First Flight
First Solo
Private Pilot
PIC Complex
PIC High Pref
IFR Rating
Commercial 12/13/04
PIC Tail Wheel

Welcome To My Web Site

This site is about airplanes and flying. I initially created the site to record a journal of my Private Pilot training, but now its growing with other miscellanous articles related to aviation and my other interests. Have a look around, have fun.

Latest Update July 20th 2006

Moved the YouTube links of my Hang Gliding videos to the article on the camera mount and added a link to my weight loss blog below. Removed link to weather script until its fixed.

Interesting Stuff

I have a new Solar Power system just installed and here is a live feed of its performance.

Don't Lose a Friend to Scientology

About 9 Years ago I lost a good friend to the cult of Scientology. A guy I had gone to school with, helped get his first job in California and lived with for 3 years got interested in Scientology from a guy he met at his work. Not long after he quit his job in San Jose and moved to San Francisco, for about a year he stayed in contact. He would tell us about the cool things he was learning and courses he had taken. Then he just cut himself of from his friends. He stoped answering his phone, never returned messages and eventually disappeared altogether. Since then I've spent some time learning about this group.

Come VisitOperation Clambake





About Me

I grew up in a place call Tramore on the southeast coast of Ireland. I went to school in the local Christian Brothers and to college in Waterford Regional Technical College where I studied Electronic Engineering. I was recruited out of college by a Japanese company and I worked in Japan for about a year and a half. I was then transferred to Sacramento, California to work in the US office of the same company. I spent about 4 years in Sacramento, which is about 3.9 years too long. It is surely the most boring spot on Earth. I then moved to a new job in San Jose, right in the heart of Silicon Valley where I remain to this day.

I have worked as a Crazy Golf Keeper, a Sign Painter, a Hotel Porter, a Barman, a Maintenance Technician and since 1990 as some version or other of an Electronic Engineer. Today I'm CEO of a hitech Silicon Valley startup company called NanoNexus.











Update History

07/20/06 Added link to weight loss blog, moved YouTube videos to camera mount page.
06/12/06 Added Hang-2 milestone and link to YouTube video.
05/08/06 Added an article on my '96 Toyota 4Runner hang glider rack and 2M radio installation.
05/04/06 Added an article on building a radio headset & PTT for hang gliding. 
04/13/06 Added an article on how to build a camera mount for a hang glider.
04/02/06 Added a footnote to the tail dragger endorsement now that I actually finish it.
03/01/06 Added Bay Area DEM files for download. Added hang-gliding video on front page. Moved the Wx to a side panel. Fixed some misc links that had broken and changed my email address.
04/03/05 Added Micro-Wx - PHP script to deliver basic Wx my Blackberry phone
12/13/04 Added a write-up of my Commercial Pilot Checkride.
06/24/04 Added a write-up of my trip to Mojave AIrport for the Launch of SpaceShipOne
05/01/04 Added real time METAR & TAFs for a quick weather look - METARS are color coded for flight conditions.
04/28/04 Added Update History - how's that for recursion and the second tail dragger journal entry.
04/26/04 Added first entry of my Tail Dragger Endorsement training in the journals section.
04/21/04 Added write-up of my IFR checkride in the journals section.
04/18/04 Re-designed Home Page & reorganize content.
01/26/04 Added a write up of my recent flying trip in the Philippines.
12/14/03 Added a link to my IFR CFI Max Trescott's web page and fixed some other broken links.
12/10/03 Added a page to download DEM files for California. Prelude to putting a tutorial together for using the 3DEM software I use for creating maps from my GPS tracks.
















Space Weather Links - A great site for getting the latest news about what's going on in local space. Auroras, meteor showers, solar conditions the planets and the moon.
Today's Space Weather - Up to the minute data from various satellites that tell you many key parameters of the local space weather. The site includes a 3-day forecast of conditions. Fairly technical.
Space Weather Now - Up to the minute solar weather data - especially almost real time display of active auroras.
SOHO - Web page for the SOHO spacecraft which monitors the sun.

Satellites & Launches - Excellent site for satellite tracking. You can enter your coordinates and it will predict Iridium flares, ISS & Hubble over flights of your location.
Vandenberg AFB launch schedule - If you live on the Central California Coast or in the San Francisco Bay Area the you can see many rocket launches from Vandenberg as long as you know when to look. This site has the best available times - though many are classified and not released until just before launch.

Space Missions
Hubble Space Telescope - Home page for the Hubble with many of its images available
Mars Global Surveyor - Home page for the Mars mapping mission
Cassini - Home page for the Cassini mission to Saturn

Digital Mapping
USA Aviation Database for the Magellan 315/315A/320 GPS Receiver - A great person who maintains a current aviation database for the whole USA, including airports, VOR's and Fixes for IFR routes. The database can be downloaded into your Magellan GPS with the DataSend software you purchase from Magellan (about $40). The Point of Interest data includes the basic data from the A/FD. These Magellan receivers retail for around $100 so you can get a basic GPS filled with current aviation data very cheap.
Bay Area Regional Database - From the USGS. A lot of free downloadable map data including 10M Digital Elevation Models (DEM) data for the whole bay area. Also has DRG, DLG & DOQ data available.
California Spatial Information Library - A lot of mapping data and resources for the Golden State
USGS DEM Data for USA - 1-Degree (Scale 1:250,000) DEM data for the whole country
Microsoft Terraserver - A very powerful mapserver page.

GPS Links
JT - A good links page to many GPS/GIS resources
Maps & GPS - A pretty good links page to maps and GPS resources
GPS Software Links - A good page of links and review of various commercial and shareware GPS mapping programs.
GPS Drawing - A weird art site where people can submit tracks they have recorded on theory GPS as art forms. Basically draw your picture by moving around on the earths surface recording with your GPS as you go.

GPS Software for your PC
3DEM - The coolest free software for GPS mapping. It takes standard USGS DEM data, reads GPS data from Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers and allows you to create 3D maps of the data. You can also overlay DRG maps onto the 3D terrain or overlay bitmaps. This is what I use for the GPS tracks in my flight log.
GPS Track - A French Site with a fairly capable GPS mapping program. Works with A3D2002 to create 3D maps.
A3D2002 - Another French site. Shareware to take GPS tracks from GPS Track or OziExplorer and create 3D plots of the data (most mapping software just plots the latitude and longitude not altitude). Ok, but mostly French menus.
GPS Positioner - Shareware geared for boating. Reads nautical chart data and can connect your GPS receiver to the chart in real time to show you current position.
TrackMaker - Shareware GPS mapping software
GPS Utility - A fairly good shareware mapping program.

Weather & Planning
AOPA (Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association) - Need to be a member to access flight planning.
DUATS (DynCorp) - The official site to get weather briefings and flight planning information. Need to be a pilot or student and registered with DynCorp.
HPC (Hydrometeorological Prediction Center) - Starting point for surface weather conditions.
ADDS (Aviation Digital Data Service) - Experimental government site with excellent tools covering all aspects of aviation weather data.
NOAA (National Weather Service Aviation Weather Center) - Parent site of ADDS. - The Weather Channel's aviation weather site.
Pilot Weather Briefing - Even more aviation weather.
Accuweather San Jose - Local forecast for San Jose CA.
Accuweather Aviation - The accuweather aviation section.
SF - Excellent local site for getting forecast of marine layer fog in the Bay Area.