Author Archives: Pilot One

ADS-B—WHAT’S IN IT FOR US?

The new Falcon 10 panel. You will see in the other photos the work that it took to get to the final configuration.

MEETING YET ANOTHER MANDATE

Article appeared in Flying Magazine November, 2018 by Martha King

For tens of thousands of aircraft owners the deadline has been looming.  ADS-B will be required on January 1, 2020 in airspace that now requires a transponder,

It was clear for John and me, in particular, that we wanted to meet the requirement before the

Our Falcon 10 was worked on by Neil Aviation just up the road from our San Diego office.

deadline —without ADS-B our old jet would become useless.  And the FAA insists the deadline will not change.  The future of the ATC system will be based on transponders that broadcast the aircraft’s identification, position, altitude, velocity and more every second or so.  It’s called ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance—Broadcast) because it’s based on automatic transponders that are dependent on a WAAS GPS for their data, enabling surveillance by broadcasting their information without being interrogated.

 

Those of us who have been maintaining aircraft for a while know that keeping any airplane legal—particularly a jet—is often neither easy nor cheap.  In addition to all the required inspections you have to periodically meet government mandates such as for ADS-B.

Under the “hood” and the start of our installation.

The ADS-B mandate is only the latest.  In our airplane-ownership lives we’ve had to meet mandates requiring a transponder, and then altitude reporting.  Plus, because we have been so financially foolish as to fly jets, we’ve had to meet hundreds of thousands of dollars of mandates requiring such things as a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), a terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS), and reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) capability.

These mandates have often been a step in the march of technology, bringing benefits beyond just being legal.  Transponders with mode C have enabled our air traffic control system to provide far better service to all comers, and in particular RVSM has virtually doubled the airspace available at 29,000 feet and above.

This photos shows the scope of what was taken out.

In the case of ADS-B, the FAA has gone out of their way to build benefits into the program to sweeten the deal.  If you pay extra to equip for ADS-B “In” (or have a portable ADS-B receiver) you can receive subscription-free weather and traffic displays.  Plus, depending on the system you get, you can also have the information streamed to an iPad or other tablet.

What prompted us to start working on getting the installation done now was not just a scramble to meet the impending deadline.  It was mostly that we wanted the things that would come with the WAAS GPS sooner rather than later.  Highest on the list was the ability to conduct an LPV approach.  We had begun to believe that when an airport has both an LPV approach and an ILS, airport operators aren’t as quick about repairing an out-of-service ILS.  We were beginning to see the handwriting on the wall.  If all we had for precision approach capability was an ILS, there would be times when we wouldn’t be able to land at our destination.

You see here our old equipment that has been put on the shelf…permanently.

Still, for a while we weren’t really in a hurry.  We hate taking our airplane down even for required maintenance, much less for an optional installation.  Plus, we weren’t looking forward to having to learn a new avionics system.  Also, ADS-B solutions have been rapidly getting cheaper and simpler, including one solution that involves replacing a position light with a new LED position light and an entire ADS-B solution for under $2,000.

Because we fly an aircraft that is certificated under Part 25 as a transport category aircraft, and we fly above 18,000 feet, the lower-cost solutions were not available to us.  When we started researching solutions for our airplane, our first quote was for more than $150,000.  It was a really beautiful dual Garmin GTN 750 installation.  But in addition to the cost and a big delay getting started, what really killed the deal is that that the airplane would be down for at least a month and a half—and probably much longer.  That would definitely send us into withdrawal.

We decided to simplify our lives.  As we got closer to doing the deal, we realized that it would be a lot more convenient if we worked with somebody local.  We chose Neal Aviation on Gillespie Field, the airport where we have our routine maintenance done.  Plus, instead of a dual Garmin 750 installation, we decided that since we already had a back-up GPS, we could certainly get by with only one Garmin.

Also, we decided not to disturb our current audio panel and VHF avionics, and go with a Garmin GTN 725 which just has a GPS receiver.  The installation would involve replacing our current non-WAAS GPS and our multifunction display (MFD) plus our old transponders with the Garmin 725 and two new Garmin transponders.

The GTN 725 comes with the new bells and whistles we had begun to covet, such as the ability to load routes using airway numbers instead of entering every waypoint by hand, and with more hardware, the ability to load flight plans directly from our iPads.  And with yet another receiver we could still get the XM weather information we were used to with our previous system.

This was going to be a lot cheaper than the luxurious dual 750 installation.  The whole thing would be about $56,000.  And the icing on the cake was that Neal Aviation said they could complete the installation in two weeks.  Even though we considered the two weeks to be a very challenging goal, we had finally found a solution we were ready to move on.

The FAA’s motivation for the mandate is that when a ground-based system gets changed to a space-based system it usually gets cheaper to operate and more capable.  In this case, while radar installations can cost as much as $30 million, an ADS-B ground station can cost as little as $4 million.

Plus, while a ground-based radar’s sweep rate is 3-15 seconds, ADS-B transponders transmit their data about once every second.  The result is more efficient IFR spacing and routing.  And there will now be coverage in previously non-radar airspace such as at ski-area airports and other mountainous areas.

In spite of our original feeling that we weren’t in a rush to make the decision, it was time.  Lurking in the background were all the warnings about the up-coming full shops and scheduling delays as the deadline approaches.  More than anything else, we did not want to risk having to ground our airplane if we didn’t make the deadline.

Now that John and I have decided to bite the bullet and get the installation done, we are especially eager to get the airplane back and start flying it again.  We’ve downloaded the entire 400+ page manual for the GTN 725 and have begun our study.  We are excitedly looking forward to learning how to use all the new things the 725 will do for us.

 

John and Martha King Called “Distinguished” by NAA

John & Martha King, Co-Owners and Founders of King Schools with the National Aeronautic Association Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award.

December 19, 2018 San Diego CA – At the National Aeronautic Association Fall Awards Dinner on November 27, 2018, the NAA added 4 more individuals to the list of Distinguished Statesmen of Aviation.  The list includes Mark Burns, the President of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, William Garvey, the Editor-in-Chief of Business and Commercial Aviation magazine, and most unusually, the husband-and-wife team of John and Martha King, Co-Chairmen of King Schools.

According to the NAA, the purpose of the Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award is to honor outstanding living Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.  The Kings count themselves greatly honored to be included in this group for their decades of providing playful and fun video ground school instruction to generations of pilots.

“For those who know us well, the ‘Distinguished’ title is very questionable,” said John.

“The National Aeronautic Association is to be celebrated for having the courage to do the unconventional thing and select both members of our mom-and-pop team for this award.  We are just thrilled,” commented Martha

About King Schools
For over 40 years, students and pilots at all levels have enjoyed King Schools´ clear, simple and fun video courses. King Schools estimates that as much as 50% of the pilots flying in the U.S. today have taken one course or another from King. The company is also a leader in on-line pilot certification and avionics training for pilots of high-performance and turbine aircraft.

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John and Martha Receive the Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation

Co-Owners and Founders of King Schools Honored at the National Aeronautic Association Fall Awards Dinner

These beautiful plaques were presented to John & Martha King at the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) FALL AWARDS DINNER – “Honoring our leaders in Aerospace”.

November 27, 2018 Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington Virginia

John & Martha were presented The Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award at the National Aeronautic Association Fall Award dinner.  The award was established on October 16, 1954, by the Board of Directors of the National Aeronautic Association.  The purpose of the award is to honor outstanding living Americans who, by their efforts over an extended period of years, have made contributions of significant value to aeronautics, and have reflected credit upon America and themselves.

