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Sarina Houston

Aviation & Aerospace Blog


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May News in Review

Saturday May 31, 2014

This month marks the end of the blog season here at About.com. Beginning in June, this website will see a major redesign, and as part of that redesign, About leadership is phasing out the site's blog. Don't worry- the same content will still be here. But from now on, long form content will take front and center in place of the blog.

Be sure to check back here for new updates to the site. In the meantime, here's the May news in review!

Your Private Pilot Check Ride: What to Expect
Flight Training: How to Choose a Flight School
Flight Training: Part 61 vs. Part 141 Flight Schools
Aircraft Rental: Hobbs Time vs. Tach Time
Aircraft Rental: Wet vs. Dry Rates
What Are FBOs?
What's a FSDO?
What are FARs?

April News in Review

Wednesday April 30, 2014
Blue Angels at Sun N Fun
U.S.Navy Photo

Did you catch these April articles?

MH370 Fate Confirmed, Possible Debris Found

Wednesday March 26, 2014
MH370 debris location

At a press conference on Monday, Malaysian officials announced that Malaysia Airlines flight 370, a 777 that has been missing since March 8th, has likely crashed into the Indian Ocean and all on board have perished.

Details had been obtained from new satellite data from Inmarsat that offer credibility to the idea that the aircraft's last known position was over the Indian Ocean, far from any proper landing area and without enough fuel to make it to land. Inmarsat says that with tracking methods never before utilized in an investigation, it was able to Read More...

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Just the Facts

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Photo © How Foo Yeen/Getty

The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has everyone wondering how a Boeing 777 can disappear, seemingly without a trace.

It is, after all, a rather large, ETOPS-certified airplane. And in today's age of on board technology, satellites and GPS coverage, why in the world can we not find this airplane?

I've received a number of emails and messages from people asking this question. And I have to respond by telling people that I don't actually have any insider information or knowledge about what might have happened. My guess is as good as the next guy's.

At first, I had theories of my own, but with each passing day I'm left with nothing but questions, just like everyone else. With the lack of details available regarding the fate of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, there's just no way to know.

I wonder, like the rest of the world, what could have gone so wrong.

But it's one thing to wonder and another to Read More...

Explaining Aircraft Systems the Easy Way

Friday February 28, 2014
Aircraft Maintenance

If you've ever been asked to describe the electrical system on an airplane, then you know that aircraft systems like these can be complicated to explain, even with a detailed schematic!

I learned a good technique for explaining systems during my multi-engine training years ago, and although it might be oversimplified, it's also a really good method for organizing systems knowledge into one well thought-out and thorough explanation. Check it out in my article 4 Easy Steps to Explaining Aircraft Systems.

RELATED: The ABCs of Emergency Landings
RELATED: Learner Centered Grading in the Flight Instruction Environment

Photo © Aaron Foster/Getty

Women in Aviation to Celebrate 25 Years at Annual Conference

Friday February 28, 2014

When it comes to nonprofit organizations in the aviation industry, Women in Aviation, International is one of the best accidental success stories there is. The organization will celebrate its 25th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference in Orlando next week, a milestone that countless people in the aviation industry are thankful for.

In 1990, WAI founder Peggy Chabrian conducted the first Women in Aviation Conference in Prescott, Arizona with the idea that it would be a one-time event.

The first conference had 140 attendees. These days, a few thousand people and over 100 exhibitors attend the conference each year for a chance to network, win scholarships, talk to recruiters and otherwise enjoy the company of fellow aviation enthusiasts.

This year's conference includes tours of

Modern-Day Amelia Earhart Makes A Name For Herself

Friday January 31, 2014

Amelia Rose Earhart
Photo © Fly With Amelia Foundation

When pilot and news anchor Amelia Earhart agreed to an interview with me this past week, I was pretty excited. I mean, with a name like Amelia Earhart, she's obviously destined to do something amazing, and I was eager to know what it was.

I went into the interview with the late Amelia Earhart on my mind. After all, this Amelia has a lot in common with the late Amelia Earhart: They share a name, of course, but they also share a sense of adventure and the desire to fly around the world.

So I was surprised that by the end of the interview I had all but forgotten about the infamous Amelia Mary Earhart and her ill-fated flight around the world. I had gotten to know a new Amelia, and this modern-day Amelia Earhart was her clearly her own person.


Are You an Annoying Flight Instructor?

Friday January 31, 2014

Flight Instruction
Photo © Tim Boyle/Getty

For the most part, we remember our flight instructors with fondness. Who else can we hold responsible for introducing us to the beauty of flight during private pilot training while getting us through those pesky written exams and check rides?

But have you ever been stuck with a bad flight instructor? Like one that smelled funny or grumbled a lot?

Or maybe you're guilty of being an annoying flight instructor at one time or another. (After all, as much as we try, we can't be perfect!)

I recently asked the pilots of Reddit what they hated about their flight instructors. Their answers were candid and honest and Read More...

Plane Spotting: It's in Their Blood

Monday December 23, 2013

Plane Spotters
Photo Courtesy NYCAviation

You've seen them out there, standing around the perimeter fence in terrible weather with their binoculars and telescope lenses aimed at the sky. They come from different backgrounds but they all share one thing in common: Aviation is in their blood. Just like any other aviation enthusiast, they can't help but look overhead when they hear an airplane flying. The only difference is that they usually spot them before anyone else does.

For some, plane spotting is a decided hobby. For a few, it's a fun thing to do on a day off. For Phil Derner, Founder and President of NYCAviation, an aviation news and enthusiast website, it's something he grew up with.

"I grew up watching planes at LaGuardia Airport from my house in Queens. We had a group of people that got together to spot aircraft, and eventually Read More...

The Institute for Aerospace Education: Investing in Aviation's Youth

Friday December 20, 2013

Photo Courtesy of IAE

If you're reading this, then you probably already know that the aviation industry is home to some of the best people.

I was reminded of this recently when I did an interview with Dr. Tim Smith, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Aerospace Education, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for young people to excel in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas, and specifically in aviation and aerospace.

Not only is Dr. Smith a really nice guy, but he has a particularly remarkable thing going on with the Institute for Aerospace Education. You can read more about his story here.

You see, I'm a huge advocate for getting young people interested in Read More...

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