Glider Ops with Aviation Wunderkind Tony Condon

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We interview pilot, CFI, CFII, MEI (add additional initials until your fingers hurt from typing) Tony Condon. Tony (whose shadow appears in the foreground above) hangar-flies with us to talk about glider operations and his philosophy of flight. He’s based at Ames Municipal Airport just south of town in Ames, Iowa, from which he flies and instructs. We caught up with him Wednesday evening and talked for about an hour.

More information about Tony and his really well-written accounts of his glider flights at

In other news, I got to join the panel in the virtual hangar over at Uncontrolled Airspace to talk about instrument flying, instrument flying, and why you should file a flight plan when you’re going cross-country in the winter. I also got to bask live in the aura of Jack, Jeb, and Dave. How cool is it to listen to your favorite hangar-flying podcast and actually interject from time to time? And you get to hear the podcast a few days early. In realtime, in fact!

I managed to follow through on my personal game plan of shutting up and listening whenever Jeb and Dave hit stride, but was pleasantly inpressed by their willingness to let me rattle on a little as well. And Jack is a master moderator. These guys are mensches in a community of mensches. Subscribe to UCAP through iTunes or your favorite other podcatcher or listen directly to Episode 54, Back Course Approach, at

The book is coming along! I’m presently experiencing a poetry block and having difficulty finishing the last piece, but will try to finish it off this weekend. It doesn’t help that work is kicking my ass, but that’s me in November and December. Hard to say I didn’t see it coming.

Stay tuned!

Back to Your Regularly-Scheduled Airspeed with Aerobatic Pilot and Red Bull Air Racer Mike Goulian

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Mike Goulian’s family founded one of the largest flying schools in the Northeast, Executive Flyers Aviation (EFA) in 1964. Michael learned the aviation business from the ground up by washing airplanes and sweeping the hangar floor. Michael started flying lessons in 1984 and soloed a Cessna 150 on his 16th birthday. He started aerobatic training in 1985 while he was still a student pilot.

By age 22, he had become US National Champion in the Advanced Category. A year later he won the prestigious Fond du Lac Cup invitational competition and by 1992 he was the top ranked US male aerobatic pilot and Silver Medalist in the Unlimited Category, an achievement he repeated in 1993. His performance earned him a spot on the 1994 US National Aerobatic Team, which represented America at the World Aerobatic Championship held in Hungary. In 1995, Mike became the US National Champion in the Unlimited Category. He has been a member of the 1994, 1996, and 1998 US Aerobatic Teams.

Today, Mike performs at airshows across the country.
He flies and races in the Extra 300 SHP.

Empty weight: 1,290 lbs.
Engine: 350hp Thunderbolt Lycoming “Reno” IO-580
Construction: Carbon fiber wings and steel tube fuselage
Speeds: Top speed, 260 mph – stall speed, 60 mph
Roll rate: 380 degrees per second

G limits: Plus and Minus 10g

He also races overseas in the Red Bull Air Races.

We caught up with Mike this summer on the ramp at the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Field of Flight Airshow this summer.

Thanks to Mike Goulian for taking some time out to talk to us here on Airspeed.

Mike is sponsored by Air BP’s Castrol Aviator brand of piston aviation oils, Aubuchon Hardware, Avidyne Corporation, Champion Aerospace, Hartzell, Lycoming, Oxford Aviation, Sennheiser, and Tempest.

Be sure to support Airspeed’s sponsor, Gleim, and use your special promotional code, “ASPD,” when ordering your Pilot Kit to get your 25% Airspeed discount!

On to the Ground Instructor Certificates – And a Promo with Gleim

Many of you know that I’m a pilot and aviation enthusiast. But I’m also, among other things, a Certified Management Accountant and Certified in Financial Management. When I prepared for those professional exams, I used Gleim knowledge transfer materials.

Imagine the pleasant surprise when I started flight training and found out that Gleim knowledge transfer materials were available for the FAA exams as well. I expected the same concise treatment of the issues and questions that helped me to understand the materials well enough to approach the test with confidence. And that’s exactly what I got.

I’ve used the Gleim study software and print publications for both the private pilot knowledge test and, more recently, the instrument knowledge test. And this time I added the Gleim audio preparation CDs for the instrument knowledge test.

Needless to say, I passed both the first time with flying colors.

I’m on to my next challenges now, which include getting my ground instructor and instrument ground instructor certificates. And how do you think I’m preparing? You guessed it. With Gleim knowledge transfer systems.

Gleim is providing my study materials for the FAA tests for those certificates and other consideration and, in return, I’m making these mentions on Airspeed. As you might guess, it was an easy deal for me to do because I’ve prepared for – and passed – four tough certification exams with Gleim materials and I wouldn’t think of going after these new certificates without Gleim knowledge transfer materials. I’ve tried all of the major brands of flight training materials and I think the world of Gleim knowledge transfer systems.

And, for a limited time, by special arrangement with Airspeed, Gleim will give Airspeed listeners 25% off their purchases of Gleim knowledge transfer materials. That’s right. Just give the promotional code “ASPD” at the time of your order and Gleim will knock 25% off any Pilot Kit you order just for being an Airspeed listener.

Gleim has knowledge transfer systems for Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Flight/Ground Instructor, Airline Transport Pilot, Multi-Engine, and Flight Engineer and even specialty materials like refresher courses great for use before your BFR or Instrument Proficiency Check. No matter how you learn best, Gleim packages the information in a way that’s right for you. From online courses like Gleim’s Online Ground School to test-prep CD-ROMs to books and audio programs, Gleim has a system that’s right for your learning style.

You can reach Gleim at or call them up on the phone at (800) 874-5346 and remember to use the promotional code “ASPD” to get your 25% Airspeed listener discount for a limited time only.

The Gleim logo is a trademark of Gleim Publications, Inc. and/or Gleim Internet, Inc. Airspeed makes no claim to such trademark. Gleim and Airspeed are independent contracting parties and are not partners or affiliates.

Checkride Update for 25 October – IFR Checkride Complete!

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I passed the checkride this morning! Thanks for the cards and letters. They meant (and continue to mean) a lot.I received approval from the examiner to include audio from the checkride in a future episode, so you can expect to hear the highlights sometime soon.

In the meantime, it’s back to Airspeed as usual. Upcoming episodes include an interview with Castrol aerobatic and racing pilot Mike Goulian, flying skydivers in the Super Otter with Dave Schwartz of Skydive Radio, and lots more.
Thanks for hanging in there with me. If you were beginning to be annoyed at the constant Checkride Updates, all I can say is “You and me both!” I never thought it would take four tries to get flyable weather, but that’s my beloved State of Michigan in October for you.
It has its upsides. I arrived at the checkride with more than 15 hours of actual, which is off-scale high for an instrument candidate, and I have the local weather and some excellent flight instructors to thank for that. And I think that it made me a better IFR pilot. But it gets a little tedious doing the flight planning each time and having to keep the knowledge for the oral current and ready for recall.
Back to our regularly-scheduled podcast. And some great adventures ahead!

Checkride Update for 23 October – My Letter of Discontinuance

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Got 1.9 this morning, including 0.8 actual, and shot the VOR full procedure 18 at KFNT, the ILS 27 at KFNT, and the RNAV 18 at KFNT before heading back and shooting the ILR 9R at KPTK. This was a warm-up flight to prepare for the checkride this afternoon. I flew well other than getting a little far off to the right on the RNAV 18 and having the GPS conk out just short of HEBUB (thereby depriving me of the ability to descend below 1,560 or so).

Here’s a pretty indicative picture of circumstances. Nice generally, but scattered between 800 and 2,500 with broken or overcast layers between 1,800 and 6,500. Not enough to go and do the flight portion of the checkride.

The radio stack showing the first leg of the RNAV 18 heading for JUBER.

Anyway, I got through the oral in fine form. The studying paid off and I either answered decisively or could just look the examiner in the eye and tell her that I didn’t know the answer. Only missed two questions and I’ll have that information together when I return on Thurssday.

The ceilings and scattered layer made the flight portion impracticable, so I’ve rescheduled for Thursday. I therefore have a nice new Letter of Discontinuance from the examiner. The letter basically declares what I’ve completed and says that I can pick up where I left off between now and December 22.

Ready to go for Thursday, but I stopped at DCT Aviation and got my card loaded up with another two hours. The plan is to show up on Thursday morning around 7:00 at Tradewinds and preflight the aircraft. Then I head for DCT around the corner when Pontiac Air Center opens at 8:00 and fly sim for an hour before coming back to Tradewinds to meet the examiner at 9:30.

Then it’s time to fly the ride. Light touch on the yoke and trim, trim, trim! Needle in the donut, baby!