Opinion & Commentary (155)

Hog Log October 2004

October 2004 Flying is based on seeing. You use your eyesight to gather and use your knowledge. Even though Luke Skywalker could close his eyes, use The Force and fly a successful combat mission, you’re going to need your ability to see if you want to land your airplane. Humans are visual creatures. In a logical world, IFR flight would be based on sound, not sight. It isn’t. You learn now to visually interpret instruments and cathode ray tubes on your airplane’s panel and then at the end of an instrument approach you strain your eyes to see the approach lights and runway.

Left Coast Pilot: Getting Current

November 2004 I finally got myself IFR current again, almost six months after my last hood work. That has a tendency to happen around here in the summer, as there’s little (or no) actual IFR to fly in, and there’s rarely any reason to fly in Class B airspace or on the coast, where there might be fog. As usual, I spent several hours practicing in Microsoft Flight Simulator first, getting used to doing an IFR scan and reading approach plates. Once I was comfortable with those, it was time to get in the real airplane. The forecast for the next day looked good—cloudy (we were getting the edge of a tropical depression—formerly a hurricane—that came up from Mexico, and collided with a cold front coming down from the north), but with little turbulence.

Left Coast Pilot – How High Can You Fly?

October 2004- How high can you fly? That’s a question that’s bothered me for quite a while now. The San Francisco sectional I use regularly has some green in the middle, where the California central valley is—but there’s brown on the chart, both for the coast range mountains to the west (elevation around 3000-4000’) and a lot more brown to the east, where the Sierras rise to elevations of 10,000-14,000’. Going north or south you’ll run into mountains as well, so if you fly any distance at all out here you’re going to run into altitude issues. Which raises a question: How high can you fly?

Left Coast Pilot - Back from Oshkosh

September 2004 - The bugs near Anderson, Ind. are what I remember the most, along with more actual IFR (two solid hours) in one week than I’ve had in the entire year since... but I’ll get to that. Last month, I wrote about my experience last year flying from my home base in Modesto, Calif., to Waupaca, Wis.—an uncontrolled airport near Oshkosh. It was my second trip east for an EAA AirVenture.

Three Strikes, You’re Out

November 2004 In August, Hurricane Charley blew through Florida and into the Carolinas. That fast-moving Category Four storm cut a compact swatch of destruction across the state, effectively bringing aviation operations to a halt for a few days, and much longer at affected airports. Just when we got a handle on that recovery effort, and the TFRs had disappeared, Hurricane Frances entered our reality. On Monday, August 30, everyone began to take him seriously. Tuesday happened to be my kid’s birthday and I was determined not to press the panic button too early and deprive him of his day.

Full Circle - Twin Adventures

October 2004 With my new partner Jim Corley walking beside me, we finally headed across the ramp and toward the airplane to do some actual flying (“Partnership, Part One & Two;” August and September issues). We had already spent several hours together in preparation for this partnership to, quite literally, finally get itself off the ground. That culminating moment was now at hand. Almost.

Bumps & Circuits – Signs of the Times

October 2004 A couple of weeks ago, I got tapped for jury duty. Most people try to get excused, but I actually relish the opportunity to aid in the judicial process and pay my societal dues (plus possibly pick up a subject for a column). However, my enthusiasm waned when I got to the courthouse and began the interminable judicial waiting process.

Bumps & Circuits - November 2004

November 2004 Have you ever wondered why we refer to some airplanes by name while sticking to the numbers for others? For one thing, it’s sometimes simpler. I mean, it’s a lot easier to say “G-III” than “Grumman Gulfstream G-1159A,” and “T-206” is a lot easier and drier to say than “Turbo-System Super Skywagon,” isn’t it? The real reason we call some models by their name or nickname is that when it’s a good name, it fits. For instance, can you imagine a P-51 being referred to as the North American Nimrod, or a 172 named the Clyde, after Mr. Cessna? Would you go to a classical piano concert if the performer’s name was Bubba? No matter how much research a marketer or designer does on the psychology of a name and its esthetic value in the market, the flying/buying public holds an option on what it will be called.

Hog Log

September 2004 I was 17 years old and having the time of my life. I had been a line boy in Lakeland since I was 15 and was cashing in on the experience by being allowed to go to Wichita and pick up a new airplane. The instructors working at our FBO were too busy instructing, so it fell to us line boy/pilots to do the free ferrying work. The Cessna 150, N1515Q, was white with a light blue trim and had blue stripes painted on the wing roots. It even smelled new—and with the five or six cases of Coors the Cessna rep had purchased and carefully loaded for me, I was pretty close to max gross when I lifted off from Strother Field for the trip home to Florida.
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