Friday, August 24, 2007

Online Aviation Calculator

Here's an online "E6B" that I heard about on Twitter. I can't vouch for the accuracy of its calculations, but it's a good idea.

Episode #44 Open Discussion Thread

Leave your feedback, etc., about UCAP#44 as comments to this posting.

Uncontrolled Airspace #44 "One!"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Oshkosh Tower Update

The EAA Hotline email includes this pic of the progress they've made on the new FAA tower at Wittman Field. It's moving right along!

New Podcast from (Student) Pilot Will

Got this announcement from Will Hawkins:

Hi all,

I thought I would take a moment to announce my new podcast. It is called "The Pilot's Flight PodLog- Aviation Podcast" and it is live and on iTunes now with episode 0. The format, thanks to Kent's great idea, will be me telling my tales of flying with friends and family. Kent thought it would be great if I had guests on to tell there stories. I thought it was a great idea so I am going with it. Thanks Kent.

For my first episode I will have Kent on, if we can find the time. Jason has said he would love to come on and tell a story. My buddy Rico and I are flying down to KVNY next week I think that will become an episode. Steve said he is in for an episode, but after that I will need guests. Anyone ells want to tell a tale?

Go take a listen and let me know what you think, it is on iTunes now Search for the title, "The Pilot's Flight PodLog- Aviation Podcast", or my name. Or you can go to the direct libsyn page at

Thanks in advance.


Airport backup pics

Here are a couple of interesting pics from UCAP listener Stephen Amiaga.

Click on image for larger view.

Thought you might like to see what 23 planes waiting to go at LGA looks like from 1500 ft.

Distribute as you see fit, no charge. “For the cause…” Please credit photo by Steve Amiaga.

“And you wonder why there are so many delays at LaGuardia...”
(The tower dialog is made-up, but there are 23 planes waiting…)


Stephen Amiaga

Here’s another one from another day on another active runway…

This time they’re taking off RWY 13. Landing 22.

The two jets upper middle are waiting for a plane to land then they “boot-scoot-boogie” across the active.
It’s really comical to watch.

You’d think it’d be cheaper to just tow them out there using tugs with the engines off until they’re like #10 or so…

If you count the Citation X at the GA Ramp (lower right) and the United 757 coming out of the terminal, (upper right) there’s 23 in line in this one too…

Stephen Amiaga

Factually Flawed NYT Article on Aviation

Here's a NYT article that was shown to me by Amy Laboda. It touches, among other things, on some of the "women aren't as interested in flying as men" thing.

Amy, and fellow UCAP gang-member, Dan Johnson, were instrumental in getting a couple of the factual errors in the piece "corrected".

Read it with a grain of salt, and tell your friends this kind of misinformation is not the case.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Progress on NextGen?

Finally, we're seeing some trickle of detail on how the Joint Program Development Office is progressing in its efforts to brainstorm the Next Generation ATC system...

And as AIN Alerts reported Tuesday, one piece of the puzzle will be a variation on an old, familiar area-nav system. Read the brief:

JPDO Study Endorses eLoran as Best Satnav Backup
A satellite navigation backup study commissioned by the JPDO has given eLoran “the highest overall preference rating...particularly in the U.S.” Not yet publicly released, the 180-page document was prepared by ITT’s advanced engineering and sciences division and assessed seven candidates against a series of essential requirements. The candidates include DME/DME/INS; GNSS/INS; eLoran; VOR; “hardened” GNSS; terrain mapping; and multilateration. Leading requirements were the ability to support RNP values of 2.0, 1.0 and 0.3, for en route, terminal and nonprecision approach respectively, plus technical readiness by 2015 to 2025 and complete independence from satnav. The ability of eLoran to continue beyond INS coasting limits following satnav loss was also noted. The report concluded, “eLoran scored significantly highest for the general aviation segment, and eLoran integration into GNSS/eLoran FMS systems for general aviation and certain air carrier segments appears to be a viable and capable solution.”

