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Livery Alert: Brussels Airlines’ Brighter (and Dottier) New Look

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livery alert brussels airlines brighter and dottier new look - Livery Alert: Brussels Airlines’ Brighter (and Dottier) New Look

– Belgium’s flag carrier and part of the Lufthansa group – was forced to shut down operations completely during the first wave of the pandemic last year. Since reopening they’ve been gradually ramping services up again. And to keep the momentum going they recently revealed a complete livery redesign.

It’s a spin on the Eurowhite look that’s been increasingly popular around the world: a white background without solid colors or cheatlines on the fuselage. There’s no more dotted “B” on the tail either, but dots still make an appearance on the tail and the front of the fuselage. The nine orange dots in a 3×3 grid (the new core logo) are all different sizes, representing the diversity of the airline’s crew and customers.

I think the colors are the strongest part of the new design. The gorgeous deep blue text goes nicely with the red on the tail. The new fonts are an improvement too. But all those dots? I think they work better on the longer A330 (see the lower-right pic above). But on the A320 they cover more of the fuselage, and the plane ends up looking like it has technicolor chicken pox. Your overall opinion of the livery likely depends on your attitude towards the Eurowhite look. But compared with the dated prior livery, it’s definitely a change for the better. Another clear win is that white paint is lighter and reflects more heat, which offers a degree of environmental benefit.

Comment below to let us know what you think of the new look, livery enthusiasts!

All images courtesy of

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – NEW YORK, NY. Manu got his private pilot license in high school, setting the tone for his interest in all things aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical resident in New York City. He enjoys writing about air travel from a millennial’s perspective.

https://www.airlinereporter.com

We Chat With French Bee President Marc Rochet About the Current State of European Travel

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we chat with french bee president marc rochet about the current state of european travel - We Chat With French Bee President Marc Rochet About the Current State of European Travel

A French Bee Airbus A350 gets pushed back from the gate at Paris Orly Airport

With the United States government’s new policy for international travel starting November 8, we talked with French Bee President Marc Rochet about how that airline will be handling the changes, as well as how they’ve been managing their operations during the pandemic.

“In light of the recent travel ban lift announcement, we will be resuming our flight operations in San Francisco, which connect passengers to Paris-Orly and Tahiti, in November. During the pandemic, we shifted operations to fly through Vancouver and then Toronto to continue the route. We plan to relaunch this popular route two times per week beginning on November 10,” Rochet said.

BONUS: An Economically Elegant Flight to Paris With French Bee

French Bee had originally planned to launch its New York to Paris route in 2020, but put it on hold during the height of the pandemic. Instead, they launched the route to coincide with Bastille Day on July 14, 2021.

“We are very happy to see the U.S. traffic open to French passengers and are ready to put more demand on the Paris to New York route. We will fly at least three times per week from Paris-Orly to Newark. We are preparing to fly at least four times per week in December for Paris-Orly to Newark, and then planning three times per week from SFO to Tahiti,” he said, adding that if there is high demand, they can add more flights.

we chat with french bee president marc rochet about the current state of european travel 1 - We Chat With French Bee President Marc Rochet About the Current State of European Travel

Paris is slowly opening back up to tourists

Asked about current consumer travel behavior for international travel bookings, especially to France, Rochet said that, “at this time, only American residents have been able to travel to Europe. Even with these restrictions, we have made a load factor of 60-62% by the end of September, which was really good. We achieved this by arranging cargo flights from Europe.”

Travel rules have been changing frequently over the course of the pandemic. “People are not entirely clear on the travel restrictions yet so there is some hesitancy in booking international trips right now. There’s a lot of clarity missing, but once we have a better understanding from the U.S. administration, we believe we will see a big demand to travel again,” he said.

BONUS: Big Fun During a Behind-the-Scenes Ops Tour at Paris Orly Airport

Looking ahead, Rochet said he “thinks we need to add new Airbus airplanes to our fleet each year because we do anticipate a big demand at the end of the pandemic. We anticipate that business traffic will be low. We expect bookings to increase with families traveling back and forth, as well as students and travelers.”

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Paris’ Orly Airport, photographed in 2019

Asked about how has the pandemic affected marketing efforts, especially when trying to get brand recognition in the U.S., he explained that “When we outlined the Newark to Orly launch plans, we knew we were taking a risk despite the restrictions in place. Since July 2021, we were surprised we have seen so much response from the U.S. market as we are not very well known and new. Our low-fares are important to our customers, so we are satisfied. Most of our travelers were coming to Paris perhaps for family reasons to Paris or the other provinces.”

we chat with french bee president marc rochet about the current state of european travel 3 - We Chat With French Bee President Marc Rochet About the Current State of European Travel

A French Bee A350 is parked alongside sister airline Air Caraibes at Orly Airport

As many airlines have been doing, French Bee has arranged more cargo flights from Europe using its Airbus A350s, and Rochet said it has provided “a strong avenue for us to continue our flight operations and remain at viable costs.”

