Category Archives: Development

A OF A&P

Again with the long time between posts…

Stearman wing rib jigSchool has been quite the load this year. 21 units a semester is keeping me very busy. On May 25 I finished my second semester of A&P school which means I can take my FAA tests for my Airframe Mechanic Certificate. I am scheduled to take my first two knowledge tests on June 4th and my two practical tests on June 12th. I will post more about them after I take the tests.

My finals went very well. I got 99% in General and 98% in Airframe. Results that I am not at all unhappy with. I have been busting ass studying for exams; school really has taken over my life, in a good way.

Plans for the summer break are to build a wing rib jig for a Stearman. I borrowed a repaired rib from one of my instructors and started work on the jig Tuesday (Stearman Photo Album on Google+). I picked up some nails for the jig and for making a rib on Wednesday. I should have the jig finished in the next few days but it will be a while before I can do the ribs.

I need to source some 1/16″ mahogany plywood for the rib gussets; this stuff is a bugger to find locally and I don’t want to have to get it from Aircraft Spruce. The shipping costs are really high and it would almost be cheaper to organize a will-call run down to Corona and split the fuel costs with some fellow pilots, mechanics, & builders. I need to get some Alodine and Alumiprep anyway and I could save about $40 in shipping and hazmat costs on those alone.

Building a rib jig and wing ribs are fun distractions to relax with when I need a break from studying. Another allowed distraction is catching up on my aviation magazines, with lots of maintenance and restoration articles. Less the two distractions above, the blinders stay on and my focus is on finishing my Airframe Mechanic Certificate before next term starts. I don’t want to have anything hanging over my head when I start Powerplant.

Time to get back to the studying and practice tests…

☮ ♥ ✈
~FlyBoyJon

Digital Media Revolution: Disparate Infrastructure Is The Enemy

I was scanning my Twitter feed and came across this tweet from @AllenChou;

“40% of broadband households watch full-length TV shows over Internet yet TV/Film Distribs not making $”

So I checked out the article Allen linked to. In part it says…

DIGITAL: Study shows industry needs to find better business model By Susanne Ault — Video Business, 11/11/2009

“NOV. 11 | DIGITAL: U.S. broadband households watching TV shows and movies online has doubled over 2008, according to a Parks Associates study.

More than 25 million U.S. households regularly watch full-length TV shows online, and more than 20 million watch movies. Parks singled out free, ad-supported online video-on-demand site Hulu.com as driving people to watch such programming on the Web…”

DigitalDelemaWhile this article focuses on distributor’s need to modify their business model to better monetize internet distribution, it brings something more to the table in my eyes.

At a time when media content is produced for many distribution mediums, the question has been how to distribute across platforms. The solution is not more, it is less. The aging infrastructure in America has become a collection of disparate distribution platforms; broadcast television and radio, cable, satellite, internet, and telephone. All of them use different protocols and systems, but they don’t have to.

In the last decade some of the large communications conglomerates have made some headway in providing multiple services over their primary medium. The problem is that all of them are continuing to provide services to the end user on the same disparate and aging infrastructure they started with. Making it even more interesting, all of them use the same data between distribution points, the disparity is in the head-end to user segment.

The answers to monetizing media exists in a wide range of solutions via the internet, pay-per-view, subscription, and more. The best way to get to greater profit margins is to kill off the antiquated mediums and eliminate the expenses in using them. IP based distribution of broadcast television, radio, cable, satellite, and telephone is available via the internet. What needs to happen is a standardization of infrastructure. The user end is simple: provide an Ethernet connection and all of the services are available with little or no changes on the consumer’s end. By choosing a unified and standardized infrastructure media producers/distributors can focus on making the media available and increasing margins.

A simple example is HBO or Showtime. They don’t need cable TV or satellite providers to get their media to market. A simple login to a subscription-based service can grant access to all the media. The advantage to the consumer is lower prices and the ability to select exactly what media they want access to. No intermediate contract obligations to keep the consumer tied to “licensed channels” on a carrier and the benefits of time shifted media; see what you want, when you want it. Media producers have significant advantages, too. The inherent demographic and statistical data, active and accurate viewership data. Quantifiable data for advertisers.

