Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year

2013 will be my last full year in the US as I am returning back to Europe in July 2014. It's time to look back at what I've written in the logbook in 2013.

PiC Time Logged - 56.3hrs
Airports Visited - 29
Aircraft Flown - C172
States Flown In - AZ, OR, TX & WA

There are lots of highlights for the year but my top five are;
1. Passed through 100hrs PiC,
2. Landed at my first airport >7000' MSL,
3. Class B flying including landing at KPHX (5th visit) in May,
4. Only flying with a empty right seat once,
5. Flying with my Dad for the first time.

1. Not camping at #OSH13,

I do have a couple of other regrets, but I can fix them in early 2014 so I am not going to write them down.

Happy New Year. Blue skies and tailwinds for 2014!

Flying With My Dad


Grounded due to ice conditions and low vis. This sucks. Happy New Year everyone.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flying with Hoptown Flyer

Thanks for Hoptown Flyer for getting his version of our flight out on YouTube before me. I don't like watching myself and I did enjoy this one! 

First flight in a month and first flight in cold weather. Was apprehensive but everything worked out okay.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

$100 Hamburger - Class Bravo Airport

Nowadays it is difficult to fly that $100 hamburger flight due to the rising cost of rental aircraft/fuel. However on 13th December 2012 I had my first "official" $100 hamburger as a Private Pilot.

I've had many aviation highlights since moving to the US in November 2011. In Europe it can be a challenge flying into a large airport and parking for free! You would think landing a C172 at an Air Force Base (without the F-16 escort) and spending two days with the F-16 pilots would be enough satisfaction in one lifetime. But on the 13th December 2012, ATC gave me clearance to land on 07R at Phoenix Sky Harbor (KPHX) airport in Arizona. 24 months prior to that, learning to fly was still a dream. Never thought I would be doing this in a million years.

Planned Route CHD -> PHX
As most of you know, ATC is my passion. I'd practiced the possible radio calls a million times whilst driving the car to and from work. I had already flown halve a dozen or so class bravo transitions but this was to be my first flight landing. I didn't want to mess this one up. After picking up the ATIS, I was so nervous making that first call to PHX APP. I was prepared for them to say "you want to land a Cessna here?" followed by "frequency change approved, good day!" And this would be followed by my FBO telling me they had a call from PHX Tracon! Thankfully that never happened and PHX Tracon/Twr provided an excellent service. 

Gotta love Cutter Aviation. Leading FBO servicing major airports across southwestern United States. They hold a monthly cook off in the autumn and winter months in order to promote the services at the FBO. Parking fee waived for the day and some great food providing A simple call ahead a few days before is requested to ensure your parking spot on the ramp.

Welcome N54288
For my first visit, flight time was less than 20 minutes. Total distance flown was less than 25nm. In the end, I was very happy with my RT comms. I did mess up the clearance delivery on the way back out of PHX but I was able to fix that on later flights.

SKYHAWK 288 Ramp Photo KPHX
Loggged 0.9hrs there and back. That equated to $90 + tax = approx. $96. This became my first $100 hamburger flight plus I had change!

Ended up flying into KPHX five times between December 2012 and May 2013. Each time was amazing. So glad I was able to experience it in the US. The experience is definitely in ten life experiences. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hoptown Flyer @ Twin Oaks

Please join me in congratulating Hoptown Flyer. He flies out the same airport as me in Oregon. Took him flying this weekend in 734KU. He had a taste of what his PPL ticket will enable him to do once he closes our his training in the coming weeks. Lets all wish him good luck!

Follow him on Youtube -

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back in the saddle

Flew for the first time in a month. Added my 37th airport. Flew north from 7S3 to KCLS (Chehalis-Centralia). Planned to go further north but the wind was 350/20kts at around 4000'. This resulted in only 90kts ground speed in the cruise. Flight following with PDX DEP and SEA CTR on the way. 

