Blue Origin's New Shepard Reaches Space...and Lands Upright

In case it wasn't clear before this week, there's a New Space Race on! Congratulations are in order this week for Billionaire Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin. They're celebrating a major success: the first VTOL spaceflight of their New Shepard rocket.

Awesome Out of Nowhere: Cobalt CO50 Valkyrie

A few days ago I came across an article announcing an awesome new aircraft that I expect will be selling like hotcakes in the very near future. Strangely, I found out about it in an article on Wired, and I'd never heard any mention of this plane before.

The Cobalt CO50 Valkyrie had me drooling the moment I saw it.

MRJ and Compadres Nearing Completion

I almost can't believe that I first wrote about the Mitsubishi MRJ more than 7 years ago. Mitsubishi has a new website for the project and it looks like their jet is almost ready for its first flight. (7 years later!) It seems like a pretty impressive aircraft. It's geared turbofan engines save money, burn less fuel and make less noise than competitors. It's a Cat IIIa airplane and has the latest Collins avionics. I'm excited to see this clean-sheet design about to hit the market.

Military Pilot - Why Should I Get My CFI?

For a long time, military pilots have been able to obatin an FAA Commercial Pilot certificate by presenting proof of passing a military check ride in an aircraft of any given category and class (and type if applicable.) Several years ago, the FAA approved a long-overdue decision to grant military instructor pilots a free CFI rating under a similar rule. (For reference, the approval for both cases is specified in 14 CFR 61.73(g).) This is a huge benefit for military pilots! A CFI add-on costs civilians thousands of dollars at places like ATP Flight School.

Military Pilot Logbook Conversion

Updated 20 October, 2015.

As a military pilot who is also involved heavily in General Aviation, a lot of people ask me how to translate their military flight hours to meet the criteria for an airline application. Unfortunately, this isn't a simple answer. I've tried (and failed) several times to write a single-source document to explain how to do this conversion. This page is my latest attempt.

How Do I Get My Airline Application Noticed?

Updated. I'm embarrassed to say that I forgot what are now numbers 1 and 2 when I first posted this yesterday.

I recently got hired by a major airline and have been asked several times for advice on applications, interviews, etc. from other hopeful future airline pilots. One of the questions I’ve repeatedly fielded is: “My app has been in the system for a while, but I haven't heard from anyone. What can I do to make my application more attractive?” I’m writing this in hopes of sharing my advice with a larger audience.

Disclaimers: 1) Some of this will be tailored to military pilots applying to the airlines, but I think most of it still applies to pilots who haven't served in the military. 2) There is no magic "right answer." If I knew that answer, I probably wouldn't give it away here for free. 3) I’m no expert at this. I was probably just the guy on top of the “meh” pile and the hiring department needed to meet a quota for that month. I can’t promise you that any of this will get you an interview or a job, but I sure hope it helps!

Now, without further ado, if I had submitted an application and hadn’t heard back from any of the companies I want here are some things I’d consider doing:

Perlan, Solar Impulse, Skigull - Big Year for Aviation R&D

It's been a fun year for for projects seeking to advnace aviation.

Solar Impulse 2, the all-solar aircraft flying around the world is staying the winter in Hawaii. It was a lot of fun reading about the aircraft's progress. Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard wrote a short note about his trip home from Hawaii in July. I can feel his disappointment, but I have no doubt he'll return to the sky with great success.

More Big Turboprop News

About a week after Diamond announced their new 7-place turboprop, a couple other aircraft companies made splashes in the media with aircraft in or near the DA50-JP7s class.

Piper announced three new models, grouped together as the "M-Class." There aren't a lot of specifics yet, but the M350, M500 and M600 appear to be an update and rebranding of Piper's current 6-place cabin class aircraft, the Matrix, Mirage and Meridian. Using just basic info from their website, the only difference between the Meridian and M500 or the Mirage and M350 are about $50,000 in each case.

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