Some Interesting Statistics


As 2016 winds down, here are some fun stats. I do maintain a cooking blog, although my flying blog is my primary blog.

I have been blogging since 2001 in other sites such as yahoo, geocities and blogspot. I moved my blog to WordPress sometime in 2010 with 30 prior posts.

flynthings_stats2016

It wasn’t until some time in late 2012, that WordPress started to track visitor statistics. It wasn’t also unitl 2012-2013 that I increased the frequency of posts. So it is reasonable that as the frequency of posts increased, the number of views increased, steeply initially, more gradually this past year.

The top 5 countries from which the visitors viewed the posts, with the majority of them (~82% from USA):

USA
India
Canada
UK
France

Here are the top 5 posts/pages  that were visited in 2016:

Flying to the Bahamas in the C172The Bahamas
The Bahamas
Point-to-point Navigation
Indian Woman Pilots
$500 Vegeburger

2014 Year in Review


Can’t believe it is already end of December,  2014 sped by too quickly.

If 2013 was incredible, 2014 was even better.

I love to sneak in a flight on New Year’s Day when I can, which was rather easy to do back in California, but not always possible out east.

2014 is the exception during the last five years. Weather was gorgeous and Just like that I hopped on a plane and flew. January was also the time to prepare for the upcoming Bahamas flight and I got both, IFR and night current.

cat2February was all about the Bahamas. None had any misgivings about leaving behind the arctic chill and spending a few days in a Tropical Paradise! This year 9 airplanes and 22 people made it there, not without some misadventures with IMC conditions and bingo daylight operations. Only VFR operations are allowed at almost all the Bahamas airports. This year, I landed at 8 airports on 8 different islands.

exumas2March means Spring and Springing forward to longer days and warmer weather.  The weather last winter was confused and lost. First it was cold and then it was warm unable to decide what it wanted to be. Four days before the official arrival of Spring, it snowed. The arctic chill continued through most of March, delaying the Cherry Blossoms.

But bloom they did eventually!

cb4April is the time to put winter behind. Days are finally lengthening, Green is everywhere as the Earth rejuvenates and springs to life. This year, I made it to my first Sun ‘n Fun event. Almost lost control of the aircraft, flying low and very slow behind an even slower tailwheel. Fortunately all ended well. I also got the opportunity to visit DCA Tower. While I have attended several Class D airport towers, this was my first Class B airport tower visit. We even got to witness two honor flights from the catwalk!

dca2I was preoccupied with Loss of Control (LOC) in flight, i.e. since Sun and Fun, and coincidentally in May NTSB hosted a day of several seminars on the topic. Incidentally NTSB, FAA, AOPA, SAFE, and Aviation Safety have chosen LOC as the primary focus area for GA Safety. Currently LOC remains the chief reason for most GA accidents. May was also the month, we revisited the birthplace of Aviation: Kitty Hawk.

ffa12In June I decided to rejuvenate my love for tail wheel flying and started flying the Citabria at Potomac Airfield. The  Citabria is a fun aircraft to fly and Potomac Airfield, a neat little field tucked inside a residential neighborhood and inside the FRZ.  Flying tailwheel again and learning aerobatics is something I have thought about since I obtained my PPL.

goneflying1End of July and early August is always about Airventure and Oshkosh. It was fun to fly-in again spend more time at Oshkosh this year. This years fun ride was a  helicopter ride out of  Pioneer airport.

Womenventure2014It was in August, that several of us decided to get serious about the Virginia Ambassador Program with an aim to fly and land at most VA airports.September continued with more fun flying the Citabria, doing aerobatics and some really Grass landings!

homecoming1October, the weather messed us up again. I didn’t fly at all. We almost thought we would make it to Niagara, but failed, yet again. I volunteered for my first AOPA event. While we didn’t get a chance to fly, we drove and picked up four more stamps: 2 airports and 2 museums.

IMG_0643November was terrific! I flew both the tailwheel and with the group for more VA stamps. And finally took the plunge to start writing my first novel. I challenged myself to 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo and didn’t quite succeed, but still had a blast and hope to continue writing at my own pace till I finish, sometime in 2015.

panorama2We  have been having ups and downs with weather. December continued the roller coaster ride.  I made the trek to KSC for another rocket launch. I finally got my tailwheel sign-off, more stamps and finalized new goals for 2015 (not all flying)  and beyond!

Have a very Happy New Year and all the Best Wishes for 2015!

