Keeping the spirit of flight alive

Story and Photos By JEAN-PIERRE BONIN

I like to call myself an aviation freak.

Though I never became a pilot, I have been an aviation lover since I was a teenager, but it was not until some decades later that I stumbled into general aviation. In 2000, a neighbor began building a Ultravia Pelican Sport 600 kit plane in his garage and that was the start of a whole new era for me.

From an aircraft photographer, attempting, like others, to upload some pictures to websites like Airliners.net, I slowly began to widen my interest (and contacts), making me a more complete aviation photographer. Through the last 10 years or so, I have witnessed the true Spirit of Flight as pilots, owners, mechanics and just “plane” volunteers have shared their passion with me.

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An unexpected mentor

Sitting across the table from a distinguished looking airline pilot who is both youthful and highly experienced, I can’t help but reminisce about the old days. As we chatter away about scheduling, performance, weather issues, family, and mutual friends, I can’t help but remember that this is the man who taught me to fly.

It was this specific individual who introduced me to the secret of doing a decent turn-around-a-point. He walked me through hold entries and my very first ILS approach, not to mention the significantly more challenging and far less precise NDB. He even accompanied me on the trip that resulted in my multi-engine instructor certificate being issued, even if we did participate in sinking a Seminole in a mud hole in the process.

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What does Pilots Bill of Rights mean to GA pilots?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pilots will get better notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and more equitable treatment from the FAA during any enforcement actions against them as a result of passage of a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), which was passed June 29 by the Senate and sent to the House, where similar legislation had been introduced.

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College student wins first NJ Spot Landing Contest

Aviation Exploring Post 107 recently sponsored the first Mid-Jersey Spot Landing contest. Open to all pilots of Central New Jersey Airports, the event drew contestants from Solberg-Hunterdon, Central Jersey, Lincoln Park and Somerset Airports. Contestants ranged from 17-year-old, newly minted pilots to pilots with years of experience.

The winner, Kyle Coulson, is a sophomore at Raritan Valley Community College who earned his private pilot certificate at Solberg Airport in Readington [Read more...]

Mr. Murphy and his laws

I didn’t make the Lady Taildragger Fly-In held in Savannah, Tenn., the first weekend in June, and from the comments on the website and the texts from my friend and fellow pilot, Sharon Tinkler, it was a roaring success. Kudos to founder and organizer of Ladies Love Taildraggers, Judy Birchler, and Savannah-Hardin airport manager Montille Warren for their hard work.

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” In my case, Murphy’s Law should be modified to “Many events that you want or should attend will be scheduled the same weekend as far apart as possible in order to cause as much stress as possible.” [Read more...]

Texas duo win Air Race Classic

More than 100 air race pilots competing in the 36th annual Air Race Classic descended on the Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport late last month, after flying a 2,330 nm cross-country course in four days. Starting on June 19, the racers left Lake Havasu, Arizona, on a course that would take them east, north, and finally southeast to Sporty’s.

The first racers began to arrive early on Friday, June 23, and continued streaming in throughout the day, Sporty’s officials report. The winning team, based on fastest handicapped speed, was Dianna Stanger of Fort Lavaca, Texas, and Victoria Holt of Belton, Texas, who flew a Cirrus SR-22.

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Cessna launches Discover Flying Challenge

Cessna Aircraft Co. has launched its Discover Flying Challenge, challenging aviation students to see who can generate the most awareness and hands-on experience for the company’s Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA), the Skycatcher.

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Air Race Classic lands at Sporty’s

More than 100 air race pilots competing in the 36th annual Air Race Classic descended on the Clermont County/Sporty’s Airport in Ohio last week, after flying a 2,330 nm cross-country course in four days. Starting on June 19, the aircraft left Lake Havasu, Arizona, on a course that would take them east, north, and finally southeast to Sporty’s.

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Shades of grey

General Aviation News columnist Dan Johnson recently wrote about LSAs vs. Cessna 150s. The post discusses the pros and cons of a new Light-Sport Aircraft versus the venerable Cessna 150. Dan was a long-time 150 owner and is “the man” when it comes to new LSAs, so he’s as much an expert on both — at the same time — that any of us could hope to find.

Suffice it to say, neither a brand-new LSA or a 30-year-old 150 is the perfect airplane for everyone. The comments quickly evolved into most “cost-effective” and most “expensive” arguments. Very black and white, which makes no sense to me.

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Remember your first?

Do you remember the first airplane you flew? For many people, this event is right up there with your first kiss.

And some aviators are lucky enough to find their first and make it their own many years later. Randall Patterson of Palm Coast, Fla., is one of those lucky people. He owns the very 1947 Aeronca L-16A that he logged his first hour in.

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