August 18, 2004

The Joy of Flying

I went flying for the first time in over a week tonight. Actually, I have flown four times in the past week but all commercally. I still love to fly commercially but, am learning that to really enjoy flying, you need to be in a smaller plane. Tonight I flew around Cincinnati with the windows open enjoying the breeze and the beautiful view from above.

I am currently reading A Gift of Wings by Richard Bach, which was a gift from my wife. It was this book that inspired me to open the windows and enjoy flying with the wind in my hair. His book of short stories include tales of his days barnstorming across America in an open cockpit of his bi-plane, adventures in his Piper Cub, and a few stories from his military days. He often writes that the point of flying is to live. He writes when he is flying, "I am living".

While at a wedding this weekend, I shared some of my tales of learning to fly. I was often asked the question why I wanted to fly. Was it to save money? To get somewhere? Why? The more I have thought about it the reason I learned to fly is not all that different than most pilots or Richard Bach's. I do it to live. To enjoy the most of life. Flying is a new and great challenge that I enjoy immensly. I am sure it will take me to places I would not have gone and it may even allow me to travel more efficiently at times but in the end it will be for pure satisfaction of flying.



Posted at 10:58 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

August 16, 2004

Prison In the Skies - Delta 757 Seat 22B

seatguru.jpgI have done a lot of commercial flying in the past couple of days but on all the flights but the one this evening I have sat in a window seat. Tonight I felt like a prisoner in the skies when due to an overbooked flight I had to take a middle seat. Making it even worse was that the row I was sitting in did not have even have a window at all. So I could not even sneak a peak over the shoulder of the sleeping passenger next to me.

I have always loved looking out the window of a plane. But, since I started training for my license I have found I am even more addicted to monitoring our flight from my window seat.

Often when I pick seats for personal travel I choose my seats based on recommendations from SeatGuru.com. Had I checked the Delta 757 on SeatGuru.com it would have told me to be aware "Seat 22A is missing a window. If you like the view, choose another seat."

Make sure to check out SeatGuru.com before you book your next flight.


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August 11, 2004

Landing a Plane in a Pinch - What Would You Do?

pinch.jpgHave you ever wondered what would happen if you were flying and the pilot became incapacitated? In the legendary movie Airplane all the pilots pass out from food poisoning and a washed-up war pilot needs to save the day ("I think you ought to know what our chances are. The life of everyone on board depends on one thing: finding someone on board who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."). I always wondered would I be able to help out in a pinch like this? Now that I have my license I am sure I could probably be of assistance.

I just read an incredible story of a passenger landing a Piper Malibu after the pilot, her father, was incapacitated from carbon monoxide. While her mother tended to her father, she used the radio to ask for help landing the plane. The air traffic controllers were able to help familiarize her with the flight controls and help her land the plane safely. She had only limited flying experience prior to this event.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association offers a great program that can help make more near disasters turn out as positively as this one. They call their program the Pinch Hitter Program. AOPA's website describes the program as follows; "The AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Pinch-Hitter® Seminar was developed to assist flying companions in understanding and participating in the flight. Pinch-Hitters are pilot companions who want to know more about flying and learn how to control and land an airplane."

AOPA is offering such a course this fall in a nearby city. I might see if my wife would be interested in taking the class. Not only would she learn what to do in an emergency,but she would learn how the instruments and navigational tools work allowing her to help in the cockpit management.


Posted at 9:16 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

August 8, 2004

44th Annual Greater Cincinnati RC Club Flying Circus

paratrooper_200.jpgThis Saturday I attended my first Radio Control Airshow. A friend of mine bought his first radio control airplane about a year ago and has enjoyed himself so much that he has practically built a full fleet with 10 aircraft. He let me know about this airshow and I knew I had to check it out.

The airshow was being held by the Greater Cincinnati Radio Control Club. I did not know what to expect but was surprised by the size of the show. They basically closed down the Butler County Airport for their show, an airport my wife and I flew over just the night before. The show was taking place on the taxiway and regular traffic was asked to avoid the airport.

The airshow had some wild demonstrations that included flying road signs (turn signs, interstate signs, stop signs), military replicas, planes made from foam and much more. They had mock dogfights and some amazing aerobatic demonstrations.

It was fun being introduced to some RC pilots as a pilot of "full-scale" planes. I was happy to see they had a nice collection of full scale planes at the airport for viewing in addition to the RC planes. I liked the stearman bi-plane the most. I took a photo of the full-size Stearman and many of the RC planes and posted a few for viewing.

I can honestly say I will visit an RC airshow again. Everyone there has a similar passion for flight and an absolute love for airplanes. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon.


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August 5, 2004

You Have to Love What You Do

flightattendant.jpgI believe that you have love or at least enjoy what you do for a living in order to be satisfied at the end of the day. Cliff Muskiet is doing just that. According to his site UniformFreak.com, he has always been fascinated with the world of aviation and dreamed of being a flight attendant since he was a young boy.

Cliff is fulfilling his dreams by not only being a flight attendant but also building what might be the most comprehensive stock of flight attendant uniforms. You can check out old and new uniforms from almost any airline on his website. I enjoyed spending some time looking at some of the old uniforms. In total he has over 325 uniforms.


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August 1, 2004

My Oscar Speech

I have a variety of people I would like to thank for their support during my experiences learning to fly.

First off, I want to thank my wife, who so unselfishly has let me spend so much time, effort, and money achieving this dream. Her unrelenting support helped drive me to my goal.

Additionally, I am so lucky to have a huge family (including my wife, parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, nieces and nephews) that may not realize how much they influenced me. My family instilled in me the idea that you can achieve anything you want to and through the ups and downs of any adventure they are there for support and encouragement. My family makes an amazing safety net.

I need to thank my flight instructor who was great. As you may have known from reading my blog I started with her at another school. But when that school closed I was able to follow her to another airport and I am glad I did. She is an extremely talented pilot with great instructional skill. If anyone is looking for an instructor in Cincinnati let me know!

Lastly, special thanks to all of my friend and internet supporters. Aaron - thanks for helping me create the blog. Doug - thanks for being such a frequent reader and supporter. Richard - I learned a lot from your blog - one of the best flying blogs on the web. And to everyone else that came to the site whether you posted or just lurked!


Posted at 3:40 PM | Post Category: General | Save & Share This Story

July 31, 2004

Aviation Daytrip - U.S. Air Force Museum

planeart_feature.jpgWith my checkride cancelled I found myself with an open day and I felt I should do something aviation related. So my wife and I decided to drive up to Dayton to visit the United States Air Force Museum. I had often heard that it is a great museum. I had no idea it was so big.

We arrived in Dayton about two and half hours before the museum was set to close and I thought that would be a sufficient amount of time. As we drove into the parking lot I realized I was wrong. The aerial photo of the musuem on thier website does not do it justice - it is huge.

The musuem had a neat feature display on military nose art. What is nose art you ask? Carmen C. Anderson explains on Bombergirl.com that "Man has a long history of war. A tradition that is associated with this is the warrior's desire to decorate their instruments of war. During the Twentieth Century this tradition continued primarily by decorating the vehicles of war � the airplane. Nose art is the genre of art used to decorate combat aircraft". Artwork fell into a few categories; pin-up girls, humor and warnings to the enemy. All in all, they were very interesting.

I knew the musuem would have a lot of the current aircraft but it was fun to see so many historic planes. It is amazing that in just over a 100 years of aviation the wide variety of aircraft desgins it is hard to believe some of these planes could even fly let alone be taken into combat.

The only downside of the museum is they keep it pretty dim in there, making it difficult to capture good photographs. I guess that is to help the gift store. I was on able to take a few photographs. Spending a day amongst all those planes just made me more excited for my check ride tomorrow.


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Private Pilot Checkride Rescheduled

I was scheduled to take my Private Pilot oral exam and checkride this morning but the weather did not cooperate. When I woke up this morning the thunderstorms that rolled in late last night were still causing havoc. I checked the weather forecast and put a call into the Dayton Flight Service Station. It looked like the weather would not clear up until about 1pm a full three hours after my exam was to begin.

I called the examiner to see if he had freedom in his schedule to push the exam to this afternoon but he could not. Luckily he has an opening tomorrow morning. So, I have rescheduled the exam for tomorrow morning from 10am - 2pm. The forecast for tomorrow looks to be clear with calm winds which should be nice for the exam.


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July 23, 2004

Sporty's 2004 Skyhawk Sweepstakes Winner Announced

sportys.jpgAccording to AOPA's ePilot Newsletter I did not win the 2004 Sporty's Skyhawk Sweepstakes. Sporty's gives each customer an entry in their yearly sweepstakes each time a purchase is made. I had purchase items from Sportys.com and from their store in Batavia, OH.

Lucky A.C. Douglass of Tallahassee, Florida won thanks to a purchase of Serengeti sunglasses. According to AOPA Mr. Douglass almost did not qualify to win the prize "The sweepstake rules stipulate that the winner of the 2004 Cessna Skyhawk (or a member of his or her immediate family) must be a pilot or student pilot on the day of the drawing. Within three hours, the retired IBM field manager had visited an aviation medical examiner, obtained a medical and student pilot certificate, and faxed proof of his new student pilot status to Sporty's."

But the good news is Sporty's will be giving away another plane in September as part of their 20th Anniversary Sweepstakes.


Posted at 4:45 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

July 17, 2004

Flying the Friendly Skies - Soldiers Ride First Class

soldiers.jpgThere are days when I wonder if our society is spinning out of control. Last night was one of those nights. My wife and I went to see Spider Man 2 at our local theater. I used to enjoy going to see the movies but as of late my ability to enjoy the experience has been diminished by fellow movie patrons that forget they are not watching the film from their private screening room at home. The people a row behind me talked through much of the film while down the aisle there were the now so common pair of bare feet resting on the chair in the row infront of us - this especially grosses me out. Of course there was also the kids sitting in the handicap seats in the theater which is just one more example of poor movie theater etiquette. Speaking of movie theater etiquette here are two good articles on the subject, one from epinions.com and one from IntoLiquidSky.net though both need to add a note to keep feet in their shoes and on the floor.

Just when I start to feel down about the direction our society is going I hear a great story of unselfish acts like the one reported on CNN this month. Earlier this month, passengers on a flight from Atlanta to Chicago gave up their first class seats so that eight United States Soldiers who were on their long journey home from Iraq for a two week break, could fly in comfort. Stories like this help to restore my faith in our society.


Posted at 8:57 PM | Post Category: General | Comments (0) | Save & Share This Story