Busy Month

With the start of school, the ACT test, marching band, and college applications, I have been grounded.  However, I will be back in the air at Murfreesboro Aviation in a few days, after the weather clears.

On the college front, and as of last night, I have been accepted to all 3 of the engineering schools to which I have applied!

I’ll post again as soon as I’m back in the air.

Congratulations, William, for being the first one of us to solo!

My First Few Lessons!

Hey everyone,

Thought I’d create a post to fill you all in on my first few lessons. I have been flying every morning for about 2 weeks now and I have come a long way since these lessons.

The first few lessons were definitely the most challenging. learning everything from stalls, spins, and spiral dives to climbing, descending, and endurance. A wide variety of topics with something new every flight!

My second lesson was an eventful one that’s for dang sure. There had been weather rolling in but our practice area is only a couple miles from the airport so we decided to fly for a bit anyway. we had a great lesson and we decided to head back before the weather caught us. well, had we left any later than we did, we definitely would have been in a pile of trouble. We safely landed but as we were taxiing to our apron, it started POURING rain and extremely high winds. We were very lucky to have touched down before then.

On my third flight my instructor started handing me the control of the radio calls to Ground and Tower as well as to the Practice Area Traffic. it was daunting at first but the guys in the tower are very accustomed to having new students on the radio so even if you mess up, it’s not the end of the world.

Speaking of the Air Traffic Controllers, my instructor, Dane, brought me up to the tower to meet the guys over the weekend. It is definitely nice to put faces to voices and to know who you’re talking to. The technology is astonishing up there!

So, currently, I am on my second day in the circuit. Practicing landings and take offs. I will post more in depth about my circuit experience so far in a separate blog post tomorrow. I need to get back to studying for my PSTAR exam!

Until then, safe skies and happy flying!!


Finally Flying!!

Hey everybody,

I am FINALLY flying!! So excited and very happy. I have delayed in posting for about a week because I have moved in and been coping with living by myself for the first time. I am currently living in a trailer style house with a couple other students right at my school! it’s so awesome o just be able to walk out my front door in the morning and head out for a flight.

Speaking of flights, my first one was on September 2nd and it went extremely well. I have flown almost every day since but over the course of a few days I will write separate posts about some of the lessons.

So, the first lesson went amazingly well. it was mostly familiarization with how things work at the school and how they get things done. My instructor is amazing, very patient and an extremely good teacher. The first day was really scary but I have been slowly making acquaintances.

To keep the semi-short, I will be sure to write another post tomorrow about my first couple lessons. Until then, Safe skies and happy flying!!

– Courtney Taylor

Dual Cross Country

Finally! After a few rain/thunder checks, schedule issues, etc., I finally was able to get in the air and check off my first dual cross country last Thursday! Due to a chuck full schedule as always, I wasn’t able to get in the air for the last 3 weeks or so. I flew from Midland Jack Barstow Airport (IKW), to Lansing (LAN), Flint Bishop (FNT), MBS International Airport (MBS), then home for a grand total of 144 NM.

LAN and FNT are both class C airspaces, and MBS is class D airspace, so the trip was very helpful on getting a good foundation on communications with ATC. I admit, I obviously wasn’t perfect, and had a few mistakes, hiccups and brain farts, but overall I think I did okay, and more importantly I soaked in a lot and learned from the mistakes.

I filed a flight plan, got a weather briefing, and used pilotage and dead reckoning to navigate this cross country, which actually worked pretty well for the most part. Meanwhile JT, my instructor, looks at his fancy tablet and chuckles as he watches me drift ever so slightly off the course line.

On a note about my instructor, JT is an extremely smart man, and an even more experienced pilot. I’ve gathered from his stories that in the past, he used to fly as a missionary pilot in New Guinea, which I can imagine can only present the least desirable conditions for flying (tight airfields, nothing but jungle beneath you, an airplane that doesn’t quite work right more often than works right, etc…) I have a large amount of respect for his knowledge and experience, and his flight school at QAS. And if you ever meet him, you will understand when I say he is a character :). He may be all of the above, but he also has a fun joking personality to him that you can’t help but find funny, and on occasion you have the opportunity to give it back, which makes things kinda fun and takes the serious edge off of things, if you ask me since I’m kinda the same way in a less mastered sense.

Anywho, The cross country went well, could have gone better, but couldn’t have gone better in the sense that I learned a lot! Afterward, we sat down and went over the whole trip, and looked very closely at the hiccups so that I can wrap my brain around it without being rushed in the cockpit, and learn from it.

More to come, and less time to do more since school is starting up again ūüôĀ But we’ll make it happen!

Until next time,



A beautiful day to fly!

Yesterday, I was up again with my instructor Tanner Quigley with Murfreesboro Aviation. ¬†After pre-flight and takeoff, we worked on different in-air maneuvers, including near landings and rapid pull-ups at Puckett Field, which is a glider field near¬†my¬†grandfather’s farm. ¬†Here are¬†photos of our takeoff from MBT. ¬†I’m scheduled for another lesson on Monday. ¬†Stay tuned.

I haven’t done so in a while, but I want to thank all of the FMASolo sponsors for creating this opportunity for me and the other scholarship recipients. ¬†Sponsors like the FMA, Bose, Aviators HotLine, Sporty’s Pilot Shop, MyGoFlight, Gleim, Banjo Ben Clark, Trade-A-Plane, GlobalAir.com, 121five.com, Murfreesboro Aviation, Quality Aviation Services, and AVSport of Lock Haven, have helped us pursue our goals of learning to fly!

