Archive for December, 2012

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Amazing helicopter rescue story number one.  A California Highway Patrol helicopter crew is being crediting with saving the life of a 58-year-old man after his truck drifted into a creek that was swollen after heavy rains, reports the Napa Valley Register.  Swimmers had tried to rescue the man, to no avail.

Amazing helicopter rescue story number two.  The Royal Canadian Air Force’s 442 Transport & Rescue Squadron  managed to extract a snowboarder who was stranded in a steep ravine between Horseshoe Bay and Lions Bay in British Columbia, reports The squadron was able to make the rescue despite poor visibility caused by snow and wind.

I’m glad Alyssa is my flight instructor.  Ravindra Pal Sing, the former director of a flight school in New Zealand, was found guilty of assault of two of his students by a local court, reports AvWeb. Sing was accused of slapping one student and pushing his head into the side of the cockpit. The other student accused him of elbowing her and raising his hand in a “threatening” manner.

Nice trick, but it still won’t help the New York Giants get into the playoffs.  .  The FAA has investigated and debunked a YouTube video purportedly showing star receiver Victor Cruz catching a football that appeared to be thrown from an airplane, reports AvWeb.

A beach landing.  A pilot was able to walk away after making an emergency landing on a beach in New Jersey’s Bay Head, reports NBC Philadelphia.

Nice, but I’d rather have the real thing.  Top Gear’s James May, who is a pilot, was recently featured in Radio Times demonstrating how to make the ultimate paper airplane.  He said his creation was a cross between a Vulcan bomber and a Fairey Delta.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Don’t steal. Mexican police officers at the scene of an aircraft accident where singer Jenni Rivera died are being accused of stealing personal items from the site, reports the Los Angeles Times.

If only it could still fly too. Jeff Bloch, a police officer and race car driver, is working on an unusual project–he is merging a 1956 Cessna 310 with a 1987 Toyota Van Wagon–all on a $500 budget, reports Flying magazine. In the planned design, the car will keep 20 inches of wing on each side of the “car” to serve as front fenders.

Size does matter. A Bell 412 helicopter helped UAE celebrate United Arab Emirates National Day by towing the world’s largest banner–a 4,600-square-meter UAE flag–along the coast, reports Aviation International News.  The flag could be seen from 20 km away.

Bears as test pilots? Who knew?  The IO9 blog reports that during the Cold War, the U.S. Air Force used bears as test pilots in the B-58 Hustler, which was the world’s first supersonic jet bomber. Live bears were sedated, strapped into the plane’s capsules and ejected at different speeds and altitudes. No bears were killed during testing.

We’ll end the week with a post from Flying magazine that includes video of passenger aircraft trying to take off and land at Spain’s Bilbao Airport in gusty crosswinds. Enjoy!!

My Top 8 Christmas Items From the AOPA Online Store

Monday, December 17th, 2012

This week, I take a look items I want from the AOPA Online Store, done in partnership with Sporty’s.

  1. AOPA Knife ($27.95) — I was chatting with some of my co-workers and they just raved not only about the knife, but how popular it is with the membership. So now I want one too!
  2. AOPA holiday ornament ($12.95) — I helped do some decorating at the AOPA headquarters, and got to hang this lovely ornament.  I’m one of those folks who likes to buy ornaments from the companies I work for, and I’ll be proud to hang this on my tree.
  3. AOPA sweatshirt ($19.95) — you can never have too many of these, so why not an AOPA one?
  4. AOPA flight bag ($24.95) — I’m still on the hunt for a bag, and this might just be the ticket for me.  It will hold all my stuff and you can’t beat the price point!
  5. AOPA Zulu time watch ($49.95) — I love an old-school watch, with hands and the date. I would definitely put this one in my watch rotation.
  6. AOPA Pilot t shirt ($14.95) — I’m on the staff and I have nothing with AOPA Pilot on it. This t shirt could be the remedy!
  7. AOPA flashlight ($19.95) — I may have to consider this as an alternative to my beloved Maglite flashlight!
  8. Ramp pass insert for AOPA wallet ($9.95) — right now, I keep my FAA student pilot certificate in the AOPA tote bag that serves as my flight bag. I think I need to give it a better home with this item.



