Sunrise Aviation – Day 2 and 3


Sunrise Academy's Aerobatic Fleet

Sunrise Aviation Academy’s Aerobatic Fleet

Day 2 and 3 at Sunrise aviation.

The last two days at sunrise were as awesome as the first.

Day 2(yesterday):
Day 2 was a dual decathlon flight running through the sportsman sequence a bunch of times with good success. We’re now working on fixing the little quirks throughout the sequence and getting all of the timing and radii correct and equal.

Day 3:
Day 3 started out with a dual flight in the decathlon working on quirks and such of the sequence and setting some altitude goals and limits. We also did some area familiarization and headed back. We both agreed I was good enough with the local area to solo and Michael sent me off to practice alone.

Operating out of John Wayne Airport(KSNA) is interesting. It’s a class Charlie with lots of airline activity and to runways, 1-19L and 1-19R. 1-19L is the GA runway and it’s 2,800 feet long. 1-19R is the airline runway and is 5,700 feet long, both relatively short runways. The way the runways are oriented, an airliner holding short for 1-19R has it’s engines pointing straight at the threshold for 1-19L and there’s a bump when flying through it. There are all sorts of other quirks as well that I learned while flying with Michael.


Flying Solo around Orange County

I took off for my solo practice and headed out to the practice area to the east. Still amazed with the view in Southern California I took a couple pictures with my phone before securing it for negative G. I rolled inverted on base leg for my belt and systems check, everything proved safe and no screws flew across the cockpit so I turned in towards the box and pushed into the dive. I had previously set a minimum of 2,500 feet indicated after figure 6(a reverse half Cuban) before entering the vertical first wedge because the wedge would eat up a lot of altitude in a standard decathlon(less vertical performance). After figure 6 I referenced my altimeter which read 2,100 so I wagged out and climbed back up, wagged in and finished the sequence. This is allowed in competition flight and is called a break, I believe it’s a 15 point penalty out of a 1,000 point sequence. I then flew the sequence twice more without any breaks ad headed back although I was just meeting my altitude minimum.


The elevation over the practice area was 500 feet, therefore my minimum was 2,000 AGL I was 600 hundred feet above the legal and contest minimum and likely could’ve finished the sequence within limits but sticking to preset minimums will keep you safe, pilots are legally required in the sportsman category to stay at least 1,500 feet above the ground, if this is infringed outside an aerobatic box it is illegal, if it happens in wavered contest airspace it’s a major point penalty but the pilot is legally protected. Michael and I discussed the excess altitude loss after the flight and came to the conclusion that I was more comfortable with vertical downlines and the count that I was giving was too long. (Meaning I spent too much time pointing straight at the ground).

We’ll adjust the count when we fly tomorrow, two more decathlon flights and then it’s Pitts time!

Day 1 at Sunrise Aviation

sat at sunrise

Saturday Morning

Day 1 at Sunrise Aviation.
I was honored to receive the Reinaldo Beyer aerobatic scholarship from Sunrise aviation this summer and just finished my first day of training.
Day 1 went amazing, I learned a ton and had a bunch of fun. My instructor Michael Church is extremely knowledgable and a great instructor. We departed from John Wayne airport in a Standard Decathlon and headed to the practice area. I was immediately struck by the beauty of Southern California from the air. It was about 15 minutes to the practice area, a very scenic 15 minutes.
Our first flight consisted of practicing individual sportsman maneuvers and fixing any slight flaws they had. We came back, had lunch and got fuel and hopped back in. The second hop was comprised of 3 complete sportsman sequences and a few other maneuvers and went very well.
We came back, landed and finished the day off with some ground.

I am looking forward to the rest of the training.



Started my Advanced Aerobatic Training at Sunrise Aviation Academy


CFI Michael Church is demoing a aerobatic maneuver

I have finally arrived in Santa Ana California at Sunrise Aviation Academy.  I was honored to be selected to receive the Reinaldo Beyer Aerobatic Scholarship earlier this year and now I am here to use the scholarships funds to study advanced aerobatics.  I met Michael Church, the owner and Master Aerobatic Instructor  yesterday.  Michael and I spent 90 minutes going over all the maneuvers in the IAC Sportsman Routine.  He and his flight school are amazing.  They have 8 aerobatic instructors here and 24 CFI’s in all.  I have July 4 off, but then I am scheduled for 6 hours on Saturday and another 6 hours on Sunday. It will be a busy weekend.  Happy July 4th Everyone.


Just passed my Instrument Pilot Checkride

Rob and DPE Chris Loprinze after check ride

Rob and DPE Chris Loprinze after check ride

I am congratulated by Designated Pilot Examiner, Chris Loprinze after I passed my FAA check ride for my Instrument Pilot License. Thanks to my Instructor Jon Davis and Steve Cunningham the owner of Nashua Flight Simulator.

My flight instructor Jon and I in front of the plane I used for the check ride

My flight instructor Jon and I in front of the plane I used for the check ride

I can now fly in all weather conditions.  I am looking forward to flying in the clouds.


I leave for California tomorrow for a week of high level Aerobatic Training at Sunrise Aviation Academy. I should be getting my commercial license the week of July 15th.

I am

Just Flew the L-39 Jet “PipSqueak” at Warbirds of Delaware


What an amazing aircraft. Pulled lots of G, flew inverted at 440 knots at 17,000 feet and burnt lots and lots of Jet fuel.

Inverted at 17,000 Feet

Inverted at 17,000 Feet

I will be writing a full feature on this incredible experience soon. I also have front facing and rear facing video that will be posted soon as well. Thanks to everyone at Warbirds of Delaware, and a special thanks to Pilot Joe Gano .

Instrument, Commercial, and CFI Ratings and A week in California at Sunrise Aviation. All with-in the next two weeks


It is going to be a busy two weeks.  I already passed my instrument written test. I take the oral and Instrument check ride on Tuesday July 1. Then I go to California to use my Acrobatic Scholarship at Sunrise Aviation at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana Ca. I plan to study advanced acrobatics and to practice for the Sportsman class of IAC competition.  I come back on July 9th and immediately go to Vermont for the GMAC or Green Mountain Aerobatic Competition flying in the Sportsman division. Then I am taking my Commercial and Certified Flight Instructor exams and check rides. Once I obtain the CFI, I will be working as a tailwheel instructor almost immediately.



Flying Cubs out of a 2,000 foot grass strip


The L4 Cub

I recently(a few weeks ago) got checked out to rent J3 Cubs from a local airport in Hampton NH (7B3). Due to my tailwheel time It was only a 30 minute checkout fight and I was all set to rent. I traveled up to Hampton with a flying buddy of mine, Kiefer and he also got checked out to rent in the same J3.

The checkout was pretty simple, I had flown in and out of Hampton several times before in a 172, Citabria and surprisingly V-tail bonanza, I was pretty familiar with the airport and very confident with tailwheel. A couple landings and some stalls and I was all good to go


Flying the NH Coastline

After the checkout my friend I asked if we could rent a cub and they happened to have the Military Variant, the L-4 available. We strapped in, blasted off and followed the cost up to Maine to take some pictures of a friend’s house. The cub is an absolutely incredible aircraft and I will be instructing in them at the same airport over the summer.

hampton airfield

Grass landing strip at Hampton NH