The magic of mentors

Discussing upcoming repair on  J-4 floats, a result of operating off of a lake with skim ice


Step back in time and think back to when you were the one looking over the airport fence. The whole world on the other side of the fence seemed so intimidating, yet so inviting. You might remember the feelings of excited anticipation on your way to the airport, and then the apprehensive shyness that set in as soon as you were there.

Luckily, I always stumbled into someone who was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of their time and answer my questions. I found that one question answered led to more questions asked and a true thirst for knowledge was born. The questions turned into conversations, acquaintances developed into friendships, and several of those friends have become mentors to me.

[Read more…]

Defending general aviation by the numbers

Guest Editorial: By René Banglesdorf

The private aviation industry is an often misunderstood and under-valued resource of the American economy. Without it, many of the best companies in the country wouldn’t be half as productive as they are.

It was all over the news when the Big Three car manufacturers were lambasted for flying private jets to attend Congressional hearings, but the vast majority of Americans weren’t privy to the reasons for the CEO’s method of travel. It saddens me that the very people who jump on the bandwagon to attack private aviation are the ones who have the most to lose.

[Read more…]

GA Security: Risk controlling — how much?


How much disposable income should I invest in security stuff to protect my aircraft?

This question is probably one of the most sensitive that I get because flying is not cheap. Even if we have the best of situations, there are still annual inspections and scheduled maintenance, repair of things that break from normal wear and tear, state and local taxes, hangar or tie down fees, GPS database subscriptions, not to mention the fuel and oil. “So with all of these expenses just to be able to go enjoy my $100 hamburger, now I’m supposed to buy security, too?”

I hear you.

[Read more…]

GA Security Blog debuts

This is the first post of our new GA Security Blog, written by Dave Hook, an expert on general aviation security:

With the Barefoot Bandit now doing hard time behind bars, you might think that the risk of aircraft thefts is diminished. But you’d be wrong. Late last month local law enforcement officials in Utah announced the arrest of two students who planned to use backpacks filled with explosives and detonate them during a school assembly. Their escape plan: Fly away in a stolen airplane from a nearby airfield. Sound crazy?

[Read more…]

Northwest Aviation Show prepares for takeoff

Special to General Aviation News from the Washington Aviation Association

Just when the short winter days and grounded planes become too much to bear for aviators at the end of February, there’s a sign of happier airborne days ahead. For many, the annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show marks the end of winter in the Northwest.

The 29th annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show will be held Feb. 25-26 at the Blue Gate of the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, Wash.

[Read more…]

The devil is in the details


A slightly different rudder leads a master restorer to a true aviation find


It has been said, “the devil is in the details.” This is especially so in aviation. Whether you are flying or fixing an airplane, the details matter.

For an aircraft museum it is doubly important. The Western Antique Airplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, Ore., prides itself as having the most authentically restored aircraft in its collection. This attention to detail led to discovering and buying a very special airplane, the prototype 1933 Stearman Model 70, NX571Y, which is now being restored at the museum by the head of restoration, Tom Murphy, for museum founder Terry Brandt.

[Read more…]

Upgrades continue at MAO

MAO attracts a lot of different aircraft, such as this Grumman Goose.


A growing list of improvements, a reputation for pilot friendly service, and competitive fuel prices are helping to make South Carolina’s Marion County Airport (MAO) a popular stopover for East Coast flyers.

Airport manager Margaret Pittman notes the air field is in the second phase of a $500,000 project to upgrade infrastructure and improve facilities.

[Read more…]

Careers in aviation: It’s more than just flying


The most recognized careers in aviation are those that are the most visible, such as being a pilot. Even those of us already involved in general aviation may not realize just how many jobs are available in the aviation and airport businesses.

Because an airport operates much like a small town, there is a wide variety of duties. From entry-level to upper management, there are many different types of job opportunities available in many different fields.

[Read more…]

Random thoughts

Steve and his wife Donna in their Nanchang


It takes roughly three hours to mow my 2,100-foot runway. This allows ample time to contemplate life and its mysteries, as well as issues of great importance to humanity, but mostly it’s stupid stuff.

For exampel, if Henri Pitot invented the Pitot tube, then who invented the cover? Who checks a check airman?

[Read more…]

A trip to pick up a new plane results in a true GA experience

L-R , myself, Marge Hansen, Sheryl Slack (daughter), Ken Hansen, and Kristi Meek (daughter). Sadly, Ken Hansen passed away in October after a brief battle with cancer.  He and his family founded the FBO, Rite Bros. Aviation, in Port Angeles.  It was where I learned to fly 20 years ago.  He will be missed.


This past January, I purchased a 1941 Piper J-5A Cub Cruiser from a friend in Port Angeles, Wash. I thought that flying the airplane home to Lenhardt’s AirHaven in Oregon would be an easy task. After all, it’s only a couple hundred miles away and, even though the Pacific Northwest is not known for its hospitable winter VFR weather, I knew it was doable with patience and flexibility. In the end, however, bringing the J-5 back to Hubbard, Ore., proved to be more than just a trip to pick up an airplane.

[Read more…]