October 12, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to be a featured guest on Simple Flight Radio, a weekly two hour online radio show focused on general aviation. Hosts Al Waterloo and Marc Epner are on a quest to find amazing people doing amazing things in aviation and share their stories with Simple Flight listeners.
Last week they talked with Charles Stites, Executive Director of Able Flight. The Able Flight organization mission statement is "to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance." Although the show is live you can check-out the Simple Flight archive to listen on your computer or via podcast on your phone or iPod.
If you visit the archives, be sure to check out the Ahoy MyFlightblog episode in which I was a guest. I had a great time hangar flying with Marc and Al and discussing a variety of apps, websites and technologies relevant to general aviation pilots.
This week's show "What's on Your Runway" will feature Jim Krieger (Manager at ORD, and Chairman of the Airport Construction Advisory Council - ACAC) and David Siewert (Air Traffic Manager at JFK and member of the ACAC). Jim and Dave are focused on making airport operations safer. Both of them are pilots which will help them bring a valuable perspective to their ACAC work, as well as to ATC.
Al Waterloo, the founder of Simple Flight Radio, has held nearly every job in aviation from delivering lost airline luggage to being a professional pilot. Co-Host, Marc Epner, has been a lifelong aviation addict who flies for both business and recreation.
If you have not listened to Simple Flight Radio, I encourage you to give it a listen this week.
April 23, 2012
As much as I try not to be a hibernating pilot, each winter I see a significant decline in my flight time. This winter was no different. I believe a large contributor to the winter slowdown is the lack of daylight hours but I am sure there are other contributing factors as well. None the less in Chicago we have jumped from winter to summer like weather in the span of a few weeks. As a result I have been spending significantly more time on my flight club airplane scheduler planning flights.
In the coming weeks I will share some updates on some flight experiences I had this winter and my plans to checkout in a new airplane. In the meantime I thought I would share some writing I have done over the past few months away from MyFlightBlog.com.
This Fall I took a swing at publishing some articles for another blog as well as both digital and print magazine articles. The first to get published was a piece in the digital magazine Airplanista entitled Broaden Your Horizons. Sadly, the magazine has since stopped publishing, but I was proud to have been a part of what was a great aviation publication while it lasted.
I also published an AOPA Pilot Magazine "Pilots" feature on Greg Morris of Gauntlet Warbirds. I had the opportunity to fly the Gauntlet L-39 with Greg earlier this year. In my few hours spent with Greg I was impressed with his passion for aviation and his drive to help others find the excitement in aviation. That experience spurred the article which was featured in the December issue which can be found on the AOPA Pilot website or here via PDF.
Most recently I published a post on the AOPA Let's Go flying Blog in response to the disappointing news that Blue Ash Airport, the airport I soloed at and earned my license at, is scheduled to be closed. My post Let's Keep Making GA Memories can be found on the Let's Go Flying blog.
With daylight savings time firmly in place I look forward to logging more time in the air as well as time behind the pages of MyFlightBlog.com this spring and summer. I look forward to reconnecting with my regular readers and sharing my flight experiences again in 2012.
October 18, 2011
One definition of the phrase "Broaden Your Horizons" is To gather more experience from place, jobs or people far removed from your current situation. I started this blog while learning to fly to share my experiences working towards a private pilot's certificate. Little did I know it would be the catalyst for broadening my horizons within the aviation community.
Through the relationships I have forged within the aviation community over the past seven years I have been blessed with amazing experiences both thrilling and educating.
Recently I shared some of those experiences in an article, Broaden Your Horizons, with the readership of Airplanista Magazine. I discussed experiences ranging from Sky Diving with the U.S. Army Golden Knights to rumbling along the Chicago Lakefront in one of the few remaining B-17 Bombers. I shared both photos and video with my article, thanks to the interactive nature of the magazine. If you have not heard of Airplanista it is a fast growing digital magazine dedicated to aviation.
Dan Pimentel started the magazine just over a year ago. His decision to focus on articles that focused on the passion and fun factors of aviation have helped make it a monthly must read for aviation enthusiasts. He explains the title of his magazine and its readers as follows "an 'airplanista' is a person who lives in a world filled with glorious flying machines. They walk around with one eye to the sky and dream up more ingenious reasons to go out to the airport and fly somewhere."
I was honored that Dan was interested in publishing some of my writings. Check out the October Issue online. You can find my article between pages 45-49.
May 18, 2011
During the episode I shared some of my thoughts on the troubling decline in the pilot population. When only 20% of those that start learning to fly actually earn their private pilot certificate it is obvious an issue exists. AOPA is dedicated to finding a solution and has created the AOPA Flight Training Student Retention Initiative which is a long-term, industry-wide effort dedicated to increasing the percentage of students who earn a pilot certificate. In conjunction with this program AOPA published the Flight Training Experience Research Report which identified 67 discrete attributes that contribute towards the optimal flight training experience. Four focus areas were identified by the study as needing improvements including educational quality, customer focus, community and information sharing. I shared with the Airplane Geeks my opinions on this study and how we can all help improve the flight training experience.
We also talked about some of the great benefits that have come out of running this blog for the past seven years. Top of that list is all the great people I have met through the blog who have inspired me and having the opportunity to inspire a few of you along the way as well. As you would expect on a podcast about airplanes we also talked about some of the cool planes I have had the opportunity to fly or fly-in including the L-39 Albatros and the B-17 Flying Fortress.
