AirplaneGeeks 306 – Make a Plan and Become a Pilot

Delta B757 N698DL

New ATP written exam requirements going into effect, a Boeing 757 successor, NTSB investigation of the TWA Flight 800 accident, the AOPA Rusty Pilot program, and what you need to do to become a professional pilot.


Guest Kevin Garrison is a CFI, journalist, and author with many articles in prominent aviation publications. He’s flown the MD-88, DC-9, 727, 757, 767, and 777. He’s currently working on a series of inexpensive “CEO of the Cockpit” guidebooks about getting into the professional flying business. Kevin also provides services to medium-sized companies through Aerospace Media Partners.

Kevin’s website is Kevin Creates, and his new site called is under development. You can also find Kevin on Facebook.


ATP Written Prerequisites About to Change Drastically

Effective August 1, 2014, those who wish to take the ATP written exam must have completed an FAA-approved “airline transport pilot certification training program.”

Boeing Advancing on Successor to 757 Jet, Air Astana Says

The President of Air Astana, the flag carrier of Kazakhstan, says he talked to Boeing at the IATA annual meeting in Doha, saying that a new plane would be announced soon.

NTSB Will Not Reopen TWA Flight 800 Investigation

A group called “The TWA 800 Project” petitioned the NTSB to reconsider and modify the findings and determination of probable cause for the TWA Flight 800 accident.

An NTSB team of investigators not previously associated with the original investigation concluded that the NTSB’s earlier determination of probable cause was not wrong.

Two arguments theorizing a missile strike were advanced by the petitioners. The NTSB says:

“…the petitioners relied on a subset of previously available radar evidence organized around their alternative explanation of the crash. However, this analysis, upon review, was flawed.”


“…the petitioners introduced witness summaries obtained from the FBI that we treated as new evidence. But the witness summaries did not differ substantially from the evidence available during the NTSB’s original investigation.”

Read the NTSB’s Response to Petition for Reconsideration [PDF] for more details on this topic.

David Vanderhoof’s Aircraft of the Week

David invokes the “It’s my segment and I’ll do what I want” clause in his contract, and talks about podcast sponsorship.

Rob Mark’s Aviation Minute

This week Rob talks about our tour of the NTSB training facility, and how that trip made him rethink how he reports accident stories himself.


AOPA Rusty Pilot program

AOPA says there are more than 500,000 lapsed pilots in the United States under the age of 75. The Rusty Pilot program seeks to get those pilots back in the cockpit. Rusty Pilot presentations and discussions around the country cover the use of newer technology, changes in the airspace system, new resources available to pilots, and much more.

Listener Feedback

Listener Micah sent us a recorded story he calls, “Fearless Flying.”

We comment on a listener email describing the writer’s frustration with getting into a professional flying career: the cost, the time, the low wages. Our panel offers a different way to think about this admittedly difficult path.


Listener Brian Coleman asked if there was some way he could “give back” to the Airplane Geeks podcast and help us out. So we made him Associate Producer and now Brian is busy booking guests for us. Thank you Brian!

Opening and closing music courtesy Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at

4 thoughts on “AirplaneGeeks 306 – Make a Plan and Become a Pilot

  1. Rick

    Too much lead-in music. I almost bailed when trying to listen to the Kevin Garrison episode.

  2. Thomas

    It’s a shame the quality of the sound from one of your guests is so bad. Couldn’t you use Skype or even make him record his part on his computer and then have him send you the file?

  3. maxflight Post author

    Thomas: While Skype is our first choice for the guest, it doesn’t always work out. In this case we started with Skype, but the dropouts were so bad he couldn’t hear us and we had to stop and switch him over to the telephone. We try for the highest audio quality, but it can be difficult depending on who is where and what bandwidth they can get from their ISP.

  4. Jamie Dodson

    Yet another informative and entertaining Podcast – thanks Geeks! Guest Kevin Garrison’s recollections and insight added a great deal to my understanding of the wonderful world of aviation. Very much enjoyed the “Fearless Flying” Segment as well.

    I agree with the NTSB and your comments on the TWA 800 747-100 tragedy. It was an unfortunate accident and not a missile. Interjecting science and engineering into a discussion with a conspiracy theorist may, as Kevin Garrison implied, be futile but here goes.

    Keeping secrets is tough and hundreds if intelligence analysts reviewed the electromagnetic evidence. Had there been a cover up – it would have been blown years ago. The altitude FLT 800 was at all but rules out land/sea based IR guided missiles. In other words, a surface-to-air-missile (SAM) would have had to be radar guided. That type of guidance takes a lot of power and would have been visible to a multitude DoD/NSA of active and passive sensors. There was nothing – no unknown or known weapons search radar tracks and no target tracking radar emissions. For my money it was a fuel/air explosion in the center wing fuel tank.

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