Mar 26 2010

Fan Pilot Times on Facebook

Category: RamblingsDaniel @ 5:19 am

Since now almost EVERYBODY is on Facebook (I’m even recommending my parents join now), I figured it was about time to create a Facebook page for this blog.  That way, hopefully more of my (and your) family/friends can find this site.  So, please become a fan of this site and show your support!

DAN’S PILOT TIMES FACEBOOK FAN PAGE

In case you haven’t noticed, on the right side of the site, I added a running total of my new Facebook fans – check it out and join the party!  As always, I really appreciate everyone’s support and readership!

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Mar 17 2010

Cost of Flying – 2010 Update

Category: RamblingsDaniel @ 5:51 am

I started taking flying lessons almost 2 years ago to the day.  I’ll be celebrating my two-year anniversary of having my pilot’s license this September (hard to believe it’s been almost two years).  Anyway, since the beginning of my journey, people always ask how much it costs to fly.  I posted originally on this topic in January 2009 – post linked here.  Since that was over a year ago, and my flying habits have changed a bit since then, I figure it’s time for an update.

As I’ve mentioned plenty of times, I’m a member of a non-profit flying club (the Westosha Flying Club to be exact).  My club owns six planes, any of which members can use/rent.  I still pay $55 per month in dues, just for the privilege of membership and to compensate for the fixed costs of running/maintaining the club.  Above that, I pay an hourly “wet” rate to rent the planes, which now ranges from $59/hour for Cessna 152’s up to $86/hour for Cessna 172-SP’s (172P’s are $74/hour).  The term “wet” means that gasoline is included in the hourly rate (I never have to pay extra for gas).  The hourly rate also only applies to actual flying time (when the engine is turned on, as measured by the “Hobbs Meter”).  In other words, if you fly somewhere for dinner and it only takes 30 minutes each way, you only pay for an hour of flight time total – even if you spent lets say 2 hours at lunch.  The club’s flight rates have increased slightly over these past two years, to cover increasing gasoline and maintenance costs.  Overall, though, I know the rates I pay are still some of the best in the country.  They truly keep costs just enough to not lose money (and not profit either).

I continue to track my average cost per hour since I started, and when you add in the monthly fees I am currently averaging $84/hour to fly when all is said and done.  That’s a marked increase from my last update ($66/hour)…mostly because I’m now flying the nice 4-seater planes almost exclusively (since I take passengers on flights now).  Obviously cost is very dependent on the planes you fly.  Most flying clubs do publish their rates, so it would be fairly easy to figure out what it would cost to fly in any particular area.

If people have updates on their cost of flying, I’d love to hear it!

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Mar 11 2010

My Favorite Aviation Movies

Category: RamblingsDaniel @ 5:31 am

I recently pulled together a list of my favorite aviation-related songs.  That inspired me to think about my favorite aviation movies, but unfortunately that list is a lot smaller for me.   Two movies are definitely movies for just aviation buffs:  “One Six Right” and “The Magic of Flying”.  The other two are mainstream movies that definitely had a huge focus on flying:  “The Aviator” and “Up”.  Coincidentally, “Up” was even nominated for a best picture academy award this year!  Anyway, let me know your favorite movies about flying and/or aviation!

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Mar 10 2010

Greatest Hits of Flying – Dan’s Aviation Playlist

Category: RamblingsDaniel @ 5:04 am

I was flipping through my MP3 collection the other day and realized there are a LOT of great songs out there about flying (big hits too, not obscure songs).  I created my “Greatest Hits of Flying” …or basically just a playlist of aviation related songs.  Okay, I’ll admit “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” is stretching it, put I think this playlist of 14 songs ain’t too bad for us aviation buffs.  Hopefully I didn’t’ miss anything too major.  Check it out and let me know what you think!  I even linked every song to iTunes if you need any of them… ENJOY!

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Mar 09 2010

Live ATC Radio App – Dan’s Review

Category: iPhone Apps,RamblingsDaniel @ 3:17 am

Live ATC Air Radio
Released Feb 01, 2010
Seller:  Dave Pascoe
(C) 2009 LiveATC.net
Price (as of 03/08/2010):  $2.99
Rated 4+ as of 03/08/2010 on iTunes Store

Many of us general aviation pilots have probably checked out the website LiveATC.net, where you can listen to live air traffic control (ATC) radio frequencies from around the country.  It’s a free service that is great background noise if you are bored at home or around the office.  It’s also great to listen to radio communications for training purposes, especially for us pilots that don’t fly out of a towered airport (like me).

LiveATC.net recently released an iPhone version of their service.  It’s a great little app that essentially performs the same function as the website.  It’s $2.99, which certainly isn’t the cheapest app out there, but it does work like a charm and compared to most aviation apps out there, three bucks isn’t that much for a decent training aid.  Furthermore, it’s nice to have this audio at the palm of my hand, or more fittingly, able to be docked in my new iPhone clock-radio in my bedroom.  Again, it makes for nice background audio as I’m preparing for bed or getting up in the morning.

In terms of actually reviewing the app, it performs as advertised.  You can select your favorite airports/towers for quick access.  The buffering is just as quick as on the regular website, both through Wi-Fi and even 3G.  I’ve even listened to it in my car on the road with great success, although streaming audio through 3G does chew up iPhone battery life fairly quickly.  The newest version even supports background listening, so you could listen to it while working in other apps on the iPhone.  I’d recommend this app as I do thoroughly enjoy it (and I was not compensated for this review).

Check out the Live ATC Air Radio app on the iTunes Store here!

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Mar 08 2010

First “Date Flight” of 2010

Category: RamblingsDaniel @ 5:51 am

This past Friday, my wife and I had our first “Date Flight” of 2010.  We went to our usual fly-in restaurant destination, Pilot Pete’s restaurant, at Schaumburg Regional Airport (06C).  The place was hopping that day and we had to wait almost an hour for a table.  As usual, though, the food was well worth the wait.  Skies were gorgeous and very clear for our quick journey.  The only interesting portion of the flight was a brush fire in Zion, Illinois (rough location), causing some slight smoke/haze, but that nice wood-burning smell was actually a pleasant scent as we flew.  My landings were smooth because of my recent practice just a few weeks ago.  I’m glad I had that practice, because I’m sure my wife wouldn’t have liked our first flight of this year to include bumpy/scary landings.

This flight I logged 1.1 hours of PIC flight time.

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