Parkland Report – Aviation

Parkland Report – Aviation


welcome to the parking report my name is
Seamus Reilly joining me today Sybil Phillips chief pilot at the Institute of
aviation of parkland college and Jim Warren a flight instructor welcome to
the Parkland report thank you thank you alright so tell me what is the Institute
of aviation and where is it the Institute of aviation is at Willard
airport and we started actually in 1946 with the University of Illinois we were
there until just this past August and at that time the Institute transition to
Parkland College so we’ve been training pilots more than 14,000 of them since
nineteen forty six long tradition a long history of flight instruction how did
they end up in champaign to begin with well at it was post World War two and
there was seen as a need for pilots coming out of that time aviation was
kind of booming and the university saw need to train pilots and they were given
the land to make the airport and as part of that there was supposed to be a
training facility associated with it so that’s how we came to be how long have
you been associated with the Institute I started flying at the Institute in 1983
and I started working there in 1986 so it’s been 30-ish years Jim how long have
you been at the Institute I started flying in 2011 and I started instructing
in August of 2013 so what was it about flying that interested you how did you
get into it um I would say that it’s the freedom more than anything and it’s
challenging it requires some mental capacity and there’s a lot of things
that you have to pay attention to and that fits my personality I’m kind of any
type I don’t say I’m an adrenaline junkie but I like to be involved and and
you know challenge myself and there’s plenty of that in aviation and it fits
my personality really well now did you connect because you were a student at
the University of Illinois and if you were student what were you studying
there well originally I was I did go to you of i and I was a chemical
engineering major and I quickly figured out that I didn’t want that much physics
and calculus in my life and I was a military veteran I was in the Army
beforehand and the training curriculum we have at the institute is based off of
army trained manuals and air force field manuals so
it transitioned to my style of learning very easily and I took to it really well
and I really enjoyed it so you went from being a student to a flight instructor
what’s the pathway for that and tell me a little bit about why the Institute
operates them well it essentially we create our own instructors when you come
all the way through the program and if you internalize the way we do things you
become a very good instructor by the time you come all the way through the
program we have a myriad of courses from part of a pilot all the way up to
multi-engine instructor and you can really get a good sense of how to teach
you get a ray of instructors teaching you you exposes you to the different
styles and when you make it all the way through you come out a very well-rounded
pilot so Sybil tell me about the different types of aviation training and
add that the Institute focuses on well we start at the beginning you get a
private pilot certificate and that allows you to take passengers you can
fly anywhere in the United States you can fly at night and then after that the
next level of training is for an instrument rating and basically what an
instrument rating allows you to do is to fly in the clouds it makes you a lot
safer pilot because you just get to use the airplane more and on days where the
weather is kind of marginal you can really safely operate better with an
instrument rating the next step is a commercial pilot and a lot of people ask
us like when are you going to be a commercial pilot well I am a commercial
pilot I had to be one before I became an instructor but I think what they ask a
lot of times that they’re talking about when are you going to be an airline
pilot and one of the steps for that is to become a commercial pilot there’s a
series of training events that you have to go through and testing and that
allows you to be paid to fly and there are many different jobs you can get
flying an airplane the next step is a flight instructor and in the aviation
industry the flight instructors are usually the newest pilots because when
you’re a flight instructor and if if I’m your instructor and we’re flying
together i get to log the time that you’re flying and so that allows me to
build experience in my own logbook and build experience toward whatever the
next job is that I want to get so we have
different types of instructors we have fight instructors who just teach basic
aircraft operations and then you need another certification to teach
instrument flight operations and then yet another certification to teach in a
multi-engine airplane which is basically an airplane that has more than one
engine so for a person starting off is it fair to say that there is a certain
level of sort of mechanical sort of learning in other words you have to sort
of learn how the plane operates to get it off the ground so it’s a it’s a
practice piece it’s a lot of repetition of things how long does that part take
well our private pilot curriculum is two semesters in the first semester the goal
and s4 is safe solo flight and when we tell students that they are like what
I’m going to fly by myself the first semester and yes that is the goal and by
the time they get there they’ll have all this knowledge all the skills all the
abilities that they need to be able to do that and and we do practice we have
many different skills that have to be learned prior to lay the foundation for
landing practice and then once the students have those skills the
instructor actually endorses their logbook and puts their name on the line
and says you know this student is proficient to go solo so we make sure
