The dangers of overthinking

Cessna 172N. "Cessna172N" by FlugKerl2 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cessna172N.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cessna172N.jpg

My wife’s lovely voice pierced an almost-as-lovely evening flight. “What’s that red light on the instrument panel?”

She was pointing to the alternator fail red warning light. And now a fancy-free evening above central Virginia pine forests had just turned into “a situation.” [Read more…]

One becomes two, then becomes a movement

Camp 1

While there are plenty of reasons to hang your head and lament the difficulty of making a difference in your community, it is not impossible to have a positive effect. Hard? You betcha. Impossible? Not hardly.

There is reason for real hope even when the hill seems unimaginably steep and the burden feels too heavy to carry one more step because, in all honesty, one person can do a lot. That’s especially true if they employ the massive, almost unstoppable power of the multiplier effect.

Let me give you an example. [Read more…]

The secret is out — finally

sunnfunlogo

Shhhh. I’m going to trust you to keep this to yourself. It’s a secret. It has been for years. Yet, I’m going to tell you the truth. Here. Now. Only a few sentences hence.

Now, if I’m going to be completely honest, I have to admit the paragraph you just read is hyperbole. I’ve used a writer’s trick to get you reading, and hopefully keep you reading. Exaggeration is my tool of choice. By elevating something that’s largely unknown to the status of a well-kept secret, I’ve grabbed your attention a little more forcefully than I might have done if I chose more passive words, or a less impassioned approach. Good.

What I have to share is important. It truly is. For while it might not really be a closely held secret that’s been shielded from the wider public, it is information that’s unknown in the wider world and directly affects the future of general aviation in a very real way.

You’re still with me, right? Excellent.

In only a matter of weeks the second largest aviation-related event in North America will take place in my back yard. It’s called SUN ‘n FUN and it’s been one of the highlights of my year for more than two decades. You’ve probably heard of it too. Hopefully, you’ve been there to experience it for yourself. It is, in a word, amazing. [Read more…]

Result Of CEH lawsuit settlement: Were there any?

Fly Unleaded map

Late in 2011, a little known environmental organization, perhaps totally unknown in aviation circles, Center For Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit against “30 companies that sell and/or distribute lead-containing aviation gas (avgas) at 23 California airports, calling on the companies to provide safer alternative fuels.”

At the time, there was some fanfare in the aviation press about the lawsuit and it has been news off and on for three years. (Go ahead, Google: CEH leaded avgas I dare you).

[Read more…]

Stories from the logbook

The evidence we're all connected is in the page of my logbook.

We’re all connected…somehow. A July 1987 entry in my logbook proves it.

I was barely 17 years old and had flown our 1946 J-3 Cub on July 17 from our airpark home – Shady Acres – to the annual Arlington Fly-In. My logbook notes, “massive headwinds, heavy x-wind when landing.” At this point, I was still a student pilot, and was signed off for the 70-mile cross country flight two days before. [Read more…]

Sharing the skies with RPAs

DJI's Spreading Wings S-1000 RPA

They fly, so pilots could love Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) [with other terms also used, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and drones.]

Some pilots are already involved with RPAs. However, RPA pilots remain on the ground. Is that the same? Differences have a way of dividing people, even when they may be “birds of a feather.” How do you feel? [Read more…]

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…]