It just rolled off my tongue one lesson. "MR. STUDENT, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!!" I couldn't believe what I just said. My student was seeking liberation, peace and prosperity in the air. This is exactly what he needed to do.
I have found great passion, love and enjoyment flight instructing. Honestly, I would do it for free, all day long, as a pay it forward for the people that have taught me. That is how passionate I am about making good pilots better pilots! It’s like a Buddhist Monk has helped me become enlightened through self-reflection during chair flying a.k.a. meditation. If there is absolutely one thing if I could teach, for the rest of my life, in an airplane it would absolutely be this. I cannot BEGIN to tell you how gratifying it is to see the stress relief on the student’s face knowing he (or she)can now go home and tell how he learned to keep his family safe in an airplane, and now realize his aviation dreams! It's so invigorating!
This is the one thing I would teach: “Flying an airplane with two finger tips.” I want to give students tools that can take them to a deeper level of airmanship which they can apply to any airplane they fly, Piper Cub to Boeing 747. This is one of the most basic tools that will translate for any airplane, it develops rock solid stick and rudder skills. What does it mean to fly with two finger tips, though?
It’s about tearing down a physical wall. Quit man-handling an airplane, It’s not an evil villain. It’s a gentle machine!! Let me ask you this, “Would you rather pick your nose with a fingertip, and be gentle, or pick your nose with a fingertip that is attached to a jack hammer?” I hope you say with a fingertip being gentle. The airplane is SCREAMING at you to do the same. You have to actively practice exercises for PITCH, POWER and TRIMMING for an AIRPSEED to fully understand flying with two fingertips. You are simply guiding an airplane with two fingertips. And, when the airplane talks to you through the seat of your pants, you just simply guide the plane to what it wants. It's that simple. If you have the airplane all messed up, not at the proper pitch, power and trim setting, you will fail at this. You can fly with two finger tips but you'll still man-handle the aircraft. It’s like having the jack hammer attached to your nose picking finger. Not Good!
The best example I can come up with to describe this is the Berlin Wall. Think how tense it must have been to live in Berlin with a wall, not able to go anywhere for fear of something bad happening. Then, President Reagan steps in and says:
"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!!"
When you man-handle there is a physical wall that you put up while flying. It’s your bicep. It is a rock solid wall of strong muscle that is taking all the sensation out of the plane and putting all 10,000 pounds of airplane, 30 knots of wind and 5000 feet of altitude into your muscle only. That wall blocks most of the information the airplane is trying to tell you through your hand and forearm. It’s a wall of muscle that you created yourself by man-handling an airplane. I WANT YOU TO TEAR THAT WALL DOWN. You don't need a lot of muscle to fly an airplane. And you cannot fly by the seat of your pants if the airplane cannot send information to the seat of your pants, or your other arm or legs or toes! Imagine flying from NYC to LA with a massive tense muscle, you'd never make it. You'd be so tired and fatigued that you would give up, driving your confidence down and convincing yourself you'll never be able to fly long.
Tear down that wall of muscle and you will experience, peace, prosperity, liberation in your flying.
The wall in Berlin created tension between the east and west. When it was tore torn down, what happened? Things relaxed, weight was removed from off people's backs. The exact same thing will happen to you. I absolutely promise! Enjoy your aviation dreams! Have fun getting there too. I cannot begin to tell you how glad you will be that you did! So if you won't do it for me, do it for Ronald Reagan - Mr. Pilot, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!
I bet this has never happened to you. You are traveling in or out of Chicago and your flight has been delayed. You get to your gate and its mad chaos. There isn't enough Airport Starbucks to escape away from the herds of mindless travelers. Your cell phone is now dying and you are looking for an outlet to charge. You start to notice the extreme measure's that people are going to get a power outlet. Completely abandoning their luggage to turn the battery indicator from red to green on their cell phones. ITS NUTS!! If I were a betting man, I'd bet $0.00 that this has never happened to you. You see that this is a busy place in the terminal. How do you think it is in the control tower!?
