November 12, 2004

Why Do You Fly?

clouds_1.jpg"Why do you fly?", a question I have been asked many times. I have briefly touched on this subject in some previous posts (Joy of Flying, Seeing America from the Cockpit of a Small Plane). I read a post on StudentPilot.com this week asking this very question. I came across many of the common responses such as flying was something the person has always wanted to do since they saw their first airshow or Top Gun; or reasons like "because I can". But it was interesting to see so many thoughtful answers and such almost spiritual responses. I enjoyed reading many of the posts:

  • "enjoyment and the feeling of accomplishment everytime i step out of the aircraft." ~jaunt10
  • "I always love the way birds soar through the sky. The ability to defy gravity and move about in an ocean of air." ~PilotDamien
  • "The first things that come to mind are the concepts such as freedom, self-discipline, achievement, fun and comradarie which all mix together to create an irresistible combination for me. However, even deeper than these ideas, perspective really moves me as well. I love how different things look from the sky...the different visual perspective frees my mind and soul." ~ceflyer
  • "flying creates a very spiritual experience for me." ~HIGHwing
  • "Because it sings to my soul." ~Dot_AK
  • "The same reason I always have flown: I need it. I cannot describe why, and probably never will. -I simply need to fly." ~Sabrina

I cannot put my finger on the one reason I fly. I have many similar thoughts to those that were posted on StudentPilot.com. Part of it is the achievement of making a dream a reality and finally learning to fly after years of looking up at the skies wishing I could fly.

Another part might be the ability to lose oneself in thought while flying. Flight can be such a relaxing experience. There is so much to do when flying but yet I feel like the entire time I am at the airport or in the skies my batteries are recharging.

In life I have learned that having a good and varying perspective on life's situations better prepares you to handle any situation. NASA Astronaut Donald Williams said, "For those who have seen the Earth from space, and for the hundreds and perhaps thousands more who will, the experience most certainly changes your perspective. The things that we share in our world are far more valuable than those which divide us." I find that flying just gives me a broader perspective on life and makes life just that much more enjoyable.

I may never put my finger on why I love to fly, nor will I spend much more time thinking on it. I will just continue to fly and hope I can share the enjoyment of doing so with many more!


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November 8, 2004

Comment Spam Attacks MyFlightBlog.com

I have been hosting my blog about my experiences learning to fly for a little over six months. The first four months were hassle free. Then around early September, I started to notice comment spam showing up on my posts and recently it has become a big problem that needs to be resolved.

Spammers have frustrated e-mail users by filling e-mail boxes with unsolicited messages for many years. Now spammers have turned their attention to blogs. According to Wikipedia spammers post comments to blogs in order to "increase the page rankings for the site in the search engine Google. An increased page rank means the spammer's commercial site would be listed ahead of other sites for certain Google searches, increasing the number of potential visitors and paying customers."

Originally, I was receiving just a few spam comments a week and I manually deleted them. Recently I received 200+ spam comments in one day. As a result I will turn off the comments option a few days after each post and see if this cuts back on the spam. In the meantime, I will evaluate plugins like Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist that can help eradicate comment spam. Another option will be to upgrade to a newer version of Moveable Type. If anyone has suggestions please let me know.


Posted at 5:28 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (6) | Save & Share This Story

November 4, 2004

General Aviation and the 2004 Elections

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association (AOPA), 18 of it's members will serve in Congress as a result of the most recent election. Additionally, 95% of the 105 candidates for Congress in this past election won their seat they were running for. As a pilot it is great to know there is such great representation by supporters of General Aviation. You can read the press release by AOPA on their website.


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October 30, 2004

Presidential Candidates on General Aviation

election04-generalaviation.jpgDid you know both presidential candidates are pilots? President George Bush's military experience in the National Guard has been discussed regularly during the campaign so I am sure many people knew of his experiences flying F-102 fighters in the Texas Air National Guard. Senator John Kerry is also a pilot and has been flying for over 30 years.

With the election less than 72 hours away I thought I would share with you a recent article written by the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association (AOPA). AOPA asked each candidate some questions about general aviation. You can view the responses to the questions on AOPA's webiste - AOPA Interviews the Candidates on GA. Of course you should not vote on one issue alone but it is important for pilots to see where each candidate stands on issues that are near and dear to us.



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Daylight Savings Time Change - Effects on Pilots

zulutime.jpgDaylight savings ends tonight for most of the country that is affected by it. That will bring earlier nighttime skies meaning most pilots will be flying more night hours. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Website has a good night flying review called, "Safety Hot Spot: Night VFR Checkup." Check it out.

All of my flying experience has taken place during daylight savings. During daylight savings, in Eastern timezone pilots in the eastern timezone you simply add four hours to military time (24 hour clock) to get Zulu time, the Universal Coordinated Time used for aviation. With the return to standard time pilots in the Eastern timezone should now add 5 hours to the current military time.

