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Rank #2 in Aviation category


AviatorCast: Flight Training & Aviation Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #2 in Aviation category

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Online Ground School & Flight Training

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Online Ground School & Flight Training

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227 Ratings
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Guest was needs to be more respectful

By 7pilot - Oct 31 2019
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While I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Col Anderson, it absolutely floored me that you seemed to put yourself on his level by referring to him as Bud. He isn’t your friend or a peer. As a minimum, being your senior by 5 decades, he deserves the respect of a more formal address. Colonel would be the appropriate address. Give the man the respect he deserves!

CE Bud Anderson

By GWGMJ1969 - Oct 04 2019
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Amazing podcast! Definitely buying the book. Thank you for featuring this amazing pilot! Great stories!

iTunes Ratings

227 Ratings
Average Ratings

Guest was needs to be more respectful

By 7pilot - Oct 31 2019
Read more
While I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Col Anderson, it absolutely floored me that you seemed to put yourself on his level by referring to him as Bud. He isn’t your friend or a peer. As a minimum, being your senior by 5 decades, he deserves the respect of a more formal address. Colonel would be the appropriate address. Give the man the respect he deserves!

CE Bud Anderson

By GWGMJ1969 - Oct 04 2019
Read more
Amazing podcast! Definitely buying the book. Thank you for featuring this amazing pilot! Great stories!

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Cover image of AviatorCast: Flight Training & Aviation Podcast

AviatorCast: Flight Training & Aviation Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

Online Ground School & Flight Training

Rank #1: AviatorCast Episode 40: Teen to Pilot | Tips & Tricks on How to Get Your Private Pilot

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Today’s Flight Plan

We all start with this big dream- we want to become a pilot! But with so many things in the way, being cost, medical issues, and more, how does a teenager do it in today’s world?

I give you my practical advice on how you can use a simulator to start your training early, augment your training while you’re going, and finish sooner and cheaper as a result.

Why not use today’s amazing simulator technology to help become pilots?

From there, it takes a whole lot of P-H-D. PASSION, HARD WORK, and DETERMINATION!

Learn how you can start today, and how to get ahead of the game. We all start somewhere. There’s no reason you can’t start training today!

Useful Links

Flight Simulator X
Why you should have a yoke, throttle, and rudder pedals
ASA (Text Books)


Big thanks to Atrasolis for providing the great music for our podcast. Please check them out on their Facebook Page or SoundCloud and get the music you’ve heard for free.


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Split the clouds and kiss the runway. This is AviatorCast episode 40!

Calling all aviators, pilots and aviation lovers, welcome to AviatorCast, where we close the gap between real aviation and flight simulation. Climb aboard, buckle up and prepare for takeoff. Here’s your host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. As a young lad, I found myself intrigued by airplanes. Then one day I realized that I could learn to be a pilot myself. It all made sense so I went out and went after it. I’m the founder and owner of Angle of Attack, a flight simulation training company which is bringing you this podcast today. AviatorCast is a weekly podcast where we talk about the spirit of the aviator. We believe flying is an art form, one that we have to continually practice and master. This mastery is gained through a focus on continual learning, human factors, humility and a commitment to excellence. Show notes, transcript, community discussion and links for this episode can be found by simply going to

So welcome to this, the 40th episode of AviatorCast. It is our joy and pleasure to have you here today, part of our crew. We hope that you’re going to get something awesome from this podcast. I think this is a specific subject that a lot of you younger guys have been looking out for but it’s also applicable to you older guys, so be on the lookout for that.

Before we get to the content on today’s show, I want to let you guys know that we kind of broke one of our records here, or we at least surpassed a pretty big number in downloads. AviatorCast has been around for the last 10 months now, just over 10 months, and in that time frame, we have done 100,000 downloads. We have officially gone past the 100,000 mark. Exactly just a few minutes ago I checked, we’re at 101,903. So, huge thanks to all the listenership. All you guys out there that are listening to the episode each and every week. I know that you guys love this. Make sure you share it and we’d love to hear your feedback by leaving a review on iTunes or by writing us at We’d love to hear from you and we’d love for more people to hear about AviatorCast as well. We feel like we bring some very cool and compelling things to the aviation industry and to training specifically.

So, I wanted to get that out of the way. Huge announcement. Pretty cool that we finally surpassed 100,000 downloads. I hope it’s just the beginning of a great journey for us.

So today we’re going to be talk about going from being a teen to becoming a pilot. I will give you guys some tips, tricks and advice to get your pilot’s license in your teens. Now, I want to mention that this is not just for teenagers. All of these things apply that I will be saying some specific things for teenagers like how they need to do in school and when they can actually solo and things like that that are specific to teens but if you are a pilot out there or someone who wants to be a pilot, a lot of these things are going to apply to you too whether you are 15 or 50. So keep that in mind in listening to this podcast. Certainly don’t turn it off because you’re not in your teens anymore. There is certainly something to learn here.

So I am going to break this show up into two different segments. We’re going to have a flight simulation specific segment for this topic and a flight training segment. So first off, we’re going to get into the flight simulation segment, so I’ll see you guys in there.

And now, the flight simulation segment…

Chris: Alright, I’m really excited to talk about this topic because I think there are a lot of teenagers out there that are kind of trying to put the pieces together and wondering how they become a pilot and kind of all these lingering questions they have about where to go from here. You may have this passion and now you’re ready to move forward and start to learn some things about flying and how you can actually attain your pilot’s license. You may have some financial trouble. You may live in part of the world where it’s pretty expensive to learn to fly, that sort of thing, but there are so many ways to do this. I just want to mention some of things to you guys.

And of course, we’re going to start out with flight simulation. I am very passionate about flight simulation and that is because as a teenager, I started with flight simulation, and going through my teen years especially prior to getting my license as an actual private pilot, using a simulator helped me tremendously. I can’t even tell you how much it helped me. I remember feeling like during my training, a lot of the compliments I was getting from my instructors on how well I was controlling the aircraft and how fast I was progressing the program had so much to do with having had that time as a simulator pilot if you will. Now, I don’t think I’m anything special and I think that as pilots, we should all kind of think that we definitely aren’t made of special stuff. We’re all just kind of average. I am average too.

So in that, I wasn’t taking that as a compliment when my instructors were telling out to me that I was a good pilot. I was rather looking in the past saying “Okay, what had I done that prepared me and got me ready for this” and I attribute a lot of that to having gone through a private pilot, not a private pilot course, but actually having a simulator at home that I could use.

So, I’m going to go through some of the common questions that teenagers have about a simulator and we’ll try to answer some of those and maybe that will shed some light on why you should get a simulator in your teen years. You can start really early. You can start very early, 12 or 13 or whatever, very early in your teens to get a simulator and start. You don’t have to wait like you do to actually get a private pilot license. You can start learning a lot of these stuff now.

So again, I’m going to go through some of these common questions and kind of touch on some of the topics there and we’ll just buzz through these. So the first is why is a flight simulator so great? You guys here me talk about flight simulators all the time and maybe you are a flight simmer yourself, maybe you aren’t familiar with a flight simulator yet and I hope that you learn some information from this particular topic that will help you get in the right direction.

A few great things about a flight simulator. A flight simulator gives you infinite flight time. You can fly the simulator as much as you want. You’re not running up a bill or anything. You’re going to pay for the computer ahead of time, but you’re not paying for gas, you’re not paying for an instructor, you’re not paying for maintenance, you’re not paying for the airplane, you’re not paying for anything but initially that flight simulator. And once you have it all set up, you can just fly, fly, fly as much as you want and that’s one of the best things about a flight simulator.

Flight simulators are also very affordable. In the grand scheme of things, a flight simulator per the amount you can fly it is very, very affordable. If you think of a private pilot course where you’re paying anywhere between 150 or even 300, 400 dollars sometimes, maybe even 500, depends on where you live in the world, but paying a huge amount of money per hour to fly a real airplane, flying a simulator in that infinite amount is very affordable to be able to do these things in a simulator. So a simulator is super affordable.

Simulators these days are also very realistic and quite immersive. Technology has gone to the point and software has gone to the point where it’s starting to blur the lines between what is reality and what is actually a simulation. I think we’re always going to say that. I think we’re always going to say that there is more that a simulator can do or that “Man, it just looks better today than it ever has and hopefully that’s the way it continues to progress.” But these simulators are very realistic. They’re very immersive.

For example, I can load up here in my hometown. I can get the actual real-life weather. I can get the real-life traffic. I can get the look and feel of everything. I can get the real scenery to the point where I can fly around like find my house. It’s ridiculous how realistic and immersive a simulator is. And that’s the point of a simulator. You want to be able to forget at least momentarily little moments here and there that you’re not flying for real, and that’s what a great simulation does, and in today’s world, it’s just so realistic and immersive.

Also, a simulator is great because, exactly what we’re talking about here, you can learn ahead of time. You can learn before you actually go and do your private pilot or your flight training. So, you can take the things that maybe you learned from books and you can try them out in a simulator and you can use different courses like for example, our course here in Angle of Attack, Aviator90. You can get that for free at That is a 45-part video course on a lot of the basics and then you can go on your simulator and you can just again fly and fly and fly that infinite amount of flying and just learn a bunch of stuff before you every get in a real cockpit. Now, there are going to be some difficulties in that transition when you go to a real cockpit, and simulation isn’t exactly the same as flying the real world, they both kind of feel different, but at least you’re getting the idea and you’re getting in the system and you’re gaining that knowledge, so there’s a lot to learn.

A couple other things. You can repeat procedures quickly. So say that you come in for a landing, you kind of screw it up, you’re swirly on the approach and you don’t line up with the runway correctly and you come down and you pancaked your wheels. Heck, just reload the flight right there on maybe a couple miles out and just go down and do it again. Just do it again, do it again, do it again. Just repeat and repeat and repeat. That’s what I did with my simulator. I would just repeat things over and over again and I would just nail those landings and then when it came time to my private pilot, I have the feel for how things work. I definitely still had a lot to learn, I’m not saying that, but I had a general idea of how things worked.

Another kind of advanced thing with the simulator is that you can practice emergencies. So you can do things in a simulator that have grave consequences that you could not do in a real airplane like simulate an engine fire or simulate some other emergency that you just wouldn’t want to do in a real airplane. You wouldn’t want to just kill your engine in flight, not super smart, but you could practice all those things in a simulator and kind of get the idea.

And that’s what airlines do all the time. Airlines use these simulators, very high quality simulators to the extent that they teach a pilot all about that aircraft type and that pilot literally goes and flies the real airplane for the first time with passengers. He obviously have some guys there with him being the captain and also a check captain and stuff, but simulators are very good, very, very good.

So how much can you expect to pay for a simulator? So a simulator in and of itself is essentially gaming PC. It’s just like any regular PC. You can also run on a Mac but you’re generally going to be paying between 1000 and 1500 dollars to start if you want kind of an average system, and then if you want a really good system, it will go up from there. So anything that will run a game well, you’re wanting to basically get a system like that. And it’s just getting more affordable for the software that’s out today, so to run something like FSX, you can get something between 1000 and 1500 dollars that operates pretty good. But if you want to go above that and get it to be absolutely amazing, you can make it even more than that.

But I want to emphasize that the point of all these is for flight training and you’re not necessarily just building up a huge gaming PC so that when you’re not flying a simulator, you can play Grand Theft Auto or something. That’s not what I’m suggesting. I think that you need to focus on this being a simulator first and so with that said, maybe don’t spend so much money on the PC itself. Maybe focus on spending more money on the controls and stuff like that which we’ll talk about here next. So that’s kind of the PC component to it. That’s a big component. You can search online for kind of the best specifications to get and what will work for the simulator that you choose to use.

So what hardware do you need to run a simulator? What we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to simulate real flight, right? So what we need are the real controls for the airplane. That starts with the basics. We’re going to want a yoke or maybe a joystick but in most cases a yoke. You’re also going to want rudder pedals and you’re going to want throttle. All those at a minimum. A lot of people will go out and they’ll get the yoke and throttle combo from say someone like Cytec which is a very affordable package, just over, I think it’s about 150 dollars, somewhere in that range.

So they’d go out and buy this yoke and throttle package which just comes together, it just comes together that way, and they forget about the rudder pedals but I tell you what, if you add rudder pedals, it really increases your realism because you actually have to steer on the ground with the rudder pedals, you have to use the breaks. You’re controlling the aircraft in a realistic manner all the time whether you are in the air or on the ground and you’re having to add that rudder pedal component. So I think that is a minimum, to have your yoke, rudder pedals and throttle.

You can also add other peripherals like some people have a trim wheel that you can use. There are some instrument panels out there that you can build out and you can get pretty crazy especially if you get into the airline stuff or you can start to get some MCPs but we’re focusing on kind of the basic training package that you need to support you in a private pilot type of course. So I would say at minimum you need the yoke, rudder pedals, throttle and that will set you up pretty well to where you can really learn some of these subjects and practice a lot.

The software you need. So there are different simulators out there. People have different reasons for liking different simulators. So in a nutshell, those simulators are FSX, X-Plane and Prepar3d or P3D. Now, X-Plane is your version if you are on a Mac. So that’s by default what you will use if you run a Mac. X-Plane is a great piece of software. It looks good. It looks great. It operates very realistically. I think it operates, out of all the simulators, it operates the most realistically aerodynamically in how an airplane actually flies than any of the others. It flies very realistically which I like and I lean that direction if you’re just using a simulator for say training, then I lean the X-Plane direction.

But you know, a lot of us do like the eye candy that comes with a good gaming machine and we do like things to look very realistic and at the end of the day, if it looks realistic, it feels realistic, right? So that also has a lot to do with the realism of what you’re trying to create with the simulator. And so with that said, something like FSX or Prepar3d which are essentially the same software. So FSX is the older software that Microsoft worked on and Prepar3d is that same software that Microsoft worked on yet it’s purchased by Lockheed Martin and they are able to update it, so they’re kind of updating it to today’s standards.

So FSX and Prepar3d look amazing. They are out of this world beautiful, so they just look fantastic. They don’t control as realistically but you can kind of get away with a lot of that stuff. There are some really, really good quality airplanes that you can download for your simulator that will enhance that realism in FSX and Prepar3d. And then you can also download a lot of good scenery. There is a lot of amazing scenery out there that takes what is in general in all the simulators a very poor and very terrible-looking default scenery and just makes it out of this world, unbelievable to where like I was mentioning before, you can go and find your house and everything looks realistic and you can navigate realistically just by dead reckoning.

So pretty amazing there. And I want to mention, here’s kind of a little story, okay? So I was in my private pilot ground school. I must have been 16 or 17 years old at that time, I think I was 17 years old, and I remember going to class one day and my ground instructor brought a simulator. It was one of the first times he brought the simulator. I had simulators at home. I had war aircraft simulators like European Air War. I had an F-15 one, like Jane’s F-15 I think it was called. I had some Microsoft Flight Simulator, so I was already using simulators. But what was different was he brought this to class and then another kid brought the CD. He brought the CD and he popped it in the computer and then he installed an F-14. And that blew my mind. I realized “Oh my gosh, there’s this huge add-on market out there. There are so many different little airplanes and sceneries and all sorts of stuff that I can actually put inside the simulator. It’s not just the default stuff I had to live with. So that just totally opened up my world and that’s something you can look into too.

A good source for stuff like that is or They have a big download library of freeware that you can just go and get a lot of that stuff. That’s kind of the software component of it. You got to choose a simulator you want to work with and then I recommend maybe getting some good quality aircraft and good scenery. You can go overboard here. The point of all these is going to be getting to a private pilot, so we’re not looking to make you guys lifelong flight simmers. We want to get you to a private pilot. That’s the specific subject of this podcast. I don’t want you to go overboard. Save some money for your actual training. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say.

Alright, so what are some of the things that you can learn from a flight simulator? Other than some limitations which I’ll talk about in a second, some of the amazing things you can learn from a flight simulator just to name a few. You can almost learn everything under the aviation umbrella in a simulator but just some of the major things that kind of came to my mind as I was coming up with some of the topics here were you can learn how to read the aircraft’s instruments really well and understand them and fly them. You can learn all that stuff in many different types of aircraft so you can learn so much about the aircraft, instruments and the systems.

You can also learn a lot about communication. So there are pieces of software where you can actually communicate live with other air traffic controllers or rather with air traffic controllers and they will control you and you can learn all the phraseology ahead of time before you ever get into an actual airplane, so that is very, very helpful. You can learn how to navigate in all different sorts of ways. You can learn how to fly ADFs, VORs, GPS, all different types of approaches. You can learn to fly crosscountry. You can learn to fly instrument. All sorts of different things. Obviously along the way, you’re going to learn flight technique. You’re going to learn how to take off, land, how to climb, descend, climbing terms, descending terms, all sorts of stuff. There are so many different things that you can learn.

And this is stuff that you will learn in both places right? You’d learn this in a real airplane but obviously you’re going to learn it in a simulator too. You can learn a whole lot about the aircraft systems. Again, going back to instrument flying, you can learn a lot there. You can learn a whole lot about the weather because there is great weather simulation too again like I mentioned earlier where you can depict the real world weather that is at your local airport or along the route that you are currently flying. Say, there’s a thunderstorm ahead or there’s weather closing in around you. Those are things and decisions that you have to make in a simulator and that just helps when you actually become an actual pilot. And then flight planning is another one. If you want to take it really seriously, you can get into flight planning. And those are just a few topics. Obviously, I think we could talk about almost all of the topics under the sun with simulation or real aviation rather and almost port everything right over to simulation.

Alright, so the last kind of common question here is “Is a simulator like real flying?” and the answer is at the end of the day, no it’s not. There a lot of differences and most of them boil down to the senses. In a simulator, you don’t get the real motions that come in an airplane. You’re not going to throw up sitting there, sitting in your chair. You’re not going to feel the bumps really and you are not going to feel the turns. You’re not going to feel your butt getting pressed down in the seat by increased G-maneuvers and things like that. Your senses just aren’t there. You don’t hear the loud noises, you don’t feel the rumble, you don’t smell the smells. So many different things that you’re just not sensing in a simulator that you would sense in a real aircraft, and one of the biggest senses and I think the biggest sense is your vision.

So you just don’t have that wraparound peripheral vision that you do with a real airplane. Now, some of that might change a little bit if we get some of the stuff like Oculus Rift in the simulator and you can really immerse yourself in it. Now, kind of the difference there is that I’m still trying to find out how Oculus Rift is going to allow a pilot for example to turn the knobs on the airplane or something like that but anyway, that will actually help a lot to increase the vision of the pilot but it still just not the same.

So that kind of wraps up the flight simulation portion of this. I know that I covered a lot and I probably talked too fast but that covers basically why a simulator would be so good to get ahead of time and we’re going to talk about that more as when get into the flight training segment here, but having a simulator with you at home again gives you that infinite amount of hours that you can use. It prepares you well by teaching you so many different things that you’ll end up learning in the actual aircraft and that just gets you ahead of the game. They are things that you won’t have to learn in the aircraft while the aircraft is burning that expensive fuel and while your instructor has his watch ticking and he’s on the clock charging you.

So those are all things that you don’t have to worry about, and then in the actual airplane, you can really focus on the things you need help with and you can hone in on those skills and really refine yourself. And likely, I’ll be completely honest, and I’m a believer in this. Say that you do spend between 1000 to 2000 dollars on this simulator, right? I truly believe that doing so and spending the time to do this will save you money on your private pilot. This will pay for itself if you get a simulator and you use it realistically and you use it to increase your training and knowledge of the aircraft, of the private pilot curriculum. I absolutely believe it will pay for itself and how it pays for itself is I believe you’ll get your license a lot faster. You will have fewer repeated lessons in the aircraft. That means that you’re spending fewer flights, spending 300 dollars or 200 dollars a flight, so I absolutely believe that it will pay for itself if you get a simulator.

Alright, so that is the flight simulation topic. Now we’re going to get into the flight training topic.

And now, the flight training segment…

Chris: Okay, so as I was thinking about the flight training topic, I was thinking back to yesteryear when I went
through my flight training and what it was like and the challenges I had and some of the things that were trying to get in my way of becoming a pilot. It boils down to, and I’m just going to spoil this for you, I was going to save this for the end, but it boils down to this, okay? Remember, PHD. It’s pretty easy to remember, there are a lot of PhD’s out there. Pretty easy to remember. We pilots, we all work in so many acronyms so here’s another acronym for you, okay? PHD, passion, hard work, and determination. That’s exactly what it takes to become a pilot. Passion, hard work and determination.

And those are things that you’re going to see throughout me talking about this flight training segment. How you
actually take all the experience that you’ve had with the simulator and now you take that and you go and you become an actual private pilot. You get that license, you get that ability to fly. That freedom to fly on your own whenever and wherever you want, taking whoever you want with you. And I say that tongue in cheek because you might break some regulations if you fly wherever you want. You might bust some air space and get in trouble, but you know what I’m saying. It gives you that freedom to fly. You get that private pilot ticket, it’s a day that you’ll never, ever, ever forget. It’s a crowning moment in your life and it just gets better from there. It’s just wonderful freedom that you can gain.

So again, now we’re taking all the work that you’ve done with a simulator. You’ve taken that simulator very seriously. You’ve learned a whole lot. You’ve done lessons there. You’ve read books and then you’ve tested out what you learned from the books in the simulator. Things like that. So you’ve used that simulator, great. It’s not just a game. It isn’t really a game at all and now you’re ready to take that knowledge and go get an actual private pilot.

So the big, big first question “Where do I start? Where do I start if I want to get a private pilot?” The first thing I would suggest doing is start off by getting a medical or a physical to see if you’re actually able to do it. The vast majority of people are going to be able to get a pilot’s license. Even if you have some sort of condition, you’re likely able to get a private pilot license under some sort of stipulation. You just need to talk to a doctor and get all that figured out. Now, if you start early on in your teens, so say that you’re starting around 14 or 15 or if you’re really ambitious and you have very supportive parents, you’re starting earlier than that with your flight training, you’re going to run into some issues with getting certification to do that because from what I understand, you can only get your student pilot certificate when you are 16 and your student pilot certificate kind of acts as your FAA medical too. So your first FAA medical will also be a student pilot certificate but there are certain cases where you can get an exception and you can get that solo early. That is pretty rare and they probably won’t give it to you very early. Maybe days ahead of time, maybe something like that but it’s worth looking into.

But what I’m saying here is that you need to find out early on what your medical challenges are if any or road blocks to preventing you from becoming a pilot. This is kind of just the physical, right? You’re going to go to an actual guy, a doctor that would generally do an FAA medical and you’re going to say to him “Hey, I know I’m 14 years old but I just want to see if I’m cleared for these certain things. I want you to give me a physical as if I was going to take this, do this right now.” And although you may not be able to do that, at least you can find out what’s going on. And this applies very much not only to just teens but some of you older guys too. Go in, get the physical, try it out, see if there are any limitations. If there aren’t, you’re in the green. If there are, then you start to dig in and work with those challenges.

Alright, so that’s that. You got to get the medical thing out of the way. You got to find out if you can do it from that perspective. Let me just share just very briefly and I could share this story for the rest of the show, but I have to say that when I was 17, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and I was told by an FAA doctor, the first one I called, that I could not become a pilot. And I want you to know that I would not take no for an answer. I broke down and I cried for about 5 to 10 minutes but then I realized just kind of this aha moment that I was not going to take no for an answer.

So if you find out that something comes up that is going to prevent you from becoming a pilot, do not take no for an answer. You fight it and you fight it and fight it and fight it until you can figure it out. That is determination, okay? Remember, passion, hard work, determination. You have to be determined to do this.

Alright, so how much does this cost? How much does it cost to become a pilot? Now, this I realized is a huge barrier for a lot of people because it is expensive. It’s something that I’m not even sure I could afford right now to go through a private pilot. It’s very expensive and you’ve got to kind of figure it out. At minimum and we’re talking United States dollars here, it’s going to be different in other parts of the world. You have to do maybe just a quick Google search and kind of find out. But at minimum, we’re talking about 5000 dollars and that’s absolute best case scenario. You were the best flight sim pilot of all time, you did your study and you rocked every single lesson that you did, you didn’t have any setbacks. That’s minimum hours for a private pilot, around 45 hours. But most likely, you’re going to be in the 9000-dollar range and I say that because that is the average. That’s the average hours that someone gets a private pilot, is at about 67000 hours which comes to about 9000 dollars depending on the flight school you go to. There are bargains, there are ways to do it cheaper. It just depends on what you can do and where you are sort of thing. So that’s the price range you’re talking about.

Now, again, remember how I mentioned earlier that I absolutely believe that a flight simulator will pay for itself? I really don’t believe that if you are a dedicated flight sim pilot and have been for years and you’ve learned so much of this stuff ahead of time, I do not believe you’re going to come anywhere close to the 9000 range. I would guess you’re going to be more in the middle of there from 6000 to 7000, having had that experience and worked on that stuff ahead of time. Again, I absolutely believe that your simulator will pay for itself.

Alright, so another common question “Do I need to go to college?” If you want to be an airline pilot, you need to go to college. There are certain cases where you don’t but for the most part, the major airlines especially require a bachelor’s of science for the most part. That’s not always the case. Military pilots kind of get by from that. The military route is a way to go. I didn’t even put that in here but the military route is a way to go but you’ve got to be top of the top to do that and chances are you may not even get into flight school in the military because it’s so competitive but if you do, then they pay for everything and you get some of the best jobs.

But again, do you need to go to college? If you want to be an airline pilot, yes you do. However, you don’t have to get it in professional flight or a professional flight program. That’s not to look down on professional flight programs. I think they are absolutely fantastic. A lot of people just find it wise to get their training kind of outside of knowledge or while they’re going to college but then they get their degree and something they can fall back on just in case something happens medically where they can’t be a pilot anymore, they have a degree and some training to fall back on that they can use as a secondary career. So that’s the college thing. Now, are you required to go to college to be a pilot? No. It’s just that a lot of the major airlines require college degrees to apply. There are ways to get around that. Sometimes it depends on what you know or who you know rather, but for the most part, they require those.

Another question, “Is it hard?” Absolutely, it is hard. It is very hard to become a private pilot. It’s going to be
hard to work through any of the medical issues that you have. It’s going to be hard with the money. It’s going to be hard study, but it is as equally if not more so rewarding. So remember that, it is hard but it is very, very rewarding and you’ll understand that when you go flying for the first time. You’ll get it and you’ll get the bug and you’ll just want to do it.

So, kind of along the lines of the college thing and the hard work thing is how good of grades do I have to get? I don’t want you guys to focus so much on getting good grades as I want you to focus on how hard you need to work for this and how much you need to study. So you really need to learn how to study and how to retain this information from all these private pilot stuff and you need to learn to work hard. Kids that get good grades, it is very rarely because they are extra smart or they work extra. It doesn’t really come down to genius. It really comes down I believe to them being organized and them working hard. I absolutely believe that everyone can get good grades that way.

Now, I’m not of the mindset and this is a purely personal opinion that grades are not everything. If you are looking to become a military pilot, grades are huge. You’re not going to get into those flight programs if you don’t get the best grades but I’m a believer that hard work and learning to study and learning how to do this stuff is so much more important than grades because at the end of the day, grades from the previous year you’re probably not even going to remember, even the previous quarter, but hard work and learning how to learn are going to stick with you for your entire life, so that is very important to focus on as a young person or really any of us can learn from that specific lesson.

“Alright, so what should I study and when?” I would suggest that you’d go out and you purchase one of these private pilot courses. I personally like ASA. You can find them at or Jeppesen for your textbooks. Again, I like ASA myself. They do good textbooks. I wouldn’t say they’re the best. I would actually put Jeppesen textbooks as far as graphics and all that stuff above what ASA does, but I think that ASA’s supporting material like their oral exam guides and their maneuver guides and their private pilot curriculum and the way they present their material is better for me. They just do a lot better job for me and they summarize things better so I can understand it. So I really like what ASA does. But again, there are some other great sources out there. Jeppesen is one of them. You can go to Sporty’s. There are a lot of different people out there but those are kind of the few that came to my mind. And maybe I’m being biased because I’ve used those before but that’s what I like.

Alright, so here is the big, big, big, big, big, big, big question. “What if I don’t have money to start?” What if your parents aren’t going to support you as far as paying for your private pilot? You know what? That is absolutely normal. It’s nothing against your parents. I’m sure they love you. It’s just that it’s not kind of in the cards for what they planned and for the most of you, your parents aren’t going to be able to pay for it.

So here’s the thing guys. Remember, PHD, right? Remember I talked about determination with medical work. This comes down to hard work. You may have to work after school every single day while you’re a teenager, okay? Once you become eligible to work, you may have to work every single day. But if you do that and if you save your money, you can pay for this yourself. You can do this. If you really, really focus and you really want this, you can get this. I would say you have to be very careful with that money. You have to work hard. You got to be a good employee and you have to retain that job and find jobs that maybe pay well too.

Don’t discount the value of working smarter rather than harder and what I mean by that is don’t just work your butt off to work your butt off. If you find another job that pays more that you know you can excel at, go for that. You got to accelerate this process. Just keep that in mind. But what I am saying is that you can earn this yourself as a teenager. It is doable.

Also another part of that is I know we talked about parents a little bit. Talk to your parents about your plans. Talk to them about your passion for this. Show them through using your simulator and studying these things on your own that you are willing to put in the work and you are willing to make sacrifices to make this happen. And then see if they can help and support you. Just bring them in on the conversation. I think you’re going to find that the vast majority of the time, your parents are going to be very supportive and they’re going to want that’s best for you. Especially if you have a dad or a mom that’s a pilot, they’re going to be so excited that you want to do this, so bring them in on the conversation. Try that out. But again, hard work, determination, you can also do this on your own. If your parents can do it, it’s nothing against them. I’m sure they still love you. Again, just find another way to do it. Determination, okay?

Part of that is I know you may not be able to afford a private pilot course at first or rather a full private pilot
license so forking out all that money, but you need to start with the small stuff. So as soon as you can afford to buy good books, buy the books. As soon as you can afford to maybe get a headset, get a headset. Now a headset is maybe not necessary because you can borrow one from a flight school but just those little things. What I’m saying here is if you buy your books ahead of time, you’re going to have all that time to study those books and when you start your private pilot during that time that you’re earning your money.

So that’s kind of the end of this flight training topic and some of the things to look out for when getting your private pilot specifically you teenagers but a lot of these things again also apply to you older guys and again I want to mention and harp on the fact that this is all about the PHD. It’s all about the passion, it’s all about the hard work and it’s all about the determination. I absolutely know you can do this. If you’re listening to this podcast, I know you have the passion. It’s going to take more passion than you can possibly imagine to get you through all of the hard work that you have to do, and then you have to be absolutely determined that you’re just going to keep, keep, keep going. So PHD, remember that. Passion, hard work, determination.

Alright guys, so that is it for this episode of AviatorCast. A couple aftershow AviatorCast actions. First, take a quick two-minute survey at Here you can give us ideas for upcoming shows and leave us feedback. Second, continue the conversation by joining us on or write me directly at I love to hear from you in either location. Third, you can subscribe by not missing another AviatorCast episode. You can just simply subscribe through iTunes, Stitcher, YouTube, SoundCloud. We have things in different locations. iTunes in the number one, easiest place to get it. Go there.

And that brings us to number four which is we’d love to get an honest review from you on iTunes. This is a place where others learn about AviatorCast so that they can come and enjoy the show as well. So we ask that if you do enjoy the show, go and review us on iTunes and we’d really appreciate that.

Also, if you’d like to check out any of our training products, head to Start with the basics for free with Aviator90, I mentioned that. All of you teenagers should sign up, okay?, free. You have zero reason not to. You can also learn instrument flying and more with AviatorPro or even fly many of the world’s most popular jets virtually with our training products for the 737, 747, 777 and MD-11 again at Just as a side note, Angel of Attack also offers professional video services at

Many thanks also go out to the Angle of Attack crew for all of their hard work to make this episode possible and all they do outside of AviatorCast. These guys are awesome, they’re dedicated, and I’m really proud of all that they’ve done.

Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. We are truly grateful to have you here, part of our community and so engaged in this wonderful passion for flying things.

Until next time, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast Episode 40: Teen to Pilot | Tips & Tricks on How to Get Your Private Pilot appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Oct 18 2014



Rank #2: AviatorCast Episode 3: What Makes a Solid, IFR Aviator | How to Nail Virtual Jet Landings- Every Time

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Today’s Flight Plan

Now for today’s flight plan, we have two great segments for you that are quite unrelated, but still quite fun to talk about. You’re sure to learn a thing or two to help you on your way.

First, our flight training segment, we’ll touch on “What makes a solid, IFR Aviator”. This is an in depth topic that will touch on a lot of attributes, attitudes, and aptitudes that you as an IFR pilot should build.

Then, for you virtual aviators out there (and prospective jet pilots) we’ll talk about “How to Nail Virtual Jet Landings- Every Time”. We’ll talk about the myths, challenges, and acronym that will help you out a lot, and also the differences between landing varying aircraft.

What Makes a Solid, IFR Aviator?

Pilots and Aviators often approach IMC with too much caution when first obtaining their instrument ticket. Why get an instrument ticket if you aren’t going to use it in real conditions?

Although many pilots are simply obtaining an instrument ticket on the way to a career, and primary getting their instrument rating for advancement, we believe that we should approach this IFR pilotship from a different perspective.

Why not work to achieve confidence in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) rather than just another checkmark?

What will happen when these necessary skills are called into action during real world flight, and although you have the rating, you don’t have the confidence to perform the tasks?

Here we’ll discuss some of the topics, but certainly not all, that you should be familiar with in becoming a “Solid, IFR Pilot”.

Let’s now discuss some of the subjects that you should focus on, while undoubtedly missing some important subjects. Sorry, just not enough time to cover it all in this one podcast.

Weather Wisdom
Knowing your weather and what to expect does come with experience, but there is an incredible amount of work you can do ahead of time.

Get prepared, get briefed, know the scenarios before you, and then monitor those changes while enroute.

  • Icing
    Do you know how to read an icing map?
    Can you gain an overall picture of icing conditions, and determine if it is safe for you to fly?
    Icing is rare, but still dangerous.
    Know what your aircraft can handle.
    Go through the NASA course.

  • Clouds
    What are the clouds telling you?
    Can you tell the difference between certain types of clouds?
    Why does it matter?

  • Fog
    Types of fog?
    How it phases.

  • Area Changes
    What are the trends and unique attributes about your particular area?
    What about the areas you’re flying into?

  • Multi-source brief
    Rely on multiple sources of weather briefing

  • Airport Ground Conditions
    Consider what happens when you’re not in the air

  • Night Time
    Is it worth flying IFR at night?

System Savvy
The IFR system is a very complex set of procedures, traffic and timing considerations. Know how you fit in all of this, and how to fly efficiently in a system meant for high accuracy.

  • How does the IFR System Work?
  • What is the most efficient way to fly in IFR?
    — What are you trying to accomplish? Experience? Expediency?
  • Do I need to be IFR the entire time?
    — When it’s inconvenient or slow to do IFR.
  • When should I do IFR?
    — Should it even be in IFR conditions?

Communication Clarity
Your relationship with ATC is very unique. As a result, you as a pilot need to know what you can request, what you can do, and what you can’t do.

This is a two way street. Controllers can help you, and you can help them. There are times where they are bound by protocol and can’t do what you want, and you need to know what to do then as well.

  • “Ask”
    — Always know that you can ask a controller if you have a question, request, or anything in between.
  • Know Your Place
    — There are lots of planes in the skies! Where do you fit in?
  • Work with Controllers
    — Know their challenges, help them out if possible.

Predictable Procedures
A perfectly executed procedure is one of the most beautiful parts of being an IFR pilot. All the complexities that come with flying an exact flight profile, and ending up on target, will be sure to build your confidence.

How can you best set yourself up for success? Let’s talk about it.

  • Know your aircraft
    — What are the IFR capabilities of your aircraft?
    — How do you best setup your aircraft for success?
  • Highly scrutinized routines
    — Build successful and predictable routines
    — Know that a routine can get you in a fixed habit of doing something that may be bad.
    — Make second nature your approaches
  • Power and Configuration Envelopes
    — Set it and forget it power/speed combinations
    — How to transition for cruise, intermediate approach, approach and landing in your particular aircraft.
  • Varying Situations
    — Try new and different places
    — Keep sharp on different types of approaches

Condition Conditioning
Condition yourself and your mind to fly in actual conditions, and use that ticket. Don’t just become a guy that squeaks by on his check-ride. Rock the checkride because you know it, and cherish the beauty and comes from floating amongst the clouds.

  • Fly in actual conditions
    — Go and fly in what you would every day as a commercial pilot
    — Actual experience
    — No hood
  • Get comfortable with actual IFR
    — So you know what it looks like
    — How it feels
    — All the decisions at once (weather along with all other duties) Don’t get this with a hood.
  • Plan on using your IFR ticket
    — If you get a ticket, plan on using it.

Sailing Safely
Much of IFR comes down to safety. You will be faced with decisions that are potentially dangerous. But don’t let that hold you back from experiencing IFR.

Get educated, know what is front of you, and know what situations you’re putting yourself into. It’ll become obvious when there is too much risk and it’s simply time to say ‘no’.

  • Human Factors and You
    — Physical
    — Mental
  • Go/No-Go Decision
    — Be brave enough to not go
    — Learn to say “no”
  • Personal Minima
    — What limits do you have beyond government requirements?
  • Passenger Pressure
    — You are the boss. Be a leader. Be in control.
  • When in Doubt
    — Don’t guess. Take the guess work out of everything you do in IFR. If you don’t know, learn. If you need help, ask.
  • When to divert
    — When you’re already in the air, and you need a place to go

Parting the Clouds
Eventually, it’ll all come together and things will click along. It takes a lot of work, and patience, but you can arrive at a place where your mind, actions, and passionate spirit all join in harmony to become a sharp and efficient IFR aviator.

  • That “Ah-Ha” Moment
  • Light Shining Through
  • Concourses of Angels
  • When you truly “get it”
  • When things “click”

Being an IFR pilot is absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever done. Some of the most beautiful experiences as a pilot have come from floating amongst the clouds, accomplishing difficult tasks, and arriving safely at my destination.

There is just nothing like single engine, single pilot, IFR.

How to Nail Virtual Jet Landings- Every Time

Landing a jet precisely is a lot of fun! But it’s a rare and often unseen skill among flight simmers. Have you ever heard or learned of the ACTUAL procedure used by real airline pilots to land?

Although we’re primarily talking about a visual approach here, these tips are still very much a part of all approach to landings.

After this segment, and with a lot of practice (which we’ll talk about) you will be landing your virtual jets like never before.

Dispelling Certain Myths

  • Great pilots make perfect landings
  • Cross wind vs regular landing- all landings are crosswind (usually)
  • Jets land themselves
  • It’s easy
  • Jets land like GA aircraft. (not a controlled stall)
  • “As long as people walk away, it’s a safe landing”

The Procedure

“AFFTR” is an easy way to remember how to setup your landing correctly. This acronym will ensure you setup a perfect landing, step-by-step. Get one of these wrong, and it could cascade down into a lot of other mistakes.


Getting setup on the approach correctly, and having a decent flight profile, is half the battle. Once you’re setup and stable, the rest is much easier.

  • Aircraft Configuration
    — Are you configuring your aircraft at time?
    — Decisions on flap and gear extension
  • Flight Envelope
    — Are you too fast, too slow, too high, too low?
  • Glideslope
    — Vertical speed for near perfect glideslope= Half airspeed, add a zero (example: 150 knots would be 75+0, 750 FPM.) Ballpark should be good enough.
  • Big adjustments first, small adjustments later
    — Get stabilized as soon as possible. Big changes won’t be possible later.

Final Approach

  • Going visual
    — At about 150 feet, at latest, you should be fully visual. Almost no power adjustments will make a difference at this stage, and your flight profile won’t change much at all.
  • Stabilized and on target
    — If you aren’t stabilized and on target, it’s time to go around.
  • Decision Point
    — Anything look off? If so, it’s time to GO around.


  • Based on 100% visual cues
  • This all happens at the same time.
  • Smoothly role back power at 50-20 feet (find the sweet spot)
    — Listen for altitude callouts
    — Don’t be afraid to pull back power as aggressively as you need to- you’re about to touchdown!
  • Idle by the time you are about to touchdown (or a few seconds sooner)
    — This transition from starting the thrust rollback to idle thrust should only take several seconds at most.
  • Pitch smoothly so you settle in without floating (the hardest part)
    — Simultaneous action with the throttle


  • Don’t be afraid to plant your wheels.
  • Floating is not desired.
  • Small, quick and deliberate adjustments must be made during the flare process. That combination and timing determine the quality of touchdown.
  • Unfortunately, passengers do determine a pilots ability based on how smooth it is.


  • Smoothly bring the nose down after landing (fly it down)
  • Ensure all systems are working properly (auto brakes, slats, reverse thrust)
  • Maintain alignment
  • Exit Safely

Remember the AFFTR acronym. Work on the escalation of precision, and become excellent at the small stuff.

Practice Makes Perfect

  • Save a flight file for each aircraft you love.
    — Varying situations. Most importantly, straight in and already stabilized.
    — Try base to final and downwind as well.
  • Restart the flight over, and over, and over again.
    — Use the keyboard shortcut.
  • Have competitions with friends.
    — This can spark a more intense drive to do things right.

VLJs, vs Smaller Jets, vs Wide Bodies

  • Jet procedures vary
    — VLJ, vs 737, vs 777, vs 747.
    — Progressive, but different
  • Cockpit height
    — VLJ vs 747
  • Aiming Point
  • Landing/Handling Characteristics

Landing the aircraft on your own can be an absolute blast, and a very rewarding experience. This isn’t something that is easy, and each little step takes much practice and a lot of repetition.

Now go learn how to land that jet!

“What Makes a Solid, IFR Aviator?” Useful Links

“How to Nail Virtual Jet Landings- Every Time” Useful Links



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Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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[transcript] This is AviatorCast episode three. Let’s fly it like a boss!
Calling all aviators, pilots and aviation lovers, welcome to AviatorCast, where we close the gap between real aviation and flight simulation. Climb aboard, buckle up and prepare for take-off. Here’s your host, Chris Palmer.
Chris Palmer:
Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators. You’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer, I love everything about flying, from kissing cloud tops to perfecting procedures and from the GE engines to the sound of a simple four-banger. Just call me Mr. Crazy Cloudtops. Yes, I’m a real pilot but I also have a love and appreciation for flight simulation. Both complement each other and have largely shaped me into the pilot and aviator I am today. I’m the founder and owner of Angle of Attack, a flight simulation training company which is bringing you this podcast today.
I really hope you’re enjoying Aviator Cast so far. Our first episode was just released. Even though this is episode three, episode one just barely came out. We’re getting some great feedback so far and this type of feedback really energizes me as the producer of the show to keep going and going and going and keep producing this content and motivates me just to keep tracking at it. I had a great review from Ron. Ron left a comment on our blog at, if you go over there you can find that. For any episode we have shown also, you can go there and comment on the show and say how you felt about it, so on and so forth.
We had several comments on the first episode of Aviator Cast and one particular comment that really stood out to me and just got me so excited was something that Ron said. Ron said, “Great AviatorCast. Very inspirational and just the push I needed to head out to the airport and sign up for lessons. At 47, I finally have the opportunity and financial means to pursue this passion. I might not have the time that I’d like to dedicate to two or more lessons a week, but your Aviator90 and Aviator Pro Training products have given me a good foundation and the confidence to make it through lessons as efficiently as possible. Looking forward to many more episodes. You’re the best. Thanks for all you do for the aviation community.”
Thank you, Ron. That is such an awesome review and I’m so excited that you’ve decided to start your lessons. Even at 47 years old, it is not too late to go out and get your pilot’s license and start this process. It will be such a great joy to you and I know that you’ll do well and I can tell that you’re very passionate about it, and the fact that you’re here, gaining more knowledge with things like Aviator Cast and the other things that Angle of Attack does, just means that you’re going to be that much further ahead in your training. Congratulations on that big step Ron and big props to you, maybe literally to your right? But big props to you for starting your training.
If you would like to leave a review, it really helps us out not only from I guess an energizing standpoint, helping me and the company keep pushing this podcast forward, but also, it helps others know that this is something worth listening too. You can do that straight on our blog. That’s one good place to get in-touch with us directly where we can actually reply to you. However, a more public place and something that actually means a lot for the podcast in getting the name of Aviator Cast out there is actually on iTunes. If you search iTunes and you go to reviews and ratings, then you can actually review and rate the show and that will pop up and we’ll get five stars for example and it will show people that this is a great podcast, worth downloading, worth listening to, worth getting in to. If you could do that, if you don’t do anything else, and you actually do enjoy this podcast, that would be much appreciated by me and by the team.
First and foremost above anything else is thank you for being here. Thank you for being a part of what we do. We really do enjoy interacting with you one-on-one and really hope that you continue to be a part of our community or we hope that you will stay and be a part of our community. Welcome, thank you, and I’m just really excited for this particular episode. We just love our trainees and we love the aviators here in Angle of Attack.
Today’s flight plan, we have two great segments for you that are quite unrelated but still quite fun to talk about. You’re sure to learn a thing or two to help you on the way and they are very different subjects but I think you’ll really enjoy them. The first is our flight training segment. As always, we’ll touch on what makes solid IFR aviators. This is actually quite a large subject. I’m going to have to speed through some of the points that I have but I felt like this just flowed on to the page in my show notes and there is a lot to learn here in what makes a solid IFR aviator. We’ll definitely talk about that. The attributes, the attitudes, the aptitudes that you need to become a solid IFR pilot.
Then, for you virtual aviators out there, I know you’ll love this one, and also for you prospective jet pilots and even you aviator, general aviation guys that would want to know how to do this, we’ll talk about how to nail virtual jet landings every time. We’ll talk about the myths, the challenges, and I also came out with an acronym that will help you out a lot in this particular procedure, and also the differences between landing varying aircraft because obviously landing a smaller jet is going to be much different from landing some of the bigger heavies out there.
That is what we have in store for you today, that is today’s flight plan, so let’s get into the flight training segment.

