Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Step at a Time

It's a new year, and big things are in the works for Hayes Aviation! This month we acquired our first company owned airplane. Hayes Aviation has for several years been utilizing the McCallman family's airplanes in which we provided flight training for our customers. I have enjoyed working with the McCallmans and will miss chatting with them out on flight-line in between flights. Currently Skyhawk N5472K is in the paint shop in preparation for our big launch in February. Stay tuned for things to come!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Free Flight Lesson Sweepstakes Rules

Sweepstakes is open for new Facebook "Likes" only. Must be 18 years or older to enter. New Facebook "Likes" will be entered for a chance to win during the duration of the sweepstakes(starts 3/26/12, ends 5/7/12). One winner will be selected by random drawing at the end of the competition pending at least 60 new "Likes". Should the minimum new "Likes" not be met, the new "Likes" will automatically be rolled into the next sweepstakes drawing. The winner will be required to submit proof of posting the Hayes Aviation Sweepstakes post to their own Facebook status. Only actual persons are eligible to win. The winner will receive a Flight Lesson Gift Certificate by mail. The Flight Gift Certificate must be redeemed within 90 days from the sweepstakes drawing date.

To redeem the Flight Lesson Gift Certificate, contact Hayes Aviation at: or call (386) 957-1653

Hayes Aviation reserves the right to reschedule the free flight lesson at anytime.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Polarized Sunglasses

I have a tendency to be harsh on my sunglasses. Here in Florida I’ll never leave home without them. So after a couple of years of abuse, my old trusty RayBan Aviators were past their prime. Naturally I decided to replace my Aviators with a new pair of Aviators, my fourth pair. Aside from the fact that Aviators just look plain good, they are perfectly suited to the task. The lenses provide great coverage, while the frames are light enough to be unnoticeable. Even a pilot’s lightest headset becomes uncomfortable a few hours into a flight. As such pilots really don’t like to weigh our heads down any more than necessary during flight. Being that the frames are thin, the RayBan’s don’t create pressure points at the temple, nor do they break the headset seal around the ears. This time though, I thought of getting a pair of polarized sunglasses. I had learned that polarized sunglasses were not recommended for flight. There are several reasons to this. Since some flight instruments are already covered by polarized lenses, viewing these instruments become a problem when viewed through a pair of polarized sunglasses. LCD monitors such as your laptop screen or the aircraft’s GPS can also be difficult to view at certain angles. The same is apparent in certain jets with laminated polarized windows. To me the most compelling argument against polarized sunglasses in flight is also the best argument for them during every day non-flight life. Polarized lenses are designed to cut down on glare but in aviation, many times the glare off of another airplane’s wings in the distance is the first and best way to see and avoid another aircraft. Because I had stumbled upon an unbeatable price for the polarized version, I decided I would give them a chance. I have to say, that so far, I’m quite happy with them. As a flight instructor, I don’t fly jets with laminated windshields, so that isn’t a problem. The GPS in the airplane seems fully readable and the instruments appear to not reside behind polarized treated glass. I have noticed that my laptop screen does go dark when I drastically tilt my head one way or the other. But this would certainly not be the normal way of viewing the screen anyhow. As of yet, I haven’t flown with the new sunglasses enough to decide if the reduction of glare will impede scanning the wide blue yonder for traffic. I don’t expect it to become an issue as I still notice glare. The operative word here is that they REDUCE glare, the polarized glasses do not eliminate glare. Also, there is an argument that cutting down on glare will reduce visual fatigue which in turn allows you to scan the sky more effectively. For now I’ll stick to the new lenses. If I have any issues with them in flight I’ll just get another pair, with the classic green G15 lenses, just for flight. Who knows, if I have two sets of aviators, they just might last longer!

Word to the wise, this blog is based upon my own observations, user experiences may differ. Although not prohibited by the FAA, the official FAA stand (as per an Advisory Circular) is to not recommend polarized sunglasses for flight.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Choosing the Right Flight School for You

Newer vs Older Airplanes
While many flight schools still operate aircraft from the 1970’s with steam gauge instrumentation (traditional instrumentation) more and more of the larger flight academies are operating glass cockpit aircraft. Which one is right for you is primarily a matter of your personal taste and budget. In determining which is right for you, here are a few things to consider.

