The Pilotcast


You may wonder why the Blue Angels flight movie didn't show up on your podcatcher, like iTunes.  We were concerned that Pilotcast subscribers wouldn't expect a video. Not all podcatchers can handle a Quicktime movie.  Mainly, our concern was that at 89MB, the movie is pretty big.


We've also had some feedback that some Pilotcast subscribers are on dial-up and have to patiently wait for a long time just to get the audio files. (We appreciate that kind of dedication.)  The movie file is going to take 3 times as long for to get to those folks.

For iTunes users and maybe users of other programs, media content is handled best if it's in the feed.  For one thing, otherwise you have to add it to the correct playlist.

We've decided that we will add the movie to feed some time this holiday weekend, once enough subscribers have had a chance to see it early. Now, that decision would mean that you might end up with two copies. You can decide for yourself whether to download the movie when it shows up in your feed.

Let us know if you have strong objections to putting the movie in the feed.

Update: The video is now in the feed With Pilotcast #34 being more current it may allow a chance for subcribers to choose whether they want  to download the video because it won't be the newest show.

Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:56am EST

Pilot Dan, Pilot Kent, and Pilot Mike talk with Capt. Rod, of the Civil Air Patrol

Pilot Kent is calling in from Peru, Illinois.

CAP Command Patch

We've got another great show for you, this week. In our Feedback and Followup section, Pilot Kent continues to get his Instrument Ticket wet and describes a wicked cool IFR night flight. Pilot Mike talks about the frustration trying to get ATC services while flying the Chicago Lakefront route and lastly, the whole crew talk about some of the most interesting airport names they know about.

In our hangar flying with Capt. Rod, he tells us how and why the Civil Air Patrol was formed. We learn about their role in today's world, how their Cadet program trains for leadership, and what adult members can achieve as part of CAP. Capt. Rod talks about the current fleet of aircraft and what a typical mission in support of Homeland Security, would involve. He describes his most memorable mission, which didn't even involve his piloting a plane. And finally, he talks about how a pilot can best outfit himself to prepare for an emergency.

Show Links: Contact us at by email:   pilotcast (AT)

Song: "Fly Raven Fly" by Scott Merrick  Music on the Pilotcast is from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Detailed Pilotcast show notes are at

Direct download: Pilotcast_034_2006.05.22.mp3
Category:audio -- posted at: 6:58pm EST

OK, already! We finally published Pilotcast #30 and #31. Thanks again to "Pilot Bill" for doing the show notes.

Pilotcast #30 and #31 are dated when they were recorded, which was before the recent update episode, which might cause a problem with some podcatchers.

I noticed in iTunes that when you have selected "When new episodes are available: [Download the most recent one]" it will not download episodes dated before the last one.  So iTunes users and users of other podcatchers may have to check the  podcast listing and press the [Get] button to download the previous episodes.

We have Pilotcast #32 and #33, which will have some surprises, "in the can."  Those will be published in the next few days. We are scheduled to record #34 Wednesday. We have more than a few more special treats coming.

Stay subscribed!

--Pilot Mike
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:34am EST

Pilotcast Exclusive in-flight video of an F/A-18 flight with a U.S. Navy Blue Angel!


This is the Blue Angel flight video mentioned in Pilotcast #33,. This movie is premiering to the public exclusively on The Pilotcast! Watch as Patrick Raycraft, a Photojournalist for the Hartford Courant gets a thrilling ride in the two seat U. S. Navy Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet with "Kojack," Blue Angel 7.

The first week of March, Pat was in El Centro, California, photographing the winter training of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron. Pat flew almost 55 minutes in the cockpit. This is an amazing QuickTime video of the highlights of that flight, taken with a cockpit camera recording directly on to a DVD recorder built-in the the two seat FA-18.

The Pilotcast crew offers sincere thanks again to Pat, his friend CMDR. "Boss" Foley, the U.S. Navy, and the Blue Angels.

