The Music of the DC-3 Episode

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

If you liked the music from the DC-3 summary episode, here are links to full 128 Mbps MP3 files of the music. Please feel free to download and enjoy for your personal, non-commercial use. You can also use it for airshows and similar events, provided that you notify me and credit me to the effect of: “The music is ‘Cold,’ composed and performed by Steve Tupper for the Airspeed podcast.”

I wrote the basic tune a few years ago, but worked it up more fully for the DC-3 episode. The tune is from an album project upon which I’ve been working for years called Songs from the Sheffield: The First Folk Music of the Journey to Mars and Back.”

The project imagines the folk music that will arise out of the first human journey to another planet (presumably, Mars in 20 years’ time). A pre-echo, if you will, of the first folk music of humanity’s next frontier.

Journeys of discovery focus the voyageurs who take them. From rafts to tall ships to canoes to prairie schooners, the journey strips away most things not essential to survival. Yet the journey requires constant reminder of the reasons for which the voyageurs take the risk. Through the ages, the common denominator has been songs and stories. Sea shanties. Chants. Rounds. Calls and responses. Hymns. Simple, yet compelling and memorable. Some sacred, some crude, some profane. All must be capable of performance by voice and/or personal instruments no larger or more complex than a crewmember could reasonably be expected to carry in his or her personal space or mass allotment and that could be played in the zero- or low-gee environment that will comprise at least half of the expedition.

I’m hoping to work these and others up into a demo worthy of a residency at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire in late 2009.

Ambitious? You bet. But remember that I went from average Joe 185-hour ASEL IA to DC-3 type-rated in a little over a month and am nothing if not driven. The application deadline is April 15, 2009, so I have some time, but I really need to nail both the composition and performance. If you happen to be a luminary in the art world and would be willing to be a reference for my MacDowell application, please contact me at and we can talk more about the project and why and how I intend to use the time at MacDowell to create something really special.

In the meantime, watch the short video, MacDowell Moments at to find out why I’m so excited about this possibility.

Here are the three arrangements that appeared in the DC-3 episode.

Mandolin and Xaphoon:

12-String Guitar:

Mandolin, Xaphoon, 12-String Guitar, and Ashbory Bass:


Behind the Scenes with Pilot and Audio Ace Scott Cannizzaro

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A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Scott Cannizzaro. He’s a pilot, an Airspeed listener, and an audio professional at The Soundtrack Group in New York. Scott offered to take some of the Airspeed music and work it up, which is to say take it into the studio, remix it, pinch a little here, poke a little there, and see what he could do with it.

So I went back to my ADAT session tape, extracted the individual tracks (four drum tracks and one each of guitar, mandolin, and bass) in .wav form, dropped them into a .zip file, and sent them off to Scott.

A few weeks later, when I opened the files that he sent, I broke the space bar on my laptop because my chin hit it so hard. Scott took some well-intentioned recordings with passable (but not brilliant) performances, and turned them into something you might find as a theme for a prime time TV show.

I usually don’t like to talk about administrative or housekeeping stuff on the show. After all, people tune in to hear about airplanes and aviation. But I was so impressed that I thought the audience might enjoy it if I had Scott on and devoted an episode to the process.

So here’s the conversation with Scott. I’ve included all of the basic tracks and even put the new intro, its entirety, at the end of the episode. You can hear us discuss what Scott did with each of the elements (including tossing out the drums) and understand how it evolved in Scott’s capable hands.

Scott’s contact of information appears below. Thanks, Scott!

Scott Cannizzaro
The Soundtrack Group
936 Broadway
New York, NY 10010
212 420 6010

The Lake Parker Arrival

Subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your favorite other podcatcher. Or listen online right here by clicking: It’s all free!

Very much in the mood for an air show this week. Only a few weeks until Sun ‘N Fun down in Lakeland. I leave tomorrow to go see Greg Summer of The Student Pilot Journal in Titusville near Kennedy Space Center and then go play some golf with my brother and my dad on Jekyll Island in Georgia. But it won’t be an airshow.

I now have almost 30 outtakes from my checkride all set to go and the commentary is about a third of the way written, but my voice is still shot, thereby making a new episode a little difficult to cut just now.

So I sat down this weekend and recorded a little meditation I’m calling The Lake Parker Arrival. It’s me on 12-string guitar, six-string guitar, and mandolin. I tried laying down a little Ashbory bass, but I think it muddied the mix, so I left it out. Kind of like Ben Folds leaving the string section off Give Judy My Notice. Actually, nothing like Ben Folds, but you get the idea.

Anyway, there’s a link to the file here: Please feel free to listen to it and pass it around for noncommercial purposes or use it at any airshow for which you happen to need music. Just give me credit.

I’ll be back online soon with an update for preparations for the Battle Creek air show and, as soon as my voice comes back, I’ll record the checkride episodes. In the meantime, it’s time for a little R&R with the family.

Tray tables and seat backs!