There’s an opening in the public sector

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, only a couple months from now, local elections will be held across the continent. These races will result in new faces and old faces being sworn in to sit on city commissions, county commissions, state boards, and to fill a slew of mayoral seats.

These are the people who will be tasked with setting your property tax rates, as well as the cost of water and sewer services. They’ll determine whether garbage gets picked up once a week, or more often. These are the folks who will plan for snow removal this winter, and struggle with the budget if it falls short this year in an attempt to make sure the shortage doesn’t persist next year.

These office seekers are also the people who will decide if your local airport stays open or closes. It will be their call as to whether they’ll modernize the facilities or not. Virtually everything of importance that happens at your local airport will fall under the purview of these public officials. [Read more…]

Your frugal flight mission

Professional pilots have flight missions. A commercial pilot’s flight mission is to safely fly a specific aircraft with an identified weight to an explicit destination on schedule. Law enforcement pilots perform missions that involve highway surveillance and speed monitoring. NASA has specific flight missions and procedures to make sure its expensive flights have a purpose and expected outcome.

Private pilots also have flight missions, though their goals and descriptions are less formal.

Even so, all flights should have a mission — especially those by frugal pilots who are looking for the greatest value for each aviation dollar spent. [Read more…]

Forget the why, focus on the how

I spent my Saturday productively, standing at the front of the Eickhoff Conference Room at SUN ‘n FUN, leading a donut and coffee fueled group of Rusty Pilots back through the intricacies of airspace, weather reports, and right of way rules. It was great. We spent three hours together laughing, learning, and sharing a few personal stories that gave context to the art and science of flying in the general aviation environment.

Near the end of the formal presentation, a very attentive fellow near the back of the room asked a great question. “Do we know why so many people have fallen away from flying?” he asked. [Read more…]

Is unleaded avgas coming to an airport near you?

Perhaps you noticed the announcement that Swift Fuels made at AirVenture 2015, which was also carried by General Aviation News. Swift Fuels has begun distributing 94 MON, unleaded aviation fuel to several airports and has begun a program to distribute it throughout the U.S.

Airports currently carrying the new 94 MON unleaded aviation fuel are KAID, 05C and 7I2 in Indiana and KRMY in Michigan. Each airport replaced a mogas distribution except 05C, which added it as a new fuel service.

I’m not going to delve into the cosmic political and business implications of introducing a “low octane” unleaded avgas while the industry is working diligently on trying to find a 100 octane unleaded “drop-in” replacement for 100LL. Rather, I’m going to try to clarify who can use this fuel at the current time, because it is not everyone you might assume. [Read more…]

A bucket full of luck

They say that pilots start out with an empty experience bucket and a bucket full of luck. The trick is to fill the experience bucket before your luck bucket is emptied.

Though one can make deposits into the experience account without making a withdrawal from the luck account, it would be foolish to think luck withdrawals will never be required. [Read more…]

You can change the future, one hour at a time

A friend recently made a comment that has really gotten me thinking. His concept was simple enough. There are a lot of people in the world. Some are well along in their career and doing pretty good. Some are looking at the future with eyes the size of pie-plates wondering, “How am I ever going to reach my ultimate goal? It’s so far away and hard to afford.”

That’s probably true for lots of young people who have set their sights on a wide variety of professional aspirations. It’s certainly true for those who want to make a living in the cockpit. [Read more…]

Should I pull the cylinders in my Pitts?

Q: I just bought back my original Pitts Special after 41 years. It now has a narrow deck O-360 that hasn’t been run in four years. I’m getting the PS-5C overhauled, but wonder what you think about pulling cylinders to inspect the camshaft before running it. We borescoped the cylinder walls and there appeared to be a honey-colored film on various areas. [Read more…]

Fast moving dragons

Figure 4

It’s way too early to know what happened to cause early July’s mid-air collision between a Cessna 150 and a U.S. Air Force F-16C near Moncks Corner, S.C.

The accident is being investigated by the NTSB, but it’s likely the pilots involved were where they were supposed to be, doing nothing unusual. Both aboard the Cessna died, while the F-16’s pilot safely ejected and reportedly was uninjured. Both airplanes were destroyed. [Read more…]

English pilot becomes aviation sensation

Claude Grahame-White, a notable English pilot, won the major prizes at the Boston Aero Meet held in September 1910.
Source: Dennis Parks

Claude Grahame-White, a notable English pilot, took first place at the international air meet held at Boston during September 1910. Flying against notable American pilots such as Glenn Curtiss, Walter Brookins, and Ralph Johnson, he won the major prize for an overwater race to the Boston Lighthouse and placed first in other events to become the champion of the event. [Read more…]