Bessie Coleman Featured on Google Doodle

Bessie Coleman, the first American-American woman to hold a pilot certificate, is featured on today’s Google Doodle.

According to’s profile:

Because flying schools in the United States denied her entry, she taught herself French and moved to France, earning her license from France’s well-known Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation in just seven months.

A true pioneer in the aviation world. She also appears to have specialized in aerobatics and skydiving.

DIY ADS-B: Building the Stratux

Stratux ADS-B Receiver

I always seem to be in the market for a good DIY project. I’ve been eyeballing the Stratux ADS-B receiver for some time, but finally pulled the trigger this past December.

After you’re done collecting the basic parts and putting everything together, you’ll have an ADS-B receiver capable of overlaying traffic and weather in your favorite electronic flight bag app. And you really can’t beat the price: $130.

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A Virtual Tour of Air Force One

I’ve always been fascinated by Air Force One, the Boeing 747 that carries the leader of the free world.

This visual tour from CNET includes great photos (as much as can be shared) and some interesting historical information about presidential aircraft. For example, do you know who the first president was to take flight? I didn’t.

Aircraft Loans vs. Car Loans

Buying an airplane was one of those “holy crap!” moments in our family’s life. Oddly, though, we didn’t have any trouble financing our purchase through our local bank.

In this article, Adam Meredith pulls back the curtain on how aircraft loans differ from other consumer loans. Interesting stuff.

One of the primary insights Meredith shares:

That’s because the underwriting process for an airplane loan is more like that for a house than it is for a car. With both a house and an airplane, lots of documentation needs to be collected and presented.

True. Tons of documentation to consider, and sometimes it’s not all easily available. Meredith mentions that many things are getting easier, though, as the FAA is becoming more accepting of electronic documents.

If you’re considering a purchase or if you’re just curious, it’s a good read.

Exploring the World via Trike

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this mesmerized by a YouTube channel. The “Henry TrikeLife” channel lets us all in on some amazing adventures via weight-shift control (trikes).

Here’s a sample video of Henry soaring of Pikes Peak in Colorado:

As you can see, the video quality/angles are awesome, too. I was considering some glider training next, but this has my attention.

FAA Delivers Final 3rd Class Medical Rule

“BasicMed” wouldn’t be my choice of names for the new medical rule, but at this point, who really cares? Elizabeth Tennyson writes for AOPA:

Under the reforms, pilots who have held a valid medical certificate any time in the decade prior to July 15, 2016, may not need to take another FAA medical exam.


After meeting the initial requirements to fly under the reforms, pilots will need to visit any state-licensed physician at least once every four years and take the free aeromedical factors online course every two years. The course will be available for free on AOPA’s website.

Pilots aren’t off the hook for at least a basic medical evaluation, but I think this is an easier path forward for many. It also keeps your care in the hands of your usual physician, something I’m looking forward to.

I’m guessing most pilots never thought the day would come, myself included. This is a big deal.

Apple Watch Series 2: Ready for the Cockpit?

Since the beginning of the smartwatch craze, I’ve sat on the sidelines. I’ve always had a curious eye on what was going on in the space, but nothing really intrigued me. Add to that the fact that I’m not much for watches to begin with and, well, any wearable had a mountain to climb. I already have a phone attached to my hip.

What’s the purpose of adding another gadget to the mix, especially from a pilot’s perspective?

Turns out, that’s a great question.

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