Monday, June 24, 2013


                                ACHMED THE DEAD TERRORIST AND THE FAA

If you have ever seen the ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, one of his dummies is Achmed the dead terrorist. Achmed Is a bumbling fumbling terrorist who blew himself up  prematurely. What has this got to do with the FAA?

ADS B IN shows weather and traffic. All you need is an IPad, Aviation App and an ADS B In unit. Total cost is around $1000. The caveat is that you can not see traffic when there is not a plane in the vicinity flying with ADS B Out. These are few and far in between. ADS B is completed in the US excluding Colorado and the Midwest. It is supposed to be completed by the end of this year. “Supposed” being the preoperative word.

The FAA has the availability to turn on ADS B Out 24/7 but refuses to do so. Last week there was a Delta 747 doing a missed approach to land at Kennedy. At the same time a Delta commuter flight was departing LaGuardia in NYC. These planes came within less than a half a mile and 100 feet of having a midair. If they were both flying with an IPad and ADS B In, with the FAA turning on ADS B Out 24/7, they could have seen each other and avoided an almost catastrophe. May 31 near Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT) airport in the training area 2 small GA planes collided midair and 4 lost their lives. Same scenario with a horrible outcome.

AOPA and NBAA have a lot of power on the Hill. Why aren’t they sitting in Congresspeople’s offices explaining this situation. Craig Fuller, CEO of AOPA, wrote a small paragraph on this situation in this months AOPA PILOT magazine. I don’t know if anyone in Congress is aware of the ADS B Out situation that has the ability to save numerous lives.

The FAA has the ability to do something good for Aviation safety. Why are they sitting on their behinds. The answer given is, the FAA wants more pilots to buy ADS B Out before the 2020 deadline, and they adamantly refuse to turn ADS B Out on for everyone.

Here is a situation that could save lives, but our Government bureaucracy, the FAA, does not give a damn about human life.

Saturday, June 8, 2013



It has been a while since I have written about Aviation Apps for the IPad, and things have changed but become the same. There are still only 2 serious contenders to consider when purchasing an Aviation App for the IPad, ForeFlight and WingXPro. The rest are still playing catch up and are overpriced. One downside of ForeFlight is that it only works with the Stratus ADS-B In unit, whereas WingX works with several different ADS-B In manufactures. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with the Stratus unit.

Before I write further about the Apps just a little sideline. ADS-B Out will be required by the FAA in 2020. As a carrot the FAA stated that they will offer free weather for ADS-B IN, albeit limited in features compared to XM weather, where ADS-B is available. The purpose of this offer was to get more planes equipped with ADS-B before 2020. This announcement was pre IPad. Little did the FAA ever think that so many pilots were going to take advantage of the IPad, Aviation Apps and portable ADS-B In without having to buy a very expensive ADS-B In and Out panel unit. 
When the FAA was asked to turn on ADS-B Out 24/7 so pilots with ADS-B In could see traffic, the FAA told all the alphabets to take a hike. They said if you want to see traffic buy an ADS-B Out unit now. I do not recommend that as prices have fallen and will continue to fall on Out units before 2020.


Now back to the Apps. ForeFlight (FF) came out of the gate a strong product. It was light years ahead of WingX (WX). Approximately 9 months later WX passed FF and left FF far behind. It took about 2 years for FF to catch up and incorporate most of the features that WX has. The biggest difference between the 2 was that when FF came out with an update, it worked. You never know what you are going to get with WX.

There are 2 features on WX that are important to me that FF does not have at this time. In the top left hand corner there is a box that tells you what ground level altitude is, and you can cycle this button to tell you how far above the ground you are. The 2nd feature I like is split screen. I can have the ATIS up along with the taxi diagram. On an approach I can have the lo enroute chart up with the approach plate. When the plane icon shows up on the approach plate I go back to single screen.

FF has the ability to show actual winds and temps aloft. I have requested this from WX on several occasions without any success.

