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!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Personal Minimums

Every pilot should have it, yet many don't. An extablished personal minimum checklist. Know when you're ok to fly and when it's better to stay on the ground. The line easily gets blurred as you push the envelope at the time of making the decision. After all, most of us would rather be in the air than remain with our feet firmly planted on the ground. I just ran across a rather thorough checklist. Complete it today, make a commitment to adhere to the limits you set and check it every time. Click HERE to download your personal minimum checklist.

The FAA has a pretty good workbook that steps through the process of developing a personal minimum checklist posted Here

Friday, October 13, 2006

Interactive VOR, HSI, ADF simulator

This little tool assist with learing to interpret readings from two VORs. Great for practicing your "lost" procedures. You can set the tool to fly a course at a designated speed or go through turns and watch how the instruments react. You can also hide the plane and play with the instruments to get a fix on your position.

Cell phone weather products - Free or low cost

A flood of new weather products is hitting the market. Tools are getting more interactive and graphics are getting better. did a nice job with it's - Interactive radar map from The Weather Channel. offers several cell phone weather products that are either browser based or small applications that can be downloaded to the cell phone. They support most service providers.

Even the National Weather Service sprung into action. Their products can be retrieved on a cell phone via http enabled devices at: or if your device is WAP enabled at: For surface observations there is a history of the last 12 reports, which I like.

WXWeather isn't free, but a low cost option at $59 per year. They delivers great looking pages and all the contents we pilots care about on a cell. in an innovative service that lets you know when the weather meets your conditions to fly. Their servers will watch METARs at airports you specify and notify you when conditions meet your personal minimums.

PilotMyCast is a provider that requires you download a Java program into your phone, and it talks to the network. Pilot My-Cast looks to be a very capable system.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Flight Planning tool

Link to - General Aviation Flight Planning It seems like every month I discover new flight planning tools. I really like the AOPA flight planner, but it turns out that my company blocks a port in the network that AOPA needs to have open for me to connect to it. Thus I can't do anything while at work. I just discovered a neat web based site that does a great job in delivering some basic data and some not so basic charting. They also allow me to check METARs and Airport information right from my cell phone, which I always have with me anyway. As I hobble along this road of information gathering I am finding that my data sources have to be as mobile as I am and this one meets those requirements so it's getting a spot in my bag of goodies. The tool can overlay weather and sectional charts on the flight plan and allows for output to PDF. What's missing is a way to auto suggest victor airway routes or a way to discover your route from fix to fix.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Practicing ATC Communications in the car

Gabcast! New Aviators and Private Pilot Voice Cast #2 - Practicing ATC communications with a radio scanner

This is my first Gabcast for newAviator. On my commute to work I practice my radio work by listening to an ATC scanner. It familiarizes me to radio phrasology and gets the ear tuned to very fast communications

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Weights and Balances

It sure is a pesky exercise to calculate weights and balances before every flight. That is, that was the case until I found a free application by Smartsoft out of Norway.

From my cell phone I connected to the Internet and downloaded a very small JAVA application. I had to register my email on the company's site and in return received an activation key 2 seconds later. A very simple setup of your plane's performance envelope and voila, you get a very nice graph that shows you exactly whether your current load is ok. Need a quick check of a cross wind component? No problem. The application does that too. Very simple to operate and it does the trick. Good bye paper and hello safety!!

A big thank you to Ewa and Arne Opheim for making the tool available to all!!