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.
On top of clouds

A few of my favorite things from last summer’s trip around the US

My wife, April, and I flew over 11,000 miles in our Cessna 206 last summer. We pretty much circumnavigated the lower 48, with a couple of “great loops” to boot. Our mission: to take our daughter’s used Ikea furniture and household items from her Houston apartment to Bangor, Maine, where she was working on assignment.

An airplane unlike any I’ve ever seen before – flying the AN-2

When planning this Bavarian vacation, I wanted to include some flying, perhaps an hour of dual with an instructor at a local flying club. Searching online, I came across the website of a company called Classic Wings Bavaria, offering scenic flights in a 1957 Soviet-built Antonov An-2 biplane. Here was the unique flying opportunity I was looking for, even if it did not involve actual stick time.
River valley

Landing below sea level—my bucket list flight

This little adventure is about two old pilots checking an item off their bucket list. One of the trips we have talked about for the last few years is flying to Death Valley and landing below sea level to watch the hands on the altimeter recede counter-clockwise past zero. This trip is best flown during colder months of the year because Death Valley is usually over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in warm months.

Alaska: if I can do it…

I am a very average pilot. I got my Private Pilot’s license in 2008, my instrument rating a year later and have since been “working on my Commercial/CFI.” But in 2013, my cousin, John, talked me into flying to Alaska. I became drawn to Alaska’s vastness and rough and natural beauty.
Cessna 120

Summers long ago: a 1500-mile trip in a Cessna 120

In the grass of Harvey Young, an airport tucked just south of Tulsa International, there appeared a beautiful 1946 Cessna 120. I couldn’t buy it, but I convinced my buddy that this was the airplane for him. Tulsa, Oklahoma to Boston, Massachusetts: a 1500-mile trip in a 30-year old airplane with no nav radio, a com radio that just barely worked, no gyro instruments except for that needle and ball, and a wet compass. This was adventure!