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Showing posts from 2012

New FAA Medical Process with MedXPress

It was that time again to renew my FAA medical, and if you are like me then you are new to the FAA's online process. The FAA have stream lined the process on a new web site at  medxpress.faa.gov. The Stuck Mic AvCast did a recent episode on the process on MedXpress. Having just finished I'll recap what I did.

First if you are a 20-something like me the the online form at MedXpress is extremely easy to fill out to set up an account on the MedXpress site. The site only has one form to fill out. FAA Form 8500-8. This is the old form that you used to fill out at the doctors office. After filling it out online you can print it out and save it as a PDF file. I love saving things as a PDF I have a folder in the DropBox cloud service that I keep all of my important papers so I don't lose it.




This online process is just for the FAA Form 8500-8 so if you have any special considerations those must still be filled out by hand. I recently got LASIK and didn't really know what to d…

T'was the night before Christmas, and out on the Ramp

This poem has been around the internet a while and probably on paper longer. Just a quick search I found it on AvWeb in 2006 and on an Airline forum in 2003. Another had posted it again this year and it made my smile so I thoughtI'd recored it here. I got bored and added the links in below.




T'was the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was…

Call Sign: "Atlas"

Today I official graduated from ASTAC school I received my call sign "Atlas". Not the paper map, the greek god charged with holding up the entire world. Ya I know I'm awesome at least today. The story behind a call sign is never really fully told but I did have a lot on my shoulders during the course and still made it through, now on to the fleet.


Passed ASTAC

I passed my last section and the finals week. The last thing that we had to learn was P-3C Orion employment. They are the only fixed wing aircraft that we control on a regular basis. That is because  they like to fly low and they do ASW. I passed that week's test and then move on the to the finals week which was a recap of all that we learn through the couse in one week it was 4 different tests and I passed. We get our call signs and graduate next week.


MH-60R Seahawk

The next part of our training we were tested on was the implantation of the MH-60R Seahawk . Up to this point we had simulated controlling the capabilities of a SH-60B which has been the work horse of the Navy since the 80's.The new "Romeo" has all the latest and greatest equipment and the tactics are slightly different. Passed the test. Just a few weeks until graduation.

ASW week

The so called hardest week of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) is over and I passed. I say so called not because it wasn't hard but because we are told a lot and I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a harder week to come. I can't talk too much about it, but here are a few wikipedia links that will give a good idea of ASW and helicopters dropping sonobuoys. It was a lot of material that had to be memorized and done exactly right. I'm not too good at either, but I made it through. Although the class is hard I'm really enjoying it. It interests me and I'm good at it. I hope everyone can find that combination in life. Getting paid for it doesn't hurt either.


Aviation Tips

I was doing some online aviation training with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation I took a couse on mastering radio communications. It was a great refresh and there was a few things that I pulled from that couse that I had never thought about that I wanted to share.

1. Declaring Emergencies The air traffic controllers that they interviewed during the lessen talked about how ATC wants pilots to declare emergencies more because it gives the controllers the ability to bend the rules more and get the aircraft to a safe airport faster. A call from the FAA or a form to fill out it better then buying a new airplane.
2. Traffic Advisories
Going though controller school right now it's easy to see a contact on the radar scope and see the range to the aircraft I'm controlling. But as a pilot I found it hard sometimes to judge the distances to traffic that ATC gives me. A good tip that they had in the course was to count out on the ground the number of miles given by ATC for traffic range, th…

MCAS Miramar Airshow 2012

It's was that time again last weekend for the 2012 MCAS Miramar Airshow. This year it was just my son and I going to the show. The US Navy Blue Angels, USN F/A-18 Super Hornet demo, USAF F-22 Raptor demo, USMC AV-8B Harrier demo, U.S. Army Golden Knights, U.S. Navy Leap Frogs, and Sean Tucker "Oracle Challenger" were some of my favorites. It since it was only the 2 of us I just snapped a few photos with my cell phone.





ASTAC test 2

We are through our 2nd or phase of training and our 2nd test. All is well. This phase or week as they still call them, although the couse is not split up in to weeks any more the Navy can be set in their ways, dealt with the control function of the computer systems that work with the ship and the helicopter. The focus was understanding how to get the computer to do what you want. And talk to both helicopter and ship. I think this is going to be a common theme for the rest if the course.

The next phase is the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) which I hear is the hardest part of the course.


Staying In The Pattern

This cockpit audio was recorded at least 2 1/2 years ago I don't really know. I just found it going through my computer and decided to share. I'm flying 3 touch-n-gos and have 2 other pilots in the plane with me. Dave an instructor and another buddy of mine who is a private pilot in the back seat. 3 pilots in an airplane is always fun.

Download the podcast here


Going to School

I'm in school right now. Not back to college but at school for the Navy. I got selected to go to (are you ready for this) Anti-Submarine Warfare/Anti-Surface Warfare Tactical Air Controller or ASTAC school. What that is the air traffic controllers on smaller ships. Like mine USS Princeton (CG-59) where all we have is a helicopter pad on the back of our ship. When we get underway we have a squadron of 2 helicopters on our ship with the pilots and crew to man them. But the controlling of the aircraft and any other aircraft coming to our ship is the responsibility of the ship. That is where my job comes in once I'm done with school I'll be one of the two ASTACs on board to control all helicopters (or helos as we call them) around our the ship.

It's a tough school one of the hardest for my rate (job) as an Operational Specialist or OS. I haven't been in that long so I was really luckily to get this school. Being a commercial pilot definitely helped too. Since I've…

RIMPAC 2012

I just came back from the largest naval exercise in the world and unlike the movie Battleship there was no aliens that attacked. The whole exercise is around the Hawaiian Islands and is a month long building up to the final week of the event where we have a big "battle". Although we did fire some 5in. rounds off and Harpoon and SM2 missiles it wasn't at another ship or at least one that had people in it. We also spent 2 port visits, about 10 days total, in Pearl Harbor on Ohau. Which was really heaven on earth I really wouldn't mind living there. I was gone from home for about 2 1/2 months and was good to come back. Here are some pics from the trip.

Helo Ops on USS Princeton

Yes it's true at almost 1 year since my last audio podcast and 6 months from my last post the DesertPilot  podcast is back. I recorded this episode off the deck of the USS Princeton CG-59. Enjoy.
Download the Podcast here