Glider Rating – Part 2 – 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!

This is the second part of a two-part series covering my glider rating. To bring you up to speed, in March of this year, I began training in the TG-7A motorglider to add a glider rating. In May, I soloed the aircraft for the first time. Part 1 covered events up through the solo. On to Part 2.

After the solo, things move more quickly. You’ve proven that you can operate the aircraft without the instructor aboard. Or at least that you’re so lucky that you don’t need the instructor. Same result.

Now it’s all about the checkride. It’s not as though you haven’t been preparing for the checkride since your very first flight. But now is when you think about it a lot more.

I bought Bob Wander’s commercial checkride guide. I borrowed some of John’s Harte’s materials. I looked (briefly) for commercial glider knowledge test prep software or online courses, but that was futile. I can perhaps forgive Gleim and the other test prep companies for not having a course tailored for commercial glider guys. We can’t be much of a market. So I paid for Gleim’s regular airplane commercial pilot ground school. It’s geared toward airplane pilots, but the regulatory review was bound to be helpful and I’ll probably go after the commercial for ASEL and AMEL soon anyway.

John and I started hitting the training once a week or so, usually first thing in the morning at the crack of dawn. Sunrise was coming earlier and earlier and we made it a point to turn the prop as soon after sunrise as possible on each of those flights. Mostly, we explored other parts of the glider PTS. We did stalls and slow flight and went looking for crosswinds to work on that technique. [Read more...]

Deadly’s First Flight

Last month, I took Deadly up on her first GA flight.  I wrote it up at AOPA’s Let’s go Flying blog and posted some of the stills on Facebook.  But, if the flight had a primary media goal, it was to put together a video.

I really wanted to use Enya’s piece, Storms in Africa, as the music, but (a) I’m a lawyer who works a lot with copyright and wasn’t about to just use the piece without permission and (b) the licensing landscape is so broken that it’s usually not possible to get a one-off license.  Congrats, music industry.  That would have been a quick and easy $200 or $300 for you that I would gladly have paid.

The good thing, though, is that YouTube has an arrangement with some labels that allows use of the music in YouTube videos and pays the artist/label/publisher a cut of the ad revenue.  YouTube automatically identifies the song and runs the ads.  So I get my chance to use the Enya Tube, but it has to be hosted on YouTube.  In the end, I guess that’s a plus.

I’m pretty pleased with the video.  Deadly seems to like it, too.  A great morning for dad and daughter.

And, yeah, she got stick time.


Return from Rogers City (as an Airshow Pilot!)

It’s been a big, big weekend in Airspeed’s world.  It’s going to take a while to write and record the episode that covers it, but that’s because I need to take some time to make the episode as epic as the weekend was.

Long story short, I took things to a new level this weekend.  On Friday, I climbed into a TG-7A motorglider, flew to Rogers City, Michigan (KPZQ) in a two-ship formation, flew in my very first airshow as a performer, and came back in a three-ship formation.

I first started covering airshows from the fence along the crowd line seven years ago.  Over time, I’ve worked my way onto the performer area, then inside the box on the hot ramp, then out to show center with the pyro guys.  The only place that I had not been was up in the actual box in front of the crowd.

I had no idea in March of this year that I’d be flying motorgliders.  Or that I’d become reasonably good at it.  Or that I’d upgrade my certificate to commercial pilot in the process.  Or that I’d find myself spending time in formation with up to two other aircraft.  Or that, on Saturday, I’d be in that last frontier of the airshow fan: Actually in the box in an aircraft flying a demo for the crowd down below.

It’s been an epic weekend by any standard.  This is way, way beyond any expectation that I might have harbored just a few months ago.

I still have a lot of work to do.  I need to get a lot tighter and a lot more precise in my formation flying.  I need to develop even better situational awareness for those shows where the box isn’t over water with a definite shoreline to use as a reference.  But I’m part of a great team with really cool aircraft and – even if only in a very minor way – I’m now a part of that rarified community that flies aircraft in the box in front of airshow crowds.

My weekend.  Your weekend.  And a lot of my other weekends.  You know the drill.


Glider Rating – Part 1 – 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!

If there’s a 350-hour private pilot out there who has a more diverse logbook than I do, my hat’s off to him or her.  I have everything from Cessna 152s to a DC-3 to the mighty F-16D in my logbook and my certificate reads ASEL, AMEL, and ASES, among other things.  I’ve flown for everything from lunch to competition aerobatics.

The key for me is experiencing the broadest possible swath of what aviation offers.

Coming up on three years ago, I got a ride with Mark Grant in a Schweizer SGM 2-37 motor glider.  The aircraft is one of three operated by the Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club, headquartered at Detroit City Airport.  It’s a beautiful yellow longwing bird and the ride was a lot of fun.

I also met John Harte that weekend, who was flying one of the other club motor gliders and I got good footage of him in a gaggle climb.  John and I have since begun to share an aerobatic instructor and we both fly the Acro Camp Pitts at Berz Aviation at Ray Community Airport.

Fast forward to this spring, when John offered me a chance to go up in one of the aircraft for some giggles.  I climbed in and was surprised to find myself doing most of the flying.  It turns out that the whole thing was part of an evil plot on John’s part to addict me to flying longwing aircraft. [Read more...]

FAST Formation Ground School

You’d have to have worked pretty hard this Sunday to beat my Sunday.  I kicked it off with the FAST formation ground school at Detroit City Airport (KDET).

The Formation and Safety Team (FAST) is a worldwide educational organization dedicated to teaching safe formation flying.  FAST is made up of 16 signatory organizations whose mission is to support education in the restoration, maintenance and flight of their members’ aircraft.  FAST does not itself promulgate standards that reach into the cockpits of the individual formation ships.  Signatory organizations take the core FAST materials and customize them to their aircraft-specific missions.

This specific session was hosted by the Tuskegee Airmen Glider Club, a club that operates three of the remaining nine Schweizer SGM 2-37 motorgliders, all surplus from the USAF Academy since 2003.  The club wants to be able to fly the gliders in formation in waivered airspace at airshows, which requires that the pilots have the appropriate FAST cards.  The ground school is the beginning of the process, so they hosted one. [Read more...]