Contact us at by email:   pilotcast (AT)

Pilotcast show notes are at

Direct download: Pilotcast_033_2006.05.10.Blue-Angel_ride.m4v
Category:video -- posted at: 11:29pm EST

Pilot Dan, Pilot Kent, and Pilot Mike interview the Flight Leader of the Blue Angels, Cmd. Stephen "Boss" Foley

Pilot Dan(L) and Pat Raycraft recording Pilotcast #33
  • We're also joined this episode by our first in-studio guest, Patrick Raycraft, a Photojournalist for the Hartford Courant and longtime friend of Boss Foley.
  • The first week of March, Pat was in El Centro, California, photographing the winter training of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
  • Pat was also lucky enough to get a flight in one of the F/A 18 Hornet jets used by the Blue Angels. He got almost 55 minutes in the cockpit. We've got a link to an amazing QuickTime video of parts of that flight, taken with a cockpit camera.
  • A short bio of Boss Foley
    Boss Foley
    • Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron
    • Grew up in Charlestowm, Massachusetts
    • Graduated Hamilton College in 1984, with a degree in English
    • Commissioned through Aviation Officer Candidate School, Pensacola, Florida, in 1985
    • Designated a Naval Aviator, in September, 1985
    • Served aboard the USS Independence, in support of Operation Desert Shield
    • Graduated from U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, aka Top Gun, in 1991
    • Served as a Top Gun Instructor, flying the A-4, F-16, and F/A-18 Hornet
    • In 1998, he won the Michael G. Hoff, Attack Aviator of the Year Award
    • After 9/11, he deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and flew 48 missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
    • An Honors graduate of the Naval War College
    • Assigned Flight Leader of the Blue Angels, in November, 2004
    • Has more than 5800 flight hours and 788 carrier landings
    • Several decorations and awards, including 2 for Distinguished Combat
    • Recently selected for promotion to Captain
Talking with Boss Foley:
  • Where does the title "Boss" come from?
    • Goes back to the early days of flight demonstrations where the flight leader is recognized as the Boss
    • As the first Naval Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels adopted the term for the flight leader of the team
    • The flight leaders of both the Thunderbirds and the Snowbirds are also referred to as Boss
    • Someone who is charge of an Air Show is known as the Air Boss
  • What does it take to become a Blue Angel?
    • The Blue Angels were formed in the mid-1940's, by Admiral Chester Nimitz, to promote the legacy of Naval Air Power
    • The primary purpose of today's Blue Angels is to reach out and bolster our military readiness through recruitment of young sailors and marines
    • To become a Blue Angel it only takes a typical Naval Fighter Pilot, or...
    • There are a host of Blue Angels with duties other than flying the aircraft, such as Public Affairs, Administration, Maintenance, Supply, and Aircraft Technician
    • The public seems to think of the Blue Angels as sleek blue jets and fighter pilots in blue flight suits, but they are much more than that
    • The Blue Angels are a collective representation of Naval Aviation
    • Members consider it a phenomenal opportunity to promote the legacy that has ben bestowed on them
    • Caveat: There are specific selection criteria including hours of flight time, experience, dedication, and commitment to the Naval core values
    • Pride, heritage, and legacy are all terms that are affiliated not only with the Blue Angels, but all the Naval Services
  • Talk a little about the Blue Angel Training Facility at El Centro, California
    • Each year, the season concludes in mid November and begins again, in earnest, in late November
    • There is a 50% turnover for officers, and a 30%-40% turnover for enlisted personnel
    • The Blue Angel Team consists of 110 personnel and 14 aircraft, including a C-130 known as "Fat Albert"
    • Because of the high turnover, there's a very rigorous training program, steeped in tradition
    • The training applies to all members of the team, not just the pilots
    • Training continues through the winter months, before embarking on an 8 month demonstration season, from mid March to mid November
    • El Centro is the training facility for the Blue Angels as well as many other Naval assets
    • The Angels chose El Centro because it provides a "sterile environment" for team personnel instead of the distracting family environment of Pensacola, Florida, with the goal to be completely in tune with each other by time the show circuit starts
    • Every aspect of how the Blue Angles conduct business is choreographed like the flying maneuvers, from maintenance to signing autographs
    • The desert of El Centro also provides phenomenal weather conditions for flight operations, during the winter
  • What's it like transitioning from an F/A-18 to a Cessna?
    • There aren't many pilots who have the time to do any Cessna flying
    • It's been a while since Boss Foley has done any GA flying
    • You need to ensure you are as qualified to fly a GA aircraft as you are flying a high powered combat aircraft
