Ferrying a 1946 Auster J2 through Australia

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The aircraft ferry game is both interesting and where one always expects the unexpected. My card reads “Can Ferry, Will Travel.” Flying an older aircraft cross country is more than just throwing your bag in the back and departing. To do the job properly means planning ahead.

Friday Photo: Puget Sound fun

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Puget Sound in Washington is an ideal place for a general aviation airplane. The distances are short, but roads are few, so a quick flight can take you a world away from the busy streets of Seattle. In this picture from Kevin Knight, Mother Nature gets an assist, as the sun breaks through a broken layer of clouds, highlighting the water below.

High energy approaches: student edition

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Recently, a video of a Cessna 172 crash into a hangar after landing in Canada went viral. The student pilot got out of it with minor injuries, but the fact that he was just another one saved by Cessna’s generous engineers underscores a critical point in training that might have been overlooked. It is a systemic issue across the industry, and it has to be mitigated, like any threat.

A less-than-graceful arrival

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I worked at the seaplane base while attending college and in 1964 I had acquired a 1939 Aeronca Chief seaplane project. I finally had it completed and flying by the summer of 1966. I planned to do the required long cross-country flight by taking a week at the end of the summer and heading north. My ultimate destination was Greenville, Maine, on Moosehead Lake.

Go or No Go: smoky San Carlos

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The overall weather for your flight today from Scottsdale, Arizona (SDL), to San Carlos, California (SQL), looks excellent—no fronts, no storms, no ice, hardly any clouds—with one exception. Huge wildfires have covered much of Northern California with smoke. That means widespread IFR conditions near your destination. Can you make the trip?

Stop calling it the impossible turn

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Pilots love a good debate, and some topics seem to come in and out of fashion like bell bottoms. Right now the wars over lean of peak and angle of attack indicators have cooled (thankfully), but the war over “the impossible turn” seems to be heating up. In the last few months I’ve seen multiple articles, videos, and forum threads on the subject. It’s fun to debate, but what problem are we trying to solve here?

How the Reno Air Races saved me

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An early career change took me in an unplanned direction away from aviation. After 24 years in the industrial diamond business a customer from Hayward who knew of my aviation background invited me to join his “September family” in Reno for the air races. After so many years, I thought this would be a one-time visit. However, this courtesy visit blossomed into fourteen years of annual pilgrimages and a rekindling of my passion for aviation.

Go Goodyear—mixing it up with the blimps

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When flying in the Akron area in daylight, one would occasionally see one of the slow flying Goodyear blimps. Wingfoot Lake grass airport and hangar, a few miles south of Akron, was the location where Goodyear built the blimps and trained new crews. The blimps appear quite large to most people on the ground but when flying near them they do not seem as large.

Friday Photo: safe from the storm

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In tropical countries storms build up very fast; you must be aware of that and take care of you and your plane. That’s what Santiago Arbelaez is doing in this week’s Friday Photo. It shows his 1954 Piper Pacer tied down at Tolu, Colombia, in preparation for a nasty storm.

If we were all airplanes

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If I were an airplane, I would be a Cessna 182. Because it “drinks” a bit, but it’s a trustworthy, sturdy airplane. If I were an airplane, I would be the Cessna 182 because it is simple and obvious but delivers what it promises and rarely lets you down. You can’t say it’s pretty, but it won’t scare you with its looks. It’s not nimble, but it climbs well and doesn’t need much runway to take off…

A daughter teaches her dad how to fly

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The lights on the dome of the state capitol rose higher out the window of the Cessna 150, as we settled over the city just north of the airport. We seemed to hover for a moment, like we were in a helicopter. I loved flying at night, but this lesson was not going as planned. I was a new flight instructor, and the student pilot flying from the left seat, nervously watching this unfold, was my father.

Youthful exuberance

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After landing at McCall (about 80nm north of the Boise area), we walked across the street to a nice little Mexican place (still there, I think) for a leisurely lunch. As we walked back to the Dawg, Mark noticed several large, smooth “river biscuit” rocks at the edge of the tiedown area. He said, “Hey, let’s grab one of those and we’ll drop it over Lake Cascade on the way home!”

Friday Photo: sunrise over Georgia

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In the summer months here I love sunrise flights. It’s cooler and you beat the heat, humidity, afternoon thunderstorms, and convective turbulence. It’s also pretty quiet up there with little air traffic. But it requires waking up around 0500 to get to the airport early enough to catch the sunrise airborne.