Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stuck Mic AvCast Recording Live Tonight

If you can't wait to hear episode 10 of the Stuck Mic AvCast, feel free to listen behind the scenes as we record it tonight live!  Click here to listen around 7pm!

Victoria hasn't flown in a few weeks you say?  Yes, but don't worry.  I'll be taking care of that soon and will report back to you promptly.  In the meantime, enjoy all my filler :o)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bob's Anywhere Map Video Review on The Pilot Report!

My crazy boyfriend is at it again...taking over other people's blogs!  
Here he is with the Anywhere Map video review aside Len Costa of The Pilot Report!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene @ KFDK

There was a lot of hype about Hurricane Irene around Frederick, but now everyone is joking and calling it "The Big Sprinkle".  It rained, it was a bit windy.  Not too exciting.  Great excuse to throw a hurricane party, though!

The peak wind last night at KFDK was 22 knots gusting to 36.  Some friends and I were at the deserted airport early in the afternoon to tuck away the balloon and trailer in with the airplane just in case.  We did it just in time!  It started pouring right before we started to close the hangar doors.

KFDK 280627Z 36022G36KT 5SM -RA SCT024 BKN035 OVC080 22/19 A2927

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Ok, I'm sure everyone is blogging about the hurricane, so I won't repeat anything here.  BUT!  I will admit I was being geeky and checked out the METARS.  Wow:

KHSE 271232Z AUTO 13048G74KT 1/2SM -RA FG BKN010 OVC015 27/25 A2885

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pilot Toasts

Here is a collection of some fun aviation related toasts.  Like or dislike? Want to share more?  Comment below!


The clouds may float across the sky,
The bee may kiss the butterfly,
The sparkling wine may kiss the glass, and you my friend . . .
Here's to the wine,
Here's to the glass,
Here's to the girl with the pretty . . .

All roads have wires,

All women have desires,
And all pilot's are liars
Here's to me in my sober mood
when I ramble, sit, and think;
Here's to me in my drunken mood . . .
when I gamble, sin, and drink.
But when my flying days are over
and from this world I pass,
I hope they bury me upside down
so the world can kiss my ass!
The winds have welcomed you with softness 
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands 
You have flown so high and so well 
That God has joined you in your laughter 
and set you gently back into the loving arms of mother earth.
In days gone by, I’ve proved my worth
By zooming low across the earth.
I’ve buzzed the valleys and the mountain ridges,
I’ve dove my craft beneath the bridges.
I’ve looped and spun and rolled my wings,
I’ve sung the songs that pilots sing.
I’ve tried most stunts, it must be said,
Yet never learnt to use my head.
So here’s a toast - To you and me!
But you drink both, I’m dead...you see.

Monday, August 22, 2011

They were doing what they loved

It feels like it has been such a bad year for airshow performers. Prayers to the friends and family of the recently departed.

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief  

It was a tragic weekend for air shows as three fatal accidents occurred, killing a wingwalker and solo aerobatics performer in the U.S. and a member of the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows at a show in England. On Sunday, wingwalker Todd Green was trying to perform his signature transfer from a wing to the skid of a helicopter when he fell about 200 feet to his death at the Selfridge Air Show near Detroit. By tragic coincidence, Kyle Franklin, whose wingwalking wife Amanda died of burns suffered in a March crash in Texas, was performing in his first air show since his wife's death and witnessed the accident. "It's really tragic," Franklin told reporters. "We are not thrill seekers trying to cheat death. We love what we do. We all know the risks involved." On Saturday, Red Arrows pilot Flt. Lt. Jon Egging died after a low-level ejection in his Hawk aircraft at the Bournemouth Air Show and Bryan Jensen was killed when his highly modified Pitts Special, called The Beast, crashed on the field at the Kansas City Aviation Expo Air Show.

Egging was in formation with the Red Arrows when he split from the others and called a Mayday. Witnesses said he maneuvered the small jet trainer away from populated areas. His body was found face down in a river, not far from the wreckage of his aircraft. His wife and other members of his family attended the air show. Egging is being hailed as a hero. Jensen, a Delta Airlines 747 pilot, had been performing in air shows for 15 years. The aircraft, which had a modified Russian radial engine boosted to 412 horsepower, impacted vertically and caught fire.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

R is for Rainbows!

