Review: ATOP Airline Training Orientation Program at American Airlines

A job at the airlines can be intimidating. Jet aircraft are complicated beasts and there’s a ton of training that comes with the position. Thankfully, for those who are thinking of going down that career path but want to dip their toe in the lake before diving in headfirst (or for those, like me, who have resigned themselves to the fact that airlines will never be an option but want to have a weekend long experience) the ATOP or Airline Training Orientation Program is a great option to get the feeling of what jet training at the airlines is really like.

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The Concorde Simulator Experience at the Brooklands Museum

These days there are simulators for almost anything you could want to try your hand at flying. 737 and A320 simulators are a dime a dozen, with some simulators dedicated entirely to armchair pilots especially in Dubai and France for example. But there’s only one functioning Concorde simulator left in the world, and the museum has developed an entire program around giving people the opportunity to fly it alongside retired British Airways pilots.

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Review: MyCharge Portable Power Outlet

For a long time pilots prided themselves on needing little more than a paper chart and a whiz wheel to get across the ocean, but the benefits of modern electronic flight bags are just way too big for any pilot to ignore. But with all that processing power comes a proportional need to keep the devices charged and powered during flight. MyCharge thinks they have a solution for  that issue.

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Review: Gyronimo Performance Pad App

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Its one of the very first entries in Part 91 of the FAR, so important for every single flight that by the time my checkride came around I could recite it from memory. 91.103 requires pilots to complete the vital performance calculations for their aircraft and the specific conditions of the day to ensure that they can take off and land safely. There have been some apps to make this process easier but generally they feel clunky and complex. The folks at Gyronimo have come out with an iPad app which aims to not only make the process easier but also much more informative.

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Review: Clarity Aloft Classic Headset

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A couple days ago I reviewed the QT Halo aviation headset, which is currently the top recommendation from aviators I know when it comes to in-ear headsets. That said it doesn’t exist in a vacuum — there are competitors for the crown. One of the prime candidates to unseat the QT Halos comes from a company called Clarity Aloft, and their consumer level offering is the “Classic” headset. While MSRP is about twice the price as the QT Halo it does have one very important advantage . . .

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Review: QT Halo Aviation Headset

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There’s little doubt that David Clark’s H10 headset is the gold standard for general aviation. When I started flight training that was the very first purchase I made, and over the years they have served me well. For short hops around the local area they really can’t be beat — they are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and do a great job of blocking out the engine noise so you can focus on communicating on the radios. But as soon as my flights started pushing past the two hour mark I realized that I needed something better. That’s when I decided to give the Halo headset from Quiet Technologies a try.

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Review: BluLink Bluetooth Adapter for GA Headsets

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Technology has moved on a little bit since my Cherokee was manufactured in 1963. Looking through the logbooks I can see that the avionics have changed over time — an ADF removed here, a new CDI replaced there — but modern technology is moving faster than ever, and getting a panel mounted solution for the latest tech might not be the best idea given the expense of installation and uncertainty of how long it will be in vogue. One innovation that has remarkably improved my driving experience on the ground is the ability to link my cell phone to my car’s stereo for making phone calls and listening to music. To duplicate that in the airplane I could either get a panel mounted solution with Bluetooth for $1,500 plus labor, or for a mere $249 I could get an inline adapter that could do all the same functions called the BluLink Adapter.

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Review: MyGoFlight Universal Kneeboard Folio C

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Looking for a better version? Try this new Kneeboard Sport Case from MyGoFlight

I started instrument training not too long ago and pretty quickly I came to the realization that paper charts needed to go. Besides the fact that it was difficult to find what I needed while flying, all the required publications take up a lot of space in my flight bag and weigh a metric ton. Add in the fact that they expire every 56 days and keeping up with the FAA can start to eat into your AvGas budget. I have a Nexus 9 tablet running Garmin Pilot that has all the charts I need and could be a great substitute for the paper versions, I just needed a way to secure it in the airplane that was quick, easy, and didn’t obscure any of my view out the window or of the instruments. MyGoFlight’s Universal Kneeboard Folio C seemed like the perfect fit.

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Review: Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Nighthawk

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There are a few things that I never leave home without, and a good watch is high on that list. For just about everything that you do in the air, time is a valuable commodity and measuring it is essential — whether you’re doing a timed 180 degree turn out of a cloud bank or just trying to get the plane back on the field before your rental window closes, an actual physical chronometer is a handy piece of equipment. I’ve been looking for an aviation specific watch for a while now, and I think I may have struck gold with the Citizen Nighthawk.

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Review: 5.11 Rush 12 Back Pack

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I rent my wings, which means that I need to truck all my aviation related junk to and from the airfield with me every single time I fly. I tried using a range bag that I had acquired through my alter ego, but it wasn’t the most elegant solution. To make that process easier I wanted to see if there was a better bag out there that would give me quick access to all my gear while in flight yet contained enough to not take up my entire trunk. After going through a few different bags, I finally settled on my #1 choice: the 5.11 Rush 12 Back Pack.

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