Whether you are new to aviation or returning after a leave of absence, we can tailor a training package to suit your goals and experience. We offer training in preparation for the Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, and Commercial Pilot certificates (airplane single-engine land), as...Read More
Fly The Airplane is now available for purchase! Dana and I are proud to announce the publication of what we hope will be one of the most inspirational and well-written memoirs of all time — ours. Fly The Airplane is the true story of how the lessons we’ve learned as...Read More
-- Patty Wagstaff, three-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion and member of the Women in Aviation International Hall of Fame
Preparing a student pilot for an FAA practical test, otherwise known as a “check ride,” is a long and complex process. The student needs to absorb a decent amount of book knowledge in addition to mastering the basic “stick and rudder” skills necessary to safely and effectively control the airplane. On top of all that, the student must demonstrate that he or she is able to exercise good judgement as pilot in command. As instructors, all we can do is provide our students with the knowledge and experience that will give them a solid foundation for making good decisions as pilot in command. But ultimately, doing the right thing is up to the student.
Over the last several weeks, Dana and I have observed our little Alex growing like a weed as she prepares for her first check ride. She needs to demonstrate to her team of doctors that she has “the right stuff” to leave the hospital for the first time since she was born, and come home with us to stay. Much like in an FAA check ride, there are certain standards she must meet in order to pass her test. She needs to eat most of her food on her own instead of having it fed to her through a tube. She needs to continue gaining weight and develop a more regular sleeping schedule. She needs to wean off of the pain medicine that kept her stable and comfortable while the machines kept her alive.
She’s come such a long way since she was born and is almost ready for her test, but it’s a tall order for our pint sized student pilot. But as her forever instructors, we have full confidence in her to not just pass, but ace it.Read More
Someone recently posted a review of our book, Fly The Airplane, on Amazon.com and in it noted that “as you read this book you’ll see that Meredith and Dana were both teacher and student.” That’s so true on many levels. When we brought home our 1938 J-3 Cub in January 2012, Dana had to teach me how to fly it because I had no experience flying tailwheel airplanes. Dana has spent his flying career becoming a master of “stick and rudder,” with thousands of hours of experience teaching people to fly a wide variety of single engine airplanes. Now, the tables are turned slightly as I’m mentoring Dana toward earning an instrument rating on his flight instructor certificate, which will make him a “CFII” like me and allow both of us to offer instrument training to our customers.
All flight instructors have to be instrument rated pilots, but the FAA requires instructors to earn an additional instrument rating in order to be able to train other pilots to earn an instrument rating or renew their instrument currency. So even though Dana and I both already know how to fly IFR and have many hours of actual instrument flying time in our log books, this is a great opportunity for us to review the broad set of facts and skills required to fly safely in the clouds. You just can’t know enough about this stuff! We’ll be using our Elite PI-135 BATD to fly simulated instrument approaches in preparation for Dana’s flight test.
Our simulator is an excellent platform for learning the basics of instrument flying, or for brushing up on your instrument flying skills. Plus, we can bring our simulator to you! For more information, please visit our Mobile Flight Simulator page or contact us today.Read More
Anyone who’s ever been a passenger on an airline flight knows the drill: In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will drop from the overhead bins. The safety briefing always includes a directive to put your own mask on before attempting to help others who need assistance. While it may seem illogical or even immoral to insist that the strong take care of themselves before helping the weak, the rationale is that if a healthy person jumps into action to rescue someone else without first receiving supplemental oxygen, she may quickly succumb to hypoxia and be left in worse shape than the person she was trying to save.
The same logic may be applied to other life situations, too. Clearly Dana and I have had a lot going on in our lives lately, dealing with our critically ill newborn daughter, Alex. But through it all, we’ve known that our life outside of the hospital must go on. Flights must be flown, bills must be paid, meals must be cooked, the house must be cleaned, and the dog must be walked and fed. Fly The Airplane. Still, somewhere in that busy schedule we’ve made time for ourselves, too, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Why? Because we know that if we don’t, we’ll fall into an unhealthy cycle of self deprivation from which we might never recover.
My parents were in town this weekend to spend some time with us and with Alex. The four of us went out for dinner on Friday night to celebrate our birthdays and Alex’s successful hernia repair surgery. It felt amazing to enjoy a good meal at a real restaurant instead of a fast food joint or the hospital cafeteria. On Saturday morning, I took my dad up in the Piper Sport for about an hour, because the weather was perfect and it had been a very long time since we’d flown together. Flying runs thick through his blood, and those six touch and go’s in the traffic pattern were a huge stress reliever for him, and for me.
So as I sit here now, in the soft light and hushed quiet of Alex’s hospital room, watching her sleep peacefully, I can dream happily about the day when Dana and I will walk out of here with her in our arms, and of the day when we’ll take her for her first flight. That day is approaching, slowly but steadily, and we are going to need to keep our bodies strong and our minds clear until then so that we’re ready to receive her and be the best parents that we can be.Read More