Bob and I flew to Michigan Friday night for a wedding and a memorial.  Our flight home tonight felt like we were Moses parting the sea, or in this case the storms.  There were storms all around us, but scattered well enough that we traveled through clear skies between them no problem.  The highlight of the flight were the many rainbows we saw coloring the clouds around us.

Life is like a rainbow.  You need both the sun and rain to make its colors appear.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog by Bob: ELTs and PLBs

In Episode 7 of the Stuck Mic AvCast we were discussing that many pilots may ditch an aircraft properly, but it's what happens after the ditch that could cost a pilot his or her life.  I thought (but didn't get a chance to discuss) how helpful a PLB could be in this situation.  Bob and I began to discus this after recording and he thought it would make an excellent topic for the podcast.  He did some research for me (said he could he my producer-I'm game) and came up with some great information.  However, I was not about to take all the credit.  Bob is very smart and has some great opinions that I think others would be interested in reading; but doesn't believe he could provide something regular enough to start a blog.  He already has a guest post on The Pilot Report, so I figured I'd give him his second debut here and let him post when I don't have any to say!  I am plotting to see if I can get him to guest post about once a month to shake things up on here.  So here you go: ELTs and PLBs brought to you by Bob:

Per the FARs, all planes must be equipped with an ELT, although many pilots don't realize SARSAT (the Search and Rescue Satellite) network no longer monitors the beacon from "old" 121.5MHz ELTs.  The only way to get rescued using a 121.5 ELT is if a passing plane monitoring guard hears it and reports it.  Dependong on how high that plane is, it could be a very large possible search area.  An airline at 39,000 feet reporting a ELT beacon would have a search area over 600 sq. miles.   Next, a search plane is dispatched, usually Civil Air Patrol flying a Cessna 182 equipped with Directional Finding (DF) equipment.  If they are able to narrow down your position, CAP ground search teams with handheld DF equipment heads out to try and find you.  Most of the time they can't find it, or the signal fades before they do.   Unless its a confirmed crash, they usually stop before dispatching ground teams.

While 121.5 MHz ELT's are still legal, many pilots who fly cross country choose to install the modern replacement, a 406 MHz ELT.  A 406 also transmits on 121.5, but there are many differences.  406 is the only beacon monitored by satellite now, and a basic system gives a position accurate to 1-3 miles, which gives a search area of 25 sq miles, much better than when 121.5 was monitored by satellite.  Civil Air Patrol SAR planes will still look for the beacon, but they start with a much smaller area.   Some 406 ELTs have a GPS interface (or built in GPS) and transmit those coordinates with the beacon signal, giving a position accurate within 300 feet, all but eliminating the need for "search" in "search and rescue".   Unlike 121.5, which is totally anonymous, a 406 ELT is registered to a specific owner, and the owner must keep a government-run database up to date with contact info, so as soon as an ELT is triggered, the command center knows who it belongs to and their phone numbers, since a majority of beacons are false alarms and under the old system a lot of time and money was wasted searching for beacons coming from the back of a mail truck (when they were shipped without removing the battery) or one that went off after a hard landing.  In fact at the Oshkosh fly-in, its not uncommon to see CAP cadets walking around with DF antennas searching the aircraft campgrounds for a rogue ELT.

While a 406 ELT with GPS can cost over $2500 (plus install) many pilots choose to carry a cell-phone sized PLB, or Personal Locator Beacon on board their aircraft.  Designed for backcountry hikers, hunters, boaters, etc. almost all PLBs have built-in GPS and are built to military specifications for water, dust and vibration.  Most even float.  A PLB is not a legal replacement for an ELT, so you can't remove your old ELT if you choose to carry a PLB, but with most units under $300 its a more affordable option to get the enhanced SAR capability of 406.  There are some other advantages to a portable beacon, such as if a plane lands in water or burns after a crash landing, the pilot can carry the PLB out and trigger it from a safe distance, as the hard-wired ELT would be destroyed.   A downside is a PLB is manually activated, not shock activated, like an ELT, so if a pilot is unconscious after a crash, a PLB would not be helpful.  If money allows, carrying both a PLB and 406 ELT gives the best of both worlds.

The FAA does not currently mandate 406 ELTs, although there is talk in Canada and Mexico of requiring them, although those mandates keep being pushed back and are at a minimum currently 2 years away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Redheaded Aviatrices Meet!

Briana, Me and Katja
I have been talking with the lovely Katja for several months now, especially for when she was working on her senior aviation project.  You can read more about her amazing work on this project, which promoted aviation to women, here.  I have been trying to make it up her way to meet with her and congratulate her in person on earning her private pilot certificate for awhile now, but it never was able to work out.  As luck would have it, Katja, her sister, and her mother would be passing through the area on their way to bring Katja to college.  So they stopped by and we spent the evening having Bob take the girls up for rides in the Glasair to experience a new type of airplane and sharing aviation stories, advice, and support.  Katja has a great future ahead of her and I wish her the best of luck in college and her future aviation career! 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stuck Mic is Recording LIVE

LIVE NOW (Broadcasting live at )

Episode 7 of the Stuck Mic AvCast is out!

"Here it is – Episode #7 of the Stuck Mic AvCast! My gosh we’re having soooo much fun recording and sharing these podcasts with you all. Today’s episode has some particularly great gold nuggets of information and some pretty hilarious moments of tomfoolery, too. So get started!"

Saturday, August 13, 2011

$100 Hamburger - Ocean City, NJ

Friday I had a craving for food, beach and most of all, flight!  It was time to take the company Cessna for a $100 Hamburger.  I left work early, met Bob at home, and we headed to the airport.  It had been awhile since I had been to Ocean City, NJ (26N) and last time it was in the Glasair, so it seemed a good choice being only 120nm away.  It took us about an hour and 15 minutes, routing around the Class B airspace of Baltimore and avoiding a restricted area.  While enroute, I attempted to learn more about using the Garmin 480 and we took some great pictures of the rivers and a nursery below us.

Right traffic is standard at 26N and we were joined by two other Cessnas in the pattern.  One was behind us and entered downwind as we turned base.  Another kept us on our toes.  It announced base quite awhile before I turned my base, figuring it was on final by then and didn't announce it.  Just a bit later it announced it was on final while I was on short final.  As we communicated to be clear of where he was I held my altitude so as not to come down upon him.  In a conversation we had after landing, it turns out he likes to fly a wide pattern and had about a two mile final when he made the call.  When it was obvious that all was safe I had just chopped and dropped to the runway and was pretty impressed with my landing job after not having flown this particular 172 in a few months.

Ocean City, NJ makes a great day trip to the beach if you are a pilot in the DC area.  When you leave the airport, take a left and walk down the road until you see an empty lot.  At the empty lot turn right and keep walking until you hit the beach, it should be about a five minute walk.  It will lead you to a residential area where things aren't as crowded.  Today, however, it was due to summer coming to a close for school kids.  It was also crowded with many jelly fish that had washed ashore.  I stepped on one, it was a pretty disgusting feeling that my big toe has yet to recover from :o)

If you wished to head to the boardwalk area, keep walking towards a big pink building and a pier that you'll see in the distance; it's about a 20 minute walk.  It was 8:00pm by the time we arrived at the boardwalk and found a place we wanted to eat.  Just off the boardwalk, behind the Midway pier with the carnival rides sits the Flanders Hotel.  It was an absolutely gorgeous hotel that is listed on the National Register of Historic places.  Inside was a great little restaurant called Emily's Ocean Room Cafe.  It was very romantic with classic music playing and freshly grilled bread dipped in olive oil.  I had a chicken, roasted pepper and spinach dish that I finished every last piece on my plate, a rarity for me! 

We took the boardwalk as far down the shore as we could go on our way back to the airport all the while admiring the beautiful beach houses and picking out which one would be "ours" one day.

