Sunday, March 31, 2013

Flight Report: American Eagle ERJ/EMB-145 RIC to ORD

We took a trip over the last summer out to California. We visited Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and San Francisco. Both directions were flown on American Airlines expect for a short leg from STS to LAX onboard Horizon Airlines (next trip report)

American Eagle Flight 4067 Information:
  • Flight: Richmond International Airport (RIC) to Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) 
  • Flight Time: 2 Hours, 10 Minutes
  • Aircraft: American Eagle ERJ/EMB-145 N614AE
  • Seat: 8A 

It was a nice sunrise departure from Richmond. Sitting in a row with only 1 seat was nice because I could stretch out some. 

Here is a video from the sunrise departure out of RIC which can also be found on my youtube channel: MartinsAviation1

Sunset takeoff from RIC

Flying over some amazing clouds, en-route

Video from our morning landing at Chicago O'Hare International Airport:

Morning landing in ORD

Thanks for reading and watching! 
Swayne Martin 

Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1

Flight Report: American Airlines 737-800 Chicago (ORD) to Reno (RNO)

American Airlines Flight 1487 Information:

  • Flight: Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) 
  • Flight Time: 4 Hours, 5 Minutes
  • Aircraft: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 N837NN
  • Seat: 13F (window)

Our plane at the gate in Chicago O'Hare

Here is the video from our takeoff at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. You can find more videos like this on my youtube channel: MartinsAviation1

We had a good flight over the western United States. It was especially fun to fly over Big Bear Lake in Utah/Idaho which was surrounded by desert. I used FlightRadar24 as we were flying so that my brother and I could look out of the window and see what we were flying over. 

American Airlines 737-800 [N837NN] Interior

Our route flying from ORD to RNO

Flying over Big Bear Lake, Utah

The video from landing at Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Nevada: 

Thanks for reading and watching!
Swayne Martin 

Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Flying to Williamsburg/Jamestown KJGG For Lunch (Cessna 172)

I was fortunate enough be contacted by a friend of mine who is in 8th Grade, at the same school, to go flying today. His father is an MD80 Captain with American Airlines. Their family owns a Cessna 172 and a Beechcraft Baron. The weather was nearly perfect today, sunny, clear, 60 degrees, and light winds. It was a bit turbulent in the air, but nothing too bad. 

The Cessna 172 (N278BD)

We arrived a Chesterfield Airport (KFCI) at about 11:30 today and decided we would take a flight East, following the James River, towards Williamsburg/Jamestown Airport (KJGG). My friend flew left seat for the first leg, his dad right seat, and me in the back. It was a lot of fun flying over the river and getting to know that area better. We flew over a spot where my friend and I used to go on father-son campouts, the Berkley Plantation. 

Departing Chesterfield

Coming down on our downwind at KJGG I noticed that this runway was smaller than anything I'd been on so far. It's a full 2,000 feet shorter than Hanover, where I normally fly out of. There was a lot of wind near the surface, so it was a bit bumpier coming down. 

Flying over the James River towards Jamestown

 Downwind into Jamestown KJGG

Final Approach at Williamsburg/Jamestown (KJGG)

After taxiing to the parking area, we hopped out and went over to the restaurant to get a nice lunch. This was my first "$100 Hamburger," as many pilots call it. It was a lot of fun eating on the patio of the restaurant. We got a little surprise when a sleek, fast, red, plane came in for a super fast, low pass over the runway for some photographers. It was really cool to see! 

At KJGG Williamsburg/Jamestown 

 The view from eating lunch :)

Our plane is the first

I was at the controls heading back to Chesterfield. Having been only my second time flying the 172, it was a bit of a learning curve getting used to the respons difference between the Tecnam and the Cessna. The Sierra feels light and responsive, let's just say it took a little more effort with the 172. After a less-than-great takeoff, we flew along the river once again, back to Chesterfield to do some pattern work. 

 Approaching Jamestown on the James River

This was the first non-Hanover landing for me! All of my training had been done at Hanover, so I was excited to be trying out another airport. Chesterfield is nice with a slightly longer and better paved runway. It has a lot more jet service than Hanover, which was cool to see. 

After we got the plane situated in it's hanger, we went over to check out the T-28 Trojan Hangar which was open. The owner of that amazing plane let us in, showed us all around the plane, and got us situated in the cockpit. The piston engine on that plane is incredible! So big! The T-28 was used primarily as a military trainer, Pre-Vietnam, During the war, it was used to do some Air to Ground combat roles. Sitting in the cockpit was amazing, such a cool aircraft. It felt like a personal fighter-jet. Its a ultra fast and heavy single engine piston aircraft which makes it pretty unique. Not many of there are around anymore! 

On our way out of the airport, we stopped to check out the 1946 Lockheed 18-56 C/N 2273. The last time it was flown was a year ago on a very short ferry flight from Richmond to Chesterfield. Cool to see! 

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend! 
Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Share Your Story: Jamie Engler, 17, Massachusetts

A big thanks to Jamie for writing in with the first "Share Your Story" post! Many more are coming soon. Details for participation in the "Share Your Story" section can be found here: Click Here and Get Involved

Jamie Engler has a passion for aviation. She loves to meet pilots from around the world and build connections. At 17 years old, she is one of the few teens in the world who has flown an aircraft (much less solo!). She is a member of the 3,500 teens in the United States (1 half of 1 percent of all pilots) who are certified pilots. Not only that, but according the the FAA's statistics, she is also one of the tiny 5.39% of women pilots in the United States. 

It's awesome that she is one of the young women who is beating the odds and learning how to fly. We need more people like her who are out there and enthusiastic about aviation. Here is her story: 

My first solo was on March 3rd, 2013. It wasn’t easy and it took a long time. I worked from July until March to get my landings perfect but I live somewhere where the weather is unpredictable and it was difficult to fly. When I finally did make it to the skies alone, it felt like nothing before. At first I was nervous because the first time you reach over and there’s no one there, it just feels different (obviously). Even when you look at the runway before take off, it feels different. It felt like there was nothing but a new world to explore and nothing but chances to take. So when I was all done with my first solo, I felt like a different person, like I had achieved more than I could have ever possibly imagined and lets face it, its only the beginning!

I started flying because I was a bit lost in finding a future for myself. I always loved drama but it wasn’t a good platform for college and I guess one day after listening to another one of my dads stories about being the crew chief in helicopters I had a thought. It was a joke at first and I asked myself how awesome would it be to fly planes for a living. That appealed to me because I love to travel. Soon after, the thought progressed and I tossed it off a few people until it became a solid idea. Me? A Pilot? Completely crazy until my dad offered a starter flight to see how I’d like it. Over the past couple of months, flying has made me a more confident person. I definitely tell everyone what I do and what I plan to do which is work my way up the ladder to be the captain of a British Airways International Jet.

Personally, my favorite airport is Providence but it can be really scary when my little Cessna 172s is waiting for a huge 737 to land. I’m so tiny in comparison and it can be really intimidating if I mess up on the radios while there are like 10 other professional pilots listening. I can truly say that my favorite experience is when my instructor, 2 other students, and I went to a nearby airport and grabbed a pizza from the restaurant next door. We’re all really close with each other and we definitely have more of a friendship relationship than just an student instructor. I’m beyond proud of Dan my teacher because he just got a job with Alpha airways! He may be leaving but if I don’t have my license by the time he leaves, I’m still going to be his student. His only student he’s keeping after he leaves. I’m so thankful for that because I’m so comfortable with him that I wouldn’t want to switch instructors. He’s even taken me to go spin the plane and it was the single scariest event of my life. I was not expecting that feeling but it was also the most fun.

I’m so proud to be where I am and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for me when I head off to Bridgewater State University this fall to major in aviation. Being a female puts me in a constantly watched and critiqued position but I know I’m going to prove all these boys wrong some day. Today I am just a student pilot but who knows, maybe soon enough I will be the one welcoming a new little cherub into the world of planes and encouraging them to always reach for the stars!

Thanks again for writing the first "Share Your Story" post Jamie! You've already accomplished so much, I can't wait to see what you'll be doing in the near future. Hopefully you'll be able to write in soon with a new story.

Everyone head over and follow Jamie Engler on Twitter: @JamieCeciliaa

Thanks so much!
Swayne Martin

Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation 

If you're interested in writing for the blog, more details are here: Share Your Story

Monday, March 25, 2013

Flight Report: Air France A380-800 [F-HPJG] IAD to CDG

Just 1 day after having arrived home from California, I was packing again. This time, it was for a visit to France. I was flying out to meet my friend and his family on the Island of Noirmoutier, on the Western Coast of France. My friend visited with my family earlier in the summer, and now it was time for me to go see him in France. 

After months of planning, it was time to book the tickets during the spring of last year. I decided to book my flights both ways on the Air France A380. To do this, I had to fly through JFK on the way back to fly on the A380 again. I'm not sure it was the best decision to fly on the A380 both ways, as I've always wanted to fly on a 747 or A340. I could've done one of each type both ways. 

I booked both of my tickets to have window seats on the Upper Deck economy section of the A380. It was definitely cool to fly on the 2nd deck of the plane. I loved that I was able to go up and down the aft stairs of the plane throughout the flight. 

Air France Flight 39 Information
  • Flight: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
  • Flight Time: 7 Hours, 30 Minutes
  • Aircraft: Air France A380-800 [F-HPJG]
  • Seat: 92L (window)
The plane at the gate in IAD

Another photo of our plane at the gate (IAD)

Here is the video from taking off at IAD. It was so cool to have the live tail camera for takeoff and landing. More videos like this can be found on my Youtube Channel: MartinsAviation1

Business Class just forward of the economy section

I got extremely lucky on the flight over to CDG as there was no one sitting next to me in my row. Because of that, I was able to make a little bed. The plane was pretty lightly filled, some 4 seat rows in the middle were entirely open, but of course were taken over for use as beds at night.  

Window view from 92L

Here is the video from our early morning landing at CDG. You can see how hard the landing was in the video: 

I got somewhat lucky as were were de-planing. There was no second jetway for the upper deck, so we got to use the forward stairs in the plane. This allowed me to check out First Class and the In-Flight "Lounge/Art Museum." 

The Business/First Class Lounge/Art Gallery 

Thanks for reading and watching!
Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Flight Report: Delta 777-200LR [N702DN] LAX to ATL

One of the highlights of my recent spring break trip to Los Angeles was to be the return flight onboard Delta 777-200LR N702DN "The Spirit of Atlanta." I hadn't ever been on a Delta 777 before, so this was definitely a fun experience! 

Waking up early next to the Los Angeles Airport, I couldn't have gotten ready faster. I was so ready to see the plane we were about to fly on. We had such a great Spring Break vacation that it was kind of a bitter sweet goodbye. In a way, I was glad that the flight on the Triple 7 was going to happen at the end of our vacation so that I would have something to look forward to even when leaving and ending our Spring Break. 

Delta Flight 16 Information: 

  • Flight: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Atlanta Hartsfield International (ATL)
  • Flight Time: 4 Hours, 10 Minutes 
  • Aircraft: Delta 777-200LR [N702DN] "The Spirit of Atlanta" 
  • Seat: 52A (window) 

Our plane at the gate in Atlanta

It was nice flying on the Delta 777. I liked how large the cabin was, and the seats were very comfortable with the in-flight entertainment screens. I was impressed that I was flying on a plane which had just arrived from Sydney and was heading on from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Flying over the beaches of Los Angeles and just a few minutes later flying over the snow covered mountains of the Sierra Nevadas was cool to see. 

The following video is a video of our takeoff from Los Angeles LAX, which can be found along with many other videos on my Youtube Channel: MartinsAviation1

The last economy cabin of our plane 

Flying over the Sierra Nevadas 

Moving map/our route from the personal IFE

Here is the video of our Delta 777-200LR landing at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ALT). From my Youtube Channel: MartinsAviation1

Thanks for reading and watching!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot 

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Open Blog: Share Your Stories

Share your story, promote your blog or website, acquire new twitter followers, put yourself out there. I am making this blog a semi-open blog. If you have a story related to aviation that might inspire someone to begin flying, encourage those who have started, etc... feel free to email me with the story or information (preferably with some photos or videos) and I will be happy to post it for everyone to see. 

If you think someone might have a cool story to share, send this page to them. :) The more stories and experiences, the better! 


This could be a really cool opportunity to get some different perspectives into one place on this blog. You could include information about how you got to where you are (if you're a current pilot) or where you are in your training. 

