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Taking Flight with Michael "Rocket" Blackstone
15 minutes | Dec 22, 2020
Episode 17: Christmas Star Flight in the Cirrus SR22
In this episode, Michael takes you up in the Cirrus SR22 for a night flight to practice instrument approaches with the G-1000 and to witness the Christmas Star over the Pacific Ocean! Michael attempts to explain in layman's terms what this incredibly rare event is for those of you who have any interest in the science of astronomy. This event is called a "Great Conjunction" and is not only beautiful but it helps you feel the power of what scientific knowledge can do and how its helping us unlock of the secrets of our Universe. We as humans are small and insignificant but we have learned so much since the last time this event happened in 1623. Take a look at this rare celestial event with Michael in the southwestern skies over Los Angeles either from a Cirrus or just step outside and open your eyes wide!
30 minutes | Dec 12, 2020
Episode 16: My First Flight In The Cirrus SR22
In this episode, Michael takes his first flight in an SR22! Experience the most successful most modern, most capable single engine piston aircraft on the planet as Michael takes his first lesson in the SR22. The incredibly designed 'Cirrus Perspective' Avionics package using the Garmin G1000 navigation is revolutionary and represents the direction of the future of all aviation. Michael's excitement on his first experience in this amazing aircraft shows how perfect of an aircraft Cirrus has built.
49 minutes | Dec 11, 2020
Episode 15: Flying The Pitts S-2A Cross Country
Michael talks with his friend Art Koral about his recent purchase and delivery of his 1981 Pitts S-2A. Michael recalls taking his first flight in his dad's 1981 Pitts S-2A at age 8, which triggered him to buy his own 1998 Pitts S-2C when he was 26. These amazing aerobatic biplanes are legendary in the aerobatic world but both have significant challenges when taking the on cross country flights. Listen to these two biplane nuts talk about the things that can make the trip way more challenging (and a bit scary at times) than either had hoped for!
25 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Episode 14: My First Airliner - The Saab 340
In this episode, Michael takes you flying in the Saab 340 from his Business Express days between February 26, 1998 - January 1999. During his time at 'Biz Ex', Michael flew as a co-pilot on the Saab 340A/B accumulating over 700 hours of turbine time. He was based out of Portland, Maine, and then Boston Massachusetts. Michael loved flying this amazing aircraft because of what it was capable of and how it made him into a highly skilled airline pilot. The Saab 340 is an aircraft with the capability of carrying 34 passengers up to 1,000 nm at 250 knots all day long, in all weather conditions. Those pilots who have been lucky enough to fly the Saab 340 love it for how fun it is to fly and how safe and reliable it is.
56 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Episode 13: My First "Solos" at American Airlines
In this episode, Michael takes you back to his first solo flights at American Airlines as a new hire in 1999. Michael started his career at age 25 as a Flight Engineer on the Boeing 727, then transitioned to the Boeing 757/767 fleet where he became a First Officer and flew his first 'solo' with his father as the Captain of his first trip on the line. Then Michael became a Captain of the Boeing 737-800 and flew his first 'solo' flight as a Captain on December 16, 2015.
43 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Episode 12: My First Solo in the Marchetti SF-260
In this episode, Michael takes you back to 1990, when his father soloed him at at the Chino Airport on April 15, at age 17, in the Marchetti SF-260C. On this spring day, Michael and his dad shared an experience that very few lucky pilots get to share together. This historic moment marks when Michael's father passes the torch of flying from one generation to the next. Michael soloed in 1990, but he has been airborne ever since. It has now been over 30 years since that beautiful day in Chino took place that sparked a career in aviation flying jets for a major airline, just like his father.
51 minutes | Nov 29, 2020
Episode 11: The Making of Air Combat USA
In this episode, Michael takes you back to 1986, the year of TopGun and shares how Air Combat USA was created. From the time Michael was a child, he and his father loved fighter aircraft. Michael's passion for Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) comes out, as he shares what it was like to teach aerial combat for over 4,000 hours in the Marchetti SF-260! 3-2-1 Fights On!
36 minutes | Nov 28, 2020
Episode 10: The Art of Flying Fighters
In this episode, Michael introduces you to the art of flying fighters. If you have always wondered what flying a WWII fighter is like and how to get the most performance from your flying machine, this episode is for you. Michael walks you through what Angle-of-Attack (AOA) is and how it works, the difference between Rate vs. Radius and what the Lift Vector is used for while flying the Marchetti SF260 "right to the edge of the envelope" in a Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) 1 vs 1 Dogfight! 3-2-1 Fight's On!!
46 minutes | Nov 26, 2020
Episode 9: Epic 1000 Mile Journey In My Cockpit Waco Biplane
In this episode, Michael takes you on an epic 1,090 mile journey from Orange County, CA to Sherman, Texas in his open cockpit Waco biplane. Michael and his friends son, Danny, who is learning to fly, gets the experience of a lifetime flying with Michael in his beautiful open cockpit Waco biplane for 12.5 hours of stick and rudder time. Experience what it was like to fly a 1935 designed aircraft, when even a gentle 10 knot crosswind made for a formidable challenge. You will find out what it takes to fly an open cockpit Waco in instrument conditions out of John Wayne Orange County (KSNA) before dawn, fly across the Arizona and New Mexico deserts when its nearly 100 degrees, fly over Possum Kingdom and into the Dallas Forth Worth, Texas area for a night landing at 9 pm on a hot summer day in 2020.
19 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
Episode 8: Top 5 Reasons Aviation Rocks
In this episode, Michael talks about what the most exciting areas in aviation are. From the time Michael experienced flight for the first time, aerobatics has been the most influential on his decision to make flying his life. Formation flying, and aerial combat in his father's company Air Combat USA in the Marchetti SF-260s sealed the deal. If you are looking for a reason to learn to fly, here are 5 reasons to start today, for a life of incredible adventures, trips to far away places, on your days off, to flying corporate jets on your way to the major airlines.
53 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Episode 7: What Are The Best (And Worst) Traits of Pilots?
In this episode, Michael highlights the optimal traits and personality characteristics of the best pilots he has had the pleasure of flying with over the last 30 years. There are many similarities between all pilots when it comes to following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), following the checklist, attention to detail, discipline, and honing our flying skills. There are so many ways we pilots get extraordinaryly good at managing our careers and our personal lives. Michael then digs a bit deeper and goes into some of the sacrifices, shortcomings, and deficiencies that become an accomplished pilot has had on his personal life. For every action (or lack thereof), there is an equal and opposite reaction, or some consequences that will be manifested for everything we do. Taking massive action will reap many rewards in this arena, but always be cognizant of the potential ramifications of how your actions or your delivery may be received by others who don't fly for a living. Be kind. Be understanding. Be patient. Life is about striking a balance. Like your aircraft you must find your personal center of gravity and stay within the limits.
21 minutes | Nov 23, 2020
Episode 6: The 9 Things My Dad Taught Me About Flying
In this episode, Michael reflects back on thousands of flights he took with his father. From the very beginning, starting in his dad's Pitts, Michael learned from one of the best aviators in the business how to safely handle emergencies inflight, on the ground and before they happen. These are 9 of the most useful tips Michael's father taught him over the last 2 decades that have helped keep him and his tens of thousands of passengers safe for 30,000 hours of accident free flying in the 9 aircraft types he has been qualified in.
37 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
Episode 5: Final Transcon In My Beech 18 - So Long Blackstone Airways
In this episode, Michael takes you along as he flies his 'Twin Beech' for the last time on a 1,911 nm transcon from the West Coast to the East Coast on his final flight as the Captain of his own 1957 Beech E18S - 9600, one of the first true airliners of the 1940s-50s. This flight represents the end of an era for Michael, as he hands the keys to his vintage pride and joy to the new owners of his award winning 1957 Beech 18, N90TT. The transcon journey took only 14 hours and 18 minutes over a 3 day epic flght, but this flight represents the culmination of his flying career, letting go of the past to move on to a hopeful future. Michael clearly loved flying and owning this incredible work of aviation art. You will surely be able to hear the passion in his voice as he shares the respect he had for this time machine with you as well as his dedication to mastering the art of flying a true legend of the sky - The Beech 18 - Warmly known by those who fly them as simply the "Twin Beech."
