Know when to go around,avoiding hard landings

By now I’m sure most of you all have heard and seen the video out of Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, where a small passenger plane had it’s right main landing gear collapse due to severe winds causing the aircraft to make a hard landing and the gear to collapse. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt or injured, this brings up a major issue that pilots both in the training and professional world face; hard forced landings.

For those of you who haven’t heard about the small incident at Amsterdam, FlyBe (a small regional airliner) flight 1284 was bound from Edinburgh, England to Amsterdam on February 23rd during Storm Doris. The flight had already been delayed due to the storm, which at some airports were recoding winds of up to 90MPH. The flight took off from Edinburgh shortly after noon, bound for Amsterdam and would soon face the brutal challenges of the severe weather. Upon approach into Amsterdam, the Bombardier Q400 faced winds gusts of up to 40-50 MPH and when it landed and right main landing gears collapsed upon impact.

Here’s the video of the impact

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4253390/FlyBe-plane-crash-lands-runway-Amsterdam-airport.html

As you can see, it’s a pretty hard landing (considering the right landing gear collapsed) but it brings up an issue that we pilots need to consider when it comes to landing, and that is forcing a landing. Now look I’m not judging this pilots career or how he flies, but I do wonder what lead to his decision to landing rather than going around? My main reason that I’ve concluded that the pilot wanted to get down to the ground due to severe delays, not wanting to have to declare a missed approach, and probably fatigue.

Again, I’m not judging this pilot, but this is a good case of letting pilot desire get in the way of safety since the outcome could’ve been more serious then what it was. Believe me I’ve had a few landings of my own where I forced the plane to the ground because I was tired or I just wanted to get on the ground because I was feeling nauseous or sick of flying, but I’ve come to realize that it’s never good to force the aircraft onto the ground. In fact, the first flight instructor that I had hear at the University of Oklahoma told me that “when it comes to the professional world (especially the airline world) you can apologize for the delay, but you don’t have to apologize for keeping your aircraft and passengers safe”.

Over the course of the past year that quote that my first instructor told me has stuck with me, and every time that I feel that the winds are throwing me off the center line of the runway or that I’m not in a stable position to land, I call a go around or a missed approach. Now I’m probably like most of you when I say I hate calling a go around or especially a missed approach since that means I have to wait for ATC to get me back onto the instrument approach system (ILS), but it beats a hard forced landing any day of the week, plus I’m sure we would rather declare a go around rather than facing the consequences of a hard landing which could lead to significant damage on the aircraft, and the question we would all hate to answer, “why didn’t you go around?!”.

Now I know that this pilot was carrying passengers who probably wanted to get to their destination ASAP, and that the pilot wanted to continue on with his day, but it comes to show us that whether if you’re flying small aircrafts (since most of us do our training in Cessna’s or Piper Warriors like I do) or are a captain of a major airliner, a go around or missed approach is much better than forcing your aircraft onto the runway, resulting in a hard landing. Again, you can apologize for the delay, but never the safety of your passengers, crew and aircraft.

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”

Learning Holds & flying in IFR conditions

Happy late Valentine’s Day everyone! Hope you all spent some time with that special someone, or if you’re like me you went out and treated yourself the day after Valentine’s Day by getting chocolate at ridiculously low prices (singles life, what can I do). Even though I may not have that special someone in my life just yet, I did spend my week doing something that I truly love; yep you guessed it flying! And this I got to do two different instrument procedures since I’m working towards my instrument rating, by doing holds and flying in Instrument meteorological conditions(IMC) or commonly known as IFR flying.

Holds

So, what exactly is a hold or commonly known as holding. Well typically a hold is a fixed point typically   a radio beacon such as a non-directional beacon (NDB) or VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) which is shaped like an oval (or a race track) that is published on IFR charts. Typically, when you are in a hold this may be due to bad weather in the area, spacing of aircraft, or you calling a missed approach and you need to circle back around for another landing; again, there are multiple situation that you could be put into a hold, and a lot of pilots don’t like being put in a hold.

(This is what a hold typically looks like on a holding chart) Photo Credits to Emerald Air VA

So, on Wednesday and Thursday my instructor and I went up and did two different types of holds on each day. On Wednesday, we did a GPS hold in various spots throughout the practice area. The great thing that I liked about GPS holds was that when I dialed a certain hold (example Boulbi) the GPS already had the hold pattern already in the system, so when I entered it in, the GPS would tell me to fly a certain heading (example 360) for a certain amount of time and then fly the reciprocal heading (so 180) and I would be established in the hold.