On the return leg there was a SCT050 layer. With freezing temperatures I avoided the cloud. Flew back at 3500' MSL. This was too low to pick up flight following with SEA CTR. Once clear of the cloud, we climbed back up to 5500 for the remainder of the journey.

Logged 2.1hrs. Fun flight.

KCLS - Chehalis-Centralia
Inbound UBG VOR Climbing to 5500'

View from KU

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Flickr Account

Have created myself a Flickr account to show off my new Canon Rebel T3i photos.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Thanks for being patient over the last few weeks. Feeling the effects of Oregon weather. Not flying as much. Great adventures planned in the new year. I have 30 weekends left in the US before returning to Europe.

I do have a trip planned this Sunday. Heading north towards Seattle if the weather is nice to me. Stay tuned.................

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Enjoy this short video from my flight to Kelso (KKLS) two weekends ago. Another new airport with another first time passenger. Fun times!

734KU booked for the 7th December. Expect a new video soon.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Flying Adventures

I'm going to start blogging about flying other than mine.

Check out two videos of people claiming to have the worlds shortest commercial flight. 

World's shortest commercial flight? from IndoPilot on Vimeo.

Aren't we lucky being pilots?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Two Years in US

Celebrating two years in the US this week. So many dreams fulfilled. So much more to do in the next 8 months.

Flying With Wife


Monday, November 18, 2013

Flight Sim Video

Made a flight sim video. Love A2A's C172 trainer. Helps pass the wet days in Oregon when I can't fly real world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2014 Ambitions

As the year draws to an end what are you looking forward to in 2014?

2014 is the year I head back to Ireland. But I have 7 months flying left. Here is my list;

(0) TRACON tours and lots of them (this is P0!)
(1) Seaplane flying in Seattle,
(2) Flying in the the clouds (with a IFR rated pilot of course!),
(3) Fly to California from Oregon,
(4) Land at KBFI and KPAE,
(5) Cross the Canadian border (legally!)
(6) Fly something other than the C172!

and I would love to do some more flying in AZ but I don't know if that will happen.

I have to make the most of my time between now and July 2014. American dream will soon be over.

37th Airport

After a three week break due to life and weather(!), I was back flying again at the weekend. I'm enjoying venturing north to the Oregon/Washington State border. This time, I landed at Kelso Southwest Washington Airport. Despite being a dry weekend day, there was not a sole around. Saying that, Scappoose was very busy on the radio. Took me 5 minutes to get through the delta airspace at KHIO. If I knew it was going to take that long, then I would have just climbed above their airspace!

Had another first time flyer too. Work colleague from intel, so I was sure to fly overhead the factory in Hillsboro we are both working at. Always fun making sure that right seat stays occupied. 

Plan is to survive the next three months and hit the ground running (pardon the pun) come March. Lots of great adventures planned.

Intel, Hillsboro Oregon

Columbia River

Short Final 30 KKLS

Video to follow soon.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Oregon wx sucks! Been grounded over the last two weeks. Clear weather didn't line up with my work/personal schedule. However, all going well, I will be flying this weekend. Stay tuned!

In the mean time, enjoy reading the AOPA article about life after a failed checkride. I get a mention!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

200hr Total Time

Passed through 200hrs total time today with 2.4 logged. Great flight around north western Oregon. Took a student pilot up with me. His first time sitting in the right seat. Fun flight. Picked up flight following with PDX DEP and SEA CTR. Then cancelled and descended into KAST. They flew down the coast line towards TMK. TMK clouded in so diverted to 2S6 before returning back to home plate. 

N734KU 180HP

Short Final 2S6

Final 31 KAST

Thursday, October 10, 2013


It's a little too early to think about 2014, but I need to if I want to continue flying.

