Tag Archives: Student pilot

794 SouthWings Environmental Flights

The SouthWings volunteer pilot organization uses aircraft for environmental monitoring and survey flights. In the news, the best-selling piston aircraft in 2023, student pilot statistics, around the world in a LearJet, an additional Las Vegas airport, skipping security at airports, failure to disclose flight deck features, and a Spirit Airlines order deferral.

Guests

SouthWings is a volunteer pilot organization that flies conservation groups, community groups, the media, and decision-makers on environmental monitoring and survey flights, as well as flights of persuasion, and media flights.

Volunteer pilots donate their aircraft, time, and money to fulfill the 130-150 flight requests received annually. The aerial perspective and photographs that these groups and individuals capture help to tell the story to those on the ground. 

SouthWings is a member of the Air Care Alliance, a nonprofit public service organization representing a nationwide network of volunteer pilot groups that are putting charitable aviation to use to meet all sorts of needs throughout this country. 

Chelsea Easter, SouthWings Director of Operations and Volunteer Pilot Engagement.

Chelsea Easter is SouthWings’ Director of Operations and Volunteer Pilot Engagement. A 2012 graduate of Auburn University, Chelsea began working in the fields of mental health and education, and then took a look into the nonprofit world and was introduced to SouthWings where, for the past four years now, she has been recruiting, onboarding, and working closely with their volunteer pilots.

Landon Thorne, SouthWings volunteer pilot and board member.

Landon Thorne is a SouthWings volunteer pilot who also serves on SouthWings’ board. Landon has been flying since his teens. He has a long career in private equity and venture capital investing, and he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, retiring in 2002 with the rank of Colonel. During his military career and many active duty deployments, he served in Vietnam, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. In Vietnam, he flew 163 missions as a back-seater in the Cessna O-1 Bird Dog and vowed that he would eventually own one of those wonderful airplanes. Today he flies N68VN, his fully restored Bird Dog painted in the colors of Marine Observation Squadron 6.

Video: SouthWings Overview

SouthWings 2023 Program Report

Landon Thorne's Cessna O-1 Bird Dog in the hangar.
Landon Thorne’s Cessna O-1 Bird Dog

Aviation News

10 best-selling piston airplanes in 2023

In 2023, piston airplane shipments increased 11.8% to 1,682 worldwide. Cirrus figures prominently in the top ten. See the 2023 General Aviation Aircraft Shipment Report [PDF] from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

More pilots in 2023

The FAA U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics shows that 69,503 student pilot certificates were issued in 2023, a 24% increase over 2022. The U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics is an annual study published for the benefit of the FAA, other government agencies, and industry. It contains detailed airmen statistics not published in other FAA reports. Statistics about airmen, both pilot and nonpilot, are obtained from the official airmen certification records maintained by the FAA. An active airman is defined as one who holds both an airmen certificate and a valid medical certificate. Active Civil Airmen Statistics are currently available in spreadsheet form for 2018 to 2023.

Learjet 36A Crew Departs Wichita For Record Round-The-World Flight

Four pilots and one observer departed on April 3, 2024, for a 60-hour, 11-stop, record-setting flight around the world. The “Century Mission” commemorates the first around-the-world flight 100 years ago. The flight is a fundraiser for the restoration of an historic 1964 Lear Jet Model 23, Serial 23-003 owned by the Classic Lear Jet Foundation. That was the first Lear Jet delivered to a customer.

Plans for new Las Vegas airport no longer up in the air

In the 1990s, a second airport serving Las Vegas, Nevada was considered. Sixteen candidate sites were considered. Now the Southern Nevada Supplemental Airport project is finally moving ahead into the environmental phase. The Clark County Department of Aviation (CCDOA) plans to go before the Clark County Commission to award bids for project contracts. Project completion is planned for 2037.

Hundreds of people bypassed parts of airport security in last year

The Transportation Security Administration says that since March 2023, there have been at least 300 instances of people bypassing parts of airport security. The TSA says these aren’t full security breaches – passengers who bypassed some checks went through others or were stopped. Since March 2023, 200 people bypassed “exit lanes” often marked with “no reentry” signs, and 80 people evaded the travel document checker.

