilots is a proven procedure and one that is strongly recommended.

When the instructor wishes the student to take control of the aircraft, he or she will say, “You have the flight controls.” The student acknowledges immediately by saying, “I have the flight controls.” The flight instructor again says, “You have the flight controls.” When control is returned to the instructor, follow the same procedure. A visual check is recommended to verify that the exchange has occurred. There should never by any doubt as to who is flying the aircraft.”