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!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

VFR chart legend - explained

Say what you will about governmental agencies in general, when it comes to the FAA I'm impressed. Not only is the FAA putting out a ton of free information and tools for its constituency, but the quality of the materials is fantastic. Here is a VFR chart legend I just ran across. This document doesn't just provide the legend itself (which is printed on every chart anyway), but goes into some detailed explanations of the legend elements.

Click here to view the PDF document or visit the FAA Charting Office web site.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

VFR Garmin 403/530 Minicourse

I wasn't quite ready to shell out quite a bit of money to buy a full blown Garmin GPS training CD so I was quite happy to find that AOPA put out a nice little training piece that refreshes the very basic functions like direct to, nearest, dialing COM and NAV frequencies and how to look up some of the most common information. All for free.

AOPA Online - VFR GPS Guide: Garmin 403/530 Minicourse

A helpful quick reference is posted here

Garmin made a GNS430 simulator available which can be installed for practice on any PC.

My club's 172SP has a KLN94 installed. A reference manual (User Guide) for it is linked here.

While I'm at it I'm also linking to the manual for the KAP 140 autopilot.

Top 10 Rules of Thumb

Every once in a while I run across an article that I print out and actually put in my flight bag. This is one of them. Rules of thumb I have found are critical to aeronautical decision making in flight. That being said, use sound judgement when to use a rule of thumb and when it pays to use the a more precise instrument.

Plane & Pilot Magazine Top 10 Rules of Thumb

Amy Hoover's article on Rules of Thumb

My favorites:

Rule of thumb; DA: To determine Density Altitude at a given Pressure Altitude, add 60 feet to the existing PA for every 1° F above standard temperature for that altitude. (Remember: Standard temperature at sea level 15° C / 59°F and decreasing at 2°C/3.5°F per 1000 feet of altitude above sea level). If altimeter setting is above29.92 inches mercury, add another 100 feet of density altitude for each 10th of an inch below29.92 or subtract 100 feet for each 10th of an inch above 29.92. Because the precise effect of humidity involves complex calculations one can compensate by raising DA by 1000 feet on hot humid days and assuming a performance hit by a fudge factor 10%.

Rule of thumb; Abort:An aircraft should achieve 70% of its flying speed by the time it has consumed 50% of the runway or an abort is in order.

Descend rule of three: Number of miles out times three gives you your AGL height (in hundreds of feet) above the airport for a 3 degree descent path

Estimate chart distance: Bend the fingers on your right hand into a U Shape. One of the middle segments will represent 10 miles on a sectional chart (check which one comes closest), or five miles on a terminal chart. Use it to measure approximate distances.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Truckee - Mountain Flying

On a recent trip my friend Michael and I headed up to Truckee. Michael called me to see if I could fly along as his safety pilot for some IFR practice including some IFR approaches. First we headed to Sacramento Executive for a practice ILS on 20 and from there via Auburn up to Truckee. Some of the peaks around Truckee reach over 9000 feet and so we cruised along at 11,500 and dropped into Truckee for a 45 minute bio break. Truckee has a delightful pilot lounge. Definitely worth a visit. Definitely download the arrival and departure procedure guide before you go. The airport web site for KTRK is quite useful and packed with well arranged information including some waypoints for the GPS. We checked TFRs for Tahoe due to some recent fires and received the green light. Our route back we decided to skirt Lake Tahoe and got a chance to survey the fire damage from the air. You can still see some smoke hanging over the recently charred landscape. The third picture shows South Lake Tahoe as we head out towards the central valley.

Monterrey Bay Coastline to Santa Cruz

I just got some great pictures from a sight seeing flight this past November.

This shot was taken on the way down to Watsonville along the Monterrey Bay coast.

The other shots are getting N748SP ready, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Watsonville airport, Fraisier Lake and the coastline just north of Santa Cruze downtown.