Aviation Series at Univ. of New Mexico

Rose Marie will be presenting a series of presentations for the University of New Mexico’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute during the summer of 2020.  The first three focus on the past through the future of Air Traffic Control and the National Airspace System.

Wednesday, June 10   University of New Mexico Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. 1pm.  Lecture: The History of Air Traffic Control.

How and why did the government determine that aviation in America needed oversight?  What events prompted them to create a system to support pilots and stimulate the creation and regulation of services we take for granted today?   This lecture begins with actions taken during World War I, and follows the creation of Flight Service, Towers, Approach Controls and Enroute Centers.

Wednesday, June 24   University of New Mexico Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 9:30am. Lecture:  The National Airspace System.

The average American has heard of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and has seen towers rising gracefully above an airport, but there is so much more!   This lecture discusses all the elements of our National Airspace System including Air Traffic Control,  aviation weather, regulatory agencies, flight restrictions, airport management and much more.  Learn about what is happening around you as you fly!

Wednesday, July 8th  University of New Mexico Osher Lifelong Learning Institute 9:30am. Lecture:  The Future of Air Traffic Control.

As of 2020 a new system of Air Traffic Control became fully operational.  The FAA’s NexGen system is a game changer based on satellite rather than RADAR surveillance systems.  Many procedures formerly done by people are now automated, more are being instituted.  What does this mean to you?

All three lectures will be listed in the University of New Mexico’s Osher summer catalog.   More Information. 






Air to Ground 2020

Just Released!

Three years ago the first version of this book introduced pilots to the world of Air Traffic Control as it is seen from behind the microphones and radar scopes.   In that short period of time things have changed dramatically.

Air Traffic Controllers are still distant authoritative disembodied voices whose main purpose in life is to keep pilots from killing themselves and others by telling them where to go, but as of 2020 the methods used to perform that invaluable function are morphing dramatically.

Towers, Approach Controls, and Centers have been upgraded with new equipment and procedures to handle the changeover from a Radar based monitoring system to satellite technology.  The Flight Service division has been reduced to only two privatized facilities in the lower 49 states, with only Alaska still using the old style briefing and flight planning and radio procedures.

New pilots are all excited about learning how to fly – a daunting task in and of itself, yet in the midst of trying to remember how many degrees of flap are needed to take off, he suddenly has to juggle a microphone and recall not only what he has to tell a tower or Unicom, but how to say it correctly.

With rapid changes to technology, even veterans of the flying community are finding they need a little help understanding their options.  When must they comply with ADS-B requirements?   What kinds of TFR’s are mandatory versus optional?  What are the preflight briefing options available these days?  What is the difference between VFR and IFR and how do I file an ICAO flight plan?

These are some of the questions I have answered through the articles I’ve written for pilots over the last 20 years. This book is a compilation of those articles with extra information added to fill in the holes creating a comprehensive look at the ATC system as it exists today.  Like the first edition it goes over the basic information about the Air Traffic Control system as needed by any new pilot, mostly focusing on the Tower, Center and Approach Control facilities. Since the duties of the Flight Service division of Air Traffic have been changed to the point that they no longer serve directly as controllers, much of the specific information on how to interpret preflight weather briefings has been removed and set into a separate book.

This book is not an official publication of the Federal Aviation Administration and not officially approved by them or any other company working with them…it is mostly my observations and insights from working within the system for 34 years.   I do cite references to other sources that are sanctioned, some of which are noted in the articles and some are listed in the appendix.

I have truly enjoyed working with pilots, for every one of you that has had me tearing my hair out, there has been one that made me laugh.  Keep your nose up!

Rose Marie Kern


Rose Marie Elected President of SouthWest Writers

Before I ever started articles and books about aviation, I sought out an organization who could offer advice and information on what it takes to be a successful author. I found SouthWest Writers (SWW)  located in my home town of Albuquerque, New Mexico.   SWW is a non-profit group comprised of over 350 authors, more than half of which have been published.  Their focus is to support both published and novice  authors in their efforts to improve their craft and further their careers.

   At the first meeting attended in 2004, I met Jack Hickman, (Photo at right)  the editor for EAA Chapter 179’s newsletter.  Jack asked me to write an article for their newsletter on any topic relating to air traffic or aviation weather.  This informative piece entitled “Painless Pilot Briefing” was picked up within 2 days by three other EAA chapters, and within a week she got a call from the editor of my first national magazine.

I have been active with SWW since that time, serving on the board of directors for several years.  I was elected President and took office in January of 2019, and was re-elected for 2020.  By doing so I hope to give back to a great group of people who support each other’s dreams of becoming published authors.

