MNPD brings Helicopter for October Meeting

EAA863 was excited to have Officer Nathan Dungan with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) out to M54. Ofc. Dungan flew a Bell OH-58A helicopter to Lebanon and shared his personal aviation journey and presented on Law Enforcement in Aviation.

Flight Path

The EAA is special to Ofc. Dungan as he got his first flight in a small airplane at age 12 at a Young Eagles flight. Ofc. Dungan said he was hooked on aviation ever since and wanted to pursue a pilot’s license after that flight. It should come as no surprise that he now is co-owner of a small airplane, a Citabria. Ofc. Dungan joined the National Guard at 18 and served in an artillery capacity initially. After he got out of the National Guard, Ofc. Dungan joined Metro Nashville Police and worked the patrol and traffic divisions before moving into the aviation unit.

Ofc. Dungan’s Citabria sits next to a Blackhawk

Ofc. Dungan’s journey to the flight deck was not immediate. Ofc. Dungan would become a Warrant Officer in the National Guard flying Blackhawks before flying for Metro. “The training took a year and a half” said Ofc. Dungan as he recalled his time training in the US Army National Guard. Ofc. Dungan said the Army does a great job training its pilots and condenses years of learning into a smaller span of time. The benefits of flying professionally in two capacities are many. “I get double the training and can stay current” comments Ofc. Dungan as he answered questions from EAA863 members.

What is it like to fly in Law Enforcement?

Ofc. Dungan said that flying in law enforcement is fun and intense. The crews are setup with two people, both pilots, and that one operates the aircraft and handles the aviation radios, while the other operates the police radios and observes police activities on the ground. Both practice good Crew Resource Management (CRM) to ensure safe operation at all times and both function to lookout for anything unsafe in the aircraft; both in the air and on the ground.

MNPD has six aircraft. Four Bell OH58A helicopters that they obtained from the Army Surplus program and two McDonnell Douglas (MD) 500E which were purchased by the police department. Flying both have its differences and Ofc. Dungan described the Bell OH58A as having controls that need constant light adjustment and the 500E’s as setting the controls and the input staying there. Both are fun to fly and great aircraft.

With six aircraft, good fleet management and preventative maintenance are a must. Ofc. Dungan said that MNPD does a good job keeping the aircraft in top mechanical condition and in a mission ready status.

What is a typical mission for police flying?

Ofc. Dungan said that their missions range from callouts to observations and over-watch, special events, and community engagement. Callous for the police helicopter include searching for robbery and shooting suspects, stolen vehicle recoveries, police pursuits, and missing and lost person recoveries. MNPD’s aviation unit handles over 2000 callouts annually which results in a lot of flying. Staffing for such a large volume of callouts is handled by just six officers working in two officer shifts. Ofc. Dungan said they are always considering additional police officer aviators and that the skillset for both law enforcement and aviation is very specialized and certainly in demand. “You need to be a good police officer to be a good police aviator,” described Ofc. Dungan. “You have to know and expect criminal behavior and understand where things are on the ground in relation to the air.” Indeed, this can be a challenging environment to operate in and CRM is a must. Ofc. Dungan loves what he does and enjoys the flying and interacting with the community.

The members of EAA863, Lebanon Airport, and Direct Flight Solutions would like to thank Ofc. Dungan for his service to his country flying Blackhawks in the National Guard and his service to the City of Nashville as a police officer and pilot. EAA863 would especially like to thank MNPD for coming out to our chapter meeting and allowing Ofc. Dungan to bring the helicopter. This was a great meeting and an inspiration to our aspiring future aviators.

Learn More and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.

August Chapter Meeting

EAA863’s August chapter meeting focused on safety and alertness. Member Gary Soloway organized a panel of pilots, also Chapter Members, to share their experiences when dealing with less than ideal circumstances.

Russ Stiles discussed “Bingo” fuel, or the point you need to use reserve fuel while flying a CH-53 helicopter. Russ was able to eventually link up with a C130 refueler that he had called for earlier despite not knowing where the refueler was since he was below the cloud layer.

EAA863 member Russ Stiles

Mike McGrew shared how he “analyzed the situation, made a plan, and excited that plan” when he lost an engine while descending from 6k through 3k feet over Memphis, TN. Mike was able to land safely on a road.

EAA863 member Mike McGrew

Finally, Michael Kennedy shared how handled a loss of an engine, and visibility when the oil from the engine coated his cockpit windows while flying at an air show. Michael did land safely despite not being able to see and loss of his engine.

EAA863 Michael Kennedy

Well done guys! Many takeaways from this meeting.

July Chapter Meeting

EAA863 member Bruce Thomas

EAA863’s own Bruce Thomas led the July chapter meeting presentation with a focus on safety. Bruce presented, “Passenger Ready – A look at Airworthiness and Pilot Currency.” Bruce highlighted that the decision to fly, with or without passengers, is up to the pilot in command.

Bruce stressed the emphasis on currency, in the aircraft that you fly, and how comfortable you, as the pilot in command, feel about your aircraft. Bruce noted that pilots should be mindful of how their aircraft flew the last time they had it out and if the aircraft had just come out of maintenance. Both scenarios, if adverse, should be addressed before carrying passengers on the next flight.

Bruce kept the presentation interactive, and polled the audience with two scenarios, having his children assist with the collection of the ballots. First, Bruce polled the audience with which aircraft the audience would feel comfortable letting their children fly in. Second, Bruce polled the audience with which pilot, the audience would feel comfortable letting their children fly in. This led to some great conversations, laughs, and ultimately, a safety discussion which is what Bruce intended.

Thanks Bruce for a great presentation and a job well done!

June Chapter Meeting

Our June EAA863 chapter meeting was a lot of fun! We had pizza, laughs and learned about flight simulators. That’s right, anything to do with airplanes is fair to discuss at EAA863. EAA863 is a group of aviation enthusiasts promoting aviation through events and community outreach.

Member Jeff Wreyford, and private pilot, presented his 10+ year build on his home flight simulator. However, this is not any flight simulator with rudder pedals and a yoke. This is more! Way more! Jeff has built an entire Boeing 737 flight deck in his basement. Complete with new throttle quadrant with full motorization of the throttles and speed brake, Jeff routinely takes flights around the world.

Jeff shared that life’s journey had put a little turbulence on his flight journey. He began several years ago with his private pilot license and continued on and attempted to get his instrument rating. However, working full time and family demands slowed his progress. While Jeff admitted that he didn’t complete his instrument rating, the most important thing is that Jeff never lost sight of his dream. He knew in full high definition what he wanted – to fly a jet.

After the kids were grown and out of the house and off to college. Jeff set out about 10 years ago to build a 737 flight simulator. The 737 is Jeff’s favorite aircraft and it shows in his work on the simulator. Jeff did not build all of this from scratch. He enlisted the help of well-known flight simulator and actual certified flight training device manufacturer, Flight Deck Solutions (FDS).

Having a keen eye for detail, Jeff flew up and met the owners of FDS before committing to the purchase of the products. Jeff purchased the enthusiast line of products. The enthusiast line are products that mimic the real aircraft but are not certified for actual flight simulation time. Meaning, Jeff could not use his simulator as an officially certified flight training device.

Next, after having met the FDS team Jeff placed his order and the first piece to arrive was the main instrument panel (MIP). After the MIP, he continued on with the flooring and sides of the cockpit. Jeff continued adding pieces until he finished the cockpit shell and instrumentation, complete with seats. Additionally, Jeff has worked with others in the flight sim community and flies with live virtual ATC and files flight plans just like in the real airplane.

What’s next for Jeff? Jeff says that he is currently working on a heads-up display (HUD). Jeff recently bought a HUD, out of a real aircraft, on eBay and is writing software to make it work with flight sim. Additionally, Jeff says that he still has to work on wiring the overhead panel too and other little things. Jeff’s passion for his flight simulator is evident and there are sure to be little projects that flare up to keep him busy. For now, Jeff said he is actually enjoying flying the simulator and not working on it so much.

Learn more and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.

Cook Out and Flyover

Our special chapter members only cookout on Saturday May 30th was a success! We had beautiful weather, lots of planes, friends, hamburgers and hotdogs. What more could you ask for?! We even had a special fly over of Wilson County Schools to honor graduating 2020 seniors.

Grilling and Fellowship

Several EAA863 members parked their airplanes on the ramp and came into the Sattler Hanger for good conversation and fellowship while we waited for the delicious food to finish grilling. It has been said that pilots love to talk about their airplanes as much as they love to fly them. EAA863’s members are no exception. EAA863 even had a live-stream of the NASA SpaceX launch. Airplane lovers are natural space and rocket lovers too. It would be fair to say that we love anything that flies. It does not matter if it has wings, rotors, or rockets; as long as it flies, we enjoy it. Five minutes before launch of SpaceX, member Brian Thompson threatened to pull the power cord on the back of the TV. We can safely say, the majority ruled, and Brian left the TV plugged in. Thank you, Brian.

Flyover honoring graduates

This flyover was organized by EAA863 members Parker Loughney and Toby McCrary. Parker is an aviation enthusiast and likely future pilot who wanted to pay tribute to the 2020 graduating class. Parker said he got inspired after watching the military flyovers honor the hero healthcare, military and other first responders. Parker contacted Toby and they began planning the flyover with four planes in total. Their scheduled timing of the flight plan was impeccable and surely beneficial to those on the ground at the respective schools. Parker and Toby were featured by Wilson County Schools. Thank you, Parker and Toby! Indeed, there is no better way to commentate these 2020 graduates than with an airplane flyover!

Learn More and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.