This and That


Winter is not yet here, but my flying attempts have been floundering lately. I planned, re-planned and hoped to succeed in organizing a Niagara Flyout this year, but failed yet again. Good thing we had a backup plan in place. We got to drive to several museums and core airports to collect stamps instead  in October.  Our plan to do more stamp collecting failed, yet again, in late October. Forecast called for high winds, and we decided to cancel. Although, several attended Chili Night at the airport for some hanger flying and firming up of plans for the upcoming Bahama Flyout.

d1

The Citabria, has been down for maintenance most of October, so I didn’t get to fly it much. It is finally online again, and I hope to get in some flying, before winter closes in. Travel, winds, weather and more, fingers crossed on this one!

goneflying1November and in fact the winter months seem to be a perfect time to strengthen my writing skills and work on my novel. There is much research work needed and much  work in  sharpening my writing skills, to achieve a reasonable work of fiction worth publishing. This is exciting, since I have thought about this often, but never taken action.

HeroesI didn’t fly in October although,  it is the one month, I typically plan some exotic flying destination.  My life revolves around Aviation. I literally think flying 16 hours of the day. Not all about my flying 🙂

I’ve been busy, and that is always excellent news.

We have another stamp collecting flight planned in November weather permitting. The days have gotten shorter and the weather unpredictable. Lately the weather (or forecast weather) has been off a lot, making it difficult to plan, and ultimately to execute our plans.

Have a good one!

NaNoWriMo


I’ve loved history, literature and philosophy since I was thirteen.

I was thirteen, when my English teacher praised the short story, I submitted, as part of my home work. That moment inspired me to consider writing. I was already fascinated to learn about histories of the world and the great leaders it produced. I’ve always been better with organizing my thoughts  with cohesion and  writing them down, as opposed, to verbally expressing them. Since then, on and off, I have dabbled with writing, but never with any seriousness.

The year I got my private pilot license, was the next trigger that propelled me towards writing – to record my flying adventures and write about my experiences. That was the year, that I officially started Fly ‘ n  Things.  That was the year, I started out as the Newsletter editor for the SLO99s.

Since then, I have contributed several articles in Newsletters, SLO99s Slipstream; Santa Clara Chapter 99s  Windsock; Southwest Section Newsletter Southwesterly; 99s Magazine; Aviatrix AerogramNo Map No Guide No Limits;  and even a brief stint as a free lance blogger for the very short-lived Forbes Wheels Up Blog.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) kicks off on November 1st. This year, I’ve decided to get serious, and to take my writing to the next level. I am committing myself to write 50,000 words towards my first novel(s) during NaNoWriMo. I have at least three very different books in mind. This is a terrific way, towards achieving one of my buckletlist items:  write a novel.

If not anything else it should be a lot of fun!

Six more to the list :-)


Virginia Aviation Ambassador Program

Although I heard about the VA Aviation Ambassador Program 2-3 years ago and got started on it, I haven’t been diligent about carrying my book and collecting the stamps.

A few months ago, a few of got talking about it and discussed the idea of planning some group trips together so we could enjoy the joy of flying, collect stamps, hanger fly and grab a $100 ham(veg) burger as well. We were serious about this and even set a goal of finishing the task by summer 2016.

jfw_fogmess_chart

Although it hasn’t always worked out as planned (See Fly the Five), we have continued to pursue the stamp collection either individually or as a group. It is a lot of fun and I am all for putting my mark on an airport by landing there.

Although the weekend looked promising, the day started out Low IFR with mist and overcast skies at 200ft. But as noon arrived, the fog burned away and it was one of those rare, clear, blue sky days in the Mid-Atlantic. The high pressure area meant haze, still it was an excellent end of summer day for a flight.

Although we had hoped to grab some lunch at Williamsburg, before scouring some neighboring airports for stamps, due to the late departure, Linda and I re-planned and sort out 5 new airports where we still hadn’t collected stamps.

Gordonsville (GVE) — Oh-Oh, small, narrow runway! We greased it first attempt 🙂 If you are there weekends, there is BBQ and hot dogs, courtesy of locals who just enjoy pottering about their airplanes, hanger flying and chatting up the visitors! Stamps are in the Mailbox, if you don’t see anyone.

Louisa County Airport (LKU)— We just missed the airshow, but we were lucky the airport was back open. Nice FBO. Did I say hot dogs? With airshow and locals enjoying aviation, there were hot dogs for buying.

