Monday, January 20, 2014


The lawsuits have started to be filed on the Asiana Airline crash in San Francisco (SFO). I am not surprised that Boeing is being sued because they have deep pockets. 

The first basis of the class action against Boeing is they did not have an oral warning that the plane is flying too slow. If these attorneys want to sue somebody let it be the FAA. The NTSB has recommended to the FAA for years that all airliners have an oral call out when planes are flying too slow. The FAA has sat on it behind and done nothing on this issue. 

The second basis of the suit against Boeing is improper flight training on the 777. Hmmm, I thought it was the responsibility of the airline to provide pilot training and for the pilot to obtain a type rating on the 777.

I have to hypothesize as I do not have the facts from both sides and the NTSB. With what little information I have it just seems plain and simple that the Asiana pilot(s) flew a perfectly good Boeing 777 into the ground because they were incapable of flying a visual approach. Visual approaches are one of the first things taught in pilot to land the plane. I am willing to bet that I have more actual stick time than these pilots have. They depend on automation turning on the auto pilot about 300 feet above ground until turning it off 200 feet above ground when landing.

There will be several motions filed and I am sure Boeing will file one for dismissal. I hope that this suit will be dismissed, as if there was ever an accident that was pilot error, this one would be in the dictionary.


The Super Bowl is 2 weeks away and is being played in New Jersey this year. My question is how many are going to brave the unknown weather in an outdoor stadium for a night game. 5 years ago the Super Bowl was here in the Valley of the Sun (Scottsdale/Phoenix) and next year will return, to a warmer climate and an indoor/outdoor stadium with real grass.

I chaired the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation and am do so again for next years game. There are numerous differences between Scottsdale and NYC in the winter, mainly being the weather. We were very fortunate to have New England and the Giants in the Super Bowl here. Both teams are in an affluent area, and I am sure that a lot of people that came to the game appreciated our warm weather.

This year’s game has Denver versus Seattle. FBO’s are expecting a lot of private jet traffic for the game. If New England was in the game it would have cut traffic by over 1/2 as most from that area would just drive. The question remains how many of the private jet owners plan on flying to the game? Time will tell.

Even through our game is in Glendale 1 hour west of Scottsdale (SDL), most jet owners prefer to stay in Scottsdale. The airport is located amongst numerous resorts, high end shopping and golf courses. Parties are held outside weather permitting. In addition to the Super Bowl the Phoenix Open Golf tournament is held in Scottsdale the same week.

Some of the ground factions on the committee are Airport Staffs, FBO’s, FBI, Homeland Security and Scottsdale Police and Fire. Air factions are ATC Towers, TRACON and Albuquerque Center. The last Super Bowl came off well until Monday after the game. It seemed that 288 jets wanted to depart SDL at the same time, in addition there were a lot of Net Jet arrivals to pick up golfers after the tournament, all from a single runway airport. To make matters worse at 12 noon we had thunderstorms over the airport that shut the airport down.  

Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT) is the worlds busiest GA airport and located approximately 15 miles west of SDL. DVT takes the overflow from SDL when it fills. The flight schools in the Valley and Luke Air Force Base all stand down Monday after the game to help open the airspace.

We have changed a few things for next year allowing only departures in the morning. Arrivals will have to wait until after noon. If the winds prevail DVT departures will be to the east on runway 25 and SDL departures will be to the north on runway 3. If the wind does not cooperate departures will slow down as both DVT and SDL use the same IFR departure.

ATC has worked close with us, and it is now up to Albuquerque Center to join the party. We will be meeting with them next month.

Looking forward to a great game in 2 weeks and to see how many planes show for a cold weather outdoor game.

Am really looking forward to having the Super Bowl back in the Valley the following year and hopeful that 2 affluent cities will be represented in the game.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Growing up to where I am now, I have had a lot of heroes in my lifetime. When I was a youngster, and being involved in sports, my heroes were football and baseball players. As I have aged and began my involvement in aviation my heroes have changed.

My biggest hero is none of the above, but is my oldest daughter. Julie received 2 fellowships working at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. After 5 years at Hopkins she moved to Palo Alto, CA and is an anesthesiologist at Stanford’s Packard Children’s Hospital specializing in transplants for children. In addition she teaches 2 days a week at Stanford Medical School and travels the world volunteering her time to perform her job in underprivileged nations. Needless to say she is my biggest hero.

Bob Hoover is reaching the twilight of his career. Bob is a WWII fighter pilot vet, and to me the best stick to ever fly an airplane. Bob’s performances in his air shows boggles the mind. He has probably forgotten more about flying than I will ever know. There are several You Tubes showing Bob’s flying accomplishments.

You probably have not heard of Pam Melroy. I met Pam when she, along with the rest of her STS crew, were honored at the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Pam is not large of stature coming in at just over five feet tall, but she is one of the most brilliant people and outstanding pilot that I have ever met. Pam attended Wesleyan undergraduate school, MIT graduate school and retired as a Colonel in the Air Force. What Pam is most known for is being an astronaut. Pam was the 3rd female shuttle pilot and flew several missions on the Shuttle. I can not begin to imagine the thrill of flying to space on top of what amounted to a bomb with controlled energy.

John McCain, US Senator from Arizona, is a true War Hero. McCain was shot down in Viet Nam flying an A6 through SAM ALLEY and was captured as a POW. While at the “Hanoi Hilton” he was tortured on numerous occasions. When the N. Vietnamese found out that John was the son of a US Admiral they agreed to release him early without his comrades. McCain refused this release and stayed until all were released. I do not know if I am man enough to go through what McCain did and survive. 

