The Great BANYAN!

This week I had the opportunity to visit an impeccable fixed based operator (FBO) at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). Banyan  Air Service has been in business now for 37 years and they take pride in their excellent services and their history. According to the Professional Pilot’s Magazine Banyan was voted top 10 for both 2016 best FBO is the US and best independent FBO. Also based on 2016 AIN survey results Banyan was voted to top 5% best FBO in the Americas and number 1 in the southeast region. Impressively, Banyan gets about 80% of the General Aviation traffic at FXE and they are planning on expanding even more to the north side of the field.
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Yesterday I was privileged to have a meeting with the Director of Customer Support at Banyan Air Service. In this meeting I was given insight on the behind the scenes operation of Banyan from the FBO management system to the future predictions of what is in store for Banyan.

An FBO management system is an important asset to any aviation company as it comprises of inventory of fuel sales, customer tracking, payroll, retail sales, working personnel and many more personalized functions. Majority of FBO’s don’t use a management system because the initial cost of startup is extremely expensive and it is also very costly to keep it updated. Some FBO’s use total FBO (TFBO) which is a commercial software that FBO’s can purchase. However, Banyan created their own FBO management system which is extremely impressive! They have an IT team of 4 persons that created this system and are also in charge of updating it and coming up with new creative features. The management at Banyan allows the IT team to have their creative freedom where the IT team presents their ideas to management and management then analyses the risk and feasibility after which they then accept or deny the proposal.

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Banyan Air Service is what I call a multifaceted company they are comprised of different departments providing various amounts of air service. What surprised me the most while visiting Banyan was the size of this company on the airfield, the FBO is just one facet of this company and Banyan’s expansion throughout the airfield is far more than I had ever imagined! A few of Banyan’s services include a FBO, a pilot shop, hangar storage, avionics department and a maintenance department.

If you are flying into Fort Lauderdale I highly recommend going to Banyan. I can promise you it will be an experience you will not forget, the quality of service is beyond this world and the staff is so courteous. Visiting Banyan was an experience I will remember for a lifetime and I will definitely go back!

Check out some more pics from around Banyan below:

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Spins, Spins and more Spins

Last December I had a great time doing spins in the Citabria. It was undoubtedly the most fun I had flying, but unless you are doing aerobatic flying, a spin is a situation in which you definitely do not want to get into. A spin is an aggravated stall that results in autorotation where the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. An aircraft can spin as a result of entering an uncoordinated stall. That’s why when practicing stalls it is important to remain coordinated.

What happens in a spin?

In a spin both wings are stalled, however one wing is producing more lift than the other. In a spin the airplane rotates around the vertical axis, where the rising wing is less stalled than the descending wing creating a rolling, yawing and pitching motion all at once.

There are levels to this…

There are four phases in a spin:

The first phase is called the entry phase, here the wing initially starts to drop and where the pilot provides the necessary elements for a spin, either accidentally or intentionally.

The next stage is the incipient stage which is the time from when the airplane stalls and rotation starts until the spin has fully developed. This is usually the first two turns and lasts about 4 to 6 seconds.

After the incipient stage is the developed phase where the spin is in equilibrium and rotation is now stable.

The final stage of a spin the recovery stage where the nose steepens and rotation stops. However, this stage may last from a quarter of a turn to several turns. In this stage the pilot initiates control inputs to disrupt the spin equilibrium by stopping the rotation and stall!

Spin Recovery

It is important that every pilot knows how to recover from a spin. The general rule is using the PARE method. Which is bring the power to idle, neutralizing the ailerons, applying full opposite rudder and applying forward elevator pressure. However it should be noted that the recovery method for each aircraft is located in that aircraft’s Pilot information Manual.

Check out some cool pics from my spin flight! These are pictures from the developed phase of a spin!

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About Melbourne International Airport

Melbourne International Airport, this is where it all began, the inception of my aviation career. Located on the Space Coast of Florida, MLB boasts its longest runway 9R-27L of 10,000 feet. The nature of this airport makes it great for flight training operations. With Melbourne being a towered airport it helps primary flight students with ATC radio communications and practicing standard ATC phraseology. Melbourne is currently served by four airlines including Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Porter Airlines and Elite Airways, averaging about 6 arriving airline flights daily. On a typical day, MLB usually has less busy flight operations in comparison to other towered airports, making it more feasible to conduct fight training activities.

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What I love the most about MLB is that it is located right on the east coast of Florida with the NASA shuttle landing facility just a few miles north and the Sebastian Inlet a few miles south. It is also perfect for sightseeing and nothing beats flying over the beaches after a long day of class or a seeing the sun making its majestic rise over the Atlantic Ocean. Melbourne International Airport also hosts an Embraer Jet manufacturing plant as well as its Phenom 100 and 200 showroom. And it is always exciting to watch the new Phenom 100 and 300’s flying in the pattern on their production flight tests.
An interesting fact, just recently MLB changed its name to the Orlando Melbourne International Airport in an attempt to lure more passengers and air services. The directors of Melbourne Airport want travelers to consider Melbourne as a less congested alternative to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Orlando Sanford International (SFB). I thought this was a very good marketing strategy as there is a lot of publicity attached the name Orlando. And so if you are traveling to Florida anytime soon and planning to stay into the Orlando area, fly into Melbourne, experience the Space Coast, come enjoy the adventure.
Until next time….

Night Flying: The Fun and Safe Way

 

I haven’t done much night flying lately but I sure do miss it. Flying at night is one of those experiences I will forever enjoy, especially when flying over cities. However it is important to be prepared for night flying as there is an increase in risk in comparison to day time flying. There are numerous illusions that a pilot may face at night and as such it is important that a pilot can recognize these illusions and know how to deal with them.

