What I Learned from my First Solo

I started ground school back in February. I passed the written in April, and started proper lessons later that month. Last week I reached another major milestone in my flight training: the first solo. Before I took off, I thought the first solo was more of a celebration than anything else — a congratulatory romp around the traffic pattern rather than a proper lesson where I learned things. But as my wheels touched back down onto the pavement, I realized that this might be the most important learning lesson I’ve had in quite some time. So, what did I learn?

Read More

Approved for Pre-Check, but Not Appearing on Boarding Pass? Here’s a Fix.

IMAG0269

I was all excited for my first flight since being approved for the TSA’s Pre-Check program. I was looking forward to breezing through security without all the usual hassle, but alas my dream was not to be. When I printed out my boarding pass, the Pre-Check logo was sadly missing. I had done everything right — entered my “known traveler” number in the system, flying from a Pre-Check airport, everything that was on the website — but there was the boarding pass, logo-free. After some digging, I figured out why.

Read More

Photos: Space Shuttle Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center

space Shuttle Atlantis, c Nick Leghorn

A few weeks back, I stopped in at the Smithsonian’s hangar outside Dulles airport to visit the Space Shuttle Discovery in her new digs. It was pretty impressive, and I wanted to check out how the other shuttles were fairing in their retirement. So, while in the Orlando area and with a little time to kill, I stopped over at the Kennedy Space Center to check out their new exhibit showcasing the shuttle Atlantis.

Read More

Plane Spotting at San Antonio International Airport

Delta Boeing 757-200 N633DL at KSAT, c Nick Leghorn
Delta Boeing 757-200 N633DL at KSAT

The San Antonio International Airport (KSAT) looks great from the air and has some great approaches into the city, but getting a picture of the action on the runways is difficult at best. There really aren’t any good places around the airport to sit and watch the planes go by, but I found an excellent spot if you’re willing to spend a few dollars.

Read More

Pictures: Space Shuttle Discovery at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Space Shuttle Discovery, c Nick Leghorn

Last week I had some time on my hands and found myself near the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles airport. I needed to burn about two and a half hours, but still found that I didn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted. One thing I did focus my photographic endeavors on was the newly installed Space Shuttle Discovery that replaced the Enterprise in the space hangar. And man, was it awesome.

Read More

American’s New Livery is Growing On Me . . .

American 767

I wanted to hate American’s new look. The boring grey. The arial font. The apparent lack of imagination on the part of the designers, lazily draping the word “American” across the fuselage instead of stylizing it. But despite a style that might be more at home with other stellar designs such as the Yahoo! home page, I find that I hate it less and less every time I see a plane all dolled up in the new colors. It’s clean, modern, and hopefully over the years the scuff marks from the apron of the jetway won’t be as apparent as it is on the current fleet.

I still think they should have gone all retro and gone back to the 1930’s design . . .

American Airline’s Computers are Mocking Me…

IMAG0148

As I was checking in for my flight to Tulsa this morning, the computerized terminal spat out an extra slip of paper. There were the customary two boarding passes (one to Dallas, one to Tulsa), but where normally I would expect a receipt for checking my guns and gear (except there wasn’t one, because I was traveling sans firearms for once), there was a voucher for a “premium beverage” on my flight today — and expiring as soon as I stepped off my flight in Tulsa. There’s just one slight problem: neither of my flights today serve “premium beverages.”

Read More

Cheating On Your Airline

 

There’s a reason that I prefer American Airlines. Several actually, including the nicer terminal in San Antonio and the Dallas hub being only a 40 minute fight away. But when other people are footing the bill, I don’t have much control over which airline I’m flying. Which is why I recently found myself on a Delta flight, feeling a little like a cheating lover . . .

Read More