Coming Up In AOPA Flight Training Archive

Five things you didn’t know about Rinker Buck and ‘Flight of Passage’

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Rinker Buck and his brother Kernahan flew from New Jersey to California in a Piper Cub in 1966. Kernahan, the pilot in command, was 17 and Rinker was 15—and the trip was done with their parents’ full consent. (And flown solely by pilotage and dead reckoning—Rinker’s job was to be the navigator.) Rinker Buck’s memoir, Flight of Passage, has become available in eBook format. I talked with him yesterday for an interview that will appear in the August issue of Flight Training magazine, but here are some extras from that very interesting conversation:

  • He doesn’t consider Flight of Passage an aviation book. “I consider it a memoir in the truer sense. It’s about life.”
  • He was surprised when people wrote to tell him the book inspired them. “The biggest surprise of the book was getting emails from people saying ‘I’m so inspired by this, I’m going to learn to fly, I’m going to go take a flight.’” Many current pilots told him the book inspired them to make a coast-to-coast trip–and several did, including a pilot from Rhode Island who conducted the trip in an L-19.
  • He and his brother are still flying, but not as much. Buck has been busy working on his latest book, which chronicles a trip by horse-drawn wagon over the Oregon Trail, but says that he still enjoys flying with friends. Kernahan is an attorney whose Boston practice keeps him busy.
  • When researching Flight of Passage, he re-flew most of the routes in a Cessna 182. “It was amazing that I just remembered our old routes, that’s why the book could be so accurate in terms of landscapes.” The brothers landed at 30 airports. “Twenty-seven of them are still there and they look exactly the same.”
  • He thinks you need to read Stick and Rudder, if you haven’t already. “The principles have not changed. You might be flying along in a Cirrus with a glass cockpit but it’s all still subject to all the same laws that [Wolfgang] Langewiesche wrote about.”

 

Fun, fun, fun on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The winds were gusting to 30 knots at Bay Bridge Airport last Friday, and there wasn’t a whole lot of flying going on. Saturday, however, dawned calmer and clear, and pilots came out in droves.

I was there to write a story about sport pilot aviation, which is blossoming at this modest nontowered airport that’s located a few hundred yards from the Cheapeake Bay. (If you’re landing on Runway 11, your base and final are over the water.) From my perch in the pilot lounge, I could view a steady stream of aircraft taking off and landing. It was gratifying to see, given all of the crappy economic news we’ve been dealing with.

Even better was the opportunity to talk to student pilots who, quite simply, love flying. Some of these folks drive more than an hour to train here. None of them seemed to think that was any hardship.

In an upcoming issue of AOPA Flight Training, you’ll meet:

  • Barry, whose years of sailing experience means she knows the watery landscape of the Eastern Shore intimately–but admits she has a little more trouble picking out landmarks on the ground…
  • Anthony, a master mechanic who completed the King Schools home study program before he ever took a flight lesson…
  • Tim, who at over 6 feet tall is probably the last person you’d think would want to fold himself into a light sport airplane–but he does, and has room to spare…
  • Karen, a grandmother who lights up the room when she talks about learning to fly; and…
  • Whitney, who soloed in November, plans her weekends around her lessons, and prefers her trainer’s handbrake to toebrakes.

Coming up in AOPA Flight Training

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

For some of us, flying is a means to an end. Others get weary with pattern work or flying to the same airport for the same meal just to stay current. Still others would settle for pattern work, but they can’t afford to fly as often as they’d like. That’s when pilots get creative.

Massachusetts pilot Michael R. Smith sent AOPA Flight Training magazine an article in which he described how he and two friends fell into a weekly routine that they dubbed “The Tuesday Night Flying Club.” It’s an uncomplicated arrangement that lets them swap legs and go someplace new for a good meal. But it’s taught them a lot about cockpit resource management.

I called Michael as we were preparing the July 2008 issue to see whether anything had changed since he sent us the article. Perhaps one of the group had purchased an airplane, changed up their portable GPS, or (perish the thought) dropped out of the club? Surprisingly, the answer was no. The three friends are still flying together, although Michael admits that family obligations get in the way more often than before. But the core Tuesday Night Flying Club is still in place, and will remain so. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke…

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to stay proficient? Tell us your ideas in the Comments section.