Capt Force Logs 1.0 Jet Time in the Cessna Citation Mustang

I don’t have a picture to put on this blog post. Mainly because I was pretty busy while the pictures were being taken and the video shot.

I was at the controls of the Cessna Citation Mustang, a six-seat VLJ. (Yeah!)
Rod Rakic of has done yeoman’s work in coordinating media flight opportunities for new-media folks like me. I got the call while en route from Detroit, dropped my stuff at Camp Scholler, and then headed for Appleton to fly.
Certainly there will be a longer and more in-depth post when I get more time, but the basic flight profile was departure from Outagamie County Regional Airport (KATW), fly north toward Iron Mountain, Michigan, maneuver on the way back, and then land back at KATW.
Those who know me know that I’m an approx. 270-hour private pilot, ASEL, AMEL, ASES, IA and I have a type rating (SIC) in the DC-3. Lots of different experiences, but not a lot of time. Stick and rudder skills that are competent, but hard-won through labor as opposed to native skill.
I was a little taken aback to learn that I was going to do most of the flying, but, then again, I’d heard a lot about the ease of operation of this aircraft.
The Mustang is outfitted with a full Garmin G1000 implementation with a large MFD in the middle of the panel. Each pilot has hisor her own 10″ PFD in front of him. Having just checked out in the CAP C-182T Nav III, the G1000 was fresh in my mind, even though the implementation was a little different in the Mustang.
We loaded in the flight profile and the idea was to hand-fly the aircraft with reference to the flight director.
I did the takeoff. Full power, keep it in the centerline, and wait for Vr to come up on the airspeed tape. Then a little pull and you’re climbing like a bat out of hell. We went initially to 3,ooo. The flight director told me where to put the nose and the wings and the airplane made it easy to do so. I trimmed frequently and she flew with great stability.
I had the opportunity to, for the first time, set the altimeter to 29.92 upon passing FL180. I turned to the folks in back and uttered a “gentlemen, welcome to the Alpha.”
The aircraft flew beautifully in cruise. I engaged the autopilot and had the chance to look out the window a little and survey the panel. A familiar view up there in airline territory when I looked out the side window, but wholly unfamiliar and giddy to look out the front window at that altitude. From the left seat. (Another “Yeah!”)
Then came the maneuvers. We turned back toward KATW and got a block altitude 14,000 to 16,000. Steep turns left, right, and back left at 45 degrees. I wasn’t used to the control forces, so I got a little high and/or low, but held the bank altitude well.
Then came the stalls. It’s really amazing how similar the stalls are in most respects to a C-182. The first one was at cruise power or thereabouts straight ahead. First the gear horn. Then the stall horn as the AOA-indicator-driven donut marched up the tape. With a chest full of yoke and the stall horn going off, things got mushy, then the buffet, then the stall. Very smooth and very predictable.
The only difference was that then, as a conditioned piston-single driver, I firewalled the throttles, the engines too awhile to spool up and give me the power to which I’m accustomed. But pitch alone really seemed to take care of the stall.
Then a power-off stall in a 20-degree right turn. Same thing. Predictable entry and good recovery, but again with me firewalling the throttles.
We did another one straight ahead with the throttles at idle the entire time, recovering with pitch only. That was graceful and gave a positive recovery experience.
The landing was smooth. I’ve recently had the insecurities about landing that any C-172 driver experiences when he transitions to a C-182 (a little more nose-heavy than you’re used to and with a little more momentum and a little more sink rate than you’re used to). So I had a little trepidation about flying an even larger aircraft – and a jet to boot.
I needn’t have worried. I had it at 110 KIAS on short final like the airspeed tape was painted on. Yeah, I did a good job, but the airplane made it easy. Touchdown was just like a C-172 in terms of sight picture (other than being a little higher in the saddle and things moving a little faster) and I greased it on. Lowered the nose to the pavement and turned off. A really positive experience.
The key story here is that a relatively low-time instrument pilot with some multi time who’s handy with the G1000 can fly this airplane reasonably well the first time out. And, with factory training and the right attitude, could easily operate this airplane on a regular basis.
And the ultimate judge of my performance? My seven-year-old son, Cole, was in the back and gave me the thumbs-up at the end. I presented him with his own logbook and entered the flight. Sure, it won’t count toward a rating, but now he has a tangible reminder of the first time dad flew him.
Thanks to Cessna for a great experience on this flight. Can’t wait to edit the video and audio down and get an episode out!