Aspen restaurants just for pilots

Friday, December 14th, 2012

While in Aspen doing a story on the “most challenging airports” I discovered the pilot-approved places to eat. (By the way if you want some really good instruction in some really mean mountains, leave a comment and I will send you the e-mail of Gary Kraft who instructs at Aspen.) I found jet pilots from two fractional ownership companies at the Main Street Cafe, shown here. I tried to upload a photo large enough to let you read the menu near the front door. This is where the locals go not only for bakery products but for great, reasonably priced, breakfasts and lunches. Put “201 East Main Street” in your GPS. It has its own culture, and you adapt to it, not the other way around. The owner, who hates the cost of living in Aspen for the average person, is one tough little guy who gets his exercise by going up the ski mountains without using the chair lift. Takes him four hours up and 10 minutes down on his skis. He does it three times a week and is quite healthy.

For something more formal, eat at Jimmy’s, the recommendation of mountain flying instructor Gary Kraft. Just sit at the bar and the bartender will tell you what all the other crews and helicopter pilots are up to. They give her rides. Put “205 South Mill Street” in your GPS and go into the courtyard, look upstairs to your right, and that’s it. Terrific food at a very reasonable price compared to unreasonable prices nearby.

We’re not quite done yet. For a terrific breakfast and wildly tasty pastries, go to one of two locations for Frank Thirion French Pastry & Cafe. A French chef runs it! One location is at 317 East Hopkins Avenue, the one I went to by mistake when I was supposed to meet Bruce Gordon and Jane Pargiter of EcoFlight for an interview. It has a television camera linked to the other, and that is how we found each other–they saw me on the monitor at the location in the business park. The other has an address that your GPS will not recognize, so go to the business park near the Aspen airport. You will see it across the road as you leave the airport and head toward town. If you enter the park from that highway, the restaurant will be within sight about 200 feet to your left. The address is 111G AABC, which I know is gibberish. Call them at 970/925-3569 or ask before you leave the airport. It’s five minutes away, or just go into town and find the other one.

Reader Michael Baudet adds Hickory House (BBQ) to the list, and it’s at the edge of the town closest to the airport. Put 730 W Main St. in the GPS. Thanks Michael.

This is where the locals and jet crews go in Aspen.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, December 14th, 2012

So that’s why my car had an extra kick!  Officials in New Jersey have confirmed that vendor Pasmel Property delivered aviation fuel instead of gasoline to six gas stations in four counties, reports the Asbury Park Press.  The fuel, designated as super unleaded (93 octane), is 104.7 octane and will not damage cars engines, officials noted.

A piece of the past in present times.  The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation paid to have a World War II  FM-2 “Wildcat” Fighter aircraft brought up out of Lake Michigan, reports NBC Chicago.  The fighter, which crashed in 1944, was part of a fleet used to train fighter pilots.

New Zealand clips glider wings.  A new rule passed by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand is forcing the Tauranga Gliding Club to stop offering trial flights after 55 years of operating them, reports the Bay of Plenty Times.  Under the new rule, the club will only be able to offer flights to those with a “genuine interest” in pursuing gliding.

 They really taught the the kids a lesson.  Students at England’s Sunny Bank Primary school in the village of Bury discovered an amazing site — the remains of a UFO that appeared to have crashed on their playing field, reports the Bury Times.  Students saw burn marks, holes and a green slime in the area, which was taped off while government officials investigated. it turns out the whole thing was a hoax created to teach the children recall and observation skills.

Top 10 Things I Want For Christmas From

Monday, December 10th, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I’m in full shopping mode for the holidays. I’ve been buying for my family and others in my life. My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I had to stop short, because I honestly hadn’t thought about it.