that they’re ready before they go so do other than the mechanical learning how
to operate something that’s a basically mechanical sort of object albeit moving
very very swiftly when you get beyond that mechanical sort of piece you get
into the operational piece and and there are things about flying an airplane I
imagine that are different about operating another mechanical piece of
equipment like for example knowing where you are at all times absolutely so can
you talk a little bit about how that instrument piece and how that connects
with pilots having to learn to understand geographically spatially
worthy absolutely we call it situational awareness that that is one of the skills
that you have to learn and it is a skill if you don’t have the requisite ability
we can teach you I mean that’s what instructors do it’s all verbal coaching
and it takes some experience and exposure and you have to be put in
situation’s and it usually held if you get lost a couple times the
instructor knows where you are right for the student it’s good to kind of get
lost and learn what skills do you need to have and how to maintain situational
awareness while you’re moving around and it starts very basic with cardinal
directions if we went north away from the airport and we tool with around 15
miles from Champaign then you need to realize to come back to the airport you
go south right so it starts out very basic like that and then we incorporate
some of the instruments that tell you magnetic bearings to to the field or to
certain navigation aids and we use sectionals which is VFR map that’s very
detailed it has it’s kind of a topographic map but it has lots of
metropolitan areas and roads and all these things that are drawn on it and
really it comes down to being able to see something on the ground and
associate that with something on the map and say okay I’m here so it’s a
right-hand turn to go to the airport so there are left and right north and south
directions even when you’re flying an airplane but one of the things I find
what I’m flying as a passenger is very interesting is when you’re flying over
something in your cognizant of like oh that is that area like that st. Louis
down there it must be we’re going north the champagne but it looks very
different from from the air and that’s always disconcerting do pilots have the
same learning pilots are the same sort of absolutely there’s a lot of things
that can obscure whatever it is you’re trying to see for example if you go east
towards homer and st. Joe when you’re coming back to the airport the U of I
golf course is right along the east side of it and it obscures a majority of the
airport until you get right on top of it so it’s very common at the beginning for
the airport to kind of sneak up on private pilot’s because you can’t really
see it until you get there so we have things like distance measuring equipment
and we do terrain association with the map and we try to find some spots along
the ground to give you a hint that you’re getting close and it’s a skill
that you kind of have to practice and learn but it does give you a different
perspective being up that high and kind of having a slant range look down at the
terrain and really it’s very enjoyable because it’s a different perspective on
life that you don’t get to see absolutely now we also in additions
actually putting a person on a plane and flying them around
the country we also have other instruments and tools that we use to
simulate the flying experience can talk a little bit about the experience of the
institute of using this equipment and what you’re currently using sure we have
simulators or what are called flight training devices that are manufactured
at frasca international in Urbana and these are great tools for us to use
because we can simulate emergencies that would not be safe at all to do in the
airplane we can you know simulate electrical failures engine failures
simulated fires we don’t actually set the simulator on fire but we can
simulate that we can simulate late loss procedures like Jim was talking about
and it gives us the opportunity to talk through the problem with the student we
can freeze the situation and say okay here’s your situation that you’re in
what steps do you need to take to get out of this and to solve the problem you
know should you continue flying should you find the nearest airport and land do
you need to talk to your passengers about this do you need to interface with
air traffic control how do you use all the resources that are around you to
solve the problem that you find yourself in and it’s also good for instrument
flying because we can we can position the airplane wherever we want it to be
and give the student a problem to do and they can repeat that same task over and
over again so if they’re having problems let’s say intercepting a localizer which
is a navigation aid that takes you right to the runway we can position them off
the localizer multiple times and put them in that situation where they can
learn that skill so have some of the advances in sort of graphics and 3d and
I guess gaming industry in terms of representation of geographical turian
have they helped to improve the simulators I think they’ve improved a
great deal since I started to fly the latest simulator that we got from frasca
is a warrior FTD with a 180-degree visual display and the visuals come from
google earth so when you’re flying the simulator it looks like you’re flying
across Champaign County and one of the ways that we’ve used this is to take our
students who are learning navigation and help them practice that in the simulator
so they can learn how to pick out landmarks I’m you were talking before
how the world is the scale looks different from the air so how do you
determine you know the size of a town like champagne versus rantoul versus
tolono you know there’s a definite difference in scale we kind of have to
attune our eyes to see that the right way and Jim was talking about landmarks
