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.

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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.

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What inspired you to learn to fly?

Staff reporter and Master CFI Meg Godlewski says that’s the first thing she asks new students. Our next print issue is focused on Learning to Fly, so we want to reach out to our readers to find out what inspired them to learn to fly? What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in the cockpit — about flying and about life? What advice would you give someone who has dreamed about learning to fly but hasn’t taken that first step?

We’re also looking for photos to possibly put in the print edition, so send those along of your days as a student. And CFIs: Please send in some of your favorite photos of students. Who knows? They may find a place of honor in our next issue!

You can send comments and photos to janice@generalaviationnews.com. Please put Learn to Fly in the subject line. If you prefer, you can make your comments below.

Video captures plane hitting car

Student pilot William Davis was on final approach to land at Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke, Texas, on Saturday, when his Skyhawk collided with an SUV that was crossing the airport. According to a report at AVweb, Davis’s wife, Kandy, was filming his descent and caught the collision on video. The collision knocked off part of the Skyhawk’s landing gear, but Davis was able to land and wasn’t hurt. The two people in the car, a couple on their way to the airport diner, were treated for minor injuries. So why didn’t the car stop for the plane? Read more here.

Tailwheels Etc. wins flight training awards

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LAKELAND, Florida — Flight school Tailwheels, Etc. was recently recognized by two of the nation’s flight organizations. The Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) named Tailwheels, Etc. as being one of the first three “stand alone” accredited flight schools in the country. At this year’s Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Aviation Summit, Tailwheels, Etc. was recognized as one of the top flight schools in the nation. Among the Flight Training Excellence Awards, Tailwheels, Etc. was awarded the President’s Choice Award.

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Don’t reinvent the wheel

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In the great pantheon of mottos there may be none more pertinent than this: Don’t reinvent the wheel. It’s short. It’s pithy. It’s easy to remember. Maybe best of all, it’s true. So with that in mind, I will make this suggestion: If you are a fan of general aviation, if you believe human beings benefit from the pursuit of big dreams, and if you wish you could do something to change the world — you can.

In fact, it’s fairly easy to do all of those things. At least, it’s easy to be part of a bigger machine that is doing those things. [Read more…]

Learning to fly in a Cub

Photo courtesy EAA

As a student pilot flying a Piper J-3 Cub, on any beautiful Sunday afternoon it was not unusual to be 8th to 10th on downwind at Zahn’s Airport at Amityville on New York’s Long Island.

The year was 1954. Finally, I was able to take flying lessons, having been transferred from my position on a newspaper in San Francisco to New York City, working for publications owned by the Hearst Corporation.

This was at the height of the general aviation flying boom following World War II. [Read more…]