And now, the flight training segment…
Chris Palmer:
What makes a solid IFR aviator? Pilots and aviators often approach IMC or instrument meteorological conditions with too much caution when first obtaining their instrument ticket. Why get an instrument ticket if you aren’t going to use it in the actual conditions. Although many pilots are simply obtaining an instrument ticket on the way to a career for example and the primary reason in getting an instrument ticket is to advance and get to the next rating, we believe that we should approach this IFR pilotship if you will, from a different perspective. Why not work to achieve confidence in IMC or instrument meteorological conditions, clouds for example, rather than just another checkmark on your way to that career? What will happen when these necessary skills are called into action during a real world flight, and although you have that rating, you don’t have the confidence to perform the task. Here we’ll discuss some of the topics but certainly not all and these are just things that you should be familiar with in becoming that solid IFR aviator.
Let’s now discuss some of the subjects that you should focus on while undoubtedly missing some important subjects. Sorry about that. This is just a lot of stuff to cover in one episode. I think some of these sections we could focus for just one whole episode and maybe we’ll do that sometime in the future. We could definitely talk about these subjects quite a bit, just stand-alone on their own. We’re going to go through some different subjects here that have some titles. They’re a little bit catchy and so you might be able to remember them. I’ll tell you what those are now.
We’re going to talk about weather wisdom. We will also talk about system savvy, communication clarity, predictable procedures, conditioning, sailing safely, and parting the clouds. That will conclude the solid IFR aviator subject, and obviously there’s a lot to cover there. Each one of those subjects has a lot to cover, so let’s get right in.
The first that I mentioned is weather wisdom. Knowing your weather and what to expect does come with experience but there is an incredible amount of work you can do ahead of time. The biggest thing is to get prepared, get briefed, and know the scenarios before you and then monitor those changes while you’re en route because undoubtedly, things will be different from what your reports were before you go but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you just go out and fly in whatever weather. You need to know what you’re going into, but it will be slightly different from what was reported. We’re trying to minimize a risk and trying to be as familiar as possible with the situation but we aren’t going to be able to have a full and perfect picture of what’s going on unless you’re in an area where it’s just absolutely zero wind, perfect weather which I have found to be extremely rare.
Some of the things that we need to be concerned about when talking weather and IFR, icing is definitely one of them. Do you know how to read an icing map, and seeing the different levels of those icing maps and the prediction and estimating that around your time of departure. Do you have the skills to gain an overall picture of the icing conditions and determine if it will actually be safe to fly? Now, icing is obviously very rare – it is actually a rare instance. It takes perfect, perfect conditions for icing to form but that doesn’t obviously mean it doesn’t happen because it does happen and it is something that us pilots, especially IFR pilots, we have to be aware of. Although it is rare, it still is quite dangerous.
When you go into these conditions, if you do plan on going into these conditions, obviously, you can’t fly into known icing conditions unless your aircraft is set up for that. You also need to know what your aircraft is capable of. There are also instances where you – I guess you determine the risk right? So obviously if there’s an area where there is a light probability of icing and you feel like you can get through that cloud there quickly or whatever it is then that’s something that you have to weigh and ask yourself, “Is this something that I can do?”
You just need to know – first of all you need to know how to read all of these icing maps. You need to know how to get an overall picture of this situation. You need to be educated on this subject and I can give you something in the show notes that will teach you how to do that and give you a really great look at icing from a scientific perspective. Then you obviously need to know what the aircraft can handle as well. Apart from all that, you need to be communicative with air traffic control, about the icing conditions, and you need to find out during the process what’s going on because obviously you don’t want yourself in a situation where you are building a lot of ice that can become very dangerous.
There is this NASA course that they put together and they put online. It’s multimedia. It’s great. It teaches you a lot about icing from their perspective because they study this stuff constantly. They’re up there, always learning more about icing conditions. I will put the link to that NASA course in the show notes and you guys can check that out. That is one of the biggest sources I learned from and kind of dispelled a lot of the myths I felt about or thought I knew about icing was through that NASA course. It dispels a lot of those myths but it also show you some extreme conditions with icing because there are conditions where icing is just absolutely incredible and it can take your aircraft down within a matter of minutes. Anyway, I’ll link to that as well. So that’s icing.
Another thing you need to know and we’ll just touch on this briefly because this is just kind of basic. You need to know what the clouds are telling you. As an IFR pilot, you need to be able to look and say, “It’s a little darker. That’s cumuliform.” You need to know – standing lenticular, you need to know what those types of clouds are tell you and really what all types of clouds are telling you. You may want to study up a little bit on the differences between certain types of clouds and you need to find out why to you, as an IFR pilot, that matters. Is that a type of cloud you can go through, is that a type of cloud you should avoid, is it worth requesting going around it from air traffic control. You need to know those things to just gain an overall picture of the situation and obviously clouds and icing are very closely related because icing happens in moisture essentially, so whether that’s in a cloud or a fog or actual rainfall, snow, things like that.
We’re done with clouds, but closely related to clouds is types of fog. You need to know that different types of fog. How that fog phases in and out and how you can plan ahead as an IFR pilot for those types of situations because there are types of fog that will linger a very long time. There are types of fog that burn off as the day goes on. Although those situations aren’t always exactly how it is, so even though it’s a type of fog that essentially generally burns off, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually going to do that but as a pilot, you can know that that might be possibility, okay? That’s fog, just very, very general.
Another that you should now about and perhaps study and this one’s a little bit harder, is what are the trends and unique attributes for the particular area you’re in. Knowing the area you are flying into. Are you flying into the rockies, are you flying into the plains, are you flying into a coastal town? What type of area you flying into? What are the challenges of that particular airport or area? Each flight route is very unique and it’s going to take you across different areas that have different challenges to them. You need to know what those challenges are and the reason why this one is a little difficult is this stuff isn’t necessarily published that well. You might find it in an airport facility directory or you might find it on for a specific airport.
But if you’re really concerned about a particular airport, you may want to ask other pilots that have flown into that airport, what the conditions are like, idiosyncrasies about that particular airport, and you can even call the FBO for that particular airport and ask to speak with a local pilot there if there is something you are actually really concerned about. I wouldn’t bug people with that too much but I would think that they are very open to actually talking about their local area because as we talked about before, you should plan on using your instrument ticket, flying in actual conditions, and so you want to get everything on your side and have as much information as possible. Having those area changes in mind or specific attributes about that area would be very important for you to know. So that’s area changes.
Another thing that you should do and you should make a habit of is having a multisource brief. You should not only be getting things from the flight service station but you should be also relying on a lot of the online sources these days that are out there and then there are a lot of great services that are available now live while you are in the cockpit especially if you have something like an iPad where you can get actual current, excellent weather for example. A lot of different things you can get that will give you a broad scope and in a lot of situations and most situations, cross verification of the information you’re seeing.
Getting an overall picture of the weather that you are going to be going into and flying through because that’s the point of all these right? This is one of the biggest things as an IFR pilot you’re going to be looking out for and the largest thing that differentiates IFR flying from any other type of flying is that you are actively flying into weather and flying through it and around it and you’re in the weather. That’s one the biggest things you need to be aware of as a solid IFR aviator if you will.
A couple more here for the weather wisdom is airport ground conditions and this is very closely related to knowing information about that particular area. You should just know what type of area you’re flying into, what type of approaches are available, what it’s going to be like once you hit on the ground, what facilities are available, things like that, and also, what the taxi way and runway conditions are like because it could’ve snowed the morning before and melted a little bit and cooled down so now it’s icy. You have a lot of these different considerations to keep in mind with the actual airport conditions. That’s important to keep in mind as well and that is actually something that you could call an FBO about if you’re concerned and see what the conditions are like on the ground as far as even just taxing around and breaking action on the runway and what things are like, so that’s something else you could do.
Last but not certainly not least and I just threw this one here because it feels pretty well here. It could also fit in our human factors area which we’ll talk about later, is night time. You need to ask yourself as a single engine IFR if flying at night time in instrument conditions alone is the smartest thing to do. Now obviously if you’re in the clouds and you can’t see anything, that definitely kind of negates the purpose of night and day, right? There’s no difference if you’re in the clouds. But once you’re out of the clouds, you’re not going to be in the clouds all the time, it’s super rare. We are just going to be in thick, thick IFR all the time. Once you’re out of the clouds, it does make a big difference to you from a safety perspective and just stacks the cards in your favour if you are not flying at night time, and you are able to do a lot more visual things that you can do during day time.
It’s just really a personal choice I suppose, is if you’re willing to fly at night or if that’s something you want to stack in your favour and try to fly during the day instead, because there are dangers that come with night-time flying that don’t come with daytime flying.
Alright, so that’s it for weather wisdom. Now, system savvy. The IFR system is a very complex system obviously. A complex that are procedures, traffic and timing considerations. You need to know how you fit in all of these and how to fly efficiently in a system meant for high accuracy and honestly in a lot of cases, it’s meant for airlines. It’s meant for getting people reliably from point A to point B in pretty much any type of weather.
You need to familiarize yourself with certain things and you need to ask yourself some of these questions that I’m about to ask. How does the IFR system work? How does it all flow together? How do the controllers fit in with the pilots and the pilots with the controllers and controllers with the ground crew, all of these things. How does that all work together? By knowing that, you can more efficiently operate in IFR.
The next question is, what is the most efficient way to fly an IFR? That’s one question that you need to always be asking yourself, is what is the most efficient way I can do this? If you can find some short of shortcut in your route, and I’m not saying taking a dangerous shortcut or something that was unplanned or just unpredictable, but rather maybe cutting a little corner from this VOR to that VOR instead of having another VOR in between or a way point and saving yourself a few minutes. And so you arrive a little bit earlier, you save a little bit of fuel. These are always things you need to be stacking in your favour. What’s the most efficient way? Again that’s the question you need to always be asking yourself.
Another question or rather a set of questions is what are you trying to accomplish? Are you out there to experience the IFR just to gain experience in IFR or are you trying to do it efficiently, or quickly rather. Efficiently and quickly are closely related. I would say you are always looking to do it not necessarily quickly but with expediency. You are looking to do things the most efficient way you possibly can. That’s where you gain the most experience and that’s where you start to really understand how the IFR system works although there is some book knowledge that goes with that as well.
Another question you need to ask yourself is do I need to be doing IFR the entire time? That’s more of I guess a personal question, what you are willing to put up with as far as clearances because sometimes air traffic control can hold you on the ground. It takes way too long. You can depart VFR and get in the air and pick up IFR in the in the air and be just fine. You need to ask yourself, “Do I want to do this the entire time? Do I need to practice my radio communication so it would actually be advantageous for me to start of my IFR in the ground and wait twenty minutes or whatever it is,” or do you want to get in the air and get to your destination. That goes back to that experience in expediency question, is what are you trying to accomplish there?
Those are things that you should experience. You should experience how to actually pick an IFR in the air. That are just obviously different situations that you want to try and you want to do. Another couple questions that are closely related is when is it inconvenient or too slow to do IFR? Should you really be doing IFR in VFR conditions if your goal and mission for the day is to get somewhere at a certain time? Although we shouldn’t use that somewhere at a certain time as an absolute, we always have the decision to say no even if there are consequences. You don’t necessarily need to be doing IFR if it’s very restrictive for the area you’re in if your goal is to be somewhere. You don’t want to stack that against yourself as far as getting somewhere. Although IFR can actually be expedient, in a lot of cases it can be faster than VFR, you just need to ask yourself, “Should I be doing IFR or shouldn’t I be doing IFR?”
The last one is the conditions. Should you be doing IFR in VFR conditions? Again, I’ve always really enjoyed myself. I’ve always enjoyed just doing IFR all the time. I find it’s easier to work in the system that way when it’s just a habit of doing IFR even if I’m departing VFR first and then picking up IFR, I just feel it better to work in a system all the time. But that’s a personal preference. It really depends on I guess the flight mission that you are operating in. That’s system savvy. Just some questions and thoughts and ideas to help you understand your mission in the IFR system and what your purpose is and how you would like to utilize that time in the IFR system.
Next comes communication clarity. Your relationship with air traffic control is very unique and as a result, you as a pilot need to know what you can request, what you can do and what you can’t do. You need to know a lot of different scenarios and how to best utilize air traffic control and how to assist them as well. Obviously this is a two-way street. Controllers can help you and you can actually help them too. There are times when they are bound by protocol and can’t do what you want. Obviously you don’t always get what you want and you need to know what to do in those situations as well.
My biggest first thing with communication clarity here is just ask. Ask a controller if you have a question or a request or anything in between or if you need them to clarify something. It never ever hurts to ask. I can only envision one situation where it would hurt to ask if you can tell that everyone else is doing one particular thing and it’s a super busy area and they’re cramming traffic in and landing them in sequence and it’s just really tight and there’s really no badgering. You’ll understand those situations. You’ll understand that you can’t request another runway without there being a lot of consequences. It’s kind of common sense but there are a lot of situations where you can ask the controller, even clarifying questions or whatever you need, whenever you are in doubt of the instruction given or you would like to do something maybe a little different and you would like to request something from them, it never, ever hurts to ask a controller. I think that’s probably the golden rule of communication clarity.
Next is, know your place. There are a lot of planes in the skies obviously and you need to know where you fit. You need to know where you fit in priority, and you’re going to experience that a lot especially as a general aviation pilot and you will experience it at different levels as you grow up if you will through multi-engine incorporate and up in the jets or airlines if you’re getting there. You’ll recognize that the priority handling of air traffic control is different as you go up through the ranks. Again, you just need to know your place and how all that works.
Next is work with the controllers. This is one of my biggest things and something that I really appreciate when I hear on the radio and one thing that I really try to do myself is I really try to help controllers. I want to know their challenges in that particular area. I want to know if I’m being a hassle. If I’m being a hassle and I’m on their scope and they’re having to stop traffic in an international airport for this little airplane that’s coming in to some satellite field and it’s VFR conditions and I can go under bravo, then I’m going to cancel my IFR and continue VFR with that same controller. These are just situations and things that we can help controllers out by making their job easier and so they can focus on the things that really matter.
Now, if you needed that IFR, if you’re in IFR conditions, obviously you don’t want to cancel just to make things easier on the controller. You need to do what you need to do as a pilot and really that’s the overreaching thing of communication, is you are in control of your aircraft and you are responsible at the end of the day. That’s the way that any aviation law states it. That means that even if you have to, you will ignore or break an air traffic control instruction in order for the safety of yourself and your passengers.
Be careful with that one because you will have to answer for it if you do it incorrectly. That’s kind of branching off into a different subject but really helping out the controllers as much as you can I think goes a long way and they will be more able to help you as a result, and it’s kind of this unsaid rule in aviation that you try to help out the controllers and then they can help out you and it’s kind of just pay it forward or karma type thing that keeps going back and forth between the controllers and the pilots. Obviously, we don’t want to be a nuisance to each other. We’re there to fly safe. We’re there to get to our destination and that’s a goal that everyone has, and so there’s that give and take. That finishes communication clarity.
Next is predictable procedures and this one is a little bit longer. I’ll try to breeze through it. A perfectly executed procedure is one of the most beautiful parts of being an IFR pilot. All the complexities that come with flying in exact profile and ending up on target at the runway will be sure to build your confidence as an IFR aviator, and confidence is one of the things we really want to get to when we’re talking about IMC and being an IFR pilot.
How can you best set yourself up for success? I have a few things here that we can just touch on. I think we’ll just touch on these so we leave enough time for the other segment. But first and foremost, just know your aircraft. Know what it’s capable of. How does it operate in IFR. What kind of IFR capabilities does it have that has a lot to do with avionics but also the performance of the aircraft has a lot to do with the capabilities. What kind of departures you can do and arrivals, things like that. It does matter. You need to know how to best set up your aircraft for success. That goes to cockpit resource management, actually using the tools around you in order to assist you in doing great approaches and great procedures, departure procedures, arrival procedures, there’s a lot of procedures. You need to know how to best set up your particular aircraft, that unique aircraft for success.
Next is highly scrutinized routines, and the reason I put scrutinized or highly scrutinized in there rather than just routines, is because we don’t want to get into routines that are fixed when there may be a problem with that particular routine, okay? What I’m saying is you don’t want to get into a bad routine and so you want to always be evaluating that routine that you’re getting yourself into. Again, highly scrutinized routines but routines are very important. Routines and how you go through the ABCDEFG of how to set up your approach, how to do everything you need to do during a procedure is incredibly important. Setting up a good routine, a healthy routine is very essential. By doing all these, it makes a lot of what you do during your procedure second nature and almost like a checklist in your mind. Checklist usage is obviously super important. With all these, with anything IFR but we’re not really talking about it in this particular episode.
Another big thing that was huge for me in really coming to a place where I was confident in IFR was power and configuration envelopes with the particular aircraft I was using and this could go back to knowing your aircraft. There are a lot of power and speed combinations and flap combinations so on and so forth. Different configurations of the aircraft where you can essentially set power to a certain place and your aircraft will slow to a certain speed and do certain things where you essentially set it and forget it.
The Bonanza that I once flew was very, very good at this. You set it to a certain power setting, it slow down to approach speed, you would put down the landing gear at the final approach fix or the intercept and essentially you wouldn’t even have to touch trim or anything else, it would just descend right on a three-degree glide slope, barely anything else you have to do. Those sort of things help you out a lot. Otherwise, you may get behind the aircraft. But helping the aircraft will help you in getting everything stable and being able to set those certain configurations and knowing that you will get a certain airspeed, a certain descent, things like that. Then you can make fine adjustments for your particular situations. Those help out a whole lot.
Also knowing how to do that in your transition from cruise, the intermediate approach, approach landing and obviously different – this is the big place for power configurations and different aircraft configurations because when you’re talking about departures, you’re essentially high-powered just getting out of there if you will. That’s important to know as well.
Last for this predictable procedures area or subject if you will, is varying situations. Try flying into new places, try flying different approaches that you aren’t familiar with. Just broaden your scope of the system and procedures that you could do and see what you are capable of. The big idea here is to just keep sharp on all the different types of procedures that you are wanting to do, and by doing all the things that I mentioned, you’ll definitely be super solid in your procedures. You want everything to be nice and predictable, and you want to slow things down for yourself. You don’t want to be behind the aircraft, and so a lot of these things I mentioned and obviously some more things that I failed to put in here will assist you in doing just that in having predictable procedures.
Now we’re into condition conditioning. That’s a little confusing. What do I mean by condition conditioning? The big thing here is to condition yourself and your mind to fly in actual conditions and use that ticket. Don’t just become the guy that squeaks by on his check ride. We want you to rock that check ride because you know your stuff, and then cherish the beauty that comes with floating amongst the clouds. That’s really what an instrument ticket is all about. You really want to be actually flying in these conditions. This is some of the most beautiful and rewarding type of flying that you can possibly do. Although there’s a lot to consider when taking on actual instrument condition flight, it is definitely rewarding. Condition conditioning means you are conditioning yourself to fly in instrument conditions okay? So I hope that makes sense.
The big thing here and first and foremost is to fly in the actual conditions. Go and fly in what you would do every day if you have someone saying, “I need you to fly here today.” I’m not saying do that regardless of what’s in front of you, but don’t hold yourself back from going to a place or flying into weather. Get yourself educated on all you need to know to feel comfortable with getting into that situation. That goes down to a lot of things, even your ability and confidence in handling the aircraft when you can’t see outside the airplane. We just need that confidence to do these things before we actually go in. But again, it’s kind of a conundrum because the experience comes from actually going to those conditions. One of the best things I feel to do this is find an instructor that is willing to fly in actual conditions with you, and so you get a feel for what these things are like, and so you guys can experience it, that it becomes an integral part of your training, to know what it’s like to be in the clouds, not with just a hood over your eyes but actually in the clouds.
The big idea here is to get comfortable and confident. I’ve said that so many times. Finding an instructor that will do that or actually being on those conditions, you’ll know what it looks like, you’ll know how it feels, it’s very different from having a hood on because it’s real. It’s not this fake thing where the instructors says, “Okay, we’re getting out of control a little bit, pull up your hood, look outside.” It’s not like that. You don’t have that choice. I feel like our minds and our bodies react different when it’s for real.
A lot of what goes on with that as well is decisions are completely different in these situations. We act more sharply and the real thing has no replacement and I really do feel that way. Once you’ve done all these things, once you’ve flown in actual conditions a lot with your instructor, once you’re comfortable with IFR, we’ll talk about what that feels like later, but plan on actually using your IFR ticket. Stay proficient. Proficiency goes beyond what your governing agency requires you to do. I don’t think proficiency for their requirements is enough. I think you should be flying IFR a lot more. I know financial concerns come into play there, but if you’re going to get your ticket, just use it. It’s a great, great experience to fly in the clouds. Again, I keep using the B-word, the beautiful word, but there’s just nothing that replaces IFR flight.
Now we’re going to get to sailing safely. We don’t have a lot of time here to finish up these subjects but we may run a little over on this particular podcast. I like to keep it over or rather just around an hour, but we’ll see how we do here. The next subject is sailing safely. Much of IFR comes down to safety and we’ve talked about that a lot. You’ll be faced with decisions that are potentially dangerous, but don’t let that hold you back from experiencing IFR. There is a bit of danger in everything we do I suppose and you want to mitigate those risks by having a knowledge of all these things and the experience. Safety is key. It’s connected to everything we do as pilots.
Again, get educated, know what is in front of you, and know what situations you are putting yourself into. It will become obvious when there’s too much risk and it’s simply time to say no or stop. You need to be able to walk away from the airplane at the airport and do the hard thing at times. Some things you need to know. We’ll just kind of breeze through these.
Although I’m big on human factors, I feel like it’s going to be a common thread through a lot of what we do with Aviator Cast and so I feel like we’ll touch on that a lot later and I can breeze through it now but, human factors is a big deal with safety. You need to know what your physical limitations are. You need to know what your mental limitations are. All of these things are interconnected. We as humans interact very differently when we’re in the air with our bodies. Our bodies do some things like altitude issues and spatial disorientation issues, and also our decision-making processes and things of that nature that we need to be aware of. We’ll be touching a lot on human factors. I’m a huge believer in approaching aviation at a core level from a human factors perspective.
Also, you need to know how to make a go, no-go decision. You need to be brave enough to not go. I know that sounds silly but the bravery is often now in actually going into a stupid situation. It’s in staying in the ground and just saying, “You know, this is too much. I’m gonna wait it out. I’ll sleep in the lobby at the FBO, whatever it is.” You need to be brave enough to not go. Along with that, you need to learn to say no and we’ll talk about that in a few more seconds with passengers but you need to learn to say no, and I’m just going to leave it at that.
Also, you need your own personal minimum when it comes to IFR. There are obviously limitations that come with what the government has, the FAA, the JAA for example. What are your limitations? Obviously you can’t break those rules but what are your limitations beyond what is required by law? Is that something that you need to take a step further and say, “This is the rule, three statute miles but my rule is actually five statue miles. Those are things that you can investigate as you get more comfortable or even when you’re just starting your IFR training, or really even just taking your IFR ticket to a different level. I recognize that a lot of you already have an IFR ticket but maybe a many of you want to take it to a new level and actually use that ticket.
I already talked about learning to say no and that is very related to passenger pressure. Now, you are the boss, you are the leader of the aircraft. You are in control. You are in control when you’re not even flying. You get to say if you go or not. Sometimes you need to be an a-hole and just say no. If that’s what you really want to do and that’s what you need to do, you need to say no and you need to stand your ground, okay? If you’re flying any sort of passengers regularly, you’re going to find that eventually that you need to say no at some point. That kind of does it for passenger pressure, leaving that.
Another point in here is when you’re in doubt, you just shoot and go. Don’t guess. Take the guess work out of everything you do in IFR by either learning from experience with an instructor or gaining that confidence and then learning little by little. Obviously we learn a lot and then we get in a situation where we learn a little more but we’re learning at a safe level. We’re not putting ourselves in a dangerous situation in other words in order to learn more. We’re actually learning more safely. I think a lot of that comes with experience. But you can take the guess work out of what you do. If you don’t know what you need to know, obviously learn it. If you need help, ask. Those are sort of things that you just need to know.
Another big question and kind of to polish off this sailing safely section is when to divert. When you’re already in the air and you need to find a place to go and you need to stop your flight, when is it time? When do you say it’s time to stop this flight? Obviously, you want to be looking ahead of time and you want to be very aware of what’s ahead of you and what’s around you and what’s going on and that has to do with your aircraft, your mental state, the weather. It has to do with a lot of things. You need to know and be aware that you can actually divert in flight and that that is always a possibility, okay?
I guess the climax of what we’re getting to as an IFR pilot is eventually we wanted to all come together and just click. We wanted to just be this thing that just happens because you’ve engrained it in yourself and you’re working well through the system. You’re communicating well. The procedures are just clicking right along, okay? Now it does take a lot of work. It takes patience. You can definitely arrive at a place where your mind, actions, and that passionate aviator spirit all join in harmony to become a sharp and efficient IFR aviator, so definitely it’s possible. It’s this “a-ha” moment. It’s almost like the clouds part and the light shines through and concourses of angels are around and you just know at that moment when you do something right and you’ve completed this wonderful actual instrument condition flight and you’ve just landed, you know that it’s working and you know that you’ve arrived if you will and that you really do have these skills and attributes and knowledge in order to do all these safely. It’s one of the best achievements you’ll ever, ever feel. It’s on par with getting your first license or your first solo.
Being an IFR pilot is absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever done as a pilot. Some of the most beautiful experiences as a pilot have come from floating amongst the clouds, accomplishing difficult tasks and arriving safely at my destination. I just love, love, love IFR. There is just nothing like single engine, single pilot IFR. That is how to be a solid IFR pilot.
And now, the flight simulation segment…
Chris Palmer:
And now, how to nail virtual jet landings every time. Landing a jet precisely is a lot of fun but it’s a rare and often unseen skill among flight simmers. Have you ever heard or learn of the actual procedure used by real airline pilots to land? My guess is no, it’s not really knowledge that’s shared. It’s kind of actually one of these experiences where I think airline pilots learn it just by experience and necessarily procedure like this but this was explained to me and has really, really helped me out with landing virtual jets and this is what real pilots use all the time and how they do the final part of their landing. We’ll talk about that.
Although we’re primarily talking about a visual approach here, that’s what we want to get out. Again, I’m kind of branching out from our hand flying segment in last episode. These tips are still very much a part of all the approaches in landings that you’ll do. After this segment and with a lot of practice which we’ll talk about as well, you will be landing your virtual jets like never before. Getting right into it, I would like to dispel some myths that comes with landing in jet.
One thing I heard at one time that really annoyed me was great pilots always make perfect landings. If you’re judging a pilot by how smooth his pilots are, you’re focusing on point 00.1% of what matters in that pilot’s toolbox if you will. It doesn’t have to be an absolutely smooth landing all the time. In fact, sometimes you actually have to plant the wheels down, that’s what you have to do so we’ll talk about that a little bit. That’s one myth. Get that out of your head. You don’t have to do this perfectly smooth squeaky landing. That’s not what it’s about and it’s not what you’re supposed to do. If that happens, great, but you don’t need to be measuring the feet per minute upon touchdown. It’s just not useful, not the pain, and we’ll talk more about why that’s the case or you’ll why that’s not the case as we go on and talk here.
Crosswind versus regular landings. Essentially all landings are a crosswind landing. All landings are very different. There’s always air moving around, blowing the aircraft to and fro almost always and so you’re always having to deal with some sort of challenge with controlling the aircraft. You’re never going to be able to just leave the control wheel there stationary and just keep lined up and just flying perfectly. It’s just not realistic.
Another myth is that jets land themselves and they’re easy to land. Completely untrue. This is not an easy procedure. This is actually a very difficult procedure because it happens so fast especially once you get to the flare stage. Yes, jets do land themselves with autoland but pilots land them too. That’s been happening all this time and they still do it. Although it is pretty rare, pilots still do land the jet themselves completely by hand, and it definitely isn’t easy.
Another myth is that jets land like GA aircraft or general aviation aircraft and you should be essentially landing in what is often referred to as a controlled stall. That’s not how jets land. You don’t want to hear the chirp of the stall warning horn before you hit the ground. It’s a completely different procedure than that. You’re essentially driving the aircraft to the landing and you’re not looking or seeking that stall like you would with a Cessna for example. Although that is just one technique, I understand there a lot of different landing techniques than just the controlled stall.
Another myth and another thing I hear thing I hear people say and this saying in aviation really alwa thing I hear people say and this saying in aviation really always bugs me is that if people walk away, it’s a great landing. That’s not true. You want to be able to use your aircraft again. It’s not a great landing if people can walk away, so get that out of your head. We broke this down into an acronym that I just so happen to come up with. I tied this stuff out and it was an actual acronym, so it actually kind of worked really well.
The procedure is called AFFTR, and that’s with two FFs. It’s spelled A-F-F-T-R, so it still kind of spells “after.” I think it works really well. This is an easy way to remember how to set up your landing correctly. This acronym will ensure you set up a perfect landing if you do it perfectly and it does that step by step. If you get one of these steps wrong along the way, it could easily cascade down to the other large mistakes and eventually you’ll need to go around or you’ll screw up your landing, so just keep that in mind that each one of these procedures or steps is very essential for the success of the next step.
Alright, so we have the AFFTR acronym. The first which is “A” is approach. Getting set up on the approach correctly and having a decent profile is half the battle. You really want to get this approach right. Once you’re set up and stable, the rest gets a lot easier and can just really just be much, much better. With approach, you want to be aware of your aircraft configuration. Are you configuring your aircraft at the right time? You need to know when to make your decisions on when to extend the flaps and the gear. Obviously the flaps come before the gear, that’s kind of how it works. You can see that through some of our training products. You need to know how to configure your aircraft through that phase, that approach phase, and how to get yourself slowed down and in your landing configuration if you will.
You also need to know your flight envelope. Are you too fast? Are you too slow? Are you too high? Are you to low? Those are a lot of things you need to constantly be asking yourself and adjusting is your flight envelope. Another thing and I kind of have a little I guess math homework here for you with this one, but another big thing is glide scope. You want to be essentially on a good descent angle, much like an ILS to your landing. You can do that very, very easily and we can do that by knowing what vertical speed we should have.
Now, a ballpark figure works just fine and I’m going to teach you how to do that here. Once you use this ballpark figure, you’ll be able to do that three-degree glide slope just right. What you do is you have your airspeed and add a zero. For example if your airspeed was 150 knots on approach, that was your VRF, then you would basically be at 75, right? That’s in half, and then you add a zero. Really, these are the numbers you are looking at. You’re looking at 750, so 75 plus a zero. Essentially what this is doing is just giving you 750 feet per minute in order to do that descent. You want to be negative 750 feet per minute. That’s going to get you on about a three-degree glide slope at 150 knots. Again, half your airspeed, add a zero. Very, very simple. Again, ballpark works. That’s just something you look at yourself as your VRF and ask yourself what does my descent rate need to be for this particular airspeed and just do that quick equation.
Approach, again, big adjustments for small adjustments later. You want to get stabilized as soon as possible because later on down the road or down the approach, big changes won’t be possible. It just becomes much more difficult when you get close to the airport and your aircraft gets in that slower configuration with everything out, it just becomes less maneuvarable.
The next part of the acronym, an “F.” We have two FFs here. The first F is final approach. At final approach, this is where the procedure gets very specific for a jet. This other approach stuff that I mentioned, that’s pretty basic for any aircraft that you use but now that we’re into this final approach phase and down into the flare and rollout, this becomes quite specific to a jet. Pay attention. These steps are super, super important and you really shouldn’t deviate from them. I haven’t put a lot in here of what not to do but I’ll try to mention some of those.
Again, we’re on the first F of the AFFTR acronym and that is final approach. The first thing you need to do on final approach or at a specific point is you need to go visual. That means that you are looking outside the aircraft and not using your instrumentation. At about 150 feet at latest, you should be fully visual for the runway. Obviously, we’re talking about a visual approach here. I know that you could argue, “What about an ILS?” Let’s not talk about an ILS right now. Let’s talk about fully visual. At 150 feet at latest, you should be fully visual. At this point, you almost need no power adjustments and you won’t need a lot of adjustments to align because we set up the approach correctly and your flight profile won’t change much at all. You need to be fully visual outside the airplane. You’re not looking anything inside the airplane. You’re not paying attention to your feet per minute or anything. This is where you are controlling the aircraft based on visual references outside the airplane and how all that is looking going back to the core skills you gained as a VFR pilot.
Also at this point, you should be stabilized and on target. If you aren’t stabilized and on target, it’s time to go around. If you’re not ready to land at this point at 150 feet, it’s time to get out of there and try again. You can make this decision at any point to get out of there. If anything looks off even before 150 feet or 100 feet or 50 feet or even if you’re on the ground already and things just aren’t going well, you can always go out of there. Obviously, there is some point during the rollout where you can’t just go around but if you’ve touched on the wheels and the slats haven’t come up and you’re not reverse thrust then you can still go around, but we’re talking about final approach here. You always have that decision to make to go around if things just looked off. That’s the first F.
The next F is flare. The flare is in basic terms, when you’re transitioning from that descent angle that you have that you calculated right, you’re transitioning from that to a very smooth touchdown or as smooth as you can possibly get in most situations, obviously not in all situations. You’re not always going to want to plant your wheels down smooth as butter but that is essentially what you’re doing is you’re transitioning from the descent angle to an angle or a descent rate or a touchdown where the situation. Because if you just get that one descent rate, you just drive the thing right in the ground, you’d really bend up the aircraft and cause millions of dollars in virtual damage if you will. That’s what the flare is. But, this flare process is the most specific part you need to pay attention too and this will really, really help you out. I think you guys are going to love this, because it gives you some specific guidelines finally on how to land a jet properly.
Again, just like the final approach, the flare is based 100% on visual cues. You should not be looking in the airplane. You should not be looking in the airplane at this point. You should be looking outside the airplane using your peripheral vision and that’s very difficult to do in a simulator but you should be getting the visual cues from outside the airplane.
With that said, now, everything that I’m about to tell you, all of these next few steps, they all happen simultaneously. It’s kind of like this three-step process or four-step process where you’re doing several things all at once to smoothly land the airplane.
Here’s what you need to do. Smoothly roll back power at about 50 to 20 feet. When you hear that altitude callout – I found that 30 feet is where I’ve really tried to work it into. You want to smoothly roll back your power between 50 and 20 feet, 50 is a little high, 20 is a little low, and so it’s somewhere in between. You can get used to it, but that’s when you want to start rolling back your power. You listen for those altitude callouts and you start to roll back that power. Don’t be afraid to roll back your power aggressively if you need to because you’re about to touchdown. You really don’t want to be carrying extra power as you roll out this flare. This is a very sensitive part of this procedure and again like I told it’s all simultaneous. We’re going to go in rolling back your power to essentially which is the next step. You want to be idle by the time you’re about to touchdown. When you roll out that flare, you want to be idle on the power.
It’s a transition from that descent rate and then you start to roll out between 50 and 20 feet and then you’re pulling up as you’re flaring or pulling back on the stick. You’re pulling out that power simultaneously. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with it as well but don’t be too aggressive. You’ve just got to find that sweet spot. This transition from where you’re at between 50 and 20 feet, usually again for me I find that it’s about 30 feet. After it’s transitioned and the thrust roll back, it only takes a few seconds and you’ve got two different skills to hone in here at this particular point. We’re not to the touchdown point yet. You’ve got the how fast and how aggressively you’re rolling back the power and at what altitude you are actually starting your flare. You’re flaring and pulling that power simultaneously. I hope I’ve said that enough. I’m just trying to repeat it for you guys so you understand and so you’re not missing anything there. It only takes several seconds. It’s very quick and even just a millisecond on each end matters. Pulling back too early or starting your power reduction too late, all of these stuff matters in a big way during this entire transition.
The idea with the pitch and again this is all simultaneously is you want to do so smoothly. If you pull back too hard on the yolk when you’re doing this flare then you have the potential of floating the aircraft and especially if you’re carrying too much power at that point, it becomes a big problem if you flared and suddenly you’re 20 feet above the runway and you’re flared and kind of level and you still have some power and you’re going to be floating a long way down the runway. That’s why I say that milliseconds to this and you’ll have to practice this over and over and over again. You just need to watch out for those particular details, is really the timing. The timing is huge, so you need to watch out for that.
Again, the pitch, this whole process, the pitch and the rollback and the thrust is a simultaneous thing that happens. Now that we’ve done that, our aircraft should essentially be in a situation where we’re settling into the runway. This in and of itself when we’ve already made a good effort to get pitch just right and we made a good effort to roll back the power, now we’re set up to touchdown correctly. This is why earlier I said that you don’t need to smoothly land the aircraft. It’s not like landing a GA airplane because with a fun little Cessna, we can squeak landings all day and it’s fun to not even feel the touchdown. But with a jet, you do not want to float. You have a lot of runway or sometimes too little runway, you have rather a heavy aircraft to deal with as you are on this runway, and chewing up a bunch of runway by floating too far is just very dangerous.
My point here is don’t be afraid to plant your wheels down. There is nothing wrong with that. At this point, you have idle power. You should essentially be flying the airplane into that touchdown. If you’re floating too much, you got to fly it down. You’re still flying the airplane. You’re not just stalling. You actually got to fly the airplane down. Again, floating is not desired here at all. That is what you are trying to avoid. You’re trying to get to that touchdown or you can then get all your stuff out, meaning your slats, and you can start your reverse thrust. You can put that nose wheel down. All of those things to get the airplane stopped.
The touchdown, this entire process, takes small quick and deliberate adjustment to make sure that the flare process all happens correctly. Really, there is no difference between the actual flare and the touchdown. All these all happens within just a few seconds. These are all like little tiny skills you need to work on. The combination of timing and quality of what you’ve done during that process will determine how great the touchdown is. It starts with the approach really, to the final approach, to the flare and then that will determine your touchdown.
Although I’ve said that it’s not about touching down smoothly, unfortunately passengers do determine a pilots ability to land smoothly. That’s how they judge a pilot is by how smooth he lands. They don’t really care that he went across continents to get them where they are, and that in and of itself is an amazing thing but that’s how pilots are judged. You do want to touchdown if you can, if the conditions call for it, smoothly if you can. If you can. There are situations where you don’t touchdown smoothly. Some of those situations would be if you’re in a crosswind landing situation. It is very difficult and you really can’t do that smoothly. It’s just the aircraft is really doing a lot of work where if you have a strong crosswind to where you have to get into the place and often that is quite a hard and aggressive maneuver that you just have to do with the airplane. It isn’t very comfortable for passengers.
Another would be if you’re planning into standing snow or water on the runway, you don’t want to be just landing yourself on to a smooth hydroplaning situation. That’s I guess the touchdown. That’s the “T” in the AFFTR acronym.
Now we’re on to the “R.” This is the last part, the rollout. You want to smoothly bring the nose down after landing and again you’re still flying the airplane, you want to fly that nose down, you’re still working with the yolk, so you want to fly that nose wheel on to the runway. During the rollout, you also want to make sure that all of your systems are working properly, things like autobreak, slats and reverse thrust. All of those things start to matter a whole lot at this point because now we need to get the airplane stopped, and then maintaining alignment just like any other landing is very important for the rollout and you need to also think about exiting safely. You don’t want to exit too fast. Exiting too late can be potentially annoying for people behind you that are trying to land if things are crowded. You want to get off the runway when you can. You don’t have to get off too aggressively, but just keep in mind that you need to exit safely and exit in a timely manner.
Remember that acronym, AFFTR, that is approach, final approach, flare, touchdown and rollout. Work on what I call the escalation of precision. The further you’re getting down that approach path all the way to touchdown, the more and more and more precise you need to be with your control movements to make it happen. But I know that if you do those things, then you can do really, really well with it.
The big key here is that practice makes perfect. This is the big, big thing here. As pilots, we spend very, very little time actually in the flare process because it only takes a few seconds to do this entire procedure. Even over the broad career with tens of thousands of hours as a pilot, you’re only going to have several minutes to several hours of practice in that actual situation where you’re flaring the aircraft.
Practice is a big, big thing. One thing that I really, really recommend and this is how I learned to do this initially, is save a flight file for each aircraft you love. What you want to be doing is you want be setting up varying situations. Most importantly, at least from a beginner’s standpoint is you want to be doing straight-in and already stabilized setup for the approach. All you have to do is worry about maneuvering the airplane down the touchdown. Well, through rollout I supposed too, but that’s all you want to do, is worry about doing that over and over again. But you can also try base to final or downwind and then what you want to do is you want to be restarting this flight over and over and over again, practicing for hours and just getting it right. Just over and over and over again. Eventually, you’ll just nail it. You’ll really start to get this down when you’re practicing this procedure over and over and over again.
You can mix it up like I said with different situations. You can also mix up the weather and wind and things like that. Mostly just wind. I wouldn’t add too much weather. I wouldn’t add rain or anything but mainly add weather or rather wind. And so you can feel the differences of how that looks. Now, you won’t want to add too much wind because then we’re talking about a completely different procedure when you’re getting into a difficult crosswind landing.
Another way to get proficient and stay sharp is to have competitions with friends. I found that very fun when I first started and it just adds kind of an intensity to this whole process to make you nail that target, hit the landing really well when you’re taking turns, seeing who can do a better landing. That’s essentially what it all is. Practice is a huge thing. If you know that after a procedure, then you can come in and you can practice all these.
Now, there is actually an add-on out there that is really great for this process, because one of the time-consuming things about this is actually getting your airplane set up for this situation. It’s called FS Instant Approach Pro and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes and you guys can go and pick that up if you’d like. Essentially what it does is it sets up your airplane on final approach, all set up, ready to go at a particular distance and you’re set up at that runway. I think you can even choose any runway you want in the world and it will just set you up. It also set you up on base. It will set you up on a downwind if you want that. A lot of varying situations and this will just mean that you can focus on this procedure, this AFFTER procedure that we have talked about and you won’t have to focus on anything else.
Last but not least, I just want to mention this quickly. I have a few more notes that I’m actually going to share. You need to know the difference between very light jets, small corporate jets, smaller narrow body jets like 737s, that type, that range, and then wide bodies. Obviously, all of these aircraft, they land differently and have different characteristics and the cockpit sets higher above the ground than others or the cockpit is further ahead of the wheels than others. You need to be aware of the target for those aircraft are different. The visual cues are different. Just be aware of that. Just be aware of the airplane you’re in, and if you’re having trouble landing that particular aircraft, ask yourself, “Is it due to the visual differences of what I’m seeing in this particular aircraft and just the aircraft itself.”
If the wheels are a hundred feet behind you, then obviously you’re going to be landing ahead of your target point. There will be some differences in your approach in your landing procedure. But as far as how this after procedure works, it’s all the same. These differences with airplanes mainly come with your target and how it looks when you’re flaring. The actual distance that you’re flaring at doesn’t necessarily change but it’s really what it looks like when you’re going through that procedure, when you’re in that mandatory visual phase.
Landing the airplane or the aircraft on your own can be an absolute blast and I know you guys would love to do that and you’d love to know how to do great landings because it is one of those things that is sought out greatly by anyone. Everyone wants to know how to land great and obviously it’s a very rewarding experience when you do that correctly. Landing a jet again isn’t something that is easy but each little step you do here with practice and repetition will mean that you do really, really well with this and eventually you’ll just get it and it will make sense and you’ll continue to do it really well.
So that does it for this episode of Aviator Cast. I want to give credit to Atrasolis for providing us with the great music for this podcast. You can download his aviation-themed album for free by liking Atrosolis on Facebook and there should be a link to that in the show notes so go ahead and check that out. Huge, huge thanks also goes out to the great crew at Angle of Attack. They worked very hard to keep things going behind the scenes so we can do great things like Aviator Cast and Aviator 90 and a lot of the things you see here at Angle of Attack that come out in the public. A lot of stuff happens in private that keeps all of that going. Big thanks to those guys. Definitely, I am only really the voice of Angle of Attack. They are really the workhorse of everything that happens behind the scenes.
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If you also want to be notified through email, you can do that at You’ll see the subscribe area there for out email. If you want to learn more about our training products, you can head over to We can start you out with the basics with our free Aviator90 course which is a lot of training for free. But you can also get into instrument procedures with Aviator Pro which we touched on as well and that’s actually our largest product, believe it or not, it’s Aviator Pro. Very in-depth. Over a hundred episodes of instrument flying and multiengine and communications, VATSIM and all sorts of things.
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Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of this AviatorCast. We are truly grateful to have you here and have you as a part of our community and to be so engaged in this wonderful passion for flying things that we have. I just really appreciate you guys being here and hope you continue to enjoy AviatorCast. Until next time, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast Episode 3: What Makes a Solid, IFR Aviator | How to Nail Virtual Jet Landings- Every Time appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Feb 01 2014

1hr 21mins


Rank #3: AviatorCast Episode 96: Ken Wittekiend: DPE | Checkrides | Promark Aviation | SAFE

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Today’s Flight Plan

The Checkride — that beautiful and nerve-racking event which every pilot, if he/she is to become a pilot, must at one time face. As aviators, are we missing the mark on how to approach a checkride? According to Ken Whittekiend, an FAA DPE, it doesn’t have to be all that bad.

Ken is a top notch instructor in Texas who specializes in off-airport training with tailwheel and floatplane ratings offered at his outfit, Promark Aviation. On top of that, Ken has also give more than 400 checkrides. You could say he knows a thing or two about the whole process.

Through this podcast with Ken we will find out how to approach a checkride with calm nerves, options to a pilot if things aren’t going well, and of course a DPEs perspective on what they are really looking for. All-in-all, this is an in-depth look at what the checkride process is like so that you can pass with flying colors.

Useful Links

Promark Aviation


A huge thanks to Ken for joining us on the show. We’d absolutely honored to have your insight!


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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[transcript] [0:00] A license to learn.
This is a heater cast episode ninety six calling only pilots planes and using us in aviation lovers implanted at,
radiator cast join us weekly reference to become better masters of the year to introduce refreshers lessons training topics simulator set up,
dang you’re talking using more,
like a lot and yeah yourself for this week’s episode of the podcast reply complete fuel on more than flight plan filed let’s kick the tires and light the fires here’s your humble host chris palmer.
[0:39] Welcome welcome welcome baby years you’ve landed at the heater cast my name is chris colder.
As a pilot i faced many growth experiences over the years like all pilots,
i’ve had to insert myself through all the study training and set backs it take to become a pilot and add more ratings.
There are no participation trophies in a violation you either cut it.
For you don’t however with enough training study and hard work just about anyone can achieve with to many seems an elusive dream.
That of dancing and soaring with the birds i’ll be it in an airplane so welcome to this the ninety six episode of aviator cast,
it’s a little crazy that we’re coming up on that one hundred episode what the something very special on that day.
[1:32] This podcast is brought to you by angle of attack if i turn media production studio which i run.
And it’s a great time this is this broadcast is coming to you from seaplane court angle of attack headquarters.
In homer alaska if you’ve never been to aviator cast before let me share a little bit about it.
Is there a cast is all about a via tion passion this is where you can come for a regular dose of inspiration in aviation so that comes in the form of interviews perhaps maybe it’s insight into the industry.
We may talk about training topics every now and again more or less we share things that are interesting in pilot training in getting you in the cockpit keep the flying.
And yeah i could even be staying in the passion for aviation of your are a deep into that career.
Or maybe even maybe you just need to connect.
To the grass reach the community every once in a while well this is a great place to do that maybe you’re reigniting the flame after years of being out of the va tion know there are so many people.
That go through that initial.
Trial of getting a pilots license maybe they get to sell maybe they don’t that many people drop out of it for a variety of reasons.
And later i want to come back so maybe one of those that are coming back maybe are getting the courage to fly maybe or building up your resources to be able to fly.
This is a place where we talk about a lot of subjects of course we can talk about everything but we regularly talk about basically how to keep you flying that’s what i’m all about it’s what i’m trying to do myself.
[3:13] And i hope that we share some insight something that will help you along the way so on today’s episode as you guys know,
i am studying for my commercial pilot license this is something that i procrastinated on years ago.
And i really should done it when my opportunities were easier and better but i didn’t and so i’m literally paying the price now.
Finding my own all that sort of thing.
And i’m going after it so i’ve already passed my written test and got the check right coming up here in a few weeks i have more training and more study to do.
The wooden laying out kind of a process here on a heater cast and that starts with studying for the written test how do you do that,
it goes to me now i see effie’s perspective that we talked about on the last episode with dave her leg.
And then we are going to talk today to can we can.
Kenwood a can is that final step in the process he is a dpe,
designated pilot examiner who is an examiner designated by the faa to.
[4:23] Give pilots check rides and give them basically their license after they’ve gone through what is called oral and practical test in other words you would sit down with a guy like can.
And you have a conversation about the particular license you are going after and what it pertains to.
[4:45] Different things that he would ask and want your knowledge on and then you don’t do a practical test which is your in the airplane your showing your flying skills for that particular license,
obviously me coming up with a commercial license.
I gained a lot of great feedback and information from can because i really want to approach this next license like i had with my instrument rating with.
With optimism and without stress and go into it just knowing that i’m prepared and that anything other than.
All of the you know what stress and staying up late at night the night before.
Blast of is just going to harm my ability to do that has correctly so can help this kind of the mess the file lot of that stuff.
And show you his perspective and what he’s looking for when he sits down with a pilot application.
So great guide can he runs flight school called pro market deviation it’s in texas these guys.
[5:47] Specialize in off airport type of stuff so they do floor ratings there they do.
[5:54] Telling dortmund stay actually get into the back country little bit and taxes which is pretty rare.
[5:59] You know there’s there’s a lot of aviation in texas but it’s mostly runway to runway so that’s pretty great and unique about what these guys do,
he’s a big deviation safety advocate and it’s a top notch guy i mentioned before as a guy that that flew to alaska all the way from texas to the seven week trip flea two and three last with some friends.
And learned a great deal and had a great time so this is the guy that has been there kind of down that is giving over four hundred check rides.
And he can def give us a great perspective on what to expect when you go and sit down for a check right so.
That is what we’re gonna be doing on this episode before we get to that content as always i read a couple reviews on the show now if i do read your review on the show i will send you an aviator cast t-shirt no matter where you are.
We have a couple reviews today that come exclusively from the us.
However i send these things to australia i sent in two almost every mainland european country including.
You okay scotland ireland i send these things about everywhere.
And australia and new zealand i mean they’ve gone just about every where in the world so.
That is the beauty of the cv asian community it’s it’s a worldwide community so again if you choose to leave a review on the show.
On itunes stitch your google play another resource where i can see that review and i read it on the show.
[7:31] No i will send that teachers okay here are are few reviews for today this one comes to us from chase his user name is c m three underscore pasx he gives us five stars,
and says great podcast to stay current with aviation,
and his comment is i got my private pilot license in october twenty fifteen and have been looking for more ways to keep my head and maybe asian this is a great podcast keep them coming chase.
Chase congratulations on your recent one year anniversary of having your pilots license and sure you absolute remember that day and i’m really glad he also mention that your keeping your head any deviation.
Sometimes we don’t need to be flying to keep are head any ba tion we just need to keep our head and it by being part of a community and as or being some material every now and again.
And there are many great people out there where you could go and listen to or watch or whatever.
A lot of them are my friends and it this is such a tight-knit community and i’m very grateful that you’re here.
Using us as exactly that keep your head any of the asian so that’s awesome make sure you email me or give me my email here in a second and i will send you that t-shirt.
The second review comes to us from white lines blue skies that the user name.
He or she is from the usa gives us five stars and with the title of great deviation podcast,
well always on the search for great aviation podcasts i don’t know how i missed this one having on my pp and alaska i truly understand the beauty of the land of which chris speaks about.
[9:08] Flying over it really makes me miss it and i want to get back,
there until then this great podcast will have to do things for continuing to produce a quality product,
and keep it up big things white lines blue skies really appreciate it i water when you got your license in alaska unite a net this guy recently actually through instagram.
[9:30] Who his family is the on the airplane and now flying to knit in the seventies.
And he took these pictures of what my home town used to look like in the seventies and incidently enough,
pictures from the airplane that i now flying and it’s just crazy how different is you know it back then there was nothing at the airport was very minimal but just called to see that history so we’d love to have you back sometime like you said.
Come up here if you’re in the area let’s go flying i’m sure we can figure something out so boldly you.
Write me me at eighty to cast out com,
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[10:32] So right before we get in to the podcast here i’m coming up on that commercial license.
It’s it’s a process and are still going through my flights and still training with my local instructor here as i mentioned before i’m gonna be leaving alaska.
Going down to the lower forty eight or outside as we call it here in alaska to.
[10:54] And do some more training down there and to do my check right so i’m actually gonna be doing my check ride in cambria california.
On the thirteenth and i have much to prepare for before that time so lots of stuff coming up and also.
Is the new year coming so i’m thinking i had to all these new goals and things that i have and just really looking forward to that and i think coming up here another episode are gonna be.
Talking bout new year resolutions and how to how to effectively do those at least the tools that i’m using to do those.
And maybe give you guys some thoughts on how to make twenty seventeen,
a big deviation your for yourself so that those are my thoughts those are the reviews that is what a v eight has all about if your new here again welcome,
and now we’re going to get into hair talk,
with can what can cause a special lady we’re very honored to have a special guest of mine friend kenwood can how you doing can.
Good chris how are you tonight doing fantastic you know it’s it’s snowing right outside my window here i imagine the weather down there in texas is probably a little bit better.
[12:10] Yeah we’ve read about snow charge people who know about snow we just don’t see much of it here yeah that’s for sure pretty good flying days down there and when are that’s for sure.
Can you and i met mainly through the avenue of.
They say which is the society of deviation of it educators and also we’ve seen each other a few times at red bird migration down there in texas.
And have we can a little bit of the friendship overtime here and.
You have a very special position in aviation and give people a bit of an idea of.
What you’re doing now and a via tion both with your flight school and and what you do in conjunction with the faa if you will.
Sure am and you right you know we became acquainted through,
doing work that we’re both doing with safe which is an organization i am very pleased to be involved with one of the board members and they’re doing great work,
and your help with their website and so forth this is much appreciated as well.
This is primarily is shorter than bitch training business and maybe asian.
We do a lot of tail wheel training we do a lot of low training we do some basic.
Primary instruction instrument private pilot so forth but that are really offices is on sort of a back country orientation,
to help tyler to want to get to the level where they feel confident and competent and taking airplanes and going to some of the more challenging areas and it doesn’t need to be something all the way into the wellness but there are a lot of.
[13:53] Areas that are being developed and opened up the back into strips and pilots are in hamburg of that an interesting and so we try to meet that need but we can.
Definitely seems like you guys are on the on the forefront of a big search the area you see how well.
The contractor cubs are doing right now you know that’s if it is this big wave of adventure type pilots are flying in the back country.
He kinda goes hand in hand honestly with the obsession over.
[14:24] Alaska and all these discovery channel shows that are coming on here there’s just this desire to take a deviation.
[14:31] Again like it was in the very beginning.
Two places where you can access and so it’s pretty cool to see that happen and in your particular case with pro mark which is the name of your school is very cool to see that happen.
Right there in texas you know it you wouldn’t know.
Because a lot of schools don’t do this you wouldn’t know the school like that actually exists right there you guys the flow ratings and again all the.
Tell will and back interest at the time now so three fun stuff i like it.
You know nothing from alaska it’s that’s right up my alley will we we feel very blessed to be and what,
they call the hill country of texas where we do have chain of lakes that allows us to do the flow training activities we have a number of grass strips and even some off airport areas where we can take to taylor plane and then people will will,
come quite a distance in order to access that kind of training in one of the things that were doing even this weekend is that is hosting,
patrick grandma knows course that he does around the country on still tips and teaching people all evening airplane.
[15:42] Like bananas and two cans to be able to understand and those same techniques are used in the back country and all.
[15:50] Tell them to be confident comfortable in taking those airplanes on the some grass strips and and again getting to go places where they might not otherwise girl so that’s fine course to teach as well.
[16:01] Great.
So what was three when the clock a little bit before we get into you deeply into what problem are does and and what you do.
In hand with the faa let’s re wind the clock how did you fall in love with the deviation back to the very beginning when maybe when you’re a kid lets hear that story.
You know my dad was a very young p fifty one pilot writing and will work to,
hello in by the time i came along he didn’t he it stop flying and he did fly with me and i learned when i was quite young and i was in college actually and he did fly with me a couple times but,
but he really didn’t have any interest in the and pursuing that after his military career but i think that’s are sort of probably planted the seed with may and i really didn’t act on it until i was in college and i just had an opportunity one day to,
to go out to laporte take basically what we would cover color discovery flight and i think that set the hook and it sort of went from there,
so worked up through the typical ga career path where you struggle to finally get your private commercial instrument,
and then i ultimately was able to get my flight instructor certificate and knew immediately that,
really more where my heart was at was in teaching and training so what i’ve been doing it really.
Ever sense often people ask how long have i been blind and so well generally about the time the dinosaurs died off started but it but i did do it full time until about two thousand two.
[17:39] And have an opportunity after a career change to open up flight school and and co incident with the move out to the central part taxes and we’ve been here ever sense.
Great so in that time you or your part time instructing all you’re doing another career sounds like and then direct two thousand two to sounds like just after nine eleven you open the school.
And you know that equals about fifteen years that you’ve been in business now his it is always been kind of this back country focus are how has your school evolved over the years.
And it wasn’t evolution that’s a great way to think about it originally it was just we were just doing basic primary instruction,
and that’s true as often happens set of circumstances were an airplane became available and an instructor came along that wanted something to do to help out who had an interest in that,
we will just began to recognize that there were no matches that we can exploit and that people have an interest in doing and that shit,
both where we were and also i think our mindset i’ve always been,
attracted and amber do with the whole back entry experience i love doing that and it had the opportunity is as you and i know to take super gavin go to alaska a few years ago,
and then i think that further showcase the fact that,
this is just a wonderful experience and and it’s something that a lot of people appreciate and they’re interested in so we just saw that is a natural opportunity and and the float plane.
[19:12] Happen got the same way the airplane became available we thought that was something that we could do successfully here and then we had the the,
parts and pieces but i am an examiner for the day and when you doing flow training you dad because it’s a separate rating you have to be able to have an easy way to get tested mastered so,
having the dpe availability a couple with the airplane in the instructor made it pretty easy turn key package.
That’s great and it’s a kind of it kinda gives me an idea of what i’d like to do with the school i’d like to open i’d like to get kind of in the position rear and where.
I’m doing a part time then kind of evolved over time is even honestly as i improve as a pilot and.
[20:01] And as i go beyond just those basic just eating private pilot for example getting into teaching maybe the more.
Risky stuff at the back country things sounds exciting to have all that way in and having done a little bit of low training myself haven’t done a lot of.
Back to training per se the meaning you know mountain flying type stuff specifically landing in in tight locations that,
is not not with a four point but that’s where the training from a professional but having so the float plane stuff i can tell our listeners that.
Having a full rating even though i haven’t got mine quite yet i’m gonna get a priest and i’m actually gonna do the commercial at on the price per hour at on.
[20:46] It’s so much fun it just so much fun diving into this corner of aviation and not a lot of people go into and.
It’s just the blasted you know it right outside my office here in a moved into this office about eight months ago.
[21:03] Is a seaplane base right here in homer alaska it i hear the sea planes all day the they drive me crazy because i just wanna be flying in them and.
It’s a damn lie part of my life now but it’s such a fun part of aviation to be a part of because your.
You’re able to access different places where you just don’t see when you’re flying an airplane that just lands on a big concrete runway now it is just so much different and.
And has so much for it to one of the things that we make a point with our float plane customers.
Is that it very much mirrors the things that we teach in the back country,
courses because when you’re operating a flood plain you’re not planning on prepared runways you’re having to make a valuations about.
Changing conditions that are gonna be different day-to-day right having to figure out where the wins coming from and what he have sufficient length to get in and out of,
place your candle and soap and there are a lot of parallels alot of connections that you can make between off airport operations both on wheels and on flow and even from an insurance standpoint insurance companies.
The reason why.
[22:12] Reason why you cancel or really why you don’t see people actually getting an entire private pilot in full plane is because all floor plan operations are considered off airport.
And you have to have the least of my insurance company and owners policy to only airplane or be named anna.
To fly to float airplane full plane so kind of interesting there that even they consider all of off airport lakes if you will.
To be to be off airport so pretty interesting.
And it is true that it’s very difficult to find somebody who will in today’s world re either a detail will or plan or float plane but that doesn’t support maybe surprisingly doesn’t diminish the interest,
who had a lot of people call and say well after yeah i do your training can we rent be the airplane will,
we can’t because of insurance requirements and they all say all that’s too bad but i want to do it anyway but yeah see great value and great fun in it and and that’s that’s always what you hear,
i would i would say that for anyone that is really feeling the drudgery of of maybe just.
On the day to day maybe you’re falling out of passing the deviation assist you now same old thing go get a flight rating if you don’t have it cuz it’ll just it’ll spark a fire again it’s fun stuff and it’s really not all that difficult to do.
Correct it typically can get it done in two and a half three days and,
you’re absolutely right we got a lot of customers for both to will and to float that are flying professionally and they got little bit jaundiced or will be jaded about it.
[23:52] And and i have not found one of them yet,
set the first time youtube and the plot plan you go land in the water that the program and i mean it’s just it’s just huge fine,
and it also times to something else that i think is really important and that is a nine if assistant focus on basic instinct the flying skills in stick and rudder skills,
yeah there’s a lot of discussion going on in our industry now about lost control and accident and how to prevent those sort of things and one of the things that comes directly out of,
learning to fly tail we’ll learning to fly floats is a return to those basic stick and rudder skills and i think that’s part of the joy is that it is,
distilled down to it simple acids and people just find it to be rewarding and huge fund and and and i just think that’s part of the the reason people like it to much.
Yeah or on the world now of screens and buttons are not all pilots and i pads and cameras all these things all these.
Really nice shiny things there they’re fine but they’re distracting us from.
The core aviator skills at an ipad taking early try to make the distinction between aviator and pilot you know i didn’t call this pilot cast color tv or cast they just really like.
The thought of the old a beaters now looking at charles lindbergh specifically since he’s such an icon.
As an aviator now he don’t have all these real box it there wasn’t decades of of rules and thoughts and feelings behind.
[25:28] Him helping him he went out there and he did it and not saying that that’s a safe attitude to have necessarily,
but there’s this course kill just you and the airplane this so much different than.
You know what you’re going to do pressing on auto pilot button or something in that the cool thing about fall.
Flow flying and what you realize right away when your student is your flying the airplane all the time from the second you push back from the doc,
you are flying the airplane even when you’re on the water i know this sounds interesting but.
You know you have to manipulate the car controls and things to get the airplane to have it where you want to go and.
And the take off and landings are in a simple it’s it’s very much all about specific pitching feeling getting up on stopping,
what’s the little thing that just it is a very rich experience and it’s a lot of fun so in courage people to especially if they’re in.
[26:25] In texas and surrounding states to check you guys out pro marquis the asian.
[26:30] I am seeing on i think the reason why a lot of people like that flow out on is because it can almost be a flying vacation you can go to that area you can get it fairly quickly and easily.
And it’s almost like a vacation sure you may not be able to rent the airplane but it’s rich and fun experience.
And an retail will is same way we get a lot of people who call are come up to do the tail will course in they may not really have any need for them in some cases are building an airplane that,
will be taylor the thing about line one but oftentimes it’s just for the experience for the same thing they’ve heard a lot about it and we try to d mystified we try to make it huge fun for them,
but in in the course of learning to fly the taylor what we’re really doing,
is going back and revisiting these in stock they flying skills not really so much better being tail we’ll it’s about being a simple airplane,
what were gonna go to places that they’ve not been before like grass strips and then some cases off airport so i think they find that to be,
how did again distillation of what in many cases they remember about why they learn to find the first place,
yeah that’s a perfect example so.
[27:48] You’re doing that interest off the school is obviously something you’re passionate about it said it on a seminar that you did in oshkosh about the specific subject of you making a very long journey.
To you and through alaska and back from texas.
In your cups so why don’t you share that story little bit embry finally had a whole seven are on this but wanted to briefly share people what your experiences were.
And maybe some of the outcomes are thought you had coming out of that experience.
What is one of the things that that i think resonated with me was it as it is with a lot of pilots and when i do the seminar this is a question i always ask is how many people been to alaska,
how many people would like to go and almost everybody in the audience raise your hand i know it is,
you the only one that raise my hand how many of you are lifelong alaska has the owner raise my hand and then you ask,
how many of you would like to fly alaska and the rest of everyone is their hands it it’s true it’s a bucket list item to use an old hackneyed phrase,
but it really is something that the people dream about and i was the same way it was something that i thought,
got one day i’d like to have that opportunity and i appreciate mail more than even i did before we head that there are certainly breakfast skills,
that you need to have in hand before you tackle something like that and in so it’s not something that you can just jump off and go do.
[29:21] But if you have the training and if you are,
willing to be done to it to be studious and thought falling conservative about your approach to it then it is within the reach of many people and there are lots of different ways to do it you don’t have to go to the,
farthest corner of the wilderness and and a super cop you can go to alaska and a bonanza and have a wonderful experience just a different experience but but taking a,
the airplane an airplane that is set up and and suitable for going to the back country of alaska is probably the pinnacle of that experience because you get to go places that very few people ever get a chance to see and and it,
on one hand is stunningly beautiful but it’s also it demands a lot.
For the challenges that are income but in that and in all sorts of ways in the fact that you are so remote things can go wrong quickly,
you can go from everything is wonderful to oh my word world travel here very rapidly and so you have to understand,
how you can minimize and mitigate some of that rich can eliminated which you can by being careful and thoughtful and doing,
your homework for you go you can you can turn it into something that can be relatively safe and and that’s that was our project one of the ways that you do that is.
[30:51] It’s best if you go with,
somebody has been for and it’s better if you go as a group that it is if you go individually and and i was fortunate in that there were some,
people that became dear friends of mine that were going and i was able to hook up and and they provide a lot of that mentoring and guidance on the trip,
having had that history of being up there several times before i think the coolest.
Things that you said and the seminar is from my wrist category where you said that.
[31:25] If your eyes gonna sit back and you’re not gonna go out there and risk anything your not going to get the reward not is not you make sure to say that’s not saying that you just go out in your risky pilot but.
That there is reward with the rest can you can’t get the reward without it and.
It’s real you presenting a seminar aight i got the feeling that like your saying you it was very well prepared.
Even though you’re an experienced pilot you went thru training yourself you guys are careful you are cautious you you may be.
When slower than a lot of people would you know i think a lot of people get impatient and some of the situations that you are in and want to just kinda jumping and go but this is a place where you do that so that was maybe wise advice you had prior but.
I’m just i thought i was really need because the time i was also i was,
i wasn’t in a position where i’m taking alaska in as a pilot in little bits and chunks and trying to learn from everyone that i possibly can.
Even even little local airports are gravel strips you know i get on some facebook pages and ask people hey who’s been in here before can you tell me what the windsor like what things i should watch out for this and that.
[32:40] And i’m just taking in and one little bit at a time and.
[32:44] And what i was going through when i saw your seminar was i had a lot of people in my life may not allow the several that were telling me hey man the the type of flying you’re doing just seems really risky and.
[32:56] And i don’t think is very wise and i can tell you right now and in the audience that i actually wasn’t doing anything particular risky.
It’s just that people solid i was landing on a gravel strict with mountains surrounding in and all these things are think you will this guy this guy is obviously going places that are pretty dangerous and.
[33:16] And so it in a way it’s comforting for you to say you can’t get the reward without the risk in.
[33:24] And even the very smaller size taking it it just it was comforting to me for some reason to hear that from someone like you that.
[33:32] It has so much experience and so that i look up to in your position that the girls are things that you can get unless you just kinda died and.
[33:41] And it seems are there so maybe you can talk to that a little bit more cuz i think that point is really useful for for the listeners.
Sure you know one of the things that i think and and reflecting back on the experience because when you’re,
when you’re doing something like that you’re you’re really busy,
and there are long days and it’s the teaching and it’s it’s just very intense so you don’t really have much opportunity,
to reflect on the situation that you’re in and what your gonna learn from it and tell after the fact and you can look back on it and so as i was putting that seminar together,
i’m thinking about calling it the no reservations story alaska that the fit for that is that it’s not just about.
Navigation in the back country it’s not even just got a violation it’s about how you choose to do things and all aspects,
being willing to push those boundaries to be willing to be out of your comfort zone and to explore new things knowing,
that those opportunities may not come again and there are no guarantees and so if you don’t latch on to those chances,
that you have to do those kind of things you look back later and and i think regret not having done some of those that doesn’t mean that you do it without planning and thought,
and why messer skills and lol using technology and all the other things that you can do but,
it’s it’s often easy to say that’s too hard or too far cost to much and as a result you miss those wonderful experiences that happen.
[35:20] When you get out on the edge a little bit and you meet the people that you run into new interact with them it’s just as you say a very rich experience and and i think for anybody who’s done it they they look back on and they say,
yeah that was really difficult in some ways it was extremely challenging there are times when it was uncomfortable but golly it was worth every bit of it,
yeah definitely i think of all you just said in the one thing that stood out to me as kind of the the glue to all that is the people.
Cuz if i had to go it alone here in alaska trying to learn what to do around here where to go.
[36:01] It would be so risky i i do not want to have to learn lessons so many a beers up here have learned before,
is it just a house relationships and those people to talk to and and and get information from advice from has been so helpful to me.
[36:17] Not only in specific instances like i said like specific airports but also just in general.
What’s the general feel of how people do things different around here because it my attitude coming up here new i moved up here about six years ago was.
[36:34] I’m a new pilot i should treat myself as though i’m a new private pilot appear.
And i should treat ab asian as if it’s in a completely different country cuz really that’s what it is up here so.
I think from that perspective it it’s really help me take very small steps toward.
And those things you’re talking about those experiences that you will get before and as a perfect example just across the bay here,
there’s a large i will call the harding ice field and i’m i’m sure you flew or some ice fields and you can not hear.
[37:10] The all the sunrise really careful it i took time in the mountains.
And just a little bit further every time i got controls what the windsor doing in and i can learn how these mountains are interacting with the wind and.
[37:26] And eventually have my right to fly over these large eyes filled with with limitless glaciers you know all around you.
[37:33] At sunset with all the pastel colors and is just so amazing that i didn’t get there by just going out and i go with let’s go let’s go check out this very remote area this potentially dangerous i didn’t necessarily do that so.
[37:46] Just right in line with what you’re saying just one little bit of time learning things.
[37:52] And you know the one of the stores that i know you heard me tell mom when we were together it is absolutely true and i think illustrates this idea that that the risks are real,
but you have to be accepting of the fact that the,
those are the conditions that sure the price of admission and now we we just crossed,
the border and we were in a stunningly beautiful area of canada,
cool little switching on and it was up to a big river valley with mountains that went out from the the color water all the way up to who glaciers are,
on top of which was cover sheet and we’re flying long and i’m up it may be.
[38:35] Five hundred feet or so above the surface thinking is i’m looking around oh my gosh i hope the sun keeps running cuz i don’t see any good place to put it and now,
i have my friend down below whose mike is in wants me to and i’m watching him from mild finished about five hundred feet,
and he’s never back and forth from one side of the ballot in the other and i called him and said mike what you doing down there inches what the main symbol what you can do for quits,
where you gonna put it in there was kind of a long silence on the radio in the finally killed the,
translate button essential can what are you gonna do if it quit can i look around and i thought you know is right,
so i said i’ll be right there we went in with blue for long always it it really low elevation because it really didn’t change anything except how long it was gonna be before you crashed,
right so so it’s just their places,
and you were talking about the ice fields their places where you realize it just passed run it can quit here because there’s not gonna be a good outcome.
[39:43] Okay so i know people of hearing about the alaska aviation thing and it’s so great to just get a little bit of your experience there again i,
again even been from here really enjoyed that so let’s move on to the pe thing because that this is this is a mystery that i think a lot of people get.
Wound up on the whole check writing that the fear of the check ride not sleeping the night before all these things are pilots go through.
Many of which i think are for unnecessary reasons and really.
[40:17] It’s always a cultural thing live in some of them and some of happens it’s not totally necessary so this is kinda gonna be.
[40:26] Question after sort of format where.
[40:30] Where you can just of course share all your knowledge that you can but if i have a question i’m just gonna jumping in and will try to d mystified this whole dpe thing.
Get an idea for where the actual position is about and how you approach it from your perspective when your taking on a student that’s that’s getting a rating so.
[40:49] Aright or certificate so that’ll be pretty fun so first off why don’t you money share a little bit about maybe the the history of the pe position.
How would be he’s interact with the faa what the overall role is for the peas in getting pilots,
their certificates or their their licenses.
Sherm the the question that comes up a lot of times with with instructors particularly is how do you become a dpe,
what is the process and the its kind of a difficult thing to describe in great detail because it is often times,
almost entirely on the need that the local faa district office has for examiners in their area that the operations so if they have,
sufficient number of examiners within the district even if they have highly qualified people who would like to be,
examiners if there’s no need they’re just not gonna and anybody so it kinda starts first of all that there has to be either retirement or something is happened growth of flight training in the district or something happening that all of a sudden there’s an increased made and then that is tell,
well look around and the people who are interested make application,
through a national organization of examiners fell out forms to make sure that they’re basically meet all the qualifications and then the local.
[42:23] Fist can go to that examining board and say who we got its done the work,
fill up forms and who might be potential,
examples that we could tap and so once they identify somebody who has done the preliminary work then,
that examiner goes to school for a week in oklahoma city to learn the ins and outs of how the whole examining process works then once that’s complete they come back to their local fist who basically provides oversight and mentoring,
particularly in the early stages where the faa princeville operating inspector will city and on,
check rides as you begin to do them and will,
answer questions help you understand the process and and this is a basically mentor and new examiner,
and tell they really can’t ready to stand up on their own and go forward.
And it had been doing it now about five a little over five years i’ve done about five hundred check ride so far so in the scheme of things,
i would say i am maybe mahler moderately,
experienced i don’t in any way shape or form feel like i’ve got it all figured out but i have done enough of it now to where i can i,
feel like i’ve seen much of the the kinds of issues that you run into often times with an exam as an examiner.
So it sounds like it’s not really a career path in aviation you can at least wisely done for.
[43:59] Has it sounds like a lot of pieces have to come to phone place to make it happen it’s true and of course the fam and in many aspects,
doesn’t have the manpower to perform all the functions at the charge with them so dps act,
as an extension of the administrator and administering the exams and and our mission is just what you expected to try to be fair with people,
to apply the standards and to call make sure that the process resulting pilots who are competent and,
confident and able to go out in the national airspace system and do it safely with their families that’s the ultimate bottom line and we all sure that objectives whether it’s the faa inspector or the examiner,
or the instructor,
no and certainly the applicant everybody wants the same thing at the end of the process for that person to feel like they really have the not.
And it sounds like overall.
That is is that a general feeling you get during the process of doing a check right i mean.
How quickly can you tell if someone’s repaired and ready and and and they’re gonna be able to push through because i feel like.
[45:23] So i can come to check writer kind of either ready or your not not now maybe those things you bust in you may have to redo that,
i feel like applicants often come to other income to check right with a different preparation factor if you will.
Well part of where this begins is it if the instructors who are recommending applicants,
for evaluation are working in concert with their examiners,
and there is a shared dialogue back and forth about expectations and about what’s going well what kind of errors were singing it tends to get better over time,
the instructors understand what the,
the p is looking for they day can better prepare their applicants and maybe reduce your stress levels a little bit but it’s it’s not always easy for an instructor,
to figure out how to truly prepare an applicant because they they just have in some cases misunderstanding about the process,
and we know going and every applicant is gonna be nervous to to some extent many of them are very nervous and most of the examiners and i know,
work hard trying to get people to relax and to understand,
that it is just a process we’re going through and it’s it’s a necessary thing and that we’re trying very hard to be a stairs possible with them but we do have this obligation.
[46:56] To make sure that i truly do meet the standards one way that i’ve approached check rides and i’ve.
I suggested a tips to this to others and you can totally terra part of you want to use it i give you permission ahead of time to tear apart and that is that you should treat a check right as another,
lesson if you will want your of course proving yourself but another lesson with a very experienced ab here.
And just relax is that good advice or how would you mall that.
It is good advice and i think most applicants down stream of the of the test will tell you that they do feel like that the came way with some knowledge of the didn’t have before.
I think that the probably their whole bunch of things that are instructors if they if they really understand,
how the process works and the nature of the test,
can do a better job of helping their applicants be prepared one of the things that i encourage people to do that which really doesn’t help is to try to set up a meeting in advance of the practical test,
where the instructor in the student command and just have an informal meeting with each other and let them get to meet them face to face put a name and face together talk about,
concerns and questions that they might have an and just get,
to realize that the examiner is human and that they got a role to play in this process and they’re they’re certainly rooting for it to go well.
[48:27] I think sometimes there’s this misconception that examiners somehow given a quarter that have passed or tails or number people or that they are out there are there looking for,
people busting check right none of that is true in any of the examiners and i know were very much in the applicants corner we hope it goes well it’s it’s never pleasant have to give somebody a notice of disapproval,
but it at the end of the process we also have to realize that that safety is the bottom line and if the applicant on that day,
doesn’t meet the standards and they need some additional training well then that’s really in their best interest even know what seem like maybe it’s time.
Is so how long does line say that an application and this is jumping ahead a little bit the same apple can does bus part of your check ride.
Can the applicant continue with the rest of the check right and finish the rest stop assuming there in the right mindset that is a possibility that.
Great question and it it it varies a little bit and then again other examiners may have a different take on this but but my belief is,
if were in the oral portion of the test,
and i start to sense adapt and is is maybe a little bit of fishing and area maybe we’re talking about weather or something well i will,
leave that and move on to the other areas that i’m going to cover in the oral exam and then i’ll circle back to it and,
i’m forming an opinion about your overall knowledge right of the whole.
[50:01] Shut it matter and so i won’t generally if we hit a rough spot in one segment i want generally make a,
sailor past decision at that point i’ll keep going and try to get a better understanding of where their strengths and weaknesses are over the whole course of material and then it end of that process form an opinion about whether,
they meet the standard or whether they need to mission training so if we get through the oral,
they have to complete your satisfactorily before we get to go get in the airplane.
So sometimes if their knowledge is deficient than that maybe that will complete the all that we will have several areas in there that i need additional work and so that would be the end of that process at that point.
Now they have,
a sixty day window in which they can go back and get the additional training and be re recommended for the check ride and if they do that i am able to just cover,
the things i gave them difficulty on the prior i can’t i can’t go back in touch on some of the others but generally i don’t think,
usually that gets done or mostly concerned to see that they learn the things that they were,
having trouble with before and once that’s complete then we can move on and move to the airplane for the flight portion of the test now if they bust occurs if they become,
to where they don’t meet the standard during the flight portion we have the option with the concurrence of the applicant.
[51:35] To continue,
to work through all the maneuvers again we can identify if there’s just one area that was a challenge are there multiple areas sometimes applicant wants to do that most of the time i would say they do but occasionally there just so upset because a,
they realized not gonna get this done today that they just,
want to go back in and do another day and that’s okay or sometimes they’ll they’ll have a problem in a certain area and i want to continue will will move along and generally if we had another area,
where are they have great difficulty,
oftentimes that when i just said let’s go back in and let’s get the chance to get yourself in and get a little training and come back and do this on the day.
Gotcha so i think that’s a very important distinction to make and thank you for all the information both in the oral and practical components of the check ride.
Is a very important distinction to make for pilots that are seeking a rating in i have to be careful because i know that.
[52:38] People that are really gunning for a career in aviation if they are looking to be an airline pilot or if they’re looking to go into the military or something.
The the success of your check rides can matter on your application so.
[52:54] There is that component to it but there’s also this component in what you just covered the says hey.
It’s not the end of the world if something doesn’t go quite right that’s not to say that you should be prepare yes the best you can.
But it just means don’t panic if there’s if there’s something else you need to learn and i think as an overall great lesson actually an aviation is hey.
There’s one area or another that we are all the fishing is some point or another you know we.
We may focus on winter flying this year and become more efficient in the spring type of flying or an off airport fine there’s always things that we as pilots the matter what state are in.
Can improve on so i guess a little bit of a microcosm for being a pilot anyway what are one of the things that we always brief in the,
pree test everything that the applicant receives is that the faa and the center does not expect perfection the way we say this perfection is not the standard now oftentimes it’s difficult,
to define,
very directly and and precisely what the standards are in the or component of this because it is a bunch of things and not all things,
carry equal weight right so,
where no but the the idea is to reassure the applicant that simply because i miss a question or two or struggling one area doesn’t automatically mean that we’re going to get my nose disapproval,
it is the pagans of their knowledge and judgement and still that that weighs on that decision.
[54:29] But at the end of the process are objective is the same and that is to have confidence that there going to be an skill full and and knowledgeable in,
make good decisions when they’re out on their own that’s truly the bottom line for all of us and and oftentimes your your sitting there,
thinking gosh this is this is a wonderful applicant it’d their wanting to do this for a career it is gonna be a challenge for them to have to come back but yet you just have to keep uppermost in your mind,
that that this is really about safety checks and if they are and if they need some additional training to get to the level they need to reach them that’s what should be.
[55:09] Yeah definitely if so so here’s another question if you were to profile the perfect pilot app can coming to you and maybe you can even.
[55:18] Take a specific rating are certificate but what would they look like what attitude they have how would the check right go with the perfect.
Applicant and an insane perfect.
[55:31] Maybe ideal is the best turn there cuz again you just said that perfection isn’t required so what is the ideal applicant that you’re looking for.
What you one of the things that i think,
blessed certain applicant stand out from others is the ability to take charge of the process.
To truly demonstrate that they’re ready to be pilot command that they come prepared to take her there organized they are,
trained to an application or correlation level of knowledge where they understand not just what the,
thanks are but how those tanks matter and how you apply those to a real world scenario and they make decisions and wait for,
there instructor or their age evaluate your,
to close the door or to decide what runway use or any of the other myriad,
decision to come up on any typical flight they are in,
command of the situation and they’re making those decisions and their prudent in their analysis of what to do.
It’s just a whole range of things shirt i have to have the baseline knowledge.
They certainly have to have the requisite skill but often times this the sort of intangible aspect is their decision making ability to,
to take charge of this check ride and demonstrate that they are truly ready to be man great.
[57:04] What was your things can a pilot do weather that is by themselves or with an instructor to prepare.
For a check right and i don’t mean that the general knowledge of things of course you want to learn as much as you possibly can and.
And get the at the maneuvers are required down as much as you can,
what are some other things that that they can look into specifically ac s are p t s that can help and really understand the process.
[57:35] The guy i think fundamentally one of the misunderstandings is that the expectation,
often is that this is going to be a series of questions and answers that are gonna ask them to give me facts about rules regulations procedures,
hello aircraft systems and things like that and that’s not the way,
the sea is particularly and even the ps before it really was structured or constructed or invasion in and it,
here’s a here’s an example of one of the things that we will do when we get in to this world would be to talk about pilot qualifications sumption is that they are already,
the pilot for whatever shift arriving there there testing for so much a private pilot so the app can i say the apt and or your consider the dryer private pilot and i’ve given you a scenario,
oppose tripped you were going to take me on and i would like for you to.
Tell me all the things that you have to have her do in order to be piling command today,
hey and stop the question at that point now that requires the aapl,
think about and ideally to have rehearsed this in advance knowing those kind of questions might be coming.
And then i would say to me well okay to be pilot commander certain documents i have had there are.
[59:09] Sure nbc he requirements and i have to meet there are considerations that may be even though i’m,
and so here are some examples of my personal minimums that demonstrate that i’m gonna go beyond the basics,
that kind of an approach to answering that question illustrates to me very quickly this person really get may understand,
what it means to be the pilot command but that’s fundamentally different kind of a question than me sitting there asking him okay,
how many potatoes am and you have to have before you can carry passing that’s not what is the written test this for that’s what written test for which is an excellent observation,
one of the things that’s different under the ac is is we now accept,
that if d a really good score on the knowledge test that they already know what they need to know all really required and and typically are doing is looking,
to be sure that they knew or have learned the things that i missed on the knowledge test and then we are required to only cast,
one wish management one knowledge element out of each task in the area of operation,
so if somebody makes really gets one on chest and they can into the short of open-ended kind of questions,
baby i know the or will go very quickly and within tack holes promise i think as we go forward we all get work out with that actually make sure the all rather than lincoln that which is been some of the concerns that you hear about it so.
[1:00:51] Show getting familiar with these kinds of questions that say how did you determine the weather was acceptable for the flight today,
is a fundamentally different question then show me that you can read am hr or a tan and in so it a bit requires that the,
pilot pulled together all the information and be able to form a comprehensive and complete answer the damn straight i really understand,
what the weather is in packing and has gonna make a difference in this light were doing and there’s probably a friend of mine roger sharp version of the dpe here has written,
a book that i think is just wonderful and in there he talked about that there’s really only about nine or ten questions and have these types that if you understand how to answer those questions completely incomprehensibly you’ve covered,
the vast majority of the things that we have to test on the or great guy and it’s it’s really interesting the difference there because.
[1:01:54] If you think about it and say that its the the typical cartoon right you have the guy with the devil on the shoulder and angel on your shoulder and there.
They’re having this battle with the guys conscience it’s almost like that these are the sort of questions that we is pilot should be asking ourselves anyway.
We should say what am i going to do with the weather how am i going to get the full weather picture today with all the sources i have and how my going to break that down.
Angela called he say that because that means that you are essentially is showing.
[1:02:25] Verbal in out loud whatever it is to the examiner what your thought processes and how your going through making sure that all the ducks are in a row for.
You know your ability to go up and and you talked about the pri fight with the documents and the currency in,
of course there’s the i’m safe checklist which technically right may not be required to sign up as pilots the really need to be thinking about those things and.
I know that it’s specifically named in some cases but all in all those little things that we as pilot should be asking ourselves anyway and the attitudes we should be having any way.
Into a certain extent i think that’s what’s actually really encouraging about the a c s.
It is much more about the decision making and the process of flying then it is about the specific details about this number vs that number,
it’s more about how the whole package comes together and how you as a pilot react when things don’t.
Correct me and the difference for the disconnect that happens as if the examiner is going to to test,
to these levels of application correlation by using those kinds of questions,
it only makes sense that the instructor answer preparing the applicant to go to take their practical test also,
put on there about the waiter had and does the same thing but if they don’t do it if the instructor doesn’t give the applicant are there student an opportunity.
[1:03:57] To practice,
answering those kinds of questions and instead they ask them simply row questions and they help them whenever they struggle a little bit try under remember fact it doesn’t prepare them very well at all for what they’re going to face when they come for,
the practical test or under the guidance of the ac is weather going to be ask these kinds of things if they do on the other hand,
give them the opportunity to to practice and to think about reflect on how they would answer and apply this information to the scenario it’s really pretty straightforward for the minute reduces stress immensely but,
it is painful to watch somebody expecting this whatever wrote questioning,
to have to struggle with these kinds of questions they they just are terribly unprepared for and the stress level just goes to the roof and usually things don’t end well.
Yeah they they have a completely different expectation and correct them it actually takes place is still kind of in that vein in those are both,
very good very good points there again doing really well and allah says prepare.
Yeah what can go wrong in and what can go right and what the outcomes are maybe you’d missing stuff on your check ride coming back in.
In doing something together after some additional training but let’s get into this this afternoon that were using hear that people may not be familiar with and not as a cs versus the p t s so in brief.
[1:05:29] Can you define that for us and then tell us the differences between the two and why we have come as an industry to this place.
Sure the the airman certification standards are replacing the practical test standards which is what we’ve had,
for quite a few years now in terms of the test guidance and they ac is which is now out there for a private an instrument and soon to be commercial will eventually replace all the ps and it,
has been developed in a very i think and an excellent approach to this and that the sky usually,
invited industry invited those of us that are in the training industry to sit with them and try to reason together,
to create a better way of evaluating pilots and it started with the process that needed,
revamping which was that the knowledge test question bank there were a lot of questions that were for all kinds of reasons either or relevant or,
required interpolation to find a point and then made any sense that talked about older technology that no longer in use and in some cases were just ambiguous so,
the f is not about trying to fix that part of it and then came to realize that the the truth,
put that process and place all the way through the knowledge test and practical test.
[1:07:01] Forty and to the resources to back it up like airplane flying handbook pilots handbook of aeronautical knowledge so once those things are all online and,
it will then be easier for training providers and for evaluate yours,
to truly be on the same page and understand what it is that we’re trying to accomplish with this,
and the ac is to a greater degree than the ps gives very practical.
[1:07:33] Examples of ways that we should be looking into and out of decision making and risk management the skills compounded,
the things that the applicant is expected to do in the airplane in terms of maneuvers is no different from the ps.
To the ac is that part with with one exception a private level is not any different than its always been the knowledge aspect of is,
lmao line with the knowledge test so we can as we were coming earlier had this confidence if they did well knowledge test,
they’ve met knowledge standard,
and that part of each of the tasks that are in the in the a c is that the risk management element was in the ps,
as a special emphasis item but it was very difficult for instructors and for examiners to figure out very specifically how we should,
teaching test that under the ps in the ac is it is now quite easy to go in there and look at,
particular situations and scenarios and situations that happens,
will find themselves and and ask them to demonstrate how they would deal with the kinds of risks or decisions that are necessary in each of those tasks and so i think it’s a much better vehicle for making an assessment and helping,
emphasize the importance that you have to really,
she all three of those and as part of the whole that we have to have the requisite knowledge we certainly have had the skills but we also have to have the knowledge of how to make good decisions.
[1:09:15] If you gonna be truly able to be safe out the national airspace system so that’s where the ac is i think is helping us get that mission accomplished.
[1:09:25] So how does and i know this is another large component of the how does the scenario based training in in the scenarios that are part of the a cs how does that.
Really change the mentality of how these tests are done,
why you keep one thing in mind that that the scenario based training was hard and is part of the ps is well that was their before but the the concept is that we’re trying to make this,
practical in the sense that you would expect that were trying to let the applicant try to put themselves in a situation where they,
really can demonstrate this is how we would do the things that were typically gonna do want on,
trip that we would make whether its performance calculations dealing with anomalies an emergency procedures,
dealing with air station he see any and everything that that is,
sure part and parcel of what we do every day,
and in typical ab asian activities is is really incorporated in this idea scenarios and and so,
they don’t have to be great but the goal after all things i can be simple things like alright here we are where we are in flight we get a weather briefing we decided the weather was good not go in the conditions now appear to be,
determine what can we do to end flight to figure out whether we can contain you’re not.
[1:10:56] That’s a very i’ll and there we just let the app can think about what the resources are with their decision making would be in that situation and so it is sometimes i think there’s idea that has to be a great big involved multi let.
Scenario when in reality it’s it often times is pretty simple stuff you’re in this situation this is happening what are you gonna do about.
[1:11:20] Great i tell me a little bit about and i don’t want to spend too much time on this particular questions ira i’d rather talk about the.
[1:11:30] I guess your perspective but it tell us a little bit of the trouble that people are having that the ac is right now and in transitioning from.
Many years of the p t s t speak to any of that cuz i know that’s a topic that comes up in many tauzin deviation again i don’t wanna get negative or anything that i just wanna.
Find out what your perspective is on that,
what up people i think in general this is just or maybe a semester in general people are suspicious and worried about a change.
[1:12:02] And delicious doesn’t someways represent the train so i think you’re always gonna.
[1:12:08] A job sort of a bell curve of people you’re gonna have instructors in the bag waiters who are going to say we’ve always done it away at that and i don’t see any reason to do any differently you’re gonna have people who are going to on the other end of the spectrum,
recognize that this holds the potential to be a much better way to do it and so they’re open to it they’re gonna embrace it but they’re gonna have to learn there gonna have to put it out there it’s gonna have to be sure to season the little bit and there’s gonna have to be tweet,
in that process and the ac is will go on as they find things that either are,
poorly written poorly understood or don’t function very well,
then it will be modified and improved in revamped little bit and it will get better over time.
And and also i think on the full on he is the,
publications are there done as the faa move,
further along we’ll also learn from the experience of the ones that went out first private management and and those also will probably get to be rich they will probably launch,
with a,
better result than some of the issues and concerns that we’ve had with some of the early ones but i again my boat and and i’m just one examiner but but my belief is,
in many ways yes yes is not terribly different from what we were already doing with the ps it just makes it more structured and more specific so i’m.
[1:13:43] I gotta tell you a big fan of it so far i have not seen that it has increased,
the length of time that it takes to do the oral and i think as we get more familiar with it and as we start,
warning that the knowledge test now really does give us the goods inside and what the knowledge level of african is i think it tells promise to perhaps shortening or oil in and i just think it’s a win win for us.
And how many of them how many of these have you done you feel that the check rise in cells are gone fairly well and that maybe applicants.
[1:14:20] Concerns want warranted in and what their experience were probably in terms of how many had an probably baby forty,
okay test something like that split between private instrument but,
i think it the the thing that’s helping is of course there’s there’s a lot of information out there now some of it better than others,
how about the a c is in its implementation the thing that we are trying to do in our district and we would not held,
i think it’s seven meetings around the district between sapphires and dps we’re bringing together and we talk about,
best practices commoners implementation and explain to them about these kind of questions they level that were testing to and and basically how we see the process working to try to educate the,
training providers so that their applicants are maybe not as concerned about this being something radically different because it really isn’t.
[1:15:26] What about you some seeing a certificate or in the rating have when coming to it we talk about.
It did the nervousness and the sleepless nights beforehand and.
Incoming tuner to the czech right to nervous so it does maybe just a summation of what we talked about throughout here but.
How do you want to see them prepare for the process to show up.
[1:15:49] Maybe get rid of some of the mess maybe can identify some of the mess in in getting there and being ready.
[1:15:56] Charging the thing that i think it starts with them and we talked about this and that is get familiar with the a c so the ps supplies it is truly the road map to the test,
they evaluate or is bound to test to those standards bake they are not supposed to go outside of those standards and not supposed to create their own version it gives us the guidance and so,
it certainly makes sense of the app to be really familiar with that and and spend time reading about it really from,
from front to back and read the notes in the appendix cd’s and try to get the understanding of sort of the philosophy of the test then get to know the dpe,
good spend time called up,
get if you can do it in front of and have a cup of coffee and just talk about the the way the test is gonna go and then,
trying to gather your materials try to use the checklist and the ac is the pt so that you have everything on the day make sure that your endorsements are in place that your logbook is me complete that you’re not gonna end up,
adding to your stress because can’t find something you need if it’s a matter of the maintenance records on the aircraft make sure you really look at those that you have them,
that you understand what i say because it’s it’s you can see the stress level just go,
through the roof when an applicant trying to get started all this and realizes that something’s not right or not clear they can’t find.
[1:17:28] Show me more organized they are in the beginning of the process they use your it goes if it starts wellingtons can keep going that way if it starts poorly,
people really struggle sometimes trying trying to to deal with recovering from those areas your or shortcomings that they have and then as we said this this idea of thinking about,
the scenario works and how they would apply what i know to it and and practice and rehearse those kinds of answers to those kind of questions it is important and there’s a whole bunch of other little things,
that that you run into you you find situations where you’re you’re asking the applicant about flight plans,
and you want them to show your flight plan that i prepared pants and i’m not about flight log come out of a flight plan and it’s it’s always,
going to be a problem when they applicant says what never actually filed a bf our flight,
that’s not a good way to to go into the situation because that’s that’s part of the requirement or the same with white balance and you say to them can i see you a balance and you they show you want,
can you say where did the up white that use for the airplane come from and if they didn’t use the actual entryway to the airplane,
we’re gonna have a problem in the to hm yeah exactly so it so it’s in many cases it’s a whole bunch of those kind of little things.
[1:19:00] But but overall again the focus that we’re looking for is that they demonstrate that they have an adequate amount of knowledge,
and that i have the ability to understand how it works and the national airspace system and that they are truly able to demonstrate that they’re ready to make the decisions and to,
have a thoughtful approach to to how they’re gonna handle things when things go a little bit differently than planned that’s really what we’re looking for private level taking.
So the interesting in and taking some notes here’s your is your talking in right there the and you use three words three a is triple a you can even call it,
is it adequate ability enable and i think.
Those are all very good identifiers of of what the pilot should be in how prepared they should be adequate ability in enable.
I’m very helpful stuff.
[1:19:55] You know one of the things i think sometimes people ask about his is what are the common shares that we see in and the flight has portion for example okay any and there are some.
One of the things that is a real important component to this is,
clearing am looking for other aircraft and obstacles in in seoul in the the,
typical situation run into is the euro you last see applicants okay when you’re ready,
give me the turn to the left or something and so they will do a clearing turn ninety degrees to the left one it back to the right,
no come back to their original heading and then because your not quite ready to not quite on altitude or they’re not quite,
gathered in their mind do the maneuver we,
flying for a ge considerable length of time before they actually start to maneuver and then they’d jump right into the head without ever having look in the direction that are so,
so that’s a that’s a big deal and so when we talk about clearing the we have to realize it will really talking about is playing,
before and during the maneuver not just do it because it something that you’re supposed to do but do it because you might be an airplane out there right that’s one the other one is,
i don’t be afraid to go around,
yes to maneuver if you’re if you’re after doing one of the required landings and you’re not set up for well and it’s not working the way you want to.
[1:21:27] Good judgement says if you were really in that situation i would hope you would go around shut up do it again.
I would expect the same thing that’s also true wanna maneuver let were come st terms if you rolled into st turning you ball ext it up,
it is perfectly in my view except will and demonstrates good judgment to roll back out of it so i know that wasn’t right i want to set that up and do that man that’s okay in my new,
[1:21:55] You can discontinue one of the things that we were brave but i don’t think sometimes people realize it is if the situation is not to your liking.
Yeah it’s bump your than you expected to win zip come up your just having a bad day,
and you say you know what this is not today i want to do this i’m already into it but i want to discontinue,
you have that right and i get it my ex maybe a demonstration of good judgment say today is not the day i wanna do this i wanna come back and do this another day the other one is,
and i am often seen sort of surprise,
that people don’t use more of their available resources i’ll ask them a question about this is going wrong what would you do about it and what i’m hoping that they’re gonna tell me is i would consult the ph of the checklist,
another certainly shoot you a change of circumstances where they are there is a time for that but those are where most of the time when something is not working the way extract and you’re trying to figure out what to do about it,
there’s a checklist for but often times i think the applicants feel like there required to have all that committed to memory when they really don’t have to.
And then the other is to to fly stabilized approaches.
What is never going to work very well if the approach is not stable.
And so they need to have the ability to recognize what that looks like and the skill to be able to do it and if they do they generally good landings will result.
[1:23:29] Can you define a stabilized approach like what in your mind is a stabilized approach your definition,
sure the interstate at the airplane is stable it’s not accelerating be celebrating the right to sinker climb is not changing the airplane is is configured so that you’re not,
the light in the process and flaps for slipping the airplane are doing things like that and that it is it is to something it for time and landing approach it’s the sending toward,
a target that you identified that’s gonna put you in the proper place on the run that a stabilized approach great.
[1:24:08] Okay so interrupting you there anything any other hold ups are things you think people have when one of the big ones is to look outside the airplane.
Today’s a hold of glass cockpit it is mesmerizing to look at all match that oftentimes the maneuvers,
are more elegant and easier to perform by looking outside and plus that’s where we should be looking anyway because of collision obstacle avoidance so great so so we we need to,
emphasize that confidence that comes from being able to just look outside and see where the airplanes going so that’s a big one.
They but again love the century short of,
in some ways obvious but in other ways they seem to somehow get messed in and check ride performance and so my by thinking about some of them if the instructor is emphasizing the settings it tends to make for a,
more confident applicant and it is to say that the performance is gonna be improved because a they know they’re doing well.
[1:25:15] Yeah it’s good to know.
[1:25:18] Even things like this discontinuing your check ride if it’s not to your liking or or something other options you have it’s getting no really what your rights are if you will.
As an applicant shirt and not is going into it blindly feeling like the whole world is looking at you judging me now that it’s.
The very different process than that and the that you have options and you know that obviously the best option for anyone that is coming to the stages to.
Have a smile on your face at the end of the day and and be giving the exam arabic handshake and taking a picture but.
[1:25:57] Yeah it what i’m hearing in some of your language here just sometimes things don’t go right and there are options if it doesn’t anything that awful.
In ny i’ll still be picking on any given what two things one if perfection were the standard none of us would probably be here now but i gotta get there i know i would one.
That’s right me either,
and the other one is nobody likes truck right nobody look for so i think i’d like check check ride today it is stressful there’s no doubt about but if the applicant is is properly prepared and in in truly,
i understand the process that i think it does really reduce stress a lot,
and and the end of the process is that they have earned something that is,
that i think is tremendous value i even today there a very small percentage of people who are a va yours and it is a tremendous accomplishment to get any of this done,
it’s a tremendous investment in time and effort and money and and so i think it i think it is worth the struggle.
But i think it is in one of the ways think that does it is a meritocracy.
You don’t get it any other way except on it and you have to you have to go through the process and i think there’s here’s reward from doing that.
In there are no participation trophies you don’t get a dresser rating her something or second place on your check ride it doesn’t work that way.
That’s very true any other points you wanna and there on things or people mr was that about you list.
[1:27:32] How you know they’re they’re a bunch of things that we wanted to get in to some of the specific things that but probably that’s beyond the scope what you wanna do today i mean i see all kinds of things there and some wage pretty simple like.
Not cleaning the windshield.
You got to the airplane and when she looks like everybody in the world has has has ended and new just thankful will not be better if that were clean yeah.
Just testing and in some of this is just nervousness icing applicants who forgot anti the airplane,
yeah you get your strap in and they start changing and then the it usually they look around and they see the title rope and they go all my,
how much is it so that certainly doesn’t do anything for their stress level when things like that happen and and so yeah you know some of which you do kinda chuckle at,
but at the same time there’s i have a tremendous empathy i know it’s hard i know it’s stressful and i truly do try to make it as least stressful as possible but,
but i also know that that is just part of the process and that the vast majority of them will will get through it just fine and they will go on to be very safe and confident ab acres,
and as the end result right i mean i was telling a friend that the other day that really this whole process is meant to.
Just make sure the pilots are safe and there gonna and be safe at the passengers not say the perfect that say they do the maneuvers you know absolutely perfect right now to teach her a thing.
[1:29:11] Is to make sure they’re safe the understand the vast majority what they’re doing.
And me nah maybe they’re there ninety percent there i don’t know maybe that’s a wrong statement.
[1:29:23] No i think i think one of the things that we all realizes that particularly at the private level,
and at the next level when people first getting the certificate writings that they really do still have,
i want to learn they they have a substantial amount of knowledge and a certain level of skill but they have very little experience plugged into,
and that experience is gonna come down the road so late we have to do like that they have framework,
to make good decisions and have the basic knowledge in basic seal necessary so that they can go out there and build on that experience until they they really do have a deeper understanding of how this works we just want them to have,
the ability to keep themselves safe while there painting that experience and i i have a couple friends.
Am in oshkosh as talking to and their trying to get out of oshkosh and one of the actually about midweek and as you know the weather wasn’t the best there.
And they are trying to ohio they’re both brand new minted private pilots and we’re all kinda sitting around the weather reports looking at them,
and i was really saying much you know i was mainly just letting them spend the wills.
Just bought so fun seeing their thought process you know about this and that and the other and and i.
Chipped and will be here and they’re saying well this may happen it may clear up for this may happen and it may get worse.
So really judgment calls that you guys not it unsafe for these are the things that could maybe happen.
[1:30:54] Then it making the trip eventually getting is the next day and they said the skies were clear and beautiful and it was great and then i just you know congratulated them on making good decisions and things that it’s cool to see the process happening really,
any other day experience is the teacher that’s it’s really a license in any form.
I’m going from a commercial right now if this is particularly true with a private pilot is it’s a license to learn.
Slices the one that specific part of aviation weather that’s private or instrument or commercial or seaplane because really the lessons will happen out in the wild.
When you were younger doing a flights on your own when you have when those decisions are no longer.
Oh no i’m gonna but my check right now those decisions are on my gosh if i don’t make the right decision i could hurt somebody or myself,
that’s right and and one of the things that also,
nice to be having roland that is the fact that it’s not just about the pilot is oftentimes about their,
family and their their loved ones are gonna be in the airplane with them i run into pilots on a fairly regular basis whose spouses will not fly with the,
because of some almost always it’s rooted in some bad experience at a rat in so one of the things i think we we sometimes don’t size and is it we need to be thoughtful about,
bad ass back even though we may feel like its not that,
challenging but if our passengers and comfortable then we may be creating a situation where down the road we wish we had done that because they are now not comfortable flying with us.
[1:32:33] Shrek there’s a lot to this whole package and if it never ends there are any pilot you talk to that’s been flying for any length of time will have,
what a story to talk about where they had a challenging decision to make and almost always if there’s a question in the mind,
then taking the most conservative approach to it will lead to a better outcome it is perfectly okay,
to stop and wait or to spend the night and extra night and i had it happen just a week or so ago coming back from,
snow storm we had snow and ice on the airplane and the winds were high and we ended up staying an extra day because just made for a much more comfortable flight coming home right i could email it,
but the rest weren’t worth the reward so we just elected white and i think most of us have been applying for any length of time have lots of those situations that arise.
I have a very specific one i was texting a guy today and he just from north of here is a friend of my brother in laws and he’s been wanting to go for a flight over the mountains here with a friend and.
[1:33:42] And we’ve had a really hard time finding good enough weather day to go and.
Nice and well we kinda stay in the ball here we can fly around the world very interesting but it’s interesting up i can get the feeling from him that psycho come on man i.
You know what’s going there’s gotta be a better time than this or this is gotta be an okay time and for me it’s like this is the way things are you know i sit back and.
It is not that we don’t go and then we write a little bit more and then when it when the forecast comes up on the day that we think we can go and is still bad then we wait some more.
I think the more experience the pilot gets the more they realize those things as long as the.
Are the type of person do you have the right attitude and are doing the correct things.
Well it a true story that that happened early on in in my flying career when i was beginning to travel for business my wife and i had a company where we needed to travel together quite a bit and,
i said to her there will be situations where we got kids at the babysitter dog at the kennel.
And we really and you really want to get back home but because the weather,
is questionable i don’t think it’s a good idea to go i need you to promise me that you will not only give me the benefit of the doubt,
that you will support that can whole heartedly that won’t,
you want you say okay well i guess if we can’t get there but in fact you will be supportive of that decision,
the reverse of that is also true and that i may be perfectly comfortable flying the airplane in the clouds and in the rain and then the bulbs but if it make you nervous i promise you.
[1:35:22] If you tell me you don’t like this,
we’ll find a place to stop and will either wait it out or we’ll wait and and make an adventure out of where we stop and will go the next day fri and if if we can agree together,
to treat it that way then we’ll fly together safely and comfortably for a lot of years and we have but i think sometimes people don’t.
Reach that decision without accommodation with the people that are travelling with and as result it doesn’t work well in the end up in one or the other feels like that they’re forced to do something they didn’t want to.
Right and it is one of those aspects of aviation ass tremendous pressure if you don’t have support of those people you’re flying with.
To do certain things i’ve even heard of it and this is a little bit different and i say little bit different as i still awfully greedy i’ve heard of.
Operators around here that the force their pilots to do certain things which they technically can’t do.
Please i can’t read the force their past due things they are comfortable with being in there just it,
it’s actually very fascinating part a via tion for me and it’s one of the reasons i love it is it it really is a sense of adventure and like you said.
Then it ends up being a you know another story rather than a story in the news that should drive what you hot a you.
We started out kinda talking about the experience and and flying to alaska and and i had the absolute joy of flying with some people who are immensely experienced and highly motivated and we agreed together.
[1:37:02] That we would make the decision as to what route we were gonna fly,
based on the condition that we were facing at the at the day of rabbit we were gonna pri decide that we would go this way no matter what or define matter what,
but we would make the call based on the conditions that existed at the moment and and that flexibility,
that ability to be realistic about what your dealing with and making a conservative choice based on those,
realities is absolutely critical to this if we if we tend to having make up your mind we’ve got to complete the mission no matter what that’s where we set ourselves up for some great difficulties.
Yeah definitely it’s one of those things it really faces every fight you do in one sheet for another where.
You gotta be thinking about yeah sure here’s a perfect example of this will be my last example my mother was visiting several weeks ago during thanksgiving in a few weeks prior for the birth of my son.
And i never flying with my mother before.
So i’m thirty one years old now i was eighteen and i started flying she was very supportive of me when i first started flying she.
No help out with getting a small loan for my private pilot thing so very much someone.
Really is part my story not only because she gave birth to me that because she actually assisted me in getting there which i’m very appreciative of.
[1:38:30] But i’ve never been flying with my mother before ever which is just a shame just in one way shape or form i’ve never actually done up and an airplane with their.
And it was the last day she was here last night she was here and i was at the airport and it was freezing cold and there’s is.
And snow on the wings and i work for an hour and a half trying to get everything out the wings but just can do that.
In here comes the sun set and it’s getting darker and darker and thinking man and then i start to resign to the fact that.
Is not gonna work you know that this is just not the time to fly i’m gonna have to wait for another time to fly with my mother to.
[1:39:12] Has been support all these years and those are that type of really tough decisions they have to make,
you know that i could as you know that they’re just a couple chance of ice on the wing is not gonna make that much of a difference like.
Is not gonna affect the air flow that much so you know though that’s the devil on your shoulder right.
But that’s a pilot struggles with and every flight again weather is the planning of it with the execution of it.
That really and going to the cs standards as is what i really.
[1:39:41] Well i really like to an aviation is one of the main ways that that make sure i check myself so and that’s that’s an excellent,
observation chris on a on more than one level because one it illustrates that were often times our own worst enemy area that it’s not pressure from external factors its pressure we impose on,
porn or cells try to get something done when we know better,
but it’s real seductive five o gosh you’re probably workout it’s worked out every other time when i done that so we have to resist that the the other part of it is,
that when we look back on that after the fact we think you know what was i thinking.
That was really a what what why was i even considering that that’s not the end of the world to have to do this on a different day or wait,
go have lunch and then continue the flight later or have to make a fuel stop because,
maybe i can meet with the gas handle board we we deal with those kind of things all the time,
they the strength of the a cs is it,
shine the spotlight on the importance of those decisions and that management of those risk that we face and as a as an integral component as one of the three legs of the stool between knowledge and skill,
and now judgment so that’s a perfect example of why she is is doing what it’s doing.
Yeah really great okay who i think you and i spend some good time together here any last words for the audience maybe those that are looking to get into aviation are those are getting back into it any words of encouragement for listeners.
[1:41:23] One of the things that i think and and you mentioned just then is it that we are seeing,
and a resurgence of people that are returning day be asian and and i think that is that the best,
advice that i can think of is to focus on fundamental skills and two don’t short change,
the development of steak and rudder skills they are essential to the foundation for all the rest of this to build on.
[1:41:52] And how about have fun doing it in the meantime absolutely why not cool,
i look for flying with you someday i plan on next time i come down for red bird or some other time to actually do some real training with you guys not talk to trace a little bit about,
maybe tackling small planes and stuff yeah which i imax i’m not planning on being an airline pilot i’m not actually ever planning on actively flying commercially.
In a multi engine airplane but it’s another.
Corner of aviation i can learn from right it’s another thing that can give me some variety so what is four to the options that you guys have their.
[1:42:29] Well we look for to get you down here and showing your little texas hospitality.
And likewise you guys are ever up and alaska you don’t necessarily have to fire cup all the way up here i’m sure.
[1:42:40] If we have some other scenario you guys could come up here and find a different way by the way i did go to pour all worth,
oh cool yeah i went there and had a burger at the general identifying she’s neil and now,
well if it isn’t the place and i’m not sure about this time of year but in summer time it’s really interesting and and they’re doing they’re doing wonderful work with a,
i can’t the chair for a lot of the indigenous people be able send kids to summer camp there so it’s in a place,
is really fun actually then maybe this is one of the kids the hair on summer camp but when i was landing.
I landed on the west runway,
going south on the soon as i landed this little kid on a motorcycle was just at my weenies raise em they do that they did the same thing with us big clouded asking because it was just powder,
search on top of the gravel and so you had these enormous cloud of dust every time you fired up and engine yeah so kind of kind of a different world.
Fun times right my friend i look forward to seeing you again sometime and thanks so much for joining us i really appreciate all the things we talked about today just cuz we really don’t get to talk to examine it often so i do really appreciate it.
Any time outboard visiting with you again soon chris i appreciate can thinking of you bet take care of.
[1:44:10] Music.
[1:44:22] Grab me a beer cast message please review a beater cast on itunes or submitted audio question for the show that day be.
[1:44:29] Music.
[1:44:49] We’d love to hear from you,
for more information angle of attack simulation training for fs and explain in more goto www dot fly away media dot com if you are looking for professionally be.
[1:45:05] Music.
[1:45:15] Chris paul bar at a huge thanks goes out to can from pro mark.
For helping me out with this great podcast and getting us some awesome information you know again like i said before we talk here.
I’m actually again looking to approach a check ride without that stress without,
all the things i can get in the way of it actually being successful so i’m very thankful that can took the time to come on the show and to tell us his perspective and by and large the perspective of.
Did the peas and what they’re looking for in a check ride i’m actually very much looking forward to seeing canning again because the next time i see him,
and also his his other instructor at the school pro mark trace and likely going to be doing my commercial aircraft single engine see.
Yes yes down there and taxes that’s kinda my plan i wanna do it sometime around sun and fun why marty down in lower forty eight.
Before or after i’m gonna swing by there for several days and get that done so very exciting.
I’m i’m pumped about this next year and what is going to mean i see this podcast is coming out just at the cusp.
[1:46:32] Love the new year at the end of this year twenty sixteen so very exciting times again can thank you so much for joining us on the show and a very much look forward to seeing you in tray soon down there in texas,
and maybe even sooner who knows what opportunities will arise.
Also a big thanks goes out to the angle of attack crew for all they do to make these podcasts possible.
And that is because they are doing things behind the scenes that free me up to do this or stuff also thank you the listeners i would not be doing this without your feedback.
I know that i give you guys an awesome tee shirt if i read your reviews on the shows that really truthfully you’re doing me a big favor and doing that and you’re also giving me encouragement to keep moving on this podcast doesn’t have the biggest reach,
that is a very devout community.
Of listeners and i’m very grateful for that i know that these podcast have had impacts on people and if it’s impacted you personally.
Then that means the world to me and again thank you for continuing the lesson for sharing a meter cast telling people about it.
And i very very much appreciate that and really hope that is where moving into the new year here.
Hey you are thinking about and keeping an idea of what you are going to do that is new different.
Or maybe to step forward in your a deviation passion i really encourage you to do that so.
[1:48:03] Continue to think about that what is the step i’m going to take this next year.
To move forward in my passion for aviation and that’s take that thought and move that the next episode where we are going to talk about how to potentially achieve those.
[1:48:22] No give you all that the possible thoughts in theory on on what may help you break through that barrier of course i can be there to do it for you.
Potato starts think about that prayed had if you need to,
and let’s talk about it on the next episode of a meter caster really look forward to doing that again guys thanks for all you do.
Look for the joining you on the next episode again we’ll talk about the new year resolutions and things and until next time there rato law.
[1:48:53] Music.


The post AviatorCast Episode 96: Ken Wittekiend: DPE | Checkrides | Promark Aviation | SAFE appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Dec 31 2016

1hr 49mins


Rank #4: AviatorCast Episode 82: Don Sebastian | Airplane Detective

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Today’s Flight Plan

Have you ever dreamed of buying an airplane? Have you seen a ‘for sale’ sign on an airplane at your local airport and thought, “what if?”

Today we talk to Don Sebastian, who we’re calling the ‘Airplane Detective’. You’ve found yourself a potential aircraft, but now what? Don will chat with us about what kind of paperwork, records, tests, and so on are required to get a full picture of what you’re getting into- even down to the details of what to look at when you walk up to the airplane for the first time.

So if you have a dream of owning airplane, or even if you want to know more about how to check if an old airplane is airworthy, this podcast is for you.

Useful Links

Reports for Any Airplane

Getting and ATP Rating (buying an airplane)

FAA Mechanics

FAA Aircraft Certifications Records Aircraft Classifieds

Trade-a-Plane Aircraft Classifieds


Don Sebastian

Huge thanks to Don for joining us. Always fun to think about buying an airplane! Even more fun to ACTUALLY buy one. Here’s to hoping it happens.

His Phone Number: 910.528.7769
His Email:


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Chris: Shaking rudders and borescope-ing engines. This is AviatorCast Episode 82.

Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome, aviators. You’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. From the time I logged my first flight hour and now flying here and there and owning an aviation training business, flight seems to be in my everyday life, just part of what I do. There’s also something new to learn, a new destination to reach or a new aviation friend to meet. Truly, aviation is just a wonderful, wonderful thing to be a part of. That is why I do this podcast week after week.

My very warm welcome to you. If this is the first time you come to AviatorCast, I welcome you here. This podcast is brought to you by Angle of Attack, a flight training media production studio which I founded and which I run. If you haven’t been in AviatorCast before, AviatorCast is where we simply share our aviation passion. We bring on inspiring guests to teach us about new topics or we talk about their careers.

This is also a place to get insight into history or into perhaps a career in aviation. We talk a lot about flight simulation on the show. We talk about reigniting the flame, say that you’ve been out of aviation for a while. Once you’re in aviation, once you’ve tasted flight, it’s hard not to want to get back. Maybe you’re in that process of spooling up the engines again, if you will or maybe you’re trying to find the resources or getting courage to fly, getting that license; there are so many people that want their license and never do.

Of course, many other topics come out of the show. More than anything, we just get on here and we try to come up with an interesting topic each and every week, share a little bit of news with you and knowledge. It keeps you in the game, keeps you ahead in the game, keeps you thinking about flying and that’s really what we really do here at AviatorCast. It’s a little bit free flowing; just stuff that’s cool. Welcome. If this is your first time, welcome, welcome.

We have reviews that come to us each and every week from iTunes, Stitcher. I look at other places as well. When I read a review on the show, I always send you a very cool and very comfortable, by the way AviatorCast limited edition t-shirt that says, “Fly or Die” on the front of it and has an F4U Corsair which is a very cool World War II Navy airplane from the United States Navy. Anyway, it’s a cool t-shirt. I send those for free to you no matter where you are in the world if I read your review on the show.

This week we have a five-star review that has come to us from Jimmy Tidmore in the US. He says, “Outstanding podcast. Have been away from flying for ten years until this past June. There had been many developments in aviation since I had last flown in 2005. The iPhone for example, had not even been invented much less the iPad. Needless to say, I had a lot to catch up on.”

“Well, one of the ways I have been able to cover a lot of ground since June is through Chris’ excellent podcast. It is both informative and entertaining. Chris does a great job of both selecting and then interviewing his top-notch guests. AviatorCast has helped me learn and re-learn so much in a very short period of that and for that I am very grateful. Thanks to everyone at AviatorCast for an awesome product. Keep up the good work.”

Thank you, Jimmy. This is a perfect example right here of being able to get your head back in the game. All that time being away from flying and now you’re getting back in the game and getting back in the cockpit. Many people, if you’re not flying for an actual career go through a period of time like this where family stuff happens and work stuff happens, this and that and you’re just out of the cockpit for a while.

There are so many tools, so many resources to keep your head in the game, keep the knowledge flowing, keep learning. I’m really happy to know that we’ve been able to help with that in even just a small way. Of course, I’m sure you’re doing a lot of the work just totally on your own and that’s coming from your own source of passion and excitement for flight. I really appreciate you being here.

E-mail me. I’ll send you an AviatorCast t-shirt, Again, if the other listeners want to get an AviatorCast t-shirt, I really want to send you guys one. Make sure to review the podcast on iTunes.

No obligation there. If you don’t want to, that’s totally fine, but if I read your review on the show then I will send you a t-shirt no matter where you are in the world. Last week, I sent one to Switzerland. I sent one to Canada maybe and then I sent four to the US. I will send it anywhere. I’ve sent them all over the world. Yes, anywhere, no matter where you are. Most of our listeners are in the US. Again, no matter where you are, I will send it to you.

A very, very quick brief on what this episode of AviatorCast is about today; we talked to a fine young, really older, gentleman named Don Sebastian. Don is a funny guy who has been in aviation for years and years. He is what I call a private investigator, a detective for those that are looking to buy an airplane.

He will help you find an airplane. He will help you find the documentation that’s out there. He will be helping you with kind of the big alert or red flag items that could really hurt you if you were to buy kind of the lemon airplane. Most of all he’s there to verify that you can get a nice airplane. It may not be the nicest airplane but an airplane that isn’t going to give you a lot of headaches. During this interview, we’re going to talk about a lot of those things.

It just so happens, I have this crazy idea in my head and I’m still not sure how realistic it is but I have this crazy idea in my head that I want to get in an airplane, an Angle of Attack airplane for my business and I want to start instructing in my own airplane in my own local home airport just because I think that’s an awesome thing to do. I have this idea in my head that I want to get a small airplane.

It’s kind of funny that Don wrote me out of the blue as I was going through my own thought process here and we started to talk about some airplanes that I could fly. I knew that I wanted to get him on the show. That is what we talked about today. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m excited to get into those things. If you guys ever see yourself wanting to buy an airplane in the future, I know this will be for you.

Even if that’s not the case, it gives you some interesting insight into what you even want to do in a pre-flight walk around. For example, if you were going to be flying an airplane that you’ve never flown before especially one that’s maybe older and you kind of look at it and say, “Eh, I don’t know about that thing,” he has some tips and tricks that would even be good for a pre-flight walk around.

This is a valuable episode. I’m excited to talk to Don. He is a talker himself. I’m not going to do a lot of the talking myself but I’m excited to get into this.

Before I get to that, I have a couple of news items from both the flight training world that I want you guys to be aware of and the flight simulation world. These are two pretty big news pieces I think you’ll be excited about. I’m just going to spend a quick couple of minutes on that and then we would get in to the interview with Don Sebastian.

Here we go. Let’s get in to the flight training news first.

Now, flight training news.

Chris: Recently here in the United States, there is some legislation that is on slate to essentially go through approval with the United States Government and that legislation is called The Aviation Innovation Reform and Reauthorization bill. Basically, what this thing is intended to do is it’s intended to wrap in a bunch of things that the FAA kind of needs to move forward right now and get approval and funding from Congress to move forward with the FAA in its future form.

First off, let me say that there are some very cool, very important parts of this bill even for me personally. There is a third-class medical reform in this bill that will essentially allow a lot of pilots to get in to aviation again who were maybe disqualified in the past for a medical reason.

For me personally, even though I qualify for a medical. It’s very difficult to get a medical for me personally because of some personal medical things that are going on with me. This would allow me to get an authorization once for that medical and not have to do that again. Let me say this is a big personal deal for me. I spent three grand this last year trying to get my own medical. That’s just a very steep cost for me to incur every year.

There are some very cool, very important parts to this bill. There’s also one very bad part to this bill. That would be the privatization of air traffic control in the United States. While I’m not 100% opposed to approaching this issue with privatizing air traffic control, I’m not really against that specifically, I am against who is essentially going to be on the board for this company, for this corporation, whatever it’s going to be.

The real danger here for general aviation and for business aviation is that there will be ten board members. Four of those board members will be from the airlines. They will be from specific major airlines in the United States. A fifth will from the Airline Pilots Association. There you have a majority vote already from just the airlines.

There will be an 11th, I believe person on the board but that board member will essentially be the CEO. Essentially, the airlines could vote in the CEO they want and he could be the 11th guy that kind of throws everything off.

Why is that bad? That’s bad because general aviation then doesn’t have a say in air traffic regulation, which I think is incredibly dangerous. I probably said some very inaccurate things in this statement here but that is basically what I know. What I know is that they want to do the privatization of the air traffic control system, that GA, general aviation does not have good representation.

I don’t believe in that especially after Oshkosh just last year. We had the EAA oppose basically the ALPA, which is the Air Line Pilots Association, union for airline pilots. Basically, ALPA came out against third-class medical reform. It kind of came out left field, out of nowhere, no warning that they were going to oppose this. This is just a very important, makes sense sort of thing for general aviation and there’s really no rhyme or reason why ALPA would be against this.

Anyway, I don’t think the airlines are playing friends here. I’m very happy that Delta Airlines is not supporting this. They’re saying they do not want this to happen. I thought that was a huge plus. I’m not essentially sure who the other airlines are that are supporting this. If you are in the United States, you have the opportunity to reach out to your local representatives and make sure they know that you are opposed to this bill.

I did this through an automated system that is on NBAA, the National Business Aviation Association. They have just a tool you go through where they have a template. You can customize the template a little bit for your Senators. It will detect where you are and then you can send an e-mail to them basically or a letter to them with your personalized information. You can also tweet about it and you can put it on your Facebook.

I’ve done this myself. I’m against this. I really like the third-class medical reform. There are obviously some other great things in the bill, too but don’t believe in wrapping this in to it. If this is the way it’s going to be, we’re just going to have to oppose it. If you do feel the same way, please go out. Oppose this in whatever way you can.

I’m not asking you to quit your day job and do it. I’m just saying spend ten minutes, go and oppose this thing because this really shouldn’t be happening. It will hurt general aviation. From the sources that I have and from the information that I have, that is my current belief.

Generally on this podcast, I don’t bring up heavy subjects like this because I think it’s a waste of time. I’m not huge about politics but this is very important to me because I do not want any sort of infringement on my freedom to fly because I protect that vigorously. I hope you would, too. For those of you who aren’t in the United States, this may have been interesting but probably boring.

Anyway, that’s it. Just so you guys are aware, oppose it if you want to. Let’s keep aviation free and let’s keep it unregulated and fair as much as we possibly can.

That’s it. Let’s move on to flight simulation news.

Now, flight simulation industry news.

Chris: There are some very cool information, news that came out a few days ago. Gosh, I say “very cool” a lot. This is cool. This is from Dovetail Games. Dovetail Games bought the iconic name brand of Microsoft Flight Simulators. They bought Microsoft Flight Simulator two years ago. They’ve been actively developing it not only to gamers, but they’re also very open to doing so for would-be pilots.

This United Kingdom company is releasing a simulator, a new simulator built on the backbone of what is Microsoft Flight Simulator. This is called Flight School. I’m very excited about this because I believe flight simulation is best used for real flight purposes. It’s set again to release in April 2016. I’m just going to read a couple of lines here from their press release because I think it’s really interesting.

This is what it says. It says, “Flight School is a carefully-crafted and rewarding experience designed to teach would-be pilots the basics of flying a light aircraft as well as the essential premises of flight simulation. It will offer newcomers to flight sim-ing and engaging and accessible introduction to aviation while also being highly realistic and authentic.”

“Players will learn to fly in iconic training aircraft undertaking a series of tutorials and training missions, which will provide the perfect introduction to the genre. There will also be a free flight mode for those players who want to head off and explore the entire world.”

Here’s a quote, “Flying an aircraft is a rewarding, awe-inspiring experience unlike any other and we want to give more people the opportunity to enjoy that by breaking down the barriers that make flight simulation feel inaccessible.” That’s from the Stephen Hood, the Creative Director of Dovetail Games.

“By empowering players to handle the controls of the aircraft, we will help them to immerse themselves in the very best and most thrilling aspects of flying in an up-to-date and technically cutting edge environment.”

The CEO of Dovetail Games also said, and his name is Paul Jackson, “People have always dreamt of being able to fly and through Flight School,” being the name of the simulator, “We aim to satisfy that dream and give people the opportunity not only to learn to fly but to really soar as they explore the world.”

“Flight simulation has always been important in the world of gaming but it hasn’t kept up — the core experience hasn’t progressed since the launch of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X back in 2006. That means we’ve missed at least one or maybe even two generations of players who have adored flight sim-ing, but for whom it wasn’t appropriate.”

That’s actually very true and very accurate, if I may interrupt here on that quote. So many people approach flight simulation with curiosity on how they can use it to get in to their own flying career. There are so many gamers out there that are attached to gaming. Millennials are huge on gaming. It’s really unfortunate that flight simulation hasn’t been a serious part of that conversation the last decade here.

It’s unfortunate because those kids that wanted to learn that are instead playing Call of Duty and things like that. They’re not going to be doing that for a career after these teenagers. They’re going to be trying to find a career. Many games I guess could eventually be a career but flight simulation is one of those areas where you can actually take the knowledge you’ve learned from a flight simulator and you can take that in to a career. It’s kind of interesting that way.

I’ll continue with his quote. He says, “Our aim is to get back to that place to restore the former glory of flight simulation as an enjoyable and engaging pastime. Consumers today expect a much slicker experience across all genres. They want simulations that are realistic but also accessible. They want to be led to a place where the focus can be on reaching great levels of accomplishment rather than struggling to get to grips with the operational aspects and that’s what Flight School will deliver.”

With that statement, what I’m hearing there is that this will be less of a free play flight simulator where you can go to your local airport anywhere in the world, do any procedure sort of thing and it’s more of a guided experience, guided training, if you will for brand-new aviators. That’s really interesting.

Obviously, for you real pilots out there, it’s really great just to have a solid simulator where you can fly anywhere in the world, any approach, that sort of thing. I talked about that a couple of episodes back. Actually, last episode I think it was. That’s really important for real aviators.

For starter or beginning aviators ab-initio aviators, gosh, why don’t we get right in here and introduce them to some of the correct flying principles before they just fly all over the place on their own kind of aimless? I’m excited about this. I’m really excited about this to see what ends up happening with this.

I am going to try to reach to Dovetail Games and see if we can’t get someone on the line here and talk to them about this. Yes, I’m excited. I think this is a great thing for flight simulation, for bringing those flight sim-ers in to real aviation. I’m excited. That is good news on top of maybe the important news that I had on the last segment. That’s it, guys. That’s going to be exciting, coming out in April.

We’re going to get into our interview with Don Sebastian now. Here is Hangar Talk with Don Sebastian.

Now, a special Hangar Talk segment.

Chris: All right everybody. We are honored to have a very special guest with us today. We have Don Sebastian. How are you doing, Don? Thanks for joining us tonight.

Don: It’s a pleasure. How are you doing, Chris?

Chris: I’m doing fine and dandy. It’s good to finally get you on AviatorCast. I know that you and I have been looking forward to this. First off, we start out every podcast this way, every interview. We ask our guest how did you fall in love with aviation. Tell us about that.

Don: It was 61 years ago. I was 12 years old. Basically, I guess it started with model airplanes. Back then we had U-control, two wires going out [Inaudible][22:21] stand 60 feet away from the model airplane and goes around in a circle. I had a pretty good support staff. My dad gave me money to buy the balsa wood. I started entering air shows and I did quite well. I won quite a few air shows.

Actually, there was one in New York City. It was hundreds of thousands of people there. I won the contest in what they call U-Control Combat where you try to chop the ribbon off the other airplane that you’re flying with. I was 12 years old. It was a 40-year old guy. I was up against him but I was a little more nimble and I got him.

That did get me in to aviation. Unbelievable. I got a trophy and I was in the newspaper but it didn’t matter. About 6 months later I had a model sailboat in Central Park, New York. It was a contest to dedicate the new boathouse to keep, to store the boats in right where the penthouses are, right off of 5th Avenue and 72nd Street in Central Park, New York City. My sailboat won, got across the pond first and I won there. The mayor shook my hand and they put me on TV.

Chris: Wow. Wow. Claim to fame and now here you are in AviatorCast. You’ve come full circle.

Don: Yes. I knew a little bit about sailboats but not a lot. I knew a lot more about airplanes. The Superintendent of New York City Schools has seen me on television and he came to Brooklyn, New York, a suburb in New York City where I lived. He wanted to see my sailboat. I brought it over to the school.

He said, “You want to be a sailor, don’t you?” I said, “No, I want to be an aviator.” He looked at me kind of puzzled. I said, “I’m not allowed to go to Manhattan School of Aviation Trades in New York City,” because back then you had to walk to school and this was in New York City and I was in Brooklyn. It was three subway trains and a mile walk away. He put me in that school.

Chris: Wow.

Don: Yes. 13 years old, I started my aviation training.

Chris: Wow. Imagine that.

Don: 17 years old, I had all the requirements to be an airframe and power plant mechanic.

Chris: Mercy!

Don: I was only 17 years old. I had to wait until I was 18.

Chris: Go ahead and fast-forward now. Let’s tell people a little bit about what you do professionally so they kind of know full circle here and then we’ll get back in to your original story.

Don: Okay. At the present time, I’m still flight instructor and [Inaudible][25:17] mechanic. What I do now after thousands of flying hours is I inspect airplanes for buyers and I do flight tests on airplanes. I used to go all over the world to do this. I haven’t been over in Europe lately because of the problems over there. People aren’t buying jet airplanes. I enjoy doing little airplanes, too. I do everything from J3 Piper Cubs. I even did a Boeing 727 for the Palace Casino.

I enjoy little airplanes more because I get to meet nice people like buyers. Sometimes I don’t even get to meet them. Sometimes I perform my services just as a support for them. You’re in Alaska. If you want an airplane in Alaska, it was very expensive. Maybe it was only $20,000, $30,000.

I would support you on the telephone. With today’s video conferencing, we can see the airplane live either on FaceTime if you have an iPhone or Periscope or Blob, all these services they have. I could get all the information and data. I’ll take pictures of logbooks and go over that and do all your ADB search and give you advice and try to help you out there to figure out, making sure you’re getting the right airplane. You picked it out but I could tell you facts about it that you’re not aware of.

Chris: That’s actually how you and I in a way struck up a conversation. You wrote me because you had been listening to AviatorCast a little bit. I said, “Hey, I actually had an experience this weekend where I asked my wife, ‘Why don’t we have an airplane? Why don’t we get an airplane?'”

It was kind of serendipitous timing for you to write me and for us to start talking because I was actually perusing the Web looking for something that I could afford, looking for something that was reasonable. Of course, it’s going to be smaller. I’d love for it to be kind of maybe off-airport capable, bush-flying sort of stuff. We have a big conversation there to have, right?

I think we’re going to talk about that a little bit throughout this podcast together about what it’s like to buy an airplane, the sort of things you go through, the sort of things you look for, the pitfalls, where people go wrong, that sort of stuff, where people go right. Before we get in to that, can you share a little bit more about your career and where you went from being the 18-year old young man in New York to now Mr. Expert Airplane Buyer? Can you bridge that gap for us a little bit?

Don: Yes. It’s a bumpy road. I was 18 years old. Here we are. It’s 1959 okay? And there wasn’t any need for aircraft mechanics, believe it or not. There was a need for airline pilots but you have to have a four-year college degree to even apply back then. Actually, I found out I could get a job in a factory stamping out airplane parts. Rather than do that, my father was a Teamster and a truck driver in New York City.

I couldn’t drive a truck right away. I couldn’t even drive a car. He taught me how to drive a tractor-trailer before I learned how to drive a car. I lost my driver’s license in his car. He did that because he didn’t want me grinding the gears in his car because back then there weren’t many automatic cars. They were all manual shift. When I lost my driver’s license, the only comment the inspector had to me is, “You said I’d take turns, too,” because I was used to driving a tractor-trailer.

I did that for many years. I always had in the back of my mind to be an aviator. I think the reason why is way back in 1954 when I was a little kid, I went to a movie and saw “The High and the Mighty” with John Wayne and Robert Stack. It was about a four-engine, like a DC6 type airplane crossing the Pacific and engine failure and all that. I said, “Man, I’d like to save people’s lives. How could I be an aircraft mechanic and pilot and do something like that?”

All of a sudden, my chance came along. The reason it came along is because I was drafted in to the Army. I had no intentions of being in the military. I never even thought about it but the country called so I went to serve. I passed the physical. Basically, I found out that Fort Bragg, North Carolina had a flying club. They rented out Piper J-3 Cubs for a dollar an hour. You had to buy your own fuel. That was another $1.50 back then. The instructor back then got a hefty $4 an hour.

I wasn’t in Fort Bragg and that was a problem. I said to the sergeant in charge of me, I said, “Sarge, I want to get to Fort Bragg. How about if I join the Paratroopers, the 82nd Airborne Division?” He looked at me like I was crazy. He said, “You’re not in the Army.” I said, “What? I’m wearing a uniform.” He says, “I mean the regular Army.” He said, “You’re United States Army. US your serial number is, not RA. You got to be regular army to be a parachuter.

I said, “Well, what does that entail?” He says, “Sign up here for another year.” I said, “Oh, now way. I’m making $55 a month now. I used to make $55 a day before you guys drafted me into your army.” He said, “Okay. You can’t become Airborne.”

Anyway, one of the troopers heard me, one of the other soldiers there. He said, “Go over to headquarters company. Go to the second floor and see so and so and bring some money with you. He’ll put you on a plane if you want to go.” I tried it over there. Yes, I tried it over here. I knocked on the door and I opened it up. I see the nametag. He’s the right guy.

I said, “I want a duty assignment.” He smiled and said, “Oh, okay. I have Hawaii for $500.” I said, “I don’t want to go to Hawaii.” He says, “Well, what do you want to do?” I said, “I want to go Airborne in the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg.” He looked at me like I was crazy. He said, “Let me see your dog tag.” He writes down my serial number. He says, “Okay. We’ll call you.” I say, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “I did that for my country.” I go back to the barracks.

A couple of weeks later, sure enough I got called up to take the physical and go Airborne. I had to run around the track for a couple of miles. I was training for it. I was in good shape. They sent me to jump school. It was kind of the start of the Vietnam War. It was just getting hot. They’ve decided they wanted a helicopter unit. I think it was called the 2nd Cavalry. I’m not sure.

They wanted the 2nd Cavalry to become Airborne with 1,200 guys. They kept me in Fort Dane peeling potatoes for a whole month till those guys showed up. Here we are 1,400 guys. Out of all those guys, one guy died in training. The training was really tough I’d say. It was the middle of winter. Only 400 of us got our parachute badges and had to become paratroopers.

Actually, one guy…you have to make five static line jumps to become a paratrooper. Back then I jumped out of three different airplanes. We were changing over from the Flying Boxcar to the C120 and also the C130. One guy got hurt on the fourth jump and he was so gung-ho. He says, “Carry me out to the airplane and throw me out. I’m going to make my fifth jump.” He was bleeding from the mouth.

We were helping him on to the C130 and the sergeant saw the blood coming out. He said to him, “Hey trooper, are you okay?” He nodded yes. The sergeant smiled with me and said, “We’ll have an ambulance waiting at the drop zone for him.” He got his wings. I got to Fort Bragg. That was a good deal and where I need to be.

Chris: When did you get to take control of the airplane in that whole process?

Don: Actually, it happened pretty quick. I went down to flying club. I knocked on the door. I think it was $10 to join. I can’t remember and in $5 a week or so. It was a dirt strip. It was on main post at Fort Bragg. Fort Bragg’s right in the middle of North Carolina. It’s a rural area. The trajectory cab didn’t have a radio in it. I didn’t have to worry about that. It was very quick.

The thing that really helped, they tried to make me a clerk typist when I got out of Infantry training. They sent me to clerk typist school. I’m not a clerical guy back then. I never really learned how to type but they made a mistake on my military occupational status. They called it MOS. They put down I was a 711 which means better than 60 words a minute typing.

What did they do when I get to Fort Bragg? They assigned to Division Headquarters of 82nd Airborne Division. I walk in and the general says, “Sebastian, I’m glad to see you. We need a fast typist.” I said, “Uh-oh. This doesn’t sound good.” They gave me a memo to type. After an hour, I struggled through a couple of paragraphs; they realized I wasn’t a clerk typist.

They sent me handing out General Education, the GED as they called it to the troops. It was like a desk job from 9:00 till 5:00. At 5:00, I go out and fly airplanes. I had plenty of money because I made big money driving a tractor-trailer in New York City. Inside of about, I guess it was about eight weeks, I got my private pilot’s license. Yes, it was quick.

Then, I thought of renting airplanes with radios in them. The civilian airport had a Cessna 172. In the middle of North Carolina, there’s a civilian airport there. I used to rent that every weekend and fly three GI’s with me up to New York City, build up my time. I went back and forth in the dark up to New York City. I used to land at a little airport called Flushing Airport, which is right on the end of La Guardia Airport. It’s not there anymore. They just closed it a few years ago.

I had 200 hours in almost no time flat but in between that, they sent me to war. That kind of broke up the training a little bit. They had a little rebellion in the Dominican Republic and I was there for two months. We cleaned up that place pretty good and everything was fine. I got back.

They told me in Division Headquarters, “Of all the things you’ve done, Sebastian, we knew you were leaving, going to New York every weekend, you do things you aren’t supposed to do. We gave you a lot of money to hand out in the Dominican Republic and you helped us out.” We went, handed out all this money. “We don’t want to tell anybody. You’re out of here.”

I said, “Wait a minute. What do you mean ‘You’re out of here’? I served my country.” He says, “Oh no. You’re going to get an honorable discharge and we’re going to expedite the GI bill. We’re going to give you that $13,000 right away. You could spend it tomorrow.” I said, “Great.”

I tried to find a real jet, to learn how to fly a real jet but back then there were a lot of guys with GI bills. There were no real jets available in training schools because not many of them are around. I jumped in to a helicopter. I got a helicopter rating, instrument rating, helicopter. I even was qualified to pick the flying instructor rating a helicopter. Back then the FAA guys had to fly with you.

As a matter of fact, I have a good story about the helicopter. To get my instrument rating, it was like a basic VOR approach with a timed approach after you leave the VOR. After so many minutes depending on your ground speed, which I figured out in advance, you would declare a decision point to make a missed approach. I wasn’t wearing a watch. The clock in the helicopter wasn’t working.

Anyway, there weren’t any designee type people to give you advanced ratings like that. I go over the VOR. He realizes that I don’t know what time it is. How am I going to tell him when all that decision point? I said, “How am I going to do this? Oh, man. There’s a McDonald’s hamburger stand right next to the airport. If I smell McDonald’s, I’ll say, ‘I’ll make the decision point.'” That’s what I did.

Chris: Oh my God!

Don: Yes, I got my helicopter rating because of my sense of smell.

Chris: Oh my gosh! That’s good.

Don: Anyway, I got my flight instructor rating. I got instrument instructor rating and multi-engine instrument rating and all those ratings plus I had an A and P. I decided…I still lived in New York back then. I went back to New York after the Army. I worked for Flight Safety on the weekends in Republic Airport in Long Island.

They liked me as a flight instructor so they offered me a full-time job. I said, “Wow! Okay. I’m all for that.” He says, “It’s not teaching people how to fly. It’s teaching systems on a Lear jet.” I said, “What?” He said, “We need a ground instructor on a Lear jet. You could study up and teach it.” I said, “How much are you paying?” He said, “$80 a week.” I said, “Whoa. Wait a minute. I’m making almost $400 a week.” This is back in 1967. I was making $400 a week driving a truck. I said, “No, thanks.”

I kind of freelanced as an instructor up in New York. Then, I decided to move to North Carolina. That’s when I started building up my time when I got down here. As a matter of fact, I even started a commuter airline down here called Mid-South Airlines. That was a good experience because I had to write the op specs and do all the things I have to do to start an airline. I did a good job. The FAA gave me a commendation for it. That was kind of the start of my career when I moved to North Carolina and built up my flight hours.

Chris: Maybe we should just ask you what you haven’t done and that would be a shorter conversation because it sounds like you’ve done quite a few things.

Don: Yes. Actually, I’m a skydiver or I used to be a skydiver. I used to do jumps. I got a…Society of France, they gave me a jumpmaster rating. I got that one when I was in the Army. I’m an expert witness. I testify for my clients whether they be pilots or the aircraft owners or aircraft companies and I’ve been quite successful at doing that. That’s nice, clean work.

What I enjoy doing is checking out airplanes and take them up for flight tests. It’s a little different than most people think. I’ll explain that as we go along.

Chris: Yes, yes. I think that’s a good jump-off point. Like I said a few minutes ago, I’m looking to get an airplane because I’m more or less at that stage where I want to start instructing. I want my own airplane to do that in. I’d like to be able to travel a little bit here in Alaska. I’d like to be able to go maybe some places and land on beaches or land on glaciers, things like that.

That’s a lot of dreaming, right? A lot of dreaming. I’ve got to bring that in to perspective. Let’s do a used case scenario here of a little bit about my situation but I’d like to put in the listener into that seat that says, “Okay, you’re about to buy an airplane. You’re thinking about buying an airplane. What are the things you need to be thinking about in doing that?”

That’s kind of the process I want to go through with you almost like a Q and A sort of thing, find out what my mindset should be going in. What’s going to happen when I find an airplane I want to look at? What are we going to look at when that happens? Then, when I’m ready to take the plunge, how do I actually buy the airplane? That sort of thing. Let’s start from the very, very beginning. What would you suggest when someone is just about to get in to it?

Don: Well, almost exactly what you said. I kind of get to know you. We have a nice, long conversation on the telephone. Buying an airplane is like buying a set of clothes. If it doesn’t fit, you’re not going to wear it.

We’re going to kind of start off talking about your mission profile. What’s a mission profile? That’s the trips you’re going to take. I want to know what type of trips, like you said in your case, you’re going to be landing on unapproved fields. Right away, the little light bulb goes on in my head saying, “Taildragger.”

I wonder how many people you’re going to be carrying and what your stage land is. What I’m staying stage land, it means how far is your normal trip because you don’t want to stop to fuel on the way. Then, I’m going to ask you one of the most important things. How much money do you want to spend?

Chris: That’s a pretty big question because not only the airplane upfront, that’s a purchase in an of itself. You can get really buried with costs as well just maintaining an airplane and sometimes there are bad apples out there. You want to avoid buying lemons sort of thing. You want to buy an airplane that’s serviceable that has parts out there in the market, that sort of thing. That all comes in to the equation, right?

Don: That’s right. Most people when they call me, most of them actually owned an airplane before and they got stung. That’s why they called me because they want thorough pre-flight inspection and they want to make sure to get a good airplane this time and not have more money in the plane than it’s worth in to it.

The average person only keeps an airplane five or six years, but when they sell it, they want to get most of their investment, if not all than their investment back again. The only way they can do that is if you don’t have any big expenses, maintenance expenses on the airplane. Everything else could be calculated with fuel flow, the tie-down cost, the insurance cost. Depreciation isn’t really such a big factor on little airplanes. They’re holding the value pretty well.

Now, if you’re buying a jet airplane, that’s different. You’re going to lose a lot of money after a couple of years on it or a turbo prop. Well, even turbo props somehow are holding the value good.

You’re going to tell me you probably had already made up your mind. You want a certain type of airplane. Then, I’m going to kind of dig in to you and see if this is the right airplane for you after talking back and forth. Like in your case, if you tell me you only have X amount of dollars, I’m going to start to bring up some airplanes.

Did you want to use your case or should I just take an alias?

Chris: Yes, yes. We can use my case because I just shared with you some things. I want to be able to instruct in it. I want to be able to maybe land off-airport. That would be fun to do. Is it what I really need to do? I don’t really know that yet, but I’d like to land off-airport. I’d like it to go a little bit of distance, maybe a couple of hours with reserve, that sort of thing. That’s kind of my mission profile.

To the inexperienced eye, I start to think first of all, 172, 152, the real basics especially from a flight training perspective. There really are a lot more options out there, aren’t there? There are kind of some diamonds in the rough and even as you and I started talking, there was a C140 up the street. That probably won’t work out because it’s a little rundown but even that has come up as an option.

Don: Let’s say you didn’t mention the price to me and I’m just trying to feel you through how much you got to spend because some people are bashful about telling. I’ll kind of start off with the bottom-line. I guess the bottom-line is the American Aviation Yankee.

It’s a long time ago they made this little two-place airplane. You can get one of them, pretty good shape for $15,000. It’s probably the best two-place airplane you can buy. The only problem is it’s not a good flight-training airplane. It has funny handling characteristics. It’s an old airplane and it’s not going to have much in instrumentation, just the bare minimums.

That’s not a big factor today. You can go out and buy yourself an iPad and get familiar with that. Of course, you can enroll in one of your courses and flight simulators and all. Training is much easier today than it used to be with all the services you have, all the good stuff you have. There’s a $15,000 airplane. Now, I wouldn’t recommend that to a zero-time student because it’s not a docile airplane.

Then, we’re going to move up the ladder a little bit. In your case, it sounds like you want a taildragger. That kind of limits you. Most of these taildraggers cost a little more for some reason.

Like you were saying, the one down the road, the Cessna 140, it’s a very old airplane. It’s 65, 70 years old. Most of them only have a few thousand hours flying time on them. If they’ve been in a hangar, they’ve been in a climate that’s fairly dry and…every airplane is different. If it doesn’t have corrosion, it probably has a really good airframe still. They made them real good.

I would rather you be maybe in the Cessna 150 because that’s a really good training airplane. The only trouble is, the Cessna 150, most of them have lots of flying hours on them and they’ve been pretty well beat up. You can get one of them for about the same price, about $25,000, $30,000. It’s going to have more abuse to it because it has been a training airplane. Well, the 140 is kind of a collector’s item. The Cessna 140 is a taildragger. It’s collector’s item.

The next thing I got to ask you is: how tall are you?

Chris: Not that tall. I see where you’re going with this.

Don: If you’re six foot six, you’re not going to fit in the airplane. If your wife and kids are going to go with you, it’s not good for you. As a matter of fact on that particular airplane is different variance. They originally came with fabric-covered wings and then they put aluminum wings on them. The fabric-covered wings were 50 pounds lighter.

If you get one with aluminum wings, chances are you’re going to have a payload after you put fuel in it, a little over 25 gallons, after you put fuel in it, you’re probably going to have around 300 pounds of payload left for you and whoever you’re taking with you.

Chris: Someone needs some weight then.

Don: All right. That’s another question because if you’re 300 pounds, you’re not going to fit in with two people.

Chris: Yes. You can take yourself and a sandwich and that’s it.

Don: The width of the airplane, it’s very tight. With two people, you’re elbow to elbow. You’re in Alaska so it’s going to be a cold ride; people complain even in the Mid-Atlantic States. The other thing, it’s an old airplane. Cessna originally made seven thousand Cessna 140’s. Chances are, you’re going to be able to still find parts but first, we got to make sure there’s one out there you can buy.

Here’s how we go about the buying process no matter what airplane it is. This is what I suggest. Most people don’t realize it but you got to do your homework or you sail. What I mean by sailing is you went out to an airplane and you love the paint job. It’s got nice seats in it. The owner puts you in the seat and let’s you fly the airplane. You go around and oh, man; you already bought it. You don’t anything about the airplane.

The process not to sail is this. First, we got to find out the history of the airplane. The problem is that the FAA keeps files on airplanes. They keep a good registration file. The registration file will be tracked back from the day the airplane came out of the factory.

That’s good because if that airplane has been owned by somebody within about 30, 40 miles of the East Coast, about 15, 20 miles of the West Coast or the whole state of Florida, it probably has a lot of corrosion because those are the corrosive areas of the country. It was based on Phoenix, Arizona for its whole life. I’m feeling pretty good right now about this airplane. That’s the registration file. We go over that.

More importantly is the alteration file. The FAA keeps a file of all the alterations put on the airplane. An alteration is normally a good thing because it will tell you improvements — that updated radio. It’s got wheel fairings. It’s got speed tips on it. It’s got an oil filter on it. Those are all good things.

On that alteration form, there’s a box. One side of the box says, “Check here for alterations.” The other side of the box says, “Check here for repairs.” Oops. That’s dead — repairs because that means it had a major repair done on the airplane. You got to be careful on the repair box because some people will just not buy a plane that has major damage history, which is a repair.

Chris: Tell us a little bit why. Why wouldn’t you buy an airplane with damage history? I know that with you in cars, that reduces the resale value if it’s been a salvage title or something like that. Even from a safety standpoint, why would people avoid buying an airplane that’s been repaired?

Don: There’s no reason to avoid it. If the repair was just made in the last year or two, it’s definitely going to reduce the price of the airplane because it hasn’t been proven yet. If an airplane has a 337 repair form, it was fixed outside the factory and it was fixed by a guy like a mechanic. Of course, [Inaudible][55:12] fail to experience with tag SP, inspector authorized but it’s still just by a mechanic as opposed to at least a “strong” if not “exceeds the factory expectations” but time will tell.

Most of these older airplanes do have repairs with pair forms on because if the airplane nosed in and bent the propeller and they just changed the propeller and fixed something on the airframe, never went into the engine, you got to stay away from that airplane because the crank shift is stressed and there could be a lot of damage inside that engine that we can’t find out about till the propeller comes flying off one day.

That’s a real serious repair if it had a gear up planning, if it’s a retractable gear or it nosed over. Whenever I see that a propeller has been replaced before it reached time before overhaul…and in most cases there isn’t a time to overhaul most regular, constant-speed propellers and fixed pitch propellers. If the propeller has been replaced prematurely, I’m always curious why. We got to find out about it.

Then, we get in to there’s a free and I’ll give you a link to it. There’s a free site called My Report and you can put just the N number. It’s a free site on the internet.

Chris: It’s called My Report?

Don: Yes. I’ll find you the link to it. You can put it on your show notes. We’re going to do a little checking off the boxes just to the right. We want the registration, all the auxiliary reports, and the NTB and FAA incident reports. You check off all that stuff. You hit the “Send” button. It pops right back up.

On the bottom of it, if it has incident reports that were reported to the FAA, it’s there. By the way, it’s for free. We’re finding out more about the airplane and we’re going to verify who owns it because you never know. Maybe the guy selling it doesn’t own it. That’s good because if he’s on file with the FAA, he owns it.

We haven’t left you off just yet. We already found out if it has…we sent away for the FAA file, which in my case, it only cost $20. I did so many of them and I get them usually the same day. They come in a PDF file. I read through them and make sure everything is okay. Or, you can get it from the AOPA. There are a lot of places that get them for you. In some cases, it costs $100 but I get it a lot cheaper.

Anyway, we go through that. Now, the next thing is you’re in Alaska. I’m in North Carolina. You don’t want me running to Alaska and kick the tires and say, “Oh my goodness. You can’t buy this airplane. There are so many things wrong with it.” The next thing we do is get a copy of the logbooks. The owner says, “Oh, I don’t have a copy of the logbooks.” Tell him, “If you want to sell the airplane, just take a picture of every page of the logbooks and e-mail them to me.” It’s not that hard to do.

Or, if you have time, we can do it on the phone. Most people have smart phones. We could do it through a video conferencing thing on the phone. I could read the pages of the logbook and have some questions. I’m making notes. I’m making a score quiz. As soon as I get the FAA file, I start my score quiz. My computer can…I’ve done every make and model. I’ve done a couple thousand airplanes. I have lots of data. I’m pulling up the data from the other airplanes I did the same.

Now, I’m searching the service difficulty reports and the service bulletins. I usually get up with the owner’s club. Those owner’s clubs are great because they have lots of inside information about what’s going on currently with these airplanes and parts availability and everything.

Chris: In a sense, if I may just stop you here for a second, in a sense, you’re almost like a private investigator for an airplane. You’re doing your due diligence to make sure that you know all of the information. I’d imagine that with almost every airplane there are going to be questions and thinks you’d talk to the owner about.

You really want to make sure that some of the major things aren’t pointing out like the damage history and liens on the airplane and maybe had a minor repair or maybe an AD is out of compliance or something like that. Really, that’s what you’re saying, right? Kind of like an airplane private investigator?

Don: Yes. That’s right except for liens on an airplane. I’m not an attorney.

Chris: Right, right, right. Of course.

Don: That kind of comes later on. We’ll take the owner’s reg if there are not liens on it. Once you decide to buy that airplane, you will get it to a reputable company that’s insured in case I make a mistake.

You’ll get a lien release, make sure all the owners in the past…actually, sometimes I read over that paperwork in FAA registration file and I find mistakes in there that the lien companies don’t find. Going back 30 years ago, they didn’t sign this from correctly and I bring it to the buyer. I say, “Well, it’s got by all this time. If you want to make an issue out of it, this is time before you buy the airplane.” It’s up to the buyer what he wants to do.

The other thing is, I’m kind of getting the buyer in to a frame of mind. I’m saying to him, “This isn’t the only airplane in the world. There are 25 others to sell.” If you want to do it or if you want me to do it, we either research these other airplanes and we need to pick two, if not three airplanes. We got to compare them.

I have a comparison chart for him. On that comparison chart, I’d start off with what the blue book says which is always more than the airplane’s worth. I put that number on the top, adjust it for airframe and engine time and all.

Now I go down with the equipment on the airplane, give it credit. The buyer and I get together on the phone and say, “Well, this has a Garmin 430W in it. That’s a full-credit item.” All of a sudden the airplane is worth maybe $4,000 more because of that. If he doesn’t need a Garmin 430W, it’s worth a little more but not worth $4,000 more. We go down the list of all three airplanes.

When we get all done in the end, we call all three airplanes or it’s up to the buyer if he wants to do it this way. At least, call up the airplane he’s focusing on and we want to talk to the owner, the broker, and the mechanic. Hopefully it doesn’t have a broker but if he has a broker, we have to talk to him.

We want to talk to the last guy who did the annual inspection because I’m going to grill him because I know all the things that could go wrong. They’re in the annual inspection. I want to judge this guy. The way I judge him first of all is the way he signed off the annual inspection. I’m a happy guy if he says, “I did an annual inspection according to the manufacturer’s checklist.” Great. He did it, all that stuff. That’s good.

If he says, “I did an annual inspection according to Part 43, Item D,” that means it’s a minimum annual inspection. These guys make their living for people coming in and get planes. If their annual inspection all of a sudden costs $4,000, that cost is not going to come back. The FAA has a minimum checklist of what items you’ve got to do. If he signs it off that way in accordance to Part 43 of FAA regulations, he obviously used a minimum checklist or maybe not.

