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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Steven DeFord's LiveJournal:

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Friday, December 21st, 2012
4:39 am
I passed the ABEM written/qualifying exam! I get to shell out another couple grand for the orals in 2013!

Monday, August 6th, 2012
3:07 pm
It's been a while
I haven't really had anything to share worthy of an LJ post recently (hence, my activity's been on Facebook), but since my last entry reads "I'm probably coming back to Modesto," I suppose I should update that to "I'm now living in Modesto, have started my job (yay money!), and am hoping to glue back into my West Coast social network." I was fortunate enough to have katmerlin stop by to visit with some of her crazy relatives, which was a lovely start to my Modesto habitation, although my entertaining was somewhat limited by the fact that all the stuff I was moving out here was still stuck in a storage crate. :P

Anyway, I'm here. People should come visit (or vice versa)! I've actually lost track of who's living where these days, so if you're in the greater Bay Area, let me know-- we should get together. I recently got cleared to rent aircraft from Modesto Aviation, so I can even get out to visit people in style-- an airplane as old as I am... :P

Thursday, December 15th, 2011
10:13 pm
It's (~ 95%) final
I've accepted a job that they're almost certain that they're offering me in Modesto, CA. Back to the right side of the country!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
1:33 pm
Watch out California!
I got a job offer in CA! I'll be coming back as soon as residency's over! ::happydance:: Now just to see who all offers me a job so as to pick one.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011
9:06 pm
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
4:11 pm
Sorry for the late notice, but I passed my Private Pilot checkride on 3/20/11 and am now, God help us, a federally licensed pilot!

For those that are interested, I'll try'n keep this web logbook up to date with my hours.

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
3:02 pm
Bay Area
So who's in the SF bay area over the next few days and'd like to catch up?

Monday, November 1st, 2010
6:35 pm
First Solo
My first 0.8 hours of Pilot-In-Command time! Here's to many more!

Monday, October 18th, 2010
2:55 pm
For those of you that follow such things...
My schedule for the next block is up. (Pertinently, I get to go to Final Weekend at MDRF and Andrea's wedding.)

Sunday, September 26th, 2010
10:07 pm
And that's three years of living in hell, and going up flying...
So my experience with ACES Aviation was really the best in Pittsburgh. Faithful readers (hey, a guy can dream, can't he?) would probably note that I'd gotten some lessons with the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center at Allegheny County Airport and was less than floored by the experience. As such, I started looking around at other places, and the ACES outfit has won my business, despite being twice as far away (Beaver Falls, rather than West Mifflin), for a few reasons:
More engaged instructors:
My CFI (Kellen Cottrell) seemed to actually enjoy flying and instructing, talking me through landings and pattern work, chatting with me about the airplane itself, and being a lot more hands on than my instructor at PFTC. Even back at the base, the instructors were interested in meeting me, chatting about the Diamond and why they liked instructing at ACES, and so forth.

Nicer aircraft:
The DA-20 is the quintessential VFR aircraft-- the huge plastic dome comes down over your head and offers an amazing view in all directions. The C-172, by contrast, has all these ugly A posts and sun shades and such. The derogatory "Spam Can" really fits the Cessna. And the handling of the DA-20 was lovely compared to the Cessna. Put it in a steep turn, and it'll just happily sit there for you. I had to keep fighting the Cessna's desire to get out of the turn. Stalls? An ample area of buffetting, and then the nose sort of just gently drops back out of the stall. No wing dropping (although I've not done enough Cessna stalls to know how it behaves).

Better availability
I went up to BVI on Saturday morning to chat with the ACES folk and see what they had to offer, and on a whim asked if someone'd be available to take me up for a discovery flight, and they had a potential slot at 2:30 and another (definite) slot at 4p on the same day. PFTC was mostly booked out for a week or two, and both of them have college affiliations (CCBC and CCAC, respectively).

So while ACES may be less well equipped for some advanced ratings (they don't have a twin or a high-performance airplane and are planning on selling their complex plane), that's really not an issue at the moment, as my Private and an Instrument rating are plenty to start with. (I may want the taildragger and complex endorsements sometime before long so I can start training up for my dad's airplane, but I won't be anywhere near his plane for another year and 3/4 at least, so I've got some time.)

Here's to flying (until the money runs out)!
Sunday, September 12th, 2010
5:20 pm
Maybe I need me a new CFI
So on preflight I noticed that the right fuel tank was completely topped off and the left, well, not. The fuel selector is generally left on "LEFT" when the airplane's on the ground. He just got back from a flight with another student. Now, I know some airplanes will suck from one tank more than the other, but the right tank was topped off-- the gas cap chain was dangling in the fuel. I think he failed to make sure the fuel selector was set to BOTH.

Oh, and we did slow flight today, and I thought that went fine. However, when I called my dad after the flight (as has been my practice), he mentioned that "Oh, no, when you're in slow flight, don't use the ailerons, use the rudder, since if you drop a wing due to a stall, adding up-aileron will just aggravate that wing's stall, making it fall further. Somehow, my CFI never managed to mention that, even as we were flying around at around the stall speed (with the stall horn blaring away and giving me a headache).

I think the Chief flight instructor's going to get a call tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
11:54 pm
Devirginized Logbook
Got my first flight lesson today at the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center. While the flying (all 0.8 hours of it) was fun, they had some issues.
  • The plane I was supposed to fly got unannouncedly downed for further maintenance, and after discussion with the staff there, it's downed for the indeterminate future.
  • My CFI had some issues with the basics:
    • His teaching of the preflight absently forgot things like "Oh, yeah, and check the sumps to make sure your gas is the right color and for water" until I asked about them.
    • When asked about how to use an E6B, he was reading the instructions off the E6B and trying to figure out how to use it while supposedly teaching me how to use it.
    • His availability is currently Sunday/Monday/Tuesday only, which makes fitting flying time in with my hideous schedule somewhat difficult. He did say that he's going to try and add Thursday in too, which should help a bit.
    To be fair, he did seem perfectly competent to fly the plane, and I expect he'll be fine as a flying-skills instructor, but I think I'll have to pretty much roll my own ground schooling. Also, asking him about his background, apparently he had done CFIing until he got a cargo flying job, but he got recently laid off, and so is now back to CFIing-- he doesn't seem to actually enjoy CFIing. We'll see how he does over the next couple of flights. He seems like a nice guy, and seems moderately impressed with my nascent skill. (I got to fly with my dad both when he was flying 172/182s, as well as now that he has a Europa XS, and so have some familiarity with basic attitude control, tower communications, ATIS/ASOS broadcasts, and the like.)

But at least my logbook is no longer totally bare. A step in the right direction!

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
7:55 pm
Passed step III
One step closer to becoming a real boy^H^H^H^H doctor!

Monday, July 12th, 2010
9:41 pm
On conferences...
...they're more expensive than I thought. ::already over $2k and that's just registration/travel/lodging::

Friday, June 18th, 2010
4:56 pm

Saturday, May 29th, 2010
1:51 pm
Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
11:39 am
Sunday, March 28th, 2010
7:58 pm
[A Brighton Ambulance Paramedic] became a fan of GLOCK Inc.
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[A Ross/West View Paramedic] please. shoot me.
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Saturday, February 27th, 2010
6:37 pm
Visitation Rights
My days off from 3/11-4/7:

Evenings (kind of) 3/11-3/14 (doing the night shift)
3/20-3/21 (A real weekend! OMG!)
3/23-3/24 (another one! Separated by only a 4p-2a shift on the 22nd!)
4/4 (one day off)

Anyone free?
Sunday, February 14th, 2010
3:30 pm
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