Remote Pilot – ✔

FAA officially published Part 107 in 2016 and published an ammended version in Jan 2021. Part 107 allows certificated remote pilots to operate a small drone less than 55 lbs. for commercial use and the operations can be conducted over people, at night and from moving vehicles.  

The key requirements to obtain the remote pilot certificate are to take the Part 107 course, knowledge test and obtain a FAA tracking number (FTN). There are two options available depending on whether you are a first-time pilot or an existing Part 61 pilot. The steps for either option is similar with the only difference being that first time pilots have to use an FAA approved Knowledge Testing Center, while Part 61 pilots can complete the course and take the test online. One requirement for existing Part 61 pilots is to have a current flight review within the last 24 months. After successful course completion, Part 61 pilots can use one of the available 4 methods to complete the process: make an appointment with FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), FAA designated Flight Examiner (DPE), airman certification representative (ACR) or FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

In order to fly a drone for recreational purposes, there is no requirement to get a Part 107 certificate. Instead, the FAA requires recreational flyers to take and pass the Recreational unmanned aircraft system (UAS) Safety Test (TRUST) and carry the proof of passage when flying. The rules for recreational flyers are coded in USC 44809 and key requirements include following the rules of a Community Based Organization (CBO), always keeping the drone in sight, not interfering with existing national airspace system (NAS) operations, flying at or below 400ft in uncontrolled airspace, and at or below authorized altitudes in controlled airspace, carry proof of test passage, current registration (for Part 107), remote ID (for registered drones after Sept 2023), and to always ensure safety.

I have been thinking about getting my remote pilot certificate for some time now. Although, owing to not being current, I delayed getting the certificate. Now that I am current again, as a first milestone, I completed both my Part 107 remote pilot certificate as well as the recreational flyer TRUST course. The Part 107 course takes two solid hours to review the material and take the test, and the required a trip to the FSDO to submit and get a temporary certificate. The final one will be mailed within 6 months. The TRUST course on the other hand was fairly concise and can be completed in 30-40 minutes. Both Part 107 remote pilots and recreational flyers need to review the corresponding courses every 24 months.

Some useful tools include: B4UFly, UASFM, DroneZone, LAANC.

Best place to start: https://www.faa.gov/uas

So yay! Remote Pilot ✔

Oracle

It was just after I got my private pilot license, one of the first airshows I attended was the Salinas International Air Show. The biggest attraction was the Sean Tucker and Team Oracle. Local news was abuzz that year:

“Tucker returns with the excitement and enthusiasm of a kid who”s back to play before his hometown crowd. Having won the Championship Air Show Pilots Association (CASPA) Challenge for the fourth straight year this past July, he also brings the very best that the world of aerobatics has to offer.”

After watching him fly and see my very first airshow, I came away with excitement too. Aerobatics was on my mind. Tucker School of Aerobatics was a mere short drive away from my airport homebase and I even made the trek up there to checkout the school and aerobatics training opportunities.

Oracle Challenger III, the aircraft now graces the Thomas Haas We All Fly exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. Since that first airshow, I have seen the Oracle Challenger at many airshows around the country, so excited to see it displayed at NASM.

We All Fly: First Airplane Ride

No pilot ever forgets his first airplane ride – Bill Kershner

Coming across this quote recently brought back some fond memories of my very first flight in a small airplane. Seems almost another life time ago. but oh so true… a pilot never forgets!

It was back during my college days that I had the good fortune to go for my very first ride in a glider, ably piloted by my friend, a glider pilot and fellow class mate. It was a short and sweet flight. An introduction into the wonderful world of flying. Until then even though I had thought of it, it seemed beyond reach, not only in terms of access but also in terms of cost and effort needed. I had attended the local glider flying club meeting with him and considering the cost and options offered by the club, it almost seemed possible. I was excited and enthusiastic and ready to try.

Despite the excitement of my first flight, it’s my second flight though that overshadows my first one. Who can forget the adventure of an emergency landing on a street, the long day and process of dismantling the glider and towing it back to the airport?