in the local area one of the biggest ones we use is a state farm center that
that just shines from 15 miles away and when the students can see that you can
immediately kind of orient yourself to where you are very interesting I and of
course you forget that the the earth is curved it looks flat to us when we’re on
the ground but when you’re in the air you can’t see that curvature which is
always very interested well the altitudes we fly yet we don’t usually
see it not much but yeah yes sure Jim talk a little bit about the transition
from a learning part of the private pilot we talked about using instruments
at what point do pilots begin to understand like you know working with a
tower being passed from tower to tower navigating cross country and then where
does that translate into I’m going to go work for American or United and fly
large planes well the first part of your question starts right away you we are a
class Charlie Airport which essentially means we have a TC on the field with us
so we have a control tower we have a parched departure approach control which
is something you have to interface with every single day multiple times so right
from the start private pilot first day first flight you’re talking to tower
control ground control approach and departure control so that’s something we
teach from the very beginning and it does take a little bit of time I usually
send students home and with a little homework assignment and I’ll have them
pull up some archive ATC transitions so that they can listen to it because it’s
kind of a it’s almost like another language there’s a lot of jargon that
you have to learn phonetic alphabet just being one on one example but it takes
some practice and feeling comfortable talking on the radio it’s something that
some people struggle with just a little bit until you know what you’re supposed
to say and you know the sequence of events it gets much better really when
you start thinking about going beyond being a private pilot becoming a
commercial pilot or an airline pilot that’s in the commercial course you
really start to get into the intricacies of an airplane the system’s down to the
schematics why we do things the way we do why the plane flies aerodynamically
the way it does and you really get a sense of being a master of the airplane
more than just an operator mm-hmm well we’re going to take a short break here
but we’re going to come back we’re going to actually talk to a current student
and we want to talk a little bit about the opportunities that are available for
students in Illinois throughout the country to come here to the Institute of
aviation to Parkland College and learn how to fly we’ll be right back after
this short break hi my name is ryan hauser and on the senior vice president
of fisher national bank in mahomet i recently attended the am a program at
Parkland College focusing on human resource development for the past ten
years I was a community bank loan officer and the bank asked me to manage
the Mohammed facility and in turn the board of directors encouraged me to you
know take some human resource training so after some research we found out the
Parkland had the best program available the instructor was my favorite part
cindy was able to bring real life experience into the classroom and its
really advantageous for me to learn from somebody that’s with that much
experience you flying has always been on the family
list we’ve always looked at it we’ve for many years we’ve always looked at you
know what plane should we get as a family but actually having the training
has been in doubt because of the U of I cancellation of the program and we’re
really excited to see the parkland picked it up and makes it more available
to me too it’s different to make sure I catch
everything don’t miss anything Mandy usually backs me up if I miss something
little and she’ll catch it but it just I got every little thing making sure I did
it right a little bit nervous wasn’t sure what the landing was going to be
like without someone to correct if I messed up but it’s exciting out here
since the end of August actually getting the training in did my internship here
in the spring so I got a few flights before that and then it’s just been
flying with Mandy for those previous 24 hours getting ready to do everything
right the sting touch and goes so then she put me up in the 80s for the number
of landings and then the rest of the practice is going around doing maneuvers
stall slow flight turns my mom’s parents live overseas so we travel over to see
them so been on a lot of big planes and then I figured that’d be something fun
to do and my dad has lots of model aircraft so we fly those too so I
started on that and then I guess I worked my way up it’s it’s a good day to
see that he’s succeeding and something that’s ahead of his dad and knowing that
in a couple years he’ll be my instructor for when I get to go up and do this welcome back to the parking report and
that was a very interesting as solo flight a first solo flight at the
Institute of aviation of parking college student and learning to fly and joining
us now is at Jeremy Russo thank you very much for being here Jerry so I
appreciate you having me so you’re a an actual real-life student out there so
tell us a little bit about what it was that enticed you to be an airline pilot
oh well I guess it could go back to when I was very young about second or third
grade I think my mom study that has the paper from class that I wrote about the
future asked you know would he want to be when you grow up and kind of one of
those questions and if you can stay one age what age would you stay and I chose
28 and I said because I wanted to be an airport airline pilot and I’d be able to
fly my family and friends so she has that paper somewhere I’m sure I’m filed
but I’ve always loved you know just the sensation of flying and and that whole
thing from growing up young so so how long have you been as a student while I