A common illusion that a pilot may face when landing at night is the “black hole” approach. I personally have experienced this before while doing a visual approach on 9R at Melbourne (MLB)  at night. The black hole approach usually occurs when landing is made from over water or over an unlit terrain where the runway lights are the only source of light. While doing the approach, a pilot may appear to be higher than he/she really is and as a result a pilot may fly a lower approach and run the risk of striking objects or even landing short of the runway.  Pilots should also be extra cautious at airports where they can adjust the brightness of the runway lights. Bright runway and approach lights can cause the illusion of the runway being closer resulting in a higher approach.  Also, if flying into a towered airport at night, it is completely okay to ask the controllers to adjust the lighting if it is too bright.

Before night flying a pilot should also avoid bright lights for at least thirty minutes before flying. This is because the rods located in our eyes are needed for night vision and it usually takes about thirty minutes for them to become adjusted. Some precautions that I would take when flying at night would be dimming the cockpit lights or even turning it off so that night adaptation is not compromised.  I would especially dim the instrument panel lights especially that of a glass cockpit.

As I said before night flying is so much fun, but it’s all about being safe and taking the necessary precautions while having a blast!

How To Get Rid of the “Checkride Nerves”

 

As you may know some pilots in training have a great fear or nervousness when it comes on to checkrides. I know in the past when I had checkrides coming up I would always get anxious the day before or on the morning of the checkride. I would be fine couple days before the checkride but on that morning my nerves took full control. What really caused this anxiousness is the fact that I was worrying if I would pass or fail, and of course because of my human nature I think of the worst possible situation. What helped me to overcome this fear was really trusting in my training and preparing myself to the best of my ability to that I can pass. I no longer thought about if I would pass or fail, but instead I would tell myself to put on a show for the check instructor and to just have fun with it. But everyone thinks differently and there is no one way to skin a cat, so I have created a list below to help those with checkride anxiety.

Checkride anxiety remedies:

  1. Be prepared: Ensure that you go through the PTS thoroughly so that you can know the subject areas that your check instructor will ask you. The more you are prepared the more confident you will be.
  2. Treat the two flights before your checkride flight like the actual checkride. If you can perform the maneuvers to standards consistently there is a greater chance that you will do the same on your checkride.
  3. Get some sleep the night before the checkride, don’t burn out yourself the night before because I can guarantee you will mostly likely underperform! Also sleeps helps the brain to consolidate information, and you will need to remember how to explain those tough questions in the checkride.
  4. And lastly, do what I do! Be confident, trust in your abilities, put on a show for the check instructor and have fun!

Spring Break 2016 Blog!

A very hectic week has come to an end! This week will go down in my college history as being one of the most onerous weeks ever! On the brighter side, I’m now on Spring Break and I gained my first two students this past week. When I walked into the briefing room at FIT Aviation it was at that moment I realized that this was the real test of my CFI training, how effectively I can transfer ground and flight knowledge to my students!  I currently have two private pilot students and a part of my goal is to create an aviation experience for them that they will never forget. I’m also looking forward to sending my first student on his solo! It is crazy looking back two years ago when I did my first solo, time surely does fly! I remember my first cross country solo as a student pilot and all the fun I had form Melbourne (MLB) to Okeechobee (OBE) then to Stuart (SUA) in that piper warrior that flaunted the FIT Aviation colors of red and white.  It was after my first solo where I gained the confidence needed when flying an airplane and communicating with air traffic control. Check out the pics below from my first cross country solo!

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Spring Break!!
I’m so excited to get my spring break started! I flew into Houston today to kick off spring break 2016! This is actually my first time spending spring break out of Melbourne, for the first time I had no responsibilities to attend to and it’s a great feeling to get away from campus every once in a while. I’m, ready to make the most of this break as I know hard work awaits me in the future.

The Accidents We Never Hear About

Aircraft accidents on the ground from park to taxi is very common in the aviation industry but it is often times not highlighted because the media does not deem it “important enough” to air to the world. Ramp rash is the term that refers to these aircraft accidents on the ground that causes some amount of damage to the aircraft. Damage from ramp rash can occur in a variety of ways including ramp vehicles and service equipment that is operating in close proximity to aircraft on the ground. However the most common parts of an aircraft that suffer damage on the ground is the aft baggage compartment (due to the loading and unloading of baggage by ground personnel), engine, wings and forward or rear fuselage.  Not only does ramp rash pose a safety issue but it also costs airlines a lot of money.

How do airlines lose money because of this?

Indirect costs may accumulate over a long period of time and it includes loss of direct revenue because of a loss of passenger fares, accident investigation, the potential need for the replacement of aircraft, and flight cancellations. Airlines also lose more money on flight cancelations or overnight delays because they have to provide accommodation and rewards for the affected passengers.  But what most people fail to recognize is the huge impact it has on the public image of an airline. Airlines lose a lot of money if passengers don’t trust in their services. Essentially, we are the backbone of airlines and without us, the paying customers, there would be no airline industry. As a result airlines try to find ways to improve their image or maintain a favorable image so that they can keep their customers.

My Recommendations

I think it is extremely worthwhile for aviation companies and airlines to invest in ground operations safety.  If aviation companies are worried about the costs of investing in this safety system, they should think about all those indirect costs that would cause them to spend much more money. Not only will they be losing more money but also their public image will be damaged in the event of a major accident. On the other hand, they could advertise the use of this system to justify their safety culture which will improve their image and attract more customers. Just like the popular saying “prevention is better than cure” I believe it would be less expensive and easier to prevent aircraft damage that trying to fix it.