Rank #1: RFT 003: Airline Training
We discuss airline training and tips for training success.
Ready For Takeoff - Aviation and Commercial Airline Podcast - Your source for thoughts from the flight deck and beyond for Airplane Geeks looking for aviation careers.
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Dec 29 2015
Rank #2: RFT 194: F-16/Airline Pilot Scott "Hurler" Weaver
Scott Weaver hails from a long line of pilots, starting with his grandfather, Leo Purington, who had a 4-digit pilot certificate number. Scott was immersed in aviation from a young age, but had initially aspired to a career as a professional baseball player.
Finally, the flying bug bit him, and he entered the Air Force and attended Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). Following UPT, he stayed in Air Training Command as a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (FAIP), instructing student pilots. Then it was time for him to get his fighter assignment, and he selected the F-16. Scott continued to fly the F-16 for the rest of his career, including his time in the DC Air Guard. He retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After leaving active duty, Scott hired on with a major airline, and currently flies B777's on international routes.
Scott also wrote a book that chronicles the history of Thunderbird Field and his family's role in that history.
As part of his research, he met Jerry Yellin, the pilot who flew the last combat mission of World War II, who trained at Thunderbird Field.
Jun 11 2018
Rank #3: RFT 72.5 Ace Your Interview!
Your resume and employment application will determine if you are invited for an airline interview, but it is your performance at that interview that will get you hired! This episode of the Ready For Takeoff podcast will give you insights into what you can do now to be prepared for that interview.
Mar 24 2017
Rank #4: RFT 039: B-52 Pilot/Airline Pilot Nick Hinch
Nick Hinch started his Aviation career as an Air Force navigator on the B-52, flying over Hanoi during Operation Linebacker II. He then went to pilot training and rose to B-52 Squadron Commander and Wing Assistant Director Of Operations. Following a 20-year Air Force career, he became an airline pilot with United Airlines, then went overseas to fly B777s for Air India.
Aug 01 2016
Rank #5: RFT 149: How To Fly A 3-Degree Final
Every time you fly a visual or instrument approach you will be flying a nominal-3 degree flight path. This podcast covers several techniques to fly a 3-degree final approach, whether you have glide slope guidance, such as an ILS, or simply referring to visual cues.Since the glideslope on most ILS installations and the desired visual glide path is 3 degrees, we will look at ways to easily fly a 3-degree glide path.
A 3-degree glide path is equal to an altitude loss of 300 feet per mile. Considering that a nominal threshold crossing height (TCH) is 50 feet, the proper glide path would be an altitude of 350 feet above ground level (AGL) at a distance of one mile from the runway, 650 feet AGL at 2 miles, and 1000 feet AGL at 3 miles (I'm a pilot, so I try to simplify things!). If you know your distance from the runway and the elevation of the airport, it's fairly easy to keep yourself on the right path. You can determine your distance from the runway using GPS, VOR/DME or visual references.
The vertical speed (VSI) (in feet per minute - FPM) to arrive at a 3-degree flight path is one-half your groundspeed in knots times 10. For example, if your groundspeed is 100 knots, your VSI for a 3-degree flight path would be 500 FPM. It's important to note that this is GROUNDSPEED, not airspeed.
You can determine your groundspeed from your GPS (if you have one) or by calculating your true airspeed (TAS) and subtracting your headwind. To calculate your TAS, you can estimate it by increasing your indicated (or calibrated) airspeed by 2 percent for every 1000 feet of altitude. So if your IAS is 100 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS) and you are at 5000 feet MSL, your TAS would be 110 KIAS. You can estimate your headwind by taking the headwind component at the runway and increasing it by about 20 percent. In this example for a 100 KIAS approach flown at 5000 feet MSL with a 20 knot headwind, you have a groundspeed of 90 knots, and would descent at 450 FPM.
If you do not have an ILS receiver and are approaching a runway served by an ILS, you can fly toward the runway in level flight, configured and at final approach airspeed, until reaching the outer marker (OM), then simply lower the nose 3 degrees.
