Departing the shoreline on this perfect Tuesday afternoon, cruising at forty five hundred feet, perfect blue skies above and endless seas below. Gazing ahead, at first looking like a shadow, we can make out the first traces of the small island on the endless horizon. Slowly, the island takes shape as we get closer and begin our descent. Now we begin to see some small buildings dotting the landscape. A few minutes later, coming abeam the island, for the first time, we see the runway running along the western edge. Beginning our right turn to final, we descend and touch down and taxi to the ramp area. Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of your Ocean City based flight crew we would like to welcome you to Tangier Island, Virginia!
How special is aviation that we can access magical places like Tangier Island, elevation 3 feet and sinking, population 727, less than one mile long and just a quarter mile wide. No bridges, no cars, just golf carts and scooters. No cell service… Transportation off the island… just two scheduled boats a day and a twenty five hundred foot runway that allows aviators to visit all year around.
Tangier Island has to be the most unique destination I have ever flown to, completely isolated and yet less than sixty miles from our Ocean City airport. How special to meet the great folks that call Tangier home and enjoying and the best crab cakes I ever tasted at Lorraine’s café, just a short walk from the airfield.
Late in the day, as relaxed as I can ever be… it is back to the airport, preflight our aircraft and depart back to the real world. Last flight from Tangier… Kind of sounds like a Humphry Bogart movie… And that’s the way it should be… Tangier Island is a wonderful beautiful throwback to a bygone era.
Just one of the reasons that I fly!
Congratulations go out to Peter Roberts who has just earned his ATP and with that, will now be moving on to an airline career, flying an RJ for Republic Airways. So happy that you have accomplished your dream. So many of our flight academy graduates are now among the flight crews of airlines all around the world. And each graduate defines, in their own way, defines who we are as a flight academy.
We wish Pete the best as he continues on his career path, onward and upward!
Flew back up to New York on Saturday to attend a reunion of the Ramapo Valley Airport where I learned to fly 43 years ago. How great it was to once again see Bill Savage, my first flight instructor. Spent four hours reminiscing about how it was all that time ago. And could not help thinking how similar to our student experiences today. Departing Caldwell Airport in New Jersey the following morning, the morning fog hugging the ground, the stillness, the perfection. Could not help but think back, all those years ago.. Thanks Bill for having the patience to introduce this world of aviation to a kid who up until that point had nothing but a dream.
Passing Atlantic City, the morning fog behind now, the Delaware just ahead, just ten minutes from landing back in Ocean City. Then, back to work… No, I guess it will never really be work.
Ask any aspiring pilot what their dream would be and ninety five out of one hundred will respond without pause that they want to be an airline pilot. Nothing wrong with that. As a young man, that was my dream as well.
But there is more to aviation. There is so much more we accomplish on the way up to that lofty goal. I recently addressed a group of general aviation pilots. Every age group was represented. The common thread was the love of aviation.
My first question was who had flown in for this particular conference. Many raised their hands. I selected a young man in the first row. I asked him when his flight arrived and he responded that he had arrived just hours earlier. I asked what airline he flew in on and he said American. Very good. I asked what type of aircraft and he again responded quickly that it was an Airbus. It was an A320. Excellent. Next question, what was the captain’s name? He looked at me with a perplexed look. He had no idea. Ok, I responded, what did he look like? Again, he looked perplexed. He responded that he never saw him. I thanked him for his answers.
Next I asked the aviators in the room to try to identify the person who had earned their pilots license more than forty years ago. Two gentlemen and an older woman raised their hands. Ok, how about fifty years ago. One gentleman remained with his hand held high. Do you mind if I ask you some questions? He responded affirmatively so I continued. What year did you learn to fly, I asked. He responded 1964. Do you recall your first flight instructor’s name? He didn’t even have to think about it. “That was Gene Henry”. “Can you tell me a little about Gene, I inquired”. “Oh sure”, came the response, “I’ll never forget old Gene”. “What a great guy”. “Used to sit in that old Cessna 140 and scream at me whenever I did anything wrong but then we would get back to the barn and he would sit down and heat up a can of soup and we would share it as he told me all the things I did wrong and the few things I did right”. “Can you tell me anything else about Gene”, I asked? “Well, I still remember that old worn leather jacket he wore”. “And those suspenders”. “Hell, I thought he was the world’s greatest pilot”.
My message to all those flight instructors rushing through their required fifteen hundred hours and dreaming of flying the heavy iron is, slow down and enjoy this moment! You are creating those memories for new aviators right now. You will be remembered and memorialized by your students. Remember that the groundwork you put in place today will be the basis for what these future aviators do in the future. As instructors, we have the ability to make an impression on future aviators that can last a lifetime. You might spend the next forty years on the flight deck of some big Boeing of Airbus, and I am taking nothing away from an airline pilot career but, in my opinion, the real contribution you make to aviation will be in the right seat of the Cessna or Cherokee, sharing your love of flight, and making an indelible impression on your students.
