Starting this week, six aviation bloggers will join forces to provide a series of powerful posts. Think of us as “blogging in formation” for the next six days. These daily posts will describe how the author came to be part of this amazing thing we call FLYING.
You don’t want to miss this. Tune in to the specific blog listed below on the appropriate date and you’ll be glad you did.
And if you like what you see, share it with your friends! #blogformation
Starting on Tuesday, May 7th is Karlene Petitt at Flight to Success
Next up on Wednesday, May 8th we have Eric Auxier of Adventures of Cap’n Aux
On Thursday, May 9th Ron Rapp tells his story at Rapp.org
Friday, May 10th, it’ll be Dan Pimentel of describing the journey at Airplanista
And on Saturday, May 11th, we have Andrew Hartley of SmartFlightTraining
To end the series, Sunday, May 12th, we finish off with Brent Owens here at iflyblog.com
We really hope you enjoy this series and if you want to see more blogging en masse, please share it with your friends and leave us feedback.
Potential ideas for another future collaboration? Let’s hear them!
Blogging In Formation is a blog series where six aviation bloggers come together to deliver their personal message about how they were drawn to flight. Each author will create one post that tells their story during the weeklong campaign.
You can see their posts at:
- 05.07.13 Flight to Success – Karlene Petitt
- 05.08.13 Adventures of Cap’n Aux – Eric Auxier
- 05.09.13 House of Rapp – Ron Rapp
- 05.10.13 Airplanista – Dan Pimentel
- 05.11.13 Smart Flight Training – Andrew Hartley
- 05.12.13 iFLYblog – Brent Owens
The series runs the May 7th-12th, 2013
Habit 2 – Is an ambassador. Successful pilots are advocates for aviation. They look at it from a team perspective. We all win or lose together in this small community. With aviation under attack it is never more important than to be lobbying for our cause.
Habit 3 – Always thinking ahead. This is just good airmanship, but knowing how to see the way forward is hugely important. At a macro level this involves seeing where you’ll be in 10 years as an aviator or at the micro level, it’s staying ahead of the airplane in a given maneuver or procedure.
Habit 4 – Doesn’t let the ego get out of control. As a pilot It’s good to have a healthy ego. This business of flying airplanes isn’t for the meek. But there are all kinds of problems associated with an over-inflated ego. It’s a balance that isn’t always easy to manage for some of us, but the best aviators have this dialed in.
Habit 5 – Values safety and manages risk. Successful pilots must respect the need to be safe. Risk management is a large part of what we do as pilots, the good ones give it the appropriate amount of attention. The bad ones just create more statistics and make it hard for the rest of us. Continue reading
What General Aviation Needs: 8 not-so-easy solutions to GA’s woes
When you look across the landscape of General Aviation it becomes apparent that there are some challenges.
I took the liberty of writing down a short list of pain-points for you perusal (not in any specific order).
1. We need airplanes that are inexpensive to purchase and fly
In my opinion, this won’t happen until one key development is solidified – electric flight. If we can develop a 200 mph 4 seaters that can run on electrons, the cost of flying will go down exponentially. These electric birds also need to be less expensive to produce than our current dinosaur-burners.
First up, the President put user fees back on the table. $100 per turbine operation. This may seem benign to you; those turbine guys can afford it right?
How To Be a Pilot – FREE Poster (Share this with your non-flying friends)
As another tool to help aspiring aviators, I have developed a poster that represents a simplified process for how to get licensed as a Private Pilot. It’s generic in nature, but hopefully it will add value to someone that is out on the fringe and wondering how to be a pilot.
Since most of you visiting this site are already licensed, may I suggest that you download the poster and pass it along to anyone you know that may be remotely interested in our great avocation.
Or better yet, send them directly to this website and have them download it and sign up for the weekly newsletter – can’t hurt right?
It’s all about promoting aviation and there are enough detractors out there that every little bit helps.
If you are unsure of someone that could use it, take advantage of the social media buttons below to share this with your friends, family, and acquiantances. You never know who is thinking hard about flying and just needs a little nudge.
All you have to do to get the full size .pdf is go to the Aviation Resources page and scroll down to the link. It will have you sign up for the weekly newsletter, but you can unsubscribe at any time, or use this direct link here.
The best part is the How To Be a Pilot poster is totally free.
It is rare that I recycle stories in the blog, but I wanted to share this great little piece written by Kelly Yamanouchi of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Especially with the ‘iffy’ press airline pilots have gotten after the movie Flight starting Denzel Washington. I could only wish to have such an illustrious career – you go Cal! I would love to meet you some day and shake your hand.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The sky has had a hold on Cal Flanigan ever since he was a boy growing up in Conyers.
In 1968 he took a job as a mechanic for Delta Air Lines. But he kept his focus skyward.
“I knew I wanted to fly,” Flanigan said.
After being drafted into the Army in 1969 for two years, he used the GI Bill and extra cash from his Delta wages to pay for pilot training at a time few other African-American pilots were flying airliners. By 1976, he grasped his piece of the sky when he became a first officer flying the DC-9 for Delta.
After 45 years at Atlanta-based Delta, including 37 as a pilot, Flanigan is finally returning to the ground to retire. He is turning 65 — the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots.
It caps off a flying career that included 25 years as a captain and a record eight years as the company’s most senior pilot.
The last act of his career was flying a Delta 777 widebody from Los Angeles to Atlanta on Friday. He was greeted with a water cannon salute for the plane and a celebration at the gate on Concourse E at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Pilots in uniform gathered to salute Flanigan from the ground as he sat in the cockpit, and a special ceremony at the gate commemorated his retirement.
Flanigan is “very humble — he epitomizes the principles of servant leadership,” said Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations, Steve Dickson, adding that the senior pilot has led others with diplomacy.
