Sunday, January 23, 2011

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jason Price- The "Wiz Kid" of Aviation

To be an Aviator is to experience a unique feeling. It is almost impossible to convey this feeling without first hand experience. If you have ever flown, you know what it is like, but what about the millions and millions of people who never have had that opportunity? Some may dream of someday taking to the skies, still others like my wife, never knew the pure ecstasy that piloting a plane in General Aviation was until she got into a Cessna 172 with me. This opened the world to her and she became a much more enthusiastic aspiring pilot.

There are many people like that, who love flying but don’t even know it yet. They have never stopped to think of it and are in fact unaware of the possibility of ever becoming a part of this community. That is in part because with increased security measures at airports, we forget to think of how "un-welcoming" some airports are or have become. Or how inadequate our promotional efforts often are. We have seen flight schools stay small or struggle. Their appearance is not always ideal or inviting, or they do not necessarily convey the fact that this is a place where great adventures begin.

But like in everything, there are the exceptions to the rule. The stars of our craft, people who envision and build an ideal scene.

Such a person is our Friends of Aviation member, Jason Price. I first heard of him when in Glendale College he was mentioned as “the Wiz Kid” - who one day decided to become a pilot and then in record time became one of the must proficient pilots around in the college. He ended up as an Instructor at the college after going through his own training.

I first met him while doing some refresher training at Glendale College, but then found out that he had moved on and started his own flight school at Van Nuys Airport - Mach 1 Aviation.

His flight school has everything one would expect of a professional outfit. He uses four modern Cirrus aircraft with glass panel. Everything cared for for the student
to ensure they be able to learn safely and efficiently.

But the most impressive thing was not just the superb set up of the school, it was
their great outreach actions into the community. Before they had an open house they sent 2,000 mailers out to invite people out and they got close to a 10 % response to this mailer and the phones ringing of the hook.

There is a tremendous interest for Aviation out there, but most people don't know how to realize their Dreams!

This is what it is all about, enjoy, dream achieve and grow and when you have done all this, reach out and help others do the same.

This is why Jason is this month’s Friend’s of Aviation Member in Action

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wing Walking - The ultimate thrill

Nothing sums up adventure like the thrill of daring to push the envelope, accomplishing what others just dream of doing, and those few souls who dare are the pioneers that open the realm of possibility and advance for the rest of the human race. - Dharma Rahkonen.

The Member in Action this month is someone we are proud to have as a Friend of Aviation. She truly embodies adventure! Barn storming was practiced by many of the earliest aviators and today it is kept alive by people like our Jenny Forsythe. Here is Jenny in her own words;

The Adventures of Wing Walking as an American Barnstormer…

No doubt – wing walking is thrilling, to say the least, but not in the way most people assume. “That must be an amazing rush!,” is among the more common greetings we’re met with at the flightline after a performance. On the contrary, I’ve often described wing walking as being closer to a form of meditation than a typical “rush”. No matter what else may have been on my mind while my feet were planted on the ground, once we take flight, I find myself at peace and focused upon my own little world on the wings of our Stearman biplane. Wing walking is not for everyone, but for someone like me who enjoys performing such feats, it is more a challenge and a way of expressing myself than it is an adrenaline rush.

The art of wing walking began 92 years ago and has evolved to become a popular spectacle at many airshows these days. Lt. Ormer Locklear is the first person credited with bringing wing walking into the spotlight in 1918 when he was encouraged to perform his “stunts” as a recruiting effort to prove the US Army Air Service’s airplanes were stable and reliable in flight. Nearly a century later, wing walking is still enjoyed at both military and civilian events around the world.

Today’s performances often include a mix of the classics and some more original maneuvers. The simplest routines can be trained for in a day – those utilizing more aerobatics on the part of the pilot and fewer (if any) movements about the wings by the wing walker. Routines that are more involved with the wing walker moving all about the wings from one position to another to another can take considerably more training and practice. There are several places on the plane a wing walker can position their body – and several maneuvers the pilot can execute with the wing walker in any particular place on the plane. Getting the right mix of wing walker movement with pilot skills is where the artistry of wing walking comes into play. Each wing walker’s personal physique, strength, flexibility, and stamina play into the resulting painting that is drawn out on the canvas in the sky.

In North America, a wing walking experience is not something that can be bought, like can be done with a skydiving lesson. Professional wing walking schools simply don’t exist, for a variety of technical and legal reasons. I believe the fact that there are so few people who ever get the opportunity to wing walk makes it all the more thrilling to be a professional wing walker. But, the longer lasting thrill that I’ve experienced as a wing walker comes upon our landing where we are greeted by smiling faces and inquisitive minds. Though many of the same questions pop up from town to town, there is always someone that manages to catch us with a unique or insightful query we’ve not heard before. Wing walking has given me the opportunity to meet the various people and experience the multitude of cultures in this amazing world of ours – and that has truly been the adventure of my life.