Aviation News

Am I too old to enroll in an integrated pilot program?

I'm 32 years old and I have a school offer to do their integrated pilot program. My concern is, is it too late especially since airliners tend to employ younger pilots. By the time I graduate I will be 34 to 35. Thank you.

One of your readers recently wrote in with this question. Thoughts anyone - please chime in with your advice or personal experience.

Pastor Teaches Teens to Fly

This is a nice story about flight training. A pastor living in rural Alaska is working to train young people in becoming pilots and flight mechanics.

Grant Funk is a 53 year-old Covenant Church pastor in Hooper Bay and he's starting a nonprofit that will help to bring flight instructors to rural schools across the state of Alaska. Students in these programs will be able to receive class credit for learning to fly!

Read more here.

Help! PPL Exam Preparation

One of our readers, who's getting ready for their private pilots license exam, just wrote in with a few "disambiguation" questions. Can anyone help him out? Please respond by commenting on this post.


I am preparing for my PPl exam, and came across some terms that I don't understand, or the difference between:

1. "Orbit" and "Go around"
2. Line up and wait behind
3. Continue approach
4. Call area outbound
5. Who has right of way – an aircraft about to backtrack the runway, or an aircraft on final approach to land

Many thanks

Aviation Tax Ideas for 2009

aviation taxes

Well, we're less than a month away from the 2008 tax deadline. I had the opportunity to ask Daniel Cheung, of Aviation Tax Consultants, LLC, a few questions that Pilot Advice readers might find helpful at this time of year. Daniel is a certified public accountant (CPA) who specializes in aviation taxes.

PilotAdvice.com: What kinds of tips can you give to student pilots? Are flight training expenses tax deductible?

DC: Flight training expenses can only be deductible if there is a legitimate business purpose and profit motive for incurring the expenses.

Generally, it is difficult to find a reason to deduct training expenses to acquire a private pilot license.

It is equally difficult to deduct the cost to obtain an ATP rating as this training can lead to a new profession.

PilotAdvice.com: What kinds of aircraft expenses are tax deductible? How do you take these kinds of deductions?

Is Obama good for private pilots?

President Obama's recent budget proposal plans to raise $7 billion in "direct user charges". In the spirit of transparency, the Obama administration has made the budget proposal available for public scrutiny. Aviation groups rose to the challenge and found the mention of user fees on page 129 of the document (available here).

The charges, which total about half of the FAA's budget, would begin being collected in 2011. User fees face stiff opposition by the aviation community and previous proposed legislation has failed in the Congress. Lobbying against these fees has already begun.

Smiling Flyer

Just read about this journey around the world in a single engine plane. Nine adventurers flew 60,000 km in a 3 1/2 months.

These are the basic legs:
Leg 1: 3rd of November - 17th of November Palma de Mallorca, Spain to Bangkok, Thailand

Leg 2: 17th of November - 3rd of December Bangkok to Sydney, Australia

Leg 3: 15th of January 2008 - 3rd of February Sydney - Santiago de Chile, Chile

Leg 4: 3rd of February - 22nd of February Chile - Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Read more about the Smiling Flyers.

Flying Cars - The Dream is Still Alive

Flying cars have never seemed to move out of the concept phase and yet they remain a fascination for many. The challenge is kind of like designing an all-in-one printer/fax/scanner. At the end of the day you get a product that is mediocre in all three tasks. But innovative materials like carbon-fiber composites have begun dropping in price and allow for the construction of incredibly strong and light structures. These materials along with new lightweight engines are starting to make the dream a reality.

The Terrafugia Transition Proof of Concept Vehicle (pictured below) made its debut at AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI this past July. The Transition is a roadable (the preferred industry term) sport aircraft being designed to fly up to 400 nautical miles and to easily convert between road and fly modes from the cockpit/driver's seat.

Flying car at homeFlying car at home
Flying Car with Wings DeployedFlying Car with Wings Deployed
Flying Car with Wings FoldedFlying Car with Wings Folded

Aerial Seeding: Rice Farming Turns High-Tech

Seeding PlaneSeeding Plane

With skyrocketing rice prices, California farmers are turning to agricultural aviators to plant over 500,000 acres this spring. The work is dangerous and grueling and requires pilots to fly as low as 30 feet over the ground in single engine planes loaded with a ton of rice seed. Pilots can make up to 100 takeoffs and landings in a single day and use state-of-the-art GPS systems to drop loads with an accuracy of 3 feet.

Source: NY Times

Electric Plane is Test Flown over Spain

Boeing has completed test flights of a two-seater airplane powered solely by fuel cells and lithium-ion batteries. During liftoff the plane used both of these power sources. Upon reaching a cruising altitude of 1000 meters, the batteries were disconnected and the plane flew for about 20 minutes at 100 km/h powered only by the fuel cells.

Fuel cells are an intriguing power system and have most commonly been used in space vehicles. They convert hydrogen directly into electricity and heat. Water is the only exhaust product.

We shouldn't expect to see commercially viable electric planes any time soon. Aviation applications will most likely include small unmanned aircraft or auxiliary power systems.

Cool slideshow of Cessna 172 photographs