But after doing some thinking, I remembered that I’m a student pilot and there are still many things I need to buy to keep up. So I decided to take a spin through the Aircraft Spruce and create my wish list in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. Student pilot flight bag ($59.95 to $62.75) — right now, I’m carrying my stuff in an AOPA tote bag I got when I was hired.  I like this bag because it comes in red (my favorite color) and can hold all of my stuff, including my headphones, batteries, kneeboard and charts.
  2. Sureflight pro checklists for Cessna ($10.95 to $14.50) — I currently use a many-times-Xeroxed copy of the checklist I’m using for my training in the Cessna Skyhawk SP. It would be nice to have this tough, laminated checklist.
  3. Bose A20 headset with dual GA plugs and bluetooth ($1095.00) — when I started my lessons, I used an old pair of headsets from the AOPA Pilot prize box.  But I knew I wanted Bose after meeting a rep at Sun ‘N Fun and testing them out.  A former co-worker sold me his older Bose headsets, but I want to upgrade to this puppy.
  4. iPad undermount stowaway ($169.95) — I love my iPad 2 and am learning about all the great apps for pilots (check out my latest weekly app review column here). I want to take my iPad with me in the cockpit, but space is tight in the Skyhawk, so I’d love this tool that lets me have access when I need it.
  5. Red Canoe Cessna jacket ($87.50 to $89.99) — I saw someone wearing this jacket at Oshkosh, and I’ve wanted one ever since.
  6. Noral seat cushion with back ($69.75 to $89.95) — I’m short, and I appreciate that the Skyhawk I fly in has rudder pedal extenders.  Right now, I’m using an outdoor furniture cushion to make up for my short stature, and this seat would be ideal for me to have.
  7. Maglite XL50 LED flashlight, red ($27.85) — Every flight bag needs a good flashlight, and I’m a big fan of Maglite, which my sister the cop recommends highly.
  8. Leatherman Juice C2 tool, red ($45.95) — One morning, my flight instructor had some trouble getting the cap off the oil tank, so she whipped out a version of this tool to help. I’ve wanted one ever since.
  9. I’d rather be flying license plate frame ($9.95) — I just got my personalized, aviation-themed license plate, and this frame would help further explain my love of flying.
  10. Aircraft Spruce gift card ($100.00) — We’ll end with this, because with a $100 gift card, I could choose an assortment of items!  And AOPA members can get discounts on gift cards — $5.00 off a $25 card; $10 off a $50 card; and $20 off a $100 card.

Take your flying car out for coffee

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Here’s a much easier way to get a favorite cup of coffee–in the next town–without all that traffic. Maverick is the only successful powered parachute and flying car on the market ($94,000). There are five flying.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, December 7th, 2012

But it looked so real!  WGN-TV news anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten were just doing their job when they went live and began reporting on what appeared to be an aircraft accident in Chicago, reports the Herald Sun.  The problem was, the accident was fake, having been staged for the NBC television series “Chicago Fire.”

Rocky Mountain Low.  Pilot Carl Steven Gruber’s excuse that he flew 55 pounds of pot into Boulder Municipal Airport to provide medical marijuana didn’t fly with Judge Thomas Mulvahill.  Gruber was sentenced to two years probation and a $10,000 fine, reports the Daily Camera.

Those were expensive airplane rides!  Among the gifts Inland Waters CEO Tony Soave gave former disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was private jet flights totaling nearly $400,000, reports WXYZ-TV.  Soave, who also gave Fitzpatrick and his family an all-expenses-paid trip to Naples, Fla., says he did it because he didn’t want to lose the city’s business.

From private to commercial.  Juan Manuel Marquez, who will fight Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in Las Vegas, arrive six hour later than expected.  Why?  The private jet he was using had to make a U-Turn after the pilot discovered a problem with the tire right before taking off, reports Yahoo Sports. The pilot determined the aircraft would not be able to fly, so Marquez ended up catching a commercial airline flight.

We’ll end the week with this blog post from Huffington Post: The Emily Post Guide to Flying Private. Enjoy!