What are you doing on Sunday mornings? Let’s have some fun. Student or certificated pilot, do you want to experience the camaraderie of hanging out with your fellow aviators? Or, just need a reason to fly? Beginning in 2016, we will be organizing Sunday morning fly outs to interesting destinations. Fly out breakfasts, aviation museums, sightseeing.. We will be kicking it off on Sunday, January 10th with our first fly out. Be with us as we launch from Ocean City to our first fly out destination. Your airplane or ours. Or share a plane with another aviator. Let’s go have some fun!
Also, starting in 2016, we will be hosting a ground school every Wednesday evening for 6pm to 8pm. Join the group as we discuss weather, flight planning’s, FAR’s, weather and a variety of topics students need to know. Any student that is enrolled in our flight training is welcome to attend. Additionally, all past students are welcome so great opportunity to brush up.
Let us know if you would like to be placed on our list for either fly out information or to register for our ground school.
Late summer and Early Fall are perhaps one of the best times to fly here on the eastern shore. Temperatures cool and skies clear. Visibilities become crystal clear. Call or stop in at Ocean Aviation Flight Academy and find out how easy it would be to earn your private pilot certificate.
We have the staff available to answer all your questions. Always dreamed of learning to fly? Why not right now! Never a better time or a better place to learn than our FAA approved flight academy. We are approved to accept Veterans Administration Benefits.
Whether you are training for fun or to prepare for that new career, there is no place better to train than on the Eastern Shore of Maryland at Ocean Aviation Flight Academy.
Not a US citizen. No worries. Ocean Aviation Flight Academy is SEVIS approved to accept international students. So contact us and let’s get you in the air..
Among the requirements for the private pilot certificate is a requirement to fly a long cross country. Candidates must fly one cross country flight of more than one hundred nautical miles.
Tony Woody completed his long cross country last week, planning his flight from the Ocean City Airport, across the Delaware to Cape May, New Jersey. After a brief stop, Tony continued to Summit Airport in Delaware before turning towards home.
The trip covered over 170 miles and Tony used deed reckoning, pilotage and VOR navigation to complete the trip. All private pilot candidates are required to complete a long cross country. We believe the long cross country our students complete is over some of the most beautiful scenic areas imaginable. Flying high over the New Jersey and Delaware coasts, tracing the historic Delaware River is simply unimaginable until you have done it for yourself. We believe this is the first time our students truly understand the freedom of flight.
Above: Tony Woody debriefs with Chief Instructor Mike Freed upon completion of his long cross country flight.
Seems like the traffic pattern here at the Ocean City Airport is full of our flight students well on their way to living their dream.
Kevin Stanford became the latest to take that very memorable step of flying an aircraft for the first solo flight in our Skyhawk N64678 here in the pattern at the Ocean City Airport yesterday. John’s instructor was watching from the hanger as he took off, turned downwind, base and final and touched down on runway 20.
John Townes impressed us all with his first solo flight in our Skyhawk N64678 here in the pattern at the Ocean City Airport yesterday. John’s instructor was watching from the hanger as he took off, turned downwind, base and final and touched down on runway 20.
We are proud to report that one of our students, Jesse Jarvis, completed his private pilot course yesterday. Jesse did a really great job and has now net his goal of becoming a private pilot. Jesse has joined the Coast Guard and will be reporting shortly so we wish him much luck in his new career.
And, that very same week, we are happy to report that Stefenie Minto flew her first solo flight. Stefenie worked hard and she did a really great job. We are happy to report that she is moving forward toward her aviation goals.
Congratulations go out to Bill Deyhle who flew to Easton yesterday to take his private pilot test with designated examiner Frank Phillips. His instructor, Mike Freed was very confident in Bill’s abilities so it was no surprise when Bill called to report mission successful. Frank was happy with Bill’s performance and so Bill became our latest private pilot.
And on the very same day, private pilot student Youssef Selim flew his first solo flight in Cessna Skyhawk N8073E. Each of his three solo landings on runway 32 was flawless. His instructor Marc Hutcheson as well as his mom and Grandma were on hand to mark the occasion.
This Sunday is Father’s Day Weekend. I want to wish all our fathers a very happy Father’s Day. It is also once again time for the Ocean City Airshow. The Airshow draws crowds from all over the northeast to see the spectacular performances of the Air force Thunderbirds as well as performers from all over the world.
As a flight academy, we will enjoy the show but our mission is to create safe pilots, pilots who will hopefully spend their entire aviation career minimizing risk. While we encourage all who come to the beach to enjoy the airshow, that is not our kind of flying. We will always stress to our students that safety in flight should always be your number one goal. The flight demonstrations you will see over the beach this weekend will be very different from the flight training we provide.
In fact, for those who come to us for flight training and seem to prefer to show just how fearless they are, we encourage them to seek out an activity other than aviation. Perhaps a nice speed boat!