Posts Tagged ‘seaplanes’

Jack Brown’s creates a pilot

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
Clay Bryan on checkride day.

Clay Bryan on checkride day.

In the May 2016 issue of Flight Training, I wrote about wandering in to Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Florida, and how much I want to add a single engine seaplane rating to my single engine land pilot certificate (“Around the Patch: Sun splashed”).

Clay Bryan wrote to tell me that he liked my column, because he could relate: He’d been to Jack Brown’s in 2014, and loved every minute of it.

Here’s the thing: Clay wasn’t a private pilot when he went to Jack Brown’s. He didn’t have any type of pilot certificate. He just loved the idea of flying on floats. Clay, who lives in Charleston, S.C., spent eight days at Jack Brown’s, and at the end of those eight days he soloed. In fact, he was Jack Brown’s first student in 30 years to have achieved that distinction, and he proudly sent me a copy of a certificate to prove it.

I wondered if the magic of Jack Brown’s had stayed with Clay, and I asked if he’d continued with any sort of flight training.

He had. In fact, he was getting ready to take his private pilot checkride the week we exchanged emails.

“Let me know how it goes,” I said. Clay promised he would.

Clay Bryan, who started out flying on floats, earned a private pilot certificate with single engine land privileges on Sunday, April 24. You’re likely to see his smiling face in an upcoming issue of the magazine, but the story was so good I wanted to share it now.—Jill W. Tallman


My aviation bucket list: soaring, helicopters, finishing that RV

Monday, November 25th, 2013

glider, soaringIt’s good to have an aviation bucket list. Mine has stayed pretty consistent over the years. Much of it I have accomplished, but there are some items of unfinished business on it. When I first started flying, I wanted to fly airplanes with retractable gear and more than one engine. My first multiengine experience was in a Piper Aztec, and on that first leg, it might as well have been a 747. It just felt huge! I got my multiengine rating in 1994.

Seaplanes were always a favorite, and I bummed rides in them whenever I could. I finally got to the point where I couldn’t stand the wait anymore, and with my wife’s blessing, took a five-day trip to Florida, two of which were spent splashing around in the lakes getting a seaplane rating. It’s some of the most fun flying one can do, and it’s more challenging than it appears.

Seaplanes are right up there for me with ultralights. Some think that the UL world is filled with lunatics, given that many of the airplanes have little or no structure surrounding the pilot. That’s true, but the open air, the slow speed, the grass landing…they all add magnitudes to the fun. If you haven’t done it, you don’t know what you’re missing.

IRV-8, experimental aircraft, homebuilt’ve always wanted to build my own airplane, and I have at least begun that. Several years ago I finished the empennage of an RV-8. I don’t know if or when I will be able to start on the next sub-kit (the wings), but it was a very rewarding process at the time, and it convinced me that I can do it. For me, it wasn’t the time that was the issue, but the money. I may have to wait until my kids are out of the house, but it’s a dream that is only dormant—not gone.

helicopters, learn to flyAlso on my list of “gotta do” is to learn to fly helicopters. It’s such a different kind of flying, with totally different skills. Whirly-birds just look like so much fun (to match the danger!). Again, this one will have to wait a while (also because of the cost), but I have long vowed that I will achieve this particular dream. Not for any particular reason, but just because. That’s good enough for me.

I taught my dad how to fly, and something we both long wanted to do was to learn to fly gliders. Glider flying is pure flying, since the duration of the flight is up to your skill in finding the thermals. My dad has since passed away, but I’ve never forgotten how much he wanted to learn to fly gliders. One day, I will take the time to go somewhere where I can devote the time necessary to master this particular art.

I’ve been lucky to also get a few other items on my list knocked out. Flying jets, including one of my favorites—the 737—has been a blast. The high-speed, high- altitude regime is totally different from the low and slow of an ultralight or a Piper Cub, but both are rewarding for different reasons. Fast airplanes are much more complex, but the personal satisfaction can be just as rewarding.

My list still has a few items on it, and hopefully for each one I knock off, I can find another one to add to it. After all, with nothing to strive for, what’s the point in getting out of bed every morning?—Chip Wright

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