Airspeed Hits a Million

Airspeed MillionAs Airspeed has swung into a higher operational tempo with the recent River Days airshow episodes, I’ve had more frequent occasion to be logged into Libsyn, uploading and managing the episodes. And a funny thing happened. The odometer on downloads passed 1,000,000.

Airspeed moved to Libsyn during the second year of the show’s production.  And many episodes are served through other providers, so the real number is likely larger.  And a million is really just an arbitrary number.  But a million is a million and deserves at least this modest note.

I realize that there are shows that get that kind of exposure in weeks or months. But that’s okay. Airspeed isn’t for everyone. The show goes really deep and follows the passions of those who love to fly fast, slow, and upside down and want to understand how it’s done.  And, based on the people who flag me down or comment on the show, it reaches the people I most want to reach. Influencers, thought leaders, and  dreamers.  I couldn’t ask for a better audience. I’m talking to the people about whom I most care.

Thanks for listening and watching. There’s more where that came from!


You Don’t Know Jack: Airspeed Completes the UCAP Trifecta – Audio Episode Show Notes

These are the show notes to an audio episode. You can listen to the show audio by clicking here:  Better yet, subscribe to Airspeed through iTunes or your other favorite podcatcher. It’s all free!

Even if your favorite show isn’t the Uncontrolled Airspace podcast, you probably subscribe and listen regularly.   In any case, most Airspeed subscribers also listen to UCAP.  I sure do.

We’ve had UCAP co-host Jeb Burnside talking about safety and Dave Higdon talking about aerial photography.  But it remained to have pilot, author, and UCAP producer and co-host Jack Hodgson on the show.

On UCAP, Jack spends much of his time eliciting reactions from co-hosts Jeb Burnside and Dave Higdon and directing the conversation.  I had always wondered what it might be like to give Jack a free hand to talk about stuff as a featured guest.  It’s not that Jeb or Dave crimp his style by any means.  They don’t.  But solo solo Jack is a different thing from UCAP Jack and I wanted to explore that.  So I called him up earlier this year and he agreed to jump on Skype and hold forth for an hour or two.

During the conversation, we talked about Jack’s flight training, airports, the pilot population, the aviation podsphere, and lots of other topics.  There’s something in this episode for everyone.

The episode crowds the two-hour mark, but that’s what the “pause” button on your media player is for.  Yeah, I could milk it for two episodes’ worth of download stats, but it’s better to have the whole thing right there, all in one place.

Please note that we recorded this in 24 May 2012 and it’s a little dated.  Several opportunities intervened this summer that caused me to delay production of several episodes of the show.  But better late than never.  Especially after you hear the episodes that result from the stuff that diverted my attention this summer.

Think you know Jack?  Listen in!


Father’s Day and DC-3 Writing

This is a regular blog post. Looking for show notes or audio? Check out the other posts.

Hanging out on the patio writing the DC-3 summary episode. Really want to get this right, but it’s taking a long time. About four hours of cockpit audio, some of which I’m hearing for the first time because I had the recorder plugged into where I would otherwise have been plugged in with a headset while I was running around in the back of the aircraft shooting pictures and making myself motion sick.

Got the audio montage from the restaurant done. James did a heck of a job on the impromptu DC-3 Blues. “Got that gear coming down . . . .” Yeah, James. I feel you, brother.

Cole’s last day of school was Friday. He’s a first-grader-elect now. And really excited about OSH. Ella gets increasingly self-sufficient every day.

Went to Soundscape Studios yesterday to check it out as a venue for recording vocals for the album project. Really nice little studio with good rates. Tim seems like a good guy. We’ll probably use the live room with baffles around us for some separation and deadening. Would do it at home, but I dare not let anyone see the basement and I don’t have the 30 hours it’d take to clean it to the point where I’d let another human see it down there.

Back to the writing. Thanks for your patience! The full DC-3 summary episode will be out soon. Hope to finish the writing today and record the commentary this week.

"Ask Capt Force" No. 1 – How Do You Record Cockpit Audio?

This is a regular blog post. Please browse the other entries if you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio.

Here’s the first in a series of answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs). This time: How do you capture cockpit audio?

I use the M-Audio MicroTrack 24/96 (the most recent model of which is available from Sweetwater Sound and other places). I select the 1/4″ input with low sensitivity and the levels cranked almost all the day down (to avoid overdriving). An attenuating cable would also work, but I just haven’t gotten around to finding the right one (which would involve a lot of experimentation and, as long as this setup works and it’s not hurting the MicroTrack, I’m good to go). I plug a 1/4″ guitar cable into the intercom in the back seat of the C-172s that I fly and plug the other end into the left side input of the MicroTrack. At the lowest setting (MP3 format, 44.1 KHz and 96 Mbps), I can get 4-5 hours of audio onto a 512MB CF card (well beyond the roughly 2.5-hour battery capacity of the unit if you don’t use external power). The MicroTrack has a mini-USB port, so you can get auxiliary power using lots of devices available on the net or at your local electronics store or drug store.

Frankly, any recording device will work if you can get the 1/4″ intercom to feed into the input of the device. But remember that there’s enough juice there to drive a headset, so you’ll need to turn the sensitivity way down or get an attenuating cable.

Charlie Thompson also has some good commentary in his February 14, 2008 blog post.

There’s a picture above of the MicroTrack (it’s at the lower right in the picture of the back seat of the airplane). There’s video equipment in the shot, too. I put a bullet camera on the dash and had the actual camcorder in the back seat, too. Haven’t done any video on the podcast and am unlikely to, but it was a cool experiment.

If you want to do video, check out The Student Pilot Journal and contact Greg Summers. He’s the best podcaster out there at recording his own cockpit experiences on video. And the audio quality is excellent. Probably better than my audio-only recordings. Will Hawkins of The Pilot’s Flight Podlog is an excellent videographer and editor and would be a great resource, but he doesn’t currently post video of himself in the cockpit.

The MicroTrack is also very useful outside the cockpit. Here, I’m interviewing USN LtCdr Craig Olson, the Opposing Solo of the USN Blue Angels on the ramp at Battle Creek.

And here I’m interviewing Viper East commander and F-16 demo pilot USAF Maj Jason Koltes at the same event.

Here’s a shot of my remote production setup. The MicroTrack plugs directly into the USB port of my laptop and acts just like any other outboard storage device, so I can bring the audio into Audacity and edit it right there at Starbucks. I had the interview with Maj Koltes posted within an hour of sitting down at Starbucks.

Hope all of this is helpful. Enjoy!