If he says, “Oh, no. I have a more extensive checklist.” I say, “Good. Take a picture of it and send it to me. I want to go over it.” We’re going to talk to the mechanic and talk to the owner. We’re going to say to the owner, “Look, tell us what’s wrong with this airplane. Maybe we’ll come by. Maybe we won’t. If you don’t tell us what’s wrong with this airplane and I find it, we’re going to deduct the cost of that repair from our agreed-upon price. That’s pretty reasonable, right?”

Most of time I let the buyer talk to the seller and get more of these facts. I’m the guy in the background because I don’t want the seller to think I’m just there to beat him up. I’m not. I’m making sure that my buyer gets an airworthy airplane and an airplane he can afford to operate for five years.

In your case now, you just said something to me, which rang another bell. You said, “I want to do some flight training in it.” That’s the crucial operation. If you’re going to do that, I’ve got a couple more things. If the engine’s going to expire, TBO, time before overhaul, you’re going to have to overhaul.

A lot of these small airplanes will go hundreds, if not a thousand hours over TBO, time before overhaul and they still run good because you have to do a little more maintenance when you get high-time. You have to change your oil more frequently and maybe even take her on analysis.

We got all that figured out on the phone and this plane seems like…the three airplanes, the first one that you had your heart set on because it was color blue. You liked the red stripes on it, whatever but the pink one you didn’t like so much.

Chris: You’re telling me you’re going to make me buy the pink one.

Don: Well, I’ll leave it up to you. I’m going to tell you this. The way you’re going to get your money out of the airplane to be most satisfied with it, if it’s your personal paint job. It pays to invest in the paint job because the pink one might work for you. The one you selected, the blue one with the red stripes, I’m figuring you’re going to spend ten grand on this in the next two years. Still up to the buyer, whatever he wants.

Either I go marching out to the airplane or I could do it on the computer, on the smartphone. I could tell the buyer what to do and I could help him do the pre-buying. Meanwhile, I’ll have a checklist for him that I’ll send him. I have all the AD’s written down. I’ll just have to get him to verify that this is the equipment on the airplane and there’s nothing there that’s a bogus part.

How do you do that? A private pilot isn’t a lot of cool in somebody’s airplane; take it all apart looking at things. Yes, he is but he can’t put it back together. You shout for a mechanic. He could ask the owner, say, “Look, I want your airplane but I’ll take the cowl off. I’ll take the inspection plates off but you got to put them back on because you’re the owner.” He can do that being the pilot. He could just put them back on. That’s really the liability of the buyer.

Before we get to pulling parts off in an airplane, I’m going to tell you what I do and it’s on-the-air. I’ll tell you what you should do. When I get to an airplane, I’m going to go over this as if you’re not having me come. You’re just having me give you advice on the phone. We walk up to the airplane.

What do we do? We do ground reconnaissance. What? What’s ground reconnaissance? Is there anything dripping? Are there any stains under the airplane? If it’s anything but water, we might have a problem here. If there’s a little drip out of the exhaust pipes, uh-oh. That’s a big problem.

If one of the earlier stripes, most airplanes…in this case your Cessna 140, that’s not one of the earlier stripes. Anyway, you want to get to the airport a little bit early because you want go to the FBO and you want to be a nice guy and say, “Hey, I know that guy that owns that Cessna 140. Is he like the airplane?” The FBO guy, maybe the line guy says to you, “Oh my goodness. He’ll be so glad to get rid of that airplane just this long. Everything’s wrong with it. It burns a lot of oil.” It’s good to get to the airport ahead of time.

Now we’re at the airport. We did our ground reconnaissance. We want to walk around the airplane and note any cracks and all the usual stuff. Another thing we want to do is we want to shake hands with the airplane. What? Shake hands with the airplane? Never heard of that. The mechanic will think you’re crazy. After a couple thousand airplanes, I know I’m not crazy.

Here’s what I do. I pull on the wings up and down being careful on the wingtips because a lot of times they’re fiberglass plastic type wingtips. I don’t want to break anything. I pull and down and I see if there’s oil canning of the skin. Oil canning is the skin is loose between the rivets. It goes pung, pung, pung, up and down just like you put a piece of metal in front of you and shake it. You hear that noise. That’s a little canny.

I want to look at the rivets and I want to make sure the rivets…hopefully, the paint job is a few years old. If it’s brand-new I can’t really tell. I want to make sure the rivets aren’t smoking which means there’s a little trail of aluminum dust behind the rivets because they’re loose and stressed. This is a reason not to buy the airplane.

I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to look at the fuselage on an angle and make sure there are no buckles in the skin. I’m going to go around and lift up and down the horizontal stabilizers like I did the wings, make sure they’re not oil canning. I then go back to the elevators and grab one on my right hand and one on my left hand and put a little stress on them in opposite directions and see if they’re oil canned; same with the vertical stabilizer and the rudder. I’m kind of shaking hands with the airplane.

These are things mechanics don’t do on a pre-flight, pre-purchase inspection because they have their little checklist, hundred-hour checklist because that’s what they do. That’s what they all do on annual inspection, a hundred-hour checklist. They’re checking those things and servicing those things. We’re not here to service the airplane. We’re there to find the facts.

Then, I’ll tell the buyer, I’ll say, “Ask the pilot or owner to get in the airplane and start it up.” You stand outside and look at the exhaust pipe, oil pipes, whatever it might be, keeping away from the propeller. When he starts that engine, if there’s light smoke coming out, we might have a problem because white smoke means there was oil in your cylinders. If it’s brown smoke, that’s okay. He might have flooded the engine with the fuel pump or something.

Then, tell him to stop the engine by turning off the magneto switches. Usually, you turn it off by pulling the mixture back but we want to turn off the magneto switches to make sure those magnetos are dead. They’re grounded and they’re dead because you want to hand prop the airplane.

How do we put the ignition key up on the glass shield? Make sure you choke the airplane. Make sure it’s standing on the brakes. Make sure the throttle’s all the way back and the mixture now pulled back to idle and go out there and hand prop the airplane. That’s if you think you’re up to it. I kind of did a little instruction on how to do it.

Everybody today has starter motors and they’ll say, “Huh. You’re not supposed to do that.” The planes I only ever fly, you’re not going to go flying if you don’t hand prop them if they didn’t have starter motors. We know that the magneto’s grounded and the engine won’t start.

Here’s a little technique how to step back when you flip the propeller. Now the engine’s warm. If it’s a four-cylinder, you count one, two, three, four as you’re flipping the prop. Then, do it again, one, two, three, four. If you felt a weak cylinder, that’s something to think about. I wouldn’t ground it. Well, you’ll tell the difference. If it’s a real strong compression, if it’s right up there to 75, 80 pounds, it will be hard to pull it through.

Chris: Oh, okay. It’ll just kind of glide past that cylinder if it’s weak. Okay.

Don: It will glide past it. That’s the reason you do it in cycles, four times and four times again because sometimes the valve hangs up a little bit or there might have been a piece of club on it or something. If you got a weak cylinder, well, we’re going to take it for a flight test and if it’s weak when we come down, you have to fly in it for a half-hour, an hour, then we got a problem.

Or, if light smoke comes out of the exhaust, you probably have good compression if there’s oil in the cylinders because your own skills are up to rings but it might be burning oil. You got to take the dipstick out. Take a picture of the oil level on the dipstick. When you come back, see if it consumed any oil. It’s things like that.

Normally, I get to an airplane and inside of a few hours I know whether or not we could buy it. Unless there’s a big problem, unless there’s corrosion and stuff then I really got to get in to things.

The flight test: you don’t want to be pilot in command because it’s not your airplane and you don’t want to be in a liable position. If you’re going to blind-use the airplane, there might be something wrong with it. You have to make sure that the owner flies the airplane because you’re not there to get instruction on how to fly the airplane. You’re there to test the airplane.

If the owner doesn’t have his medical or something, say, “Okay. You’re going to have to supply a pilot.” Even if you have to pay the pilot for the hour flight, this way if the owner supplies the pilot, if anything happens during the flight test, it’s not your fault. You’re just a passenger.

Chris: Yes. That’s a good point. That’s a really good point.

Don: Yes. Yes. The flight test: most airplanes either in the types of typical data sheets which I haven’t talked about yet. I’ll give you a link to it. It’s a free FAA site. They don’t tell you what the propeller is supposed to…how many RPM’s the propeller is supposed to turn at full power. They call that a static runup. A lot of times it’s in the flight manual. That’s an operating limitation.

We’re going to go out there either on a runway, if you can get a delay on the runway for 20, 30 seconds, either that or the run-up, we’re going to get full power for putting into the wind. If the RPM’s don’t come up to the 2,400, 2,500, whatever the type certificate says or the airplane flight manual, if it doesn’t reach that RPM, that hundred horsepower airplane might only be developing 70 horsepower.

Chris: Right. That’s a big deal, very big deal.

Don: We got a problem. These are all things judging an airplane. Then, to confirm that we’re not making that horsepower and the owner says, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that before,” maybe nobody ever told him. It’s okay. Let’s make it take off. We got 4,000-foot of runway. We only need 1,800 feet. Let’s make it take off.

And we’re going to see how long it takes to climb to 50-foot, how far down the runway. We’re going to see what kind of rate of climb we’re going to get. We’re going to get the cruise altitude and we’re going to see if we get our cruise speed performance. If all those things are negative, we got a weak engine here.

Naturally, we’re going to be testing the lights and testing all the avionics. If it has an autopilot, hey, we’re paying for the autopilot, not the pilot. Have them put the autopilot on right away. Do the whole flight with the autopilot as much as you can.

If I’m in the airplane, I usually do a dive test if the air is calm. I get in to the caution range; make sure there are no flutters. I usually slow down maneuvering speed and pull a couple of G’s and see how the controls feel, things like that.

Try to kind of flip every switch and test everything. Make sure the heat is working all right. Little airplanes, if the doors aren’t sealed right, the exhaust fumes could come in the doors. You wouldn’t even notice it. That’s a problem. You could get carbon monoxide poisoning. All these things are important like those little rubber strips around the doors. This is all in the first few hours of getting in to the airplane. We’re going to find out all this stuff.

If it has an autopilot and if it has an iOS or whatever it has, we’re going to try that avionics to make sure it works right and the marker beacons go on or whatever, if it has that stuff. The landing doesn’t matter that much unless it’s a jet or a turbo prop. There are more procedures on the landing. On a smaller plane, you’d just be making normal landing.

Then, we’re going to go out there and hand prop that engine again. Actually, we’re going to shut the engine down a little be different than we normally do. We’re going to shut the engine down by putting the fuselage in the off position. Why is that important? If it’s leaking, chances are it will pass the annual because most mechanics won’t check that. If you have an accident and it’s leaking, it could mean your life. We’re going to check that.

Then, you’re going to flip the prop again. Lucky us. Now it has four good-feeling cylinders. Do you want to pull the spark plugs and do a borescope inspection? I could do that if I’m there but it’s not worth all the trouble and it’s going to take the rest of the day.

We’re going to get right in to the airframe and look for corrosion. Most smaller airplanes, in the luggage compartment behind the seat, there’s usually a little plastic cover you can pull off and you can see the whole empennage of the airplane, the whole tail. Bring a really bright flashlight with you and look around in there. Put your hand on the head wire, on the sidewall. See if you feel any moisture. Take a close look around the plastic side windows and all.

If the ceiling is bad or anything, you might ask the owner and say, “Look, I’m going to take off this side wall but you got to put it back on,” all these things because you’re not a mechanic. Of course, I could take it off and put it on and I’ll sign the airplane log that I did that. If you’re just a private pilot, you’re not authorized unless you own the airplane. Either the owner has to do that or you have to call in a mechanic to put it back together.

Now we’re in pretty good shape. We’ve been here about four hours. Now the tedious work comes. We’re going to go through the logbooks again and make sure that it wasn’t misrepresented, the pictures we got. We got to make sure the logbooks are complete. There’s no missing time. A lot of guys say, “Oh, 50 hours since overhaul.” That was ten years ago. Maybe it’s okay. Maybe it’s not. If it passed the flight test and everything, I guess it’s okay.

Anyway, you’re going to check the dipstick again and you have that picture. Now you can prove to the owner, “Man, we used the whole quart of oil and we only flew for half an hour.” Now it’s a reason to pull the spark plug off and do a borescope inspection.

Also, you want to make sure the overhaul that was on the airplane…most of these airplanes have been overhauled at least once, if not many times. You want to make sure that it was kind of done right. You need to make sure you have a birth certificate, which is either called a yellow tag or an AD 130 form saying that’s a genuine part.

The serial number of that part and the part number should match up with the birth certificate, with the yellow tag and because there are important things there — the crankshaft. Oh, yes. You need to check the data plate on the airplane. Make sure it’s the right engine. Pick the serial number off of that one; you have a caterwaul.

When you get to more advanced airplanes, it gets a lot more advanced. I can tell you some of those stories but it really does get in to it.

Chris: Yes. I’m sure that’s pretty crazy. Assume that we went through this process together and you and I determined that this is actually a fairly airworthy airplane that everything more or less was checking out. We might have a couple of squawks here and there to talk about. We’ve come pretty far along. It’s a good price. We like the data on it. We like what we see. We’re comfortable with the hours and its overhaul. Now we want to go and take the plunge and get this airplane. What is the process like from there typically?

Don: No. I would say you’re still in the negotiation stage of the price of the airplane. You agreed before you went by how much you’re going to pay for it. If the seller wants you to give him escrow money, the only way you should do that is with a reputable company, an escrow company. They’ll research for you. They make sure there are no liens. You use that company. Never give the owner money. He might want to charge for the test flight. That’s okay. That’s normal.

Now you got a list. Mostly, airplanes are 40 years old. I have a list. I could have 50 items there. I’m going to kind of sit down with you on the side and say, “You’re not going to find a perfect airplane. This is what’s wrong with the airplane. It had this AD from 25 years ago.” It says on the Cessna 150 here, same way. They just overhauled the engine and left AD in the engine. That has to be fixed. That’s a negotiable item.

The crazy in the windows, we can see out of them. It’s up to you if you want to use that as a negotiating point because the buyer and the seller has to renegotiate the price of the airplane.

If you can’t quite get together, you’re going to pull out of your pocket that number two choice and say, “Look, I kind of like your airplane but we can’t get together on price. Take a look at this other airplane. When I think about it, I might go see that one now.” Now, you’re in a good negotiating position. Who knows what will happen with the price when you do that?

I would recommend that if you’re buying the airplane, if you have your favorite maintenance facility but chances are, the guy that did the last annual on the airplane, I usually like to do all this pre-flight and flight test at the mechanic’s shop, on the same field that the mechanic is because the owner isn’t going to maybe believe me. He’s going to want his mechanic to come over and verify it.

Chris: Right. Yes, yes.

Don: Now you have this mechanic and say, “Look, I’m going to buy this airplane. You’ve been maintaining it for the last ten years. I got a list here. You passed the annual two months ago so I don’t have to worry about that. As a matter of fact, you passed it with all these things wrong with it. How much do you charge? How much an hour? Oh, okay. $50 an hour. Okay. Here are the things that I checked off on the list. How much will it cost to fix all that? Just write a price next to each item and I’ll tell you which ones to fix.”

There’s no sense flying around with defects. When you go to sell the airplane, you’re going to have probably a guy like me comes along; you’ll have to fix it for that guy. You might as well enjoy the airplane and get everything fixed right to start with and then you’re in good shape.

There are a couple of things about buying an airplane. I’m going to ask you, “Are you an instrument pilot?” If you’re an instrument pilot, you’d say, “Well, the weather.” Is icing important to you? Should the plane be certified for non-icing and if it’s not, can you comply with all these regulations? It puts the burden on the pilot to make sure he’s in compliance with avoiding icing and all the regulations attached to it.

I’ll be asking questions like that. Basically, I could look for an airplane for a guy if he figures about what make and model after we put our heads together and he says, “Yes, that’s the airplane. I need that 180-horesepower Cherokee, the 140-horsepower 112.” If he does that, if he’s a busy guy and he’s making a lot of money in his business, he could pay me to research the market.

How I research the market is I first send e-mails to all the candidate airplanes. I see how long it takes for that broker or that owner to get back to me. That’s a symbol how desperate he is to sell that airplane. If the guy gets back to me the first day, I’m in a good position for negotiating. This guy is dying to sell his airplane.

Chris: Yes, exactly. Yes, that makes sense. He’s motivated.

Don: Yes. Anyway, we narrow it down to a few airplanes and then I talk it over with the buyer. We decide which one he’s going to zero in on. if that one doesn’t work out, we’re ready to go to the next one. We have it all lined up.

I’ll give you an example. I’ve had several military people call me up from Afghanistan and Iraq over the years. One guy was an F-16 pilot. I put three airplanes for him over the years. He never saw the airplanes. He saw my videotape.

Actually, I put it in the cloud and you could see what’s going on if you’re not with me. I do a video of most of the things I’m doing especially performance of the airplane. I do pictures as a squawk list. I have squawk number 45. There’s something wrong with the hinge on the right elevator. All of a sudden you’ll see two pictures attached to the squawk. They’ll be ten feet away so you can identify what part it is and then moving up closer to the hinge showing the play in it.

I did a helicopter guy in Afghanistan. He calls me up and he wants to buy a 172 in Clearwater, Florida, the little executive airport in Clearwater right in the middle of town. I say, “How much is it?” He said, “$35,000.” I said, “Okay.” I called the guy and I talked to him. I looked at the stuff he sent me. I said, “Oops, we got a problem here. I know that’s your price range but we didn’t get to know the airplane. There are a lot of airplanes in that part of Florida. I don’t think you’d be able to buy this airplane.”

He says, “Well, there’s another one but it’s $45,000. There’s a Grumman Traveler in the same field.” I say, “Well, I’ll tell you what. I get a feel that this airplane is going to have at least $20,000 in to it before you get done with it. Call up the other guy even if it costs more. Have one on standby in case this one doesn’t work out.” It’s actually in the same airport.

I meet with the fellow. He gets back to the States. He and his buddy who was a flying instructor also, we go up. We didn’t even flight test the 172. It was a disaster. Here’s the Grumman Traveler. It was like new, a beautiful airplane. The guy wanted to get rid of it. He came down $10,000. For the same price, he got twice the airplane.

That’s what you got to do. You have to have a few lined up. Hopefully, they’re in the same area because of the expenses of traveling and the time it takes to travel.

Chris: Great. We’re kind of running out of time here. I want at least in the next several minutes kind of wrap this up and wrap people’s heads around everything we just talked about.

Here’s what I’m hearing: when someone is going in to buy an airplane, they need to know what they’re going to be using it for. You’re not going to be able to do everything you want. My requirement list for having an instruction airplane and a traveling airplane and off-airport airplane, I might be putting too much of a burden on finding the exact perfect airplane so maybe I have to make some sacrifices there.

Then, you kind of start looking at the types of airplanes that you might be using. Then, you start to search the market a little bit especially locally. Then at some point, you get in to a lot of debt with it.

Kind of wrap all that together for us. I guess the best question is: what are some of the best attitudes a pilot can have in wanting to buy an airplane, some of the best positive attitudes? At the end of the day, how do they ensure they wind up with the thing that’s really best for them? Mostly, you’re just going to be able to summarize everything we just talked about in answering that but that’s kind of what I’m getting at here. Perfect.

Don: The best resource a pilot could have or a buyer could have is money.

Chris: Yes, yes. There you go.

Don: It’s all about money. The guy describes to me what he wants. He’s taking a look at a $25,000 airplane. I got to tell him. I got to say, “Your mission profile and what you want, you’re going to need a $50,000 airplane unless there’s a real fire sale out there.” Usually, if it’s a fire sale, if a broker didn’t buy it already to resell it, there’s usually something drastically wrong with it. I got to figure out the guy’s financial situation and in some cases insurance requirements. I’ll go answering those questions especially on the larger airplanes; the insurance requirements are so high.

I just did a Piper Saratoga out in Ohio. That wasn’t too bad. I had a flight with the guy for two hours. He was good to go. There was a jet I did and I had to fly with the guy a hundred hours. A lot of turbo props are like that, too and twin-engine airplanes. I think the MU2 is a hundred hours, the turbo prop. I know like the Cessna 400 series, most of them are 50 hours if you don’t have any time in it before.

The bigger, the more elaborate the airplane, the more there is to do. Most people have their hopes too high. Like in your case, we were talking about that 140. It’s an affordable airplane but it’s not going to do everything you want to do but you could put up with it. Put a little less fuel in it so you could put your flight bag in it and not feel the weight.

Chris: Right, right. Yes, yes.

Don: The important thing is to get expert advice. I’m one of the few guys in the country that does all that stuff and travels to airplanes. If you don’t want the expense of me coming to Alaska, I could give you all this information and help you out 90% of the way just on smart phones and e-mails and stuff.

Chris: I really appreciate your time and your insight. You and I aren’t done with each other yet though because we’re going to be offline here looking for airplanes, I’m thinking and maybe looking for something that will work for my business. That’s an exciting thing.

If any of the listeners out there are kind of in that same ballpark where they’re looking for something, what I found in just my small research so far and talking to you and studying online is that this is a step that’s worth taking your time studying about the airplane itself.

These days with the internet, there’s just so much information out there. You can literally, in a matter of minutes, you can probably find and message someone that has a couple thousand hours in the airplane and they can tell you everything that’s right and wrong with flying that type of airplane and what to look for.

Obviously, a guy like you is going to know whole heck of a lot about a wide range of airplanes. He’s going to know to research and that sort of thing. It really just comes down to, at the end of the day, educating yourself, almost building a team, a dream team to find the dream airplane.

Don: That’s right. Basically, the more effort you put in to it before you buy it, the more happy experience you’re going to have owning it.

Chris: Right, right. Exactly.

Don: If anybody calls me and I talk to them for at least a half an hour giving free advice before we get in to all the details of a particular airplane. They can just call me on my cellphone. It’s always with me. I’ll give you that number and you can put it on the show notes, too.

Chris: Great. Yes. I’ll do that. I’ll put your name, your e-mail, and your number in there so people can give you a call if they want.

Don: I go all over the world to do this because if I go over to Europe, it’s usually a jet a $10 million, $12 million airplane. This year I did a…just the last few months I did a Cessna 150. I did two Saratoga PA-32’s, one retractable, one fixed gear. I did a Bombardier Challenger 605, $15 million, any kind of other jet. I do all kinds of airplanes. I enjoy doing little airplanes and I get to meet real nice people.

Chris: Great. Great.

Don: It’s been great talking to you.

Chris: Yes, yes. It’s been a fun time. Thanks for taking the time with us. It’s not the end of the road for you and I.

Don: I’m looking forward to it.

Chris: We’re going to be searching high and low for a dreamy bird. Thanks for helping me. Thanks for educating the AviatorCast listeners, too.

Don: Okay. Sounds good. We didn’t cover everything but I’m sure when I get to talk to the prospective buyer, he’s going to have questions I can answer. I can cover more detail. Okay. Well, thanks for having me on your program. I have enjoyed your program so far and I’m going to try to listen to all your AV programs now. Wow.

Chris: Yes. This is number 82, I believe.

Don: 82. Wow. Well, have a good night. I hope…well, we’ll be talking again when you have it in your program. Bye now.

Chris: Absolutely. Thanks, Don.

Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at We’d love to hear from you.

For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.

Chris: A huge thanks goes out to Don for joining us on AviatorCast today. This guy has so much knowledge. As I was sitting there going through this conversation with him, I found myself looking on and just going through all these airplanes that look good — lower total time, not many hours since major overhaul, things like that, and good prices, that sort of thing.

I was just in dreamland. This is a really cool prospect to be looking at an airplane, to be thinking about buying an airplane. Gosh! It is an investment and it’s one that I don’t want to take lightly so I’m really happy, blessed to have someone like Don on my side. It was a lot of fun talking to him. I’m sure we could have talked to him for hours and hours and hours.

Obviously, he has a lot of information to share. If you guys have any questions for Don, I am going to leave his information on the show notes of this episode. Just go to, you’ll find this episode there if you go through the list and you can click on the orange link in the podcast player there and that will take you to the page for those show notes.

I’m hoping actually, on just a small tangent, to get an updated dedicated website for AviatorCast coming up here soon. That’s part of my plan here for 2016 so it’s easier to find this. Hopefully, someday I can just say, “Go to,” and you guys would be able to find it, but I’m not quite there yet.

I appreciate all you guys, too. I really, really enjoy having you here. I enjoy doing this week after week. I get some really fantastic stories when you guys write me and tell me how much AviatorCast has meant to you, how much it’s keeping your mind in the game as meant to you.

While I appreciate those comments and I encourage you to tell me that, I also encourage you to just be part of this community and if you are thinking about flying, jump in there. Take an introductory flight. If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask me. I can send in the right direction no matter what your question is so that you can get started in aviation. You guys are awesome.

Also, thanks to Angle of Attack crew. These guys are fantastic. They do a lot of work week after week. We’ve been really [Inaudible][01:40:36] working on some things. These guys are really killing it. Yes, I’m grateful for you guys. I’m excited you’re here. I hope you continue in this aviation thing. I’m just more excited now than I’ve ever been.

This last week I’ve been going through my logbook and I have had such a wonderful journey in flight. I am just so blesses to have done and seen the things that I’ve seen. I really look forward to you having similar experiences. There is just something about flying that gives you a different perspective and at least for me, that speaks to my soul. I hope you guys can find that as well.

Until next time, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast Episode 82: Don Sebastian | Airplane Detective appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Feb 13 2016

1hr 41mins


Rank #5: AviatorCast: Bob Hoover- Ole’ Yeller | POW | Airshow Pilot | Test Pilot | Forever Flying | Flying the Feathered Edge

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Today’s Flight Plan

Bob Hoover- a legend. Haven’t heard of him? You should have. He is one of the best aviators of all time, and one of the few remaining pioneers in aviation.

This is a guy that Chuck Yeager says “is the greatest aviator I ever saw”. Jimmy Dolittle of Dolittle Raiders fame said Bob Hoover is “The greatest stick-and-rudder pilot who ever lived”.

Coming from those gentlemen, that’s saying something!

After being a highly decorated and valued pilot during WWII both in testing and in combat, Bob Hoover was shot down with a ‘lucky shot’. He then spent the majority of the rest of the war in a POW camp, forever trying to escape.

Two weeks from the end of the war, he did escape. His method of escape? A Fokke Wolf 190 with no seat cushion, that made it almost impossible to see over the dash. Flying into Holland, he bravely few this ‘enemy’ aircraft to safety.

That’s only the start. He would later be a test pilot for the Air Force, becoming very good friends with Chuck Yeager. Later he’d be a test pilot for North American, demonstrating the aircraft all over the world, and teaching pilots how to fly many of the iconic early era fighter jets.

Then, onto the record books as one of the most talented air show pilots of all time.

This guy has done it all- a true hero, legend, and pioneer of aviation.

Useful Links

Bob Hoover Wikipedia
Forever Flying (Autobiography)



Credit for this broadcast goes to EAA, who put on this presentation.


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Chris: Welcome to the next AviatorCast Eight-Point Roll here celebrating National Aviation Day on this little snippet episode of the AviatorCast Eight-Point Roll. We have the Warbirds in review presentation which was an interview with Bob Hoover.

I didn’t do this interview myself. It was a professional interview that really did this interview but Bob Hoover was sitting next to his Ole’ Yeller P-51. It’s a yellow P-51 that is famous for breaking all kinds of speed records and very famous for being in many air shows back in the day as well.

This Bob Hoover guy is awesome. This is a can’t-miss episode. You can’t miss a snippet here of this Eight-Point Roll. I hope you guys enjoy it. It is going to set us up for the next eight-point roll which we will talk about as well.

I have to tell you I have been reading “Forever Flying” is the name of the book, an autobiography by Bob Hoover. I really, really enjoyed this book. It is literally one of those books that you cannot put down. I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s just been so much fun.

I hope you guys will enjoy listening to some of Bob’s story. I think it will inspire you to go and pick up his book. Not only that, go and see the film called the “Flying the Feathered Edge” and we’ll talk about that in the next Eight-Point Roll episode here coming up.

I hope you guys enjoy it. Here is Warbirds in review with Bob Hoover.

David: It is probably the most recognizable cape job Mustang in the world. Bob Hoover flew more than a thousand of air shows in this airplane and over 20 years flew it as the place-in-safety plane in the unlimited class in Reno. The plane still holds the track record and Bob flew it, speed record from LA to Daytona Beach, five hours and 20 minutes. John Bagley owns Ole’ Yeller now and flies it regularly in air shows. John, come and join me, would you please? John Beckley.

Hi. Bob Hoover. Is there anybody here who’s not heard about Hoover? That’s what I thought. For over 70 years, Bob Hoover has committed his life to aviation first and protecting our country as a fighter pilot in World War II and then he’s the most respected test pilot in the world.

As an air show pilot, he has thrilled millions. He’s inspired thousands to embrace aviation. He has earned every significant aviation honor. The most recent was last December in Washington DC. He received the National Aeronautic Association Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy at the Aero Club in DC.

He survived 16 months in a German prison camp. He escaped in April 1945. He’s commandeered Fokke Wolf 190 and flew it to freedom across Germany. He has flown hundreds of types of aircraft. He flew chase on the Bell-XS1 when it broke the so-called sound barrier back in 1947. He helped develop the F-86, F-100. He’s had numerous life-threatening accidents and bailouts.

Many, if not most pilots consider Bob Hoover to be the greatest living aviator in the world. Jimmy Doolittle called Bob “the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived,” Bob Hoover.

Tell me about the airplane now. When did you buy it from Bob?

John: I bought it in the fall of 1996. Bob called me up. He’d heard that I was into Warbirds, called me up. I couldn’t believe that Mr. Hoover had called John Bagley. I just bought a Sea Fury and I said, “I can’t afford one.” He said, “Can you afford to have dinner with me?” I said, “Yes, I can afford that.” Me and a friend, Jeff took a plane and flew down to Torrance. We had dinner with Bob and his lovely wife. After some negotiating, we wound up with Ole’ Yeller. Best investment I’ve ever made in my life.

David: Tell me, this airplane, how much is this life in the airplane when they came off the line at North America back in the 1940’s?

John: I don’t think any of them came off the line flies as good as this one flies because this one was done by Bob for 20 years. I’ve had Steve Himp flew this plane and he was amazed at how tight and how marvelous it flies.

This plane has the wet wings that Bob put in it to do the speed record. We have disabled them, taken the props out and stuff. It’s basically a stock airplane except it’s been refined by Mr. Hoover.

David: How much fun is this to fly when you fly air shows?

John: You don’t fly this plane. You wear it. It is part of you. You think barrel roll and it barrel rolls. You think loop and it loops. It is a national monument any Mustang used but this one particularly. It is a thrill to fly it every time we fly it because of what it is and Hoover flew it.

David: John Bagley, thank you, sir.

Bob, how are you this morning?

Bob: Great. Thanks.

David: Good to see you. Bob, what was it about aviation, flying, flying that was so irresistible to you when you first started to fly?

Bob: You probably could say it happened to me. I dreamed of flying from the time I was six or seven years of age. I’ve build model airplanes like so many of you. I was interested in aviation. I’ve dreamed of someday being a pilot. I’ve started my heroes but never dreamed it would ever be me. Charles Lindbergh, the list goes on and on.

At 16 I finally had gotten a job back in the Depression Era. Everybody worked hard and [06:41][Inaudible], pretty much like everybody else. I earned two dollars in that job and it goes to store at 16 years of age. I earned two dollars and found out I had to pick 15 minutes of flying time in one of the original Taylor Currans; all that for 15 minutes and two dollars.

I got in the airplane and as soon as the wheels left the ground I was dizzy as hell. I tell you I wanted to toss my cookie so bad, I thought I was going to die. I could hardly wait till the props stopped and I ran into the bushes, tossed my cookies. I got to tell you, that was the beginning of my flying career. Unfortunately, it lasted forever.

David: How’d you get over that, because obviously you did? I’m sure you weren’t flying Ole’ Yeller and coming out and tossing your cookies.

Bob: God! I tell you, I was soaked down in the dumps. It was all I ever dreamed of as a kid. Here I was 16 and that was what I really wanted to do was to learn and fly an airplane. I sat outside for myself and thought, “What in the world…” I’ve never thought of wanting to do anything except fly an airplane. I thought, “If you really want to do something and set your mind to it, you and only you can make that.”

For those of you who heard me ramble along about things kind of being…it is true. It doesn’t make any difference, aviation or whatever, if you set your mind to it and say, “I’m not going to take no for an answer,” only you and you only can make it happen.

To overcome it, I had to feel inside of myself. I said, “You’re going to go do it and if you toss your cookies every time you get into an airplane until you can overcome it.” Honest to goodness, I stuck with it.

One day, this doctor said, pulled me over the side of the runway and I did. I said, “What are we stopping here for?” He said, “I’m getting out.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Well, you’re on your own.” I said, “I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I have thought about it, how sick I am. I haven’t learned anything.” He said, “I knew it.”

Well, it’s your coffin. Each of you who settle in the first half. I spend a lot of time worrying about just flying the airplane and I wasn’t quite as sick but I still ran to the weeds when I get back. I’m excited but same thing. I was never a natural pilot. I was the worst student anybody ever had.

I must tell you, I overcame my sickness then, wanting to avoid it by flying as smooth as I could. Instead of making a quick turn, everything I did was to keep me from getting uncomfortable with nausea and I ended up being able to do it since. I would never have done it, wouldn’t even worked at it. I could fly upside-down and many of you have seen movies of it. I must tell you how important. It has smooth move to fly the airplane. I was always, gave me problems.

To this day, if I get in an airplane, I couldn’t spend five minutes…was not given for Sean Tucker, I admire and respect so much but he goes negative, negative party. To those of you who are not familiar with what the risk-taking is, we are not physiologically ready without an awful lot of work on your body’s strength and capabilities to do what he does because we have lost more pilots than you would ever imagine because they tried to go positive, negative in the cockpit.

You can’t transition without special training, issue physically, to be able to adjust your body to handling those forces that you’re receiving. We’d really lost an awful lot of people.

I was invited to fly the F-20 at the Paris Air Show. It was a brand new flight and they also called me at their extension, not government-sponsored. They put millions of dollars into it. They said, “We want you to fly because we know we’ll sell a lot when we make you fly.” As I had learned in competition at the Paris Air Show before and so I had to accept and head down and sell airplanes.

I said, “Well, do have more power than this?” They had built three of those airplanes. The first one was flown over to Korea trying to sell it to the South Koreans. The test pilot ordered them to do the inside. He’d do a positive, negative, positive. He was killed. The second airplane, the guy that readied it to go to the Paris Air Show and they were taking it over for me to fly. In the last where he was going to practice some…it was airplane-flying a little bit. He tried to positive, negative and we lost him.

Then the trip and the airplane got cancelled. I never got to fly the F-20. For those that did fly it, they said it was really a crackerjack airplane. I was most anxious to fly it because each of us likes to fly something new and something different. I missed that opportunity. I did that however with the F-5. The companies I worked for said it was not a conflict of interest. “You’re welcome to go out and demonstrate other companies’ airplanes. I did a lot of that all over the world.

I’d like to talk to you primarily about this sweetheart right here. John Bagley, you’re a lucky man. I admire John immensely and David Hartman, I’ve got to say something about you. We’ve been friends for so many years. I know his family. I had the privilege of flying…having this great man with me inside through one of my flight chair cause and his son was there, son and daughter, right?

David: How do you remember all this stuff? Wow.

Bob: Each of them…one was with Chuck Yeager and one was with Burt Anderson. We flew a formation on my first flight back on flight status; thanks to all of you members for getting me ungrounded after three years.

David: As you all can imagine, what a privilege that was to fly in an airplane with this guy, Hoover on experience.

Back to your aerobatics and teaching yourself not to get sick, you got your primary training and you’re with your instructor doing aerobatics. New to aerobatics, he goes and talks to this other instructors and says, “You know what? This guy flies aerobatics better than all of us. Let’s put him in charge of teaching acrobatics.” You were an instructor when you were a primary student.

Bob: I’ll never forget this guy said, my instructor, gave me an orientation flight and he didn’t know that I’ve flown an airplane. He said, “I want you to save places so you won’t get lost when you get up.” He was pointing out everything. He said, “Would you like to see a road?” I said, “Yes, sir.” We were flying [16:07][Inaudible] talking to, trying to converse with one another. He did a roll and he ditched out of it one wave below where it started. I thought, “Oh, boy. He’s busted his buttons.” They were near the ground.

He said, “Would you like to try?” I just did a quarter up and a smooth roll and came up. “Where did you learn to do that?” I said, “I taught myself.” “What else can you do?” I said, “Well, what would you like me to do?” He said, “Well, I don’t know; seems to me you’ve flown an airplane before.” He said, “Show me what you can do.” I said, “Have you ever done a four-point roll? He said, “What is a four-point roll?” So I did him one. I said, “Would you like to see an eight-point roll?” I showed him one.

“What else can you do?” I did a lot of other things. Finally, he was shaking his head and we got on the ground and he was still shaking his head. He said, “I never had a student who could fly like that before. I can’t believe what I’ve just experienced.” He went in to the commons. He said, “I’ve got a problem with one of my students. We’re just washing out. You don’t understand.” That’s how it all happened.

When I got ready to graduate from primary flight training, none of the rest of the classes knew what was going on except for instructors. I had nothing but check rides with the instructors and things I had learned. It was the last day when we were going to get a little stiff that say that we were going on to advanced training and issued a prime.

The instructors told me that it would be a great thing for all the members in your class to know what you have been able to do. We were going to put on a show right here out of the airport down the road. I did.

I met my Waterloo because I went to basic and everything I knew at the seat of my pants. I felt it. I can see it. When I had to go on instruments, I couldn’t believe what I was feeling and what I was looking at the instrument panel. I thought, “This is the end of my flying career. I won’t be able to do instrument flying.” Again, I put this “If you want to do it bad enough, figure out a way to do it.” So I did. I pass it along for what it’s worth.

David: Let’s look at aerobatics just for a minute. 1966 International Competition, Moscow and you were hailed as the honorary leader of the American team. The Russians have this fabulous plane they had designed and built. They did indeed win the competition. Out of respect, they asked you if you wanted to fly it. What happened?

Bob: This one will surprise you. I never dreamed it would really work out. I was invited by the government on the things…I was doing security works from time to time on special missions. I had number of those in my life where I would…even as a civilian, me working for the government. In this case, I was hoping that I would be able to get a ride in what was called the E-266, was the king MiG-21.

I had met a general who was an aristocrat in the old regime of Russia before the Marxist days and he was a very upfront person, his family were. He’d been educated in England. I’ve met him at the Paris Air Show in 1965. We became very good friends there. He confided a lot of things in me. I knew what I could talk about and what I couldn’t talk about. I gave him tidbits of info on things that have already been written up in aviation week and other proper occasions.

What I could say was we were getting something new and in the meantime I was training about what was to become the MiG-21. He was testing it personally. He was a very talented guy, a very private person, dressed immaculately. We got on so well that I thought, “Well, I look forward to seeing you when I get over there in Moscow,” in our conversations.

They wouldn’t let him get near me because they knew he’d been friendly with me at the previous year at the Paris Air Show and they were concerned about….maybe they were worried about him wanting to leave Russia and so was the CIA but he never had any intention nor did he ever reveal anything to me that was already valued [22:12][Inaudible].

But they did recognize who I was at the Paris Air Show. They had made certain that they all got to know me because of what they’ve seen me do there at the show. They offered me this opportunity. I had watched them for several days trying to think competition. I knew every maneuver they could do, how long they could stop, how long they could fly and burn it. I’ve never flown the airplane, intractable gear, everything was operated by pneumatics and their plane was designed for no other purpose but to win the world competition. Their pilots had no occupation except to the government to fly their airplanes and fly as best as they could.

They did a superb job. Excuse me. They did win the competition from 17 nations involved. I think we were number nine. We had Bells. This airplane was built for no other purpose except to win that competition. Boy, I had it just nailed. I watched what they did. The limits were that you could not come below 300 feet and certain rocks that they operated in as it was all aerobatic competition. Our airplanes were no match for anything. We had the home Bells. Turns out that when they invited me to fly their airplane…I had met Gagarin and a whole bunch of them.

David: That’s Yuri Gagarin, the cosmonaut.

Bob: It turns out that I did everything I wasn’t supposed to do.

David: What did you do, Bob?

Bob: Well, they say while this was taking place, it had a dike all the way around it because it was a river and in bad weather it would sometimes run over to the airport. We built this dike. I went up for about, I’d say 180 degrees around it out in the airfield to keep the water from coming out of it and flooding the airfield.

One million people were in the crowds. There was no…everything…people were just…I don’t know. We did the climb. They showed no emotion when the Russians won the competition. They gave them a vase of flowers and hardly got an applause. They announced I was going to fly and as soon as I took off, the crowd just got out of control.

What I did, I took off. I observed them flying it on those days and I just decided to think about…retract the landing gear and I just pulled it up the nose, rolled it upside-down and stayed inverted and I came to the dike and nobody could see on the other side of the dike. I stayed inverted till I got right to the dike, pushed up over the dike and then down, upside-down on the other side, flew right side up right where they could see me and went all the way around the airport.

They sent the fire trucks over there at the airport. I came all around. Everybody’s gotten over here and I came back over their heads over there and I came right back on the deck. I did everything they did only I did it upside-down.

David: You taxi in to the ramp and what happened then?

Bob: When I got to the ramp, they had no crowd control. They came to the airplane and I was trying to get out of it. I couldn’t stand upright. I just waited there. I thought to run the story of the airplane. I was panicked about that because I knew I hadn’t hurt the airplane. I was stretched around just trying to get out of the cockpit so I didn’t. I just held them and finally got some troops in there. They were beating people with their rifles, the butts of their rifles, beating on anything.

I’m sure there must have been some broken feet because when the pass ended through the crowd, and I’m talking about a million people out there. It was so crowded and pandemonium and people were running and yelling and screaming. I thought, “Oh, boy. I think I had a pass in that.” These armed people showed up and put the guy that was dressed with some kind of a badge on and he said, “You’re under arrest.” I said, “Well, I have an opportunity to kind of taxi in the embassy.”

Of course all of this was coordinated. They said, “No. We can’t tell you anything. I can only tell you you’re under arrest.” Boy, they finally beat people on the way and got a pass in it, got me to call in by one of their people and I followed them. I said, “Where are you taking me?” “Well, we’re going to the hotel first and on to the airport.” All of those things they told me but, “Don’t worry. We’ll get you out.” I was, “Uh-oh.”

I got to the hotel. They locked the door and posted these military people at the gate with guns and said, “You can’t come out of the room.” I got welcomed. I took a shower and got dressed and finally somebody knocked on the door. They said, “We’re about to take you out.” I said, “Where are you taking me?” “We don’t know but the car’s waiting outside. You’re still under arrest.”

Well, it was in a big theater where they were going to have the awards dinner. Gagarin was on a microphone and he has had a pretty fair amount of vodka. He looked up and saw these uniformed people marching straight through the lobby because it was opened up. It was curtains. He yelled something in Russian. The guards turned around, looked around and he said, “In here.” He was the biggest, natural aviator they had; first man in space, Gagarin.

In the cups as I’ve mentioned, I came in and he yakked and yakked in Russian. Finally, somebody interpreted a little bit of what he had to say. It was something like this and he was something like the head of what we call administrator of FAA. He took the microphone and he said, “He has violated every safety rule that we’ve ever had and every rule that we had for a competition. I think that he’s been very lucky to have survived a flight like we’ve all seen and I’m certain he could never duplicate that again. We’re going to forgive him.”

Gagarin had me up on stage by then. We shook hands. I have had some vodka with him. I didn’t mind at all. That was the end of that. I’ll tell you, you’ve never seen a more relieved person in your life than me the next day when I got on a commercial flight and said goodbye.

David: Bob, you were shot down flying a Spitfire. How did that come about that you were flying a Spitfire and not a Mustang or any of our other aircraft?

Bob: Well, I joined the service at 18. I only had a high school education but I learned fast. All were trained aged from 21 to 18 because we were building airplanes faster than we could make fighter pilots. They decide they had to have more pilots. Soon there were 2,000 of us in the United States.

When they lowered the age and we were all enlisted men and Carroll Shelby, the famous race car driver was a classmate of mine and we talked about it a great deal. We weren’t getting a fair shake because we could fly but I knew more about it than cadets that were made second lieutenants.

Here we’d already learned how to shoot rifles and do every other thing that has to do with the military. Yet, we were only sergeants. We were cleaning the trains, the toilets, peeling potatoes, washing dishes and these fancy pants are still flying airplanes.

I was made a flight leader right up when I hit the fighters and they found out that I knew what I was doing and I was an instructor just right on. I was teaching people how to fire their guns and how to fly in formation.

This one day I was going out on the gunnery range and hit my target. All of a sudden I heard a loud explosion and I was on fire. The whole front of the airplane was burning. I pulled up and I couldn’t get up enough to bail out. I was over the water. I had to ditch it. Of course the luckiest thing in the world, I saw a fishing boat. I thought, “If I can hopefully get that fishing boat to see me, I’ll get rescued.”

Well, I ditched it and I was flying a P-40. That was heavy, the P-40. It’s got a big scoop on its nose there which is where you get the air for your radiator for cooling your engine. Of course it’s electric-cooled engine, the same as the Allison and all the engines in the airplanes. Nevertheless, I was underwater by the time. I couldn’t even think about it. I got one big deep breath of air. That’s good for submarine people. I couldn’t look around, nothing but water. I unfastened the safety belt bolted on the reason to have it on that canopy and I thought, “I’m going to drown right now because see, I couldn’t breathe.”

I pulled my Mae West. They pulled me there, popped me right out of that cockpit, parachute still strapped on, came up to the top. I looked around and I was surrounded by fire. They were all over, everywhere in a circle but it was a new shape, certainly it was out. I got my first gasp of air and started coughing out all the water I’ve swallowed. I looked around and said, “I got to get out of here through that door.”

I tried to swim, parachute was still on me. I got through that opening. Sure enough, the boat did see me and they were inventorying me. There were five men who managed, they pulled me out of the water. They said, “I thought an airplane just landed on the beach over here.” It was down in Florida. It was one of those hard beaches, like the kind they used to race cars on.

The airplane was in good shape. It was my commanding officer. He had not seen anything except the fire and the fact that I ditched. He landed on that beach to pick me up. I didn’t know then that this happened. He took me to the beach right where the airplane was. I got out and got to board the airplane with him and off we went.

He said, “I’m going to get a barge in here with a crane on it. We’ll get the boat.” The water is only about 50 feet deep and we could find out what caused that failure because we didn’t know what had happened. I said, “I think the silver bearing because I was told they had replaced one of the bearings in the gear complex to silver from some other metal. I bet that’s what’s happened. It probably failed.” His response was, “We’ll find out.”

The next morning, I checked in. He said, “Let’s get over and look at the airplane. They got it out.” They formed a path for him. We went over. It was full of bullet holes. I tell you that the wings were riddled. The seal behind the pilot was full of holes where bullets had hit it and I didn’t even know it. I just thought I had to have an engineer expose it.

The colonel that I report to he said, “Boy, I’m hard-pressed. It will be the end of that pilot’s career, the one who was behind me who didn’t see me. What do you think I ought to do about it?” I said, “I think he got turned at fixation. He didn’t mean to shoot at me. He didn’t see me. He was concentrating on hitting the target. It would be a shame to end his career. Who in the world would shoot down a friendly airplane?”

He said, “I like the way you think.” I said, “Well, sir why don’t you ship him out before he could have a chance to have an accident investigation?” He said, “That’s a hell of a good idea!”

David: Bob, back to when you were in combat, when you were shot at and captured by the Germans, how hard did you try to escape when the Germans had you?

Bob: David, I never gave up. First thing I did, and this is kind of funny for those of you who don’t know but believe it or not, we had an escape kit. It was a kit about like so. It was rubber-encased, very thick rubber and it could float of course. Within it, it had a compass. It had a saw blade that was encased in rubber.

Believe it or not, you inserted it in your rectum and it was a saw blade encased in rubber so that if you got captured, you can saw your way out through those bars and get free. It had a map that was crossed out, some map of the area where you were fighting so you knew exactly where you were at the time you were shot down.

I had this little thing. I’ve been floating in that cold ice water in February. The Mediterranean Sea is just like the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles in the winter time. It gets pretty God darned cold. My fingernails have turned to rubber and I couldn’t bite it with my teeth and couldn’t get the thing opened.

Here’s this ship coming at me. I had shot down one of their airplanes and they were looking for him and for me. It was a good-sized ship. It was a Corvette type. The ramp came down and the boat came by me. I was trying to tear this thing up so they wouldn’t get it as if they didn’t probably hundreds of them, of bombers cruising others by them.

I was not trained that way. “Get rid of it. Don’t let them catch you.” I was trying to sink it. I couldn’t get it opened up. It froze back up. I was living in fear that they were going to get it which they did. I wouldn’t accept any pick getting picked up.

The big ship had to go out and make two rounds before the could get close enough to me, formed to reach out with a hook and grab my raft which was full of bullet holes. It did make me feel it had some protection but it wasn’t inflated and it was just that I was encased in it, looking out with my head. They hooked it, pulled me aboard and treated me very nicely.

I would never let them see anything because I was so well-trained by the Brits; stare down and refuse and don’t let them see any muscles change in your face or in fact in your eyes. We were trained to do that and I did it throughout my whole captured period. Enough of that.

*David:** Let’s move forward. Starlight One, Northern Germany after [42:48][Inaudible] or some boarder in Northern Germany and you escaped with a buddy. You got out even though you were advised by Eisenhower not to because the war was almost over. Eisenhower had said, “Don’t escape. We’re coming to get you.” You escaped anyway.

Let me back up just a minute. Who is Colonel Russ Spicer?

Bob: Oh boy. He was an angel. He was a full colonel that considered it the person with the rank of colonel who was most seeing you who was held the longest would be the person in command of whatever we were going to do. He was our leadership. There were 1,100 people when I arrived and when I left there were 10,000.

Russ came in and he got shot down over the North Sea. He’s had a successful bailout. It’s the middle of winter. The guy was quickly cared of, safety thing like an air bolt in flight by pulling a string on it. It inflated and you can sit on this thing like a dinghy. He did that. It was so freezing cold that he became unconscious.

He got washed to shore and the Germans found him on the beach still in that container. They nursed him back to health and then brought him into the prison camp. When he took over as the senior prisoner, he had a lot of interesting sayings like, “Don’t ever forget. We’re American citizens and these SOB’s are our enemies. Let’s don’t let them ever forget it. Even though we’re in captivity, make it so difficult it’s going to be a miserable life for everybody that’s trying to control us. Do I make myself clear?”

It hit me of course because I never met him or heard of him. When he finished the speech, he said, “One last thing, there was just a Panzer and I learned this from new prisoners coming in. We were pushing up frontlines forward so fast overcoming the Germans that we got run on our supply route.”

The Germans came in a Panzer and we have 1,000 ground soldiers who were captured. Instead of making them prisoners, they killed every one of them except two and they thought they were dead. They appeared dead. They weren’t.

