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63 articles in the archive

Paris (2021)

First days of the move to France.

Iceland (2012)

Vík, Stykkishólmur, and scenes outside Reykjavík.

New Zealand pt. 2 (2019)

Photos from the South Island -- Milford Sound, Te Anau, Dunedin, and Fiordland National Park

Kauai (2020)

Birds and such at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Scotland (2019)

Glasgow, Edinburgh, the Trossochs, and Loch Lomond.

Essential iPad apps

I've been using iPads for years, initially for aviation and over time adding in photo editing, writing, and coding.

Today, I'm using a 2018 iPad Pro 11" that I picked up in early 2019, along with the Apple Magic Keyboard case, and a pencil. The same model is now available (refurbished) on Amazon for just over $600.

Before the iPadOS 13.4 update and the release of the Magic Keyboard, I used the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, which is good. The Magic Keyboard, on the other hand, is outstanding -- it's more expensive, but it turns the iPad into a laptop I actually want to own, as it lets me do basically everything from one computer: programming and web development, photo editing, writing, and an electronic flight bag for aviating.

This is an opinionated list that lays out how I've set up my iPad for every day use.

Japan (2017)

Sensō-ji (金龍山浅草寺) temple in Tokyo, Kenroku-en garden (兼六園) in Kanazawa, Kyoto's Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社), and Himeji Castle (姫路城).

Australia (2016)

Photos from our 2016 Australia trip: Coral Sea & the Great Barrier Reef.

London (2019)

Photos from the Kew Gardens and Natural History Museum in London.

New Zealand (2019)

Photos from the Coromandel (North Island) and Christchurch + Fiordland National Park (South Island)

Italy (2016)

This trip took place in 2016, and included time in Northern Italy near Turin, the Cinque Terre, and Florence.

Reno Air Races (2018)

A tiny selection of the hundreds of photos I took at the 2018 National Championship Air Races in Reno, NV.

Building and Flying with Stratux ADS-B In, part 2

Over a year ago I wrote about my initial experiences building and testing out the open-source Stratux ADS-B In receiver. I've gotten more involved with the project since then, testing out new hardware and changing my existing build. I've also had the chance to use some competing hardware!

TL;DR: build yourself this $140 Stratux

Cost Description
$ 37.20 Raspberry Pi 3 to run the whole show
$ 14.99 8GB SD card with Stratux installed
$ 39.99 Tuned antennas and radios for receiving weather and two traffic channels
$ 14.99 GPS receiver for integrated position data
$ 14.99 ABS plastic case, designed by /u/helno of Reddit
$ 12.99 Anker 24W 12VDC charger can run both an iPad and your Stratux
$ 6.99 Anker 10' USB cable lets you position the Stratux anywhere in the cockpit
$142.14 total price

If you're a pilot without existing access to ADS-B In weather and traffic, build this list. The same results cost $233 a year ago, and the software has matured while the hardware has improved. For under $150, you can get dual-band ADS-B In traffic and weather with WAAS position data. It's fantastic.

Building (and flying with) Stratux homebuilt ADS-B In

UPDATE: new writeup 17 July 2017, with a new $140 parts list

I first heard about the Stratux project a few months back, in a subreddit that described how to build your own ADS-B In receiver for under $120. It uses software-defined radios to pick up ADS-B data, then processes it using open-source software. As a pilot who's dabbled with the idea of plunking down around $1000 on the Stratus 2S, this was a pretty attractive idea: less than $200 for traffic and weather on my iPad? Heck, I could build a receiver and order a new iPad for less than the list price of the Stratus.

I took the plunge, ordered the parts, and tried it out.

The verdict? It works brilliantly.

Flying in Iceland

Most pilots have heard horror stories about General Aviation in Europe. Iceland is a breath of fresh air in comparison.

Reinventing Email at Redfin

Why are we sending out emails that are formatted exclusively for desktop email clients? Not even necessarily all that well, honestly.

Flight Instruments

After this ~40 minute briefing, the student should have a working knowledge of the pitot-static and gyroscopic flight instruments. In order…

RMI and HSI Navigation

After this briefing, the student should have a reasonable understanding of navigating with the Radio Magnetic Indicator (RMI) and Horizontal…

Instrument rating knowledge areas

This is a rough overview of the FAA requirements for an instrument rating - what must be part of the checkride - and some of the areas that…

Flight by reference to instruments

The student should gain a working knowledge of instrument flight maneuvers and unusual attitude recovery, and understand the techniques and…

Instrument approaches

The student should be able to apply previous lessons about approach components to an instrument approach chart, and be prepared to fly an…

Private Pilot question bank

These are sample questions for private pilot candidates that will hopefully allow them to demonstrate some level of correlation-level…

Flying for Fun

That's the ultimate standard for success, right? Take something that you enjoy, then find a way to get paid for it. So far, I think I'm…

Checkride season

After a pretty marginal winter here in the Puget Sound, the weather is finally starting to improve. Low ceilings and lots of rain have…

Steep spirals

Develop the student’s ability to plan and execute a steep spiral, improving options in an emergency situation.


  • altitude considerations
  • setup
  • execution
  • standards

Steep turns

Develop the student's knowledge of the aerodynamics, setup, and execution of steep turns to improve aircraft control and finesse.

Air Traffic Control Clearances

The student should gain an understanding of air traffic control clearances, and how they relate to instrument flight operations.

ILS & DME systems

The student should gain an understanding of DME operation and the instrument landing system, and be able to apply that knowledge to flight…

National Airspace System

The student should have an understanding of the national airspace system, and be able to apply it to a cross-country flight or sectional…

Weather Products

This briefing should develop the student's knowledge of -- and ability to use -- weather products to increase flight safety and situational awareness.

Visual maneuvering

The student should gain an understanding of straight-in and circling approaches and be able to apply that knowledge to several landing…

Aeronautical Decision Making

The student's understanding of aeronautical decision-making should be reinforced, bringing it to an instrument-pilot level of knowledge.

Holding procedures

This lesson provides the student with a general knowledge of holding and its role in departure and arrival procedures.

Instrument Cockpit Check

At the conclusion of this briefing, the student should be able to explain the execution of (and reasons for) the instrument cockpit check.

Weight & Balance

The student should gain a working understanding of aircraft weight and balance, including methods for calculation and aircraft limits for…

Basic instrument flight

This briefing will introduce the student to basic attitude instrument flight maneuvers and the procedures used to execute them.


This briefing should develop the student’s understanding of the setup, procedures, and execution of chandelles to improve control smoothness…

Fundamentals of Flight

Familiarize the student with the fundamentals of flight and the control inputs required for basic maneuvers.

Proficiency Stalls

This lesson should establish the student's familiarity with situations leading to (and the execution of) stalls, while explaining the danger…

Spins and Spin Awareness

This briefing reviews stalls and introduces spin aerodynamics, as well as the procedures required for the successful avoidance of and…

Slow flight

The student should become familiar with the behavior of the aircraft in slow flight, gaining an understanding of the inputs and procedures…

Short field takeoff & landing

Develop a pilot’s ability to execute maximum-performance, short-field takeoffs and landings, safely clearing any obstacles.

Demonstration Stalls

This lesson should establish the student's familiarity with situations leading to (and the execution of) the more complex and dangerous…

VFR Navigation and Flight Planning

The student should gain a working understanding of flight planning and the basics of navigation, including aeronautical charts and radio…

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