FL to MN by Light Sport

Last week I ferried a Jabiru SP250 Light Sport from Naples, FL to Minneapolis, MN for a client.  It’s quite the little traveler with its True-Trak autopilot coupled to the GRT Avionics.    

I flew down early morning Monday on a Boeing 757…

…then had a quick lunch with the owner, and was in the air headed north by 2 p.m.

I called it a night in Nashville, TN after 6.5 hours of flying (with on fuel stop). The next morning was gorgeous so did a preflight and headed home.


New Flying Adventure

SkyWest CRJ700Pardon the long delay in posting but I’ve been a bit busy the last three months. Back in early February, somewhat on a lark, I submitted an application to SkyWest Airlines, realizing no airline ever hires a guy my age. Lo and behold, they called and invited me to interview. Knowing they’d never actually hire me, I figured it was worth the time just for the experience of an airline interview. Once I agreed to go I decided that if I’m going to invest the time to interview I’ll at least go well-prepared, so I studied pretty hard for four days then headed to Denver for the interview.

The interview went really well and, surprise of all surprises, they offered me a job flying Canadair Regional Jets for them with a ground school start date a week and a half after the interview.

Thus began the adventure…

I finished the intensive four week ground school in late March, came home for two weeks, then headed to flight training in the simulators early April. It was another intense four weeks of studying and training in their Advanced Qualification Training (AQP) program, a format used by most of the major airlines.

When all was said and done I came home earlier this month (May 2015) with my Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate complete with CL-65 type rating (Canadair Regional Jets, 200, 700 and 900 models) and the requisite training for RVSM ops and Cat II ILS approaches.

So now I’m back home, waiting for my Initial Operating Experience (IOE….line flying with a check airman) to begin, probably in early June. Between now and then I’ve got a few more days of ground school and sim training to learn the differences between the CRJ-200 on which we trained and the CRJ-700 and -900 (longer versions with slightly simpler systems), which will allow me to fly any of the three aircraft.

When not flying jets out of MSP, I’ll be available for both initial and recurrent training. I’ll just have a much broader range of experience to share with you all…and even more stories to tell!


Congratulations, Ty!

Ty Mitchell, Instrument AirplaneCongratulations to Ty Mitchell on successfully completing his Instrument Airplane check ride!  Two years ago this month Ty took his first flying lesson. Six months later he passed his Private Pilot, Single Engine Land check ride. Six months after that (one year ago next week), he purchased his Beechcraft Bonanza A36 with a total of 64 hours under his belt.  Today, with 252 hours in his logbook he accomplished his instrument rating.  Well done, Ty!

The Human Factor

A “must read” article…

“Airline pilots were once the heroes of the skies. Today, in the quest for safety, airplanes are meant to largely fly themselves. Which is why the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which killed 228 people, remains so perplexing and significant. William Langewiesche explores how a series of small errors turned a state-of-the-art cockpit into a death trap.”

The Human Factor

First Solo for Carol!

Congratulations to Carol Bergquist on her First Solo!  As a little girl, Carol grew up enjoying weekend flights with her father.  She decided to follow in her footsteps and pursue her pilot license.  This is a huge milestone and she deserves much credit for persevering through bureaucratic challenges to reach this point!  Way to go, girl!

Carol Bergquist's First Solo!

Click for Larger Version

Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I’d have sworn that the call sign he used was “St. Nick”.
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
“St. Nicholas One, turnin’ left onto final.”
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a red homebuilt sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!” What pills was he takin’?

While controllers were sittin’, and scratchin’ their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
“When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower.”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard “Left at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a “Ho, ho-ho-ho…”

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn’t inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to “fill it, with hundred low-lead.”
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin’ the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, “Clear!”

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
“Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot’s discretion”

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
“Your traffic’s a Grumman, inbound from the west.”
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
“Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”

A Two-fer Day: Congrats to Bill Halpin and Peter Hessedal!

It’s not often a flight instructor has two student checkrides on the same day, but today was the day for me.  Congratulations to Bill Halpin on successfully completing his Commercial Multiengine rating, and to Peter Hessedal for completion of his Instrument Airplane rating.

Bill has been on a ratings tear….completing his Commercial Helicopter in July, his Commercial Airplane Single-Engine Land and Single-Engine Sea in October, and now his Commercial Multiengine Land!  Great job, Bill.  CFI is the next rating that he has in his sights, although he’s undecided whether he’ll go for Airplane or Helicopter first.

Peter has been on a long, winding road to his Instrument Rating, but finally realized his dream today.  But even the home stretch was tough, having completed his oral exam two weeks ago, but getting thwarted by icing that day and on one other attempt.  But today was gorgeous and he completed the task.

Great job, Bill and Peter!

Bill Halpin, Comm ME Peter Hessedal, Instr Airplane