Thursday, February 23, 2017

Flight Planning to Waco, Texas

I can see the light at the end of the recovery tunnel, well, at least in my minds eye I can.  The latest cast (blue) comes off one week from toady, Yeah! I'm not sure what the Doc has in store for me, hopefully a boot that won't be as cumbersome as the cast.

I am figuring to be back to speed sometime in mid to late April, that's my plan.  With that schedule in mind, Mary and I are targeting our first trip in 08Romeo to take us to Waco, Texas. Why Waco? Well, it's a great cross country and we want to explore the Magnolia Market at the Silos as seen on the TV show Fixer Upper.

As I sit here looking in my log book I have but one hour for 2017, most depressing for sure. I aim to change that, and once I knock off the rust we'll get in the air and head South West.
As always, depending on the winds, I'll flight plan our first overnight stop to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The initial flight plan for day one calls for 5:42 of flight time. We'll make a fuel stop halfway in Dublin, Virginia at the New River Valley Airport. The Runway is 6,200 feet and there are plenty of RNAV approaches.
We'll depart New River and continue on to Lovell Field Airport in Chattanooga. Plenty of runway and approaches with easy access to town. The only downside is the fuel prices, oh well.

We haven't been to Chattanooga before so we wanted to spend some time investigating the city. A few items of interest for us would be the Aquarium, Zoo, Lookout Mountain, the National Cemetery and whatever downtown tours we can find. Always fun finding the perfect place to dine and I'll get to see the architecture of the area. The plan is open, maybe one or two days, there is no time restriction.
When we decide to continue on to Waco we'll once again make a stop for fuel about halfway. Initial flight planning looks like it will be Malvern Municipal Airport in Malvern, AR. This airport will knock out a number of requirements; fuel, runway, RNAV approach, AND it will be a new state. With a gas and go complete, we will saddle up for our final destination, Waco.
We are still looking into hotels and rental cars. Flight planning keeps my mind busy and it's something I really enjoy.

Oh, almost forgot. I am taking the commercial studies to the next step. Simply stated, I need a break from the King course. I recently ordered, and received today, the Gleim 2017 Commercial Pilot FAA Knowledge Test study guide for the Commercial Pilot written exam. If reading is what I want, I may as well put that appetite to good use.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Beechcraft Promotional Video

I just had to share...

This 1969 promotional video from Beechcraft was used as a means of educating people on airplanes, and ultimately into one of their aircraft.  Check out the white walls at 12:34.
 
I posted this sales brochure back in March 2010. It seemed appropriate to repost with this video.

This brochure for a 1980 Sundowner was initially provided to the Beech Aero Club by fellow club member Gerald Jackson .

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review: My Journey To The CLouds


I normally read through the Pilots of America or Purple Board for Pilots forums to look through their recommended reading lists. However, I found this title while reading my favorite links list on my own Flight Journal blog. One of the links I share is that of Ed and Marilyn's,The Happy Wanderers.

Ed Dray provides a daily blog about their RV travels since he and his bride are full timers. The daily entry is usually brief and sometimes provided with pictures. Ed is a retired Chief Pilot for a corporate flight department, putting in twenty years of service. He also spent eight years as  an Instructor and Flight Examiner for the Cessna Citation Sovereign with Flight Safety, Intl.

The book is a look back on Drays life, from the onset of his dream to fly, his military service, family, tragedy and his final corporate flight. Journey To The Clouds falls in line with good hangar flying stories, he's a pilot, I would expect nothing less. The passion for flying is evident as Ed pursues his career. He is even more passionate about family and the love of his life, his bride, Marilyn and his two daughters.

I couldn't put this one down, reading half before bed and finished the remainder the following morning. It's an excellent read, an example of hard work, being a good guy and doing things the right way. This is a good motivational book for young adults, having the dream and obtaining it.
 
I am looking forward to the next book that Ed Dray has published. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review: A Mighty Fortress

I followed a recommendation posted on the Purple Board For Pilots and downloaded the kindle version of A Mighty Fortress. This book was a quick read. The author, Charles Alling recounted missions and events through out his service with the 34th Bomber Group flying 27 missions in B17's out of Mendlesham, England.
Alling's story, while detailing missions of the 8th Air Force, focused more on the commradire of the crew. The story shows readers how the crews came together with a sense of personal growth and trust. Their mission success and lives depended on that trust and working together.
Charles B. Alling received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters during the Second World War. He graduated from Yale University in 1947. In 1988, he retired and studied Ethics at Oxford University Graduate School in England. In 1989, he founded the Alling Institute for Ethics.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Review: Devotion

I have been nursing along a few books, having trouble keeping focused, when work had taken up so much of my time. I decided that when I had my foot surgery I would entertain myself reading and completing the online King School Commercial course.  Honestly, I haven't done much reading to date and I'm only about 60% on the commercial studies.