“To be specific,” he continued, “the cargo side is quite good one-way (ORY-EWR). For instance, we recently had a flight from Orly to Newark with 12 tons of cargo on board. We have the capacity to carry up to 15-16 tons of cargo but we have a volume constraint. We typically focus on 10-12 tons of cargo at a time. The general trend we are seeing is where the cargo is more volume instead of weight because there is a big demand in e-commerce. To be clear we did not break even or make money. But when you look at the viable costs we are positive (fuel, maintenance, crew), this means we are not losing cash.”

Lastly, when discussing which measures French bee has put in place to ensure customer confidence, Rochet said “We want customers to trust that their safety and health are a top priority at French bee airline every step of their journey. All of our tickets are 100 percent changeable and refundable for all bookings made for travel through March 31, 2022. Additionally, COVID assistance is offered for all trips booked through December 31, 2021. We are also heavily focused on recommending that our airline crew and staff are vaccinated. Today, more than 90 percent of French bee’s crew and staff are already vaccinated.”

EDITOR-AT-LARGE – SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

http://www.zeraphoto.com

Learning to Fly: Working Toward the High-Performance Endorsement in a Cessna 182T

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learning to fly working toward the high performance endorsement in a cessna 182t - Learning to Fly: Working Toward the High-Performance Endorsement in a Cessna 182T

A Cessna 182T looks quite similar to a C172; it has a slightly larger cowling and a more powerful engine with a three-blade constant-speed propeller. It’s rated for 230hp vs 180hp in a 172SP.

Learning opportunities are endless in aviation, and that’s one of the best parts of being a pilot.

Seemingly no sooner did I get checked out in the Diamond DA-40 than Galvin decided to sell off both of their DA-40s. I do love to fly the C172, but I also adored the DA-40. Learning to fly that aircraft, which is more complicated than a C172 with its constant-speed propeller, set me up well to transition to the Cessna 182T Skylane, which has the same style propeller, albeit a three-blade version. The T in 182T stands for turbo, which does wonderful things for the plane’s performance as well as increases pilot workload a fair bit.

The turbo essentially makes the engine think it’s at or close to sea level all the time, which means performance doesn’t taper off with altitude as with naturally-aspirated engines. The tradeoff is that not staying on top of managing the engine temperatures makes it easy to damage the engine or the turbo due to the high heat generated by the turbo and its operation.

The 182T’s engine also has 50hp more than the C172SP I’ve been flying for a couple years now, 230hp vs 180hp. FAA regulations require a high-performance logbook endorsement from a flight instructor to fly aircraft with more than 200hp, so that’s also part of the checkout training for the 182T. Galvin’s house rules require a minimum of five hours flight training time with an instructor for this plane, plus a bit of ground training to be sure the pilot knows the aircraft systems and operating procedures.

Besides being a bit faster than a 172, the 182T has a considerably greater load-carrying capacity and can fly much higher – 20,000′ vs 13,500′ for the C172. The 182T is equipped with a supplemental oxygen system for flying at high altitudes.

Despite all that, the 182T handles much like a 172, if a little nose-heavy due to the larger engine. This particular model has vortex generators on the leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizers. This makes it surprisingly difficult to stall. Carl (my very thorough and ever-patient CFI) had me fly it during a power-on stall such that the airspeed read zero on the indicator yet we were still flying and the stall hadn’t broken yet. Super fun.

There are additional controls to manage related to managing the propeller and engine and turbine-inlet temperatures. That makes things like takeoffs, landing approaches, and pattern work quite busy for the pilot, as there’s a lot of new stuff to learn. But with practice, it all becomes manageable.

I’m currently about halfway through the checkout process. The Pacific Northwest fall weather has made flying a game of last-minute weather cancellations. Once things clear up, the next step will be a cross-country flight to an airport I’ve not yet been to, around 100 miles away from Seattle. I have several routes planned out, and the exact choice will be driven by which has the best weather along the route. Stay tuned.

EDITOR-AT-LARGE – SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

http://www.zeraphoto.com

We catch up with Zara Rutherford, the youngest woman to attempt solo circumnavigation

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we catch up with zara rutherford the youngest woman to attempt solo circumnavigation - We catch up with Zara Rutherford, the youngest woman to attempt solo circumnavigation

Zara Rutherford taxies her plane after landing in Seattle from Redding, Calif.

Piloting a single-engine plane through the mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest and onward to Alaska in the autumn can be daunting, with plenty of weather and terrain challenges.

Then consider that it’s just one short portion of a round-the-world journey, crossing oceans and landing in more than 50 countries across five continents.

She’s also not instrument rated, which means she is doing the whole trip via visual flight rules.

Zara Rutherford is a 19-year-old Belgian pilot, flying a high-performance Shark Aero ultralight aircraft. If she succeeds in her journey, she will become the youngest woman to fly solo around the world, as well as the youngest person to fly solo around the world in a microlight.

She departed Belgium in August, 2021, and stopped in Seattle Sept. 19, before heading north toward Alaska a couple days later.

we catch up with zara rutherford the youngest woman to attempt solo circumnavigation 1 - We catch up with Zara Rutherford, the youngest woman to attempt solo circumnavigation

A tired, but smiling, Zara Rutherford arrived in Seattle Sept. 19. King County International Airport officials presented her with a gift bag on arrival; the local apples were apparently well received.