O'hare tower every other day now is the busiest airport behind ATL (Atlanta Airport). The tower is the epicenter, the brain, the band conductor and doctor behind all this madness. I have be come friends with the tower manager of O'Hare tower over the past few months. What an outstanding guy! He invited me and a few friends up for a tower four the other day. We rode an elevator up to the tower cab on the 17th floor of the tower.
My mind was running a million miles a minute thinking how nuts, how busy, and how cool this would be. Walking up the stairs into the cab listening and looking for the mad chaos I had built up in my mind. I was jaw dropped! There were 15 people or so in the tower cab and they were smiling and all relaxed. The tower was the most peaceful, calm and relaxed place I have ever been. There was a little mumble of voices like you'd hear at a lounge having happy hour. They were clearing airplanes to take off and land from all over the world like it was no big deal. The windows were the cleanest windows I have ever seen! When you think about it, you'd want them to have clean windows.
One of the tower controllers working the north side of the airport was pretty gnarly too. Some how he got wind that we work for his favorite Doughnut company. All of the sudden he turns looks at us and starts say this:
I LOVE IT! I cannot wait to go back. This time with doughnuts!
You can’t get there from here. Yes you can, if you fly your own airplane!!
My company manufactures environmental safety monitors for protecting people in the workplace. I had a customer in Decatur Alabama that was having problems with a monitoring application and needed to see me quickly. Using the airlines, the closest airport was Huntsville and an American Airlines round trip ticket price was $985, with only two scheduled flights per day. With a limited flight schedule, it now required an overnight hotel stay which added another $150. Add a rental car, $95 per day, plus a few meals and the loss of my time during the two-day commute, just to have a four hour meeting with my customer.
Finally due to the nature of my monitoring systems and the current TSA rules, I was no longer permitted to carry any of my equipment, tools and supplies on a commercial aircraft, even in checked baggage. So add another $200 for UPS shipping charges to and from my account. I asked myself; What’s Wrong with this Picture?
Fortunately I am a private pilot. I was also working on my instrument rating and had a need to complete my 300 miler as part of the training to obtain my IFR ticket. So I grabbed my instructor, Al Waterloo and asked if he would accompany me on this mission to kill the preverbal two birds with one stone. He accepted but added a third mission which was, to Have Fun !
So off we went at 0545 in the Archer, from KPWK, IFR through Ohare’s Class B airspace on our first stop to Bowling Green KY. On our way we flew near Paducah, Ky. where I commented to him that three more of my customers were located there. (I wondered if they needed to see me.) I remember thinking that it sure didn’t take long to get there. This could be a reason for my next trip.
After a quick fuel stop we departed KBWG and landed in Decatur at 1100. It took three minutes to get our free courtesy car from the FBO and after driving 6 miles I was at Toray Carbon Fibers where my customer was waiting. We had our meeting, solved his problem and were done by 2:30pm! If we had decided to fly directly back to PWK, we would have returned by 8:00pm, however we now had to complete Al’s mission, to have fun.
He wanted to buy me dinner at Rendezvous in Memphis. So off we went to KMEM in the late afternoon, flying around some thunderstorm buildups on our way to land at Class B, in our 2400 pound Archer. Not only was this fun but the learning experience was an incredible lesson in using good judgment on how to navigate around weather. It also demonstrated that we could land at an airport with the big guys in a GA airplane.
After dinner we departed KMEM, ahead of 5 airliners waiting in line, and after a fuel stop at KSPI, we were back at PWK. I completed this trip in less time than using the airlines, had fun, and never once had to remove my shoes and belt. I was back at my desk at 8:30 the next day.
The total cost of my business trip, and personal fun part cost about $300 more than if I flew AA, however I did the call in one day instead of two. This trip also demonstrated how valuable the use of a GA plane could be to a small business, especially when you can’t get there from here. Well now I can.
CHECK OUT ALL THE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF MY TRIP HERE!!
Al Carrino, President PureAire Monitoring Systems, Inc
"Ahhhhh well folks, ahhhhh welcome ahhhhh board your flight to ahhhhh San Francisco...yawn. Ahhhh its two hours and five ahhhhh minutes enoute to ahhh day. Sit back and ahhhh enjoy the flight. Welcome AHHHH board."