I spoke to my old FBO and the Irish Aviation Authority. They both confirmed that as it stands today, I can go home to Ireland and rent a C172 (albeit a little more expensive!) using my FAA license. I told the IAA that I would check back with them in early 2014 to see if anything has changed. Right now, the new European governing body (EASA) is cracking down on people learning to fly in the US and coming back to get airline jobs. I'm under no illusion that GA is safe. Right now, Ireland may have 12 months remaining before I need to convert. It could be pushed out further or pulled in.

I will check in with the IAA in January. Then I will make a decision if I need to travel within the US to get my license converted to EASA. If I don't need too, then I will be get my BFR and medical in June 2014 and I will be good to fly in Ireland!

Isn't that great news? I just need the income of a sports star to fund the flying and landing fees. I will worry about that in 2014 :)

In the mean time, I have about 9-10 months left in the US.

Monday, October 7, 2013

100hr PiC Video

A few weeks back I was inspired by some pretty cool GA videos. Decided to make my own montage showing the amazing journey I have been on over the last 15 months since passing my FAA checkride. Couldn't fit all the fun into one video so I have condensed it down to the best parts.

Thanks to everyone that either inspired or flown with me. It's been an amazing journey and I'm looking forward to sharing the next 100 hours with my flying friends.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

First Flight Washington State

Had my first trip across a state border yesterday. Hoquiam Boverman lies on the pacific northwest coast line a few miles west of Seattle. I was playing around on flight sim a few nights ago and flew there, so I chose it as our destination. I'm starting to be more adventurous with my destinations.

Weather has been really poor here in Oregon over the last few days, however we've had a couple of days of sunshine through the weekend. The skies were extremely busy yesterday with pilots taking advantage of the nice weather.

We departed Twin Oaks at 3:40pm local time expecting to fly for just over an hour each way (ended up back at Twin Oaks at 6pm). 

After transitioning through HIO's class delta, I contacted PDX DEP on 118.1 and picked up VFR flight following. Ended up getting passed onto two SEA CTR frequencies on the 107nm leg.

Great flight to practice VOR's with three different ones to tune into (UBG, HQM and AST).

Winds were light at HQM but favoring runway 24. Joined the pattern on the 45 for a left hand pattern to 24. The approach was very spectacular. I swear the engine sound changed as we flew over the water :)

Full stop taxi back and we were on our way again. Flew down the coastline to AST before routing direct to 7S3.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wx Woes

Has rained everyday for almost a week. Due to clear up at the weekend. Blue skies on Saturday. 40H booked for my next adventure here in Oregon.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

100hr PiC Video **Preview**

Started working on my 100hr PiC video where I will show the highlights of my journey. In the mean time, enjoy this short preview.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Great GA Video

This has to be one of the best GA aviation videos out there. It encompasses everything that flying is all about in my opinion.

AVIATE from Bryan Kopp on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wx Challenges

MOD ICE, MOD TURB and MTN OBSCN all good reasons not to venture too far today!

Planned a 3 hour flight this morning but again I had to be vary of the weather. Managed to take my Dad flying again but we only logged 0.6 hours on a short trip over to Aurora State. 

Today's Route
In total, I flew twice with my Dad on his trip to the US. We never made it to Boeing Field, but we still had a great time. Think he's proud of me!

Dad and I

Skyvector Colors!
I have identified a couple of new airports I want to visit over the next couple of weeks. Just need the weather to hold.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


An OVC morning prevented my flight to Seattle. Cloud cleared late morning and I did manage a short flight over to Salem and Aurora State.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

BFI Postponed

Postponed my trip to BFI tomorrow. Wx looks better in and around Portland. Planning on two flights tomorrow morning. Taking someone flying for the first time after I take my Dad to SLE and AOU.

PDX - FM121700 32004KT P6SM SKC

YouTube Channel - Don Kendrick

I'm dedicating the next few posts to some of my social media friends. First up is Don. Be sure to check out his YouTube Channel. Don enjoys sharing his flights around Pennsylvania. I'm yet to find out if he is a Flyers or Penguins supporter though! I've enjoyed his photos and videos on Facebook over the last few months. 

You can also follow Don on Twitter by searching for his handle @donnie_k

Seattle Bound (Maybe!)

Due to fly to Boeing Field in Seattle tomorrow but this is now in doubt. 
KSEA 112323Z 1200/1306 31005KT P6SM SKC 
     FM120900 19004KT P6SM SKC 
     TEMPO 1214/1217 4SM BR OVC002 
     FM121700 18005KT P6SM SCT005 
     FM121900 30006KT P6SM SKC

My alternate was going to be KOLM. Due to lift at 11am local. I planned on arriving in the area from 10:30am. It's going to be a last minute decision on whether I get up there tomorrow.

KOLM 112323Z 1200/1224 34005KT P6SM SKC 
     FM120300 VRB03KT P6SM SKC 
     FM121300 19004KT 3SM BR OVC003 
     TEMPO 1214/1217 1/2SM FG VV002 
     FM121700 31005KT 4SM BR SCT006 
     FM121800 35006KT P6SM SKC

Sunday, September 8, 2013

100hr PiC

I was only planning on flying 0.7hrs today and leaving my 100hr PiC till next week, but the wx was beautiful today and I had to make the most of it!

Flew with my Dad for the first time (his second time in a GA aircraft). Short flight between Twin Oaks and KTMK which lies a few miles from the Pacific coast.

My first time requesting flight following with Portland DEP/APP. I was then handed off to Seattle CTR for the remainder of the short flight.

Short Final 7S3
Short Final KTMK Runway 31

Flight Planning

I've finally arrived in the 21st century in terms of my flight planning. Now using my daughter's Google Nexus 7 combined with the planning software from Garmin.

Flight Planning 21st Century Method!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Prop. Blur Update

My $7 fix for the GoPro prop. blur issue has arrived. Can't wait to get flying at the weekend to try it out! Stay tuned.


I spent the long labor day weekend in California. Four firsts for me! 

1. Flew on Alaska Airlines (737-400),
2. Flew in and out of LAX, 
3. Visited the Space Shuttle Endeavour and
4. Saw 16R at Van Nuys.

Right now, KLAX is my new fav. #avgeek airport. The flight from PDX was amazing. Flight time was 1hr59min. We flew the SADDE SIX arrival and then after SOM we joined a right base for a visual approach to runway 24R. Amazing views over the entire LA basin.

The flight back was more evenful. We were delayed an hour due a late change of aircraft. We flew back in 1hr41min thanks to a 50kt tailwind. The Captain (PF) flew a high speed decent and visual approach onto 28L at KPDX. This happened at night and was one of the coolest approaches I have had for a while. Overall, I was very impressed with Alaska Airlines. 

The ATC feeds on offer a mix of heavy and GA traffic. I haven't stopped listening to the LAX Final (North/South) feed since I arrived back in Oregon on Sunday evening. 

Both Phoenix and Portland have lacked a steady stream of heavy jets. At LAX, they arrived and departed throughout the whole day. I only wish I had a decent camera to capture some cool shots.

On Saturday afternoon I was surfing on Trip Advisor and discovered that the Space Shuttle Endeavour was in LA and open to the public. Spent a couple of hours touring the California ScienCenter where Endeavour was housed. I never managed to see the Shuttle fly but this almost made up for that!

My trip to Van Nuys was unplanned therefore I didn't research it very well. Couldn't find any decent places to take photos, but I can say I have seen 16R.


16R Van Nuys!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Prop Blur

Attempting to fix my GoPro HERO 2 prop blur issue with a $7 fix versus a $77 fix!

I've ordered a .6ND, 20x24 2 Stop Neutral Density Lighting Filter which according to the internet will fix all my issues. Hope it arrives before my next flight.

