You’d normally find her looping and rolling at 250 mph in front of thousands of spectators at the industry’s biggest air shows, but this month, aerobatic champ Patty Wagstaff takes us on a different kind of adventure, low and slow above elephants, rhinos and cheetahs in the remote wilderness of Kenya.
I often wear a little leather choker with two bronze elephant tusks. I picked it up a few years ago in a Nairobi gallery called Matt Bronze, and it reminds me of the wild things that still live in Kenya.
Glass cockpits ease workload, but pilots shouldn’t forget to maintain their flying proficiency
While I was at an FBO at the Westchester County Airport north of New York City a couple of days ago, a guy I hadn’t seen in a long time walked in. We immediately started catching up on a host of things, not the least of which were the predictable topics of what we’re flying and how much (or little) we’re getting in the air these days.
What do three years of a top LSA insurer’s data tell us about sport flight accidents?
Tooling around the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo (check out my blog, Light-Sport Hangar Flyin’), I ran into Mike Adams, vice president of underwriting for Avemco Insurance Company (www.avemco.com). Adams was on scene to present what Avemco has learned, based on three years of data, from S-LSA accidents.
Right at this moment, aviation lives are being lived that we can’t imagine
As I was out walking this morning, my brain, as is usually the case, decided to go somewhere else so it didn’t have to deal with the tedium of exercising. This time, it began visiting cockpits around the world. In a matter of seconds, film clips of pilots, who at that exact moment were readying their birds for flight, started playing in the theater of my mind.
To retract or not to retract? That is the question.
My first airplane was a retractable, but it was sometimes hard to tell. It was a purely stock 1946 Globe Swift GC1B, and while the main wheels would retract—eventually—there often seemed to be little effect on performance. Though the airplane was a cute little devil and a fairly primo example of its kind, its performance was a country mile behind the “book.”
Five years ago, the first special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) received its airworthiness certificate, opening up a new chapter in the regulation of simple personal flight. More than 1,000 of these factory-built aircraft and more than 8,000 former ultralights (experimental light-sport aircraft, E-LSA) are now flying under the sport pilot and LSA category.
There were more than a few cheers at this year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., which drew a record crowd of up to 11,500 attendees and held its own in spite of the current economic woes. With more than 165 exhibitors and sales of at least 20 airplanes, it’s evident that the LSA industry has come a long way since the sport pilot rule was created four years ago.
US Airways Flight 1549 is reminiscent of other successful ditchings
Without diminishing in any way the heroic actions of the pilots, flight attendants and passengers on US Airways Flight 1549, which was successfully ditched in the Hudson River after a bird strike on January 15, it’s important to note that most ditchings actually have a high survival rate.
I’m 77 and hold a commercial pilot license and an instrument rating. I’ve filled four logbooks. As a child, I made balsa-wood and tissue-paper airplanes. As a teen, I made gas U-Control model airplanes, and I used to ride my bike to the airport regularly. During the Korean War, I served in the Air Force. All in all, I guess that I’m an aviation enthusiast.
The morning sun had yet to break over the horizon, and as I speed-walked my usual early morning, let’s-get-the-blood-flowing-and-the-joints-loose route, I could actually see my breath. Light frost crusted the yards—a rare but not unknown happening here in the desert. Then I heard a single honk overhead and glanced up: Instantly, I felt just a little melancholy.
There’s nothing so constant as change. Trouble is, change is hard to come by in the far north.
When I returned to Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada, in early December to complete the delivery of the world’s brightest Marchetti (yellow and red with blue stars, formerly owned by an air show pilot), I was hoping it was cold enough that ice season was pretty much over. It was, but not without a few dying gasps.
There was a time when aviation seemed to be a distant world, out of my reach. I didn’t know any pilots, and as far as I knew, you had to be in the military or have millions of dollars to become one. While my classmates forged ahead on paths to become doctors and lawyers, I stumbled around, sneaking peeks at airplanes passing overhead and memorizing the aviation alphabet. But, one day, everything changed.
An opportunity to see the world from a different perspective
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” There are more than 600,000 registered pilots in the United States, and each of them can relate to this quote.
The quantity and quality of information have improved, but icing is ever a deadly foe
Ten years ago, the National Aviation Weather Program Council met in Washington, D.C., to develop ideas that could be turned into practical steps toward reducing the number of weather-related aircraft accidents. Regarding in-flight icing, the group—which included FAA, Department of Defense, NASA, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and NTSB representatives—concluded that better observation systems were needed for detecting icing, and weather forecasts should present icing hazards in clear, easily understood formats.
Skylane 250CW, cleared to land, runway two seven.” Those words marked the start of my anniversary weekend in historic Savannah, Ga. The VFR flight to Savannah from Lawrenceville, Ga., on the morning of August 1, 2008, was smooth and uneventful, as was my first-time arrival into Savannah International Airport. Plane parked and rental car obtained, my wife and I headed off to the resort.