Ever met someone you instantly liked? The MD3 Rider is one friendly yet
Everything in life is subjective, even scientific observation. And if you’re the least bit sensitive to your environment, you’ll probably agree that any vehicle, just like any person you meet, has a distinct feel and personality.
“Spot Check OK. Latitude: 37.7445. Longitude: -97.224,” read a text message on my cell phone, and I knew that contributor Bill Stein had made it safely in his Edge 540 to Wichita, Kans., the final stop on his cross-country flight from Chicago, Ill.
General aviation answers a question that wasn’t important until recently
I wouldn’t want to be riding out on the wing tonight. The wind is roaring down out of the north like a polar bear’s breath—a vicious torrent of air frozen by winter and twisted by the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere below, far down in a blanket of black sky four miles deep, the night snow of November blitzes New Mexico and Colorado into immobility.
There’s never been so much pre- and in-flight weather information available for pilots. If you can’t gather the raw data, forecasts and current airport observations by yourself, a briefer at a Flight Service Station (FSS) can do it for you. Unfortunately, some pilots continue to experience trouble applying the wealth of data and meteorological analyses to the realities of flight.
Good things never last forever, including AirVenture
As this is being written, it’s 7:45 p.m. on the night that the happenings in Oshkosh have ended. I’m sitting in an Arby’s across the street from the airport. I’ve just driven the empty field and, to be honest, I’m feeling pretty melancholy. In fact, I’m a little lonely and depressed. I think that after the high-profile week, my adrenaline meter has just dropped past the big “E.”
A snapshot compendium of LSA overview, new aircraft and dish-the-dirt scuttlebutt
In a recent attempt to scare myself about how old I’m getting, I calculated the total time I’ve spent at EAA’s annual air show in Oshkosh. It’s more than half a year of my life—27 visits of around a week each! Pass the orthotic, please.
A 70-year-old airplane teaches that flying is a gift to be savored
My palms were sweating as I approached the hangar. Behind locked doors sat one of the most storied airplanes in aviation: the Stearman PT-17, and I was going to fly it. I felt like I had been invited backstage to meet Elvis. I had been dreaming about this iconic airplane since I was a kid who spent Saturday afternoons staring up at the type from the weeds of my local airport.
Realistic flight-planning requires far more than simply measuring the distance, figuring the book speed and fuel burn and then launching
My first airplane, a 1947 Globe Swift, purchased in 1966 for $3,700 when I had a whopping 80 hours in my logbook, was a cute little devil. It offered quick handling and was a ball to fling around the sky, but it obviously hadn’t read its own press releases. The stock Globe GC-1B came up short in virtually every performance parameter—it wasn’t nearly as fast as advertised, didn’t climb as it was supposed to, burned more fuel than the POH suggested and couldn’t carry nearly as much weight as it “should” have. I learned the airplane’s true nature by trial and error, probably not the best method in any aeronautical pursuit.
One of the best things about EAA AirVenture, more than any other aviation gathering, is the sheer number of cool things you’ll find, whether cruising the fly market for tools, sheet metal and bungee cords, or stalking through the hangars for treasures and things you never knew you’d need. We’ve found some incredibly clever products; many that you may not have sampled yet. Prices run the gamut of ranges, but the items are all worth a look. When you go to Oshkosh, you never know what you may come home with!
My first exposure to the Spot Satellite Messenger came on a rainy March afternoon when air show pilot Gene Soucy arrived at the NAS Meridian Air Show in Meridian, Miss., where we were both performing. Gene got out of his Showcat biplane, shook my hand and said, “hello,” then pulled a little orange device out of his pocket and hit a button. He explained that he had just checked in with his coperformer, Theresa Stokes, by sending her a message that he had arrived safely. I asked the obvious question, and he said, “It’s a Spot, man, you need to get a Spot.”
Despite concern over fuel prices and the economy, more than 10,000 aircraft and 540,000 people attended EAA AirVenture 2008 in Oshkosh, Wis., between July 28 and August 3. Here’s a look at some of the event’s most exciting aircraft.
Headlining the air show was the Collaborators formation aerobatic team: Sean Tucker (Oracle biplane), Ben Freelove (Extra 300), Eric Tucker (Extra 300) and Bill Stein (Edge 540). The four-ship team’s performance combines the grace of formation flying with the drama of hard-core aerobatics. This year’s new maneuvers included an inside-outside 8, Cuban 4 and split S, all flown in diamond formation. Other crowd pleasers were the formation hammerheads and triple rolling rejoins.
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