Monthly Archives: January 2015

Tips for Cross Country Flying

I’ve made several long distance cross country trips in my private aircraft. I’d like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned.  This is by no means an exhaustive explanation of everything you need to know before taking a long trip.  Instead these are some key points I try to keep in mind while planning and flying over long distances in my own airplane.

The Entire Summer Trip Route

The Long Cross Country

 

Know Yourself

It is probably most important to understand your own experience and comfort level as a pilot. I remember my instructor talking about setting personal minimums.  I wrote my personal minimums on the inside cover of my log book and I still review them each time I write an entry.  Before tackling a long trip this would be a good item to review and keep in mind during the planning phase.  I know how much crosswind I can handle when landing my plane.  If the crosswind is too high I am going to rethink my choices.Windsock

One of the biggest killers of small aircraft pilots is a phenomenon called get-there-itis.  In get-there-itis, personal or external pressure clouds the vision and impairs judgment by causing a fixation on the original goal or destination combined with a total disregard for alternative course of action.  When you are getting ready to make a long trip check your own ideas about flying these long distances.  If you start using words such as “I have to be at this place by this time”, it might be a good time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities for this trip.   Often pilots will develop get-there-itis and far exceed there own personal minimums by flying into conditions they would not normally attempt and find themselves in real trouble.

Know Your Aircraft

I most often fly a 1968 Cherokee 180 D.  After so many hours of flying I can tell when something is off just by the way the aircraft feels when I start it or when I am flying. I know pretty well how the plane is going to react to particular flight conditions.  Knowing these behaviors of the craft you are planning to fly is important.  I would not recommend taking a long trip in a plane I’ve never flown.  A better plan would be to get to know the plane on a few short trips and get comfortable with the particular quirks of that craft before ever attempting to make a long cross-country trip.

PA28 With 5 gallons of FuelFuel consumption is critical in a cross country flight and it is important to know how much fuel you can carry and how much your craft will burn in flight. I often plan to have more fuel than just the minimums at each landing site.  For example, my aircraft has a range of about 500 miles with day VFR reserves of 30 minutes.  Ever consider how little fuel 30 minutes represents?   In my plane that is about five gallons of fuel or two and half gallons in each tank.  The fuel gauges would barely be off the empty mark. I am not willing to take my plane down to that low of fuel.  A strong headwind can increase your fuel consumption considerably and leave your fuel tanks bone dry long before reaching your destination. For these reasons I always plan the legs of my flight to leave me with one hour of fuel upon reaching my destination.

Know Your Route

This may seem a bit fundamental but I try to have a really good idea of where I am going to fly. hudson-river I take a good amount of time in planning my route, which involves activities such as studying the terrain along my chosen path and making note of any distinctive landmarks or features. I also review approach procedures for my landing sites, and mentally note any alternate or emergency landing sites.  I often go on YouTube and look for videos from other pilots that are flying routes and landing at the airports I might use.   You would be surprised at how much you can glean from watching a video of someone landing at an airport you might use along your route.

 Have a Backup Plan or Two or Three

When flying cross-country I try to keep in mind that the trip is not just about getting there, but also about the journey.  Although I plan on going to my primary landing site, I also plan a secondary and even a tertiary landing site.  This idea ties into knowing yourself.  If you keep an attitude of enjoying the journey and not being rigidly committed to a specific destination you can make better decisions about when to choose an alternate landing site.

Storms South of MiamiWeather conditions can change rapidly and no forecast is perfect.  If I see that the conditions ahead in the direction of my primary landing site are not looking safe, I might land sooner or turn on an angle away from my route and away from the weather.  When I plan backup sites I often pick one that is before my primary destination and then I also pick one on an angle to secondary.  For example if my destination for the day is 400 miles due west I pick an alternate that is 350 miles west and then another that is north or south.  This way I have alternates and ways to escape bad weather.

Know the Weather Patterns

When planning a long cross-country trip, I start obsessing about the weather probably two weeks before. Weather patterns are often cyclic and getting to know how the weather will behave during your time in the air is vital to a safe flight.   The official sources such as aviationweather.gov , DUATS and 1800wxbrief.com are essential sources.  I also like to use Weather Underground’s interactive maps and detailed forecasts to help get a better picture of the weather along my route.  I tend to stay away from the full-time newsy cable weather products as they tend to exaggerate and sensationalize the weather and in my humble opinion often give inflated and emotional forecasts.

So there you go some tips on planning and making a safe cross country flight.  I hope something I shared here helps you have an enjoyable and safe trip.

