Aviation and STEM Education

Aviation and STEM Education

Over the years, I have done a ton of different activities to help promote aviation to the next generation. Promoting aviation has always been something that has been important to me. A big part of the reason I personally enjoy doing some of the activities that I do is because I am a huge fan of science and math, which aviation is obviously a natural fit for these subjects. Since I have a pretty strong background in education as well as science, math, and technology, I am often asked to help plan activities for school age children and young adults to learn more about flying and being a pilot. Most of the time, I turn it around and use aviation as a means to teach kids about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Use Aviation to promote STEM education

I would like for you to consider this approach when you are out in your own local community, sharing aviation with others. Use aviation as an opportunity to get kids excited about STEM careers. Show adults how they can be a part of aviation using the skills they already have. I am not going to cite any statistics here, but I am sure many of you have seen the need for highly-skilled technical professionals in the very near future. Aviation is an exciting means to get kids excited about subjects that can sometimes be boring or difficult to understand.

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Valentines Hot Air Ballooning

Hot air ballooning has always been one of those things for me that I will get to “someday”. I have a pretty long list of things I want to do in my life and it includes some pretty monstrous things. I can’t ever just do something and be satisfied with it. I have to go big or go home as the saying goes. Adding on my lighter-than-air rating is one of those things on my list. No, I can’t just go on a hot air balloon ride. I have to go get the full rating. Right? Are you like this too?

Probably about 10 years or so ago, I looked into what it would take for me to add on a hot air balloon rating to my existing commercial pilot certificate. I was living in Wisconsin and we didn’t get to see a lot of balloons drifting along with the wind. When you did see one, it was a big deal and we had to scream out to everyone in the car, “Oh look! There’s a hot air balloon! Wow, so cool!” Even though I was already so immersed into aviation as my favorite hobby, I was still so awe-struck every time I saw a balloon. Continue reading “Valentines Hot Air Ballooning”

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7 Tips for New Student Pilots

7 Tips for New Student Pilots

As published by me in Forward in Flight Magazine

 

When people find out that I know a little bit about aviation, I am normally asked a couple of questions and the conversation is just about always the same. I though that this is information might be beneficial to those out there who are considering taking the leap and starting flying lessons!

 

  1. Flight training is expensive.

Probably the question I am asked the most is “how much does it cost to learn how to fly?” No, it’s certainly not a cheap hobby, but if you plan for some of the expenses you’re better

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Click here to view as published in Forward in Flight

prepared for some of the things you need to come up with cash for down the road. My response to this question is usually something along the lines of explaining that the cost is about the same as buying a decent used car. Of course there are the upfront costs that people are normally aware of: the cost of the plane and the cost of the instructor. I always suggest having about half of what it’s going to cost you in the bank so that you can fly more regularly. Trying to come up with the money as you go will often put a damper on the frequency of which you can fly. And ALWAYS keep the money in your own bank account. Don’t pay for flight training up front. It happens all too often – flight schools close, instructors bail, etc.

Then there’s what I like to call the “hidden costs” of learning to fly. The things that you aren’t normally aware of before chasing your dream of becoming a pilot. You’ll want to invest in some good equipment and some are probably more necessary that others! Things such as head sets, a nice flight bag, flight planning software, cool looking aviator sunglasses, fuel testers and more. Some of these items can be pretty expensive, so it’s important to know right away that you’ll probably love to start spending some money on these kinds of things!

 

  1. Flight training takes time. Think of it like a part time job.

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Staying Fit For Flight

Staying Fit For Flight

As published in the Fall 2016 Issue of Forward in Flight magazine

Years ago, I had the opportunity to listen to a speech given by  Red Bull Air Race competitor and aerobatic champion Mike Goulian. This wasn’t a talk about aerobatics or airplanes or even about aviation in general. He really spoke more about what it takes to be successful in whatever it is that you choose to do with your life. Ever since I heard him speak, I’ve really taken a few of the things he said with me on my own path in life.

 

One of the things he said was that his “off-season” is anything but an off-season. He is working every day to improve his skills, his performance, and mindset. He spoke about how he takes care of himself through eating right, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep. This really resonated with me since it took me a long time to figure out this exact thing. If I take care of myself, eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep, I will be way more productive in the things I want to get done every day.

Now, it’s important to understand that I am not a physician or a personal trainer. I am just an individual person who has read books, tried things out, failed at many things, and have succeeded with others. Everyone’s starting point is a different point and it’s important to understand that. I constantly receive questions from people asking how to get started with  or improve upon their fitness.

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Successful Introductory Flights

Successful Introductory Flights

Engage Your Passengers!

 

 

When I lived in Wisconsin, Lambeau Field was always a favorite among my passengers!

A big part of being a pilot is sharing our love of flight with others. One way many of us do this is to give our friends, family, complete strangers their first ride in a general aviation aircraft.

As an instructor, these kinds of flights have become second nature to me. I love giving intro flights to just about anyone who wants to go.

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about giving an introductory flight and it made me realize how many of us have our own things we like to do differently when giving a first flight.

I have my own routine. Out of curiosity, I took a very informal poll of fellow pilot friends to see what their routine is for an introductory flight.

The key to a successful introductory flight is really engaging your passenger so he or she feels like they are contributing to the flight. I’m writing this from the perspective of a flight instructor who’s given many intro flights and I’d like to share some of my ideas with you for your own flying! Continue reading “Successful Introductory Flights”

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