Scenic and Uneventful.

Scenic and uneventful. The best way I like to describe a ferry, transfer, or delivery flight, especially one of significant distance. If it is scenic, it typically means it is VFR and the travel can continue, and if it is uneventful, it means nothing major went wrong. It is what I always hope will be the outcome of a long flight.

When I got the call recently to help a new owner pick up an A36 Bonanza he was purchasing in Seattle, I looked forward to the trip but expected that the distance could easily result in some challenges for the flight.

With an intent to pick up the aircraft on the first weekend of April, I knew that the Rocky Mountains still held great potential for winter weather and that the significant distance for the flight left us with the potential of needing to plan for unexpected changes to any intended schedule and route.

This is pretty much the norm for any flights like this. It is always the hope that a flight of this distance will go off as planned, but personal experience has taught me that  planning extra days, carrying extra days of clothing, and just hoping you won’t need it is always a good idea. In a sense, I typically take this almost superstitiously to ward off the demons of needing the extra supplies.

We set the date, booked the one-way commercial trip from Grand Rapids to Seattle for the two of us and waited for the departure date.

A couple days out from the proposed flight I looked at a prog chart and was encouraged to see high pressure systems predicted across the entire route for our departure date.

Hoping this would hold, I set a proposed route. Continue reading

FAA Requests Instructors Sign Off Applicants in IACRA as Soon as Ready for Practical Tests

An FAA/Industry group has been working to decrease delays in scheduling of practical tests that are being experienced in some regions recently. As this work continues, an effort to better understand where and why some of these delays are being experienced is underway. In an effort to better understand this, the Industry representatives have committed to the FAA to encourage instructors to sign-off students in IACRA as soon as they are ready for a practical test, not to wait until the day the actual test takes place.

The FAA tracks the data points of when an applicant is signed-off in IACRA for a practical test and when the actual test is completed. The difference of time between these helps them gauge how long an applicant has waited for a practical test. While this may not always be possible for all fight training providers based on the scheduling of a practical test and when all items for training are completed, but whenever possible it is being asked that instructors complete the IACRA application and submit it as soon as the applicant is ready for the practical test. This will help provide better data to the FAA to enhance FAA/Industry efforts to understand where excessive delays are present for applicants needing practical tests.

Easily Look Up FAA Knowledge Test Codes Free at

Tired of trying to look up FAA Knowledge Test Codes for your student or applicant in a pdf file or on a scrolling website?

So was I.

So, I created a website that does it for you with help from Andy Millin of Kalamazoo Software – And it’s free.

Check out to enter and report the subject areas associated with the knowledge test codes on your, your student, or your applicant’s knowledge test report.

The site works for both pilot and maintenance FAA Knowledge Test reports.

Use it to look up the codes, or to the site’s full capacity by entering your and/or your instructor’s email along with the knowledge test ID code to create a record that could be used in the event of loss of the knowledge test report to still have a record of the code to input into IACRA.

In either case, the site makes it easier to create a record and report of the knowledge test codes and the associated topics for review and study prior to further testing.

So, here you go, feel free to use it, and make your lives all easier as you use this site to determine what knowledge test codes were “found to be deficient” on a FAA Knowledge Test Report at

Beyond the Purchase Price of an Aircraft – Considering and Calculating the Real Cost of Aircraft Ownership and Operation

Determining how much it costs to buy, own, and operate an aircraft isn’t just about the initial purchase price. There is much more to consider, including things like maintenance, hangar costs, insurance costs, any loan costs you may have, or anything that breaks and needs to be fixed on the aircraft. This doesn’t even take into consideration general wear and tear on items, reserves for components that will need to be replaced over time, or the cost of fuel to fly. These other costs are things that many buyers forget, and it costs them later. In addition to actual dollars cost, it can also lead to less flying or even an unsustainable aviation future.

It is easy to get excited when we find an aircraft our budget will allow us to purchase, but before you take the leap and write a check, transfer the funds, or get a loan, you should take the time to carefully consider what the real operating expenses of the aircraft will be and if they are justifiable and logical. Continue reading