Pattern Work

US Navy F-18 Landing Typical Profile

I’m near certain that umpteen zillion posts have written about this subject.  Nevertheless, here I go with my addition to the pile.

How do you teach students to land safely, who didn’t know how to fly a mere 10 hours ago?

The answer, to me, is 100% about feel, energy management (à la glider teaching), looking, sensing and adjusting as necessary.  A trap that I, and many of my colleagues, have fallen into is thinking that landing is something a student will embrace if they are given firm numbers, power settings, checkpoints etc.  Any type of recipe that emphasizes standardization exclusively does two big disservices to the student:

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BFL and why it matters

BFLFor those pilots out there this post will cause you to wonder “why is he writing that?” followed by: “I know about that.”

I know you do – this isn’t for you.  It’s for everyone else.  With the high profile accident at Bedford, MA (KBED) this past weekend with a Gulfstream G-IV N121JM running off the departure end of its runway, it at least warranted a post.  While the cause of the accident is yet to be determined, a lot of our non-flying followers and members queried us about what happened.  While we can’t answer, we thought it at least appropriate to have a balanced field length or BFL explanation since when everything works as advertised, balanced field length is what makes every departure, or aborted take off go smoothly.

The good news is that BFL is all about safety.  And while a non-pilot will never have to compute it, knowing what it is will at least make you feel better about those hot and heavy take offs on days when you think that the airplane is working extra hard.  Continue reading BFL and why it matters

Surfair Suffering from Convention

Pilatus_PC_12Revolution is tough without that disruptive nugget.  Not having that nugget has led Surfair to retreat into the conventional operation of what could have been a novel membership based system.  I’ve followed them since their birth since I’m no stranger to the concept of moving Pilatus PC-12s around with people in them whilst attempting to make money.  What was great about Surfair, is that they validated our own Grabajet aspirations that I had designed with my business partner.

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Rethinking Revenue

air-taxi-12One of the curses of private aviation start ups (the great air taxi revolution!) is the obvious – not enough utilization, not enough income and giant killer overhead. The dynamic between revenue and utilization is the simple reality that when both go up the fixed costs are less per flight, per hour, per passenger, etc. While this may be airplane economics 101 the landscape is littered with brave and smart people with vision who, in the words of someone in 2005, wanted to “darken the skies” with Eclipses. As we know, that didn’t happen, in large part because Dayjet, despite having the best minds and resources, didn’t happen. Continue reading Rethinking Revenue

Hawker 400XP / Beechjet 2012 Aircraft Review

We last took a look at the Beechjet aka Hawker 400XP in 2009. The smart move would have been (if you were buying in 2009, which in all fairness, seemed like a good time to buy…) to go with an early 1990s vintage Beechjet 400A.  Then, at least, you’d be the winner of the least depreciation contest – a mere 25%.  But we come bearing good news. Continue reading Hawker 400XP / Beechjet 2012 Aircraft Review

The 2012 Hawker Review

Well, it’s that time again.  The Hawker Review gets some love every couple of years and we’re making it available for a while at no charge for the benefit of Hawker 800XP owners (as well as older and newer) and for yet to be Hawker owners.  The big thing to note this year is what is happening to a swath of about 500 serial numbers that wear the Hawker 800XP monicker.   Continue reading The 2012 Hawker Review

Times of Plenty

How many people are there in the world that can buy a jet?  Good news … not enough.

Prices will continue to fall for the foreseeable future for the simple reason that building wealth (and convincing partners) takes time.  Compounding this is the fact that manufacturers need to make new stuff.  Problem: There are lots of great late model deals to be had.  Be it a Hawker, Lear 60 or Astra SPX (now Gulfstream G100 or 150)…. there’s good news on the buying side. Continue reading Times of Plenty

Hawker Series Aircraft Review Update 2012

The 2012 version of the Hawker review is just about done.  We don’t have too many major changes to report this year other than the pending Netjets dumping of their series and which serial numbers this will affect most adversely.   All in all it has been a brutal 4 years for the type, though the XPR upgrade for the later models proves hopeful for the charter management and fractional owners.  Continue reading Hawker Series Aircraft Review Update 2012