Category Archives: Aviation Links

A Jenny I know

Greetings fellow aircraft enthusiasts,

I want to give a special shout out to Brian Karli in Peachtree City, GA. Brian has been doing an amazing job documenting his Curtis Jenny Restoration. He started in 2006 with a pile of original parts and is getting ever closer to a meticulouslly restored Curtis JN-4D, and she is one georgious girl.

Almost two years ago I started following Brians restoration blog. I don’t want to sound like a fanboy here but I realy look forward to each and every post about this beautiful airplane and her restoration. It’s Brian’s enthusiasim, love of aviation, and continuing efforts in documenting his project that have keep the fire alive for me.

A Jenny would be an awesome build project, as well as several other fabric covered airplanes but at present finances, none of them are doable just yet. The Jenny is still on the short list for build projects. This is where the Pocket-Change Builder came from. Seeing Brian’s Jenny coming to life fueled my own desire to build and build now. So here we are, N-number reserved, build plans enroute, and me itching to dive in.

Thanks again Brian for all of your hard work.


090305Yup, that’s me. You may have noticed, I haven’t posted since January. Not for lack of desire mind you. The world around, being what it is has limited my resources and thus my time. Shortage of time aside, the economy has made its fair share of obstructions to getting things done as well.

Plans have not changed, I still intend to get the adventure flights going and to build a vintage WWI fighter aircraft replica. The finances have just not been there. I am still seeking some sponsorships to get things rolling down the runway, but as of this date I have not secured any funding.

Have no fear! We shall prevail!

I will also do my best to not wait several months before the next post.

Stay tuned for more.

Recording Training Flights

FlyBoyJon150x150-newWhen I first began my flight training I, being a media dork, decided to record my training flights. I made audio recordings from engine start to shut down. Now it’s been a few years and I wish I had continued the practice.

In the aircraft I was flying at the time, recording in-flight audio required me to go and buy a portable comm system because the aircraft were not equipped with audio in/out jacks on the panel other than for headsets. I picked up a modular four position comm that had the in/out jacks I needed and began using it with a small digital recorder. The quality was not great but it worked surprisingly well. I have seven or so hours of me and my instructor at the time, bouncing in, out, and around Oakland International Airport (KOAK) in September and October of 2003.

I started listening to the recordings this last week while I added ID3 and IPTC tags to the files. While listening to the recordings I had several revelations about my training and about that instructor. I am not going to go into the details of the revelations just yet, but I decided to post about in-flight recording in general. It is a simple process and does not require a whole lot of technical knowledge to do, and depending on your aircraft’s capabilities (in/out jacks in the panel and such) it could be darn near effortless.

Why do in-flight recording?

The most obvious is reason is to have a record of your training flights that you can show off to your friends (impressive to non-pilot folk). Beyond that though, I becomes an effective tool for post-flight debriefing. An instructor can go over a segment of the flight with a student with perfect recall. Demonstrating bad habits, from the left and right seat, like maintaining a sterile cockpit at critical phases of flight, positive exchange of controls, missed radio calls, all kinds of things. It can be an invaluable tool for education.

In-flight recordings are also a good tool for instructor evaluation, how you as a student interact with an instructor. This gives the student pilot a tremendous tool to use at a time when the new pilot does not have the experience to recognise lapses in the instructors skills. Had I thought about it, I could have presented information to the chief instructor at the academy that could have helped my instructor improve his skills and enhanced my training.

Lastly, it is a permanent record for you to review years later, maybe on a stormy day when couch flying is the only good option for the day. Listen to one of those old flight recordings and see just how much has changed. What you can do better, what areas needed work. Use it not only for enjoyment but for providing reference points for your current skills. A record you can pass down to the next generation of pilots.

What did I learn?

On first listening I felt awkward, not wanting to share any of the recordings because I look back at what a dufus I sounded like, then I started to analyze what was going on, in my head and in the cockpit, I began to see things, nuances in my training that I had not recognised before.

I had looked back at my early training while I was in a CFI/I academy later and had several revelations about my instructor and the training program I was in at the time, I think It would have been beneficial for me and the rest of my academy class to hear some of the recordings to demonstrate several points.

