Archive for August, 2012

Photo of the Day: Cherokee 6

Friday, August 31st, 2012

AOPA’s 2006 sweepstakes aircraft was the Win a Six in ’06–a 1967 Cherokee 6 260. Refurbishments to the avionics included an Avidyne TAS600 traffic alert system, a Sandel SN3500 electronic horizontal situation indicator, and an S-TEC System Fifty-Five X autopilot and flight control system. A new interior gave the Six a club seating configuration. A five-color custom paint job was the icing on this beautiful cake. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne discusses the project here ( ).—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Waco

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

This Waco, photographed near Kentmoor Airpark in Stevensville, Marlyand, is not only a beautiful specimen of a biplane—she’s a cover girl as well. She graced one of the covers of AOPA’s paper Airports Directory. The shot actually used for the directory cover shows her on final to the turf runway at Kentmorr. The airspace over the Chesapeake Bay is her playground in this photo.—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Ercoupe

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012


Often imitated, never duplicated, the Ercoupe is one of the nation’s quirkiest and best-loved GA aircraft. A  brief history: It was born in 1939 (its designer, Fred Weick, later worked on the Piper Cherokee line). Weick gave it tricycle landing gear and trailing-link main gear to help make challenging landings tamer, and he limited elevator up-travel to help reduce the potential for a stall. Oh, and he did away with rudder pedals, and interconnected the ailerons to the rudders–so you steer it like a car. You can fly it with the canopy open, and AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne swears that you can stick your arm out the window and turn the airplane that way. He wrote about it in the March 2012 issue (;&WT.mc_sect=gan ).—Jill W. Tallman

Your aviation inspirations, Part II

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

This is part two of a two-part blog in which readers submitted their aviation heroes–the ones who inspired them to learn to fly or continue their flight training when things got rocky. The first installment can be found here (or cut and paste this URL: ).

Dwayne King. The director of Kingdom Air Corps ( ) is a missionary pilot who was one of the first to make such a flight to Provideniya in Far East Russia. His organization prepares student pilots and mechanics for missions. Many of the students are from LeTourneau University’s aviation program, where he has been on the faculty. Suggested by Matt F.

Charles A. Lindbergh’s solo nonstop flight from Long Island to Paris in 1927 catapulted him to fame. (Some believe the Lindy Hop was named for him, but that’s not the case; it originated before Lindbergh made his flight, and while some called it “the Lindbergh Hop,” that didn’t last.) Lindbergh went on to promote the development of commercial aviation and air mail services. Sadly, Lindbergh’s fame was almost eclipsed by the tragic kidnapping and murder of his infant son. Lindbergh was suggested by Don Eck, who says his hero’s flight across the Atlantic was “absolute proof that ‘navigation’ isn’t simply spelled G-P-S, V-O-R, I-L-S, or A-D-F, and also that it is possible to get to your intended destination to get to the radio.”

Robin Olds was one of the pioneer jet pilots of the U.S. Air Force. As a “triple Ace,” he had a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. Aviation historians consider Olds the best wing commander of the Vietnam War, citing his air-fighting skills and his reputation as a combat leader.


The Millionaires’ Unit:   Alyson Booher thoughtfully provided a link to a trailer for a documentary ( ) on these World War I pilots–a group of Yale University students formed in 1916 who privately funded an air militia that became the nation’s first air coast guard patrol unit.


William “Billy” Mitchell, considered the father of the U.S. Air Force. By the end of World War I he commanded all U.S. air combat units in France. After the war, he advocated increased investment in air power. He is the only person for whom a type of U.S. military aircraft is named–that would be the North American B-25 Mitchell. Suggested by Randall Tilley.

Dick and Burt Rutan. Suggested by Jill (no last name), who called them “the modern-day Wright brothers,” the Rutans formed an aircraft company, and Elbert “Burt” Rutan designed the Voyager–the first airplane to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. Richard “Dick” Rutan was the one who made that record-setting flight with co-pilot Jenna Yeager. Burt Rutan also designed the sub-orbital SpaceShipOne and the experimental VariEze and Long-EZ.

“Sky King.” This 1940s and 1950s radio and television series was suggested by Flight Training Contributing Editor Greg Brown. “We desperately need a sequel!” he says of the show, which featured an Arizona rancher and pilot who captured criminals and spies and found lost hikers. His airplane was portrayed by first a Cessna T-50 and, later, a Cessna 310B, and it was called Songbird.

Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.  Suggested by Darrell O’Sullivan, “Smithy” was an Australian pilot who made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia in 1928, as well as the first nonstop crossing of the Australia mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States.

The Tuskegee Airmen. A little-known chapter of aviation history for decades, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American pilots in the U.S. armed forces. Before 1940, African Americans were barred from flying in the U.S. military. While films and television typically focus on the pilots, “Tuskegee Airmen” actually refers to all who were involved in the Army Airs Corps program at Tuskegee Field in Alabama to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft–pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, and instructors. The pilots formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 447th bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Corps. Suggested by Denis Gagnon, Chris Mullins, and Steven Warren.


Chuck Yeager  was a test pilot who was the first to break the sound barrier in October 1947, flying the Bell X-1 at Mach 1. He became synonymous with the term “the right stuff” when he was featured in Tom Wolfe’s book of the same name and its movie adaptation.



Honorable mention: When I published Part 1 of this blog, some readers were stricken to learn that no one had mentioned Bob Hoover and Scott Crossfield. So here they are, and deservedly so.

  • Search on YouTube for “Bob Hoover pours ice tea” and watch what happens. If you’ve never seen or read anything about Hoover, this will likely show you more than words could ever say what a great pilot can do. Jimmy Doolittle (remember, he performed the outside loop that had thwarted other hapless pilots) called Hoover “the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived.”
  • Crossfield was a test pilot alongside Chuck Yeager, and in fact became the first person to fly at twice the speed of sound in 1953. He, too, was featured in Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff and the film adaptation.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of these remarkable people’s aviation accomplishments, so I urge you to research them yourself. If you have not found an aviation inspiration, surely this group is a great place to start.—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Cirrus SR22 GTS

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

It’s not traditionally considered a trainer, yet several flight schools do offer the Cirrus SR22 for primary training. Many pilots who came of age using computers find the Cirrus glass panel display easier to grasp than traditional six-pack engine instruments.—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Twin Velocity

Monday, August 27th, 2012

This rare bird–said to be the only one in the nation flying—landed at Frederick Municipal Airport last week to participate in a photo shoot. The twin-engine Velocity experimental flew with two of its single-engine brethen.—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Go around!

Friday, August 24th, 2012


We asked our Facebook friends, “When was the last time you did a go-around?” Answers ranged from “Today!” to “Never.” (Really? Never?) The discussion was enthusiastic as pilots shared the reasons behind the go-around: an animal on the runway; an aircraft that trundled out onto the runway; or some instances in which the pilot in command decided that the approach wasn’t working out. Interestingly, a side discussion developed on exactly what’s going on in this photo. Some folks seem to think we happened to be in the air when this happened. Bear in mind that Flight Training often stages situations to illustrate our articles—it’s rare when one of our highly skilled photographers “just happens” to be around—in an airplane—when a go-around occurs. Why is the airplane on short-short-short final so off-center? I’m guessing this photo didn’t make the cut precisely because the airplane was so far off the center line. And why was the airplane on the runway skewed to the right? Again, it’s not clear. Maybe the pilot taxied out so fast he spun out?—Jill W. Tallman

Don’t even think about padding your logbook hours

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Remember when your parents told you “If you cheat on a test, you’re only cheating yourself”? They were right. But if you cheat on your logged hours, you’re not only cheating yourself, you’re also putting yourself and anybody you take with you at risk.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that an Iowa pilot who inflated his hours to obtain a commercial certificate received probation this week after he pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FAA–which does carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and fine of up to $250,000. Prosecutors had asked for a one-year sentence, but the judge sided with the defense attorneys who said he’d learned his lesson. He did get his ticket yanked. You can read the entire article here, or copy and paste this link:

Whether or not you think the sentence is a fair one, I’m flabbergasted that the pilot’s attorneys argued he lied about his hours “simply to save money getting the license” (as if that makes it all OK), that he “posed no real danger,” and he “never actually flew beyond his qualifications.” I’d argue he flew beyond his qualifications the minute he made his first specious logbook entry.