There was a doctor; this was a very important thing, a British doctor who had helped two of these people that weren’t killed. He had replaced their skull bones with a silver plate and they were alive and their brains were okay. He said, “If I gave myself up to the Germans, I can save their lives but the Germans would not know how to treat these two injured men.”

He gave himself. He was a British doctor. He was the doctor I ended up with and he nursed me back to health for my injuries. I got blood poisoning. They were just scratches when it started out but malnutrition, not eating properly or any medication or cleanliness. After a few weeks I had infections. I was in bad shape. I had blood poisoning.

When I finally got to the main prison camp, I met this doctor for the first time. He had a memory that was photographic. He could read something and he told me, once he said, “Have you ever read this book?” I said, “No, sir. I haven’t.” He said, “Well, open it up. Turn to whatever page you want to and tell me what page you are on.”

I wondered what he was getting at and I opened it up. This is page 25 or 55, whatever it was and I opened the page up. He said, “What page?” I told him. Without looking at the book, he quoted me everything that was on that page. He’s got a photographic memory. I talked to him about it. He said, “I can remember things that most people can’t.”

I’ve manned up. He was a jokester. I had another prisoner with me when I was all infected and I was swelled up. He said, “You’re in pretty bad shape. Do you realize that?” I said, these were before the days of antibiotics for blood poisoning. He said, “I may have to do an amputation.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “I may have to do you a new one of those things.” I said, “What?”

He said, “Well, I might have just to do that but don’t you worry. We could do a lot of things in the medical world. I can take care of it but you’re going to have to kill me. If you want to get excited, do you want to have it happen when you raise your arm or turn your head a certain way?”

I had another prisoner in the bed next to me and he had a leg missing. The one on the other side had an arm and half of his face gone. They said, “Boy, I wouldn’t trade shoes with you for anything you wore.”

David: I’ll jump ahead with your escape. You found the German airfield mostly deserted. There was an airplane there. There was a kid you somehow got to start the engine for you. You took off. Where did you go? Where did you know how to go? How did you know how to fly a Focke-Wulf 190?

Bob: A fellow by the name of Gus Langspritz had been sent to Hayman. He was a test pilot from Wright Field. He had flown ten hours in the Focke-Wulf 190. He knew it from A to Z. He had talked, general captivity, letting him go on a combat mission and he got shot down. He was assigned to Wright Field and actually he was on per diem.

Here was a prisoner who the Germans didn’t know his background. He was just an air fighter pilot flying a single-engine airplane that got shot down. I’ve been in and out of Wright Field and that was my hope of assignment whenever the war ended and I wanted an education.

I got acquainted with him and we hit it off well. Finally, one day he confessed of what he was sent over to do in the conquest and then he confided in me about the 190. I told him that I have dreamed enough of someday escaping because there was an airfield not too far away that 190’s operating from it. My greatest dream was to get on board a 190 and fly it back to our lines.

Time went on after he showed me how to start the airplane, everything else in the sand. Many, many months later when I finally got traded in the war two weeks from it being over and it was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. I’ll walk you through it. I was in a pretty shape. I’m telling you the truth. It was stupidity but I had done nothing but dream about getting out.

This Spicer inspired all of it by telling us what had happened. He was in solitary confinement with a death sentence. Every day of his life he didn’t know if today was the day for the firing squad. He was very cheerful about it. I was in a cell next to him for the first time and of course he was like a god to me because of his rank and I was in flight ops at the time. That’s about the lowest ranking you could get, once step lower than a second lieutenant.

Russ influenced me through the wall where we’re near the guards come to us. I was in a cell next door. He said, “Who’s my neighbor?” I told him. [53:28][Inaudible] “Don’t give up. I’m proud of you. You keep on giving these people hell. I want to see more of you so keep making it difficult for them to contain you.” David: You did. You got in the Focke-Wulf. You started it, took off. What then?

Bob: Well, I now realized I was more stupid than I thought I was. It was two weeks from being over. Airplane had swastikas on it. I had no parachute and I couldn’t find a cushion that would fill a cavity. That meant that when I got in it, I could hardly see. I was looking like this.

I decided I couldn’t take a chance of getting shot at. I was in an airplane. It was in a [54:35][Inaudible] and that’s where they hit all of the airplanes with a camouflaged coverage canvas over the top. Our constants would not know that there are airplanes underneath those things. We did the same thing.

I went from [54:52][Inaudible]. Airplanes were not flyable. I found one that was and had no bullet holes around the engine and it was full of fuel. There were holes in the wings and the tail but nothing threatening to find because it had been thrown in there. I decided this is the airplane. I had a gun that a lady had given us at a farmhouse. I’d written her a note and told her, thanking her for feeding us because we were starving to death.

On an open countryside, the Russians made the whole…captive. If you were a Russian and you were a prisoner of war, you were the same as dead. They didn’t want you back because you wouldn’t come back. They never kept locked there in their prisons back home. They killed them. Can you imagine that? They’re serving their country but they’ll kill them.

We’d never have made it if we were prisoners. We were in and out of the Russian lines. By the time I got to this airfield and the Russians weren’t there, I got this fellow to put the gun on him. I handed the gun to Jerry, the fellow who escaped with me. I said, “He did not ever want to fly again.” He tells the story better than I did.

He had the gun on the fellow and said, “If he doesn’t get airborne, you’re dead.” This poor guy just…it was in the winter time. Boy, he started shaking. He turned pale, started perspiring. I got in the cockpit and first of all we couldn’t communicate with him. Jerry said, “Try, my friend.” He spoke French. That’s when he got all concerned. He climbed on the wing and started the airplane for me, cranked it up. I knew I had a hot place of landing here.

I took off and as soon as the wheels got off the ground, I said to myself, “You are the dumbest pilot that ever got into the cockpit of an airplane. Here you are in a charming airplane with a swastika and no parachute and you wouldn’t shoot at your own man anyway.” I looked up and I saw the ceiling about 4,000 feet right up underneath the engine ceiling. If I started seeing any Predators, I’ll just sneak up into the clouds until they quit looking for me and then drop down.

I stayed right underneath; never saw an airplane the time I took off until I crashed landed in Holland. I wouldn’t land anywhere in any airfield because Germans always man the airports when they departed. I had to wait until I saw windmills. Once I knew I was in Holland and the prisoners were there, I knew that, I knew I’ll be safe.

When I landed, I landed on the side of Zee. Upon landing, I saw a ditch, round up the airplane to keep it from tripping upside-down. I sat down there feeling sorry for myself and commiserating about how stupid I was. I got out of there praying. I remember there was a road on the other side with some trees. I headed in that direction when I calmed down and went over there and walked into the woods.

All of a sudden, I saw pitchforks coming at me. They thought I was a German. I was headed from where they saw the airplane land. More than that, the pitchforks happened in. I held my hands up and pointed toward the dirt road. They got me to keep walking. When I got there and I haven’t even been there ten minutes [59:19][Inaudible] communicate at all.

A British truck came along. I was waving my hands frantically. They stopped the truck and I told them, “I’m an American pilot. They think I’m a Kraut. I need some lift. Can you give me a ride?” They said, “Hop in, old cap.” That’s the end of the story.

David: Bob, with the time we have left, let’s jump back to the States. It’s the spring of 1947. You’re at Edwards. You, Dr. Amos, Jack Russell, Jack Ridley, Dick Frost, Ed Swindell, of course Yeager, and you are the team to try to break the so-called sound barrier. What were those circumstances and could you have pulled off something that amazing these days to break the sound barrier with that little team?

Bob: Well, times change as well, David but everything just worked out perfectly. I had been on this program working on compressibility. That was the wall of sound that everybody thought is really the sound barrier. We didn’t have a sound barrier. We had an air flow breakdown.

That’s why the air flow comes out of the wings at the end of a section of the fuselage and maybe it’s the tail. It has a catastrophic effect because it’s a ripple effect. In a millisecond, the airplane could come apart and there you are, dead as a doornail.

We had lost some airplanes doing that one. It was two P-47’s. There were three of us on the project at that time. This was before the X-1. The first two pilots were killed. We had to try somehow to bring that air flow down before it could develop into catastrophic circumstances. I assumed that the electric motor head failed in both cases that actuated this deflection, dropped them dead, to change the air flow which didn’t work.

I had to switch it. I want a manual one. I think that electric motors stalled out and that’s why we lost the two pilots. I want to be able to manually actuate that flap myself. They built an extension, telescoping extension. I headed down below the contriver, [01:02:22][Inaudible]. I pulled it up until I got it up to almost to the canopy and followed the shape of the canopy.

What you don’t understand is and most people don’t, when you get to 500 miles an hour and most of the airplanes and even some of the jets, their controllers will get so stiff that you couldn’t move it. You couldn’t move the controllers because the forces were so great on the aero engine, elevate it that you’re stuck with whatever you’ve got, wherever it’s trimmed and kind of a frightening situation when you’re going in that direction.

In the case of a P-47, guess what? If you pull a throttle off like any one of us would do and slow down when we’re trying to get out a dive or we’re 500 miles back, the airplane was going wherever it was pointed. You had no control over it. Instinctively, I put the stick between my knees and I bend over like this to do what I had to do in getting up that part. I pulled it, pulled it.

All of a sudden, a loud explosion and I was unconscious. When I came to, I looked around and my chase pilot…we have a chase pilot much of the time on these high risk flights, he said, “I’ve been calling you for the last ten to 15 minutes and you’ve not responded. Where are you? Are you all right?” I said, “I’m okay. I didn’t know I was out for that long.”

I went right through [01:04:21][Inaudible]. It was such a sudden reaction. The wings buckle on the P-47 just like this on both sides. When it went up, it released the up locks and then the landing gear came out and got the tail but it was too pliable. When I came to, going on and it all ended up. I landed all right. The airplane was actually class 26. It took forever. We got all the information we needed. That’s the story on that one.

David: Bob Hoover. We have a new part of the program and that’s Danny Bolen. He’s Ed Bolen’s younger brother and we call it Man On the Street. Dan, you’re up man.

Dan: Thank you. Thank you. I have assigned this Man On the Street program. What I require is three interviewees. I’ve already picked out one but I need somebody here who is a pilot, who has never been to Oshkosh before and he’s never heard Bob Hoover. Does anybody here meet that criteria? I’d like to talk to you after the program sort of right here, a lot of cameras.

Is there anybody here that has been a prisoner of war? No one. Okay. Is anybody here a World War II pilot? Okay, sir. I would like to talk to you. Thank you so much. David, I enjoyed the program so much. Bob, Danny Bolen. It’s good to see you again, my friend. Thank you, David.

David: Dan, thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. What a privilege to be here with you and to spend this time with you and Mr. Hoover. Thank you, sir.

Chris: Well, I hope that little snippet episode didn’t make you pass your cookies. Man, this guy has some amazing stories. What a great aviator. What a great icon in aviation and someone to model after. This guy’s just awesome. His story gets even more deep when you get in to his book and when you see the movie. I really encourage you guys to do that. This is just the start.

One of the things I drew from Oshkosh this year was that I really wanted to get the story out of Bob Hoover because I believe this is a man and an aviator that we should all remember and we will look back on as one of the greatest of all time. He’s still around. We still have the opportunity to hear from him and to learn about his story.

I think now is a great time. I’d like to bring awareness especially to the younger generation about who this guy is and what he’s done. I know that I’m starting to look up to him more and more as just an icon in the aviation industry and an icon aviator, if you will as well.

Awesome, awesome experience listening and seeing Bob Hoover. I hope you guys enjoyed it as well. Again, you should pick up the movie or the book, “Forever Flying” and then we are going to talk about in the next episode here, we are going to talk to the film maker who did “Flying the Feathered Edge” which is an amazing film that I was able to see while I was at Oshkosh. We will talk to her more about the story of making the film “Flying the Feathered Edge.”

That’s it. Let’s get in to that episode next. Until then, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast: Bob Hoover- Ole’ Yeller | POW | Airshow Pilot | Test Pilot | Forever Flying | Flying the Feathered Edge appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Aug 22 2015

1hr 8mins


Rank #6: The Prepared Aviation Student — AviatorCast 117

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Today’s Flight Plan

How do you best prepare for flight training of any kind? What does your instructor expect of you? How can you squeeze the most out of every hour?

Through my time as an instructor, I’ve seen a range of preparedness, from the completely unprepared to the fully prepared.

On this episode of AviatorCast I’ll share the ideal qualities of a prepared student. Regardless if you’re already a pilot, this is going to be helpful for advanced ratings that you’ll do.

We’ll talk about the paradigm shift needed to succeed at training, and what that means for you growing as a person.

We’ll talk about building solid study habits and why study can drastically improve your flight hours.

We’ll talk about asking great questions, taking notes, and having quality preflight briefings and ground sessions with all those things.

We’ll talk about taking care of yourself emotionally and physically to make sure you have stamina for the long haul.

And finally we’ll talk about being relentless in your pursuit of this dream to fly, working hard, being honest with yourself in the process.

It’s a whole lot to cover in a short time, but I hope you’ll find it helpful as you seek your next license or rating.

Useful Links

Pomodoro Method

The War of Art



Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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The post The Prepared Aviation Student — AviatorCast 117 appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Jun 30 2018



Rank #7: AviatorCast Episode 72: Sarah Fritts: Think Aviation | Army Helicopter Pilot | War Veteran | Regional Pilot

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Today’s Flight Plan

Pilots come in all different forms with varying backgrounds. Today’s guest has quite the history at her young age.

Sarah Fritts joins us on the podcast to talk about her journey into the military, specifically the Army. There she flew helicopters during several tours of duty in Iraq, and flew fixed-wing in Afghanistan.

Still serving in the Guard, now Sarah is a newly minted FO for a Regional Carrier in the Pacific Northwest.

You can also check out Sarah’s work to spread the word of aviation through her Twitter (@ThinkAviation) and website,

A big salute to Sarah for her service, and a big thanks for joining us on this episode.

Useful Links
ThinkAviation Twitter


Sarah Fritts

Huge thanks to Sarah! Make sure to check out her website, and follow her on the Twitters.


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

Now What?

iTunes Subscribe

Want to get regular updates through iTunes? This is the easiest way to automatically download your podcast, and take it on the go. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE HERE.

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Want to get started with some of our video training? Go to our main page and signup for Aviator90 (our basic and free course) or other pay products we have.



Helos to regionals, this is AviatorCast episode 72.

Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. The invention of the airplane was meant for peaceful reasons, yet eventually it was clear that flight would be a major part of warfare. Politics aside, military aviation accelerated the advance of the airplane through the ages. I honor and
respect the men and women that are part of the military especially aviators defending our freedoms.

So welcome to this, the 72nd episode of AviatorCast. This is a special episode because it is Independence Day here in the United States, a day which we celebrate on the 4th of July. It’s a very big deal for us because this is the day where we celebrate our patriotic freedom, our patriotism for our nation and so I wanted to make this a special episode about one of our military members. And so we have a very special guest today, we’ll talk about her here in a few seconds.

But first, AviatorCast is a weekly podcast that I put on on behalf of Angle of Attack, and this is a podcast where we talk to aspiring aviators. We may also gain more insight into the industry. Maybe you are someone that, you’re looking to reignite the flame in aviation, reignite that passion, and so you come here to learn from other aviators to get excited about this and it really helps out a whole lot. And maybe you aren’t quite flying yet and you’re just looking to get the courage to fly. There are many reasons that a lot of people join our podcast each and every week. We’re so thankful to you the listener for coming here week after week and enjoying what we have. We really love having you as part of this wonderful community.

So on today’s episode, we have again as I mentioned a very special guest, a war veteran, a young war veteran which kind of changes this paradigm in my mind because I always look back and say well, war veterans are older than me. They are people that fought in World War II and Vietnam and of course there aren’t any World War I that is around anymore, but they are older people I guess. Now, our guest today, Sarah Fritts, she is younger than I am I believe, yet she is a war veteran of the war in Iraq and I believe she also may have served in Afghanistan.

So, Sarah is a great person that I met actually on twitter. She is very active there. Very passionate about aviation. She has a website called and it’s a very great place. She has worked hard on getting it started and she shares a great thoughts on there and on twitter so she’s done a great job there. I just noticed her passion. She was primarily a helicopter pilot, that’s what she learned to fly in the army for the military when she went overseas to the Persian Gulf and flew helicopters there in actual action. I can’t imagine flying an airplane and having someone shoot at me, so she definitely has some pretty intense stories about that. We don’t dig too much into that stuff because I feel like that is one of those things that you just kind of don’t ask people how intense it was and how scary it was and about the comrades that they lost, and so I don’t get into that a whole lot because I think that’s a personal thing just for them in a big way.

So don’t expect too much of that gory stuff or glory stuff. This is about aviation. I don’t want to keep it toned down a little bit I guess and gear it towards that but I just honor people like Sarah that fought for the freedoms of our country and I really appreciate her candor in sharing some of that experience with us today. Now, that’s not her whole story. I don’t want to just pin this war veteran thing on her and say that her whole life is about being a veteran of war, that’s not what it’s about. Sarah is now a regional pilot. So she ended up going and learning how to fly King Airs and started to get some fixed wing time, and now she is actually flying for a regional Horizon Air in the Pacific Northwest where I believe she is originally from. So she’s kind of come full circle where she is now getting into the civil aviation side of things which is very cool to see and I just love her story.

So I’m excited to have her share that story with you guys but before we get there, as always we have a review each and every week that comes to us from iTunes. This is the primary place to leave your review for AviatorCast although you are more than welcome to go out and tell the community that you like this podcast. So this one comes from the USA, it comes from MikeyMissy83, five starts, and again from the USA. He says “Fueling my passion. Chris, I love listening to your podcasts. I am a student pilot, 7 hours, studying for my sport license. I am starting with my sport license because I am in the National Guard and often got called away for training or duty.” So salute to you Mikey. Sounds like you are a member of the military too, so thanks for that. He continues “I really enjoy hearing a myriad of topics on your show. I have listened to every podcast. As the title says, your show fuels my passion. Many times, I listen to your shows while I work from home. My home is within the traffic pattern of my airport, Grand Prairie, Texas, KGPM, so I also hear planes flying overhead on a regular basis.”

So Mikey, thanks so much for leaving that review. Thank you for your service as well. It’s great that you are pursuing your sport pilot license. You know, it’s not a private pilot but that doesn’t really matter. You’re getting started, you’re getting into it, and so fantastic job doing that especially while you get through some of these busy times you’re having in serving the military. Eventually, you may get to a private pilot if that makes sense for you. Maybe it doesn’t, maybe you’re a sport pilot warrior as it were, just flying on the weekends, doing that sort of thing. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. At the end of the day, it’s flying, so nothing wrong with that at all.

So Mikey, like all of the other people that leave a review on the show, you are going to get an AviatorCast t-shirt. Go ahead and send me an email at I’ll hook that up for you. Those are in the final stages of being designed and printed and all that stuff, I’m excited to send that out, so very exciting things coming and I’ll make sure to send that to you. So again, thanks Mikey, really appreciate it, and if you want to leave a review on iTunes, you the listener, and if you get your review read on the show, I will send you an AviatorCast t-shirt as well regardless of where you are in the world.

So without further ado, let’s get started on this patriotic episode of AviatorCast on this, the 4th of July, and we’re going to talk to Sarah Fritts. So here is Hangar Talk with Sarah Fritts.

Now, a special hangar talk segment…

Chris: Alright everybody, we are honored to have a very special guest with us today, Sarah Fritts. Sarah, thanks for joining us on AviatorCast, how you doing?

Sarah: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.

Chris: Yeah, I’m excited to have you on the show. You have some, kind of a different background which I think is really cool. You’re early on your career and just went through a cool transition which I definitely want to talk about as well. Give people the elevator pitch on just your career, what you’ve done. We’ll get into it in more depth but what’s the brief synopsis?

Sarah: Alright, so brief synopsis. Younger, I was a civil air patrol cadet pilot, went to West Point because I really wanted to fly helicopters. Flew helicopters for eight years, active duty and then switched over the National Guard where I got fixed wing transition and then I finally got enough hours after deployment to Afghanistan to apply to the airlines. So now I’ve been flying for Horizon Airlines for a couple months now.

Chris: Right on. I already learned some more about you that I want to talk about so that’s great. So the first question I always ask our listeners because this is such an important question and it goes all the way back to the beginning, how did you fall in love with aviation?

Sarah: I think there were two specific moments in my life when I was younger when I fell in love with it and I don’t think I realized it at that time, but the first one was the first flight I ever took, I must’ve been 3 or 4 and for some reason my parents once free flight over Mount St. Helens and at that age, it blew in 1980s so I was yeah, 3 or 4 years old, and I remember circling around that devastated mountain and that stuck with me, yeah.

And then the second time, I think I was in preschool or kindergarten and there was this Huey helicopter that landed right at our school on the helicopter pad and I just remember my face was just glued to that window, I was in awe, and I don’t think that ever left me. And in high school, I just had to fly. I’ve always wanted to fly. That’s been the only thing. Every major decision in my life has been geared towards flying.

Chris: Well, you’ve obviously done a lot of it and I’m sure you’ve done some of it in situations that were pretty intense and life-threatening as well. Tells us a little bit more about what kind of transpired from there. So going into your teenage years, how stayed into it.

Sarah: Yeah, so I kind of was entrusted in the military and so I did some research and realized it was good think to join the civil air patrol because that kind of looked good. I don’t know where I got obsessed with the idea of going to one of the service academies but I had learned that at West Point, you have the best chance of getting helicopters and that’s really what I wanted to do. And I think it’s still true today actually. Because West Point tends to give, they get the most allocation of branch slots, ROTC kind of gets the leftovers after they’ve given everything to West Point, and they get about I think 100 slots every year and so I knew that that was probably the best chance I had of getting that branch. And so I pursued that really hard. I didn’t get in right away but I was persistent and applied the next time and got in and it worked out for me. I was able to get the aviation branch and right after I graduated, went down to Fort Rocker and did my training. Yeah, civil air patrol, I ended up soloing at Oshkosh actually. They have civil air patrol weeklong encampment back in ’95. I had some old World War II pilot as an instructor.

Chris: Well tell us a little bit more about that because that’s a unique experience. I’m jealous. I’ve always wanted a guy like that as an instructor.

Sarah: Yeah. I mean, gosh, he must’ve been 70 or 80 years old. Those older pilots are just so unfazed by anything you can do and he just had a lot of perspective on aviation. It’s been awhile so I don’t quite remember everything but it was pretty cool to be at Oshkosh and with that history there and get that solo.

Chris: So what age did you solo at?

Sarah: I must’ve been 17 I think.

Chris: Pretty early. So tell us a little bit more about that encampment. So you go up there for a week and it’s just kind of an intensive sort of thing?

Sarah: Yeah, you fly every single day and the whole point is to get people to solo by Friday. It’s air force encampment so we wore uniforms and marched around and did that whole thing. But it was totally geared towards, we’d have classes and then we would fly, just a typical compressed flight school. Not everybody was able to solo but if you really studied and worked at it, you could.

Chris: So did you go from zero hours to soloing in that week?

Sarah: No, I think I had some or did I? I don’t think I did because I think I remember. I must’ve ad like 2 or 3 hours of that time because I do remember some flights back in Oregon on the Oregon Coast and I remember learning about the whole trim thing. I was like, you can have the controls and I had the controls and you’re fighting against it and you don’t realize that you can actually relieve the pressure. I do remember that moment. I didn’t have a lot. If you fly consistently, it doesn’t take that long to progress to solo.

Chris: Definitely. And that was done recently, just a really quick caveat here, that was done recently by Redbird at Sun ‘N Fun, they did one week to solo and it’s cool that you went through that because everyone was thinking that was a noble idea and it is. Everyone was thinking that was noble idea but it’s really cool that the civil air patrol actually does that. That’d be cool if they still do that, I haven’t really heard of it before.

Sarah: Yeah, I’m not sure. I mean, I hope they do, and I would encourage anybody who has the opportunity to do a one-week solo to go out and do it. Well, anytime you can compress your flight training, that’s a good thing. The military certainly does. We understand the importance of compressing flight training to get that repetition.

Chris: Yeah. It’s that recentcy so you don’t have to repeat it as much. I’ve always thought that was a great idea. In fact, I have some training coming up this year that I plan on compressing and just flying somewhere. In fact, I think right now, my plan is actually to go to Oshkosh with an instructor that is there and knock some stuff out.

Sarah: That’s awesome.

Chris: So from there, you’ve soloed and now, I’m assuming that you’re also doing ROTC at that time or are you just kind of doing this civil air patrol thing?

Sarah: Nah. Just the civil air patrol.

Chris: And that’s enough.

Sarah: And sports, playing soccer.

Chris: So how did you progress from there because at some point, you went from a fixed wing to a helicopter and so we got to figure out when that transitioned too or maybe you never did. Maybe it was always just hand in hand.

Sarah: Well, I did that and then I was at West Point, I didn’t fly for four years. And then once I graduated, they sent me to Fort Rucker Alabama where the helicopter training is and I started in August of 2000 and did primary and then nights and NDG training and then you move into your advanced aircraft.

Chris: And I’m unfamiliar with the process so I’m coming from a place of ignorance. So do you learn in a helicopter first or do you learn in a fixed wing first?

Sarah: The army always, you always have to start in the helicopter, and I think they might be changing that now where they actually peg certain people just to be fixed wing but right now, even if you go fixed wing as a second lieutenant or a brand new warrant officer, you still have to do the entire helicopter training, and then they give you a fixed wing transition. But it’s very unusual for an army aviator to get a fixed wing transition, it’s actually kind of hard. So 95% of army aviators are helicopter pilots.

Chris: Very cool. So how difficult was it to learn how to fly a helicopter because from a lot of fixed wing pilot’s perspectives, either A they don’t want to fly helicopters because they’re ugly or at least that’s what they say, and I’ve sure you’d have some harsh words for that, but B, they think it’s very hard and I think it is. I think there are a few more things to be concerned about but speak to that a little bit.

Sarah: Yeah. Probably the initial part of flying of a helicopter is difficult but then after you know how to fly a helicopter, there are some things that make it incredibly easy. And there are some things now even today that I feel way more uncomfortable in a fixed wing aircraft than helicopter because if you get into like a bad wind situation, I mean, there is no such thing as a crosswind landing for a helicopter. So that takes that whole level of complexity out of the picture. If I get in trouble and I go up over a ridge line and I can’t see the other side of that ridge line because it’s too cloudy, I don’t have to do like a potentially dangerous turn you do in a fixed wing to get out of that situation. I can just slow down. So that I love and I miss that ability.

But in terms of, I mean really physically flying something, that’s not really the hard part of aviation I’ve come to realize. It’s all the other things, the radio communication, staying up to date on studying and the knowledge and all that other kind of stuff that makes it difficult. Helicopters are just way more fun.

Chris: Yeah. Yeah. I know that when my brother went through helicopter training, he went all the way and got his commercial, he was scared to death of airplanes. Maybe not scared to death but we were flying at that time too for business sort of stuff and he would come along for a ride and he had plenty of aviation knowledge but is all helicopter and he is like “I don’t understand how this airplane is going to land if there is a problem. I just don’t get it.” Because he was coming from the autorotation world, you know.

Sarah: Yeah. And we don’t have the stall situations. I mean, there is retreating blade stall but gosh, that hardly ever happens. There are so many scary situations in airplanes that make me nervous that I just don’t have that feeling in a helicopter. I encourage anybody to at least give it a try. It’s pretty fun.

Chris: Yeah, I’d love to give it a try for sure. And you know, it gives you I’m sure, and you can speak to this for sure, it gives you a different perspective on each, right? I mean, flying a helicopter gives you better perspective on how an airplane flies and flying an airplane maybe gives you a little bit of perspective on how a helicopter flies. So that sort of correlation there.

Sarah: Yeah. I mean, the aerodynamics are the same. Each blade is like a wing essentially so that’s kind of all the same. It really helped I think actually to have a little airplane training because when you do run-on landings in helicopters, I already understood the site picture of where to keep the runway and when I was getting too low and too high and kind of that right angle which if you started out in a helicopter, I’m not sure you would necessarily get that concept.

Chris: Yeah definitely.

Sarah: But then airplanes just move so fast, like the airplane, the Q-400 I fly now, oh my god, just everything is just, I couldn’t imagine going back to 90 knots now. It’d be nice. I’d get bored I think.

Chris: Yep. Things happening in a different pace that’s for sure.

Sarah: Yeah. Takes a lot to get used to.

Chris: So take us from there. So you’ve gone to Fort Rucker, you’re going through training. How did things progress from there?

Sarah: So I got assigned Fort Stewart and Georgia the 3-7 cav which that unit no longer has helicopters but this was in 2002 so this was just a little less than a year from the invasion and third ID which is what I was a part of got deployed in the end of January of ’03 to Kuwait where we say for almost two months and then towards the end of March, the president gave the word and we were on our way and we crossed the border. I was a platoon leader with 3-7 cav flying the OH-58 Delta which is a scout helicopter, has kind of a ball on top with flare and a camera. It’s got rockets, hellfires, and a 50-cal. So we invaded Iraq in ’03. Made it all the way up to Baghdad and then I went home in August.

Chris: So is there any part of that experience you want to talk about or is that something that you want to set aside or…

Sarah: Gosh, I never know what to say when people are like “Tell me about that” because I don’t know what really to focus on. I mean, it was pretty intense. I mean now the army is a very experience army. We’ve been at war for quite some time now but when we first invaded Iraq, none of us really knew what to do or what was going on. We had training but of course, you’re always fighting the last war. The second day of the war, we got up to As Samawah. We kind of came up through the desert on the left side of Euphrates and we hit As Samawah, and we had been told which is funny now, I mean, I don’t know where they got this, that the Iraqis would be welcoming us with open arms and cheering force and stuff and that was just not the case at all.

Chris: This isn’t Germany.

Sarah: No, god, no. That second day of the war was such a wake-up call. We got lit up pretty good. A couple of our aircraft including mine got hit. We had to replace the horizontal stabilizer. It got a hole in it. It was just quite a shock getting used to flying combat.

Chris: Yeah, getting shot at.

Sarah: Yeah, for real, like this is no joke. It was difficult. And then just everybody is stressed out and then learning how to deal with personal relations and kind of dealing with that whole situation. And the army is kind of weird. The navy and the coast guard and the air force don’t do it this way but the army has their most experienced pilots are these chief warrant officers, I’m not sure if you’re that familiar about it.

Chris: No I’m not, with the ranks.

Sarah: Yeah. So we have these chief warrant officers and their job is to be technical experts. So in this case, aviation, they’re pilots, that’s their first job. But they’re outranked by lieutenants. So you can have like a 15-year aviator with a thousand hours, 1500 hours, and a lieutenant with about 200 hours, 250 hours is in charge of them in these missions. That was a difficult situation to deal with because I wasn’t experienced at all. I could barely give a mission brief because I was so new to the unit. And here I was a month later out there trying to lead three aircrafts on a mission and there was a steep learning curve.

Chris: So you were a lieutenant in my understanding because you went to West Point, and did you become an officer there then?

Sarah: Yes. Yep. And actually, we call them O-grades or commission officer but that’s a bit of a misnomer because warrant officers are also commissioned but there’s no other better term for it. So this past June, I transitioned from being a Major back to being a warrant officer because all I wanted to do was fly. So if there is anybody out there who wants to join the army but they really just want to do it as a pilot, I do not recommend getting commissioned through ROTC or West Point. I’d just go straight to being a warrant officer because that’s your primary job. You don’t get paid as much but that’s your focus.

Chris: Yeah, that’s what you got to do. You got to just build hours I guess and do that sort of thing. Tell us a little bit more about your military experience because it’s an interesting perspective and I think for our generation especially, it’s still fresh on everyone’s minds. I think it’s fresh on every generation’s minds. But tell us a little bit more about your military experience and kind of run the gambit on from the start to the end and what you experienced and maybe a couple things that you learned from that both from an aviation perspective and maybe just from a human perspective.

Sarah: Yeah. Well, I think that first deployment, I mean, it didn’t go that well for me because I didn’t understand the importance of personal relationships in leadership, so I didn’t understand that it’s really hard to be a leader unless you understand and can really relate and interact with your subordinates. I got much better at that afterwards. My second and third deployment were completely different than the first one. So it took a war for me to really understand people. And I picked up that book How to Win Friends and Influence People afterwards and I started implementing those principles and god, I wish I’d had that book at West Point.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, that’s some good stuff.

Sarah: Yeah, it should be required reading really. I mean, if you can’t relate to people, you can’t be a leader. I don’t know where else to go with that. I mean, we got up to Baghdad and we just kind of sat there for a bit because we’ve won the war, that’s what we were told. And there was what I would like to call the honeymoon period from about like May or April to July. There was this lull. I would read the situation reports everyday and it would say all the different events that had had happened and right before we went home, you could see that stuff was starting to pick up and the whole ID concept was starting to come into play. Yeah, it was just so weird that everybody was like “We’re going for the weapons” and I remember halfway through the invasion being like “Man, I hope we find those weapons of mass destruction because otherwise, what are we doing here?” Of course we never found them and then it just kind of escalated. Back in ’06, I was back in Iraq because things just didn’t end.

I mean, one of the main reasons I got out of the military was I just didn’t want that endless cycle of deployments. After the second one, I was like “I’m done with this” but ironically I still did another one bacl to Afghanistan. The people in the military really had to shoulder repeated deployments. It’s kind of an unusual war in that one percent of these people have had to just carry the nation through the war without any, I want to say support but without a draft and a lot of people coming into the military, you get the same people doing it over and over again.

Chris: Right, yeah, just a select number of really dedicated people or they want to do it and they’ll kind of do it to a fault. I kind of got that from the movie Sniper or what it’s called American Sniper. Some people think it’s controversial, whatever, but the point that I got from it or one of the points was just how dedicated Kyle was to what he was doing and I imagine that that’s kind of what you are talking about, a lot of the people are just dedicated to do it and gosh, that’s hard.

Sarah: Well, there’s also this other phenomenon that I’ve recognized to myself that you know, you enter the military not just to do training over and over again, you go to do a mission. And I notice that in myself even though I got out because I didn’t want to keep doing deployments. After three years, four years when you’ve settled down a bit, you’re like, there’s this weird thing where you’re like “Man, I’d kind of like to go on a deployment again.” Like they’re kind of exciting and you’re doing something that’s bigger than you. And I think the movie Hurt Locker kind of made that point. That’s what I got out of that movie, was how he wanted to keep going back and that was a little extreme but I kind of understood that desire in him to want to go back and do that mission, and maybe the American Sniper is the same way, like that’s kind of what, it stimulates him in a way that nothing else really can.

Chris: So what was, and briefly, we don’t want to spend too much more time on this war stuff, but what was the difference flying in Afghanistan? I mean, first of all, you’re talking about much different terrain, but what was your action like there?

Sarah: Well, I was flying airplanes so I was doing an electronic attack mission. So we had this pod underneath the King Air. And the King Airs are really the workhorses over there now. They become a surveillance. I kind of joked because I was logging combat time but I mean, I made through more People magazines than I care to tell anybody about and I think I reread the entire series of Game of Thrones. I mean, just there was a lot of time doing left hand circles for five hours so it’s a different experience, especially being fixed wing where I feel a lot safer fixed wing flying in combat. It’s completely different. I felt bad for the helicopter guy.

Chris: And you guys were at a higher altitude right? I mean, you’re just kind of loitering.

Sarah: Yeah. So that one was pretty chill, yeah.

Chris: So what was the transition like from helicopter to fixed wing then because at some point there, they sent you to do that right?

Sarah: They did, yeah. In 2011, I got the fixed wing transition because Oregon has one airplane. We fly a lot of VIP missions and some transport missions. I mean, it’s hard learning anything. Anything new like that, it’s really hard. You got to be nice to yourself when you’re going through aviation training for the first time. I mean, it’s hard. Just doing the Q-400 transition here a couple months ago, it’s really humbling to fail over and over and over again, and that’s what the fixed wing training was like. But you get better over time but it’s just different. Airplanes are different, faster. On short final, when you hit bumps and stuff, it’s different. Makes me feel uncomfortable but yeah.

Chris: Well, I’m sure you’re doing just fine, probably a lot better than most people. We’re all our own worst critic anyway.

Sarah: Yeah, it’s true. Very much so.

Chris: Okay, so now you have a transition, another transition. From military life to civilian flying. So tell us about that or I guess you’re going into the national guard too, right? Is that who you’re flying for?

Sarah: Yeah. I fly for the national guard and for Horizon Airlines. I started in March of this year for Horizon. Civilian flying is interesting. I’m just so fascinated that the least experienced pilots are the instructor pilots. Like in the military, that’s something like you’re not an instructor pilot until you’re like 700 or 800 hours down the road and you’ve had like 3, 400 hours in the aircraft. And civilian flying is very money-driven, so everything is, timelines are compressed. I mean, these regional airlines, it’s quite amazing. They’re such a well-oiled machine but it makes for some, it’s taken a while to get used to because as a first officer, there is so many things you have to do so you land and then 30 to 45 minutes later, you’re taking off again. And there’s all these duties you have to do and it’s definitely taking a lot to get used to.

Chris: No one said it was easy.

Sarah: No. It’s not. I mean, I wasn’t one of those people that was always like “I want to be an airline pilot.” I just kind of wanted to see if I liked that lifestyle of being away and flying these big aircrafts, and it’s definitely different. It’s different.

Chris: It’s kind of the logical next step. I mean, I guess you could stay in the military forever but there are fewer and fewer kind of doing that sort of thing. So that makes sense.

Sarah: Yeah. So, I mean, it’s hard to start a new job so I’m kind of going through that transition period now of being away from home for three to four days and I just now was able to control my schedule. I actually am able to hold the line which I didn’t know what that was six months ago. Yeah, I’ll be able to drop trips and add trips and kind of manipulate my schedule a little bit better.

Chris: So you survived training in an airline and now you’re kind of flying the lines sort of thing.

Sarah: Yeah, I am. So I finished up, I was actually quite impressed with the airline training, actually the simulator training, because they are out there to make money. They can’t give you, like the army will just give you simulator time after simulator time but in the airlines, they compress everything. They have it down to like the minimum number of simulator periods you need. So it was quite a challenge. I was impressed. I was really challenged and I’ve gone through some pretty difficult military training and I was very glad to be done with that simulator and have that ATP in hand. It’s intense.

Chris: Especially that initial airline training. You even hear guys talking about how intense recurrent training is, but that initial airline training is really intense. They put you through the winger.

Sarah: Yeah. I mean, if you’re not used to studying, because I was used to the whole, in army aviation you’ve got to study. You’ve got to make sure that you know all the emergency procedures and limitations and stuff so I was used to that in ground school, getting up to that level. But I could imagine, some of the guys are not used to, and are at my class, weren’t used to kind of that level and high expectation and they struggled a little bit until they kind of realized how much they really needed to buckle down and treat it seriously. But yeah, I was impressed.

Chris: Yeah, I can’t imagine what the guys had to go through that weren’t prepared whereas you had kind of that strict military background where, let’s just say it, you’re more disciplined, and you could do those things better. Just kind of an ace in the hole or whatever but yeah, I can imagine that worked out really well. So, tell us, I mean, since that’s so new, you’re not going to have war stories of flying for Horizon or flying at the regionals yet but tell us what else you got going on because the way I found you is you have some stuff you’re working on it. You have a twitter channel which you share some pretty good stuff here and there. It just seems like you’re active on there. Your callsign if you want to call it that is Think Aviation. So tell us a little bit more about what you’re doing with Think Aviation and the sort of things you’re working on.

Sarah: Yeah, so I created this website kind of to help pilots get better one day at a time. I mean, I’m kind of obsessed with this idea and if you’ve ever read that book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson that these little things that you do everyday kind of impact and have an enormous impact down the road on how well you perform and your success level. So I wanted to apply that concept to aviation and really help people understand that there are little tiny things you can do like studying five minutes a day that will help you become a better pilot in a long run. Yeah, so I’m going to start this blog in the end of July and really just focus on giving people really actionable realistic tips that aren’t full of technical jargon and just I want to see people have a smooth transition and training time in aviation because it’s hard, it’s humbling and everybody has struggled, and I really want to help people kind of ease that struggle and help them in any way that I can, so I’ll be doing that through a blog and then I’m also working on an instrument pilot survival guide, the instruments.

Because I kind of came to instruments a little bit later, a thousand hours of helicopter flying and I was flying a helicopter that’s not instrument-rated. So jumping back into the aircraft, I really struggled, I’d already had an instrument rating long before that but I didn’t get to practice that much in the national air space system. Yeah, I just captured all the mistakes that I made when they were happening to me. I’d take notes after each flight and I’m capturing that in a book and in August, I will be publishing that on the website and Kindle and I’m really hoping that that helps people kind of walk through an actual instrument flight and not kind of what you get from your instructor pilots but what real airline pilots see everyday, what to expect. Because it’s not rocket science. If you know what’s coming, you’ll be fine.

Chris: I really like that concept because I think that is actually the core of what everyone struggles with in instrument flying. We all get kind of hung up on the instrument approach and this approach and that approach and charts and holding, it’s like what holding entry do I do? That’s fine to learn that stuff and it’s important, sure, that’s part of the knowledge you’ve got to learn, sure, but if you really understand from a practical perspective how the IFR system works, what you can and can’t do, the fact that you can actually work with controllers to help you out, you can work with them sort of thing, then gosh, it’s a walk in the park. And it becomes a lot better when you understand that it’s a partnership and it eventually becomes a situation if you approach it correctly where you actually feel more comfortable doing IFR, at least I do or at least faking like I’m doing IFR you know. If I’m doing VFR, then I’m going to want to be on flight followjng and flight following is a little bit like being under IFR. They don’t tell you what to do but yeah, so I like that concept. I think that’s a really great idea.

Sarah: Yeah, yeah. It didn’t really start to click for me until I understood that they were going to give me the same radio call at the same point every single time and now I can predict exactly what they’re going to say. And until you get that concept, it’s going to be painful. I want to ease people’s pain and make them enjoy aviation. It can be hard.

Chris: And the instrument ticket is still one of the hardest tickets to get because there is a lot of knowledge that’s new and you kind of have to pile it on and then you’re dealing with some new physiological factors like spatial disorientation which affects some but not all. But at the end of the day, just bringing that all together and having the big picture. And for people to understand that hey, this isn’t just a ticket. Don’t just focus on getting your ticket but focus on working within the IFR system, becoming competent, becoming confident and then it will all just unfold from there. It will be fun.

Sarah: Yeah. It opens up a lot of doors.

Chris: I remember when I used to fly in Salt Lake, I would almost always be flying from south to north coming into the airspace from that direction and they would always ask me my intensions, like what I wanted to do, and I had the perfect solution. After a couple flight, I knew exactly what they wanted. I’m like “I’m going to counsel IFR by this point but I want to duct under the airspace here” and they’re like “Yeah, let’s do that.” Everytime it was cool. Those are the kind of little things you got to figure out and get in the controller’s head too.

Sarah: Yup. They have a lot of challenges.

Chris: Yeah they do. So, that will be great to see your book and read that. I’m glad you’re doing it on Kindle because I’m kind of a paperless book guy these days. What else do you got going on? What things get you excited in aviation these days other than your new transition to Horizon in the airlines?

Sarah: Well, I actually potentially have a chance to go back to helicopters next year so that’s got me pretty excited. We’ll see if it actually happens.

Chris: So that would be going back to helicopters in the national guard?

Sarah: Yeah.

Chris: Cool.

Sarah: Yeah. I really enjoy the scout mission. We do a lot of search and rescue in Oregon and that is just such a fulfilling mission to do. Yeah, that’s got me excited.

Chris: Cool. I’ve got to get into that helicopter world a little bit. I mean, I’ve just always held back for some reason you know. I think the really good aviators out there, they continually test themselves and continue to do new things.

Sarah: Yeah. You’ve got to fight complacency and yeah. I just hope when I’m 60 years old and still flying that I’m pushing myself.

Chris: Yup. Good position to be in. Cool. You know, I make it down to the Pacific Northwest every now and again. Maybe you can give me my first ever helicopter ride or something.

Sarah: Well I can’t do army helicopters but…

Chris: Oh I know you couldn’t do that. I know we’ve had to go and rent one somewhere or whatever.

Sarah: Yeah. Yeah. Although I’ve never flown a little R-44. I’ve got to get checked out in that cool thing. I bet that thing is fun to fly, everything is right there. So yeah, definitely give it a try. It’s fun.

Chris: Right on. Let’s wrap up the show. The last thing I want to get from you is just your final words of inspiration for aviators out there that are on the fence about this thing, that are maybe disenfranchised in their current job with aviation and just feel like they’ve lost the passion. Maybe people that are looking to get back into it that were once aviators, what’s your advice for them?

Sarah: For people that want to get back in. I mean, you just got to jump back in and do it and know that it’s going to be a little bit difficult at first but if you just implement small little habits of studying just a little bit everyday, you’ll be able to make it through and reach your goals. I mean, it’s hard to make to the hour or level that you need to get hired but it’s a big goal, you got to break it down into small little chunks and just take it one day at a time.

Chris: What would you say to the young aviators that are looking to get into it? Rewinding to your days of learning from a World War II pilot at Oshkosh.

Sarah: Yeah. Well, you know, there are programs like civil air patrol you can get into. Definitely I think people should look at the military. Just keep in mind, I don’t know, if I could do it all over again, I’d probably go coast guard because I love that mission of search and rescue. But the military, it’s hard and it’s challenging and it’s worth it. You might not get enough hours so when you get out, you might have to like pursue being an instructor pilot or something to get enough hours to actually make it to a full time job but definitely don’t discount the military. I mean if you’re at least a little bit athletic and play sports, you can just put in six years and it will really set you up mentally and physically to have a really good career elsewhere down the line. It will give you really good perspective on aviation and different ways of operating.

Because you know, when I fly in the military, I’m not just flying, I have a mission. But in the airlines, I mean, yes, the mission is to fly people but it’s kind of the same every time. So in the military, you get to do some things that you’re never going to be able to do in the civilian world. So take a look at the military. Deployments are kind of spooling down so I wouldn’t be as worried about that.

Chris: You’ll never know. The world it seems in turmoil all the time. There is always something new popping up. But that’s the risk you take and I guess it’s risk versus reward and everyone has to weigh that for themselves.

Sarah: Yeah.

Chris: Cool, well thanks for joining us on this show. We really appreciate it. We’re looking forward to what happens with Think Aviation and if any of you want to reach out to Sarah on twitter, it’s a really good place to do it, just find her @ThinkAviation. She’s super cool. I reached out to her there and this is how we ended up getting together for this podcast. So Sarah, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. I know that you’re actually going through training this week, right? You’re out in Alabama going through training. And you’re sitting out in the warm weather too so we can get a better signal for this podcast so I really appreciate it.

Sarah: Yeah, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Chris: No problem. Alright, we’ll talk soon. Thanks Sarah.

Sarah: Okay, take care, thanks.

Chris: Bye.

Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at We’d love to hear from you.

For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.

Chris: Alright, a huge thanks goes out to Sarah for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. Sarah, thank you so much for your service to our country, for all the sacrifices that you’ve made, for the hard work that you’ve put in to defend our freedoms and to do your duty. It is much appreciated and on behalf of the other Americans listening to this podcast, I just want to say that I really, really appreciate that, and appreciate again all your sacrifices, your duty, and all you’ve done for us. If you guys want to check out what Sarah has to offer, you can check her out at @ThinkAviation on twitter. Also, is a great place where she is starting a blog and a podcast and a bunch of other stuff. It’s really cool to see other people try to get the word out there in the community and I like the pitch that Sarah is going. Just that little anecdotal information every single day to give you some cool stuff to chew on and think about aviation, constantly be thinking about aviation. So I think that’s super great and again Sarah, thanks and congratulations on getting to a regional job. That’s no small thing and I hope that you continue to advance in your career and enjoy all that you have to do in aviation.

A big thanks goes out to the Angle of Attack crew for all that they do to make this episode of AviatorCast possible. Now, the Angle of Attack crew works behind the scenes on online learning and flight training production. So Angle of Attack is a flight training production company. We specialize in video and do a whole lot of work there so they are behind the scenes kind of running things so you and I each and every week can do this podcast thing which is kind of just the fun thing to stay connected to aviation passion. I think it’s super important and so these guys rock.

And thank you, the listener, for joining us each and every week. You guys are absolutely awesome. I really appreciate all you do to share AviatorCast, to contribute to the aviation community. It’s no small thing to go through an aviation career, and to share that with other people, to be a mentor. I just find each and every day that there are so many good people in aviation and I know that you as a listener of this show, you are likely one of those great and amazing people. So I honor you, I thank you for being here and we really appreciate your contributions, and just having you here each week is a joy. So join us on the next episode.

Again, this is the big hat trick weekend. We have three episodes of AviatorCast this weekend. Our next episode, we are going to be talking to another military member. This time we are going to be talking to a subhunter pilot from the navy. So join us on that podcast, that will be on the next episode, and until then, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast Episode 72: Sarah Fritts: Think Aviation | Army Helicopter Pilot | War Veteran | Regional Pilot appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Jul 04 2015



Rank #8: AviatorCast: Brian Terwilliger- Living in the Age of Airplanes

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Today’s Flight Plan

Have you seen the movie One Six Right? If you haven’t, you should. The director, Brian Terwilliger, is incredibly talented. Brian has been up to something very special since the making of One Six Right. Of course, it’s another aviation movie.

Over the last 6 years, Brian has been working on Living in the Age of Airplanes.

This jaw dropping film takes a step back from the pilot community that so loved One Six Right, and approaches the larger task of the impact the flying machine has had on humanity.

Showing scenes from all continents, Brian weaves a tale of aviation history that is simply awe inspiring.

Narrated by Harrison Ford and composed by James Horner (both aviators), Living in the Age of Airplanes, a new giant screen film experience from National Geographic, takes you on a journey from prehistoric times to now- the Age of Airplanes.

This movie brought me to tears. It is that impactful and powerful.

Useful Links

Living in the Age of Airplanes
One Six Right
Terwilliger Productions


Brian Terwilliger

Huge thanks to Brian for joining us on AviatorCast. He’s a busy guy promoting this film. He and his girlfriend were kind enough to stay after the film so you guys could listen to this. Thanks again, Brian. Throttle On!


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Chris: Welcome to another 8-point roll episode of AviatorCast in celebration of National Aviation Day. So on this episode, we talked to the director, producer, writer, editor of Living in the Age of Airplanes. His name is Brian Terwilliger. He is a very, very, very talented filmmaker who will invoke a lot of emotion in pretty much anyone that watches his films, and especially if you are passionate about aviation, you’ll really enjoy his work because the last few films that he’s done have been aviation-focused. So the first film that he did was One Six Right which is an absolutely amazing, amazing film. Maybe a little more pilot-centric for you pilots out there which there are a lot of you listening. And then his new film, Living in the Age of Airplanes which was eventually picked up by National Geographic, is more in overreaching how aviation has affected humanity, and it’s a big picture view not necessarily for pilots, not a lot of nerdery about the actual flying but more how it’s really affected humanity, and it’s such a cool, cool representation of that, and ends up just becoming this powerful emotional moment at the end of the movie.