Duckworth wants FAA to review Boeing’s failure to disclose flight deck features

Senator Tammy Duckworth feels there is a pattern of Boeing not disclosing 737 Max flight deck features to pilots. A recent example is the design of the cockpit door which opens automatically during rapid depressurization. Duckworth wrote in a letter to the FAA “Boeing’s failure to disclose this feature is chilling given its history of concealing 737 MAX information from pilots.”

Spirit Airlines to defer Airbus deliveries, furlough 260 pilots to save cash

To conserve cash, Spirit Airlines plans to furlough about 260 pilots starting September 1, 2024. Additionally, Airbus has agreed to delay aircraft deliveries scheduled from the second quarter of 2025 through 2026 to 2030-2031. Spirit says the aircraft pushout has a positive $340 million liquidity impact over the next two years. Deliveries scheduled for 2027-2029 are unchanged.

Flight Team Internship

This California Science Center project exposes disadvantaged students to the many possible careers in aviation. The project needs support from aviation companies.

Mentioned

Mach Speed: From Mach 1 To Mach 3 Speed and Beyond

Hosts this Episode

Max Flight, Max Trescott, Rob Mark, and David Vanderhoof.

711 Women Student Pilots

A woman earns her pilot’s license at age 68 and now helps women of all ages successfully become pilots. We also have an interview with the CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. In the news, a hard landing injures a flight attendant, a mother/daughter flying first, JetBlue’s high turnover rate, flight cancellations and delays, a proposed rule for passenger refunds, and the FAA asks for public comments on seat size.

Maria Harrison-Dooley in the Diamond DA42
Maria Harrison-Dooley in the Diamond DA42

Guest

Maria Harrison-Dooley is the founder of You Fly Gal, an organization that provides scholarships and support for women student pilots. For decades Maria had dreamt of getting her Private Pilots License and at the age of 68, she accomplished that dream. Her motto is: “Flying is my passion, inspiration is my mission.”

Maria shows us that age doesn’t have to be a barrier when it comes to becoming a pilot. Noting the very high fallout rate for student pilots, she illustrates the critical role that community plays, especially for women student pilots. The Ninety-Nines: International Organization of Women Pilots is an example of an organization that fills that need.

Sponsorship for You Fly Gal scholarships comes from several sources, including King Schools and Pilot Workshops, but individual donations are also welcome.

Aviation News

Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Ends Up With ‘Broken Back’ After Hard Landing

A Southwest Airlines flight attendant suffered a compression fracture to her T3 vertebra after a firm landing. She was reported to have been in her jumpseat. The pilots of Southwest flight WN2029 were making a visual approach at Santa Ana’s John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA). The NTSB closed the investigation without making any specific recommendations.

Mother, daughter lead historic Southwest Airlines flight to St. Louis

Mother Holly Petitt and daughter Keely Petitt flew the flight from Denver (their hometown) to St. Louis on July 23, 2022. Holly served as the captain and Keely served as the first officer. The airline’s Campus Reach Internship Program helped Keely learn more about aviation and the airline.

JetBlue Boss Says Airline is Over-Hiring Staff Because Existing Employees Are Quitting En Masse

JetBlue is hiring, as are most other airlines, but employee retention is a big problem and the turnover is very high. So the airline is forced to over-hire. JetBlue estimates that by the end of the year, half of its workforce will have been with the airline for less than two years.

Airlines cancel more than 1,500 US flights Friday

Bad weather caused more flight delays and cancellations. FlightAware reported more than 7,700 delays in the United States on one day last week. The day before that, the TSA screened 2.3 million passengers.

DOT rule would require airlines to issue refunds for domestic flights delayed by 3 hours

Under current rules, passengers are entitled to refunds if an airline has “made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and the consumer chooses not to travel.” However, there is no definition of “significant.” If enacted, the proposed rule would define the terms of a “significant” change and cancellation:

  • Changes that affect the departure and/or arrival times by three hours or more for a domestic flight or six hours or more for an international flight
  • Changes to the departure or arrival airport
  • Changes that increase the number of connections in the itinerary; and
  • Changes to the type of aircraft flown if it causes a significant downgrade in the air travel experience or amenities a­­vailable onboard the flight.

See Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections.

