Two airplanes (almost) anyone can afford

Aerolite

“Everything you need and not much else,” is the catchy tagline from aviation entrepreneur Chip Erwin.

With those words, he described the Italian Zigolo, which is based on a design by American Mike Sandlin. (In a sign of our global times, Erwin imports it to both USA and China.) One look at the aircraft and you can see what he is describing. Zigolo has everything you need to go aloft to have some aerial fun and, well … not much else.

A similarly simple but well packaged design is made here in the US of A but has recently made its way overseas to Germany and the European Union. Florida’s Aerolite 103 (Aerolite 120 in Europe to conform to its “120 Class”) also has all a pilot needs to see the countryside.

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Would you hesitate to declare an emergency?

The fact that all three of my passengers were throwing up simultaneously left me three options: Tough it out and press on to our destination; join them in their nauseous state; or declare an emergency and get the hell on the ground.

My right seat passenger was a Horizon Air first officer. She thought she was used to bumpy rides. I was flying her to her domicile. She was supposed to report for work there within four hours of our scheduled arrival time.

To top it off, it was only the 11th month of her 12-month probation period. Missing her show time could be reason enough to fire her. I wanted to press on…believe me. I wanted to impress her with my weather flying skills in hard IMC. I wanted to be her hero. But mostly I wanted her to walk my resumé in to her chief pilot the next time a hiring window opened.

Everything in me said, “continue.” Even my front seatmate pleaded for me to gut it out, so I hesitated.
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Sharing your wings

For many frugal pilots, sharing their wings makes a lot of sense. Most private pilots fly less than 1% of the available hours in a year, often not enough time to keep their aircraft from suffering from inactivity. Add another pilot or two and the plane actually stays in better condition —and the costs go down.

But the big question isn’t so much should you share your wings, but how?

Obviously, it’s not a thorough analogy, but sharing wings is somewhat like sharing a life in marriage: The partnership can either be twice as good or twice as bad as going it alone.

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ASA debuts Learn to Fly blog

New from ASA is the Learn to Fly Blog, a place for current pilots, students, and future pilots to learn, explore, and share insights on the foundations of flight and flight training. Find out what it takes to become a pilot, learn the fundamental principles behind the wonder of flight, get test-taking tips, share training experiences with your peers, and learn about careers in aviation.

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Third-class medical reform caught in government maze

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It started two-and-a-half years ago and there is still no clear end in sight. It’s another example of apparent government slow — or no — action.

In March 2012, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) petitioned the FAA to reduce the requirements for a third-class medical certificate and permit certain types of flying with a valid automobile drivers’ license, much like the Sport Pilot license.

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Pilots plan Capital Air Tour

Capital Air Tour Logo

The challenge of flying a general aviation airplane to all the state capitals in the lower 48, plus Alaska, in just two weeks is one that most private pilots would never accept. It is however, the flight plan for an inspiring journey being attempted by two veteran pilots to raise public awareness about smaller, municipal airports that are an important business asset for cities and can be a gateway for bringing new tourism traffic into the area.

Called the Capital Air Tour, the flight will be flown by Field Morey, a CFI from Medford, Oregon, and Conrad Teitell of Greenwich, Connecticut, an attorney with the law firm Cummings & Lockwood. The pilots will use Morey’s 2013 Cessna Corvalis TTx four passenger airplane for the flight, departing Tuesday, Sept. 16, and landing in several states each day.

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FAA interpretation of cost-sharing flights raises cautionary flags

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A recent ruling by the FAA regarding share-the-expense rides raises a cautionary flag for private pilots to be sure they are in compliance with not-for-hire regulations. The FAA issued a legal interpretation after several groups launched programs that brought together people wanting to travel to a particular place and pilots intending to go to the same location.

In brief, the FAA’s interpretation of regulations permits pilots to accept payment for a share of expenses so long as both the pilot and parties involved as passengers are traveling to a common destination and the pilot does not pay less than the pro rata share of expenses involving only fuel, oil, airport expenses, or rental fees. If a pilot accepts more than a pro rata share of expenses, he or she is in violation of FAA regulations.

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