Here is a sample video from YouTube courtesy of @climiek. Okay, it's not perfect, but definitely better than what I have now.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

99.2hrs PiC

Flew 0.7hrs to and from Aurora State Airport (KAOU) today. This has brought my total PiC hours to 99.2hrs. I will be taking a week off from flying next week as I am heading to Disney in CA. I have 3 people lined up for my next few flights, one being my Dad who has never flown with me! I am going to have to decide who gets that 100hr flight with me! I really want to fly to Boeing Field. Need to find out if my Dad will be happy to take the longer flight with me.

Pre-Flight N5440H


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Solo Cross Country

I titled this entry "Solo Cross Country" for a reason. Flying a new aircraft (M model) in a new area (Oregon) is like learning to fly all over again. It's about having the confidence in my ability to explore my new surroundings by air. 

With each flight I am getting a little more adventurous and am flying further afield. This is all good preparation for my flight to Boeing Field (KBFI) which I intend to fly in the next two to three weeks.

One of the challenges flying in Oregon has been the conversion from KTS to MPH on the IAS. Sounds simple right? It has taken me a couple of flights to nail those approach speeds. I am basically adding 10 to the IAS. Where before I would have been 75,70,65 on approach, I am now 85,80,75. 

Really inspired my daughter with this flight. She hasn't stopped talking about it. Can't wait to take her flying again soon!Check out the #GulfstreamGirl photo I took during the flight.

Future #GulfstreamGirl

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Class Bravo Flying

Been thinking about the class bravo flights from the last six months. So far flying into KPHX has been my best aviation adventure so far. I hope I get to do this again at some point. This is just not possible back in the UK/Ireland.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Right Seat Flying

Flying right seat with @cholubaz


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Always a Student

Continuing to learn valuable lessons in my short time as a Private Pilot. Today it was about proficiency and not taking too long away from flying!

Back in the saddle today. Wx improved to BKN024 but decided to remain in the pattern. 5 landings. That's 1.5hrs in the last 7 weeks and it showed. Allowed my speed to get too slow over the runway, as a result I didn't have sufficient elevator authority in the flare. This resulted in hard landings! For one landing, I had to take my hands away from the throttle to pull back harder on the elevator. I really don't like doing that in case I need to go around. 

The aircraft i'm flying is in MPH (95% of my hours are in aircraft with kts). Need to make sure I nail the approach speeds speeds (75/70/65/60kts = 86/80/74/69mph). Or other words, add 10.

Flying again within the next week.

N5440H Full Elevator Deflection!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oshkosh Summary - Ford Trimotor Flight

Nine social media friends and I took a ten minute flight in a 1929 Ford Trimotor whilst at Oshkosh. Short taxi out to runway 36 (L) and then a 2 mile wide pattern back to runway 36 (L). This was one of the highlights of my Oshkosh trip.

Twitter Friends - Ford Tri-Motor
Thanks to @cholubaz for allowing the staff to take this photo with his camera.

Oshkosh Summary - Seaplane Base

One of the best kept secrets of Oshkosh is the Seaplane base that sits about 5nm SW of KOSH. I ended up spending a few hours there on both Friday and Saturday with my GoPro filming the operations. I recorded the background noise and ATC audio on my MP3 recorder. I plan to produce a short video showing the operations once I have had time to edit my video and audio.

Oshkosh Seaplane Base
Busy Seaplane Photo

Cessna Float Departing Cove Area

Back From Oshkosh

Ended up having WiFi issues at Oshkosh at the university dorms. This meant I couldn't provide any blog updates. Check back soon for my wrap-up.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Oshkosh Day 0

Flew from Portland to Phoenix yesterday. Great flight from KHIO to KIWA aboard a EMB-145. Had to re-route due to weather along in SE Oregon. Highlight had to be seeing Area 51 off the left wing and overflying Nellis AFB, NV.

On arrival at KIWA, I made my way over to KCHD for a night flight with Chris Holub (from In The Pattern podcast). We flew CHD -> TFD VOR -> TUS VOR and then a visual approach into 11L. What a flight. Chris filmed some of it. Hopefully he will release it after he returns from Oshkosh.

