American Flyers March eNewsletter Contents:
Around the Industry
Tips From the Pros
Island Fish Company. Start the spring flying season off right with a trip the whole family can enjoy. This month’s destination is the Island Fish Company at the Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH). Great food and great views can be had at this great island stopover, brimming with local fare and a casual atmosphere. Don’t forget to stop by the island’s own gift shop for some great Florida Keys memories.
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Around the Industry
Pilot Shortage: The Trend Continues
By Marc C. Lee, Plane and Pilot Magazine, Jan. 2012
Lots of signs in the aviation industry are pointing to a pilot shortage in the years ahead. As I write this, the 2011 airline hiring numbers are being published by airline employment experts www.fltops.com. The trend is certainly encouraging for those wishing to become professional pilots.
In 2009—the airline industry's worst hiring year in history—only 30 pilots were hired by the 12 major domestic airlines. The year 2010, however, saw a marked increase with 408 pilots hired, and 2011 was an exemplary year, seeing 728 new pilots hired by the majors.
The driving force behind the idea of a coming pilot shortage is the explosion of air travel. Boeing's highly respected "Current Market Outlook" report for 2011 shows that passenger air traffic rose 8% for the year in 2010 after a decline in 2009. A 6% increase held through 2011, beating the report's overall forecast of a 5% increase year over year for the next two decades.
Boeing's long-range forecast anticipates delivery of 33,500 new airliners over the next 20 years, valued at more than $4.0 trillion. United Airlines recently announced new orders for the Boeing 787 as well as the Airbus A350, now that the airline has merged with Continental Airlines. Airliner orders will, of course, drive the need for pilots as new routes are added and the number of passengers increases.
Southwest Airlines announced they'll hire 140 pilots in the first quarter of 2012, and U.S. Airways confirmed they'll hire 20-30 per month through the year. Meanwhile, freight giant FedEx said it will bring on 500 new pilots over the next two years.
There are troubles in the pipeline that supplies professional pilots to the industry. According to the FAA, student pilot starts were at their lowest in 2009 with just over 72,000 students in the system. The military isn't graduating as many pilots as they have in past decades, and many military pilots are staying in the military longer. While 1,280 pilots left the military in 2007, only 240 left active duty in 2010.
The best statistic to judge future availability of pilots is the FAA's "Original Airmen Certificates Issued" report. This reflects how many pilots are finishing training and going into the pilot supply pool. The numbers are disturbing. The year 2010 was the lowest year on record with 83,632 certificates issued, of which only 3,072 were ATP (Airline Transport Pilot)—the required certificate to fly for the airlines. Compared to 2001 when 7070 ATP certificates were issued, the downward trend is evident.
One encouraging trend for general aviation is the explosion of sport pilots. Only 133 sport pilot certificates were issued in 2005—the year after the new certificate was announced. In 2010, approximately 4,350 sport pilot certificates issued.
International airlines—especially those in the Asian market—are seeing a huge increase in passenger traffic. Emerging Asian economies are outpacing the world GDP (gross domestic product), and airlines in those countries are forecast to be the most profitable. Asian airlines in particular are already experiencing delays and operational interruptions due to pilot scheduling shortages.
According to Boeing, as the world commercial fleet expands to more than 39,500 airplanes over the next 20 years, the world's airlines will need to add 460,000 pilots and 650,000 maintenance technicians, both to fly and maintain the new airplanes and to replace current personnel who are due to retire during the period. All these indicators point to a pilot shortage that possibly has already begun.
FAA Proposes to Raise Airline Qualification Standards. In a statement released February 27, 2012, the FAA is announcing a proposed rule change regarding pilot certification for airline new-hires. The public comment period begins on February 29 and will last for 60 days.
FAA Cedes Airspace Control to NOAA. New regulations starting on February 27, 2012 will grant the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration powers to restrict certain airspace around wildlife preserves, as well as levy fines against pilots.
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Flight Instructor Academy
American Flyers graduates nearly 20% of the new instructors in the United States each year through its one-of-a-kind CFI Academy. You will receive instruction to secure both your CFIA and CFII certificates in only 30 days at a cost of $2995. The Academy training concept is modeled after the Air Force’s system where small groups of up to 15 pilots work together to achieve their goals.
Our goal is to assist you in achieving your Flight Instructor Certifications, making you marketable to teach and gain experience. For the airline-bound pilot, the CFI is the entry-level professional aviation position, allowing you to build time and gain valuable experience on your way to the right seat of an airliner.
To put it another way, we will teach you what you need to know to qualify for nearly any flight instructing job in the world...and maybe equally as important, you'll be ready to teach immediately upon graduation because of the daily practice teaching that you will be participating in.
ATP Written Exam
American Flyers is offering the online ATP written preparation program for only $75. This online video-driven course will have you prepared to pass your ATP written with flying colors. Click below to order today.
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Tips From the Pros
Easy Resume Building: Part 1 of 4
By Steven Daun, Career Counsellor, American Flyers
When do you need to begin working on your resume? The answer is now. Now is the time that you should begin compiling all of the details of your previous work experience, education and flight hours.
Many people wait until they need to apply for a job and then scramble to fill in the dates and details. This usually results in a sub-par resume which will most likely be ignored or discarded.
Follow these simple steps and we will help you develop a professional pilot resume. Start a resume file and fill it with the following information:
In the next installment we will discuss what you need to do with all of this information.
- Diplomas starting with High School. Note start and graduation dates (month, day, year).
- A list of all of your employers along with start and end dates (month, day, year).
- On separate pieces of paper write down job description(s) for each position that you held. This should be presented as a statement of fact, not as a story. Include responsibilities and achievements.
- All awards and certifications that you have earned (including your pilot certificates). Again, make note of the award/certification date (month, day, year).
- A list of 3-5 references. These should include personal, professional and academic references. Make sure that you speak with your reference prior to using their name. You will want to inform them of the type of position that you are seeking and the reason why you feel that they would be a good reference for you. Make sure that you have their e-mail address, mailing address and phone number.
Aspire Credit Union Financing
Aspire Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution that works as your personal advocate. We’re here to change your banking perceptions; our non-profit status means we can offer better rates, bigger savings, and greater benefits than what you’ll find at most banks. We offer a variety of loan* types that will meet not only your budget, but your personal and flight-school needs, and we can assure you that you’ll receive top-notch service along the way.
For flight school financing, many members opt for our Home Equity products, which attaches a loan to the equity in a house.
A Home Equity loan allows you to obtain a large lump sum of money for major expenses and offers unique advantages:
A Home Equity Line of Credit offers flexible and convenient borrowing power, allowing you to draw on it quickly and easily whenever an expense comes up. You pay only when you borrow money, and as you make payments, those funds again become available to you. You’ll enjoy:
- Borrow up to $250,000**
- Keep your payments steady with a low-fixed rate
- Manageable payments with up to 20 years to repay
We also offer Signature Loans, which are unsecured. That means there is no collateral associated with the loan, and therefore the borrowing limit is less than our Home Equity products, but it is a good option for the less expensive programs offered by American Flyers.
- Borrowing what you need, when you need it, with generous credit limits up to $250,000**
- Variable rate
- Free access to your loan by simply writing out a check
- Manageable payments with up to 20 years to repay
Call 888.322.3732, Option 2 to speak with a knowledgeable Loan Consultant about your financing options and the right loan for you.
- Borrow up to $30,000
- Competitive rates
- Various terms with up to five years to repay
- Affordable payments
To sign up for membership, call 888.322.3732, Option 3 or apply through your personalized webpage at http://www.aspirefcu.org/americanfly_stu.
* All loans are subject to borrower qualification with rates and terms based on credit quality
** Maximum LTV allowed is 80%, including any previously established lien
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|Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber. The B-52 was designed and built by Boeing, who has continued to provide support and upgrades. It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1950s. The bomber carries up to 70,000 pounds of weapons.
Beginning with the successful contract bid on 5 June 1946, the B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings. The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. Although a veteran of a number of wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. Its Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts; it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the B.U.F.F.
The B-52 has been in active service with the USAF since 1955. The bombers flew under the Strategic Air Command (SAC) until it was disestablished in 1992 and its aircraft absorbed into the Air Combat Command (ACC); in 2010 all B-52 Stratofortresses were transferred from the ACC to the new Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later aircraft, including the Mach 3 North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry Rockwell B-1B Lancer, and the stealthy Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. The B-52 marked its 50th anniversary of continuous service with its original operator in 2005 and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015 it will serve into the 2040s.
