Aviation travel articles capture the magic of piloting a plane to your destination. Whether it’s a trip close to home or to a far corner of the globe, our aviation travel articles always offer a unique perspective.
How would you like to be on a flight and have a weather diversion cost 1.8 million dollars? That’s the estimated cost of manpower, materials and fuel it takes to land the space shuttle at Edwards AFB in California instead of at its home base at Florida’s Cape Canaveral.
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.
The historic region comes alive with Roman ruins, harsh deserts and lush agriculture
Ahead and to the left, the startling deep, blue Dead Sea waters emerge from the light haze, in jarring contrast to the desolate, brown world of the Judean Desert, over which our airplane has been cruising for the last 15 minutes.
I’ve always been fascinated by people who voluntarily climb out of the seat of a perfectly safe airplane and onto its wing. My first experience seeing a wingwalking performance was at an air show in Florida
Join this six-pack of Cubbies on a low-and-slow cross-country jaunt, and hone up on your
“Uh oh,” crackles Rand Siegfried’s voice over the intercom. “There goes A.D.D. again.” He chuckles, “I think we’ll have to do something about that.” And just like that, the sky drops away and we’re in a brain-floating dive in pursuit of Bob Elliott’s Legend Cub.
A flight of three Staggerwings has just made a low pass along the runway; eight V-tail Bonanzas in two echelons are flying overhead at 1,000 feet AGL; and a Model 18 Twin Beech and a Twin Bonanza in formation swoop out of the sky and thunder by. More vintage Beechcraft in twos, threes and fours are making circuits and performing flybys for the crowd of several hundred gathered here at Tullahoma Regional Airport (KTHA) in eastern Tennessee.
After torrential downpours, blue skies, sun and aviation fun took over as the winged season began in Lakeland, Florida. Our prop-happy crew cruised the first day of Sun ’n Fun 2008 to deliver this special report on what’s new and what’s hot in flying.
Newly certified in the States, the Toxo Sportster is the first Spanish-built LSA in America. The all-metal FPNA A22 Valor offers an open cockpit and 360-degree visibility. The Brazilian SeaMax is an LSA amphib with a retractable water rudder and short takeoff and landing distances.
Finding a residential airpark for you and your plane
I live in downtown Manhattan and like the great majority of New Yorkers, have no car. The commute to my airplane in Caldwell, N.J., is a much bigger undertaking than a flight from Caldwell to Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., where I’m investigating a possible solution to my dilemma: A home on a residential airpark, maybe a property with a private runway or some other cohabitation arrangement with my airplane. Apparently, I’m not alone in my search.
Let’s fire up the flivver, kids: it’s family flying time! And, yes, you will solo at 14.
Every child remembers the alphabet blocks of kindergarten. But how many kids are raised with daily lessons in the art of flight? Bob Siegfried came of age in the 1940s. His childhood memories, like those of his generation, were lit by the lightning of World War II. Through it all, one dream burned the brightest: “I always, always wanted to fly.”
Through the rear side window of the hard-banked Aviat Husky, I’m staring goggle-eyed down at a gnat-sized strip of straw and dirt far below. I wonder aloud over the comm: Am I looking at the wrong area? Nope, says pilot Tom Bryant.
Among the earliest things we learned during our initial flying lessons, just after we sorted out the challenge of flying both straight and level at the same time, was that the view of our planet from an aircraft was utterly captivating and that the world was laid open in a fashion we had never imagined.
Race pilots fly an awe-inspiring competition, but they can’t do it alone
At the closing ceremonies of each Red Bull Air Race, there’s always a jubilant atmosphere. Pilots douse each other in champagne, confetti fills the air, everyone cheers and countless autographs are signed. The racers have worked hard and deserve such a moment. But away from the fanfare, crew members have just as much reason to celebrate. Mechanics, ferry pilots and managers have given their all to help the pilots succeed and have also earned the right to be proud. “Our pilots represent us,” says Lance Winter, mechanic for the 2006 series winner, Kirby Chambliss. “If they do well, we have done well.”
It’s perhaps the most iconic military airplane in the history of aviation. Regardless of its real talents (and they’re considerable), the North American P-51 Mustang has achieved a status among fighters unmatched by any other aircraft. It may not have been the fastest, best armored, most maneuverable or longest ranged when it was in service in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, but it’s still generally regarded as the world’s best, all-around piston fighter.
With user fees looming on the horizon, student-pilot numbers dwindling and airlines experiencing pilot shortages, what can be done to reinvigorate general aviation?
You remember, don’t you, when you first fell in love with aviation? Perhaps it was a warm, sunny day with a jeweled, blue morning sky beckoning you to the airport on your trusty Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle. Maybe you crouched in the tall, brown grass by the run-up area, the stiff propeller wash blowing your hair. You blocked the sun with your hand and gazed up in wonder.
My foot pushes on the rudder pedal but nothing happens. I push harder. Still nothing. And so I stomp, hoping that the barn-door-sized rudder will finally budge. Like a large boat churning in open waters, the blimp enters a barely perceptible turn. It’s slow, but persistent, and so I step on the opposite rudder. Rather, I lift my body up and push with my entire weight on the opposite rudder. A long time passes before the blimp responds again.
You don’t have to have lived very long to realize that some moments stay with you forever. A few airplanes are like that: As with a first kiss, you replay those flights over and over in the theater of your mind. For instance, it seems as if only 15 minutes—not several decades—have elapsed since my first takeoff in a Grumman F8F Bearcat. I was researching a school article on warbird pilots—the Bearcat wasn’t on the list to be flown. The Vought Corsair that was on the list, however, blew a hydraulic line, so the owner, Jr. Burchinal, proprietor of the wildest flying school in history said, “Come on, fly the Bearcat.”