Lake Anna (7W4) — Another small runway, but I am proud to say we made it a short landing! No soul to chat, but stamps in the mail box. Lake Anna is a fun place to hang out if you have friends with boats (See Fast Boats, Slow Planes). There is a fun restaurant on the lake but you need a ride either in a car or a boat!

Shannon (EZF)– Nice airport, with new owner and a soon to be there snack bar, in the next few weeks. Just outside the SFRA, check it out in a month or so…

Stafford (RMN)– Nice big runway, new terminal building and a new flight school all waiting to increase the aviation activity there. Stafford is also just outside the SFRA.

Manassas (HEF)– Nice airport, FBO, flight schools. No cafe on the field, but a short drive away, there are some restaurants. There is Hertz rent-a-car on the field. Towered and inside SFRA.

 

 

One Week. One Oshkosh!


Airventure 2014 is almost upon us! 45 Days and counting…

I just attended the first Webinar: Tips for Flying to Airventure earlier this week…oshmorn2What’s new this year?

Thunderbirds!

  • And TFR’s associated with them Aug 1-3rd, 2014 all the way to 16,000 ft.
  • Crowd lines set back on those days

Airshow Time Change

  • 1:00-4:30 pm on the last Sunday

New Approaches to VFR arrivals near Midway (MDW) and altitudes.

  • But techniques remain the same
  • Altitudes changes to below 2000ft over Chicago Airspace

Managing the Risks

  • *Landing Accident*– still remain high. But nothing that can avoided by practice!
  •  Taxi Accident
  • Take-off Accident

Should you fly to Airventure?

photo(7)

  • Your recent experience counts. Immensely. Practice. Practice.Practice!
  • VFR Navigation by ground references
  • Holding specified speed and altitude…
  • Non Standard Approach Patterns: Right Traffic
  • Descent on downwind and very short final!
  • No downwind and very short final!
  •  Spot Landings
  • Last Minute Landing Changes— Go Around,
  • Runway Width Illusion ( landing on a taxiway :-))
  • Crosswinds
  •  Know your limits!
  • Non Standard Radio Communications
  • Whose in Charge?
  • No exceptional skills needed. You just need to practice to sharpen your skills.

Planning your trip:

  • download your copy of the NOTAM (1-800-DOWNLOAD)
  • movement areas is controlled by FAA

IFR Flying

  • Might not always be your best choice
  • Traffic separation
  • High volume of non transponder traffic

When should you arrive?

collage1

  • Arrive early mornings (less traffic)
  • Schedules in the NOTAMs when group arrivals occur
  • Avoid just before or just after the airport closes!

Space for parking

  • Show planes have room (vintage airplanes)
  • Other GA almost do get in… but due to ground condition can be restricted
  • Listen to ATIS for latest information!
  • Parking Status updated
  • Check neighboring airports
  • Have extra fuel reserves!

Passengers:

Osh1

  • What to expect?
  • What to watch for?

Packing the plane

  • Plan for diversion
  • Have chocks and tie-downs (rentals available)
  • Have signs..
  • Go Around if needed..
  • Checkout Airventure.org/atc

Departure

oshdep2.

  • Plan your departure
  • Departure sign
  • Departure ATIS

Other

  • Markings changed

Checkout the Webinar for all the Tips and Tricks to flying into Oshkosh during Airventure!

BTW 61% voted they would be there 🙂

See you there!

bitsandpiecesResources:

2013: Year in Review


As I kicked-off 2013, I promised myself to take my flying to the next level. 2013, has been an incredible year for flying.

After some training flights, getting IFR current and comfortable flying with iPad and Sratus (See iPad + ForeFlight + Stratus = Awesome), we headed off to the Bahamas for some exotic times in the Tropics at the peak of winter.

bahamas10

Flying to the Bahamas in a C172 was an incredible journey. Not only was it my first longest cross-country ever, but the lessons learned were unbelievable. Once my feet were firmly back on the ground and no longer floating on clouds, I had a challenging experience of flying through ice/snow in C172. But all ended well.

Nothing could match Bahamas Flying. This was the year, I wanted to fly as much as I could. For the March flyout we planned a flyout to Blacksburg, VA.  Flying to Blacksburg brought back fond memories of fun times, old friends and even ones no longer among us.

IMG_3556

April was all about flying to Connellesville, PA to see Falling Water. While third year in a row, I couldn’t pull off this flyout, three of us pilots, decided to drive over instead and had a marvelous time!

IMG_3820Every two years, May means Bi-annual. Each of my flight reviews have been with a different instructor. They are always fun and most times, I come away learning something new.

After my original experience with gliding, I never really got back in a glider. This past summer, I took a fun ride in the Stemme S2 at the second highest airport in the country, Telluride, CO. I could absolutely try gliding again!

telluride1July-August is usually about Oshkosh and Airventure. While I have made it to Airventure 8-9 times, this year’s experience was unbelievable since I flew in to Oshkosh!

bitsandpiecesOctober it seems, is a bad month to plan for Niagara Falls. While we did not end up driving there, although I have done this a few times, maybe next year I will plan a different month.

Niagara2November flyout was to Hampton Roads: fun and enjoyable. Meanwhile I learned to quilt….

photo(32)December is a time to spend with friends and family. To wind down, rejoice, reflect and plan exciting new adventures next year. Bahamas is again in the horizon… How can I get to Oshkosh again any other way, than fly myself? Niagara, fall in the Northeast, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and so much  more! I did not quite finish my commercial as I hoped, but no rush for it.

I also attended several safety seminars and online webinars hosted by my flight school,  AOPA, EAA, Sporty’s etc.

Rusty Pilot Seminar
Rusty Pilot IFR Seminar
Night Flying Seminar

2014 is a whole new year with innumerable possibilities.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. And see you back here next year!

Air Crafters


It’s what we call our selves…..

Update: All gone 🙂

An apt name for an apt group. See Flynthings for more information.

photo(32)We have been silently working the past few weeks….

20+ airplane pot holders ready for silent auction next week.

photo(31)maybe sample iPad covers

photo(17)and maybe, just maybe, an apron….

photo(33)

Reunion Flight with M^2


Seems like Old Times

“Cutlas 02B, cleared R29, straight out”

We were off, with familiar sights ahead of us: pristine blue skies, three stacks, Morro Rock and the wide blue ocean.

Straight out, as we departed runway 29 and headed straight for the ocean, following highway 1. Off somewhere to the left, was my home, when I last lived in these parts. It was clear and calm, with unlimited visibility. The sky blended into the ocean and the Cuesta Ridge, Irish Hills, Islay Hills, and Bishop Peak, were all clearly visible. The lack of rains and drought, had rendered the hills brown. Yet, the clear blue skies and turquoise blue Pacific Ocean, provided uninterrupted and unending vistas.

morro

We headed out to the ever familiar Morro Rock, before turning towards North, hugging the coastline. The three stacks clearly visible as was the Morro Rock. We traced the coastline following the Cabrillo Highway past Estero Bay and further north to San Simeon. Circling Hearst Castle is something every pilot did in the Central Coast. Talk about circling about a point!

Hearst1

We headed out further north to Point Pedras, circling the lighthouse, before turning south, keeping the coastline to our left and heading back, looking for seals.  For old times sake, I had opted to shoot the ILS R11 approach in VFR conditions. We headed straight for CREPE intersection, while I attempted to re-familiarize myself with flying an instrument approach procedure without an on board GPS, using ILS and VOR only.

ILS29

Once I got the handle of things, the approach itself was fairly straight-forward. Leveling off a little before HASBY intersection  at 1,200 ft, I circled and set up for downwind 29 with short approach. Landing on R29 brought back fond memories of the innumerable landings I had made here…

R29

I learnt to fly in SLO. The last time I flew with my primary flight instructor Michelle G was back in 2002. The last time I flew with my friend Michelle TG was back in 2005 and the absolute last time I flew here was back in April 2009 when I got my BFR and helped paint the Compass Rose!

slo

m2Good to be back in the air with M^2 in familiar territory.

imageGood to be home!

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Acknowledgements:

Some photographs by Michelle Torres Grant

Flying Bucketlist


It’s the time of the year when it’s normal to think of New Year resolutions and future goals for the upcoming New Year. Anything related to flying cannot be bound with a time frame. Not the least because it is not cheap, but also because there are too many uncertain parameters.

Sydney1JPG

On some occasions, I have taken an alternative approach such as flying a scenic flight in a seaplane over Vancouver B.C, or Sydney, Australia or a helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef over Cairns, Australia. But, I hope to eventually pilot a plane over these areas!

Cairns2

Given that, my top ten flying bucklist destinations include:

10. Flying over Niagara Falls, New York
09. Flying over Grand Canyon,Arizona
08. India
07. England/Scotland
06. Canada: Over the Canadian Rockies, Prince Edward Island
05. Alaska
04. Australia and Tasmania
03. New Zealand
02. South America —Patagonia and Machu Pichu
01. Africa

012_10