Flying & Pilot Information
Here I am (I'm the taller one :-) with Wayne Handley and his Extra 300L at Metz Airport
(his private field in Greenfield, CA).
- Ground School Information and Resources:
- My CFI page on the WVFC web site - includes contact information and answers to common questions
- Class information & handouts:
- Additional items that you will need to acquire for the class (available at your local or on-line pilot shop - see pilotshops):
NB: Make sure that you get the current version for dated materials
- FAR/AIM - there are many different suppliers, but I like the ASA version.
- Cessna 172S Information Manual (on-line examples: 172S 6-Pack, 172S G1000) - You'll need a hard-copy for use in class. Either the 6-Pack or the G1000 (aka NAV III) version will do, you do not need both.
- Chart Plotter
- E6B - Electronic or Mechanical (I like the full-sized metal ones - they work well and last longer than the paper ones)
- Hardcopy versions of:
- Optional but suggested - Electronic or printed versions of the various FAA Handbooks, Manuals, and Publications listed immediately below
- FAA Handbooks, Manuals, and Publications, some particularly useful publications are called out here:
- FAR/AIM.org - Lots of useful information related to the FAR/AIM.
- EAA - Experimental Aircraft Association - a great aviation organization that you should consider joining.
- AOPA - Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association - a great aviation organization that you should consider joining.
- AOPA - Free Membership for student pilots includes a free subscription to Flight Training magazine
- AOPA Air Safety Institute on-line courses, quizes, videos. etc.
- Local Airport Information & Diagrams
- AirNav - Free on-line comprehensive airport information
- AC-U-KWIK - Free on-line comprehensive airport information, including tower phone numbers
- SkyVector - Free on-line browsable charts
- Preparring for the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test (aka Written Test or Written Exam)
The FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test contains 60 questions and you are allowed 150 minutes to complete the test.
- Free Online Private Pilot Ground School - A fantastic on-line resource for Aerodynamics and other information
- Anticollision Lights - Beacon vs Strobes (FAA legal interpretation) - Both must be on and operating during all operations since "they are part of the same anticollision system" (aka, If the red beacon OR strobes are inop then the plane is grounded until repaired.)
- Antennas - Each one on your aircraft has a different function - A Flight Training article with photos of the different types
- A plethora of miscellaneous aviation related information can be found throughout the rest of this web page / web site
- A step-bystep guide for how to use IACRA to file for a student pilot license
- All sorts of miscellaneous aviation related information
- Flying Clubs, Aircraft Rental & Flight Training:
- Pilot Job Opportunities:
- Back Country Information & Pilot Associations:
- FAA Written Tests:
- Aircraft N-Number Research:
- Flight Instruction and Related Information:
- Airport Homes / Property:
- Other Organizations:
- Current Observations:
- Bay Area:
- Central Valley:
- Weather & Flight Planning:
- FAA Terminal Procedures Publications - including a graphic and list of the various Areas (eg, SW-1, SW-2, NW-1. etc)
- FAA AFD - on-line AFD pages!
- NAV Monster - great Google Maps-based flight path and planning tool
- AirNav Aviation Info
- RunwayFinder.comInteractive up-to-date sectionals with WX etc.
- SkyVectors.com Sectionals:
Bay Area, Airports:
- Aviation Digital Data Service
(Flight Path Tool)
- SF Bay Wind Pattern Streaklines
- NWS SF Bay Area Aviation Weather Page
- Aviation Weather Center
- NWS Internet Weather Source
- The Weather Channel Aviation Weather Graphics
- NOAA & National Weather Service,
- Yahoo Weather
(Satellite & Radar)
- METAR/TAF Reference Guide
- NWS Graphical Main Page
- NOAA Winds & Temp Aloft Page
- Standard Briefing:
Get Everything Here (full of briefing links)
CA-OR-WA Forecasts by Airport
- Satellite Images:
(Bay Area HiRes),
(WUS - vis)
(WUS - wvc)
- Radar Images:
NorCal Doppler Radar
- DUAT by DTC
- GTE Preflight DUAT web access
- DUAT by GTE
- General Aviation Pages:
- Great article about Airspeed, Vne, flutter, and related issues - bottom-line: The Airspeed indicator lies when it comes to Vne and flutter!
