Monday, July 30, 2007

Pod-A-Palooza 2007 Audio

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Here's the audio from Pod-A-Palooza 2007 at AirVenture Oshkosh. See the post below for details.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pod-A-Palooza 2007

Pod-A-Palooza 2007 went off without a hitch this afternoon. Members of (generally left to right) of The Flying Pilot, Uncontrolled Airspace, UltraFlight Radio, The Pilotcast, The Student Pilot Flight PodLog, The CFIcast, The Finer Points, and, of course, Airspeed, gathered in Forum No.2 to on Friday, July 27 to hangar-fly. Pictured above is the panel as Jason Miller of The Finer Points and On The Flight Line (on mandolin and lead vocals) and Pilot Kent of the Pilotcast (on backing vocals) reprise their 2006 rendition of Jason's I Look Up In the Sky. Jason was unable to bring his primary axe (guitar) and instead made do at the last minute with a borrowed mandolin in a different key. Rare and well done!

Uncontrolled Airspace's and Around the Field's Jack Hodgson and The Student Pilot Flight PodLog's Will Hawkins get acquainted as Pilot Mike, Pilot Dan, and the others set up the audio.

Pilot Will (formerly Student Pilot Will) fires off that pose of confidence that a new private pilot certificate is known to induce.

Cole has a CFI! Kate Bernard of Airspeed Alive briefs Cole on the logistics of getting around airventure.

Thanks to all who participated and especially to The Pilotcast for engineering the gathering and setting up the time at the forums that made Pod-A-Palooza a reality! And thanks especially to the listeners who came out to meet the voices in their heads!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cole (and Capt. Force) Goes Up!

So this is the "Honey, I flew the kid" (or at least had him flown) installment. There was this KidVenture thing over at Pioneer airport, see. And there were helicopters. Bell 47s - The kind you remember from M*A*S*H. And they were giving rides. And the EAA had covered the entire ground track with matresses and pillows. It was really safe, hon! Besides, he can't wait to tell Jackson about it . . .

Our humble abode, Firebase Airspeed, at Camp Scholler. Decent shot from the helicopter. We're on 13th just one street in the direction opposite the west camp store. Not that we've spent much time there, but it has proven relatively waterproof.

Our pilot and some of the parking lot. This is my first chopper flight and the glass bubble is just amazing. You get much more of a sense of flying than you do looking up over the dash of an airplane. Make no mistake, I remain a little skeptical of aircraft whose wings go faster than the fuselage, but this was really cool. No desire (well, no finances) to train for rotary wing myself, but I'm glad I did this. Come to think of it, I can't wait to tell Jackson either!

Oshkosh - Thursday and a Little Friday

This morning outside the showers at Camp Scholler. Charging up Cole's DVD player and my laptop and doing another blog post.

Cole peeks out of the left side window of Duggy - The Smile in the Sky, an EAA-operated DC-3. We later say the Liberty Parachute Team exit Duggy over the show.

How do you know it's raining at Oshkosh? Check out the herd of fellow enthusiasts lined up instinctively under the wing of the C-5A. Lots of similar formations around the field as it spat rain on and off all day. Thunderstorms most of the night, but we stayed dry in the tent. Cole's shoes were the only real victims.

A unique camping conveyance. Look closely . . .

Yep. This guy doesn't mess around. It was 90+ F with little wind in the middle of the open fields of the 'teens at Camp Scholler and this guy was looking awfully smart to me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Listening to the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team

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We all know that the best formation aerobatics teams fly great formations and match each other with great precision. But have you listened to a really good team? The formation maneuvers match pitch beautifully and the series maneuvers not only look the same but sound the same.
Here's some audio from the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team's performance today.
Aeroshell Aerobatic Team website:

We're Here! Oshkosh 2007

This is a regular blog entry. For show notes and links to audio, see the appropriate entries above and below.

We're here! Here's the classic shot with the tower. MVFR and showers all around, so I'm not sure how busy it actually was. Nevertheless, we saw them arriving as we made our way to the campsite.

Cole thinks that a C-5A is a darned handy thing to have around in case you need shelter in which to wait out a rain shower. And who could blame him?

Editing late at night at the campsite. There's great wireless here! Way to go, EAA!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Volunteers Make the Air Show World Go Around

This is a regular blog entry. Looking for show notes and audio? Scroll down.

It's no secret that air shows don't happen without tremendous amounts of volunteer effort. Thanks to all of the volunteers I've run into over the past few weeks at air shows around the area!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

John Mohr: Energy Management in a Gorgeous Boeing Stearman PT-17

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As many of you know, I spent a long weekend at the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Field of Flight Air Show in Battle Creek, Michigan this year.

Barb and everyone else there did a great job of selecting a really good range of performers. There was something there for everyone. I really liked every performance that I saw. There were absolutely no flies on any of the performers and everyone demonstrated the very best of what his aircraft offered. But one performer in particular made me stop and really watch closely.

Out there at air show center was a blue and gold Boeing Stearman PT-17 doing really amazing stuff.

I don’t think that most of the audience really understood what it was watching. I can’t blame anyone for being the most thrilled about the jet teams, but I realized that what I was watching was probably the best stick and rudder work of the whole air show.

The PT-17 probably has the lowest thrust-to-weight ratio of any of the aircraft in the show. It has a big Continental R670-series engine, but it’s a 1943 vintage engine that doesn’t put out a lot of horsepower and it’s hauling a really big airframe around.

It has an exclusively gravity-fed fuel system with no boost pump and, when goes inverted for too long, the engine burns whatever fuel is in the lines and then quits. The pilot then has to get right side up and stay that way until either the gravity feed system gets fuel back to the windmilling engine or he can land.

Except for the final sequence, the PT-17 did the entire show below 500 feet AGL and that included a lot at 200 AGL or lower.

For my money, it was the best demonstration of energy management I’ve ever seen. And that’s kind of cool for those of us who fly more average general aviation aircraft. I really enjoy seeing Brett Hunter and Michael Mancuso and Mike Goulian tear up the sly and those guys are cutting-edge pilots in anybody’s book. But a big part of my appreciation for their particular demonstrations has to do with the raw power of their respective aircraft.

The chances are excellent that I’ll never fly an airplane that hot. But the chances are as good as my flight in a Cessna 172 on Tuesday that I’ll fly an aircraft with a much less dramatic thrust-to-weight ratio that that will require skill and balance much further down the thrust-to-weight curve. I was in awe at how far ahead of the airplane the PT-17 pilot was and saw a great demonstration of excursions into parts of the flight envelope that are a lot more akin to what I experience.

I guess I’m saying that the Blue Angels, Mancuso, Goulian, and others fed my soul that day, but the PT-17 and its pilot taught me some things. I came away a little ashamed at how much I hate the mushy feeling of slow flight and being behind the power curve, even though I’m in an airplane of very modern design and have thousands of feet under me whenever I do it. The truth of the matter is that’s where the best of the best really shine and it’s one of the proudest maneuvers of a true stick-and-rudder pilot.

Late Sunday afternoon while waiting for a balloon slot, I hitched a ride to the ramp at Duncan with the WGVU team I met last year in the hopes of snagging an interview or two. And what should be on the ramp but that gorgeous PT-17.

I was lucky enough to meet and interview the pilot of that PT-17, John Mohr of Mohr Barnstorming.

The audio here is a little noisy. The winds were pretty high out on the field and they were tearing down the ramp at Duncan Aviation at five to 20 knots. The MicroTrack 24/96 is a great little machine, but it’s tough to gyrate around and keep it shielded from the wind. Sure, we could have done the interview in the hangar, but means ten fewer minutes standing next to a really beautiful aircraft and, given that choice, you know what I’ll choose every single time.


I need to interject from the studio here. John’s a real pro and I could have run the interview as recorded without editing, but I want you guys to hear this. Here’s a part of his performance from the previous day where he stays inverted long enough that the engine quits from fuel starvation.


Okay, back to the ramp.


John will be at Oshkosh July 23 through 29 and then he performs August 11-12 at the Bay City Air Show at Bay City, Michigan, August 18-19 at the Canada Remembers Air Show at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and then August 25-26 at the Wichita Flight Festival at Withica, Kansas. After that, it’s on to Toronto, Terre Haute, Columbus, St. Petersburg, Randolph AFB, and Stuart, Florida. See more schedule information at

Thanks to John for taking some time to talk to us at Airspeed and thanks also to the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Field of Flight Air Show.

Another reminder that Pod-a-Palooza is scheduled to take place at Oshkosh on Friday, July 27 at 5:30 in Forum No. 2. Time and place is subject to change up to – and even during – the event, so please be sure to check the schedules when you arrive. It’s organized by the guys at The Pilotcast. Scheduled to appear are Pilot Mike, Pilot Dan, and Pilot Kent of The Pilotcast, Jack Hodgson, Dave Higdon, and Jeb Burnside of Uncontrolled Airspace, Jason Miller of The Finer Points and The CFIcast, Private Pilot/Student Pilot Will of The Student Pilot Flight PodLog, and, of course, yours truly, Stephen Force.

Join us! It’s a chance to actually meet the voices in your head!

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Photographic Stylings of Jay Bolyard

This is a regular blog post. To see show notes on recent episodes, please scroll down.

I ran into Jay Bolyard of Canton, Michigan at the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Field of Flight Air Show last weekend. He had a huge lens and seemed to know what he was doing, so I gave him a card and asked him if he wouldn't mind sending along a few shots. And here they are! Above is the diamond and the solo (1-5) against one of the beautiful white puffies that floated over the show both of the two days.

The diamond in a low pass.

The diamond in a climb preparing for another maneuver.

A beautiful heritage flight with a P-51 Mustang an an F-16C. Maj Jason Koltes (who appears in a recent episode) is the F-16 pilot.

All images are ©2007 Jay Bolyard. You can reach Jay at

Friday, July 06, 2007

Blue Angels Opposing Solo LCDR Craig Olson

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Lieutenant Commander Craig Olson comes from Kirkland, Washington. He attended Central Washington University and earned B.S. in Aeronautical Science. In March of 1994, he reported to Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, and was commissioned as an ensign in August 1994.

Olson completed primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and transferred to NAS Kingsville, Texas, for intermediated and advanced jet training, flying the new T-45 Goshawk at Training Squadron 22 (VT-22). He received his wings of gold in April 1996.

Olson remained with VT-22 as an instructor pilot in the T045 as a Selectively Retained Graduate (SERGRAD). In April 1997 he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125), at NAS Lemoore, California, for replacement pilot training in the F/A-18 Hornet.

In January 1998, Olson reported to the VFA-22 “Fighting Redcocks.” White there he completed to sets of work-ups and a six-month Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), flying combat missions in support of Operation Southern Watch. During his tour with VFA-22, Olson served as the Schedules Officer, Aircraft Division Officer, Air-to-Air Weapons training Officer, and Landing Signals Officer (LSO).

In January 2001, Olson reported to the VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” also based at NAS Lemoore, as an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet instructor pilot. While at VFA-122, Olson served as an OSO, T-34C program phase head and Ground Safety Officer.

He transferred to the VFA-106 “Gladiators” at NAS Oceana in December 2005, where he requalified in the Super Hornet and served as an Instructor Pilot. He reported to the “Fighting Swordsmen” of VFA-32 also at NAS Oceana in April 2006, where he served as the Operations Officer and Safety Officer.

He joined the Blue Angels in November 2002 and returned in April 2007. He has accumulated more than 3,500 flight hours and 345 carrier arrested landings.

As many of you know, Olson did not start the 2007 season with the Blue Angels. He replaces LCDR Kevin Davis, who was killed on April 21 toward the end of a demonstration flight at Naval Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina. LCDR Olson rejoined the Blue Angels as the opposing solo pilot in the No. 6 jet. The team resumed practices soon after the accident and LCDR Olson resumed his duties as a solo, reintegrating into the team after having returned to the fleet a year and a half ago.

Dan McNew and I were treated to a Blue angels demonstration flight from the ramp of the Western Michigan University School of Aviation on the northeast corner of the field at Battle Creek International Airport (KBTL) in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Blue Angels arrived at about 10:30 local and the diamond and the solos, respectively, flew familiarization maneuvers between then and 2:30. The team then flew a full demo before meeting us out by the aircraft for interviews.

Thanks again to LCDR Craig Olson for joining us on Airspeed. You can find out more about the Blue Angels at The US Navy is running open houses and recruitment efforts in connection with several of the Blue Angels’ appearances. It’s Detroit Navy week here in southeast Michigan. If you’re age 18 to 24 and want to obtain free tickets to the show and an opportunity to meet the Blue Angels, check with your local Navy recruiting office.

The Blue Angels will be appearing around the country all summer and into the fall.

7-8 Ypsilanti, Michigan (Willow Run Airport)
14-15 McConnell AFB, Kansas
21 Pensacola Beach - Florida
28-29 Bozeman, Montana

04-05 Seattle, Washington
11-12 Hillsboro, Oregon
25 – 26 Indianapolis, Indiana

Demos continue through August, September, and October until the final show of the year scheduled for November 9-10 at NAS Pensacola, Florida.


Blue Angels:

US Navy Recruiting:

US Marine Corps Recruiting: