December 27, 2004

General Public to Get Taste of General Aviation

The television watching public will get a taste of general aviation this winter. AOPA will be running four thirty second television ads on the Weather Channel starting Monday, December 20th through the end of the year. You can watch the clips on AOPAs website. The commercials will be directing viewers to a website called General Aviation Serving America.

The goal of the ads is to educate the public about the benefits of General Aviation.

Posted at 10:36 AM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

December 9, 2004

The Gift of Flight

beapilot1.jpgLooking a great gift for someone special who has always wanted to learn to fly? Give them the gift of flight. has negotiated a deal with 2000+ flight schools around the country that allows you to give someone an introductory flight for just $49.

With $49 and the gift certificate, the recipient can take a 45-minute flight with one of the school's instructors. The time spent on this introductory flight can be logged as training time that will count toward earning a license.

Using this certificate is a great way to decide whether flying is the right fit for the person. It also allows them to see if a school is right for them. I strongly encourage checking out a few flight schools before selecting one to train with!

Posted at 7:48 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

December 7, 2004

Fighter Pilot - Operation Red Flag IMAX Film

Fighterpilot.jpgRed Flag is the Air Force's equivalent of Top Gun where the best of the best practice their trade. Red Flag not only welcomes the best of the United States Air Force but also that of our allies. This winter a new IMAX film, Fighter Pilot - Operation Red Flag, tells the story of a young F-15 pilot as he trains at Red Flag over the desert of Nevada.

The trailers and clips available on the website for the film are amazing. I am sure this is one film that will make you feel like you are actually in the plane. Like most IMAX films there will not only be great action scenes but a story of what goes on behind the scenes at Red Flag as well.

I am anxious to see this film. The film will debut at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum this Saturday but will be showing up at IMAX theaters around the country soon. You can view a listing of theaters and expected release dates here.

Posted at 7:17 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

December 3, 2004

Discovery Wings is Becoming the Military Channel

discovery_wings.jpgDiscovery Communications has announced that it will transition its Discovery Wings Channel to the Military Channel on Monday, Jan. 10, 2005. According to the announcement the new channels mission will be to "Offer a broad focus on all aspects of the military with a wide array of programming about its people, strategy, technology and history."

At first I was not disappointed by the announcement since much of the programming on the Wings station was already military focused. But, in thinking about it this evening I will miss knowing I can flip to Wings and know that I will find aviation content. Many of the shows that currently air on Wings will be applicable on the new Military Channel but some of my favorite Wings series will likely be canceled in the transition such as Learning to Fly, A Plane is Born, and Airline Story.

I have to admit to not watching Discovery Wings on a regular basis but it was a comfort to know it was there. Although, I will miss it I am sure I will enjoy some of the programming that is expected on the Military Channel.

Posted at 8:48 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

Anxious to Fly

It has been three weeks since I have flown and feels like forever. Between the Thanksgiving holiday, bad weather, earlier nights and a busier work schedule I have had few opportunities to fly.

It looks like the weekend will provide clear skies for flying. As long as the winds stay under control I expect to go flying tomorrow afternoon or Sunday. This is my longest time away from the cockpit and I have missed it dearly.

While learning to fly I tried to never take more than a few days off at a time. I did this to stay proficient and to make my training as cost efficient as possible. Now that I have my license I cannot keep up that pace but would like to keep to flying once a week or at a minimum of once every two weeks.

When I log my flight this weekend I will be completing my fourth page in my Jeppesen Pilot Logbook and increasing my total flights flown to 52.

Posted at 8:32 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

November 30, 2004

Alaskan Pilot Rescued

saved.jpgMy infatuation with all things Alaska continues. I read this amazing story of pilot Mike Holman who was stranded in the Alaskan wilderness for over six days before being rescued. Holman, a pilot for United Airlines, was on vacation and flying his Maule ML-7 plane to a cabin 140 southwest of Anchorage but made a crucial error in judgment and went away from his projected flight path to explore the surrounding area. He landed the plane on a beach in the Koyuktolik Bay. Unfortunately, he could not restart the plane when he was ready to depart and the quick Alaskan tide submerged the plane shortly after. He had only enough time to get his survival gear from the plane but did not retrieve the emergency locator transmitter.

I remember being amazed while camping after a night of kayaking in Prince William Sound how quickly the tide came in and how it nearly swallowed the entire campsite while at full tide making the peninsula I was camped on an island for a few hours.

For three days Holman waited near the site of his landing hoping to spot rescue planes or boats but saw nothing. He determined his error of deviating from his intended path put him outside of the search box. He realized he would need to hike for help. The map he had with him showed a cabin within five miles of his location. After a 17-hour trek across treacherous terrain, he was blessed to find a functioning radio within the empty fishing lodge and was able to radio for help. The first rescue attempt on Saturday was called off due to high winds but on Sunday, after six days in the wilderness, Holman was rescued.