- MINIMUM INSTRUMENT AND EQUIPMENT REQUIREMENTS FOR POWERED AMATEUR BUILT EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT
- NASA ASRS Callback
- AirNav Aviation Info
- AOPA - Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
- EAA - Experimental Aircraft Association
- www.SportPilot.org - EAA site specifically for Sport Pilot content
- www.bydanjohnson.com/ - Extensive LSA and Sport Pilot Information Site
- FAA - Search Airmen Certificate Information aka Pilot License Search
- Fun Places To Fly
- Barnstormers.com - "Aviation's Busiest Marketplace"
- Landings Aviation Web Page
- Aviation News by Pacific Flyer
- Pacific Flyer
- FlightAware - Live Flight Tracking
- ASA - Aviation Supplies & Academics
- Bay Area "Live" Radar Tracking
- Airstrip America (photos, info, etc.)
On-line Sectional Charts
- NTSB aviation accident database lookup
- ASRS (NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System)
- FARs (different source, searchable)
- Air traffic Publications
- FAA Aircraft Type Designator codes / ICAO Aircraft Codes
- Offical ICAO Aircraft Type Designators Search Page
- ICAO Aircraft Codes
- Aircraft Type Identification Data
- FAA Pilot Exams on-line
- Mountain Flying (Sparky Imeson)
- $100 Hamburger
- West Coast Flying Adventures - One Man's Passion for Flying, Photography and Being Outside
- Pilotage Soutern California Aviation Info Page
- Other Aviation Links
- Trade-a-plane Jump Point
- On-line FAA Exam Prep
- Aircraft Shopper Online
- Pilot's Guide by Optima Publications - The info you need to explore new airports (app or paper)
- Aviation Formulary - A Great source of Aviation related calculations, such as Great Circle math
- LSA Repairman:
- N Number Research:
- Aircraft Dealers:
- On-line Aircraft Sales:
- Pilot Shops and the like:
- Avionics, Equipment, and Accessories Manufacturers:
- Air Graphics - makers of lightweight graphics for aircraft exterior
- Aircraft Annunciator Model AG6 - Programable annunciator in 1.25" x 1.0625" of panel space!
- ANR Headset Upgrades
- Aviation Helmets - the leaders in aviation helmets, flight suits, etc.
- Aviation Survival - helmets, flight suits, etc.
- BendixKing Avionics - Find all BendixKing Manuals (aka Pilot Guides) here
- Belite - Makers of lightweight, low power instruments
- Belite ultra lightweight ASI/VSI
- CalumetAir - Rotor Tachometer Kit, Seat Tanks
- Catto Props - Custom built high performance propellers
- Culver Props - Custom made wood props and the Big Twin 4-stroke engine
- Falcon Sensitive Altimeter
- Great Plains Aircraft Supply - VW Based Engines for Sport Aircraft
- iFly 700 by Adventure Pilot - Low cost GPS with current charts, AFD info, etc
- Inexpensive Pitot / Static tube
- Low Oil Sensor
- MGL Avionics - various compact instruments and avionics
- MicroTim - Digital Altimeter, lightweight, low power, self contained battery
- PS Engineering - Makers of Audio Panels, Intercoms, Com Transceivers, Etc
- Revere Supply - makers of aviation survival equipment, including the ComfortMax Inflatable PFDs
- Stratux - Homebuilt ADS-B Aviation weather and traffic receiver based on RTL-SDR
- Tiny-Tach - Low power, low cost tach with hour meter and sel=contained battery
- XCOM Avionics - small, lightweight transceiver w/ intercom and extended receive
- Production Aircraft:
- Homebuilt Aircraft Information and Resources:
- Homebuilt / Experimental Aircraft:
The following list of companies and aircraft is the result of my own research into possible building options.
This list is clearly a sub-set of what is available, but it probably covers at least 90% of the most viable
or interesting kits (or plans).
Those listed run the gamut from just plans (you must procure and/or fabricate everything yourself) to quick-build
kits requiring minimal assembly, and everything in between.
