Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dealing With Inclement Economic Weather

What is that we all do prior to filing our flight plan and taking to the skies? We always get a pre-flight briefing so we are aware of any inclement weather conditions that may affect the feasibility of our flight. It is easy to look at a weather map and make an educated decision on whether our planned flight should continue or be postponed for another day.

However, there are other inclement conditions that are affecting our flying opportunities lately ... inclement conditions of an economic nature. With the cost of 100LL on the rise and the uncertain economic climate, it isn't always so easy to look into our wallets and know whether to continue with our planned flight.

I love to fly, but I also know that I have other financial responsibilities in my life and that sometimes flying needs to take a back seat (yeah, I know ... crazy, huh?). What do you do when tough economic and financial times put your normal flying tendencies in a tailspin? Well, I have found a few things that help me cope with a lack of time in the left seat ...
  • Read, read, read: I am a proud member of AOPA and supporter of the ASF (safety foundation) and receive both of their monthly periodicals, AOPA Pilot and AOPA Flight Training. I read them cover to cover as they reach my front door. Reading about current events in the aviation industry keeps you connected to other pilots. Reviewing articles on piloting techniques and regulations keep you technically sharp even when you can't be in the left seat.
  • Listen: Clear and accurate communications are essential when piloting an aircraft. Sometimes our communication skills can get a little rusty when they are not used on a continuous basis. The internet provides a great resource for staying sharp on communication skills. I own a portable scanner that I can tune into aviation frequencies. However, there are also ATC feeds online ( that allow you to listen to air traffic communication from airports all around the country. Even if you aren't the one speaking into the mic, hearing pilot/ATC dialog from a live source provides you with positive reinforcement of what it should or shouldn't be like when you are in the cockpit.
  • Fly: That's right ... fly ... on your computer. Between my installed copies of Flight Simulator X, X-Plane 9, and Flight Gear, I can engage in all types of flying from the comfort of my home office. A flight yoke and a set of rudder pedals helps to add a level of realism to the depiction of the cockpit sitting in front of you on the computer screen. Of course, it isn't the same. However, with the realism in most flight models today, you can accurately practice procedures and stay sharp on all the checklists for the different phases of flight. You can even get online and fly with some of your buddies.
There is never any substitute for walking on the tarmac, sitting in the left seat, feeling the adrenaline rush as you accelerate down the runway, and seeing the ground disappear beneath you on rotation. However, when times dictate it, you need to find alternatives. I have found some that help me and I hope that they can help you too. If you have any other interesting ideas, please let us know ... we're always looking for new and innovative ways to get our aviation fix :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Passion For Aviation

Good day fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts ... Since I was a young boy, I have been fascinated by aviation. I was the kid you saw parked at the end of a runway with eyes turned skyward watching heavy jetliners and single engine piston aircraft alike touching down and kissing the earth. I presume the look of awe and wonder in my eyes 25 years ago is the same look you would see today.

After years of procrastination, I finally committed (with the support of my family) to working towards my private pilot certificate. After 45 hours of flight training (and a lot of adverse weather in the state of Florida), I realized the dream I had imagined in my mind since I was a little boy … acting as pilot in command of an aircraft. However, I have always wanted a little more out of my aviation experiences than I was getting ... I needed a sense of purpose and a sense of adventure.

I have always believed that aviation is my professional calling in life. Not being positioned to fly for a living, I thought I would embark on the next best thing. I want to rekindle the spirit of adventure in aviation that I felt as a child (and still feel today). I want to share that passion with others and have it permeate the entire general aviation community.

I have developed FliteJournal as a web-based application that allows current and future pilots to share their passion for aviation with others. I am committed to helping this site evolve into the collective vision of all its members. However, I need your involvement and input in order to make this endeavor a success.

In today's world of high speed jets, commercial airliners, and the daily to-and-fro rush, the sense of glamour, prestige, and adventure that was present in the early days of aviation has been dissipated. With FliteJournal, I am looking to revive the allure and charm of aviation and rekindle the spirit of adventure associated with aviation in its infancy. You can visit us online at

I would like to use my website along with this blog for a few purposes:
  1. To help people understand how to get the most out of FliteJournal
  2. To share my passion for aviation with other pilots, future pilots, and aviation enthusiasts
  3. To rekindle the spirit of adventure in aviation
Remember that a mile of road will take you a mile, a mile of runway can take you anywhere ... I hope that this blog and FliteJournal serves to inspire adventurous aviation pursuits to destinations yet unknown ...

Dave Cenker
FliteJournal Administrator