Another example is broadcast media. If a TV station stopped broadcasting its outbound only signal and focused its resources on providing free WiFi for an area, distributed its media via the internet, its programing made available world wide, it would be a greater value to its viewers and its advertisers. It would also reduce its own operating costs and free up the radio frequency spectrum.

Main stream media and large media producers hold the key. It is up to them to make things happen. It requires them to change the way they look at their content, it requires thinking in an Open Source mindset. The larger the number of potential viewers the better. Things like DRM don’t help protect your media, it makes the media less accessible. Likewise proprietary viewers or binding to specific players make your media less accessible, and thereby less attractive to consumers. I purchased the movie UP with the “Digital Copy” disk from Disney. I don’t have an iPod or iPhone, I have a BlackBerry. Because the iTunes/Windows Media Player is only options for viewing the DRM’d movie, it is completely useless to me. So why would I buy a DVD with this “bonus?”

There is nothing wrong with charging for your content and the public recognizes that. If HBO stopped selling its programing to cable and satellite and distributed consumer direct via internet only the content they produce would reach more viewers and provide them with more feedback and data from their viewers with no intermediaries. How would they fare financially? With the die-hard fans of many HBO programs, I think they would exceed current margins in 2 years or less and recoup any costs of the change in business model in less than 5 years.

These kinds of changes would also create new distribution channels for independent media producers. Without the constraints of programing time slots and the possibility of infinite catalogs, channels could purchase or license indi productions directly. It even provides the opportunity to list the property and pay content producers on a residual basis. The possibilities are endless.

Overall, a high quality broadband internet connection should be freely available to everyone, a network of regulated free WiFi and hard line solutions, provided by a consortium of fed, state, and local governments, service providers, media providers, and businesses. Contributors to the national WiFi network get a tax break for being a part of the infrastructure. It’s green, it reduces consumer cost, it reduces provider cost, and it enhances viable infrastructure while removing old disparate technologies. It really is a win win for everyone, but it starts with content providers and infrastructure.

If a cell phone can connect, you should be able to get it all.

Building A Production Team

Howdy all!

This is going to be a short post today, I am totally wiped out tonight but I wanted to get this out right away. I will be refining this post and building a Team Search page later but for now I will get to the guts of the matter.

FlyBoyJon is building a creative team. I have a couple of projects in early development and I need to get them moving forward, so I am looking for some pre-production development talent to start building that creative team. I am looking for… Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Production Designer, Visual Effects Supervisor, and Writer. This is not an exclusive list however, anyone in production is welcome to contact me.

In the interest of clarity I wanted to be sure to let you know that this is not an open job listing. I am looking to connect with more of my fellow production people. If something comes from connecting, fantastic. If not, we will have exchanged some information and maybe be able to work with, or help each other out in the future. This is an open invitation to network with fellow production people.

If you are interested, feel free to send me an email or you can leave a message for me by using the Call Me button up on top of the page. Please remember to send/leave your name, contact information, what you do, and any other information you think relevant or important. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

I am also looking to meet up with fellow producers in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area so please feel free to drop me a line or email anytime.

Where is he going with this?

Taking NoteA fair question, indeed.

When I started this iteration of the website as a blog in March of 2008, the idea was to use it as a personal site only. Later it migrated to an idea of a purely commercial/organizational site, and has morphed into several variations since. In the most recent morph, I closed down a couple of other sites, redirected them to this site and cross-posted the entries from those sites here. Sounds like a mess, doesn’t it? I spent a lot of time on this site planing and preparing for this grand Aviation Adventure program (which I have not given up on, by the way) that was to become my primary focus professionally. Due to many circumstances, that plan has not born any fruit.

This post is a “clear the air” article, more for me than anyone else, though it may contain tidbits useful to others. I wanted to put the new plans out there for the universe to see, and to be a personal motivator and reference point.

Shortcomings in personality have much to do with the lack of forward motion on several plans for the site. I am a born puppeteer leader. I lead from the wings, not on stage. Getting things done is much easier for me if there is a “face man” to motivate the masses and sell the product. I am a skilled sales person and I do have the interpersonal skills to get the job done, I just don’t like to be the face man. I can do the jobs of a good sized team in the background; just don’t throw me out on stage and things will work out fine. This is my biggest hurdle in getting projects moving forward. This is also a contributing factor in this most recent change of direction.