Now that I am older and wiser I look back again at those first few flights. I now know that It is a good idea to use in-flight recording on training flights as a student or an instructor. I can use those recordings as tools to improve my skills and those of my students. Don’t be frightened of by the thought of sounding like a dufus, the recordings can only help you improve your flying experience as a student or an instructor.

Spend a few bucks on a comm and a digital recorder if you have too. It is a wise investment that will pay rewards throughout your aviation carrier.

Blue skys and tail winds,

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


Aviation Adventures

Hey all, I just wanted to let everyone know that a new welcome page is up. Things are moving forward slowly but surely. And now for the gacked page…

Aviation AdventuresFBJ-AA-logo-02-b

Aviation adventures is about having fun. It’s about getting off your butt and just doing it. There are so many flights every pilot wants to do, we often just don’t get around to doing them; is all about getting out there, planing and flying those adventures.

Our first adventure will take us to every public use airport in the state of California, That’s 253 airports in 16 weeks!. While flying to each airport we will be taking pictures, video and  interviewing people at many airports. Along the way we may find ourselves doing some other interesting and fun things on and off airport. Each airport will be the subject of a blog entry and will include information about the airport and links to people and places at the field. It will be a lot of fun meeting new people and hearing about all of the airports in California.

Details of the planning will be posted and updated regularly to let everyone know where we plan on being and when we will be there. Post flight blogging and special feature podcasts are posted frequently as we move from one destination to the next. We look forward to seeing you in the air and on the ramp you.

Don’t live in California? That’s Okay, we will be all over the country at fly-in’s and airshows too. One of FlyBoyJon’s goals is to visit every public use airport in the 48 contiguous states! That’s over 5000 airports! We are always looking for great adventures as well as the dozen we have on the planning table now, so drop us a note with your suggestions. We just may add it to the list, maybe even drop by to say hey. is starting out as a grassroots, zero budget start-up.  We can only do this with the support of sponsor members and corporate sponsors. This is your chance to be a part of the adventure we are working on special sponsor member thank you gifts and benefits that we hope to have available soon.  Please help support aviation adventure by becoming a sponsor member at

“Blue skies and smooth air”


FBJ-AA-logo-02-bIn April of 2004 I had an idea.

I was having a lot of fun flying and working on my instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate, spending a lot of time in the air and with fellow pilots at the Hayward Executive Airport. With a fresh new red Miquelrius notebook I began journaling some of my aviation adventures in training. One of the pages in the notebook contain a series of adventures I have yet to do. A list of flights that would be wonderful accents to my journal, logbook and life.

Among the list of adventures are two trips around the world, one by the latitudinal route and one by the longitudinal. Of course there would need to be some less ambitious trips first like a transcontinental, trans Atlantic and trans Pacific flights to get the ball rolling. I have been mulling this around for some time now, I just haven’t gotten to it. If I am going to get any of these adventures under my belt I had better get to it.

Being a pilot is one of the most wonderful experiences you can have in life. It can also be a terrible curse. When you don’t fly for long periods a longing builds inside. You can spot a pilot over due for some time in the blue, when ever a plane or helicopter flies over head the look up almost gleefully, as it passes by their  head slowly lowers and the glee turns to longing. You find yourself looking for excuses to run errands near an airport, any reason will do.

It’s not just the longing to fly that pains me, it is the longing to share flying with others. The posting about the days flight, recorded bits of cockpit audio, photos of the coast and the Golden gate bridge that I took while crossing over it at 1,500 feet. I miss that very much. I miss flight planning.

I was asked by a friend what I wanted to do in life and it took a while to think about it. I finally to him I wanted to be an adventurer; I knew it sounded like a response from a young child, but that was what I thought. Since that exchange I have been thinking about it a lot. It is not that I want to be and adventurer, I am one. I just have not been on any adventures lately. I have been getting caught up in the grind and lost sight of where I was going, what I had set out to do on the 22nd of April, 2003; my first flight. I forgot what I had accomplished on October 23, 2003, my first solo. I had misplaced my drive that got me through my Private Pilot, Instrument Rating and my Commercial Pilot check rides. I had lost touch with the joys of teaching ground school, the anticipation of teaching flight in the airplane.

I have had some wonderful adventures in my life, I am an adventurer. I am due for some more.


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.