Jan 02 2018
Rank #6: RFT 342: F-105 Pilot/POW/Authors Smitty and Louise Harris
Smitty Harris was born in 1929 in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on January 2, 1951, and made Sgt before entering the Aviation Cadet Program on August 10, 1952. Harris was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings in September 1953, and then completed advanced flight training in the T-33 Shooting Star and F-84 Thunderjet. His first operational assignment was as an F-86F Sabre pilot with the 45th Day Fighter Squadron at Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, followed by service as an instructor pilot at Greenville AFB and then with the 3306th Pilot Training Group at Bainbridge AFB, Georgia, from January 1956 to August 1960. Capt Harris then served as Chief of the Promotions and Flying Status Branch at Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas, from August 1960 to November 1962. His next assignment was flying F-100 Super Sabres and then F-105 Thunderchiefs with the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron at McConnell AFB, Kansas, from November 1962 to November 1964. Capt Harris transferred to the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Kadena AB, Okinawa, in December 1964, and began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in March 1965. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam while flying his 6th combat mission on April 4, 1965, and was immediately captured and taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,871 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973. Col Harris was briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, and then he remained at Maxwell to attend the Air War College there from August 1973 to August 1974. He remained on the faculty as Chief of Curriculum Planning until his retirement from the Air Force on July 31, 1979. After retiring from the Air Force, Smitty completed law school and joined the Mississippi Bar in December 1981. He and his wife Louise have three children. Smitty Harris was the 3rd Air Force pilot shot down and taken as a Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
For the Period March 1968: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the above period while a Prisoner of War in North VIetnam. Ignoring international agreements on treatment of prisoners of war, the enemy resorted to mental and physical cruelties to obtain information, confessions, and propaganda materials. This individual resisted their demands by calling upon his deepest inner strengths in a manner which reflected his devotion to duty and great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Nov 11 2019
Rank #7: RFT 075: F-15/Airline Pilot Jeff Fellmeth
Jeff Fellmeth, formerly known as "First Officer Jeff" on the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, is now "Captain Jeff" at a legacy airline.
When Jeff was 14, his Boy Scout trip to summer camp had an overnight stop at the Air Force Academy, and that's when he decided he wanted to become an Air Force officer. He was initially turned down by the Academy, but was accepted to the Academy Prep School.
In Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT), he initially got airsick, until his first spin in a T-37. After that, he was hooked, and determined to become a fighter pilot. Following UPT, he flew OV-10 aircraft as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) in Germany, working practice airstrikes all over the country for three years.
After the OV-10, Jeff got his F-15 assignment. The F-15 is a hands-on-throtle-and-stick (HOTAS) airplane, and the only time the pilot takes his hands off the stick and throttles is to turn on the master arm switch and operate the landing gear. During his Air Force career, Jeff flew all models of the F-15, the F-15A/B/C and F-15E.
Following a full military career, Jeff was hired by a legacy airline, where he now flies.
Apr 10 2017
Rank #8: RFT 196: Honeywell Aerospace Lead Program Pilot Pamela Mannon
Pam Mannon was transfixed by aviation ever since she was a child. When she told her parents she wanted to be a pilot, they were not too happy. In fact, since they were both college professors, they wanted Pam to avail herself of the free tuition at their school rather than attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). Pam created a win-win solution by attending their school until attaining all the credits that could be transferred to ERAU, then completed her education at ERAU. She later earned a dual Master's Degree from ERAU in Aerospace Operations and Human Factors.
Once she graduated with all the ratings, she worked at numerous aviation jobs, from managing an FBO front desk to flying as copilot in various jets. She eventually became a flight Instructor at FlightSafety International, and subsequently became a pilot and instructor for Continental Express.
For the past 15 years Pam has been a pilot for Honeywell Aerospace, and as the Lead Program Pilot she travels internationally to conduct training, and also flies operational missions.
Jun 18 2018
Rank #9: RFT 298: B-2/Airline Pilot Keith Reeves
Keith Reeves wanted to be a pilot ever since he was a child, living on base at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and hearing the local F-4s and SR-71s taking off.
When the family relocated to Selfridge Air Force Base he got the chance to get close to airplanes. A friend on base took him up for a flight in a General Aviation plane, and he was hooked.
He attended the United States Air Force Academy, and flew with the Academy aero club. Before Undergraduate Pilot Training, he served as an engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, then he attended pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base. Kevin qualified for the T-38 track, then flew B-52's for 5 1/2 years, rising to the position of Instructor Pilot.
While flying B-52s, he bought a Citabria, and kept it for 10 years.
He applied to the B-2 program, and was accepted on his third attempt. He remained on the B-2 for the remainder of his flying career, stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base. In addition to the B-2, Keith was dual-qualified in the T-38.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he flew a 37-hour flight.
Keith now flies as a B737 first officer for a major legacy airline.
Jun 10 2019
Rank #10: RFT 079: SR-71 Pilot Brian Shul
In 1973, Brian Shul was an Air Force T-28 pilot advising the Thai Air Force when his airplane was shot down over Cambodia. He suffered catastrophic burns and spent over a year in the hospital, with numerous experts telling him he would never fly again. He was determined to prove them wrong.
Two days after being released from the hospital, Brian was back flying Air Force fighter jet aircraft. He went on to fly the A-7D, and was then selected to be a part of the first operational A-10 squadron at Myrtle Beach, SC, where he was on the first A-10 air show demonstration team. After a tour as an A-10 Instructor Pilot at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, he went on to instruct at the Air Force’s Fighter Lead-In School as the Chief of Air-to-Ground Academics. As a final assignment in his career, Shul volunteered for and was selected to fly the SR-71. This assignment required an astronaut type physical just to qualify, and Shul passed with no waivers.
He started taking photographs of the SR-71, and since retiring has published two books of SR-71 photos and information, and then turned his attention to photographing birds and nature.
His "speed check" story is the most-repeated story in all of aviation.
Apr 24 2017
Rank #11: RFT 076: International Charter Pilot Dave Fisch
Dave Fisch learned to fly as a teenager, soloed in 5 1/2 hours, and earned all of his certificates up to CFI in his first year. He worked his way through college as a CFI, then joined the Air Force Reserves at Travis Air Force Base and was sent to Air force Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT). Following UPT, he was assigned to fly the C-141 worldwide.
In between Air Force missions, Dave worked several desk jobs and kept applying to the airlines. Finally, he struck pay dirt at American Airlines in 1976. He initially started as a B-727 Flight Engineer, and was the number 13 pilot from the bottom of the seniority list for two years. At the 10-year point, he finally made Captain. He retired at age-60 as a B-777 Captain, and then went to India to fly B-777s for Jet Airways. After several years, Jet Airways terminated all the expat pilots.
Dave now flies a Global Express aircraft for a boutique charter company. Virtually all of his missions are long-haul international flights, some exceeding 12 hours. Most of his trips start with an airline flight to anywhere in the world to meet up with the airplane, then he will have a 1-2 day layover prior to starting his mission. His schedule is 20 days on and 20 days off.
Apr 12 2017
Rank #12: RFT 187: Easy ILS
In Episode 149 we discussed how to fly a 3-degree visual approach. In this episode we talk about how to fly a manual ILS approach, i.e., an approach flown without a flight director.
If you are planning to fly to an airport with an operable ILS, a little flight planning goes a long way. You can check weather forecasts for your destination and determine the probable runway that will be in use when you arrive, along with the forecast temperature and wind. You need this information to plan your approach.
To start, calculate the true airspeed of your aircraft at the anticipated landing weight when you arrive at your destination. Depending on your aircraft, this can vary considerably depending on weight. Now, consult your performance charts to determine your approach speed in indicated airspeed (IAS).
Use your IAS to calculate the true airspeed (TAS) for your approach. If you are operating into a sea level airport on a standard day, IAS an TAS are close to each other, but if you are flying your approach to a high-altitude airport there can be a considerable difference between IAS and TAS. The proper way to do this is to use your E6B computer, as explained in RFT 148. The fall-back method is to increase your IAS by 2 percent for each 1000 feet of altitude to determine TAS. For example, if you are flying 90 knots IAS at 5000 feet pressure altitude, your IAS would be 99 knots (90 knots plus 10 percent of 90).
You need this TAS to use the wind side of your E6B, as explained in RFT Episode 146. Perform a wind-side calculation to determine your groundspeed and wind correction angle for the approach.
Now, to stay on a nominal 3-degree ILS glide slope, descend at 1/2 your groundspeed times 10. If your groundspeed is 99 knots, descend at 500 feet per minute. When you intercept the localizer, apply the wind correction angle to the final approach course to get an initial approach heading.
ASSIGN yourself headings and descent rates, and you will find that it's relatively easy to fly an ILS with the needles centered, even without a flight director!
When you get to minimums and see the runway, don't change a thing!
May 17 2018
Rank #13: RFT 141: Lt. General John Fairfield
When John Fairfield visited an Air Force recruiter, he became convinced he should be a navigator to gain additional aviation education before becoming a pilot. He attended navigator training and served as a B-52 Navigator, eventually becoming a check airman and a Navigator-Bombadier. Due to his exceptional performance and attitude, he was selected to attend Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training as the only Navigator released from Strategic Air Command for this school.
