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This site is a collection of flight journals as well as tips and resources for general aviation pilots. We hope others will discover the joy of flight through our stories and continue to develop their piloting skills.

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Chopper 101 - a guide for fixed-wing pilots

posted in Flying · Oct 07, 2007

There are a lot of helicopter operations at our local airports, and as a fixed-wing pilot I found this article called Chopper 101 extremely helpful.

It explains why helicopters do things like fly right traffic when airplanes are flying left traffic, what a helicopter traffic pattern looks like (and therefore where to look for a helicopter in the pattern), and what an autorotation is.

That article should be required reading for all non-helicopter pilots.

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Alternative Feed URL

posted in Technology · Sep 13, 2007 · Comments: 1

For some reason, Google Reader doesn’t seem to pick up the RSS feed when you point it to http://pfactor.com/rss. It does work if you point it to http://feeds.feedburner.com/pfactor. I’ll try to figure out why this is, but in the mean time if you’re having problems with the RSS feed you can try using http://feeds.feedburner.com/pfactor and see if that works for you.

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Sunrise Flight

posted in Flying · Sep 08, 2007

Sunrise flight

We’re still in the process of breaking in the new engine. It’s got about 15 hours on it and still running as smooth as silk. Today’s plan was to get up early and get in the air right around sunrise. The air would be nice and cool, plus the early start would help us avoid the flurry of activity that is typical for a beautiful Saturday morning like this one.

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Switching to the Mac

posted in Technology · Sep 08, 2007

Scene from Mac vs. PC commercial

I don’t know what really made me do it. It was probably a combination of curiosity, those hilarious Mac vs. PC commercials on TV, and the fact that it was time to upgrade my home computer. I know several people, who (just like me) were long-time Windows users, and have switched to the Mac and simply love it. They said things like, “Things just work,” and “Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” Although these are people whose opinions I trust, I was still somewhat skeptical as I clicked the “add to cart” button on Apple’s online store.

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New Engine: First Test Flight

posted in Flying · Aug 29, 2007 · Comments: 2

Mooney with new engine and overhauled prop

After what seemed like forever, the Lycoming factory rebuilt engine is finally on the Mooney and the first test flight went off without a hitch on August 13th. Well, that’s not 100% true. There was a hitch, but not with the engine.

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Engine Update

posted in Flying · Jul 14, 2007

New engine ready for installation

The good news is the factory rebuilt engine arrived on schedule, and in great condition. The other good news is the propeller and governor came back from overhaul with no problems. There’s always a chance that the propeller overhaul shop will find a crack or corrosion in the blades that requires replacing the entire propeller.

The bad news is when the mechanics pulled the old engine off, and they inspected the engine mount they found one of the lower U-shaped brackets on the mount was weak and it actually broke off in the mechanic’s hand as he inspected it.

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Weather Radar: Check the Fine Print

posted in Flying · Jun 18, 2007 · Comments: 1

Boise radar image in clear air mode

On one particularly beautiful Saturday morning, in preparation for a local flight with a student, I obtained most of my weather information by just looking out the window. The sun had risen above the peaks to the east and the sky was bright blue canvas devoid of clouds. The large American flag that I use for my visual wind check was relaxing against the flag pole. Today would be a great morning to fly, and perfect conditions for my soon-to-solo student. When I checked the weather radar image on ADDS, I was surprised to find lots of activity on the display. That couldn’t be right — radar only shows precipitation, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What was going on?

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Why Don't You Write?

posted in Flying · May 28, 2007 · Comments: 5

Mooney awaiting engine replacement

You haven’t seen any flying stories here for a while because we’ve been dealing with some maintenance issues with the Mooney. Here’s a quick update for those who have been wondering what we’ve been up to.

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Jet Man

posted in Flying · Dec 29, 2006 · Comments: 1

Jet Man

Yves Rossy always wanted to fly just like a bird. As a former military fighter pilot, and currently an Airbus jet captain, he certainly knows quite a bit about how airplanes fly. But Yves wanted to fly like a bird, so he designed a set of wings and attached miniature jet engines to them. There are no control surfaces—he controls the wing by moving his body.

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Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 12

posted in Trip Journals · Dec 28, 2006 · Comments: 1

Clouds around Jackson Holenear the Teton Mountains

After completing our turn to intercept the course to Newcastle (ECS), we were just below 10,000 feet and still climbing to our assigned altitude of 12,000 feet. Nancy got the oxygen system turned on and plugged both of us in. Although wearing the nasal cannula for the oxygen supply is never a treat, it was a sign that we were getting closer to home. The colors on our sectional charts had changed from green (depicting the flatlands of Iowa where we started this flying day) to brown (reflecting the higher terrain here in Wyoming).

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