Then on Thursday, my instructor went back up and did a VOR hold in the practice area. Because the University of Oklahoma is only about 20 miles to the south of Will Rogers World Airport (KOKC) we decided to use the Rogers VOR (IRW) to do the hold. To do this type of hold you must track and intercept a certain radial off the VOR your using and be a certain number of miles away from it, for instance we used the 155-degree radial and we made sure we were 17 nautical miles away from the VOR. My instructor told me that timing is everything during this type of hold because you wanted each leg of the hold to be exactly one minute, if not you had to add or subtract however many seconds you were early or late to the next leg, which was very confusing at first and can be when you first learn it. After a few times in the hold, on my final attempt I was able to get the hold within two seconds of the desired time of a minute.

 

Flying in IFR conditions

The other cool thing, and another first to my introduction to instrument flying was flying in IMC weather conditions. One of my dad’s business partners owns a Meridian Malibu aircraft (It’s the plane that I took my senior pictures with back in High School) and was taking a short trip from Oklahoma City to Tulsa and back, and asked if I would like to go with him. Of course, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to go flying with him and I also wanted to experience flying in IFR conditions for the first time.

(This is the plane that my dad’s business partner owns and the one I flew in yesterday as well as took my senior pictures with in 2015. Photo credits to Randy Coleman, which thanks again for amazing senior photos Randy!)

So yesterday (Saturday) morning I got up and met him at Wiley Post airport in Oklahoma City. We departed shortly after 10 a.m. while there still was a thick layer of cloud cover only about 1500 feet above the airport. Once we got into the clouds we hit some pretty severe turbulence, but once we got up to about 4,000 feet we busted through the clouds which every pilot talks about being one of the best feelings ever and it sure felt incredible. During the short flight, we climbed to 15,000 feet (the highest I’ve ever gone while being in the cockpit) and my dad’s business partner gave me some tips on instrument flying like how to read approach charts, how to set up both RNAV and ILS approaches, victor airways, and so much more; most of which I barely knew since I’m still learning the basics of instrument flying.

As we began our decent into Tulsa, he told me that for this landing we would do an RNAV approach into Tulsa Riverside Airport. We then entered the thick cloud layer and we were in it for quite a while, to the point where once we got out of it we were literally right over the Tulsa skyline only about 1,200 feet above the buildings. After our short visit in Tulsa we flew back to Oklahoma City under pretty much VFR conditions (only time it was IFR was when we left Tulsa) and on the way back we decided to do an ILS approach back into Wiley Post. I had never done an ILS approach before, so my dad’s business partner decided to have some fun with me and told me to not look outside, simulating that visibility was less than a mile and told me not to look up until we reached 1,290 feet (which is the decision height when landing at Wiley Post) and told me if you don’t see the airport we go missed approach. Once we got to 1,290 feet, I looked up and I could clearly see the runway, but it surprised me how close were to the runway since we literally touched downed a few second later.

I  the end I’m glad that I went and got to experience a little bit of actual IFR flying conditions as well as being showed how to set up RNAV and ILS approaches, even though most of the stuff I don’t know how to do just yet, but hey I’m still learning!

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”

I’ve been accepted into the Envoy Cadet Program!!

 

I’m sure you all don’t have to guess what I will be talking about for this week’s blog, but yes; I’m very excited and thrilled to say that I’ve been selected as part of the Cadet program for Envoy Airlines. For those of you who didn’t know, two weeks ago, I announced that I would be interviewing with recruiters from Envoy Airlines at the University of Oklahoma Aviation department in hopes of getting into the cadet program.

What is the cadet program for Envoy Airlines? The cadet program for Envoy is a way for pilots who have at least a private pilots rating to do the technical portion of the interview process, where you basically interview with a recruiter and they ask you basic questions like, why did you choose aviation as your major, what are some activities that you are involved in with aviation, what are your strengths and weaknesses, why should Envoy hire you; basically questions that they would ask you in any other job interview. So, on Monday January 30th I went in and interviewed with Envoy.

How did the interview go? Overall, I thought that the interview went great. Before I was even asked a question, I knew it was going to be a great interview, because the recruiter was a former alumnus of the University of Oklahoma aviation department and he also did the Envoy pipeline program when he was a student, and is now working for Envoy. The recruiters name was Josh, and it was great getting to know him and him talking about his college experience of what it was like here at OU as well as his experience with Envoy so far. As we began the interview, I made sure that I was answering the questions as crisp and clear as I had planned before, but I also wanted to make sure that I stood out compared to other people. For example, one of the questions was “What do you want to improve on over the next few years?’’ Immediately I responded with “that I want to improve my oral skills when it comes to the oral portion of a check ride since I have a bad habit of overthinking too much, because that’s exactly what I did on my private pilot check ride”.