CAPBlog wrote some posts on the rescue efforts and the involvement of the Civil Air Patrol. He also gave credit to the Air Force Academy and its training of Holman, as "a graduate of the Air Force Academy, he was prepared for the situation. He had survival gear aboard, and he knew how to use it."

Photo Note: Pilot Mike Holman is greeted by his wife, Nicki, and their children, Charlie, 12, and Laura, 9, Sunday at Kulis Air National Guard Base in Anchorage. Holman was picked up by an Alaska Air National Guard Pave Hawk helicopter Sunday morning after rescuers found him in a remote bay south of Seldovia. (Photo by Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News)

Posted at 9:27 PM | Post Category: Alaska Bush Pilots, General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

November 24, 2004

The Aviator - A Movie of the Life of Howard Hughes

aviator.jpgI just read an exclusive first review of Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Roger Friedman of Fox News wrote that the movie about the life of Howard Hughes "is an action-packed, stylish epic that is easily the most involving motion picture of 2004."

The film is a three hour-long epic based on the life of eccentric billionaire and Hollywood film mogul Howard Hughes. The movie focuses on the period between the late 1920s through the 1940s when Hughes was directing and producing Hollywood movies while also test flying innovative aircrafts he designed and created.

I am surprised that I have not heard much about the film before now especially since the movie has such an impressive cast. The cast include Leonardo Dicaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Frances Conroy, Adam Scott, Danny Huston, Ian Holm and Gwen Stefani.

After reading the great review from Roger Friedman and watching the trailer I am very excited to see this film. I have to admit to not knowing much about Howard Hughes other than some of the basics and once taking a tour of the Spruce Goose. I think I might have to read up on him prior to seeing the movie, which is slated for release in December.

If you are interested in learning more about Howard Huges read Wikipedia's account of his life.

Posted at 3:02 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

November 23, 2004

Getting Checked Out to Fly in New Locations

studentpilot.jpgWith the holidays approaching and having the opportunity to visit friends and family I thought I should learn about the process for being checked out to fly rented aircraft from Fixed Based Operators (FBO) at airports in cities I plan to visit.

Not knowing what the process is I posted a message to one of my favorite pilot resources, I asked "What is the process for getting checked out by an FBO to rent planes? Do you simply go up and prove you are proficient then they sign you off? Is that sign-off usually good for only a certain amount of time? Do they charge an instructor rate for that person to go up with you?"

I received some great feedback. What I learned is that a checkout usually consists of a verbal knowledge test that proves the pilot is aware of the critical information found in the Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) - V-Speeds, fuel burn, emergency procedures, etc. Additionally, you fly with an instructor and prove proficiency in common maneuvers that were part of the practical test: slow flight, stalls, emergency procedures and pattern work. Most people estimated it would be about an hour of flight and instructor time. Personally, I think when flying in a new area it is beneficial to spend some time with an instructor who is familiar with the area anyway.

If you pass the checkride that you get signed off and are approved to rent aircraft from that FBO. If you fly regularly they may not require another checkride unless you want to fly different types of planes. If you fly there infrequently they may require a new checkride as recently as within 90 days of your last flight with them.

Lastly, if you are flying in areas with terrain or weather conditions that vary from your home base it is wise to spend additional time learning about local conditions and concerns.

Posted at 10:01 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

Flying Blogs - Time to Share the Love

bloglines.jpgThere are several flying related blogs that I read while on the ground. Instead of keeping them to myself I thought I should share them with my readers. I added links to the flying blogs I am currently reading on the right side of the My Flight Blog main page. Some of them write infrequently while others post on regular basis with some great information. If you enjoy reading my blog I know you will enjoy reading a few of these.

Make sure to check out some of my favorites:

  • StronglyTyped - Thoughts on software development, flying and anything else

  • CAPBlog - An Unofficial Journal of the Civil Air Patrol, the United States Air Force Auxiliary

  • Miller Weblog - Random notes on aviation, family and stuff. He is working on his Instrument Rating.

My list of blogs is powered by my Bloglines account. If you are new to reading blogs you should sign up for Bloglines. It is the most comprehensive, integrated service for searching, subscribing, publishing, and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich Web content and it is free.

Posted at 1:15 AM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

November 22, 2004

More Positive Signs for General Aviation

Since September 11th the general aviation industry has been in recovery mode. Today the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released some findings the show that industry is showing signs of strong recovery.

The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through the third quarter of 2004, according to the GAMA. Billings were up 15.9% to $7.8 billion for the first nine months of 2004, while total units rose 7.7% to 1,928.

"Recovery of the U.S. economy and accelerated depreciation enacted by Congress for operators of new airplanes stimulated every segment of our industry," said Ron Swanda, GAMA's interim president. "But the growing, worldwide attraction of using general aviation airplanes for safe and efficient air travel is a fundamental growth factor that should not be overlooked."

One of the biggest growth areas was in the production and sales of business jets which is up 10.4%, from 355 units last year to 392 units this year. Read the whole report on the GAMA site.

Posted at 9:04 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story