Tuesday, December 22, 2009

EAA Chapter 1476

I have been part of an EAA chapter for several months now. It has been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made and don't know what took me so long. I've been able to connect with some of the brightest, most knowledgeable and generous aviators people that I've ever met. They have flown me all over the place, taken me to breakfast, paid for my breakfast (thank you Mike), given me advice, shared their war stories and much more. I am very lucky to be surrounded with such great people and I'm not sure if there's a place anywhere else where I can find people like the people at EAA chapter 1476.

Here are some photos and videos of some of the flying I'm lucky to be a part of:

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Training Situation Figured Out

As of last post, I had no idea where I was going to get training so I would have the skills and confidence to fly my Pterodactyl . I have spent many painstaking hours sorting this out in my brain and I've finally come to my conclusion. Since I would like to be a full, FAA approved Certified Flight Instructor (and possibly a CFII), why not start training towards my private pilot rating? My plan before this decision was to get this training once I was in college. I realize that I'll have more work and more distractions in college, so why make things any more difficult for myself.

Obviously, there is a HUGE difference between a four seat, 1,620 lb, enclosed cockpit, 160 hp, Cessna 172 and a single seat, 200 lb, open cockpit, 30 hp, Pterodactyl Ascender II. I will not be one of those general aviation folks who believes that ultralights are toy airplanes compared to their Cessnas so they automatically have the skills to fly them. That is a mindset which has killed and continues to kill many and I would like to stay alive longer so I'll have even more time to fly.

I was concerned a while back about the FAA's decision to essentially end all training in ultralight-like, experimental light sport aircraft. Since then, the Experimental Aircraft Association has worked with the FAA to establish a set of guidelines so that training in these types of aircraft can continue. I will definitely will need to get some sort of transition training so I'll have the skills to fly my low inertia, light wing loading, high performance ultralight. Because of the EAA/FAA arrangements, I'm not worried about finding a safe place to get instruction. For now, Rainbow Aviation (the same folks who have written "A Professional Approach to Ultralights") appears to be the place for me to get my transition training.

If in the unlikely event that I can't find a place to get instruction, I'll find or make a friend with the right equipment and go flying with them. If even that doesn't work out, I'll have to revert back to the way people learned how to fly ultralights in the 1980's and self teach myself. Jack McCornack, the man who designed the Pterodactyl line of aircraft wrote a self training guide and amazingly, those who actually followed the guide step by step had very little problems.

Some people have told me to simply follow the self training guide and not worry about getting training in a dual seat machine but I will learn to fly my Pterodactyl in the most comfortable way that I see fit. I'm all about flying safely so I can continue flying for years and years to come.