My Resume

Russell Wright

1842 SE 6th Ave, Ocala, FL 34471 ● 727.638.1559 ● russ.wright@gmail.com

Summary of Qualifications

A patient educator and mentor who understands the unique needs of adult learners, in on-line, classroom and blended environments.  Experienced, performance-oriented information technology professional with 15+ years of leadership experience in enterprise level systems analysis and software development.  A strong leader and team contributor who works well in cross-functional teams.  A confident worker who enjoys software development and learning new skills.  A problem solver with excellent communication skills both verbal and written.  A capable researcher familiar with quantitative, qualitative and design science research techniques.

Technical Expertise

Languages: Python, PHP, SQL, Dot Net, Visual Basic, VB Script, Javascript, CSS
Frameworks: .NET 4.0, CodeIgniter
Databases: MSSQL Server, MySQL, Postgres, Oracle
Software: R Commander, SPSS, SAS, Visual Studio, Eclipse, MonoDevelop, Gedit, Netbeans, Apache, IIS, MS Office, Open Office, Piwik Analytics, Google Analytics, AW Stats
Concepts: Systems Analysis, SDLC, Object Oriented Design (OOD), UML, Unit Testing, Statistical Analysis, Cyber Security
Platforms: Unix/Linux, Mac OS X, MS Windows

 

Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Technology

Capella University- Minneapolis, MN

Dissertation focus: The application of persistence theory to the graduate admissions process.

 

Master of Science in Information Technology

Capella University – Minneapolis, MN

Concentration:  Application Development

 

Bachelor of Arts in English

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts – North Adams, MA

Concentration:  Writing and American Literature

 

Teaching Experience

Schiller International University, Largo, FL 2015-present

Adjunct Professor, MIS program

Conduct hybrid classes for the Masters in Information Systems program for topics such as Management of Information Systems, Database Design, Project Management and Data Communications and Networks.

 

Accomplishments

  • Currently leading a cohort of 25 foreign students though the MIS track courses.
  • Reworked and streamlined the course content in Blackboard for the MIS track.

 

College of Central Florida, Ocala, FL 2013 – Present

Associate Professor, BAS Program

Responsible for the overall function of the BAS program.  Teach on-line, on-campus and hybrid courses in MIS specialization.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Created course content for several Information Systems courses including Cyber Security Fundamentals, Advanced Programming Concepts with Python, Database Management Systems with SQL, Web Programming with PHP and Advanced Systems Analysis.
  • Wrote 2 textbooks – Dynamic Web Page Design with PHP, Database Systems SQL.
  • Working with faculty and staff increased the rigor of the courses and established clearer guidelines for course content.
  • Assisted with the promotion of the program which increased enrollment by 40%.

 

Strayer University, Tampa, FL 2012 – Present

Adjunct Faculty, Tampa East Campus

Conduct on-campus classes in the Computer Information Systems program for topics such as network essentials, interface design, project management and web development.

 

Accomplishments:

  • In collaboration with the campus dean reintroduced CIS classes to the campus. Successfully recruited and retained students to complete the CIS classes at that campus.

 

St. Petersburg College, St Petersburg, FL 2010 – Present

Adjunct Faculty, College of Computer & Information Technology

Conduct quality on-line classes in Information Technology topics such as network essentials, introduction to programming and system analysis and design for an average of 25 students per class.  Provide support to students on writing skills and technical issues.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Introduced new on-line classroom communication techniques, which improved student participation in on-line discussions and perception of connection to the campus.

 

Capella University, Minneapolis, MN 2010 – 2011

Teaching Assistant, School of Business and Technology

In conjunction with course instructor, develop course materials and assess student mastery of academic skills and competencies as determined by course outcomes.  Facilitate on-line discussions among students to assist in their understanding of course materials.  Assist students with locating resources through the website and on-line library.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Significantly improved the retention of at-risk students an average of 30%.
  • Introduced new information presentation techniques, with videos and presentations, which improved the learner’s perception of connection to the classroom.

 

Professional Experience

Stetson College of Law, Gulfport, FL 2009 – 2012

Senior Developer

Provide research and guidance to management on all aspects of web technology solutions.  Acted as a liaison between the IT and Communications groups.  Responsible for the development and maintenance of all college websites and web applications.  Recruited and qualified contract software developers for specific projects, and then act as the project manager for these jobs.  Used a variety of old and new technologies from classic ASP to VB.NET and PHP with MSSQL and MySQL databases.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Oversaw the conversion of existing eKtron cms website to in-house cms system for a $15,000 yearly savings.
  • Created custom private social networking site for admitted students, which contributed to an increase in yield of prospects within the admissions funnel.
  • Created custom clinic and internship application process using CodeIgniter php framework, which reduced application-processing time by 60% and significantly improved data accuracy.
  • Converted and consolidated several old classic asp websites to php resulting in a 50% reduction in the number of web servers used.

 

TextusLLC, Largo, FL 2005 – 2009

Partner & Chief Technology Officer

In partnership with another veteran developer, opened a website development and hosting shop.  Acted as Chief Technology Officer finding and planning the strategy for technology used within the organization.  Evaluated existing web technologies and found best solutions for the company information technology portfolio.  Company has hundreds of clients and many top professional web sites. Market niche is focused marketing for the customer’s website.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Planned company technology portfolio for hardware and software, which reduced costs by 30%.
  • Developed standardized procedures for website implementation increased productivity nearly two-fold.
  • Recruited and trained developers and support staff.

 

Site Dynamics – FKQ Advertising, Clearwater, FL 2004 – 2005

Contract Software Developer

Acted as an advisor to the development and project manager.  Researched technologies and provided advice on possible solutions.  Partnered with the developers on several projects; provided motivation and planning expertise on the development of multiple website projects.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Assisted in streamlining the development workflow reducing the delivery time by 20%.
  • Implemented a standardized systems analysis process to support development and documentation.
  • Created standardized project documentation templates for the development team.
  • Assisted in the analysis and upgrade of an internal custom groupware application through full development life-cycle resulting in a significant reduction of duplicated work.

 

Rita Technology Services, Tampa FL 2004

Contract Software Developer

Employed on a short-term contract with the city of Tampa traffic division to assist in the rewrite of an old Visual Basic application to more modern standards.  Acted as an interface between the users and the development team to assist in the collection and verification of user requirements.  Worked with other developers to convert and enhance the existing code base.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Interpreted user requirements documents into development specification documents.
  • Created multiple object oriented code modules for inclusion in larger application.
  • Collaborated with the development team to standardize the code format, which reduced rewrite time by several weeks.

 

BayCare HomeCare, Largo, FL 2003-2004

Senior Developer

One of three developers responsible for the maintenance of several in-house Visual Basic 6.0 software applications used for accounting and inventory maintenance. Researched and provided guidance to management on the best solutions for complex billing and tracking problems.

 

Accomplishments:

  • Created custom reports using Crystal Reports to assist the accounting office in streamlining the billing process.
  • Established a source code repository, which significantly reduced coding problems.
  • Recycled old computer parts and used free software to create the code repository server saving the company many thousands of dollars in hardware and software costs.

 

Diocese of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, FL 2003

Volunteer Software Developer

Conducted pro-bono consulting for organizations within the diocese. Assisted with youth programs as a technical support person providing assistance with servers and software solutions.

Accomplishments:

  • Created custom event tracking software solution resulting in an 80% reduction in time and effort spent planning.
  • Developed a web content management system for the organization saving them the cost of purchasing a product.

 

Computer Business Associates, Tampa, FL  2000-2003

Contract Software Developer

On assignment at Tech Data, served as the technical lead on an initiative for stocking and ordering applications, which required many skills, including diplomacy with the users and motivating discouraged developers. Provided status update presentations to management and suggested technical solutions to management for problems within the projects.

Accomplishments:

  • Successfully mentored two new VB developers on object oriented development techniques.
  • Wrote extensive documentation through a systems analysis process of a large order tracking application thus reducing the time needed to make program changes.
  • Significantly increased the security of many applications through code and security reviews.
  • Assisted the Seibel conversion team on conversion of VB applications, reducing the implementation time in half.

 

Compuware, Tampa, Florida 1997 – 2000

Consultant & Software Developer Three assignments:

St. Petersburg, FL.

On assignment at Franklin Templeton, served as a member of the software development team responsible for the upkeep of the production environment that tracked the results of investments. Served as the team leader through difficult projects, which required exceptional organizational skills.

Accomplishments:

  • Designed developed and deployed through full life cycle numerous Visual Basic applications to supplement the check management system.
  • Created extensive application documentation for VB applications.
  • Assisted in the design and creation of the client-server infrastructure from staff to hardware.
  • Provided production support for several systems that included troubleshooting, code maintenance and configuration management for both front and back end systems.
  • Lead the development team for a rewrite project to update some mission critical Visual Basic applications converting many parts of the project into COM objects.

 

On assignment at Tech Data Corporation, served as a team member and leader in the application development team supporting the ordering and warehouse departments.

Accomplishments:

  • Lead the design, development and deployment through full life cycle a Tech Faxing Suite using VB5 and SQL Server 6.5
  • Provided technical assistance and mentoring to development team on development techniques and issues.

 

On assignment at GTE (Verizon) Data Systems as a member of the ILEC and CLEC support teams.  Worked on several batch-file-processing applications for telephone billing.

Accomplishments:

  • Upgraded Visual Basic 3.0 and 4.0 applications to Visual Basic 5.0 by converting and updating API calls, and upgrading the data access to the most current DAO/RDO/ADO standards.
  • Lead developer for the Year 2000 Project (Y2K) for the telephone billing translation applications.
  • Successfully mentored and trained four other VB developers on VB 5 Object oriented techniques following the Kurata method.