She we greeted by a small crowd of supporters, including representatives from the airport, Museum of Flight and several businesses from the airfield. Shortly after talking with the group of well-wishers, she was taken on a private tour of the museum.

Appropriately enough, we got a chance to chat with Zara in front of the museum’s replica of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra. We only had time for a brief chat, as she was tired from the long flight and still needed to move her plane to its overnight parking location.

Asked about her decision to do the circumnavigation without instrument rating, she simply replied, “why not?”

“I wanted a challenge. I wanted to see the world – not just fly around at X thousand feet,” she said. “If you’re in the overcast you can be anywhere – you can be in Egypt or in Russia – it doesn’t really matter.”

And, something close to this AvGeek’s heart – I wanted to know why she chose this particular light-sport aircraft for such a journey. Her reply was appropriately businesslike: “It has a good cruising speed, good fuel consumption, and good range. And I received a business proposal where they would let me use the plane in exchange for the publicity.”

You can learn more about Zara’s record attempt and follow along here.

EDITOR-AT-LARGE – SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.

http://www.zeraphoto.com

Sky Express (Greece) Airbus A320neo Video Trip Report

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Greece was a big destination this summer since the country opened up to travelers a bit earlier than much of the rest of Europe. The islands were especially popular, and to get around them you have two choices: ferries and planes. Being a BoatReporter could be fun, but when I visited in June, I opted to fly.

Flag carrier Aegean is the largest Greek carrier, but the much newer Sky Express is in second place and growing fast. A year ago they ordered six Airbus A320neos to go with their existing ATR fleet. And even though Sky Express is a pretty no-frills airline, the onboard experience on a brand-new plane is usually a touch above. So I picked them for a flight from Mykonos to Athens. The service clocked in at just 20 minutes in the air, but the views were amazing. Take a look for yourself in our video trip report:

Let us know if you enjoy video trip reports like this and we’ll keep doing more of them!

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – NEW YORK, NY. Manu got his private pilot license in high school, setting the tone for his interest in all things aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical resident in New York City. He enjoys writing about air travel from a millennial’s perspective.

https://www.airlinereporter.com

Celebrate World Postcard Day with Us

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World Postcard Day is this Friday- October 1. To celebrate we thought it would be fun to share some aviation-themed postcards and talk about Postcrossing, our newest travel activity turned obsession. Stick through to the end because we’re also offering to share a piece of our postcard collection with commenters.

celebrate world postcard day with us - Celebrate World Postcard Day with Us

An assortment of aviation-related postcards received through postcrossing.com.

Postcards are overdue for a resurgence

As a so-called millennial (though, admittedly, an early one) I grew up right in the middle of the digital revolution. Email gained popularity when I was a child and as such was always an option for me. While digital communication essentially eliminated my need for communication by mail, postcards were the clear exception. There’s something special about the personal touch, effort and logistics required to get a postcard delivered to someone’s mailbox. The thought of an unexpected postcard surprise bringing a smile to the recipient’s face is pretty darn cool.

I have felt the calling to send postcards to friends and family while traveling ever since I was a child. During pandemic lock down I finally had the opportunity to examine several large postcard collections I acquired from estate sales. My drive to send postcards while on holiday, I learned, was shared by travelers over a hundred years before me. Sending postcards while away is fun. So in today’s digital world where society is oddly fascinated with retro and throwbacks, I’d propose the postcard hobby is due for a rebirth.

Before I dive deep into my “postcard evangelism” let me ask you a few questions. Are you sitting on a cache of stamps you don’t know what to do with? Perhaps you bought a bunch in 2020 to save the USPS? Or maybe you fell for a charismatic Costco cashier’s 100-stamp sales pitch? Are you a traveler? (Of course you are, you’re reading Airline Reporter!) Well then, join us for a discussion on reviving the 150-year old science of Deltiology and how sites like Postcrossing.com can help.

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A classic Concorde postcard is quite the find!

A collection of antique aviation-related stamps on a postcard received recently from Pittsburgh, PA.

A primer on Postcrossing

Postcrossing is a free service where users receive a postcard for each one they send. Once a sent postcard is received and registered, someone else sends one your way. It’s that simple. Upon matching with another user a browse of their profile will offer insights into what they are looking for. My profile which I share with my AvGeek wife expresses an interest in aviation-related items and offers some writing prompts. For obvious reasons we can’t always send folks exactly what they are looking for. However, profiles frequently feature lists of themes of particular interest: The color blue, sunsets, reptiles, something related to Odessa, etc. We get a kick out of trying to find postcards (and recently stamps) that tick off at least one of the asks of our postcard matches.

Related: Air Mail Arrows and Beacons Across America Link to the Industry’s Infancy

celebrate world postcard day with us - Celebrate World Postcard Day with Us

A different sort of route map: All of the postcards we’ve sent in 2021.

