Friday Photo: a Cub at rest

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This is recreational aviation at its very finest. Pete Aarsvold shares a photo of two pilots relaxing on a bench, right next to a Cub Crafters Sport Cub sitting on an immaculate grass runway. Looks like the start of a great day.

I damaged my airplane. Now what?

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About three years ago, I had an unfortunate incident with my airplane. I flew to a nearby airport to pick up my instructor for a couple of days of training. We typically did intensive IFR training but this year, I wanted to refresh some basic flying skills so we planned a combination of some VFR basics and some IFR.

My first flying lesson

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After spending some time doing basic airwork (turns, stalls, etc.) Hal said he was bored and took control of the airplane. First he tried looping the Cub, which did not work out as his 200+ pounds plus my paltry 115 pounds made the maneuver impossible. He would nose the plane over, build up airspeed and pull the nose up with full power and, somewhere near vertical, the plane would fall back out of the sky.

“In this business we play for keeps”

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Few dreams worth having are achieved with shortcuts and in flying airplanes there is no substitute for experience. The increase in airman wisdom is recorded on paper in logbooks. More importantly, the experience gained is remembered in your mind and heart, the rewards being increased skill, finesse in the craft, and survival.

Friday Photo: cranberry harvest

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Cranberries are knocked off their bushes while the bogs are flooded, allowing them to be corralled for harvest. We may be flatlanders here in this part of our state but the water views (both coastal and lakes) make it beautiful flying country. This annual sight is always one of my favorite iconic views of the Cape Cod area.

History moving forward – my flight in a B-17

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I like history. I try to imagine what it was like to experience the things that I read about. What were the sounds, the smells, the feelings? Well, after volunteering with our EAA Chapter 17 that hosted the B-17, I was able find out. A group of ten of us who volunteered over the weekend were selected to tag along on the repositioning flight.

Eight things I know about flying in Georgia

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Georgia was my birthplace for flying. I cut my teeth piloting a little Alarus out of DeKalb-Peachtree airport in northeast Atlanta (PDK), and that was home base for 15 years. I set a goal of landing at every public-use airport in the state, and dang near got most of them, even if it was just a touch and go. Over that time I learned a thing or two about flying in the South.

Go or No Go: IFR over the mountains

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Since upgrading to a Cirrus SR22 Turbo a few years ago, you’ve really started using your instrument rating for serious travel. The airplane is well-equipped with a TKS deice system, Garmin glass cockpit, and built-in oxygen. All of those are useful for your typical flights around Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon. Today is no exception, as the mission calls for a two-hour flight from Billings, Montana (BIL), to Boise, Idaho (BOI).

Accident report roundup: time in type

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in spite of the well-meaning advice, total time is still the measuring stick for pilots. A pilot with thousands of hours is assumed to be safe, and both his insurance premium and his reputation around the airport will probably reflect that assumption. But read through NTSB accident reports and you’ll quickly notice another measure of pilot proficiency is more important: time in type.

Friday Photo: the Twelve Apostles

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Towering over the shoreline of Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia, the Twelve Apostles is a unique formation of limestone stacks. Neil Sidwell captured a great photo of this unique vista from the cockpit of his ICP Savannah. While many visitors see it from the nearby road, there’s nothing like an aerial view.

Memories of flying the Connie

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The first big airplane I ever flew was the Lockheed Constellation, affectionately known as the Connie. The Connie simulator was just a procedures trainer (no motion, no visual) so most of the flight training was done in the airplane. I confess I was scared to death! The biggest thing I had ever checked out in was the Piper PA-23 Apache.

The perfect pilot myth is finished

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The rules are that test pilots must recognize the trim failure, for example, by some positive event. Once that positive identification is made, the test pilot must wait exactly three seconds before taking the proper action to disable to system. When non-pilots hear this information, their mouths drop open. They utter something like “that’s crazy. Three seconds! That’s just nuts.”

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche on airports in every town

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This inspiring article, first published in the October 1956 edition of Air Facts, reflects the big dreams of the mid-1950s and perhaps the missed opportunities for general aviation. Legendary writer Wolfgang Langewiesche argued for a nationwide network of landing strips (not airports, just a place to land), to be created as a part of the Interstate Highway System that was born with the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.

I didn’t look in the right place

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I was a 4000-hour Mooney pilot (all in the same Mooney) several years ago when a friend, a well-known sculptor who was having three pieces fabricated in Princeton, New Jersey (39N), asked if I would fly him from our home base in East Hampton, New York (HTO), to check on how they were progressing. My friend was eager to fly, so we looked forward to our adventure on a chilly, blustery spring day.

Friday Photo: chasing the rainbow

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Every pilot has spent time in an FBO waiting out weather. For a lucky few, that patience is rewarded with a beautiful view. That’s what happened to Rick Kennett as he climbed out of St. Louis in his Cessna 340. The stormy clouds supplied the perfect rainbow, which he followed on his way home.

Night, over water

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On a moonless or cloudy night, over deep water, without visual reference and out of normal VHF radio communications range with air traffic control, you are alone. Having charge of all souls on board, while always a heavy responsibility, feels heavier.

Nine things I know about flying in Maryland

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Maryland is one of the most unique states in the country in that it has a unique mix of mountains, the Chesapeake Bay – which is the largest estuary in the United States – and beautiful beaches on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. By itself this would be notable, but we also have airports that serve these regions so they are more easily enjoyed.

My “pucker factor” story

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“Pucker Factor,” for those unfamiliar with the term, is loosely defined as how tight a grip your butt gets on the seat in times of stress. Every pilot has a few Pucker Factor stories. My CFI probably has a couple dozen with my name on them. This is my story as to how, in a single flight, I emptied half of a 30-pound bag of luck and stuffed 50 pounds of experience into the empty space.

Friday Photo: Indonesia airstrip

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For Caravan pilot Peter Santana, simple grass or dirt strips are nothing new. In fact, such challenging airports are just part of the job. But while many are challenging to land on, there’s something very beautiful about strips like the remote Koropun airstrip in Papua, Indonesia. It’s certainly not flat and there are tall cliffs off the end, but it’s an essential lifeline for villagers there.

My excellent Ercoupe adventure

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On April 21, 2015, I accomplished something that I could have never imagined doing at the age of 63. I got a Sport Pilot certificate, and then with just 113 hours and three months as a pilot, I took off for the trip of a lifetime. I departed from Kingsbury, Texas (85TE) for Sheboygan, Wisconsin (KSBM) to attend the 2015 National Ercoupe Convention (75th Anniversary) before continuing on to Oshkosh, Wisconsin (KOSH) for AirVenture 2015.