Video of the AeroShell Ride and the Saturday Performance at Battle Creek

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These are the show notes to a video episode. You can watch online above or download the file from this direct link.

As many of you know, I got a ride with The AeroShell Team at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon Festival this year. Although I’ve posted some frame grabs, I hadn’t been through all of the video.

The video of my ride itself was pretty good, especially considering the fact that it was the first time I’d held the camera and not mounted it.. Even a 17-ounce rig gets pretty heavy at four Gs, especially if you’re holding it out at arm’s length to capture more in the shot.

But the real treat was the video from the performance on Saturday. In an Airspeed first, the AeroShall Team agreed to fly the camera in the No. 2 ship (which, in the AeroShell Team, is the right wing). I mounted the camera that morning, ran out onto the field and turned it on that afternoon right before the flight, and then retrieved it when the team returned.

Holy crap, was the footage exciting! It was an unexpected perspective. A performer’s-eye-view of the show. The formation part was beautiful, but the real surprises were after the first break, where you can see other aircraft mixing it up. This is a perspective that I had not even imagined and I just kind of sat there staring at my computer screen as it unfolded.

I rarely devote more than about 20 seconds to a shot. It keeps things moving along. But there are sequences of almost a minute in this video because the surprises just keep happening. Worth the time and the bandwidth, says I.

It was a gray day and I’ll bet that some sunshine would have made it look positively amazing. But I’m not complaining.

As cool as this is, It’s made me think about the possibility of adding another camera to the rig. Same camera and lens. One pointed out the front or back at the pilot and one camera pointed over the wing. This could get really cool.

As long as nobody decides that they don’t need to fly the producer at some point . . .

Many thanks to Vimeo for having such huge free bandwidth and storage that allows me to post a full 16 minutes (an 183MB file)!

Also thanks to The AeroShell Team for flying me and the cameras.

F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team

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These are the show notes to a video episode. If you want to listen online, please use the direct link below.

I caught the members of the F-15E Strike Eagle Demo Team just before the briefing on Friday at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon Festival for an interview. Lots of good information about the aircraft, the team members’ roles, commissioning tracks in the Air Force, and how you get into one of the seats of the mighty F-15E.

More information about the F-15E Strike Eagle, the demo team, and the US Air Force:

Herding Electrons and Preparing for Oshkosh

This is a regular blog post. Show notes and links to show audio appear in other posts.

Audio pre-production for EAA Radio is done! Listen for Capt force’s sonorous voice on EAA Radio at 1210 on your AM dial or streaming at

I spent some time last night working on the initial tracks for Last Pure Thing on the Radio, a new tune that I might or might not release at AirVenture Oshkosk next week. It all depends on how the song comes along this weekend. The song is also a good test bed for learning how to use Pro Tools. I did most of the EAA Radio production using Audacity simply because I’m more familiar with Audacity and needed to bang out the spots to get them to Afterburner Al in time to get them into the rotation.

But Pro Tools is really stinking powerful and I need to spend some time messing with it so I can expand my studio chops. The projects are still going to Scott Cannizzaro for mixing, but it’s really cool to be able to send him something a little more competent. Thus far, I’ve been sending him .wav files recorded analog from my ancient ADAT with an initial clap as a synch signal.

Probably some more studio production through the weekend and then Cole and I leave for OSH in the early morning hours of Wednesday 29 July. I’ll tweet and blog the location of Firebase Airspeed shortly after arrival and try to keep everyone posted about where we’re wandering on the grounds. Definitely going to get out to the seaplane base this year. Can’t believe I’ve blown that off in prior years.

Look for more updates right here!

KC-135R Video Episode

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These are the show notes to a video episode. You can watch online above or download the file from this direct link.

Here’s the video episode from the June 17 KC-135 flight!

More information about the KC-135R, the 434th ARW, and the 72nd ARS in the following third-party links.