Monthly Archives: February 2015

Private Pilot Certificate: How Much Does It Cost?

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I’ve seen a couple posts recently over on Reddit asking about the costs involved with a private pilot certificate. Its a common question, and while some of the FBOs that offer instruction try to put a number on the amount of money you’re about to drop, those are based on estimates and not necessarily a real world example. For those thinking about taking the leap, I figured it would be a good idea to put my own numbers out there detailing exactly how much money it cost me to go from zero flight hours to passing the private pilot checkride.

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Review: Dual Electronics XGPS150A Bluetooth GPS

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I love high-wing airplanes. They give a great view of the outside world, and are very easy to fly and land. But there’s a problem with high-wing planes that low-wing planes don’t experience: the GPS signals are blocked in the cockpit. Because the wing spars are above your head, simply holding a GPS in your lap isn’t going to cut the mustard. You need a remote GPS device somewhere with a clear view of the sky, linked to your electronic flight bag of choice. One solution: the Dual Electronics XGPS150A.

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Flying Through the New York City Hudson River SFRA

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I grew up in the New York City area. I’ve been to the city many times, and even held a few jobs there. But most of my experiences with the city are from the ground, where the view is somewhat restricted. For years I’ve been trying to get to the top of the Empire State Building for my birthday to get a better look at the city, but it seems like every year I try they schedule the annual race up the building’s staircase for the same day. This year, with my Private Pilot’s certificate in hand and a Universal Pilot Checkout from Open Airplane, I figured I would try something different for a better effect: rent a plane and fly it up the Hudson River SFRA.

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Review: Garmin Pilot for Android

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NOTE: This review features Garmin Pilot prior to version 4.3. I have been tracking the updates as they happen and here are the major milestones (and associated discussion):

The basic functionality of the app is still as cited below, but the look and feel has changed. Once you’ve read this review feel free to check the articles about the updates.

I can’t stand Apple devices. Their “walled garden” approach to apps might be good for security and stability, but when you start using that power to ban images of things that don’t fit your personal beliefs it goes a step too far. Censorship just isn’t my cup of tea. So when I started flying, I bought myself an Android tablet thinking that I’d use that for my Electronic Flight Bag and never have to worry about paper charts or pencil-and-E6B trip planning again. Little did I know that while Apple devices have a smattering of brilliant apps for that specific purpose, Android devices have been pretty much ignored. It took me a while, but with Garmin Pilot I think I finally have an app I can live with.

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An Unexpected Visitor On The Ramp

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I’m getting ready to start the flight portion of my instrument training, and while I’m waiting for the weather to improve (well, deteriorate actually) I’ve been thinking about some of the experiences I had doing the training for my private pilot’s certificate. Especially with the current work going on at Stinson Municipal Airport (KSSF) re-surfacing runway 14 and doing some taxiway work, I was reminded of a time when my instructor and I nearly ran over an unexpected taxiway obstruction . . .

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FlightPro App Stops Updating Charts Amid Apparent Internal Scuffle

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For the latest information, check the newer article at this link.

FlightPro was the very first aviation app I tried for the Android tablet. I love Android, and while it seems like most the aviation world is running on Apple devices I just can’t justify switching over to the dark side. FlightPro is an app that sports all the planning, navigation, and situation awareness features you’d want from an electronic flight bag, and does it with a slick marketing campaign and fairly intuitive design. I’ve personally moved over to Garmin Pilot these days, and it seems like that move might have been a good idea. Because FlightPro has stopped putting out updates, and no one knows when they will resume.

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Pre Flight: New York City Hudson River SFRA

In my (freshly started) flying career, I have only a few items that are really on my bucket list in terms of things to go fly. One of those involves flying up the Hudson river, past New York City, using the Hudson River SFRA route (see the video above for an idea of what it is). I grew up in the New York City area, and the chance to see it by air is something that I’ve wanted to do for ages. Now that I have my private pilot’s certificate and an OpenAirplane checkout, I can finally go live that dream. But first, I need to plan it. And since I’m sure there are others planning to do the exact same flight, I figured I should share.

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Alternator Failure at Night Over San Antonio

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Mechanical failures in flight are something that is taught from day one during primary flight training, but rarely do students get an opportunity to experience the real thing firsthand. I’ve seen some videos where that wasn’t the case, especially one student pilot who landed on a golf course after an engine failure, but for the majority of pilots the closest they come to an in-flight emergency in training is when the instructor abruptly cuts the throttle and won’t give it back. Lucky for me, I found myself with a playful little mechanical failure during the night cross country of my training . . .

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