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.

Military Pilot Logbook Conversion

Updated 06 January, 2016: Discussed logging SIC in Cessnas.

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 5 January, 2016: Added points 15 and 16 on social media and additional training.

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:

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