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) is the oldest national aviation organization in the United States. A non-profit association, NAA is “dedicated to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation in the United States,” according to its Mission Statement. The core of the organization is its members; thousands of individuals, organizations, and corporations representing all segments of American aviation. NAA encompasses all areas of flight from skydiving and models to commercial airlines, military aircraft, and spaceflight.

This plaque will have a place of honor in John & Martha’s office and hearts.

Part of the program of a very special night.

 

 

 

Seeing Flying with Fresh Eyes

John & Martha’s first airplane was a Cherokee 140.

The Experience Is Everything

Article appeared in Flying Magazine September, 2018 by John King

There was a lot of blood in the water as we flew over the bowhead whale being harvested for the sustenance of the native Iñupiat community of Barrow, Alaska. It was a thought-provoking and broadening experience of the type we found we were having regularly after we began flying our own airplane for transportation.

Personal flying means different things to different people. But for nearly everyone, flying represents a profound expression of freedom. It gives us the ability to leave the earth, take command of the third dimension, and explore our world from above for experiences like we had in Barrow.

John & Martha’s Cessna 340 expanded the range, speed and scope of their experiences.

For Martha and me, using our airplanes as our vehicles for personal transportation has allowed us to extend that freedom even further. With our own airplane we have the ability to travel to the places, and at the times, of our own choosing. Within days after earning our private pilot certificates in our first airplane, a Cherokee 140, we headed from our Indiana home down to Florida and the Bahamas.

On our way back north, the first appearance of snow on the ground in Tennessee prompted us to exercise our new-found freedom by immediately turning left to go explore the California coast. The aerial tour resulted in our discovering a little Southern California seaside town that resonated with us. We have lived in La Jolla, California ever since.

It wasn’t long before we hungered for more speed and more range, and we gained wider horizons with the purchase of our Piper Comanche. In our first year of flying the Comanche we experienced the breath-taking vista north of Acapulco as we crested the mountain range and viewed the sparkling bay and the dramatically beautiful expanse of the sea. Within that same year we also made the mind-opening trip to Barrow, Alaska.

Through the years, except for some international trips, we have always flown our own airplane for transportation, and, whenever money allowed, stepped up to faster and longer-legged aerial steeds.

So when we had to put our current airplane, an old Falcon 10, into scheduled maintenance for 6 weeks for what is known as a C-check, for the very first time in many years we found ourselves using the airlines for our personal transportation. We were totally unprepared for the experience.

First was the issue of time. We discovered that managing our time before and after we got to the airplane would require completely different considerations. We were used to driving up to our airplane, loading luggage, and being airborne and on our way in less than a half an hour. We had to make some real adjustments.

Ready to board at San Diego’s Montgomery Field – MYF.

Ready to board at San Diego’s Lindbergh Field SAN. (Photo credit to KPBS and ALIST, FLICKR)

We felt compelled to leave more time for the ground transportation to the airport. When we are flying our own airplane, if we get caught in traffic and arrive late the airplane never leaves without us. We were pretty sure that wouldn’t be the case on the airlines.

Then, we realized we had to leave lots of extra time once we got to the airport to check in, drop off our luggage, go through TSA, and be ready at the gate at the recommended 30 minutes before takeoff. As we added all this up, we decided we needed to arrive at the airport at least two hours before the scheduled departure time. Plus, after arrival at our destination, we needed to allow more time to retrieve our luggage and get to ground transportation.

The most surprising part of the experience was how stressful all of this was to us. The worries about getting caught in traffic jams on the way to the airport and getting through the terminal in time added stress that we don’t have when we are flying our own airplane.

Plus, when we got to the terminal, we didn’t know how to navigate our way around. We discovered we would frequently have to take an automated train to get to luggage drop-off, then another train to the gate area. This was not intuitive to us. Our confusion was so obvious that it was not uncommon, when we were staring at airport signs, for someone to approach us asking if they could help.

