A pilot’s views on 360 photography

For me, the most important attribute of these 360 cameras and their capabilities (most of which I haven’t even touched on here) are the game changing effects on my pleasure flying that I mentioned early in this report.  I have literally re-opened my backyard (local) flying areas to a new excitement and now see familiar settings with a revived sense of interest and even joy.

Idaho backcountry adventure – expectation and the reality

We expected the “Frank” to be wild, majestic, and to have amazing vistas. We expected it to teach us lessons. We expected to see some neat airplanes. We expected it to be a place to meet wonderful people. We expected it to provide memorable hangar tales. It did all that, and much more.

Working down the bucket list: float plane rating—check!

Float plane water operations require more planning and forethought than land operation on wheels.  Before untying the lines, you have to consider where the wind and the current will move you – into obstacles like another aircraft at the dock or the shore. Once in the air, things are pretty much normal for an under powered airplane.

Freak School: learning to fly at OAK in the 1970s

Just shy of my 15th birthday, I decided to do something about this flying thing.  I set out on the bus from Berkeley, and eventually made it down to the Oakland Airport.  I started knocking on doors, and by that afternoon I found a flight school.

North to Alaska—a journey to remember

After several planning sessions, purchases of camping gear (which we never used) and hours of studying maps of British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Alaska, we packed our bags, stuffed them into our airplanes and off we went. We knew weather would be the deciding factor.

A North American flying adventure with my son

This was the year that I decided to finally attend EAA AirVenture for the first time, in our 1962 Cessna 182E. The planning began in May with me studying all I could to make a trip like this go smoothly. One of the best pieces of news I received during all of this planning was that my 17-year-old son Peter wanted to come along for the adventure. It was going to be a father-son trip to top any that came before it.

California to Oshkosh in a 1941 Stearman

I have been attending the annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for years. Many have been attending it since its start in 1954, and have never missed a year. In 1994 I was fortunate to fly to Oshkosh with my friend Royce Clifford, and in her 1941 Stearman. The trip took four days from Gillespie Field in San Diego, California.
Citabria parked

A little (local) knowledge is (not) a dangerous thing

Linda and I were on a "ramble" that summer, in Casper, our 1967 M20E Mooney. We meandered from home in the Kingdom (northeastern-most Vermont) down the eastern seaboard to Tennessee to visit her sister and my brother-in-law. Finally, we had to leave Tennessee, as our ultimate destination that summer was Wyoming. Dubois, Wyoming (DUB), to be precise.

From Venezuela to Alaska and back

It all started in May 1998, after we installed factory rebuilt engines in our 1976 Piper Seneca II, YV-850P. My partner Mark Dominguez and I asked ourselves where we could go with these new capabilities. Rather jokingly, we said, "why not Alaska?!" After some serious discussions, we decided, "let's go for it!"
Over Greenland

Flying a Cirrus VFR across Russia

For decades, the requirements to fly a private plane beyond Moscow or St. Petersburg required having a Russian speaker/navigator on board. I understood that the necessary permits were difficult to obtain and that avgas was hard to come by. With little notice or announcements, all of this has changed. Thinking about all of this for just a few seconds, I knew that I had to make this trip.

Easier than they say: flying a Cub from Idaho to Baja Mexico

Recently a friend and I had cause to celebrate a newly earned PPL, so in the midst of winter, we left snow-covered Idaho for a 4000-mile trip to the tip of Baja and back. A Super Cub is not the ideal plane for this mission. With only 46 gallons of usable fuel and 31-inch backcountry tires, our speed was limited to 100 miles per hour. This journey was going to be on Mexican time: low, slow and off the beaten path.

Hand flying across Canada

2020 was an epic flying year for my son Daniel, his friend Theo, and me as we had the opportunity to fly our new plane across the country, to its new home in Nova Scotia from its previous home in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Across the Canadian Arctic – Dawson to Churchill

For this three-day trip, I proposed to start in Dawson, Yukon Territory, fly up to the Arctic Ocean, stopping in Inuvik, Northwest Territory, then southeast past the Great Bear Lake to Yellowknife. From there, I would fly across the Canadian Shield to Churchill, Manitoba located on the shore of Hudson Bay, and home to far more polar bears and belugas than people.
On the ground at Wales

Utqiagvik to Anchorage—Three Amazing Days in the Air

Bleak. Barren. Forbidding. Lonesome. Awesome. Beautiful. Cosmopolitan. No, this isn’t one of those "pick the word that doesn’t fit" quizzes. These words all describe a three-day flight across Alaska, from Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) to Anchorage.
Wright memorial

Wish fulfilled: flying to Kitty Hawk

The Wright Flyer was my favorite topic for such study. How could two bicycle mechanics succeed in engineering an airplane, and so far away from what they called home? A plan emerged in my mind… why not fly my Cessna 172 to Kitty Hawk and land at the place where the aviation began? Seemed far-fetched initially, but when you put your mind to something, it will eventually manifest.
Point Barrow

Journey to the End of the Earth

Call it a post-midlife crisis. Call it my bucket list. Call it absurd. Call it expensive. OK, I plead guilty to all of the above. I decided to go anyway. I was determined to fly my 1977 Piper Arrow from my home field (KEQY) near Charlotte, North Carolina, to the northernmost airfield in North America—at PABR in Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow), Alaska.

From FUBAR to fabulous: landing at 200 strips in three months

If you do a search for 2020 memes, there is no shortage of graphic illustrations why this year has been FUBAR (look it up if you don't understand) for travellers, especially those of us who prefer to journey by air. And yet, I managed to have my best flying season ever in 2020 while travel was restricted to my home province of Manitoba!
Flying Cirrus Jet

Leaving Las Vegas with Cirrus Jet time in the logbook

It was late July in the year of Covid that I had the opportunity to do some flying in Las Vegas. I was there for a two day Corvette Owners Driving School in Pahrump that was being heavily subsidized by the folks at GM. I took the opportunity to fly in (commercial) early so that I could do some other things while in town. And by other things I mean flying.
Over Canberra

Flight of a lifetime—my 8,000-mile trip around Australia

To fly around Australia was not an idea that happened upon me overnight. It was an idea hatched in childhood, and ultimately flown solo decades later. Eight months in planning and eighteen days in execution, I suspect the planning would have been somewhat quicker if it had not grown into such a public exercise with such a genuine, interested following.

Flying 3500 miles in five days—and enjoying every minute of it

I hope that this story can serve to encourage other aviators to stretch their wings and horizons by expanding their comfort zones, to see and experience things that are unavailable to our earthbound neighbours, and to share these with others, whether they are other pilots, your friends and family, and anyone else that needs to see what general aviation has to offer.