When it comes to interviews, if there is any major advice I would give to you all is to try to stand out and be different from everyone else, so that the people who interview you can remember you for a long time and make an impression on them, because that was my goal with Josh is that I wanted him to remember me. I would also suggest, don’t be afraid to explain what some of your weaknesses are. During the interview, I told Josh about a few of my other weaknesses, as well as mistakes that I’ve made over the past few years that I’m not necessarily proud of, yet I’ve learned for them and I know I’m going to make more mistakes, it’s all part of the learning process in flying; I’m not a perfect pilot. When the interview was over, Josh told me that he was extremely impressed with my interview presentation and told me it would be a few days before I heard if I got into the cadet program. And sure enough, on Friday February 3rd, I got a confirmation email form Josh and the Envoy Airlines headquarters!

Now I’m sure most of you are wondering “what exactly does this mean for me as far as my piloting career for Envoy and why is this so important? Well even though this was only the technical portion of the interview, it’s still a big deal since this is the first major step to a career in the commercial airline world, especially with Envoy Airlines. It also means that as far as the interview portion of applying with Envoy, I’ve completed the first half of the interview portion; all that I have left to do is the knowledge portion of the interview (which I won’t be able to do for a few more years, but I’m in no big rush). But by far the biggest benefit about being accepted into the cadet program, is that now that Envoy knows I’m interested in a career with them in a few years, they have my records and will keep a close track on my progress through the aviation program here at the University of Oklahoma. Josh even told me that once they will check back in with me over the next few years as far as how I’m doing with my training, and once I get my instrument, commercial and multi-engine rating I can go ahead and complete the rest of the interview process and even the pipeline program that Envoy has with the University. So, it really was important doing that interview.

I’m sure you all can imagine I’m thrilled that I got into the cadet program, yet I still have a lot of training ahead of me, yet it feels great that I took my first major step into my flying career; and I hope you all do the same at your flying institutions and Universities, because you never know when another opportunity will present itself

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”

The Ultimate Spring Break Getaway!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone! I hope you all are gearing up for the big game tonight, (or to just watch the best commercials of the year Hopefully they are better than last years) by stuffing your face with so much food and watching it with good friends and family. Now I don’t know about how you all feel right now, but I’m to the point in the semester where I think to myself, “I’m so ready for spring break! When will it get here?”. Of course the great thing about spring break is that not only is it my Birthday (March 16th), but it also typically means Vacation time! And if I could go anywhere in the world for an amazing spring break it would be a week’s vacation in the Caribbean.

A few years ago, my family and I took a cruise across the Caribbean visiting Aruba, Curacao, The Dominican Republic, and Turks and Cacaos Islands and I absolutely want to go back very soon, especially during spring break. To me it really doesn’t matter which island I visit because the great thing about each of them is that they are unique and special in their own way, but you could also visit multiple islands during your vacation. But if you asked me to stay at one island, I would go back to Curacao in a heart-beat because that’s where I celebrated my 19th birthday at.

The great features about Curacao is that the Island looks incredible. I loved the various housing features, and how the buildings were structured along the island because since the Island is part of the Netherlands it sort of had this European design with a little Caribbean twist. And of course, you couldn’t help but fall in love with the miles and miles of beaches and the coast line along the Island. The next great thing about Curacao was how friendly and welcoming the people were. During my day, there I met so many people from Europe who were so incredibly nice and friendly, while also helping me celebrate my birthday even though they didn’t know me. Even the locals were amazing for celebrating with me, but it was also great to hear how they lived on the island, and knowing almost six different languages.

But by far the greatest feature about Curacao was the amount of activities that they had to do there. For example, one of the very first things that they had to do, was that you could take a little sea plane and get a tour of the island from the air. Throughout the day, we would see the planes fly around our ship and it looked like a lot of fun. You could also go on little safari tours where you drive little dune buggies around forest areas while also getting to see the local wildlife that live on the island. But of course, you always had the option to just lounge away on the beaches, and enjoy a good old fashion beach day. I remember I lucked up, by getting a hammock between two palm trees and getting an incredible view of the ocean. Not only that but, I also got to play volleyball with a few people, go play on an obstacle course, and just not worry about anything, except for just having fun.

So how would I get there and where would I stay you ask? Well of course I would fly there by commercial airliner, because there are two great combinations about the Caribbean Islands that I love, and that is an airport right next to a beach. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos of planes taking off and landing at Caribbean Islands like St. Marteen where people stand right under the airplane as it lands or try to hold on to the rail as a jet takes off a few feet in front of them. As far as hotels go, there was a group of hotels along the east side of the island where you can meet people from various parts of the world, while also being close to a lot of restaurants and shops during your stay, so I would want to stay over in that part of the Island.

Even though I would love to go back to Curacao one day, right now I can’t afford it (of course), but like I said before I think that a spring break vacation to any of the Caribbean Islands would be just what the doctor ordered.

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”