He performed extremely well in pilot training, and had his choice of assignments. He elected to remain in Air Training Command as an Instructor Pilot, to gain additional flight experience. At Williams Air Force Base he became the base expert in T-37 spin recovery training, administering this training to students and instructors alike. After gaining additional flying experience, John volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam.
Following F-4 Replacement Training Unit training, he arrived at the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Ubon Royal Thai Air Base, just as Operation Linebacker commenced. He quickly became a flight commander and flight leader on missions over Hanoi, at the time the most heavily-defended area in the world. He led combat flights during both Linebacker I and Linebacker II.
After Ubon, John was assigned to the Pentagon to manage the Air Force fuel program. A few months after assuming that position, the 1973 Fuel Crisis occurred, and it was his job to ensure that the Air Force could continue flying with drastically reduced fuel stores. Because of his performance in this position, he was promoted from Captain to Colonel in four years, considered an impossibility during peacetime!
John eventually got back into the cockpit in the B-52 and served numerous roles, including becoming a Wing Commander a few weeks after arriving on base when his wing failed an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) and the previous Wing Commander was fired. He instituted a corrective action program that resulted in his wing achieving the best bombing scores in the history of the Strategic Air Command during the ORI re-test.
Numerous other assignments, including another tour at the Pentagon, led to his selection as Lieutenant General (three-star). For most of these assignments, General Fairfield was not selected for these positions because of his in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of the tasks, but for his leadership and for his ability to inspire his men and women to achieve the goals of their mission.
General Fairfield retired from active duty in 1997.
Dec 04 2017
Rank #14: RFT 066: Triple Ace/Test Pilot Bud Anderson
During WW II Bud Anderson served two combat tours escorting heavy bomber over Europe in the P-51 Mustang, Nov 1943 through Jan 1945. He flew 116 combat mission (480 hrs) and destroyed 16 and 1/4 enemy aircraft in aerial combat and another one on the ground. He has an extensive flight testing background spanning a 25 year period. At Wright-Patterson AFB OH he was a fighter test pilot and later became Chief of Fighter Operations. He flew many models of the early jet fighters and was involved in two very unusual flight test programs. He made the first flights on a bizarre experimental program to couple jet fighters to the wingtips of a large bomber aircraft for range extension.
Later he also conducted the initial development flights on the F-84 Parasite fighter modified to be launched and retrieved from the very large B-36 bomber. At The Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB Col Anderson was assigned as the Chief Of Flight Test Operations and later Deputy Director of Flight Test. While there he flew the Century series fighters and all the other types of aircraft in the Air Force inventory. He has flown over 130 different types of aircraft and has logged over 7500 flying hours.
Other assignment in his 30 years of continuous military service include duty as: Commander of an F86 Squadron in post war Korea, Commander of an F-105 Wing on Okinawa, and two assignments to the Pentagon as an advanced R & D staff planner and as Director of Operational Requirements. Further, he served in Southeast Asia where he was Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Col Anderson flew bombing strikes against enemy supply lines and later was in charge of closing the first large air base when his combat wing was deactivated. Col Anderson was decorated 25 times. His awards include 2 Legion of Merits, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, 16 Air Medals, the French Legion of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre, as well as many campaign and service ribbons.
Feb 06 2017
Rank #15: RFT 158: Accident Investigator/F-111 Pilot Dave Scheiding
Colonel Dave Scheiding started his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force. After Undergraduate Pilot Training, Dave was asked to remain in Air Training Command as a T-37 Instructor Pilot (IP) at Laughlin Air Force Base. In addition to being the resident expert at spin recovery, he pulled service as the base Aerdrome Officer. In that capacity, on October 21st, 1967, he oversaw the post-crash activities when Thunderbird pilot Merrill McPeak crashed during a performance.
Following his IP assignment, Dave volunteered for Vietnam, flying the O-2A as a Forward Air Controller (FAC). He was based at several locations in Vietnam, and has chronicled his experiences in his memoir, The Long Return.
After Vietnam, Dave was selected to attend the University of Denver, where he received his Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. This education was instrumental in determining the cause of the terrible crash of the Operation Babylift flight, the evacuation of Vietnamese children during the collapse of South Vietnam.
On short notice, Dave traveled to South Vietnam to investigate the crash of the C-5. With virtually no security, Dave's team scoured the accident site and recovered whatever debris remained after locals had stripped the location. During an extended analysis of the C-5 aft cargo door after returning to the United States, Dave re-created the cause of the accident.