The flight home was smooth, the moon shone very brightly and left some eerie shadows on the rivers below us and on landing.  We watched airlines arrive into Baltimore and could see Frederick's strobe at just over twenty miles out.  I was in perfect line for a straight in final and lined up for just that.  However, when we got closer to the airport we realized I had lined up on the wrong side!  They had moved the beacon since the last time we flew!  It was quite a fun night and a quarter to midnight about the time we pushed the 172 back in the hangar and scrubbed off some of the bugs. 

It was a good evening that satisfied my craving for food, beach and most of all, flight!  For pictures of past and present pictures from Ocean City, click here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Retinal Specialist Visit Part 2

Todo es beuno!
Alles es gut!
Tout es bon!
Sve je dobro!
Lahat ay mahusay na!
All is good!

Yes, no matter what language I announce it in, my eyes continue to do great.  The laser surgery is still holding the detachment and the liquid that had pooled there is being reabsorbed by my eyes.  There doesn't seem to be an problems in my immediate future, although, twice yearly check-ups are still needed.  I also received some amazing news, I can take to the skies doing aerobatics once again!  The G's that we pull should have no effect on my eyes.  I am thrilled and feel fully blessed to say the least.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Retinal Specialist Visit Part 1

Well, my aviation medical certificate is about to expire!  Time to hop over to the retinal specialist once again to have a plethora of forms filled out before I can head over to the AME.  Yesterday I had a visual field test, which tests how well your peripheral vision is.  I feel like I did ok, yet my visits to the specialist always make me nervous and worried that I will hear bad news again.  The doctors say I have nothing to fear, however, and I just have yearly checkups now which I will schedule to coincide with my aviation medical exam.  I will get the results Thursday when I go in to get my eyes dilated and a more in depth retinal exam performed.  Wish me luck!

Interested in hearing more about the field vision test?  I blogged about it last year, read it here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

OSH '11 Pictures are Up!

Oopsies!  Forgot to tell you they were all online for your viewing pleasure!
Check 'em out here!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

They told me I couldn't

A year ago yesterday the doctor told me I had a retinal detachment.
A year ago he told me I wouldn't be able to get my aviation medical.
Today I tell him that it doesn't matter.
Today I tell him that I did.

Never underestimate the power of one's dreams.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Visit to the International Women's Air & Space Museum

The reason I wanted to stop at Burke Lakefront airport on our trip home from upper Michigan was not just for a convenient $100 Hamburger, but because the International Women's Air & Space Museum is based out of the terminal.  

Mercury program display
The terminal was just a short walk from Landmark Aviation where we had parked, but the museum was not easy to see at first.  We walked into a front office area and the told us that we just go down the hall and there it would be.  We went through an area of hallway under construction and then the building opened to a large room.  I admit I was very disappointed in the museum at first.  I saw a few nicely put together displays with pictures and information but not much else.  It looked like it was just a picture of a female pilot...then lots of reading.  The place was absolutely deserted as well save a cleaning lady (mind you it was 1pm on a Monday afternoon).

However, once I began reading it was actually pretty interesting.  They have an exhibit open until November about women and NASA.  It first began with women in the Mercury missions, which I was unaware women were involved (their program eventually got cut, surprise, surprise).  Other sections included notable female pilots from Ohio,  and an area dedicated to Katherine Wright which featured some of her memorabilia to include a dress which she wore to meet the president at the White House.

As we went further and further into the museum it became more interesting; now there was stuff for me to touch and play with!  They had a console that would have been used at NASA in the early years and some other hands on activities.  There was a Smith Mini biplane on display as well as two early flight simulators.

Flight simulator
Years ago, BKL must have had commercial flights because this was all based in what looked like an old terminal.  Gate numbers were still written above doors and waiting area chairs were stacked near the walls.  All in all, for what it was and to spend a quick hour stretching your legs on a flight, it was a decent museum giving us ladies props (Haha! No pun intended!).

For more pictures of our flight in to BKL and the museum, check out the gallery here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

$100 Hamburger - Inn at the Barrister's

On final at BKL - Cleveland on the left, Lake Erie on the right
 The flight home from upper Michigan had a nice tailwind and our total flight time was around four hours.  We decided to stop at Burke Lakefront (KBKL) in Cleveland, OH to stretch our legs and break the trip up.  Of course this meant that it was a perfect opportunity to experience another $100 Hamburger!  

The flight in was beautiful and clear.  I flew left seat and we did not experience any weather until we got near Detroit airspace.   Clouds started billowing everywhere around us and a storm was holding over Lake Erie, very close to BKL.  They were reporting clear skies though and we ventured closer.  On downwind for runway 24L the lightening bolts from the storm just miles away could be seen, we kept our base in tight and landed without a problem.

Where I've flown for food!
I had originally planned to visit Hornblower's restaurant which was right next to the airport, however, we learned upon landing that it has been closed for several years now.  Major sad face to that because the restaurant was based on an old barge and afterwords no other place seemed cooler than that!

Landmark Aviation offered a free shuttle to us to eat where we wanted in the surrounding area, they highly recommended Karl's Inn at the Barristers.  We, along with four corporate pilots got in to their air conditioned (it was sooo humid) van to enjoy some sandwiches.  The restaurant had Cleveland memorabilia on the walls and had great service.  They are known for their corned beef sandwiches and let me tell ya, they are huge!

I rated it three stars on my Yelp $100 Hamburger list and was happy to find another fly-to meal, which Cleveland has plenty to offer.  For more on my recent $100 Hamburgers check out the tab above.  Looking at the map on of the ones I have reviewed, it looks like I need to start moving westward!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flying to God's Country - KCMX

I was bummed that it was time to leave Oshkosh, there was so much more I wanted to do and see, however, our trip wasn't over yet!  I've written in this blog in the past about one of my favorite destinations: Grandma's house!  My grandparents are unique in the fact that when they retired, they headed north instead of south.  So far north  in upper Michigan did they head that the Houghton County Memorial Airport (KCMX) is the northernmost public (not sure about small private strips) airport in the state.  They actually have two small regional jets fly out of there daily.  Other than a few general aviation planes it is a pretty quiet airport.  Fuel is from a pump, but is not self serve.  Everyone has always been very friendly to us there and have let family picking us up drive on to the ramp to load up the car.
With vast miles of rocky beaches and untouched wilderness there is no question why locals and tourists alike call the Keweenaw Peninsula "God's Country".  In the 1920's Henry Ford was quoted saying that Upper Michigan "-- is one of the prettiest places in the world."  It is the perfect place to get away from every day things (no internet!  no cell service!) and just relax and forget all of your worries.  The house was full and we camped outside on the deck (hopefully away from the bears!) falling asleep to the rushing waves of Lake Superior each night. In the summer it stays light until pretty late up there and once start seeing millions of stars in the sky, you cannot stop looking!
Flying to Houghton from Oshkosh was an easy task, although we couldn't pick up flight following until about 70nm out to the fly-in.   Minneapolis handles a large portion of Wisconsin and the upper stretches of Michigan.  They can be very busy on other frequencies even though yours seems slow and silent.  We are always sure to be talking to ATC when on flights here because airports are few and far in between, as well are suitable landing places due to the immense forests and the Great Lakes that surround Michigan.  We watched the sun set and lost an hour on the flight.  There was a small layer of clouds that blocked the sun and caused it to shine through holes, causing beams of light to shine down and create interesting shadows. 

For more pictures of one of the most stunning places on Earth, check out the gallery!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Stuck Mic Episode 6 is out!

Yes, I am back from our week-long aviation craziness which ended with a relaxing (well, as relaxing as it can get with tons of family all in one place!) weekend in upper Michigan.  I have a new $100 hamburger to review, an women's aviation museum to tell you about, as well as to post a more complete set AirVenture pictures you have been waiting for!  But not tonight, I'm going to bed right after I tell you that...

Episode 6 of the Stuck Mic AvCast is out!  I haven't listened to it yet either, so help me out and do it for me...here!