A nice paint job does not make an airplane fly.
While a car from the 70’s still used today as daily driver could be considered an old, and barely road worthy, the same cannot be interpolated as being true for airplanes. The reason for this is that every aircraft in the United States has to go through a strict yearly inspection known as the Annual Inspection. Without this inspection, the airplane cannot legally fly. Likewise, if the airplane fails the inspection it cannot fly until all the issues have been corrected. In addition to this, companies that operate airplanes for hire are required have inspections performed every 100 hours of flight time. As such a new airplane is deemed equally airworthy as an airplane from the 70’s.

The tools needed to learn how to pilot an airplane remains the same regardless of vintage.
Sure the faded interior and original 1970’s paint job may be less than impressive compared to the new airplane smell, leather seats and the whiz-bang technology. But these differences do not a pilot make. The same principles of flight still adhere to all airplanes and basic airmanship does not simply rely on the technology in the cockpit.

While the newer glass cockpits may provide higher potential situational awareness, it can also lead to a loss of situational awareness if the technology is used as a crutch to compensate for inadequate knowledge or instruction. Keep in mind that with increased technology there may also be an increased learning curve associated with operation of the technology.

As a flight instructor, I prefer to teach my students on the traditional round dial instruments. Part of my reasoning is that; I believe (especially for instrument students)that using the information from the traditional flight instruments to create a mental map of what’s happening in the flight environment develops better situational awareness. The lack of a giant moving map that’s telling the students what to do, force the students to thinks more for themselves.
Another part of my reasoning is this; Learning how to fly using traditional instrumentation you’ll have access to more rental airplanes as most airplanes have traditional instruments (the average age of the general aviation fleet is 40 years).
You can always transition into a glass cockpit later if you like since transitioning into a glass cockpit environment from a standard instrument cockpit environment is generally easier and faster than vice versa.

If you are looking for economy, renting a technologically advanced airplane will likely cost you more per flight hour. The price of an older C-172 may cost about $100/hr. while a newer model of that same aircraft may easily be close to $180-$200/hr. Over the span of the Private Pilot Course (based on FAA minimum flight times) using an older aircraft for flight training can save you $4000!

Although the newer technology is fun to play with, the paintjob of a new airplane will be more impressive as you are taxiing onto the ramp, and the use of an autopilot on a long flight is a nice treat. It will not create a better pilot during initial flight training. For training purposes, it really doesn’t matter whether you fly a glass cockpit or an airplane with traditional instruments.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It finally here!
After more blood sweat and tears I was really willing to put up with Hayes Aviation's website is finally up and running. Be sure to visit us at!
Now I have to wrap my head around this SEO nonsense, hopefully this won't prove as frustrating as the challenges I experienced with the website design company.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Key West Flight

A typical time building flight:

It’s nearly noon, our cruising altitude is 5,500ft. We have been tracking Victor Airway 3 for a few hours on our way to Key West. Our magnetic heading is currently 155°, with a 10° wind correction angle due to the summer sea breeze off of the Atlantic Ocean. The navigation log you created based on the forecast winds has been fairly accurate as we were only 3 minutes off our leg time over the Melbourne VOR. Currently we are in contact with West Palm Beach Approach. Ahead of us lay Miami, and then Homestead General Airport, our refueling point. We have been monitoring the weather development along our path. As the day has been warming up, and the sea breeze pushes in moisture inland towards the west, the clouds have started to develop in height. Miami ATIS is still too far away for us to get an accurate picture of the cloud bases over the radio. But it is clear that they are starting to develop into columns of moisture. Not quite yet Towering Cumulous, but it certainly won’t take long before we might have to circumnavigate the localized rain showers that will start springing up on this mid-June day.

As the traffic over West Palm Beach Approach is currently at a lull, you ask ATC for permission to leave the frequency. ATC advises you to cross directly over the West Palm Beach International Airport, and then to fly a 180° heading upon passing over head. We are to report back onto frequency within 5 minutes. You have already tuned in Flight Watch on the standby frequency a head of time to safe time while off frequency. “Flight Watch this is Skyhawk 20571…” You report your position and the destination of Homestead General and request an in-flight weather advisory. Flight Watch advises you of some moderate to heavy precipitation based on radar imagery. This weather is still well west of us. However, the cloud bases are starting to get lower than expected during our morning weather forecast. We thank Flight Watch for the help and decide that we will continue to monitor the situation as we continue. As of yet the cloud bases are reported as 2000ft scattered towards the west. Along the shoreline there are just a few fair weather cumulous moving inland. We report back up on the West Palm Beach frequency just as we are about to cross over the airport. “Roger, Skyhawk 20571” is the reply we receive.