In addition to the contributions by the four U.S. based Airplane Geeks the show features a regular segment hosted by Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron of the Plane Crazy Down Under Podcast. In this episode they have a special guest of their own Stephen Force of Airspeed Online. Also contributing to Airplane Geeks is Pieter Johnson who provides an update from across the pond.
If you have never listened to the Airplane Geeks Podcast I encourage you to give it a listen today.
June 15, 2008
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has recently focused on two important issues to pilots. One is the ongoing fight against user fees, the other is fighting the decline in the pilot population. The organization recently reached out to the current pilot base through a survey, looking for creative ideas to get more adults to experience the fun and challenge of Flying.
The goal is to attract more adults from the age of 35 to 65 to stop dreaming about flying and to start learning to fly. There are many ways people are achieving the goal of inspiring others to fly. There are those who volunteer their time to fly Young Eagle flights to introduce children to aviation. There is a also growing population of bloggers and podcasters that are writing about their love affair with aviation and inspiring their readers to learn to fly or to fly more often. Additionally, there are those who share their passion for aviation through film like the like One Six Right or two films in the works, A Pilot's Story and a yet to be named film from the Director of One Six Right.
In addition to publishing my blog I attempt to grow interest in aviation by managing the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group. It is a group of more than 50 aviation enthusiasts. We get together every few months for activities like touring a control tower, checking out a flight school's flightline, or flying to a local airport for lunch.
When I learned that AOPA was holding a Pilot Town Meeting in Chicago and that there was going to be two sessions one for current pilots and one for prospective pilots I knew it would make for a great Aviation Meetup Group event. We had several of our members make it to the event and most exciting was that we had three that had not yet taken their first flight. At that meeting they were given a free voucher for an introductory flight as a gift from AOPA.
Phil Boyer, President of AOPA, commented in his President's Perspective about the Chicago Aviation Groups participation at the town meeting saying groups like ours "take hangar flying to a whole new level". I hope other aviation enthusiast will create aviation enthusiast groups like the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group to help foster an interest in general aviation in their own neck of the woods.
April 14, 2008
In February I posted about an artcle in AOPA Flight Training Magazine in which several aviation blogs were showcased. That article came on the heels of an article that promoted MyFlightBlog.com and several other aviation blogs in the Wall Street Journal.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that when Mike Collins wrote a follow-up article on blogs for the April issue of Flight Training Magazine. In "Blogs for Reading: A Summary of Reader Recommendations" Mike featured seven aviation blogs including MyFlightBlog.com. For those that don't have a subscription to the magazine I scanned a copy of the article that you can read here. This website was in great company with several other blogs that I read on a frequent basis.
Mike Collins wrote "We've all seen 'information' on the Internet that wasn't worth reading, but I was impressed by both the quality and variety of aviation blogs." When I started this blog in the Spring of 2004 there were only a handful of other aviation blogs. One of which was David West's Flight Lessons Learned which was also mention in this article. It is great to see that several years later there are an abundance of blogs to help educate and inspire aspiring pilots.
Also featured in the article was fellow Illinois based student pilot Evan Krueger of The Flying Toga. I was glad he was featured as I had not stumbled upon his blog yet. I have really enjoyed following Evan's experiences learning to fly. He is learning to fly out of Lake in The Hills airport a small airport Northwest of Chicago.
December 12, 2007
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal's Blog Watch column written by Keith Huang focused on four blogs written by Pilots. MyFlightBlog.com was one of the featured blogs along with PlasticPilot, Sulako's Blog and Yankee Alpha Foxtrot Bravo.
I am sure the other three pilots have seen increased traffic to their blogs as I have see here. I have enjoyed the e-mails from both fellow pilots and student pilots as a result of the article. I created the blog for two reasons, one being that I wanted to keep family and friends up-to-date on my progress while I was learning to fly. The second was that before I started my training, I looked around for advice and information about becoming a private pilot and although there were some great online resources there were few first person accounts; that has changed greatly in the past few years as the blogroll to the right shows.
A week does not go by that I don't get a nice e-mail from someone who is thinking of learning to fly and who asks for advice. I love being able to give back and share my experiences with these prospective pilots. I also get a bunch of pilots who comment or e-mail about their experiences that help me continue to learn and improve as a pilot. One of my favorite e-mails was from an older gentleman who had not flown in over 30 years and said reading my blog brought back the great memories from when he learned to fly, surely a fond memory for him.
Here is the excerpt of my part of the article. You can view the entire article here on WSJ.com (WSJ subscription required).
Todd McClamroch always dreamed of flying. About three years ago, the Chicago resident earned his private pilot's license, and he has been blogging about his time in the air ever since -- in part, he writes, to encourage others to pursue their dreams.
Some of Mr. McClamroch's posts offer practical advice to beginners who are interested in aviation, on topics like choosing an aviation school. And he details the time and expense involved in getting a license. But he also takes time to express the joy of piloting: "It's the achievement of making a dream a reality and finally learning to fly after years of looking up at the skies wishing," he writes. "I am sure flying will take me to places I would not have gone, and it may even allow me to travel more efficiently, but in the end it will be for the pure satisfaction of flying."
October 24, 2007
Back in August I mentioned that Pilot Getaways Magazine feature Door County as one of their destinations for their July / August issue. Since Door County is one of my favorite places to fly I enjoyed seeing their take on it. For the most part I think they did an excellent job as usual, though they missed out on two of my favorite sites.
So I sent the editor a note mentioning that they overlooked two great aerial sites for pilots flying over the Door County Peninsula, corn mazes and shipwrecks. I just received the September / October issue of Pilot Getaways Magazine and was honored to see my letter to the editor included as well as a photo I shot this summer of the local corn maze.