Travel goal: Find postcards

We use Postcrossing to augment our travel experiences but travel is certainly not required. Our ongoing goal of finding places which sell postcards adds an extra layer of purpose to our travels. While postcards are not as readily available as they once were, they can typically be found at places one might want to visit while playing tourist anyway. Areas of cultural interest such as National Parks, botanical gardens, museums and zoos are sure to have an assortment of postcards. In the event our travels don’t have time for such excursions, we’re typically able to pick up an assortment at independent gift shops or even airport newsstands. We have found that having a mission helps to add some structure to our travels and sometimes takes us to venues we otherwise might have missed.

A postcard from 1976 shows an image of our Kansas City International Airport as it looked just six years after opening. The control tower has since been replaced. Photos: JL Johnson

Travel through others

Postcrossing doesn’t require travel, assuming you have access to a supply of postcards. Consider for a moment a home-bound retiree matching with a teacher who set up an account for their elementary class to gain a more worldly perspective. In both cases they are able to share scenes and perspectives from their corner of the world without going anywhere. That’s the magic of postcards. While a key purpose of travel is to learn and grow through greater cultural awareness, we’d suggest the same can be achieved through exchange of postcards with Postcrossing’s international community. Over 75% of our Postcrossing activity thus far has been with those overseas.

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Pan-Am 747 SP

Final thoughts, and a giveaway

It’s fun when passions collide and we’ve had a postcard story in mind for a long time now. Our experience with Postcrossing has been positive. This isn’t an ad, just an endorsement from a postcard-obsessed travel geek. If exploring through the eyes of others is something of interest we suggest giving Postcrossing a try.

Now, let’s hear from you: Tell us about your postcard memories or if we’ve talked you into trying out Postcrossing. In honor of World Postcard Day we will even sweeten the deal. I’ll send an AvGeek-friendly postcard to up to five random commenters. Be sure to use a valid email address in the comment form so that if you are selected I can reach out to ask for a physical address. Readers from outside of the US are welcome and eligible for a postcard too. Happy travels!

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A postcard from Southwest’s brief experiment with 727s. Here’s N406BN seen at HOU in 1979.

Managing Correspondent – Lee’s Summit, MO. JL joined AirlineReporter in 2012 and has since become one of our most tenured and prolific writers. His passions include catalyzing AvGeek passion in others, spending too much time on Twitter, and frequent travel. While he’s always looking for the next big adventure, home is with his growing AvGeek family in Lee’s Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. Email: [email protected]

https://www.airlinereporter.com

Best private pilot test prep.

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There are numerous private pilot test preps available, but having the best test prep as a student pilot will prevent you from failing the FAA knowledge test.

It is puzzling for student pilots to see so many suggested private pilot test prep online today. Thus, this post eliminates all confusion in your mind before selecting the best private pilot test prep.

I shared a list of free test preps and paid test preps.

I always prefer the paid test preps because the test preps are inexpensive, considering the cost of flight training and taking the knowledge test multiple times.

Regardless, I will discuss the FREE test prep for private pilot licensing and the inexpensive paid ones. Likewise, how each test prep differs from the others and how to use them to student pilots benefits.

The Free PPL test preps are:

  • Sample Airman Knowledge test questions by FAA;
  • FLY8MA free practice tests;
  • King School’s free private pilot test;
  • Sporty’s free PPL test prep.

The best private pilot test preps are:

  • Rod Machado’s PPL eWorkbook;
  • Gleims test prep book;
  • ASA’s test prep book;
  • FLY8MA’s written test Bootcamp.

Sample Airman Knowledge test questions by FAA.

The name suggests everything. If you want to relate to the FAA PPL knowledge test, there is no better place than the FAA’s website itself.

FAA doesn’t recommend using it as a test prep, but it’s an excellent free resource to start studying for the written test.

FAA provides this free resource to give you an idea of what type of question you will see during your private pilot written test.

However, it is a free resource. It doesn’t have hundreds of questions but is sufficient to start practicing.

Don’t use these free sample questions by FAA as your only source of questions because there is a chance you will fail your ppl knowledge test if you only rely on these sample knowledge test questions.

Find the section where FAA mentions Private pilot airplane questions on the page, and you will have access to 60 questions.

It would be best to use these sample questions from FAA to have a mock test for yourself.

FLY8MA Free private pilot test prep.

FLY8MA provides a free practice test for student pilots. They also have free test prep for instrument rating students.

Unlike the sample questions from FAA, FLY8MA is not a PDF file with questions.

FLY8MA test prep is a tool to take a quiz at your convenient time to test your aeronautical knowledge.

It’s an excellent place to practice and prepare for the FAA knowledge test. Use this quiz to identify the subjects that need revision.

You can’t learn everything as a pilot, but you need to grasp many fundamentals during a private pilot license.

So it is understandable at some point, you can’t remember everything. So taking a quiz like the FLY8MA practice test will enable you to recognize complex subjects.

King School’s private pilot test.

King school also offers private pilot test prep for free. Student pilots can select the number of questions and the subjects to take mock tests.

After selecting a subject and the number of questions, you will have sixty minutes to take the quiz. Once you finish taking the quiz, you will know your score.

King School’s test prep is the best version among the free test preps available online.

You have access to numerous questions, and you can practice answering questions similar to the actual private pilot knowledge test.

However, you might not see any of the same questions from the test prep during your actual exam, but you will find similar questions. If you understand the concept of a topic, you can answer the multiple-choice questions without hesitation.

Sporty’s free ppl test prep.

Sporty’s test prep is not as excellent as King School’s free version of test prep. However, sporty’s has an excellent reputation for creating great content for student pilots.

You can create an account in sporty’s and have access to hundreds of questions in different categories. You have to pick your topic and learn the questions and answers. If you don’t comprehend an issue, you can go back to your studies and revise.

You can pause a study session in sporty’s account and resume studying questions and answers once you log back in.

Lastly, after you finish learning the answers, you can take a mock test similar to the FAA with a blend of questions from multiple subjects. There will be a time limit to complete 60 questions and a score to see if you passed your mocked test or not.

Rod Machado’s PPL eWorkbook.

Rod Machado is a veteran flight instructor and can articulate information for student pilots in an easy way.

Rod Machado doesn’t have a private pilot test prep software. However, he created a workbook, and the workbook is available in PDF format.

Student pilots studying for a private pilot license can use this workbook to prepare for the private pilot knowledge test.

Rod Machado’s study materials are not limited to study only for the FAA exams, but his books are relevant for students worldwide.

I used the workbook together with Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook.

This workbook is different from other PPL test prep software because it contains 1800+ multiple-choice questions and answers that a student pilot may face during the private pilot knowledge test.

The questions in this workbook are not from the FAA questions bank.

The questions in this book are relevant to aeronautical subjects, and Rod Machado designed this workbook to study along with his private pilot handbook.

The workbook also has a reference number next to each question. You can use the reference number to identify which page and chapter of the private pilot handbook discuss the specific topic.

Let’s be honest many student pilots use tests preps to memorize the answers to the questions hoping they will see similar questions and the same answer choices. But FAA discourages student pilots from doing so.

It is essential to understand the subjects and not memorize the answers to pass the knowledge test and, importantly, to become a better pilot.

Rod Machado understood this to design his workbook for student pilots to memorize and learn particular subjects simultaneously.

Gleim’s private pilot test prep book.

Gleim’s test prep books are a popular choice among pilots of all stages.

I used Gleim’s private pilot test prep book to study for my private pilot license written test.

The book has hundreds of questions for student pilots categorized chapters.

If you want to learn the answers to questions about Aviation Weather, you can find the chapter from the table of contents and begin studying aviation weather right away.

Gleim’s PPL test prep book is different from Rod Machado’s eWorkbook. Using Rod Machado’s eWorkbook, you have to refer to his private pilot handbook if you want to find the correct answer. However, Gleim’s private pilot test prep has all the correct answers on the right column of the book.

Next to each multiple-choice question and answer, you can find why the correct answer is right, and the other options are incorrect.

Using this test prep book is an excellent way to comprehend a subject better.

Gleim’s also has a digital version of their book available online. You can subscribe to their tool and download the software to use it on your pc. That way, you can practice answering questions similar to that of the FAA knowledge test.

But there is a downside to their test prep book: student pilots tend to memorize the answers without understanding them. It seems that Gleim’s very much encourages students to remember the answers. Though there is a section where student pilots can understand the subject better, I believe very few students refer to that section.

ASA private pilot test prep bundle.

ASA’s private pilot test prep is similar to Gleim’s test prep. But the best thing about the bundle is it comes with both the physical book and access to ASA’s tet prep software for 24 months.

At only 54.95 USD, the bundle is very affordable.

The question and answer type format books are good for getting used to the questions you will see during your PPL knowledge test.

This PPL test prep bundle has software that you can access for 24 months. The benefit of using the software is to take mock quizzes and test your aeronautical knowledge from anywhere in the world.

As long as you have a device connected to the internet, you can practice taking tests using this bundle regardless of where you reside.

 In most countries around the globe, the private pilot knowledge test questions are similar. Thus if you are taking a private pilot knowledge test in the United States, Philippines, South Africa, or Canada, ASA’s test prep bundle can always prepare you for the knowledge test.

FLY8MA written test boot camp.

FLY8MA written test boot camp is not a private pilot test prep; instead, it is a source to learn questions and answers to the FAA PPL knowledge test.

You can subscribe to the private pilot written test boot camp and access tons of questions. FLY8MA promises that whoever prepares using their boot camp, pass the FAA PPL knowledge test during the first take.

They believe their test prep is educative that the students don’t have to memorize answers.

Student pilots can process the information in their minds so quickly to answer any unseen question during the actual knowledge test. In the boot camp, the student pilots learn the subjects clearly and know what they must do to become a safer pilots.

American Airlines to the Max! Great Views On a 737 MAX 8 From Miami to LaGuardia

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Poor Mr. MAX, famous for all the wrong reasons. But the dumpster fire otherwise known as 2020 gave the 737 MAX a chance to hide from the news cycle as Boeing fixed its design issues. The FAA held Boeing’s feet to the fire with the recertification, and today I have more than enough trust in the plane to fly it. I got my chance on a medium-haul flight from Miami International to New York LaGuardia earlier this summer.

american airlines to the max great views on a 737 max 8 from miami to laguardia - American Airlines to the Max! Great Views On a 737 MAX 8 From Miami to LaGuardia

After all the build-up I was expecting to be either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. But instead, I was just … whelmed. It’s a gorgeous plane, sleeker than the 737’s previous iterations. It’s quieter, has cooler onboard lighting, and plenty of under-the-hood operational benefits for the airlines. I felt very safe on the plane, and about as comfortable as one can expect to be in domestic economy. But as usual, the airline’s choice of onboard product made the biggest impact on the experience. Ultimately, the most memorable parts of the flight were the *amazing* window seat views I got over Miami and New York.

Hop onboard with me for a few thoughts on American’s 737 MAX 8, and for lots of photos and videos from the flight.

american airlines to the max great views on a 737 max 8 from miami to laguardia 1 - American Airlines to the Max! Great Views On a 737 MAX 8 From Miami to LaGuardia

Meet the MAX

The subtle exterior changes Boeing made with the MAX make for a great-looking plane. Many of them, like the sleek tail cone and the chevrons on the engine nacelles (or for non-AvGeeks, the wavy thing on the butt-end of the engine) are borrowed in part from the 787 Dreamliner.

american airlines to the max great views on a 737 max 8 from miami to laguardia 2 - American Airlines to the Max! Great Views On a 737 MAX 8 From Miami to LaGuardia

The forward placement of the engine relative to the wing was at the root of the MAX’s design issues. But aesthetically I think it looks cool.

BONUS: Beautiful Photos of the 737 MAX (2019)

Speaking of things that look cool (to AvGeeks at least), I got a peek into the flight deck during boarding and was amazed by the huge displays. It’s a high-tech look for the 737 line, and a far cry from the cockpits in the first 737s that flew over 50 years ago.

american airlines to the max great views on a 737 max 8 from miami to laguardia 3 - American Airlines to the Max! Great Views On a 737 MAX 8 From Miami to LaGuardia

Meet the Seat

I was a little less enthusiastic about American’s onboard product. But then again, domestic economy seating is rarely worth any excitement. Keeping with the general airline trend of newer planes getting worse seats, American delivers barely 30 inches of pitch (legroom plus seat thickness) in standard economy. Because the pitch also includes seat width and the seats are THIN, your functional legroom is about the same as on old planes with thick seats with 31-32 inches of pitch. But, it won’t surprise anyone that the thin seats come with very little padding.

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The most noteworthy change is that there are no inflight entertainment screens, so you have to stream to your B.Y.O. screen. The literature pocket and USB charging port are up high, which gives you a bit more space for your knees, but clutters things up at eye level.

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Even with the nice cabin lighting and other finishes, it all made for a cramped and uninspiring cabin product.

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First class looked like the standard for domestic aircraft. It’s wild that even here in a premium cabin there weren’t any seat-back screens.

It was hard to find any evidence on the printed materials that I was on a MAX. Even the safety instructions, which are often specific about the variant of aircraft, just said “737.” As much as I’m confident in the MAX personally, I do think passengers should be aware of what specific plane they’re on. Then again, by the time you’ve boarded it’s a little too late.

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Hitting the Skies

We passed by an older 737 in one of American’s retro liveries. I’d never seen this one before, and a bit of googling after the flight showed me it’s a Reno Air livery. Looking back through the archives, we mentioned this livery briefly in one of our recaps back in 2015.

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We were treated to crystal-clear sunny views during our taxi, takeoff, and climbout from Miami. During the taxi an Atlas Air 747 took off beside us, and by the fact it only used a mile of runway I figure it was pretty lightly loaded. Getting to see Fort Lauderdale Airport during cruise climb was an added AvGeek bonus.

BONUS: We Flew Alaska Airlines’ 737 MAX Inaugural Revenue Service

The flight itself was perfectly uneventful, with reduced service onboard as a result of COVID (this flight was back in May and service policies on the airlines are changing rapidly as things slowly move towards normal). I did notice that the lavatories are insanely small — so tiny that I couldn’t even get a useful picture. The sink in particular was frustratingly small, forcing you to choose whether to wash only your fingertips or else splash water everywhere.

Back to the views! They were amazing on our descent over Brooklyn and Queens. We barely had to change course at all for our straight-line approach into runway 04 at LaGuardia, which ended with a VERY low pass over Grand Central Parkway just before touchdown.

My take on the MAX

I honestly have less to say here than I thought I would. I felt very safe on the MAX thanks to Boeing’s hard work getting the plane airworthy again. The minor updates from the previous-generation 737 are nice, and as an AvGeek I like the way the plane looks. Better fuel efficiency is a huge plus, though not a factor that impacted my experience as a passenger.

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The crew and flight deck on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX we flew a few months ago – Photo: Francis Zera

Ultimately the product the airline puts onboard makes the biggest difference. And in this case American didn’t do anything inspiring with the MAX. In some ways it felt like they did the bare minimum. I might think twice about picking the AA MAX for a five+ hour flight, but otherwise I’d be happy to fly it if the price was right. And with views like the ones I got on this flight, who needs seatback screens anyways?

