3.29.2016

Civil Air Patrol: O-flights and some explanation to what they are



 A while back I posted two videos regarding my experience flying in a glider. In Civil Air Patrol cadets can participate in Orientation flights (often referred to as O-flights). These are not formal flight training, but do give you a good introduction to flying as well as teach you important things about flying. Your first five of each (glider and powered) are free, and after that they only cost about 30-35 dollars. After you turn 18, they aren't free, but you can still pay to play. Not to mention there is no restrictions on just flying as an observer (passenger). So bring a camera.

Anyways, so recently I took my first powered O-flight. My glider flight has abolished my fear of flying, and flying in the 182 sometimes felt no more exhilarating than driving in the family car.
The glider is definitely has a more exciting feel of flight, but I still love both. Anyways, so we got to the airport bright and early. After signing in and getting ready and all that. We (another cadet and the senior member who would be flying us) went out to the hangar and got the plane ready and did the preflight check. The prop had been dinged somehow but had been repaired prior to our flight. Just like a sword blade, a prop gouge has to be filed right off. Our fuel was low, so we taxied up to the av gas station. It was comical how much it operated like a car pump.

Our pilot went up to the pump put the credit card in and all that. She probably spent 80 dollars in gas 
but she will get reimbursed so it's no big deal. Actually, av gas has gone down from about 4.65 to 3.99 a gallon. Who knew, right? It is also important to note the procedure of grounding the plane, plugging a grounding cable in so that we don't reenact the Hindenburg. After the fueling process, you haul back on the hose until you hear clicking noises, and then you guide the hose back onto its spring-loaded reel.


Anyways, so the system is usually that one cadet sits in the back seat while the other sits in the copilot seat. We then fly to another airport, and then switch seats. There is a lot of dialogue between the pilot and the co-pilot (since he is the one being taught) and the backseater typically keeps his mouth shut. Not that there is a tax or anything if you don't though. 

Each occupant is equipped with a headset with a mic. For intercommunication in the plane, you just need to make sure it's plugged in and the mic is close to your lips so everyone can hear you when you talk. The only time you need "push-to-talk" is if you are talking over the radio to other pilots, ground control, etc.

The plane is pretty loud, but I took off my headset a few times and it is completely bearable. You could shout over the noise of the engine with considerable ease as well.


I flew the plane a little bit, I was still not taking as much advantage of the opportunity to do so,
but hopefully I will become more confident with the controls in the future. It is always tricky when you are distracted taking pictures (more of a problem with my glider flight than in this case) and then being hesitant because you don't want to do something the pilot disapproves of, despite being as forgiving as they are.
We then flew to another airport and bought some oil since it was low and since none was available at our home airport. We then switched seats and I had more of an opportunity to take pictures.
I have to say cameras are both man's best and worst friend when flying, because you spend one half actually enjoying the ride (and wondering if you should take pictures) and the other half taking pictures and wondering if you should just put the stupid piece of metal and plastic away.


Mud-splattered boots from stepping in a puddle during the refueling. #likearookie
Also notice the fire extinguisher, very important if we get hit by ack-ack.

During the the back-seat flight I got plenty of pictures and selfies.

me in the observer position

it is amazing how you can see the horizon and the curvature of the earth, or at least imagine it.

notice the landing gear in this shot








I'm pretty sure that's a compass



It is amazing how few pedestrians you can see when flying. Plenty of cars, but I only saw one person for sure.

I found these wind turbines particularly fascinating. 




tail view



Here is a video I put together of my glider flight (the one I already posted) and the new video of my powered flight as well.


Semper Vigilans

16 comments:

  1. NIce Post! Powered flight is really amazing esp. in a sporty plane.
    Did the pilot let you handle the plane at all?
    N yah your totally right about cameras I made the mistake of spending more than 1/2 my first flight behind a camera n then ended up losing the footage :P so now for all future events of this kind I'm limiting myself to 5-6 pics and 3-4 min of video. Lesson learned.

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    1. Yeah,I flew a little, but I want to do more in the future. Wow, that is tough losing the footage, that would be extremely frustrating. Yeah, I still plan on taking pictures and videos, but hopefully I will become better at controlling myself. Besides, one shot of the landscape is usually not much drastically different than another! So you said you were in CAP? I remember I think you said you had tried it as some point.
      So I assume you are talking about your first O-flight?

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    2. Hmm, when I published my video I let youtube "stabilize" it due to all the shakiness in the film. I switched it back though, because I just watched it and it looked all weird. technology... *shakes head*

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  2. No I never was in CAP. I Wanted to join(Still do) But Money and other objects have kept me away. I got my first flight through a charity event that is run by the EAA.
    There was one program I was in for a small while but before I could officially join they ran out of space :P it was the CHP explorers program, they offered everything from CHP ride-a-longs to Helicopter ride-a-longs. and tons of other stuff. I intend to reapply this summer.
    And yah youtube "Effects" have never been the best in terms of quality or effectiveness, Personally I use Blender for all my editing it is extremely powerful and its free but it has a steep learning curve. so for simple video's its probably not worth the effort but it is the most powerful free video editor that I know of.

