Too young or Too old?

This week I have been at the hospital with my ageing father
whom is having a rough time with his health. I was called very early now 5 days
ago and had to rush to his bed side. I am very pleased however to be able to
announce that today his condition is improving rather quickly. As I and some
other family members sat, waiting for results we could not help but noticed how
young most all of the medical staff appeared to be. I’m not sure if it was
because they were actually young or if it’s just the fact that I’m getting
older and everyone appears to be younger.

As I dwelt upon our thoughts I was reminded of a conversation I overheard between a couple of
pilots. The topic was on their fear of ageing pilots in the cockpit and their
possible lack of ability to perform as Pilot in Command of an aircraft. The
argument between the two young pilots was as we grow older our reflects could
tend to slow down which in turn could cause a slower response in a rapidly
changing environment. My thoughts were why does a doctor have to be old and a
pilot have to be young?

As far as the doctor goes I lean back to the thought that
it’s just due to the fact that I’m getting older. On the other topic however, I
have to be honest and say that at one point in time  I would have
sided with the two young pilots. That’s not so much the case anymore. I have
watched and even had the opportunity to fly as first officer with some 20K +
hour pilots. I guess I can’t very well speak for all but as for the pilots I have flown
with all I can say is WOW. One opportunity I had was with a 20K + hour pilot
which is a former Delta airlines captain among various positions and is still
an active A&P inspector. We flew a piper Cherokee and he scared me to death
when he asked me how to start it. I later come to find out he was just pulling
my chain. When this veteran pilot buckled in, he strapped that airplane on and
it became an extension of his body. That airplane obeyed his every command.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not speaking for every older
pilot that may step into the right seat. Heck, I have seen some pilots who don’t
even need to be at the airport. The truth is I can show you both young and old
doctors and pilots that are masters of their fields.  What is the key? Well I feel it’s where your
heart is. That’s just my thoughts.


What are your thoughts? Leave me a note
below. What do you think KEEPS a pilot flying in their golden years?


Tommy Eldridge


Which way should you go?

     Grandpa may have told you in the past that the quickest way between two points is a direct line. The route with the least amount of turns can prove to be the fastest. If you are a fan of Nascar you will notice as the drivers round the track they will ride high on the straight away and down low on the turns. In doing this it enables the drivers to take the turns quicker. Turns are a requirement of Nascar but not so in aviation.

     If we choose to take the direct route on a trip from point A to point B is that necessarily wrong? No, but is it always right? No again. For the answer to this we ask Matt Conway, chief flight instructor of American Flyers of Atlanta located at the KPDK airport.

     On the topic of “Advanced Navigation” Matt notes several factors in which need to be considered when developing a cross country flight plan. 1. Route planning 2. Check points 3. Altitudes 4. Airspace avoidance


      When choosing a heading and altitude you should note the winds aloft at several different altitudes along your planned route of flight. You will not only want to check winds on your route but off the route as well. For example, let’s say your route took you on an easterly heading of 090 degrees and the winds aloft at 8000’ were 310@20kts. You may, (depending on the terrain and airspace of course) find that flying a lower altitude to a check point north east of your route then intercepting a higher altitude for the remainder of the trip will not only produce a quicker ETA but also due to the tail wind you will have on your second leg will also reduce fuel usage as well.

     Be sure to also consider other factors such as weather, MOA’S, restricted areas, mountainous terrain, airspace and any other factor which may affect your travels. Always remember, It is much easier to plan on the ground and make small adjustments in the air then to try to figure it out at 8000’.

Tommy Eldridge


FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education

Topic: Aerodynamics of stalls and spins, and scenarios in which they may be encountered inadvertently, plus recovery techniques.
On Monday, November 8, 2010 at 6:30 PM
Preferred Jet at McCollum Airport
1800 Airport Road
Hangar #1
Kennesaw, GA 30144

Select Number:

Fun up high but dangerous down low! Stalls and spins are responsible for too many aviation accidents. Ms. Cavagnaro will discuss the aerodynamics of stalls and spins, scenarios in which they are encountered inadvertently, and recovery techniques. Most importantly she will offer suggestions for training to avoid them in the first place.

To view further details and registration information for this seminar, click here.

The sponsor for this seminar is: GA FAASTeam


Residents call on county to drop Gwinnett airport plans

By Patrick Fox

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The nays had it Tuesday night as residents told Gwinnett County officials to ditch plans that could lead to commercial flights at Briscoe Field.

Chris Elvis, of Lawrenceville, holds a sign to boycott the possible expansion of Gwinnett Countyís Briscoe Field before the Public Hearing outside the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

Hyosub Shin, Chris Elvis, of Lawrenceville, holds a sign to boycott the possible expansion of Gwinnett Countyís Briscoe Field before the Public Hearing outside the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

Susan Murrah, of Lawrenceville, holds a sign to boycott the possible expansion of Gwinnett County's Briscoe Field during the Public Hearing at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

Hyosub Shin, Susan Murrah, of Lawrenceville, holds a sign to boycott the possible expansion of Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field during the Public Hearing at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.

Gwinnett Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Bannister speaks to audience who mostly opposite the possible expansion.

Hyosub Shin, Gwinnett Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Bannister speaks to audience who mostly opposite the possible expansion.

Bill Bostock, of Lawrenceville, speaks while hundreds opponents of a possible expansion of Gwinnett County's Briscoe Field

Hyosub Shin, Bill Bostock, of Lawrenceville, speaks while hundreds opponents of a possible expansion of Gwinnett County’s Briscoe Field

About 400 people stayed late at the county courthouse in Lawrenceville to tell county commissioners they do not want operations at the airport expanded. Most of those who spoke were from Lawrenceville, but others from Dacula, Buford and other parts of the county were represented. All spoke against commercialization of the airport.

“You’re not given us the comfort that you’re looking out for our best interest,” said Ray Rodden of Buford. He accused the commission of having “a deficit of credibility.”

Commission Chairman Charles Bannister assured the crowd, amid repeated interruptions, that the county was only in the early stages of the process, and that no decisions would be made without extensive public input.

But many were unconvinced.

“We don’t think it’s preliminary work and we want it stopped,” said Terry Sosebee of Dacula.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved Gwinnett County‘s preliminary application in May to sell or lease Briscoe Field to a private firm. The move could lead to commercial passenger service at an airport currently limited to small private planes and corporate jets.

Briscoe Field, the state’s fifth busiest airport, sits on 500 acres northeast of Lawrenceville. Its lone 6,021-foot runway accommodates small aircraft, the largest of which seats up to 19 people.

Three private firms have expressed interest in taking the airport off the county’s hands. One firm, Propeller Investments, has proposed building a new terminal with 10 gates and expanding the runway to allow as many as 20 commercial flights a day to Briscoe Field. The planes would be as large as Boeing 737s, which can accommodate 140 passengers.

Many hurdles remain, and county officials said they have not decided to privatize the airport. They said they plan to select a private partner by the end of this year, then study the impact of any specific plan on surrounding neighborhoods and the entire county.

Supporters of the idea, including the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, have said a small-scale commercial airport would provide a convenient alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to residents along the northern arc of metro Atlanta. It would also produce thousands of jobs in travel-related industries and help qualify Ga. 316 for transportation improvements, they argue.


Cessna Strike Averted

September 19, 2010

Cessna Strike Averted 

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief



Production workers at Cessna Aircraft rejected the notion of a strike but they also told the company they don’t much like the contract they’ll work under for the next seven years. Members of the Machinists Union voted 58 percent to reject the deal but only 49 percent to strike in voting Saturday. The union had recommended a strike but a two-thirds majority was required. The main issue was job security. Cessna has guaranteed final assembly of existing Citation models at the Wichita plant for the life of the contract. “We understand the times we’re in today,” Machinists District 70 directing business representative Steve Rooney told The Wichita Eagle. “A paycheck is a hard thing to give up.” CEO Jack Pelton was disappointed at the rejection of the contract but pleased the strike vote didn’t fly.

“We are satisfied to begin this next week with a new contract in place so we can move forward with our efforts to reshape Cessna to be more competitive in a global market and a tough economy,” Pelton said in the statement. “We presented the members a contract that was more than fair, given our business environment. And while we are disappointed they rejected the offer, we appreciate the membership’s willingness to continue to put the customer first, knowing that will lead to success for all.”


Attention: All Pilots Flying in the Georgia Area

ADS-B in the Georgia Area
Notice Number: NOTC2523

New Traffic and Flight Information Services Are Available Now
Pilots who fly in the Atlanta, Georgia (ZTL) area can now receive free traffic and weather broadcast information in the cockpit. To receive these services, aircraft must be equipped with an Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) transmitter/receiver or transceiver and compatible cockpit display.
The new services include:

Flight Information Service – Broadcast (FIS-B), provides pilots and flight crews with a cockpit display of aviation weather and aeronautical information via Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) equipment on 978 MHz. Note: FIS-B is not compatible with 1090ES avionics.
The following FIS-B weather products are for advisory use only. The information provided by FIS-B can not be used in compliance of any regulatory requirement. Pre-flight weather briefings and in-flight weather updates must be obtained through FAA approved sources only.
• Aviation Routine Weather Reports (METARs).
• Special Aviation Reports (SPECIs).
• Terminal Area Forecasts (TAFs) and their amendments.
• NEXRAD (regional and CONUS) precipitation maps.
• Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Distant and Flight Data Center.
• Airmen’s Meteorological Conditions (AIRMET).
• Significant Meteorological Conditions (SIGMET) and Convective SIGMET.
• Status of Special Use Airspace (SUA).
• Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs).
• Winds and Temperatures Aloft.
• Pilot Reports (PIREPS).
• TIS-B service status.

Traffic Information Service – Broadcast (TIS-B), which enhances a pilot’s visual acquisition of other traffic on 978 UAT and 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090 ES).
TIS-B is an advisory only service. Pilots must continue to exercise vigilance to “see and avoid” other aircraft in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations Section 91.113b.
The following table lists which type of data link is required to receive TIS-B and FIS-B services:

If the aircraft is equipped with the following data link…
Then the pilot can receive the following services…

978 MHz Universal Access Transceiver (UAT)

1090 MHz Extended Squitter (1090 ES)

The FAA encourages users of TIS-B and FIS-B to report any irregularities observed while using the services. Reports should contain the following information:
1. Time of observation.
2. Location.
3. Type and identity of the aircraft.
4. Description of the condition observed.
5. Type of avionics system and software version used.

You can report issues by contacting the nearest Flight Service Station (FSS) facility or by submitting FAA Form 8470-5, Safety Improvement Report, available from FSSs, Flight Standards District Offices, or general aviation fixed-based operators.
A service coverage map is available at:
Additional information about ADS-B services can be found in the Aeronautical Information Manual at the following link:
For more information about the FAA’s ADS-B program, visit
Questions? Contact the FAA Flight Standards ADS-B Office at
Contact the FAA Aircraft Certification ADS-B Office at
This notice is being sent to you because you selected “General Information” in your preferences on If you wish to adjust your selections, log into where you can update your preferences.


Whats your Dream?


Do you have goals and dreams? What are they? Are you just a big dreamer? Someone who comes up with a lot of ideas that is the “Next big thing” and never act on them or are you the one gets the job done? Tell me your thoughts on this and if you have any tips please share them with Private Pilot Insider.

Thank you,
Tommy Eldridge

I hope you enjoy the video. Me and a friend was out for a $100 hamburger that turned into a $200 chicken sandwich, which was worth it.


How well do you follow your Check List?

     From the time I first stepped in an airplane to train as a pilot in 2001 it has been imbedded in my head Check List, Check List, Check list! I remember my instructor telling me “I don’t want to see you doing your preflight without that check list in your hand”. I developed a very good habit way back then to keep it with me. It seems however that lately I have been reminded a lot about the importance of following procedures.    

     In the July 2010 issue on Flying magazine Tom Benenson wrote an article titled “Airwork”. In the story Tom had made a fuel stop in South Dakota on a very dark and rainy night. He quoted “I am religious about getting out my little ladder and climbing up to look in the tanks”. On this night however he almost didn’t get out his ladder. He finally made a decision to visually check the tanks finding the left tank full but the lineman had not put any fuel in the right tank. He would not have made his destination.

     It has been just over a year now sense the February 12, 2009 crash of the Colgan air flight 3407 that claimed 50 lives. The NTSB investigations are complete and the final report has been logged as “Pilot Error”. As the investigation unfolded it revealed several areas of inadequacy not only among the captain and first offer but also with Colgan air.  Captain Marvin Renslow had a record of below and even failing averages in his training. Flight recorders revealed that Captain Renslow had attempted to counter act the Shaker and pusher system when it engaged. It wasn’t until after the accident that Colgan Air added the Shaker and pusher activation in the training curriculum for the DHC-8-400. 

     The pre-flight procedures for your aircraft is part of the decision making process that determines whether fly or not.   

 The first preflight procedure before even opening the hanger door is to check the weather. With today’s internet and satellite access there are many choices to receive accurate current weather conditions.

     Next is the aircraft walk around. Your aircrafts Pilot operating handbook (POH) will have the manufactures recommended preflight procedures. Be cautious to never become too familiar or slothful with this procedure. Anyone can remember to check the oil level and security of the fuel caps but look over a damaged aileron connecting rod and that means trouble.

    There is also the run-up. In this procedure you will check the engine, flight controls and gauges. This test will as well have written procedure recommended by the aircraft manufacture. Use the list and follow it.

     There is an old saying that takeoff is optional but landing is mandatory.  Our goal is to land when WE want to not when we have to.


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