After that, Dave returned to the cockpit and flew the F-111 until his Air Force retirement.
In addition to his memoir, Dave authored a moving book about his beloved dog, Hank.
Feb 05 2018
Rank #16: RFT 239: Windshear Escape
We discussed what windshear is in Ready For Takeoff Podcast Episode 94. Now we'll discuss pilot procedures to escape windshear encounters.
Windshear predictive equipment is discussed in AC 20-182A.
A recent landing accident at Sochi, Russia highlights the importance of adhering to crew procedures during windshear encounters. As you can read here, the crew made several attempts at landing, and finally landed during windshear and departed the runway, resulting in a hull loss.
The important take-away from this report is that the crew did not adhere to proper windshear avoidance and escape procedures. When the predictive windshear system announces "monitor radar display", it is indicating that there is potential windshear somewhere in the flight path. When it announces "go-around, windshear ahead" it indicates that windshear conditions exist directly in front of the aircraft, and a normal go-around should be accomplished. When the voice announces, "windshear", the aircraft is currently in windshear conditions and the windshear escape maneuver must be accomplished. Depending on the aircraft, the windshear escape maneuver may be totlaly different from a normal go-around.
While a normal go-around usually continues to use the autothrottle system, during a windshear escape maneuver, the autothrottles are disconnected and maximum thrust is required. Additionally, unlike a normal go-around, the landing gear is not retracted (to avoid additional drag of gear doors opening) and the aircraft is climbed at a pitch attitude established by the manufacturer (15 degrees for Boeings). Depending on the effects of the windshear, the crew may be required to decrease the climb to honor the pitch limit indicator.
The key to dealing with windshear is AVOIDING it at all costs, since there may windshear conditions that exceed the performance of the aircraft.
Nov 16 2018
Rank #17: RFT 040: Pilot/Aviation Attorney Fred Tecce
Fred Tecce started flying when he was 21, and eventually earned all of his ratings. He had to take a brief hiatus while attending Law School full time, but quickly made up for the lost time by buying a Piper Arrow, which he owned until 1994, and then a Beech Duke, which he still owns. Fred specializes in Aviation Law and, more recently, Intellectual Property Law, and has frequently used his airplane for business. His public appearance career began with a local television show in Philadelphia, and grew into national appearances on all the major networks as an expert on legal and aviation issues.
Aug 08 2016
Rank #18: RFT 062: Airline Pilot Guy Captain Jeff
Jeff Nielsen, the host of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast, started his aviation career in the U.S. Air Force, flying C-141s worldwide, then instructing in the T-37. He then left the Air Force to pursue a career in airline operations, hiring on with the airline he calls "Acme Air".
His Airline Pilot Guy podcast, to show what happens "on our side of the cockpit door", is immensely popular, and just passed the 250-episode milestone.
Jan 09 2017
Rank #19: RFT 157: The Critique Element of CRM
The five original elements of Crew Resource Management (CRM) are:
- Conflict Resolution
- Decision Making
Most pilots have become proficient in the first four elements, but frequently the Critique element is ignored. A properly conducted Critique allows you to evaluate how the flight went and to learn from successes and failures of the flight's activities.
Basically, when conducting the Critique, you consider what went right and what went wrong, and what you would do differently if given the opportunity to conduct the flight again. It is comparable to the post-flight Debrief process conducted by military pilots.
Feb 01 2018
Rank #20: RFT 184: Christina Olds Tells The Robin Olds Story
Christina Olds is the daughter of Robin Olds, an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general. After her father's death, Christina spent years combing through her father's notes, diaries and unfinished memoir to complete a captivating, intimate memoir of the consummate fighter pilot.
The son of Army Air Forces Major General Robert Olds, educated at West Point, and the product of an upbringing in the early years of the U.S. Army Air Corps, Olds epitomized the youthful World War II fighter pilot. He remained in the service as it became the United States Air Force, despite often being at odds with its leadership, and was one of its pioneer jet pilots. Rising to the command of two fighter wings, Olds is regarded among aviation historians, and his peers, as the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, for both his air-fighting skills, and his reputation as a combat leader.
Olds was promoted to brigadier general after returning from Vietnam and became Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy.
Olds had a highly publicized career and life, including marriage to Hollywood actress Ella Raines. As a young man he was also recognized for his athletic prowess in both high school and college, being named an All-American as a lineman in college football. Olds expressed his philosophy regarding fighter pilots in the quote: "There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can't teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks."
May 07 2018