Gliding? Hmm… maybe. While that episode caused a brief pause in pursuing my pilot license, it certainly did not deter me and a few years later, I did obtain my private pilot license. The joy of flying knows no bounds. It has to be experienced!

The National Air and Space Museum in DC is going through a complete transformation. The renovations in progress have added several new galleries. It is exciting to see a new General Aviation gallery. If it has been a while since you visited NMB, be sure to check it out if you are in the area. It might almost seem like a brand new museum!

See Also:

An Encounter with Gliding

National Air and Space Museum

Happy National Aviation Day

Source: NASA

In 1939, FDR proclaimed and congress codified August 19th National Aviation Day. It marks the anniversary of Orville Wrights birthday and each year allows the sitting President to proclaim August 19th, National Aviation Day.

Events are organized by airports, aviation organizations and associations across the US. It’s the day to spread your wings and go fly. Or visit a museum, watch an aviation themed movie, take an intro lesson or just go fly, hang out at an airport plane spotting, read an aviation themed book, or build a plane. It’s a day to celebrate.

It has been one thousand two hundred and forteen days since my last flight at the controls, not counting that Low and Slow Flight over Cape Canaveral back in January 2020. Back in 2011, I thought 4 months was too long. This is the first time, I missed a BFR (back in 2020), since I started flying. Happy to be back in the air for my flight review. Will take a few flights to feel normal again. But excited to be back at the controls after the long hiatus.

Happy National Aviation Day!

Repost: Oshkosh 02

Twenty Years Ago…

50 years of Airventure


Finally this year, I had the opportunity to attend Airventure 2002. It was well worth the effort to travel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We arrived in Oshkosh on Friday afternoon. The place was brimming with people and with luck we found a decent site to pitch tent and settle in.  Camp Scholler is not only a fun place to camp but is also very close to the action, within walking distance to the airport and the airshow. There are shuttle buses that operate on a regular basis between the campground, the entrance to the airshow, seaplane base and the EAA Museum.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Airventure. It is estimated that more than 750,000 attended this year; an estimated 10,000 aircraft were flown with a total of 2503 showplanes.

Continue to read here.

Clyde Cessna: Aviation Pioneer, Aircraft Designer and Entrepreneur

Clyde Cessna’s name is one that is instantly recognized by pilots around the world. He was one of the first to recognize the possibilities of general aviation. The Cessna Aircraft Company has produced a variety of aircraft, the most popular of which are the Cessna 152 trainer, Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Cessna 182 Skylane, and Cessna 206 Stationair, Cessna 180, Cessna 185 Skywagon, Cessna 210 Centurion, Cessna 340, and many more . The Cessna 172 is one of the most produced general aviation aircraft. Clyde Vernon Cessna was bitten by the flying bug after witnessing an aerial exhibition in 1910. Born in Hawthorne, Iowa in 1879 and raised in Kansas, Cessna had a natural mechanical ability and loved to pull apart and reassemble equipment. He was self-taught and had a natural aptitude to improve efficiency of farm equipment from an early age. He was working as an automobile salesperson, when he saw the Moisant traveling air circus and was impressed enough that he quit his job, and went to New York and started working for the Queen Aeroplane Company.

Cessna’s first aircraft in flight


Inspired by the Bleriot X1, Cessna created his first monoplane known as the “Silverwing” using a 40hp, 4-cyclinder motorboat motor. He conducted his first test flights in Great Salt Plains in Oklahoma. He was not discouraged after crashing on his first attempt. After thirteen failed attempts, he was finally airborne in the Silverwing but only, for a few minutes, before he crashed into the trees. In 1911, he earned the nickname of “The Birdman of Enid” after completing a successful five-mile flight with a landing at the point of departure. Over the next three years, he built several monoplane designs. In 1916, Cessna rented the Jones Motor Car factory and the manufactured the first aircraft in Wichita, Kansas. The entry of United States into the World War, exhibition flying came to a halt and led him to abandon aircraft manufacturing and return back to farming, but not for long.


In 1924, Cessna along with Lloyd Stearman and Walter Beech formed the Travel Air Manufacturing Company. The company built the Travel Air 5000, a four-place monoplane based on Cessna’s design, which later became the first aircraft to fly between American mainland and Hawaii. A conflict between Beech, who favored biplanes and Cessna, who preferred monoplanes, arose and Cessna left Travel Air in 1927 and formed Cessna Aircraft Company. The first aircraft designed was an internally braced cantilevered aircraft . Cessna hired 20 employees and produced his A series using different engines and later also upgraded his B, C and D series airplanes. He sold 78 aircraft and was in the process of expanding his factory when the Great Depression began. Demand for private planes disappeared and the company went bankrupt forcing Cessna to close the plant in 1931.


In 1934, the Cessna Aircraft Company saw a new beginning under his nephews – Dwane and Dwight Wallace. They persuaded Cessna to reopen the company, convinced the stockholders that all would work for free until company was seeing profits. The iconic Airmaster series aircraft C-34, a four place, high winged aircraft featuring Cessna’s first flaps was built during this time. Averaging 17 miles per gallon, it was considered a very efficient aircraft. It was also used for racing and considered unbeatable. It earned the title of “World’s Most Efficient Aircraft”. In 1936, Cessna, after selling his shares to his nephews and retired moving back to farm, where he lived until his death in 1954. With the success of the C-34, the company under the Wallace brothers introduced the Model T-50, a twin-engine design. The start of World War II, brought thousands of orders for the T-50 trainers from United States and Canada. By 1944, Cessna Aircraft Company occupied several thousand feet of factory space and employed more than 6,000 workers. The end of war also saw the revolution in flight, an increase in what was termed “family flight”. The planes designed were light affordable and rugged . By the 1950s, Cessna Aircraft Company built 8,000 trainers and continued to grow and expand. Today it remains the largest private aircraft company in the United States.


Clyde Cessna is remembered for his outstanding contribution in designing the early monoplanes, founding and managing aircraft manufacturing companies and producing high efficiency general aviation airplanes . He never held a pilot’s license, had only rudimentary education, self-taught, smart and resourceful. He was successful because he pushed forward despite repeated failures. Despite his limited involvement with the Cessna Aircraft Company, his contribution to aviation is apparent. Without his vision and dedication, the designs that continue to be flown today would not have materialized. Clyde Cessna was unarguably an incredible designer, engineer and entrepreneur who was instrumental in creating the most iconic general aviation aircraft brand that continues to thrive today. He was posthumously entered into the National Aviation Hall of fame in 1978 and Flying Magazine ranked him 27th in their 51 Heroes in Aviation. Clyde Cessna definitely deserves a spot amongst the Wright brothers, William Boeing, Louis Bleriot and other early aviation pioneers .

See Also:

Clyde Cessna and the Founding of the Cessna Aircraft Company

Repost: Suffolk Executive Airport (SFQ)

Finding airports with Cafes on the field is extremely challenging in the Mid Atlantic. Even websites like AOPA airports, Airport Facility Directory, Airnav or even ForeFlight don’t contain accurate information sometimes. I unearthed SFQ a few months back through reading some user comments and scouring the web for information on Virginia airports with restaurants on the field.

SFQ1

Attitudes Cafe officially opened last April (2013), but they have unpredictable schedules, are open only Friday through Sunday, don’t answer the phone mostly, and possibly closed during holidays (Dec-Jan). They do have a Facebook page, where the most current information might be posted.

Continue to read here.

Repost: Cape May

Five years ago…

The airwaves were quieter on Easter Sunday and the air smooth as we made our way south. There was not a cloud in sight but sadly haze still clung around the area preventing crisp, crystal clear photographs and videos. We flew southbound reporting all the check points along the way: Alpine Tower, GWB, Intrepid, Clock and Statue of Liberty. We descended lower to 800 ft as we practiced our turns about the point over the Statue of Liberty.

Continue to read here.