On November 9, 2013, my aviation blog, FlyBoyz, took off and went ‘Live’ meaning that we’ve been airborne for one year now!
As I celebrate the blog’s one year anniversary, I thought I’d reflect back a bit over the past year and see where my flight of re-discovery has brought me and FlyBoyz.
My goal with FlyBoyz remains the same as when I started it: to chronicle my aviation related experiences, activities, discoveries, and thoughts as a means of sharing my flight of re-discovery of aviation with other like-minded aviation folks. In looking back over the past year, I think that, to date, I have been pretty successful in accomplishing that goal.
As evidenced by everything that I have presented in FlyBoyz over the past year, I have become totally re-immersed in aviation. It has been a whirlwind of activity and it has been a lot of fun. One thing that I have learned is that there is no end to the number of areas of interest that comprise aviation and aerospace. And as you may have guessed by reading FlyBoyz , my interest in those areas is all over the place.
Nonetheless, there have been a few special personal interest areas that have become apparent to me over the past year.
- My interest in model building is much stronger than ever and to some extent surpasses my interest in model flying.
- My interest in control line flying also remains strong and I see it as an opportunity to combine a form of flying that I feel confident doing (i.e. not many plane crashes!) with my desire to build some great vintage scale plane kits.
- I have ‘re-discovered’ a great interest in stick and tissue free flight models. This has proven to be a frustrating interest given my lack of building skills and some developing medical issues. On the skills side, I look at models built by ‘Master Modelers’ and wonder if I will ever achieve their skill level. Progress is being made on that front but, by my standards, is frustratingly slow. On the medical side, my Essential Tremors and worsening eyesight make working with the small, delicate stick and tissue balsa pieces problematic at best. Leave it to me to go small with my interests versus large scale!
- I am totally impressed with the aerial photography and videography that have been made possible due to the combination of high resolution cameras and new flight platforms such as quadcopters and FPV.
- I am very excited by the efforts at privatization of the aerospace industry (Elon Musk and SpaceX are very cool!). Having grown up during the space race of the 60’s, I really enjoy seeing the opportunities being opened up through these renewed space efforts. I only wish I could live long enough to fly to the Moon and Mars with them. But now, I feel encouraged that my offspring may be able to enjoy that adventure during their lifetimes.
Besides all the activities, the other amazing result of the past year has been the people that I have met! I have reconnected with old aviation friends and met a slew of new ones. These acquaintances have ranged across both gender and age spans, from 9 (‘almost 10!’) year old Erika Escalante to 90 year old Weston Jenkins. And they have spanned the globe, from folks who live in the same town as I do, to folks who live in Santiago, Chile, South America! These relationships have been very rewarding and I look forward to establishing many more.
When I first started FlyBoyz, I had no idea if anyone would even have any interest in reading what I wrote. So I figured I’d track my blog viewership to see if there was really any interest in the blog. I guess that was not an issue!
The growth in viewership of FlyBoyz has been unbelievable. The number of ‘Unique Viewers’ who check in with FlyBoyz is now running at over 2,100 per month! The following chart depicts the number of visitors to FlyBoyz each month since going live (you can zoom in on the graphics by clicking on them). Of note is the spike during the month of June. This was based on a post I did relating to the ongoing AMA/FAA rules interpretation…obviously a ‘hot topic’ and of interest to a large audience. Also of note are the trend lines for viewership of the blog. They show continued strong growth in viewership. I guess there is some interest in what I am blogging about after all!
And those viewers are coming from all over the world! The following World Map (courtesy of Google Analytics) shows the countries (in tan) from which people are viewing FlyBoyz. As one might expect, the largest number of viewers originate in the USA which is why it is displayed in green. The point here is that while I was hoping that FlyBoyz might be viewed by a few folks here in the USA, it has in fact gained a worldwide audience!
Since I started publishing FlyBoyz, I have also been amazed and thrilled by all the great aviation material (both full scale and model) that fellow aviation buffs pass on to me. When I first started FlyBoyz, I wondered what I would find to write about. Believe me when I say that has never been a problem as usually, I have several candidate posts in the queue at any given time. While I truly appreciate all the material that I receive, not all of what I receive makes it into a post. I have three basic criteria for what I do publish and all my posts need to meet one or more of these criteria:
- I need to have some personal connection to the material being published. This means the post either involves something that I was personally involved with or have an interest in, or is material from someone that I personally know from my aviation world.
- I think it is ‘COOL’! If I find or am presented with material that I think is just wicked cool, whether or not I have had any personal connection with it, then it is a candidate for publication. Unfortunately, this means that my readers have to suffer thru what my definition of ‘COOL’ is whether they agree with it or not. However, based on the feedback that I have received over the past year, I have found that I am usually pretty close to the mark with what I think is ‘Cool’ and what my readership thinks is ‘Cool’. I hope I can keep it up!
- Any material that I publish must be of top-notch quality. I want FlyBoyz to be seen as a ‘professional’ looking blog even though it is published by a rank amateur. The subject matter of a candidate post can be of great intrinsic value but if it is poorly written, poorly photographed, or poorly filmed and edited, I will not publish it. If I get queasy watching a poorly shot or edited video, or if I can’t read something due to horrific grammar and sentence structure, or if a photo is grainy beyond recognition, then I will not publish it unless there is some over-riding and compelling reason to do so. And finally, if it is illegal, immoral, vulgar, or insulting, it goes immediately into the trash. Bottom-line: if by my subjective standards, I think that something is ‘crap’ then it won’t make it into FlyBoyz. I am happy to report that while some of what I see online does not meet my quality standards, nothing that has ever been submitted to me fails this criteria. All my contributors seem to be cut from the same covering fabric as I am when it comes to these standards. I am also happy to report that my efforts to maintain high quality standards have been recognized since, over the past year, I have received many comments about FlyBoyz being ‘professional’ and of ‘high-quality’. This pleases me to no end to hear!
I’m still not sure what the future will hold for me and my aviation flight of re-discovery, and therefore for FlyBoyz itself, but hopefully it will continue to be as fun and rewarding as the first year has been. If on your part, you have enjoyed FlyBoyz and want to ensure that you stay up to date on blog posts, just click the Register link at the end of this paragraph and join FlyBoyz as a member (it is free!). You’ll receive an email notification each time a new post is added to the blog. Register
Finally, I would like to end this one year review with a shameless request for donations. While I will continue publishing FlyBoyz as a ‘Free’ venue, there are costs involved in doing so. If you have enjoyed or received value from anything presented in FlyBoyz over the past year, I would ask that you please consider making a donation to help offset some of those costs. Expressing your gratitude by sending a donation will help me to continue bringing you new articles, information, videos, and topical thoughts. The amount you donate is entirely up to you. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so by clicking here: Donate. I thank you in advance for your support!
So, as to the past year, I can sum it all up by saying that it has been a terrific flight of re-discovery! I have met lots of great folks, experienced lots of great aviation events, and even built and flew a couple model airplanes! Thank you everyone for your continued readership and support. I look forward to what the next year of my flight of re-discovery will bring with it!