Proof That The Great Pilot Shortage Is Real

Remember when you took the SAT or ACT and started getting flyers in the mail from colleges all over the country? It's flattering at first, but as more and more flyers start to pile up, you start to wonder how desperate those colleges must be. I applied to (and got hired by) a major US airline last year. Apparently my name got sold to someone because I've started receiving flyers from regional airlines.

The flyer I got in the mail yesterday shocked me. It offered me a $50 Amazon gift card if I'd just show up to an interview.

Rimowa/Junkers F-13: Useless and I Don't Even Care

When someone asks: "What makes airplanes fly," the running joke is to answer: "Money." While a lot of people and companies are able to earn a living in aviation, there's no doubt that it's expensive. We're doing a lot to try to reduce the costs of flying because we're worried that the pilot population is shrinking too much. We're using new regulations and new technology to make aircraft more efficient and it's absolutely paying off.

However, everyone once in a while someone decides to throw economy and advancement out the window and do something wild with aviation. The example I just ran across is the luggage company, Rimowa. They're going to resume production of the Junkers F-13. In this day and age, that airplane is almost completely useless...and I'm thrilled by what they're doing!

Affordable Aviation: Outstanding Flying Club Resources

If you're like me, part of being a pilot is aspiring to own an aircraft. There's something to be said for knowing you have access to an aircraft of your choice, at any time on any day. It's nice to be intimately familiar with it's handling qualities and avionics (or lack thereof,) and to know exactly how it's been treated by the last person to fly it. Aircraft ownership is a wonderful thing, but it's not without its difficulties. Taking care of an aircraft is a lot of work and it's relatively expensive.

Cost is probably the most commonly-blamed reason for the overall decrease in the number of pilots right now. Owning an airplane has the potential to decrease the hourly cost of flying, but only if you plan on spending a great deal of money on flying in a given year.

If you're looking for affordable aviation and aspire to own an aircraft, then a flying club might be a great way for you to go. If you're interested, AOPA just released a great set of resources for starting a flying club.

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.

Second PC-24 Flies

Before we get started, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of Pilatus aircraft. Though it may appear otherwise, I, sadly, won't get paid a dime to write any of this.

That said, I'm very happy to report that the second PC-24 prototype just completed its first flight. What, you haven't heard about the PC-24? I can't fault you - Pilatus hasn't been as vocal about it as they could. I don't think they need to though. The PC-24 starts with the capabilities and credibility that Pilatus built with the PC-12 and takes them to the next step in a logical progression. This isn't just an incremental improvement like next year's iPhone though. The PC-24 is a revolution in both the idea of utility business aviation and small jet capability.

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.

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