    • There are currently no GA enthusiasts on the Blue Angels Team
  • Even with 32000 lb. of thrust available, is it still possible to stall an F/A-18 with too much angle of attack?
    • The Boeing F/A-18 was originally developed by McDonald-Douglas
    • It's not easy to find another aircraft with the thrust to weight characteristics, maneuverability characteristics, weapons systems, and ergonomics of an F/A-18
    • The Hornet is exceptional in it's high angle of attack maneuverability capability and thrust to weight performance characteristics
  • Are those solid fuel JATOs (Jet-Assisted Take-Off) on Fat Albert?
    • Yes, they use solid fuel propellant
    • There are 3 Marine Corp. C-130 pilots on the team
    • The remaining support for Fat Albert is from 3 Marine Corp. officers and 3 Marine Corp. enlisted personnel
    • There's also Marine Corp. F/A-18 pilot on the team
    • As a Blue Angels pilot, seeing a Fat Albert takeoff is very exhilarating, because it's the only time we get to see our own demo
    • Just like any other maneuver, the team trains for the asymmetrical firing of the JATOs
  • At air shows, what is the relationship between the Blue Angels and the FAA?
    • The team of the Blue Angels and the FAA are all focused on the same issues, the primary one being safety for both the performers and the spectators
    • The groundwork for any show is laid many months in advance
    • Every airshow site has a list of very specific procedures, objectives, and milestones they need to work through to make the site appropriate for a jet demonstration team
    • Even though the FAA has further restricted the airspace around these airshows in the last few years, these were not triggered by 9/11 but rather by general safety concerns
    • Pilot Dan: General Aviation owes a huge debt to these demonstration shows because of the large crowds that attend and reminds them that this country created General Aviation and have a great tradition with it
  • What did it feel like the first time you were catapulted off an aircraft carrier?
    • The first was in 1985 in a T-2 Buckeye
    • We were mustered at 4:45 on a rainy morning, for our briefing
    • Had been training for the previous month, at Meridian, Mississippi
    • Lot's of butterflies in my stomach, at the briefing
    • After a weather delay, we took off, in formation, from the Naval Air Station, Key West, and headed for the carrier
    • The training is so rigorous, that the tasks tend to to become automatic
    • Carrier landings are very difficult, but the take-offs are relatively easy
    • Was screaming with exhilaration during that first take-off
    • Then you realize you got to make a landing if you want to do it again, and the training takes over
    • Carrier landings at night are a much more difficult, and never becomes routine
    • All of the Blue Angels members came from the operational force and will return to it when their tour with the Angels is complete
  • How do you counteract the G-forces involved with flying a high powered jet?
    • As a high powered jet fighter pilot you get accustomed to the G-forces, but there's also a very rigorous training program to prepare for those Gs
    • The training involves physical, mental, and physiological aspects
    • One of the best ways is to keep in good physical condition, with emphasis on anaerobics
    • Be well rested, well nourished, and well hydrated
    • Even as little as a couple of days of not being exposed to the G-forces can be enough for the onset of it's effects
    • G suits are not worn by the Blue Angels pilots
  • During a low level practice run in Chicago, Pilot Mike saw the jet pass so close to his office building, he was able to see the lightning bolts on the pilots helmet.
  • Do you make a conscious effort to delay your appearance after the previous act in order to make a big entrance?
    • The performance has been choreographed for the highest level of effect and to be entertaining
    • We want to make sure the spectators see what a team can do when they focus on dedication, teamwork, and hard work
    • Even though they put on an amazing show, we should remember it's the same kind of flying our operational forces are doing every day
  • Some final thoughts from Boss Foley
    • We are very blessed to be a part of the Blue Angels legacy
    • Those blessings are not just from the previous members of the team but from our fellow countrymen
    • My vision is that we are a team recognized for our excellence not only in flight demonstration, but for the public visits we make
    • Our official mission is to enhance the recruiting of our Naval Service, but we also need to be good samaritans and good citizens and demonstrate what one can achieve with with a high degree of scrutiny, preparation, dedication, teamwork, and a focus on what's good and right
    • Seeing some of the children attending our shows, I hope to inspire them to become good people and responsible, great Americans and great patriots
    • We all share that responsibility
  • Patrick's story will be running in the June 18th issue, of the NorthEast magazine, in the Hartford Courant
Cool images of the Blue Angels:

