Vasona Fantasy of Lights – 360 video

Aviation Drone Learning Photo Video

Grounded due to smoke

Lessons today were canceled due to low visibility (2.5 miles) at KPAO from the Camp Fire. I can’t imagine the pain being endured by those who lost everything in an instant. I took the drone up in Sunnyvale and shot some footage.

Looking south from Baylands Park in Sunnyvale
Looking West from Baylands Park in Sunnyvale
Aviation Learning Video

PPL training: Lesson #2

  • 4 Fundamentals
  • trim
  • slow flight > cruise > slow flight
  • stalls & recover (power off & power on)
  • preflight prep
  • traffic pattern
  • intro to radio
  • local landmarks

Our lesson was productive, with 1.5 hrs of logged time 🙂 Tried my new Kore Aviation headsets, GoPro mount with Hero7. Next I want to try filming with the 360 Xiaomi cam.

Areas to focus on:

  • Takeoffs
  • Power-on stalls
  • maintain course
  • slow flight
  • rudder control
  • Radio comms
Aviation Learning

Learning to fly

It’s always been an aspiration of mine to fly a plane. The origins of this may stem from the vivid sleeping dreams in which we’re floating and soaring from one place to another, over familiar lands and made-up fantasy worlds, or a combination of the two.

I met someone recently who brought the practical considerations of becoming a pilot into focus. He’s a military veteran, with Presidential security clearance, having served as a medic on Air Force One, many years ago.

Though he was obviously well-versed in the ins and outs of aviation, he gave a few recommendations that I’m skeptical of. One that stood out:

“Buy the plane that you’re going to learn in”

Specifically, he recommended a Columbia 400. This is a plane that goes for about $270K on Beautiful bird, 4 seats, glass cockpit, but way out of my price range.

Columbia 400, a beautiful plane.

Everyone I spoke to has said to hold off on purchasing a plane in your first few years of flying: Is this something you’ll stay committed to? What if it turns out you don’t like flying this particular plane, or it’s too much or too little, or simply not suited well to your needs? This article on Quora was helpful, too. I scratched that idea (purchasing from the get-go), even though I’m often tempted by shiny new things when I’m getting into a new hobby, because that’s half the fun, right?

Looks like I’ll be renting. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

Aviation and the culture attached to it can seem like an enclosed bubble to someone who has no exposure to it. Meeting this person was like someone rolling out a welcome mat and saying, “We’ve been waiting for you!”. It appears to be a world world surrounded by regulations, complex technology, specific skillsets, and lots of demand for an investment of time to learn the ropes. There seems to be some risks when one sets foot in a world like this:

  • Paying lots of money to ‘experts’ in an effort to get the necessary training
  • Starting down a path, only to find out that you are going in the wrong direction
  • Entering for the wrong reasons

So, in a situation like this, it only makes sense to do some independent research! I called two friends from high school to ask their take on it. Their training and experience coming up in aviation could not have been more different, but each clearly shared a love for the act of flying, and a respect for the training that goes into it.

I met one of them for lunch – a commercial pilot who flies for a private charter company. He trained at Embry-Riddle University, a school for pilots who have a clear commercial pilot career path in mind. He gave me some great information.

The second person I contacted agreed to give me a ride in his Citabria. He has of course gone through all of the required training but is a hobbyist, along with his brother, with no commercial aspirations. He got into it early, and loves flying at airshows, taking photos, and owns a warbird which is housed at an aviation museum. We did a flight from Reid-Hillview in San Jose (KRHV), touch-and-go in Hollister (KCVH), and back.

It. Was. Awesome.

Long story longer: I’m hooked.

This will be a unique learning experience. Right now I’m deep in the studying and research phase.

I’ve spoken to some flight instructors and hope to get started with lessons soon.

Will it be expensive? Yes! Will it be worth it? Who Knows?!

I’ll document my journey here.

A few books I’ve started with:

Drone Travel Video

Big Sur

We had quite a time disconnecting for 4 straight days in Big Sur. No phone, TV, or internet, and we come back to our lives with a sense of peace inside. I connected when I got back to let family know that we were back safe, but I’m otherwise disconnected still. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind!


10/11/2018 Quote of the day

Colleagues Memorial Mentors Professional Television

Remembering a mentor

Christina Lim was a mentor to me. I’ll never forget her drive to tell the stories of underserved people that the mainstream media overlooked.

I began working with her in 2007 at KTEH, and she was a binding force for our small team. She loved PEZ dispensers (but I think she didn’t like the candy?), she seemed to be friendly with everyone in town, and she understood the value of a well-fed crew.

Below is an obituary that ran after she passed away in 2012.

We miss you, Christina!

Lim, a resident of Hayward, died on Oct. 12, a day after her 52nd birthday, at home surrounded by her family.

Christina Lim

Born in Oakland on Oct. 11, 1960, she graduated from CSU Hayward (now known as CSU East Bay) with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology, then taught at Franklin Year Round School in Oakland for six years. She returned to Cal State Hayward to earn a master’s in education, followed by a bachelor’s in industrial technology from San Jose State University.

Lim found her true calling as a TV producer while at KTEH, Channel 54, the PBS station in San Jose. During her 14 years there, she won two Emmy Awards for the documentaries “Return to the Valley” and “Dave Tatsuno: Movies and Memories.”

“Return to the Valley,” which premiered in 2003, is about Japanese Americans who returned to the Santa Clara, Salinas and Pajaro valleys and the Central Coast region — areas well known for strawberry farming and fishing — after being interned during World War II. The documentary’s themes are strength, perseverance and the resiliency of the human spirit. On the Web:

“Dave Tatsuno: Movies and Memories,” which first aired in 2006, is about a Japanese American who smuggled a film camera into the Topaz, Utah camp and documented his life behind barbed wire for three years. These home movies became “Topaz Memories,” the only full-color film of the internment experience shot by an internee, and in 1996 the film was accepted to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. To see a clip, click here.

Lim also helped create the instructional TV series “Real Science,” which was targeted to fifth- through eighth-grade students and broadcast nationwide on public television for more than eight years. She worked with the offices of education in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties to direct and facilitate teacher and student workshops focusing on public television initiatives in science, social studies and history.

She joined CreaTV in 2010 as the summer college internship coordinator for the “Spare the Air, Bay Area!” project, a series of videos and a teacher’s guide developed for middle schools in San Jose by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Lim  was also closely involved in producing the upcoming TV series “Cortese’s Kids Climate Club.”

During the final stages of her struggle with breast cancer, Lim continued to work on a program about the Chinese American airmen who were stationed in Kunming in support of the Hump Pilots and Flying Tigers during World War II.

Her hobbies included cooking, sewing, photography, cross stitching, knitting, scrapbooking, and collecting cookbooks, Pez dispensers, and comic books.

She is survived by her parents, Harry and Dorothea, and younger brother, Sheldon.