Our recent family trip from the Washington D.C. area to visit family and drop our money at Universal Studios in Florida was off to a crummy start and we hadn’t even left our house. A strong cold front was advancing to the East coast and trailed into northern Florida touching off daily rounds of thunderstorms over our first destination of Orlando’s Executive Airport.
The task on this week late in March was to fly the new owner of a not-so-new Baron from Indianapolis to Tampa by way of Atlanta for a couple of days of business. This would be the owner’s first trip in the airplane and only my second trip in Seven Tango Romeo after helping ferry the airplane to Indy
Back in February of 1958, my father and I took Leighton Collins’ first Cessna 182 back to the factory in Wichita, where it was traded for a brand new Cessna 182 Skylane. I was eight years old and the adventure was the first time my father had taken me beyond local flights, usually from Linden Airport in New Jersey. It was also a gamble for him
You might as well know right off the bat that I don’t have a jet, never have, and it’s beginning to look like I never will. The funny thing is, though, there are places I wouldn’t be able to go to without them. I’m talking about the King Airs and Citations that are flying every day into small and medium sized towns to do business.
One cold day, I was taxiing out to the runway in our Cessna 172 when another pilot says over the Unicom, “Uhhhh, Skyhawk taxiing out, you still have your cowl plugs in.” Ugh, how embarrassing. I was with my wife and had my tail thoroughly between my legs as I hopped out to remove them.
The following article first appeared in the October, 1961 issue of Air Facts. The wisdom found in Bob’s advice is still sound 50 years later. And, yes, we really did do “canyon approaches” back in the good old days.- Ed.
I heard that many, many times as a young man. You see, I was born with 20/400 vision in my right eye. Today we call that a lazy eye condition. It could have been corrected before the age of five if only they had known. In school when I took a vocational aptitude test, pilot came out on top. Surprisingly enough, minister and funeral director came out on the bottom. I wonder how many pilots would like to make their avocation the church or a funeral parlor? So, I was doomed to a life behind a desk, or so I thought.
Most people talk about the range of airplanes in terms of nautical miles. There are formulas that are used to project the IFR range…
Look, I rarely fly during the wintertime. VFR, warm blooded, no way to get to Lincoln Airport except on the motorcycle, that’s me. Instead, I—nerd alert—build model airplanes and—double-nerd alert—read and reread The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright (Volumes One and Two). Don’t hate me—I led a wasted childhood.
Consider, for a moment, some of the drivers that enabled our nation to develop as a world power. From the time the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth to the present, the single most important driver was the human element, the spirit that has ignited every major achievement in our history. Most everyone would agree that America is unique in this regard.
Note to the reader: This is the first chapter of a book that I started but will probably never finish. It was to be about the history of general aviation as seen through the eyes of two Collins boys, Richard and Leighton. Richard wasn’t born in the time covered by this first chapter but I have my father’s logs and papers to use in covering this slice of the good old days.
Over ten years had passed since my wife and I had watched the annual Fort Lauderdale boat parade. Friends in nearby Pompano Beach had…