In a message to employees on Friday, Delta CEO Richard Anderson called Flanigan “a hero of mine at Delta…. a man of integrity and the epitome of the Delta culture.”
“We are honored that you have been part of the Delta family for so many years,” Anderson said.
As the longest serving pilot at Delta, Flanigan has watched the airline grow from a small Southern carrier to a global force.
“When I started, if you were to look at the route map, it was east of the Mississippi,” Flanigan said. “If you look at our system map now, it covers the world.”
Flanigan saw the company through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructuring. His work has included special assignments like piloting the delivery of a new long-range version of the 777 in 2008, when he told the AJC, “It’s such a pleasure to see the company on the rebound.” With the 777, “we’ll be able to reach parts of the world that we couldn’t have dreamt of before.”
He also piloted inaugural Delta flights to cities such as Dubai.
Flanigan, who still lives in Conyers, said he has “mixed emotions” about leaving the job he loves.
“It’s a career that has exceeded my wildest dreams,” he said. “I’ve been preparing myself mentally for the last year, knowing it’s coming and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”
In retirement Flanigan plans to keep his pilot license active and fly his own plane, as well as potentially pursuing other flying opportunities.
It will still be a big transition. At Delta, Flanigan has been senior flight instructor, line check airman and international chief pilot in Atlanta — and he never took a sick day in 45 years.
“My DNA always contained widgets,” Flanigan said, referring to the triangular Delta logo. “If you ever cut me, widgets are coming out.
By the numbers: Capt. Cal Flanigan’s flying career
- More than 26,000 flight hours
- About 12,500,000 miles flown
- Landed at 95 destinations on 6 continents
- Certified on 9 aircraft: DC-9, DC-8, MD-88, MD-11, Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, Boeing 727, 757, 767, 777
- 45 years with Delta
- 37 years as pilot
- 25 years as captain
Keeping with my latest theme of talking about why flying is such an awesome endeavor, I wrote this short article around a quote from a great aviator and author.
“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things…” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If you are unfamiliar with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, stay tuned as I’m reading one of his seminal works, Wind, Sand, and Stars and a review will be forthcoming.
I can’t think of a truer statement to make when it comes to flying. It is one of the ultimate release mechanisms; a way to shrug off your worries and focus 100% on the task at hand.
It may be truer now than when he uttered this in the first half of the last century. Our modern world is cluttered with distractions – we are completely bombarded. Personally, I have a bad habit of checking my phone about every :15, partly due to the nature of my job. This habit melts away when I’m in the cockpit. It’s all about taking care of business and enjoying the experience.
I have done many other things that distract me from the chatter in my brain and the outside world, things like motorcycles, running, and horseback riding; for me nothing has been able to hypnotize like flying. Maybe it’s the intensity? The hint of danger? The majestic view? The tactile experience? I’m not sure. All I know is when I take flight, my psyche changes, and for the better.
Interesting. What are we running away from? A lot of things in this day and age.
As an American I have felt the grip of being less free each year. More restrictions, more security theatre, more fear mongering by the media, and less financial freedom.
To be able to rise above all this is truly a gift; is there no better freedom than to free your mind?
Go back to the top and re-read the quote.
Does flying lack value? In talking to a pilot friend I hadn’t seen in a while, the topic of flying came up, of course.
He mentioned he wasn’t flying and wanted to buy an airplane, but didn’t want anything he could afford. His tastes were beyond his budget and he would rather go without than comprise.
In this particular case we have a fully rated, experienced pilot that isn’t flying at all. So is it really about owning the right airplane or something else? He has access to a wide range of nice rentals in our area. Certainly renting would be far cheaper for him than owning.
Our conversation was cut short before I could probe further, that’s unfortunate because I’m really intrigued by this mentality. I wonder, how common is this line of thinking?
I could be judgmental and say he simply lacks passion or imagination and that may be true, but I feel like there’s something larger at play here; more like a general perceived lack of value in flying..
In today’s world there are so many interests competing for our time that it begs the question; does flying provide enough value to justify the time and money?
This is one if the reasons more socially connected pilot communities flourish, belonging provides the additional value-add that tips the scales.
Want to fix the pilot problem? We have to build local communities of pilots where everyone feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves. You might have heard me harp about this in previous posts, but it’s still true and conversations like this reminds me that we are not growing as an industry.
I honestly believe this would fix my friend’s problem of choosing not to fly. The good news is there are several people working on ‘plug-and-play’ local organizations/clubs to do just that - AOPA and Aviation Access are two that are working this actively . The EAA long ago recognized this and their successful chapter network has kept a lot of folks flying over the years. (See related article here)
It won’t be an easy task, but there are some really large untapped markets out there ripe for this kind of nudge in the right direction. Once it gets started, it can be self-sustaining – the old adage, “a crowd draws a crowd” fits here.
Does flying lack value for you?
How To Be a Pilot ebook: update #1
I’m still cranking away at the ebook on how to be a pilot. It has been fun so far. Because it’s an ebook there’s an immense amount of flexibility, which really allows you to be as creative as you want. Plus it will let me distribute it for free – something that was impossible before the internet.
I am focusing on the basics, but I also want to incorporate some of the nuances that they don’t tell you about in the mainstream ‘learn to fly’ publications. All this and keeping it at a readable length will be a challenge.
I have five out of nine chapters in rough draft, emphasis on rough, and some of the template and artwork are done. My goal is to have it completed within the next six months, but we’ll see.
Because I’m not plugged into the Sport Pilot world, I will be reaching out to some of my friends who have experience in that area for help.
Overall, I hope it adds value to the newcomer and I hope you will share it.