Archive for October, 2012

Top 10 Things I Want To See At The AOPA Aviation Summit

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

The bad news for me is I won’t be at Summit this year.  But it doesn’t mean I can’t dream about all the things I would have done while I was there.  So below is my list, in no particular order.  And for those of you are are attending, have a great time!!

  1. The Parade of Planes. How often do you get to see a large mass of planes in a parade from the airport to the convention center? But thanks to the wonders of livestreaming, I’ll be able to see this event tomorrow, Oct. 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Pacific time. I even get AOPA President Craig Fuller and AOPA Pilot Editor Tom Haines giving me their personal commentary on the festivities. And you can follow along using the Twitter hashtag #AOPAPOP.
  2. iPads, iPads, iPads There are some great iPad education sessions this year, including: Advanced iPad: Tips and Tricks for Becoming an Expert; iPad 101; iPad Weather Options; and iPad: Beyond the EFB.  And please use the hashtag #AOPAiPad so we can all follow along.
  3. The 2012 Elections’ Effect on GA. During the Friday keynote address, Fuller, actor/pilot Harrison Ford, Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Haines and Flying magazine Editor Robert Goyer will discuss how GA will be affected after the election. The hashtag for the Friday keynote is #AOPAKey2.
  4. The Thursday Keynote. This event includes Adam Kisielewski, awounded war veteran and LSA pilot who will share his inspirational story. And Craig Fuller will moderate a panel with Haines, AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman and Editor at Large Tom Horne where they will talk about their global GA travels. The Twitter hashtag for this event is #AOPAKey1.
  5. The Center to Advance the Pilot Community.  Senior VP Adam Smith will join others with more details on this new initiative, including plans to work with flying clubs, along with the winners of the Flight Training scholarships and the Flight Training CFIs and flight school award winners.
  6. New Sweeps Plane.  Right after we give away the Aviat Husky, we’ll announce the next sweeps plane. Don’t ask me what it is!!
  7. Airportfest. Speaking of planes, check out the display of aircraft surrounding the convention center, ranging from the Beech S35 to the Van’s RV-14.
  8. A Night For Flight Gala.  This event provides a lovely evening of  food, fun, and amazing entertainment, all to benefit the work of the AOPA Foundation.  If you can’t make the event, you can still help by bidding on items at the online auction. There are prizes that fit any pocketbook, so please put in a bid by Oct. 13.
  9. The Exhibit Hall.  I’m a student pilot, so of course I want to see — and buy — the latest gear.  The Summit exhibit hall will have around 400 booths that will let attendees to just that!
  10. The people.  Having already attended Sun ‘N Fun and Oshkosh this year, I’m convinced we have the best members.  I’m sorry I won’t be able to meet more of them at Summit this year. But I’ll see you in Fort Worth in 2013!

Heading to the most challenging airport

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

UPDATE: The most challenging airport is Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Watch for an article in a future edition of AOPA Pilot.

AOPA members nominated 270 airports at the most challenging in the country and I had to pick just one for a story. I am headed towards that airport now, and you’ll see  it in the future. Next to me is a Maryland man in his 50s studying a Gleim book for his instrument written exam. On the aisle is a former Army helicopter pilot who says he burned out after 1,600 hours and is no longer in the Army.

We’re in a one-month-old Boeing 737-800 that seats 175. I am lifting one elbow up to type this without disturbing the instrument student. He and a friend bought a Cherokee Warrior for their training. He plans to keep it after training, and finds his purchase with a friend makes training more economical.

We went through the usual airport hassle to get on this nifty crowded jet. Since it seats 175, Southwest gate personnel started boarding early and I ended up getting on among the last 10 people. All 10 had boarding passes that would have allowed far earlier boarding. Got to keep that in mind for future “jumbo” 737 flights on Southwest, and get up at 5 a.m., not 5:25. Also, need to keep those three traffic jams I encountered in mind. Heck, since it’s a new airliner I might even lean my head back on the headrest without worrying about cooties. Umm, nah, better not go crazy. It’s been out there among the crowds a whole month.

When I flew a 172 last week for a “Flight Training” video on grass landings, I and editor Jill Tallman took off when it was convenient. Nobody got our favorite seats. We weren’t worried about being late for the flight. I asked myself if I had honorable goals for the flight, as in not hijacking it, and I did. I didn’t screen myself or my flight bag, even though there is a screwdriver in there that I could use to overpower myself if I was really intent on taking over me. I wasn’t. My shoes never came off–there was never a line. I didn’t get irradiated with a “safe” dose or any dose. Is there no way to get this through to nonpilots?

I’m not saying general aviation is perfect for everything. Certainly, an airline ticket from Baltimore to Denver, my current destination, is a lot less expensive at $480 and a whole lot faster. But if you are sitting in your living room one morning in Frederick, Md., wondering what the leaves look like in New Hampshire–as I did–then GA is the only choice. I bolted Maryland at 10 a.m. and was home by 7 p.m. in a Diamond DA40. This big airliner won’t take you down to 2,000 feet for a better look and then stop in Massachusetts on a whim at a restaurant you just heard about from a pilot in Keene.  Just some thoughts from Seat 16D.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, October 5th, 2012


I guess the retinal display was too much to resist! After his plane went down in the Gulf of Mexico, Ted Wright decided to use his iPad to record events until he and his passenger, Raymond Fosdick, were rescued, reports the Wall Street Journal. The pair were eventually rescued by the Coast Guard.

I only see the confusion when I squint really hard. It was the plane crash that wasn’t in Marshall County, Kentucky.  A driver reported seeing an explosion that he reported to the sheriff as a plane crash, reports the Republic, but it turned out to be fireworks and a gas can explosion.

Car takes its final flight.  A Croman Corp. Sikorsky heavy-lift helicopter was used to remove a  2010 Subaru Outback from Oregon’s Rogue River, reports the Mail-Tribune. The car was driven into the river 18 months ago by a woman who ended up being convicted of second-degree disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The car now goes to her insurance company.

We have a “not guilty” verdict. David Hunter, chairman of Tennessee’s Sumner Regional Airport Authority, was found not guilty of misdemeanor assault stemming from an incident with an aircraft owner, reports the Tennessean. Hunter allegedly got into an altercation with Christopher Nickens over the latter using unapproved fuel.

I would SO put this in my dining room!  Our friends at General Aviation News told us about plans by El Segundo, Calif.-based MotoArt to start selling a Stearman wing conference table. The table is custom built, and can be up to 24 feet in length.

Photographer makes P-51 shine

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Here’s a shot we all wish we could make. I’ve never seen pixels shine like this before.

Ride-sharing, wherever you want it

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Let’s say a pilot is flying a cross-country, but has an empty seat or two. Doesn’t it seem a waste not to fill a seat or two with someone needing a lift? Now, Edouard Kohler of AOPA-France, has come up with a way to match pilots with potential passengers–or other pilots wanting the experience. Kohler’s website gives you a way to see which willing pilots are going where, and lets prospective pilot/passengers sign up. It’s a new program, just launched a month ago, and Kohler is hopeful that more pilots and passengers will sign up for ride-sharing.

Sounds like a great way to spread the word about GA. We’ll see how the concept evolves over the coming year. And remember, this ride-sharing program is intended to be available in both the United States and Europe.