Behind the Prop

E005 - Pat Brown, AOPA You Can Fly Ambassador

Episode Summary

Pat Brown from the AOPA Ambassador program joins the show!

Episode Notes

Pat Brown has a long history in aviation and not only serves the "Texas Triangle" as the AOPA You Can Fly Ambassador, and he is also a Designated Pilot Examiner.  Pat and Wally have a long past and didn't even know they were both pilots when they first started working together.  We cover that and many more topics on this week's show including their general aviation pet peeves!   Fly safe and stay behind the prop!

Episode Transcription

Welcome to behind the prop podcast where each week. We will bring you stories lessons and some tips from behind the prop. Please subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts pre show checklist microphones, check out check complete recording all channels checked and verified pre-show checklist complete tower Bravo. Tango papa is holding short ready for departure Bravo Tango Papa, you are clear for takeoff. Have a great show your clear for takeoff and Wilco Bravo Tango Papa.

What's up Wally? Hey Bobby. How are you today? I'm good. Today is our first guest appearance on Behind the Prop. Today, we have Pat Brown with us. is Texas He the " You Can Fly" Ambassador and has been, I hope, a friend of mine for a number of years now. I think he's been a friend of Wally’s for many years; and hopefully he'll be a longtime friend of the show. Welcome to show, the Pat. Thank you a lot, Bobby. I appreciate that Wally. Thanks for having me. Welcome. Yes. So we're going to talk about a number of topics today, but more importantly I was a pilot for a number of years and I was thinking this morning. I didn't know who you were until I bought the flight school and someone said I needed to meet you, right? So I was a pilot for a number of years didn't really know what a Texas "You Can Fly" Ambassador was but we went to lunch I a lot learned about resources. Tell us a little bit about whether you do for aviation, what you do for the AOPA, and kind of give pilots that are listening today something that they should do as it relates to the AOPA. Well, I'm sure pretty much everybody knows AOPA stands for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and it's a large advocacy group in Washington; actually in Frederick, Maryland. Safety is a big deal. We advocate for r our right to fly, to be quite honest with you. But the division that I work for is called the You Can Fly division. We have pretty much four legs to the stool, if you will. One is we help get rusty pilots back in the air. So your listeners, you know could some of them could very well have been at a rusty pilot or two that we've actually done here or somewhere else in city.  We help flight schools. I know you and Matt attended a kind of a beta testing thing that we did a while back to help fight schools up their customer service game. So we're developing some tools for flight schools in that regard we help people start flying clubs. In the state of Texas, in the last 4 and 1/2 years, we have started, we've helped start I think the number is 22, maybe 23 flying clubs. I got about a half a dozen of the works right now that haven't yet gotten active. And then 4th, we work with high schools. AOPA has a, we're about to complete the fourth year of a four-year curriculum that's given free to qualifying high schools around the country for kids that want to start a career in aviation. So it's a full four-year curriculum. It quite involved else it here locally in town uses that curriculum. They just instituted that curriculum and it's been it's been quite successful again. It's free of charge and all of those things that we do are funded by donations for those people who are AOPA members not one penny of that annual du es that they pay anywhere between $15 and $79 depending on a number of things goes to do to pay my salary to operate the airplane that I'm providing to fly around and promote what we do. Not a penny of that. So it's all it's all donor money. Nice. Nice. And I understand Wally and Pat might have known each other long before the AOPA in the aviation aviation connection. Wally, share a little bit with us about how you and Pat worked together before you were both working together as pilots. Yeah. It's it's an interesting road that we've traveled together. Pat and I both worked in the music industry and I started a business. Of course, I'm an airline pilot, that is my day job. I started a business in the music industry basically manufacturing mallets for percussion instruments; marimbas, vibraphones, that sort of stuff. And Pat worked for a major corporation actually at the time I believe was the world's largest manufacturer of drumsticks located right here in Houston, Texas. And so through our dealings together mutual friends, a lot of time spent at trade show; I met Pat and we had a good relationship. And one day a mutual friend of ours said, " so do you and Pat ever talk about flying?" A d I said, " what are you talking talking about?" He said, " he's a pilot.

He's a glider pilot." And I said," no, I didn't know that." So I walked over him and I said, " I understand you're a glider pilot." And he said, " yeah." And I said, " well, I'm an airline pilot." And so I said, " I fly around with the engines running and fly you around with the engines off." And so we became, you know, just another bond for us and we kept in touch about that. And then, a long story short: his actually ended up buying my company through another person, and you know the relationship became even a little bit closer. And then Pat got out of that and got In aviation full-time. And now we are DPE and we don’t colleagues, really work together, but we commiserate. Yeah, we talked and we text and when I run into something that I don't know the answer to, he's one of my go-to guys and he does the same for me. So it’s very interesting that we're working together like we were in a totally different industry. It's an it's a small world. It is really a small world and it's and if people don't realize that they just don't have they don't have their eyes open. They haven't been around long enough cause it was amazing how small this world is, but I think our, one of our first couple shows, we talked about you administering my instrument check ride. And who would have ever thought we would be in the same building, three years later, doing a show like this. Along with a guy that off with you together and on drumsticks and then things. So that's crazy how we've all been connected. I will say if a very kind of a funny story, you know me being a drummer we drive down the road and my two daughters, and my two favorite bands in the world are The Beatles and Chicago. And so they know the drummers for those two bands, and so a Beatles song comes on. And I'll say to my daughter, " who's the drummer?" Of course, they'll say Ringo. And there was a Pat was doing a seminar, this is probably about six years ago, and I don't even know what the seminar was, but I was going to go to it and my oldest daughter was just getting into flying and I said, " Michelle, you want to go to this this seminar with me?" And she didn't seem too interested and I said, " Michelle, the guy who is going to teach this knows Ringo." And she immediately said " let's go." So she wanted to meet Pat, because Pat knows Ringo Starr. Pat knows a lot of stars. I've seen his posts on Facebook. He knows a lot of stars. You know, you mentioned Chicago, Danny seraphine is the drummer was the original founding member of Chicago. And I met Danny, god it's been now it's been probably close to forty years ago when they first met Danny. So we've known each other over the years and the very first time I met him was at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo when Chicago played the rodeo. I remember that. And in the dressing room afterwards, he had actually broken a cymbal. Cracked it. And in the dressing room afterwards, he handed me that cymbal with an autograph on it. Which framed is at the house and I've got we got a lot of that kind of memorabilia at the house. I've got a sign cymbal from Phil Collins. Phil was, when he was with Genesis, they did a remember when the blimp base was up near a rehearsed here. They rehearse Genesis is the only indoor venue that they could find big enough to hold their lighting rig and Phil was in charge of the lighting and he invited us to come up just to hang out one day and showed up unannounced and with my wife and my daughter. He was so nice and visited with us for a little bit and then invited us back for the dress rehearsals. And so my wife and my daughter and my boss the time and his wife the five or I guess it was divided who showed up on the appointed day got to watch two full-length run-throughs on the Genesis concert that later played the Astrodome some months later. And after that he brought down one of the cymbals and put a little stick figure on it inside and I've got that framed at the house too. So there's a lot of that kind of memorabilia floating around the house, which is kind of fun to go back and reminisce So on. I've seen a of your rock and roll historical photos and memorabilia on Facebook as well. And as we think about the AOPA in the work you're doing now that didn't just happen overnight, either right? You owned a flight school, have done five thousand plus hours of dual flight instruction, now or a designated pilot examiner. And cheated death. I'm sure I'm sure you have we talked that was last week's episode or we get through myself. Yeah. I started fine when I was sixteen years old. So this isn't like a new hobby and I got my private when I was seventeen.

