Wednesday, February 16, 2011


So, I discovered another really cool tool in my quest to become a better pilot. When flying on X-Plane's flight simulator I can now get live Air Traffic Controllers to talk to me just the way it would happen in real live. PilotEdge is an app that you add to your X-Plane simulator and it ramps up the realism exponentially. I file a flight plan, then pick it up from clearance delivery (or ground if it's a class D airport) and read it back. Then I fly the IFR flight plan but because there's a real controller involved sometimes things are different, like getting a vector, just like it is in real life. This combination of X-Plane and PilotEdge is really going to make a difference in my proficiency.

Simulator Flying

I spent some time on Microsoft Flight Simulator X awhile back and thought it could be a good tool for training...but I recently purchased X-Plane and I'm blown away by the realism. I was able to take a Comanche 250 and reconfigure the panel to replicate my buddy Ron's airplane so that when I practice, everything is where it should be...practice makes permanent!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Montgomery Field to Big Bear

Roy and I went flying again, this time a cross country trip from Montgomery Field (KMYF) to Big Bear Lake (L35). We used a flight plan and timed each leg and were somewhat amazed at how close we were in our flight planning.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Ron and I flew the Comanche from El Monte to Santa Ynez the other day and then took the shuttle over to the Indian casino for lunch. Normally neither one of us is too keen on gambling but this time we pooled our considerable resources ($25) and punched the buttons on a few slot machines.

After trying out 2 or 3 slots with no luck (but no real loses either) we found a cool machine that went into a mode where it played itself...and it kept winning and winning and winning until we had parlayed our small fortune into $226.24!

As Toyota used to say "Oh, what a feeling!"

Flying Again

After finally completing my Instrument Rating my flying dropped to practically zero. The move to San Diego's North County (Escondido) put me about 2 1/2 hours away from my home base airport (El Monte) and the beautiful Piper Comanche that I regularly flew with my buddy Ron.

I thought I would be renting airplanes down here but the way I drained money into the IFR rating there wasn't much left for fun flying.

I did manage to meet up with a guy I met on the Purple Board ( and we flew around the San Diego area and out to the Anzo Borrego Desert where we landed at a remote airport (the name escapes me). That airport was a trip because the ground rises pretty steadily to the north (I think it was north) and there's a mountain to the south and west...So....if you take off to the west and turn to the north the ground continues to rise at about the same amount that your airplane is interesting feeling to say the least. My new flying buddy, Roy Rodgers, has done extensive mountain flying training with a CFI that's an expert in the field so I was able to trust his judgement.

Roy is an Electrical Engineer and he brings that certain thoroughness to flying that you would expect. I love it. He verbalizes everything he's doing and that, to me, goes a long way toward building trust. I never once think that Roy might do something dumb.

I'm hoping that Roy will help me get to know the intricacies of the complex airspace around San Diego.

Analyzing A Flight

One of the cool things about PilotEdge is that you can look at all the parameters after the flight to see how you did. Altitude, direction, air speed, etc... Check out this link.