SWW hosts two meetings a month, each with a speaker who has attained some acclaim in their field.  Topics range the full gamut of writing as both a craft and as a business.  If any of you reading this have wanted to explore your literary potential, you might check them out!    www.southwestwriters.com


Future of General Aviation Article

Hello Rose Marie,

I have been reading your column in Plane and Pilot News religiously for several years and always enjoy your insight into weather and ATC.  However, this month you did something different and I wanted to let you know that I really liked it and would encourage you to keep this subject alive in future columns.

It was thought provoking and I will be bringing this up at our next EAA meeting as well as the coffee gatherings at the airport. I just moved to NC from the Chicago area and would like to inspire the folks here (that have probably been doing the same thing for the past 25 years) to think about new youth and community driven events at the airport.

We’ll see where this goes. Thanks for your great writing work and your passion for aviation.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Eric Eshelman

“Stress” Book Reviewed by Fly-Low

Fly-Low Magazine book review gives “Stress is Relative” high praise.

It has been my pleasure to write for Fly-Low magazine for the past ten years and this month (July Issue) the editor of Fly-Low magazine did me the honor of reviewing my latest book.   The editor/publisher of Fly-Low, Ralph McCormick is a pilot who knows what other pilots want to hear about.  Fly-Low focuses on the needs of general aviation pilots covering topics from air races and events to mechanical and legal issues.

In his review he noted the details and miniscule workings of ATC pilots never see.  Since the book begins during the rebuilding of the ATC workforce after President Reagan fired most of the nation’s controllers, he felt it would make a great movie.  I remember feeling the same way while going through the Air Traffic Control academy.  Just walking through a parking lot where cars sported license plates from every state in the nation made me realize how big the world I was about to enter really was.

Fly-Low is available in the FBO’s at many airports across the country.  You can read the past issues online, or score your own subscription on their website.  Here is a link to the Stress is Relative Book Review


Women in Aviation International Conference


I had a blast at the 29th Annual Women in Aviation International conference last week in Reno! It was a blast and for any woman who works in aviation it was a real treat to see over 3,000 airline pilots, military pilots, engineers, mechanics, controllers, and private pilots all come together to celebrate aviation.   Over 124 countries were represented including a colorful group from Uganda.

Of course, some of the topics were unique.  This was the first time I’d seen a presentation on Flying While Pregnant, and a couple sessions on blending aviation careers and family.    One of my favorite sessions was Aviation/Space Lawyer Michelle Hanlon who gave a very interesting lecture on why spaceports are important to the future of Aviation around the world.

My work environment over the years has been primarily male, and though I have enjoyed their company (well, most of them anyway) I have a hard time describing how the atmosphere changes when surrounded by a group of like minded, intelligent and successful women.  The only analogy I can think of was from a day when I was working at Albuquerque AFSS and there were actually three women on duty all assigned to positions near each other.  A lone man was on one side of this trio with another 10 or so men scattered around the rest of the operations room.

After an hour of listening to us talking about cooking, kids, and crochet, the lone man raised his voice to the supervisor saying “DON, PLEASE TALK MAN TALK TO ME!”

We laughed at the time, but the reality is each of us girls had spent thousands of hours as the only female in a room listening to casual conversations about cars, bars, and sports during the slack times between radio or pilot briefing calls.

The percentage of women in aviation careers is finally improving.  On the last day of the Reno event I was on a career day panel with 6 other women which opened a day of adventure for over 200 young women ages 10 to 17.  I represented Air Traffic Control, there were also a  private pilot who’d flown a small aircraft around the world, an airline pilot, a Boeing mechanic, an Osprey pilot, a university professor, and a stewardess.

After the panel the girls went to special exhibit hall where several airlines, universities, and  aviation corporations  set up activities and demonstrations including flight simulators.

The main exhibit hall featured representatives from all the big aviation companies and government entities just like any other aviation event – but this one had a few interesting differences.  The National WASP  WWII Museum both had one of the few remaining members of that daring squad of women pilots signing her recently published book.

One other special moment occurred while I was registering at the event.  The lady getting me checked in wore a badge identifying herself as a retired B747 pilot.  She told me she used to do the Seattle to Anchorage run.  I mentioned I’d ridden jump seat on a B747 on that run with a co-pilot who was pregnant in 1989. Her eyes popped open “That was Me!”   We figured it had to be – there just weren’t that many women flying B747’s on that run in that year.  What a treat!

To any women reading this post, check out Women in Aviation International – it is truly a groundbreaking group of gals!




