Learning to Appreciate the PAPI

So far during my primary flight training, the approach slope indicator lights haven’t really been something I used or worried about. Landing my little Cessna on a 4,000+ foot strip in broad daylight has gotten easier and easier, and even when I was terrible I was more concerned about flying a stabilized approach than being “on” the glideslope. Sure a quick glance now and again to confirm that I wasn’t too low has been helpful, but it wasn’t among the tools I relied upon to bring me safely into the airport. And then I flew at night, and realized exactly how useful that little strip of lights can become.

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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?

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Visiting KDWH


My wife’s family lives in Spring, TX so I’ve been visiting David Wayne Hooks (KDWH) as long as we’ve been together. It has always been a great treat to swing by on the way out of town on a sunny Sunday afternoon, break out the scanner, and watch some planes take off and land. Until last year, you could actually drive to the airport grounds (marked below), roll down the windows and watch planes all day.

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Visiting KUVA


I recently took to the cold waters of the Frio near Concan, TX as part of a boy’s weekend, but found that supplies had run low (as they sometimes do). Uvalde being the nearest source for groceries and beer, I loaded up in the truck and headed south. A funny thing happened on the way though. You see dear reader, Uvalde’s Garner Field (KUVA) is ¬†absolutely one of my favorite airports to visit. And even though it was not on the way, I had to stop.

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Visiting 50R


On a recent trip to Lockhart to shoot some guns, and filled with delicious BBQ from Kreuz Market, I headed over to Lockhart Municipal (50R) to check out what was there. Twenty minutes later, I can confidently report that it has fuel, an instructor, a mechanic, and a courtesy car. That last part is muy importante as Lockhart bills itself as the BBQ Capital of Texas. And if you fly to Lockhart, you’ll need a car. Because there’s BBQ there and it needs to be eaten.

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One of the Coolest Airstrips in Texas


I was riding on a train from Dallas to San Antonio recently, and somewhere along the line we passed by this pretty cool looking airstrip. I believe it was just outside Fort Worth, but I was pretty heavily into my next beer at the time and can’t recall for sure. While the strip itself is reminiscent of the typical rural strips you’d expect to see in the middle of Texas, what I wasn’t expecting was to see one where the runway is so close to the brand new looking houses. And as if that isn’t challenging enough, especially if there’s a train rolling by next to the strip, I can imagine that landing becoming a little more interesting than, say, a clear day at KSAT.

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