Sound familiar? I really hope not but it probably did. Lets face it. Airliner PA announcements kinda suck. They need to go through a revolution. We can first get rid of the AHHHHH that is a great filler between every other word. Let's also spice it up a little bit. Whats wrong with making the cabin full of people laugh? I'd put money on it that they aren't listening to begin with, so lets take on the challenge and make people laugh who aren't listening in the first place. Hell the passengers are probably tweeting about how horrible you sound saying "Shut up Mr. Pilot #annoyed" or posting a pic on Instagram of everybody boarding and the caption says "These people don't care." You will be one step closer to being a stand up comic. The best part is that Federal Law requires passengers to listen to you! Be more interesting than the Words With Friends Game that the people are playing. SEIZE THE MOMENT!
I had two announcements that I made and they were the following:
"Good morning ladies and gentlemen, ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC NEWS from the flight deck this morning. We have just been cleared for take off by the tower to New York, New York, at this time I'd like to have our Flight Attendants to please be seated."
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen one final time from the Flight Deck. Guess What!? I have great news, we'll be landing soon. Right now air traffic control has us decending through 15,000 feet and just 75 miles left of flying in this evenings flight. All in all we will have you to the gate in roughly 15 minutes. Folks, you are in store for a real treat tonight, I don't know if you know it or not, but your captain, Mr. Santa Clause, is at the controls. In addition to being Elvis's number one fan, he has also developed a reputation amongst the pilot group as being one of the smoothest landers. Earlier in the flight he was cited as saying......quote......this will be the smoothest landing ever......unquote. The good news for Santa is that he has better than Ideal weather conditions for a great landing, right now the airport is calling for gusty winds out of the north, heavy rain and poor visibility. I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you for flying with us tonight, at this time I'd like the flight attendants to prepare for landing. Once again, thanks for flying with us and we bid you adieu and a pleasant evening!"
OH GOD. That was horrible. I must have been long winded and getting boo'd saying all that on the last 15 minutes of a transcontinental red eye. I am so sorry world. As Steve Martin said in Planes Trains and Automobiles "You are like a Chatty Kathy Doll that has a string to pull it and go blahhh blahh blahh except your the one pulling it!"
These announcements need to be like tweets 160 characters only. So, who is in? Let's call for a revolution for the airline announcement.
PS - I had a welcome aboard announcement contest between one of my favorite captains to fly with. It was actually broadcast LIVE from my iphone to my facebook page. Whoever had the most hits won. We are still in a stalemate with 0 views each for lack of interest. Here are links to our announcements. You be the judge.
Do you remember the last time you finished writing something and something was over? I do. Like my last English final that was a 4 essay hand written final that stood between me and graduating college. How about signing a credit card reciept? At that point dinner is over and you are looking for those incredible after dinner mints that kinda melt in your mouth like powder.
Well I had the pleasure of writing a sentimental airport in somebody's logbook for the last time before the airport is closed by the city. BOOOOO!!! Where is the Dislike button?
Anyway, it was a lot of fun flying with well known aviation blogger Todd McClamroch creator and writer at MyFlightBlog.com. We had a mission to make one last trip around the pattern at the airport Todd learned to fly out of - The Blue Ash Airport (KISZ) in Cincinnati Ohio. It is always sad to see airports close, but this one is more especially hard to see go.
Blue Ash is a faded flagship of great airports. Its a stick and rudder airport. Places like PWK and TEB are great airports but, they are flashy airports, fun places to hang out, but they have shinny jets and air conditioning. Blue Ash, was a little different. A type of aviation still exsisted here that you RARELY see any more. I call it stick and rudder aviation. Regular people, flying regular airplanes for the heck of it. Grease monkey's, war heroes, young aspiring aviators pumping gas to pay for flying lessons, all sitting around and enjoying the sights, faces, and sounds of a perfect little airport. The funny thing is, this airport had heavy turbine equipment sitting on the ramp. Blue Ash is settled on a bluff in a heavy hitter industrial park. Near by are tons of manufacturing businesses all the way from Ma & Pa places up to General Electric Aircraft Engine manufacturing plant. Its location is so valuable to aviation, business aviation that is as well as the private aviators that fly out of Blue Ash.
