Jeppesen Tech Star Flight Computer Manual

I haven’t seen any Jeppesen Tech Star Flight Computer manuals online, so here’s a feature summary.


  • uses 4xAAA batteries, thus prone to corrosion
  • comes with plastic film to protect keyboard (leave it on)
  • math calculations are instant, but menu takes 2 seconds
  • arrow keys not used
  • no constant memory
  • no Mach calculations


Menus are simple … what you see is what you get. That’s all.
right function button – input value from current display
CMP right function button – calculate output


RCL RCL- view all 6 memory locations
STO 1-6 – save current display value to a memory location
RCL 1-6 – restore memory location to current display value

Missing Features

Use the following formula to calculate TAS from Mach number:

TAS = approximate square root to one decimal place(Celsius + 273.15) * 38.94 * Mach number

Sheppard Air ATP 121 Test Installation on Mac OS X

On August 1, 2014, the FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate requirements become significantly more difficult and expensive to qualify for.

To be “grandfathered” under the old requirements, applicants must pass the ATP Part 135 or Part 121 written test before August 1. (The passing score is 70%, but many airlines require 90%. You can always write the test again, every 30 days.)

After that time, ground school and simulator time will be required, costing $5,300 for ERAU students and up to $20,000+ at FlightSafety, if and when it becomes available to the public.

There are several ways to prepare for the ATP written test, among them:

  1. self-learning using the usual reference manuals (good to know, but not recommended for achieving a high test score)
  2. Gleim test prep book and/or software ($99.95)
  3. ATP Flight School ($295 including class, test prep and test)
  4. Dauntless Software
  5. King Schools ($149 til Oct. 1)
  6. Sheppard Air test prep software ($75, but call before their July 28 deadline).

Both Gleim and Sheppard Air offer a free trial download to test your computer compatibility, and a money-back guarantee (refund below 70% for Gleim and below 90% for Sheppard Air.)

I chose the Sheppard Air ATP Part 121 test prep software.

I didn’t see any README or installation instructions for the Sheppard Air ATP test prep software, so here’s what I had to do to get running on my Macbook Pro with OS X 10.5:

  1. if you installed the Sheppard Air trial version, remove it first: Mac Finder … Applications … “Uninstall Flight Test 5″
  2. call Sheppard Air at (940) 642-4945 (before their July 28 deadline), leave message for ATP test prep signup, wait for return phone call, pay $75 for 121 ATP test, wait for Receipt email, login to their web site, view computer system requirements, click on software download link, double-click on zip file after it’s finished downloading
  3. type these 2 commands:

    cd /Users/james/Downloads/Install FlightTest5

  4. Open Finder, click on Applications … “Study with Flight Test 5″ and type in the username and password from your Receipt email into the Sheppard Air software login dialog.

Some suggestions to Sheppard Air would be to:

  1. automate purchase via the web
  2. provide installation instructions online and in a README.txt file in the zip file. Requiring phone in for purchasing and then expecting people to phone in again for mandatory installation help is an archaic and expensive way to sell low-dollar software products today.

If you use a Jeppesen Tech Star electronic flight computer or basic calculator without mach calculations, use the following formula:

TAS = approximate square root to one decimal place(Celsius + 273.15) * 38.94 * Mach number ATP Written Prerequisites About to Change Drastically Part 121 or Part 135 ATP Written Test?
Sheppard Air References

MySQL Blackhole Storage Engine for Fun and Profit

MySQL LogoRecently I did some work with MySQL and MySQL Cluster, where the dev and test environments ran on CloudStack VMs, and a reporting server ran on AWS EC2.

The MySQL Blackhole storage engine could have helped in two cases:

  1. disk IO is a limiting factor in virtualized environments, so writing less data when persistence is not needed increases performance for all VMs
  2. AWS charges for Internet bandwidth, so using a proxy server running Blackhole or replication filters can reduce the amount of data replicated to AWS.

I was fortunate that I attended the “Blackhole and Federated Storage Engines” talk by Giuseppe Maxia et al. at the MySQL Conference 2007. Jay Pipes, the conference organizer, recommended it as the most devious and twisted talk he had ever previewed, and he was right. :) Why is the MySQL Blackhole storage engine useful? [2009] MySQL replication using blackhole engine [2006] “Streaming” MySQL slave deployment [2007]

MySQL 5.6 Views and Stored Procedures Tips


MySQL LogoI recently tuned an existing application that used dozens of views and hundreds of stored procedures using MySQL 5.6.

There seems to be three attitudes towards using views and stored procedures (SPs) with MySQL:

  1. don’t use them at all to increase portability
  2. just use SPs to reduce network traffic in large reporting queries (my choice)
  3. go crazy and use them everywhere like old-school Oracle Enterprise apps.

Here are some notes on using views:

  • before creating views, review your schema to ensure keys have matching types and charsets for good performance. It’s much easier to spot schema problems in a text listing than to guess why a view is slower than expected at execution time. (This is doubly true for MySQL Cluster.)
  • MySQL currently doesn’t have CREATE VIEW FORCE, although MariaDB will later in 2014. The FORCE option will greatly simply view administration and also mysqldump output, which creates temporary tables to ensure views can be created regardless of table/view ordering issues
  • When looking at the MariaDB source code, it’s apparent that some view options were never actually implemented, like RESTRICT/CASCADE

And some notes on stored procedures (SPs):

  • if a SP makes a stateful session change, like set sql_log_bin=0, ensure that isn’t going to be a problem later if an exception condition doesn’t reset it
  • after running a SP, SHOW PROFILES will list all the queries executed with performance statistics
  • SPs that do non-essential SELECTs or INFORMATION SCHEMA queries probably need to be reviewed by a DBA for fundamental problems like non-atomic “reading before writing”
  • MySQL compiles SPs again for each thread.

Both views and SPs are relatively new MySQL features, so budget some extra development and testing time when using them, especially with replication.

[MDEV-6365] CREATE VIEW Ignores RESTRICT/CASCADE Options Using MySQL triggers and views in Amazon RDS