People ask me which app to buy. I tell them that if they are flying with the IPad Mini to buy FF. Split screens are too small on the Mini. On the big IPad, if they are VFR only there isn’t much difference. If you are IFR I would rather fly with WX and have the split screen.

I do not think you can go wrong with either of these apps. I would not waste my money on any other apps as these 2 are proven and do a great job. Apps are not a cure all, and I still use my Garmin 396 for features that no apps have yet. I believe that the IPad, Apps and ADS-B are the greatest invention for flying since the introduction of GPS.

Traffic on the IPad with WX. Someone in the vicinity was flying with ADS B Out so I could see traffic. This is what the FAA won't turn on 24/7.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013



I can not think of another pilot I would want at the controls for the Miracle on the Hudson than Captain Sullenberger. Being a glider pilot he knew that he was unable to fly to any airport in the vicinity because his glide ratio would not take him there safely. He chose the best alternative which was the Hudson and miraculously everyone survived.

Just because Sully is a great stick having trained at the Air Force Academy, in the Air Force and through the airlines does not make him an expert on training. He is 100% right when he states that 250 hours is not enough time for a first officer, but he is wrong stating that 1500 hours of any type flight time is a magic number.

All of this hullabaloo has been brought about because of the Colgan crash in Buffalo. Both pilots at the controls had over 1500 hours. It has been alleged that the First Officer was from Phoenix and had never flown in icing conditions. It has also been alleged that the Captain failed several check rides previous to this accident.

Sully’s all encompassing proposition is that every FO should have 1500 hours and an ATP rating. This is where I disagree with his proposal. To build hours one can become a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) or tow banners to arrive at 1500 hours of time. My problem with this program, which Congress has told the FAA to enact by August, 2013, is that the above type of flying does not give the pilot real world flying experience. The exceptions to this rule are a 750 hour requirement for pilots who flew in the Service and a 1000 hour requirement for those flying at an accredited University program. CFI’s are also having trouble building hours because of the limited student starts.

I would like to see the airlines enact a program where they hire and train pilots to fly. They would require 500 hours in the simulator where all situations could be taught to students with no fear of crashing an airplane. Is 500 hours in the sim a magic number, I do not know. These students would also have 250 hours of actual flying cross country to go along with their sim time. 

I would feel a lot safer having someone at the controls that had extensive training under all scenarios until they are comfortable and capable of handling most situations. Sully, just stating that a pilot should have 1500 hours of any type of flying is wrong.

Regional Pilots who are FO’s are paid food stamp wages. This has to be corrected as student pilots are investing a great deal of their money through family support or loans. Fewer are choosing to be an airline pilot because of the costs involved.

Hopefully the FAA will listen to reason and not just arbitrarily choose 1500 hours of any type of flying that would not be in the best interest of the pilots and the flying public.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

See AirplaneTraffic on the IPad

This is a picture of my IPad showing traffic as I departed DVT on June 1, 2013. Someone in the area was flying a plane equipped with ADS-B Out for me to see this traffic on my IPad.



 I had written in an earlier column there was a midair NW of DVT between 2 flight school
planes. Could this accident have been prevented, here is one way it could have been.

There are 2 ADS-B’s, one IN and one OUT. If you have an IPad, Aviation App and ADS- B In unit you are able to see traffic on the IPad. However there is a caveat to this in that a plane must be flying with ADS- B Out in your vicinity to awaken the ground stations to allow you to see traffic on your IPad.

The FAA is requiring that all planes be equipped with ADS-B Out by 2020. The FAA could turn on all ADS-B Out stations 24/7 today so that all planes that now have ADS-B In could see traffic, but the FAA refuses to do so. If the FAA had ADS-B Out on, and one or both of these planes were flying with an IPad and ADS-B In, there was a chance that this horrific accident could have been prevented.

It concerns me that FAA is still not concerned with safety.