Flying

Personal - Ciára - Flying

Recent Flying PhotosOshkosh 2004 - NH and Nantucket 2004 - Dayton and Oshkosh 2002 - Hudson River Tour - ATOP B-737 Class - Flying Goodies

My Flying History

I've always loved airplanes and flight, as early as I can remember.  I have an Uncle Brian who was a pilot in the Military, and then became a personal pilot to a Kentucky coal baron for a while.  I clearly remember my Mom, Dad, and I  taking a trip with Brian and his family up north for Christmas in Connecticut.  I think the airplane was a Cessna 206 or 207, and I got to sit in the right front seat and act as copilot.  From that moment on I knew I wanted to learn to fly.  As I got older I "made do" with PC based simulation, and when I was in college my roomates and I used to take the "T" out to Boston Logan airport, where it was still possible to get into the abandoned observation deck midway up the control tower.  We'd sometimes take our PCs and a handheld airband radio and listen to the departing traffic, and have races in our Cessna (on my Tandy) and Piper (on his Commodore) airplanes down to Martha's Vineyard.

When I joined the Coast Guard I spent the first year at a small boat station, but with my computer skills I was soon sent up to Group HQ, which was also an air station.  There I got to ride around in the back of the HH-65 Dolphin helicopters and learned a lot about aviation, both the rewards and the dangers.  I still couldn't afford to learn to fly myself, however, as the nearest military aero club was a couple of hours away.

Fast-forward to September 1995.  It's my wedding day, in Boston, and we're getting aboard a Cape Air Cessna 402, and I'm lucky enough to get the co-pilot seat.  I told the pilot that I'd made this trip on simulators hundreds of times, and we chatted a bit about the route.   By the time I was reunited with my bride - weight and balance calculations had put her farther in the back - I had made up my mind that I was going to start taking lessons.  After a few months of settling in at home, I went hunting for a flight school.  I finally settled on Frederick Aviation in Frederick Maryland, as they had lots of new Aerospatiale airplanes and plenty of instructors.  The price at the time was $65 per hour for the airplane and $15 for the instructor, and I got started.  I was able to fly once a week, and it took me nine months and 66 hours before I was ready for my checkride.  After a bust on the engine-out drill, I put on some more polish and passed the retest.

Then, being young, childless, and having spare cash, my wife and I used the airplane for trips to visit family, vacations, and general getaways.  After an incident in late 2007 where weather forced us to change our plans, I decided to get my instrument rating.  Luckily, I had signed up for the GI Bill back in the Coast Guard, so Uncle Sam paid for 60% of my instrument, commercial, and multiengine ratings.

Since Ciara came along, there hasn't been a lot of spare time or money for flying.  I've managed to remain both current and proficient with a structured series of proficiency flights, and I've been able to get some time in acting as a safety pilot, as well as performing a few ferry flights here and there.   Right now I'm working hard to get into a "ready-to-retire" financial situation as quickly as I can, so I can cash in on my current home, move to someplace with a much lower cost of living (and compared to Fairfax county, nearly everywhere is cheaper), and buy a house and an airplane and take a lower-paying flying job.

Below is the list of all the states I've visited as a pilot.  The nav bar up at the top will take you to pages of photographs:

Alabama

2003
Alaska

not yet
Arizona

2003
Arkansas

2003
California

2003
Colorado

2003
Connecticut

2000
Delaware

1999
Florida

2001
Georgia

2001
Hawaii

not yet
Idaho

not yet
Illinois

1999
Indiana

1997
Iowa

2003
Kansas

2003
Kentucky

2002
Louisiana

not yet
Maine

2001
Maryland

2001
Massachusetts

2000
Michigan

2001
Minnesota

not yet
Mississippi

2003
Missouri

2001
Montana

not yet
Nebraska

2003
Nevada

not yet
New Hampshire

1999
New Jersey

2001
New Mexico

2003
New York

2000
North Carolina

1997
North Dakota

not yet
Ohio

2001
Oklahoma

2003
Oregon

not yet
Pennsylvania

2001
Rhode Island

2001
South Carolina

2001
South Dakota

not yet
Tennessee

2002
Texas

2003
Utah

not yet
Vermont

2001
Virginia

2001
Washington

not yet
West Virginia

1999
Wisconsin

2000
Wyoming

not yet

Downloads:

Preflight Briefing (PDF) - I can adapt this for your needs if you wish, just let me know.