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…]

GA in the military

Drew2

There are warbirds at every airshow. Oshkosh, of course, is a feast. But what always grabs me are the veteran GA aircraft adapted for military use. They say to me that “our airplanes” are not toys, but capable, useful flying machines. Some military pilots believed differently, but I’m sticking to my story!

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Overwater lessons for Oshkosh and other summer fun

Some of us will be flying the Great Lakes soon to reach AirVenture or otherwise cruising some lake, bay, sound or shoreline towards cooler weather. I thought I’d call up last January’s ditching in the Hudson River Corridor to ponder cautionary tales. We can all celebrate that impossibly good ditching of a fixed-gear PA-32 Cherokee Six. We can also question how prepared we are for a water landing.

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Still a mighty interesting way to run an airport

Steketee1

It’s still going great guns — one of America’s most unusual airports. Complete with Western theme buildings, 28-room on-airport motel and airplane-shaped swimming pool, it’s the recreational center of its community. And this one-time “aeronautical dude ranch” lives on in…wait for it…New Jersey!

Noted for its concept and marketing, Flying W Ranch is now the Flying W Airport Resort. [Read more…]