How small should airplane seats be? The FAA wants to hear from you

In the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, Congress directed the FAA to issue rules for minimum dimensions for passenger seats necessary for passenger safety. Since then, the FAA conducted simulated emergency evacuations and is now asking for public comment. This is safety-related, not comfort-related.

See: Request for Comments in Minimum Seat Dimensions Necessary for Safety of Air Passengers (Emergency Evacuation)

Australia News Desk

We pay tribute to Glen Towler, Dave Higdon, and Grant’s father, Jim McHerron, all of whom passed away since our last segment.

Australia is about to see a new low-cost carrier take to the skies, in the form of Bonza Airline, flying a small fleet of Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft. The first of those arrived in-country last week, and Steve is cringing at their proposed market strategy. Corny, you may ask? Well, it may be if you speak Australian slang.

Bonza airline’s first plane touches down: Boeing 737 MAX arrives in Australia

Bonza 737 Max-8 VH-UJT. Photo by Cam Hines.
Bonza 737 Max-8 VH-UJT. Photo by Cam Hines.

In defence news, the RAAF has elected to keep Australia’s fleet of F-35A fighters flying, despite safety concerns over ejection seat components in a small number of US and Israeli jets which has seen those nations temporarily suspend operations.  The Department of Defence has issued a statement saying an ongoing risk assessment regime has been put in place with regard to the issue, and developments are being monitored closely.

RAAF to continue flying its F-35s despite ejector seat fault

Beyond the Press Release

Our Aviation Entrepreneurship and Innovation Correspondent Hillel Glazer interviewed business executives at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022. His objective was to look beyond what anyone can read in company press releases.

In this episode, Hillel talks to Zean Nielsen, the CEO of Cirrus Aircraft.

Mentioned

Museum needs space for more cars, airplanes, and students

The Owls Head Transportation Museum has launched a $9.7 million capital campaign to expand museum space and educational programs.

EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2022 photos by listener Steve:

Cirrus Vision jet.
Cirrus Vision jet.
Focke Wulf FWP-149D.
Focke Wulf FWP-149D.

Video: President Theodore Roosevelt flying in a Wright Brothers plane in 1910

Theodore Roosevelt – First Presidential Flight, 1910

Theodore Roosevelt's first flight.

Hosts this Episode

Your hosts: Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contributions by Hillel Glazer, Steve Vischer, and Grant McHerron.

Episode 147 – Todd McClamroch’s Flight Blog

QF-4E phantom of 82d Aerial Target Sqd Part of USAF Heritage Flight

Todd McClamroch from My Flight Blog.com is our guest this episode. Todd’s site is one of the longest running General Aviation blogs around, and has been featured in the press including Wall Street Journal, AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training Magazine. We talk about reasons for the high dropout rate among student pilots, including the lack of inclusion in pilot communities, the role of the CFI and mentors in helping students complete their flight training, and the the value of events for students. You can follow Todd on Twitter at @MyFlightBlog.

Be sure to see Max, Rob, Dan, and David at the Become a Pilot Family Day and Fly-In June 18, 2011, 10 a.m. – 3p.m., at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles International Airport. The Geeks will be joining Milford and Charlie from FlightTime Radio, along with some other aviation podcasters as they broadcast their show live.

Normally, FlightTime Radio runs for an hour, but we’re going to buy a second hour of air time for this event. You can help by making a small donation to buy another hour of time for aviation greatness on the radio station. See http://www.airplanegeeks.com/send-the-airplane-geeks-to-washington/ for more information.

The week’s aviation news:

Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast provide an interesting Australia Desk Report with Stephen Force from the Airspeed podcast. Be sure to check out the Acrocamp site to follow the progress of that documentary film. The Plane Crazy Down Under podcast is on Twitter at @pcdu, Steve at @stevevisscher and Grant at @falcon124.

In this week’s Across the Pond segment, Pieter Johnson talks with Diego López-Salazar from the Spanish aviation podcast AeroPodcast about the strength of Spanish airlines and if the threat of striking airport workers has finally subisided in Spain. Find Pieter on Twitter at @Nascothornet and Diego at
@dlopezsalazar.

Mentions:

Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at thegeeks@airplanegeeks.com, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.

Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.