On 23 November 1945, Air Materiel Command (AMC) issued desired performance characteristics for a new strategic bomber "capable of carrying out the strategic mission without dependence upon advanced and intermediate bases controlled by other countries". The aircraft was to have a crew of five or more turret gunners, and a six-man relief crew. It was required to cruise at 300 mph (240 knots) at 34,000 feet with a combat radius of 5,000 miles. The armament was to consist of an unspecified number of 20 mm cannon and 10,000 pounds of bombs. On 13 February 1946, the Air Force issued bid invitations for these specifications, with Boeing, Consolidated Aircraft, and Glenn L. Martin Company submitting proposals.
On 5 June 1946, Boeing's Model 462, a straight-wing aircraft powered by six Wright T35 turboprops with a gross weight of 360,000 pounds and a combat radius of 3,110 miles was declared the winner. On 28 June 1946, Boeing was issued a letter of contract for $1.7 million to build a full-scale mock-up of the new XB-52 and do preliminary engineering and testing. However, by October 1946, the Air Force began to express concern about the sheer size of the new aircraft and its inability to meet the specified design requirements. In response, Boeing produced Model 464, a smaller four-engine version with a 230,000 pound gross weight, which was briefly deemed acceptable.
Subsequently, in November 1946, the Deputy Chief of Air Staff for Research and Development, General Curtis LeMay, expressed the desire for a cruise speed of 400 miles per hour, to which Boeing responded with a 300,000 lb aircraft. In December 1946, Boeing was asked to change their design to a four-engine bomber with a top speed of 400 miles per hour, range of 12,000 miles, and the ability to carry a nuclear weapon; in total, the aircraft could weigh up to 480,000 pounds. Boeing responded with two models powered by the T-35 turboprops. The Model 464-16 was a nuclear-only bomber with a 10,000 pound payload, while the Model 464-17 was a general purpose bomber with a 9,000 pound payload. Due to the cost associated with purchasing two specialized aircraft, the Air Force selected Model 464-17 with the understanding that it could be adapted for nuclear strikes.
In June 1947, the military requirements were updated and the Model 464-17 met all of them except for the range. It was becoming obvious to the Air Force that, even with the updated performance, the XB-52 would be obsolete by the time it entered production and would offer little improvement over the Convair B-36; as a result, the entire project was postponed for six months. During this time Boeing continued to perfect the design which resulted in the Model 464-29 with a top speed of 455 miles per hour and a 5,000-mile range. In September 1947, the Heavy Bombardment Committee was convened to ascertain performance requirements for a nuclear bomber. Formalized on 8 December 1947, these requirements called for a top speed of 500 miles per hour and an 8,000 mile range, far beyond the capabilities of 464–29.
The outright cancellation of the Boeing contract on 11 December 1947 was staved off by a plea from its president William McPherson Allen to the Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington. Allen reasoned that the design was capable of being adapted to new aviation technology and more stringent requirements. In January 1948 Boeing was instructed to thoroughly explore recent technological innovations, including aerial refueling and the flying wing. Noting stability and control problems Northrop was experiencing with their YB-35 and YB-49 flying wing bombers, Boeing insisted on a conventional aircraft, and in April 1948 presented a $30 million proposal for design, construction, and testing of two Model 464-35 prototypes. The Model 464-35 design bore similarity to a later Tupolev design that was built for the Soviet Union—the Tupolev Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber. Further revisions during 1948 resulted in an aircraft with a top speed of 513 miles per hour at 35,000 feet, a range of 6,909 miles and a 280,000 pounds gross weight which included 10,000 pounds of bombs and 19,875 gallons of fuel.
In May 1948, AMC asked Boeing to incorporate the previously discarded, but now more fuel-efficient, jet engine into the design. This resulted in Boeing developing yet another revision – in July 1948, Model 464-40 substituted Westinghouse J40 turbojets for the turboprops. The Boeing engineers took the Model 464-40 study to the Air Force Project Officer, who was favorably impressed. Nevertheless, the government was still concerned about the high fuel consumption rate of the jet engines of the day, and directed that Boeing still use the turboprop-powered Model 464-35 as the basis for the XB-52. Although he agreed that turbojet propulsion was the future, General Howard A. Craig, Deputy Chief of Staff for Material, was not very keen on a jet-powered B-52, since he felt that the jet engine had still not progressed sufficiently to permit skipping an intermediate turboprop stage. However, Boeing was encouraged to continue with turbojet studies even though no commitment to jet propulsion could be expected.