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    1. Yeah, I think I know what you're talking about, is that the EAA Young Eagles thing? (wonder who got paid to come up with that name) cool though. Yeah, I am only proficient with Windows MM anything else is too complicated for me. And the only effect other than what WMM offers that I would really want would be a video within video effect. But other than that WMM usually does the job. Except for explosions and all that.

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    2. No Actually it's called the CHP explorers it exists only here in CA but alot of state troopers and sheriffs departments have similar programs. But the CHP programs is basically a prep for their academy. And actually in regards to WMM (Do you use the xp version of the win7 version?) It was actually my staple for quite sometime, and I found quite a few ways to get around things like not being able to do SFX. I did everything from frame by frame editing to mixing my audio in outside sources to get around the 2 track audio limit. anyway If I had to go back to something other than blender It would probably be MS XP WMM (also There is tons of Mods people have made for it)
      oh and I was gonna mention(IDK if you know) but on a widescreen display your blog background(cool pic by the way) is Tiled, with a 2" repeat bar on either side. It doesn't bother me but I though you might wanna know.
      P.S.
      what camera do you use?

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    3. Okay, that makes more sense about the CHP thing. I am pretty sure I have the default version (on my Win 8), I have an old XP computer and it has what must be the XP version. It is too bad as that seems to have better options than the newer WMM. That is annoying about my background. It looks fine on my computer so I might not bother with it. Or I might just change it back to a solid color if it is going to be a pain for me. (I didn't take that airline picture though, in case you thought so). My camera is a Canon Powershot ELPH 160. It is a great camera, cost me about 116 dollars, but it was worth it for the quality and performance.

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    4. Okay, that makes more sense about the CHP thing. I am pretty sure I have the default version (on my Win 8), I have an old XP computer and it has what must be the XP version. It is too bad as that seems to have better options than the newer WMM. That is annoying about my background. It looks fine on my computer so I might not bother with it. Or I might just change it back to a solid color if it is going to be a pain for me. (I didn't take that airline picture though, in case you thought so). My camera is a Canon Powershot ELPH 160. It is a great camera, cost me about 116 dollars, but it was worth it for the quality and performance.

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    5. yah I have no idea why they took so many features away from the new version, maybe to make more people pay for better software? IDK anyway, funny I have the ELPH 100 I got it 2 years ago for 90 bucks and I gotta say as far as P&S cameras go its been gr8 for pics anyway, I got it for shooting video but I soot action heavy video and the jello effect for these camera's can be rather extreme so for movies and the like I stick to my camcorder.

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    6. You mean the effect where everything blurs and is kind of delayed when you move it around? I think I might try editing videos on the XP, I should be able to then move the video around using a thumb drive so I can transfer it to where I can use it. Yeah, that might be why they got rid of it (for cash) but also because maybe they figured that the average user wouldn't really use it well, and the new WMM would be more practical since it is simpler.

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    7. yah thats it, its also called rolling shutter and if you want to learn more about why it happens this is an excellent article
      http://www.diyphotography.net/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-rolling-shutter/

      N yah your right the average person doesn't need alot of power and if your doing anything more than just cutting together a simple video you probably want whole lot more capabilities than WMM offers so I guess I dont blame them for simplifying WMM, but I sure loved the old Xp one. in regards to going back to XP WMM I believe it does support PiP or if it doesnt there is probably an addon for it.

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    8. I'll probably try using the old WMM though, and see if I can transfer to the Win 8. There is even a typewriter title intro effect (where the intro gets typed out on the screen) which would be particularly useful. Thanks for the article.

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  3. That is pretty stinkin' cool, Andrew. Just saying.

    I know what you mean about taking pictures--I'm like that in the car sometimes on family vacations. The worst part is that the photos can never REALLY capture the beauty of what you see out the window, so part of you is always wondering, "why bother?" But the other part says "NO I REALLY NEED THIS PICTURE EVEN IF IT DOESN'T COME OUT WELL." Sigh.

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    1. Thanks! I'm really enjoying it. yeah, my photos actually come out well (usually) because it just seems to be a really good camera. But yeah it is such a pain. Ha ha. And it seems like such a crime if you don't bring a camera with you when you do cool stuff but then it feels like such a crime when you spend 50% looking at the world through an LCD screen. Technology is such a blessing and curse. :)

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  4. (couldn't reply for some reason so ima put it here)
    Hey thanks I forgot WMM even had that effect and I really wanted to use it in a movie I'm working on right now, so thanks now I don't have to key-frame it out :p

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    1. Cool! glad I made you think of it.

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