July 26, 2005
If you have spent anytime online or reading newspapers in the past few weeks surely you have been hit over the head with the Podcast club. Since the media has done such a thorough job educating the masses on podcasting I will not go into detail about what a podcast is. If you want to learn more visit the Wikipedia post on podcasting.
I wanted to share with you an aviation related podcast that I have enjoyed during my commute this week called Fly with Me. Fly with me is a podcast hosted by Joe Dion, a Captain for a major U.S. Airline. Joe shares with his listners stories from flight attendants and pilots about what goes on behind the galley curtain and behind the cockpit door.
I especially enjoyed listening to some audio clips from the cockpit. In one episode Joe shares with us some conversations he has with other planes using frequency 123.45 while flying over the pacific on route to Hawaii while they are out of reach of air traffic controllers.
If you are looking to get into podcasting and you enjoy aviation this is a great show to start with.
July 19, 2005
According to the McCook Daily Gazette a Cessna Centurion 210 made a safe landing at McCook Regional Airport last week, after the landing gear failed in flight. The plane had just undergone repairs on the landing gear and this flight was to test the repairs.
With the gear not functioning the maintenance company sent out a few employees, one of which is a race car drive, armed only with a firefighter's pike pole.
As the airplane would make low passes over the runway the pick-up truck would pull up underneath it driving at speeds over 90 miles per hour while two men attempted to pull the gear down into a locked position using the pike pole.
On the second attempt they successfully pulled the left gear in place. But, it was not until the 10th pass that the right gear locked in place allowing the pilot to make a safe landing.
This is a pretty amazing story that includes some skilled airmanship, risky driving, ingenuity and a whole lot of luck.
July 10, 2005
When was the last time you flew to a new airport? In preparing for that flight you obviously reviewed your flight with the use of a sectional chart. You probably also reviewed information about your destination airport in your FAA Airport/Facility Directory. But, you still really don't know what to expect upon when you began to arrive at the new airport.
Google has launched a beta product called Google Earth which can be downloaded for free and can be a nice aid to pilots. The program lets you fly around a 3D globe, with overhead satellite photos, tilted 45-degree photos, 3D rendered buildings, and overlays that display everything from roads to hotels to bike routes. One caution is that most of the images are several years old so they may not be very accurate. But, since the images are old I was able to see a satellite view of Meigs field. Google Earth added in the buildings so I could have visualized what it would be like to fly into Meigs field.
Fellow aviator John Keating contacted me last week about his Flying Chicago Website. Flying Chicago is a new website devoted to helping aviators find creative destinations in and around Chicago. John visits each destination that he reviews personally, than posts about the experience.
Since I am new to flying in the Chicago area I am sure this will be a helpful resource. Pilots in the Chicago area should bookmark his site.
July 5, 2005
Flying gives me the opportunity to see things I would normally never have seen or to see things from a different perspective. I love to find something new while flying, then doing some research once I land to learn more about what I saw. Almost exactly a year ago I discovered a neat looking building on a river near Cincinnati, OH. I later learned it was a Civil War munitions factory. I was so interested I then visited it by foot and enjoyed snapping some photos of the historic building.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to view a shipwreck while flying over the Door County Peninsula. When I landed, I was curious to learn more about this ship that now rests in the shallow water by the shores of Lake Michigan. So I sent an e-mail to the Door County Maritime Museum. They directed me to Jon Paul VanHarpen of Lake Nautical Affairs who quickly replied with some information about the ship. According to Jon the wreck is "that of the City of Glasgow built in 1891 and called one of 'the big four' the four largest ships on the Great Lakes(297 feet in length), she was destroyed by fire Dec. 7 1907. She was rebuilt to a barge of 195 feet in length in 1911."
In 1917 the City of Glasgow ran aground off the Lake Michigan shore of the Door County Peninsula and was abandoned. I came across a website that has some interesting photographs of the wreckage. The site says the following of the current state of the sunken wooden steamship, "Over the years, due to water and ice, the top of the ship has been sheered off, exposing the deck substructure just below the surface."
In addition to viewing photos you can see some underwater video footage on the WisconsinShipWrecks.org website. Lastly, Keith Meverden of the Wisconsin Historical Society pointed me to some great details and photos of the City of Glasgow.
July 4, 2005
Happy Fourth of July! I spent my Fourth of July weekend in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This was my second weekend in a row up north. During my last visit, I took a check ride with Orion Flight Service in order to be able to rent planes from them over the summer.
On Saturday, I rented one of their two Cessna 172s. This was my first time flying without an instructor in over four flights, since I have been flying so many check rides. I was lucky to be joined by my wife on this adventure. I was excited for this flight as we would get to explore the northern part of the Door Peninsula that I missed on my previous flight and it would be my wife's first flight in the four place Cessna 172, having only joined me on flights in the Cessna 152 previously.
We had a great flight that started with a beautiful view of the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Station and lighthouse (see photos). From there, we flew up the shore of Lake Michigan where we looked down upon the "City of Glasgow" shipwreck. That delivered us at the northern tip of the Door Peninsula where we looked down on islands that included: Rock Island, Washington Island and Horseshoe Island. Off in the distance we could also see the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. During our return to Sturgeon Bay we flew along the bay side of the peninsula and even spotted a corn maze. This was the second time I have flown over a corn maze, which I recommend to all pilots as it is fun to see from above.
Besides the wonderful view I was encouraged to see how much my wife enjoyed the flight. In the past she had been a little uneasy flying in the cramped and at times bouncy Cessna 152. The Cessna 172 is much more stable in flight and made her feel much more comfortable. I think her days of flying in the cramped two seater are over.
Flights like these remind me that being a pilot has many benefits but none as special as being able to explore new places and to see old places from a new perspective.