DC-3 Type Rating – The Whole Thing

This is an aggregated post with links to all of the show episodes that deal with the DC-3 type rating course that I attended 22-25 May 2008 with Dan Gryder in Griffin, Georgia in the Herpa DC-3.

I’ve put all of the material here so that I can offer a single URL from which you can jump to any of the various episodes. If you wish to provide this information to anyone who might me interested in the story, his or her own type rating, or any other purpose, simply invite them to visit this page’s URL:


Note that all of the links are to blog posts. Several posts are labeled as audio episodes, which means that there’s a link to the audio of the podcast episode just below the first picture in the post. Click on the link or launch the automatic player in order to hear the audio.

You can also subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or any other podcatcher and listen at your leisure. It’s all free!

Here are the episodes and posts . . .

Initial Interview with Dan (Audio Episode) – An interview with Dan for the show from January, before I had decided to take the type rating course. And, for that matter, before I had even decided to go for the multi-engine rating.

DC-3 Type Rating – Arrival (Audio Episode) – Self-explanatory.

DC-3 Type Rating – Day 1 (Audio Episode) – Self-explanatory.

DC-3 Type Rating – Day 2 (Blog Post)

DC-3 Type Rating Complete (Blog Post) – An announcement in blog form to let those who were following along know that I got ‘er done.

DC-3 Type Rating Complete (Audio Episode) – An audio episode that updates podcast listeners and tells them that I completed the rating. I quit posting audio episodes after the first two days because it was causing me to miss too much sleep and the primary point, after all, was to competently fly the airplane. Discretion is the better part of valor, after all.

Summary Episode – The whole enchilada, including original music.

Red Bull air Races in Detroit – Saturday – Part 2

This is a regular blog post. Please check out the other posts if you’re looking for show notes or audio.

I spent a little time at the public pit walk at Detroit City (Coleman Young) Airport (KDET) this morning. Really stinkin’ neat for any number of reasons. First is the other control tower that Red Bull brought in for the event. An apparently fully-functional control tower that’s customized for the race and fully portable. Unreal! Let’s get this thing to Fond du Lac during AirVenture Oshkosh this year!

This is really neat. There’s a full pit line with all of the aircraft and pilots in an L-shape. Between 9:30 and 11:00, the public can come in and freely walk the pit line, talk to the pilots, and get autographs. The lines are really reasonable and it would surely have been possible to obtain all of the pilots’ autographs within the space of an hour or less. I didn’t really feel compelled to talk to anyone other then Mike Goulian, but I did walk right up and got headshots of all of the pilots within 20 minutes.

I think that this is absolutely brilliant on the part of Red Bull. Make the pilots and the aircraft as available as possible and build bonds between present and future fans through access. Every single staff person (even security guarding the ingress/egress and tower) was cordial and friendly. The guy guarding the media center door went out of his way to look for my media pass and proactively invited me in.

Red Bull is really nailing it with this model. The fans really seemed to appreciate it. Especially the kids. No MLB or NBA, this. Red Bull is going out of its way to give as much access as possible. I didn’t see any access restriction at all that didn’t make sense in at least some way (e.g. airport security, integrity of the aircraft, etc.). How cool is this?

I kind of think of it as NASCAR without as much ass crack and beer. Am I wrong?

On another note, with the event being held in Detroit and all, I have high hopes that the audience will include lots of black and other minority folks. You’ve heard me complain that aviation in general is overwhelmingly male. It happens to be overwhelmingly white, too. I’m sure that (at least since the 1970s) been much more de facto than de jure, but any change is going to require that we get minorities (and especially minority kids!) up close and personal with 100LL, Jet-A, and JP-8.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see as many minorities at the pit walk as one might have hoped, what with City Airport being right in the heart of an overwhelmingly black population. Lots of folks down on the waterfront (which is great!), but I hope that we see more at the pit walks over the coming years which, to me, would be an indicator that there’s more interest. I say that because you kind of have to work at it to get to the airport and then park and then hoof it to the flight line. The demographics of those who show up at the airport (as opposed to the waterfront) are probably more indicative of who the faithful and the obsessed are, or at least more so than the general population.

Not going to make a big deal of it, but you guys know me and know that I’m all about encouraging as many humans as possible to get into general aviation. Black, white, green, purple, Nova Scotian, you name it. If you’ll stand still long enough, I’ll tell you about GA. It there’s a population for which a special approach or more exposure would help, I’m all about it. And, by the way, I think that holding the race in Detroit in the first place is a great step.

(By the way, I tend to use the term “black” instead of “African American” becuase not everyone who’s black is necessarily American and because Thurgood Marshall preferred the term “black” and that’s more than good enough for me. I hope no offense is given because none is intended. Prefer otherwise? No problem. But you have to let me talk GA to you.)

We got to touch base again with Mike Goulian of the USA, who flies the No. 99 Edge 540. He’s also an airshow performer and appeared on Airspeed in November of 2007, featured in a July interview from the Battle Creek airshow. He finished fifth in the 2006 series and eighth last year. He hasn’t had a podium finish this year, but posted a second place in one contest during the 2007 series. He was upbeat and the only concern he seemed to have was the wind out on the course, which was exceeding 34 knots as I post this.

Kirby Chambliss of the USA, pilot of the No. 4 Edge 540 for the Red Bull team, takes time with a young fan. Kirby signed the little guy’s shirt which, from the looks of it, had already made the rounds of several of the other pilots. Chambliss finished first in the 2006 series and brought home third and fourth in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He has placed third in one contest so far this year.

Yeah, another tower shot. Not sure what this guy is doing, but who cares? A completely mobile control tower is just so cool!

Just heard that the winds caused the organizers to cancel the qualifying flights this afternoon. They’re planning to fly tomorrow and the weather looks good with mostly sunny skies forecast and winds of around 10 from around 300. I’ll be there the whole day with Rod and we’ll try to do a little hangar flying and post an audio episode from the media center.

Red Bull air Races in Detroit – Saturday – Part 1

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show notes or audio, please check out the other posts.

We’re at the Red Bull Air Races on the Detroit River! Windy as hell with a constant breeze of about 25 knots coming more or less directly out of the south. I understand that this is pretty much directly opposite where they were for the practice runs yesterday, so all of the racers are paying a lot of attention to how that’s going to change matters.

We have a lot of riverfront upon which to do this, so this is the longest course (3.8 miles from end to end) in the four years of the Red Bull series. And the wind today is just about directly aligned with the long axis of the course, so that’ll have a big effect, depending on the relevant maneuvers.

Rod Rakic is here for the weekend and is helping out with coverage. Rod grew up in the Detroit area and did his primary pilot training at Detroit City (Coleman A. Young) Airport (KDET). He also spent a summer as an office manager at a flight school there. He’s visiting from Chicago and is going to be a key part of the Airspeed team for this event. We’re going to try to hangar-fly a little tomorrow and get an episode up from the media center on site.

The setup on the race course is pretty cool. Red Bull has brought along two of its own control towers (yeah, they brought their own control towers!). Here’s the one that’s down on the waterfront with the landmark Renaissance Center.

The High Flyers’ Club is just on the other side of the tower. As with any event like this, I like to go around seeing where my media pass will get me in. I can say with some certainty that, although it has gotten me many places, it has not gotten me into (or even near) the High Flyers’ Club. But I can hardly whine. Red Bull has provided free valet parking, lots of other access, a spectacular media center on the waterfront (and another really nice one at the airport) and, naturally, all the Red Bull I can drink. I am so wired right now I can barely stand it. And I’ve only just begun.

The sound system on the waterfront is pretty good, too. Check out this unnamed media member who was overpowered by a little James Brown during the Canadian Harvards performance prior to the racing.

A couple of cans of Red Bull with the other cylindrical icons of the event in the background. A first class event in all respects so far. More posts soon!

DC-3 Type Rating Complete – The Audio Episode

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Hey, I’m sorry that it’s taken me so long to get back with you guys. I think I left you hanging after Day 1 of training.

It turns out that flying all day, having dinner with your instructor and classmates, whipping out the mandolin and sitting in with the ad hoc DC-3 band until the bar closes doesn’t leave you with enough energy to record a decent podcast episode.

I posted a couple of items on the website at www.airspeedonline.com to keep folks updated, but not everyone goes to the website. So I thought I’d record a quick update to let you know how it went.

After 2.8 hours in the left seat over four flights, 14 takeoffs, 13 landings, two full startups and taxis, and one full-stop landing and taxi in this massive, taildragging icon, I can proudly say that I hold a second-in-command type rating in the Douglas DC-3.

It’s a gorgeous airplane and I still fly her in my sleep. I’ll get into this a little later in what I hope will be a cogent and mildly inspiring full-summary episode in a couple of weeks, but imagine a magical three-day period. You meet three other classmates and find that, as you expected, they’re pilots through-and-through and “get it” on every level. Add Dan Gryder, an instructor who’s an airline pilot probably on his way to or from Dubai as I record this, but whose clear passion is the DC-3 and – more importantly – sharing that passion with others. For fun, have author, pilot, and sometime Uncontrolled Airspace hangar denizen James Wynbrandt show up and cover the class and even get a couple of trips around the patch at the controls. And have Julie Boatman, formerly of AOPA and now of Cessna, show up. Fly a 1938 DC-3 around the countryside and notice that cars are pulling off the road at the approach end of the runway to watch you land. Finish the day at the bar where Dan, James, Julie and I walk in with assorted musical instruments and other implements of destruction and play whatever comes to mind until our fingers are sore.

I spent last weekend in a pilot’s dream. If there’s a more perfect set of friends, circumstances, and aircraft, I have yet to think of it, much less experience it.

So I’ll leave you with this, my last landing in the DC-3. And the obligatory V1 cut on takeoff.

Thanks to Dan, Tom, Roland, Gerrit, James, and Julie for being part of such a great three days. You can see more commentary and pictures at the website at www.airspeedonline.com. I’m heading for the Red Bull Air Races tomorrow in Detroit with Rod Rakic and we’ll probably be posting some content fairly soon, so, if you go to the website, make sure that you scroll down so you can see the DC-3 features. I’ll also make a summary blog entry with links to all of the DC-3 show audio so that you’ll have one-stop shopping for all of the DC-3 material.

And, if you have other questions, you can reach me at steve@airspeedonline.com.

We’ll go out on my last landing and takeoff in the ‘three and look for the summary episode in a few weeks right here on Airspeed!

New Temporary Airman Certificate

Yeah, baby!