On Thursday, 21 October 1948, Boeing engineers George S. Schairer, Art Carlsen and Vaughn Blumenthal presented the design of a four-engine turboprop bomber to the Air Force chief of bomber development, Col. Pete Warden. Warden was disappointed by the projected aircraft and asked if the Boeing team could come up with a proposal for a four-engine turbojet bomber. Joined by Ed Wells, Boeing vice president of Engineering, the engineers worked that night in the Hotel Van Cleve, redesigning Boeing's proposal as a four-engine turbojet bomber. On Friday, Col. Warden looked over the information and asked for a better design. Returning to the Hotel, the Boeing team was joined by Bob Withington and Maynard Pennell, two top Boeing engineers who were in town on other business.
By late Friday night, they had laid out what was essentially a new airplane. The new design (464–49) built upon the basic layout of the B-47 Stratojet with 35 degree swept wings, eight engines paired in four underwing pods, and bicycle landing gear with wingtip outrigger wheels. A notable feature of the landing gear was the ability to pivot the main landing gear up to 20° from the aircraft centerline to increase safety during crosswind landings. After a trip to a hobby shop for supplies, Schairer set to work building a model. The rest of the team focused on weight and performance data. Wells, who was also a skilled artist, completed the aircraft drawings. On Sunday, a stenographer was hired to type a clean copy of the proposal. On Monday, Schairer presented Col. Warden with a neatly bound 33-page proposal and a 14-inch scale model. The aircraft was projected to exceed all design specifications.
Although the full-size mock-up inspection in April 1949 was generally favorable, range again became a concern since the J40s and early model J57s had excessive fuel consumption. Despite talk of another revision of specifications or even a full design competition among aircraft manufacturers, General LeMay, now in charge of Strategic Air Command, insisted that performance should not be compromised due to delays in engine development. In a final attempt to increase range, Boeing created the larger 464-67, stating that once in production, the range could be further increased in subsequent modifications. Following several direct interventions by LeMay, Boeing was awarded a production contract for 13 B-52As and 17 detachable reconnaissance pods on 14 February 1951. The last major design change, also at the insistence of General LeMay, was a switch from the B-47 style tandem seating to a more conventional side-by-side cockpit which increased the effectiveness of the copilot and reduced crew fatigue. Both XB-52 prototypes featured the original tandem seating arrangement with a framed bubble-type canopy.
The B-52B was followed by progressively improved bomber and reconnaissance variants, culminating in the B-52G and B-52H. To allow rapid delivery, production lines were set up both at its main Seattle factory and at Boeing's Wichita facility. More than 5,000 companies were involved in the massive production effort, with 41% of the airframe being built by subcontractors. The prototypes and all B-52A, B and C models (90 aircraft) were built at Seattle. Testing of aircraft built at Seattle caused problems due to jet noise, which led to the establishment of curfews for engine tests. Aircraft were thus ferried on their maiden flights to Larson Air Force Base, 150 miles away, where they were fully tested. As production of the B-47 came to an end, the Wichita factory was phased in for B-52D production, with Seattle responsible for 101 Ds and Wichita 62. Both plants continued to build the B-52E, with 42 built at Seattle and 58 at Wichita, and the B-52F (44 from Seattle and 45 from Wichita). For the B-52G, it was decided in 1957 to transfer all production to Wichita, which freed up Seattle for other tasks (in particular the production of airliners). Production ended in 1962 after 744 aircraft were built.
In November 1959 SAC initiated the Big Four modification program (also known as Modification 1000) for all operational B-52s except early B models, intended to improve the aircraft's combat capabilities in the changing strategic environment. The program was completed by 1963. The four modifications were the ability to launch AGM-28 Hound Dog standoff nuclear missiles and ADM-20 Quail decoys, an advanced electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite, and upgrades to perform the all-weather, low-altitude (below 500 feet) interdiction in the face of advancing missile air defenses. The switch to low-altitude flight was estimated to accelerate structural fatigue by at least a factor of eight, which required costly repairs to extend service life. The first program to counter structural fatigue was the three-phase High Stress program in the early 1960s, which enrolled aircraft at 2,000 flying hours.
In September 2006, the B-52 became one of the first US military aircraft to fly using alternative fuel. It took off from Edwards Air Force Base with a 50/50 blend of Fischer-Tropsch process (FT) synthetic fuel and conventional JP-8 jet fuel which was burned in two of the eight engines. On 15 December 2006, a B-52 took off from Edwards with the synthetic fuel powering all eight engines, the first time an Air Force aircraft was entirely powered by the blend. The seven hour flight was considered a success. This program is part of the Department of Defense Assured Fuel Initiative, which aims to reduce crude oil usage and obtain half of its aviation fuel from alternative sources by 2016. On 8 August 2007, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne certified the B-52H as fully approved to use the FT blend.