It's Thursday morning. About to head to KIWA to catch my flight to Appleton, WI (KATW).

Holding Short 31 HIO

Right Deviation For Wx

Nellis AFB

N98711 Power Checks 04L KCHD

Chris Departing KCHD

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time for Oshkosh

................and the wait it finally over. I'm heading to Oshkosh today via Phoenix. Check back for daily updates providing I can find a good wifi connection!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Not been flying much recently. Heading to Oshkosh next week. Lots of flying planned for August and September. Please stay tuned!!

Seeing as it's summer and many pilots are talking about Density Altitude, I will share with a video of my first visit to KFLG which lies at 7000'MSL. On this day, the temp was in the 50's. DA was 7900'.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seattle Update

Didn't fly in Seattle at the weekend due to OVC010 at KRNT. Aircraft was only available in the morning. Cloud didn't burn off until 1300L. I should have booked an afternoon flight! Wasn't expecting the marine layer to be so dominant. 

Despite that, I still managed to get my aviation fix over the weekend at Kenmore Air and a walk around on the ramp at KRNT!

Beaver Departing Kenmore Air Seaport Base (Lake Union, WA)

Beaver Departing Kenmore Air Seaport Base (Lake Union, WA)

Gray OVC010 Skies at KRNT

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Seattle Flying

If everything goes to plan, I will be taking a sight seeing trip out of Boeing Field on Sunday morning. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Twin Oaks Pattern Video

Enjoy my short video from yesterdays pattern work. Happy with my performance with this being my first flight in four weeks.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Back Flying

Can't believe it's been a month, well 4 weeks to be exact since I last flew. Enjoyed the short break. I headed down to Twin Oaks for the monthly EAA blueberry breakfast fly-in. This sparked my excitement again for flying. Ended up flying 0.6hrs on my own around the traffic pattern. Performed 3 take-off and landings. This has taken care of any currency requirements!

@pilot_ngb ready for breakfast and flying!

Cessna Stationair Float Version (want one!)

Cessna 140

Friday, June 28, 2013

Celebrating 1 Year

One year ago this week a dream of over 12 years came true. I had tried several times to get my license in Ireland but life got in the way. My dream became reality in early 2011 when I started my FAA PPL training in Arizona. On June 27th 2012, I passed my checkride and became a Private Pilot.

One year on, I realize that I will be a student for the rest of my flying career. My last flight three weeks ago didn't go so well. Lack of a sterile cockpit led to me departing my home base in Oregon without completing finishing all items on the pre take-off checklist. Flight was uneventful, but it was my first real miss in terms of checklist execution. This knocked me back for a few days, but I am now ready to get back into the air again. Lesson learnt, I can't strive for perfection, but I might never fly that perfect flight.

I've been on so many small adventures since getting my ticket. Some of the highlights are as follows;

1. Two weeks after passing, I found myself transitioning SFO's class bravo airspace. Amazing flight with Marc.
2. Flew an overnight trip to Luke Air Force base in a C172 and spent two days with F-16 pilots and other Arizona GA pilots.
3. Flew a C172 into Sky Harbor International (PDX).
4. Landed parallel to a F-16 at KTUS.
5. Seen the joy on my kids face when they are up flying with me.
6. Flew with Marty in San Diego.
7. Expored the airspace around Phoenix enjoying every second talking with ATC.
8. Met some amazing people who I can now call friends thanks to social media and flying out of CHD.

GA is amazing in the US. I hope everyone can fight to keep it affordable. I will leave the US in 2014 back to Ireland knowing that I made the most of my time here in the US.

Over the next month I will be passing through the 100hr PiC mark. I'm planning a trip from Oregon to Boeing/King Field in Washington State.

Who knows what will happen in the next 12 months!

Short Final Half Moon Bay, CA

KPHX Cutter Aviation N54288

Overnight Flight KLUF Air Base