Pre-Flight Check #6: The 2016 MS/SER Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Academy

Over the past weekend I had the honor of being the instructor of the UAV/UAS Course at the 2016 Mississippi/Southeast Region Aerospace Academy. The class took place on Saturday and Sunday, and focused around several main objectives which included discovering the uses of UAS’s, learning how they are flown, and actually flying the aircraft. Our class was centered around the Flite Test Guinea Pig, and in future years will use the aircraft to conduct aerial scientific research and flight training. The reason the aircraft is called the Guinea Pig is because of the versatility of the airframe, and its ability to transport huge payloads in which many in-flight experiments can be carried out.


The finished Guinea Pig and I next to Charlotte’s Chariot II


I had the idea for this aircraft course back in January, and I reached out to the Aerospace Education officer in the Mississippi Civil Air Patrol. The course is based around the Guinea Pig not only because we can teach cadets to fly a larger aircraft, but also because after the course each squadron that has an aircraft can get together and conduct experiments each month during the Aerospace Ed squadron meeting. Originally the plan was to travel from squadron to squadron and help them get set up and begin aerial testing, but when I was asked if I could instruct the Aerospace Academy course I quickly modified my plans. Throughout the course of this idea I plan on keeping track of the lifespan of each airframe we produce, as well as the experiments conducted and the information compiled. I hope to eventually set up a research and flight testing collaboration between several aviation groups, including XIPITER if they are interested and the Aviation research department at Mississippi State University. I will keep everyone informed on the progress of the CAP Guinea Pig course, which is still yet to be named. I will be working more upon this idea as it unfolds into a full-scale course, as well as information on the course.


The Guinea in front of a 1947 Beechcraft 18


I greatly enjoyed my time at the Aero Academy and especially loved the background for my class. As you can see in some of the pictures our class took place in a hangar, but not just any hangar… I would like to thank the Southern Heritage Air Foundation in Mound, LA. For more information on the museum on their website at


Before the Dining-Out ceremony we were treated to an airshow from this P-40

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Fly safe and have fun!


Pre-Flight Check #5: Are You Overflying?


With many of us being in college now you may can relate, do you ever feel in your day to day life that you are overflying? Do you feel that the more control input you add the worse the situation gets? Here lately I have, and today the stall warning sounded. Last night I studied for six hours, but I still did horrible on the test today. Once the stall warning sounds, what do you do? The first thing to do is lower the angle of attack, or in my case to stop pushing the issue so hard. After you have recovered from the stall, what comes next? You must take a moment to survey the situation and see what went wrong.

It turns out I’ve been overflying my aircraft. We tend to get so caught up in our daily lives and we focus so much on our destination or goal that we lose control of our current situation. Another problem is focusing too much on your current situation to where you lose sight of your destination. In either situation you need to regain control and then look at your current situation to find out the best course of action. if you find yourself getting deeper and deeper into a bad situation because of incorrect input and it is too bad for you to make a difference, stop making the situation worse. Most aircraft will correct themselves if you let them, and too often do we find ourselves trying to over fly our situation thinking that we alone can fix the issue.

I will simply leave you with this for the week, do not focus too much on your situation or your destination all of the time, and every once and a while sit back and enjoy your time in the air. If you go your entire flight without the joy of being where you are, then what good was it? It is good to be excited about your destination, but remember to enjoy where you are as well.


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P.S. I am still doing ok in that class, just another example of the aircraft self-correcting, don’t overfly your situation guys. Thanks for reading!

Pre-Flight Check #4: Our New Aviation Project- The FT Corsair

Editor’s Note: First of all I have good news, my laptop is finally back!!! Unfortunately this post will go up a little later than normal because I just made it back home for Fall Break.


Picture from the Flite Test Corsair Video


For a while now I have been wanting to get back into flying remote controlled aircraft. Throughout my childhood I loved flying models, but I have not had the time nor the opportunity these last few years. Since joining Xipiter I went ahead and bought a new model so that I could knock off some of the rust before I begin flying anything expensive. The aircraft kit and equipment should arrive by Friday and will be assembling it this weekend. I bought the Flite Test Mini Corsair (as seen above). The Corsair, as well as many of their other foamboard aircraft kits and plans are part of the Swappable Series; FT introduced the Swappable Series in order to cut down costs so that more people could get into the hobby. In these aircraft the electric powerplants can be taken out and swapped between different FT Swappable aircraft.

I want to share with all exactly what equipment we are starting out with as well as our experiences with the equipment later. We will be doing build videos as well as flying videos which will be posted in the weeks to come. Now we’ll take a look at the actual equipment that we are receiving.

  • FT Mini Corsair Speed Build Kit….. $21.00 ($18.00 if you go with the non-water resistant foamboard)
  • FT Power Pack F….. $60.00
  • Flysky FS-i6 2.4GHz Radio System….. $45.19
  • XT-30 800mAh 3S 20C Lipo Battery (2)….. $10.50 ea. ($21.00)
  • Accucell S-60 AC Charger….. $31.15
  • XT-30 Charge Lead w. 4mm. Banana Plugs….. $2.08
  • Total Cost….. ~$195.00 (including shipping)

For many that are wanting to get into the hobby, or those reentering after a dry-spell might be shocked at having to drop nearly $200 just to get started. Thankfully though it is not as bad a deal as it seems. While the overall setup costs a good bit at the front end, you come out better on the other side. Many of these, like the controller and charger are one-time buys (until one stops working or you upgrade). After that to get new aircraft off the assembly line and into the air is much more reasonable. With needed items such as the kit (FT offers the free plans for download online if you won’t mind cutting the plans yourself out of DTFB*), servos, and another receiver compatible with your radio each new aircraft’s production cost should come in somewhere below $50.00. Compare that to several hundred each for pre-made aircraft! I believe the FT foamboard designs also help inspire people’s creativity; you can customize your FT aircraft with paint schemes and modifications of your own that will give the model a personal spin.

I would encourage everyone to go check out the aircraft and other rc flying equipment available from Flite Test at

Later on this week we will post a list of the modifications we will be making to the kit as well as more in-depth coverage of our project.

Thanks for checking out this week’s blog! Want to see more aviation related articles or aircraft listings? Just head over to and check out some amazing aircraft and look at other aviator’s blogs.

*DTFB- Dollar Tree Foamboard: The type of foam material used in FT builds. It is sold in sheets and is readily available at local Dollar Trees and other convenience stores.

Pre-Flight Check #3: Team Xipiter



Photo from Xipiter’s website (link below)

My first semester here at Mississippi State University has been full of surprises and excitement! Besides being constantly busy from classes and studying my computer decided it did not need to function any further and had to be sent for a refit from Hewlett Packard. Many of you may have guessed that something was amiss from the acute lack of posts and other projects, and I would like to apologize. Also I would like to include if you have a laptop with Windows 10 installed you should check out an upcoming article in Sadie’s Science Corner about a major malfunction that has to do with the pre-installed security software. Look for that article some time within the next week. Now, on to today’s Pre-Flight Check.


Beginning college I did not know what to expect as far as time and projects were concerned. By that I mean to say that I am an engineer at heart; in my free time I always have small projects going on, anything from building a model aircraft to something as simple as drawing. Since we are halfway through the first semester I assumed that by now I would be settled in as far as a normal routine and fun activities, but I have come to the realization that there is no such thing in life of a college student as a ‘normal schedule.’

I was still struggling to get into a semi-rigid routine, but up until a few weeks ago I still was unsure whether or not I even liked college because, to be honest, I was not enjoying having a different schedule each day. I recently discovered an engineering student organization here on campus called Xipiter, and it helped me see that college was not the problem, and that I had not settled in yet.


The fuselage of one of their aircraft being built

During high school I studied Engineering for two years at my county’s vocational-technical school, and I had gotten used to working on engineering projects every day. When I began college I quickly became bored from a lack of engineering challenges, and as I said before had began to not enjoy my time as a Freshman; but then I heard about Xipiter. As soon as I walked in I felt at home, as I saw airframes being worked on, programming being written, and a group of people who were united in their love of aviation and engineering. I saw people working with their hands, and having fun, and as soon as I saw that, I knew I was in the right place. Engineers love to design things, work with their hands, be part of an engineering team and share ideas with others.


Here a fiberglass shell is being made for one of the aircraft.

Xipiter UAS Integrated Products Team is Mississippi State University’s unmanned aircraft systems team that participates each year in the AUVSI Student UAS competition in Maryland. The competition consistently attracts the interest of industry-leading companies and officials within all branches of the military.

Unlike typical student design teams, our team is comprised of students in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science, representing a multi-disciplinary approach to the entire lifecycle—design, fabrication, operations, and sustainability—of its autonomous aircraft.”- About Us (Xipiter Website:

Through Team Xipiter there is so much to do besides just piloting the aircraft (as I would love to do). At our last meeting we got to see their foam cutting machine in action, people sanded on the finished fiberglass piece for the fuselage while some others lended helping hands on such things as working on airfoils and other equipment.

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The finished product-fiberglass piece


Thanks to Team Xipiter I have gotten settled in finally, and am truly enjoying my time here. All of those things from high school that I had convinced myself I would not be able to find here I did find, and they were all found through this team. Xipiter helped me to finally know fully that I am meant to be here, and gave my reasoning for furthering my education a backup, reminding me my true purpose for becoming an Aerospace Engineer, to work on projects, designs, and test ideas that will push the boundaries of human flight. After all, it is just rocket science…


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Thanks! Fly safe and have fun!!!

Pre-Flight Check #2: Why You Should Consider Joining the Civil Air Patrol

For those of you who do not know what the Civil Air Patrol is, it is the United States Air Force Auxiliary. CAP was founded on December 1, 1941, just six days before the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II CAP flew reconnaissance missions along our nation’s coast, and helped keep German U-boats from sneaking into the Gulf of Mexico and in the coastal waters of the Atlantic.  Today CAP is comprised of thousands of volunteers who have a deep love of aviation and the United States. There are two main groups of CAP members, Cadets and Senior Members. Cadets ages range from 12 to 21, but must join before their eighteenth birthday to be put in the cadet program. Senior members are individuals eighteen and older who have a love for aviation, community, and country. CAP has three missions, they are Aerospace Education, Emergency Services, and Cadet Programs.

” I owe a lot to CAP. No other organization provides the opportunities, the friendships, or the leadership training that Civil Air Patrol offers. I would have never made it this far had it not been for CAP.” – C4C Zachary-Scott Neal, USAF Academy


Aerospace Education

Out of CAP’s three main mission, Aerospace Education is the only on to be required by the government once CAP was founded. Through Aerospace Education CAP leaders get to educate the public as well as its members on aviation, which includes orientation flights for cadets, aerospace activity nights and model aviation equipment for people to be able to learn to fly models.



Cadets get to fly aircraft, build model rockets, conduct science experiments and much more!

Emergency Services

The Civil Air Patrol assists the Air Force and local agencies in times of need. CAP is responsible for almost 90% of flights for search and rescue missions conducted by the Air Force, and help find many missing persons and aircraft each year. CAP also helps with local and wide scale disaster relief and supports local communities in many different ways.


One of thousands of Cessna aircraft used by CAP. This picture was taken on departure for my first O-flight.

Cadet Programs

Cadets get to learn about aviation, physical fitness, leadership, responsibility, and much more. Each new cadet receives ten orientation flights (O-Flights), five in powered aircraft and five glider flights. During each flight the cadet gets to take the controls of the aircraft and get a feel for what it is like to fly, as well as learn about weather, stalls, and many of the intricacies of flight.

A picture I took on one of my powered flights

A picture I took on one of my powered O-flights above Purvis, Mississippi.


My Experience

I have been a cadet for nearly a year and a half, and I can say that I have truly enjoyed my time in CAP. From going to Regionals in the Cadet Competitions while in the color guard to being able to fly a GA-8 (Gipps Aero) aircraft, my experiences in CAP have truly helped me branch out into many things, including public speaking and getting involved in teaching aerospace to others. CAP teaches our nation’s youth the importance of stepping up and getting actively involved in making a difference in aviation, the community, and the world. CAP is one of the things that inspired me to start a blog and reach out to people about the joy of flight. As a cadet I was able to take my first ever flight; before I had ever flown I always knew that Aviation was right for me, and as soon as that small Cessna began picking up speed along the runway I knew I was home. As the plane broke the bonds of gravity that tie us down I felt as I never had before; those that have flown and love aviation understand when I say there is no way to describe it. At that time you as an individual get to do something man has dreamed of for thousands of years, to join the birds of the skies. As you begin the takeoff roll and are slightly pushed back by the acceleration of the plane you feel a sense of achievement, not in yourself, but in mankind. For so long have we dreamed to be able to fly, and mankind worked until we could achieve that goal. Within nearly fifty years of the Wright brothers flight we had landed a man on another celestial body. Innovations in flight now allow for private pilots the opportunity to take to the skies without having to be ‘made of money’, so the next time you pass an airport remember the fun you have flying, and get back up in the air. Fulfill our ancestor’s dreams, and as you look up at the stars at night, remember those same ancestors stood and looked up at the stars in awe, and know that we can explore that vast unknown.

Fly safe, and remember, have fun!


The GA-8 that I got to fly in January, 2016.


For more information on the Civil Air Patrol, its missions, and how to join go to

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Pre-Flight Check #1: The Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation Scholarship

Editor’s Note: The Pre-Flight Check category is where you can keep up with my journey through the world of aviation.

As many of you may know I recently began my first semester at Mississippi State University, and it is truly amazing! There are so many opportunities to get involved in aviation here, including the prestigious MSU Space Cowboys and the Soaring Club. An amazing opportunity to get involved in making a difference in the field of aviation came outside of campus though, the Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation Scholarship. This scholarship provides four students per year with money that is put towards furthering their education in an Aviation based field. The recipients of this scholarship are then required to write a 250-500 word blog post once per week for a period of one year.

I am proud to announce that I am one of the recipients for this year! This scholarship will not only help me pay for college, it will also help me to share my love of aviation with the world. A new post will go up on each Wednesday at about 8:00 pm. Aside from the main post, which will usually be in Aviation News unless specified, there will be added stories, articles, and updates added throughout the week or when news breaks. Join me as we thank for allowing me with this great opportunity.

For more information please visit and while you are there, check out some of the other blogs people have written.

Also, we would like to thank you, the followers for keeping up with my blog! We strive to bring you in-depth aviation news each week, and as we look towards the future we hope that we can expand into podcasts, blogs, and other great social media and blog content. If you have a question, concern, or just want to talk aviation please drop us an email at