Boosts my confidence...slightly...that we'll get what we need in a timeframe that allows many of us to use the new ATC before we're medically relegated to flying only LSAs -- or Ultralights.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Listener Email: Brian Gold River CA

[ Here's the complete text of Brian's email, which we discussed in UCAP#043. In retrospect, I realize I may have oversimplified Brian's ideas. So please discuss them here, or in the comments of the blog post for the Episode #43 discussion. -- Jack ]

Thanks for producing such a good show! I wish you success as the
program moves forward.

In episode 39, there was a brief discussion of the high cost of
flying. Amy made the point that sometimes paying the extra cost of
using a big airport FBO can actually be the smarter choice. That's
true, but not always and not often true. This issue would be a good
one to devote some time discussing. Some questions to explore might be:

Is the cost of flying really more expensive now than in the past?
Adjusted for inflation, what is the cost today compared to 25 or 50
years ago?

Is it true that the average American has a higher percentage of
income that is disposable than was the case in the past? If so, it
may be the case that people are choosing to use this disposable
income for things other than flying.

Is the cost of flying really driving people away or are people
choosing other pursuits for other reasons?

What social factors are involved with whether people choose to fly as
opposed to spending their money elsewhere? I've heard one theory that
makes sense, but may cause some controversy. Fifty years ago, the man
was more often the sole breadwinner of the family. Social conditions
back then made it acceptable for men to make all the important
decisions of the family, and the wife would dutifully go along with
those decisions. In that environment, it was possible for the man to
decide to spend part of the family budget on flying. Today, women are
contributing to the family income–sometimes a larger portion of the
income than the man. Today's more liberated woman rightly has a say
in how the family budget is allocated. In this environment it is less
likely that the man will have the necessary income to fly. Since
traditionally so few women are interested in aviation, discretionary
income is more likely spent on home decorating or family activities
with little or nothing left for flying. Until more women become
involved in aviation or see aircraft ownership or renting as a
potential family activity, this factor is not likely to change.
That's the theory anyway.

Personally, I think this issue goes beyond the cost of flying. I
think today's Americans can afford to fly, but they are not
interested in doing so. We need to find ways to show people how
appealing and wonderful aviation can be for them. If we just focus on
trying to make flying cheaper, that may not draw more people. An
example is the guy next door who can afford to fly. He's just not
interested. We need to find ways to get people like him interested.
He owns a $50,000 SUV. He doesn't need it, but he bought it because
it appealed to him. If he wanted to fly, perhaps he would have
settled for a $20,000 sedan, freeing up enough money to buy a 1/8th
share in a good 4-place airplane and flying lessons. One does not
have to buy a new half-million dollar Bonanza in order to fly. There
a many reasonable options out there.

Anyway, I have only heard two episodes, but I really enjoy the
program. A little listener demographic information for you: I fly
cargo 767's for DHL at work and have a Co-Z that I built which I fly
for fun. Because the Co-Z is too small to be a family plane, when my
wife and two children want to take a flying vacation, I will rent the
right aircraft from a local flying club and go.

Blue skies!

Gold River, CA

Episode #43 Open Discussion Thread

Leave your feedback, etc., about UCAP#43 as comments to this posting.

Uncontrolled Airspace #43 "Just Your Basic FLIB"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sport Aviation UCAP Article

We mentioned a while back the EAA's Sport Aviation magazine had written a nice article about our podcast. For those of you who aren't EAA members (and if not, why not!), or if you get one of the other mags, here's a PDF reprint of the article.

Thanks to Ric Reynolds for for writing this, and his help getting the PDF.

Tower, we're still holding short. Tower. Tower?

Skype is still dead. So no UCAP recording this morning. Maybe tonight, maybe not till Sunday. It's gonna be a beautiful weekend. Go flying.

