A warped sense of time

Clouds

Being a pilot gives one a warped sense of time and distance. Seattle to Portland? About 40 minutes. Seattle to the San Juan Islands? About 30 minutes.

I think nothing of jumping in the plane and popping up to Friday Harbor for dinner or Orcas Island for a bike ride while many Seattleites have never been to the San Juans, daunted by the more than four-hour travel time each way and unpredictable ferry waiting lines.

While a small plane it is not exactly the phone booth from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, it can feel like a time machine.

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BoldMethod: The life of a 20-year-old banner tow pilot

Haley Howard is a CFI and banner pilot from Gulf Shores, Alabama. At only 20 years old, she’s already well on her way with 1,350 hours of flight time… not to mention her CSEL (Commercial – Single Engine Land), CSES (Commercial – Single Engine Seaplane), Tailwheel Endorsement, CFI-A (Certified Flight Instructor), and Instrument Rating,” reports BoldMethod‘s Swayne Martin. “Today, Haley spends much of her time flying banners in an American Champion Scout, owned and operated by the Shrimp Basket, a Gulf-State chain of seafood restaurants.” Read more about Haley’s life as a banner tow pilot at the BoldMethod website and an expanded first-person view via Martin’s “Share Your Story” feature on his website.

Letter or spirit of ADS-B?

ADS-B is a source of much consternation at the recreational end of general aviation. More accurately, ADS-B Out is the source. Actually, it’s the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The very same mandate FAA Administrator Huerta has repeatedly stated will not be delayed.

Simply put, ADS-B Out — Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast — is a periodic broadcast of aircraft information (altitude, speed, position, etc.) to satellite and ground-based targets that allow other aircraft – if properly equipped – and ATC to see you. [Read more…]

Ho, ho, ho, let’s go

Here’s a pertinent and timely question for you to ponder. What does general aviation have in common with the Christmas shopping season? The answer is unfortunately both depressing and obvious — Nothing.

Let’s set about changing that. You and me. Right now. Today.

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25° nose down in Fat Albert

Here's what a 24-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.
Here's what a 24-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.

Here’s what a 25-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.

In April of this year, I was lucky enough to be chosen to ride with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels support ship, a C-130 named Fat Albert. Not only did I get to ride in Fat Albert, I got one of the coveted cockpit jumpseats. Watching the crew perform… er, I mean fly, Fat Albert was a treat I’ll not soon forget. The above image is the view out the cockpit window on a 25° nose down approach to landing. If the photo isn’t enough, you can watch (or re-watch) the video below. [Read more…]

The advent of the light twin

Photos by Meg Godlewski

With the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, the prohibition on the production of civil aircraft was rescinded. Many articles published that year were harbingers of the post-war boom expected for the general aviation industry. Indeed there was a huge boom in production — general aircraft production went from 1,946 in 1945 to an unbelievable 33,254 in 1946.

This was truly the golden era of light aircraft production. But it was a short-lived one as the market rapidly went sour as returning GIs and the public were struggling with other demands. Sales in 1947 fell to around 15,515 airplanes, and by 1949 had plunged to 3,500.

But out of this post-war bust would come a boom in a new category of general aviation aircraft — the light twin. [Read more…]

Search for 100LL replacement raises many questions

When I started to write this post on unleaded avgas, I sat down to read about the upcoming evaluation program for four candidate fuels. The more I read the more questions it raised.

For instance, why does Swift Fuels have two candidates?

But the biggest question concerned the percentage of the piston aviation fleet that the new candidate fuels will satisfy. A few questions arise, like which engines are the most critical, under what conditions will they knock, which airframe, propeller, operating conditions are most critical, and on and on.

[Read more…]

Flying club basics

Sharing your wings is a big decision. The goal is to reduce the costs to gain the greatest benefits from flying. Exactly what, how, and why you share your wings offers so many variations and opportunities that there is no single solution.

Previously in The Frugal Pilot, we’ve covered the basics of deciding whether a co-ownership or partnership fits you, then offered ideas on how to write up a workable agreement for sharing. The third option, starting or joining a flying club, offers even more options — and potential problems. Let’s take a closer look.

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AOPA regional fly-ins: The votes are in

DSC_0374 We want to keep you Flying sign 2

It’s in the record books: The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s sixth and last new regional fly-in — seven if you count the heavily-attended Homecoming to AOPA HQ in Frederick, Md. How did it go, this change from one big annual convention? What was gained and what was lost?

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The right tool for the right task

In a closet at my grandfather’s house, there is a toolbox. It’s a long, narrow rectangular thing, not at all like a toolbox you might find in the local home improvement store today. It’s made of wood with strong, steel hinges and an equally robust hasp, all of which have been worn by time.

[Read more…]