It's been long-promised, but delivery of the often-mentioned "BCP 2.0" has been delayed for nearly 3 years due to the obligations of my professional career. It's only in the last 6 months that I've found the time away from my day job to really commit to building what I've been calling "BCP 3.0." 9 years after we started, I'm proud to finally roll out a new version of Backcountry Pilot that begins a new era in our own history: Being more than just a discussion forum.
BackcountryPilot.org in 2007, 2.5 years after it launched.Why do this? The discussion forum is a great format, as it allows us to have topical conversations and interact with each other in what has become a fairly ubiquitous internet standard. However, many are attracted to BCP, or others like it, not because they're looking for a conversation, but because they're searching for knowledge. Or people to fly with. Or simple inspiration. We need some new tools for that.
The forum isn't going anywhere. It's full of good information and it's just plain fun. In fact, a lot of information that will be posted here in the Knowledge Base section has been culled from the forum. As is often the case, a discussion reveals a lot of interesting facts and opinions. We want to gather some of these and make them easier to find.
The development isn't totally complete yet, and will continue being worked on for some time. Please bear with me if you find bugs or unusable sections, and email your findings to [email protected] That said, let's look at some of the new features:
This is something I have wanted to implement for a long time. As I mentioned above, the forum is a great tool for discussion, but sometimes you won't want to review and entire discussion with all of its zigs, zags, and tangents to ultimately discover that the original question was never answered, and move on to the next similarly-named thread from your search. Instead, I'm compiling a structured knowledge base of backcountry flying information, sort of like an encyclopedia. I'm the first to admit I'm not an expert on the topic. I'm not writing a book, I'm just distilling information I've found to be the most accurate and from the most reputable sources into a single document.
BackcountryPilot.org in 2009, just over 4 years after it launched, relegated to purely a forum.There will be disputes, and I welcome them. I'm going to make it easy for everyone to help shape the knowledge base and arrive at consensus (or close to it.)
I've always wanted to publish a magazine, but that's never going to happen. An online magazine-style site is the next best thing. Look for articles and writeups on trip reports, live to tell accounts, featured bush planes, product reviews, how-to's and tutorials, and opinion pieces.
Community and network
We've extended the community features beyond just the forum. It's now possible to track events, add friends, join groups, and view other users' actions on the site in an enhanced profile view. You could liken it to a social experience like Facebook, but that's a dirty word to many people. This is just for us.
The groups feature will be useful to keep track of common interests like aircraft type and member locations. Do you live in the Portland, Oregon area? Join the NW Oregon group to follow events and happenings for the pilots who live around here. Fly a Skywagon? Joing the Cessna Skywagon group to see updates from other 180/185 pilots and owners.
The groups feature doesn't replace the forum, but it's a good feature for following certain specific interests
Featured photos and My Photos
In an effort to make easy-to-find quality backcountry flying media, we've created a Featured Photos gallery to showcase the best of the best photography from not only the BCP community, but from photographers everywhere. Look for periodic updates from the usual suspects.
Sharing photos is probably one of the most important feature a site like this can have. For 3.0, we've integrated your user photo gallery into the Community section, accessible from your profile. If you've uploaded photos to our gallery in the past, those photos have been migrated to the new photo gallery. One major difference is that the general galleries are gone. Any images that you categorized as "Cessna" or "Maule" after uploading in the past are simply a personal album of that name that belongs to you. We'll be switching to a photo tagging system soon to accomplish the same effect as the general galleries, so that users can surf all the Cessna photos that've been uploaded.
There certainly isn't an overabundance of entertainment and information in the backcountry flying world, so BackcountryPilot.org is gladly working in conjunction with several friends to bring you quality content and tools:
We're lucky that the folks at shortfield.com have tackled a bear of a task: Building a community-sourced database of backcountry airports. It's a well done site featuring a full sectional chart mapping interface peppered with airstrips. Click on the icons and see the latest photos, videos, PiReps, and decriptions submitted by the people who've been there and visit frequently.
Join Allen and Noreen Macbean as they travel around the western US in their 1952 Cessna 170B looking for new adventures and new friends, showcasing their findings at each stop. They've got a particularly "backcountry" spin to the show and even show off some cool products from their sponsors, as well as geocaching some goodies for viewers to find after each episode.
Bush pilot and multimedia artist Greg Swingle, the star and the wizard behind Ohio Bush Planes vignette series, continues to hone the craft of capturing grass roots aviation and Americana with his lens.
Are you a filmmaker, photographer, or writer in the backcountry flying niche? Contact me if you're interested in working with BCP.
I want to thank everyone who's taken the time to write articles, compile information, or pre-beta test the site. This has been a labor of love for the last 9 years, and I hope that BCP 3.0 brings us into a new age. As always, I continue to improve the site and fix bugs daily, so that our long time members and members-to-be can get their fix.