Chesley Sullenberger was the right man in the right place when his US Air flight went down in the Hudson. I can not think of any other pilot I would have wanted at the controls of this incident. Sully is also a glider pilot and Air Force Academy graduate. Being a glider and power pilot I think we think a little differently in the cockpit. We know our glide ratios and can quickly compute whether or not we can get from point A to B. Sully had to compute several options of either turning around to Newark, going to Kennedy or even Teterboro in NJ. He realized quickly that he could not glide to any of these airports and chose to land in the Hudson.
Most accidents I have seen of dead stick landings, the pilot does not keep their wings level and cartwheels into the ground. Glider pilots are taught to keep wings level landing on one wheel until the glider runs out of energy and stops with one wing dropping to the ground.
I have talked to several airline pilots asking them their opinion on this landing. They all answered the same that they hoped they could do the landing. With so many things going on I do not know if they could. Sully never quit flying the airplane all the way down. 

The last heroes I will mention are Orville and Wilbur, the first powered test pilots. Without them who knows when powered flight would have started. I am very thankful to these 2 brothers.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to all who read this BLOG. It is truly a global world with the Internet, and I am amazed at the numerous Countries where people have an interest in Aviation. So thanks for taking time to read my thoughts and hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


This week a Southwest Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport. They were supposed to fly from Chicago Midway to Branson, MO. Unfortunately the flight arrived at a General Aviation (GA) airport 7 miles away from Branson with 1/2 the runway length of Branson, 3700 feet versus 7500 feet.

I do not know what equipment the 737-700 had on board for this flight. I do know that in the days before GPS were in airliners, some pilots were carrying their own GPS on board just so something like this could not ruin their career. I also do not know if these 2 veteran pilots of SWA have flown into Branson before, and if so, had they ever flown in at night. 
If you have ever flown into an airport at night in a lit up city, it can be hard to find the correct airport.

I feel that GPS is one of if not the most important inventions for Aviation. The first GPS I bought was a Garmin 100 for my glider competitions. The 100 did not have a database, as we had to enter our own waypoints. GPS’s were not legal in glider competitions in the 1990’s, and I only used it for practice rounds so I could recognize the waypoints during competition. Today GPS is legal in Glider tournaments.

Another phenomenal invention is the IPad with an aviation APP like ForeFlight or WingX. Most airlines are now carrying a tablet in the cockpit. However, the FAA in it’s infinite wisdom, has declared that airlines cannot have a moving map with situation awareness on an IPad in the cockpit. 

Both WingX and Garmin 396/496 have runway extensions on them. If your destination airport is in your flight plan a line extends out either 3 or 5 miles, based on what you set it for, showing you your path to the correct airport.

If all planes were equipped like this, it would eliminate landing at the wrong airport. Again common sense escapes the FAA.

Captain never landed at Branson and FO only landed there once and that was in daylight. This makes matters worse. When I fly to a new airport I study the charts throughly...just so something like this would never happen. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


Recently I wrote a column that Congress overreacted on increasing the First Officer (FO) and Captain minimum time to 1500 hours including an ATP and Type Rating. I do not have any problem with the Type Rating being required but do have a problem with ATP, other than for a Captain, and especially the 1500 hour rule.

I do not want someone flying me in an airliner that acquired their time being a flight instructor or spraying fields as a crop duster to build time. Flight instructors are an important part of aviation, my problem is most of their flying time is spent doing slow flight, stalls etc. I want someone who has real cross country flight time, flying in all conditions and who has flown in all type scenarios that can handle any type of situation because they have been there.

The only way to accomplish extreme proficiency is to have multiple hours in the simulator. I do not know anyone who was injured crashing a sim. The problem is there are not enough sim’s available to accomplish this. The airlines run their sim’s 24/7 for pilot recurrent training. I would much rather have a pilot who has logged 500 hours in a sim and 250 actual cross country in real icing and a student of weather.

Congress and the FAA have reacted to Asiana, Air France 340 and UPS flights that have gone down by requiring the airlines to develop a program on their sim’s that addresses the fact that airline pilots have forgotten how to hand fly airliners. Most airline flights turn on the autopilot around 300 feet AGL and turn it off at 200 feet AGL when landing. This saves the airline fuel as the autopilot can do a better job flying on course than a human. My problem is that the airlines were given 5 years to develop programs to give pilots better ability to fly.

The best airline pilots I have flown with own their own GA airplanes flying without the autopilot on. They are able to use the rudders, land visually and hold a course. In addition they know their airplanes speeds for takeoff, cruise and landing. Instead of waiting 5 years airlines should purchase basic piston airplanes and have their pilots train in these every 6 months to a year or set up programs with existing flight schools. This will bring back basic stick and rudder skills.

Just once I would like to see common sense prevail. In the commuter crash in Buffalo both pilots had over 1500 hours flight time. I was told the FO never flew in actual icing and the Captain failed several check rides. The Asiana crash had to fly a visual approach into SFO. I willing to bet I have more stick time, flying without the autopilot , than the person that attempted to land the Asiana 777.

The surviving family members, along with Captain Sullenberger, had Congress in a panic and Congress passed a law that is not beneficial to the flying public. There is going to be a shortage of airline pilots in the near future, as very few can afford the cost of obtaining 1500 hours. Military pilots have a 750 hour requirement and those that graduate from an  accredited college in aviation will need to have 1000 hours. I believe the airlines should purchase more sim’s and recruit people from high schools and colleges teaching them how to be airline pilots as I described above. The problem is the airlines do not want to absorb the cost for this until it is too late, and no one is left to fly for them.

Five years to solve a problem how to hand fly an airliner is just too long. This should have started years ago.