General Aviation is broken. I have been trying to figure it out, and it is a lot of things. Blue Ash opened my eyes to another reason why. General Aviation currently is a luxury item. Municipalities see that too. General Aviation isn't being held to its highest and best use. It is a tool, a tool for the economy. The Airport Authorities have gotten lazy and not promoted the best asset of their airport to its highest and best use. Blue Ash will be a airport full of memories to be bulldozed for land development. Great, the property tax income for the new development wont do much. Maybe some slick looking buildings will stand tall in the shadows of the airport? :(
The airport is a tool for the economy, its for the other businesses to grow their businesses using aviation. Its just sad to see that the current best and highest value for the Blue Ash airport is land development, when it really can be so much more. Is it kinda weird that I shed a tear while writing this knowing a great piece of aviation history is about to finish writing its story? (Once again, I am proving that I am a nerd, but an aviation one with a heart). Once Blue Ash is done writing, it'll be all over.
RIP Blue Ash! If anybody else finds an airport where you can taxi like a zig zag through the woods, please let me know.
The other morning it was just unbelievable. It confirms that mornings are my absolute favorite. Why? No Traffic, its smooth sailing on the high way, Its smooth sailing in the airways, Starbucks is usually open before any one else is AND!!! The control tower isn't open yet.
There is an element of freedom that exists when the tower is closed. You can go anywhere on the airport you want with out getting a formal clearance. The best part is, its quite! Nobody to talk to on the radio. Being a typical guy, I enjoy a little bit of silence now and then.
I was dreading picking our clearance up to Grand Raids because that meant we had to get in touch with Air traffic control on the ground and creating 99 problems for ourselves on such a beautiful day. That's when it hit me, LETS GO VFR!! Oh man, what a treat! Its like a cookies and cream ice cream cone with sprinkles. How refreshing! Not having to talk to anybody while crossing state lines, shore lines, and other airplanes. It was incredible, kinda like skinny dipping (my apologies if you got a bad mental image). What a way to enjoy a sunrise, a good cup of coffee and the best views on earth!
GO VFR FOR YOUR OWN HEALTH!!
During a recent trip to KANE which is Anoka Co Blaine airport just north of MSP I came across a fleet of these strange flying machines being prepared for a weekend gathering of aircraft enthusiasts. There were three all in a row in airworthy condition parked in front with another 5 to 6 parked out back with pieces missing. I noticed a three tail design and large bubble shaped windows, honestly it reminded me of a gigantic bug. I could tell like many the aircraft was used in the military because of the familiar "NAVY GREY" paint and large US lettering on the aft fuselage. Wanting to learn more we approached a gentleman who was walking from the tent seen in the picture. For the next 20 minutes we were not at all dissapointed we heard the great need for the Mohawk during the Vietnam war and its amazing capabilities.
The OV-1 Mohawk was used from the Vietnam war up through Operation Desert Storm. It's tapered non swept wing design meant the aircraft had STOL (short takeoff and landing) capabilities. The bubble shaped bullet proof windows were a visual enhancement for the pilots to spot enemy troops below. Two giantic turbo prop engines producing 1000 horsepower a piece powered this aircraft for its mostly low altitude flying, because of this the cockpit was also armored for the crew. The US Army and US Marine Corps both utilized the Mohawk mostly for survelliance which came in extremely useful during night operations by using infared cameras. One example of the Mohawk was spotting Vietnamese soldiers at night transporting supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam war. The Mohawk crew could then radio in air strikes with exact lat and lon coordinates, which was a very beneficial tool during the conflict.
What a great day and a great experience to walk around and view an accomplished but odd looking military aircraft. It was amazing to see these Mohawks in the wonderful condition they were in. Dedication to the project must of been incredible by all that were involved to keep these aircraft in airworthy condition. Thank you to the many people involved in these projects all over the world it makes airplane geeks like myself very happy.