Plane & Pilot
Sunday, August 1, 2004

“Plane Talk” From Machado

A leading aviation expert’s collection of informal, but educational, articles

I’ve been privileged to call Rod Machado a friend for the last 20 years. We first worked together during the launch of ABC TV’s Wide World of Flying TV series back in the mid ’80s. Together with host and ABC senior VP Phil Boyer (now president of AOPA), director Dave Jackson (now president of King Schools), TWA captain Barry Schiff (now retired) and later, warbird enthusiast Jeff Ethell (sadly, no longer with us), Rod and I enjoyed seven happy years of playing to the TV cameras.

My stories were primarily dedicated to left-seat checkouts in airplanes ranging from the Aerostar 700 and TBM-700 to the Super Decathlon and Lake Amphibian, but Rod, as the representative of AOPA, handled meatier stuff, safety tips, emergency procedures and a variety of other stories with a style and panache I could only hope to emulate.

We’ve both moved on to other things, but we still manage to stay in touch, often crossing paths at Sun ’n Fun, the EAA AirVenture, the AOPA Expo and a half dozen other annual aviation events. Rod is one of the smartest people I know on all things aviation, and I rely on him as a source of knowledge many times each year.

As virtually everyone in aviation must know by now, Machado is among the most popular and articulate speakers in the industry, drawing big crowds everywhere he speaks. His experience, intelligence and, above all, sense of humor, have made him one of the most visible personalities in aviation. He has made humor his trademark, not only in his lectures but in his writing as well.

Rod is one of those legitimate airport kids who began flying at age 16, and 8,000 hours later, he has never looked back. He has been a CFI for 30 years (and he’s only 41—just kidding), but he somehow has managed to retain an intense fascination with anything aeronautical as well as the vagaries of human nature.

As an instructor, Rod has taught several hundred flight-instructor re-validation clinics around Southern California and holds degrees in both aviation science and psychology from California State University at Long Beach, Calif. In his spare time, he practices and teaches martial arts and holds black belts in the Korean disciplines of tae kwon do and hapkido.

There is only so much of Rod to go around, however, and to that end, he offers a variety of tapes, CDs, DVDs and books. His instructional manuals on earning the private license and instrument rating have become instant classics. I have every one of those books in my library, and I use them often to brush up on my own knowledge.

His latest book, Rod Machado’s Plane Talk: A Collection of Rod’s Most Popular Aviation Stories and Articles, is published in the same large format as his previous efforts, although it’s not strictly a training manual. It very well may be his best effort yet, however. That’s because it covers a wide variety of aviation subjects and is dedicated to entertain as well as inform.

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