The last few posts have been about me, not just in the subject sense but in the personal sense, and this is part of the new direction I am moving to with this site. It is a change of perspective and attitude, to view the adventures more the way I see them. The plan then is to do the adventure stuff but approach it from the back stage perspective. Go through the planing, plotting and set up, then into the training phase, on to the execution, and the grand finale, the post production documentation phase. With this perspective I will be able to do and share all of the things I love, the planing, training, adventure, and production.

As much as I would love to start building that Nieuport right away, that just aint gonna happen. As a kid I was never in shape; I was an active person, I was just an active fat person. Over the years, I have abused my body with long hours, little sleep and lots of burst activities. The kinds of things that put high strain on the body. Now, as I reach for middle age, I realize there are a lot of things I miss doing that are adventures in and of themselves. I want to get myself in better physical condition to do some of the more infrequently done adventures. One thing I have wanted to do most of my life is fly around the world as pilot in command (PIC). To do that I need to be in good physical condition, certainly better condition than I am now.

So, this is where the adventures begin. I am embarking on a physical fitness program, still in development, that is my first adventure. This change in direction began with the 5k my wife and I participated in a week ago, and moved forward in the preparation of yesterdays article on shoes. Last night I plotted out a 5k through my neighborhood and that is my new training ground, until I bump it up to a 10k.

This is the beginning of my basic fitness program. As I put together more of a program I will put up a Basic Fitness page to elaborate on what I am doing in that arena. At present, the first Adventure, with a capital A, will most likely be the Skyline To The Sea trail, from Skyline down into Big Basin State Park. As soon as I get more on the planing of that trip I will start the Adventure page. As I accumulate more Adventures, I will sort them out a bit, but the blog will contain posts about all.

Monetization is where the biggest change in plan for the site takes place. I had always planned for the site to be monetized, it was originally intended to be very early in the game. Now that element is taking a back seat. I plan on acquiring sponsors and selling advertising at some point. For now that is an incidental, not a driving factor. This is a huge shift in the sites initial concept. Where it was originally money driven, it is now a personal thing. Don’t get me wrong, I will be pimping the site in short order, it just wont be the driving force. I think that this change in attitude about the site will help to over come my personal obstacles about being the face man.

Cha cha cha changes

TakingNoteYou may have noticed, some things have… shifted a little. The basics of the site are the same. The over all concept of this site being about adventure is still the same, now it’s just a little more personal to me. It is my adventure, in life. I know what you’re thinking “Great… he is having a mid-life crisis and is going nuts.” well… maybe a little.

The truth of it is, I am getting close to that “middle age”, whatever that really is, and there are a lot of things I want to do, things I want to learn, adventures I want to have. Right about now you are probably thinking “I… I… I… this jerk is a bit self absorbed.” again… maybe a little. The mundane world has been relentless in keeping me busy with things I am not all that interested in. Big surprise, most of us are “stuck” doing things we don’t like doing, it’s called being a grown-up. I know this, but I don’t like it or agree with it.

I have been very lucky in life over all. Sure, there have been times less than steller, but that’s not the point. When it comes to the important things in life, love and family, I am tremendously blessed. The gift of an over active brainstorming lobe is also some thing I was blessed with. This means I always have at least six projects developing in my head. They are usually related in some form and the planning that goes on in the gray matter is not fleeting, it is quite developed by the time it reaches paper. The down side to all of this is the plans are usually ready for active implementation right away, and requires the funding to make it all come together.

As an exercise, a bunch of projects have been scaled back and I am taking a more “focused” approach to things. All of my projects are still in the works and some new ones are hitting the books too. So what does all of this mean? Hopefully, it will mean more posts about projects that are actively moving forward. I am still in the re-evaluation process but things are shaping up.

The first active project moving forward is Grave Mistake, a Thrill The World 2009 event I am co-organizing. I hope to see you there.

~FBJ

The Wheels Are Turning

back from private check rideThings have been quiet on the website as of late while I work behind the scenes to get everything moving forward and upward. As you might guess, airplanes run on money, not just AvGas. The prospects for FBJ have been growing steadily, with long term planning. Aviation projects are like airfoils, the more money you have the more the airfoil resembles that streamlined, aerodynamically slippery object that cuts through the air and develops lifting force with great efficiency. Right now we have a brick, though a brick will fly quite far with enough thrust, it is not really designed for flight. I am providing as much thrust as possible.

