The Great American Eclipse

Astronomers are calling it The Great American Eclipse. On August 21, 2017, an eclipse will start and end in Denver at 10:23:17am and 1:14:40pm respectively, with the mid-point being at 11:47:03am and covering 92% of the sun. This will be the first eclipse to span the entire continental United States in 99 years, starting on the Oregon coast, sweeping through the nation at a rapid 3000 miles per hour, and leaving the South Carolina coast an hour and a half later.

Hotels along the path of totality began receiving requests for reservations as long as 15 years ago from people anticipating this event. Roads are forecasted to be jam packed and slow on the day of the eclipse, so if you’re a pilot, you’ll probably be flying there instead. Aviation enthusiasts will be flocking to airports across the path of totality to watch from the wide open views they will most likely offer, with many of the airports hosting fly-ins, camping and/or even festivals.

Things you may need to know:

  1. Never look directly at the sun without special glasses. If you are in the path of totality, it’s ok to look at it without them when the moon has completely covered the sun.
  2. If you have plans to travel for the viewing, try not to do it the day of since many roads may be immobile.
  3. This event may break the internet. Billions of people will be flocking to the internet to view it on social media and other online sources.
  4. If you’re taking pictures, unless you have a special lens, your pictures of the sun may not turn out as well as you hope.

This eclipse even has its own website at where you can find facts on the phenomena, a history of eclipses, where the best viewing spots are, and a store for memorabilia.

Do You Want To Get In the Saddle – Or Back In the Saddle?

Independence Aviation is a flight school that offers flight training, pilot mentoring, pilot services, aircraft management, hangar management and more in a friendly environment. You will find that experienced Cirrus Training instructors love what they do.  Below is a great story we thought we would share with you to inspire the pilot within.

Back In the Saddle

A rusty pilot regains his currency in a whole new world of aviation.

Pilot Jeff Berlin hadn’t flown a Cirrus SR22 for about a year, and before that quick round trip from Los Angeles to San Diego and back he hadn’t flown one for at least two years prior.

TOMATO FLAMES? Are you kidding? I’m sitting with my friend and CFI Paul Sallach in the restaurant at the Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, California, nibbling on a turkey BLT while doing the ground portion of my flight review, what people used to call a biannual flight review. All is well thus far. I know my airspace and cloud clearances. I know what I need to know about sunset, sunrise and the beginning and end of civil twilight. And I’ve got all the buttons, switches and functions of the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics suite dialed in. But TOMATO FLAMES? Seriously?   Keep reading….

If you have an interest in becoming a pilot, whether it is for a career or pleasure, Independence Aviation is here for you.  The instructors are some of the finest and will share their love of flying and experience with you, so you can become a licensed pilot.

Independence Aviation

Looking For a Career in Aviation – CAE Outlook Says Half of Future Pilots Haven’t Yet Begun Training


This is exciting news for anyone who has an interest in becoming a top pilot.  Independence Aviation is rated the Top Denver Pilot School and encourages you to follow your dream in the aviation industry.  Finding the best Denver flight school can be the start of something new, and can lead to a rewarding career, as you can see in the article below:


CAE Outlook Says Half of Future Pilots Haven’t Yet Begun Training

If ever there were a time in history to look closely at an airline flying career, it’s now. CAE yesterday announced in Paris the industry will need more than a quarter of a million cockpit crewmembers over the next 10 years. The Canadian training company said 255,000 airline pilots will be needed to support the growth of commercial aviation, as well as industry retirements. Put another way, “The airline industry will need 70 new type-rated pilots per day for the next 10 years to meet global demand,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions.


Beating out previous decades, captain upgrades will be fueled by the 180,000 first officers needed over the next decade. Remarkably, for those men and women still sitting on the sidelines wondering if a flying career is more than a pipe dream, CAE said, “Fifty percent of the new pilots flying by 2027 have not yet begun their flight training.”

Reinforcing their forecast, CAE believes airline passenger trips will climb by 1.6 billion in the next 10 years as the number of active commercial aircraft increases by about 1,200 each year. CAE said large training companies are expected to see an uptick in the numbers of students entering the workforce through schools like theirs, as the number of pilots making their way to the cockpit from universities, the military and local flight schools continues to decline.  Click Here to continue reading….


Independence Aviation believes in helping you achieve your dream of learning how to fly, and will guide you every step of the way.  With a team of passionate and dedicated pilots they will train you to be one of the best.


Meet the contributors to Sporty’s Takeoff app

As pilot instructors, we at Independence Aviation love to find new ways to help pilots to connect with their love of flying. If you are passionate about flying check out this app!

Meet the contributors to Sporty’s Takeoff APP

Takeoff has a simple goal: to make you a better pilot. Every day we publish two new posts (videos, articles, quizzes, and podcasts) from some of aviation’s best pilots and flight instructors. Whether you’re a new student pilot or a 5,000-hour aircraft owner, there’s something to learn from the app. You simply won’t find this unique variety of perspectives anywhere else. Wondering who you’ll see in Takeoff? Here’s the team.

Mac McClellan When people ask Mac McClellan what he does for a living he replies, “I fly airplanes and write about them. And I’m one of the most fortunate people in the world to have been able to make a career of doing what I love.” Mac has been a pilot for more than 45 years, an aviation writer for more than 40 and has been lucky enough to get to fly just about every type of personal and business airplane in production from the 1970s onward. He was on the Flying magazine staff for 35 years and editor-in-chief for 20 of those years.

He has private pilot privileges in single-engine airplanes, plus commercial pilot privileges in helicopters and an ATP in airplanes with more than one engine. He holds several business jet type ratings and has logged more than 10,000 hours. His first airplane was a Cessna 140 and for the past 27 years he has owned a Baron 58, flying it more than 5,000 hours to cover the aviation industry. And now he is a part-time corporate pilot flying a King Air 350.

Mac shares his unique perspective with Takeoff subscribers in a regular series of articles, based on his decades of experience flying the system. Whether it’s practical tips on cross-country flying, details of IFR procedures, or a current industry debate, you can count on Mac for an honest approach.

Amy Laboda Amy has been flying airplanes since she was 15 years old, and is a flight instructor and ATP. She’s taught flight students from East Coast to West, and currently serves as a National FAA FAAST Team member, providing Aviation Safety Seminars for FAA certified pilots in the U.S. and abroad. She was the Editor in Chief of Aviation for Women magazine for nearly 13 years before returning to her freelance writing and multimedia career.

Amy writes articles on general proficiency topics as well as on the pain and pleasure of aircraft ownership – something Amy knows about first-hand. Throughout her articles, you’ll find an infectious enthusiasm for aviation and a focus on proven techniques for safer flying.

Matt Guthmiller A 22-year old student at MIT, Matt is a world record-setting pilot, entrepreneur, and speaker. Since his first solo at 16, he has earned a commercial pilot certificate with numerous ratings and logged more than 1,300 hours in dozens of aircraft. At age 19 he became the youngest pilot to solo circumnavigate the globe by air, flying a 1981 A36 Bonanza 30,000 miles, and has flown in some of the most extreme situations a pilot can find. Most days he can be found flying around the country for business or pleasure, practicing aerobatics, and occasionally doing his homework.

As a talented video producer, Matt shares the adventure of flying with his ongoing video blog, which you can follow in the Takeoff app. Matt also contributes video tips on flying technique, exclusively for Takeoff Pro subscribers, which cover some of the skills pilots usually learn after the checkride. To read the full story, and to see other contributors click here…

Never Load Vectors To Final!!

So you’re in the clouds, you’re at the end of a three hour flight to Las Vegas, weather is 500’ overcast, five miles vis.  The ATIS reports they are using the 25L ILS.  Being in a radar environment, you go to your GPS, select PROC, choose the 25L ILS with Vectors to Final as your transition.  Everything is looking great.   And now the approach controller says, ‘Expect Vectors to Final runway 25L, contact Approach on 123.4.’   You respond with, ‘Roger, approach on 123.4.’

You switch the frequency, the controller is a little busy, but you report in and he says, ‘Roger, proceed direct to PRINO for the 25L ILS.  You look at your Flight Plan page and you don’t see PRINO so you ask for ‘Vectors’ and the response is ‘Unable, too busy, proceed direct to PRINO, you did say you were Slant Golf.’

If you do most of your flying or received the bulk of your instrument training at an airport served with radar where all you get is vectors to final, you can find yourself in this trap.  It’s happened to me more than once before I learned my lesson.

The key thing to remember is regardless of which transition you select when setting up your approach, going to PROC will always give you the option of ‘Activating’ Vectors to Final.  But loading a transition, typically the one that makes the most sense from where you are arriving, loads all the subsequent waypoints into your flight plan and they are just sitting there waiting to be used if you need them.  In the case of the 25L ILS in to KLAS, there are five waypoints outside of the Final Approach Fix.  More than once I have been told to expect VTF (Vectors to Final) only to be given ‘Direct to PRINO,’ head that direction and then be given ‘Direct to LARRE, cleared for the 25L ILS.’  Whatever happened to ‘Expect Vectors to Final?’

In any case, loading the entire approach puts all the information you could need into your Flight Plan, just sitting there waiting to help you.

The same concept works for flying in to uncontrolled airports.  When you are doing your flight planning the night before and checking what kind of weather to expect, look at the GPS approaches that are available.  Select the one that you think will best accommodate the weather and do one of two things.  Either file to the initial approach fix or have that idea in your back pocket and ask Center for direct to it when you get closer to destination and you’ve decided that doing the approach will make sense for you.

It’s all called ‘planning ahead’ and keeping all of your options available to you.

Robert L. Stedman
Independence Aviation, LLC

Go Around!!

Aircraft loss of control (LOC) is still Public Enemy #1 for the FAA.  LOC during a go around remains a problem in general aviation that still results in aircraft and human damage.  And it shouldn’t be.

There have been many very good articles written on the subject so the issue is getting a lot of attention.  Yet we continue to bend airplanes.  In my opinion the issue is a simple matter of execution – execution of what is actually a very simple maneuver.  The tendency seems to be a sense that everything about the go around needs to be done right now!!  Nothing could be more wrong.  So how do we break that sense of rush?

To do that, let’s separate the components of the go around and figure a way to eliminate the panic.  But first let’s understand that a go-around is really just a series of very simple maneuvers.

The first step in the go around is deciding to go-around, whether we are in the flare on a beautiful VFR day because a flock of baby ducks is walking across the runway or if we have just arrived at the Decision Height on a hard IFR day.  Once you decide to go-around, don’t waffle – do it!! Do the go-around!!

The first element of the maneuver is ‘Pickle, Pitch, Power.’  ‘Pickle’ will mean something different by whatever plane you are flying but basically it means punch the go-around button, kick off the autopilot, whatever is appropriate to your plane.  ‘Pitch’ means exactly that – pitch up to the  command bars or if you are flying raw data, start with 7.5° pitch up which is a pretty typical go-around pitch attitude.  Finally, add power, make some noise.  And I am not a big proponent of jamming in full power.  You are at the end of your flight, not heavy, etc.  Just add near full power – that will be enough to get you away from the ‘bad stuff’ – you can fine tune the power in a bit.  And DON’T FORGET to bring the right rudder in at about the same pace as you advance the power – keep the ball in the middle!!  Most go-around accidents end up on the left side of the runway from the pilot not adding that right rudder so be assertive with it – keep the nose going straight.

The second step is ‘Fly, Fly, Fly.’  Make sure the plane is doing what you want it to do – airspeed is near best rate, the wings are level, you’re holding the heading and the VSI is going in the right direction.  This is a separate step of the go-around maneuver.

Third, clean the plane up by retracting the gear and flaps.  It’s important here to be aware of your configuration.  If the flaps are fully deployed, bring those up to half flaps first, then gear up then flaps all the way up.  If you only used half or approach flaps, bring the gear up first.  As a general rule of thumb, if the plane has propellers I generally use just half or approach flaps unless there are special considerations.  In a jet we almost always use full flaps on the approach.

Next?  ‘Fly, Fly, Fly.’  Let’s confirm one more time that the plane is going where we want it to go – Still climbing?  Good Airspeed? Holding a heading?  All good!!

Next, Automate and Navigate.  This will vary by the approach and what kind of radios you have in your aircraft.  But, basically, use the autopilot or flight director or raw data as you wish.  Make sure the GPS has the correct waypoint sequenced whether your box does that automatically or if you need to take it off of Suspend (SUSP.)  If you are VOR only, it’s probably time to twist a dial to a new course, maybe switch to a different frequency.  Know your equipment but make sure that what is shown as your active waypoint is what it should be based on your pre-approach briefing.

Guess what comes next?  ‘Fly, Fly, Fly.’  Again, make sure the plane is still going where it is supposed to be going.  By now there may be an altitude related change in heading or course.  Now is a good time to do that.

And finally, now it is okay to key that microphone and tell ATC what you have done.  Way too many times, the pilot grabs the mic first and that is just so wrong and obviously gets in the way of what is most important – flying the plane.

Just remember that if it is a VFR day and you’ve been cleared to land or given the option, the runway belongs to you.  If it is IFR, unless you are flying in to the small number of major airports that allow simultaneous IFR approaches, the airport belongs to you until you cancel your IFR flight plan or the tower sees you taxiing in.  Get the airplane flying and climbing – you were pointed at the runway and last time I checked they don’t plant trees or buildings in the middle of the runway.  Take your time and get the airplane going up and away from the bad stuff.  Again, calling the tower is the last thing you want to do when executing a go-around, regardless of the weather.

Practice this in the comfort of your chair.  You will be amazed at how little time this actually takes.  Close your eyes and move your hand around the ‘cockpit.’  Time yourself.  You’ve got plenty of time.

Robert L. Stedman
Independence Aviation, LLC – Colorado Flight School

Vance Brand tells tales of space exploration at museum

You never know where a passion for flight will take you. For this Coloradan, it led to multiple space flights and a very long, distinguished career.

We love stories like Vince Brand’s and as a Denver flight school, we especially enjoy watching the careers of the numerous pilots we’ve trained and the various people who cross our paths. Continue living your dreams and sharing your stories. Brand tells tales of space exploration at museum – Longmont Times-Call The first hint of looming cosmic journeys and eventual space exploration came to Vance Brand when he was a lifeguard and gatekeeper at the Boulder Reservoir.

In the late 1950s, the prospect of humans sending a functioning satellite into space was the stuff of science fiction and fantasy for Brand, who’d grown up in the largely rural, farm-based community of Longmont. Less than 20 years later, however, in 1975, the Longmont High School graduate would journey into space as a command module pilot on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. That would be the first of four space flights for Brand, who logged nearly 45 hours in spacecraft over the course of his impressive career.

For Brand, the adventures that included journeys to the cosmos had simple roots. During his early days as a Marine Corps recruit in North Carolina, he couldn’t stop himself from gazing at the jets that took off every morning. The roar of the engines and the sight of the crafts in flight proved irresistible to Brand, who quickly saw flight as a professional and personal goal.

“It was an emotional decision,” Brand said. “I thought that was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen, seeing the jets take off at Cherry Point. I immediately applied for naval flight training program.” Read more at

Colorado to get Aviation License Plate!

On May 3,  2017, HB17-1212 passed its 3rd and final reading in the Colorado Senate, and moves on to Governor Hickenlooper’s office to be signed into law. The Support Colorado Aviation License Plate Bill was introduced into the 2017 General Session after getting its start 3 years ago.

Colorado aviation associations first sought support for an initiative that would allow Colorado residents to flaunt their passion for aviation by way of a “Support Aviation” license plate in 2014. Led by the Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA), an online petition was created in order to collect the necessary 3000 signatures needed to be eligible for introduction to legislation.

Chris Swathwood, who is a CABA board member and the designer of the plate, came up with the idea and said it “just sort of popped up one day when I was driving down the road”. Swathwood said he thought of other states’ aviation license plates and the impact of aviation in Colorado and wondered why his state didn’t have one too.

According to the license plate’s website, General Aviation in Colorado contributes $2.4 billion to the state’s economy, supports 265,700 jobs, and has a payroll of almost $11.2 billion. It has an estimated 1.8 million visitors, and proudly boasts 76 public-use airports, serving 17,819 pilots and 5,483 general aviation aircraft. There are 40 charter flight companies, 69 repair stations, 70 FBO’s, and 16 flight schools. There are also several colleges that provide aviation degrees.

Any Colorado resident with a registered vehicle in the State of Colorado may purchase the plates for the standard $50 special plate fee at the DMV, with no additional charges. At this time, CABA expects the plates to become available in Sept 2018.

We can’t wait to see these out on the road soon!

Click here to learn more about our Colorado flight school training program.

Northampton middle school students take flight

Do you remember the excitement of your first flight? Can you imagine what it must have felt like if you were in middle school when it happened?

Stories like this one are so inspiring for pilot schools in Colorado. Independence Aviation loves when communities get involved with the education of youth – especially when they’re allowed to explore their passion in aviation and flying. middle school students take flight | NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Dreams took flight for 17 students at Northampton Airport Monday morning. For ten weeks, the select 8th graders from JFK Middle School in Northampton learned about aviation in an after school program known as Northampton Airport Wright Flight.

The program is now in its 6th year and is also offered at schools in Chicopee and Springfield. For one hour after school each week, students learn about plane manufacturing and flying. They also toured Barnes Airport Control Tower as well as Advance Manufacturing in Westfield and Gulfstream in Westfield.

Students paired up, and like any trained pilot, they began with pre-flight inspections.

Then, with the help of an instructor, one student pilot took off from Northampton and landed at Orange Airport. Then it was their partner’s turn to fly home.

Read more…

House panel aims to finish must-pass aviation bill by August

Without getting political, we think it’s important to reflect on the bill that the House is working on right now. There could be some major changes in store for both the private and commercial aviation industry – maybe some good and maybe some bad – but the FAA has a huge role in every aspect of our business.

Rest assured, no matter what happens comes August, we will follow the situation in order to help you know what all of it means for you as you pursue your private pilot license in Colorado or use any of our services. Understanding how various regulations affect your piloting career is paramount to being a successful pilot. panel aims to finish must-pass aviation bill by August | TheHill

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is aiming to wrap up work on a must-pass aviation bill by the August recess, according to a top panel aide.Holly E. Woodruff Lyons, deputy general counsel for the committee and staff director of the aviation subcommittee, said Tuesday that the goal is to get legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration “off the floor by August.” The FAA’s legal authority expires at the end of September, which would give the House and Senate less than two months to hammer out a final product.The House Transportation panel has held several hearings on the topic and is expected to take the lead on legislation.

Last year, Congress ended up passing a short-term patch after a long-term proposal to reauthorize the FAA stalled in the House.

The House FAA bill from last year is expected to serve as the model for this year’s yet-to-be-unveiled proposal, though Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is open to making adjustments.

“The framework is the AIRR Act,” Woodruff Lyons said during a Global Business Travel Association conference on Capitol Hill. “But everything is open to change.”