started last semester so now I’m finishing my private pilot’s license in
the 120 program but also studying the 184 systems program right now so what
was it about the Institute of aviation that sort of attracted you well i was
going to illinois state university after i got of the marine corps for a year and
then you know I wasn’t too sure financially if I was going to be able to
afford to do the program even with my be any benefits and the parkland program
here was local and you know I was like I’m going to go for and so I made the
move and I came over here and and decided hey I’m going to go for it so so
simple one of the things that we want to try to sort of explain to people is that
it really is practical and this possible to do it it’s not something that’s out
of anybody’s reach talk a little bit about the you know the structured piece
and how you go about recruiting students into the program we know that there’s
probably not enough students within the Parkland College District to support the
program so we’ve gone outside the district and really focused on the
Chicago area where the population density is and that’s traditionally wear
a lot of our students have come from so we go to a lot of college fairs and
visit high schools our marketing department has targeted
where search engine optimization techniques to so that when people do a
google search for you know aviation school and Illinois we hope that
Parkland College comes up first so we’re talking to people all over the state all
over the country I’m going to be going to California at the end of April to go
to college fair there because surprisingly we’ve had several students
in the past come from Southern California to Illinois to learn how to
fly there’s more room here sure yeah and Jim is that something that it’s very
interestingly for students in terms of lenka an opportunity to learn to fly in
an air space that is for the most part pretty safe because we don’t have
mountains and in the mid you know the east central Illinois we don’t have a
lot of like physical obstacles for this right into it is and really this is a
great place to do flight training because we don’t have the terrain that
you that you mentioned it’s very flat but we get really hot weather we get
really cold weather and there’s always wind I mean anyone that lives in central
surely knows that the winds always blow in and crosswind landings is something
that people always struggle with so our terrain is very easy to navigate and
there’s fewer obstacles but the air space that we have is up is controlled
so even though it’s simple terrain we can do complex things within the
airspace but don’t have to worry about obstacles as much i want you mention
there about controllers i think and not a lot of people outside of the you know
airline industry would understand like how the system of navigation works in
terms of you know control towers for example right well we are a control
space which means we have a sanction faa tower which means that correct it is a
very very safe place to operate yeah essentially in a nutshell within a 10
mile radius around the airport the controller’s control all that airspace
so you have to have a clearance to go in and out because we have lots of
instrument approaches so you can fly in the clouds very very low they have to
control that airspace sure but that’s really useful for us because we work
hand-in-hand with the controller’s all the time so we can get experienced doing
those more complex instrument things in it’s very streamlined so Jeremy what was
it like when you first got into the plane and you realized you were actually
going to be making something move well best thing i could probably compared to
is like when you’re sick team first working on your driver’s
license you know it’s that feeling like now you have the license and you’re out
on your own well my first solo it was kind of like well now I’m out of my own
but i’m up in the air so that instructors not there to kind of correct
you but it was a very empowering feeling and awesome just to be like hey I’m
doing this you know applied all the things I’ve learned in the classroom and
now I’m doing it on my own so how much it you know part of its mechanical
process like you said like learning to drive or operate a piece of machinery
what about sort of getting used to that notion that I’m not on terra firma I’m
actually in the air and I’m moving and I’m changing direction and it’s not
necessarily easy to see when I change direction which way I’m going was that
disorienting for you at first a little bit ah I think so until you get to
really know the instruments at least at a basic level and trusting what you see
on those instruments just like you do in your car with like your speedometer your
tachometer well now you’re putting in Bank angles and everything else you know
as you turn yeah it’s definitely at first it’s like I’m not so sure but as
you get more confident in your skill level as the instructors push you along
definitely you know becomes second nature as if you were driving your car
so under the other than the physical like sort of understanding of operation
and so on and getting used to that sort of peace were you surprised at how
quickly you you were able to move through a level of both the skill
acquisition as well as a confidence level sure if you look at the syllabus
and then when you get the book from a bookstore sanji’s I have to learn all of
this information and you know FAA has a ton of things in its own with
regulations it’s like how am I going to digest all this but my martial arts
instructor used to tell me you know you could eat a whole elephant one bite at a
time that’s so and I kind of think that’s what the instructors do you know
they really between the ground and air portion put it together soon
learn and it’s surprisingly quick that you kind of picked this up and so do you