BTW, we're starting to consider other VOIP systems.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holding Short

The Skype internet phone system, which we rely on to do UCAP, is having some pretty significant system problems this morning. And "this morning" is when we had planned to record UCAP#43. So we're in a hold right now.

Between waiting for Skype to return, and finding a time when the whole gang is available, we may be delayed by a day or so. But we're coming.

In the meantime, here's a question for you all.

We've been thinking about implementing a discussion forum here. What do you all think about that? Would you look in regularly to see what's up? Would you make postings yourself? Discuss.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fat Albert flies!

This wins my nomination as the genuinely weird flying machine of the week:

From the company's Web site: "an aircraft that utilizes a combination of buoyant and dynamic lift."

And it'll be at NBAA! This I gotta see...


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

EAA, AOPA, NBAA All Urge Pilot Action for H.R. 2881

Congress is in recess, so most are spending the month someplace close to their hearts -- collecting re-election funds and courting voters...a good time for GA pilots to give their home-state lawmakers a piece of their minds.

EAA just sent an "Urgent Member Dispatch" urging their following to contact their members of Congress to express their unabashed opposition to user fees -- any user fees no matter how easy the target may be, lest it open the door to more fees down the road. AOPA And NBAA are doing much the same.

The airlines, meanwhile, are busy with their propaganda machinery, lying about why delays are at a 13-year high, about how only user fees can assure ATC modernization, and ignoring their own influence via hub-airport saturation, beyond-capacity scheduling practices and the increase in their own fleets even as their seating capacity declined (far more smaller jets flying more segments...)

Folks, the honorable members of Congress return from their August recess on Sept. 7 -- they need to have heard from all us us, directly, through their home-state offices, their Washington offices, and in person if the chance presents itself.

With Congress so willing to negate Constitutional protections, we can't trust them to make the smart decision on their own -- so shout it out, again and again and again and again...

Once this fight ends, I'll shut up about this...unless any segment of aviation -- GA in particular -- gets awarded a new user fee...then, I may never stop carping. And you don't want that, do you ?

Here's where you can see a sample letter:

Now: Don't be shy!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Score one for AOPA -- Court Voids NY Student-Pilot Background Check Law

They were warned; they knew better...but they just had to do something -- even if it was wrong.

Now the Federal District Court for the State of New York has cut to the chase and issued a summary judgment voiding an ill-advised law requiring FBI background checks on student pilots wanting to train in the Empire State. AOPA beat back a similar law in Michigan -- but NY lawmakers and governor didn't seem to notice or care.

"This law didn't do anything to enhance security for New Yorkers," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "It was unnecessary and discriminatory, and it violated the US. Constitution."

California lawmakers did notice, though, and pulled plans for a similar law -- good for them. Here's a message to an "just-gotta-do-something-that-feels-good" in the other 47 states: Federal law preempts and leave it alone.

And here's also hoping that those suffering New York flight schools and instructors recover some of the business lost to legislative and gubernatorial hubris.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Hooray! New Orleans Lakefront Tower is OPEN!

OK, it's been only how many months, years and days since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and contributed to the breaching of several levies and the flooding of Lakefront??? Well, good new, at last, as posted by the NBAA today:

New Orleans Lakefront Tower Reopens
New Orleans Lakefront Tower reopened July 30 for the first time since Hurricane Katrina shut down the airport's operations. Without the tower, the airport was handling 160 operations a day. With the tower now operational, traffic is expected to climb rapidly, and business operators requiring a tower now will be able to return to Lakefront. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), three controllers and one supervisor will staff the tower until new controllers are brought in and trained. The tower will operate daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on 119.9. Clearance delivery is combined with ground control on 121.7 and remote clearance on 127.4. Check NOTAMs for updates.

Hey, a couple of years, give or take...nothing like seeing our Friendly Federal Government working to its best potential...

Congrats Lakefront -- now maybe we can squeeze in that trip to the French Quarter that's been on hold for soooo long.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Pilot Will's Oshkosh Pics

Here are some pics that Will Hawkins, of the Student Pilot Flight Podlog Podcast, took.

Friday, August 03, 2007

More Crowing

In yesterday's podcast I said that if you go into the iTunes Store and search for "aviation podcast", UCAP comes up as the #2 most popular GA podcast.

But now I discover that if you go into the Today's Top 100 Podcasts in "Games & Hobbies" (which is where the subcategory "aviation" lives, go figure), UCAP appears in position #41, which the highest rated Aviation podcast.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Recording UCAP#40

Here we are recording episode #40 from the deck of EAA Radio.

Thanks to our friend Phil Weston for taking a bunch of pics of that recording session. We'll put up some others as time goes on.

Sacrifice Fly...

In a step to save weight in the airplane, Dave reluctantly gave away the six pack of Linnie's -- only seems a sacrifice until remembering my favorite Wichita pervayor of all beverages brewed and distilled carries six Linnie's varieties...

Gave all six of 'em to a good home, where they'll be given a loving chill before having their caps popped and contents consumed...

Meanwhile...back at home, got a 12 pack of Linne's Harvest Wheat to remind me of Wisconsin where the good times don't roll, they fly!

Headed home from OSH.

Dave's gear in the hotel lobby waiting for transport.

Chicago Center Handles Last EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

For those of us who transited Chicago Center's airspace between July 20 and 29, there wasn't a hint that an era was ending. But according to the FAA employees' on-line newsletter, this year's fly-in was the last for which Chicago Center will handle arrivals and departures of the IFR bent. Here's the article, sent courtesy of an FAA staffer:

End of An Era: Chicago Center Provides Final Service for Oshkosh

Updated: 11:05 am ET August 1, 2007

August 1 - "Chicago Center employees do a remarkable job with Oshkosh, and we have a good story to tell," said Bill Cound, the center's air traffic manager.

But the era of providing approach control services for the huge Oshkosh air show has drawn to a close for Chicago Center. Next year, approach control services will be provided by Milwaukee Tower and Tracon.

The unique air traffic control procedures for pilots immediately arriving and departing Oshkosh receive plenty of well-deserved attention.

However, the important contributions made by Chicago Center controllers to keep airplanes moving safely to and from the airfield are frequently overlooked.

"We've provided air traffic control services for this annual event since 1969, when EAA [Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture] moved to Oshkosh," said Frank Karkula, an operations manager at the facility. "As Oshkosh evolved through the 1970's and 80's, our services also grew."

Chicago Center Front Line Manager Rita Thiel has participated in the Oshkosh air show since 1989. Over the years, she has witnessed the growth and popularity of the show, billed as the world's greatest aviation celebration.

"Every year the Chicago North Area Team braced up for one heck of a week," said Thiel. "Usually four controllers working with split frequencies because of sheer volume. One controller would work departures and one would work arrivals. They would pass their breaks for sometimes five hours because it was simply to busy to give a briefing. I am so proud to have worked with such energetic, ingenious controllers, who really just got in there, pulled up there sleeves, dug themselves out, and always, always got the job done."

The controllers at Chicago Center do a remarkable job under demanding circumstances, said John Etherington, front line manager. "There are challenges inherent with the workload volume that occurs during this event," said Etherington. "While it can seem overwhelming to a casual observer, our professional controllers keep a very disciplined control over the aircraft at all times. It's a fun time for people to work showing a very high level of professionalism."

For the North Area Team in Chicago Center, it will be the last air show they provide approach control services in the Oshkosh area, as Milwaukee prepares to take the airspace beginning Feb. 14, 2008.

"It is truly the end of an era," said Thiel. "I applaud everyone who was a part of it. I am sure they have plenty of stories to tell their grandchildren. "

(Article appeared on the MYFAA Employee Website)

So next year, be sure and give an EAA "Howdy!" to the folks at Milwaukee -- if they've got the time to hear you, that is.