Formation flight

Ivy3

Formation flight has intrigued me for as long as I can remember.

Seeing the Blue Angels for the first time as a child, I remember thinking not just about how cool they looked, but how disciplined and precise the pilots must be, and how well they worked together as a team. It was the ultimate combination of airmanship and trust. [Read more…]

Flight training the Wright way

WrightFlyer

The Wright brothers are well known as scientists, inventors, builders and flyers — and they became international celebrities in 1909 with record-setting flights in Europe and America.

Less well known were their efforts as flight instructors and flight school creators. They began flight instruction in Europe. Later back home, they trained aviators for their exhibition team, for the military and, as interest in aviation grew, they opened flight schools for civilian pilots. [Read more…]

One engine, many questions

172Skyhawk

Q: I have a Cessna 172N with the Lycoming O-320-H2AD 76 series engine, serial number L-3406-76. I’m trying to sell it, and I’m getting all kinds of questions regarding the “A” suffix, the “T” mod, and others that are way too far out there to even mention. [Read more…]

New friends, old friends, and cherished memories

Reimagined 152 in flight

Later this week I’ll be flying from Lakeland, Florida to Lowcountry Regional Airport in South Carolina. I’m flying there in a shiny, nearly new, totally rebuilt Cessna 152.

As hard as it may be to believe, I’ll be meeting a new friend who will be flying an almost identical airplane in from the frozen north. I suppose we’ll hang out for a bit, grab a bite to eat, and maybe even stay overnight in this quaint southern town. Then we’ll fly home again.

The only twist is that I’ll be flying home in the airplane he flew down and he’ll be flying north in the one I flew up from Florida. The whole trip is something of a hand-off. A swap. [Read more…]

Baby, it’s cold outside

snowplanes

If you live in the eastern half of the United States, you may have noticed that nature has turned a bit nippy lately. Even in the deep south they’ve felt the brisk embrace of winter’s furious freeze. There’s no getting around it. It’s some kind of cold out there, and frankly, I don’t care for it. [Read more…]

Good intentions

Piper PA-32. Image courtesy Jake Osborne.

Before I could qualify for my helicopter private pilot license in the Robinson R-22, I had to watch an R-22 fall out of the sky. It was part of Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR 73) training.

The training also involved viewing a video of the wreckage close-up. In it, I could plainly see a pair of woman’s legs, in fashionable pumps, crossed comfortably at the knee. I could not see the rest of her. Her body was lost, crushed beneath the collapsed wreckage of the engine, transmission and main rotor mast.

Heavy metal chaos balanced atop the eerie serenity of that woman’s crossed legs. The pilot had been flying with his first passenger — his wife. [Read more…]

Some big questions about RPAs, including the big one: Insurance

Ghost Drone flies

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 2014 there were 2,294 national airspace violations. That would be an average of more than six every day. In most of these incidents the persons involved were licensed pilots.

What do these abstract figures mean? Perhaps very little unless you were involved in one of the incidents. Or, unless you are concerned about the recently announced proposed regulations for remotely piloted aircraft. [Read more…]

Riding out of town on a rail

Jamie at train station

The plan was simple: I was going to hop into the trusty Cessna 152, point it to the north, and fly for just shy of 1,000 miles into the wintery wonderland known as Maryland. That was what I said I was going to do anyway.

What I actually did was drive less than two miles to the Amtrak station, get on board the Silver Meteor and ride in 19th Century splendor right into downtown Washington D.C. [Read more…]