Private Pilot Resources - Aviation Blog

I obtained my private pilot license in 2006. This site is dedicated to capturing little gems of knowlege I collected during training. Periodically I add items I find during research so that others might benefit from them. Please review the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

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Location: San Jose, CA, United States

In 1999 a friend invited me to go flying and I was hooked. I live in the Bay Area about an hour south of San Francisco and fly out of Reid Hillview (KRHV). Please do get in touch and lets go fly!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Flight Log and Plan

Over the past few months I've used several pre printed flight plan templates. This week I finally put together a format that actually worked for me by throwing out elements that did nothing for me and adding items that I felt were missing. Now I have a flight plan template that allows me to record all information I will need. It provides space on the right for recording ATIS in the air (on the right I'll have the knee board under it so I can actually write), lists all the elements in order that I will need to file a flight plan, log a pirep or obtain a briefing. Since I haven't seen any templates posted by anybody else I thought I'd attach mine in Excel format. Enjoy. New Flightlog. The other sheet that comes in very handy is the WX- Weather recording sheet, the creation of which I have to credit entirely to one of my instructors, Jake Hauserman.
Several additional flight logs are posted in the free materials section of Dauntless Software. Click here to visit.
Sometimes I just want to check charts while I am online. lets you search by airport identifier, VOR or Fix to display the right chart. You can also zoom or reposition the charts to view just the amount of detail necessary to satisfy your curiosity.
A pretty good collection of flight planning and weather links can be found at

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I usually don't have any trouble memorizing and absorbing the knowledge required to either pass the written or prepare for the upcoming checkride. However, when it comes to airspace that's another story. I can read all of the regulation, review the graphical charts and illustrations and still I am struggling with recalling the details. I'm fine on the basics. It's the exceptions that drive me nuts. I just came across another study tool from AOPA that will hopefully fill some of the gaps. Check out the new flashcards. Happy holidays.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Free IFR Flight Tracker: Status, Tracking, History, Graphs, and Maps

Amazing the tools one can find by browsing the blogs of fellow flyers out there. I just ran across this nifty tool for IFR flight tracking. It tracks your IFR flight history with graphs and maps. I thought I might find any flight plan, but the tool is limited to IFR.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

1st Solo Cross-Country

There is only one first solo cross country and today was the day. It was rather hazy, but made for a spectacular and smooth flight to King City (KKIC). My route took me from Reid Hillview to South Country, from where I then tracked to the Salinas VOR. I chose to fly high at 5,500 feet to stay out of the muck. Once I got above the haze layer the visibility was wonderful. On my leg from South County over to Salinas I had a fantastic view of the Monterrey coast line. A few miles before Salinas I picked up Salinas ATIS and then monitored the tower. Over Salinas (SNS) I tracked outbound to King City following highway 101. Communications went without a hitch. Flight following terminated and I closed the flight plan once I had the field in sight. I closed out the flight with a soft field landing that made me smirk because I could hardly feel the wheels touch. There are some days where everything just comes together. This was one of those days. I met some nice folks down there at the airport. A great instructor from Nice Air based at my home field offered to take the picture shown here. The return flight was smooth and straight forward. Over Salinas I heard an ELT go off, which was kind of unnerving. Have to find out what that was all about.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Two small investments that made all the difference

On past flights I always had a little challenge about where to keep my timer. Off and on I missed my times to switch tanks. Not by much, but enough that it was a problem. I finally bought a yoke clip and now wish I had bought one right at the beginning of starting to fly. What a difference it made. I now have my flight timer right in front of me and can even clip on a map. The other piece I bought was a small plotter, which is way better to handle in the cockpit than the large one I use for flight planning. The clip, which has a medium high stem and fits very sturdy on the yoke was about $ 17.00 and he plotter about $ 6.00.

Monday, December 12, 2005 | Navigation

Found a great collection of affordable Palm software that handles everything from navigation to wind calculations. Great for pilots that already have a hand held device and hand held GPS as a backup to regular navigation. I wouldn't rely on it, but good enough to cross check.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Weather Resources

I finally scheduled my solo x-country for the coming Thursday. In preparation I thought I'd list all my weather sources so they are accessible through this site:
1-800-WXBRIEF and DUATS being the only FAA approved sources, but there are otehr great sites that help get the overall picture:

I also found a real kick butt flight path tool by which can be launched from It's all the other tools on steroids as it overlays all the information, lets you choose altitude and time segment.

Here is the METAR and TAF decoder

Here are the Surface Weather Chart Symbols offers a desktop weather realtime application that gives a very nice quick overview. The application can be downloaded at: