Monday, July 21, 2014

I've Moved! -- To A New Website

It's been a long time since I've changed anything with the blog, and it's time for an upgrade. Over the past few weeks I've been building a new website for the blog and myself. It has every post, section, page, and comment that you'll find here... with more AND on a much better platform. 

All traffic to this website and its posts will soon be re-directed to the new website. So if you've subscribed here to get posts by email, please subscribe on the new site to keep receiving emails. 

Are you ready? HERE IT IS:

I am so excited for the change and promise that I'll be updating the feed with cool posts more frequently now that I'm on a better platform! 

Thanks to all of my long time readers, I know you guys will love the new site,
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blog Update

Hey everyone! 

I just got back from a trip out to Boulder, Colorado to work with the guys at Boldmethod. It was a great time! We did some preparation for Air Venture 2014 and even got to do a little flying. There will be more on that soon! 

There was an issue with my video from the trip to Jordan, so I had to delete the video and re-upload it. Here it is: 

I'm looking into re-designing the site and moving it to a different platform, so haven't had much time to publish updates from the summer. Hopefully things will get organized soon! 

Hope you guys have been doing well and have had an amazing summer,
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Back From Jordan!

I'm finally back in the United States after an amazing trip to Jordan! It was definitely the trip of a lifetime, I hope it won't be my last trip to that incredible country. It's hard to describe everything we did with words, so I'll give you a glimpse of some of the coolest activities via this video. 

If you're considering a trip to Jordan, by all means GO. You will not regret it. It is an absolutely amazing place, with some of the coolest activities in the world. 

I'll have more posts soon about my flight with Ayla Aviation.

Thanks for watching!
-Swayne Martin 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blog Pause - Traveling To Jordan!

It's time for a little pause in the blog. I'm headed off tomorrow to Jordan in the Middle East with a good friend of mine from school, to stay with his family for a few weeks. I will be there until June 28th, when I arrive back in the United States. 

On the way over, I'm flying the following routes (I've included links to flightaware tracking so you can see where we are, live!): 
  • Washington IAD - Amsterdam AMS (KLM A333): KLM652
  • Amsterdam AMS - Amman AMM (RJ A320): RJ152
  • Amman AMM - Aqaba AQA (RJ E170): RJ302

Experiencing Jordan and the Middle East for the first time should be pretty amazing. I can't wait to see and experience some pretty unique things while we are there! 

And best yet, when I'm in Jordan, I'll have the opportunity to experience flying in the Middle East with Ayla Aviation Academy. I'll be flying with an instructor out of King Hussein Airport, Aqaba in a DiamondStar DA40 over the area, which should be incredible! 

Stay tuned for more when I get back, it should be amazing! I'll have tons of videos and photos to share soon :) 

Thanks for reading,
Swayne Martin 
-Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Saturday, June 7, 2014

First Flight With My Mom

With school being so busy, I still hadn't gone flying with my mom... until now! She had flown in the plane with me before, but when I was with an instructor. So this was truly the first time we had ever really flown together. 

It's actually really fun flying with mom because she isn't a pilot. It's one of the few times as a teenager that my mom hasn't had any advice for me! She told me afterwards that it was a completely strange feeling for her, putting her life into my hands. Sure, in a car I'm in control too, but she can always grab the wheel. It would probably be a little bit difficult to learn how to fly in an instant! 

So since I received my PPL, I hadn't yet flown with a parent solo. I was in all honesty pretty nervous, having the life of someone you love in your hands is a tremendous responsibility. 

Here is a short clip of our takeoff that my mom recorded on her iPhone: 

As is typical with summer weather, it was pretty bumpy. The plan was to fly around for a little over an hour, around Richmond, Jamestown, to the James River, and back. After flying over our house and school, I decided to cut the flight short and head back. It was beginning to be uncomfortably bumpy... No use in wasting time and money on an unpleasant experience! It was still a fun flight though, here are some pictures: 

Our route of flight is shown below via CloudAhoy (I recorded it on my iPad, using my external XGPS160): 

After such a bumpy flight, I was a little concerned that it would be a windy, rough landing. On final approach it was gusty, but nothing too bad. And then... We greased the landing, making an awesome ending to a turbulent flight! My mom said "I've never felt such a smooth landing, not even on commercial planes." ... Thanks, Mom! 

Hopefully we will go flying again soon, just for a little longer next time!

Thanks for reading,
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation

Friday, May 30, 2014

Share Your Story: Chris Horak, Future Air Force Pilot

Welcome to the 34th "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show students the diverse range of experiences/careers available to them in aviation. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved

Hey everyone, my name is Chris Horak and I am a 21 year old upper gulf coast native. I began taking flying lessons in October of 2012 with Rod Kellogg as my instructor. I trained in the good ole PA-28 Warrior N8410C out of Jack Edwards Airport. My training was stretched out over a year and a few months due to me trying to juggle flying along with being a full time college student. I took my check ride on 16 Feb 2014 up in Jasper, Alabama at Walker County Airport with Joey "Gordo" Sanders. Gordo is a retired Colonel, U.S. Air Force F-4 Fantom pilot and currently flies for Fedex. He does examining on the side. I had around 60 hours when I took my check ride.

One of my main goals from the beginning of my flight training, was to eventually get my tail wheel endorsement. I have always had it drilled in my head that "you aren't a real pilot until you can fly a tail wheel airplane." So I went to Ferguson Airport (82J) and took lessons in the good ole Piper Legend Cub, AL-3C-100, N155WB. My instructor was the wild Capt Jimbo Wilson, former U.S. Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk pilot. Jimbo has been a family friend of mine my whole life and used to skydive with my father. I also received some valuable instruction from former NFO John Jenista. After 7.6 hours and 79 landings, I received my tail wheel endorsement on 19 April 2014. I am completely hooked on tail wheel flying now. If you haven't experienced it yet, get trained and you will find out exactly what I am talking about.

The next fun/educational thing I got myself into was Capt Jimbo's Super Decathlon Spin Recovery/Intro to Aerobatic Manuever training. I learned how to perform and was evaluated on aileron rolls, loops, falling leafs, immelmanns, 1/2 Cuban 8s, approach turn stalls, spin recovery, inverted flight, the Marine Corps way of dropping a nuclear bomb from an A-4 Skyhawk (simulated obviously), and of course Capt Jimbo's way of losing a Mig that's on your tail. That was the coolest experience that I have ever had flying. I am continuing to get aerobatic training from a CFII friend of mine, Dewitt, in a Starduster SA300. That is one heck of an airplane!!

The next step for me is Air Force pilot training. I graduated from the University of West Florida on 3 May 2014 with a degree in mathematics, and received my commission through the ROTC program, as a 2d Lieutenant on 2 May. I am currently awaiting orders for flight school but am super excited to see what God has in store for me.

I have always been around aviation my whole life. My grandfather flew, my dad flew, and they both were skydivers as well. Being in the sky never was an issue for me growing up. I remember countless family trips taken by air with my dad being PIC. I even have a tandem skydive under my belt. Needless to say, the thought of being a pilot has always stood in the back of my mind but I never took action to it until halfway through college. I know that this is what I am meant to do with my life and I look forward to serving my country while at the same time, doing what I love to do the most! 

Blue Skies Everyone,

-Chris Horak 


Thanks so much Chris for writing in and sharing your story! It's awesome to be hearing more from Rod's students down on the Gulf. It looks like you're just about to get started on an exciting path with the Air Force, which is amazing. I wish you the best of luck and can't wait to hear how it goes! 

Thanks again for writing in and participating in the Share Your Story section of the blog, 

Swayne Martin 
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

After School Cross-Country Flight

One of the hardest parts of being a Private Pilot has been wanting to fly, but being stuck on the ground. With my Junior Year of high school ending quickly, things have been incredibly busy. Finding the time to get into the air has been difficult, but all the more rewarding when it finally works out. 

About two weeks ago, I saw a great weather forecast for a Tuesday afternoon. I don't normally have the time after school to fly, but really wanted to make it work! I called up the airport, and sure enough, they had my old plane, Tecnam P92 N16HV, open that afternoon! (I'm trying to build experience in the Cessna, so have been staying away from the Tecnam recently) Throughout the day, I checked on the weather forecast, which was marginal up until my flight. Luckily, it cleared up! 

Amazingly, since getting my PPL, I hadn't taken a fully solo cross-country flight (with a destination 50+ nautical miles away from my point of departure). I decided on the route shown below: KOFP-KFCI-KFVX-KOFP: 

Throughout the flight, I logged the flight using CloudAhoy, my iPad, and an external GPS (XGPS160). It was my first cross-country using Foreflight on the iPad, so I was excited to try it out! The amount of technology in that tiny Tecnam was incredible: external GPS, iPad (with Foreflight), iPhone (with Foreflight), internal GPS, Garmin 496, and a multi-function display! 

Enroute from Hanover to Chesterfield, I made a quick diversion, doing a few turns over my school for friends who were at afternoon practice: 

With the winds being so calm all day, it was a great flight and not turbulent at all! After checking the ATIS, I set up on a 5 mile final for Runway 15 at Chesterfield KFCI. I don't normally do long final approaches, but with my track, and with the winds being light and variable, it made sense. 

After a smooth landing at Chesterfield, I took off and turned West towards Farmville KFVX. Once again, it was a smooth and uneventful flight. I got a little bored and listened to Potomac Approach, with lots of commercial traffic arriving into Richmond International. I ended up doing 2 touch and go landings at Farmville because the weather was so good. I thought about shutting down to get a passport stamp but didn't have the time. (someone had the plane right after myself)

Once I was finished with Farmville, I headed back towards Hanover at 3,500 feet. Earlier, it had rained, so you can see how green Farmville was as I departed: 

Flying back over the James River and towards Hanover, I was happy that the flight had gone so well. With summertime weather arriving, it's rare to find a completely smooth day for flying. 

This was one of those lucky days. 

Thanks for reading! 
-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation