Stories by Francis Zera

EDITOR-AT-LARGE / DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY - SEATTLE, WA Francis Zera is a Seattle-based architectural, aerial, aviation, and commercial photographer, a freelance photojournalist, and a confirmed AvGeek.
Coming in to land at BFI following my first training flight with Galvin Flying

This is a continuation of my multi-part series on learning to fly. You can read the introduction here. As of now, I’ve completed the stage one and two ground-school exams. These exams are administered by the ground-school instructor at Galvin Flying and serve as checkpoints; they don’t count toward the FAA exam.I’ve passed them both, which is encouraging (a passing grade is 70% – I did quite a bit better than that).We’ve already covered basic aerodynamics, powerplants, flight instruments, airspace, airports, communications, and flight safety. We just wrapped up the comprehensive weather and FAA regulation sections; now it’s on to flight planning, which is where the math starts. We’ll learn to compute things like fuel consumption rates, time/speed/distance, endurance, airspeed, density altitude, and wind correction angles.

Ground school wraps up on May 25th with a comprehensive knowledge test, which is basically a full-on practice version of the proper FAA exam.Theoretically, if we’ve successfully completed the course, we’ll then be prepared to plunk down the roughly $165 to take the FAA written test; a grade of at least 70% is required to pass.I’ve also started flight training. I didn’t mention before, but basically my butt is a bit too heavy for the Cessna 152, which is the aircraft I’d originally planned to train in, primarily for the $60/hour cost savings over the larger C172. Putting two 200 lb. adult males (my CFI isn’t a small guy, either) in a C152 means no cross-country flights, as the aircraft’s maximum payload limit leaves room for no more than 1/2 tank of fuel. I won’t lie, though, I do like the larger plane.

The business end of a Cessna 172, the type of plane I'll be learning to fly.

Yep. I’m finally doing it. After close to a decade of talking about taking flying lessons, and after a couple of false starts, I’ve plunked down my money and started ground school last month with Galvin Flying at King County International Airport, aka Boeing Field, aka BFI, in Seattle. Flying is both a spendy and […]

Cathay Pacific's inaugural departure from Sea-Tac Airport

Cathay Pacific”s new non-stop service from Seattle to Hong Kong launched on April 1 with four flights per week; the service will go daily starting July 1. The new offering is the only current flight between the two Pacific Rim cities; that should make it a popular option for travelers.

Cathay Pacific is using its excellent Airbus A350-900 on the route, which is now the airline”s eighth to the United States and follows existing services to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), New York (Newark), San Francisco, and Washington DC.