Posts Tagged ‘Jill Tallman’

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.

When you’d rather be flying

Friday, May 16th, 2008

We’re lucky here at AOPA headquarters, because we have several vantage points that look out on the runways at Frederick Municipal Airport (KFDK).

If we’re deskbound, we can still take a break and look out the windows. KFDK is a busy nontowered airport with a great mix of airplanes both classic and new; large and small; helicopters and gyrocopters; and airships–the Goodyear and Outback blimps in particular. (One of Goodyear’s aerial ambassadors was making leisurely circuits around the airport as I was writing this.) So there’s always something to see.

For those without an airport view, the Internet has you covered. Take your own  break and Google up an airport Web cam. Here’s one of my favorites: the lush green grass of Campbell Field Airport (9VG) in Weirwood, Virginia.

How long did your smile last?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

You were eight months pregnant. You were 63 years old. You were wearing a giant smile and those short shorts we all wore in the 1980s. You were shaking your CFI’s hand and grinning in a parka. You knew it was going to happen that day. You didn’t have a clue. You climbed victorious out of your Cherokee. You flashed a thumbs-up next to your Skyhawk. You held up a small teddy bear that was a good luck charm. The weather couldn’t have been better. The weather that day was too windy at first, but you went up later, and you did fine.

These are some of the memories you described when we asked you back in March to recall your first solo. You sent photos (lots of photos!), short descriptions and long recollections, a scan of a first-solo certificate, another scan of a newspaper article. And you told us how you felt that day.


“It topped every other event in my life so far!”

“It was a day I’ll never forget.”

“I couldn’t contain my excitement when it was all done…”

We put a batch of your photos in the feature article, “I Think I’m Alone Now,” in the June issue of AOPA Flight Training. And we’re displaying another batch in an online slide show. Memories like these are too good to horde. Take a look and relive your own great day–and if you have a special memory, share it with us in the Comments section. (Holding up the key in this photo is Mat Young, shown with CFI Eric Williams.)


Treasure in the basement

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

My husband came upstairs from the basement last night, where he’d been digging through a box of forgotten stuff, and handed me a small, black, mildewed book. I’m sure I made a face before I saw the words “Pilot Flight Record,” and below that in just-barely-legible gold letters, “Maryland Airlines Co. Inc.”

“My dad’s logbook,” he said. I took the book and flipped through the pages. Don Tallman’s temporary certificate, dated October 31, 1973, fell out.

Here’s what I knew about Don’s pilot background. He learned to fly at Easton/Newnam Field (KESN) in Easton, Maryland. He flew a few years, long enough to take his teenaged son Doug on a couple of trips. He wanted to get a commercial certificate so that he could fly charters for Maryland Airlines, which at the time was owned by his friend and designated pilot examiner, William Newnam. But a heart attack grounded him in 1974. In the 1980s, he talked briefly about jumping through the hoops to get his medical back, but his health had been deteriorating, and it didn’t happen. When I joined the family in 1983, aviation was a closed chapter in his life. He died in 1994.

Here’s what I learned about Don Tallman, private pilot, from his logbook…


What’s in your flight planner?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Housecleaning my computer recently, I decided to clear out a few routes in my AOPA’s Real-Time Flight Planner profile to make room for some summertime trips. So, goodbye for now to KFDK-KOXB, KFDK-KFFA, and KFDK-W29. Then my eye fell on KFDK-KSKY. I couldn’t remember the identifier; why was it on the list? I clicked on it. Oh, yes–Griffing-Sandusky!

In June 2006, I got a high-performance/complex signoff in a Socata Trinidad. My son and daughter wanted to go somewhere new and interesting, but they wanted to go faster than 115 knots. (They really are good kids, though.) We never met a roller coaster we didn’t like, so I chose Griffing-Sandusky, and a short drive from Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. I used the AOPA RTFP to plan a not-exactly-direct route from Frederick that skirted the Pittsburgh and Cleveland Class B airspace. The trip took two and one-half hours. We spent a perfect summer day racing around Cedar Point, which calls itself the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, and with good reason.

I think I’ll hang on to KFDK-KSKY awhile longer.

So, what’s in your flight planner? Are you planning some new trips or hanging on to some old favorites? Tell us in the Comments section below.

Are we down yet?…a crosswind memory

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

My most memorable crosswind: How could I have forgotten? Well, maybe it was because I wasn’t technically flying the airplane, although I was in the left seat at the time. Here’s what happened.

On a multistate cross-country trip with a large group of pilots (which I described in the March 2003 issue of AOPA Flight Training), I was flying a Piper Archer with a CFI in the right seat and a passenger in the back, bound from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Burlington, Vermont. We’d just enjoyed a lobster lunch and were happily taking in the breath-taking scenery as we passed over the mountains.

On this summer afternoon, thunderstorms began to form while we were still several miles from our destination. We listened to the tower and noted that some airplanes were being diverted to a lake near the airport to wait out the storm. Were we next on the list?

As it turned out, no. We were told to continue our approach. But as the clouds formed and the storm spooled up nearby, the winds got a little raucous. I remember trying to plug in a frequency on the Garmin 430, but I couldn’t quite manage it. When our heads hit the ceiling and the CFI’s camera floated in the air, he offered to fly the airplane, and I accepted. With pleasure. (I like to think that if I were in that left seat today, I would have said “Yee haw!” and kept flying the airplane.)

The winds were straight across the runway at 30 to 35 knots, and Mark had to use a lot of aileron and a lot of rudder to keep us on the centerline. When we touched down and taxied to the parking area, the skies opened up, and we were drenched as we ran inside the terminal. And Mark wore a giant grin. “That’s flying!” he said.