Although the B-52A was the first production variant, these aircraft were used only in testing. The first operational version was the B-52B that had been developed in parallel with the prototypes since 1951. First flying in December 1954, B-52B, AF Serial Number 52-8711, entered operational service with 93rd Heavy Bombardment Wing (93rd BW) at Castle Air Force Base, California, on 29 June 1955. The wing became operational on 12 March 1956. The training for B-52 crews consisted of five weeks of ground school and four weeks of flying, accumulating 35 to 50 hours in the air. The new B-52Bs replaced operational B-36s on a one-to-one basis.
Early operations were problematic; in addition to supply problems, technical issues also struck. Ramps and taxiways deteriorated under the weight of the aircraft, while the fuel system was prone to leaks and icing, and bombing and fire control computers were unreliable. The two-story cockpit presented a unique climate control problem – the pilots' cockpit was heated by sunlight while the observer and the navigator on the bottom deck sat on the ice-cold floor. Thus, comfortable temperature setting for the pilots caused the other crew members to freeze, while comfortable temperature for the bottom crew caused the pilots to overheat. The J57 engines were still new and unreliable. Alternator failure caused the first fatal B-52 crash in February 1956 which resulted in a brief grounding of the fleet. In July, fuel and hydraulic system problems again grounded the B-52s. To avoid maintenance problems, the Air Force set up "Sky Speed" teams of 50 maintenance contractors at each B-52 base. In addition to maintenance, the teams performed routine checkups which took one week per aircraft.
On 21 May 1956, a B-52B (52-0013) dropped a Mk-15 nuclear bomb over the Bikini Atoll in a test code-named Cherokee. It was the first air dropped thermonuclear weapon. From 24 to 25 November 1956, four B-52Bs of the 93rd BW and four B-52Cs of the 42nd BW flew nonstop around the perimeter of North America in Operation Quick Kick, which covered 15,530 miles in 31 hours, 30 minutes. SAC noted the flight time could have been reduced by 5 to 6 hours if the four in-flight refuelings were done by fast jet-powered tanker aircraft rather than propeller-driven Boeing KC-97 Stratotankers. In a demonstration of the B-52's global reach, from 16 to 18 January 1957, three B-52Bs made a non-stop flight around the world during Operation Power Flite, during which 24,325 miles was covered in 45 hours 19 minutes with several in-flight refuelings by KC-97s. The 93rd Bomb Wing received the Mackay Trophy for their accomplishment.
The B-52 set many records over the next few years. On 26 September 1958, a B-52D set a world speed record of 560.705 miles per hour over a 6,210 mile closed circuit without a payload. The same day, another B-52D established a world speed record of 597 miles per hour over a 3,105 mile closed circuit without a payload. On 14 December 1960, a B-52G set a world distance record by flying unrefueled for 10,078.84 miles; the flight lasted 19 hours 44 minutes. From 10 to 11 January 1962, a B-52H set a world distance record by flying unrefueled, surpassing the prior B-52 record set two years earlier, from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, to Torrejon Air Base, Spain, which covered 12,532 miles. The flight passed over Seattle, Fort Worth and the Azores.
Originally there were concerns about the lifespan of the fleet. Several projects beyond the B-52, the Convair B-58 Hustler and North American XB-70 Valkyrie, had either been aborted or proved disappointing in light of changing requirements, which left the older B-52 as the main bomber as opposed to the planned successive aircraft models. On 19 February 1965, General Curtis E. LeMay testified to Congress that the lack of a follow-up bomber project to the B-52 raised the danger that, "The B-52 is going to fall apart on us before we can get a replacement for it."
5 (pilot, copilot, radar navigator/bombardier, navigator, and Electronic Warfare Officer)
159 ft 4 in
40 ft 8 in
- Wing area:
4,000 sq. ft
- Empty weight:
- Loaded weight:
- Max. takeoff weight:
8 × Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-3/103 turbofans, 17,000 ft-lb each
- Fuel capactiy6:
47,975 U.S. gal
- Maximum speed: 560 kt
- Combat radius: 4,480 mi
- Ferry range: 10,145 mi
- Service ceiling: 50,000 ft
- Rate of climb: 6,270 ft/min
- Wing loading: 120 lb/ft²
- Thrust-to-weight ratio: 0.31
- Lift-to-drag ratio: 21.5 (estimated)
Source: Boeing B-52 – Wikipedia
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