Then, of course, there is TSA. It is just not normally a part of our lives. What an enormous source of stress. Martha had gone to the trouble to get pre-check for us. But it was yet another case where we simply didn’t know the rules. We kept having to re-submit our computer bag for further inspection. Plus, I was frequently pulled aside for a “random” inspection. If it is random, how come it happened to me nearly every time?

Finally, there are the crowds. When we fly in our own airplane it is just us and our invited passengers. We had forgotten about all the crowds involved in airline flying. Airline flying would be great if it weren’t for all the people.  On the other hand there are many things to be said in favor of travel on the airlines.

First, it should be no surprise that you can travel around the country much cheaper on the airlines than in a general aviation airplane. That hasn’t always been the case. Back when we were traveling in our single-engine Comanche, if we had two people in the airplane we could fly coast to coast for the same price as on the airlines. But today, if the only consideration were money, going economy class on the airlines would win hands down.

Next, when it comes to time, in most cases the airlines win. But not always—it depends on how fast your airplane is and whether the airliner is going where you want to go. But when you figure in the extra time you have to allow to compensate for possible traffic delays and then the extra time for getting in and out of the airline terminal, the calculation changes. Plus, there is the benefit in personal flying of traveling according to your own schedule, not that of the airlines.

But what has motivated Martha and me to use general aviation airplanes for our personal transportation is neither money nor time. It has been the experience. Flying once again on the airlines made us see private flying with fresh eyes and reminded us of what we love about it.

While we tolerated the hassle of the terminal and the packed seating on the airlines in order to get to our destinations, we actively enjoy every minute of the experience of flying our own airplane. It makes us eager to make business trips when otherwise we’d look for excuses not to go. When we fly our own airplane, it is not unusual for us to get back from an important business trip, and on the drive home the conversation is all about how fun the flight was rather than about the business.

Even though flying is challenging, every aspect of it from the pre-flight planning to the management of the airplane in flight is deeply rewarding.

OUR DEEPLY PERSONAL FAA TOUCHPOINT

Perhaps the most significant and deeply personal touchpoint with the FAA for every pilot is the medical certification process. (Illustration from Flying Magazine July, 2018)

ON THE PATH TO FAA MEDICAL CERTIFICATION REFORM

Article appeared in Flying Magazine July, 2018 by Martha King

When John came to in the hospital a number of years ago after a lapse of consciousness, you will appreciate that the very first concern he expressed was for his aviation medical certificate.  Perhaps the most significant and deeply personal touchpoint with the FAA for every pilot is the medical certification process.  To a pilot, the ability to fly is a profoundly important part of their very being.

FAA medical certificates are issued by the Aerospace Medical Certification Division (AMCD) in Oklahoma City.  It is a part of the Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI).  John and I recently had the opportunity to tour CAMI and we found everyone to be knowledgeable professionals committed to their mission “…to assure civil aerospace safety…”

Considering the extreme importance to the pilot of their medical certificate, and the virtually unlimited power that the FAA’s aeromedical folks have over the very soul of the pilot, you would think they would bend over backwards to convey a sense of great care to the pilot.

But as truly dedicated as the folks at CAMI are, that sense of care hasn’t been evident to many pilots.  When John had his medical certificate denied, many related their own medical certification experiences to us.  To a person they reported that the FAA’s approach to certification felt heavy-handed and adversarial rather than helpful.  In particular they felt that the letters they received were cold and mean-spirited legal documents lacking in kindness or empathy.

A pilot who has followed the rules and reported a doctor visit revealing some medical imperfection often feels unfairly treated.  Many who have disclosed very intimate and personal information feel the FAA doesn’t appreciate that the pilot voluntarily submitted the very information the FAA is now using against them.  It does not appear to them that the FAA has their interest at heart and is trying to help them.  Indeed, they often feel that the FAA themselves doesn’t play by fair rules.

Rather than helping them get over a hurdle to “yes,” pilots often feel the approach appears to be to throw new hurdles in the path of applicants.  Pilots attempting to obtain special issuances frequently feel trapped in an involuntary game of Whack-A-Mole.  Demands are made for numerous tests that the specialist treating the patient often feels are irrelevant—and sometimes unnecessarily risky.  After the demands have been met and satisfied, new demands are made.

Meanwhile, while this game is being played, it not uncommon for the pilot to be deprived of their medical certificate, and often their livelihood, for many months.  After the certificate has been received, when the next application for renewal is made, it is not unusual for a demand that was previously satisfied to resurface, starting the process all over again.

It is easy to understand how this lack of trust, among other things, caused the hard push in Congress to allow pilots to fly light sport aircraft with what is known as a “driver’s-license medical.”  It also led to third-class medical reform in Congress, which culminated in what is known as BasicMed.

Why haven’t the dedicated people at CAMI retained the support of the aviation community?  As counter-intuitive as it is, the problem begins with their mission “…to assure civil aerospace safety…” What could possibly be wrong with that mission?  Who can complain about the assurance of safety?

Well, to assure absolute safety would mean we ground every pilot.  The reality is that the management of safety is a tradeoff.  There is a balance between protecting the public and helping even medically imperfect pilots retain their privilege to fly.  What we really mean when we talk about safety is that we want to strike the right balance.  This is a very difficult concept because there’s no bright line between ‘too risky’ and ‘safe enough.’  Adding “helping pilots keep flying” to their mission statement would change everything.  Suddenly pilots would become “customers” that they are serving.

Right now these dedicated, well-intentioned people are trapped in a dysfunctional culture that has caused the loss of trust of the aviation community and even the disapproval of Congress.  It cries out for leadership to change that culture into one that conveys their respect for pilots and the desire to serve them as customers.

Of course it would be dramatic change for the FAA to consider pilots as “customers” rather than as people they regulate.  However, the California DMV has done it.  It used to be a classic example of a dysfunctional government agency that everyone loved to hate.  Now, after an amazing cultural reform, they do a wonderful job of conveying their respect for you and their desire to help you.

The Flight Standards Division of the FAA is another example.  It has established a relationship of trust with the aviation community by pursing core values such as creating a just culture, helping pilots get over hurdles to “yes,” promoting risk-based decision-making, and treating people as individuals.  The trust these principles have engendered has helped to create the Airman Certification Standards (ACS), the Compliance Philosophy, easier installation of non-required safety equipment, and Part 23 reform.  The result is an extraordinary balance of risk management and productivity.

The very good news is that in our conversations with the folks at CAMI, John and I learned they have made the decision to follow the spectacular example of the folks at the California DMV and the FAA’s Flight Standards Service.  They intend to effectively manage the personal touchpoints with new policies and procedures that demonstrate concern for the constituencies they serve, including pilots.

They have already embarked on a program to improve their communications with pilots.  Previously, their letters to pilots were largely directed by the legal department who had no conception of the damage to the relationship with the aviation community the cold, legalistic letters were causing.  Now they are re-crafting their letters to display the kindness and empathy that John and I observed when we met the folks at CAMI.

They have also made the decision to actively seek out other ways to mitigate risk rather than simple denial of a certificate.  For instance, in John’s case the FAA was responsive to his petition to mitigate the small risk of a repeat lapse of consciousness by requiring him to fly with another qualified pilot.  This was not much of an imposition on us since most of our flying is in an airplane that requires two pilots.  John is very appreciative of this solution and is very eager to see other pilots benefit from the policy.

The needed culture changes are very significant, and will be difficult to identify and implement.  However, there is precedent right within the FAA.  Flight Standards has reformed the way they evaluate pilots from a competency standpoint by participating with a working group for over seven years in collaboration with varied constituencies of the aviation community.  The spectacularly beneficial result is the Airman Certification Standards.

At our CAMI meeting they indicated they would be eager to participate in a similar working group to help design and implement medical certification reform.  This is wonderful news that will benefit the entire aviation community.