Back in the Air, Back to School, and College Applications!

I was back in the air on Monday at Murfreesboro Aviation! ¬†My instructor, Tanner Quigley, and I flew from MBT to SYI (Shelbyville), where I¬†practiced touch & go’s. ¬†It’s really cool to fly over all the places you drive on a daily basis. ¬†I’ve learned a lot about driving in Murfreesboro just by flying over it and better understanding the layout of the city and the¬†major landmarks. I also completed the¬†IACRA registration so I can get my student pilot certificate. ¬†I have another lesson today at 1:00 p.m. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I am also back in school – 2 schools in fact! ¬†On Friday, I started my Senior year of High School at Eagleville. ¬†I’m taking 2 classes at EHS: choir and band. ¬†The rest of my courses¬†will be¬†at Middle Tennessee State University where I am a dual¬†enrollment college student. ¬†At MTSU, I’m taking¬†Calculus, English, and Intro to Aerospace.

It’s also time to apply to college! ¬†I’ve been working on my applications and college essays. I’m looking at aerospace engineering programs at the¬†University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, University of Alabama Huntsville, Georgia Tech, and University of Colorado Boulder.

With marching band, mid-state choir auditions, high school courses, colleges courses, ACT prep, flying lessons, and college applications, I have a very busy fall ahead!


Ground school today

Back at Murfreesboro Aviation today for ground school training with Tanner Quigley.  It was great to be back after a break for band camp and a summer class at MTSU.

Today, we covered weight and balance, center of gravity, different engine types, and engine components. I found the different fuel delivery systems very interesting.  My next scheduled lesson is Saturday.  More later!


Ultralight build: 1/2 VW progress

Well here is that video of the ultralight engine I built that I promised to show a long time ago… My pride took over and I did some tuning before I posted a video of my work to the world, and ended up tearing the head and cylinder off the left side to chase down an oil leak, which is why it took so long… As of right now, she has about 2 hours on her, is bone dry (although I didn’t risk getting doused again and ruining clothes by wearing all black ūüôā ), and runs great! The idle could still use some work as I was focusing on tuning the top end. If you notice in the video, its pulling the test stand across the ground a little with me on the back! And yes, that is a snowmobile oil reservoir luxuriously ratchet strapped to the top for a gas tank and custom fitted for a gas line, the fitting and idea courtesy of my instructor and boss. AND YES! I know it rotates ‘the wrong way’! Blame the disoriented Germans for that ūüėČ

Starting to Come Together

Hello everyone,

As some of you may know, I live in a small, very secluded town where the nearest flight school is an 8 hour drive away. Well, I have just visited them to make arrangements for my accommodations and get more of a feel for the school. I have been there before when I took part in a Discovery Flight, but I didn’t get a full tour of the school.

Harv’s Air Service is a small, family owned school at a controlled airport. it’s a small airport but has a lot of traffic, especially student aircraft. At the school, there is a small dormitory and two trailer style houses for accommodations for their students. I will have the opportunity to live right at the airport! One of the houses actually leads right to the tarmac. It will be scary living on my own, but I am super excited to be out and a full time student!

I will likely be flying twice a day for an hour each 5 to 6 days a week (if weather permits). When I’m not flying, I will be studying. I have been studying my From the Ground Up book and will be starting online ground school straight away provided by Harv’s Air. I aim to be as prepared as possible in September when I move in and start flying!

Anyways, I thought I’d check in and tell all about my school and how my experience will be a little different than the other SOLO winners due to my location. I will check in on my first day of flying, until then, happy skies and safe flying everyone!


Vacation minus peace and quiet (Oshkosh)

If your idea of vacation is out in the wilderness where there is no pavement, and no sounds to dampen the calls of the birds, count me in! However, as lovely as that sounds, I would strongly urge you NOT to come along to my recent vacation if that is what you are seeking… aaaaannnnddd for those of you who have experienced Airventure know exactly what I mean. And for those that haven’t? Well…. one high decibel Oskhosh day in the future, you will think back to this life changing post you read a long while back and that cobweb covered light bulb will come on ūüėČ

Well, let me tell you, it was a strange feeling to not have to work, fly, wake up early, or rush anywhere for an entire week! A fairly large sum of my family and friends camped under the wing at Oshkosh last week. It was a great time, and I learned a lot of things during the week.

I participated in the EAA airventure band, and we had a great time as usual! On that note, the EAA band is very impressive considering the circumstances. First off, they are all flying musicians, whether part of the association or not ūüėČ Second, none of us are professional musicians (at least none that I met, so don’t quote me on that ūüėČ ), which means that odds are that most people in the band don’t have the luxury to practice everyday. That considered, it is extremely impressive what the EAA band accomplishes in a few hours of noisy and distracted via airplane rehearsal!

I also slipped into the Open mic night the FMA put on in the ultralight section. That was a good time, and I think went very well! I got to meet a few people from the FMA, and really enjoyed talking to them!

If you are wondering about my progress on flying, I haven’t flown since Oshkosh. My schedule was chuck full earlier this week, and weather is marginal for the next few days, so I am a bit uncertain to when I will be flying again. Soon, I am sure, in which I will keep ya’ll updated when the Man Upstairs gives the homesick angel a window ūüėČ

More to come,