Now, there are some spoilers here. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s already out. It’s in a lot of theaters nationwide and it’s gaining more traction. So make sure that you check it out, Living in the Age of Airplanes. You can find the URL at Really such a good film guys. It was great to see it in person, and then after that fact, Brian was nice enough to sit down for me for a 20-minute interview, kind of a condensed interview where we learned more about what it was like to make this film the ideas behind it and also him as an aviator. We talk to a lot of aviators on AviatorCast and so we get to know about his passion for aviation a little bit. Very, very cool. I hope you guys enjoy it. It’s an inspiring film so make sure that you really do go out and try to find a theatre that is holding it. If you don’t find a theater that is, you can request it from your local theatre and it being such a supported film, meaning that it’s National Geographic, it’s very likely that you could get it in a local theater especially like some of those science center theaters like planetariums of Imax screens. This is the perfect place to request that. So, awesome show. I hope you guys enjoy this interview with Brian Terwilliger. If you guys want to skip this one and go see the movie first, I would recommend that because we do give away some spoilers here. So here we go, let’s get into it with Brian Terwilliger who is the filmmaker for this new movie, Living the Age of Airplanes, and the classic One Six Right. So here we go.

Alright everybody, we are honored to have a very special guest with us today, Brian Terwilliger, right? That’s how you pronounce your last name. It’s a tounge-twister. Brian, what do you do?

Brian: I’m a filmmaker, documentarian.

Chris: And what would people know you for?

Brian: Well, for pilots, they probably know One Six Right which was a film, my first documentary came out in 2005.

Chris: Great. And what’s your most recent film? We’ll talk about that today of course.

Brian: My most recent film just came out, it’s called Living in the Age of Airplanes, and it’s about how the airplanes changed the world.

Chris: Great. Now, when I was flying in the lower 48, I live in Alaska now, I actually did a flight to Venice after I saw that movie and I got cleared to land One Six Right and I was just so excited. It was the coolest thing. For a pilot, it’s literally a movie that at some point will bring you to tears and I’m sure that was part of your intention with that film, to invoke that emotion about that passion.

Brian: Indeed. I mean, when people tell me that, I mean my gosh, I’ve heard the story, it amazes me everytime that people actually are so moved to go and set foot there and land there and get cleared to land. It came from an emotional place within me to film itself so when it resonates and connects with people emotionally, it’s certainly extremely rewarding and it’s exactly what I would I would hope that it might do and when it does, it’s a wonderful thing.

Chris: Perfect. So the first big question I always ask our guests on this show is how did you initially fall in love with aviation?

Brian: I don’t know the moment that I first fell in love with aviation but it feels like it’s been forever. Ever since I was a little kid, I went to air shows, my whole room was full of movie posters, aviation months, the calendar every year, whatever it might have been, airplanes, airplanes, airplanes. It’s always been that way for me. And then I got into building autoplanes and flying radio-controlled model planes as a teenager and then eventually, I always wanted to be a pilot and that was sort of part and parcel of the obsession with planes and aviation as a kid, I’ve seen the Blue Angels fly many times growing up in the East Coast. And then my friend, my best friend who was just as obsessed with airplanes and aviation as I was and model planes, he ended up going to take flying lessons and he did. In fact it is licensed I think. He was 18 at that time.

And then he took me up and it was incredible that here is my friend who I have known forever and fly model planes together is flying. I mean, I’m looking around, it’s just him and me and we’re in a plane and we’re flying, and it was incredible that you really could set out, take a lessons, take more lessons, see it through to the end, become a pilot. And so it was a reality check for rather than saying “Yeah, I want to be a pilot someday, I’m going to be a pilot.” Rather than that future tense, it’s “I’m getting pilot’s license now and then eventually you see it through and then you become a pilot.

And so there was that, a lightbulb went off for me that I’ll stop talking about it. I’m going to go out and do it, and I did. So within three months of that flight, within a week or two of that flight, I had my first lesson. Three months later, I soloed, and then I got my license another six months later.

Chris: And how old were you again at that time?

Brian: I was 19.

Chris: Okay, cool. So at what time did you start film school in that mix?

Brian: So I actually didn’t go to film school. I got a business degree but I was doing film the whole time. I decided because I wanted produce and direct but in order to do that, there are a lot of things that’s not just the technical side but the creative side, but there’s the business side and I think inherently, I’m a creative person, I’ve always liked to build things, design things. Technical aspects of cameras and some of the other things that involved in making movies aren’t necessarily things you have to go to school for and the things you learn on the job, or they’re technical and if you’re technically inclined. So I felt the focus for me I wanted to be business and that’s where I wanted to focus from, an educational or collegiate level education but as far as the film part of things, I was doing freelance work at the end of high school and through all four years of college. So I was doing freelance.

So by the time college ended, I had a resume, most of it was for free or very little money, but I had this resume that I shoot commercials, music videos, some independent feature films in the summer, and then a lot of shows that aren’t around anymore where they interview celebrities and this sort of thing, Movie Magic was the name of the show. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, random stuff. But they would do interviews with celebrities and so we’re going to different studio lots in Hollywood and setting up the interviews. So I would do lighting. I’m always the third man, usually as a sound guy and a camera guy, and they’re doing these interviews that you see in Entertainment Tonight. We did that too.

And then I was the third guy that just helps those two guys. But when you’re just the third guy, you get to do a lot of cool stuff, and anything you’re doing, you’re helping them. And so they give you responsibilities which is really cool. So I got to do quite a bit and I gained a lot of experience over those years. And so by the team I was done with college, I had all those years of experience as well.

Chris: Great. So how did your aviation passion continue from there? Did you continue flying? Did you have to take a break?

Brian: So let’s see. So I was in college I guess and so I just kept flying, and it was uninterrupted. It was all sort of simultaneous. I was getting my license, working in the industry and going to college. It was important for me to finish within those four years. I really wanted to be done with it. School is not my favorite part of all the things we’re talking about today. So I was able to do it in four years and then get out and start really doing what I wanted to do. But it was a very busy few years in my life for sure.

Chris: Great. So let’s talk a little bit about Living in the Age of Airplanes and this movie. And to preface this, I want to give a spoiler alert. So anyone listening to this audio, this podcast, you need to go out and see the movie because we’re about to spoil some things with some questions here. So find your local theater. Let’s see, it’s You can find your local theater. If it is not available at your local theater, you can also request that your local theater carry it. So, let’s talk about, because I just saw the film, great visual storytelling, and also to have someone like Harrison Ford narrating it, he was a pilot, also James Horner doing the music, who you said is also a pilot, very cool. Let’s just talk about the process and maybe some of the more unique aspects of your experience in making the film. So let’s just start off with the fun question. Was there any point during the filmmaking that you were scared?

Brian: Scared for my life or scared for the endeavor? You know, I can’t think of any particular moment I was scared. Certainly, maybe overwhelmed or there were stressful times, stressful moments just in the process of a several-year project. Because when you make a movie, you’re doing thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of little tiny things everyday that add up to eventually one single experience that is no longer pieces or parts, it’s a thing, it’s an experience, it all comes together. So seeing the force of the trees and having the ability to keep seeing the big picture, there is often a challenge especially as you get later and later in the process, in the editorial process, and the filming isn’t finished and some of those big exciting things or the things that show more progress in the day to day business, “Okay, we got those shots. Okay, we actually got that location. We got even more, like exceeded expectations in terms of what we were able to get.” Well those were exciting and rewarding in all those ways. But yes, there are certainly times where you want to make sure that you are still able to finish the story at the level you started, so there’s always that everyday kind of living with that all the way to the end.

Chris: Is there any particular experience throughout making the film that really stands out to you as something that you come back to and think about quite a bit. Because you travel the world filming this, all seven continents right? So is there anything that sticks out as, not necessarily the money shot because I think you got a lot of money shots in the filming. Does any particular experience stand out to you?

Brian: Yeah there was a few but the very first one right now I think of, we were filming in Africa, in Kenya, and we’re doing aerials in a B3 Helicopter. I’ve never been in a B3, it was an AStar but it’s like very, very nice AStar, quite powerful. And usually they’re B2s in the United States and in Alaska and Hawaii, we did aerials, Los Angeles, in other places, and they’ve always been B2 models. So the B3, and of all places, and I was hoping we’re going to have nice safe helicopters. But they had three helicopters, all of them were B3s. It’s incredible. It’s pretty wild.

So we were filming in air to air with these yellow biplanes, just one shot in the film toward the end of this thing. But we were out in the middle of nowhere filming this thing, and the cloud cover was coming in and we’re going to get the shots that we needed, quite possibly in an hour or two we could, and we were so far from an airport. We as a helicopter could land pretty much anywhere and the plane could land not anywhere but grass strips and there’s dirt in areas all over the place where he was comfortable landing. So we took him up on the opportunity to like “Okay, let’s just put it down here, shut down, and just wait this out. See if we can get the shot.” So we did. And after we landed, all these kids out of nowhere, I don’t know where they came from, but like 80, 100 kids and some parents came out of like nowhere. I have no idea. It was bizarre. There must’ve been some village that was close by. I don’t know.

Anyway, they came over to us and like, we’re all around the airplane and the helicopter, and thought it was the coolest damn thing they’ve ever seen, and seeing it through their eyes, seeing the wonder of this beautiful yellow biplane and this unbelievably beautiful helicopter that I, also was just amazed what we’re doing and where we are. But to see it through these kids eyes. Of course, I couldn’t communicate. But they were, they think we were aliens or something coming down and it was so inspiring, so emotional, so there was something so human about having, somehow creating an experience for them and I don’t know who got out more of it, them or me. Because I was so moved about how special this was, how happy they were, and they were some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen, and that’s a whole another thing. But there’s a moment of just, being in Africa was a highlight for me in general. Kenya specifically just was an amazing beautiful place, the people were amazing and beautiful and that experience was one I never could have anticipate and I can’t imagine repeating it. It was so organic.

But I showed them the helicopter and then when you really see it through their eyes, I mean this thing is crazy, helicopter. It’s crazy. Really, in hovers, you just take off, you can do anything, it really is just an incredible machine. So that was absolutely to me. And a case in point with what the film is about, seeing it through their eyes is the ultimate, having not taking it for granted, having something brand new, and I wanted in the film to be able to make in so many ways aviation brand new to people. And it’s hard because it’s not brand new at all. It’s actually seen as an inconvenience, a frustration or the feeling that someone gets, the mainstream, regular passenger going commercial flying audience. When they think of going to the airport or flying, it’s a chore. There’s a certain association or feeling or anxiety. It’s just the frustration of what they’re going to have to go through. They want to still go because they want to go where they’re going, but that process, I want to make somehow new again and actually not only potentially enjoy that process but be more tolerant of the process because the next best alternative to do what they’re doing is completely unacceptable, so unacceptable you probably wouldn’t even go where you’re going. Because 15 hours in the car or 2 weeks by boat, 2-1/2 weeks to get to Australia. That’s an inconvenience. That’s a commitment. That’s a month to go spend three days there.

Chris: And there’s a line in the movie that I thought was really poignant, it said that if we had to make those sacrifices to go those places, we probably wouldn’t go. And it’s entirely true. And it’s interesting how much of what you just said is in connection to the film because again, spoiler alert everybody, go see the film, it’s important to kind of get these connections. But a lot of the narrative was the fact that civilization started in Africa and spread to all the different continents. Well not all of them, not Antarctica obviously. So it’s interesting that in the filming of such a movie, you were there and you bridged that 5000-year gap that you guys were talking about. So that’s pretty amazing.

Brian: It was pretty amazing. You’ve been there and then the end of the world, Ushuaia, Argentina which is the southernmost tip of South America was a very well-documented endpoint of the human migration and so to be in both of those places at all in my lifetime is amazing, to be there in such a short span of time and then to see that if we really wanted to go between the two non-stop, we really could, and that’s a remarkable concept.

Chris: Yeah. That’s unbelievable. What was it like filming in Antarctica?

Brian: Well that was very cold but unforgettable experience. The South Pole, I learned so much in the making of the film, needless to say. So much of what the film ends up saying and showing or what you might learn from it, a lot this I didn’t know either. It was a discovery process and research process that then becomes a film. Concepts are driving it and our passion force is driving it. But Antarctica, so I never realized that the South Pole, that first of all, it’s 9000 feet above sea level. You’re on a huge amount of ice and it’s ice with bed rock underneath it and there is actually a continent there that’s larger than Australia. But the South Pole is so far away that even when we fly to Antarctica which we did in a jet, an Ilyushin-76 jet leaving from Chile actually, flying out a four-hour flight. Once it gets there, there were two more flights to get to the South Pole and all three airports were ice runways, have to line up with VFR weather, and it’s all just flying by visual clues when there’s not a lot. Long distance horizons and it’s really extreme, it’s an extreme place. Extreme place to fly, extreme place to be. We’re in tents for 11 nights. There is no infrastructure. I don’t even like camping. It was extreme, it was extreme. Negative 40 degrees, sun never sets because we’re there in the summer. But an extraordinary experience.

Chris: Very cool. So how much are you involved in the aviation community these days? I mean obviously, gosh if you do nothing else, you’re doing great. You’ve made two amazing films that inspire both aviators and One Six Right which by the way, you guys announced that the Blu-ray version is coming out, remastered, I’m excited for that, and Living in the Age of Airplanes. So is there anything else you’re doing in the aviation community these days to stay connected or it’s just kind of your day to day flying?

Brian: Well, certainly there is a re-emergence as this film is now coming out because I’ve sort of been secluded for quite some time getting this film made. So it’s fun to be out and here at Oshkosh and being at aviation events and being around aviation community again and sharing it of course with the aviation community and equally sharing it of course with the aviation community and equally sharing it with a non-aviation community is sort of a way to engage the aviation community and bridge that gap. So my focus now is really supporting this film, getting this film seen, and once you finish a film like this, releasing it, it’s like a kid and just a fact that it is now out there and born. It’s important to support it and to have opportunities like this to talk about it, and so that’s my focus now for a little while, at least seven more months to really support this thing and make sure that its voice is being heard and it can play in as many places as possible.

So I really enjoy this part of the film because this is the whole point of the film and the years and the making of the film is to get to the point where it’s finished and it can start doing and saying what you wanted it to say. And its’ a beautiful thing. I love the process of supporting that versus getting secluded again to going to tell another story because you can then dive into some other thing. It’s very fun just to continue to be part of the conversation, fan the flames of the conversation and share the film.

Chris: Yeah. Everything in it is seen. So this is my wife’s question that she came up with, and not necessarily for you, for other people I interview too, and that is who is your aviation hero? Does anyone stand out? Or mentor or something like that.

Brian: Well I can’t single out any one person. It’s probably a collective hole to anyone and everyone that’s pushed it forward, and that’s made it. I don’t mean to speak very philosophically but I understand the question but I think for me, my answer would be kind of like how a movie is hundreds of thousands if not tens of thousands of things that come together to make a single experience in the end. Aviation and the state of aviation today and the near perfection of aviation today, technologies that exist, the options we have, the choices that are possible to regular people, the few hundred bucks to pretty much go anywhere they want is a spectacular moment in time that we live in, and there were people and only people that helped put that together and make that possible.

And to keep of course that going and keep people inspired to keep aviation moving forward and evolving and staying healthy but growing in every way is to me where I’m inspired because it is this thing that it started going so cliché, right? It started with a dream and somebody pursued it and tried and failed and tried again and failed and then maybe never happened in their lifetime and then how many more lifetimes go by but they’re trying and failing and eventually, that will to succeed prevailed and that passion and that belief in continuing to try despite those failures turned into the first man-powered flight, it’s turned into, the rest is history. So here we are, meeting because of the airplane no doubt. I just think it’s an amazing thing and there is so many people that have made this possible and continued to push it forward and I just am inspired by that collective whole of the people that have persevered despite the challenges and sacrifices that are made and have been made and continue to be made to push aviation forward.

Chris: Right. Yeah. And it’s really the responsibility of everybody, lots of people before and now us sitting here as well. I mean, you and your films, me and my podcast here. So I know you’re a busy guy, I’m going to let you go, but to finish up the show, what would you say to perspective aviators that are looking to get into flying? What would your advice be to them? What would your inspirational message to them?

Brian: First of all, aviation needs you. We need you and we need aviation to grow and we need pilots. When you see the film, it’s one takeaway I hope pilots, certainly up and coming pilots, aspiring pilots, will get from the film, is how important aviation is and how much aviation, therefore airplanes, therefore pilots, I mean this very literally, how important the pilot is in the equation even though it doesn’t show it and say it. Aviation is contributing to the world unlike any other thing that I know of in a way and in a level that is profound and it is so important and so many other things depend on aviation. Aviation is airplanes flown by pilots. And pilots are, there is a responsibility, a privilege when you realize how important the airplane is in the world and how fascinating, if someone sees the fascination that the movie tries to connect for people and then it’s just one tiny little leap of that it’s a pilot behind that and you can be a part of that. You can be what makes that world go round and the super shots at the end, and the pilot is the heart of the airplane, and the airplane is the heart of the aviation infrastructure that the movie ultimately shows which is what made the world be what it is and the world we enjoy and all love and this time we’re living in and seeing to the depths of the role of a plane in our lives is something that I hope people will really get from the film and that if you want to be a part of it, you can and being a pilot is probably the most special and important way to partake in this miracle of flying in the age of airplanes.

Chris: Fantastic. You know, there was one scene at the very beginning of One Six Right that made me really emotional. It had a lot of airplanes in it, just flying around. You guys were doing some off distance work, aerobatics, things like that, and that’s the part of that film that made me emotional. The part of this film that made me emotional I think it’s the part that makes pretty much everyone emotional, is at the very end where it talks about you go through all the destinations in the world and that home is perhaps the best destination, and then there are some very beautiful scenes of families from all different cultures which is absolutely amazing storytelling. It was perfect. So the fact that that first film for pilots, that’s what that thing did for me and that’s what this did for me. I think you’re on message and it’s very wonderful.

Thank you so much for joining us, I really appreciate it, and we look forward to what you’re going to do next but we’ll have to be patient because you take your time to get this stuff right. Thanks Brian.

Alright, so I hope you guys enjoyed that interview with Brian Terwilliger. Again, we gave away a couple things but I hope that you come away a little more inspired and with a little more insight into what goes into making a film. This is just such an amazing film. I was brought to tears at the end. This was done really well and I was just so impressed. So again you can go out and request this film. Now following this, I’m not going to go silence, if you guys want to stick around for some more audio, some more Q&A that the audience had with Brian, you’re welcome to do that. This lasts about 20 more minutes, and the audience there in the theatre asked some very, very good questions. The audio isn’t as good, I’m not sitting right next to Brian when he is answering those questions so the audio isn’t as good but I think that if you have headphones on or something, it is still an enjoyable thing to listen to. So thank you so much to Brian for joining us on this little 8-point roll episode of AviatorCast. I hope you guys are enjoying all these so far. We have more to come. And again, stick around for that audio next of Brian. If you choose to go to the next one, then that’s totally fine too. Either way, I will see you guys soon in the next episode or after you’re done listening to the Q&A with Brian Terwillinger. Until then, throttle on.


The post AviatorCast: Brian Terwilliger- Living in the Age of Airplanes appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Aug 22 2015



Rank #9: AviatorCast Episode 69:’s Zane Jacobson: Bush Flying | Forums | Wilderness | Videos | Blog

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Today’s Flight Plan

Have you ever wanted to explore the wilderness? What about doing so from an airplane? As you know, airplanes can land on all types of surfaces. Landing on those surfaces takes training, experience, and accepting some calculated risk.

Regardless, backcountry flying is some of the most rewarding aviating one can do. And that is why Zane Jacobson started

At Backcountry Pilot, you can learn a ton of information from the videos, articles, trip reports, and more that are packed on the website. One of the best resources is the forum where you can glean knowledge from sage bush aviators. What better way to learn than from the guys that have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’?

If every there was an inspiring website for aviation- one that really gets your juices flowing- this is it.

Join us as we talk to Zane about many of the aspects of bush flying, and what makes backcountry flying such a rewarding way to fly.

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BackcountryPilot Twitter


Zane Jacobson

A huge thanks to Zane or joining us on this episode.


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Tundra tires, floats, skis and wheels, this is AviatorCast episode 69!

Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer, airplanes come in all different shapes and sizes. Of course as an aviation geek and pilot I love them all. It’s those that land on water, snow, grass, rocks, tundra and anything else that isn’t concrete and anything odd that really gets me going, those are bush planes. So welcome to this the 69th episode of AviatorCast, it is my absolute pleasure to welcome you here. We are here week after week to talk to inspiring aviators, people that you know really instill in us that passion for aviation. We give you aviation insight, maybe we reignite that flame and you as an aviator, maybe you’ve lost some of that passion.

So that’s another thing we do here and maybe you need the courage to fly. You know, get the finances to go out and do it or make sure you can get your medical and go out and do it. We share lots of information here, we share stories from all different backgrounds on how people became pilots and practical tips on how to become a pilot or stay a pilot, things like that. Basically the gist of AviatorCast is aviation passion. That’s why we’re here, we love this flying stuff and we want to share that with you each and every week.

So again, welcome to this, the 69th episode. We have a great episode lined up today, we have Zane Jacobson, he’s the founder of a very cool company that I just love, a website, it’s called Zane is such a creative and great guy, has put all this together you know, there’s this new thing out there where people are realizing that they can go out and have a great adventure in their airplane flying to very different places and really literally going out into the wild and flying.

So Zane likes that type of thing, he started, he is a software developer for his main vocation. So he just does this bush flying thing on the side, kind of as an amateur so it’s great to have him on the show. He has what we love here which is a lot of passion. So before we get into that with Zane from Back County Pilot we have a review that comes to us from iTunes. Each and every week we share a review from iTunes, if you get your review read on the show, we will send you an exclusive and limited edition AviatorCast t-shirts, these are going to be numbered t-shirts.

I’m just in the process now of having those designed, I’ve got my designer working on them. And I know I’ve been saying we’re getting that going for a while now but it really is happening now, I’m excited, we’ve been talking to the guy that does the t-shirts as well, the guy that actually will print the t-shirts. So lots of cool conversations happening around these AviatorCast t-shirts.

The gist is we want this to be a t-shirt that you wear all the time because you love it. It’s not going to be plastered with AviatorCast stuff, it’s just going to be awesome. It’s going to speak to aviation so we’re excited to share that with you guys.

So here is this review, this comes to us from Future Aviator 18 from the USA, he gives five stars, he says, Interesting and Informative, that’s the title. He says, “I found this podcast a few months ago and I’ve been very impressed. While there are many aviation podcasts out there, Chris is unmatched in his abilities out there to keep conversations interesting and bring on high quality guests. This podcast helps keep the fire burning while I go through the long process of saving up adequate funds to finish my private pilot’s certificate”.

Thank you Future Aviator 18, I’m excited that you’re here that you’re keeping that fire burning as you call it, as you prepare yourself to get ready for your final push for that private pilot. You know I think that’s such a worthwhile endeavor. Becoming a pilot is a great thing you know, it’s not an end all, I mean you don’t become some super human just by getting a pilot’s license but there are freedoms and things that you can do as a pilot that you cannot get anywhere else and it’s such a great achievement.

So I’ll send you an AviatorCast t-shirt, just shoot me an email at Just tell me, hey, you read my review on the show and we’ll put you in line to get one of those t-shirts as soon as we have them printed and we are sending them out here in the next several weeks. So now that we’ve done that, we’ve kind of done the beginning of the show now, let’s just dive right into it, let’s get into this conversation with Zane because he has a lot of just cool information.

And being from Alaska I’m a guy that appreciates bush flying. I’ve been working on my float rating recently and man, it’s really opened my eyes to a lot of different things in aviation I just didn’t know about. And it just gets me excited about all the other possibilities out there that I haven’t quite tried yet.

So before we get into that actually just a quick, quick note here, you’re going to notice that my voice sounds better. I’ve really gotten control of the office that I’m in, I moved into a new office a couple months ago, about six weeks ago actually my first ever office outside the home. So it’s kind of a cool big thing for me but going into this office, the walls were completely bare, you guys probably heard a lot of echoing in the last several podcast episodes.

But now I am getting control that I have some sound panels in here from a very cool company that kind of hook me up with them. I paid for them of course but these guys do great work and the podcast is sounding better than ever. So I’m excited I’m pumped, let’s get into this hangar talk episode with the Zane Jacobson from Backcountry Pilot.

Now, a special hangar talk segment…

Chris: Alright everybody we’re honored to have a special guest with us today Zane Jacobson from Zane welcome to AviatorCast, how are you doing?

Zane: I’m doing well thank you.

Chris: Awesome to have you, I was telling you a funny story because I really like your videos, I’m an Alaskan. I just love flying in the wild I just think there’s nothing like it so I really love what you’re doing with Backcountry Pilot. So I watched this video a few weeks ago it’s called 170s in the Wrangells I believe. You and some other guys, some guys that you got to know were flying just in the wild and you guys were camping out at night and discovering different airborne stuff.

But there’s this guy’s on your videos, and he was the sky of Japanese descent you know he had one of the aircraft there. And then I saw him just at lunch one day, I’m like, hey you’re a pilot aren’t you and he’s like, yeah, how did you know? I’m like I saw you in this really cool video that I watched from Backcountry Pilot. So great to have you on the show, I’m excited to talk about what you do and yeah, it’s great to have you here.

Zane: Yeah, I’m sure that anybody that’s been in one of my videos love to feel like it’s granted celebrity status upon them to the point where you know people in public will call them up.

Chris: I know. I should have asked for his autograph that really would’ve freaked him out.

Zane: I don’t know if that’s good or bad because I, you know, to tell you the truth, pilots, pilots personalities are all across the board. I don’t know whether people value their privacy or whether they kind of enjoy a little bit of celebrity from those. And that’s kind of one of the things that I really like to do with my videos is create a characters. Sometimes those characters are you know, reluctance characters.

Chris: Yeah definitely. It was just really funny that connection. Apart from that I’ve been trying to get you on the show here for a while and then know that you are a busy guy doing different things. You just offer a different perspective that I’m excited to talk about today so that will be fun.

Zane: I mean, before we go too far we got to call that guy out, that was Gregg Motonaga, he’s husky pilot out of Soldotna.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Yeah, good guy great pilot.

Chris: Cool. Yeah, yeah, you know I gave him my card and maybe he and I will go find together one day, just have to see.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: Alright, so the first big question I ask everybody, we’ve got to rewind all the way back to the beginning, and that is how did you fall in love with aviation so tell us that beginning story?

Zane: Well, my grandfather my dad’s father was a pilot. He had in 1949 Cessna 170A model which has the all metal wing.

Chris: Wow.

Zane: And then later on he moved up to a Piper Comanche. And so I grew up with photos of him, he died when I was two years old but I grew up with photos of him standing in front of these airplanes you know hanging on the walls of my aunt and uncle’s house. And my dad he’d ridden around in the back seat with my grandparents flying. You know my grandfather flew around the country for work in his Comanche. So my father kind of had that aviation foundation too and he’d gone on to do some flight training in solo when he was just out of high school.

Then he had kids and his kind of aviation career kind of got put on hold and so you know fast-forward to me going away to college my dad got into flying Quicksilver Ultralights with some people in his area. This is in southern Oregon, just outside of [inaudible][10:55].

And he felt like that was just the coolest thing, it was a very inexpensive, very un-, or less regulated way to enjoy aviation. You know you get into a Quicksilver Ultralight at that time for I think around like $10 – $12,000 for a kid you know maybe for $4 – $5000 for a Rotax 503 which was the preferred you know, engine for that single seat model. So he took lessons and you know, started flying that way. And then here I came home from college and I’m like, I thought that, suddenly just blew my mind, I thought that was the coolest thing so I took lessons too and I soloed. And there really was no certificate to get.

Chris: Right.

Zane:You just soloed you know and then you leave the nest and that was it. So we did all sorts of fun kind of camping adventures, we would go out to the Alvord Desert which is a big dry lake bed out in the South East Oregon. There would be flying’s, that was really my first exposure to the backcountry type flying which I have a different opinion of those nowadays. But back then it was an amazing thing to be able to fly a little airplane out in the desert you know. I guess I can’t confess the things that might get me violated in this show…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Kind of a, I feel like I am being I don’t know talking to the cops or something…

Chris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Zane: So yeah, so I learned to fly Ultralights but then I had to go back finish school, you know I’m kind of start my career and so that led to another big gap in my flying. And so then in the early 2000’s I just happened to go, I met a guy I was living in Santa Barbara, California, met a guy that rented a local 152 and we went off flying. And suddenly it snapped and at the time I was like, I was really big into motocross racing. I was buying new bikes you know racing on the Southern California motocross tracks. I went flying with that guy that day and turned around, put my bikes up for sale right the next day.

Chris: Nice.

Zane: It was like a light switch went off it was like I have to go fly that’s what I’m going to do now. I had done a little bit of it before but I was like I need to get my private pilot certificate and it kind of everything just came crashing down all at once. You know I was like I was consumed with bush flying, I was reading all these bush flying tales you know and biographies and stuff from the Alaskan bush pilots. Reading lots of the flying magazines in, what is that series called I learned, I learned about flying from that.

Chris: Oh yeah, there’s a great.

Zane: I just like you know, kind of survival series.

Chris: Kind of survival stories.

Zane: Yeah, survival stories, they were like stories of people screwing up and surviving and…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So, yeah, I completely immersed myself in my flight training and studies and stuff and knocked my private certificate out in a few months. Then I left for, I left Santa Barbara, I quit my job, left Santa Barbara, I wanted to go be a ski bum so I moved to Reno, Nevada. You know, and I hooked up with a couple instructors there and one guy I got my tail wheel endorsement from him in an 1851 supercub.

Chris: Oh wow.

Zane: And he taught me a little bit about mountain flying…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: You know, so we did some aerobatics and stuff. That guy was Tim Brill but then he was, it was funny because he would, I went to him because I wanted to you know, I wanted to fly bush planes, I wanted to learn to fly a taildragger but he was really big into aerobatic instruction. So you know he gave me the mountain flying rundown but then he would be like, yeah let’s go back and get the super decathlon because we need to go and do some spins and some you know some humpty bumps and some snap rolls. And I was like yeah, you know I’m just kind of happy to do some takeoffs and landings.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: No, we got to do some aerobatics.

Chris: That’s cool.

Zane: Yeah and so at that time I was really big into a website called

Chris: Okay.

Zane: Very, I mean anyone that knows knows At the time that was kind of really the only show in town, there were a lot of type specific web communities and forums, using forums for the champs, you know 170s, the skywagons whatever. But the Super Cub community was by far the strongest and by far the community that identified with bush flying in off airport flying.

Like those where the guys that were doing it I just thought that was the coolest thing. But I was also you know a little I don’t know disenfranchised with the fact that it was so super cub centric. At least that used to be more so and also the fact that it was a there was a heavy pressure for people to donate money and achieve this member status. So there I don’t want to call it a caste system but there was a little bit of the gratification of the free members versus the people who were donating members or whatever.

Chris: Gotcha.

Zane: I was just a big believer in not, especially for pilots knowledge is free. I wanted to hangar fly with guys…

Chris: Right.

Zane: And not have any boundaries or barriers to sharing that information. So years later know that I have a popular website I begin to realize that in order to keep it up and running you do need money and so…

Chris: Right.

Zane: I certainly can’t fault Steve Johnson, the guy from for having that kind of thing because at actually falling into a very similar model into what he’d already been doing that then.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: I mean I have to say, so I went to first and then note to your website. One thing I really loved about when I first got into it and I don’t know how I found it. I often peruse Vimeo so I think that was probably what happened is I was looking for aviation videos on Vimeo and found your stuff. But I just really like the design you know, like it definitely, like you’ve got these mountains in the background, they’re kind of just stuck there from parallax. I just get the feel that this is the back country flying website of course you’ve got all the bunch of articles and different things and…

Zane: It does you know, kind of helps in my day job and my user interface and my user experience designer software, software development team. So, I would never try to sell anyone my actual professional services based on because you’ve ever heard the old adage, the cobbler’s kids go unshod. Backcountry Pilot it kind of tends to be you know, I have projects that you know kind of pay the mortgage…

Chris: Right.

Zane: is more of a hobby business.

Chris: Exactly.

Zane: So it, it tends to suffer a little bit kind of in that regard but certainly I love you know the beautiful web design for years the site was purely just a forum and I’ve always wanted to do an online magazine. I’ve always wanted to curate content, do interviewees you know, do rich media, as well as you know curate a knowledge base to help people that are you know may be interested in backcountry or off airport flying to be able to get directly to information that’s compiled by people that are doing that stuff.

Chris: You know the other thing is that I feel like you really hit this at an important time and I don’t know if it was intentional or it was kind of the stars lining but I think a lot of pilots are becoming enlightened now to the fact that the world is a big place. And I know that sounds kind of funny but it’s like I really don’t have to go and land on huge concrete runways all the time you mean I can land on grass and I can land on gravel and go check out different places.

Well of course you can people have been doing it forever but it’s like not until now when some of this stuff are being coming out on the Internet especially with your stuff. I think you’ve done great in this regard is people are becoming enlightened to the fact that man you can be pretty adventurous with and airplane and you can go some cool places.

Zane: Absolutely and you can see just by the fact that our tagline is explore your frontier then I really wanted to create something that inspires people to fly based purely on that sort of that underlying feeling of adventure. So many people I believe gets into flying and they get hung up and distracted sort of by all the technical stuff and the procedural stuff and they start to kind of you know lose the forest for the trees you know.

Flying at its very core is a way to get away you know see the world from a different perspective and above all to explore. And that certainly is my objective as a pilot to get out and explore the backcountry. I’ve struggled with trying to describe the site several times over the years. I’ve rewritten kind of our description paragraph and I’ve always struggled to compress that into just couple sentences just exactly what it means to me and you know why we exist.

Chris: Right, right. That’s always something that in a way kind of lives and molds and grows or changes I think that’s natural you know. But I think that it’s definitely serving its purpose it’s doing really well. And going back to what you are saying about kind of connecting to that the reason we fly you know it’s definitely a huge thing about adventure for sure. There is this quote I actually put on our Twitter channel the other day, I made up this little me I guess you can call it kind of shameless me.

But it says, I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things and I really love that because it’s so true. You know when I am really up there just flying to fly I just feel like I’m at my best you know and that’s like where I belong it’s pretty amazing.

Zane: Well yeah, like I mean like a lot of things operating a circular saw or you know anything that demands like your complete and full attention you know flying is definitely like that. And I would never definitely recommend it to anyone to escape, you know escape their problems if something is bothering them. My dad has always been like the angel on my shoulder because he’s like Mr. Safety and I think that he knows that I fly often and I never tell him that I’m going flying beforehand. I always tell them afterwards…

Chris: Really.

Zane: So he doesn’t have like anxiety while I’m flying. Yeah, but he’s always telling me don’t go flying if you’re you know feeling you know angry or sad or you have some other sort of menthol or other distractions. It’s like it’s just not a safe way to operate. You can certainly consume yourself in the flight once you’re up there but don’t go if you are otherwise preoccupied with thoughts that would prevent you from doing your best as a pilot.

Chris: Yeah, yeah. Definitely you know that just goes back to the fact that they I am safe checklist right? The emotional part of that you got to make sure that you’re not going up when you’re distressed because it definitely affects your decision-making.

Zane: Right, yet I mean people are we’re just human you know. Some days I feel like things are just absolutely crystal care and I’m just operating without you know any impediments I’m just super on like some super jet. Other days it’s like I can’t even make a piece of toast in the kitchen in the morning without dropping it on the floor whatever you know I’m just Butterfingers. I’m like I’m not going near a car or an airplane today.

Chris: Right, right. I’ve never done I don’t think I’ve ever done that before where I’m like man I’m having a really bad day you know in a sense like it’s feels like the universe is against me and I’ve decided not to go flying because of that. I guess I’ve never thought of that before but that’s actually not a bad tip.

Zane: It probably has more to do with the coffee than anything.

Chris: That could be it. So it looks like you have some other people on your website that contribute. Tell us about your contributors.

Zane: Well yeah, I mean one of the first things that I will concede is that I’m not a terribly experienced pilot. I’m somewhere around 500 hours and that counts the time you know from back when I was flying ultralights so. I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that anyone would consider me an expert on this type of stuff because they are, well I do feel that you know I’m okay at it and accept the fact that I am an amateur and I often call myself that, that I’m an amateur bush pilot. To proclaim myself as anything else would be inaccurate.

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: There are guys in our community who actually spend years you know careers in the North in Alaska…

Chris: Right.

Zane: Canada flying and they were actually professional bush pilots.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know they have got 20+ thousand hours flying around you know single engine aircraft doing everything from you know part 135 passenger transport like you know charter flying to wild life survey. You know all sorts of stuff.

Chris: Bow to the gods.

Zane: Yeah, I mean these guys are actually probably, for someone who is coming to because they are a new pilot are they want to learn more about backcountry and off airport flying these guys are the real attraction.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know I get the feeling that people skip over a lot of the articles that we have in the photos and all that stuff and you know that’s fine it’s frosting but they go straight to the community section to our discussion forum. And they want to interact they want to read some of the sort of the sage advice that has been archived you know for posterity by guys like Mike Vivian he’s a fellow that lives up in Montana. Nowadays he justifies with the PA 11 but he has like a 30 or 35 years career applying for various agencies up in Alaska. I think he flew like super cub and sky wagons the stuff for, he’ll kick me if I get this wrong but I think it was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife…

Chris: Okay.

Zane: Lots of, he did wild life survey and supported scientists, biologists whatever by transporting them out into the bush to do their job.

Chris: Goodness.

Zane: But he operated in you know every conceivable condition…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: I mean every conceivable configuration floats, wheels, skis, you know good snow bad snow…

Chris: That’s such a dream to me.

Zane: It is but I think you know you probably you know that’s kind of experience doesn’t come without you know its fair share of terror…

Chris: Oh gosh, yeah, no kidding. In fact, and I’ll get you back on track super quick but we interviewed at Guy Don Lee who is he is a very popular bush pilot he was on the National Geographic show. But he was saying that he took some customers to a glacier and they were stuck there for three days surviving in an ice cave is just stuff like that, it’s just and it’s, and you know those stories are actually pretty common.

Zane: Right. Well yeah, I’ll take us even further off track and say that you know justice last May when I was up in Alaska there is sort of the perception that when you go out on a perfectly clear you know, cavo VFR day, get in your airplane and fly 300 miles and fly someplace out to where you’re going to camp. There’s kind of the illusion that you have everything under control that this is a really, you know, this is an easy thing to do, the airplane’s running great, the weather’s great and that can all just go to shit in an instant.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know, bad weather, mechanical problems whatever. The airplane, flying an airplane like that you know, just for an hour or two it’s not like driving a car where you’re like, oh yeah well I’m really getting out of here you know. The road’s getting narrower and bumpier, I have this sense that I’m getting away from civilization. The airplane just keeps going it’s like you, it’s easy to miss, oh yeah, the last civilization was a couple hundred miles back.

Chris: Gosh.

Zane: I’m in the real backcountry, there are no services, there’s no cell signal, you know really, nowadays it’s probably a lot easier because we have these like you know satellite. These 406 Megahertz…

Chris: Right.

Zane: PLBs, PLTs and stuff, spots, whatever so we can maintain more contact with the outside world than we used to be able to.

Chris: And a lot of bush pilots do that now. They have a subscription service with a phone or whatever and if they get in trouble and they can’t get back then they can at least make someone know. I know that’s pretty common among the guys that I know that do it for a living. You know, just send a quick text message.

So it’s not way better but still, you’re going out into the middle of nowhere and what we don’t realize, what a lot of pilots don’t realize is that really people in general, I mean all people in general is how big the world is and how even though in an airplane you can cover a lot of ground and you can get to and fro you are still such a small, small piece that is so difficult to find. It’s, there is a lot of things that involved, maybe that’s what speaks to the adventure of it all I don’t know. I guess this is part of it.

Zane: Absolutely that is the, you know. There’s safe adventure and then there is real adventure. Real adventure involves a lot of unknowns and a lot of inconvenience. And I often think about that when we fly our camp somewhere I think it would suck to walk out of here.

Chris: Oh gosh, it’s almost impossible.

Zane: I mean that’s an entirely you know, possible scenario. They are a feasible scenario that you know, can’t get your airplane running, can’t get a hold of anybody. Either wait for someone else to fly in. There’s a lot of those with the airstrips out there, there are pickups and stuff you know. And bush flying is popular enough as a recreational activity that people are out there just bagging strips…

Chris: Right.

Zane: Having a good time. It’s probably best to kind of wait it out and see if anybody comes by but some of those off airport places yeah I mean, you got to be prepared to walk. I do have a good friend who bent his airplane had a mountain airstrip and he is, really his only option to get out of there was to hike. And it was only like eight or 10 miles or something like that but it was really like over rough terrain.

Chris: Right. And if it’s through Alders then that’s tough too it’s not like it’s a straight shot so that can be…

Zane: Oh yeah, it’s not like you have a nice human trail…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Or you know, bike path or something. There is a lot of bush walking really slows you down. I think a lot of those things, people are going out and trying their hand at back country flying. Places like Idaho, excuse me, wherever those are some of the things that they need to remember that part of the equation. You might have to let down somewhere you’re going to be bush whacking you might be hurt so that’s, you know that’s a very popular topic and I think just as pilots in general, we always consider the worst. We like to be prepared so.

Chris: Right.

Zane: That’s one of the most popular topics at is Survival Preparedness. Yeah, it’s all too because as I was sitting here thinking about it it’s like well sure you can prepare but then you can’t take the kitchen sink with you, you know. You’ve got to prioritize what you take and just for weight and balance and things like that. So there’s only so much you can do you have to do the best you can and prepare yourself for the worst…

Chris: Right because different situations.

Zane: Nothing works against the Bush pilot more than weight. Keeping the airplane life you know and not loading it up with that bunch of unnecessary stuff you know that’s part of the recipe for success in any kind of short operations so. But at the same time you know, if you the worst comes to past and you got to have some of those stuff and it just helps you sleep better at night.

Chris: I’m sure you’ve read all the stories of guys having to put down on a frozen river and then somehow they fixed their airplane overnight and then they go to start a fire like under the cowling to warm up the engine. Just like the craziest stuff you ever heard. There is another story and maybe we can just swap a couple crazy quick stories here of things that we’ve heard of. But my grandfather used to really love to come to Alaska in the 60s and gosh if it’s wild now I can’t imagine what it was like then.

And he had a bush pilot that he would come to every time he’d come up and this guy survived the for four days he had to land on a frozen lake, he essentially cut a hole in the bottom of the airplane and then cut a hole in the ice and would fish in the ice. And he just sat there in his airplane and he essentially got buried in snow because it was snowing as well over those three days. They eventually found him what he you know I mean literally like one of those caveman situations where he was just like fishing out of the ice like trying to survive.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: And it’s not uncommon, especially in those days it’s not fun, and. And the crazy thing about flying in Alaska is that it started pretty early in aviation. Maybe I can go back and look at some of the history but I feel like they started in the 20s if not sooner doing things up here.

Zane: Oh yeah, no, no definitely it was, aviation was the key to expansion in Alaska. There really was no infrastructure of roads you know there was, there wasn’t really much for scheduled airline service of course back then.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Being able to get you know, one of those guys that started in the late 20s 30s you know Carl Ben Eielson. Who’s the other guy, Jack Jefferd?

Chris: When did Wayne start, maybe that’s a little later but.

Zane: You know I, I want to say he was in the late 20s early 30s, no Wayne.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: And a lot of those guys what they would you know, they were flying you know, Jenny’s and I mean can you imagine an old biplane like that with a, I can’t even remember what model engine it was that made the OX5. Was it a Wright? I mean he was taking prospectors out to drop them at their claim you know. The list of jobs and flights that they did it was all across the board.

But what a time to be an actual bush pilot that when you have these you know massively underpowered airplanes you
know. They were nowhere near as reliable as what we’re used to nowadays you know with our nice like Cummings, the Continentals. We often poo poo the modern airplane engine technology for being from the 40s or 50s. But it’s incredibly reliable to what those guys had back then.

Chris: Yeah and gosh I just think of everything that I rely on as a pilot from navigation for planning for just ease of mind and I think about them it’s like how did they even survive at all like how did any of them survive it just makes you think that you’re not made of any of the right stuff because you couldn’t ever, ever do that. I don’t know I guess we could if we had a death wish these days I don’t know. I guess we could just forge out on our own and on our powered airplane and with zero navigation and no communication that the sounds crazy to me.

Zane: Well you know unfortunately a lot of them didn’t survive.

Chris: Oh yeah the mortality rate was terrible.

Zane: There’s a long list of guys that purchased, they bought the farm and the classic scenario. But the difference is that you know, over 100 years of innovation, nowadays we have this kind of mentality of safety above all else. Back then, those guys were forging a new path, aviation was so new, you know. There wasn’t the sort of nanny state you know, type mechanism to you know, indoctrinate new pilots with this mentality of super safety.

And I think in modern backcountry bush off airport flying to some extent requires a pilot who is willing to assume that to some extent. Because there are so many unknowns you know. People just don’t take off and on asphalt airport and have everything under control everything is a known quantity where some of us relish the fact that there are four fewer unknown quantities and you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get out there.

There was a really popular conversation in our forum now about dragging airstrips or landing zones prior to landing there. And it’s a technique for being able to evaluate what the surface is like, whether it is smooth enough to actually land without you know ripping your tail you off or dropping attire and getting you know ground looped. So it’s just a very sort of exciting realm of the unknown that if you are going to land somewhere you know it’s your forging your own path you’re figuring out what’s the hell it’s like you’re all by yourself without the benefit of better people to come before you.

Chris: Yeah, that just blows my mind. I’m looking at that dragging thread right now I think that this might be a dragging thread about the dragging thread.

Zane: Yeah I think it is. It’s a companion to the dragging thread.

Chris: Yeah, because the guy mentioned at the top. There is a big thread talking about dragging, it’s kind of bringing it up back again. Yeah you know I think you defined that really well and if I’m being honest I am somewhere in between I definitely like the adventure of flying and I think that a lot of us forget where we came from or we never learned where we came from. In the sense that there was a day when aviation was 100% unknown.

I just recently read the Wright Brothers book and I know I mentioned it a lot on this show but it was just amazing to be in that book how would nothing in aviation was figured out. I mean the Wright brothers literally figured out how to control the airplane, how to create lifts correctly those sorts of things. And those are the things that have happened over the last hundred years it just kind of blows my mind you know you talked about safety at it’s a bit.

You know when Charles Lundberg flew from New York to Paris on the famous trans-Atlantic flight that everyone knows about the flight that made him famous initially he only took enough food for like the 24 hours are whatever people were like when what are you doing what happens if you go down he’s like this and if I go down in the ocean it’s over I don’t need to bring an extra set of cheese or anything else. Like this is it so it’s just…

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: Pretty cra- and he completely new, he knew that was what was up and I don’t think he was really concerned about weight and balance or anything. It was more so this is what I need and this is what I don’t need.

Zane: It’s an utterly different state of mind from even your weekend or your recreational backcountry final pilot that just wants to go out. Maybe do a little exploring you know camp at the cool grass airstrip, he’s planning on returning a lot of the variables are known to him or her. Stuff like, you know, those guys in Lundberg I mean, they were there were sort of the astronauts at the time. There was a very high chance that they were going to die.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: They were good at what they did but yet I mean that’s the really good anecdote, I kind of need only one sandwich because if I go down I don’t even need anything else.

Chris: Well and yeah you think about it, right the middle of the Pacif-, Atlantic in those days no chance. I mean even today there is almost zero chance that you will survive. Even if someone you where you were.

Zane: Yeah, I met a really, I was really fortunate to meet a guy when I was up in Anchorage I was out at the Lakewood gravel strip in the parking area. So we were, we just left the airman’s show with my, it was me Whoop Wind, the guy from, used to be with AK Bushwheels now is backcountry connection. And my friend Greg, Greg Rand he goes by Bigrenna at Backcountry Pilot. He’s the one that’s done that really cool and polished and red skywagon.

Chris: Oh yeah, beautiful.

Zane: Yeah, and Larry of course, Larry was with us, the guy with that navy blue 170 with the nice oxidation patina.

Chris: Sweet.

Zane: Yeah, so we are all out there and here pulls up a very distinct skywagon all red. It’s the ultimate tooley skywagon. I can’t even remember the end number but you know, out hops Paul Claus and so, you know, I don’t know, I, I don’t know Paul well enough to run up to him and be like, hey buddy you know, long time, how’s it going?

But the guys who I was with were like, you know there were some chatter. He was like hey, you know, that airplane Paul and this other guy flew it to Greenland. And I can’t remember the exact nature of the flight like why they were doing it. I’m sure it was just some support you know with the aviation services like some other type thing but…

Chris: Well I mean the first question is why?

Zane: Right.

Chris: And the second question for guys like us is why not? You know so.

Zane: Yeah. That’s a good point. So this guy what and ended up in Greenland but then it had to come home to Alaska. So Paul is busy or something couldn’t do it so he hired this guy named Aidran and I’m at a loss for what Aidran’s last name is. But he’s the guy that runs

Chris: I haven’t heard of that.

Zane: Yeah, so I had been meaning to try to hook up with Aidan for a long time because his website is like so interesting. He’s a climber, he’s a professional pilot but he has like, he’s done these pilot jobs all around the world and they literally are like oddball pilot jobs.

Chris: Oh yeah, look at this yeah.

Zane: One of those apparently is to ferry Paul’s skywagon from Iceland, somehow the airplane got from Greenland to Iceland. But to ferry it from Iceland all the way back to Anchorage…

Chris: Goodness.

Zane: He did it in three days I think they had a huge ferry tank on board so he had tons of fuel. I can’t remember the stops but he was flying solo over the North Atlantic and you know over Canada and stuff all by himself. To do something like that in three days…

Chris: Fast, insane.

Zane: As a pilot in a single engine aircraft is a, I mean it seems superhuman to me.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So he’s another guy you may want to talk to I plan on getting together with him to thread a decent content for all websites. But he’s a very, very interesting guy, he’s the epitome of a modern bush pilot.

Chris: That’s crazy and it just sounds so cool to me it just that sounds like such a great thing to do. I had a kid on literally a kid on the show who used a while ago who he was the youngest pilot to ever fly around the world. His name is Matt Guthmiller and you know, he had a lot of technology on board. He was flying a Bonanza I don’t even think its turbo charged.

He was flying a Bonanza and it wasn’t, he had like the ability to text message and to have people see live where he was and that sort of thing. But still I mean like he took off from American Samoa with a ton of fuel onboard and had to rotate it’s like a hundred and something knots like climate just a couple feet per minute I said goodness and that’s still pretty adventurous to me so.

Zane: It is, you know, and for I don’t know like, this conversation came up last year when there was another Bonanza pilot, father and son team, I can’t remember the guy’s name. It was like VJ something.

Chris: Oh yeah. Yeah this actually happened a couple weeks before Matt’s flight I think.

Zane: Yeah, yeah. So the father and son duo were flying their Bonanza you know on around the world trip and they were lost at sea. And it, you know I, in a sort of a state of emotion I made that crack to the effect of what were they thinking? That was sheer stupidity.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Then afterward one of my good pilot friends somebody I respect Brent, he said you know that’s a little harsh you know these guys are doing you know what we what we are doing just in a different way you know. He was a very good pilot they are just sort of on another end of may be the same spectrum of adventure.

They’re doing, they’re out there pushing the limits in the unknown they really are kind of exploring the frontier. So from that standpoint I can see you know making those types of you know chance oceanic flights in a small single engine aircraft something cool but at the same time I don’t know if I was going to go set the record that’s just been done. It’s like what is there to prove other than to yourself which may be that’s the only thing that matters.

Chris: Right and that does matter. I think in the case of Matt he was the youngest to do it, the youngest ever to do it. So that has and it’s a bit of a cool connection to it but I don’t know everyone has their flavor for what they would like to do. I don’t necessarily enjoy flying over open water in a single engine I guess if I was going to do it I wouldn’t want to do it in a Cirrus and then if I had to put it down I would want the Coast Guard to get it on film for me, so.

Zane: I’m sure that you could recreate that pretty easily.

Chris: Oh yeah. I guess I could, of course I couldn’t do it intentionally. But yeah I mean, I think what we’re getting at here is a lot of this, there’s just still this sense of adventure that is still in aviation and not only is it something that a lot of people are doing. But it is something that maybe some of the listeners here today aren’t necessarily aware of and maybe it’s an option for them to expand their horizons and expand their ideas.

Because there are definitely as with a lot of things in aviation at some of things to learn from bush pilots and if I was going to say today who the real aviators are and there are a lot of different types of aviators out there so I fully know in making this statement of what I’m saying if I was going to say who the true aviators are today it’s the bush pilots. I mean these guys are still doing it they are still getting after it and they’re doing things that are essentially repeating how aviation, what people went through to get aviation to start up and to become such a huge thing so.

Zane: True, I would say, and I would respond to that and say that we’re lucky that we have sort of aviation sub interests. So you can easily go out there and learn to fly in the 172 and then continue graduating on up the ladder until your you know flying you know Piper twins you know find yourself in the seat of a King air or a CRJ or something.

If that’s where you want to be if you want to be an airline pilot or someone that’s covering the long massive distances and the flight levels you know things more of the earth that’s certainly possible. For me you know I kind of I’m happy to exist at the end of the spectrum where my focus is exploring you know. I mean that sounds silly but exploring the terrain you know it’s like 80% of night flying is just bumming around the Landon Valley here in Northwest Oregon.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Landing on grass airstrips and you know we have some good gravel river bars here and from that stand point I feel like it’s more of kind of like the, if you were to compare maybe the bullet train of you know airline flying I am on sort of like the BMX end of it. It’s like and likened it to riding a BMX bike, flying small slow highly maneuverable planes to you know just do these kind of silly little things like that and on gravel river bar.

It’s still flying you know you still kind of have this same fundamental you know aviation fundamentals. But it’s just it’s quite a bit different and when I look at the skill sets involved I’m not instrument rated honestly I don’t really have much interest in instrument flying are you know flying at night even. But the guys that are good at that you know maybe they are not so good at you know dragging a new off airport LZ.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know. Landing in you know 100 feet.

Chris: Yeah, crazy. When you talked about BMX all I could think of was like Tony Hawk pro skater and I could see you landing on a river bar or sand bar and this little popup coming up that says “Sick Combo” or something like that.

Zane: Yeah, you know a lot of it is like that. When we joke about bagging airstrips it just kind of a like at controversial term actually. It’s kind of like that although I mean to be honest there is quite a bit more thought…

Chris: Oh yeah.

Zane: Going into it. Because when you have you know, $100 – $200,000 aircraft that you’re flying. It’s different than trashing your BMX bike.

Chris: Yeah, exactly. Yeah I mean, yeah, we don’t want to sound responsible here, unresponsible here at all. It’s…

Zane: I will talk a minute about the bagging of the airstrips thing.

Chris: Yeah sure, go for it.

Zane: Couple years ago we had kind of a controversy erupt surrounding, we were having an annual flying at Johnson Creek Idaho that was, you know it was organized on the website. I try to sort of stay out of it because I’m always afraid of the liability sort of stuff. But the guys on the website organize that and they would all meet up at Johnson Creek you know usually in late June.

I have attended several times but for a lot of guys they getting you know they have a week vacation they go there and they want to go, they want to be set Johnson Creek and go out and like land you know as many airstrips in the area as they can. And that area of Idaho, the Frank Church a river of no return…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Wilderness, it is sort of a mecca for that you know. It’s a, it’s one of the only wilderness areas in the United States that has an exemption for aviation. So…

Chris: Really.

Zane: Out of those airstrips have remained open to aircraft. Yeah, Senator Frank Church back whenever that area got its wilderness designation recognize the importance of you know aviation and aviation services into some of those communities. So he you know as part of granting that area wilderness factors that was the exemption that he required with several governments with the Forest Service that the airstrips remain open.

And it’s been a very tenuous relationship you know the Forest Service is for the most part pretty cooperative you know and organizations like the RAF and Idaho aviation foundation have been really, really critical they’ve been really helpful you know to have sort of keep the good relationship with the Forest Service is and the open but for a time people were bending their airplanes and leaving their crash airplanes out on these airstrips unfortunately. And it sort of, it was a black eye for what we want which is a, you know a reputation of being responsible land users.

Chris: Right.

Zane: You know we, when this topic comes up, we like to pride ourselves and say you know what the wheels in an airplane don’t drive. You can peel off with their wheels you kind like you know you can’t do a doughnut in your airplane and mar the surface. Like an ATV or a Jeep or something like that can. So from that standpoint, you know we’re actually a lot easier on the surface.

Chris: Yeah. Low impact.

Zane: We try to, low impact, try to leave no trace. Leave a disabled aircraft out in the middle of the airstrip or something like that.

Chris: That’s a different story.

Zane: Goes against that reputation. So the bagging of the airstrip thing sort of became controversial in that around the time of the fly ins and there were two fly ins. There was the fly in and the flying. They were back to back weekends where they were separated by two weeks or something like that. Thar area was seeing an incredible amount of pressure from lots of different airplanes, land on these airstrips, multiple people bending their airplanes.

So we got a lot of heat for that and the term bagging airstrips came up with, look I was just going up doing the Tony Hawk pro skater thing. Landing on airstrip, taking off and moving to the next one. And part of me thinks that you know, that’s certainly okay. I made a reference to that in my article about the 170s in Wrangells, it’s like you’re so far out there there’s like no one to see you, no one to complain, there’s no nimbies. That kind of thing is like it’s totally okay. But down here in the lower 48 in an area like Idaho. You know, it’s a little more concentrated.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: There are a couple more interest groups you know that are all kind of vying for the same resources and the perception that we are just going out bagging these airstrips without a real true objective like camping there are fishing or remaining on the ground for a while. Just making noise it’s sort of a point of contention.

Chris: All that’s interesting to me because if I’m a fisherman I’m going to go into that same area and I’m going to almost literally bag a trout or something right? And for a pilot you want to go, your goal is to land in a different airstrip so I guess from my naïve perspective of being an Alaskan I’m not a bush pilot at all by the way. Being an Alaskan and kind of seeing that community it’s just like, you know what? That’s just what you do, that’s just how it works.

Zane: Right and I think that’s the sort of the recreation philosophy of it is I just want to go out and land in
a difficult airstrip, challenge my skills, try to grow myself as a pilot. But then there’s the other the other hand that says flying is a means to an end, you know. If you’re going to use something for an airstrip it should be for a greater, it should serve some greater purpose or greater perspectives.

Chris: Interesting.

Zane: I can see it from both ends because I certainly like to accomplish both those goals.

Chris: Yeah, I guess I can understand that perspective there.

Zane: If we could all, it all comes down to who is telling you what you can or cannot do and which asses you have to kiss in order to maintain your personal liberties.

Chris: Yeah for sure.

Zane: It becomes a very scary political…

Chris: Yeah you got to be careful you don’t want to ruin your chances that’s for sure.

Zane: Yeah.

Chris: That’s interesting, cool. You know I really like how this conversation has one and getting to know you a little better. Do you have any kind of final advice as we kind of wrap things up here for those that maybe looking to get into bush flying, those that maybe are just looking to get into flying for general, in general? I don’t know if you it from your perspective you also have experience taking guys that had just been airline guys their whole lives and the seeing how they do in bush flying and how they enjoyed. But just give us some thoughts there is some encouragement some inspirations just to kind of wrap up the show here.

Zane: Right, yeah I mean, I think that for the hobbyist especially somebody like me learning how to fly kind of the traditional way is still the best way to go. If I was starting out nowadays I mean it’s hard to say this because you don’t know what you don’t know but if I was to give someone advise and I’m actually doing that right now. I recently met a friend who is interested in building a plane and he is really stoked on bush flying.

So my advice to him has been doing like I did go down to a small public country airport try to find a par 61 flight school which is going to be much less regimented, a little less organized, it would be just kind of a one on one relationship with an instructor.

Chris: Tailored to.

Zane: Yep, try to find the grumpiest old goat to be your CFI. Make sure he’s got tail wheel experience. A lot of the guys will come on and read stuff on our website and that’s what they want to learn. They want to learn how to be you know, tail wheel pilots, they want to learn how to be effective stick and a rather pilots, they want to learn how to go and you know evaluate the surface in order to like the land off airport and stuff. I think that you got to find the right instructor that’s aligned with that kind of thinking. Because a lot of instructors they’ve never done that stuff throughout…

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: Their whole careers, their whole young carriers probably on asphalt. You know they’re pretty constrained by what they know and going outside that and doing those kinds of things probably you know seems a little bit scary and you don’t want to push them to do it…

Chris: Oh sure.

Zane: If they haven’t already done it yet.

Chris: If they’re smart they won’t do it.

Zane: Yeah, absolutely. And so but above all else you know I’ve been chastised by other guys you know go for this, go slowly. If you’re a hobbyist or just a recreational pilot there’s nothing to be gained by getting in over your head too soon.

Chris: Right.

Zane: I have another friend that often says you know discretion is the better part of valor. But you know there have been many times in my personal flying career where I’ve run away from weather, I’ve landed because it was too windy and just kind of waited it out. I didn’t go flying at all because of the weather or something and totally fine.

Chris: Right.

Zane: Especially with flying tail wheel you know I read and there is a sub reddit on their r/flying.

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah.

Zane: Continually see posts from guys that are you know they’re going to land in grass for the first time ever and they’re getting their tail wheel endorsement. And these are a monumental achievement for people that are coming from much more conventional, it’s weird to use the word conventional because conventional gears, all the things but…

Chris: Exactly.

Zane: Modern conventional training programs you know, where tail wheel flying is not really tied, you know heavy rudder use is really not emphasized. So these are after they’ve got their private certificate they’re going on getting exposure to really fly an airplane. Real stick and rudder stuff you know landing on grass and it’s just funny to see guys exposed for the first time.

Chris: Funny and cool.

Zane: Yeah, yeah.

Chris: That’s largely, I mean that largely defines me. I was trained traditionally if you want to call it that. A 141 University for my private, did a lot of 61 stuff for my instrument, 61 for my flying mostly. And it turns out that I’m in that position now where I know I love this back country stuff. I mean I honestly don’t have a choice I mean I live in Alaska so I better learn how to do it or just stop flying. So I’ve been working on my floats and it is just so rewarding to fly into the back country and be all alone with to just you and the lake and have to figure it out you know.

Flying above and figuring out the wind and the waves and those sorts of things and the distance is just so immersive to me I just love it. And it’s really connected me again to the reason I fly and why I totally believe a lot of what I talked about on this what I did interject why I believe that true aviators are bush pilots because there is just so much more going on when you have to worry about the elements to that extent and that danger to that extent. It’s just a lot more known and I love it you know. It’s not everyone but I definitely love it.

Zane: I absolutely agree, float flying in particular is really good for opening people’s eyes to the fact that you’re operating off of something like water. I mean all the constraints are taken away. There’s no runway center line, there’s no obvious runway, there’s rarely a wind soc. You suddenly have to become a true aviator and evaluate the winds from tattle tails on the ground sort of pic out and make your own airstrip and pick out and think about what the departure’s going to be like before you ever let down on that lake.

Chris: Oh yeah, yeah.

Zane: I, to be honest I don’t have my floats rating yet I got a couple of hours to do 185 and 182 on floats it’s one of those things that. I really think like you said sort of really epitomizes what bush flying is because when you just take away these constructs the runway and the airport and you know you can land on the lake you can land in the river you know whatever. Some of the greatest stories in those bush pilots books that I have read when I was starting out where stuff like that tail of the on Sheldon landing are at think it was on our rock or sedan or something. He just kept doing it over and over again, hauling them out like one by one.

Chris: I heard that. Where did I hear that story?

Zane: I don’t know.

Chris: It must be pretty famous but essentially if I remember right he was landing up the river right and then he would maneuver the plane down river and then grab them.

Zane: Yes.

Chris: And God it’s just like what the heck?

Zane: Yeah, one of the biggest challenges in float flying is sort of the sailing maneuvering docking part.

Chris: Oh my gosh, yeah you learn a lot about wind.

Zane: So you can imagine doing that on a river with some significant current. Go read Wager, anyone that’s into this go read Wager with the Wind: The Don Sheldon Story. It’s one of the best bush flying books available.

Chris: Gosh, I’m going to have to go grab that one.

Zane: To return to where we originally kind of got off on a tangent in this, people starting out you know, go slow. I’ve been fortunate enough to not bend any metal this far in my flying career, find some wood to knock on. This is a glass desk though. I haven’t bent any metal yet and I owe that I think probably to just being a big wuss. You know, I’ve pushed it a few times but above all else I want to come home to my family.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: Alive, uninjured and I just you know, I don’t have a big enough savings account to be able to afford to bend airplanes. So, I’m just really conservative in that regard.

Chris: Well cool, you know you can have fun doing this stuff. There’s a certain amount of risk to it but you can also be safe doing it. And I like that idea of taking it slow, that’s definitely what I have been doing, taking it slow, going for confidence and competence not just the ticket or whatever. Because that’s not what it’s about you know, you are literally going to be going out into the wild and doing this. So you may as well know how to do it.

Zane: I owned a Cessna 170 for years and I loved that airplane and I finally had to sell it when my wife and I were buying our first house. I’m building a Bearhawk in my garage which is a several year project. But back when I was flying the 170 I always had the sense that I’m you know, I’m not really that competent of a tail wheel flight pilot. I would go out you know in calm conditions, I was praying that the wind was going to be nicely aligned with the runway you know, whatever my destination was.

That whole thing of getting your tail wheel endorsement and then immediately going out and challenging yourself to do some of these other things that’s why I say take it slow. Because at least for me the growth of my tail wheel competence took several years.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: And you know I would slowly challenge myself with more and more crosswinds and stuff and really if you get your tail wheel endorsement the instructor should be subjecting you to you know, some pretty serious cross winds to make sure you’re competent. But in my case I never really got that opportunity to operate in significant crosswinds. And so it was years of operating by myself slowly, slowly stepping up you know what the conditions were like.

Chris: Right, right.

Zane: And I think it’s a lifelong, a lifelong growth process for every pilot no matter what that particular challenge is. Whether its crosswinds whether it’s surface evaluation you know, challenging weather whatever.

Chris: And yeah you know that’s a big reason why on this show we get people from all walks of life because there’s all walks of pilot life because there’s so many different things to learn in different areas. You know, you as a bush pilot you have things to learn from airline guys you know and vice versa. And there’s, I just love when the flow of knowledge is going through all different areas and…

Zane: And let’s be clear, I’m not a bush pilot, I’m a software developer…

Chris: Yeah, yeah.

Zane: So I am an amateur bush pilot because I know if any of my buddies listen to this they’re going to roll their eyes.

Chris: Yeah, yeah, I get it man, you defined you’re the amateur bush pilot I get it. But you know, you’re out there in you’re going after it and in your own way you’re a Pioneer. Really we are all we all need to be pioneers in aviation and figure this stuff out in our own mind how to get this stuff done so.

Zane: And that’s part of the fun of it, it’s the adventure.

Chris: Yeah. Well I love it, thanks for joining us on the show. For you listeners I’m going to be pointing you toward Zane’s website here, I’ll definitely be linking to that on the show notes as well. You guys should all go there, check it out, there are some amazing, amazing documentary cool cinematic videos on the website, you absolutely need to check out. Go support it, go sign up, subscribe, I’m guessing you guys have some sort of email list that automatically push this stuff out, Zane.

Zane: We do, we have a newsletter you can sign up for. I rarely send much out via the newsletter.

Chris: Okay.

Zane: I’m going to get into that soon because you know, people come they visit the site periodically or whatever but whenever we have something cool that drops…

Chris: Right.

Zane: It’s kind of cool to get that in your inbox.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: I guess one last thing I would say too…

Chris: Sure.

Zane: Before we end is that we’re always looking for contributors for content. So, I, in order to get content myself I’m constantly having to kind of work my own personal network. You know, people I meet in the industry, people that come to the site. I can identify someone who I think knows their stuff and sort of work with them and direct them to you know, write something. Maybe it’s a knowledge based article about something they know. You know like Mike Vivian, he’s written some cool articles about ski flying and off airport landing zones. You know, surface evaluation.

We have another guy who is a professional pilot, who operates a Pacer up in British Columbia. He wrote a really kind of cool article about flying you know, north to Alaska or Canada but then also putting together you survival vest.

Chris: Wow.

Zane: So I’m constantly looking for people that have either one, some expertise in backcountry flying and they just kind of want to share some of that with the world. But then two, anyone that’s had a cool adventure and they want to write a story about it with photos or whatever, we call those Trip Reports. The others like the ones that on the home page right now is what I all a live to tell tale. A guy crashed his Husky in Montana couple years back and he was good enough to share the complete unabashed tale with everybody you know.

Chris: Awesome.

Zane: Kind of as a learning experience.

Chris: Yeah.

Zane: So stuff along those lines you know. If you’re interested in contributing and you want to see some stuff published on you know, shoot me an email

Chris: Awesome. Well keep up the great work, you and I will stay in touch. And everyone go check it out, it’s a very, very cool website worth following. You guys are active on social media too so go check that out. Zane thanks again for taking timeout from your busy schedule to meet with us today, I really appreciate it.

Zane: My pleasure, thanks Chris.

Chris: Alright talk soon. See ya!

Join us next week for another exciting topic or interview with a great guest. Spread the AviatorCast message. Please review AviatorCast on iTunes or submit an audio question for the show at All iTunes reviews and audio questions that are aired on the show will get an official AviatorCast t-shirt. You can write AviatorCast directly on where you can interact with the AviatorCast community or write AviatorCast at We’d love to hear from you.

For more information on Angle of Attack simulation training videos for FSX, X-Plane and more, go to If you are looking for a professional aviation training video services and other media, inquire at Now, for the final release clearance, back to Chris Palmer.

Chris: A huge thanks goes out to Zane Jacobson for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. You know I’ve been watching and reading the stuff that comes out of for a while now. The first time I found that website I was just so excited that there was something like this out there and I was envious that I didn’t come up with the idea first.

But Zane does a fantastic job with this, if you guys haven’t seen it yet make sure that you go there to that you follow their stuff you know. I follow them on Twitter, that’s kind of how I keep in touch, they do a good job on Facebook as well. Watch these guys they do awesome stuff.

Actually after our interview I went through the forms and I learned a thing or two there just in the short time that he and I had or the short time that I was on there. So, pretty amazing you know it’s a great, great resource for those that are looking to do things outside of your regular everyday concrete landing strips. And I just think it’s a great way to connect with aviation in a different way. So, again, huge thanks to Zane for joining us on the show, I really, really appreciate it and thanks to the, you know you out there, you the listener, you guys are awesome. Thanks for joining us each and every week.

Thank you for leaving those reviews on iTunes that means a whole lot. We hope you’re enjoying AviatorCast, we hope that you will go out and share it, share the episodes that you really love. I know that coming up here we have some pretty special stuff going on. You know, I set out some goals here at the beginning of the year that were big and I’ve still been working on those.

One of those being, going toward the video direction and doing some video stuff here on AviatorCast. That’s kind of a difficult endeavor to do because I don’t really do anything halfway and I want it to look really good and I want it to be entertaining if we’re going to be doing video.

And not only that, it is difficult to get people on air that can do video but I’m figuring all that out and that is one thing we’re going to be doing soon. But by and large, most of all just thank you for coming here each and every week and I hope that you guys continue to enjoy it, that you continue to share it and that’s the payback for me is that you guys actually enjoy it. So there’s nothing else I really need to continue this except for that encouragement that you know we’re actually doing some good stuff here.

So thanks also to the Angle of Attack crew for all the hard work that they do. These guys are awesome they keep us going ever week and lets you and I have fun on podcast like this. So join us next week, we have a really great episode coming up with American Airline First Officer it is Father’s Day and we get into a little bit about what it’s like to be a father and an airline pilot among other things. So that’s going to be a great episode join us for that.

Until next time, throttle on!


The post AviatorCast Episode 69:’s Zane Jacobson: Bush Flying | Forums | Wilderness | Videos | Blog appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Jun 13 2015

1hr 19mins


Rank #10: AviatorCast Episode 90: SR-71 Blackbird Crew: Richard Graham & Don Emmons

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Today’s Flight Plan

What would it be like to strap into a top secret machine, fly at 80,000 feet and Mach 3+? Our guests today did just that as a crew, flying top secret missions. We catch up with Richard Graham and Don Emmons to hear a few stories of what it was like flying missions in one of the most iconic airplanes in history, the SR-71 Blackbird.

Useful Links

SR-71 Blackbird
Richard’s Books



Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

Now What?

iTunes Subscribe

Want to get regular updates through iTunes? This is the easiest way to automatically download your podcast, and take it on the go. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Email Signup

Want us to let you know via email when episodes of AviatorCast are released? We can do that, too. SIGNUP ABOVE.

Get Started Today!

Want to get started with some of our video training? Go to our main page and signup for Aviator90 (our basic and free course) or other pay products we have.


[transcript] [/transcript]

The post AviatorCast Episode 90: SR-71 Blackbird Crew: Richard Graham & Don Emmons appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Aug 12 2016



Rank #11: AviatorCast Episode 91: Flying in Alaska This Summer – 6 Focus Points

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Today’s Flight Plan

In each location a pilot gets to fly in his/her career, there come new experiences and opportunities for growth. Over this Summer I have been learning a lot about flying in Alaska and the contrast it has from flying in the lower 48 states.

In this episode I touch on 6 major focus points: Mountain Flying, Gliding and Water Survival, Emergency/Off Airport Landings, Short/Soft Field Ops, Traffic Collision Avoidance, and Flight Plans – Always.

Along the way I’ll share a few stories, tips, lessons learned, and things that I know I can do better.

Useful Links

Angle of Attack Instagram



Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

Now What?

iTunes Subscribe

Want to get regular updates through iTunes? This is the easiest way to automatically download your podcast, and take it on the go. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Email Signup

Want us to let you know via email when episodes of AviatorCast are released? We can do that, too. SIGNUP ABOVE.

Get Started Today!

Want to get started with some of our video training? Go to our main page and signup for Aviator90 (our basic and free course) or other pay products we have.



The post AviatorCast Episode 91: Flying in Alaska This Summer – 6 Focus Points appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Sep 03 2016



Rank #12: AviatorCast: Kim Furst: Flying the Feathered Edge Movie | The Bob Hoover Project | Filmmaker

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Today’s Flight Plan

After hearing from Bob Hoover, it’s now time to hear from Kim Furst. Kim wrote, directed, produced, and edited “Flying the Feathered Edge’. This movie about Bob Hoover’s life, condensed into a movie that is only a fifth the length it could be, is a tale of a true aviator.

Kim talks about her reasoning behind choosing this project, how you can see the movie, some of the background story on working with Bob Hoover, Harrison Ford and Sean Tucker on the film.

This film is truly a treasure in aviation. Find out how you can become a part of #TEAMHOOVER.

Useful Links

Flying the Feathered Edge
Kilo Foxtrot Films


Kim Furst

Huge thanks to Kim for joining us, taking time from her busy schedule to talk about this wonderful film. Thanks a million, Kim! Keep up the awesome work.


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

Now What?

iTunes Subscribe

Want to get regular updates through iTunes? This is the easiest way to automatically download your podcast, and take it on the go. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Email Signup

Want us to let you know via email when episodes of AviatorCast are released? We can do that, too. SIGNUP ABOVE.

Get Started Today!

Want to get started with some of our video training? Go to our main page and signup for Aviator90 (our basic and free course) or other pay products we have.



Chris: Welcome to another snippet episode of AviatorCast celebrating National Aviation Day. This is our third snippet 8-point roll episode. So this is where we are going to talk to the filmmaker, director, producer, editor and more I believe, of Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Story. So this is kind of a life story of Bob Hoover, you heard from Bob Hoover in the last 8-point roll quick episode, and so now we’re going to talk to the filmmaker. Her name is Kim Furst. It was great to meet Kim. I spent a little bit of time with her in different situations from the press briefings to seeing the film at the theatre there at EAA and then having this nice sit-down chat with her. I really love the work that she has done on this film, and she has also been involved in other films as well. She was the editor of One Six Right which some of you may know of, and that is a great film as well.

But this was an amazing show, so enjoy the interview but know that after the fact, I can tell you how you can see this movie and where you can see it, and so on. And so we will talk about that after this. So here is Kim Furst, producer-director-editor of Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Story.

Chris: Alright everybody, we are honored to have a very special guest with us today. We have Kim Furst. Kim, tell us why you are here at Oshkosh.

Kim: Well I’m here at Oshkosh because I’d probably be here at Oshkosh anyway. This is my seventh Oshkosh, and skipped a couple years but I’ve been coming since 2006 when I came with my friend Brian Terwilliger who had produced and directed a movie called One Six Right, I was the film editor on that picture so I worked closely with Brian for a year putting that together and it was probably one of the greatest things that I have had the opportunity to do, was sit and watch that in the screenings we did with the aviators here. We had two screenings that year in the eagle hangar of that movie.

Anyhow, I’m here this year, it’s my fifth aviation documentary I’ve worked on later and I’m here with the movie Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project which I produced, directed, edited and wrote, and it’s been an incredible week. We had a lot of events with Bob, a lot of things promoting the film this week, but I love Oshkosh. I’m actually really sad that it’s coming to a close. I was driving around the North 40, it’s Saturday and planes were already starting to take off. Anyhow, I’m just here seeing my aviation family.

Chris: Great. Yeah. It’s a great time. So, for those of you who know who Bob Hoover is, you listeners, you’re already excited about this because you had such a great opportunity to work closely to him. But for those that don’t know who Bob Hoover is, quickly educate us on this icon in the aviation community.

Kim: Okay, so Bob Hoover, for anyone who might not know, is a World War II veteran. He was a pilot during World War II when he came out. Very storied events that happened there in his career when he came out of World War II. He was a test pilot at Wright Field. As an experimental test pilot, he then worked at North American Aviation which was very iconic American aviation company that designed the P-51, the F-86, the F-100, and many, many other things actually, Apollo programs.

And then became a very accomplished airshow pilot. I mean, probably one of the premier airshow pilots through the 50s and 60s and 70s and into the 80s. So he had like a four-decade airshow career, demonstration career, demonstrated aircraft all over the world. He is known worldwide as probably one of our greatest living aviators. I think the Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine had a sentry of aviation edition where they listed the top 100 aviators of all time and I think Bob was number three. And the other two gentleman unfortunately are no longer with us so I guess by default that makes us at least by that magazine, that issue’s standing, our greatest living aviator.

Chris: So if I’m not mistaken, one of the big reasons behind actually doing this film Flying the Feathered Edge, is to get Bob’s story to live on and that is largely why I wanted to do this podcast with you because I want to educate my generation, generation X, millennials on who Bob Hoover is. So over the last few days, I’ve been going to different events. I saw the movie. Wonderful, wonderful job by the way. Just really great. I can’t wait and tell other people to see it. And then other events where Bob could just sit there and talk his stories. So, yeah, I’m excited to talk about that a little more.

So how did you end up coming across this opportunity to do this film for Bob?

Kim: So, I had done, like I mentioned, I’ve been the film editor on four other aviation films and I’ve produced and directed other things on my own, and I was looking for a great story within aviation that I felt hadn’t been done yet in a way that I thought was befitting of his story or befitting of whatever story I was looking for at that time, and I got invited to this event by my friend Sean Tucker, who’s kind of the premier airshow pilot, right now flies the Oracle Biplane. And Sean said “I want to introduce you to the man who inspired me.” And we were at this dinner and it was probably 10 of us in the room, I was the only one that was not an incredibly accomplished aviator in my own right. Chuck Aaron was there and other Boeing test pilots and people who were also legends, people who had also accomplished so much.

And the way they look at Bob and how they revered him for what he had done to help keep them safe or say something that might have helped save their life in one time or another, I noticed that I was in the presence of someone who had an incredible, just database knowledge about aerospace and aircraft and airframes that others who are aviators who are pushing the limits of aviation may be experimental test pilots revered and the stories were just incredible. I mean, this is a guy who, it’s hard to imagine that one individual has done as much as he has done.

One of the most famous stories is when he was a prisoner of war in World War II. He was captured, he was taken to Stalag Luft I on the Baltic Sea, and as the war was winding down, he finally managed to escape and get a nearby airfield and managed to commandeer a Focke-Wulf 190 and flew it to freedom in Holland. I mean, they’re just larger than life stories. But it all boils down to a man who is passionate about aviation. He is passionate about people being better aviators, good aviators, sharing his aviation knowledge, and in that way, he is kind of this national treasure as far as just aviation knowledge and there’s a lot of cultures that really honor their elders.

Like I had spoken to someone who is Japanese who had seen it. Someone also from China who had seen the film and they were like “Bob is one of our tribal elders.” And for aviation, he has an incredible amount to give to people who are aviators. I think that’s why people love him and why they honor him like they do.

Chris: That’s one of the reasons I again wanted to meet you because we talk a lot of those podcasts about not forgetting our kind of forefathers of aviation and so I recognize that he was one of them and needed to be recognized, and there’s still an opportunity for us in our day and age to learn about those guys and make sure we don’t forget where we came from. Because I think one of the problems we face in aviation, especially aviation training, is forgetting a lot of the tribal knowledge that we once had, and not only that but the inspiration. I actually heard that story from Bob. I was sitting there and he was doing his old yeller Warbirds in review down at Warbirds Alley. And he told that story and then he said that along the way, he would stop and he would encourage everyone to go for their dreams. That is just working hard and getting there.

Kim: Absolutely. His is an incredibly inspiring story. That’s well put. Because he’s interested and inspiring people into aviation and just inspiring them to be professional, to be good at what they do, to use their own gut check, their compass on things but to be smart. And you know, there are certain events that I’ve witnessed over the time that I was able to spend with him filming it. During the time that he and I were working together, one of our interviewees who flies a Bonanza had an engine failure and he had to plant the aircraft between two trees and he did it like Bob Hoover had always said. Don’t stop flying the aircraft. Fly through. Never stop aviating. Never stop flying.

He credits Bob for saving his life and frankly, Harrison Ford, Bob told me that he called him after his event in Santa Monica and discussed the event with Bob because he wanted to talk to him about how he did. And he’s that for pilots. I don’t know, did I answer your question?

Chris: No, no, that’s great. Tell us a little bit what it was like to actually put the film together because obviously, there is a history from World War II all the way up to today really with what he is still doing. What was that like? I mean, how do we even approach a project like that?

Kim: You’re putting your finger on what the biggest problem was with trying to get Bob’s story down to 90 minutes. So the first day, Bob and I got together to have interview, and I’ve interviewed quite a few people. I’ve done it professionally. I did all my research, I had read his book, Forever Flying which is fantastic book if anyone hasn’t read it. Highly recommend Forever Flying. That’s just a way to understand all the stories that Bob has lived through or I should say all the experiences that Bob has had.

And we met day one, and by the end of that day, we had just gone through his time in World War II. And so I said “Okay, we’re going to have another interview day.” So I set up the next day. At the end of that full day, we had just gotten through his experiences that ended at his time at Wright Patterson. And we hadn’t even touched on is airshow flying, working at North American Aviation, Reno air races. By the time we were finished, my interview with Bob alone was 12 and a half hours.

Chris: Oh my gosh.

Kim: And I was asking him hard questions. I was not just letting him sit and talk. I knew I wanted to get some things out of him that I thought I had not heard before and I did. But I’m still hearing stories from him. I’m still hearing things last week that he’ll tell some story about being in China on a rickshaw and you know, what flying some aircraft over there in the Far East. Wow Bob, I’ve never heard that one before. It’s just kind of endless.

So the biggest problem was trying to take a 12-1/2 hour interview and condense that down into something that’s 90 minutes long. And it’s not wall to wall Bob talking. It’s very important to me, as a filmmaker, I don’t like writing scripts like a narrator gives you the story that I think you should hear and have this preconceived idea of what the idea is about. For me, my goal is usually to start out by pulling the string, interviewing people, interviewing my subjects and finding out what is this story from their own words and then using their words to tell the story.

So it meant a lot of me that I find a way to have Bob tell his own story because that’s how I wanted that tribal knowledge passed on. I wanted it from his lips to our ears and to really let him take us on his journey over his 70-decade career in aviation. And he’s got this great voice that’s very calm. He’s very charming and funny and that’s Bob. And as a film editor, you have a huge responsibility because I could cut Bob to make him very serious actually. Or I could say “Well, only the important stuff goes in.” But the thing I wanted to do was to almost like facet it like a diamond, like you think about. The diamond is Bob and I need as a filmmaker just put that, set it so that it shines as brightly as it does and not get in the way of it. Just let him be Bob.

And he, Mr. Hoover is also telling stories that have incredible detail. This is a man who remembers names and places and these stories are extremely detailed, and from the get-go, he said “You know Kim, the most important thing to me is that it be accurate and that it be factually accurate. I don’t want anything in there that isn’t verifiable.” He wanted everything to be really precise.

So when I was looking for, for example, he has these different stories like stealing the Focke-Wulf 190. You know, Bob might say “Well, I found there was a guy in the coveralls and there was a revetment, there was a Focke-Wolf.” Well, unless you’re going to sit there and have Bob just sitting on the screen the whole time, you have to find all that stuff. You have to find a photo that somehow represents, and you can’t just find any old Focke-Wolf 190. You got to make sure it was from, I don’t know, I’m not a professional about the Focke-Wolf 190 but I do know, like I’ve been reading aerospace magazines for years and you just don’t want to be that person that they’re referencing in the letters to the editor where well, that time it shouldn’t have an afterburner or gee at that time it should’ve been an F-86. That was the B model or the C model, not the D model.

So it was very important to me that everything meet Bob’s standard of precision and that we do everything within our power to make sure that was all checked and double checked with either, mostly with Bob, with historians and that for every photo that had a German Luftwaffe pilot in coveralls with the Focke-Wulf 190 about to prop it, you’ve got to look at a couple thousand more just to window it down to finding that one. I had trouble help in the research department and frankly, a lot of that lifting and just to do a shout-out to Elizabeth Betsey first who is my mother actually, has always been an incredible historian, always been an incredible researcher and I enlisted her when it just became too much. She was staying with us and she was just loving the material and she said “Put me to work kid.”

So she went elbow deep in the national archives a number of times and she would bring flashdrives full of photos, just thousands of photos for me to sort through but that first cut had to be done by someone who spent looking at thousands more than she did. So she did a lot of heavy lifting. We had help from Edwards Air Force Base, sent me a box of stuff and just historians who had known and loved Bob over the years. A friend of mine walked into the, who was at that time I think the chief historian at Pentagon or the man who is overseeing museums and policies and programs, and he helped us by making some introductions of people who might know where there are some footage that might have lived of him. So it’s just, Bob was kind of the key to a lot of us because people…

Chris: They wanted to help out. The community want together for Bob.

Kim: We’ve been overwhelmed by the response of the community to help tell the story and to make it what it is.

Chris: That just shows you the importance for everybody, and more so for the generations of that day, not necessarily for the generations of my dad because I’m young enough where I haven’t seen Bob in an airshow but just hearing his stories. Like this is the aviator of aviators. This guy is awesome. So how long did the film take you to make?

Kim: So the film took… just to give you a little perspective. I started in, it was spring of 2011 and I immediately did Bob’s interview. It’s the first thing I did. And then from the interview…

Chris: Did you do that because of his age? Just so you could capture that right away?

Kim: You know, frankly with all of these guys we lost, three of our people who are in the film during the making of the film, and I knew as soon as I want to do it that there was no time. I just wanted to get going. And it could happen to any of us at any time but there’s just no time to waste. So I did that and it’s funny because Bob is so vital that hopefully he’ll be here for another 10 years and we’ll be toasting the guy who’s 105 years old. You just never know with anybody.

A young aviator that is important to the community who meant a lot to a lot of people who do offroad flying or John Kounis, 51 years old, and just something just completely medically related. So any of us, if you have an idea about something, don’t wait. Just do it. And specifically with these older legends. There aren’t a lot of them left who are from World War II. So that was in my mind for sure.

So out of that interview, I realized that there were a number of things he said that kind of gave me idea of where I wanted to go next. We went together to, I followed him to the F-86/F-100 convention in Las Vegas, that was in 2011. These gentlemen were people that I had overheard in his interview Bob talked about were his heroes. People like Colonel Bud Day and Sam Johnson who flew, I mean, both of them became prisoners of war in Vietnam. Colonel Bud Day was I think five years in a French prison, sleeping on concrete. You can’t even imagine what they went through physically, but even just that, he remained with his spirit intact after all that is inspiring.

So when we went to that event in Las Vegas, I started kind of just watching like a fly in the wall, just recording some of Bob’s speeches to the gentlemen that were there, and then also interviewing some of the gentleman who had watched him fly. When Bob was at North American Aviation, he used to do demonstration flights. His purpose was to show the F-86, the F-100, these were the aircraft that were the main fighters during the Korean conflict in Vietnam, and he would demonstrate these to the air force that were flying at the time to show them the capabilities of the aircraft, to basically show the limit of what an aircraft could do.

So many of these gentlemen that were at these reunions remembered very clearly seeing Bob Hoover come to their air force base or their international guard unit or wherever they were stationed all over the world, and then he would put on a demonstration.

Chris: In a suit and tie by the way.

Kim: That’s right. He had very specific look. Bob always came, he wasn’t in an air force flight suit but he came in a suit and tie and put on these demonstrations. He was there to just answer any of their questions about safety. Bob is big on what would I do if and think about that and think about it ahead of time. So that was his message he was bringing, was what are the limits of this particular aircraft, how to stay safe, what to do if you were in these different, we have a beautiful film of Bob in a flat spin in an F-100 and it was a test that he did as an experimental test pilot to show that the F-100 would tend to, it doesn’t have very much vertical tail so it would tend to yaw and it could depart on you if you were doing certain maneuvers.

So his job as an experimental test pilot at North American was to push it to the point where it departed because they were finding that these were finding that these were going into this flat spin and any aviator that’s actually spun an aircraft or whatever, there are certain things that aircraft generally do that you can regain control of the aircraft. But this particular one, you would get into a flat spin and you actually couldn’t get out of it. This was happening to some of these guys that were flying this particular aircraft and Bob went out there to talk to them about it. His message was always, and his interest was always how to keep other aviators safe. And he spent his career promoting that.

So going to the F-100/F-86 convention was the next thing. Then we went to Reno. We filmed with Harrison and Sean D. Tucker in Harrison’s hangar at Santa Monica, which was incredible. Harrison was extremely gracious. I mean, he allowed me to come in to his hangar and move all of his aircraft around and direct him and Sean and Bob through a whole day he spent with us, talking to Bob and Sean and he loves aviation too and he wants to promote aviation and he said yes to this in between his busy schedule of doing huge blockbusters because it matters to him to get back to aviation. So we benefit from that.

So all told, it took three years, I would say, three solid years, to structure and that includes the raising of the money part, and then also, I became pregnant during the process. My son is now three, and so a good deal of this, I found out when we were headed to Reno and I was running around Reno, carrying cameras and all these kind of stuff and at a certain point, I was told “You got to slow down.” But that was perfect for the editing process and I just had a big lazyboy and kicked it back and put my monitors up on the medical table, took some duct tape and strapped my keyboard on to the front of it, and I laid there big as a whale and cut the Bob Hoover movie.

Chris: I’m sure you’re not going to share a picture of that happening.

Kim: I actually do have a pretty great picture of that.

Chris: Really? I want to see that. That’d be great. Okay, so we don’t have too much more time here left but there is this gem of a film now that we have about Bob Hoover’s life. So, how do we get the word out? How do we tell people about it? Obviously the first answer is get it in theatres, get in your local theatres, but also, how do we spread it to my generation, the social media, things like that. So let’s talk about, now we have this, what do we do?

Kim: So, what we are about ready to do is release in theatres. We’ve actually been out on DVDs since the holidays so about five, six months, and there has been such a response, such a demand. I would like to share it with my young eagles group, I’d like to share it with my EAA chapter. How do we bring this to our museum? We’ve done huge screenings across the country. We did national museum at the USA air force, 800 people there. We just did something in Sacramento last weekend. We are at Embry Riddle for their alumni weekend, another 800 people saw the film that weekend.

And what we just kept finding was aviators love to watch this movie together because it’s just so much fun and Bob is, he is really representative of our aviation history and our journey. He’s kind of touched so much of it. So it’s a very fun movie to see in groups of aviators. So what we have decided to do because of the demand is we are releasing in theatre next month. We’re kicking off on National Aviation Day which is August 19th. This day is a holiday which has been around since 1934. President Delano Roosevelt actually said that by presidential decree, each year we can celebrate Aviation Day and it’s to celebrate advancements in aviation. So I felt what a great opportunity to revive this somewhat little known holiday.

Chris: I don’t even know about it.

Kim: I have never heard of it either. Actually the only person I’ve talked to, there are two people who know about it, and the first one was Dorothy Cochrane, the curator of the Smithsonian. She said “Yes, of course I know about that.” So Aviation Day, we are going to be doing a screening on Capital Hill, in US capital. The screening is free but you do need to get your tickets in advance at the, and we’ll have an event set up so that people can get their tickets and that will be kicking off this release in theaters. So theaters across the country will be carrying Flying the Feathered Edge. So if you live, anywhere you live across the country, you go to our website, you type in your email address and your zip code, and it will tell you where near you you can screen Flying the Feathered Edge. Then you buy your ticket, and then you tell all your friends to buy their tickets, and then you enjoy your screening.

We are using #teamhoover and #teamhoover is our way to promote Bob’s legacy, his life, the film, bringing his story to the next generation. Like it’s not just those who served in Korea and Vietnam who respect and honor this database of knowledge, that he has this wealth, this foundation of wealth that Bob has. Actually let me put that differently. Bob’s whole generation, they were a different breed of pilots. Carrying that forward and building on that legacy is something that we believe will help future generations of pilots and inspire future generations of pilots. #TeamHoover indicates that you are on board with inspiring future generations of pilots by helping to spread Bob’s story and other stories like his.

Chris: And that’s how I plan on using it, is when I feel particularly inspired about aviation, something that just gives me the chills or I that I feel so blessed to be doing what I’m doing, it’s a #teamhoover when I share that photo or that experience. I would encourage others to do that too and let’s get the spirit of Bob to live on because they aren’t going to be around forever and we’re going to look back on this and just treasure it completely, so now is the time to really start doing those things. Kim, any final words before we’re finished up here?

Kim: Well thank you for doing this and for helping to bring attention to a story. We really appreciate it. Bob I think has been amazed by there is so much support for Bob but I think people have really been responding to this film and I think it’s exciting for all of us involved in it and things like social media are so outside of his understanding that I do say “Bob, here, come look at all of our Facebook posts. Like look, 2000 people liked this post.” And he is like “Oh, that’s really neat.” He just thinks it’s great. His birthday, it just blew up. You should scroll back and look at like his birthday.

Chris: What’s his birthday? Do you remember?

Kim: I should double check it. I know it’s in January. I want to say it’s the 22nd, 21st or 23rd. I believe it’s 22nd. And you know, people taking pictures of like birthday cakes that they made to him and pictures of everybody watching the movie to celebrate his life and I think it’s wonderful. It’s special for me to have the support because I really do feel like here is a way that I hope that people who haven’t seen him fly in an evergreen way for future generations can enjoy his story.

Chris: And I’m a video guy myself. I love videos. Such an emotional way to show that, so fantastic job with the film. Those of you listeners, go out, check it out. If you can’t find it in your local theater, they can purchase it right?

Kim: They can. If you’re super, super, super remote and you want to go buy the DVD or the Blu-ray, you can purchase it from the and Aviation Day, we’re kicking off screenings all over the country. We already have a whole bunch of them set up. Once you get your screening set up, we’ll promote it. We’re going to be promoting everybody across the country who is hosting Team Hoover screenings of the movies, so yeah. We look forward to having you part of Team Hoover.

Chris: So August 19th.

Kim: August 19th.

Chris: Awesome.

Kim: Yep, Aviation Day.

Chris: Alright, see you all then at the screening of Flying the Feathered Edge.

Kim: Thank you Chris. Thank you so much.

Chris: Alright, so that was such a great interview with Kim. I was very happy to have been able to sit down with her on the last day that I was there at Oshkosh. It kind of wrapped everything together. She did such an amazing job with this film. I know that she did not do it on her own either. It was heavily influenced. Not even heavily influenced, it was all about the story of Bob Hoover and this guy is supported by such an amazing community. Almost everyone knows who he is, and then if you don’t know who he is, you should know who he is. This guy is just awesome.

If you guys haven’t checked out the book yet, you need to. I’ve really been enjoying this. It’s one of the few aviation books that I just can’t get my head out of. I mean, from paragraph to paragraph, this thing just blows my mind as far as what Bob went through and what he experienced and I’m just in the first fifth or so of the book. So, amazing, amazing things. And a lot to learn as well.

If you guys would like to see the movie which I highly, highly recommend you do, it is such a great representation of Bob’s story. Go to the and you guys can check out there where you can go and see the screenings. You can also request that your local theater hold a screening and you may even see that there are some other screenings that are going to be happening in your area. So, be absolutely sure that you go there and you check it out because it may already be playing in your area. So go and check that out, and if you are totally unable, like say that there’s not even a theater in your town or anything or you’re not going to be able to see a screening of this, you can also purchase the film already on DVD or Blu-ray and that’s definitely something that I’m going to be doing here coming up.

So you can do that and then you can interact with the Bob Hoover Project on twitter and Facebook. They have some pretty good channels there. They keep active on there. And if you want to become part of Team Hoover and if you are an aviator, you should become a part of Team Hoover, go ahead and use the Team Hoover hashtag on twitter, and I’m sure you could use them on Facebook too but use them on twitter #teamhoover. I usually do it all caps and I do that when I’m really inspired by aviation, when I feel like an aviator and I’m so proud to be a part of this. I do a Team Hoover hashtag. You should as well. I hope you guys enjoyed not only the last 8-point roll quick episode here but also this one, following up with Kim who did the film. I really recommend you guys go see it, and that’s it, let’s get into the next snippet episode here, the next 8-point roll and we’ll see you there. Until then, throttle on.


The post AviatorCast: Kim Furst: Flying the Feathered Edge Movie | The Bob Hoover Project | Filmmaker appeared first on Angle of Attack.

Aug 22 2015



Rank #13: AviatorCast Episode 74: OpenAirplane Cofounder Rod Rakic: Aircraft Rental | PPL | Pilot Checkout | CAP

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Today’s Flight Plan

Do you have a private pilot license? Have you ever been frustrated with the difficulty of renting an aircraft from a new FBO you’ve never been to? Have you simply wanted to be trusted to use your certificate to grab the keys, walk to the airplane, and quickly get on our way?

Most of the time, if not all the time, pilots can’t just walk in to any FBO, flight school, etc and rent an airplane. They have to get a ‘checkout’ at each location, wasting a lot of time and money to simply prove they are capable and safe with that company’s aircraft.

Is there an easier way?

OpenAirplane looks to make it as simple as walking into the FBO, grabbing the keys, and going. That’s it. All billing, planning, scheduling and so on can be done before and after the flight through a web/app interface. All you do is walk up and fly the airplane.

You start by doing a Universal Pilot Checkout. That is, you do the checkout once at an OpenAirplane affiliated location and the checkout for that make and model will be valid for that make and model at any other location in the network.

Now while on vacation you can expand your horizons and see new places, using your PPL to get you there. The process is easy, slick, and safe.

Rod Rakic, cofounder of OpenAirplane, talks with us today about this amazing concept, how it came about, more about what it is, and where it is going.

Useful Links

Civil Air Patrol


Rod Rakic

Huge thanks to Rod for joining us on AviatorCast. Great job, Rod. We hope all you listeners will choose to try open OpenAirplane as well!


Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Get Started Today!

Want to get started with some of our video training? Go to our main page and signup for Aviator90 (our basic and free course) or other pay products we have.



Open throttle with open airplane. This is AviatorCast episode 74!

Calling all aviators, pilots, flight sim enthusiasts and aviation lovers, you’ve landed at AviatorCast! Join us weekly in our efforts to become better masters of the air through interviews, refreshers, lessons, training topics, simulator set-up, hangar talk, news and more! Buckle up and prepare yourself for this week’s episode of AviatorCast! Preflight complete, fuel on board and flight plan filed. Let’s kick the tires and light the fires! Here’s your humble host, Chris Palmer!

Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. Of all the modes of transportation, I find the flying machine to be the most fascinating. Perspective, sites and skill abound in the earthless altitude of flight. It is evident that I love flying and all things flying. So welcome to this, the 74th episode of AviatorCast by Angle of Attack. It is my pleasure and honor to welcome you here to the fraternity if you will of AviatorCast listeners and all the great things that we try to do here. Just a few of those are we try to bring guests, different aviators from the community, different people involved with aviation or flight simulation, and give you some insight to what they do and their passion for aviation.

We also work to reignite that flame. Maybe you’re disenchanted with flying as a career. Maybe you have gotten out of flying for a long time and you’d love to back into it, we try to keep you up to date with the latest information, and not only that, we want to give you some jolts of energy to get you back in the cockpit. And of course for those of you that haven’t flown yet, this is a source of inspiration to get you in that cockpit and chase that dream of learning to fly. There are so many people out there that have always wanted to fly and I’m sure that some of you listening to this right now, listening to my voice, out there in this vast world have wanted to become a pilot but you haven’t for one reason or another. We try to answer some of those concerns on this show and maybe you cannot become a pilot, there are alternatives like flight simulation. So we talk a lot about those things and other things.

On today’s episode, we have a great guest to talk about some actual aviation stuff for you private pilots out there, for those of you that live in the United States or would be visiting the United States with your private pilot license, or those of you that in the future are looking to get that license, a lot of cool stuff coming up on this episode. We have Rod Rakic from Open Airplane. So if you’ve heard of Open Airplane before, you’ll know exactly what this is.