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…]

Half empty or half full? Part 2

DSC_0472.JPG Bristall Taildragger

Saturday at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebing, Florida, dawned sunny and warmer. The show itself seemed sunnier with a weekend crowd. I can’t understand why organizers scheduled so many weekdays and omitted the Sunday of a three-day holiday weekend. The trade show element (industry meetings, et. al.) can surely be done on Thursday and Friday, leaving Saturday and Sunday for good weekend crowds. [Read more…]

Lure them with pancakes, hook them with adventure

The Sonex Waiex in flight.

EAA Chapter 1067 is based in Naples, Florida. There are worse places to be in February, I can tell you. But there are few better.

What attracted me is what attracts so many to the back corner of the T-hangars at Naples, directly across from the shade hangars, right along the fence line where EAA 1067 resides. It was pancakes. Well, not just pancakes. The chapter’s monthly pancake breakfast is actually made up of pancakes and sausage with a biscuit, coffee, juice, and some of the best company you could ever hope to share.

I certainly had a good time. Good enough that I’m inclined to go back. [Read more…]

1,000 pilots x $20 = 3 new pilots

RobbinsSibs

We don’t need to attract every kid, just the next kid… or three.

Seventeen-year-old Ella, 16-year-old Jonathan and 15-year-old Benjamin Robbins are passionate about aviation. The homeschooled trio from Ferndale, Wash., have been designing and building their own radio-controlled aircraft for several years. [Read more…]

A new adventure

IMG_3302

Three years ago, I relocated from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Seattle, Wash. Though I had a lot of experience flying in a variety of weather conditions and in mountainous terrain, I didn’t have a lot of hard IFR flight time.

I viewed this not as problem, but as an opportunity to hone my IFR skills flying in conditions that were challenging in different ways than those I had experienced in Utah. [Read more…]