What do you think?—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Mooney Acclaim

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

There’s something about a red paint job that just screams speed. But the Mooney Acclaim comes by its speed reputation honestly. Its piston single performance evokes that of a turboprop: 237 knots; 1,840-nm range; 25,000-foot ceiling. The Acclaim replaced the Bravo when it was introduced in 2006. Read more about the Mooney Acclaim here.—Jill W. Tallman

Your aviation inspirations, Part I

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Thanks to all who provided your aviation inspirations, both on this blog and on our Facebook page. Many of these names are familiar, but some aren’t (to me, anyway)–and researching them for this blog was a treat. There was so much historical information to relay that I decided to break this blog into two installments by alphabetical order. Here’s the first group.

Aviators of the 1920s and ’30s: As Denny Kotz noted, these pilots are the ones “who figured all of this stuff out. It is one thing to be taught how to fly–it is another thing to have to figure it out on your own. They wrote the how-to-do-it book.”

Richard Ira Bong holds the title of the United States’ highest-scoring air ace. He shot down 40 Japanese aircraft in World War II and conducted all of his aerial victories in a P-38 Lightning. He eventually became a test pilot for Lockheed, and died in 1945 while conducting a test flight of a P-80 Shooting Star. Suggested by Doug (no last name).



 Col. John Boyd. An Air Force fighter pilot and later a Pentagon consultant, Boyd was dubbed “Forty Second Boyd” because, as an instructor pilot, he had a standing bet that, beginning from a point of disadvantage, he could beat any opposing combat in air combat maneuvering in fewer than 40 seconds. Suggested by Randall Tilley.
Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. The World War II Marine Corps officer was a fighting ace who flew a Vought F4 Corsair. During his squadron’s first tour of combat duty, he shot down 14 enemy aircraft in 32 days. Suggested by Randall Tilley.



Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle.
I could easily devote an entire blog to Doolittle, but here are a few of his accomplishments: test pilot, record setter, aeronautical engineer, air racer. He was the first to perform an outside loop (previously thought to be a fatal maneuver). He developed instrument flying. Oh, and during World War II, he carried out a successful bombing raid on Tokyo, Kobe, Yokohama, Osaka, and Nagoya utilizing 16 B-25 bombers. That raid was considered a major morale-building victory for the United States. Suggested by Kayak Jack.

Amelia Earhart.  I could devote another entire blog to Earhart, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. The 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license, Earhart was a founding member of The Ninety-Nines, the International Organization of Women Pilots. (She and several other competitors in the first Women’s Air Derby formed the Ninety-Nines because they enjoyed the opportunity to meet and commune with other women pilots.) She was a huge promoter of aviation and the role of women in flying. In 1937, during her second attempt to fly around the world, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared en route to Howland Island in a Lockheed Electra. Suggested by Gena Gonzales and Kayak Jack

Carl Ben Eielson became a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Service in 1917. The war ended while he was still in flight training, and he wasn’t willing to stop flying, so he and some friends formed the Hatton Aero Club and later flew air mail in Alaska. He is credited with flying the first airplane across the Arctic Ocean, with Australian explorer Hubert Wilkins in 1928. Suggested by Doug (no last name)


Roger Fernandez. Don’t look for Roger in Wikipedia–he’s the CFI who signed off Steven Warren for his private pilot checkride at Tullahoma Airport 20 years ago.

Gen. Roy S. Geiger. Geiger has the distinction of being the first Marine to lead an army during World War II. He became a naval aviator in 1917, and commanded a squadron of the First Marine Aviation Force during World War I. Suggested by Randall Tilley

Heli-rescue pilots. As Darrell O’Sullivan says, “They fly at all hours and in weather that is best observed from an armchair on the front porch.”

Howard Hughes. The wealthy entrepreneur–the subject of numerous books and even a movie or two–dabbled in Hollywood film production, but his aviation legacy soars. He set multiple world speed records and commissioned aircraft like the Hughes H-1 Racer (and set a landplane airspeed record of 352 mph in 1935). Later, he designed and built a heavy transport aircraft constructed from wood. Dubbed “The Spruce Goose”–a name he hated–it only flew once, in 1947. Hughes also owned a majority of Trans World Airlines, which eventually merged with American Airlines. There’s much, much more to the Howard Hughes legacy, and I urge you to look him up yourself. Suggested by Robert L. Rhyne III.

In the second part of this blog I’ll relate the rest of the heroes, including some names you can probably guess and some others who won’t be as familiar to you.—Jill W. Tallman