6000 Miles Across the Pacific in a Duchess

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The mission was to fly my aircraft 6000 miles from my home in Auckland, New Zealand to its new home in California. What an opportunity! Over 40 hours of flying over the ocean to places you could only dream about. After all, how many private pilots have Pago Pago (PPG) and Christmas Island (CXI) in their log books?

Saying goodbye to an airport

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I’ve been to plenty of funerals in my life, but never for an airport. But that’s the only way to describe what happened last week, when I joined a group of 13 other pilots and six airplanes to make the short flight to Blue Ash Airport (ISZ) and land on runway 24 one last time.

Two Ford Tri-motor flights – 75 years apart

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In 1935 I was six years old, and we were living in Ponca City, Oklahoma. One day a Ford Tri-motor flew into our grass airfield and offered rides, at a price, to our “city’s” inhabitants. I was completely hooked on aviation from that moment on, and determined that I wanted to be part of it.

Make the case for your airplane

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To each pilot, the primary airplane chosen for flying has some appeal that tends to stand out. Here, we want to get pilots to comment on what they like best about the primary airplane flown, whether owned, leased or rented.

Neil Armstrong: the ultimate aviator

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We watched the moon landing on July 21, 1969 with some British friends. After the landing, one Brit, who worked on elements of the space program, said, “You must be proud to be an American.” I was and still am thanks to the fact that I have shared and still share this great country with some wonderful and exceptional people. This brings me to Neil Armstrong, Gone West on August 25 at 82.

Go or No Go: get to the beach

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The flight today is from your home in Knoxville, Tennessee (KTYS) to Kiawah Island in South Carolina (KJZI), which should take just over 2 hours. Your 1980 Cessna is well-maintained, with a fancy new Garmin GTN 750 WAAS GPS and XM Weather on board. It looks like you’ll need that XM Weather–and maybe your instrument rating–for the trip today.

Our airports look like prisons

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Almost every airport these days–regardless of size or location–is locked up, treated like a dangerous weapon instead of a community asset. As licensed pilots, many of us probably don’t even notice this anymore, but the message our airports are sending out is clear: stay away.

A what? An exciting bit of weather action

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I don’t spend much time watching TV news but my wife keeps it playing at times. I kept overhearing a new word (to me) after the June 29th storm that turned out lights from the middle west to the East Coast. The word sounded to me like “deratio” but Wikipedia lists “de-ray-cho” as the correct pronunciation.

Island flying, Northeast-style

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In my part of the country a pilot’s license is a ticket to visit coastal islands that are otherwise accessible with difficulty. The islands, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block, and Fishers each have their own special charms. I’m going to describe some of the features of each. The emphasis here will be on day trips.

Breakfast flying 101

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Our squadron is usually anywhere between two to five aircraft. Pilots, enthusiasts, first-timers…all are welcome. Early morning departures are a must, for we still have a full day of work to get in once we get back. As the sun peeks up over the horizon, the planes are in the air and beginning to rendezvous.

A day in the life of the line

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The ramp personnel at an FBO, better known as the Line guys, welcome us and see us off. They are often the front door to a thousand other services. They appear and disappear, oftentimes as if by magic, and they seem to know what we need before we’ve understood it ourselves.

The IFR conundrum: is it as it appears?

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Back in the good old days, there was a lot of scud running and not much real IFR. A lot of us thought that the best way to improve the general aviation safety picture would be to get more people into IFR flying. But one of life’s simplest pleasures comes in realizing that you were wrong about something and that is true here.

Designing the Cessna 180

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Former Cessna engineer and test pilot Harry Clements shares his personal history of designing the Cessna 180. As you might expect, not everything went smoothly during this bush plane’s development.

Spelling relief

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People complain about my lack of …endurance. Turns out, I’m not the only pilot with a bladder of clay. For as long as airplanes have been able to sustain vast distances, they’ve been flown by people who can’t.

Bittersweet victory: breaking Dad’s speed record

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When Air Facts resurrected the speed records that it started in 1968, it brought back a flood of memories of my Dad’s participation in the program. So when a planned family trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, was on the calendar, I figured this was a good time to attempt to beat Dad’s record—well at least one of them.

Is scud-running ever OK?

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In the last 20 years, we’ve conducted a war on scud-running, placing this technique in the same league as smoking and drunk driving. While the latter two deserve their bad reputations, I think we’ve gone too far with scud-running. A recent trip in a helicopter shows why.

Westward Ho

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Lawrence Zingesser shares another memorable trip. The plan was to fly to the Napa Valley and in doing so to experience the scenery of the Rocky Mountains up close, to explore the Grand Canyon from a low altitude, and to overfly coastal California en-route. Read how the trip went, including pictures.