The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and inspiring interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
RFT 490: Lynsey Howell
My personal philosophy is to be authentic, of service, and always courageous.
I love inspiring pilots and helping them build the footwork necessary to achieve their dream flying job. I work with pilots 1:1 and in group coaching sessions on all the important facets of success outside the cockpit. I also develop online courses to support pilots. My courses are on interviewing, perfecting scholarship packets, and also my signature course, The 5 Step Plan to the Flight Deck.
I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Kansas State University-Salina in Airway Management, Professional Pilot. I have since spent 20 years in the aviation industry in various roles but mostly as a corporate pilot.
ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, IGI, AGI.
Corporate pilot Part 91/135 in a C210, C525, Bonanza, Baron, Hawker 800, King Air 200, Learjet 45, Phenom 100, and a Citation X.
121 Seaplane pilot on the Twin Otter for Seaborne Airlines in the Caribbean.
First Officer and Captain Part 135 in the Phenom 100 jet for JetSuite, “Red Stripe”.
Raised $8k on Kickstarter to self-publish “Finding Amelia” a children’s book I wrote to inspire girls about aviation.
Flight School Manager at Aerodynamic Aviation in Monterey CA, Part 61.
Operations Manager and Interview Consultant at Cage Marshall Consulting.
PreFlight Aviation Camp Volunteer Coordinator.
NBAA Small Flight Department Committee Member.
Student Body President for the College of Technology and Aviation at Kansas State University.
Awarded the Kansas State University at Salina award for Dedication and Determination.
RFT 489: Cleared Out Of The Pattern!
On May 24, 1963 I was cleared for a one-hour flight out of the traffic pattern. I had been accepted to start at the United States Air Force Academy in another month, and this would be my last flight at Lovett Field. I was really looking forward to this flight after finishing my afternoon classes at the University of Delaware.
I mean, I was REALLY looking forward to this flight. You see, it was a very warm spring day, and the word at the university was that the coeds would sunbathe au naturale on the roof of the Student Union building (the stairs to the roof had a sign that read "Women Only"). I wanted to see for myself if this was true!
Waldo probably figured I had an ulterior motive when I told him I wanted to check out the route from the university to the airfield. Before I took off he said, "Be sure to stay high enough that no one can read the airplane numbers".
So I flew at about 4000 feet over the University of Delaware, looked down at the Student Union building, and discovered that from 4000 feet you can't tell the difference between a lawn chair and a sunbathing coed. So I headed west to practice some airwork.
I did a few stalls, practiced some chandelles, and got the feel for the airplane in a variety of maneuvers. And then it occurred to me that I had no earthly idea where I was! My airplane had no electrical system, no radio, no aeronautical charts, and I was totally lost.
I made another discovery on that flight. I learned that even though I was still bathed in sunlight, at dusk the ground below is very dark and hard to distinguish landmarks.
Fortunately, Waldo had been cutting the grass on the sod runways, and the distinctive runway pattern clearly stood out in the distance, and I was able to make my way back, albeit a bit later than anticipated.
RFT 488: Pilots Together Trustee Katy Lee
PilotsTogether is a charity established by current pilots and their supporters. Our goal is to ensure that pilots made redundant from a large UK-based airline remain a part of our community, retain the skills they already have and to help them gain new ones, and ultimately find new jobs. We also aim to ensure that no former colleagues face significant financial hardship. We are a new charity, established in summer 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19 on our community.
I am a professional pilot working with a major UK airline on the 737. With a Masters in Human Factors in Aviation, well-being and pilot mental health are my real passions.
Having previously flown the Q400 for Flybe, and seen many of my friends deal with redundancy as a result, I know it’s purely luck that I’m not in the same situation. Being able to contribute a little to help those individuals struggling in the current climate seems the least I can do.
One key aspect of well-being is making sure that those pilots not currently flying still feel part of the aviation family, and supported by us, and that is key to what I want to help achieve.
If you want to help furloughed pilots, you can donate here.
RFT 487: My First Solo
In August 1962, I was 17 years old and taking Private Pilot lessons at Atlantic Aviation in Wilmington, Delaware. I was taking my lessons in a PA-18 Super Cub, and felt like I was getting close to solo. At the time, a minimum of 8 hours was required to solo, with most students taking about 12 hours. I had slightly under 11 hours and my instructor indicated my solo would be soon. I was on cloud nine as I drove home from my lesson. I would be able to solo before starting classes at the University of Delaware in September!
There's an old expression, "The most dangerous part of flying is the drive to and from the airport". That was certainly true for me. On my way home a drunk driver slammed into the back of my car, causing a serious whiplash injury. I had to wear a cervical collar for nine months.
When I showed up for my next flight lesson, my instructor told me there was NO WAY I could solo as long as I couldn't turn my head to clear for traffic. He was right, of course. I continued taking lessons every couple of weeks, but it was starting to get EXPENSIVE - after all, it was costing TEN DOLLARS AN HOUR for flying lessons!