While surfing online I looked up Adam Makos to see what he may have recently had published. Makos wrote A Higher Call, another excellent read. I was pleasantly surprised to see Devotion, released in 2015. I snatched up a copy for my Kindle and jumped right into it.
This is a story about the U.S. Navy’s Lieutenant Tom Hudner, Ensign Jesse Brown, the first African American Naval aviator and the Marines they fought to defend. Tom Hudner (MOH recipient) was from a wealthy New England family and Jesse Brown (Distinguished Flying Cross recipient) was a sharecroppers son from Mississippi. Two different worlds living completely different lives. America was still deeply divided by segregation when Tom and Jesse met while assigned to VF32. Their lives would depend on each other as they flew together from carriers into battle.
The book details meeting up with Marines they would eventually provide air cover for during battle. While not the main characters, Makos wove the ground forces and their struggles into the storyline, I thought it tied it all together very well. Initially deployed to the Mediterranean the carrier group along with the fleet Marines participated in war games, enjoying shore leave along the Riviera and meeting Hollywood elites.

The war games came to an end and reality hit home as war breaks out in Korea. The pilots and fleet Marines were to return to the states and then head to the pacific. This book is not all flying, the story centers around the historic battle at the Chosin Reservoir that lasted from November 26th to December 11th 1950.

The marines were out numbered by the north Koreans who were being reinforced by communist China. I researched the battle and the numbers were staggering.

The U.S. ground forces were aided by air support provided by two carriers. The air cover saved many lives and the Marines were thankful.

Without giving up the ending I will say it was a great read, very hard to put it down. Makos, at the end of the book, provides an update on the soldiers and flyers. I have often finished a book wondering where characters ended up, where did their experiences take them. Makos provided the rest of the story.

Friday, February 10, 2017

3 Weeks and Counting

Three weeks and counting until 'this' cast is off. Thankfully, Mary drove Ziva and I to the airport for some play time, me on my knee scooter and Ziva running willy-nilly.

The temps were in the upper sixties and the sun felt great on the face. I even got out of my sweats and had a pair of shorts on with a Carhart t-shirt. Good Lord my legs are white, were talking casper the ghost white.

I did bump into Mike from the local flight school, he still wants me to take the CFI courses. I told him I am going to knock out the commercial test and then do the flight portion with him. He is looking for a pilot for his charter operation and a retired local (ME) would work out very nice. We shall see. At least my interest is peaked and there is a possibility still out there.

I am so looking forward to pre-heating 08Romeo and then getting some flight time. I'm not sure what I'll do with Ranger, may just park it alongside the hangar and keep it covered. I'm leaning, not because of the bad foot, but on passing on the next round of work for my previous work project. I'll wait and see if anything pops up in 2018. I plan on taking the rest of this year off. I could use the time with my Bride and we can do some traveling.

Speaking of travel, I am long range planning for a trip to Waco Texas. It's good for the mind looking over hotels and plotting courses for fuel while scouting places for an overnight that can provide some fun and interesting things to see and do.

I know this post has been rambling and my thoughts are scattered across the board but cabin fever does this to a person. It's important to at least type all this out and then try and make sense of it.

It's getting close to lunch and I didn't eat breakfast so for now, until the next post, blue skies.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Reflections of Flight

During my healing process I had planned to study for my commercial written test. To date I haven't made much progress.  I've picked up a book about Alaska Bush pilots and knocked out a few chapters of another book I'm nursing along for the last six months.

Boredom...I started reading MY blog posts about our most memorable trips, they still bring a smile to my face. I even started to read about my chase for the PPL and instrument rating, but something was missing.

I needed to keep my head in the game and decided to step back and read the blog of the man who got me started in aviation blogging. The man who's adventures made me want to stretch my wings and really use our plane to explore new places. I clicked on the link of Flights Of The Mouse.  Bo Boggs, a friend I made through flying that became a mentor.  Bo passed back in May 2013, I still think of him every time I fly 08Romeo. I picked the following entry from Chapter 22, The Next 300.  This post hits home, I just wanted to share with my readers, enjoy.

Reflections at a milestone.
It is said that the private pilot's license is merely a license to learn. It is assumed that the fledgling aviator learned from the Instructor enough to keep him (or her) alive until experience and judgement could come. This goes along with the saying that one starts out with a full bag of luck and an empty bag of experience. One can only hope that the bag of experience is full before the bag of luck runs out.

Aviation insurance statistics bear this out. Most non commercial accidents and incidents happen to pilots with less than 300 hours. This then is the milestone. At this time, late July 2003, I have 299.9 hours in my logbook.

The statistical data
I received my license to learn on May 9, 2001. Two years and 3 months ago. Of that time, almost 6 months were lost while the engine of the Mouse was being rebuilt. In spite of that, I have logged 198.3 hours during that time. What sets my record apart from that of most newly minted private pilots are the 55 new airports I have been to and the 136.9 hours of cross country time. We have been as far west as Carlsbad, NM, as far east as Nashville, TN, as far north as Branson, MO and as far south as Karnes City, TX. We have been in 8 states and flown over a part of one more.

Many fledglings never venture too far from the nest, sometimes never going further than they can go and return on one tank of gas. Many others slowly, slowly, slowly go further and further, sometimes taking several years before they go further than they can get home before dark. Others launch out bravely and the first time they scare themselves, they never fly again.

Also, many new pilots do not have a significant other that supports their "hobby", let alone one who is eager to travel with them. Within my 300 hours, the Redhead has been in the plane 120 hours, most of them in the 200 hours since I got the license.
With the intent of traveling on our newfound wings, I made the most of my solo cross country training flights. Our first flights were carefully plotted and logged. But we soon discovered that our combined senses of direction and map reading ability, coupled with a boost from VORs, got us where we were wanting to be. There is no greater joy in navigation than taking a course by eyeball from 25 miles out and identifying the destination airport a few minutes later, directly over the nose. Or flying on top with only occasional glimpses of a featureless landscape and having the few recognizable landmarks appear in the right place.So the biggest fear keeping new pilots from travelling was no big deal to us.

The learning process
Learning the art of flying as opposed to the simple mechanics was a different story. The mechanics consist of making good landings, controlling altitude and direction of flight, etc. The art lies in making the flight as comfortable for you and your passengers as possible. This includes handling turbulence with skill and grace but so automatically that the passengers are not aware of the effort. Making pattern entry to the destination airport so smooth that they instinctively know that you planned it that way from a long way out. And whatever you do, never say "oh sh*t!"

When you travel consistently with the same person, it is far better if the two people aid and complement each other. Our cooperation on the navigation has slowly grown to include the other aspects. Although she never has, I would bet that Sandra could perform an unaided pre-flight and know what and why of the items checked. She knows how to tune the radios and navs and the basics of the audio panel. She can set squawk codes and listen with me for our tail number when we are using ATC.

So learning the art of flying has been an experience for both of us. We have learned the limits of visibility and the impact of it on navigation. We have learned that avoiding clouds and weather is more important than sticking to the line drawn on the sectional, that going around is better than trying to go under. We have learned that going around is better than attempting to salvage a bad approach. We have learned that landing quality is directly related to recent experience. We have learned that flying in turbulence is very tiring. Flying towards the sun is easier than driving towards it because you do not have the glare from the highway in front of you. Visibility away from the sun is better on hazy days.

We have also learned that the view of the country from 2000' or more above the ground continues to be breathtaking. When seen from the side or above, the puffy white clouds are beautiful. The contours of the land as you slip from prairie to hill country are much more obvious and impressive from above. The gullies leading to washes leading to a creek across a pasture can be seen in their entirety from above.

The white line on a lake that is the wake of a boat shows us again how limited that form of recreation is. The cars on the interstate slipping back below the wing remind us again how much more we can see and do with our chosen hobby. The friendly, helpful people at every FBO remind us again that "plane" people are a different breed. Every FBO has clean restrooms, no matter the size or age of the building. We can leave our magic carpet tied down at any airport overnight and not worry about it being stolen or damaged.

We remain, if anything, more enthused about our choice to fly. The only regret is that we will have so little time. I can only count on a reasonable chance of holding my medical for 10 more years. In that time, I must somehow squeeze in 30 years of flying.
Reflections
Why the thoughts of Bo every time I climb aboard 08Romeo? Bo and Sandra first put eyes on 08Romeo, even before the pre-buy was started. Bo and I shared conversations about the plane, the shop doing my pre-buy and I trusted his knowledge on the overall condition. I trusted his advice and experience as we leaned across 08Romeo's wing, teacher and student.

I have more to read and absorb, I can hardly wait until I can get back in the air!