Red Tails

Epic Red Tail Project

Captain Judy’s Corner: Epic’s Red Tail Project “Aircraft on final for runway 9, winds favor runway 27. Red Grumman departing runway 27.”  Over 25 years ago, and I still vividly recall the departure at this Class G, uncontrolled airport. The incoming white aircraft never acknowledged my radio call.  Every year, runway incursions, traffic conflicts, mid-air collisions, and near misses occur. The FAA FAST Team reports an average of 30 mid-air collisions in the United States each year. Mid-air collisions are generally reported below 8,000 feet AGL, within 30 miles of an airport, and involving aircraft with communication equipment.  Radios are not required equipment in Class E, Class G, or at uncontrolled airports. The FAA advises playing it safe and making … Read more

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

What is turbulence, and why is it so scary?

Flight Turbulence

Does turbulence shake you up? It shouldn’t! Pilots experience different types of turbulence during flight. Understanding turbulence can help you better respond when you face this situation. What is the definition of turbulence? Flight turbulence is something most passengers hate. What is turbulence? The meaning of turbulence is a sudden, violent shift in airflow. It creates up and down currents caused by irregular atmospheric motion. You can also define turbulence as that sudden jerking you sometimes feel in an airplane! So, what does understanding turbulent flow have to do with safe flying? We were in the clouds, Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), and flying in an area without radar coverage. My first officer (FO) was busy programming the Citation jet’s system … Read more

Summer Internship

A Sneak Peek of My Summer Internship at Epic Flight Academy By Cilia Salam Finding an Internship During the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity to do a summer internship with Epic Flight Academy. I had been trying to earn some work experience in the new normal of COVID-19 before I graduate with my master’s degree in the fall semester. At the beginning of the spring semester, I started applying and looking for internship opportunities. Like any other ambitious and enthusiastic ERAU aviation student, I was looking forward to an internship at a major airline. With uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the airlines had little to no availability for an intern. I ended up looking at local flight schools upon … 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

Pilots as Mechanics

Pilots as A&P Mechanics

Should You Become Both? Becoming an aircraft mechanic is a rewarding career. So is becoming a pilot. So, why would anyone go to the trouble of becoming both? After all, you’ll likely choose one or the other for a career. There are many good reasons why people choose to train in both fields. For example, a professional pilot who has become trained as an aircraft mechanic is more likely to notice if something seems ‘off’ during flight. This is a safety issue. Just as an auto mechanic would notice a problem while driving, an A&P would notice a problem with flying. Likewise, a professional mechanic who is also a pilot knows exactly how the controls should feel or how the … 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

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

Thunderstorm Flexibility

Flying in thunderstorms

Captain Judy’s Corner: Flexibility is the Key to Safety in a Thunderstorm Thunderstorm flexibility is essential for all pilots. The Citation was at FL370 (37000’) when I saw a thunderstorm building in the distance. I was amazed to watch and feel this energy from a far distance. The cumulonimbus clouds were building higher than the jet’s altitude. The lightning brightened the darkening sky. Are thunderstorms really all that dangerous? Every student pilot dreads the thunderstorm. Thunderstorms are part of summer weather in Florida, and most pilots here know to respect them. Thunderstorms are one of nature’s most powerful forces and a weather hazard that are dangerous for all pilots. Flying too close to these powerful beasts can end in disaster. … Read more