have a like sort of now that you’re sort of in the middle of it you’ve already
been flying and so on it does this seem like a very easy and logical process for
you to continue on to fly through all the various different stages sure they
definitely build on each other as you go along and you know is something as you
get into it’s just the more and more you learn and you want to continue to learn
kind of his feet on that so you continue to grow and what are you hoping to ass
part2 ultimately in terms of of this using this scope at this point you know
I’ve been I’ve been talking to civil and all the instructors just kind of
networking because I think everyone’s idea is that that airline pilot job you
know that they want to get to but there’s so many other opportunities out
there honestly I really like to give back to the veterans and things being a
Marine myself I’d like to start my own kind of charter service down the road
where I can fly active-duty service members because it’s always hard for
them to get a flight anywhere when they’re booked and leave or whatever it
is so I’d like to kind of open something up for them down the road it’s a really
interesting idea you know one of the things civil that you know follow
everything more or less and but one of the interesting things about navigating
airspace you know whether or not we can come up with a different way to operate
and when you’re looking at how airline industry works you know we have a system
that doesn’t always appear logical to people because it’s a home based system
and finally Colorado but I first got to go to Atlanta and then I fly to Colorado
and you think that there are opportunities for sort of private
development of entrepreneurial sort of ideas like jeremy has about setting up a
charter company or or do you think that the environment will prevent that from
happening I think there are great opportunities for that because there
when you go through the hub and spoke system like you just described and add
to that the time that you have to go through the TSA line a lot of people
their time is very very valuable and they just don’t want to have to deal
with being at the airport two hours before the flight leaves so I think
there’s great opportunities for charter and corporate airline services for those
people who need to get to a meeting and get back and be very efficient and
they’re doing so I was tossing this idea around with a friend a couple of months
ago but the notion that you sort of would like you know we have uber in town
now you know this concept that if I want something I want the control of how I
order it and when I get it delivered and so we become kind of more accustomed to
book shopping for example like that we’re talking about the idea about what
if you could just sort of dial in like our log on and say hey I would like a
flight to X on this day and if there were 40 or 50 people who also wanted to
fly that day then a plane would magically appear and you would pay for
it something like that possible you think of the future it’s it could be
possible to be an air carrier you have to be certified by the FAA as either
it’s kind of complicated but you’re either scheduled or non scheduled so you
can’t you can’t have like an uber plane because then you’re infringing upon
other companies that have gone through this sure sure the process to be
certified for that but there is a lot of talk about changing the aviation
industry in the next 20 years with the use of UAS and drones and things like
this and they’re going to have to become more flexible because GA general
aviation is always changing there’s always opportunities and there could be
big opportunities that could create thousands of jobs so I think that there
is a possibility to do that but there’s no mechanism to do it legally one of the
things though that is probably likely is that we are going to need more pilots
because this current generation of pilots many of whom were trained in the
70s and 80s and more military trained to a large extent they’re going to retiring
in the US airspace but across the world now you have an increasing number of
people who are wanting to fly are able to fly and want to be able to fly there
are more regional airports and my home country of Ireland now than ever existed
when I was there and more and more people flying directly from London to
tiny Airport snarling so were why there’s going to be a need for for us to
absolutely yep the the regional and commercial airline is really expanding
in a lot of places in Africa and Asia Southeast Asian India that in its
growing just the the global economy has made the access to commercial aviation
more available to lots more people so there’s there’s definitely growth all
over the place so Jeremy as you look ahead and you’ve got a great concept in
your mind or something you would like to do how close are you you think to to to
realizing your dream well at this point I’m focused on finishing up getting my
private pilot pilot’s license by this summer so I think by the end of april
beginning of May it’s definitely you know I’ll have that in the bag and then
on to the next step so so are you hoping to continue on at the Institute of
aviation then most certainly I love the environment and it’s just definitely
been a growing into a family as such as this is a new program I’m a new student
it just kind of seems like we’re growing up together I mean know a lot of the old
faculty members are from the old program through the University of Illinois but
this is certainly you know new to me and I just love being here I can’t wait to
continue to learn from them well so what you’re lucky to have such excellent
students like Sara wait to come in and wish you lots of luck in developing
future students and thank you all very much for being here this morning yes
thank you that’s it for this edition of parkland report we’ll see you back here
next time

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