The most recent ePilot Newsletter from AOPA provided the chart above for converting your local time to Zulu time. They also wrote "To convert Zulu to local time, if the United States is on standard time, subtract five hours from Zulu to get Eastern Time, six hours for Central, seven hours for Mountain, and eight hours for Pacific Time. If the country is on daylight-saving time, subtract one hour less for each time zone."


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October 28, 2004

Temporary Flight Restrictions Cause Trouble for Area Pilot

A pilot based out of my home airport had a surprise escort back to Blue Ash today by two United States Air Force fighter jets after he flew too close to a rally for President George W. Bush.

The local NBC affiliate's website, ChannelCincinnati.com, stated, "The Secret Service determined the pilot made an honest mistake and didn't pose a security risk, and he was freed to go." Although he was freed by the Secret Service I would expect it is likely he could suffer penalties or suspensions of his license for flying into a restricted area.

Here in a battleground state for presidential election pilots should be well aware of the need to check prior to every flight as to whether a Temporary Flight Restriction is in place due to Presidential candidates being in the area.



Posted at 10:05 PM | Post Category: General, TFR | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story

October 25, 2004

FAA Airman Certificate Arrives

license.jpgI passed my FAA checkride about three months ago. That day I was presented with my temporary license a paper duplicate of the original that is mailed into the FAA processing center. Although the privileges that came with the temporary license are great and equal to the actual license the document itself is less than impressive.

When I arrived home from work today and saw the envelope from the FAA I guessed what was inside. I was correct with my guess that it was my Private Pilot's License. It is neat to hold after all the work that I put into it the actual card.

I think I will have to celebrate by going flying this week!


Posted at 6:37 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (45) | Save & Share This Story

October 21, 2004

Ask the Pilot vs. Ask the Captain - Dueling Aviation Columnists

ask.jpgIn Patrick Smith's October 8th edition of "Ask the Pilot" he asks "What's that they say about imitation and flattery?" Just recently USA Today has started publishing a weekly column called "Ask the Captain" by Meryl Getline. Patrick humorously discusses the fact that there may be room for two similarly targeted authors but USA Today could have been more creative with the name and some of the topics. Patrick writes "This 'Ask the [pilot, captain, lion tamer, etc.]' concept is never the most imaginative choice of wording, but feathers get ruffled when both the topic (air travel) and arena (news Web sites) are snugly mutual. "

Since the middle of 2002 Patrick Smith has been writing a weekly column on Salon.com* called Ask the Pilot. I have enjoyed reading his articles for some time now. He does a nice job of merging-aviation related topics through to the broader air travel category with a fun wit. It appears that Captain Getline has been writing articles for some time as well but has just recently started publishing her works in USAToday.com.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog from time to time than I am sure you will enjoy reading both of their columns. For now I will hold off on choosing one over the other and read them both weekly. I hope you will check them out. Enjoy!

* Please note to view content on Salon.com you need to either pay for access or view an advertisement. By viewing the advertisement you are granted a one day pass to most site content.


Posted at 8:05 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (2) | Save & Share This Story

October 19, 2004

Tight Spaces - Landing a 747 on a Narrow Runway

tightlanding.gifWhat was I thinking about in my post yesterday "Bumpy Cross Country" when I complained about the difficulty of landing a Cessna 152 on a 40 foot wide runway? After all, the Cessna wheel base is probably between 5 - 7 feet wide. That gives plenty of room on either side to land on a 40-foot wide runway even under windy conditions.

The photos to the right are of a South African Airways 747 being flown for a single landing at the Rand Airport in South Africa. It was being flown there to become a permanent exhibit for the SAA Museum air museum. The runway dimensions are 4898 long x 50 feet wide which is amazing considering the 747 outer-to-outer main gear width is 41.33 feet. Nice landing!


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October 10, 2004

Non-Profit Offering Flying Opportunities from My FBO

condor.jpgAccording to AOPA's e-Pilot Newsletter "a group of aviation enthusiasts, including a Tuskegee airman, has formed a nonprofit organization whose goal is to promote careers in aviation among African-Americans in the Greater Cincinnati community." The organization, called "Brown Condor", has raised $30,000 to date to help promote aviation in the African-American community in Cincinnati. The organization is named after John C. Robinson whose nickname is "The Brown Condor." He is well known for flying for the Ethiopian Air Force during an Italian invasion in 1935. Ethiopundit has a post about John C. Robinson and his involvement with the Ethiopian Air Force.

The Cincinnati Enquirer explains that Brown Condor plans "to run aviation summer camps, visit schools and align itself with national organizations such as the Tuskegee Airmen and the Organization of Black Airline Pilots."

The group purchased an interest in one of the Cessna 172s at the fixed based operator I use - Co-Op Aviation at Blue Ash Airport. Through the arrangement the program is able to offer students a $59/hour rate that includes the Cessna 172 wet and the insructor. This is a great rate as normally that would come out to just over $110. So far they have had eight pilots participate in the program including Eric Hill (right) who earned his license through the program.

The plane they have partial interest in is one of the 172s I have been training on as of late. I hope to meet some of the team from Brown Condor while at the airport.


Posted at 2:17 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story