NMPW recognizes Air to Ground

The annual New Mexico Communication Contest recognizes excellence in print, broadcast, electronic or Internet media, photography, marketing, public relations, graphic arts and journalism in New Mexico. Contest winners are announced in spring and awards are presented at New Mexico Press Women’s annual banquet.

The 2018 New Mexico Press Women’s Communications contest awards have been announced.  The contest brings in thousands of entries each year in a number of categories.    This year Air to Ground won 2nd place in the Non-Fiction Books for Adults category!

It has also been entered into the NMPW Zia Awards competition.

Zia Book Award

Women writers living in New Mexico are invited to submit books for consideration for the Zia Award, given each year by NMPW at the annual spring conference. Each year the award rotates to one of three categories: children’s literature, non-fiction and fiction.


A Wealth of Information

Hello Rose Marie,
I finished reading your book today. It was straight-forward, easy reading, and I enjoyed it. There is a wealth of information in it, and I learned things that are not published anywhere else, in any FAA textbooks, etc.
You really did a good job of tying Flight Service with other branches of ATC. You must have had a fascinating career.
I think this book would be very good for student pilots. If I get back into aviation and have students again, I will recommend your book for them. I last flew in 2003. So much has changed since then!
I thought I was the only one who used old sectionals for wrapping paper, and who loved the FAA!
David Pfeiffer

Air to Ground now an E-Book!

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to access all the information Rose Marie has gathered, but really didn’t want a physical book – you’re in luck!  Air to Ground is now available at Amazon.com as a Kindle e-book.  The cost of the e-book through their website is $5.99.  When you do a title search you must include Kindle (Air to Ground kindle) or only the print version will come up on the website.

Instructor pilots across the nation have sent emails telling me that Air to Ground is a great primer for students and contains a lot of “I didn’t know that” type information for even the most experienced flyer.   It gives you the kind of information you can’t get out of the FAA documents people have access to, and tells you the reasons behind the FAA’s rules and regulations

Click here for the Air to Ground E-Book


Future of General Aviation

One of the biggest concerns of pilots across the country right now is the slow decline of General Aviation. The average age of pilots across the nation is now about 49 years old. Has the magic gone out of flying?    Anyone who has experienced the exhilaration of Oshkosh Air Venture would not think so, but the numbers nationwide paint a sad future.

So why is this happening? A lot of reasons come to mind – the biggest one of which is simply that there are so many different ways that people can spend their money for personal thrills now. People feel they need expensive computers, TV’s, cars, Iphones – and the associated costs to use them. Communities offer their kids Little League, soccer, and many other activities which keep them busy.

Unless a person has enough disposable income to buy and maintain an aircraft, they have limited access to the sport. Most young adults are investing in college or creating good homes for their own kids, whose needs also cost money. The closest thing to flying that the general public now engages in enthusiastically is drones.

So how can we change the perception that flying is an expensive hobby for wealthy people? How do we bring the kids and their parents to airports?

Aviation is an addiction that grabs best when discovered at a young age. The EAA knows this and uses the Young Eagles program to draw in kids everywhere. This idea needs to be expanded, but how?

Let’s tackle the problem from different angles simultaneously. The first challenge is to make people comfortable with airports again. High security will still keep away most people unless they are using air carriers, and smaller community airports have been becoming more and more exclusive to the current pilot population.

Most smaller airports are supported by the communities they serve. That is a LOT of land that is often kept completely isolated from any other activity and in many cases the user fees cause the property to be a financial drag.   Why can’t they diversify? Yes, any activities must not hinder the safety of aircraft in and around the airport, but communities should be able to use these facilities to the advantage of their citizenry.

   Bringing people to the airport for any reason is one way of getting them comfortable with being there. Marrying community events with airport facilities also teaches participants the rules – where they can go or not go. It allows people to get close to aircraft.

Some airports have are already engaged in these activities. There are aviation museums in Santa Theresa and Grants. Belen flies Santa Claus in for a Holiday event on the airfield. But there could be so much more.

What if every small airport had a corner of the area where kids and adults could bring their drones and learn about the rules of flying them? What if a local non-profit could use a hanger for a fundraiser? How about giving a local school or scout troop some meeting space or activity space? Maybe work with the science teachers to bring the kids out and help build airplane parts?

And have information available to people about the real costs of flying – starting with aircraft. Many small aircraft these days cost less than some cars, but the perception of the public is that every aircraft costs more than a house.

Many of you reading this may have other ideas on ways to attract more people to the wonders of aviation…I ask you, no, challenge you, to send me your thoughts.   Let’s examine how we can keep General Aviation alive and growing.

Send your comments to my email author@rosemariekern.com

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