West Palm Beach Approach hands us off to Miami Approach Control. We had planned to overfly Miami International Airport navigating by using the Miami VOR, but Miami isn’t allowing this due to the arrivals into that airport. We are given the option to fly east of Miami over the shoreline, or west over the Everglades. Both options will take about the same time to navigate around the busy Miami Class Bravo airspace. And we determine that we have plenty of fuel taking either off rout option. If we decide to fly over the everglades, the cloud bases will keep us below 1,500 ft. If we follow the shoreline we will have to stay below 1,000ft. Both options will keep us low and clear of clouds. To us, going east and flying low over Miami Beach sounds more appealing. Low over the Everglades, our options are limited in the event in the unlikely event of an engine failure, especially with all the alligators. We elect to fly along the shoreline over the sharks instead. “Skyhawk 20571, fly heading 150°, intercept the shoreline southbound, descend and maintain at or below 1,000ft. Be aware of numerous targets along the shoreline.”

The water has gradually been getting a more tropical blue tinge as we continue south. Almost three hours into the flight we are cleared direct to Homestead. “Skyhawk 20571, squawk VFR, frequency change approved.” We are now outside of Miami’s airspace, it is up to us to navigate without assistance to Homestead. This includes avoiding the airspace of two Class Delta airports between us and our destination. Using the GPS we enter the Homestead General Airport’s identifier and select the direct function on the GPS. The GPS informs us that our new direct track is a 253° heading to the airport. The track should keep us clear of the airspace ahead, but we remain careful to keep clear of it as the corridor between us and Homestead is rather narrow. We easily spot the large transmission tower that lies between us and our destination. As the tower is higher than our altitude we decide to fly around the right hand side of it, this gives us more clearance of the surrounding airspace. Just beyond the tower is Homestead General Airport, a small two runway, uncontrolled airport. It takes you a while to spot the airfield as you compare the surroundings to your aviation sectional map. Eventually you are able to spot the airport and rush to tune in the CTAF frequency. Admittedly you should have tuned in the frequency and listened to the weather recording earlier. You decide to stay clear of the airport area as you gain a better understanding of the wind conditions and traffic pattern. Next time you resolve to be better prepared for your destination to not allow yourself to get rushed like this.

The traffic pattern is busy today. Skydivers are falling from the sky at the south end of the airport. Sailplanes are being launched from the grassy area to the left and parallel of runway 9 and there are plenty of students in the traffic pattern practicing take offs and landings. You determine that the wind and traffic pattern is favoring runway 9, which has a standard left hand traffic pattern, as you are maneuvering to enter the pattern. Even with heavy traffic in the pattern you are able to seamlessly enter a mid-field downwind. We have to extend our downwind slightly as the traffic in front of us is on a long final, but eventually we are able to turn in behind him. “Homestead traffic, Skyhawk 20571 is turning on a long final, runway 9, Homestead.” You make this traffic call out to make sure the student pilot behind us on downwind realizes we are on a long final, just in case he decides to turn onto his base leg early, inadvertently cutting us off. And to kindly bring to attention of the student in front of us that his final leg in the pattern is unusually long. We also mention that we are a full stop landing so the pilot behind us can create the necessary space between his aircraft and ours. Your final approach is nice and stable, you are correcting for a slight cross wind and we are merrily waiting for the aircraft in front of us to clear the runway or perform a touch and go. As he is landing longer than we expect we prepare ourselves for a go-around in case we must make one. Luckily as we get closer to the threshold the aircraft is not an issue and we are able to land. Your landing is nice and smooth and the longitudinal axis perfectly aligned with the centerline of the runway. Although it was a beautiful landing, you remark that you feel you floated slightly long and that you therefore missed your touchdown mark. I remind you that your landings have improved dramatically since we started flying together and that you will soon be able to consistently plant your wheels at any point specified on the runway with little fuss.

We taxi to the Roberts Air South FBO where we are greeted like family by the husband and wife owners. Here we will stretch our legs, enjoy some complimentary coffee and perhaps a pastry before we refuel for the last leg of our trip. We have travelled approximately 250 miles so far. Only 100 miles left to go before we touch down in Key West for some much needed relaxation!