Archive for 2012

Teens get their first taste of GA with AV8RS

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Thousands of young people dream of taking to the skies, whether for fun or a career, and AOPA is supporting those dreams with our new AV8RS teen membership. We launched the new membership at AirVenture on Saturday, and it’s a program I’m really excited about.

The young people who joined us for the launch of AOPA’s AV8RS teen membership program were excited to have a new way to connect with the GA community.

Teens between the ages of 13 and 18 can join for free to receive a digital subscription to Flight Training magazine as well as access to members’ only content on and specialized information just for them. They’ll even get free admission to AOPA’s Aviation Summit in Palm Springs.

The young people I met as part of the launch event were not only enthusiastic about general aviation, but also remarkably well informed. Many had gone to considerable lengths to gather information about GA and were excited to have access to AOPA’s extensive and authoritative resources. If you know a teen who’s fascinated by flying and wants to become part of the GA community, encourage them to become an AV8RS member. You can learn more about the program and sign up online.

A Very Special Moment at AirVenture

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Yesterday, several of us had an opportunity to have a working lunch with FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta.  It was a briefing of sorts where a few of the general aviation leaders could discuss issues of importance with the Administrator and his top staff.  In the middle of a discussion on avgas, the door opened and EAA Founder Paul Poberezny asked if he could join in the discussion.  Paul shared his perspective on what AirVenture has become for the GA community as well as a few other thoughts on government and the FAA.  It was a remarkable visit and saying he was almost 91, Paul announced, “…I’m not running for anything!”  It will be one of the great moments of what has already been a wonderful week for us here at AirVenture in Oshkosh.

Weather wins the day

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

They say it’s better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than it is to be in the air and wishing you were on the ground. With that in mind, I landed the Husky and waited this one out.

No matter when or where you fly, you must obey the laws of nature. In light general aviation aircraft, that means watching the weather and knowing when it’s time to get on the ground.

The first part of my trip to Oshkosh in the Husky was beautiful, but a good look at the weather radar told me the last 150 miles would be considerably more challenging. I decided to hangar the Husky and get a good night’s sleep while I waited out the heavy rains and high wind.

This morning I was lucky enough to catch a window of pretty weather between storms.

I’ve just landed in Oshkosh and I’m looking forward to all this week holds.


A break in the weather this morning let me take off and resume my journey to Oshkosh for AirVenture.

N24HU to OSH…then, Wyoming

Monday, July 23rd, 2012


Husky ready for OSH

I’ve got the gear, now all I need are some clothes and weather window, and I’m headed to AirVenture.

It’s an ambitious trip, but that’s what July and August are for, right?

 Not only is EAA AirVenture starting in Oshkosh (KOSH), it’s time for AOPA’s Sweepstakes Husky to work it’s way West for the AOPA Summit in Palm Springs. Since Pilot senior editor Dave Hirschman and I have been flying the Huskies together all year, it just didn’t seem right to sit this trip out.

So, my Husky is getting loaded today to start a trip that will take me to EAA AirVenture for the week and then onto Wyoming and Montana. We’re taking the Tougher than a Tornado Husky through Afton, Wyoming where Aviat builds the Huskies to get it’s final scheduled service before we find that lucky winner and announce him or her from Palm Springs in October. Of course, a trip to Afton (KAFO) also allows for a tour of the Grand Tetons and Jackson, Wyoming. This is some of the most scenic country in the West. I will take time along the way to post a story or two in AOPA NOW….so, I hope you enjoy the adventure.

PS: In case you are wondering what all the stuff is…from left to right there is The Claw tiedown system; a Snap-on Tools bag; a great new survival bag from Prepared Pilot; a tall red bag with a chair; a red bag with extra clothing; my canvas flight bag for the Husky; the blue bag for the plane cover and the black bag with oil and stuff. All I need now are a few clothes!


Topping off the tanks before we launch for Oshkosh.


Aircraft Electronics Association – Live Coverage

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

We always look forward to seeing what is coming in avionics during the annual conference sponsored by the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA).  This year the meeting is in the Washington, D.C. area.  Portions of the event are being covered live by Aero-News which has permitted us to share the link for coverage.  You can watch now at – .

Live coverage is on right now.

Our AOPA team will be on hand during the week and we will have reports as well.  You will find those at

Getting There is At Least Half the Fun

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

As readers know, I joined up with AOPA colleague Dave Hirschman in a flight of the Huskies to SUN ‘n FUN.  The Sweepstakes Tornado Husky and my Husky are a great pair of aircraft and a joy to fly.  Dave and I were joined by AOPA LIVE’s Paul Harrop who recently posted a exceptionally good record of our flight to Lakeland via the Gulf Coast and Key West.

Enjoy the video: 

And, if a track of the flight is of interest, click here: 

The RAF Fire Hub Let’s You Participate in SUN ‘n FUN!

