All posts by Pat Flannigan

OpenAirplane Launches, Making Airplane Rental Easy


OpenAirplane’s Universal Pilot Checkout service promises to make renting a plane as easy as renting a car. Today, OpenAirplane officially launches in six cities, offering access to rental aircraft around the country.

Today, renting an airplane can be an inconvenient process. Qualified pilots typically have to schedule an hour long checkout flight with an instructor before being able to rent a plane for personal use. OpenAirplane wants to change all that.

OpenAirplaneRouteMapAtLaunchThe basic idea is that pilots complete one Universal Pilot Checkout which qualifies them to rent the same model of aircraft at any OpenAirplane flight school. As an added bonus, the checkout resets the clock on biennial flight reviews and allows pilots to earn a discount on renter’s insurance.

OpenAirplane also makes it easy to find, reserve and pay for a rental. Pilots and operators also contribute to a reputation system – sort of like ZocDocs for pilots.

Rental Page for Open AirplaneRight now, OpenAirplane is available in six cities with more on the way:

  • New York – Academy of Aviation at Republic Airpot (FRG)
  • Los Angeles – California Flight Center at Long Beach Airport (LGB)
  • Chicago – Executive Flight School at Chicago Executive Airport (PWK)
  • San Jose – Trade Winds Aviation at Reid-Hillview Airport (RHV)
  • Kissimmee – SunState Aviation at Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM)
  • Detroit – Aviation Experience at Oakland/Troy Airport (VLL)

OpenAirplane is free for flight schools to list and free for pilots to join and is available to any licensed pilot who holds at least an FAA sport pilot certificate.

iPro Aviator/M iPad Mini Kneeboard Review

iPad Mini Kneeboard Review - iPro Aviator/M

Thanks to my friends at, I was able to get my hands on the popular iPro Aviator/M Kneeboard for the iPad Mini and gave it one heck of a stress test which included over 30 hours of flight time, home flight simulator use and even driving around with the thing strapped to my leg. How did it hold up?  Read more…

Wingnuts: The Sky’s the Limit – Aviation Humor from Joel Mugglin

Wingnuts: The Sky's the Limit by Joel Mugglin - cover art

Aviation is such a stylized pursuit. We have our own acronym-laden language, references and fish stories — (there I was…). It’s a unique and sometimes silly culture that is ripe for lampooning. And that’s just what Joel Mugglin does in his book, Wingnuts: The Sky’s the Limit.

Primitive De-Icing Boots cartoon

So that’s why they call them de-icing boots. It all makes sense now!

In it, you’ll find a hilarious collection of whimsical hand-drawn cartoons that poke fun at all aspects of aviation. I found myself chuckling with each turn of the page. How can I describe the humor? In a word: corny, and that’s a good thing. It’s what I imagine might happen if John and Martha King got together with Rod Machado to write a cartoon. Yes, it’s that funny.

Everybody in aviation is represented in Wingnuts: pilots, students, mechanics, instructors, flight attendants and more. As such, I think anybody with an interest in aviation will get a kick out of it, including non-flying friends and spouses.

Wingnuts: The Sky’s the Limit is available as an e-Book for iPad users in the iTunes book store and is also available in print from Amazon.

More Sample Cartoons:

Crazy Airspace Classifications Backup electrical systems

Review of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

Cover of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

For the past few months, I’ve been reading Steve Pomroy’s Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots. Written by an aerobatic instructor with a background in engineering, Applied Aerodynamics brings clarity to a fascinating and often misunderstood subject. I think it’s a great read and a great resource for pilots of all levels. Here’s why.

Read more…

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