August 30, 2009

Flying with Aviation Entrepreneurs

flyingwithrodandcharlene.jpgLast weekend I had the opportunity to fly with two friends and aviation entrepreneurs. Rod Rakic is the founder of MyTransponder, a growing aviation social network. He had a last minute cancellation and instead of flying alone decided to invite some fellow Chicago pilots to join him for a flight on a beautiful summer evening. I jumped at the offer as did Charlene Gervais. Charlene is the founder of Aviation Vacations, a new company offering flying tours of North America.

When Rod is not flying for the Civil Air Patrol he prefers to fly the Diamond Star. I have several hours of PIC of the smaller DA20 but have never flown in the DA40 so I was looking forward to the experience. I was also looking forward to just my second flight out of Midway. There is something special about landing and departing with all the commercial air traffic at Midway.

I have known Rod for several years and although we have tried we have never gone flying together. As a pilot who is fairly particular about who I fly with I was immediately put at ease when Rod provided a very detailed pre-departure briefing which included how we would handle emergencies and setting up guidelines for a sterile cockpit during the departure and arrivals. My CFI taught me such great habits early on in my training and I am always surprised to see that many pilots hop in their plane and depart without a briefing for passengers or other pilots on board.

Once airborne we had a short and smooth flight over to Lansing where we landed and took just enough time for Charlene and I to trade seats before getting airborne for the return trip. As we returned to Midway the sun started to drop offering a beautiful display of colors and a nice view of the lit Chicago skyline. It was nice spending a few hours with some fellow pilots and sharing stories and enjoying a beautiful summer flight. I shot a few little clips of video during the flight and have posted the video below.

Posted by at August 30, 2009 4:40 PM

Nice post about a nice flight. I hope I'll soon be able to meet you all during the Flying Across America project.

I see that the take-off warning also works on the DA40 on your side of the Pond. For those not familiar with the DA40, I mean the stall warning ;-)

Posted by: Vincent, from at August 31, 2009 2:39 AM | Reply

Good video! That was a nice flight, and I really liked Rod's preflight briefing too. In fact I am going to use his "template" for myself!

Posted by: Charlene Gervais at August 31, 2009 12:22 PM | Reply

Great site, old chap.

You and your buddies like awesome aircraft pix, humorous air tales, glamorous sky girls?

You're all more than welcome to taxi over and drop by to say hello at the top secret bunker over at the Royal Air Farce, Biggin Hill.
Warmest regards,
Wing Co

Posted by: Wing Co at September 2, 2009 4:15 AM | Reply

I have flown with Rod myself. Good guy and a good pilot. Met him through CAP. I think he was the one who pointed me to your blog when you were still doing your training. Tell him hello next time you see him.

Posted by: John at September 3, 2009 12:54 PM | Reply

Berlin votes to keep Tempelhof an architectural monument

Berlin’s Tempelhof-Schöneberg district voted overwhelmingly in a referendum on Sunday to keep the storied Tempelhof airport a monument.

Of 90,000 votes, some 60,000 were in favour of preserving the world’s first commercial airport. Just 38,000 were needed for the recommendation to go through at the Berlin district office.

Berlin residents failed to turn out and vote to save Tempelhof in April 2008, but activist group petitioned for the referendum to ensure that it will be preserved in a manner that could eventually garner UNESCO World Heritage status.

“We hardly expected such a good result,” activist group member Ines Nagel told daily Berliner Morgenpost on Monday morning while celebrating in a local cafe.

The group doesn’t necessarily think the airport should function as it has in the past, though.

“We are trying for a use that respects the historical significance of the place and protects its form 85 years into the future,” group delegate Volker Perplies told the paper.

Tempelhof was erected in 1923, but is best known for its Nazi-era main terminal. After the Second World War, Allied pilots ferried supplies into the airport in West Berlin when the Soviets tried to starve the city into submission in 1948-49. But Tempelhof's passenger numbers have dwindled in recent years despite its prime location.

Most Berlin flights are from Tegel on Berlin's northwest fringe, which is also due to shut down before the expanded Schönefeld facility becomes the capital's sole airport in three years.

Some Berlin politicians have called for the massive swathe of open space and the accompanying buildings to be repurposed for housing and recreation, though plans are still pending.

Posted by: Be Berlin at September 7, 2009 4:29 AM | Reply

Cool stuff!

Posted by: Dave at September 11, 2009 10:45 PM | Reply

Great video Todd. Nice of your friend to invite you to fly with him.

Posted by: Mark at February 23, 2010 11:49 PM | Reply

Could you contact me please. I would like to maybe use some small clips of your video here for a website i am building.

[email protected]

Thanks much

Posted by: Ben at April 22, 2010 6:19 PM | Reply

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