Prices range accordingly, from a few hundred dollars for plans to well over $100K for a two or four-place
I have tried to eliminate companies and/or aircraft that have serious questions of viability, safety, or support
but inclusion on this list does not in any way endorse either the company or aircraft - Caveat Emptor always applies.
Manufactures with a large (mostly happy) customer base and many years of existence are noted in bold since they
have a track-record of builder completions and, evidently, a generally appealing design.
Manufactures with a smaller customer base, or fewer years, may offer a fine product and/or support but they
lack the buyers/completions/years to be able to judge their long-term viability.
Manufactuers listed in italics are ones that you may want to spend some extra time and effort researching before
getting involved with them since their background seems shorter, or their reputation more varied, than the other
- Adventure Aircraft - Makers of the EMG Electric Motor Glider
- Aerochia - Makers of the LT-1, an inexpensive, all composite, racing airplane
- AirCam - Makers of the AirCam twin-engine and Super Drifter
- The Airplane Factory - Makers of the Sling 2 and Sling 4 aircraft
- Arion Aircraft - Makers of the Lightning high performance LSA and Experimental.
- Backcountry Super Cubs - Makers of very STOL Super Cub aircraft
- Ballard Sport Aircraft Ltd. - Makers of the Pelican Sport 600, a two seat, high wing, metal wing, composite fuselage, tricycle gear, LSA airplane kit
- Bearhawk Aircraft - Makers of some very impressive backcountry aircraft, including a four-place hauler.
- Bede Corp - Makers of the BD-4, BD-4B, BD-4C, 4-place aircraft
- Cub Crafters - makers of the Carbon Cub EX Kit
- Glasair Aviation - Makers of the Glasair low-wing and Sportsman high-wing aircraft
- Fisher Flying Products - Makers of the Dakota Hawk, Koala, Super Koala, and other wood frame aircraft and ultralights
- JMB Aircraft - Makers of the VL3 high performance two-seat aircraft that looks a lot like a Lancair
- Just Aircraft - Makers of the Highlanders and Escapade (kin to the Kitfox but with a larger more useful baggage area)
- Kitfox Aircraft LLC - makers of Kitfox homebuilt kits
- SkyCruiser by Krossblade Aerospace - concept 5-seat hybrid VTOL transformer airplane with road-drive ability
- Milholland, Leonard - Designer of very low cost E-AB and ultralight aircraft
- MakerPlane - an open source airplane project with a target price of $15K for a two-seat LSA - airframe, engine, and avionics included!
- Plane Driven - Convert a Glasair Sportsman to a flying car!
- Progressive Aerodyne - Makers of the SeaRey Amphibious Seaplane Kit
- Rans Designs - makers of kit and production aircraft (and bicycles!)
- Ravin Aircraft - Composite aircraft from South Africa
- RTFM-Aero - makers of the Razorback F1, fast, affordable, single-seat
- Samson - Makers of the Switchblade "Point-to-point Transportation" vehicle
- Sonex Aircraft - makers of very affordable aircraft kits, including the sub-Sonex personal jet aircraft for $125K!
- SkyCraft Airplanes - makers of the SD-1 MiniSport
- SkyReach Aircraft - makers of the BushCat LSA and Amphibian
- Team Mini-Max - Makers of a line of very low cost single-seat wood and fabric aircraft and ultralights
- Team Tango - Makers of the Tango 2, Tango XR, and Foxtrot 4 aircraft
- Thatcher, David - Designer of the CX4 and CX5 all metal E-AB aircraft
- Van's Aircraft - Probably the most proven kit aircraft company in existence, and makers of the RV series of aircraft. See also Van's Air Force
- World Aircraft Company - makers of the Spirit and Vision aircraft
- Zenith Aircraft - makers of various 2 and 4-place STOL aircraft
- Single-place Airplanes
- Avenger, Koala, Skeeter, Sky Baby, and FP-303 wood frame aircraft by Fisher Flying Products
- EMG - Electric Motor Glider - an very interesting airplane project by Adventure Aircraft aka Rainbow Aviation
- Hi-Max, Mini-Max, Eros, etc by Team Mini-Max - a line of very low cost single-seat wood and fabric aircraft
- LT-1 by Aerochia - An inexpensive, all composite, racing airplane
- Razorback F1 by RTFM-Aero - fast, affordable, single-seat
- S-9 Chaos by Rans
- SD-1 MiniSport by SkyCraft Airplanes
- Onex by Sonex
- SubSonex by Sonex - A Personal jet Aircraft!!!
- Thatcher CX4 - A very inexpensive but impressive E-AB / E-LSA Single Seat Airplane (CX4 & CX5 Builder Community)
- Two-place Airplanes
- AirCam, Super Drifter - twin-engine and single-engine low and slow aircraft
- Pelican Sport 600 by
Ballard Sport Aircraft Ltd.
- a two seat, high wing, metal wing, composite fuselage, tricycle gear, LSA airplane kit
- Bearhawk Patrol by Bearhawk Aircraft Backcountry aircraft
- BushCat by SkyReach Aircraft - a very simple, lightweight, easy to build LSA - no painting required
- Dakota Hawk, Super Koala, and Horizon wood frame aircraft by Fisher Flying Products
- Lightning by Arion Aircraft High performance LSA and Experimental. NB: Sleek looking aircraft, but has a poor safety record
- Super Cubs by Backcountry Super Cubs Makers of very STOL Super Cub aircraft
- Carbon Cub EX Kit by Cub Crafters
- Double Eagle by Leonard Milholland Very low cost E-AB Aircraft
- VL3 by JMB Aircraft High performance two-seat aircraft that looks a lot like a Lancair
by Just Aircraft
- MakerPlane by MakerPlane - an open source airplane project with a target price of $15K for a two-seat LSA - airframe, engine, and avionics included!
- S-20 Raven, S-6ES II, S-19, etc by Rans Designs
- Kitfox by Kitfox Aircraft LLC
- SeaRey by Progressive Aerodyne Amphibious Seaplane Kit
- Sling 2 by The Airplane Factory
- Sonex by Sonex
- Sportsman and
by Glasair Aviation
- Switchblade "Point-to-point Transportation" vehicle by Samson
- Tango 2 and Tango XR by Team Tango - sleek and fast
by Van's Aircraft
- STOL CH 750,
CH 750 Cruzer LSA
STOL CH 701
by Zenith Aircraft
- Four-place Airplanes
- Also see Helicopter kits (below)
- Ultralights & Light Experimental / Production Aircraft:
- HAI - Helicopter Association Internationl
- Central Sierra Helicopter Meet
- Helistart - Helicopter site
- Enstrom Helicopter
- Robinson Helicopter
- Sirius Flying - Helicopter flight training at Palo Alto Airport
- Vertical CFI Helicopters - Helicopter flight training at Hayward Airport
- Sierra Air, Auburn - Helicopter Training, very atractive rates
- Air Shasta - R22 / R44 / R66, Flight Training, Mountain Operations, FBO, Etc., Attractive pricing
- Jerry Trimble Helicopters in OR and CA - Affordable training
- American Helicopters, Chandler Airport (KFCH) in Fresno - Complete Helicopter courses for reasonable prices (they also offer flight training at the
Central Sierra Helicopter Meet)
- SRT Helicopters - Full service helicopter company based in Bakersfield with special training for Mountain Flying, Long Line, Special Operations, etc.
- Piston Helicopters For Sale via Controller
- Homebuilt / Experimental / Ultralight Helicopter
- Gyroplane Instructors:
- PRA - Popular Rotorcraft Association
- KBFF: Ken Brock Freedon Fly-In - Annual September El Mirage Dry Lake Gyro fly-in, get-together, and BBQ
- Airgyro Aviation - AutoGyro Aircraft and Training in Spanish Fork, UT
- Glass Cockpit Aviation - AutoGyro Aircraft and Training in Boise Idaho
- AutoGyro USA - a full line of slick looking full comfort gyros
- Arrow Copter - Austria based high performance gyroplane
- The Butterfly Gyroplane - Kits for various gyroplanes -
The Ultralight Butterfly,
and numerous other models ... (w/
Larry Neal, Owner)
- Carter Aviation / CarterCopter - an interesting company making a fast gyroplane/airplane hybrid aircraft (w/
Larry Neal, Chief Test Pilot)
- Celier Aviation - Makers of the Xenon line of high-end gyroplanes
(US Dealer: Pictaio Aerospace, Dubuque, IA)
- Joe Souza Gyroplanes - Basic gyroplanes, one and two-place
- Little Wing Autogyros - A family of one and two-place plane-like gyroplane kits
- ELA Gyroplanes - open and enclosed gyros from Spain (offered in the US by Aerotrek)
- Magni Gyro USA - A family of high-end one and two-place gyroplane kits
- The PAL-V ONE - A super cool, super high-tech gyroplane / flying motorcycle
- Sport Copter - A family of one and two-place gyroplane kits, some basic, some high-end
- Star Bee Gyros - Kits and parts to make a Gyrobee Gyroplane -
StarBee Light Ultralight,
Total Bee - EAB,
- SparrowHawk III Gyroplane - 2-Place gyroplane kits from American Autogyro -
- A complete list of gyroplane kits by gyroplanepassion.com
- Flying Vehicles:
- My Flying Adventures
NB: Some of these flights have been with my friend, and instructor,
While Scott is a great primary instructor his specialty is
Instrument Instruction (I got my Instrument Rating with him).
He also offers Mountain Instruction, Multi-engine, and special XC trips
such as those listed here.
- May 22-28, 2014 (solo) - Cross-country Adventure:
Skycatcher Ferry Flight
In May 2014, I did a solo ferry flight of a Cessna Skycatcher from Michigan (near Toledo, OH) to Palo Alto CA.
Since the Skycatcher is not IFR certified, and its light weight makes it susceptible to winds and turbulence,
I decided that a route across the Rockies and Sierras was not in the cards.
I therefore chose the southern route through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and then back up through Southern California.
Unfortunately, nearly the entire trip was fraught with weather issues,
including low clouds, thunderstorms, tornados, hail, winds and turbulence.
But in the end I made it to Palo Alto no worse the wear on me or the aircraft.
You can see some photos from this trip on my Google+ album
Skycatcher Ferry Flight May 2014.
- December 28-30, 2013 (w/ Richard Bugg) - Cross-country Adventure: SoCal Back-country Desert
Richard and I spent three days flying to a number of airports in the Mojave Desert and Palm Desert areas.
We encountered some interestng winds, including a 50 KT mountain wave between Needles and Chiriaco Summit.
- June 8, 2004 (solo) - IFR Adventure in the Cascades (the trip was planned, but not so much the adventure)
Flying solo IFR can be demanding, sometimes more demanding than others.
Here's a link to a story about a brush with danger
that I had while flying through the Cascades near Medford Oregon.
- September 17-19, 2003 (w/
- Unusual Attitudes and Aerobatics
I spent 3 days flying with acrobatic legend
- and all around great guy -
in his Extra 300L.
My initial goal was to feel more comfortable with
unusual attitudes and to increase my confidence and skills in such situations.
Much to my surprise Wayne not only helped me achive these goals but he also
taught me how to do - even enjoy! - various rolls, loops, and other acrobatic maneuvers
(something that I never would have thought possible since even roller-coasters make me sick).
I would recommend flying with Wayne not only to those who want to expand their
acrobatic repertoire but to any pilot who wants to expand their
envelope of comfort, confidence, and skill.
Here is a link to the full article about my experience:
Aerobatic Instruction with Wayne Handley.
- November 27-30, 2001 (w/
- Cross-country Adventure: California - Oregon - Washington
(We had a more elaborate trip planned
but my father died while on the trip so we cut it short and headed back
We were also delayed due to a blizzard and problems with some of the aircraft systems.
It was an arduous trip.)
- October 27-30, 1999 (w/
- Cross-country Adventure: California - Nevada - Utah - Colorado - Wyoming
In 4 days we covered 5 states, 12 airports, and 2240 miles;
including Leadville (9927') - the highest elevation public use general
aviation airport in the US, and Telluride (9078') - the highest elevation
airport in the US with commercial passenger service.
- My Data: