Time to recall GA’s World War II heroes

fairchild

This year marked the final roll call for brave World War II fliers fading from the scene. No, it wasn’t the Doolittle Raiders, whose four survivors (three present) celebrated their final reunion last month. There’s another band of brothers: Some of GA’s World War II heroes who reunited annually for more than 60 years. Their last squadron-mate “flew West” this year.

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I could lose sleep over this!

Ever go to a car show and marvel at the British sports cars of our youth? MGs and Triumphs, how small they look now! How could I ever fit? Answer: We were slimmer then. After decades of fast food, career stress, no time to exercise and skimping on healthy foods, we are a nation heavier than before.

And now, your FAA medical will apparently include the assumption of sleep apnea based on body mass index (BMI.) Not to diminish apnea’s serious medical consequences, this is a heavy wet blanket for GA. It’s like a bad dream, isn’t it?

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Tragedy and TV news

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Nov. 22 marks 50 years since JFK’s assassination changed the nation. Nov. 25 ended four days of shock with his sad funeral, modeled after that of Lincoln. The nation was bound together as one around its TV sets all weekend. The Kennedy era had fostered modern TV news and my interest in aviation’s reputation.

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More than an aeronautical landmark

Alpine Tower David Brenner photo

Flying VFR in New York City’s Hudson River Corridor, you’re now required to report abeam “Alpine Tower,” a longtime FAA visual reporting point. I was recently reminded of the radio pioneer behind that tower. Don’t know Edwin H. Armstrong? Know why there is no Channel 1 on your TV set? Know why you can listen to radio without headphones?

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History’s mysteries, from above

This year marks the 150th anniversary of a momentous year in American history. Events in and around 1863 changed us forever and left their traces on the land. We pilots have a “box seat” over such visible history in places we fly.

The Civil War’s 1863 Gettysburg battlefield, for instance, is in extreme southern Pennsylvania, and a mere taildragger hop [Read more…]

Dumb mistakes and dumb luck

Beach

The other week, we Florida east coast residents enjoyed a strong, refreshing breeze — welcome tonic after a long summer. The weatherman said it was out of the north, but flags on the beach weren’t parallel to the surf. Reminds me of a grim story from my flying career. Stay tuned. I’m fessing up!

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Canceling the Big Show

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s decision to cancel its annual convention and trade show made news this month. It certainly shows movement instead of “business as usual” under new president Mark Baker. I have some perspective to offer and a modest suggestion. Care to listen?

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A new life for this old veteran?

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Its nose is seemingly tucked up to the Chevy dealership across the street in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. But this piston-era behemoth is in for more than an oil change. The Perna family wants to complete a DC-7-based restaurant for their northeast Florida airport. [Read more…]