Here are some ideas: (not limited to) It's totally up to you

  • General Background: What inspired you to start flying? Did you have any family members who flew?
  • When was your first solo and how did it feel? 
  • Why did you choose to turn flying into a career?
  • What has flying done for you?  
  • Describe what your current job is and why you enjoy flying. What different types of aircraft have you flown professionally? 
  • Name one (or more) thing(s) that you dislike about flying professionally.
  • Have you had any nerve-wracking moments while flying? 
  • Do you have any favorite routes or airports you fly into? 
  • Share one memorable experience you've had when flying that stands out to you. 
  • What are some of your aspirations for the future?

*note, you do not have to be a pilot or student pilot, just share something cool from flying!

If you have an interest in this, feel free to email me at The stories can be anonymous, profiled, related to your site, etc. It is really up to you! It could be a great way to promote your twitter, website, blog, or youtube channel--off site! Send me an email, and we can talk about what you'd like to add.

Swayne Martin

Monday, March 18, 2013

Flight Report: Flying From Los Angeles LAX to ATL and RIC on Delta 777

Waking up yesterday morning at 4:00am, my brother, dad, and I were pretty tired, but not at all ready to go back home to Virginia! We had such a great trip in and around Los Angeles for our Spring Break. Full post about the trip featured here: Spring Break in Southern California

I was pretty excited about the flight from LAX to ATL as I knew we would be on a Delta 777-200LR. The only other time I've flown on a 777 was to France back in 2010. 

Delta Flight 16 Information

  • Flight: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Richmond International Airport (RIC)
  • Flight Time: 3 Hours 33 Minutes
  • Aircraft: Delta Boeing 777-200LR N702DN "The Spirit of Atlanta"
  • Seats: 52A and 52B

Delta 777-200LR "The Spirit of Atlanta" N702DN

I really enjoyed flying on the Delta 777, it was a smooth flight and it was nice to be on a large aircraft again. Having in-flight entertainment is always a plus too!

Here is one of a few videos of this flight which can be found on my youtube channel MartinsAviation1 This particular video is from taking off at LAX on the 777-200LR: 

The backseat moving-map

Flying over the Sierra Nevadas  

One of the economy cabins on our 777 Flight

Delta Flight 1198 Information

  • Flight: From Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport (ATL) to Richmond International Airport (RIC)
  • Flight Time: 1 hour
  • Aircraft: Delta MD-90 N918DH
  • Seats: 39D and 39E
After a great, warm vacation in California, we were sad to be boarding this plane; returning to cold Richmond. I checked with the gate agent and got our (me and my brother's) seats switched so that we could sit next to each other. We were put in the last row, with no window. Overall it wasn't too bad though, we slept most of the time. We were so tired after having been up since 4am!

Delta MD-90 N918DH

Thanks for reading a watching! Have a great week!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring Break in Southern California

This spring break has been one which I'll never forget! My brother and I flew out to LAX last Monday to meet with our dad who was already there. Those flights are in this post: Flying to LAX 2013

Day 1: My brother and I have been to California 5 times (Lake Tahoe and San Francisco), but never to Los Angeles! Dad and I woke up early in the morning to go watch my brother go surfing. This was the first time he had the chance to surf on the West Coast. The surfing was so much better than in North Carolina, where he had done it before! After warming up in the hot tub, we decided that it would be a good day to drive around and get a general look at as much as we could in the city and surrounding counties. We drove from Huntington Beach to downtown LA, Beverly Hills, Sunset Bl., Malibu, and Santa Monica. 

My brother surfing

Day 2: We started out the day by driving up to Venice Beach to walk around and see all the stuff going on there. Venice beach is a cool place, so many different people from all walks of life! After eating lunch at Venice, we drove to the beach at Vista del Mar (which is at the end of the runways at LAX). It was a lot of fun to go out on that beach because it wasn't nearly as developed as many of the other places we'd been to. Finally, the most exciting for me, I got incredibly lucky and was contacted by Colin Summers who offered to take me on a flight around LA and the surrounding areas. That was SO cool... check it out here: Flying Over Southern California

So funny... from Venice Beach

Day 3: Waking up next to the Santa Monica Pier was pretty cool. We stayed at the Loews in Santa Monica, which was a really fun hotel. It was foggy, like most mornings, and all of the rides were closed. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun to be out on that pier. Later, we headed back to the Hyatt Regency at Huntington Beach for a few more nights. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, watching my brother surf some more, and ended the day with an incredible sunset by the Huntington Pier. 