Now it’s time for us to hear from you. Do you have experience flying the MAX since its relaunch? If not, do you want to give it a try? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

SENIOR CORRESPONDENT – NEW YORK, NY. Manu got his private pilot license in high school, setting the tone for his interest in all things aviation. He earned his frequent flyer credentials working as a journalist, and is now a medical resident in New York City. He enjoys writing about air travel from a millennial’s perspective.

https://www.airlinereporter.com

PPL oral exam guide.

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Face your DPE on your PPL checkride day with confidence because I will tell you what to study and how to prepare for the PPL oral exam.

I can tell most student pilots are anxious on their checkride day, and that’s one reason why many student pilots fail.

I will not teach you what your check pilot will ask and how to answer DPE’s questions. However, I will mention the books which have the questions your DPE may ask, likewise, the answers to any question you DPE has prepared for you.

You can carry and refer to a few of the books mentioned in this article during your PPL oral exam too. No worries, your check pilot will allow you the time to check on these books if you can’t remember a subject.

What to expect on your private pilot oral exam?

The private pilot oral exam is the verbal part of your checkride. During the oral exam, the DPE will ask you all sorts of questions to test your aeronautical knowledge.

At this stage, you would have already passed the FAA written test. If you scored more than 90% on your written test, the examiner will likely not ask you questions regarding aeronautics.

Most of the questions will be relevant to actual flying.

The DPE will focus more on your knowledge of:

  • Federal Aviation Regulations;
  • Safety procedures; and
  • Flight planning.

I can’t say that the oral examiner will only ask questions about these subjects. However, I can assure you that you will not face any questions outside the ACS.

The DPE can ask questions outside the PPL ACS, but incorrectly answering such questions will not fail your checkride.

You can be confident thinking that the DPE is satisfied with your performance and thinks highly of you. Hence the designated pilot examiner asked questions beyond the PPL ACS.

Don’t hesitate to articulate information to the DPE because you are only at the PPL stage.

Remember, a pilot can never learn everything. The best thing is to know where to look for the correct information during an urgency.

Capt. Elite.

Therefore you must always carry particular books, and student pilots and examinees can take specific books to their exam.

Which books can you take to your private pilot oral exam?

I already mentioned you could carry a couple of books to your PPL oral exam.

There are two classic books you can refer to during your oral exam. Your DPE will ask questions, and if you think you need to check the information in your book to verify whether the answer is correct or not, your DPE will give you the time to do so.

By doing so, you will not disappoint your DPE. The DPE will think you are a safer pilot and want to know what you must do precisely.

The two books are:

  • FAR/AIM;
  • Airmen Certification Standards.

FAR/AIM

This book by the FAA contains every detail on Federal Aviation Regulation and maintaining air safety.

The answers to the most basic questions such as:

  • What is the validity of a private pilot license?;
  • How many passengers can you carry with a PPL?;
  • What documents must you have as a pilot in command of an aircraft?;
  • When should you do recurrency training as a private pilot?;
  • What are airworthiness certificates and their validity?

These are the most common questions your DPE will ask, and as a student pilot, you already know the answers to these questions.

However, there are more uncommon questions you might need to verify the correct answer, and you can refer to your FAR/AIM book.

If you are hesitant about a correct answer, you must check in your FAR/AIM book to find the correct answer.

Regardless, don’t spend too much time looking for the correct answer.

Use bookmarks on your book so that you can find the answer to a question at once.

Hence it is essential to study the FAR/AIM book. Similarly, to create bookmarks in your FAR/AIM, you can use the ACS.

How to use the ACS?

The Airman Certification Standards has all the information you must know as a private pilot. This book tells you what a private pilot must learn to conduct safe flights. Many answers to the information in the ACS are available in FAR/AIM. Use the ACS as a Syllabus for your Oral Exam study.

You are not obliged to learn more than what ACS indicates for the private pilot license.

Your DPE might ask you things outside ACS, but you will know the question is beyond your stage if you study using the ACS.

You can either have a free version of ACS on your iPad/tablet or purchase an Airman Certification Standards book.

I always keep a hard copy of the book with me if my tablet runs out of battery or has any trouble.

What to study for your PPL oral exam?

By now, you already know what to study to prepare for your oral exam.

But that’s not all. There is a quick study guide to learn the questions DPE typically asks student pilots during the PPl oral exam.

Knowing the questions and practice answering the questions can boost your confidence.

People always fear the unknown. Many student pilots fail their oral exams due to a lack of confidence. You can only imagine how confident can you be during your PPL oral exam if you can only know what type of questions the DPE has in their mind.

To learn the questions and answer to the DPE’s satisfaction, you can use a little book PPL oral exam guide.

PPL oral exam guide is a book to familiarize yourself with the DPE’s expectations. Don’t memorize the questions and the answers. Use this book to practice answering and know the possibilities of passing your PPL oral exam.

