Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sun 'n Fun 2007

Well, Sun 'n Fun was awesome this year! There was so much to see and do. And there was an airshow every day!

Some of my favorite performers included Gary Ward in the MX2, Larry King in the Pitts Model 12, Mike Goulian in the Extra 300, Patty Wagstaff in her newly painted Extra 300, and many of the aircraft featured in the daily showcase.

I made a video of the airshow that you can view here:
Click to watch the video.

Also check out the new look for MattTanner.com.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

2007 - Fly as much as you can!


If you haven't already gotten your private pilot license, this is your year. Don't put it off any longer. If you need some guidance, sign up for my free tips on the right side of the page.

I like letting you know what I've been up to lately. Right now, I'm working on a Christian website called Promises of the Father. It's located here: Promises Of The Father

It's a Christian ScreenSaver that I've been working on for a while. Right now the site is not finished, but I hope for it to be fully operational in the next couple weeks. Check out the site and let me know what you think at matt@matttanner.com

Thanks for visiting.

Blue Skies,


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Kermit Weeks

Last week I was in Anaheim, CA for a seminar. I was talking to a guy about powered paragliders and they sound really incredible. It seems so simple to takeoff and land anywhere you like. It was exciting just talking about them.

Then he said that there was a man that I had to meet at the seminar as well. His name is Kermit Weeks. Now, I've heard of this guy before and know a few people who know him. So after a few minutes he comes over and I got a chance to talk to him for a while. What a cool guy.

Kermit has a place in Florida called Fantasy of Flight. It's an aviation museum and airport. By the way, Kermit has a significant collection of airplanes to go with his private airport. He was telling me about his airplanes and his dream for the museum. I was amazed just listening to him. This guy loves aviation and has flown and built a lot of airplanes.

By 1977, Kermit had built the "Weeks Special," an aerobatic aircraft of his own design and qualified for the United States Aerobatics Team. In 1978, he was runner-up among 61 competitors worldwide, earning three Silver medals and one Bronze medal in the World Aerobatics Championships staged in Czechoslovakia. Over the span of a dozen years, he placed in the top three in the world five times and won a total of 20 medals in World Aerobatics Championship competition. He has twice won the United States National Aerobatics Championship and has won several Invitational Masters Championships in different worldwide competitions.

I had to pinch myself to make sure it was all real by the time we were done talking. Here's the guy who's living my dream... (don't worry, I'll make it happen someday).

Kermit told me to give him a call if we were ever in his neck of the woods, and it turns out that it will be next week. I'm going to be in Florida and I'm planning on visiting his museum while we're there. I'll have to let you know how it goes. In the meantime, check out his website at Fantasy of Flight.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Great Georgia Airshow

The Great Georgia Airshow in Peachtree City, GA was absolutely incredible! My friend, Larry King performed in a SP-95 'Slava'. His airshow partner Phil Harcourt flew an Extra 300. Jim Leroy of Bulldog Airshows was there in his highly modified Pitts S-2S. Les Shockley drove his ShockWave Jet Truck to 378 mph on the runway with lots of smoke and fire.

All in all it was really awesome. It was small enough airshow to be able to see everything in one day, but it was big enough to make that day larger than life. There was a lot going on and the best part for me was that I got to hang out with all of the performing pilots for the whole day.

The day started off with the pilot briefing with the 'Air Boss'. He's the air traffic controller who is on the ground controlling the action and making sure that all of the airplanes are where they are supposed to be at the right times. He coordinates all the flights so that there's always something really cool going on.

The briefing consisted of the weather conditions for the day (which were great), which runway we were using, safety factors, emergency procedures, and pilot schedule. The average age of a person in the room was probably over 50 and there were a lot of aviation heros there.

One pilot was 82 years old and he flew a Piper Cub, and it was one of the best airshow acts that I have ever seen. His name is Charlie Kulp and he does a 'Flying Farmer' routine. The crowd thinks that he's never flown a plane before and he takes off and flies really crazy really close to the ground. The plane isn't fast or powerful, which makes his performance even more amazing. Because he is looping, rolling, and spinning the airplane within a few hundred feet of the ground. I was really impressed.

A highlight of the day for me came when I was picked to help hold a ribbon for Jim Leroy to cut with his airplane. A few of us went out on the runway during his flight and held up poles with a ribbon between them. Jim first flew under the two ribbons, and then on the next pass, he cut them both while he flew his plane sideways! He was flying close to 200 mph less than 25 feet from me. It was really loud and really cool.

At the end of the day, I took off in the Piper Comanche to return to my home airport. I can't wait until I can take off and roll inverted and put on the best show ever for lots of people. That day will come, and I'll keep you posted.

Blue Skies,


Monday, September 25, 2006

Flying the Pitts Model 12

I have to tell you about one of the coolest flights I've ever been on! A few days ago, I got to go flying in one of the greatest aerobatic airplanes of all time... the Pitts Model 12. It is incredible.

My friend Larry flies a Model 12 and generously offered to take me up for a spin, literally! We started by climbing into the macho biplane with a massive M-14P radial engine. We strapped on the parachute, then our five point aerobatic harness. It really feels like you are strapping the plane to yourself as you cinch down the belts.

Already, I feel like a hero!

Larry climbed into the back seat and started up the manly Russian engine. After a short taxi to the runway, we took off, and what a takeoff it was. We were airborne within a few hundred feet and climbed out at about a 60 degree angle. The Model 12 weighs less than 2000 pounds with Larry and myself. And the engine puts out 1600 pounds of thrust! Compare that to similar aerobatic planes that have 800 pounds of thrust with Lycoming engines. Needless to say, it was amazing.

A few miles from the airport, Larry turned the airplane over to me and we were soon doing aileron rolls and having a blast. I was able to do most of the flying as Larry coached me through hammer heads, loops, barrell rolls, steep turns, and inverted flat spins (actually he had to recover from the inverted spin because I had never done one before).

After what seemed like 28 seconds, it was time to head back. It had really been almost 20 minutes, but I wanted more. That airplane is the best airplane I have ever flown. Quick responses, fast, light, nimble, maneuverable, powerful, great visibility, and smoothness are some words that come to mind as a pilot. There is nothing that I want to do in an aerobatic airplane that the Model 12 can't do. And that's saying a lot, because my goal is to be the US National Aerobatic Champion. It might not happen in the next year or two, but it will happen.

I'll keep you posted on my aerobatic progress. But in the meantime, just know that Curtis Pitts left us with one of the most beautiful, powerful, and amazing airplanes of all time with the Model 12.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

San Francisco

I've just returned from San Francisco. It's an awesome city with a great climate, excellent food, and good tourist attractions. Flying into SFO - San Francisco's main airport, was exciting. Our approach path brought us in over the bay area and we landed on the runway that is partially in the bay itself. The airport is right next to the water and you're actually over the water until you cross the runway threshhold. I'll tell you what though, that airport is hard to navigate once you land though. But all in all, a nice place.

I got a few pictures of airplanes that I saw flying over the bay and Alcatraz. And I saw a helicopter flying low under the fog near the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco is a great town, but I don't know if I could live there because of the fairly constant fog. I prefer VFR flying if I have a choice. And I think it wouldn't be fun dealing with all that fog all the time.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

FlyUSA Club


As a pilot, I get to meet a lot of really cool people, and be a part of a lot of really awesome groups. I wanted to tell you about a group that I just joined. It's called the FlyUSA Club.

I'm always looking for ways to improve myself and my flying skills. I think that anybody who wants to be a better pilot should seek to learn the most that they can from the best sources. You never know which nugget of wisdom you'll pick up when you find programs to educate yourself.

FlyUSA is a program that gives you a lot of great tools that you can use to make yourself a better pilot. Here's what you get when you join the FlyUSA Club:

Informative Online presentations that are packed with exactly what you need to know to succeed and save money in your flight training!

-How much does it really cost to learn to fly?
-Where to get financial aid for training
-What is part 61 and part 141?
-Tips on how to control cost
-What can you do as a pilot
-What will you do in your training?
-Why will this help make your life good!
-Career options, there are more than you think
-The training vs. income time line - very important!
-Your aviation medical certificate - very important!
-What about college and aviation careers?
-Flight Training Financial Aid
-All about student loans
-You and your credit
-How to qualify?
-Where to go for more information
-And a whole lot more!

You also get member only access to the FlyUSA forum in their Pilot Forums for help in locating a flight school and help while in training!

Click here to get access now:
Pilot Journey

Plus, one of the coolest things in my opinion - you get a FlyUSA member number that you can use for discounts on Pilot Supplies and products at some online stores like Budget Pilot, Velocity Design and others! This alone is worth the price of admission!

But unlike most things in aviation that might be a little on the expensive side, one of the great things about FlyUSA is that for all that you get - it costs a lot less than you might think!

I personally checked out the FlyUSA program for you to make sure that it was the 'real deal'.

Now is the time to get in on this unbelievable deal before these guys realize that they are practically giving this membership away!

Go here right now to improve yourself as a pilot:
FlyUSA Club

Blue Skies,


PS- I was so excited to find out about this program because I'm always looking for the best ways to make myself a better pilot.
Click here and become a member now!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pitts Model 12

On Wednesday, I had the priviledge of going to the Pitts Model 12 factory in Florida. It's located at a private grass strip owned by the Kimball family. Here, the Kimballs make one of the most beautiful, powerful, and amazing airplanes ever conceived... the Model 12. It's a design by Curtis Pitts himself. The Kimbals have the exclusive right to build this awesome airplane.

You can check the Model 12 out here:

Jim Kimball is the president of the company and his son Kevin is Vice President. Kevin took the time to show us around and we really got to see their operation in full swing. They usually average 3 to 4 airplanes finished per year. Keep in mind that this is a family business with only 11 employees.

Another cool thing was getting to see the new Pitts Viper that they are building for Jim LeRoy of Bulldog Aerobatics. The Viper will be a one of a kind airplane designed specifically for Jim as his new main airplane. So far, the Kimballs have finished most of the frame, wings, and tail surfaces. The next step will be covering the frame and airfoils. The plane should be finished by the end of the year.

Larry King of Airshow Unlimited came along on our flight to tell us all about the Model 12. Larry has flown 13 of the 32 Model 12's that have been built by the Kimballs. He's also flown 6 of them on their first test flights! If you have been to EAA Airventure, Oshkosh, and stopped by the IAC building, chances are you've met him. He'll be happy to talk to you about the Model 12 at the airshow.

I really feel priviledged to have been to the factory and can only dream of flying a Pitts Model 12 and drool over them in the meantime! I'll say this though, the Kimballs make a really incredible airplane.

Jim Kimball Enterprises
Airshow Unlimited

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wow, have I been busy!

The past few months have been great for a lot of reasons. But one that stands out to me the most was my trip to Oshkosh, WI for EAA Airventure 2006. What an incredible week. If you are a pilot, there's a 99.9% chance you've heard of Oshkosh and the Worlds Greatest Aviation Celebration that takes place there once a year.
This was my second trip to Airventure, but this time, I got to arrive in style - in a Piper Comanche 400. What an adventure! The arrival procedures to the airport are detailed and you have to print off a 30 page document detailing the exact procedures. I had built it up in my mind so much as being a difficult task that when I actually flew in, it was really pretty easy and the Air Traffic Controllers there are really cool!
We got a great parking/camping spot and wore ourselves out looking at all of the aviation booths. I was there for a total of five days and each day was new and different. One or two days at Airventure is not enough. There is just too much to see and do to take in in less than a few days.
I've had the priviledge of teaching a lot of people how to fly, and this is definately one of the rewards. I have to be honest with you, my favorite part is the aerobatic planes and the airshow each day. I want to learn to fly aerobatics more than anything else! I actually just ordered a couple books off of Amazon so I can get a better idea of what's going on in the airshow and aerobatic world. I've been teaching flying lessons for over 4 years now, and hopefully I'll get a chance to continue to spread my love of aviation for many more years. But for now, if you want to see some of the pics from my trip, check it out here.
Check back soon for some great updates and awesome aviation information.

Blue Skies,

Matt Tanner

Sunday, December 18, 2005

New Article

Here's a link to my new article.

Learn to fly

I hope your flying is going well and Merry Christmas!

Blue Skies,