Huntington Hyatt Pool

Day 4: Road trip day! We drove down the coast towards Laguna to eat some lunch at the burger restaurant Umami (which turned out to be pretty good!). We visited Crystal Cove State Park, an awesome place due to it not being developed. It really showed the "natural" coastline. We ended up driving all the way down to Dana Point for fun. 

Crystal Cove California
Day 5: Last day :( After having our rental car almost accidentally stolen by other guests who thought they were driving off in their rental car, we headed to go visit a close friend of mine. I was good friends with this guy until he left in 4th Grade to live out in California. Ever since, we'd kept up and made sure to visit over the summers. To end the day, we headed to the Westin at the LAX Airport and ate at the nearby In and Out Burger (at the end of LAX's runways). It was so cool eating there and seeing planes (even a China Southern A380) go right overhead! When we arrived at the Westin, we got really lucky and were upgraded to a Terrace Suite overlooking the airport's runways. I could walk out onto the terrace on the 9th floor, and watch all the arrivals coming into and going out of LAX, up close. That was really unique! 

Departure Day/Flights: Next blog post

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flying Over Southern California with Colin Summers

I woke up today with the nicest email from blog reader and twitter follower Colin Summers. Because of my blog and twitter, he found out that I was in LA for the week on my spring break. He made a dream offer to me, a scenic flight over Southern California to see LA from above. WOW! So cool! Just a few days ago I was thinking about how cool it would be to see the city from the air... just dreaming about how fun that would be! I was thrilled to hear that this flight was a real possibility, such a cool and unique experience.

Colin Summers learned to fly in 2005, has about 1500 hours, and is instrument rated! His plane is a DiamondStar DA40 (N971RD). He had a great website/blog under the title "" which is now sadly down due to some technical issues. One really interesting thing I found out about Colin was that he took his plane cross county from California to Toronto with his wife and two boys! What an experience that must've been! Here is his "about me" page: Colin Summers

Me in front of his DiamondStar DA40 N971RD

I arrived at the Santa Monica Airport observation deck to meet up with Colin. If you've never been to Santa Monica airport, it's well worth a visit! That airport has got to be one of the nicest FBO's anywhere in the country or world. I loved seeing the private jets of celebrities such as Harrison Ford. The sheer amount of private aircraft at the airport was staggering.

A view from Santa Monica's Airport observation deck

We took off from Santa Monica at about 4:15 today. We flew over Venice Beach, turned in towards the Hollywood Sign, flew a loop back over the airport, and headed back towards the Pacific Ocean. This time we flew over the Malibu coast, checking out the beautiful mountains rolling straight into the water and flew back over the hills in towards the Santa Monica Airport. When we took off, we could see commercial aircraft popping through the fog below us, a few miles away which was a really cool sight to see. Flying over Los Angeles for the first time (in a small plane) was something I'll never forget. The city just went on and on. At points, I couldn't even see the end of the developments. It was a great feeling soaring above the 405, which for miles was packed with lanes upon lanes of stopped cars.

Here is a video featuring the whole flight including time-lapse footage (watch in HD): 

This was the first time I'd flown in a DiamondStar aircraft. It was one of the smoothest rides I've ever felt in a small plane. It's 41 foot wingspan really gave us the feeling of floating above everything. The glass cockpit was impressive. My favorite was the GPS which showed other air traffic in the area, giving altitude and direction for all.

A beautiful view over the Malibu Coastline

I was so impressed with Colin's professionalism, flight skill, and ability to give a really cool tour of Los Angeles. He is so knowledgeable about the area and pointed out some really cool landmarks along the way, never failing to give some back-stories. After an exciting flight, Colin made a perfect landing back into Santa Monica.

I'll always remember today's flight which "made" my trip to Los Angeles this year. Thanks so much to Colin Summers for giving me that awesome experience! That was something I'll never forget! Everyone go over and follow Colin on Twitter: @voltaday

Thanks for reading and watching everyone! Have a great week!
Swayne Martin
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation