Friday, April 27, 2007

Swept Wing Design

I said in my post yesterday that the Beechjet is faster than the Citation V. Both of these aircraft have Pratt and Whitney JT15D-5s. So why the performance differences of faster cruise speeds at altitude of the BE400 and shorter landing distances of the CE560?

The two aircraft have a different wing design. The Be400 has swept wings as opposed to the straighter wings of a Ce560. Above is the Be400, and below is the Ce560. Both pictures are taken at right angles to the fuselage, but look how far back the Beechjet's wings go.

Wikipedia says: A swept-wing is a wing planform common on high-speed aircraft. A swept-wing is typically swept back, instead of being set at right angles to the fuselage. They were initially used only on fighter aircraft, but have since become almost universal on jets, including airliners and business jets.

Straight wings are better for short takeoffs and landings, low speed, and fuel-efficient flight, and swept wings are better for high-speed, particularly supersonic, flight (um, but not that fast in the Be400!).

When we climb to altitude at full throttle, there is no hesitation - we go right up at 250knots until passing FL300, a nice change from the Citation. But I have had to learn to compensate for the low speed handling issues that swept wings generate. Below a certain speed, the wing simply quits flying, so power on approaches are required (don't pull the power back too early or "thump.")

Thursday, April 26, 2007

New Beechjet Pilot

Hi All!

I finished my first week in the Beechjet doing IOE - Initial Operating Experience. Most airlines do this - put newbies with a designated Captain to learn the ropes either for the new aircraft or the company or both (I've been working with my employer for 5 years, so this is aircraft specific for me). We spent almost the entire week flying in the Southwest, which is really nice this time of year.

I am now "flying the line" with a regular line Captain. So far, we've been mostly in the Southeast! Much better to be in Florida when it's still relatively cool.

One big difference between the Citation I just got out of and the Beechjet is speed. The Beechjet has more power than it knows what to do with. We actually have to pull the power back at cruise so we don't exceed Vmo/Mmo (Velocity/Mach maximum operating speed). The Citation had the nickname "Slow-tation!"

These pictures were taken in West Palm Beach, FL, very early in the am before flying all day. My employer does a lot of maintenance at this airport, so there are always a lot of Beechjets to choose from. We flew in an airplane with a maintenance issue and picked up this one that was ready to go!
Talk to you again soon....

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Girls With Wings Game

Finally! I had a down day due to maintenance, and so was able to get the "game" up on the website:

Here's an overview (but see site for all the info):

I've had a lot of inquiries about the Flight Instrument "game" that I often mention on the website and the newsletters. I use it for when I meet with the Girl Scouts, but it could be used for a variety of venues and ages. The game is not available for purchase. You need to make it yourself, and feel free to email me if you have any questions.

What's great about this game is that it uses aviation, air traffic control, teamwork, and communication skills. There is no way to win or lose, but as of yet, I have not had any complaints!

First, have some cockpit posters laminated. You can buy them (I use 172 posters -- pretty simple layout) from Sporty's and have them laminated at Staples, which costs very little. When you use the game consider the size of the group. If you're getting just a few girls at a time, one poster is enough. I don't suggest more than five girls per poster, because it just gets too crowded. I did up another poster with a pilot's multifunction display so they get an idea of how the same instruments have evolved into a one-screen display.

Then, create cards that show the basic instruments and laminate them for durability. For more options, make different sets of cards for each poster showing different indications. I have five posters and five sets of cards, 1 each: attitude indicator, airspeed indicator, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, compass, and turn and slip. I used MS Picture It to make cards that show climbs, turns, different speeds, etc. The cards can be downloaded from this page.

I usually start with an overview of my background as a pilot. This can fulfill badge requirements. Then, I tell the girls I am going to teach them everything they need to know to be a pilot. I also printed out a page with the phonetic alphabet. I show them where their call sign is and how to say it. The girls LOVE to figure out what their call sign is! I make sure there is a large cheat sheet that shows how to make a radio call.
"Cleveland Center
This is *call sign*
*Tell Center the information they need*."

Example questions to get things started:

Who has ever seen the flight deck of an airplane before? Then, I go through the instruments. What is the biggest difference between flying an airplane and driving an car on the ground? Altimeter. How do you measure your speed in an airplane? We use nautical miles per hour, or knots. Airspeed indicator. Additionally, you need to know how fast you're climbing or descending. VSI How do you know what direction you're going in? Compass. I like to explain that just like if someone is skiing or snowboarding, or even riding a bike, they need to make sure the back of them is going in the same direction is the front; or else they'll be skidding and sliding around. The pedals help make turns. Turn and slip. What if it's cloudy out and we can't see the ground? How will we know how our airplane is traveling over the ground? Attitude indicator. Ask why it's colored blue and brown. This is a good time to ask the kids to interpret what their attitude indicator is telling them they're doing (climbing or descending, turning left or right or straight and level).

Now, to make it a game, I use a friend who is an Air Traffic Controller. She asks the girls where they want to fly. Since her job is to coordinate and direct the airplanes, she tells them that she needs to figure out who is going the fastest, since she is going to put them first in line. She has a list of the airplane tail numbers and she asks them to "say airspeed." Each table reads back their airspeed. (This takes about twenty minutes up to this point for five groups). Then she tells them she is going to help to vector them to the airway they need to follow to get to their destination. Then, since everyone is heading in the same direction, she says she needs to know what altitude they are at, so she can keep them separated in the sky, followed by asking them their vertical speed. At this point, depending on the age of the girls, you could then ask them what they need to do to make the airplane climb or descend (power/yoke), what to look for on their instruments, etc. This "game" is very popular because the girls walk away feeling like they've really learned something they can use. I was warned it would be too difficult. Well, the girls had no problems figuring out what to do and were so proud of themselves for doing so! See a video clip of the game in action on the site.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hi Everyone,

I am slowly catching up. The newsletter went out yesterday, and that is a two day process alone. If you'd like to receive the monthly Girls With Wings eZine, you can sign up here. In one of my previous posts, I talked about Wiley Post, a big supporter of early Women in aviation, the instructor to Pearl Carter (a 13 yr old private pilot in the 20s) and who is mentioned quite often in a book that I just loved: Gene Nora Jessen's "Powder Puff Derby Of 1929." He was quite a character, and contributed much to aviation. A reader of this post sent me the following information for those of you who would like to read more about Wiley Post and his life. Some of the links I added in after the fact.

I'm always scouting around trying to find where my websites are linked when I ran across your blog. Love it!! I want to give you a couple of links that maybe you will enjoy:

Are you aware of Cheryl Stearns? (Championship skydiver and pilot, CHERYL STEARNS of Raeford, NorthCarolina was named the 2005 recipient of the prestigious WILEY POST SPIRIT AWARD.)

Check out these pages: Chickasaw Indian Pilot I wrote about earlier.)

You are correct in saying that Wiley Post supported women pilots. He was a great supporter of Amelia Earhart, Faye Gillis and many others. As you know, that was very unusual for the time, but Wiley was an unusal kind of guy. At present I'm working up a book on Wiley Post's wife, Mae Laine's a bit about her

I serve as a trustee with the Ninety-Nines Museum of Women Pilots ....ya might say that I like "girls with wings". I have a great picture that I think you will enjoy...if I can find it I'll send it along. Please feel free to use anything you want from my two sites.

Best Regards,

-- Bob Kemper

Executive Director, Wiley Post Heritage of Flight Center

Note: Faye Gillis was instrumental in creating the Forest of Friendship, which I will be inducted into this spring.

The Forest is nestled on a gentle slope overlooking Lake Warnock, on the
outskirts of Atchison. It is made up of trees from all fifty states and
thirty-five countries around the world where Honorees reside. Each tree has its own flag, and on special occasions, the Forest is ablaze with the brilliance of colors of more than 100 flags blowing in the breeze.

Who are the Honorees inducted into the Forest of Friendship?

  • Women and men of all ages who have given dedicated service, leadership, friendship, and supportive effort to help others achieve aviation goals.
  • Women and men of all ages who have been supportive and contributed to the furtherment of aviation. The Honorees need not be pilots.
  • Pioneers in Aviation and Aerospace.
  • Aviation writers and educators who spend their lives encouraging others to fly.
  • Women and men of all ages who have made significant contributions to the development of aviation; and those who have established recognition for setting world aviation records.

For more information see: