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…]
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…]
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…]
It will come as no surprise to you, a general aviation enthusiast, that the United States contains a considerable number of airports. Even so, the actual number of airports may be higher than you imagine. Higher by quite a bit, frankly. [Read more…]
When I was a young man headed out into the world, trying to make a success of myself, there was an expression I heard over and over again: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
The subtext was clear. No matter how smart or capable or driven you might be, it would not be possible to become a true success unless someone who was already established took your hand and guided you through the gates of what might best be described as a members only club. [Read more…]
Once, when I was a teenager manning the pumps at a full service gas station, a gentleman rolled up in a gorgeous Rolls Royce. He claimed it had previously belonged to the velvety-voiced crooner Nat “King” Cole.
You can imagine my surprise when he climbed out and encouraged me to take a seat behind the wheel. [Read more…]
Recently a series of cold fronts have marched down from the region of the north pole, bringing biting winds, frigid temperatures, and enough ice to supply a wet bar that’s serving Jackie Gleason, Foster Brooks, and Dean Martin simultaneously. If you’re into ice fishing, snow machine races, or the latest cutting-edge snowshoe designs, the weather is ideal. If you’re a general aviation nut, however, it’s somewhat less conducive to getting out and putting some distance between your tires and terra firma. And if you’re a seaplane enthusiast, you’re pretty much out of luck for the moment. [Read more…]
Malcom Gladwell, the well known author who possesses both an almost cartoonishly frizzy hair-style and a razor sharp mind, first came to my attention with his blockbuster hit “The Tipping Point.” Released in 2002, Amazon still ranks it high on its best sellers ranking. It held down the position of 533 on that literary hit parade as this week opened, nearly 13 years after its initial publication.
I wish my books sold as well.
In The Tipping Point, Gladwell observes that a magic moment exists in the life of a product or service that suddenly catapults it to the top of the sales charts. There are a variety of reasons for this phenomenon taking place, but in each of the cases he studies, there is a moment, an incident, an occurrence that causes an otherwise pedestrian object to become the instant darling of the consumer.
In short, masses of people suddenly become convinced they must have that product. They must subscribe to that service. Not one more day will pass without that thing, whatever it is, being in their home, their car, or on their feet. The possession of it becomes a social imperative. In other words, the nation cries as one, “I must have it,” and so they buy.
Not for nuthin’, as my New York area friends might say, but have you seen the price of avgas lately?
As I sit down to write this morning the thermometer is nudging its way toward 80°. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the breeze is slight enough to be refreshing without mussing even the most carefully coiffed hairstyle. Welcome to central Florida. This is winter at its finest.
I mention this meteorological trivia because at this exact moment it is well below freezing in Chicago, Cincinnati is frigid, New York is brisk, and I’m not even going to mention the forecast for Minneapolis/St. Paul. It’s too cold for a resident of the Sunshine State to ponder. All of which adds up to very little general aviation activity happening in the northern climes, while an abundance of snowbirds and locals find a way to get into the air today down south.
General aviation activity is so prevalent here during this otherwise inclement time of the year, in only a matter of days the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo will get underway in Sebring, Florida.
A few decades ago, I became very interested in electronics. The home computer was just beginning to look like a viable product and it occurred to me that devices that used to be purely mechanical were rapidly transitioning to become computerized. Once gas pumps and grocery store checkout counters stopped clacking and banging in favor of beeping and buzzing, it became clear that a change was underway — a change that I’d be better off getting in front of, rather than lagging behind.