So here we are, The Plan, is to keep moving forward on the adventures, keep moving forward on the plans to build a WWI Fighter replica, and continue to develop the behind the scenes infrastructure that will keep us going into the future. I think at this juncture a little organizational transparency is in order, FBJ at present is me, just me. I have been talking to others about getting involved with me on the front lines and have gotten some positive responses, nothing I can post just yet. And no, Burt Rutan is not joining up with FBJ. I will be creating some static information pages here on the site including a Crew page soon.

Our first operational year budget is $250K, to begin that year we need $150K in the bank and commitments for another $50K. We can float the last $50K on potential commercial sponsorships. This first year will be the toughest to get funded, I believe we can meet our subsequent annual budget with sponsorships and media revenue. So I need six to ten of you with 25 grand burning a hole in your pocket to email me today. Well, if you don’t ask…

As you can see, we need sponsors to get things moving in a vertical direction. I am out beating the brush looking for private and commercial sponsors. The hurdle for most is in handing over money to a new entity, particularly in the current economic environment. In the months to come I will be working to reduce concern about this element by getting the media wheels turning and getting some product posted. This should help alleviate some of the trepidation for commercial sponsors.

The projects are still in the works as are the adventures. Like many developing projects, we are taking more time to get going than we would like too. That’s okay, a slow build yields a long term concern, a meteoric rise tends to burn out just as quickly, and in a fiery ball hurdling back to Earth at mach something. I’ll go with slower and long term thank you.

See you next time, for now… The wheels are still turning.

~FBJ

Wanzer Aviation

WA-logo-2-200x200With things the way they are, I thought it best to merge the Wanzer Aviation site with the FlyBoyJon site. There are many things that I want to do under the WA moniker, such as aviation education products, aircraft design, and others. At present, time is at a high premium and keeping up with several business arms was becoming less practical.

I have reduced the number of domains I manage and contribute to, and cut the non-producing social networking endeavors. I am now down to managing two domains (with blogs), one social network, and three twitter feeds. At peek, I was the primary contributor to seven domains, each with multiple social networks and feeds. Now that I have cleaned house a bit I will be able to focus on the path most dear to my heart, Aviation.

The decision to move to the FlyBoyJon as the primary site was one of practicality. It is important to the development of WA and all of its intended projects that a strong foundation be forged in the aviation community, and FBJ is the way to do that. At some time in the future WA may move back to its own digs, for now, home is where you hang your hat, and that my friends if here at FlyBoyJon.com.

~FlyBoyJon

At the drawing board

FBJ-AA-logo-02-bBack at the drawing board this weekend. Many hours have been put into the the adventure program, things like business plan, cost sheets, program expensing, and biz structure, you know the boring paperwork stuff. Actually I enjoy some of this stuff, it is like flight planning for the whole she-bang, and I do like flight planning.

More to come soon on the adventures, for now I am working on revamping the pages on the site and sprucing things up around here. I think I may find some time to spruce up me self a bit too. 😉 At some point I need to get a decent portrait on the site.

During this coming week I will be off doing non aviation or site stuff but I will be back in the evenings to keep plugging at it.

~FBJ

Three Projects, One Dilemma

PosterGirlAs it seem is always the case, funding a project is once again the crux of efforts. The Steam Faire project is moving along. I have a few interested core people moving things along. Now we are at a funding phase. Likewise, the AerNavis project is also at a funding phase. But wait, there’s more… another project I conceptualized in 2005 is also at a similar stage, GA Adventures.

I guess I need to get myself motivated to get out and beat the proverbial pavement and get the funding train.

Much to do with little time.

~FBJ

AreNavis Project Moving Forward

TakingNoteI have been putting a lot of work into the AerNavis proposal documentation. Things are coming along nicely. I started out with a 7 page plan that quickly turned to 10. All of a sudden I realized it had expanded to 22 pages.

When I have some “for public consumption” paperwork prepared I will get it posted. For now, I  will be posting stuff piece by piece.

The folks are in from Mass. and are staying with us all month so posts may be a little sporadic, but stuff is still getting done. I am very excited about the direction things are going.  I am off to a family BBQ, so I guess that’s it for now.

~FBJ