 

Free LAANC Course Shows Drone Pilots How to Quickly Get ATC Clearance to Fly in Controlled Airspace

Martha King is the Instructor in this free course that explains how LAANC enables drone pilots to access controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations.

September 17, 2018 San Diego, CA  Drone pilots can take a new free King Schools course titled Using LAANC to Fly Drones in Controlled Airspace to learn how to use the FAA Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability.  The online course includes HD video and bullet points followed by interactive questions to test your knowledge.

Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability, pronounced “LANCE,” is the result of a partnership effort between the FAA and private industry.  LAANC enables drone pilots to access controlled airspace near airports through near real-time processing of airspace authorizations.  In this course, Co-Chairman of King Schools Martha King explains how operators of drones can get that authorization.

King Schools CEO Barry Knuttila explained, “The FAA has made it possible, but navigating the system is not easy.  In this course you will find simple, clear tips and information that can speed you on your way to getting the most from LAANC.  We have also added this LAANC information to updated versions of our Drone Pilot License initial test prep course.”

The Using LAANC to Fly Drones in Controlled Airspace course covers topics including:

  • UAS Facility Maps
  • Approved LAANC UAS Service Suppliers (USS)
  • B4UFLY FAA Mobile App
  • FAA’s DroneZone
  • Airspace Authorization and Waivers

The LAANC course is available for FREE at KingSchools.com/LAANC.

 

PUSHING TIN

ATC:  OUR UNSUNG HEROES

In the U.S. , the ATC system (for example at Wichita, KS) smoothly accommodates numerous airliners, business jets, helicopters, and training planes simultaneously.

Article appeared in Flying Magazine May, 2018 by John King

The eight of us had flown into Borrego Springs for lunch.  As Martha and I helped the folks from Australia back into the airplane and gave them our pre-flight briefing for the return trip, I explained, “We are about to challenge the air traffic control system a bit.  We will pop up in this small jet and accelerate to 350 knots indicated airspeed.  We will then request an ILS clearance for landing at Montgomery Field in San Diego, and see how ATC handles it.”

Each seat in the airplane was equipped with headsets and everyone would be able to hear what we said to the controllers, and the controllers said to us.

It was an extraordinary group of passengers.  There was the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (the Australian equivalent of the policy and rule-making part of the FAA), the Chairman of Airservices Australia (their air traffic control organization), and the heads of various departments of the ATC organization.

Martha was pilot-flying, and I was pilot-monitoring, so I was handling the radio.  “SOCAL, Falcon November One Zero Foxtrot, one-one miles southeast of Julian VORTAC, one two thousand five hundred.  We have Montgomery information Alpha.  Request the ILS approach to Montgomery Field.”

“Roger One Zero Foxtrot, turn right heading two-five-zero.  Intercept the localizer and track it inbound.  Descend and maintain four-thousand.”  The controller was completely calm and unperturbed.

As measured by our GPS, in eleven minutes from lift-off at Borrego Springs we had flown the 55-mile trip and were on the ground at San Diego’s Montgomery Field.  The Australians were awestruck.

The amazing part was not the speed of the airplane.  It was the unbelievable willingness and ability of the controller to accommodate us without hesitation and completely without advance notice.  That simply is not done in Australia (and for that matter, in the rest of the world).  It was what the contingent was here to see, and they certainly got what they came for.

Martha and I have flown throughout Australia in general aviation airplanes and have seen many examples of this contrast.  It is not uncommon for the presence of a single airliner to cause a general aviation airplane to be held outside a control tower’s airspace (today called Class D airspace), or for a hovering helicopter to be required to land.  By contrast, in the U.S. the ATC system (for example at Wichita, KS) smoothly accommodates numerous airliners, business jets, helicopters, and training planes simultaneously.

Pushing Tin is a 1999 comedy-drama film directed by Mike Newell. The film is loosely based around the real world New York TRACON radar facility.

In spite of operating the world’s largest and busiest air traffic control organization, the FAA’s ATC system is legendary for its willingness and ability to flexibly accommodate traffic of all varieties and speeds.  As dramatized by the movie “Pushing Tin,” it is built into the DNA.  Controllers take pride in their in their ability to move airplanes efficiently.  It is all about providing access.

Martha and I see this flexibility all the time.  We often depart San Diego from Montgomery Field, which has a mix of traffic ranging from Cubs to jets.  Yet the ATC system there efficiently takes care of all comers.  Frequently we get our departure release before we get to the runway, and never have to set the brakes of our old Falcon 10 before takeoff.  Then at Wichita, KS, our frequent fuel stop on our trips to the East Coast, the same thing happens again.

The airlines often complain about delays, but our experience indicates when there are delays, they are most often caused by too many aircraft being scheduled to take off or land on the same pavement at the same time, rather than by the capacity of the ATC system.  General aviation aircraft don’t add to the delays because we mostly use different airports and runways.

Sometimes ATC is effortlessly the star of the show when even the fixed base operators at their airport can’t keep up.  We were at an event the other day that ended with dozens of jets all wanting to leave at about the same time.  Aircraft had to wait as much as two hours for the FBO to move the aircraft to where they could be fueled and start engines.  But there was absolutely no delay from ATC.  We taxied out to the runway and were cleared for takeoff as soon as we were ready.

And to help make things run smoothly with general aviation pilots, the U.S. ATC system partners with them.  When services are provided on a workload permitting basis, such as flight following for VFR aircraft, controllers will still go out of their way to provide service, even when they appear busy.  Plus, ATC proactively engages with the community.  A recent flying club meeting in San Diego had representatives from multiple local control towers, SOCAL TRACON, and Los Angeles Center.  All had shown up to explain to pilots how they could get even better service.

The partnership includes an incredible kindness and courtesy towards general aviation pilots.  When general aviation pilots are less than perfect in their communications, controllers work with them patiently.  On a recent flight we heard a pilot being asked to describe his route.  When spelling the name of one of the waypoints, he used “Motel” as the phonetic code word for the letter “M” instead of “Mike.”  As a result the controller heard it as “Hotel” and thought the letter was “H.”

An extended period of confusion resulted because the controller couldn’t find the misspelled waypoint.  When the controller realized what had happened, he simply corrected the waypoint name, and didn’t say a word to the pilot about using an incorrect phonetic code word.

We have something great going for us with ATC in the United States.  They are general aviation’s best friend—indeed, they are often GA pilots themselves—but we have tended to take them for granted.  You might say they are our “unsung heroes.”  Among other things, ATC services are the key to the unique connection that lets general aviation tie rural communities to the rest of our economy.  Architects, lawyers, developers, ranchers, and small businesspeople of all kinds use airplanes to make operating in smaller communities economically viable.  General aviation helps them connect their businesses to larger communities, and make their goods and services broadly available.

To protect this special relationship that U.S. general aviation enjoys with ATC, we need to preserve the oversight that Congress provides in ensuring that a profit motive doesn’t change the special service culture of ATC.  ATC absolutely ain’t broke.  Let’s not let people, who don’t have a clue how well it works, try to fix it.

Online Drone Pilot Recurrent Test Prep Course From King Schools Makes Renewing Remote Pilot Certificates Quick And Easy

John & Martha offer a quick and easy way to prepare for Remote Pilot certificate renewal with the online Drone Pilot Recurrent Test Prep Course from King Schools.

September 10, 2018 San Diego, CA.  Drone pilots now have a quick and easy way to prepare for their Remote Pilot certificate renewal with the online Drone Pilot Recurrent Test Prep Course from King Schools.

Martha King, Co-Chairman of King Schools, said, “The FAA Remote Pilot Recurrent Knowledge Test eliminates questions on many areas that applicants were required to know for their initial certification.  This shorter course makes preparation for the recurrent test quick and easy by focusing tightly on the topics required for recertification.  It also gives drone pilots the tools they need to learn about changes in FAA regulations, procedures, and airspace, and stay out of trouble with the FAA.”

John King, the other Co-Chairman of King Schools, added, “Since it was released in January of 2017, over four thousand drone operators have passed their initial Remote Pilot Knowledge Test using our Drone Pilot License Test Prep course.  We have more than 400 reviews for this course and almost all of them have a 5-star rating.  Our customers enjoy the HD-video in the regulations lesson, the interactive FAA-style questions, and the extended content throughout the course.  Our re-certification course continues that same style.”

The King Schools online Drone Pilot Recurrent Test Prep Course is currently available and can be purchased for $59 from KingSchools.com or by calling (800)-854-1001 or worldwide at +1 (858) 541-2200.  Purchasers will have lifetime access to their course.

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Flight training industry leader Martha King named to CAP Board of Governors

August 24, 2018,  ANAHEIM, Calif. – Martha King, co-chair and co-owner of a major E-learning-focused aviation school, has been appointed to Civil Air Patrol’s Board of Governors.

King succeeds retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Teresa Marné Peterson, whose second three-year on the Board of Governors expires in November.

“The Civil Air Patrol has a long and storied history, and represents the biggest and most committed group of volunteers in aviation,” King said. “It’s an honor to be associated with this wonderful group of contributors.”

San Diego-based King Schools Inc., which King founded in 1975 with her husband, John King, develops and provides online courses for individuals interested in achieving all levels of pilot certification.

The Kings, both certificated flight instructors, launched King Schools as a traveling ground school that conducted two-day courses in various cities. About 10 years later they created training videos for other flight instructors’ use in presenting their courses. They subsequently moved to online training.

King and her husband were inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame at the San Diego Air & Space Museum in 2006.

In 2003, she was honored by the First Flight Centennial Commission as one of the 100 Distinguished Aviation Heroes in the first century of flight and was also named as one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Aviation” by Women in Aviation International. Two years later, she received the National Aeronautic Association’s “Cliff Henderson Award for Achievement,” annually presented to “a living individual or group whose vision, leadership or skill has made a significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation or space activity.”

In recent years the Kings were jointly:

  • Named “Aviation Educators of the Year” by Professional Pilot Magazine in 2006
  • Honored with the Vision Award from Business & Commercial Aviation and inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Recognized with the American Spirit Award by the National Business Aviation Association in 2009
  • Awarded the Frank G. Brewer Trophy for Aviation Education by the National Aeronautic Association in 2012
  • Presented the Pinnacle Award by the Flight School Association of North America in 2015.

“Martha King has an excellent reputation as an industry leader in innovative approaches to pilot training, and we’re all delighted to welcome her to CAP’s Board of Governors. The vision and experience she brings to our governing body are especially valuable as we increase our emphasis on flight training for our youth in response to the nation’s ongoing pilot shortage,” said Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP national commander.

As Civil Air Patrol’s top governing body, the 11-member Board of Governors consists of four Air Force appointees, three members appointed jointly by the Secretary of the Air Force and CAP’s national commander, and four members-at-large — including Peterson and King — selected by CAP’s Senior Advisory Group to represent industry, government and education.

The Board of Governors moves CAP forward through collective decision-making to generate strategic policies, plans and programs designed to guide it both today and tomorrow. It is assisted by CAP’s national commander and CEO, the organization’s chief operating officer and the CAP-U.S. Air Force commander, who act as advisers.

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 60,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 25,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com or www.CAP.news for more information.

 CAP contact info:
Julie DeBardelaben – jdebardelaben@capnhq.gov – 334-953-7748, ext. 250
Steve Cox – scox@capnhq.gov – 334-953-7748, ext. 251