Spring training for pilots

By KEVIN GARRISON

Winter weather leads to a cutback of flying for most of us. Pilots living in areas of the U.S. that are prone to frozen water in the form of sleet, freezing rain and snow find ourselves wistfully looking to the skies out of the iced-over windows of our homes. We think back on a time not so long ago when the winds were warm and skies were beckoning and we still had electrical power in our houses.

When is the power company going to get our lights back on after this ice storm anyway? Should you use your copy of General Aviation News as kindling to get some sort of blaze going in the fireplace?

[Read more...]

The Frugal Notebook

Every owner-pilot should have a Frugal Notebook. It’s a blank book you can keep in the glove box or your flight bag to record things about your airplane. If you are a renter, it’s a handy place to record your experiences with specific aircraft and flying conditions.

Let’s take a look at a few of the things your Frugal Notebook can help with:

[Read more...]

The Frugal Pilot: Get more than you pay for

What’s the difference between a need and a want? At the grocery store, a need is buying milk, bread and other food staples. A want is getting soda, corn chips and snack cakes. In recreational aviation, a need is something required to meet your flying goals and your budget. A want is not required, but desired.

For most of us recreational pilots, airplanes really aren’t needs. They are wants. But one benefit to working hard through life is to be able to afford some of the things we want. However, once we own a plane, we cannot skimp on its needs.

[Read more...]

Observations and invitations

Attached to the main administration building at the Santa Monica Airport in Southern California is an observation deck. It’s a wide concrete structure with a curved metal railing that allows excellent views of the area, reaching from the Hollywood sign in the northeast all the way around to the Pacific Ocean on the southwest. A bleacher style seating structure provides a reasonably comfortable place to sit and watch the action on the airport.

That’s where I met Adam and Zoe. Adam is a software designer who grew up in Santa Monica. He’s been stopping at the airport for much of his life to watch airplanes fly, daydream about becoming a pilot, and generally enjoy a sunny afternoon.

[Read more...]

Continuing a family tradition

Cole James and Perry Inhofe

More than 30 years ago, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) taught his son Perry to fly in the family’s 1954 Grumman Tiger. Perry’s first cross-country flight after he soloed was to Oshkosh, his dad sitting proudly in the seat beside him.

Fast forward to this year’s Oshkosh and Inhofe, a regular at Oshkosh no matter what is going on in Washington, D.C., keeps looking at his watch. He’s waiting for the arrival of the family’s Grumman, this time piloted by his grandson, Cole, who soloed just three weeks before the big show. In the family tradition, Cole was taught to fly by his father at Riverside Airport in Tulsa.

[Read more...]

Would you fly more if avgas was $1 a gallon?

111110_naunheim_redbird_skyport_105

How does fuel price really influence general aviation? This October, a group of companies will use the Skyport aviation laboratory, in San Marcos, Texas, to find out by selling avgas for $1 a gallon.

“This experiment isn’t about the cost of avgas,” says Jeff Van West, director of Redbird Media, and spokesman for the experiment. “It’s true that we’re selling avgas for $1 per gallon for the entire month of October. [Read more...]