I realize I’m a bit late for 9/11 content, but I happened across these when I returned from a cruise. I’m happy to say that the Captain of the cruise gave a remembrance speech and asked for a moment of silence on the anniversary of 9/11 – even at sea. Anyway…
The New York Times compiled recordings of phone and ATC radio communications from the time of the events on September 11th, 2001. Conversations between ATC and the hiacked planes, conversations between NORAD and the ATC centers, stuff like that. It’s actually a VERY cool compilation, putting all the recording with a detailed timeline and description of the unfolding events. The conversations themselves are at times very shocking – from hearing the actual hijacking to authorization from the Vice President to shoot down civilian planes if they don’t cooperate. Scary stuff!
I highly recommend taking a look and listen…
I’m happy to report that in my short time as a pilot, I’ve never been hit with a laser while flying. Nevertheless, there are idiots across the country who shine their insanely powerful green lasers at planes and helicopters. And apparently it’s pretty darn often. According to a posting from the Atlantic, there were over 2,800 “events” in 2009. I can only imagine as these high-powered lasers get cheaper each year, these numbers grow. I’ve always known it was illegal to do that, but apparently the fines and punishment can be VERY steep (up to 20 years jail and/or $250,000 fines).
What I think is pretty cool about this whole problem, is how amazingly quick and accurate the response from authorities can be. Check out this video (which shows IN REAL TIME) a police helicopter getting hit with a laser, them pinpointing the source, sending the cops, and arresting the idiot within like 2 minutes! Amazing stuff!
Any pilots have experience getting hit with a laser while flying/piloting?
So I have to admit I haven’t been flying lately because I’ve been too busy with work and purchasing a new car. My new baby, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata (Limited edition, 2.0L turbo, with Navigation system) is fully pimped out…I love it! The navigation system upgrades the audio as well, and that whole package has a ton of bells and whistles I wish the planes I fly had. Small plane manufacturers take note! First off, the navigation system let’s you choose between North-Up and Forward-Up on the moving map. While it’s true a lot of moving map apps for my iPad have this same function – I haven’t seen an in-plane GPS with this feature. Furthermore, the BlueTooth connectivity is amazing. I can stream phone calls (nothing new there) and even control audio from my phone too (streamed through the speakers). How great would it be if airplane comm systems could stream in audio from your BlueTooth device and even let you control it from the control panel? I know some support auxillary in for music, but this is all wireless. There are probably FAA-rules against this, but it’s pretty sweet.
Anyway, I’m ranting…but at least I’m posting again!
Air New Zealand just launched a new pre-flight safety briefing video, and probably one of the best/funniest I’ve seen to date. All I gotta’ say is that including Richard Simmons to get you “fit to fly” is pretty clever and entertaining. I hope my pre-flight safety briefings are this amusing for my passengers!
Air New Zealand Flight Safety Briefing
I recently received an email from David Toma, an author of a new book looking for contributions to help launch the publication. Seems like a great concept, combining aviation and patriotism – both things I love. Check out the story:
Wings Over Wendy’s is a book about a group of veteran combat war pilots and aircrew men and women from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam who meet every Monday morning at a Southern California Wendy’s restaurant to honor their service and honor those that never returned from war – Wing’s Over Wendy’s is their story of life, love, sorrow, hope, and love of country. We all need hero’s – and – they are, all our hero’s. Their stories need to be told before their time runs out. These men and women sacrificed for our freedom and this book is for them, their children, and for all of us.
Wings Over Wendy’s, is a book project written by David Toma, who is seeking funding contributions by launching the effort on Kickstarter.com – Kickstarter is a web site dedicated to helping creative individuals and it is a new way to fund creative projects. If funding is successful then those patrons that pledge to support the project will receive rewards for their effort. The funding is to help in hiring a researcher and copywriter to interview and compile the histories of these brave men and women.
Please visit the Wings over Wendy’s website -if you click on the updates tab it will lead you to an article from the Daily News here in Los Angeles.
Please take a look at our web site on Kickstarter and should you decide to become involved, please know that your pledge will be greatly appreciated . Sponsors will be listed and each person will receive a credit in the book. In addition, each sponsor will receive a copy of the book and various rewards are offered for specific levels of sponsorship. We would be most grateful if you would help to support our project and to spread the word about this worthy project to your family, friends and associates.
Thanks and God Bless, David
Wings Over Wendy’s
Facebook Page for Wings Over Wendy’s
I know I haven’t written here in a while, but frankly that’s because I haven’t flown in a while. Granted, I did fly in December (a bunch of times around the pattern just to keep my landing skills up), but that wasn’t exciting enough really to blog about. I’m also know I’m not the first person to write about the “Blizzard of 2011”, but frankly it’s SOMETHING. Furthermore, this blizzard is the main reason why I probably won’t be flying this weekend…I’m sure Westosha will still be cleaning up and getting the runway and taxiways in decent shape.
I guess there isn’t much to say other than “WOW, there was a LOT of snow!” Check out these pics. I hope everyone else has had better weather so they can fly more…I actually have not flown in 2011 yet…I miss flying!!!!
I just learned of this awesome new service called Square (www.squareup.com) – and here’s the link to the free iPhone app. It’s basically the first company to bring credit card payment/acceptance to the masses. It’s a free credit card swiper/reader that attached to iPhones and iPads and allows anyone to accept credit cards on the fly (pun intended, I guess). They only charge a fairly nominal per-transaction fees, no monthly or device fees. As a website business owner who DOES pay monthly “merchant fees” to accept credit cards elsewhere, this service is definitely a game changer. I WISH Square would offer to pay me to promote their product, but frankly, I’m doing it for free because I want all CFI’s to start accepting payment via credit card. (I HATE writing checks!) How great would it be if you can earn credit card points/miles while flight training?
Who knows, maybe I’ll even start getting reimbursed for av-gas costs via credit card too! I’m seriously thinking about just signing up for one….who else in aviation is as well?
It has been a while since my last blog post because it has been a while since I’ve flown. Things have been crazy busy with work, along with enjoying the unseasonably warm weather on the boat/water, instead of in the plane/air. Finally I got to fly this past Friday evening – and it was great to get back in the sky. My wife and I flew down to our usual fly-in date place, Pilot Pete’s restaurant at Schaumburg airport. I bolted home from work so we could make it to Schaumburg before the sun went down. It had been over 90 days since my last night flight – so I knew after dinner I’d have to do 3 full-stop takeoffs and landings alone before Lisa could join me back to Westosha. The flight to Schaumburg was fine, skies were very clear , winds calm, and the landing was smooth. Dinner was great (as always) as night set upon us.
After dinner I left Lisa down in the little terminal area while I did my 3 laps. It was nice to practice at a fairly well-lit airport – all three full-stop TOLs went fine and my confidence was up. I picked up Lisa and drizzle began to fall. I was surprised by this rain because skies appeared clear and weather reports (along with my pre-flight briefing) called for clear skies and no precipitation. After looking at my trusty iPhone weather map, it looked like just a small raincloud above the O’Hare area so we decided to continue back home. The flight back was fine, but apparently some very high-level clouds were creeping in, causing drizzles along the way. I wasn’t concerned because visibility was still great (20+ miles easily), and the clouds were very high, probably at 20,000 feet. Nevertheless, the cloud cover did block the almost-full moon, causing the Westosha area to be PITCH DARK – and the winds starting picking up. I radioed the lights on at Westosha and those dim lights were the ONLY things we saw around there – it was DARK. I’m sure glad I had practiced just minutes before, otherwise that final landing would have been EXTREMELY stressful. Happily, my glide and approach was on the money, and the landing was quite smooth, even with the light rain and small gusts of wind. No doubt, the law to have recent night landings before taking up passengers is a good one! The rain stopped as I fueled up and we were able to tie up the plane without getting wet.
All-in-all, a fun night. I logged 1.3 hours of pilot-in-command time – 0.8 being night.
Today I successfully completed the flight portion of my Biennial Flight Review. The Biennial Flight Review (BFR) is a review required of every active pilot at least every 24 calendar months. Since I first got my license back in mid-September of 2008, I actually have until this September 30th to complete all the requirements. My instructor uses the FAA WINGS program to handle the ground-school portion and track completion of the flight portion. FAA WINGS is basically just an online tracking tool developed by the FAA. I still technically need to complete 2 credits of online training to fully complete the BFR, but today I completed the actual portion that requires an instructor and flying a plane (in other words, the hard part).
The Biennial Flight Review is not actually a true TEST like my initial exam with the FAA examiner get my license – there is no pass/fail criteria, although the instructor can decline to endorse your log-book that a flight review has been completed. As such, I wasn’t too stressed about it, but really wanted to use the time to revisit flight procedures and maneuvers that I don’t frequently use. We ended up going through pretty much all the activities that were required for my initial license exam – and I was happy that I handled them all very well. We practiced “under the hood” – to simulate being stuck in clouds – and utilizing the autopilot to help manage our way out. That was fun and something totally new for me.
I purposely chose to take the BFR in a 4-seater Cessna 172SP plane since that’s the type of plane I’m mostly flying now (since I’m usually carrying a few passengers). It was nice to practice stalls and emergency procedures in the larger plane. We actually practiced an emergency engine-out landing from about 5 miles away from the airport. As always, I’m amazed how far these planes can glide with absolutely NO engine power. We made it back to the airport with plenty of altitude to spare – I actually had to perform a slip on final to lose the final altitude and speed necessary for landing.
Back at Westosha, we reviewed short and soft-field landings, and went into a little more detail on the autopilot and GPS functions of the 172SP’s. All-in-all, the review went great, and it was nice to have a “clean bill” from an instructor that I still fly safely and smoothly. Once I complete the ground-school portion (which I’ll do early in September), I’ll be good to fly for another two years – until 2012.
I logged 1.5 hours of dual and Pilot-In-Command time.
I took my check ride on Sunday and passed it. It was about a 6 hours ordeal but it’s over. I took my test up at East Troy. I took my girlfriend yesterday as my first passenger on a downtown tour. It was a great feeling. It is amazing to be able to fly anywhere you want and to take passengers. The training was extensive but it was all worth it. It took me about 70 hours, ~ $8000 and about 3 months. Tom was extensive with the training. I messed up my power off stall when I was practicing the stalls by myself and the plane started to go into a spin. I was terrified and the next time I flew with Tom I asked him to practice spins. Scary but at the same time the best roller coaster ride I have ever been on. Now the challenge is to stay up to date with all the maneuvers and training.
Flying is an expensive hobby. Financially it has been a burden. Money spending never stops. Right after finishing the license I had to buy extra headsets and it seems it just continues. But flying is phenomenal. Best money I have ever spent.
[This post authored by Dan’s friend Kenan]