What’s in AOPA Flight Training Archive

Coast to coast in a Cub

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

“Pilots return year after year to see familiar faces, including a San Diego pilot who flies a J-3 Cub. It takes him two weeks to get to Sentimental Journey and two weeks to fly back to the West Coast.” That’s what I wrote for “Color Me Yellow,” my article on the Sentimental Journey Fly-In, which was published in the June Flight Training.

Len Buckel knew I had to be talking about him and his 1945 J-3, even though the Sentimental Journey folks who told me about him never mentioned him by name. After all, how many pilots go coast to coast in a J-3 Cub, year after year, to the Sentimental Journey Fly-In at Lock Haven? He e-mailed me to set the record straight: “The most time it ever took was seven days going there in 1986. We had bad weather that year and sat on the ground a lot. We had headwinds in both directions in 1986. We put 80.7 hours on the tachometers for the round trip. Two J-3s went from San Diego the first year.

“In 1987 I had tailwinds both ways. I put 70.7 hours on the tachometer that year and got to Lock Haven in three LONG days. I had a 50-mph tailwind for the first two days out of San Diego. It was hard to believe that the same route would be 10 tachometer hours shorter because of the winds. The least amount of round trip time of my 13 trips was 62.3 hours in 1995.”

Consider yourself vindicated, Len. And as for your question about whether I’m related to Frank Tallman, well, that’s a blog for another week.

Congratulations, Deanna!

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Deanna Flemings, the subject of our “Why We Fly” for the July 2009 issue of AOPA Flight Training, is a student pilot no longer. She passed her private pilot checkride just as the issue went to press. Deanna’s first passenger was her mom. Her stepdad, David Messina, is a pilot who has flown with her on many occasions. Deanna’s next two checkpoints: high school graduation and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Congratulations, Deanna!


She ought to be in pictures

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

As a renter pilot, have you ever been disappointed to learn that one of your favorite airplanes had been sold, and was no longer on the rental line at your airport? Of course you have. But did you ever feel that way about an airplane you’ve never even flown?

It happened to me today.

There’s a Cessna 172, N505SP, that holds the title for airplane appearing most frequently in AOPA Flight Training. It was all a coincidence, really. The Skyhawk was purchased by a Wichita pilot for his daugher’s use in learning to fly. Our senior photographer, Mike Fizer, is based in Wichita, and 505SP’s availability allowed her image to make its way into the magazine. A lot.

So imagine my surprise when I opened an e-mail from a reader in Australia, who told me the airplane on Flight Training’s October cover (shown) was in a shipping container, en route to a flight school in Brisbane.

Fizer tells me the daughter earned her certificate, flew for a regional airline briefly, and now flies jets as a corporate pilot. Her dad’s moving up to a late-model Cessna 182, so 505SP was listed for sale. And it sounds like the Skyhawk is going to a good home; Gerry Dick says she’ll be used as a trainer and will share hangar space with a Super Decathlon and Citabria Adventure.

Even better, he’s encouraging me to visit. I may yet get to fly this Skyhawk the whole AOPA Flight Training staff has come to know so well.