I got my commercial at 18 and then went to college and got married, you know, it's the whole story about all of sudden flying takes kind of a back seat and I was a rusty pilot myself for about eight or nine years and came back and got my tailwheel endorsement got my instrument rating got my glider certificate rating became a glider CFI and then and then just began to gradually add CFI stuff along the way.Towards the tail end of my tenure Promark, at my business partner and I decided we start a flight school specializing in light sport because this is right at the cusp of the light sport thing. I thought you know, there's some legs here and we were actually very successful with that because we had people coming to us who would call a flight school and they would get kind of a, you know want to go light sport route.  you want to do it be a real pilot, you know, and well no, they really did want to be a light Sport and so we did actually quite well with that through that I got involved with AOPA and eventually began doing some local safety seminars under their tutelage and then got a national contract to do the ASI Air safety Institute seminars that we do twice a year. At least we did pre-Co vid. Through that, I met some other folks that You Can Fly team was just beginning to be put together again. I got approached and asked if I'd write the rusty pilot seminar along with another colleague of mine. So we did the original version of the rusty pilot seminar tested that it looked like that was going to be successful.  So headquarters took the bones that we had put together and flushed it out to what is now the rusty pilot seminar that you've seen us do sir is Bobby and that we're doing now virtually off and then they came and said, said, you know, we've got this idea for these ambassadors. So it's only five of us around the country for the purpose of promoting these four things that we talked about earlier in would you be interested in and to be quite honest with you, I had to think twice about that because I've been my own boss now at that point for several years and didn't know if I wanted to go back and have to deal with metrics and those kind of things and anyway long story made probably too long was that eventually I said, yeah. I think that that could, that sounds fun and here almost 5 years later be five years in December and we've started I think twenty-two or twenty-three flying clubs in the state of Texas. AOPA Nationwide has gotten I think the number is now close to 9,000 rusty pilots back in the air. It's been gratifying. It's been a lot of fun.  That's awesome. And I love the AOPA and I mostly because of the Flight Training magazine. I think that's the most valuable resource in the world for a subscription that you're paying for a lot of other things with the AOPA, not only the magazine subscription but I use the medical services every year and I take high blood pressure medicine and I make sure every year before I go take my medical that nothing's changed on those meds. And then I'm going to be okay. I think there's so many resources that people don't realize what all the AOPA does and I definitely was on the side of that before I bought a flight school and I think people need to be educated a little bit more about that. The you know, one of the real hidden gems that that people don't really understand is the pilot information center, PIC, and if there is a question that a pilot has if we can answer it. You don't need to know the answer. It's one of those kinds of deals it really there is there is a depth of knowledge by the staff at the PIC that’s unlike anything I've ever seen in my life. They have resources at their fingertips and can answer the most obscure questions. Usually when you're on the phone with them if they can answer it when you're on the phone with them they'll call you back and they will have researched it chapter and verse and be able to point to the periods in the commas and the you know and the exclamation points and give you an answer to whatever the question is that you can hang your hat on and take to whoever you need to take to so the PIC is a real hidden treasure that a lot of people don't really understand. And that's included in membership.  Right? There's no fees, you know to pay anybody. This is also not an offshore call center. These are passionate pilots that are answering these questions. These people know what they're talking about. I call them, you know, if I'm frustrated looking up things in the FARs, you know Wally knows as well as you do that sometimes you're trying to find something in the regs just " boy, where is it?" And I'll call and just tell him I give up.

Well, I'm not a DPE, I swear sometimes I can read the same paragraph three times and I have convinced myself of three different answers. I'm not the most prolific when it comes to legalese. So I'm like I get I do get frustrated. I do have someone translate that for me from I'll give you I'll give you a perfect example. This is I was doing a check ride at a local flight school not this one and the question came up on a flight review the 24-calendar month thing, right? And if you go and look at the regs, and I'd have to have them in front of me to be able to quote it exactly, but it says something about 24 calendar months prior to the to the month in which you intend to do the flight or some sort of convoluted language and I thought well, you know gosh if  you take it the way that it looks like it's read, that is written, thenit's you could be illegal if you had your if you had your flight review on June 1st and 8th June 30th twenty four calendar months later. You're I'm trying to remember what the reasoning was. But like you're actually it might not be the of the month or so. Well, let's say July 1st, right? You're illegal But so I called Headquarters and said this is I'm not sure how to interpret this and they so well, basically you don't count the month in which you do the flight review. So June is month- zero July is month one and that gives you to the end of the end of June twenty four calendar 24 calendar months hence. I think that's the way it was. I may be screwing this a little bit. But because I don't remember all the details of the conversation, but the bottom line is you don't count. You don't count the month to do it in as month one month zero. Well, sometimes I just wish they'd say 365 days for seems like that'd be a lot easier but someone would be complaining about is today the 364th r v, you know, if she was licensed it expires on your birthday no matter what the what the day of the month is, right? And I think it's much easier the way they FAA does it and because it's just the end of month and that's just really easy. But anyway, that's just me. I don't get the big bucks. Yeah. Yeah, and Pat's so one of the things that that comes to mind when I think of you in this AOPA position is the airplane you get to fly around it. Oh which affectionately I'm not sure who took it if you named it, but it's named Woodstock. And of course to me Woodstock is a rock and roll Festival that happened in Upstate New York and the summer of nineteen sixty-nine. But oh, yeah, maybe that's not the intent change the name. So tell us about the airplane. Well, it's a tricked-out Cessna 152. It's got a I f are certified garment six50 in it. It's got an it's got a Garmin 3:45 or a spotter a TSB out and in Bluetooth whether to my iPad and traffic as well no autopilot. I've been lobbying for an audio on auto pilot but so far, no luck there. It's I call it Woodstock not because of that although I do, I wasn't there but I do remember what stock I'm old enough but because of Peanuts character dead. Charles Schulz in the little yellow bird and so I named it would stock because it's painted yellow. Brightly yellow. You can't miss it. In fact, I have been I remember one of the first times I flew into Dallas in Woodstock and I was flying into I think it was Grand Prairie and I'm on short final and there's a silver tail dragger waiting to take off behind me. It's tired filled up their home. And as I'm on short final the guys over the Mike says is that would stock and yep, that's me. And so it's gotten to be actually quite well known around the house around the state. I was flying into Fort Worth last year and I called up. I know one of the controllers up their Matt Wells used to be here in Houston, and I know one of the Commissioners it at him there at Meacham and I'm getting handed off by approach control and I call him up and I say meet him Tower Cessna 103 uniform Charlie, whatever. Distance wise and he says Woodstock you're cleared the land. Yeah. Well, I've taken my own photos with Woodstock and there's quite the following of friends. F o w your friend who was a big deal. It's a big deal. I think you are to Holly. I think I am going to phone up o w so, yeah, that's a that's an exclusive club that anybody can join office. I'm sure our listeners would love any kind of feedback DPS have I think before we started recording, we talked a little bit about pet peeves.

They don't have to be checkride pet peeves. But let's just let's here maybe a couple of pet peeves from both the Deep. He's just about aviation in general again. Not a disclaimer on check rides, but just something that drives you nuts that you wish Pilots knew better and let's educate them a little bit in the last ten minutes of the show. Well, it's interesting because before we even started the show, we were just having a casual conversation and I think Panthers I both on the pet peeve bandwagon of radio etiquette and what I try to explain to applicants off, you know, a lot of a lot of the applicants that we deal with our people who are pursuing a career in aviation. And you know, you're not you're probably not going to spend your whole Aviation career flying within the continental United States. So you're going to be talking two controllers whose native language is something other than English and they have they of course we're supposed to speak English on the on the radio worldwide and most places do Louisiana. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. But you could be over the, you know could be the middle of the night and you're over the Amazon down in Brazil, you're talking to a controller whose native language is Portuguese and knows very little dog. English maybe some Aviation based English and so when we start using slang and that's sort of things, I had a check ride with other day that the young man was a law enforcement officer and he was using a lot of cop slang over the radio and I was talking to about that. I says, you know, maybe get a better way of saying that you see the traffic is traffic is in sight rather than I have eyes on the traffic. I think that's a cop thing. I've watched enough TV to Thursday. I have I have eyes on the suspect and so, you know, it was things like that. You know, that was not a big deal. He was talking to a local controller here at Hooks airport and he knew exactly what he meant there was so there was not a breakdown in communication, but there could be so radio etiquette, you know doing it exactly right wage. You know level it 10,000 well for a little bit extra effort, you can say level at one zero thousand which is actually the one hundred percent correct way to do it. Yeah, they're not a sponsor the show but I just recently found an app called plain English. I know if y'all have heard this this app. It's on the iPad and iPhone but it is an app that you can read off. It'll put on the screen 10000 and it'll ask you to read it off the way of Pilots should read it off and if you say 10,000 it scores you as a zero because that's absolutely incorrect. If you read it off one zero thousand. It's like green very similar to how to speak Spanish app. That might be grading you there's an aviation app. So if you're struggling with how to use the radios, there's a really cool app that I found that I started sharing the free version probably has everything through a Private Pilot rating that they might need to know but you can get commercial type stuff that it's the one zero thousand and log And much more so something if you're listening you might want to go download plain English. It's a free app on the app store, which I thought was pretty cool. And then the last thing I'll say to that point is when I was probably even an instrument pilot hate to admit this month. I didn't know where to go find these right things out but there's a book for this right like in a book. You don't have to buy it's called the aim and I don't I think as much as we spend time in the pilot Handbook of our knowledge in the airplane flying handbook and we want to solo and we want to fly so bad that we don't know where to necessarily turn to this communication stuffs clearly articulated in the aim. So just search on Google for a man. I'm sure you'll find all your correct ATC language and things you should say you to Ollie's Point even air traffic controllers who are by-and-large awesome will fall into climb and maintain one zero ten thousand and you'll hear that a lot one zero ten thousand dead. A lot of Pilots say I'm you know; I'm leaving 8.5 for two point five or something like that. And occasionally, I'll hear controllers do the same thing. They don't say 2500 feet or 8506. You know, it's just one of those things I guess, you know. Well, we talked a little bit about pet peeves. What's your big pet peeve? And maybe we can change something to any you know, anybody listening to this that knows me knows what's coming one for me is taking the active system 103 uniform Charlie taking the active and my first thought is well.

Where are you taking it? And when are you going to bring it back? Cause I'm going to need it pretty soon and you know, so I make a joke about it. But you know, the bigger issue is that taking the active doesn't tell me as a pilot particularly one that's coming in to land at that non-towered field. It doesn't tell me anything. I tell tells me you're getting ready to take off, but it doesn't tell me on what Runway you're getting ready to take off and if you go back. To Palacios for example or back in the day before Saint Marcus and in New Braunfels, which have three runways before they had a control tower, you know often times over in that part of the country down in a fascist. The wind can be in such a direction that any one of those to any two of those three runways could be the active Runway are actually more appropriately the runway in use but when you say active Runway, you're not telling me that you're taking off on one way one three or you're taking off on Runway two-seven. I don't know that same thing with clear of the active. It doesn't tell me anything saved as a much better much better to say I'm taking off runway one-five or a departing Runway one-five know somebody the other day says wait a minute doesn't departing mean that you've run off the Runway as well, you know, that could be interpreted that way. So perhaps taking off runway one-five would be better. But that way if I'm flying in somewhere from somewhere and I hear someone saying I'm taking off runway one-five off. Okay, so I'm listening to a Weiss or the a size is the case. Maybe I'm probably figuring that one five is the right Runway to use but somebody's just confirmed that by using the proper more properties G any traffic in the area please advise is the other one of the others that for me is like fingernails on a chalkboard if you read aim chapter four o. Nine, you may say what how does he know that? You know, it's not a geek thing. But I stumbled across that one time and that chapter aim for. 1.9 actually says off that any traffic in the area, please advised the police advised is not a recognized radio phrase as a phraseology and correct phraseology should not be used under any circumstances yet at all the time and it propagates itself you hear, you know, you have somebody that uses incorrect phraseology last call is another one that that seems to have popped up. That was what I was going to ask both y'all suck. Like what is your what's your opinion? What's the brakes a cause I don't really know but every time I fly with the CFI at an uncontrolled airport, I asked him. What's your opinion on this? Cause I hear it all the time. I've been known to say it may be time or two, but I don't anymore but what she also can you Ali I both of those calls any traffic please advise or less call to me what that says. Is that the Palm Pilot who just said that is not looking out anymore. He is he is taking the burden of looking for traffic and he's deflecting it to someone else. I'm coming in or someone's coming in and I say I hear him say, you know five miles east inbound for landing any traffic, please advise. I almost feel like they're just if they don't hear anything, they're just going to take carp lunch and do whatever in the world. They want to do the same with last call last call is I'm out of here. I've checked out. I'm not looking so long. Mentally, I think that's what it's saying is that that I'm not paying attention anymore. I hope you're wrong. You know, I think you're right. I tell this story when I'm doing Rusty pilot seminars because it always gets a laugh but it is absolutely true and you've heard it before Bobby. I was flying out of Brenham. This is several years ago with a student and I hear this radio show were climbing out and I hear this radio call random traffic Phenom. One, two, three, four, five ten miles north end down on the Arnav 1 6 Brenham any traffic engineer in the area known or unknown, please advise and it always gets a laugh but that's absolute true radio call and I'm thinking to myself. I I'm am I know nor am I know? I don't I don't now I have an identity crisis. I think I would have said I'm unknown traffic. I don't know where I'm at. Yeah, you know, the ten-year-old in me wanted to key the mic and say something probably appropriate but the professional and me home. While I have to admit that I keyed the Mike, right? Yeah good. You're human. Yeah, and there's a young man in there somewhere Pat. They wanted to get out of here. Tell you what it felt so good, you know advise you buy it buy low sell High. Yeah, something like that. Yeah. Well, we've reached the thirty-minute mark on a recording time. So I think we'll wrap up for the listeners sakes. I know we can talk all day long and we will have you back for part two-part three part four. Hopefully Pat. Hopefully, you'll be a continuous guest of the show anything to what you might want to wrap up with today Wylie as we walk in the first guest appearance on behind the know but Pat thanks for being here.

Are we looking forward to seeing you again and often and it's been a pleasure getting to know you and you know, this has been fun. I just say rock on Wally. All right rock on. Well thanks listeners for listening to behind the prop today as always fly safe and stay behind the prop.

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