February 26, 2006
Turn your idle computer screen into an airplane window with Holding Pattern a screensaver by Idle Time. This is a fun screensaver that I loaded onto my computer this afternoon. I have walked by my computer screen a few times and have yet to see any repeat imagery.
According to Idle Time they say "Be Patient: Let the screensaver play for a while, and you'll see that this flight does have a destination...".
February 22, 2006
Over the weekend there was a non-fatal plane crash of a plane departing the airport I flew out of most recently. As you may recall, I visited Schaumburg Airport to check out the Northwest Aviation FBO. I found it to be a professional organization from which I will likely fly again (If the weather ever cooperates � that's another story).
On Sunday, an eighteen year-old student pilot with over 30 hours of flight time and his flight instructor took off from Schaumburg in a Piper Warrior. Shortly after takeoff, the plane experienced engine problems and they were forced to land on a nearby highway. Luckily, cars were able to clear the way but before they could successfully land on the highway, they clipped a light pole with a wing, making the plane land upside down. Both were able to escape from the plane without major injury.
For most pilots, their worst nightmare is to lose an engine right after takeoff before sufficient altitude has been gained to circle back for an emergency landing on the runway. It will be interesting to read the NTSB report when it comes out probably weeks or months from now to learn more about what might have caused the accident and if it could have been avoided.
Reading NTSB reports, especially for airports you fly from, can be very beneficial from a learning perspective. You can view NTSB reports by visiting the NTSB website. Their search engine allows you to find reports by specific criteria like a plane registration number, type of plane, city or state, etc.
I recommend reading reports for your airport so you can learn of environmental and other conditions that might lead to an accident therefore helping you avoid such situations. Additionally, reading about accidents in the type of aircraft you fly can be very beneficial.
February 5, 2006
I recently posted about Jerrie Mock's record-setting flight around the world. When she completed her 29 1/2 day flight that covered over 23,000 miles she became the first woman to fly solo around the world. I have been captivated by this story. Since I prefer pictures over words I decided to make a Google Map that shows the route she flew and lists each checkpoint along the route. I also provide the time it took to fly the leg and the miles flown per leg. I hope the map and my recent post drives you to your nearest library to check out the book about her flight - Three-Eight Charlie.
- View a small version of the map (optimized for 800x600 screen resolution).
- View a larger version of the map.
February 2, 2006
Do you know who the first woman to fly solo around the world was? Up until a few weeks ago I could not have answered that question. Many mistakenly answer the question with Amelia Earhart, but she sadly was lost after completing 75% of her journey and she had a navigator along with her.
The correct answer is Jerrie Mock, a 38 year old woman from Ohio. I just finished reading about her historic 1964 flight. She flew over 23,000 miles in 29 days through terrible conditions including: sandstorms, thunderstorms, icing, rain and excessive heat. Her only companion on this flight was Charlie, a Cessna 180 Skywagon with an FAA Registration of N1538C (November one five three eight charlie) and title the Spirit of Columbus.
I learned about Jerrie Mock from Dan Pimentel "Av8rDan" who had the exclusive movie rights to Jerrie's story and developed a screenplay based on his research and interviews. You can learn more about his screenplay project on the Three Eight Charlie website or the project blog.
After reading about the project I decided I needed to learn more so I went to the library and checked out Jerrie's book on the historic flight, Three-Eight Charlie, which was an enjoyable read. During her flight she had to battle fatigue, equipment problems (radio malfunctions, rough engines and electrical fires) in addition to the afore mentioned difficult weather conditions. If all that was not enough to make it exciting, Jerrie has to leave earlier than planned as another woman aviator decided to make a race of it.
It was interesting to learn about the state of aviation in the 60s from her perspective, as Jerrie visited 14 countries including places like: Casablanca, Calcutta, Bangkok, Cairo and Wake Island that had varying levels of sophistication towards aviation. She did a nice job of balancing stories about the flights themselves with tales of her time on the ground at each checkpoint. The trip was filled with exciting moments that concluded on April 17, 1964 when she flew into the history books by completing the 29 day, 23, 206.36 mile journey around the world.
I encourage you all to check this book out of your library. Then spend some time checking out Dan's sites about Three Eight Charlie and Jerrie Mock. I would love to see this story be told on the big screen!