NOTAMs

Decoding NOTAMs

Decoding NOTAMs: Hanoi to Hong Kong Captain Judy’s Corner The Citation jet was ready for departure at Hanoi, Vietnam (VVNB) with a destination Hong Kong (VHHH). Weather was agreeable along our entire route. The NOTAMs were an issue. Acquiring the most current weather and NOTAMs can be challenging when flying international. For example, each country will have a different responsible agency to contact for this information. Once the pilot locates the agency, they must often pay a fee and apply for ramp access to the facility. Airlines provide this information to the crew. General aviation pilots can pre-purchase this information through a commercial contractor or locate the agency on their own. During our 2015 World Flight, we pre-purchased these services. … Read more

PIREPs

Cross-Country Adventure PIREPs

Captain Judy’s Corner: Cross-Country Adventure with PIREPs Sunrise brings the promise of perfect flying weather! Today is a satisfying day to apply your knowledge to practice with the long solo cross-country. Therefore, your private pilot check ride prep will follow.  You arrive at Epic Flight Academy obtaining a final review on weather before departure. There are ample computers in the flight planning area connected to Aviation Weather. The METeorogical Aerodrome Report (METAR), Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF), graphic weather, radar and satellite imaging, prognostic charts all indicate departure, enroute weather, and destination are visual flight rules (VFR). There are currently no pilot reports, also called PIREPs, along your route. A call to 800-WX-BRIEF Flight Service Station (FSS) briefer verified the VFR online … Read more

Airfoil

Learn about airfoil

What is an airfoil? The definition of an airfoil (or aerofoil in the UK) is a structure with curved surfaces, such as an airplane wing, fins, and horizontal stabilizer, designed to provide the best ratio of lift to drag during flight. The meaning of airfoil is the same for all aircraft. Let’s consider the stubby, short wings of my Grumman compared to the long, flowing wings of the Epic Flight Academy’s Cessna 172SP. You may wonder how my little bird would have enough wing to leave Earth’s gravity. You can compare this to an egret flapping frantically to rise a few feet from the sand. Its tiny wings are capable of supporting what appears to be an oversized body. However, … Read more

Approach

Flight Approaches

Captain Judy’s Corner: Technological Historical Approach Looking from the Citation jet cockpit, Charles de Gaulle international airport (CDG) was off our right wingtip. The city of Paris was off our left wing. La Bourget airport (LFPB) was directly ahead. The stunning view took our breath away. We anticipated stepping back in time as we approached this famous airport. La Bourget conjured up images of 1927 with a lanky, tasseled-haired Charles Lindberg climbing down from his gray monoplane having just completed his historic nonstop flight from New York City to Paris. We were about to make a technological historic approach. Coming into Paris As we approached LFPB, we could have been on any instrument landing system (ILS) in the world with exceptions based on … Read more

Aeronautical Decision-making

Aeronautical Decision-Making at Epic

Captain Judy’s Corner Early in 2020, our lives changed when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Governors and state agencies issued emergency orders for the temporary closures of businesses and organizations in an effort to reduce the spread of this virus. All segments of the aviation industry have felt the impact. Transportation was listed as one of the l0 essential services permitted to continue operations, which included flight training. The principles of aeronautical decision-making can be applied to this and other situations. Epic Flight Academy took immediate and proactive action to ensure all operations continued without interruption. Epic leadership went beyond the recommended advice provided by the Centers for Disease Control. (Note: The photo above was taken prior to … Read more

Love at First Flight

Grumman AA1A maneuvers

Above: Maneuverability and handling characteristics vary from aircraft to aircraft. Pictured here is Captain Judy Rice in her AA1A. Captain Judy’s Corner: Love at First Flight – Handling Characteristics Make Every Aircraft Unique Aircraft handling characteristics are important. I initially trained in a docile Cessna 150 (C150) and a spunky Piper Tomahawk. I appreciated the C150’s stability and enjoyed the Tomahawk’s maneuverable handling characteristics. Shortly after completing my private pilot check ride, I noticed a cute little airplane practicing take-offs and landings. Looking to increase my experience, this looked to be a fun airplane to fly. I inquired at the airport office regarding this mysterious airplane. Three pilots owned the Grumman AA1A. One of the owners offered a flight and mentioned it was … Read more

The Need for Speed

Citation Mustang flown by Captain Judy Rice

Above: Captain Judy Rice stands next to the Citation Mustang in which she broke a world speed record. Captain Judy’s Corner: The Need for Speed Going for a world record! An aircraft speed record is no small thing. As the Citation approached Kangerlussuaq, Greenland (BGSF), I queried the Air Traffic Controller about their readiness as officiators for my Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), National Aeronautic Association (NAA) World Record Attempt. The controller responded, “Affirmative.” After landing, two airport officials assured the jet was fueled before giving a friendly wave as I taxied to the runway hold lines. After that, ATC cleared us direct to Reykjavik. In a heavy Danish accent, the air traffic controller remarked, “The clock is ready for your record-breaker, N178SF!” Kangerlussuaq, … Read more

This Is Your Captain Speaking

This is your Captain Speaking

This is your Captain speaking… Captain Judy’s Corner: The Importance of Understanding the Ignition System You have envisioned sitting in the left seat announcing to the passengers, “This is your Captain speaking, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.” Awaking from your dream, you look over at the mounds of study material open on the desk. What do I need to know to become a pilot? Nothing as an Earthling prepares a student for the amount of what seems like alien knowledge and skills required to become a pilot. A few examples of this knowledge required to earn a certificate are the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) comparable to studying a legal document; then understanding weather as an amateur meteorologist; and, … Read more

Hurricane Preparedness

Nat Geo Hurricane Tracks over 10 years

10-Year Hurricane Track (2005-2015) Source: National Geographic Captain Judy’s Corner: Hurricanes – What’s in a name? Did you know that “Huracan” was the god of big winds and evil spirits worshiped by the Maya people of Central America? Hurricane preparedness is serious business. While people have been naming major storms for hundreds of years, meteorologist first named hurricanes by the latitude and longitude coordinates where the storm was located. This system of tracking was confusing to people seeking hurricane information. In the early 1950s, the U.S. National Hurricane Center started the process by naming storms according to a phonetic alphabet, such as: Able, Baker, Charlie. The first hurricane of each season was always named “Able,” the second “Baker,” and so … Read more

Once Upon a Time: Filing a Flight Plan

Captain Judy Rice

Captain Judy Rice found the ICAO International Flight Plan form beneficial during her world flight. Captain Judy’s Corner: Once Upon a Time… Filing a Flight Plan This fairy tale began long before the FAA announcement for change to the form used by United States pilots when filing a flight plan. The purpose of a flight plan might be compared to going on a long drive to visit a relative. You let your relative know the overall anticipated travel arrangements, and you include approximate time of arrival. An overdue arrival would likely cause concern, and your relative will likely call you to make sure you’re alright. A flight plan is much like having your relative on the other end of your … Read more