Finally, in March, I was able to remove my cervical collar for a few hours a day, and expected to immediately solo, but my instructor apparently wanted to be sure I could safely clear for traffic. I was at 24 hours total flying time, and still hadn't soloed. I decided I needed a different flight school. I was living in a U. of D. dorm in Newark, and found a nearby grass strip with a "Learn To Fly" sign a few miles down Highway 279.
I met the owner, Waldo Lovett, and showed him my logbook.
He was immediately concerned about what a dangerous student pilot I must be, having that much time without soloing. But he agreed to train me in his PA-11, which is a J-3 Cub that can be flown solo from the front seat. I got the training for $9 an hour.
No electrical system, no radios, no starter. No preflight inspection. For three more half-hour flights, I got in the airplane and held the brakes, Waldo spun the prop, and we practiced landing on turf. FINALLY, on April 2, 1963, I was cleared solo!
In my heart I absolutely KNEW that I would never become a military or professional pilot, because I was such a lousy pilot it took 25:30 to finally solo!
The PA-11 I trained in, N4681M, was unfortunately destroyed in a landing accident in 2016. I had often thought of trying to buy it, but the 65 horsepower engine would never have been able to handle Colorado's mile high elevation.
RFT 486: Pilot/Anecdotist Mo Barrett
Mo Barrett launched her distinguished career as a successful failure at the Air Force Academy, persevering after becoming the first member of her pilot training class to receive a grade of “Unsatisfactory.” As an Air Force pilot, she flew the Alenia C-27A throughout Central and South America, then moved to Northern California to fly the Lockheed C-5 around the globe. After 9/11, Mo deployed with a small team to bare bases in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, converting them from austere fields to airlift hubs.
Mo has dealt with the shame, stigma, struggle and success of being a life-long non-conformist and lesbian in the military’s structured environment. She retired as a Colonel after a 25-year Air Force career leveraging hard work and an ability to view the world through lenses of humor, optimism and perspective. She has survived and thrived as a multi-minority and now connects with audiences of all ages and walks of life as a DC tour guide, podcast co-host and storyteller. Mo entertains audiences with her unique presentation style and contagious energy as she charts a course for people who want to laugh, learn and think!
RFT 485: Takeoff Climb Gradients
In the airline world, there are a number of new rules, limits, and terms a pilot needs to learn. One area in which a new understanding needs to be had is in the takeoff.
Gone are the days when, as a general aviation pilot, you can just eyeball the runway, the load, the airplane, measure the wind with your thumb, and go for it. When you are flying passengers and cargo for hire, you need to be able to comply with the segmented climb. Specifically—-and this is key—-you need to be able to meet the climb requirements on a single engine (assuming you are flying a twin-engine jet) as a result of an engine failure at V1 [takeoff decision speed, but a beyond the scope of this post]. It is assumed that you will meet all the requirements if every engine is running.
The first segment is short—it ends when the airplane is airborne and the gear is retracted. Not partially retracted, but fully up-and-locked retracted. The airspeed must be up to V2, commonly known as “takeoff safety speed,” but in technical terms, the speed for best climb gradient.
The second segment requirement is often the most difficult one to meet. Segment two begins when the gear is up and locked and the speed is V2. This segment has the steepest climb gradient: 2.4 percent. This equates to a ballpark figure of around 300 feet per minute, and for a heavy airplane on a hot day with a failed engine, this can be a challenge. Often, when the airlines announce that a flight is weight-limited on hot summer days, this is the reason (the gate agent doesn’t know this kind of detail, and nor does she care; she just knows some people aren’t going).
The magic computers we use for computing performance data figure all this out, saving us the trouble of using charts and graphs. All we know is that we can either carry the planned load or we can’t.
Second segment climb ends at 400 feet, so it could take up to a minute or more to fly this segment. Think of all the obstacles that might be in the departure path in the course of 60 seconds or more.
Third segment climb begins at 400 feet, and here the rules can vary. The climb gradient is now half of what it was before: 1.2 percent. However, we are also required to accelerate to a speed called VFS (final segment climb speed). In graphs and publications, the third segment of the climb is often depicted as being a flat line for the acceleration. In many turboprops, that’s exactly the way it’s flown. The airplane is leveled off (and the pilot is using a very tired leg to overcome the increasing yaw tendency via the rudder) and accelerated before the final climb begins.
In jets, however, there is generally enough power in the remaining engine to avoid a level-off. If the airplane can continue to accelerate during the third segment, it may continue to climb, so long as it can do so without a decrease in speed or performance. In fact, during the climb it must continue to meet the climb gradient while accelerating to VFS.
Third segment climb ends upon reaching VFS.
The fourth and “final segment” begins upon reaching VFS and completing the climb configuration process. It is now permissible (and maybe necessary) to reduce thrust to a Maximum Continuous setting. The climb gradient is again 1.2 percent, and VFS must be maintained to 1,500 feet above field elevation.
V1 cuts and single-engine climbs are a staple of turboprop and jet training. It is critical that a pilot of such equipment understand what the objective is when it comes to performing the maneuver, and why the requirements are what they are. This material is taught in much greater detail in ground school than I presented here. In fact, there may be a few deviations and exceptions to the above, as this is a general introduction (there are, like many things in aviation, always caveats, so bear that in mind).
Some pilots dread V1 cuts, but the best way to