Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nationally Published!

OK, so it has been a while since I posted, but life has been craaaaaa-zy this month. Things should settle down a bit around September 1st. I should be moved out of the apartment by then, and have a bit more free time to write.

Let me just point out, however, that I was published this month in AOPA Pilot, a magazine read nationally by around 400,000 active pilots each month. The website is read by many more people from many countries. Here is the link to the article online:

And here is what I had to say about landing an airplane...

No tunnel vision

“Don’t lock in to a spot on the runway. You have to look up and down it, use the far end as a horizon, and keep the nose just above that line. Let your eyes take in the side of the runway, and even the grass. The point is to not get tunnel vision, but let your peripheral vision work for you, too. [This] cleaned up my landings quite a bit.

“Remember to reduce final approach speed if below gross weight. Why use 1.3 [times] book VSO [stall speed in the landing configuration], when the airplane actually will stall much slower than that lightly loaded? I found that after learning to reduce all my speeds, especially final approach speed, my flying became much more stable, predictable, and landings are wonderful. In a game of energy management, it helps to actually do it.” —Matt Caldwell, Huntington, West Virginia

Monday, August 16, 2010

Helicopter Tree Trimmer (Video)

I know its been a while since I have posted, but after arriving in California I didn't really have access to the internet, and since I've come back I have been very busy flying with my students. Kevin got his medical certificate while I was gone, so on Saturday, I endorsed him for solo flight. The next day, I let him go on a cross-country flight. He trained to the solo stage about 10 years ago, and has several hundred hours as a passenger in light planes. Really, he should have his license - at least, that is his skill level, so we are working on getting the legal boxes checked.

On Sunday, as Kevin was leaving for his flight to Moorehead, KY, a helicopter came in to land with an external load. The company trims trees by power lines, and uses this huge aerial saw.

I got a video of it landing. The boom that connects the saw to the chopper is a rigid pole. Quite impressive to see them sit it down.

More to come in the next few days, I'm still getting things together after the trip, and trying to get moved out of our old apartment, so posts may be about once a week (give or take) for a while.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Driving Cross Country

Well, I usually post about my flight, especially cross-country trips. I'm not traveling via air, but I have been on one hell of a cross-country trip. I'm driving with Megan from Ohio to Los Angeles. We left home about 48 hours ago, and are now lounging in Seligman, AZ. L.A. is only about 400 miles away (total trip length is about 2250). One thing I noticed is that the terrain didn't change much until we got to New Mexico. Even Oklahoma and the parts of Texas we drove through looked a lot like northen Kentucky - at least from the ground. I'm sure the differences would have been a lot more obvious from the air.

Here are some pictures from along the way. I'll caption the ones I can remember anything about. I took a picture every hundred miles, exactly on the mile, regardless of what was outside the window. Some of them are good, some of them...

The St. Louis Arch - Gateway to the West. Saw this our first day out.

Wind Turbines in Missouri. Saw a lot of these is every state west of Illinois

After we made it to New Mexico, we saw a lot of very dramatic scenery on the horizon, but the Interstate only took us close a couple times. This is west of Albequerque.

We also saw a lot of trains, sometimes several at a time. We could usually see the entire train at once because they were far from the highway and the land is so flat and devoid of buildings or enough shrubbery to block the view.

And in the interest of keeping it Aviation-related, I snapped this picture of the Winslow VOR through the heavy rain we encountered in Arizona.