We Tried America’s Newest Airline and It Was a Breeze

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We recently flew Breeze Airways from Tampa (TPA) to Tulsa (TUL). Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of the airline, as it launched barely four months ago.

we tried americas newest airline and it was a breeze - We Tried America’s Newest Airline and It Was a Breeze

Two Breeze planes and Southwest’s Missouri One at TPA

Our flight was on a random Monday morning after all of the new airline buzz had died down and the inauguration fanfare had passed. No AvGeeks, no suits, no tchotchkes. Just a new airline, new crew, and lots of bargain hunters looking to excise their pent-up travel demand. We sure love an inaugural. In fact, that’s how we found ourselves in Tampa to start with. But today’s review is less flashy. Rather, we hope this is what others can expect now that some of the initial excitement and “newness” has died down.

Booking with Breeze Airways

We found the Breeze Airways site (and app!) to be impressive for a brand new airline. In a word: Polished. Breeze offers just two fare options: Nice and Nicer. It’s a smart touch to market basic economy with a positive spin.

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The two booking options on Breeze – Image: Flybreeze.com

For our one-way from Tampa to Tulsa we chose the $84 fare, just on the basis of having a carry-on and wanting the extra legroom. It’s worth noting that the $39/$84 split on this particular route has persisted since launch. There are more expensive days, but seeing a launch fare remain for more than a few weeks is great in terms of setting pricing expectations and letting travelers spread the excitement of a new airline by word-of-mouth.

Flying Out of Tampa with Breeze Airways

Flying in to and out of Tampa is always a joy and this trip was no exception. It was not lost on me that my last visit to Tampa was onboard Citrus Flight 1 — the final AirTran flight — to experience firsthand the sunset of AirTran Airways. Later, I would learn that our Breeze flight would depart from the very gate where N717JL pulled in, bringing the Southwest integration of Tampa’s hometown airline to a close. But this was a new day. It was time for a new airline to shine.

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N910BZ, a seven-year-old Embraer E-Jet at TPA’s gate 44 – Photo: JL Johnson

Breeze launched as a “TSA PreCheck airline.” This stands in contrast to the other upstart airline on the west coast which began operations prior to Breeze but still doesn’t offer PreCheck. Historically, new airlines have taken some time to get through the process of becoming a TSA PreCheck partner. I would propose PreCheck benefits are of particular interest, as frequent travelers look to minimize the slow crowds and general hassle associated with the resurgence of leisure travel. The PreCheck line at TPA was as quick as one would expect at the 23rd-busiest airport in the U.S.

Boarding was not a bright spot. The gate agent didn’t space out group announcements. It felt as if the entire plane rushed to board at once. Thankfully the plane wasn’t quite full. The assurance of priority boarding, assigned seats, and reserved bin space alleviated any potential anxiety.

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Ex-Azul turned Breeze Airways E-Jet Interior – Photo: JL Johnson

In-Flight Experience with Breeze Airways

A real perk of flying onboard Embraer planes — and soon, the Airbus A220 — is the option for two-seat sections. Calling Kansas City, MO home base, we spend almost all of our time on board 737s and A320 variants. The 3×3 layout has long been the norm for us, and we most always wind up with a stranger in our cluster. We welcome the diversity of the Breeze fleet and the opportunity to maintain a small bubble of personal space, particularly given the ongoing global pandemic.

We selected bulkhead seats which had plenty of legroom. I regret I didn’t think to measure, as I’ve been known to do. The seats were comfortable, and the belt length was generous. The safety cards were beautiful and stared at me for the duration of the flight. They insisted they come home with me. I somehow resisted their constant nagging.

Before takeoff, our Captain stood before the cabin and made some basic announcements. The presence and in-person engagement was appreciated. He brought good energy and set the tone for the duration of the “soft” portion of the flight. I would later deduce via some post-flight survey questions that there seems to be an expectation that a pilot be seen and engaged before takeoff. It was a nice touch and I’m glad this is a metric the airline chooses to measure itself on. I suspect seeing the pilot and hearing their relaxed, friendly tone could help relieve some jitters for anxious flyers.

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The best inflight entertainment

There was no in-flight entertainment (IFE.) From my perspective that’s a non-issue. It seems I’m in the minority in not expecting seat-back IFE for a two-hour flight. If needed, I’m always happy to stare at one of the modern distraction rectangles I have lugged onboard anyway.

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In-flight snackage, – Photo: JL Johnson

Snack service was efficient. The “nicer” fare included a soft drink, a bag of chips, and a KIND bar. We couldn’t help but notice the snack bar brand choice was another nod to their nicer way of doing things.

Breeze conclusion

Breeze offered a compelling experience at an impressive price. It is clear that the airline’s leadership has invested a lot of thought and capital into entering the market with a competitive product from day one. The airline appears to be built upon solid technology. They seem to care a great deal about customer experience yet are somehow priced like any other ULCC. From booking through to the post-flight survey, we encountered touches of excellence and unexpected delights all along the way.

I hope for the future of the airline industry that Breeze sets the stage for its much larger peers to follow. If you haven’t flown them yet, you should.

Managing Correspondent – Lee’s Summit, MO. JL joined AirlineReporter in 2012 and has since become one of our most tenured and prolific writers. His passions include catalyzing AvGeek passion in others, spending too much time on Twitter, and frequent travel. While he’s always looking for the next big adventure, home is with his growing AvGeek family in Lee’s Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City. Email: [email protected]

https://www.airlinereporter.com

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