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American Flyers Flight School November Aviation Newsletter

Worth the Wait

Jeff Earnhart has made his dream into reality this year. On June 19, he became a private pilot, and couldn’t be happier. He has waited a long time for his training to begin, and with some dedication and a few pleasant surprises along the way he made it happen.

While growing up, Jeff’s grandfather would often take him for rides in his Piper Arrow; it was during these formative times when Jeff was inspired to learn to fly himself. However, scholastic responsibilities had to take priority; and throughout his high school and college career, Jeff never had the time to go after his goal. Even after graduation, he was forced to wait. But in the meantime he embarked on a successful career selling tools for the fabrication of marble counter tops. His selling region encompasses North and South Carolina and Georgia.

It was in the beginning of this year when Jeff decided it was time to learn how to fly, and he, “just did it”. He enrolled at American Flyers in Atlanta and took his first training flight on May 1. As his training progressed, he remarked that he had not expected flight training to be so enjoyable, that it was “more fun than I thought,” and that before training he imagined it would be “more like work”.

With the earning of his private license, he immediately set to work on his instrument rating, and as of the day he gave this interview, he was only a few flight hours away from his check ride.

As he looks ahead, he sees his new skills as a “definite” boon to his career in sales, but as far as a flying career, it’s “just for myself,” although Jeff does have an interest in eventually pursuing a commercial license one day and maybe his instructor license as well. His immediate goal however, is to take his grandfather up for a ride.

Aviation training flight student.

Part of the Flyers Family

While many pilots come through the doors of American Flyers, many graduates come back to see their old school and reminisce with familiar faces. For Gary Solkovits of Coral Springs, Florida, he had many good tales to tell on his most recent visit to the Chicagoland area.

Gary was a student of Aviation Training Enterprises, (the precursor to American Flyers) at Midway Airport in Chicago in 1968. He was already a CFI, but desired to earn an instrument rating. So impressed was he with the professional staff, that he stayed on to earn his Instrument Instructor rating, multi-engine rating and ATP certificate.

Since leaving American Flyers, Gary has had an extraordinary career as a Lear Jet pilot, NASA pilot, an Oshkosh air-boss, air show pilot, experimental jet pilot, and finally, the owner of his own company which provides jet discovery flights, and the first company approved by the FAA to issue type ratings in the Czech-built Aero L-39.

Gary and the L-39 have a relationship that goes back to 1999,when he took his first flight in one. A few flights and a trip to Czechoslovakia later, Gary was convinced; the L-39 was for him. He purchased one in Hamilton, Ohio in 2001, the same year he started his current business: Jet Fighters International Inc. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Gary is an active airshow pilot, routinely touring the country putting his L-39 through its paces for aviation enthusiasts from coast to coast. He has over 450 hours in the L-39 and of all the jet fighter/trainers he has flown, it is his favorite.

After all these years and amazing accomplishments, he still finds time to visit his old school.

Aviation flight student. Learn to fly


As the year winds down, a little rest and relaxation is in order; a chance to release some stress and take in a scenic view is just what can help before winter.

Located just north of Lake Wales in Florida, Chalet Suzanne Country Inn is a remote getaway that is not so remote. Designated a National Historic Landmark, Chalet Suzanne has been owned by the same family and has been receiving guests since 1931. This eclectic inn is home to its own turf airstrip, Chalet Suzanne Airstrip, (X25), has 30 guest rooms and grounds that stretch on for 100 acres.

The centerpiece of the complex offers a great chance for welcome relaxation. The Court Yard Spa has a variety of services and packages for all schedules and budgets. Some amenities include massage, aromatherapy, deep tissue treatments and hot stone therapy.

Don’t forget to finish off the day with dining in the lake-view restaurant; this five-room home-style spot is ready when you are.

With its combination of history, charm and contemporary fare, stop by Chalet Suzanne for a relaxing retreat. For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.chaletsuzanne.com.

November Trivia

The history of the phonetic alphabet dates back to World War I, when the forces of Great Britain adopted what was known as “Western Front” slang, or signalese, which was the phonetic spelling used by signallers for use primarily in visual communication. It was formally adopted by the Royal Navy during this time, and featured words such as: Apple, George, Vinegar and Xerxes. The informal signalese counterparts were: Ack, Gee, Vic and X-ray.

The purpose of an international radiotelephony spelling alphabet was to ensure the intelligibility of voice signals over radio links. The first international alphabet was adopted by the International Telecommunications Union in 1927, which made continued improvements until 1932, when the alphabet was standardized by the International Commission for Air Navigation, a predecessor to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and was used in civil aviation until the beginning of World War II.