Close Close Close Close Close

If you're interested in finding out more about the Blue Angels:
  • Here's the official Blue Angels website
  • Steven "Force" Tupper does an online radio program, Airspeed Online. He recently aired an informative episode on the Blue Angels which we used as a resource for the interview with Boss Foley. Thanks, Steve! You can listen to it by clicking on the mp3 icon. mp3
  • For a great film on the principles of flight with amazing footage of The Blue Angels taken from the jets IN FLIGHT check out "The Magic of Flight" DVD from Amazon:

An extra added bonus:
  • For those of you who have been asking, here are some more Pilotcast crew images - of Pilot Mike during the recording of Pilotcast #33, and Pilot Mike and Pilot Kent in Madison, WI:
Pilot Mike recording Pilotcast #33 Pilot Mike and Pilot Kent
The larger versions of these images may be frightening to small children and to regular listeners, compared to the images they had in thier minds.

Contact us at by email:   pilotcast (AT)

Song: "Angels and Aeroplanes" by Peter James  Music on the Pilotcast is from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Pilotcast show notes are at
The Pilotcast THANKS "Pilot Bill" for the GREAT work on these show notes!

Copyright © 2006 The Pilotcast

Direct download: Pilotcast_033_2006.05.10.mp3
Category:audio -- posted at: 11:21pm EST

Pilot Dan, Pilot Kent, and Pilot Mike host a CFI Roundtable discussion on "Learning to Fly"

  • We're joined this episode by 3 CFIs
    • CFI Ron "the Rev"
    • CFI & AME Dr. Bruce Chien, M.D. 
    • CFI Joe, Pilot Mike's CFI
  • The two most common questions are how much does it cost and how long does it take?
    • CFI Joe: The time depends on how much to you put in to it and how you approach it and the cost is related to the time.
    • CFI Bruce: Once taught a General Surgeon who passed his checkride after 19 sequential days of instruction at a cost today of about $5500. More typically, the cost would be about $7000.
    • Potential students usually only listen to the low time and cost estimates
  • Why is the percentage of students who actually complete the certification, so low?
    • CFI Bruce: Some people just realize that flying is not for them. Sometimes it's the student, sometimes the CFI, and sometimes just the teaching technique
    • CFI Joe: Agrees that flying is not for everyone, but also agrees that anyone can learn to fly.
  • What should a student look for when selecting a CFI?
    • CFI Joe: Recommends the first 4 to 6 hours of instruction be taken with 4 to 6 different CFIs. Realize that the first few hours of instruction will be almost identical across instructors, so use that time to learn the personality and teaching style of the instructor so you can choose someone who's compatible
    • CFI Bruce: Also recommends flying with several instructors and use your gut feeling to choose the one who could be a mentor. There's a difference between instruction and education. Even an excellent student, though, can learn from a miserable teacher.
    • CFI Ron: Come to it from the perspective that you are the customer, choosing a service provider. Look for compatibility first, but ask a lot of questions about who the person is, their background, their experience, their capabilities, how they do business, and previous students. You are hiring a person and need to make sure they fill your job requirements.
  • Which is better, a full-time CFI building hours for an airline job, or a part-time CFI who just enjoys the job?
    • CFI Bruce: The connection and relationship between the student candidate and the CFI is the most important. Some CFIs just seem to have an ability to easily make that connection.
    • CFI Ron: Take a close look at the training environment. A new CFI who's working for a structured flight training school is much more desirable than one who is working independently. The less structured the training environment, the more important it is to have an experienced instructor.
    • CFI Joe: The third option is a full-time CFI who has lots of experience but has no interest other than to stay a CFI.
    • CFI Ron: Agrees that those CFIs are usually the best choice, but can be difficult to find.
    • CFI Joe: Those CFIs are not necessarily the best choice, but are just another option. It all comes back to the match between the student and CFI being the most important ingredient.
    • There are resources where you can check an instructors experience:
      • Some CFIs have personal websites
      • AOPA
      • NAFI
      • Chicago Flight Instructors Association
    • CFI Bruce: The best way to find those full-time CFIs is to ask other pilots
  • How should a student candidate handle a less then enthusiastic response when they first contact an FBO about learning to fly?
    • CFI Ron: It's an old problem that exists because the people that run FBO's are pilots, with little or no experience in business, marketing, and customer relations.
    • CFI Joe: The industry as a whole has a profit structure that doesn't attract entrepreneurs
    • CFI Ron: If you're treated well when you first enter a flight school, and get the impression they are customer oriented, that's a good sign.
  • What is the most difficult stage of private pilot training?
    • CFI Ron: The near-solo phase is the most difficult and the most frustrating for the students
    • CFI Bruce: Agrees with CFI Ron but adds the stabilized approach and crosswind landings
    • CFI Joe: Teaching crosswind landings is also a tough time for the instructor
  • Are there different tendencies between the young, middle age, and elderly students?
    • CFI Joe: Younger students tend to immediately accept the different aspects of flying, but an elderly student wants a more comprehensive understanding of the whole picture before he or she will accept them.
    • CFI Ron: Younger students to to be more motivated and have good hand/eye coordination, but often don't have very good learning skills. Older students tend to be better learners, but lack some motor skills.
    • CFI Bruce: The teaching has to be appropriate to the student. This is why you need to find a mentor.
    • Some students seem to think they can buy their way to a license
    • CFI Ron: Sometimes the hard charging attitude of a successful businessman can be the wrong attitude for a pilot
    • Case study: Boise, ID Pilot lands and departs on a runway closed for repairs at KSUN
    • CFI Joe: Sometimes an instructor has to refuse to sign a pilot off because he doesn't believe he is or ever will be a safe pilot
  • Is there a problem with CFIs and flight schools not emphasizing the medical certificate prior to solo?
    • CFI Ron: Always recommends obtaining the medical early, but sometimes students put it off assuming all will go well. A flight school needs to be up front about everything a student needs to do.
    • It's important to research any possible medical issues before getting checked. AOPA can help with this.
    • CFI Bruce: The average pilot age is older than it used to be so they will have more disqualifying conditions. There also seems to be more of a acceptance to take medications that may disqualify you.
    • CFI Joe: CFIs need to remind students to check how any medications they may be taking will affect a medical examination, before they go too far with their training
    • CFI Bruce: Find a AME you can honestly discuss any potential issues with, without filling out the actual form.
Contact us at by email:   pilotcast (AT)

Song: "Learn to Fly" by Josh Woodward  Music on the Pilotcast is from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Pilotcast show notes are at

Direct download: Pilotcast_032_2006.05.09.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:41pm EST

Pilotcast Update - 2006.05.08

A Pilotcast Update 2006.05.08 - The Pilotcast is STILL FLYING!!!

An audio update from Pilot Dan and Pilot Mike.

Pilotcast #30 and Pilotcast #31 will be published soon.

Feedback: Contact us at by email:   pilotcast ( A T ) gmail ( D O T ) com

Song: "Fly, Fly, Fly" by Adrina Thorpe

Music on the Pilotcast is from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Pilotcast show notes are at

Direct download: Pilotcast_Update_2006.05.08.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:23pm EST

Hangar flying with Pilot Dan, Pilot Kent, and Pilot Mike.

Pilot Kent is calling in from Housatonic, Massachusetts.

Hangar flying:
  • We're prepping for Oshkosh!
  • An update on Connecticut Senate Bill SB520
    • The bill has been sent back to committee, which usually means it has been killed
    • Pilot Dan sent emails to local pilots, urging them to contact their Senator about it
    • A portion of it ended up getting snuck in as part of the budget bill
    • Ended up with an exemption from sales and usage tax on all parts and maintenance, but...
    • No exemption on the sale of aircraft
  • AOPA has scheduled their 2007 convention for Hartford, Connecticut, near the Brainard Airport
    • Some local developers and politicians have their eye on the airport river-front property
    • A group is organizing to make sure they don't have another Meigs Field incident
    • An AOPA representative will be attending the first "Save Brainard Field" meeting, at the Chowder Pot restaurant
  • Do you have to register as a pilot or register your aircraft with the state?
    • Some Oregon pilots are upset because they're required to register with the state
    • Wisconsin seems to be the most GA friendly state
      • Home to the EAA
      • $78 to register an aircraft for two years
      • The state has a contract to keep a weather computer in every airport
      • Pilots get free access to the Flight Brief website
    • Illinois used to not charge use tax on aircraft sales between private parties
      • The registration form seemed to want to trip you up on where the aircraft was purchased.
      • They would still request the tax, hoping the new owner didn't know the law
      • The "loophole" has since been closed
  • Pilot Kent did some flying in Oregon
    • Rented a Twin Comanche in Hillsboro
    • Had a beautiful view of Mount St. Helens, directly ahead, on takeoff from Runway 02
    • Flew down the Columbia River, over the Pacific, and over the Tillamook Valley
  • Pilot Mike passed his medical and got by with a fairly easy annual on his plane
In the news:
  • AOPA President, Phil Boyer has declared war on the airlines
    • He released an editorial and open letter that was sent to all members of Congress
    • It says the airlines' user charge proposal is a control grab
  • Diamond's D-Jet completed its maiden flight
    • There's a concern with pilots who fly infrequently, flying these personal jets in the same airspace as commercial and military aircraft
    • Certification and insurance requirements will help alleviate some of the safety issues
    • Both Pilot Dan and Pilot Kent have had the experience of being followed by jets while on final approach
Contact us at by email:   pilotcast (AT)

Song: "Not on the Radio" by Geoff Smith  Music on the Pilotcast is from the Podshow Podsafe Music Network. Check it out at

Pilotcast show notes are at

Direct download: Pilotcast_031_2006.05.04.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:43pm EST