Take Off, and Fly Safe

Future Flyers: Passing Down the Flying Bug

Flying Planes: Awesome Way to Inspire the Future Flyers and Pass On Valuable Experience

What could possibly be more gratifying than flying? How about inspiring some kids into being future flyers? Luckily, flying is cool enough to do this!dv1613006 297x300 Future Flyers: Passing Down the Flying Bug

My dad flew planes a lot before I was born.  Once he had a child at home though, he retired from the sport unfortunately.  I can only imagine the awe I would’ve had if I had been able to go up with him as a kid.

That’s what made me admire this story so much:

Late on a Sunday afternoon, Dave Courtney starts the engine of his Cessna 172 and starts down the runway. Seven-year-old Allyson Wells pushes her face up against the window, taking in the scenery below.

Orange light bathes their faces. For an hour or so, grandfather and granddaughter enjoy the freedom of flight.


Allyson lives in Eugene and shares her grandfather’s love of flying. She has her own monogramed pink headset, and the two fly together whenever they can. He hopes she’ll want to be a pilot herself someday.

“I’m trying to plant the seed for Allyson and if it goes, great.”

This story is great on so many levels.  That Mr. Courtney has taken his hobby and turned it into a profession speaks volumes about his ingenuity.  Not very many people can do this, and he appears to be in a perfectly beautiful area right on the Oregon Coastline to have what’s probably some of the most amazing scenery on the planet within which to do his work.

And of course an even bigger bonus is that fact that he gets to bring his granddaughter along with him.  Talk about a dream job – spending time with the grandkid while doing what you love …. in addition to possibly inspiring her to share his flying bug.

There’s just something really special about getting to share your passion and your legacy with the next generation; especially when that youngster is right in your own family.  I bet this makes shopping for a young girl a lot easier now!  Not to mention he’ll have someone receptive to pass on his treasured aviation related goodies at some point.

Here’s to hoping Allyson can take off and fly her own plane someday!


Pilot Rankings: What Do They Mean?

Types of Pilots: Let’s Make Sense of All These Different Pilot Rankings

We’ve all heard there are various types of pilots, like the commercial pilots who fly 1000′s of people over the big airlines every day.  But very few lay people realize just how many different pilot rankings there are.  This is to educate people reading on the specialized designations out there for both new and experienced pilots depending on flying intentions.

92270298 300x224 Pilot Rankings: What Do They Mean?

Each of these pilot rankings indicates a certain level of schooling has or is occurring.  This schooling includes classroom instruction, oral and written examinations, medical examinations and in-flight practice.  A pilot ranking also designates what a person in their given ranking is allowed to do within aviation.  For example, a student pilot wouldn’t be allowed to have passengers on board with them, but a private pilot can.  Some pilots can fly at night while others cannot.  This is all based on the pilot ranking, and relates directly to the amount of training they’ve acquired.

Student Pilot – This is the most novice level where everyone begins, and often occurs concurrently with written course study.  At this level, pilots are mainly familiarizing themselves with cockpit instruments, learning to communicate with airports and understanding basic aviation protocol.  They are not allowed to fly without a certified instructor, during inclement weather or further than a certain distance from their “home airfield”.  This is a very active and important practice phase of flying that every pilot must undertake.  It gradually becomes less limited based on instructor approval and experience gained.

Recreational Pilot – These are people who have advanced beyond the student pilot ranking and are free to go solo with up to 1 passenger on board.  By default they are confined to a certain distance within the radius of their home airfield, but this radius can be expanded by an appropriate aviation instructor.  Recreational pilots are people flying for hobby, and many people only desire to go this far in the pilot rankings.

Private Pilot – Most flyers fall under this pilot ranking, as this is for people who love to fly and wish to have more freedom from the limitations placed on the previous two categories.  Private pilots may fly whenever they wish and carry passengers.  They still cannot be paid by passengers unless it’s to share common expenses.

Commercial Pilot – These are the most visible pilots to most people; the ones who greet us when boarding a commercial flight.  They are paid to fly the larger planes that transport the public.  As with any other pilot ranking, their achievement to this level also involves medical exams, minimum flight hours, and various instructor approvals.

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) – CFI’s are trained to instruct other newer flyers through the pilot rankings, having already acquired their commercial pilot license, along with other more specialized training.

Airline Transport Pilots – This is the highest pilot ranking one can have, and is required for some of the larger multi-engined jets used in commercial flights. They must meet all the the same requirements as every other pilot ranking, and then some.  This is the least limited pilot ranking and requires the most amount of training and experience.

As you can see, there are plenty of different pilot rankings around, and you can pursue whichever one best fits your goals and desires.  It’s good to have some idea of which route you wish to pursue early on, so you can get any necessary supplemental training as you go.

Learning to fly is easy

These tutorials and guides are dedicated to the memory of
Wing Commander A.M. (Mick) Parer RAAF
‘An operator who had a passion
for flight and a passion to teach’

1935 — 2005 156725819 300x300 Learning to fly is easy

The intent of the tutorials and guides is to improve the underpinning knowledge and thus the situational awareness, airmanship and ultimately, the safety of sport and recreational pilots (whether novice or experienced) and their passengers. The documents are generally written on the premise that no pilot of a sport and recreational aviation aircraft can know too much about aerodynamics and flight; so the more information provided, the better the result. Most tutorials provide much more detail than is necessary for novice pilots to understand; it is meant for all persons who wish to expand their knowledge without getting into the mathematics.

Aeronautics and aerodynamics are very complex subjects. Since the initial 2000–2001 publication of the various modules on the AUF/RA-Aus website there has been (and continues to be) considerable feedback from readers requesting increased coverage or seeking additional explanation of various aspects. In addition — as with other aviation categories — the causes of accidents in world-wide sport and recreational aviation remain distressingly familiar, which has contributed to a probable excessive laboring over some matters.

A word of caution. I have found that some fallacies or misconceptions are often repeated from work to work. Be wary of the person who is adamant that there is only one correct concept and that all others should be ignored. The atmosphere you fly in, and the aircraft you fly, are not bound by the opinions of mere humans.

The documents currently contain 470 000 words of text, plus illustrations. If the tutorials were published in standard textbook format the total page count would be around 950 pages. Unfortunately there are no print or PDF format versions available.

Please note: the documents are designed for consistent online reading, requiring the reader to select a display resolution and font size which produce a display of 60-70 characters or 12-14 words per line. As in a book, this is recognised as near the maximum number of words per line for good readability. It is also important that there is a wide, clear border to the left and right of the text so that the eye can’t be distracted by any extraneous material outside the border (such as a sidebar); and page overflow to the right is a no-no. The sans serif font used provides better display readabil