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How I got to fly the SR-71 simulator for NASA

“Look,” he said, “we need someone to pilot the 71 simulator while the engineers and sim operator conduct some conditions on stability for the 33 programs. Any interest?” “Sure,” I said, “happy to help out.” (I refrained from screaming “hell yes!” while turning a few handsprings.)

For sale: Grumman Traveler (some assembly required)

This adventure began one boring sunny Sunday on the fourth of July, with Rafael reading the latest Barnstormers email. The ad simply read, For Sale Grumman Traveler: $1,000. The address came with a local address… and phone number. A phone call and an arranged meeting was made in less time it takes to write about it. I did say he really liked that airplane.

An engineering approach to the impossible turn

The FAA’s official recommendation on losing power after takeoff is to proceed straight ahead and not to attempt to return to the runway or airport. That existing policy position by the FAA assumes there is an open area available for a successful touchdown. The second assumption is that pilot skill level is not sufficient to execute a 180-degree turn in order to return to landing without stalling and spinning in. Both positions are not much help.