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

When our friends at the Recreational Aviation Foundation first spoke to me about their idea to create an RAF Fire Hub at SUN ‘n FUN, I thought the idea was sensational!  What better image is there of a group of people relaxing around a fire at the end of a day.  So, I agreed AOPA would help with the first Fire Hub….then, I saw the design and heard more about the RAF’s vision of Fire Hubs around the country.

I really think they are on to something exciting!  And, here’s the best part….everyone can participate.  Around the Fire Hub are bricks that can be purchased by those passionate about aviation.  The first Fire Hub will be unveiled at SUN ‘n FUN in just another few hours and you can be a part of this wonderful opportunity…..the RAF will tell you how to participate…just click here: ….or, to get your brick right now, click here: .

If you are at SUN ‘n FUN on Tuesday afternoon, come to the unveiling…..look for the SUN ‘n FUN schedule of events for details on time and location.

Huskies In Place at SUN ‘n FUN

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

People and vehicles (and a few aircraft) were bustling around Lakeland Airport early this morning as I arrived at our AOPA tent.  Our very able events person in charge of the scene on our little piece of real estate is Jenni Rosenthal.  Not surprisingly, she had a whole crew at work for her.  First little glitch, no fork lift truck.  A call and the issue is gone….fork lift will arrive as promised. 

You see, Jenni’s vision is for the Sweepstakes Tornado Husky to be under partial shade….actually, it will be the pilots that want shade as the weather forecasts are very encouraging if you like sun!

Up goes the shelter.  Then, the crew comes to meet up with the Huskies and provides the power to push them a couple hundred yards down a path to the tent. 

With some careful work (we’re not revealing our secrets) both aircraft are positioned in front of the tent.  We tie them down and put the covers on as the show opens Tuesday.

My only regret….we can’t really fly for a whole week!

If you are in the area, I do hope you will come by for a visit at SUN ‘n FUN.  The folks here have arranged a great schedule for the week ahead…and, we will be here all week!

Huskies South–Day 4

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Flying past Marathon as we followed the road toward Key West.

We had originally planned to stay in Key West tonight, but the weather forecast has prompted us to change our plans. That said, it is an absolutely beautiful day, so we decided to head south to make the most of the good weather and better scenery but cut our visit short so we could be safely in Lakeland before the forecast rain arrives.


If there’s one thing that general aviation flying teaches us, it’s how to be flexible. Conditions and circumstances change. Weather moves in and out. There are so many variables in flying that you can’t be too attached to any particular plan. But, with the right attitude, it doesn’t matter all that much–there’s always something to enjoy, even if its some extra hangar flying while you wait out weather. Flying safely and enjoying it are what count, and that’s just what we intend to do.

In the meantime, let me share a little more of the view…


Heading south on this beautiful morning.

We made it! On the ramp in Key West.



Huskies South…Day 3

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

It may not be for everyone, but honestly, it is pure pleasure to be flying low and slow over the Gulf coast of Florida right now.  The winds are steady.  The air is smooth out over the water.  And, the scenery is just spectacular.

The Tornado Husky piloted by my colleague Dave Hirschman is also proving to be a fine photo platform for our colleague Paul Harrop.  Dave and I have discovered that all we have to do is fly the planes and Paul does a superb job showing our AOPA Online and AOPA LIVE audiences what this is like.   We are really excited about Paul’s work and I think all will agree he is a great new addition to the team.

Along the way, I enjoy taking a few pictures out of windows that open to the fresh salt air.

We’ve just wrapped up day 3 of our trip and are overnighting in Naples, Florida near the airport.  We’ve felt welcomed from the start!  The Huskies were surrounded by jets on the ramp at the Naples Municipal Airport, but the fellow on the line walked right up to the Tornado Husky and as a member expressed what virtually every member tells us…they are ready to win the aircraft.  Soon, Ted Soliday, the executive director of the City of Naples Airport Authority stopped over to say hello since he heard we were headed his way.

Today, we left Ceder Cay after breakfast and made a hop to Venice where we fueled up and enjoyed a light lunch at the airport cafe.  It was quite good.  Then, it was a scenic flight to Naples.

Here are some samples of what I’m seeing from N24HU.

This shot was taken as we were both climbing above the broken to scattered clouds.  Once we reached the West coast of Florida, the clouds became widely scattered.

I circled around Cedar Cay (KCDK) airport as the Tornado Husky touched down.  Dave and I noticed there are a fair number of skid marks well past the numbers…the 2,300 foot runway is plenty long for the Huskies and many other planes….but, some people may have stood on the brakes rather than just go around when finding they were landing long.

Without the tundra tires, N24HU is just a bit faster….I pulled up just to get this shot.  We are just a little South of Tampa and enjoying the blue water.

Now there is a beach!  At this point, we’re not far from Naples.

With the camera gear and a few bags for the night in Naples, we were grateful for the fine service at the Naples Airport!

We look forward to a weekend of flying and an arrival at Lakeland for our SUN ‘n FUN preparations on Sunday.  The excitement starts on Tuesday and we hope if you are in the area you will visit Lakeland and take in the show!