In 1941 the U.S. created the Joint Army/Navy (JAN) phonetic alphabet to standardize all its armed forces branches; it was known as the Able Baker, after the first two letters. In 1943 the United Kingdom adapted its RAF alphabet to a nearly identical form to America’s JAN alphabet to further facilitate communication between the Allies.

After the war, a new international version was drafted by the International Air Transport Association and was presented to ICAO, which implemented it in 1951. After revising it with the help of speakers from 31 nations and governments such as the U.K. and the U.S., the final version, which is in use today, was adopted by the ICAO on March 1st, 1956.

Source: wikipedia.com

Ask the Pilot Professor - Pilot Training Specialist

November Joke

During night ops training, the instructor wanted to simulate a landing light failure:

Tower: Cessna 1234, cleared to land runway 31.
Pilot: Cleared to land, Cessna 1234. We'll switch off the landing light for training purposes.
Tower: Roger. Do you want us to switch off the runway lights as well?

Source: landings.com

Cold Weather Operations
By David Menconi,
National Chief Flight Instructor

In preparation for the winter months ahead, let’s review some cold weather operations starting with:


  • Check freezing levels for icing conditions along your route of flight as well as SIGMETS and AIRMETS.
  • Knowing where icing conditions exist allows you to develop a plan to avoid those areas; always have a way out of possible icing conditions.
  • Personal safety equipment should include layered clothing, a warm pair of shoes and sunglasses, in more remote areas: shelter, food, water and a signaling device.
  • Ensure the airplane is clear of ice and snow by using an approved deicing procedure or a heated hangar.
  • During line inspection of the airplane, place special attention to water condensation in the fuel and make sure all fuel vents, static ports and crank case breather lines are clear of ice and snow.


  • Avoid over-priming during engine start; this contributes to spark plug fouling and an increase fire risk due to an overflow of fuel.
  • Preheating the engine and cabin will make engine starts much easier in cold weather and help prevent engine or flight controls from freezing.


  • Look for reduced braking action and give yourself a large margin of safety when planning turns and stops.


  • Be aware that carburetor ice can occur in temperatures up to 70º F.
  • Prime carburetor ice conditions occur when temperatures are between 40º and 60º F with high relative humidity or visible moisture.


  • Poor braking action will increase your landing distances dramatically and reduce the amount of crosswind you can expect to handle.

Flying in winter conditions brings it own special challenges just like thunderstorms in the summer. It all boils down to exercising good judgment and knowing the airplane’s and your own limitations.

Ask the Pilot Professor
By Dr. Michael Bliss

We recently received a letter from a reader who did not agree with the way that the FAA deals with Temporary Flight Restrictions. He pointed out that some of these TFRs (e.g. Disney Land) have been around since 9-11-2001 and hardly seem to fall into the “temporary” category. His point was that pilots could more effectively avoid these areas if they were depicted on Sectional/Terminal Charts. We all understand why truly temporary flight restrictions aren’t depicted on charts but if they are to be active indefinitely, it only makes sense that they be charted.

His other point was that the upper limit of a TFR is given as an AGL altitude and he again thought they would be easier to avoid if they were given in MSL altitudes, the same as Class B and C airspace.

We thought that these comments were worth sharing as a reminder to all of us to make sure we check for TFRs every time we fly.

You can find both a list and a map depiction of current TFRs on the FAA web site at http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr_map_ims/html/index.html. However, always check with Flight Service for recently imposed TFRs.

Ask the Pilot Professor

Ground Schools & Events

Private December 5 January 9 February 6
Instrument December 26 January 30 February 27
Commercial December 12 January 16 February 13
CFI Revalidation December 20 January 24 February 21
CFI Academy December 11 January 15 February 12
CFIA & FOI December 26 January 30 February 27
CFII December 13 January 17 ebruary 14
ATP December 6 January 10 February 7
BBQ/Seminar December 6 January 10 February 7

Flight Safety Part II

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American Flyers Pilot Newsletter
Aviation Newsletter Staff

“You’re Invited …”
Join Us Saturday, December 6th, 2008 at 12:00 Noon For a Free Pilot Seminar & Lunch

Don’t miss our December BBQ!

This month will feature topics on winterization and cold-weather flying. Bring a friend and enjoy a free lunch and then stay for the free lesson.

Last month, the crew at DPA took a more traditional approach, with char-grilled burgers, brats and barbequed chicken as the sounds of Sinatra floated through the air. The instructor-led talk on severe weather was a hit. Don’t miss out on the last cookout of 2008! We look forward to seeing you soon!


Coupon Good Until December 25, 2008

Just in time for Christmas! We have an assortment of aviation-themed gifts including jewelry, t-shirts, children’s toys, apparel and books. Don’t forget to decorate the tree with our Christmas ornaments or send out our aviation-themed Christmas cards. We have gift bags available too!

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