There is precious little we can accomplish in life entirely on our own. We need help, or encouragement, or correction from others. And thank goodness. Life would be awfully lonely if we all went around all the time being entirely self-sufficient and self-contained. [Read more…]
In the inimitable words of Ray Kinsella, the main character in, Field of Dreams, “What’s in it for me?” The question is potentially offensive, totally ego driven, and as common as waves on water.
Asking, “What’s in it for me?” is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, especially when you’re considering doing something as weird and wonderful as becoming a pilot, or getting married.
With the full support of my wife, I set off for a big-time flight school six weeks after we were married. I went. She stayed with her folks.
With the swipe of his pen on Friday, July 15, President Obama set into law third class medical reform.
I’m thrilled. So are a good many pilots. [Read more…]
As I was preparing my motorhome for the trip to AirVenture 2016, it dawned on me that I haven’t written anything for the GA Fuels blog in quite sometime. Perhaps that’s because not much is happening in the aviation fuel arena despite the nagging problems of TEL contamination and the perceptible decline in general aviation overall. The decline shows up in piston aircraft sales and the steady decline in avgas production.
Here is a short review of what has happened since AirVenture 2015: [Read more…]
On most mornings throughout the year, commuters driving along Interstate 4 through central Florida are treated to the elegantly bouyant eye candy of a low-speed airshow. Hot air balloons dot the skies for miles, drifting on light winds, and bringing joy to passengers and observers alike.
It’s perfectly natural to be attracted to the sight of a ballon in flight. The original manned flying machine is slow, sluggish, not particularly maneuverable, and brilliant. Kudos to those who fly them and entertain the rest of us in the process.
I’m an airplane guy. Fixed wings are my thing. Over the course of my career I’ve had the chance to fly high wings and low wings, biplanes and monoplanes, pushers and tractors, seaplanes and land planes, single engine and multi-engine machines. I’ve been lucky. [Read more…]
While wandering the streets of Manhattan recently it occurred to me that historic events have occurred on almost every street in that megalopolis.
In the 1980s, I lived just off Washington Square Park on Bleecker Street. There in the shadow of New York University (NYU) is a broad open space that hosts chess players, musicians, acrobats, curious tourists, and several thousand dead bodies. [Read more…]
Pilots have many popular sayings we share among ourselves and with others.
They result from a desire to impress non-pilots with our “daredevil” spirit and how we “conquer” the mystique of flying, sprinkled with a certain fatalism.
I’m thinking of things like, “The only time you can have too much fuel is when you’re on fire,” or “Any landing you can use the airplane again is a great one.”
As if airplanes catch fire all the time or the outcome of my landings always is in doubt. Okay, maybe the last one has some merit. [Read more…]
In my many years in aviation, I’ve learned this about light aviation pilots: If 80-horsepower is good, then 100-horsepower is better, and even more is best of all.
It explains why interest was so high when Rotax announced its new 915iS that will provide 135 horsepower. It also illustrates why the 180 horses of the Titan X-340 is succeeding in the Light-Sport industry. [Read more…]
No, he’s not going to fly into the hangar… you hope, but Greg Koontz’s airshow act keeps you wondering.
Probably you’ve seen an act like this before. A crazy-acting farmer or a supposed drunk hops into a Piper Cub or similar aircraft after the regular pilot leaves it unattended for a few minutes. The crazy guy has no flying experience but somehow proceeds to start up the airplane and to take off in the most out-of-control manner imaginable.
As he erratically careens around the sky, handling the aircraft wickedly out of control, he nearly hits the ground over and over. The entire act takes place within a couple hundred feet of a hard-as-concrete surface. To top it off? He lands on a pickup truck.
Even though it’s only an act and even if the pilot is actually a gifted aviator, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and fear that nutjob is going to whack the airplane into the ground right in front of the airshow crowd watching in fascination. [Read more…]
For general aviation pilots there is no more compelling challenge than that presented by currency.
We’re talking about currency in both its common forms — cash and recent flight time. [Read more…]