Blog

Tres Clinton Update

Posted by on Mar 12, 2013 in Promark News | Comments Off on Tres Clinton Update

Tres Clinton is preparing to deploy to the Middle East with his Guard unit. Here is the latest….

Tres ClintonOur training is rounding 3rd.  We are starting pack and gather our gear.  The
first phase in Bastrop was much more fun than here.  Fort Hood is a different
place for sure.  Im continually amazed with the ridiculousness I see.  The Army
trains young soldiers to go down range equipped with 100s of thousands of
dollars worth of equipment some even millions with the expectations and
responsibilities unlike no other career in the United States; however, they must
have a LICENSE to operate a push mower!  A mower that is not even self
propelled, or with an electric start!  Haha!  The same mower I used when I was
10!  This would be a course I definitely would flunk so I didn’t have to mow.
Also, they have soldiers wearing a large arm band with CP (Courtesy Patrol)
embroidered tasked to correct other soldiers that have improper appearance in
the uniform or not participating in Army courtesies.  A couple of weeks ago we
grilled some fajitas and the guy cooking had his top of the uniform off to keep
it out of the smoke while still wearing his t-shirt.  The MPs (Military Police)
came by and instructed him to put his top back on.  We are behind a building
relaxing away from everyone!  No life is all I can think of.  I bet he can get a
job with Bertram PD after he gets out.  I can understand how some soldiers go
crazy when they get time off.  The over site and regulations are crazy!
We
head to Alabama a week from tomorrow to receive more training.  Since Im with an
aviation unit, the pilots have to receive their evaluation there from what I
understand.  We will also be evaluated in some mock scenarios.  We will be there
for about a week.  When we come back I get a 4 day pass that I plan on spending
with Caity in Fredericksburg starting the 29th of this month.  Im looking
forward to that!  After the pass we will be off.  We still have not been told of
the date we leave.
Im in a small group attached to a larger group.  There
are only 6 in my section.  We are much smaller than the average section.  The
benefit to our size is we will get to participate and be more involved than
others with our missions but at the same time this will keep us busier than
average.  We will see how it goes.  There will be a great possibility of us
getting a lot of call for fire practice there at the Udairi range which is near
Camp Buehring.  The Udairi range is a large piece of sand used for airstrikes
and cannon/ rocket firing practice.  This may top off any tannerite/ gasoline
4th of July I’ve ever been a part of!  I can’t wait!
Everything is going as
good as it can.  As long as the courtesy patrol is not over in Kuwait I will be
alright.   Im defiantly not worried one bit in having any mowing
responsibilities while Im there either.
Hope everyone is doing well!

 

Chicago Tod is a Tailwheel Pilot!

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in Flight Training, Student News, Tailwheels | 2 comments

todstantonTod Stanton has completed the Super Cub training course and a Flight Review. He flew down to Burnet from Chicago, spent three days with Ken flying all around the Hill Country while learning what all tailwheel pilots know…this is fun!

Tod is a landscape architect and is leaving for Africa later this month to volunteer with a group that installs playground equipment in remote villages. He has promised to send photos and updates which I’ll post here.

Have a great trip Tod and thanks for flying with ProMark!

Robert Completes his Long Cross Country!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Student News | Comments Off on Robert Completes his Long Cross Country!

Robert_TRobert Talamantes has completed his long cross country solo flight for his Private Pilot Certificate. He flew “alone and (mostly) unafraid from Burnet to Hamilton to Brady and back to Burnet. Now we will concentrate on Class D airspace, ATC procedures and night flight. Robert works for the Marble Falls Police Department.

Jeb is an Instrument Pilot!

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Student News | Comments Off on Jeb is an Instrument Pilot!

Jeb_BJeb Buster passed his Instrument Rating checkride today with Ken. Jeb performed very well in both the oral and flight portions of the exam. He plans to fly for awhile, polishing his skills, before starting to work on his commercial certificate. Great job Jeb!

Steve Johnson Super Cubbin’!

Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Tailwheels | Comments Off on Steve Johnson Super Cubbin’!

Steve JohnsonSteve lives in Tauton, MA but his in-laws live in Cedar Park, so he visits from time to time. He flew with Ken for his tailwheel training a few weeks ago and wanted to brush up a bit. He brought his father in law, John Dooley, with him this morning. John is also a pilot with a long history as a Naval aviator and civilian pilot and engineer. John and Steve are rebuilding a 1946 Cessna 140, which should be flying again in a few months. We had a great time flying over to Llano and then landing at a remote strip named Indian Hills.

Heath Flies his First Lesson!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2013 in Student News | Comments Off on Heath Flies his First Lesson!

photoPlease welcome Heath Wright to the ProMark aviation training program. Heath flew his first lesson this morning in the Remos GX and did very well. Heath lives in Marble Falls, works in Mortgage financing at HNB Mortgage. He wants to fly for fun and is still not sure about this “steer with your feet” concept.

Welcome Larry!

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Student News | Comments Off on Welcome Larry!

Larry_MorrisonLarry Morrison is our newest Sport Pilot student. Larry almost completed his Private Pilot training back in the 1980’s, before kids and life got in the way. Now, he plans to git ‘r done in the Remos GX as a Sport Pilot. He is already busy studying for the Knowledge Test and will begin flight lessons next week.

It’s Curt’s Birthday!

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Promark News | Comments Off on It’s Curt’s Birthday!

It’s Curt’s Birthday!

Curt_DCurt Dimmick is a friend, pilot and website design guru. He is responsible for the new PMAS website that you are viewing. He also was brave enough to let me coerce him into joining the relief effort to Haiti that we flew in 2010, sharing in an amazing adventure. Today is Curt’s birthday and I hope he has a wonderful day.

Survival & Medical Gear

Posted by on Feb 16, 2013 in Alaska 2013 | Comments Off on Survival & Medical Gear

Survival & Medical Gear

In addition to the camping gear, I have been collecting, revising and repacking my survival equipment. I’ve added a survival vest, which is really just a mesh fly-fishing vest from Cabelas.
This vest contains the items that would be most helpful in the event that I had a crash that prevented me from reaching the camping and survival gear in the airplane baggage area. There is a tenant in survival preparation that says “if it isn’t on you when you crash, it is camping gear, not survival gear.” So, the vest contains basic first aid supplies, emergency shelter, rain poncho, mosquito net, water purification, signaling equipment and fire starting materials. I also carry a multi-tool on my belt. My cell phone and emergency beacon will be in the vest as well. (I will discuss the emergency beacon in a little while)Survival & Medical Bag

This is in addition to my larger survival bag and medical/first aid bag which is carried in the baggage area of the airplane. The survival bag contains a water filter, fire starting materials, Gerber saw, flashlight, signaling devices, duct tape, fixed blade knife, para-cord, tarp, emergency survival book, etc. that will allow a greater comfort and capability while waiting for rescue. The Medical bag contains an assortment of over the counter medications, bandages, splints, antibiotics, blood clotting agent, etc that would allow the treatment of more severe injuries. I also included a book on wilderness first aid. A great source for survival and medical gear is a company named BestGlide. Hopefully, none of this will be needed, but since we will be a long way from help during portions of the trip, I feel better having it along. For a compelling story about a couple who survived for 49 days after crashing on the way to Alaska, read this.

The first consideration if we have a serious problem, is to let Search & Rescue know we need assistance. When Curt Dimmick and I flew to Haiti in 2010 after the earthquake, we carried along a SPOT messenger device. The SPOT image021image024communicates with an array of satellites and allows us to alert Search & Rescue that we need immediate assistance. We can also send an “I’m Okay” message to selected recipients. Additionally, the SPOT transmits its position every 10 minutes or so and anyone with the web address can see our track overlaid on a map. On the Haiti trip, many of our friends, donors and supporters followed along each day to keep up with our progress.

Now there is a new device with improved capabilities. The Delorme “InReach” connects to a Smartphone to allowimage022 text messaging along with the other emergency and tracking functions. Now we will be able to send specific information on our status and any assistance required. Once we have this set up, you will be able to check in and see where we are and where we have been. You will also be able to send along text messages if desired.

Gear.. Gear.. Gear..

Posted by on Feb 14, 2013 in Alaska 2013 | Comments Off on Gear.. Gear.. Gear..

Gear.. Gear.. Gear..


I’ve already begun the process of gathering gear that will be needed for the trip. Two of my fellow travelers have shared their “Pack Lists” with the rest of us, so that allowed me to create one of my own. It is broken down into camping gear, survival gear, first aid, airplane equipment, charts & spares and personal stuff which will include clothes, electronics, etc.

The first consideration is weight and its impact on airplane performance. The useful load of the Super Cub is approximately 800 pounds, which must include fuel, baggage, pilot and passenger (when Judy joins me in Anchorage). After calculating the weight of full fuel tanks (216 lb), pilot and passenger (330 lb), we have 254 lb for cargo & baggage. There are some areas where it will be prudent to carry additional fuel due to the distance between refueling points and because weather can force a return or diversion that can exceed our normal range. I have three FAA approved fuel bags, each of which holds 5.5 gallons. I store them in the pod underneath the airplane. In order to use them, a landing is necessary where I then lift them onto the wing and allow them to drain into the fuel tanks. Now keep in mind that I’ve never actually done this. I have visions of falling off the step whereupon the full fuel bag follows me to the ground, crushing some important body part before splitting open and dousing me with 100LL. With the fuel bags aboard, I can only carry 155 lb. of gear. This still seems adequate, especially if I am careful to select camping gear that is both lightweight and functional. I don’t think storage space will be an issue with the cargo pod, regular baggage area and an extended baggage area suitable for lightweight but bulky items such as sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, etc.

image005 image007      As far as camping gear goes, I already have a fair amount of stuff as we have made several trips to AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, sleeping in a tent alongside the airplane, as well as the trip to Idaho last year. However, this trip will require some additional equipment, a higher degree of “self-sufficiency” and occasionally, the need to haul water rather than acquiring it once we arrive. While there is an abundance of water available from streams and lakes, all of it must be treated prior to use. Or, you can take your chances with a variety of waterborne pathogens, all of which are guaranteed to give you a memorable experience involving rapid weight loss and dehydration. So, we’ll carry a filter and disinfectant tablets, plus we can boil water, but all of that takes time and effort. So, whenever possible, we’ll have a 3 gallon potable water container along.

I have enjoyed researching and purchasing the new stuff needed for the trip. The internet provides lots of information and sources for the latest high technology, lightweight equipment IF you can sort through all the claims, ratings and recommendations. Also, each camper sub-culture has very specific gear requirements. Backpackers will count ounces and give up some (all) comfort to save weight, while car campers seem to make room for everything, with little concern for weight or bulk. Think tailgating in the wilderness. We are somewhere in the middle, so I tend to select from both. For example, sleeping bags and pads come in a bewildering assortment of sizes, styles, materials, ratings and prices. Synthetic or down, rectangular or mummy, bivvy sacks, sleep systems, the choices are endless. After reading, shopping, reviewing and studying, I finally decided on the Teton Celsius XL bag from Amazon. For the sleeping pad, I selected the Exped Downmat 9L from REI. It only weighs 44 ounces yet provides a warm, (somewhat) comfortable cushion under the sleeping bag. Again, this is yet to be proven. We will test it on a local camping trip in a few weeks.

image011image013image009Backpackers also have a wide variety of stoves to choose from. These small gas stoves are terrific for boiling water quickly. This is important because we will utilize dehydrated food for some of the trip, which is lightweight and tasty. (At least the guy in the store said so and he looked like he was eating pretty well.) By simply adding boiling water, you have a great meal with almost zero effort. An additional benefit is that these meals don’t attract unwanted interest from large furry animals. The JetBoil stove is compact, light and very fast. It comes with a coffee press which is essential to starting my day properly. It runs on iso-butane cylinders which are readily available. Several of the backcountry pilots rave about how well it works.

For relaxing around the campfire, REI makes a nifty folding chair which weighs less than two pounds, sets up easily and if very comfy. Compared to our typical camp chairs which weigh close to ten pounds, this is great.

Like a lot of families, we have acquired several tents of various sizes and complexity. I have discovered one very important fact about tent sizes. If it says “4 Person”, DO NOT BELIEVE IT! Unless you and your companions are Munchkins from Oz, you should use a 50% rule for figuring out how big your tent needs to be. Then, you should practice putting it up so you can see just how diabolical the designers are and how stupid they can make you feel at the end of a long day.