23 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Episode 4: Flight Training - Your First Steps Towards Earning Your Private Pilot License
In this episode, Michael shares with you what his first steps were to getting his Private Pilot License, and how much fun it was to achieve this at age 17, when it was more difficult than it is today to locate and learn the required information. Michael then lays out for you what steps you should take right now to start your adventure of earning your Private Pilot Certificate. Michael believes that flying is far more accessible, and mare attainable today than ever before due to the massive advancements in technology over the last 20 years. Rocket hopes you will use these modern tools and time saving tips to earn your Private Pilot License much quicker and more efficiently than ever before! Take this challenge and capture your dream of becoming a certified Private Pilot!
70 minutes | Nov 18, 2020
Episode 3: Mastering The Pitts S-2C
In this episode, Michael walks you through the intricate details of operating his Pitts S-2C. You will learn the major differences between the Pitts models and why Michael chose the Pitts S-2C as his first aircraft to share his love of aviation with the world in. Get ready learn how to fly aerobatics in a Pitts S-2C. Learn how Michael became 'one with the aircraft' by feeling what its telling you by how it feels in your hand. Curtis Pitts designed his aircraft to fly aerobatics better and longer than any other in history and to bring the pilots who fly it joy. He succeeded.
28 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
Episode 2: The Making of SkyThrills!
In this episode, you will hear how Michael "Rocket" Blackstone bought his first aircraft, the 1998 Pitts S-2C, and created SkyThrills! from scratch with almost no money saved and no one helping him financially. "Rocket" was a 26 year old professional aerobatic pilot flying 10 days per month for the airlines, with around 3,500 hours total time and about 200 hours in his dad's Pitts S-2A! Michael loves proving that anyone can make their flying dreams happen with enough hard work, a small line of credit, and nerves of steel. Michael then proceeded to build a fleet 4 stunning aircraft at his aviation company over the next 20 years, nearly single handedly. Michael has proven over the years that a true aviator, with a dream, heartfelt passion, and a cast iron stomach to keep going when things get tough, can make anything happen in the world of aviation!
56 minutes | Nov 16, 2020
Episode 1: Journey to the Top of the Aviation World
This episode introduces you to Michael "Rocket" Blackstone and a brief look back over the last 30 years at his colorful history in the aviation world! Michael began flying with his father, Michael "Maverick" Blackstone, at just 8 years old, learning to fly aerobatics with his dad's aerobatic Pitts S-2A biplane. Since then, "Rocket" has become a skilled aviator flying Marchetti SF-260 fighter planes and teaching air combat maneuvers like you saw in the Tom Cruise blockbuster TOPGUN for his father's aviation thrill ride company Air Combat USA for over 20 years. Michael also started his own flying business in 1999, called SkyThrills teaching aerobatics and giving thrill rides in his aerobatic Pitts stunt biplane just for fun. Michael has also become an airline pilot for a major airline flying the Boeing 737, 757, and 767 flying all over the world. Michael has safely amassed nearly 30,000 hours of flying time in the air and he has no intention of slowing down any time soon. Spend some time listening to Michael and ask him any question you may have about flying planes, learning to fly, starting a flying business, or about getting into the airline industry, and Michael will surely get right back to you the with the answers you need while motivating you to get excited about taking that next step in aviation! Michael is a incredibly rare resource these days, with his immense passion for flying, and solid knowledge of this often challenging and competitive flying industry, Michael wants to pass his knowledge on to the next generation of aviators, he hopes will one day follow in his footsteps. Michael has dedicated his life to aviation and is now ready to help you get into aviation as a pilot while making flying a way of life, for you as a career not only possible but a reality just like he has done. Michael shares his incites in this episode of how he got into aviation, why aviation is his passion, and why some people have not been able to get themselves into aviation to learn to fly. Michael also explores his view of the future of aviation in our post Covid-19 world. Michael concludes this episode with 5 things he feels you should do to begin your journey into aviation right now. So if you are thinking about learning to fly, starting a flying business or are considering become a professional airline pilot, this episode is for you. Yes, you can do this, and now is the best time to begin. Michael's passion for flying, knowledge of the business and his aviation flying skills will guide you every step of the way.
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