Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Keeping an eye on the kids!

Here's a photo of me at "work" at Skydive Houston awhile ago.  I have a small mirror that I use to keep an eye on those crazy guys behind  If you look carefully you will count 11 skydivers back there, a larger load for a "Mini Van" (smaller Caravan) during the Summer time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Caravan Captain!

I made Captain of the beloved C208 Caravan, the most popular single engine turbo prop jump plane in the world!  To give you an idea of how large those blades are... I'm 6'3".  Thank you Richard and Eddie!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mark dumpin' jumpers at the World Recod Skills Camp 2012

A nice pic of Mark dumpin' jumpers in his Skyvan at the World Record Skills Camp 2012 last week.
copyright kazu oyama

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mark in the Skyvan at the World Record Skills Camp 2012

Here's a cool pic of Mark "hard at work" flying his Skyvan at the World Record Skills Camp 2012 last week.
copyright kazu oyama

Monday, March 26, 2012

Red Bull Stratos - Felix Baumgartner's Test Jump

Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped from 71,000 feet last week in preparation for a record breaking skydive from 120,000 which will take place this summer!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Waiting for my next load of skydivers ...

Here I am deep in thought (lol) waiting for my next load of skydivers at Skydive Taft.  By the way, this is one of the only Cessna 182s that I've ever seen that has speed brakes.  I love 'em!  They helped me to get down from 13,000 feet a lot quicker, almost 3,000 feet per minute!  This airplane started its jump plane life with Larry Hill of Skydive Arizona in Eloy AZ.  I believe that it has since been sold to a drop zone in Northern California.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sun 'n Fun

If you have a little free time and you're in the Lakeland Florida area be sure and check out Sun 'n Fun March 27 - April 1  "Spring Break for Pilots!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hypoxia and Aerospace Physiology Training

Hypoxia - a state of oxygen deficiency in the blood, tissues, and cells sufficient to cause an impairment of body functions.  It is one thing to read about Hypoxia in a book and quite another to experience it first hand.  Thanks to a program administered by the FAA, in conjunction with Beale Air Force Base, I was able to experience Hypoxia first hand in a safe environment, and I now know what my specific symptoms are.

First, I felt light-headed, followed soon there after by an inability to concentrate (some might say that I have that problem normally, but that's another story).  This made it extremely difficult to complete the basic math problems that were presented to me by an Air Force instructor.  The final symptom I experienced and the one that encouraged me to reach for the oxygen mask, was tunnel vision.  There is only one word to explain tunnel vision…. Yikes!  I would prefer to never "experience" tunnel vision again, but the experience did serve an important purpose, because now I am aware of my personal hypoxic symptoms.  If I ever experience those symptoms while flying at altitude, I will now know what is happening and I can take immediate corrective action.

The program that I enrolled in is called Aerospace Physiology Training and is available to most civil aviation pilots that hold a valid medical certificate.  The training is conducted at the FAA facility in Oklahoma City, OK and at various Air Force Bases around the country.  The nearest training location to Long Beach, CA (where I live) is Beale Air Force Base (40 miles north of Sacramento) and the cost is only $50.  That includes a full day of interesting instruction on various topics such as Aviation Oxygen Equipment, Respiration/Circulation, Spatial Disorientation and one hour in the altitude chamber.  As a bonus you will see a lot of neat aircraft in action at Beale, plus you could fly there and add to your cross-country time!

To learn more about this program or to register for it, go to and click "Training and Testing" on the upper right side, followed by "Pilot Training" , then click "Airman Education Programs", and finally "Aerospace Physiology Training".  Good luck and happy flying!

Friday, March 9, 2012

As a Jump Pilot you should... watch their exit!

This is a cool shot of my buddy "voodoo" and a tandem passenger exiting our C206 Jump Aircraft at Skydive Taft a few years ago.  You can see me in the background watching the exit and is something you as a Skydive Pilot should always be doing.

TIP: It is very important to make sure that none of the skydivers lines or handles get snagged on a seat belt, a door frame or anything else.  Also, insure that they have indeed unbuckled their seat belt.  I've never seen it, but I've heard of skydivers forgetting to unbuckle and then attempt to jump.  That might sound funny but it can cause major problems for them and you as the pilot.  I always have a hook knife handy as well in case I need to cut their seat belt off. I encourage you to do the same.

Skydive toga party! Texas style!

A group picture with me at a skydive toga party at a drop zone that I use to fly for down in Texas back in 2008!  Super fun night as you can imagine. Great memories. What happens at drop zones... stays at drop zones ... lol  Except the part where someone in that picture woke up on the runway the next morning. Thank God it is a private airport... lol  No, it was not me. They're in the front row... that's all I will say... lol

Dropzone fun! Marketing nights in Texas!

Here's a couple pictures of me having fun at a skydiving company that I use to fly for in Texas back in 2008. Every now and then a bunch of us would put on some jumpsuits, grab some company t-shirts and stickers and promote our skydiving company at local restaurants and bars in the local towns. As you can imagine, we attracted a lot of attention. Everyone loved the idea and had a lot of questions for us about skydiving. Perfect... that's what we came to talk about!... lol

When you're a small company you need to think outside the box when it comes to marketing. I miss "marketing nights", those were some fun times.  And even though I was far from home, my skydivers were like a family to me...... and still are anytime I'm down in Tejas!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Caravan at Sunset in Lompoc CA

Here I am sitting in the jump door of the Caravan.  Relaxing after a long day of flying skydivers in Lompoc, CA @ Skydive Santa Barbara.  I had always heard that the Caravan flys like a C172 on steroids and it is absolutely true. And it's easier to fly than any turbo 206 that I've flown. There is less to do and less to worry about while flying a turbine powered Caravan.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Stephen about to skydive, doing a Bat Hang from the wing of a Cessna 182!

A cool picture of one my skydivers Stephen doing what's called a "Bat Hang" from a Cessna 182!  In case you can not make it out, he is hanging upside down by hooking his feet to the leading edge of the right wing!

TIP: If you're a Jump Pilot and your skydivers want to do this, hopefully they will ask you and the owner (DZO) first, it is very important to bank the airplane slightly to the right.  That way when they drop, they fall AWAY from the airplane.  If you have the airplane banked even a little bit to the left it is possible that they might strike the right main landing gear and/or step. Also, most skydivers are not able to do this and take some time to get into position. Do not compromise your other skydivers and let your jump run get too long for one persons benefit.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Funny pilot picture

Someone sent this funny poster to me today.  It's so very true... I love it! Thought I would share. Which "pilot" is most like you?... lol

Friday, March 2, 2012

Harmon Rocket at Golden West Airshow Marysville California

Here is a photo of the Harmon Rocket airplane that I spoke of in the prior post.  This is obviously from my view inside the airplane before I dropped the skydiver with the huge American flag! We were in a holding pattern together south of the airshow waiting for our call to fly over the airshow when this photo was taken. You can see that we're in a slight right bank. I was flying a C182 ... with dirty windows ... lol

American flag demo jump over Golden West Airshow in Marysville, CA

I dropped this skydiver over the Golden West Airshow in Marysville CA in June 2010.  That flag is 20 feet tall, 40 feet long and weighs 50 pounds!  A Harmon Rocket airplane spiraled around him with smoke trailing while they played the Star Spangled Banner over loud speakers for the huge crowd.  I love flying Demo Jumps!  It was more fun than you can imagine.  They pay me to do this stuff?  Life is good!